Ayutthaya is located just one hour North from Bangkok and that makes it one of the most popular day tours from the capital of Thailand.
Being formerly the splendid capital of the Kingdom of Siam, today it is known for its historical park, whose ruins have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. There is no ancient kingdom that, with its architecture and arts, inspires and makes Thais as proud as the Kingdom of Ayutthaya.
ℹ️ Top Things to Do in Ayutthaya
The Ayutthaya’s Mahathat was one of the first temples to be built and it was placed very close to the Grand Palace. Here the Supreme Patriarch, who is in the top of Thai Buddhist hierarchy, used to live in. Today it is one of the tourists’ favorites spot thanks to a Buddha’s head that was literally eaten by the roots of a tree and lifting it off the ground, but always showing Buddha’s face.
Wat Pra Sri Sanphet
The Great Palace of the ancient Kingdom of Siam in Ayutthaya was destroyed, but not its temple within. This temple, the Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, was the most important of the realm since it is located within the grounds of the royal palace and was destinated for the exclusive use of the kings of Ayutthaya. You can easily recognize it by the 3 big chedis (stupas or pagodas) that are still standing.
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
The Kingdom of Ayutthaya use to sent monks to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) to study Buddhism and, when they returned, they always stayed in this temple. Also, its history tales that one of the most important kings of Ayutthaya, King Naresuan, defeated an important Burmese general in a battle mounting on an elephant. To celebrate his victory they built a big chedi in its honor. And this is the origin the huge chedi of this temple, still visible from many places of the city.
Wat Chai Wattanaram
The Wat Chai Wattanaram temple is one of the largest and most impressive constructions in Ayutthaya, and was built by King Prasat Thong in 1629. with the purpose of making merit for his mother. It took 20 years to complete the construction of the temple. The main elements of the place are a huge central prang –a Khmer-style tower– surrounded by four large chedis, some other smaller chedis, and more than 120 seated Buddha statues.
Wat Phanan Choeng
This is one of the oldest temples, built in 1324. It has a large Buddha image in sitting position made of billet and cement and It is 19 meters tall. The stories tell, in the style of the many so-called miracles of Christian virgins, that this Buddha image shed several tears in 1767 when it was captured by the Burmese.
Bang Pa In Royal Palace
Located besides Chao Phraya River and half an hour South of Ayutthaya, Bang Pa In Royal Palace is a beautiful and tranquil place which used to be used by the King and the Royal Family of Thailand, as a Summer house. Built in 1632, the palace and houses in the complex has been restored and most of the buildings you can see today where built between 1872 and 1889 by the King Chulalongkorn.
Ayutthaya conservation center
The Ayutthaya Historic City Conservation Information Center (AHCCIC) was open on 24 September 2019, is located behind the Ayutthaya National Art Museum and is a Great visit for the ones who want to know more about Ayutthaya’s history. In this museum you also will learn about its history of archaeological excavations and the conservation of monuments since the fifties decade until today, and will see some art pieces found as well.
Take a Cruise
There are several ways to experience the river in Ayutthaya. The most popular one consists in visiting Ayutthaya from Bangkok and after the tour, taking a river cruise back to Bangkok with a lunch buffet included. There are 2 main companies offering this service: Grand Pearl and White Orchid. However the most impressive one is taking a 2 or 3 days cruise to explore the area. Thanatharee cruise is great for that.
The most prominent feature of Wat Ratchaburana is its beautiful prang, a Khmer-style tower, rising at its center: it is the most beautiful of this style among those still standing in Ayutthaya. This temple has a curious history: after the death of King Intharachathirat in 1424, disputing the throne, two of his sons killed each other, so a third brother was was finally crowned, who ordered the construction of this temple in memory of the deceased.
🏨 Where to stay in Ayutthaya
Best Areas & Neighborhoods:
Ayutthaya is actually an small city so, no matter where stay during your visit, to reach the historical park will be easy. You may need to rent a bicycle, or a motorbike if you don’t want to walk. Taking a tuk-tuk is a good option, as well. While Ayutthaya is a quiet town, beside its temples, it still offer a nice night life, amazing restaurant and street food, charming markets, etc. Here you will be able to find accomodation for every budget option and very good price.
Best for: Backpackers. Its real name is Naresuan Soi 1 or Pamaprao Soi 5.
Accommodation available: Hostels and 3 star hotels.
✔️ Most of the cheap hostels are here.
✔️ Very backpacker-oriented.
✔️ Well located. Many ancient ruins can be reach easily by bicycle.
Best for: Travelers who prefer a quiet place.
Accommodation available: 3 star hotels.
✔️ You can get better hotels than Soi Farang still at very good price.
✔️ Walking distance from Historical Park.
✔️ Nice local atmosphere.
Best for: More comfortable accommodation.
Accommodation available: 3 to 5 star hotels. Have a look at Sala Ayutthaya Hotel.
✔️ Nice river atmosphere.
✔️ Very quiet area.
✔️ Despite to be more apart from town, you still can reach there easily by bicycle or motorbike.
🧭 Itinerary to visit Ayutthaya
In our opinion, those are the 4 most important temples of Ayutthaya and can be visited in one morning:
🗺️ Map of Ayutthaya
On the following map you will find the location of all the places previously mentioned:
✈️ Arriving to Ayutthaya
You can get there by minivan, train or cruise:
Fast and cheap option
📍 From Mo Chit Bus Station
➡️ You can take a van at Mochit New Van Terminal. Get there by Skytrain to Mo Chit BTS Station and then walk about 20 minutes (or take a taxi).
➡️ You can go from Khao San Road as well. It’s easier but more expensive.
➡️ Departures every 30 minutes. You don’t need to book the ticket in advance.
Cheapest bus slower
📍 From Hua Lampong Train Station
➡️ From Bangkok, Hualampong train station, will take you about 2-3 hours to get Ayutthaya.
➡️ By far the cheapest option. A ticket starts from 15 THB!
➡️ You don’t need to book your ticket in advance.
🚕 Taxi or Tour from Bangkok
The easiest but more expensive way
📍 From your hotel or pick up point
➡️ Easiest option if you have the budget.
➡️ The trip will take you about one hour
➡️ If you take a tour, the guide will make your visit more interesting.