Full name: Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya (พระนครศรีอยุธยา)

Ayutthaya was founded by King Rama Thibodi I in 1350 and was the capital of Siam until its destruction by the Burmese army in 1767. The ruins of the ancient capital are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ayutthaya is located around 70 km north of Bangkok on the Chao Phraya River.

City Slogan: "กุ้งใหญ่คับคั่ง พระราชวังล้ำค่า พุทรารสหวาน อุทยานเลิศล้ำ แหล่งทำมีดดาบ เอิบอาบวัฒนธรรม ศิลปาชีพนำเด่น เมืองคนดีศรีอยุธยา",
which means "ancient city of plenty, poetry and patriotism".

What to do there

Sightseeing

There are lots of temple ruins in Ayutthaya. In my view, however, it’s not worth visiting all of them because after a while they all look the same. It’s better to focus on the nicest ones.

Royal Palace / Wat Phra Si Sanphet

วัดพระศรีสรรเพชญ์
Wat Phra Si Sanphet was situated on the premises of the royal palace which had been established in the reign of King Rama Thibodi I (King U-Thong). In 1448, King Boroma-Tri-Loka-Nat dedicated the site of the palace to the construction of the temple. The important edifices in this temple are the three main chedis (stupas) containing the ashes of King Boroma-Tri-Loka-Nat, King Boroma-Rachathirat III and King Rama Thibodi II. It was a royal temple of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, used for such important royal ceremonies as swearing allegiance and it also served as the royal family’s private chapel and the place where the royal family’s ashes were preserved. No monks resided here though they were occasionally invited for particular rites.
Location: Sri Sanphet Rd.

Vihara Phra Mongkhon Bophit

วิหารพระมงคลบพิตร
Vihara Mongkhon Bophit is one of the largest Buddha images in the attitude of subduing. The image was probably built in the reign of King Chairacha in 1538 for Wat Chi Chieng. During the fall of Ayutthaya to the Burmese in 1767, Vihara Phra Mongkhon Bophit set on fire. The right arm and the knot of the Buddha image were destroyed. During the reign of king Rama V, Phraya Boran Ratchathanin restored the broken parts of the image with mortar and the vihara was built to cover the image in 1956.
Location: Sri Sanphet Rd.

Phra Ram Park / Wat Phra Ram

วัดพระราม
King Ramesuan established Wat Phra Ram in 1369 on the cremation site of King Rama Thibodi I, his father. At present, the temple is situated near Phra Ram pond which was originally called “Nong Sano”. In the temple there remains a main prang surrounded by a cloister containing deteriorated stone Buddha images. The ubosot (ordination hall) is in north of the site.
Location: Sri Sanphet Rd, between Naresuan Rd. and Patone Rd.

Wat Ratchaburana (Rajaburana)

วัดราชบุรณะ
Wat Ratchaburana was built during the reign of King Borom Rachthirat II (Chao Sam Phya) in 1424 on the cremation site of his brothers, Prince Ai and Yi. They were killed in a fight for the throne on elephant’s backs. Two chedis for the ashes of the two princes were built on the combat spot, which lies between Wat Mahathat and Wat Ratchaburanan. At present, only the bases of these chedis can be seen. In the main prang, two crypts filled with golden royal treasure, such as Buddha images, and votive tablets, were found in 1958. The finds are exhibited in the Chao Sam Phya National Museum, Ayutthaya.
Location: Corner of Chee Kun Rd. and Naresuan Rd.

Wat Phra Mahathat

วัดพระมหาธาตุ
Wat Mahathat is one of the most historically important monasteries, opposite Wat Rajaburana. According to the chronicle, construction was started during the reign of Phra Borom Rajathirat I (Khun Luang Pha–Ngua) in 1374 and completed during the reign of King Ramesuan. It was built and maintained continuously until the city was destroyed in 1767. Here you can find the famous tree that has grown around a Buddha’s head.
Location: Corner of Chee Kun Rd. and Naresuan Rd.

Phu Khao Thong

ภูเขาทอง
Phu Khao Thong was erected by King Ramesuan in 1387. Burengnong, the Burmese king, constructed three layers of the large superimposed base in Burmese style after he captured Ayutthaya in 1569 and named it Phu Khao Thong. The main body of the chedi in Thai style was built later. King Borommakot carried out renovations during his reign in 1744 and changed its appearance. Only the lowest part retains its original Mon style.
Location: 2 km Northwest on road no. 309

Wat Yai Chaimongkhon

วัดใหญ่ไชยมคล
This monastery was founded by King U-Thong in 1357 in rememberance of two monks who had gone to study practical Buddhism in Ceylon and had died of cholera. The area is dominated by a Ceylonese style chedi which is over 60 meters high and which was build in 1593 by King Naresuan to celebrate his victory over the Burmese. Two large sitting Buddha images flank the chedi. Some say the King build this chedi to match the chedi of Phu Khao Thong, which had been erected by the Burmese.
Location: Road no. 3059, Southeast of the island

Shopping

follows

How to get around

Most temples in Ayutthaya are not far from each other, it’s easily possible to to walk from the train station to the inner circle of temples (no. 14-26 on the map). Other temples, such as Wat Yai Chaimongkhon, Wat Pratu Songtham, etc. can be reached by tuk-tuk.

The most flexible option is to hire a bicycle. Most guesthouses rent out bicycles, but you can also find shops near the train station. The rental fee should be around 30-50 baht per day. If you prefer noisy options, motorcycles are available for 250 baht per day.

Map of Ayutthaya

For a better map, click here: Ayutthaya Tourist Map

How to get there

By train

The cheapest and most colorful way of reaching Ayutthaya is by train. All north and northeast line trains depart from Bangkok’s Hualamphong station and stop in Ayutthaya, a trip of about 1.5 hours. Second class costs 35 baht (reserve seat in advance), while third class is just 15 baht (no reservations). You can also reach Ayutthaya directly from Don Muang station next to the airport, the 3rd class fare is just 11 baht.
Ayutthaya’s train station is to the east of the central island. The easiest way to get to central Naresuan Rd is to walk straight ahead from the station and take the cross-river ferry for 2 baht.

By bus

Buses operate every 20 minutes or so from Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal (Mor Chit) directly to Ayutthaya. First class air-con buses charge 45 baht, while second class is 35. Allow at least two hours for the trip since the buses stop rather frequently and there are often jams on the roads out of/into Bangkok.
In Ayutthaya, the central BKS bus station is on the south side of Th Naresuan next to the Chao Phrom Market. Minibus-songthaews to Bang Pa-In also leave from here. Some 1st-class buses to Bangkok, however, leave from the north side of the road some 500m to the west, on the other side of the khlong (canal); the queue of air-con buses is easy to spot.

By minibus

Convenient minibus service (can get stuck in traffic, but makes no stops like regular busses) operates from the Victory Monument square in Bangkok. Take BTS Skytrain to the Victory Monument station, an go right on the elevated walkway — keep on it until you cross a large road, then descend — the buses are parked at the side side of the main traffic circle). The cost is usually ~80 THB, takes around 1 hour.

By boat

Cruise boats run up the river from Bangkok, often stopping at Ko Kret and Bang Pa-In along the way. You’ll need to book in advance as there are no scheduled services, just trips for tourists. It’s a fairly lengthy trip (at least one whole day) and some of the larger boats offer (pricy) overnight tours.

By car

Follow Vibhavadee-Rangsit Road or Don Muang Expressway towards Don Muang airport. While on that road, you will see signs for Saraburi and Ayutthaya, which you have to follow. You will automatically reach highway no. 32 which passes Ayutthaya. Follow the local road 5 km to the west and you’re right in the center of Ayutthaya.

Where to stay

Links

2 Responses to “Ayutthaya”

  1. Ayesha Says:

    Hi, I cam across your blog while searching for Amporn Floating House. I’ll be visiting Ayutthaya next week and was wondering if you would be so kind as to tell me the best way to get to the floatel from the train station? (I already have a reservation at the floatel).

    Thanks so much

  2. Carsten Says:

    Hi, the floatel was recommended to me by a friend. I haven’t actually been there myself, so I don’t know how to get there. All I know is it’s near U-Thong Road, which is one of the main roads in Ayutthaya.

    However, I just googled and found that the owner of the floatel has an account at VirtualTourist, so you may try and contact her yourself. Her nick is Friday22.

    Best of luck

    Carsten

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