A former capital, with the ruins to prove it. Ayutthaya sits just north of Bangkok and is isolated by the three rivers that wind around this magical city. The buildings, statues and temples may be crumbling, but they will still take your breath away – even if you’ve been here before!
A visit to Ayutthaya is a great opportunity to understand part of Thailand’s complex history, and appreciate the ancient traditions local culture is still based on. Ayutthaya was founded by U Thong in 1531 and for over four centuries it was the capital of Siam. This kingdom spread into Laos, Cambodia and Burma, however Ayutthaya was the best trading spot of them all. Merchants from all over the world came here to sell their wares.
Ayutthaya was a truly magnificent city – and it’s still pretty impressive. At one time it was almost amphibious, with homes, markets and buildings being built on the canals. It’s said that the sun shone off the golden roofs of temples and dazzled people over five metres away. When you visit, it won’t take much imagination to see what a wonderful place this was. You also won’t be surprised that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site being perfectly preserved so the people of Thailand, and its visitors, can learn about the history of Siam.
Most of the ancient remains are on the western half of the island. There are temples, royal palaces, museums and more to explore. Make sure you see the Wat Phra Si Sanphet; it’s one of the most famous temples in the world. You should also go to the Ayutthaya floating market; it’s in the heart of the old city. The locals sell a range of items, and if you look past the typical souvenir tat, you’re bound to find something special.
During its best years, it had three royal houses, 375 temples and 94 entrances to the city. It was truly multicultural place with French, Portuguese, British and Dutch settlers living here at one time or another. Each group have left their mark around Ayutthaya, you just need to look for it.
Cycle around the island to save your feet, and immerse yourself in the ancient wonders of the city.
Plan your trip to Ayutthaya today.