Ayutthaya in Central Thailand is the old capital of Siam (old name of Thailand). The city was the richest and biggest in the country before being destroyed by Burmese. Ayutthaya is located on an island surrounded by three rivers - Chao Phraya, Lopburi and Pasak. Ayutthaya Historical Park now is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can find still existing temples, palaces and other buildings, some of them well preserved. If you are interested in history and architecture, it will be a magnificent place for you to visit.
Ayutthaya Historical Park
Ayutthaya was founded around the middle of 14th century and became the second capital of Siam after Sukhothai. An ideal location of the city made Ayutthaya the trading capital of Asia and it grew up to become the largest city in the world - about 1 million people where living here at the start of 18th century. But the glory of Ayutthaya ended soon as the Burmese invaded and destroyed the city in 1767.
The ruins of Ayutthaya's temples and palaces are a part of Ayutthaya Historical Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ayutthaya Historical Park is the main tourist attraction in the city and a very popular day-trip destination for travellers from Bangkok.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Wat Phra Sri Sanphet was the most important temple of Ayutthaya as it was considered as the spiritual center of Thais for a long time. Situated within the Grand Palace grounds, Wat Phra Sri Sanphet was the Royal temple and served to conduct various royal ceremonies. It is also regarded as a model for Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) in Bangkok.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet is one of the most impressive sights in Ayutthaya as its 3 large and many smaller chedis make this temple very picturesque.
Wat Mahathat was the largest temple of Ayutthaya where Buddha's relics were enshrined and the leader of the Thai Buddhist monks was residing. The temple is believed to be built during the early Ayutthaya period (in 14th century). This large temple was destroyed by the Burmese.
This large temple complex with its rows of headless Buddha images is very atmospheric. Wat Mahathat is also the site where you can see one of the most popular icons of Ayutthaya - the famous Buddha's head entrapped by the roots of an overgrown tree.
Wat Ratchaburana stands out for having a large prang which is exceptionally well preserved. You can climb up inside the prang for nice views of Ayutthaya or go down to the lower part of the prang, where you can find two crypts with original interesting wall paintings in them.
Viharn Phra Mongkol Bophit
Viharn Phra Mongkol Bophit is a large assembly hall sheltering a large bronze Buddha image, called Phra Mongkhon Bophit. This close to 17 meters high (with the base) Buddha image is one of the most revered Buddha images in Ayutthaya and is attracting crowds of Thai visitors who bring alms and pay respect to it.
Wat Phra Ram
Wat Phra Ram was built as the cremation site for the King U-Thong (the first king of Ayutthaya kingdom). The temple complex houses a large prang and some smaller chedis. There is a large pond in front of the temple.
The main highlight of Wat Lokkayasutharam is its huge reclining Buddha image, called Phra Bhuddhasaiyart, which faces to the east. This impressive reclining Buddha image is about 40 meters long and is one of the largest if not largest in Ayutthaya.
Wat Thammikarat is a working temple, which contains the ruins of a large chedi with a base of 52 surrounding lions and a huge roofless assembly hall (viharn). Its tall columns and a large tree growing nearby make this temple very picturesque.
Where to Stay in Ayutthaya
There is a wide range of hotels and guesthouses in Ayutthaya with some of the best options found along the river. If you are wondering about where to stay in Ayutthaya, here is a shortlist of 15 best hotels in Ayutthaya suitable for various budgets: 15 Best Hotels in Ayutthaya.
How to get to Ayutthaya?
You can reach Ayutthaya by train or by bus.
Train to Ayutthaya
Taking northern line train Bangkok-Chiang Mai to Ayutthaya can be the easiest and cheapest option for reaching Ayutthaya. You can just make a half-day stopover here and then continue your journey to Sukhothai or Chiang Mai. Depending on the type of train, the trip from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Railway Station to Ayutthaya takes from 1,5 to 2 hours.
Buses to Ayutthaya
Taking a bus or a minivan from Bangkok’s Northern bus terminal (Mo Chit) is another cheap option for reaching Ayutthaya. It takes about 1,5 or 2 hours with a bus and a bit less with a minivan. Minivans leave from Mochit Van Terminal. There are minivans going from Kanchanaburi to Ayutthaya as well.
Weather in Ayutthaya
In Ayutthaya the seasons are clearly defined. Between November and May the weather is mostly dry with little rain expected throughout the region for much of this time. The dry season in Ayutthaya is broken up into the periods of cool season (November to February) and hot season (March to May), when it is not unusual for the temperature in Ayutthaya and other central locations to reach even 40°C.
The wet season in Ayutthaya is from May to November. The rain usually comes in the form of short showers, lasting an hour or two. As the rainy season progresses, the rain can become heavier and more constant, traditionally reaching peak levels in August and September.
For the best time to visit Ayutthaya check our Central Thailand weather ratings chart.
After visiting Ayutthaya you are planning to continue your trip up north or down south? Check when is the best time to visit Thailand's other destinations and choose destination with the best possible weather conditions wisely.