BY Professor Bear

Ayutthaya: A Guide to Discovering the City's Ancient Delights

Did you know that Bangkok wasn’t the first capital city of modern Thailand 🧐? The ancient city of Ayutthaya was founded as the capital of a fledgling Thailand in 1350.

It remained the capital until 1767, when Thonburi became its predecessor, and in 1782 Bangkok was designated as the capital of Thailand. Ayutthaya’s rich and historical past makes it one of the fascinating places in Thailand. 

If you want to learn more about the country’s history 🎓, Ayutthaya is the place for you. 

 

Ayutthaya Overview

As mentioned above, ancient Ayutthaya was first founded back in 1350 by King Uthong. It was declared the capital of the Kingdom until it was overtaken by the Burmese again in 1767 🧐 Ayutthaya is located approximately 80 kilometers to the north of modern-day Bangkok in Central Thailand. And in this day and age, it is like a living museum to the ancient times of Thailand. 

Ayutthaya is an island of sorts that sits in the middle of the confluence of three rivers. The Lopburi River, Pa Sak River, and the well-known Chao Phraya River running through Bangkok 📜 To visit Ayutthaya, you will generally need to cross the river on a ferry or some other form of a boat. 

The Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Historical Park in Ayutthaya has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1991. Many tourists flock to the region to see the ancient old temples. The temple that once ran the country is currently known as one of the top-ranking tourist 👓 destinations for travelers looking to explore real Thailand. 

 

What to see and do in Ayutthaya?

If you are looking for bars and partying, Ayutthaya is not the place to visit. However, if you are a culture vulture or someone who loves history 🎓, this is the perfect place to visit. If you are visiting the region’s ancient temples, most of them are located northwest of the island. Most of the city’s accommodation choices and nightlife options are towards the northeast of the island 🧐 An exciting fact is that non-Siamese people are not allowed to live within the confines of the city walls. 

Here is a list of some of the city’s most exciting sites that you need to visit 👓

 

Ayutthaya’s Grand Palaces

The city is home to three majestic palaces – Wang Lang (the Rear Palace), the Chantharakasem Palace (the Front Palace), and the Grand Palace 🧐 These are the main palaces in the city. However, others are outside the city walls in Bang Pa-In and Nakhon Luang. 

 

Ayutthaya’s Temples 

Temples are one of the main reasons people visit the city. You will find that the temples that charge entry fees are in ruins 👓, which means there is no dress code as the temples are not active places of worship. However, you will need to tread carefully and remember that these ancient buildings 🧐 are delicate and in ruins. Working temples in the city do not usually have entry charges, but you have to follow the dress codes. You can buy a 230 THB Temple Pass that will give you access to 6 temples in the city, which is excellent if you are on a budget 📜

Here are some of the most famous old temples in the city 🧐

 

Wat Phra Si Sanphet 

Wat Phra Si Sanphet is 700 years old and is located on Sri Sanphet road and is open from 8 am to 6 pm daily and is known as the largest temple in the city 🧐 The temple is also known for its row of chedis. The temple is housed on the former grounds of a royal palace and once housed a 16-meter-tall Buddha with 340 kg of gold until the Burmese stole it back in the 1700s 👓 The ruins of this temple are fascinating, and with an entry price of 50 THB, it’s a bargain. 

 


The Bear Travel  Quick Trivia! 

Ayutthaya Area: 14.84 km²
Population: 52,952 (2014)
Province: Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
GPS Location: 14.328841, 100.546754 

 

Wat Lokaya Sutha (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)

This famous temple is the home to a 42-meter-high, 8 meters wide reclining Buddha statue that offers one of the most impressive sights in the city. The temple is located in the Pratu Chai sub-district and is a must-visit temple complex 🎓

 

Ayutthaya Historical Park

As mentioned, the Ayutthaya Historical Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site 🎓 and is home to 67 temples and ruins. It was once the epicenter of the Siamese capital city and is still uber-impressive today with its expansive ruins and mesmerizing architecture 🧐 If you are a history buff, this is the ultimate place to visit in Ayutthaya. 

 

Wat Phra Mahthat

When you are in Ayutthaya, visit the stunning Wat Phra Mahthat temple that is famously home to a colossal stone Buddha head 👓. A perfect place for a photo opportunity. The eerie feeling at this temple with its ancient ruins takes you back to a bygone age and offers some fantastic photo opportunities. 

 

Other popular Ayutthaya attractions

There are so many places to see and things to do in Ayutthaya. Aside from the numerous temples, if you want to visit a museum  🧐, visit the Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre, Baan Hollanda, and Chantharakasem National Museum. If you are looking to explore the ancient city’s markets, you must visit Chao Phrom Market. Chao Phrom Market is located near the Pasak River 📎 on U-Thong Rd and is home to many night market options.

If you want something more touristy, visit the Ayothaya floating market. Another popular place for tourists in Ayutthaya is the Elephantstay attraction, a non-profit elephant village 💯 that offers an exciting way to interact with those majestic beasts. 

 

Getting Around Ayutthaya

If you are looking for a cheap and friendly way to get around Ayutthaya while you are here, tuk-tuks and taxis are the usual modes of transportation 🧐 One of the best ways to explore the city is by bicycle. You can rent bikes throughout the city for as little as 40 to 50 THB per day, and if you are on a budget or have a real adventurer’s spirit, renting out a bicycle is the ideal choice 👓

Ayutthaya is one of Thailand's most ancient and vital places in terms of history and culture. While you are here, you must explore everything the city has to offer 🧐 From temples to markets and many museums, Ayutthaya is a living and breathing history lesson. If you are into archaeological ruins, you will have a great time. 

 

 

The Bear Travel  Vocabulary Time!

Confluence
: the junction of two rivers of approximately equal width or an act or process of merging

 

Culture Vulture
: a person who is very interested in arts, music, and theatre 

 

Chedi
: an alternative term for a Buddhist stupa, mainly used in Thailand

 

Mesmerizing
: to capture the complete attention of someone.

 

Tuk-Tuk
: a three-wheeled motorized vehicle used as a taxi in Thailand. 

 

 

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Written by
Professor Bear

Hello, I am Professor Bear and I travel by choice. I will take you on a journey to a new place every time and give an immersive experience by telling the history and giving you a detailed tour. Join me for an unforgettable travel experience of your life.

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