Attraction in Thailand : Ayutthaya

Ang Thong
Bangkok & Neighboring city
Chai Nat
Hua Hin
Lop Buri
Nakorn Nayok
Phetchaburi - Cha Am
Rayong & Chanthaburi
Sing Buri
Suphan Buri

Ayutthaya, 76 kilometers north of Bangkok, was the Thai capital from 1350 until 1767, when the city was virtually destroyed by Burmese invaders. Ruined palaces and temples attest to the riverine island city's former grandeur. Indeed, during its zenith in the mid-1600s, Ayutthaya was a truly cosmopolitan city, and the major power in Southeast Asia. Ayutthaya province covers some 2,556 square kilometers, and contains several attractions connected mainly with Thai royalty, past and present.

Attractions in the city

Wat Phra Si San Phet

This royal temple was the inspiration for the Emerald Buddha Chapel in Bangkok, and is the focal point of a complex currently called the 'Ancient Palace'. Much like the Grand Palace complex in Bangkok, the 'Ancient Palace' was the traditional residence of Ayutthayan monarchs. The entire complex is dominated by Wat Phra Si San Phet's three towering Ayutthayan-style chedis, and contains several satellite ruins of meeting halls used for state ceremonies, to welcome foreign envoys, to view military parades and royal barge processions, and for leisure. Adjacent to the complex is the Phra Mongkhon Bophit Chapel, which houses a massive bronze Buddha images.

Wat Phra Ram

This temple was constructed during the late 1300s by King Ramesuan to commemorate his father, King Ramathibodi I, who founded Ayutthaya as his new capital in 1350.

Wat Ratchaburana

Located opposite Wat Mahathat, this temple was built by King Borom Rachathirat II during the 1420s. Wat Mahathat Dating from the late 1300s, this extensive temple was destroyed in 1767. Golden memorabilia from the temple is displayed in the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum. Wat Suwandaram Ratchaworawihan This temple, noteworthy for excellent murals in the main classic Ayutthayan-style chapel, near the Pom Phet fortress, is a royal monastery of the present Chakri dynasty.

Wat Suanluang Sopsawan

This riverside monastery was built during the mid-1500s, and contains the Queen Sisuriyothai Memorial Chedi honoring the Ayutthayan heroine, Queen Sisuriyothai, who sacrificed her life, during elephant-back combat, repelling Burmese invaders in 1548, to save her husband. A statue of the queen astride a war elephant dominates the Queen Sisuriyothai Memorial Park on the city outskirts.

Wat Lokayasutharam

This temple is noteworthy for a long brick and plaster reclining Buddha image some 29 meters in length.

Wat Phuttaisawan

This riverside temple was constructed in the area where King U-Thong (later crowned King Ramathibodi I) and his followers founded the new capital of Ayutthaya in 1350.

Wat Chaiwattanaram

Another riverside temple built by King Prasat Thong during the 1600s. The main prangs and pagodas remain in good condition.

Wat Na Phramen

This temple, still in use today, is the only temple not completely destroyed during the 1767 invasion and destruction of Ayutthaya.

Wat Phananchoeng

This riverside temple pre-dates Ayutthaya's founding as the Siamese capital in 1350. The principal Buddha image was built in 1325 and is highly revered by local inhabitants.

Wat Phukhao Thong(Golden Mount)

Located two kilometers northwest of the Wat Phra Si San Phet complex, this temple was constructed in 1387 during the reign of King Ramesuan.

Wat Yai Chaiyamongkhon

This monastery dates from the mid-1300s; King Naresuan built the Great to celebrate his victory in 1592 over the Burmese Crown Prince in single-handed combat on elephants the enormous pagoda the Great to celebrate his victory in 1592 over the Burmese Crown Prince in single-handed combat on elephants.

Chanthrakasem or Front Palace

Located on the bank of the Pasak River, this palace was built as the residence of King Naresuan the Great (reign: 1590-1605). The palace was renovated during the mid 1800s by King Mongkut (Rama IV) to be his residence during occasional visits to Ayutthaya. The palace is now part of the National Museum under the responsibility of the Fine Arts Department. The museum is open every day, except Monday, Tuesday and national holidays, between 9.00 AM and 4.00 PM.

Chao Sam Phraya National Museum

The museum contains many Ayutthayanstyle objets d'art, including exquisite golden royal memorabilia excavated from local temples. The museum is open every day, except Monday, Tuesday and national holidays, between 9.00 AM and 4.00 PM.

Ayutthaya Historical Study Center

Located diagonally opposite the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum, this center is a national research institute devoted to the study of medieval Ayutthaya. The center contains reconstruction from Ayutthaya's historical past, an information service and a library. The center is open from 9.00 AM until 4.00 PM every day, except Mondays, Tuesdays and national holidays.

Khun Phaen's Residence

This teak traditional Thai-style residence, as might have been owned by a wealthy merchant, located near the Phra Mongkhon Bophit Chapel, evokes a bygone era's lifestyle.

Elephant Kraal

This unique teak and brick structure, just beyond Ayutthaya's riverine island, was formerly used to entrap wild elephants herded down from the North. Such occurrences were traditionally presided over by Thailand's best-known landmarks. Originally built of wood during the reign of King Rama V, the structure was reinforced with concrete pillars and floor by his son, King Vajiravudh (reign: 1910-1926).

Warophat Phiman Hall

Formerly a wooden, two-storey building used as a throne hall, and royal residence, King Rama V constructed the present European-style throne hall. The hall contains several historical paintings, and some of popular Thai literature, including the epic Ramakian, and Inao.

Utthayan Phumisathian Hall

The current wooden structure is a faithful reproduction of the original, which burned down in 1938.

Wehat Chamrun Hall

This magnificent Chinese-style building was a gift to King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) from the king's subjects of Chinese ancestry. King Rama V used customarily to reside in the dwelling during Cool Season visits.

Withunthatsana Hall

King Rama V used the tower-like structure, essentially a three-storey-building with a spiral staircase, as a vantage point during his periodic visits.

Queen Sunantha Monument

This memorial to the consort of Rama V who died tragically during a boating accident at Bang Pa-In contains the queen's ashes and relics.

Wat Niwet Thammaprawat
This riverine island Buddhist temple was constructed, at the command of King Rama V during 1878, in the style of an English Gothic church. The structure's stained glass windows and unusual architecture make it one of the most distinctive Buddhist temples anywhere in Thailand.

Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts & Crafts Center

This 14-acre riverside complex in Ayutthaya's Bang Sai district is under the Foundation of Supplementary Occupations and Related Techniques (SUPPORT), which was established under royal patron- Ayutthayan monarchs, partly because the mighty beasts were vital to Ayutthaya's military strength.

Attractions out of the city

Prasat Nakhon Luang

This imposing riverside structure in Amphoe Nakhon Luang was used as royal accommodation by late Ayutthaya-period monarchs during trips to Lop Buri and the Buddha's Footprint Shrine in Saraburi.

Bang Pa-In Summer Palace

Half an hour south of Ayutthaya, (58 kilometers north of Bangkok by rail, 61 kilometers by road), Bang Pa-In is the site of a riverside summer palace formerly popular with late Ayutthaya-period monarchs and early kings of the present Chakri dynasty. Originally, the riverine island was used by the Ayutthayan monarch, Prasat Thong (reign: 1630-1655) as a summer residence, and by every Ayutthayan monarch thereafter. When Bangkok became the new Thai capital in 1782, Bang Pa-In remained deserted for 80 years. King Rama IV (reign: 1851-1868) stayed there and had a residence constructed in the old palace compound. His son, King Chulalongkorn (reign: 1868-1910) liked the place, and stayed there every year, largely constructing the royal palace, a collection of Thai, European and Chinese-style buildings, as it is seen today. The palace is open every day from 8.30 AM until 3.30 PM.

Aisawanthipphaya-At Pavilion

This lovely classic Thai-style pavilion in the center of an ornamental lake is one of age during 1976. The center trains farmers from Ayutthaya, and other provinces, in folk arts and crafts. Visitors to the center can see how such crafts are produced. They include: Fern vine basketry, Basketry weaving, Artificial silk flowers, Hand-woven silks and cottons, Silk dyeing, Wood carving, Miniature hand-made Thai dolls, Furniture making and Textile products. All such products are sold at the Bang Sai Center and in every branch of Chitralada Shops nationwide. The Bang Sai Folk Arts and Crafts Center is open every day from 8.30 AM until 4.30 PM. There are no demonstrations on Monday.

Major Events - Festivals

Bang Sai Arts - Crafts Fair

In January, the Royal Arts - Crafts Center features handicrafts exhibitions and demonstrations and traditional folk performances.

Songkran Festival

Every 13 April, Traditional Thai New Year celebrations - in front of the Phra Mongkhon Bophit Chapel, include religious merit-making and public merriment, largely in the form of good-natured water throwing.

Bang Sai Loi Krathong (Festival of Lights) & Boat Races

Each November, the Center hosts traditional Loi Krathong celebrations, including floating away krathongs under the full moon, beauty contests, handicrafts demonstrations and exhibitions, long boat races, and special events.

Ayutthaya World Heritage Site Celebrations

Each December, Ayutthaya celebrates its UNESCO-designation as a World Heritage Site with light and sound presentations, historical cultural processions and performances and folk entertainment within the Ayutthaya Historical Park.