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