Ayutthaya, or in its full name – Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, was established back in 1350 by king U-Thong, and served as the capital of Thailand (then known as Siam) for 417 years (1350-1767). During this time, which was known as “the Ayutthaya period”, 33 kings have ruled, from 5 different dynasties. Ayutthaya was the second capital of Siam kingdom, after its first one – Sukhothai.
The city of Ayutthaya abounds with historical places of interest and various temples. I must say that rushing from one location to another and trying to squeeze in multiple temples into your schedule – can be exhausting and boring. To avoid that, I will bring you a brief review that summarizes the main attractions in Ayyuthaia, with my personal recommendations where to visit to get the best of the local culture and history.
Ayutthaya’s real gem is Bang Pa-In – the summer palace of Thai kings for generations. It is a spectacular, pastoral palace, which is located on the banks of Chao Phraya river.
Wat Chaiwatthanaram is definitely one of the most beautiful and impressive historical sites in Ayutthaya. The temple ‘sits’ on Chao Phraya riverbanks, outside of the island created by 3 rivers.
Wat Phra Sri Sanphet means “Temple of the Holy, Splendid Omniscient”. It was the richest, most impressive and sacred temple in Ayutthaya; a part of the king’s palace which served Thai kings only and did not accommodate monks.
One of the main attractions in the temple is the Bunyan tree, as between its roots you can see the head of Buddha sticking out, and most visitors enjoy taking their pictures there. This is also one of the famous pictures you’ll find in the different brochures and materials advertising Thailand.
Lokaya Sutha temple has been massively destroyed and the only attraction there is a giant, reclining Buddha statue, called Phra Buddha Sai Yat. The statue is about 40 meters long and 8 meters tall
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol can be also written as Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, which means the Great Temple of the Auspicious Victory. The temple is located outside of the island created by the 3 rivers, on the south-east side of Ayutthaya, not far from Wat Phanan Choeng. It’s a very active, beautiful temple.
Wat Mongkhon Bophit can be also written as Wat Mongkol Bophit; it is one of the most active temples in Ayutthaya.
Wat Phana Choeng is a historic site, yet one of the most active temples in Ayutthaya. The temple is sacred for both Thai and Chinese people, and features the largest, most impressive and adored sitting Buddha statue in Ayutthaya.