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Things to see and do

  • Exploring Ayutthaya's outlying temples
    3.5 stars

    Many travellers complain that the ruins of Ayutthaya, while historically important, are not all that remarkable to look at ... read more

  • Ayutthaya temple tour
    3.5 stars

    This tour takes in the best temples Ayutthaya has on offer and a few other sites along the way ... read more

  • Ruins, temples and museums of Ayutthaya
    4 stars

    Unlike Sukhothai historical park, the collective sights of Ayutthaya are not neatly situated in a single park that can be easily explored in a single day. Several of the main sites to the northwest of the island -- including Wat Mahathat, Wat Phra Ram, Wat Ratchaburana, Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, ... read more

  • Wat Phra Sri Sanphet and the Grand Palace
    3.5 stars

    In 1448, King Borommatrailokanat ordered that a temple be built here, creating a centrepiece to the vast palace complex. A wiharn was built in 1499 and a year later the Phra Buddha Chai Sri Sanphet, a 16-metre tall Buddha image, was cast and covered in gold. During its heyday, the Grand Palace ... read more

  • Wiharn Phra Mongkhon Bophit
    3.5 stars

    This large wiharn is built in typical Thai temple style and contains Phra Mongkhon Bophit, one of the most important Buddha images in Thailand and a highlight for Buddhists visiting Ayutthaya. The massive bronze seated Buddha is 12.45 metres high, not including the base, and sits 9.55 metres ... read more

  • Wat Mahathat
    3 stars

    Construction of this sprawling temple complex is believed to have begun in the 1370s, shortly after the city was founded. Relics of the historical Buddha are thought to have been enshrined in the chief stupa, which collapsed during the reign of King Songtham and was only partially restored ... read more

  • Wat Ratchaburana
    3.5 stars

    Wat Ratchaburana boasts a spectacular Khmer-style prang, which is the largest stupa in Ayutthaya, and a quirky history as well. In 1424, King Intharacharthirat died and two of his sons met on the site of the wat to contest the throne via an elephant duel. They both died, leading brother number ... read more

  • Wat Phra Ram
    3 stars

    Though not as striking as the one at Wat Ratchaburana (or Wat Putthaisawan for that matter), Wat Phra Ram has another large Khmer-style prang at its centre. It was built to mark the cremation grounds of King U-Thong in 1369. In the years following its construction the wat was allowed to ... read more

  • Elephant rides around the ruins
    2.5 stars

    Keeping Ayutthaya's pachyderm traditions alive, the elephant kraal is located on Pa Thon Road, around the corner from Wat Phra Ram. A 15-minute ride takes you in a loop past Wat Phra Ram and Wiharn Phra Mongkhon Bophit, but it's quite pricey at 400 baht. If wanting to skip the ride, anyone can ... read more

  • Khun Phaen's Residence
    2.5 stars

    Located adjacent to the elephant kraal off Pa Thon Road, this traditional Thai wood house was built in 1894 and served as the home of a former governor of Ayutthaya. It's built on the former site of a prison and area where public executions took place long ago. Today the undertakers have been ... read more

  • Chao Sam Phraya National Museum
    3 stars

    The Burmese invaders who occupied Ayutthaya in 1767 didn't leave much behind, but what they missed can be viewed at this medium-size museum built in the 1960s. The highlights are gold or partially gold utensils, swords, and other objects once treasured by Ayutthaya royalty, which were uncovered in ... read more

  • Wat Lokkayasutharam
    3.5 stars

    Situated due west of Wiharn Phra Mongkhon Bophit but hidden by trees on the other side of the canal that runs down the centre of Khlong Tho Road, this less popular site is home to the largest reclining Buddha in Ayutthaya. The serene, faded white image lies 42 metres long and eight metres high at ... read more

  • Chedi Phra Sri Suriyothai
    1.5 stars

    Located on U-Thong Road on the far west side of the island and another five-minute bike ride from Wat Lokkayasutharam, this memorial chedi was built by King Maha Chakkraphat to honour his queen. The story of Sri Suriyothai, who lost her life in an effort to save his during a battle on elephant back ... read more

  • Chantharakasem National Museum
    3.5 stars

    Although this site houses a handful of artifacts, it would be more accurately referred to as a palace rather than a museum as the main draw are the old royal pavilions themselves. The palace was originally built in 1577 as the residence of King Naresuan and served as his residence until he ... read more

  • Wat Na Phra Men
    3 stars

    This highly-revered temple escaped destruction by the Burmese as they chose it as a base to launch their attacks. It was restored during the reign of King Rama III and today appears as a somewhat typical, if ornate Thai temple. The main attraction here is a large gold seated Buddha and a ... read more

  • Wat Choeng Tha
    2 stars

    This small ruined temple is a short walk or ride west of Wat Na Phra Men, also on the northern bank of the Lopburi river. The main attraction is a Khmer style prang which is simlar to, but smaller than the one at Wat Phra Ram. The temple was thought to have been first constructed in the 1300s ... read more

  • Chedi Phu Khao Thong
    3 stars

    This massive, slightly lopsided white chedi is believed to have been built by a Burmese king after temporarily defeating an Ayutthaya army in the mid 1500s, which would explain its odd location a good distance northwest of the island. Many subsequent Ayutthaya kings attempted to give the ... read more

  • Queen Suriyothai Monument
    2.5 stars

    Not to be confused with Chedi Phra Sri Suriyothai, this monument to one of Thai history's most beloved queens is located northwest of town in a large and pleasant park with loads of trees and ponds surrounding the monument itself. The monument, a statue really, is impressive -- it depicts a fierce ... read more

  • Wat Chaiwatthanaram
    3.5 stars

    When King Prasat Thong returned victorious from Cambodia in 1630, he ordered the construction of this stunning Khmer-influenced temple. The site is rivalled only by Wat Ratchaburana and nearby Wat Puthaisawan for the most impressive Khmer-style prang in Ayutthaya. Centred around the large ... read more

  • St Joseph's Church
    2 stars

    Head east from Wat Chaiwatthanaram to check out this attractive, ochre coloured Catholic church with a large tower set in quiet surrounds on the south bank of the Chao Phraya. Originally built by Vietnamese immigrants, the church was destroyed during the sacking of Ayutthaya in 1767 and sat in ... read more

  • Wat Putthaisawan
    4 stars

    This stunning riverside temple complex was built by King U-Thong in 1353 to memorialise the original camp area where the king lived as he took to building his capital city on the island. It is particularly interesting today as the modern functioning temple at the west of the grounds contrasts with ... read more

  • Muslim Quarter
    2.5 stars

    A reflection of the many Persian and Muslim-Indian traders who once made their homes in Ayutthaya, the city is still home for many Thai Muslims. Although small mosques are spread across town, the best place to explore a village that has been home to Muslims for centuries is the community nestled ... read more

  • Portugese settlement
    2 stars

    The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive in Ayutthaya way back in the early 1500s. They introduced the Thai kings to firearms, bread and other baked goods, and they gained favour in Ayutthaya by working as mercenaries on the kingdom's endless military pursuits against the Lanna, Burma ... read more

  • Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
    3.5 stars

    This impressive temple complex is one of the more widely visited sites off the island, and for good reason. Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon was first established by King U-Thong in the 1300s but was made famous by King Naresuan, who added the giant chedi still seen today to commemorate a major 17th century ... read more

  • Wat Phanan Choeng
    3.5 stars

    Built 26 years before Ayutthaya was officially established, this working riverside temple houses Thailand's largest gilded Buddha -- a dazzling six-metre tall seated image known as Phra Buddha Trirattana Nayok or Luang Pho To. The image is among the most revered in Thailand and the temple is often ... read more

  • Elephant Stay at the Elephant Kraal Pavilion
    4 stars

    Elephants have played an important role in Thai history and culture, so it is fitting that visitors to the Ayutthaya Historical Park have the opportunity to take a short tour of the ruins on the back of one of these noble beasts. The elephants that provide these rides and their mahouts all live ... read more

  • Boat tours
    3 stars

    Practically every travel office and guesthouse in Ayutthaya sells boat tours around the island. These typically cost 200 baht per person, take place late afternoon and make stops at Wat Putthaisawan, Wat Chaiwatthanaram and Wat Phanan Choeng. The boats are typically large and noisy, and you'll ... read more

  • Bang Pa-in Palace
    3.5 stars

    King Rama V liked to holiday here, but as things were becoming downtrodden he had the whole site made-over into what you see today. Bang Pa-in Palace contains a variety of immaculate buildings nestled among manicured gardens, statue-lined bridges, ponds and fountains. Shame about the piped ... read more

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