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Things to see and do

  • Ruins, temples and museums of Ayutthaya
    4 stars

    Several of the main sites to the northwest of the island -- including Wat Mahathat, Wat Phra Ram, Wat Ratchaburana, Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, Wiharn Phra Mongkhon Bophit, Wat Lokkayasuttharam and Chao Sam Phraya National Museum -- are relatively close to one another and together have a ... read more

  • Wat Phra Sri Sanphet and the Grand Palace
    3.5 stars

    During its heyday, the Grand Palace boasted the Sanphet Prasat Hall, with a five-tiered gold-covered roof, as well as an array of other regal buildings. Because it was designated a royal wat, no monks dwelled here and it was used only for royal ceremonies. When the Burmese ransacked the city in ... read more

  • Wiharn Phra Mongkhon Bophit
    3.5 stars

    The massive bronze seated Buddha is 12.45 metres high, not including the base, and sits 9.55 metres across at the lap. It marks what was the official cremation ground for the Thai royal family from 1612 to 1767. During the rule of King Phra Chao Sua in 1706, lightning struck the building that ... read more

  • Wat Mahathat
    3 stars

    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 before the Burmese attacked in 1767. Before that, Wat Mahathat was the most important temple in Ayutthaya; many royal ceremonies ... read more

  • Wat Ratchaburana
    3.5 stars

    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 three, Chao Sa Phraya, to take the throne. He ordered the building of the wat on the cremation site of his father and two older ... read more

  • Wat Phra Ram
    3 stars

    In the years following its construction the wat was allowed to deteriorate considerably, and though it's undergone many restorations over the years, it now has a somewhat forgotten, overgrown feel. Although Wat Phra Ram is around the corner from Wat Mahathat and Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, it doesn't ... read more

  • Elephant rides around the ruins
    2.5 stars

    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 view the elephants in their kraal and feed them sugar cane for 20 baht. Note the traditional red costumes and round brimmed hats ... read more

  • Khun Phaen's Residence
    2.5 stars

    It's built on the former site of a prison and area where public executions took place long ago. Today the undertakers have been replaced by dogs seeking shade under the house's stilted floors, and curious tourists taking a quick peek inside. The house is made entirely of golden teak, and the ... read more

  • Chao Sam Phraya National Museum
    3 stars

    The highlights are gold or partially gold utensils, swords, and other objects once treasured by Ayutthaya royalty, which were uncovered in the early 2000s during excavations of Wat Ratchaburana and Wat Mahathat. Other exhibited items are less impressive and are housed in dusty display cases. ... read more

  • Wat Lokkayasutharam
    3.5 stars

    The serene, faded white image lies 42 metres long and eight metres high at the head, so large that you might need a panoramic shot to fit it into a single photo. Apart from the reclining Buddha, all you'll find at Wat Lokkayasutharam are a handful of village women who are quite pushy in their ... read more

  • Chedi Phra Sri Suriyothai
    1.5 stars

    The story of Sri Suriyothai, who lost her life in an effort to save his during a battle on elephant back in 1548 has been embellished in the epic Thai blockbuster, Suriyothai, which is still supposedly the most expensive Thai-language movie ever made. The chedi itself is rather average in ... read more

  • Chantharakasem National Museum
    3.5 stars

    The palace was originally built in 1577 as the residence of King Naresuan and served as his residence until he ascended the throne, after which it became the palace of the crown prince. Most of the original palace was destroyed by the Burmese but it was rebuilt under King Rama IV's orders in the ... read more

  • Wat Na Phra Men
    3 stars

    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 beautifully carved ceiling. An important and active temple in the lives of Ayutthaya residents, Wat Na Phra Men receives ... read more

  • Wat Choeng Tha
    2 stars

    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 and it now has an overgrown feel, although a small active temple on-site and saffron robes wrapped around the chedi keep it ... read more

  • Chedi Phu Khao Thong
    3 stars

    Many subsequent Ayutthaya kings attempted to give the distinctly Burmese-Mon chedi a more Thai look, and a looming statue of King Naresuan was erected nearby as if to lay definitive claim over the creation of a Burmese king in Ayutthaya. Whatever its background, the soaring chedi is impressive, ... read more

  • Queen Suriyothai Monument
    2.5 stars

    The monument, a statue really, is impressive -- it depicts a fierce looking King Maha Chakkraphat on his war elephant, surrounded by Siamese soldiers, immediately after his queen fell. According to legend, the tragic slaying of the queen was what roused the strength and bravery in the Siamese ... read more

  • Wat Chaiwatthanaram
    3.5 stars

    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 central prang, the complex has four lesser chedis along with 120 stucco seated Buddhas. It's believed that relics of the Buddha and other ... read more

  • St Joseph's Church
    2 stars

    Originally built by Vietnamese immigrants, the church was destroyed during the sacking of Ayutthaya in 1767 and sat in a ruined state for almost 100 years until finally being restored during the reign of King Rama IV. Today it hosts a functioning congregation with regular Sunday services held. ... read more

  • Wat Putthaisawan
    4 stars

    It is particularly interesting today as the modern functioning temple at the west of the grounds contrasts with the fully in tact ancient buildings in the centre and crumbling ruins pushed up against the riverbank to the rear. The main attraction is a striking white Khmer-style prang, ... read more

  • Muslim Quarter
    2.5 stars

    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 along the southern banks of the river. The hotch potch of houses and mosques interconnected by small lanes and pathways makes this an ... read more

  • Portugese settlement
    2 stars

    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 and Khmer empires, to name a few. All that remains of a once-thriving Portuguese community ... read more

  • Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
    3.5 stars

    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 victory over the Burmese during which the king is said to have singlehandedly speared a Burmese crown prince ... read more

  • Wat Phanan Choeng
    3.5 stars

    The image is among the most revered in Thailand and the temple is often full of Thai worshipers, though few foreign tourists make it here.

    After seeing the glittering gold Buddha, be sure to walk round the side of the temple down to the river where you can feed hundreds of enormous fish.

  • Elephant Stay at the Elephant Kraal Pavilion
    4 stars

    The elephants that provide these rides and their mahouts all live at the elephant kraal about four kilometres to the northeast of the island. If a short afternoon elephant ride at the ruins isn't enough, you can stay at the kraal from one to 28 days and learn more about how the 90 elephants in ... read more

  • Boat tours
    3 stars

    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 most likely be sharing them with other travellers, but this is not a bad option if you want to see ... read more

  • Bang Pa-in Palace
    3.5 stars

    Bang Pa-in Palace contains a variety of immaculate buildings nestled among manicured gardens, statue-lined bridges, ponds and fountains. Shame about the piped music, which some say adds to the experience. Near the entrance a wooden exhibition hall contains all the background information on Thai ... read more

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