Thailand’s former capital Ayutthaya is renowned for its temple ruins and historical sites


Thailand’s former capital Ayutthaya is renowned for its temple ruins and historical sites. Most visitors head first to Ayutthaya Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the centre of the city, for a comprehensive overview of the city’s history and past glory. Surrounded by these ruins, it’s not difficult to imagine the grandeur that once was the kingdom of Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya Historical Park comprises four temples – Wat Phra Ram, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Mahathat, Wat Ratchaburana – the Royal Palace and Wiharn Phra Mongkol Bophit. Outside the park itself, historical sites are randomly peppered along the west, south and eastern parts of the outer island. Many of the archaeological finds from the ruin sites around Ayutthaya are exhibited at Chao Sam Phraya National Museum, so this is a good place to visit if you are interested to learn more about Ayutthaya’s heritage. 


Bang Pa-In Summer Palace

Situated 60 km north of Bangkok on the banks of Chao Phraya River in Bang Pa-in District, Ayutthaya Province


Krirk Yoonpan’s Million Toys Museum

This private museum showcases one man’s passion for toys – thousands of them, from tin robots to antique dolls and life-sized Japanese superheroes


Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Serving as the Royal Monastery from 1350 to 1448, this temple occupies expansive grounds inside the walls of the now-collapsed Royal Palace


Wat Phanunchoeng

Built long before King U-Thong founded the Ayutthaya Kingdom, the Wat Phanunchoeng houses a revered Buddha image


Thai Boat Museum

Ayutthaya is home to Thailand’s most skilled boat builders. Back in the day, the city had more canals than roads, and boats were the main mode of transport


Wat Yai Chaimongkol

One of the best-preserved ancient royal monasteries, situated by the eastern entrance to the inner city


Wat Chai Wattanaram

Set across the river, facing the inner city, this royal temple is one of the most elaborate interpretations of the Mount Meru concept in ancient Khmer architecture


Wat Mahathat

Believed to be the spiritual centre of Early Ayutthaya Period, Wat Mahathat was the royal ceremonial ground for both religious and non-religious


Wat Na Phramen

This was the only temple left intact at the time Ayutthaya fell, as it was used as a military headquarters by the Burmese army


Wat Phuttai Sawan

Built during the reign of King U-Thong (1351–1369), Wat Phuttai Sawan’s principal prang is clearly visible across the river from the inner city area


The Krungsri Night Market

At Krungsri Night Market, you can find hundred of stalls to glance at, you can spend a full night looking at and listening to the sounds and smells of Thailand.


Ayothaya Floating Market

Ayothaya Floating Market covers a vast area of approximately 70 acres, in the aspect of cultural heritage conservation


Baan Hollanda

Baan Hollanda is an information centre on the history of Dutch-Thai relations.


Chao Sam Phraya National Museum

This two-storey museum houses most of the excavated artifacts from Wat Ratchaburana and other temples across Ayutthaya


For those who drive, Ayutthaya’s urban grid layout may seem simple enough, but it’s easy to become lost if you make a wrong turn. From Highway 309, the Chao Sam Phraya roundabout is the main intersection before you cross the bridge to the inner city. Continuing west of here, Highway 309 turns into Rochana Road, the main thoroughfare that cuts through the island from east to west. From Rochana Road, turn right at Srisanphet Road, which soon turns into Naresuan Road, and you’ll find yourself inside Ayutthaya Historical Park. U-Thong Road encircles the inner city and runs parallel to the rivers. 

If you don’t drive, it’s easy to get here from Bangkok by train, and hire a tuk-tuk from the train station to take you around the inner city . Negotiate a price for one-day or half-day hire and discuss all the sites you would like to visit with the driver before hopping on one. 

Lots of local tour operators also offer a day tour from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, with many of them travelling one way by boat along Chao Phraya River and one way by car. There are many ruins and temples along the way so the cruise is usually relaxing. 

To tour around Ayutthaya Historical Park, cycling is quite easy as the land is flat and the roads are well signed.