Located just north of Bangkok, Ayutthaya is a city rich in history and culture, making it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Thailand. From exploring ancient temples and ruins to experiencing traditional Thai culture and cuisine, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy during your visit. In this article, we’ll highlight 10 amazing things to do in Ayutthaya to help you plan your trip.
Explore the Ayutthaya Historic Temples and Ruins
Perhaps the most iconic attraction in Ayutthaya is the ancient temples and ruins that can be found throughout the city. These sites provide a glimpse into the city’s past as the former capital of the Kingdom of Siam. There are many temples and ruins to explore in Ayutthaya, but here are some of the most popular:
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
One of the most impressive temples in Ayutthaya is Wat Phra Si Sanphet. This temple was once home to the largest and most significant buddha statue in the city, which was made of gold and stood over 16 meters tall. Today, visitors can explore the ruins of the temple and imagine what it must have been like during its heyday.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet was originally built in the 14th century as a royal temple for the Siamese monarchy. It was used for important religious ceremonies and was considered the most important temple in Ayutthaya. The temple was destroyed by the Burmese army in the 18th century and was left in ruins until the 20th century when it was partially restored.
Visitors can wander through the remains of the temple and marvel at the intricate details of the architecture. The temple’s three distinctive chedis (stupas) are particularly impressive, and visitors can climb to the top of one of them for a stunning view of the surrounding area.
Another popular temple in Ayutthaya is Wat Mahathat. This temple is famous for its iconic Buddha head entwined in the roots of a tree. It’s a surreal sight and provides a unique photo opportunity for visitors. In addition to the Buddha head, visitors can explore the other ruins of the temple and learn about its history.
Wat Mahathat was built in the 14th century and was once one of the most important temples in Ayutthaya. It was used for important religious ceremonies and was also the site of royal coronations. The temple was destroyed by the Burmese army in the 18th century and was left in ruins until the 20th century when it was partially restored.
Today, visitors can explore the ruins of the temple and learn about its history through the various artifacts and exhibits on display. The temple’s central prang (spire) is particularly impressive, and visitors can climb to the top for a stunning view of the surrounding area.
The final temple on our list is Wat Ratchaburana, which is known for its towering prang (spire) that can be seen from a distance. Visitors can climb to the top of the prang for a panoramic view of the surrounding area. The temple is also known for its elaborate murals that depict scenes from Hindu mythology.
Wat Ratchaburana was built in the 14th century by King Borommarachathirat II to house the remains of his two brothers who died in battle. The temple was built in the Khmer style and features two distinctive prangs (spires) that are decorated with intricate carvings and sculptures.
Visitors can explore the ruins of the temple and marvel at the intricate details of the architecture. The temple’s elaborate murals are particularly impressive, and visitors can spend hours admiring the intricate details of the artwork.
Overall, the temples and ruins of Ayutthaya provide a fascinating glimpse into the city’s rich history and cultural heritage. Visitors can spend days exploring the various sites and learning about the city’s past as the former capital of the Kingdom of Siam.
Discover Ayutthaya’s Rich History at Museums
In addition to the ancient temples and ruins, there are also several museums in Ayutthaya that provide insight into the city’s rich history. Here are a few to consider visiting:
Chao Sam Phraya National Museum
The Chao Sam Phraya National Museum is the largest museum in Ayutthaya and contains artifacts and exhibits related to the city’s history. Visitors can learn about the kingdom of Ayutthaya, the city’s development over time, and see artifacts from past periods.
Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre
The Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre is a newer museum that focuses specifically on Ayutthaya’s history. Visitors can learn about the city’s past through interactive exhibits and multimedia displays.
Experience Traditional Thai Culture
Ayutthaya is a great place to experience traditional Thai culture. Here are a few activities to consider:
Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre
The Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre is a cultural center where visitors can learn about traditional Thai handicrafts, such as weaving, pottery, and wood carving. You can even try your hand at making some of these crafts yourself.
Ayutthaya Floating Market
The Ayutthaya Floating Market is a great place to experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of traditional Thai culture. Visitors can sample local food and drinks, watch traditional performances, and shop for souvenirs.
Enjoy the Ayutthaya Local Cuisine
Speaking of food, Ayutthaya is known for its delicious local cuisine. Here are a few places to check out:
Street Food and Night Markets
Ayutthaya is home to many street food vendors and night markets where you can sample local dishes such as pad Thai, som tam (papaya salad), and khao soi (curry noodles). Some popular night markets to check out include the Ayutthaya Night Market and the Krungsri Night Market.
Traditional Thai Restaurants
If you’re looking for a more formal dining experience, there are also many traditional Thai restaurants in Ayutthaya. Some popular options include Baan U-Thong Terrace and Krungsri River Hotel.
Cruise Along the Chao Phraya River
Finally, a great way to see Ayutthaya from a different perspective is to take a boat tour along the Chao Phraya River. There are several tour options available, including a sunset dinner cruise that allows you to enjoy the city’s beauty while dining on traditional Thai cuisine.
No matter what your interests are, Ayutthaya has something to offer. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or just looking for a unique cultural experience, this city is sure to leave a lasting impression.