Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand

Ayutthaya Historical Park
Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Just a couple of hours drive from Bangkok you will find the historic city of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO world heritage site. Founded back in 1350, Ayutthaya became the second city of the Siam empire.  During the 14th to 18th centuries the city grew into one of the world’s largest cities with a population thought to be around 1 million people! The city was largely destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century but many of its ruins remain, characterized by tall prangs (towers) and Buddhist monuments.

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

Today the city attracts tourists from all over the world, most arrive from Bangkok for a day trip but many visitors  stay for a few days in one of the many guesthouses or hostels. I have visited Ayutthaya twice, once as a day trip from Bangkok and more recently as an overnight trip. To be honest, as much as I enjoyed exploring the historical sites, I was not so impressed with the city itself, I found the centre of town to be extremely busy and found the constant harassment of tuk-tuks to be quite tiresome! In my opinion unless you are specifically interested in exploring the sites in more detail, a day trip will give you more than enough time to explore the area.

If you do want to stay for a few days then I can highly recommend the Yim Whan Hostel, for only 700 Baht (£16) a night, you can have a double room with balcony. It also houses a great coffee shop downstairs with the most amazing cakes!

Double room at the Yim Whan Hostel
Yim Whan Hostel Cafe


Booking.com

How to get to Ayutthaya:

Ayutthaya can be easily reached from Bangkok. You can either get one of the many tourist minivans, the train or by an organised tour. Once in Ayutthaya you will be met with many tuk-tuks waiting to drive you around the sites. All charge a flat hourly rate around 200-300 Baht with pre-organised routes available, however these rates and routes can be negotiated with the driver. 3 hours should be plenty of time to see the best sites. If you are feeling energetic you can also get yourself a map and hire a bicycle for around 100 Baht, however be warned, the sites can feel quite a distance away when dealing with the hot summer sun!

Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya tuk tuks

Bangkok to Ayutthaya by bus:

Probably the easiest way to reach Ayutthaya is to catch a minivan from one of the many bus stations around Bangkok. You can buy tickets from most hotels and travel agents in and around Bangkok, however the easiest and cheapest way is to buy them online from 12goasia.com. Vans regularly depart from Mochit new van terminal to Ayutthaya at a cost of 90 Baht (£2.20) and takes approximately 2hrs.

Powered by 12Go Asia system

Bangkok to Ayutthaya by train:

You can catch the train to Ayutthaya from Bangkok’s Hua Lampong station at a cost of around 60 Baht (£1.45) and takes around 2 hrs, however the trains in Thailand do not always follow the schedule with many taking much longer than advertised. Although this route may be longer than the bus, the views from the train more than make up for any delays. You can buy tickets in advance from State railway of Thailand and also at the station on the day. Perhaps get the minivan there and opt for the train back to Bangkok?

Thai-train
3rd Class train back to Bangkok

Ayutthaya by tour:

If you don’t fancy taking the independent route to Ayutthaya, you can also take one of the many tours offered by hotels and tour operators. These tours can sometimes be long and tiresome and cost upwards of 1500 Baht each (£35) Some tours offer a boat trip back to Bangkok including lunch which maybe a preferred option for some, however you won’t have as much time to visit all the major sites.

Best Temples to visit in Ayutthaya Historical Park:

There are so many sites to visit around Ayutthaya Historical Park that you won’t be able to visit them all, so here’s my list of the best sites:

Wat Ratchaburana

Ayutthaya Historical Park
Wat Ratchaburana

Wat Ratchaburana was built by King Borom Ratchathirat II, the wat marks the spot where his two brothers had fought and killed each other fighting for the vacant crown. The large remaining prang was the centre piece of the compound and the vault contained gold jewellery, artefacts and votive Buddhist tablets, however looters broke into the vault in 1957 and raided all that was inside. Displayed inside the vault was many mural paintings, depicting the lives of Buddha, however many of these images have deteriorated and only a handful are still visible.

Wat Ratchaburana
Wat Ratchaburana

Wat Mahathat

Ayutthaya Historical Park
Famous Buddha head at Wat Mahathat

Wat Mahathat is probably one of the most famous sites in Ayutthaya, it is here that you will find the Buddha head entwined within the roots of a tree. Wat Mahathat is located in the centre of Ayutthaya and was the residence of the supreme leader of the Thai Buddhist monks and is thought to have been built during the 14th Century.

Wat Mahathat
Wat Mahathat

Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Ayutthaya Historical Park
Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Wat Phra Si Sanphet is the site of the 3 chedi’s, the first two where built by King Ramathibodi II in 1492. The chedi to the east was for the cremated remains of his father and the now middle one, for his elder brother. The third chedi was built by King Boromracha IV to house the remains of King Ramathibodi II. This site is probably one of my favorites as there is so many ruined buildings to explore.

Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon is one of the first historical sites you will encounter if travelling into the city from the east. Its large bell-shaped chedi sits high on an elevated position with stairs leading up to its terraces. There are rows of Buddha statues along the sides of its gallery which were originally destroyed but have since been re-sculptured. This is also the site of a large reclining Buddha.

Reclining Buddha
Reclining Buddha at Wat Yao Chai Mongkhon
Rows of Buddha statues
Rows of Buddha statues

Wat Chai Wattanaram

Wat Chai Wattanaram is an impressive site, situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya river.  There are many structures including several large chedi surrounded by an inner and outer wall. Along the inner wall you will find rows of Buddha statues which were beheaded by the Burmese in 1767. If staying in the city overnight this temple is said to be the best place to watch the sunset.

Wat Chai Wattanaram
Decapitated Buddha statues
Wat Chai Wattanaram
Wat Chai Wattanaram

Wat Lokkayasutharam

The high-light of Wat Lokkayasutharam is its enormous Reclining Buddha measuring 42 meters long and 8 meters high. In front of the Buddha is a small altar with a small reclining Buddha where visitors can make offerings, many of which use pieces of gold leaf given out by the local ladies.

Wat Lokkayasutharam
Wat Lokkayasutharam

Wat Phu Khao Thong

Wat Phu Khao Thong
Wat Phu Khao Thong

Wat Phu Khao Thong was was a monastery originally built in 1395 on the north east side of the current site by King Ramesuan, however after the Burmese invasion in 1569 the current structure was built as a Burmese style chedi but was never finished. Years later Prince Naresuan had a Thai style chedi built on top of its base to commemorate its independence and victory over the Burmese in 1584. If your feeling energetic you can climb up all 79 steps to the top.

Wat Phu Khan Thong
Wat Phu Khan Thong

Important Information:

There is no fee to enter Ayutthaya Historical Park, however most of the sites charge a small fee of around 50 baht or less.

It is also important to remember that although these are ruined sites they are still seen as sacred monuments to Buddhists, therefore please remain respectful, never climb on a Buddha statue, and please follow the dress code of covering shoulders and wearing long pants or skirts.

Ayutthaya Historical Park is a lovely day out from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, Just remember to bring plenty of water, a hat and sunscreen as the heat can be very intense especially during the day.

Have you been to Ayutthaya Historical park? If so let me know what you though by commenting down below and if you enjoyed this blog check out my other pages and subscribe to be the first to check out my new posts.

Thanks for reading,

Happy Travels,

Louise X

Have you heard of the ancient of Ayutthaya? If not check out this post for why it should be on your Thailand Itinerary! #ayutthaya #thailand #bangkok #thaitemples #ancientthailand #ancientcities #travel #travelguides #traveltips
Ayutthaya

30 COMMENTS

  1. Multiple times, I have visited this place. By far the best way to see it is in a small group with a private guide. There are a lot more temples than the big bus groups go to, and it’s worth spending more time here to look around the ruins.

    • Yeah defo, the tour groups are quick stop and go tours, having your own transport lets you explore in your own time 👍

  2. Aaah, this brings back beautiful memories: I loved Ayutthaya! I didn’t visit on a day trip, but stayed two nights on my way up north. Did all the sight cycling – it was fantastic! Thanx for bringing back sweet travel memories!

    • Thanks so much for the lovely comments, wow you cycled, I originally wanted to cycle but the heat was too much 🙈

    • Thank you so much for the lovely comment, wow you cycled, I originally wanted to do that but the heat was too much 🙈

    • Hi Yvonne, generally they aren’t too bad in Thailand, yes a bit of a pain sometimes especially in Bangkok but in Ayutthaya they are something else! They just don’t leave you alone and follow you down the streets! Thank you so much for the blogger award! I really appreciate that, its made my day!

  3. We spent a week in Bangkok a few months ago, but we didn’t make it to Ayutthaya Historical park. Will have to try it on our next trip! Looks like a really cool place to explore – we really enjoyed discovering Siamese history while we were in Thailand so this is right up our street.

    • Yes, it’s defo worth the trip if you are interested in Siamese history! Hope you get to explore Ayutthaya sometime soon .

  4. I enjoy and love visiting local historical sites and learning about the stories behind them. Ayutthaya seems such a lovely place to visit. Specially the temple having the shrine of buddha head in the tree’s roots. This is the place I really want to visit there. Thanks for all this interesting information and tips.

    • Thank you for the lovely comment, if you love historical places then this is the place to go when in Bangkok!

  5. I did a day tour from Bangkok. I was great, but I would have liked to have more time to explore. I felt that it was all a bit rushed. I saw Wat Mahathat which was absolutely amazing!

  6. Thailand is high on my bucket list so I bookmarked your post. Based on your description, I think I would spend a day in Ayutthaya. Busy cities are not my favorite, but I love the historical sights. I like the idea of taking the train. The Buddha head entwined I roots at Wat Mahathat is so interesting. I love all of the historic architecture in Ayutthaya.

    • Hi Wendy, Thank you so much for the lovely comment, yes the cities of Thailand can be really busy but there are plenty of ways to get out and enjoy the sites. If you love historic architecture then Ayutthaya is defiantly for you!

    • Thanks for the comment, yes after doing some research I decided not to bother with the boat trip back as well, the train was a good option though 👍

  7. The Famous Buddha head at Wat Mahathat is something I definitely want to see for myself! Your pictures of these ruined sites are beautiful and its easy for tourists to forget that they are still seen as sacred monuments to Buddhists – something to always be conscious of. Great article!

    • Thank you so much for the lovely comment. Yes you see a lot of tourists in Asia forgetting that historical sites and monuments are still sacred, it’s such a shame.

    • Thank you so much for the lovely comment. Yes you see so many tourists in Asia being disrespect at ancient ruins and monuments etc, it’s such a shame.

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