This historic city is located on an island that’s surrounded by 3 rivers. It was founded in 1350 and was once the capital of the Siamese kingdom (Thailand). It is situated 80 km North of Bangkok. In the 14th to 18th centuries this city was one of the largest urban areas in the world. In 1767 the Burmese attacked here and burned this city to the ground, forcing everyone to leave. The city was never rebuilt, and it was left untouched to this day. So, why should you visit the Ancient City of Ayutthaya? What are the things to do in Ayutthaya Thailand? Let’s have a look.
- Things to do in Ayutthaya Thailand?
- How to get to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Thailand?
- How to get around the Ancient City of Ayutthaya Thailand?
- Where to eat in Ayutthaya?
- Where to stay while visiting the Ancient City of Ayutthaya Thailand.
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Things to do in Ayutthaya Thailand?
Since this city was considered a big city during its time, there are many ruins scattered all over the island. It’s so much fun going around, exploring this town, learning its history and seeing what you can find. There are many things to do in Ayutthaya Thailand, the Ancient City:
1. Temples in Ayutthaya Thailand (Ruins of Ayutthaya)
This is the most popular ruin in Ayutthaya and has one of the most iconic Buddha images in Thailand. This ruin is in great condition and many parts of the ruin are still standing. This gives you a great idea of what this place would have looked like back in the day.
Getting back to the Buddha image, this is a Buddha head that’s entwined in roots. The legend goes that looters placed the Buddha’s head behind a wall to hide it. They forgot it there and over the years, the trees grew and intertwined with the Buddha’s head and raised it off the ground and to an upright position.
Today many people visit to see this Buddha’s head, show respect and just admire its uniqueness.
This ruin is located next to Wat Mahathat ruin. This ruin is also in great condition and is the only ruin where you can go inside. Wat Ratchaburana is a must-visit.
It’s only a small room that you can go into but it gives you a first-hand experience of what it was like back in the day. The stairs to go inside the ruin are located on the left of the temple. At the top, you get to view the surrounding ruins from above.
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This is one of the most visited ruins in the ancient city of Ayutthaya. Back in the day, they built this temple in the traditional Khmer style and centred around a large prang or spire which is on top of a rectangular base.
Its surrounded by 4 smaller spires and eight temples. It’s arguably the most impressive temple in Ayutthaya and the most intact. Its located on the banks of the river and is often a stopping point for boat tours. You can also come here by car.
Phra Buddha Sai Yat (The Reclining Buddha)
This site is famous for its massive reclining Buddha. There is no exact date to when this reclining Buddha was built but it was restored in 1954. Measuring 42 meters long, this is something different to the usual ruins around this area.
Around the Buddha are 24 octagon-shaped pillars which could suggest that this Buddha was encased by a Vihara (a Buddhist monastery). In the same area, you will also find a few shops as well as other ruins which are free to look at.
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Wat Phra Sri Sanphet
This temple is the most historically in Ayutthaya. It has 3 massive chedis with many smaller ones around.
Wat Phra Sri Samphet was built in 1492 by King Rama II. This temple is the King’s Temple since two of the chedis once housed the ashes of his father and older brother. There are also many other ruins on the same ground which you can walk through and admire.
This ruin is very impressive and the grounds are extensive. It will take you about 45+ minutes to walk around.
This ruin is of a huge temple that former Kings of Thailand use to frequent. There are still huge walls and pillars standing tall which show you how big and tall this building once was.
It’s a beautiful place to walk around, in the footsteps of the elite. There are also a few other ruins and statues that you can look at in this area.
Important things to know before visiting these ruins or temples
- Even though these are ruins, it is still a religious sight and like other temples, in Thailand, you have to dress appropriately and cover your knees and shoulders.
- Some of these ruins have entrance fees of 50 baht per person that you pay at the entrance. You can also buy a combo ticket for 220 baht and you can visit 5 ruins with this ticket.
- The ruins are open from 08:00 to 16:30, after this, you will only be able to visit ruins that don’t have an entrance fee.
- All the ruins are out in the sun, our tip is to go early in the morning and later in the afternoon to avoid the heat.
- For us, 4 ruins in a day are more than enough. On average you spend around an hour at one temple and we normally relax at a restaurant between 12:00 and 14:00 to avoid being outside during the hottest time of the day.
- Take an umbrella with you and lots of water.
2. Chao Sam Phraya National Museum
The best way to learn about the history of Ayutthaya is by visiting this museum. There are a few museums but none are as good as this one.
Whilst looking at the ruins you will notice that only the bricks are left but where did everything else go? Well, many of the things such as statues, paintings, coins, doors and door frames to name a few, are in this museum.
It’s packed with artefacts from multiple centuries when this city was still thriving. There is a lot of information about most of the things here and it gives you a lot of important information about this ancient city.
There are even gold artefacts that are stored here. Some of which were even worn by the King of Thailand at the time.
3. Take a Sunset River Cruise Around the Island where the Ancient city of Ayutthaya is built on.
This is a great tour to do in Ayutthaya. You get to see beautiful temples and ruins. You also get to see a ruin that has been restored so you can see what these ancient buildings use to look like.
Another great thing about this tour is seeing how people live along the river and canals. You will see the local people swimming, fishing and washing things in the canals as you go passed.
This shows you a side of Thailand that not many people get to see.
How to get to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Thailand?
The easiest way to get to Ayutthaya is by minivan. There’s a mini van from Mo Chit Bus terminal to Ayutthaya for 100 Baht a person. The trip is around 1.5 hours long.
Private taxis are also an option but will cost considerably more.
The cheapest way to get to Ayutthaya is by train. This will cost you as little as 15 Baht per person, however, that is 3rd class. The price can be between 245 and 345 Baht for air-conditioned seats depending on the type of train.
The last option is a boat tour from Bangkok to Ayutthaya. These tours generally include stops at temples along the way and make for the perfect one-day tour.
How to get around the Ancient City of Ayutthaya Thailand?
There are two ways to get around this ancient city.
The first is by bicycle. This option will cost you about 50 Baht a day. The city isn’t big and cycling around the ancient ruins is the perfect way to explore.
The second option is to take a tuk-tuk. This option will cost you around 350 Baht a day and the tuk-tuk driver will drive you from ruin to ruin.
Where to eat in Ayutthaya?
Ayutthaya night market is the best place to get dinner in the town. It’s on the actual road so be careful of traffic around the market. This night market is open every day from 17:00 to 22:00 and indeed serves something for everyone.
There is also a small section in the market where you can do some shopping. You won’t find a lot of souvenirs since the market is set up for the locals rather than tourists.
Eat Along the Riverside
Eating along the river is a great option in Ayutthaya. There are many restaurants along the river but our favour is De Riva Ayothaya.
This restaurant is right on the river bank which has a wooden deck. It has a big menu with many of the best Thai dishes. They also have live bands playing here over weekends which creates a great atmosphere.
Rak Na Ayutthaya Cafe
There are so many things to do in Ayutthaya Thailand however this cafe is a must. There are many cafes in this area but our favourite is Rak Na Ayutthaya. This cafe is situated by rice paddy fields with a beautiful wooden walkway over the fields where you can take amazing pictures.
There are also benches and swings where you can relax or spend time. It’s a very relaxing place and it also makes for some Instagram-worthy pictures.
Where to stay while visiting the Ancient City of Ayutthaya Thailand.
Ayutthaya is a popular place for people to visit. Book the perfect hotel in Ayutthaya by searching on booking.com, the website listed below.
Our tips for booking the perfect hotel in Ayutthaya:
- If you want to explore the ancient city by bicycle make sure the hotel that you are staying at has bicycles for rent.
- Book accommodation on the small island because this is where most of the ruins are located so you will be close to most of the things to do in Ayutthaya Thailand.
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