Ayutthaya Guide: What to See and Do in Ayutthaya, Thailand

85 kilometers north of Bangkok is Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Siam. We discover what to see in Ayutthaya and what to do to live the best experiences

In this article we propose a tour to discover what to see in Ayutthaya, from the monuments to the most important temples and ruins. We will also give you ideas of experiences that will make your visit to Ayutthaya even better and much more complete.

Ayutthaya city was founded in 1350 by King U-thong. One of the most recommended visits on your route through the city is the Ayutthaya Historical Park, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1991. It is in the historical park where you can visit the well-known temples of Ayutthaya and lose yourself in them.

Despite being a city known for its important ruins , it is also known for having been, over the years, an important commercial port in both Asian and European countries.

When planning your trip, keep in mind that a day trip to Ayutthaya will be enough to get an idea of ​​the most characteristic monuments and places of the place.

Index of contents

What to see in Ayutthaya

A tour of Ayutthaya will allow you to discover the history of the country and take a little trip back in time to discover the monuments and ruins that marked the history of this city.

We explain what to see in Ayutthaya so that you know the different points of the city that should not be missing from your list.

Ayutthaya National Park

When you visit Ayutthaya, a walk through the Ayutthaya National Park is absolutely essential. It is, without a doubt, the jewel of the city and the most visited site in the area. In this ruined complex you can wander among ancient palaces and temples.

Ayutthaya National Park
Ayutthaya National Park

Ayutthaya, the capital city of Siam for three centuries, was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767. As a result of the destruction, today only ruins remain of what were once temples and palaces. On your visit to Ayutthaya you will see that the National Park can be divided into two parts: one of them, popularly called “on the island” refers to the temples that are located in the heart of the city.

Visiting hours and prices

You can visit the Ayutthaya National Park every day from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is advisable to visit the park on foot as well as to rent a bicycle and take a route through the temples of Ayutthaya.

In the complex of ruins there are temples that can be visited for free and some that cost around 50 baht (approximately €1.30). If you want to visit more than one temple that requires an entrance fee, a good option is to get a daily pass, for 220 bahts (about €5.6).

Here we recommend the best temples in Ayutthaya for you to take into account when deciding what to see in Ayutthaya:

Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Wat Phra Si Sanphet is the largest temple in Ayutthaya National Park. It is located on the island, in the center of Ayutthaya. Formerly it had a huge statue of Buddha made of gold, but the Burmese set fire to the temple to melt the gold and destroy the temple. Currently the best preserved of Wat Phra Si Sanphet are its Buddhist stupas (chedis), as they were restored a few years ago.

Wat Mahathat

One of the most special corners of Wat Maha That is a huge figure of the Buddha’s head that is intertwined in the branches of a tree. Despite being half hidden, she is one of the most famous figures in this temple. Don’t miss out on this iconic image!

Wat Mahathat
Wat Mahathat

Wat Maha That Temple is also known as the Great Relic Monastery. It is built in Khmer style, also typical of buildings in Cambodia. It was built in 1374 by order of King Borommaracha I, although neither the appearance nor the name he gave the temple was as it is known today. It was not until his successor Ramesuan arrived that the monastery was expanded and given the name it currently has.

Wat Chaiwatthanaram

Wat Chaiwatthanaram is a Buddhist temple declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. It is located outside of Ayutthaya Island. In other words, it is part of the group of temples in Ayutthaya that are not located in the historic center of the Ayutthaya National Park.

This temple is situated on the west side of the Chao Phraya River, and can be reached by both road and boat.

The temple was built in 1939 by Prasat Thong, who ruled Siam from 1629 to 1656. It is made up of five main pagodas, four smaller ones, and one made up of a 35-meter-high tower. Surrounding these five pagodas, which are on a rectangular platform, are eight more small pagodas.

Reclining Buddha of Ayutthaya at Wat Lokayasutharam

The Wat Lokayasutharam temple you can visit an immense reclining Buddha 37 meters long and 8 meters high. This is the largest reclining Buddha in Ayutthaya, although in the city you will find other similar statues but of smaller dimensions. The Buddha’s head is placed on a lotus flower. This Buddha, which is the most interesting monument in its surroundings, is located in the Pratoochai district, behind the Old Palace.

Reclining Buddha
Reclining Buddha

Wat Phra Ram

You will find this Ayutthaya temple near the Wat Phra Sri Sanphet temple . It was where the Wat Phra Ram is located, which was formerly the cremation of King Ramathibodi, in the fourteenth century. Even so, the exact date of the construction of the temple is not at all clear.

In it you will be able to observe a main prang and other smaller stupas that surround it. It is built in the Khmer style and is reminiscent of the structures that can be seen today in Angkor (Cambodia). The entrance fee to the temple is 50 Bahts (€1.3).

Chao Sam Praya National Museum

If after your visit to the temples of Ayutthaya you are wondering what to see in Ayutthaya beyond the ruins, we recommend a visit to the Chao Sam Praya National Museum. There you will find all kinds of pieces –more than 2000– found during the excavations in the temples of Ayutthaya. Most of them are of Hindu art and, above all, Buddhist.

What to do in Ayutthaya?

Visit the floating market of Ayutthaya

Floating markets are typical in Thailand, so visiting the Ayutthaya Floating Market, also known as Klong Sabua , ​​can be an interesting visit if you feel like getting your hands on some local produce. The Ayutthaya Floating Market takes place on a large pond in the north of the city.

Floating market of Ayutthaya
Floating market of Ayutthaya

For about 20 baht (approximately €1.3) you can take a boat ride through the 200 floating shops of this market and buy, above all, Thai gastronomy products. You can also buy antiques or souvenirs. Unlike other Asian markets, there is no need to haggle in this market.

An excursion to Ayutthaya and its floating market will give you an insight into the daily life of the city’s inhabitants and the local products they consume.

Take a bike ride through the national park

A highly recommended option during your visit to Ayutthaya is to rent a bicycle to get to know the place. Even if you only visit the city for a short time, or if you want to visit Ayutthaya in one day, a bike route will allow you to easily get close to the main points of interest in Ayutthaya.

Renting a bike and doing a route on your own is very affordable. The price of renting a bike for a day can cost you around 30 baht (0.8€). If you prefer to opt for a guided route, you can sign up for a group tour of Ayutthaya, in which they will show you the main points of the Ayutthaya National Park.

Take a boat ride on the rivers that surround the city

If you want to see the city in a different way, you can do it on a boat tour through the rivers that surround the city or through the canals that cross it. A tour of the Ayutthaya canals costs approximately 200 Bahts per person (about 5 euros). Some of the tours have stops at some temples in the city.

Festivities in Ayutthaya

In addition to the places to see in Ayutthaya and the activities that you can do on any day of the year, it is interesting to take into account the festivities that are celebrated in the city. We give you some ideas!

Loi Krathong

This festival is celebrated throughout the country, although two places especially recognized are Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai. It is celebrated in November, specifically during the full moon night of the twelfth month of the Thai lunar calendar.

During this festivity, the Thai leave boats made with banana leaves or krathongs (incense sticks) floating in the water of the rivers or canals as a symbol of respect for the water. The celebration is held in honor of the goddess of water. Thais also celebrate the end of the monsoon season during Loi Krathong.

Ayutthaya Heritage Fair

To celebrate that in 1991 the Ayutthaya Historical Park was declared a World Heritage Site, this celebration is held every December. It lasts a week during which there are concerts, sound and light shows, singing and beauty contests and many other activities.

How to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok?

To get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok we recommend going by bus, if you are looking for the cheapest option, by train, taxi, van or, if you are looking for a more exclusive and authentic option, by boat.

From Bangkok to Ayutthaya by bus

You should go to the Mo Chit Bus Station (N8), in the north of the city. There buses leave from Bangkok to Ayutthaya every 20 minutes. The journey takes approximately 2 hours.

From Bangkok to Ayutthaya by train

In this case you should go to Hua Iamphong station. The train journeys allow different options. The tickets that go to Ayutthaya are usually of the Rural Commuter type.

From Bangkok to Ayutthaya by Cruise or Boat

If you are looking for an authentic and different experience, we recommend you go to Ayutthaya aboard the Thanatharee, on a cruise that will allow you to get to know the country in a different way until you reach Ayutthaya.

Once in Ayutthaya from the Thanatharee organization they will leave you some bicycles so you can take a ride in the Ayutthaya National Park on your own. For lunch you can return on the cruise and there enjoy a typical Thai meal.

Apart from the Thanataree cruises, there are also other alternatives to go by boat from Ayutthaya to Bangkok. The journey along the Chao Praya River is highly recommended because during the trip you can see the natural and cultural environment of the surroundings, with the possibility of seeing some of the most important temples in the city from the boat.

Getting to Chiang Mai from Ayutthaya

After spending one or more days in Ayutthaya, many travelers continue their route through Thailand to the north; specifically towards Chiang Mai. We leave you with some ideas so you can see the alternatives you have in terms of transportation to move from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai.

If, as we mentioned, you want to go from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai, we recommend you go preferably by plane, since there is a long distance by road. Even so, the road is always a good option if you have a tight budget and don’t mind spending a few extra hours on the route. In this case you can use the bus. There is also a train that combines both cities. Let’s see it in detail!

From Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai by plane

The Ayutthaya flight from Chiang Mai (or vice versa) takes approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes. It is the fastest and most comfortable option, but also the most expensive. Even so, keep in mind that the price of internal flights are not very expensive, so it may be worth it.

From Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai by bus

It is the slowest option but at the same time one of the cheapest. If you want to go from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai by bus, keep in mind that about 600 kilometers separate the two cities. Which translates into about 9 hours by bus.

The price of the journey is approximately €25.
From Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai by train: the cheapest option but also the slowest is the train. The journey lasts approximately 10 hours and the price of the journey can cost between €11 and €45, depending on the class in which you travel.

Now that you know what to see in Ayutthaya, in Thailand, and you already know the best experiences, would you like to travel to Thailand? Discover our itineraries through the best corners of the country, among which you will find the wonderful city of Ayutthaya and its national park.

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