Ayutthaya is located 76 Km north of Bangkok. It was one of Indo-China's most prosperous cities and is one of Thailand's major historical attractions. The grandeur of Ayutthaya is reflected by numerous magnificent structures and ruins concentrated in and around the city island surrounded by the Chao Phraya, Pa Sak and Lopburi rivers. Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya a Historical Park in the heart of Ayutthaya city, has been included in UNESCO's list of world heritage since 13 December 1991. Archaeological excavations are still proceeding at many sites in the area.
The area belonged before the 10th century BE to the Dvaravati Kingdom. The Cambodians took power and occupied the kingdom. They established in 857 AD a stronghold and called it Ayothaya after the city in India and Rama's legendary kingdom. The ancient location of Ayothaya was at the actual spot of Wat Ayothaya on the bank of the Huntra canal. It was 200 year later invaded by the King of Burma Anoratha Minchor and reconquered 100 year later again by the Cambodians. In 1347 the Prince of U-Thong (King Ramathibodhi I) was forced to leave Suphanburi area after a devastating epidemic of cholera and settled down at the location of 'Wiang Lek'. Afterwards he moved to 'Nong Snoh' to start with the construction of the new city called Krung Sri Ayutthaya. The construction was finished in 1350. 
Krung Sri Ayutthaya was the Thai capital for 417 years. Thirty-three kings of 5 dynasties ruled the kingdom. It absorbed the older Thai kingdom of Sukhothai in the north (1378 AD) and destroyed the neighbouring Khmer kingdom of Cambodia, forcing the abandonment of the great city of Angkor in 1431. The Ayutthayans also tried to subjugate Chiang Mai, another northern Thai kingdom, but succeeded in controlling it only temporarily. The Ayutthayan kings adopted Cambodian customs and promulgated law codes based on Hindu legal tradition. Unlike the paternal rulers of Sukhothai, Ayutthaya's kings were absolute monarchs and assumed the title devaraja or God King. During the first 180 year, the city was peaceful. The main activity then was about state affairs and trading which made Ayutthaya one of the most prosperous cities in Asia. Ayutthaya became one of the greatest and wealthiest cities in Asia, rivalling London in its influence. From the early 16th century the Portuguese established trade and supplied mercenaries to fight in continuing campaigns against the rival kingdom in Chiang Mai. They taught the Thais cannon foundry and musketry.
But nine years after King Ramathibodi II's death in 1529 Ayutthaya became involved, for the first time, in a war with Burma which led to many wars after that. The Burmese first defeated Ayutthaya in 1569, but 15 years later it was back to its glory again due to King Naresuan 'the Great'. Naresuen, the eldest son of the defeated king's leading deputy, was held captive in Burma until he reached the age of 15. As soon as he returned he immediately gathered armed followers, which he trained in guerrilla warfare. He took the opportunity to declare Ayutthaya's freedom in 1584, whilst the Burmese rulers were weakened by revolts in their own provinces. Although the Burmese made numerous attempts to retake Ayutthaya, Naresuen was able to assume full kingship upon his father's death in 1590. He rebuilt his kingdom and turned the tables on the Burmese with repeated attacks until the Burmese Empire itself disintegrated. He finally subdued the Khmers on his eastern border. He became known as 'Naresuen the Great' and under his rule Ayutthaya prospered, becoming the great and thriving metropolis described by 17th century European visitors. Ayutthaya was peaceful again for about 118 years.
A long period of peace and tranquil prosperity was ended when a village headman united the Burmese Empire and attacked Ayutthaya in 1760. The Burmese army was repelled but in 1767 a second Burmese invasion succeeded in capturing Ayutthaya, after a siege of 14 months. The withdrawing Burmese army sacked the city, burning and looting and melting down the gold from Buddha images. They took their booty back to Burma, together with members of the royal family and 90,000 captives. During the siege, a Thai general named Phya Taksin broke through the encircling Burmese and took a small band of followers to Chantaburi on the southern coast. There he assembled an army and navy. Seven months after the fall of Ayutthaya the general and his forces sailed back to the capital and expelled the Burmese occupying garrison. He immediately moved his capital to the west bank of Bangkok, known as Thonburi, and was proclaimed king.


Currently called "Ancient Palace", this residential palace of every Ayutthaya king is located close to the city wall. The palace was originally built by King Ramathibodhi I (U-Thong) in 1350. It was prior located at what is now Wat Phra Si Sanphet. The palace was inhabited for 98 years. King Borommatrailokanat set up a new palace in 1448 in the northern sector of the royal palace near the Lopburi River and handed over the former palace to be used as a Wat. The royal halls of Bencharatana Mahaprasat and Sanphet Mahaprasat were built first, followed by the royal hall of Mangkhalaphisek. The royal family lived in the royal halls for 182 years. King Prasathong extended the palace so that parts of it joined Wat Phra Si Sanphet and commanded the building of two other halls, being Suriyat Amarin and Chakkrawat Phaichayon. Later King Narai built the Banyong Ratanat. The royal palace ended up with six halls and was used by the royal family for another 137 years. Most pavilions were completely destroyed in 1767 by the Burmese, leaving only brick foundations, porticos and walls. The Tri Muk Pavilion, a wooden structure with a brick foundation, was rebuilt in its original style at the command of King Rama V in 1907.


This is the most important temple within the Royal Palace compound and the original from which the Temple of The Emerald Buddha in Bangkok has been copied. King Borommatrailokanat ordered the building of the temple in 1448 to be utilized as a monastic area. His son, King Ramathibodi II, ordered the construction of two pagodas or chedi, one housing the remains of his father and the other of his brother, King Borommarachathirat III. The third pagoda was build by King Borommarachnophttangkun to house the remains of King Ramathibodi II. A hall of worship (vihara) was built in 1499. In 1500 King Ramathibodi II gave order to the casting of a 16 m high standing Buddha image covered with gold. This statue, called Phra Buddha Cha Si Sanphet, became the main object of veneration in the royal vihara. The temple enshrined also the Phra Buddha Lokanatha. Ashes of the members of the royal family were placed in small chedi constructed at the site. When the Burmese sacked Ayutthaya in 1767 the gold covering the Buddha and other valuable artefacts were taken by the invaders. The remains of the Buddha image were placed by King Rama I in a chedi at Wat Phra Chetuphon in Bangkok. Admission fee is 30 BHT.


This temple is situated outside the grand palace compound to the east. King Ramesuan built it in 1369 on the site where the royal cremation ceremony for his father, King U Thong, took place. The temple through the years became ruinous and King Borommatrailokanat renovated the entire temple. A large renovation was again made in 1741 during the reign of King Borommakot. Only a large prang and a swamp called 'Bung Phra Ram' remain. The area is currently used as a public park. Admission Fee is 30 BHT.


This temple is on the corner of Chi Kun Road and Naresuan Road. The construction of Wat Mahathat begun during the reign of King Borommarachathirat I in 1374 and completed during the reign of King Ramesuan. The prang which collapsed during the reign of King Songtham was restored by King Prasatthong (1630-1655) and considerably increased. Wat Mahatat was restored once again during the reign of King Borommakot and four porticos added to the prang. The Burmese burnt the Wat in 1767. Wat Mahathat was a royal monastery and served as the seat of the Sangaraja the head of the Buddhist monks of the Kamavasi sect. Wat Mahathat used to house an unusual Buddha image of green stone in the form of the Buddha on a throne. King Rama II moved the statue to Wat Na Phramane. A buried treasure chest containing valuables including a relic of Lord Buddha, several golden Buddha images and many other objects in gold, ruby and crystal was found during excavations in 1956 (the prang collapsed again in 1911). The artefacts can be seen at the Cha Sam Phraya National Museum. Admission fee is 30 Baht for foreigners.


Phra Mongkhonbophit, a large bronze cast Buddha image was originally enshrined in the open area outside the Grand Palace and later covered by a mandapa (square roofed structure) during the reign of King Songtham. In 1612 cremations start to take place in front of the image. The Buddha image was sculpted in 1538 under King Chairachatthirat at Wat Chichiang and moved by King Songtham to the actual location. During the reign of King Sua lightening struck the roof and it collapsed decapitating The Buddha. The mandapa was rebuilt and turned into a vihara. In the reign of King Borommakot (1732-1758) another restoration took place. The vihara was badly destroyed by fire during the fall of Ayutthaya. The one currently seen was reconstructed, but does not have the beautiful craftsmanship as the previous one. The open area east of the sanctuary was where the royal cremation ceremonies took place. A number of Buddha images were found on the left shoulder of the Buddha statue during restoration works in 1955. The statue was covered with gold leaf in 1992.


This temple is opposite Wat Mahathat. King Borommarachathirat II (Chao Sam Phraya) - the seventh king of Ayutthaya - commanded two pagodas built on the site where his brothers Chao Ay, the ruler of Suphanburi and Chao Yi the ruler of Sanburi engaged each other in single-handed combat on elephant back in order to capture the throne after the dead of King Intharachathirat in 1424. Both were killed in the fight which took place near Pa-Than bridge in Ayutthaya. At the site of their cremation Wat Ratchaburana was build. Golden objects were found in the crypt of the main prang during the excavations of 1956-57. The objects are displayed at the Cha Sam Phraya National Museum. Admission fee is 30 Baht for foreigners.


King Prasatthong (1629 - 1656) built this royal monastery outside the city island on the bank of the Chao Phraya River in 1630 in order to make merit for his mother. The architecture is similar to that of Angkor Wat. The temple consists of a main prang and four smaller prangs, all built on the same base and surrounded by another eight small prangs and a gallery. Along the gallery there were 120 gilt lacquered Buddha images in the attitude of Maravijaya (victory over Mara, the evil one). Within the eight small prangs there are twelve crowned Buddha images. The ceiling of each alcove under each prang was made of wood and was decorated with gilded star-like patterns and black lacquer. With exception of the gallery three walls encircled all the buildings in the courtyard of the monastery. The main prang in early Ayutthaya style is 35 m high. The temple became an army camp during the siege of Ayutthaya by the Burmese in 1767. After the fall of the city the monastery was abandoned. Admission fee is 30 Baht for foreigners.


This temple is adjacent to Wat Worachettharam in the west to the city, behind the ancient palace. The important feature is the large reclining Buddha image, made of brick and covered with plaster in the Middle Ayutthaya period style, approximately 37 metres long and called Phra Bhudhsaiyart. The head is placed on a lotus and the legs overlap squarely to show the equalized toes. Many large hexagonal pillar ruins near the image are believed to be the ruins of the ubosot.


Also known as Phra Chao Phya-thai (temple of the Supreme Patriarch), this temple is located outside the city to the southeast in the same direction as the railway station. This massive chedi is visible from Bangkok as soon as you enter Ayutthaya. King U-Tong also called Ramathibodi I (1350 - 1369) built this monastery in 1357 for the monks who had returned from Ceylon after studying under Phra Vanarat Maha Thera from the Pa Kaeo sect, a sect mainly engaged in meditation. In 1592, when King Naresuan (1590-1605) defeated the Burmese by killing the Burmese Crown Prince in single-handed combat on elephant, he ordered a large chedi built at this temple to match the height of the chedi at Wat Phukhao Thong built by the Burmese. Admission fee for tourists is 20 BHT.


This temple, south of the town near the river was built in 1324, 26 years before King U-Thong founded Ayutthaya. There is no record about its construction. The principal image called "Phra Chao Phanan-choeng" or in Chinese "Sum Pa Kong" (good luck in boating) is 19 metres tall, made of stucco in the attitude of subduing evil. It is one of the largest, oldest and most beautiful Buddha images of Thailand. It is one of the most revered Buddha's in the region. The story goes that the image have shed tears when the Burmese took Ayutthaya. At the riverside in the vicinity of the temple you can feed the fish. Admission fee for tourists is 20 BHT.


This temple is located near the bank of Sa Bua Canal, 500 m north of the royal palace. The temple was constructed during the reign of King Ramathibodi II, the 10th king of the Ayutthaya dynasty. In 1760, the Burmese King Alongphya invaded Ayutthaya and installed his guns in the temple to fire on the royal palace. The same day a gun burst and caused deadly injuries to the king. This location was used for signing a peace agreement between Burma and Thailand. The chapel houses a Buddha image in seated posture in royal dress depicting Buddha as a prince before he gained enlightenment. This type of Buddha is seldom seen. The smaller vihara houses an unusual Buddha image of green stone in the Dvaravati style, moved by King Rama II from Wat Mahathat to Wat Na Phramane. Admission fee for tourists is 20 BHT.


This riverside temple was built in the area called "Wiang Lek" to the south of Ayuthaya City Island. It was constructed on the site which King U Thong first settled before establishing Ayutthaya as the capital city. After the new capital had been established in 1350, King U Thong built this temple as a memorial site where he had settled first. Nowadays old traces of this ancient site still remain, for example a large prang, an ubosot, two vihara one with a reclining Buddha and the Tamnhuk Phra Phutthakosajam (grand hall) which was constructed in the Ayutthaya period. The interior of the grand hall is highlighted with murals depicting the 10 jatakas of former incarnations of the Buddha and the Phra Phutthakosajams pilgrimage to the Footprint of Lord Buddha in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). At present most of these paintings are faded. Within the large prang is an image of King U Thong. This image was once a 'Deva' figure. In 2327 BE, in the reign of King Rama I, Prince Krommuen Thpponlapak went to Ayutthaya to restore the elephant kraal and found the figure. He reported this to the King who decided to move the image back to Bangkok. Later the figure was recasted as a Buddha image, gilded with silver and placed at Ho Phrathepbidorn (Phrathepbidorn Hall). While the image that is called King U Thong at present is a new casting instead of the old one. This image once was a standing Buddha located in the porch next to the prang. The comice of this prang has been restored in the reign of King Rama V in 2442 BE. The temple houses a huge principal Buddha image of the early Ayutthaya period.


This 80-metre tall pagoda is located 2 Km Northeast of the town. Wat Phukhao Thong was built by King Ramesuan in 1387 (?). In December 1568 a Burmese army, the largest yet which had invaded Siam, arrived at Ayutthaya (Reign of King Mahintarathiraj) having met with practically no opposition on the way. The siege lagged on until 30 August 1569 and in the end the city fell through the treachery of Phya Chakri, a Siamees. The invading Burmese forces ransacked and plundered the city, dismantled the defences and forcibly transported most of its population to Burma. King Bhureng Noung (son in law of Tabengshwethi) built a chedi to commemorate the Burmese victory over Ayutthaya the same year. When Ayutthaya's independence was restored by King Naresuan in 1584, the pagoda was remodelled in the Thai style. During the reign of King Boromakot (1732 - 1758) a new chedi in Thai style with a square shape and indented corners was built on the old base of the ruined one. A memorial park for King Ramesuan has been set up in front of Wat Phukhao Thong.


This chedi is situated at the original site of the Rear Palace in the west of the city. It is a memorial to Somdet Phra Suriyothai, who was the royal consort of King Maha Chakkraphat (1548 - 1568) and the first heroine in Thai history. King Chakrapat ascended the throne at the age of 36. Seven months after his coronation in 1548, King Tabengshwethi of Burma attacked Ayutthaya as he was resentful that his earlier attempt to take over the Siamese city of Chiang Kran (actually Gyaing in Moulmein district of Myanmar) during King Chairachatirat reign (1534 - 1546), had failed. The siege of Ayutthaya took almost four months. The fighting was extremely fierce. Several times the Burmese came near to forcing an entry into the city, but were always repulsed. King Chakraphat led the army himself followed by his sons Ramesuan and Mahintarathiraj. Worried about her husband, Queen Suriyothai and her daughter rode out to battle on elephant with the rest of the army. The Ayutthaya army clashed with the Burmese Hantawaddy army led by the King of Prome Tado Thammaraja at the Makhaam Yong fields. King Chakraphat engaged the Burmese leader in battle. The King's elephant although stumbled and Queen Suriyothai propelled her elephant to obstruct the king of Prome's elephant in an attempt to rescue the King from his dangerous position. Queen Suriyothai was subsequently stabbed by the King of Prome's halberd. She died while still on the neck of her elephant named "Plai Songtawan". To commemorate Queen Suriyothai's gallant sacrifice, King Chakraphat built the chedi in her honour at Wat Suan Sope-sawan. A movie on Queen Suriyothai's life was brought out in 2001. A memorial park has been set up North West of Ayutthaya on the road to Bang Ban in the Makhaam Yong fields.

Link to the movie:



This pavilion was utilized as the royal seat to witness the elephant round up. It is located 4 Km northeast of the city along Highway No. 309. The outlook is a big cage surrounded with logs having, from the front centre, fencing lines of 45 degrees spread out to both sides far away into the jungle area.



(U-Thong Rd Tel: 035/251586, 252795 Fax: 035/251586)

On the bank of the Pa Sak River, this palace was built during the reign of King Maha Thammaraja, the 17th Ayutthayan monarch, in 1577 as a residence for his son, the later King Naresuan (1590-1605). Like other ruins, the palace was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767 and left unrepaired for a long time. King Rama IV of the present Chakri dynasty ordered reconstruction of this palace for use as a residence during his occasional visits to Ayutthaya. The palace is now a national museum displaying Chinaware, ancient weapons, King Rama IV's personal belongings, Buddha images, sculptures and votive tablets of different times. It is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 09.00 till 16.00 Hr. Admission fee is 30 BHT.

(Rojana Rd - Tel: 035/241587)

This museum, named after King Borommaracha II, who built Wat Ratchaburana in 1424, contains many Ayutthaya style artefacts, including exquisite royal memorabilia excavated from the local temples. The inauguration of the first building took place on 26 Dec 1961. The second building was inaugurated on 30 Jan 1970. The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 09.00 till 16.00 Hr, closed on National holidays. Admission fee is 30 BHT.

The ground floor of the first building contains all the ancient art objects that were found during the great excavation in 1956-57. Most of these are Buddha images of different styles: Dvaravati, Lopburi, U-Thong and Ayutthaya. The earliest Buddha image which was found in this area and displayed in the building is the white stone Buddha image in the attitude of preaching, Dvaravati style. The most beautiful and the most original Thai artistic expression is seen in the Buddha image subduing Mara, Sukhothai style. The most beautiful wood-carving of the Ayutthaya period are also displayed, such as the door-panel showing divinities holding the swords dvarapala from the niche of stupa at Wat Phra Si Sanphet.

The first floor exhibited the ancient golden objects found in the crypts of the main prang at Wat Ratchaburana. A unique and very fine piece is the royal sword and scabbard, gold-decorated with precious stones. Another room contains Buddha relics found in the main stupa at Wat Mahathat. Lead and terra-cotta Buddhist votive tablets of Sukhothai, Lopburi and Ayutthaya style which were found at Wat Ratchaburana, Wat Mahathat and Wat Phra Ram are exhibited in the cases along the inner porch.

The second building displays all the art objects found in Thailand dated from the Dvaravati, Srivijaya, Lopburi, Chiengsaen (Lanna), Sukhothai, U-Thong, Ayutthaya and Bangkok (Rattanakosin) periods.

The third building is a group of Thai style houses in the central part of Thailand, built in the moat. Local Thai art and crafts, as well as ancient daily life appliances are shown in this area.



You can contact the Ayutthaya Elephant Camp (Tel 035/211011) next to Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit. Elephants take visitors to view architectural sites and the island.


Present-day Ayutthaya offers historical grandeur alongside simple country traditions. Traffic jams on the roads into town are rare, so biking around is quite safe. Most of the sights on the historic city island are a good bike ride apart. One of the most popular routes is the Bang Pa-In summer palace -city island. Bicycles for rent are available in the town.


Daily luxurious cruises from Bangkok to Ayutthaya or vice versa are organized by the Oriental Queen (Tel 02/2360400-20) River Sun Cruise (Tel 02/2669125-6, 2342250) and Horizon Cruise (Tel 02/2367777 Ext. 1240).

A two-day package with an overnight stay on board is organized by Manohra (Tel. 02/2567168).

Economic boat trips are operated every Sunday by Chao Phraya Express (Tel 02/2225330, 02/2253002) and Mit Chao Phraya Express (Tel 02/2256179, 02/6236169).

Visitors can charter a long-tail boat from the pier near the Chantharakasem Palace for a journey around the city island. Rate: 500 BHT/Hr.

A river tour on a rice barge can be booked through Ayutthaya River Cruise Co., Ltd., Tel: 035/234153-4


By train: Trains leave Bangkok Railway Station (Hua Lam Phong. Rama IV Road, Tel 02/2237010, 02/2237020) daily every hour starting from 06.40 - 22.00 Hr.

By bus: Direct air-conditioned buses leaves Bangkok every half an hour from the Northern Bus Terminal on Phahonyothin Road. (Tel. 02/5378055-6) starting 05.30 -19.20 Hr and non air-conditioned buses (Tel 02/2725761-5 Ext 117) leave for Bang Pa-In and Ayutthaya many times daily from 05.30 - 19.20 Hr.