The city of Ayutthaya marks a Southeast Asia that once looked significantly different from today. The Ayutthaya kingdom was the capital of Thailand that was once called Siam and now recognised as a UNESCO world. It is located just an hour from Thailand’s modern capital Bangkok and makes for a perfect day trip that takes you back in time. Whilst the kingdom itself has faded away over the centuries and is no longer used for its original purpose, there are still some places that function for worship. As a result, the city remains as a trove of archaeological significance. Read on to find out how to make the most of one day in Ayutthaya.
A brief history of the Ayutthaya kingdom
The Siamese Kingdom originates back to 1350 and particularly thrived between the 14th and 15th century before its fall in the 18th century. During its peak, the kingdom was the buzzing global centre of commerce, diplomacy and social life. Ayutthaya met its downfall in 1767 when it was attacked by the Burmese army, which urged inhabitants to flee the city. The city was never rebuilt to its former glory and what remains today are few and far between. However, what does remain provides a spectacular picture of what once was.
Visit Ayutthaya in one day
The first stop is the royal monastery of Wat Yai Chai Mongkol. Here, buddha statues sit in rows around the central piece of the temple known as the ‘Stupa’. The Stupa is a significant Chedi and the main part of the area. There are tall staircases for visitors to climb for particularly picturesque scenery. This temple is one of the only temples from the Siam era that remains functioning. When visiting, Buddhist monks still noticeably reside there and attracts Thai people looking to pay their respects.
Around the same area in Wat Buddhaisawan is the reclining Buddha. This statue isn’t actually the original but a replica built in the 1960s. The statue is always found covered in a yellow robe relaxing on the ground.
Next stop is the Wat Mahathat. This Buddhist temple is considered one of the oldest of the Ayutthaya kingdom. Unfortunately, during the fall of the kingdom in the 18th century the site was ransacked, resulting in the Buddha statues without their heads. However, if you look around carefully you might notice someone watching you. Ironically, Buddhas’ face pokes through the vines and is the perfect symbolism of Ayutthaya kingdoms perseverance through the ages.
The last highlight is the three ancient pagodas of Wat Phra Sri Sanphet. The site is widely regarded as the symbol of the Ayutthaya kingdom and the pagodas were said to be used exclusively by the 14th century royal family. Over time the site has experienced a series of renovations and is revelled as a beautiful piece of architecture.
Other Ayutthaya highlights:
What’s mentioned above is only the tip of the iceberg. If you have time, here are some more highlights to check out:
How do I travel around Ayuttahaya?
Most of the attractions mentioned are within walking distance of each other. We always recommend using a tour as a way to connect with new and interesting places without worrying about safe transport. All you have to do is relax and engage with the country in a small group. Check out one of our Thailand tours to get the most out of your experience.