If you’re planning a trip to Thailand, Ayutthaya should be on your list. This ancient city, about an hour’s drive from Bangkok, was once Siam’s capital and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Ayutthaya is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Thailand, with its stunning temples, rich history, and unique cultural offerings. We’ve put together a guide to Ayutthaya to help you plan your trip, including two outdoor activities, two must-see places, and one unusual tip that will make your visit truly unforgettable.
Taking a boat tour is one of the best ways to experience Ayutthaya. Several tour companies in the city offer boat tours along the Chao Phraya River and its tributaries. On these tours, you’ll get a unique perspective on some of Ayutthaya’s most famous temples and ruins, as well as beautiful scenery along the river. Many of the boat tours include stops at local markets and villages where you can sample delicious Thai cuisine and learn about the local way of life.
Another enjoyable way to see Ayutthaya is to rent a bicycle and ride it around the city’s temples and ruins. Bicycles can be rented in a variety of locations throughout Ayutthaya, and most hotels and guesthouses do as well. Cycling is an excellent way to explore the city at your own pace and get up close and personal with the temples and ruins. Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Mahathat, and Wat Chaiwatthanaram are among the must-see sites on a cycling tour.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet is one of Ayutthaya’s most important temples and a must-see for any visitor to the city. This temple once housed a magnificent golden Buddha statue, which was melted down in the 18th century by Burmese invaders. Despite this, the temple is a stunning example of ancient Thai architecture, with its three iconic chedis (stupas) rising above the sky.
The Ayutthaya Historical Park is a sprawling 400-acre complex of temples and ruins. Some of Ayutthaya’s most famous temples and ruins can be found in this park, including Wat Mahathat, Wat Ratchaburana, and Wat Phra Si Sanphet. The park is a superb place to spend a day learning about Ayutthaya’s ancient history and admiring the stunning architecture and artwork of the city’s temples.
While most visitors to Ayutthaya explore the city’s temples and ruins during the day, one of the most unique experiences you can have in Ayutthaya is a nighttime tuk-tuk tour. Many tour operators in the city offer tuk-tuk tours that take you around the city’s temples and ruins after dark. This is a great way to see the city in a different light (literally!), as many of the temples and ruins are beautifully lit up at night.
Visit Wat Chaiwatthanaram if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind temple experience in Ayutthaya. King Prasat Thong built this temple on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River in the 17th century as a tribute to his mother. The architecture of the temple is a mix of Khmer and Thai styles, with a central prang (tower) surrounded by eight smaller prangs, as well as several smaller temples and pavilions. The temple is extremely beautiful at sunset, when the light reflects off the nearby river, creating a lovely golden glow.
To uncover more about Thailand’s royal history, be sure to visit Bang Pa-In Royal Palace. This palace was built in the 17th century and has served as a summer residence for the Thai royal family for centuries. The palace features a mix of Thai, Chinese, and European architectural styles, and it includes incredibly beautiful gardens, pavilions, and temples. Highlights of the palace include the Ho Withun Thasana (Divine Seat of Personal Freedom) pavilion, which offers stunning views of the nearby lake, and the Aisawan Thiphya-Art (Divine Seat of Personal Victory) pavilion, which is built in the middle of a small lake and is accessible only by boat.
If you’re traveling on a budget, Tony’s Place Beds & Breakfast is a great option. This guesthouse is located in the heart of Ayutthaya, just a short walk from several of the city’s top temples and ruins. The guesthouse offers clean and comfortable rooms, as well as a communal lounge area and outdoor terrace. Prices start at around 500 baht per night for a basic double room.
Consider Baan Thai House for a mid-range option. This lovely guesthouse is in a quiet neighborhood just outside Ayutthaya’s city center and features traditional Thai architecture and decor. The guesthouse has spacious and comfortable rooms, as well as a beautiful garden and an outdoor swimming pool. A double room costs around 1,200 baht per night.
If you’re looking for a luxurious option, consider Sala Ayutthaya. This boutique hotel is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, offering stunning views of the river and Ayutthaya’s temples and ruins. The hotel features sleek and stylish rooms, as well as a rooftop bar and restaurant, infinity pool, and spa. Prices start at around 5,000 baht per night for a double room.
Krungsri River Hotel is a fantastic choice for families or bigger parties. The best temples and ruins in the city are all within a short stroll of our hotel, which is situated in the center of Ayutthaya. The hotel includes numerous restaurants and bars, a large outdoor pool, a fitness center, and rooms that are both roomy and pleasant.
Ayutthaya – a city steeped in history and culture – offers travelers a fascinating glimpse into Thailand’s past. Whether you’re a history buff or an adventure seeker, there’s something for everyone in Ayutthaya. From exploring ancient temples and ruins to biking through the city and spending the night with elephants, Ayutthaya is full of surprises. With our guide, you can discover the best that this ancient city has to offer, including must-see places, top outdoor activities, unique Atlas Obscura destinations, and an unusual tip that will create memories to last a lifetime. So don’t miss out on the chance to uncover Ayutthaya’s hidden gems and immerse yourself in its intriguing history and culture. Get ready for an adventure that you’ll never forget!