Things to do in Ayutthaya

Things to do in Ayutthaya

About 80 kilometers north of Bangkok is the historic city of Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam (ancient Thailand) for over 400 years, making it one of the most important cities in the country. There is something beautiful to see everywhere and it will feel like you have ended up in one large open-air museum. 

In this post, you will find our favorite things to do and plenty of tips for your trip to Ayutthaya. We stayed for 2 days in Ayutthaya but 1 day is enough to tour the temples.

History 

Enigmatic ruins are strewn across Ayutthaya, whispering of its glory days as a royal capital. Once full of gilded temples and treasure-laden palaces, it was the capital of Siam from 1350 until 1767, when the city was brutally destroyed by the Burmese. Only ruins remain from this period of thriving trade and art, but dozens of crumbling temples evoke Ayutthaya’s past grandeur. In 1991 the temples and ruins of Ayutthaya were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

How to get there 

We got there by train from Bangkok which took around 3 hours. The train leaves from Hualamphong Station in the city center. The price for a ticket is 35 THB. 
 
You can also get there by bus or taxi from Bangkok or other cities in Thailand. If you don’t mind paying a bit extra, you can also travel by hiring a private car and driver for the day.  This is the most comfortable and quickest way to travel. 

Where to stay 

We stayed at the Niwas Ayutthaya Hotel. From the hotel, it was only a 10-minute walk to Wat Mahathat and Wat Ratchaburana.

The owner speaks English and the gardens are wonderful and relaxing. Bicycles are available for touring the temples. 

How to get around

It’s possible to explore many of Ayutthaya’s best sights on foot. We hired a bike to explore some temples and took a tuk-tuk to explore the temples further afield. You can also book a tour. 
 

Wat Mahathat

Founded in 1374, during the reign of King Borom Rachathirat I, Wat Mahathat was the seat of the supreme patriarch and the kingdom’s most important temple. The central Khmer-style stupa once stood 43m high and it collapsed on its own long before the Burmese sacked the city. It was rebuilt in more recent times but collapsed again in 1911. 
 
Ayutthaya’s most photographed attraction is found in these temple grounds; a sandstone Buddha head tangled within a bodhi tree’s entwined roots. 

Wat Mahathat is open every day from 8 am – 6.30 pm and the entrance fee is 50 THB.  You can get there by tuk-tuk or by bike from Ayutthaya’s city center. 

Wat Lokayasutharam

This temple ruin features an impressive 42m-long reclining Buddha dating back to the early Ayutthaya period. Around this site, you will find a lot of shops to buy souvenirs and snacks. 
 
Wat Lokayasutharam is open every day from dusk till dawn and there is no entrance fee. You can get there by tuk-tuk or by bike from Ayutthaya’s city center. 

Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit

This sanctuary hall houses one of Thailand’s largest bronze Buddha statues dating to 1538. Coated in gold, the 12.5m high figure was badly damaged by a lightning-induced fire around 1700, and again when the Burmese attacked the city. The Buddha and the building were repaired in the 20th century. 
 
Wihan Phra Mongkhon is open every day from 8 am – 5 pm and the entrance fee is 50 THB.  You can get there by tuk-tuk or by bike from Ayutthaya’s city center. 

Wat Phra Si Sanphet 

In Ayutthaya’s heyday, this was the largest temple in the city. The three main chedis which have been restored contain the ashes of three Ayutthaya kings. You can climb up the stairs for a vantage point. This temple was the model for Bangkok’s Wat Phra Kaew and Royal Palace. 

Wat Phra Si Sanphet is open every day from 8 am – 6 pm and the entrance fee is 50 THB.  You can get there by tuk-tuk or by bike from Ayutthaya’s city center. 

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon 

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon is one of the most important temples in Ayutthaya. Unlike the other ancient sites in Ayutthaya, this is still an active temple where monks reside. Thai people visit Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon to not only pay respects to Buddha but also to pay homage to one of the most respected kings in Thai history, King Naresuan the Great. 

You can climb up the chedi for a view of sculpted gardens and dozens of stone Buddhas. There is a 7m-long reclining Buddha near the entrance and the local belief is that if you can get a coin to stick to the Buddha’s feet, good luck will come your way. 

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon is open every day from 6 am – 6 pm and the entrance fee is 20  THB.  You can get there by tuk-tuk or by bike from Ayutthaya’s city center. 
 

Wat Phanan Choeng 

This lively temple build in 1324, is a fascinating place to observe ceremonies, which unfold beneath the gaze of the 19m-high Phra Phanan Choeng Buddha. This enormous statue, a guardian for seafarers, is the focus of most visits. 
 
Wat Phanan Choeng is open every day from dusk till dawn,  and the entrance fee is 20 THB.  You can get there by tuk-tuk or by bike from Ayutthaya’s city center. 

Wat Chai Watthanaram

This temple is Ayutthaya’s most impressive off-island site thanks to its 35m-high Khmer-style central prang and the fine state of preservation. Relief panels are heavily eroded, but you can make out carved scenes from Buddha’s life. We recommend you to visit this temple around sunset for some amazing views. 
 
Wat Chai Wattanaram is open every day from 8 am – 6 pm and the entrance fee is 50 THB. You can get there by tuk-tuk from Ayutthaya’s city center. 

Wat Ratchaburana

The Khmer-style stupa of this beautiful temple complex is one of the best extant versions in the city, with detailed carvings of lotus flowers and mythical creatures.  It’s surrounded by another four stupas. If you aren’t afraid of heights, small spaces, or baths, you can climb inside the stupa to visit the crypt, decorated with faint murals of the Buddha from the early Ayuthaya period. 

Wat Ratchaburana is open every day from 8 am – 6 pm and the entrance fee is 50 THB.  You can get there by tuk-tuk from Ayutthaya’s city center or by bike. 

Night Market 

Here you can eat delicious Thai food and buy affordable souvenirs and clothes. You can get to the Night Market by tuk-tuk or on foot depending on where you are staying. 
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