Ayutthaya holds an important place in the history of Thailand. It was once the ancient capital of the Siam Kingdom. Nowadays, it is a modern city where traces of its rich history can be seen on every corner. In this blog, we will talk about the top 10 places to visit in Ayutthaya.
1. Wat Chaiwatthanaram
Wat Chaiwatthanaram is the first place that we recommend you visit in Ayutthaya. It was built in 1630 but was destroyed by the mid-1700s. It was in ruins until the 1980s when it was slowly rebuilt. Nowadays, this impressive temple has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the most important historical sites in Ayutthaya as well as the most popular Buddhist temple in Ayutthaya.
2. Wat Phutthaisawan
Another temple you need to visit in Ayutthaya is Wat Phutthaisawan. This is an old temple that is said to be over 600 years old. Its location on the west bank of Chao Phraya River as well as its striking white pagoda in the middle of the temple draws a large number of tourists who come here to see the majestic beauty of the temple.
3. Wat Phra Ngam
Wat Phra Ngam is a beautifully restored temple in Ayutthaya. One of the most striking features of this temple and the reason people visit the temple is its arch doorway or the eastern gate. The arch is covered by the roots of a nearby Bodhi tree. The twisted roots have slowly, over the course of hundreds of years, consumed the archway. It is a highly photogenic place and frequented by curious tourists.
4. Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon is another important historical site in Ayutthaya. This temple was built during the reign of King U-Thong to accommodate the monks that were ordained by Phra Wanratana Mahathera Burean. Later, another addition was made. A large chedi was built to commemorate the victory when King Naresuan defeated Yuttahatthi, the Uparaja of Burma.
5. Wat Mahathat
Wat Mahathat is another famous Buddhist temple in Ayutthaya. A unique feature about this temple is that it features a hundred-year-old Buddha head embedded in a tree root. It is assumed that the head fell on a tree when the city was ransacked and the roots of the tree covered it over a period of time.
6. Wat Niwet Thammaprawa
Wat Niwet Thammaprawat is another place you need to visit in Ayutthaya. However, unlike the other temples on this list, Wat Niwet Thammaprawat was built in a western style, a more Gothic style similar to a Christian church. It was built by King Rama V in 1876, to serve as the royal temple for the newly expanded Bang Pa-In Palace.
7. Bang Pa-In Palace
Bang Pa-In Palace or Summer Palace was the abode of the Thai kings. It was constructed in 1632 but fell into disrepair in the following centuries. It was only in the 9th century that the palace was restored to its former glory. After its restoration, a lot of western-style influences can be seen which stands in stark contrast to the older more Thai style of architecture. The palace remains open to visitors.
8. Japanese Village
The Japanese village in Ayutthaya tells the story of the once magnificent past of the country. From the 14th to 18th century, the village was home to a small community of Japanese people as well as a few mercenaries from other communities. Currently, there are no traces of Japanese buildings. However, there is a museum and a park presenting the history and way of life of the Japanese community here.
9. Kong Khong Market
Kong Khong Market is a traditional Thai market in Ayutthaya. This is a retro market that still retains a clear Thai identity. You'll find traditional Thai houses around the market. In addition, the vendors who come to sell their products still sit on the floor like in the old days. Go shopping here and buy yourself a traditional handicraft made by artisans or try out the delicious street food sold here.
10. Prang View Cafe
Prang View is a chic cafe that has been gaining a lot of interest. Its pure white decor and modern classic style are attracting not just tourists but locals alike.The best thing about this cafe besides its stunning interiors is the beautiful view of Wat Ratchaburana.
These are the 10 places in Ayutthaya that we recommend you visit. Each of these places mentioned has a history here with the people of the area. So please be mindful and respectful of the local customs, especially when entering temples.