Welcome to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, the former capital of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya province in Thailand. Located on an island at the confluence of the Chao Phraya and Pa Sak rivers, Ayutthaya is the birthplace of the founder of Bangkok, King Rama I. The city is named after the city of Ayodhya in India, the birthplace of Rama in the Ramayana. Ayutthaya is a city steeped in history, with archaeological and written evidence revealing that it may have existed as early as the late 13th century as a water-borne port town. Ayutthaya was officially founded in 1351 by King U Thong, who went there to escape a smallpox outbreak in Lopburi and proclaimed it the capital of his kingdom, often referred to as the Ayutthaya Kingdom or Siam. It is estimated that Ayutthaya by the year 1600 had a population of about 300,000, with the population perhaps reaching 1,000,000 around 1700, making it one of the world’s largest cities at that time, when it was sometimes known as the Venice of the East. In 1767, the city was destroyed by the Burmese army, resulting in the collapse of the kingdom. The ruins of the old city are preserved in the Ayutthaya historical park, which is recognized internationally as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ruins, characterized by the prang (reliquary towers) and gigantic monasteries, give an idea of the city’s past splendor. Modern Ayutthaya was refounded a few kilometers to the east. Today, Ayutthaya is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world who come to explore its rich history and cultural heritage. Here are some of the top attractions in Ayutthaya:

Ayutthaya Historical Park: The park is home to the ruins of the old city, including the Wat Mahathat, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, and Wat Ratchaburana temples. Visitors can explore the ruins on foot or by bicycle, taking in the stunning architecture and learning about the city’s history.

Wat Phanan Choeng: This temple is one of the oldest in Ayutthaya, dating back to the 14th century. It is home to a large seated Buddha statue that is over 19 meters tall and is considered one of the most revered in Thailand.

Chao Sam Phraya National Museum: The museum was specially designed to display the objects excavated at Wat Racha Burana and Wat Maha That. Visitors can learn about the history of Ayutthaya and see artifacts from the city’s past.

Wang Luang: This palace was built in the 14th century and was the residence of the Ayutthaya kings. Today, visitors can explore the ruins of the palace and learn about the city’s royal history.

Wat Suwan Dararam: This temple is known for its stunning architecture and intricate carvings. Visitors can explore the temple grounds and take in the beauty of the surrounding area.

St. Joseph’s Church: This Catholic church was built in the 17th century and is one of the oldest in Thailand. Visitors can attend mass or explore the church’s beautiful architecture.

Baan Hollanda: This museum is dedicated to the Dutch traders who once lived in Ayutthaya. Visitors can learn about the history of the Dutch in Thailand and see artifacts from the period.

Ayutthaya Night Market: The market offers a plethora of shopping opportunities, including a wide variety of food, clothing, and handicrafts. Visitors can enjoy traditional Thai dishes such as pad Thai, mango sticky rice, and tom yum soup, as well as a range of international cuisine. The market is also famous for its impressive array of souvenirs, including handmade bags, jewelry, and textiles. The atmosphere is lively and energetic, with street performers, music, and colorful lights adding to the festive ambiance.

The Floating Market of Ayutthaya: There is a lesser-known floating market in Ayutthaya called Klong Sabua which is more popular with Thai tourists than foreign travelers. It’s only open on weekends and public holidays from 10AM to 5.30PM. The main attraction is a Water Theatre, said to be the only one of its kind in Thailand, featuring live performances of Thai folk tales and Sepaa musicals.

Getting to Ayutthaya is easy, with the city accessible by air and rail. The closest airport is Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport, a hub for regional budget carriers. An elevated walkway connects Terminal 1 to the Don Muang Train Station, where Ayutthaya-bound trains regularly roll through. Trains to Ayutthaya leave Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Station approximately every hour between 04:20 am. and 10:00 pm. The 3rd class fare is 20 baht for the 1.5 hour trip. Train schedules are available from the information booth at Hua Lamphong Station, Bangkok. Ayutthaya is a city that is sure to captivate and inspire visitors with its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture. Come and explore this enchanting destination for yourself and discover why Ayutthaya should be on every traveler’s bucket list.

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