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"Land of Wats"

Ayutthaya Tourism

Ayutthaya, short for Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, is a small city in Thailand containing archaeological sites like temples, monasteries, palaces, etc. It lies just 80 kilometres north of Bangkok and hence is an ideal destination for a day trip from Bangkok.

Often referred to as Krung Kao or 'ancient capital', Ayutthaya was a significant centre of trade, economy, art and culture during its time and successfully flourished for over 400 years. It is a beautiful city oozing history and culture and a UNESCO world heritage site. It derives its name from the Sanskrit word for the place Ayodhya of Ramayana, the birthplace of Lord Ram.

Architecturally rich, it is a magical land for photographers. Ayutthaya offers a lot of Wats and monasteries like Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, Wat Mahathat, Wat Ratchaburana and many more where tourists usually go for sightseeing. It is a popular day trip choice for travellers who are in Thailand and want to see something different that has visually more heritage. Today, in comparison to ancient times, a lot of modern Thai culture is evolving in this place. A lot of guesthouses and cafes have been built for tourist recreation.

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Ayutthaya Currency

Credit and debit cards are commonly accepted in hotels and restaurants, but at street shops and stalls, only cash is accepted.

Money Exchange in Ayutthaya

There are plenty of banks where currency can be exchanged. Besides that, ATMs are spread all over the city for people who prefer carrying the plastic cards over huge amounts of cash.

Daily Budget in Ayutthaya

Travellers should ideally go for a day trip to Ayutthaya from Bangkok. Ayutthaya is cheaper than many other cities of Thailand. An estimate of THB 600 - 700 would be enough to have an eventful day here. This would include travelling within, food, entry fees to various temples, shopping and drinks.

Ayutthaya Customs

Ayutthaya is a temple and monastery city. Hence respectful dressing is required. While visiting temples, both women and men are expected to cover themselves appropriately. If the weather is humid, capris or knee covering shorts can be worn. General etiquettes and manners like not touching the Buddha statue, not pointing your feet at anyone, are to be followed. Thai people are known to be extremely polite and go out of their way to be kind to visitors. Therefore it is advisable never to lose face in public. Tipping at high-end restaurants can be done, but local vendors usually don't expect tips. However, if you particularly appreciate someone's services, you can definitely tip them.

Regional Language

Thai is the most spoken language in Ayutthaya, and a lot of the locals don't know English. Managers of a few hotels will know English, but the local vendors do not speak it. Hence, to be on the safer side, you can either opt for a tour guide or learn a few Thai phrases or carry an English to Thai dictionary.

Ayutthaya History

How was Ayutthaya Formed?

Prince U Thong founded the city of Ayutthaya, or later known as Ramathibodi in 1350. He named it 'Ayutthaya' after the kingdom of the same name in the Thai national epic, the Ramakien.

The city, which was the second capital of the Siamese Kingdom, flourished from the 14th to 18th centuries and grew to become one of the largest and wealthiest centres of trade and commerce. It enjoyed an ideal location as an international trading centre, being close enough to China, India and the Malay Archipelago. It was built on an island surrounded by three rivers: the Chao Phraya, the Pa Sak and the Lopburi river and was also connected to the Gulf of Siam.

By 1700, Ayutthaya had become the largest city in the world with a total of 1 million inhabitants. Based on maps and other sources, it is known that the city of Ayutthaya also had an extensive and developed plan, including roads, canals and even an advanced hydraulic system. People from all over the world, such as China, India, Japan, Portugal and France, were taken with Ayutthaya' s grandeur and beauty. Foreign influences were visible in the art and architecture of the city, as well as in its trade and economy. The buildings and architecture of the city consisted of a unique and vibrant mixture of styles and borrowed from various cultures and art forms like that of China, Japan, Persia and India. Some surviving architects from Ayutthaya even attempted to recreate Ayutthaya' s architectural form in the newly chosen capital of Bangkok.

Fall of the City of Ayutthaya

In 1767, the Burmese attacked Ayutthaya and burnt down the entire city, forcing the inhabitants to flee. Most of the buildings in Ayutthaya were made of wood and could not hold out after the fire. The attack also destroyed a majority of the art, literature and historical records of the city, indicating the end of the kingdom. Many of the survivors were forced into slavery. Following the downfall of the empire, General Phraya Taksin established a new capital at Thonburi.

Ayutthaya Today

The city of Ayutthaya was never rebuilt or restored until the 1960s when the Thai Fine Arts Department began to restore some of its ruined monuments and temples. Today, Ayutthaya remains as archaeological ruins in the Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province. Its remains include 'prangs' (or the reliquary towers), monasteries, temples, ancient statues, shrines, stupas and palaces.

The ruins of the historic city of Ayutthaya found in the Ayutthaya historical park was officially recognised for its historical importance and cultural value, and was marked as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991.

Nightlife in Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya has very little to offer when it comes to nightlife. Exploring the city at night is fun, but drinking at bars and clubs is rare here. Sometimes, some local vendors roadside set up drink stalls. On the outskirts of the city, there is Grand street market area where there are bars with bar girls, karaoke clubs and massage parlours where travellers can go in the night to experience an interesting nightlife. One of the best of these bars is the Cowboy Bar.

Shopping in the City

When it comes to shopping, Ayutthaya is has a variety of unique products to offer at its markets. The most famous are the handicrafts made by the skilled local men and women. It includes pottery, jewellery, weaving. The Bang Sai is well known for its authentic hand-made products that travellers can buy as souveniers. The floating market of Ayutthaya is another one that this city boasts about, and you can buy beautiful wooden toys here. The night market also offers local delicacies.

Visitor Tips

  • Visit Ayutthaya during the offseason to avoid crowds.
  • Most of the structures at Ayutthaya are historical ruins; thus, they may not always be open for public visits.
  • Rent bikes to ease out your visit.
  • Carry hard cash as most temples and Wats require an entry fee.
  • Most locals may not know or be comfortable with English. Hence, it is necessary to familiarise basic communicating essentials before your Ayutthaya tour.
  • Carry a cap or an umbrella during your day visits at all times.
  • Follow the dress code (covering knees and shoulders). Ensure not to show much skin as it can be locally unacceptable.

Suggested Itinerary for Ayutthaya

Day 1
Wat Worahettharm
Visit the Wat Worahettharam; a historic Buddha ruin seated in front of a bell-shaped chedi.
Wat Lokhaya Sutha
At a walkable distance is Wat Lokhaya Sutha; visit this 37-metre long and 8-meter high reclining buddha statue.
Wat Phra Mahathat
Trek down to Wat Phra Mahathat, yet another ancient site, where, you would come across the face of the Buddha through a Banyan tree's opening.

Wat Phra Si Sanphet
On the way for lunch at the local market, drop by Wat Phra Si Sanphet, the most significant Ayutthaya temple housing some of the most appealing chedis.
Wat Mongkhon Bophit
Visit the Wat Mongkhon Bophit after lunch. Situated in the vicinity of Wat Phra Su Sanphet, Mongkon Bophit hosts a large image of the Buddha within the temple.
Bang Pa-In Royal Palace
End the day with a quick visit to the Summer Palace; Bang Pa-In Royal Palace. You could relax on the premises of the palace after a long day's heritage tour.

Day 2
Wat Phukhao Thong
Set out early on a trek uphill to Wat Phukhao Thong, which is at a distance from the previous Wats.
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
Next, drop by one of the most important Thai temples, Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon. The bell-structured chedi is one of the highlights of the Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, along with its fulfilling view of the temple complex.
Wat Chaiwatthanaram
Another significant Ayutthaya landmarks, the Wat Chaiwatthanaram awaits you next on your list.

Wat Ratchaburana
After lunch, visit Wat Ratchaburana, also known as "The Temple of Royal Restoration". You would have to pay an entry fee of THB 50 at this temple.
Wat Suwan Dararam
Visit the Wat Suwan Dararam to witness some of the most exquisite artistic marvels, as it is famous for its mural paintings.
Foreign Quarters
Drop by Foreign Quarters, which is a European styled region housing some of the French and Portugal churches and other structures established during Ayutthaya's colonised era.
Chao Sam Phraya National Museum/Sunset Boat Tour
You could either choose to visit the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum or rush to the Ayutthaya Sunset Boat Tour and seal your perfect Ayutthaya Tour.

Ayutthaya Photos

Ayutthaya, Thailand

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FAQs on Ayutthaya

What is famous about Ayutthaya?

Ayutthaya is a great heritage tour, offering some of the most long-lost treasures of Thai history and housing some of the top UNESCO world heritage sites. Visitors could also rent bikes to explore through this ancient city.

What is not so good about Ayutthaya?

Peak seasons are usually overcrowded, leading to hiked prices and lack of accommodation facilities. The tourist guide mapping through the city could get confusing and tedious.

What is the best time to visit Ayutthaya?

November-January is the best time to visit Ayutthaya in Thailand since this is the only time of the year when the rainfall is considerably lesser, and the weather is ideal. Ayutthaya is generally hot and humid all year round including the winter months of December and January.

The temperature remains in the thirties, and hence, for a day tour, you need to be well hydrated. January is the busiest month of all. So, during this month, the hotels and other reasonable accommodations options are a little pricey, in case you wish to spend the night there. Tourists are less likely to visit Ayutthaya during April.

The temperature in late-March and April often reach up to 45 degrees Celsius. However, in case scorching heat isn't an issue with you, this time of the year can be the best for you to travel to the place as the streets are devoid of crowds and the accommodations are budget-friendly. June to September is stormy, and sightseeing becomes tedious; hence, it's considered as an offseason.
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What is the local food in Ayutthaya?

Ayutthaya has a decent number of restaurants and road side eateries. This city is most famous for its boat noodles, river prawns and a sweet dish called Roti Sai Mai. These local delicacies can be found at almost all the restaurants and market stalls for a very inexpensive price. Some popular places are Pa Lek and Roti road. There are several restaurants serving extremely fresh sea food, one of the best being Ban Mai Lim Nam. The street stalls at the night market offer some tasty Khao Mok Gai which is a Muslim-Thai biryani.
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What is the best way to reach Ayutthaya?

Ayutthaya's easy distance of 80km from Bangkok means that the most convenient way to reach here is from Bangkok. Once in Bangkok, you can take a train to Ayutthaya.
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What are the things to do in Ayutthaya?

The top things to do in Ayutthaya are Ayutthaya Historical Park, Wat Mahathat, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Chaiwatthanaram, Bang Pa-in Palace, Chao Sam Phraya National Museum. You can see all the places to visit in Ayutthaya here

What are the places near Ayutthaya?

The top places near to Ayutthaya are Bangkok which is 68 km from Ayutthaya, Pattaya which is located 163 km from Ayutthaya, Hua hin which is located 211 km from Ayutthaya, Koh kret which is located 50 km from Ayutthaya, Lopburi which is located 48 km from Ayutthaya

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