Ayutthaya World Heritage Site, Thailand

Visiting a UNESCO World heritage site is one of the most thrilling things about travel to me!

Excitement bubbled up inside all of us as we took the 1 hour, turned into 3 hours, train ride North from Bangkok.  City turned to countryside and even without air conditioning it was quite refreshing..super hot but refreshing.

Ayutthaya, the former ancient capitol of Siam, is now a UNESCO world heritage site.  It was founded in 1350, after the fall of the first capitol; Sukkhothai.  It quickly became one of the world's largest and most prosperous cities with a population some where around 1 million.  It remained a large kingdom until the 1700's when it was decimated by the Burmese army.

The old kingdom is now a UNESCO World Heritage site full of beautiful old temples and the ruins of what was once an amazing kingdom. It also sits along the Chao Phraya river, making for a stunning landscape amidst the ruins.  Many beautiful temples and river hut hotels sit along the river making it a wonderful spot for Thailand holidays away from the hustle and bustle of the big and more tourist filled cities.

The year we came to Thailand we missed out on visiting as the town had suffered greatly from flooding.  Even a year later when we did visit the town was rebuilding , yet still reeling economically from the damage.  It was really quite amazing!  Our huts that we stayed in on the river were at least 10 feet off the ground and 3 feet inside there were water marks to remind you of just how high the water had gotten.  Many of the temples are still in disrepair and closed to full exploration due to the instability that the floods created.

Damage from the flood!
What to do while there
Visiting temples and temple ruins is high on the list when headed to Ayutthaya.  Probably the most popular temple is Wat Mahathat, or the temple with the Buddha head in a Banyan tree as it is more commonly known.  The real highlight though is in knowing that this temple is said to house relics of the Lord Buddha.  Admission is $1 per person with children being free.  (this is the price at most of the temples except the ones damaged still by the floods) It is well worth the charge of admission.  We spent over 2 hours exploring the vast property.

Right across the street is Wat Ratchaburana, an old monastery with stunning pagodas.  Other favorites of ours were Wat Phra Ram with its beautiful reflecting pool and Wat Chaiwatthanaram located on the riverbank and reminiscent of Angkor Wat with incredibly intact pagodas.

The Royal Palace and surrounding temple ruins are also worth a visit as is the Elephant Kraal, where the elephant round up takes place.  Ruins are around just about every corner so be prepared with your camera at all times.  The best way to get around is to map out the temples you want to see most, hire a tuk tuk driver for the day, and tour around.

The most beautifully painted tuk tuk I have ever seen!

If you are in town for an extended period of time there are arts and crafts complexes, various wats of different ages, river boat cruises, night cruises, Bang Pa In, a beautiful palace located slightly out of town, and many markets to explore day and night.  There you can find trinkets, street food, and a good taste of local Thai culture.

If you happen to be in the area during the weekend there is an amazing floating market.  Beautifully redone after the floods and admittedly a bit touristy but so much fun.  As soon as we got there we were nearly mowed down by an elephant, rounded a corner to be met by a tiger available for petting, and then stumbled into a snake show by the craziest guy ever!  Yes, that is a COBRA around my son's neck!  Yikes, all that and a floating market..it was a great day out!

All in all if you want to get out of Bangkok and explore an amazing ancient city Ayutthaya is a great choice.  We spent a week there and other than the oppressive heat of March it was a wonderful experience and one that I would recommend to anyone.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Sharing is Caring

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Ayutthaya is my hown town ...be proud the world heritage

    1. You should be proud, it really is a beautiful and deeply historic town!

  2. It is so sad to see that tiger chained up :(

    1. I agree, I hate seeing that stuff! It was certainly an odd little place, nothing like what we were expecting!

  3. Ayutthaya, of cause it is a world heritage. Its historical background is amazing.