While Bangkok attracts tourists by touting its beauty as the modern capital, Ayutthaya on the other hand represents the charm of the old capital. Every mile in Ayutthaya contains historical stories of a glorious age. Coming to Ayutthaya, you can immerse yourself in the flow of history and culture as well as relive life in an ancient royal dynasty. Here are seven places should not be missed in an Ayutthaya tour.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Wat in Thailand means temple. As you may know, Thailand is one of the most religious countries in the world, and in Ayutthaya, you can find temples and monasteries everywhere you go to. Among them, Wat Phra Si Sanphet is the most important one situated on the Grand Palace Grounds, acting as the royal monastery in the past. In Wat Phra Si Sanphet thee are three wooden tomb towers named “Phaithun Maha Prasat”, “Aisawan Maha Prasat” and “Phaichayon Maha Prasat”. These chedis are the burial places of three kings Borom Trailokkanat, Borom Rachathirat III, and Ramathibodi II. Wat Phra Si Saphet, Wat Phra Ram, Wat Mahathat, and Wat Ratchaburana all help depict the complex of historical heritage of Ayutthaya.
King Borom Ratchathirat built Wat Rachaburana after the death of his two brothers who fought to the death over the throne. After ups and downs of history and destroying of time, Wat Ratchaburana is now in ruins. However, the damage does not stop you from witnessing Wat Ratchaburana’s mysterious beauty. The main prang’s architecture was influenced by Khmer’s style and profoundly reflects the religious life of Buddhism. From the sculpture on the wall to the painting on the vault, they are all about the gods and the previous life of the Buddha. The quietness and peace here will soothe your soul and refresh your spirit.
Although the roof was destroyed, it allows tourists the ability to enjoy the sunset while sitting on the front shrine or standing near the main prang. Read more: 10 Things to do in Ayutthaya
Khmer architecture style is the main style applied in Wat Mahathat. After being destroyed many times by both enemies and time, a feeling of desolation covers the whole temple. Wat Mahathat makes a strong impression on visiting tourists with its mysterious scenery. Headless Buddha statues line up the corridor in the big prang and the broken wall majestically stands like a historical witness denouncing the war crimes.
The most special object in Wat Mahathat is the head of a stone Buddha entwined in the roots of an old tree. The serene smile and closed eyes on Buddha's face symbolize his calm and peaceful nature. Keep in mind that if you want to take the picture of the Buddha’s head, you will need to do that while kneeling. In any Ayutthaya tours, it would be a huge regret to miss this iconic religious image.Read more: Detailed Guide for An Ayutthaya Day Trip from Bangkok
Wat Yai Chai MongKhon
Wat Yai Chai MongKhon was built in the cremation place of two princes. It was also here that the conspirators gathered to decide whether they should overthrow the king and the queen in 1548. This historical event lead to the enthronement of King Maha Chakkraphat.
The main chedi in Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon is one of the symbols of Ayutthaya. It is in bell-shaped on the top, standing high, and can be seen from far away. In contrast to Wat Mahathat where the temple was allowed to remain in its damaged state, the Buddha statues in Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon are newly sculpted; giving you a glimpse of the ancient Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon.
Wat Phu Khao Thong
After exploring the ancient temples of the early and middle period of Ayutthaya, we come to the next temple built in later period. This chedi was built dedicated to the victory of King Naresuan over the enemy (Burmese). Because of this, the bottom of the chedi (the base) was designed with Burmese architectural style while the top was built with Ayutthaya style. This special design emphasized the victory of their nation, and status above their enemies.
Wat Phanan Choeng
Wat Phanan Choeng is very popular with Thai people. Whenever you come here, the temple is always crowded, and it is different from the other temples in this list because this temple is not just a historical relic but remains a functioning temple.
Within the temple is a huge, gilded image of Buddha. If you are lucky enough to come here at the right time, you can participate in the ceremony changing the image’s robe.Changing Buddha’s rope:
Bang Pa-in Palace
How can your Ayutthaya tour be finished without going to Bang Pa-in Palace? Bang Pa-in Palace is also known as the summer palace of Thai Royal to this day. Around the palace is a lake prettifying the palace like a water painting. Especially, when you visit Bang Pa-in Palace, you can easily discover various architectural styles around the palace. With the combination of Eastern and Western architecture, Bang Pa-in Palace is home to both modern and ancient beauty.
Beside the pavilion, the two-floored building featuring a more western architectural style called Phara Thinang Warophat is also a remarkable landmark in Bang Pa-in Palace. This building was used as a lounge for the guests and now is used for the government ceremonies.
The last noteworthy site is Phra Thinang Wehat Chamrun – meaning “Heavenly Light”. This mansion was built with a Chinese style and is full of Chinese furniture.
TIPS FOR TRAVELLING IN AYUTTHAYA:
- The weather in Ayutthaya is hot and humid so if you want to enjoy Ayutthaya best, you should go there in the last months of the year. In these months, the weather gets more temperate.
- Transportation: you have your own two choices for transportation. You can choose tuk tuk – most popular mean of transport in Thailand to go around in order to dive into the "real Thailand". However, if you want to be more independent, you can rent a bicycle to ride. It is a wonderful choice if you go with a group of friends.
- Although you can find the information of Ayutthaya tour easily on the internet, you’re guaranteed to hit all the spots with the right local tour guide. They will help you save your time in exploring every corner of Ayutthaya. Who knows their land more than them?