The Historic City of Ayutthaya, founded in 1350, was the second capital of the Siamese Kingdom. It flourished from the 14th to the 18th centuries, during which time it grew to be one of the world’s largest and most cosmopolitan urban areas and a center of global diplomacy and commerce.
The city attacked and razed by the Burmese army in 1767 who burned the city to the ground and forced the inhabitants to abandon the city. The city was never rebuilt in the same place and remains known today as an extensive archaeological site.
Once an important center of global diplomacy and commerce, Ayutthaya is now an archaeological ruin, characterised by the remains of tall prang (reliquary towers) and Buddhist monasteries of monumental proportions, which give an idea of the city’s past size and the splendor of its architecture.
Getting Around in the Park
There are many ways to explore the glorious past of Ayutthaya – by foot, rental bicycles or long-tail boats (to enjoy a riverine perspective).
Bicycling around the ruins is the most enjoyable and fun way to spend the day. You can rent a bicycle for around 50 baht per day. The park is easily reachable and manageable on bike. The paths paved and the distance between temples are small.
Boat trips recommended if you want to enjoy the beautiful scenery and Thai lifestyle along the Chao Phraya River.
Another alternative is hire a tuk tuk with driver. The fare will depend on your bargaining skills. Agree on price, duration of the trip and places to stop before setting off.
WAT YAI CHAIMONGKOL, is a magnificent royal monastery, more than a mere place of worship. The beautiful secrets of Wat Yai Chaimongkol acquired a personality of its own. The temple is alive with the smiles of Phra Buddha Chaimongkol, the most sacred Buddha image, and others. Their images not only speak of a time of freedom as well as of the affluence of the Ayutthaya Kingdom but also give a warm welcome to visitors from other lands.
As we walked inside the temple there we saw the relic of reclining Buddha image. At present, there is no vihara to shelter the image. The village elders said that in the past the vihara roof was made of tin. Consequently, it struck by lightning twice. After that the local people agreed to leave the image outdoors.
WAT PHRA SI SANPHET, “The Temple of the Buddha Si Sanphet” is the largest and most significant temple in the Royal Palace’s compound since it was used as the royal temple and palace for several Ayutthaya kings. The ashes of the three Ayutthaya kings were kept here in the three Ceylonese style pagodas which are a symbolic landmark of Ayutthaya.
If you walk around the ruins, you will find the head of an ancient Buddha image embraced in the overground roots of a bo tree.
WAT MAHA THAT, ” The Temple of the Great Relic” this temple was the centre of Ayutthaya people’s faith. The reason it was completely burnt down by the Burmese invaders during their final assault of the capital.
Admission and Opening Hours
There is no fee to enter the Ayutthaya Historical Park. The major temples charge an entrance fee of 50 Thai Baht or less each. Most of the monuments are in ruined state, they are sacred places to Buddhists. Be respectful towards images of the Buddha and never climb on one. For active temples, please follow the dress code which means long pants or long skirts, no bare shoulders, remove your shoes before entering a temple building.
What To Bring:
- Bottled Water ( there are many places to buy snacks and drinks but better to carry a bottled water with you, the temperature in Ayutthaya is very hot).
The ruins of Ayutthaya Thailand is a great pieces of history and most of the ruins speak about the strong religious affinity of the people.