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* <see name="Wat Na Phra Mane" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price=""> This Wat offers a mix of old and modern buildings. It is unique because it survived the destruction of the city in the 18th century. Of interest are the vaulted ceilings and a Buddha made of black stone</see>
 
* <see name="Wat Na Phra Mane" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price=""> This Wat offers a mix of old and modern buildings. It is unique because it survived the destruction of the city in the 18th century. Of interest are the vaulted ceilings and a Buddha made of black stone</see>
  
* <see name="Wat Phanan Choeng" alt="วัดพนัญเชิงวรวิหาร)" address="Bang Pa-in Rd" directions="About 2 km southeast of town, turn south at the road 309 roundabout" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="8:30AM-5PM, daily" price="20 baht obligatory donation if entering from river side">A working monastery located south of Ayutthaya, no one knows how old it is, but it existed before Ayutthaya was founded as the capital. It contains the oldest large cast bronze Buddha image in Ayutthaya, called "Phrachao Phananchoeng", built in A.D. 1325; it is made of stucco in the attitude of subduing evil. A small room to the right of the main hall contains a nice collection of Buddha images and the room is painted with many individual unique pictures, in bright colours offset with gold.</see>
+
* <see name="Wat Phanan Choeng" alt="วัดพนัญเชิงวรวิหาร)" address="Bang Pa-in Rd" directions="About 2 km southeast of town, turn south at the road 309 roundabout" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="8:30-17:00, daily" price="20 baht obligatory donation if entering from river side">A working monastery located south of Ayutthaya, no one knows how old it is, but it existed before Ayutthaya was founded as the capital. It contains the oldest large cast bronze Buddha image in Ayutthaya, called "Phrachao Phananchoeng", built in A.D. 1325; it is made of stucco in the attitude of subduing evil. A small room to the right of the main hall contains a nice collection of Buddha images and the room is painted with many individual unique pictures, in bright colours offset with gold.</see>
  
 
[[Image:Thailand_Ayutthaya_Wat_Phu_Khao_Thong.jpg|thumb|300px|Chedi at Wat Phu Khao Thong]]
 
[[Image:Thailand_Ayutthaya_Wat_Phu_Khao_Thong.jpg|thumb|300px|Chedi at Wat Phu Khao Thong]]
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* <see name="Wat Phu Khao Thong" alt="" address="" directions="About 3 km north of town, west off the Ang Thong Rd" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="Free">Impressive and huge white, and slightly wonky, chedi set in a big field. You can climb to the top for extensive views over the countryside surrounding Ayutthaya, although the modern town and power lines obscure much of the historic city on the horizon. The actual nearby temple is still working and has small grounds with a smiling fat buddha image set in the ruins of a small viharn. You will see the 'Monument of King Naresuan the Great' on the way.</see>
 
* <see name="Wat Phu Khao Thong" alt="" address="" directions="About 3 km north of town, west off the Ang Thong Rd" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="" price="Free">Impressive and huge white, and slightly wonky, chedi set in a big field. You can climb to the top for extensive views over the countryside surrounding Ayutthaya, although the modern town and power lines obscure much of the historic city on the horizon. The actual nearby temple is still working and has small grounds with a smiling fat buddha image set in the ruins of a small viharn. You will see the 'Monument of King Naresuan the Great' on the way.</see>
  
* <see name="Wat Yai Chaimongkon" alt="ดใหญ่ชัยมงคล หรือ วัดเจ้าพระยาไท" address="Bang Pa-in Rd" directions="1 km east of Wat Phananchoeng" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="8PM-6PM, daily" price="20 baht">The large pagoda from far away, and some it's ruins appear on well known photos of temples in Thailand. Constructed in the reign of King U-Thong, the temple features a large reclining Buddha in saffron robes in its own ruined wiharn, and, most spectacularly, a huge chedi swathed in golden cloth set in a courtyard which is lined by Buddha images all wearing saffron robes. Very photogenic </see>
+
* <see name="Wat Yai Chaimongkon" alt="ดใหญ่ชัยมงคล หรือ วัดเจ้าพระยาไท" address="Bang Pa-in Rd" directions="1 km east of Wat Phananchoeng" phone="" email="" fax="" url="" hours="8:00-18:00, daily" price="20 baht">The large pagoda from far away, and some it's ruins appear on well known photos of temples in Thailand. Constructed in the reign of King U-Thong, the temple features a large reclining Buddha in saffron robes in its own ruined wiharn, and, most spectacularly, a huge chedi swathed in golden cloth set in a courtyard which is lined by Buddha images all wearing saffron robes. Very photogenic </see>
  
 
====Foreign Settlements====
 
====Foreign Settlements====

Revision as of 13:44, 9 March 2013

For other places with the same name, see Ayodhya (disambiguation).

Ayutthaya (อยุธยา), full name Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya (พระนครศรีอยุธยา), is an ancient capital and modern city in the Central Plains of Thailand, 85 km north of Bangkok.

Contents

Understand

Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Founded around 1350, Ayutthaya became the second capital of Siam after Sukhothai. Throughout the centuries, the ideal location between China, India and the Malay Archipelago made Ayutthaya the trading capital of Asia and even the world. By 1700 Ayutthaya had become the largest city in the world with a total of 1 million inhabitants. Many international merchants set sail for Ayutthaya, from diverse regions as the Arab world, China, India, Japan, Portugal, the Netherlands and France. Merchants from Europe proclaimed Ayutthaya as the finest city they had ever seen. Dutch and French maps of the city show grandeur with gold-laden palaces, large ceremonies and a huge float of trading vessels from all over the world. All this came to a quick end when the Burmese invaded Ayutthaya in 1767 and almost completely burnt the city down to the ground.

Today, only a few remains might give a glimpse of the impressive city they must have seen. Its remains are characterized by the prang (reliquary towers) and big monasteries. Most of the remains are temples and palaces, as those were the only buildings made of stone at that time. The great cultural value of Ayutthaya's ruins were officially recognized in 1991, when the Historic City became an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its proximity to Bangkok make it a popular day-trip destination for travelers from Bangkok.

Orientation

Ayutthaya is an island at the confluence of three rivers: the Chao Phraya River, the Lopburi River and the Pa Sak River. As the train station is at the east side off the island, most visitors will need to cross the river by ferry boat. Navigating your way around the island is not particularly hard: U Thong Rd is a ring road that circumvents the island completely. Most temple ruins can be found at the northwest of the island, while accommodation and night life is clustered around the northeast. As non-Siamese peoples were not allowed to live inside the city walls, things foreign are found off the island.

Get in

Map of Ayutthaya

By car

From Bangkok, one can get to Ayutthaya by various routes:

  • Take Highway 1 (Phahon Yothin) via Pratu Nam Phra In and turn into Hwy 32, then turn left to Hwy 309 to Ayutthaya.
  • Take Hwy 304 (Chaeng Watthana) or Hwy 302 (Ngam Wong Wan), turn right into Hwy 306 (Tiwanon), cross Nonthaburi or Nuanchawi Bridge to Pathum Thani, continue on Hwy 3111 (Pathum Thani–Sam Khok–Sena) and turn right at Amphoe Sena into Hwy 3263 to Ayutthaya.
  • Take Hwy 306 (Bangkok–Nonthaburi–Pathum Thani), at Pathum Thani Bridge Intersection, turn into Hwy 347 and Hwy 3309 via Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre, Amphoe Bang Pa-in, to Ayutthaya.
  • Take Expressway No.9 (Si Rat Expressway) via Nonthaburi–Pathum Thani and down to Hwt 1 via Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre, turn left onto Hwy 3469 towards Bang Pahan and turn right at Worachet Intersection to Ayutthaya.

One can also contact a taxi for pick up at Bangkok's airports. For example: Car Service, phone: +66 28 195 390, email: raksacharoen@hotmail.com. Advance booking possible. ~1,200 baht one-way.

By train

The cheapest and most scenic way of reaching Ayutthaya is by train. It regularly departs from Bangkok's Hualamphong Train Station and stops in Ayutthaya. The trip takes about 2 - 2.5 hrs depending on the type of service. Second-class seats (A/C) cost 245 baht, third-class is just 15 baht (!) (no reservations and seats are not guaranteed). Check time table here: [1]. (Please note that fares listed on the Thai railways site are out of date and incorrect).

Although in the past railway employees preferred not to sell 3rd-class tickets to foreigners, as of 2011 the employees were explicitly offering 3rd-class seats to western tourists as a standard option. Also note that some train stations (for instance Bang Khen) do not appear on the sites map, and that tickets may even be cheaper. If you have local friends, they may have some good advice.

The railway station is not on the island but across the river a short ferry ride away. Walk across the main road and down the small street straight ahead. Ferry boats run every few minutes and cost 4 baht.

By bus

Buses operate every 20 minutes or so from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (Moh Chit*) directly to Ayutthaya (despite what locals say, the last bus leaves at 18:00). First-class air-con buses charge 56 baht. This trip is scheduled to be around an hour and a half, but allow at least two hours for the trip since the buses stop rather frequently and there are often jams on the roads out of/into Bangkok.

  • To get to the Northern Bus Terminal, go to Mo Chit BTS Station. Upon exiting the gate, cross the bridge on the right to go to the bus stop, and take bus service 3 or bus service 77. (air-con buses charge 12 baht, non air-con buses charge 7 baht.) Bus ride is about 10-15 minutes and the Northern Bus Terminal destination is the last stop for the bus services. However, buses do not stop in the Northern Bus Terminal, but at the bus stop across the street. Cross the bridge to get to the bus terminal.
  • Bus service 3 runs also near Khao San. It goes by Chakrabongse Rd which is a street on the western end of Khao San. The trip to the Northern Bus Terminal from here takes around 1 hour. Getting back in the evening can take longer due to traffic. Official metered taxi directly from Mo Chit bus terminal taxi stand to Khao San Road costs 105 baht.

Also you can take a minivan from the Victory Monument direct to Ayutthaya. Takes ~1 hour and costs 100 baht. Minivans depart every 20 minutes or so.

The buses run from 04:30–19:15. For more details, call Tel. +66 29 362 852-66 or see the website [2] and Ayutthaya Bus Terminal, Tel. +66 35 335 304.

In Ayutthaya, the central BKS bus station is on the south side of Naresuan Rd next to the Chao Phrom Market. songthaews to Bang Pa-In also leave from here. Some 1st-class buses to Bangkok, however, leave from the north side of the road some 500 m to the west, on the other side of the khlong (canal); the queue for air-con buses is easy to spot.

From Kanchanaburi, take a local bus of horrible quality from the main bus station to Suphanburi for 50 baht (2.5 hours + long waiting for bus and departing) and then official airconditioned "minibus" (actually Toyota Hilux minivan) nr. 703 to Ayutthaya for 80 baht (1 hour). Big bus from Suphanburi to Ayutthaya was cancelled and replaced by minivan service nr. 703 even according timetable on bus station, although there is no price mentioned on timetable so 80 baht is probably farang (foreigner) price and locals pay less (they use this minivan service too). The best advice is avoid this route completely, because it will cost you 130 baht and you will tired after spending 4.5-5 hours (incl. waiting) to get from Kanchanaburi to Ayuthaya, so it's actually faster go back to Bangkok and get to Ayuthaya from Bangkok without any cheating or double prices and more comfortable for same amount of time or even faster and only little bit more expensive. A taxi from Kanchanaburi costs 2,000-2,500 baht (2 hours).

There is also a central bus station east of town serving northern destinations. It can be reached by songthaew. Ask around to find the appropriate stop.

By minibus (van)

Convenient minibus service (can get stuck in traffic, but makes no stops like regular buses) operates from the Victory Monument square in Bangkok. Take BTS Skytrain to the Victory Monument station, and go right on the elevated walkway. Stay on it until you cross a large road, then descend. The buses are parked at the side of the main traffic circle. The cost is 60 baht, takes around 1 hour to 1 hour 20 min. It's quite convenient since you don't have to go to bus terminals (nearby Mo Chit) but the only problem is that the minibuses don't have much space to carry big bags and have to wait until the car is fully filled.

Minibuses (van) from Kanchanaburi can be arranged by guest houses or any tour operators for around 400 baht. Most tour operators charge 400 baht for the 2.5 hours drive. There is one tour operator charging 380 Bbht, but this one is not recommended since it takes 5 hours to reach Ayutthaya. This one passes through Bangkok first.

By boat

Cruise boats run up the river from Bangkok, often stopping at Ko Kret and Bang Pa-In along the way. You'll need to book in advance as there are no scheduled services, just trips for tourists. It's a fairly lengthy trip (at least one whole day) and some of the larger boats offer (pricy) overnight tours.

Travelling by boat to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya is popular among foreigners since it does not only reveal the beauty as well as lifestyle of the people on both sides of the Chao Phraya River, but also reflects the life in history at the time of the Ayutthaya Kingdom when the Chao Phraya River served as a channel of transportation in trading with foreign countries.

Get around

By bicycle

Bicycling around the ruins is the most enjoyable and fun way to spend the day. The archaeological park is easily reachable and manageable on bike even if you aren't very fit. The paths are paved and the distances between temples are small.

You can rent a bicycle for around 40 baht per day. (Feb 2011)

The bicycles are not necessarily well maintained, so be sure that they work properly (wheels are firm and inflated, seats adjusted to your height and well attached, handlebars don't slip); good shops will give you a free bike lock as well. There is a good bike shop directly opposite the train station.

Free map of the city is widely available in all hotels.

The park opens at 07:30. It is recommended that you begin your tour early, before the tour groups arrive from Bangkok. Take a big bottle of water with you.

Bicycle rentals: Soi 2 (where the majority of tourist hotels and restaurants are located) have numerous bike rental facilities. They are all next to each other so it will be easy to shop around and find the one with the best bike for you.

At T.W.T (TourWithThai) (before Tony's guest house which not far from minibus stop at Soi 2) has bicycles big and small size and seat for small child for rent. If you short of time maybe you can go around by motorcycle which you can rent in the same area.

By tuk-tuk

Alternatively, you can get around town by tuk-tuk (motorized 3-wheeler). Ayutthaya's tuk-tuks are larger than the Bangkok variety and you can easily squeeze six people in on facing benches. Only "official" tuk-tuk drivers or tourist "helpers" can pick up passengers from the train station. You can verify their status by looking for their photos/name on a "Tourist Officials" board displayed at the southern end of the platform. These people are required to charge/work for fixed charges, usually quoting 300 baht/hour, but this can usually be bargained to a slightly lower price (e.g., 1,000 baht for 4 hrs).

You can also flag down tuk-tuks from the street and try to hire them, most drivers carry with them a stack of postcards featuring the famous sites of the city to ease communication, they also are used to the standard temple hopping circuit. If you have a map you can point out any of the destinations that you wish to see and they'll often quote a trip price and will wait for you at each stop. 200 baht per hour seems to be the starting point for tourist tuk-tuks picking up backpackers away from the station, although it can be possible to negotiate a lower price.

By tram

As of April 2010 no trams were running.

By mini-bus

From Ayutthya, mini-buses can be taken from the railway station into the city. Hiring a mini- bus within Ayutthaya costs between 400-500 baht/day. For travelling between Ayutthaya and Bang Pa-in, mini-buses regularly leave Chao Prom Market, Chao Prom Road starting from 06:00.

By boat

Boat trips to enjoy the beautiful scenery and Thai lifestyle along the Chao Phraya River, the Pa Sak River and around the town island of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya are available. A long-tailed boat can be chartered at the pier in front of Chanthara Kasem National Museum, Pom Phet Pier, and Wat Phananchoeng Pier. The fare depends on the route and duration. Rice barges are also available for groups that offer a relaxed way to see Ayutthaya.

See

Ayutthaya is 76 kilometres north of Bangkok and boasts numerous magnificent ruins. The ruins indicate that Ayutthaya was one of Southeast Asia's (and probably the world's) most prosperous cities in the 17th Century and beyond. Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Historical Park, a vast stretch of historical site in the heart of Ayutthaya city, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since December 13, 1991.

There were three palaces in Ayutthaya: Grand Palace, Chantharakasem Palace (the Front Palace) and Wang Lang (the Rear Palace). In addition, there were many other palaces and buildings for royal visits located outside Ayutthaya, such as the palace at Bang Pa-In and Nakhon Luang Building at Nakhon Luang.

It seems there is a scam, but not against tourists. Against the government. Ladies selling tickets take the money from you and allow you to enter, but will not give you a paper ticket (and probably take the money to their own pocket). If you want your money to go for temple renovation and conservation instead of going into private pockets, insist a paper ticket.

On the island

The temples with entry charges are usually in ruins, so there is no dress code, although visitors are still requested to refrain from blatant stupidity like clambering up the Buddha statues. Working temples tend to charge no fees and there are often no officials to check that a dress is appropriate (though it is advised to follow these customs to show respect for sacred places).

  • Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Sri Sanphet Rd. 08:00-18:00, daily. The largest temple in Ayutthaya, known for its distinctive row of restored chedis (Thai-style stupas) found on many images of the city. Housed within the grounds of the former royal palace, the temple was used only for royal religious ceremonies. It once housed a 16 m high Buddha covered with 340 kg of gold, but the Burmese set fire to the statue to melt the gold and destroyed the temple in the process. The royal palace can also be accessed from the same entrance at Wat Phra Si Sanphet, but it only has a few free standing buildings remaining. 50 baht.
  • Viharn Phra Mongkol Bopit, Sri Sanphet Rd (Next to Wat Phra Si Sanphet). An impressive building that houses a large bronze cast Buddha image. It was originally enshrined outside the Grand Palace to the east, but it was later transferred to the current location and covered with a Mondop. During the second fall of Ayutthaya, the building and the image were badly destroyed by fire. The building currently seen was renovated but does not have as beautiful craftsmanship as the previous ones. The open area east of the sanctuary (wihan) was formerly Sanam Luang, where the royal cremation ceremony took place. Free.
Headless Buddha statues, Wat Mahathat
  • Wat Phra Mahathat, Naresuan Rd (Across the road from Wat Ratburana). A large temple that was quite thoroughly ransacked by the Burmese. Several leaning prangs of Ayutthaya are still feebly defying gravity though, and the rows of headless Buddhas are atmospheric. This is also where you can spot the famous tree that has grown around a Buddha head. When taking pictures of you and the Buddha head, make sure you kneel to show respect, as it is considered holy by Thais. 50 baht.
  • Wat Ratchaburana, Naresuan Rd. This temple stands out for having a large prang recently restored to its original condition, clearly visible if you come in from the east. A major find of golden statues and other paraphernalia was made here in 1958, although much was subsequently stolen by robbers — the remnants are now in the Chao Sam Phraya Museum. You can climb inside the prang for nice views and a little exhibit. The mysterious staircase down, leads to two unrestored rooms with original paintings still visible on the walls. 50 baht.
Wiharn at Wat Thammikarat
  • Wat Thammikarat (วัดธรรมิกราช), U-Thong Rd. A working wat, but also contains the ruins of a large chedi and a huge roofless viharn which has tall brick columns leaning at alarming angles and a large tree growing picturesquely out of the side of one wall. It was already constructed before the establishment of Ayutthaya. The Wihan Luang once enshrined an enormous bronze head of the Buddha of the U Thong period, now exhibited at the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum. The temple also houses a Reclining Buddha hall called Wihan Phra Phutthasaiyat, built by his queen consort following her wish made for her daughter's recovery from an ailment. The wihan is located to the north of Phra Chedi with a base of 52 surrounding singha or lions, and houses a north-facing reclining Buddha image measuring 12 m in length, with both feet gilded and inlaid with glass mosaic. Free.
  • Wat Suwan Dararam, (southeast island). This modern wat with no ruins can be accessed by side streets off U-thong Rd. The wat contains a few small spires, and some nicely decorated modern buildings.
  • Phet Fortress, (southeast island). This fortress was the city's most important defensive structure in the 15th century. Originally built of wood in 1350 by King Mahachakraphat, the fortress was later rebuilt with bricks. A few walls still remain and the grounds have a nice view of the river. The fortress is close to Wat Suwan Dararam, and is right beside a ferry that can take you to Wat Phanan Choeng.
  • Wat Phra Ram, Sri Sanphet Road. 08:00-18:00, daily. This temple consists of one huge prang and some smaller chedi and outbuildings, all in disrepair though the top of the prang is complete. Staircases to the side of the prang give views of Ayutthaya. This monastery was located outside the grand palace compound to the east. King Ramesuan commanded it built on ground where the royal cremation ceremony for his father, King U-Thong, took place. A big lagoon is in front of this monastery. Its original name was "Nong Sano". It was changed to "Bueng Phraram" and currently is Phraram Public Park. 50 baht.
Phra Chedi Suriyothai
  • Phra Chedi Suriyothai (เจดีย์พระศรีสุริโยทัย), U-Thong Rd. A white and gold coloured chedi built as a memorial to a previous queen. Set in small, well-kept gardens, it is the memorial for the first heroine in Siamese history. It's of some interest as a proof of the honour that ancient Siamese society gave to women. It was renovated in 1990, and during the renovations some antique objects were found such as a white rock crystal Buddha image in the posture of subduing Mara, a chedi replica, and a golden reliquary. These ancient objects were brought to be under the care of the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum. Free.
  • Wat Borom Phuttharam (วัดบรมพุทธาราม), (inside Rajabhat University). Built some time during 1688–1703 during the reign of King Phetracha on the grounds of his former residence near the main gate of the southern city wall. Its location and area plan was confined to a north-south orientation by ancient communication routes. Unlike other temples, the king had all buildings roofed with yellow glazed tiles and the temple became known as "Wat Krabueang Khlueap" or the "glazed tile temple". The construction took 2 years and the temple underwent a major renovation in the reign of King Borommakot, who had 3 pairs of door panels decorated with fine mother-of-pearl inlays. One pair of them is currently at Ho Phra Monthian Tham inside the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the second is at Wat Benchamabophit (The Marble Temple), and the third was turned into cabinets and is now exhibited at the Bangkok National Museum.

Museums

  • Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre, Rojana Rd (Rotchana Rd), +66 35 245 124, +66 35 245 123. Interesting museum about the history of Ayutthaya. It's best to visit this museum before heading out elsewhere, as it places the remains into a historical perspective. A big part of the museum is dedicated to Siam's relations with other peoples, but village life, art and culture are also dealt with. foreigners: adults 100 baht, children 50 baht.
  • Baan Hollanda. This museum is situated near the site of the Dutch Lodge which was first built there in the 1630s. It aims at telling of the Dutch settlement, how they worked, lived, and interacted with Siamese society and court. The museum provides informal learning by combining education with pleasure.
  • Chantharakasem National Museum, Uthong Rd, +66 35 251 586, +66 35 252 795. W- Su 09:00-16:00. Former residence of King Naresuan the Great, built in 1577. 100 baht (foreigners).
  • Chao Sam Phraya National Museum. Most treasures of Ayutthaya were stolen, burnt and melted by armies or treasure hunters. Some pieces survived though and are exhibited at this museum. Most of the riches are golden statues found at Wat Ratchaburana and Wat Phra Mahathat.

Off the island

Much of Ayutthaya's history revolves around trade with other nations, but these nations were not allowed to set up camp inside the city walls. Thus, surrounding Ayutthaya's waters are plenty of remains from the countries that once set sail here, such as the settlements of Japan, the Netherlands and Portugal, as well as the interesting Thai-Chinese temple of Wat Phanan Choeng.

  • Wat Chaiwatthanaram, Southwest off the island on Rt 3413 (take Rt 3263 off the island and turn left onto Rt 3413.). 08:30-17:00 daily. Due to flood damage, this temple is currently closed. However you can still walk around the outside (for free) and take pictures. The temple that graces the official tourist pamphlet for Ayutthaya, this wat is a must see. Many intact pagodas surround a central chedi that you can climb from all sides. A nice view of the city can be had from the top. Very photogenic. 50 baht.
  • Wat Na Phra Mane. This Wat offers a mix of old and modern buildings. It is unique because it survived the destruction of the city in the 18th century. Of interest are the vaulted ceilings and a Buddha made of black stone
  • Wat Phanan Choeng (วัดพนัญเชิงวรวิหาร)), Bang Pa-in Rd (About 2 km southeast of town, turn south at the road 309 roundabout). 8:30-17:00, daily. A working monastery located south of Ayutthaya, no one knows how old it is, but it existed before Ayutthaya was founded as the capital. It contains the oldest large cast bronze Buddha image in Ayutthaya, called "Phrachao Phananchoeng", built in A.D. 1325; it is made of stucco in the attitude of subduing evil. A small room to the right of the main hall contains a nice collection of Buddha images and the room is painted with many individual unique pictures, in bright colours offset with gold. 20 baht obligatory donation if entering from river side.
Chedi at Wat Phu Khao Thong
  • Wat Phu Khao Thong, (About 3 km north of town, west off the Ang Thong Rd). Impressive and huge white, and slightly wonky, chedi set in a big field. You can climb to the top for extensive views over the countryside surrounding Ayutthaya, although the modern town and power lines obscure much of the historic city on the horizon. The actual nearby temple is still working and has small grounds with a smiling fat buddha image set in the ruins of a small viharn. You will see the 'Monument of King Naresuan the Great' on the way. Free.
  • Wat Yai Chaimongkon (ดใหญ่ชัยมงคล หรือ วัดเจ้าพระยาไท), Bang Pa-in Rd (1 km east of Wat Phananchoeng). 8:00-18:00, daily. The large pagoda from far away, and some it's ruins appear on well known photos of temples in Thailand. Constructed in the reign of King U-Thong, the temple features a large reclining Buddha in saffron robes in its own ruined wiharn, and, most spectacularly, a huge chedi swathed in golden cloth set in a courtyard which is lined by Buddha images all wearing saffron robes. Very photogenic 20 baht.

Foreign Settlements

  • Dutch Settlement. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) founded in 1602 was the largest and most impressive of the early modern trading companies operating in Asia. The Dutch established their first trading post in Ayutthaya in 1608. By the 1630s the Dutch received land and permission to build a lodge on the east bank of the Chaophraya River. The two-storey brick building was known to the Dutch as de logie and the settlement developed into a separate village. This building was destroyed by the invading Burmese armies in 1767. After being archaeologically excavated, the brick foundation of the building was found and during the celebrations of 400 years of Thai-Dutch relations, H.M. Queen Beatrix donated a royal gift to establish an information centre near the site of the Dutch lodge. The Thai Fine Arts Department excavated the site and found many artifacts, such as Chinese porcelain, Dutch pipes and a coin. The construction of the museum began in 2010 and has just been finished (April 2011). 'Baan Hollanda' museum was scheduled to open in July 2011 but is now not expected to open until early 2013. (more information in the 'Museums' section)
  • Japanese Settlement. There's nothing left of the Japanese Settlement, so instead, the Japanese government decided to create a Japanese-style park at the location of where the Japanese Settlement probably must have been. The Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre started a branch here, a museum about Ayutthaya's foreign relations with Japan and other countries. It starts with an interesting film lasting about 15 minutes and then you can explore the museum on your own: very interesting and definitely gives a good background of the city's history.
  • Portuguese Settlement, (south of the island, access via route 3413 after turning south from the bridge connecting the island, past Wat Chaiwatthanaram and Phutthai Sawan), [3]. A scattering of ruins, highlighted by the Dominican church. Inside the church are the excavated remains of members of the settlement. It is kind of an eerie sight, but interesting. The skeletons of those inside the church apparently belong to those who were of higher status within the settlement, like priests. It was said to be the largest community of Westerners after it was settled in the early 1500s. The settlement was destroyed in 1767 after the fall of Ayutthaya. Free, donation suggested.

Do

  • Chao Phrom Market. Located next to the Pasak River on U-Thong Rd., this market offers food, clothing, and day to day necessities at a variety of shops and stalls. More for locals, the market lacks the usually touristy trinkets; however, the food is fantastic, good clothing deals can be found, and the visit may be of interest for those who wish to experience a more authentic Thai marketplace. There are several night markets with many street hawkers selling a range of food and some stalls with clothing, phones and more.

Eat

  • Boat noodle, (In front of telephone authority building and (2nd location) opposite Sri Nakharin Park along U-Thong Road.). Original boat noodle was cooked on a boat. It's noodles and soup with meat and vegetables. They are served in a little bowl and most people would eat more than one to relieve their hunger. 10 baht per bowl.
  • Malakor, Chee Kun Rd (opposite Wat Ratchaburana). Reasonably priced restaurant with great views of Wat Ratchaburana and very good food. Meat in most dishes can be substituted with tofu. Eat indoors or on the balcony. Also sells some of Ayutthaya's best coffee. Most mains 45-60 baht.
  • Roti Saimai, U-Thong Road and Si Sanphet Road junction (Opposite Phra Nakorn Si Ayutthaya Hospital). Roti Saimai is a Thai-style candy floss wrapped in a roti - a very popular local dessert.
  • Siam Restaurant, Chee Kun Rd. Serves unremarkable Thai and Vietnamese food, but makes up for it with an excellent location with views of Wat Mahathat as you eat, air conditioning, and possibly the best toilets in the city. Most mains 50-100 baht.
  • Vegetarian Restaurant, Khlong Makham Rieng Rd (50 m south of the junction with Naresuan Rd). early-14:00, daily. One of the usual Thai rahn a-hahn jair. With 8 different meals available and side orders of gluten and gluten. 15-25 baht.
  • The usual excellent night market fare is also available, ask your guesthouse for the most recent night market locations. At the same time, you may wish to ask some advice on what to order if you don't speak any Thai.

Drink

The main traveller-oriented area is Soi Torgorsor, between Pamaphrao Rd and Naresuan Rd opposite the western end of Chao Phrom Market. It has a number of bars staying open until late, some with projection screens for sports.

  • Jazz Bar, Soi Torgorsor. Shares a food menu with Chang House next door, but offers a better soundtrack. When the jazz bands aren't playing, the instruments are pick-up-and-play, or you might find yourself dodging insulting trivia questions thrown at you by the staff.
  • Street Lamp, Soi Torgorsor. Street Lamp offers wooden seating spilling into the street in front of the attached guest house. Live music in the evenings is provided by the charismatic Mr. Noi playing his way through rock classics in a gravelly faux-American accent and inviting members of the audience to join in.
  • Wat Yai Coffee, (Rd 3477, 2 minutes south after the roundabout from the center). Nice small coffee joint, served by a friendly staff (and a bit shy with foreigners). 25-45 baht.

Sleep

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under 500 baht
Mid-range 500 to 1,500 baht
Splurge Over 1,500 baht

There are a large number of traveller-oriented guesthouses on and around Soi 2 between Naresuan Road and Pamaphrao Road, opposite the western end of the Chao Phrom Market. Accommodation in the upper price brackets is limited though there are some options by the riverside. Many people choose to day-trip from Bangkok.

Budget

  • Ayutthaya Guest House. A friendly place offering all en suite rooms. With Internet access and a 'order what you like' restaurant. The three 300 baht rooms along the side alley have air vents open to a public restaurant next-door. For budget travellers, they offer in a nearby building some rooms for 100 baht each: neat, friendly doubles with fan. air-con with TV for 400 baht, fan-only with TV for 300 baht. (14.360991,100.576766)
  • BJ Guesthouse, [4]. Right before (diagonally opposite) P-U Guest House. Old small Thai house, family-run, where you can feel like living in a Thai family. Backpacker atmosphere with basic and clean single/double rooms. One big room with air-con and private bathroom. The owner (Sato) is very relaxed and helpful. Bike and motorbike rental and Thai meals available. Double room (fan): 160-350 baht, Single room (fan): 150 baht.
  • Chang House, Naresuan Rd | Soi 1. Very nice and familiar place. The owner is very friendly, as well as the very beautiful daughter. There also some friendly Thai people who frequently go there at night. Good food for the right price. Cheap beer and alcoholic drinks to be had, with tables outside on the road and it's completely open
  • The Lima Place, 139 Moo 2 Bankao (1.5 km from Ayutthaya Railway Station), +66 86 889 2389, [5]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. The hotel has 75 rooms. Prices are 562/618 baht for air conditioning, king/twin bed, and for electric fan-equipped room king/twin bed 450/506 baht.
  • Mint Guest House, (in the alley right in front of the train station). Clean rooms with fan and a separate wash room. Plus points: it's within sight of the train station and night market, manned by a friendly, jovial owner. It's a bit far from the main attractions, but motorbikes can be rented out for a mere 150 baht a day. 200 baht.
  • P-U Guest House, (hidden off Soi Torgorsor, keep walking north until you see the P-U sign on the left, it's at the end of the small lane). Despite its name, the place provides rooms for a decent rate (~500 baht for twin with fan and private bath, some knowledge of Thai may net you a small discount). But breakfast excluded thus, this is one of the most expensive on Soi Farang. Free Wi-Fi too. 500-1200 baht.
  • Sherwood House (known to locals as the MM Swimming Pool), 21/25 Dechawut Rd (some maps may indicate Dechawut Rd as Pa Thon Rd), +66 86 666 0813, [6]. Well-located in the heart of downtown, this cozy guest house has five rooms and a free swimming pool. Located right around the corner from a food fair and walking distance from the on-island ruins. The house has a decent restaurant offering both Thai and Western food, and bicycle rentals. Shared bathroom. Free Wi-Fi. Fan double 320 baht; air-con double 420 baht.
  • Thong Chai Guest House, (On a road directly opposite Wat Ratchaburana). A little away from the main action, but closer to the sights, this guesthouse offering fan-only rooms at 200 baht a night with private bathrooms, this is a more Thai-oriented guest house. Watch out, this is maybe too basic for you. Compared to what you get in Bangkok for 200 baht this is worse: no place to hang up the towel. You get a soap, but there is no place to put it in the bathroom. No sink: You can't wash your stuff. No flush (this is indeed Thai style). 200 baht.

Mid-range

  • Baan Lotus, Pa-Maphrao Rd., +66 35 251988. This accommodation features rebuilt teak houses, and they rent bicycles too. Lovely decked area in the back, built over a large pond. Great for realxing after a day around the temples. Free Wifi Air-con 600 baht, fan 350 baht.
  • Baan Tebpitak, 15/15 Pathon Rd, Pathon Soi 3 (8 min walk from Wat Maha That), +66 89 8499817, [7]. checkin: 13:00; checkout: 11:00. Close to downtown, this guest house offers great comfort and a swimming pool to those who want to stay close to the ruins & away from busy tourist street. It is located near Ayutthaya Beptist Church, and is close to the main ruins on the island & local night markets. A la carte breakfast, tax & VAT included. All rooms with private bathroom & hot shower, Satellite TV with English & French Channels, fridge, sefety deposit box, tea & coffee set. Free Wi-Fi. Baan Tebpitak is the newly opened sister hotel of Promtong Mansion 1,290 baht; family rooms from 2,090 baht air-con rooms only. Deluxe rooms also available for 1590B..
  • The Old Palace Resort, 1/35 Moo 5, Tavasukree (Near Wat Na Phra Men), 089 7797250, [8]. checkin: 13:00; checkout: 12:00. Family-run resort is located in the quiet northern part of Ayutthaya. The fee for small wooden bungalow includes breakfast and free Wi-Fi. 800 baht.
  • Promtong Mansion, 23 Pathon Rd, Pathon Soi 19 (5 min walk from Wat Maha That, next to Sherwood House), +66 89 1656297, [9]. checkin: 13:00; checkout: 11:00. Close to downtown. Close to the main ruins on the island & local night markets, 7/11(ATM), pharmacy, Dechawat Post Office & Police Station. A la carte breakfast, tax & VAT included. All a/c rooms with private bathroom & hot shower, safety depisit box, fridge, TV with English Channels, tea & coffee set. Free Wi-Fi. Only air-con rooms available, twin and double for 1,090 baht; family rooms from 1,390 baht. Deluxe rooms also available..
  • Somjai Place Ayutthaya, 69/16 Buawaan Soi Rattranachai (in the heart of the city), +66 88 9756199 (for foreigners) +66 35 322 145#0 (For Thais) (, fax: +66 35 322145#555). checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. 35 rooms, free Wi-Fi and LAN, shower, desk, coin-operated washing machine. The hotel's recreational facilities, which include green space, are designed for escape and relaxation.

Splurge

Contact

Respect

Wear long pants/skirts to temples and no sleeveless t-shirts or revealing blouses. Treat Buddha images with utmost respect, just as you would in the rest of Thailand.

Stay safe

Ayutthaya has a lot of hungry stray dogs in poor condition. They can particularly be a problem in the off-season when there aren't so many people in the streets. While largely docile and harmless, to avoid being chased around by a pack of them it is best not to walk around alone, particularly at night. For those accustomed to travel in developing areas, there should be no problem.

When cycling around the city beware of motorcyclists. Do not put any valuable items in your handlebar basket, as they may be snatched at traffic lights. Also, women travelers have been groped by passing-by motorcyclists, so beware if someone slows down next to you.

Get out

Most visitors get out the way they came — from Bangkok. But there are a number of other interesting next stops in the area:

  • Bang Pa-In — famous for its eccentric palace and only 20 km to the south
  • Kanchanaburi — the famous Bridge over the River Kwai and numerous World War II museums
  • Khao Yai National Park — first and largest national park of the country
  • Lopburi — the next destination if you take the train north, with monkeys and ancient ruins
  • Nakhon Ratchasima — gateway to the Isaan region
  • Sukhothai — another former capital of Siam with impressive ancient ruins


Routes through Ayutthaya
Nakhon RatchasimaSaraburi  N noframe S  Bangkok
Chiang MaiLopburi  N noframe S  Bang Pa-InBangkok




This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!



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