If you’re after a day trip away from the hustle and bustle of central Bangkok, this historical park featuring ruins and giant statues is the perfect place. Ayutthaya was once the capital of Thailand, and a trip here reveals a lost Siamese kingdom and a hidden world.
At the ruins of Ayutthaya, you can learn all about the fascinating history attached to this area, as well as sampling it first-hand. Visitors can check out the towers of the temples, monasteries and palaces and gaze upon the bronzed statue of Buddha that features prominently at the site. You can also browse for hours in the on-site museum, where your curiosity will be rewarded by the many archaeological finds from the region. The Chao Sam Phraya Museum houses the largest collection of archaeological relics.
Ayutthaya was the second capital of the Kingdom of Siam, and is a hugely historical site, having been founded centuries ago in 1350. The site is often attributed with having and ocean connection, as it was formed in a position where three rivers converge. By the eighteenth century, the character of Ayutthaya had changed completely, with the area becoming a sprawling urban area with increasing socio-economic, religious and political importance. However, the city was to change in character forever later in that century, when a Burmese invasion in 1767 effectively destroyed it. As a consequence, its thousands of residents fled.
When you cross the area today, whether by bike, ferry or tuk-tuk, you’ll notice that once upon a time, the main part of the city was entirely surrounded by a wall, which is still partly intact today, with the Phet Fortress being one part still standing in its original form.
Most of the ruins at this particular site are located in the north-western corner. There are also a number of temples to explore that bring a sense of historical resonance and beauty to the site. Of the temples, the largest is the Wat Phra Si Sanphet, notable for the headless statues of Buddha which feature prominently in its design.
Ayutthaya can be reached either by train, or by booking a day tour. It is well worth considering an overnight stay if you would like to visit Ayutthaya, as it’s located some 90 kilometres from Bangkok. There are numerous guesthouses in the locality, and many offer sunset tuk-tuk tours so you can see the city at night, in all its glory.