THAILAND  |  Ayutthaya, Thailand Travel Guide
Friday, August 7, 2020

Sighseeing in Ayutthaya


The city became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991 and attracts historians and temple lovers as a result. The Ayutthaya Historical Study Center on Rochana Road is a national research institute devoted to the study of Ayutthaya. The center is also responsible for Ayutthaya’s history museum, Chai Sam Phraya National Museum. Both the center and museum are open Wednesday through Sunday from 9am until 4pm; admission 40 Baht for both.

Temples & Palaces

Ayutthaya is a temple-lover’s dream come true. Although most were destroyed during the 1767 attack, many have been rebuilt over the years. Most of the city’s treasures and gold were taken by the Burmese, but surprisingly, during the rebuilding of some of the temples, treasures were found buried underground and are now on display, either on-site, at the Chai Sam Phraya museum (see above) or at the National Museum in Bangkok (see page 67). Today there are a dozen temples to visit, all spectacular in their way. One that did survive the Burmese attack was Wat Phra Meru, which has an impressive carved wooden ceiling, and an 18-foot-high Ayutthaya-style Buddha image that is covered in gold leaf.

The Viharn Phra Mongkol Bophit temple was originally built in 1610 and rebuilt in 1956. Its giant Buddha, one of the biggest in Thailand, spent 200 years in the open air before a new home was built. This is a favorite area for festivals (see below), and the adjoining park provides the perfect rest areas for locals and tourists. Look for elephants that provide rides around the park.

If you want to take a break from the tour of temples take a look at the Chankasem Palace, originally built during the reign of King Maha Thammaraja, the 17th Ayutthayan monarch. Destroyed in the 1767 attack, it remained a ruin until King Mongkut rebuilt it about 100 years later for his use during occasional visits to Ayutthaya.

One of the attractions that used to bring the royal family here was the rounding up of the wild elephants. The large enclosure, the elephant kraal, is made up of massive teak logs and provides an unusual photo opportunity although the last use of the kraal for capturing elephants was in May 1903 during King Chulalongkorn’s reign.

Last updated December 5, 2007
Posted in   Thailand  |  Ayutthaya
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