Ayutthaya, cradled in the heart of Thailand, is a tapestry of yesteryears, weaving tales of grandeur, culture, and tradition. Once the shimmering jewel of the Kingdom of Siam, its bustling ports echoed with trade stories, while its palaces and temples showcased architectural marvels. Even though time has left its mark, Ayutthaya’s spirit stands resilient, offering a voyage through its storied past.
Steeped in history and culture, here’s a curated guide to immersing yourself in the essence of Ayutthaya:
- Historic Temples: Walk amidst the ruins of Wat Phra Si Sanphet, once the grandest temple in the city, or marvel at the iconic stone Buddha head entwined within tree roots at Wat Mahathat.
- Boat Tour: Navigate the intricate waterways surrounding Ayutthaya, witnessing the breathtaking temples, local life, and stunning sunsets from a different vantage point.
- Ayutthaya Historical Park: Explore this UNESCO World Heritage site, housing a myriad of significant ruins that echo tales of a bygone era.
- Local Markets: Stroll through bustling local markets like Chao Phrom Market, where the air is thick with the aroma of traditional Thai delicacies and the buzz of haggling vendors.
- Culinary Journey: Satiate your taste buds with local dishes such as boat noodles or the city’s famous giant river prawns.
- Elephant Camps: Experience the majestic elephants, once an emblem of the city’s nobility, at the local camps, but ensure they follow ethical practices.
- Cycling Tours: Pedal through the city’s narrow lanes, discovering hidden gems and soaking in its tranquillity.
- Ayutthaya Floating Market: Immerse yourself in traditional Thai culture, shopping and dining amidst vendors on boats, set against a backdrop of ancient architecture.
- Traditional Crafts: Dive into the art of crafting traditional Thai swords or visit the local handicraft centers to appreciate the city’s artistic heritage.
Ayutthaya beckons with open arms, promising a journey that transcends time, transporting you to chapters of magnificence, resilience, and indomitable spirit. Let the echoes of ancient bells, the whispers of ruins, and the flavors of tradition guide your exploration.
Visit the Ayutthaya Historical Park
Ayutthaya’s historical park, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a fascinating attraction that offers a glimpse into the rich cultural and historical legacy of this ancient city. Home to numerous ruins of ancient temples and palaces, it is a must-visit destination for history buffs and culture enthusiasts alike. Through its remarkable ruins, visitors can sense the history and culture of the 35 kings who once ruled from here. Despite being destroyed by the Burmese invasion, the remaining ruins continue to tell the story of this historically significant place, leaving visitors with a sense of awe and appreciation for the enduring legacy of Ayutthaya.
Location: Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13000, Thailand
Timings: Opens daily from 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM
Admission Fee: Visitors can get free entry.
How to go Ayutthaya Historical Park:
By Train – You can take a train from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Station to Ayutthaya Station. The journey takes about 1-2 hours depending on the type of train you take. Once you arrive at Ayutthaya Station, you can take a tuk-tuk or taxi to the Historical Park.
By Bus – You can take a bus from Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit) to Ayutthaya Bus Station. The journey takes about 1-2 hours depending on the traffic. From the bus station, you can take a tuk-tuk or taxi to the Historical Park.
Explore the Wat Chaiwatthanaram
Wat Chaiwatthanaram was known to be a royal temple constructed exclusively for the King and his family to worship. However, now it’s a popular landmark for tourists to visit. This is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved temples in Ayutthaya. This temple boasts of a unique Khmer-style architecture that leaves visitors in awe. Surrounded by a moat, the temple’s grandeur is further enhanced at night when it is lit up, making it a spectacular sight to behold.
Wat Chaiwatthanaram offers visitors a chance to experience Thai culture through its food. There are many local restaurants and street vendors around the temple that serve authentic Thai cuisine. Visitors can indulge in a variety of local delicacies, including spicy papaya salad, Pad Thai, and Tom Yum soup, to name a few.
Location: Tambon Ban Pom, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
Timings: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Entry Fee: THB 50 per person
How to Reach Wat Chaiwatthanaram:
By Train – It is best to get to Ayutthaya by taking the train from Hua Lamphong railway station in exchange for THB 15
By Car – Many visitors opt for reaching the Uthong Road via minivans and cross over the bridge spanning the Chao Phraya River to reach their destination.
Take a boat tour in Ayutthaya
For those seeking a unique and scenic experience in Ayutthaya, a boat tour along the Chao Phraya River is a must-try activity. This tour offers a different perspective of the city’s attractions and allows visitors to enjoy picturesque views of the surrounding countryside. In addition to showcasing Ayutthaya’s landmarks, a boat trip also provides an opportunity to explore the different canals and rivers around the city. Whether you are looking for a peaceful escape or an adventure, a boat tour along the Chao Phraya River promises to be a memorable experience.
Cost of Boat Tour: On average, a private long tail boat tour for a group of 4-6 people for a 2-hour tour can cost around 1,500-2,000 Thai Baht.
Feed and play with elephants Ayutthaya Elephant Palace & Royal Kraal
One of the things to do in Ayutthaya is to go and spend time with elephants at the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace. A visit to the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace is an unforgettable experience for animal lovers. The palace is home to a number of elephants, and one of the must-visit places in the palace is the Elephant Camp, which serves as a resting place for the elephants and their mahouts. Visitors can watch the elephants from outside the courtyard, take pictures with them, and even feed them some food.
The highlight of the Elephant Palace is the small elephant shelter located at the front of the elephant yard. This is where visitors can interact with the gentle giants and participate in activities such as playing with them. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by the staff, and there is a photography service available for those who want to capture memories of their time with the elephants. On weekends and public holidays, visitors can enjoy the elephant show, accompanied by live music and dances. It’s an exciting activity that showcases the intelligence and grace of these majestic creatures.
Location: Pa Thon Rd, Pratu Chai Sub-district, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
Timings: Opens daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Ticket Price: 400 THB for approximately 10 minutes of ride.
Try the local cuisine
Ayutthaya, an ancient city steeped in history and culture, offers a unique experience for travellers interested in exploring the architecture and traditions of ancient times. In addition to discovering the city’s historical attractions, Ayutthaya also offers a tantalising culinary adventure, with locally-owned eateries serving up some of Thailand’s most famous and delicious dishes.
Go ahead and try the region’s iconic foods such as Kuay Teow Reua (Boat Noodles), Roti Sai Mai (Rolled Pancakes with Candy Floss), Khao Mok Kai, and the Grilled Giant River Prawns which are commonly found in many Thai seafood restaurants. Indulging in these local delicacies is an essential part of the Ayutthaya experience, providing a unique and memorable insight into the city’s cultural and culinary heritage.
Visit the Bang Pa-In Palace
The Bang Pa-In Summer Palace, located just a few miles down the Maenam Chao Phraya from Ayutthaya, is a stunning site that showcases the grandeur and elegance of Thai architecture. The palace complex boasts an eclectic mix of architectural styles, reflecting the influence of Thai, Chinese, and European design. The buildings are set amidst a vast park featuring ponds and waterways, creating a serene and picturesque atmosphere. You can explore the palace’s various structures, including the intricately designed Chinese-style Wehat Chamrun building and the stunning Italian-inspired palace of Ho Withun Thasana.
A visit to the Bang Pa-In Summer Palace is a unique opportunity to marvel at the exquisite craftsmanship and architectural diversity of Thai palaces. It’s an ideal destination for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts looking to explore the country’s cultural treasures.
Location: Bang Pa-In Royal Palace, Ban Len, Bang Pa-in District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
Timings: Opens daily 8 AM to 4 PM
Ticket Price: THB 100
Explore the Ayutthaya Floating Market
The Ayutthaya Floating Market is an ideal destination for those seeking an enriching and unforgettable cultural experience. With its commitment to preserving Thai arts and traditions, the market serves as a valuable educational resource for people of all ages, while also providing an immersive and enjoyable way to experience the beauty and charm of Ayutthaya.
The market offers a perfect blend of cultural education and entertainment, attracting both domestic and international tourists alike. The beautifully crafted Thai-style environment creates a pleasant atmosphere that complements the gorgeous scenery, making it a popular tourism hub. Visitors can explore the market’s extensive offerings, from traditional Thai handicrafts to local delicacies, all while immersing themselves in the unique Thai culture and way of life.
Apart from the typical shopping, you can witness the traditional costumes, stunning architecture, unique culture and traditions, authentic amusements, folk performances, and the simple lifestyles of Thai people.
Location: 65/19 Phai Ling, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
Timings: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Entry Fee: Entry Fee is THB 200 for foreigners.
Take a bicycle tour
Rent a bike and explore Ayutthaya’s sights at your own pace. There are several bicycle rental shops in the city. Cycling in Ayutthaya is a great idea for getting around the ruins and is a fun and informative way of sightseeing. Biking around the ruins at the Historical Park is one of the most enjoyable activities in the city, in addition to being safe.
Thanks to paved paths and short distances between the temples, biking is a really easy and safe way of getting around. Plus, the city is a manageable size so biking in and around the city is a no-brainer. So hop on a bike and explore Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, Wat Mahathat, the Chao Phrom Market and so much more! It is truly one of those things to do in Ayutthaya that you would not want to miss.
Cost of Renting a Bicycle: The cost of renting a bicycle in Ayutthaya is anywhere between THB 50 to THB 80.
Visit the Ayutthaya Night Market
The Ayutthaya Night Market, also known as Krungsri Market, offers a glimpse into the past with its charming decorations. From canon replicas to old-fashioned shops and kiosks, the market is steeped in history and offers a unique shopping experience. As visitors stroll through the market, they will come across a variety of Thai traditional merchandise, and delicious foods such as Boat Noodle, Thai desserts, sugar palm juice, and Namtan Sod. The market also offers a range of handicrafts and toys that are a call back to simpler times, invoking feelings of nostalgia and fond memories.
Overall, the Ayutthaya Night Market is a must-visit destination for those seeking a unique and immersive cultural experience. With its appealing adornments and traditional offerings, the market is an ideal place to discover the beauty and richness of Thai culture and traditions.
Location: Bang Ian Road, Tha Wasukri, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
Timings: Opens daily from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM
How to Reach Ayutthaya Night Market:
By train: Ayutthaya is well-connected by train from Bangkok, with several trains departing from Hua Lamphong Station daily. The journey takes around 1-2 hours depending on the type of train, and the market is just a short tuk-tuk or taxi ride away from the train station.
By bus: There are also frequent buses that run between Bangkok and Ayutthaya, with buses departing from the Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2) and the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai). The journey takes around 2-3 hours depending on traffic, and you can easily find a tuk-tuk or taxi to take you to the market from the bus station.
The Million Toy Museum
Relive the joys of childhood at the Million Toy Museum, a vibrant blue and white two-story building filled with an incredible collection of toys, dolls, and collectibles. Here you will find a vast array of figures and models of beloved cartoon characters from Japan and America, such as Crayon Shinchan, Superman, Hello Kitty, Dragon Ball etc. The museum is sure to captivate the imagination of both children and adults alike.
Every weekend, children can participate in exciting activities, such as fable telling and art classes. In addition to the impressive collection of toys and figures, there is also a zone showcasing ancient utensils, some of which are rare and imported, making this museum an intriguing destination for visitors of all ages. If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to spend an afternoon in Ayutthaya, the Million Toy Museum is definitely worth a visit. It is indeed one of the fun things to do in Ayutthaya with your family.
Location: On the city island, U-thong Road, opposite Pratu Chai School.
Timings: Every day except Mondays, from 09:00 AM to 04:00 PM
Entry Fee: THB 50 for Adults and THB 20 for child
Shop at Ayutthaya City Park
Despite popular perception among tourists that Ayutthaya only has temples and museums to offer, there are plenty of shopping opportunities to be found in this city. One such destination is the Ayutthaya City Park, which provides a great chance for shoppers to indulge in some retail therapy. Ayutthaya City Park shopping centre offers a refreshing change from the quaint old-world charm of Ayutthaya. The contemporary design of the shopping complex, with its clean lines, fountains, and open spaces, creates a serene and elegant ambiance that’s perfect for a respite from the heat of the day. Spend a few hours shopping and relaxing in this tranquil setting.
In addition, the food court is another highlight, featuring a wide variety of fast food shops, restaurants, and even a Sushi train. Ayutthaya City Park truly offers everything you could need under one roof, making it a convenient one-stop destination for all your shopping and dining needs during your holiday.
Location: Khlong Suan Phlu, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
Timings: 10:00 AM to 09:00 PM
How to reach:
There are several ways to reach the shopping centre:
By Car: You can take Highway No. 1 (Phahonyothin Road) and turn right at the Nonthaburi intersection onto Highway No. 309 (Bang Bua Thong-Nakhon Luang Road). Continue straight until you reach Ayutthaya City Park.
By Train: Take the train from Bangkok’s Hualamphong Station to Ayutthaya Station. From there, you can take a tuk-tuk or taxi to Ayutthaya City Park.
By Bus: Take a bus from Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit) to Ayutthaya. From there, you can take a tuk-tuk or taxi to Ayutthaya City Park.
Japanese Village, Ayutthaya
With a plethora of intriguing exhibits on display, the Japanese Village is a must-visit destination that provides valuable insights into Ayutthaya’s economic history. Despite being an underrated site, this charming village remains a promising display of fascinating artefacts and videos, providing visitors with an unforgettable glimpse into the past.
The Japanese Village is also known as “Baan Yippon.” It was once part of a Japanese compound; this exhibition showcases the unique lifestyle and history of Japanese immigrants who settled in Ayutthaya. For history enthusiasts and photographers, the Japanese Village serves as a captivating portal into the dynamic and rich history of Ayutthaya’s migrant community.
Location: Ko Rian, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
Timings: 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Time Required: 1-2 hours
Entry Fee: Adults: THB 50, Students: THB 20
How to reach the Japanese Museum Ayutthaya: To reach the Japanese Village or Japanese museum in Ayutthaya, you can take a taxi, tuk-tuk, or rent a bicycle from the Ayutthaya city centre. The museum is located in the eastern part of Ayutthaya, about 5 kilometres from the city centre.