Ayutthaya Travel Information

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.


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.


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 north-west of the island, while accommodation and nightlife is clustered around the north-east. As non-Siamese peoples were not allowed to live inside the city walls, the sights from foreign nations can be found outside of the island.

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).


                                               Headless Buddha statues, Wat Mahathat

Wat Phra MahathatNaresuan 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 sit on your knees to show respect, as it is considered holy by Thais. 50 baht.  
  • Wat Phra Si SanphetSri Sanphet Rd8AM-6PM, dailyThe 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-meter 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 BopitSri 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. 
  • Wat RatchaburanaNaresuan RdThis 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. 30 baht.  

                                                    Wiharn at Wat Thammikarat

  • Wat Thammikarat (วัดธรรมิกราช), U-Thong RdA 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 metres in length, with both feet gilded and inlaid with glass mosaic.
  • Wat Suwan Dararam, (Southeast of the 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 of the island). This fortress was the city's most important defensive structure in the 15th century. Originally built of wood in 1350 A.D. 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 RamSri Sanphet Road8AM-6PM, dailyThis 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.

                                                           Phra Chedi Suriyothai
  • Phra Chedi Suriyothai (เจดีย์พระศรีสุริโยทัย), U-Thong RdA white and gold coloured Chedi built as a memorial to a previous queen. Set in a 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
  • Wat Borom Phuttharam (วัดบรมพุทธาราม), (Inside Rajabhat University). Built some time during 1688–1703 during the reign of King Phetracha on his former residence area near the main gate of the southern city wall. Its location and area plan was confined to be in the north-south direction 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.


  • Ayutthaya Historical Study CentreRojana Rd (Rotchana Rd) 035245124, 035245123Interesting 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. 100 baht (foreigners).  
  • Baan HollandaThis museum is situated near the site of the Dutch lodge which was first built there in the 1630's. Baan Hollanda will open its doors in July 2011 and it aims at telling its audience about the Dutch settlement, how they worked, lived and interacted with Siamese society and court. The museum will provide informal learning by combining education with pleasure. The construction of the building has just been finished which means that the museum is one step closer to its opening! 
  • Chao Sam Phraya National MuseumMost 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.  
  • Chantharakasem National MuseumUthong Rd 035251586, 035252795Wed - Sun 9am - 4pmFormer residence of King Naresuan the Great, built 1577. 100 baht (foreigners)

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 ChaiwatthanaramSouthwest off the island on route 3413 (Take route 3263 off the island and turn left onto route 3413.). 8:30AM-5PM, dailyThe 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.  edit
  • Wat Na Phra ManeThis 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  edit
  • Wat Phanan Choeng (วัดพนัญเชิงวรวิหาร)), Bang Pa-in Rd (About 2 km southeast of town, turn south at the road 309 roundabout). 8:30AM-5PM, dailyA 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 donation.  edit
Chedi at Wat Phu Khao Thong
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.  edit
  • Wat Yai Chaimongkon (ดใหญ่ชัยมงคล หรือ วัดเจ้าพระยาไท), Bang Pa-in Rd (1 km east of Wat Phananchoeng). 8PM-6PM, dailyThe 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 SettlementThe 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 archaelogically 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 will open in July 2011. (more information in the 'Museums' section) 
  • Japanese SettlementThere'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. 


  • Chao Phrom MarketLocated 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.  


  • 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.  
  • MalakorChee 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 by tofu. Patrons have the choice of eating indoors or on the balcony. Also available is some of Ayutthaya's best coffee. Most mains 45-60 baht.  
  • Roti SaimaiU-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 RestaurantChee Kun RdServes 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 RestaurantKhlong Makham Rieng Rd (50 metres south from the junction with Naresuan Rd). early-2PM, dailyOne 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.


  • Wat Yai Coffee, (Road 3477, 2 minutes south after the roundabout from the center). Nice small coffee joint, served by the staff who are friendly (and a bit shy to foreigners). B25-45.  
The main traveller oriented area is Soi Torgorsor, between Pamaphrao Road and Naresuan Road opposite the western end of Chao Phrom Market. It has a number of bars staying open until late, some with projection screens for sports.
  • Street LampSoi TorgorsorStreet 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.  
  • Jazz BarSoi TorgorsorShares a food menu with Chang House next door but offers a better soundtrack. When the jazz band 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.  


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.


  • Ayutthaya Guest HouseA 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.  
  • BJ Guesthouse[3]Right before (diagobally opposite) P-U Guest House. Old Thai House, 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 rental and thai meals available. Double room (fan): 200 baht.  
  • The Lima Place139 Moo 2 Bankao Ayutthaya (1.5 km from Ayutthaya Railway Station),  086 8892389[4]. checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00The hotel has 75 rooms. Prices are 562/618 baht net for air conditioning king/twin bed, and for electric fan equipped room king/twin bed 450/506 baht net. [5]  
  • Mint Guest HouseLocated within the alley right in front of the train station. Clean rooms with fan and a separate washroom. Plus points; its within sight of the train station and night market manned by a friendly, jovial owner. It's a bit off the main attractions but motorbikes can be rented out for a mere 150 baht a day. 200 baht.  
  • P-U Guest HouseDespite its name, the place provides very clean rooms for a decent rate (~500 Baht for twin with fan and private bath, some knowledge of Thai may net you a small discount). It's 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. Well worth a look but this is one of the most expensive as it is the best on Soi Torgosor. Free WIFI too. 250-600 baht.  edit
  • Sherwood House (known to locals as the MM Pool), 1/25 Dechawut Road, Ayutthaya 086-6660813[6]Well located in the heart of downtown, this cozy guesthouse 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 food and Western food, and bicycle rentals. Fan double 290 baht, Air-con double 390. Shared bathroom. Free wifi.  
  • 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.  

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