One of Asia’s most appealing ancient capital cities, Ayutthaya is an historic destination found in the central plains of Thailand, about one hour’s drive north of Bangkok. It was once the world’s largest and most prosperous city. Today, the ancient ruins in and around the Historical Park allow visitors to take a glimpse of Ayutthaya’s powerful presence from the past. Tourists will certainly enjoy this beautiful city.
Many of Ayutthaya’s best attractions are located in the Historical Park, which is very easy to find.
There are many important temples found within the Historical Park district of Ayutthaya. The largest temple ruins of Wat Phra Si Sanphet are well worth exploring, and next to this, Viharn Phra Mongkol Bopit entices tourists also. Another ruined wat that still provides some tremendous views and great ancient relics is Wat Ratchaburana.
Ayutthaya is home to plenty of elephant riding opportunities. Inside the old Historical Park, visitors can find an inexpensive elephant trail, where short rides and elephant feeding are offered. The village known as Elephantstay also gives tourists an unforgettable opportunity to see the world’s largest land mammal up close.
Thanks to Ayutthaya’s historical significance, visitors can find plenty of must-see museums too. After the city was looted by Burmese invaders several hundred years ago, many of the treasures and important relics were destroyed or stolen. Those that were left behind have been well-preserved at the Chao Sam Phraya Museum. The former residence of King Naresuan, which was built in the late 1500s, has also been turned into an inviting museum, known as Chantharakasem National Museum.
Restaurants and Bars
There's a good range of restaurants in Ayuthaya, some of which cater mainly for international tourists, while others offer authentic Thai cuisine. Boat noodle dishes are popular here. These small bowls of noodles are delicious, but small, so ordering five or more bowls is common. The night markets in Ayuthaya also offer a tremendous range of local Thai cuisine, especially foreign favourites like pad Thai and som tam. There are several great bars located within Ayutthaya. Most are found along Soi Torgorsor, and provide visitors with live music, good social atmosphere and plenty of drinks.
The best place for shopping in Ayutthaya is at the night markets, which are found in two separate areas of the city. Vendors usually begin selling produce and items at about 16:30, and finish at about 21:30. Tourists can find some great bargains for clothes, souvenirs and even meals. The Chao Phrom Market is a day-market that caters more for locals, so souvenirs are harder to find. Nevertheless, great discounts on clothing, jewellery and handicrafts are available.