The 10 Best Things To See in Ayutthaya

A visit to Ayutthaya is a must during your trip to Thailand. Just 1.5 hours from Bangkok, you'll travel back in time and discover magnificent temple ruins. Ayutthaya was the capital of the Kingdom of Siam for hundreds of years, which was the name of Thailand until 1939. In 1767, when the Burmese invaded Siam, Ayutthaya was plundered and mostly destroyed. The temples remained abandoned for a long time until modern Ayutthaya was established a few miles away. Today, you can still witness the impressive grandeur of Ayutthaya with dozens of temples to explore. You can discover Ayutthaya in a day by bike or scooter, but it's also nice to stay overnight. Let us guide you and present the top 10 things to see!

How to get to Ayutthaya?

You probably visit Ayutthaya from Bangkok. The most enjoyable way to get to Ayutthaya is by train. The train journey takes 1.5 hours, and the cheapest train cost less than a dollar. If you prefer a bit more comfort, there are also trains with air conditioning available. Trains depart regularly, so it's best to inquire at the station for departure times.

The train departs from this station in Bangkok and stops at several other stations in the city. When you search for the public transit route from your location to Ayutthaya station on Google Maps, you'll see which station is closest to you.

Of course, you can also drive to Ayutthaya, which takes a little over an hour. Additionally, minivans run from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, starting from 4 USD per person.

Finally, you can book a tour from Bangkok through GetYourGuide. A tour includes transportation, a tour guide, and lunch for a fixed price. Ideal if you don't want to arrange everything yourself.

How to get around in Ayutthaya?

The best way to visit Ayutthaya's magnificent temples is by bike. It allows you to leisurely absorb the surroundings, and it's easy to park your bike at all the attractions.

When you arrive by train in Ayutthaya, you can rent a bike directly across from the station at Nonginine Motorbike Rental. It costs just a little over a dollar per bike for a day. Not a fan of cycling? You can also rent a scooter here for just over 5 USD for the whole day.

They provide you with a map of Ayutthaya with a suggested route. We largely follow this route in this article as it takes you to all the great sights in the city. One important difference is that we don't include a visit to the Elephant Palace in our tips. This is a place where you can ride elephants, which involves animal mistreatment, and we strongly advise against doing so. Instead of this location, we've included a beautiful reclining Buddha in the route.

Elephant rides in Ayutthaya

Riding elephants remains a prevalent tourist attraction in Thailand. Unfortunately, it involves separating young elephants from their mothers at a tender age, followed by the start of breaking the elephant's spirit. The objective is to torture the elephant until it becomes completely submissive, using knives, hooks, and sticks to the point of causing bleeding. Many young elephants do not survive this process. Subsequently, they are exploited their entire lives to generate income from tourists.

Therefore, it's crucial to avoid riding elephants. Fortunately, there are fewer Western tourists engaging in this activity. However, many Asian tourists still partake in this, leading to the presence of numerous elephants in Ayutthaya.

Route along the 10 best things to see

Following the route below, you'll pass by the 10 best sights in Ayutthaya. The route is suitable for both biking and scootering.

1. Wat Phra Mahathat

The first stop on the route is immediately one of the most famous temples. It's quite an extensive complex located adjacent to a park. You can easily park your bike here in the bike racks. The temple is particularly renowned for a Buddha head nestled among the roots of a tree. It's unclear how the statue ended up there, but there are several theories. Perhaps the Burmese left the head behind after destroying the temple, or a thief attempted to steal it but found the head too heavy to lift over the walls. We'll never know, and maybe that's exactly why the head in the tree attracts so many tourists.

Entrance fee: 50 baht

Tip: If you follow the route from the bike rental, you can cross the river by boat. It's a delightful experience and saves you a considerable distance of cycling. For a small fee, you and your bike will be ferried to the other side.

2. Wat Ratchaburana

This temple was constructed in the 15th century by King Borommarachathirat II in memory of his two brothers, who perished in a battle for the throne. The towers of this temple have remarkably remained well-preserved. Additionally, you'll find murals here depicting scenes from the life of Buddha and Buddhist legends.

Entrance fee: 50 baht

3. Wat Phra Si Sanphet

This temple was one of the most sacred temples in ancient Ayutthaya. It served as the royal monastery and was the site for important religious ceremonies. The temple is characterized by three stupas where the remains of former kings were enshrined. The ruins of these chedis can now be admired, making it one of the most beautiful attractions in Ayutthaya.

Entrance fee: 50 baht

4. Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit

This temple stands out from the other temples in Ayutthaya because it's not a ruin. Here, you'll find a large bronze Buddha statue from the 15th century. It's an important temple for Buddhists, and you'll see many locals here offering prayers.

Entrance fee: free

5. Wat Phra Ram

Wat Phra Ram was constructed in the 14th century by King Ramesuan in memory of his father. Particularly noteworthy is the central pagoda, which is remarkably beautiful. A pond surrounds the premises, making it a pleasant spot for a leisurely stroll.

Entrance fee: 50 baht

6. Wat Lokkayasutha (Wat Lokaya Sutharam)

This place is considerably less known and therefore not very touristy. Here, you'll find an enormous reclining Buddha measuring an impressive 37 meters (121 feet) long. It's worth stopping by and taking a look here. Besides the Buddha statue, there isn't much else to see.

Entrance fee: free

7. Wat Chaiwatthanaram

This temple is a bit further away, on the other side of the river. It's worth visiting as, in our opinion, it's the most beautiful temple in Ayutthaya. In terms of style, this temple can be compared to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Built in the 17th century by King Prasat Thong as a tribute to his mother, the temple features a large central pagoda surrounded by smaller pagodas and statues.

Entrance fee: 50 baht

8. Wat Phanan Choeng

To reach the next temple, you'll have a slightly longer ride on the bike or scooter. This temple is located south of the center, and to get there, you'll need to cross the large bridge that we previously bypassed with the boat trip. Due to its location, this temple is less touristy, and you'll mainly encounter locals here. It's a beautiful ancient temple built in 1324. Inside, there's an enormous golden Buddha.

Entrance fee: 20 baht

9. Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

This temple, also simply known as Wat Yai, is one of the most visited temples in Ayutthaya. Founded in the 14th century, it's renowned for its large stupa towering above the surrounding landscape. Here, you'll find a large reclining Buddha and numerous other statues.

Entrance fee: 20 baht

10. Floating Market

We conclude our tour of Ayutthaya with a visit to the floating market. The market itself isn't particularly exceptional, but due to its proximity to the train station and bike rental, it's worth a quick look. A significant downside, however, is that next to the market, there's a place offering elephant rides. Unfortunately, visiting the floating market inevitably involves encountering this nearby activity.

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About the authors

How nice that you are on our website and that you have read this article! We are Mirte and Matthew, two Dutch adventurers with a passion for traveling, discovering cultures, and gaining new experiences. We've translated our love for the world into this website. We hope our articles inspire you to go on adventures! You can learn more about us through the button below.
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