You have a range of things to do in Ayutthaya if you are looking to take a trip to the place. Once a historic city known for being a center for global commerce and diplomacy, it has now become an archaeological ruin. The city was founded back in the year 1350 and it flourished during the period of the fourteenth to the eighteenth century. It was situated on an island and enclosed by 3 rivers connected to the ocean.
During 1767, the Burmese militia burned the city down and forced its people to leave the city. The remains of Buddhist monasteries and tall prang or reliquary towers of monumental magnitudes tell tales of the city’s history.
Kingdoms competed for this center of trade for valuable positions as others watched jealously before the city was demolished to the ground. The historically rich city once called home by a million residents may have perished, but the ruins retain its past. We’ll talk about the top ten things to do in Ayutthaya if you’re in the area or hoping to visit.
10 Things to Do in Ayutthaya
1. Take a Trip to Wat Phra Si Sanphet
First in our things to do in Ayutthaya list is Wat Phra Sri Sanphet. This is a temple situated in the Pratu Chai subdistrict of the Phra Nakorn Si Ayutthaya district in the province of Ayutthaya. Somdet Phra Borom Tilokkanat decided to turn the royal house of King U-thong into a sacred area after succeeding the throne. The house afterward became the temple people hold sacred today.
Thais have considered the temple as a spiritual center for a very long time and currently, it is considered as the Ayutthaya province’s symbol. The main structures of the monastery are ranged from East to West.
You will have to pay a fee of 50 Baht to gain access to the temple. It is open every day of the week from 8 AM to 6 PM. You can easily access the temple by bicycle or Tuk-Tuk, for 30 Baht or so, from the town’s center.
2. Check out the Wat Mahathat
You can find the Wat Mahathat monastery in the middle part of Ayutthaya at the subdistrict of Tha Wasukri. It is placed around the same place as Wat Ratchaburana, standing on the Khlong Pratu Khao Pluak’s west bank.
The temple preserved relics of Buddha, and seated Buddhism’s Supreme Patriarch, making it the focal point of Buddhism for the kingdom. The king completed various important ceremonies in it as it was a royal temple, such as the Royal Kathin.
The entrance fee and the opening hours are the same as the Wat Phra Si Sanphet. To get to the Wat Mahathat temple, take a boat to Chang Pier, and walk away from it, towards the courtyard. Turning left towards the road to walk up the Mahathat Road will lead you to merchants selling various things. The Wat Mahathat entrance will be around 100 yards up that street.
3. Visit the Wat Ratchaburana
For the next pick in our list of things to do in Ayutthaya, you can visit the Wat Ratchaburana temple. The temple can be found on the Naresuan Road and Chikun Road’s corner. It is just on the opposite of Wat Mahathat in the area of the past Pa Than bridge.
After King Intharacha I’s passing, his oldest two sons fought for the throne, but both of them died. Prince Sam Phraya, his 3rd son, then took over the throne and built the temple where the two sons were cremated. However, the invasion by the Burmese in 1767 destroyed the temple.
The entrance fee is the same as the other two, so you have to pay 50 Baht per person. You can get to Wat Ratchaburana the same way as Wat Mahathat as it’s just on the north side of the road.
4. Explore the History at Chao Sam Phraya National Museum
The Chao Sam Phraya National Museum is a great place if you want to get acquainted with the history of Ayutthaya. It’s situated on Rojana Road, Tum Bon Pratoo Chai, on the opposite of Phranakhon Si Ayutthaya Rajabhat University.
This museum is divided into three different buildings. The first one shows antiques found from various periods through the renovations and excavations of 1956 to 1957. The other two buildings show ancient artifacts from eleven to twenty-four Buddhist century and ancient appliances of Thai households.
You can visit the museum between 9 AM to 4 PM from Wednesday to Sunday. It costs 150 Baht per person to enter the place. To get there, go through the Great Bridge (Somdet Phra Naresuan) from the downtown of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province. After going through two traffic stops/lights, you can find the museum on the latter stop on your right.
5. Enjoy the Sights of Wat Yai Chai Mongkol
Another pick in our ten things to do in Ayutthaya list is visiting Wat Yai Cai Mongol. You can go to the Wat Yai Chai Mongkol situated off the island, around the southeastern part of Ayutthaya.
The surroundings indicate that the place was enclosed by a huge moat in the old times. Traces show that there were olden canals in west and east of this temple. King Ramathibodhi I had the temple made
as a commemoration for the two princes who passed away from cholera.
You can visit the monastery on any day of the week between the time of 8 AM to 5 PM. The entry fee is 20 Baht. While going to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya from Bangkok, take a left turn once you come across the Chedi Wat Sam Pluem. The temple will be on the left after going 1km straight down the road.
6. Take a Peek and the Beauty of Wat Na Phra Men
Wat Na Phra Men is another sight you can go and see while visiting Ayutthaya. The temple stands along the Lob Buri River’s north bank and Khlong Sra Bua in the subdistrict of Tha Wasukri. It is just to the opposite of the olden Grand Palace.
Fortunately, during the Burmese invasion, the temple did not get destroyed. The ubosot or ordination hall faces towards the south while measuring around 50 by 16 meters. You will find several octagonal columns inside of the hall. The temple is a great sightseeing place if you have an interest in archaeology and history.
The site is open to visitors every day of the week from 8 AM to 5 PM with a 150 Baht fee. If you take the Ayutthaya Municipal Road, it will take around twenty minutes to reach the temple.
7. Drop by the Wat Suwandararam
Next in our ten things to do in Ayutthaya list is the active monastery named Wat Swandararam. The area was populated with a Chinese trader’s community back in the Ayutthaya times, and the monastery sits near Pom Phet fort. Formerly, the name of the temple was Wat Thong or Golden Temple during the end of the Ayutthaya era.
The main structure of attraction of the place is the ubosot as there is a skillfully carved gable made of wood. You can see different mythological figures displayed on it. There’s another structure, the Viharn with murals, that depict King Naresuan’s story.
You can visit the temple during its opening hours of 8 AM to 6 PM on any day of the week. The fee per person is 50 Baht, and you can find it in the Southeast part of the town close to Pom Phet.
8. See the Remains of the Bang Pa-in Palace
Bang Pa-in Palace can be quite the sight to see coming dating back to the Ayutthaya times. King Prasart Thong built the palace, and later King Mongkut rebuilt the palace after it was uninhabited for a long time.
You will see two main zones of the palace, the inner zone and the outer zone. The inner part is dedicated to the royal family’s use while the outer part is open for the regular people. There is a ton of things in the palace for you to go around and see.
The palace is open to visitors every day from 8:30 AM to 5 PM. You will need to pay 100 Baht per person to gain entry. To reach the palace, you can take a train from the train station of Hua Lum Pong in Bangko. It will take you to the train station in Bang Pa-in.
9. Observe the Renowned Wat Phutthaisawan
The Wat Phutthaisawan sits at the Chao Phraya River’s south bank in a part named Samphao Lom. The monastery’s complex faces towards the east and has border with Chao Phraya River in the north.
During Somdet Phra Ramathibodi I or King U-thong, it was the most renowned and important royal temple. Legend says that the king ordered to build the temple before going and founding Ayutthaya. You can see numerous remains of history, such as the Khmer-style Prank above pagoda base of Pai-tee.
Similar to the other monasteries, you will need to pay 50 Baht per person to visit the temple. It is open to the visitors, week-long, between 8 AM to 5 PM. From Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, you can get to the temple through route 2053 and then 3469.
10. Avoid Riding Elephants At All Cost
You have a plethora of sights to see and things to do in Ayutthaya once you reach the place. However, it would be in the best interest of the animals, if you avoid those cheap rides.
Riding elephants may seem like an enjoyable activity to do and you’ll see a lot of people offering elephant rides here and there. Though the activity may appear quite harmless to you, a lot is going on behind the inhumane scenes.
For these elephant rides, people torture and beat the elephants to the point where their spirits break. Eventually, they start listening to the instructions of their trainers. People are now criticizing the practice, although there are a lot of these still around.
Why is Ayutthaya Attractive for Tourists?
The reminiscent ruins may be the key reason for tourists to visit this olden city, but there are many other things to do in Ayutthaya. Combining Chinese and European influences with traditional Thai aspects, there are pagodas, statues, halls, and pavilions. These will surely enchant you.
Apart from the ruins, you can take boat rides around the city, watch water shows in Klong Sa Bua, and much more. For quite low expenses, you get to witness the beauty of culture and history and get a ton of things to do in Ayutthaya.
Explore more in Northern Thailand in: 10 Best Places To Visit In Northern Thailand
How to Get to Ayutthaya?
Ayutthaya is less than a hundred kilometers from Bangkok, Thailand. There are various options available depending on your budget, such as tour groups, buses, trains, and taxis.
Train: You can take the trains that leave form the Hua Lam Phong station at the center of the city. These trains leave every hour and cost between 20 to 330 Baht for different classes of seats. The ride will tale about two hours to reach Ayutthaya.
Taxi: You can feel free to take a taxi to Ayutthaya if you don’t feel like riding public transports. The taxi rides will get you to the city for around a thousand baht. You can negotiate with the driver for a return trip and a tour of the olden city for two and a thousand baht.
Bus: Bus rides take less time than trains and can get you to Ayutthaya in about 90 minutes. Get to Mo Chit station where buses start from twice every hour. BTS sky trains will take you to Mo Chit where motorbike taxis can take you to the correct bus for Ayutthaya in five to ten minutes. The bus ride costs 50 Baht.
Mini-Van: You can ride mini-vans that leave from the victory monument for Ayutthaya. These cost about a hundred baht and take about an hour to reach the city.
If you are looking to take a break from your busy life and go on a great trip alone, with friends or with family, Ayutthaya is a brilliant choice. There are plenty of things to do in Ayutthaya to make the trip memorable and interesting. We have picked out the ten things to do in Ayutthaya that we think are the best. That way you can get to the best parts right away.