Ayutthaya is a province in Central Thailand located about 1 hour away from the capital Bangkok. Thailand’s largest river, the Chao Phraya flows through the province. The vast majority of foreign tourists to the province visit Ayutthaya Historical Park, the old capital of the Ayutthaya Kingdom.
To do & see in Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya province houses many historical, cultural and natural attractions.
Ayutthaya Historical Park
Ayutthaya Historical Park is located on an island surrounded by three rivers. The park marks the site of the capital of the Ayutthaya Kingdom which was founded halfway the 14th century. Over the course of several centuries three Royal Palaces and hundred of temples were build, including important temples as the Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Ratchaburana and Wat Chaiwatthanaram that have been restored by the Thai Fine Arts Department.
Ayutthaya was one of the largest and most prosperous empires of its time. In 1767 the Burmese armies ended the Kingdom wen they invaded and destroyed the capital. Today Ayutthaya Historical Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bang Pa-In Summer Palace
Just a few kilometers from Ayutthaya is Bang Pa-In Summer Palace. In a park like setting with fountains and ponds are a number of Palace buildings in various styles including Thai, Chinese and neo classical European. The original early 17th century Palace was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767 and rebuild by King Chulalongkorn in the second half of the 19th century. Today the Palace is still being used by the Thai Royal Family; not all buildings are open to the public.
Boat trips & dinner cruises
A boat trip is a relaxing and enjoyable way to see the river area and Ayutthaya Historical Park. Tour around the island enjoying the river scenery with great views of some of the less visited temples. A trip on a converted rice barge will cost about 300 Thai Baht per person.
For a private river boat tour, charter a longtail boat at Chan Kasem pier next to Hua Ro market, on the North East corner of the island. Another option is taking a dinner cruise offered by a local restaurant.
Khun Phaen’s House
Khun Phaen’s House or “Khum Khun Phaen” is a classic Thai style house on stilts, made entirely out of teak wood. The house is named after Khun Phaen, one of the leading characters from a Thai folklore legend and classic poem. Khun Phaen’s House was constructed towards the end of the 19th century, build on the site where the prison used to be where the poem tells Khun Phaen was locked up. Khun Phaen’s Residence is located on Si Sanphet road, on the historical island in the center of Ayutthaya town. The house opens daily from 8 am until 5 pm.
Thai Boat Museum
The Thai Boat Museum is located in a traditional Thai style wooden building, the residence of the museum’s founder Mister Khaomala, a former boat builder and university professor, who build boats for the King of Thailand. A number of boats have been preserved in and around the house. Exhibited inside the museum are over a hundred wooden models, handmade by Mister Khaomala himself of all kinds of boats ranging from traditional Thai boats, Chinese junks to Western ocean liners and war ships, including several models of the Royal Barges. The museum also displays old photographs and maps, and provides information about the role of boats in Thai history.
The Thai Boat Museum is found on Bang Lan road, a few hundred meters East of the Wat Mahathat on the historical island in the center of town. Opening hours are daily from 8 am until 5 pm. Entrance is free, donations for the upkeep of the museum are appreciated.
Getting to Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya is located about 85 kilometers North of Bangkok and can be reached by train, bus or private taxi.
The city of Ayutthaya is very well connected to Bangkok by rail. About once per hour a train departs from Bangkok Hualamphong station to Ayutthaya. The trip takes between 1 hour and 20 minutes to 2 hours. Fares are 15, 35, 66 Baht for third, second and first class respectively. For more information, check the State Railway of Thailand website.
Ordinary and air conditioned busses to Ayutthaya depart from Bangkok Northern bus terminal Mo Chit II on Kamphaeng Phet 2 road. The trip takes between 1½ to 2 hours, depending on traffic. Fares are between 30 to 60 Thai Baht depending on the type of service.