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Rediscovering Ayutthaya

Once one of the most advanced cities in the 14th century, Ayutthaya is a fascinating monument to Thailand's past.

by / Published: 19 Oct 2017

Rediscovering Ayutthaya
Photo: iStock

Not many people know that approximately 80km away from Bangkok lies Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of what was then called Siam. During the 14th century, Ayutthaya was considered one of the most advanced – diplomatically and technologically – cities in the world.

Strategically located on an island and connected to an intricate network of waterways and eventually the Gulf of Siam, it was an important and highly successful trading post.

In 1767, the Burmese attacked and destroyed the city. The capital moved to Bangkok, Ayutthaya was never rebuilt and what exists today is a genuine archaeological site and a UNESCO World Heritage zone. It’s nowhere near as extensive as Angkor Wat but makes for a great day trip from Bangkok.

Most visitors who come here for the day usually do so on a river cruise tour. Book this in Bangkok and you will be offered the choice of either going to Ayutthaya by road and returning by boat in time for the sunset or the other way round – morning boat there and return by road.

Either way, the journey on the Chao Phraya River is always very interesting. If you want to spend a night, there is
accommodation but it is quite basic and besides the ruins, there actually isn’t much to do, so one night will suffice.

Head to the historical park for a wander through Buddhist monasteries, temples and the remnants of what used to be a thriving ancient capital once stood. Climb the stupas (a word of warning: they’re narrow and steep) and imagine what it must have been like at its peak.

AirAsia and MAS have several daily flights to Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports. From Bangkok, it’s approximately over an hour’s drive to Ayutthaya.


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