Postcards from Thailand #12: Ayutthaya, a True Wonder of this World

Wat Chaiwattanaram is one of the most imposing Buddhist monasteries in Ayutthaya in Thailand
Wat Chaiwattanaram is one of the most imposing Buddhist monasteries in Ayutthaya in Thailand

If you are in Thailand, you could choose to skip any attraction but not the ancient city of Ayutthaya. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, fully deserving of its status, it was the Thai capital for 417 years. 

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Located 76 kms (48 miles) north of Bangkok, it is accessible by road, train and even on a boat on the Chao Phraya river. The city itself is an open-air museum of art and architecture. Founded in 1350 by King U-Thong  when the Thais were forced southwards by their not-so-friendly northern neighbours. Ayutthaya was the seat of power for 33 kings and several dynasties before it was sacked by the Burmese in 1767, leaving the city ruined and abandoned. It has since then been rediscovered, and is now a bustling town where the modern and ancient blend well.

The city is dotted with structures going back centuries, and all are marvels of art and architecture. You only need to drive around to come upon different locations, all competing for top honours. If you are in Thailand, Ayutthaya is not to be missed.

Travel Tips

  • Spend at least two days here – even if your travel advisor suggests only a day trip from Bangkok. But you can also go for one day excursion to the main sites if short of time.
  • There are hotels for all budgets.
  • Do ensure you visit the sites early morning and towards evening as the monuments looking beautiful in the rising and setting sun.
  • You can take a car, taxi, bus, train or a boat from Bangkok to get to Ayutthaya.
  • Local transport is not a problem – but best if you hire a car for the day to get around.

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