Top Tourist Attractions in Ayutthaya
What’s to see in the historic city of Ayutthaya? The remains of history, of course. Being the second capital of the ancient Siamese Kingdom, Ayutthaya holds a special place in the history of Thailand. Take a look back into the city’s glorious past and feel connected to its history by visiting some of its historical attractions.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
A temple like no other in Ayutthaya, this royal temple was intended not to have any resident monks and novices. In the glory days of the Ayutthaya kingdom, the Wat Phra Si Sanphet was the largest and most important temple in the city, and the only one located inside the grand palace compound. The ancient temple was brought to its ruins at the invasion of the Burmese.
Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit
The modern-looking temple is actually an ancient temple with a storied history. It houses a huge bronze Buddha statue enshrined in a mondop (a tier-top structure), the current structure replacing the previous one destroyed by lightning. Greatly damaged during the second Ayutthaya-Burmese war, the temple went through a grand renovation in 1956.
St Joseph Church
Standing brightly along the south bank of the Chao Phraya River, the historic church was constructed in 1666 to serve the Catholic missionaries and their flock, thanks to the donation of land and assistance from the reigning monarch of the time. First constructed out of wood, the church was later rebuilt out of bricks. The church was a shelter for the Siamese people during the second Ayutthaya-Burmese war. Later destroyed in 1767, it was fully restored in 1847 with more Romanesque details.
Wat Phra Mahathat
Built a few years before that of Wat Phra Si Sanphet, the Wat Phra Mahathat was intended to house the holy relics of the Buddha. The temple is famous for the head of a Buddha image that is hidden by tree roots. The temple also did not escape destruction by the Burmese.
The first wall around the city was a moat and mound enclosed with wooden stakes. The defense of the city was later strengthened with the construction of a wall made out of brick, laterite, and plaster. During the occupation of the Burmese, new walls were built and extended to the river banks. The arrival of the Portuguese helped to make the walls thicker, stronger, and better fortified. Today, parts of the walls remain and can be seen in some parts of Ayutthaya.
Pom Khao Pluak
One of the remaining fortresses of Ayutthaya, the Pom Khao Pluak was the largest and most important of all the fortresses. The fortress stands next to other historic attractions in the city.
If there’s a Thai city every tourist should visit for its history, Ayutthaya it is.