Ayutthaya is a historical city located north of Bangkok. The city is famous for it’s temples. Learn how to spend a day in Ayutthaya viewing these famous temples, eating at the market, cooling off inside museums, and watching Thai movies. You can either spend the night in the city and start with the itinerary upon waking, or drive from Bangkok in the morning and see everything before spending the night.
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Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
First stop, Wat Yai Chai Mongkon. This temple is the number one attraction in Ayutthaya. A bridge welcomes you across the water canal, where you might be fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of a water monitor, at the entrance. The original monastery here, built in the mid 1300s, was the cremation site of two Ayutthaya princes, Chao Kaeo and Chao Thai. In 1592, King Naresuan defended the site against an invading Burmese army. The site then became known as Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, or the Great Temple of the Auspicious Victory.
The largest chedi reaches high into the sky making it very visible to the surrounding area. You may walk up the stairs to the top where a well exists. It has become tradition to drop coins into the well and make a wish. Statues line in a row against a wall looking torwards the chedi. On the other side, a large reclining Buddha is present, although it is a recreation of a previous one that was looted by intruders.
Ayutthaya Floating Market
Next, grab lunch at Ayutthaya Floating Market. The market is a tourist site for Thai people. Here you are able to watch a drama unfold that tells a story of Thailand’s history. I really appreciated the many flags that show the evolution of Thai political history. For lunch I recommend eating Som Tum Papaya and Whole Fried Fish. Ask for Som Tum Thai to get the version popular in Bangkok that uses fish sauce. The other option, popularized in Isaan territory, includes a fermented, pungent, and chunky type of fish sauce known as Pla Ra. The whole fried fish served here is absolutely delicious! After eating, you may want to do a bit of shopping at the many stands that sell candies, desserts, shirts, and other souvenirs.
Wat Phra Mahatat
Prepare to see a banyan tree that has grown around the head of a Buddha statue at Wat Phra Mahatat. In my experience, more foreign visitors from Europe will be seen here than at Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, which is visited by more Asian tourists. Walk around the site and marvel at the architecture of the location. Included is part of a large wall that has survived destruction. Wat Phra Mahatat is also known as the Temple of the Great Relic, and once housed a Buddha image of green stone. The relic is now kept at Wat Na Phra Men.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
King Ramathibodi I ordered a palace for his kingdom built and completed here in 1351. Ramathibodi, also known as U-Thong, then established Ayutthaya as the capital of the kingdom. In 1492, King Ramathibodi II built two chedi, which house the ashes of his father (the east chedi) and brother (the middle chedi). The third chedi was built later to house the remains of Ramathibodi II. These three chedi are what remains of the location after it was completely destroyed by invading Burmese. The historical location as the former palace of the capital of Ayutthaya make this a must see destination.
Ayutthaya National Art Museum
This photo of Ayutthaya National Art Museum is courtesy of TripAdvisor
The National Art Museum stands as a free exhibit that will allow you to escape the heat and cool off inside. The museum is small, but worth it for a break from the outside weather. There are a variety of displays including those from modern artists as well. Here you can get more insight on Ayutthaya history and it’s life in the past. Plus, they have free postcards!
The Sky Ayutthaya
Finish off the day with dinner, shopping, and a movie at The Sky Ayutthaya. This mall is very quiet making it a nice place to end the trip. Here you can decide on dinner options ranging from Thai, Japanese, and even KFC. Perhaps, even spend some time shopping the stores to work up an appetite beforehand. Cap your stay off at this shopping center with a movie. Get showtimes at Major Cineplex. Some movies in Thailand will have English subtitles, while others only have Thai voices. Thai cinemas often feature both American and Thai movies.