You can take it with you.
All of the information in this online guide is available as a handy ebook, in formats that can be read on any ereader or smartphone. Check out our ebook guides.
The main historical sights lie in the north-center area of the island. These sights can easily be explored on foot or, better, bicycle. A number of other very interesting sights can be found on the banks of the rivers opposite to the city, but these are much more spread out. You may need to rent a motorcycle or tuk-tuk to explore these. See our overall map for orientation.
The Inner City
These sights and attractions are all located on the island, within the walls of the old city. In addition to the sights listed here, the inner city is also home to two or three museums worth a visit.
- Wat Phra Si Sanphet
- The three bell-shaped chedis of Wat Phra Si Sanphet have practically become a symbol of Ayutthaya. The temple stands almost in the center of the main area of the old capital.
- Wat Phra Ram
- Just across the street from Wat Phra Si Sanphet is the towering prang of Wat Phra Ram, an excellent example of a Khmer style temple from the begining of the Ayutthaya period.
- Wat Ratchaburana
- Closer to the current city center, Wat Ratburana was built in 1424 to hold the ashes of the king's two older brothers, who killed each other fighting over the throne.
- Wat Mahathat
- The temple was built in the early days of Ayutthaya in the late 14th century by King Borommaracha I. The story goes that the king had a revelation, and relics of the Buddha then suddenly appeared. The temple was built to house the relics.
- Wat Lokaya Sutharam
- Large but near leveled temple behind the royal palace. The only thing left of interest is a large reclining Buddha.
- Wat Thammikarat
- Impressive but largely unvisited temple immediately east of the old royal palace area.
- Chan Kasem Museum
- Housed in the former 'Front Palace', this museum is perhaps more interesting for its architecture than its collection.
- Chao Sam Phraya Museum
- A rather dusty old fashioned museum, but the two treasure vaults on the second floor are not to be missed.
- Pom Phet Fortress
- One of the last remaining (restored) bits of the old city walls.
Across the Rivers
To the north, west and south of the island are several temples dating from the city's golden age, or even before. The remains of the Portuguese and Japanese communities are also just south of the island, on opposite sides of the Chaophraya River.
- Wat Phanan Choeng
- On the south side of Ayutthaya, right where the Chaophraya and Pasak rivers join up, is one of Ayutthaya's oldest temples, and one of its most lively to this day. The huge Buddha image around which the temple was built was cast in 1324.
- Wat Yai Chai Mongkon
- At the southeast edge of town lies the huge bell-shaped chedi of Wat Ya Chai Mongkon. The chedi was built in 1592 by one of Ayutthaya's greatest kings, Nareusan the Great, to commemorate a victory over the Burmese won in the same year. The temple itself was established earlier, in 1357, by King Ramathibodi as a meditation site for monks returning from pilgrimages to Sri Lanka.
- Wat Na Phra Mane
- This small but interesting temple just north of the royal island has played a very pivotal role in the history of Ayutthaya.
- Wat Phu Khao Thong (The Golden Mount)
- Out in the flat plain of rice fields and fish ponds northwest of town rises the stark white chedi of Wat Phu Khao Thong. The name literally translates to "Golden Mount."
- Wat Chai Wattanaram
- Standing right on the river, Wat Chai Wattanaram is, in our view, one of the most impressive of the remaining monuments of old Ayutthaya.
- Wat Phutthaisawan
- Almost due south of the old town, on the south bank of the Chaophraya River, is the very old temple of Wat Phutthaisawan. With its freshly whitewashed classically styled prang, the temple is easy to overlook. Most guidebooks do, but don't you make that mistake. The temple, with its skewed architecture, is quite interesting.