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A Day to Remember – Unveiling the Magic of Ayutthaya, Thailand

(Last Updated On: April 2, 2024)

Traveler Profile: Katie, UK

Location: Ayutthaya, Thailand

Time of Year: February

Travel Goals: Magic, history, adventure, photography, and luxury. 

Traveling with a group of friends, we flew into Don Mueang International Airport on an [very] early flight from Koh Samui and decided to take advantage of the airport’s proximity to Ayutthaya. Our guide and driver picked us up on time, and we headed off to explore. We grabbed a takeaway breakfast of Khao Tom (rice porridge) and Jok (rice congee), which offered a taste of local flavors, setting the tone for the day’s exciting cultural experience.

Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam, is a city steeped in history and culture, just a short journey from Bangkok. This UNESCO World Heritage site offers a glimpse into Thailand’s past through its magnificent ruins and temples. Spending a day here takes you back amidst the ancient architectural feats and serene landscapes that define this historic city.

The Royal Summer Palace (Bang Pa-In)

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / AofLine

The Royal Summer Palace, Bang Pa-In, highlights Thailand’s royal heritage, blending Thai, Chinese, and Gothic architectural styles since its 17th-century origins and 19th-century expansion by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V). This complex features diverse structures like the traditional Thai Aisawan Thiphya-Art Pavilion and the Chinese-style Wehart Chamrun mansion, surrounded by meticulously designed gardens. These elements reflect the Thai monarchy’s global influences and commitment to cultural preservation amidst modernization. Today, Bang Pa-In serves both as a royal retreat and a cultural attraction, symbolizing Thailand’s rich history and its balance of tradition and modernity.

Wat Mahathat

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / iPhoto-Thailand

Wat Mahathat in Ayutthaya, a key historical and spiritual site, showcases the city’s past glory and spiritual depth through its architecture and the iconic Buddha head entwined in tree roots. Established for Buddhist education and severely impacted by the Burmese invasion in 1767, the temple’s ruins, particularly the Buddha head, symbolize nature’s reclaim over man-made structures and Buddhism’s resilience. Wat Mahathat was a center for Theravada Buddhism, drawing scholars and monks for study and meditation. Today, its preservation underscores the importance of cultural heritage, inviting respectful exploration of its historical and spiritual layers.

Lunch at Sala Ayutthaya Eatery and Bar

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / Mongkolp

Lunch at Sala Ayutthaya Eatery and Bar provides a modern dining experience set against the historical backdrop of Wat Phutthaisawan. The restaurant specializes in Thai fusion cuisine, offering a contemporary take on traditional Thai flavors. The setting combines minimalist decor with views of the ancient temple, creating a contrast between the new and the old. The menu emphasizes using fresh, local ingredients, with river prawn dishes standing out as a highlight due to their freshness and quality.

Wat Ratchaburana and Wat Phra Si Sanphet

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / cowardlion

Wat Ratchaburana and Wat Phra Si Sanphet stand as Ayutthaya’s architectural and historical highlights, each offering insights into the city’s rich past. Wat Ratchaburana, known for its well-preserved structure and Buddhist art from the 15th century, features a central prang and crypts with ancient frescoes and relics. Next door, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, notable for its three large chedis housing royal ashes, played a crucial role in royal ceremonies. These temples together showcase Ayutthaya’s architectural brilliance and spiritual heritage, contrasting Wat Ratchaburana’s detailed artistry with Wat Phra Si Sanphet’s ceremonial grandeur, reflecting the city’s complex history and its significance as a historical site.

Journey to Bangkok

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Image Credit: Shutterstock /

As the day wound down, we headed to Bangkok. The return trip offered us a moment to reflect on Ayutthaya’s historical and cultural richness, contrasting with the modern vibrancy of Thailand’s capital. We also slept!

Dinner and Overnight Accommodation at The Siam Hotel

The Siam

Image credit: The Siam Bangkok

Our day concluded at The Siam Hotel in Bangkok, a modern luxury hotel that contrasts with the ancient vibes of Ayutthaya. With its Art Deco flair mixed with Thai design, the hotel offers a sophisticated yet relaxing atmosphere. Its restaurant merges traditional Thai tastes with modern culinary techniques, all with views of the Chao Phraya River. Known for its meticulous design and historical and contemporary influences, The Siam Hotel features art collections that celebrate Thai culture. The comfortable and elegant rooms provide a serene escape in bustling Bangkok.

History of Ayutthaya

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Image Credit: Shutterstock / FocusStocker

Founded in 1350 by King U-Thong, Ayutthaya, initially established as the capital to escape a smallpox outbreak, grew into a major trading hub due to its strategic location on an island surrounded by rivers. This prosperity, fueled by trade in rice, ivory, and timber, led to Ayutthaya becoming one of the largest urban centers by the 1700s, adorned with impressive architecture and over 400 temples. However, its wealth attracted invasions, culminating in its destruction by the Burmese in 1767, which marked the end of its era as Thailand’s power center. Today, Ayutthaya’s ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, preserve its legacy, reflecting its historical and cultural significance and the factors contributing to its fall.

When to Travel

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Image credit: Shutterstock / Preto Perola

The cooler months from November to February offer the most pleasant weather for exploring Ayutthaya’s outdoor sites.

How to Get There

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Image credit: Shutterstock / RossHelen

Ayutthaya is easily accessible from Bangkok by train, bus, or boat, with the journey taking approximately 1 to 2 hours.

The Bottom Line

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Image credit: Shutterstock / AofLine

Your day in Ayutthaya offers an incredible journey through Thailand’s historical landscape, from the serene beauty of ancient temples to the grandeur of royal palaces. Let the experiences of Ayutthaya inspire a deeper appreciation for Thailand’s rich cultural heritage and the importance of preserving it for future generations. In embracing sustainable travel practices, you contribute to the protection of these invaluable sites, ensuring they continue to tell the stories of Thailand’s fascinating past. Don’t ride the elephants!

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The post A Day to Remember – Unveiling the Magic of Ayutthaya, Thailand was republished on Passing Thru with permission from The Green Voyage.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / OSTILL is Franck Camhi.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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