Ayutthaya, once known as Ayothaya, was an historic city and kingdom in Thailand which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Siamese kingdom existed from 1350 to 1767 and is considered to be the precursor of modern Thailand.
After the decline of the Khmer Empire in the late 14th century, Ayutthaya was established as the capital of Siam around 1350 by Ramadhipati, a Thai vassal who forced the original King to swear allegiance to him. It remained as such for approximately 400 years, passing under the reign of 33 kings, each of whom deified themselves as Buddhas.
However, a series of socio-economic and political fluctuations meant Ayutthaya was left vulnerable to attacks from the Burmese in the mid 18th century. In 1767, Ayutthaya was destroyed by Burmese attacks, stripping it of most of its stunning architecture and art.
Nevertheless, Ayutthaya is still an incredible source of Thai history, its beautiful ruins marking the once thriving city and port. Visitors can still view Ayutthaya’s many Buddha statues, its giant complex of temples which once numbered an estimated four hundred and three palaces.
For those looking to discover more about the history of Ayutthaya and Thailand you can visit museums such as the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum, which contains many original artefacts, and the Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre includes models depicting what life in Ayutthaya might have been like.
Perhaps the best way to get around in Ayutthaya is by bicycle, with its many cycling routes providing a natural itinerary. Ayutthaya is usually an entire day’s trip, particularly for those coming from Bangkok and tours are available.
Getting to Ayutthaya
Getting to Ayutthaya from Bangkok can be done via train or minibus. Trains to Ayutthaya leave from Hua Lamphong station and take around 90 minutes (find ticket prices and timetables online). Minibuses leave from Mo Chit station or the Northern Bus Terminal and cost around 60 THB.
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