Formally known as Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, the ancient city of Ayutthaya, was founded in 1350 by King U-Thong and remained the capital city of the Kingdom of Siam for 417 years, (from 1350 to 1767.)
Note: Event dates and programme details may be subject to change. To ensure you have the most updated information, please reconfirm details prior to travel.
How to get there
Ordinary and air-conditioned buses leave for Ayutthaya everyday from the Morchit Bus Terminal on Kampaengphet 2 Road. First-class air-conditioned bus goes directly from Bangkok to Ayutthaya while the second class will reach Ayutthaya via the Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Center. For details of time schedule and bus fares, call 0-2537-8055 and 0-2936-2852-66.
Leave Bangkok on the highway no.1, Phaholyotin Road. Upon arriving at Ayutthaya, take the highway no. 32 after passing Pra-in Watergate. Then take the left turn to the highway no. 309 to reach the city of Ayutthaya.
Take the route Bangkok-Nonthaburi-Pathum Thani via the highway no. 306. When arriving at the junction bridge at Pathum Thani, cross it to be on the highway no. 347. Then take another turn to the highway no. 3304 to reach Ayutthaya via the Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Center.
Travelers can take the rail trip to Ayutthaya by taking the trains heading towards Thailand's North or Northeast. The trains will change the route to each designate region at Phachee Disctrict, Ayutthaya.
The State Railway Authority of Thailand annually organizes special steam train trips from Bangkok to Ayutthaya three times a year on March 26, October 23 and December 5 of every year. For more information, call 0-2223-7010, 0-2223-7020 or 1690.
Cruising up to Ayutthaya is the most adopted way among tourists owing to the scenic riverside views and the proximity to the original waterfront Thai lifestyle.
Companies that organize cruise and excursion to Ayutthaya:
1. Chao Phraya Express Boat
Operating time: Every Sunday. Boats leave Maharaj Pier at 8 am and arrive back at 5.30 pm.
Trip: Boat trip includes the excursion to Bang Pa-in Palace, Wat Niwet Thammaprawat, passing Wat Phai Lom and taking a stop at Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Center.
Fare: THB 330 (transportation only)
Contact: 0-2225-5330, 0-2225-3002-3 and 0-2623-6001-3
2. Oriental Queen & Ayutthaya Princess
Operating time: Everyday. Boats leave Oriental Hotel Pier at 8 am and arrive back at 5 pm (either back by boat or by car)
Trip: Boat trip includes excursion to attractions, lunch buffet and beverage.
Fare: THB 1,900
3. River Sun Cruise
Operating time: Everyday. Boats leave River City Pier at 8 am and arrive back at 4.30 pm by car.
Trip: Trip includes excursion to attractions, lunch and beverage.
Fare: THB 1,600
Contact: 0-2266-9125-6 and 0-2266-9316
4. Horizon Cruise
Operating time: Everyday. Leave Bangkok from the Shangri-La Hotel by the air-conditioned coach at 8 am and cruising back by boat.
Trip: Trip includes excursion to attractions, lunch and beverage.
Contact: 0-2236-2777 ext 1204-5, and 0-2236-9952
Operating time: Two days, one night. The trip can either boarding the boat at the Menam Hotel Pier at 2.30 pm and taking an air-conditioned coach back or taking the air-con coach at 5 pm and cruising down back to Bangkok.
Trip: Trip includes excursion to Bang Pa-in Palace and other attractions, meals and beverage.
Fare: THB 4,500-7,600
For the sightseeing cruise along the river around Ayutthaya, rent the chartered long tail boats at the pier in front of Chankasem National Museum. Fare is according to the itinerary and the distance.
Company that organizes Ayutthaya city cruise:
Operating time: Everyday from 9 am to 6 pm.
1. Riverfront city cruise.
Fare: THB 350 including lunch and beverage, THB 180 cruise only
2. Bang Pa-in Palace
3. Royal Arts and Crafts Center at Bang Sai
4. Excursion to Nakhon Luang District
Ayutthaya or formally known as Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya was the royal capital of Siam Kingdom with the longest reigning period of 417 years, from 1350 to 1767. During the glorious moment, 33 kings from the overall 5 dynasties successively ruled over the kingdom with their sovereignty extended into the present Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. The first king and the founder of the kingdom was King Ramadhibdi I (King U-Thong).
Ayutthaya is located 76 km north of Bangkok. Geographically, it has 3 main rivers running around it, namely, the Chao Phraya River on its west and south, the Pasak River on its east and the Lopburi River on its north. The city then looks like an islet surrounded by rivers and originates flourishing Thai riverfront lifestyle.
Getting around Ayutthaya
Since Ayutthaya is the ancient Siamese capital, most of the attractions concentrate on the historical sites, ancient palaces, monasteries, religious remains and ruins, museums and traditional villages. Only within the area of the Ayutthaya city are situated a myriad of historical and cultural attractions. Other highlight destinations scatter in other districts such as Bang Sai and Bang Pa-in District.
Because of the great number of the tourist attractions, the best way is to get a tourist map from the Tourist Information Center on Si Sanphet Road to plan the trip before starting the excursion. Recommended means to get around is by rental bicycle to reach inner city temples and by chartered long tail boat to those in outskirt area.
There are three main palaces within Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya city:
- The Grand Palace
, currently called ‘the Ancient Palace', was the royal residence of successive Ayutthaya kings for 98 years. It is located near the city wall at the north, within the Ayutthaya Historical Site that was endorsed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, encompassing the central and southwest areas of the inner city. Within the palace, there are five royal halls, namely, Phaitun Mahaprasat, Phaichayon Mahaprasat, Aisawan Mahaprasat, Mangkhalaphisek Mahaprasat and Trimuk Hall.
- Chankasem or Front Palace
is located at the bank of the Pasak River, northeast of the city. It was built during King Naresuan and the residence of Somdej Phra Yupparaj and many kings before being completely destroyed by the Burmese in 1767. The restoration of the demolished palace was ordered by King Rama IV to be a royal residence his visit to the province. Now, the palace has been turned to be Chankasem National Museum showcasing antiques such as Chinaware, ancient weapons, King Rama IV's personal belongings for daily life, Buddha images and sculptures.
- The Rear Palace
or locally called ‘Wang Lang'
is situated near the city wall on the west. It was developed from a single royal residence hall in the park used during the royal visits into the Royal Palace for Prince Ekathosarot. Later on, this palace was designated as the residence of royal family members and does not have many things left to be seen as the historical evidence after being destroyed by the Burmese.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Wat Phra Si Sanphet is located within the area of the Ancient Palace. It was the royal temple for the Ayutthaya Kingdom as Wat Mahathat for the Sukhothai Kingdom and Wat Phra Si Rattana Sasadaram for the Rattanakosin Era. During the reign of King Bhorom Trilokanatr, the building was turned to be the royal monastery for important religious ceremonies. Within the area, there were three main stupas constructed to keep the ash of King Bhorom Triloknatr and King Ramdhibdi II and III. Inside the main hall houses the gigantic 16 meter standing Buddha image Pra Si Sanphetdayan, peeled of its gold gilt by the Burmese during the city fall in 1767. The sanctuary is open daily for the public at 8.30 am – 4.30 pm. Entry for Thai is THB 10 and for foreign tourists is THB 30. From 7.30 pm to 9 pm, there will be spotlights beaming to the stupas for a night view.
The main stupa of Wat Mahathat reflects the architectural style of early Ayutthaya that was influenced from Khmer. It is told that King Ramesuan ordered that Buddha's holy relics be located under the foundation of the main stupa when it was erected in 1384. During the exploration of the stupa in 1956, many artifacts were founded, including the 7-layer ancient container that has the Buddha's holy relics within. The temple is open daily for the public at 8.30 am to 4.30 pm. Entry for Thai is THB 10 and for foreign tourists is THB 30. From 7.30 pm to 9 pm, there will be spotlights beaming to the site for a night view.
Bang Pa-in Palace
Bang Pa-in Palace is located 18 km south of the Ayutthaya city. The historical record says that King Prasat Thong had this palace built because the district was the hometown of his mother who was the ordinary citizen at that time. King Prasat Thong also had Wat Chumphon Nigayaram constructed on his mother's estate in 1632.
The palace was occasionally renovated by King Rama IV and V and was later served as the hosting place for royal guesses. The palace is divided into the outer and the royal areas. The outer area was designated to host many ceremonies and the royal area was for the royal residence. Within each area, there are many buildings of great architecture with intricate and elaborate decorations that will entice visitors into admiring them all day long.
The palace is open daily from 8 am to 4 pm. Entry for adult is THB 30, for children and students (required to show student cards) is THB 10 and for foreign visitors is THB 50. For more information, call 0-3526-1044 and 0-3526-1549.
Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Center at Bang Sai
The Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Center at Bang Sai encompasses the area of 14 acres. It is located in Ayutthaya's south, at Bang Sai District. The center is officially under the promotion of the Supplementary Occupations and Related Techniques (SUPPORT), which is under the Royal Patronage of Queen Sirikit.
The center concentrates on training local people in remote areas to have supplementary occupational skills in traditional products such as weaving baskets from natural materials, making artificial flowers, weaving silk and cotton with traditional local patterns, dying, carving woods, making furniture and making Thai doll puppetry. Visitors will enjoy seeing rare heritage in making local products and shopping a number of quality products.
Within the compound, there are other attractions including Handicrafts Village, Aquarium, the Bird Park and Thai House village. The center is open everyday except Monday from 9 am to 4.30 pm. For more information, call 0-3536-6252-3. Entry for adult is THB 50, for children is THB 30 and for foreign visitors is THB 100.
Useful Telephone Numbers:
1. TAT Central Office: Region 6: 0-3524-6076-7
2. Ayutthaya Tourist Police Station: 0-3524-1446, 0-3524-2352 or 1155
3. Tourist Information Center: 0-3532-2730-1
4. Ayutthaya Bus Station: 0-3533-5304
5. Ayutthaya Hospital: 0-3524-2987, 0-3524-1027 and 0-3524-1728