Ayutthaya is Thailand‘s hidden archaeological gem, brimming with Buddhist temples, monasteries and ancient statues of monumental proportions. Dating back to 1350, the city has had a rich and turbulent history with a fair share of glory and strife. This is a UNESCO World Heritage city worth seeing; here is our list of the top things to do and see in Ayutthaya.
Wat Chaiwatthanaram is a magnificent Buddhist temple in Ayutthaya situated on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. A number of temples throughout Thailand take their design from this building, an eye-catching arrangement which includes a raised platform and eight towering chedis, or chapels. All of the chedis are attached to secret passageways and have colorful paintings illustrating the life of Buddha inside. There are 120 sitting Buddha statues dotted around the area; originally thought to have been painted black and gold, they now sit dressed in orange drapery, creating a peaceful, picturesque scene.
Wat Lokaya Sutha (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
Wat Lokaya Sutha is the restored ruin of a monastery located in northwest Ayutthaya, in the Pratu Chai sub-district. This is one of the most impressive sites in the region, and is certainly an unmissable spot for any trip to Ayutthaya. Visitors can explore the ancient remains of the monastery’s floors, walls and pillars, and examine the detritus of archaic Buddha images.The highlight of this ruin is the ginormous reclining Buddha statue, 42 meters high and eight meters wide. The Buddha is usually wrapped in brightly colored orange cloth, and there is a small altar at its side where visitors can make offerings. If travelling on a hot day, make sure to relax with a refreshing mango juice at one of the roadside cafés overlooking the temple.
Ayutthaya Historical Park
Ayutthaya Historical Park is a must-see for history buffs and admirers of archaeology. The park incorporates the zone designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is comprised of 67 stunning temples and ruins. The huge area includes the former Siamese capital city, with imposing Buddha statues set within a serene and striking landscape of blue skies and greenery. A visit here is an unbeatable way to experience the beauty of what was the Siamese center of power and commerce.
Wat Phra Sri Sanphet
Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, meaning “Temple of the Holy, Splendid and Omniscient” in English, was revered as the grandest and most beautiful temple when it served the Siamese capital over 700 years ago. Today it remains a stunning testament to the culture of times past. Built on old palace ground, the site is comprised of three ancient chedis, or chapels, these ruins being all that was left of the temple after it was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767. The steps here are steep, the architecture breathtaking, and there is the option of an elephant ride to the site if visitors are feeling weary and sun-drenched.
Wat Phra Mahthat
One of the most photographed spots in Ayutthaya, Wat Phra Mahthat is comprised of a large stone Buddha head set in a colossal and deep-rooted tree. Exactly how the head became locked in its present location is unclear, however it is thought to be linked to the immense flooding and destruction of previous years, and the rapid vegetation growth which ensued afterwards. Legend has it that, a few meters from this spot, two brothers fought violently over who would succeed as the King of Siam. The victor, King Ramathibodi I, subsequently built the palace and all the Buddha statues here in honor of his brother. The head in the tree is believed to originate from one of these statues, and so is thought to be an eery replica of the defeated brother. Whether or not this story is true, it makes a popular and interesting anecdote when visiting the attraction, told often by guides around the area.
Wat Yai Chai Mang Khon
One of the lesser visited temple sites in the city, Wat Yai Chai Mang Khon offers a more intimate experience of Ayutthaya architectural ruins. There are magnificent rows of Buddhas encompassing the main temple here, and another giant and imposing sleeping Buddha, the sole of which is believed to emit magical qualities; many locals rub coins on the feet of the statue in order to be blessed with good luck. There are towers around the site in various states of preservation, and stunning statues inside the temple are adorned with intricately molded golden leaves. Festivals and celebrations are regularly held here by Thai locals, reinforcing the idea that the area is monumental and sacred.
REF: Cultural Trip
Contact : Wild Blue Co., Ltd. Tel. +662 714 2590, Fax. +662 7142656