6 Must-see Ruins and Other Recommended Tourist Spots in the Ancient Capital of Ayutthaya


Hello everyone. Today I would like to introduce you to a Buddhist temple that you must see in Ayutthaya, Thailand.


Ayutthaya Overview

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, or simply Ayutthaya, is the former capital of Thailand’s Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province. It is located in the valley of the Chao Phraya River. Ayutthaya is named after Ayodhya, India, the birthplace of Rama of the Ramayana (Ramakien, Thailand).


Ayutthaya was founded by King U Thong in 1351. Ayutthaya became the second capital of Siam after Sukhothai. Ayutthaya is estimated to have had a population of about 300,000 by 1600, and probably reached a population of 1,000,000 around 1700, making it one of the largest cities in the world at the time, known as the “Venice of the East”.


In 1767, the Burmese army destroyed the city and the kingdom collapsed. The ruins of the old city are preserved in the Ayutthaya Historical Park, which is internationally recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The ruins, featuring prangs (reliquaries) and a huge monastery, are a testament to the splendor of the city’s past. Modern Ayutthaya has been rebuilt a few kilometers to the east.


Six Major Temples in Ayutthaya

I don’t know who said it, but it seems that the six most popular (!?) or majestic temples in Ayutthaya are collectively called the six major ruins of Ayutthaya.

The numbers on the map above are as follows

  1. Wat Phra Si Sanphet
  2. Wat Phra Mahathat
  3. Wat Chai Wattanaram
  4. Wat Yai Chai Mongkol
  5. Wat Lokaya Star
  6. Wat Ratchaburana

In the following, I will explain each temple with a map and outline.


Wat Phra Si Sanphet, the resting place of the three kings

Wat Phra Si Sanphet was the most sacred temple on the site of the royal palace in the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya until the city was completely destroyed by the Burmese in 1767. It is also the model temple for Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok.


Map of Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Walk along the north-south Klong To Street and you will see the entrance on the east side.

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Wat Phra Si Sanphet, a spectacular site with three huge chedis containing the remains of Ayutthaya's kings.
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“Wat Phra Mahathat” to remember the tragedy of the invasion

Buddha's head at Wat Phra Mahathat

Wat Phra Mahathat is a Buddhist temple where you can see the Buddha image that everyone has seen in pictures before, with only the head covered by a tree. According to one theory, the Buddha’s head was cut off during the invasion of Burma and covered with trees over a long period of time, but the authenticity of this theory is not certain.


Map of Wat Phra Mahathat

Wat Phra Mahathat is located slightly northeast of the center of the island, surrounded by a river.

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The most popular sightseeing spot in Ayutthaya! Wat Mahathat, a mysterious place where the head of Buddha peeks out from between the roots of a tree
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The well-preserved ruins of Wat Chaiwattanaram.

Wat Chaiwattanaram is a Buddhist temple located in Thailand’s Ayutthaya Historical Park, on the west bank of the river, outside the island surrounded by the river.


Map of Wat Chaiwattanaram

Wat Chaiwattana Ram is part of the Ayutthaya Historical Park, but is not part of the historic city of Ayutthaya, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It can be reached by car or boat.


The view from the observation deck is a sight to behold! Wat Yai Chai Mongkol

Map of Wat Yai Chai Mongkol


Giant Reclining Buddha “Wat Lokaya Staram

Reclining Buddha at Wat Lokayasthalam

Wat Lokayasthalam, also known as “Wat Phranong”, is one of the Buddhist temple complexes in Ayutthaya Historical Park.


Map of Wat Lokaya Staram

Wat Lokaya Stararam is located northwest of the Middle Province, southwest of the Old Palace, west of Wat Prasrisampet and beyond Klong To Road. Directly north it joins Wat Woratchatharam.

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Wat Rathboulana, said to have the oldest wall paintings in Thailand

Entrance to Wat Rathboulana

Wat Rathboulana is a Buddhist temple located in Ayutthaya, in the Ayutthaya Historical Park. The main prang of the temple is one of the finest in the city.


Map of Wat Rathboulana

Wat Rathboulana is located just north of Wat Mahathat.

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Other temples to visit

Wat Tamikarat

A temple with a reclining Buddha besides Wat Lokayasthalam. It is not well known to foreigners and has almost no tourists.

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Ayutthaya's Wat Thammikarat with a sculpture
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Wat Wora Po

This is also one of the best temples to visit. It is a place of relaxation for the locals, and there are many students running around, probably because there is a school nearby. You can climb to the top of the chedi, but it is dangerous.


Recommended sightseeing spots

Million Toy Museum

The Modern Toy Museum is located in the ancient city of Ayutthaya. A Thai scholar who visited Japan was so impressed with the toy museum that he collected toys and opened the museum here in Thailand.

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Japanese Village

This is the place where Japanese people used to gather and settle when Ayutthaya was a prosperous trading town. It is now a museum where the records of those days are carefully preserved.

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Other sightseeing spots in Ayutthaya

  • Ayutthaya Water Market
  • Elephant