Ayutthaya is one of the most historical city of Thailand and is the former capital city couple of hundreds years ago(approximately from 1350 to 1767 AD) before the current one in Bangkok (since 1767AD – present). Being the former capital city for over 400 years in the past Ayutthaya is rich in traditional Thai culture as well as countless precious ancient ruins and temples. Ayutthaya is only over an hour drive from Bangkok and is a perfect day trip destination. Regardless of the months you visiting Thailand can be relatively hot throughout the year 35-95ºC/77-95°F especially during the day so make sure to bring at least a pair of sunglasses, sunscreen and a bottle (or two) of water with you.
Quick fact about Thailand is that we have 9 kings so far – the current one is the 9th king of Thailand, for each few kings in the past
Here are some of the must-visit places in Ayutthaya, I suggest you to do it in this order starting early in the morning like 8am-10am and will end at around 5-7pm depending on your pace.
Ayutthaya 1-Day Itinerary : Ayutthaya Floating Market & Elephant Village >Wat Yai Chaimongkhol > Wat Phanan Choeng > Ayutthaya Historical Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
1. AYUTTHAYA FLOATING MARKET & ELEPHANT VILLAGE (ตลาดน้ำอโยธยา และ หมู่บ้านช้างอโยธยา)
First place of the day is Ayutthaya Floating Market & Elephant Village (they’re right next to each other). I suggest you to visit the Ayutthaya Floating Market first. In Ayutthaya Floating Market you can discover countless traditional Thai foods, snacks and ice cream! In Elephant Village, you can interact with elephants, feed them or even go on elephant rides!
The market is set on the river hence the name Floating market. The whole market is basically on a big raft with several wooden bridges connecting
Traditional Thai Food – Kanom Tarn (Steamed Palm Cake)
Traditional Thai light meals: Kanom Krok on the left and Quail eggs with soya sauce
Traditional Thai Costume, the sign translated to ‘Ayutthaya Floating Market’
Kwian – a traditional means of transportations before cars were invented, Kwian was powered by horses and buffalos back hundred years ago!
Traditional Thai dessert shop
Authentic traditional Thai peanut brand – Koh-Kae shop
Evolution of Thai flag (Fun fact: being a Buddhist country we based the year on Buddhist Era (BE) instead of AD which is 543 years later than BE so 2016AD now is 2559BE in Thailand! – below sign shows the year in BE). Fun fact: the reason why previous King removed elephant symbol from Thai flag is because he saw the flag upside-down during a flood one day and thought that it symbolises a collapsed elephant = fallen kingdom; the new design will look the same even if you flip it around ;D!
‘Ayothaya’ is the old name of Ayutthaya 🙂
Traditional Thai ‘taxi’
Many times each day there are free performances at the central stage of Floating Market you can also stop by and take photos with the performers. Here are the performers for a traditional Thai fable show Kaew Na Ma.
Traditional coconut ice cream
(Translated) ‘Thank you for your visit, Ayutthaya Floating Market’
2. WAT YAI CHAIMONGKHOL (วัดใหญ่ชัยมงคล)
Our second destination of the day is Wat Yai Chaimongkhol – one of the most well-known temples in Ayutthaya.
3. Wat Phanan Choeng (วัดพนัญเชิง)
Wat Phanan Choeng is the home one of the biggest Buddha statues in the region. The temple itself is breathtaking both from interior to exterior, every thoughts have gone into every details. Wat Phanan Choeng is definitely one of the must-visit temples in Ayutthaya.
4. Ayutthaya Historical Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site) (อุทยานประวัติศาสตร์พระนครศรีอยุธยา)
It is advised to dedicate the rest of your afternoon (3-4 hours) visiting the Ayutthaya Historical Park which is huge area which consists of multiple ruins and temples, this area is listed as one of the only few UNESCO World Heritage sites in Thailand. Note that temples close around 5-6pm and the last entry is usually at 4.30pm-5.00pmHere are some highlights..
4.1 Wat Chaiwatthanaram (วัดไชยวัฒนาราม)
Wat Chaiwatthanaram is one of my favourite temples in Ayutthaya. Wat Chaiwatthanaram takes up a huge space of the park, the leftover ruins of what you see today used to be covered in gold before it was burned down by war hundreds of years ago. Regardless, the temple is grand, peaceful and is very well worth the visit.
4.2 Wiharn Phra Mongkhon Bopit (วิหารพระมงคลบพิตร)
The second temple within Ayutthaya Historical Park is Wiharn Phra Mongkhon Bopit. It is probably one of the smallest temples in the area but it is listed as the World Heritage for a reason. You definitely come and see for yourself.
4.3 Wat Phra Sri Sanphet (วัดพระศรีสรรเพชญ์)
Right next to Wiharn Phra Mongkhon Bopit is the majestic Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, this temple is relative large and you can spend at least an hour here easily.
4.4 Wat Phra Ram (วัดพระราม)
Just across the road from the previous two temples, Wat Phra Ram is another temple you don’t want to miss. It is one of the only temple that is surrounded by a small forest.
Following this itinerary, it should be in the late afternoon/ evening 5pm-7pm by now. Restaurants should be open by now (as most restaurants in Thailand normally open from 5.00pm-5.30pm until midnight), therefore I suggest you to go to the city centre area of Ayutthaya for a nice dinner to finish off the day and if you’d like go ‘Roti Sai Mai’ – rolled cotton-candy which is one of the many traditional Thai snacks that originate from Ayutthaya – due to its popularity many tourists (including us Thai people) buy them as souvenirs from Ayutthaya for our loved ones). Also, if you did enjoy the post and do want to learn more please visit my friend’s post on “How to spend under £15 for a day trip to Ayutthaya“.
Sawasdee krub Ayutthaya,
Kasidit Vongvatanapuntu (Kay)