One Day at Irresistible Ayutthaya- a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Wat Si Sanphet

From 1350 until the late 18th century, Ayutthaya was the capital of the Kingdom of Siam. It was destroyed in 1767 by the Burmese. The vast remains include former palaces and temples and now form a UNESCO World Heritage site. We visited Ayutthaya on the last day of 2015 and managed to visit some of the highlights as a day trip from Bangkok. There is no way to see it all in one day, but a good base of the major sites is doable in a one day trip to Ayutthaya. Here are the sites we visited.

Wat Phu Khao Thong

Wat Phua Kau Thong, Ayutthaya, Thailand

This was our first stop before crossing over to the island where most of the Ayutthaya ruins are located. According to the signs, this temple was originally built in Thai style in 1387. The chedi was redone in Mon style after the sack of the city by the Burmese and then redone again in Thai style during a later restoration. In addition to this magnificent structure, there’s a functioning temple on the grounds that was in use while we were visiting. The view from the top here is great and this is a very peaceful site, as it is not as frequented by travelers as some of the others.

Wat Maha That

Wat Maha That

Wat Maha That was originally built to hold Buddha relics. Now it stands as large collection of ruined brick structures amid a large field. It is famous for it’s many Buddha statues scattered throughout the ruins, such as the Buddha head with tree growing around it.

Wat Maha That, Ayutthaya, Thailand

Wat Phra Ram

Wat Phra Ram, Ayutthaya, Thailand

Across the water from Wat Maha That sits Wat Phra Ram. The tall, central tower is called a prang, and it is used to hold relics. Prangs are a notable feature of the Ayutthaya temples and as you ride around the area, you will see these impressive structures, calling you to the next site. In addition to the ruins, there is an elephant corral in the large Phra Ram Park so expect to see many people taking elephant rides around this large, sunny area.

Wat Thammikarat

Wat Thammikarat, Ayutthaya, Thailand

Wat Thammikarat lacks an impressive prang, but this still-functioning temple was possibly my favorite stop of the day. For a small site, it has so much variety and so many fun things to look at. For starters, there’re the roosters. There are Ayutthaya rooster statues at many of the temples in Ayutthaya, but the display at Thammikarat is pretty impressive. Why roosters? I honestly don’t know, but I read an interesting story here that explains both the historic story and why the rooster is popular in Ayutthaya today.

Wat Thammikarat also features dozens of dogs circling the ruined chedi.

Wat Thammikarat, Ayutthaya, Thailand

There are numerous Buddhas to be found here, including a large Buddha head inside a lotus flower, ruined reclining Buddha, and both standing and seated Buddhas in the sermon hall. This is one of the more interesting sites, and I wouldn’t discount it if planning a trip to Ayutthaya.

Wat Thammikarat

Wat Si Sanphet

Wat Si Sanphet, Ayutthaya, Thailand

This row of chedis is part of Wat Si Sanphet, set in the center of an enormous compound that also houses what remains of the royal palace. I feel the photo doesn’t do near justice to the sheer size of these chedis and the surrounding area. It is a considerable walk just from the entrance to the center. Wat Si Sanphet also hosts a large model of the Ayutthaya Kingdom.

 

Wat Si Sanphet, Ayutthaya, Thailand

Wat Lokayasutharam

Wat Lokayasutharam

Our last stop on the island portion of Ayutthaya was at Wat Lokayasutharam, but we didn’t come to see the wat so much as the old reclining Buddha with head on a lotus pillow.

Wat Chaiwatthanaram

Wat Chaiwatthanaram

The best preserved site we visited all day, Wat Chaiwatthanaram is built in Khmer style, featuring several chedis around a central prang. This wat is on the southwest outskirts of the city, off the island. I’m glad we saved this beautiful wat for last.

Wat Chaiwatthanaram

Wat Chaiwatthanaram

The Buddhas inside the chedis were painted black and gold at one time. Now all are chipped and decayed.

Wat Chaiwatthanaram, Ayutthaya, Thailand

After touring these sites, we headed on to Bang Pa-In, the royal palace of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, on our way back to Bangkok. This was a great end to the year and perfect for a day trip while visiting Bangkok.

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Irresistible Ayutthaya is a perfect day trip from Bangkok and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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21 thoughts on “One Day at Irresistible Ayutthaya- a UNESCO World Heritage Site

  • March 20, 2016 at 1:08 am
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    This is one of the few sites I really would love to return to! And one I would recommend to everybody to add it to their Thailand itinerary as, from Bangkok, it’s fairly easy to reach. When I visited the site I was unfortunately severely handicapped by ‘Bali belly’ (although the Thai version of it)… I still regret that I didn’t get to see the entire temple site – instead more than I wanted of my room (full 48 hours).
    Juergen | dare2go recently posted…Why am I Perplexed by the Gaucho Festival?My Profile

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    • March 20, 2016 at 9:13 pm
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      I agree. In fact, we enjoyed our day in Ayutthaya to those we spent in Bangkok. It was very peaceful. Sorry you weren’t feeling well while you were there.

      Reply
  • March 20, 2016 at 4:05 pm
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    Karen, Wow! Your photos are stunning. Love the skies. I need to go back to Ayutthaya, I don’t think I saw all the cool stuff that you saw…hmmmm.

    Reply
  • March 29, 2016 at 1:55 am
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    Just found you on Monday Escapes. Beautiful photos! I loved visiting Ayutthaya while I studied in Bangkok. You had such perfect weather!

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    • March 30, 2016 at 6:04 pm
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      Thank you, Meagan! That’s so cool that you studied in Bangkok. What a great way to get to know the city.

      Reply
  • March 29, 2016 at 5:14 pm
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    What fantastic photos – I did a day trip to Ayutthaya when I visited Bangkok too and it was wonderful, although a long time ago now. Lots of happy memories coming back with your post. #mondayescapes
    Cathy (MummyTravels) recently posted…City Tripping #20My Profile

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  • March 29, 2016 at 8:45 pm
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    This is just awesome! What a beautiful place! And great pictures. It looks like you were alone on this sight. Isn’t it full of tourists? #MondayEscapes

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    • March 30, 2016 at 5:57 pm
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      Thank you for visiting. It wasn’t very crowded at all on the day we went, but perhaps people were conserving their energy for New Year’s Eve parties later that night. The grounds were all free that day so people could pay their New Year’s respects.

      Reply
  • March 31, 2016 at 6:30 am
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    Gorgeous post. We were there back in 2008 and we did Ayutthaya as a daytrip from Bangkok. In hindsight, we should have stayed 2 days and really explored it as it was a highlight of our trip. Totally recommend visiting the ruins.
    Great job on the post.
    Frank (bbqboy)
    Frank recently posted…Lady, can you please shut the F*ck up?My Profile

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    • March 31, 2016 at 11:31 pm
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      Thanks, Frank! It was the highlight for us as well. We didn’t fully realize how big the area was until we were there. We easily could have done two days too.

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  • April 3, 2016 at 1:09 pm
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    Incredible site, wonderful photos…and what a gorgeous day to visit there. At first glance, I thought those were people at Wat Thammikarat. My eye focused first on the big statue in the back then drawn to the big rooster in the bottom left. Then I realized the rest was all roosters, too…and not people. lol All the wats look amazing, and unique in their own way, as does the reclining Buddha. Enjoyed the read!

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    • April 3, 2016 at 1:37 pm
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      Thanks Carleen! It was a very fun trip.

      Reply
  • April 7, 2016 at 6:49 pm
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    How cool the Buddha had in the tree!! What a wonderful place, you guys managed to see a lot.
    Love your pictures!! I hope to visit it someday.

    Happy to have found you on #MondayEscapes, thanks for joining the link up!

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