Ayutthaya is one of my favourite places to visit in Thailand. It has a great selection of historical temples, it’s very easy to navigate and has a great foodie scene.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the historic city of Ayutthaya was the capital of Thailand from 1350 to 1767, when it was almost burnt to the ground by invading Burmese armies. The temple ruins that remain are impressive, but vary greatly in condition.
Although it is one of the most popular areas of Thailand to visit, I went in December (peak season) and it never felt crowded.
Take the train there
Most visitors to Ayutthaya will travel from Bangkok, and whilst there are plenty of day tours from the city, I’d recommend taking a train instead and spending a couple of nights. The scenery for the 90 minute ride is gorgeous, and when an ordinary class ticket costs just 15 baht (approximately 30p), it just makes sense!
See the temples by bicycle
Cycling around the pancake-flat historical park is definitely the highlight of my visit to Ayutthaya. Most of the temples are located close to each other in the central island of the city, but even those outside the city river border are within a 20 minute ride. Exploring by bicycle gives complete freedom to see temples of choice. Some of my favourite, and the easiest to reach, include Wat Maha That, Wat Phra Si Samphet and Wat Lokkaya Sutharam.
Visit the Floating market
The busy and colourful floating market is great to spend an hour or so wandering around. It hosts around 200 stalls selling a variety of food, handicrafts and souvenirs, although I definitely spent most of my time feeding and playing with some goats penned up by the river.
See The Million Toy Museum
This quirky museum is a perfect side attraction during a day of temple visits. Whether it actually holds a million different toys I’m not entirely sure, but it definitely brought back childhood memories of toys forgotten.
Take a River Cruise
For a different temple perspective and for a peek into local river life, a boat ride along the Chao Phraya and Lopburi Rivers is a must. I took an hour long cruise just before sunset.
Pick a Good Temple for Sunset
Sunset at a temple in Ayutthaya is a must-see, but make sure you pick the right one. Everyone recommends Wat Chai Watthanaram, and whilst it was incredible, it’s also extremely busy. A good spot if you’re looking for solitude is at Wat Phukao Thong, a short ride out of the city. You can climb the stupa here for a great sunset shot over the surrounding fields.
Fit your Ayutthaya Visit around a Festival
Like a lot of Thailand, Ayutthaya hosts a good amount of festivals throughout the year. Whilst I was visiting in December, I was lucky to encounter the Thai Life Festival, which was spread out amongst the temple ruins. I didn’t attend the pricey sound and light show, but instead spend hours walking around the various food stalls, market shops, craft fairs and amusement parks.