Visiting Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, The Ancient Siam

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Ayutthaya the capital of Siam and also known the Venice of the East is one of the most beautiful and interesting places to visit in Thailand. It is located in the valley of the Chao Phraya River and was founded in the 13th century by King Uthong. Ayutthaya became the second capital of the Siamese Kingdom after Sukhothai.

If you want to visit all the attractions, temples and ruins, I would recommend you spend at least two days in in Ayuttaya.

A delightful place to begin your visit is Wat Yai Chaimongkol situated to the southeast and opposite to Ayutthaya city, one can see its large pagoda from far away. Wat Yai Chaimongkol was built in 1357 during the reign of King Uthong. The chedi is located on a rectangular base, at the four corners are four smaller chedis. You can also visit its wonderful gardens with hundreds of Buddha statues. It is open everyday from 8.00 AM to 6.00 PM.

Not far from Wat Yai Chaimongkol there is Wat Phanan Choeng, located in the southeastern area at the confluence of the Chao Phraya River with the Pa Sak River. Wat Phanan Choeng contains the oldest, largest and most beautiful Buddha image in the area, the Phra Phanan Choeng. Behind the Golden Buddha image, in the walls, there are many small Buddha images.

A boat tour along the Chao Phraya River is a unforgettable experience. Take The River Express or one of the tour boats and admire the ancient Kingdom of Siam on a river cruise circuit to the island of Ayutthaya.

Among other boats, you’ll be able to see houseboats, floating houses, temples, pagodas, riverboats and sugar barges navigating the Chao Phraya River. The river boat tour offers a spectacular view of the wonderful Phra Chedi Sri Suriyothai, a chedi located at Wat Suanluang Sopsawan at the banks of the river. In the Buddhist Thailand and surrounded by Buddhist temples and ruins it was surprising to see St Joseph Church, built in in 1666 it is the first Christian church in Thailand. During the river boat tour you’ll also be able to see the fascinating and famous Wat Chaiwatthanaram, a 35 meter high Buddhist temple in the city of Ayutthaya, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River.

After the Chao Phraya River boat tour, a visit to Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit is obliged. Built around 1538, Phra Mongkhon Bophit is one of the largest bronze Buddha images in Thailand. When the Burmese destroyed Ayutthaya, the building and the image were badly destroyed by fire. The present Wihan and Buddha image have been reconstructed.

Since Ayutthaya has dozens of places to visit I would recommend you, just to name a few, the following ones:

Wat Phu Khao Thong – It is a chedi built by King Ramesuan in 1387.

Wat Na Phra Men – The most interesting objects are the principal Buddha image, fully decorated in regal attire, and a ancient Buddha image made of black stone in the small Wihan.

Wat Lokaya Sutha – It is the site of a 29 meters long large reclining Buddha, which is made of brick and covered with plaster.

Wat Kasattrathirat Worawihan – An ancient temple located outside the city island.

it is also worth visiting The Royal Palace Ruins, Phra Mongkhon Bophit, the Chinese Pavilion, Wat Na Phra Meru, the Summer Gardens, Bang Pa-In floating pavilion, and Bang Pa-In Summer Palace among many others.

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