Ayutthaya is one of the top-visited destinations in Thailand thanks to it’s closeness to Bangkok and with very less crowded as the capital. Ayutthaya, one of the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Siam, offers some magnificent temples in the whole of Thailand and also some of the best ancient Thai architecture. Both inside and outside the river boundaries of this city that contain the naturally protected city, there are lots of temples. There are so many gorgeous temples that you might get overwhelmed choosing few if you only have one or two days, so we have made a list of best eight temples that are a must-visit.
Wat Chai Wattanaram
This is the closest temple beyond the river. This 17th century royal Buddhist temple that contains eight chedis surrounding the central 35m high prang (Khmer style core structure) will surely strike you for its impressive bulk. Officially, this site opens at 8 am, and the entrance ticket is 50bahts. However, the place is always opened as there are no gates, and in the early morning, the area is almost deserted. Sometimes, guards might restrict your entrance before opening time, so if this happens, you can enjoy the view of sunrise around the temple without getting inside.
Wat Phutthai Sawan
Source: The broken compass(ion)
Moving from the same street along the river, you will reach Wat Phutthai Sawan after about two kilometers. You can see this vast white prang from a distance. This is an active monastery, and you will see some majestic figures here. There might be some unleashed dogs, so beware of them, although there will be monks around them most of the time.
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
Wat Mongkhon is not too far from the train station, and you can reach it either from the station or from the southern road if you are planning to see Wat Chai Wattanaram and Wat Phutthai Sawan. The major feature of this wat is its massive stupa that steals the scene, but there are many other great monuments like reclining Buddha. If you walk around and behind the stupa rather than just staying to the front façade, you will see beautiful temple gardens. If you are planning to cover the whole road south of the city, you may visit Wat Phanan Choeng, too, which is an indoor temple, and here you will get to witness functions and ceremonies.
Chedi Phu Khao Thong
Source: (M.G.) Edwards
Chedi Phu Khao Thong, one of the most beautiful temples of the ancient capital Ayutthaya is all white, which is recently repainted. King Ramesuan first established this monastery in 1395, but only after some time, a man-made hill was added and topped by a golden chedi. However, most of the structure you can see now was constructed by the order of King Borommakat in the mid-18th century. The chedi earned its name in 1956 when a gold ball that weighed 2.5kg was placed inside. In the park lies adjacent to the chedi, there lies a statue of King Naresuan. In the early morning, the area will mostly see very few visitors, and you will have the area for yourself, and climbing the steep stairs will also make a great challenge for morning exercise. If you watch the structure closely, you will see that the structure is a bit offset and collapsed due to the severe damage caused by a recent flood.
Wat Suan Luang Sopsawan
Wat Suan Luang Sopsawan, the monastery constructed on the command of King maha Chakkraphat, lies on the west of the city, which was the old military regiment area in the royal garden compound adjacent to the original area of Wat Sopsawan after the royal cremation of Queen Suriyothai. The monastery is also renowned as the Monastery of the Royal Garden. You can take a walk through the garden and enjoy the gorgeous white and golden tipped chedi dedicated to Queen Suriyothai.
Wat Maha That
Source: Adventure Travel Blog And Private Tours Travel
Wat Maha That lies in the heart of old Ayutthaya and is one of the most visited temples throughout the country. The temple’s construction and expansion occurred over a few decades in the 14th century, and it covers a huge area. The prang collapsed in the 17th century, after which it was restored and enlarged. And after that, many kings have added a large number of viharns (assembly halls) and chedis here. The monastery contains a huge central prang, several subsidiary chedis and viharas, and a very large principal viharn and ubosot. Here, you will get to see amazing remains of the Buddha head embedded in a banyan tree. This monastery was a royal monastery located close to the palace, and the king used to perform important ceremonies like the Royal Kathin ceremony. The place attracts lots of crowds all day long, and it will be best to visit in the late afternoon as you will at least experience cooler temperatures.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Source: E&T Abroad
Another one of the best temples in Ayutthaya is Wat Phra Si Sanphet, which contains three in a line huge chedis. Back when Ayutthaya was still the capital of the Siam Kingdom, this was the most sacred and most beautiful site of the Royal Palace and served as a model from Bangkok’s Wat Phra Kaeo. This temple was constructed on the spot of three prasats in the mid-14th century by King U-Thong. In 1448, the prasats converted to phutthawat, and then onward, only Ayutthayan kings used this temple.
Wat Lokkaya Sutharam
Wat Lokkaya Sutharam lies close to the north-western corner of the ancient capital. Here, you will see the massive outdoor reclining Buddha that is 37meters in length and 8meters in height. After Burmese destroyed the temple, the temple complex is almost non-existent. The only ruins left of the temples are the reclining Buddha and a stupa. a unique feature of the reclining Buddha is the lotus supports the head part, added shortly after building the Buddha image. Other remaining of the temple include a pagoda that has a height of 30meters.