From the two former capitals that are now World Heritage Sites, I prefer Sukhothai. Actually, from all Thai capitals in history I prefer Bangkok. When will this city become a World Heritage?
Jorge Sanchez (Spain):
I spent half a day visiting the temples complex of Ayutthaya.
In those times (year 1987) I was not interested in the UNESCO sites, and furthermore, Ayutthaya was not yet included in the list (it was registered in the year 1991) but decided to stop there thanks to my companion, a girl from Barcelona, in Spain, who suggested me to visit Sukhothai and Ayutthaya in the way from Chiang May (where we made a 3 days excursión in elephant) to Bangkok for its historical importance.
And indeed, Ayutthaya was the capital of the Kingdom of Siam and during a long time it was the most populous city in Asia, and probably in the world. We could still observe the old magnificence of the old town in the rest of temples in the Ayutthaya historical park. We were the only tourists in that complex of temples and pagodas, what was surprising (it was the month of September and in Bangkok and Chiang May there were thousands of tourists).
Although that visit happened almost 30 years ago, I still remember that before leaving to Bangkok we had lunch in a restaurant inside a boat by the river.
Date posted: April 2014 Munira Sultana (Bangladesh): I have visited the world heritage Ayutthaya in May 2004.Before visit this place i have little knowledge on it.I enjoyed the place and learn about the history. Date posted: November 2013 bernard Joseph Esposo Guerrero (The Philippines):
The challenge posed by this site is to make sense out of the scattered remains of the capital of a former strong Southeast Asian empire. Its complete name Phra Si Nakhon Ayutthaya only suggests the reverence and significance Thais generally identify with to the ancient city.
I agree with Els that ruins here are really ruins - it's a bit sad that this site was utterly devastated during the Burmese siege. The present condition of this site does not, in any way, give justice to how it used to be based on historical records and accounts, descriptions and praises, and even map renditions. However, I believe that its current state still holds a distinct charm and mystery for WHS enthusiasts and regular tourists alike.
Upon arriving Ayutthaya, my agenda there was not really clear: either I visit the WHS-inscribed sites only, or just choose some major ones and pay those other great temples --that didn't make it to the inscription -- a visit as well. Eventually, I decided to do the latter. Much to my surprise, two temples that are not inscribed left me with really strong impressions: Wat Yai Chaimongkon and Wat Chaiwatanaram. Among the inscribed temples, however, Wat Rachaburana probably offers the most unique experience with its 2-tiered chambers and few remaining old murals inside the principal prang. Although the scales of Wat Maha That and Wat Phra Si Sanpet are impressively grand, these being largely in ruins, it was hard for me to reconcile the fact the these two sites were the most important -- socially, politically, and religion-wise -- during the peak of the Ayutthaya empire. Nevertheless, seeing the Buddha head entangled among the roots of a tree in Wat Maha That was among the highlights of the trip.
I also managed to visit other temples such as Wat Phra Ram, Viharn Phra Mongkol Bopit, the ruins complex where the elephant rides are being executed, among others. If there's one thing I like most about Ayutthaya, its how the temples and other monuments are really taken care of despite their conditions - I mean, it's really just the best -- and the only! -- thing that they can do with whatever remains standing (or leaning, falling, collapsing).
Date posted: May 2013 Thibault Magnien (France):
I visited this site in February 2012. Floods occurred a few months ago and some traces are still viewable, however the authorities are working to preserve the splendor of the place.
The historic center of Ayutthaya was founded during the 14th century and became the capital of the Ayutthaya kingdom. The capital was destroyed by Burmese armies and given up since the end of the 18th century. Nowadays, the historic site consists of numerous buildings, more or less well preserved, scattered throughout the city and out. This site is one of the better examples of the Thai art and of a Southeast Asian ancient city. Not too far from Bangkok (two hours by van), it’s possible to visit major sites in one day or two.
Date posted: April 2012 Ian Cade (England):
This was my first Asian WHS so it will have a little bit of a special place for me.
There are quite a few different ruins and temples to visit within the central area, each charging a separate admission fee. My favourite site was the first one I visited Wat Ratururana which had an impressive cluster of chedi's. The central one was particularly impressive as you could not only climb up it but also descend inside to see a small but impressively decorated chamber at its very heart.
I spent the best part of an afternoon dotting between the main sites, meeting fellow travelers and enjoying a relaxing stroll through the water lined park behind Wat Prah Mahathat. A week or so before I visited there had been pretty extensive flooding in the area and there were still a fair few places that were underwater. This meant I didn't get to visit any of the wats off of the central island. However it was very heartening to see that there had seemed to been a pretty good response from the local authorities to aid those affected by the flooding.
This was a really good day trip to make from Bangkok, and the sites seemed reasonably impressive.
[Site 5; Experience 6]
Date posted: November 2010 stewart ayu (canada):
Ayutthaya has abandonned stupas from subsequent empires and buddhist styles. The city must have been very impressive in its day but now it is a quiet place with few visitors. There are numerous temples that might be of more interest to someone doing research or a student of architecture.
Date posted: September 2010 radzi (Siam): Visited Ayutthaya last year. Weird feeling seing a place so recent (just only 1760AD Ayutthaya was still triumphing).
My question was "Why Alaungpaya Clans burnt down Ayutthaya?". Who was the benefactor of the downfall of Ayutthaya?"
My hunch is....
Alaugpaya was a nobody who seized power and united Burma for British colonization of Burma right after General Taksin chased them back. Tak Sin was later changed by the Chakri. The Chakri were the British babysit dynasty.
Ayutthaya trade dominance of the SEA region was replace by the trio British "Straits States" of Penang, Malacca and Singapore.
....Ooops the British got Burma to themselves, made and baby-sit the Kings of Thailand....and got ports to dominate trades in the region.
The British East Hindia Company was the ones that burnt Ayutthaya!
Date posted: May 2010 Elisabeth Fransisca Situmorang (Indonesia):
Outstandingly beautiful! It is actually one of the reasons I took a trip to Bangkok in the first place. The ruins really takes you to the ancient times... still well maintained so that you could feel that you're in the different lifetime when visitiing..
The stone craft detail is just beautiful..
Words couldnt do it justice..
Three temples to be recommended: Wat Phra Si Sanpet, Wat Maha That and Wat Chai Wattanaram (the best!)
Date posted: August 2008 julie bethell (Austraila): hello, my husband and I with our three kids went to Ayuttaya in August 2006. We had a great two days there exploring the ruins of the old city, It was a very peaceful and spiritual feeling kind of place. We loved it, it was just beautiful, the ruins the park and the thai people are very welcoming and lovely..we hope to one day return. Date posted: October 2006 Frederik Dawson (Netherlands):
As the former capital of Thailand for more than 400 years, it can easily to imagine what this city was in the old time by assuming from the beautiful old part of Bangkok which was modeled after Ayutthaya. The city is situated on a river island surrounded by three rivers and used as a perfect fortification. After many war with Burma this city fell and was destroyed.
I visited this place during the cooler season of Thailand, but for me it’s still extremely hot. First time I saw this city; I quite disappointed since most of the city is very new and built in a western style architecture make this city looks like a typical city in SE Asia with many avenues and big market. However, after the new part of the city, the whole area changes to be a large park with many ruins. I knew almost immediately that I was in the Ayutthaya Historical Park which is the world heritage Site. Most of the ruins are gigantic Buddhist temple which built in different styles during the long history. Most ruins are in a very good condition due to many restorations and one temple is rebuilt. I really enjoyed seeing these beautiful temples each temple has its own styles and make me hardly bored. The former royal chapel with three big pagodas is truly a highlight for many tourists. But my favorite is Wat Ratchaburana that has Cambodian style pagoda and archeologist discovered the gold treasures inside the pagoda which are now display in Ayutthaya museum (one of Dan Cruickshank 80 treasures). After that I went to Wat Na Phra Meru which is the only temple that survive the destruction of the war, the temple is very beautiful and the Buddha is truly unexplainable with its majestic bright of gold in the dark solemn building. See this temple make me wonder what most temples in Ayutthaya were look like in that time and this make me quite sad. War is truly a bad thing, and Ayutthaya is a good example how war can destroy this beautiful civilization.
Overall, Ayutthaya is great for every one. But there is one thing I don’t understand – the name of this WHS. Historic City of Ayutthaya and associated historic towns, where are associated towns, the only inscription is just a small part of Ayutthaya Historical Park. This make me confused and not only that I also surprised to note that many great temple such as Wat Chaiwattanaram, the most beautiful in my opinion, Wat Na Phra Meru, the only survived temple, or even Wat Yai with big reclining Buddha are not in the WHS! The most confused for me is when I read many brochures and websites about Ayutthaya as a WHS, the pictures they used normally are Wat Yai which is not a WHS! I think UNESCO or Thailand should make it clear in the inscription that there is no associated historic town. And it would be great that in the future Thailand will extent the WHS zone to cover all beautiful temples ruins I mentioned.
Date posted: June 2006 PHUSA A-LASAT (Thailand): I feel proud of my country for the great and long history especially Ayutthaya City. I and my family visit Ayutthaya every school's vacation. I like to visit the temples in order to respect the old historic image Buddha. Whenever I went there it made me feel that I had been in the Ayutthaya period again for the imagination to the brave kings fighting the enemies on the head of their elephants among the brave Thai soldiers for protecting the freedom of Ayutthaya. It will be your special day if you like to visit the ancient things or places. This historic city appropriates for being on UNESCO's World Heritage List. Please visit here, it is not far from Bangkok. You can travel by passenger-boat along Chao Phraya River or by car or bus on Phrahon Yothin Road. You won't find it disappointing. Date posted: October 2005 Ben Pastore (USA):
I visited Ayutthaya in March 2003 after seeing only a small photograph in a guidebook. I wanted to get a feel of old Siam and was not in any way disappointed. Sure the splendor is gone, but this sprawling complex was most certainly the real deal. Hiring a tuk tuk driver for ten bucks was a wise investment, and we got to all the main sights. Getting to Ayutthaya was no problem, though the train was a more comfortable ride even the the cost (approximately $1US) was the same. Whichever way you get there, this is an easy and worthwhile day trip form Bangkok
Have you been to Historic City of Ayutthaya? Share your experiences!