Ayutthaya is undoubtedly one of the most culturally and
historically interesting towns within easy reach of Bangkok.
Accessible by rail, river and road Ayutthaya is a must on any
travel itinerary. Founded in the 14th century by King U-Thong,
it was the nation?s capital for more than 400 years and was one
of the largest municipalities in the world, eclipsing cities
Ayutthaya?s temples are dotted throughout this once glorious
city, along the encircling rivers, and in the surrounding
countryside. At least one full day is needed to fully appreciate
the magnitude of the Ayutthaya Historical Park, a UNESCO World
Heritage Site. One of the best ways to explore the restored
complex of ruins is by pedal power. Renting a bicycle is a
peaceful and enjoyable mode of getting up close to the
monuments. For a more unique journey of discovery, chartering a
long-tail boat allows you to absorb the attractions from a
riverine perspective. Principle sights include the Grand Palace,
Wat Phra Si Sanphet - the Royal Chapel, and Wat Mahathat ? the
Temple of the Great Relic.
To further experience Ayutthaya, visit the Portuguese Village.
The Portuguese were the first Europeans to arrive at Ayutthaya
in 1511. They also came as military volunteers in the
Ayutthaya?s army and as Christian missionaries, and they settled
at this site. You will enjoy learning how they live their lives
in the old days.
If time permits, visit Bang Pa-In Summer Palace, built on a lake
in the middle of the island and first used as a royal retreat in
the 17th century or Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Center,
a training center offering a glimpse of how farmers in
Thailand?s four regions live, work and produce their local arts
and crafts products.
Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre at Bang Sai With an area of
285 rai (or 14 acres), the Centre is located in Tambon Bung Yai,
Amphoe Bang Sai. Farmers from Ayutthaya as well as from other
provinces undergo training in folk arts and crafts here. At this
centre, you will have a glimpes of how farmers in the four
regions live and work ; how their products of arts and crafts
are produced. The centre is under the Promotion of Supplementary
Occupations and Related Techniques (SUPPORT) which was
established under Royal Patronage on the 21st July, 1976.
Products and activities which can be seen here are Fern Vien
Basketry, Weaving Basketry, Artificial Flowers, Hand - Woven
Silk and Cotton, Silk Dyeing, Wood Carving, Miniature Hand -
Modelled Thai Dolls, Furniture Making, Cloth - Made Products,
etc. All the products are sold at the Centre and in every branch
of Chitralada Store. Royal Folk Arts and Crafts Centre at Bang
In order to get to Bang Sai, one can take a cruiser or take a
bus from the Northern Bus Terminal on Phahonyothin Road, or
taking Bang Sai - Sam Khok Road, which branches off about 24
kilometres from Bang Pa - In intersection or take Highway No.
306 (Nonthaburi - Pathumthani Road.) turn right to Amphoe Bang
Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre
Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre Located on Rochana Road, this
centre is a national research institute devoted to the study of
Ayutthaya, especially during the period when it was the capital
of Thailand. The Centre is responsible for the museum of the
history of Ayutthaya, which exhibits reconstructions from the
past. The Centre also supports an information service and a
library containing historical materials about Ayutthaya.
The Centre is open everyday from 09.00 - 16.30 hrs., official
holidays from 09.00-17.00.
Chao Sam Phraya National Museum
This is on Rochana Road, opposite the city wall. It Chao Sam
Phraya National Museumhouses various antique bronze Buddha
images and famous carved panels. A receptacle at the Thai
Pavillion contains relics of Lord Buddha and objects of art more
that 500 years old. The museum also has a substantial collection
of local artifacts.
The museum is open everyday cxcept Monday, Tuesday and national
holidays The museum is open everyday cxcept Monday, Tuesday and
national holidays from 09.00 - 16.00 hrs.
Chedi Phra Si Suriyothai ,the memorial for the first heroine in
Thai history, is located in Ko Muang to the west. Among various
places of interest within the Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
Historical Park, this ancient place is of much importance as a
proof of honour that ancient Thai society gave to Thai women.
Phra Si Suriyothai was the royal consort of Phra
Mahachakkraphat. In 1548, only 7 months after being crowned as
king he was challenged by a Burmese attack under the supervision
of Phrachao Tabeng Chaweti and his warlord, Burengnong. The
Burmese army intruded into the kingdom through the Three Pagoda
Pass in Kanchanaburi and came to set up military camps around
the royal compond. During the fighting on elephant back, Phra
Mahachakkaraphat faced danger. Phra Si Suriyothai, clad in a
warrior suit, interrupted the fighting with the intention to
provide assistance for her husband. She rode her elephant in the
way of Pharachao Prae, a Burmese commander, and was cut to death
by his sword. After the end of the war, Phra Mahachakkraphat
arranged a funeral and established the cremation site to be a
temple named Sopsawan
In the reign of King Rama V, there was a quest for the
historical sites as mentioned in the Royal Chronical. The exact
location of Wat Sopsawan was identified with a large indented
stupa which was renamed by King Rama VI as Chedi Phra Si
In 1990, the government assigned the Fine Arts Department and
the National Security Command to restore the chedi, which had
deteriorated over time. Fortunately, on 20 May 1990, some
antique objects were found such as a white rock crystal Buddha
image in the posture of subduing Mara, a chedi replica, and a
golden reliquary. These ancient objects were brought to be under
the care of the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum.
Elephant Kraal Pavilion The pavilion, utilized as the royal seat
to witness the elephant round up, is located 4 kilometres from
the city along Highway No. 309. The outlook is a big cage
surrounded with logs having, from the front centre, fencing
lines of 45 degrees spread out to both sides far away into the
jungle area. Around the kraal itself, is an earthen wall with
bricks to the height of the pillarsop. Behind the kraal and
opposite the front fencing line, is the pavilion housing the
royal seat. The Kraal currently seen was renovated in the year
Fort And Fortress Around The City The forts along the city wall
and outer circle fortresses as found in the historical records
include Pom Mahachai, Pom Phet, Pom Ho Ratchakhru, Pom Chidkop,
Pom Champaphon, Pom Yai, etc. They are mostly situated at
Japanese Village This is located 1.5 kilometres far from Wat
Phanancheong in Tambon Ko Rien. There is an additional building
of the Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre, where the foreign
affairs of Ayutthaya Period are on exhibition.
Khun Phaen House
Khun Phaen Thai - style house conforms to descriptions in a
popular Thai literay work. Khun Phaen house is near Wihan Phra
Mu Ban Protuket is the Portuguese village located in Tambon
Samphao Lom, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River and to
the south of the city. The Portuguese were the first Europeans
who travelled to trade with the Ayutthaya kingdom. In 1511, Al
Fonco de Al Buquerq, the Portuguese governor to Asia, dispatched
a diplomatic troupe led by Ambassador Mr.Du Arte Fernandes to
Ayutthaya during the reign of King Ramathibodi II. After that,
some portuguese came to the kingdom for different purposes :
trade, military volunteers in the Ayutthaya army, or on a
religious mission. They built a church as the centre of their
community and to serve religious purposes.
Presently, some traces of former construction have been found at
the village site. At the ancient remains of San Petro, a
Dominican church, some antique objects were excavated together
with human skeletons such as tobacco pipes, coins, and
accessories for a religious ceremony.
Suan Somdet Situated on U - Thong Road to the southwest of the
city, is a big public park offering various plants referred to
in Thai literature and archaeological sites.
Wat ChaiwatthanaramWat Chaiwatthanaram Another monastery that is
located on the bank of Chao Phraya River, on the west of the
city island. King Prasat Thong commanded it built. The great
beauty has been reflected from the main stupa and its satellite
stupas along the gallery, an architecture influenced by Khmer.
Travelling can be made by river form Chankasem Palace. A
long-tailed boat service is available at 300-400 baht for a
round trip, consuming about one hour.
Ayutthayahirat Worawihan is the monastery located outside Ko
Muang, opposite Chedi phra Si Suriyothai, on the bank of the
Chao Phraya River. Its former name was Kasattra or Kasattraram.
It is an ancient temple of the Ayutthaya period with a main
Prang (stupa) as its centre.
This monastery located south of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya has no
record as to its date of construction or the person causing its
construction. It existed before Ayutthaya was founded as the
capital. The principal image in the Wihan called 揚hrachao
Phananchoeng was built in A.D. 1325 ; it is made of stucco in
the attitude of subduing evil ; considered beautiful, it is most
revered by the inhabitants of Ayutthaya.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
This important and most outstanding monastery is located in
Grand Palace compound like Wat Phra Si Ratanasatsadaram (Wat
Phra Kaeo) of Bangkok. Used as a residential palace, it became a
monastery in the reign of King Ramathibodi I. When King Borom
Trai Lokanat commanded new living quarters built, this
residential palace was given to be a temple area, thus
originating Wat Phra Si Sanphet : The royal chapel does not have
any monks and novice inhabitants.
Wat Suwandaram Ratchaworawihan is the monastery within the royal
compound, located to the southwest on the edge of Pom Phet, an
ancient fort. First, it was called 慦at Thong Established in the
Ayutthaya period, the monastery was extended and restored
several times during the reigns of the Chakri kings. The mural
paintings on the upper part of the inside wall of the Ubosot
depict the gathering of the deities, and on the lower part, the
jataka stories of Wetsandon, Temi, and Suwannasam are described.
The front wall shows a picture of the Buddha subduing evil.
Within the Vihara, there is a picture of the bravery of King
Naresuan the Great, which is a masterpiece of several copies
found in many places.
Wat Yai Chaimongkhon or Wat Chao Phraya Thai This monastery
constructed in the reign of King U-Thong is located outside the
city to the southeast in the same direction as the railway
station ; one can see its large pagodas from far away. King
Naresuan the Great commanded the pagoda built to celebrate the
victory of his single-handed combat on the elephant back. He
also aimed at a huge construction to match the large pagoda of
Wat Phukhao Thong, and named it Chedi Chaiyamongkhon
Nakhon LuangAmphoe Nakhon Luang
Prasat Nakhon Luang Situated on the east bank of Pa Sak River,
Tambon Nakhon Luang, it was used as the royal accommodation
during trips to the Buddha Footprint Shrine and Lopburi. It is
assumed to have been constructed during the reign of King
Songtham, but was improved to be a brick and plaster
accommodation during the reign of King Prasat Thong.
Holland House Information Centre
The Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie,
or VOC) founded in 1602 and liquidated in 1795 was the largest
and most impressive of the early modern trading companies
operating in Asia. The Dutch government authorised it to conduct
trade, erect fortifications, wage wars, appoint governors, keep
a standing army and conclude treaties in its name in the Asian
trade zone between Iraq and Japan. Dutch VOC-merchants first
arrived in Ayutthaya in 1604. The king allowed the Dutch to
establish their first trading post in his capital Ayutthaya in
The VOC were the principal western traders in Siam in those days
and bought tin, deerskins, rayskins, sappanwood, rice and many
other products in Siam. The Company obtained the right to
monopolize the hide business; thus, they were able to make a
fortune from exporting hides to Japan. The Dutch were importers
of luxery goods into Siam, such as Indian printed and painted
textiles, but they also brought in Japanese silver.
The Dutch not only involved themselves in trade but also
participated in Siamese society and politics, largely because
such participation served their commercial ends. Their records
offer a unique insight into 160 years of trade and diplomacy
with the Kingdom of Siam. The huge archives of the VOC are an
important source for Thai history, as they contain not only
information on trade but also on diplomacy, and on the history
and sociology of the Kingdom of Siam. The important chronicles
by VOC employees such as Joost Schouten, Jeremias van Vliet and
Engelbert Kaempfer bear witness of their profound interest in
and knowledge of Siam. They are all translated into English and
available in Thailand. The 17th century Dutch painter Johannes
Vingboons produced a number of detailed maps of Ayutthaya (or
Judea, as he called it).
By the 1630?s the Dutch received land and permission to build a
lodge on the east bank of the Chaophraya river to the south of
the city. The two-story structure, enclosed by a stockade, was
known to the Dutch as de logie, and to the locals as teuk daeng,
the red brick building. The Dutch settlement developed into a
separate village. The French priest Nicolas Gervaise wrote that
the Dutch quarter on the bank of the Chaophraya river ?is the
most elegant and the grandest of all in the Kingdom?. The
building was destroyed by the invading Burmese armies in 1767.
Before that the Company had moved its personnel and merchandise
out of the Kingdom. Currently, only the foundations of the huge
brick building remain.
During the celebrations of 400 years of Thai-Dutch relation
(2004), H.M. Queen Beatrix and H.R.H. the Prince of Orange,
accompanied by H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn visited
the site. H.M. Queen Beatrix donated a royal gift to establish
an information centre near the site of the Dutch lodge. The Thai
Fine Arts Department excavated the site during 2003-2005 and in
2009-2010 and found many artifacts, such as Chinese porcelain,
pottery, Dutch pipes and coins. In close cooperation with the
Thai Fine Arts Department construction of the museum has begun
in 2010. Construction will be finalized in 2011.
Holland House Information Centre in Ayutthaya
Holland House Information Centre in Ayutthaya
This Holland House Information Centre, and in Thai: Baan
Hollanda, aims to educate audiences about the Dutch settlement,
how they worked, lived and interacted with Siamese society and
court. The goal is to tell the story of the Dutch in Ayutthaya
in such a way to make it accessible to the Thai and foreign
public. Together with the Portuguese and Japanese information
centres the Baan Hollanda will be proof of the cosmopolitan
character of the city of Ayutthaya, where dozens of ethnic
groups, Asian and European, lived and worked under the
Ayutthayan king?s sovereignty.
A team of excellent Thai and Dutch historians is working on the
content of the exhibition, in cooperation with Thai museums and
universities and a Dutch museum. To design and create a modern
exhibition, with modern facilities, attractive to Thai and
foreign visitors, extra funding will be necessary. Also funds
will be necessary to ensure that the museum can be maintained in
the future. A business plan has been made and a foundation in
Thailand is being set up to collect the necessary extra funds. A
website on the history of the Dutch in Ayutthaya and on the
construction of the museum will be operational shortly. We
welcome your support.