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Home | Thailand | Regions in Thailand | Central Thailand | Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya

The ancient city of Ayutthaya , or Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya , The Thai capital for 417 years, is one of Thailand's major tourist attractions. Many ancient ruins and art works can be seen in a city that was founded in 1350 by King U - Thong when the Thais were forced southwards by northern neighbours. During the period of Ayutthaya being the Thai capital, 33 kings of different dynasties ruled the kingdom until it was sacked by the Burmese in 1767.

Ayutthaya is 76 kilometres north of Bangkok and boasts numerous magnificent ruins. Such ruins indicate that Ayutthaya was one of Indo - China's most prosperous cities. Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Historical Park, a vast stretch of historical site in the heart of Ayutthaya city, has been included in UNESCO's list of world heritage since 13 December, 1991.

Ayutthayacovers 2,556.6 square kilometres, and is administratively divided into 16 districts (Amphoes). It is conveniently accessible due to good roads and a short distance from Bangkok. 

Attractions

It was common for a royal temple to be included in the Grand Palace, reserved for royalties only. The important and most outstanding monastery located in the Grand Palace of Ayutthaya is Wat Phra Si Sanphet. Formerly a residential palace, it was later used as a royal chapel, but no monks or novice have ever inhabited this place, as the normal practice of other temples.

Adjacent to that and also located on the palace grounds is the Wiharn Phra Mongkhon Bophit , presently housing a large bronze-cast Buddha image originally enshrined outside the Grand Palace to the east. The original sanctuary (wiharn) and Buddha image was badly destroyed by fire during the second fall of Ayutthaya. Though beautiful, the renovated building paled in comparison to the beautiful craftmanship of the original ones. The open area to the east of the sanctuary was formerly the Royal Fields (Sanam Luang), but has now been converted into a parking lot and souvenir vending stalls.

The Elephant Kraal Pavilion , slightly north of town, was utilised as the royal seat to witness the elephant round-ups. Wild elephants would be driven here for training as pack animals or war mounts. In the middle of the stockade is a shrine to honour the elephant guardian.

Wat Ratchaburana is located opposite Wat Mahathat , located at the eastern entrance of the Grand Palace. Two pagodas were built on the ground where the king's 2 brothers were killed while engaged in single hand combat abreast elephants against the Burmese. Later, a sanctuary (wiharn) was added and the placed was upgraded to a monastery(wat). 

The Chedi Phra Si Suriyothai , located in the Phra Nakorn Si Ayutthaya Historical Park, is a memorial dedicated to the first heroine in Thai history. It is an important proof that ancient Thai society honoured Thai women. In 1548, Phra Si Suriyothai, a royal consort, went out to battle the Burmese with the Thai army. Clad in a warrior's suit, she fought on elephant back and sacrificed her life to save her husband, Phra Maha Chakkraphat, the present King from danger. The chedi is located at the original cremation site.

On the bank of the Chao Phraya River, on the western side of the city, is another beautiful monastery, Wat Chaiwatthanaram. The magnificent main stupa (tower) and the satellite stupas along the gallery reflect a Khmer influence.

Located slightly south of Ayutthaya, Bang Pa-in Palace was used as a country residence by the Ayutthayan royalties. When the capital was moved to Bangkok, Rama V restored the palace compound, as it now appears with various distinctive buildings, such as the Chinese-style pavilion and the famous Thai pavilion in the middle of the pond. 

The History of Bang Pa-in Palace 

The Royal Palace at Bang Pa-In has a history dating back to the 17 th century. According to chronicle of Ayuttaya, King Prasat Thong (1629-1656) had a palace constructed on Bang Pa-In island in the Chao Praya River. A contemporary Dutch merchant, Jeremais van Vliet, reported that King Prasat Thaong was an illegitimate son of King Ekathotsarot (1605-1610/11), who in his youth was shipwrecked on that Island and had son by a woman who was his friend. The boy grew up to become the Chief Minister. After having usurped the throne, he had become known as King Prasat Thong.

The King founded a monastery, Wat Chumphon Nikayaram, on the land belonging to his mother on Bang Pa-In Island, and then had a pond dug and a palace built to the south of that monastery. The chronicle records the name of only one building, the Aisawan Thiphayaart Royal Residence, which was construct in 1632, the year of the birth of his son, the future King Narai (1656-1688). It is not known whether or not the palace was in use till the fall of Ayuttaya in 1767.

By 1807, however, when the Kingdom's best known poet, Sunthon Phu, sailed past Bang Pa-In, only a memory of the palace remained, for the site was neglected and overgrown. The palace was received by King Rama IV of the Chakri dynasty, better known in the West as King Mongkut (1851-1868), who had a temporary residence constructed on the outer Island that because the site of the Neo-Gothic style monastery, Wat Niwet Thamprawat, which was built by his son and their, King Chulalongkorn (RamaV). 

The present – day royal palace dates from the reign of King Chulalongkorn (1868-1910), when most of the buildings standings today were constructed from 1872 to1889. Today the palace is used occasionally by Their Majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) and Queen Sirikit as a residence and for holding receptions and banquets.

Small 4-seat cars are provided for tourists who do not like to have a long walk. It is 200 Baht per hour. You can drive by yourself or require someone drives for you and gives information about the palace.
The Ayutthaya Historical Study Center houses interesting audio-visual displays depicting Ayutthaya's history. Funded by the Japanese government, the centre is located in a former Japanese quarter at the time when Ayutthaya was at the peak of its power and prosperity.

Wat Na Phramen is the only temple that was not completely destroyed during the 1767 invasion and destruction of Ayutthaya. Situated on the northern side of the city moat right across from the Grand Palace, the Burmese used the temple as their headquarter. Still in use today, it has retained its original, magnificent splendor since its construction in 1503.

The largest chedi in Ayutthaya is located at Wat Yai Chaimongkhon , located outside the city island to the southeast. King Naresuan the Great commissioned the pagoda to be built to celebrate his victory over the Burmese in 1593. On the northeast side of the wat is a large reclining Buddha housed within a ruined wiharn.

Bang Pa - In Bang

Pa-In Palace. This palace is located in Tambon Bang Len, Amphoe Bang Pa-In, 18 kilometres south of Ayutthaya. It lies 58 kilometres north of Bangkok by rail, 61 kilometres by road. To access to Bang Pa-In from Ayutthaya, one can go by Phahonyothin Road and make a right turn at Km.35 for another distance of 7 kilometres to Bang Pa - In Palace. The palace is open to the public everyday from 08.30-16.00 hrs. Admission fee is 50 baht per person. For more information Tel: 0-2224 - 3273 or 0-3526-1044

Originally, Bang Pa - In was a riverine island. When Prasat Thong became the Ayutthaya king (1630-1655), he had the Chumphon Nikayaram Temple built on his family estate. Later, he had a palace built on a lake in the middle of the island where he could periodically reside.

The palace, surrounded by a lake 400 metres long and 40 metres wide, and the Chumphon Kikayaram Temple, are all that remain of King Prasat Thong's construction work at Bang Pa-In.

Bang Pa - In was used as a country residence by every Ayutthayan monarch after King Prasat Thong. But when the new capital was established in Bangkok, Bang Pa-In ceased to be used and was left unoccupied for 80 years. It was only during King Mongkut's reign (1851-1868) that Bang Pa-In was again visited by kings. King Mongkut stayed there and had a house built in the old palace's compound.

His son, King Chulalongkorn (1868-1910) liked the place, stayed there every year and constructed the royal palace as it is now seen today. Important buildings inside the palace compound are:

Aisawanthipphaya-At Pavilion A. Thai design pavilion in the middle of the pond was built in the reign of King Rama V. Originally built of wood throughout, King Rama VI commanded to change the floor and pillars to be reinforced concrete.
Warophatphiman  hall It is north of the "Saphan Sadet” the royal path to and from the river landing.
Formerly the two-storey wooden villa was used as both the royal living quarters and Throne Hall. Later during his reign, King Rama V commanded the original one to be demolished and replaced with a European design building to be used as the Throne Hall to receive his subjects for royal ceremonies. In this hall are paintings of the royal historic records, Inao literature, Phra Aphai Mani literature and the Ramayana epic.

Phra Thinang Utthayan Phumisathian  is a two-storey building located to the east and opposite the pond. It is a piece of elaborate work seen tinted alternately with dark and light greens. Its balcony is similar in design to a Swiss chalet.

Before being destroyed by fire during the restoration in 1938, the whole building was built from wood and decorated inside with mahogany furniture ordered directly from Europe. Other decorative items were precious offering rarely to be found, but forwarded to the capital from satellite towns. A beautiful flower garden surrounded the building.

Now, a concrete structure of the same model has been built to replace the one that was burnt. 

Theatre This theatre was constructed by the royal command of King Rama VI in the compound of his consort' s living quarters near the pond in the garden west of Utthayan Phumisathian Hall.

Ho Hemmonthian Thewarat is the stone Prang under a banyan tree near the pond within the outer part of the royal compound , where an image of a deity is housed. King Rama V ordered its construction in 1879 to replace an old shrine built by villagers as an offering to King Prasatthong of the Ayutthaya period.
Saphakhan Ratchaprayun This two-storeyed building on the river bank outside the palace wall was constructed by the royal command of King Rama V. It is in front of Warophat Phiman Hall in the south and was used as the living quarter of the non-consort members.
 
Witthunthassana Hall This hall, constructed in the form of a tower between Utthayan Phumisathian and Wehat Chamrun, is a three-storey building having a spiral staircase leading to the top floor hall. When residing in Bang Pa - In Palace, King Rama V used this hall as the place to get the bird's eye view of the surrounding area.

Keng Buppha Praphat iPraphat is the Chinese-style pavilion nearby the garden's pond within the inner part of the royal compound. It was built in 1881 during the reign of King Rama V.

Wehat Chamrun Hall This hall located in the north of the palace, was constructed in the Chinese Emperor style as the royal offering by Phraya Choduk Ratchasetthi (Fak). King Chulachomklao usually made a royal visit during the cool season. 

Monument Of Queen Sunantha This is a 3 metre high hexagonal marble building, situated on the east side of the royal palace. It was constructed to keep the ashed of the affectionate consort of King Rama V (Somdet Phranangchao Sunantha Kumarirat).

Monument Of Phra - Akkharachayathoe Phra-Ong Chao Saowaphak Narirat and Three Royal Children, or Anusawari Rachanuson  It is the marble relif memorial that King Rama V, with his deep sorrow, ordered to be constructed in 1888 to commemorate his beloved consort (Phra - Akkharachayathoe Phra - Ongchao Saowaphak Narirat) and three royal children who passed away at different times of the same year, 1887. These portraits stand nearby the memorial of Somdet Phranangchao Sunantha
Kumarirat.

Wat Niwet Thamprawat is the monastrey located to the south of an island in the Chao Phraya River, on the riverbank opposite the royal palace. In 1878, King Rama V ordered its construction to have the same architectural style of a Western cathedral. The building and its decorations are of Gothic style and beautified with colourful stained glass. The base ; where the principal image of Buddha and his followers were placed, was designed to resemble the one for the Cross in a Christian church, not a traditional Chukkachi base as seen in general. 

The window blocks were especially made for curved windows. On the Ubosot wall in front of the principal Buddha image, there is a picture of King Rama V created with stained glass. Situated to the right of the Ubosot is Ho Phra Khanthararat, a shrine where Phra Khanthararat - a Buddha image in the posture of requesting rain, is put for worship. Opposite Ho Phra Khanthararat is another shrine, which is the house of a seated stone Buddha image protected by a seven - headed naga. It is an ancient Buddha image aged a thousand years, built in the Lopburi period by a Khmer craftsman.

This venerated Buddha image is very close to the big banyan tree that spreads its branches to shade the area in front fo the Ubosot. Not far from the Ubosot, there is a cluster of stones naturally found in Thailand, which contains the relics of Chaochommanda Chum, a consort of King Rama IV and mother of Prince (Somdet Kromphraya) Damrong Rajanubhab and the members of the ‘Diskul' family. From Bang Pa - In Palace, visitors can access the monastery through a cable car that carries 6 - 8 passengers at a time. The fare depends on the passengers' contributions.

Wat Chumphon Nikayaram is the monastrey located in the front area of Ko Muang, opposite to the train station. It was founded in 1632, by King Prasatthong's command and restored during the reign of King Rama IV. 

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. For more details please contact Tel : 0-3524-5124 (Admission fee : 100 Baht)

Chao Sam Phraya National Museum This is on Rochana Road, opposite the city wall. It houses 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 except Monday, Tuesday and national holidays The museum is open everyday except Monday, Tuesday and national holidays from 09.00 - 16.00 hrs. (Admission fee : 10 Baht). For more information Tel : 0-3524-1587 

Khun Phaen House Khun Phaen's Thai - style house conforms to descriptions in a popular Thai literay work. Khun Phaen's house is near Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit.

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 waterway intersections.

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.

Wihan Phramongkhon Bophit. Phra Mongkhon Bophit, a large bronze cast Buddha image was originally enshrined outside the Grand Palace to the east. King Songtham commanded it to be transferred to the west, where it is currently enshrined and covered with a Mondop. Later in the reign of Phra Chao Sua, the top of the Mondop was burnt down by a fire due to a thunderbolt. Then, the King commanded a new building be built in the form of a big sanctuary (Maha Wihan) to cover the image in lieu of the former Mondop. During the second fall of Ayutthaya, the building and the image were badly destroyed by fire, the one currently seen was renovated but does not have as beautiful craftsmanship as the previous ones. The open area east of the Sanctuary (Wihan) was formerly Sanam Luang, where the royal cremation ceremonies took place (This prectice is now held at Sanam Luang, the Phramain Ground of Bangkok). 

Wat Phraram This monastery was situated outside the grand palace compound to the east. King Ramesuan commanded it built on ground, where the royal cremation ceremony for his father King U - Thong, took place. A big lagoon is in front of this monastery. Its original name was "Nong Sano”, it was changed to be "Bung Phraram” or currently Phraram Public Park.

Wat Phra Mahathat Located in front of the Grand Palace to the east near Pa Than Bridge,it was constructed in the reign of King Borom Rachathirat I. 

Wat Ratchaburana This monastery was located near Pa Than Bridge opposite Wat Mahathat. King Borom Rachathirat II (Chao Sam Phraya) commanded two pagodas built on the ground where Chao Ai and Chao Yi engaged in single hand combat from elephant's back, and both were killed. Later, he established a Wihan combined with the pagodas and upgraded it to be monastery.

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 Senasanaram This ancient monastery named "Wat Sua” is behind Chankasem Palace. The main attractions are two Buddha images : Phra Samphuttha Muni, the principal image enshrined in the Ubosot, and Phra In Plaeng enshrined in the Wihan ; both were transferred from Vientiane.

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 ‘Wat 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.

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's 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 "Wat 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 Suriyothai.

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. 

Si Suriyothai Park  is located within the area of the Ayutthaya liquor plant adjacent to Chedi Phra Si Suriyothai. On its total area of 5 rai, there is a common building, a Somdet Phra Si Suriyothai pavilion, a mound with marble Semas (boundary stones of a temple) aged over 400 years where the fragmented parts of Buddha images taken from Wat Phutthaisawan were buried, etc. The Liquor Distillery Organisation, who sponsored the construction of the park, wished to devoted all good deeds in transforming the former inner part of the royal compound to all of the late kings who used to live here before. King Rama IX graciously named the park "Suan Si Suriyothai” on 25 May, 1989. Then, the park was conferred to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit on the eve of Her 60th birthday anniversary. The park opens daily for the public from 09.00-17.00 hrs.

Wat Lokkayasutha This monastery is over a kilometre behind Wat Suanluangsopsawan adjacent to Wat Worachettharam. Accessible by the road inside the compound of the Distillery Plant, or through the road behind the Phlapphla Trimuk (three-gabled roof pavilion), It is in the area of the Acient Palace passing Wat Woraphot and Wat Worachettharam going to the site of the large reclining Buddha, made of brick and covered with plaster, approximately 29 metres long. Many large hexagonal pillar ruins near the image are believed to be the ruins of the Ubosot. 

Wat Kasattrathirat 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.

Wat 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.

Wat Phutthaisawan is the monastery situated on the river bank opposite Ko Muang to the south. Travel by car along the route Ayutthaya - Sena to the west of Ko Muang. After passing the bridge in front of Wat Kasattrathirat, turn left to Wat Chaiwattanaram. Follow the direction signs, you will find a left turn to Wat Phutthaisawan. This monastery was built in the area where King U-thong moved to establish his city. The area was first known as Wiang Lek, named after the royal palace of King U-thong. The most interesting part of wat Phutthaisawan is the great principal Buddha image ; its style is of the early Ayutthaya Period. 

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. 

Wat Phukhao Thong Located two kilometres northeast of the Grand Palace, this monastery was constructed in the year 1387 during the reign of King Ramesuan.

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 pillars'top. 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 1957. 

Wat Na Phramen The former name of this monastery was Wat Phra Merurachikaram. Located on the bank of Khlong Sabua opposite the grand palace, the date of construction is unknown. The Ubosot design is of very old typical Thai style. The most interesting objects are the principal Buddha image, fully decorated in regal attire, and another image make of black stone in the small Wihan.

Wat Kudidao Located in front of the railway station to the east, this old monastery has beautiful work with better craftsmanship than many other temples, but it has deteriorated to a high degree.

Wat Samanakot Located near Wat Kudidao, it was renovated by Chao Phraya Kosa (Lek) and Phraya Kosa (Pan) during the reign of King Narai the Great. The main attraction is a large Prang having an unusual outlook different from the others. It is believed to imitate the design of Chedi Chet Yot of Chiang Mai. 

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's back. He also aimed at a huge construction to match the large pagoda of Wat Phukhao Thong, and named it "Phra Chedi Chaiyamongkhon”.

Wat Phananchoeng 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 "Phrachao 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.

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. 

Palaces and Buildings

There were three palaces in Ayutthaya : Grand Palace, Chankasem Palace or the Front Palace, and Wang Lang or the Rear Palace. In addition, there were many other palaces and buildings for royal visits located outside the city area of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, such as Bang Pa - In Palace at Amphoe Bang Pa - In and Nakhon Luang Building at Amphoe Nakhon Luang.

Grand Palace Currently called "Ancient Palace”. The residential palace of every king was located close to the city wall of Ayutthaya. A road passes by from Chankasem Palace, which is two kilometres away to the north. Important buildings inside the Grand Palace compound are :

Wihan Somdet Hall The top of this hall has been decorated in a unique style of architecture called Prang. It has longer space in front and rear gabled rooms, and shorter space in the side gabled rooms.It was surrounded with a three - sided cloister and utilized for various royal ceremonies such as coronations. This was the first building over constructed in Ayutthaya to be affixed with gold leaf. 

Sanpet Prasat Hall This is the middle building construted in the same design as Wihan Somdet Hall. Kings used it to welcome foreign envoys and visitors.

Suriyat Amarin Hall A four - gabled roof building constructed of sandstone and brick ; it is close to the riverside city wall. It was used as a place to witness the royal barge processions.

Chakkrawat Phaichayon Hall With a three - gabled roof, it is on the inner eastern city wall in front of the Grand Palace. It was used to view processions and military practice.

Trimuk Hall This is located behind the Sanphet Prasat Hall. It is believed to have been the residential area of the consort members and is also the royal relaxing place in the garden.

Banyong Rattanat Hall Formerly known by the name of "Phra Thinang Thaisa”, it is located in the back compound of the Grand Palace on an Island in a pond. It has four - gabled roof architecture. 

Chankasem or Front Palace On the bank of Pasak River, this palace was built during the reign of King Maha Thammaraja, the 17th Ayutthayan monarch, for his son's residence (King Naresuan). Like other ruins, the palace was destroyed by the Burmese and lift unrepaired for a long time. King Mongkut of the present Chakri dynasty ordered reconstructoin of this palace for use as a residence during his occasional visits to Ayutthaya. Some of the more interesting sites are :

City Wall and Gate They were newly constructed by the command of King Rama IV. The original foundation of the city wall has since been found through excavation, thus revealing that the original area was much more spacious than what is currently seen.

Philapphla Chaturamuk This wooden four - gabled roof pavilion is near the east gate of the palace. Originally, a residential place of King Mongkut during his visit to Ayutthaya.

Phiman Rattaya Hall A group of buildings located amidst the compound of the grand palace, which once served as government offices and the Provincial Administrative Building for several years.

Phisai Sanyalak Hall This is a four storey high tower located close to the western side of the Grand Palace. It was originally constructed during the reign of King Narai the Great, but was destroyed during the 2nd fall of Ayutthaya. It was reconstructed according to the original foundation in the fourth reign. King Rama IV used the Tower to observe the stars. 

The palace is now used as a national museum. It has been decorated for demonstration of antiques such as Chainaware, ancient weapons, King Rama IV's personal things for daily life, Buddha images, sculptures and votive tablets of different times. The museum is open everyday from 09.00 - 16.00 hrs. except Monday, Tuesday, and national holidays. 

Wang Lang or The Rear Palace This palace is located close to the western city wall of Ayutthaya (in the vicinity of the present location of the distillery plant of the Excise Department). It was originally the garden where the king made a visit from time to time. There was only one residential building in the entire area. King Maha Thammaracha commanded more buildings to be built in the area to mark it a palace which would be the residence of King Ekathosarot. Later on, this rear palace was only the residence of royal family members, so now no one can see the important items. 

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's 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. 

Bang Sai

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.

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 Sai.

The Centre is open everyday except Monday from 08.30 - 16.00 hrs. Admission fee is 20 Baht per person. For more information, please contact Tel. 0-3536-6092 or Tel. 0-2225-8165- 8 ext. 460 (Bangkok). 

Festival

Bang Sai Arts & Crafts Centre
The annual fair shows products of H.M. the Queen's SUPPORT programme. Visitors will enjoy shopping, and viewing exhibitions and demonstrations of local products from each district of Ayutthaya. Folk entertainment performances enliven the fair. 

Songkran Festival
In Front of Wihan Phra Mongkhon BophitThe traditional Thai New Year is an occasion for merry making in Ayutthaya, with religious ceremonies as well as public festivitis. Anyone who ventures out on the streets is likely to get a thorugh soaking, but all in a spirit of fun at the peak of the hot season. 

Bang Sai Loi Kra Thong
Celebrations include traditional float (Krathong) and beauty contests, handicraft demonstrations and exhibitions, special events, and krathong launching beneath the full moon. 

Hotels and accommodation

  • Tevaraj Tanrin Hotel : N.91 Moo10 Tambol Kamang Amphur Pranakornsri Ayutthaya [(66 35) 234-873-7]

Restaurants 

  • Binla : Maharat Road, Tel : 0-3524-6045
  • Chada : 84 U - Thong Road, Tambon Hua Ro, Tel : 0-3525-1166
  • Chai Nam : 36/2 U - Thong Road, Tel : 0-3525-2013
  • Chit Chai Suki : 59/4 Rochana Road, Tel : 0-3524-1434, 0-3524-4330
  • Chong Charoen Phanit : Pa Maphrao Road, Thesaban Soi 1
  • Dok San o : Suan Luang Building, Rochana Road, Tel : 0-3524-5697
  • Farm Kung Luang : 98/4 Mu 3 Asisn Highway, Tel : 0-3524-3588
  • Hai Huang : 70 Mu 3 Si San phet Road, Tel : 0-3524-5691
  • Khao Tom Kamlang Phainai : 17/77 Naresuan Road, Tel : 0-3524-1935
  • Khrua Taen : 7/7 Mu 2 U - Thong Road, Tel : 0-3524-1375
  • Khrung Kao : Mu 4 Rochana Road Tel: 0-3524-1121)
  • Ku - Choeng Chinese Restaurant : Krung Sri River Hotel Tel : 0-3524-4333
  • My Hut Cafe : Rochana Hotel Tel : 0-3533-5885)
  • Luk Sit Theng : 154/1 U - Thong Road Tel: 0-3524-1246
  • Nong San o : 50 Mu 2 Aisan Highway Km. 64 Tel: 0-1923 -1981  
  • Pa Sak coffee Shop : Krung Sri River Hotel Tel : 0-3524-4333
  • Phae Krung Kao : 4 Mu 2 U - Thong Road Tel: 0-3524-1555, 0- 3524-3455)
  • Phae Thewarat : 74/7 Behind Railway Station Tel: 0-3524- 1597, 0-3524-4124
  • Phlu Luang Night Club : Ayutthaya Grand Hotel Tel : 0-3533-5483
  • Racha : 5/4 Mu 1 Rochana Road Tel: 0-3524 -1326, 0- 3524-2518
  • Ruen Doem : 28 Asian Highway Tel: 0-3533-5073, 0-3533- 5707
  • Ruen Doem : 48/2 U - Thong Road Tel: 0-3524-1978
  • Ruen Phae : 36/1 U - Thong Road Tel: 0-3524-1807, 0- 3524-1964
  • Ruen Rap Rong : 13/1- 2 Mu 2 U - Thong Road
  • Sai Thong River : 45 Mu 1 U - Thong Road Tel: 0-3524-1449, 0- 3524-4575
  • Samanya : 9/3 Naresuan Road Tel: 0-3524-1633, 0-3524- 3273
  • Siam : 11/3 Mahatat Road Tel: 0-3524-2516
  • Sala Thai : Thai Thai Palace, Asian Highway Km. 72 Tel: 0-3533-5988
  • Strawberry : 26/2 U - Thong Road Tel: 0-3525-2514
  • Tamnak Kaeo : 166 Mu 2 Chai Mongkhon Road Tel: 0-3524- 5150 – 1
  • Taphian Thong Coffee Shop : Ayutthaya Grand Hotel Tel : 0-3533-5483-91
  • Thai House Restaurant : 8/2 Mu 3 Tambon Khlong Suan Phlu Tel: 0- 3524-5977- 9
  • U - Thong Cafe : U - Thong Inn HotelTel : 0-3524-2236 – 9 

How to get there

* By train 
Trains leave Bangkok Railway Station (Hua Lam Phong) Rama IV Road, Tel. 223 - 7010, 223 - 7020) daily every hour starting from 06.40 - 22.00 hrs.

* By bus 
Direct air-conditioned buses leave Bangkok every half an hour from the Northern Bus Terminal on Phahonyothin Road. (Tel. 537 - 8055 - 6) starting 05.30 - 19.20 hrs.
And non air-conditioned buses (Tel. 272 - 5761 - 5 ext. 117) leave for Bang Pa - In, Bang Sai, and Ayutthaya many times daily from 05.30 - 19.20 hrs

* By car    
- Take Highway No. 1 (Phahonyothin Road.) then take Highway No. 32 to Ayutthaya.   
- Take Highway No. 304 (Chaeng - Watthna Road.) or take Highway No. 302 (Ngamwongwan Road.) ; turn righ to Highway No. 306 (Tiwanon Road.), then take Highway No. 3111 (Pathum Thani - Samkhok - Sena) and turn right at Amphoe Sena to Highway No. 3263   
- Take Highway No. 306 (Bangkok - Nonthaburi - Pathum Thani Road.) then take Highway No. 347

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