It’s a known fact that Ayutthaya is famous for its temples and rich history, being the old capital city of Thailand (previously called Siam) before it was moved to Bangkok.
But have you really only been to temples in Ayutthaya? If yes, then you’re missing out on sooooooo much! In fact, Ayutthaya surprisingly has much more than just temples!
Instagrammable cafes and restaurants
Delicious local delights (grilled giant prawns anyone?!)
Romantic and fun stays
Summer palaces of past Thai kings
Former foreign settlements
And much more exciting things!!
So why just do the customary temple-hopping if you can discover a different side to Ayutthaya?
Here are 29 things you can and should do during your time here. So bring your camera (and this list) and let’s go on an adventure! 😀
Instagrammable cafes & restaurants
Dine, relax and strike your best pose at Ayutthaya’s instagrammable cafes and restaurants. Who knows, you might be the next famous instagrammer. 😉
1. Paddies, bamboos and coffee for a relaxing day – Rak na Ayutthaya (รักษ์นา อยุธยา)
If you’re looking for a place to chill or even have a nice breakfast among the greens, look no further than Rak na Ayutthaya.
A countryside-style Thai cafe, the cafe is surrounded by rice fields and decorated with wood and bamboo. So order a refreshing drink and take a photo by the Instagrammable wooden pathway!
If you’re feeling hungry, and only cakes and drinks won’t do, they also sell Thai food – available all day long.
Rak na Ayutthaya
Price: from 50 Baht / approx. USD $1.60
Address: 88 ตำบล บ้านป้อม Tambon Ban Pom, Amphoe Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Chang Wat Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13000 (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 65 478 5090
Opening hours: Daily from .:30am to 7pm
2. Spirals of stairs in a restaurant? Take a picture by one too! – The Wine Ayudhya
Travel stylishly in Ayutthaya by chilling at The Wine Ayudhya, a two-story modern square-shaped restaurant.
The highlight of the restaurant? The 4 spiral stairs leading up to the second floor. So don’t be shocked if you see many people taking photos beside or on it. In fact, we recommend you to do so too!
Besides that, check out their extensive Thai food offerings, including fried fish and khanom jin. But if you’re not feeling hungry, you can also opt for some drinks and dessert instead.
3. Dine in a Thai traditional house by a pond – Ayutthaya Retreat
Travel back in time to the olden days by dining at Ayutthaya Retreat, a restaurant situated in a traditional Thai house by a pond.
Experience how life was like back then by lying down on a hammock or sitting in a traditional boat on the pond. Just don’t forget to take a picture of you doing it too! 😉
Whether you have a meal or just some cakes or drinks, they’ll all be served on Thai-style china plates. The perfect instagram foodie photo set-up! 😀
Local eateries for a taste of Ayutthaya
Here are several local eateries you should never miss while you’re in the former capital city for a feel of Ayutthaya.
4. Love pancakes? Try out Ayutthaya’s famous cotton candy pancake – Roti Saimai Abidin – Pranom (โรตีสายไหมอาบีดีน-ประนอม)
There are two things you must never miss out on in Ayutthaya, and one of them is Roti Saimai. Why? The sweetness of the cotton candy inside the pancake complements the plain flavour of the thin pancake, ensuring your cotton candy pancake won’t be too sweet.
And unlike regular cotton candy, you can even chew it – just like how you’d eat a slice of toast! You can even put in more or less cotton candy in the pancake, depending on how sweet you’d prefer the treat to be.
The cotton candy and pancake are available in various colours. But don’t worry about choosing the wrong colour, they all taste amazingly delicious!
Roti Saimai Abidin – Pranom (โรตีสายไหมอาบีดีน-ประนอม)
Price: from 30 Baht / approx. USD $0.96
Address: Pratuchai, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13000 (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 89 005 9948
Opening hours: Daily from 9am to 8pm
5. Try some amazing (and famous) grilled giant river prawns – Baan Ayutthayarom (ร้านอาหาร บ้านอยุธยารมณ์)
Wondering what’s the other thing you should not miss out on? It’s the Grilled Giant River Prawns, which is actually also one of my favourite Thai dishes. Why? The simplicity of the dish, tender prawn meat, and sour and spicy taste (from the sauce) make it a great complement to your plate of rice.
Luckily, you can find it (along with other delicious Thai dishes) at Baan Ayutthayarom. To eat it, pour a bit of seafood sauce on your prawn before taking a bite. Remember to eat the runny orange prawn head too – it’s actually the most delicious part!!
With the restaurant filled with Thai traditional houses and located by the river, enjoy a relaxing meal with your loved ones.
6. Satisfy your sweet tooth with traditional Thai desserts – Baan Kao Nhom
Roti Saimai isn’t enough to satisfy your sweet tooth? Get more traditional Thai desserts at Baan Kao Nhom.
Find Banana in Syrup, Pumpkin Sweet, and other sweet delicacies if you’d like to try some authentic Thai desserts.
But if you’re up for something more original, try out their fusion dessert choices like Butterfly Pea Ice Cream with Thong Muan (crispy coconut milk crepe roll) and Pumpkin with Coconut Ice Cream.
Don’t feel like dining in? You can also buy them to takeaway, in case you’d like some traditional sweets on your way back to Bangkok.
Temples in Ayutthaya
Temple-hopping is easily the #1 must-do activity in Ayutthaya. But we understand there’s just too many temples in Ayutthaya, so here are several recommended temples you should visit here.
7. Is it a church or a temple? – Wat Niwet Thammaprawat Ratchaworawihan (วัดนิเวศธรรมประวัติราชวรวิหาร)
If you didn’t know what “wat” means in Thai, you would have guessed this temple is a church due to its European-style architecture. (“Wat” means temple in Thai.) However, you’d have known this is a “wat” (which means temple in Thai) as soon as you entered.
Built by King Rama V in 1876, the temple is built on an island in the Chao Phraya River, opposite the Bang Pa-In royal palace. So to get here, you’d have to take a Thai-style cable car. Don’t worry though, it’s safe. 🙂
Other than the temple, you’ll also find European-style buildings in the complex.
8. Wear traditional Thai costumes in a former royal monastery – Wat Chaiwatthanaram
Forget the usual temple-hopping in Ayutthaya. If you’re ready to make your experience spectacular and extraordinary, come to Wat Chaiwatthanaram where you can take pictures in traditional Thai costumes (available in women, men and kids size).
Starting from 200 baht, you can get your Thai costume in your favorite colors and wear Thai traditional accessories. You can even get your make-up and hair-do here (for an additional fee)! The result? Instagram-worthy images sure to make your followers green with envy!
Otherwise, enjoy the view of the Chaophraya river beside the temple. Don’t forget to visit and take a picture by the main prang too, which is believed to store Buddha relics. Or pose beside the countless headless Buddha statues in the premise.
9. See the famous Buddha image inside a tree – Wat Mahathat
One of the most famous temples in Ayutthaya is Wat Mahathat, mainly due to the Buddha image embedded inside a tree. This is no surprise since Wat Mahathat was actually a place where Buddha relics were enshrined.
But did you know other than being a symbolic centre, Wat Mahathat was actually the residence of the Supreme Patriarch of Thai Buddhist monks during the Ayutthaya period (thus the center of Buddhism)? Thus, there’s no surprise why Wat Mahathat was one of the most important temples at the time.
Built during the 14th century, you’ll also find prangs and other Buddha images here.
10. Visit the most important temple in the Ayutthaya Kingdom – Wat Phra Si Sanphet
As part of the Royal Palace complex in the Ayutthaya Kingdom, Wat Phra Si Sanphet was easily the most important temple. Why? Because this large temple was used solely by Ayutthaya Kings – meaning no monks resided here. Royal ceremonies were also once held here.
Other than the ruins of the temple’s foundation, you’ll also discover 3 chedis standing side by side here. In fact, they’re believed to store Buddha relics and the ashes of 3 kings – namely King Boromratchathirat III, King Trailok and King Ramathibodi II.
Markets in and around Ayutthaya
Here are where you can shop and eat like a local at Ayutthaya’s numerous night markets!
11. Eat and relax at night near temple grounds – Krungsri Ayutthaya Night Market (ตลาดกรุงศรีอยุธยาไนท์มาร์เก็ต)
Tired after a day of temple-hopping? Stop by Krungsri Ayutthaya Night Market, where numerous stalls of food, beverages and items (e.g. oil paint on velvet paintings) open here on Fridays and during the weekends.
Feeling thirsty? Get a refreshing glass of palm juice in a bamboo cup, and even have the cup as souvenir once you’re done! It might be a little too sweet though (especially if you’re not a big sweets fan), so let the ice melt for a bit before drinking.
There are also fried halal beef sausages, grilled chicken with sticky rice, and the famous grilled giant prawn available here for the hungry ones.
Sit at one of the tables around the market or near the lake for a relaxing evening. But if you’d like a more romantic spot, we recommend sitting below the tree with lanterns by the pond. 😉
You can also take a boat ride around the market (for 40 baht/person)!
Krungsri Night Market (ตลาดกรุงศรีอยุธยาไนท์มาร์เก็ต)
Price: from 10 baht / approx. USD $0.32 Website
Address: Si Sanphet Rd, ตำบล ประตูชัย Amphoe Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Chang Wat Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13000 (Coordinates here)
Opening hours: Fri-Sun from 4pm to 10pm (Closed on Monday to Thursday)
12. Shop at an antique Thai market – Talad Kong Khong (ตลาดโก้งโค้ง)
Curious about how the Thais lived back in the days? Guess no more. At Talad Kong Khong, discover rows of colourful stackable food storage containers, toys from the olden days and small Thai-style china plates.
You can also find traditional Thai food and dessert being sold by workers garbed in traditional Thai clothing.
But even if you’re not up for shopping or eating, we recommend walking around to understand more about Thai culture and feel the vibe of markets during the old times.
Don’t have much time for a boat tour or cruise around Ayutthaya? Go for a relaxing dinner or lunch by the river instead!
13. Wine and dine your beloved by the river with a temple view – Sala Ayutthaya
Jazz up your romantic trip by dining at Sala Ayutthaya. Other than delicious food and picturesque settings (think super tall red brick walls), you’ll also get to revel in scenic temple and calming river views during your exquisite meal.
And if you come here at night, you’ll even get to see the lights in the temple being lit up – a great and romantic view you definitely don’t want to miss.
A delicious meal with the perfect person and the perfect view? Yes please!
14. Dine by the river at a traditional Thai-style restaurant – The Grand Chaophraya
Relish the wind and the scenic view of the Chao Phraya river when you dine at The Grand Chaophraya.
Not sure what to get? Go for Hor Mok Ma Prao On (Thai steamed seafood in young coconut) or spicy tom yum soup.
You can also try Ayutthaya’s famous grilled giant prawns here (if you haven’t yet)!
The Grand Chaophraya is located at the same place as The Wine Ayudhya. So if you wish to visit both places, feel free to have your meal outdoors before moving inside for dessert. Just remember to order more things, since they are different restaurants. 🙂
15. See relics found in Ayutthaya’s temples – Chao Sam Phraya National Museum
Other than prangs, chedis and Buddha images, you’ll discover that the temples around Ayutthaya are mainly empty. That’s because many of the relics found during the excavations were moved to Chao Sam Phraya National Museum.
Here, you’ll find antiques, gold artefacts, Buddha images and other treasures collected from Wat Ratchaburana and other temples in Ayutthaya.
So if you’re a history buff or just interested in learning more about Thai history, especially about the Ayutthaya Kingdom, then we recommend you to come here.
16. Meet Thailand’s oldest Catholic church – Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church
Whether or not you’re a Christian, you definitely should make time to see Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church. A Romanesque-style Catholic church, it’s the oldest Catholic church in Thailand (it was built in 1666) and the centre of the French Catholic mission until the fall of Ayutthaya by the Burmese in 1767.
Thankfully, the church is still active to this day (even though it’s no longer the centre of the French Catholic mission). As such, you can visit and partake in mass every Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings. Otherwise, the church is closed off for visitors.
You can still come to appreciate the architecture of the beautiful church anytime though. Remember to take a picture if you do come as a keepsake. 🙂
Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church
Entrance fee: free
Address: Samphao Lom, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13000 (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 35 701 526
Opening hours: Saturday evenings at 7 pm and Sunday mornings at 9 am (mass hours)
17. Visit the summer palace of Thai kings – Bang Pa-In Palace Summer Palace
So you’re on your way to Ayutthaya. Make a brief stop at Bang Pa-In Palace Summer Palace and discover the grand summer palace of Thai kings.
The buildings you see here were all restored by King Mongkut, or more famously known as King Rama IV, during the 19th century. Thus, don’t be surprised that the design is quite modern compared to the temples and buildings in the Ayutthaya period.
Just like the Grand Palace, Bang Pa-In Palace Summer Palace is still used on special occasions. As such, some buildings are not open to the public. Otherwise, feel free to walk around and take as many pictures as you wish! 😀
Bang Pa-In Palace Summer Palace
Entrance fee: 20 Baht / approx. USD $0.65 (students); 100 Baht / approx. USD $3.25 (adults) Website
Address: ถนนปราสาททอง Tambon Ban Len, Amphoe Bang Pa-in, Chang Wat Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13160 (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 3526 1548
Opening hours: Daily from 8am to 5pm
18. Learn about Thailand’s famous agricultural system – Ban Kong Por Sufficiency Economy Learning Center
Have you always thought Thailand’s fruit and vegetable to be very delicious? If yes, then you should thank the late Thai king, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. In fact, not only did he improved the agriculture practices in Thailand, but he also taught his people how to be self-sufficient through agriculture (a.k.a. the New Theory).
At Ban Kong Por Sufficiency Economy Learning Center, you’ll be able to see how land is separated for animal farms, paddy fields and living area under the New Theory.
You can also participate in several activities here, such as feeding goats and sheep or making salted egg (for an additional fee).
When you’re done, take a breather at the cafe on site.
Ban Kong Por Sufficiency Economy Learning Center
Entrance fee: free (activities will incur an additional fee) Website
Address: Phu Khao Thong, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13000 (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 98 965 7998
Opening hours: Tue-Sun from 8am to 5pm (Closed on Monday)
19. Discover how Thailand’s popular green tea drinks are produced – Tanland
If you like green tea and have bought one during your trip to Thailand, then the brand Ichitan might be familiar to you. One of the most popular green tea drinks in Thailand, you can now see how they’re produced only at Tanland.
You can also visit other exhibition rooms in the building, such as a Japanese-style tea room, digital pond, and a room filled with Mr Tan’s miniature figures (interesting tidbit: Mr Tan is actually the owner and the brand ambassador of Ichitan).
And once you’ve been to all the rooms, you’ll get the chance to sit down and get a refreshing Ichitan drink or a cup of ice-cream. You can even get some Tanland merchandise if you’d like!
Visit foreign settlements during the Ayutthaya period
Did you know that foreigners lived in Ayutthaya, back when the city was still the capital of Thailand (then Siam)? Discover what they did back then and their story from the past.
20. Discover how Japanese settlers lived in the 14th-18th century – Japanese Village Museum
Did you now that Japan has been trading partners with Thailand for a very long time? In fact, the land where the Japanese Village Museum stands now is the original site granted by the Thai monarch hundreds of years ago to the Japanese due to their trading relations.
To remember this part of history, the Thai-Japanese Association have built a museum where you can learn what the Japanese did back then. Don’t miss out on watching the videos to get an insight into Japanese lives and contributions back in the day too!
You can also personally experience how they lived during the Ayutthaya period by using virtual reality technology at the VR Street Museum!
PS: If you ever get tired, take a break at the small air-conditioned cafe.
Japanese Village Museum
Entrance fee: 20 Baht / approx. USD $0.65 (children); 50 Baht / approx. USD $1.63 (adults) Website
Address: Ko Rian, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13000 (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 35 259 867
Opening hours: Mon-Fri from 9am to 6pm; Sat-Sun from 8.30am to 6pm
21. Learn the history of the Dutch East Indies Company with Ayutthaya – Baan Hollanda
The Dutch East Indies Company might be gone for good, but their legacy definitely lives on! At Baan Hollanda, the former Dutch settlement during the Ayutthaya period, learn how the Dutch and Thai started their relationship in the 17th century and what they traded back then.
You’ll also be able to see relics to better understand how the Dutch lived at the time.
Not just the past, you’ll also learn how time has strengthened the Dutch-Thai relationship to its current state.
22. Go down the memory lane of the Portuguese – Portuguese Village
You’re not afraid of skeletons, are you? Because if you aren’t AND you’re a history buff then you’re going to absolutely LOVE it here!
Due to its location as a former cemetery and church for Portuguese settlers, many skeletons of Portuguese and local Christian skeletons were uncovered here. And just beside it, you’ll find the ruins of the Portuguese village.
You’ll also hear stories about how the Portuguese contributed to Thailand back then, such as through architecture, weaponry and trade. A definite eye-opener for those unfamiliar with the Ayutthaya period.
Address: Samphao Lom, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13000 (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 35 242 501
Opening hours: Daily from 8am to 5pm
See Ayutthaya by Boat
Too lazy to walk, cycle, or drive around Ayutthaya? Travel by boat then!
23. Take a boat tour around Ayutthaya – ท่าเรือป้าอ้วน บริการนั่งเรือรอบเกาะเมืองอยุธยา
Ayutthaya can definitely get too hot! So why walk if you can explore Ayutthaya with a boat – under a shade with the wind blowing on your face? A trip’s only a trip if you relax right? 😀
During your 1-hour boat tour, you’ll get to see famous temples along the river, locals enjoying themselves, as well as elephants swimming in the water (if you’re lucky!). Don’t forget to take a picture if you do see one!
PS: To book the tour, send them a message on Facebook. Don’t worry, they understand English. 🙂
24. Enjoy a relaxing meal on a cruise – Rice Barge Lunch or Dinner Cruise
Why just eat at a restaurant if you can have a delicious authentic Thai meal while enjoying the changing scenery of Ayutthaya?
Not only will you see historical sites like The Phet Fortress, Wat Phananchoeng and St. Joseph Catholic Church, you might also witness day-to-day activities by locals during the cruise ride – if you’re lucky that is. 😉
Picky about food? Thankfully, the cruise offers two food selections for you to choose from so if you’d like, you can choose whichever suits your taste buds!
The cruise only requires a minimum of 2 people, so come with your friends, family or loved one to enjoy this unique experience.
25. Return to your happy childhood with toys – Million Toy Museum by Krirk Yoonpun
Ever had a cartoon or superhero idol when you were younger? What if you can meet them in person?! Meet Doraemon (my favourite cat!), Ultraman, and thousands of other toys at Million Toy Museum by Krirk Yoonpun.
Guess what. The toys here even come in a variety of sizes! A legion of Ultraman even taller than humans? So cool! Miffy in a Volkswagen car? Swag! 😀
Not just toys, you can also see paintings of cartoon-style animals around the museum.
Don’t forget to get a book or toy (or two) to bring home with you too!
Million Toy Museum by Krirk Yoonpun
Entrance fee: 20 Baht / approx. USD $0.65 (children); 50 Baht / approx. USD $1.63 (adults) Website
Address: 45 Moo 2 Uthong Rd, Tambon Tha Wa Su Kri, Amphoe Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Chang Wat Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13000 (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 35 328 949
Opening hours: Tue-Sun from 9am to 4pm (Closed on Mondays)
26. Pay homage to Muay Thai masters and the legendary Nai Khanom Tom – World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony
Who hasn’t heard of the famous Muay Thai? Respect the martial arts? Attend the World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony, an annual event for Muay Thai, that allows anyone (even amateur Muay Thai practitioners and Muay Thai fans) to pay their respects to Muay Thai masters.
You’ll also pay homage to Nai Khanom Tom, a legendary Muay Thai warrior during the Ayutthaya period that won against 10 Burmese fighters.
Gathering Muay Thai fans all over the world, join in the festivities by participating in the ceremonies and visiting the numerous stalls.
World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony
Contact: +66 3524 6076-7 or TAT Call Center 1672
Where to stay
Staying over for a night at Ayutthaya? Make your stay as fun or romantic as you want at these stays.
27. Enjoy a relaxing trip with friends in a private house – Kanlueng Home
Coming to Ayutthaya with a group of friends? Then we highly recommend staying at Kanlueng Home! As the only guests in the house, you’ll have access to everything on the property. Yep. EVERYTHING! This includes the barbeque area beside the river and the open dining area on the first floor.
And if you ever get bored seeing the amazing views from your huge bedroom window, you can always sit on the hammock and sway left to right as you wait for the sun to set.
Although on the pricier side, this house accommodates 6 people, ensuring a more comfy and intimate gathering with friends.
Rate: approx. 3,440 Baht / USD $112 per night Check Rate on Agoda
Address: 35/2 Moo 1 บ้านแป้ง Bang Sai District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13190 (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 94 331 3838
28. Ayutthaya IS romantic! – Sala Ayutthaya
Who says Ayutthaya can’t be romantic? Think again, Sala Ayutthaya will definitely prove you wrong.
Its modern rooms are equipped with a circular indoor bathtub you and your beloved can freshen up in. Keep the curtains open or close, it’s your call as only a glass wall separates the bathtub from the bedroom.
If you upgrade your rooms, you can even get a majestic view of the river and temple across the hotel. But don’t worry if you can’t afford it. You can always visit the restaurant instead for the same view. Not so private, but still romantic – just the way it should be. 😉
Rate: from 3,102 Baht / approx. USD $101 per night Check Rate on Agoda
Address: 9, 2 หมู่ 4 Uthong Rd, Tambon Pratuchai, Amphoe Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Chang Wat Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13000 (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 35 242 588
29. Be immersed in history by staying at a traditional Thai-style hotel – iuDia
Your explorations of Ayutthaya doesn’t have to end when you rest. Have a great sleep after a long day of travelling while still being immersed in the Thai culture at iuDia.
With the entire hotel designed with a traditional Thai touch, discover aspects of Thailand at every corner of the hotel – whether it’s the shape of arch on the doorway or the patterns on the upholstery.
Relax further and go swimming at the pool by the river, with the view of temples across the river. Or else, sit by the table if you’re not up for swimming but simply want to chill.
Rate: from approx. 1,997 Baht / USD $65 per night Check Rate on Agoda
Address: 11-12 Moo 4, Uthong Rd. Pratoochai, Pranakorn Sri, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13000 (Coordinates here)
Contact: +66 35 323 208
Editor’s Note: Say NO to elephant cruelty!
As you travel around Ayutthaya, one of the most common sights you’ll see (especially within the Ayutthaya Historical Park area) are tourists riding on elephants. However, did you know that humans aren’t supposed to sit on elephants? In fact, these elephants are tortured and trained harshly to reach this point. They’re also commuted to the city by a truck for this elephant riding activity – something elephants should not be experiencing.
If you see this, we encourage you to forgo this activity and choose other activities instead. We guarantee your Ayutthaya experience will still be as authentic and exciting as ever! 🙂
Seriously, we were so surprised by what we found in Ayutthaya having just gotten back from Bangkok in June 2019.
There’s so much unexpectedly amazing things to do in the area that you simply have to go there for yourself. It’s also a super, super Instagrammable adventure too!
PLEASE NOTE: All the above information is correct at the date of publication. If you come across any changes or updates, please let us know and we will update the information accordingly. Thank you!
|PLEASE NOTE: All the above information is correct at the date of publication. If you come across any changes or updates, please let us know and we will update the information accordingly. Thank you! |