Heritage of Ancient Ayutthaya in Style
Ayutthaya, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was once the capital of Thailand, dating back to 1350. After holding its position for 417 years, the city eventually fell after a Burmese invasion in 1767. Whilst much of the city's treasures were looted or damaged during the invasion, the remaining ruins, some of which have been partially restored, are still very impressive.
Visit Wat Yai Chai Mongkol, one of Ayutthaya's best known temples, recognisable for its huge central chedi and rows of Buddha statues. You will also stop at Wat Phra Si Sanphet, which was once the royal temple in the old palace grounds. Both the temple and the grounds were used as a model for Bangkok's Wat Phra Kaew and Grand Palace. Take a stroll around Wat Mahathat, which features possibly the most photographed site in Ayutthaya - a Buddha statue's head peeping through the roots of a tree.
We would also recommend taking some time just to wander around Ayutthaya's market and Muslim Quarter. Despite only being 90 minutes from Bangkok, the city has a much more laid back atmosphere and there are plenty of local delicacies to try, including brightly coloured candy floss. You will have lunch at the stylish fine dining restaurant; The Wine Ayutthaya.
After lunch enjoy a leisurely one-hour longtail boat trip along the Chao Phraya. Pass by riverside villages before arriving at an island where you will find Wat Niwet Thammaprawat. This unusual Buddhist temple actually looks like a European church, including a steeple and stained glass windows. From the island, take a cable car across the river before continuing by golf buggy to Bang Pa-In Summer Palace. The site was originally built in 1632 and contains a number of ornate buildings and pretty gardens.
This trip can either be done from Bangkok or whilst you are staying in Ayutthaya. If you are coming from Bangkok you will set off at around 7.30am and get back to the capital at around 6.30pm. The car transfer is around 90 minutes each way. Lunch at The Wine Ayutthaya is included, as well as one premium cocktail or glass of wine.