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 neighbors. 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 kilometers 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 a 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.

Ayutthaya covers 2,556 square kilometers, and is administratively divided into 16 districts (Amphoes). It is conveniently accessible due to good roads and a short distance from Bangkok.

History

Ayutthaya is an ancient city, founded by "King U- Thong or Ramathibodi I " in 1350. It was used as the capital of Thailand for 417, during the Ayutthaya period, 33 Kings of 5 Dynasties reigned over the Kingdom.

During the first 180 years , the city was peaceful. The main activity then was about the state affair and trading which made Ayutthaya one of the most prosperous city in ASIA. But nine years after King Ramathibodi ll's death in 1529 Ayutthaya became involved, for the first time , in a war with MYANMAR which led to many wars after that.

Ayutthaya was first defeated by the Burmese in 1569 , but 15 years later it was back to its glory again by " King Naresuan the Great ". Ayutthaya was peaceful again and enjoyed the activities in foreign affairs for about 118 years. It came to its peak until it was invaded and destroyed beyond repair by the Burmese in1767

The capital was moved to Thonburi by "King Taksin the Great" who had fought against the Burmese and defeated them. After 15 years of King Taksin's reign. The capital was again moved to Bangkok by "King Rama the first". The founder of the present Chakri Dynasty.

Getting there

Bangkok to Ayutthaya
By Bus 
Direct air - conditioned buses leave Bangkok every half an hour from the and the Northern bus terminal on Phaholyothin Road. (Tel. 537-8055-6) starting 05.30 A.M. until 07.20 P.M.
By Train
Trains leave Bangkok Railway Station (Hua Lamphong Rama IV Rd. Tel. 2230710,2230720) daily every hour starting from 06.40 A.M. until 10.00 P.M.
By Boat
There are no public boats going to Ayutthaya. However, there are several companies that organize excursions to Ayutthaya and bang Pa-In. For further information please contact the following companies:

THE BANG PA - IN AND AYUTTHAYA CRUISE
Cruiser Time Pier Price
ONE-DAY EXCURSION
1.CHAOPHRAYA EXPRESS BOAT 
Tel: 222 - 5330
Fax:225-3002

08.00 -17.30 HRS. every Sunday 
(including ROYAL FOLK ARTS AND 
CRAFTS CENTER - BANG SAI)

Maharat

B250/person 
(transportation only) 
2. ORIENTAL QUEEN & AYUTTHAYA PRINCESS
Resv: Tel: 236 - 0400 - 9
Fax: 236 -1939
attn: ORIENTAL QUEEN
8.00 -17.30 HRS. everyday 
(going by cruiser and returning 
by air-conditioned coach or vice versa)
Oriental Hotel B 1,550/person 
(including   lunch and tour)
3. RIVER SUN CRUISE 
Tel: 266 - 9125, 234 - 2250,233 - 2877
08.20 -16.30 HRS. everyday
(going by air - conditioned coach
and returning by cruiser)
River City B 1,200-1,300/person 
(including  lunch and tour)
TWO-DAY EXCURSION
4.MEKHAIA 
Tel: 256-7168 - 9

everyday 
(going by curiser and
returning by coach or vice versa)

Charoen Nakhon

B 5,000/person
(including 3 meals, 
accommodation and tour)

Distance from Ayutthaya city of nearby Provinces

Bangkok 76 kms.         Saraburi 63 kms.
Ang Thong 31 kms.    Suphanburi 53 kms.

Festivals & Events

BANG SAI ARTS & CRAFTS FAIR
January
The Royal Folk Arts & Crafts Center At Bang Sai
The annual fair showcases products of the SUPPORT project under H.M. the Queen's Royal Patronage. Visitors will enjoy shopping, and viewing exhibitions and a display of local products from each district of Ayutthaya province. Folk entertainment performances enliven the fair.

Songkran Festival
April 13
In Front of Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit
The traditional Thai New Year is an occasion for merry making in Ayutthaya, with religious ceremonies as well as public festivities. Anyone who ventures out on the streets is likely to get a though soaking, but all in a spirit of fun and welcome at the peak of the hot season.

Bang Sai Loi Krathong ( Festival of Lights ) and International Boat Racing
November
The Royal Folk Arts & Crafts Center At Bang Sai
Celebrations include traditional float (Krathong) and beauty contests, handicrafts demonstrations and exhibitions, and krathong - launching beneath the full moon.

Ayutthaya Loi Krathong
November
In Front of Chantakasem National Museum
At the Loi Krathong Festival, little floats with candles are set adrift on the river under the full moon, creating a beautiful sight.

Ayutthaya World Heritage Site Celebrations
December
Ayutthaya Historical park,
The ancient Siamese capital of Ayutthaya was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1991. Ayutthaya celebrates its glorious past with historical exhibitions, traditional cultural processions and performances, light & sound presentations around city ruins, and numerous forms of entertainment.

Information provided by Tourism Authority of Thailand

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