The 5 Most Beautiful Temples of Ayutthaya in Thailand

Ayutthaya is a paradise for travelers who love interesting culture and history. The city is filled with incredible temple ruins, and it’s fascinating to explore them by bike or scooter. Ayutthaya was the capital of Thailand for 400 years when Thailand was known as ‘Siam’. In 1767, Ayutthaya came under heavy attack by the Burmese. The city was destroyed and looted, and the temples were abandoned and taken over by the jungle. Nowadays, you can still discover many ruins from this bygone era, making Ayutthaya an essential stop on your trip through Thailand. Moreover, it’s only a 1.5-hour drive from Bangkok, and you only need one full day to explore the most beautiful ruins. Ayutthaya is home to dozens of temples, and choosing which ones to visit can be difficult. In this article, you’ll find an overview of the most diverse and important temples in Ayutthaya.

What You Need to Know Before Visiting Ayutthaya

Unfortunately, you may still see travelers taking elephant rides in Ayutthaya. These elephants were taken from their mothers at a young age and subjected to abuse to make them obedient. We strongly discourage participating in elephant rides. It’s also important to know that when visiting the temples, you should dress modestly. As a woman, it is expected that your knees and shoulders are covered. Additionally, it is considered disrespectful to sit with the soles of your feet pointing towards Buddha.

The Most Beautiful Temples of Ayutthaya

Here are the top five temples in Ayutthaya.

#1 Wat Phanan Choeng

We start with a remarkable temple because Wat Phanan Choeng houses a 19-meter (62.3 feet) -tall golden Buddha. It features exquisite wall paintings and numerous intricate details that make this temple truly impressive. Built in 1324, Wat Phanan Choeng is particularly popular among local visitors to Ayutthaya.

#2 Wat Yai Chai Mongkol

Wat Yai Chai Mongkol is a temple complex constructed in 1357. It is one of the most significant temples in Ayutthaya. The place can get quite crowded, so it’s wise to visit this temple early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Inside Wat Yai Chai Mongkol, you’ll find numerous Buddha statues, including a large reclining Buddha.

#3 Wat Chaiwatthanaram

Wat Chaiwatthanaram is considered the most beautiful temple in Ayutthaya. The architectural style of the temple can be somewhat compared to the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. It was built in the 17th century and is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Wat Chaiwatthanaram looks even more beautiful during sunset.

#4 Wat Phra Mahathat

Wat Phra Mahathat is primarily known for the Buddha image among the roots of a bodhi tree. How the head ended up there remains a great mystery. One theory suggests that the statue was left behind after the Burmese destroyed Ayutthaya. Another theory states that a thief attempted to steal the head but it was too heavy to lift over the wall, so it was left behind. One thing is certain, it is a remarkable place.

#5 Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Wat Phra Si Sanphet definitely belongs to the list of the most beautiful temples in Ayutthaya. This temple was located within the walls of the Grand Palace in 1491 and served as the Royal Chapel. Today, the temple consists of three large, magnificent chedis. Long ago, there used to be a 16-meter (52.5 feet)-tall bronze Buddha statue here. Unfortunately, nothing remains of it today.

Transportation Between Temples in Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya is not very large, so you can easily explore the temples on your own with a bicycle or scooter. Often, you can rent a bicycle or scooter at your hotel. If you prefer to be driven around by a tuk-tuk, that is also possible. The tuk-tuks in Ayutthaya may not be very comfortable, but fortunately, the distances are not very long.

Tip: You can easily navigate offline using the app.

Our favorite places to stay in Ayutthaya

For a delightful stay, we recommend Baan Thai House. Here, you can sleep in a luxurious villa or a traditional Thai bungalow beautifully situated by the water. You can truly enjoy nature and tranquility here. There is a large swimming pool to cool off during the hot afternoons, and free bicycles are available for exploring the temples. If you’re on a smaller budget, you can also stay at Baan Luang Harn in an incredibly charming bungalow by the water. After a day of temple hopping, you can seek refreshing relaxation in the swimming pool. This is also a fantastic and peaceful base for exploring beautiful Ayutthaya.