A one-hour drive from Bangkok, Ayutthaya, a less "ancient" city than Sukhotai, is nicknamed the "glorious city of the 33 kings." It was founded in 1350, on an island where the rivers Chao Phraya, Lopburi and Pasak meet. The Burmese devastated the site in 1767, but they spared the magnificient temple ruins lying on a maze of canals spanning 87 miles. With its one million inhabitants, the lake city boasts vestiges scattered on both the island (Chao Phraya National Museum and its Siamese works of art plus the Vihan Phra Mongkol Bopitr sanctuary that houses the largest Buddha in the country) and around, in a modern city that has managed to preserve its rustic charm.
The Ayutthaya ruins incorporate over a dozen different sites which notably include a Sleeping Buddha.© René Mattes
The city of Ayutthaya was founded in 1350 when it was known as the Kingdom of Ayutthaya.© Joerg Hackemann
The Kingdom of Ayutthaya was pillaged and destroyed by the Burmese and its ruins have now been declared a site of historic interest.© Worradirek Muksab / 123RF
Buddhists cover statues of Buddha in gold leaves when praying.© René Mattes
As is common throughout the country, Ayutthaya has various open air restaurants where you can sample authentic Thai cuisine.© René Mattes