NEED TO KNOW
LOCATION The ancient site lies 50 miles (80 km) north of Bangkok in Thailand
DATE OF CONSTRUCTION
Jan: 79°F (26°C); Apr: 86°F (30°C); Jul: 82°F (28°C); Oct: 82°F (28°C)
The great city of Ayutthaya was founded in 1351 by King Ramathibodi I, who came here from the disease-ravaged city of Lopburi. It served as the Thai capital for over 400 years and boasted three royal palaces, hundreds of temples, 87 miles (140 km) of canals, and a cosmopolitan population of a million people, including merchants from Portugal and samurai bodyguards from Japan.
Ayutthaya’s glory days ended abruptly in 1767, when it was sacked and destroyed by the Burmese, who left the ruins that we see today. These include several needle-sharp stupas, innumerable statues of Buddhas staring soulfully into space, and many crumbling Buddhist temples, including Wat Phra Mahathat, known for its eerie stone Buddha’s head smothered with overgrown tree roots.
Getting There Fly into Bangkok, from which point it’s a short journey by train, bus, car, or boat to Ayutthaya.
When to Go Visit from November to February, the coolest, driest months.