At the start of your Ayutthaya Ancient City Tour and River Cruise, you will be picked up from your Bangkok hotel early in the morning. For this delightful excursion you will travel in an air-conditioned mini-bus.
On the day of your tour, plan to meet your guide in the lobby of your hotel at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled pick-up time. Please present your confirmation voucher to the guide before starting the tour.
The ancient city of Ayutthaya lies 76km (46 miles) north of Bangkok. For 417 years, it was the capital of Thailand (then known as Siam). In the 16th century, awestruck foreign traders described it as one of the biggest and wealthiest cities in the East.
By 1700 BCE Ayutthaya was the largest city in the world with a total of 1 million inhabitants. It is said that the city was home to 1,700 temples and over 4,000 golden images of Buddha. Sadly, all this came to an end in 1767, when it was sacked by the Burmese.
The cultural and historical importance of Ayutthaya has been recognized by UNESCO, who have given it World Heritage Site status.
Your tour begins at Bang-pa-in (the Summer Palace). Built in the 17th century and restored in the 19th, the palace architecture strikes a balance of both Southeast Asian and European design. Stroll around the majestic buildings and vast gardens, set about a grand ornamental pond.
Your guide will then lead you through the evocative ruins of the once-magnificent city. Most of the remains you will see are former temples and palaces because these were the only buildings made of stone at that time.
You will see Wat Yai Chai Mongkon – a meditation temple built by Ayutthaya’s first ruler in 1357. It is famed for the huge statue of the Reclining Buddha inside the temple compound and for the large Chedi (pagoda or stupa) that dominates the skyline. The Chedi was built in 1592 to celebrate King Naresuan’s single-handed defeat of the then Burmese Crown Prince after an elephant back duel. Buddha statues of all sizes are dotted around the temple compound.
You will visit Wat Mahathat, in the center of Ayutthaya, to see one of the most famous and most photographed attractions in the ruined city – the Buddha’s head nestled in between the roots of a fig tree.
Just after noon, you will board the luxurious River King at Wat Pai Lom Pier for a 2-hour cruise on Chao Phrya River (the River of Kings). Floating back to Bangkok, sit down to a sumptuous Thai and Western cuisine buffet lunch, and relax as you drift past the beautiful scenery of Thailand.
On arrival in Bangkok, you will be dropped back at your hotel.