Ayutthaya, or Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, was once the capital of Thailand (known as Siam back then) and considered the most spectacular place on Earth. In the 1700s, Ayutthaya was the largest and wealthiest city in Asia with 1,700 temples and over 4,000 golden Buddha statues. In 1767, all this came to an end during the Burmese invasion, and the city was almost completely destroyed. UNESCO has granted the spectacular ruins that now remain World Heritage status.
Ayutthaya is about 80 km north of Bangkok, and for as little as 60 baht you can go there by minivan from Victory Monument BTS (Skytrain). To find the van zone, head out of the BTS station at exit 4 and ask your way.
The Historical Park is huge (see the map further down on this page), and some people rent bicycles on arrival. We hired a tuk-tuk, and the driver showed us a map of the park, and we told him what temples we wanted to see. We came here for the temples that appear in the movies Mortal Kombat and Kickboxer with Jean-Claude Van Damme. Yay! We visited six different temples, but there are over 20 impressive temples here.
Wat Chaiwatthanaram, situated by the Chao Phraya River, appears in the movie Mortal Kombat. The temple was constructed in 1630 by the King Prasat Thong. The central prang (reliquary tower) is believed to contain relics of the Lord Buddha.
Mutilated Buddha statues in Wat Chaiwatthanaram.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet is another temple that appears in the movie Mortal Kombat. Wat Phra Sisanphet is the largest and most significant temple since it was used as the royal temple and palace for several Ayutthaya kings.
Wat Ratchaburana appears in Kickboxer as “Stone City.”
Wat Phra Ram, right across from Wat Phra Si Sanphet, was built in 1369 on the site of the first Ayutthaya king’s cremation.
The head of Buddha, with a tree trunk and roots growing around it at Wat Mahathat, is the most iconic image in Ayutthaya.
Intact Buddha statue at Wat Mahathat.
The Reclining Buddha at Wat Lokkayasutharam appears in Sagat’s stage in most of the Street Fighter games.
Ayutthaya has surprisingly few tourists. Be careful in the heat, and drink lots of water!
Map of Ayutthaya Historical Park.
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