Ayutthaya, or Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, was once the capital of Thailand (Siam back then) and considered the most spectacular place on Earth 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. The spectacular ruins that now remain have been granted World Heritage status by UNESCO.
Ayutthaya is located about 80 km north of Bangkok,
and for as little as 60 baht you can go there by minivan from Victory Monument. To find the van zone, head out of the BTS station at exit 4 and ask your way. Since there are no more minivans from Victory Monument, I recommend going by train. It’s safer, cheap and more fun!
The Historical Park is huge, and some people rent bicycles on arrival. We hired a tuk-tuk, and the driver showed a map of the park for us to pick 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.
Situated by the Chao Phraya River, Wat Chaiwatthanaram was my favorite temple in Ayutthaya. It was incredible walking around pretty much alone, taking in the Mortal Kombat atmosphere. The temple was constructed in 1630 by the King Prasat Thong, and the central prang (reliquary tower) is believed to contain relics of the Lord Buddha.
My wife with an umbrella to protect herself from the strong sun. Be careful in the heat, and drink lots of water.
The Burmese army mutilated all Buddha statues.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Another temple that appears in Mortal Kombat is Wat Phra Sisanphet — the largest and most significant temple since it was used as the royal temple and palace for several Ayutthaya kings.
Wat Phra Ram
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 tree roots growing around it at Wat Mahathat is the most iconic image in Ayutthaya. Pretty fascinating stuff!
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One of few intact Buddha statues.
Wat Ratchaburana appears in Kickboxer as “Stone City.” It’s also the third temple that appears in Mortal Kombat.
The 37 meters long reclining Buddha at Wat Lokkayasutharam appears in Sagat’s stage in most of the Street Fighter games.
Map of Ayutthaya Historical Park.
Suggested read: Giant River Prawns in Ayutthaya.