Representing the magnificence and splendour of Thailand’s glorious past, the Ayutthaya Historical Park encompasses the fascinating ruins of the renowned ancient settlement of Ayutthaya. Many of the old places and temples were constructed during the rule of King Ramathibodi I in the14th century. In fact Ayutthaya functioned as the capital of the Thais for no less than 417 years before its unfortunate destruction by the invading Burmese in 1767.

After considerable renovation effort on the part of the Fine Art Department, the scenic park was classified in 1981 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park encompasses a large proportion of the extent of Ayutthaya’s present Old Town and features almost all of the important buildings and relics. Even today, many fascinating remnants of the glory days of the Siamese kingdom may be seen at the park. Many of the majestic structures are concentrated in the small island formed by the adjoining rivers. Amongst the many ancient ruins some highlights may be identified.

The Wat Chaiwatthanaram is amongst Ayutthaya’s most photographed locations. Located on the Chao Phraya River’s banks, the Wat was constructed by King Prasat Thong in 1630 to honour his mother. This building was created as a replica of the temple at Angkor. The temple takes the unusual shape of a massive central prang encircled by smaller prangs.

Another esteemed feature at Ayutthaya is the Wat Phra Si Sanphet which at the height of the ancient city’s glory was its most magnificent temple. Situated within the Grand Palace compound, this Wat initially functioned as a royal residence. Later during the rule of King Ramathibodi I it was transformed into a monastery. This temple is one if Ayutthaya’s most prized relics.

During the month of December Ayutthaya demonstrates the magnificence and glory of its proud past by staging various events including depictions of traditional lifestyles and culture, splendid sound and light shows and various other entertainments. Taking place with the majestic backdrop of the ancient temples and ruins, this experience will never be forgotten.

A Chao Phraya cruise along Bangkok’s major river is a delightful experience for the visitor. Anantara Cruises Thailand offers a superior cruise in Bangkok that is sure to surprise and delight the visitor.