Ayutthaya- Escape the hustle and bustle of Bangkok and enjoy a day of cultural history by exploring other Provinces nearby. One most notoriously known for the ancient beauty of its ruined temples is Ayuhtthaya, the former capital of Thailand. The city is about 80 kilometers north of Bangkok, and takes two or three hours by bus or train. It's also possible to go there on the river, though this takes around 4 hours. It was originally the Capital of the Kingdom of Siam, and a prosperous international trading port with foreign countries such as China, Vietnam, India, Japan, Persia, Portugal, and France, just to name a few. Ayutthaya thrived from 1350 until it was raided by the Burmese in 1767. The ruins of the old city now form the Ayutthaya Historical Park, an archaeological site that contains Palaces, Buddhist Temples, Monasteries, and Precious Statues. And in 1991, the city was recognized internationally as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Wat Phra Mahathat, The Temple of the Great Relics, is located almost right in the center of Ayutthaya. Apart from being the symbolic center where the Buddha's relics were enshrined, Wat Mahathat was also the residence of the Supreme Patriarch or leader of the Thai Buddhist monks, Phra Phuttha Chinnarat. The temple is believed to be built during the 14th century A.D. You can see that the main prang or the tall tower-like spires, was the most important edifice in the temple compound. The tall tower-like spire collapsed during the Ayutthaya period, but was then restored. Then it collapsed again in 1911, and the only foundation that remains today is base of the spire. You can easily imagine from the size of the base, that the spire tower was quite high and majestic as in most architecture of the early period of Ayutthaya. Wat Phra Mahathat also offers the most photographed Buddha head in the world. The most photograph image of a head of the Buddha is of the head of the Buddha in a Bodhi tree, where the tree trunks and roots have grown around it making it truly a unique sight to see.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet means “Temple of the Holy Splendid Omniscient”, was the holiest temple on the site of the old Royal Palace in Thailand's ancient capital of Ayutthaya. The temple is not only a significant historical site, but also considered as the spiritual center for Thais. Situated within the Royal Palace grounds, Wat Phra Si Sanphet is also the Royal Monastery and therefore no monks are allowed to reside in it. The temple was used to conduct ceremonies within the Royal Court. It was the grandest and most beautiful temple in the capital and it served as a model for Wat Phra Keaw in Bangkok that we see today. The city of Autthaya including all the temples and its compounds were completely destroyed in the Burmese invasion in 1767, with the exception of the three Chedis that can be seen today at Wat Phra Si Sanphet.