Ayutthaya: An Introduction
Over 650 years ago, on the fertile lands at the crossroads of the Chao Phraya, Pasak and Lopburi Rivers, the city of Ayutthaya was established as the capital of Siam (now Thailand). It soon became a major international trading centre and marketplace for merchants from China, India, Persia and Europe who came in search of rice, timber, incense, textiles and other exotic goods. Ayutthaya remained the capital for over 400 years until the Burmese invaded, destroying the city in 1767.
Today the archaeological park in the centre of the former capital has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a treasure trove of early Siamese artefacts. There are hundreds of sites of historical interest including temples, shrines, monasteries, stupas, the 16th century royal palace - all surrounded by lush rice fields, canals and waterways. The nearby Bang Pa In, the summer palace built by Rama V, is another site of interest.
We say: ‘A rice barge cruise through the rivers and canals is a wonderful way to discover a part of Thailand untouched by the huge development work carried out in the nearby, present day capital, Bangkok.’