Temples on the island
Wat Mahathat was the residence of the Patriarch of Thai Buddhist monks. Built in the 14th century in Khmer style, it’s one of the oldest and largest temples in Ayutthaya but it was almost totally destroyed by the Burmese. It is here where you can find the famous head of Buddha almost totally covered with trees roots. A sinister row of headless Buddha statues will definitely capture your attention, too.
Built in the 15th century, like Wat Mahathat, Wat Ratburana also features Khmer style. Its impressive main prang (the characteristic Khmer tower) is still intact and open to public. In the crypt under the prang you’ll find a series of Jataka murals with scenes from Buddha’s lifes.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
The largest temple in the Historic Park, it is easy to recognize by its three big chedis (Buddhist stupas), built to commemorate three kings and keep their ashes. Situated within the royal palace boundaries, it was considered the holiest and more beautiful temple in Ayutthaya. It was the private temple of the royal family and was used only for special ceremonies. The three chedis are the main attraction, since everything else has been destroyed during the Burmese war.
Wat Phra Ram
Built in Khmer style as a cremation site for the death of king Uthong in the 14th century, Wat Phra Ram is a restored temple that has an almost intact big prang with some smaller chedis around it. For a Instagrammable picture of the main prang, just walk around the pond that you’ll find in front of the temple. From the other side the view is spectacular.
Temples outside the island
Wat Chai Wattanaram
Going southwest from the island you will find the impressive Wat Chai Wattanaram, which architecture is very similar to Angkor Wat. Built in 17th century to commemorate King Prasat Thong’s mother, it was a royal temple used for religious ceremonies by the king and his family. It features a central platform with a big prang and four smaller ones at the four corners. All around the platform, eight chedis are connected by a gallery where a lot of Buddha images and statues can be found.
Wat Choeng Tha
Located north of the island, Wat Choeng Tha is a mordern active temple with the remaining ruins of the original temple. A medium-sized prang is surrounded by several chedis. You’ll find also an ordination hall with lion statues – feel free to check inside. The temple is super quiet compared to many others and with a bit of luck you might be the only visitor on the ground.
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol
Located few km southeast of the island, it is one of the more well-know temple of Ayutthaya featuring a massive chedi and a long staircase climbing all way up to it. A row of Buddha statues surrounds the big stupa and, to our taste, are more impressive than the reclining Buddga in the yard.
Wat Phanan Choeng Worawihan
A huge modern temple, Wat Phanan Choeng Worawihan is easily our favourite among the active Ayutthaya temples. The 14th century statue of a big seated Buddha becomes even more impressive if you are lucky to see the ceremony of vesting it into orange-coloured cloth. Two smaller wihans have nice wooden panelling and worth checking, too.