Ancient ruins, the vibe of rural Thailand, tasty food, good-value accommodation – and all of it only 70km from Bangkok: Ayuthaya is the easiest and most worthwhile escape from the Big Mango. The riverside city served as the seat of one of ancient Thailand’s most powerful kingdoms until 1767, when it was destroyed in warfare by the Burmese. Today, the ruins of the former capital, Ayuthaya Historical Park, are one of Thailand’s biggest tourist sites.
The sites are separated into two distinct districts: ruins ‘on the island’, in the central part of town west of Th Chee Kun, are most easily visited by bicycle or motorbike; and those ‘off the island’, opposite the river from the centre, best visited by way of an evening boat tour. For more detailed descriptions of the ruins, you can pick up the Ayuthaya booklet from the Ayutthaya Tourist Center.