Ayudhya is about an hour and a bit (of course, on a good day, that is) from Bangkok and as Bangkok is spreading so fast, the border between the two provinces is rather a smudge line. It was the old capital of Thailand, then Siam, from 1350 – 1767. The Kingdom of Ayudhya was once the most powerful kingdoms in its time and formed one of the most important parts of Thai history. The Kingdom had frequent battles and wars with neighbouring Burma. With Burmese invasion in the mid-eighteenth century, it marked the final chapter of the kingdom. The city was looted and sacked, the palaces and temples were set on fire for gold extraction. The capital was left in ruin and King Taksin moved the capital to Thonburi after driving the Burmese out of the kingdom. You can read more about Ayudhya and its rulers from here and here.
I have to hang my head in shame that I did not appreciate Ayudhya and its history much when I was young. Coming back and seeing it this time, I realise how amazing Ayudhya is. How cool is it to see the evident of civilisation of the old capital everywhere? Just take this Pagoda in the middle of main road – it forms a roundabout at this intersection.
Ayudhya is one of Thailand’s tourists’ attractions. It is different from seaside of beach towns. It is much more genteel and rich in history. It is recommended that you spend a night or two here to allow enough time to see the ancient ruins and learn the history of each place along the way.