One of the oldest and most legendary cities in the ancient world was Ayutthaya, otherwise known by its full name of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya. Founded in 1350 as the headquarters for the kingdom of Ayutthaya—or Siam as it is more commonly known—it was long considered the largest city in the world, with an estimated population of around 1 million at the turn of the 16th century. Today, Ayutthaya is the capital of the Ayutthaya province in Thailand, and the ruins of the old city form what is known as the Ayutthaya Historical Park, which doubles as a World Heritage Site, with the modern city just a few kilometers east. Ever since the Bowring Treaty signed in 1855 between the royal family of Siam and the British royal family, the world has slowly been able to explore the amazing beauty of this ancient city in all its glory.
Ayutthaya is just as epic as any Incan or Mayan ruin, and in many ways could be considered a contemporary rival. The city's ruins are well preserved, and are one of the main reasons people come here to visit. As a one-time capital of Thailand and one-time center for Thai Buddhism, Ayutthaya is literally soaked in thousands of year’s worth of history and culture. Temples, palaces, art, religion…these were all centered here at some point or another. While there are special tours that take visitors on guided trips, the best way to experience Ayutthaya up close and personal is on your own. The modern section of the city boasts all the amenities and accommodations that a traveler could need, but beyond that everything to see and do in this city is located within the World Heritage Site. Places like the Wiharn and the Phra Chedi Sisuriyothai or the Chedi with their mysterious spires reaching towards the sky combine with the Buddhist statues to create an ethereal vibe that cannot be felt anywhere else on Earth.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, Ayuthaya was the former capital city of Thailand. Although the capital had withstood several invasion attempts, it was finally conquered and plundered b…