Ayutthaya was built by King U Thong in the year 1350 in an estuary of Chao Phraya River, about 85 kilometers to the north of Bangkok. The king then proclaimed the new city as the capital of his kingdom, so it became the second capital city of the old Kingdom of Siam after Sukhothai. Because of that, the Kingdom of Siam was also known as the Ayutthaya Kingdom.
Nowadays, Ayutthaya is a usual small city, but numerous ruins and magnificent structures scattered in and around the city give us the idea of its past splendor. Some said that before it was destroyed by the Burmese army in 1767, many of the structures were coated in gold.
There are many sites in Ayutthaya for one who wants to feel its past grandeur. Ruins of the palace as well as great monasteries and temples can be reached on foot from the city center. For examples, the ruin of royal temple, Wat Mahathat – the Temple of the Great Relic, where visitors can find the head of an ancient Buddha image embraced in the overgrown roots of a big tree; and Wat Phra Sisanphet– the Royal Chapel.
Ayutthaya is also a summer retreat for the royal family, who will stay in Bang Pa In, a summer palace complex by the side of Chao Phraya River. The complex consists of many buildings with a variety of architectural styles, from the traditional Thai style to the modern European style.