Ayutthaya is the capital city of Ayutthaya province in Thailand. It was founded as the capital of Siam in 1350 by King U Thong, who escaped there from a smallpox outbreak in Lop Buri. It was chosen for strategic reasons: it is surrounded on all sides by rivers and a man-made canal, which acted as barriers against Burmese invaders. Following its founding, the kingdom flourished. Its kings poured wealth into the construction of temples and religious monuments as well as the arts.
Ayutthaya’s wealth attracted traders and emissaries from across the continent as well as Europe. At its height of prosperity, Ayutthaya maintained close diplomatic and trade ties with Louis XIV’s court in France, Portugal, Holland, Persia, China and Japan. It fell in the final battle of the Siamese-Burmese Wars in 1767, when it was ransacked and burned completely to the ground.
Ayutthaya is now the home of the Ayutthaya historical park, the ruins of the former capital of the Kingdom of Siam. It is now recognized internationally as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located about 76 kilometers north of Bangkok, and it is certainly not something you want to miss. It houses four temples of the Early Ayutthaya period, as well as many other elaborate temples and ruins, including the only temple in Ayutthaya that survived post-war looting and arson attacks.
When you visit Ayutthaya, remember that palaces and temples, including their ruins, are considered to be sacred places. Therefore you will need to dress appropriately before entering. This means no shorts or sleeveless or spaghetti-strapped tops. Be respectful of the area around you; do not try to pick at or remove bricks or stones from their original locations. To learn more about Thailand and all the international insurance requirements for those visiting, please see our Thailand International Student Insurance pages for more information.