With its skeletal remains and tranquil air, the ruins of Ayutthaya only hint at the grand scale of Thailand’s former capital.
After its foundation in 1350, the city took its place as Asia’s trading centre thanks to its convergent setting between China, India and the Malay Archipelago. An empire quickly built up around the city and its one million inhabitants as merchants from across the known world came to witness its splendour and become awed by the golden palaces, huge monasteries and regal pageantry found therein.
However, this was not to last; in 1767 the invading Burmese army razed Ayutthaya to the ground, leaving it as a shell of its former glory and consigning this once glorious metropolis to the history books.
Given its proximity to Bangkok, a day-trip is an ideal way to soak up this formative slice of Thailand’s history. Parts of Ayutthaya’s remains were recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991, giving visitors the chance to soak up the ambience and heritage of one of the kingdom’s truly cosmopolitan and wealthy cities.