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Ancient Ayutthaya

The Ayutthaya Kingdom rose to power and became the second capital of Siam from the 1300s-1700s. With city-states throughout what is modern-day Thailand, Cambodia, Burma and the Malay peninsula, and close links to France’s King Louis XIV, the capital was one of the wealthiest and most powerful centres in Asia by the 16th century.  

After a period of peace and prosperity often considered the Golden Age of Ayutthaya, a number of Burmese attacks began again in the mid-1700s. In 1765, the Burmese invaded Ayutthaya for the last time sacking the city, setting up a 14-month-long siege and finally taking over complete control in 1767. What was once a force to be reckoned with was reduced to a city of ruins.

Today, these ruins still stand serving as a reminder of Thailand’s illustrious and dramatic past. The Historic City of Ayutthaya and associated towns are protected by UNESCO due to their historical significance and extensive archaeological sites. Since the ancient city was never rebuilt, (Thailand’s royal and governmental centre eventually moved to Thonburi and then, finally, Rattanakosin) visiting the ruins is like stepping back in time.

Discovering modern-day Ayutthaya

An easy hour and a half drive from Bangkok, it’s common to experience Ayutthaya as a day trip from the country’s current capital. Those interested in history, architecture, Buddhism or simply escaping the city for a quick getaway should plan for an overnight stay, however, allowing more time to leisurely enjoy Ayutthaya’s wonders while also soaking up more of the local colour.   

Ayutthaya’s only true boutique accommodation offering is the charming sala ayutthaya. Run by the Thai-owned Sala Hospitality Group, known for their intimate collection of design-forward hotels in some of the country’s hottest destinations, the stylish hotel is situated opposite the famous Wat Phutthaisawan and near a variety of other historical sites and tourist attractions. With 26 unique guest rooms, a duplex suite and spacious pool suite, sala ayutthaya provides an exclusive and comfortable base from which to discover the area.

Though possible to traverse independently via bicycles or with a private driver, Ayutthaya is best explored with the help of an expert guide or organised programme to ensure one fully understands what they’re visiting. The history and back stories that guides can share related to different sites are what make them come alive. Various tours or programmes also offer different ways to experience Ayutthaya including scenic boat rides along the region’s river to see the temple ruins from a new perspective.

In the evening after a day of sightseeing, visitors can stroll through one of Ayutthaya’s night markets to catch a glimpse of contemporary local life then make their way back to sala ayutthaya to dine along the river at the hotel’s signature sala ayutthaya eatery and bar. Enjoying flavourful Thai or international favourites while looking across to the magnificent temple lit up against the night sky is sure to stick in your memory.

Best available rates with an Early Bird discount starting from 3,815 THB per night when booking at least 30 days in advance.

For more: salahospitality.com/ayutthaya

 

Lucky Number 9

Nine is considered a very auspicious and lucky number in Thailand and it’s common for Thais to make a special effort to visit nine temples in a day to further boost their merit-making. With so many temples in a relatively small area, Ayutthaya is an excellent destination to try and stop at nine temples in a day yourself while also seeing the region’s historic highlights.

1. Wat Chaiwatthanaram – One of Ayutthaya’s most recognisable ruins, this temple was built in 1603 following a Khmer architectural style.

2. Wat Phra Mahathat – Housing relics of the Lord Buddha, this temple is also home to the iconic Buddha head encircled in vines.

3. Wat Lokya Sutha – Meaning the Temple of the Earth, Wat Lokya Sutha’s 42-metre-long reclining Buddha image never ceases to impress.

4. Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon – Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon’s reclining Buddha image is perfectly framed by crumbling chedi ruins.

5. Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit – This temple hall houses a special Buddha image, called Phra Mongkhon Bophit, that was one of the few statues to survive Burmese invasions in the 1700s.

6. Wat Phananchoeng – Inside Wat Phananchoeng you’ll find an impressive 19-metre-high Buddha statue.

7. Wat Phra Si Sanphet – Characterised by its three bell-shaped chedis, this temple was first built in the mid-1300s.

8. Wat Na Phramen – More popular with merit-making Thais than foreign tourists, Wat Na Phramen offers a glimpse of early Ayutthaya architecture.

9. Wat Phu Khao Thong – This Mon-style chedi is situated in a field just outside of the city centre

All-in-one Ayutthaya

Take advantage of sala ayutthaya’s Getaway Package for a stress-free stay and sightseeing including:

- Complimentary breakfast for 2 persons at sala ayutthaya eatery and bar

- One complimentary half-day sightseeing tour by boat along the Chao Phraya River  

- One complimentary romantic sunset cocktail for two

- Turndown service with a bottle of herbal tea

- Complimentary welcome dried fruits in room

- Complimentary WiFi

Package rates starting at 6,235 THB per night in a Superior room

 

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