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Ayutthaya was founded in 1350 and remained the Siamese capital for 417 years. The architecture is a fascinating mix of Khmer (ancient Cambodian style) and early Sukhothai style. Some cactus-shaped obelisks, called prangs, denote Khmer influence and look something like the famous towers of Angkor Wat. The more pointed stupas are ascribed to the Sukhothai influence.

Ayutthaya, the former Thai capital, in its heyday was a city of more than a million people with 5,000 foreign traders and emissaries. It was one of the biggest cities in the world. During the 17th century, most foreign traders and diplomats claimed Ayutthaya to be the most illustrious and glittering city that they had ever visited.

Today, the main island is an ensemble of golden stupas and crumbling temples with rows of headless Buddhas, removed during the Burmese invasion. We cruised on the river circumnavigating the island from where you can view more of the many temples and the town life. In October 2013 there were severe floods and much of Ayutthaya was under several metres of water.

Wat Mahathat – Over 600 years old, Wat Maha was the heart and soul of the Ayutthaya people. It was almost completely destroyed by the Burmese during the Thai-Burmese War. There is a Buddha head enshrined in the trees and many of the stupas 'Chedi' look lean at more of an angle than the tower of Pisa!

Wat Panan Cherng – The large seated Buddha seems too big for the room. Built in A.D. 1325, this monastery is the most revered by the inhabitants of Ayutthaya. Several times during the day there is an 'offering' ceremony. People donate to the temple by 'buying' a cloth, which is then donated to the monks. The cloths are thrown up helpers who drape them over Buddha. When complete they are removed from Buddha and passed over the congregation. It will bring good luck for all those who touch the cloth.

Wat Yai ChaimongkhonSeveral large pagodas, built to celebrate the victory of his single - handed combat on the elephant's back during Ayutthaya capital. There is also a large reclining Buddha.

Wat Phra Mongkhan Bophit – A large bronze cast Buddha image, built in the early Ayutthaya period. It is one of Thailand’s largest Buddha images. The image height is 12.45 metres and the base is 4.5metres high, the lap of the image is 9.55 metres wide. The restoration was completed in 1957.

Royal Palace and Wat Phra Sri Sanphet  - The Royal Palace was built in 1350 in the reign of King Ramathibodi I and was inhabited by successive kings for 98 years. Located in the Grand Palace compound Wat Phra Sri Sanphet was the largest temple in Ayuthaya, and was used by many Kings.

Wat Lokayasutharam – A large 42 metre long reclining Buddha image made of brick covered with plaster and a group of ruined pillars out in the open air.

Wat Chaiwatthanaram - one of Ayutthaya's best known temples, constructed in 1630 by King Prasat Thong as a memorial of his mother's residence in that area. It has a central 35 metre high prang with 4 smaller prangs. About halfway up there are Steep stairs leading to hidden entrances. The central platform is surrounded by eight chedi shaped chapels which are connected by a rectangular cross-shaped passage. It was a royal temple and many princes and princesses were cremated here.