Ayutthaya in central Thailand is now a modest town of 55,000 people, but a few centuries ago it was Thailand’s bustling capital city, with a million residents and many foreign delegations. The major draws of Ayutthaya now are the picturesque ruins of elaborate temples commissioned by Thai kings, mainly in the 15th and 16th centuries. To imagine how they looked in their heyday, see our photo galleries of Wat Pho and the Grand Palace in Bangkok, later buildings that were constructed in the style of Ayutthaya.
Ayutthaya occupies a strategic position surrounded on all sides by rivers. A boat ride around the island reveals the former capital city the way it was meant to be seen. Our ride stopped at several ruined or modern temples across the water from Ayutthaya; it also offered a glimpse of the hustle and bustle of everyday life on the river.