The ancient city of Ayutthaya is a fascinating place for kids and adults alike. Wandering around the ruins offers a glimpse into the past, and it is easy to see how grand the area would have been in its heyday. There are many different ruins to choose from – indeed, the town has over one hundred different sites!
Some of the most interesting ruins for kids include:
Wat Mahatat – A large site that is great for exploring and has plenty of spots to rest in the shade of the trees, a highlight is the stone Buddha head encased in a tree trunk.
Wat Ratchaburana – Next door to Wat Mahatat, kids might enjoy climbing the central prang for views down over the rest of the ruins.
Wat Yai Chaimongkorn – As well as a couple of large Buddha images that flank the steps leading up to the main shrine, there are many more smaller Buddha statues all around the edges of the complex. These smaller images are all draped in orange robes, and it is very colourful. There is also a large reclining Buddha. Behind the ruins there are a number of smaller and newer buildings. Although these aren’t so interesting in themselves, your kids will probably be amazed to see hundreds of chicken statues in all different shapes and sizes lining the edge of the quiet road!
Wat Thammikarat – An interesting feature is a tree that is growing right out of one of the old walls! There is a shrine that has many stone lions around the base, a reclining Buddha, and many interesting statues and ruins.
Wat Phra Si Samphet – The biggest complex of ruins in Ayutthaya, the large chedis are sure to fire up a kid’s imagination.
To make things even more interesting for younger members of the family you could also take an elephant ride through some of the ruins and enjoy a scenic boat trip along the river. There are a couple of public swimming pools in Ayutthaya as well as a delightful floating market, complete with goat feeding, a snake show, and sheep petting. The water theatre is also a nice place for kids interested in Thai culture and dance. There are plenty of ways for the kids to have fun in Ayutthaya!
Things to Know When Visiting with Children:
- The ground in the ruins can be pretty uneven – watch your step!
- Tuk Tuks are a good way to get around some of the farther away sites.
- There are many stray dogs in Ayutthaya. The main sites are typically fine, but there may be dogs in the smaller and lesser visited spots – they can be quite territorial. Although they generally just bark, it is better to avoid them altogether.
- There is a show at the floating market each afternoon – although this is only in Thai, seeing loud cannons fired from the boats can be quite exciting for children.
- If you think the boat trip might be too long for little ones, take the shorter ferry across the river to still enjoy a mini trip on the water.