Buddha Statues at Wat Phra Mahathat in Ayutthaya, Thailand
Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand, is an island surrounded by three rivers and is home to some of the oldest temples and archaeological sites in the country.
Presently, the historical city is an outdoor museum with several Theravada Buddhist temples and UNESCO World Heritage sites scattered throughout. Many of the ancient temples have a similar design to the temples of Angkor in Cambodia. In fact, several were built during the same era and have Khmer origins. Though not as spectacular or grand as the temples of Angkor, they are quite remarkable and worthy of attention.
Travel Tip: Ayutthaya is located about an hour north of Bangkok. To get there, you can book comfortable day tours in an air conditioned tourist van. Tours typically leave from the Khao San Road area but will pick you up at your hotel. Prices can range from 500-750 Thai Baht ($15-$20 CDN).
To visit on the cheap: catch a 2-hour train from the central station (Hualamphong) at a cost of 20-30 Baht ($1 CDN) for 3rd class, no reservations required so seating is not guaranteed. Keep in mind, you may need to hire a tuk tuk or taxi to take you to all of the sites depending on how much time you have (you can see the major sites in about 4-5 hours).