- Ayutthaya Province
Infobox Thai Province
name = Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
thai = พระนครศรีอยุธยา
capital = Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
area = 2,556.6
arearank = 62nd
population = 727,277
population_as_of = 2000
populationrank = 32nd
density = 284
densityrank = 10th
isocode = TH-14
governor = Choetphan Na Songkhla
governor_since = November 2006
Ayutthaya (full name Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, _th. พระนครศรีอยุธยา, pronounced "eye-you-TEE-a") is one of the central provinces ("changwat") of
Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from north clockwise) Ang Thong, Lop Buri, Saraburi, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom and Suphan Buri.
The name Ayutthaya derives from the
Ayodhyaof the Ramayanaepic.
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, covering 2,556 square kilometres, is located in the flat river plain of the
Chao Phrayariver valley. The presence of the Lop Buri and Pa Sak Rivermake the province a major ricefarming area.
Ayutthaya one of the major tourist attraction and was founded in
1350by King U-Thong. It was the capital of Thailand (then called Siam) for 417 years from 1350 until it was sacked by the Burmese army in 1767. During this era Ayutthaya had 33 kings of different dynasties ruling the kingdom This period of Thai (Siamese)history is now usually referred as the Ayutthaya period or Ayutthaya kingdom. The Bowring Treaty (1855), signed by King Mogkhut between Siam and Britain, was the first of its kind and successfully opened up Siam to Western influence and trade.
The ruins of the old capital in the
Ayutthaya historical parkare now a UNESCO World Heritage Siteand have been so since December 1991. The province is also home to the Bang Pa-insummer palace complex.
Originally named Krung Kao (กรุงเก่า), the province was renamed to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya in 1919. [cite journal|journal=Royal Gazette|volume=35|issue=0 ก|pages=24–27|title=ประกาศกระทรวงมหาดไทย เรื่อง เปลี่ยนนามมณฑลกรุงเก่าและจังหวัดกรุงเก่า|url=http://www.ratchakitcha.soc.go.th/DATA/PDF/2461/A/412.PDF|date=March 23 1919|language=Thai]
The province is subdivided into sixteen districts ("
amphoe"), 209 communes (" tambon")/sub-districts and 1328 villages (" muban"). There are two districts which have the same English name; however this is only because the different pronunciation and thus different spelling in Thai gets lost in romanization. Ayutthaya is unique among the provinces of Thailand in that the district of its capital city is not called "Amphoe Mueang [Ayutthaya] ", as the common scheme would suggest, but rather "Amphoe Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya":
Neighbouring provinces are Lopburi, Ang Thong and Saraburi to the north, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi to the south, Saraburi to the east and ] Suphan Buri Province| Suphan Buri] to the west.
AirThere is no airport in Ayutthaya province.
River Located on the Chao Phraya River, Siam’s former kings all the way up to King Rama V, once used river as their main mode of transportation. There are still boats running from Bangkok to Ayutthaya but they are mainly for the trade of local agricultural products. The occasional tourist boat can also be seen.
Roads Due to its strategic central positioning, there are numerous highways which run through Ayutthaya. Eight in total, the province has the most highways passing through in the whole of Thailand.
Rail Ayutthaya lies on both the main north and northern-eastern routes and trains are available to either direction.
Air-conditioned buses ply regularly to and from Bangkok. In Bangkok the buses leave from the Northern Bus Terminal (Morchid). From the Ayutthaya Bus Terminal there are non air-conditioned buses to other districts and neighbouring provinces.
Passengers vans, running frequently from Bangkok, depart from Victory Monument in Bangkok. Doing the journey in just an hour, they are the quickest mode of public transport between the two cities.
Songthaew (public passenger pick-up vehicles) Songthaews are the most popular form of public transport in the provincial city and rural areas.
Motorbike-taxiThere is plenty of motor-bike service in the town especially around the market and Bus Terminal areas.
Ayutthaya, located in the central plains, is affected by three seasons:
*Hot Season: March – May
*Rainy season: June – October
*Cool season: November - February
Ayutthaya is 76 kilometres north of Bangkok and boasts numerous magnificent ruins. Such ruins indicate that Ayutthaya was one of Indo - China’s most prosperous cities. There is Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Historical Park which is a vast stretch of historical site in the heart of Ayutthaya city.
There were three palaces in Ayutthaya: Grand Palace, Chantharakasem Palace or the Front Palace, and Wang Lang or the Rear Palace. In addition, there were many other palaces and buildings for royal visits located outside the city area of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, such as Bang Pa-In Palace at Amphoe Bang Pa-in and Nakhon Luang Building at Amphoe Nakhon Luang.
Ayutthaya Tourism Centre (ศูนย์ท่องเที่ยวอยุธยา–ATC): The centre is established by the Fine Arts Department and developed to be a tourist information centre by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) with high reliefs of 6 great kings and queens from the Ayutthaya Kingdom on the facade of the building remain in their original positions. The center is home to TAT information center, an exhibition on Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya’s tourism and a contemporary art gallery.
Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre (ศูนย์ศึกษาประวัติศาสตร์อยุธยา) is a national research institute devoted to the study of Ayutthaya, especially during the period when Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam. The Centre is responsible for the museum of the history of Ayutthaya, which exhibits reconstructions from the past. The Centre also supports an information service and a library containing historical materials about Ayutthaya.
Chao Sam Phraya National Museum (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติเจ้าสามพระยา): The construction of this museum was funded by the proceeds from the sale of votive tablets discovered in the underground crypts of the principal Prang tower of Wat Ratchaburana. Since the temple was built by King Borommarachathirat II (Chao Sam Phraya), the museum was named after him. The opening ceremony of this museum was held in 1961 and was presided over by Their Majesties the King and the Queen. It was the first museum in the country to present a new form of exhibition, displaying artefacts unearthed from the archaeological excavations as well as restoration of ancient monuments.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet (วัดพระศรีสรรเพชญ์): This important and most impressive monastery is located in the Grand Palace compound like Wat Phra Si Rattanasatsadaram (Wat Phra Kaeo) of Bangkok. Used as a residential palace, it became a monastery in the reign of King Ramathibodi I. When King Borom Trai Lokanat commanded new living quarters built, this residential palace was given to be a temple area, thus originating Wat Phra Si Sanphet: The royal chapel does not have any monks and novice inhabitants.
Grand Palace (พระราชวังหลวง): Currently called “Ancient Palace”. The residential palace of every king was located close to the city wall of Ayutthaya. Important buildings inside the Grand Palace compound are Wihan Somdet Hall (พระที่นั่งวิหารสมเด็จ), Sanphet Prasat Hall (พระที่นั่งสรรเพชญ์ปราสาท), Suriyat Amarin Hall, Suriyat Amarin Hall (พระที่นั่งสุริยาสน์อมรินทร์), Chakkrawat Phaichayon Hall (พระที่นั่งจักรวรรดิ์ไพชยนต์), Trimuk Hall (พระที่นั่งตรีมุข) and Banyong Rattanat Hall (พระที่นั่งบรรยงค์รัตนาสน์)
Wat Chaiwatthanaram (วัดไชยวัฒนาราม) is another monastery; King Prasat Thong commanded it built. The great beauty has been reflected from the main stupa and its satellite stupas along the gallery, an architecture influenced by Khmer.
Wat Yai Chaimongkhon or Wat Chao Phraya Thai (วัดใหญ่ชัยมงคล หรือ วัดเจ้าพระยาไท): This monastery constructed in the reign of King U-Thong. King Naresuan the Great commanded that the pagoda be built to celebrate the victory of his single-handed combat on the elephant back. He also intended a huge construction to match the large pagoda of Wat Phukhao Thong, and named it “Phra Chedi Chaiyamongkhon”.
Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre (ศูนย์ศิลปาชีพบางไทร) Farmers from Ayutthaya as well as from other provinces undergo training in folk arts and crafts here. At this centre, visitors have a glimpe of how farmers in the four regions live and work and how their products of arts and crafts are produced. 9. Bang Pa-In Palace (พระราชวังบางปะอิน) Originally, Bang Pa-In was a riverine island. When King Prasat Thong became the Ayutthaya king (1630-1655), he had the Chumphon Nikayaram Temple built on his family estate. The palace surrounded by a lake 400 metres long and 40 metres wide. Bang Pa-In was used as a country residence by every Ayutthaya monarch after King Prasat Thong.
Activities / Entertainment
Homestay Many visitors to Ayuthaya experience traditional Thai lifestyle, Thai-style dwellings, canal-side scenery and the peaceful atmosphere by way of ‘homestay’. Two popular places for this kind of accommodation is at Khlong Rang Chorakhe (คลองรางจระเข้) which is home to a 400-year-old image of Luangpho To image at Wat Rang Chorakhe and Bang Sai (บางไทร) which is a community on the Noi River in Amphoe Bang Sai.
Elephant Back Activities
This activity is found at Ayutthaya Elephant Camp (วังช้างอยุธยา แล เพนียด).
Boat Trips Boat trips long the Chao Phraya River is a popular activity to enjoy the scenery and traditional life-styles. At Nawa Nakhorn there are nicely decorated old-fashioned boats.
There are various bicycling routes in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya:
There are several restaurants which provide this service.
Spa service is available at some of the top resorts and hotels.
Palm Leaf Fish Mobile (ปลาตะเพียนสาน เครื่องแขวน) Weavers of the palm leaf fish mobile, and other palm leaf products, in this province are Thai Muslims. The skills have been inherited for over 100 years. It is assumed that Thai Muslim spice traders who sailed their houseboats along the Chao Phraya River in the olden days were the first to have woven fish mobiles from palm leaf, out of inspiration from their affectionate bond with water and their surroundings, referring to a Thai barb with which they were familiar and using leaves from various species of palm grown locally. Originally, each woven fish mobile was not as colourful nor numerously composed as in the present, using only a mixture of natural pigment and varnish for the final touch. The fish mobile, mostly in red, is usually hung above a baby’s cradle so that Thai children are familiar with it since their babyhood.
Bamboo Fan (พัดสานไม้ไผ่) Bamboo fan weaving in Amphoe Ban Phraek, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, has been inherited from the olden days. Formerly, the fans were woven with a quite simple technique into a rough design. The border was usually trimmed and sewn by hand with plain white cloth. Later, its form changed to imitate that of a Bodhi leaf or a heart shape. The border is trimmed with gold cloth while the weaving techniques and designs have become more complicated. Palm Leaf Hat (งอบใบลาน) A handicraft that has been inherited since ancient times. Weaving a palm leaf hat requires no less craftsmanship than any other kinds of basketwork. The weavers have to be skilled and patient as the crafts will have to undergo a number of weaving steps. The palm leaf hat is now an OTOP product of Tambon Bang Nang Ra, Amphoe Bang Pahan, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya. It has gained popularity among Thais and foreigners and is available in various provinces around the country. Roti Sai Mai (โรตีสายไหม) A snack composing of candyfloss (Sai Mai) wrapped with flat bread (Roti) was thought up by Thai Muslim vendors.
Typical nightlife available in Ayutthaya:
*The city has a couple of discos which are popular with the younger trendier crowd.
*Some live Music Joints play Thai folk
*Karaoke clubs can be found in some of the many hotels and customers can either sing to everyone or rent a private room
*Barbecues are large Thai-style restaurants which play music and serve alcohol.
*Sing-a-Songs are popular with Thai males. Singers sing on the stage.
*Down by the river there are few bars which are popular with tourists who fancy a beer.
*Most of the guesthouses down by the river sell alcohol and play music.
Due to the old areas being historically important in regards to religion and the monarchy, the nightlife is very low-key.
Ayutthaya, due to its history as a previous capital of Thailand, the former base of Thai Buddhism and home to tens of kings; it is soaked in original Thai-Thai culture.
Ayutthaya’s current palaces though, due to King Rama V close connection with Europe, do have a distinctive European cultural influence. Ayutthaya was the first destination of any foreigner coming to Siam way back in the days of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya. It was also the location of the first treaties ever signed between powerful European nations and Siam.
The people of Ayutthaya are certainly proud of their heritage; a place of beautiful temples, palaces and art. Besides royals, royal sub-ordinates and monks, the people of Ayutthuya were originally farmers who worked in the fields.
Events and Festivals
Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre Fair (งานประจำปีศูนย์ศิลปาชีพบางไทร) At the end of January
Held annually toward the end of January at Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre, the fair features displays and contests of the arts and crafts products, sales of local products and cultural performances.
Songkran Festival (งานเทศกาลสงกรานต์) April 13
Held annually on 13 April in front of Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit, Amphoe Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, it features a traditional procession, Thoet Thoeng drums procession, Song Nam Phra ceremony of the miniature of Phra Mongkhon Bophit image, and Nang Songkran beauty contest.
Wai Khru Bucha Tao Ceremony (พิธีไหว้ครูบูชาเตา) Around April – May
A ceremony held by blacksmiths and knife-makers of Aranyik knives at Ban Ton Pho, Ban Phai Nong and Ban Salai, Tambon Tha Chang, Amphoe Nakhon Luang to pay salute to their masters and forge spirits.
The ceremony is usually held on an early Thursday morning which may be the 7th, 9th, etc. day of the waxing moon of the 5th lunar month (around April – May) in order to express gratitude to their masters, sweep away possible accidents during their works as well as for their own auspiciousness and prosperity. After chanting for a congregration of angels and saluting the Triple Gem, the master of the ceremony will chant for a congregration of gods which include Siva, Vishnu, Brahma, Vishnukarma, Matuli, Vaya, Gangga, 8 ascetics, etc. as well as Thai, Lao, Mon, and Chinese masters who have imparted them with the ironwork skills, for them to receive their offerings and bless all participants. All tools and equipment will be gilded and lustral water made to sprinkle on the tools and participants.
Bang Sai Loi Krathong and Traditional Long Boat Races (งานลอยกระทงตามประทีปและแข่งเรือยาวประเพณีศูนย์ศิลปาชีพบางไทร) November
It is an annual festival held toward the end of November at the Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre, Amphoe Bang Sai. Activities include Nang Nopphamat beauty contest, contests of processions, Krathongs, and hanging lanterns, folk entertainment, traditional and international long boat races, and sales of the Centre’s products.
Ayutthaya World Heritage Fair (งานแสดงแสงเสียงอยุธยามรดกโลก) December
To commemorate the occasion of the Ayutthaya Historical Park being declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 13 December, 1991, a celebration is held annually for 1 week during the same period of the year. The Fair features local ways of life, handicrafts, Thai traditions and culture as well as the light and sound presentation on the history of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya.
Ayutthaya Maha Mongkhon (อยุธยามหามงคล – ไหว้พระเก้าวัด) Buddhist Lent Festival
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Provincial Administration in collaboration with the Tourism Business Association and TAT Central Region Office: Region 6, organise the Ayutthaya Maha Mongkhon programme for participants to visit 9 temples in the province during the Buddhist Lent Festival.
The Kingdom of Ayutthaya (1350-1767) saw a variety of arts created in bronze, woodcarving, stucco and sandstone. They were influenced in periodic stages by the eras of Dvaravati, Lopburi, Sukhothai and U-thong.
Located on Rochana Road, the Ayutthaya Historical Studies Center is the national research institute to study about the period that Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam.
There is the Elephant-stay Experience for those who want to learn about the life of elephants.
Medical Health Care
There are many hospitals, clinics and pharmacies in Ayutthaya. Few of the major ones include:
*Supamitr Sena Hospital
The current media available in Ayutthaya are: National TV, cable TV and satellite TV, as well as English language newspapers, books and magazines (tourist areas).
Mobile telephones, landline phones and high-speed internet (ADSL) are available. In both the town and rural areas, there are post offices providing parcel services.
* [http://www.tourismthailand.org/destinationguide/list.aspx?provinceid=5 Province page from the Tourist Authority of Thailand]
* [http://www.ayutthaya.go.th/english_version.htm Website of province]
* [http://www.thailex.info/THAILEX/THAILEXENG/LEXICON/Ayutthaya%20(Phra%20Sri%20Nakhon).htm Ayutthaya provincial map, coat of arms and postal stamp]
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