Introducing Ayuthaya Province
Ayuythaya Province is home to the former Thai Capital, the golden city of Ayuthaya, named after the home of Rama in the Indian epic Ramayana. Ruins of temples and palaces scattered around Ayuthaya allude to its legendary past - the city was the centre of an empire that dominated most of Southeast Asia for over 400 years.
Today a modern city has sprung up around the holy ruins. Life revolves around the river, which acts as transport, bath and kitchen sink for its residents. For a little repose, Bang-Pa-In, 24km south of Ayuthaya, is a photogenic complex of European and Chinese-style palace buildings fancifully refurbished by Europhile King Chula.
Most travellers visit Ayuthaya on a day trip from Bangkok, but its proximity to the modern capital means that the city can also serve as an alternative base for travellers. There’s no airport in the Ayuthaya Province but buses and trains depart regularly to and from Bangkok.
Don't miss...Ayuthaya's elephants
In an extract from Lonely Planet's Discover Thailand guide, Laithongrien (Om) Meepan, the founder/director of Ayuthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Elephant Kraal Village, gives us his don't-miss Ayuthaya list...