The UNESCO world heritage site of Ayutthaya sits 85 km north of Bangkok. The once most populated city in the world, famous for its global trading is now a large tourist attraction. Spread over a large area this ancient city is made up of multiple ruins, temples and religious landmarks. It's maybe not be as popular as the Cambodian temples of Angkor and Myanmar's vast Bagan complex, but it definitely holds it's own with its outstanding beauty and rich and interesting history.

Getting to Ayutthaya is extremely simple from Bangkok. The train being a cheap, easy and very enjoyable option. With scenic views combined with mixing with the locals the train is many peoples preferred option, the journey taking between 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes. River boat cruises and tours leaving from Bangkok are a leisurely trip, with some tours even offering 2 day 1 night tours for those really wanting to take in the experience. Most boat tours will have to be booked in advance, hotels and guesthouses can usually arrange this, as they can minibuses which take about 2 hours. As with all travel in Thailand the journey times can very.

Once in Ayutthaya getting around the sites of this large ruined city is easy, with many options available. Tuk tuk's can be hired for the day for a reasonable price and most drivers will have a map to show you the different areas to go and see. The cover and cool breeze from the tuk tuk driving around offers a nice chance to escape the sun between seeing the sights. Another popular way to get around is grabbing a map and hiring a bicycle, though be warned the Ayutthaya complex is large and cycling around in the afternoon heat can be tiring, stay hydrated! Motorbikes and scooters can also be hired and are great for zipping around from site to site.

Even though most of the sites are ruins they are still religious landmarks and respect and appropriate clothing should be adhered to. There are also practising working temples around that visitors can visit and look inside (remember remove shoes inside practising temples). Some of the most famous temple areas are Wat Chai Mongkhon, Wat Phra Mahathat, Wat phra Si Sanphet, Wat Chai Watthanaram and Wat Lokayasutharam. Here offer fantastic photo opportunities.

Though predominately famous for its temples Ayutthaya offers other attractions such as markets, traditional Thai shows featuring Thai dance and and the history of Ayutthaya, museums, a tourist floating market, palaces and elephant shows and rides.

Like many places over Thailand it's debatable how well elephants are treated at different organisations. Some being fantastic and others not so much. If your interested in engaging with elephants in Ayutthaya check www.elephantstay.com. A non profit organisation supporting conservation and retired elephants. With a breeding, rescue and rehabilitation program.

There is a wide range of budget and mid range hotels on offer around the historical park and a few luxury hotels and resorts for those wanting to spend more time exploring. Both Thai and western restaurants are available, with the famous Ayutthaya river prawns a must try! Night life is pretty quiet but there are a few bars around, some with live music to keep you entertained at night time.

Ayutthaya's main sites can be seen in one day especially when using a tuk tuk or motorbike to get around. But to see everything from the temples, museums, shows, markets and everything else in between, 2 days are advised or even 3 if you really really love your temples.  This way a more relaxed approach can be taken but if time is not on your side 1 day is equally fine. As mentioned before the neighbouring countries temple complexes are maybe more popular, but Ayutthaya is very very impressive and is some what underrated. With its peaceful and calm feel, it's filled with stunning views and interesting history, it's a must visit place that won't disappoint.