Ayutthaya's ruins of wats and palaces - some now restored, others crumbling and atmospheric - give a sense of how grand the Siamese capital was in its heyday.
Named after ‘Ayodhya', the sacred town in the Indian epic, Ramayana, the city's five-metre-thick walls protected more than a million citizens, as well as the many merchants from China, Japan, the Middle East and Europe who exchanged goods in the prosperous city, at its peak at the turn of the 18th century.
Ayutthaya's dominance came to an abrupt end in 1767 when a Burmese army sacked the city and left it in ruins - four centuries after being founded by King U Thong.
The king had built his city on an island threaded at the confluence of the Chao Phraya, Pasak and Lopburi rivers, which was served by an extensive system of waterways. Some of these remain and a trip on a long-tailed boat is a good way to see the Khmer-style prangs prangs (ornate spires) and pointed stupas that have survived.