A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ayuthaya was the capital of Thailand from the 14th to 18th century until it was razed by the Burmese. The site lies some 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Bangkok and can be visited by road, but a boat journey along the Chao Phraya River is a much more relaxed method of travel. After a few days whizzing around the busy streets and bustling markets of the city, it comes as a welcome change.
Life along the river is very traditional. Teak homes dot the shoreline and children splash in the water as you pass, while local fishermen trawl up and down, selling their catch from the boat.
As you journey towards Ayuthaya you’ll pass the glistening Grand Palace and Arun Wat temple, the latter of which can be visited as part of the cruise. Your crew may also stop at Pathum Thani market to buy supplies for dinner, allowing you an hour or so to explore and see some of the more interesting produce on offer, from exotic fruit and unusual looking fish to all manner of Thai sweets, including little pancakes filled with spiced cream.
Your first glimpse of Ayuthaya will be Bang Pa-In Royal Palace, also known as the Summer Palace, on the outskirts of the city. An old residence of the Thai royal family, the Summer Palace’s brightly coloured roofs and manicured gardens are a charming introduction to this once majestic city.