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  A "Living Museum" of the Traditional River-Based Way of Life

Sena is a town surrounded by lush countryside isolated from the locations often frequented by tourists. In this quiet rural setting, the traditional culture and way of life has been preserved and visitors are offered a glimpse of the typical lifestyle of the local residents as it existed in former times.

With several canals converging on Sena, the scenic landscape presents many fascinating aspects of the traditional Thai river-based way of life, one that is founded on the principles of self-sufficiency. The traditional market place retains its original characteristics and can be seen as it existed in the olden days.

Sena's unique geographical location has also supported the development of many traditional industries such as ship-building. In former times, logs from the northern teak forests were floated downstream to the sawmills dotted along the river banks.

  The Cradle of Thai Civilization designated a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site

Founded in 1350, Ayutthaya reigned as the capital of the Siamese kingdom for a little more than 400 years, until it was defeated and overrun by the Burmese in 1767. At its peak in the 17th century, it was one of the most splendid cities in the region, with a thriving trade in exotic commodities, a cosmopolitan population of more than a million and hundreds of magnificent temples, palaces and pavilions signifying its wealth and prosperity.

The ruins are still impressive, and several hours can be spent viewing the significant historical landmarks and monuments. Its impressive heritage has become the bedrock of Thai culture and civilization. On 13 December 1991, UNESCO declared the Ayutthaya Historical Park, a cultural World Heritage Site.



Like Bangkok later on, Ayutthaya is situated on a man-made island created by dredging canals. This make a boat-trip an ideal and pleasant way of exploring the many treasures of this ancient capital. It is important to note is that in the times past, with the river being the principle means of travel, ancient monuments were built with the most impressive architectural aspects to be seen or approached from the river.

Photo by Apinan Buahapakdee of the
Tourism Authority of Thailand

Wat Chaiwatthanaram Temple

The monastery is located on the bank of the Chao Phraya River to the west of the city island. The existing main prang or Khmer-style towers and pagodas found at the corner of the monastery are still in relatively good condition.

Wat Sala Pun Temple

The robust columns of the scripture halls is the most outstanding feature of this temple.

Wat Choeng Tha Temple

This splendid temple, surrounded by fascinating ruins, has been recently restored by the Fine Arts Department and features beautiful frescoes.

Wat Phananchoeng Temple

The temple is located on the southern side of the city of Ayutthaya. While there is no record of its actual date of construction, it was built before Ayutthaya was founded as the capital. The principal image in the "Viharn", or central sanctuary, known as "Phrachao Phananchoeng", was built in 1325 A.D. and is highly revered.

It is a golden Buddha 19-meters high made of stucco and featuring the Maravijaya (Victory over Mara), a posture in which evil is subdued. Buddhist scriptures relate that as Buddha embarked on his search for Nirvana, Mara, the Buddhist equivalent of Satan, attempted to disrupt his meditative state by invoking a series of distractions such as tempests, floods, feasts and young maidens. Buddha ultimately triumphed over these temptations hence the posture is called Maravijaya, Victory over Mara.

The Chan Kasem Palace National Museum

The Chan Kasem Palace which now houses the National Museum was built during the reign of King Maha Thammaraja, the 17th king of Ayutthaya, for his son, Prince Naresuan. The palace was destroyed at the time of the Burmese invasion of Siam and was subsequently reconstructed by King Mongkut, (Rama IV) for use as a residence during his visits to Ayutthaya.

The Museum houses some of the sculptural masterpieces from the Lopburi and Ayutthaya schools.

  The Summer Retreat of the Thai Kings

Down-river from Ayutthaya is the summer palace of Bang Pa-In, originally established in the 17th century and then rediscovered by King Rama IV in the mid-19th century as a convenient summer retreat. Most of the buildings to be seen there today date from the reign of King Rama V, who frequently visited with members of his court.

Surrounded by a number of ponds, these varied structures include an Italian-style palace, another in pure Chinese style, a neo-Gothic Buddhist temple, Wat Niwet Thammaprawat, and a beautiful classical Thai-styled pavilion, Phra Thinang Aisawan Thipphaya-At,regarded as one of the best examples of classic art and so impressive, it was featured as one of the center-pieces of the Thai Pavilion at the Hannover Expo 2000.


Around the ancient capital of Ayutthaya and along rivers and canals

The river cruise suggestions offered above represent a few of the "Crown Jewels" of Thai River Cruises. There is of course much more to explore and discover.

Customized cruises can be organized for your convenience based on your individual interests, preferences and schedule. For this, The Golden Naga is available for private rental for some of Thailand's most exclusive journeys along the length of the Chao Phraya - the River of Kings.

Private Rental
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