Ayutthaya was founded around 1350 and became the second capital of the Kingdom of Siam after Sukhothai. It soon became one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the East, capital of a kingdom which encompassed large parts of present day Burma, Laos and Cambodia. Ayutthaya developed its own distinctive artistic style, influenced by other cultures with which it traded, before it was destroyed by a Burmese invasion in the 18th century. Remnants of its golden period include the Royal Palace, Wat Mahathat, Wang Luang and numerous gigantic Buddha statues and prangs (reliquary towers).
Sukhothai was the first capital of the Kingdom of Siam in the 13th and 14th centuries, until it was superseded by Ayutthaya, deserted and only rediscovered as a 'lost city' in the 19th century. With 21 historical sites within the city walls and a further 70 outside, Sukhothai is an important and fascinating site. Monuments of note include Mahathat Wat, a monastery with a royal palace and cemetery and the graceful Sra Si Wat with its two stupas. The nearby town of Si Satchanm contains the impressive Wat Chang Lom, decorated with 39 standing elephants.