Wat Laiso (1) is a ruin of a monastery located off the main island in the northern area of Ayutthaya, in the Khlong Sra Bua Sub-district. The monastery was situated in Thung Kaeo (1) between Khlong Sra Bua (2) and Khlong Pha Lai (3) and on the west bank of the latter. Wat Laiso was separated from Wat Raeng (mound) by Khlong Ban Pla Mo (4).

The remnants of the monastery are found in a remote area covered in heavy vegetation. We visited the site in 2008 and 2009 CE with a small boat via the vegetation-laden Khlong Pha Lai.

Wat Laiso was built on an east-west axis. Given its remote location and ongoing problems with seasonal flooding, it is somewhat surprising to find that several structures have survived.

There is a sizeable bell-shaped chedi in situ, largely eroded. The stucco ‘Luk keao’ on the ‘Malai Thao’ can still be seen. The reliquary chamber itself has been severely damaged, likely from plunder. A large hole has been entirely tunnelled through the chamber, and several holes have been dug to find valuables. The chedi’s harmika and spire are gone, presumably buried by vegetation somewhere nearby.

In front of the chedi in the east was a single wall belonging to a vihara. A large Bodhi tree has grown from the top of the wall downward and covers a significant portion. There is stucco on one side of the wall. The remaining walls have crumbled, leaving a mound of bricks.

There is also a minor chedi on site. The chedi was probably bell-shaped at one point, but erosion over the years has partially changed its shape. It is flat on the top and has lost most of its stucco. Looters have dug a hole into the small chedi as well.

A surprisingly large number of Buddha images are still in situ, some of which are pretty large. Mainly, these Buddha images consist of only the lower portion, which is crossed-legged with chiselled feet and hands still visible. There are also a few mid-portions with robe-covered chests however, no heads were noticed.

The date of the establishment of the monastery and its history are unknown.
Wat Laiso does not show on Praya Boran Rachathanin’s 1926 CE map. The monastery was mentioned for the first time on a 1993 CE Fine Arts Department map.

The monastery is in the geographical location: 14° 22' 2.85" N, 100° 33' 38.76" E.


(1) Laiso (Th), or Painted keelback, is a small snake in the genus Xenochromis of the Colubridae family. The genus is endemic to Asia. The Colubridae family is the largest snake family. It contains approximately 2000 species. Many colubrids are technically considered venomous, but very few are considered dangerous to humans.

(2) Khlong Sra Bua, or the Lilly Pond Canal, is situated in the northern area, off the city island, in the Khlong Sra Bua District. The waterway splits from Khlong Hua Ro between Wat Ngiu (defunct) and Wat Si Liam. The canal has its mouth at the City Canal (Khlong Mueang) between Wat Na Phra Men and Wat Mai in front of the northeastern corner of the Grand Palace. The canal was a shortcut in the old Lopburi River.

(3) Khlong Pha Lai, or the Canal of the Patterned Cloth, was a canal situated off the city island in the northern area running partly in present Tha Wasukri and Khlong Sra Bua sub-districts. The canal is defunct, but there are still some stretches existing from this canal. Most of the waterway, though, has been filled up. Khlong Pha Lai had its mouth west of Wat Mai and ran adjacent to Khlong Sra Bua into the old Lopburi River, a stretch of water called today Khlong Mueang.

(4) Khlong Ban Pla Mo is a defunct canal in the northern area, off the city island, running in the Khlong Sra Bua Sub-district of Ayutthaya. The waterway is mentioned in the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya in the vicinity of Wat Raeng. I believe the canal connected Khlong Sra Bua and Khlong Pha Lai. The mouth on the east was likely between Wat Raeng and Wat Laiso and on the other side opposite Wat Kamphaeng. It remains my guess. The canal was named after common species of fish in the Siamese waters.