Wat Song was located in the northeastern corner of the city island and more or less just opposite Wat Mae Nang Plum. The northeast corner of Ayutthaya‘s city island was at the beginning of the 16th-century dry land, situated outside the city wall fortifications.

The monastery is first mentioned in the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya, where it is written that in early 1549 CE, a herd of elephants entered a kraal at Song Monastery.

"About fifteen days later, the officials in Lopburi reported a male elephant, over six sòk and four niu high, whose ears and tail all bore the marks of its belonging to a herd. The chief ministers informed the King, who said, “We will go up to take it. In two days, we will set out, so we order that an official command be sent up to have the officials go ahead and catch it.” About seven days later, a herd of elephants, breaking out of the cover of the jungle, came in toward Mæ Nang Plüm Monastery and entered a corral at Sòng Monastery. The chief ministers informed the King who said, "Tomorrow we will go to catch them." [1]

It indicates that - at that time - the Lopburi River still would have been in its old track (present Khlong Hua Ro) and the Pa Sak River still running east of the city in the present Khlong Hantra bedding. As Steve Van Beek writes: "The Pa Sak River flowed along the eastern perimeter of the city, a few kilometres east of its present course, and joined the main river south of Ayutthaya". [2] We can derive from this that - before the first fall of Ayutthaya in 1569 CE - elephants could have been chased down on the dry land between the two rivers, right up into the kraal.

Wat Song was prior 1569 CE located outside Ayutthaya's city walls. After the first fall of Ayutthaya, King Maha Thammaracha (reign 1569-1590 CE) realised the poor defences of the city and noticed the use of the dry land in front of the city walls by the Burmese attackers.

Maha Thammaracha started to upgrade the defences of the city. He assessed that the eastern part of the city needed better protection. Hence, he ordered in the period 1577 – 1580 CE the building of a series of defensive structures, such as the Chan Palace, city wall extensions, fortresses and canal widening. Wat Song thus became situated within the city walls and behind the Maha Chai Fortress.

Hengpujaroen wrote that according to some old documents, the walls around the Chan Kasem Palace or Front Palace had a length of 50 Sen or approximately 2000 m. The palace occupied thus an area roughly going from the Unmilled Rice Fort (Pom Khao Phluak) and Wat Tha Sai towards the Maha Chai Fort going down to the Ho Rattanachai Gate and running back along the Ho Rattanachai canal towards the Unmilled Rice Gate. The palace area should have included at least eight monasteries, of which one of them was Wat Song. The issue of such a significant palace ground, as mentioned here, was heavily discussed by scholars and rejected.[3]

At present, nothing remains of the former monastery, which location should have been where the present Hua Ro market is situated.

There was a boat ferry between the landing at Wat Song and Wat Pa Khonthi. In Ayutthayan times there were twenty-two ferry routes between the mainland and the city island. In the northern area, the six other crossings were: Tha Nuea to Wat Khun Yuan, Tha Ma Ap Nam to Wat Choeng Tha, Tha Khan to Sala Trawen, Tha Sip Bia to Wat Pho, Wat Tha Sai to Wat Rong Khong and Tha Khun Nang to Wat Mae Nang Plum. [4]

Wat Song on the maps:

Wat Song shows on a 19th-century map by an unknown surveyor. The temple stood near the Maha Chai Fortress. Wat Khun Saen was west, Wat Racha Phruek southwest. The map does not indicate a stupa.

Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map of 1926 CE names the temple Wat Chang. The monastery was northwest of the Krung Kao Districts office. Talat Hua Ro was northeast. There was a pond between the monastery and the market, while a new soil road in front of the market was constructed. Wat Khun Saen was southwest. Phraya Boran (1871-1936 CE) was the Superintendent Commissioner of Monthon Ayutthaya from 1925 till 1929 CE but occupied important functions since 1896 CE in Monthon Ayutthaya.

Based on a 2007 GIS Fine Arts Department map, Wat Song was in geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 57.97" N, 100° 34' 20.67" E.


[1] Cushman, Richard D. & Wyatt, David K. (2006). The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya. Bangkok: The Siam Society. p 24 / Source: Phan Canthanumat, British Museum, Reverend Phonnarat, Phra Cakkraphatdiphong & Royal Autograph.

[2] Van Beek, Steve (1995). The Chao Phya River in Transition. Oxford University Press.

[3] Hengpujaroen, Nantana (2003). The study of Chantharakasem Palace for developing the Management Plan. Bangkok: Silpakorn Fine Arts University.

[4] Rachathanin, Phraya Boran. Athibai Phaenthi Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya kap khamwinitjai khong Phraya Boran Racha Thanin. Explanation of the map of the Capital of Ayutthaya with a ruling of Phraya Boran Rachathanin - Revised 2nd edition and Geography of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Ton Chabab print office. Nonthaburi (2007). p 92.