Wat Tha Ma is an old temple site situated on Ayutthaya’s city island in Pratu Chai Sub-district. The remnants of the monastery are located on the property of the Rachaphat University Student Dormitory. A small vihara is visible behind the wall on the southern side of U Thong Road.

The temple stood between Khlong Pratu Jin and Khlong Nai Kai (present Khlong Makham Riang) but much closer to the latter than the first. There was likely a canal linking the above mentioned two canals, running north of its premises. (1)

Its name refers to a ‘horse boat landing’, which could have been a spot near the monastery where horses were loaded or unloaded or used to be washed and groomed.

During the Ayutthaya period, this area had a thriving community of Chinese traders. The leading Chinese commercial settlement was in the southeast, behind the harbour, where the main thoroughfare was called Chinese Street and the city gate called Chinese Gate. The market stretches over half a kilometre along Chinese Street, lined with Chinese brick shops on both sides. All kinds of goods from China, including food and fruit, were sold here. This market has also expanded to the east and merged with the Three Horses Market behind Pom Phet, thus near the area of Wat Thong. [1]

Historical data regarding the monastery and period of the establishment is unknown.

In situ is a shrine with a Buddha image facing the south. There are no visible brick structures left, but some parts from disembodied Buddha images can be seen in the bushes near this shrine.

Wat Tha Ma on the maps

I believe Wat Tha Ma shows on Kaempfer’s sketch and draft map. The temple stands opposite Wat Tha Pho and near a bridge over the Nai Kai Canal. Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1716 CE) was a medical doctor working for the Dutch VOC (Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) who surveyed the city of Ayutthaya in June 1690 CE. The temple is situated on the west bank of Khlong Nai Kai. North of Pom Phet. The depiction of the monastery is difficult to discern, but we can see two spires. A path is splitting off from Chinese Street towards the bridge and the temple.

Wat Tha Ma is indicated on a map drafted in the 19th century by an unknown surveyor. The temple is part of a line-up of temples between the two main canals consisting of Wat Mai (defunct), Wat Sam Jin (restored ruin), Wat Sing Rai (defunct) and Wat Tha Ma itself. The drawing shows no existence of a stupa.

Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map drafted in 1926 features the monastery south of the waterway linking the two major canals. Opposite the waterway stood Wat Sing Rai.

The Fine Arts Department [FAD], drafted in 1957 and found in the ‘Guide to Ayudhya and Bang-Pa-In,’ shows two structures, but the place name is not mentioned. [2]

The site is in geographical coordinates: 14° 20' 55.21" N, 100° 34' 29.59" E.


(1) The existence of a former canal is based on the Vingboons painting (1665 CE) as well as Kaempfer's sketch (1690 CE) and Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map (1926 CE). Kaempfer ends the canal after the second bridge on his sketch, and the canal is not indicated on his draft. Bellin's map has no waterway. Phraya Boran Rachathanin extends the canal shown by Kaempfer to link it with the present Khlong Makham Riang.


[1] Baker, Chris (2011). Before Ayutthaya Fell: Economic Life in an Industrious Society. Markets and Production in the City of Ayutthaya before 1767: Translation and Analysis of Part of the Description of Ayutthaya. Journal of the Siam Society. Vol. 99.

[2] Amatyakul, Tri (1957) - Guide to Ayudhya and Bang-Pa-In - Prachandra Press, Bangkok.