Wat Tha Yak was situated off the city island in the northern area of Ayutthaya, in the Suan Phrik Sub-district, on the boundary with the Pho Sam Ton Sub-district of Bang Pahan. The ruin is located on the east bank of the old Lopburi River on a stretch presently called Khlong Bang Khuat (1), 200 meters south of Wat Dao Khanong.

I stumbled on this brickwork when looking for the remains of the northern tax station. There are bricks spread all over the site and along the canal bank. South of the standing brickwork is an old pond.

The remaining construction is a bit strange, divulging a standing Buddha image in a portal and having what looks like gateways on both sides, a fort-like construction. Its historical background and period of construction are unknown.

The site is not registered on the Fine Arts Department maps as the location of the temple is situated outside the limits of the map.

In interviews with people living in the vicinity of the ruin, it was not possible to gather much information. The temple stood empty for at least more than 70 years, as most of them had known the ruin since their childhood. They used to call this temple “Tha Yak” as it was called that name by their parents and grandparents. A local woman commented that the Burmese built the temple, pointing to the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767 CE and the presence of the Burmese camp in the vicinity, but this is generic for most of the brickwork in this area. [1] [2]

The conclusion is that nobody seems to know the exact meaning of "Tha Yak". Literally translated, it means the “Landing of the Yaksa”, which may refer to the Yak Kubera, guardian of the north. It could also be interpreted as “big” or “large”, as thus the “Large Landing”.

Based on old documents, one of the four royal customs houses (ขนอน) was situated near Ban Bang Luang at the turn of Ban Maen and the Pho Sam Ton waterway. [3] It stood behind Wat Na Phra That and in the front of the temple was a marketplace. [4]

Here remain some questions. Ban Bang Luang seems to be unknown in this area. There is a Wat Luang within the oxbow of the old Lopburi River in Wat Tum Sub-district, a few hundred meters south of the location of Wat Tha Yak. The temple's name may have been derived from the name Bang Luang, as a monastery was often the centre of a community and "Bang" is also used to indicate a village along a waterway. It remains a guess. Wat Na Phra That is the name of an important monastery with a reliquary tower. As the old documents comment, such a temple would likely not exist outside the city walls. The temple's name was probably mistaken in the old texts or miscopied from older manuscripts.

Wat Na Phra That is thus likely not the correct name for the temple in this location.

‘Tha Yak’ could refer to the landing of the Customs or Toll House, which was probably not so small as all trade (boat traffic) coming in over the Lopburi River (and from the North) was controlled here and tax levied day and night.

The ruin of Wat Tha Yak is in geographical coordinates: 14° 24' 8.83" N, 100° 32' 43.83" E.


(1) Khlong Bang Khuat is situated off the city island in the northern area of Ayutthaya in the Wat Tum Sub-district. This canal was a shortcut in a meander of the old Lopburi River. The canal is named after the village Ban Bang Khuat where the by-pass canal had been dug. This village was situated on the east bank of the shortcut canal, just north of Ban Suan Yo and Wat Klang Raman. The canal was dug in the late Ayutthaya period.


[1] Interview with the Sarawat Kamnan of Suan Phrik Sub-district on 27 April 2011. [2] Interview with villagers in the vicinity of the ruin on 4 May 2011.

[3] 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. 89.

[4] Pongsripian, Vinai, Dr. (2007). Phanna phumisathan Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya: Ekasan jak Ho Luang. Geographical description of Ayutthaya: Documents from the palace. Bangkok: Usakane. p. 44.