Wat Yan Sen is an active temple located on the city island in the Tha Wasukri Sub-district. The monastery can be reached via U-Thong Road and is part of the Ayutthaya Historical Park.

The monastery faced the Lam Khu Pak Sra (Lit. the ditch to the pond's mouth). This small watercourse diverted water from the old Lopburi River (a stretch called today Khlong Mueang) through the Maha Thera Mai Sae tunnel gate in the city wall and through the area presently called Bueng Phra Ram. The water ran through earthenware pipes under the Elephant Road, passed Wat Yan Sen and Wat Chum Saeng, and then ran under the Palace Road to continue further south to join the Pratu Thep Mi Canal. Wat Yan Sen mirrored Wat Suwan Chedi on the opposite side of the canal. [1]

Wat Yan Sen is situated south of the Lopburi River, east of Wat Thammikarat, west of Wat Suwan Chedi and north of Wat Chum Saeng.


The main chedi of Wat Yan Sen is similar to Chedi Phra Si Suriyothai near the former Rear Palace. It is a twelve rabbeted-angled chedi typical for the reign of King Prasat Thong (1629-1656 CE) and the late Ayutthaya period.

The 35 metres tall chedi has been restored at least twice in the last hundred years. A renovation took place in 1944 in which bronze Buddha images were found from the Lop Buri and Ayutthaya periods. In 2001 a new renovation took place as the chedi was largely overgrowth. During that restoration, ancient pottery and utensils were found.

The brick chedi stands on a square platform or base with sides of 22 metres, west of the main vihara. A large staircase can access it in the east.

There are porticos in the cardinal directions, which are topped with a miniature dome (damaged) and arranged in a quincunx to represent the five peaks of Mount Meru.

Three porticos are false and feature a stucco Buddha image, except for the portico in the east, which gives access to the garbha or relic chamber. The relic chamber is empty except for bats, but a hole in the floor leads to a crypt below (now sealed off).

The harmika is damaged, while the colonnade is missing. The lower part of the spire has more circular tiers than there are heavens (31). I presume this must be a restoration error. The upper part of the spire is lotus-bud shaped and represents nirvana.

Around the central chedi, there were some satellite chedis, but most of them collapsed. Two chedi rai remained in relatively good condition, although looters pierced them. All five small chedis were recently restored. East of the central chedi stands the main vihara constructed on the foundations of the old one.

There are still traces of some of the old monastery walls.

The history of Wat Yan Sen, formerly known as Wat Yanusenthon, is not known. In the ‘Geographical description of Ayutthaya’, it is written that there was a warehouse building to store elephant harnesses and gear besides the monastery. [2]

Wat Yan Sen was situated along a road called ‘Elephant Street’, which ran east of the Grand Palace from the Pratu Jakromhima (a palace gate) towards Khlong Pratu Khao Pluak and the Elephant Bridge. The street passed Wat Thammikarat, Wat Yan Sen, Wat Suwan Chedi and Wat Phlaphla Chai.

Wat Yan Sen does not show on Engelbert Kaempfer’s sketch drawn in June 1690 CE, although the medical doctor of the VOC surveyed Elephant Street as we can read the number of paces he counted along the way. Maybe he simply could not see the monastery from the road, his sight obstructed by the elephant stables and vegetation.

Wat Yan Sen is in geographical coordinates: 14° 21' 33.15" N, 100° 33' 49.96" E.


[1] 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). p53.

[2] Baker, Chris (2013). The Grand Palace in the Description of Ayutthaya: Translation and Commentary. Journal of the Siam Society, Vol 101. p.103.

The Ground Plan of Wat Yan Sen

Reference: Krom Sinlapakorn (1968), Phra Rachawang lae Wat Boran nai Jangwat Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya (Fine Arts Department).

No. 1: Wide base of a boundary stone (Bai Sema) with a length of 1 metre on each side.

No. 2: An ordination hall facing east with a width of 8 metres and a length of 18.40 metres, reconstructed in the Rattanakosin period. It was built on top of the original foundations. The walls of the hall have several windows, imitating the Ayutthaya style. There is the main Buddha image in the Rattanakosin style, made of brick-and-mortar and covered with gold. The ubosot has an outer wall of 17.80 metres wide and 31.80 metres long.

No. 3: A chedi, made of brick-and-mortar, rectangular in shape, in the Rattanakosin period, with a base width of 2 meters on each side, 24 metres far from the outer wall of the ordination hall.

No. 4: A chedi made of brick-and-mortar, rectangular, Rattanakosin period. The square base is 4.80 meters wide.

No. 5: A chedi, made of bricks and mortar, square sized, Rattanakosin period. The square base is 3.10 metres wide.

No. 6: a chedi made of brick-and-mortar, rectangular, Rattanakosin period. The square base is 4.40 meters wide.

No. 7: Main chedi, made of brick-and-mortar, square, built in the Ayutthaya period. The remnants are pretty complete. The top was damaged and broken, and the iron core was protruding. The base is 24.20 meters wide and has a stairway of 2 meters wide. In 1944, the Fine Arts Department excavated this chedi and found ancient objects and artefacts such as gold plates stamped in the form of animals from the Ayutthaya period, bronze Buddha images from the Lopburi period and the Ayutthaya period. The objects are now preserved at the Bangkok National Museum.

No. 8: A small pagoda made of brick-and-mortar, square, Rattanakosin period.