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Ayutthaya: a daytrip from Bangkok

Spending a couple of days in Bangkok? Then make sure to also take a daytrip to Ayutthaya!

Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam, the country that now Thailand. In 1767 the city was destroyed for the most part, but many ruins are still there for you to look at and admire. So if I say “temples”, do not expect complete temples – but expect ruins, statues of Buddha and other relics of what was once an amazing city. 

Table of Contents

How to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok

There are multiple ways to travel from Bangkok to Ayutthaya. I took the train, because this is the cheapest option. However, if you have more money to spend or if you do not want to arrange everything yourself, the other options might be better for you. 

By taxi

If you have a larger budget while you are traveling and you want to get to Ayutthaya fast, you have the option of renting at taxi for the day. 

The drive from Bangkok to Ayutthaya is about 1 to 1,5 hours, depending on where in Bangkok you stay. Once you are in Ayutthaya, the taxi can drive you around within the city and then it can take you back to Bangkok.

We were told this option is about 1000 bath. Not to expensive for private transportation for the whole day, but you can definitely do it for cheaper if you are on a budget – like I am. 

An excursion to Ayutthaya

Sometimes, you don’t want to think about the trip you are taking; you just want someone to guide you to it all. In that case, you can book a excursion from Bangkok to Ayutthaya.

An excursion often includes the transportation to and from Ayutthaya, the entrance fees to several temples and sites and a guide who can tell you all about the place you are visiting.

You can book an excursion to Ayutthaya here and here.  

By train

This is the option I personally picked, because it is the cheapest one. Also, I thought it was fun to experience the train ride!

Lots of people told us that we should book a second class ticket, but we could’t get one. Instead, we booked third class tickets and this was totally fine! You will have seats (not assigned) and the train wagons have fans and windows that can open.

We took the train from the Hua Lamphong station, which is a train station close to Chinatown, where we stayed. There are multiple trains you can take. Ours departed at 9.30 and the journey to Ayutthaya took about two hours. The tickets were only 15 bath per person and we bought them about one hour before departure. 

train from Bangkok to Ayutthaya
train station of Ayutthaya in Thailand

How to get around within Ayutthaya

Once you are in Ayutthaya, there are several ways to explore “the island”, which is the part of the city where most of the temples are. Obviously, if you take a taxi or an excursion from Bangkok, you do not have to think about how to get around. 

The easiest way to go from the train station to the island of Ayutthaya is to navigate to the Ayutthaya Train Station Pier. Here, you can take a small boat to the other side of the river. Keep in mind that you have to pay for yourself, as well as for your bike or scooter if you have one. 

Rent a taxi

You can also rent a taxi once you are in Ayutthaya. The taxi can drive you to the island and to all the places you want to visit. There are several stands where you can rent a taxi. I don’t remember the exact prices, but as you can image, this is not the cheapest option. 

Rent a tuktuk

There are also many stands where you can rent a Tuktuk for the day. The tuktuk driver will drive you around for the day and shows you all the places worth visiting. Although this option is slightly cheaper than a taxi, it’s still not the cheapest one. 

Rent a scooter

Also a very fun option is to rent a scooter and drive yourself around the area. You will be able to visit lots of places and you have the total freedom of going whenever and wherever you want. Renting a scooter is about 100 bath per scooter

Walk around Ayutthaya

Of course, the cheapest option is to just walk around. However, even though the island is quite small (4 km by 2 km), you will still have to walk a lot if you want to see multiple sites. Because of the warm weather, I personally would not recommend this. But if you really like walking and the heat does not bother you, go for it! 

Bike through Ayutthaya

Last but not least, you have the option of renting a bike. This will cost you 60 bath per bike.  Biking around Ayutthaya is very easy and this is the option we went for – without regrets! It was so nice to be able to bike everywhere. The heat also didn’t bother us as much when we were on the bike, since the wind cooled us down quite a bit. 

One tip: first cross the river to the island (with the small ferry) and then rent a bike. If you rent the bike before the ferry, you will have to pay for taking your bike on the ferry as well. We were not aware that there would be rental bikes across the river as well and only realised this when we already paid for our bikes to be taken on the ferry. 

biking through Ayutthaya in Thailand

Best temples to visit in Ayutthaya

The city of Ayutthaya is definitely not big, but there are quite a lot of sites to see. Personally, I did not need to see absolutely everything, but I picked the temples that seemed the most interesting to me. Below, you’ll find the four temples we visited while in Ayutthaya. 

Wat Mahathat

Wat Mahathat is one of the most popular temples in Ayutthaya. It is mostly famous for the face in the three, as you can see on the picture below. No one knows how the head of stone ended up there.

In 1374, the king of the area at that time built a temple in this location. After that, the temples were expanded. Nowadays, you can only see the ruins of what once was a beautiful site. It’s interesting to walk around here, but it won’t take you very long. 

Entrance fee: 50 bath per person

Wat Mahathat
Tree with head in Wat Mahathat

Wat Ratchaburana

Right next to Wat Mahathat is Wat Ratchaburana. You only have to cross the road and then you’ll find this site. The temple was founded in 1424 and has an interesting history, about two brothers who died in a dual against each other. 

The site is also famous for a good photo-spot for all the Instagram-lovers out there. From the entrance, you have a beautiful view of the main tower of the site. If you’re a sucker for beautiful picture spots (like me), make sure to not skip this one!

Entrance fee: 50 bath per person

Me at Wat Ratchaburana
Site of Ratchaburana in Ayutthaya

Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Travel a little further on the island of Ayutthaya and you will find Wat Phra Si Sanphet. It is one of the most beautiful sites in the city and definitely worth a visit.

This temple used to be the most important one of Ayutthaya. It served as a royal temple as well as a court of law. You will recognise the site when you see the three “stupas” – a buddhist structure that contains relics – in a row. 

Entrance fee: 50 bath per person

Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Wat Phra Si Sanphet in Ayutthaya

Wat Chaiwatthanaram

This temple is a little harder to reach when you ride around on a bike or scooter, but it is definitely worth a visit. Wat Chaiwatthanaram is not located on the island of Ayutthaya, so you’ll have to cross a bridge to get here.

Even though it takes some effort to visit this temple, it is a very popular destination for many tourists that visit the city. Wat Chaiwatthanaram is also considered one of the most beautiful temples, especially during the sunset – but I didn’t experience that.

Entrance fee: 50 bath per person

Wat Chaiwatthanaram
Wat Chaiwatthanaram in Ayutthaya

Useful information about Ayutthaya

How much time in Ayutthaya?

We were told that Ayutthaya is quite big and that you need a lot of time to see everything,  but we disagreed. Sure, if you want to see literally everything, this will take you a long time. But if you are only there to see the main attractions, a couple of hours is enough – especially if you get around by bike or scooter. 

We arrived around noon and took the train back to Bangkok at 18.48. This gave us more than enough time to see the temples mentioned above, to stop for a coffee break, to bike around the whole island and to have dinner afterwards. 

What to wear in Ayutthaya?

It can be quite hot in Ayutthaya, since the climate is the same as in Bangkok. However, the temples are holy sites and you are expected to dress appropriately. Make sure to bring something to cover your knees and your shoulders. 

When we visited, we were wearing shorts and a crop-top. But we brought a shirt to wear over our top and a scarf that served as a skirt to cover our knees. 

Where to eat in Ayutthaya?

In and around the island of Ayutthaya, you will find lots of places to eat. Here are my recommendations:

  • Across from the train station, there is a restaurant with meals and snacks, called Nong Nine bike & restaurant. We ate some yummy vegetarian spring rolls here.
  • Across the street from Wat Ratchaburana is a cafe called BORAN. They have aircon (much appreciated after walking around the historical sites) and delicious juices and cake.
  • The train station also have a nice restaurant, simply called The Station. They serve all kinds of meals here. We went for dinner at The Station while waiting for our train. 

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