This guide will give you all the information you need to plan a one-day trip to Ayutthaya from Bangkok.
Just about one hour and a half from Bangkok, you can easily visit the ruins of what was once one of the most amazing cities in the world: Ayutthaya.
If you are planning to visit Thailand and wonder what to do and see in Bangkok, don’t miss this post: Ayutthaya, it’s definitely worth visiting.
Ayutthaya: a bit of history
I don’t want to flood you with many historical facts; you can always check Wikipedia to learn more, but I think it’s important to have some basic info to appreciate this historical place.
Ayutthaya was friendly towards foreign traders, including the Chinese, Vietnamese (Annamese), Indians, Japanese and Persians, and later the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and French, permitting them to set up villages outside the walls of the capital.
Sadly, in 1767, the city was destroyed by Burma, and today, as a witness to its glorious past, it’s possible to visit the ruins of this great and powerful Kingdom.
What impressed me the most was the incredible number of temples. People who lived in Ayutthaya were very religious and mixed Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam, and, influenced by French Missionaries who arrived through China in the 17th century, some small areas converted to Roman Catholicism.
How to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok
If you stay in Bangkok and want to visit Ayutthaya on a day trip, there are several options.
- Train: this is the cheapest way to reach Ayutthaya from Bangkok. It leaves from Hualamphong station, and the third-class ticket costs about 15 Bath. This is the slowest option. You can buy the ticket online through the Thai Railways website.
- Bus: Another option to reach Ayutthaya from Bangkok is by bus. Buses leave the Mo Chit Bus Terminal in Bangkok and take about 1.5 hours. Several classes of service are available, including air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned buses. Tickets can be purchased at the terminal or online and cost about 60 Bath.
- Car: A car is the fastest way to get to Ayutthaya. You can rent one or look for a private driver. A cab should cost around 1000/1200 Bath.
- Minivan: another option is to use minivans, which can be found almost everywhere, and run the Bangkok-Ayutthaya shuttle service. Cheap and air-conditioned: they cost 60 Baht each way. Ask the hotel where you are staying and which is the nearest stop.
- Cruise: if you don’t have budget problems and have 2 or 3 days available, look at this cruise departing from Bangkok.
How to visit Ayutthaya and what is the best season
Once in the city, you must decide how to visit the temples. Remember that they are scattered around the modern city of Ayutthaya, just like Rome.
One option is renting a scooter and getting around the area yourself. If you don’t feel like riding a motorbike, don’t worry. As soon as you get off the train, many tuk-tuk drivers will approach you, asking if you want them to take you around.
Remember that the first price they’ll ask you is way too expensive (at least 2000 Baht), but you can ask for a discount. I paid 850 Baht. Maybe you can get an even lower price.
If you travel alone, this is not the best solution, though, because the difference in price between the tuk-tuk + train option vs an all-inclusive tour is not that big.
October to March is the best season to visit Ayutthaya to avoid the heat. This is particularly true if it’s your first time in Asia. Believe me, the heat can be unbearable.
During the months from April to October, it can rain quite a lot.
Ayutthaya things to do: visit the temples
There are many temples, and these are the most important:
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
This Wat, on the Southeastern part of the city, was dedicated to the monks who traveled to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) to study and meditate.
The Chedi, a dome-shaped structure erected as a Buddhist shrine, is about 62 meters tall, but due to the weight of the bricks used to build it (more than 280000 tons), the floor is slowly collapsing.
The view from the top of the Chedi is great.
The Wat Maha lies in the center of the city and is one of the most important temples of the whole kingdom. The architecture was studied carefully to “align the building with the universe” for the right energies.
Generally, the West was viewed as a bad cardinal point because the sun sets in that direction. The south was neutral, and the north was considered a good cardinal point. The best spot was the east because the sun rises in that direction.
Also, most churches are built with the altar facing the east because many are built over the ruins of old Pagan temples where the Sun God was worshiped.
The most famous site is the Wat Maha, which is not a temple but the head of a Buddha trapped by the roots of a tree.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
This temple is famous for the 3 Chedis. It was the most important in the city and was used as a model to build the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok.
If you are in this area and feel tired, you can rest in the market nearby and maybe try some of the delicious Thai specialties.
This temple is not part of the historic city of Ayutthaya or even the UNESCO World Heritage Site, but this doesn’t mean it is worth visiting.
Actually, in my opinion, it’s the most beautiful.
- Wear comfortable shoes: in Ayutthaya, you will walk a lot, so make sure you are comfortable.
- Protect yourself from the sun: Ayutthaya can be hot and sunny, especially from January to April.
- Drink plenty: It is essential to stay hydrated, especially during the hot and humid months.
- Photography: bring a wide-angle lens; otherwise, you won’t be able to photograph the temples: they are huge.
Here, you can find the other pictures I took in Thailand, and here is a complete guide to selling your travel pictures. Here is a post about what you can do in Ao Nang, Krabi, and Phi Phi Island. Here is my guide on how you can move abroad.