A city frozen in time
There are a few times in life I have been so convinced that I have stepped into a fairytale picture book and suffice it so say that Ayutthaya is one such place I believe magic has occurred. Ayutthaya,(pronnounced as ah-you-tah-ya) was the magnificent old capital of Siam dating back 600 years making it one of the most historical cities in Southeast Asia. It remained the capital until the 18th century when the when the Burmese attacked and sacked the city. Now a world heritage site, the city makes an excellent day trip from Bangkok where you can see some of the most impressive sights and temples in Thailand. We visited Ayutthaya during June and it turned out to be an incredible experience. In the following Ayutthaya day trip itinerary, you will find out about everything I did during our visit.
How to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok
Ayutthaya is located just 80km north of Bangkok and getting there is fairly easy. While the fastest and most frequent option is to take a bus, we preferred to take the train. It was cheaper, the journey was pleasant so just looking out of the window was entertaining enough the entire time and we were mostly around Thai people so it wasn’t touristy at all.
Trains leave from Hualumpong more or less hourly so whenever you arrive it is almost certain that a train will leave soon. We decided to take the third class tickets that were super cheap (cost just 15baht = 0.30 euro) that leave more often than the other ones. The third class tickets don’t have A/C but opened windows worked as fine for us. It took us approximately 1h30 to get to Ayutthaya and it also stopped a few times along the way. You are not allocated in a seat, you will simply sit wherever it’s free.
If you decide to take a bus for Ayutthaya they leave from Bangkok’s Northern Bus Station at Mor Chit every 20-30 mins and arrive in the guesthouse area of the old city.
Getting around Ayutthaya
There are two popular options to get around Ayutthaya ; renting a bicycle or a tuk tuk with a driver. I have always admired these “Casually cycling in Ayutthaya” types of photos on instagram but by the time we went there and the sun was so strong that it simply went out of our minds. Sounds cool, but no.
Instead, we decided to rent a tuk tuk driver for 4 hours. After some bartering, we paid 900 baht for the 4 hours. Was it worth it? Yes.The sights are not exactly located next to each other and it takes some time to go for one side to the other of Ayutthaya.
Ayutthaya day trip Itinerary – What to see
As mentioned, we decided to hire a tuk tuk driver for the day. Therefore, It was easy and fun to explore the city and take our time while visiting the various places. The following map is the exact route our tuk tuk followed and all the places we visited.
Wat Yai Chai Mongko
Our day trip started from on the eastern outskirts of Ayutthaya where you can find the exceptional Wat Yai Chai Mongkol (or Mongkhon). The most impressive feature is the massive reclining Buddha near the entrance. Climb the stairs to the top to see some incredible views of the gardens and statues.
Admission Fee: 50 Baht
Wat Lokayasutharam- The reclining Buddha
What is interesting about this monument is the 37 metres long and 8 metres high reclining Buddha figure. Devotees come here to make offerings and place tiny squares of golden-leaf at the ground level along with flowers and incense.
Wat Maha That
Wat Si Sanphet
The three bell-shaped chedis of Wat Phra Si Sanphet have become a symbol of Ayutthaya. The temple is located almost in the middle of the main area of the old capital. It used to be one of the grandest temples in the ancient capital and is still one of the best preserved.
Admission Fees: 50 Baht
Working Hours: 8:30 am- 5pm
Wihaan Phra Mongkhon Bophit
Last but not least, right in front of Wat Si Sanphet you can visit the impressive chapel that is housing the massive Buddha image. During the fires set by the Burmese the roof from the chapel was burned off damaging the Buddha image slightly. You can see some photos on display when you visit showing the roofless chapel in the 19th century with the almost intact Buddha image.
Ayutthaya day trip itinerary- Things to keep in mind
- Keep in mind that you are entering a holy place. So be polite. Be disciplined. Be respectful.
- If you decide to enter a temple, It is advisable to wear knee length clothes and cover your shoulders. Highly recommend to bring a shawl for your shoulders in case you are wearing a tank top.
- Some temples will require you to take off your shoes so sandals might be more practical for such day trip.
- Beware of the sun! Make sure you have sunscreen and bringing a hat is not a bad idea either.
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