Ayutthaya

(Last updated on 28 August 2022)

Feel like traveling back in time when visiting this former Siamese capital. Founded in 1350, the city of Ayutthaya was the political and economic capital of the Kingdom of Siam. The Chao Phraya River became the prime location as the port city and remained powerful for 7 centuries.

Today, this ancient city has many ancient ruins which used to be Buddhist temples and palaces that feature a wide variety of rerligious art and artifacts from the 14th to 18th centuries. It was once ruled by 33 kings from several dynasties for 417 years. The Burmese invaded the city in 1767 and later left ruined and abandoned.

Ayutthaya was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991 with the recognition of its historical and cultural importance. Taking a day trip from Bangkok is a must to witness the magnificent ancient city which once stood as the great empire.

Getting There

Going on a Budget Trip in Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya is located about 80 kilometers from Bangkok. The cheapest way to get there if you are on a budget is to take the train from Hua Lamphong Railway Station.

The train station was initially planning to close after operating for 105 years since 1916 and being replaced by the grand Bang Sue Bang Sue Station. The good news is that this iconic station still lives on but only accommodates 22 trains per day and some areas have been converted into a museum and marketplace.

So now, you can still take this Bangkok to Chang Mai route and make your way to Ayutthaya.

You can take MRT Blue Line to Hua Lamphong Station and cross the road to get to the old railway station. There are third-class seats (at 20 Baht) or second-class seats (at 65 Baht). Tickets can be purchased in advance from their website (especially during peak season) and can be collected from the original ticket in the train station or buy them directly at the counter.

The journey will take about 80 minutes to 2 hours to reach the ancient city. I recommend taking the 7 am train (like I did too) because it takes the shortest time of 80 minutes and arrives there around 8.30 am. This gives you ample time to discover the ruins and temples in a day. It is also worth noting that the train may delay (up to 40 minutes in my experience) due to an incoming train.

However, there was a delay of 40 minutes, not sure was due to the rain or the late departure of other trains at the station. While waiting for the train to leave the station, food and drink sellers got the train to sell snacks to passengers, Some of them even follow us on board and hop off a few stations ahead after done selling their food.

I chose the 20 Baht train ride to Ayutthaya, which is a hard seat and does not have any air conditioner. I won’t complain too much because they installed some fans around the carriage and the weather was pretty cool after the morning rain. If you prefer for an extra comfy, there is the second-class seat with air conditioning.

The train conductor will make their rounds to check the train ticket when the train starts to depart the station. Some food vendors will hop on to sell sandwiches, fruits, biscuits, and mineral water to passengers, and get off several stops later.

By Bus

Another option to get to Ayutthaya is by minivan. You can buy an individual ticket and share the van with other passengers. It usually takes 2 hours to get there and depart to and back every day at 7.30 am to 4 pm from Mo Chit, Khao San, and Makassan. The downside is the drivers will only leave once the van is full and sometimes takes up to 40 minutes (Click here to pre-book the seat).

Getting Around

By Bicycle or Motorcycle

An adventurous way to explore Ayutthaya is either renting a normal bicycle (50 Baht), trek bike (100 Baht), or motorcycle (150 Baht). The renter shop is located right across the train station. The bikes can be used throughout the day and return at the end of the day.

I used the trek bicycle and find the price was very affordable. The shop owner also provided a tourist map, bicycle safety helmet, and a bicycle lock. The bicycle racks are located just outside the entrance of every historic site, so you can secure them by locking next to the racks.

By tuk-tuk

Not up for cycling?

Tuk-tuk will be your option and they will be waiting at the Ayutthaya Railway Station to pick up tourists. But, be warned that they would dare to charge a whopping 1,200 Baht for just 4 hours because some tourists are willing to dip into their pockets and pay for a leisure and comfort ride.

Making the best day trip to Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya is a great day trip for history buff. This UNESCO Heritage Site is filled with giant spires, reliquary towers, and moats surrounding the Buddhist temples as you can learn about its 6-centuries long history.

Wat Mahathat

Wat Mahathat, “the temple of Great Relic is a large monastery located close to the palace and the King performed important ceremonies here. A large central prang was built to enshrine Buddha relic. The prang collapsed in the early 17th  century, which was later restored and expanded. A large number of assembly halls and chedis had been added during the reign of later Kings.

It was set on fire during the Burmese invasion in 1767. The abandoned pagoda fell into decay during the ruling of King Rama VI and remained the symmetrical base.

One of the most popular photographed objects is the Buddha’s Head. It fell off from the main body onto the ground and gradually trapped into the roots of a constantly growing Bodhi tree.

Opening hours: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm

Entrance fee: 50 Baht

Wat Ratchaburana

Wat Ratchaburana was built under the rule of King Borommaracha II (King Sam Praya) in 1424 as a memorial to his two elder brothers. The bodies of his two brothers, Chao Ai Phraya and Chao Yee Phraya were cremated here after they fought to their deaths over the throne after the passing of their father.

The prang’s crypt with faded frescoes is accessible by steep stairs. The treasures and precious artifacts were stolen, including votive tablets, golden Royal regalia, gems, and Buddha images. The thieves later were caught and some of them were recovered.

Opening hours: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm

Entrance fee: 50 Baht

Wat Thanmikarat

While heading along the rest of famous landmarks in town, I took a detour to visit Wat Thanmikarat at U-Thong Road. This temple was built before the time of Ayutthaya and had a large nine-room vihan, the ‘Harn Song Dhanma’ built for listening to the sermon on Buddhist Sabbaths. It once housed a bronze Buddha head dating back U-Thong period, but is now kept at Chao Sam Phraya Museum.

Opening hours: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm

Entrance fee: 20 Baht

Wat Phra Si Sanphet

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Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Wat Phra Si Sanphet had a history of centuries. It dates back to the 14th century when the first King of Ayutthaya, U Thong built several chedis on the site near the Royal Palace. When King Borommatrailokkanat built a new palace in 1448, he converted the old one into a Royal monastery.

Two large chedi was built in 1491 to enshrine the ashes of the father and older brother of King Ramathibodi II. He also added a 50-meters long viharn to enshrine a large gilded image of the Buddha named Phra Si Snaphet. Hence, it got its present name. After three decades later, a third chedi was built to enshrine the ashes of the King.

The temple was heavily destroyed by the Burmaese armies during the invasion, which leave only its three massive bell-shaped stupas standing.

Opening hours: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm

Entrance fee: 50 Baht

Wat Lokaya Sutha

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Wat Lokkayasutha

Wat Lokkayasutha is well known for its longest reclining Buddha in Ayutthaya. This white Buddha measured 42 meters long with 8 meters in height. It still remains in a good condition, draped in orange clothing. The founding date remains unknown, but it is believed the temple dates from the early Ayutthaya period.

Opening hours: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm

Entrance fee: Free

Wat Phra Ram

As for the last attraction of the day, I made it to Wat Phra Ram which is situated outside the Ancient Palace and next to the pond. The soil under the pond has been dug out to build the foundation grade of the temple.

Phra Ramesuan ordered to build this temple in 1369 at his father’s cremation site but it was only completed during the rule of King Borommaracha I (Phra Chao U-thong). Therefore, the temple was named after the king.

Opening hours: Daily from 8 am to 5pm

Entrance fee: 50 Baht

Returning back to Bangkok

After taking this 6-hours self-guided bicycle tour, it’s time to get back to Bangkok city. Once arrived at the train station, I bought a 4 pm ticket and reach Hua Lamphong station at 6.30 pm, just the right time for dinner. This concluded the day trip to Ayutthaya and is truly awonderful travel experience. And most of all, I can finally cross it off my bucket list.

How Much Spend on Ayutthaya Trip?

The total amount spent on the trip cost only 651 baht (USD $20) which is very decent and affordable. Another advantage of taking a self-guided tour is the freedom to choose how long I want to spend at each attraction.

  • Train Ticket (return trip)                   :      40 baht
  • Renting a Trek Bike                             :    100 baht
  • Entrance fees to 5 temples           :    220 baht
  • Entry Fee to Wat Thanmikarat   :      20 baht
  • Food/ Water                                          :    150 baht* (depend on individual)
  • Snacks                                                   :     60 baht* (depend on individual)
  • MRT train to Hua Lamphong       :     64 baht* (depend on individual)

Travel Tips

  • If you are taking on day trip to Ayutthaya, it is best to take the 7 am train, so can visit as many historic sites as possible and complete the tour before evening.
  • Bring a copy of your passport when renting a bicycle. They will return the copy or the original passport after printing and keep it themselves for record. And remember to ask them to give back the passport copy once you return the bike.
  • secure your bike by locking it at the bicycle stand that is available at the entrance of tourist spots.
  • Purchase a multiple entry ticket to 5 temples in Ayutthaya for 220 baht: Wat Maha That, Wat Ratchaburana, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit, and Wat Wat Phra Ram. A single entry will cost 50 Baht.

Going Elsewhere in Thailand?

If you are planning for a long adventure in Thailand, you can check out some of my other posts:

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14 thoughts on “Ayutthaya”

  1. Cantik laaaa view kat sana. Teringin nak pegi sana one day. Bagus nya travel tips. Sangat bermanfaat. Thanks sharing… Ok save!

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  2. Wow..u are travelling to ayutthaya at Thailand.. I never go to thailand. But its always on my wishlist to travel with my partner. Interesting what u share.. Thanks for the info

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  3. Thailand sememangnya banyak tempat bersejarah yang boleh kita lawati…beberapa tahun lalu bonda bersama suami seringkali menyeberang ke sempadan siam apabila kami ke utara semata-mata untuk memberli beras dan juga merasai makanan disana.

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  4. I would have taken the bicycle tour if I knew how to ride. Thanks for this comprehensive Ayutthaya article. Now I know what to do should I plan a trip there.

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  5. Wow! Ayutthaya is such a wonderful place to visit. Thanks for sharing this I think I need to plan to visit this place too.

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  6. Wonderful post, Jack. Brought back memories from my trip to Ayutthaya. It is such a beautiful place and transports you right back in time. Thanks for sharing this.

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