Located about 40 miles (64 km) north of Bangkok, this is a wonderful, inexpensive day trip from Bangkok to add to your Thailand vacation.
Ayutthaya (pronounced uh-YOU-tee-uh), founded in 1350 CE, became the second Siamese capital. Also known as the “Venice of the East”, Ayutthaya played a key role in world trade and was considered a very prosperous and cosmopolitan city. Reaching a population of over 1,000,000 around 1700 CE, it was one of the world’s largest cities.
In 1767 CE, Ayutthaya was attacked and burned by the Burmese. As a result, the capital of Siam moved to Thonburi where it remained for 15 years before finally settling into present day Bangkok. Ayutthaya was never rebuilt in the same location and today the ruins are an extensive UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site. For a more detailed history, check out the UNESCO site: Historic City of Ayutthaya.
Train to Ayutthaya (20 baht / 0.60 USD each) – From Bangkok, we took the 8:20 AM #75 train from Hua Lamphong Railway Station to Ayutthaya. A train departs from Hualamphong station to Ayutthaya every hour with basic, third-class seating. See www.railway.co.th for more train times.
We could have caught the train at a more convenient station in route, but we chose to go downtown to the originating train station in order to secure prime seats. If you catch one along the way, you may end up standing the entire trip and miss out on the great views.
We arrived in Ayutthaya at 9:40 AM. To get to the ferry station, we just followed the crowd and walked directly across the street 200 meters to the river and the ferry station.
Ferry (5 baht / 0.06 USD each) – After a very short ferry ride, we were on Ayutthaya Island.
Rent bicycles (50 baht / 1.50 USD each) – Just after getting off the ferry, you will see shops that rent bicycles. When you rent your bicycle, make sure that they give you a map and a lock! As always, do not hand over your passport as collateral. They accepted John’s Thai driver’s license as identification, made a copy for their records, and off we rode!
Checked into Ayothaya Hotel (830 baht / 25 USD per night) – Nice hotel in a great location. They also rent bicycles, but the price is much higher.
Ayutthaya Historical Park – The park is about 3 sq/km, so it is easily covered by bicycle. Be very careful! The route is on public roads which often has heavy, chaotic traffic. Remember, cars drive on the left! Ayutthaya’s terrain is mostly flat and easy to ride, but many streets are poorly marked, so use your map and MapFactor GPS!
We followed the 10 KM loop on the map provided; passing on sites we were not interested in. Do your homework before you go so that you can head to your main interest points before you wear yourself out.
Ayutthaya Historical Research has a great online bicycle map for your research: Ayutthaya – City Island Bicycle Track II (The Historical Park Loop). This is a great tool for planning your route and researching the many sites available to visit.
The major temples charge an entrance fee of 50 baht / 1.50 USD each. For active temples, please follow the dress code: long pants or long skirts, no bare shoulders, and remove your shoes before entering a temple building.
Ayutthaya Historical Study Center (100 baht / 3.00 USD each) – The Ayutthaya Historical Study Center is a national research institute devoted to the study of Ayutthaya. The primary focus is the time period when Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam (1350-1767). It is a great museum with tons of information and was well worth the visit.
Market – We went for a relaxing morning walk and happened upon a market. Unlike most Thai markets, this one had more used goods; it almost felt like a flea market back in the states. It was fun to see old antiques and housewares. I have been unable to find out any further information about this market, but once I do, I will update this section. Talk about the opportunity to get authentic souvenirs!
Boat ride (500 baht / 15 USD) – We wanted to do a boat ride around the entire island to put everything into perspective. Adjacent to the market, we noticed several boats tied up in the Lopburi River. We negotiated with the owner and set off. The trip took about 1 hour and was very nice.
Train to Bangkok (14 baht / 0.41 USD each) – From Ayutthaya, we took the 12:18 PM #202 train back to Bangkok. This time, we hopped off early at Lak Si station and grabbed a cab back to our house, saving at least a half hour more on the train.
Ayutthaya, so close to Bangkok and rich in historical significance, is a must-see if you have time to fit it into your itinerary. The temple ruins are some of the most magnificent and visually stunning in Thailand. We loved our informative and educational time there and look forward to returning to dig deeper into Ayutthaya’s fascinating history.
- Time of Year: January 2015
- Length of Stay: 2 Days, 1 Night
- Total Trip Cost – 2 People: 112 USD*
- Cost Per Day / Per Person: 28 USD*
- Visa Information: Thai Embassy, U.S. citizens carrying a tourist passport and in possession of an onward or return airline ticket do not require a visa to enter Thailand. The passport must have at least six months validity remaining to be allowed entry.
*Excluded from the cost analysis:
- International Airfare – International airfare is not included because fares vary depending on your starting location.
- Travel Health Insurance – Travel health insurance is not included because we have health insurance valid in Thailand.
GPS Coordinates: Day 1 Day 2
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Hua Lamphong Railway Station @ 13.738954,100.516784
Ayutthaya Train Station @ 14.356707,100.582973
Ayutthaya Ferry Station @ 14.356586,100.581396
Bicycle Rentals @ 14.356534,100.580398
Ayothaya Hotel @ 14.359361,100.577669
Ayutthaya Historical Study Center @ 14.349518, 100.565225
Market @ 14.366019,100.574856
Boat Ride @ 14.366259,100.574961
Ayutthaya Island Ferry Station @ 14.356529,100.580570
Lak Si Train Station @ 13.883805,100.580646
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You can copy and paste the latitude and longitude into Google Earth, your browser, or into your GPS.
*Disclaimer- ALWAYS verify locations, transportation routes, GPS coordinates, etc. Errors are made, routes changed, sometimes we are just plain wrong. No one knows what you like more than you. If the trip is worth doing, it is worth doing right! Do your homework.