Ayutthaya Day Tour Trip – from Bangkok to Ayutthaya and Back
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2020: Bangkok is kind of like your best friend that your other friends don’t like, but once they get to know him, they love him every bit as much as you do. You just have to delve that little bit deeper. I’ve lived in Bangkok for 10 years, and I think it’s the best big city in the world. It’s also a great base to explore some really cool day trips. Day trips to Ayutthaya, things to do in Kanchanaburi, Khao Yai, Hua Hin, so many places within a couple of hours in Bangkok. The best day trip from Bangkok? An Ayutthaya Day Tour. Once you start discovering places like Ayutthaya, you’ll never look at Bangkok in the same way again.
STARTING IN BANGKOK; Bangkok to Ayutthaya
While most tourists, backpackers and holidaymakers swing through Bangkok for 1 night or 2, then tell the world that it wasn’t for them, the people who do a tiny bit of research and venture out from the tourist hotspots will find Bangkok to be somewhere very special. Since I based myself here, bought my place here, and began to explore the surrounding regions of Bangkok, places like Kanchanaburi, Khao Yai, Koh Samet, Hua Hin, Amphawa, I realised that in no uncertain terms that Bangkok is my favourite city in the world. And actually you could spend your entire 2 week Thai holiday in Bangkok and it’s surroundings and have the holiday of a lifetime, honestly.
So my mum was over visiting me, and I wanted to show her Thailand’s former capital, Ayutthaya. It’s a brilliant day trip from Bangkok, so off we went. I’ve blogged all the info so if you’re wondering how to get from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, or how to get around Ayutthaya, then read on, problems solved!
WHAT IS AYUTTHAYA HISTORICAL PARK?
Ayutthaya is home to arguably Thailand’s most impressive set of temples and their answer to Cambodia’s famous Angkor Wat, and it’s also home to the famous ‘Buddha head in the tree’.
Ayutthaya was actually formerly Thailand’s Capital, and in 1700 was the largest city in the world! It’s now a UNESCO world heritage site and the fact so many people go through Bangkok without spending a day here is almost criminal, it’s an absolute must-see when you’re in Thailand. You just have to figure out how to get from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, and the best way to take your Ayutthaya Day Tour. You have a couple of options, as I’ll outline below.
WHERE IS AYUTTAHAY & THE AYUTTHAYA TEMPLES?
The beautiful thing about Ayutthaya, Thailand’s former capital, is that it’s less than 100km from Bangkok so getting from Bangkok to Ayutthaya is possible as a day trip from Bangkok.
You, therefore, have 3 options to visit Ayutthaya from Bangkok:
1: THE EASY OPTION (recommended). Book an Ayutthaya Day Tour from Bangkok.
Personally, I think this is the best option, and it’s certainly the most time-efficient. Basically, you’ll get picked up from your hotel or hostel in Bangkok, and driven to Ayutthaya. Then depending on which tour you choose, you’ll also get to see Ayutthaya of course, but also a floating market, the summer palace and for the $50 option, also lunch a boat ride hom.
CHEAPEST: The cheapest option is Ayutthaya, the Summer Palace and the floating market. Great bang for your buck at $39. You can book that directly here.
MID-RANGE: Then for an extra $10, the same as the above but also including a boat-ride back to Bangkok including lunch, you can book that one here ($50). This is the best option.
FANCY: If you’re fancy, you can do a private trip to Ayutthaya for about $140 instead, here (personally I think the group tour is better value though).
2 – THE BUDGET OPTION: Independent Travel
The next option is travelling yourself from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, sorting out a tour when you get to Ayutthaya and then getting back from Ayutthaya to Bangkok again that late afternoon or evening. This is a good option if you’re on a super tight budget, but it’s pretty tiring, takes a lot more time and you have to negotiate directly with the tour guys in Ayutthaya, not a fun experience! Still, if you’re a backpacker, it’s probably the best option, and certainly the cheapest. I explain how to get from Bangkok to Ayutthaya below.
3 – THE LONG OPTION: Spend 1 night in Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya is beautiful, and it’s a relaxing escape from the madness of Bangkok. So traveling there leisurely and spending the night there is also a great option. So instead of having a 1 day Ayutthaya day trip, you’re taking a 2-day/1-night. If can choose to do thisand travel from Bangkok to Ayutthaya independently, same as the budget option above
Or you can book an amazing 2-days/1-night combo from Bangkok to Ayutthaya and Khao Yai National park (about $300, you can book that here). The 2nd is a pricey option but AMAZING. SailIing down Bangkok’s main river on a luxury temple cruise, then a biking tour through Ayutthaya’s Historic Park. Spend the night in a hotel, included of course. Next day hike through Khaoyai National Park and then dropped back in Bangkok.
Bangkok to Ayutthaya Google Map:
HOW TO GET FROM BANGKOK TO AYUTTHAYA:
You have 5 options to get from Bangkok to Ayutthaya (or Ayutthaya to Bangkok). It can be included in an Ayutthaya day tour, or you can travel independently by either train, bus, minivan or taxi. (If you want to take either a minivan or private car from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, you can organise it online here from $5.)
1) TRAIN: The most authentic way to travel is to take the Bangkok to Ayutthaya train, and probably more comfortable than the bus. The trains leave from Hualamphong Station in Bangkok’s city centre (it’s a subway stop, on the MRT line, so it’s easy to access) and they leave every hour or so (try to be at the station by 7am), they start around 4.30am and run until 10pm. The train takes around 2 hours and costs about 330 baht ($10) for first-class, which is pretty expensive for less than 100km, especially in Thailand! If you’re feeling like a real traveller, jump on the 3rd class seats if they aren’t sold out, they go 20baht (around $0.50!) but you can’t reserve, so show up and give it a shot.
The train takes around 2 hours and when you get to Ayutthaya there will be tuk-tuks waiting to take you to the old city with the temples (60 baht) or you can negotiate a tour of Ayutthaya with them, which I think is the best plan. Expect the hard-sell from the tuk-tuk drivers.
2) BUS: EDIT MAY 2020: NO MORE BIG BUSES TRAVEL FROM Bangkok to Ayutthaya anymore. You have to take the minivan or taxi if travelling by road.
The bus from Bangkok to Ayutthaya takes around 90 minutes, buses leave from Mo Chit station twice hourly. You get to Mo Chit on the BTS sky train, then jump on a motorbike taxi for 5-10 mins to get to the right bus section for Ayutthaya, the driver will understand. The bus then will cost around 50THB (less than $2). Personally I reckon Mo Chit is a little out of the way, so it can waste time getting there. If you do this, start your day early (6 am or so).
3) MINI-VAN: EDIT 2020: You can take a mini-can from Mo Chit station, or Sai Tai Mai station from 6 am to 7 pm. You can also take tourist minivans directly from Khao San road (slightly pricier but much more convenient). You can actually book your tickets in advance now too, check it out here.
Hang around Victory Monument (on the BTS line) and jump in a van going directly to Ayutthaya. The minivans, all with air-con, take around an hour and cost about 100 baht The buses leave when full, but you shouldn’t be waiting more than 20 minutes or so.
4) TAXI: If you’ve partied a little too hard and wake up late, or you want absolute convenience, a taxi from Bangkok to Ayutthaya is roughly 1000 baht, but if you negotiate for him to drive you there, drive you around and drive you back you can get it for around 2500THB. You can save the stress and book your car online here.
5) TOUR: If you book an Ayutthaya Day Tour then the driver will pick you up in your hotel or hostel. This is far and away the easiest option! You can book an Ayutthaya day tour for $39 per person here.
Personally, if you’re travelling from Bangkok to Ayutthaya independently then the trains wins for me – you have all the romance of travelling like the locals, it’s cheap, cheerful and pretty fast.
HOW TO GET AROUND AYUTTHAYA
Once you finally arrive in Ayutthaya you need to work out how best to see all the temples. The main section you want to visit is actually an island within the city, so to get there you either take a 4 baht ($0.10) ferry (2 mins) or more likely you take a tuk-tuk to take you around for the day. Once in Ayutthaya, you have 4 options how to see the Ayutthaya temples. You’ll be on a guided tour, or you will rent a bicycle, a tuk-tuk or a motorbike to see the temples.
1) TUKTUKS: The tuk-tuks will charge, after some tough bartering, 250 baht an hour – you won’t get it much cheaper than that. 3 or 4 hours is enough to visit the main sites within the temple complex so around your bill will run round 600-1000 baht ($20-$35) but you can fit up to 6 people in these specialized tuk-tuks so it can work out quite cheap. For the flashpackers among us, air-con taxis are available for around 1500 baht ($50) for a few hours of temple jumping.
2) TAXIS: For the flashpackers among us, air-con taxis are available for around 1000-1500 baht ($33 – $50) for a few hours of temple jumping.
3) BIKE RENTALS: You can also rent bikes or even walk if you’re feeling energetic. The 40-degree heat wouldn’t allow that when I was there (unless you’re a lunatic) but feel free to get healthy, it’s a long walk though. Bikes are available from literally nearly ever hotel for around $1-$2 per day, if you take a walk down any street you’ll be able to pick one up. If you’re here in winter, this is an awesome option.
4) GUIDED TOUR: If you booked the Ayutthaya day tour from Bangkok, then everything is included. So you’ll have a guide to take you to the main temples and main sights and explain everything for you (all your entrance tickets are already included too).
THE TEMPLES & AYUTTHAYA TICKET PRICES:
What can I say other than ‘WOW’. While Angkor Wat in Cambodia and the Bagan Temples in Myanmar get all the Instagram love and column inches, Ayutthaya’s understated beauty is a perfect alternative. Get yourself in a tuk-tuk or explore for yourself. Once you’re on the mini-island within Ayutthaya where all the temples are dotted around, you come in and out of each individual temple complex, at some of the larger temples, you ‘donate’ 20-50 THB (roughly $1) for each one, so factor in another $5-$10 for temple entries as a maximum, well worth it when you see how impressive they are.
All-in-all, if you travel independently from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, factor in lunch, water, ticket entry and transport around the Ayutthaya temples, you can probably do it for about $25 or so, maybe $30 if you have a big lunch! Your day would start around 6am and you’ll be back maybe around 7pm or 8.
If you book a day tour to Ayutthaya, the cheapest one is about $39 HERE, but I think for about $50 taking the day trip to Ayutthaya PLUS the floating market and lunch on a boat is the best value.
THOUGHTS ON MY AYUTTHAYA DAY TOUR
Far less tourists than in Bangkok, a fun day trip, and you can be back in Bangkok ready to party or move on to the islands, or Chiang Mai the same evening. Get yourself in a tuk-tuk or explore for yourself, either way, you’ll love it I promise. Ayutthaya should be on the list of everyone who travels through Bangkok. My mum came to visit me and taking her to Ayutthaya was one of the first things on my list to do, and she loved it.
FINAL THINGS TO REMEMBER FOR YOUR AYYUTHAYA DAY TOUR
1) It’s probably Bangkok’s best day-trip, so if you have only enough time for 1, do this one. And if you want to squeeze in a floating market on the same day-trip, remember you can do that too, just make sure you book this tour and not the basic one.
3) Remember to dress quite smart, ideally in long pants for guys and for girls, cover the knees and shoulders, please! This is a sacred Buddhist site, so we need to respect that.
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