After spending just one day in Bangkok (during my five days Bangkok), I went on my one and only day trip. From Bangkok to Ayutthaya (Thailand). I spent 24 hours in Ayutthaya city before heading back to Bangkok.
In this Ayutthaya day trip itinerary I am going to share what I did, where I stayed, how to get there and much more.
If you want to read more about Thailand head over to the Thailand Travel blog category. If you want to read more itinerary posts from amazing places all over the world, check out my Travel Itineraries.
Ayutthaya was founded in 1350 under the Siamese empire and grew to be a florishing city. I was the capital for more than 400 years until the Siamese lost a war against the Burmese empire. In 1767 the city was burned to the ground and Ayutthayas art treasures, literature and historic records were almost totally destroyed.
Even though nowadays restauration efforts are being made, most of the temples in Ayutthaya remain ruins today.
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My trip to Ayutthaya started early in the morning on a bright and sunny day (I am guessing all days in Bangkok are more or less bright and sunny). I made my way from my hostel SiBamboo to the train station using a taxi. The ride cost me under 100 bahts and I was again surprised how cheap Bangkok is.
I took the train to Ayutthaya. This is not only the cheapest (only 15 bahts or 50 US dollar cents) but probably also the most convenient option. The train station is right in the center of Bangkok and the train (even with a second class ticket) is comfortable enough for the 2 hour ride.
If you want to know how to take the train from Bangkok to Ayutthaya you can read my complete post here. It also includes all the other ways to get to the old capital, including bus, minivan, taxi and different tours.
On the way there I got to enjoy the changing landscape from urban to the countryside. At each station, people would board the train to sell their delicious looking food and drink to the travelers, and I got quite hungry seeing all the different Thai foods. But still, I decided against trying anything because I couldn’t be sure how fresh the dishes were. (Looking back I think I should just have tried some of the delicious looking food)
I arrived at Ayutthaya station after about 2 hours and from there walked the couple hundred meters to the river, which I crossed like all the other backpackers by boat. This only cost 5 bahts which isn’t even 20 US dollar cents. After crossing the river, I walked for about 15 minutes to reach my guest house.
If you have more money, you can also grab a tuk-tuk or taxi directly in front of the station to take you to your hotel.
I stayed at the Ray Nu Guest House. A private room with shared bathroom costs about 13 US dollars here. It comes with WIFI and a very simple kitchen for you to use, as well as a free bicycle rental (which was very convenient).
The room is airconditioned, spacious and clean, although the walls are very thin and you can hear what the people in the next room are talking about. For one night it was all I could have wished for.
If you want to book Ray Nu Guest House head over to booking.com!
If you are looking for something even cheaper, a dormitory bed 1301 Hostels Ayutthaya might just be what you are looking for. The reviews are excellent, and from the pictures, this hostel seems very modern, comfortable and well thought through. At 6 dollars a night it isn’t quite as cheap as hostels in Bangkok but definitely a reasonable price for a bed including breakfast.
Book your stay at 1301 Hostels Ayutthaya now!
The check-in to my guesthouse was a fascinating process, because the host didn’t speak a word of English, and so he showed me around pointing at signs. They said anything from ‘please turn off the air-condition when you leave the room’ to ‘feel free to take a banana’.
The best way to explore Ayutthaya is by bicycle. At my accommodation, I could borrow a bike for free, but even if your accommodation doesn’t have bicycles, you can find Ayutthaya bike rental for a very low price at every corner.
When I wanted to borrow a bicycle, I pointed at myself, then at the bike and made a kind of circle indicating I wanted to take it around the city. The guest house owner nodded and gave me a lock, and I was good to go.
I used Google Maps to navigate Ayutthaya, which is very easy if you have a local Sim card. You can buy a Sim card via klook.com or at the airport. I recommend buying directly at the airport because you might get a lower price through some kind of campaign.
My first stop was a Boat Noodle restaurant called Pa Lek Boat Noodle. The name boat noodles comes from the boats these noodles used to be sold from. Nowadays the only boat the boat noodles come into contact with are the ones put in the restaurants for decoration.
Boat noodles are a strongly flavored noodle soup made from pork and beef served with pork meatballs and liver. The dish is served in a small bowl and to get really full most people order at least 2 to 5 bowls! I had two bowls of boat noodles as a small lunch, and they were delicious!
After the boat noodles I was energized and eager to explore parts of the Ayutthaya Historical Park, which covers the city of Ayutthaya and its surrounding villages. So, basically all the old Ayutthaya temples are today part of the Ayutthaya Historical Park which in turn is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991.
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I started with the most famous of all the temples in Ayutthaya: Wat Mahathat. It is famous not because of its funny name, and not even because of its impressive temple complex, but because of the stone head of a Buddha statue around which a banyan tree has grown in the course of hundreds of years.
It is probably the most photographed place in all of Ayutthaya, and it is truly amazing. When you see the Buddha’s head, you feel very unimportant in the passage of time. Just imagining how much time must have passed since someone placed the Buddha head on that spot that a tree could have grown around it.
By the way, Wat Mahathat was founded in 1374 under a different name and in 1384 was reconstructed to become a great temple under its current name by King Ramesuan. Wat Mahathat was one of the most important monasteries of the Ayutthaya kingdom, not only because of its relics of the Buddha but also because of its proximity to the Grand Palace. When the Kingdom of Ayutthaya fell in 1767 the monastery was set on fire by the Burmese army and destroyed.
Right next to Wat Mahathat is Wat Ratchaburana. Not much is known about the temple between its construction in 1424 and destruction in 1767.
Wat Ratchaburana follows the same concept in construction as Wat Mahathat and therefore is very similar in its design. Nontheless I recommend you visit both temples. While Wat Mahathat was mostly destroyed at Wat Ratchaburana the stupa in the center of the temple is still widely intact and very impressive.
Just behind What Mahathat is a vast area of park with multiple ponds and countless small temples. A great place to cycle through or explore on foot. You can relax in the shade of trees to escape the heat and just enjoy the tranquility of the park for a moment before heading to the next sight.
The reclining Buddha of Ayutthaya at Wat Lokayasutharam was another temple I really wanted to see. It isn’t as impressive as the golden reclining Buddha of Bangkok at Wat Pho but since the one in Ayutthaya is constructed in the open air it is an entirely different experience.
I purchased some offerings including a sheet of gold, some lotus flowers, and incense to make a wish and show my respect, if not to the Buddha then to the old ladies sitting around in the area having a chat, eating dinner and trying to sell souvenirs to tourists.
One of the ladies was so kind as to explain to me what to do with my different offerings because I was out of my depth here.
Because of my very small boat noodle lunch I was getting hungry. Probably also because I am not used to riding a bicycle all day.
I had an early dinner at Coffee Old City which is located in the center of Ayutthaya not far from the first two temples I had visited that day. I ordered some delicious Pad Thai and fresh fruit juice before making my way back to my guest house.
I passed the daily night market where various foods but also clothes and electronics are sold to locals and tourists alike. It is a lively affair which opens everyday between 5 and 10 p.m.
I was already full from my dinner and didn’t feel like stopping to have a bite of all the delicious looking foods on offer (some were not so delicious looking for example the fried bugs I found at multiple stalls).
If it gets very busy it is probably better to push your bicycle or simply visit the market on foot, then you also have your hands free to try some of the food.
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Before heading to bed, I decided I wanted to have some coffee or maybe desert, and so I found my way to Celebb Rotea a very modern and actually very instragrammable cafe in Ayutthaya.
It just opened in 2018 and offers a wide variety of delicious drinks as well as different kinds of roti as well as other small foods to snack on. I had some delicious sweet iced tea with milk perfect in the Ayutthaya heat.
And after my day of cycling, visiting Ayutthaya’s temples, delicious food and drinks and of course the always present heat I was finally ready to go to sleep.
The next morning after a quick breakfast I headed to the southern part of Ayutthaya in the hopes of finding some different landscapes. I found them at the river Chao Phraya in the form of an old fortress, called Petch Fortress.
Petch Fortress was one of 16 fortresses along the city walls of Ayutthaya. It was the most important fortress, protecting the harbor where foreign ships were stopped for inspection.
During the sack of the city by the Burmese in 1767 the fortress wasn’t penetrated and the Burmese army finally got into the city from a different location on the north side of the city.
Today Petch Fortress was turned into a small public park. It has also been restaurated recently to protect the old fortress from corrosion from the river water.
Roti Saimai is Ayutthaya’s cotton candy. But it is better than cotton candy because it comes in crazy colors and is served in a sweet roti (an Indian style crepe).
I tried very hard to buy one in the morning on my second day in Ayutthaya. But even though I visited the area that is famous for many Roti Saimai stands on the Uthong Road along the Chao Phraya River, they typically only open in the evenings, and I was not able to find a shop that was already open before noon.
Seems like a good reason to come back and visit Ayutthaya again sometime. Don’t you think?
And with that, it was already time to say goodbye to Ayutthaya. This time I got a Grab back to Ayutthaya train station, instead of walking and crossing the river by boat, and from there I took the train to Bangkok.
Ayutthaya was a great place to escape Bangkok. There are so many amazing things to do in Ayutthaya. I learned a lot about Thailands history, saw amazing old temples and had some delicious food. What more could you want from a day trip from Bangkok?
Below I created an Ayutthaya tourist map with all the places to visit in Ayutthaya. I am sure it will be useful for your Ayutthaya one day trip, and therefore I made the Ayutthaya tourist map available to download. All you have to do is subscribe to my mailing list.
If you don’t want to plan your own Ayutthaya trip from Bangkok you can alternatively book an Ayutthaya day tour from Bangkok.
It might not be the cheapest Ayutthaya tour, but it has many positive ratings from former participants. The tour costs about 55 dollars and includes the transport there and back by bus and boat, a lunch, all entrance fees and drinks like coffee, tea and water, and an English speaking guide.
You can, of course, also book a tour to Ayutthaya at every travel agency in Bangkok. Just be careful that the Ayutthaya day tour itinerary includes everything you want to do and see and that it is not too expensive. It might make sense to compare different tour agencies just to be sure you get the best value for your money.
An Ayutthaya 1 day trip is a great place to spend 24 hours. You will experience a lot of history and culture, and you also get a completely different view of life in Thailand, so utterly different from the new and modern capital Bangkok. If you are looking for a full 5 days Bangkok itinerary, check out my post.
There are many other day trips from Bangkok you can consider if you have the time, for example, Rose Garden, a Floating Market, Koh Si Chang, Samut Prakan and many more.
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None of the experiences in this post are in any way sponsored and have all been paid for by myself. The opinions stated are all my own and have not been influenced in any way.
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Lena is the creator of the Social Travel Experiment. Planning her trip around the world took a lot of effort. To make it easier for future world travelers she has made it her mission to teach others how to have an unforgettable trip around the world, through short stays with locals, without wasting valuable time or money.