The ancient city of Ayutthaya (Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya) was the second capital of Siam after Sukhothai located 87km north of Bangkok.
Founded in 1350, Ayutthaya is actually an island surrounded by three rivers: the Chao Phraya river, the Lopburi river and the Pa Sak river. It’s ideal location between China, India and the Malay Archipelago made it the trading capital of Asia and even the world. By 1700 Ayutthaya had become the largest city in the world with a total of 1 million inhabitants. Many international merchants set sail for Ayutthaya, from diverse regions as the Arab world, China, India, Japan, Portugal, the Netherlands and France. Merchants from Europe proclaimed Ayutthaya as the finest city they had ever seen. Dutch and French maps of the city show grandeur with gold-laden palaces, large ceremonies and a huge float of trading vessels from all over the world.
All this came to a quick end when the Burmese invaded Ayutthaya in 1767 and almost completely burnt the city down to the ground.
Most of Ayutthaya is now temples, palaces and shrines made of stone.
Ayutthaya’s ruins were officially recognized in 1991, when the Historic City became an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Ayutthaya is a popular day trip attraction for travelers from Bangkok. It’s certainly a change of atmosphere away from the bustling hectic street jams and people. Since its only a 2 hours by train (1 hour plus by mini van), and it is fairly easy to navigate around this city, you do not really need a guide or follow a tour. And of course, we at backpackies always encourage you to do it your self.
“Most travellers are asked to buy tickets from Khao San road, then packed into a speedy tour which involves a lot of stress. Do not let these travel agents tell you differently.”
“Ayutthaya isn’t hard to get to !”
There are a few ways to get there from Bangkok. The train runs right through town, buses run multiple times an hour, and public vans shoot back and forth constantly.
We took the scenic third class(free seating, no air conditioning) train for 14 THB.
We passed through kilometers of bright green rice paddies, fresh water ponds, and herds of water buffalo on the way.
You will need to board from Bangkok’s Hualamphong Train Station. There are second class seats (A/C) for 245 THB. Check time tables from Bangkok Railway.
Minivan: Starts from Victory Monument. Take BTS Skytrain to the Victory Monument station, and go right on the elevated walkway – keep on it until you cross a large road, then descend – the buses are parked at the side side of the main traffic circle). The cost is usually ~70 baht, takes around 1 hour or 1 hour 20 min. It’s quite convenient since you don’t have to go to bus terminals (nearby Mochit) but the only problem is that the minibuses don’t have much space to put big bags and have to wait until the car is fully filled.
Cruise boats: Another alternative is you can also take a tourist cruise boat up from Bangkok. You will stop at Ko Kret and Bang Pa-In along the way. You’ll need to book in advance as there are no scheduled services, just trips for tourists. It’s a fairly lengthy trip (at least one whole day) and some of the larger boats offer (pricy) overnight tours. — Boat from Ayutthaya to Bangkok leaves 11:30AM daily (arrives Bangkok ~4PM) = 1350 baht/person PH: 08 97662672
Travelling by boat to Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya is popular and unique experience as you get to see the lifestyles of the people on both sides of the Chao Phraya River. You may just sit back and imagine your self travelling through time, just as how the trade ships did it back in ancient times.
Continue : The train ride takes roughly 2 hours. When you arrive at Ayutthaya train station, you will need to cross over to the island which is a short ferry ride. (4 THB)
Getting around Ayutthaya is pretty easy. U Thong Rd is a ring road that goes around the city. Most temple ruins can be found at the north-west of the island, while accommodation and nightlife is clustered around the north-east. As non-Siamese peoples were not allowed to live inside the city walls, the sights from foreign nations can be found outside of the island.
Of course almost every travel guide will advice you to rent a bicycle, and cruise to explore the ruins. There are plenty of places where you can rent bicycles. (40 THB a day)
The faster alternative is to rent a motorbike. We rented one for 250 THB. Its much faster which means less time under the heat. We did this so we could cover more ground so that we have more things to write for you guys 🙂 . Well, that’s our excuse for being lazy, what’s yours?
There are plenty of Street food around, especially around Ayutthaya University (Rochana Rd and Si Sanphet Rd). Grab some food to go and eat laying in the shade of the trees growing around the ruins.
Some sites have an entrance fee of 30 to 50 baht.
There are plenty of temples and palaces around Ayutthaya to explore. We will be posting up the different temples you can see here in the next blog.
Aircon room, 600B
Fan room, 450B
If you are here on a day trip, you can sit by the river enjoying a beer and then back to Bangkok by either a speedy van ride back to Bangkok or a lazy train journey.
The next trip, we will cover the names of the temples and also what to expect inside the temples.
We will also be trying out the night river cruise. Stay tuned to backpackies.
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We would like to personally thank Theresa Goh and her partner Harpal Singh for providing the information and resources for us to write this