Ayutthaya was founded in 1350 at the north of today’s Bangkok. By the year 1700 it was a flourishing and prosperous city, and largest city in the world with about 1 million population. However in the 1760’s a Burmese invasion burnt the city almost completely to the ground. Thus, what we have today is many temple and statues ruins of the once impressive Thai capital.
1. HOW TO GET TO AYUTTHAYA
There are various ways of getting to Ayutthaya: taxi, bus, rented-car, even train. But, the most economic and convenient way of getting to Ayutthaya from Bangkok is to take the white minivan at Victory monument BTS in Bangkok. The minivans in here offer transportation service to many places such: Kanchanaburi, Pattaya, Surin and many other cities, so after you have located the minivan that goes to Ayutthaya passenger will have to pay the city and queue ( not long, in my experience) to ride the 8 person minivan. The trip took about 1 hour and a half and even the minivan was packed the trip was pleasant.
headless Buddha statues
Buddha statues, the atmosphere is very special
2. AFTER MINIVAN DROP-OFF: HIRE A TUK-TUK
So at the last stop (Ayutthaya center), the minivan-lady told everybody to get down off the minivan. Now, in Ayutthaya the temples and places to visit are well spread between each another, so the best idea is to hire a tuk-tuk for 3 or 4 hours. I paid around 600 THB if I remember correctly. The tuk-tuk driver then takes you from temple to temple, stopping in as many temples the customer wants. Is the customer who chooses to which temples to go, and how much time to spend in the temple. However, the tuk-tuk driver does this trip every day, so don’t underestimate the knowledge to the tuk-tuk driver. He knows beforehand probably better the customer which are the best spots to visit. Overall I was pretty satisfied with my tuk-tuk driver, although he didn’t speak much English ( any at all, in fact).
3. AYUTTHAYA PLANING
Now, 3 or 4 hours strolling temples might seem like much to some. But the time flies, and before you know the time will be over. I recommend getting some online map and planing what temples to visit before-hand. I think 5 or 6 temples would be more than enough.
- Wat Phra Si Sanphet.
- Viharn Phra Mongkol Bopit.
- Wat Phra Mahathat.
- Wat Ratchaburana.
- Wat Thammikarat.
- Wat Suwan Dararam.
- Phra Chedi Suriyothai.
- Wat Borom Phuttharam.
5. DRESS CODE
It is recommended to wear long pants/skirts to temples and no sleeveless t-shirts or revealing blouses. Treat Buddha images with utmost respect, just as you would in the rest of Thailand. Specially the Buddha head stuck in the tree, it will be enforced to bow-down when you are in front of the tree.
6. SLEEPING OPTIONS
There are plenty of accommodation and eating options in Ayutthaya, but since Bangkok in just 1 hour away is feels unnecessary to pass the night in Ayutthaya. In my opinion, Ayutthaya is the perfect one-day side-trip from Bangkok, but that’s it. I would not sleep overnight in there.
7. STROLLING AROUND AYUTTHAYA
This was my 4th visit to Thailand, and I must admit it was my first visit to Ayutthaya. Which is a shame, because I had such a blast visiting this place. Again, it was the perfect side-trip from Bangkok. The temples still magnificent and well conserved. Walking across the ruins was very peaceful and seemed like traveling back in time, the place is really genuine and very beautiful to admire. The weather was so freaking hot and bringing an umbrella to block the sun was a life-savior.
All the statues are on the open.
Buddha in Ayutthaya
I recommend bringing an umbrella, hot weather is almost guaranteed.
The famous Buddha head in Ayutthaya
There are buddha’s of all shapes and forms in Ayutthaya, mostly broken.
I spent little less than 1000 bath in total ( as of 2016), for a very fun side-trip day from Bangkok. It’s quite surprising the size of this old city, the beauty of the ruins, and also the resemblance of the old city ruins with the more new king palace of Bangkok. I totally recommend a visit Ayutthaya to anyone coming to Bangkok.
PS: You can check my Top 30 hotels in Bangkok guide clicking here.
PS2: Or you can check my Top 5 hotels in Krabi.