Day trip to Ayutthaya
If you've done about all you're comfortable with in Bangkok then you may be looking for some other alternatives to do before you have to fly out or get a hotel in another town. One of the popular options is to take a day trip to Ayutthaya. This can easily be done during the daylight hours to see the ancient capital of the Siam empire. After a roughly hour trip you can visit the ancient ruins of the old capital, visit the museums, and interact with some elephants on the site.
How to get there
As with any trip make sure you have set up your travel to get to your destination and back. It can be a bit tricky going anywhere that you are not familiar with. Make sure you know where your dropoff point is located and where you will need to be for your return trip. If you don't think you are in the right area then always ask to be taken to the historical park where there should be many signs around to confirm your location.
- The Bus - At Bangkok's Northern bus terminal in Mo Chit you can take a bus for under 100 baht. The trip will take under 2-hours one-way. Make sure you get the right bus as they provide both AC and non-AC (air conditioned) buses.
- Minibus - At Victory Monument in Bangkok there are many queues for the minibuses. These small vans run all over the country. The cost will still be under 100 baht but it will take about 90-minutes to reach your destination. Make sure the minibus takes you into the island and not just the town and some may try to leave you with tuktuk drivers they have worked a deal out with.
- Taxi - As the most expensive option this will set you back about 1,000 baht but it will take only an hour to get to the town. One good item to note is that you can be pretty sure you'll get exactly to your destination without any side diversions, stops, or being let out early. Make sure they take you to the island and to the historical park so you are sure you have made it.
- Train - The trains can take up to 2-1/2 hours to make the trip North to Ayutthaya. The rates can be as little as 20 baht where it may be standing room only with no AC and up to 400 baht for a reserved seat with air conditioning. If you do take the train it will stop outside of the island and you will probably need to take a ferry the rest of the way in for 5 baht.
- Boat - While there are boat trips to Ayutthaya these will take a day to get to the destination and must be scheduled in advance. These trips will need to be set up individually and are not a recommended mode of transportation at this time.
Parks and Museums
There are many historic attractions to visit inside the park. As with any temple make sure you follow the rules and regulations. There may not be signs at every temple so I have included a basic primer on the right with the basics. Click on the image for a large display. Some locations will have fees and others won't, they all vary but feel reassured that any fee will help to preserve the site. While you are out and about be careful of any wildlife you may encounter and treat them with respect, especially the large monitor lizards in the waterways.
Below is a small list of sites that are available to visit within the Ayutthaya Historical park, a recognized UNESCO World Heritage site. All of these sites can be found on the main island of the park.
Wat Kudi Dao
Wat Phanan Choeng
Wiharn Phra Mongkhon Bopit
Wat Phra Ram
Wat Phra Sri Sanphet
Wat Ratchaburana, Ayutthaya
Wat Chai Mongkhon
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
Phra Chedi Suriyothai
Ayutthaya historical Study Centre
Wat Phu Khao Thong
At the bottom of the page I've provided a map of the main historical sites in the town. This is where the temples, museums, tuktuks, taxis, tour guides, elephants, bikes, etc can be found and where you will likely be dropped off. The main road which goes around the island from the inside is Uthong road. One way to tour all the sites and surrounding area is to go along the road and see everything. Another option is to cut down the middle along Pa Thon road. While there is a lot to see on the island there are also more temples and ruins located outside the island but they will be more spread out. As with my other posts, you only need to click on the map to see a larger representation to read.