In this post, I’m going to give you everything you need for planning a DIY day trip to Ayutthaya from Bangkok.
We took this exact trip ourself whilst spending a month in Thailand – everything you’re going to read comes from personal experience.
With trains departing every hour from both Bangkok and Ayutthaya, I will leave the exact timing of this trip down to you, but I would suggest giving yourself a minimum of five hours in Ayutthaya as there are some amazing sights to see!
So without further ado, here’s how to book the perfect Ayutthaya day trip.
- Quick Tip for Booking Ayutthaya Train Tickets
- Ayutthaya Day Trip Itinerary [inc. Cycling Route]
- 1) Wat Maha That (Buddha’s Head in Tree Roots)
- 2) Wat Ratchaburana
- 3) Wat Thammikarat (Temple of the Roosters & Giant Buddha)
- 4) Wat Phra Ram (Tranquil Gardens)
- 5) Wat Phra Si Sanphet (The Most Important Temple)
- 6) Somdet Phra Si Nakharin Park (Less Visited Ruins)
- 7) Monument to Princess Srinagarindra (Modern but Beautiful Building)
- Ayutthaya Map
- Ayutthaya Cycling Route
- Ayutthaya Day Tour Bike Hire
- How To Get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok
- Book an Ayutthaya Tour With a Local Guide
- Ayutthaya Day Trip – Further Reading
- Want to Stay Overnight Instead?
Quick Tip for Booking Ayutthaya Train Tickets
If you (like us) get a bit nervous about booking tickets in a country where you don’t speak the language then there is a great solution.
We used 12GoAsia for all of our Southeast Asia sabbatical. It was so handy to be able to book in advance and turn up at the station with tickets on out phones ready to go, meaning no missed trains due to confusion or lost time stuck in the queue.
Ayutthaya Day Trip Itinerary [inc. Cycling Route]
There is loads to do in Ayutthaya, and most of the key sites are fairly close together. To be honest, if you just cycle around a bit and stop when you see something interesting you won’t go too far wrong!
For those who like a bit more structure though, I’ve listed the key points of interest and an easy to follow cycling route below.
I am not aiming to give a full historical background to Ayutthaya in this article, just a list of the best places to visit.
If you want more background on the city, I have picked out some great articles in the ‘further reading’ section at the bottom of this post.
All of the temples below cost 50฿ entry fee unless otherwise listed.
1) Wat Maha That (Buddha’s Head in Tree Roots)
This temple is famous for having the head of a Buddha statue that has been consumed by a tree. No-one really knows how it ended up here, but it was possible it was left behind by looters, who raided the city after its destruction by the Burmese army in 1767.
2) Wat Ratchaburana
This was our favourite temple in Ayutthaya. It is one of the most complete, and also one of the few we’ve seen in Thailand where you can go inside the main prang, and drop down to the crypt.
3) Wat Thammikarat (Temple of the Roosters & Giant Buddha)
Wat Thammikarat is a bit different to the first two temples on this list, which is why I’ve included it. Unlike the first two, it is still a working temple, so you will regularly see monks at the site.
It also has an incredible display of roosters, which local people bring here as offerings. Legend has it that an Ayutthayan prince once humiliated a Burmese prince at this site, after the local prince’s rooster won a cock fight.
The other interesting sight is a giant reclining Buddha, which is housed in its own building right beside the temple. I could only get a photo of the head, because the entire Buddha was far too big to fit in one frame!
4) Wat Phra Ram (Tranquil Gardens)
Despite being in the historical park, Wat Phra Ram seems to get missed out by the big tour groups. We had the place to ourselves – all the more reason to visit!
Whilst the ruins themselves are not as impressive as the other locations, what we loved about Wat Phra Ram was the tranquil garden setting, where it’s easy to find your own space in this busy part of the city. The lush green trees, were home to Indian Rollers, darting down catch to insects from the manicured lawns.
If you want some space and contemplation time whilst in Ayutthaya, this would be a great place to break up your day away from the busier temples.
5) Wat Phra Si Sanphet (The Most Important Temple)
Wat Phra Si Sanphet was once the most important temple in Ayutthaya, due to its location right beside the Grand Palace.
The three chedi at the centre of the grounds are some of the most impressive in Ayutthaya.
6) Somdet Phra Si Nakharin Park (Less Visited Ruins)
Cycling around Somdet Phra Si Nakharin Park was some of the best fun we had on our day trip to Ayutthaya.
The park was empty, so it was just us and our bikes whizzing up and down the wooden bridges and around the ruined Wats.
The paths are a bit worse-for-wear in places, and some of them turn out to be dead-ends, but it was a great little adventure. The trees gave us some relief from the intensity of the sun, and it felt like we were explorers, discovering the numerous ruins dotted around the park.
7) Monument to Princess Srinagarindra (Modern but Beautiful Building)
Opened in 2000, this is a modern attraction in the ancient city.
It is a beautifully calm place, surrounded by trees and canals, and the perfect place to sit in the shade and eat a packed lunch before heading to the station for your journey back to Bangkok.
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Ayutthaya Cycling Route
The cycling route is shown as a red line on the map above.
Here are some step by step directions to help you navigate.
- After hiring bikes, lock them up outside Wat Maha That. Visit Wat Maha That temple, and then cross the road to visit Wat Rathaburana before heading back to collect the bikes.
- Cycle left from Maha That, taking the first left hand turning between Maha That and Ratchaburana.
- Take the first right after Wat Ratchaburana.
- At the end of the road there is a t-junction. Take a left. This road is a bit busier.
- Wat Thammikarat is the fourth turning. It is easy to spot, as there are normally a lot of street-food vendors just outside.
- On leaving Wat Thammikarat, carry on in the same direction you were going before turning.
- You will come to a small roundabout, where you need to take a left. You will know it is the correct road, because there is a small canal running down the centre of it, with a small road the other side.
- Cycle along the road and pull into the first place which says ‘parking’. Here you will find some small restaurants and a market to walk through.
- Lock up the bikes here, and visit Wat Phra Ram and Wat Phra Si Sanphet on foot. This is a beautiful park area, and a great place to stop and have some refreshments.
- Once you are finished, take turn left and continue down the road your were on.
- At one of the little bridges, you need to turn right over the canal, and then carry on in the same direction, left beside the canal.
- At the end of the road, before you reach the busy ring-road, you will see the entrance to Phra Si Nakharin Park. Head in, and explore!
- The best route is taking a left, and taking the path adjacent to the main ring road. You will come out the other side onto properly paved roads again, where you will need to turn right twice, on the small road that cuts between the two sides of the park. On the left here you will find the memorial to Princess Srinagarinda.
- When you get back to the main road, turn left on the road beside the canal that brought you here. Cross over one of the little bridges to the other side when you can.
- When you get to Pa Thon Road, take a right. This road can get quite busy. You will cycle past the elephant riding and main historical park on your left.
- After the historical park, you will get to a roundabout. Take a left onto Chikun Alley, where you will get back to Wat Maha That and you can drop the bikes back off to your chosen hire shop.
Ayutthaya Day Tour Bike Hire
There are a number of places you can hire bikes from Ayutthaya, but by far the simplest is to book them in advance.
Use this link to Tripadvisor for a recommended bike booking shop, meaning you can collect them when you arrive at Ayutthaya.
Personally I wouldn’t hire them from the station, as this means you need to either take them on a ferry crossing, or over a busy flyover before a relatively long ride to the historical park.
Instead ask for a tuk-tuk at the station to take you to ‘Wat Maha That’, (around 100฿) and this will put you at the beginning of the tour around the best sights, and will give you much more choice of bicycle hire places.
Bike Hire and Cycling Tips:
- Bike hire is 50฿ for the day (not 24hrs) at most locations.
- The bikes are generally quite old.
Double checkbrakes, and get the seat height right before you leave to make it as comfortable and safe as possible,
- Don’t expect to get issued with a helmet! This is Thailand, they don’t even wear them on motorbikes!
- Cycling in Ayutthaya is quite safe, but Thai roads can get busy. There is usually a hard shoulder type area on the busy roads on in which you can cycle, but most of the city is fairly quiet.
- You should be issued with a lock when you hire to keep the bike safe, though whilst researching this article it seems bike theft is not a major problem in Ayutthaya anyway.
If you don’t want to hire a bike you can hire a tuk-tuk and driver for the day from the station to take you around all the main sights. Expect this to cost somewhere in the region of 500฿-750฿ or 200฿ an hour depending on your negotiating skills.
How To Get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok
Whilst you can get a bus, the simplest and most predictable way to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok is by train.
Trains leave from Hua Lamphong station about once an hour. Hua Lamphong is easily accessed if you have an apartment near the metro stations, but you will need to get a cab or tuk-tuk if you are staying in the Old Town near the river.
If you are nervous about booking tickets at the station then use the form below to book your train tickets in advance to save you time in the queue.
Bangkok to Ayutthaya Train Ticket
- Tickets are easy to book. Go to the ticket booths at Hua Lamphong station, the cashiers speak good
English,and will spin round their computer screen to show you your booking, so you can confirm it is correct.
- There are two booths one selling tickets for today, the others selling advance tickets for future dates. The ones you need will be to the left.
- Tickets cost 15฿ per person.
Yesyou read that right! The equivalent of about 35p at the time of writing.
- You will be issued with a 3rd class ticket. There are no 2nd or 1st class carriages on this train so don’t worry, they are still fairly comfortable.
- You will not be issued with a seat as your journey is too short.
- The cashier will tell you which platform to go to.
If you are not confident enough to just turn up at the station and order a ticket, you can book in advance using the fantastic site 12Go.Asia.
We used 12Go.Asia to book transport right across Southeast Asia, from sleeper trains along the coast of Vietnam to buses in Laos. They are quick, efficient and it takes out the worry of booking at the station.
Check out the train times and prices using the form below.
What to Expect from a Train Journey from Bangkok to Ayutthaya
The journey from Bangkok to Ayutthaya is a simple one, that takes somewhere between 1 and 1 1/2 hours depending on which train you get. It is very stop-start as the train negotiates all the level crossings in Bangkok’s suburbs, but once you’re out in the rural areas the train moves fairly quickly, and the landscape is beautiful.
Here are a few things you should know:
- Third class carriages have no air conditioning, but the windows open fully so it will be cool enough when the train is moving.
- There is lots of luggage storage area above the seats if you have bags with you.
- It is possible to get food on the train. There are lots of sellers who work their way up and down the aisles with everything from street food and bottled drinks through to Pokemon branded battery-powered fans!
- There are toilets on the train. They’re not the best, and you will need your own toilet paper, but they’re available if you need one.
- Keep your tickets with you as the inspectors come through the train regularly.
Ayutthaya Tour With a Local Guide
Having read all this, if I’ve still not convinced you it’s possible to organise the trip by yourself, then why not use one of the links below to book a reputable local guide to help you.
There are lots of day tours to Ayutthaya available from Bangkok, so click through below to book.
Ayutthaya Day Trip – Further Reading
Really interesting guides to the main temples in Ayutthaya, giving lots of history and including some stunning photos.
This website is completely dedicated to the Wats of Ayutthaya, and includes a really useful map showing all their locations.
Ken Lawrence has a fantastic website, and has spent his time in Southeast Asia on the trail of the Emerald Buddha. His guide to Ayutthaya is both detailed and beautiful, a really inspiring read.
If you’re looking to understand a but more about the history of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, then this article rounds up the key historical events without going into so much detail as to be unnameable. A great introduction to the history of Ayutthaya.
If you are looking for some great lunchtime stop-offs, then have a read of this article to find the best ones.
Want to Stay Overnight Instead?
Here are a list of hotels in Ayutthaya.
Our personal favourite was the beautiful Baan Baimai Boutique Hotel.
A peaceful, modern retreat with some of the friendliest owners we found anywhere in Thailand. They also hire bikes from just outside the hotel, which makes doing a cycling tour really easy.
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