La Ayutthaya city is one of the most representative places in the history of Thailand. Much smaller and liveable than the capital, it is an excellent destination for a day trip to during or after the two days in Bangkok, it is very easy to achieve. Visiting Ayutthaya is truly a perfect solution to appreciate the past.
It comes from me to give you an overview of historical and religious notions inherent to the place in question. For this information there are countless sites that can help you and are certainly more informed than me about it. They are obviously essential information, but my goal is another. I want to give you some tips so you can visit Ayutthaya from Bangkok in a peaceful, economical way and above all trying to make you go “home”.
That said, when you visit a country you have plenty of ways to get around, the problem is always finding the one that's right for you.
You can use the Line bus normal, i Minivan from the Victory Monument, i boats covering the route from Bangkok to Ayutthaya and finally the train.
I'll tell you about the option I have chosen and which I logically considered the best in various aspects. Minivans and Buses have some negative aspects, the trainInstead, it was a pleasant discovery. Not that there is anything special about taking a train, but using third class we were able to experience a moment of everyday Thai life. Basically it is as if with the price of the train ticket the resulting experience is included. Then you will understand why.
Let's get to the point.
How to get to Ayutthaya by train from Bangkok?
Where does the train from Bangkok to Ayutthaya leave from? It starts from Hualamphong station that you can reach either with the MRT or with taxis or by any means of local transport, see the tuk-tuk.
Bangkok station is big enough, but not huge. There is a large waiting room with several seats waiting for the departures of the various trains. I must say it seemed to me a particularly quiet place unlike Italian train stations where you have to look over your shoulder every 30 seconds.
As in all stations there is a large panel regarding the various departures, just below there are the ticket offices.
Obviously, in Bangkok station you can be a bit confused at the beginning and in front of the ticket offices you will surely find some employees who will ask you where you are headed and will indicate the train to take.
Gentle, yes, but also smart. He will show you the first train available which may be the most expensive without explaining the various possibilities to reach Ayutthaya. So if you then go to the ticket office by naming the train that the girl has just told you, you will easily find yourself paying more than I will tell you.
Usual advice: head to the ticket office without listening to anyone and ask for tickets to reach Ayutthaya requesting the third class and in less than 2 minutes you will find yourself holding a train ticket at 15 baht. Yes, you got it, 15 baht for about 2 hours by train. 15 baht is just under 50 euro cents, you name it! Certainly the third class is not exactly comfortable, no air conditioning, seats from several years ago. If we were to be precise, it should be said that it is not very different from the regional trains we are used to.
* Update 2018: the cost of the train went up to 45 baht for the third class and 65 baht for the second class.
It starts from Hualamphong and passes through the entire outskirts of Bangkok. At each stop more and more people get on, each with its own story to tell, each with its own existence linked to that daily train.
* Update 2019: you can also use this search form to find the best travel solutions for you, and you can also buy them directly on the site without having to go to the ticket office.
Many and many Thai people with goods bought at the market, mostly fruit and vegetables, but also many and many people who bring goods to the market to sell them. On your train journey from Bangkok to Ayutthaya you will see your train filling up and emptying several times. And in this coming and going, one or more women will continue to go back and forth between the seats of the train with the intent of selling you something. Don't think about watches, bracelets and various costume jewelery, they will try to sell you bananas, fruit in general, drinks kept cool in buckets with ice, strange chips and much more, I even saw a lady who wanted to sell us some beans.
This says a lot about cultural difference. I was very impressed and I felt a little more in their everyday life, which I personally look for in every trip.
The train that leaves from Bangkok takes therefore a couple of hours to get to Ayutthaya (when reading Ayutthaya pretend there is an accent at the end). Once in the city, the most important thing will be to find out when the train will leave for the return to Bangkok. There is a board on the first platform that informs you about all the trains that will pass and their timetables. Take note and head to the exit where you will be prey to the tuk-tuk drivers.
What to see and how to visit Ayutthaya?
Again there are several ways:
- On foot: even if your stride will be Guinness World Record, even if in your life you have finished a lot of marathons, it is highly not recommended to run it on your own legs. Certainly it is not expensive, but we must consider that the distances are large enough. Also, visiting Ayutthaya means get lost in countless sites of interest and, although the main ones are almost close, there are many others that can simply be seen from the outside via a tuk-tuk ride
- Scooter rental: not recommended if you don't have an international driving license
- By bike: in Ayutthaya you will find several rentals where you can take your bikes with very few baht. This solution has a lot of charm, so much so that I had taken it into consideration because it seemed to me to be a little different from usual. In the end, I gave up and the reasons were many. In primo luogo, it is unimaginably hot. It is already hot to walk, think about pedaling in the midst of the tons of smog that surround you. Secondly, to reach the various sites of Ayutthaya you will surely need a map and you will have to stop several times to understand what to do. Thirdly, you must not underestimate the traffic, certainly it is not Bangkok but even here the traffic is pretty powerful, so be careful.
- With a tuk-tuk: it was the medium we chose, though the most expensive. and in the next few lines he will give you the usual tips.
As soon as you leave Ayutthaya station, avoid getting boarded by the tuk-tuk drivers who guard the exits, being in a good turnout point they will lower the price a little. cross the road and go towards the river, which is straight ahead of you.
At the end of the road you will find a long tail that shuttles between the two banks of the river for the modest sum of 5 baht each. Once you get to the other side walk towards the Wat and if you want to take a tuk-tuk, start your search. They will stop in many and for better or worse the prices will be similar. Initially, for 2 hours of private tuk-tuk they shoot a figure of 600 baht. It is actually high so you can lower it. After all, they are free to accept your counterproposal or not. In our case, for about 2 hours we managed to snatch a deal for 450 baht and in the end I can say that we did well.
The tuk-tuk ride is always special. Map in hand, your driver will show you the various Wat (temples) of Ayutthaya that he will take you to see. The more time you have rented his service, the more Wat you will be able to see. Let's say 3 hours would be enough.
In our case we enjoyed the outside Wat Ratcheburana, the Ayutthaya Elephant Center, we got off at Wat Lokaya Sutharam and we visited for an hour and more Wat phra si sanphet and the Wihan Phra Mongkhon, all beautiful. The Wat phra si sanphet it has an entrance cost of 50 baht which is paid in the kiosk next to the entrance, where among other things there is also a reconstruction of what the Wat was before the clash with the Burmese. The Wat is simply gorgeous, you can see it from the photos I posted.
Around the various archaeological sites is a mix of parked tuk-tuk and moving elephants, there are so many, each with tourists on horseback. It is special to see how such huge animals walk on the sidewalk as if nothing had happened. It is a pity to see them so, let's say, a lot exploited, personally I do not share this exploitation.
At the end of the hours you have agreed, you will be taken back to the station or in any case to the place where you want.
Caution: if you return in the afternoon after 16pm, the trains that pass and will take you back to Bangkok are those at 16.30pm (approximately) and 18.00pm. Buy the ticket directly at the ticket office, small note: I don't know why but the return ticket instead of costing 15 baht, costs 20 baht, mysteries ...
The visit to Ayutthaya is one of those excursions from Bangkok that it is not possible not to put on your timetable and the train journey gives that extra touch of everyday reality that sometimes is lacking in tourist itineraries and experiences.
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