As most would agree, a trip to Thailand isn’t quite complete without visiting the capital of the country which is Bangkok. I remember the first time I went to Bangkok and was stunned by the beautiful Buddhist architecture that is reflected in both the great Grand Palace and the equally stunning Wat Pho which are in walking distance of each other.
There are plenty of things to see and do in Bangkok. However, one particularly fascinating place to visit which is just outside of Thailand’s bustling capital is the city of Ayutthaya.
Ayutthaya is a historical city which used to be the capital of Thailand when it was founded in the 14th century by king Ramathibodi.
Although it was destroyed in the 18th century by the Burmese, the city ruins still remain and you walk around them while getting a feel for what it once was like.
When I went to Ayutthaya, I went on a group tour for the day from Bangkok and visited plenty of the best tourist attractions here. Some of my favorites include Wat Mahathat and Wat Lokayasutharam with the huge reclining buddha statue.
Ayutthaya was a truly fascinating experience and in this post, I will share everything that you possibly need to know when taking a day trip there from Bangkok!
Bangkok To Ayutthaya – The Essentials and Everything Else That You Need To Know!
- How To Get There
- Bangkok to Ayutthaya by Minivan
- Bangkok to Ayutthaya by Train
- Bangkok to Ayutthaya by Local Bus
- Bangkok to Ayutthaya by Taxi
- Getting Around
- My Experience at Ayutthaya and My Favourite Places
- The History of Ayutthaya as a city
- When You Should Visit Ayutthaya
- How Long You Should Stay For
- Best Temples To See At Ayutthaya
- Wat Ratchaburana
- Wat Mahathat
- Wat Lokayasutharam
- Wat Phra Si Sanphet
- Wat Yai Chai Mongkon
- Other Cool Things To Do At Ayutthaya
- Ayutthaya Night Market
- Take A Private Boat Trip
- Bang Pa-In Palace
- Kong Khong Market
- How To Book A Group Tour
- Travel Tips To Remember While Visiting Ayutthaya
1. How To Get There
Bangkok To Ayutthaya By Minivan
Cost from Mo Chit Bus Station: 60-70 THB ($1.83 – $2.13)
Journey Time from Mo Chit Bus Station: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Minivan Schedule at Mo Chit Bu Station: Leave every 15-30 minutes from 6AM to 9PM at night
Taking a minivan to Ayutthaya is an easy and popular option among most tourists traveling from Bangkok.
This is because they provide a degree of comfort while still being an affordable price. A minivan allows you to get to the city much faster than a public bus because the bus stops very frequently whereas for the minivan you pay more to go straight there without stopping.
To get a minivan, go to Mo Chit Bus Station and head south of the bus departure platforms where you will find the section with the mini vans.
Alternatively, another good place to get a minivan to Ayutthaya is from Khao San Road which has various minivan stops located close to the high street. Many tourists often get minivans to Ayutthaya from here and you should have no problem finding one to take you there.
Prices at Khao San Road should be similar to Mo Chit Bus Station and will take a similar amount of time to get there.
You can typically buy tickets for the minivans in person but if you want to book online, you can book here.
Bangkok To Ayutthaya By Train
Journey Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Cost for Ordinary Train to Ayutthaya: 15 THB ($0.46)
Cost for Rapid Train to Ayutthaya (2nd Class): 65 THB ($1.98)
Cost for 2nd Class Fan Sleeper: 385 THB ($11.75)
Cost for 2nd Class A/C Seat: 245-345 THB ($7.48 – $10.53)
Cost for 2nd Class A/C Sleeper: 395-715 THB ($12.06 – $21.82)
Cost for 1st Class A/C Sleeper: 886-1,046 THB ($27.04 – $31.93)
Another cost-effective option to go to Ayutthaya would be to take a public train.
These depart roughly every hour from Hualamphong station and there are various ones to choose from depending on your comfort level.
There are four different types of trains that go from Bangkok to Ayutthaya which consist of Ordinary, Rapid, Express and Special Express. I would advise to not get an ordinary train because although extremely cheap, they take the longest time to get there (can be almost 2 hours) and they only offer 3rd class seating which is usually uncomfortable.
A better option instead is to pay a bit more for a 2nd class fan seat or even better would be a sleeper where you get your own bed to relax in with a curtain.
Although this is more expensive, it is still well-worth the price and perfect if you’re feeling tired and want a nap on the way there.
To book train tickets online, go here.
Bangkok to Ayutthaya by Local Bus
Price for Local Bus to Ayutthaya: 56 THB ($1.71)
Schedule for Local Bus at Mo Chi Bu Station: Leaves three times per day at 05.30, 09.00 and 17.00
Journey Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
As an alternative to getting a minivan there, you can get the local bus which is operated by the Thai Ministry of Transport. The good news about this is that both the local bus and minivan services are at Mo Chi Bu Station so you can choose which one suits you best.
Getting the local bus will take a similar amount of time as a minivan except the problem is that the seating isn’t as comfortable. Another problem is that although it is cheap, you can only get the local bus three times a day so it is easy to miss.
Although I haven’t been on it myself, it likely doesn’t have the same facilities as the pricier forms of transport in Bangkok and should probably be avoided if you are seeking comfort.
Bangkok to Ayutthaya by Taxi
Journey Time: 1 hour
Cost: 1300-1600 THB ($40 – $50)
Of course, the most comfortable and ideal way to get to Ayutthaya would be by taxi. This is the fastest option, but it is also the most expensive.
The additional benefit of getting a taxi rather than a minibus is that you aren’t sharing it with anyone else and can have your own space although for a much pricier expense.
2. Getting Around
Although walking will make for good exercise, the weather will make you tire quickly and it will most likely make your trip less enjoyable.
Instead, it is better to either hire a tuktuk or if you really want the full Thai temple experience, considering renting a bicycle for the day.
The bicycles are super cheap around Ayutthaya and you should be able to get one for around 50 Baht per day which is less than 2 dollars!
Both me and my friend booked a group tour before coming here so we were able to see everything by minivan.
However, I would recommend renting a bike if you prefer to see the temples on your own.
I can imagine renting a tuktuk is also a good idea as an alternative although it is going to be a lot more expensive and you will have to bargain with the driver to get a good deal.
3. My Experience and Favorite Temples At Ayutthaya
When I went to Ayutthaya, me and my friend enjoyed a small group tour with an experienced guide.
This turned out to be a great idea and we learned a lot of in-depth information about some of the most iconic temples which exist here.
One which really stood out to me was Wat Ratchaburana which is one of the oldest temples in the area. There are lots of stupas which are located all around this temple and each of them are hundreds of years old. You can also climb to the top of the prang using the steps in the center and there is a little looking area inside with views over the rest of the park.
My second favorite temple was Wat Mahathat where we even got a photo with the Thai police on the grounds!
This temple is by far one of the most popular out of all of them and I distinctly remember seeing the iconic buddha head nestled in the tree roots which I had seen on many photos before visiting.
Besides this epic buddha head though, expect to see lots of different kinds of buddha statues all over the grounds of Wat Mahathat.
Ayutthaya was worth the day trip and I would recommend going if you are visiting Bangkok for a few days or more.
4. The Brief History of Ayutthaya As A City
Surprisingly, Ayutthaya actually used to be one of the biggest and most powerful cities in the entire world. This was during the 17th century when it was at its strongest in terms of wealth and prosperity. At this time, the city had over 1 million people living there and was home to several luxuriously beautiful palaces.
For four centuries, Ayutthaya remained as one of the main centers for international trade and this was a strong contributing factor to how wealthy it became as a city.
Several wars were fought over the years between Ayutthaya and several other kingdoms which lead to the city eventually being invaded and destroyed by the Burmese. The city was not rebuilt after this destruction until the 20th century when a number of temples started to be restored back to a resemblance of what they once were.
This ancient city is now considered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists here each year.
5. When You Should Visit Ayutthaya
Like visiting many other places in Thailand, it is best to make sure you arrive at Ayutthaya during the dry season if you don’t want to be carrying an umbrella with you for most of the day.
Any time in-between November and February should be fine to get a mix of the good weather without it being scorching hot. These are the same months I would recommend to people for going to Bangkok as it is the coolest time of the year in Thailand.
I would avoid going at any time in-between July and October because you are likely to get rained on and it will make your trip less enjoyable.
6. How Long You Should Stay For
With the help of an experienced tour guide, I managed to see all of the best temples the city had to offer in a single day. This was more than enough time for me and I managed to get a good idea of both the city and its history.
If you are planning on visiting as a day trip, I would recommend getting there as early as possible so you can see all the places that you want to see.
You could also stay an extra night if you wanted to ensure you cover all the best sights.
7. Best Temples To See At Ayutthaya
What makes Ayutthaya the place that it is are the many temples which are located all over this astonishing ancient city.
Each of them are significant and unique in their own way and there are plenty to choose from.
Before visiting the different temples, it is important to mention that you can buy a multi ticket which will allow you to see six of the most popular temples for a single price. It is much better to buy this instead of paying the single fee for each one which will eventually result in you spending more depending on how many you go to.
To get the multi ticket, it costs 220 Baht in total which you can get at the entrance of most of the temples.
Opening Times: 8:30AM-5PM
Entrance Fee: 50 THB ($1.52) per person
Wat Ratchaburana is known to be the temple of royal restoration.
Today, this temple features a prang with stairs which sits directly in the center of it. This is one of the few temples I’ve been to in southeast Asia where you can actually climb to the top of the stairs there.
In addition to that, there is a cool little looking area which allows you to see over the rest of the grounds and get a good idea of what this amazing monastery used to look like with an aerial view.
I would highly recommend climbing to the top of the stairs and going inside of the main prang here. The views are absolutely worth the climb and it is a staple part of what Wat Ratchaburana is all about as a temple.
Although most likely not as impressive as it once was in its prime, I thoroughly enjoyed wandering around here!
Opening Times: 8:30AM-5PM
Entrance Fee: 50 THB ($1.52) per person
Wat Mahathat is a popular and significant temple in Ayutthaya with some incredible features that make it worth visiting.
It is most famously known for the photogenic buddha head which sits inside the roots of a banyan tree on the grounds. Before visiting Ayutthaya, I did some research on the history of the temples here and I couldn’t help but see photos of this buddha head everywhere I looked.
This buddha head seems to be one of the main reasons why people visit Wat Mahathat in the first place and it is possibly one of the most photographed places in the country!
Seeing it in real life was equally as fascinating although it did look a lot smaller compared to the photos.
Besides this tree alone, you can enjoy walking around this ancient temple which was once one of the biggest and most significant temples in all of Ayutthaya.
Opening Times: 8AM-4:30PM
Entrance Fee: Free
Wat Lokayasutharam is one of the few temples to visit in all of Ayutthaya which is free to enter.
The biggest reason why most people come here is because of the reclining buddha statue. This is a whopping 42 metres long and 8 metres in total height making it very similar to the size of the golden reclining buddha statue at Wat Pho in Bangkok.
Similar to the one in Wat Pho, this statue was also once covered from head to toe in gold too.
A cool thing I did while coming here was present some offerings to the buddha which can be done infront of the reclining buddha statue. There is a little alter made of bricks where you can present your offerings with a miniature version of the reclining buddha which is also on top of that too.
I was amazed by the incredible carvings which were done on the reclining buddha statue and you can make out each of the facial features very well.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Opening Times: 8AM-6PM
Entrance Fee: 50 THB ($1.52) per person
Wat Phra Si Sanphet mainly consists of three different stupa towers which sit side by side of each other as seen in many photos online. This is a classic piece of ancient architecture and you can really get a feel for what this place once was like.
There is a nice spot to walk around here and you can also walk up the steps of the towers and take a little peak inside. Another cool feature of this temple is the pond area which sits directly infront of the towers which add to the peace and tranquility at the center of the temple.
Although considerably smaller than the other temples, it is still nice to come here for a quick visit and it was very pleasant for me overall.
Opening Times: 8AM-6PM
Entrance Fee: 50 THB ($1.52) per person
Wat Chaiwatthanaram is possibly the most popular and famous temple in all of Ayutthaya making it an absolute must-see while in the city. If you are visiting Ayutthaya for a short period of time and can only visit one temple, this is the one I would recommend going to.
It is mostly known for its centerpoint which consists of 8 pagoda-style towers lined up in a square with a large prang sitting in the middle. Visitors are welcome to walk all around this square and take in the hundreds of years of history which makes this 14th century temple what it is today.
A truly awestriking thing to do here is watch the sunset from the centerpoint of the temple. For value for money, you can’t get much better than seeing Wat Chaiwatthanaram which is incredibly cheap considering you are witnessing a phenomenal part of world history!
Wat Yai Chai Mongkon
Opening Times: 8AM-5PM
Entrance Fee: 20 THB ($0.61) per person
Wat Yai Chai Mongkon is the 6th and final temple I would recommend seeing in Ayutthaya with your multi-ticket pass.
Surprisingly, this is one of the few active temples that is still in the city and monks still live here and do their daily practices. The Buddhism is seemingly still very much alive at Wat Yai Chai Mongkon and it creates a beautiful addition to the astonishing architecture that exists here.
This includes the stone buddha statues which can be found all around the grounds. I particularly liked the larger buddha statues which sit next to the large chedi in the middle. You can make the larger ones out from the golden robes that they are wearing.
Feel free to climb up the steps of the chedi which provides an aerial view over the rest of the park. You can easily see all the cute little buddha statues from the top too.
8. Other Cool Things To Do At Ayutthaya
Seeing temples is a fun thing to do but it can get tiring after a while. Luckily, there are plenty of other things you can do which will take your mind off them. Here are 4 things I would recommend anyone with free time to do in Ayutthaya:
Ayutthaya Night Market
Opening Times: 5PM-10PM
Ayutthaya Night Market is located to the side of Wat Mahathat temple and is probably the best place to visit at night in the city.
The small pathway is filled with little stalls on either side which sell everything from snacks and clothing to beautiful souvenirs to take home with you.
What truly adds to the uniqueness and memorability of this place are the hundreds of lanterns which can be seen hanging from the trees all over the pathway. This creates a vibe like no other and it was a perfect way to end the evening.
It is a good idea to try some new food here and sit down on a bench while you are eating it. You can get a view of the river that way and take everything in.
Tip: Don’t forget to grab yourself a souvenir to take home with you!
Take A Private Boat Trip
There are various companies that offer private boat trips around Ayutthaya and allow you to see the city from a different angle which you otherwise wouldn’t see.
A large part of Thai tradition and culture is lived on rivers which is evident through many of the floating markets which can be found in cities all over the country. Many boat tours also offer meals included in the price which is a nice and relaxing way to eat.
If you are looking to book a private boat trip, Ayutthaya Boat offer good tours which can be found here.
Bang Pa-In Palace
Opening Times: 8AM-4PM
Entrance Fee: 100 THB ($3.20)
Bang Pa-In Palace is known to be a summer residence of the Thai royal family although it is open to visitors which is also pretty cool.
Although I haven’t been here personally, some of my traveling friends have and say there are a lot of nice things to see here. The gardens are neatly and beautifully kept and there are a lot of nice footpaths to walk around with family and friends.
You can enjoy looking at the stunning buildings which make up this palace including the special golden archway which lies in the middle of the river.
If you are traveling to Ayutthaya with your family, I would say this is definitely the place to be!
Kong Khong Market
Opening Times: Thursday to Sunday at 9AM-4PM
If you happen to be in Ayutthaya from Thursday to Sunday, I would highly recommend going to Kong Khong market in your spare time.
This is a pleasant daytime alternative to the night market and is the most highly rated day market to visit in all of Ayutthaya. Another important point to make is that this day market is indoors which makes it the perfect activity to do if it is raining outside.
There are some good places to sit and enjoy some food here too.
How To Book A Group Tour
There are lots of different websites out there which offer full day tours of Ayutthaya.
I took one of these myself which I will put a link to at the bottom of this section.
The best group tours to look for will offer transportation from Bangkok so you don’t have to worry about booking train or bus tickets.
In addition to this, it is always good to get an experienced guide who knows the history well and can answer any questions you have.
You can see and book the same tour that I did by clicking here.
Travel Tips To Remember While Visiting Ayutthaya
Here are some additional tips I would recommend following before your trip to Ayutthaya:
- Dress modestly – Although it isn’t a necessity for tourists, Ayutthaya is home to some of the most sacred temples in all of Thailand. For this reason, I would recommend following common protocol which includes covering both shoulders and knees.
- Drink lots of water – Thailand can get hot and walking around will make you dehydrated quite quickly. Make sure to drink lots of water and keep a water bottle with you while walking around the temples.
- Bring the essentials – Besides water, some sunglasses and mosquito spray will come in handy during the hot weather. I would also advise bringing a hat if it is sunny outside to protect your face and eyes from the sun.
1. Is Ayutthaya Worth Visiting?
Yes, in my opinion I would definitely say so.
I really enjoyed learning more about all the temples here and how they came to be. Ayutthaya provides a beautiful and historical escape from the bustling city of Bangkok and I can’t think of a much better way to spend one of your days than there.
2. Is There A Dress Code For The Temples At Ayutthaya?
Although there is not an official dress code when visiting the temples, I would recommend dressing modestly as a sign of respect. This is the same as any other buddhist temple in Thailand and Ayutthaya is no different.
Covering your arms and knees should be more than enough though. Sometimes closed shoes are also recommended.
3. How Long Does It Take To See Everything At Ayutthaya?
This will depend on you and how much you enjoying your visit.
I would say it is more than possible to see the popular temples in a single day.
Of course, if you plan on doing this it is a good idea to get there as early as possible so you can see everything you want to see.
In this way, you will still have some time left over if you want to see something else such as the day market for example.
If you are in Bangkok or plan on visiting, it is a great idea to visit Ayutthaya for a day or two and you will learn a great deal about Thai history and culture.
I enjoyed my trip here and have lots of amazing memories of all the wonderful temples I saw. Make sure to get lots of photos while you are here and try some local foods such as the boat noodles which are a traditional food of the city.
We hope you enjoyed this complete guide and all of your questions were answered as much as possible.
Make sure you bookmark this page for your next trip to Bangkok so you are sure to not miss a trip to Ayutthaya!
Looking for other things to do in Bangkok check out these articles:
A Guide To Damnoen Saduak Floating and Maeklong Railway Markets