There is no denying that Thailand is home to some of the most beautiful temples in Asia. With over 40,000 temples, it can be daunting deciding which temples to visit!
On my second trip to Thailand I did a day trip to Ayutthaya from Bangkok. Ayutthaya is a beautiful historical site that many tourists visit on day tours.
If you’re planning your own day trip to Ayutthaya, this is the guide for you!
I’ve outlined everything you need to know about doing an Ayutthaya day trip from Bangkok, including how to get there, the best things to see once there, where to stay and more.
- 1 What is Ayutthaya?
- 2 How to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok
- 3 Ayutthaya entrance fees
- 4 Best things to see & do in Ayutthaya
- 5 How to arrange your Ayutthaya day trip
- 6 Is doing a day trip to Ayutthaya worth it?
- 7 Where to stay for a Bangkok to Ayutthaya day trip
- 8 What to pack for an Ayutthaya day trip
What is Ayutthaya?
Ayutthaya is a city in Thailand, which used to be the capital of the Kingdom of Siam, until it was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767.
There are many temple and palace ruins dotted all over the city that form the Ayutthaya Historical Park. The temples here may not be as fancy and colourful as those in Chiang Rai, but they carry with them a rich history.
Ayutthaya is a popular tourist attraction, especially for those coming on a day trip from Bangkok. If you have an interest in history and culture, it’s definitely a must on any Thailand itinerary!
How to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok
Ayutthaya is around 85km north of Bangkok and is pretty easy to reach. You can travel to Ayutthaya by train, bus, private transfer or group tour, depending on your budget.
The cheapest option is the train from Hualamphong Station in Bangkok. A third-class carriage ticket costs 35 THB and will take around 2.5 hours.
Once you arrive in Ayutthaya you can get a tuk-tuk or rent a bicycle to get around.
The bus is also very affordable, and a bit faster than the train. There are buses that leave every half hour from Mo Chit Station and will get you to Ayutthaya in around 90 minutes.
The bus ticket price is 60 THB per person.
Private car or minivan
If you’re travelling with a group of friends, the easiest thing to do is to arrange a private car or transfer.
This can be a bit pricey but if you’re splitting it between four people (or nine, depending on how many friends you have and can fit in a minivan) it usually works out to be quite affordable.
With a private car or minivan you will have full flexibility. You can decide departure and return times, as well as where to go once you’re there.
A private car can be anywhere between 1,500 THB to 5,000 THB depending on the size, if you do the return journey too, the season and how well you can haggle.
If you’re travelling solo, the easiest and often most fun way to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok is to join a group day tour.
These are usually priced around 1,000 THB per person (again, pending on your haggling skills and season) and include pick-up, drop-off, lunch in Ayutthaya, park entrance fees and a guide taking you to all the main spots.
Group tours can be quite fun, as you get to meet other people throughout the day. They’re also easier as you don’t have to worry about logistics while you’re in Ayutthaya.
Ayutthaya entrance fees
There isn’t an entrance fee to the Ayutthaya Historical Park itself. Considering the temples are spread out all over the city, it would be quite hard to enforce an entrance fee to everyone.
You have to pay an entrance fee for some of the temples, while others are free. The fee is between 20 THB and 50 THB depending on the temples. If you visit Ayutthaya on an organised tour the tour price will cover the temple fees.
You can also get a temple pass for 220 THB that the six most popular temples and is valid all day.
If you’re planning to see a lot of temples then this is worth it, if you’re only going to see a few then you might be better off paying individual fees.
Best things to see & do in Ayutthaya
So once you’ve arrived in Ayutthaya, what is there to do there? What are the main highlights of Ayutthaya that you should be seeing?
Wat Mahathat is one of the most famous temples in Ayutthaya. It’s famous for the huge Buddha head statue entwined in the roots of a banyan tree.
However there is a lot more to Wat Mahathat than just that, don’t just stop here! The temple grounds are huge and there are lots of beautiful corners, with more Buddha statues and prangs (a tall tower-like spire).
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
This is the largest temple in Ayutthaya, and a must-see in any Ayutthaya day trip itinerary! It’s famous for its three huge chedis in a row, and for being the model for Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok.
It’s not uncommon to see Buddhist monks wandering around the temple grounds.
Wat Phra Mongkhon Bophit
This temple is more recent than its neighbours, having only been built in the 1500s, but it’s still worthy of a visit. It’s right next to Sat Phra Si Sanphet so you can just pop in to see it.
It’s famous for the huge sitting Buddha statue inside it. It’s still in use as a temple today so make sure to be respectful of people there who might be praying.
Wat Phu Khao Thong
Wat Phu Khao Tong isn’t often mentioned amongst the must-see temples in Ayutthaya, and yet it was my personal favourite. This huge white chedi is completely different from anything you will see on your day trip to Ayutthaya.
You can also climb half way up the Buddhist tower, and enjoying some epic views over Ayutthaya and the surrounding countryside.
Wat Lokayasutharam (Giant reclining Buddha)
This huge reclining Buddha statue is one of the most visited spots in Ayutthaya, and it’s easy to see why. The statue is 42 metres long and 8 metres high.
Cycle around Ayutthaya Historical Park
We did a group tour so they drove us from one temple to the next. However since we were a large group we had a minivan just for us and we asked if we could return to Bangkok later than the rest of the group tour.
We used this extra time to rent bicycles and cycle around the Historical Park. I think it’s a much better way to get around Ayutthaya, as it gives you a better understanding of how the temples and city are laid out.
From your bicycle you will be able to see a lot of the smaller temples from the outside. You’ll also get a bit of a work out in, and if you enjoy cycling, it’s a win-win!
How to arrange your Ayutthaya day trip
You can easily arrange your Ayutthaya day trip once you arrive in Bangkok. Dotted all over Khao San Road, as well as in most hotel receptions, you will find tourist services that you can organise your tour with.
I always prefer organising things on the spot as you can haggle a bit on the price and get a better feel for the tour you’re booking. There are so many companies running this tour that it’s unlikely it will sell out.
However if you prefer to have everything organised before you arrive you can book your Ayutthaya day tour online here. That way you can check reviews beforehand and be sure your Thailand trip is all sorted before you fly.
Is doing a day trip to Ayutthaya worth it?
It ultimately depends on your personal interests. I went to Ayutthaya as I was leading a tour and had to follow an itinerary, but if I was going back to Thailand I wouldn’t go back to Ayutthaya.
While I’m aware that Ayutthaya has a very rich history, purely from an aesthetic point of view, I found the temples in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai a lot more impressive. There are also lots of beautiful temples in Bangkok.
We also got caught in a traffic jam on the drive back and it ended up taking us 2.5-3 hours to get back to Bangkok, which didn’t improve my impression of the day.
If you only have two weeks in Thailand (or less) I personally wouldn’t go to Ayutthaya. But again that is my personal opinion, and I have a much bigger interest in nature, beaches, hikes and being outdoors than culture when I travel.
If you are passionate about culture and history you will find Ayutthaya fascinating. It all goes down to your personal interests and how long you have in Thailand.
Where to stay for a Bangkok to Ayutthaya day trip
Since we’re looking at doing a day trip to Ayutthaya from Bangkok, I’ve listed below some accommodation options in Bangkok for every budget.
Budget: Bangkok is the starting point of many backpacker trips and as such, it’s also home to many hostels.
Nothing fancy but definitely a step up from a hostel dorm. It’s also nice to have a pool where you can relax at the end of a long day exploring temples in Ayutthaya!
If you’re looking to pamper yourself a bit, this beautiful Bangkok hotel with rooftop pool is the one!
What to pack for an Ayutthaya day trip
You don’t need anything special beyond what you would usually pack for a Thailand trip. However I’ve listed below some essentials you don’t want to forget.
Scarf or sarong – I get it, Thailand is hot, you don’t always want to wear long sleeves or trousers. If you’re wearing shorts and tank-tops don’t forget to bring a sarong or scarf to cover your shoulders or legs when you enter the temples.
Socks – if you’re exploring in sandals, then make sure to pack some socks! Some of the temples will require you to remove your sandals, but the floor gets really hot! Bring socks you can slip on if you have to take off your shoes.
Reusable water bottle – help save the planet and save money while doing so! Bring a reusable water bottle that you can top up during the day. I like the stainless steel ones as they keep my water cold.
Camera – and lastly, a camera to capture all the amazing temples you will see and memories you will create!
Final thoughts on doing a Bangkok to Ayutthaya day trip
There you have it, the ultimate guide to doing a Ayutthaya day trip from Bangkok! While I didn’t love Ayutthaya, I can see the appeal it has for many and I would still recommend visiting it.
I hope it answers your questions and you find it useful in planning your own Ayutthaya itinerary. If you have any questions, just let me know in the comments below!
Looking for more Thailand travel advice? Check out these guides!
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- Where to go snorkelling and scuba diving in Thailand
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