Plan a Day Trip from Bangkok to Ayutthaya!
Ayutthaya is an easy day trip from Bangkok, located just 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of the capital. Founded in 1350, it was once the splendid capital of Siam (Thailand's ancient name). Today, visitors to the World Heritage Site find captivating ruins of palaces, temples and religious monuments that make Ayutthaya a compelling and unforgettable day trip.
History of Ayuthaya
Ayuthaya was founded in 1350 by King U Thong of Siam who declared it as the capital of his kingdom. The city served as the prosperous capital of Siam for 400 years during which it thrived by dominating trade in Asia and by being the center of trade between Siam and European countries such as Portugal, France, and Holland. By the 1700s, the city’s population is said to have reached one million inhabitants, making Ayuthaya one of the world’s largest cities at that time. In 1767, the Burmese invaded, burned down and destroyed Ayuthaya, leading to the collapse of the kingdom.
UNESCO Video About Ayutthaya
Things To Do on a Day Trip to Ayutthaya - Wat Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya Historical Park – Located just outside of Ayutthaya island, this park has many ruins and the famous detached Buddha head that’s been entangled in the roots of a tree.
- Wat Chaiwatthanaram, one of the best-known Buddhist temples, the central prang is 35 meters (115 feet) high, with four smaller prangs. Religious ceremonies were held here and royalty was cremated here.
- Along the way to Wat Chaiwatthanaram are 120 sitting Buddha statues, which were once painted in black in gold.
- Wat MahaThat, built in 1384, now you can see crumbling stupas, rows of headless Buddhas and the famous detached Buddha head at the entrance to the temple.
Elephant Rides – You can explore Ayutthaya’s ruins on elephant back with the Ayutthaya Elephant Camp which provides tourists and volunteers the option of elephant rides, shows, and feedings.
Bang Pa-In Summer Palace – A royal summer residence dating back to the 17th Century. The architecture beautifuly blends Thai, European and Chinese styles. There are beautiful gardens, monuments, an artificial lake, and a Chinese throne hall.
How to Get to Ayutthaya
You need to decide whether you want to go to Ayutthaya on a private tour or a group tour with a boat ride back, and how much you're willing to spend. I chose the latter and I'm glad I did so because I had a great tour guide and the boat ride back to Bangkok was beautiful. A group tour usually begins rather early, with a pick-up from your hotel between 6am - 8am.
If you prefer to do a private tour, you need to decide how you will get there. You can:
- Hire a car and driver
- Rent your own car
- Go by train, which is the cheapest option, costing 15-20 Baht (50 cents) for a 3rd class ticket and 265 Baht ($8.50) for a 2nd class ticket
- Take a bus from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (at the Moh Chit LRT station), which costs 60 Baht ($1.90) and buses depart every 20 minutes. This bus makes many stops along the way
- Take a minibus from Victory Monument square, which costs 70 Baht ($2.25) and it goes directly to Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya has recently been in the news because of the devastating flooding that's affected the area. The rain began on October 4th and lasted for over an entire month, submerging the historic area, with flood waters reaching 3 meters in some areas. Thailand's Ministry of Culture's Department of Fine Arts has reported that over 100 monuments have been affected by floods.