Ayutthaya - Travel Guide

Built in the 14th century, Ayutthaya is well-known as one of the greatest cities in the world during that period and with its stunning beauty and prosperity, it was also considered as the Asian version of the charming Venice. Unfortunately, in the 18th century, the war between Siamese and Burmese almost destroyed Ayutthaya, so today a few remnants can be seen, but still cannot hide the glamour of the magnificent royal time.
 
1. Transportation from Bangkok to Ayutthaya
 
Ayutthaya is located around 85km to the North of the capital city Bangkok. Depending on your needs, you can choose how to visit Ayutthaya in the following ways:
- Book tour: This is the best and convenient way because you do not have to worry. The van will pick you up at the hotel and have a guide so you will be very assured
- Taxi: This is significant time-saving transportation. It will cost you about 1000 baht.
- Train: Starting from Hualamphong station in the city center. You will take about 2 - 2.5 hours away with prices ranging from 25 - 300 baht, depending on seat class. Although it takes a lot of time, it is not a bad choice if you want to see the scenery on the road. When you arrive in Ayutthaya, you must take a ferry to enter the central area. The ticket price is about 4 baht/time.
- Bus: There are bus routes from Mo Chit station to Ayutthaya. There is 1 trip every 30 minutes, traveling for 90 minutes. Bus cost is 50-100 bath/ticket.
- Rent a private car: If traveling to Ayutthaya in large groups or wanting privacy and convenience, you should rent a private car for the whole day. Services include drivers, petrol fees... with a rental period of about 8-10 hours.
 
2. Visit Ayutthaya by joining a day tour
 
Because Ayutthaya is a day trip, booking a tour is the choice of many people because you will be fully guaranteed for traveling, eating, and accompanied by a guide to provide information about places you visit. There are different kinds of tours to explore this ancient city such as the boat tours starting from piers in Bangkok, biking tours around the area…Below are some Ayutthaya day trips that you can refer to:
- Day trips to Ayutthaya by bus and boat, including time for sailing on the river and seeing many famous buildings on either side
- Day tour of Ayutthaya by bus with lunch. Excluding boat trips on the river, but you will have plenty of time to visit the temples
- Day tour of Ayutthaya and Summer Palace with local guides
 
Another more comfortable and luxury option is a private tour or self-designed tour. The cost of this tour will also include round-trip transportation, guides, meals ... but you can choose your destinations, streamlined to become a perfect schedule. Time will also be more active and you can visit all the desired attractions.

Day tour visiting Ayutthaya

3. Attractions in Ayutthaya
 
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Built in the fourteenth century, Wat Phra Si Sanphet is the largest Ayutthaya temple complex, an unmissable place in your journey to this beautiful ancient city. Lying among the huge three stupas in a row, this is the typical symbol that you can easily meet while visiting around Ayutthaya. Besides the spectacular scenery and the giant golden Buddha image partly destroyed during the war, this place is also an ideal natural “setting” for photo hunters.
 
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol
Wat Yai Chai Mongkol ‘s age is around over 100 years and in comparison with other temples in Ayutthaya, it is not as old as them. Climbing on the almost 90-degree staircase leading to the top of the tower is quite challenged to visitors. Most parts of the construction were badly affected during the war which makes it more attractive nowadays.
 
Wat Phra Mahathat relics
Wat Phra Mahathat is well-known for the image of the Buddha's head in the banyan tree’s roots, a sacred scene attracting many tourists. Besides, the other remnants inside the relics are also very interesting to explore, a must-see if you are a photo lover.
 
Wat Chaiwatthanaram
The style of Wat Chaiwatthanaram’s design is the traditional Khmer which is similar to the famous Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap (Cambodia). Possessing a central tower lying among an array of small temples, this site is one of the most favorite temples in Ayutthaya, especially for photo hunters. During sunset, you can get a memorable moment while setting foot on the top to get an overview of the city.
 
Wat Ratchaburana
Among the list of many ruins and relics located in Ayutthaya Historical Park, Wat Ratchaburana is proudly considered the best-preserved site until now. Although this is a small temple due to its impressive Hindu decoration style, is it still one of the most attractive sites of the ancient capital.
 
Wat Lokaya Suttha
This is a famous pilgrimage site of Thai Buddhists with the only Buddha statue of nirvana intact after being burned down by the fire in the war. The walls were burnt down, only the charred patches left the ruined landscape for Ayutthaya Park.
 
Wat Phanan Choeng
Being one of the most ancient temples in Ayutthaya, Wat Phanan Choeng has a 19m high gold-plated Buddha image dating from 1334. On the walls of the temple are many small Buddha statues, which are the devotion of Buddhists, they donate an amount of about 500 Bath and place a Buddha image on the wall.

Sightseeing in Ayutthaya

4. What to eat in Ayutthaya's culinary paradise?
 
Ayutthaya Giant river prawn
This is definitely the best dish in your journey to discover Ayutthaya! Fresh river shrimp is extremely huge, served with rich dipping sauce to create a great culinary taste. Although the price is not cheap as normal street foods, it is still one of the special things that you should try when having a chance to visit Ayutthaya.
Location: Restaurants along the river in Ayutthaya
 
“Boat Noodles”
Boat Noodles is a specialty in this ancient capital of Thailand. Traditional bowls of noodles cooked and sold on boats are very interesting. Not only that, but you can also manually select the ingredients, topping to put in the bowl, and create your own flavor.
Location: Krung Kao Noodles
 
Roti Sai Mai
The paradise for sweet-tooth lovers is here! Roti Sai Mai is one of the dishes that you should not miss when traveling to “the land of smile”. It is made of sweet candy with many different colors and wrapped in crepe cake. Specially, you also have the chance to test your hands by making your own cake right at the counter.
Location: U thong Street
 
Tom Yum
One of the most typical dishes in the Thai culinary paradise. The sour and spicy taste combined with crab meat, shrimp will surely attract you from the first piece.
Location: Wat Yai restaurant
 
Tom khai kai (Tom kha gai)
A day trip to Ayutthaya will be more perfect when enjoying Tom Kha Kai. Tom kha kai, a very popular Thai food, is a hot bowl of tasteful spicy chicken soup cooked with coconut milk. The ingredients are simple but capable of not stopping you from eating.
Location: Malakor Thai Restaurant.

Food in Ayutthaya

5. Interesting activities in Ayutthaya
 
Cruise around the island
You can easily find long-tail boats at the northeastern harbor of the island, near Hua Ro market. Don’t miss a cruise trip to take a look at the entire ancient, quiet scenery of the ancient capital on a riverboat! Especially in the evening, the illuminated temples look gorgeous.
 
Ride an elephant
When traveling in Thailand, how can you skip the opportunity to ride elephants! At Ayutthaya Elephant Farm, you will experience elephant riding and walking around some ancient ruins. Sounds interesting, right?
 
Visit the floating market
Although it is a tourist market, the floating market still carries the unique and local characteristics of Thailand. Here, you can see many people wearing traditional Thai costumes, buying and selling, and exchanging local items. Highlights of this market are clothing, souvenir shops, local stalls, and food. You can enjoy trying the food on the boat or the dock.
 
6. Travel tips when visiting Ayutthaya
 
You should bring hats, umbrellas and spring water because you will have to move quite a lot among the sights, and the general climate of Thailand is often sunny and hot.
You should bring a historical costume, long over the head and cover the shoulders when visiting some temples here.
The most perfect period to visit Ayutthaya is from November to February. From about March to May is the hottest time of the year, while June to September is the rainy season.
If you plan to stay in Bangkok for 3 days or more, you can spend 1 night in Ayutthaya to explore more.

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