In this post, I’m going to give you everything you need to plan an Ayutthaya day trip itinerary from Bangkok.
When building an Ayutthaya one day trip, you have two choices, either booking a scheduled Ayutthaya day tour, or booking the trip yourself. In this post, I am going to give you detailed information on both options.
With trains departing every hour from both Bangkok and Ayutthaya, I will leave the exact timing of this trip down to you, but I would suggest giving yourself a minimum of five hours in Ayutthaya as there are some amazing sights to see!
So without further ado, here’s how to book the perfect Bangkok to Ayutthaya day trip.
Taking a Guided Ayutthaya Day Tour
Looking to take the hassle out of your Ayutthaya day trip?
Booking a tour with a registered company is both easy and (in western terms) pretty cheap, with full day tours including transport and guides starting at only $50USD.
Here are some of the best tours available which you can book in advance, knowing you’re with a reputable company.
What Are the Best Guided Ayutthaya Tours?
Winner of a Viator 2023 excellence award, this small group day trip to Ayutthaya is perfectly balanced.
Including free pick up from multiple areas in Bangkok and entrance fees, this 11 hour tour visits five of the best landmarks in Ayutthaya with a group of no more than nine people in total.
“We had a wonderful experience, the old ruins were amazing, and very beautiful. Our guide Nina gave us a great history of Thailand that helped us understand the context of why the Ayutthaya ruins exist. Seeing 5 different places was just right for the full day experience, both Nina and our driver helped make the day a wonderful one.” -Alex (read more reviews)
With over 250 reviews and a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating, this private tour is a little more expensive than a group tour, but well worth it, and also includes lunch.
Get the undivided attention of a professional guide, and take as long as you need in each place, with the tour being customised to your needs on the day.
“Excellent tour. Guide was friendly and knowledgeable. Driver was wonderful— cool cloths and ice water in between each stop. Guide took us for a lovely lunch at a beautiful restaurant, and took pictures for us along the way. Really a truly lovely day. “ -April (read more reviews)
This private tour of Ayutthaya ups the ante, with a boat trip (including a plate of Thai deserts) through the rivers of Ayutthaya alongside the usual visits to the historical park.
This tour has over 150 five star reviews, stretching back over five years, which shows what a consistently high standard it is, making it one of the best Ayutthaya tour packages.
“The Ayutthaya tour was probably my favourite tour so far. Time is very informative and very personable. He went out of his way to share links of restaurants and links to other attractions. Our driver was also five star. The restaurant looking out the second floor window at one of the beautiful pagodas is what put this tour over the top. View was fantastic. The food was even better than the view. Best I have had in my five days in Bangkok.” -Paul (read more reviews).
Ayutthaya Day Trip Itinerary (Self Guided)
It is also perfectly easy to book your own self-guided Ayutthaya one day trip, and in this section I’m going to take you through it step-by-step, from booking the train through to the best places to visit.
The historical park in Ayutthaya is quite big, so our suggestion is to hire bicycles, so you can get around the area in a day.
How to Get to Ayutthaya From Bangkok
Whilst you can get a bus, the simplest and most predictable way to take a day trip from Bangkok to Ayutthaya is by train.
Trains leave from Hua Lamphong station about once an hour. Hua Lamphong is easily accessed if you have an apartment near the metro stations, but you will need to get a cab or tuk-tuk if you are staying in the Old Town near the river.
If you (like us) get a bit nervous about booking tickets in a country where you don’t speak the language, then there is an online solution.
We used 12GoAsia to book most of our trains on our Southeast Asia sabbatical. It was so handy to be able to book in advance and turn up at the station with tickets on our phones ready to go, meaning no missed trains due to confusion or lost time stuck in the queue.
Bangkok to Ayutthaya Train Tickets
- Tickets are easy to book. Go to the ticket booths at Hua Lamphong station, the cashiers speak good
English,and will spin round their computer screen to show you your booking, so you can confirm it is correct.
- There are two booths, one selling tickets for today, the others selling advance tickets for future dates. The ones you need will be to the left.
- Tickets cost 15฿ per person.
Yesyou read that right! The equivalent of about 35p at the time of writing.
- You will be issued with a 3rd class ticket. There are no 2nd or 1st class carriages on this train so don’t worry, they are still fairly comfortable.
- You will not be issued with a seat as your journey is too short.
- The cashier will tell you which platform to go to.
What to Expect from the Train Journey from Bangkok to Ayutthaya
The journey from Bangkok to Ayutthaya is a simple one, that takes somewhere between 60 and 90 minutes depending on which train you get. It is very stop-start as the train negotiates all the level crossings in Bangkok’s suburbs, but once you’re out in the rural areas the train moves fairly quickly, and the landscape is beautiful.
Useful Information About the Train Journey
- Third class carriages have no air conditioning, but the windows open fully, so it will be cool when the train is moving.
- There is lots of luggage storage area above the seats if you have bags with you.
- It is possible to get food on the train. There are lots of sellers who work their way up and down the aisles with everything from street food and bottled drinks through to Pokemon branded battery-powered fans!
- There are toilets on the train. They are not the best, and you will need your own toilet paper, but they’re available if you need one.
- Keep your tickets with you as the inspectors come through the train regularly.
Hiring a Bike in Ayutthaya
The first thing you should do when you get to Ayutthaya is hire a bike, as this is the best way to see the UNESCO historical area.
There are a number of places you can hire bikes from Ayutthaya, but by far the simplest is to book them in advance.
Use this link to Tripadvisor for a recommended bike booking shop, meaning you can collect them when you arrive at Ayutthaya.
Personally I wouldn’t hire them from the station, as this means you need to either take them on a ferry crossing, or over a busy flyover before a relatively long ride to the historical park.
Instead ask for a tuk-tuk at the station to take you to ‘Wat Maha That’, (around 100฿) and this will put you at the beginning of the tour around the best sights, and will give you much more choice of bicycle hire shops.
Bike Hire and Cycling Tips:
- Bike hire is 50฿ for the day (not 24hrs) at most locations.
- The bikes are generally quite old.
Double checkbrakes, and get the seat height right before you leave to make it as comfortable and safe as possible,
- Don’t expect to get issued with a helmet. This is Thailand, they don’t even wear them on motorbikes!
- Cycling in Ayutthaya is quite safe, but Thai roads can get busy. There is usually a hard shoulder area on the busy roads on in which you can cycle, but most of the city is fairly quiet.
- You should be issued with a lock when you hire to keep the bike safe, though whilst researching this article it seems bike theft is not a major problem in Ayutthaya anyway.
Hiring a Tuk-Tuk Driver at Ayutthaya
If you don’t want to hire a bike, you can hire a tuk-tuk and driver for the day from the station to take you around all the main sights.
Expect this to cost somewhere in the region of 500฿-750฿ or 200฿ an hour depending on your negotiating skills.
Ayutthaya Itinerary: Cycling Route & Map
Above is a suggested cycling route for your Ayutthaya day trip, with the red line showing the direction to take.
Here are some step-by-step directions to help you navigate.
- After hiring bikes, lock them up outside Wat Maha That. Visit Wat Maha That temple, and then cross the road to visit Wat Rathaburana before heading back to collect the bikes.
- Cycle left from Maha That, taking the first left hand turning between Maha That and Ratchaburana.
- Take the first right after Wat Ratchaburana.
- At the end of the road there is a t-junction. Take a left. This road is a bit busier.
- Wat Thammikarat is the fourth turning. It is easy to spot, as there are normally a lot of street-food vendors just outside.
- On leaving Wat Thammikarat, carry on in the same direction you were going before turning.
- You will come to a small roundabout, where you need to take a left. You will know it is the correct road, because there is a small canal running down the centre of it, with a small road the other side.
- Cycle along the road and pull into the first place which says ‘parking’. Here you will find some small restaurants and a market to walk through.
- Lock up the bikes here, and visit Wat Phra Ram and Wat Phra Si Sanphet on foot. This is a beautiful park area, and a great place to stop and have some refreshments.
- Once you are finished, take turn left and continue down the road your were on.
- At one of the little bridges, you need to turn right over the canal, and then carry on in the same direction, left beside the canal.
- At the end of the road, before you reach the busy ring-road, you will see the entrance to Phra Si Nakharin Park. Head in, and explore!
- The best route is taking a left, and taking the path adjacent to the main ring road. You will come out the other side onto properly paved roads again, where you will need to turn right twice, on the small road that cuts between the two sides of the park. On the left here you will find the memorial to Princess Srinagarinda.
- When you get back to the main road, turn left on the road beside the canal that brought you here. Cross over one of the little bridges to the other side when you can.
- When you get to Pa Thon Road, take a right. This road can get quite busy. You will cycle past the elephant riding and main historical park on your left.
- After the historical park, you will get to a roundabout. Take a left onto Chikun Alley, where you will get back to Wat Maha That and you can drop the bikes back off to your chosen hire shop.
Things To Do in Ayutthaya
There are so many great things to do in Ayutthaya, and most of the key sites are fairly close together. To be honest, if you just cycle around a bit and stop when you see something interesting, you won’t go too far wrong!
For those who like a bit more structure, though, I’ve listed the key points of interest, which link in with the cycle route from above.
All of the temples below cost 50฿ entry fee unless otherwise listed.
1) Wat Maha That (Buddha’s Head in Tree Roots)
The most famous sight in Ayutthaya (it was even on the front of the Lonely Planet book) Wat Maha That has the unique Buddha’s head, stuck in the roots of a tree.
No-one really knows how it ended up here, but it was possible it was left behind by looters, who raided the city after its destruction by the Burmese army in 1767.
2) Wat Ratchaburana
This was our favourite temple in Ayutthaya.
It is one of the most complete, and also one of the few we’ve seen in Thailand where you can go inside the main prang, and take stairs down to the crypt.
It’s also perfect for a great travel photo!!
3) Wat Thammikarat (Temple of the Roosters & Giant Buddha)
Wat Thammikarat is a bit different to the first two temples on this list, which is why I’ve included it. Unlike the first two, it is still a working temple, so you will regularly see monks at the site.
It also has an incredible display of roosters, which local people bring here as offerings. Legend has it that an Ayutthayan prince once humiliated a Burmese prince at this site, after the local prince’s rooster won a cock fight.
The other interesting sight is a giant reclining Buddha, which is housed in its own building right beside the temple. I could only get a photo of the head, because the entire Buddha was far too big to fit in one frame!
4) Wat Phra Ram (Tranquil Gardens)
Despite being in the historical park, Wat Phra Ram seems to get missed out by the guided tour groups. We had the place to ourselves – all the more reason to visit!
Whilst the ruins themselves are not as impressive as the other locations, what we loved about Wat Phra Ram was the tranquil garden setting, where it’s easy to find your own space in this busy part of the city. The lush green trees, were home to Indian Rollers, darting down catch to insects from the manicured lawns.
If you want some space and contemplation time whilst in Ayutthaya, this would be a great place to break up your day away from the busier temples.
5) Wat Phra Si Sanphet (The Most Important Temple)
Wat Phra Si Sanphet was once the most important temple in Ayutthaya, due to its location right beside the Grand Palace.
The three chedi at the centre of the grounds are some of the most impressive in Ayutthaya.
6) Somdet Phra Si Nakharin Park (Less Visited Ruins)
Cycling around Somdet Phra Si Nakharin Park was some of the best fun we had on our day trip to Ayutthaya.
The park was empty, so it was just us and our bikes whizzing up and down the wooden bridges and around the ruined Wats.
The paths are a bit worse-for-wear in places, and some of them turn out to be dead-ends, but it was a great little adventure. The trees gave us some relief from the intensity of the sun, and it felt like we were explorers, discovering the numerous ruins dotted around the park.
7) Monument to Princess Srinagarindra (Modern but Beautiful Building)
Opened in 2000, this is a modern attraction in the ancient city.
It is a beautifully calm place, surrounded by trees and canals, and the perfect place to sit in the shade and eat a packed lunch before heading to the station for your journey back to Bangkok.
Ayutthaya Day Trip: Further Reading
Temples of Ayutthaya | RoadToAnywhere.com
Really interesting guides to the main temples in Ayutthaya, giving lots of history and including some stunning photos.
This website is completely dedicated to the Wats of Ayutthaya, and includes a really useful map showing all their locations.
Ayutthaya: Touring the Ruins of an Ancient Capital | SailingstoneTravel.com
Ken Lawrence has a fantastic website, and has spent his time in Southeast Asia on the trail of the Emerald Buddha. His guide to Ayutthaya is both detailed and beautiful, an inspiring read.
The Ayutthaya Era, 1350-1767 | MotherEarthTravel.com
If you’re looking to understand a bit more about the history of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, then this article rounds up the key historical events without going into so much detail as to be unnameable. A great introduction to the history of Ayutthaya.
8 Delicious Local Eateries in Ayutthaya | EndlessTravellingMap.com
If you are looking for some great lunchtime stop-offs, then have a read of this article to find the best ones.
Before You Go…
Ayutthaya is just one of a huge number of awe-inspiring destinations in Thailand. I have travelled extensively through the country, read my round up to discover your next trip.
Oh, and don’t forget to download your free Ayutthaya cycling guide below, which will be much easier to access when you are out of phone signal that this post.
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