Ayutthaya Historical Park: A Day Trip From Bangkok

by LouDoesTravel
Ayutthaya Historical Park

Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand

Just a couple of hours drive from Bangkok you will find the historic city of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO world heritage site. Founded back in 1350, Ayutthaya became the second city of the Siam Empire.  During the 14th to 18th centuries the city grew into one of the world’s largest cities with a population thought to be around 1 million people! The city was largely destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century but many of its ruins remain, characterised by tall prangs (towers) and Buddhist monuments.

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Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

Today Ayutthaya Historical Park attracts tourists from all over the world, most arrive from Bangkok for a day trip but many visitors  stay for a few days in one of the many guesthouses or hostels. I have visited Ayutthaya twice, once as a day trip from Bangkok and more recently as an overnight trip. To be honest, as much as I enjoyed exploring the historical sites, I was not so impressed with the city itself, I found the centre of town to be extremely busy and found the constant harassment of tuk-tuks to be quite tiresome! In my opinion unless you are specifically interested in exploring the sites in more detail, a day trip will give you more than enough time to explore the area.

If you do want to stay for a few days then I can highly recommend the Yim Whan Hostel, for only 700 Baht (£16) a night, you can have a double room with balcony. It also houses a great coffee shop downstairs with the most amazing cakes! For booking hostels I recommend Hostel World or Booking.com for budget hotels, but if you are looking for something a bit more fancy then use Hostel.com, not only will you get great deals on hotels but they also offer 1 free night stay for every 10 nights booked!

Booking.com
Double room at the Yim Whan Hostel
Yim Whan Hostel Cafe

Ayutthaya Historical Park: How to get there

Ayutthaya can be easily reached from Bangkok. You can either get one of the many tourist minivans, the train or by an organised tour. Once in Ayutthaya you will be met with many tuk-tuks waiting to drive you around the sites. All charge a flat hourly rate around 200-300 Baht with pre-organised routes available; however these rates and routes can be negotiated with the driver. 3 hours should be plenty of time to see the best sites. If you are feeling energetic you can also get yourself a map and hire a bicycle for around 100 Baht, however be warned, the sites can feel quite a distance away when dealing with the hot summer sun!

Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya tuk tuks

Bangkok to Ayutthaya by bus:

Probably the easiest way to reach Ayutthaya is to catch a minivan from one of the many bus stations around Bangkok. You can buy tickets from most hotels and travel agents in and around Bangkok. However the easiest and cheapest way is to buy them online from 12Goasia.com. Vans regularly depart from Mochit new van terminal to Ayutthaya at a cost of 90 Baht (£2.20) and take approximately 2 hrs.

Bangkok to Ayutthaya by train:

You can catch the train to Ayutthaya from Bangkok’s Hua Lampong station at a cost of around 60 Baht (£1.45) and takes around 2 hrs; however the trains in Thailand do not always follow the schedule with many taking much longer than advertised. Although this route may be longer than the bus, the views from the train more than make up for any delays. You can buy tickets at the station on the day or even in advance using 12Goasia. Perhaps get the minivan there and opt for the train back to Bangkok?

Thai-train
3rd Class train back to Bangkok

Ayutthaya by tour:

If you don’t fancy taking the independent route to Ayutthaya, you can also take one of the many tours offered by hotels and tour operators. These tours can sometimes be long and tiresome and cost upwards of 1500 Baht each (£35) Some tours offer a boat trip back to Bangkok including lunch which maybe a preferred option for some, however you won’t have as much time to visit all the major sites. For the best value tours I recommend Get Your Guide.

Which temples to visit:

There are so many sites to visit around Ayutthaya Historical Park that you won’t be able to visit them all, so here’s my list of the best sites:

Wat Ratchaburana

Ayutthaya Historical Park
Wat Ratchaburana

Wat Ratchaburana was built by King Borom Ratchathirat II, the wat marks the spot where his two brothers had fought and killed each other fighting for the vacant crown. The large remaining prang was the centre piece of the compound and the vault contained gold jewellery, artefacts and votive Buddhist tablets, however looters broke into the vault in 1957 and raided all that was inside. Displayed inside the vault was many mural paintings, depicting the lives of Buddha, however many of these images have deteriorated and only a handful are still visible.

Wat Ratchaburana
Wat Ratchaburana

Wat Mahathat

Ayutthaya Historical Park
Famous Buddha head at Wat Mahathat

Wat Mahathat is probably one of the most famous sites in Ayutthaya, it is here that you will find the Buddha head entwined within the roots of a tree. Wat Mahathat is located in the centre of Ayutthaya and was the residence of the supreme leader of the Thai Buddhist monks and is thought to have been built during the 14th Century.

Wat Mahathat
Wat Mahathat

Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Ayutthaya Historical Park
Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Wat Phra Si Sanphet is the site of the 3 chedi’s, the first two were built by King Ramathibodi II in 1492. The chedi to the east was for the cremated remains of his father and the now middle one, for his elder brother. The third chedi was built by King Boromracha IV to house the remains of King Ramathibodi II. This site is probably one of my favourites as there is so many ruined buildings to explore.

Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon is one of the first historical sites you will encounter if travelling into the city from the east. Its large bell-shaped chedi sits high on an elevated position with stairs leading up to its terraces. There are rows of Buddha statues along the sides of its gallery which were originally destroyed but have since been re-sculptured. This is also the site of a large reclining Buddha.

Reclining Buddha
Reclining Buddha at Wat Yao Chai Mongkhon
Rows of Buddha statues
Rows of Buddha statues

Wat Chai Wattanaram

Wat Chai Wattanaram is an impressive site, situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. There are many structures including several large chedi surrounded by an inner and outer wall. Along the inner wall you will find rows of Buddha statues which were beheaded by the Burmese in 1767. If staying in the city overnight this temple is said to be the best place to watch the sunset.

Wat Chai Wattanaram
Decapitated Buddha statues
Wat Chai Wattanaram
Wat Chai Wattanaram

Wat Lokkayasutharam

The high-light of Wat Lokkayasutharam is its enormous Reclining Buddha measuring 42 meters long and 8 meters high. In front of the Buddha is a small altar with a small reclining Buddha where visitors can make offerings, many of which use pieces of gold leaf given out by the local ladies.

Wat Lokkayasutharam
Wat Lokkayasutharam

Wat Phu Khao Thong

Wat Phu Khao Thong
Wat Phu Khao Thong

Wat Phu Khao Thong was a monastery originally built in 1395 on the north east side of the current site by King Ramesuan, however after the Burmese invasion in 1569 the current structure was built as a Burmese style chedi but was never finished. Years later Prince Naresuan had a Thai style chedi built on top of its base to commemorate its independence and victory over the Burmese in 1584. If you’re feeling energetic you can climb up all 79 steps to the top.

Wat Phu Khan Thong
Wat Phu Khan Thong

Important Information

There is no fee to enter the Historical Park; however most of the sites charge a small fee of around 50 baht or less.

It is also important to remember that although these are ruined sites they are still seen as sacred monuments to Buddhists, therefore please remain respectful, never climb on a Buddha statue, and please follow the dress code of covering shoulders and wearing long pants or skirts.

Ayutthaya Historical Park is a lovely day out from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok; just remember to bring plenty of water, a hat and sunscreen as the heat can be very intense especially during the day.

Have you been to Ayutthaya? If so let me know what you thought by commenting down below and if you enjoyed this article then subscribe or follow me on your favourite social media to be the first to hear about my new posts.

Thanks for reading,

Happy Travels,

Louise X

Pin for later:

Have you heard of the ancient of Ayutthaya? If not check out this post for why it should be on your Thailand Itinerary! #ayutthaya #thailand #bangkok #thaitemples #ancientthailand #ancientcities #travel #travelguides #traveltips
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32 comments

Wendy Elliott September 30, 2018 - 21:03

Thailand is high on my bucket list so I bookmarked your post. Based on your description, I think I would spend a day in Ayutthaya. Busy cities are not my favorite, but I love the historical sights. I like the idea of taking the train. The Buddha head entwined I roots at Wat Mahathat is so interesting. I love all of the historic architecture in Ayutthaya.

Reply
LouDoesTravel October 2, 2018 - 16:45

Hi Wendy, Thank you so much for the lovely comment, yes the cities of Thailand can be really busy but there are plenty of ways to get out and enjoy the sites. If you love historic architecture then Ayutthaya is defiantly for you!

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Lori September 30, 2018 - 20:30

The temples are absolutely gorgeous with such amazing history. Great post!

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LouDoesTravel September 30, 2018 - 20:32

Thank you so much ch for the lovely comment !

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Raj September 30, 2018 - 15:44

Great post and lovely pictures! Having just returned from my Thailand trip I remember each and everything you detailed out here. We did a day trip from Bangkok and it cost us about 1000 TBH, this included the Bang Pa in palace too. I avoided that ferry back to Thailand as it was waste of time. If you have time check my post here .. https://www.expresseddigitally.com/2018/07/30/ayutthaya-a-forgotten-treasure/

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LouDoesTravel September 30, 2018 - 15:50

Thanks for the comment, yes after doing some research I decided not to bother with the boat trip back as well, the train was a good option though 👍

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Lorelle September 30, 2018 - 12:59

I love ancient ruins like these. Asia is so full of rich cultural history. Would love to see that famous Buddha in the tree too. 🙂

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LouDoesTravel September 30, 2018 - 13:04

Yes I love Asia for this reason too, so much history and culture.

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Yeshi September 30, 2018 - 12:19

The Famous Buddha head at Wat Mahathat is something I definitely want to see for myself! Your pictures of these ruined sites are beautiful and its easy for tourists to forget that they are still seen as sacred monuments to Buddhists – something to always be conscious of. Great article!

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LouDoesTravel September 30, 2018 - 13:02

Thank you so much for the lovely comment. Yes you see a lot of tourists in Asia forgetting that historical sites and monuments are still sacred, it’s such a shame.

Reply
LouDoesTravel September 30, 2018 - 13:03

Thank you so much for the lovely comment. Yes you see so many tourists in Asia being disrespect at ancient ruins and monuments etc, it’s such a shame.

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