This is the Ayutthaya travel guide for you, if you’re looking at a modern but still authentic experience of what Ayyuthaya is today. We visited just this March 2017, and it’s amazing how it’s old beauty has been preserved for the new generation to value and see.
Ayutthaya is the capital of Ayutthaya Province. Ayutthaya was a kingdom from 1351 to 1767. They had several wars against Burma and in The Burmese-Siamese War (1765-67). The final result was the sack of Ayutthaya and the end of Ayutthaya Kingdom in April 1767.
This is why an Ayutthaya travel will always be rich of the national parks and preserved ruins from the previous wars. The remaining relics show people that history is something to be remembered, and that it has shaped who and what Thailand is today. It’s always great to look back at these historical times!
How to get to Ayutthaya?
More than usual, you’ll be coming from Bangkok before heading to Ayutthaya on the way to Chiang Mai. One of the best experience we had is to ride the ordinary train from the Bangkok Train Station. The journey is around 2 hours to get to Ayutthaya. We even chose to ride third class! It was Rachel’s first time to ride a third class ordinary train.
If you’re someone who haven’t done an Ayutthaya travel before, or just an ordinary train travel before, you might be wondering how it looks like. No, it’s not a mix of dirty people, and a totally unsafe environment. Train systems in Thailand actually work well, although it cannot be always on time, because of all the stops it has to do. When you get the long train ride, you have the choice to get a first class seat, which usually includes sleeper, and a proper resting area for long trips. Second class looks like a small bus or has the same seating arrangement as an airplane, and thirc class rides means you’ll have to sit either by twos or threes, with two seats facing each other.
We chose third class for it’s price mainly. We like spending our money more on other experiences we want (like island hopping trips, new food you want to taste, or investing back in our selves.) Also, riding on this section of the train allows you to experience this real raw view of Thai people. You see how monks travel with the locals, and other things you don’t get to experience when you’re in a sleeper. This will really really depend on what you prioritize, and for us, a full night of sleep in a third class train is the same as sleeping in the sleepers. So we choose to spend on other things.
A train ride for an Ayutthaya travel is THB 15 (less than half a dollar). This is crazy cheap, compared to prices when moving around Bangkok. The city can be much more expensive for transportation and food.
What to do when in Ayutthaya
Visit Wat Maha That
The Wat Maha That was registered as part of Ayutthaya World Heritage Historical Park in 1935. It’s located in the center of Ayutthaya. It was a place for the relics of Buddha. The temple was burned during The Burmese War but the place has been conserved in a beautiful way for people to visit. The entrance fee is 50 THB ($1.5). During our days of visit, 17th-19th of March, it was free of charge!
One hour is enough to visit the temple, go around, and take pictures. The most touristic part is at the entrance where you can see the Buddha’s face in the middle of the roots of the tree. But there are more interesting parts around to take pictures of, and a lot more areas that are quieter than the first stop.
A quick reminder that in these months, it can get quite hot, so better have water with you, and very comfortable clothes on!
Dine in a River Boat
So happy to have experienced dining on a river boat during our Ayyuthaya travel. We can easily see why anyone would choose to do this, over a simple lunch. Well, at least once in a while for experience! We did a River Cruise with Raan Tha Luang. We had lunch on board while cruising. You can do the river cruise at lunch or at dinner time. We chose lunch and the boat passed by The Pet Fortress, Wat Phananchoeng, Wat Putthalsawan, St Joseph Catholic Church, Wat Chai Watthanaram and The Memorial Stupa of Queen Suriyothai.
How was our river cruise experience?
Quite breathtaking. To sum it up in two words. The cruise was quite airy even it was done during lunch time. It was absolutely amazing to cruise in the river, experience an Ayyuthaya travel in another way, and yes, dine with sumptuous Thai dishes while you enjoy good conversation and the views.
For lunch, we had coconut soup, spring rolls and vegetables with rice, all cooked in authentic Thai style. The food and the service was great! The whole cruise lasted an hour and a half. That’s ample time where you have enough time for eating, taking pictures and enjoying the views. Check out some our pictures below!
Visit Local Market
We always love visiting local markets in every place that we visit. The local market during our Ayutthaya travel is small but the best time to visit is at lunch time to try some local food. The local market is 10 minutes walking distance from Wat Maha That and very close to the river and train station. Walking around the area was very peaceful, with not so many people around.
Rent a bicycle
Ayutthaya is the perfect city for moving around by bicycle. You can rent a bicycle for THB 50 ($1.5) for the whole day. You can even get it for free through your accommodation (some places offer that). Definitely try it when you can.
The area is full of local people where you can ride elephants (although we hope people stop doing this), visit the local market and rent a boat to go around. The entrance was free of charge for locals and 200 Baht for foreigners. Rachel can go as a local as everyone thinks she’s Thai. Well, at least before she starts speaking with her American accent. haha! We are happy to report that there have been less people riding the elephants on high chairs. Hopefully, this can be completely eradicated in the next few years.
Having a street-bought juice
It’s so hot in Ayutthaya, so you’ll definitely see a lot of local food and drink vendors around. What’s surprising is how sweet the Thai taste can be. Prepare to taste very very sweet juices! There are many flavors and you can find them everywhere. Prices start from 30THB ($1) which is very affordable!
Eating in local places
We really enjoy eating in local places where you can’t even understand each others. Weird huh? haha! But local places, offer surprisingly good tasting food. Very authentic tasting meals, as sometimes Thai food in hotels can actually be bad. Or at least, with the taste slightly adjusted. Prices can start from 25 THB, less than a dollar for a Thai dish with service water and smiling faces while you get served your meal.
Ride Local Transportation
If you don’t feel like biking, cycling or walking around, the Tuk Tuk is the best transportation to cover big distances in Ayutthaya. We have to say that the city isn’t as busy as the capital Bangkok.
And of course, catch the sunset
We found an amazing place to watch the sunset in Ayutthaya while paddling with a small boat, in an amazing place for sleeping. We enjoyed the amazing colors and the peacefulness of the place.
Where to sleep
We found our small paradise in a very quiet place just 5 minutes walking distance from the train station. Baan Thai House Ayutthaya is surrounded by a small lake. The area is very green, the staff is super friendly and we enjoyed taking a lot of pictures in this place. You can get a boat and spend a lazy morning around the lake with really nice views.
For breakfast at Baan Thai House, we loved enjoying Thai options with Western choices. A safe mix, especially if you’re not too accustomed with the Thai taste, just yet. We loved the sweet coconut cake wrapped in a banana leaf. The food was great and the view to the lake was magical and incredible! We loved our room so much, with the lake views outside. We find we love very very peaceful places. The services offered in Baan Thai were amazing too: You can use bicycles for free and get free Tuk Tuk rides to the city, two times per day. They have a lot of maps and information for visiting Ayutthaya and various places for your next destination. Check out the images below to have an idea how our little paradise in Ayyuthaya felt like.
There is so much love on this post, really! The experience we had during our Ayyuthaya travel was definitely a must-try. Highly recommended for your next trip to Thailand.
If you want to know more about our experience in Thailand, read our full guide on the Krabi beaches we traveled before. If you want to go to Thailand and travel in a budget, click here to read our full guide about it.
Let us know what you thought about our Ayyuthaya travel experience. Keen to always hear from all of you! x