As I hadn’t been to Ayutthaya the first time I visited Thailand, it was high time to tick it off my bucket list on my second visit. Luckily, Ayutthaya is only about 85 km (52 miles) from Bangkok, close enough for a day trip by train. While you can also take a bus, minivan, boat, car, or motorbike, I decided to take the train from Bangkok to Ayutthaya as it is fast, easy and quite comfortable! Here’s my guide how to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok for a one-day tour.
The Bangkok Ayutthaya Train
Since I was going to Ayutthaya for a day trip only, I decided to buy my train tickets in advance to make sure I’d get back to Bangkok in time. All trains from Bangkok to other parts of Thailand leave from Hua Lamphong Station. There are regular trains to Ayutthaya making it easy to get back and forth. I bought my ticket for 8:30 AM to make sure I had enough time in Ayutthaya for the day. It takes less than 1.5 hours to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok and train tickets start at 15 Baht ($0.44) for 3rd class tickets.
Getting to Hua Lamphong Station is pretty easy via the MRT (Bangkok subway). The train station is right nex to the MRT station with the same name, Hua Lamphong. Walk into the building and go straight to the ticket counter, ignoring any possible scammers trying to talk to you. There are two different ticket counters: one for buying tickets in advance and one for buying tickets for today. Remember to bring your passport along, as it is often required to book tickets.
Hua Lamphong Train Station actually has a lot to offer. I loved the open architecture but the fact that it also has luggage storage makes it even better for Thailand travelers. On top of that, there are a couple of shops and food vendors where you can pick up a quick and cheap breakfast.
Arriving in Ayutthaya
After a very quick train ride through the countryside of Thailand, a staff member announced our arrival shortly before we arrived in Ayutthaya. Get your things ready to hop off as the staff often likes to move on quickly with their stops.
Finally, I made it to Ayutthaya, the old capital of the Kingdom of Siam!
The train station is very small and I was a bit confused as to where to go next. I brought a map with places I wanted to go and see but didn’t quite know how to get there. I could tell from my Google Maps app that walking was out of question. When I stepped outside the train station, several tuk-tuk drivers were already eagerly waiting for new customers. While most travelers either rent their own motorbike (available across the street from the train station) or pay a tuk-tuk driver to take them around all the attractions, I decided to take one-way rides.
Wat Yai Chaimongkol
My first stop was the temple Wat Yai Chaimongkol as it is the closest to the train station. It was built by King U-thong in 1357 A.D. for monks who had returned from Ceylon after studying under Phra Vanarat Maha Thera. The complex consists of various temples and Buddha statues. I especially loved the rows of Buddha statues around the central stupa wearing golden clothing. On top of that, there is also a large reclining Buddha dressed in gold as well.
My next stop was Wat Mahathat, home to one of Thailand’s most iconic images: a Buddha head entwined within the roots of a tree. I have been dreaming of visiting this place for a long time and had butterflies in my stomach when I finally made it there. The complex of Wat Mahathat is huge and it can be confusing to find your way around.
I actually had to ask some people where the Buddha head exactly was as I was unable to find it. When the locals pointed me in the right direction, I could already see a group of tourists snapping shots of the roots. What I hadn’t realized before was that the Buddha head was actually made of stone and probably part of a statue from the temple. However, nobody really knows how the stone head ended up in the roots of the tree. Some say it happened during a flooding – but we will never know for certain.
While there are mostly only ruins left, it’s a fascinating place to visit and especially to take photos. Due to the large size of the temple area, you will often find yourself being completely alone allowing for stunning selfies. What I also loved were the countless local artists sitting in the grass painting the temple.
Rama Public Park
Since Wat Mahathat is located almost right in the center of Ayutthaya, it’s a great area to explore on foot. Adjacent to the temple complex is a large park, called Rama Public Park. It is filled with more temples, ruins and a lot of nice and cool spots in the shade to relax and get out of the heat. Walking straight through the park leads to Ayutthaya Historical Park and Wat Phra Si Sanphet, restored ruins of an ancient royal temple.
Ayutthaya Floating Market
There is also a floating market in Ayutthaya. I stopped there just before heading back to the train station. However, the floating market now required foreign tourists to purchase an entrance ticket for 200 baht. That’s why I decided not to visit the floating market here. I had already visited one in Bangkok and this one seemed a lot more touristy so I decided against visiting it.
Foodie Tip: Coffee Old City
My day in Ayutthaya was absolutely amazing but also very hot! It’s amazing how the heat drains your body, especially when you’re walking around sightseeing! I found a lovely café offering a few delicious lunch meals that looked perfect. On Tripadvisor, Coffee Old City is even listed the #1 place to eat in the city – and that’s absolutely true!
Located right across the main entrance from Wat Mahathat, this lovely place serves delicious shrimp Pad Thai and shakes to die for. I had a delicious banana coffee shake that was amazing. The place also has Wi-Fi and air-conditioning, perfect to escape the heat and relax!
Back to Bangkok!
I actually headed back to Bangkok earlier than actually planned due to the unbearable heat that day. Since I had already booked my return ticket beforehand, I headed to the ticket counter and asked if it was possible to change it to an earlier train. Luckily, there were plenty of available seats back and I didn’t even have to pay anything for changing my ticket. Before I knew it, I was back in Bangkok at Hua Lamphong Station.
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