If you have a day to spare in your Bangkok Tour, we are highly suggesting you to go up 80 km. north to see the ruins of Thailand’s old capital – Ayutthaya.
Ayutthaya is a historical city which is known as one of the world’s most cosmopolitan areas from 14th to 18th century. Now, it showcases many archaeological ruins that will give us a glimpse to its glorious past.
To visit all its major attractions, you’ll have to spend a day here. But two days or more will give you a more satisfying experience.
How to get there
Assuming you are in Bangkok, there are three ways to get here:
Terminal location: (Northern Bus Terminal) – Moh Chit BTS Station
Ride duration: 1 – 2 hours
Fare: I’m sorry, I have no idea . 😦
a) Ride BTS Airport Link to Phaya Thai
b) Ride another train from Phaya Thai to Mo Chit
Terminal Location: Hua Lamphong Station
Ride duration: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Fare: 15 Thai Baht (Economy/Third Class)
a) Ride BTS Airport Link to Makkasan
b) Walk your way towards the subway – Phetchaburi station
c) Get off on Hua Lamphong Station
Terminal Location: Victory Monument
Ride duration: 1 – 2 hours
Fare: 60 Thai Baht
Our Experience: Since we went there straight from BKK airport, we opt for this option as this is the easiest route for us.
a) Ride the BTS Airport link to Phaya Thai Station. You’ll pay for 45 Thai Baht.
b) From here, you can walk to Victory Monument or ride another train. If you prefer the later one, you’ll have to pay 15 Thai Baht.
c) Mini Van terminal to Ayutthaya is a little difficult to find. From Victory Monument train stations, walk straight to the actual Victory Monument. The terminal is right in front of the Victory Mall. It’s the first mini-bus from the lane.
d) The ride will take around 1 hour and 30 minutes (no traffic).
Where to stay
Despite having many options, it was difficult for me to look for a place where we can spend our night here. Why? Not all has an official website / Facebook page and I’m already lucky to see their page translated in English! So I chose to book thru a third party booking website.
I’m very reluctant to try this method before due to the rampant scams all over internet. But since I have no other option, maybe now is the best time to try it. Moreover, many travel bloggers have already attested that it’s safe and at the same time cost-efficient. Out of many hotel booking platform, I opted to use Booking.com What I liked about them is that:
We will not shell out for the reservation. Payment will be settled when we are about to check in.
Here are my two shortlisted stay-ins:
FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/stockhomehostelayutthaya/
Private room per night: 670 – 750 Thai Baht
Offering a chic and boutique facilities, Stockhome Hostel is a popular choice among the backpackers. The hotel is situated near Ayutthaya city center and old ruins.
Note: This hotel easily gets fully booked esp during high to peak season. So book in advance – best if more than 6 months.
Baan Luang Haarn
Strategically situated meters away from the old ruins, this hotel boasts cute traditional Thai houses. It was a love at first sight when I checked in. For our review, click here.
Note: With only 5 cottages for occupancy, make your reservation way ahead. But right now, they are expanding their room numbers to 10!
Where and what to eat
Just like in Bangkok, there are many dishes that you must try during your stay in this old city. Some of them are the following:
– Fresh Palm juice in bamboo tube (Num-Tan-Sod)
Thai’s locally produced sweet juice from palm / 30 Thai Baht
– Coconut Ice Cream (I-dtim Mat Phrao)
One of the favorite local desserts in Thailand. Its simplest form are three scoops of sorbet served in coco shells with coconut meat and peanuts / 35 Thai Baht
– Thai Cotton Candy Burrito (Roti Sai Mai)
A product in Ayutthaya, this sweet delicacy is made up of candy floss which tastes like cotton candy and thin colorful crepes. To eat this you’ll roll the crepe filled with candy floss. / 35 Thai Baht for the smallest
– Noodle Houses
As an Asian country, Thailand has a lot to offer when it comes to noodles. There are many options to choose from their menu. / 40-60 Thai Baht per order
Ayutthaya has few restaurants by the river and road, where you can try on these local foods, fresh sea foods and other popular Thai foods. But if you want to be fully immersed with their culture, food and at the same time, shopping – I am highly recommending Ayothaya Floating Market. This is a local man-made floating market for tourists.
What to do in Ayutthaya + Sample Itinerary
Getting around the place
The mode of transportation within the area is fairly easy. Few temples are clustered together in one location.
- Walk! If you’re up to the challenge 🙂
- By TukTuk taxi – Based on my research – they’ll charge you around 200 Thai Baht per hour (if you wanted to do Wat Tour)
- By Bicycle – We rented our bicycle from the hotel and it cost us 50 Thai Baht for the whole day.
- By Motorcyle / Rent a Car
Tips and more..
Unlike in Bangkok, most of the people here does not know how to speak in English or does not understand Basic English words. You can download Thai-English app from iOS. This is an offline app that had helped us get by when we were in Thailand. (Disclaimer: This is not sponsored. The app just helped us so much.)
Baht is the official currency in Thailand. If you need to exchange your dollars, or any currency you have with you… there’s a currency exchange outlet inside Amporn Department store. (I forgot the name of the outlet but it’s the only currency exchange inside the mall.)
• The tuktuk drivers here are as notorious as the ones in Bangkok. When we arrived in Ayutthaya, tuktuk drivers offered to drive us to our hotel for 200 Thai Baht. We haggle to 100 Thai Baht. She counter offer to 150 Thai Baht. We met in 120 Thai Baht. So, she drove us to the hotel. Later on we learned that the minivan drop off point is just a block away from the hotel and the tuktuk driver tour us around to make it look like it’s far away! We thought that we got a good deal but no, we were duped! Another incident is that when we are about the get back to our hotel from Ayothaya Floating Market– the driver offered to drive us back for 200 Thai Baht. We were persistent that it should 100 Thai Baht (just like what the manager in hotel told us). The driver just gave up and drives us back to the hotel for 100 Thai Baht.
• There are many wild stray dogs! Be alert – If you see a stray dog getting near you, stay away from them as soon as possible.
Soi Dogs (street dogs) are very common in Thailand. These are ownerless dog and cery similar to the ‘askals’ or ‘aspins’.
After our DIY day tour on Wats and floating market, we decided to head back to the hotel and rest. When we reached our hotel, I wanted to buy bottles of drinking water and conditioner on a nearby convenience store (just beside our hotel). Unfortunately, one of the stray dogs beside the hotel’s gate bit me. Local folks tried to help me but the language barrier made it difficult for them and me to understand one another. They looked confused and at the same time worried. Confused – because I looked like Thai yet they can’t understand me and vice versa. Worried – because a dog bit me, and I needed to go to the hospital immediately. I kept on saying I needed to go back to the hotel because my husband and passport are there. Nobody can comprehend what I’m trying to say. So I just grabbed the arms of the lady, who has been insisting to bring me to the hospital, and made a gesture that I needed to go back but I can’t because I’ll pass by the dogs again. Finally, she understood and accompanied me.
When we reached the hotel, I immediately grabbed my passport and wallet. I also went to tell the manager about what happened. The owner/manager was kind enough to accompany me to the hospital. He became my translator since Thai nurses can’t understand English. Fortunately, Thai Doctors know how to speak in English though not fluently like the ones we have in the Philippines.
They injected “Verorab” that costs me 464 Thai Baht plus I received 2 pack of Amocillin – anti bacterial which I have to take for 10 days.