The beautiful city of Ayutthaya is absolutely mesmerising! Located about 80 km north of Bangkok, Ayutthaya is an ancient city that was formerly the capital of the Kingdom of Siam for more than 400 years. With more than a million inhabitants, it was even one of the biggest cities in the world, back at the time when it was at its zenith.
History of Ayutthaya Kingdom
33 kings took turns ruling over Ayutthaya. They built majestic monuments and those became the city’s magnificent ruins you can visit and admire today. The Kingdom of Siam was invaded numerous times by Myanmar, the kingdom’s northern neighbor (see map above).
Ruthlessly assaulted, Thais gave away their first capital Sukhothai (which I visited and wrote about here). Later around 1767, they ended up giving away Ayutthaya too. The city was already partly destroyed by Burmese invaders.
This explains why the majority of the monuments that date back to 1767 are largely damaged. You won’t miss the decapitated Buddha statues, trust me. I was shocked to say the least because I thought Burmese people were Buddhists too so I couldn’t get my head around the idea that they could have destroyed those statues, even if they were owned by their enemies.
I asked around and the people of Ayutthaya told me that by destroying those statues, the Burmese invaders wanted to weaken their enemy’s resistance by jeopardizing their deepest beliefs. They wanted to show that nothing could stop them from invading their enemy’s territory, not even their own, most profound beliefs.
One could easily imagine what a terrible humiliation those decapitated statues are for the Thais today, and it’s certainly very interesting to notice that out of a sense of historical duty, those statues were kept as such to remind the people of the battles that destroyed them. It is from those past hardships that the people of Thailand have forged their strong character and their legendary resilience.
With such a rich history, Ayutthaya is one of those mystical cities that will keep you entertained; you will dive into the city’s aura as you walk across its ruins. If you’ve come to Ayutthaya looking for parties and fun, you’ve clearly come to the wrong place. There aren’t many bars there by the way, not so many clubs either but if you’d like to travel back in time and understand how Thailand came to be the country it is today, don’t waste another minute thinking about it!
Getting from Bangkok to Ayutthaya
From Bangkok, you can buy a train or a bus ticket to Ayutthaya. You decide!
Bus Bangkok Ayutthaya
It’s the fastest option you have to get to Ayutthaya. The trip lasts an hour and starts usually from Victory Monument. Depending on the ticket you decide to buy, someone can come pick you up at your hotel or you will have to be there yourself. The trip costs around $1.5 to $3.
Train Bangkok Ayutthaya
The train trip lasts longer than the bus trip. It’s a two-hour trip but it’s definitely worth it. You’ll be able to enjoy the authenticity of the whole ride without the usual hoards of tourists. You’ll travel with local people and enjoy the landscape in peace. Get to the Hualumpong train station in Bangkok and hop on a train to Ayutthaya.
Third class ticket prices are honestly ridiculous. Around $0.5 to $0.6, can you imagine? And you don’t even need to book anything in advance; there are trips to Ayutthaya every hour or so. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect from the train trip!
But if you don’t want to organise all the trip, you can also book a day trip to Ayutthaya from Bangkok. A mini-van will take you from your hotel in Bangkok in the morning and you will spend the whole day in Ayutthaya.
Book here: Day Trip Ayutthaya
Hotels in Ayutthaya
If you decide to spend some nights at Ayutthaya, you can book your nights at Baan Baimai Boutique Room. The room are nice and clean and you will be very closed to the main attractions of the city. The price of the nights are also pretty affordable.
8 Temples in Ayutthaya Thailand
Like I said, Ayutthaya is best known for its ancient ruins that usually surrounded by beautiful temples. The city is quite small so you can pretty much visit everything on a bike, although you could easily get lost if you don’t know where the main attractions are. Don’t worry! I made a list of my 8 favorite places to visit with a map to show you their location.
Of course you don’t have to visit everything at once, although you could if you wake up early enough. I recommend you spend at least a night in Ayutthaya so you can get away from Bangkok’s hustle and bustle, and take your time while visiting the best temples there.
Now that you’re all set up, let’s get going!
This is a 30 km circuit and like I said earlier, it’d be better if you take your time and do it over two days. Last but not least, remember that access to the majority of these temples is not free. You’ll have to pay around $1.50 at each site entry but you can also purchase a $7 pass that’ll grant you access to almost all the city’s attractions. Ask for it if you’re interested because you’ll notice it’s not a default option there.
1. Wat Phra Si Sanphet et Wat Mongkhon Bophit
2. Wat Maha That (Ayutthaya Historical Park)
3. Wat Na Phra Meru
4. Wat Yai Chaimongkhon
5. Wat Phanan Choeng
6. Wat Chai Watthanaram
7. Wat Lokkayasutharam
8. Wat Phu Khao Thong
My adventures in Ayutthaya ended with spectacular fireworks in celebration of King Rama IX’s birthday on December 5th, 2015. Unfortunately, he passed away months later.
I loved this ancient city and I think you can tell. So if you’d like to visit authentic places and live memorable adventures, I highly recommend you spend a night in Ayutthaya. I promise you won’t regret it.
I hope you liked this blog post and that it helped you get ready for your next trip to Ayutthaya. Please share it around and let people who are planning to travel to Thailand soon know about it.
Talk to you all very soon,