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Temples in Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya Day Trip : Unveiling Thailand’s Ancient Capital (2024)

Ayutthaya, located in the central part of the nation, is a must-visit for history enthusiasts in Thailand. From 1351 to 1767, the Ayutthaya Kingdom (present-day Thailand) was centred around the city of Ayutthaya. It served as the second capital after Sukhothai and flourished as one of the most influential and cosmopolitan cities in Southeast Asia.

In the modern world of travel and tourism, Ayutthaya is one of the most popular destinations in Thailand. From a one-day guided (and non-guided) tour to night overs and weekend getaways, it is quite a popular spot amongst both locals and tourists.

A day trip from Bangkok to Ayutthaya is quite famous, given the short distance between both cities. This ancient city attracts history buffs, architecture enthusiasts, and temple-goers alike. Continue reading to learn more about all that you can do in Ayutthaya, Thailand’s jewelled crown.

History of Ayutthaya

Established around 1350 in present-day Thailand, Ayutthaya was the second capital of the Siamese Kingdom. Until its peak during the 17th century, Ayutthaya was a major centre of trade and culture in Southeast Asia. Its strategic location along trade routes added to its prosperity for four centuries. However, in the 1700s, Ayutthaya faced external threats from the Burmese and other neighbouring powers. Soon enough, in 1767, the Burmese invaded and sacked the city, abandoning the capital and leading to its downfall.

History of Ayutthaya

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Ayutthaya, during its golden days, was home to impressive architecture, including temples, palaces, and statues, and thus, despite the fall, it today manages to be referred to as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to rich cultural and historical ruins, Ayutthaya has managed to attract tourists and researchers for years now.

A Day Trip To Ayutthaya: Locations, How to Reach and All that You Can Do

Here’s all that you need to know about ‘A Day Trip to Ayutthaya’.

Where is Ayutthaya? The historic city of Ayutthaya is located in the central part of Thailand, approx. Eighty kilometres north of Bangkok. The city sits in the Chao Phraya River valley, covering nearly 14.84 km2

How to Reach Ayutthaya?

Travelers who are planning to explore Ayutthaya on a day trip can make the best possible plans from Bangkok. The capital city isn’t very far and offers a range of convenient travel options, including the following:

Bus: Multiple buses operate between Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2) and Ayutthaya every half to one hour. The journey takes around 1.5 to 2 hours and is considered an economical option.

Train: There are frequent trains from Hua Lamphong Station in Bangkok to Ayutthaya throughout the day. The journey takes about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the type of train and is often considered a comfortable, quick and efficient option.

Boat: Although boats are slower and more common than buses and trains, they offer a scenic and unique option to reach Ayutthaya. Many tour operators in Bangkok offer boat trips along the Chao Phraya River to Ayutthaya.

Taxi/Cab: If not through public transport, individuals can opt for a taxi/cab from Bangkok to Ayutthaya via the North-South Highway (Phahonyothin Road). The journey takes 1 to 2 hours (given the traffic conditions) however it can be a bit more expensive than public transport.

Tour Packages: For a day trip to Ayutthaya (without any hassle), there are multiple tour companies in Bangkok offering different packages. These tour packages include transportation, guided tours, and sometimes meals, making for an overall convenient trip.

Places to Visit and Things to Do in Ayutthaya (Details for a Day Trip to Ayutthaya)


Start at Ayutthaya Historical Park: Begin your day exploring the Ayutthaya Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The highlight of Ayutthaya is this historical park, which is home to the ruins of the ancient city. There are four key attractions within the park, including:

  1. Wat Mahathat is the most photographed location in the park. This historic temple is popular for housing the iconic Buddha head entwined in the roots of a banyan tree.
  2. Wat Ratchaburana is a popular temple known for a prang (tower) that (upon climbing) offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.
  3. Wat Phra Si Sanphet is the largest temple in Ayutthaya, known for its three large chedis. Back in the day, it was the royal chapel of the early Ayutthaya kings.
  4. Wat Chaiwatthanaram is a majestic temple located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The temple attracts a large crowd for its picturesque settings and imposing prang.

Once done exploring the temple ruins and imposing views in the Ayutthaya Historical Park, it’s already the afternoon. Further…….


  • Explore local restaurants and enjoy a traditional Thai lunch at one of them. Ayutthaya is popular for offering different options of authentic Thai cuisine and trying atleast one of them is a must-try.
  • Once done with lunch, head towards Bang Pa-In Royal Palace, aka Summer Palace, south of Ayutthaya. This 17th-century palace is popular for its beautiful gardens and heavenly architecture.
  • During the late afternoon, enjoy a unique boat ride while exploring Ayutthaya Floating Market. Situated a bit outside the Ayutthaya Historical Park, the floating market boasts a traditional Thai atmosphere where local vendors and shoppers gather to buy and sell fresh produce, local handicrafts, and street food directly from the boats. The market also features cultural performances, traditional music, and dance shows, along with local Thai food. The floating market typically operates on weekends and holidays; thus, check the timing beforehand.


  • As the day is closer to the dark, enjoy a sunset cruise along the Chao Phraya River. This relaxing and picturesque experience operates majorly from Bangkok and thus can be marked as the end of your trip.

However, if you are still interested in exploring more, head towards the Night Market in Ayutthaya; some of the common night markets include the following:

  1. Ayutthaya Night Market in the central area of Ayutthaya is popular for street food, clothing, accessories, and souvenirs.
  2. Roti Sai Mai Night Market near Wat Mahathat is popular for its local sweets and snacks, including Roti Sai Mai (cotton candy wrapped in thin crepes), traditional Thai desserts, and other street food options.
  3. Or Ayutthaya Night Bazaar along Naresuan Road, offering a mix of food stalls, handicrafts, and clothing.


  • Lastly, conclude your day by observing the stunning light display at Wat Chaiwatthanaram, an impressive temple.
  • Finally, head back to Bangkok by evening train or bus, taxi service or with your tour operators.

Organized Tours or Self-Guided Tours? Which are the best?

For a day trip in Ayutthaya, organized tours are considered a better option due to the structured itinerary and guided experience. Although people explore Ayutthaya on their own, learning about historical and cultural insights and ensuring you cover key attractions within a specific timeframe is possible only via organized tours.

Things to Know Before Visiting Ayutthaya

If you are visiting Ayutthaya for the first time and on your own, these tips and tricks can enhance your experience:

  • When exploring the city of Ayutthaya, either rent a local bike or rely on tuk-tuks. Both of these options are affordable and eco-friendly and allow visitors to navigate at their own pace.
  • For lesser-known routes and lesser-known beaten paths, engage with locals and consider their personalized recommendations. Do ask locals about small, unexplored sights that are away from tourism light.
  • Whenever visiting a sacred temple and ruin in Ayutthaya, dress respectfully in modest and covered clothes. Remember, dress code is not just a guideline but a way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Both men and women must dress comfortably, covering their shoulders and knees as a gesture of respect and appreciation for the spiritual significance of the sites.
  • Soak well in sunscreen and use a wide-brimmed hat (or umbrella) to protect yourself from the sun. Remember, the historical sites in Ayutthaya offer limited shade, and without any added protection, the scorching heat can ruin your day.
  • Whenever visiting a temple, be mindful of etiquette and avoid touching any artefacts or structures. Also, do not position yourself higher than Buddha images. Not only that, but do not point directly at a Buddha or disrespect in any way.
  • Stay hydrated while you walk through the historic ruins. Consider carrying a reusable water bottle to refill and remain energized throughout your explorations.
  • Boat rides, especially the return journey during the evening, may include traffic, and sometimes, a lot of it is due to different cruises operating on the same river. Thus, to avoid boredom, take along a book or any other source of entertainment since, after dark, there’s little to see around.
  • On a self-guided trip, venture beyond the tourist areas and explore local eateries for an authentic culinary experience.
  • Start your Ayutthaya trip early to avoid the harsh sun and crowds. Plan your day so that you can explore temples and ruins before the afternoon heat. Pick out the mid-day time for eating and shopping away from the sun.
  • Make the best use of navigation apps on your phone to effortlessly find your way around Ayutthaya.

That’s all; we hope your day at Ayutthaya, Thailand will prove to be the best.

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