Ayutthaya is the ancient capital of Thailand, a UNESCO world heritage site, and a “must see” attraction for any intrepid traveller visiting Thailand. Stunning ancient temples (wats), meditation centres and grand palaces, displaying stunning Thai architecture and design, can be found through out this ancient city.
Day trips to Ayutthaya can easily be made from Bangkok, Thailand’s modern-day capital city, and major transport hub for major international airlines. Whether you are visiting Thailand for a month, or stopping-by in transit for the day, Ayutthaya is a highlight destination that will provide you an insight into the ancient Thai life and culture.
There are a few day trip options to choose from, the most popular include:
Full Day Bicycle tour of Ayutthaya ** Writer’s Choice **
Exploring this ancient city by bicycle is a great way to discover the city’s hidden treasures, and emerge in the Thai culture. First you will visit the majestic ruins and the grand summer palace of the King, before cycling through the Thai countryside on this full-day tour from Bangkok. If you want to explore this ancient city, while getting off the tourist trial and interacting with local people, then this is the option for you. This option allows you to slow down, and appreciate your surroundings at your own leisurely pace.
Full Day Road Trip of Ayutthaya
Explore the ruins of the former capital of Thailand on a full day road trip to Ayutthaya. Benefit from round trip transportation from your hotel in Bangkok. You’ll see the stunning summer palace of Bang Pa-In and learn more about the ancient Ayutthaya Kingdom at its 14th-century capital. This option allows you to fit a lot into a short period of time, visiting ancient wats (temples) and buildings, getting a flavor of Thai heritage.
Ayutthaya by Night Tour
This tour is a half-day tour, where you’ll be taken to the Ayutthaya World Heritage site in the afternoon. You’ll visit Wat Yai Chai Mongkol, Wat Prasrisanphet and Wat Mahathat and take a boat ride around the Ayutthaya island. You’ll then visit a local restaurant for a Thai dinner before exploring Wiharn Phra Mongkol Bopit and Wat Chaiwatthanaram after dark before returning to Bangkok around 9pm.
Ayutthaya City by Cruise
Looking for something different? Why not visit Ayutthaya by cruise boat. Visit all the major attractions of Ayutthaya, including, Bang Pa In Summer Palace, Wat Phrasrisanphet and Wat Chai Wattanaram (known as the most beautiful temple in Ayutthaya). In the afternoon, sail along the Chao Phrayay River returning back to Bangkok. A cruise along the riverbanks provides a relaxing way of experiencing the local Thai culture and sights.
Ayutthaya and the Summer Palace (Bang Pa In)
This tour will allow you to visit all the historical sites in Ayuttaya including the beautiful, Summer Palace, Wat Phananchoeng, Wat Yai Chaimongkho, Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit and enjoy sightseeing along ancient Ayutthaya heritage site.
Most day tours take approximately 8 hours, and provide pick up from your hotel around 7am, and return transfer to Bangkok between 5.30pm and 7.30pm. Tours generally include transportation, entrance fees, local English speaking guide and lunch at a local restaurant. Drinks are not generally included, and some attractions charge extra for the use of cameras, so make sure you allow a little extra in your budget for this. It’s a good idea to double-check what exactly is included, prior to booking the tour, as tour providers can vary.
If your trip includes a visit to the Summer Palace, please remember to dress respectfully, or pack some extra clothes to change into before visiting the palace.
Some Ayutthaya tours include an elephant ride. Personally, I would avoid those tours, as elephants actually have very weak backs. Elephants also have to be “trained” to allow humans to ride them. This training involves torturing the elephant as a baby in a process is called Phajaan. Phajaan involves taking baby elephants from their mothers, confining them in a very small space, and poking them with sharp sticks until they follow specific orders. Some of these elephant camps also treat their elephants very poorly, where the elephants are over worked, abused and starved and deprived from water. If you are adamant on riding an elephant, then the government-run elephant camps are regulated, so are usually slightly more humane. For a completely humane and ethical experience, I suggest visiting one of the conservation parks, such as Elephant Nature park, where you can get up and close to rehabilitated elephants, and help in feeding, walking and bathing the elephants.
Have you visited Ayutthaya before? Tells us about your experience in the comment section below.