Thailand

The most complete Ayutthaya guide

The UNESCO World Heritage Site Ayutthaya is the ancient Thai capital and a beautiful relic of Thailand’s past with many monuments and temples. Within this Ayutthaya guide, you will find all the information you need to make your Ayutthaya trip happen.

But first… Let’s answer some questions about Ayutthaya, Thailand.

Ayutthaya guide: Ayutthaya questions answered

Is Ayutthaya close to Bangkok?

Yes, Ayutthaya is close to Bangkok. The distance is around 70 kilometers and due to its close proximity to Bangkok, Ayutthaya is a popular tourist destination and an interesting stop when traveling from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Many people often take a day-trip from Bangkok, but in order to see the most beautiful sides of Ayutthaya, I recommend staying the night.

How to travel from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai?

You can go from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai by train or bus. I took the night train and will post later this month a review regarding the night train from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai. Already curious about the possibilities? Check it out:

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How to travel from Bangkok to Ayutthaya?

You can travel from Bangkok to Ayutthaya by train, minivan or taxi.

The cheapest and fastest way to travel from Bangkok to Ayutthaya is to catch a public minivan from Morchit Bus Terminal where you will find minivans bound for Ayutthaya leaving every 30 minutes from 6 AM to 5 PM. This journey should cost around 60 THB and take about 2 hours.

For a bit more convenient way, I recommend you to book a minivan ticket online via 12Go which should cost about 200-300 THB and you can either leave from Khaosan Road or at the 12GO Makkasan Station. The ride should take around 2 hours and you might have to switch vans once.

Another option is to travel by train. The train from Bangkok to Ayutthaya departs daily from Hualamphong station, taking around 2 hours. The ticket prices range from 15 THB for a 3rd class seat on an ordinary train to 345 THB for a 2nd class on a fast DRC train.

Is Ayutthaya worth visiting?

Yes, Ayutthaya is worth visiting. The ancient town shows you a different perspective from Thailand. It is a small and pleasant town and there is plenty to see and do.

How many days do you need in Ayutthaya?

You probably will need two or three days in Ayutthaya. At the end of this post, you can find my 3-day itinerary to Ayutthaya, Thailand.

How to get around in Ayutthaya?

The best way to get around in Ayutthaya is by bicycle, almost everywhere you can rent one. Of course, it’s also possible to get around by foot. The sights inside the inner rim of Ayutthaya Old Town are very close to each other. To visit the sights in the outer rim, I recommend that you use a bicycle, scooter or taxi.

When to visit Ayutthaya, Thailand?

The best time to visit Ayutthaya is from November to January when the weather is cooler and less humid.

What is a quiet cafe in Ayutthaya for work with great coffee?

A quiet cafe in Ayutthaya for work with great coffee is The Summer Coffee Company. This cafe is a bit hidden in the old center and is the perfect spot for digital nomads to work. They provide free WiFi, great coffee and delicious snacks like fresh croissants. They also have a little shop where you can buy merchandise.

Your complete Ayutthaya guide to the ancient capital

From the things to do in Ayutthaya, what to eat and drink, and where to stay, here is an extensive Ayutthaya guide and a 3-days itinerary for Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya guide: 20 Things to do in Ayutthaya

There are plenty of things to do and see in Ayutthaya. The list below includes some interesting temple complexes, parks, museums, historical settlements and other activities to do.

See the massive Buddha image at Wat Phanan Choeng Worawihan

Another great temple to visit is the Wat Phanan Choeng Worawihan where the stunning and enormous seated Buddha (19 m tall) image is located.

Climb up the steep stairways at Wat Ratchaburana

Wat Ratchaburana is another beautiful temple complex to explore. The main prang is still intact and I really like that you can climb up the steep stairways to the crypt. This makes this temple really different from the other temples. At most temples you’re not allowed to climb the ruins.

Watch the sunset at Wat Phra Ngam

The Wat Phra Ngam is not an impressive temple complex as the others, but it’s a fun place to watch the sunset. The sun will dip behind the remnant of the old temple gateway covered in overgrown Banyan tree roots.

Visit Wat Phra Si Sanphet and Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit

Located next to each other, Wat Phra Si Sanphet and Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit are easy to visit.

Wat Phra Si Sanphet was built in the 15th Century as a royal temple and is a beautiful complex to explore. When visiting, you should keep an eye on the 3 bell-shaped pagodas, the highlight of the temple.

Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit is a modern temple best known for its massive, gilded statue of the sitting Buddha (12.45 m. high). It’s one of the biggest Buddha images in Thailand.

Explore Wat Maha That and make a photo of the Buddha head embedded in a banyan tree

Wat Maha That is another beautiful and large temple complex in Ayutthaya. It was built in the late 14th Century and features a large central prang and several chedis and pagodas surrounding it.

At the entrance of the temple complex you can find the famous Buddha head that’s embedded in a banyan tree. This Buddha head is for sure one of the most photographed places in Ayutthaya and you probably have already heard about this.

Stroll around Wat Yai Chaimongkol

Wat Yai Chaimongkol is an old temple that was built in the late 14th Century. There are quite a lot of smaller structures to see here, so be sure to spend some time walking around the temple complex before moving on.

Visit Wat Chai Watthanaram in the evening

Wat Chai Watthanaram was my favorite tourist attraction in Ayutthaya. The temple complex was built in the 17th Century and consists of several structures. Some people say the temple reminds them of the Angkor Wat in Cambodia. I am curious if you think so too! The best time to visit Wat Chai Watthanaram is just before the sunset, around 4-5 PM, when the sun will shine right at the temple’s entrance.

Explore Wat Phutthai Sawan

Wat Phutthai Sawan was built in the mid-14th Century and is one of the oldest temples in Ayutthaya. It is a quiet temple full of trees and beautiful Buddha images.

Cycle through Srinagarindra Park

If you’re cycling from the old town towards the outer ring of Ayutthaya, it’s fun to cycle through the Srinagarindra Park. It’s a very quiet park, but well maintained and you can find some coffee stalls along the way. In the park you can see some runes and memorials like the Princess Srinagarindra Memorial, Wat Jao Prahm or Wat Sangka Thae. If you’re lucky you might spot some monitor lizards or buffalos.

Stroll around Bueng Phra Ram Park

Close to the main attractions of Ayutthaya, you can find Bueng Phra Ram Park. This small park is full of flowers, plants, trees and bridges. A park in Ayutthaya would not be a park in Ayutthaya if there were no temples or ruines in the park. You can find at least four different ruins.

Admire the colorful St. Joseph’s church

The St. Joseph’s church is a bright yellow church located right by the river bank founded by a French Catholic missionary in the 17th Century.

See the Muslim quarters

In Ayutthaya you can find some Muslim quarters which are interesting to explore, because most of Thailand is being predominantly Buddhist. There are a few small mosques that are spread across Ayutthaya.

Learn about the Dutch history at Baan Hollanda

Baan Hollanda is an informative museum that goes into detail about how the Dutch came to Ayutthaya and their time spent here in the 17th Century. I heard it’s a calming and interesting place to visit. Unfortunately, Baan Hollanda was closed when I was visiting Ayutthaya, so I have no personal experience with this settlement. Make sure to check the opening times before visiting this place.

Visit the Portuguese and Japanese villages

The Japanese village and Portuguese village were designated for the countries that settled in Ayutthaya. 

The Japanese village is now turned into a museum where you can explore how Japan influenced Ayutthaya and the Thai culture today. 

In the Portuguese village there is only the Portuguese Archaeology Museum left, which is a beautiful building to see. Both areas are nice to explore if you want to see something other than ruines or temples.

Watch local fisherman at the Pasak river

The old part of Ayutthaya is surrounded by waters where you can see local fishermen catching fish. Along the Pasak river you can find some benches where you can sit or picnic while watching the fishermen catch fish or the boats go by. A very calming activity.

Take a boat trip on the river of Ayutthaya

Most boat trips around the island take about one hour without stops. While you enjoy the river breeze, you observe different Buddhist temples, historical landmarks, fortresses and traditional wooden houses from the water.

Don’t ride an elephant in Ayutthaya

In Thailand you can find plenty of elephant attractions and Ayutthaya is one of the places offering elephant rides. Please don’t ride the elephants as these elephants are beaten and tortured until their spirits are broken and they are willing to follow their trainers instructions. If this got your attention, please read our post about harmful animal tourist attractions that you should avoid.

Visit the Ayothaya Floating Market

At the Ayothaya Floating Market you can find Thai vendors in straw hats selling their wares from canoes and long-tail boats. It’s located just outside Ayutthaya, you can easily reach it by bicycle or taxi.

Learn the history of Ayutthaya at Chao Sam Phraya National Museum

If you are interested in learning more about the history of Ayutthaya, you might like to visit the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum. The entry fee for the museum is 150 THB which I think is a little expensive, but if you are a history buff and love visiting museums, then I recommend you to check it out!

Please note: this museum might be temporary closed. Check the opening times before visiting.

Explore thousands of toys at the Million Toy Museum

If you like museums, you might want to explore the Million Toy Muesum. Yes, they have a toy museum in this ancient city. It’s a very popular museum and you can find all kinds of toys like cars, spaceships, McDonald’s toys, dolls, plush toys and many more.

Ayutthaya guide: where to eat and drink in Ayutthaya?

Eat street food at one of the night markets in Ayutthaya

If you are in Ayutthaya on Fridays and Saturdays, I recommend visiting the Chao Phrom Night Market. During the other days of the week you can indulge yourself in at the Ayutthaya Night Market.

Close to the Ayutthaya Night Market you can also find a local night market where you can buy food for much cheaper prices. This is the Google Maps location.

Try the traditional boat noodles (Kuay teow Reua)

Ayutthaya is known for its boat noodle which is a noodle containing pork or beef that comes in a soup mixed with pork/cow blood, salt, and many different spices. I recommend either the Wat Yai Boat Noodle Restaurant if you are not traveling on a budget or the Mae Prani Noodle Restaurant which is cheap and popular among locals.

End your meal with Roti Sai Mai

Roti Sai Mai is a dessert introduced by the Portuguese. The roti consists of lots of thin strands of sugar that are made in all different colors. The strands are then put inside a very thin crepe and wrapped up. There are many street stalls where you can try this out.

Enjoy a really good burger at Bear Grills Burger & Steak

After 3 weeks of traveling through Thailand and eating traditional food, we were in need of a tasty burger and ended up at the Bear Grills Burger & Steak. If you like burgers and you are in Ayutthaya, you have to try this place.

Drink by the river at Sala Ayutthaya

If you look for a nice place to have a drink in the evening (and you have enough money to spend), you should visit Sala Ayutthaya, a boutique hotel which is located at the river bank. The hotel has a beautiful terrace from where you can overlook the beautiful Wat Phutthai Sawan.

Ayutthaya guide: where to stay overnight in Ayutthaya?

There are plenty of places to stay overnight in Ayutthaya. Here you can find some of my favorites:

Low budget: ZleepinezZ Hostel

The Zleepinezz hostel is located across Wat Ratchaburana, close to the Ayutthaya Night Market. It’s a very small hostel, located at a very convenient location. The hostel only has 5 rooms, including a family room and double room. The breakfast buffet is stunning and the hosts are very friendly. You will definitely feel at home here. There even is an area where you can get coffee and tea all day for free and where you can play table tennis. Fun!

Average budget: Baan Luang Harn

The Baan Luang Harn hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, shared lounge and garden. You can either rent a cute bungalow in the garden all for yourself or book one of their hotel rooms, for example a queen room with pool view. For breakfast you can choose between different delicious menus. The location is convenient, close to the city center of Ayutthaya. From here, it’s easy to explore all the city highlights and if you don’t like to walk, you can rent bicycles at Baan Luang Harn.

Photo: Booking.com

High budget: One Dhatu Ayutthaya Premium Homestay

A new place in Ayutthaya and definitely worth a visit! Offering city views and a terrace, One Dhatu Ayutthaya Premium Homestay offers accommodation situated conveniently in Ayutthaya. The homestay offers air conditioning, a bedroom with television, a living area and a private bathroom with a hot tub, swimming pool and bathrobes. Amazing!

Photo: Booking.com

Ayutthaya guide: a 3-day itinerary to Ayutthaya

Here you can find our 3-day itinerary to Ayutthaya. Perhaps it can help you to organize your trip to Ayutthaya better.

First day in Ayutthaya

On our first day in Ayutthaya we arrived after lunch time at our hotel, east in Ayutthaya. Usually when we arrive in a new city, we first explore the area on foot. We look for what nice eateries nearby, visit a local market and prepare a plan for the next few days.

  • Arrive in Ayutthaya
  • Watch local fisherman at the Pasak river
  • Take a boat trip to explore Ayutthaya from the water
  • Enjoy a really good burger at Bear Grills Burger & Steak
  • Eat dessert at the Chao Phrom Market

Second day in Ayutthaya

After our first day exploring the town by foot and getting to know the neighborhood a bit, we rented a bicycle to explore the outer rim of Ayutthaya Old Town.

  • Cycle through Srinagarindra Park
  • Visit Wat Chai Watthanaram
  • See the Muslim quarters
  • Admire the colorful St. Joseph’s church
  • Explore the old Wat Phutthai Sawan
  • Visit the Portuguese and Japanese villages
  • Learn about the Dutch history at Baan Hollanda
  • See the massive Buddha image at Wat Phanan Choeng Worawihan
  • Stroll around Wat Yai Chaimongkol
  • Visit the Ayothaya Floating Market
  • Eat street food at the Ayutthaya night market
  • Try Roti Sai Mai

Third day in Ayutthaya

After exploring the outer rim of Ayutthaya on the second day, we allowed ourselves to see the Ayutthaya old town itself on day three.

  • Explore Wat Maha That
  • Make a photo of the Buddha head embedded in a banyan tree
  • Climb up the steep stairways at Wat Ratchaburana
  • Stroll around Bueng Phra Ram Park
  • Relax at Wat Phra Si Sanphet and Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit
  • Learn the history of Ayutthaya at Chao Sam Phraya National Museum
  • Watch the sunset at Wat Phra Ngam
  • Try the traditional boat noodles (Kuay teow Reua)
  • Have a drink by the river at Sala Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya guide: how much money do I need for Ayutthaya?

Based on the 3 nights itinerary from above, I roughly calculated how much money you need for Ayutthaya:

  • Accommodation: 3 nights of accommodation including breakfast will cost you around 2100 THB (for 2 persons).
  • Food: Food in Ayutthaya should cost about 70 THB minimum per meal, so you can expect to pay around 420 THB for 3 nights in Ayutthaya.
  • Transportation: The most common way, the minivan from Bangkok, will cost you around 250 THB and with a bike rental, you can expect to pay around 350 THB for transportation in Ayutthaya. You probably will spend another 200 on taxis.
  • Activities: This is the most expensive part of. To visit most of the tourist attractions I listed in this itinerary, you can expect to pay around 600 THB.

Total budget for 3 nights and 2 days in Ayutthaya per person: 2.520 THB (67 USD / 68 EUR)


Conclusion Ayutthaya guide

I hope this Ayutthaya guide helps you to plan your Ayutthaya trip better. If you have any questions regarding the ancient city, feel free to ask me in the comment section below. Enjoy your trip to Ayutthaya!

Author: Daphne

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