Back in 2009, on our first trip to Bangkok, we decided to venture out of the city to spend a day in Ayutthaya. While all Ayutthaya images had deluded us into thinking, that it’s an historical ground, not too big and easily explorable by bicycles. How wrong we were. Ayutthaya is a city back in it’s heydays, more than a century ago, so it’s only logic that it’s that big and the historical ruins were spread throughout the city.
How to Get to Ayutthaya by Train from Bangkok
Tips to train traveling in Thailand :
- It’s highly advisable to buy the ticket at least a day before you plan to go there. There weren’t much available train and the Thais love traveling by trains.
- Unless you are up for a grimy adventure, buy the ticket for business, first or second class coaches. Third class couches are free-standings (overloaded, most of the time), and not air conditioned.
- Note that some trains are express trains and have fewer stops.
- Buy return tickets to ensure you can always get back to Bangkok.
- Check the price written on the ticket, vs the money changes you got back from the counter.
- Double check the ticket time when it will depart from Bangkok/Ayutthaya station. Do provisioned some time for earlier arrival.
- Be prepared that no one will understand your language, in Ayutthaya train station.
How to Tour Ayutthaya
Hire a tuk-tuk driver on arrival, they will approach you at the train station. Back in 2009, we hired one for 700B (entrance fees excluded), who upfront agreed on the list of places we planned to go. Politely reject any places that you do not wish to go, which we did for the elephant ride.
The building ruins were mostly named as wat, meaning temples. We could only remembered the wats by their signatures – Buddha’s head embedded in the tree roots, a big sleeping Buddha, a small sleeping Buddha, one wat by the Chao Phraya river and another temple with a high sitting Buddha. Most of the entrance fees ranged between 20B – 50B (2009).
What’s to bring to Ayutthaya
- A cap or hat is essential, especially if you are visiting during the hot months. We went in March, and we were toasted like burnt sandwiches.
- Drinking water, but you can always ask the tuk-tuk driver to drop you by any 7-Eleven.
- An umbrella, either for extra protection from the sun or, in case it rains.
- Good walking shoes.
- Wear comfortable clothings for the warm weather, getting up and down the tuk-tuk.
Learning from our Mistakes in Ayutthaya
I still wish to return to Ayutthaya for the beautiful sight, but CS still votes against it. Back in 2009, we did not buy return tickets. We tried our best to convey our message (we wanted a second-class coach) to the ticket seller but all he did was shoved 2 tickets to us and asked for payment. We paid in 1000Bht note and was given back some changes.
After a few steps away from the counter, I noticed the ticket price was 20Bht instead of 315 Bht per person (second class price). The seller shortchanged us by 900Bht! We went back the the counter to ask, and with an annoyed face, he shoved back the 900Bht to us (which she had put them separately in another drawer).
We did not have the time to ponder why were the tickets so cheap (silly us!) as the train arrived soon. Unsure which coach to board, we asked an attendant and he replied, ” All same same.” Great! We boarded a second class coach and as I was looking for our seat number, surprised! Our tickets did not have seat numbers. Hence, we stood, as the train left Ayutthaya. A few other westerner travelers were in the same situation, confused and standing.
Come next station, and two attendants hopped onto the coach, checked our ticket, then reprimanded us for getting onto second class coach with third class tickets. All of us, were shooed to the end of the coach. The attendants opened the door, and demanded that we jumped onto the next third class coach. With 60-80cm gaps between the coaches, I could have ended up crushed under the train, but we found the attendant more intimidating than the Indiana Jones stunt. We jumped anyway.
The third class coach had no air conditioned, free standings, had dirty toilets and we shared the space with some livestocks, brought on board by other passengers. We were maturely ‘smoked’ by the engine smoke from the open windows, and by the time we arrived in Hua Lamphong, we smelled horrible.
Will I go back to Ayutthaya again?
Yes, definitely. CS will be convinced one day soon. The beautiful city ruins are not to be missed and I wish to explore the laid-back city more. We did not have the chance to try out the culinary here, hence I am looking forward for a food adventure in Ayutthaya.
Since then, we had returned to Bangkok for a few times, and if you’re looking for more Bangkok travel inspirations, please read my other Bangkok posts. Enjoy Bangkok…