Ayutthaya: Ruins of the Old Capital

There is a great legend a thousand years ago when people in the neighboring city, Kampuchea, was struck by the chicken pox outbreak. They looked for a new shelter and walked several days until they came to a river where they built a kingdom on the opposite side of it, thus the Capital Ayutthaya.

It became one of the most powerful kingdoms in the world until Burmese won over the capital. It was very difficult to rebuild so people just abandoned the temples.

And now, everyone will have the privilege to observe and experience a site “of outstanding value to humanity”, as designated by UNESCO as World Heritage Site.

If you are ready for some temples running and hopping escapade, I hope our experience will help you.

A day is enough to see temples and markets in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

Old Temple in Ayutthaya

How to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok?

We tried the cheapest option which is by train. You can also reach Ayutthaya by bus, minivan or if you are feeling rich, try the cruise! Information about other options can be found here .

Feel free to leave a comment if you have questions. Whai is Thai and we will do our best to answer all your questions.

Train

Train Station
 

The train is located at the Hualampong Train Station which can be easily accessed by MRT. When you get there, be careful with people offering you help. Just don’t make eye contact and go straight to the ticket booth. I don’t want to generalize but since this is a busy tourist area, the majority of these people will try to scam you. Click here to find the train schedule.

Make sure to also check the trains from Ayutthaya to Bangkok so you know how late you can stay.

We boarded the train without buying tickets because our local tour guide Whai told us that it’s free but apparently, it’s only free for Thai. The staff thought I’m Thai because she just passed our seats but she asked our American friends for tickets but when they can’t provide any, the staff just asked for a 15 Baht payment.

The 3rd Class train doesn’t have seat numbers so when the train arrives, be fast to score a seat. We rode around 10 AM and there’s not a lot of people so there’s a lot of empty seats.

The ride to Ayutthaya is 2 hours long from Bangkok. You can observe locals with their bulky bags full of things they will sell in the province. You can also buy snacks, water, etc from people climbing in and out of the train. And don’t miss the scenery. Take a look outside while you play a dramatic Adelle song or any song for that matter. Just be careful with your belongings!

The problem with 3rd class trains is there is no one announcing your destination. So be alert when your arrival time is near (you can see it on the ticket), or look outside to read the name of the station.

Here is the Ayutthaya Station:

Ayutthaya train station

Getting Around Ayutthaya

The moment you arrived and got out of the train station, you will magically become a celebrity because you will be crowded with Tuktuk drivers offering you a tour. Just wear your celebrity shades and gracefully answer, “No comment.” Just kidding!

We arrived 12 noon when the sun is at its hottest. So our original plan of renting a bicycle didn’t sound fun anymore (I’m blaming our last night’s party at Khaosan Road).

With little sleep combined with the taunting sun, we opted out for a Tuktuk driver who offered us an unbelievable price of *drumroll please* 1500 Baht. Tip: Once you heard the price, prepare your face of disbelief. (I swear, this will work, just a bit of practice). If this doesn’t work, pretend to talk to other Tuktuk drivers. Once he saw prospected customers were turning away, he immediately lowered his price to 1000 Baht. And now we are talking! We tried our best puppy face until we agreed upon 750baht for 4 people. That’s not bad, I think.

If renting a bicycle is what you prefer, here’s what you can do:

You need to cross the river by boat, 10 Baht person.

Get down and you will see bike rentals for 30-40 Baht. You don’t need a passport but some might ask for a deposit.

They’ll give you a map and they’re kind enough to circle places you need to go. You can also check this map.

Temples in Ayutthaya

There is just too many breathtaking temples in Ayutthaya. If you have the whole day then there is no problem circling the whole town. If you have limited time, you can rent a Tuktuk just like what we did. Temples closed at 6PM.

All the most important temples have an entrance fee for foreigners, others are free with no gates. From what I can remember, we paid for 3-5 temples. Cost is 20-50 Baht.

Ayutthaya Floating Market

I love open markets in Thailand. Here in Ayutthaya, we’ve been to 3 markets. One is a street market we passed by and the other one is their local market.

My favorite is the Ayutthaya Floating Market. If you have some extra time, don’t miss it.

Lucky for us, they have a show when we were there. It’s a little presentation about the war between Thailand and Burma. They speak Thai but you will be entertained with the music and special effects. Don’t forget to laugh when everyone is laughing. 😛

What to Eat in Ayutthaya

Roti Hair! Sorry, I just call it Roti Hair. But look for something that looks like this.

what to eat in ayutthaya

They also call it Thai Cotton Candy. You can find it in Bangkok but it’s best in Ayutthaya. It’s one of my favorites Thai dessert. Yumyum!

Back to Bangkok

Heading back is easy, just go back to the train station and wait for the next train schedule to Bangkok. We head back around 9 PM. Unluckily, there are no available seats. Tired and sleepy, we just sat down on the floor until we reached Bangkok.

Our Rating

Bangkok is full of magnificent temples, but Ayutthaya is different so I would say you should never miss it if you happen to be in Thailand. The architecture is mesmerizing and the photo opportunities are just awesome.

Total Cost:

Train to Ayutthaya – 15 Baht

Train to Bangkok – 15 Baht

Boat (back and forth) – 10 Baht each way

Bike Rent- 30-40baht (whole day)

Entrance fee – 100 Baht estimate

 

Total Estimate: 190 Baht

How to Prepare for Songkran

How to Prepare for Songkran

Songkran is one of the most important holidays in the Buddhist Calendar. It marks the start of the year and Thailand celebrates it for one week.

Thai celebrates Songkran by splashing water on the streets and putting white talc powder on body parts.

If you plan to go to Thailand in April, then avoid arriving or departing on April 13th-19th as you will not be spared. No one cares if you are carrying your luggage. No one cares if you are carrying a laptop or a phone. No one cares if you showed them how angry you are, you will just become a favorite target.

What they have, are a very particular set of skills. Skills they’ve acquired over a very long career. Skills that make them a nightmare for people like you. They don’t know who you are, but they will look for you. They will find you and they will splash water on you.

So if you can’t beat them, just join them! And you will feel like a child again 😀

1)Choose your Weapon

How to Prepare for Songkran

It’s a war out there and you should be able to defend yourself. You will encounter water hose, big water guns, fire truck hose (yes, the government will fuck you too), and buckets of cold water.

The favorite choices are the water guns since you can load them with water and you can last for a couple of minutes before refilling it again. It’s portable and easy to use. You can strap it on your body with a beer on one hand and shoot someone on the other. Nowadays, Thai have this great idea of splashing freezing cold water because the usual tap water bored them. You can get it anywhere (sometimes it’s free, sometimes you have to pay) and it will surely make your enemies cringe.

Beware of White Talc powder, people will put in on your face and it will block your eyes. Also, Thai have this great idea again of putting something in it, sometimes it will be really cold on the skin or it feels hot. I don’t know what they’re putting in it. My guess is tiger balm or some chili.

2)Protect Yourself

If being soaked in cold water for a couple of hours makes you uneasy but you still want to experience the fun, then worry not. You can buy a raincoat anywhere and your face will just be the target, your back will be protected.

Buy a waterproof phone case to protect your phone and money. You can buy in anywhere before or during Songkran.

Wear goggles or glasses to protect your eyes.

 

3)Prevention is better than Cure

Load up with vitamins. If your immune system is weak, then I do suggest to not join or go out.

Think about this, you will be soaked in water for hours. Not just water but cold water.

 

4)You can’t hide

The only way to hide is by staying in your hotel room. The minute you step out, you are a target.

Tuktuk, bus, taxi and other means of transportation is soaking wet too. We went home riding a bus and everyone is still splashing water on us, WHILE WE ARE INSIDE THE BUS.

If you lock the door on a taxi, you will be safe. But the roads are so crowded that your taxi won’t be able to move to go to the main event anyway, so you won’t see a lot. The moment you open your door or just a little crack in your window, say hi to the ice bucket challenge.

And if you are a foreigner, you are a favorite target.

 

5)Abort Mission

You are in Khaosan road, freezing and soaking wet. If you want to home, you can just easily ride a taxi and go back home right? WRONG!

It’s the point of no return. The place is so crowded that it’s so difficult to go to the main road to get a bus or taxi.

You’ll spend another hour walking just getting to the main road. This means another hour of cold splashing water while you are worn out. So I suggest staying near the main road. This means that you should not be tempted by loud music in the heart of the street or line of people dancing encouraging you to go with them. Your choice 😛

 

It’s New Year and there’s party everywhere. It’s time to get wet and get wild!