History of Ayutthaya
The place is surrounded by rivers and has a rich history. It was founded in 1351 by king Ramathibodi one. The city was captured by the Burmese in 1569 and robbed of many of it’s gold and artifacts. It was the capital of Thailand until it’s destruction by the Burmese in 1767.
The Ayutthaya kingdom was ruled by 35 different kings. The government started renovations of ruins in 1969. In 1976 it was declared a historical park. It became a UNESCO world heritage site in 1991. There is too much to write about the 715 acre size temple compound in this post. A lot more can be found on the Unesco website.
How to get there?
That totally depends from where you are going. When you go from Bangkok. Then you can take a train, but you have to get yourself to the MRT station to catch a train. A train cost you anywhere between 20 to 350 baht depending on which class you prefer to travel. It is much faster to go by minibus, as they are called in Thailand. It is a van (Toyota Hiace), which used to leave from Victory Monument until the army cleared Victory Monument area from all minibuses and ticket selling tables early Nov 2016. Now you have to go to one of the bus stations.
If you stay at Sukhumvit area, you can take the BTS skytrain to Mo Chit and there a motorbike taxi for 80 baht (fixed price) to the Chatuchak/Mo Chit bus station. It’s possible to walk, but it takes you about 30 minutes. Walk around the park and then turn left. At the end turn right and you are on the main road leading to the bus station. Take an overhead bridge to get to the other side of the road. You can also go to Southern Bus terminal to catch a van to Ayutthaya. The price of a van is 60 baht and you’ll reach Ayutthaya within an hour.
If you go to Ayutthaya from Kanchanaburi, you can take a van direct for 200 baht and the ride takes 2,5 hour. Are you coming from Chang Mai to Ayutthaya? The journey takes around 10 hours and cost you around 500 baht. You might even come from Pattaya to Ayutthaya. Many options are available with direct bus or minibus connections. There is another possibility by taking a river cruise for around 2000 THB, or a taxi for around 1500 THB one way.
A minibus from Kanchanaburi often drops you at the hotel you’re going to stay in Ayutthaya. A minibus from Bangkok will drop you at the bus station in Ayutthaya. I stayed at Thongchai guesthouse for 500 baht per night. It wasn’t a very good hotel. The cheaper rooms don’t have hot showers. They don’t have food. The location was good because one of the many Wat’s, Thai for temple, was around the corner, together with a good restaurant. Plenty of hotel choices are available for all kinds of prices, usually starting around 500 THB.
How many days
There are a lot of temple ruins compounds. It’s up to you how many days you will hang around there. If you take a tuktuk to bring you around from Wat to Wat and have a short walk around at each Wat, then one night at Ayutthaya can be enough.
It depends if you hang around 2 hour in one temple or 20 minutes. It also depend if you move around walking, by bicycle or by tuktuk. You can rent a bicycle for 40 baht per day for a simple old one, up to 100 baht for a proper one. Another option is a tuktuk, that gets you around for 200 baht to 600 baht, depending on how many temples you plan to visit. Price is usually charged per person.
I arrived around lunchtime in Ayutthaya, took lunch and visited one temple. The next morning a tuktuk to another 7 temples. The tuktuk nicely waits for you at each temple. That day I took the night bus to Chang Mai. Personally I found 1,5 day Ayutthaya enough to see most of it, but as mentioned earlier, it depends how much time you have and how much interest in old ruins and temples.
The entry tickets cost you either 20 or 50 baht for temples although I paid at none of them. Not that I didn’t want to, but I didn’t even notice I had to, and was at no place called back. It could’ve been a special day with free entrance for everyone. The price for museums is either 100 or 150 baht.
It’s definitely a must see place when you are in Thailand and not far from Bangkok and Kanchanaburi. Rich of history and very interesting.