Thailand's Center


Global Mark : 13.82    Top Ten : No10

Ratings by criteria : 

Charm Scenery Parks Culture Minor. Market Relax Fiesta 


4 3 5 5 2 3 3 2 3 13.33

Ratings by backpackers :

Surveyed Liked  Comeback  Recommend  Range AVER.
20 100% (20) 30% (6) 100% (20) 10 to 18 14.30

Description :
A former capital of Thailand surrounded by water and full of ruins of old Wat

Comments : Traffic is allowed around the Wat so it is not an experience as peaceful as Sukhothai but it is culturally striking nonetheless. Ayuthaya is also a good alternative to Khao San Rd while waiting for your flight.

What to do ? Treat yourself with a good bike & a good breakfast as the area is big / Get a map of the area at the TAT Office near the National Museum / Then cycle around, on the island and off the island / Select the few Temples worth paying the fee and check the other ones from the outside only (quite a few are free as well) / Watch sunset at Wat Chai Wattanaram / Then bike the area a bit more to see the illuminations / In the early morning, watch Tai Chi practitioners near the Wat Phra Mahathat / Get up the Golden Mount Chedi (free) in the north-west for a good view over the flat area / Have a look at the original elephant kraal (enclosure), the last one in Thailand / See an old church and a Portuguese settlement in the south / Discover new places being excavated in the train station area / Cool of in the swimming pool of Sherwood House (B40) / Listen to locals playing the guitar / 

What you may not like ? Getting an uncomfortable or breaking bike / Usually not being able to visit outside the ticket hours (8 to 18:30) as there are guards or gates at most temples / Not having one unique ticket for the whole area but numerous B30 entrance fees / The global cost when adding everything / The relatively expensive bikes (B40) or motorbikes (B250)

How long ? Half a day to one day for the inside, one busy day for the outside and one day for Lopburi ?

Where to stay ? 

Hotels  << Get precise info, book online and save money !

- Near the train station :

bulletP & P GH, off the island, 50m from the train station toward the pier / Clean Sgl or Dbl without window 100 or 150, Dbl w. window 200 / Outside shower / Expensive & not so conveniently located
bullet® Iudea GH, U Tong Rd, turn left after getting off the 1B ferry / 3 rooms on the second floor of a clean building / Dbl 150 / Go there for the nice clean rooms with balcony offering a superb view over the river / What you may not like : having to share the balcony with the other two rooms & the lack of Sgl

- North of the island bus station (East of the Khlong) & the market, 15mn walk from train station (incl. ferry crossing)

bulletNo Worries GH (252578), right side / Dorm (2+2) 60, Room 100(1) or 120(2) / Go there for the no worries atmosphere in a small garden
bulletTMT GH, on the left / Small house by the road / Dorm (3) 60, Sgl 100, Dbl 140
bulletToto House & Ayuthaya GH / Two wooden houses by the road / Sgl 100 (tiny !) or 120, Dbl 160
bulletOld BJ GH / Small house a bit off the road / Dorm (4) 60, Sgl 100, Dbl 140 / Lots of Japanese books for Japanese guests
bullet® PU GH / A bit off the road inside a tiny garden / Dorm (4) 60, Sgl 100, Dbl 140, w shower 250 / Thai girl married to a Japanese / Cable TV / Go there for the nice clean rooms & the relaxed atmosphere

- On the north-west of the Khlong, another 10mn walk :

bulletThai Thai Hotel (no sign), behind buses to Bangkok or the Airport / Dbl w. shower 200 / Basic not so fresh rooms & ugly setting
bulletNew BJ GH, on the corner of two roads / Dorm (3) 60, Room 120(1) or 150(2) / Go there if you are claustrophobic as the dorm room is huge but rooms are basic, not so clean and not so fresh
bullet® PS GH "managed by English teacher", turn right before the above, at the end of the road / Dbl 120 / Go there for the bright clean rooms, the nice house with terrace overlooking a relaxing garden and the cheapest Dbl / What you may not like : the lack of Sgl
bulletThongchai GH (245210) / Dbl or bungalow w. shower 200, w. AC / Rather ugly setting & small rooms but if you fancy bungalows...
bulletCharlie House (232907), opposite Wat Ratchaburana, next to a busy street / Korean management / Dorm (up to 10) 50, Sgl 120, Dbl 150, Dbl w. AC & view on temple 250 / Go there for the cheapest mattress in town and the view toward the temple from some of the rooms (incl. dorm) / What you may not like : staying in a full dorm, the inside windows of the big yet basic rooms

- A bit more in the south, 20mn walk from Train station :

bullet® Sherwood House (321631) / A small house which boost an English owner and a swimming pool ! / Dbl 250, w. AC 350 / Motorbike or bike B250 or B40 per day / Go there for the clean & fresh rooms and to cool off after a day on the bike / What you may not like : having to share the bathroom with the 4 other rooms, sharing the water with noisy local kids 

Where to eat ? Around the market of course ! There is really no need to patronize KFC... If you do not fancy food stalls, small restaurants behind the small shrine with the elephants' statues serve copious basic dishes for B20-25.

Internet ? The basic rate around town is B1 per minute. Just before New BJ GH on Naresuan Rd, is however half that price, and even for a short time if you ask nicely... South of Si Sanphet Rd before the traffic lights (1km south of TAT Office), Pom Internet offer the same rates but a not as good atmosphere.

Bikes ? Bikes on offer at every corner for around B40 per day or B15 per hour. Opposite the train station, at least two places offer bikes for B30 per day. 

Festivals ? 
- Bang Sai Loi Krathong Festival / Oct or Nov / Float (Krathong) and beauty contests, boat races, handicraft,...
- Ayuthaya World Heritage Site / Oct or Nov / Historical exhibition, cultural processions, light & sound shows and tons of visitors

 << Discover some ruins 

Backpacker's Tips : Andrew Curtis, New Zealand (Oct 08)
« A great place to hire a bike and trip around for a half day or so… and only 25 BHT on 3rd class train from Bangkok. If wanting the bigger ruins, definitely worth the extra time to go further north to Sukhothai. »

Backpacker's Tips : Phil Mines, UK (Fev 05)
« Arriving by train follow the crowd towards the river ferry. Turn right after getting of the ferry head north until you see KFC/Hotel Ayuthaya. Head inland, farang alley is on the right opp bus stn 15m past hotel. No Worries is now Tony's place popular nice wooden building.
Strongly recommend PU (20m back from farang alley on a little soi). Plenty of rooms, various prices some with A/C, TV. Helpful owner and staff. DVD selection. Info on trains and buses posted.
Iudea GH, is closed (or decrepit) but new guest house open overlooking the river just a little way down (no name as yet).
Moon café is a small bar if you need a beer and aircon (also no mosquitoes). Side entrance to Hotel Ayuthaya gives pretty easy access to their pool which therefore was in my price range. »

A day trip to Lopburi ? 

If coming from the North, it may be worth spending a night in Lopburi before heading to Ayuthaya. But if you prefer to tour it as a day trip from Ayuthaya, do not do what I did and you should be fine...

The objective was simple : visit Lopburi's attractions and stop on the way at Wat Phra Phutthabat. But things did not really work out as expected. My first mistake was to leave a bit too late at 8am. The second one to board a bus to Lopburi (B25) without checking whether or not it would pass the Wat (that is go via Saraburi). It did not so I found myself in Lopburi two hours later. I now had no choice but to come back by bus. 

After checking the attractions of the old town (B5 from the bus station), I boarded a bus toward Saraburi and got off at the Wat (B6) after 45 mn, including 15mn of actual driving. The visit completed, I was told to board a bus toward Saraburi (B10) and to change bus there. I reached Saraburi after another 30mn at 16:30. The last bus to Ayuthaya had departed half an hour before. So I took an AC bus toward Bangkok and got off at Vong Ngoi, B20 and 30mn away. There, a bus which had probably participated to a few wars (and lost most of them) was waiting for passengers. We left soon but found ourselves on the other side of the road 10mn later after a dangerous U-turn on the highway (you could use the bridge to cross the road and wait safely on the other side). Due to the bus conditions, the passengers getting off every 20m and the traffic near Ayuthaya, it took us one hour to reach the "local" bus station (B10). Ouf ! So altogether, I spent more time waiting in bus or bus station than actually touring the places !

To avoid this, do as follows : Board a bus to Saraburi early in the morning (first one at 6am). Change for one to Lopburi and get off 29km later at Wat Phra Phuttabat, a nice temple worth the stop but probably not a trip in itself or a bigger detour. Then catch another bus to Lopburi. There, take a songthaew to the old city (B5), visit and finally take the 14:34 train back to Ayuthaya (B13) You will be back at 16:16. 

Leaving Ayuthaya ?

To the airport, you have the choice between minibus (B40, 40mn, from west of the Khlong) AC buses (B28, 1 hour, every 20mn from 4:30 to 19:15 from west of the Khlong) or trains (from B15, 1 hour). 

To Bangkok, minibus go to the Victory Monument (B40, 70mn, from west of the Khlong), AC buses to the North Station (B34) and trains to the central Hualamphong (B15 ordinary to B75 express for about the same 1.5-2 hours)

Buses to localities within the area (Lopburi, Suphanburi,...) leave from the west of the market while buses to the North now leave from "Na Grand" Bus Station, off the island on the east of the train station, in the night life district near the Ayuthaya Grand Hotel (songthaew B5)

Bus schedules :

To Price Class Duration Time Nb Freq.
Saraburi 28 fan 1.5 day a lot 30mn
Lopburi 25 fan 2 day a lot 30mn
Suphanburi 30 fan 1.5 day a lot 30mn
Phitsanulok 120 ac 4.5 7,10:30,13:30 3 na
Sukhothai 148 ac 5.5 7,9,10,10:30,12,13,15,18 7 na
Chiang Mai 255 ac 9 6:30 to 20:50 9 (1)

(1) hour except afternoon

The trip to the Airport : SS / L / B11 / 1 hour / 3rd class
Getting reliable info about the trains' schedules is sometimes as difficult as for the bus. The schedules given to me at Bangkok's station a week before indeed proved wrong and it was obvious that I was annoying the staff at Ayuthaya's station with my strange questions. 
So I waited in line like everybody else 10mn before departure, got my ticket and boarded the first ordinary train. This was the one coming from Ubon and, again, it showed up 10 minutes late.
The train is the cheapest way to reach the airport, but it is certainly not the most comfortable way to travel as it is often packed. This train was no exception. Standing in the alley was not the most relaxing way to appreciate the scenery (nicer on the left) but it certainly prevented me to have a nap and miss it all... 

The trip to Lopburi : see the above story

See also the trip from Kanchanaburi

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