On our 2nd day in Bangkok we decided to take a day trip to Ayutthaya Historical Park a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is an incredible set of ruins, covering a large area. Visiting them was almost an afterthought. How crazy of me. It would be a huge mistake to miss this impressive sight on a visit to Bangkok.
The ancient city of Ayutthaya was the original capital of this region of Thailand, and dates back to 1350 AD. It was razed by the Burmese in the 1700’s, leaving behind a wealth of interesting ruins. Ayutthaya is located 85 km north of modern Bangkok, and can be reached via auto, bus, river boat (on the Chao Phraya river) or train. We chose to take the train from the main (Hua Lamphong) Bangkok train station.
This was a convenient way to go since we were planning to take the overnight train to Chiang Mai that evening, and we just stored our bags at the train station during our day trip.
It was about a 1.5-hour journey to the town of Ayutthaya.
Once you exit the small train station, you then take a little boat across the river to the ancient ruins.
I highly recommend a visit to Ayutthaya – the old temples, palaces and other structures are massive and interesting to visit. We were able to visit 4 major groupings in about 4 hours.
The ruins are spread out, in groupings scattered over a large area and require some sort of transportation to visit – walking would be impractical from site to site, especially in the heat. All kinds of transportation rentals are available, from bicycles, to tuk tuks (motorized rickshaws), to mopeds. Or, you can arrange a day bus tour from Bangkok. Once we crossed the river, we rented mopeds and had a blast zipping from one site to another.
Since our visit fell on December 31st, the ruins were open for free. Otherwise, there is an entrance fee to each location.
Our moped rental company provided us with a map of the major sites and suggested a route to follow. There are signs in English at each location giving a short history and explanation.