Ayutthaya, located in central Thailand, is a historical city that was once the capital of the Kingdom of Siam. It is known for its well-preserved temples and ruins, making it a popular destination for backpackers and history enthusiasts alike. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive backpacking itinerary for exploring Ayutthaya, including the must-see sights and activities, as well as tips for budget-friendly travel.
Getting to Ayutthaya
The easiest way to reach Ayutthaya is by train from Bangkok. The journey takes around 1.5 hours and tickets can be purchased at any train station in Bangkok. Alternatively, you can also take a bus or minivan from the Northern Bus Terminal in Bangkok, which takes around 2 hours.
Where to Stay in Ayutthaya
There are a variety of accommodation options in Ayutthaya, from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury resorts. For backpackers, we recommend staying in one of the guesthouses located near the train station, as they are conveniently located and offer clean, comfortable rooms at a reasonable price.
Exploring the Historical Park
The highlight of any visit to Ayutthaya is exploring the Historical Park, which is home to numerous temples and ruins. The park can be visited on foot, by bicycle, or by boat. We recommend renting a bicycle for the day as it is a convenient and budget-friendly way to get around.
Must-See Temples and Ruins
- Wat Phra Si Sanphet: This temple was once the royal temple of the Ayutthaya Kingdom and is known for its large, golden chedi.
- Wat Mahathat: This temple is known for its iconic Buddha head that is entwined in the roots of a tree.
- Wat Ratchaburana: This temple is known for its well-preserved murals and is a must-see for art and history enthusiasts.
- Wat Phra Ram: This temple is known for its large seated Buddha statue and is a popular spot for taking photographs.
- Visit the Ayutthaya Floating Market: This market is located on the outskirts of the city and offers a unique way to experience Thai culture.
- Take a sunset cruise on the Chao Phraya River: This is a great way to relax and see the city from a different perspective.
What is the best way to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok?
The best way to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok is by train. The train journey takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes and departs from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong train station. Alternatively, you can also take a bus from the Mo Chit Bus Terminal in Bangkok, which takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Where is the best place to stay in Ayutthaya for backpackers?
The best place for backpackers to stay in Ayutthaya is in the city center, near the train station. There are many budget-friendly guesthouses and hostels in this area, and it is also close to many of the main temples and ruins.
How can I get around the Historical Park in Ayutthaya?
The best way to get around the Historical Park in Ayutthaya is by bicycle or tuk-tuk. Bicycle rentals are available near the train station and the cost is around 100-150 baht per day. Tuk-tuks can also be hired for a tour of the temples and ruins, and the cost will depend on the distance and duration of the tour.
What are some must-see temples and ruins in Ayutthaya?
Some must-see temples and ruins in Ayutthaya include Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Mahathat, and Wat Ratchaburana. Wat Phra Si Sanphet is the most important temple in the city, and Wat Mahathat is famous for the stone Buddha head entwined in the roots of a tree. Wat Ratchaburana is another important temple with impressive brick and stucco architecture.
Can you recommend any additional activities for tourists visiting Ayutthaya?
There are many additional activities for tourists visiting Ayutthaya, such as visiting the Ayutthaya Historical Study Center, where you can learn about the history of the city and see artifacts and exhibits. Another popular activity is taking a boat trip along the Chao Phraya River to see the temples and ruins from a different perspective.
Are there any budget-friendly options for eating in Ayutthaya?
There are many budget-friendly options for eating in Ayutthaya. Street food vendors and local food stalls in the city center offer a variety of Thai dishes at affordable prices. There are also many local restaurants that serve traditional Thai food at reasonable prices.
Are there any festivals or events taking place in Ayutthaya during my visit?
It depends on the time of your visit. You can check the tourist office or local newspapers for information on festivals and events taking place in Ayutthaya during your visit.
How long should I plan to spend in Ayutthaya?
You should plan to spend at least one full day in Ayutthaya to see the main temples and ruins. However, if you want to see more of the city and take part in additional activities, you should plan to spend two or three days in Ayutthaya.
Are there any guided tours available in Ayutthaya?
Yes, there are many guided tours available in Ayutthaya. You can book a tour through a local travel agency or through your hotel. Guided tours are a great way to learn more about the history and culture of the city.