Are you thinking of going on a day trip to Ayutthaya? Don’t think twice, do it. The historic city of Ayutthaya – Thailand, once the reigning Ayutthaya Kingdom, houses magnificent temple ruins, a fascinating mix of cultures and delicious food.
You have two options: one is to plan an Ayutthaya day trip from Bangkok, and the second is to organize a 2 or 3 days trip to Ayutthaya. It doesn’t matter which option you choose, here is a list of 20 unmissable things to do in Ayutthaya that you must add to your itinerary.
We divided the list of what to do in Ayutthaya by topics like temples, food, and markets, so you can pick the best of the best to add to your Ayutthaya day trip or multiple days itineraries.
After the attractions, you will find information about the best tours in Ayutthaya and day tours from Bangkok. Also, a guide to the best places to stay in Ayutthaya and how to get there.
The must-see temples in Ayutthaya Historical Park
1 – Explore Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon (Great Monastery of Auspicious Victory)
This Buddhist temple in Ayutthaya is famous for its enormous, beautiful main chedi and reclining Buddha statue image. It was one of the most important temples of its time, and the complex is truly impressive. You can dive even deeper into its rich history and join the locals in their prayers, making your day trip to Ayutthaya a memorable one.
- Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon opening hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- Entrance fee: 20 Baht
2 – See one of the finest prangs at Wat Chaiwatthanaram
Considered as one of the most photogenic temples of Ayutthaya, Wat Chaiwatthanaram is a lovely sight rising from the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. One of the best ways to see it is from a boat tour that goes around the three rivers surrounding the main Ayutthaya island.
On the site itself, you’ll find a towering Khmer-style central prang and eight smaller chedis surrounding it. The chedis also have remnants of paintings depicting the Buddha’s life. It is an unmissable temple in Ayutthaya.
- Wat Chaiwatthanaram opening hours: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
- Entrance fee: 50 Baht
3 – Wat Ratchaburana
Located on the Ayutthaya island and part of the Ayutthaya Historical Park, the temple has one of the most beautiful main prang or central towers in the park. There are also elegant carvings and sculptures of mythical animals on the site. A crypt on the east side also held many relics, which are now on display at the Chao Phraya National Museum. The temple also has a heart-breaking story behind it, which I won’t spoil, but it’s worth walking through its history.
- Wat Ratchaburana opening hours: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
- Entrance fee: 50 Baht
4 – Wat Phanan Choeng
If you can only see one grand Buddha image during your Ayutthaya day trip, make sure to visit the image at Wat Phanan Choeng. The gilded Buddha statue image stands at an incredible 19 meters inside a temple built in 1324, before the founding of Ayutthaya Kingdom. It has a long and fascinating history that you can learn all about during a tour there.
- Wat Phanan Choeng opening hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- Entrance fee: 20 Baht
5 – Wat Mahathat
What are the chances that the head of a Buddha statue would be found wrapped in a Bodhi tree? This is the fantastic sight you will see at Wat Mahathat, one of the must-visit temples in Ayutthaya. The temple itself is also impressive, with many elegant Khmer-style towers. Back in the Ayutthaya Kingdom, the temple was also an important center of Buddhism, housing many precious relics found during later excavations.
- Wat Mahathat opening hours: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
- Entrance fee: 50 Baht
6 – Bang Pa-In Palace
Fun fact about Ayutthaya, back in the day, many foreigners from far lived, did business, and worked as officials in the royal palace. If you’re looking for a symbol to represent this diverse mix of cultures, find it at Bang Pa-In Palace. The architecture is a fascinating array of Thai, Chinese, and European styles. You’ll discover Wat Niwet Thammaprawat, a Buddhist temple built in a gothic revival style, especially striking.
- Bang Pa-In Palace opening hours: 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
- Entrance fee: 100 Baht
7 – Wat Phra Si Sanphet
So beautiful is the architecture of this temple that the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew), built later in Bangkok, was modeled after it. The most striking features here are the three grand stupas which hold the ashes of three Ayutthaya kings. Constructed in 1448, it was a royal monastery of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, which held many important ceremonies of that time.
- Wat Phra Si Sanphet opening hours: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
- Entrance fee: 50 Baht
8 – Wat Lokayasutharam
Nearby Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Lokayasutharam is an impressive and essential place for locals to pay their respects to the Buddha. There, you’ll find an enormous reclining Buddha image statue depicting the Buddha at the time of his death and entering Nirvana, the revered state of nothingness after death central to Buddhism.
- Opening hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- Entrance fee: Free to enter
Learn about the history of Ayutthaya temples with a local guide. Find the best day trips to Ayutthaya here.
Ayutthaya’s delicious and diverse signature food
Before we start talking about the delicious food you must try, let me give you a pro tip that can help you save money on your Ayutthaya trip.
9 – Savor the succulent Grilled Giant River Prawns
The sight and smell will make your mouth water in seconds! Goong Pao is simply a can’t-miss once you’re visiting Ayutthaya. The prawns are sliced in half and then grilled on the shell side. The yellow and orange oil is just as tasty as it looks.
10 – Slurp the tasty Boat Noodles
Called Kuay Teow Ruea in Thai, the Boat Noodles are part of locals’ life since the flourishing of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. The tradition began with Chinese boat vendors selling rice noodles in a thick pork broth and roasted pig’s blood. You can find restaurants in Ayutthaya selling these Boat Noodles, so be sure to give it a try!
11 – Try making Roti Sai Mai
You’ve seen cotton candy. Now get ready for candy strings. Wrapped in the tasty Indian flatbread Roti, the ‘Sai Mai’ or ‘Silk rope’ is the thin sugary threads that come in different colors. You can find vendors selling this snack, try it, and make sure to see how they make it.
Hungry for Ayutthaya’s best local food? Book your food tour in Ayutthaya or Bangkok to Ayutthaya day trips here. Giant prawns, noodles, and candies are on the menu.
Spice up your Ayutthaya day trip with local markets
12 – Explore Ayutthaya Floating Market
Floating markets in Bangkok are well-known, but you might also be surprised to find that Ayutthaya has a floating market too. Though it’s more geared toward tourists, there are still loads of local food treasures to taste, and going with a local from Ayutthaya is your best bet to find them.
13 – Bend low at Gong Khong Market
If you’re looking for an authentic market in Ayutthaya, go to Gong Khong Market. Its name means ‘Bend low’ and this is because the goods on sale are placed on lower tables that you need to bend closer to see. There, you’ll find plenty of organic fruits and vegetables, local snacks, wooden and clay handicrafts that you can buy as souvenirs.
14 – Have a lively night at Bang Lan Night Market
If you’re staying in Ayutthaya for more than a day, don’t miss Bang Lan Night Market for a relaxing evening and local dinner. Ayutthaya night market is on the Bang Lan Road that’s nearby Wat Mahathat, which you can quickly get to from the center of town. You’ll find tons of local food, as well as clothes and gadgets. The market is open from 5 to 10 pm every evening.
15 – Chill out at Ayutthaya Weekend Night Market
Open every Friday to Sunday from 5 to 10 pm, the Ayutthaya Night Market or Krung Si Night Market is a pleasant area to walk around. The market has lovely orange lights in bowl-shaped lamps hanging from the trees, which reflect beautifully in the pond lining the market. Grab a seat at one of the bamboo tables and chomp down some tasty local food while enjoying the scenery.
More things to do in Ayutthaya and around
16 – Visit Ayutthaya Historical Study Center
If you’re curious about Ayutthaya’s history with the Europeans and worldwide throughout the centuries, this is where you can get the big picture. It’s a great way to fill in the gaps of what remains of Ayutthaya today and imagine its former grandeur.
- Opening hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
- Entrance fee: 100 Baht
17 – See protected artifacts at Chao Sam Phraya National Museum
If you want to see the relics of Wat Ratchaburana and Wat Mahathat, the museum is where they are kept safe from looting. Other precious artifacts found and excavated from the Ayutthaya Historical Park are also displayed there.
- Opening hours: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
- Entrance fee: 150 Baht
18 – Visit a shrimp farm and cook Thai food in Suphan Buri
Suphan Buri is a short drive away from Ayutthaya, and there you can experience shrimp farming and Thai cooking at a local’s home. Mai is a local expert of Suphan Buri, she knows the region, including Ayutthaya and its temples. After temple-hopping, visit her home and family to see how farmers catch shrimps and try it yourself! You’ll also learn how to cook a Tom Yum Kung, one of Thailand’s most famous dishes.
19 – See the Biggest Buddha in Thailand in Ang Thong
Another nearby city is Ang Thong, which houses the biggest Buddha statue in all of Thailand, and the 7th largest in the world. The statue is in Wat Muang and if you plan well can add it to your one day trip to Ayutthaya, exploring the best of the ancient city and its surrounding.
20 – Go cave exploring at Saraburi
After visiting the temples of Ayutthaya, head to Saraburi, where you’ll be able to explore a beautiful cave named ‘Fish Pond Cave’. Saraburi also has one of the most revered temples in Thailand called Wat Phra Phutthabat, which is believed to hold the footprints of the Buddha. Confused? Intrigued? Hear it from a local of Saraburi about the ancient tales behind this belief.
Now that you know the 20 top things to do in Ayutthaya and around, let’s talk about travel tips. It doesn’t matter if you are planning an Ayutthaya day trip or a weekend getaway, below you will find suggestions of the best hotels in Ayutthaya and how to get there.
Where to stay in Ayutthaya, Thailand
You already know there’s a lot to do in Ayutthaya, and likewise, there are lots of accommodation options to make one go nuts. But before you open many tabs in your navigator and start to feel a little dizzy, take a look at the selection we’ve prepared below. Here are the best hotels and hostels in Ayutthaya for any traveler and budget.
By the river, in the heart of the city and right across the famous Wat Phutthaisawan temple, sits one of the best hotels in Ayutthaya. Named as Sala Ayutthaya, this boutique hotel is pretty stylish and somewhat irresistible. It has 26 guest rooms & suites, including a 2-level riverfront duplex and one-bedroom pool suite – pure luxury! There’s also an outdoor pool and a restaurant overlooking the water and temple. All set for a memorable stay in Ayutthaya.
Baan Thai House
For comfortable and peaceful accommodation in Ayutthaya, you can stay at Baan Thai House, located 100m from Ayutthaya floating market. They have 12 individual villas/bungalows sitting on a tropical garden, an excellent pool, and free bike rentals. If you want to stay in, this little oasis offers a highly recommended massage, plus a bar and a restaurant serving local and Western dishes.
Excellent value for your stay in Ayutthaya. The Baan Tebpitak offers authentic Thai hospitality, which is particularly praised by its guests. It is close to the tourist area and city center, not far away from Ayutthaya train station. You can use their bicycles to roam around and come back to rest in one of their cozy and quiet rooms.
For budget travelers or people who want to socialize, we are bringing three of the best hostels in Ayutthaya so you can choose the perfect match for you. We can tell you upfront that they are all neat, well located, have clean and nice rooms, friendly staff, and warm atmospheres.
How to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok
Ayutthaya’s distance from Bangkok is 85.8km. The former capital of Thailand is just an hour away from Bangkok, which makes it the perfect destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway.
There are several ways to travel from Bangkok to Ayutthaya: day tours, minivan, bus, train, or car.
Getting from Bangkok to Ayutthaya is easy. Among the options, go for the train in case you’re looking for a more scenic trip.
The train from Bangkok to Ayutthaya takes about 2h and leaves from Hua Lamphong Station approximately every hour, from 4 AM until midnight. The train to Ayutthaya can be a little slow, but it’s cheap, and you get to enjoy the lovely view on the way.
The minivan is also a cheap way to get from Bangkok to Ayutthaya. Go to the Mo Chit Bus Terminal, from where the minivans depart every 30 minutes, from early in the morning until the end of the afternoon. The trip takes around one hour and a half – that can be a bit stretched during rush hour. Watch out for your luggage, since the storage space in this option can be limited.
Another convenient way is to get a public bus, with frequent departures from Bangkok’s station. Bear in mind they will probably not be so comfortable, and you will have many stops along the way.
If you want a hassle-free trip to Ayutthaya, the best option is to book a private tour or day experience that includes transportation, guide, and in some cases, even food. Love and Road has done many local tours with TakeMeTour, check here their experience in Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Kanchanaburi, Phuket, and Hat Yai.
For getting around Ayutthaya, bicycles and tuk-tuks are the most popular options as it’s so spread out and challenging to do it on foot. You will probably want to hop on some wheels to save your legs to explore Ayutthaya Historical Park.
You’ll find tuk-tuk drivers, especially near the bus and train stations. In some can sit up to six people, making this a good choice for groups. Remember to always negotiate your fare (usually a couple of hundred baht per hour) in advance.
Renting a bicycle is undoubtedly cheaper (between 50 and 100 baht per day).
Don’t forget your Travel Insurance! You don’t want anything to ruin your trip, right? So don’t take the risk! Reliable travel insurance can help you in case of travel issues, from accidents to health problems, travel delays, and lost luggage.
Are you ready to visit the best attractions in Ayutthaya? Let us know in the comments below where you’re excited to go or if you have any doubts about the destination.
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Author: Sorita Heng is a writer at TakeMeTour who loves to travel whenever she gets the chance. Other things she loves doing in her free time include reading, finding her new favorite tea and the occasional walk at the park.