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Ayutthaya

Getting there and away

Air

The closest airport to Ayutthaya is Bangkok's Don Muang, serviced by low cost carriers Air Asia and Nok Air. From here, it's a short walk across the main road in front of the airport to Don Muang train station from where you can jump on a train and be in Ayutthaya in just over an hour. Those arriving at Suvarnabhumi Airport could take the free shuttle bus from there to Don Muang airport and make their way to the train station, or connect to any of the options listed below.

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Train

There are more than 30 daily departures from Bangkok's Hualamphong Station to Ayutthaya between 04:20 and 22:25. The trip costs 15 baht for an ordinary third class seat and takes at least two hours. Most of these trains can also be caught at Bang Sue and Don Muang rail stations in northern Bangkok.

In Ayutthaya the train station is located just east of the island on the other side of the river. When exiting the station, cross the road and walk down the soi directly opposite the station to a boat pier at the end. It costs a few baht to take a ferry to U-Thong Road, from where it's a 10-minute walk to the backpacker strip (take a right on U-Thong and then a left on Naresuan Road).

From Ayutthaya, more than 30 daily departures return to Bangkok's Hualamphong station between 02:30 and 21:46.

Train is also a handy option if heading to the north or northeast from Ayutthaya.

Trains depart daily for Ubon Ratchathani at 07:00, 08:30, 17:00, 20:30, 22:00 and 23:50 and make stops at Nakhon Ratchasima and Surin among others. The journey to Ubon takes around 10 hours and costs anywhere from 85 baht for a third class seat up to 760 for an air-con sleeper.

If heading to Nong Khai, three overnight trains depart daily at 20:00, 21:40 and 22:00 and make stops at Khon Kaen and Udon Thani among others. The journey to Nong Khai takes around 12 hours and costs anywhere from 92 baht for a third class seat up to 730 for an air-con sleeper.

If heading to Chiang Mai, trains depart at 09:45, 14:20, 19:45, 21:00 and 23:30 and make stops at Nakhon Sawan and Phitsanulok among others. The journey to Chiang Mai takes around 14 hours and costs anywhere from 110 baht for a third class seat up to 850 for an air-con sleeper.

In Ayutthaya the train station is located to the east of the island. When exiting the station, cross the road and walk down the soi opposite the station to a boat pier at the end. It costs a few baht to take a boat to the opposite bank, from where it is a 10-minute walk to most of the accommodation.

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Bus

Buses run to Ayutthaya from Mo Chit (northern) bus station in Bangkok roughly every 20 minutes from 04:30 to 20:00. The trip takes about two hours and costs 50 baht.

Surprising for a city of its size, Ayutthaya has no central bus station. Air-con buses to Bangkok's Mo Chit station depart from two places. The most commonly used is an area down Naresuan Soi 1 (on the south side of Naresuan Road, across the road from the backpacker strip), from where buses run roughly every 20 minutes between 05:00 and 17:00 and cost 50 baht. Bangkok-bound buses depart a short walk further south from where the local buses and songthaews depart from.

Air-con buses also depart for Bangkok's Mo Chit station from near a 7-eleven further west down Naresuan Road (on the other side of Khlong Makharm canal), just east of the corner of Naresuan and Bang Lan Soi 10. These also cost 50 baht but they run until 19:00.

Orange local buses to Saraburi (30 baht) and Lopburi (45 baht) depart from next to Chao Phrom market near the corner of Naresuan Rd and Naresuan Soi 1 roughly every 20 minutes from 05:00 to 19:00. In Saraburi, it's possible to transfer to buses heading to northeastern destinations like Khon Kaen, Pak Chong (Khao Yai National Park) and Nakhon Ratchasima.

Large songthaews to Bang-Pa-In (costs 20 baht, takes about one hour) also depart regularly throughout the day from the same place as local buses.

There is also a small bus station known locally as Asia Highway station some five kilometres to the east of the island off Route 309 that services northern destinations. You can pay a tuk tuk to take you here, but most northbound travellers purchase tickets from travel offices on the island, which include transport by tuk tuk to the station and end up costing about the same as if going on your own. Shop around at a few travel offices to ensure you're not getting overcharged. Destinations, schedules and fares include:

Chiang Mai: 2nd class air-con departs every one to two hours from 07:30 to 20:50, takes 12 hours and costs 600 baht. 1st class air-con departs at 19:30 and 22:40 and costs 750 baht. 24 seat overnight VIP buses with toilets depart at 21:00 and 22:00, cost 1050 baht and take 10 hours. Be sure to book ahead if you want a VIP bus. All of these buses also service Phitsanulok, Kamphaeng Phet, Lamphun and Lampang.

Chiang Rai: 2nd class air-con departs at 08:00, 08:30, 09:50, 12:30, 16:30, 18:00 and 19:00, costs 700 baht and takes 15 hours. 1st class air-con departs at 07:30, 08:50, 18:30 and 20:30 and costs 850 baht. VIP buses depart at 20:30 and 21:00, cost 1150 baht and take 12 hours.

Sukhothai: 1st and 2nd class air-con departs every one to two hours from 08:45 to 22:30, take seven hours and cost 450 to 600 baht depending on class.

Tak: Air-con buses depart at 09:15, 10:00, 20:15 and 22:00, take eight hours and cost 500 to 600 baht depending on class.

Note that travel offices also offer daily tourist buses to southern destinations like Krabi (800 baht), Phuket (900 baht), Ko Samui (900 baht) Ko Pha Ngan (950 baht) and Ko Chang (650 baht). Fares are all-inclusive and while these are convenient, we have received countless reports of theft and poor service on tourist buses like these.

Minibus (Van)
Minibuses are always air-con and are favoured by many Thais as they're typically faster than regular buses and often go to a wider range of places. However keep in mind that they're more cramped than regular buses and there is little space to stow large luggage.

Minibuses depart regularly every day for Ayutthaya from the area around Victory Monument in Bangkok, near the BTS sky train station of the same name. Several companies depart from different points around the monument but to reach the easiest to find, take exit 4 out of the BTS station, hang a U-turn at the bottom of the stairs and look for the minibuses on the right. From here, vans depart every 30 minutes from 06:00 to 17:00, cost 60 baht and take around two hours (less if there's little traffic and longer during rush hour). A few other companies also run to Ayutthaya from other areas around Victory Monument until as late as 20:00.

In Ayutthaya, minibuses return to the same station at Victory Monument from the north side of Naresuan Road, around the corner from the backpacker strip every day from 05:00 to 18:00 and the cost is 60 baht. A host of other minibuses depart from in front of Sunrise Place shopping plaza a short walk further west down Naresuan Road. Some of these run to Victory Monument while others go to Future Park Rangsit north of Bangkok and still others to Bang Na in south Bangkok. A handful of minibuses also depart from here to northern destinations such as Lopburi and Nakhon Ratchasima.

There are also a range of tourist minibuses that service popular regional destinations. These can be arranged through travel offices and can pick you up right at your guesthouse. Destinations include:

Bangkok (Khao San Road): Departs roughly every hour from 09:00 to 17:00, costs 200 baht and takes around two hours.

Kanchanaburi: Departs at 09:00 and 11:30, costs 400 baht and takes about four hours.

Sukhothai: Departs at 09:00 (and again later if there's enough demand), costs 600 baht and takes about five hours.

Pattaya: Departs roughly every two hours from 06:00 to 17:00, costs 600 baht and takes about five hours.

Hua Hin: Departs at 09:00, costs 800 baht and takes about six hours.

Updates from Travelfish readers

  • When coming from Sukhothai, the bus stoped at a little bus stop along a highway around 7km away from the island. Taxis are waiting there with prices between 250 - 300B. If you cross the highway and walk straight on you will find a big concrete building, follow the path behind the building and cross the next highway again via footbridge. There you will find a bus stop that has regular buses going into the city centre, for 7bath. Leaving you close to backpacker street.

    Update by pinkyetbrain (1)
    Written on 5th April, 2011

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Boat

Offering a more relaxed means of getting to Bangkok, one slow boat departs daily at 12:00 from Ayutthaya and arrives at Bangkok's River City shopping plaza, which is between Chinatown and Silom and a short taxi ride or 15-minute walk from Saphan Taksin BTS sky train station, after a two-hour cruise down the Chao Phraya river. The cost is 1,250 baht and tickets can be arranged through any Ayutthaya travel office.

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Getting Around

The ruins and city are spread out over a large area so you should consider some wheels to make things easier. Bicycles are available just about everywhere, but choose wisely as some places charge 40 baht for new bicycles while others -- especially some guesthouses away from the backpacker strip -- charge 50 baht for rickety old wheels.

Also keep in mind that Ayutthaya's roads, even many around the most popular ruins, can be busy with cars and buses. Use caution when bicycling, or rent a motorbike for 250 baht per day (readily available at the backpacker strip and many guesthouses) if wanting to better blend into the traffic. A motorbike is especially worthwhile if touring the outlying sights to the northwest, south and east of the island.

Otherwise, Ayutthaya has no shortage of motorbike taxis or tuk tuks (they look like frogs around here). Be ready to negotiate a lower fare than what's first offered by tuk tuk drivers as they expect this and typically start with unreasonably high rates. You can also hire a tuk tuk for the day, either by negotiating one yourself or booking a private tour through a travel office.

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