We have 5 days after leaving Bangkok before reaching Chiang Mai. I realize we can't do too much in that time, but I'd like to get some opinions.
To those of you who have been to KANCHANBURI+ERAWAN FALLS - AYUTHAYA - SUKHOTHAI and LAMPANG ELEPHANT CAMP which would be on your not to miss list.
If it came down to AYUTHAYA or SUKHOTHAI which is more impressive?
Thank you for any help and feedback.
#1 RACER283 has been a member since 3/9/2007. Posts: 10
Hi Racer, for sheer size and layout I believe Sukothai to be more spectacular than Ayutthya. it also has the advantage of hiring bicycles to spend the day exploring this UNESCO listed site. Having said that if you are short of time,Ayutthya is a great city 2 hrs nth of Bangkok with plenty of historical sites to see and a good feel. Minibuses can be got from Victory monument in Bangkok with can accessed via Skytrain. Also on the outskirts of Ayutthya is a place called Elephantstay were I have stayed for three days,feeding washing cleaning up riding of the old retired elephants.Very rewarding experience great people.Therefore you do both things in Ayutthya.Hope this helps.
I agree with Swag that Sukothai's size and layout are spectacular, and by hiring a bike, you can really stretch out and explore the ruins, often feeling like you have the entire place to yourself.
Ayuttaya, on the other hand, always seemed to me to be in better shape and appear more similar to how it must have looked during its golden era. Some of the more out of the way temples along the river are fantastic, particularly in the late afternoon after the days tours from Bangkok have departed and the setting sun beautifully highlights the stone ruins. I also love how the Ayuttaya temples look when lit at night.
If you really have to make a choice between Ayuttaya and Sukothai, perhaps you can at least stop through Ayuttaya on your way up north to get a flavor of the place. You can easily do that by taking a bus or minibus from Kanchanaburi to Ayuttaya to tour the ruins there before continuing on to Phitsanulok and Sukothai. One nice thing about Ayuttaya is that you can get a good feel for the UNESCO area of the city (the modern city of Ayuttaya isn't really much to write home about) in just a few hours.
I hope that helps. Regards.
Many thanks to Swag and Exacto....
We had wanted to see the Kanchanburi area but wondered about the ease of getting to Ayuthaya from there especially wth our short schedule. Exacto have you any idea what a mini-bus might charge for such a trip? Thank you once again.
#4 RACER283 has been a member since 3/9/2007. Posts: 10
It seems that the last time I was in Kanchanaburi there was a tourist minibus that went directly to Ayutthaya for a somewhat steep 350 baht per person. The other bummer is that it didn't necessarily go everyday. Of course, we were there during the off season too, so it is possible that it goes every day in season (and that there is a better price due to competition at that time as well).
The advantage of the minibus is ease of travel, particularly since they typically pick you up at your guesthouse. However, if the minibus is too expensive or isn't running on the day you need, you can always take the regular bus to Ayutthaya from the bus station in Kanchanaburi. The route as I recall is to first catch a bus to Suphanburi, then transfer to Ayutthaya.
Alternatively, you can always just head back into Bangkok and then up to Ayutthaya from there. It takes a bit longer, but isn't obscenely out of the way or anything. Cheers.
You could easily have two days in Kan, two days in Ayutthaya with a day spare for whatever takes your fancy then head off to Chiang Mai overnight. If you want to see so-called golden era ruins but without the crowds that plague Ayutthaya and Sukhothai check out Kamphaeng Phet.
#6 Guernseystu has been a member since 10/7/2007. Posts: 108
We loved Kanchanaburi (we were there with 5 kids so our itinerary was selective). We enjoyed particularly Erewan Waterfall and the Tiger Temple but for us the most moving was a visit to Hellfire Pass and the wonderful museum they have there. I suspect being Aussies and knowing soem of the people who worked on Hellfire Pass gives it more meaning for us but in our belief it is not to be missed. We went via Toi's tours, will do Hellfire pass seperately from a tour group next time - not enough time for us there.
We also really liked the side by side Chinese and Thai style temples to the south of town - this was near the end of four weeks in thailand and we weren't templed out at all when we got to them.
We didn't do ayyuthaya or sukothai (next trip) so can't make a comment on them.
If you are looking for an elephant experience can't reccomend Elephant Nature Park enough - except if you are into trekking on elephants in a way which is cruel to the elephant, then you are probably better off going elsewhere. We had a great day there (north of Chiang Mai).
#7 nodnrocket has been a member since 19/8/2007. Posts: 1
Thanks Guernseystu and Nodnrocket for the additional info.
#8 RACER283 has been a member since 3/9/2007. Posts: 10
You can do a single day tour to Ayuthaya one day and on another day do a single day tour to River Kwai. You can make arrangements for these day tours (overnight tours available too) from the nearest travel agent. The travel agents act as tour brokers. The tour company picks you up at your hotel in Bangkok and returns you there at the end of the tour.
Other tours available such as Floating Market tours, Crocodile Farms, Safari World and combo tours. Often you can sign up for a tour the night before and leave in the morning. Sometimes you can sign up early in the morning for an afternoon tour that same day.