We are taking the overnight train from BKK to CM but were thinking it might be nice to see either Ayutthaya or Lopburi on the way. Is it possible to get a train to either of these places in the morning and then jump on the overnight train to CM when it passes through?
More importantly, how does the fare work? Do we just buy one ticket that takes us on both or do we need to buy two seperate tickets? If we buy two seperate tickets will we still have to pay the full journey on the overnight? When looking on the State Rail website it only appears to offer the one price?
You can jump off and spend a day in Ayutthya and Lopburi, though Ayutthaya is really worth an overnight stop, while you can see most of what Lopburi has to offer in a few hours.
So you could do something like train to Ayutthya, do an overnight stay, then jump on a morning train to Lopburi, leave your luggage at the station and explore Lopburi then jump back on a night train heading north to Chiang Mai.
You'll need separate tickets for each leg, and while the fares displayed on the SRT site are all ex-Bangkok, you can get tickets just for the legs. What you'd need to do is buy a Bangkok to Ayutthaya ticket, an Ayutthaya to Lopburi ticket and a Lopburi to Chiang Mai one. It's worth noting that the only leg you really need to think about booking in advance for is the last leg as the other two will be daytime legs, so you can just go 3rd or 2nd class without worrying about sleepers.
Hope that helps
That is great! Unfortunately I dont have time for an overnight stay as we only have 3 nights in Bangkok then 6 nights in Chiang Mai (and one night in between!). Because we are going in December thought it was best to have a bit of structure... too worried I wouldnt get great accommodation!
Which one would you recommend for a short day? I am thinking my 13yo son will love the monkeys in Lopburi?!
That makes sense about the train pricing, which I assumed would be the case but I just wasnt sure! Can I book the Lopburi to CM from Bangkok? Silly question probably... but just in case!
If it wasn't for the monkey bonus in Lopburi, I'd say Ayutthaya -- just because there is soo much more to see. You can do elephant rides to some of the temples which may be a thrill for your son (though you'll be able to do that in Chiang Mai as well). There is also an elephant rehab project in Ayutthaya -- I've not seen the place myself, but it may be of interest -- you can see more here: Elephant Stay
Monkeys aside, you'll need about 3 hours at a comfortable pace to see all the main ruins in Lopburi, so if you've got limited time it may be the better choice.
Yes you can book all your tickets in Bangkok.
Buddha and temple studded hills, small farming and weaving villages, and beautiful countryside outside of Lopburi (on the way to Ban Mi). Ayuthaya for temples and Buddhas galore in a fairly compact area. But Lopburi may be better considering you'll have a 13 year old. There you've got the historical sites, as well as the monkeys, and not as many people visit. There's also a great old market, and it will make for a shorter trip to Chiangmai. Ayuthaya is only an hour north of Bangkok (if you go by train ... by bus, if there's traffic, could take much longer).
check the overnight train times before you make any firm decisions. it seems to me that the train we took from bangkok to chiang mai arrived in ayutthaya just after 9 pm (2100), and didn't get to lop buri until well after 10 pm. i think there are earlier trains too, but i suspect you'll want to figure this into your plans, since hanging out for hours waiting for your train to arrive is no fun with a 13-year-old in tow.
as for me, i'd vote for ayutthaya over lop buri. the ruins in lop buri are good, but ayutthaya is better, and you'll have a lot of time to kill in lop buri after the sites close up waiting for the train to arrive. ayutthaya does have some fun, if not a bit pricey, elephant rides out in the historical area, and the 4 pm boat trip around the island is very nice.
if you do make the day stop in either place, getting a day room will give you a place to drop your stuff, rest, and clean up before the train arrives.
either place is a good choice. and while i personally prefer ayutthaya, you won't go wrong with either option. have a great time.