Surrounded by three major rivers and intersected by a network of canals, Ayutthaya is a great place to do some boating.
Practically every travel office can arrange boat tours, or you can head to the pier on your own.
Undertaken by noisy longtail boats, the most popular tour starts every late afternoon and costs 200 baht per person, with stops at Wat Phutthaisawan, Wat Chaiwatthanaram and Wat Phanan Choeng. This isn’t a bad option if you want to see a few of the best outlying temples without making the effort to reach them on your own. Just keep in mind that the boat drivers and travel agents try to gather as many customers together as possible and the service can be rough.
Longtail boats can also be arranged independently by heading down to the pier at the northeast corner of the island near Hua Ro Market, where you’ll pay 500 to 1,000 baht for an hour, depending on your haggling skills. Arranging a boat on your own will give you the flexibility to hit whichever of the riverside sites you want. While most stick to the big sites mentioned above, another option would be to hit all three of the foreign settlement museums -- Dutch, Japanese and Portuguese -- set along the Chao Phraya to the south of town.
Dinner cruises and longer boat rides are also available, though these are most often booked in Bangkok and some only go as far as Bang Pa-In. If arranging an “Ayutthaya to Bangkok” boat ride through a travel agent, there’s a good chance that you’ll be put on a minibus down to Bang Pa-In to catch the boat.
While we haven’t tried them out yet, a tour company called Ayutthaya Boat and Travel appears to be a good option for a wider range of boat tours within Ayutthaya, including kayaking and tours that mix boating and biking.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 28th February, 2016.