It was an early start by train from Bangkok to Ayutthaya. We booked our train tickets the day before at Bangkok train station. Just in case your confused, they have an office specially designed for tourists to help you organise your travel! Ayutthaya is an ancient capital that used to be one of the largest cities of the world. It was well known for its merchant trade. The city is an island surrounded by rivers, it used to be made up of grand palaces before it was burnt down. We were going to spend the day looking around the old ruins and temples. We had planned to stop here for the day then catch the night train to Chiang Mai.
Our train took about 2-2.5 hours to arrive. We enjoyed the journey looking out the window, watching new train tracks being built and our first experience of life outside of Bangkok. We had researched ahead that there was a left luggage storage facility at the train station. For a small fee, we left our big rucksacks for the day and were to collect them later that night.
On arrival, we were faced with two options: Motorbike or Bicycle. Considering the small size of the city, we decided to hire bicycles for the day. Included with the bike hire was a map of “tourist” locations worthy of a visit. We selected few and decided to follow a big square of the city.
Some of the ruins we visited required a small entrance fee, others were free to visit and walk around. At the more central ruins you’ll find little tourist hotspots. These would have your standard Thai fruit shakes, coconuts to drink, artistic drawings and not forgetting the elephant pants! Or elephant anything! I have to say I did purchase my first pair here!
We stopped off for lunch at the cutest place! It was on the back road of the island away from “tourist” areas. A couple had a turned their home into a small café out front, it had two tables and chairs and a menu written in both Thai and English, which helped us out loads! They appeared very grateful for our custom and they made the yummiest drinks! No idea what was in them! The politeness and friendly nature of this couple made this trip to the island complete.
Upon going back to the train station we cycled on the road. Judging by the looks the locals gave us, I think locals must have thought we were crazy! When the lights changed green it was like a free for all race, us, motorbikes, tuk tuks and the cars. It was fair to say we did pretty good! We managed to stay on our bikes unlike other riders we saw that day!
A rich history and developing modern culture make Ayutthaya a fascinating place to visit.
By the end of the day, we realised that wearing white t-shirts was not the best idea! Cycling around all day we thought our tans were developing pretty good, it wasn’t till later that day we realised we were covered head to toe in orange dust. All that cycling must have kicked up the dust on our way round! I’d definitely recommend cycling over using a scooter to get around! Although a scooter may be quicker and easier, I don’t feel like we would have taken all the culture in that we did with cycling. And plus, cycling was the cheaper option!
Top Tips To Remember
- Book the train the night before
- Carry small change for entrance fees
- Hire a bicycle
- Locate a small family café