It's easy go to Ayuthaya from BKK. Just go to Northern Terminal in BKK: here start a lot of buses going to north (Chiang Mai, Sukhotai, Phitsanaluke) that stop in Ayuthaya. The lenght of trip is about one hour and half.
Drive north towards Ang Thong or Singburu or Nakhon Sawan. You may go there from BKK downtown by 1 or 31 (Don Muang), then 1 then 32. It's a easy drive and you spend about one hour if there is no trafic jam. Some days (weekends) and in certain hours (early in the morning and 4 - 5 p.m.) the traffic is very intense and the drive dangerous and very slow. I recommend a car that let you see all the temples outside the town and free movement from hotel to inner town.
You may go from BKK to Ayuthaya by boat starting from the pier just south of Royal Orchid Sheraton or under Taksin Bridge that lies at the end of skytrain line. You may also book a tour starting from BKK : usually they offer a bus trip up to Ayuthaya and a river cruise down, or viceversa. The first option is good if you want go around freely, but needs more time.
as of May 9, 2008
Upon arriving in Joggarat Bus Station, I walked a few meters westward, and found a restaurant that rents out bicycles and motorbikes.
Motorbikes can be rented for 250 baht, and you have to pay for your own fuel. I just rented a bike for 50baht.
As of May 9, 2008
I decided to go to Ayutthaya on a whim.
I took the BTS from Victory Monument going to Mo Chit. When I got off the station, I took a taxi to Mo Chit Bus Terminal.
From the terminal, I inquired about the bus ride from the ticket counter. Then I was told to just proceed to platform 113. I boarded the 12:45nn aircon bus and paid 50baht. The whole ride took about an hour and 45minutes because of the many stopovers.
I left Ayutthaya at around 6:15pm, paid the same fare, and arrived in Bangkok at almost 8:30pm because of the heavy traffic.
I took the one day tour from Bangkok, we left the city by bus, returning by boat in a cool cruise in the Chao Phraya river. A great buffet of thai food was given inside the boat. Maybe a couple of days are needed if you want to see more of this great ancient city. But if you´re in a hurry this tour is a good option.
trains have frequent trips to Ayutthaya. I took the 7:30am trip ordinary class for 20 baht (suppose to be less but it is peak season, the prices to all destinations went up) and it took 1.5 hours of travel. The train was delayd almost 1 hour though.
Go and buy ticket at hualampong train station. No reservations needed
We travelled from Ayuthaya to Bangkok by 3rd class train. It was a perfect way to go and like stepping back in time . You sit on simple wooden seats and the windows are open , so you can watch the sites going by. People still wave at trains!!
The best part was it was 11bht for two people!!
The fastest way to get there is by road. And the cheapest price is by public minivan.
You can get to the Victory monument and find the minivan station for Ayutthaya.
It's only 60 Baht/person. It takes 1.15 hours. to get there.
The ruins of Ayutthaya are spread all over the island. It would be rather daunting to try to get to each of them on foot, especially on a hot, dusty & humid day, which are plenty!
The best way is to hire a Tuk-Tuk on a hourly-charge. The good thing is - the rates are regulated. It's 200 Bahts for 1 hour worth of time. When you get down the train, assuming you arrive in Ayutthaya via the train, look for a green colour board on the left side, listing down the official prices for getting to any particular sights. Next to this green board, is another board, listing down all the officially sanctioned Tuk-Tuk drivers.
Don't worry about getting one - the drivers always knew how to sniff out a potential customer!
You can certainly bargain when you intend to hire the driver for longer hours. It make sense to!! Also, do try to arrive in Ayutthaya with the names of some of the places you already knew you wanted to go and have a look. That'll save you the comfounded and lost expression when the driver rattle off a list of confusing names.
First & foremost, my thanks to fellow VTer leffe3 for his posted advices.
I made my way to Ayutthaya via train from Hualamphong Train Station. I grabbed the Rapid Train, in an air-conned compartment, which cost me 245 Bts 1-way (circa Jul 2006). (There are cheaper multi-stops, no air-conned services for 20 Bts) The journey takes about 1.5 hrs and Ayutthaya was the next major stop after Bangkok (I said that because the train did make some quick stops along the way). The ticket conductor actually announced the pending arrival of the train into Ayutthaya.
The seat was comfortable but I hated that the windows were blurred out. It was so difficult trying to see the scenaries! (Note to the Thai railway authorities: travellers accept that cows are blurry; but you needn't do that for us)
The train back into Bangkok was delayed by 1 hr. Check the printed daily schedule. (WARNING: The ticket booth in Ayutthaya Train Station only sells tickets 20 mins BEFORE the arrival of train. No advanced booking here, said a very gruff station staff and sauntered off) I decided to go for Plan B since I have a standing appointment back in the city.
From Ayutthaya Train Station, I walked straight ahead for 10 mins and caught a (Pa Sak) river crossing for 3 Bts. Upon hitting the other side of the river, I more or less walked straight (you know you are on the right track when you walk past the purplish exterior of the Siam Commercial Bank) for the next 20 mins till I hit the Bangkok-bound Bus "Terminal" along Naresuan Road. Paid 50 Bts for the 1.5hrs+ journey in an air-conned coach. The bus (service 99) does pick up customers along the way, alternating between stops and express sectors.
The bus ends at the Northern and Northeastern (Mochit) Bus Terminal near Chatuchak Market. Grab a taxi here all the way back into the city.
We hired a minibus (they seem to use this term loosely), which is a modified tuk-tuk to take us around for 200baht/hr. If you have more people, you can share out the cost. The tuk-tuk can take about 6 people. We paid 600 for 3hrs, and in that 3 hrs we covered around 4-5 sites. I don't recommend using a bicycle or walking, coz it's quite a far way off the main town and the roads are long, dusty and hot. You don't want to get heatstroke.
We took the BTS to Victory Monument station. From there, a minibus (or referred to as tuk-tuk?) got us to Ayutthaya in 55 minutes for 50 baht. The aircon doesn't seem to work, so it's a hot trip there. Alternatively, you can take a normal bus at the Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit) to Ayutthaya in 1.5hr for 45baht. The aircon for the buses work. but be warned, Mo Chit is a huge station, so it may be a little difficult in finding the counter to buy the tickets
This is a flat city with loads of ruins not far from budget accomodation, cheap bikes to rent (about 30 baht) per day and not a lot of traffic. Do you need another reason not to get on your biike and go see some fabulous ruins?!?!
The best way to visit Ayuthaya is on an organised tour which you will easily find details of at most hostels and guesthouses in Bangkok. I normally avoid organised tours but we had heard that it was difficult to get around Ayuthaya independently. As we only really had one day to spare to see Ayuthaya, we thought it would be OK as a compromise. The deal worked out very cheap and we were pleasantly surprised. We found they gave us plenty of time to see each of the best site thoroughly and we did not feel rushed.