Ayutthaya is not too far from Bangkok and surely is a beautiful (and affordable) day trip to organise if you are in the Capital.
How did I discover Ayutthaya?
Sometimes, during my researches pre-departure, I fall in love with pictures of places and details that make me choose some itineraries for my travels… That’s what happened with Ayutthaya!
I fell in love with the Buddha’s face, minutely carved in the roots of a tree.
I was surprised that the Northern Thailand guidebook by the Lonely Planet, bought previously, did not mention Ayutthaya. I just started seeking online and on the social networks, where I find most of the information.
I could not find detailed information explaining how to get there by public transportations.
It is easier to book an organized tour trip leaving from Bangkok, for 50$ per person.
But, as it always happens, after numerous and accurate researches, I decided to organize the visit differently: by myself and following “my way” style.
I decided to write this post to give you more detailed information about how to get to Ayutthaya leaving from Bangkok, by minivan and spending about €4.40 per person (round trip and taxi included!) I challenge you to find a cheaper solution! If you do, please share it with me 😉
The exact location where you take the minivan to Ayutthaya is at the Victory Monument roundabout.
A taxi from our accommodation (10 minutes from Khao San Road) dropped us off at the roundabout and it cost us about 80 baht (€2).
A cheaper option to reach Victory Monument is to take the BTS Skytrain (elevated railway) getting off at Victory Monument BTS Station at a cost between 15/52 baht depending on the station of departure.
Notice: the train stop is on BTS Phayathai Road. Just walk down the stairs, turn around and walk maybe a 100 meters up until you get to Victory Monument roundabout.
If you do not find your way you just ask one of the many small offices of minivans that will direct you correctly.
Here there will be a market with many shops, cross it and reach the north side of the sidewalk where you will find the minivan to Ayutthaya!
The ticket costs 60 baht each way and an hour is the time it takes to get there.
The minivans are new and clean, well-organized and have room for 12 people.
They depart every 20-30 minutes or immediately after reaching the number of passengers.
Once in Ayutthaya there are several tuk-tuk drivers ready to show you where the various archaeological sites are and they try to get you on one of their tuk-tuk at different costs, depending on the tour you choose.
I managed to bargain from 1800 baht they asked me in the first place down to 300 baht for a couple of hours tour and we still felt ripped off..!
Remember, live everywhere else in South east Asia, bargain here is the keyword!
I preferred to get a tuk-tuk since I didn’t have a lot of time for visiting the archeological sites but you could definitely rent a scooter or bike instead.
So I headed straight to Wat Mahata, where the magnificent Buddha face within the tree can be found.
Here you can experience a different side of Thailand.
Ayutthaya is a more calm and spiritual place and also aesthetically different.
The architecture of these temples does not remember of the colorful and elegant ones in Bangkok but more of those in Cambodia.
Funnily enough, the day before we got to Ayutthaya we were in Siem Reap visiting the amazing temples therefore I wasn’t really astonished by the architecture of Ayutthaya but rather impressed by the details – which I loved – that are definitely worth visiting.
One of the dreams I have always had in my heart is to be able to see elephants in a place where they are not mistreated or used and in which I would not have had to pay for “a ride“.
I knew of a sanctuary that took care of the elephants right there in Ayutthaya and after visiting the various temples we asked our driver to get taken there!
The name of the place is Ayutthaya Elephant Kraal.
I believe that the humanity of a man can not be measured in words nor in actions directed only towards their own kind, but in the sensitivity and care towards all living beings, worthy of being called as such and essential for the vital and spiritual balance of man and our planet.
This is the thought that pushes me to love animals and to do what I can to protect them, and this for me means also choosing to meet them only in places where they are respected.
I then arrived at the Royal Elephant Kraal in Ayutthaya, where, unlike many other sites where they are treated as freaks, at this place they are washed, fed and cared in a better way (hence the name sanctuary where you can freely make offers for their care).
Feeding an elephant from your hands and finding out that its its trunk follows you in search of other food, or walking next to an elephant puppy that also follows you wherever you go, I will not deny that it scared me a bit, but it also gave me such a wonderful feeling that I will never forget.
Plus, it is certainly not an everyday experience to see Dumbo!!!