One of the best day trips outside of Bangkok is Ayutthaya, a city that dates back to 1350. The capital was later abandoned when the Burmese invaded in 1767, leaving the city in ruins. For anyone who doesn’t need a trip to the beach to have a little fun, this ancient capital city of Thailand is the destination of choice.
After seeing enough of Bangkok in four days, we took an un-air conditioned train about an hour and a half north of the current capital, as there were no other options for the short trip and we couldn’t afford a private car. Our tickets were not numbered and we were not guaranteed a seat, as we discovered after two stops when someone told me to move from the hard wooden seat. I was confused and the person claiming the seat didn’t speak English, but I guessed by the gestures what I needed to do.
Upon arriving in Ayutthaya we found that we had to take a ferry across the moat that surrounded the ruins of the old city. Once inside the interior of the city we saw bikes to rent, but I thought we should walk around a bit first and find a cheaper rental. This was my regret for the day. There were no other bicycle rental shops the entire time we walked through the streets. The hostels are around the outer reaches of the city, and they supply the bikes to tourists. With extremely hot and humid weather, it is advisable to rent a bike upon arrival.
As we approached the ruins of Khmer-style architecture, we discovered that all the tourist sites in the city require individual entrance fees for foreigners-there was no all-in-one ticket to purchase. However, most of the tickets were cheap, but it still would’ve been nice to have an all-inclusive ticket. A few times we walked into parks without realizing there was a ticket booth, and no one stopped us as we wandered through.
All the sites were filled with tourists and Thai school children, yet there was very little noise as the people were very respectful toward what was once a mass of temples. The quiet atmosphere made us wish we had planned an extra day in Ayutthaya to escape another night of noise in Bangkok. It was rather peaceful wandering through the parks and spending time in the shade of banyan trees. We passed through most of the parks in the center of the city, but there was plenty we didn’t manage to see as we had to make sure we didn’t miss the train back to Bangkok.
We were exhausted by the time we arrived back at the train station of Ayutthaya. We spent more than six hours walking through the ancient capital. Fortunately, the train back to Bangkok had fewer passengers and we had seats.