Ayutthaya Ruins: The Ayutthaya Buddha Tree & Temples Near Bangkok Thailand
The Ayutthaya ruins and temples in Thailand are fascinating, and they’re pretty easy to visit on a day trip from Bangkok!
This abandoned city from medieval Siam is home to the famous Ayutthaya Buddha tree, where you can see the head of an old Buddha statue mysteriously trapped in Banyan tree roots.
The Ayutthaya Historical Park also has two museums, some Thai royal palaces, and a bunch of other great Ayutthaya temples dating back to the 14th century.
This travel guide will explain how to get to Ayutthaya Thailand from Bangkok by train (or tour), what to see in one day, and everything else you need to know before you go!
Best Ayutthaya Tour Packages
Here are some good tour packages for visiting Ayutthaya from Bangkok:
- From Bangkok: Ayutthaya Day Tour By Bus & Boat
- Ancient Ayutthaya Ruins Day Trip With Private Driver From Bangkok
- Ayutthaya & Lopburi Monkey Temple Private Day Trip
We’ve used GetYourGuide for lots of tours and activities around the world, and they’re great! Highly recommended.
If you’d rather go to Ayutthaya without a tour, no worries, because I’ll explain how to do that later in this guide!
History Of Ayutthaya
The historic city of Ayutthaya was built in 1350 as the second capital of Siam (now called Thailand).
From the 14th to 18th centuries, the Ayutthaya kingdom was a center of trade and culture, and its population of 1 million made it one of the biggest cities in the world.
The city was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767, and the Ayutthaya ruins were never rebuilt, being abandoned for many years.
Today, Ayutthaya Thailand is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s one of the most popular places to visit from Bangkok!
Visiting The Ayutthaya Historical Park
The Ayutthaya Historical Park has lots of old temples and palaces to see, and two museums.
You can get around in the park by walking, since most of the best things to see in Ayutthaya are located pretty close together. Another fun way to get around is by bicycle or tuk tuk, which you can rent nearby.
Most people come here to see the old statues and Ayutthaya ruins, which can be pretty fascinating!
What To See In Ayutthaya In One Day
Here’s a short list of some of the best temples and sights in Ayutthaya Thailand.
If you’re trying to decide what to see in Ayutthaya in one day, definitely make sure these temples are included on your itinerary!
- Wat Mahathat: Home of the famous Ayutthaya Buddha Tree, a stone head trapped in a banyan root.
- Wat Chaiwatthanaram: One of the main Ayutthaya temples, with four big ‘prang’ towers built in 1630.
- Wat Phanan Choeng: A giant golden Buddha statue built before the city of Ayutthaya.
- Wat Lokaya Sutha: A giant reclining Buddha statue made of stone near the Royal Palace.
- Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon: Big Buddhist pagodas built in 1357 outside of the main island area.
Ayutthaya Buddha Tree
One of the highlights of the Ayutthaya historical park is a famous stone Buddha face trapped in the roots of a Banyan tree.
It’s known as the ‘Ayutthaya Buddha Tree’ and may be one of the most mysterious and photogenic things you’ll see anywhere in Thailand.
No one knows how it got there, but it’s possible the head fell off the statue naturally after sitting there for ages, or maybe it was knocked off when Ayutthaya was destroyed by the invading Burmese in the 18th century.
In any case, it’s almost completely caged in now by a wonderful Banyan tree that grew up around it in the years since the fall of the Ayutthaya kingdom.
Photos are allowed, but you’re supposed to crouch or kneel when you take pictures (so you aren’t above Buddha), and there’s a security guard with a whistle if you get too close.
The Ayutthaya Buddha Tree is located at one of the temples called Wat Mahathat, and you have to see it before you leave!
Ayutthaya Dress Code
Ayutthaya has a modest dress code and you’re supposed to wear clothes that cover your shoulders and knees, but they don’t strictly enforce this, unlike most other temples in Thailand.
Technically these are ruins, not active temples, so that’s probably why they’re more lenient at Ayutthaya. I would at least be sure to bring a sarong or something so you can cover up your shoulders if they do ask. Some parts of the park are more restrictive.
Besides, the sun is very hot at Ayutthaya year round, so you don’t want your skin to get roasted.
Ayutthaya Entrance Fee
There’s technically no fee to enter Ayutthaya Historical Park, but most of the major temples charge an entrance fee of 50 Baht (~$2 USD) each.
You can also buy a park pass that includes all of the 6 main temples for 220 Baht ($7). This is a good idea if you’re traveling without a tour and plan to visit a bunch of the temples.
If you book an Ayutthaya tour from Bangkok, the entrance fees are usually already rolled into the total price of the tour, so you don’t have to worry about extra charges or messing with change.
How Much Time To Spend In Ayutthaya
For most people, one day is enough time to see the best of Ayutthaya, although if you want to stay longer there’s plenty of good accommodation in Ayutthaya.
If you’re looking for ideas of what to see on a longer stay in Ayutthaya, you could do the river cruise, visit the museum and elephant park, or check out the night markets.
History lovers could easily spend an extra day or two seeing the Ayutthaya temples, too, because there are lots of them and a day tour may feel a bit rushed for some people.
How To Get To Ayutthaya
The Ayutthaya Historical Park is located on a small island surrounded by rivers, about 80 kilometers north of Bangkok, Thailand.
You can get there by train, bus, car, or river boat.
• By Train
Train is one of the most economical and interesting ways to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok, but it can be a little bit more complicated.
The journey by rapid train takes a bit under 2 hours, and costs 20, 65, or 125 Baht depending on which coach/class you choose. See the State Railway of Thailand website for more information and bookings.
From there, you can pay a few Baht to take a quick and easy ferry over to the Ayutthaya Historical Park.
• By Car/Bus
Shared bus or van trips to Ayutthaya are easy to arrange from Bangkok, and the journey by road takes about 1.5 hours.
Vans go to Ayutthaya from Bangkok several times daily from the Khao San area for 250 Baht ($7.50 USD), or every 30 minutes from the van station at the new Bangkok Bus Terminal for 60-90 Baht (~$2-3). These prices are for a one way trip.
A private car and driver from Bangkok will cost at least 1,600 Baht ($50 USD) for a one way transfer to Ayutthaya. You can arrange a private transfer like this in person at the Bangkok airport or book it online.
• By River Boat
Last, but not least, there are lots of companies from Bangkok that offer Ayutthaya boat tours along the Chao Phraya river.
You can arrange a river cruise like this with one of the hotels or street vendors in Bangkok, or book a tour online.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at ninaguesthouse in Bangkok and paid $27 USD for a clean double room with cold A/C, hot shower, and great WiFi.
It may not be the cheapest place we've stayed in our Thailand travels, but the location was great. The touristy Khao San Road was just a 3 minute walk away, along with many good restaurants and shops.
To top it off, all of the big temples we wanted to see were easy to reach by walking or taking a quick Grab ride. Prices may fluctuate from time to time, so just keep an eye out for a good deal.