Ayutthaya: a complete guide

Sander & Mariska - Go To ThailandOnce a glowing empire, today a city of ruins. For more than four hundred years Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam, Thailand’s former name. Its glory years ended in 1767, when the Burmese invaded, pillaged and destroyed the city.

Thankfully, the remnants of hundreds of temples and palaces are still left in Ayutthaya for you to visit and admire. So hop in a tuk-tuk or rent a bike and explore this UNESCO World Heritage site with its Buddha statues of faded colors, crumbled temple walls and beautifully decorated high towers.
– Sander & Mariska

Sights in Ayutthaya

Thanks to its rich history and beautiful temples, Ayutthaya is a fantastic destination for culture lovers. You will need transport to explore all its sights, as distances are too great (and temperatures too high) to do it all by foot. So hop in a tuk-tuk or rent a bike or a motorbike and go on a discovery tour! Don’t know where to start? Here you’ll find an overview of our favorite temples in Ayutthaya, the ones we think you shouldn’t miss while in town.

1. Wat Chai Watthanaram

Wat Chai Watthanaram in Ayutthaya

Without doubt Ayutthaya’s most beautiful temple complex. Located along the river, just outside the center of town. Visit this temple an hour before sunset.

2. Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon

Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon in Ayutthaya

A lively and varied temple complex with hundreds of Buddha statues lined up next to each other. The best place in Ayutthaya to take some nice pictures.

3. Wat Mahathat

Buddha's Head in Tree Roots at Wat Phra Mahathat in Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya’s, and possibly Thailand’s, best-known temple where you’ll find the head of a Buddha statue trapped in the roots of a bodhi tree.

4. Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Wat Phra Si Sanphet in Ayutthaya

The most recognizable features of this temple complex are the three Chedi towers, which are still firmly standing. You can climb parts of the Chedi towers for a beautiful view of the ruins.

5. Wat Phanan Choeng

Wat Phangan Choen in Ayutthaya

A massive (19 meters high) Buddha statue where you’ll encounter many praying locals. Take off your shoes and walk around the Buddha statue.

6. Wat Lokayasutharam

Wat Lokoyasutharam in Ayutthaya

A gigantic reclining Buddha of 37 meters wide and 8 meters tall. Best seen early in the morning – you’ll be the only tourist around.

Bike ride in Ayutthaya

Go for a leisurely bike ride along Ayutthaya’s secret spots. A day-long activity which includes lunch.

8. Sunset Cruise

Sunset falling over Ayutthaya

Go on a boat ride during sunset to temples that are centuries old and take some fantastic pictures. You can book a sunset cruise at your hotel’s reception.

Million Toy Museum in Ayutthaya

The only landmark in Ayutthaya that doesn’t involve ruins and Buddha statues. A fun, hour-long outing for families with children.

10. Wat Phu Khao Thong (Golden Mount)

Wat Phu Khao Thong (Golden Mount)

An impressively large Chedi tower located about two kilometers north-west of the city. Climb the temple and enjoy the view of the countryside.

Hotels in Ayutthaya

There are many different places to stay in Ayutthaya. Backpackers tend to prefer the center, around Naresuan Road, where there are lots of cheap hostels, guest houses, and homestays. It’s the perfect place to see the famous temples and go for a drink at night. Families with children and travelers that prefer a quiet and luxurious stay, usually opt for a hotel along the river bank. Many of the old Thai houses are converted into comfortable tourist accommodations, providing the perfect setting for switching off and relaxing. To make your stay in Ayutthaya even more pleasant, we compiled a list of 10 of the best accommodations!

Phuttal Residence

1. Phuttal Residence

Fantastic location New apartments Nice atmosphere

$$ – For an unforgettable stay in Ayutthaya, spend the night at Phuttal Residence! This authentic house has been converted into a small-scale hotel with beautiful rooms and apartments. The location, in a gorgeous garden by the river, is fantastic. Breakfast is lovely and included in the rate. This is the place to spend the night in Ayutthaya!

Ayothaya Riverside House

2. Ayothaya Riverside House

Great location Very hospitable Houseboats

$ – Ayothaya Riverside House is one of our personal favorites. It’s located along the river and has a large, green garden for you to relax in. Instead of staying in one of their cheap bungalows, spend a bit more so you can stay in a comfortable houseboat on the river. The atmosphere here is lovely!

Goodmorning by Tamarind

3. Goodmorning by Tamarind

Central location Pleasant atmosphere Cheap

$ – Ayutthaya’s nicest guest house! Though Goodmorning’s staff speak little to no English, they are incredibly kind, cheerful and helpful. The rooms are clean, colorful and comfortable. Rent a bike and explore ancient Thailand. Tip: make sure to book a room with air conditioning.


4. U-Boon

Luxurious tree houses Hospitable Free bikes and kayaks

$$ – Always wanted to spend the night in a tree house? Well, this is your chance! U-Boon’s enchanting “houses” are located by the water and are equipped with all conveniences. It’s run by an incredibly hospitable Thai woman who makes the most amazing breakfast. It’s only fifteen minutes away from Ayutthaya’s town center.

You can book your stay at U-Boon via Airbnb. Not yet a member of Airbnb? Then click here for $ 38 off your first booking!

Prom Tong Mansion

5. Prom Tong Mansion

Central location Like home Very welcoming

$$ – The rooms in this guest house, one of Thailand’s best reviewed, are spotless and spacious! It was recommended to us by many of our readers, mainly because of the warm reception staff and the owner’s kindness. She also arranges fun day trips and excursions.

Ayutthaya Retreat

6. Ayutthaya Retreat

Charming hotel Authentic Quiet surroundings

$$$ – Located in beautiful and peaceful surroundings just outside the town center, and only a short tuk-tuk ride away from the ancient temples, is Ayutthaya Retreat. Cool off in the swimming pool after a day of sightseeing and sleep in one of the cute teak-wood bungalows. Romance is guaranteed!

Allsum Hostel

7. Allsum Hostel

Excellent atmosphere Communal space Free breakfast

$ – This nice and trendy hostel is only a short ferry ride away from Ayutthaya train station. The atmosphere is pleasant and easy-going, plus you’ll be meeting other travelers as well. The facilities are great: there are lockers available, and it’s shower and bathroom facilities are good. Slight downside: the hard beds.

Niwas Ayutthaya

8. Niwas Ayutthaya

Fantastic location Beautiful garden Amazing staff

$ – Offering spotless rooms equipped with air conditioning, this is probably the best budget accommodation in Ayutthaya. Pay $ 10 more to get your private garden bungalow. The location is terrific as well: at walking distance from all of the most important temples. Very convenient!

Baan Luang Harn

9. Baan Luang Harn

Central location Houses with porches Hospitable

$$ – Baan Luang Harn is a great place to stay. The owner is considerate, helpful and very welcoming. The houses may not be big, but they are charming and clean. Moreover, they each have a porch with a view of the pond in the middle of the grounds. Last but not least, it’s located in the center and easily accessible by bike.

iuDia on the River

10. iuDia on the River

Beautiful hotel Lovely rooms Very luxurious

$$$ – A cute boutique hotel in the heart of Ayutthaya. You’ll be staying amongst temples that are hundreds of years old and are lit up at night, making for an unusual sight. The service is excellent, the rooms are authentic, and the location is ideal.

Restaurants in Ayutthaya

Although Ayutthaya is one of Thailand’s most visited destinations, it has surprisingly few quality restaurants. It’s best to avoid the eateries that are lined up nearby the entrance to the Historical Park. Still, we managed to compile a list of the 7 best restaurants in town, in alphabetical order.

1. Coffee Old City

Chikul Road Phanakon Si Ayutthaya
Let’s be very clear: this is the best place in Ayutthaya to have breakfast. Start your day with fresh fruit shakes, great eggs, and freshly baked bread.

2. EARL Thai Restaurant

11/59 Narasoun Road Pratuchai
At EARL Thai Restaurant the Thai food is cheap, the atmosphere is pleasant, and the staff is friendly. Perfect for a nice lunch in between visiting temples.

3. Sala Ayutthaya Eatery And Bar

9 2 U-Thong Road Pratu Chai
Dining out elegantly, with a stunning view of the river looking out across lit up temples, is done best at Sala. Add some wine to the mix, and you’ll have a wonderful evening.

4. The Summer House

371/1 Koh Rean
This new restaurant is one of Ayutthaya’s hippest and most fun spots and serves high quality dishes, from homemade carrot cake to modern day Thai food. Try their signature Tom Yum Goong spaghetti.

5. Malakor Café & Restaurant

Chikun Road Hua Ro
With a café downstairs and a restaurant (open from 1:00 PM) on the second floor, this is an excellent place to either have a cup of coffee or grab a quick bite to eat. The atmosphere is very relaxed.

6. Chao Phrom Market

Th Naresuan Ayutthaya
A lively evening market, right in the heart of the city of Ayutthaya (see map) visited mainly by locals. Find out about opening hours at your hotel.

7. Ban U Thong Restaurant

39 11 Moo 1, U Thong Road
This restaurant is located along the water and serves the best Penang Curry in town. A beautiful place to have dinner.

Transport in Ayutthaya

From Bangkok


  • Travel time: 1-2 hours
  • Cost: ฿ 20 pp

The cheapest and most fun way to get from Bangkok to Ayutthaya is by train. There’s a train that leaves from Hua Lamphong Station for Ayutthaya every hour. Third class train tickets can’t be bought online, only at the ticket office.


  • Travel time: 2 hours
  • Cost: ฿ 300 pp

The easiest way to get to Ayutthaya is by minivan, which leaves from Khao San Road. It leaves three times a day, right in front of Khao San Mama Travel, at 9:00 AM, 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM.

Local bus

  • Travel time: 2 hours
  • Cost: ฿ 100-150 pp

Of course, you can also take the local bus from Bangkok to Ayutthaya. Buses leave all day long from the northern bus station (Morchit). You won’t even need to make a reservation, you can buy your tickets at the ticket offices.

From other destinations


  • Travel time: 2-4 hours
  • Cost: ฿ 130 pp

First, take the local bus from Kanchanaburi to Suphan Buri (50 baht). Then change to the minivan to Ayutthaya (80 baht). Travel time is about 2 to 4 hours. Buses go every hour between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM.


  • Travel time: 6 hours
  • Cost: ฿ 350 pp

Buses to Bangkok leave every hour from Sukhothai bus station. They also stop at Ayutthaya bus station. The trip takes 6 hours and will cost about 350 baht per person. Get off at Phitsanoluk if you want to travel by train.

Khao Yai National Park

  • Travel time: 2 hours
  • Cost: ฿ 100 pp

The best way to get to Ayutthaya from Khao Yai National Park is by taking the train from Pak Chong. This (third class) train leaves at ± 10:00 AM, 11:30 AM, 2:00 PM, 4:30 PM and 7:45 PM and will take at least two hours. Buy your tickets on the spot at the ticket office.

Hua Hin

  • Travel time: 5-6 hours
  • Cost: ฿ 300-400 pp

First, you’ll have to travel, either by train or by bus, from Hua Hin to Bangkok. Then you change to the bus that will take you to Ayutthaya. You’ll be traveling for a total of 5 or 6 hours, and it will cost you 300 – 400 baht. Buses leave throughout the day.

Getting around in Ayutthaya


Tuk-tuks aren’t just for short rides. Drivers are more than happy to drive you around the city for a few hours, stopping at temples you want to visit. They’ll drop you off right in front of your destination. You can hop on a tuk-tuk at the bus station, the train station or from your hotel. A ride costs anywhere from 50 to 500 baht, negotiate for a reasonable price before you get in.


Our favorite way to explore Ayutthaya’s cultural treasures is by motorbike. Driving along the roads in between temple visits is quite the experience. Motorbikes can be rented at most hotels. Rent is 180-300 baht for 24 hrs.


Want to explore the temples of Ayutthaya on your own? Why not rent a bike and cruise past the centuries-old temples! Note: the distances on the map might seem fairly short, but in practice, they’re definitely not. Don’t be fooled! A lot of guesthouses provide bikes for free, but you can also rent them for 40 baht per day in the city.

Weather in Ayutthaya

The best time to visit Bangkok is during the cool season from November – February.

November – February

The cool season is the most agreeable time to be in Ayutthaya. These months are predominantly dry, but the natural surroundings will still be lively and vibrantly green thanks to the previous rainy season. Mornings and evenings are also very pleasant and not too hot.

March – May

The hot season is no joke. Afternoon temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius, making a temple visit next to impossible. Try and go out in the morning, book a room that’s air-conditioned or pick a hotel that has a swimming pool.

June – October

The rainy season brings in very welcome cooler weather, in the form of rain that usually falls in tropical downpours around late afternoon. Be sure to bring some rain ponchos – especially in September – because it’s going to get very wet. If it does not rain, it will be sweltering and cloudy.

Map of Ayutthaya

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