AYUTTHAYA, THAILAND

AYUTTHAYA, THAILAND

It’s time for us to leave Chiang Mai and charming Northern Thailand to head south. We just have a few days remaining before our flight back home from Bangkok, to be spent either in Sukhothai or in Ayutthaya.

Since we are travelling by train, the former is more difficult to reach as there’s no direct connection, you have to take a bus from Pithsanulok. So we decide to put Sukhothai on the side for future travels, and go straight to Ayutthaya.

Chiang Mai train station

Chiang Mai train station

 

Edo-Dumbo

Edo-Dumbo

We wait for a while in Chiang Mai station, and step in our train half an hour before leaving time, at 6 pm. The coaches looks nice and clean, the beds are not prepared yet, each passengers sits on a large seat. We booked a 2nd class upper-bed for 780 bahts (22$).

After a couple hours, an officer starts to set up every single bed, with great organisation. The coach transforms in a moving dormitory, all the beds are parallel to the aisle, there are no cabins unlike Vietnamese sleeper trains, privacy is created by curtains.

Our berths

Our berths

 

Dormitory coach

Dormitory coach

We have now our own berth, quite comfortable, just a bit narrow (lower beds are larger). It’s a good set up, but we preferred Vietnamese style. The railway is surely very old and worn out, trains can’t ride that fast, vibrations and shakes are damn frequent.

We have a super early wake up call at 4.40, but we won’t reach Ayutthaya before 5.45 (was scheduled at 5.00). Anyway it’s always a good option to travel by train, you have time and space to do whatever you like, and in this particular case in Thailand, travelling by night from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and viceversa has decent timetables that bring you to destination at the start of a new day.

So we are in Ayutthaya at dawn, what’s better than renting a bicycle to go and see the beautiful temples?? We won’t be that excited in half an hour, but still… We drop our bags at the station left luggage, and find the only renter open at that time, who of course has only crap bicycles (30 bahts, less than a dollar!).

Wat Chai Watthanaram

Wat Chai Watthanaram

The ride to Wat Chai Watthanaram is endless, we are still half asleep, on empty stomach, we sweat like pigs. But it’s absolutely worth it. The beauty of the site is beyond words, the sunlight at dawn is amazing, plus there is not even one person there. Magnificent.

Views are mesmerizing, as usual with these kind of wonders, photographs can describe better than any word.

Wat Chai Watthanaram

Wat Chai Watthanaram

Front view

Front view

We go back over the river and inside the old city, have some sugars at a always trusty 7/11 shop, and continue our tour through the awesome ruins and shrines, preserved open-air in the middle of this timeless city.

Cycling through the temples

Cycling through the temples

 

Ayutthaya

The number of temples is enormous, we ride past a lot of them and stop by the most important like Wat Phra Mahathat (famous for the buddha face in a tree), Wat Rachaburana, Wat Lokayasutha (reclining Buddha).

Wat Phra Mahathat - Buddha's head

Wat Phra Mahathat – Buddha’s head in the tree

 

Wat Lokayasutha - Reclining Buddha

Wat Lokayasutha – Reclining Buddha

After 4 hours riding, we have seen most of Ayutthaya attractions, the sun is hotter than ever, and fatigue takes over us. We change our plan one more time and decide we’ve seen enough here, and to go to Bangkok one day before scheduled.

Another thrilling train journey in the always busy 3rd class brings us to the capital (15 bahts!): everybody snoozes, some for a long day of work tiredness, some smothered by stuffiness, some other cuddled by the dangling of the train. It takes just half an hour to reach Bangkok’s suburbs, but then it’s walking pace 1h-travel to get to Hua Lamphong station.

Ayutthaya train station

Ayutthaya train station

We get to destination at 2 pm, tired but happy, as usual.

A 3rd class train travel to go in or outside Bangkok is probably the best way to learn and understand Thai culture and lifestyle: slow, humble, easygoing and friendly.

 

WHERE TO STAY:
  • Pingviman Hotel Chiang Mai: excellent staff and hospitality within the city walls, gorgeous swimming pool;
  • Busaba Hostel Ayutthaya: this brand new stylish hostel is the perfect base to visit Ayutthaya and its dozens of temples. The dorms are clean and spacious and it is conveniently located along the river in the town centre. Plus they have a cool coffee shop with AirCon, ideal to take a break during a hot sunny day in Ayutthaya.
  • At Mind Executive Suites Bangkok: modern studio suites, close to BTS skytrain, cheap prices, amazing rooftop swimming pool!
  • You can pre-book all your accommodation in Thailand with free cancellation here.
HOW TO GET AROUND:
Train Chiang Mai - Bangkok $ 19.45–56.50 10h 35m – 14h 40m
  •   2nd Class AC seats only 08:50
  •   1st Class Sleeper 17:00, 18:00
  •   2nd Class Sleeper AC 15:30, 17:00, 18:00
  •   Class II Ladies Only 18:00
  •   2nd Class Sleeper Fan 15:30
  •   2nd Class Fan seats only 06:30
  •   2nd Class AC seats only 08:30, 08:40, 08:50, 09:00
  •   2nd Class Sleeper AC 13:45, 14:00, 14:10, 14:19, 14:29, 18:10, 18:25, 18:35, 18:45, 18:50, 19:35, 22:00, 22:14, 22:23, 22:33
  •   Class II Ladies Only 18:10, 18:25, 18:35, 18:45, 18:50
  •   1st Class Sleeper 19:35
  •   2nd Class Sleeper Fan 22:00, 22:14, 22:23, 22:33
Train Chiang Mai - Don Mueang Airport $ 29.22–55.90 11h 56m – 12h 16m
  •   1st Class Sleeper 17:00, 18:00
  •   2nd Class Sleeper AC 17:00, 18:00
  •   2nd Class AC seats only 09:12
  •   2nd Class Sleeper AC 14:33, 18:55, 20:23, 22:48
  •   1st Class Sleeper 20:23
  •   Class II Ladies Only 18:55
  •   2nd Class Sleeper Fan 22:48
TRAVEL INSURANCE:
  • Never leave home without a reliable travel insurance. Even if you trust yourself, you can’t always trust others. Better safe than sorry! Get your quote here.

1 Comment

  1. September 29, 2016 / 12:12 pm

    Smart arriving in the morning and renting out bicycles for the day. Save some money on hotel and be in Bangkok by the evening. Deffinitely one of the best day trips to do with a train.

    Shame you only found bad quality bicycles for rent, lucky for us we brought our own 😀 http://www.196pebbles.com/ayutthaya/

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