Ayutthaya is a city north of Bangkok, once the beautiful second capital of the Siamese kingdom which lasted 400 years from the 14th to 18th century. It was known for its magnificent temples and palaces, but was then raided and burned down by the Burmese Kingdom, forcing the Siamese Kingdom to abandon the rich city and move over to Bangkok. That’s not to say the wonders of Ayutthaya are lost, however. There are still many surviving structures and ruins which remind visitors of the prime that the former capital once held.
Ayutthaya Day Trip from Bangkok Thailand ( Plus a Shrimp Farm)
Being only 80 kilometres north of Bangkok, Ayutthaya is a perfect place for a day trip. There’s much to do and see, such as old temples and ruins, fisheries and farms, as well as lots of local spots where you can try out some delicious and authentic Thai cuisine. If you’re short on time and want a structured trip to get the most out of your visit, then booking with TakeMeTour is a great decision. We personally booked a tour which was a collaboration between Thailand’s Tourism Authority as well as LocalTable to experience delicious Thai eats made by skilled and knowledgeable locals. The following was our activity-filled Ayutthaya Day Trip itinerary:
- Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
- Wat Phanan Choeng
- Wat Mahathat
- Local Eats
- Shrimp Farm
- Lotus Farm
- Buddha Temples
The Drive from Bangkok to Ayutthaya
Mai and her husband picked us up at 8AM in our hotel lobby. She was there slightly early but told us there was no need to rush. We decided to have breakfast first before leaving, since we weren’t sure when lunch was going to be. Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit served breakfast starting at 6AM – so that was good.
At 8AM we finally began our journey to Ayutthaya. We quickly boarded the car and I noticed that she had provided us with two neck pillows. Since Tina and I enjoyed our night shopping and staying at the Asiatique The Riverfront watching Muay Thai Live: The Legend Lives, we could definitely use a bit of sleep.
Things to Remember When Visiting Ayutthaya
Particularly at temples, be sure to cover up your shoulder and knees – long pants are the safest bet as they cover your ankles as well. Most temples will not allow you in if you do not follow the dress code, so bring around appropriate wear to be safe. Shoes are also not usually allowed inside the main indoor areas.
Free wifi is not widespread, so buying a sim card to access maps and data is helpful. If you book this tour via the TakeMetour, the sim card already comes with your reservation, which you can pick up at the airport. I flew with Air Asia and our plane landed at the Don Mueang International Airport, so we picked up our sim card at a counter there. With it, we were able to stay connected for 8 days while in Bangkok. The sim is powered by DTAC.
Keep Hydrated and Protected
It’s no secret that the temperatures in Thailand can be a little too hot at times. Be sure to bring along a water bottle, some sunscreen, and a wide brimmed hat to keep yourself cool and comfortable while visiting the beautiful sight
What to See in Ayutthaya (3 Major Temples)
Wat Phanan Choeng
At 9:30 am, we arrived at our first location – Mai said that the Wat Phanan Choeng, also referred to as the temple of the Seated Buddha, is over 700 years old. It’s older than the city of Ayutthaya itself. It could have been burned down by the Burmese back in their siege but thankfully they spared the beautiful temple as an indication of goodwill. The temple has many halls, with the main one housing the golden Seated Buddha. The columns are decorated with intricate and aesthetically-pleasing patterns, and some walls are even painted. It has no entrance fee.
Hours: 8AM to 5PM
Then we went for a quick stop – local Roti Sai Mai
This is a local dish that we really liked – I also enjoyed the fact that we got to see how it was made – the roti was flattened out and cooked on a hot plate. Mai then demonstrated the process of eating the sweet dessert. First, you get the Roti. Second, you put the sugar (weaved into thin strips like cotton candy) inside. Then, you roll it up and enjoy. Tina and I both loved it. Tina even wanted to bring some home but Mai said that the shelf life of the Roti Sai Mai was only good for about a day. Because our Ayutthaya Day Trip was a collaboration between TakeMe our and Local Table, all our eats were local and delicious, showing the true essence of Thai cuisine.
Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon
This popular temple, also referred to as the Great Temple of Auspicious Victory, was affected by the fires when the city was burnt down by the Burmese, so you’ll find that only some Buddha statues and pillars still remain. The temple was built all the way back in the 14th century, designed to be a monastery where people could pray and pay respects, as well as practice religious ceremonies.
You can see a wishing well inside the complex as well as a line of white Buddhas surrounding it – a very picturesque scene. A fun fact about the lined Buddha is that they are frequently seen wearing yellow robes which are donated by the local Buddhists to the temple. At the front of the complex, there is placed in the center a statue of the famous Reclining Buddha where people often come to offer lotus flowers as well as incense. Mai informed us of the different meanings held by the number of incenses offered. 3 are for yourself, 5 and 7 for your parents and then 9 for the gods. There is an entrance fee of 20 baht total.
Note: People kept standing on the stones to take pictures but our guide said that actually wasn’t allowed and disrespectful, so we avoided doing so.
Hours: 7AM to 5:30PM
It was a really hot day so we ended up taking a break to get some watermelon and local juice to cool off.
This Wat is famous for the Buddha head nestled within the roots of a tree, where lots of people queue to take pics. Do remember that you have to to stay seated when you take pictures, so that you aren’t taller than the Buddha Head – this is in order to show respect. It is unsure as to how exactly the head got there – some say that it legitimately grew within the tree, and some say that it was purposely placed there.
We trod on and ended up seeing a lot more headless Buddha. Mai explained this phenomena by explaining that back when the Burmese attacked Ayutthaya, they cut off the heads because they are built with gold. They then used this gold in order to fund more of their own building endeavors.
Entrance fee: 50 baht
At this point, Mai said that we still had an hour drive from Wat Mahathat to the shrimp farm. Knowing this, we quickly went to use the toilet, which costs 10 baht per person.
Then, Mai bought us Thai milk tea because I mentioned that I loved it. She also got us some local popcorn made with coco sugar – she tried to fill us up because we would be having our delicious, authentic lunch a little bit late.
This part of the trip gets really exciting, though.
Lunch at the Shrimp Farm
We went to the Suphan Buri region an hour drive away for the shrimp farm owned by Mai’s family. Shrimps are a popular ingredient when it comes to Thai cuisine, so it was really interesting seeing how those delicious shrimps are raised and farmed. Mai explained to us the processes that went into maintaining the shrimp farm, how the water is treated and pumped with oxygen in order to combat the heat and all that. She also explained that they need to wait around four months for the shrimp to grow to a proper size.
We walked the street farm and she showed as the size of the little shrimps, the baby ones being even smaller than a fingernail. Afterwards, Mai started preparing fresh ingredients for our lunch.
Tom Yum Goong
- Penang Curry Did I mention I requested this? This wasn’t part of the pre-planned lunch, but I was craving for it and only had a few days left to spare in Bangkok so I wanted to try some authentic Penang Curry. Mai said it was easy enough to whip up, so she thankfully said yes.
- Fried fish with garlic and pepper
- Shrimp with butter and garlic
Mai got the ingredients she needed everything from her farm – she had lemongrass, chili, lime, and more. While she prepared the ingredients for the main course, she gave us some snacks as an appetiser.
Other things we did in the shrimp farm:
Went boating in the lotus farm
Mai’s husband, who is a bit hard on English but knows a couple of phrases, showed us how to eat lotus. I tried it and found that it tastes quite like corn. It wasn’t our first time trying lotus – we also had some in our other TakeMetour at the Mahasawat Canal last February( You can book the Mahasawat Canal tour here) , another tour that my friends and I enjoyed. But this time around, we ate the actual flower and Mai’s husband showed us how to eat the seeds. You basically crack it open, and then eat the insides.
We also rode a motorbike sidecar and then toured the farm a bit – even seeing a beautiful area filled with birds.
We got back early enough to catch Mai cooking, so we volunteered to help her out, which is something Tina enjoys either way. We both ended up enjoying in the end. In between, I took some time to play with their dog and rest. We also tried talking to their relatives who were super sweet, but since they couldn’t speak English, Mai was translating for them.
Mai said that lunch here was like how the locals did it, which I wanted – so we just sat on the floor – no problem with that. The food was so good, I literally finished it all! To be fair, it was nearly 3PM at that point. Plus, I really love Thai food. I did eat a lot!!!!!!!!! Check out my stories to see.
I mentioned to Mai in passing that today was Tina’s birthday and it was sweet because they even made her a cake to surprise her – I totally had no idea they did that. We mentioned it at the very last minute and even still, they were able to find a way so that was really nice and thoughtful of them.
After lunch we visited two more temples:
Big Buddha – Wat Khun Inthapramun
This is where you can find Thailand’s biggest reclining Buddha, a total of 50 metres long and draped with golden robes. A fun fact about the Buddha is that the man who proposed its building actually used embezzled money to accomplish it – and he was then promptly whipped to death for his wrongdoings.
Road to Hell – Wat Muang
We went to the Wat Muang, where Thailand’s largest Buddha statue resides. Aside from the very true to life statue, there is also the Crystal Hall Temple which has status of monks. Aside from these, there is also the Road to Hell portion of the Wat.
Mai said the Road to Hell are a series of structures meant to show people about how they will be punished if they do bad things, but I didn’t quite like it so Tina and I decided to just take a quick stroll. It’s quite a bit grim and graphic so if you have children or are sensitive to that kind of content, you might want to avoid this area.
We were heading back to Bangkok when I saw the sun begin to set – so I asked Mai to stop. We had a beautiful sunset picture in the area, and it was lovely. After that, we continued on with our journey back to the capital city. It was a long day for us, so Tina and I quickly fell asleep – I mean, I was especially sleepy after that huge meal.
We got back to Bangkok at around 8PM and we thanked Mai. Seriously, we enjoyed the day. It had a lot of local experiences and I felt that it was a more meaningful experiences than just getting to see the temples of Ayutthaya.
Speaking of the temples, they do remind me a little of the structures in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Particularly the Wat Mahathat – it resembled the Angkor Wat.
See, an Ayutthaya Day Trip is an easy day trip from Bangkok, and with Local Table’s new campaign in collaboration with Thailand Tourism and TakeMeTour, visitors will be able to see more of the terrific architecture and history behind the area and get to taste delicious, authentic Thai cuisine as well. Most of all, you get to make great memories. I obviously fell in love with the tour because of its local touch. I mean, that was my draw – and that’s what makes it more unique compared to the other Ayutthaya group and private tours.
Maya said that now, with her vehicle, she can only take aboard a maximum of 3 guests. The vehicle was super comfy!
How to book Ayuthaya Day Trip Tour with Shrimp Farm via TakeMeTour:
- Go to the TakeMeTour Website
- Scroll down to the LocalTable options by the Tourism Authority of Thailand
- Pick your preferred Ayutthaya Day Trip
You can book the exact tour here :