LE DESTINAZIONI

Le Guide su Paesi, Città e Destinazioni

Guide pratiche e dettagliatissime su Paesi, città e destinazioni. Cosa vedere, quanto stare, in quale quartiere prenotare l'albergo, come spostarsi, che tempo fa. I miei suggerimenti su come organizzarti e tanti links utili dove cercare info aggiornate. Da stampare e portare in viaggio.

I VIAGGI

I Grandi Viaggi

Veri e propri programmi di viaggio spiegati in dettaglio, giorno per giorno, con tutte le informazioni ed i links che occorrono per poter prenotare, da solo e sul web, alberghi, trasferimenti e voli interni.

IL CLIMA

Il Clima

Il tempo che potresti trovare, Paese per Paese, regione per regione, quasi mese per mese. Quando è meglio andare e quando è più saggio starsene a casa. I links dove controllare forecasts ed averages di temperatura e piovosità.

LA SALUTE IN VIAGGIO

La salute e le malattie in viaggio.

Sei in partenza per un viaggio? Sei preoccupato per malaria, febbre gialla e dengue e cerchi informazioni su vaccinazioni e profilassi? L’attenzione sulla malattie e sulla salute in viaggio e di conseguenza l’informazione aggiornata sulla situazione sanitaria nel Paese che si intende visitare è un vero e proprio must per qualsiasi viaggiatore.

I TUOI RACCONTI DI VIAGGIO

I TUOI RACCONTI DI VIAGGIO

Sei un viaggiatore? Ti piace scrivere? Vuoi pubblicare il tuo racconto di viaggio su questo blog? Mandaci il tuo resoconto di viaggio, lo pubblicheremo volentieri, potrà essere utile a tutti i lettori.

PASSAPORTI E VISTI

Passaporti e visti

Le informazioni su passaporti e visti, formalità valutarie e doganali, ambasciate e consolati, l'ESTA, il Timatic Web e gli ultimi avvisi per il viaggiatore

The Best Guided Tours to Ayutthaya

The 3 Best Guided Tours and Day-Trips to Ayutthaya from Bangkok

What are the best tours to Ayutthaya? Your super detailed guide to the very best guided tours to Ayutthaya from Bangkok with my reviews and all the pros and cons of each tour. Are you in Bangkok and want to visit Ayutthaya in one day? Are you looking for an excursion by private car and a personal guide or do you wish to join a group tour? A comparison and detailed description of the 3 best guided tours and day-trips to Ayutthaya and Bang Pa-In Palace from Bangkok. Guided excursions to Ayutthaya include shared group tours going by bus and returning to Bangkok by river cruise, tours by private car with a personal guide and tours reaching Bang Pa-In by minivan and exploring the Ayutthaya archaeological park by bike. With full descriptions of each tour, my considerations, some suggestions and direct links to check prices and easily book online by credit card.

Guided Tour to Ayutthaya from Bangkok Visiting Wat Yaichaimongkon, Thailand

Guided Tour to Ayutthaya from Bangkok Visiting Wat Yaichaimongkon, Thailand

Photo Credit: Heiko S

What Are the Best Guided Day-Tours to Ayutthaya?

Are you in Bangkok and want to visit Ayutthaya in one day? Are you looking for a guided group tour going to Ayutthaya by bus and returning to Bangkok by boat with a cruise on the Chao Phraya River? Would you prefer to reach Ayutthaya by private car with a driver and a personal guide reserved only for you, who comes to pick you up and take you back to your hotel in Bangkok? Do you only need a car with a driver for transportation and no guide because you would rather visit Ayutthaya archaeological park on your own? Would you like to explore the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya by bike?

Founded in 1350, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991 and strategically located on an island surrounded by three rivers, Ayutthaya, situated about 80 kilometers north of Bangkok, was the second capital of the Siamese Kingdom after Sukhothai. From Ayutthaya kings of Siam ruled for over 4 centuries, during which time it grew to be one of the world’s largest and most cosmopolitan urban areas and a center of global diplomacy and commerce. Until the city was attacked and razed by the Burmese army in 1767 and the capital transferred to Thonburi, today a suburb of Bangkok on the other side of the Chao Phraya River. Ayutthaya Historical Park hosts fascinating buildings in Thai style with Khmer influences, stall prang (reliquary towers) and Buddhist monasteries of monumental proportions, which give an idea of the city’s past size and the splendor of its architecture. Ayutthaya is the easiest and most famous day trip you can do in Bangkok.

  • Now, you can go from Bangkok to Ayutthaya on your own, by bus or by train, spending very little money.
  • But not everybody has the time or likes to study and plan what to visit and how to organise things and transportation in advance. And going to Ayutthaya takes up time anyway. Not only to cover the 85 kilometers separating Bangkok from the old capital, but also to reach the bus terminal or Bangkok railway station from your hotel and hang about waiting for a bus or train to leave. Both on the way there and on the way back.
  • So, I have researched and compared tens of guided tours to Ayutthaya organised by Bangkok based travel suppliers and sold online, and have chosen 3 different tours. These are not the only ones you can book but in my opinion they are among the best and most complete guided day-trips to Ayutthaya available on the market. All tours include pick-up and drop-off directly at your Bangkok hotel.
  • All tours are described below, in a very detailed way, with full descriptions, my considerations, some suggestions, all the pros and all the cons and all the important things you need to know before choosing. Have a look and see if there is a tour you like.
  • You can book all these tours easily by credit card through Get Your Guide, Withlocals and Viator. For the great majority of tours you get instant confirmation, while for some, tour confirmation is subject to availability and will be given within 48 hours of your booking.
Guided Tour to Bang Pa-In Palace and Ayutthaya from Bangkok, Thailand

Guided Tour to Bang Pa-In Palace and Ayutthaya from Bangkok, Thailand

Photo Credit: Ronald Tagra

Ayutthaya e Bang Pa-In Day Tour with River Cruise

This is the most classical of all guided excursions to Ayutthaya. It’s a shared group day-trip departing from the major hotels in Bangkok to visit Ayutthaya Historical Park and Bang Pa-In Palace, once the summer residence of Siam Kings and set among gardens and small lakes. In the morning you go from Bankok by bus and then, after visiting Bang Pa-In and Ayutthaya, in the afternoon you travel back to Bangkok by boat cruising the Chao Phraya River. While on board enjoying a late lunch, you can admire the temples along the riverbank, scenes from daily life and all the houses built on stilts. I am not a big fan of these group excursions, but I am aware that, with all their limits, these tours have a great advantage. They help keep costs down for people who are travelling alone and don’t want to worry about any hassles.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: your hotel in Bangkok. Transfers are included for all hotels in and near Khaosan Road, Sathorn, Silom, Siam, Pratunam and Sukhumvit between Soi 1-39 and Soi 2-24, basically most Bangkok neighborhoods. Instead, if you are staying at a riverside hotel or in Chinatown you must go to a meeting point at the River City Shopping Complex. Select the pick-up option and write your hotel name and address at the time of booking.
  • Duration: approx. 9 hours, departure from the hotel is between 6:30 and 7am, the local supplier of the tour will inform you of the right pick-up time, please be ready half an hour before and be prepared for possible waiting times, typical of this kind of tour.
  • Guide: English.
  • Features: group tour with other participants, transportation is usually by large 50 seater bus, you get instant confirmation at the time of booking.
  • Price: is per person, it includes pick-up/drop-off at your hotel, bus transportation from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, cruise back from Ayutthaya to Bangkok, buffet lunch and guided tour of Ayutthaya and Bang Pa-In including entrance tickets. At the time of the update of this post there is a small reduction if you decide to join the tour at a meeting point at the River City Shopping Complex, without the hotel pick-up/drop-off, but the difference in price is very small and probably not worth it.
  • Pros: well, for a very reasonable amount of money you are picked up at your hotel, taken to Ayutthaya, visit both Ayutthaya and Bang Pa-in, have a buffet lunch and take a river cruise back to Bangkok; it is hard to ask for more.
  • Cons: there are many things to see, travelling to and back is a long way and you are in a big group; that means the schedule is tight and the time at your disposal at each attraction is limited; do not expect any personal or silent, rapt contemplation of the temples, you will always be in the company of tens of other tourists at every moment of the day. It’s better to know in advance in order to avoid disappointment.
  • Good to know: as per all group tours on departure and arrival the bus stops at a lot of hotels to collect passengers, this means wasting time, especially in Bangkok; sometimes you have to wait up to one hour before the bus actually leaves Bangkok for Ayutthaya, but as long as you know this in advance and don’t get upset.
  • Recommended: if you are alone or travelling as a couple and want to reach Ayutthaya without spending too much and without having to think about arranging the logistics of transportation.
  • Video: Ayutthaya ruins from above, with green fields and small lakes which surround the archaeological park, these drone images are courtesy of Bentree’s Aerial Photography:

Day-Trip to Ayutthaya by Private Car with a Personal Guide

NO large 50 seater bus. And NO shared services with other participants. On this tour you ride in style in a comfortable private car with your own personal guide who comes to pick you up and drop you off at your hotel at the end of the excursion. The tour lasts 6 hours in total, with one hour and a half driving time to go and the same to come back with about 3 hours in Ayutthaya, long enough to see the best of Ayutthaya archaeological park as it should be seen. You have time to visit the three big chedis of Wat Phra Si Sanphet; Wat Napramenthe, Wat Chaiwatthanaram and finally Wat Mahathat, this is the temple with the famous image of the head of Lord Buddha cradled by a strangler fig. Of course, as this is a private day-trip the cost is higher than all previous excursions, but it’s not excessive, rather it is advantageous when just two people travel together and becomes very attractive for families and groups of friends.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: departure and return to your hotel in Bangkok.
  • Duration: about 6 hours, I suggest you to select an early departure time, there is a reason to do so, read below.
  • Guide: your personal local guide is Piyaporn, a Thai from Bangkok. She speaks English and is usually quick to answer all your pre-tour questions.
  • Features: 100% private tour with a car and a guide reserved only for you.
  • Price: select the date and insert the number of participants to get the correct price, you’ll only be charged when the host confirms your booking request within 48 hours. Costs include private transportation, guide assistance and entrance fees.
  • Pros: the comfort of a private car, without having to waste any time picking up (and dropping off) other tourists staying at hotels different from yours, a common feature of all shared tours; considering Bangkok’s traffic nightmare this wastes precious time both at the departure and at the end of the excursion.
  • Cons: none really, in addition the cost is very reasonable even if there are only two of you.
  • Good to know: this private tour can be fully personalized for you, once you have booked and received the contacts of your guide, email her immediately, explaining what you want to see and what you are more interested in.
  • Recommended: if you want to visit Ayutthaya without using up a whole day, if you leave early at 8am you will be back by 2pm, with all the rest of the afternoon at your full disposal to do other things in Bangkok or just to relax by your hotel pool.
  • If you want to take things slowly: this is similar tour, only slightly longer, lasting a total of 8 hours and includes a private boat trip around the Ayutthaya Island, here is the link to check prices and book Withlocals | Magical Ayutthaya Day Trip with a Local. This second excursion is carried out by several different guides, you must select one at the time of booking, you get instant confirmation. It could be a good alternative if you are travelling in a group of at least 4 (with only 2 people it is a little bit expensive) or if the Piyaporn tour is already full. Lunch is not included, your guide can suggest somewhere to eat authentic Thai food spending very little.
  • If you need a transfer by private car with a driver only: this service is not bad at all and at this price it is really great. There is no guide, but you have a private car and a driver who comes to pick you up at your hotel, drive you to Ayutthaya, wait for you while you visit Ayutthaya on your own and then takes you back to your Bangkok hotel; here is the link to investigate GetYourGuide | Ancient Ayutthaya Day Trip with Private Driver from Bangkok; obviously, the lack of a guide and the non-inclusion of entrance tickets help to keep the cost down; it is perfect if you are travelling with friends or family and want to visit Ayutthaya independently.
Private Tour to the Historic City of Ayutthaya from Bankok, Thailand

Private Tour to the Historic City of Ayutthaya from Bankok, Thailand

Photo Credit: Nishanth Jois

Ayutthaya Full-Day Bike Trip

Clearly you do not go from Bangkok to Bang Pa-In and Ayutthaya by bike. To reach Bang Pa-In you travel by a super comfortable, air-conditioned minivan. But as soon as you arrive in Bang Pa-In things change: you get out of your van, get onto your bike and slowly cycle through the countryside pedalling to Ayutthaya to explore the archaeological park in depth. Your guide leads the way on his bike giving the group all travel indications. How is the tour carried out? And what do you visit? Disembarking in Bang Pa-in, you ride through the backstreets of the town past the royal palace to reach a cargo ferry that takes you across the Chao Phraya River. Riding north towards the island of Ayutthaya, you cycle through the back lanes of the communities along the banks of the river with your destination being Wat Chai Watanaram, a 16th century temple and one of Ayutthaya’s most famous sights. Now it’s time for a break, you enjoy lunch on the banks of the Chao Phraya with a scenic view of the ruins of the royal palace. After you’ve got your strength back, you cycle to Ayutthaya Historical Park. The first stop is at Wat Lokayasutharam’s dreaming, reclining Buddha and the next stop is Wat Phrasrisanphet which was the prototype temple for the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. For the last stop you cycle to mysterious Wat Mahathat, a temple that (distantly) recalls spectacular Ta Phrom in Angkor. Finally, you travel back to your hotel in Bangkok. Not bad!

  • Pick-up and drop-off: your hotel in Bangkok.
  • Duration: approx. 11 hours, departure from the hotel between 6:45am and 7:30am with return to Bangkok around 6pm.
  • Guide: driver plus English speaking guide.
  • Features: usually, this is a small group tour, transportation is by minivan, in the case of only 2 people booking (at least 2 people are required for this tour) then this becomes a private tour with no extra cost; the local supplier is Grasshopper Adventures, reviews on TripAdvisor are excellent.
  • Price: is per person, it includes the guide, transportation from/to your Bangkok hotel by air-conditioned vehicle, bike, helmet, all entrance fees, the ferry to cross the river, lunch, drinks, snacks and insurance.
  • Pros: a very unusual, fun and active way to explore the ancient capital; particularly pleasant is the off-the-beaten track between Ayutthaya and Bang Pa-In, biking on small tree-bordered roads through small villages in the middle of the Thai countryside.
  • Cons: none, as long as you feel like pedalling and the heat and the humidity don’t slow you down; anyway the distance is not too far, you cycle 35-43 kms on flat terrain.
  • Good to know: you will be cycling with a support air-conditioned vehicle nearby, so you will always have the option to ride in the van if you need to or if you get tired and are exhausted by the heat. Both men and women need to cover their shoulders to enter temples and mosques, women need to cover their knees as well, so if you like to wear shorts while cycling, you should bringing a sarong to wear in order to enter a temple or mosque.
  • Recommended: if you are active and sporty; for groups of friends and families travelling with children 10+ years old.
  • Video: biking through the back lanes and the ruins of Ayutthaya in these images by Grasshopper Adventures TV:

Important!

  • I am not the organizer of these tours, I do not arrange any of the excursions and day trips you can read about in this blog. And I have never even taken part in them. To write all the guides published in the blog I travel independently arranging all transfers and all visits on my own.
  • But not everybody likes or has the time to study and prepare where to go, what to visit, how to organise things and transportation in advance. So, I have researched and compared tens of guided tours to Ayutthaya from Bangkok sold by the main online travel companies and have described the tours which I think are the best and the most complete. The results are the tours presented in this article.  
  • Before booking read the full description of the tour you like in the official page of Viator, Withlocals and GetYourGuide carefully, please check what is included and what is not, meeting points, times of departure and cancellation policies. After booking, if you have any queries or doubts, immediately contact Viator, Withlocals or GetYourGuide Customer Service in order to receive assistance.
  • And, most importantly, the day before the tour, please reconfirm the pick-up time with the local supplier. You receive phone and email of local supplier of the tour immediately after your booking. Maybe your hotel can help.
  • Read the reviews. If the majority of the reviews are positive that’s a good thing. And always check all the info you read here in the official page of each tour, things change and the official site provides the latest updates.
  • Finally, before leaving take out medical insurance, covering accidents and medical expenses while travelling, with the highest ceiling. Usually local suppliers are insured, but you can’t be too sure, always travel with your own insurance, issued in your own country, with a customer servicer who speaks your own language.

Last Update: May 17th 2019

Creative Commons 2.0 GenericFront cover photo credit: Wat Chaiwatthanaram, Ayutthaya, Thailand by Justin Vidamo. Photos come from Flickr: Creative Commons Attribution Licensed Photos. Please read here the Summary of the Legal Code. Terms of license are valid at the time of publishing this post.