7:00 – alarm goes on. In Bangkok it hurts less than in Wroclaw.
7:30 – we’re leaving to Hua Lamphong train station. I really like early morning walks. At 7:30am pavements are empty and only obstacles are big oven-like things baking something on the pavement. Apparently they didn’t fit inside a bakery. And huge gas canisters didn’t fit too. Safety first.
8:00 – we’re arriving at Hua Lamphong train station which doesn’t look Asian at all. It makes sense once you read that it was designed by Italians. We’re getting inside and… Something’s going on. In front of us there’s line of people in uniforms, standing ramrod straight. Travelers are standing straight too. Music is playing, maybe an anthem? We’re waiting patiently and as soon as the anthem is over, we’re buying tickets. 40 THB (~1,13 USD) later we have to 3rd class tickets to Ayutthaya.
8:20 – platforms really look quite Italian, a little bit like a smaller version of Milano Centrale. 3rd class carriage looks quite good with fans, soft seatings and trash bags everywhere. On another platform someone washes another train with something which looks like home-made pressure washer. Train leaves.
8:40 – in all cities I have seen views from train weren’t the prettiest, but it’s not the worst. But Bangkok is definitely missing more rails, as we have to stop every now and then. We’re going through the city veeery slowly, but at least we can do a bit of sightseeing.
9:00 – ticket inspector comes. Right after him a guy with a broom. He leaves and comes back with a mop. Legs up, time to mop the floors. And all for less than 1 USD per person.
10:00 – someone’s shouting something, probably it’s Ayutthaya, we’re leaving. We’re passing tuk-tuk sir and going to bike rental. For 100 THB (~2,80 USD) we got two bikes, colorful map with an itinerary drawn on it and an information that we have to ride only on streets and we have to ride through a bridge to get to the center of the city.
10:300 – few heart attacks later we have arrived to the purpose of this trip: ruins of Thailand’s former capital city, where 1 mln people lived. But first things first. Why heart attacks? Well, lets start with left side driving and add to it a tiny fact that the bridge wasn’t just a normal bridge, but had 3 lanes in each direction. Why we decided to visit ruins? Because they’re really interesting and not that damaged. Ayutthaya was built in the middle of 14th century and got destroyed by Burmese army in 18th century. Then Bangkok developed.
11:00 – we’re riding from one ruins to another. The city looks a bit funny, because inbetween all that’s left from old Ayutthaya, there are new buildings and regular life. There are big areas of old temples and palaces and smaller buildings hidden behind plants. We chose three places to visit and fortunately they’re all different. It’s extremely hot and after two hours of walking in the sun we’re exhausted. We’re going back and returning bikes.
1pm – we’re curious what’s at the end of the street where we rented our bikes, maybe lunch? No, there was no lunch, but… a ferry to the other side of the river. So we could have saved this few heart attacks for later, but on the other side, it would have been boring. And all in all we did both: bridge and ferry.
1:30pm – we took a ferry to find lunch, but market in Ayutthaya is not very appealing. When choosing places to eat we rely on our noses, eyes and instinct. They never let us down, so we’re going back.
2:00pm – and we’re next to the train station again, eating in a small restaurant next to a place where we rented our bikes. Our senses didn’t let us down, expensive beer did, but at least it was a cold beer on a very hot day (why is beer in Thailand so expensive!?). We’re going to the train station, waiting for our train back to Bangkok and watching people around us.
- Train Bangkok – Ayutthaya – 20 THB one way, 1:20h
- Entrance to one temple/palace ruins – 50 THB, lower price when buying tickets to all at once
- Bike rental – 50 THB (can be found cheaper)
- Ferry – 5 THB
- For how long? As you can see, it can be a half day trip, but also a full day trip. It all depends on how fast you want to see it. Some people are staying overnight in Ayutthaya on their way to the North, but the city itself didn’t convince me to stay.
- Is it worth it? Yes! It’s a quick and cheap trip from Bangkok and you get to see something totally different. I’ve heard that Sukhothai is even better, but it’s very far away.