A 13 hour overnight train ride, an ancient city, and Bangkok; all in one day. I didn’t know what to expect once I booked our sleeper train to the ancient royal city of Ayutthaya. Destroyed by The Burmese War in the late 1700s, much of it consists of ruins. The temples and history are plentiful and rich. Coming from here to the bustling city of Bangkok was quite a shock at first, but we grew accustomed to it quite fast. After all, you don’t have much of a choice! I’ll break down our journey, Ayutthaya, and the little part of Bangkok we experienced.
I rode on every type of transportation you can experience in Thailand, and my best experience was via the over night train to Ayutthaya. You can save a night of accomodation, and some precious time, using this mode of transport. While the ride was roughly 13 hours, it was certainly worth it. If travelling during high season (November – March) you will want to book about two days in advance, if possible. For train times, and prices, click here! This was my first train ride of any sort. The train itself was nice and relaxing, or has the possibility to be at least, granted you don’t have a baby crying all night. (Ear plugs/Headphones highly recommended!) Food is available en route, but not included in the price of your ticket. When it come to choosing top or bottom bunk it really doesn’t matter, go for the cheaper option. Our hostel booked for us for a small fee. It was hilarious seeing the looks on everyones face when he asked who was a top and who was a bottom. “Oh ok ok, you sir you two will be bottoms and you two will be tops.” I’ve never felt so objectified. He caught on to the looks and laughed along with us. While regardless of if you are a top or a bottom, definitely go for the air conditioned cars. You’re bedding will be included, along with an outlet. I slept like a baby. While I was a little skeptical that your luggage just sits on a rack outside your bunk, in the end that’s how it is. Just bring your valueables inside your bunk when you go to sleep. A lock might not be a bad idea, but I never felt unsafe. I feel obligated to mention that since you will most likely be using the bathroom at some point of your trip, toilet paper wasn’t part of the deal. The bathrooms were a hole in the floor, and I didn’t see a handrail to hold on to either…SO just be aware of that. They were a tad disgusting, plus I don’t know about you, but I’m not confident in my balance while squatting on a moving train. Either way, we successfully made it to Ayutthaya. Mission accomplished.
It’s very easy to spend a whole day here looking at temples and ruins. It’s quite scenic. Suncreen is a must, and it’ll be hot. When you first arrive at the station you’ll noticed there isn’t much around it. A few food stalls, and some bike rental shops. You can opt to hire a tuk tuk for the day (my choice), or if you feel like getting a bit of exercise in, you can rent a bike. If you go this route keep in mind that these temples can be far apart. I was so very, very glad we didn’t go with our first plan of biking around. That being said make sure you haggle with the tuk tuk drivers. They have a bit of a setup going to get you to pay a higher price. When you first arrive you will be hassled to take a tuk tuk for maybe 300-400bht per person. You, being a seasoned traveler, will of course decline this and keep moving. They know that. You will then be approached by a tuk tuk driver who offers a much lower rate, maybe 200bht per person. Sounds like a good deal, yes? I’m not so sure. After accepting this offer I realized they were working together. The first offer sets the bar high, so the “low” offer doesn’t sound too bad. So, who knows how much lower I could have got them if I would have haggled instead of just accepting the second price offered. Hopefully, knowing this you will get a better deal than I did. On top of the price for your ride, a good amount of the temples require a entry fee of 20bht. A couple places were 50bht. Still worth it. Had an absolutley fantastic time exploring Ayutthaya. For more photos, take a look in my gallery!
We booked a train early evening for the hour and a half trip to Bangkok. The non a/c cars aren’t too bad for a short trip, but the seats are just benches essentially, so I wouldn’t want to be on one for a long trip. However, they were only 15bht! Be sure to have an idea of where you want to go in Bangkok. We missed our stop simply due to a lack of situational awareness. Our goal was Khao San Road. Assuming the train only stopped in one place in Bangkok was our downfall. We ended up getting off near the airport and just taking a taxi.
30 minutes from Don Mueang International Airport sits the iconic Khao San Road. Khao San Road was amazing. A melting pot of everything you might want or need. Busy before, but certainly busier after the debut of “The Beach” in 2000, starring Leonardo Dicaprio. You’re walking along, turn the corner, and your greeted by a sea of people from all over the world. On the sides you have a mash up of bars, shops, restaurants, tattoo parlors, clubs, and more. In front of those you have street vendors selling everything from ukeleles to scorpions. I have friends who claim they taste like chicken. There are also a ton of places to stay in the area, but if going near high season you’ll want to try to book a few days in advance. We heard from other travellers that Born Free was a great hostel near Khao San Road, and while it looked good, it was booked up. So we settled for Feel At Home, and weren’t dissappointed. If you’d like to read my review of it (<–click there). Advance booking is the same for any tours you wish to do, or modes of transportation to other places. Had a blast in Bangkok! It’s easy to spend more time here than you anticipated, and I will definitely be coming back here.
Kopkhunkrab, thank you, for reading. If you have any questions, or an awesome story from your time here, comment below and tell us all about it!