Travelling from Bangkok to Ayutthaya can be both fun and easy. There are many options for travel including bus, minivan, boat, car, motorbike, and train. We chose the train option because, well, we like trains. A lot.
All trains leaving Bangkok for the rest of Thailand leave from the Hua Lampong station. It is best to get to the station in the morning at about 9am so that you miss the peak hour frenzy of people coming and going from this very busy train station. The trains from Bangkok to Ayutthaya leave every hour from Hua Lumpong so there really is no need to rush unless you are only going for a day trip.
The easiest way to get to Hua Lampong is by the MRT (the subway). The Hua Lampong subway station is right at the train station. You can catch the sky train and then transfer to the subway if necessary.
Once you are at Hua Lampong go straight past anyone that tries to help you in any which way. The majority of these very nice and friendly people are, sadly, scammers. Unfortunately, there are lots of these people at Bangkok train station and its almost impossible to work out who legitimately works for the railway and who does not. Take everything with a grain of salt even if they are wearing official looking train station badges.
Just walk in and go straight to the train ticket counter. There are two counters. One for purchasing train tickets in advance which means two or more days in advance. The other counter is for buying tickets for today. That’s the one you should go to.
There was a time, not too long ago, where the Thai Railway were not selling any tickets below second class to foreign tourists. Luckily for us, this has changed. Our third class tickets from Bangkok to Ayutthaya cost us a whole 15 Baht each. The journey would take just under two hours in total. Fine with us. Two hours of looking out the window on a train. Nice!
While you wait, Hua Lampong Train Station has a lot to offer. There is a left luggage room for you to store your luggage if required. Many shops selling various food items including pastries and there is even a food hall for anyone wanting to sit down to a meal. The train station is fairly clean, the bathrooms are ok and there are a lot of seats to sit and wait on.
Catching a third class train in Thailand is very different to catching a first or second class train. First and foremost, you do not get assigned seating. This means that as soon as the train arrives at Bangkok, before it has even stopped on the track, you need to be ready to jump on the train to get a seat. If you’re too slow you may find yourself standing for the duration of your trip to Ayuytthaya. At least it’s only two hours.
Once you get that glorious seat, put the window down and enjoy the ride. There isn’t really much on the train in terms of entertainment. Every now and then, a person will come down the aisle offering bottles of drink, snacks of some kind, and even toilet paper to use in the toilets. The toilets aren’t anything awesome but at least there is one to use if you are desperate. Keep your ticket handy as the ticket inspector will come through at least once to check you have paid.
When we had almost arrived at Ayutthaya a lovely gentleman walked through our carriage and told everyone that we were approaching our destination. Be ready to depart the train as the Thai Railway staff like to be quick at these things. The train may well sit at the station for five minutes but it’s not uncommon them to stop for less than sixty seconds.
Welcome to Ayutthaya, the old capital of the Kingdon of Siam!
Once you have jumped off the train, if you have your luggage with you but you are not staying in Ayutthaya, you can leave your bags at the Ayutthaya train station. We don’t recall the charge for this service but we looked at the room. It was designed nicely with big sturdy shelving all the way around and even spots that you could lock your bag up to if you had a pacsafe.
To get to the ruins of Ayutthaya, walk out of the train station, straight across the road and straight on. You’ll come to a river with a little ferry making its way back and forth. The ferry cost a grand total of 10 to 15 Baht each. Once you get over the river, you can then rent a push bike or motorbike for the day which can make the getting around a little easier.
Enjoy the trip from Bangkok and the town of Ayutthaya just as much as we did!