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Bangkok - Side trip to Ayutthaya

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Jul 23rd, 2014, 11:00 PM
  #1
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Bangkok - Side trip to Ayutthaya

People often ask where are the good side trips from Bangkok, the practicalities, how long to go for, etc.

I've just been looking through my notes, and thought I'd post a few ideas of what we've done in the past.

The first, is a trip by 3rc Class train to Ayutthaya in March 2013. Ayutthaya is one of those Thai places that grows on you the longer you loiter, so I'd recommend staying for at least one night...

"We did this trip on 4 March. I was a bit dubious beforehand, having read that for various reasons the train wasn't such a good idea. But being a determined sort of chap that was going to be how we get there.

So here's how it went...

- 0850. Vacated our accommodation (Take a Nap G/H) on Rama IV, and walked to Sam Yan MRT. Took the MRT, only one stop to Hualamphong.

- 0910. Arrived at Hualamphong train station.

- Queued for tickets (only 1 person in front of me)..

- I asked for 2 x 3rd Class tickets to Ayutthaya. No problems all. Cost 15 (fifteen) bahts per ticket.

- 0918 tickets issued. Train due to depart at 0925.

- Time for pee, and walked to platform.

- Train hadn't arrived, and there were quite a few waiting.

- 0935, the train arrived. Quite a few carriages, and no problem getting seats opposite each other. The train was clean.

- 0950, train departed.

- 1005. Station stop. The village idiot gets on, and I'm lumbered with him for the duration.

- By the time the train gets to Don Muang airport there's no seating space, and plenty of people standing. Don Muang isn't a good place to board these trains if you are expecting to get a seat!

- 1150. Train arrives at Ayutthaya.

So simple!!
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 11:06 PM
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The village idiot I mentioned was a little oldish man who kept supping from a half bottle of Hong Thong, which he stank of. He wouldn't stop tapping me on the shoulder, and shuffling his skinny frame around on 'our' two seater bench seat.

He kept trying to talk to me. The only words I understood during the next 90 minutes where when the train passed a golf course, and he pointed at a golfer and spouted "...ah Tiga Woodz!", giving me a long not very many toothy grin.

He was proud of his micro-chipped ID card, kept getting it out of his wallet, and dropping cash on the floor in the process.

He never upset me, he was just a bit irritiating. He entertained me, my wife was glad he was sat next to me and not her. I did my best not to completely ignore him, and I'm not sure what some of his fellow Thai passengers thought.

All part of the experience!
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 11:15 PM
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Travelling by 3rd class train is fascinating.

As you leave Bangkok you spend the first hour or so passing through some very poor areas, and it's remarkable how many people live practically on the railway line. This is a side of the city that most tourist completely miss [or avoid]!

On the train you mix with "real" Thai people, interesting characters, as opposed to the hordes of plastic cut-out people working in the tourism and hospitality industry.

And apart from the village idiot there was a man who hid his cigarette every time the guard passed. As if the guard couldn't smell the smoke - the rest of us could!
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 11:25 PM
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I mentioned that the train was clean. What I meant was the train had been cleaned and scrubbed before it started the journey.

Hualamphong station is buzzing with activity from v.early in the morning, and every train that comes in is attended to by a small army of cleaners before it sets off again on a new trip.

But as the windows are open for the duration on a 3rd Class train, and cosying up to your fellow passengers becomes the norm and almost impossible to avoid, then yep all you want is have good shower by the end of a journey.

You should have seen the muck that came off my face after nearly 6 hours on the Aranyapraphet to Hualamphong 3rd Class train ride!

All part of the Thai experience, and those wonderful memories lock-in.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 11:48 PM
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Glad you enjoyed it. I didnt like Ayuthaya. Not a fan of trains either. I like to drive so I can make stops along the way and get off the beaten path more.
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Jul 24th, 2014, 01:42 AM
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I think if we'd have only gone to Ayutthaya for the day from Bangkok, then I doubt we'd have enjoyed the place quite as much.

Trying to cram too much into a few hours, particularly with the unforgiving heat of the Central Plains isn't a right lot of fun.

It's somewhere that needs to grow on you, nightlife is low-key, but it's there to be enjoyed. Sitting at a bar on the banks of the Pasak River watching all life on the river is a v.relaxing way to fill in time for a couple of hours before dinner.

The whole train experience is just like getting off the beaten track. I could sit and watch all the activity at Hualamphong station for hours, and like it or not you have to mix it with the locals on the train. By the time the train has reached Don Muang Airport it's one big happy family.

We were flying to Phnom Penh straight after Ayutthaya, so it was handy being quite close to Don Muang Airport for an afternoon Air Asia flight. But as trains returning to Bangkok are notorious for being behind schedule, we took the safe option and got a public bus from Ayutthaya, which run every hour and stop right outside the Airport.
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Jul 24th, 2014, 02:06 AM
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Perhaps. I liked the ruins at Phanom Rung better. Thats a long way from bkk though.

I usually spend the last day of a trip getting a massage, shopping and using the hotel pool.

Bangkok nighlife is so good Im not sure that Ayuthaya would appeal more but havent spent much time there.
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Jul 24th, 2014, 07:58 AM
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We took the train to ayuthaya, but were not as adventurous - enjoying the comfort of first class to the summer palace and then on to ayuthaya. This was one if iur favorite days in Thailand. It was a great day trip and we loved the ruins.
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