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Getting There

By Train -- Trains depart at 7am, 8:30am and 9:25am daily from Bangkok's Hua Lamphong Railway Station (tel. 1690; trip time 1 1/2 hr.; 66B first class, 35B second class; 15B third class).

By Bus -- Buses leave every 15 minutes from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal on Kampaengphet 2 Rd., Mo Chit (tel. 02936-2841), from 4:30am to 7:30pm (trip time 1 1/2 hr.). Rates run from 50B for second class.

By Minibus -- Minibuses leave every half-hour from Victory Monument (on the BTS). They cost around 60B and take just an hour to arrive.

By Boat -- All-day river cruises are a popular option to and from Ayutthaya, and there are a number of companies making the connection. Grand Pearl Cruises (tel. 02861-0255; www.grandpearlcruise.com) runs a huge floating diner-cum-dance club; it can be booked through most hotels. Departure points are at River City pier (off Charoen Krung [New] Rd.), daily at approximately 7:30am. Day trips involve a morning air-conditioned coach ride to the ancient city and then a return by boat, where a buffet lunch is served; the cost is 1,900B.

The most luxurious way to travel upriver is aboard the Manohra Song, a renovated teak rice barge, or its newer and even more exclusive sister, the Manohra Dream. For reservations, call Manohra Cruises at 02476-0022, ext. 1750 (www.manohracruises.com). Three-day, two-night trips on the Song leave the hotel pier every Monday and Thursday, while private trips on the Dream can be arranged to leave any time. The Song has four staterooms with en suite bathrooms, while the Dream has two large rooms with A/C, full showers, and king-size beds. Each ship's crew serves cocktails, snacks, and Thai meals in its covered lounge. The trip includes a stop and elephant ride at Wat Nivet, in Ayutthaya. Inclusive of meals, tours, and transfers (but not alcohol), the Song runs at a steep 69,000B for a double stateroom, while the Dream costs a hefty 200,000B for the entire boat (maximum 4 people). Reservations should be made well in advance.

Orientation

Ayutthaya's old city is surrounded by a canal fed by three rivers -- Chao Phraya, Lopburi, and Pasak -- and thus is often referred to as the "island." The main ferry pier is located on the east side of the island, just opposite the train station. The Bangkok bus makes its last stop at the station opposite the Siam Commercial Bank Building, off Chao Prom Road in downtown.

Visitor Information

There is a Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) office at Si Sanphet Road opposite the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum (tel. 03524-6076). Stop by for maps and other information.

Getting Around

A tuk-tuk from the train station into town will cost about 50B. The best way to visit the ruins is by renting a bicycle (about 50B per day) from any guesthouse or hotel. If you're feeling lazy, negotiate a fee with the rider of a samlor (bicycle taxi); enlist the help of hotel staff to negotiate, or this unique and environmentally friendly way of getting around will cost an arm and a leg. A much noisier but faster longtail boat can take you on a 2-hour trip to the main sights for about 800B for up to eight people (arrange this through your hotel, or look for the boat operators by the pier at the northeast end of the island, near the night market). You can also hire a tuk-tuk, with a fixed fee of 200B per hour for temple tours. There is also regular minibus service between Ayutthaya and the pretty 19th-century palaces at Bang Pa-In, departing from Chao Prom Market on the road of the same name; the trip takes 50 minutes and costs 30B.

Fast Facts

Bank of Ayudhya (which uses a different spelling of the city's name) has a branch on U Thong Road next to the ferry pier, across the river from the train station, and there are plenty of ATMs in the city. The main post office is also on U Thong Road in the northeast corner of town (but any hotel or guesthouse can help with posting mail). A number of shops on Naresuan Road Soi 1 offer Internet service for 30B per hour.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.