3 Days in Ayutthaya with Kids

Author: Celine Brewer

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Ayutthaya is the former capital of Siam and was once one of the world’s most important cities. It was nearly destroyed by a Burmese attack in 1767, but we are fortunate that enough temple ruins remain to give us a feel for what this incredible city was like in its prime.

We spent 3 days in Aytutthaya with our two kids, aged 3 & 5, during our family trip to Thailand in December. We were a little worried about the temples being too boring for them, but they never complained once.

Temples at sunset in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

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Our Itinerary for 3 Days in Ayutthaya with Kids

Touring the amazing temples of the Ayutthaya Historical Park is one of the best things to do in Ayutthaya with kids, but there are other attractions as well in case you want a break from the temples. Here’s our Ayutthaya 3 day itinerary with kids:

Day 1 – Bike Ride to Off-Island Ayutthaya Temples

After breakfast, we strapped the kids onto our backs with the carriers we brought from home and hopped onto the complimentary bikes our Ayutthaya vacation home rental provided and set out to see the off-island temples.

The traffic in Ayutthaya is pretty heavy at times, so we tried to take side streets wherever possible. The great thing about this strategy is that you see so many interesting things, from people’s houses to more obscure temples that may otherwise be missed. There are dedicated bike lanes along most (but not all) of the busy roads in town, which helped reduce the risk a little.

Visiting the off-island temples by bicycle requires you to cross the river a few times along very busy highway bridges. Thankfully, there are pedestrian walkways on the edges of each bridge, so keep your eyes peeled for them.

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Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol

Our first temple visit of the day was Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol, just east of Ayutthaya island. Built in 1357 AD by King U-Thong, this is a very impressive temple with a very tall Chedi at the center, surrounded by hundreds of seated Buddhas.

Two small kids on a family trip to Thailand visit Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol Ayutthaya Thailand.

At Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol, you are able to climb to the top of the Chedi and walk around an observation deck at the top allowing a panoramic view of this amazing temple. Also, not to be missed at this temple is a very large reclined Buddha wearing a golden robe.

A father and his daughter explore Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol in Ayutthaya Thailand.
Two small kids on a family vacation to Thailand walk around the Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol  temple in Ayutthaya.
A reclined Buddha wearing a golden robe at the Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol in Ayutthaya Thailand.

From here, we took our bikes along some off-island roads to our next Ayutthaya temple. We stopped along the way for a packed lunch at a little wooden hut, with benches to sit on. It was a perfect little place to stop and enjoy our lunch.

Dan Brewer, of the Family Can Travel blog, has lunch with his kids while exploring Ayutthaya Thailand with his kids on bikes.
Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol in Ayutthaya Thailand with Kids

Recommended Tour

If you accommodation doesn’t offer free bikes, don’t worry. This kid-friendly half-day cycling tour of Ayutthaya is perfect for you!

Wat Chai Wattanaram

Dan Brewer and his daughter ride their bike past Wat Chai Wattanaram in Ayutthaya Thailand.

Our second temple of our first day in Ayutthaya with kids was Wat Chai Wattanaram, located just SW of the island. Built in 1630 by King Prasat Thong in memory of his mother, the temple was built in the Khmer style, which was popular at the time. 

Wat Chai Wattanaram is a very beautiful temple, with a centerpiece 115 foot (35 m) high prang, surrounded by several smaller prangs. The central platform is surrounded by tall brick walls, with eight Chedi-shaped chapels at regular intervals.

Adding an extra layer of interest to the site are the many beheaded Buddha statues, which happened after Ayutthaya was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767 and the temple was deserted.

A 3 year old boy on a Thailand vacation explores Wat Chai Wattanaram in Ayutthaya Thailand.

Afterwards, we went to the Ayutthaya night market on Bang Lan for dinner, but it was a little too busy, a little too exotic and nowhere to sit. There was some stuff the kids may have eaten, but this is a local’s night market, so there was a lot of exotic stuff on offer.

We elected not to risk it and went to nearby Malakor Café instead, where we enjoyed a delicious, spicy yellow curry with mussels and pineapple. The kids did really well with their meal as well – Thai omelette for the win!

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Day 2 – Train to Bang Pa-In Palace from Ayutthaya

Today we wanted a break from the Ayutthaya ruins, so we took a day-trip to see the Bang Pa-In Palace.

Bang Pa-In Palace is a former summer palace of Thai kings. Located roughly 10 miles (17 km) south of Ayutthaya, it’s close enough to get there via a taxi or tuk-tuk.

Adventures on the Train

Our vacation home rental host offered to arrange a private taxi there and back for 500 baht (~$16 USD), but we elected to take the train as the kids really enjoy train rides and we enjoy the adventure of doing it yourself. We had quite a few challenges on this outing, but we persevered and we did it and we had a great adventure along the way!

The first surprise of the day was that we had to wait 90 minutes for our train to Bang Pa-In. Oh well, the kids had fun running around the train platform, we had an early packed lunch and treated ourselves to some yummy iced coffees (and iced Ovaltine for the kids) from the street market outside the train station.

two small kids play on the platform at the Ayutthaya Train Station.
Dan Brewer, of FamilyCanTravel.com, enjoys iced beverages with his kids on a family trip to Ayutthaya Thailand.

The train to Bang Pa-In Palace was a 3rd class train, meaning it was full of locals and open windows with no air conditioning. It was around 91F (33C) outside, but with the shade from the roof and the wind from the windows, it wasn’t too bad at all.

two small kids on a Thailand family vacation wait for a train at the Ayutthaya Train Station.

The Thai people have been super friendly towards the kids on our trip and the train rides were no exception. With a choice of looking out the window or at the cute little Canadian kids, most of the locals chose to sit and smile nicely at them.

Some were a little bold and tickled the kids (which our daughter liked and our son didn’t). The trains were completely full, but each time we boarded a train, the kind locals got up to move to make room for us to sit together as a family.

Challenges Getting to Bang Pa-In Palace

Surprise #2 was when we arrived at the Bang Pa-In train station. There were no tuk-tuks or taxis there waiting for passengers, only a small army of moped drivers, waiting to take one passenger each.

Our kids have never been on a motorbike of any kind, and without helmets we weren’t going to start now. The moped drivers said there were no tuk-tuks in town, so just as we were about to start the 1 mile (1.5 km) walk to the Palace, they told us they had called a tuk-tuk driver for us. Go figure…

The tuk-tuk arrived a few minutes later and took us to the Palace, where he agreed to wait to take us back to the station.

Palace Dress Code

Surprise #3 was the strict dress code at the Palace.

Celine was ok with her capri pants and t-shirt, the kids were not subject to a dress code, but I was wearing shorts above the knee. I was forced to go back out and rent a pair of full length pants for 50 baht (~$1.60 USD). I picked a bright orange pair of pants to make the kids laugh.

Dan Brewer, of the Family Can Travel blog, models his rented orange pants in front of  Bang Pa-In Palace in Ayutthaya Thailand.

With all the delays earlier in the day, we didn’t have much time until we had to be back for our 2:20 train back to Ayutthaya. But it didn’t matter, we managed to walk through most of the beautiful gardens in under an hour and we felt we saw it all.

The Bang Pa-In Palace grounds are home to many beautiful buildings, ponds, sculptured shrubs, flower beds, sculptures and more. If you appreciate a fine garden within an opulent setting, you will enjoy a visit here.

Two small kids visit Bang Pa-In Palace while on a 3 day trip to Ayutthaya, Thailand with their family.

More Train Delays

Surprise #4 was that our train home was 30 minutes delayed, which would have been nice to know as we could have spent more time at the Palace. Upon arriving back in Ayutthaya, all the tuk-tuk drivers were asking double what we paid to get there, but we politely declined all of them until we found someone willing to do it for a fair price.

Surprise Elephant Parade!

Surprise #5 was the elephant parade we encountered on the tuk-tuk ride back to our condo rental. This was the opening day of the Ayutthaya World Heritage Fair and there was a large & very colorful parade blocking the road and we had front row seats. The kids especially enjoyed the painted and beautifully decorated elephants.

a parade of brightly colored elephants in Ayutthaya Thailand.

We could have taken the easy way out and hired a private driver, but it’s the misadventures and surprises along the way that make travel so much fun. We had a great time today!

Day 3 – Biking to On-Island Ayutthaya Temples

We awoke today to heavy rain. It was a bit surprising given we’ve had nothing but sunshine during the first week of our family trip to Thailand. December is supposed to be dry season in Thailand, so we hadn’t packed any rain gear and we were unprepared for a day of rain.

During a moment where the rain slowed down, I ran to Tesco Express and bought us 4 rain ponchos. Now that we were dressed properly for the rain, we hopped on our bikes and went to see the top on-island temples Ayutthaya has to offer.

Wat Mahathat

The ponchos worked great and we arrived at Wat Phra Mahathat reasonably dry. Wat Phra Mahathat is famous for a tree which grew up and around a Buddha head. The temple itself is over 600 years old and is a wonder to walk through.

the famous Buddha head in tree roots at the Wat Phra Mahathat temple in Ayutthaya Thailand.

It’s a shame that its majestic 150 foot (46 m) high prang collapsed over 100 years ago, but its base still stands in the center of the complex, adding to the ancient feeling of the site.

two kids in rain ponchos look at the Buddha head at Wat Phra Mahathat in Ayutthaya Thailand.
Celine Brewer and her kids explore Wat Phra Mahathat on a 3 day trip to in Ayutthaya Thailand.

Wat Ratburana

two kids explore Wat Ratburana during a family trip to Ayutthaya Thailand.

Our next Ayutthaya temple was right next door, so we didn’t bother with our bikes and simply walked over. By the time we arrived, the rain had stopped and we took our ponchos off. Wat Ratburana is worth visiting for the intricate details still visible on its main prang.

Surrounded by four smaller prangs, the central prang at Wat Ratburana features carvings of mythical creatures, lotus flowers and even original stucco. As with most temples in Ayutthaya, it’s reasonably small, so a walk around the site with kids was very enjoyable and well within their attentions spans.

Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Our third and final Ayutthaya temple of the day was Wat Phra Si Sanphet. Built in the 1300’s, Wat Phra Si Sanphet was a temple for the royal family and was never home to monks. We found our walk around this temple to be highly enjoyable. The three amazing large, central Chedis are the well-deserved main attraction here, but the surrounding smaller Chedis really added to the charm of the temple.

Wat Phra Si Sanphet in Ayutthaya Thailand.

With so many amazing temples in such a small area, Ayutthaya reminded us of a miniature Angkor Wat. We visited 5 of the best temples in Ayutthaya during our three day visit. The temples were all small enough and full of enough stuff, that the kids never complained once about being bored. We could have visited Ayutthaya in two days, but we’re glad we had the extra time to slow down and enjoy the experience.

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How to Get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok

Ayutthaya is roughly 50 miles (80 km) north of Bangkok. Being so close, it’s pretty easy to get to Ayutthaya from Bangkok. You have four main choices for transport from Bangkok to Ayutthaya:

Bangkok to Ayutthaya by Train

Trains run frequently between the Bangkok Hualamphong train station and Ayutthaya. Tickets for this 1.5 hour journey can be purchased online or at the station.

Private Transfer from Bangkok to Ayutthaya

As you’d expect, a private transfer Bangkok to Ayutthaya will be your most expensive option, but given it’s in Thailand, it’s still not that expensive. Parent’s traveling with kids will find this the most convenient option and the only one that offers child seats for small kids. We have booked private transfers with 12Go on multiple occasions in Thailand and love the convenience of it for family travel.

Take a Day Trip to Ayutthaya from Bangkok

If you don’t wish to stay overnight in Ayutthaya, a day trip from Bangkok is a great option for families tight on time.

Wat Yai Chaya Mongkol in Ayutthaya Thailand with Kids

Recommended Tour

This private full day tour to Ayutthaya from Bangkok includes admission to most of the temples we describe below.

How we got from Kanchanaburi to Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya was our second destination on our family trip to Thailand after spending three days in Kanchanaburi, so rather than travel from Bangkok, we traveled by private transfer from Kanchanaburi to Ayutthaya. We booked our private transfer with 12Go as it allowed us to easily compare our options, including those who offered child seats.

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Home to the famous River Kwai, we had a ton of family-friendly adventures during our three days in Kanchanaburi with kids.

Where to Stay in Ayutthaya

We rented a 3 bedroom villa in Ayutthaya, located in a quiet residential neighborhood not far from the tourist zone. We had use of complimentary bikes allowing us to get anywhere on the island quickly.

We enjoyed having our own bedrooms and unlimited bottled water, but the kitchen facilities were quite simple. Our kids loved the exotic birds on the property, including talking Myna birds. We had one of our best meals in our whole month in Thailand at their restaurant. Even if you don’t stay here, the fixed course meal is worth a trip out.

View more Ayutthaya vacation home rentals. If you’d prefer an Ayutthaya hotel, we recommend using the family-friendly search criteria on Booking.com.

And that’s it! We hope you enjoyed reading about our three days in Ayutthaya with kids!

Temple hopping in Ayutthaya Thailand with Kids. Read which ones were worth the visit and how to get around with kids. || Thailand | Ayutthaya | Things to do | Travel with kids || #ayutthaya #ayutthayatemples #ayutthayathailand #thailandwithkids #thailanditinerary
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Celine Brewer is a dedicated family travel blogger with a profound passion for helping families create unforgettable adventures together. Her blog blends captivating travel narratives with practical tips for family-friendly destinations and enjoying active travel with kids. As a mother of two, she understands the unique challenges of traveling with children and offers valuable insights to empower parents.

When Celine isn't traveling with her husband and two kids, she's either working on one of her three travel sites (Family Can Travel, Baby Can Travel and Travel Banff Canada) or out enjoying the majestic Canadian Rockies her family calls home.