While central Bangkok has plenty of sights and things to do, visitors can make the most of their stay by exploring the incredible attractions in the surrounding regions. Try these Bangkok day trips to some of the best.
Ayutthaya historic site
Modern Ayutthaya is the former capital of the Siamese kingdom and home to stunning temples, palaces and historic ruins. The historic city of Ayutthaya is a UNESCO world heritage site. The original thriving city was burned down by Burmese invaders in the 18th century and only the stone ruins of temples and palaces remain. Other highlights include Bang Pa-In, the lavish summer palace of the Thai royal family.
Plenty of tours are available to Ayutthaya, including a combined boat and bicycle tour from Bangkok. Or enjoy it at your leisure and find your own way. It’s about 80 km from central Bangkok by road. Trains also run frequently from Bangkok, but travel times vary, so look for an express service. Once there you can get around by tuk-tuk, ferry, or hire a bicycle. It’s fairly easy to find your way around. Remember to observe the modest dress code for temples.
For a shopping experience with a difference, the Ayutthaya floating markets are more of a tourist attraction for Thais than westerners. The markets are about 2 km east of the railway station and open every day. Live cultural performances run several times per day with performers roaming among the visitors. Many Bangkok travellers make their way to the popular Damnoen Saduak floating markets, however, some find them a little too crowded with tourists.
More Bangkok day trips
(or Ancient City Muang Boran) is a wonderful open-air museum of Thai cultural heritage. Set on 300 acres, you can cycle or drive a golf cart around its 100 replica historic buildings and sites. The park’s owner originally intended to build a golf course with miniature replicas of Thai monuments. Instead, the project ignited his passion for preserving Thai culture. With the help of the Thai National Museum, he relocated and restored several historic buildings, and created life-size or scaled-down replicas of the others.
The park is about an hour from Bangkok. Take the BTS train to Bearing station and then a taxi. Alternatively, join a tour from Bangkok.
Kanchanaburi is a two and a half hour drive west of Bangkok and the site of the famous ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’. The site was World War II prisoner of war camp, where allied prisoners were forced by the Japanese military to work on the Thailand Burma railway line. There are now several museums and memorials dedicated to those events.
The jungle trails and waterfalls of Erawan National Park are another ten kilometres from Kanchanaburi.
Finally, our tips for Bangkok day trips are to leave early, and then find a shady place to wait out the midday heat. Take a hat, sunscreen, and drink lots of water. Enjoy.