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We came to Ayutthaya on our family trip to see the temples, and although that part was great, the practical aspects of staying here with kids were more challenging.
Leaving KL was no big deal. We caught a taxi to the airport three hours before our flight time and got there with plenty of time to spare. We thought anyway! After getting some lunch, it was a bit of a rush through long lines at immigration and security to get through to find our gate was closing! S was hilarious at immigration. She just kept spinning, laughing and saying she’s dizzy, much to the delight to the crowds of people she seemed to be entertaining!!
It was a bit bizarre walking out to the plane. We were just told to go to the right when we hit the tarmac and to find plane 42… ok then! We rushed on board, but then ended up sitting there another 30 minutes as 14 people had checked in luggage and then failed to board. On the up side, there was plenty of space and J and Z moved to another row of seats, so we could all spread out.
On arrival, it was all very quick and easy. We knew we were in a great child friendly country when we didn’t even have to line up at immigration – we were approached straight away and directed to a priority counter 🙂 We got a van to Ayutthaya easily. It was a bit pricey (bit over $50) but a massive van and we were going to another city after all!
We stayed at Samjai Place. It was quite different to our last place, not only because it cost $17 a night!! For that price, it was an absolute bargain. A queen bed and a single, a/c, big fridge, couch, tv, desk, balcony and a small bathroom (unfortunately, one where there is no shower stall). It was clean and met our needs well.
I was annoyed that they told me before I booked that they had cots, and on arrival, I was told they don’t have any. I am not sure if they should advertise as kid friendly, more like kids welcome, as I couldn’t see what they did to make it kid friendly.
I was also annoyed that they didn’t service our room as we requested – when you have a crawler, the room needs to be at least vacuumed every day, especially as i managed to break a glass bottle on the floor the first night. There was also no bin. For the price though, it was a fabulous deal. We are happy that we are staying at fancier hotels the rest of our trip though!! 🙂
We picked this hotel, as I wanted to stay on the “island” part of Ayutthaya near most of the attractions and where I imagined when reading beforehand, all the restaurants, transport, etc were. This hotel got the best ratings on review websites. In reality, we are convenient to the sites (but it is too far for kids to walk, so we still would have needed a tuk tuk if they had come along), but a suitable place to eat is not in family walking distance.
The streets around here are also not at all kid friendly. There is also lots of stray dogs around at night. I wish we had stayed somewhere that at least had a restaurant to give us an eating option that was easy to get to.
There is where Ayutthaya proved to be challenging. I had read beforehand that it lacks tourist infrastructure as most people day trip here, and we found that to be true. There was a severe lack of places I would take the kids to eat. I wandered around for quite awhile without finding something that I would eat! There was only really street food an easy walk from our hotel and, although I am usually a fan of street food, none of it appealed to me at all.
We finally found a place to eat dinner, underneath a guest house on the river. Unfortunately, they got our order completely wrong, but at least we finally got to eat something good!
Tuk tuks are the main form of transport. They are meant to be 50 baht one way around the island and 200 baht per hour to hire. They weren’t anywhere near our hotel though, so that made things tricky. We got one a few times without any dramas though (just not near our hotel), except for them occasionally trying to rip us off badly. S loved them. Much more than she loved walking round the streets, which she handled well but there weren’t at all two year old or pram friendly.
We booked a private transfer through Pattaya 4 Leisure via email. They were fantastic. They turned up on time, with a better car than we expected.
I wouldn’t recommend Ayutthaya to a family with kids as young as ours. We enjoyed the sites, and I think S would have too, if she could have come. However, I couldn’t recommend staying in Ayutthaya due to its lack of tourist infrastructure.
I’d keep Ayutthaya as a day trip for when the kids are old enough to do that. It has also cost us a fair bit of money to get to and from here, as catching multiple buses/trains or little minibuses with the kids and our luggage is just too hard, so we needed private transfers (although the cheap accommodation has more than offset this).
This has taught us that we need to stick to the tourist trail while the kids are so little. The annoying thing is that we thought we were!!
Taxi to KL LCCT airport RM90 (they quoted 85 the night before but then refused to take that when we were leaving :-/ ) and about an hour. Flights KL – Bangkok return on Air Asia were $417 for 3 seats, an infant, our luggage, seat selection and some meals.
A massive private van via the taxi counter at Bangkok Don Mueng airport was 1800 baht to Ayutthaya and took about an hour (our driver was a lead foot though). Accommodation was at Samjai Place and cost $17 per night for a triple room on Agoda. A total bargain for that price.
Private transfer to Pattaya, 2800 baht
You can read more about our time visiting Ayutthaya’s attractions and Bangkok.