This blog post is about how my wife and I found a very convenient and relatively cheap way to maximize our 2 day / 1 night stay in Thailand while traveling via a cruise ship.
Our cruise line was Celebrity Cruises and we were docked at Leam Chanbang Thailand which was about 2 hours from Bangkok by car.
Blogpost Viewing Tip:
To view photos in a larger size, just hover your mouse/cursor over any image.
Move the mouse/cursor away and the photo returns to normal size.
We decided to stay in the Bangkok overnight rather than on the boat so that we could spend more time in the country and reduce the number of hours travelling back and forth from our destinations and the port.
While the cruise line did offer overnight excursions, the cost was relatively high regardless of whether it was by guided tour or not.
Also we had a slightly unique itinerary, in that we wanted to spend the first day visiting Ayutthaya (UNESCO World Heritage site) and then driven to Bangkok to enjoy the evening and second day. It was a given that no cruise excursion would be meeting these requirements unless we paid a significant amount.
It was a decision we definitely did not regret. The cost was comparable to the group tours offered by the cruise line even including having our own personal guide.
Ancient City of Ayutthaya
On the first day we chose “Ayutthaya Experience” tour. We were met at port by our guide and a driver at the designated time. Our guide spoke excellent English and was very personable.
The drive to Ayutthaya took around 2 ½ hours. As per the tour itinerary, we visited:
Wat Yai Chaimongkon
Chao Sam Phraya National Museum
Ayutthaya Ancient Palace
Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
The sites were all fantastic but my favorite was the Ayutthaya Ancient Palace. The site was very quiet and even in the day time there was a slightly haunting feeling that encompassed it.
Our guide gave a fantastic description of the all sites and offered up little stories and legends throughout the tour.
One point of etiquette when visiting these temples is that you must dress modestly and take off your shoes. Unfortunately for our driver his shoes were stolen when praying at Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit.
I believe he did manage to get some shoes later but then again he might have been driving barefoot for the remainer of the tour.
We enjoyed a nice thai buffett lunch at a hotel. The selection was good and tasty. We saw many of our fellow Celebrity cruise members who were on the official cruise excursion at the restaurant.
This further strengthened our belief that we got a superb deal.
After lunch we had an opportunity to feed the elephants which my wife loved. One word of warning, is that the elephants are not available to be fed if they are busy giving rides to tourists.
Wat Phra Mahthat
We then asked the tour guide if we could make a quick stop at Wat Phra Mahthat, though it was not on the agenda. We wanted an opportunity to see the famous Buddha head in the Banyan tree. This was definitely another highlight of the trip.
When we arrived, there were no crowds and contrary to images we saw online, there was no guard or fence. We had ample opportunity to take photos and enjoy the scenery.
Finally, our last stop on the Ayutthaya excursion was Wat Chaiwatthanaram. On the way to the temple, we passed by some Roti Sai Mai stalls and quickly asked our guide to pull over.
Roti Sai Mai is a local specialty which comprises of hair like strands of something similar to cotton candy wrapped in a flat roti. It comes in many colors and was very cheap and quite delicious.
Wat Chai Chaiwatthanaram was very serine and quiet when we arrived. We climbed up the stairs of one the temples which was very steep and enjoyed the view.
We concluded our trip of Ayutthaya and our driver drove us to our little hotel in Bangkok in about 2 hours.
We were very happy that we booked through Oriental Escape and would definitely book through them again if the opportunity arose.
Please check out Mark Wiens YouTube video below. Mark does a great job of showcasing many of the highlights of Ayutthaya including our sampling of Roti Sai Mai.
Also, check out my next blogpost on Bangkok from our 2 day / 1 night excursion from our Cruise Ship...
Recommended Tour Service: Oriental Escape