Best destinations for day trip from Bangkok

Ayutthaya Thailand Things to do in Bangkok

Just 80 kilometers north of Bangkok, Ayutthaya is a city full of ancient ruins and history. This was the capital of the Kingdom of Siam, and is a fantastic addition to any Thailand itinerary.

We’d suggest spending a night there so you can fully take advantage of all Ayutthaya has to offer: Explore the floating market, rent a bicycle to bring you past all the ancient ruins (including the Insta-famous “head in the tree”), watch sunset in front of Wat Chaiwatthanaram, and sample all the local flavors at the night market for super cheap!

But if you’re short on time and can’t spare a night, you can certainly travel to Ayutthaya as a day trip. You can easily get to Ayutthaya by catching a shuttle van near Victory Monument. The ride takes just over an hour and is very inexpensive.

2. Khao Yai National Park

With plenty of hiking and biking trails, waterfalls and a variety of wildlife, this national park is roughly 3 hours from Bangkok and is a great getaway if you’re looking to escape the city.

3. Maeklong Railway Market

Located 80 kilometers outside of Bankok, this unique market is built around a railroad that is still active. As you browse the selection of fresh fruits and traditional sweets, you’ll hear a rumble in the distance. Before you even see the train, vendors will pick up their good and move them out of the way, allowing it to pass.

4. Kanchanaburi

While we’d recommend spending more than just a day, visiting Kanchanaburi can be easily done from Bangkok. Roughly 2 – 2.5 hours from Bangkok, this town is most well-known for the famous “Bridge over the River Kwai”.

While there, don’t miss dinner at Blue Rice Restaurant. Located right across the river with a stunning view, this Thai fusion restaurant will wow even the snobbiest foodie.

Our recommendation would actually be to spend a long weekend in Kanchanaburi and combine it with trips to the Erawan Falls National Park and ElephantsWorld (below). 

How to get to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok:

You can take the train from Bangkok to the city of Kanchanaburi. Trains leave twice daily – one at 7:35 a.m. and the other at 1:35 p.m. It’s about a 3-hour ride from the Thonburi Railway station on the west side of Bangkok.

Another option is to book a bus ride from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi ahead of time. You’ll have many more options for timing, however the bus does take slightly longer at 3 hours and 20 minutes from station to station.

5. Erawan Falls National Park

Erawan Falls National Park Thailand

At 300 baht, the entrance fee for foreigners to Erawan National Park seems steep, but we found it to be completely worth the price.

When you enter the park, you’ll find 7-layers of crystal clear water with pools you can splash around in, and dirt paths to explore. The waterfalls furthest from the entrance close early, so hike all the way to the seventh and work your way back to the start. The best waterfalls for swimming are #2, #4, #5 and #7.

The last bus of the day leaves at 4 p.m., so if you hire a driver, you’ll be able to explore the park after the crowds leave until it closes at 6 p.m.

4. ElephantsWorld

ElephantsWorld Thailand

You can probably imagine it is quite the popular activity for tourists to encounter elephants while in Thailand. There are countless agencies that sell packages promising an unforgettable experience with these gentle giants. But beware! Many excursions that involve elephants in Thailand treat the animals with incredible cruelty.

ElephantsWorld Sanctuary is an exception. With the company motto of “They used to work for us, and now we work for them,” ElephantsWorld is a retirement community of sorts. Most of the elephants there are rescued from the trekking industry, and some even carry the scars of their past work.

On your visit, you’ll feed the elephants, make food for them, help with other projects around the grounds, and help bathe them in a nearby river. You’ll also learn about the many ways these animals have been – and continue to be – mistreated and exploited from tourism throughout the country.

Sidenote: Do some of your own research on the subject, and learn more about the benefits of visiting an elephant sanctuary instead of participating in a trek. If you are in the north of the country, Elephant Nature Park located near Chiang Mai also has a great reputation.


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