Do-It-Yourself Day Trips From Bangkok

There are quite a few interesting sights around Bangkok, which you can see on a day trip from the big city. These include places like the ruins of the old capital Ayutthaya or the more modern summer palace at Bang Pa In. There are packaged day trips that can take you to these places, but the more adventurous travelers can see more (and save money) taking the "do it yourself" route.

Visiting sights on your own allows you to decide exactly what you're going to see as well as how much time you're going to spend at each location. While the idea - and lower price - of organizing a day on your own may seem appealing, it isn't for everyone. For starters - and at the risk of stating the obvious - you'll need the confidence to navigate and negotiate trains, buses and other transportation options. You should also consider that the downside of having more time to see individual sights is that you'll end up seeing fewer sights in total. If you need to maximize your sight-seeing and see as many things as possible in as short a time as possible, then consider investing in the packaged day trips.

The modern town of Lopburi is about two hours' drive north from Bangkok. Occupied since at least the sixth century, Lopburi has been an important city since the Khmer empire in the tenth century. Later it was used as a second capitol of the Ayuthaya kingdom by King Narai. The remains of his palace is one of the main sights. Also of interest is the Chao Phraya Wichayen, used as a residence by Narai's Greek-born chief minister. Also of interest, sort of, is the Kala shrine, a temple located in a traffic circle near the railroad tracks. The temple itself isn't very interesting, but its over-run with monkeys who have grown fat and even rather agressive on tourist handouts. Don't say we didn't warn you!
Nakhon Pathom
Nakhon Pathom is home to one of the oldest Buddhist monuments in Thailand, although the Phra Pathom Chedi was recently fully restored and renewed. The city also has a former royal palace that's a little slice of Europe in the tropics.