There are so many interesting and exciting places to explore in Thailand that it would take many months to cover them all. For people who want to stay close to the capital, the Ancient City provides the perfect solution. This exciting attraction can be found on the outskirts of Bangkok and contains an impressive collection of replica monuments as well as buildings, shrines other places of interest in Thailand.
The Ancient City
Officially named Muang Boran in Thai and covers an area of 320 acres. This vibrant attraction is formed in the shape of Thailand and was opened to the public on 11th February 1972. Electric golf-style carts are available to rent to take visitors around the Ancient City, while bicycles can also be hired at the park entrance.
After paying the admittance fee, visitors pass through the city wall and gate. This impressive gate with its beautifully decorated rounded pillars was modelled after Thailand’s oldest stone fence, which dates back to the 12th century B.E and is situated near the Maha That Temple in Sukhothai.
The first structure situated inside the park is a reproduction of a city sala, which is a wooden building that was traditionally constructed by townspeople within the city walls to serve as a meeting hall. A wide path then leads the way past a replica of the Stupa of Phra Maha that and on to the old market town. This miniature town has been recreated to represent the atmosphere of an ancient Thai self-contained community. There are shops selling goods as well as theatres and religious monuments.
One of the best features of the Ancient City is the fact that you are free to wander in and around the structures, and visitors can spend some time exploring the traditional-style houses and shops, which are filled with relics and implements. Everything is perfectly placed and it feels as though this is an actual village, the inhabitants having left momentarily to attend a meeting or festival.
Scattered with pagodas, statues and carvings all following the Chinese style, the palace garden of King Rama II is not to be missed. Next to it, the audience hall of Thonburi, with its murals depicting the fall of Ayutthaya provides an interesting insight into Thai history and style. Situated next to a beautiful pond, the Khun Phaen House shows an Ayutthaya-style house, which would have been owned by a wealthy family.
The path also takes visitors past a large statue depicting a battle atop elephants, replicas of the Three Pagoda Pass near Kanchanaburi and an impressive reproduction of the Grand Palace and Sanphet Prasat Palace of Ayutthaya, which comes complete with shining silver roof and red brick ruins. Other scale replicas that are just waiting to be admired include the Phra Kaew Pavilion, a reproduction of the Prasat Phra Wihan from Si Sa Ket and the magnificent ruins of Singburi, Lopburi, Phitsanulok and Sukhothai.
Going Around and Getting There
It takes around four hours to cover the Ancient City by pedal power, including plenty of time to pause and take a closer look at the replicas. The outstanding Garden of the Gods provides the perfect resting point, as does the scale version of a traditional floating market, which comes complete with models of vegetable sellers in boats, bridges and networks of waterways.
The Ancient City can be found in Samut Prakan at km 33 on the Sukhumvit Road. It is possible to reach the park by taking air-con bus 511 from the bus terminal at Ekamai to the end of the line and then catching bus number 36, which passes the entrance to the Ancient City.
By Kirsty Turner