The Ancient City or Muang Boran is one of the largest open-air museums in the world featuring replicas of Thailand’s most historic buildings from different kingdoms such as Lanna, Ayutthaya, and Rattanakosin. While most of the buildings have been scaled down to about one-third of the originals, some structures are life-size replicas.
The Ancient City was created by multi-millionaire Lek Viriyaphant (passed away in 2000), who also created the Erawan Museum in Samut Prakan and the Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya. Founded in 1963, it’s quite remarkable how unknown this park is — at least I didn’t know about this place until recently when I saw some cool pictures on Instagram.
The park is huge, and you can easily spend a full day here. Depending on how many hours you want to spend here, renting a golf cart is a good idea. If you don’t want to rent a golf cart, bicycles are included in the entrance fee of 700 baht (350 baht for Thai people).
The first place we went to see was the Sumeru Mountain some distance from the starting point as I planned to take some drone shots here. A staff member walked up to me pretty quickly asking me to take down the drone, but luckily, I managed to take a few shots.
A closer look at the temple of Sumeru Mountain, which, according to Thai cosmology, is considered the pillar of the world as well as the center of the universe.
The next place I planned to take some drone shots of were the beautiful Pavilion of the Enlightened that symbolizes the story of 500 monks who all became enlightened and reached Nirvana. But since I was just told not to fly a drone, I had to settle for some none-aerial shots.
A selfie with The Pavilion of the Enlightened in the background.
Visiting the two first temples, which are located close to each other, was our main goal, and after that, we cruised around and photographed lots of beautiful buildings like this authentic-looking ruin known as the Sikhoraphum Stone Sanctuary.
The garden around Sanphet Prasat Palace in Ayutthaya, which was burnt down to the ground in 1767 when the Burmese destroyed the city, is absolutely gorgeous!
The Dusit Maha Prasat Palace within the Grand Palace complex in Bangkok is situated in the same garden as mentioned above.
Some dragon fountain called Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara (Kuan-Yin) performing a miracle to fend off evil forces.
A beautiful golden temple with a Buddha statue standing in front.
School children on electric trams happy to see a farang.
There are over 100 buildings, and since we had limited time, we didn’t see them all. I’m not sure if that’s even possible in one day?
How to get there
We took a Skytrain in Bangkok to Samrong BTS station via Bearing BTS station to finish with a few minutes taxi ride to the park. Total time around one hour.
Golf cart for rent
- Two seats 150 baht/hour
- Four seats 300 baht/hour
- Six seats 450 baht/hour
For more information, visit muangboranmuseum.com. Click on the map below to enlarge.