Muang Boran, around Thailand in a day!
No need to jet-set, nothing to hurry, take a slow trip around the Ancient City of Muang Boran to catch a glimpse of all the landmark architectures of Thailand and enjoy its rich heritage.
Aso Lori & June Mukherjee, 15-7-2022
If the Englishman Phileas Fogg and his newly employed French valet Passepartout attempted to circumnavigate the world in 80 days as we read in the world-famous French novel 'Le Tour du Monde en 80 Jours', much popular in English as 'Around the World in 80 Days' by Jules Verne, why not a quick tour of Thailand in one day?
Shaped just like the Thailand map, Muang Boran, the Ancient City is a showcase of Thai architecture at its best and is a replica of most of the mausoleums spread across Thailand. Thai millionaire Lek Viriyaphant who also commissioned the construction of other famous landmarks like Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya and Erawan Museum in Samut Prakan, established the Muang Boran.
It is located in Samut Prakan, about 30 km outside the centre of Bangkok and takes an hour's drive to reach. This is world’s largest private outdoor museum famous for its research and execution on renovation, reinvention and restoration.
Daily open from 9 am to 6 pm, it takes only an entry fee of 700THB for adults and 350THB for a child. Other than private vehicles and taxis, MRTs and Songthaew (small passenger buses) are available to reach quite easily. Return taxis are available and app cabs work as well. There is a direct bus also which stops 6-km before the destination and the rest of the journey can be completed via a local taxi or a Songthaew. There are many accommodations and activity sites available around the site.
Muang Boran is just too big to explore on foot unless you are very much a walking type. As you cannot take your own vehicle inside, you can take a rent-free bicycle with your ticket if you know how to ride. Smaller ones are available for kids too. But only pick this option if the weather is cool enough or you are riding late afternoon. As a complimentary service, a set of trams run four times a day. It is a great option if you don’t want to sweat. It is also best for kids and the elderly and free to use.
You can also rent a golf cart for a tour around the park but you will have to drive it yourself. In this case, you will need to have an international driving license and pay 350THB for a 4-seater for the first hour and 200THB for each additional hour and 500THB for a 6-seater for the first hour and 300THB for each additional hour.
The Ancient City aims to realise the sustainable tourism ideology. It allows the visitors to learn through travelling. The place has a strong sense of social responsibility, trying its best to incorporate the local community into its works. Inside the Ancient City, they have created a natural scenic oasis in the middle of heavily industrialised areas. The best representation of how Thai people lived once upon a time, was preserved in the park environment and its architecture. The Ancient City is divided according to regions for visitors to enjoy and appreciate the core of the multi-faceted culture.
This area reflects majestic and traditional Lanna architecture with beautiful colours that have been passed down from generation to generation. Here one can experience the divergence of the Siam culture.
Known as Isan, this area is quite dry during the year making it difficult to yield crops. Therefore, festivities circle around religious events praying for rain and the architecture has many influences from the neighbouring countries.
This area is all about the old Siamese culture by the Chao Phraya river, people's close bond with the river, and the centre of Thai civilisation from the Ayutthaya Kingdom to the Rattanakosin Kingdom.
People came from many backgrounds, different religions and races to settle here. The art and cultures in the south are a mixture of the best each has to offer - Buddhist, Muslim, Chinese, Malay and many others.
Suvarnabhumi appears in many ancient Indian literary sources and Buddhist texts meaning the 'Golden Land'. Often referred to as the land of fortune where an ancient Prince's ship was boarded for trade, and later wrecked, it is also known as the land of richness and abundance. There are many floating buildings built over the large pools of water and there is a procession of huge royal barges. A fish temple in the middle of the pond will attract visitors of ages.
There are not many options to dine inside the Ancient City, quite understandably to keep it clean. The best option is to keep some snacks for munching along with sufficient drinking water. There is a restaurant area around the canal that serves traditional Thai cuisine from where one can choose from Pad Thai, Tom Yum, coconut soup, fresh curries to mango sticky rice, and much more. In the evening the visitors can enjoy traditional Thai dance to complement the meal.
Other than snacks and water, comfortable clothing, walking shoes, hat, sunscreen, sunglass and passport (for foreign tourists willing to rent a golf cart) should be there in your checklist. Always keep the ticket handy as they will be needed at a few checkpoints inside the Ancient City.
What was primarily conceptualised as a large golf course in the shape of Thailand with replicas of famous monuments turned out to be an educational park for Thai people to come, enjoy and take pride in their cultural heritage and for foreign visitors to know Thailand's historical legacy. The experience gives the impression of travelling the whole country within a day.