Did you know that if you’re interested in Thai history and heritage you can visit all of the country’s most famous landmarks in a single day at Muang Boran?
This elaborate educational theme park, also known as The Ancient City, was conceived by the late Lek Viriyaphant, a successful businessman who initially wanted to build a golf course in the shape of a map of Thailand with miniatures of famed Thai sites placed at certain spots along the course. However, saddened by the decay of many ancient sites within Thailand, he changed his mind and instead created an open-air museum dedicated to the extraordinary variety of Thailand’s architectural landmarks.
Construction on the park began in 1963 and was completed in 1972, making Muang Boran—located in Samut Prakan province, about 33 km southeast of central Bangkok—the oldest theme park in Thailand.
Illustrious monuments replicated here include: Nakhon Si Thammarat’s famed Phra Maha That stupa; the seated Buddha of Sukhothai; the seven-spired Chedi Chet Yod in Chiang Mai; the Chedi of Cham Thewi in Lamphun; and the graceful Khmer style Prang of Phimai sanctuary tower. And on a more contemporary note, the park’s charming Floating Market is surrounded by traditional Thai wooden houses—many of them authentic properties saved from destruction—as well as a 100-year-old traditional Thai mosque.
However, for many visitors the park’s pièce de résistance is the Prasat Sanphet Palace of Ayutthaya. The real palace, built back in the middle of the 15th century, is now a historic ruin but the structure here is a faithful and skillfully executed reconstruction.
The park is open daily, and adult admission is B350 for Thais, B600 for non-Thais (with reduced rates for children). Visit: www.ancientcitygroup.net
NOTE: The park’s founder, Khun Lek Viriyaphant, is also the visionary behind the Erawan Museum in Samut Prakan, and The Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya.