Muangboran, also known as Ancient City and Ancient Siam, is a tourist park and museum spread over two hundred acres. It’s about an hour from central Bangkok near the Bangpu Recreation Centre on the shores of Bangkok Bay. Shaped just like Thailand, the park is a re-creation of ancient life and times in ancient Siam. The park is huge so you can walk around the park, ride a bike, or hire a golf cart. The park features 116 examples of famous buildings, monuments and other superb examples of Thai architecture from around the country. Some of the buildings are life-size replicas of existing or former sites, while others are scaled down. Magnificent fountains, golden stupas and grand pavilions sit amongst forested surroundings complete with faithful reproductions of villages from throughout Thai history interspersed with ponds, lakes and canals.
Many kingdoms have risen and fallen in the land now called Thailand and each period is accurately represented at Ancient Siam, from pre-historic times, through each wave of Thai development, right up the Rattanakosin period.
There are excellent replicas of long-lost temples and monuments like the Khao Phra Viharn, Phnom Rung (from the Khmer era), and Wat Mahathat of the Sukhotai period. Witness what the Grand Palace of Ayutthaya (the original was destroyed in 1767) looked like. Many other buildings no longer standing have been faithfully re-created at the Ancient City.
It’s impossible to see all the regions in Thailand in a single trip, but not at Muang Boran. It contains five areas that replicate Thailand’s five regions – East, South, Central, North and Northeast. In each region, you’ll find replicas of famous palaces, buildings and monuments. Impressive gardens, complete with statues and waterfalls depicting various periods in Thai history abound all around you. You can walk around the old market town area and see old shops and furniture, then visit the floating market to get a glimpse of the commercial past in Siam. You’ll also get to see faithful recreations of Thai villages complete with everything involved in daily village life. You can walk into re-creations of temples complete with shining decorations and statues and artefacts. Information on everything is easily available on the excellent signage all around the park but your guide will be able to offer you so much more detail. Having your own guide to talk to you about everything you see in the park will make your visit to Muangboran easier and more entertaining.
Ancient Siam is a wide and open park and you can wander freely without the crowds that are part and parcel of visiting other tourist attractions in Thailand. There are very rarely any queues, making Muangboran a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of central Bangkok. Food and drink is available all around the park although the vendors are centred on the floating market where you’ll find some market vendors selling fruit and veg from their little boats as they float by.
Experts from the National Museum assisted with the construction of the replicas to make sure they are historically accurate. Special exhibits to look out for include the reproduction of the Phimai Sanctuary in Nakhon Ratchasima, and replica of Wat Khao Phra Viharn on the Cambodian border. The jewel in the crown of the park is the beautifully striking and sweeping architecture of the re-production of Sanphet Prasat Palace (The Grand Palace of Ayutthaya).
Ancient Siam was created by Lek Viriyaphant, a Thai businessman, who thankfully decided not to build a golf course but instead chose to build a glorious and serene tribute to Thailand’s history. He also founded the excellent Erawan Museum close by.
Ancient Siam is open daily from 9am – 7pm. The admission fees vary depending on the time of day you want to visit. Late afternoons are cheaper.
From 9am – 4pm adults are 700 baht each and kids are 350 baht each. Car or van entry is 400 baht.
From 4pm – 7pm entry is just 350 baht for adults and 175 for children. Vehicle entry is 200 baht.
You can rent a four-seat golf cart for 350 baht (first hour) and 200 baht each hour after that. To rent one, you will need to be over 18 and present your driver’s license.
Things to remember about your visit to Ancient Siam:
Ancient Siam is located on Sukhumvit Rd, Bang Pu Mai, Amphoe Mueang Samut Prakan, Chang Wat Samut Prakan.
There’s plenty to see and do all around Bangkok. For a similar taste of Thai history, try visiting the National Museum of Bangkok.