Mueang Boran – The Ancient City


Mueang Boran (เมืองโบราณ) means literally translated ‘Ancient City’ and is accordingly referred to as ‘Ancient Siam’. It is a park and probably the world’s largest outdoor museum created by Khun Lek Viriyaphant (1914-2000) who also constructed the Erawan Museum in Samut Prakan. Visiting Mueang Boran can be compared to a Thailand-round journey within a day!

The Ancient City

At the Ancient City, Samut Prakan**

At the Ancient City, Samut Prakan**

Mueang Boran, created in the early 1970s, is also located near Samut Prakan in close proximity to the Crocodile farm, about 30 km south-east of central Bangkok, near the coast to the Gulf of Thailand.

At one of the 'Salas' in Mueang Boran*

Amazing architecture at one of the ‘Salas’ in Mueang Boran*

This museum park has the shape of Thailand and spreads over 200 acres. What is more, it features 116 miniature structures of Thailand’s famous monuments and architectural attractions of various provinces such as Prasat Hin Phanom Rung, Wat Mahathat Sukhothai, Phraphuttabat Saraburi, Phrathat Mueang Nakhon, Phrathat Chaiya and many more.

A historical Thai building**

A historical Thai building at Mueang Boran**

Apart from replicas of historical buildings, you may also encounter stunning mythical beings from Thai culture like the Naga which is the mythical snake.

The Naga-Makara - Mythical Snake and Crocodile Composite'

The Naga-Makara – Mythical Snake and Crocodile Composite*

Hence, historical structures are saved in this way and the park can be regarded as an educational area preserving Thai culture and historic building techniques. A dedicated team of local artisans work alongside experts from the National Museum of Thailand. Hence, you also find woodcarvers and other craftsmen at work there.

A woodcarver at work in Mueng Boran**

A woodcarver at work in Mueng Boran**

A craftsman at work**

A craftsman at work, Samut Prakan, Ancient Siam**

However, not all buildings are miniature, there are also some full-size replicas of existing or former sites.

Monuments from Thai history at the Ancient City*

Monuments from Thai history at the Ancient City*

The facsimiles have been created with the help and assistance of experts from the National Museum in order to ensure historical accuracy. The most outstanding structure of the Ancient City is the Grand Palace of Ayutthaya which was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767. Further extraordinary replicas are the Phimai Sanctuary in Nakhon Ratchasima, and Wat Khao Phra Viharn located on the border to Cambodia.

Replicas at Mueang Boran*

Chinese style replicas at Mueang Boran*

In the museum park, there are artificial watercourses and mountains. Sometimes you can also spot some shy red-deers that browse the green areas. Apart from the 116 monuments, there are many statues which represent famous incidents in Thai history or literature. For instance, the following picture shows the Dvaravati Buddha at the Stupa of Phra Maha That, Chaiya, Surat Thani.

I think this is the Dvaravati Buddha statue*

I think this is the Buddha Image of the Dvaravati Period, Ancient City*

The Buddha's face*

The Buddha’s face, Dvaravati Period*

Generally, the museum presents different periods of Siamese craftsmenship ranging from prehistorical times, Dvaravati, Srivichaya, Khmer to Lanna, Lan Chang, Hariphunchai and Sukhothai. The following periods called Authong, Ayutthaya, Thonburi and Rattanakosin are also represented there.

A re-creation at the Ancient City**

A re-creation at the Ancient City**

The landmarks are all in geographical order. Visitors of the museum receive a map in which all monuments are listed and numbered consecutively. Apart from the replicas there are also rare traditional folk arts and cultures. However, sustenance is also provided there – check out the restaurants, food and drink outlets and the Floating Market 🙂

A waterway at Mueang Boran**

A waterway at Mueang Boran**

If you wonder how to move around the large park area, you may hire a golf cart or a bicycle. In addition, private vehicles are also allowed at a fee.

Amazing sight at the Ancient City**

Amazing sight at the Ancient City**

Finally, we may claim that the Ancient City is an extraordinary outdoor museum that brings Thailand’s history under one roof. Hence, this park also helps to preserve Thailand’s rich cultural heritage.

Yours, Sirinya

(photo credit: *Amporn Konglapumnuay, ** Siwaphong Pakdeetawan, Instagram @knack66)

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2 Responses

  1. John W Allen says:

    Hello,, I am John W;. Allen. I worked with friend Dr. Prakitsin Sihanonth at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok for over 23 years, each year I would bring 2-6 people and I would treat them to Muang Boran. I have over 100 photos at my website of the Ancient City. I love Thai.. Thank you

  2. John W Allen says:

    I meant to also say, thank you for the most beautiful photographs of this sacred home of Thailand.

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