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
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.
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.
Apart from replicas of historical buildings, you may also encounter stunning mythical beings from Thai culture like the Naga which is the mythical snake.
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.
However, not all buildings are miniature, there are also some full-size replicas of existing or former sites.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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.
(photo credit: *Amporn Konglapumnuay, ** Siwaphong Pakdeetawan, Instagram @knack66)