Muang Boran, which means "Ancient City" in Thai, is an immense outdoor museum spread over 240 acres on grounds that are sculpted to resemble Thailand. Muang Boran, which lies just east of Bangkok, is also known as "Ancient Siam," and it's supposedly the world's largest outdoor museum. Muang Boran boasts over 100 miniature replicas of famous Thai buildings and sites, all of them placed on the grounds in geographic preciseness to their real counterparts.
Temple re-creation at Muang Boran — Photo courtesy of Muang Boran (Ancient Siam)
In the northeast zone, you can find replicas of the famous sanctuary at Phimai in Nakhon Ratchasima, along with the disputed Phra Wihan (known as "Preah Vihear" to the Cambodians) Khmer temple from up on the Thai Cambodian border.
In the central zone are the famed temples of Sukhothai as well as those of the ancient capital of Ayutthaya. There are plenty of Buddhist stupas to be found here, along with some lush grounds, including the aptly named Garden of the Gods, where the pantheon of Hindu deities Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu are enshrined.
In addition to all the temples, there is also a floating market here, as well as pavilions and market squares. Restaurants and vendors sell requisite grilled chicken and som tam papaya salad and sticky rice to keep visitors sated.
Replica of traditional Thai architecture, Muang Boran — Photo courtesy of Muang Boran (Ancient Siam)
The creator of Muang Boran – Lek Virayaphant, who also made the Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya and the Erawan Museum – worked alongside experts from the National Museum to ensure that exact detail and accuracy was followed, and the result is pretty astounding.
Virayaphant believed that his creation might help make up for the decline of civilization (as he saw it, which resulted in the decay of all these ancient monuments), and he certainly has made good on preserving some of the past for future generations to come.
For those who don't have the chance to travel the country and see the real thing, this attraction is a must-visit, and even if you've already been to some of the temples, this is a great way to get some insight into Thai history and culture.
As the park is quite large, you'll need to rent a bicycle or golf buggy to get around and see all the sites, or else take the trams that run inside the park. Those who drive here can see all the sites with their own cars.
Getting out here can be a bit of a haul, though, as the site is on the eastern fringes of Sukhumvit Road. Either take a taxi, which should run around 1000 baht return, or else hop on the air con 511 bus and take it to its terminus in Samut Prakan. From there you can switch to the public songthaew ("pickup truck") number 36, which runs out past the Ancient City. Plenty of travel agents in town also arrange tours, which include transport, entrance, lunch, a guide and all else for one set fee.