Muang Boran: Visit a Sprawling Cultural Museum in Thailand

In the mid-20th century, Thai millionaire Lek Viriyaphan decided to build a golf course shaped like the country of Thailand in the capital city of Bangkok that celebrated his beloved country’s culture and history. Eventually, Lek Viriyaphan’s proposed golf course morphed into an open-air cultural museum called Muang Boran—or Ancient City—that features miniature replicas of some of Thailand’s most celebrated landmarks.

One of the most impressive things about Ancient City is its sheer size. Ancient City is so large that it has been classified as the largest open-air museum in the world. Ancient City offers free bicycles to visitors so that they can tour the museum’s sprawling grounds in a timely fashion. Visitors can also ride a free tram, rent a golf cart, or explore Ancient City via boat.

One of the primary reasons that Lek Viriayphan created Ancient City is so that visitors could be steeped in Thai history and get the sensation that they were able to tour all of Thailand in a single day. Visitors can view striking replicas of stately palaces, Buddhist temples, and sculptures of majestic elephants. One of Ancient City’s most notable replicas is an ornate likeness of the Grand Palace of Ayutthaya which was destroyed by Burmese invaders in 1767.

Ancient City is home to numerous food, drink, and souvenir stalls. Visitors can snack on Thai curry, Tom Yum soup, and Som Tam papaya salad. Ancient City also features an authentic floating market, where merchants sell their wares from boats. Floating markets that sell food, clothing, and handmade items such as candles have played an important role in Thai culture for centuries.

In addition to breathtakingly beautiful architecture and striking sculptures, the grounds of Ancient City are meticulously landscaped. Ancient City’s multitude of flowering trees, blossoming plants, and vibrant green foliage is just as gorgeous as any man-made structure. Delicate lily pads floating serenely in the shadow of a replica of an ancient palace creates a beautiful and balanced tableau.

If you only have a limited amount of time to spend in Thailand but still wish to soak up as much authentic Thai history and culture as possible, a trip to Ancient City an absolute must. Spending the afternoon admiring statues of golden deities surrounded by spirited dragons will leave you with a new appreciation for the beauty of Thai culture. A visit to Ancient City will inspire you to start planning your next trip to Thailand.

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