Ancient City in Samut Prakan – All temples in one place
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Last updated at 03/12/2023, 08:00
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Don’t have time to visit all the top attractions in Thailand? Your plan to visit the country is intense, but you still can’t see the extra buildings, beautiful temples and cultural highlights? Don’t worry! Ancient City near Bangkok offers an insight into all the places of interest in the Land of Smiles.
When I first heard about Ancient City, I wasn’t that eager to visit. It seemed to me to be a kind of Thai temple Disneyland. Since I’ve been going to Bangkok every year for the past 10 years, I don’t have that many new things to see. On my last visit, I decided that I would go all the way to Samut Prakan and see the Ancient City. And you know what, it wasn’t that bad at all!
Go to Ancient City in Thailand if you want to see something interesting, cool and if you fancy seeing what the Thais can come up with too.
Introducing – Ancient City – a bit of kitsch, a bit of skills and positive impressions
The Ancient City is neither a city nor at all that old. It is the largest outdoor museum in the world. It was built in the 1960s by Lek Viriyaphan. It covers an area of 200 acres and was constructed on land shaped like Thailand.
At the very beginning, Ancient City was intended to be a golf course, with miniature buildings. However, when Lek started doing research, he found many old temples in Thailand in disrepair. So he decided to reflect them exactly as they were in their glory years.
Ancient City, therefore, was built on a larger site near Bangkok, in the town of Samut Prakan.
Today, 116 buildings and monuments from all over Thailand occupy the park grounds.
The museum has replicas of temples from Ayutthaya, from Sukothai, and from Cambodia. Many of these now no longer exist or exist only as ruins, remnants of the glory years. All have been accurately recreated in consultation with specialists from the National Museum in Bangkok.
At first I thought Ancient City was total kitsch, a bit of a theme park for instagram photographers. On the one hand, this may indeed be the case, but the museum’s creators cannot be denied their panache and imagination.
The buildings of the temples and palaces are beautiful, made with attention to detail. The decorations on them, often made with real expensive stones and bullion, shine in the sunlight and really add to the splendour of the design.
In every building, wherever you enter, a surprise awaits you. You can take a look, for example, at the royal boats on which the King and his family sail during important ceremonies. There is the opportunity to get lost in the underground temples or to meet the real buffaloes that graze lazily in the park.
When the tour was over, I had the feeling that it wasn’t wasted time after all and I had really enjoyed myself.
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Visiting the Ancient City
The area of the park is quite large and you can explore it in a couple of ways. I don’t recommend walking, as it won’t be possible to see everything on your feet.
I hired a bicycle because the rental was included in the ticket price and I could spend as much time there as I wanted.
There is also the option of hiring a small melex (golf cart). You must have a driving licence to hire one. The cost is 350 BHT for one car.
There are also special trams that run in the park, but I have read reviews that this is a tour that often consists of driving tourists somewhere, taking a few photos and rushing them to get back on. Many people complained that everything was done in a hurry. The trams are also used by quite a few tourists, so it is always crowded and noisy.
A bicycle seems to be the best choice here, although it is also worth considering whether you are able to ride in 30 degrees.
The cost to enter the park is 700 BHT per person.
Getting to Ancient City from Bangkok can be a bit tricky.
The museum is 40km from the city centre.
Your best bet is to take the BTS to Kheha Station, and from there it’s only 10 minutes by taxi to Ancient City. I recommend installing the Grab app for yourself and ordering a taxi from under the station.
After your visit to Ancient City, you can take a taxi (also Grab or take a taxi from under the museum gate) to Samut Prakan and climb the observation tower there.
If you’re just in Bangkok and have some time for extra sightseeing, Ancient City would be a fun place to spend 2 to 4 hours. Hire a bike or a melex and see some of Thailand’s most beautiful temples in one place.