Recently, Bjorn and I went to Ancient Siam (formerly known as Ancient City). It’s like Thai Disneyland, but without all the dancing and singing. Well, it’s more about historically significant sites, so it’s more akin to the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii (but again, without all the dancing and singing.) A man by the name of Lek-Praphai Viriyaphan founded it in 1963 as a place to celebrate Thai culture and history. Inside are replicas of historical places, including palaces, wats, a floating market, even a sacred mountain. Everything is well-kept and clean.
It’s probably the best place to go if you’re only going to be in Thailand for a short while. Getting there is not difficult and is quite cheap. Take the 511 bus to the end of its route. Cost: 18 baht. From there, walk a block or two until you see a bunch of baht buses lined up (they’re basically song taews, but bigger). They stop right outside the gates. Cost: 8 baht.
For 500 baht, you get access to the park, a bike to ride around the park, and if you tire of biking, tram rides around the park (the lazy git in me cheered at this news, but the biking is easy as most of the roads are nice and level.) You also can ride a boat through the floating market, feed bananas to baby deer and of course, find plenty of places to stretch out and take a nap. (One of the best places we found was inside a replica of a Christian church. Hmmm…)
We happened to go on a day that was overcast — perfect for exploring the park as Ancient Siam is all outdoors. I imagine on a sunny day “exploring” would turn into “ducking and hiding inside whatever building was closest.” It even rained while we were there, and for once I didn’t mind. Cool drops falling during a warm day is another duality I enjoy.
The recreated historical sites come from all over Thailand. There’s a recreation of a Northern Thai Village, palaces from Ayutthaya, a wat from Trat (which is near the Cambodian border) and a chedi from Sukhothai — almost every geographical region in Thailand is represented.
Bjorn and I joked that we should have come with different outfits so it would look like we had traveled to all these different places. We only have about three more weeks in Thailand, so we probably won’t get to see all these places in person. But at least we’ve been to Ancient Siam!
(I know, I know, such a postmodernist thing to say. It’s like going to Las Vegas and saying you’ve been to Europe because you went to the Paris, Venetian, Caesar’s Palace and the Bellagio casinos. But that’s a topic for another post. For now, it’s safe to say that I enjoyed my time there and I’m glad I went.)