After living for 16 months during the 1980’s, learning the language, and gaining a love for the people, culture and nation, I would highly encourage a trip to Thailand. There is so much to see and do it is difficult to choose among so many activities. I therefore want to alert you to “a must see” if travelling to Thailand called Ancient City. It is a park roughly in the shape of Thailand and contains exhibits from every region in the country. There is no better way to experience a bit of the various parts of this beautiful country. These exhibits are recreations of village’s and historic sites with over 116 buildings accurately displaying the unique Thai architecture, including their beautiful temples and examples of Thai art and the lives of the people. There are authentic markets including a floating market. You will need to get lunch since the park is so big and there are a number restaurants throughout the park including some on the floating market2.
Ancient City is a result of the inspiration of Khun Lek Viriyaphant a Thai artist whose initial idea was to build a miniature golf course with miniature representations of sites of national importance to Thailand. As time went on Khun Lek realized the potential to build much more than a minor tourist attraction. He created a cultural center and a repository of Thai cultural history. It is a working, hands on museum that speaks to your mind and body. It allows you to feel all of Thai culture and appreciate it in way that is not normally possibly. Khun Lek passed away on November 17, 2000 but his legacy lives on through his extraordinary creation. Even though Khun Lek has passed away the park is continually expanding and new structures are being added on a regular basis.
This attraction is about an hour away from Bangkok and about 40 minutes away from Suwananbhumi airport. It can be difficult to find your way there so taking a tour bus may be easier2. The charge is 400 Baht for adults and 200 Baht for children, at the exchange rate at the time of this writing (April, 28, 2011 at about 29 Baht to the Dollar1) that is about $13.79 for adults and $6.89 for children. Private two hour tours in English are available 1500 Baht ($51.75). There are also private trams in English for 1,200 Baht ($41.38) for 32 people. The parking fee is 300 Baht ($10.34). Bicycle rental is 50 Baht ($1.75) per bicycle. Since the park is on 320 acres of land2, (approximately three times the size of Disneyland) I would consider taking the private tram or renting a bicycle if you don’t enjoy walking. Because of the size of the park you need to allow a full day arriving as soon as it opens.
You will not regret a visit to this remarkable cultural center. If you spent a life time travelling around Thailand it would be difficult to experience all that you can in a relatively short time at Ancient City.