When and if you are tired of the traffic, the crowds and the shopping in Bangkok, a relaxing alternative is to go on a side trip to Muang Boran. This trip, should you decide to venture out, will take about a day; depending on how much of a good time you are having!
Let’s see… How to get there? Well…….
Take the BTS and get off at Victoria Memorial Station; then catch a taxi to Muang Boran. It takes about 35 +/- minutes, depending on traffic. Always traffic! There’s an admission fee of 200Baht for tourists or foreigners, 100Baht for Thai nationals or a resident of Thailand. If you have a driver’s license, which proves you live in Thailand, the ticket is 100Baht. I produced an insurance card and that did the trick! Not sneaky, just wanting to receive fair treatment since I live in the Kingdom of Siam!
Muang Boran, which translates as “ancient city” is a “park” constructed on a spread of over 200 acres in the shape of Thailand. This “recreational” area was built by a wealthy individual. Mr. Lek Viriyahpant, owner of one of the very first Mercedes Benz car dealerships in Thailand and I really appreciate his giving back to the country and community with this gesture. There are on-going renovations, being done, “new” sites, maintenance of landmarks, temples, statues is perpetual task for the crew….
There are over 112 “landmarks” in the park and each is unique to its geographical area of Thailand. (I apologize for the small map of this attraction but that’s the best I could come up with). The wats (obviously) , palaces, floating markets, shrines, legends, Reclining Buddha, the Ramayana Garden, The Gateway of Wat Pho Prathap Chang, Phichit, Garden of the gods …. Bronze, concrete, wood and whatever else was/is used to create these magnificent structures. All these landmarks are replicas, about 1/3 or 1/2 the size of the actual structures. Some are made to look exactly of the originals, but scaled down for easier upkeep and site allotment?
Do you know that there are many versions of Buddhism? Originated in India, the teachings came to Thailand and other Asian countries…. With that in mind, there are differences in the images of Buddha and idols. The headdresses, the hair, facial features, faces, hands,
robes and even postures are so very interesting to me because I never paid much attention to the details of the statues or idols. Now, thanks to the kind teachings and sharing of knowledge from a friend who is an avid reader and traveler, I am beginning to know the difference between the various versions and periods of Buddhism, the countries of origin, etc. So much to learn for an inquisitive mind!
Spreading over 200 acres will be difficult to walk the land; so the Park provides (for a fee) bicycles or golf carts for your convenience. I opted for the golf cart, but of course! Believe it or not, we were there touring for 5 hours and still did not complete my “mission” in 5 hours! That should give you an idea of how vast this place is!
My friend and I are into photography so we took longer at each stop than most people…. You know, shooting this angle and that, distant shots and close-ups! Now, since I didn’t finish the tour this last time, I will just have to return and again embrace the sites, the history and the landmarks in one location! Not having to tour the entire country although that could be fun too! By the way, the park closes at 5PM and that’s the only reason we left! So much to see, so little time!
I was there during the rainy season and there weren’t too many people there…. Even if there were plenty of tourists, it didn’t really matter since it’s such a huge area! Lunch was at a restaurant at the “floating market” and you wouldn’t believe what I saw in one of the basins or crates holding dirty dishes waiting to be washed! At first I thought it was a baby snake but looked closer… it was an overgrown gecko or lizard looking for scraps!
Thought they only eat insects! Food wasn’t that great, but, with every tourist place, can’t complain much!
Thai love stories/literature, Indo-China legends, Hindu gods and goddesses, various deities, beautiful murals, wood carvings, paintings and carvings on the ceilings of any given building . Trying to learn and understand history and accepting different cultures plus the reasons of where we are today. “In fact, it is only a mist clinging around us and leading us into a rotating space, creating love and hate.” From the book “Muang Boran” . This statement is so philosophical…. Buddhist teaching, perhaps?
I am very much into history, and in this instance, ancient history. Seriously, I have always believed nothing has or will change, but only the faces, then and now.
Enjoy the photos with their captions!
OK, below are two of my all time favorites at Muang Boran!
©Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the author.