Mueang Boran: World’s Largest Outdoor Museum

Mueang Boran Ancient City was established by Lek Viriyaphant in the shape of Thailand in 1972. It is the world’s largest outdoor museum and occupies over 200 acres in Bangkok. There are 116 structures in the museum consisting of the replicas of historical sights and “creative designs.” Here is a compilation of the most famous structures in Muang Boran Ancient City.

Mueang Boran

The Pavilion of the Enlightened

The Pavilion of the Enlightened is one of the creative designs, meaning that it is not a replica of another historical structure. It symbolizes the story of 500 monks that reached Nirvana. The fact that all these monks come from different cultural backgrounds shows that all people could become enlightened.

The Pavilion of the Enlightened
The Pavilion of the Enlightened at Mueang Boran

Sumeru Mountain or The Fish Temple

According to Buddhism, Sumeru Mountain is the pillar of the world and the center of the universe. All the spirits ranging from deities in heaven to devils in hell as well as humans, nagas (serpents), garudas (birds), ogres, and yogis (yoga practitioners) dwell on this mountain.

According to the story, the mountain is surrounded by ocean, and Indra (king of the deities) lives on the castle which is on top of the mountain. Accordingly, the temple in Mueang Boran is surrounded by a lake and a fish guards it.

Sumeru Mountain or The Fish Temple
Sumeru Mountain or The Fish Temple
Sumeru Mountain or The Fish Temple detail
Sumeru Mountain or The Fish Temple interior

Erawan Museum

Erawan Museum draws most of the attention with the three- headed elephant sculpture on top of it. This elephant weights 250 tons, and it is the biggest hand- carved sculpture in the world (12m wide, and 39m long).

Erawan Museum at Mueang Boran
Erawan Museum at Mueang Boran interior

Dusit Maha Prasat Palace

The original Dusit Maha Prasat Palace was a hall where the state affairs were runned and the royal ceremonies took place during the early Rattanakosin era. It was built by King Rama I in 1806 AD.

After the renovation during the reign of King Rama III, the original workmanship of the first reign was completely changed. Nevertheless, the palace at Mueang Boran is the replica of the original appearance of the palace. Accordingly, the interior design of the palace was also recreated. For example, the tempera murals depicting governmental, religious, military, and diplomatic events as well as the daily life reflect the styles used in the traditional Thai mural paintings. Today, the palace is the only remaining example of the traditional Thai palace style.

Dusit Maha Prasat Palace
Dusit Maha Prasat Palace detail

Samphet Prasat Palace

The original building of Sanphet Prasat Palace was the principal palace during the early Ayutthaya period. It had a very unique and distinctive architectural design known as the Ayutthaya school. Unfortunately, the palace was burnt down when Ayutthaya fell in 1767. It was later rebuilt based on the archaeological and historical evidence left by historians.

It is interesting that the Sanphet Prasat at Muang Boran was once used as a reception hall by the King to welcome Queen Elizabeth II on February 11, 1972, which was accepted as the official opening day of the Ancient City.

Samphet Prasat Palace
Samphet Prasat Palace at Mueang Boran

The Phanom Rung Sancturay

The original Phanom Rung Sanctuary was built on an extinct volcano in Buri Ram Province between the 10th and the 13th centuries. When King Jayavarman VII converted into Mahayana Buddhism, this originally Hindu sanctuary was also turned into a Mahayana monastery.

The rebuilt structure has a rectangular shape with reentring angles. Its decorative elements reflect the art tradition of the 12th century. The carvings inside the sanctuary depict leaves, hermits, gods and goddesses such as Vishnu, the Naga king, and Shiva.

The Phanom Rung Sancturay

The Grand Hall of Wat Maha That

The original Grand Hall of Wat Maha That consists of eleven rooms. These rooms are divided into two parts as the front section where people sat, and the rear section housing the Buddha images. The style of architecture is highly significant due to its uniqueness in Thailand. This replica of the Grand Hall is smaller than the original structure by three-fourths.

The Grand Hall of Wat Maha That
The Grand Hall of Wat Maha That