The Ancient City in Samut Prakan

The Ancient City in Samut Prakan: All You Need to Know

Visit Thailand’s Samut Prakan province and you’ll find plenty to get excited about for your next adventure. Will you get lost in the busy markets so iconic to Thailand? Will you find a spot on the shores of the Gulf of Thailand and spend your days lounging by the beach? Or are you the type of traveller who likes their journeys to come with a healthy dose of culture and history? If you are, you’re in luck – on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River you’ll find the Ancient City, and it’s sure to impress even the pickiest of history buffs!

Travel to: Thailand

What is the Ancient City?

While the temple complex in the heart of Samut Prakan is known as the Ancient City, there’s actually nothing ancient about it. Built in 1963, the Ancient City (also known as Ancient Siam) is a sprawling 320-hectare open-air museum where visitors to Samut Praken can get to know the architecture and history of Thailand without having to travel outside of the complex. Consisting of 116 structures depicting Thailand’s most famous monuments and buildings. While some of these structures are full-sized replicas of their originals, others are scaled down, allowing for travellers to get a taste of a wide variety of Thai architecture.

Since all of these replicas were built under the guidance of Thailand’s National Museum, rest assured that you’ll be experiencing these monuments in an authentic way. The best part? Some of the monuments are no longer available to view in their original state – the former Grand Palace of Ayutthaya, for example, exists only in the Ancient City, as the original was destroyed in the Burmese invasion of 1767.

Erawan museum, Samut Prakan
Samut Prakan is full of beautiful open-air museums | © Thomas Wanhoff/Flickr

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Samut Prakan, if you’re looking for warm weather, is from late November until early March. However, these peak season dates often come with crowds and higher price tags! As with any destination, make sure to do your research about weather and arrive prepared for the unexpected, and you should be able to have a great experience no matter when you choose to visit.

The Ancient City in Samut Prakan
Stunning views of the Ancient City | © Thomas Wanhoff/Flickr

Admission fees for the Ancient City

Travellers looking to visit the Ancient City on their visit to Thailand will be happy to hear that admission is relatively inexpensive. Admission is 400 Baht (about $12.50 USD) for adults, and 200 Baht ($6.30 USD) for children. If you’re travelling through Thailand in a rented car, it costs an additional 300 Baht ($9.40 USD) to bring the car through the museum.

Highlights of the Ancient City

  • The monuments are arranged chronologically, so visitors can literally take a walk through history. Beginning in the Pre-historic era and leading all the way up to Rattanakosin, an era in the 25th century of the Buddhist calendar, you’ll be able to watch the changes to Thailand as they unfold.
  • Renting a bike is a popular way to explore the Ancient City. Bicycle rentals are relatively inexpensive, and riding through the monuments is a fantastic way to spend a relaxing day away from the hustle and bustle of nearby Bangkok.
  • Samut Prakan is home to several wonderful beaches. As the province sits on the Gulf of Thailand, visitors can easily enjoy a morning strolling through the Ancient City followed by an afternoon relaxing on the beach.
  • Other highlights of Samut Prakan include markets such as Bang Nam Phueng, a floating market built in 2004 which limits its vendors to members of the local community. If you’re looking for an authentically Thai experience, skip the tourist markets and make your way here for fresh fruit, desserts, and souvenirs. However keep in mind that the market is only open on weekends from 8 until 2pm, so plan accordingly if it’s on your must-see list!
  • Some of the monuments may not have actually existed in the first place! Some, such as the botanical garden display, were created based on depictions in Thai literature. This adds to the dreamy atmosphere in the Ancient City and makes for a fun day learning about which structures are just part of the country’s memory.
Salt Lake De Maeklong, Thailand
Samut Prakan, on the shores of the Gulf of Thailand, is known for its beaches | © Gena Okami/Unsplash

Samut Prakan, a region just outside of Bangkok, is the perfect place to visit for a day trip while travelling through Thailand, but it’s also an amazing spot to slow things down – strolling through the forested paths of Bang Kachao, finding goodies in the Bang Nam Phueng market, and spending some time learning about Thailand’s long and impressive history are the perfect way to get to know this gorgeous area. Whether you dedicate an hour or a whole day to exploring all the Ancient City has to offer, your travels are sure to benefit from it!

Have you visited the Ancient City in Samut Prakan? Tell us all about it!

Maggie is a life-long traveller who, after three years abroad, has returned home to Toronto, where she works as a Content Editor at TourRadar. When she's not reading, writing, or dreaming about her next trip, she can usually be found cooing over other people's dogs or hunting down Mexican food.

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