There was a holiday here on Monday, Buddhist Visakha Bucha Day (This is the day that the Lord Buddha was born, became enlightened and then passed away), so we decided to make the most of it and visit The Ancient City, Muang Boran.
It's not the easiest place to get to as it's about a 30 minute drive from Central Bangkok along the old Sukhumvit Road (We hired a car and driver but I guess it would be easy enough to get a taxi there) but it's well worth visiting!! I'm not really sure how to describe it.....it's like a kind of theme park which explores Thailand's culture, arts, religion, customs and traditions both past and present. The park is set in over 360 acres of land which is shaped like Thailand and round every corner there are reproductions of palace halls, stupas (Where important people's ashes are stored), temples and there are even examples of traditional villages from across Thailand. They are all in roughly the same place in the park as they are in the country and there are 116 different things to visit - It's just phenomenal!!
When we got there we discovered that we had the option of either taking the car in, hiring bikes or hiring an electric golf cart. We've been to a few things before that we went round by car and Chris and I both felt that it spoiled the experience, it was a bit too hot for bikes (My excuse and I'm sticking to it!!) so we went for the golf cart. (It was only 200 baht an hour to hire which works out at about £3).
We drove down through the entrance and the first thing we saw was the Pallava Group of Images (three Hindu Deities - Vishnu, Siva and Laksammee) the originals were carved by Pallava Sculptors in the 13th Century.
From there we saw The Pavillion of the Enlightened which is the story of how 500 monks showed people from all walks of life how to become enlightened and reach Nirvana,
The Grand Hall of Wat Maha That (the original of which is in Sukhothai - photo on the right),
a statue of Phra Phrom (The god of creation and kindness - Photo on the left),
Phra That Bang Phuan which is a temple in Nong Khai believed to house relics of the Buddha brought to Thailand from India and lots of other monuments and things that I can't remember the names of.
We will definately go back as we only got to see about half the attractions (if that) and it's made us very keen to see some of the areas of Thailand that we've not made it to yet!!! It's such a great place - really really worth the effort to get there!!