John Gray's Seacanoe January 2016 Newletter

John Gray's Seacanoe

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Ancient City, Thailand
 

Muang Boran, Samut Prakarn

Ancient City was one of my dreams since I came to Thailand.

I’ve been in Thailand 26 years, and with my adventurous spirit I thought I’d done it all.  Yet with all my experiences I still yearned to see Ancient City, just an hour by taxi out of Bangkok.  Finally, after 26 years, an appointment cancellation allowed my sidekick Warin “Toon” Mueanklew and I to split the taxi fare and off we went!.  It wasn’t expensive – B400 from On8 at Sukhumvit.

I knew from reputation that Ancient City is spectacular but two revelations were totally unexpected – the site is over 600 hectares; and the cultural diversity covers almost all of South-East Asia and our multitude of religions.
    
When you visit Thailand plan ahead and put Ancient City on your bucket list.  The Grand Palace is a must, with Ancient City a close second. Unlike the Grand Palace, this huge living museum demands an overnight stay because this place is impossible to see in one day.  Don’t worry,  Ancient City has bungalows or you can search “hotels near ancient city Bangkok”.  Options run from an Anantara luxury property to B1,000 guest houses.
Take a minimum of two days with a professional guide just to scratch the surface - and remember your cameras. Dress lightly because your experience is by golf carts – drive or hire a guide.
 
Two concepts blew my mind.  First, the size.  In one afternoon via “golf cart” - Toon and I barely got a taste.  Every major spiritual and historical site in South-East Asia is represented – with painstaking authenticity.  Of course the Grand Palace and Angkor Wat are major attractions but have you been to  Ayutthaya’s Sala of Ten Reincarnations  , The Footprint of Lord Buddha, The Grand Hall of Wat Maha That (including the Chedi), the Dusit Maha Praset Palace (Grand Palace), Ayutthaya’s Wat Phra Sri Sanphet., the Buddha Image protected by Seven Snakes, numerous floating shrines, and literally hundreds of replicas from traditional farming implements to Thailand’s Royal Barges. I was shocked to see the Royal Barge replicas.  I am a student of the Royal Barges and the Ancient City replicas are almost the real thing.  (When you visit the Grand Palace be sure to hire a longtail through the Klongs of Nontaburi and stop at the Royal Barge Museum.)
Staff and their families live on site and are cheerful, helpful and photo models.  Their villages are as authentic as their smiles – and the staff understand you photo taking and even explain how they make their traditional agrarian living.
 
In something so complex there must be something “wrong” but this journalist never found it. Ancient City is simply too big to digest in one day – and the diversity will capture your attention deep into your dreams.

There are several hotels near Ancient City.  Find them via this LINK.

Book online at http://www.ancientcitygroup.net/ancientsiam/en/reserve/   
There is also shuttle bus service from the BTS Bearing station – call 02-323-4094-9 for Shuttle bus service.

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