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Do you love taking photos and exploring new places? If yes, then I strongly encourage you to visit Ancient City and Erawan Museum – only 30mins drive from central Bangkok!.

Why? Because you’ll only discover the beauty of Thailand here (besides getting tons of Instagrammable photos to slowly fill your gallery with). It’s also really peaceful here, making it the perfect place to come if you need a quiet space to enjoy and relax at.

You can see numerous scaled-down and life-sized sculptures of important buildings in Thai history at Ancient City (no need to travel far anymore!).

As for Erawan Museum, it has the world’s largest hand-carved sculpture (the three-headed elephant is enormous!!). There are also shrines and a museum here.

It’s almost impossible to travel and thoroughly appreciate the Ancient City in one day (It’s that big!!!). You’ll need a bicycle or a car to go around the park (come here with a car instead!), so I’ve listed the top 13 spots you mustn’t miss at Ancient City and Erawan Museum.

TripCanvas Tip: Rent a Thai costume (from 200 baht/ USD $6.50) to take Instagrammable photos around Ancient City. The store is located in the car park area, next to the ticket office. 

PS: For this trip, we booked the Ancient City and Erawan Museum bundle ticket (216 baht/ USD $7.02) and a private car charter (from 1,750 baht/ USD $56.88 – 4 hours; USD$69.39 / 2095 Baht – 8 hours) for the entire day via Klook. It made our adventure more enjoyable (we were so glad to have taken the car – no need to tirelessly bike under the smoldering sun!!), but we also saved money (regular adult ticket prices for only Ancient City costs 700 baht/ USD $22.76!).

Read more:

6 fun weekend and day trips from Bangkok – including Khao Yai, Ayutthaya, Hua Hin, Kanchanaburi and more

23 awesome Free things to do in Bangkok you never knew existed

41 romantic things to do in Bangkok for a romantic couple vacation

Ancient City Checkpoints

Before you start your exploration, remember to pick up a free audio guide at the entrance (available in English, Chinese, Korean, Russian or Thai). Most of the structures provide a brief explanation via the audio guide so you can understand them better!

1. Golden pavilions (on a pond) filled with Buddha and monk statues – Pavilion of the Enlightened

If you love taking pictures, then you must visit this place! Take pictures with the gold and green-coloured pavilions as your background for Instagram-worthy images. You can also get amazing shots inside the pavilions where numerous monk statues reside.

Photo Via TripCanvas
Photo Via Julietnzzz, TripCanvas, Joejamieson
Photo Via TripCanvas

PS: I highly recommend you to sit on the bench or the edge of the pavilion. Seeing the serene lake and pavilion definitely relaxed me, especially with the breeze (which I very much appreciated in the hot weather).

2. Travel to the centre of the universe – Sumeru Mountain

If there’s one thing you shouldn’t miss in Ancient City, it’s Sumeru Mountain. Although it’s just a sculpture depicting one of the beliefs in Thai mythology, the giant Anondha fish in the middle of the pond will leave you staring in awe.

Photo Via TripCanvas, Daz84
Photo Via TripCanvas

The belief is that this fish supports the Sumeru Mountain (it’s the land being encircled by the fish). So the next time there’s an earthquake, you now know it’s because this fish moved (according to Thai cosmology). 😉

Photo Via TripCanvas

3. Visit stores and dine at a traditional market above water – The Floating Market

Don’t have time to go to a real floating market? No problem. You can visit one here instead and relish the vibes of an authentic Thai floating market. Find stalls selling everything from food to toys, and even a wooden boat you can ride on (it looks awesome in pictures too!).

Photo Via Miss_april_joy, Sirimaweber
Photo Via TripCanvas

Note: When we came here in June 2019, The Floating Market was under renovation (specifically, the “water” aspect of the market). Thus, we were only able to have a simple meal (approx. 50 baht for one-person meal; it was surprisingly delicious though!) and visit a few stalls (selling local Thai snacks, hats, etc).

4. Khmer temple built in the 11th century on a cliff by the Thai-Cambodian border – Prasat Phra Wihan (Preah Vihear), Si Sa Ket

Don’t have time to go all the way to Cambodia? Me neither. Luckily, you don’t need to travel out of your way to see this Khmer temple. At Ancient City, they’ve even placed it on top of a cliff (just like at the original site)! Super Instagrammable!

Photo Via Makcham
Photo Via Jenpengchen, Jun___wei

Note: This was also under renovation when we came in June 2019, thus we weren’t able to climb up. So if this is a place that you definitely want to visit (which we urge you to, since it looks awesome!!), we recommend calling Ancient City beforehand to check whether or not you can enter it.

5. The main palace during the early Ayutthaya period – Sanphet Prasat Palace

Ever wondered what the main palace in Ayutthaya looked like in their hey-days (before it got burned down)? Guess no more folks. Ancient City was able to rebuild Sanphet Prasat Palace based on historical evidence, so visitors like you and me can see how impressive this important building was.

Photo Via TripCanvas, Jen_solo_traveller
Photo Via TripCanvas
Photo Via Taniusha_lis, TripCanvas

PS: Did you know that it was used as a reception hall for foreign dignitaries? Wow!

6. Experience Thailand’s market back in the days – The Old Market Town

Wonder how it feels to live like a local back in the days? At this traditional Thai market, step back in time as you shop for cute trinkets and delicious snacks. You can even bike inside the market as you make your way through the park – the perfect place to stock up on refreshments before you continue exploring.

Photo Via TripCanvas
Photo Via TripCanvas

PS: There are also refreshment stalls scattered around the park, in case you didn’t buy any here.

7. Gigantic wooden Goddess of Compassion and Mercy – Mondop of Bodhisattva Avalokitesavara (Kuan-Yin)

It’s hugeeeeeee!!!!! And with the golden roof sheltering the wooden Kuan-Yin statue, it’s a sight everyone – especially those practising Buddhism – should not miss out on. A definite great spot to take pictures at.

Photo Via TripCanvas

PS: If you have time, check out the sculpture to the right of this attraction (Bodhisattva Avalokitesavara (Kuan-Yin) Performing a Miracle). Here, the Kuan-Yin statue is revering Buddha by placing the Buddha statue above her head while sitting on nagas (which means it’s conquering evil forces threatening humanity).

Photo Via TripCanvas

8. Procession of royal barges used during the royal ceremony – The Royal Water-Course Procession

Unless you’re in Thailand on special days, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever see a royal barge procession. Luckily, you won’t need to wait for that once-in-a-blue-moon day as you’ll get to see life-sized replicas of actual royal barges on the river here. It looks great in pictures too – if you can find the right angle. 😉

Photo Via Samit239
Photo Via Krem_bryule1

9. Thai trading ships used in the olden days – Thai Junk

Nope, it’s not trash. ‘Thai Junk’ is what they called Thai trading ships back then, which was used to carry valuable goods to other countries. In fact, this ship is an out-of-commission trading ship (which was restored) so visitors can come and see first-hand what a traditional Thai Junk looks like. Awesome right?!

Photo Via TripCanvas, Mark_jhayce
Photo Via TripCanvas

Ancient City

Entrance fees: 216 Baht / approx. USD $7.02 (includes Ancient City & Erawan Museum – Check rate on Klook!)
Address: 296 1 Moo 7 Sukhumvit Rd, Bang Pu Mai, Amphoe Mueang Samut Prakan, Chang Wat Samut Prakan 10280 (Coordinates here)
Opening hours: Daily from 9am to 7pm
Contact: +662 323 4095


Erawan Museum Checkpoints

As Erawan Museum is a temple, you’re required to dress appropriately to enter the main building (no shorts allowed, although sandals are ok since you’ll need to remove your footwear before entering). But if you’re like me and can’t stand Bangkok’s hot weather, you can borrow Thai pants (for free) here. Just remember to return it when you exit. 🙂

10. The 3-headed elephant standing on top of the Erawan Museum – The Museum

The first thing you’ll see once you enter Erawan Museum is the copper-plated 3-headed elephant, which (unsurprisingly) is the world’s largest hand-carved sculpture. Remember to take a picture of it – it’s shockingly lifelike!

Photo Via TripCanvas
Photo Via TripCanvas

11. The grandeur architecture of “Earth” and stairway to “Heaven” – Earth

Although the exterior of the Erawan Museum hints at elegance, the beauty of the place doesn’t hit you until you enter “Earth” – or the main structure of Erawan Museum. Its intricate stairway and stained glass design will astonish you! Climb up the stairs to fully appreciate “Earth” as the place gets prettier the higher you are!

Photo Via TripCanvas
Photo Via TripCanvas, Lanaumu

PS: If you take the spiral stairs up, note that you might feel a bit dizzy during the climb (it made me super dizzy!). Please remember to pace yourself or take short breaks along the way so you don’t stumble mid-way. 

Photo Via TripCanvas

12. Celestial Buddha shrine at the centre of the elephant heads – Tavatimsa

Did you think that the 3-headed elephant was empty? It isn’t. In fact, inside the head resides a blue Celestial Buddha shrine surrounded by statues and constellations. It definitely feels like a different world altogether.

Photo Via Aaaleopard, Tomo_tamu
Photo Via TripCanvas

PS: You can get a partial birdseye view of the 3-headed elephant and Erawan Museum after ascending the stairs to the temple. You can also take a respite here to recover from your dizziness (if needed – which is what I did).

13. Antique ceramics dating all the way back to the Ming dynasty – Underworld

Discover exhibits of antique objects like Chinese Ming and Qing vases and Chakri Dynasty tea sets in the “Underworld” section of the Erawan Museum. You can also see photographs of how the museum was developed, and a model and map of Ancient City (Erawan Museum and Ancient City were created by the same group).

Photo Via TripCanvas
Photo Via TripCanvas

Note: Photo-taking is not allowed in “Underworld”.

Erawan Museum

Entrance fee: 216 Baht / approx. USD $7.02 (includes Ancient City & Erawan Museum – Check rate on Klook!)
Address: Moo 1 99/9 Tambon Bang Muang Mai, Amphoe Mueang Samut Prakan, Chang Wat Samut Prakan 10270 (Coordinates here)
Opening hours: Daily from 9am to 7pm
Contact: +66 2 371 3135-6


Doesn’t it sound interesting? It’s super fun to go to and definitely doable in 1 day (tried and tested by us!). So dedicate one day here and make tons of super Instagrammable memories!
Happy adventuring! 😀

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PLEASE NOTE: All the above information is correct at the date of publication. If you come across any changes or updates, please let us know and we will update the information accordingly. Thank you!
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