By Rangsan Srirat
IF you want to take a peek into the olden days of Siam, the ancient Thailand, it’s worth taking a trip to this new educational park in the outskirts of Bangkok. In the Siam Cultural Park, art, culture and leisure meet under one roof.
The park, in Ratchaburi province, is an ideal integrated cultural center that allows a visitor a glimpse of the unique Thai arts and culture under a distinctive Buddhist way of life. It is an eclectic mix of the ancient city, a wax museum, and a tropical garden in natural and serene surroundings that cover almost 50 rai of land.
Visitors to the park can rest their mind while taking the feel of ancient Siam, passing through the different styles of ancient Thai houses, including monks’ homes, all made from wax.
There are four outstanding models of traditional Thai houses displayed that can be found in the northern, northeastern, central and southern parts of Thailand. Monks’ residences are also categorized according to each region, and a number of respected Thai monk images are appropriately displayed in their mocked quarters. Each house has its own style and its own story to tell, reflecting a certain period, complete with wax models depicting ancient Thais’ way of life in that particular region.
There’s light-and-sound display that tells the story of Vessantara, one of the most popular stories of the previous births of Gautama Buddha. Nearby is the Hall of Fame building, which houses wax images of famous and respected personalities from Thailand and around the world.
Another fabulous showcase is the three giant sculptured Buddha images and the surrounding historical parks that reflect three important historical periods including Chiang Saen, Sukhothai and Ayutthaya.
The workmanship of the human images is clearly defined, realistic and natural.
The details are meticulous, to say the least, creating a harmonious conglomeration of background and ambiance that delights the senses. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the Siam Cultural Park is the best example of a cultural center where learning is fun.
HOW TO GET THERE FROM BANGKOK
By car: Take Highway 4 (Phaholyothid Road) to Ratchaburi via Bang Khae, Om Noi, Om Yai, Nakhon Chai Sri and Nakhon Pathom, and drive on to Ratchaburi. Or take Highway 338 to Nakhon Chai Sri via Buddhamonthon, turn to Highway 4 and drive on to Ratchaburi.
By bus: Buses, both air conditioned and non–air conditioned going to Ratchaburi are available daily at Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal. Travel takes about two hours. For more info, contact 02-4351999.
By train: Trains from Hua Lamphong and Bangkok Noi Railway stations depart daily. The trip takes about two hours. For more info, contact 1690.
Siam Cultural Park is located at 41/1 Moo 13, Wang Yen, Bang Pae District, Ratchaburi. 03-238-1401. www.scppark.com.