The moon was shining brightly across the evening sky of Thailand. I trained my camera at the massive stupas and intricate temples of Wat Phra Kaeo, catching the faint rays of the moon reflecting over their smooth, golden surfaces. I crouched, and crouched some more; trying to level with the complex.
|INTRICATE TEMPLE DETAIL|
But everything wasn’t what it seemed. The moon wasn’t really a moon, but a lamp post a few feet away. The stupa and temples weren’t soaring above me, they were less than half my height. And I wasn’t really in Bangkok, I was at Pattaya’s Mini Siam. A park dedicated to nothing but replicas of famous temples and structures around Thailand.
|WAT ARUN ALONG THE CHAO PHRAYA RIVER|
Coming from The Bayview Hotel, we quickly strolled through Pattaya Beach before flagging a songthaew along Beach Road. We haggled with the driver to bring us to Mini Siam, lowering the fee a bit for the four of us. It was about fifteen minutes away from where we were but it was fully dark when we arrived at the place.
|AH UHMMM, I FORGET WHICH STRUCTURE THIS IS|
Mini Siam is a park in Pattaya City dedicated entirely to model replicas. The structures are set at a scale of 1/25 and are divided into two sections; one for Thailand and another for the rest of the world.
The Mini Siam section has different areas covering major architectural gems in Thailand, from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ayutthaya to the Bangkok’s Rama IX modern cable bridge.
|ENGLAND’S TOWER BRIDGE WITH EGYPT’S ABU SIMBEL AT THE BACKGROUND|
The rest of the displays are set on the Mini Europe section where landmarks from all over the world are showcased. It was quite weird that they named it Mini Europe when they should’ve called it Mini World instead haha.
|MOSCOW AND ITALY IN ONE PLACE!|
Yes, they have the Paris’ Eiffel Tower and Moscow’s Saint Basil’s, but they also have Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and Egypt’s Abu Simbel among other notable structures outside Europe. So, yes, Mini World and not Mini Europe.
|VISITING GREECE AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN A SINGLE LEAP|
|PROBABLY A CASTLE FROM EUROPE?|
To be honest, I wasn’t really keen on visiting Mini Siam. I thought it was all kitschy and touristy, like everything’s made for kids. But once I saw their replicas, I was really blown away. The level of detail and craftsmanship was quite commendable. And being an architecture graduate, I knew how hard it was to make a detailed architectural model, even at the scale they were in.
|CAMBODIA’S ANGKOR WAT IN FULL DETAIL|
And yeah well, some of the areas around Mini Siam are a bit kitschy, but they’re forgivable once you’ve ventured into the temple reproductions. Not only are they gorgeously made, but they were able to provide me with a good overview of Thailand’s cultural past. I didn’t even know of half of the displays in the Mini Siam area prior to this.
|BRAZIL’S FAMOUS CHRIST THE REDEEMER SCULPTURE|
The best time to visit Mini Siam is before sunset right up to the early evening. Not only do you avoid the day’s scorching heat and the hordes of tourists taking selfies at each replica, but you also get to catch the golden hour as the sun recedes across the horizon. And as evening arrives, the displays are illuminated in warm light, making them glow like they’re almost the real thing.
Mini Siam Pattaya
Address: 387 Moo 6, Sukhumvit Rd., Pattaya City,
Contact Number: (+66) 387-27-333 | (+66) 387-27-666
Entrance Fee: Thai: 100THB Adults | 50THB Kids
Foreigners: 250THB Adults | 120THB Kids
Open Hours: 7:00am to 10:00pm
GPS Coordinates Map: 12.955154, 100.908602