Bangkok's many museums exhibit some of the most sublime, and strangest, collections of relics you can imagine, giving visitors a wonderful insight into Thailand's colourful culture and unique heritage. Some are housed in buildings just as interesting as their contents, like Kamthieng House, a 19th Century teak house and former abode of a rice farmer, the Bangkok Folk Museum and Jim Thompson's House. The best place to start has to be the National Museum, in Rattanakosin. Its collections spanning all periods of Thai history offer an unsurpassed introduction to the country's art and architecture. Be sure to allow enough time for your visit, as it is very easy to get lost in a time that is long gone.
All Museums in Bangkok
The Ancient City
"If man has no knowledge of the past, he is nothing but a vessel without a rudder on the high seas", claims the Ancient City's sage-like founder, Lek ViriyaphantLek Viriyaphant, who also conceived two equally monumental projects, Erawan Museum and The Sanctuary of Truth (in Pattaya). The Ancient City is his attempt to give mankind a rudder, his slightly eccentric remedy for what he sees as "the moral deterioration of human society". Set in 320 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens on the outskirts of Bangkok, its success or failure in this lofty ambition is not clear. What is, however, is that it succeeds at preserving Thailand's singular heritage, its wonderful art, customs and culture for future generations.
- Opening Hours: 08:00 - 17:00
- Location: Samut Prakan, Bangpoo (less than one hour from downtown Bangkok)
- How to get there: Taxi is probably the best way to go. Tell the driver "Muang Boran, Samut Prakarn". Or take the BTS Skytrain to On-Nut Station, then continue on taxi for about 30 minutes.
Bangkok Forensic Museum
If your vision of a museum is a pretty display of artistic or cultural artifacts, then perhaps the Bangkok Forensic Museum is not for you. Located inside the Siriraj Hospital on the west bank of the Chao Phraya river, this sinister exhibition is more for the morbid or for travellers searching for something extremely unusual. The hospital actually features six distinct museums within two separate buildings, but only three of them seem to be of interest - obviously the creepiest ones: The pathology, anatomic forensic museums.
- Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 16:00
- Price Range: 40 baht - free for children under 120 cm (not sure you should take kids there, though)
- How to get there: Take the river shuttle near the Grand Palace. Catch the boat at Chang Pier or Prajan Pier, disembark just across the river at Pranok Pier, it's fairly simple. The ride only costs three baht.
Bangkok National Museum
In the former grounds of the 18th Century Wang Na Palace, The Bangkok National Museum houses the largest collection of Thai art and artifacts in the country. It's definitely worth a visit, especially if visiting nearby Wat Phra Kaew or the Grand Palace. Opened by King Rama V to exhibit the antiques and gifts bestowed to him by his father, it once held a reputation for being an ill-organised gathering of dusty relics. That has now changed, with exhibits now arranged into three areas consistent with Thai history, and good English-language descriptions available.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 - 16:00 (Wednesday - Sunday)
- Location: Na Phrothat Road, near the Grand Palace
- Tel: +66 (0)2 215 8173
- How to get there: Taxi is probably the best way to go. Or embark the Chao Phraya Express Boat to Maharaj Pier, then walk about 20 minutes.
Bangkok Seashell Museum
At first, Bangkok Shell Museum appears to be a place addressing only conchologists (of course you know what a conchologist is) and other shell collectors, and in a way it's not untrue, a shell museum seems a geeky place to visit on a holiday, especially in a big city. However, this remarkably large collection of exquisite shells is displayed in a really intelligent way, explaining and describing how shells are just more than a beautiful objects... or a delicacy on your plate. Shells can have surprising features and some of them are among the most deadly living creatures on earth. They have been part of human history since the beginning of time, as currency, as musical instruments and more recently as part of medical research.
- Opening Hours: 10.00 am - 8.00 pm
- Location: Silom Road next to Soi Silom 23, opposite the Lerdsin Hospital.
- Tel: 08 9681 3814
- Price Range: 200 baht
It's not an old palace, or a past royal residence, but a teak house brought from up-country and reassembled in the city. Situated not far from the Central Post Office, the Bangkok Folk Museum is a typical Bangkok family house, the only difference being that this one is typical of over 70 years ago.
Together its interiors and original household items, including traditional household utensils and items of ceremonial significance, present a 'living scenario of middleclass Bangkok citizens in the period of World War II'. Everything is classified and exhibited with the efficiency and precision of a much larger museum, and owner Mrs Waraporn Surawadee can arrange guided tours.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 - 17:00 (weekends only)
- Location: 273 Charoenkrung Soi 43
- Tel: +66 (0)2 233 7027
- How to get there: Taxi is probably the best way to go. You can take the BTS Skytrain to Chong Nonsi Station, or MRT Subway to Sam Yan Station, then continue on taxi.
Bank of Thailand Museum
A museum dedicated to one of the most staid professions known to mankind may not seem a compelling way to spend an afternoon. That said, The Bank of Thailand Museum (located at Bangkhunphrom Palace), leads visitors on an intriguing and interesting jaunt through monetary evolution in Thailand.
- Opening Hours: 09:30 - 16:00 (Monday - Friday)
- Location: Bang Khunphrom Palace
- Tel: +66 (0)2 283 5286 or +66 (0)2 283 6723
- How to get there: Taxi is probably the best way to go. Or you can take the Chao Phraya Express Boat to Thewej Pier (N15), then continue on taxi.
Batcat Toy Museum
Recently opened, Batcat is the largest toy museum in Thailand with, as the name suggests, a strong emphasis on the Batman character. Located outside Bangkok in the Bangkapi area, Batcat Museum will delight memorabilia collectors and fans of the TV series and delves into the very beginnings of the Batman character. Glass shelves spread across two large rooms and two mezzanines above them are packed with 50,000 toys, magazines, games, costumes, with everything and anything featuring the Batman, Superman, Masked Rider or Ultraman logo dating all the way back to 1960.
- Opening Hours: Monday-Friday, 10:00 - 17:00, Saturday-Sunday, 09:00 - 20:00
- Location: 32 Srinakarin Road. Huamark, Bangkapi
- Tel: 66 (0)2 375 9006
- Price Range: Adults: 250 baht, children: 150 baht (discount possible on presentation of a Thai ID or driving licence)
Located on Mahachai Road, the Corrections Museum is the place to learn about the gruesome punishments meted out to offenders in Thailand in the not so distant past. It was once the site of the Bangkok Remand Prison, an old and overcrowded penal facility located in the heart of Bangkok. In 1990, the cabinet relocated it to Lad-yao and turned the site into a public park called Rommani Nart. Three blocks, a cellblock, a side of the prison wall and two watchtowers were preserved, and converted into this Museum of the macabre.
- Opening Hours: 09:30 - 16:00 (Monday - Friday, closed on public holidays)
- Location: 436 Mahachai Road, near Rommani Nart Park
- Tel: +66 (0)2 226 1706
- How to get there: Taxi is probably the best way to go.
A huge, three-headed elephant statue standing upon an equally gargantuan pedestal is the first, and last, thing you see when visiting Samut Prakan's Erawan Museum. It's a splendid, towering beast: 250 tons in weight, 29 metres high, 39 metres long, and cast in a pure green-hued copper. From conception to completion it took almost ten years to construct. With a proud, war-like demeanor and trunks the size of ancient Banyan Trees, this is an epic image of Hindu mythology's Airavata (otherwise known as Erawan) you'll never forget.
- Opening Hours: Everyday 8:00-17:00
- Location: Sukhumvit Road, Samut Prakan
- How to get there: From the BTS Skytrain On Nut Station, take a taxi to the museum (should cost around 80 - 90 baht each way).
If you're into all things gruesome, this is for you. Preserved corpses of convicted killers, like Thailand's most famous mass murderer See-Uey, the Chinese cannibal, are exhibited alongside murder weapons, a gut-wrenching exhibition of autopsy photos and glass jars containing stillborn children pickled in formaldehyde. It's close to the museums of parasitology, medical history, and anthropology. The Museum of Anatomy next door, housed in an old 1930's building, contains a close-up and personal look at the human body. Often visited by medical students, it will prove fascinating for lovers of the macabre, horrifying for the rest.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 - 16:00 (Monday - Saturday)
- Location: 2nd floor, Adulaydejvigrom Building, Siriraj Hospital, 2 Phrannok Road
- Tel: +66 (0)2 419 7000 ext. 6363, 6440
- How to get there: Take the Chao Phraya Express Boat and disembark at the Thonburi Railway Pier (N11).
House of Museums
The House of Museums is nothing like a national museum or some majestic building full of dusty potteries. It's very humble and a lot more fun! None of the objects on display have any financial or historical value but many of them will mean a lot to visitors. The House of Museums is a private collection of thousands of daily objects and goods dating from the sixties onward, displayed in what appears to be a nicely converted shop house. The place is hidden in a very remote location between Bangkok and Nakhon Pathom and it would be hard to find it without any knowledge of the area, or car navigation.
- Opening Hours: Saturday and Sunday - 10 am to 5 pm
- Address: Khlong Pho Land, 170/17 Moo 7, Soi 2, Khlong Pho Rd., Sala Thammasop, Thung Kru, Bangkok 10170
- Price Range: 40 Baht - free for children under 120 cm
Human Body Museum
The Human Body Museum in Siam Square is a weird and amazing exhibition of 14 dissected human bodies from Japan. Some might think this is a really creepy idea but there is always a small audience who quite like to be freaked out by morbid things whilst on holiday. In some ways it is a little disturbing. But as this display is located inside the Faculty of Dentistry building at the medical university of Chulalongkorn, it also makes sense as an educational exhibit.
- Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10 am to 6 pm (last admission 5.30 pm), closed on Monday and national Holiday
- Location: 9th floor of the Dentistry Faculty Building of Chulalongkorn University.
- Tel: +66 87 097 5481
- Price Range: 300 baht for adults, 100 baht for students
- How to get there: The university is very large so it's easy to get lost. Maybe the best way is to come from the back of Siam Square and enter next to the large and easy to spot book shop.
Human Imagery Museum
Thai artist Duangkaew Phityakornsilp and his team spent over ten years painstakingly creating the eerily life-like wax and fibre-glass figures that appear at the Human Imagery Museum and depict, with astonishing realism, scenes from Thai life and culture. Included amongst representations of daily life are farm labourers, slaves, chess players, even a man reading a Thai newspaper.
Other figures include a 'who's-who' of Thai nobility: Chakri Dynasty Kings, enlightened monks, poets, politicians, aristocrats and musicians. Some of the most prominent foreigners of popular history also appear in, what seems to be, the flesh. Sir Winston Churchill is there, along with the likes of Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi. Bangkok's very own Madame Tussauds, if you like - only less pop culture, more high culture.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 - 17:30 (Monday - Friday), 08:30 - 18:00 (weekends and public holidays)
- Location: 43/2 Moo 1, Pinklao-Nakhonchaisri Road, Nakhon Pathom
- Tel: +66 (0)3 433 2061 / 2607
- How to get there: Taxi is probably the best way to go.
Jesada Technik Museum
Jesada Car Museum, or 'Jesada Technik Museum', is a large private collection of vintage rare cars and motorbikes located in Nakorn Pathom, a small town full of surprises fifty kilometres away from Bangkok. The museum was created by a successful Thai businessman named Jesada Deshsakulrith. His passion for automobile history and heritage led him to collect more than 500 vehicles, most of which are in perfect condition. He only started this surprising collection in 1997 and it finally opened to the public in 2007.
- Opening Hours: 9 am to 5 pm except Monday
- Location: 100 Moo 2 Ngio Rai, Nakorn Chaisri, Nakorn Pathom 73120
- Price Range: Free!
Jim Thompson House
The lovely garden-enclosed compound sitting on the bank of the Saen Saeb Canal would have gone completely unnoticed, had it not been for a legacy left behind by a middle-aged American man named Jim Thompson. His elegant residential enclave, comprising six traditional Thai teakwood houses transported from Ayutthaya and Bangkok’s Ban Krua community, echoes Jim Thompson’s 30-year love affair with Southeast Asian art and cultural heritage.
- Opening Hours: 09:00-17:00 (last guided tour at 17:00)
- Location: Soi Kasemsan 2, opposite the National Stadium on Rama I Road.
- BTS: National Stadium
- Address: 6/1 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama 1 Road
- Tel: +66 (0)2 216 7368
- How to get there: Take exit 1 from the BTS National Stadium Station, turn right into Soi Kasemsan 2 and continue walking all the way to the very end. The museum will be on your left-hand side.
A beautiful, stilted 19th rice farmer's teak house transplanted from the banks of Chiang Mai's Ping River to Bangkok in 1964, Kamthieng House is now the headquarters of the the Siam Society - a place dedicated to preserving and promoting Thai culture and heritage.
Inside is a collection of agricultural and domestic items - woven fish baskets and terra-cotta pots among other items - which show the everyday lives of ordinary people in the past. The spirits of three ladies - previous occupants - are said to haunt the house and watch over it. The gardens, Lanna style, are landscaped like a northern Thai garden.
There's an excellent library (Siam Society members can borrow, but the general public can browse) which includes rare books about Thai history, palm-leaf manuscripts and old maps. Fondly attended by Bangkok's foreign intelligensia, The Siam Society is dedicated to providing information on all aspects of Thai culture, especially the regions, arranging regular lectures and study trips to historic sites and wildlife sanctuaries.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 - 17:00 (Tuesday - Saturday)
- Location: 131 Soi Asok, north of Sukhumvit on Soi 21
- BTS: Asok
- How to get there: From BTS Skytrain Asok Station (Exit 3), walk down Asok-Montri Road for about 5 minutes and the Siam Society is on your left.
Madame Tussauds Bangkok
If you are a skeptic, you’d probably think a wax museum is a wax museum is a wax museum, right? What’s the hype all about? Well, for starter, Madame Tussauds has stepped down from the pedestal and embraced her visitors with a revolutionary concept – the wax museum with exhibits you can touch, hug, play with and even kiss. Imagine shooting hoops with the Houston Rockets centre Yao Ming, appearing on The Oprah Show, practicing Kung Fu with Bruce Lee, drinking espresso with George Clooney, or… ahem… putting your arm over your old pal Mao Zedong’s shoulders.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 21:00 daily (might change slightly during long weekend or national holidays)
- Location: 6th Fl. Siam Discovery Center
- Tel: +66 (0)2 658 0060
Moca - Museum of Contemporary Art Bangkok
A must for any lover of art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bangkok (MOCA) houses the most comprehensive collection of modern painting and sculpture in Thailand inside a striking, purpose built gallery. The five storeys of MOCA contain over 800 pieces of art collected by communications magnate Boonchai Bencharongkul and showcase the development of Thai fine art since the introduction of modern western concepts. The museum is open from 10:00 to 18:00, Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Monday), and costs 180 baht for the general public. It costs 80 baht for students and for visitors over the age of 60 or under 15, admission is free.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 – 18:00, Tuesday to Sunday (Closed on Monday)
- Location: MOCA is only reachable by taxi. The five storey building is easy to spot from Vibhavadi Road, but the taxi must go past the museum and make a U-turn on Changwattana Road, travelling back down a small road beside the train tracks.
- BTS: Mo Chit (still requires a 10 minute taxi journey)
- Address: 3 Vibhavadi Rangsit, Chatuchak, Bangkok
- Tel: +66 (0) 2953 1005
- Price Range: 180 baht – Student: 80 baht – children/OAP: Free
M.R. Kukrit’s House
M.R. Kukrit’s Heritage Home offers a pleasant journey into the life of Thailand’s former prime minister and multi-talented personality. Set on a picturesque pond garden, the five traditional teak homes showcase a rich collection of artifacts, including ceramics, antiques, fine arts and rare books.
A politician, writer, poet and national artist, M.R. Kukrit Pramoj came from a privileged background and was a man of many talents – in a way, a Renaissance man. He penned more than 40 novels, stage plays, short stories and poems as well as actively promoting traditional Thai culture.
- Opening Hours: 10:00-16:00 daily (call before you go, as the place might be closed for private functions)
- Location: Soi Prapinit, accessible from Narathiwas Soi 7 or Soi Suan Phlu
- BTS: closest to Chong Nonsi
- Tel: +66 (0)2 286 8185
- How to get there: From BTS Chong Nonsi, cross Sathorn Road and walk down Narathiwat Road, then turn left into Narathiwat Soi 7 (should take about 20 minutes from BTS).
Museum of Counterfeit Goods
As a stroll through any of Bangkok's markets will demonstrate, Thailand has an inimitable knack for imitating things. Law firm Tilleke and Gibbins' Museum of Counterfeit Goods is further proof. Established in 1989, it exhibits piles of counterfeit goods accumulated over years of raids on behalf of clients. Prior to this, the goods, which are often used as evidence in court, had been stashed away in boxes, taking up precious storage space and serving no practical purpose whatsoever.
No more. Over 1,500 copycat items appear in 20 categories ranging from clothing, leather goods and footwear to electronics, households appliances, car parts and drugs - and much, much more. So much that they rotate objects on display every four months. Where possible, items appear alongside the genuine article, so visitors can play spot the difference and learn about the social and economic consequences of counterfeiting. Entry is only by appointment, but members of the public, law students and business people are equally welcome.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 - 16:00 (Monday - Friday), by appointment only
- Location: Tilleke & Gibbins, Supalai Grand Tower, 26th Floor, 1011 Rama 3 Road, Chongnonsi
- Tel: +66 (0)2 653 5555
- How to get there: Taxi is the best way to go. If you take the BTS Skytrain, disembark at Chong Nonsi Station and take a taxi to Rama III Road. Tilleke and Gibbins is located inside the Supalai Grand Tower.
The Museum of Floral Culture
The Museum of Floral Culture is quite a recent addition to the growing list of Bangkok museums. Occupying the two floors of a beautiful 100 year old house and surrounded by a superb garden, this museum is dedicated to the history and techniques of floral arrangements in wedding or religious ceremonies, official occasions and royal events, the complexity of which is too often unsuspected and beauty overlooked.
The museum was created by Thai floral artist Sakul Intakul who proudly displays a large collection of rare photography, drawings and personal creations used and exhibited not only in Thailand but overseas in many renowned international events such as European movie festivals.
- Opening Hours: From Tuesday to Sunday, 10.00am to 6.00pm
- Location: 315 Samsen Rd. Soi 28, Yaek Ongkarak 13
- Tel: Tel. +66 (0) 2669 3633-4
- Price Range: 150 baht for adults and 75 baht for children, inclusive of a guided tour.
- How to get there: By Car: From Samsen Road Soi 28, turn left at Yaek Soi Ongkarak 13. The Museum of Floral Culture is about 30 meters away on the right. By Boat: From Sathorn Pier (Saphan Thaksin BTS station), travel to The Museum of Floral Culture only on the Orange Flag Chao Phraya Express Boat. Get off at Payap Pier (N18). Then turn into Samsen Road Soi 28
Museum of Siam
A new-generation museum situated just south of Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), Museum of Siam promises to be anything but boring. The museum’s elegant neoclassical façade painted in pastel yellow – already a curious addition to the otherwise low-key Pak Khlong neighbourhood – is a prelude of what’s to come once you step through its impressive main entrance.
- Opening Hours: 10.00 - 18.00 (Tuesday to Sunday)
- Location: Phra Nakorn District, Rattanakosin Island, south of Wat Pho
- Tel: +66 (0)2 225 2777
- How to get there: Take the Chao Praya Express Boat to Rachini Pier (closest) or Tha Thien Pier (about 10 min. walk).
Housed in a former Royal Mint built during the reign of King Rama V, the National Gallery displays work by Thai artists from the 17th Century onwards. Inherited by the Department of Fine Arts in 1974, it includes permanent exhibitions of works by King Rama VI and H.M. King Bhumibhol Adulyadej, traditional murals from early periods in the capital's history, and pioneering Thai modern art.
Particularly evident is the influence of Western schools of art, like impressionism and cubism, on recent Thai artists. There is also an area featuring temporary exhibitions of art from home and abroad, everything from painting and sculptures to prints and installations.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 - 16:00 (Wednesday - Sunday)
- Location: 4 Chao-Fa Road, opposite the National Theatre, Rattanakosin
- Tel: +66 (0)2 282 2639
- How to get there: Taxi is the best way, although you can take the Chao Phraya Express Boat to Phra Athit Pier (N13), then walk back towards Phra Pin Klao Bridge, turn left at Chao Fah Road and continue walking for about 15 minutes and the museum should be on your left.
Philatelic (Stamp) Museum
This is an essential stop for any budding stamp enthusiast in Bangkok. It shows how the postal service developed in Thailand, exhibiting Thai and foreign stamps dating back to 1881, when the first Thai stamps were made in London using woodblock prints. Stamps and accessories are available to buy at very reasonable prices. History and art enthusiasts may also enjoy it, but bring a magnifying glass: up close, each stamp is a paper-thin slice of history, and a miniature work of art. For more serious philatelists, there is an interesting collection of stamp books in Thai and foreign languages on display at the museum's library.
- Opening Hours: 08:30 - 16:30 (Wednesday to Sunday)
- Location: Between Soi 3 and 5, Pathon Yothin Road, Saphan Khwai
- BTS: Saphan Kwai
- Tel: +66 (0)2 271 2439
- How to get there: From the BTS Skytrain Saphan Kwai Station (exit 1), the museum is housed inside the Sam Sen Nai Post Office.
As a young man, founder Prasart Vongsakul was so upset that many of his homeland's treasures were being sold abroad that he vowed to one day build a museum for the people. The result is this eclectic, ever so slightly eccentric assembly of buildings, all replicas of influential Thai palaces, houses and royal residences. Some date as far back as the Ayutthaya period. Highlights include the Red Palace, a re-creation of a Thai-style teak house that King Rama I built for his sister in 1784, and a colonial-style mansion that dates back to the 19th Century and exhibits King Rama V's European tastes. Other interesting structures include a Chedi, Goddess Guan Yin Shrine and a Lopburi-style chapel.
Set in a lush tropical garden that exudes peace and serenity, it also serves as a centre of education and research for those interested in Thai antiquities. Pieces from the Ayutthaya and early Rattanakosin periods are on display, including several Sukothai Buddha images, and items of furniture. In the teakwood library is a collection of ancient books and manuscripts. The garden also contains several Sukhothai period terracotta pieces, alongside rare Thai and foreign plants.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 - 15:00 (Friday - Sunday), call for an appointment first
- Location: 9 Krung Thep Kreetha Road, Soi 4, Bang Kapi
- Tel: +66 (0)2 379 3601
- How to get there: Taxi is probably the best way to go.
Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall
Bangkok’s old town has an interesting history, and the most entertaining way to discover more about it is with a visit to the Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall. Here you will get to experience the many things that make Bangkok great through a series of film, music, computer displays and a guided tour. If you have ever wanted to have more understanding of the palace, temples and neighbourhoods that make up Rattanakosin Island, this is the exhibition to visit.
Located on Ratchdamneon Klang Avenue, there is unfortunately no sky train or metro station nearby, so the easiest way to get there is either by taxi from Hua Lamphong (15 minutes if no traffic) or take the boat from Sapphan Taksin to Tha Thien Pier (number 8) and take a Tuk Tuk.
- Opening Hours: Tuesday-Friday 11:00 – 20:00 and Saturday-Sunday 10:00 – 20:00
- Address: 100 Ratchadamnoen Klang Road
- Tel: +66 (0)2 621 0044
- Price Range: Entrance Fee: 100 baht, free for students
Royal Barges Museum
There was a time in Bangkok when the Chao Phraya River and its tributaries were the most important avenue of communication and boats the main mode of transport for all, even royalty. At this museum you can discover eight of the country's most unique and stunning vessels: the Royal Barges. These boats a reserved for auspicious ceremonies and state occasions like the very rare Royal Barge Procession, and have only made an appearance on the water 16 times in the last 65 years.
- Opening Hours: Daily 09:00 - 17:00 (but be aware that barges might no be in the museum in November and beginning of December as they prepare for the Royal Barge Ceremony in December)
- Location: Khlong Bangkok Noi (near Thonburi side, not far from Phra Pin Klao Bridge)
- Tel: +66 (0)2 424 0004
- How to get there: The best way is to board the Chao Phraya Express Boat to Wang Lang Pier (N10), then it’s a short walk to the museum. Or hire a long-tail boat to tour the Bangkok waterways and include the Royal Barges Museum in your itinerary.
Royal Thai Air Force Museum
Established in 1952 to preserve not only military aircraft, but also equipment from the beginning of aviation, the Royal Thai Air Force Museum displays one of the world's finest collections of rare and antique military aircraft. This is the only place to see the one-of-a-kind Hawk 3 fighters, which once participated in the Corsair and Franco-Indo Chinese War.
The only remaining Japanese Tachigawa trainer can also be seen here. A Bomber Model II (Paribarta), the first aircraft designed and built solely by Thais, sits proudly next to international wonders like the Spitfire. Nierports, Breguets, Boeing P12-Es and carriers complete the exhibition, while modern jet fighters and royal helicopters add an exotic touch. Other interesting features include simulators, electronic aviation devices and a hypobaric (low-pressure) chamber used for testing the pilot's physical readiness. The museum souvenir shop is a treasure-trove of air force mementoes such as model aircrafts, books, T-shirts and watches.
- Opening Hours: Daily 08:00 - 16:00
- Location: Phanon Yothin Road, just behind Don Mueang Airport
- Tel: +66 (0)2 534 1764, (0)2 534 1853, (0)2 534 2113
- How to get there: Taxi is the best way.
Silpa Bhirasri Memorial & Museum
Many who've lived in Bangkok their whole lives don't know who Silpa Bhirasri is. Without exception though, they've seen his work. He was an Italian-born sculptor who first came to Thailand in 1923 to work for the Department of Fine Arts. Today he's regarded as the father of modern art in Thailand, and his works are on display in public places throughout the city. Many iconic and impressive landmarks and monuments were cast by his able hands, and some of his best-known works include the Democracy Monument and statues of King Taksin, King Rama I and King Rama VI.
This memorial and museum at Silapakorn University is located in the building he not only lived, worked and taught in, but also designed. It maintains the original atmosphere, with paintings and sculptures as well as implements used on show. Works of several of his pupils are also displayed, including famous painters Fua Haripitak, Khien Yimsiri and Saway Tantisuk.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 - 12:00 (Monday to Friday, closed on weekends and public holidays)
- Location: Fine Arts Department, Silpakorn University, Rattanakosin
- Tel: +66 (0)2 223 6162
- How to get there: Taxi is probably the best way, but you can also take the Chao Phrya Express Boat to Chang Pier and walk to 10 minutes to Silpakorn University.
Suan Pakkad Palace
Suan Pakkad Palace is a place to find visions of Thailand you thought long since vanished in Bangkok. Its name means 'cabbage patch', in reference to when the land was nothing more than just that. Today, however, it's a well-tended tropical garden with serene ponds surrounding eight traditional Thai houses, each of which brims to overflowing with fine arts, antiques and oddities belonging to Prince and Princess Chumbhot.
- Opening Hours: 09:00 - 16:00
- Location: 352-354 Sri Ayudhya Road (five minutes walk from BTS Phaya Thai), nearest area Pratunam
- Tel: +66 (0)2 245 4934
Thai Film Museum
Created in 1984 by historian and former chief archivist Dome Sukwong, the 'Thai Film Archive' became the 'Thai Film Museum' in 1990 and moved to Salaya in Nakhon Pathom near Bangkok. Movies are still screened daily inside the Sri Salaya Theatre and Thai movie stars occasionally visit to leave their foot and hand prints on the concrete pavement surrounding the museum, just like in Hollywood.
The Thai Film Museum is an interesting stop on the way to the attractions of this underrated town located only 50 kilometres from Bangkok. By itself the museum wouldn't be worth the trip, but combined with other points of interest it's a pleasant discovery. A charming movie museum kept alive by a small group of enthusiasts, it has a surprisingly rich collection considering its modest size.
- Opening Hours: Saturday - Sunday - 11.00 am, 1.00 pm and 5.00 pm
- Location: Institute of Fine Arts Department, Puttamonthon Sai 5, Nakorn Pathom Province
Thai Labour Museum
The Thai Labour Museum is probably the least known exhibition in Bangkok and hardly anything has been written or said about it. Located just next to Makhasan train station, the building was originally the railway police station, then the railway labour union office and finally became the Thai Labour Museum on the 17th October 1993. In this discreet single storey building a very important story is told, one that is often sad or shocking. Before becoming the apparently easygoing country it is today, and just like most developing countries, workers only had basic rights, if any, and Thailand went through several tumultuous and violent episodes in which workers revolted. Each of the six rooms in the museum depicts the evolution of the labour movement and their fight to obtain fair treatment.
- Opening Hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday - 10:00 to 15:00
- Location: Ratchathewi Road Rd., Makkasan, Ratchathewi, Bangkok 10400 (just next to Makkasan Train Station)
- Price Range: Free, but a small donation is appreciated
Vimanmek Mansion in Bangkok
Located on Ratchawithi Road behind the National Assembly, Vimanmek Royal Mansion is the world's largest building made entirely of golden teak. Removed from Ko Sichang in Chonburi province, it was rebuilt in the Dusit Palace in 1900 by the command of King Rama V. It was recently renovated by HM Queen Sirikit, and made into a museum paying homage to the late King.
As well as antique furniture, there's glassware, porcelain, old photographs and memorabilia from the late King's reign (1868 - 1910). Many rooms currently maintain the atmosphere of the past.
- Opening Hours: 08:30 until 16:30 (Tuesday - Saturday, last ticket at 15:30)
- Location: Rajavithee Road. Close to Dusit Zoo and the Dusit Palace complex.
- Price Range: 100 baht, which entitles you to enter every building and gallery. Note that you will need to show your ticket to the attendant at the entrance to every building. Please note: No shorts or sleeveless shirts and skirts must be at least knee-length or you won't be allowed in.