The Bangkokian Museum in Bangrak is hard to find and is not even very well known. It's a simple, discreet museum but the charm is in the pleasure of discovering this small frozen-in-time gem. In fact the Bangkokian museum, sometimes called 'Bangkok Folk Museum', consists mostly of two beautiful wooden houses preserved in perfect condition just the way they were last century.
Set in a tiny street not far from River City and the famous Oriental Hotel, the houses stand in the back of a garden, behind a large wooden gate, and despite the large signboard 'Bangkokian Museum', it is really easy to miss.
Walk into the garden to the reception counter and just write down your name inside the guest book: yes, entry is free! Depending who is on duty that day, you will hear a very short explanation in approximate English or a well-described story from the lady owner.
The first house is the largest and more beautiful one, with immaculately varnished flooring and green painted wooden walls. The ground floor includes the dining rooms, offices and library, while upstairs are the bedrooms with their cute very old fashion en-suite bathrooms. Every room has original Bakelite switches, antique standing clocks, massive valve radios and cabinets with encrusted nacre. Daily objects are kept inside antique closets and if it was not for few glass boxes displaying some of the most valuable items, you would almost expect the master of the house to step into the room and slip into one of the beds after washing his face in the old-fashioned porcelain basins.
The breeze flowing through keeps this two-storey house nice and comfortable without need of fans. All the rooms are very tiny but the veranda in the back is large so it is easy to imagine people spending most of their time in the garden, in the shade of the huge trees. Despite being in a very busy area of Bangkok, this garden is a haven of total peace.
A bit behind the main building is a second, smaller house, originally built in the countryside, deconstructed and reassembled here in Bangkok. The style is clearly different: almost all walls, floors and ceilings are made of dark reddish teakwood and features a lot more windows and less wall space. The ground floor appears to be a small dining area and office and the upper floor is a large bedroom with a spotlessly waxed floor. Here too, everything is set to welcome guests and the bed is made. The idea to try it is very tempting.
Next to the two classic houses is a larger, and more recent building used as a museum of eclectic objects collected at any given time in the past, most of them without apparent historical value, and some even appear to be very recent. Upstairs is a gallery of photos taken around Bangkok and Thailand in the past centuries.
The Bangkokian Museum is more of a charming stop than a real museum visit. But if you happen to explore this part of Bangkok riverside, it's well worth it and makes a nice photo opportunity, especially if you have been to Bangkok several times before and are looking for something off the beaten track.
- Opening Hours: 10:00 - 16:00, Wednesday to Sunday
- Location: 73 Charoen Krung, turn into the small soi 43 and pass under the bridge, then look on your right
- Tel: 02 234 6741
- Price Range: Free