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. All good fun...
Interested in this tour? Book it here.
The Pathology and Forensic Museums
The first pathology room displays babies affected by genetic disorders, each preserved in formaldehyde. It's kind of disturbing but as the room is very modern they look unreal enough to remain stoic. Next to it is an older room dedicated to all kinds of parasites, their origin and how they affect the human organs. Not much excitement here except for a a collection of incredibly long tape worms and a 35kg human testicle affected by elephantiasis. Apart of these, you'll see some plastic snakes, spiders and parasites in a set of old vivariums, but not much more.
Moving to the Songkran Nyomsane Forensic Medicine Museum, things become a lot more intense. The forensic room shows the bodies of accident victims, murderers and even the dried body of a famous madman who was known to eat kids' livers in the 1950s. Ostensibly, the purpose of displaying the dark body standing in a booth is supposed to be a deterrent against violent crimes.
The Anatomical Museum
The Anatomical museum is set in the next building and old creaky stairs will take you up to the third floor, as well as back in time. Dark wood, old faded portraits and a dark passageway seems to date from another century. Reaching the anatomical room, it gets even better, with rows of old glass-and-wood cabinets full of skeletons. Dissected adults and children's bodies seem to silently try to tell you their own stories from decades ago. A thousand body parts and genetic anomalies are frozen in time inside formaldehyde-filled jars. The room and its contents appear so old that it's not as scary as I imagined, or maybe I was psychologically ready and waiting for something even worse. The most disturbing part was a bunch of new toys piled on top of a set of jars containing malformed babies.
All in all, it's certainly an off-the-beaten-track experience, something to see once in a lifetime and something to talk about once home. And as it is located just opposite the Grand Palace, it's an easy addition to a daytrip in this area.
Bangkok Forensic Museum
- 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.