Bangkok Forensic Museum offers a sinister exhibition for the morbid and travellers searching for something extremely unusual. Located inside the Siriraj Hospital on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, if your vision of a museum is a pretty display of artistic or cultural artefacts, then you’re in for a big surprise.
The hospital has 6 distinct museums within 2 separate buildings. The creepiest ones are the Ellis Pathological Museum, Songkran Niyomse Forensic Medicine Museum, and Congdon Anatomical Museum.
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Bangkok Forensic Museum highlights
The 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. You’ll also find 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 collection of incredibly long tapeworms and a 35-kg human testicle that’s affected by elephantiasis.
Moving to the Songkran Nyomsane Forensic Medicine Museum, things become a lot more intense. The forensic room shows the bodies of accident victims and murderers (including the mummified 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.
What to see at Bangkok Forensic Museum
Congdon Anatomical Museum occupies the next building, with creaky stairs taking you up to the 3rd floor, as well as back in time. Dark wood, old faded portraits and a dark passageway seem 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.
Around 1,000 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 display here is a bunch of new toys piled on top of a set of jars containing malformed babies.
Bangkok Forensic Museum is certainly an off-the-beaten-track experience, something to see once in a lifetime and something to talk about once home. And as the museum is just opposite the Grand Palace, it's an easy addition to a day trip in this part of Bangkok. 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.
Bangkok Forensic Museum
- Opening Hours: Wednesday–Monday from 10am to 5pm (closed on Tuesdays)
- Location: 2 Wanglung Road, Bangkok Noi, Bangkok 10700, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)2 419 2601