The museum of Human Imagery is to Thai people what Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is to the rest of the world. This nice but somewhat unknown museum located fifty kilometres outside Bangkok, just before reaching Nakorn Pathom, was built two decades ago but was recently renovated to become the beautiful and enjoyable display it is now. People usually drive straight through this area; not many notice the museum and even less take the time to stop and admire the quality of craftsmanship of these surprisingly realistic statues.
The museum is home to many exquisitely carved full-size figures, many of them displayed in settings that suit their story. The exhibition, created by Artist Duangkaew Phityakornsilp, features Thailand's most revered monks, the Chakri Dynasty Kings of Thailand, as well as writers and composers who left their mark on Thailand’s history. Don't expect to find any Hollywood celebrities here, the only 'Farangs' (foreigners) on display are Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Gandhi.
Thai people are all very familiar with the personalities represented here. As a visitor you may not recognise ninety nine percent of them, but that doesn’t stop this being a surprisingly attractive museum. Using a specific type of fibreglass to carve the bodies and faces, the quality resulting is often better than the wax figures from Madame Tussauds. The skin texture has a better rendering and the result is so realistic that walking down from hallways room to dark rooms is creepy. When looking closely into the eye of the statues, you almost expect their eyes to turn and look back at you. Don't freak out when you see the old man slumped on a bench... he is part of the exhibit... Or perhaps he has been dead for twenty years, and no-one realised, go pinch him and you'll find out!
A section is dedicated to King Chulalongkorn, Rama V the Great, who oversaw the abolishment of slavery in Thailand, starting in 1868 until it finally ended in 1905. Next to it a more joyful room depicts all the fun school games played by kids in the playground at the time there was no such thing as a Smartphone.
Of course travelling all the way from Bangkok to Nakorn Pathom just for this museum would not really be justified, but it's a great day trip if combined with the famous gigantic Chedi, the tallest in Thailand, the royal Pavilion just behind it, the Jesada Car Museum and the little town of Nakorn Chaisri, stories on these coming soon!
Thai Human Imagery Museum
- Opening Hours: Mon - Fri 9.00 am - 5.30 pm, Sat - Sun & Official holidays 8.30 am - 6.00 pm
- Address: 1 Boromratchanchonni Road, Nakhon Pathom
- Tel: +66 34 33 2607
- How to get there: The best way is to rent a car, or hire a taxi, but it's about 50km west of Bangkok