27 Jun 20 Unique Museums in Bangkok
I love museums! I am nuts about them.
Unfortunately, my husband thinks I am nuts too.
You see I discovered quite late in life that everyone doesn’t enjoy museums as much as I do.
And definitely not so much to write an article about it.
But if you have managed to come this far, I assume that you are looking for some geek time.
So here is my list of 20 museums in Bangkok that I recommend you visit.
(Shocking that people would come to Bangkok to do that!)
1. Bangkok National Museum
This grabs the top spot on the list of best museums in Bangkok. Partly because it was made by the royalty itself. The museum was commissioned by King Rama V, the fifth king of the Chakri Dynasty (that rules Thailand today). It is home to the artifacts owned by his father. It was initially built inside the former palace of vice-king.
The museums have three exhibition galleries that differentiate the subject matter. They range from an insight on ‘Where did Thais come from?’ to details of daily life and royalty from the four major periods of Thai history – Dvaravati, Srivijaya, to Sukhothai and Ayutthaya. The collection has articles like gold treasures, mother of pearl inlay, costumes, textiles, ceramics, carved ivory, and even transportation systems.
Apart from the galleries, there is a chapel with Buddha as the main figure and murals on the walls depicting stories from the life of Buddha. Another interesting place is The Red house, former living quarters of a Royal princess decorated with traditional Thai architecture.
Tour Guide: Free Guided tours are conducted at 9.30 am in English and French on Wednesdays and Thursdays, Japanese on Wednesdays and German on Thursdays only.
Bangkok National Museum timings: 9am to 4pm from Wednesday to Sunday. Closed on Monday and Tuesday. Last ticket is sold at 3.30pm.
Bangkok National Museum ticket prices: THB 200 for foreign nationals
How to reach Bangkok National Museum: You can get down at Sanam Chai MRT station and take a taxi. You can also take bus no. 53 from opposite Tangtrong Chit College to Sanam Luang and walk from there. To take a ferry, go to Yodpiman Pier to Wang Lang Pier and walk from there.
2. Museum of Siam
If you don’t like museums, you can try visiting the Museum of Siam. The USP of the place is that it has tried to mix the educational material with more fun interfaces using multimedia and live sets.
The museum is inside a building with an architectural style of the European Neoclassical era. But don’t worry, the insides are pure Thai. To broadly say, the museum focuses on the question ‘What does being Thai mean?’ It is about the Thai-ness of the local from its evolution to the nitty-gritty of modern culture.
Each room has a video running that introduces and narrates the subject matter. A set of TV screens showcases the evolution of the Thai TV series. Kids can engage in an Ayutthaya-era battle game. And a live Bangkok café and street shops call out for some photos worthy of social media.
Even on the museum grounds, you can find a setup of a small vendor with pickles and fish sauce talking about how and why Thai eat what they do. Another European style café with lush chandelier is a good spot to chill before you head out.
Museum of Siam timings: 10 am to 6 pm from Tuesdays to Sundays. Closed on Monday.
Museum of Siam ticket prices: THB200 for foreign nationals, THB100 for local Adults, and THB50 for students.
How to reach the Museum of Siam: Take the MRT to Sanam Chai MRT station and walk out at Exit 1. The exit opens inside the museum grounds.
3. Erawan Museum
Famous with Instagrammers, the Erawan Museum is actually a personal collection of artifacts owned by Lek Viriyapant. He was a Thai millionaire who was commissioned Ancient City in Samut Prakan and Sanctuary of Truth outside Pattaya to preserve the traditional essence of Thai culture for future generations.
The museum consists of an elaborate pink base on which stands the large three-headed elephant named Airawat (Erawan in Thai and is the vehicle of Hindu god Indra). The base has the ground floor representing the Underworld. The atrium representing the Human world has helical staircases reaching the 2nd floor. The 2nd floor is inside the belly of the elephant that represents the Heavens.
The ground floor has intricate carvings jutting out of the staircases. There are four metal pillars that have murals from Hindu, Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism, and Christian scriptures. The human world, a small platform, has more fanciful figurines with precious inlays. The central figure is the statue of the Chinese goddess Guanyin with a thousand arms. The Travatimsa Heaven inside the elephant’s belly represents the solar system and holds the collection of relics and statues of Buddha.
Erawan Museum timings: 9am to 7pm every day of the week
Erawan Museum ticket price: THB400/200 for Foreign Adults/Children. THB200/100 for Thai Aduts/Children. Prices reduce to half in all cases if you buy a ticket after 5pm. Foreigners with work permits, Non-B/O visa, Thai driving license or Marriage certificates can also get the local rate.
If you are a foreign traveller, pre-booking your ticket online can get you a great discount, especially if you combine both Erawan Museum and Muang Boran or Ancient City. Book your ticket online here.
How to reach Erawan Museum: The shortest way is to get down at BTS Station of Pu Chao and take a taxi or tuk-tuk from there for the next 2km. Bus No. 511 also passes through the museum
You have to be a fan of art to travel this far to visit MOCA or the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bangkok. But I would say, for me it was worth it.
Apart from the mind-blowing paintings, the architecture and the building are jaw-droppingly gorgeous. There are five floors with dozens of rooms carrying paintings of different genres. Even if you are not a big fan of modern art (random stuff that nobody understands), you will still find stuff that you will like.
Whole chambers are painted to different colours to match the collections. Paintings range from traditional ones from Ancient Siam to the fusion of Hindu mythology and the divine cosmic universe. Some are simply funny. But I have to admit, the sculptures were difficult to understand.
Some chambers display paintings and photography collections by famous or upcoming artists. You can check out what collections are displayed on their website mocabangkok.com.
Curious about MOCA? Read more about the Museum of Contemporary Art, Bangkok on our blog
MOCA timings: 10 am to 6 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Mondays.
MOCA ticket prices: THB250 for All Adults, THB100 for students (with ID cards).
How to reach MOCA: Get down at Kasetsart University BTS Station and take a private transport from there. Bus no. 29, 52, 69, 134, 187, 191, 504, 510, and 555 also pass from the Museum.
5. Bangkok Forensic Museum
It is like staring death at its face. The museum has none of the historical artifacts and rich objects with precious stones. Instead, you find human carcasses or mummified rapists, unborn fetuses, and headless men after a train accident.
The museum is inside Siriraj Hospital and is also called Siriraj Medical Museum. It is a set of five museums right next to or above each other (on different floors). It looks a bit old, as a biology lab from the ’90s with weird specimens drowned in formaldehyde. But the stuff that they put here is really something.
The children also seem to enjoy looking at the skeletons and it’s really informative. But if you are someone who cannot stand some gruesome images then maybe think again.
Bangkok Forensic Museum timings: 10 am to 5 pm from Friday to Wednesday. Closed on Thursdays and public holidays.
Bangkok Forensic Museum ticket price: THB 300/50 for Foreign Adults/Children. THB 100 for Thai citizens.
6. Bank of Thailand Museum
Sure Bank of Thailand Museum is great. But the building that it resides in is just so much more gorgeous. The Museum is inside Bang Khun Phrom Palace, a formal residence of members of the royal family.
The palace is a European Baroque-Rococo styled bungalow. It has light yellow color walls, lavish central stairs with rich carpets, and gold intricate décor. You can also find paintings and photographs from the time of the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip in 1996.
The museum showcases the history of currency of Thailand and surrounding countries. There are coins from Funan, China to those from Sukhothai and Lanna Kingdom (north Thailand) and banknotes dating back to 1853.
Bank of Thailand Museum timings: 9 am to 4 pm Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Monday.
Bank of Thailand Museum ticket prices: Admission is Free
How to reach the Bank of Thailand Museum: Get down at Sanam Chai MRT Station and take a ferry from Rajni Pier to Rama 8 Bridge Pier and walk from there for 200m. You can also get down at Bang Yi Khan MRT station and take a private vehicle.
7. Jim Thompson House Museum
Jim Thomson House Museum was an American Businessman and architect who moved to Thailand. Jim Thomson introduced the production of Thai Silk products on an industrial scale. After his sudden and permanent disappearance, his house was converted into a museum.
Jim Thompson was a connoisseur of art and you will be able to see his lovely personal collection. Plus you get to tour his house that has been meticulously converted to host tourists. The house is built by joining four blocks together right next to a canal. The décor and the interiors are in rich traditional Thai style, worth appreciating.
Just outside the main house is also a restaurant next to a large fish pond. You can purchase their famous silk products from the retail outlet of Jim Thomson. And even a weaver who harvests silkworm right in front of you.
Jim Thomson House Museum timings: 11 am to 7 pm every day of the week
Jim Thomson House Museum ticket price: THB 200/100 for Adults/Children.
How to reach Jim Thomson House Museum: Get down at Ratchathewi BTS Station and walk for 700m to the museum.
8. National Museum of Royal Barges
At one point in time there was a fleet of thousands of barges that were used by the Royal family for transportation across the Siam Kingdom. But most of them were burnt when the Burmese invaded the old capital city of Ayutthaya.
Today, only 50 remain. And it is rare for civilians to witness the procession of Royal Barges. It takes place only for ceremonies related to the Royal court. But they are as grand as it can ever get.
However, if you want to get a glimpse of them, you can visit them at their dock at the Museum of Royal Barges. Each barge is ornately handcrafted out of wood, painted in gold with a large figure at its head from the Hindu and Thai mythology.
Museum of Royal Barges timings: 9 am to 5 pm every day of the week
Museum of Royal Barges ticket prices: THB 100 per person. You need to pay additional THB 100 for taking photographs.
9. Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Center
Located in the lower levels of Wat Traimit, the museum comes more as a surprise. This Museum or Heritage center focusses on preserving the cultural heritage of the Chinese community. It also gives a detailed history of how they arrived in Bangkok and how their community grew which is one of the largest in Thailand.
The museum has large paintings and descriptions of the early life of the Chinese immigrants. As you move inside, life-size statues reflect the street-side vendors selling Chinese noodles and buns.
Small figurines and scaled-down versions depicts Chinese weddings and festivals. There is even a section about the Chinese opium war and its addiction to the early community.
Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Center timings: 9 am to 5 pm Open from Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Monday.
Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Center ticket price: THB 40 per foreign traveler. Free for locals.
How to reach Wat Traimit: Get down at Hua Lamphong MRT Station and walk for 500m from there.
10. Suan Pakkad Palace Museum
Suan Pakkad was earlier a private residence of the members of the Royal family that has later been converted into a museum. The building is a collection of 8 houses in traditional Thai style with heavy Lanna (North Thailand) influence. Most of them were dismantled in Chiang Mai and transported here.
There are different collections in each building. They range from gold paintings on black lacquer from the Ayutthaya era to murals from Jataka and Ramakein (Ramayana) and ornate furniture, masks, jewelry, and mother-of-pearl inlays.
Suan Pakkad Museum timings: 9 am to 4 pm every day of the week
Suan Pakkad Museum ticket prices: THB 100 per person
How to reach Suan Pakkad Museum: Get down at Phaya Thai station on BTS or Airport link line and walk for 400m from there.
11. Rattanikosin Exhibit Hall
Rattanakosin Exhibit Hall is one of the most recent museums of Bangkok. It was opened in 2010 with a focus on Thai youths. It aims to make them more aware of the cultural and historical knowledge of Thailand using modern technology and multimedia.
The museum has 9 exhibition halls, each talking about a different subject. One room displays a miniature version of the cultural center of Bangkok with the Grand Palace and important temples.
The other room has motion graphics and running multimedia talking about the history of Thailand. There are even videogames with corresponding to a traditional activity that tracks sensory movement. And while most of it is in the Thai language, you can still enjoy it. There are some fantastic views of important buildings from the cafeteria.
Rattanakosin Exhibit Hall timings: 9 am – 7 pm from Tuesday to Friday, 10 am – 8 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Rattanakosin Exhibit Hall ticket price: THB 100/50 for Adults/Children.
How to reach Rattanakosin Exhibit Hall: Get down at Sam Yot MRT station and walk for 1.2 km from here (or take a private vehicle). Bus no. 511 directly crosses the building.
12. Royal Thai Airforce Museum
The Royal Thai Airforce Museum was established in 1952. The museum preserves and showcases the history of the equipments, aviation samples, aircraft as well as studies, documents, and archives from the Royal Thai Airforce.
The museum has warplanes dating back to World War II, the Vietnam war, carriers of the Royal family, aircraft for leisure, and a lot more. There are around 30 airplanes on display both outdoors and indoors at a remote hanger just south of Don Mueng airport. Very few people visit the place through. I guess not a lot of people know about it either.
Royal Thai Airforce Museum timings: 8 am to 4 pm Open from Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Mondays.
Royal Thai Airforce Museum ticket price: Admission is Free. Hiring a guide is advisable.
13. Bangkokian Museum
Ever wondered what is inside a Thai local’s home? What does their junk consist of? I have. For that, you can go to this Bangkokian or Bangkok Folk Museum. It is honestly just a house of an upper class local Thai family from the post-war era.
There are two buildings of a Thai family and the third one of a related doctor. The houses have simple wooden furniture, everyday articles (some of which you may not find today), porcelain collection, kitchen utensils and tools, a grandfather clock, an old piano, and a lot more. The garden that surrounds the house is a lovely spot to get some rest after the visit.
Bangkokian Museum timings: 9 am to 4 pm Open from Tuesdays to Sundays. Closed on Monday.
Bangkokian Museum ticket price: Admission is free
How to reach Bangkokian Museum: Get down at Hua Lamphong MRT Station and walk (or take a private vehicle) for 1.3km.
14. Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles
A recent addition to the museums of Bangkok, Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles was opened commemorating the 80th birthday of the queen. The museum is located right next to the Grand Palace inside the palace grounds.
The museum displays and talks about the finesse of traditional Thai silk weaving and handicraft. It is an ode to the queen who herself has helped popularize the craft as a way for Thai women to earn a living. A lot of local and international designers have come together to put together some classic ensemble using traditional Thai garments, patterns, materials, and silhouettes.
Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles timing: 9 am to 4.30 pm open on all days. The last admission is at 3.30 pm.
Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles ticket prices: The Grand Palace tickets includes the entry. THB 150 per person if bought separately.
15. The Museum of Floral Culture
The Museum of Floral Culture is the brainchild of Sakul Intakul, a renowned Thai floral artist. It is like stepping into a sweet oasis in the middle of Bangkok, the chaotic city it is. The museum is inside a 100-year old colonial-style teak house.
Flowers are an important part of Thai culture and the place explores its significance. The museum has unique exhibitions of floral culture from not only Thailand but also from India, China, Japan, Laos, and Indonesia. But the most beautiful part is the restaurant and the outdoor seating area that provides an intimate experience with very few people and aromatic flowers.
Museum of Floral Culture timings: 10 am to 6 pm Open from Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Monday.
Museum of Floral Culture ticket price: THB150 per person included guided tours (in English and Thai).
How to reach the Museum of Floral Culture: The closest metro is Bang Pho MRT station at a distance of 2.5km. You can also get down at Sanam Chai MRT station, take a ferry from Rajini pier to Khaew Khai Ka Pier and walk 900m from there.
16. Jesada Technik Museum
A surprising discovery, Jesada Technik Museum is a private collection of cars by Mr. Jesada Dejsakulrit. The collector and businessman have a flaring passion for cars all his life and have collected vehicles from all around the world.
The vehicles do not focus on luxury but rather built and design. At first glance, it may feel like you have entered a toy shop, just life-size. These cars are mostly on the cuter side in varied colors mostly popular during the 1950s.
There is even a double-decker bus from London, motorcycles, bicycles, and a helicopter. Rumors are an unlucky submarine sank on its way from Russia for the collection.
Jesada Technik Museum timings: 9 am to 5 pm Open from Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Mondays.
Jesada Technik Museum ticket prices: Free admission.
How to reach Jesada Technik Museum: Take a train from Bang Sue railway station to Wat Ngio Rai railway station and a cab from there. You can also hire a private vehicle to reach the museum which is 50km west of Bangkok.
Need more Information? Here is everything you need to know about visiting the Jesada Technik Museum
17. Thai Human Imagery Museum
It is Thailand’s own wax museum but far less crowded. Due to the hot and humid climate of Thailand, the figurines are made of fiberglass instead of wax. It usually surprises the visitors by how real they look.
The museum consists of figures of Thai monarchy of the Chakri dynasty (the current ruling family), everyday life of Thai people, the history of the slave trade, a monk’s life, and popular figures around the world like Abraham Lincon and Mahatma Gandhi.
Thai Human Imagery Museum timings: 9 am to 5.30 pm from Monday to Friday; 8.30 am to 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Thai Human Imagery Museum ticket price: THB 300/150 for foreign adults/children. THB 80/40 for Thai Adults/children.
How to reach the Thai Human Imagery Museum: Take a train from Bang Sue railway station to Wat Ngio Rai railway station and a cab from there. You can also take the Bus no.511 from victory monument to Central Salaya and a cab from there.
18. Batcat Toy Museum
The toy museum started out as a hobby of collecting Batman figurine for its 40-year owner Somchay Nitimongkolchai. It quickly became an obsession and became the largest collection in Thailand with over 50,000 articles.
It looks like you have entered the bat cave after all. And at every nuke and corner lies the alter-ego of an orphan billionaire, The Batman. There are other characters too. There is Superman, the Hulk, Spiderman, X-men and figurines from Star Wars, Toy Story, Hello Kitty, Dora the Explorer and a lot more. In fact, it was the combination of Batman and Catwoman that became the name.
BatCat Toy Museum timings: 10 am to 7 pm Monday – Friday; 9 am to 8 pm Saturday-Sunday.
BatCat Toy Museum ticket price: THB 250/150 for Foreign Adults/Children; THB 100/60 for Thai Adults/Children. Expats can get the local rate with Thai ID or Work permit.
19. Tilleke and Gibbins’ Museum of Counterfeit Goods
A twist in the usual collection of rare products, this museum displays ones that infringe intellectual property. With Bangkok being a major center for the circulation of fake products, the museum showcases products in 14 broad categories. Some of them are clothing and footwear, watches and eyewear, cosmetics, perfumes, alcohol, and cigarettes.
The museum aims and imparting knowledge and familiarising the general public with the treats of infringement. Real products are also present next to the fake ones to be able to discern out the difference.
Museum of Counterfeit Goods timings: The museum is open to the general public only at 2 pm on Monday and 10 am on Thursday. You can pre-book your visit on other days by contacting +66 2056 5548. Check out the official website to know more.
Museum of Counterfeit Goods ticket price: Admission is free
How to reach the Museum of Counterfeit Goods: Get down at Klong Toei MRT station and take a cab for the next 6km. Bus no. 14, 22, 35, 77, 89, 102, 180, 195, 205, 519 also pass through the museum.
20. Thai Film Museum
The Thai Film museum is housed in the replica of now-demolished Thailand’s first film studio ‘Sri Krung Films & Studio’. The museum is divided into 3 parts – the 100th anniversary of Thai films, the process of movie-making, and the Hall of Fame.
The museum has hundreds of archives from news films, documentaries, Thai films, and videos. Then there are scripts, posters, DVDs, gramophone records, costumes along with props and old filming cameras. If you are lucky, you may just meet a Thai movie star in the area. However, if you are a foreigner, you may not recognize them.
Thai Film museum timings: 10 am to 5 pm Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Mondays.
Thai Film museum ticket price: Admission is free. Tour guides take group tours for 90-120 minutes at 10 am, 1 pm, 3 pm (Tuesday to Friday) and at 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm (Saturday-Sunday)
How to reach the Thai Film museum: Take bus no. 515 from Victory Monument to Sai 5 Intersection and walk for 500m. You can also take a train from Bang Sue Junction to Salaya Railway station and a cab from there.