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While I mostly spent this short trip to Bangkok running errands and tying up loose ends, I did make time to visit one special attraction that I had been meaning to visit for almost the entire year!

I’ve always been a big fan of Bangkok’s museums and galleries — and the fact that I frequently seem to have them to myself. I guess it’s no surprise given the wide variety of temptation this capital city offers, from glittering wats to exotic markets to modern interactive aquariums, that something would get a little neglected by tourists.

Museum of Siam

But that’s a shame, because Bangkok has just introduced a hip young member to its exhibition scene — the Museum of Siam. Housed in a deceivingly traditional-looking old palace, this museum is the definition of young, fun, and interactive. Inside, multi-media displays explore the origins and the identity of the Thai people.

Museum of Siam

The museum is open from 10am-6pm Monday through Thursday, and costs a hefty 300 baht to enter. Pretty pricey by Thai standards, right? Well, just schedule your visit for the afternoon — after 4pm this museum is free for everyone! Be aware that this is an attraction the practices the controversial separate pricing for Thais and foreigners; during the day Thais pay a fraction of what farangs do.

Museum of Siam

The museum is located in the Ko Ratanakosin district, within walking distance of the backpacker ghetto of Khao San Road. It could be conveniently scheduled into a day of sightseeing at unmissable The Grand Palace, the iconic Wat Pho, and the more traditional National Museum.

Museum of Siam

So what was my experience at the museum? I loved it! I knew beforehand that the museum execution was a collaboration between design firms in Thailand and New Zealand, so my expectations were pretty high. In light of that, a few things seemed a little cheesy, such as the video you watch in a small theater upon entering.

Museum of Siam

But any disappointment was quickly outweighed by admiration for the attention to detail and clever presentation of material. For example I loved the three-dimensional timeline below, which represented the year of origin of famous structures around the world, including Thailand’s most famous landmarks.

Museum of Siam

Other displays, such as the floating dioramas of different Southeast Asian vessels below, were simply appreciated for their beauty.

Museum of Siam

Museum of Siam

By far the most impressive thing about the Museum of Siam is its unconventional policy towards interacting with the exhibits. While most museums are plastered with plaques reminding visitors do not touch, this museum preaches the exact opposite — not one thing in the museum is off-limits from your curious fingers.

Museum of Siam

Some of the most impressive interactive features include an Ayutthaya-era animated battle game, a dress-up closet full of traditional Siam-style clothing, and a full retro diner from contemporary Thailand.

Museum of Siam

In case you haven’t already sussed out my opinion, I say this place is a must for museum, history and design lovers passing through Bangkok. And with a convenient location and two hours of free admission time every day, there is really no reason not to!

Museum of Siam

Have you ever been to a museum like this? Tell me where and I’ll add it to my list!

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12 Comments...
  • Nicole
    June 14 2012

    I’m kind of a museum fanatic myself…it’s a quick and easy way to learn about a place and/or it’s people. This one looks like a lot of fun! Thanks for the post!
    Nicole recently posted..My Wishlist: Tangier, Morocco

    • Alex
      June 16 2012

      You are welcome Nicole! I’m a pretty big museum fan myself, love sharing unique ones I find around the world!

  • What a cool place! I typically stay out of museums unless it’s really hot and I need some AC haha. But, there are a couple around the world especially in NYC and BA that I visit over and over.

    • Alex
      June 16 2012

      It’s true, museums are an amazing venue for guaranteeing some AC 🙂

  • Dad
    June 16 2012

    Alex, have you ever considered being a museum critic, like a theater or movie critic? You have an eye for detail of what a museum can and should provide for the sensory and learning experience of visitors.

    • Alex
      June 16 2012

      I don’t know if there is a venue for museum critics, like there are movie blogs or food blogs. I am a major museum fan though! Maybe I need to make it a category on this blog…

  • Martina
    September 20 2014

    That looks like a great place – it’s def on my list for next time I’m in Thailand!
    You asked for other great museums – my favourite is also in Thailand, up north in Chiang Mai. It’s called The Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders and it’s the most wonderful quirky collection of all sorts of things. You should def have a look when you’re in Chiang Mai. 🙂
    Martina recently posted..Three awesome animal experiences

    • Alex
      September 21 2014

      Ha, I’ve actually been there! Check out my Chiang Mai posts from my Destinations page… it was pretty hysterical 🙂

      • Martina
        September 23 2014

        Oh haha fair enough!! I probably should have checked first… lol. Anyway I loved that museum, it’s so quirky and cute!
        I could recommend a totally different sort of museum in a totally different place… the museum of mineralogy (I think it was called that) in Yekaterinburg, Russia! That was an interesting place… 🙂

        • Alex
          September 23 2014

          You got me there, I haven’t been to that one! 🙂

  • CaramelWorldTraveler
    March 16 2016

    I am here with my toddler looking for things to do. After reading your review, this museum is on our list. Thank you!

    • Alex
      March 17 2016

      I think a toddler would love this place! Enjoy!

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