Planes, Trains, Cars & Things That Go

9 May 2018, Joanna Lodge

If your kids, like ours, LOVE anything mechanical, engineer-focused and historical then you can’t go wrong with these two great museums, both with free admission!

The Royal Thai Air Force Museum, Don Muang

The aviation museum is a hidden gem for those looking for an educational, informative and fun activity for your children. There’s a huge amount of space for kids to run around in, places to hide, and best of all, aircrafts and machinery to explore.

Arrive early in the day as it gets very, very hot. (Make sure you get the correct directions, as it’s location is difficult for even the savviest of taxi drivers. The museum is located opposite the Military Academy, near Don Muang airport.)

We find it easy to spend a few hours here as, unlike museums in other cities, you can actually interact with the machinery. Climb inside huge carriers, sit in the cockpit of an aircraft, or tinker with the controls of a helicopter. If you ask kindly, you might even get to have a closer look at some of the more protected machines.

In the parking area alone, there are 10 or more aircrafts on display to get your excitement up.

More than that, there’s the historical aspect of the museum. The level of information available about the start of Thailand’s aviation journey, inclusion in the world wars, and their own personal development of craft and pilots is well documented and beautifully displayed in an air conditioned area. There is art work, original posters and scaled models of a variety of aircraft and aircraft hangers that are stunning to look at. The aircrafts in this part of the museum are pristinely cared for with staff on hand to answer any questions you may have, so long as you speak Thai, or have a Thai speaker with you.

Follow through the main area of the museum to a make-shift 747 fuselage, and onto an outside area with larger planes and helicopters. This is all under cover and incredibly spectacular. And it doesn’t stop there. A little further outside you get to the piece de la resistance, The Hanger. It can get hot but it’s amazing — there are aircraft of all shapes and sizes, many of which are open to embark. Get the experience of being a real pilot, fighting in the war, or pleasure cruising around the open skies of Thailand. It’s really cool, even as a non-aviation enthusiast.

You can get a a delicious Thai meal for a few baht at the café, and the facilities are clean and user friendly. If you want to take a little bit of the museum home, there’s a gift shop that offers a huge range of model making equipment and kits, memorabilia and souvenirs.

Jesada Technik Museum

The biggest vehicle museum in Thailand and in the region, Jesada Technik houses hundreds of transport vehicles, including cars, trucks, motorcycles, tricycles, bicycles, buses as well as planes, a helicopter, trains, farm and construction equipment. Amazingly, they are all part of a private collection.

The collector, Khun Jesada, is first and foremost a long-time automobile enthusiast. He initially acquired a Messerschmitt KR200, a German Microcar, via auction in Switzerland in 1997. A decade later, the collection rapidly multiplied, encompassing around 500 specimens, covering modes of transport on road, rail and sky.

This then promoted Khun Jesada to establish a museum for the purposes of maintaining public interest and preserving the history and heritage of vehicles and machines. In January 2007, Jesada Technik Museum opened its doors to the public, with no admission fee.

Visitors are free to wander around at their leisure and enjoy vintage, newer and rarely seen vehicles. Vehicles are in various states of repair or restoration. The collection focuses on European brands, but also has a few vehicles from the U.S. Families that enjoy mechanical contraptions will appreciate the exhibits and could spend well over an hour here; others with no interest in such things may find it boring after a short time. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of written documentation about the vehicles; further information may be provided by the staff on hand.

The museum is located outside of Bangkok in Nakhon Pathom province, about a 80 to 90 minutes drive from the city centre, making for a good half-day trip.

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