Visiting the Bangkok Doll Factory & Museum

3 October 2017, Richard Holmes

A hidden gem in an old Bangkok neighbourhood, this small and somewhat hard-to-find museum is home to a wonderful selection of both traditional Thai dolls and figures sourced from around the world.

The museum was founded back in 1957 by the late Khunying Tongkorn Chandavimol. After completing a doll-making course at the Ozawa Doll School in Tokyo, Khunying Tongkorn embarked on a career that has since earned her global plaudits and several international awards for the quality of her work.

Today, visitors can come along to see her personal collection of over 400 dolls. These include beautiful representations of classical Thai dancers, historical figures, rural peasants and Khon mask miniatures. The museum also has an international section with dolls from countries such as Greece, Hungary, Russia and Poland.

A Desire for Authenticity

Bangkok Dolls has a team of around twenty artisans who hand craft new productions. Over the decades, these prized creations have made their way into the collections of both royalty and doll collectors alike.

Each doll is meticulously designed with an incredible level of detail and care. Before even beginning the process, a period of extensive research takes place in order to ensure absolute authenticity.

For instance, antique costumes are often based upon originals found in museums, illustrations from historical books, and even temple murals. When it comes to contemporary works, the same level of attention is taken. Examples of hilltribe and farmer dolls reveal faithfully replicated elements in ornamentation and clothing.

The quest for accuracy behind the design process is emblematic of the way Khunying Tongkorn choose to work. Today, her team of artisans continue to produce exquisite pieces that attract thousands of visitors from around the world.

A Glimpse into the Workshop

As well as touring the museum, visitors can head to the workshop to see each figure being dexterously crafted by hand. Each doll-maker handles a different stage in the production process, revealing the extent to just how much time is invested in each and every creation.

At this point, you may find the kids asking if they can take their own handcrafted doll home with them. Luckily, dolls are available to purchase as a souvenir of your day and prices start from around 1,000 baht each.

It’s worth pointing out that while the museum is interesting for kids and families, it’s best suited to children above toddler age as care needs to be taken to ensure dolls are not damaged.

Location and Opening Hours

The museum is located at 85 Soi Ratchataphan (Soi Mor Leng) off Ratchaprarop Road, Ratchathewi district. To get there, grab a taxi from exit 3 of BTS Phaya Thai and ask your driver to call the museum for directions. Opening hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 8 am to 5 pm. Admission is free.

For more information, visit www.bangkokdolls.com or call 02-245-3008.

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