Culture, history and fun go hand in hand at these 5 family-friendly museums in Bangkok!
With a huge three-headed elephant perched on a pedestal on top of the roof, the Erawan Museum is undoubtedly one of Bangkok’s most unique looking buildings. The elephant is made from bronze, weighs 250 tons and stands 29 metres high – an incredibly impressive sight! The interior is divided between three floors, which are based upon the Hindu representation of the universe. Beginning with the underworld (1st floor), progressing through to earth (2nd floor) and ending in Heaven (top floor), visitors are able to see a beautiful collection of antiques, artwork and religious artefacts. Children will also love to explore the well-kept gardens, with bridges, streams and large trees, as well as float lilies in the wishing pond.
2. Museum Siam
Housed within an elegant neoclassical house along Sanamchai Road, Museum Siam offers a fascinating education of Thai history and culture through the ages. Far from a stuffy history lesson, the kids will love the museum’s interactive displays and galleries, and most rooms have a narrated film that kicks into life via a sensory detector. Highlights include an Ayutthaya-era canon battle game, a room full of traditional Thai toys, a box of dress-up costumes and props, and a retro television station set-up where kids can film themselves reading the evening news. Children can also design a button-style pin in the gift shop, as well as join various craft activities as part of the special exhibits or on important public holidays.
The former home of silk magnate Jim Thompson now serves as a fascinating museum. The house itself is made up of six traditional Thai teakwood structures that Thompson sourced from Ayutthaya and Baan Krua. The American entrepreneur also amassed a beautiful collection of Southeast Asian artwork throughout his time, and many of his ornamental pieces and items of furniture are on display here. The short tours are ideal for those with older kids (the house is full of breakable items and it may be too nerve-wracking to visit with toddlers in tow), while the tranquil grounds, with a small turtle pond, make for a relaxing stroll. There’s also a restaurant, cafe and souvenir shop situated within the complex, as well as silkworm cocoon displays that children are welcome to touch.
Set amid 320 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens in Samut Prakan (around 30 kilometres from the centre of Bangkok), The Ancient City is home to 116 replicas of significant architectural buildings and monuments. These include historical temples, palaces, pavilions and stupas – some of which are full-sized models while others are scaled-down versions – but all are historically accurate. In between sights, enjoy a rest and a bite to eat at one of the various restaurants or the Floating Market. The grounds are far too large to explore by foot. Instead, consider taking the tram tour in the morning, rent a golf cart by the hour or bring your own bikes (rentals are also available) — much easier on little feet!
Nitas Rattanakosin or the Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall showcases Thailand’s artistic and cultural legacies of the Rattanakosin (Bangkok) era through interactive, multimedia exhibits arranged as three separate tours. Go for the tour called Route 1, which takes you through 7 rooms in less than 2 hours. Children will especially enjoy watching traditional Thai entertainment spectacles and performances, playing with hand puppets, learning khon (Thai masked dance) gestures and watching the vintage photography exhibit with their own images superimposed on animated characters. On the fourth floor of the building, visitors can also admire magnificent views of old Bangkok, including Loha Prasat.