6. Siriraj Medical Museum
The world class Siriraj Hospital is also home to one of Bangkok’s weirdest attractions, the rather macabre Forensic and Pathology Museum, which features all sorts of ghoulish displays, ranging from dead bodies and mummified corpses of murderers and accident victims to genetically mutated babies that sit floating in jars of formaldehyde! Body parts, skeletons, and victims of various parasites round out the collection of horrors. Despite how gruesome it all sounds, the museum (which is actually a collection of six separate museums) is pretty informative, and meant as a living learning lab for medical students and forensic professionals as well as the casual visitor with an interest in the bizarre!
7. Muang Boran
Muang Boran, which means “ancient city” in Thai, is an immense outdoor museum spread over 240 acres on grounds that are sculpted to resemble Thailand. The museum, supposedly the world’s largest outdoor one, has over 100 miniature replicas of famous Thai buildings and sites, all of them placed on the grounds in geographic preciseness to their real counterparts. The famous temples of Sukhothai and the ancient capital of Ayutthaya are here, as is the well known Phimai sanctuary from Nakhon Ratchasima, and there is also a model of the disputed Phra Wihan (known as Preah Vihear to the Cambodians) Khmer temple on the border. This being Thailand, there is also a floating market here along with the requisite grilled chicken and som tam papaya salad to keep visitors sated.
8. Suan Pakkad Palace
This relatively unknown gem was the former palace of Prince Paribatra, grandson of King Rama V, and is a series of eight traditional reconstructed Thai houses which are full of memorabilia of the Prince’s artistic collection, including musical instruments, glass and laquerware, and paintings. In addition to the beautiful traditional homes, the museum also houses pottery from Ban Chiang. Ban Chiang is a UNESCO World Heritage site in northeastern Thailand, where pottery shards were discovered by an American archaeology student who accidently tripped on a root while returning from a dig in the mid 1960’s, and came face to face with ceramic pieces that ended up dating back to 2000 BC, one of the most ancient Bronze Age cultures in the world.
9. Jim Thompson House
A former New York architect who came to Thailand as a soldier in WWII, Jim Thompson is known for re-establishing the Thai silk industry. His beautiful traditional home, renovated from several up-country buildings, house a fine and priceless collection of Asian art, silk, and pay homage to the man who received the royal Order of the White Elephant and who mysteriously disappeared in the jungles of Malaysia. His house, which has changed little since he vanished in 1967, is a series of six traditional teak wood homes, with curved roofs and naga mythical serpent motifs, set amidst pleasant gardens. The Thompson House also features an art center that has ongoing exhibitions, multimedia presentations, and guest lectures.
10. Condom Museum
Another one of Bangkok’s quirkier attractions, and given its reputation for the naughty nightlife, perhaps a well needed one. Far from just a barrel of laughs, the recently opened Condom Museum is an effort by the Ministry of Health to get Thais to overcome their negative images of condom usage. The museum is tucked into the back of the sprawling Ministry of Health complex, and has several small rooms that show the history of condom awareness and manufacturing in Thailand (Thailand is actually one of the world’s largest producers of condoms). There are sizes, colors, and flavors of every spectrum on display. Even more interesting are the strength and endurance testing rooms, where staff will show you just how far a piece of rubber can stretch!
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