The Grand Palace, Jim Thompson House, Dusit Palace – Bangkok’s most beloved attractions and museums are undeniably a day well spent, but there’s a whole lot more culture in the city if you fancy exploring Bangkok’s more unusual side.
Although less well known, and consequently less well attended by tourists, Bangkok is home to numerous museums catering to specific niches – some a little kooky, some definitely quite weird, all fascinating.
While these museums won’t appeal to everyone, for those with specific interests, they’re world class. Even those who visit with just a mild interest in the topics on display will go home having learned and explored something new.
Here are 11 of the most weird and wonderful museums in Bangkok, perfect for opening your eyes to interests and subjects you may not otherwise have explored…
Batcat focuses on – you guessed it – Batman, in all of his incarnations since 1960, and a host of other comic book superhero characters from the Marvel and DC universes. Pixar characters, Star Wars, Harry Potter and Masked Rider figures also make an appearance, and you’ll be unsurprised that the guys behind Batcat hit Thailand Comic Con hard every year.
Although purportedly Bangkok’s largest toy museum, Batcat is not terribly large and composed of just two large rooms and the Bat Barang Cafe for refreshments. Having said that, for comic book aficionados, it’s a must-see Bangkok museum just outside of the city in Bang Kapi.
Where: Near 3701 Thanon Sri Nagarindra, Hua Mak, Bang Kapi
How much: ฿250 (adults)
2. Siriraj Medical Museum
Forensic medicine museum
Otherwise known as the Museum of Death, Siriraj is one of the bastions of weird Bangkok and is treasured by morbid tourists, interested locals and those from within the medical profession.
The museum is actually comprised of five smaller museums which focus on anatomy, prehistory, pathology, parasitology and forensics respectively. Some of the exhibits are particularly gruesome, ranging from a mummified serial killer to preserved, dead foetuses and the body parts of murder victims.
Where: 2 Prannok Road, Bangkok Noi
How much: ฿40 (adults)
Fake goods museum
A quick trip to MBK or Khao San Road can quickly educate you that Thailand has a bit of a problem with forgery and cheap imitations – whether it’s DVDs, handbags or, er, identity documents. The Museum of Counterfeit Goods goes behind the black market trade for fakes in Thailand and reveals exactly who suffers when you pick up that cheap ‘Mulberry’ purse for a discount at the market.
The museum also teaches you how to discern whether a product is genuine or counterfeit so you can avoid being scammed, and the wider problem of intellectual property infringement as fakes flood Asia from China.
Where: 26th Floor Supalai Grand Tower, 1011 Rama III, Chong Nonsi
Open by appointment only
Admittedly a little niche even for us, the Philatelic Museum offers an indepth look at the history of the Thai stamp and the country’s postal system, going as far back as the mid-19th century to the reign of Rama IV. Although narrow in its view, the museum allows a fascinating glance into Thai society and progressiveness in communications, and will of course also appeal to avid stamp enthusiasts.
The museum is quite small but the collection itself impressively large, with a number of rare and exclusive stamps on display too. They also display a swathe of international stamps although the jewels in the crown are the Thai products and the post office memorabilia.
Where: Samsen Post Office, Thanon Phahonyothin
How much: Free!