Thai history in the Museum of Siam
While in charge of the canon, I am attacked by a large group of warriors, who approach me from the front. I aim the cannon, load, and I blast away. Three soldiers on the right flank of the group fly through the air. Then the ground starts to rumble. A large war elephant comes charging in from the left flank of the group. I quickly reload and aim my canon at the approaching giant.
There is a big bang and a lot of dust. The elephant and its accompanying warriors disappear in the fire of the explosion. Then I am suddenly surprised by a very angry looking warrior who jumps out of the dust. He is right in front of me and it is to late to react. He swings his battle sword and the last words I see are: GAME OVER.
Museum of Siam
This Museum of Siam provides an inside into the rich and turbulent history of the Thai people and their country. You learn about their culture and heritage via a very interactive exhibition. Videos, sound recordings, photos and a war game will certainly entertain young children and also their accompanying parents.
The Museum of Siam is located at Sanam Chai Rd in the old part of Bangkok. Other nearby sights are Wat Pho and the Grand Palace. You can easily recognize the museum because it is located in a neoclassical building, which has been formerly used by the Thai Ministry of Commerce.
Take the Chao Phraya river boat to Tha Tien pier. Get off the boat and walk from the pier to the main road. Then walk to the right, in the direction of Wat Pho. Keep following the main road (Th Maharat). After Wat Pho you will see a school and university.
Keep walking till you see the museum walls on your left hand. Enter Soi Setthakan and follow the walls. Halfway down the street there is a passage. Go inside and walk to the main entrance of the building. The walk from the pier takes about 5 minutes. Be careful at the surrounding streets. There is a lot of traffic.
What to see
The main exhibition consists of 17 rooms. Each of these rooms have a theme, which is related to Thai history and culture. The rooms have topics like the founding of Ayutthaya, Buddhism, village life and Thailand today. There is also a war room where you can play an interactive war game. This game will take you right into a battle, where you are in charge a 19th century canon.
You can visit this sight from Tuesday till Sunday. The opening times are 10:00 AM till 18:00 PM, and the admission is 300 baht (about 9 dollars) for foreigners and 100 bath for Thai people. At the time of my visit there where also temporary exhibitions, which were on display around the main building. There was a butterfly garden and an exhibition about silk.
Come late to avoid large masses of children and the high entrance price. You can enter for free after 16:00 PM. I came at 16:15 PM and had the building practically for myself. Which is nice because it is a very interactive exhibition. You don’t want to have to fall in line to push buttons, shoot cannons, watch videos and listen to sound recordings.
- Museumsiam.com: The official Museum of Siam website. Check it before you go to this sight, so that you are up to date about the current opening times, prices and expositions.
- ndmi.or.th: The website of the National Museum Institute, which might be more interesting for researchers. Visit this site to network with the institute or check news updates and current events.