5 small but fantastic Bangkok museums

5 small but fantastic Bangkok museums

These Bangkok museums might be low on floor space, but they pack a big cultural punch. Who's up for modern art and tapeworms?
Museum of Siam
Museum of Siam's "Typically Thai" room highlights all things associated with the average Thai lifestyle.

The city's big tourist sights -- the Grand Palace or Wat Pho -- get all the hype.

But if you’re looking for another perspective on Thai history, an interactive place to take the kids or just a spot to go on a rainy afternoon, check out any of these five small Bangkok museums.

1. Museum of Siam

A modern, interactive museum in the heart of the Old City, The Museum of Siam helps grown-up visitors grapple with the very definition of Thai-ness, while youngersters spend time sorting through the dirt in the mock archeology site or shooting old-fashioned weapons.

Open daily except Mondays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Sanam Chai Road. Tel. +66 (0)2 622 2599

2. Silpa Bhirasri Museum

For insight into the Thai modern art movement, visit the office and studio of Florentine Corrado Feroci at theSilpa Bhirasri Museum, just a few minutes away from the National Museum.

Feroci came to the country in the 1920s at the request of King Rama V and changed his name to Silpa Bhirasri when he became a Thai citizen.

He worked on numerous public projects, including Victory Monument, Democracy Monument and Rama IV’s statue in Lumpini Park, and later founded Silpakorn University, Thailand’s leading fine arts school.

Open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Fine Arts Department, Na Pra Lan Road. Tel. +66 (0)2 223 6162

3. Bang Khunphrom Palace & The Bank of Thailand Museum

This colonial-era building on the river has been transformed into an intimate museum dedicated to all things money.

Bang Khunphrom Palace & The Bank of Thailand Museum displays start with shells and beads from ancient civilizations and move to the country’s first minted coins and currencies.

Call ahead to arrange a visit.

273 Samsen Road. Tel. +66 (0)2 283 5286

4. Suan Pakkad Palace Museum

One of only a handful of remaining royal residences in the city, Suan Pakkad has been turned into a small museum of Thai culture.

Just a few minutes from the Phaya Thai BTS station, all eight wooden houses on the lush grounds hold different exhibits, from musical instruments to household items.

Highlights include the Ban Chiang pottery collection and a restored 17th-century lacquer pavilion.

Open daily, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

352-354 Sri Ayudhya Road. Tel. +66 (0)2 246 1775

5. The Bangkokian Museum

The mundane becomes fascinating at this little house off of one of Chinatown’s main streets, where middle-class life in 1950s Thailand has been carefully preserved.

Open Wednesday to Sunday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

273 Charoen Krung Soi 43. Tel. +66 (0)2 233 7027

More great Bangkok museums

Here are a few other unique Bangkok museums that have been featured on CNNGo.

Bangkok's Museum of Counterfeit Goods

An exhibit at a city law firm shows just how far crooks will go to manufacture fake products, and highlights the dangers the industry creates.

Thailand's Condom Museum

All the colors of the sexual rainbow are on display inside the Ministry of Health's recently opened condom museum, deep in the bowels of Nonthaburi.

The Corrections Museum

An intriguing palace of pain and misery offering an exciting journey through "Thai torture techniques and capital punishment through the ages."

Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall

A high-tech interactive museum, Nitas Rattanakosin recaps two centuries of Bangkok history in one day.

Siriraj Medical Museum

A dark cluster of a half-dozen museums specializing in anatomy, tapeworms, natural history and autopsy photos.