Thailand is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. Its beaches, aquamarine waters, palm fringes, delicious cuisine, and hospitality are enough to captivate anyone’s heart. However, beyond the image of the sand, sun, and sea, Thailand holds a deep history, rich heritage, and cultures of different times and periods. To take a closer look at its ancient heritage and profound history, head to its museums, where the relics of the past and Thai experience are carefully preserved.

10 Must-Visit Museums in Thailand

1. Bangkok National Museum

Bangkok National Museum

If you’re a history buff and want to take an immersive experience into Thailand’s history, art, and culture, head straight to the Bangkok National Museum. It is a massive building with three main exhibition spaces:

  • Siwamokhaphiman Hall, which houses the Thai History Gallery,

  • Buddhaisawan Chapel, which displays scenes from the life of Buddha, and lastly

  • The Red House, which is designed in early-Bangkok period style and carries valuable objects belonging to Queen Sri Suriyendra

The Bangkok National Museum has art galleries that exhibit carvings such as “Where did the Thais come from?”, gold treasures, precious stones, textiles, ceramics, ancient tools, weapons, and old transportation carriers. Other worth-watching artefacts include the Buddha footprint from the Sukhothai era, amongst many others. You can either explore the museum on your own or get a guided tour.

Address: Soi Na Phra That, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok

Timings: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM (Wednesday – Sunday)

Entry Fee: THB 200/-

2. Museum of Siam

Museum of Siam

Established in 2007, the Museum of Siam presents itself as a “new age museum” for the current generation. It houses interactive exhibits and displays items that are sure to delight and educate people of all ages. Hence, you can take your kids along to this museum to explore and learn about Thai culture. As you browse through the museum, there are different room categories on the basis of a particular theme, which are ‘Typically Thai’, ‘Bangkok’, ‘New Ayutthaya’, ‘Village Life’, ‘Politics and Communications’, ‘Thailand and the World’, ‘War Room’, and more.

Along with cool displays, you can also experience the immersive map room and theatre with a long panoramic screen to watch Thai history. The closest metro station to the Museum of Siam is the Sanam Chai MRT station. Don’t forget to explore the museum’s souvenir shop and grab a bite at their cafe.

Address: 6 Kasem San 2 Alley, Wang Mai, Pathum Wan, Bangkok

Timings: Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Entry Fee: THB 100/-

3. Jim Thompson House Museum

Jim Thompson House Museum

Jim Thompson House is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Bangkok. It is a heritage museum built by an American businessman and architect, Jim Thompson. He was a connoisseur of Southeast Asian art and wanted to display it to westerners who were unfamiliar with it. In 1958, he started building Jim Thompson House, constructed of wood and various old Thai structures.

Inside the museum, you can see an impressive curated collection of wall paintings depicting the life of Buddha, repurposed mahjong tables, immaculate porcelain items, and fine Thai silk products. From the museum gift shop, you can buy Thai silk stoles, neckties, gowns, and scarves for your loved ones. A total of an hour and a half should be enough to explore the museum items, garden, Thai architecture, and silk making.

Timings: Every day from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Entry Fee: Adult: THB 200

Below 22 years: THB 100

Children under 10 years of age accompanied by an adult: Free entry

4. Chiang Mai National Museum

Chiang Mai National Museum

This museum acts as an exhibit and research centre for the preservation and dispersal of Northern Thai cultures, which were a part of the Lanna Kingdom. People who love history and wish to know more about diverse Thai history should definitely visit this museum. The museum premises encompass three floors, each of which displays an essential aspect of Northern Thai culture. There are a total of six exhibitions on display, which are:

Exhibition 1 – Displays about the natural, geographical and cultural background of Lanna Kingdom, migration and settlement

Exhibition 2 – Displays items speaking of the history of Lanna Kingdom.

Exhibition 3 – This one talks about the historical bonds of the Kingdom of Chiang Mai and Siam.

Exhibition 4 – Displays of the region’s commercial, mercantile and economic history of the region.

Exhibition 5 – The gift one revolves around the life and social development of ethnic communities.

Exhibition 6 – The final exhibition displays Lanna and Siamese fine arts, artefacts and sculptures of Buddha disciples

Address: 451, Tambon Chang Phueak, Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai, Chang Wat Chiang Mai

Timings: Wednesday to Sunday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Entry Fee: THB 30/-

5. Death Railway Museum, Kanchanaburi

Death Railway Museum, Kanchanaburi

Also known as the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre, this museum showcases and records the tragic history of the past. It represents the history of the 145-kilometre Thailand-Burma railway, which was constructed by POWs during the Imperial Japanese Army. This construction resulted in the deaths of thousands of bonded labourers and POWs who were involved in building the railway track, hence the name ‘Death Railway’. Inside the museum, you’ll find snapshots and narration of railway construction, the abysmal condition in which the prisoners lived, and the number of casualties. This museum is a stark reminder of how the locals and other captives were treated during World War II and the aftermath of it.

Address: 73 Chao Khun Nen Rd, Ban Nuea, Mueang Kanchanaburi

Opening Hours: Daily 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

Admission: 80 baht for adults, 40 baht for children under 14.

6. Bangkok Art and Culture Centre

Bangkok Art and Culture Centre

Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, or BACC, was established in 2008 in the heart of the city. This centre was established to bridge the gap between artists and patrons and to encourage people to engage in cultural continuity through arts and exhibits. You can witness vibrant events taking place in this centre from time to time. The main events revolve around music, theatre, film, design, and cultural and educational themes. It is a spectacular building consisting of nine levels with futuristic interiors.

The museum features massive galleries with art displays, which gives every visitor enough space to carefully observe Thai contemporary arts. In addition, the museum is well curated with sculptures, paintings, and artefacts. You can witness photography events and award functions in the centre. And when hunger pangs strike, there are small and cosy cafes from which you can grab coffee and snacks.

Address: 939 Rama I Road, Wang Mai, Pathum Wan, Bangkok

Timings: 10 AM to 8 PM

Entrance Fee: Free

7. Phuket 3D Museum

Phuket 3D Museum

Let yourself loose in the 3D museum and be ready to be entertained, delighted, and quirked up by the displays of this eccentric museum. You can touch and click photos with these 3D paintings, which gives the illusion that you’re one with them. Whether it’s trying to save yourself from a fiery dragon, crossing a broken bridge, or escaping a zombie apocalypse, there is some fun and excitement for everyone. This museum is an exciting place, not just for kids but for adults as well.

Categorised into four sections, namely: Zone Aquarium, Zone Masterpiece, Zone Best Trickeye, Zone Slope, and Zone Jungle. Each is associated with a certain theme to evoke a sense of awe and an adrenaline rush. Apart from photos, eatables and refreshing drinks are also available in the museum.

Address: 130 1 Phangnga Road, Tambon Talat Yai, Mueang Phuket

Timings: 10 AM to 6 PM

Entry Fee: THB 500 THB 295 & THB 300 THB 194

8. Hellfire Pass Museum, Kanchanaburi

Hellfire Pass Museum, Kanchanaburi

Hellfire Pass Museum memorialised one of the most dreadful and excruciating episodes in Thai history. As the name suggests, this museum records the hellish treatment that was received by the POWs and bonded labourers from Asia. They had to carve a railway line from Thailand to Burma using shovels and drills. The labourers worked for long hours without proper food and nourishment in extremely harsh conditions. Many of them passed away while building the railway pass.

Today, this pass is not used; rather, it serves as a grim reminder of the atrocities that were faced by the POWs. The museum exhibits photographs and audio notes that remind the world about the history of the solace so that it never gets repeated.

Address: 207 Tha Sao, Sai Yok District, Kanchanaburi

Timings: 9 AM to 4PM

Entry Fee: Free admission

9. Erawan Museum, Bangkok

Erawan Museum, Bangkok

This spectacular museum in Bangkok houses a giant three-headed elephant named Airavat (Erawan), which belongs to the deity Indra. This giant elephant is made of bronze, weighs 250 tonnes, is 29 metres high, 39 metres long, and stands at a height of 15 metres (49 ft). The building itself has three floors of items and exhibits displaying different artefacts.

The first level has a collection of Chinese vases from the Ming and Qing dynasties, along with photographs and carved boards. The second level stores valuable antiques and arts, including ceramics and European pottery. And the third level houses relics and statues of the Buddha from several eras, such as Lopburi, Ayutthaya, Lanna, and Rattanakosin. The museum also has food and drink facilities, along with audio guides available in languages like English, Thai, Chinese, and Korean.

Address: 99/9 Mu 1, Sukhumvit Sai Kao Road Mueang Samut Prakan, Samut Prakan

Timings: Everyday from 9 am to 6 pm

Entry Fee: THB 400

10. Suan Pakkad Palace, Bangkok

Suan Pakkad Palace, Bangkok

Located on Sri Ayutthaya Road, Suan Pakkad Palace is a museum that houses Thai antiques such as Ban Chiang pottery, which is over 4,000 years old. The museum also features a group of four traditional Thai houses with covered hallways between them. There is also exquisite artwork on display in the Marsi Gallery. In addition, the museum’s collection of five traditional pavilions displays some of the best traditional domestic architecture in the city.

Address: 352 Thanon Si Ayutthaya, Thanon Phaya Thai, Ratchathewi, Bangkok

Timings: Everyday 9 AM to 4 PM

Entry Fee: 100 Baht for non-Thai people and 50 Baht for Thais.

Museums in Thailand are not just a storehouse for keeping historical items and antiques. They are a fundamental means to preserve a country’s elaborate heritage. When planning your next trip to Thailand, make sure to visit a museum or two to have an immersive experience of Thai culture and its history.