certainly one of Bangkok's more unique, relevant, and interesting museums, the Museum of Counterfeit Goods is well worth spending an afternoon in. Bangkok is well known as one of the world's capitals of counterfeit goods, as any waltz down the street through a night market will show. While the average person might not think twice about buying a fake Louis Vuitton bag, a watch, or some perfume, this well laid out display that is part of the Tilleke and Gibbins law firm, seeks to educate people about intellectual property infringement and just how pervasive and intrinsically destructive it can end up being for all parties involved. There are thousands of goods seized in raids, case study examples to learn about, and the law firm provides well prepared free lectures and guided tours.
This is Thailand's most venerated and glittering sight, the Grand Palace, which, although not an actual museum, is a living historical experience as well as being home to the country's most visited temple, Wat Phra Kaew, more commonly known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Built by King Rama I, it is the most revered spot in Thailand, and packed with merit making locals on weekends. Make sure not to miss the Emerald Buddha. It may only be 31 inches tall, but it is the most worshipped statue in the country. Kids will be amazed by the colors and glittering gold on display everywhere here. Proper attire is required, appropriate attire is required, no singlets, shorts, skirts, sandals, or revealing clothing of any nature is allowed,although if you forget there are sarongs available for use.
While it might seem slightly stuffy to the kids, the national museum does have enough colorful costumes, masks, and other items to keep the whole family entertained for several hours. Thailand's national museum is the main home of Thai art, history, and culture. Set in the former Wang Na Palace just near the famed Grand Palace, the museum has a great ethnological collection, with items such as classical dance costumes and khon masks, shadow puppets, and traditional musical instruments. There are also sculptures and busts from the Ayutthaya and Sukhothai periods as well as other prominent eras in Thai history. The museum is housed in 6 different buildings, one of which includes the Buddhaisawan Chapel and its stylish murals and revered Buddha image, and most Thais can be found paying respects in the Sivamokhapiman Hall history gallery, which houses the famed Inscription #1 from King Ramkamhaeng.
Siam Ocean World demands a hefty entrance price, but the kids most certainly will love it. Built underneath the flashy Siam Paragon Mall, this set of giant aquariums is home to over 30,000 fish and marine creatures from around the world, including sharks, piranhas, manta rays, dolphins, and much much more. The 7 zones here showcase everything from loveable water rats and otters to ugly lion and stone fish and plenty of deadly predators too. There are shark feeding, penguin feeding, and eagle ray feeding performances, a 270 degree underwater tunnel, and the amazing Open Ocean, Asia's largest panoramic aquarium, home to a variety of sharks all swimming as if in your lap.
This small museum has actually been around for half a century. Started by a Thai woman who trained at the prestigious Ozawa Doll School in Japan and who had become Thailand's most proficient doll maker, the museum has a collection of almost 500 hand made dolls. There is a heavy showcase of traditional Thai khon puppet characters from the Ramakien dance drama, along with dolls wearing costumes of the various northern hill tribes and ethnic groups, as well as the costumes worn throughout all of rural Thailand. Additionally, there is a section which showcases traditional costumes from around the world. It's a rather offbeat and somewhat hidden below the radar attraction, and the family will love it. Additionally, the dolls are all for sale, so you can get some great souvenirs here.
This ode to Batman and other superheroes is certainly one of a kind. The owner, Somchai Nitimongkolchai, set out to amass the largest collection of figurines in all Thailand, led by the caped crusader, and he now has over 50,000, with action figures dotting every room, along with a Spiderman collection, a Star Wars corner, and plenty of statues from Marvel and DC comic book fame. There are also just about every toy figure brand in recent memory, with the likes of Doraemon, GI Joe, and Pixar just a sample of this staggering collection. Needless to say, the museum is a big draw for kids, and mom and dad can probably relive a few comic book moments from their past as well.
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.
Yes, Bangkok now has a branch of the world famous Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, and this one has its own special Thai touches. The museum is a very child and family friendly affair, with lifelike figures that you are allowed to touch, poke, hug, and photograph with (except for those in the Royal Thai room, which feature the King and other members of the Thai Royal Family). Top draws here include the Leader Zone, with Barak and Michelle Obama hanging out with the Dalai Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi; the popular Film Zone, where Will Smith, Nicholas Cage, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and Julia Roberts all have their images; or the Sports Zone, which combines Thai muay thai boxing legends along with basketball hero Yao Ming, soccer great David Beckham, and plenty more to keep you busy.
The Museum of Siam, also known as the Discovery Museum, is a well designed and lain out multimedia exhibition, focusing on the questions of "who are Thais" and "what is Thai culture?" The museum traces Thai history from past to present, going through a series of different rooms looking at different aspects of Thai history, from Suvarnabhumi (the Golden Land) to Buddhism, to the founding of Ayutthaya, to Thailand today and its relation to the world. In each room, visitors have a variety of digital exhibits they can interact with, and video exhibitions posing questions of what "Thai-ness" might be as well as explaining the history and ethnography of the region. Everything is translated or subtitled into English, so foreign visitors can get just as much out of the exhibits as Thais, and the friendly staff greets everyone on entry with a plan of the museum and the instructions to "please touch everything."
Both entertaining and informative, the Snake Farm is far from being the cheesy attraction one might take it for,and makes for a great family friendly outing. The Queen Saovabha Institute which runs the place has a complex housing an exhibition area for 35 species of living snakes, a 100-seat arena for venom extraction, a museum and exhibition about snake evolution, anatomy, toxicology and snake bites first-aid, along with a highly developed research center and an outdoor serpentarium for snake exhibits and handling shows. The indoor museum is full of interactive demonstrations and the live handling show is excellent, with many of the most poisonous and largest snakes brought out for photo opportunities and a bit of playful bravado between them and their keepers.