Bangkok has a lot to offer all types of visitors and today, we share the best museums in Bangkok, perfect for those wanting to learn whilst escaping the heat!
Things to know before you go to Bangkok
Best museums in Bangkok
Samut Prakan Ancient City (Ancient Siam)
We begin our best museums in Bangkok list with a very popular option with tourists and locals alike. Samut Prakan is a city located south of Bangkok and one of the oldest settlements in Thailand, which existed during the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Today, Samut Prakan has a museum featuring a massive collection of replicas showcasing life during the Siam era. This is one of the largest open-air museums; it’s so big that you might need to get on a tram or golf cart to get around and maximize your visit. There is an indoor section to explore, and the outdoor space is equally interesting, where you’ll find pagodas, traditional houses, and even a floating market.
Since the Samut Prakan Ancient City Museum is 38 km (26.5 mi) south of Bangkok downtown, it’s best to come here by booking a tour, hiring a private transfer or taxi, or renting a motorbike and driving there yourself. Since it’s an open-air area, it’s better to come early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat. On the other hand, there are fewer crowds if you visit during lunchtime.
- Address: 296/1 Sukhumvit Road, Bang Pu Mai, Mueang Samut Prakan District, Samut Prakan
- Opening hours: 9 AM to 6 PM, daily
- Entry fee: 700 THB, which comes with a bicycle to use during your visit
Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
If you want to learn about Thai art and culture at the same time, visit Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. This spacious building exhibits contemporary Thai art and cultural items such as paintings, statues, and modern art. The place also serves as a performance venue for local artists, and you’ll find a cafe, bookshop, and a library on-site.
Bangkok Art and Culture Centre is located right in the city’s heart. It’s only a few minute’s walks from Golden Mount Temple (Wat Saket). The entrance fee is free, but if there’s an event going on, you might have to pay an admission fee. This entire building has a fantastic AC, so it’s also the perfect place to take a break and escape the heat while you admire some art.
- Address: 939 Rama I Rd, Wang Mai, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330
- Opening hours: 10 AM to 8 PM, from Tuesdays to Sundays, closed on Mondays
- Entry fee: Free
Jim Thompson House Museum
Jim Thompson was an American architect from the early 1900s. He was involved in collecting arts and architecture during his life in Thailand. Eventually, he became a massive part of the silk industry in Thailand and helped strengthen and revive the silk economy. Many would claim that he saved Thailand’s silk industry from going extinct by hiring silk weavers and supplying them with the materials.
Thompson built a mansion that took a year to finish. His estate is now called House on the Klong because it’s located along the river. It is filled with his art collections, such as paintings, antiques, and the best quality silk products.
Thompson disappeared in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands in 1967. He was a prominent figure in Southeast Asia—his disappearance led to the most extensive search during that time. You can learn more about Jim Thompson by visiting House on the Klong, located around 5 km (3 miles) from downtown Bangkok or a 6-minute walk from Bangkok Art & Culture Centre. His home has since become one of the most interesting spots and best museums in Bangkok, so plan to spend at least 2 hours here.
- Address: 6 Kasem San 2 Alley, Wang Mai, Pathum Wan, Bangkok
- Opening hours: 10 AM to 6 PM, every day
- Entry fee: 200 THB and 100 THB if you present an ID and you’re 22 years old and below, free for 10 years below but must visit with an adult
Museum Siam is one of the best museums in Bangkok if you want to learn more about Thailand’s (Siam) history. Instead of going all the way to Samut Prakan, you can go here, which is less than a 15-minute walk from The Grand Palace. The museum features an interactive exhibition, making learning about Thailand more fun. If you’re traveling with young children, they might find the displays more interesting than a traditional museum.
There is also an audio guide you can use available in various languages to make your visit more educational. In that case, you must provide your passport or an ID as a deposit. You will get it back once you return the audio device. At the same time, you can use the locker room if you don’t want to walk around with your heavy backpack.
- Address: 4 Sanam Chai Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
- Opening hours: 10 AM to 6 PM, from Tuesdays to Sundays, closed on Mondays
- Entry fee: 100 THB, including an audio guide tour
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
MOCA is a non-government museum showcasing Thai art from local artists and international contemporary art. In December 2022, Banksy’s art was displayed, drawing lots of attention from local and foreign audiences; we loved the Banksy exhibit and this quickly became our favourite museum in Bangkok. Before you go, make sure to check MOCA’s website to see if any specific exhibitions are going on. The more permanent displays are related to Buddhism in Thailand and Thai culture, folklore, and art. This is a less-touristy thing to do in Bangkok but worth visiting while in the city.
On the ground floor, there’s a cafe where you can use your museum ticket for a discount and a gift shop that you can check out. To get here from Bangkok downtown, there’s a BTS line from Mo Chit Station, or take the red line train and get off at Bang Khen or Thung Song Hong station.
- Website: https://mocabangkok.com/
- Address: 499 Kamphaeng Phet 6 Rd, Lat Yao, Chatuchak, Bangkok
- Opening hours: 10 AM to 6 PM, Tuesdays to Sundays, closed on Mondays
- Entry fee: 250 THB, show your student ID for a discount (international student IDs are accepted), children under 13 and seniors over 60 are free of charge
Madame Tussauds Bangkok
The famous French museum has reached Southeast Asia, and Bangkok is its first home in this region. This museum displays celebrities’ wax statues and local and international political figures such as Soekarno, Obama, and PM Narendra Mod. There are also 4D movies available. The ticket is pricey, but it’s a combo for the Sea Life Museum, giving you access to two places for one ticket.
It’s really fun to take photos with the wax statues, so plan to spend at least an hour, and around lunchtime is the least busy time. To get here, you can take the Sukhumvit Line (green line) from Mo Chit station, which is around 30 minutes journey. The museum is located in Siam Discovery, one of the best shopping malls in Bangkok and not too far from Siam Paragon.
- Address: Siam Discovery, 989 Rama I Rd, Pathum Wan, Bangkok
- Opening hours: 10 AM to 7 PM, daily
- Entry fee: 1,000 THB
National Museum Bangkok
Another one of the best museums in Bangkok is the National Museum. When it comes to Siamese treasures and valuable relics, the National Museum Bangkok is the place to be. In 1874, King Chulalongkorn built this museum to showcase his father, King Mongkut’s royal collections. Today, the museum also features Neolithic and traditional Thai art pieces. The massive place offers many fascinating aspects of Thai culture, history, and art. You can easily spend 2 hours here since the museum also runs AC for comfortable exploring.
If you are exploring The Grand Palace, this is a great place to add to your list since the two locations are only an 8-minute walk from one another.
- Address: Soi Na Phra That, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
- Opening hours: 9 AM to 4 PM, from Wednesdays to Sundays, closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
- Entry fee: 200 THB
If you want to visit a more intimate museum where you can learn more about life as an upper-class family in Bangkok in the early 1900s, visit Bangkokian Museum or Bangkok Folk Museum. It’s a 20th-century building designed as a traditional Thai house for a well-off family turned into a museum. You’ll find a massive collection of artifacts, family photos, and items the family used while living in this house. A garden around the museum also dampens the city’s noise, making it a great escape from bustling life.
The place is located in the Silom area, which takes an hour’s trip from Mo Chit and requires a line change at Ratchathewi Station. Plan to spend between an hour and two during your visit.
- Address: 273 Saphan Yao Alley, Si Phraya, Bang Rak, Bangkok
- Opening hours: 9 AM to 4 PM from Tuesdays to Sundays, closed on Mondays
- Entry fee: Free
The National Gallery
This museum is dedicated to showcasing Thai art and culture. The gallery is housed in a former palace, which now features a large collection of traditional and contemporary Thai artwork, such as paintings, sculptures, and installations. There are a range of special exhibitions and events throughout the year. A renovation has been done to expand the museum, and now able to feature more items, such as architecture and modern art.
The museum is a 15-minute north of The Grand Palace and only 750 m or a 10-minute walk from the National Museum.
- Address: 4 Chao Fa Rd, Chana Songkhram, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
- Opening hours: 9 AM to 4 PM from Wednesdays to Sundays, closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
- Entry fee: 200 THB for foreigners and 40 THB for Thai nationals
Thank you for reading about the best museums in Bangkok, we hope you enjoy whichever museum you decide to explore! For more Bangkok tips, make sure to read on:
- 4 days in Bangkok Itinerary
- Local things to do in Bangkok
- Free things to do in Bangkok
- 10 Days in Thailand
- 10 things to do in Bangkok
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