Bangkok's Top Museum and Attractions

Looking for places to go sightseeing in Bangkok? Though there are plenty of temples to see, and lots of shopping and eating, too, the city has plenty of museums and other cultural attractions to visit. Whether you're looking for a traditional museum or more quirky display of culture and history, you'll find it in the capital. The Grand Palace and the National Museum are must sees for anyone interested in Thai history and culture; the others are optional but worth your time if you have it.

01 of 07

The Grand Palace

photo copyright Suzanne Nam
Address
Na Phra Lan Rd, Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand
Phone
+66 2 623 5500

The gilded, sparkling Grand Palace was built in 1872 by King Rama I after he moved the Thai capital from Ayutthaya to Bangkok. Through renovations and expansions, as Bangkok changed around it, it remained the home of the Kings of Thailand until King Rama V moved to Chitralada Palace in Dusit. The collection of buildings, many built using both European and Thai design elements, now serve as a museum and cultural sight. On the grounds of the palace is Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, one of Thailand's most significant religious sights. The complex sits on the banks of the Chao Phraya River and is stunning to look at at night from the water. When you visit, watch out for this scam!

Hours: Daily 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Cost: 250 baht

02 of 07

The National Museum

copyright Masgatotkaca
Address
Na Phra That Alley, Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand
Phone
+66 2 224 1333

This museum in the old city has one of the best collections of art in all of Southeast Asia. Most of the collection, housed in a former palace, is Buddhist and Hindu devotional art, although there are also some pieces that relate to the Thai royal family. Plan on spending at least a few hours there, or even half a day. Some find the museum a little confusing, but there are free guided tours on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings.

Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Cost: 200 baht

03 of 07

Jim Thompson House

copyright Ahoerstemeier
Address
6 Rama I Rd, Khwaeng Wang Mai, Khet Pathum Wan, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10330, Thailand
Phone
+66 2 216 7368

This lovely little museum just around the corner from Siam Square was once home to spy-turned-textile manufacturer Jim Thompson. The museum is worth a visit if only to tour the wooden homes on the premises, all originally built in other parts of the country and brought to Bangkok by Thompson. There's also lots of information about Thompson's life and the Thai silk industry. Though the museum is in the middle of one of the busiest parts of the city, because it faces the old canal and is set back from the main road, visiting it feels like going back in time.

Hours: Daily 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Cost: 100 baht

04 of 07

Vimanmek Teak Mansion

Address
5/1 Ratchawithi Rd, Khwaeng Dusit, Khet Dusit, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10300, Thailand

This former palace, made almost entirely of golden teak, was once a residence of King Rama V. It had originally been built on the small island of Si Chang, near Pattaya, but was moved piece by piece by the king in 1901. He lived in the complex for six years, then it was used as a residence by other members of the royal family, but after that was used as a storage facility. In the 1980s it was restored and turned into a museum, and is currently one of the only places in Thailand where visitors can see how modern day royalty lived.

Hours: Daily 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Cost: 50 baht. If you've visited the Grand Palace, hold onto your ticket as you can use it to get admission to Vimanmek Teak Mansion, too.

Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07

Museum of Royal Barges

Address
80/1 ริมคลองบางกอกน้อย แขวงอรุณอมรินทร์ เขตบางกอกน้อย Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10700, Thailand
Phone
+66 2 424 0004

Thailand’s historic capitals have nearly all been on river banks (including Ayutthaya), and as far back as the 13th century Thai royalty have navigated the waters using fleets of wooden barges. Though these days the King of Thailand has faster ways to get around, there is a collection of intricately decorated wooden barges permanently on display and taken out on special occasions. The Royal Barges museum is just across the river from the National Museum and near Wat Arun.

Hours: Daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Cost: 30 baht

06 of 07

Suan Pakkad Palace

Address
352 354 Thanon Si Ayutthaya, Khwaeng Thanon Phaya Thai, Khet Ratchathewi, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10400, Thailand
Phone
+66 2 245 4934

Though most royal historic cultural sights are located in the old city, this former palace is right in the center of modern Bangkok, just a few blocks from Victory Monument. The palace, yet another collection of wooden houses, is the former residence of two members of the royal family. The structures and the grounds now serve as a museum with exhibits displaying Thai art, instruments, furniture and other items. Suan Pakkad Palace is a rarity not only because it’s in the city center, but because it’s one of the few former palaces open to the public.

Hours: Daily 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Cost: 100 baht

07 of 07

The Silpa Bhirasri Museum

Address
กรมศิลปากร, ถนนหน้าพระธาตุ, เขตพระนคร กรุงเทพมหานคร, 10200 Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand
Phone
+66 2 223 6162

Did you know that one of Thailand’s leading artists wasn’t even Thai? He was Italian, and before he changed his name and became a Thai citizen, he was called Corrado Feroci. Feroci, later known as Silpa Bhirasri, is responsible for many of the city’s most famous monuments – Victory Monument and the statue of Rama IV in Lumphini Park to name two, but he was also a prolific painter and sculpture and the founder of Silpakorn University, Thailand’s premier art school. Visit his old studio on the school’s campus to see his work along with the work of other leading Thai artists.

Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Cost: free

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Bangkok's Top Museum and Attractions