WARNING: This museum, as well as some of the pictures in this article, can be distressing. If you don’t have a strong stomach, I suggest you look somewhere else! Here’s an article about Bangkok’s Airplane Graveyard, where I’m pretty sure you won’t find body parts.
Nicknamed The Museum of Death, the Siriraj Medical Museum is located at Bangkok’s oldest hospital and medical school (est.1886). It is comprised of six different museums, located within the Hospital. Some of them focus on history, while others on pathology, parasitology, forensic…
It is open to the public and is very valuable to medical students and professionals. It’s a really interesting (and more than unusual)museum but be warned, you won’t be able to forget what you see…
The Siriraj hospital was established by King Rama V in 1886. Modern medicine was taught there when traditional Thai medicine was dominant.
The museum is a collection of bones, various parts and whole bodies (preserved or mummified) of all ages and kinds, murder weapons and their victims, parasites, deadly animals and insects, and the list goes on. One corpse is even the infamous Si Ouey, a serial killer who murdered and ate many children in the 1950s before being executed. Still today, he is known as a local bogeyman: ‘Behave yourself or Si Ouey will come for you!’
Ellis Pathological Museum
As its name indicates, it was named after A.G. Ellis, who was famous for laying the foundation of pathology in the Kingdom. He began the practice of collecting disease-identified specimens. Mostly babies are exhibited.
Congdon Anatomical Museum
This exhibit is focusing on human organs. There are more than 2000 organs on display, dissected and broken down for a better understanding of its system. The dissection of the nervous and arterial systems is particularly impressive.
Songkran Niyomsan Forensic Medicine Museum
This part was by far the most intense (and probably the most disturbing thing we ever saw in our life). Photographies, bodies, and bones of people of all ages who died in unnatural and often brutal situations are lined up with their murder weapons. Next to it is a section reserved to the tsunami who shook the country in 2004. There, they explain how they managed to identify the corpses. You’ll also find the infamous Si Ouey as described above, as well as a collection of autopsy instruments used in particular cases.
This is so real that it took us a while to get it out of our heads, so be aware!
As its name indicates, this section focuses on diseases caused by parasites and is filled with organs infected as well as the parasites themselves. The museum focuses on their cycle of life, effects on bodies and preventive measures.
Touch Museum in Honor of Queen Mother Sirikit
Located right next door to the Parasitology Museum, this exhibit was created for the visually-impaired and allows people to interact with the items.
Siriraj Bimuksthan Museum
This one is about the evolution of life in Thailand and particularly Bangkok, the medicines used and taught, the history of the hospital… There is a huge archaeological collection of artifacts dating back centuries, and this included the biggest wooden boat ever excavated in Thailand!
At the opposite of the other museums, this one has not a single gruesome item and is perfectly suitable for anyone who would like to know more about the history of Thailand.
Be advised that most of the explanations are in Thai. There is enough English there and then to keep it interesting but do not expect to be able to read most of it.
How to get there
As it is located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, the easiest way to get there is to take the Express Boat (the one with the Orange flag) to the Siriraj Pier (n10) or Prannock Pier. You can very easily get the boat from any pier and the ticket costs 15 baht per person.
If you are taking the BTS Skytrain, you can take it to the Saphan Taksin and then get the boat from there.
There are dozens of stalls and small restaurants at the pier, ideal if you are looking for a bite to eat before heading to the museum! (you won’t be hungry after)
To help you find the museums, check out the maps below.
Opening times and price
Siriraj Bimuksthan Museum:
Closed on Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday
Opening times are 9.00hrs to 12.00hrs and 13.00hrs to 17.00hrs, last admission at 16.00hrs.
All other museums:
Closed on Tuesday and Sunday
Opening times are 10.00hrs to 17.00hrs, last admission at 16.00hrs.
For a foreigner, the entrance ticket is 200 baht for either the Siriraj Medical Museums or the Bimuksthan (history) Museum, but you can get combo tickets that include all museums for 300 baht (worth it).