Bangkok, Thailand: Siriraj Medical Museum, Escape Hunt, and Madame Tussaud’s

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I do love a good compilation post, don’t you?  This one is to wrap up my time in Bangkok by covering all the other random crap I did.  First of all, the Siriraj Medical Museum, which I read about on another travel blog (sorry, I can’t remember which one it was, if it was yours let me know!) a few months ago, and mentally noted, even though I had no plans to visit Thailand at the time. So when I did end up there, it was the one thing I insisted on seeing.  Siriraj Hospital was on the opposite side of Bangkok from where we were staying (Sukhumvit 26), and was one riverboat stop past the Grand Palace, on the other riverbank.  Once you get inside the hospital complex, it’s fairly tricky to find the correct building, so take advantage of the maps they have posted around the place.  I’m not sure where to advise you to go first, as the Congdon Anatomical Museum and Prehistory Museum (which are in the same building) both shut at 12 for an hour or so (at least on the day we visited), but you have to buy tickets in the other building, with the Parasitology and Criminology Museums, so either get there early (or late, I guess), or buy a ticket and then head over to the other building.  They’re only a couple of streets apart so it’s not that hard getting from one to the other, or at least it wouldn’t be if it wasn’t a million degrees outside and if the building numbers went in order.  Admission is 300 baht for all museums (about 6 quid), or 200 for the museums in the main building only. (Warning: I’m going to get into reasonably graphic descriptions of corpses and body parts, so if that kind of stuff nauseates you, maybe skip down to the text below the ice cream pictures) The museums include the four I’ve already mentioned, plus one that was all in Thai that appeared to be about health, and a special exhibit on the tsunami.  I was imagining it would take hours to see them, but none of them are that big, so we were done in an hour and half.  They do have a strict no-photos policy, so I can’t show you the awesome things there, but I will of course describe them.  The highlights of the collection are the pickled serial killers in big glass cases; I think they have six of them.  One of them was actually a baby-killing cannibal, so you really don’t have to feel guilty about gawping at his flayed corpse.  These are definitely not for the faint-hearted, as all kinds of fat was poking through the corpses, and they had trays underneath to catch the moisture, which were filled with horrible red and yellow fluid and things that looked like worms.  Naturally, I loved it, but if you have a weak stomach, I’d avoid this part.  They also had a most splendid collection of jarred fetuses, including the usual cast of conditions; hydrocephaly, anencephaly, harlequin ichthyosis, and conjoined twins, but quite a few examples of each, more than the average medical museum.  There were also some diseased organs in this section and very graphic photos showing suicide victims.  Aside from the tsunami exhibit, almost nothing was in English, but most of the stuff was fairly self-explanatory, at least if you frequent medical museums like I do.

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The Parasitology Museum fortunately did have English descriptions of each kind of parasite, which was useful in helping me gauge the sorts of things I might be picking up on the trip (just kidding, sort of).  After finishing up in the main building, we rushed over to see the Anatomical Museum before it closed.  It was very hot in that building, as there was no air conditioning, and I ended up hanging out in front of a fan, with all the skeletons (as seen above).  This part was more about bones and individual organs, though they also had quite a few fetuses here, and a male and female corpse-couple.  We tried to go downstairs to check out the Prehistory Museum, but it was closing for lunch, and I heard they were also closed earlier in the morning, so I’m not sure what the best time to visit them is.  Maybe early afternoon?  Honestly, Prehistory was the museum I cared least about, so I wasn’t that bothered.  Although it wasn’t as large and extensive as I’d been led to believe, the Siriraj Museum nonetheless had some impressive things in its collection, namely the corpses and fetuses, so I’d still recommend it if you’re fascinated by that sort of stuff as much as I am. Seeing the museum had worked up quite an appetite (yes, I am weird), so we went to this ice cream chain called Swensen’s that had a shop right by the riverboat dock (also right by the random street dinosaurs shown above).  They turned out to have awesome American-style sundaes (makes sense since it appears to be an American chain, albeit one I’ve never heard of), which I was most pleased by, since I can’t get proper sundaes in London for some reason, and I miss them like crazy.  I had some kind of oreo and brownie concoction in a waffle bowl, which was super delicious (the other picture is of a sundae I had at a different location of Swensen’s, also amazing).

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Whilst I was in Bangkok, I also went to this thing called Escape Hunt, which was basically a sort of murder mystery thing, only without cheesy actors!  You go to their headquarters in the basement of some tower, and they lock you and your fellow sleuths (you can book a room with up to 4 of your friends) in a room, and you have to solve a mystery to escape (it’s much nicer and less sketchy than it sounds, I promise).  One of the women who work there serves as your guide, and will pop in from time to time to offer hints, if you need them.  We had to figure out who murdered a businesswoman using the clues in the room, and I have to say, it was really really fun.  I especially liked that we had a private room, so you didn’t have to embarrass yourself in front of everyone (which is why I’ve never been to a murder mystery).  The whole experience was surprisingly great (albeit pricy), including being served tea after, and then being photographed in sexy Sherlock Holmes outfits (although Benedict’s Sherlock is sexy in any outfit), and I definitely recommend it if you’ve done all the sightseeing around Bangkok, and want something different and fun (and air-conditioned) to do (I just had a look at their website, and they’re meant to be opening one in London this summer, which will be awesome if I can find some friends by then!).

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Badly cropped pic of me as a super sleuth

Finally, although it was just a Madame Tussaud’s, and therefore probably not that different from the one in London (though I don’t know since I’ve never been, due to it costing mega-money and only being for tourists), I thought I’d throw in some pictures of Bangkok’s wax museum (wow, waxworks and stuff in jars in one post.  Throw in some authentic smells and we’d have the trifecta of stuff Jessica loves!).  It was cheaper than the London one, but still hella expensive by Thailand standards, at around 16 quid.

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Ok, that last one is George Clooney. He looks pretty bad, so I thought I’d better caption it.  They did have lots of Asian stars who I’d never heard of here, which I guess is the main difference between this one and the London one (also there was no Chamber of Horrors, more’s the pity!).

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And the last one here is Madame Tussaud herself, not Marie Antoinette.  I have to say that I adored the malls in Bangkok (and the one in Phuket, which had an amazing food hall); they were really fancy, and had doughnut and ice cream shops inside, so I was in heaven.  I didn’t even do any shopping, I just liked wandering around in the air conditioning and eating.  And going to Madame Tussaud’s, which is inside the massive Siam Mall in Bangkok.  Maybe I should have spent more time exploring outside, but I wilt in the heat, and the malls were a welcome respite from that, so I don’t regret it!

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4 comments

  1. It sounds like you found some really interesting things to do while you were in Thailand. I went to a murder mystery night at the Newport Art Museum last month, and it was hard to take it seriously watching the bad acting and being in a large crowd, so going with just friends sounds great.

  2. I think the oprah pic is the best one! It’s the one that looks the most natural. Of course baby fetuses in jars is your favorite thing ever. And leave it to you to find ice cream sundaes in weird places. A splendid collection. The Sherlock thing looked really really fun, I’d totally do that. Seems like you had a blast!

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