One of the more popular things to do in Bangkok is visit the grand palaces and beautiful temples located throughout the city. While the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Keaw (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) and Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) rank high on many visitors lists of attractions to see there is another temple, known as Erawan Museum, that truly stands to be called one of Bangkok’s most unique attractions. What makes this attraction so unique? The Erawan Museum houses one of Thailand’s most exquisite private art collections while simultaneously serving as a visual representation of the three-tiered cosmology of Thailand’s Theravada Buddhism: the underworld, the human world and the heavens.
Customer feedback – “This is a great temple, as you arrive it is amazing the size of this 3 headed Elephant. Is is hard to believe you actually walk us a spiral staircase in one of the legs to get to the temple inside the Elephants body. Well worth a look.”
The Erawan Museum was conceptualized and commissioned to be built by Mr. Lek Viriyapant (Prapai Viriyapant), in order to preserve his personal collection of antiques and sacred objects in a manner that would contribute to Thai heritage.
Customer feedback – “Surely only in Thailand are you likely to find such a place, a museum inside a giant elephant statue, a magnificent structure that really is well worth a visit.”
The museum is immediately recognized by its massive three-headed elephant bronze statue, which stands 29 meters high, is 39 meters long, and weighs 250 tons. The Airavata (Erawan in Thai) three-headed elephant in Hindu mythology is not only the god Indra’s vehicle but also a symbol of the eastern religion’s cosmography.
Visiting the Erawan Museum gives insight into how art can be masterfully used to tell the story of religion.
Erawan Museum is listed as one of the seven MUST SEE museums in Bangkok. The other museums on the list are:
- Prasart Museum
- Grand Palace
- Vimarnmek Mansion
- Thai Royal Barge Museum
- Jim Thompson House
- Bangkok National Museum
Some of the highlights of visiting the Erawan Museum are:
- The underworld – The softly lit ground floor exhibits various precious antiques and statues of mythical Naga serpents.
- The human world – The middle floor is beautifully decorated with the intricate stucco moulding with five colored porcelain inlays, fanciful supporting pillars and stained glass.
- The heavens – The top floor is adorned with the exquisite art depicting the solar system and is where the ancient Buddha images are housed.
- Surrounding the museum is a lovely tropical garden including beautiful plants, flowers, rivers, and detailed Thai sculptures.
Customer feedback – “There are a lot of themes and images inside the elephant statue. Very beautiful indeed. Was relieved to have our private tour guide with us as her English was perfect and she made sense of what we were viewing.”
Erawan Museum is open every day from 8am until 5pm.
Another attraction that can be enjoyed in this same area is Mueang Boran (Ancient City), which is a 30 minutes drive away from the Erawan Museum location.
Admission Price: Adults are 400 Baht and Kids (6-14 years old) are 200 Baht from 9:00am until 5:00pm. From 5:00pm until 7:00pm Adults are 200 Baht and Kids (6-14 years old) are 100 Baht.
Things you should be aware of when visiting the Erawan Museum:
- Photography is not permitted in the basement section of the museum which houses a collection of ceramics and art from Khun Lek’s (commissioner of the museum) private collection. On the upper floors there are some areas that photography is not allowed. Our private tour guide will be able to advise you of which areas allow photography.
- To get to the top floor of the elephant you can either choose to take a spiral staircase or a quick elevator ride. If you take the spiral staircase you will be able to peek out a small window from just below one of the elephant heads’ tusks.
- Polite dress code is required when visiting since the Erawan Museum serves as a Buddhist temple.