Some exciting museums and art centres in Bangkok. *Free* entrance to TCDC, Corrections Museum and BACC (Jan 2018). For other activities while in Bangkok, see Things to Do in Bangkok.

Museum Siam | มิวเซียมสยาม พิพิธภัณฑ์การเรียนรู้ ***

Update Jan 2018: I never even knew the exhibitions are temporary, but the excellent original exhibition has now been replaced by something less interesting, less intereactive and very nationalistic and boastful. The period costume photo studio is still free and bigger than before, and you can still play typical Thai games, but gone are e.g. shooting a cannon, the TV studio where you could record yourself and the 50ties bar. The costume display room shows an incredibly hierarchical society of 30-40 levels, and of course the lower levels can forget about reaching nirvana any time soon. Not a must-see anymore.

2009: The museum shows Thai culture and history from prehistoric times until now. Although visually very attractive, the oldest periods are quite general and not that interesting.

The more recent the more exciting, also because most displays are interactive and you're literally allowed to touch and play with everything. Old wooden toys, an ancient canon with which you can shoot at the Burmese (the original enemy), a TV recording studio where you can read the news, which will afterwards be displayed on TV's all over the museum, a 50ties diner with an mini parked in the front, dress up in old-style Thai clothes and much more. A great place to take lots of fun photos.

Bad points are that the interactive games are often broken (I visit regularly), and the interactive displays and videos are sometimes very noisy.

Entrance fee for foreigners is 300 baht, but there's free entry on national holidays and during events. More photosMuseum Siam

Thailand Creative & Design Center (TCDC) | ศูนย์สร้างสรรค์งานออกแบบ ***

Update Jan 2018: The TCDC has moved downtown. The resource center still exists, but the TCDC is now more of an event organiser than a museum.

2009: The TCDC is much more than a just museum, as it also organises lectures and workshops and has an extensive art-library. The permanent exhibition is not very exciting, a mishmash of things from different periods and places. (Feb 2010: The permanent exhibition was reorganised and is a lot more attractive now.) The temporary exhibitions on the other hand are usually worthwhile! Since its opening a few years ago I've seen an inspiring exhibition on the live of Thai people in the Isan (the North-East of Thailand), Viviene Westwood's designs, domestic culture in the Arab World and Perishable Beauty (about death and decay), to mention just a few. Exhibitions are often hands-on, so you're allowed to touch at least some of the displays. More photosTCDC

Corrections Museum | พิพิธภัณฑ์ราชทัณฑ์ **** [CLOSED]

[CLOSED] Former prison turned museum. Four of the original buildings still stand, of which the prison block is the most impressive. A few cells are still in their original state and equipment for torture and execution is on display. Wax models show how the equipment was used at that time. The main building shows through scenes again with wax models the various ways convicts were executed by sword, gun and injection, illustrated with thankfully unclear photos of some more recent executions. The protocol for execution is quite extensive and all steps are described in detail. More photosCorrections Museum

Siriraj Medical Museum | พิพิธภัณฑ์การแพทย์ศิริราช *****

Those of you that are interested in forensics, knowledge about parasites, anatomy etc. should not miss the museums at the Siriraj hospital. Presented in an old fashioned but mostly respectful style, one finds skeletons, embryo's, sick body parts and parasites on alcohol. Some of the people that gave their body for medicine (and especially children) are remembered with a picture, some flowers, small presents etc. The museums are most famous for 1 sensational attraction, namely the preserved bodies of some notorious killers. Not for the weak of heart. Be respectful when you go there. Dec 2011: please note that nowadays taking photos is not allowed anymore. More photosSiriraj Medical Museum

Bangkok Art and Culture Centre | หอศิลปวัฒนธรรม แห่งกรุงเทพมหานคร BACC *****

“Excellent art, frequent changes” Huge building with 9 floors of art exhibitions, galleries, small restaurants and art shops with regular events and activities. Art varies from surprisingly good student work to famous Thai and foreign artists whose work may or may not be related to Thailand.

I go there maybe once every two months and there's always something new or exciting.