On a walk that had taken us past Assumption Cathedral, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the French Embassy, into a Muslim neighborhood and a convenient surprise for my companion for his postcard-mailing, the main post office, we found ourselves close to an attraction with a far-from-definitive name, the Bangkokian Museum. We knew it was a house museum but not much else. Crossing a main drag, Charoen Krung Road, then under the Sirat Expressway, as we ventured farther from the river the area became decidedly less upscale but interesting nonetheless.
The Main House
Located at 273, Soi Charoen Krung 43 in the Khet Bang Rak district, the main house was built in 1937 and in 2004 donated to the city by Waraporn Surawadee after inheriting the property from her mother. A second house to the rear was built in 1929. The stated purpose of the museum is to illustrate the lifestyle of upper-middle class families before and after World War II. The homes seem quite modest by current standards and one has the distinct feeling of entering a time warp, with all the original architectural details, furnishings, bathroom fixtures, family photographs on the walls, and the feeling of being a visitor in an elderly friend’s tidy old-fashioned home.
Seemingly not well known, one is likely to be the only visitor which adds greatly to the feeling of intimacy. The Bangkokian Museum is unusual and worth a stop, to see the homes and enjoy the garden. It’s free and open Tuesdays through Sundays, from 9 to 4.
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