People who have a taste for the macabre and are looking for something a bit different to do while exploring Bangkok should check out the Siriraj Medical Museum. The museum is also known as ‘the Museum of Death’ and exhibits a gruesome collection of body parts, deformed babies and other medical curiosities in large glass jars and display cases.
This intriguing museum is situated in Siriraj Hospital on the bank of the Chao Phraya River. It consists of several museums divided into six main sections covering anatomy, forensic pathology, congenital disorders, pathology, toxicology and Thai traditional medicine. The museum was established in 1886 and was intended to be a vivid teaching facility for Thai medical students. In fact, medical students can often be seen hunched over the exhibits there, taking notes and drawing diagrams.
The Siriraj Medical Museum
The museum offers an interesting insight into human anatomy and the weird and wonderful deformities that can occur. However, this attraction is certainly not for the faint of heart, and even people who have a strong stomach will probably want to skip lunch after checking out the exhibits here.
One of the main highlights here is the mummified body of Si Quey, which can be found displayed in a glass case in the centre of the museum. This serial killer was a cannibal who famously murdered a number of children in the 1950s and ate their flesh. When he was finally caught and executed his body was mummified and displayed to serve as a deterrent to other people. Nearby displays also contain various body parts and skulls of some of Si Quey’s victims.
Among the other collections that are proudly displayed at the Siriraj Medical Museum are preserved organs, bones, a traditional Thai medicine shop, a two-and-a-half-foot-wide scrotum that was removed from a man who was afflicted with elephantiasis and several poisonous snakes and tarantulas. In fact, if it is guaranteed to make your skin crawl, the Siriraj Medical Museum is sure to display it.
The collection of fetuses preserved in formaldehyde is particularly creepy, largely because their eyes seem to fix on you as soon as you walk into the room. Many of these fetuses have been presented here in order to show certain birth defects and often have parts of their heads and brains missing, extra limbs or, in one particularly disturbing case, an extra head sprouting off the neck of the foetus.
Visit the museum!
There is no denying the fact that the Siriraj Medical Museum contains one of the best collections of medical curiosities in the world. While this might not be a great place to take a date, people who are interested in human anatomy and various other scientific aspects will find that this is the perfect place for them to get their fix of the weird and wonderful. If nothing else, visiting the museum is an endurance test and those that manage to stay to explore the entire collection can walk away with their head held high.
The Siriraj Medical Museum is open from Monday to Saturday from 09:00 to 16:00. The easiest way to get there is to take the BTS to Saphan Taksin and then catch a ferry along the Chao Phraya River to Prachan Pier on the Thonburi side of the river.