Prasart Museum, Bangkok

The museum is owned and curated by Khun Prasart Vongsakul, who calls himself the head gardnerer, but is a very wealthy man and a consumate world traveler. He was saddened by all the local treasures being purchased and sent out of the country, so he decided to start collecting and displaying them himself. He created a private museum for his treasures that have now spread from other Asian cultures and Europe also. He is a personal friend of the former Queen of Thailand, Sirikit Kitiyakara, and a very respected and well placed man.

The Arrival

The museum is open to the public, but you have to make reservations. Unlike practically any other museum you could visit, this one is basically never crowded by large tour groups since admission is by reservation only. Reservations are made by calling; you can't do it online, so I had the Executive Concierge at the JW Bangkok make the reservation for me. Admission is 500 baht and includes a guided tour that lasts about an hour, after which you are free to continue perusing the grounds at your leisure. Your private tour group is a minimum of two people, but if you're traveling solo, you can simply purchase two tickets and practically have the museum grounds to yourself.

I took the monorail to the Phaya Thai train station, and then the Airport train to the Hua Mak station, and then walked to the museum 3/4 miles away in the oppressive Bangkok heat and humidity. My advice, get an Uber from the train station. I waited at the entrance and was met by the caretaker/guide.

The Grounds

The grounds have many buildings in them, of various usage and time periods. Because it's a private museum, Mr. Prasart has put his own spin on things, so while it's not what you would expect from a Western perspective, this is one of the aspects that helps you see things from a different cultural view.



Indoor Collections

Most of the indoors are off-limits to photography, but the Thai/Chinese building was not. This building houses a delightful collection of royal, Chinese, Thai and Bhuddist artifacts.
The monk Kong, more on him in another blog
Another thing I like are all the room breaks/screens that are in the collection.

Further exploration

Throughout the grounds, you'll see the personal shrine of Mr. Prasart and other amazing artifacts, like books that are hundreds of years old. I love the ways different cultures organize portable writing, so the books were of particular interest to me.
His collection of European artifacts and art, from around the 1700s on up are off limits to photography. Mr. Prasart has a small personal house where he lives (very modestly) on the grounds.

After the tour, I was taken to a nice tea room and library, where there are books of the museum for sale (I kick myself for not getting one) and refreshments are offered. As I was leaving, Mr. Prasart showed up and we had a nice chat about his collection and his place. He is a very gracious man, and his English is exceptional. For all his wealth and connections, he is very humble and quite a great guy.

Summary

A really cool and eclectic collection of Eastern and Western art. Unknown and fairly expensive to most locals, it does not get much Thai traffic. All tours are guided and pre-arranged, so you're likely to be the only people there at any given time, leading to a very intimate experience.

Minimum grouping is two, so even if you go alone, you're paying for two entrances. Admission is 500 baht per person; bring cash since credit cards aren't accepted there. It's a refreshingly serene place and really awesome. Mr. Prasart is great. You should go.



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