The Erawan Museum in Samut Prakan

The Erawan Museum is located on Sukhumvit Road in Samut Prakan province, south of Klong Samrong, Thailand. In fact, it is a museum and a temple combined created by Khun Lek Viriyapant (1914-2000) who is also the architect of the Ancient City (Mueang Boran). Thus, it can be considered a place preserving Thai heritage through visual arts and religion. In addition, the museum is surrounded by an amazing tropical garden including some unique Thai sculptures.

The Erawan Museum

The Erawan Museum*

The Erawan Museum*

Even though this place is outside Bangkok, it is merely a few kilometres away from Bang Na BTS station. This museum is famous for its gigantic three-headed elephant which is 43,6 metres high and weights around 250 tons. There are Hindu gods in Thai culture and Erawan is the vehicle of Indra, the god of Tavatimsa heaven which is located on top of Mount Meru in Buddhist cosmology.

Upstairs to heaven*

Upstairs to heaven*

In fact, the inside of the museum is constructed to represent the Hindu image of the universe. Hence, there is the underworld (1st floor), earth or human world (2nd floor), and heaven (top floor). The latter is located in the elephant’s belly whereas the other two are inside the pedestal.

The pedestal, caption the beautiful colours*

The pedestal, caption the beautiful colours*

The first floor or the basement section, which is supposed to stand for the underworld, contains a private collection of ceramics and art belonging to the museum owner Lek Viriyapant. Hence, there is a great collection of Chinese vases from the Ming and Qinq dynasties and a history and overview of the museum’s construction in the form of photographs and wall placards.

Statue and Chinese vases*

Statue and Chinese vases*

In the second floor that represents the earth, there are precious arts and antiques stored. Among the collector pieces there are also European ceramics. What is more, there is Guanyin, the Chinese Goddess with a thousand arms, who is the female representation of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of compassion. This floor includes also the area around the rounded staircase and the stuccowork.

The intricate staircase*

The intricate staircase*

Indeed, the cream and blue colours are reminiscent of an Italian or more specifically, a Venetian design 🙂 This impression is reinforced by the stunning rounded stained glass window which was created by the German artist and glass painter Jakob Schwarzkopf (1926-2001).

The glass window reminscent of an Italian design*

The glass window is reminiscent of an Italian design*

The top floor representing the Tavatimsa heaven is rather cool, dark and cave-like. There is a Buddhist shrine which reaches towards heaven, some Buddha relics and old Buddha images from different eras like Ayutthaya, Lanna, Lopburi and Rattanakosin. There are paintings on the wall depicting the cosmos which were also designed by the German artist Schwarzkopf.

The Buddha shrine on the top floor*

The Buddha shrine on the top floor*

I think this is an amazing but also versatile place. Hence, apart from the museum, you can also enjoy a stroll around the marvellous tropical garden.

The tropical garden at the museum*

The tropical garden at the museum*

Summing up, we can say that the Erawan Museum with its three-headed elephant is one of the most unique and awesome places to visit near Bangkok.

Yours, Sirinya

(*photo credit: Amporn Konglapumnuay)




The Golden Mount, Wat Saket in Bangkok

One of the sights that I wanted to see and visit when travelling to Thailand two years ago, was the Golden Mount Wat Saket, Bangkok (Phu Khao Thong, in Thai: ภูเขาทอง)). The official Thai name for the Golden Mountain in Bangkok is Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan (Thai: วัดสระเกศราชวรมหาวิหาร), in fact, a very long name that is usually shortened to ‘Wat Saket’ 🙂 This Buddhist temple is situated in the heart of Bangkok, about two kilometres from Khao San Road so that you can walk there easily. The Golden Mount can be considered as one of the symbols of Bangkok.

Golden Mount, Wat Saket in Bangkok

At the Golden Mount, Wat Saket in Bangkok

At the Golden Mount, Wat Saket, in Bangkok

The Golden Mountain, Wat Saket was build in the era of the Ayutthaya kingdom (1351 to 1767). It was then known as Wat Sakae which means literally translated ‘temple of the Sakae tree’. Wat Saket was majorly renovated during King Rama I’s reign (1782-1809).

The golden chedi of the Golden Mountain Wat Saket in Bangkok

The golden chedi of the Golden Mountain Wat Saket in Bangkok (photo credit: Siwaphong Pakdeetawan)

inside the Golden Mount, Buddha statues wearing different attires for the three seasons (summer, raining season and winter) in Thailand

Inside the Golden Mount, Buddha statues wearing different attires for the three seasons (summer, raining season and winter) in Thailand

A Buddha relic in the chedi of Wat Saket

A Buddha relic in the chedi of Wat Saket

The first impression that you get of the Golden Mountain, Wat Saket is that this is a very majestic and awe-inspiring place since this low man-made hill is crowned with a golden chedi. In the chedi house there is a Buddha relic that Buddhists come to worship. Hence, it can be considered a sacred pilgrimage site. In order to get to the chedi you need to climb up 318 steps. Thus, it takes maybe 10 to 15 minutes to get to the top. In point of fact, it seems as if these steps encircle the chedi of the Golden Mountain, Wat Saket like a coiled snake. Before I forget to mention it, there is also a nice shady little café halfway up 🙂 I stopped there with my relatives accompanying me. There we also met a few monks and we greeted them and made merit. Unfortunaly, I don’t have a picture of us in the café.

The stairway to the Golden Mount

The stairway to the Golden Mount

Reaching the top of the Golden Mount

Reaching the top of the Golden Mount

Approaching the top of the hill of the Golden Moutain Wat Saket, you will find a Buddhist temple and shrine. People also make wishes and pray for good luck there.

Making a wish at the Golden Mount and pinning a note

Making a wish at the Golden Mount and pinning a note

Last but not least, you can enjoy a panoramic view of Bangkok in all directions. This is in fact very impressive! I’ve also made a small video for you with impressions of my visit to the Golden Mount 🙂

In a nutshell, I can say that it’s truly worth visiting the Golden Mount, Wat Saket in Bangkok, first of all because of the marvellous view that you have there of the city in all directions 🙂 There used to be free entry but since last year the fee is 20 Bath per person. However, it’s still a moderate price for this impressive view. Have you been to the Golden Mountain Wat Saket?

Yours, Sirinya

(all photos in this post are my own, unless otherwise stated)