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A human head dissected to reveal the inner workings at the Siriraj Medical Museum

The Siriraj Medical Museum

The Siriraj Medical Museum is a fascinating and macabre collection of small medical museums filled with cadavers, body parts, skeletons and other medical oddities. The Museum of Death, as its sometimes called, is a veritable house of horrors, offering a unique opportunity for the curious purveyors of the dark side of medical tourism.

A cadaver of a deformed child on display atthe Siriraj Medical Museum
A cadaver of a deformed child.

Tucked away on the grounds of the Siriraj Hospital, Thailand’s oldest — and biggest — hospital (where ailing King Bhumibol was housed for years), are five small medical museums originally intended for medical students. Over the years, its reputation has grown, now attracting more tourists than medicos.

Baby skeletons at the Siriraj Medical Museum
Baby skeletons.

The Siriraj Medical Museum is made up of five separate small medical museums: Ellis Pathological Museum, Congdon Anatomical Museum, Sood Sangvichien Prehistoric Museum and Laboratory, Parasitology Museum, and Songkran Niyomsane Forensic Medicine Museum. Understandably, its rooms are not packed with throngs of tourists. Often, it was just the two of us wandering from one shocking display to another.

There are corpses of murderers and victims, body parts and organs, deformed infants and stillborn fetuses, skeletons, murder weapons and the like. While all of the museums there are filled with interesting — and at many times, cringe-worthy — displays, the museum we were most skeeved over was the parasite museum. Ironically, there is a poorly placed cafe located at the exit. Nothing whets the ol’ appetite like looking at parasites and the havoc they wreak! Yum…

The neurological system of the human head at the Siriraj Medical Museum..
The neurological system of the human head.

While there are plenty of interesting — and uplifting — things to do while in Bangkok, it’s hard to compete with the Siriraj Medical Museum’s fascinating displays. It offers a unique opportunity to view life and death’s unique mysteries. Perhaps a museum of this nature could only be found in a Buddhist country. While death in many cultures is a taboo subject, Buddhism deals with our mortality in a very honest and unpretentious way. They have many frank teachings about the impermanence of life.

A human head sliced in horizontal rows at the Siriraj Medical Museum
The inner workings of the human head.

The Siriraj Medical Museum is also a great place to escape the rain, heat, and/or pollution. It’s also quite cheap to enter. For more information, visit the Siriraj Medical Museum website.

Here’s a video tour of the museum.

Author: Britt

Britt is a photographer/music producer & proud member of #teamtraynham

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