Sunday, July 11, 2010

District museum Yannawa

When I read about Richard Barrow's test ride on the BRT, I was curious to try this new bus system myself. Looking at the route map, I noticed that along the route it has the BMA local museum of Yannawa district, though in between two widely spaced stations, so I had to do quite some walking to get there as well. Nevertheless, this new public transport opens up a new part of Bangkok for those who prefer public transport over taxis, even though these aren't expensive in Bangkok.

The trip to this museum was definitely worth it. Though the museum is a rather small one compared to some other of the district museums I visited, what made it a special visit was the caretaker. The nice woman not only showed me around the items on display, explained them in Thai (sadly I only got maybe 10% of what she told) and also helped me to take good photos by flipping open one Sanskrit manuscript. Not sure what it showed however, but it looked like something about astrology or the calendar. Since she noticed I was quite sweaty from the walk to the museum - it was a rather hot and very sunny day - she also gave me a bottle of water, and a small pack of cookies for snack. I even could get one of the very last copies of the brochures on Yannawa district which she found deep inside a drawer of her desk, hope it wasn't the last one kept for the museum itself.

She not only showed the museum itself, but also the temple where it is housed. Though Wat Khlong Phum (วัดคลองภูมิ) is none of the spectacular temples, it has some interesting sights as well. There are Buddha statues from Ayutthaya times, sadly locked behind bars to prevent theft but which also made photography very difficult; a quite old monk's quarter; the crematorium gave a great view with two failed skyscrapers abandoned in the 1997 Asian crisis in the background; and of course the bot and a viharn next to it also look great, too bad they weren't open to see inside.

My guide even wanted to make sure I will take the right bus to go to my next target, the Bangkok Folk Museum in Bang Rak district (to be featured here later), so she even went to the bus stop in front of the temple with me. I planned to continue my trip by walking to the next BRT station, and then walk within Bang Rak, but it took me a bit to explain my itinerary to her with my still bad Thai.

I had experienced several very good caretakers in the local museums, who very much tried to make my visit worthwhile, but the one in Yannawa topped it all. So if anybody visits this museum after reading my review, make sure to tell her it was "Khun Andreas" from Germany who made you go there.


Mike said...

Andy an interesting post. Although I live in Thailand I rarely visit Bangkok so its always nice to read about things there that I might pull in on my next visit.

The caretaker attention for me demonstrates just why the real Thailand (and unseen) is still so attractive.

Great folk, just wish that I understood a bit more than the 10% of conversations that I usually pick up.

Boonsong said...

Interesting post.
I'm pleased to read that your experience of caretakers has been so positive.

All the best, Boonsong