Bangkok: Inside the Erawan Museum.
Erawan the “Fighting Elephant”.
The elephant is a significant character in Thailand as it can be seen in souvenirs, shrines and even a dedicated museum. Erawan is better known as Airavata, the “Fighting elephant” carrying the Hindu God Indra. You won’t be able to miss this creature as it stands out with its’ three heads, sometimes covered in gold adornment and long tusks which makes it look very mighty.
How to get there.
I found this museum while searching for alternative places to visit in Bangkok and found this to be fascinating. It is located in Samut Prakan, about 20 minutes from central Bangkok. My dad and I decided to take a taxi there which costs about 200b with toll fees. The journey took us along the Bhumibol bridge, named after a member of the Royal family, King Bhumibol. With its tall golden arches running 13km across the Chao Phraya river, it gave a very regal feeling even from a taxi ride.
Another option would be to take the BTS (skytrain) to Bearing (last stop) and take a cab from there to the museum. The train ride costs around 40b and the taxi ride around 70b, which is cheaper.
Not the usual tourist attraction.
The entrance fee to the museum is 400b per person and they have half price for evening sessions that starts around 4pm. We didn’t know this of course and paid for the full price which comes with a free audio guide. There was a beautiful garden surrounding the museum that was built by a local tycoon to preserve the cultural heritage of this deity.
Just outside the ground floor is a lotus pond for visitors to float these beautiful flowers. There were none when we were there so we continued into the Underworld section (the bottom of the elephant) with displays of history facts and artifacts.
We removed our shoes before stepping into the the first floor, which represents the earth (human world) with a magnificent marbled spiral staircase to the next floor. There’s art on the walls, pottery and antiques around the staircase but I was more intrigued with the detailing of the small jeweled tiles that goes into them.
Walking up the stairs slowly with my dad (as he snapped photos away), to the next floor we then took the elevator to the top floor which was also known as the Cosmos. We took a peek of the outside world from the glass eye of the elephant before going up another flight of stairs to a room filled with Buddha statues and painting of the stars by a German artist. It gives a feeling of how small we are in the world.
A museum worth visiting.
We thought that the price was slightly expensive but after seeing the details that went into the building and the time we spent learning about it, we felt satisfied. There whole place is shaded with trees making it a comfortable visit.
Some handy information:
Location: 99/9 Moo 1, Bang Muang Mai, Samut Prakan, Thailand | Phone: +66 2 371 3135 | Visiting Hours: 8am-5pm daily | Entrance Fees: 400b/person | Trains: BTS to Bearing (take a cab to Erawan Museum.
About Yafieda Jamil
A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.