One of the most well known things to do in Bangkok is visit the many temples and palaces located throughout the city. While the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun are probably the most famous, there is another vastly unique and elaborately created museum and temple combination know as the Erawan Museum (Chang Sam Sien ช้างสามเศียน).
Though officially it’s located outside of Bangkok, in Samut Prakan, it’s literally just a few kilometers away from Bang Na BTS station, so it’s not hard to access!
The most prominent feature of the Erawan Museum is of course the gigantic 3 headed elephant that reaches a height of 43.6 meters and weighs a total of 150 tons!
It is gigantic and an incredible sight!
The Erawan Museum is not only about the view of the gargantuan elephant, but it was commissioned and built as a place to preserve the complex Thai heritage through visual arts and religion.
Surrounding the museum is a lovely tropical garden including running water and Thai sculptures (more on that below).
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Around the circumference of the base of the Erawan Museum is a steam of moving water. Many people purchase a lotus flower and float it on the water, waiting to see how far it will go! Not sure exactly what it’s for, but possibly good luck!
After paying the entrance fee (300 THB for foreigners, a little steep), we walked around the basement section of the museum which houses a collection of ceramics and art from Khun Lek’s (commissioner of the museum) private collection. Photos were not permitted.
On the first level in the round structure beneath the elephant was an elaborate shrine as well as a rounded staircase that was decorated with intricate sculptures and detail. To me the design reminded me of a Venetian elegance, possibly the cream and blue colors adding to the
At the top of the first level (it would be located right at the feet of the elephant), is an impressive rounded stained glass window. You don’t see stained glass too often in Thailand!
To get to the tippy top of the elephant you can either choose to take the revolving staircase or take a quick elevator ride.
The top was cool and dark, almost like a cave. It set up with a Buddhist shrine reaching towards the heavens including abstract paintings and the contrast of blue and bright red.
After spending about 30 minutes inside the elephant, I walked around the outside of the museum to get some fresh air and relax. The gardens are beautiful!
As mentioned above, the gardens at the Erawan Museum are full of not only beautiful plants and flowers, but also detailed Thai sculptures.
The lotus is truly a remarkable plant, and with its religious symbolism of purity, it’s well represented in so many ways around the Erawan temple. Here is just a picture of the pure form of the plant, a gorgeous water blooming flower!
The Erawan Museum with its three headed elephant is among the most unique and fascinating places to visit near Bangkok. Though it’s not on the mainstream list of attractions if you’re in town for a short stay or have just one day in Bangkok, it makes a great day trip if you have a little more time to explore the city!
How to Get to the Erawan Museum
Nowadays you can actually take the BTS Skytrain all the way to Bang Na station and then take a bus #25 or #511 straight to the entrance of the temple – only about 3 – 5 km from Bang Na station. Alternatively, just hop into a taxi.
Address: 99/9 Moo 1, Bangmuangmai, Samut Prakan, Thailand 10270
Hours: 8 am – 5 pm
Admission Fee: 150 for Thais, 300 THB for Foreigners, 150 THB for children (a little pricey but worth a visit)