Erawan Museum – Photos of One of Bangkok’s Most Unique Temples!

By Mark Wiens 19 Comments
Erawan Museum, Samut Prakan, Thailand
Erawan Museum, Samut Prakan, Thailand

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!

Gardens outside of the museum
Gardens outside of the museum

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).

A blooming lotus...
A blooming lotus…

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!

Inside, at the base of the three headed elephants
Inside, at the base of the three headed elephants

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

Stained Glass
Stained Glass

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!

Inside the Elephant Head
Inside the Elephant Head

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.

Beautiful Gardens at the Erawan Museum
Beautiful Gardens at the Erawan Museum

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!

Thai Sculptures
Thai Sculptures

As mentioned above, the gardens at the Erawan Museum are full of not only beautiful plants and flowers, but also detailed Thai sculptures.

Lotus - Symbol of Purity
Lotus – Symbol of Purity

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!

Erawan Temple and Museum
Erawan Temple and Museum

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
Website: http://www.erawan-museum.com/
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)



19 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • Rachel Pascual

    2 years ago

    Thanks for your post! I’m in Bangkok right now and I’m so excited to visit Erawan Museum!

    • Mark Wiens

      2 years ago

      Hey Rachel, good to hear from you. Were you able to make it to the Erawan Museum, how was it?

  • stephen

    4 years ago

    These gardens are really beautiful and contrast with the inside of the building so well. There is an interesting story about why this temple was built.

    Khun Lek Viriyapant owned this piece of land and the city planned to build the expressway over it. So he decided to build a temple so loved and revered by the people that the city could not proceed. In the end he won out and the expressway had to go around this place.

    Another of his very famous buildings is called the Sanctuary of Truth located at Pattaya which is still under construction.

    Words cannot do this place justice, so I recommend you search for it online to see for yourself. If you ever get the chance to pop on down to Pattaya, it is well worth it, although it is quite expensive by Thai standards to get in and there is no dual pricing.

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Great, thank you for all your insights Stephen! Entrance is quite expensive, but it’s definitely worth it once.

  • Turner – Around the World in 80 Jobs

    4 years ago

    Perfect. Was trying to plan my day and their website doesnt seem to work in English. Great photos. Looks like a unique place.

  • floro espares

    4 years ago

    Erawan Museum is such a feast to the eye, both inside the museum and the garden outside. I recommend it to first-timers in Bangkok.

    • Mark Wiens

      4 years ago

      Hey Floro, glad you’ve been there as well. I agree, it’s a great place to visit!

  • Yoni

    5 years ago

    A very impressive and calm place.
    A good way of spending 3-4 hours.
    Also, the Crocodile farm and Ancient Siam are also not far from Erawan Museum by taxi / bus (20 / 30 min).

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing Yoni! I still haven’t ever been to the crocodile farm!

  • Cathrine, Team Jetpac

    5 years ago

    Very useful article and beautiful photos! Can’t believe I’ve been to Bangkok 5-6 times without checking this out!
    I need to go back again.

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Thanks for the comment Cathrine. The Erawan Museum is not really in the typical list of Bangkok attractions, maybe because it’s a bit outside of the city center. Hope you get to visit next time you’re in Bangkok!

  • Caanan @ No Vacation Required

    5 years ago

    It must be crazy temple day! Raymond over at Man On The Lam just did a post about the fever-dreamy Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai. I then click on the next link in my reader and I see this amazing and odd temple. 🙂

    • Mark Wiens

      5 years ago

      Ha, I’ll have to go check out his article as well. There are loads of similar looking temples in Thailand, but it’s interesting to visit some of the more unique temples!

  • Don

    5 years ago

    Great post with great photos!