While it’s not quite the obviously seedy underbelly of the world I had long hoped it would be, it certainly has its share of the strange and wonderful, odd and unexplainable. From lady-boy hookers to edible caterpillars, prison tourism to snake farms, Bangkok has an abundance of odd experiences and sights, some a little stranger than others.
Like mummified serial killers in baking trays.
Yep. One of my favorite places in Bangkok is the Siriraj Medical Museum, a Forensic delight. Crammed haphazardly into the middle of the Siriraj Hospital, the museum is a bizarre jumble of forensic mishaps. Difficult to find and hard for many to stomach the museum is a patchwork collection of all things medically, and not so medically curious.
One room is occupied by shriveled but surprisingly well preserved Siamese twins sharing the scene with the bodies of long deceased babies boasting all sorts of pre and post-uterul disfigurations and diseases. Another displays elephantiasis in all its glory from deformed appendages to bloated testicles. There is a disturbing presentation involving Tsunami victims from the 2005 Boxing Day Tsunami and a hallway blotted, seemingly at random, with the photographs of fatalities from some of the most gruesome and atrocious motorway accidents that Thailand has seen.
But it’s a little further into the museum where the real fun begins. Here is the final resting place (at least for now) of what is commonly accepted as Thailand’s first serial killer. This is not a photograph, not a clean sealed coffin, not even a wax interpretation. In a tall glass box that looks as if it might tip at any moment is the mummified remains of a murderer. Rather than stand he slouches into the glass panel of the box, like a broom leaning against a wall, his feet in what is basically a cookie tray, his post mortem juices congealing around his toes. Just for good measure you are also able to see photographs of his victims, some bloody evidence and a few of his successors.
And it doesn’t end there. Walls of bullet riddled skulls, pickled creatures and tropical diseases in all their glory are displayed chaotically, strewn about, poorly categorized and flimsily contained. The museum is unlike any other, morbidly enticing and absolutely stomach wrenching while surprisingly basic.
There are few places in the world which would allow such an odd experience to satisfy public curiosity and it is well worth a visit!