We hadn’t planned on an excursion today, we were just going to go exploring. We have spent several days in Bangkok on another trip and have seen the palace and the temples. It was our good luck that fellow traveler Ellen had made an appointment to see the Prasart Museum (you can only go by appointment). So 6 of us were picked up by a car service and taken to this wonderful place. And, we were the only people there!
This museum is a remarkabble group of buildings on beautifully landscaped grounds. It is designed to perpetuate the architectural excellence of former times and also to provide classical settings for Khun Presart’s many exquisite works of art. The garden has an exceptional variety of rare and unusual trees, flowers and shrubs, many of them selected for theirr association with Thai literature while others are exotic varieties from around the world. The garden is intertwined by winding pathways and set with pools filled with golden carp.
Here are just a few of the many beautiful things to see at this museum. We highly recommend it.
We were taken through the grounds and into each of the buildings by a man who has worked there for years, and he was so proud to show us the beautiful grounds and the many antiques and carvings. In some of the buildings there were original carvings, and then a reproduction carved by Mr. Prasart himself.
After our tour, we met personally with Mr. Prasart, and he explained that his collecting started when he was 12 years old, and he is now 71. He has no children so he has a foundation that supports education for Thai children and the proceeds from the museum and the shop go to the foundation. We spend a delightful 45 minutes chatting with him.
On our way back to the ship, our guide stopped at a roadside stand for coconut water (served in a plastic bag with a straw, and shavings of coconut in the bag, as well as bags of the sweetest pineapple I have ever tasted. Yes, even in Hawaii. Very refreshing.
I was hoping to meet Sri, a coaching student from my last Georgetown Cohort as Program Director, who lives in Thailand. Unfortunately it didn’t work out because of an evening event, a private cocktail party, for world cruise travelers at the Jim Thompson House.
Jim Thompson is often credited with reviving the Thai silk industry. He retired to Baangkok after serving in World War II and created the Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company. Since his disappearance in 1967 (some speculate that he was kidnapped by the CIA), little has changed as his house, once the city’s most celebrated social center.
Here are a few shots of the priceless antiques in this home.
We were entertained by an angklung band and treated to a tour of the residence and beautiful jungle garden. The residence is made up of 6 Thai style teak houses. We had wonderful drinks and food and were then treated to an award-winning Thai style puppet show. After the show, they came to greet us!
Tomorrow, it’s off to the airport to fly to Siam Reap for our visit to the temples of Angkor Wat!