Located in the lower section of Northern Thailand, the province of Phitsanulok is home to a number of great attractions and activities. A place with a thriving agricultural scene, lush green fields that stretch for as far as the eye can see, soaring mountains, thick forests, wildlife galore, waterfalls, and caves, it is a top spot for lovers of the great outdoors. Amongst the province’s cultural and historical attractions is the excellent Sergeant Major Thawee Folklore Museum. One of the main things to do in the province, you’ll find it within the provincial capital city, which is also called Phitsanulok.
Born from one man’s passion and dedication, the comprehensive and interesting museum is named after its founder. Sergeant Major Thawee travelled to various places around Thailand, collecting objects that truly represent traditional life in the nation. Some are things that are still widely used in the rural villages today, whilst many objects take you back into Thailand’s past. Items were gathered due to his own interest, but he then decided to share his vast collection with others, allowing visitors to learn more about traditional Thai life. Originally a hodge-podge of exhibits, his daughter assisted to make the museum more user-friendly, arranging things in a logical and easy-to-digest manner.
Today, the museum is home to more than 10,000 fascinating exhibits, with, rather unusually, excellent descriptions in both Thai and English. Items are spread throughout several traditional Thai-style multi-level wooden buildings. Remember to take your shoes off at the entrance to each!
As you absorb the different displays you’ll come across imaginative toys from yesteryear, old farming equipment, animal traps, cooking equipment, medical items, tools, household items, handicrafts, religious objects, musical instruments, clothing, weapons, artwork, and more! You should aim to spend at least a couple of hours in the museum to really appreciate its vast collections.
You can also step into a simple reconstructed home of the Song People, an ethnic group that can be found in just a few province of Thailand. There are also interesting reconstructions of various rooms within a traditional Thai house of old. See how people cooked in past times as you take a peek into the basic yet well-equipped (for the times) kitchen, see a (doll) baby sleeping soundly in the nursery, understand how people used to relax on the veranda, and wonder how you personally would ever get to sleep in the bedroom! These traditional homes were built from lengths of bamboo cane cut to size and tied together.
The grounds are also well-maintained, featuring plenty of colourful and fragrant flowers. Step into the small aquarium and you’ll find an assortment of fish that are found in the area’s rivers and streams. With everything for a pleasant and comfortable trip, you’ll also find a café that serves a basic selection of drinks and snacks, restrooms, and a gift shop. Whilst the shop may not have such a wide assortment of souvenirs and gifts, the items on sale encapsulate the spirit of the museum and are appropriate for the local area. The prices are also very reasonable!
Admission to the Sergeant Major Thawee Folklore Museum costs 50 Thai Baht per person, and it’s definitely somewhere to add to your list when travelling around Phitsanulok.
/// Written by Sarah-Jane Williams, Thailand