If you travel to Bangkok but have already been to all the must-see destinations in the Old City such as Wat Pho, Grand Palace, and Wat Phra Kaew, how about going to Erawan Museum, home to a colossal bronze statue of a three-headed elephant?
Located in Samut Prakan Province, just around 26km from the center of Bangkok, Erawan Museum has always been a good destination for curious tourists who want to find special spots to discover.
1. Erawan Museum
Erawan Museum started construction in 1994 and has opened to the public since 2003. This museum is the private venture of Thai business mogul, Lek Viriyapant, who is also the creator of the Ancient Siam and Sanctuary of Truth museums. He is also the owner of a lot of antiquities and priceless collections of ancient religious objects displayed in the main building and the museum grounds.
Erawan Museum is well known for its giant three-headed elephant art sculpture but its value doesn’t stop there. The main buildings and the surrounding also display many essential model sculptures which show many facets of Thai culture. It is considered an important tourist attraction and a holy shrine for many believers.
The gigantic elephant
The Erawan Museum is immediately recognized by the enormous three-headed elephant statue.
This majestic statue stands 29 meters high, is 39 meters long and weighs 250 tons. The combined structure including the pedestal below is 43 meters. The weight of the elephant’s body is 150 tons, and only the elephant’s head is 100 tons. The layer on the outside of the elephant is lined with copper. They have made many copper sheets 1.2 millimeters thick in various sizes from 1.2×2.4 meters to the smallest palm size. Around a hundred thousand sheets were slowly plated onto the elephant with care and craftsmanship.
Visitors coming here will be amazed by this one of the world’s first and biggest hand-carved sculptures, but do you know the story behind the name Erawan Museum?
The name of the museum, Erawan is the sacred name of a white elephant with 33 heads. The traditional tale believes that Erawan is the vehicle of Indra, a Hindu highest god. It is also a symbol of the eastern religion’s cosmography. When the god comes down to earth to observe the varying fortunes of mankind, this holly elephant is his companion.
According to legend, Indra’s enemy is the god of thunder, who control the weather and creates draught in the realm of the Earth. So the magical Erawan reached his trunk down into the watery underworld, sucked up the water, and sprayed it into the clouds to create rain by himself.
That is the explanation for the powerful stance of the statue, with its trunks trumpeting high into the Bangkok skyline.
Inside the main building of the Erawan Museum
The Erawan Museum is not only about the view of the enormous elephant but was commissioned and built to preserve the complex Thai heritage through visual arts and religion. Visiting the Erawan Museum, visitors will understand how art can be masterfully used to tell the story of faith.
The interior of the main building is divided into three main floors which refer to the Hindu representation of the three universes, which consist of the Underworld, Earth, and Heaven. The two lower floors are inside the sculpture’s pastel pink pedestal. Meanwhile, visitors must climb a spiral staircase inside the leg of the Erawan elephant to get to the heaven floor in its belly. Just as the story said, the sacred elephant is the vehicle for the god Indra to travel freely in the realm of the Earth and Heaven.
Surrounding the museum is a lovely tropical garden with a running water stream and many Thai sculptures.
2. Erawan Museum Regulations
Consider dressing in a culturally appropriate way, with no sleeveless attires, and above-knee-length skirts or pants.
Visitors are not allowed to bring pets into Erawan Museum.
Shoes must be taken off before entering the main building, so we recommend wearing simple, easy-to-take-off shoes.
Food and beverage are not allowed inside Erawan Museum.
3. How to get there
To get to the Erawan Museum, visitors can use taxis or take the following bus:
Bus number: 25,142, 365
Air-conditioned bus numbers: 102, 507, 511, 536
Erawan Museum 99/9 Moo 1, Sukhumvit Road, Bang Meung Mai, Amphoe Meung, Samut Prakan 10270
4. Tickets and other practicalities
Adult 400 Baht / Child 200 Baht
09.00 am – 07.00 pm
Audio Guide in Thai, English, Chinese, Korean, and Russian available for visitors to Erawan Museum’s exhibition.
For more information, please contact the Erawan Museum
You might also like: