Siriraj Medical Museum – Bangkok, Thailand - Atlas Obscura

Siriraj Medical Museum

A treasure trove of pathological, forensic, parasitological, and anatomical specimens. 

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The Siriraj Medical Museum abounds with medical curiosities. It is housed in Siriraj Hospital, Thailand’s oldest hospital and medical school, which was established in 1886 and is where the King of Thailand goes when he is ill. The Siriraj is actually comprised of six different museums: a museum of pathology, a forensics museum, a museum of the history of Thai medicine, a parasitology museum, an anatomical museum, and a prehistoric museum.

The Ellis Pathological Museum is the oldest of the six museums, founded by the American pathologist Dr. Aller G. Ellis. He collected organs from patients who had been diagnosed with common disorders such as heart disease and cancer,  to serve as teaching tools for medical students. 

The Siriraj’s incredible holdings include bones, preserved organs, pathological fetuses, the mummified corpse of a notorious serial killer, a traditional Thai medicine shop, parasitic worms, a two-and-a-half-foot-wide scrotum removed from a man afflicted with elephantiasis, preserved sections of human skin bearing tattoos, poisonous snakes and tarantulas, rows of skulls, the standing wax-filled remains of a cannibal, a delicately dissected nervous system, and the skeleton of the museum’s founder.

A strong stomach is recommended.

The Siriraj Museum website has lovely panoramic images of each museum. A personal account of a visit by an Atlas Obscura Team Member can be found here.

Know Before You Go

Take the Chao Phraya ferry to the Tha Rot Fai pier (also called Tha Bangkok Noi pier) on the western side of the river. Exit and walk due west, then walk left into the hospital grounds, and follow the signs to the Adulyadej building, or take the 19, 57, 81, 83, 146 or 149 bus.