The Sunthorn Phu Museum in Bangkok is a museum dedicated to arguably Thailand’s greatest writer, Sunthorn Phu.
The Sunthorn Phu Museum is open every day from 10:00 to 17:00 and admission to the museum, along with the rest of Wat Thepthidaram, costs 100 THB.
About the Sunthorn Phu Museum
The Sunthorn Phu Museum is at the rear of Wat Thepthidaram in the historic Rattanakosin Island district of Central Bangkok near to other notable historic sites such as Democracy Monument and the Giant Swing. The reason that the museum is located in this temple is that Sunthorn Phu spent slightly over 2 years living there as an ordained Buddhist monk.
Sunthorn Phu was a ‘colourful’ character whose writings drew on his many and varied experiences and gives insights into the period when he lived as well as telling interesting stories. Sunthorn Phu was born in 1786, 4 years after Bangkok was founded as the capital city of a new Royal family. His life spanned the reigns of four monarchs, all of which he came into contact with first because his mother worked at the palace and later because he held positions in the Royal Court related to writing of poetry.
Despite at times in his life holding elevated positions in the Royal Court, Sunthorn Phu also got in a lot of trouble throughout his life. He was at times an alcoholic, he was imprisoned for fighting, and at one point sentenced to death for having an affair with a female member of the Royal Court. Sunthorn Phu is also notable for travelling around Thailand and his connections, through the Royal Family, with some of the early foreign visitors to Thailand. These experiences, good and bad, informed his writing. The two most notable works being Nirat Mueang Klaeng, a poem about a journey he made to see his father in far away Rayong, and his classic work Phra Aphai Mani which was written over several decades and tells the story of the adventures of two fictional Princes of the Thai Royal Court. Phra Aphai Mani is over 30,000 lines long and a hugely important historical account of the early 19th Century in Thailand.
The Sunthorn Phu Museum consists of three main rooms, one which of which was his bedroom which contains the bed he slept on and the few meagre possessions which he had as a Buddhist monks. The museum has few artefacts relating to the great poet, which is unsurprising as monks have few possessions, but there are some original examples of his hand writing.
Visitors to the Sunthorn Phu Museum are guided by a Buddhist monk who speak English. There is also a video to watch and some wall panels with writing in English and Thai as well as illustrative pictures.
Location of the Sunthorn Phu Museum
- The Sunthorn Phu Museum is located at Wat Thepthidaram Worawihan, 70 Maha Chai Rd, Samran Rat, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200.