With so much living history, Thailand isn’t big on museums. However, Museum Siam is a must-see to ground you in this country’s heritage and illuminate where it could go next. A study in cultural contrasts, it’s housed in a neoclassical villa surrounded by a sprawling lawn seemingly poised for tea time or croquet. But the interiors give way to a cutting-edge exhibit space all bright lights and audio sound bites. Go with the flow, or, rather, “The Roong,” a giant ribbon that guides your time travel from ancient Ayutthaya to the modern world via highly interactive displays. Don’t skip the shop next to the souvenir boutique for a culinary tour of the rainbow of Thai ingredients and spices you’ve been gorging on while in town. Kids will love rummaging through the fridge packed with completed dishes.
Museum Siam is a 20-minute drive from the hotel. It’s best to visit in the morning through midday to avoid cross-town rush-hour traffic. Take an Uber back from the museum if you don’t feel like negotiating with Old-City taxi drivers.
MUSEUM SIAM: 4 Sanam Chai Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang; +66-2225-2777; museumsiam.org; Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Tues-Sun; admission 200 baht for foreigners