1.lack of good sense; foolishness.2.a costly ornamental building with no practical purpose, especially a tower or mock-Gothic ruin built in a large garden or park
One of Thailand’s more eccentric moneyed class was Lek Viriyaphant, the creator of the Ancient City and the Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya, and also the Erawan Museum on the outskirts of Bangkok.
Featuring a three headed elephant standing on top of a pink three storey building in the middle of a large garden, I think it qualifies as a ‘folly” 🙂Like the Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya, the Erawan Museum is a bit of a hotch-potch of religious influences without actually being a religious building. The main building is supposed to represent the 3 levels of the Hindu universe, the basement entrance takes you into the “underworld” which is strangely full of antiquities, then you climb up into the human world :
The main hall is full of Buddhist, Hindu and Christian allegories carved on to the walls and pillars, plus a large statue of a Chinese goddess, Guanyin ….I told you it was a hotch-potch ! The ceiling is a large stained glass map of the world.
Getting into heaven is not supposed to be easy, so a long climb up several flights of stairs (through the elephants legs) will take you up to the top level which is a more conventional Buddhist area, with several old and very valuable Buddhas, that represents Heaven.
This part is actually inside the elephant, but unfortunately there are no windows to see out over the gardens.
The gardens naturally feature many more elephants, in various sizes and colours.
One story I read says that when planning the nearby ring road the government was going to go through this garden, so Lek Viriyaphant dedicated it to his Majesty the king, making it untouchable. However the govt. changed the plans and put the road through his house next door !
How to get there ? The Erawan Museum is on Sukhumwit road, so many buses go past it. The 511 is an air-con bus that goes right across town and out to Samut Prakan so that would probably be best. The BTS Skytrain will be ( should be !) extended out there by end of 2018, currently you would have to get off at Samrong and then get a short taxi ride or bus. Note that some buses detour via the expressway when returning to the city so a return via taxi and BTS might be best.
How much ? It does have the foreigner surcharge, so a normal walk-in ticket is 400baht/adult which is a bit pricey, but booking online will get you a hundred baht discount. If you are an expat with a Thai driver’s license, flash that and get the Thai price of 200 baht.