The treasure trove called Kru Kung Museum in Thailand – A photo tour of bygones

Thailand is a land of varied shades. A country that has been culturally so vibrant and has over 4000 years of history in its kitty is bound to offer more than its pristine beaches and happening nightlife to the travellers and tourists who visit its land and sea with equal zest.

To emphasize and propagate this thought to the next generation is the effort of an antiquarian with his collection of antiques of everyday usage and small-town bygones at the Kru Kung Museum in Kram Klaeng District of Rayong, Thailand. A visit to this museum turned out to be a nostalgic trip down the memory lane for me, and, how!

Kru Kung Museum in Thailand

On our trip to the Rayong province in association with Amazing Thailand, an old man with an un-missable smile welcomed and ushered us into an unpretentious structure as soon as our group alighted the bus. Our guide quickly introduced him to us as the collector of these antiques- Mr.Kung ( pronounced and written as ‘Kang’ by some people) and whose actual name is Somkiat Boonchuayleau. The enthusiastic simple Sexagenarian was more than willing to share his story with us, of course with the help of a translator in the form of our guide.

Kru Kung Museum

 

Kru Kung Museum

Kru Kung Museum is home to over 25,000 things of everyday Thai life collected across six decades. Mr.Kung – an art teacher by profession, started assimilating these things in the year 1974 as a hobby which slowly transformed into his passion. Encouraged by the response of his friends and well-wishers, he turned his home into a museum and opened its doors to public viewing in 2016.

 

A photo tour of the Kru Kung Museum

The display of old world charm starts right from the entrance of the Kru Kung Museum. The tea-stall and the mobile juice van to the left is a stark reminder of the good old days when sipping a cup of tea or a glass of juice was not just a commercial interest but a social affair for the vendor.

Kru Kung Museum
Times gone-by

Kru Kung Museum

Scooter- The Family Vehicle!

Kru Kung Museum
The Machine

Old world charm of bygones

The ground floor of the Kru Kung Museum has prototype-set ups of yesteryear’s saloon with old-fashioned razors, photo-studio with bulky cameras and flashlights, tailor-shop with frumpy yet charming clothes and a tea-stall with the mechanical tea-maker and vibrant porcelain kettle intact. The whole layout looks more like a ready-to-use film set of the retro era.

Kru Kung Museum
Let us have a cup of tea!

 

Kru Kang
Look into the camera and Smile Please 🙂

A person born in the ’80s of the Indian Sub-Continent like me who has witnessed the advent and effects of technology in everyday life, and also people belonging to the previous decades are sure to be enthralled by a glimpse of the umpteen good-old chiming clocks with the now-motionless pendulums hanging royally inside the Kru Kung Museum.

A couple of cuckoo-clocks bought from Russia are lying in disuse in my home just because the new generation of clockmakers no longer make these finesse pieces of time, rather, they are equipped to just repair the factory made ones. Once the pride of the drawing or dining rooms, these clocks have been heartlessly replaced by the digital ones endangering the cuckoos, in our homes!

Kru Kung Museum

The old vibrant vehicles, the blue tuk-tuk, the brass doorknobs and hooks, the various ornate wall-clocks, an old printing machine that dished out high-quality embossed cards is a world in itself at the Kru Kung Museum and transports one to yesteryears when life was simple, people had time to work and socialize as a community and emphasis was more on quality than quantity.

The extended charm of Kru Kung Museum

The ground floor of the Kru Kung Museum extends into a small green lung space that has set-ups modelled after classrooms, grocery shops, toy shop of rural bygones.

 

Kru Kang Museum

 

Kru Kung Museum

There are charming kiosks of ice-cream sellers, juice makers and pieces of pottery as well. Most of the crockery and cutlery are very similar to the ones used in Indian homes. I could also find a ‘mould/pan with depressions’ similar to the one used in TamilNadu for making the lip-smacking ‘KuzhiPaniyaaram‘.

Kru Kung Museum

A floor filled with nostalgia

The first floor has a display of outmoded gadgets, appliances, vessels, measuring cans and jars belonging to years from the late 50’s onward.

Museum Thailand

The collection of mobile phones and modern gadgets outnumber the mechanical type-writers, abacus or the collection of kettles. A stark reminder of technology becoming obsolete, as quickly as, the fine-sand that trickles down the sand-timer.

The moment my eyes fell on a moribund type-writer, I was reminded of my discussion with my dad who had earlier shared fond memories of his type-writing classes and his associations with ‘Remington’. I captured a snapshot of the now obsolete typewriter as a memory for him.

Thailand

Similarly, every article of the Kru-Kung Museum is bound to fascinate and pique one’s curiosity, be it of a child or an adult. It could be an exhibit that is as recent as the clunky Nokia mobile or as quaint as the chiming clocks. The place perfectly serves as an exhaustive source to impart knowledge on culture and history of the latter part of the 20th century to the younger generation.

Also, one cannot miss the old model of sewing machines that have been refurbished and re-used as tables to hold the collection of coins, stamps, piggy-banks et al.

Kru Kung Museum

 

Thailand

 

Kru Kung Museum

Why should one visit Kru Kung Museum when in Thailand?

For me what makes the Kru Kung Museum in Rayong stand out from other private collections is that it has an earthy feel to it and gives a glimpse of Thai life from a different perspective.

Yes, there is nothing ethereal, exotic or unusual about the collection of objects and antiques at the Kru Kung Museum, still, they are bound to connect with the visitors as he/she exudes a sense of familiarity, nostalgia and curiosity with every passing object without much pompous. A stark reminder that life has moved on to become a mechanical one with no time to stop, stare and ponder. Life was bound to be simple but it is we humans who have complicated it!

You may also read about the other off-beat experiences of mine in Thailand from the previous trip.

Chiang Mai

Ayutthaya

Karen Tribes

Kru Kung Museum

The Kru Kung Museum is indeed a treasure trove with some amusing and quirky antiques that is sure to capture the imagination of its visitors especially kids and drive the adults into a memory lane with nostalgia. So, do plan a visit when in Bangkok as it is just a couple of hours drive from Thailand’s capital and is also closer to Rayong which is another perfect family destination.

Hope you visit this home of antiques with heart, very soon!

Timings

Kru Kung Museum is open every day from 9:00 am to 16:00 pm.

Entry Fee

80 Baht per adult

30 Baht per child

150 Baht for foreigners

Leaving you with some more captures of the intriguing and quirky artefacts of Kru Kung Museum

Kru Kang MUseum

 

Kru Kung museum

 

Kru Kang Museum

 

 

Distressed Look ?!

 

Rayong Museum
Reminded me of my childhood when collecting these gave a sense of pride!

Lunch Time Wonders

A mini-sized show-stopper. Look at those expressive eyes and facial features.

Kru Kang Museum

This banyan tree beside the Kru Kung Museum must be the oldest living antique in the area!

Pin this article for a later read!

Kru Kung Museum Pinit

 


Disclaimer: “All views expressed in this write-up are my own. I was invited to be part of the Media Trip to Thailand in association with Amazing Thailand and TAT Delhi. I have tried to share correct and appropriate information with my readers as gathered from my tour guides from ‘Absolutely Fantastic Holidays Ltd’ and the owner of the museum, to the best of my knowledge”.

 

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40 Comments

  1. blair villanueva says:

    OMG this is one of the coolest photo tour in a museum. That old scooter looks cool (is it still working?) and those old clocks! I am going to Thailand this March and will add this museum to our itinerary.

    1. Yes…I guess, it does work. Have a nice Thailand trip 🙂

  2. Thailand has got so much to offer, that no matter how many times you go, every time you get a different and unique experience. Loved the photo blog of Kru Kung Museum. Something which I heard for the first time on your blog.

    1. Absolutely..I keep discovering something every time I am there..well, it is the same with any country, I guess! Thanks for reading 🙂

  3. I’ve never heard of this Kru Kung museum, how cool! I love antiques and vintage collections, so for me this would be a fantastic place to explore. I need to take notes for my next trip to Thailand 😉

    1. Haha… there are some more off-beat options on the blog..do check them when you find time and hope they help you in planning your trip..Thanks for reading,Val 🙂

  4. Wow! This truly looks like a gem of a place. I am astounded by the gentleman’s passion and diligence towards this hobby. He has collected such a wide variety of things ranging from the most mundane to exotic rifles. This was indeed a great photo tour for me. Would love to visit this museum in person one day.

    1. Do visit on your next trip to Thailand for sure, Soumya. Thanks for reading 🙂

  5. Kristy Bullard says:

    I love looking at nostalgic antiques of different cultures. Visiting the Kru Kung Museum would be a great way to learn about the history and culture of Thailand. I think the camera collection is my favorite!

    1. Absolutely…I am sure you would be transported to a bygone era on a visit there ! Thanks 🙂

  6. Yukti Agrawal says:

    Kru Kung museum in Thailand looks interesting as I love to see all the old collections. These antiques collected by Mr. Kung are really wonderful. That blue scooter and cold-drink caps reminded me of my childhood. Seeing those old classics the weighing machine of the grocery shop is really nostalgic.

    1. Thank you, Yukti. Glad that the post rekindled your childhood memories!

  7. This is clearly a museum full of nostalgia! It’s always fun to re-visit items from the past and see it all under one roof. I like the collection of cuckoo clocks and those old telephones too.

    1. The cuckoo clocks were my favourite too..Thanks for reading,Lisa !

  8. That is an impressive collection! From scooters, to telephones, to tea kettles, he has it all. I like the groupings of similar items as they have changes over the years, like the phone, and the items that have changed in style & decoration like the tea sets.

    1. Oh, yes! Helps in realising the drastic change that has happened over the decades.Thanks for reading!

  9. I have planned a holiday to Thailand with my family for next month, this article is helpful. This museum is definitely on my itinerary now.

  10. Those cuckoo clocks, that knocker, the Remington… wow! Truly is a treasure trove.

    Lovely images, Meenakshi. 🙂

    1. Thank you !

  11. Such an amazing and varied collection of artifacts! I love those earthenware pots. And I can totally see the similarity of the items to those used in Indian households. Even I used to make collections like those corks when I was a kid..guess we should not give up on our collections and continue growing them .

    1. Yes… I had the same thought. Maybe, we both should continue with our collection of antiques and open a museum in our towns 😉

  12. What wonderful pictures, Meenakshi! And the post is loaded with information too. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Glad you like them, Deepti 🙂

  13. This looks like such a fascinating place! I love that Mr Kung has created such a wonderful slice of history!

  14. The showstopper is beautiful. Wonder what game they are playing. Eastern board games are always intriguing. I like the collection of old cameras, they remind me that photography was a real skill once when you could not see what you have clicked until you got the film developed leaving such less scope for any error.

  15. I need to see this, above everything I am a fan of your clicks Meenakshi. I take a bow, my dear! May you rise and shine as a top photographer of India ♥️

    1. Thank you, Roma 🙂

  16. I need to see this, above everything I am a fan of your clicks Meenakshi. I take a bow, my dear! May you rise and shine as a top photographer of India ♥️

  17. Hats off the to the patience and discerning eye the old man has! Collecting and organising quirky artifacts and keeping them presentable is a momentous task. Amazing place, indeed. Thanks Meenakshi for introducing this to us.

    1. True…Ana. Kudos to Mr.Kru Kung. thanks for reading!

  18. That’s a lovely post with some beautiful snapshots! I have Thailand but didn’t visit this museum. Looks like I missed a lot.

    1. Thailand has got many hidden gems like this.Thanks for dropping by!

  19. This is an awesome post and a wonderful way to see Thailand. Definitely looking forward to more posts and more vibrant pics

  20. A museum having 25000 things and it all started as a hobby… how so wonderful and awe-inspiring. Such unique and amazing things. Great pictures, Meenakshi!

    1. Truly amazing and I am sure we have many such private collections in India too.Thanks for reading!

  21. Thailand has more than just pretty beaches, thank you for showing the other side of this wonderful place Meenakshi.

    1. Hope you get to visit this museum soon, DP 🙂

  22. You’ve shown a beautiful facet of Thailand, Meenakshi. A side that one easily misses as they seek out the beaches and shopping malls and market. Loved the photographs and that Vespa scooter capture is so awesome!:)

  23. Such wonderful snapshots: made me feel as if I’d gone on the journey with you!

    1. Thank you!

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