A marvellous building
Published/Last edited or updated: 27th April, 2017
Built in an elegant Chinese style in 1878, the former palace that now houses Songkhla National Museum is the most impressive single piece of heritage architecture in a town with no shortage of it.
With white mortar walls, bright-red doors and ceramic tiles on a sloping roof, the building housed Songkhla’s ruling family in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and was later used as city hall before opening as a museum in 1982. Wander into the courtyard for a vantage of the structure’s graceful symmetry before strolling on the open-sided balconies.
Though the exhibits pale in comparison to those at the Southern Thai Folklore Museum on Ko Yo, you will find portraits of Songkhla’s early leaders, old cannons and ancient Srivjaya- and Dvaravati-style religious images. Perhaps more interesting is a series of info boards explaining the long history of Singora / Songkhla, including its early Muslim rulers and their relations with traders from France, Portugal, Holland and Britain. Out the back you’ll find striking masks used in manora dance performances as part of an exhibit on local folk life.
Across Saiburi Road from the National Museum stands the Phathammarong Museum, a life-size replica of the house in which Songkhla’s most famous son, Prem Tinsulonanda, was raised. In a career spanning seven decades, Prem has served as military commander, prime minister, coup leader, privy councilor, regent and close advisor to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
In this area you’ll also find the last remaining part of Songkhla’s old city wall, built of stone in the 18th century. From here you could join Thai tourists on the free Singora tram tour.
The large National Museum complex is located just north of the Sapsin fresh market and west of the clock tower between Saiburi, Chana, Wichianchom and Rong Mueang roads. Open
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.