The latest world-class tourist attraction to open in Bangkok is Madame Tussaud’s. They already have one in Hong Kong and Shanghai but this is the first Madame Tussaud’s to open in South East Asia. I think it is also the first branch to open in a shopping mall. It can be found on the 6th floor of Siam Discovery in the heart of Bangkok’s shopping district. The concept is much the same as at other branches around the world with a blend of local and international figures. At the moment 30% of the wax figures are from Thailand and the rest are from abroad.
Madame Tussaud’s Bangkok, the tenth in the world, has over 70 wax figures which are arranged in ten distinct zones: The Royal Room (where you can meet the royal parents of H.M. The King), History (people that shaped and influenced Asia and beyond), Leaders (from all around the world including a replica of the Oval Office), Arts and Science (with Sunthon Phu and Beethoven), Sports (both local and international), Music (go on stage with Madonna or moonwalk with Michael Jackson), Film (meet famous figures from Thai movies), T.V. (sit on the couch with Oprah), A-List Party (walk on the red carpet with Hollywood stars) and Authentic History (learn about Madame Tussaud).
I do believe that Madame Tussaud’s Bangkok will be a big hit. All the Thai people that I know love having their pictures taken with anyone remotely famous. At Madame Tussaud’s they can take snaps with some of the biggest names in the world. Not only that, there are many opportunities to get up close and touch the wax figures. Looks like this young man’s dream came true as he was able to hug Thai pop sensation Tata Young. There are also props that you can use or wear. So you can stand alongside the Queen of England wearing your own crown or sit at the desk in the Oval Office and pretend to sign some papers.
Madame Tussaud’s is one of the oldest tourist attractions in the world as they first opened their doors 200 years ago. I think the reason that it has remained popular for so long is the natural curiosity of people about the lives of the rich and famous. Here you can get up close and personal and stare them right in the eye. Or, like this young lady found out, someone you admired is actually a lot taller than you! Another good thing about Madame Tussaud’s, compared to the waxworks in Pattaya, is that the attention to detail here is a lot better. When I tweeted a picture of Princess Diana in Pattaya no-one recognized who she was. Here they spend a lot more time. They even sometimes have original items of clothing.
Madame Tussaud’s is not a traditional type of museum as there is plenty of interaction. Throughout the exhibit there are bilingual signs with further information about each wax figure. There are also puzzles to solve and interactive games. For example you can play basketball or have a go at shooting some goals. There should be something here for people of all ages to keep them occupied for an hour or two. During my visit I was there for an hour. I would advise that you go during the week if possible as there will be a lot more Thai people here at the weekend. You then might have to wait a while if you want to sit in the Oval Office to have your picture taken or shoot some hoops with a basketball star.
Famous Thai figures include Field Marshal P. Pibulsonggram, M.R. Seni Pramoj, M.R. Kukrit Pramoj, Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, Sunthon Phu, Luang Vichit Vadakan, Dr. Porntip Rojanasunan, Pawina Thongsuk, Khaosai Galaxy, Tata Young, Ad Carabao, Pumpuang Duangjan, Yodrak Salakjai, Mitr Chaibancha, Phetchara Chaowarat, Sombat Metanee, Tony Jaa, Ken-Theeradej Wongpuapan, Pancake-Khemanit Jamikorn and Anne Thongprason. There are no statistics yet about which figures are the most popular. However, the maintenance crew say they have to wash Einstein’s hair nearly every day and Brad Pitt’s cheeks need touching up often.
The full admission price for Madame Tussaud’s is 700 baht for adults and 500 baht for children. Family tickets are 3 people for 1,500 baht, 4 = 2,000 baht, 5 = 2,500 baht and 6 = 3,000 baht. There is only one price for Thai people and foreigners. This seems quite high for Thailand but it is cheaper than Madame Tussauds in London. However, there will be special promotions every now and then to make it cheaper and more attractive. At the moment, on their website, you can buy tickets in advance and get a 15% discount. So, this makes it 595/425 baht. They did have a deal earlier where you could buy one get one free but that has stopped now. At the moment, there is a special deal for Thai people for only 300 baht until 26 December 2010.
UPDATE JANUARY 2011: Madame Tussauds now has a two price system. Foreigners are 800 baht and Thais 350 baht. See here for full story.
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