Folk Museum, Buddha-Casting Foundry & Bird Garden

A nationally acclaimed expert on Thai folkways, former military cartographer, Buddha statue caster and apparent bird aficionado, Sergeant Major Thawee Buranakhet has taken from his diverse experiences and interests to create three very worthwhile attractions in Phitsanulok.

The Sergeant Major Thawee Folk Museum displays a remarkable collection of tools, textiles and photographs from Phitsanulok Province. It’s spread throughout five traditional-style Thai buildings with well-groomed gardens and the displays are all accompanied by informative and legible English descriptions. Those interested in cooking will find much of interest in the display of a traditional Thai kitchen and the various traps used to catch game. Male visitors will feel twinges of empathetic pain upon seeing the display that describes traditional bull castration – a process that apparently involves no sharp tools.

Across the street from Sergeant Major Thawee Folk Museum is the small Buranathai Buddha Image Foundry, where bronze Buddha images of all sizes are cast. Visitors are welcome to watch the process and there are detailed photo exhibits demonstrating the lost-wax method of metal casting. Some of the larger images take a year or more to complete. There is a small gift shop at the foundry where you can purchase bronze images of various sizes.

Attached to the Buranathai Buddha Image Foundry is Garden Birds of Thailand, a collection of cages containing indigenous Thai birds, including some endangered species such as the very pretty pink-chested jamu fruit-dove and the prehistoric-looking helmeted hornbill. Unfortunately, the cages are generally rather small and don’t reflect the birds’ natural environments.

The museums are on Th Wisut Kasat, about 1km south of Phitsanulok’s train station; a túk-túk here should cost about 60B.