Royal Elephant National Museum

This is the first building on the right when entering the Vimanmek compound, containing a life-like model of the white elephant. The myth and legend of the white elephant began in Southeast Asia – The Land of the White Elephant. In the story of the Lord Buddha, the white elephant is connected to fertility and knowledge. On the eve of giving birth to the Lord Buddha, his mother dreams that a white elephant comes to present her with a lotus, a symbol of purity and knowledge.

The white elephant is above an ordinary tusker. In Thailand, this creature is sacred as it represents the prosperity of the town. Indeed, the Siamese put the white elephant on their new flag.

When elephants were no longer so vital for warfare, elephant hunts became less common, and fewer of the rare albino elephants were found. The Siamese king passed a law demanding that any white elephant found in the kingdom had to be presented to the king. He sent out scouting parties and offered rewards. The discovery of a white elephant became a special event, a time for national celebration. In this museum, the visitor can see pictures of elephants promoted to the title of “royal elephants” by past kings. The musem opens everyday from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Admission is 5 baht.