Chulalongkorn, usually called “Chula” for short, is Thailand’s most prestigious university and its green, manicured grounds stand just back from Siam Square and MBK, stretching to Silom. In fact, Chula is the landlord of the shops in Siam Square, which is partly why the area was targetted by anti-establishment rioters in 2010 – it doesn’t get much more “establishment” than Chula.
Politics aside though the campus is a nice place to wander, and a decided change of pace from the commercial frenzy around Siam Square. In addition to sometimes screening interesting free movies, the university also has some other hidden attractions.
Tucked away in a the quiet Biology 1 building, behind trees alive with bushy tailed squirrels, sits the dark and dusty Natural History Museum, virtually unvisited.
The museum contains quite an interesting collection of dead animals – pythons and turtles in tanks of formaldehyde, skeletons of crocodiles, humans and horses, deer and antelope skulls with strange antlers, shells and stuffed parrots and armadillos, as well as a (dead) specimen of the giant Chao Phraya stingray.
When I went there was not even a staff member to be seen, I had the whole slightly creepy collection to myself.