Songkhla National Museum

National Museum
The front of the National Museum.

The building housing the Songkhla National Museum was originally built in 1878 by the province's deputy governor, Phraya Sundranuraksa (also known as Net Na Songkhla), who was a descendant of the modern city's Chinese founder. It was used as the governor's palace for a short time and later served as the city hall, but then fell into neglect for much of the mid-twentieth century. It was registered as a national monument in 1973, and was bought back to life and opened as a national museum in 1982.

National Museum back
The courtyard and elegant stairs at the back of the National Museum.

The exhibits are a wide ranging collection of artifacts from the province's past. They include a history of the Na Songkhla family which founded the city and supplied eight of its governors; furniture; pottery dating back to the Ban Chiang period; and assorted other bits of memorabilia. Outside are several cannons, many of which were salvaged from shipwrecks.

Although there are some quite interesting things on the exhibit, it's the building itself that really shines. At the back of the house - which I suspect was really the front - is a courtyard with gates facing the Thale Sap on one end and an elegant curved staircase leading up to the second floor at the other end.

On the other side of the street from the museum on the south side is a fragment of the old town walls. They were built in the mid-eighteenth century, but were only finished a couple of years before they began being chipped away to make room for more streets.

There's a branch of the National Museum at Wat Matchimawat in the city's old town. The branch is only open in the afternoon.

Admission Fees

The National Museum is open Wednesday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Admission is 100 Baht (2.60 USD).