The Birthplace of Thai Currency

If you happen to cross the Chao Phraya River via Rama VIII Bridge, you will notice two gigantic buildings: a chateau and a modern, curved concrete-roof building.  Both of them are now under the supervision of the Bank of Thailand (BOT). As we know the main mission of the BOT as the central bank of Thailand is to conduct monetary policy to ensure economic stability for relentless growth. The BOT has another significant role: sharing knowledge culture about the history of Thailand’s currency and economics. Located at Bangkhunprom Palace, a former residence of Prince Paribatra Sukhumbhand, the BOT is welcoming visitors to its new facility: The Bank of Thailand Learning Center that houses the Bank of Thailand Museum, a hi-tech library, and a co-working space. The Learning Center occupies a building that was once the sole banknote-printing house of Thailand from 1969 to 2006.

Entrance to the Bank of Thailand Learning Center

Entrance to the Bank of Thailand Learning Center | Photo Credit: Naam Sombatanantakorn

Bank of Thailand Museum
Of real interest to visitors is the first room that hosts a banknote-printing exhibition with three massive printing machines on display. Don’t miss the “Security Room”, once regarded as the safest place in the Kingdom. The 5-story museum traces the history of the world’s currencies and Thailand’s money, and highlights the interesting facts about the BOT’s mission and responsibilities. The exhibits are labelled in Braille for the visually impaired and in QR codes.

Banknote-printing machines

Banknote-printing machines | Photo Credit: Teerarat Yaemngamluea

This museum is open for all to see. Entry is by advance reservation, however. Guided tours are conducted at 9:30am, 10:00am, 10:30am, 11am, 1pm, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Each tour consists of 80 people at the maximum and takes 90 minutes.

The Prince Vivadhanajaya Library

The Prince Vivadhanajaya Library | Photo Credit: Teerarat Yaemngamluea

Prince Vivadhanajaya Library
Besides general books, this library is well stocked with financial publications. It boasts the “E-resources Corner”, a multimedia room and a safety room (the BOT’s main archives) where all the printed banknotes, important documents and other records are kept. Furthermore, the meeting room and the auditorium are open for use by working groups.

Dok Chan money, named for their marks that look like asterisks

Dok Chan money, named for their marks that look like asterisks | Photo Credit: Teerarat Yaemngamluea

Public Space
There are plenty of open spaces reserved for temporary exhibitions and other events. The building is designed for leisure or working purposes. The spacious outdoor garden has spectacular river views.

reLimited-edition banknotes from previous special occasions | Photograph: Teerarat YaemngamlueaThe museum café serves light refreshments with the luxury of a river view. Coffee tables, working corners, power outlets are everywhere. This place would be of interest to those looking for inspiration.

Public space in which to read and relax

Public space in which to read and relax | Photo Credit: Teerarat Yaemngamluea

Entry to the Learning Center is free until July 4 when an admission fee of THB 50 is introduced. The center charges an annual membership fee of THB 1,500.

The Bank of Thailand
Learning Center
273 Samsen Road, Watsamphraya
02 283 5353

Born and based in Bangkok, Naam is one of the co-founders of Viajente, a travel agency that offers various natural and cultural tour programs. She is a lifelong learner and loves to travel.