Pangzi has never forgiven me for taking him to ONLY one car museum in Japan earlier.
“Daddy, can I go to another car museum?” he bugged.
“Sure, as soon as Singapore opens one,” I committed. That’s not going to happen.
But I forgot about Pangzi’s ever-improving Googling skills.
“Daddy, there’s a car museum in Korea and another in Thailand!” he declared, proudly showing me his finds on iPad.
“So?” I said, still uninterested.
“So we don’t have to go to the Singapore one!”
Maybe I suddenly grew a conscience – I found myself warming to the idea. Over the next two months, we actually visited BOTH.
1. Quality of exhibits
The Korean car museum is a massive building divided into two floors of exhibits. On the ground floor you get cars of different eras and purposes. There’s a section dedicated to Korean makes, and another with kiddy vehicles that are more cute than utilitarian. The second floor is just as impressive, with cars devoted to motor racing.
The Thai car museum houses a huge pool of mainly vintage vehicles in a warehouse setting. The owner whom we met obviously took great pride in his collection and even invited Pangzi to sit in one of the cars with gullwing doors – usually out of bounds. He was delighted to learn that we had come all the way from Singapore to visit.
Verdict: Korea wins! The Samsung Transport Museum is after all a full-fledged car museum with special attention paid to zoning and captioning of the exhibits.
2. Variety of car makes
The Korean car museum is littered with cars of every design. There’s even a special edition of the sports car used in the Back to the Future movie driven by the mad scientist. It’s a dream come true for car enthusiasts aged one to ninety-two, and a privilege just browsing the thoughtfully curated pieces.
I only have one word for the collection at the Thai car museum: awesome. You get to see vehicles only the Thais can dream up. The obligatory tuk tuk aside, there are numerous others of the weirdest, non-standard variety… like the cross between a van and an armoured tank, or the cross between a truck and a bird!
Verdict: Thailand wins! Trust the Land of 1,000 Smiles to put another across your face.
3. Non-car peripherals
The Korean car museum displays more than just cars. The outdoor garden is home to also airplanes and steam engine trains. You can enter a train cabin and play out The Great Train Robbery. Inside, there are also ship and locomotive models. I thought I saw an amphibian vehicle too.
The Thai car museum is comparatively modest although there is an interesting section with old motorcycles and discarded toddler paddle cars. At the entrance sits a London double decker bus. I read that there’s supposed to be a submarine nearby but I didn’t see it.
Verdict: Korea wins! Samsung has made this museum a tribute to all things movable.
4. Value for money
The Korean car museum charges a nominal fee to enter. That aside, it generally costs more to get to Seoul, doesn’t it?
The Thai car museum is absolutely free. They did ask for my personal information but so far I’ve yet to be spammed.
Verdict: Thailand wins! If you’re going to Bangkok for shopping anyway, consider making a short detour here for a priceless experience.
5. Accessibility of location
Now this is where it gets ugly. Neither place is an easy find. The Korean car museum takes about an hour to reach by rental car on GPS. The ads you find online are a scam. Don’t bother trying public transport. Even if you can get here there’s no way back.
The Thai car museum is not much better. Add the city jam to the equation and you’ll be spending over one and a half hours on the road. It’s located in the outskirt area of Nakhorn Pathom, which is basically in the middle of nowhere.
Verdict: Korea wins, only just. At least you can go Everland theme park along the way.
So who’s the overall winner? I asked Pangzi which car museum he had enjoyed more.
“But I haven’t been to the ones in Europe and America!”
Sometimes a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. The iPad must go.
We were here: