Romaneenart Park was a former maximum-security prison, which was transformed into a public park when the inmates were relocated. Inside the park lies a Corrections Museum, which shows the gruesome forms of punishment that were once used on the inmates.
A frequent observation noticed by visitors and expressed by locals is the lack of pubic space within Bangkok. This has led to the creation of parks, some done in creative ways. The Romaneenart Park is a great example of how the city of Bangkok creatively converted a piece of lush green land into a public park. Although this park was built to celebrate Queen Sirikit’s 60th
birthday in 1992, it was also built to transform what once occupied the land. This park originally housed a prison, which was relocated out of Bangkok. When the prison was relocated, the city of Bangkok decided to transform the space into a public park. Inside the grounds of this park lies the Corrections Museum, which presents a fascinating account involving the history of law enforcement, as well as the types of punishments used in Thailand.
Visitors that stroll around the park will see numerous large fountains that help the park stay cool amidst the city and under the scorching sun. The park provides garden equipment, as well as other playground facilities. This is all provided in efforts of staying true to the concept of Romaneenart Park as a healthy park.
The construction for the old prison began in 1890, when King Rama V purchased land in order to incarcerate offenders. In the early 1990s there was decision to redevelop this old project and move the inmates to another location, outside of Bangkok. Additionally, it was agreed upon that the area would be changed into a public park that would consist of the museum. The museum has won an award for being a significant conservation building and visitors will notice that part of the parks architecture consists of an old guard tower, a symbol of what the park originally was.
The Corrections Museum, a structure within the park, is set inside the remaining building of what used to be a maximum-security prison. This building displays the different types of gruesome penalties that were given to inmates not so long ago. Visitors will notice corporal punishment tools, as well as other weapons, which all showcase the severities of the old penal system. The old sadistic system is interpreted by some people as being based on retribution through torture and severe punishment. There are life-sized wax figures on display, which help paint a picture of what the painful execution scenes were like. For example, there is a set that shows how inmates were locked in a rattan ball full of sharp nails, which was then given to an elephant in order to be kicked and bounced around like a human soccer ball. The museum also shows how prisoners lived their daily lives, which involves the ways they managed to smuggle drugs, gamble, and make weapons out of pieces of iron cookery used for their meals.
Visitors that are interested in attending either the park or the Corrections Museum must take note that they both have separate hours of operation. The park is open daily from 5:00 in the morning until 9:00 in the afternoon. However, the Corrections Museum is only open Mondays-Fridays, from 9:00 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon. Both spaces are free of charge, but the museum appreciated a small donation fee. The location is not far from China Town, Wat Sutat, and the Giant Swing. Visitors can take the BTS SkyTrain to the Saphan Taksin station, then proceed to take the Chao Phraya Express Boat to the Memorial Bridge. Romaneenart Park and the Corrections Museum are located on Chakrapher Road, in Phra Nakhon, Bangkok.