Learning History and Culture of Satun at the Satun National Museum

by Duangkamol Buranasomphop


            Located in the deep South of Thailand, Satun is a peaceful province where Buddhist and Muslim Thais live happily in harmony. Since it has many tourist attractions, the province welcomes a large number of visitors, both Thais and foreigners, each year.

            Satun is famous for its pristine nature spreading over jungles, mountains, and beaches. It is popularly known among visitors as a major destination for eco-tourism. The Tarutao Marine National Park is an example of the popular eco-tourist sites in this peaceful province.

            As for cultural attractions, the Satun National Museum is a place of historical significance where visitors can learn more about Satun history and culture. Also referred to as Kuden Mansion, the Satun National Museum was developed from an old mansion built in the 19th century by Phraya Phuminatphakdi, or Tunku Baharutdin Bin Tammahong (formerly Kuden Binkumae), who was a former governor.

            Construction of the mansion began in 1898 and was completed in 1916. The two-story building is in the European colonial architectural form with a Thai-style roof. The ventilation slots along the upper front of the building are in star-shaped designs, influenced primarily by Muslim architecture.

            This old mansion was originally built as a temporary residence of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), during his visit to the South. However, the King did not stay there and the mansion was later turned into the residence of the Satun governor.

            During the Second World War, the mansion was used as a Japanese military camp. Later, it served as a town hall, a municipal school, and an internal security operations command office, before being developed into a national museum between 1997 and 2000.

            There are altogether 10 rooms in the museum. On display are ancient objects and samples of mineral ore discovered in the province. The exhibitions feature the history of Satun, its geography, the culture and lifestyle of Muslim Thais in Satun, the story of Tarutao, and various aspects of Satun cultural life.

            In addition, visitors will learn about the way of life of the Sakai tribal group from one of the exhibitions. This tribal group lives in mountainous forest areas in southern Thailand bordering Malaysia. Malaysians call members of this group Orang Asli, meaning native people. The Sakai tribe has its own language, and it usually moves from one place to another, without staying anywhere permanently.

            Satun province has a strategy to develop local human resources and a learning society amidst cultural diversity, with empowered communities and people who live together peacefully and happily.


Duangkamol Buranasomphop

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