All Bottled Up
The Bottle Art Museum is an arguably incongruous tourist attraction in Pattaya which has survived for about 17 years, first in one location and now in a slightly less visible but probably more accessible position not far from the Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital.
It was started by Dutch artist Pieter bij de Leij but has been carried on by his Thai student Prapaisri Taipanich. She now runs the museum which has over 300 exhibits.
Its ‘speciality’, apart, of course, from producing miniatures in bottles, is that most of the examples are of houses and other buildings, religious edifices, and just places of interest. In other words, there’s no central theme, but something for everyone.
Visitors first enter the reception area where they can watch a video presentation describing the history and work of the Bottle Art Museum.
The video shows how the bottle art pieces are created. After first building the model from wood and painting it and then selecting a bottle of a suitable size and shape comes the really tough and mind-numbingly tedious part.
The model is dismantled and the pieces are numbered in the order they are to be re-assembled inside the bottle. After the bottle is secured, each numbered part is placed, using tweezers, into the bottle. Glue is then applied to each succeeding piece and attached to the ever-growing model.
After the glue dries, then the next piece is attached. Once the model has been re-assembled, a paint brush with a bent tip is used to apply paint to the glued sections.
There are three main rooms into which the bottle art pieces are divided. In the first room are exhibits that can take up to three months to produce. They’re the quick ones.
Most of the displays in this first room consist of examples of houses from around the world.
The exhibits in the second room take four to five months to put together and are mostly of religious places from Christian churches to Buddhist temples.
The third room showcases the classics, masterpieces that can take up to a year to create. One of these is the Cape Bojeador lighthouse. This was built by the Spanish in northern Luzon island in the Philippines and started operating in 1892.
The Bottle Art Museum has a souvenir shop and, thankfully, a canteen, because after spending some time looking at the many exhibits most people are probably going to be hungry.
The museum is located inside the Kingston Park College, right opposite the Mini Siam attraction on Sukhumvit Road in Naklua. You know you’ll be getting close when you see Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital. Drive through the main gate and follow the signs. The museum is open every day from 8:30am to 5:30pm.