The Museum of Insects and Natural Wonders in Chiang Mai was founded by an entomology enthusiast named Manop Rattanarithnikul in 2002. He is more famously known as the mosquito man and the owner of the museum along with his wife Rampa, who has a similar doctorate in same field. Manop himself guides visitors through the entire insect exhibition where each visitor will be enthralled by the extensive collection of research the man has done on the creatures. The museum displays everything from massive beetles to almost invisible tiny gnats with a total of 442 different species of insects that have endured and survived the Thailand climate.
No one will beg to argue that the Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders is the most unusual museum in all of Chiang Mai. Visits are immediately greeted with an unusual display of wood, honeycombed insect nests, termite nests, insect habitats and awesome pictures of insects and their habitat right at the entrance of the museum. These photos have been patiently collected by Manop himself through the years.
Going deeper into the museum will leave visitors in awe from the broad collection of fossils, paintings, glass cases filled with insects, tree trunks and newspaper cuttings. Wood eaten by termites is displayed as natural art while a dinosaur-shaped rock can be seen in the lobby. Cockroaches, butterflies and countless creepy, crawly creatures beyond your wildest imaginations can be seen here. It may not be the ideal place to take little girls but it will surely be a wonderland for little boys.
Among the 442 varieties of mosquitoes found at the museum, 18 are accredited to the couple for discovery. There are also many more exotic insects found in the different Thailand regions, including the Tarantula spiders of the country. It’s definitely one of those places where you wouldn’t know where to look first.
The extremely friendly couple has also been acclaimed for having conducting extensive research on malaria. Manop’s wife has written comprehensive volumes of all mosquito species in Thailand while Manop has been dedicated to the study of malaria for most of his life. His collection dates back to the year 1936 when he was just three years old. His grandmother handed him a vulture egg stone in exchange for his good behavior. Since then, his love for collecting insects of all kinds began. The stone is still displayed in his museum today.
The museum is open from 9 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon daily. An entrance fee cost of 200 baht per person is not only used for maintenance purposes but also for conducting further research on insects. A typical notion about insect habitats is that one should expect a filthy environment, but a visit to the museum proves otherwise. The museum is rather clean and tidy.
Passion about these insects and the drive to educate others on the wonders of nature is what drives this intelligent couple in their quest. Not only will a trip to the Museum of Insects and Natural Wonders be an entertaining experience, but it will be an educational one as well.