Passing By Victory Monument

There is one landmark that I almost never miss whenever I go to a tourist spot in Bangkok. This landmark stands conspicuously in the midst of busy traffic and no tourist in the area will not notice it. 

This attention-hogging landmark is the Victory Monument.

Victory Monument of Bangkok, Thailand


I was surprised when I saw a commenter (from Bangkok) at TripAdvisor saying that the Victory Monument “should be demolished” because it is “a monument to celebrate a great victory that actually was not really that great.”

This comment from a Thai compelled me to make a little research about Victory Monument.

Another shot of Victory Monument in Bangkok


Victory Monument was erected in 1941 to mark Thailand's victory during the Franco-Thai War. This monument was built during the dictatorship of Field Marshal Plaek Pibulsonggram, who is the militaristic prime minister of Thailand. The war occurred during the Second World War at the time when France already fell under the rule of Nazi Germany.

Thailand, during the time Victory Monument was erected, was in a chaos. The absolute monarchy was just recently removed by a coup d'etat and was replaced by a parliamentary monarchy. King Rama VIII, the king during that time, was not in Thailand. Thus, it is Pibulsonggram who virtually ruled Thailand at the time. This dictator brought Thailand into an alliance with Japan.

The Victory Monument became a “monument of shame” when Japan was defeated during the War. Thailand was forced to return all the territories that it gained during the Franco-Thai War. The Victory Monument became a reminder of the militaristic regime that many Thais don't like.

Poster of King Rama IX at Victory Monument, Bangkok
The most loved king of Thailand.

This historical tidbit helped me understand why the Thais have high regard to the monarchy. It is their king, the then King Rama VIII (older brother of the current king), who brought stability to Thailand after the war. This respect was also inherited by the current king of Thailand that's why he is loved and respected by all.

Traffic around Victory Monument, Bangkok


The Victory Monument is at the center of the busy rotunda. Many public vans going to provinces can be found around this monument. This is where we rode a van to Rayong for our weekend trip to Koh Samet Island. There are vans here going to Pattaya and other beaches in Thailand.

The place is also a good place to eat yummy Thai dishes. This is where I ate the delicious boat noodle soup or kao lao.

I was happy that I have a new camera that has 10x optical zoom. I managed to take a zoomed-in shot of Victory Monument.

Statue of a seaman and soldier on Victory Monument, Bangkok


Victory Monument has a feel of being copied from the monuments found in communist or fascist states. It doesn't have a hint of Thai architectural style. This monument is composed of an obelisk surrounded by statues representing the army, navy, air force, police and bureaucracy.

Statues representing the Air Force, Bureaucrat, Navy and Army at Victory Monument, Bangkok


The area around Victory Monument is always a busy place. I saw Thais rushing to school or office. I saw tourists also rushing to their destinations. I guess Victory Monument is a good place to watch people.

Walkway at Victory Monument, Bangkok


Victory Monument is a good place to take photographs. I think that this monument has the most photos in my camera.

The photo below was taken after my visit to MBK and Siam Center.

Afternoon rush at Victory Monument, Bangkok


Be it a monument of victory or shame, the Victory Monument is still an important relic of Thailand's past. It is worth your visit.

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Information for this post was obtained from the Victory Monument page and Franco-Thai War page of Wikipedia.

Do you have a monument in your country that is not liked by many people? Tell us about it by leaving a comment.

43 comments:

  1. Ohno! First time get to know about Victory Monument and sad to know about how it also known as monument of shame. :/

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    1. I think not all Thais consider the Victory Monument as a shameful landmark. The commenter at TripAdvisor might just be part of the minority.

      Nonetheless, Victory Monument is still an important marker for an important (and painful) part of Thai history.

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  2. As time passes, the meanings of monuments like this one fade with it. But its importance as part of a nation's historical identity remains. There's really no need to demolish that.

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    1. I agree with you Rogie.

      There is really no need for this monument to be demolished. I think the Thai government will not demolish this because I so Thai flags placed on it as shown in the last photo.

      Delete
  3. And of course, to me all historical places does worth to visit for their priceless history behind it. ^^

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  4. Monuments come and go but the history behind them is what makes them significant, famous, or infamous.

    www.thewanderingjuan.net

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    1. I agree Joshua.

      Famous or infamous, monuments are markers of history. That is the cause of their importance.

      Delete
  5. That was really informative. Your tour around Thailand helps me learn more about its heritage and history. It may be really a monumbet of shame, but at least it helped build their country. Nice one, Ish ;-)

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    1. Thank you very much Ate Claire.

      That part of Thai is history might be shameful but it is still part of their history. No one can deny that.

      Delete
  6. I haven't known any monument most hated by Filipinos. Because if there's one, it's no used wasting money for its construction and maintenance.

    the victory monument maybe a shame to most thais, but it somehow has a purpose.

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    1. I can't think of any too, Phioxee.

      It is different on the case of the Philippines. Monuments and historical places are not cared for. Reminds me of the house of Jose Rizal's mother, which was demolished just for money.

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    2. Ha? Dini-molish? Grabeh naman

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    3. Yes. :-( So sad. Mga walang pakundangan sa kasaysayan. Please read this: http://filipinoscribbles.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/let-us-all-save-the-alberto-house-of-binan/

      Delete
  7. reminds me of Luneta in a grander version nga lang ^_^

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    1. Mas grand pa rin ang Luneta compared sa Victory Monument, Milton. I think this monument can be compared with Monumento.

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  8. very identical din sa atin nyung mga kalsada nila no? mejo busy at mattraffic din

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    1. Tama ka. Sikat din sa traffic ang Bangkok, Hilton.

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  9. Oh yes! I remember this monument when I went to that area to eat boat noodles! : )

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  10. Thanks for sharing the details and history about this monument. Looks like you did some good research! : )

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    1. Yes, Foong. I was intrigued by that commenter who reacted negatively to Victory Monument.

      Delete
  11. I didn't know they sided (well their dictator did) with Japan. Very interesting tidbit a.

    There are lots of monarchies that cannot be totally abolished because they, in a way, unify the people. Take the British monarchy. A lot of British would want to have them removed, but it's not as easy since a portion of their population still revere them and actually see them as a symbol of unity and peace (and that's even though the monarchy does not have full powers already like in the olden times.) =)

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    1. You're correct Ate Tin.

      These monarchs are the symbol of unity for the people. Mag-away-away na ang mga politico sa parliament pero hangga't matatag pa rin ang kanilang king or queen ay tiyak buhay pa rin bansa nila.

      Delete
  12. well may pinaggagalingan naman pala ung want magpademolish ng tower na yan
    pero parang luneta monument sya nu?

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    1. Mas mukha siyang Monumento ni Bonifacio MeCoy kaysa sa Luneta.

      Delete
  13. The city certainly looks nicer than when I was there in the 80's - such a mess then, so jammed, so busy...

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    1. Wow! You have been here during the 80's STP?! Hope you can share the photos of old Bangkok with us.

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  14. Looks like Manila.. This is a busy place but sure there are a lot of areas to explore

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  15. I believe that monarchs are still there for a reason either for symbolic purposes or real power. When I was in Thailand I saw pictures of the King almost everywhere, he was deeply revered.

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    1. I think the Thai king still has power, Wanderer Juan. He is the glue that binds Thailand. The politicians can do everything to cause division but king is another matter.

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  16. nice educational post! I cannot remmeber that'ive seen this back in bangkok will pay a visit when i come back! xx

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  17. I think it should not be taken as a monument of shame as those wars were all part of their history and so is this monument.

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  18. I believe Thailand is a great place to visit. I have a friend who lives there and she always wanted me to visit there, unfortunately I still can't, for now, maybe...but hopefully I can soon :) Great photos. It is always better to have good camera with you :)

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    1. Filipino ba yung friend mo, Aintzane? Baka kilala ko yan.

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  19. Whoever made that comment to have this monument taken down is sorely mistaken. Whether good or bad, monuments are a reminder of the country's history and the Victory Monument is one of those

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  20. I've thought it was Manila but I'm sure Thailand has much to offer great tourist spots to visit.

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  21. For what its worth I think they should keep the monument. Although the history behind it is not as great as some Thai's would like it is still part of their history. It also seems it gets public attention especially tourists. Kind of reminds me of a misplaced statue somewhere in Rizal Park also. :P

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    1. What is that misplaced statue? I want to know.

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  22. "Be it a monument of victory or shame, the Victory Monument is still an important relic of Thailand's past."

    -Agree, every monument have a story to tell about the past of the place, even it is bad or good its still part of the history.

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  23. I dont think its a good idea to demolish it, it has become part of their history.. i'll visit it when in Bangkok.. :)

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  24. Never knew this monument exists until now. I believe, this Victory monument must be preserve since it symbolizes Liberty and Patriotism.

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  25. Very interesting info! I have seen some photos of these from a friend who also recommends that I visit this monument because of its historical importance for Thailand. But he never mentioned about it being a monument of shame. Makes me want to visit it really soon.

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  26. Regardless of its history, the victory monument should stay, period.

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