Royal Barges National Museum

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Timings : 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Time Required : 30 minutes - 1 hour

Entry Fee : THB 100
Camera: THB 100
Video Camera: THB 200

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Royal Barges National Museum, Bangkok Overview

Boats used to be the primary mode of transport for Thai kings, and the National Museum of Royal BargesĀ in Bangkok exhibits traditional Thai barges with intricate designs of Hindu and Buddhist icons. The museum displays information about the customs and history of the royal barges, costumes worn by the crew, and even serves as a dry dock for the boats.

The Royal Barges National Museum, located in the Thonburi region of Bangkok, is a building displaying an astounding collection of Thai barges and boats. The boats had been the only means of ancient communication plying on the extensive Khlong (the local term for canals) as well as along the Chao Phraya River.

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Royal Barge Procession

Royal Barge Procession Thailand
The Royal Barge Procession in Thailand Sees the Majestic Barges Journey
Through the Chao Phraya River
(Source)
The Royal Barges at the Royal Barges National Museum are usually carried to the waterfront on auspicious occasions or for participation at the "Royal Barge Procession." The ceremony can be traced back to the Ayutthaya era in history when travelling by water had been the only means of transportation in and around Bangkok. A fleet of 50 barges are utilised for ceremonial processions that are a rarity at present with the last known parade taking place in 2012 for celebrating the past King Bhumibol Adulyadej's birthday.

Museum Exhibits

Suphannahong, the King's Royal Barge, National Museum of Royal Barges
The King's Royal Barge, Suphannanhong, is Displayed at the Royal Barge National Museum
(Source)
The National Museum of Royal Barges houses eight royal barges crafted from best quality teak wood and glass and displays gilded gold & metal ornamentation. Each of the barges has a mythical figure carved on its bow with tiny glass bits on the surface glittering in the light. The most impressive of the lot is the King's barge, Suphannahong that is 46 meters long and carved out of a single piece of timber. It is shaped exactly like a swan. It also sports the logo of the "Tourism Authority of Thailand."
Others worthy of attention are Ananta Nagaraj; containing a massive snake on its bow along with the Narai Song Suban with the figurine of Lord Rama, the Hindu God atop the mythical bird Garuda. Anekchat Puchong with its multiple naga (snake) figures deserved a special mention too as does Karbi Prab Maung Marn with a swordsman crafted on the bow.

Interesting Facts About Royal Barges National Museum

The museum contains 8 of the barges that draw attention by their beautifully coloured exterior. Most of the boats had been used by the royal members of Thailand and people holding high ranks in the army. However, some of the boats were used only about 16 times.
Apart from the Royal Barges, there are other traditional Thai barges displayed at the National Museum of Royal Barges. They have been carved out of dark wood and sport the ubiquitous dragon on their bows. However, these do not merit a place alongside the top royal barges. Instead, the visitors would be able to view them at the warehouse-like building located by the bridge.

Tips

Royal Barges at Royal Barges National Museum Bangkok
Royal Barges National Museum in Bangkok, Thailand
(Source)
  • Tourists are advised to take the long-tailed boat tour of the canal by choosing to stop at the museum
  • It is advisable to check with the authorities to inquire about its closure
  • The museum remains closed on 31st December and 1st January every year. It is also closed to the public during the auspicious occasion of Songkran that takes place from 13th to 15th April.
  • Touring the warehouse and looking at the barges can make one thirsty. It might be a good idea to carry water and snacks
  • Walking over swampy grounds is tricky, but the tourists find it to be a joyful experience

How To Reach Royal Barges National Museum

Royal Barges National Museum Bangkok Thailand
The Royal Barges National Museum is Located by a Canal of the
Chao Phraya River of Bangkok in Thailand
(Source)
The Royal Barges National Museum is situated on the banks of a canal that is connected to the Chao Phraya River. Most of the tourists prefer stopping by the museum while taking a tour of Bangkok by a long-tailed boat. Others use the express boat to alight at the pier of Phra Pinklao Bridge. The museum is a short walk from the pier. It can be reached by crossing the Arun Amarin bridge close to the Dusitaram temple as well. Local visitors usually choose to avail of the bus service which has bus Nos 79, 507, 509 and 511 crossing the Phra Pinklao Bridge. One can walk to the museum after getting off at the Pata Mall bus stop.

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