The Royal Barge Museum in Bangkok houses the resplendent boats that have chauffeured Thailand’s royalty across the city’s waters for centuries.
These long, thin boats are intricately decorated with gold carvings, and each barge’s masthead is uniquely splendid. Suphannahong, the king’s personal barge, features a golden swan’s head carved into its prow. Other barges include dedications to Hanuman, the Hindu monkey deity, and the seven-headed serpent, Naga. No luxury tour of Thailand would be complete without seeing these ancient and stunning watercraft.
While the barges were originally used for military purposes and daily transport, today the boats usually only see the open waters of the Chao Phraya River during holidays.
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Museum is a hot itinerary destination throughout the year on Thailand tours. Seasonal rains come in June and August, and the highest temperatures are in March and May. The best weather is from October to February.
Travelers heading to Bangkok in late October and November might miss the barges at their docks when they are being prepared for the flotilla ceremony that marks the end of the rainy season, but they can catch them in the ceremonial flotilla on the canals with a little planning.
The museum is in Bangkok's Thonburi canal district, and best reached using a chartered boat.
The barges and their amazingly detailed mastheads are something almost every luxury tour in Thailand includes on the itinerary. It’s a must-see for Bangkok.
Appropriate Attire :
Western wear is fine for the museum, but many travelers also visit the temples on the West side of the Chao Phraya River, and those that do should cover their shoulders, arms, and legs while on holy ground.