This museum is a fascinating little gem, down a side canal off Bangkok’s Chao Phraya river, and on the day we visited we were the only people there, which was very special.
It was also high tide on the river, meaning we had to splash our way through the water lapping over the walkways – decidedly fun, and elicited lots of smiles from the craftsmen who were working on the barges, repairing and fixing them.
A bit of background, first.
8 of the 52 main royal barges are on display here, in what was formerly a dry dock for barges and warships under the care of the Royal Household and the Royal Thai Navy. The dock and the barges were badly damaged during World War II, but in 1949 they were restored, and the dock became the National Museum of Royal Barges in 1972.
Most visitors approach the museum by boat – usually part of an organised tour – but we chose t’other way. We took a local bus, and then walked from the main road down though tiny, narrowing lanes until we reached the river’s edge and the museum. There are a few signs, but at times it does almost feel as though you are walking through people’s homes, so close are the little houses, but (as ever in Thailand) people are delightfully friendly and they kept pointing us in the right direction.
There is a 100 Baht charge for foreigners & nothing for Thais. Dual pricing is a thing we non-Thais just have to accept.
There is also a 100 Baht charge to take photos, and I was given this tag to be tied on my wrist or camera:
I rather liked the fact that I had been “granted permission” – it sounded suitably regal 🙂
The barges are absolutely stunning:
We pottered and splashed up and down, enjoying the gorgeous barges, which are surprisingly long.
I certainly have never seen a museum like this, and would highly recommend it.
It is unique and in a lovely setting.
It makes for a very different, relaxing kind of museum visit.
We paid our way, and no-one in Thailand has the faintest idea that I blog!
And, I repeat – highly recommended.