The Royal Barge Museum, under the care of the Royal Thai Navy, is an enchanting tourist attraction tucked away just inside a canal of the Chao Phraya River across from Bangkok’s Grand Palace.
Customer feedback – “I’ve been to Bangkok many times and never made it to this museum until my most recent visit, I was not disappointed.”
The Royal Barge Museum is actually a massive boathouse where up to 50 beautifully crafted and ornate boats are housed. These vessels are a testament to the level of intricate craftsmanship in Thailand’s history. Within this collection of boats there are eight that dominate in size and beauty, these are known collectively as the Royal Barges.
The use of royal barges dates back to the Ayutthaya era, when a majority of travel, for commoners and royals alike, was by boat. Royal Barges, similar to the ones on display, would also have been used during times of war.
Customer feedback – “These barges are just gorgeous with wonderful Thai decoration. There is also an excellent video showing a major procession of all the barges to celebrate the King’s 50 years as a monarch.”
Since these barges are reserved for the most auspicious occasions and ceremonies most of these barges have been on the water less than 16 times in the past 65 years. Although it occurs very rarely, one of the most elaborate ceremonies to view is the Royal Barge Procession, which was last conducted to celebrate the Royal Kathin Ceremony at Wat Arun in 2012.
Thai Royal Barge Museum is listed as one of the seven MUST SEE museums in Bangkok. The other museums on the list are:
Some of the highlights of visiting the Thai Royal Barge Museum are:
- The most elaborate and significant barge is the Suppanahong. This 50 meter vessel was carved from a single piece of teak and bears a golden swan as the figurehead on the bow. This vessel is considered the personal barge of the King.
- The Royal Barge Procession does not happen regularly. The advantage of visiting the museum is that you get to see barges up close.
- Each of the eight royal barges has a sign indicating the name, the year of construction or renovation and the number of crew it requires.
- The eight royal barges displayed at the museum are: Suphannahong Royal Barge, Narai Song Suban HM King Rama IX Royal Barge, Anekkachatphuchong Royal Barge, Anantanakaraj Royal Barge, Asura-Vayuphak Barge, Ekkachai Hern Hao Barge, Krut Hern Het Barge and Krabi Prab Muang Mara Barge.
The Thai Royal Barge Museum is best reached by using a canal boat, and for that reason we recommend our Two Hour Bangkok Canal Tour which includes a visit to the Royal Barge Museum along the canals of Thonburi.
Customer feedback – “Stunning barges! Accessible by river and from the city. Never would have found it without my tour guide.”
Other attractions in this area are the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), and Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn).
Thai Royal Barge Museum is open every day from 9am until 5pm. The museum is closed on New Year’s Eve (December 31) New Year’s Day (January 1) and during the Thai Songkran holiday period (April 13-15).
Admission Price: Entry to the museum is 100 Baht per person. If you want to take pictures, there is an additional fee of 100 Baht for a camera or 200 Baht for a video recorder.
Things you should be aware of when visiting the Thai Royal Barge Museum:
- Photography is allowed inside the museum only if you have paid the additional fee of 100 Baht for camera or 200 Baht for a video recorder.
- The boathouse sheltering the barges can be very hot during the summer months.
- This museum may be shut during Thailand’s rainy season, especially when there is a high tide. The museum is shut so that the barges can be moved to another location. Our private tour guide will be able to advise you whether this museum is open when you send a booking request.