Once upon a time the Chao Phraya River and its "Klongs", Thai for canals, were the most important and sometimes even the only way of transport, even for the Royal Family and the High Society. At the Royal Barge Museum in Bangkok you can see the most beautiful and impressive vessels of this unique fleet of boats called the Royal Barges. The boats will only be used to commemorate the most auspicious events and it is possible that many years pass between two occasions. Because of the boats beauty and rare appearance on the Chao Phraya River, a Royal Barge Procession is a sensational sight for everybody!
The Royal Barges were built to serve the Kings duties. During peace times this included royal ceremonies and other important events, in times of war the Barges were also used as Warships. The Royal Barges were typically longer and more impressive than the normal barges with a zoomorphic figurehead at the bow. First evidence for the use of Royal Barges dates back to around 1300 AD in Northeast Thailand and around 1400 AD in Cambodia.
After the fall of the then capital city of Ayutthaya in 1767 almost all barges were seriously damaged or destroyed. In the following times the barges have been reconstructed, repaired or newly built. Many were finally demaged or destroyed during WW2 before H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej revived this ancient tradition shortly after his coronation.
See next windows for Museum details like entrance fee, opening times or how to get there and many more photos!