Bangkok National Museum of Royal Barges
On April 1932 King Rama VII crossed the lower span of the Memorial Bridge and embarked on the barge Suphanahong to travel by barge procession to the Grand Palace to mark the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the Chakri Dynasty and Bangkok as the capital city. That was the last Royal Barge Procession of an absolute Monarch of Siam, for the following June a coup d'etat changed the government from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy. The barges were then kept at the dry dock on the Bangkok Noi Canal under the care of Royal Household and Royal Navy.
The barge sustained severe damage during bombing of Bangkok in World War ll, soon after his return from school in Europe, the present king, H.M.King Bhumibol Adylvadej went to see the barges in their dock. Noting their deterotiatiom, His Majesty ordered their restoration; and decided to revive the ancient tradition of the Royal Barge Procession for auspicious occasions. Artists under the direction of the Fine Arts Department spent more than a year repairing the damage. In 1972 this dock was then renovated and established by the Fine Arts Department as the National Museum of Royal Barges.
Located on Bangkok Noi canal off the Chao Phraya river and not far from Phra Pinklao Bridge, this shed offers visitors the display of several ornately carved royal barges with unique design and decorative details.These barges are used on the royal and goverment occasions and formely served as war vessels.
The most beautiful and well-known barge 'Suphannahong' is used by the King only when he makes his royal river procession for the Kathin Ceremony, a Buddhist tradition of offering robes to monks, usually held during October or November. There is also 'Narai Songsuban Ratchakan Thi Kao', the latest royal barge especially built on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of His Majesty the King's accession to the throne in 1996. The royal barges also proceeded during the Rattanakosin bicentennial celebration and the reception ceremony of the APEC 2003.
The shed is open to the public every day from 9am to 5pm.
There is an admission fee of 30Baht and extra charges for video film taking and photography.