The Royal barges museum shelters 8 magnificent vessels that hold great significance to Bangkok. These vessels, also known as the Royal Barges make their public appearances quite seldom that they have left their dock only about 16 times during the past 6 and a half decades, for auspicious ceremonies and state occasions.
The Road to Royal Barges Museum
A mere 20-minute ride from Avani+ Riverside Bangkok Hotel ought to drive you to the Royal Barges Museum in Bangkok. As the museum is located on the banks of a canal which connects to the Chao Phraya River, residing at a Riverside hotel in Bangkok would be most convenient to travel from, if you intend to add it to your to-do list. Your mode of transport could be from the Chao Phraya Express Boat or a long tail boat.
The Tale Behind the Name
The story of the Royal Barges dates back to the Ayutthaya Period when over 200 boats would take their courses in a celebration by King Narai the Great. However, these Royal Barges were not only exhibited back in the day. These were also used in battles, boat races, royal and religious ceremonies. However, the fall of Ayutthaya was also the fall of these original Royal Barges which were burnt to ashes.
The fallen tradition of these Royal Barges was once again restored as King Rama I ascended the throne. This resulted in a revived centuries-old tradition as new barges were soon constructed. One of the most significant barges is known to be the ‘Golden Swan’ that glides in glorious majesty, and is also the personal vessel of the king.
This spectacular procession is held during the Tod Kathin Buddhist Festival where the king symbolically hands over robes to the Buddhist Monks of Wat Arun. These boats are now managed by the Royal Thai Navy, which is, of course, docked at the Royal Barges Museum that one must visit. While these vessels make occasional appearances, the very few times they do are viewed by people in numbers.