National Museum

พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติ พระนคร

One of the richest collection of Thai arts and artifacts is located on the grounds of the former 18th century palace called Wang Ha (the vice king, in other words, a prince, lived here). Moreover, this is the biggest museum in South East Asia! No doubt it would be a must to visit it, especially if you plan on seeing the nearby Grand Palace.

Bangkok National museum was created by King Rama V and initially based on the collection of antiques belonging to his father, King Rama IV (Mongkut). The National museum moved to the territory of the former Wang Ha palace in 1887.

Surely, the most famous and beautiful building of the museum is the late 18th century Buddhaisawan Chapel, a private chapel built for the crown prince. It houses several perfectly safe frescos with 28 scenes from the life of Buddha created back in the 1790s. Above the windows of the chapel there are angels bowing before the second most important Buddha image in Thailand – in the center the 13th century statue of Phra Buddha Sihing rises.

The museum currently has three permanent exhibition galleries. One of them is the Thai History Gallery, where the exhibits from the Sukhothai period (13th – 14th centuries) to Rattanakosin period (from 1782 till present day) are on display. Beyond the Thai History gallery you will find yourself in the Prehistory Gallery, where there are items dating back 5,000 years! This gallery houses artifacts from the Ban Chiang archaeological site, presenting the findings dating back to the Bronze Age. Arts gallery, located in the northern wing of the building exhibits sculptures and items from the periods of Dvaravati, Srivijaya and Lopburi (up till 1257) leading towards the modern days.

The palace's halls also display a collection of applied arts and an ethnological exhibition. Here you will see enchanting precious stones, golden items with mother-of-pearl inlays, royal emblems and insignia, costumes and fabrics, ceramics and ivory exhibits, weapons and ancient musical instruments.

The museum also houses the so-called Red House, a teak house which was one of Princess Sri Sudarak's (a sister of Rama I) quarters. The house was moved from the old palace in Thonburi to the Grand Palace under Queen Sri Suriyen, wife of King Rama II. The house has belongings which were used by the queen herself.

Address: 4 Na Phra That Alley, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon
Opening hours: Wed-Sat 9 am – 4 pm, closed Mon-Tue
How to reach: Maharaj pier
Coordinates: 13.75777, 100.49216