National Museum

National Museum information

Location
Bangkok , Thailand
Address
4 Th Na Phra That
Getting there
Ferry: Tha Chang
Prices
admission 200B
Opening hours
9am-4pm Wed-Sun
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Thailand’s National Museum is the largest museum in Southeast Asia and covers a broad range of subjects, from historical surveys to religious sculpture displays. The buildings were originally constructed in 1782 as the palace of Rama I’s viceroy, Prince Wang Na. Rama V turned it into a museum in 1884.

The history wing presents a succinct chronology of events and figures from the prehistoric, Sukhothai, Ayuthaya and Bangkok eras. Despite the corny dioramas, there are some real treasures here: look for King Ramkamhaeng’s inscribed stone pillar (allegedly the oldest record of Thai writing, although this has been contested), King Taksin’s throne and the Rama V section.

The other parts of the museum aren’t as well presented, but this might be part of the charm. Dimly lit rooms, ranging in temperature from lukewarm to boiling, offer an attic-like collection of Thai art and handicrafts.

In the decorative arts and ethnology exhibit , there are collections of traditional musical instruments from Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Indonesia, as well as ceramics, clothing and textiles, woodcarving, royal regalia, and Chinese art and weaponry. The archaeology and art history wing covers every Southeast Asian art period and style, from Dvaravati to Ratanakosin.

The museum grounds also contain the restored Bhuddhaisawan Chapel . The chapel, built in 1795, is home to some well-preserved original murals and one of the country’s most revered Buddha images, Phra Phuttha Sihing. Legend claims the image came from Sri Lanka (legend claims a lot of Buddha images came from Sri Lanka), but art historians attribute it to the 13th-century Sukhothai period.

The museum also runs free guided tours .