Visitors to the Thai capital Bangkok should take the opportunity to visit the unique and distinctive Royal Barges Museum. These unmistakable teak vessels are inextricably linked with the Thai national heritage and will draw the attention of the visitor from overseas.

In days gone by in Bangkok the Chao Phraya River and its tributary streams functioned as the main mode of transport and communication. Boats and barges were used by all, and even the royalty was no exception. It is this era which led to the importance of the iconic Royal Barges. However as one might expect their use today is entirely ceremonial and the vessels only take to the water on certain very special occasions.

Each of the eight royal barges has been fashioned from massive sections of teak wood and lavishly gilded so that each gleams majestically. Their prows have been carved to resemble legendary creatures and elaborately adorned with shiny pieces of decorative glass. The vessels are propelled by teams of well trained rowers and on the rare occasions that they take to the waters present a grand spectacle on the river.

The visitor will see that all of the regal barges feature an informative sign describing the vessel’s name, date of construction or refurbishment and the size of the crew needed to sail the barge. The largest and most treasured of the barges is the mighty Suphannahongse (which translates as ‘gold swan’) which measures a regal 46 m in length and requires no less than 50 rowers and 14 other crew personnel. This particular vessel is considered to be the personal barge of the Thai monarch.

During the Thai nation’s tumultuous history the royal barges were frequently damaged or adversely affected by fire and bombings. Throughout the museum visitors will see illustrations and photographs depicting the glory of previous processions and the methods employed to sail the barges. These attractions make the museum a delight to explore at first hand.

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Chandrishan Williams is a travel writer who writes under the pen name, Caleb Falcon. He specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers. Google+