5 royal heritage sites you need to visit in Bangkok
These are essential stops for any first-time visitor to Thailand's capital.
Na Phra Lan Rd., Bangkok Old Town, 02-623-5500 ext.3100. Open daily 8:30am-3:30pm
Formerly the viceroy’s palace, the National Museum is a must-see complex of traditional Thai structures. The front hall itself is highlighted by a monumental Buddha head from the Ayutthaya period that overlooks the whole exhibition space, while a stunningly graceful bronze Bodhisattva from the Srivijaya period takes center stage amid Khmer and Hindu sculptures. You’ll also find carefully kept smaller pieces ranging from Buddhist art to delicate Rattanakosin-era puppets.
4 Na Phra That Rd., Bangkok Old Town, 02 224-1404, 02-224-1333. Open Tue-Sun 9am-4pm
Located right next to the Grand Palace, this museum tells the story of how HM Queen Sirikit has helped turn Thai silk from a simple local handicraft into a key export and an icon of Thailand. Highlights include the queen’s personal dresses and ornate costumes by leading international designers. Entry fee is included in the Grand Palace fee. If you only want to visit this museum, it’s B150 per person for adults.
Inside the main visitor’s gate at the Grand Palace, Na Phra Lan Rd., Bangkok Old Town, 02-225-9430. Open daily 9am-3:30pm
Opened to the public in 1952 by its former royal residents, this complex of eight Thai-style houses was Thailand’s first public museum. It showcases sculptures, furniture and traditional instruments from the Rama V period that belonged to Prince and Princess Chumbhot of Nagara Svarga, as well as artifacts from the collection of King Chulalongkorn’s son.
352-354 Sri Ayutthaya Rd., Phaya Thai, 02-246-1775-6 ext 229. Open daily 9am-4pm. BTS Phaya Thai
Thailand’s most valuable royal barges date back to the reign of King Rama I, and are reserved only for use at the most auspicious royal ceremonies. Each one is carved from pure teak and engraved with traditional mythical creatures gilded in gold. Look out for the highlight of the museum, the Suppanahong royal barge, which stretches 46 meters and features a golden mystical swan as its figurehead.
80/1 Arun Amarin Rd., Bangkok Old Town, 02-424-0004. Open daily 9am-5pm