Royal Barge Museum

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Royal Barge Museum

Splendid ceremonial barges are berthed on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River. The boats, carved in the early part of the 19th century, take the form of mythical creatures in the Ramakien. The most impressive is the red-and-gold royal vessel called Suphannahongse (Golden Swan), used by the king on special occasions. Carved from a single piece of teak, it measures about 150 feet and weighs more than 15 tons. Fifty oarsmen propel it along the river, accompanied by flag wavers, two coxswains, and a rhythm-keeper. The museum is extremely difficult to find, so you may want to join a tour or take a taxi whose driver knows the area. Steer clear of scam artists offering tours or claiming that the museum is closed.

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