National Museum Bangkok

Journey through the various stages of Thailand’s history at the home of the nation’s biggest art and crafts collection.

Visit National Museum Bangkok to see valuable pieces of Thai heritage and art up close. View ancient sculptures, royal antiques and statues of Buddha from every era of Thai history, all surrounded by traditional Thai architecture.

The National Museum Bangkok dates back to the 19th century. King Rama V started a public museum in 1874 in the Grand Palace complex to display the many treasures left to him by his father. This collection was later moved to nearby Wang Na and kings have since added to it.

Today, the museum’s many galleries span history from the time of the first capital cities, Sukothai and Ayutthaya, through to Rattanakosin and the modern Thai Kingdom. You could spend a day looking at just the collection of art, musical instruments, costumes and antiques. If you have limited time, grab a map from the entrance and take your pick from galleries dedicated to different artistic periods and various Asian regions.

Visit the teak Red House, built for a sister of King Rama I, and admire the Chinese carved bed. Most people visit the Buddhasaiwan shrine, an ornate building which contains some of the oldest murals in Bangkok and a Phra Phutta Sihing statue. Bangkok is one of three cities that claims to have the original of this highly-revered Buddha figure. Whether the real thing or not, this statue is paraded around each Thai New Year so people can sprinkle it with water for luck.

In the ornate halls, you’ll also find other still-functional relics such as the funeral chariots. These decorative carriages occasionally take royals to their final resting place.

he museum is located in the Old City. You can walk to it from the Grand Palace or Khao San Road, or take a taxi or the ferry to Tha Phrachan Nuea pier. It is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and national public holidays. There is an admission fee, and there are in-depth tours that you can join if you visit early morning on Wednesday or Thursday.

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