The Bangkok National Museum is one of the loveliest I’ve seen. The galleries occupy several ornate buildings that were once home to Thai princes. There are three main exhibitions showcasing Thai history, art, and architecture. It is the first national museum in Thailand, having been established by King Rama V in the 19th century. Originally a showcase for the royal collection, the Bangkok National Museum is now the largest museum in Southeast Asia. Aside from a group of school children, I had the place nearly to myself.
My favorite gallery is the one on Thai art and culture. It features all manner of handicrafts, musical instruments, weaponry, textiles, and jewelry. Cases are brimming with antique porcelain vases and elaborate costumes used in theater performances. Gilded carriages sit next to cannons and doors salvaged from ruined temples. Royal items of note include a throne from the sacked palace at Ayutthaya and the ceremonial chariots used exclusively to carry deceased royals on their final journey. I could have spent hours exploring this section!
The Bangkok National Museum also houses an impressive collection of ancient religious artifacts from across Southeast Asia and India. The pieces in this gallery include an intriguing mix of Buddhist, Hindu, Chinese, and Khmer sculptures.
Don’t miss the Buddhaisawan Chapel! It houses Thailand’s second most important Buddha image after the Emerald Buddha. The murals covering the walls are original to the chapel and incredibly well preserved. Even more amazing is that I was completely alone inside the sanctuary. Assuming my experience was typical, if you want a quiet place to reflect, this is it.
Do you want to visit the Bangkok National Museum? You can find the latest ticket prices and entrance hours on the museum website.
Plan your trip with my Bangkok itinerary!