Bangkok is the home of Thailand’s national museum. Built on the land once housing the Wang Na Palace, the National Museum of Bangkok is the largest museum in Thailand. In addition, it boasts a vast array of Thai antiquities, art, exhibits and more. With the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew in close proximity, the museum has fast become a favorite amongst tourists and locals alike.
The museum opened its doors in 1874 under the order of King Rama V to show the collection of antiques and gifts that his father obtained during his rule. For many years the museum had a reputation of being disorganized and full of the remains of unknown pieces of art. This has long changed and the museum has become world renowned for its collections.
The museum is not only a major collector of Thai art and ancient relics, but it carries large collections of Indian, Chinese, and Vietnamese influenced antiquities. The King Ram Khamhaeng and Cambodian Khmer collections are among the most extensive in the world. In addition, the funeral chariot hall highlights the carriages used for regal funerals and cremations. The exhibits also showcase the intricate designs used in Thai architecture and in chapels and pavilions. Visitors can walk the ancient grounds to view real life examples of Thai history.
Visitors to the museum should set aside two hours for observing and touring in order to take in all of the collections. English language tours are provided free of charge. There is a fee to enter the museum and it is not open on Mondays or Tuesdays. Located within walking distance of several historic sites, the National Museum of Bangkok receives hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world every year.