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Opening as the first public museum in 1874, the National Museum and was relocated to the current site in 1887.
It is now the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia, featuring fine examples of art from throughout the region, some dating back to Neolithic times. The museum makes an interesting stop particularly if you're travelling throughout north and central Thailand.
Highlights include Room 15, which has a large collection of musical instruments and recorded music. Room 17 contains the ornate Royal Funeral Chariots, while room 13 displays some impressive wooden carvings including an incredible set of 15 cm -thick teak doors carved in the 19th century and partially damaged by fire in 1959. Rooms 1 and 2 display some items more than 5,000 years old, which are informatively showcased to provide information on Thailand's heritage. A good collection of Thai art from the Sukhothai period also graces the museum, while a gallery dedicated to the Dvaravati and Khmer periods is also comprehensive.
Exhibits provide English information and free tours are available. English tours are Wednesdays and Thursdays departing from the ticket kiosk at 09:30. Wednesdays focus on Buddhism while Thursdays cover Thai culture and art. A restaurant on the grounds makes the museum a rather civilised spot to spend a morning or afternoon browsing through the different pavilions, some of which are architectural exhibits in their own right.
How to get there
The museum is on the west side of Sanam Luang, just over 500m north of the Grand Palace and also within walking distance of Wat Mahathat and Wat Pho. The closest pier is Tha Chang (N9), a good five to ten-minute walk from the museum.