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Although the procession consists of 26 boats, only a handful of these are designated as royal with others performing the roles of escorts.
The National Museum of Royal Barges displays eight of the boats used in these processions, the oldest of which is nearly 100-years-old.
Each royal barge is intricately decorated with coloured paint and metallic and reflected inlays, each boat displaying a different mythological figure or decoration at its head. The barges stretch for up to 50 metres in length, requiring over 60 crew per boat. The largest barge on display, Suphannahong, is used by the King himself.
The sheds which contain the barges also hold somewhat shabby displays of other items such as the Royal Lean Pillow and the Royal Footrest.
How to get there
The barges are located a short distance up Khlong Bangkok Noi, off the Chao Phraya River. The museum is usually a part of khlong tours, but can be viewed easily on your own as well. Catch the Chao Phraya Express Boat to N12, or if coming from the Khao San area take the cheaper cross-river ferry from underneath Pinklao Bridge. Then walk up the road 100 metres and take the first left on Soi Wat Dusitaram. The entrance of the museum is inconspicuous, recognisable by a small sign and a couple of food vendors. The path meanders for 300 metres around local houses, but just keep going and follow the signs that pop up.
Last updated on 16th February, 2012.