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The National Museum

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Bangkok’s National Museum is the big kahuna out of a long list of museums overseen by the Thai Fine Arts Department. Located across the road from Sanam Luang and a short walk north of the Grand Palace, it’s a mainstay on the itineraries of many visitors exploring the historic district.

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The complex greets you with all of the grandeur that you’d expect from the national museum of a proud and ancient country at the heart of a region with several different artistic traditions. The complex was originally built as Wang Na Palace in 1782 to house family members of Thai kings. King Rama V began moving in treasures here in 1887, and the National Museum officially opened in 1926.

Details on a throne of King Rama IV. Photo taken in or around The National Museum, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

Details on a throne of King Rama IV. Photo: David Luekens

Reopening in 2016 after a major facelift, the Siwamokkhaphiman Hall, or “Gallery of Thai Art,” sits front and centre and features some of the museum’s finest pieces in a jumbled, introductory format. Highlights include the huge head of a Buddha image once enshrined at Ayutthaya’s royal temple along with 1,400-year-old Hindu and Mahayana Buddhist statuary from the ancient Dvaravati and Srivijaya ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 400 words.)

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