In the former grounds of the 18th Century Wang Na Palace, The National Museum houses the largest collection of Thai art and artifacts in the country. It's definitely worth a visit, especially if visiting nearby Wat Phra Kaew or the Grand Palace.
Opened by King Rama V to exhibit the antiques and gifts bestowed to him by his father, it once held a reputation for being an ill-organised gathering of dusty relics. That has now changed, with exhibits now arranged into three areas consistent with Thai history, and good English-language descriptions available.
The front of the Sivamokhaphiman Hall is a Thai history gallery spanning the Sukothai through to the Rattanakosin periods. The Archaeological and Art History collection showcases items from Thailand's prehistory to Sukhotahai and Ayutthaya eras right through to the modern Thai Kingdom, including many ancient sculptures. Among scores of interesting collections in the decorative arts and ethnological collection are Chinese weapons, gold treasures, precious stones, Khon masks, puppets, ceramics, clothing and textiles, woodcarving and traditional musical instruments from around Southeast Asia.
Other exhibits of interest include a funeral chariot hall, featuring carriages used for royal cremations, and many excellent examples of Thai architecture. These include the Buddhaisawan chapel, a teak or 'red' house called Tam Nak Deang and various beautiful pavilions. Free English-language tours given by volunteers are available and also conducted in German (Thursdays), French and Japanese (Wednesdays).
Opening Hours: 09:00 - 16:00 (Wednesday - Sunday)
Location: Na Phrothat Road, near the Grand Palace
Tel: +66 (0)2 215 8173
How to get there: Taxi is probably the best way to go. Or embark the Chao Phraya Express Boat to Maharaj Pier, then walk about 20 minutes.