|Elder Meeker on the Chao Phraya River in a long tailed boat|
|Elder Meeker in the Royal Barge Museum|
At the Royal Barge museum you can discover eight of Thailand's most unique and stunning vessels: the Royal Barges. These boats are reserved for auspicious ceremonies and state occasions like the very rare Royal Barge Procession, and have only made an appearance on the water 16 times in the last 65 years. Each is carved from huge pieces of teak, their prows engraved with mythical creatures, gilded in gold and intricately decorated with tiny shimmering pieces of glass. Rowed by up to 50 specially trained oarsmen, the boats leave their dry dock at festival times and important state occasions for spectacular processions along the river.
Each of the eight royal barges has a sign indicating the name, the year of construction or renovation and the number of crew it requires to operate it... it is rather impressive to think that the largest amd most important vessel named 'Suphannahonse' is 46 meters long and needs 50 oarsmen and 14 crew members!
During Thailand's turbulent history, the barges were often damaged or partly destroyed by bombings or fire. All around the building photos and illustration are displayed showing past processions and the remains of previous vessels as well as the techniques used to operate the barges.
Many of the Boats were damaged by Japanese bombing during World War II. The Current King (longest currently serving King in the World) had the Barges restored for the first time in the 1950's.
|Sister Meeker close to one of the Royal seating areas|
|Lucky Bamboo plants woven together|
|Various Figure heads on the Bow|
|Side view close up|
|Yes that is a cannon in the front of this barge|
|Serpent heads that would cradle the King when he slept|
After leaving the Museum, we then went back to the river and entered Klong Mon (Mon Canal) for the long trip to an Orchard Farm. That was quite a ways inland and finished on a very narrow canal.
|Typical Thai residence on the Canal - Wooden structure with Corrugated Tin Roof|
|Affluent Thai house on the Canal|
|Nice Thai Home with Historically accurate Architecture|
|Our Long Tailed Boat Driver with Elder Meeker - note the narrow canal we are on|
|Getting around on the Canal|
|Prepared food sales from the Boat - directly to your back porch|
|Passing another Long Tailed boat on the way back home|