Before I went to India in February I spend a few days in Bangkok, and one of the things I wanted to do this time was to photograph at the National Museum, which had a good reputation. (The reason it has taken so long to publish from this photoshoot is that I deemed the Indian photographs were more urgent.)
I originally only planned on going once to the Museum, but it turned out to be so large, and so well organised that I eventually spent two days there, and I can recommend it to anyone who has some interest in Buddhist and Thai culture as it is one of the better organised collections I have come across.
The main gallery to see is called simply Room 1, and is where the best of the collections have been put on display, and it really is a superb collection, covering all time spans of history in the region, from pre-Thai Dwaravati and Srivijaya, to the arrival and flourishing of a distinctively Thai culture.
There are many more rooms around the museum that specialize in various periods, and I have arranged the 150 photographs according to time period: Dwaravati Period (6th – 11th centuries); Srivijaya (8th -13th centuries); Lopburi or Khmer (11-13th centuries); The Kingdom of Sukhothai (1238 until 1438); The Kingdom of Ayutthaya (1351 to 1767) and the Rattanakosin Period (1782 – Present).
Also in the Museum are numerous other buildings, including royal residences and chapels. One of them is the Buddhaisawan Chapel, which was built at the start of the Rattanakosin period under Rāma I. Besides being a fine building, it houses one of Thailand’s most important images, Phra Buddha Sihing, and has some fine Life of the Buddha murals too.