This huge boathouse on the Chao Phraya River has eight ornately carved Royal Barges and other artifacts and documentation. The tradition of members of royalty sailing on the river in ornate, carved golden boats dates back to the Ayutthaya Period. The boats have carved figureheads on the bows that often depict stars from the Hindu pantheon such as Hanuman the monkey god and Garuda the eagle-man.
The current King’s barge, known as Supphannahong,or Golden Swan, is carved from a single piece of timber and is 50 meters long, making it the longest dugout boat in the world. The boats are only brought out for the occasional extra-special ceremony, such as the King’s 80th birthday celebration in 2007. As many as 50 boats are assembled in a regal flotilla on these occasions: the King’s boat requires 50 crew members, 7 umbrella bearers, 2 navigators, a flagman, a rhythm-keeper, and a chanter.