Thai Boat Museum
Admire traditional model boats at the Thai Boat Museum
Ayutthaya has a reputation of being the Venice of the east. Rivers and canals cover areas resembling a spider's web. While the royal institute uses barges for ceremonies and Royal Barges’ processions, many other people also use boats for commuting. Boats and Thais are inextricably linked. Today many types of boats have disappeared from rivers but here at the Thai Boat Museum, various boats have been reproduced reflecting the relationship of river and Thai lifestyle.
Mr. Phaithun Khaomala, the founder of the museum, was born at Baan Kao sub district of Krung Kao district. He was a government teacher at the College of Technology and Shipbuilding Industries. By his affectionate bond and interest in Thai boats, he, “built a house for boats” by selling his fields and establishing the Thai Boat Museum.
The Thai Boat Museum is at 12, Moo 1, Bang Ian Road, Phra Tu Chai sub district, Ayutthaya.
The museum is a two-story Thai-style teak house. Hundreds of models constructed by Mr. Phaithun himself are exhibited on the lower floor. Mr. Phaithun researches the boats by studying documents, Ayutthaya temple murals and Thai literature resources to bring traditional boats back to life.
Being a tour guide himself, Mr. Phaithun explains his knowledge to tourists. He is acquainted with handmade boats and has a love of them all.However, there are some boats he is particularly proud of such as a junk model widely used during the Ayutthaya period, a royal barge of King Naresuan imitated from Wat Suwandaram's murals, and a mard-pha-thoon boat built from his own imagination after reading Soonthorn-Phu's verse, a distinguished poet of Thailand.
There is no admission fee, tourists may contribute to this fascinating aspect of Thai culture by contributing a small sum for museum maintenance.