The National Gallery, just 5 minutes from Khao San Road, is housed in what used to be the Royal Mint. The main collection focuses on national artists, starting in the 17th century and working forwards. Without a great knowledge of Thai art, fully understanding the permanent collection can be difficult. But it's worth checking out the temporary, more modern exhibitions housed in the gardens and special collections building.
The museum is very easy to find. Coming from the Old Town you’ll find it at the opposite end of Sanam Luang to the Grand Palace. The nicest way to get there is by river taxi as you get to check out some great Bangkok sites on the way. You can take the express boat or the orange flag boat and get off at Phra Athit Pier (N13), walk to the end of the road then turn left at Chao Fah Road and continue walking for about 15 minutes. While probably not worth visiting by itself, there are other interesting attractions in the area.
- Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Tour
- Banyan Tree's Apsara Dinner Cruise
- Vertigo & Moon Bar Rooftop Dining
- Ayutthaya Ancient Capital Tour with River Cruise
- Shangri-La Hotel's Buffet Dinner Cruise
- Bridge on the River Kwai & Historic Railway Tour
- Siam Niramit Dinner Show
- Calypso Bangkok Cabaret Show
- Chao Phraya River Dinner Cruise
- Grand Palace & Emerald Buddha Half-Day Tour
The permanent collection is spread over 2 floors. If you're used to galleries in Europe, the paintings don’t seem well lit and there are also hardly any descriptions of the works. One highlight is the collection of paintings by past and present Kings of Thailand, including some very colourful works by H.M. King Bhumibhol Adulyadej painted in the 1960s. Some of the pieces in the ground floor sculpture room are also worth a look.
The garden and courtyard areas usually display some interesting sculptures. The special collection building is at the back of the courtyard with art from home and abroad – everything from painting to prints and installations.
Even the biggest art enthusiast would struggle to spend hours here. But if you happen to be in the area and are interested in getting a glimpse of Thai art throughout the ages or checking out the current King’s remarkable artistic skills, make a quick stop here during your time in the area.
National Art Gallery
- Opening Hours: Wednesday-Sunday from 9am to 4pm
- Location: 4 Chao Fa Rd, Chana Songkhram, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
- Tel: +66 (0)2 281 2224