Miniature royal barges, royal history take center stage at new tourist attraction

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A new museum and theater hopes to draw tourists to East Pattaya with its spotlight on the legacy of HM the King and his celebrated royal barges.

The Miniature Thai Royal Barge Performance Center next to the Tesco-Lotus Express store near Soi Siam Country Club marked its grand opening Jan. 17, almost exactly three months after a fire heavily damaged the tourist attraction three days before its planned debut.

Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome cuts the ribbon to officially open the new Miniature Thai Royal Barge Performance Center. Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome cuts the ribbon to officially open the new Miniature Thai Royal Barge Performance Center.

Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome, Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome and Tourism Authority of Thailand Pattaya Director Athapol Vannakit were on hand to congratulate museum director Jirames Choksuritakeit on the center, which illustrates the history of the Royal Family and offers an interactive review of the spectacularly decorated barges in a “4-D” theater that combines 3-D video with moving chairs.

Jirames, who previously created the popular Mini Siam tourist attraction, began planning the miniature barge exhibition 15 years ago. Historical content was developed in partnership with Professor Viratham Trakul Ngeunthai, winner of Thailand’s “Outstanding Citizen in Publishing” award in 2009. The educational material is brought to life in the 4-D theater with its 360-degree screen.

“It is absolutely delightful that someone in Pattaya built a cultural tourism center,” Sukumol said. “The Miniature Thai Royal Barge Performance Center is the exhibit on the river and illustrates Thailand’s elegant heritage, culture and traditions.”

The Miniature Thai Royal Barge Performance Center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, see the museum’s website at Miniature ThaiRoyalBarge.com.