The Royal Barges are a spectacular reminder of a bygone age in Thailand. These barges, each crafted in teak with mythical creatures intricately carved on the prows, are still used for state occasions, special ceremonies and, of course, the Royal Barge Procession that dates back to the Ayutthaya period. Up to 50 specially trained oarsmen man each vessel. Earlier versions of these barges fell victim to conflicts but King Rama 1 ordered construction of new barges including the ‘Suppanahong’ which has a golden swan as its figurehead and is regarded as the personal barge of the reigning monarch.