ICONSIAM has teamed up with Right Man Co Ltd to present a new travel experience – the first of its kind in ASEAN – with the Zheng Zhao Floating Museum that is the first floating museum on the Chao Phraya River, the historical river that the naval fleet of modified junks for military operations used during restoring Siam’s independence after the second fall of Ayutthaya. To commemorate the 250th anniversary of founding of Thonburi, the former capital of the Kingdom, and the legacy of its ruler King Taksin the Great, the life-size statue of King Taksin holding a sword is enshrined on the deck giving a chance for both Thai and foreign visitors to pay homage to the great King who fought to unify the kingdom until it is firmly established today. King Taskin has been a revered King among Thai-Chinese descendants and his life and works across all fields from warring combat operations, rebuilding the nation to trading skills to make Thonburi the major port city along the Chao Phraya River are exhibited in the museum that is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 8pm at ICONSIAM pier (pier 5) from now onwards.
In remembrance of King Taksin’s great contribution to the country and to commemorate the King Taksin Memorial Day which falls on December 28 annually, ICONSIAM and Right Man Co Ltd make a return of Thailand’s first “floating museum”. Visitors are invited to embark on the real junk named Zheng Zhao Junk that will bring visitors travelling back in time during the reign of King Taksin the Great. During November 2018 to February 2019, the junk that was then named Si Maha Samut meaning “the glory of the sea” was docked at ICONSIAM to tell the story of maritime trade and diplomacy between Thonburi and other foreign countries. During four-month presentation, it received a huge success with over 60,000 visitors.
The junk returns in grandeur style this year and the Si Maha Samut Junk is transformed into the Zheng Zhao Junk named after the Chinese name of King Taksin which means the King of Siam (the royal name the Chinese Qing Dynasty called him). The dock is enshrined with the life-size, standing statue of King Taksin the Great holding a sword. The statue is crafted by sculptors who spend 40 days to make the perfect statue in honor of the great warrior King in Thai history. Facial features and posture are based on the Grand Statue of King Taksin and his statue at his shrine in the Old Palace (which is under the supervision of the Royal Thai Navy). Every process from casting, carving with fine clay to molding, construction and coloring is painstakingly crafted to make sure that the result will reflect King Taksin as the great, strong and decisive commander. The museum also celebrates the King’s vision to choose Thonburi as a new capital of Siam after the fall of Ayutthaya Kingdom as well as his all-round abilities to urgently rehabilitate the nation until it has been civilized today.
After on board, the route will start from the top to the lower floors. The first room is Caption’s Room retelling the history during King Taksin’s seven-month efforts to liberate the nation from the Burmese invaders after the second fall of Ayutthaya. King Taskin possessed exceptional skills in both battlegrounds and waterway battles and visitors will bring back to the battle route in winning back the nation. The route began in the eastern province of Chanthaburi where the King took over after the fall of Ayutthaya. There, he ordered to construct and repair the battle boats and gathering the junks of Chinese merchants to be modified for military operation too. Then, he led his fleet to the mouth of the Chao Phraya River. The next room is the Troop Room designed to portray the atmosphere and life of the crews. On display are mattresses, pillows, hammocks and various utensils to pinpoint the existence without much comfort. Sailors had to sleep in a tight communal space, often for several months for end. Much of the space must be reserved for foods, fresh water, weapons and other necessary tools. The lowest floor houses the Hall of Civilization displaying products and weapons together with an exhibition featuring major incidents in the reign of King Taksin the Great. The chronology of the wars he fought to unify the kingdom, his initiatives and royal works in administration, society, religions, arts and cultures as well as Thonburi-China trade relations and diplomacy are also presented to honor his great abilities and contributions to the country.
The state-of-the-art interactive and multimedia mapping are used to give visitors memorable experiences as if they are travelling back to the sailing route of the fleet of junks to liberate the kingdom in Thonburi era. The boats of traders constructed in Siam during that time had been largely adapted from Chinese junks thanks to the long trading tie with Chinese merchants since
the Ayutthaya era. King Taksin was ordered to gather and construct many Chinese junks used for waterway battle and his naval troop was the great and significant force to beat the invaders that laid siege to Ayutthaya. The Chinese junk was thus considered as a symbol of prosperity of Siam. Visitors will also be thrilled with the battle led by the great warrior King in the Projection Mapping technique to illustrate his mastering in warring combat operations as he effectively managed to battle against enemies during his reign to free the kingdom. His royal works and initiatives to rebuild the nation across all fields from
administration, society, to religions, arts and cultures as well as his vehement efforts to restore the morale of people are also celebrated in the presentation via a reproduction of the royal play composition of Ramayana, Tripitaka, exhibition boards, and Interactive Mirror allowing visitors to enjoy a role play of citizens living in Thonburi era with a fusion of nationalities. During the 15-year reign, King Taksin the Great had developed the word trade routes by ordering the junks to sail to different places for tying the trading relationship between Thonburi and foreign countries particularly China with his aim to bring the commerce back to life and make Thonburi prosperous. His trading skills are featured through a giant screen with Interactive Scrim technique as well as a display of exported goods of Thonburi and imported products.
All you need to learn about Thonburi and the greatest contributions of the warrior King Taksin can be found at the Zheng Zhao Junk – the one and the only floating museum on the Chao Phraya River. It is open from now onwards, from Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 8pm at ICONSIAM pier (pier 5), ICONSIAM on Charoen Nakhon Road. For further information, call 1338 or visit www.iconsiam.com.