Snarled traffic, packed restaurants, hour-long waits at W District, bands playing and bars (illicitly) serving booze. For better or worse, Bangkok has turned the page once again on the pandemic as daily infections continue to taper off and many pretend it never happened.
After two years spent mostly at home, we may have forgotten what it means to go out. Before we lose our lives to the metaverse, here are some things that can be attended in person, without any login or connection problems.
Do wear a mask and be responsible. Until the next surge, Bangkok awaits!
Bring a frothy thermos filled with kratom juice and chill out at free outdoor concerts being staged by the indie and experimental musicians of Panda Records. It’s been a long time since a Stone Free Music Festival, but Wannarit “Pok” Pongprayoon and friends continue making music unlike anything you’ll hear in Bangkok, and they’re doing it every weekend in revolving outdoor locations from under Saphan Phut to the little park by the khlong at the top of Ekkamai. Organizer Tapokaew Pongprayoon posts times and locations weekly.
Wander through history and fantastic buildings of the old quarter on your way to Museum Siam where its story is told in recreated 19th century glass plate photography, lighting and other exhibitions. While Cultural District 2021 runs all October, this weekend is the highlight: Rangsit University students and T’la Frame Studio will show a trippy animation of optical illusions while the Museum Siam building host lighting installations and be bathed in projection mapping.
As COVID-19 measures relaxed, art galleries and spaces have reopened with many exhibitions and shows to explore. Thai filmmaker Apitchatpong Weerasethakul documents his return to home of Isaan during the pandemic at A Minor History over at downtown gallery 100 Tonson Foundation.
To get things spooky for Halloween, artist Thirathan Sarakham draws upon his affinity for pop culture murder fests such as Friday the 13th, The Shining and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. His display, dubbed Night of the Serial Killers, is showing at Sathorn 11 Art Space.
SAC gallery’s first and third floors each house an exhibition: Wiwat Tongkaew’s realistic paintings are effective tools to criticize society, while in the other, artist Pichai Pongsasaovapark’s uses a steamroller to crush coffee beans, vegetables and flowers in the name of art.
Street artist Headache Stencil just announced this week that he will host a month-long event called Uncensored which shows works by more than 30 artists opposed to Thailand’s persistent dictatorship.
Take a break from all screens large and small at home – and return to the ones at cinemas! Apart from long-waited No Time to Die, Dune and Black Widow, folks should consider indie cinemas like House Samyan and newly opened Doc Club & Pub, too. (House Samyan just brought back Wim Wenders’ classic Faraway, So Close!)
Refill your lungs with fresh air
While it may not be the party scene, a lot of us have been forced to live a little healthier. Now we can even go back to the green spaces which were closed alongside the pubs. With public parks reopened, it’s worth a visit to the renovated Benjakiti Park, where joggers can take a peek at the yet-official improvements. Another new escape is a tiny “pocket park” off Rama IV Road offering fitness bars, exercise gear, a running track and seats. Those in the On Nut area can revisit Sansiri Backyard off Soi Sukhumvit 77 for a running track circling a plant market, vegetable patches and livestock farms. The venue is children and pet-friendly too!
Skate parks (of course!)
Ride the wave at Bangkok’s best new skate parks. In addition to the punk-legit park atop Ekkamai Road, Bangkok lately has loads of new, surf skate-specific spaces giving the concrete wave-riding community more great options such as Boomer Studio, H Space Pump Track, Never Wave, Jump Master Skate Haus, Serve Skate, Farmer Surfer and Surflab.