Thailand is a global destination for vacationers, but like most countries with beautiful beaches and world class resorts, it’s easy to overlook the cultural centres in favour of the spas, restaurants and occasional parties. While we wouldn’t recommend skipping out on the day cruises or massages, we’ve found a few places that make taking in the fine arts just as appealing.
If you love Toronto’s new Museum of Contemporary Arts (MOCA), you’ll be happy to learn it’s only one of many MOCA museums across the world. Located in Bangkok, Thailand’s location mixes Thai artists with globally recognized sculptors and painters while contemporary pieces are displayed in the same spaces as historic ones. Reflecting that, the architecture in some areas of has carvings and decorative windows laid into the cement walls while other areas have a more typical art gallery vibe, with large expanses of white walls and glass displays.
If you’re looking for something more interactive (and instagrammable), Bangkok’s Art in Paradise specializes in optical illusions that were made to be photographed. Pose alongside ballerinas, Salvadore Dali and Albert Einstein or with giraffes, polar bears, elephants and penguins.
According to their impressive attendance of 1.7 million visitors a year, the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre has become one of Thailand’s go to art galleries for a regularly rotating list of exhibitions. A large, eclectic space near Pathumwan junction in one of the city’s major shopping centres, the gallery is an accessible destination for music, film, live performance art, workshops and lectures. And with their People’s Gallery, where anyone can submit their work for display, it takes the idea of supporting local artists seriously.
Phuket Art Village
If you can tear yourself away from the beaches and resorts of Phuket for a few hours, the Phuket Art Village is just off the town’s main road. Founded by a group of Thai artists, this collective is made up of multiple structures that serve as homes, studios and galleries you can wander between. Full of contemporary paintings and sculptures by the eight resident artists, the art you find on the island of Phuket is unlike anything you’ll find on the mainland… or anywhere else in the world.