A Visit to the Bangkok Art and Culture Center in Bangkok, Thailand
When I toured Thailand, one of the first few places I visited on my own was the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. I expected various artwork and cultural exhibitions and it surely did not disappoint.
The Bangkok Culture and Arts Center was opened as a government project in July 2008 after so many delays aiming "to become a place for cultural exchange" (Wikipedia).
If you are an art enthusiast planning to visit this center on your Bangkok tour, read on to know what to expect.
Find the Bangkok Art and Culture Center
How to Go to Bangkok Art and Culture Center
The Bangkok Art and Culture Center is located at 939 Rama I Rd, Khwaeng Wang Mai, at Khet Pathum Wan, Thailand. The nearest train station is the National Station of the BTS Silom Line. I went on my first solo train ride and got on Petchaburi Station MRT Blue Line, got off at Silom Station, transferred to the BTS Silom Line Sala Daeng Station then finally got off at the National Stadium Station.
Upon exiting the BTS station, the Bangkok Arts and Culture Center was at the left side whilst going to the right leads toward the MBK Shopping Center. If by train, depending on which station you will be coming from, there will be several interchanges where you will be able to conveniently transfer from one line to the next. The center is also accessible by bus, cab or by express boat. The nearest ferry terminal is Saphan Hua Chang Pier.
The Art and Culture Center Experience
The building’s design was contemporary and circular with nine floors of oil paintings, drawings, handicrafts, souvenirs, photographs, musical instruments, locally designed merchandise and other forms of artworks.
The train station entrance led me to the fourth floor which displayed paintings in various sizes. I learned there was an art exhibit from the seventh to the ninth floor but as I headed to the escalator going to the seventh, the guard asked me to deposit my belongings in one of the lockers in the sixth floor. In the sixth level, you will see the information desk where you will be able to inquire about the center and the current and future exhibits. I paid the security deposit of 100 Baht and got my locker key, prepared my phone and camera as visitors were permitted to document the experience, deposited my bag to my assigned locker then up I went.
The upper level art exhibition was entitled “Crossing the Dateline” which ran for a little over four months. An exhibition by a group of Thai and international artists who have met during their residency in Vermont, USA, “Crossing the Dateline” was described as “to interpret the act of crossing whether to cross the boundary of time, relationship and culture” through various media to “invite the viewer to enrich their interpretation and understanding of time that relies on perception and realities that depend on social changes.” It showed numerous photographs, paintings in different medium and sizes, and an assortment of framed objects.
After more than an hour of exploring the upper floors, I got my belongings back then headed down to the fifth floor which hosted an exhibit entitled “What is Not Visible is Not Invisible”. I was ushered through the entrance that led to a huge dark room with several smaller sections covered by black curtains. The exhibition mostly showed various videos and lights showing different patterns. I thought it was an interesting display but would’ve been great if there had been more to show.
The second and third floors consist of smaller sections; some coffee shops and snack bars, a shop selling musical instruments and giving music lessons, a store of locally designed merchandise, toys and handicrafts and smaller art exhibits. The room that got my attention was the one entitled “Gloomy Mind”. It is all about the artist’s expression of all the negative things in life; illnesses and dysfunctions whether physical or mental. The display featured mostly oil painting in theme of black and red. Though interesting, I thought the theme was too dark and the artist was too lonely with too much issues. Outside the partition of the rooms, there were stalls also selling souvenirs and one with a caricature artist painting visitors’ faces for a fee. I also noted some unfinished empty rooms.
I went down to the ground floor to check out the Basketry Exhibit. Baskets, fashionable bags and hats in different designs made with local materials were on full display. There was also a conference hall, which was closed during my visit that was being used for various events held in the Arts Center.
I appreciated my time at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. I like that its location is very accessible and just a few steps away from a train station. The building design and set up is good, hosting a variety of artwork exhibition all at same time that tourists and locals could enjoy for free (no admission fee). Food and drink is also easily accessible for visitors who are done exploring the nine levels of artwork feast. For all these and my overall touring experience, I am giving BACC four stars.
Note: This article has been updated to include photos of our most recent tour in BACC last August 2018.
© 2018 Sheila Navio-Pornan