There is always something to do in Bangkok – hunt down the latest goings-on with our what’s-on guide. Know of another event taking place that you want to share? Let us know in the comments!
It’s that time of year when the mercury soars and Bangkok goes crazy for water fights to mark the Thai new year festival of Songkran. There’s more to Songkran than water fights – more traditional festivities include everything from pouring water over the hands of elders to pay them respect, to making giant sand sculptures in the grounds of Buddhist temples – and this year authorities are encouraging us all to consider less water-intensive ways of celebrating, given the drought that’s currently gripping Thailand.
But there’s little doubt that the city’s usual party hotspots – everywhere from Silom to Khaosan and RCA – will still be heaving with thousands of revellers out making a splash in Bangkok’s infamous Songkran street parties. There will also be festivities at seven riverside attractions, including temples Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Wat Prayoon, and Wat Kalaya, plus the Tha Maharaj pier, Yodpiman River Walk at Pak Khlong Talat flower market, and Asiatique the Riverfront.
These 1,650 cute papier-mache pandas have been darting all over Thailand since last month. Part of flash mobs to highlight the terrifyingly low number of pandas remaining in the wild, the art-minded conversation project has taken in eight Bangkok attractions, plus stints in Ayutthaya and, by popular demand, Chiang Mai.
The 1600 Pandas+ World Tour began in 2008 and has already taken in cities including Paris and Hong Kong. At the end of each stage of the tour, the panda models are sold (or ‘adopted’, as the French artist behind the project prefers to term it); so far, over USD 300,000 has been raised for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Right now, the pandas are on the final leg of their tour, in semi-permanent residence at Central Embassy daily, 10am-10pm, until 10 April. www.1600pandasplusth.com and www.facebook.com/1600pandasplusth
WTF Gallery & Café, one of our favourite arty bar haunts in Bangkok, plays host to this exhibition by filmmaker and video artist Jirawut Ueasungkomsate. Questioning the effect of repression in art on both the creator and the audience, the exhibition explores how discussion and expression can be driven into dark corners, meaning ambiguities proliferate until it is almost impossible to determine what is being said and yet for the same reason even everyday minutiae obscurely seems to carry meaning. Expect to be guided through a darkened room armed with a torch with which to explore Jirawut’s work, 15 low-resolution portraits of people who have gone missing, most of them unknown to the public. WTF’s gallery is open Tuesday-Sunday, 4-10pm; free entrance; Sukhumvit Soi 51 (BTS Thong Lor); www.wtfbangkok.com, www.facebook.com/wtf.bangkok and www.bit.ly/wtfjirawut
Our regular evening of conversation about every aspect of Thai culture returns! As usual, you can expect six speakers talking on six random topics for six minutes, and tackling the weirdest, wackiest and most engaging topics connected to Thailand and its culture. We’re also throwing a random performer and a charity speaker into the evening, and all profits from the event benefit the cause selected for the month. 7.00-9.30pm; 300 baht on the door; Sathorn Soi 9 (BTS Chong Nonsi); www.facebook.com/random.thainess and www.randomtalks.org
How will you be spending your time in April in Bangkok? Let us know in the comments!
Photos by John Shedrick; 1600 Pandas+; WTF Bangkok; Random Thainess.