Skyscraper and Canvas: A Modern Art Tour of Bangkok

In a short time, Bangkok has grown from a sleepy city of canals and Buddhist temples to a sprawling metropolis of skyscrapers and shopping malls (for some the new place of worship). Contemporary Artists debate what these changes and development mean for Thai Society. Through their art, they plead with Thai society not to forget their roots. They also are attempting to build a bridge between the past, present, and future.

We will be introducing you to some of Thailand’s most dynamic artists in Thailand’s most dynamic city (Bangkok). For highbrow honeymoons, this makes the perfect stop before bohemian beach life or the tranquil north.  Come and discover how the artists see the city and begin to understand Thailand, both for how it appears now and in the future.

Day 1 – Arrive Bangkok: The Siam/ Private Luxury Penthouse /Ariyasom

Upon your arrival in Bangkok we will transfer you from the airport to your hotel. We work with The Siam and the Ariyasom Villa (gorgeous luxury and boutique properties respectfully.) We also have access to a private luxury penthouse overlooking the city if you want to see things from the Thai perspective. Lastly we would recommend the Sofitel So for clients looking for hip and chic. 

Please rest and in the afternoon we will pick you up and take you to SAC Art Center.  This Art Space has long been at the forefront of Thailand’s cutting edge contemporary Art. We will introduce you to the head curators (who are also the founders sons) and take you on a private tour of the art space and their collection. We will also introduce you to one of the artists SAC is featuring that month to have a conversation on Thai Art and where its heading. For collectors especially this is a great opportunity to get in on the ‘ground floor’.

In the evening, we’ll be heading out to ChinaTown to meet with one of Bangkok’s most connected expats. Fluent in Thai this English filmmaker has been involved with everything from major commercial shoot to Hollywood films. He’ll be meeting us for dinner at Foo John, a hip restaurant inside one of Chinatown’s historic buildings. Then afterward we’ll head out for a soiree at one of China Towns most hipster of galleries. Here your in-the-know host will lay out for you the many different scenes and scenesters that makeup Bangkok’s art elite. He will also be discussing the rapid changes this neighborhood has seen and how the old and the new coexist in one of Bangkok’s Chinatown.

Day 2  -BANGKOK: The Siam/ Private Luxury Penthouse /Ariyasom

Today we’ll begin our day taking a private car to meet with one of our favorite photographers.  DK knows the secrets of this city as only someone who was born and raised here can. us. On past outings, we have encountered a Nepalese wedding in a Hindu Temple, Chinese bodybuilders, high heeled shoe-makers, Buddha factories, just to name a few. Though we will tailor the photography activity just for you, we will make sure to leave room for serendipity!

Afterwards, we will head to meet the master of Thai Photography, Manit Sriwanichpoom, whose “Pink Man” series is regarded as some of the boldest and daring work Thailand has ever produced.   We will be visiting Manit at his Kathmandu Gallery, where he will give us his perspective on his photography, the changes Bangkok’s undergone, and also introduce us to other Photographers who have captured Thailand.  Manit is one of Asia’s most brilliant artists, and it’s a pleasure to broaden his exposure to a western audience. After your photography experience, we will be returning to your accommodation by private car.

In the evening, we will introduce you to Jim Algie, the writer behind Bizarre Thailand and one of the best writers of “Bangkok Noir”, that are the flipside to Bangkok’s glitz and glamour.  We’ll meet Jim in Bangkok’s Red Light District for a crash course on how Raymond Chandler’s work would have looked in a Far East Setting, as we hear about seedy and tragic characters and the writers (both fiction and non) it has inspired.

Then we’ll travel to one of Bangkok’s glitziest bars where Jim will explain the relation between those at the bottom of Thai Society to those at the top and how this inequality has led to an ongoing dialogue about the country’s future in both contemporary Thai literature.

Day 3 – BANGKOK: The Siam/ Ariyasom / Luxury Penthouse

Today in the morning we will travel by private car to Bangkok’s Silpakorn University, regarded as the Best Art School in Thailand.  Here we will be given a tour by one of the university’s leading professors (matching your personal art interests of course), as you have the privilege of witnessing young Thai Artists go through the process of refining their voice and techniques. The university also has quite the collection of past student’s works who’ve gone on to do great things in the international art world which we’ll be happy to give you an insider’s look at.

Afterwards, we will have two choices both of which we will visit by private car:

  • For serious collectors, we can review some investment opportunities. First, Jorn Middelborg of Thavibu Art Advisory. Jorn has in his private collection works available for sale for artists currently featured in MOMA and The Guggenheim. For those looking to capitalize on the under-valued of art in South East Asia, he offers the best access to Vietnamese, Burmese and Thai Artists of all Thailand’s galleries.
  • For collectors looking for Western Artists as well as SE Asian Artists, we can take you to H Gallery which has an equally vetted and high-quality collection of art (Please confirm with Asia Art Tours your investment capital for art prior, both these galleries are quite exclusive).
  • For those not interested in art investment we will head to Khlong Bang Luang Artist House by private car. This beautiful old townhouse stands in the neighborhood of Thonburi, which so far has resisted mass development and is full of traditional architecture, noodle shops and scenes from Bangkok’s slowly disappearing way of life. At Klong Bang Luang we’ll be met by a local artist as we take in a traditional Thai puppetry troupe, explore the neighborhood, and meet the locals who oversee its shops and temples.  Afterwards, we will return to your property by private car.

In the evening we will head by private car to the Nai Lert Home. This stunning property has been reopened to the public after 2 years of renovations. Nai Lert was home to one of the city’s most famous developers from Bangkok and has been converted into a museum and restaurant. We will take a tour of the property and learn more about its history before sitting down for our meal.

If available we will also have a family member come and speak with you privately as to how they are using Nai Lert to build a bridge from Bangkok’s past architecture to its future.

Day 4 – BANGKOK: The Siam/ Ariyasom / Luxury Penthouse

Today we will get behind the lens with one of Bangkok’s most interesting filmmakers, Marcelo Von Schwartz.  Marcelo is well trained in both the theory of filmmaking and its execution. For your time together we suggest two options:

  • Marcelo can take you ‘behind the lens’ of some of the great filmmakers who have used Bangkok as their canvas, which includes: Wang Kar Wai, Brian DePalma, and Danny Boyle. Marcelo will show you some of the locations they used, and as a director himself,  explain why a certain setting was chosen.
  • Marcelo also possesses extensive training in architecture and its use in filmmaking. We can take those interested for an excursion into disappearing Bangkok. Marcelo will take us deep into neighborhoods he has documented to look at how traditional buildings and cultures are being displaced to make way for skyscrapers and ultra-modern buildings. This makes for a fascinating debate on culture and development

We will conclude our time with Marcelo with a nice lunch at a wonderful local eatery and chat about what we witnessed.

Afterwards, we will continue by private car on to NOVA CONTEMPORARY Gallery.  Rather than focusing on the past, NOVA is attempting to build a bridge, they are attempting to sever all links. They consistently show the most challenging, and rule-breaking art in Thailand. We will introduce you to the founder of NOVA CONTEMPORARY, a MOMA alum, and give you a behind the scenes tour of Bangkok’s most challenging gallery. For those interested, we can also arrange a visit with the artist featured in the gallery during your visit.

In the evening we will be heading by private car to the flagship restaurant of Bangkok: Issaya, one of Asia’s 50 best restaurants for a meal cooked by the Iron Chef of Thailand Ian Kittichai.  Using modern techniques to bring to life Thai classics, Chef Kittichai perhaps tells the story of present-day Bangkok best, as his dishes exemplify the past and future together on one plate.

If you’d like we can also invite a local noted food journalist, who won’t be critiquing your meal! Instead, they will be talking about how Thai Food is becoming more and more respected in the international culinary community and just what elevates Thai cooking to the level of Michelin.

Day 5 – BANGKOK: Arayasom Villa / Luxury Penthouse

With your time in Bangkok coming to an end, it’s time to make some physical memories to take back home.

In the morning we’ll travel by private car and meet with American Artist Amy Diener at her home and studio. Amy, will be teaching you “Mandala Dot Painting”.  Her work is inspired by the Buddhist technique of painting elaborate designs in sand that are then destroyed to symbolize the transitory nature of material life. We won’t be destroying your work though! You’ll have a chance to create your own painting or to purchase one of Amy’s signature works after she has finished teaching you this truly gorgeous art.

Lastly, in the afternoon we’ll return by private car to Issaya, this time not the restaurant but the cooking school. After enjoying his work the night before, you’ll have a chance to enjoy a cooking class with Iron Chef Ian Kittichai.  Here in the Issaya’s state of the art cooking school, we will learn the techniques and philosophy that Chef Kittichai cooks with and how we can apply these ideas in our own kitchens, regardless of if you’re cooking Thai Food.  It’s one of the best chances in Bangkok to see food elevated to an art form.

If you’re still in Bangkok another night we would be happy to introduce you to one of our favorite fashion designers for a night on the town. Otherwise, we will look forward to transferring you DMK or BKK airport for your next destination. We’ll be happy to host you in Chiang Mai or a beach destination for the relaxing portion of your holiday.

Empty section. Edit page to add content here.

Want more information? Email our travel experts

Or Contact Us Online

Start Planning Your Trip

Let Matt know you’re interested