Jim Thompson House
Located conveniently near BTS National Stadium, the Jim Thompson House is one of Thailand’s most visited tourist attractions. It is a gallery displaying the works of Jim Thompson, an American businessman and architect who founded the Thai Silk Company in 1948. Over the almost two decades he stayed in Thailand, Thompson accumulated a trove of traditional Thai artwork and crafts which he displayed in a series of Thai houses built as his home and personal art gallery. When he disappeared in 1967, H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and the James H. W. Thompson Foundation continued to maintain and display Thompson’s work up until the present day.
Bangkok Art & Cultural Centre
Also an easy walk from BTS National Stadium, the BACC is a free-entry, rotating-exhibit art centre with a few new interesting items every month. Definitely worth a quick stop if you’re headed to the Jim Thompson House or to MBK Shopping Centre, but don’t expect to spend a full day here. Along with the rotating exhibits you can also find small stalls and stores selling Thai crafts, books, and trinkets. These make nice souvenirs if you want to bring back something small and cheap but nice.
Bangkok National Museum
Near Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace, the Bangkok National Museum is a great stop if you’re making the rounds of the old city. Here you will find the largest collection of Thai historical and cultural artifacts anywhere in the country. The items on display date back all the way to ancient Siam, when Bangkok was unheard of and the area was ruled from Sukhuothai and then later from Ayutthaya. With an entrance fee of only 200 Baht (6 USD), there is no reason not to take a stop here and marvel at a bit of this country’s history.
Chulalongkorn University Art Centre
Finally, we’d like to give a special mention to the contemporary art centre at Chulalongkorn University. Chula, as it is often called, is Thailand’s premier university and its campus is only a 10-minute walk from International House, making this the most convenient visit out of all the centres we have so far listed. The contemporary art centre acts as a venue for art students and faculty to display their pieces of work and to experiment with new styles and methods of artistic expression. Here you’ll find continually updated exhibit halls containing paintings, sculptures, photography, printwork, and more. Entrance is free, so there’s no reason not to stop by sometime after class!
Bangkok has many more museums, both big and small, strange and normal. These are some of the most popular and easy to access, but if you’re an art connoisseur, be sure to check out all the others that Bangkok has on offer!