Photo: Art by the canal.

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Artist House at Khlong Bang Luang

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Accessible by land or boat, the canal-side Artist House at Khlong Bang Luang includes a gallery, cafe and daily puppet shows in an old slice of Thonburi filled with temples, noodle shops and art studios. We come here when needing a break from Bangkok without actually leaving the city.

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Sporting an open area where you can lounge by the canal and a centuries-old chedi from the Ayutthaya period that rises from the open-air belly, Baan Silapin (Artist House) was established in 2010 by Thai artist and conservationist Chumphon Akhpantanond. Other artists joined students and creative types who already lived in the area to help turn the space into a grassroots art hub, which tips its hat to a traditional lifestyle focused on the canals.

See a performance. Photo taken in or around Artist House at Khlong Bang Luang, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

See a performance. Photo: David Luekens

The restored teak house’s upper rooms are now a gallery full of paintings and photos, while prints, drawings, sculptures, puppets and khon masks dot the spacious ground floor. Visitors can purchase postcards or T-shirts, or give donations in exchange for a blank mask to paint. When the kids are busy painting or poking around, adults can relax with a strong espresso or Thai iced tea at one of the art workshop-style tables.

The most popular attraction is a traditional Thai puppetry troupe, Kum Nai Hun Lakon Lek, performing scenes from the Ramayana on most days at 14:00. Donning jet-black costumes with expressionless masks over their faces, the performers bring the characters to life in thrilling and humorous shows that always leave kids smiling. On one visit, our friend was fetched out of the audience to operate Hanuman the monkey-warrior’s abandoned right arm.

You scratch my back? Photo taken in or around Artist House at Khlong Bang Luang, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

You scratch my back? Photo: David Luekens

There’s no admission charge to see the show, but you can expect a smack in the face from Tosakan the demon king if you don’t slip a 20- or 100-baht note in the donation box. Princess Sita might blow you a kiss if you’re extra generous, and spectators are welcome to take photos with the troupe after ... Travelfish members only (Around 400 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
The village is reachable by a pedestrian/bicycle bridge that extends from the west end of Charan Sanitwong Soi 3, a 60-baht taxi ride from Talad Phlu BTS Station (ask the driver to take you to “charan-sanitwong soi sam” and then “suk soi” meaning end of the lane). After the bridge, turn immediately left alongside the canal to reach the Artist House. You could also ask to include Baan Silapin on a canal tour.

Artist House at Khlong Bang Luang
Baan Silapin (Artist House): Across the canal from the end of Charan Sanitwong Soi 3 (near Wat Kuhasawan), Thonburi
Mo–Su: 09:00–17:00
T: (02) 868 5279, (081) 258 9260 

Location map for Artist House at Khlong Bang Luang

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