NatGeo: Bangkok becoming a magnet for young creatives

Thailand’s capital Bangkok is “blossoming into a magnet for young creatives” and art lovers from around the region, thanks to new districts where innovators cluster and an increasingly packed cultural calendar, according to National Geographic.

To some degree, the burst of creative energy has been an outgrowth of an annual event held in eastern Chonburi province, just outside of the capital: Wonderfruit, a music and arts festival that has drawn audiences from around the world since 2014. The festival has become a showcase for Thai youth and alternative cultures, where international artists also participate.

“It is our goal to not just recreate something like Coachella or Glastonbury,” Montonn Jira, a DJ and music producer told NatGeo. “We want to build a platform for sharing ideas, but in a sustainable way, using Thai materials, art, architects, produce, food and music. Highlighting local talent is what excites us.”

That spirit has now spread to parts of Bangkok. The capital’s creative calendar includes events, such as the Bangkok Edge Festival, Design Week, Galleries Night, the Bangkok Art Biennale, and the International Festival of Dance and Music. The city hosts at least five film festivals every year: Bangkok International Film Festival, World Film Festival of Bangkok, Thai Short Film and Video Festival, Bangkok Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and the Bangkok ASEAN Film Festival.

Many of these events refused to cancel during the pandemic despite fewer or no foreign participants. Now with borders reopened and tourism reviving, culture mavens and creatives from overseas are returning, especially from around the Southeast and East Asian regions.

Two districts in particular have emerged as centers for creativity: the Digital City section of upper Sukhumvit Road and the stretch of Charoen Krung Road from Chinatown to Bang Rak district.

“Boho bars and galleries,” design studios and startup hubs have all been growing rapidly in those and other areas of the city. The Charoen Krung area is unique in blending the features and atmosphere of old Bangkok with cutting-edge creativity.

“Charoen Krung Soi 30, is at Warehouse 30, a row of Second World War-era depots that have been repurposed into funky florists, vinyl music stores, book shops, juice bars, cocktail venues, bakeries and independent fashion outlets,” wrote NatGeo.

“Sitting on a bench outside, watching young urbanites following street graffiti QR codes to Design Week hideaways, as long-tail boats, tugs and rice barges crisscrossed the river, it is exciting to think of what might still be to come,” NatGeo added.

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