Parking at the local temple - WAT KAMPAENG
Food, coffee, history arts and crafts
AT MRT BLUE LINE BANG PHAI - TAKE A TAXI OR A MOTORBIKE FROM THE MRT
NO ENTRY FEE but there is now a 200baht fee for the traditional Thai puppet show. 50% discount during covid-19 crisis
As of October 2020 the artists how is only open on Saturday's, Sundays and special holidays.
A surprisingly quaint, authentic and peaceful setting on the banks of the khlong bangkok yai - คลองบางกอกใหญ่ or the Bangkok Yai Canal. It was once known as the Khlong Bang Luang - คลองบางหลวง, or The canal of the nobles. King Thaksin (1767-82) Created a new capital for the Thonburi Kingdom west of the Chao Phraya River. Many nobles resided on the banks of the canal near the new capital, hence the name, Khlong Bang Luang.
The khlong is aligned with many beautiful historic temples, small shops selling authentic crafts and the occasional local thai restaurant. boats occasionally roar by, which adds to the atmosphere of days gone by. I particularly have an nostalgic affinity for the khlong's, I was introduced to them and the Khlong taxis by my Thai friends when I first got here, a fun way to get around Bangkok and cheap.
The Artist's home itself is a traditional Thai khlong house and is filled with traditional Thai art, photography and artifacts. There is the glorious Phra Pagoda in the courtyard of the house and a few pieces of quirky art which somehow blend with the historic surroundings. There is usually a Thai traditional dance performance in the courtyard area. Please check there Facebook page for updated times and days as they seem to change and now there is a charge. 200baht usually but with a 50% during Covid.
There is a coffee shop, various crafted items available for sale including some homemade soap. The house is small but the exhibits are fascinating. I loved the thai dance masks from a type of Thai dance drama genre called Khon - โขน. I have always been intrigued by the unique shades of greens and reds trimmed with gold. Khon has been performed since the Ayutthaya kingdom period and is an iconic symbol of thai culture.
There is an air of calm and sanctuary about the house. conversation is held with observance of this calm. there was a man painting intently in the back overlooking the shrine and a musician sitting by the khlong composing a song on a small note pad with a chewed down pencil, headphones and a coffee. A local leisurely rowed a small rustic wooden boat and paddle from one house to another, picked up an acquaintance and disappeared down one of the smaller khlong's running of Bangkok Yai.
My mother and I had coffee sitting by the Khlong. we watched and waved as various long tail boats flew passed us with excited, if not slightly frightened, tourists on board. We then had a walk up the khlong along the wooden walkways which line it. There are all sorts of arts and crafts available to buy here. The shops are all fashioned in beautiful wood with occasional bursting colour. If you cross a bridge there is one restaurant which seems authentic and popular with locals and tourists alike.
On our way back to the temple we stopped and had a small meal of chicken, basil and rice with water for no more than 150 baht for two. The temple by the parking area is worth some time and is one last moment of serenity before you head back into the hustle and bustle of Bangkok.
A really enjoyable place steeped in history and the beginnings of what is the modern day capital of the Kingdom of Thailand. entry is free so please try and support the restaurants, shops and coffee shops as much as you can.