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With a plethora of calendar events and hot openings to look forward to, Bangkok looks as lively as ever during the next 12 months
Bangkok is rarely anything other than a restless beast: something that is reflected in its regular new openings and packed calendar of events. Over the next year, we will see the return of calendar perennials ranging from festivals soaked in tradition to celebrations of contemporary culture. New happenings will add to the fun, while a slew of openings will keep the city’s hospitality scene as fresh as ever,
With a population of over 10 million, Bangkok is a wellspring of new ideas and creative avenues. As such, Thailand Creative & Design Centre (TCDC) has tapped into this dynamism through its annual Design Week. Each year, the event has a different theme. In 2018, the emphasis was on the new with the Thai creative & design community encouraged to share fresh and insightful visions of Bangkok, allowing visitors to peer into the future of the capital. The 2019 edition – under the banner of Fusing Forward — is sure to be equally inspiring, with designers, thinkers, entrepreneurs, producers, artists and creative workforces sharing their ideas at participating venues around the city.
One of the most vibrant Chinatowns outside China, the area south of the Grand Palace thrums with energy the year round. Nevertheless, there is no better time to catch it in its full garish, neon-lit glory than around Lunar New Year. Be prepared for sensory overload as a soundtrack of exploding firecrackers provide the accompaniment for unabashed feasting. The nexus of all the action is Yaowarat Road – the area’s main thoroughfare – which comes alive with crowds of worshippers as well as dragon dancers. Other lively places to mark the occasion include bar and art-gallery lined Soi Nana.
An easy journey from Bangkok, the Wai Khru Tattoo Festival is one of our favourite annual spectacles. The event takes place at the temple Wat Bang Phra in Nakhon Chaisi, an hour west of Bangkok, and sees some 10,000 tattoo devotees gather to pay their respects to the former abbot of the temple who contributed to the resurging popularity of sacred tattoos in Thai society. The temple is famous for the supernatural power behind sak yant, magico-religious tattoos applied by resident monks. During the ceremony, some devotees go into a trance, fiercely acting out the characteristics of the animals and mythical figures tattooed on their bodies.
Thailand’s pioneering celebration of the arts and sustainable living, Wonderfruit celebrates its sixth iteration at the end of this year with world-class international live music acts and DJs, as well as perspective-shifting talks and workshops, cuisine and much more. Since launching in 2014, the festival has established itself on a global stage with revellers jetting in from around Asia and beyond to sample its unique flavour. We love its emphasis on participation and inclusion plus sustainability and the fact that the event aims to go beyond the usual remit of a music festival.
Arguably Bangkok’s most relaxing location, the banks of the Chao Phraya River are not short on world-class accommodation options. Nevertheless, the addition of a new offering by super-luxury hotel brand Capella is something we can all get excited about. Scheduled to open in 2019, Capella Bangkok promotes a small-scale aesthetic with a total 101 suites and villas, all with river views. Outstanding additional draws at the resort include a 9000-square-foot spa and outdoor pool.