I am a certified #whiteaddict. It goes to show that I’m attracted to places that are white, whether they are AirBnBs or cafés to chill at. At the same time, I’m also an art and architecture fanatic. And although I’d been to Thailand over 20 times (I’m serious) before my most recent trip, I’d never checked out the magic that is Museum of Contemporary Art in Bangkok, otherwise known as MOCA Bangkok. If you, like me, have a love for minimal aesthetics, then this is the one art museum you must check out.
MOCA Bangkok is a one-stop spot for your fill of Thai art. Whether you’re into traditional works rooted in history or contemporary pieces of the 21st century, there will be something to cater to every art lover’s taste. In fact, the beautiful building that these amazing works are housed in is a work of art itself, so there’s no need to worry if you’re not quite into paintings – the construction of the museum is sure to keep you awed.
Built in 2012, MOCA Bangkok was established to commemorate His Majesty the King and to honour Professor Silpa Bhirasri, “the father of modern Thai art”. The world-class art gallery houses over 800 pieces of art collected by businessman Boonchai Bencharongkul. The extensive collection includes a full timeline of Thai art, showcasing its development from classical works to modern day pieces influenced by western concepts. There are permanent and special exhibitions.
MOCA Bangkok was built with the design concept of a granite rock with its interiors carved out. Openwork incisions throughout the facade of the building let in natural light in the shape of jasmine plumes, cascading all the way down the walls. The abundance of outdoor light, which also gives the museum a different impression depending on the season, presents visitors with the best possible conditions to appreciate art. The stunning lighting effects of MOCA Bangkok’s design can be observed both indoors and outdoors. For an architectural graduate like me, the building itself almost proved to be more charming than the exhibitions themselves!
Due to my former agreement with the taxi driver for him to wait for me and drive me back to the hotel, I only had two hours to whizz through the whole museum. I urge you to stay longer because two hours is not enough. There is just too much to see. The collection is spread over five floors, each offering a different era of Thai contemporary art. Four halls can be found on the first floor: two for temporary exhibitions and two for works by Thai National Artists. The rest of the floors house contemporary pieces of different themes that range from Buddhism to classical literature to creations from the Romantic period. Because of the vast amount of art to appreciate, I recommend at least spending four hours in MOCA Bangkok.
Admission to MOCA Bangkok is not free, but there are family packages to shave a bit off the ticket price. You’ll definitely milk your money’s worth if you stay for four hours. Take note not to visit on Monday, the museum’s resting day, and make sure not to arrive any later than 3PM on other days because the museum closes at 6PM. If you can somehow get up at the crack of dawn, you can even visit in the morning when the doors open at 9:30AM.
Although reachable by numerous public buses and vans, MOCA Bangkok is difficult to get to if you don’t have knowledge of how these transits work. The best possible route to take is to catch a taxi straight to the museum from the nearest BTS Station, BTS Mo Chit Station… but – and a huge BUT – when I tried to do that, none of the taxis agreed to drive me there. After many attempts with various taxis, I gave up and cabbed straight from my hotel the next day with help from the concierge. It seems that the taxi drivers either don’t understand where MOCA Bangkok is or just plain refuse to pick up passengers from BTS Mo Chit Station as the distance between the two is too close for them to earn a satisfying amount.
If you, like me, have been to Bangkok countless times and have run out of new things to do, make sure you visit MOCA Bangkok. It may be a hassle to get there, but it’s definitely worth spending a morning or an afternoon at. For more information on the current exhibitions of MOCA Bangkok, check out their website below.
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA Bangkok)
499 Kamphaengphet 6 Road, Ladyao, Chatuchak, Bangkok
+66 2 016 5666 7
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