ChangChui Creative Park is an art and lifestyle experience like no other available in Bangkok or Thailand. The park is located in Bang Phlat on the Western side of Bangkok, around 10 mins in a taxi from the Bang Yi Kahn MRT Station or Bang Bamru train station or if you prefer, it’s around 150 – 200 baht in a taxi from the centre of the city. Bang Bamru will also be on the city’s SRT light-red suburban line which is due to be fully operational by 2021. There’s also a bus that runs from Victory Monument, 515 or 539, which you need to catch to Bang Kruai.
The park is open 11am to 11pm Thursday to Tuesday (closed on Wednesday). The park is divided into the alcohol free ‘green’ zone, which is open until 9pm and the ‘nightzone’ which is open until the normal closing time of 11pm.
The name ChangChui, meaning ‘messy artisan’, as a literal translation, is very apt. Some might argue that the park is more about the art than commerce and the whole place oozes creative flair. The park’s nature means that the vibe varies massively from day-to-day and night-to-night, with different events and themes forever reinventing its allure, while still holding the Thai tradition of night markets close to its core.
The moulding on artistic presences and chic fashionable dining and drinking options have a hectic but deliberate atmosphere. There are towering sculptures, precision graffiti murals, unique gift-shops and a host of creative and fascinating pieces of art and design. The park is providing a canvas for some of Thailand’s most-talented young artists to showcase their skills. These features gained the park a spot on Time Magazine’s ‘World’s Greatest Places’ in 2018, sharing the honour with some of the most iconic destinations around the globe.
The market is most-famous for the enormous decommissioned Lockheed L-1011 Tristar airliner at the centre of the park, which hosts Na-Oh, a stunning Thai-Fusion fine dining experience. Inside, the aeroplane is decked out with stunning hardwood floors and chandeliers and the regularly host world-class traditional Thai entertainment throughout the evening.
Another hot-topic at the park is their installation entitled ‘The Transmigrational Skull’, a 4-metre skull made from copper which reflects the life-death transmigration. The skull which is typically a symbol for death in most cultures, is split into two pieces. The two pieces signify that death has been split and it is designed to reflect the belief that death is not the end, life continuously repeats, both beginningless and endless. A truly stunning modern take on an ancient buddhist belief.
You will notice another large sculpture in the park named ‘Lady Propitious’, a 8-metre tall goddess inspired by artist Chira Chirapravati Na Ayuthaya’s wife. The genius of this piece is born out of the artist’s gratefulness for his wife and his kind and giving nature. He hoped that the sculpture would bring good luck and happiness to all who cross its path, as his wife has given to him. A lovely story behind an intriguing piece of art and one piece that is certain to put a smile on your face.
Possibly one of the most-interesting pieces in the park, entitled ‘Rhino Squad’, looks at-a-glance to be very random, however, these to-scale Rhino sculptures are replicas of the Rhinoceros Sondaicus, a species native to Southeast-Asia and similar at a glance to the India Rhino. However, this installation highlights this particular species because it is one of the world’s most-endangered and it is in fact already extinct in Thailand. Art-lovers are encouraged to take photos with or even on the sculptures, it is a really fun way of raising awareness of the Rhino’s plight.
Now, if you’re looking for unique dining experiences, look no further than the park’s insect ingredient restaurant, Insects in the Backyard. This establishment is pioneering the fusion of insect cuisine and fine dining, with highlights that include Crickets Pesto Pasta or Nachos with Silkworms and Ants. You can even pop-in for an after work Ant’s Caviar Mojito or Silkworm Ice Cream. Now, the use of insects may be the most unique thing about this eatery, the setting is stunning, it’s littered with gothic and vintage wooden decor. It has a real ‘Adams Family’ feel to it, but with the familiar warmth of a local Thai cantina, you’ll seldom find a spot like it in the Kingdom.
For day-time dreamers, popular Hua Hin tea aficionados ‘Thé’ or ‘The Tea House’ also have an outpost here. The museum-like structure has a greenhouse vibe to it and a very English feeling style. Their location here doesn’t have as many features but, it’s a truly wonderful place to relax and take a load off. They produce a wonderful range of teas, cakes and pastries that were worth travelling to Hua Hin for, so I’m sure patrons all over the city will be rejoicing around their inclusion at the park.
You’ll also find that popular Ekkamai eatery One Ounce for the Onion have their own spot in the park and it is housed in the same building as Chang-Mai book parlour Booksmiths, in true hipster fashion. Their menu of simple but effective comfort foods are well-worthy of your interest, with quality exceeding price tag on a huge scale. Their cocktails start from just B120 making it easier than ever to drink away those summer days.
Aside from art and dining you can find a whole host of vendors in the shopping category, this is a night market, after all. You can find boutiques selling everything from unique clothing pieces, stationary, plants, home decor items, you can even have a portrait done while you wait.
The park also has many art galleries, a cinema and theatre area for live cultural performances and hosts a range of special events and interesting theme days / nights throughout the month.
If you’re looking to visit a night market in Bangkok, and you’re looking for something a little bit different to the norm, then ChangChui is the destination for you. It’s range of high-quality options across all industries makes it the perfect destination for artistic and creative, like-minded individuals with a drive for the spectacular.