Thailand’s capital may be famous and infamous in equal measure, but one thing it is not well known for is art exhibits. If you visit from now until the end of January, however, you can enjoy a new addition to BKK’s cultural calendar: Elephant Parade.
It is an artistic initiative launched by Thai hospitality group Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, which sees the sprawling city dotted with 1.5m-tall statues of elephants. Each has been decorated, hand-painted and designed by Thai and international celebrities and artists, from Miss
Thailand through to British designer Paul Smith. Also featured is an elephant conjured up by Furious 7 star Tony Jaa, who actually grew up in a ‘mahout’ (or elephant handler) family.
After the exhibition, the elephants will be auctioned at a charity gala in February. The proceeds are then donated to the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, a group that supports sustainable projects aimed at benefiting Thailand’s substantial elephant population.
Dubbed the world’s biggest outdoor art exhibition, the parade has been touring cities such as London, Singapore, Amsterdam, Milan and Hong Kong since it started in Rotterdam in 2007. Despite being inspired by Thailand’s own elephant charities, this will be the first year that the nation has had the pleasure of hosting the event.
Three things to do in Bangkok
An institution for intrepid fashionistas. This vast weekend market in a car park houses everything from tourist tat through to design and craft products made by independent creatives.
Taling Chan, Bang Ku Wiang, Tha Kha and Damnoen Saduak markets are a network of stalls, selling fresh produce and street food. Uniquely, each stall is set on a boat, gently floating on the river.
Deemed a little less crowded than some of Bangkok’s better-known temples, this holy site houses the impressive golden statue of the reclining Buddha, the largest of its kind in the city.