This year there’s so much going in the month of February that they had to make it 29 days long just to fit it all in. Or maybe it just seems that way to us. Regardless, there’s a lot coming up in Bangkok for lovers of art, culture, and interesting social events.
For the creative types, Bangkok Design Week and the Bangkok Edge Fest are both not-to-be-missed celebrations of ideas, ingenuity, and inclusion. For music lovers the annual jazz festival at Mahidol University is a great opportunity to check out some world class performances, while for admirers of nature’s beauty and bounty the Nai Lert Flower festival is a definite must-see. And for those who like a bit of spectacle, the 2nd edition of the Elephant Boat Race and River Fest transforms a small section of the Chao Phraya riverbank into a wild weekend wonderland.
Nai Lert Flower & Garden Art Fair
January 30 – February 2
The beauty of nature will be on full display at the Nai Lert Flower & Garden Art Fair 2020, which – not surprisingly – takes place at Nai Lert Park (Soi Somkid). It’s the 34th edition of this popular annual festival, and scheduled highlights this year include the largest petal carpet in Southeast Asia (created from the petals of more than 500,000 flowers), a spectacular display of Chinese lantern art and Chinese opera masks, an art market displaying both luxury goods and handmade items, and Flowers X Art, which consists of 24 exhibitions of flower sculptures from famous organizations and artists. In addition, Flowers X Taste is an activity in which visitors will get to sample delicious food from establishments such as Ma Maison Restaurant and Lady L Restaurant, as well as more than 25 food truck caravans from all over the country. The event runs from 9am till 9pm each day, and admission is THB 150 for adults (children and students THB 80). Proceeds will be donated to Umphang Hospital, Tak Province to further assist with medical equipment.
Thailand International Jazz Conference
January 31 – February 2
The annual Thailand International Jazz Conference (TIJC) is a jazz music event initiated in 2009 by Mahidol University College of Music, aimed at presenting top quality jazz music to the public and also offering jazz education to interested musicians (both students and the general public). The TIJC is held at Mahidol University and consists of three main elements: musical performances, jazz education activities (daytime workshops and masterclasses), and the jazz solo competitions. In addition, an educational TIJC Jazz Camp, initiated in 2013, offers participants the chance to meet, perform with, and learn from the world-class masters. For those who just want to hear some great world-class jazz – featuring both international and Thai artists – the line-up includes: Ozmosys Featuring Omar Hakim; Javon Jackson Quartet; The Rajiv Jayaweera Quintet featuring Chris Cheek; Jorge Pardo Trio; Cherryl J. Hayes; DC Jazz Collective; Aya Sekine & The Jazz Party; and the Mahidol University Jazz Big Band, Stage Band, and Jazz Orchestra. A full 3-day conference pass (for all events) is just THB 3,000, while 1-day performance passes are THB 640.
Bangkok Edge 2020
When: February 1 – 2
The Bangkok Edge 2020 Festival – the 3rd edition of this popular every-other-year event – will once again be jointly held on the grounds of Museum Siam and at the magnificent riverside Chakrabongse Villas. This intellectually stimulating weekend includes more than 50 activities, including movie screenings, photo exhibits, and concerts from leading musicians such as Hugo, Phum Viphurit, Liew Ajareeya, and Hye Apaporn. Visitors can also attend various talks and workshops with intellectual heavyweights such as authors and educators Peter Frankopan, Frank Dikotter, Anna Fifield, Niramon Serisakul, and Voranai Vanijaka. There will also be nine separate book launches, which include the highly anticipated Very Bangkok – In the City of the Senses by acclaimed writer Philip Cornwel-Smith, and Vanishing Bangkok, a stunning black and white photographic book from Ben Davies exploring the city’s forgotten back streets and hidden neighbourhoods. And, of course, there’ll be plenty of food and beverage vendors on hand all weekend long, from noon till 11pm each day. Admission is free but a Bangkok Edge Chill Pass is available for just THB 500 which allows access inside the Chakrabongse Villas throughout the 2-day event.
Bangkok Design Week
When: February 1 – 9
The 3rd iteration of the intriguing Bangkok Design Week festival is being held under the concept of ‘Resilience: New potential for living, adapt> survive> Grow’. The purpose of Bangkok Design Week, at its core, is to stimulate creativity and the flow of ideas, but unlike other festivals it doesn’t take place in just one location. Instead, visitors are invited and encouraged to explore the Charoenkrung “creative district” through a self-curated creative path, which can consist of walking or cycling routes, or even water-borne cruises. Along the way you’ll find creative exhibitions and open studio spaces, lectures and workshops by Thai and international thinkers, film screenings and performances, as well as some live music and other surprises (including a flea market). Visit the website for detailed information about the more than 30 special attractions at this year’s 8-day event.
Elephant Boat Race Festival
When: February 28 – March 1
The second annual King’s Cup Elephant Boat Race and River Festival takes place once again on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, right next to the Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort. It’s a unique fun-filled, family-friendly event in which skilled rowing teams compete against each other in specially designed boats decorated with artistic elephant themed sculptures and traditional Thai fish motifs. In addition to soaking up the racing action, guests are invited to enjoy live music concerts, kid’s arts and crafts, fun fair rides, and a wide selection of delicious food and beverages available throughout the day and night. Funds raised go towards the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF), and these funds are distributed across a variety of projects dedicated to captive and wild elephant welfare, enabling them to continue their vital work throughout Thailand. Event organizers Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas prides itself on continuously driving efforts and supporting its conservational expertise on behalf of Thailand’s national animal.