Baan Silapin (Artist’s House): A Hidden Gem in the Heart of Bangkok.
I have been in this city for several times but this is the first time I learned about this hidden gem in the middle of the city — Baan Silapin or The Artist House.
A community of artists around The Klong / River. I pretty much love the vibe of this place that I spent 2 days in a row here to cradle ideas of retrospection, write, doodle or just simply enjoy people-watching along the klong.
The Artist’s House is situated along a canal on the Thonburi side of Bangkok. A difficult attraction to find and when you do, a great sense of fulfillment will surely come after. This kind of old Thai wooden house was very typical along the klongs in earlier times but today these are becoming rare. This house also has some unusual features that always catch the eyes of tourists passing by on speeding boats: Several human-sized statues painted in white, red or black sitting by the water, endlessly staring at life passing by.
If you take a klong tour, chances are you passed by the Artist’s House. Boats don’t stop and only the brave will find the way to the house through narrow streets from Wat Kuhasan. The boardwalk leading to the house now hosts several shops and tiny restaurants that lead to a temple. Did I mention that it also has a tall white chedi dating all the way back to the Ayutthaya period standing in the backyard? Yes, it has.
This two hundred years old place also houses a modest cafe and a shop selling cool stationery, postcards in addition to an art gallery displaying paintings, masks and, of course, puppets. The main reason for people to come all this way despite the difficulty is the rare traditional Thai puppet show, performed with delicately crafted puppets.
Traditional Thai Puppet Show
These traditional puppet shows are now really hard to find. Performed at 14:00 every day except on Wednesday. On a small wooden stage in front of the white stupa, intricately-made puppets are manipulated by several artists all dressed in black. Each day a different story based on Thai folklore is narrated, involving mythological creatures, often including Hanuman the monkey god. The Artist’s House is open every day, usually from 09:00 to 18:00.
Occasionally a boat selling food stops by and you can order a local Thai food.
It has the feel of village life, teenagers hang by the canal, feeding hungry fishes with colorful food pellets sold in shops around while people sit by the river. Truly a unique experience to escape the crazy, busy traffic of Bangkok.
So how did we get there?
To get there you probably have to get a motorbike taxi to drop you to Wat Kuhasawan, the nearby temple, like we did. Then from there walk along the canal using google maps and/or ask around. It’s hard to find but I assure you, it’s really worth it! we You can also arrange a private transport from your hotel to take you there and back!