Up Close: A Guide to Art and Craft in Southeast Asia – Thailand

Each of our destinations brings to life their own unique history through the arts. No less so Thailand, the focus of the second blog in our series, Up Close: A Guide to Art and Craft in Southeast Asia.

Known for often incorporating competing themes of tradition and rapidly growing modernity, Thai art forms – whether painting, classical dance dramas, sculpture, architecture, textiles, or ceramics – merge two vastly different, but ultimately complementary, worlds. Modern motifs bring to light political and societal issues, while more traditional concepts predominantly include Buddhist imagery and some Hindu influences (a result of Thailand’s history of trade with India and the migration of the people of the Mon Kingdom in the 6th century AD).

Guests can get their creative juices flowing by designing their own silk scarves in Phrae.

It’s this exciting meeting of themes that makes Thailand a particularly great choice for art and craft lovers. Here, guests can get really hands-on when learning about textile art by creating their own hand-painted scarf with the help of renowned fashion designer, Sakchira Wiengkao, in Phrae, or make a traditional amulet in historic Sukhothai. In Phrae, travelers can also explore the handicrafts of the humble town with a cycling tour, or practice the destination’s famous Mo-Hom tie-dyeing technique, used for both traditional outfits and modern creations.

The centuries-old Mo-Hom dyeing technique was first used by farmers to color their clothing but remains a popular Thai fashion choice today.

For those looking to support a good cause, painting their own miniature elephant statue is not only a creative and fun activity option but also supports an elephant conservation project.     

Thailand has no shortage of creative options, with four UNESCO Creative Cities, including Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, Bangkok, and Phuket, and the first contemporary art museum of the country, MAIIAM. The museum displays a private collection of contemporary Thai art built over the course of 30 years and should be on your travelers’ ‘must-visit’ list.


Art Bridge Chiang Rai houses a collection of contemporary and traditional works in a modern gallery and also welcomes guests to a lovely restaurant.

Not too far away, they can also explore the unusual and captivating murals of world-renowned (and, at times, controversial) artist, Chalermchai Kositpipatand, in the famous Wat Rong Khun Temple, or visit the Art Bridge gallery of Chiang Rai.

Travelers can end their creativity-filled day by attending a traditional Khantoke dinner and joining in the Lanna nail dance.

With an abundance of workshops catered to both old techniques and modern perspectives, a plethora of art shows and performances and a diverse array of exhibitions, Thailand is a colorful canvas awaiting your creative travelers.

Interested in adding to your travelers’ itineraries with artistic delights and hands-on, creative workshops? Talk to our Sales Team today to find out more.

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