If you take a yellow long-tail boat tour along the canals in Bangkok, chances are you will pass by the Artist’s House (Ban Silapin), even taking photos of the strange statues of a red and a white man sitting on the wooden planks in contemplation. But most boats don’t stop here and only the intrepid travelers will find the way to this quirky and interesting house through a maze of back lanes.
Located on the Thonburi side of Bangkok this beautifully restored 200-year-old wooden house exudes an old-world charm that is fast disappearing, inexorably replaced by concrete buildings that are choking on the tranquil neighborhood.
There is a gallery and a nice cafe, serving delicious local food. But the main draw here is the traditional Thai puppet show performed here everyday (except Wednesday). But it’s best to call (+66 2 868 5279) before hand to make sure there’s a performance before you go.
On a small stage in front of the Ayutthaya-era stupa, intricately-made puppets are controlled by artists all dressed in black with black mask. One puppet is controlled by three artists. These puppeteers are so skilled at making the puppet come alive that the audience will soon stop paying attention to the artists and only see the movement of the puppets. Each day a different Thai folklore is narrated, involving mythological creatures and deities, often including Hanuman the monkey god.
The show starts at 2pm. The small theater is usually packed half an hour before that, and people sit casually on the floor, just like it used to be long time ago.