Ratchadamnoen gets facelift; Thailand’s international guests invited to stroll the Royal Way

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Bangkok’s most beautiful boulevard, Ratchadamnoen Avenue, is undergoing a landscape change –perhaps it could be called a facelift– to be developed as the capital’s primary avenue of tourism, thanks to the old yet nice architectural design of buildings along the road.

A four-storey building on Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue – the section closest to the Grand Palace and Sanam Luang, ceremonial site for many significant roal events — will be restored to its earlier charm and grace as an art gallery in an area of some 5,000 square metres.

The Ministry of Culture’s Contemporary Art and Culture Office has contracted a 30-year-lease with the Crown Property Bureau after the Cabinet bestowed approval for the capital’s first art gallery under its protective wing to be developed as the ‘Ratchadamnoen Contemporary Art Gallery’.

According to Culture Minister Sukumol Kunplome, the Budget Bureau considered it and believes that the project will be a learning centre and Thailand’s new contemporary art and culture centre, which will benefit the country.

The new art gallery will host an international art event at the end of November.

Contemporary Art and Culture Office director Chai Nakornchai said the second and third floors of the gallery are being quickly renovated for the art fair to honour His Majesty King’s 85th birthday.

The remaining floors will be beautified later with funds for the entire building to use an allocation from the 2012/2013 budget of more than Bt175 million.

Not only will the art gallery be a centre of cultural learning, it will display artwork by Thai and international artists and will be the venue of art activities year-round as well as an art market to attract visitors from around the world.

“We intend for this new art gallery to be a learning centre for youngsters and those interested. On weekends, we will have every activity for the young. We’ll try to talk with the Crown Property Bureau and City Hall to improve the landscape in front of and at the back of the building. We’ll have street shows, and street food will be organised,” Chai said.

Meanwhile, Professional Tourist Guide Association of Thailand vice chairman Jirarat Montrimanas commented that adjusting the townscape on Ratchadamnoen Avenue will make it an interesting walking street that is second to none.

As the government is planning to move all ministries around the avenue to the new administrative centre in suburban Bangkok, Jirarat proposed that the government adjust further the landscape of the surrounding premises with colourful flowers as well as organise seasonal events and fairs to attract visitors.

“I have travelled 112 countries all over the world. Ratchadamnoen Avenue, which is beautiful and large, is the most beautiful avenue in Bangkok and can compete with other avenues in the world. I see that all buildings along the road are well kept and preserved by renovations inside. The buildings’ earth tone colours are also very nice, so we should keep this identity, as it is very beautiful,” Jirarat said.

Ratchadamnoen Avenue was built in 1901 under the reign of King Rama V. It was the monarch’s special promenade, the place where the great king could be seen by his loving subjects.

Sharing the spirit of royal dignity and grace from significant historic moments, as many as 20 million travellers visit Ratchadamnoen Avenue each year, the Royal Way opens Thailand to the world.