Song Wat Road is a side road rarely visited by travellers, located somewhere on the fringes of Chinatown (Yaowarat) and running parallel to the Chao Phraya River. It has a fine collection of hundred-year old buildings that line the street. A mosque, a Chinese School, and a small Chinese temple all show that the road has been populated by various ethnic communities since the early years of the 20th century. Many houses have striking similarities with Peranakan (Sino-Malay) style houses, comparable to the ones to be seen in Phuket, Penang, or Singapore. This architectural aspect probably stems from the fact that traders in the area came either from British Malaya or from Burma (Myanmar).
Until recently, all there was to do on Song Wat Road was just enjoy its quaint, old-fashioned atmosphere. That was until a diverse group of artists were invited to create murals during the Bukruk Urban Art Festival, which took place in January of 2016 (and the murals are still visible to this day). Famed street art artist ROA, originally from Ghent, in Belgium, was commissioned to transform a huge bare wall. Two elephants now climb along its grayish façade, sitting on each other as if performing a feat from a circus act. It is fun, poetic, and—most importantly—beautiful. It faces another impressive mural, this one by Aryz, from Spain, another world-known artist. The mural draws its inspiration from Bangkok traffic by incorporating two deconstructed giant bicycles, watched over by three male figures, evocative of army personnel.
In all the Bukruk Urban Art Festival brought 16 European and 11 Thai street artists together to transform some of the city’s streets into a piece of art. Bringing at the same time a renewed interest to neglected corners of the Thai capital.