Travel Photo Diary: Bangkok, Thailand

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Last month, we followed the lead-up to the Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project, which saw 14 countries trading culture to create international mash-up parties simultaneously around the world. Along the way, we headed to Thailand and India, to explore the unique culture of each country and document what we found.

The first stop was Bangkok, Thailand’s most well-known destination, and for good reason. The city hums with life, bustling with art, music, fashion, and infinitely eclectic cuisine. While there, we bore witness to an extremely colorful annual national festival, navigated the maze-like aisles of a weekend marketplace, cruised down a river lined (and filled) with captivating sights, discovered some of the best shopping areas (and some of the most strangely familiar), explored art and design, and met more fantastic people than we can count.

Of course, we also meticulously chronicled the journey in photo form, in order to share it with you. Join us for a virtual tour of Bangkok highlights, and start planning your next vacation now.

Click through below for an exclusive image gallery exploring Bangkok, Thailand.

Serving up fried squid eggs at Chatuchak Weekend Market, aka JJ Weekend Market. The diversity of street food in Thailand is easily overwhelming. Visitors are truly spoiled for choice.

Possible the cutest street performers of all time, entertaining the crowds at JJ Weekend Market.

While many stalls at the market offer similar wares, ranging from vintage clothes to art to souvenirs, some go out of their way to draw your attention.

American brands are a common site no matter where you go. This promotion involved free drinks and acrobats on jumping stilts.

A boat tour on the Chao Praya River is a must-do when visiting Bangkok.

Sailing past a simple but effective graffiti statement on the river.

The river is lined with structures in various states of decay. While many river dwellings remain inhabited, others are simply collapsing into the water.

A lived-in house alongside the river.

This man is in charge of a “floating market.” He pulls up next to your boat in attempt to sell his wares.

The river is swarming with catfish. You can’t notice them at first, but if you throw bread (provided by the guides) into the water, they surface by the dozens, going into a feeding frenzy.

We were lucky enough to be in Bangkok during Loy Krathong, an annual festival during which people send miniature banana-leaf rafts down the river to let go of their problems. A huge fireworks display marks the occasion.

Loy Krathong fireworks.

The main fireworks display, viewed from Breeze, a fantastic restaurant overlooking the city from the Dome at Lebua.

An exhibit called “Spirits: Creativities from Beyond” at the Thailand Creative & Design Center explores superstitions, fears, and beliefs from around the world.

A display from the “Spirits: Creativities from Beyond” exhibit.

Folk customs and rituals were examined throughout the exhibition.

The permanent exhibit at the TCDC is called “What Is Design?” and looks at the design histories and trends from numerous countries. It was an excellent tie-in to the theme behind the Nightlife Exchange Project. Here, the US is represented by blue jeans and Barbie dolls, among other things.

The UK display at “What Is Design?”

While much of Bangkok reverberates with its own unique culture, certain spots, like this mall, cause a sense of displacement. It could just as easily have been in Los Angeles as Thailand.

An entrance to the Grand Palace, which was unfortunately mostly closed that day due to a royal visit.

Numerous signs warned against the likes of “wily strangers” and “hoaxers” in the area. We plan to work those terms into our everyday vocabulary.

Some areas of the palace grounds are never open to foreigners, regardless of the day.

A view of one of the accessible areas of the Grand Palace during the royal visit.

A man makes and sells intricate creatures made from rope outside the palace.

The colorful street traffic somehow makes getting stuck in a jam more bearable.

Siam Square, one of Bangkok’s hipper shopping districts, attracts crowds of artists and young people.

A music store in Siam Square reveals that cassettes haven’t gone out of style everywhere in the world just yet.

Superrzaaap is a fantastic boutique, clothing brand, and event/DJ company located in Siam Square.

Superrzaaap founders Piper and Bo, who also played host to us during the trip. Be sure to visit them if you’re in town!

In Bangkok, art is everywhere. Even in the airport on the way out (or in), there are numerous things to make you stop and look — and appreciate one of the world’s most vibrant cultures.