11 July 2024

Fireworks, shopping sprees, inspiring events, tasty cuisine and the festive mood set the stage for year-end celebrations. With the arrival of December, Bangkok is gearing up for plenty of spirited festivities. The banks of the Chao Phraya River, from the Rama 8 Bridge down to the Asiatique, become the prime destination, transforming into the centre stage for the Vijit Chao Phraya extravaganza.

The amazing light shows cast a poetic spotlight on the opulence, cultural tapestry, and exquisite beauty along the Chao Phraya River, the majestic lifeblood of the kingdom.

Here are some of the best places to witness and explore as the day gracefully transitions into the enchanting night over the Chao Phraya River.

RAMA 8 BRIDGE

Named to honour King Rama VIII, the striking cable-stayed bridge spans the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. Beyond its aesthetic and engineering allure, the bridge plays a vital role in connecting the west and east banks of Bangkok. This connection is particularly significant as it unites Thon Buri, the former capital, with present-day Bangkok, creating a tangible symbol of continuity and integration between the historical and modern facets of the city.

In December, the Rama 8 Bridge steals the spotlight with a dazzling lighting showcase.//Photo by TAT

During Vijit Chao Phraya 2023, visitors, commuters and people from all walks of life can immerse themselves in a symphony of lights at Bangkok’s iconic bridge. Enjoy a mesmerizing 3D laser show with captivating light and sound displays throughout December.

Showtimes: 6 rounds daily from 7pm to 9.30pm.

SANTICHAIPRAKAN PARK

Santichaiprakan Fort, a cultural cornerstone in Bangkok, embodies historical resilience and architectural charm. Guarding the Chao Phraya River, this landmark stands as a testament to Thailand’s heritage, offering visitors a glimpse into the city’s storied past and serving as a symbol of cultural significance in the heart of Bangkok.

Recently, transformed into a green oasis with vibrant gardens and scenic river views along the Chao Phraya River, Santichaiprakan Fort serves as both a recreational haven and a testament to the city’s cultural and natural heritage. In December, the historic fort takes centre stage for the spectacular Thai cultural performance “Miracle of Thailand” and captivating light shows.

Showtimes: 4 rounds per day (7.30pm – 9pm) on December 7-9, 15-16, 22-23, and 29-30.

WAT ARUN

A symbol of Thailand’s tourism, Wat Arun Ratchawararam is Bangkok’s paramount landmark, an architectural marvel and a spiritual beacon. Appearing on the French map in 1656, the temple goes by various names, including Wat Makok, Wat Chaeg, and the Temple of Dawn. The iconic structure, adorned with intricate details and soaring spires, symbolizes Thailand’s rich cultural heritage, drawing pilgrims, visitors, and even ice cream enthusiasts seeking a sensory cultural experience.

Puppeteers use light and shadow to captivate visitors with performances at Wat Arun during the Vijit Chao Phraya Festival.//Photo by TAT

Throughout December, the 3D mapping and light-up breathe life into the historical towering pagoda, transforming the monument into spectacular canvases and fostering a deeper connection to Bangkok’s past. Additionally, cultural performances retell the legend of the giants of Wat Chaeng and Wat Pho in tales of friends turned foes.

Showtimes: 3 rounds per day (7.20pm – 8.20pm) on December 7-9, 15-16, 22-23, and 29-30.

THE MEMORIAL BRIDGE

The Memorial Bridge, a venerable Bangkok landmark, stands as evidence of historical significance and architectural grandeur. Opened in 1932 (shortly before the Siamese coup d’état of June 24), the bridge was constructed to commemorate Bangkok’s 150th Anniversary. It was the first bridge to connect Krung Thon Buri and Krung Thep, the former and later capital cities, bridging the past with the present. As the city celebrates the year-end festival on the Chao Phraya River, the light art and fireworks enhance the historic bridge by merging modern creativity with timeless architecture.

Fireworks create a mesmerizing spectacle over the Chao Phraya River, painting the night sky in vibrant hues.//Photo by TAT

Through carefully curated illuminations, these artworks, with the interplay of light and shadow on the bridge’s façade, create a spectacular visual experience and transform it into a captivating landmark over the Chao Phraya.

Showtimes: 8.45pm on December 7-9, 15-16, 22-23, and 29-30.

WICHAI PRASIT FORT

Standing beside Thonburi Palace and the former Royal Naval Academy, the whitewashed Wichai Prasit Fort is one of the Chao Phraya River’s oldest monuments. Constructed during the late Ayutthaya period by French and Italian priests, mechanics, and architects, the fort aimed to provide crucial defence with a massive river-spanning chain to thwart invaders. Unfortunately, the endeavour was left unfinished following the expulsion of the French during the Siege of Bangkok in 1688. Today, Wichai Prasit Fort stands as a testament to the nation’s resilience, offering visitors a glimpse into its past.

Wichai Prasit Fort transforms into a living work of art through the interplay of projection mapping and a water curtain display.//Photo by TAT

This December, witness the fort’s transformation into a living work of art through projection mapping and a water curtain display. This unique artistic expression blurs the boundaries between the past and present, reimagining our perception of Wichai Prasit Fort.

Showtimes: 3 rounds per day (7.15pm – 9.50pm) on December 7-9, 15-16, 22-23, and 29-30.