In recent years, Thailand street art has become popular among Thais and tourists. Artwork on the street is referred to as “Soi Sin” or “Sin Nai Soi” in the Thai language. The word “sin” (ศิลป์) is a shortened version of the word “sinlabpa” (ศิลปะ), both of which mean “art” or “artistic,” while the word “soi” (ซอย) means alley or side street.
Soi Sin (ซอยศิลป์) thus translates to Art Street, and Sinlabpa Nai Soi (ศิลปะในซอย) means Art in the Alley. As one might expect, you’ll sometimes hear Thai artists say jokingly in English, “In Thailand, art is a sin”.
The most famous Thailand street art is in Bangkok, with tourists taking special trips to see the street art around Khlong Ong Ang (which can be enjoyed even at night) and the art alley next to the beautifully renovated Warehouse 30, which is located between Soi Charoenkrung 30 and 32. This 5,600 sq meter creative space is home to art galleries, shops, and cafes.
However, Thailand street art is not limited to Bangkok. You can find Thai street art in provincial capitals throughout Thailand. For example, in Sakon Nakhon city (Northeast Thailand) you can find art in the alley at Khum Klang Thong Chai (คุ้มกลางธงชัย) and student anti-drug murals on the long wall outside the Yutthitam Wittaya School. Meanwhile Udon Thani has street art scattered throughout the downtown area.
Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand has wonderful examples of Thai street art on the walls of the abandoned woman’s prison, while Art Street Pattaya is a new landmark tourist attraction in the famous seaboard town of Chon Buri.
Thai universities also hold “Soi Sin” events to showcase the work of their art students. One recently was held at Sakon Nakhon Rajabhat University, which last year held an exhibition of some of the best artists in Thailand. The event was held along the walkway beside the Thongthawapee Art Gallery. Thai art students often go deep with their symbolism, while also remaining lighthearted and/or “cute” (as is customary in Thai culture). But more students are beginning to explore more somber themes, as you’ll see in the photo gallery below.
Artwork shown at the Soi Sin (ซอยศิลป์) student artist exhibition at Sakon Nakhon Rajabhat University, Northeast Thailand.