The Bangkok International Motor Show is always the biggest event of the year for a mixed crowd of car lovers and just like in any major car show around the world there is a little army of geeky photographers chasing pretty ladies.
The Bangkok Motor Show is a seriously big happening covering 167,000 square meters, including an impressive 60,000 sqm indoor space. It's nothing like the Frankfurt or Paris motor shows but for Thailand it is serioulsy impressive. Despite being at Impact Muang Thong Thani, a long way from downtown and with the expected traffic problems, a permanent stream of people flock there every single day, the large majority coming of course by car.
- Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Tour
- Banyan Tree's Apsara Dinner Cruise
- Vertigo & Moon Bar Rooftop Dining
- Ayutthaya Ancient Capital Tour with River Cruise
- Shangri-La Hotel's Buffet Dinner Cruise
- Bridge on the River Kwai & Historic Railway Tour
- Siam Niramit Dinner Show
- Calypso Bangkok Cabaret Show
- Chao Phraya River Dinner Cruise
- Grand Palace & Emerald Buddha Half-Day Tour
This 34th event hosts 169 companies from 11 different countries but to be fair, most companies present at the motor show are specialising in accessories, sound systems and car coating. You find at most 30 cars brands mostly from Japan and Germany but also England, Korea, France and Italy.
Motorbikes are increasingly popular and a large amount a big models from Kawasaki, Yamaha, Harley Davidson and the hugely popular Ducati are presented. Plenty of daily events take place all day long during the 11 days that lasts the event, with the appearance of some Thai celebrities (a calendar is given to you with your ticket on arrival).
The place is huge and a distance out of town, so it's a bit challenging to get there if you don't have your own car but vans are available from the closest BTS. When you arrive you need to buy a 100 baht ticket, which is surprising since you might be coming to buy a car. That's like buying a ticket to go into a shop, but some say it's the price to pay to see the pretty ladies posing in front of the machines.
Once inside this colossal showroom, get ready for the expected crowd, especially on weekends. This crowd is clearly divided in two groups - the buyers (or dreamers), moving from car to car and snapping every model with their tiny smartphones, and a small army of frantic photographers, mostly amateurs, moving from girl to girl and pointing massive lenses with great enthusiasm.
The irresistible draw of shiny spotless machines occupying two thirds of this 60,000 sq m building is a golden opportunity for the makers to introduce new models to the Thai markets, especially since 2.45 million Japanese and German cars are manufactured in Thailand. All Japanese makers display the entire fleet of models available in the country and the crowd is eager to discover those brand new cars, largely advertised but not yet seen in public like the new Toyota Vios, Honda Accord and Nissan Pulsar.
Due to their immense popularity with wealthy Thais there is a very large range of Benz, BMW and Porsche, but other brands just bring a couple of their flagship models.
Despite the ludicroulsy high tax in Thailand, owning a car here is a a lot more than just a transportation, it's a social statement that can open a lot of doors.
The range of vehicles is vast but lacks a bit of originality, this is really a showcase to buy or compare the models you might buy later with a growing preference for cost efficient compact 5 doors models for the city and powerful pick up trucks for field work upcountry.
Luckily just for the fun of it there are still few dream cars such a Bentley, Jaguar and the massive Rolls Royces which we never really see cruising around Bangkok. The very few Ferraris and Lamborghinis are not presented by the official dealers but by the grey market resellers. And forget about any concept cars, there was only a Haval, a cool Chinese model from the brand 'Great Wall', and a couple of decent Chevrolets.
There is also the full gamut of motorbikes, from the humble scooter to the real racing machines, including a small but very popular collection of Ducatis and Harley Davidson.
The far end of the building is where all the fun accessories are all packed… everything you think you need to make you car look better, from glass coating to a full android car navigations system coming with Facebook and youtube. It is interesting to note the impressive amount of massage chairs on sale here. It appears that walking around between cars and showgirls tends to make tired visitors more responsive to the idea of buying an expensive massage chair. Even a cheap foot massage machine suddenly becomes irresistible. We know, we bought one!
... and The Girls
Bangkok Motor Show
- Location: Impact Muang Thong Thani
- How to get there: The best way it to use the vans provided by the venue, departing from the victory monument or from Mochit BTS Skytrain station or Chatuchak MRT station.