BOT Learning Center
BOT Learning Center

Best libraries and learning centers in Bangkok

A roundup of the city's best reading spaces to enhance your knowledge and, perhaps, imagination

Arpiwach Supateerawanitt
Written by
Gail Piyanan
&
Arpiwach Supateerawanitt
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Sure, iPads and other electronic gadgets may be more convenient to handle and lug around than physical books. For bookworms, however, nothing compares to the feel of bound paper or the thrill of turning a dog-eared page. This is why going to a library to browse through a selection of hard-bound tomes and paperbacks never loses its charm.

To the bibliophile’s delight, Bangkok has a handful of great public libraries, each one stocking an array of books that enthusiastic readers can enjoy amid a peaceful vibe. Here’s where to best sit down with a rare textbook or newly discovered novel.

The best libraries in Bangkok

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Attractions
  • Libraries, archives and foundations
  • Siam

Hidden in the lower level of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC), the Art Library is where thousands of art books have found a home. The space, bathed in warm natural light, offers a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere for indulging in a good book.

Entry: Free

Annual membership: Free

  • Attractions
  • Libraries, archives and foundations
  • Rattanakosin

One of the very few libraries in Bangkok with river views. Bangkok of Thailand Library is located on the second and third floor of Bank of Thailand Learning Center, offering over 30,000 books. Members also get access to more than 7,000 digital archives from libraries around the world. 

Entry: Free 

Annual membership: Free of charge until June 2018

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Attractions
  • Libraries, archives and foundations
  • Rattanakosin

The city’s largest public library is housed in a refurbished three-story, 1940s building on the historic Ratchadamnoen Road. The structure’s original neoclassical interiors have been transformed into a handsome art deco-inspired space for 40,000 books in different categories.More than 1,000 e-books are also accessible from the library’s computers. Free WiFi is available.

Entry: Free

Annual membership: B25/adult, B5 to 15/child, available for Thai citizens with valid ID and house registration only

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Attractions
  • Libraries, archives and foundations

If you need peace, quiet and some time to read your book in privacy, then Em Space is the perfect escape. This private library belongs to a book lover who transformed her house into a reading haven for like-minded individuals. The library features a wide selection of books in Thai, English and Chinese. 

Entry: Free

Annual membership: Free

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  • Attractions
  • Libraries, archives and foundations
  • Dusit

After a three-year refurbishment, the National Library has reopened with a new, more modern look. The rebirth has brought about more welcoming interiors alongside better facilities, like more reading tables and a larger catalog of books and publications. Other features include age-old documents turned into microfilm, a small theater and an audiovisual zone for the blind.

Entry: Free

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Attractions
  • Libraries, archives and foundations
  • Surawong

Bangkok’s—or perhaps Thailand’s—longest-running, privately funded library was founded in 1869 as the Bangkok Ladies’ Library Association. Throughout the years, Neilson Hays has proven to be more than just a library; it has become a cultural center of sorts for the city, hosting all kinds of activities and gatherings, from seminars to exhibitions. 

Entry: B100/day

Annual membership: B2,500/adult, B3,300/family

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Attractions
  • Libraries, archives and foundations
  • Rattanakosin

The Pridi Banomyong Library is the one and only underground library in Thailand. Taking up four underground levels of a historic site by the Chaophraya River, the library is praised for having one of the country’s most comprehensive collections of textbooks, journals, and, most importantly, written resources related to the Thai political history.

Entry: B20

Annual membership: B500/adult

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Attractions
  • Libraries, archives and foundations
  • Silom

The Reading Room boasts a space filled with beanbags, mattresses and natural light—like a cozy living room, in case you don’t have your own—where bookworms can indulge in a selection of books on art, design, social sciences and philosophy. 

Entry: Free

Annual membership: None

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Attractions
  • Libraries, archives and foundations
  • Charoenkrung

Situated in the back wing of the Grand Postal Building in Charoenkrung is this modern, light-filled space that has become a haven for bibliophiles, art lovers and those who just want to study or work in inspiring environs. This learning center covers 9,000 square meters and boasts a variety of functionalities, from a library, to a convention hall, to a meeting room, to a co-working space.

Over 18,000 books on art and design are available at the library. Creativity is allotted space for further expansion at the FabCafe Bangkok, where aspiring artists can use facilities like a 3D printer for a fee. Visitors can also enjoy a nice break at the café or the rooftop garden.

Entry: B100/day

Annual membership: B1,200/adult, B600/student

 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Attractions
  • Libraries, archives and foundations
  • Ratchaprasong

When Thailand Knowledge Park, or TK Park, was first introduced in 2005, Thais were still naive about the concept of a “living library,” essentially a space that combines the likes of a reading room and an activity space in order to boost creativity. A decade later, TK Park can say that it has successfully drawn Thai back into reading—in an alternative way.

Entry: B20/person/day

Annual membership: B200/adult, B100/child or student under 25 years old or senior citizen

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Attractions
  • Libraries, archives and foundations
  • Phaya Thai

Not too far away from Jim Thompson’s House, this sleek library shelves books on art and culture, specifically textile production and design. Many of these reads are on the fascinating story of the American entrepreneur-turned-silk textile magnate himself.

The library is named after American author William Warren, who lived in Thailand for over half a decade and worked as a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University for 30 years. His various work and research on the art, culture, and architecture of Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia are credited for inspiring Thompson to launch his textile company.

Entry: Free

Annual membership: B500/person

Independent libraries in Bangkok

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