BANGKOK — A custom-built fish-eye lens, high-definition, 360-degree visuals and 5.1 surround sound will soon transport audiences into the stars soon at the upgraded Bangkok Planetarium.
Eight months after the kingdom’s oldest planetarium closed for a much-needed makeover, it will reopen Jan. 5, for science, at the same location on Sukhumvit Road it has inhabited for over five decades.
With technological assistance from Ditto Thailand and Evans and Sutherland, the semi-dome planetarium, which had become quote decrepit, was upgraded and updated with new digital projectors, a 4K-resolution Digistar 5 digital theater system and an aurora-themed decor.
Video documenting the renovation of the Bangkok Planetarium. Phailin Poonpipath / YouTube
The new planetarium will reopen with a ceremony on Jan. 5 and offer free admission for five days through Jan. 9. After that admission will be the only thing still old-fashioned about the place: 20 baht for students and 30 baht for adults.
It’s unclear yet what the provision for non-Thai speakers will be; in the past special English-language shows were held on Tuesdays.
The Bangkok Planetarium first opened on Science Day – Aug. 18 – in 1964 under the auspices of the Ministry of Education. It’s part of the National Science Centre for Education located next to the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai), just a short walk from BTS Ekamai.