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EST. 1971

JUNE ISSN 0857-1139


JUNE 2016


What’s new, what’s hot!


JUNE 2016 VOL.45 NO.6

New places to enjoy


HUA HIN hideaway

Exploring the backroads more inside!




EXPERIENCE WITH CLASS The Club at Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok places you high above the city, with panoramic views over Bangkok. Here you will also find your own exclusive Club Lounge serving complimentary breakfasts, mid-day snacks, afternoon teas and cocktails. Club packages also include airport transfers, free Wi-Fi access and a 10% discount at all our hotel restaurants; plus laundry services and 30% discount of SPA Cenvaree rates. Prices begin at THB 5,800 net for a Club Deluxe package*. Available from 1-30 June 2016.



JUNE 2016 CALENDAR 10 What’s On in June 36 Hotel Deals 49 Spa Specials 66 Dining Promotions 70 Bar Offers


16 My Favorite Place 18 Feature/Inbound -- Hua Hin 28 Inbound -- On the Backroad 30 Inbound -- Ratchburi 32 Outbound -- Vietnam: Mekong on Wheels 34 Outbound -- Hongkok: Hidden Hikers Paradise 40 Travel News 44 Checking in -- Ramada Menam 46 Checking in -- Aleenta Hua Hin Resort 48 Ask the Concierge




50 Fashion -- Writer's Hot Picks 52 Beauty & Health -- Sex Surgery 54 Personality -- Anantara Siam new GM





56 Chef Focus -- Chef Arnie Marcella 58 Last of the Summer Wine 60 Review -- All Kinds of Funk in Town 64 Review -- Cocotte: Bistro Comfort 65 Review -- Dandelion and Tentacles Café and Art Space

contemporary indian dining

#71 Sukhumvit Soi 26. | Tel. 02-258-4900, 02-260-4790-1 | |



a green outdoorsy thread


reen is everywhere these days, although sometimes it’s hard to be sure who are just paying lip service to it and who are really serious about it. To be sure the green concept is great selling point for a tourism destination or hospitality operation, but it takes more than just a compelling slogan to ease our planet out of the sad environmental conundrum that it has created for itself. But pointing blame won’t do us any good; they might even create further rift where we should all be acting as one – for the efforts to help protect our environment and save our planet needs us all. Let us therefore concentrate on working together for the environment, and I'm sure you've heard that line before. But I'm also sure that with all the information we are bombarded with again and again, we all know that we can do something right down in our alley to help make this world a greener place to live in. Why am I talking “green”? After a prolonged heatwave last month, the green season in Thailand seems to be inching in already, albeit quietly, and it is in this spirit that we give you this month’s edition. This is not “green” issue per se though; more of an outdoor adventure one in fact. And yet, “green” are still” suggested in all of them, if you can read between the lines. Several articles in this issue happened to be about

an outdoor adventure of one kind, which even those who aren’t looking for a theme will easily notice. For example, our inbound feature focuses on the exploring the backroads of Thailand, and our two outbound features, one about South Vietnam and another about Hong Kong carries a similar thread. Our main theme in fact, is Hua Hin, a charming beach destination that is also quite popular among travelers because of its outdoorsy activities. I'm just hoping that the articles for this month are as timely for you adrenalin junkies and green explorers out there as this season should be. Needless to say, our themes for this month have not led us to deviate from regular departments, from the Calendar section to My Favorite Place. All the information you need on what’s happening around town, all the hottest deals and specials promotions -- travel, dining, bar, and spa are waiting for you to enjoy inside, plus a number of arresting features we didn’t mention here. Oh, I must mention a special article on the country’s foremost sex-change surgeon, which you should find interesting, to say the least. Now back to our being “green,” rest assured that we at Lookeast are doing our fair share in this regard, starting from recycling many reusable resources such as papers and cutting down on light and water

consumption whenever and wherever we can. But we want to do more because all of us should strive to do more. While “going green” may sound like a boring cliché by now, there is still no other word that quite describes the effort we should all be working on for the better. So wherever your travels take you, we hope you’ll make it green. And safe travels every one!

Percy Roxas Editor-in-Chief




FOCUS ON GREAT FLAVORS Yasuda -- Tantalizing modern Japanese meals! Welcome to Yasuda and enjoy our extensive menu of noodle dishes, curry, seafood, Thai favorites -- and beef, our signature highlight But our main goal is to offer you the finest Kobe beef at the most competitive prices so we have several delicious options and appetizing steak sets for you to choose from. Enjoy great food created with total dedication to quality and taste, amid a memorable setting.

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YASUDA 74, Sukhumvit Soi 34, Bangkok SUN-THU 11:00-22:00 ( L.O. 21:30 ) FRI & SAT 11:00-23:00 ( L.O. 22:30 ) Tel: 02-258-2530



Chairman Dato Satish Sehgal President Ravi Sehgal Group Publishing Director Asha Narula Sehgal Marco Ferrarese, Writer Enjoys the sense of untamed adventure

Sid Sehgal, Publisher Loves this issue.

Dave Stamboulis, Writ er Still likes heavy metal

Director Lalit Bakshi Executive Director Gaurav Sehgal PR Advisor Earth Saiswang Copyeditor Katherine Walsh

Christopher Scott Dixon, Writer Two subjects he can never know enough: women and cricket

Apichart Boontid, Production Director Plays football every Thursday

Zipporah Gene, Writer A party without cake, is just a meeting

Rich Kantita, Staff Writer Music with everything

Ankita Malhotra, Marketing Executive Expect the unexpected

Jarmmaree Janjaturonrasamee, Art Director Likes to take photos of nature

Chalermkwan Turnbulll Business Development Executive Love all kinds of sport

Advertising & Media Consultants Co., Ltd. 18th floor Richmond Office Building 75/65 Sukhumvit Soi 26, Bangkok 10110, Thailand Tel: + 66 2 204 2982 Fax: + 66 2 204 2984 Views and opinions expressed by individual writers and contributors in the articles herein, do not necessarily reflect those of Lookeast magazine or of Advertising Media Consultants Co., Ltd. All prices are correct at the time of going to press, but are subject to change. Reproduction in whole or part without written consent from Lookeast is strictly forbidden.

Panitkan Apiratanapimonchai,

Business Development Executive Loves spicy Thai food

Acharin Suthisawad, Chairman Executive Assistant to n Reads detective fictio causelove


Wattanaporn Sodasoi, Executive Assistant to CEO Where there is perfection there is no story to tell

A young beautiful girl poses on Hua Hin beach holding a glass of healthy smoothie.




national events & festivals


Amazing Thailand Grand Sale returns

What: The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s (TAT) much anticipated annual Amazing Thailand Grand Sale (ATGS) campaign is back for its 18th successful year and will be held from June 15 to Aug. 15 in cities nationwide. The Amazing Thailand Grand Sale campaign differs from other events of its type in that as well as offering discounts on a variety of goods, it is also possible to make great savings on tourism products; such as, accommodation, spa treatments, travel, car rental and wellness products. Taking part in the Amazing Thailand Grand Sale 2016 will be 15,000 tourism business operators in more than 110 department stores and shopping centers in seven major tourist destinations of Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai, Hua Hin and Udon Thani. Outlets will offer discounts of up to 80 per cent on goods and services as a way of boosting revenue and promoting Thai products internationally. Shoppers will also enjoy special discounts, trendy items from Thai world-class brands, and chic street items from Thai young designers. Throughout the three-month Amazing Thailand Grande Sale 2016, department stores and shopping outlets in seven major cities across Thailand will offer discounts of up to 80 per cent on goods and services as a way of boosting revenue and promoting Thai products internationally. Where: Nationwide When: June 15-Aug. 15 More info: Tourism Authority of Thailand call center 1672 or 02 250 5500



What: Sukhothai Historical Park promotes the ancient city with a mini lightand-sound show that traces the glory of the birthplace of Siam. Colorful shows are lined up for the event, including traditional Thai dance, musical performances, firework display, and more. When: 7-9 p.m. (June 3, July 1, Aug 5 and Sept 2) Where: Sukhothai Historical Park, Wat Sasri How much: Free entry More info: TAT Sukhothai Office, 055 616 2289 or email

What: This is a very large celebration in which the Chiang Mai citizenry participate such as dancing, musical performances, carnival games, and the ubiquitous Thai vendor food is present. Devotees are allowed to venerate the Buddha and the City Pillar, and to place flowers, candles and incense in each of twenty-eight bowls laid out on mats in the temple. There are also cultural performances and dance displays. Where: Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai More info: Tourism Authority of Thailand call center 1672 or 02 250 5500

Mini Light-and-Sound Show



Inthakin City Pillar Festival

Prachinburi Agricultural Products Fair

What: A fair showcasing local fruits, vegetables, plants, agricultural products and OTOP products. There will also be beautiful farmer contest, agriculture decorated car parade and demonstration activities. Where: Muang Prachinburi, Prachinburi More info: Tourism Authority of Thailand call center 1672 or 02 250 5500


Rayong Fruit Festival

What: Rayong is heaven for fruit lovers and this festival celebrates the abundant fruit harvests that the province is famous for. More than top 30 restaurants in the province as well as fruit farmers present their best products in the festival. Where: Tapong Fruit Market, Rayong More info: Tourism Authority of Thailand call center 1672 or 02 250 5500


Kaeng Hin Phoeng Whitewater Rafting Festival

What: Whitewater Rafting at Kaeng Hin Phoeng Festival is held annually around June to October when the water level is high, providing a faster flow, cleaner rapids, and generally less hazardous conditions. Where: Kaeng Hin Phoeng, Prachinburi More info: Tourism Authority of Thailand call center 1672 or 02 250 5500

ENOTECA – SIMPLY, INIMITABLY ITALIAN! Historic Italian family, Italian chef, Italian sommelier – nothing less, nothing more to provide you with real Italian experience. At Enoteca. Tucked away in an inner alley with an intimate house and garden setting, Enoteca’s philosophy of tradition with innovation will delight you with “Slow food cooked with biodynamic products.” Enjoy food cooked by some of the most talented chefs from Italy with creativity and simplicity, yet thoroughly modern and high quality. Served with what is an exclusively Italian wine list -with more than 400 labels that include a Barolo collection alongside rare vintage wines. Come and indulge in inspired creations from southern Italy with a definitive touch of modernity – at Enoteca. Probably Bangkok’s most authentic Italian gourmet restaurant! Soi Sukhumvit 27, Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand Tel: 02 258 4386 | Fax: 02 259 917


We are open everyday from 5.30PM till Midnight


concerts & gigs

art & culture



What: The annual beach party is back with a full line up of Thai famous artist and dance beats with Gancore Club led by Joey Boy. Enjoy the fire show, dance the day and night away at the Beach Camp Party, join the Fun Float Park, or the other hip cool activities. Dress code this year is appropriately “Bohemian.” When: 3 p.m.-3 a.m. Where: Sai Keaw Beach, Samed Island, Rayong How much: THB 1,500 More info: 02 262 3456 or email sales@


Lincoln Showing

What: The U.S. Embassy will be screening the historic film, ‘Lincoln,” directed by Steven Spielberg. The event will be provided with Californian wine, American snacks, and the American Ambassador HE Glyn Davies will be present as well. Where: FCCT, Maneeya Bldg (BTS: Chidlom) More info: 02 652 0580 or email:


Samed In Love 7

trade shows & fairs

Da Endorphine

ThaiCraft Fair

What: Thai female rock artist Da Endorphine is famous for her amazing acoustic and heartfelt music and is set to perform live at Amari Pattaya, which only an hour’s drive from Bangkok. When: 8 p.m. to midnight Where: Aranda Ballroom, Amari Pattaya How much: THB 1,000 for early bird ticket More info: 038 418 418 or email:

4 Amari Pattaya

Thai Craft Fair



What: With decorative, jewelry, arts and crafts, this fair exhibits the treasure of Thailand: handmade products that uses recycled materials, biodegradable products; colorful items with an attached story behind each piece. There will also be a Kid’s Corner by Nancy Chandler products, Foyer Food Market, and more. When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Where: Jasmine City Building, L Floor, Sukhumvit 23 (BTS: Asoke, MRT: Sukhumvit) More info: 02 221 1330 or email:

Where your dream wedding comes true! Our 5-star resort is your ideal wedding venue. Located directly on Pak Nam Pran Bay Beach, Aleenta Hua Hin-Pranburi offers unique rooms. Accommodating up to 150 people, for that unforgettable beach wedding! From 30,000THB ‌ The numbers 32 rooms 22 chefs 2 bakers 22 housekeepers 6 spa therapists 28 service staff 6 bar staff

14 engineers 8 gardeners 28 farmers 12 front office team members 2 wedding planners 1 GM

2 HR 4 Florists 9 monks 1 celebrant 2 hairstylists 2 make-up artists 4 km of beach

for 1 BRIDE & 1 GROOM Wedding memories to last a lifetime. Contact our wedding specialists now

Mid week specials and early booking discounts for 2016 when you book direct | 032 618 333 | LineID: aleentapranburi




Amari Phuket

Laguna Phuket International Marathon



Baba Wedding


What: The exhibition showcases over 90 exhibitors from India, Hong Kong and Thailand. Products from gowns, decorations, sponsors, venues choices, jewelry, photo shooting company, honeymoon tour packages and more. When: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Where: InterContinental Bangkok, Ploenchit Road (BTS: Chidlom) More info: 02 656 0444

What: Oriental Residence Bangkok offers a special deal for wedding planners to get the chance to win a honeymoon package trip to Koh Samui or Maldives. This fair can be enjoyed at a Wedding Fair, June 2-5, at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center or Oriental Residence Bangkok throughout June. More info: 02 125 9000 email:

Masala Wedding Fair



Rainbow Run

Oriental Residence Bangkok

InterContinental Bangkok

Oriental Residence Bangkok

What: It has been a long tradition of Phuket where the people celebrates on the streets with colorful petals and wear colorful clothes and decorate the town with red lanterns to commemorate the mining industry era. Amari Phuket offers a Baba Wedding Festival promotion with special room rates (THB 4,238 net per room per night and a 15% discount for three-night stay between June 17-21, inclusive of one-way transfer to Thalang Road on June 19). When: June 19, 4-6 p.m. is open for public Where: Thalang Road, Phuket More info: 076 340 106-14, ext. 8033 or 8034 or email: reservations.phuket@amari. com


Oriental Wedding

What: The Phuket International Marathon features five different achievable courses. The races include a full marathon (42.195km), half marathon (21.097km), fun run (10.5km), community walk (5km), and kids’ run (2km). The topography of Phuket provides participants with the challenge of running flat sections as well as ones involving rolling hills and, at the same time, runners can enjoy the beautiful scenery as the courses take in villages, rubber plantations, and beaches. Where: Laguna Beach Resort, Phuket

What: The Rainbow Room Foundation is an organization for special needs and awareness center. Together with Punky Runners, the Bangkok running community, this charity run is colorful and all for good cause. When: 5-8:30 a.m. Where: Lumpini Park, Bangkok How much: Registration fee is THB 350 More info: 02 023 2396 or email: hello@

10-12 Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival

What: The Dragon Boat Carnival, the best regional dragon boat competition where fans from all over the region can cheer for their favorite teams, is being held in Hong Kong for the first time. Thailand is one of the crowd’s favorite, after a consistent win for the past years. The carnival will include a San Miguel Beer Fest and a New Family Zone for family activities. Where: Victoria Harbor, Hong Kong More info: 02 233 4329, ext. 17





My favorite place:Chatuchak Weekend Market -- it's where you can find everything Bring there: Comfortable clothes and shoes, a fan, a cap, and a big bag for shopping Must-do: Shopping for handmade designs (clothes, jewelries, decorations), pet accessories, flowers. But don't foget to drop by the plant market Must-see: Visit the nearby Vachirabenjatas Park (Rot Fai Park) in the evening, where you can enjoy a relaxing walk or do some exercise surrounded by some nice greenery and view Must-buy: Flowers and plants, handmade and creative stuff, clothes, jewelry, and decorations Eat at: After a long shopping, I please myself with a very outstanding meal at Suan Bua Thai Restaurant, which serves mouthwatering authentic Thai food in a creative style. Drink at: Blue Sky Rooftop Bar, one of the best rooftop bars, with fabulous choices of drinks to enjoy among breathtakingly panoramic view in Ladprao area Sleep at: Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok, which is very convenience and connected to the Central Plaza Ladprao shopping mall

My favorite place: Nan Province. After working in a busy city like Bangkok it’s great to get to the peaceful unspoiled farmlands and hills of Nan offers exhilarating fresh air. Bring there: Because Nan is countryside bring clothing and footwear suited to the landscape. Bring mosquito spray as well, and more importantly, your camera. Just relax and enjoy Must-do: Try more of the new small local restaurants, and enjoy life while you can Must-see: The Thai countryside. Try not to see beyond the large city and visit the local areas to see the old way of life. Eat at: This is not in Nan, but in Bangkok, I would suggest going to Or Tor Kor Market, where arguably the best place for som tam is located. It’s just at the back of the carpark area. It’s always busy but the BBQ pork and som tam Thai are simply scrumptious! Drink at: In Bangkok I like the seating by the Oriental Bar looking at the river view while having a lemon chili martini! Sleep at: This totally depends on what kind of break I am having. While I love the riverside and enjoy the break at the Shangri-La club floor, I also enjoy small hidden away resorts such as Asita ecoresort in Samut Songkhram, with its 24 rooms and free use of a bike.

My Favorite place: Chiang Mai. I like this place more than the others because of its tourist attractions, rich culture, and temperate weather. Also, the area isn’t as congested as the other cities such as Bangkok and Pattaya. Bring there: Make sure you bring money. If you plan to go during cold season, bring jackets, socks and gloves because the temperature drops to 4 degree Celsius. Must do: Climb Thailand’s highest peak Doi Inthanon. Surrounding the area a lot of tourist attractions that will make you realize that preserving the beauty of nature is important. Must see: Doi Inthanon National Park has many different tourist attractions such as Namtok Mae Ya, a 280m- steep cliff where water flows onto different rock formation in a lower basin; Thambori Chinda, a large cave featuring stalactite and stalagmite formations; and more. Must Buy: Handicrafts Eat and drink at: I recommend Thantawan Restaurant located at Win Place Hotel for its delicious Thai cuisine. Sleep at: There are lots of accommodations in the heart of the city, and you can choose according to your preference.

Name: Pradapporn Chantaworaluck Age: 41 Country: Thailand Job/Professional: Public Relations Manager



Name: Marcel Sawyere Age: 49 Country: Switzerland/Australia Job/Profession: Hotel General Manager

Name: Jeffrey Cutaran Age: 25 Country: The Philippines Job/Profession: Teacher

salads, wraps, sandwiches, paninis, pasta, soups, smoothies

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Siam Paragon 991 Rama1 Road Ground Floor (Opposite MK Gold) BTS: Siam Open Daily 10am - 10pm Tel. 02-610-7714

Exchange Tower First Floor next to True Fitness (BTS: Asoke) Tel. 02-258-2280

Empire Tower Second Floor Sathorn / Narathiwas Intersection BTS: Chong Nonsi Tel. 02-670-1898

Siam Discovery First Floor (Energy Bar) BTS: Siam/National Stadium

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Franchise Inquiries:




HUA HIN hideaway by The Lookeast Team

Hua Hin is perfect for those who love a more sedate holiday style in a gorgeous seaside resort. And who doesn’t?

JUNE 2016 | 19


ention Thailand’s great seaside resorts and favorite escapes, and a short list of perennial holiday destinations roll off the tongue: Phuket, Samui, Pattaya, Krabi, perhaps Phi Phi, Koh Chang, and Koh Phangan and a few smaller islands. But another Thai town is being quietly shared and acclaimed among those in the know: Hua Hin. Located just a short three-hour drive from Bangkok, it has long been the weekend getaway of choice for Thais with a bit of disposable leisure income, and the breakaway refuge of many savvy expats looking for some down time after a hectic week in the capital. For me, the main attraction to visit Hua Hin, even from the beginning, was its Old World ambiance. Perhaps, the romantic in me long for those days back in the 20s when the stately Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin was



File Photos


still called The Railway Hotel, and I feel like I am one of those characters in a sepia-toned movie when travel wasn’t yet for everyone. Those were the days when King Rama V first discovered the charms of this town and built his palace, which he called, Klai Kangwon, meaning “far from worries.” In a phrase, this sums up the Hua Hin area to a tee. While it can be argued that its old world charm is slowly evaporating, Hua Hin remains a holiday spot that is perceived, rightly or wrongly, as very different from other Thai destinations. Perhaps one reason for this is that unlike other popular Thai tourist destinations, here you are bound to meet a wonderful cultural mix of local, Asian, and Western tourists all enjoying the peaceful charms of this classic hideaway by the sea. Also, being a royal beach resort, cabarets, discos, and other nightspots are more regulated here than normal

and somewhat limited than say in Pattaya, Phuket, or Samui, which many tourists find refreshing, especially travelers with families or couples hoping for some restful quality time surrounded by sand, sun, sea, and abundant fresh seafood. Hua Hin has a famous, stunning 5km (3-mile) beach, lovely waterfalls, lush limestone mountains and plenty of leisure activities, and it has become world renowned as a superb place to rejuvenate at one of the several internationally renowned spas in a great location. Besides its laidback friendly seaside atmosphere, Hua Hin is a resort than never stands still. Through the years, it has continued to develop good infrastructure, excellent facilities, beautiful resorts, amazing golf courses, and a constantly growing list of fascinating attractions. Hua Hin’s bucket list of new attractions and hotspots is perhaps a better reflection of how varied it

Banyan The Resort Hua Hin

has become as the travelers it attract nowadays.


On my recent Hua Hin holiday, I stayed at the Banyan The Resort Hua Hin and Golf Club. Banyan The Resort Hua Hin (Tel: 032 538 888 //, email: combines a private residence resort with an adjacent golf course rated as one of Southeast Asia’s very best. The resort’s villas are set in a landscaped environment among lush tropical gardens, with infinity pool, spa, and fitness center. The design for the villas acknowledges the visual impact of contemporary architecture combined with local cultural values, completed in traditional Balinese arrangement for an exotic, cool, calm, and tranquil residence. For some it’s the idyllic lifestyle they want to buy into. But it was the championship 18-hole golf course that was really the crowing glory of the resort. Designed and constructed by Thailand’s leading golf course architect Pirapon



Santorini Park Waterventures Vana Nava Water Jungle

Banyan The Resort Hua Hin


Namatra. Asian Golf Monthly awarded the course and its clubhouse in the Top 3 “Best” places for three consecutive years. To complete the experience, four exclusives golf suites furnished with luxurious interiors (one featuring a private infinity pool) are available at the clubhouse for those eager to be the first on the course at daybreak. All these reasons make Banyan The Resort Hua Hin the complete golfer experience out there. Hua Hin is certainly one of Thailand's premier golfing destinations, with eight world-class courses and several driving ranges in the nearby area. These include the Jack Nicklaus’ designed Springfield Royal County Club, which offers 27 beautifully landscaped holes, the Palm Hills Gold Club, which provides a world-class 18-hole golf course designed by Max Wexler; and Black Mountain, which—since its opening in 2007—has been winning international accolades for every gold award body worth its salt. Of course, as far as sports and games are concerned there is more to

Hua Hin than golf. Fishing, hiking, horseback riding, diving, and snorkeling are only a few other options available for those with the active disposition.


Today, the resort has been attracting the younger crowd because of places like Vana Nava Water Jungle, a waterpark located right in the heart of town. Vana Nava Water Jungle is billed as Asia’s first water jungle, and brings arguably the best waterpark experience in Hua Hin. The waterpark was built on a 20-rai property filled with great rides, stateof-the-art technology, and modern facilities. There are two more waterparks in Hua Hin, Santorini Park Waterventures, which is the first and only digitally controlled waterpark in Asia; and the Black Mountain Water Park, which has been consistently rated as one of the best waterparks in Asia since


it opened in 2011. These waterparks have further diversified the profile of Hua Hin guest demographics, attracting as they do not only the big millennial crowd but also the younger members of the family. One might even say that Hua Hin is fast becoming a town of parks, as parks of all kinds are emerging in all sorts and guises. Opened in September 2015, Rajabhakti Park is a theme park honoring past Thai kings from the Sukhothai period to the current royal house of Chakri. Built by the Royal Thai Army on Thai Army property, the THB 1-billion, 222-rai park was called "Rajabhakti Park," which means "the park that has been built with people's loyalty to the monarchs.� The park consists of three distinct areas. The first, covering an area of



five rai is dominated by the statues of seven notable Thai kings: King Ramkhamhaeng (1279-1298) of the Sukhothai period; King Naresuan (1590-1605) and King Narai (16561688) of the Ayutthaya period, King Taksin (1767-1782) of the Thonburi period; and King Rama I (17821809), King Mongkut (1851-1868), and King Chulalongkorn (18681910) of the Rattanakosin period. On a smaller scale, other parks have opened recently as well, inclduding the Sirirat Rajini Ecosystme Learning Center, which is located inside the Pranburi Forest Park and is the first such center for mangrove reforestation.


Hua Hin may not be like Bangkok,

but shopaholics need not worry either: With two night-markets (Toh Rung Market and Chat SIla Market), a local market, and numerous boutique stores, Hua Hin is an excellent place to shop for locally produced handicrafts, fabrics, souvenirs, and food products. Even at Plearnwan (www.plearwan. com), which was established to serve as a living museum, the main activity besides eating is shopping. Plearnwan is especially interesting to foreign tourists because it recreates the old days of simple joys and pleasures in Hua Hin, a kind of nostalgic ride that deepens your understands of today’s Hua Hin. Of course the newer markets must be mentioned: Cicada Market, Tamarind Market, Village Market, Khomapastr,

Dave Stamboulis

view; and Hua Hin Hills Vineyard home of Monsoon Valley wines, has a superb restaurant with stunning views of the wine lands and elephant rides among the vines.


Whether undergoing spa treatment, holistic therapy, learning Thai massage, taking advantage of the excellent medical services, horseback riding, or just relaxing and reading a good book, Hua Hin is the perfect place for those who love a more sedate holiday style in a gorgeous seaside resort. And who doesn’t?

TRAVEL TIPS Seenspace, and SamPan Nam Floating Market.


Coastal cruises, day trips around Monkey Island and Dolphin Bay, local fishing excursions, and night time deep-sea trips are all available from Hua Hin, while freshwater fishing, river cruises and eco-tours run along the waterways inland. Half-day and full-day trips are available. Popular destinations include: Pa-La-U Waterfall, a 15-tier feature in the jungle 60km from town; Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand's largest reserve, stretching to the Burmese border; Sam Roi Yot National Park, a landscape of limestone peaks; and Khao Takiab, a hill at the end of Hua Hin beach sprinkled with Buddhist shrines and well worth climbing for the panoramic

How to get there By Bus Services are available on an hourly basis from Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai Bus Terminal, Pinklao) 4 a.m.-10:20 p.m. Prior reservations are required to secure seats, and tickets have to be booked at the bus station in person. Ticket costs about Bt160. By Minibus Minibuses, which ply the route every 15 minutes from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., are much faster than buses but have a limited seating capacity (11-12 seats). Minibuses start from Ratchawitee Hospital near the Victory Monument in Bangkok. Ticket costs Bt200. By Car You can either flag down a cab or approach a travel agency either directly or through your hotel, to hire a cab. However, decide on the fare before the trip, as it can vary accordingly -- usually between Bt1000 and Bt3000. You can also rent a car and drive all the way to Hua Hin. By Train A safer and comfortable way to reach Hua Hin from Bangkok’s Hua Lum Pong Railway Station. Train tickets can be reserved either in person or online. JUNE 2016 | 25

V Villas Hua Hin

Sheraton Hua Hin

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin





The central market sells fresh fruit and fish to locals as it has done for ages. The night market is the ideal place to sample street food cooked fast and fresh. International travelers visit Hua Hin for the coastline and wonderfully natural hotels, but the locals arrive for the food, with the town's fishing fleet delivering baskets of prawns and fish every day, helping the town maintain its reputation as one of Thailand's top seafood spots. Most restaurants and eateries, especially those in the 5-star resorts, are geared toward high-end gourmet level, but there are all kinds of cuisine available for all kinds of food lover – although we can’t mention them all in all fairness. By the way, if you’re curious about where the Thais are going for great daytime street food, try going to Hua Hin 51, just a few walks toward the beach.

Dusit Thani Hua Hin



Awesome 5-star hotels and resorts are now the norm, such as: Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin, Hyatt Regency Hua Hin, Hilton Hua Hin, Sheraton Hua Hin, InterContinental Hua Hin, Marriot Hua Hin, Anantara Hua Hin, Evason Six Senses Hua Hin, and of course, Dusit Thani Hua Hin, not to mention some hot names in resorts such as Putharacsa, V Villas Hua Hin, Asara, AKA, Alila, Veranda, and more recent additions Sofitel So Hua Hin and Radisson Hua Hin among the many others, which beckon to all kinds of holidays: romantic escapades, weddings, family retreats, weekend getaways, or incentive travels. There’s so much to choose by way of accommodation to fit a traveler’s requirement for a perfect stay. The town is home to ChivaSom, one of the world’s leading health resorts, although it is by no means the only place to visit for a fabulous spa indulgence.



LEGEND IN LUXURY With it luxurious beachfront setting, and myriad of facilities and services, this resort is perfect for a getaway! views with its private balcony, overlooking the never-ending blue ocean, the swimming pools, or the gardens. The 42 colonial style villas stand elegantly amid the gardens in a separate area and feature either an outdoor Jacuzzi or a private pool. The eight restaurants and bars deliver unrivalled variety of cuisine, offering a selection that includes traditional Japanese, authentic Thai, Mediterranean specialties, fresh seafood, and gourmet fare. A must-experience is the charming space surrounded by the authentic atmosphere of a bygone era in the original 1923 hotel’s lobby: The Museum Coffee & Tea Corner. For adventure out in the sun, your perfect spot is the Coast Beach Club & Bistro, a brand-new drinking, dining, and lounging experience on one of the best beachfronts of Hua Hin. It’s the ultimate laidback, cool spot to sip some chilled-drinks, feast

All photos from Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin


nown as one of the Asia's legendary hotels, this colonial style resort opened as the Railway Hotel in 1923. Recently renovated that retained not only its original elegance but also its Old World splendor, the resort continues to be many high-end travelers favorite luxurious hotel in Hua Hin. With its luxurious beachfront setting, extensive topiary gardens, myriads of facilities, and easy access to its golf courses, Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin (1 Damnernkasem Road// Tel: 032 512 021-38; Email: / provides all sorts of comfort required for a perfect getaway. The resort features 207 luxurious and spacious rooms and suites that evoke the spirit of the 1920s with their high ceilings, vintage furniture, and gracious décor. Different rooms provide different

on some delightful menus while having a good conversation with friends. Coast also serves sizzling grilled meats and local seafood, sliders, sandwiches, and pizza, and salads are made fresh by celebrated chefs. As the sun slides into the sea and day gives way to thestarry-eyed night, can settle into the nightlife mode without skipping a beat as they will be serving up cool, ambient tunes while daring mixologists stir up a storm of fantastical tropical cocktails. Wine’s also definitely on the list and beer lovers can be satisfied with the variety of chilled brews waiting to be tasted. When evening falls, Coast transforms into one of Hua Hin’s cozy yet sophisticated dining seating options. Luxurious in approach, the resort has facilities galore with one swimming pool per wing, several children’s pools and a supervised kids’ club, a fitness center and tennis courts, and the award-winning Spa Cenvaree. Set among a tranquil landscaped tropical garden, the spa features nine treatment rooms and outdoor Thai massage sala. The spa’s design is inspired by traditional Thai architecture. Opened since 1997, this spa is a favorite oasis among guests. In addition to the therapy rooms, there is an herbal steam room, Jacuzzi, manicure and pedicure suite and an outdoor foot massage.

The resort features 207 luxurious and spacious rooms and suites that evoke the spirit of the 1920s...

JUNE 2016 | 27


ON THE BACKROADS Seeing Thailand on two wheels opens up a whole new world; the perfect way to see the sights, get away from the crowds, meet the locals -- and stay in great shape as well! by Dave Stamboulis


h ave lived in Thailand for almost a decade and certainly have seen my fair share of the country. Yet, on a recent vacation, I thought I’d do something different other than hopping onto a bus or train or taking a minivan tour. I joined up with a Spice Roads bicycle trip, going to revisit some of the cultural highlights of central Thailand, and came away well rewarded, feeling fit, as well as delighted, having seen a part of Thailand that only a few visitors are privy to. Spice Roads runs bicycle trips throughout the region, greater Asia, and elsewhere in the world. Their motto, proudly worn on the jersey of



our guide, Tom, says “See the world by bike.” I’ve always seen bicycling as a kind of common denominator between people, breaking down barriers wherever one goes. It is a great way to see places normally not stopped at when traveling by bus or car. We started our journey at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, probably the biggest tourist attraction near Bangkok. While the market itself is not very local anymore, being aimed strictly at tourists, it’s still a decent photo op and a place to stock up on a few souvenirs for the folks back home. What made the visit here far more interesting than on a regular tour

War Museum, but also the memorial cemetery, the famed Bridge Over the River Kwae, and then even went for a ride on the commemorative train, which runs up along the Burmese border through some lush mountain terrain. We finished our afternoon at the Mueang Sing Historical Park, site of some 13th century Khmer temple remains, looking right out of Angkor Wat, but without any of the tourist masses. While our second day focused on some of Kanchanaburi’s history, our third day was all about the pleasure of rural riding. This was the hilliest day, and the excellent gear ratios on the bikes we had came well appreciated. We cycled past elephant camps, languid rivers, and past abundant agricultural areas, learning about the crops unique to the area such as tapioca, rose apples, and papaya. Tom made sure we sampled just about every product we saw, ensuring a further connection to the land we were cycling through. One of the luxuries of touring by bicycle is the camaraderie that builds up between riders, and the vast amount of time available to get to know one another. Our tour included Germans, Russians, and even a

I thought I knew Thailand pretty well when I started the trip, but as we headed home, I realized that seeing the country on two wheels has opened up a whole new world for me.

All photos by Dave Stamboulis

was that after touring the market and taking a boat along some of the back canals, we started riding through the area, getting a bit more sense of just how locals lived and what the industries are that actually support their lives. We meandered through coconut and banana plantations, stopping to see some coconut processing along the way. Having a Thai guide allowed us to gain access and communicate in every little hamlet we stopped in, learn a bit about the locals’ lives, not to mention not really having to concentrate on navigating. Knowing how awful the traffic can be in many parts of the country, I was quite amazed to find us sailing along on almost deserted backroads, even getting off road through the plantations on empty dirt tracks. I have done bicycle tours before, and while it certainly gets one offthe-beaten path, it also comes at the expense of heat, dust, inclement weather, and one fairly sore body. Fortunately, Spice Roads has arranged their tours to take most of the discomforts of the road out, and let participants just enjoy themselves while getting a great workout at the same time. All of their tours feature several support vehicles, including a mini van equipped with a large ice chest, allowing riders pull in to the perfectly timed rest stops to find fresh fruit, cookies, and ice cold drinks, and even cold towels awaiting, really making it seem that every whim had been thought of and catered to. On our second day we traveled around Kanchanaburi, visiting the top attraction there, the Death Railway built by POWs for the Japanese push into Burma during WWII. Not only did we pay a call in at the descriptive

couple from Greenland, from whom I probably learned more about the country in four days than I ever would from reading a guidebook. Our group was pretty close knit by the time we rolled into Ayutthaya, heading out on the town for an evening meal and celebratory beer. On our final morning together, we toured most of the ancient city of Ayutthaya and its majestic temples. While the towering ruins were obviously a big highlight for many, I found myself gravitating towards the lesser sights; stopping at a local temple school to talk with the kids, or pedaling through a Muslim community that most obviously was not used to seeing foreign travellers, giving us big smiles and kind words of encouragement as we cycled through. I thought I knew Thailand pretty well when I started the trip. But as we headed home, I realized that seeing the country on two wheels has opened up a whole new world for me: a perfect way to see the sights, get away from the crowds, meet the locals, and stay in great shape as well.

JUNE 2016 | 29


RATCHABURI IN THE RAW Just 80km from Bangkok, Ratchaburi offers more than just the world-famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market or the Rose Garden by Percy Roxas


atchaburi is just about 80km from Bangkok. And yet few travelers know that there is more to this province than just the world-famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, which has given us some of the most iconic impressions of the kingdom. Few if ever goes to Ratchaburi to enjoy its natural attractions but in fact, with mountains bordering Myanmar, natural hot springs, and caves, among others, it should be worth a daytrip from Bangkok. Ratchaburi is also rich in history, as testified by the number of historical sites dating to the Dvaravati era that still stands today.



Of course it is understandable how the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, located just east of the provincial capital, has overshadowed the other attractions of the province. For one the floating market, while unique in Thailand, has all the mystique and magic of an Oriental marketplace not common in many countries, which makes it a big attraction. It is a very photogenic place too, and the photo ops it offer just help create great memories of someone’s visit to a strange land. The very sight of the canals, full of small wooden boats-- often paddled by old ladies wearing straw hats-each offering their colorful tropical

File Photos

fruits, vegetables, and snacks, are just engaging, to say the least. For a few hundred baht visitors can hire their own boats and explore the canals while shopping for everything from vegetables and fruits to freshly cooked noodle and souvenirs. Visitors come in droves in a pre-dawn start that is required to visit the floating market because it generally closes by mid-morning. The Rose Garden is an excellent place to experience Thai culture. One of the longest running Thai programs offered in the Bangkok tourist bucket list, it is a microcosm of Thailand and all aspects of Thai culture, including traditional Thai dancing, Thai food, and Muay Thai (Thai boxing), can be enjoyed here.


Ratchaburi has a variety of attractions, both natural and manmade, and there’s something to keep any one entertained during their Ratchaburi holiday. The province is home to a number of natural caves with beautiful stalagmites and stalactites, including one of our favorites, the Tham Rusi Khao Ngu cave, which houses a large Buddha image dating to the Dvaravati era. This cave is probably the closest to the provincial capital. A bit farther away is the Tha Chomphon cave, where the stalactites are simply magnificent! This cave houses a Reclining Buddha image. Another great cave to visit is Tham Khoa Bin, on the western part of the province, where many say

the most beautiful and impressive stalagmites and stalactites can be found. If you are a history buff, you visit should include the historical site of Khu Bua, located just a few kilometers south of town along the Mae Klong River. This ancient city is a living reminder of that early period in the country’s history of galleons and trade with foreign nations. The Ratchaburi National Museum is a rich repository of artifacts culled from ancient excavations. Several temples and a pagoda – not to mention Buddha images -- from the same era still stands in the area. Being an ancient city, Ratchaburi is naturally home to a number of ancient temples. Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat in Ratchaburi town, noted for its Khmer-style prang, is believed to be around 10 centuries old. Wat Khongkharam about 20km north of Ratchaburi town is a two centuries old temple known for magnificent mural paintings depicting scenes from the Jataka, the tales about the previous lives of the Buddha. Ratchaburi is also a top destination for rock climbing, and the Khao Ngu Rock Park, a former mining site, has been taken over by rock climbers for good reason. If you are in Bangkok and looking for new daytrips not too far from the capital but offers a lot of opportunities for sightseeing, natural adventures, and close encounters with the real Thai culture, plan a visit soon!


Ratchaburi is located on the banks of the Mae Klong River, 80km west of Bangkok. Featuring a diverse topography, it has lowlands to the east and the Tanaosi Mountain Range to the west, which provides a natural border with Myanmar. The provincial area abounds in natural attractions and historical sites. Ratchaburi features outstanding natural beauty and a number of opportunities to learn about Thai culture.

How to get there

The State Railway of Thailand serves Ratchaburi town as well as the smaller towns of Ban Phong, Photharam, and Pak Tho. The train journey takes around two to two-and-half hours from Hualamphong Station, Bangkok. Air-conditioned buses leave Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal to Ratchaburi several times per hour. The trip takes around two hours, fares start at around THB 50 depending on the class of bus. You also take any taximeter in Bangkok or have your hotel book one for you if you want a more private trip.

Eat & Drink

A variety of cuisines, including Thai and international foods are available in most restaurants. Most guesthouses and resorts also have restaurants that serve both.


As is everywhere in Thailand, there are many accommodation options to choose from, including a hot springs resort. Many are located near golfing facilities. JUNE 2016 | 31


MEKONG DELTA ON WHEELS Experience the end of Southeast Asia’s throbbing artery in a diffferent, rewarding way -through the backroads of southern Vietnam! by Marco Ferrarese


reen fields extending in all directions besides canals so narrow only a dingy could navigate them. A river so fractured that it becomes a shattered world of silent waterways that spread as the capillaries of a gigantic, quiet creature. The bustling chaos of central Ho Chi Minh City, particularly the bar and guesthouse-infested side roads of Phạm Ngũ Lão, would suggest a different pulse to southern Vietnam, one backed by a constant soundtrack of motorbike engine noise. But that’s the necessary starting point to rent those wheels that can whiz travelers through the best that



the Mekong Delta has to offer, especially avoiding the congested traffic of National Route 1A – a crosscountry bonanza of honking trucks, reckless driving, and hair-raising overtaking. The trick to enjoying a road trip in the Delta is to get out of that highway to hell as soon as road QL50 whizzes south of Ho Chi Minh City’s center in the direction of Gò Công town. After a mandatory hour of the capital’s traffic, the landscape opens up, leaving green spaces between construction and concrete, and the first views of the water. The first bridge over a bend of the Mekong makes continuing to the bustling

bridge that crosses the Mekong once again, we turn left taking a small country road that follows the river bend. It’s here that at last, a totalizing green engulfs us. A pit stop at a riverside café is a great opportunity to see how commerce unfolds along the waters: boats float towards the open sea a few kilometers farther down West. The road unfolds like a lazy, sun-soaking snake through paddy fields and gracious homes all the way to the center of Trà Vinh, which is a pretty and orderly town in itself. It’s impossible not to stop at a colonial house that doubles as restaurant. Three women prepare traditional Vietnamese spring rolls by hand on the porch, attracting us. Served with fresh vegetables, pork or prawns, these transparent rolls are simply delicious.

After a mandatory hour of the capital’s traffic, the landscape opens up, leaving green spaces between construction and concrete, and the first views of the water.

All photos by Marco Ferrarese

town of Mỹ Tho an easy ride, but we want something quieter to spend the night. Bến Tre is just another half hour south across a second, longer bridge that passes over the biggest of four riverine islands floating between the sides of the Mekong. Using road QL60 until it bifurcates in TL884, we take keys off the dashboards at Bến Tre’s quaint waterfront. Traditional Southern Vietnamese boats with eyes painted on their bows wait here, their outlines glowing in a majestic sunset that changes the river’s colors to dark purple. Popular tradition has it that the painted eyes are “protective devices” drawn to scare away dangers such as storms, pirates, and crocodiles. A boat with no eyes holds no protection for itself or its occupants. In the center of town there’s a quiet lake guarded by the very communist-looking statue of a young fellow with his raised fist. The evening is extremely quiet: good enough to slurp a hearty bowl of pho, and make the acquaintance of an old couple of Cantonese ancestry who, besides speaking the language, have adorned their hole-in-the-wall shop as if it were a southern Chinese home. The next day, after a crunchy Bánh mì, iconic French bread garnished with ham, greens, cucumber, cilantro and pâté, we roll out of town and onto QL60 again in direction of Trà Vinh. This province has a sizeable Khmer population and is dotted by temples that resemble those found in nearby Cambodia. Right after the another long

The center of town sports a market dominated by a monument to Uncle Ho, an evergreen national superstar. Women in straw hats peddle their goods with nonchalance while motorbikes buzz all around in quiet ways that are the opposite of Saigon’s stressing traffic. Which is why, instead of proceeding to Cần Thơ--the fourth largest city in Vietnam--we prefer to zoom east on QL53 until we reach Vĩnh Long, another famous river settlement on the delta. But the place looks overdeveloped, and it seems hard to find a place to stay that will accept foreigners. A boon in disguise, because looking at the map, the nearby town of Sa Đéc seems the perfect alternative. It’s a charming colonial hamlet and the setting of Marguerite Duras’ novel The Lover. Thirty years after the book’s release, Sa Đéc maintains the vibe of a place lost in time. The fish market, a gruesome affair of wriggling and dying scales and crabs tied by their chelipeds, it's one of liveliest I've ever seen. There's a cordial composure in the act of sacking life from the mighty river and put it on display for other beings to buy. The atmosphere is made dreamier by the colorful flowers, Sa Đéc’s other main export. Here where we stand, lost in the whims of river life, and Ho Chi Minh City is a long ride back. Which, I’m afraid, is going to wait for another day… or maybe two.

JUNE 2016 | 33


A HIKER’S HONG KONG Why Hong Kong is one of Asia’s best-kept outdoor secret and top urban natural playground -- a hidden hiker's paradise! Above: The beautiful Long Ke Wan Beach as seen from the MacLehose Trail, Sai Kung



by Dave Stamboulis

sk anyone to tell you their impressions of Hong Kong and you’ll hear: “skyscrapers, density, neon, architecture, and dim sum” in almost every reply. Pick up any magazine and you’ll read the latest on Michelin restaurants, rooftop bars, and the best panoramas for viewing the iconic Hong Kong harbor and its dazzling light show. What you won’t ever hear about are the pristine white sand beaches, turquoise bays, challenging mountain hikes, and empty campgrounds set in stunning locations. Yet all of these are part of Hong Kong, making it Asia’s best-kept outdoor secret and


top urban natural playground. Hong Kong has a wealth of hiking trails almost all accessible within thirty minutes or less from downtown on its superb mass transit system. It also boasts four long distance trails that cover almost every square meter of each island and the New Territories making up all of Hong Kong. The MacLehose Trail is the best of the bunch, divided into 10 sections and running 100kms, traversing beautiful white sand beaches at the deserted far east-end of Hong Kong, as well as climbing over its highest mountain, 957m-high Tai Mo Shan. My girlfriend and I spent our last New Year covering the first few

stages of the MacLehose, which take in some of Kowloon’s most terrific scenery. The trail passes through Sai Kung Country Park and along the High Island Reservoir, rising up and down and hugging the cliffs over beaches and bays that look right out of Hawaii, surrounded by pointed mountains like Sharp Peak, which provide scramblers with phenomenal views over the entire coast. Despite the fact that it was the New Year, and the busiest time on the calendar and a holiday period, we spent several nights camping on Ham Tim Wan beach, a long stretch of dazzling white sand, where we encountered only one other tent.

All photos by by Dave Stamboulis

The Country Parks Department has 36 free campsites scattered along the trails in Hong Kong, and as the transportation around the islands is so good, most folks just come out for day trips, preferring to leave their heavy packs at home, yet for those willing to be self sufficient, the rewards are incredible. Some of the beaches are next to old fishing villages that are mostly abandoned, although there are still a handful of residents who tend their gardens, and even set up small restaurants to serve visitors, as well as renting out tents and bedding to trekkers who don’t have their own gear. For those looking for day hikes, the most popular is undoubtedly the Dragon’s Back, a panoramic ridge hike along the spine of Hong Kong Island, and part of the 50km- long Hong Kong Trail. Easy access points and superlative views ensure crowds up here, not to mention that triathletes, trail runners, and fitness lovers use this as their backyard, but it’s a fun trail nevertheless, and on our journey upwards, we hiked alongside an old Japanese man, carrying a pack so large it made him look like a Nepali porter, ferrying clients’ loads to Everest Base Camp. Asking him whether he was training for some Himalayan epic, he chuckled, and told us that he was almost seventy, and far too old to be doing such things. Twenty minutes later, hitting the summit ridge, he stopped to open up his humongous bag, revealing an elaborate paragliding setup, and grinning at us, said, “I take the scenic way down!” The trails here present Hong Kong in a completely different light than

it is normally seen. While several nights before we’d been watching the light-and-sound show light up the Hong Kong harbor and surrounding high-rises, out along the MacLehose Trail we had a sky full of stars and almost zero light pollution, something I’d never thought possible here. There are also great sunrise and sunset spots along the trails, the best of which is probably up on top of Lantau Peak, Hong Kong’s second highest mountain. Part of the 70kmlong and 12-section Lantau Trail, a several hour slog will bring one up to 934 meters, from where a magnificent sunrise panorama unfolds. The giant Buddha at Ngong Ping lies below, and it is hard to believe that this is the same island that houses the wildly busy Hong Kong International Airport, less than 30kms away as the crow flies.

With these three trails, along with the 78km-Wilson Trail that crisscrosses Hong Kong Island, one could spend months hiking, exploring, camping, and getting phenomenally fit at the same time, making all those dim sum buffets back in the city all the more inviting. Returning home from our journey and showing friends photos of the beaches and mountains, most could only look on with their mouths open in amazement, asking if it was really Hong Kong.

Top, left: The view from the summit of Sharp Peak, Sai Kung Top, right: Hiking on the Dragon's Back trail Bottom: Trekking on MacLehose Trail at Ham Tin Wan Beach

Hiking Tips:

The Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department has extensive information on country parks, hiking trails, and camping on their website (, while the government hiking site has abundant information on all the different trails (

JUNE 2016 | 35

Aonang Cliff Beach


Amari Phuket

Krabi Romance

Value for Phuket

What: Amari Phuket recently unveiled a one-bedroom suite and celebrates it with a special rate that saves you up over 15% for a minimum three-night stay. THB 14,025++ with an exclusive offer to the Clubhouse in the value of THB 7,200 net and a complimentary dining credit value of THB 1,000 net per stay. When: Throughout June Where: Amari Phuket, 2 Muen-ngern Rd, Patong Beach, Kathu More info: 076 340 106-14, ext. 8033 or 8034

Layana Resort and Spa

Anantara Exclusive

Opening Offer

What: A new suite opens up at Layana Resort to give guests better views and direct access to the Wellness pool and private patio. The Terrace Suite includes a rain shower and Jacuzzi bathtub, living room and terrace, coffee machine and one king-size bed. When: Ongoing Where: Layana Resort and Spa, Phra-Ae Beach, Koh Lanta, Krabi How much: THB 11,000 (low season) or THB 20,500 (high season), Internet Rate More info: 075 607 100 or email: resa@



What: Make your visit to Phuket even better with this exclusive package. Book a three-night’s stay in the exclusive 2-bedroom private Royal Suite, and enjoy a special Dine By Design dinner with your very own private chef as well as one of the rarest wines, 1990 Domaine Romanee Conti. When: Ongoing Where: Anantara Mai Khao Phuket Villas How much: THB 15,225 More info: 076 336 100 or email:

Summer Blitz

What: A special “Summer Getaway” rate gives you options to stay at the Garden Room, Lagoon View Room, Lagoon Access Room, Lagoon Access Club & Ocean Front, or Suite, inclusive of daily breakfast buffet for two. When: Throughout June Where: Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi How much: THB 3,900-THB8,900 More info: 032 708 080 or email:

What: Enjoy a four day, three night package in the romantic and scenic venue. With a selection of an Ocean View Room or a Panorama Suites where you can see endless islands, beach and sky. The package includes buffet breakfast, daily coffee, tea and snacks, speed boat to PhiPhi Island or Hong Island, entrance fee to the national park excluded, Spa day at the Infinity Spa, free access to Andamana Beach Club and many more special privileges. This promotion is strictly for couples only. When: Year round Where: Aonang Cliff Beach. 328 Moo 2, Aonang, Krabi How much: THB 13,500-21,000 More info: 075-626-888 or email: info@

For Residents Only

What: Thai residents visiting the Ritz Carlton Krabi at Phulay Bay can enjoy an exclusive rate with complimentary benefits such as breakfast for two, roundtrip transfers, and a 50-minute Thai or head and shoulder massage for 2 per stay. Rates are exclusive for Thai citizens and expats in Thailand. When: Until October Where: Phulay Bay, 111 Moo 3 Nongthalay, Krabi How much: THB11,000-THB27,000 More info: 075 628 111 or email:

Phi Phi Upgrade

What: Get an upgrade in a private villa with a 25m-beachfront infinity pool facing Loh Ba Gao Bay in Koh Phi Phi. This special Summer Package is exclusively for Thai residents. When: Until October Where: Phi Phi Island Village Beach Resort, 49 Moo 8, Phi Phi Island How much: THB10,235++ per night More info: 075 628 900

Super Advance Saver

What: Booking at least 15 days in advance and get a 30% discount plus free accommodation for one child under 12 years of age. Rate starts at THB 4,084 net per room per night with complimentary shuttle bus from and to Ao Nang. When: Throughout June Where: Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort More info: or email:

Wedding Offer

What: At Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai’s “Premier Wedding Showcase 2016,” couples will get not only an exclusive opportunity to experience the resort’s comprehensive wedding arrangements but also special deals for couples to experience all its unique wedding offerings at the stunning resort. Where: Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai When: June 12 How much: THB 1,398 net per couple More info: 053 888 888 or email sales@

Le Meridien Family Package

What: The closest five-star hotel to Angkor Wat, Le Méridien Angkor, is offering a Family Discovery package that includes accommodation for two adults and one child along with other benefits at rates starting from USD125+++ per night. The package includes round-trip transfer from/ to airport, daily breakfast for up to two persons, an extra bed for one child up to



12-years-old, a welcome drink or local beer upon arrival, 4 p.m. late checkout, discount on all food and beverages including inroom dining and minibar, discount on spa treatments, and discount on Le Méridien merchandise at the hotel boutique. Where: Le Meridien Angkor, Vithei Charles de Gaulle, Siem Reap, Cambodia When: Until Dec. 20 More info: +855 63 963 900, email or visit

‘Staycation’ Special

What: Sleep, eat, entertain yourself, and enjoy a Muay Thai Live Show during your stay with the “Bangkok Staycation Package” featuring exclusive benefits for guests. The package includes a two-night stay in a room or suite of your choice for two, daily international buffet breakfast, a Thai set lunch or dinner at Eat Well Cafe, free mini-bar beverages including soft drinks and local beer which is refilled daily, and more. Where: Well Hotel Bangkok, Sukhumvit 20

U Hotels & Resorts Brand

How much: The two-night stay starts at THB 8,102 Baht for Superior Room, THB 9,102 for Deluxe Room, THB 13,104 for Executive Room, and THB 17,106 for Executive Suite More info: Email rsvn@ or visit www.

Ur Summer Deal

What: Get 25% discount for minimum two-nights’ stay at any U Hotels & Resort hotels across the country, and also enjoy added value of food and beverages or spa credit worthy of US$25 per room per stay. Use the rate code “USUM.” When: Until July Where: U Hotels & Resorts Brand More info:

Couples’ Special

What: To celebrate Kata Group Resort’s 36 years anniversary, a special rate is now being offered for Deluxe and Family rooms, inclusive of breakfast. When: Until October Where: Phuket Orchid Resort & Spa How much: THB 1,599 (Deluxe room), THB 2,599 (Family room) More info: 076 358 300 or email:

Phuket Orchid Resort & Spa

Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort


LE Exclusive

What: For Lookeast readers exclusively, enjoy a special package at a Private Pool Villa with an exquisite view of the island for three days and two nights. Promotion includes daily breakfast at The Peak restaurant, dinner for two at the resort and a 90 minute Spa Treatment for two. When: Until October Where: Crown Lanta Resort, Koh Lanta, Krabi How much: US$ 400 More info: 07-562-6999 or email: rsvn@

What: Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok invites guests to partake in a complete experience with “Simply Wellness,” a special package featuring a 90-minute spa treatment, extra benefits, and the luxury of a Deluxe River View Room with unparalleled views of the Chao Phraya River. The Simply Wellness package, which is tailored to create a state of complete harmony of the body, mind, and spirit, is available for a minimum stay of two consecutive nights. Package benefits include one-time spa cuisine for lunch or dinner or via in-room dining, one-time CHI, The Spa’s Jasmine Rice Treatment for two persons (45-minute Jasmine Rice Body Glow and 45-minute Jasmine Oil Massage), complimentary daily holistic indoor/outdoor fitness activities, complimentary late checkout at 3 p.m., special privilege for booking the Vitalife Longevity Program at Bumrungrad International Hospital, and 20 percent discount on the third night onwards Where: Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok When: Through Sept. 30 How much: Starts at Bt5,300++ per room, per night for single occupancy and Bt6,300++ per room, per night for double occupancy in a Deluxe River View More info: 02 206 8788; email:

Nuevo Latino Kitchen

THE NEW HISPANIC SENSATION IN TOWN FOR RESERVATION PLEASE CONTACT AZUL Nuevo Latino Kitchen 16 Sukhumvit 49 Khlong Tan Nuea, Wattana, Bangkok 10110 Tel: +66 2 662 6117 E-mail: AzulNuevoLatino




Shangri-La Hotel

Crown Lanta Resort

Simply Wellness Package

Hard Rock Cafe Koh Samui

Shangri-La Bkk


Hard Rock Samui ready to welcome guests

Koh Samui – Hard Rock Cafe brings the brand’s one-of-a-kind blend of music, entertainment, iconic merchandise, and authentic American flair to Koh Samui! The 1,250sqm state-of-the-art cafe is slated to open this in the heart of Samui’s exciting entertainment hub of Chaweng. The new Hard Rock Cafe Koh Samui joins three successful Hard Rock Cafe locations in Thailand: in Bangkok, Phuket, and Pattaya. Hard Rock Cafe Koh Samui marks the brand’s fourth location in Thailand. Hard Rock Cafe Koh Samui will be represented by Destination Resorts, which has already helped to successfully expand the brand in Thailand as the franchisee of Hard Rock Cafe Phuket. Located on Chaweng Beach Road, Hard Rock Cafe Koh Samui will feature indoor seating for 200 guests and a spacious outdoor terrace and bar that can accommodate up to 100 guests. The new cafe will also offer an impressive outdoor pool area complete with private bar and guest cabanas. A large outdoor stage will feature the best in live music and entertainment from Koh Samui and around the globe.

X2 Vibe Chiang MaiDecem Hotel opens

Chiang Mai -- Bespoke Hospitality Management Asia and Thailand-based design hotel group X2 recently announced the opening of X2 Vibe Chiang Mai-Decem Hotel. X2 Vibe (Tel: 053 214 828; email: is the younger more youthful, fun sibling of the X2 Luxury by Design Brand that has been gaining momentum in the Thai and Southeast Asian luxury 5-star market over the past five years. X2 Vibe Chiang Mai, which follows on the heels of the X2 Vibe in Vietnam Hoi An, offers 76 newly designed chic urban style rooms in a loft style up to 60sqm with views over Doi Suthep and Doi Pui from almost every room. The hotel is located in the hippest spot in Chiang Mai, literally a short walk to Maya mall and the super cool



café and restaurants that now make up hipster Lana life. The hotel is now offering introductory rates starting at only THB 2,500 net including breakfast.

Shangri-La BKK unveils unique painting by 8 world-renowned artists

Bangkok -- Eight of the world’s most renowned artists for modern and contemporary street art came together to create a unique live painting of “Paradise on the River”-- only at Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok ( The painting is located on the corridor near the hotel’s Health Club between the Shangri-La Wing and the Krungthep Wing. Coming from different backgrounds and experiences and having different inspirations for their paintings, artists

from the Netherlands, Romania, Greece, Korea, Japan and Thailand, jointly created an unimaginable art piece that reflects the lifestyle along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. This live painting took place at the hotel’s Bukruk II Afternoon Tea Party in the Krungthep Wing lawn, where 13 artists from eight European countries, three Asian countries including Thailand, plus legendary street art photography were introduced as part of the “Bukruk II Urban Arts Festival” co-sponsored by the hotel. The festival aims to help the city make its bid as a regional arts hub and to cement its position as a city that breathes and lives art.

Ramada Maenam launches ‘Shrek' promo

Bangkok -- As part of its 30th anniversary celebrations, the iconic Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside Hotel (www. has been lining-up exciting opportunities for guests to enjoy in the city. As an official partner of “Shrek The Musical,” the hotel is now offering two exclusive accommodation packages that include tickets for the hugely popular international show. Guests booking a Deluxe Riverside Room (double occupancy) will get two complimentary tickets for the show. Bookings for the same room type but with single occupancy receive one ticket. Guests spending a minimum of THB 6,500 net at any hotel outlet will receive one complimentary show ticket. Those spending a minimum of THB 11,000 THB net at any hotel outlet will get two complimentary show tickets. “Shrek The Musical” is slated to have eight performances at Bangkok’s Muangthai Rachadalai Theatre July 1-5. The special offer applies to bookings made via the hotel’s website booking engine for stays between June 30 and July 5.

Pattaya -- To celebrate Earth Day, Amari Pattaya hotel management invited its guests to participate in a tree-planting event to protect and preserve the environment. Beyond what the clients and the public know about this activity, the hotel also engaged its team members and guests to become aware of environmental concerns by creating the activity called “My Cup My World.” It was a success as all members brought their own drinking water glass during lunchtime.

Bangkok -- Thailand is stepping up efforts to bring an end to an illegal trade on ivory and ivory products by strengthening the nation’s legislations to be in line with the Convention on International Trade In Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). As part of the nationwide efforts, Thailand has been implementing a National Ivory Action Plan to stop illegal ivory trade. The plan have included the National Ivory Act of 2015 that has been amended to recognize African elephants as protected species and to regulate any ivory trade in or passing through Thailand. Under the amended National Ivory Act of 2015, any domesticated elephant ivory and ivory products sold or in transit in Thailand has to be accompanied by identification certificates and proof that the bearer is in legal possession or has evidence from an approved dealer.

Private Beach Resort Only 3 hours from Bangkok at Ban Phe,Rayong Tel: (038) 651 000-6

However, it remains illegal to export any domesticated elephant ivory or ivory products. Thailand prohibits any unregistered import or export of ivory and ivory products. Bringing ivory and ivory products into, or out of the country, is illegal and offenders can face up to three years in confinement and up to THB 6 million in fine, or both.

New pastry chef

Bangkok -- Prae Dejmunkhun has been appointed new pastry chef of Amari Watergate Bangkok. Chef Prae, who has more than 22 years of experience working in pastries, desserts, bread and especially chocolates, started working in 1994 as bakery cook at Classic Place Hotel Bangkok. Then, he moved to

Amari Watergate Bangkok

Amari Pattaya

Amari Pattaya for the environment

Getting tough on illegal ivory trade

Pathumwan Princess Hotel Bangkok, TK Palace Hotel Bangkok and Rama Gardens Hotel Bangkok from 1998 to 2001. After that, he left to work at the Miracle Grand Convention Hotel Bangkok and Impact Exhibition Management Co, Ltd (2005) as sous chef, and then to Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel Bangkok as pastry chef before joining Amari Watergate in the same position. Chef Prae has received many honorary awards for his culinary skills.

Hua Hin -- Peter Nilsson (6th left), general manager of Centara Grand Beach Resort and Villas Hua Hin, congratulated the management and staff of Coast Beach Club & Bistro for winning the Thailand Tatler’s Best Restaurants 2016 Certificate recently, one of 150 best restaurants in Thailand to be so honored. “I am extremely proud that our Coast has been selected by Thailand Tatler readers as one of the top restaurants in Thailand. The Best Restaurant Certificate represents the teamwork and devotion of our associates. I would like to thank and congratulate them for their dedication and initiative commitment to our resort.” Nilsson said.

Chiang Mai -- Following the success of the stunning 30-suite 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai, the Wongphanlert family has created a new luxury brand, 137 Pillars Hotels & Resorts, signifying its continuing plans to expand in Thailand. 137 Pillars Hotels & Resorts newest edition, 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok is scheduled to open in late 2016. The property is located at Sukhumvit 39, a short distance from the upscale and fashionable shopping district of Emquartier/Emporium. A third property, 137 Pillars Estate Phuket, is scheduled to open early 2019 on the North Peninsula of Kata Beach, with 16 sunset facing Pool villas and 46 Pool Suites.

“La Nuit by Sofitel”

Bangkok -- Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, the group’s Southeast Asia flagship property, recently hosted a memorable “La Nuit by Sofitel” party at Le Grand Ballroom to celebrate the luxury hotel’s fourth anniversary. Guests of honors, including Varavut Laohapongchana, Supee Pongpanich, H.E. Abdulla Hasan Saif, Lee Puengboonpra, Vee Marr and Vasavat Wattanasirisombut, attended the glamorous event. “La Nuit by Sofitel” is Sofitel’s signature party concept. It has been held in Sofitel Luxembourg Le Grand



Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit

137 Pillars bares expansio plans

Ducal, Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom, Sofitel Marrakech Lounge & Spa, Sofitel Budapest Chain Bridge and Sofitel Dubai Downtown but this is the first time it has been showcased in Sofitel Hotels and Resorts in Southeast Asia.

Ascott holds development workshop for clients Bangkok -- The Ascott Limited Thailand ( has recently invited its corporate clients, The Link Club members, to attend an exclusive personality development workshop dubbed as “Let Your Best Personality Shine” at the Somerset Lake Point Bangkok on Sukhumvit 16. Patrarin Yodkamol, the personality development and performing art trainer at the Suptar House, conducted the workshop. Patrarin is also a well-known lead actress in many famous movies such as “Tom Yum Goong,” “Ong Bak,” and “The Bodyguard.” The Link Club is an Ascott reward program offering top corporate

Sivatel Hotel Bangkok

137 Pillars House Chiang Mai

Coast Bistro gets 'Best Restaurant Award'

Centara Grand Beach Resort Hua Hin


clients a selection of benefits, treats and rewards.

Sivatel BKK marks 5th anniversary

Bangkok -- Sivatel Hotel Bangkok celebrated its 5th anniversary recently by showcasing its serene, warm and picturesque atmosphere on Witthayu Road and sharing its history and background, values and business stand point, as well as revealing its development plans and directions, in a celebration cocktail attended by more than a hundred guests. Sivatel Hotel dates to more than 50 years ago, starting from a small apartment named “Piyadham Court and turned into Holiday Mansion 30 years later. In 2009 the Sivatel Tower project was initiated including a 32-floor office and residential, and Sivatel Bangkok Hotel. Sivatel currently has 75 suite rooms, with a sky lobby on 17th floor overlooking the scenic view of Bangkok.


THE RAMADA WAY Ramada Plaza Bangkok Maenam Riverside Hotel has generated a well-deserved reputation for quality of service and value for money with caring and attentive staff


or more than 30 years, the owners of Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside Hotel had the vision to create a magnificent property on Charoen Krung Road catering for tourists, business travelers, and what was quickly becoming an important and potentially lucrative MICE market: conferences, exhibitions, product launches, major social events, and weddings. Over time, this remarkable vision has evolved into one of Bangkok’s best-known and most popular five star hotels: Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside Hotel, which is now celebrating its 30th anniversary. This hotel, boasting 525 rooms and suites, sits proudly on a large plot with extensive, fully functional river frontage and direct access from



Charoen Krung Road. The wellappointed guestrooms and spacious suites vary from very comfortable Deluxe Rooms, Grand Deluxe Rooms and Plaza Suites to the themed Terrace Suites and the amazingly spacious Presidential Suite. All 525 Thai-deco inspired rooms and suites are tastefully furnished and well equipped to meet the needs of today’s business and leisure travelers. Dedicated non-smoking floors as well as ‘special needs’ accessible guest rooms for the elderly and physically challenged are available. The Deluxe Rooms (34sqm) and the Grand Deluxe Rooms (40sqm) overlook the river or the swimming pool. Each room is furnished with twin or king-sized beds, coffee table, work desk, minibar, complimentary coffee & tea, individually controlled

air-conditioning and en suite bathroom with bathtub and separate shower. The Plaza Suites are 52sqm in size with a choice of river or city skyline views. These suites are furnished with either twin or kingsized beds and the separate lounge area features a sofa, coffee table and work desk. The Terrace Suites vary in floor space from 78sqm to 136sqm and are located on the Executive Club floors. Each suite’s private terrace opens up to panoramic views of the Chao Phraya River. The suites are furnished with twin or king-sized beds and a separate lounge area with a comfortable sofa and chairs, coffee table, dining table and work desk. For the very special occasion, the hotel’s impressive two-bedroom

All photos from Ramada Plaza Bangkok Maenam Riverside


170sqm Presidential Suite offers the ultimate experience in comfort and luxury. Located on the 16th floor, it affords easy access to the hotel’s exclusive Executive Club lounge. The hotel offers 23 specially designed Grand Deluxe category rooms with wider entry doors, showers with seats and handrails, emergency cords and low level writing desks. These rooms are designed to cater specifically for elderly guests and guests with special needs and limited mobility. Wining & Dining There is a remarkable variety of Asian and Western cuisine available at the Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside. Aficionados of fine dining are well served by the recently refurbished Eurasian Grill. This dinner-only restaurant offers imaginative and creative dishes on both the a la carte and set menus. The wine selection is equally compelling. The Terrace@72 offers a choice of air-conditioned indoor and alfresco riverside terrace all-day dining. The always-popular buffet dinner embraces favorite Asian and western cuisine with an Indian cuisine corner and a BBQ grill for fish and fresh meats. This restaurant is famed in particular for its Sunday brunch. The adjacent Waves restaurant combines buffet lunch and dinner with an extensive à la carte menu. At Ah Yat Forum, one of Bangkok’s most famous and popular Chinese restaurants, guests enjoy authentic Cantonese delicacies prepared by Master Chefs from Hong Kong. The

Thai Pavilion Lobby Lounge and Sala Thai Pool Bar offer hot and cold drinks, light meals and snacks throughout the day. This is an impressive hotel that has weathered storms over the past 30 years, displaying remarkable resilience in the face of the many challenges confronting Thailand’s tourism industry. It is also a hotel that continues to blossom in the city’s MICE sector with so many corporate and private clients selecting the Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside for weddings, conferences, gala dinners, and product launches. The 22 function rooms are fully equipped and cater for every business and social event and the two spacious ballrooms together accommodate up to 1,000 guests in banquet style. The stand-alone Menam Seminar & Convention Hall, which seats up to 600 guests theatre-style, is also popular choice for social and business events. Importantly, every event is hosted in line with the Wyndham Hotel Group’s Green Meetings Concept, minimising impact upon the local environment. The hotel’s third floor Massira Wellness & Spa offers a tempting range of massage, beauty, and wellness treatments for local and international guests. The spa employs experienced therapists that judge the best treatment for your specific needs, ranging from a basic foot massage to the specialist Massira Ritual – Journey on the Golden River treatment package that extends for a totally relaxing three hours 30 minutes. The spa’s Jet Lag Recovery

massage treatment, lasting two hours, is always popular with guests arriving after a tiring long-haul flight. What is the secret of this hotel’s amazing success over the past 30 years? “It is a combination of factors,” says General Manager Klaus Sennik. “Our hotel has generated a deserved reputation for quality of service and value for money with caring and attentive staff.” “We have always kept pace with the changing demands and travel trends of our local and international guests. We understand that while different nationalities look for different type of experiences they all expect to receive the highest standards of Thai hospitality when they come to Bangkok. We now have 30 years of experience in providing these standards at every touch-point in our hotel. “We have also worked hard to promote our position on the Chao Phraya riverside,” he adds. “There is something about a busy river in a major city that captures the imagination of hotel guests. Our guests enjoy the opportunity to watch life go by on the Chao Phraya River while relaxing in the comfort and luxury of a quality hotel.”

There is something about a busy river in a major city that captures the imagination of hotel guests. Our guests enjoy the opportunity to watch life go by on the Chao Phraya River while relaxing in the comfort and luxury of a quality hotel.

Getting there The hotel is within easy distance of the city’s expressway network for access to and from Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi international airports. Major shopping malls and popular tourist attractions are also easily reached by car or by boat. The hotel operates private shuttle boats to and from Sathorn pier for convenient connections to the city’s BTS skytrain network at Taksin bridge. JUNE 2016 | 45


TRULY EARTH FRIENDLY A stay at Aleenta Hua Hin Resort Pranburi easily proves why the co-resort is regarded as Thailand’s ‘Eco-Stay Leader’



Dave Stamboulis


hile the green movement has been slowly catching on in the Thailand resort world, the Aleenta Hua Hin Resort Pranburi is miles ahead of the competition, showcasing some amazingly sustainable tourism policies without sacrificing an inch of five-star comfort. Located just south of Hua Hin, on an empty beach in sleepy Pranburi, Aleenta Hua Hin

Resort Pranburi (183 Moo 4 Paknampram/Tel: 032 618-333, 02 514-8112, is at the forefront of the eco-resort scene and has some truly unique earth friendly policies. Resident Manager James Noble is a former celebrity chef (he was Mick Jagger’s private chef in Mustique) and has turned the Aleenta into a charming oasis that blends into the almost Mediterranean surroundings of

Aleenta Hua Hin Resort Pranburi

Green is more than just a theme here; it’s the very soul of the resort.

Aleenta Hua Hin Resort Pranburi

lovely secluded Pak Nampran Bay. Noble aims to create as minimal a carbon footprint as possible and has undertaken tremendous steps to achieve this. The walls of the rooms at Aleenta are made from rock that has been

Aleenta kitchen by bicycle or via a tuk tuk that is powered by fuel made from other local resorts’ disposed cooking oil! Even the restaurant in the resort gets into the act, serving up items liked solar baked cakes, sand baked clams, or clay pot items that have been buried under hot beach sand for cooking! To top things off, Aleenta is the only resort in Thailand offering guests a free holiday. Yes, that’s right, a free holiday that includes spa treatments, buffets, and a lovely villa by the beach. Of course to receive one has to give, so visitors utilizing this free package have to stay five days during which time they volunteer in a local school, help the staff to prep the kitchen, cook, and generally get a bit humbled by learning first hand just how hard the staff at all these resorts work to provide guests with nice stays. Not only is the resort one of Thailand’s most popular luxury stays, but also it benefits the surrounding community as well.

locally sourced within 30 kilometers. The hammocks on the verandahs come from local fishermen who hand-make the netting. The ceilings are constructed from locally sourced cane, and carpenters who live in the community have made much of the furniture with reconstructed local wood. In fact, over 90% of the staff comes from within 30km of the resort, and many have been with the Aleenta since its inception. As if this weren’t enough to reduce its carbon footprint, the resort divides all of its waste and recycles over 90% of it, with water also being re-used to the same tune, going to irrigate the garden and farm which the resort runs, also a source of immense sustainability. The Aleenta’s 16-acre organic farm provides year-round fruit and vegetables, has a mushroom growing shed, and even a smokehouse with a solar oven for curing local meat. Guests can pick fruit or produce at the farm for free, paying for it only by having to replant a seed. All of the farm veggies and smoked meats get transferred to the

JUNE 2016 | 47


BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY Worrawit Suksompuet, the newly promoted chief concierge at Avani Atrium Bangkok, says preparedness and attention to detail are the keys to being effective in their job by Earth Saiswang

Here are some tips Tommi recommend to their guests at Avani: Where to go for the best Thai -- Baan Khanitha Thai Cuisine, because this



famous restaurant offers fresh, authentic Thai cuisine that you can enjoy with your good company; I can also recommend this one brunch nearby our hotel at Sukhumvit Soi 23. Where to bring their friends for a chill-out and party -- Royal City Avenue Street (RCA), is the best area for entertainment and party chill-out in the city for our guests since it is nearby Avani Atrium Bangkok at only 1.5km away. Many clubs with live bands and DJs to go to depending on their mood and tastes, Where to go for shopping -- The area between Ratchaprasong and Pathumwan roads has several shopping malls (CentralWorld, Siam Paragon, Siam Square, and MBK) but we recommend Terminal 21 because of its proximity and the Central Rama 9 Plaza, which is only 1.5km away from Avani Atrium Bangkok What’s the easiest way to get back and forth the hotel -- Our hotel provides limousine transport and taximeter services 24 hours a day. There are public bus services in front of the hotel, and the MRT Petchburi subway and the Makkasan airport rail link stations are just about 800 meters from our hotel. Of course, we provide shuttle van service to The MRT and shopping area daily too! Best way to enjoy their holiday-- What I want to say is, if you are looking for a new experience or activity in Bangkok just ask the concierge at Avani Atrium Bangkok.

Avani Atrium Bangkok


orrawit Suksompuet (Tommi) takes two things to work every day: preparedness and attention to detail. The 37-year-old concierge at Avani Atrium Hotel Bangkok, who first came to work as a front office driver and bellboy in the hotel when it was still called Amari Atrium Bangkok, was promoted to chief concierge this year. Tommi epitomizes the breed of Bangkok concierges whose dedication to work goes far and beyond the call of duty. Yes, he does typical concierge stuff, but Tommi says he always strive to become a good concierge, a better one than most. And what makes a better concierge? “One who always try to develop a new skill or talent that would helpful in his or job, one who is updated with general information on the social media, one can combine providing interesting, reliable knowledge to share to the guests and the team and ensure an overall memorable guest experience,” he says. One can sense his pride in what he does when one sees him on duty, indeed. He stands there looking all poised and polished, confident that he is contributing something to the work and service standards that the hotel stands for. “Giving customers a good impression of the hotel so they can share their good experience to friends and families back home, is our job. And I enjoy being part of it,” he says.

Asian Healing

What: Enjoy this treatment, which starts with a Thai mango sticky rice body scrub, which is made by combining natural Shea butter, coconut butter, mango, finely textured coconut, and organic rice. The treatment continues with a Body Wrap Cocoon, followed by a Guinot Purifying Facial Treatment, and ends with a warm Coconut Oil Body Massage. When: Until July Where: All Oasis Spa branches around Thailand How much: THB 3,900++ (2 hours/30 minutes) and get another Coco Mango Treatment at 50% off. More info: 02 622 122 or book online at

What: Banyan Tree Gallery introduces the new Banyan Tree Glycerin Soap collection enriched with glycerin, botanical oils and extracts, and Vitamin E, which nourishes and moisturizes the skin, while cleansing away residue. The Banyan Tree Glycerin Soap collection features the aromatic scents of Thai to enliven the shower experience. Ideal for all skin types and particularly for dry or sensitive skin, the soap is priced at THB 490 each (approximately US$15 for 150 grams). Where: Available at Banyan Tree Gallery in Bangkok, Phuket, Samui, Bintan, Maldives, Seychelles, Al Wadi, Macau, Mayakoba and Singapore More info:

What: The FITSPA package is for memberships of both the spa and the fitness centre, and is priced at THB 39,000 net for an individual, and THB 35,000 net per person for couples. The Heavenly Care package is for membership of the spa only, and costs THB 18,000-16,000 net. The membership packages also provide a range of other benefits including free treatments and discounts, and also discounts at the hotel’s restaurants. Where: Centara Grand Bangkok at Central Ladprao (MRT: Phahonyothin) When: Ongoing More info: 02 541 1234, ext. 4292 and 4038; email:

Amari Koh Samui

The collection is available

New Glycerin Soap Collection

Spa Cenvaree Memberships

What: Experience the healing elements of Asian SPA therapies with this complete journey that you can enjoy for two hours and 15 minutes. The Asia Healing treatment consists of a Foot Cleansing Ritual, Balinese Body Massage with Coconut Oil, Indian Head Massage, Lavender Hot Towel Hair & Shoulder Compress, and refreshment. Where: Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin, 1 Damnernkasem Road, Hua Hin, Prachuab Khirikhan When: Everyday How much: THB 2,700++ per person or THB 5,200++ per couple More info: 032 512 021-38; www.

Samui Pina Colada

What: Enjoy the Samui Piña Colada Package (for 120 mins), a full body treatment that begins with a detoxifying body scrub to stimulate circulation and the lymphatic system, followed by a cocktail of organic extra virgin coconut oil from newly pressed fresh raw coconuts, infused with rice bran oil, sweet almond oil and vitamins from the monk’s pepper plant. Finish off with a revitalising massage and a sprinkling of ultrafine, shimmering body oil for a flawless golden radiance. With this special tropical treat, guests will be ready for some more fun in the sun! Where: Amari Koh Samui When: Ongoing How much: THB 2,600 THB More info: 077 230 077

Amari Phuket

Coco Mango Treatment

Centara Grand Bangkok

Oasis Spa

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin


Thai and Yoga Retreat

What: Experience the magic of healing with a simply perfect matching of Thai massage and yoga. This bodywork uses a special form of yoga, merging rhythmic massage with assisted yoga poses and acupressure along each of the body’s pressure points, which are known in Thai as “sen.” One’s energy will be restored, guests will feel more relaxed in mobility and flexibility, and blocked energy will be released. Where: Amari Phuket, 2 Muen-ngern Road, Patong Beach, Kathu, Phuket When: Until June 30 only How much: The 60-minute massage is priced at THB 2,100 THB net More info: 076 340 106-14, ext. 8809; email: JUNE 2016 | 49






Some cool items that are currently making waves in the marketplace


by Rich Kantita



DESNA & TUPIT -- Collection: Lite Sun/ Material: Acetate, Stainless steel/ Colors: champagne, glossy gold, black; black, cocoa sprinkles; shiny graphite, black; glossy gold, coconut water; shiny graphite, Santiago gradient; shiny graphite, cocoa sprinkles; glossy gold /Price: US$522 NUKKA & ANANA -- Collection: Lite / Material: Acetate, stainless steel/ Colors: Champagne; glossy gold, black; black, cocoa sprinkles; shiny graphite, pink sherbet; glossy gold, taupe; shiny graphite, black; glossy gold, taupe; glossy gold, coconut water; shiny graphite/ Price: US$559


‘Confidence, Elegance, and Glamour’ is the philosophy behind the Asava, a leading Thai clothing brand. The new collection, “The State of Mind,” interprets the life of a sophisticated, urban, and authentic woman. Established since 2008, Asava has become one of Thailand’s top designer’s brands that are now also internationally known. You can find Asava collections at Siam Paragon, Emquatier, Central Chidlom and Emporium or visit www.asavagroup. com for more info.


Parisian designer Armelle Cohen, an artist and a respectable art dealer, combined her passion for exotic nature and local materials in Thailand into the art of creating exceptional handbags that are one-of-a-kind. The serial-numbered handbags are distributed exclusively in Emporium (Bangkok), Harvey Nichols (London) and Galeries Lafayette (Paris).


As the world leader in the art of true luxury conveyance, RollsRoyce Motor Cars has extended its expertise to design a suite of elegant luggage to complement Wraith, the most powerful Rolls-Royce ever

created. The collection, conceived by Rolls-Royce Bespoke Designer Michael Bryden and designed in the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Design Studio lead by Director of Design Giles Taylor, comprises two Grand Tourer valises, three Long Weekender bags and one Garment Carrier, meticulously designed to be housed in the luggage compartment of a RollsRoyce Wraith. Like every Rolls-Royce motorcar, they can be commissioned to the customer’s exacting specifications. Michael Bryden, RollsRoyce Bespoke Designer, says, “The Wraith Luggage Collection consists of six pieces, each carefully considered to reflect the unparalleled design aesthetics of Rolls-Royce motor cars. The latest technologies and materials are blended with traditional crafts and techniques, leading to an elegantly executed and thoroughly contemporary luggage collection, designed exclusively for Wraith, the ultimate gentleman’s gran turismo.”The Wraith Luggage Collection” is available from RollsRoyce dealerships in Thailand. The pieces can be bought individually.


German high-end brand Mykita has developed an eyewear concept based on a simple technical construction that unites two very contrasting materials: acetate and stainless steel. The beauty of the collection manifests in the seemingly effortless connection of warm, vivid acetate to sleek, gleaming steel. Perfectly balanced for supreme everyday comfort and a refined aesthetic, the new “Lite” glasses introduce Mykita’s most slender acetate frame front to date. A small metal square on either side of the front becomes a subtle trademark of the range, simultaneously embodying the Mykita design maxim that the technical solution must also be an aesthetic one. Here are just some of Mykita’s new collections for 2016, available in selected stores in Bangkok:



GIGI, GIGI SHADES & TERESA, TERESA SHADES -- Collection: No. 2/ Material: Acetate, Stainless steel/ Colors: black, champagne, chocolate chips, cocoa sprinkles, dark blue, purple progress, Santiago gradient, Tobago / Price: US$760


ERIN -- Collection: No. 1 Sun / Material: Stainless steel/ Colors: Black, silverline, goldline, glossy gold, shiny silver, navy, dim grey, shiny graphite /Price: US$519

JUNE 2016 | 51


Dr. Preecha Tiewtranon, Thailand’s best-known sex change surgeon, lets us in on the popular sex-change surgeries in Thailand by Lekha Shankar



Dr. Preecha Tiewtranon



e is Thailand’s bestknown sex-change surgeon. But Dr Preecha Tiewtranon-who says he performs this specialized surgery that has changed the lives of so many people purely out of “duty”--is a simple, modest, and genial individual. The internationally renowned surgeon recently appeared in the film “Made in Bangkok,” a Mexican documentary about how he changed the life of a girl who was once a tormented male. In the film, he shares many important details of the gender-bending surgery. Lookeast met the doctor at his Sukhumvit clinic recently to get more details of a surgery that’s attracting patients from around the world to Bangkok. Here are excerpts: When did you first start these sex-change surgeries, and has the demand gone up recently? I started doing sex-change surgeries as far back as 1978 with my team of six people. Since then, I have dealt with about 4,000 cases. In the last five years, the demand has gone astonishingly up. Can you ascribe any particular reasons for individuals wanting to change their sex? It’s genetic, and often comes from a chromosome imbalance. Can you describe the whole process of a sex-change surgery? It is a long process; the surgery is only the final part. You must understand the “inside” of the patient as much as the “outside.” He must first undergo a long counseling process, and wait for the psychiatrist to make the diagnosis. The endocrinologist should also see him, and start him on hormone treatment to suppress the male hormones. These again have to be the right hormone tablets. Metabolism must be changed slowly, under supervision, for about two years. Some men take extra hormone tablets and hormone injections to make the process faster but this is not good because it may harm their liver or affect their emotions.

Does the surgery take place only after this hormone therapy? We don’t undertake any surgery unless the patient has gone through two years of counseling and hormone therapy. We check all the documentation. The surgery itself takes between two to three hours. The first job is to remove the penis, which involves a week’s stay in the hospital. Then they go home and take another week’s rest. The third stage is creating the vagina; and this involves another week’s rest. The total time will be about three weeks. The surgery will cost about US$8,600. In countries like the U.S., it costs about US$20,000. What are the dangers of the surgery? The point of incision between the rectum, urethra bladder, and the upper prostate has to be precise. If you accidentally poke the rectum, the feces will mix with the urine. The new vagina also has to be created very carefully. All this calls for a very experienced surgeon. Which countries do you get patients from? Many countries. China is No. 1, then there’s Switzerland, Australia, Switzerland, as also the U.S., Europe, India, Turkey, and Middle East. Cases from the U.S. have decreased because the surgery is now being paid for by their medical Insurance! I’ve had people from many professions-actors, artists, bankers, engineers, and businessmen. They all come to Bangkok for the surgery and become their “real” selves. But they often have to go back being “men” when they return to their countries, which are not as accepting as Thailand. One of my oldest cases was a 73-year-old Thai man! There was also a married Swiss, with children, who was in the last stage of cancer, and came here with his family, to do this surgery. He died a month after he returned, but he died a happy man. There was a man from Iran, who got Ayatollah Khomeini’s permission to come here and do a sex-change surgery, as he felt “God had given

him the wrong body.” He got a lot of media coverage. Have you had cases of women wanting to be men? Yes, many. Especially in countries like Japan and Korea. But this is a much more complex process as the penis has to be made of silicon, and this does not give any sensation. It also leaves many scars in the body, as the breasts, uterus, and ovaries have to be removed. Are you training other doctors to perform this highly specialized surgery? Yes, I’m training many resident surgeons from Chulalongkorn University to perform this surgery. It’s a complex and specialized surgery, and you need to be very exact and experienced. That’s why I ‘m working closely with my young team, so that they can take over from me. In many parts of the world, it’s the urologists who do this surgery. But in Thailand, it’s plastic surgeons like me who do it because we look at the cosmetic aspects too. There’s a very good surgeon in Singapore, Dr. Ratnam, who does this surgery. In India, there are eunuchs who go to the village, have their penis cut off by the village-doctor, and take a long time to recover. Some have died in the process. How did you get involved in the film, ‘Made in Bangkok’? Mexican director Flavio Florencio wrote to me about the case. When I met Morgana, I saw her tremendous talent as an opera singer. That’s why I decided to go ahead with the surgery. It was tremendous to see the many full houses for the film in the U.S.! How do you feel about giving the transgender community a new lease on life? I feel proud and happy. I don’t do this for name, fame, or money. For me, this is a duty that needs to be done. Most of my cases have come through word-of-mouth publicity but I’ll continue my work for as long as I have the strength, energy, and motivation for it.

I’ll continue my work for as long as I have the strength, energy, and motivation for it.

JUNE 2016 | 53

Patrick Both, General Manager, Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel



Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel


MOVING TO THE NEXT LEVEL Veteran hotelier Patrick Both takes the helm of Anantara Siam Bangkok with an eye on enhancing the hotel’s hallmark of a richly personalized guest service while also creating innovative marketing initiatives and leading operation excellence to drive the hotel to the next level by Percy Roxas


e could have been a policeman; that was his dream as a youngster. Instead, Patrick Both became an hotelier. “Credit goes to my father, who talked me in about becoming an hotelier,” says Patrick, who was recently appointed general manager (GM) of Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel. “I was hesitant at first, but I decided to go for it and enjoyed it a lot.” Twenty-one years later, Patrick boasts a diverse international hotelier experience derived from 12 hotels across several (11) countries – and says he still enjoys it to the hilt. Suave, elegant, classy, and amiable, Patrick seems perfect for the Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel indeed. He has the drive, he has the energy, and he has the right credentials as well as the long experience to lead the well-trained team in bringing the flagship Anantara hotel to the next level. Patrick joined the Anantara family as cluster resident manager for the successful rebranding of Anantara Mui Ne Resort in southern Vietnam at the end of 2009, and since then has been with the group’s properties in in the Maldives, Thailand, and prior to this appointment--his fourth GM position--Abu Dhabi. But he actually started with the Hilton, Intercontinental, and Langham hotels in his native Germany, England, and China. China was his first foray in Asia. He was selected for Kempinski ‘s fast track

program and became director of rooms for the industry acclaimed opening of Kempinski Resort & Spa Sanya in China before taking up the role of F&B director for Movenpick Hotels and Resorts in Thailand. Having been transferred from the award-winning Qasr Al Sarah Desert Resort by Anantara Abu Dhabi to Anantara’s flagship property in Bangkok, Patrick hopes to duplicate, if not surpass, his earlier sterling achievements in the other properties that he worked for. Under his helm, the new Anantara hideaway was ranked in the Conde Nast Hot List of 2012 and also received The Guide Award 2012, Agoda’s 2012 Gold Circle Award, TripAdvisor’s 2012 Certificate of Excellence Award, and the UK Evening Standard’s Top Trips 2012 to name but a few. For these and other achievements, Patrick was awarded the prestigious Minor Tiger Award in 2013. At Anantara Siam Bangkok, Patrick reiterates his main focus: continuity but also change. “To continue enhancing Anantara’s hallmark of a richly personalized guest service approach while creating innovative marketing initiatives and leading operation excellence to drive the hotel to the next level,” he puts it. “As far as perceptions go, we’re still like in the middle of two companies – the Four Seasons and Anantara – a bit, at the moment,” he explains. “Not to dilute the achievements of the previous

company because there are so many good things they have implemented here, but I believe there are certain things that Anantara Siam Bangkok do better. We need to mix them up with the best that we can do. We need to move up to the next level.” And don't be surprised if Anantara Siam Bangkok rolls out some innovative marketing initiatives soon as Patrick has a very strong background on the finance side besides F&B, rooms division, events sales, and front office. “With my experience and exposure, I know how to penetrate certain markets that some properties don't have at the moment,” he says. “We are working on some marketing strategies which I cannot reveal to you at the moment, but would certainly give us a more competitive edge.” Patrick also says he would be concentrating on getting awards for the Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel. “After having been with the previous company it is inevitable that there would be comparisons, but I believe this Anantara have so much more to offer. That I wanted to showcase to the world soon.” “I have lots good, well-trained people here, and together, we will work to enhance the service even further,” Patrick says. “Bangkok is one of the cities where you have too many rooms in the market, which does not make it any easier – but I want Anantara Siam Bangkok to be in the Top 10 in the city soon.”

Patrick's main focus: To continue enhancing Anantara’s hallmark of a richly personalized guest service approach while creating innovative marketing initiatives and leading operation excellence to drive the hotel to the next level.

JUNE 2016 | 55




FUN SPIRIT Who says you can’t play with food, says Chef Arnie Marcella, head chef at the newly opened the Bunker: a new, contemporary American restaurant that reflects how America is defined today as a melting pot of culture and taste. by Rich Kantita


is dear friend and former co-worker, Tim Butler, introduced Chef Arnie Marcella to Bangkok straight from New York City. Both worked together as chef for more than 10 years, and had planned on joining ventures sometime in the future. Thankfully, the future is now. Chef Arnie has a long background on fine dining and has worked in 1- to 3-starred Michelin restaurants but he has been looking for something that would feel closer to home (America). Bunker is a new, contemporary American restaurant that incorporates different types of influences that reflects how America is defined today, a melting pot of culture and taste. Bunker has become onr of the most-talked-about restaurant since its opening in mid-May, and after talking to Chef Arnie, it is easy to see why. The fun music in the background allows guest to easily groove into the atmosphere and have a good conversation. The design, by Kelly and Kevin who have also designed Eat. Me, is arresting. The rawness of the building, together with the funkiness of the design – with uniquely designed lamps, colorful seats, and retro-punk mirrors -- give the place the spirit of fun and entertainment. Chef Arnie himself has a fun spirit and it shows in his unique style of cooking and how he experiments with food. “Who says you can’t play with food,” says Chef Arnie, and indeed he does. It is probably what got him here and made him successful. His daily routine of visiting the markets, trying out new ingredients, being bold in adding things that does not seem fit

into a dish at first, creates a pleasant surprise for all of us. “Bangkok provides potential not only for the adventure,” he says, “but has also become very much more worldly and international. People have become bolder and allow themselves to try new things. This in turn helps Chef Arnie, he says, as he likes to experiment and keep up the beat. Because Bunker has already gained many regular costumers this early, it is inevitable that some customers might already be yearning for some new things. But Chef Arnie is already ahead of schedule. A couple of his menu has changed in the past few weeks and only for the best. If we trusted him with the amazing dishes he has already presented, why wouldn’t we trust him to take us to an even better exploration of taste? Chef Arnie himself admits he easily gets bored of cooking the same things over and over again, and understandably so. In the kitchen, as in life, one wants to switch it up a notch once in a while. Either way, we are not complaining. His family-style dining, which focuses on sharing dishes that may be common to Thais but not really among expats in Thailand or tourist themselves, are not to be missed. Bangkok, like the chef’s native America, has become a melting pot for international art and culture, and not the least in the culinary scene. By incorporating this dining style into the contemporary American food he serves at Bunker – Chef Arnie is ensuring that the restaurant is a surefire success!

“Bangkok provides potential not only for the adventure,” he says, “but has also become very much more worldly and international.

JUNE 2016 | 57

File Photo



THE SUMMER WINES The wine bug has hit Asia and it is definitely here to stay by Zipporah Gene


great wine pairing is a thing to be treasured. It blends so much more than the flavors you taste before it. It speaks miles of its history, culture, and the bare bones of the earth. It's a fascinating world built on the maddening search for perfection. For the daring few, brave enough to follow this quest, they very quickly find that it can easily turn into a lifelong, mercurial, and never-ending expedition. Until recently it was almost inconceivable for most people to associate Asia, let alone Southeast Asia, with any type of wine. Although wine has been grown in the Shandong Province of China since the late 19th Century, the “culture” of it all has yet to have been taken up, with the same



ferocity as can be seen in the West. For those seasoned in the ways of la culture du vin, the clash of the old and the new world is nothing new. On the one hand the classical flavors of Bordeaux, Montepulciano, and the Pinot Noir, come head to head with the oftentimes flirty, fruity, and more importantly, newer blends found in Auckland, California, and Chile. Yet as bitter as their rivalry may be, these traditional grapes have long since defended their positions comfortably content in the knowledge that they were only really competing among themselves. Voignier, for example, a treasured native of the Rhône Valley can be seen as far as South America, Australia, and New Zealand. Asia, as large as it is, is usually the last

place anyone would think of when discussing anything other than rice wines or other type of liquor. But surprisingly enough it is proving to accommodate so much more than plum wine or sweet aperitifs. A climatic change, coupled with greater technical understanding of soil conditions, grape varieties, and biochemistry has already outstripped the limitations that the earth traditionally puts before growers. The science and expertise that was so rigorously applied to growing grapes in the new world is clearly shifting eastwards. To date, however, the varieties are humble, taxes astronomical, and the yields are yet to compare with that of established wineries. So it's no surprise that many remain in the

Where to find it: Ban Khanitha (69 South Sathorn Rd., Bangkok/Tel: 02 675 4200-1) The flagship branch of this renowned restaurant brand, located at the heart of metropolitan Bangkok, stocks the most impressive array of both international, but more importantly homegrown wines.

PB Valley Winery

PB Valley Winery Located just earshot of Granmonte's vineyard, PB Valley's wines utilize the same life-giving soil that seems to be perfect for growing grapes in Thailand. After experimenting with over 50 different rootstocks, they have since rolled back production and only allow the best grapes to be processed.

Aythaya Wines Grown in the Southern Himalayan slopes of the Shan State, Aythaya is the first ever vineyard for the once hermit kingdom of Myanmar. From its inception in 1999 till now, the wines have become famous within the country. The unique terroire allows for a surprising cuvĂŠe of Syrah, German Donfelder and Spanish Tempranillo.

in Vienna; the accolades are endless. Highly sought-after Chenin Blanc is assuredly the perfect choice to pair with the traditionally spicy, hot and sour flavors of Thai cuisine.

Zipporah Gene

dark about what to expect from the industry in the region. Whatever the reason, it isn't because of lack of demand. Although subject to steep restrictions and heavy taxation, according most wine merchants, year-on-year demand is increasing. The wine bug has hit Asia and it is definitely here to stay. Here are just a few famous brands and where to drink them: Granmonte Asoke Valley Spearheaded by Nikki (Visootha) Lohitnavy, the first and only fully qualified female winemaker in the region, Granmonte has grown from strength to strength. In recent years it has become a brand synonymous with both critical, and (more importantly) international acclaim and recognition. Their Voignier and Verdhelo have recieved Silver awards at the AWC

Where to find it: Aldo's Mediterranean Bistro and Wine Bar (The Ascott Sathorn Bangkok, 187 South Sathorn Rd/ Tel: 02 676 6982) Famed for its vibrant international crowd, Aldo's is staffed with dedicated and knowledgeable staff who are always on hand to take you through their impressive array of wines, or recommend a pairing with a meal. They also have an enomatic, which is perfect for anyone interested in wine tasting.

Where to find it: Le Planteur, 80 University Ave., Bahan Township, Yangon, Myanmar/ Tel +95 1 514 230 Set against the serene backdrop of a small lake, this is restaurant is an orientalist's paradise. Carefully blending Parisian chic with the timeless beauties of the Orient, this stunning restaurant is definitely worth visiting for the ambience alone.

To date, however, the varieties are humble, taxes astronomical, and the yields are yet to compare with that of established wineries.

MARCH JUNE2016 2016 | 59


ALL KINDS OF FUNK Bangkok has opened up new doors to many artistic venues and creative outings. We hit up a few cool places that are not just new but also has become some of the must-visit spots to keep you up in the trend, and for you to explore if you haven’t already! by Rich Kanttita

Kay’s Boutique Breakfast

(116/55-57 Rangnam Rd, BTS: Victory Monument; 02 245 1953) Located across the new modernminimalistic K Maison Boutique Hotel, where the vibe is unique, calm, and collected, Kay’s Boutique Breakfast has an all-marbled-floor, tables, and counters, which give a cozy and open feel to the place. Small details of antique and wooden stools were added to keep it warm and friendly. The place oozes with freshness and coolness like no other.



The concept was inspired by the notion of ‘high-quality basic,’ which is why dining at Kay’s Boutique might seem ordinary and at its simplest form. However, the place has authenticity and more up their sleeves. Eat: Breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the day, and no one understands that more than the chef and owner herself. With her homemade recipe of toast in three different flavors (green tea, vanilla and Thai tea), cannot be missed.

For those with heavier appetite, try the angel hair pasta, truffle aglio e olio, which is another signature at Kay’s. Although the present menu is as yet limited, phase two is under development to fulfill those with heavier appetite. Drink: Refreshing drinks to cool off during hot weather includes lychee soda or green tea, but if that is not your cup of tea, then coffee is available. Service Rating: 3/5 Visit: Open Tues-Sun.,6 a.m. -4 p.m.



Kay’s Boutique Breakfast


(Sathorn Soi 12, BTS: Chong Nonsi, 092 563 9991) The highly anticipated new American restaurant has been opened for almost a month now and has already received an amount of regular costumers. Designed in the retro style: unfinished interior with colorful shades of blue, this restaurant and bar is definitely the new funk in town that offers great food, tasty drinks, and fun conversations. Eat: Because the creative chef loves to whip up new things and after his discovery of Thai markets and ingredients, the menu is known to change every now and then. We recommend the grilled beef tongue and snails, which may sound unpleasant but is definitely worth the try. Also, the seared octopus, grilled Jidori half chicken, and smoked Wagyu beef rib for two is undoubtedly

a must! Drink: Cocktails and mocktails are in the mix. As the first floor is a bar, the drink list is expansive and with interesting choices such as Roots Espresso Martini, Negroni with beefeater gin, El Presidente with dry vermouth and flor de cana 7 years. Service Rating: 5/5 Visit: Open Tue to Sun, from 6 to 11 p.m.


(15-17 Thonglor, Sukhumvit 55, BTS: Thonglor, 098 815 6625) A concept created by restaurateur and sneaker enthusiast called Kitchen and Kicks who also conceptualized Knock, a part sneaker shop/part restaurant for people who share the same passion as the owners. Those who says that sneaker lovers cannot be classy and chic has never been to Knock. Gourmet ingredients and

unique taste, these comfort food goes hand in hand, to be appropriate, with the comfy shoes. Also, it turns into a funky bar/club as night falls as if they aren’t cool enough already. Eat: Knock Burger is stuffed with grilled half lamb, half rib eye, goose fat jalapeno jack cheese and gherkins, if that is not enough to call for an appetite, you might just need to try some sneakers first. There are also healthier variety for sporty-healthy fans with soup and salads like the Kale Salad. Other worthy of trying is the ‘Knock Out Brunch’ menu that includes granola, chorizo baguette, chicken waffle and more. Drink: A glass of bubbly or wine won’t hurt! Service Rating: 3/5 Visit: Open Mon to Fri, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Sat to Sun, noon till 1 a.m.

MARCH JUNE2016 2016 | 61

Hair of the Dog

(Mahatun Plaza Building, BTS: Ploenchit, 02 650 7589) Every day is like Halloween at Hair of the Dog Bar/Pub. Rock, morbid, and funk are words to describe this hidden establishment that sits right on top of La Monita, the Mexican restaurant. But fear not, the atmosphere is nothing like it looks or maybe a little. Designed with skeletons, morgue storage doors, steel stools and more of that nuttiness, however, altogether, it is one of the hippest bar to hangout and meet new people. Nothing to break the ice better than talking about the place itself. Eat: Hair of the Dog specializes in beer but be pleasantly surprise with their short list of food. Nothing fulfills a craving like Mac n Cheese or a Naked Burg and if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, try the Dirty



Hair of the Dog

Hair of the Dog




Poutine to spice it up a little. Drink: With enough variety of beer for beer enthusiast that range from something like Hop n Love from Holland or IPA Brutal from Oregon. There are a total of 13 tabs that gives the perfect choice of different style and less repetitive like most places. They know their beers and if you are keen to try, Belgium beer will give you a really good hit for your happy hour. Service Rating: 4/5 Visit: Open daily from 5p.m. to 12a.m.

Azul (Sukhumvit 49, Adelphi Suites

Hotel, BTS: Phromphong, 02 662 6117) Rebranding itself from Monsoon 49 with a whole new concept of food and flavor, Azul is spicing things up a notch and focusing more on Hispanic dishes, more specifically the Miami

influence that comes from the chef’s background. With the same décor that is fresh and tropical like the East Coast, this Nuevo Latino Kitchen will make you want to explore more. Eat: Sticking to the homebased ingredients of each Latino dishes but with a touch of Miami hint in every bite such as in the Ecuadorian shrimp ceviche, Peruvian scallop ceviche or the Latino beef carpaccio. The menu might change each month but nevertheless, you can expect the style to be the unique new Latin cuisine. Drink: Try the Azul Colada, Rum Runner or the Cortadito to see what the Miami-Latin life is all about. Service Rating: 4/5 Visit: Open daily from 11 a.m. till midnight

BISTRO BUZZ The new Cocotte Farm Roast and Winery offers expertly prepared comfort food amid a stylish, bistro atmosphere by Percy Roxas “Whether it is crispy grilled half baby chicken fresh from the rotisserie or the restaurant’s signature “Cocotte Burger,” the culinary alchemy produced in the open kitchen will delight lovers of expertly prepared comfort food,” says Jeriko.



rom the outside and in, Cocotte Farm Roast and Winery (Ground floor, 39 Boulevard, Sukhumvit 39 // 092 664 6777) is eye-catching and attractive. Natural light flows abundantly into the restaurant making its spacious, airy interior even brighter. Features are distinctive, such as the polished wooden tables and replica of the “Halles" market where the French usually select the finest delicatessen. Everything, including the materials used in the venue such as ceramics, tiles, and wood, adds to the restaurant’s participatory and relaxed feel. Cocotte is the latest venture of The Kitchen Group Thailand, which owns a string of food and beverage outlets across the kingdom. Leading the team is Maxence Le Bartz, who gave me a warm welcome. His partner, French head chef Jeriko Van Der Wolf, oversees the kitchen. Jeriko boasts experiences in several Michelin-starred venues in France, and who recently participated in the popular “Iron Chef Thailand” TV show.


All photos from Cocotte Farm Roast and Winery


The two’s partnership seems made in heaven. Both are young, creative, and passionate – and serious about making Cocotte, inspired by the Slow Food Movement, one of the best restaurants in Bangkok today. “Cocotte promotes simple yet resolutely high quality bistrostyle dining in a comfortable, contemporary atmosphere,” Jeriko says. “We also promote the ‘farm to plate’ concept by using premium meat and produce from certified organic farms around Thailand, including those from the Royal Projects.” Using a rotisserie, a traditional spit roasting machine that is particularly effective with chicken; and the Kamado Joe BBQ, an advanced grill appliance; Jeriko and his team turn out a string of meat and seafood dishes that are cooked to juicy, tender perfection. But as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating so I tucked into the selected signature dishes paraded in front of me as soon they arrived. First came beetroot and crab, where slow-cooked beetroot, fresh crab, fresh fig, and mascarpone cream combine to heavenly effect. It was

delightful indeed. Then, the waiter brought truffle cocotte Camembert, which is French Camembert cooked with black truffle and served with salad made with Royal Farm Project produce. It was an amazing followup, needless to say. The third one was the crispy pig, a delightful surprise indeed with the combination of flavors just perfect for the discerning palate. No wonder this is one of the most sought after dishes in the restaurant. One after another, I tried the three dishes – making sure I do not miss each dish’s particular subtlety and interesting flavor. Not only they look good on the plate indeed --a celebration of culinary passion in colors, textures, and tastes—they really tasted fantastic too! Definitely this is a restaurant that lovers of great comfort food can return to again and again. Added pluses are the high-quality vintages, the carefully curated cocktail list, and an extensive selection of artisanal cheese and coffee. We must return soon for the much-talked-about Tomahawk Australian Wagyu!

CATERING TO TASTE Dandelion’s inventive menu changes everyday with new offerings produced on the premises Open everyday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Dandelion operates on two floors. Upstairs is a light and airy space with a picnic/camping feelcomplete with hammocks, teepees, cushions, light wood furniture and a swing. It is much more than a café, however, and is available for hire as a venue for themed parties and events. It also has workshops. Part of its attraction is walking past the kitchen area and large ovens with cast iron skillets and baking trays displaying cupcakes and more sweet sensations as you climb the stairs. The chance to witness talented people at a nearby table making what you’ll taste later is a visual pleasure and heightens the anticipation. Dandelion maximizes its available space to present a charming environment with memorable food and drinks!

All photos from Dandelion

andily placed between Sukhumvit 49 and 51, Dandelion (919 Sukhumvit Rd // Tel: 085 145 3181) is a cute and creative hole-in- the wall café’ that heightens your senses the moment you step through the door. Home-baked cakes and cookies are temptingly placed on display surfaces close to the counter. Dandelion’s inventive menu changes everyday with new offerings produced on the premises. There’s a great mix of sweet and savory dishes and salads. The spicy Thai salsa seafood pasta combination was a generous portion and filling. Strongly recommended is the amazing super creamy berry fresh double layer pancake, so moreish! The passion fruit iced tea is very refreshing too. We also sampled a super charcoal cheesecake, which is another must-try.

BRUSHES AND BITES Some places are worth a little extra effort traveling to as is the case with Tentacles Café and Art Space

P All photos from Tentacles Café and Art Space


by Christopher Scott Dixon

reviously situated in Thonglor, Tentacles Café and Art Space (2198/1011 Soi Taweewattana (Narathiwat 22),Yannawa, Bangkok // Tel: 089 117 3434, 082 487 1487) has been open since February 2016. It gives great opportunities for both local and international artists by providing residency programs and exhibition areas for creatives. It is part of the established art-led warehouse complex known as Gallery Ver. Tentacles hosts a regular range of workshops, which include embroidery, pottery, and painting. Step through the glass-fronted entrance to see bare stone floors and low wooden tables and chairs. Several shelves display a mix of handcrafted products designed and made by local artists.

The all-day breakfast was a delightperfectly tossed and cheese dusted lettuce with balsamic vinaigrette, lightly toasted and buttered bread and splendidly fused scrambled eggs and sweet corn. Highly recommended too is the refreshing Japanese green tea with a side jug of honey to add. Do not miss the tasty and generously portioned tagliatelle pasta with homemade pesto and Japanese mushrooms a really filling dish. For those with a sweet tooth like me, the mixed berry waffle with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream as neighbors on the plate is a must try. The waffle was baked just right and the fusion of flavors was wonderful. To finish, we shared a delicious aeropress coffee. Tentacles -- reaching out to artists and foodies alike!

JUNE 2016 | 65



Garden Court

Barbeque Buffet

What: Billed as the “ultimate international barbeque dinner” this food special features a variety of seafood delights: river prawns, cuttlefish, New Zealand mussels and more; plus meat selections including wagyu, sausages, and more. When: 6:30-10:30 p.m., until July 10 Where: Poolside, 6th floor at Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok More info: 02 307 8888, ext. 1947 or email:

Cantonese Dim Sum

What: Enjoy over 30 different menus of dim sum such as shark’s fin dumpling, steamed scallops with shiitake, abalone with shrimp, and more at this very family friendly restaurant. When: Throughout June Where: Garden Court at Chaophya Park Hotel (MRT: Ratchadaphisek) How much: THB 899 per person for lunch and dinner More info: 02 290 0125, ext. 7105

Kobe Wine Beef

What: Meat lovers can experience the ‘king of beef’ from Japan at the chic rooftop where a Japanese master farmer, Takeshi Yamada, is currently visiting. Takeshi will present one of the world’s finest beef from June 7-11 but his Kobe beef specialty will be on the menu for the rest of the month. When: June 7-30 Where: Scarlett Wine Bar & Restaurant, Hotel Pullman Bangkok Silom, SIlom Road More info: 02 238 1991 or email


Hungry Happy Hour

Oyster Season

What: Seafood feast that brings out the ultimate seafood dishes from all around the world, from raw, fried, baked oysters --Fin De Claire, Tasmanian, Smokey Bat -- and more. There’s also a range of Asian, Western, and Mediterranean with additions of delicious desserts. When: June 3-26 Where: Espresso at InterContinental Bangkok (BTS: Chidlom) How much: THB 1,999++ per person, THB 1,399++ for Prosecco, THB 1,899++ for Chandon, THB 3,899++ for Louis Roederer Premier Brut More info: 02 656 0444, ext. 6430 or email:

What: Relax after work by ordering any drink -- beer, wine or cocktails – to enjoy and indulge in with a fine selection of tapas food from the all-you-can-eat buffet. When: Daily from 5-7 p.m. Where: UNO MAS restaurant, Centara Grand Bangkok Convention Center at Central World (BTS: Siam, Chidlom) How much: THB 120-820 More info: 02 100 6255 or email:

Organic Brunch

What: An organic, healthy dining, billed



BBQ Seafood Buffet

What: Koh Lanta on a plate: Seafood BBQ, sashimi, some burrito, oyster, lobster, just to name a few. Also enjoy tropical fruits, delicious cocktails, and more. When: Every Monday and Friday, 6:30 p.m. Where: The Cliff Restaurant, Crown Lanta Resort and Spa, Koh Lanta Krabi How much: THB 950++ per person More info: 075 626 999 or email: rsvn@

Romsai Restaurant

Crown Lanta Resort and Spa

Fireplace Grill and Bar

as “Naturally Delicious” Sunday Brunch, in cooperation with Citibank. Featuring S-Pure products by Betagro, guests can choose from Thai and Western cuisine with four different menus. In addition, a special price for fresh seafood bucket for two people THB 1,390 net. Citibank credit cardholders are entitled to Buy 1 Get 1 Free privileges. When: Until July Where: Party House One (PH1) at Siam@ Siam Design Hotel Bangkok (BTS: National Stadium) More info: 02 217 3000 or email:

La Tavola Italiana

What: To celebrate the Italian National Day on 2 June, Romsai will be delighting you with some of the most renowned Italian dishes. This uniquely Italian dining experience for dinner and weekend brunch will impress you. Where: Romsai Restaurant, The Banyan Tree Bangkok, Sathorn Road When: June 2-5 How much: THB1, 900++ per person More info: 02 679 1200

Seasonal Grill

Flava Restaurant and Bar

What: Enjoy distinctive French flavors such as zucchini flower, crunchy samphire, fresh langoustines and summer truffle, in this “Seasonal Delight” grill promotion that has it all: goat cheese and chives, crunchy samphire with pan-seared scallop, just to name a few. When: Throughout June Where: Fireplace Grill and Bar at InterContinental Bangkok (BTS: Chidlom) How much: Starts at THB 520++ per dish More info: 02 656 0444, ext. 5505 or email:

Snow Crab Special

What: Chef Songkran prepares a series of snow crab specialties in a variety of cooking styles, from teppanyaki, tempura, sashimi, and more. When: Until July Where: Takumi at Swissôtel Le Concorde Bangkok (BTS: Chidlom) How much: THB 450-950++ More info: 02 694 2222, ext. 1560

Coastal Catch

What: Enjoy a variety of seafood and other main dishes, or dishes presented in Thai and Western fusion that includes sea bass, squid, tom yam and seafood pizza and more. When: Throughout June Where: Flava Restaurant and Bar, Dream Hotel Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15 How much: Starts at THB 250++ per dish More info: 02 254 8500 or email:

JUNE 2016 | 67



What: Enjoy fabulous flavors and fascinating recipes made by Chef Joan Tanya Dot, chef de cuisine/manager whose signature dishes give guests a taste of authentic Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine within a unique atmosphere, a stylish decor plus a large menu, with a selection of your favorite dishes. Where: UNO MAS, 54th Floor, Centara Grand Bangkok and Bangkok Convention Center @ CentralWorld (BTS: Chidlom) When: Throughout this month More info: 02 100 6255 or email:

LUCE Italian Restaurant

Wine, Cheese, Beer & Tapas

Raw & Healthy Vegan

What: Whether you are into it to stay healthy or into it because it just tastes so good, “Raw Vegan Cuisine” at LUCE will not disappoint you. Luce’s chef de cuisine, Edoardo Bonavolta, is passionate about raw and healthy food and he invites you to experience his innovative Italian-inspired raw vegan dishes Where: LUCE Italian Restaurant, Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn Bangkok When: Throughout June More info: 02 210 8100 or e-mail: luce@



What: Join these two special events of the month: The Love Beer Love Tapas” every first Friday of the month (June 3) or tapas and beer for only THB 599++ per person; more of premium beer for THB 999++ per person. “Say Wine & Say Cheese” is every third Friday of the month (June 17). Where: Riverside Grill, Royal Orchid Hotel & Towers, Si Phaya Road, Bangkok When: Fridays, 6:30-8:30 p.m. How much: A taste of selected wine matching with wide range of gourmet cheese for THB 599++ per person or additional premium wine for THB 999++. More info: 02 266 9214 or email: events.

6th Anniversary Celebration

What: In celebration of Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel 6 years anniversary, six chefs will specially craft their own signature dish for guests to


Signature Dishes

enjoy. Also, everyone joining the Sunday brunch until June 19 will get a chance to win six special prizes, including dining vouchers and night stay at their sister hotel under the Marriott group! Lucky draw winners will be announced on facebook 6 p.m., June 26. Where: Flavors, M Floor, Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel (BTS: Chidlom) When: Until June 19 How much: THB 2,400++ (Sunday) More info: 02 125 5010

Exceptionally Italian

What: A new range of magnificent signature dishes will ne prepared by seasoned chef, Stefano Zaninelli, who has over 28 years experience working as a professional chef, the last seven years of which at the hotel. The new dishes from starter through to dessert will feature the ingenious fusion of key ingredients such as truffles, Marsala, rocket, and orange. They also include some intriguing new twists on the classics. Where: Don Giovanni Italian Restaurant, Centara Grand Hotel at Central Ladprao (MRT: Phahonyothin) When: Throughtout June More info: 02 541 1234, ext. 4151 or email:

Vertigo Too

Hotel Baraquda Pattaya MGallery by Sofitel


G+T at Vertigo Too


What: Bangkok welcomes the charismatic jazz vocalist, Michelle Walker. Blessed with a beautifully distinctive voice, the New Yorker blends blues, bebop, swing and soul with playful expressiveness. Michelle will perform jazz standards and original songs with the Randy Cannon Group. When: Until June 25 Where: The Living Room, Sheraton Grand Sukhumvit (BTS: Asoke) More info: 02 649 8353




The Living Room

New York Jazz Singers


What: Praised for its complex, multilayered combination of the finest botanicals, Tanqueray Gin is one of the world’s most award-winning white spirits. Visit Vertigo TOO and enjoy a timeless G&T or opt for one of the sophisticated cocktails mixed by resident mixologist, Kai. Where: Vertigo Too, Banyan Tree Hotel Bangkok, Sathorn Road When: Ongoing (Latin music every Thursday, 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.) More info: 02 679 1200

What: It’s Rambutan season so to celebrate, the master mixologists and pastry chef of Hotel Baraquda Pattaya MGallery have prepared some extra special Rambutan treats just for you. Skilled mixologists have conjured up a pair of unique rambutanbased “Drinks of the Month” for your delectation, such as the delightfully decadent Negrito Rambutan and copiously chill Rambutan Freezy, while the bakery team has been hard at work at the ovens creating a delectable Rambutan tart. Where: Hotel Baraquda Pattaya MGallery by Sofitel, Pattaya When: Until June How much: Drinks at THB 250 ++ each; tarts are available at Nauti Café, Sunset Lounge and S.E.A. Restaurant at THB 85 ++ each More info: 038 769 999 or


What: Two hours of free-flow (classic, mango, rose, passion fruit and berries) celebrate the start of a new week, providing the oomph you need to carry you through to the weekend. Where: Mixo, 9th floor, SO Sofitel Bangkok, Rama 4 Rd (MRT: Lumpini) When: Ongoing every Monday How much: THB 499++ per person More info: 02 624 0000 or email

Ladies Weekend

What: Free flow wines and “Cocktail of the night” for ladies seeking a great night-out and hang by the pool with good company. When: Every Friday and Saturday, 6-8 p.m. Where: amBar - Level 8, Pool Wing at Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15 (BTS: Nana/Asoke) More info: 02 309 3000


THIS MONTH'S WINNER Our lucky winner for June is Winai Tienpajeekul (, who describes himself as a big Lookeast fan. Winai wins a gift from our sponsor, The Chill Resort Koh Chang, which is giving a 1 night stay in the Chill Deluxe room inclusive of breakfast for 2 for his special participation in this issue. Congatulations!


would like to introduce a popular travel attraction to your Lookeast Magazine fans: Chinatown, one of more famous places for tourists in Bangkok. This is where you find good food, exotic local markets, shop houses, pharmacies, gold shops, Chinese temples -- you name it! Its main thoroughfare, Yaowarat Road, is home to one of the oldest Chinese communities in Thailand. During the Chinese New Year I accompanied my lovely grandmother and girlfriend to visit Chinatown again. We first went to a Chinese temple called Wat Mangkon Kamalawat (Wat Leng Noei Yi) as we do every year. The temple is popular among Buddhist followers to pray and make a merit to earn good fortune for the rest of the year. One of the largest and most important Chinese Buddhist temples in Bangkok, this wat is built in a classic Chinese architectural style, with typical sweeping tiled roofs decorated with animal and floral motifs, including the ubiquitous Chinese dragons as shown in the picture. Giant statues of the four guardians of the world flank the main entrance (Sermon Hall). There are two Chatulokkaban statues, clothed in warrior costumes, on each side. Honestly these guardians instill in me a feeling of fear ever since I was a kid. Then we went to the main ordination hall, which houses very beautiful Chinese Buddha images. Following the traditions, we offered fruits and silver-gold money papers, and lighted incense sticks in the main hall.

We continued to pray to the Chinese goddess of compassion, Guan Yin, in the next pavilion. This goddess is my grandmother’s favorite and she comes here by herself to pray every year. It was truly satisfying to see her small eyes lit with happiness after finishing our temple visit. It feels good accompanying her to do good deeds. Aside from visiting temple, we also explored a local market nearby. We bought food items, fruits, and desserts before going back home. This particular market is so lively, crowed with both Thai-Chinese locals and tourists alike. However, my biggest recommendation to visit Chinatown at night because by then the place transforms into a large “food street” packed with stalls and street-side restaurants that draw tourists and locals. To make the story short -- who knows what you will end up with at the end of the day in Chinatown? Make a visit now!

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