ith every other person owning a DSLR or point-and-shoot, finding fresh perspectives on the Thai capital is not easy these days. Joe Kasemsarn, however, has managed it – and captured our imaginations to boot. At the end of last year, he took to photographing 1.5cm-high figurines against iconic city backdrops. From dancers tangoing in front of Vimanmek Palace to families sunbathing at Lumpini Park and rock climbers hauling themselves up steps at the Democracy Monument, the resulting pictures pull us into a subterranean world where the figurines, many of who seem to have walked out of the Victorian age, go about their lives while we do ours. A charmingly eccentric little project, we’ll think you’ll agree – one that’ll have you walking along the city’s streets a little more carefully, and is all the more enjoyable for it being documented on Facebook. Elsewhere, our event listings are backed up by an eclectic parade of timely stories. Our usual art-centric fare includes a roundup of new art galleries (P.12) and a Q&A with WTF Bar and Gallery’s Chris Wise about Tim Hetherington: Infidel (p.48), an exhibition of the late photojournalist’s work that was planned before his death. Travel stories include a holiday break in Koh Chang and a roundup of all the best upcountry festivals and other events hitting this month, including Thailand’s water-fuelled New Year’s celebrations, which are better known in these parts as Songkran. Our food reviews, meanwhile, include new venues Hemingway’s, YTSB, Kinki and Paste. Remember folks, all this – plus the 101 archive and extras that didn’t make the print edition – can be found online at www.bangkok101.com. A couple of clicks is all it takes to keep in touch with what’s happening. Also, if there’s something we’re not covering but you feel we should be then please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mason Florence Publisher
What is Bangkok 101 Independent and unbiased, Bangkok 101 caters to savvy travellers who yearn for more than what they find in weighty, dated guidebooks. It brings together an authoritative who’s who of city residents, writers, photographers and cultural commentators. The result is a compact and intelligent hybrid of monthly travel guide and city magazine that takes you on and off the well-worn tourist track. Bangkok 101 employs the highest editorial standards, with no fluff, and no smut. Our editorial content cannot be bought. We rigorously maintain the focus on our readers, and our ongoing mission is to ensure they enjoy this great city as much as we love living in it.
ja n ua ry 2013
Mason Florence editor-in-chief
Dr. Jesda M. Tivayanond associate publisher
Parinya Krit-Hat managing editor
Max Crosbie-Jones editorial assistant
Bangkok-born but internationally-bred, Dr. Tom Vitayakul has a background in communication and branding but now runs his family’s boutique hotel and Thai restaurant. An avid traveler and a bon vivant, he has contributed to magazines including Lips, Lips Luxe and the Bangkok Post ’s the Magazine, and has also helped edit several books on Thai subjects such as Bangkok Found and Architecture of Thailand.
Very Thai author philip cornwel-smith is a writer, editor and curator specialising in the areas of culture and travel. He has lived in Thailand for over a decade, editing its first listings magazine and the Time Out Bangkok guides, updating Thailand: A Traveller’s Companion, presenting Noodle Box: Bangkok on Discovery Channel, and squeezing Bangkok into the city’s first phone guide for Nokia.
Food and travel writer howard richardson lives beside the Chao Phraya River in downtown Bangkok, from where he’s spent 12 years exploring the city as magazine editor and freelance writer. He’s contributed to publications such as GQ, the BBC’s Olive magazine and the New York Times online, and written a monthly column in Sawasdee, the Thai Airways inflight magazine.
Adul Waengmol Chaweitporn Tamthai strategists
Nathinee Chen Sebastien Berger contributing writers
Gaby Doman, Urasa Por Burapacheep, Luc Citrinot, Philip Cornwel-Smith, Leo Devillers, Korakot Punlopruksa, Isabelle Kallo contributing photographers
Dejan Patic´, Jatuporn Rutnin, Paul Lefevre, Ludovic Cazeba, Leon Schadeberg, Marc Schultz, Niran Choonhachat, Frédéric Belge, Somchai Phongphaisarnkit director of sales & marketing
director of business development
Itsareeya Chatkitwaroon account executive
director of digital media
Nowfel Ait Ouyahia circulation
British-born writer-artist steven pettifor stopped over in Thailand 13 years ago on his way to Japan, but never left. An authority on contemporary Thai art, Steven is a commentator on the local art scene, contributing to international and domestic newspapers and journals. In 2004 he published coffeetable book Flavours: Thai Contemporary Art . When not musing, he is often found travel writing.
Native-Bangkok writer, photographer and incurable travel addict, korakot (nym) punlopruksa believes in experiencing the world through food. She can usually be found canvassing the city for the best eats. Nym has been a host for music and film programmes, a radio DJ, a creative consultant for TV and a documentary scriptwriter. She is the author of several travel narratives and her work appears in magazines including ELLE , Elle Decoration and GM .
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Talisman Media Group Co., Ltd. 113 Soi Tonson, Ploenchit Rd Bangkok 10330 T 02-252-3900 | F 02-650-4557 email@example.com
© Copyright Talisman Media Group Co., Ltd 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express written, prior permission of the publisher. Views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher, which accepts no responsibility for them.
table of city pulse
food & drink
metro beat 10 hemingway’s 12 new adventures in art 16 best of bangkok
60 62 67 68 69 70 72 74
s n a p s h ot 20
tom’s two satang very thai 23 chronicle of thailand 22
bangkokian museum 26 historic homes & shrines 27 temples 28 museums
81 84 86 87 89
t r av e l 30 32 34 36 40
food & drink news meal deals restaurant reviews: ytsb, panorama, paste, kinki street eat: thong lor market eat like nym cooking with poo sweet treat: tongue fun khao chae restaurant listings
songkran upcountry now hotel deals beach escape: koh chang over the border: kuala lumpur
nightlife news nightclubs hotel bars & clubs bars with views bars live music jazz clubs
new collection: tube gallery unique boutique: apostrophe’s 97 jatujak market 97 jj gem: somnuk lamp 94
a r t s & c u lt u r e 44 46 48
exhibition highlights exhibition focus: the player interview: chris wise on infidel reading & screening photo feature: big bangkok project
wellness 98 99
massage & spa spa review: banyan tree hotel
comm u nit y 100 making merit: soi dog foundation
reference 102 getting there 104 maps 112
my bangkok: varin sachdev
april 2013 100 baht
BIG BANGKOK PROJECT | CITY PULSE
New Art Galleries | FOOD & DRINK
Hemingway’s | SHOPPING
LITTLE SIGHTSEERS photography by Joe Kasemsarn
on the cover Big Bangkok Project
H o t e l Pa r t n e r s
CCI ITTYY PPUULLSSEE
by Howard Richardson
POP & ROCK
Japanese ‘Post-Rock’ band Toe make their Bangkok return after supporting Mogwai in 2011. This “dynamic, energetic yet beautiful ensemble” play Scala Theatre (Siam Square Soi 1, 02-251-2861) on April 20. Support comes from Bangkok’s own Two Million Thanks. Tickets start at B800. The Chang Fest Rock Summer Festival at Lakeside Muang Thong Thani (99 Popular Rd, Pakkred, 02-504-5050, www.impact.co.th) hosts all the usual suspects in Big Ass, Potato, Paradox and Bodyslam on April 27. Gates open at 3pm, tickets are B1200 (buy five get one free).
It sounds like there’ll be serious headbanging at The Rock Pub (Hollywood Street Building, Phaya Thai Rd, 081-666-4359, www.therockpub-bangkok.com) on April 4, when California Deathgrind meets Finnish Grindcore with the gig Cattle Decapitation Vs Rotten Sound. Showtime is 7pm and tickets are B1,200. There’s a charity concert at M Theatre (2884/2 New Petchaburi Rd, 02-3197641) on April 28 quite reasonably called Musical… Musicals, featuring 20 songs from Broadway musicals. The songs include ‘There’s Nothing Like a Dame’ (South Pacific), ‘Greased Lightnin’ (Grease) and ‘Waterloo’ (Mamma Mia) performed by artists such as Sudapim Potipakti, Tanee Poonsawat and Korakarn Sutthikoses. Tickets start at B1000, with proceeds donated to the Children’s Heart Disease Charity (02-716-6070). com) have tickets priced B800-B1200. 6 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
The Radio Dept amble into town with “traditional indie and dream-pop, incorporating elements of vintage Slumberland noise-pop and sadder 80s UK indie sounds”. It’s on April 26 at Sonic (90 Ekamai Rd, btw Soi 10 and Big C, 02-382-3395).
FAIRS There’s something for everyone at the Bangkok International Gift Fair and Bangkok International Houseware Fair 2013. They expect nearly 2,000 booths at BITEC (km1, 88 BangnaTrad Rd, 02-749-3939, www.bitec.co.th) from April 19-23, loaded with artificial plants, household products, toys, games, Chris as goods, and pretty much anything else you can think of. The last two days are open to the public. bangkok101.com
Parts of the country will go crazy for Songkran, the Thai New Year, which officially runs from April 13-15, but actually varies slightly depending on where you are. Traditional sprinklings of scented water on Buddha images at Bangkok temples such Wat Poh and Wat Arun are held to make merit, while more raucous revellers take to the streets for water fights with pistols, buckets and high-powered cannons. Tourist areas, particularly around Khao San Road, are great fun (wrap up your camera) and there will be official gatherings with art and cultural performances around Rattanakosin. See www.tourismthailand.org for more details.
FOOD & DRINK
Centara continues to move through the gears with another launch, Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel Bangkok (567 Rachaprarop Rd, 02-625-1234) due for a soft opening on April 1. Among the usual facilities, guests in the 281 rooms can enjoy 20th floor views from Chili Hip, the hotel’s signature Asia resbangkok101.com
taurant, and a rooftop bar called Walk. The property, which is connected to Watergate Pavillion Shopping and Leisure Complex and close to the BTS Skytrain line to Suvarnabhumi Airport, starts full operations on July 1, with the grand opening scheduled for November. There will be full reviews in Bangkok 101. The Sunday Jazzy Brunch Anniversary Celebrations mark 12 years of the Sunday Jazzy Brunch at the Sheraton Grande hotel (250 Sukhumvit Rd, 02-649-8353, www.sheratongrandesukhumvit.com). Throughout April, diners get 30 percent off food if they book online (www.sheratongrandesukhumvit.com/ en/store/) and there are lucky draws to enter. The food is supplied from noon to 3pm by all the hotel’s outlets, so there’s a wide choice. After discount the price is about B1900 or B2950 with unlimited drinks. A P RIL 2 0 1 3 | 7
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DESIGN Looking ahead to the mooted reform of Thailand’s transport system, the Thailand Creative & Design Centre (TCDC, Fl 6 Emporium Shopping Complex, 622 Sukhumvit 24, 02-664-8448, www.tcdc.or.th) presents Designing a Happy Journey: Reviving Kyushu Through Creativity. It exhibits aspects of a Japanese high-speed rail system until May 26, particularly focused on the impact of Eiji Mitooka’s user-friendly design on the local community. Included are technology advancements, the interior and exterior of trains, the development of railway stations, property projects and the effects on local businesses. Admission is free. TCDC is closed for Songkran from April 12-16 inclusive.
GEMS & JEWELLERY With Bangkok acknowledged as one of the world’s gemstone capitals, the question of what traps to avoid when purchasing gems is a constant here. Laurent Massi, director of the GIA Thailand Gemological School in Bangkok, aims to answer that and many other queries at the Alliance Française Bangkok (29 Sathorn Tai Rd, 02-6704230, www.alliance-francaise.or.th) on April 4. The lecture is at 7.30pm.
US boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard will give talks and play golf in his role as the celebrity ambassador for a series of charity events this month to benefit the Mechai Viravaidya Foundation. On April 5, he speaks at a Charity Grand Gala Dinner at the Plaza Athenee Bangkok (61 Wireless Rd, 02-650-8800, www.plazaatheneebangkok.com) and on April 9 plays in a Charity Golf Tournament at Riverdale Golf Course (123/5 Moo1 Tiwanon Rd, Pathum Thani, 02-501-2789 www.riverdalegolfclub.co.th). The dinners include live music and private drinks. 8 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
ART With controversialists like Vasan Sitthiket involved, nose pegs may be needed for the art show MUSK: Love Exhibition, which explores the human body odours that attract the opposite sex at Galerie N (139/5 Wireless Rd, 086-601-7111, www.galerienbangkok.com) until April 30. Among the nine other artists are Nawin Biadklang, Thanarit Thipwaree and P7. The gallery opens Tuesday to Thursday, 10am-7pm. bangkok101.com
NIGHTLIFE The Pink party scene moves into full gear this month with the gay friendly gCircuit Songkran offering several events at various Bangkok venues from April 12-14. DJs Ana Paula (Brazil), Micky Friedmann (Germany), Isaac Escalante (Mexico) and Danny Verde (Italy) are among the imported entertainment. The main events are at ZEN (4, 4/5 Ratchadamri Rd, 02-100-9999) on April 12-13 and the Renaissance Bangkok Hotel (518/8 Ploenchit Rd, 02-125-5000) on April 14. There are also Wet Parties involving swimming pools and sprinklers on April 13 at the Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel (199 Sukhumvit Soi 22, 02-2619000) and April 14 at Sofitel SO Bangkok (2 North Sathorn Rd, 02-624-0000). Single tickets start at B900 with combos from B4700 from Thai Ticket Major (02-262-3456, www.thaiticketmajor.com). Get the full skinny from www.gcircuit.com.
JAZZ The schedule of nightly live jazz at Niu’s on Silom (661 Silom Rd, 02-266-5333, www.niusonsilom.com) includes a changing roster on Fridays. New York composer and sax player Joseph Marchione leads a quintet on April 5. He’s previously played with musicians like Von Freeman, Steve Coleman and ex-Frank Zappa drummer Jimmy Carl Black. The Dan Phillips Trio on April 12 is fronted by a US guitarist rated “one of the most original guitarists and composers currently on the jazz scene” by allaboutjazz.com. On April 19, former Freddy Cole guitarist Jerry Byrd brings a trio, and the month winds down on April 26 with Love Gone Wrong.
Psyhead Community throws a Goa Party in BKK! on April 13 with various DJs still to be announced. It’s at Café Democ (Silom Plaza, 491 Silom Rd, 089-497-8422) from 10pm-2am, with free entry and friendly drink prices (cocktails B140, beers from B90 and wine B150).
Bo Kittiphon directs and performs in Whispers of the Shadow of a Quivering Leaf, a solo Butoh dance performance and photo exhibition at the Pridi Banomyong Institute (Sukhumvit Soi 55, 086-787-7155) on April 1-8. The dancer “invites audiences to journey through a process of self-discovery and healing”, while the photos “recall Bo’s beginning, her journeys, friendships, first meetings, and goodbyes”. The show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are B400. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLASSICAL The Silpakorn Summer Music School Orchestra performs a concert conducted by Hikotaro Yazaki, from Japan, at the Mahisorn Hall (Rm 18-19 SCB Park Plaza, New Ratchadapisek Rd, 02-937-5400) on April 7. The programme is Dvorak’s Carnival Overture op.92, Weber’s Clarinet Concerto in F minor No.1 op.73 and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade op.35. Tickets start at B200 from Thai Ticketmajor (02-262-3456, www. thaiticketmajor.com). See www.music.su.ac.th.
FILM The theme is movies from Asean countries for the 3rd Salaya International Documentary Film Festival to be held at two venues: the Sri Salaya Theatre (Phuttamonthon Sai 5 Rd) from April 1-7, and at the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre (939 Rama I Rd, 02-214-6632, www.bacc.or.th) from April 2-7. There’s also a special programme featuring award-winning documentaries by Sourav Sarangi. Admission is free. See www.fapot.org. bangkok101.com
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Hemingway's by Howard Richardson
hoosing Ernest Hemingway as a concept for your bar-restaurant may not be the most original idea but the archetypal He-Man is associated with so many locations – from the Spanish Civil War to hunting rhinos in the Serengeti – that he gives you plenty to play with. It’s ideal fodder to fill this sprawling 1920s-style golden teak house. Arriving from the soi, you enter the Spanish Garden with its own fountain and lanterns in the trees, and proceed through various rooms themed acording to episodes from the author’s life. The Havana Bar dispenses Hemingway’s favourite spirits in generous 45ml pours; the Key West Café is a large dining area with waxed teak floors, lots of plants and period lampshades styled after oil lamps. Upstairs, a wide outdoor terrace leads to the Hideaway, modelled on Parisian apartments, and beyond is the Safari Sports Bar, a look-alike Serengeti drinking den, complete with bamboo poles to prop open the window, animal skin designs on the bar stools and lighting that flickers like nighttime candles. Each room is separately themed using lighting and soundtracks ranging from ancient 1920s jazz to 50s Cuban; Satchmo and the Hot Five to Benny Moré. We chose (very) dirty Tanqueray martinis from a long drink list (B195), including special cocktails (B220++) and beers from their own system served at a reliable minus-two degrees. There are 20 or so wines (B1000-B2400++ a bottle), including eight by the glass (B150-B350). The food menu moves from bar snacks – try the tasty and tender chilli salt-fried squid with Hemingway’s own tartar sauce (B165) – through soups, entrées and New York pizzas. Among the short list of mains are sea bass with Hemingway’s oyster and absinthe broth, steamed mussels and braised lettuce (B450) and grass-fed lava coal Australia grilled sirloin with sautéed kale, hand-cut chunky fries with a choice of sauce. Finish with a very more-ish butterscotch pot au cream with hazelnut praline (B200). This is a classy venue with good drinks and upper-end pub grub. Just a stone’s throw from the MRT and Skytrain, it should thrive.
เฮมมิงเวย์ สุขุมวิท ซ.14 hemingway's
Sukhumvit Soi 14 | 02-653 3900 | www.hemingwaysbangkok.com 11:30am-late (kitchen closes 10:45pm) | BTS Asoke MRT Sukhumvit 1 0 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
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out & about
New Adventures in Art
It's a testament to the rude health of the local art scene that new galleries are opening all the time – here are six of the latest. By Max Crosbie-Jones
A small shophouse space on Nakorn Chaisi Road run by two brothers with local art scene connections stretching back 20 years. Their opening show was an eclectic assortment of works by the well-established likes of Tawan Wattuya, P7 and Michael Shaowanasai, while their second, by Silpakorn University graduate Pattana Chuenmana, is a series of black and white photography.
ดี-ไนน์ แกลเลอรี่ ถ.นครชัยศรี Gallery D-9 [MAP 8/G7] 1085/5 Nakhonchaisri Rd, Dusit | 081-400-9126 Facebook: Gallery-D-9 | Mon-Sat 10am-7pm 1 2 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
338 Oida Gallery
This is a small space with big ambitions and an inclination towards conceptual art. Located in a converted condominium near Lumpini Park, it kicked off with a brain-teasing inaugural exhibition featuring works by Nim Kruasaeng, Mit Jai-Inn and one of Thailand's most internationally acclaimed names, Rirkrit Tiravanija. And the second, “Go, Said the Bird” by the upcoming Tanatchai Bandasak, is an equally curious show that harnesses the spatial qualities of the stark white space.
338 โอไอด้า แกลเลอรี่ ถ.พระราม 4 OIDA GALLERY
1028/5 Pongamorn Building, 4th Fl, Rama IV Rd | 090-198-8749 www.338oidagallery.com | Wed-Sun 1pm-5pm
A stylishly refurbished shophouse in a quietly atmospheric part of the Old City, Dialogue was opened a few months back by four high school friends who have all recently graduated from university. As well as being a coffee shop with a talented barista, they also intend it to be a “free space for the slow life”, one where any sort of non-commercial art or culture activity can take place.
ไดอะล็อก คอฟฟี แอนด์ แกลเลอรี่ ถ.พระสุเมรุ Dialogue Coffee & Gallery
533 Phrasumen Rd, Boworniwet, Phranakorn | 084 754 8799 Facebook: Dialogue.bkk | Tue-Fri 2pm-11pm, Sat-Sun 11am-11pm bangkok101.com
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After an unsuccessful stint as a restaurant, the top space at Thonglor's Grass was recently converted into a slick indoor-outdoor photogallery by Hossein Farmani, a long-time advocate of the art form who also runs spaces in Los Angeles and New York. The aim is for the gallery to be a space to showcase the work of new talents from Thailand together with Europeans and Americans.
รูฟท็อป แกลเลอรี่ ซ.ทองหล่อ Rooftop Gallery [MAP 3/R5] 4th fl, 440/10 Sukhumvit 55 (Soi Thong Lor) | 090-910-8373 Facebook: rooftopgallerybangkok | Wed-Fri noon-7pm
This shophouse gallery veers towards urban art, pop art, illustration and comics. Look out especially for exhibitions by co-owner Unchalee Anantawat, a local illustrator who cut her teeth as part of Melbourne audiovisual collective Tape Projects while studying there and has a vibrant, otherworldly style that is all her own.
สปีดดี้ แกรนด์มา เจริญกรุง ซ.28 Speedy Grandma [MAP 5/C2] 672/50-52 Soi Charoenkrung 28, Bangrak | 089-508-3859 Facebook: SpeedyGrandma | Tue-Sun 11am-7pm 1 4 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
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the best of
For the first time, the best restauarants in Asia have been voted and ranked and Bangkok emerges with more than its share of bragging rights. By Tom Sturrock
he results were eagerly awaited by the who's who of Bangkok's fine dining set. For the first time, a list of the top 50 restaurants in Asia was to be released, sponsored by San Pellegrino and compiled from the votes of over 900 foodies from across the continent. When the results were finally released last month, Narisawa and Nihonryori Ryugin, both from Tokyo, filled the top two spots but further down the list, there was plenty for Bangkok's epicure obsessives to celebrate.
Nahm #3 In many ways, Australian-born chef David Thompson has fundamentally altered expectations of Thai food â€“ his London restauarant, also called Nahm, was the first Thai restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star. And he has made a splash in Bangkok since opening his second 1 6 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
venue, a smart space with bare wooden tables and raw brick pillars, echoing Siam temples. Despite his reputation as an innovator, Thompson remains anchored in traditional Thai methods, having scoured ancient cookbooks to find obscure dishes long forgotten. His menu is all about sharing dishes and big flavours â€“ there's the grilled mussels smoked with coconut husks and the tamarind relish blended with minced prawns, pork and shrimp paste and spread over braised mackerel. Or the signature dish: smoky Chiang Mai-style chilli relish with quail eggs and pork crackling. Sold.
Gaggan #10 The success enjoyed by Kolkata-born Gaggan Anand has been truly remarkable â€“ by making over classic Indian recipes and updating traditional street food, Anand has bangkok101.com
become one of the most celebrated Indian chefs in the world and his slow-cooked Iberian pork neck topped with a vindaloo curry reduction a taste sensation. “I was emotional, shockingly surprised and happy, since the restaurant has only been open for a little over two years. And it was an incredible honour to be recognised alongside so many top chefs whom I have admired for years,” Anand said of his top-10 finish. “It has definitely put the spotlight on the dining scene in Thailand and Asia. It also inspires me to do even more.”
Eat Me #19 While Bangkok's other entires in this list have been lauded for offering delicious twists on familiar, the menu at this artsy Silom staple goes a step further, defying any easy categorisation. New York chef Tim Butler has introduced some obscure ingrdients and some genuinely surprising combinations – Eat Me is billed as "modern international regional", which basically means there's a lot going on. Mostly, it's dishes from the Pacific Rim, with added bangkok101.com
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touches from Southeast Asia and the Middle East. It's not an obvious fit but black chicken with red papaya, toasted coconut and chili and betel leaf salad sounds like it works pretty well, as do the grilled Tasmanian Pacific oysters with miso and spring onions.
Sra Bua By Kiin Kiin #29 Molecular Thai cuisine, put together by a couple of intrepid Danes, certainly promises plenty of surprises and this luxuriously appointed venue delivers a unique experience. The Thai red curry with lobster is served frozen with a jug of liquid nitrogen which is administered at the table, while the tom yum soup involves diners making their own noodles by squeezing a dough-filled syringe into hot, fragrant stock. Or try the grilled shrimp with frozen satay ice cream sauce and coconut pearl. As much as any restaurant in Bangkok, Sra Bua is reimagining and forging new frontiers for what will work on paper and, more importantly, on the tongue.
Metropolitan, 27 South Sathorn Rd | 02-625-3333 www.comohotels.com | Mon-Fri 12pm-2pm, Daily 7pm-10:30
Gaggan [MAP 4/H7] 68/1 Soi Langsuan, Ploenchit Rd | 02-652-1700 www.eatatgaggan.com | Daily 12pm-2:30, 6pm-11pm
Eat Me [MAP 5/G6] 1/6 Soi Pipat 2 (off Soi Convent), Silom | 02-238-0931 www.eatmerestaurant.com | Daily 3pm-1am
Sra Bua By Kiin Kiin [MAP 4/E3) Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok, 991/9 Rama I Rd | 02-162-9000 www.kempinski.com/en/bangkok | Daily 12pm-3pm, 6pm-11pm
Bo.Lan [MAP 3/O12] 42 Soi Pichai Ronnarong Songkram, Sukhumvit 26 | 02- 260-2962 | www.bolan.co.th | Tue-Sun 6:30pm-10:30pm
Bo.lan #36 More than ever, restauarants are keen not just to serve food but to create a story, and Bo.lan, the brainchild of a husband and wife â€“ she's Thai, he's a westerner â€“ hits all the right notes. The food is classically Thai with some artful, creative additions from across the spectrum. The signature dish is the stir-fried pork with chilli and dried prawn relish but Bo.lan is also well-known for its sharing platters, with combine bite-sized portions from different parts of the menu, meaning fiery street food is served alongside palace fare. It's irresistible for indecisive lovers of Thai food who want to try it all. 1 8 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
sra bua by kiin kiin bangkok101.com
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tom’s two satang
Join Bangkok-born but internationally bred aesthete Dr. Tom Vitayakul as he gives his own unique take on Thailand and its capital. Each month he tackles a different aspect of the local culture – from art and festivals to 21stcentury trends – in a lighthearted yet learned manner
lthough infamous for its sex industry, Thailand is not the only country where prostitution is prolific. Nevertheless, international media often present caricatures of this underbelly, using comic touches to make our administrators blush various shades of pink. The world’s oldest profession has been part of Thai culture and social fabric for centuries, yet it is actually illegal. Instead, it should be openly accepted and properly legalised for public health, safety and future development. Many insist that eroticism should not be part of Buddhist countries but one needs only to look back at beliefs in history to see that sex and beauty have made our cultural canvas more vibrant. For example, in Hindu mythology, apsaras (water angels) were created from the Churning of the Ocean of Milk. These gorgeous angels who belong to neither gods nor demons are there to serve anyone’s pleasures. They adorn the walls of Angkor Wat and countless Khmer temples. Mural paintings in several Thai temples also feature erotic scenes as cautionary tales. Both male and female genitals symbolise power, strength, and fertility in Hinduism and Animism. Like other languages, Thai has many euphemisms for prostitutes. Ying ngam mueng, or ‘beautiful women of the city’, is a phrase which celebrates these lovely ladies, both emblematic and entertaining. Historically, courtesans were not shunned because they can keep some wives’ husbands happy when the wives have a headache. There was even zoning for nightlife in the ancient times. Kampaeng Din, the Earthen Wall, behind Chiang Mai’s Night Bazaar was one location and, in Bangkok’s old Chinatown, green or red lanterns were raised to signify the sites of bordellos. Wat Kanikapol, the temple opposite Plubplachai Police Station, was built during King Rama III’s reign, using donations from a madam and her women. Now, looking on the map, one will note places starting with a “P”, such as Patpong, Pattaya, and Patong, as congregations of pussies and penises galore. In Bangkok, Nana, Ratchada, and Soi Cowboy are other districts of debauchery. As sensual creatures, Thais enjoy carnal pleasures as long as they don’t offend anyone. However, being very hypocritical, we let thousands of massage parlors and pleasure palaces shine their neon signs while pornography
and sex shops are absent. Soft porn is allowed as long as the naughty bits are not blatantly shown. Adult toys are seen sold on the streets around Patpong. Instead of making it look playful, it seems more unsavoury. Some porn websites are banned. In the ‘Land of the Free’ freedom and rights come at a price. Instead of legitimising the industry, the government has turned into a prudish Pollyanna and has not honestly addressed this concern. The reasons are often about moral and cultural disrespect but countless corollary problems such as forced slavery, child prostitution, human trafficking, venereal diseases and drug abuse result. Most sex workers have chosen this path themselves because “selling their own real estate” is the easiest way to make money without much effort. So the sex industry seeps beyond seedy strip clubs, bars and brothels. Known as ‘sideline’ girls and boys, University students and office workers walk the street, trying to earn extra money for designer accessories or the latest hi-tech gadgets. Our society condones these behaviours but is not ready to take responsibility for them. The Empower Foundation – its motto is: ‘Education Means Protection of Women Engaged in Recreation’ – was founded by Chantawipa ‘Noi’ Apisuk almost 30 years ago. Under her direction, this non-profit organisation provides women involved in the illegal sex trade with free English classes and advice on health, law, education and counselling. Since sex workers greatly contribute to the economy, as many send millions to their rural hometowns, they should receive equal respect, basic human rights, community belonging and be protected by health and safety codes. With its centres in major cities with redlight districts, Empower also lobbies the government to extend employment rights, social security and benefits to them and to legalise prostitution. Other groups provide counselling for depression and other psychological illnesses, wihich can be by-products of sex work. We know why many tourists come here, just as they travel to other sin cities like Amsterdam or Rio. If ‘Sun, Sand, Sea, Surf and Sex’ still does the trick for Thai tourism, then why should we be shy about the issue? After all, without some apsaras, how would a trip to paradise be? A P RIL 2 0 1 3 | 2 1
S N A P S H OT S
spirits in the
How Thais win favour at modern shrines
aan phra phum (spirit houses) can be found where Thais live or work. In ancient indigenous belief, spirits governed a location and needed to be placated to ensure a safe journey or activity. That belief survives most clearly today in spirit houses tended daily with offerings and requests for things like the spirit’s permission to build, marry or cut trees. Hindu influence on Thai culture means that the taller painted masonry shrines resemble an opulent Khmer sanctuary upon a pedestal. The spirits typically come in pairs. Chao thii – the animist ‘spirit of the place’ – occupies the lower level, a plain miniature home on four or six legs. The ‘spirit of the land’, often seen holding holding a sword and money bag, bears a prestigious Sanskrit name, phra phum. Illustrating the authority of phra phum, attendants flank the upper levels, males to the right and females to the left, while elephants, horses and female dancers cavort on the lower deck. These old styles may look incongruous beside an edifice of stark modernity. The wooden spirit house outside the blue-glass façade of Bangkok’s Mah Boon Krong mall, for example, looks as comfortable as someone’s Dad at a teen disco. As architecture evolves, however, so does spirit house design.
> Very Thai
River Books | with photos by John Goss & Philip CornwelSmith | B 995
Very Thai – Everyday Popular Culture is a book that almost every foreigner living in Bangkok has on their bookshelf, a virtual bible on Thailand’s pop culture. For page after colourful page, city resident and author Philip Cornwel-Smith guides readers on an unconventional tour of the quirky everyday things that make Thailand truly Thai. From the 60-plus minichapters, we present a different excerpt every month. Prepare yourself for the sideways logic in what seems exotic, and snap up a copy of Very Thai now at any good book shop. 2 2 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
chronicle of thailand 8 APRIL 1980:
government rations tap water in drought
energy crisis due to oil prices left DRUG thailand in crisis and very thirsty
ith severe droughts and high oil prices forcing the country into an energy crisis, the government unveiled a plan to trim power consumption at television stations, bars, sporting events and Chiang Rai Thai against drug lord shopping centres. Those found in breach faced fines of up to 100,000 baht his 200-mule op or 10 years in jail during the three-month programme. In March 1980, tap water was rationed in several provinces, including Several tho by planes and h Bangkok, as a result of a serious drought across much of the country. Official stronghold at Ba notices were circulated in all provinces, urging people to economise usage or (SUA). At least 1 else face ‘a complete shortfall’ of tap water over ‘unlimited areas’ in April. as fierce Rationing was imposed in Chanthaburi and Trat, and water plants could notfighting After Thai a operate or distribute supply during high-tide periods, as sea water pushed into a truce proposa rivers and canals where the plants were located. Tinsulanond sta Water supplies were also cut during certain hours in a number of districts in narcotics traffick Bangkok. Low water levels in two main dams in Tak and Uttaradit jeopardised continue its drive the second rice crop as the continued release of water for agricultural purposes threatened to deplete the dams so seriously they were no longer able todestroyed.” It wa of the region’s h generate electricity, officials warned. headq By mid-March, the dams were only 10 metres above crisis level andextensive any and equipment a further halt in hydroelectric generation would lead to Bangkok blackouts, In July, Khu officials warned. troops, fought a On 12 May, power generators at Srinakarind Dam in Kanchanaburi ceased side of Doi Lang operations because water levels were too low. Chronicle of Thailand is the story of Thailand during the reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Beginning on the day he was crowned, 9 June 1946, the book presents a vivide eye-witnessaccount of Thailand’s development through the major news events of the last 64 years. Alongside a grandstand view of events and quirky aspects of daily life that just happened to make the news, the book features thousands of rare and fascinating pictures and illustrations, representing one of the most comprehensive photo collections of Thailand ever produced.
> Chronicle of Thailand
EDM Books | editor-in-chief
21 January Nicholas1982 Grossman | B1,450
awasdee buckaroos. In this land, West meets East for a certain subgroup of Thais into Western cowboy culture. Some of these Asian cowpokes dress up in cowboy hats, jeans, and boots, or alternatively in feathers, silver and beaded suede moccasins. In northeastern Thailand, there’s a dude ranch that caters to folks like these, and at JJ weekend market here in Bangkok there’s a clique of cowhands who hang out picking banjos. The taxi driver is a broncobuster, too. singing along to Rhinestone Cowboy.
> Chronicle of Thailand EDM Books | editor-in-chief Nicholas Grossman | B1,450
Chiang Rai prov displaced hundr Border Patrol Po Sa’s new base o constructed 200
Chronicle of Thailand is th Adulyadej. Beginning on t presents a vivid eye-witne major news events of the l as they unfolded and quirk the news, the book feature illustrations, representing Thailand ever produced.
still life in moving vehicles
CiTy vS. COUNTRy This cabby literally wears two hats. He dons a baseball cap when he’s driving his cab and puts on this straw hat when he’s farming. This is not uncommon in Bangkok as many cabbies here come from the countryside to drive a taxi between rice plantings and harvests, or when extra income is desperately needed. I asked the driver of this taxi which job he prefers and he told me that he would much rather do farming than drive in this city full of traffic jams and crazy people. Visual artist and academic, Dale Konstanz snaps photos of the sacred decorations and other bits and bobs he finds in Bangkok taxis, then writes about them on his blog, Still Life in Moving Vehicles (http://lifeinmovingvehicle.blogspot.com). Published by River Books, the spin-off book, Thai Taxi Talismans, is available at bookstores around town for B995. A P RIL 2 0 1 3 | 2 3
t’s not the easiest place to find but the Bangkokian Museum, also known as the Bangkok Folk Museum, is well worth a visit for a behind-the-scenes at Thai style in the middle years of the 20th century. This post-war period is, in the story of Thailand, often overlooked but here, spread between two gorgeously preserved wooden houses, it is recreated in all its understated glory. You can pick your way along the river and then turn down one of the smaller sois off Thonan Charoen Krung before entering through the museum’s neatly kept gardens, which, even in the stifling Bangkok heat, seem to be permanently cooled by a welcome breeze. The two houses used to belong to the Suravadee family and were built in 1937, and much of the first house hosts heirlooms from the Suravadee’s in the upstairs ancestors quarters. Indeed, most of the museum is filled with furniture and homewares and there is a timeless quality to much of the furniture. It’s not sleek or overworked but elegantly simple. It was built by a crew of Chinese carpenters – they brought the project in on time and under the B2,400 budget – which is impressive when you consider the difficulties surrounding the Bangkok Futsal Stadium. Despite being only a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of downtown Bangkok, there is a soothing air throughout the museum – it must have been a particularly
2 4 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
pleasant place to live when a domestic home. The second house has a slightly more disjointed history – it was originally built in the countryside before being taken appart, transported to Bangkok and reassembled, which does seem like hard work but isn’t so far out of the ordinary in Thailand. It’s smaller than the main house but its appeal is undiminished – it was built to serve as the home and office for a visiting doctor who died before he was able to move in. Still, he left behind an impressive collection of cigars. Elsewhere, across both houses, the minutiae of domestic life is further illuminated; the bathrooms are surprisingly well-appointed – certainly, there several bars along sukhumvit that suffer by comparison. The Thai style may be decidedly rustic, by the Suravadees seem to have known how to live in style. The museum is small enough that it’s not going to take you all day to explore – instead, it’s maybe a couple of hours and you’ll leave with one less hole in your experience of Thai history. And, when you’re done, you’re close enough to the river, to take a boat ride or find some firstrate street food.
Bangkokian Museum [MAP 5/E3] 273 Charoen Krung Soi 43, Si Phraya Pier 02-233-7027 | Open Wed-Sun 10am-4pm bangkok101.com
"The Suravadees seem to have known how to live in style"
A P RIL 2 0 1 3 | 2 5
ANANTA SAMAKHOM PALACE Throne Hall [map 8/F8]
19 Soi Phra Pinit, Sathorn Rd
Ratchadamri Rd, near Grand Hyatt Erawan
Uthong Nai Rd, opp. Dusit Zoo
BTS Chong Nonsi | 02-286-8185
BTS Chit Lom
Tue – Sun 10 am – 6 pm | B150
Sat, Sun & Holidays 10 am – 5 pm, Mon – Fri by
Don’t expect serenity here. This is one
appt. only | B 50 / B 20 kids
of Bangkok’s busiest intersections: the
Located at the tail-end of Dusit district’s
Kukrit Pramoj was one of Thailand’s most-
crowded shrine to the Hindu creation god
stately ceremonial boulevard, Ratchadam
loved statesmen of the 20th century. A
Brahma and his elephant Erawan is filled
noen, this stately parliamentary palace
natural all-rounder, he was a poet, a writer
with worshippers lighting incense, buying
was built during the reign of Rama V and
and even served as prime minister. His
lottery tickets and watching the traditional
completed by Rama VI. Cast in white Carrara
peaceful abode with its lovely gardens is a
marble, it is still used for the ceremonial
terrific example of Thai architecture.
บ้านหม่อมราชวงศ์คึกฤทธิ์ ซ.พระพินิจ สาทรใต้
opening of the first parliamentary session. Influenced by Renaissance architecture, the
M.R. KUKRIT’S HOUSE [map 5/H8]
ERAWAN SHRINE [map 4/G5]
GANESHA SHRINE [map 4/G3]
interior is decorated with detailed frescoes
Outside CentralWorld and Isetan
by Italian Galileo Chini of royal
Department Store | Ratchadamri Rd
ceremonies and festivities. Out front stands a
A prayer in front of this pot-bellied gold
statue of King Rama V still worshipped today.
elephant – the son of Shiva and Parvati – is
พระที่นั่งอนันตสมาคม ถ.อู่ทองใน ดุสิต
said to help get the creative juices flowing, as well as protect you from harm. Aside from marigold garlands, bring bananas, ripe mango or sticky rice-flour Thai
VIMANMEK MANSION [map 8/F8] 139 / 2 Ratchawithi Rd
desserts – Ganesha has an eternal appetite.
02-281-1569 | 9:30 am – 4 pm | B100
The world’s largest teakwood building was originally built on the island of Koh Si Chang,
JIM THOMPSON HOUSE [map 4/A3]
in 1868, and then moved to Bangkok for use
6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama I Rd
by King Rama V. Its 81 rooms spread over
BTS National Stadium | 02-216-7368
three floors overlook a beautiful garden.
พระที่นั่งวิมานเมฆ ถ.ราชวิถี เขตดุสิต
9 am – 5 pm | B100 / B 50 students
American Jim Thompson was the Princeton
SUAN PAKKAD palace [MAP 8/K11]
TRIMURTI SHRINE [map 4/G3]
graduate and former spook who revived
Si Ayutthaya Rd, Ratchathewi
Outside Centralworld and Isetan
the hand-woven Thai silk industry before
BTS Phaya Thai | 02-245-4934
Department Store | Ratchadamri Rd
disappearing mysteriously in Malaysia’s
www.suanpakkad.com | 9 am – 4 pm | B100
If your love life is in the doldrums then this
Cameron Highlands in 1967. One of the
A former market garden that was converted
shrine is for you: at 9:30 pm each Thursday
things to do in Bangkok is visit his tropical
into a residence and garden by Princess
it’s rumoured that Lord Trimurti descends
garden home beside a pungent canal: six
Chumbot. Consisting of five reconstructed
from the heavens to answer prayers of the
traditional teak houses from around the
Thai wooden houses, Wang Suan Pakkard
heart. To maximise your chances you should
country kept exactly as he left them.
pays testament to her dedication to
offer nine-red incense sticks, red candles,
บ้านไทย จิมทอมป์สัน ซ.เกษมสันต์ 2 ตรงข้ามสนามกีฬาแห่งชาติ
collecting Thai artefacts and antiques.
red roses and fruit.
วังสวนผักกาด ถ.ศรีอยุธยา ราชเทวี
2 6 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
THE GRAND PALACE & WAT PHRA KAEW [map 7/D10]
WAT PO (reclining buddha) [map 7/D12]
WAT SAKET [map 7/L8]
Na Phra Lan Rd, near Sanam Luang
Chetuphon, Thai Wang Rd
02-233-4561 | 7:30 am – 5:30 pm | B10
Tha Chang Pier | 02-222-0094
02-226-0369 | www.watpho.com
Referred to as the Golden Mount, this wat on
8:30 am – 4:30 pm | B 400 incl. entry to
8am – noon; 1 pm – 9 pm | B100
a small hillock is worth the hike up 318 steps
Vimanmek Mansion | dress respectfully
The Temple of the Reclining Buddha is
for the views of Chinatown to the south and
Bangkok’s most beloved temple (and
the oldest and largest wat in Bangkok.
the Old City to the north. The hill is all that is
top tourist site) is a fantastical, mini-city
Originating in the 16th century, it houses the
left of the fortifications for a large chedi that
sized royal complex enclosed by quaintly
largest reclining Buddha statue in Thailand
Rama III planned to construct on the site that
crenulated whitewalls. Building began in
as well as the greatest number of Buddha
gave way under the weight. Rama V later
1782, the year Bangkok was founded, and
built a smaller chedi on top.
every monarch subsequent to King Rama
I has expanded or enhanced it. Today, despite being able to visit many sights on its grounds, much of it remains off-limits. The Chakri Mahaprasat Hall – the “Westerner in a Thai hat” – is worth seeing, and there are some state halls and rooms open to visitors.
พระบรมมหาราชวัง และ วัดพระแก้ว ถ.หน้าพระลาน (ใกล้สนามหลวง)
WAT ARUN [map 7/B13] Temple of Dawn | Arun Amarin Rd
Tha Prachan, Sanam Luang, Maharat Rd
WAT MAHATHAT [map 7/C8]
WAT SUTHAT & the GIANT SWING [map 7/H9]
02-221-5999 | 9 am – 5 pm | free
Bamrung Muang Rd | 02-222-9632
An amulet market is situated near this 18th
9 am – 5 pm | B 20
century centre of the Mahanikai monastic
Wat Suthat is one of the most important
sect and an important university of Buddhist
Buddhist centres in the kingdom and home
teaching. On weekends, market stalls are
to excellent examples of bronze sculpture.
set up on the grounds to complement the
The city’s iconic Giant Swing, where brave
vendors of traditional medicines.
men used to swing up to great heights to
วัดมหาธาตุ ท่าพระจันทร์ สนามหลวง
catch a bag of gold coins in their teeth during annual harvest ceremonies, sits out front.
Arun Pier | 02-465-5640 www.watarun.org | 8 am – 5 pm | B 20
WAT RATCHANATDA [map 7/K8]
วัดสุทัศน์ ถ.บำ�รุงเมือง พระนคร ตรงข้ามเสา ชิงช้า
Across the river from Wat Po is Wat Arun,
Mahachai Rd | 02-224-8807
or the Temple of the Dawn, one of the city’s
9 am – 5 pm | free
most important religious sites. Before being
This striking temple on the corner of
moved to Wat Phra Kaew, the Emerald
Ratchadamnoen and Mahachai Road
661 Mittaphap Thai-China Rd, Charoen
Buddha was temporarily housed here. The
features the bizarre Loha Prasat, a multi-
Krung Rd | 02-623-1226 | 8 am – 5 pm | B 20
five-towered structure is covered in colourful
tiered castle-like structure with 36 steel
Housed safely in this unassuming Chinatown
porcelain and designed as a representation
spires. Climb the spiral staircase to the top
temple is the world’s largest solid gold
of the Khmer home of the gods.
for good views of the Old City and its many
Buddha. Its worth has been estimated at
วัดอรุณราชวราราม ถ.อรุณอัมรินทร์ ผั่งตะวันตกของแม่น้ำ�เจ้าพระยา
over US$10 million.
วัดราชนัดดา ถ.มหาชัย พระนคร
วัดไตรมิตร หัวลำ�โพง (เยาวราช)
WAT TRAIMIT [map 6/L3]
A P RIL 2 0 1 3 | 2 7
museums – in town
Madame tussauds [map 4/C4] 6 F, Siam Discovery Center th
BANGKOK DOLL MUSEUM [map 8/L11, 12]
Museum of Siam [map 7/D13] 4 Samachai Rd | Rajini Pier
Rama 1, Phaya Thai Rd
02-622-2599 | www.ndmi.or.th
BTS National Stadium | 02-658-0060
Tue – Sun 10 am – 6 pm | free
85 Soi Ratchataphan (Soi Mo Leng),
A truncated history of Thailand unfurls
10 am – 9 pm | B 800 / B 600 kids /
through this down-with-the-kids discovery
02-245-3008 | www.bangkokdolls.com
15 % discount for online
museum, located in a beautifully restored
Mon – Sat 8 am – 5 pm | free
Probably the best thing about Bangkok’s
former government building that dates back
Since opening in 1956 the Bangkok Doll
version of Europe's famous waxwork
to the 1920s. Design company Story Inc!
Museum has continually attracted tourists,
museum is the line-up – it’s clearly designed
delivered the conceptual design, replacing
students and aficionados alike with its
to keep tourists and locals alike snappy
the usual ‘don’t touch’ signs and dreary text
remarkable collection of hand-made Thai
happy. About as common as international
with pop graphics and interactive games
dolls. Founded by Khunying Tongkorn
sporting legends, world leaders in sharp
galore. Entertaining highlights include
Chandavimol after she completed a doll
suits, pouting Hollywood A-listers, and
dressing up as a 20th century nobleman, blowing up Burmese soldiers on elephant-
making course in Japan, it showcases
sequined global pop stars here are wax
collections of dolls produced by a small team
likenesses of Thai and regional musicians,
back with a canon (a bit tasteless that one),
of artisans in the atelier out back, and clad in
soap stars, sportsmen and women.
and mapping out the borders of your own
traditional costumes based on designs lifted
มาดามทุซโซ สยามดิสคัฟเวอรี่ ชั้น 6
from museum originals, temple murals and illustrations from antique books.
MUSEUM OF COUNTERFEIT GOODS [MAP 2/E12] 26th F, Supalai Grand Tower Bldg
bangkokian MUSEUM [MAP 5/E3]
Siam using a touch screen.
พิพิธภัณฑ์การเรียนรู้แห่งชาติ ถ.สนามไชย THE NATIONAL MUSEUM [map 7/C6] 5 Chao Fa Rd, Sanam Luang
Rama III Rd | BTS Surasak | 02-653-5555
02-224-1333 | www.thailandmuseum.com
273 Charoen Krung Soi 43,
Wed – Sun 9 am – 4 pm | B 200 | no photo
Si Phraya Pier | 02-233-7027
Mon – Fri 10 am – 4 pm / App. required
Previously a palace during the reign of
Sat & Sun 10 am – 4 pm | free
for textile and computer collections
Rama V, the National Museum features
Smack in the middle of Bangrak, one of the
In 1989, Thailand’s oldest international law
extensive displays of Thai artifacts from
most traditional districts of the city, find this
firm, Tilleke & Gibbins, decided to convert
all of Old Siam's main historical periods,
oasis of four traditional Thai houses, one
their evidence of counterfeit goods into
encompassing the Lanna, Ayutthaya and
of them lovingly converted into a private
educational tools for law students. To help
Sukhothai kingdoms up to the present
museum by the compound’s charming
spread the word about the perils of buying
day. Thai culture is well documented in
owner, Ms Waraporn Surawadee. She
fake it's open to Joe Public too. Over 3,500
sections on dance, music and drama. The
decided to dedicate the place to the
items – from Ferrero Rocher chocolates
first example of Thai literature and the Thai
memory of her family and bygone daily
to antimalarial tablets and a fake Ferrari
alphabet, inscribed by King Ramkhamhaeng
life of Bangkok everymen – and open it to
motorbike – are neatly laid out, forgeries next
on a black stone during the Sukhothai
the public. While visitors shouldn’t expect
to the originals. While its well off-the-beaten
period, is also displayed. Free tours by the
breathtaking revelations here, the displays
track location means it doesn't see too many
Natonal Museum Volunteers group are given
are nevertheless surprisingly fascinating.
in English, French, German and Japanese.
They include antiques and ceremonial items.
พิพิธภัณฑ์สินค้าปลอมและเลียนแบบ ถ.พระราม 3
พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติ ถ.เจ้าฟ้า ใกล้ท้องสนามหลวง
พิพิธภัณฑ์ชาวบางกอก ถ.เจริญกรุง 43 2 8 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
RATTANAKOSIN EXHIBITION HALL [map 7/K7]
SIRIRAJ MEDICAL MUSEUM [map 7/A7]
out of town
100 Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd,
Siriraj Hospital | 2 Prannok Rd
next to Wat Ratchanatda | 02-621-0044
Thonburi Railway Pier
ANCIENT SIAM (MUANG BORAN) [map 1/F6]
02-419-7000-6363 | www.si.mahidol.ac.th
296/1 Sukhumvit Rd
Tue – Fri 11 am – 8 pm;
Mon – Sat 9 am – 4 pm | B 40
Samut Prakan province | 02-709-1644
Sat, Sun & Holidays 10 am – 8 pm | B100
Located on the west bank of the river, in
This multimedia museum a short walk from
Thailand’s oldest and most prestigious
B 500 / B 250 kids / B1,500 private guide
Khao San Road offers a skillfully abbreviated
hospital, the Siriraj Medical Museum is
in English for 2 hours
introduction to an area that many admire, but
chiefly an educational facility where trainee
Samut Prakan province’s Ancient Siam
few truly understand: Rattanakosin Island,
medical students come to take notes and
crams reproductions of over a hundred of
harden their stomachs. However, fans of
the Kingdom’s most venerable palaces,
birthplace. Wandering its eleven rooms –
the macabre can also pay a visit. Of its
temples, stupas, stone sanctuaries and
free of relics but rich in models, dioramas,
many chilling displays, far and away the
traditional houses into a huge map-of-Siam
interactive videos, text and audio clips in
most famous is the crisped cadaver of Si
shaped plot of land only an hour’s drive
Thai and English – brings the area’s hard-
Ouey, Thailand’s notorious child killer, stood
from the capital. Don’t come expecting a
to-fathom history, arts, communities,
in a phone booth. Other stomach-churning
tacky themepark. Its late founder, eccentric
architecture and traditions into much clearer
exhibits include the mummified remains
culture preservationist Prapai Viriyahbhun,
focus. One highlight is the room showcasing
of murder victims, and deformed human
demanded that every replica look and feel
Thai performing arts; another sheds light
foetuses embalmed in formaldehyde. Best
like the real thing.
on the trade specialities of local shophouse
come before lunch, just to err on the safe
THAI FILM MUSEUM [MAP 1/E5] 94 Moo 3 Bhuddhamonton Sai 5, Salaya
ROYAL BARGE MUSEUM [map 7/B4]
Nakorn Pathom province
80/1 Rim Khlong Bangkok Noi,
YAOWARAT CHINATOWN HERITAGE CENTRE [map 6/L3]
Arun Amarin Rd | Thonburi Railway Pier
Wat Traimit, 661 Mittaphap Thai-China
Sat & Sun tours: 10 am, noon, 3 pm;
Rd, Charoen Krung Rd |MRT Hua Lamphong
Mon – Fri: by appointment | Free
B 30 / B100 photo / B 200 video
| 02-225-9775 |Tue – Sun 8 am – 4:30 pm |
The good folk at the National Film Archive
This collection of ornate royal barges,
B100 / B140 incl. visit to the Golden Buddha
of Thailand are fighting to preserve the
some of which are up to 50 metres long,
For Bangkok’s Thai-Chinese the story of
country’s meagre film heritage, whether it
is housed on the Thonburi side of the river
how their forefathers fled here on leaking
be by restoring ragged reels of 16mm film to
in a series of elaborate sheds near the
junk ships and rose to become an affluent
their former glory, screening rare films in its
Pinklao Bridge. The barges are best seen
and fully integrated force in Thai society is
cinematheque, or guiding anyone interested
in action during rare ceremonial processions
likely familiar, having been drip-fed to them
around their museum. Film fiends will love
on the Chao Phraya where the colourful
over the years by their elders. But for the rest
inching around this space, modelled after the
crews can number up to 64, including
of us, the Chinatown Heritage Centre is the
old Sri Krung film studio and filled with old
rowers, umbrella holders, navigators and
next best thing.
cameras, projectors, props, costumes.
พิพิธภัณฑ์ภาพยนตร์ไทย ถ.พุทธมนฑล สาย 5
02-424-0004 | 9 am – 5:00 pm
www.nfat.org | 02-482-2013-15
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songkran festival 30 | april 2013
or those who aren’t already familiar with the Songkran festival of Thailand, this yearly festivity is something you don’t want to miss. Starting on 13th and running until the 15th, Songkran is a riotous celebration of the beginning of a Thai New Year. Songkran is world’ famous because of the allpervasive water fights that accompany it. Imagine the whole country is involve in one big water war, with dancing people on the streets, loud music, parade cars and more. No matter where you are or where you go, prepare to get wet and have lots of fun. For the diehard Songkran addict out there, make sure to check out the Songkran festival schedule in the other parts of the country at songkran.tourismthailand.org. On the website you can find the exact dates of the festival in each part of the country, so you can plan where to go and where to celebrate Songkran if three days aren’t enough for you.
Photo: julian ward
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April 5 Nikki Beach White Party Koh Samui’s Nikki Beach – apparently one of the world’s sexiest beach bars – will celebrate its third birthday with a ‘white-out experience’: a night featuring a display by the Miami Energy dancers, a firework show over the crystalline waters off Lipa Noi Beach, breathtaking musical entertainment and a line-up of hot DJs who will rock the party until the small hours. See www.nikkibeachthailand.com.
April 1-7 Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung Festival At dusk between these dates crowds will gaze in awe at an astounding astro-archeological event: sunlight beaming through the doors of Buriram provinces’s ancient Khmer temple, Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung, and onto a revered stone hidden deep in its main sanctuary. Marking this auspicious celestial phenomenon will be an invocation ritual known as buang suang, light and sound shows, and cultural performances.
April 3-5 Poi Sang Long For three days the sleepy provincial town of Mae Hong Son hosts a colourful Burmese Shan tradition where young boys aged between 7 and 14 are ordained as novice Buddhist monks. On day one, the boys have their heads shaved and are carried through the streets on the shoulders of male villagers. The second day features a riotous parade and spontaneous celebrations, and on the third day, the boys are given their first robes, formally ordained and served a huge feast.
April 6-7 Si Satchanalai Ordination Procession Mae Hong Song isn’t the only province where young novice monks clad in elaborate costumes will be paraded through the streets this month. A similar mass-ordination ceremony will also take place in Sukothai’s Si Satchanalai district, only here they are transported on the backs of beautifully attired elephants. The tribal tradition, which dates back 150 years, finishes up at Ban Haat Siao village’s main temple, where a pho thao (village elder) helps the novices dismount and leads them to worship. Call 05-561-1196 for more information. 32 | a pr il 2013
April 13-15 Songkran Festival Variations on the biggest festival on the calendar, Thailand’s wet and wild New Year celebrations, will grip all four corners of the Kingdom from the weekend, and beyond in many places. The full list is extensive but famous celebrations include those in the ancient former capital, Sukhothai (13-15), Pattaya (where they don’t get going until the 18th), and up in Chiang Mai (12-15), some of the parties make Bangkok look subdued. See www. songkran.tourismthailand.org.
April 21 Koh Samui Triathlon If breaking a sweat doesn’t scare you off, then cycle, run and swim through the exotic environment of Koh Samui in the 2013 Samui Triathlon. The Samui Triathlon was staged for the first time last year and its success has led to this encore. You can compete for cash prizes and relax on the sunny beaches of Koh Samui afterwards. You can find more information on the route, registration, rules, reservation and more at www.triathlonsamui. com. Last registration and payment date is on April 15.
Until April 30 3rd International Samui Fine Dining Festival As far as holiday destinations go, Koh Samui is one of the top dogs when it comes to fine dining. This two-month festival is a chance for the foodies among you to try sixteen of the island’s best restaurants, as each one is serving a special six-course menu that shows off their cooking chops. Menus are price from B1,900-4,900, with no hidden extras. See www. samuifinediningfestival for the line-up, menus and booking info.
April 1-May 30 Butterfly Watching Festival Pang Sida National Park Observe more than 400 types of butterflies in the Pang Sida National Park of the Sa Kaeo Province. Buy products from different districts at the OTOP market in the city, watch a butterfly parade and butterfly exhibition, with live music, dance, folk sports and more. For more information contact the Pang Sida National Park Office, call; 037-246100.
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hotel deals Weekend Special Rates at Cape Panwa Hotel
Until Oct 31
Cape Panwa Hotel 27, 27/2, Moo 8, Sakdidej Road, Cape Panwa, Phuket 83000, Thailand | 076-3911235 | www.capepanwa.com
The perfect secluded beach, surrounded by soft white sand, turquoise-coloured ocean, green hills and tall trees, is a truly inspiring and idealistic location for your rewarding family weekend. Check in over the weekend and stay in the comfortable, luxurious suite at the Cape Panwa Hotel to get the special discount, starting at B3,500 a night. Experience the real paradise on Earth.
Songkran Survival Kit Package
Centara Hotel and Resort Centara Head Office, 999/99, Rama 1 Rd., Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 | 02-1011234 | www.centarahotelsresorts.com/songkran When it comes to water and talcum powder, the Thai New Year Water Festival is not short of either. Survive and enjoy through this exuberant festival by staying at the selected Centara Hotels and Resorts. Stay two nights or more and get geared up with breakfast for two, water shooters, laundry credit and waterproof covers by booking the Songkran package.
Until May 15
Family Beachfront Fun Package Hotel de la Paix Cha Am Beach 115, Moo 7, Tambol Bangkao, Amphur Cha Am, Phetchaburi 76120 | 032-709555 | www.hoteldelapaixhh.com
The breathtaking view of the rising sun from Hotel de la Paix Cha Am Beach is paralleled by few. Enjoy the nostalgic and charming ambience of Cha Am with your loved ones, while staying at the hotel. Spend quality time in the spacious, contemporary Horizon Studio for two nights and enjoy various exciting activities and exquisite cuisine included in the package, starting at B12,500.
Intimate Indulgence Package Hansar Samui Hotel 101/28, Moo 1, Bophut Koh Samui, Koh Samui Island, Suratthani 84320 | 077-245511 | email@example.com
Indulge your loved ones for three days with this romantic package at the Hansar Samui Hotel. Pamper your partner with a private massage course and delightful brunch in bed, replete with butler services. If this isnâ€™t gratifying enough, the package includes convenient private airport transfers, la carte breakfast, nightly turn down treats, and more. From B25,300-B37,800.
Until Sep 30
Award-Winning Resident Health Retreat Chiva-Som International Health Resort 73/4 Petchkasem Rd., Hua Hin, Prachuab Khirikan, 77110 Hua Hin | 032-536536 | www.chivasom.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay at least two nights and regain your wellbeing at the award-winning Chiva-Som. The annual health package starts at B10,400 per person per night. The retreat includes daily spas and meals, massages, wellness consultations, physical and skin analysis, fitness and leisure activities plus unlimited use of the Water Therapy Suites.
Summer Gate Way and School Holiday Package U Inchatree Kanchanaburi 443 Mae Nam Kwai Rd., Thamakham Sub-district, Muang Kanchanaburi | 034-521584 | www.ukanchanaburi.com | email@example.com
Celebrate your summer holidays relaxing, cycling, kayaking or walking along the delightful ambience of the historical River Kwai. The rustically styled U Inchatree Kanchanaburi is offering an attractive package starting at B2,500 for breakfast for two and a 20 percent discount at the Pepper Restaurant. 34 | april 2013
Method of Payment Please send subscription form & payment slip: Via mail : Talisman Media Group Co.,Ltd. 113 Soi Tonson, Ploenchit Rd, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand Tel : 02-252-3900 Via fax : 02-650-4557 Via email : firstname.lastname@example.org
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discovery 36 | a pril 2013
It’s easy to idle away your days in the resorts of koh chang but there’s plenty on offer for those who make the effort to strike out on their own and explore the island’s hidden corners by Merritt Gurley
y the fourth day at the beachfront resort on Koh Chang I start to wonder what the pool-side lounge chairs are made of. It must be either quicksand or fly paper because I cannot tear myself off the damn things, despite being on an island with arguably the best beaches in Thailand, instead spending all day at a poolside bar, sipping umbrella drinks and practising my back float, which is akin to the backstroke but requires even less energy. Koh Chang means ‘Elephant Island’ in Thai, a nod to the shape of its headland. The west side of this verdant jungle-clad isle is spotted with resorts that the ‘fly and lie’ tourists, who enjoy jetting to places in search of nice spots to lie down, love. But after a few days the world beyond my maze of perfectly fluffed pillows and terry cloth robes begins to beckon. It’s a classic case of resort fatigue, casting doubt on the saying that ‘you can’t have too much a good thing’. I decide right then and there to put down my pina colada and actually explore the third largest island in Thailand. OK – I finish the pina colada and then spend two more days at the resort doing nothing but then snap boldly into action. I rent a motorbike from the hotel, for B200 a day, and embarked on my journey to see the more uncharted Koh Chang. The island is approximately 270km² in total, home to seven different villages, all connected by a horseshoe-shaped road that twists and undulates its way down the east and west coast. My first stop takes me almost as far south on the west side as you can go, to the fishing harbour of Bang Bao. Bang Bao is essentially one long covered pier, lined on either side with rickety floating guesthouses and restaurants, and with a pretty white lighthouse thrusting above the bay at its far end. Along the narrow enclosed walkway, shops hawk their wooden puppets, miniature elephant statuettes and other tourists-snaring bobbles. The view over the water is stunning, and there are a daunting number of options for fresh seafood, making it a choice spot for a sunset dinner of grilled shrimp, fish, crab or lobster. For guests looking to stay a while, there is plenty of affordable and clean accommodation on the pier: Flower House, Chowlay, Boo Guest House, Buddha View, to name a few, with rates hovering around B1000 per night. My pick, Chowlay, offers a wide view of the peninsula, hot showers, wi-fi, queen-sized beds, a book library and two-person wooden swings secured along the deck, overlooking the water. Internet cafes and massage parlours are also available on the all-purpose walkway, so you really never have to venture past the boundaries of the Bang Bao boardwalk (conjuring the spectre of ‘boardwalk fatigue’!). I decide to get out of there before I become hooked. Bang
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Bao has whet my appetite for the fishing village aesthetic, so I cross over to the east side of the island to check out Salak Phet, on Salak Phet Bay. I am immediately struck by the lack of tourists. It could be a different country than the resort-lined Klong Prao beach where I began. The shore is dotted with mangroves but there is no beach. Houses perch above the sea on stilts. A row of wiry middle-aged men hunch over the dock, squatting as they fuss with their fishing line, in an effort to achieve just the right slack to fool the fish into biting. Others nap beneath the shade of the houses and older women, dressed just in the traditional Thai sarongs wrapped like bath towels across their chests, bustle about hanging laundry up to dry. Nobody offers to give me a henna tattoo, sell me a laser pointer, or give me a foot scrub. Nobody takes much notice of me at all. It’s refreshing. This window into more authentic, less-contrived Thai island life is worth a night’s stay but in the off-season the upkeep is slack, so there is definitely the feeling of roughing it. It becomes a ghost town – empty streets, run-down restaurants, a volleyball net untied from its posts, whistling as it flaps in the breeze. Salak Phet Seafood and Resort (03- 955-3099, www.kohchangsalakphet.com) is the most upscale place to stay in the area, with 25 rooms available, ranging in price from B1100 to B4250 depending on the quality of the room and the season. Ivory Resort, Urai’s Place and the Saengsawang Homestay are smaller, more boutique options offering rooms at lower rates. 38 | april 2013
Koh Chang has a lot more to offer than just lounge chairs, and it requires an effort to get out into the thick of it to start uncovering all the odd and interesting activities the island has on hand. Playing with elephants, chucking hand grenades, shooting guns – both real and paintball, practising my golf swing at the driving range, talking a local into showing me his fishing tricks, eating the biggest shrimp I’ve ever seen, rope swinging on an empty beach; all this goes down within one action-packed day of driving around Koh Chang. Imagine what you could do with a week.
The Dewa (24/1 Klong Prao Beach, 039-557-339, www.thedewakohchang.com) is an off-beat fourstar option. Made entirely of natural materials, including thatched roofs and naked cement finished architecture, the resort has an earthy and rustic feel. The 40 deluxe rooms and 19 private beach villas all have views to the sea, but with varying levels of access. The deluxe rooms are laid out in a connected circular network and the fabulous threetiered bathroom with over-sized tub accounting for the rest. The extra long pool, with spraying fountains and a classic Thai not-tub – it does everything a hot tub does with the exception of getting hot – offers a refreshing reprieve from the raw bake of the Koh Chang sun. bangkok101.com
TA N ATC H A I
Go, Said the Bird 7 March - 28
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over the border
city By Dave Stamboulis
40 | april 2013
uala Lumpur doesn’t get a great deal of positive press. It’s not quite as glitzy or vibrant as Singapore or Bangkok, more like the rather plain sister who gets passed over at the dance. However, the city does have several interesting and off-the-beaten-path sights and attractions, plus a few more notable ones, and with all its modern conveniences and excellent transportation system, is an enjoyable spot to pass a weekend. Most visitors begin their journey to KL with a trip to Merdeka Square, the site of Malaysia’s celebration of independence in 1957, where one of the world’s largest flagpoles commemorates freedom from British rule. This area is full of historical buildings and period architecture, such as the Mogul-style Sultan Abdul Samad Building, now home to the Ministry of Arts and Culture and one of KL’s major landmarks. There is also the Tudor-style Royal Selangor Club, and the old Railway Heritage Building that is now the National Textile Museum. All of these sights, along with the stylish Masjid Jamek, are located at the junction of the Klang and Gambok rivers, an extremely picturesque spot with sprawling trees and green space along the river banks fronting majestic colonial homes and buildings considered the true heart of the city. To take a break from the heat of the day in this neighbourhood, and experience a bit of Kuala Lumpur from its past, wander into Sing Seng Nam, a traditional coffee house from the early 1900s, where British businessmen and lawyers once convened among the marble table tops and wood shuttered windows to talk business. These days, Malay lawyers from the nearby courts continue the tradition, sipping the restaurant’s strong and sweet kopi peng (iced coffee) while digging into some of the best Hainanese chicken rice in town. Lunch hour sees Sing Seng Nam at its most vibrant and most of its food is gone by 2pm. For something completely unique, pay a visit to the headquarters of Malaysia Airlines, where members of the public can now have a go on the company’s flight simulator, reserved until recently for trainee pilots. While it isn’t cheap, the inside of the simulators are identical to a cockpit, with all of the appropriate buttons, levers, and display units, and a series of computer commands allows one to take off or land in any kind of weather conditions at any commercial airport in the world. Getting back to the tourist trail, no visit to Kuala Lumpur would be complete without a sojourn to the Petronas Towers. The famed 88-storey dual towers, one of the world’s tallest structures, standing 452m, are connected by a Skybridge on the 41st floor, and are KL’s most recognised landmark. Designed by the architect Caesar Pelli, the towers are based on simple Islamic geometric forms and are supposed to reflect the Islamic principles of unity, harmony, stability, and rationality. Nearby, the aptly named Lookout Point offers some outdoor dining options with great vistas of the metropolis and surroundings. Located in Ampang city some 15km from K, Lookout Point sits atop Bukit Belacan Hill, which boasts unparalleled views of the metropolitan skyline. Several restaurants, including Gasoline Cafe, the
Haven, LOP Western Food, and Panorama offer a variety of different cuisines and al fresco settings from which to take in the vistas. Weekends get pretty crowded and the best time to go is right after a big rain, when the haze that covers the city is washed away. At night, you can wandering around the bustling Bukit Bintang club and pub area but there is a quirky alternative. In the Shah Alam district of Selangor, you can gaze at one truly weird exhibit: thousands of coloured LED lights scattered throughout the fake trees and sculptures that are part of this futuristic park. It may sound schmaltzy but it’s actually pretty spectacular. Back downtown, if you are looking for something a little more serious and artistic, the Islamic Arts Museum of Malaysia is well worth a stopover. Housed amid the leafy Lake Gardens, the four-storey museum is Southeast Asia’s largest Islamic arts gallery, and is filled with over 7,000 artefacts, including a fascinating display of colourful Korans and other Islamic books from various periods. Most visitors tend to be enthralled by the model room, which features full-scale model replicas of all of the major Islamic mosques and holy sites in the world, including a large model of the impressive Majid al-Haram in Mecca. At the other end of the spectrum, the jewellery hall holds some of the world’s tiniest pieces, plus other rare items such as Turkmeni headdresses or gold Iranian anklets.
Located just 28 minutes from KL’s international air terminal, Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur offers five-star comfort and class. Set in the heart of the KL Sentral district, the hotel has won awards for its buffet dining.
Lookout Point Several restaurants set at 280 metres above sea level overlooking all of KL. About a 30-minute drive from downtown.
Petronas Towers Tue-Sun 8am-7pm | Fri closed for prayer from 1-2:30pm Tickets range from 10RM for a basic Skybridge visit to 350 RM for a dinner package at the Petroleum Club. april 2013 | 41
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nang songkran 2013 Ardel Gallery of Modern Art 42 | april 2013
Arts & Culture When it comes to home-grown art, the biggest show this month is [Montien Boonma]: Unbuilt/Rare Works, a collaborative exhibition by the Thai Art Archives, the Jim Thompson Art Centre and the estate of the influential late artist, who died of cancer at 47. Exact details are not yet confirmed but the show will apparently feature over sixty of his never seen or exhibited drawings, which were recently rediscovered with the assistance of his son, Jumpon ‘Bank’ Boonma. We’ll be covering this important show, which kicks off April 11 and will run until the end of July at the Jim Thompson Art Centre, in full next month. Elsewhere, there’s another big exhibition featuring the work of an internationally acclaimed talent who died tragically young over at WTF Gallery. Tim Hetherington: Infidel is a posthumous display of the late photojournalist’s war photography, along with video installations. Chris Wise, a close friend of Tim’s who had initially planned to do the show together with him, is interviewed on p48. On the design front, the Thailand Creative & Design Centre on the top floor of Emporium shopping mall is staging a show that explores the background behind one of Japan’s best high-speed rail networks in the run up Thailand embarking on a similar path. Designing a Happy Journey: Reviving Kyushu through creativity runs until May 26. If none of those take your fancy, see overleaf for more exhibition ideas or pickup a copy of our free sister publication BAM, or the Bangkok Art Map.
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l’appart [MAP 4/J8] Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, 189 Sukhumvit Road, Soi 13-15 02-1269999| 18.30 pm-20.30 pm | www.Sofitel.com | BTS Asok
Until April 10 Lining the walls of the hotel’s rooftop bar restaurant, this travelling photo exhibition by Henry-Jean Servat tells the story of Brigitte Bardot, the legendary French actress who ranks among the most photographed women in the world. Stunning photos spanning the blond bombshell’s career are paired with the anecdotes behind them.
Tang Contemporary Art [MAP 5/D5] F5, Silom Galleria, 919/3 Soi 19 Silom Rd | 02-630-1114 Mon-Sat 11am-7pm | www.tangcontemporary.com | BTS Surasak
Until April 20 For its first show since relocating, Tang is hosting works by emerging Chiang-Mai artist Chatchai Suphin. Employing acrylic and oil on canvas and readymade objects such as a dartboard, Chatchai constructs a curious layering of symbolic imagery that combines Braille written poetry with celestial bodies, cosmological diagrams, traditional Japanese woodblock imagery and Chinese watercolours.
nang songkran 2013
Ardel Gallery of Modern Art [MAP 2/B8] 99/45 Belle Ville, Boromratchonnanee Rd (Km 10.5) | 02-422-2092 | Tue-Sat 10:30am-7pm, Sun 10:30am-5:30pm | www.ardelgallery.com
Until April 28 Ethereal paintings of Songkran (Thai New Year) goddesses by Sompop Budtarad, one of Thailand’s most prominent traditional-style artists. Coinciding with the festival, the display of semi-nude paintings could be seen as an attempt to reignite debate about the history of nudity in Thai culture, a debate that arose a couple of years ago when female revelers danced topless in the streets and were severely reprimanded.
44 | april 2013
338 Oida Gallery [MAP 8/M17] 4F 1028/5 Pongamorn Building, Rama 4 Road, Sathorn 090-198-8749 Wed-Sun 1-5pm and by appointment | MRT Lumpini
Until April 28 Recognised for his film, photography and video installations, Tanatchai Bandasak brings a highly personal interpretation to the incidental and transitory encounters that are a regular part of daily life. Orginally from Udon Thani and having graduated from the Ecole Nationale Suprieure Dâ€™ARTS in France, Tanatchai curious perspectives encourages us to discover new meanings within the familiar.
GALERIE N [MAP 8/L15] 139/5 Wireless Rd | 02-252-1592 Tue-Sun 10am- 7pm | www. galerienbangkok.com | MRT Lumphini
Until April 30 Love is in the air at Galerie N, or rather the scent of it. Works by eleven established and emerging artists explore the way in which our bodies aroma, or musk, helps attract the opposite sex.
Raj Loesuang and The Boy Somboon Hormtienthong Bangkok Art and Culture Centre [MAP 4/b4] 939 Rama 1 Road, Wangmai | 085-482-3566 Tues-Sun 10am-9pm | bacc.or.th | HRT Hualamphong
Until May 12 One of Thailandâ€™s most famous artists, Somboon Hormtientong is back with a show that is more than your average retrospective. Featuring over 400 drawings, paintings, sculptures and installation art, the exhibition juxtaposes new black and white abstracts with new comic book drawings by his childhood inspiration, Raj Loesuang.
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Tim Hetherington T
im Hetherington was one of the world’s leading photojournalists and filmmakers at the time of his untimely death while covering the 2011 civil war in Libya. But for Chris Wise, one of the coowners of Sukhumvit Soi 51’s WTF Bar and Gallery, he was also a close friend that he knew from his days back in New York. In the run up to the opening of Tim Hetherington: Infidel, an exhibition of images from Tim’s book Infidel that they had originally planned to do together, he spoke candidly to us about their relationship, his friend’s legacy and how the show had to go on “no matter what.”
How did you know Tim? Tim and I met in New York in 1999 just as we were both embarking on photography as new careers. I had been a graphic designer and Tim came from book publishing. From our first meeting we realised we had a lot in common, not just being photographers, but in terms of our thoughts about photography, travel and world views. We stayed in touch and became close friends until his death. What did you have planned for the original show and when were you planning to have it? Tim was planning a show of images from his book Infidel at HOST/Foto8 gallery in London with his friend Jon Levy and we both thought it would be great to install a version of it at WTF. My wife and I knew it would be a fantastic 46 | april 2013
show, but also wanted an excuse to drag Tim out to Thailand, a place he loved to hang out, so he could relax after months spent promoting his film Restrepo. It was originally scheduled for November 2010, but after the Academy Award nomination that became impossible so we rescheduled it for November 2011, after he would have returned from Libya. How does this version of the show differ? It is fairly close to what he installed at HOST in London, but all the adjustments and improvisation we had discussed are left to me alone without his collaboration. Was it difficult to get off the ground? It was hard to restart as his parents, obviously devastated, bangkok101.com
were bombarded by requests for interviews and trying to determine how to be sure Tim’s work would continue to be seen. Eventually, the agency Magnum was granted the rights to sell Tim’s images for licensing and Yossi Milo for fine art prints. Once that had been settled, I flew to London and spoke with his parents and trustees and we were given permission. Restrepo captured the banality and humour of war as well as the action. Will the show capture this, and if so how? The show is a look at the humanity of young men asked to go to war, rather than the inhumanity of war. It attempts to show the person within the uniform and under the gear through portraits, details and domestic scenes. Tim apparently believed that one of the exhibition’s video installations, Sleeping Soldiers, was the closest he’d come to expressing what it’s like to be in a war situation. How does it achieve this? The installation creates a chaotic dream state of sounds and images where nothing is completely clear or understandable. What does another film in the show, called Diary, reveal about Tim? It shows the bruises a person’s psyche suffers from traveling between the extreme settings of violence and calm and between the privileges of the first world to the struggles of the developing world. What is your own take on Tim’s style of photojournalism? Tim did not see himself as a journalist which might be why he was not constrained by the limits of focusing just on the bangkok101.com
story at hand. He loved big, complex ideas that could connect diffuse concepts and he loved making beautiful images, still or moving, that would convey these grand ideas. “Direct, open and charming” was how filmmaker Sebastian Junger described Tim. How would you describe him? A few friends and I said he had a face like a horse and was the size of a water buffalo, so we were a bit incredulous that he was made into action hero after his death. He had a great sense of humour and a warm enveloping laugh and could be a complete clown, yet also had a system of selfcontrol and motivation about his work and creativity that was remarkably intense. He was a wonderful friend. After his death, a town square in Ajdabiya, Libya was renamed Tim Hetherington Square by antiQaddafi rebels. Is the exhibition your own kind of tribute to Tim? A few times I almost gave up trying to put on the show more from feeling it would be as pointless as his death. However, he and I had a few conversations about friendship and what that means and in recalling them I knew I had to complete the exhibition no matter what.
tim hetherington: infidel April 4-June 2 WTF bar & Gallery
7 Sukhumvit Soi 51, Thong Lor | 02-662-6246 | Tuesday-Sunday until 10pm | www.wtfbangkok.com a pril 2013 | 47
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WORLD’S A STAGE Self-taught painter Atipong Padanupong reminds his audience
that life is a play in his first solo show. Words by Siriwat Pokrajen
he name Atipong Padanupong might be as unfamiliar as the subject of his own paintings in the Thai art scene, but what a nice debut for the photographer and self-taught artist to have his first solo exhibition at the Serindia Gallery, a unique space that is tied to a publishing house and enjoys quite a classy following. With a degree in communication art and a background in illustration, it seems Padanupong has made a smooth transition into a very promising painter. On display until April 30, The Player features a series 48 | april 2013
of paintings depicting khon sod along with behind-thescenes photographs of khon sod troupes the artist has been captivated by. “I first saw a khon sod performance at Wat Rai Khing during the Songkran Festival back in 2009 in Nakhon Pathom,” said Padanupong about his first encounter with this rarely-seen form of performing arts. “I was out taking black-and-white pictures at the temple and came across their show. The performers invited me to the side of the stage. I was very interested. bangkok101.com
The performance was different from the khon I knew.” Found in central Thailand, khon sod is a form of khon, the Thai classical masked dance, combined with likay and chatree theatre as well as nang talung shadow puppetry. Just like khon, khon sod performs the story of Ramakien (or Ramayana) and performers wear khon masks and costumes. However, much like likay and chatree, the performers speak and sing. They also add in contemporary (sometimes racy) jokes for more everyday entertainment. Inspired by the Ramakien epic, the elaborate masks and the comical presentation, the artist began to make cartoon-like drawings, something he’s familiar with as an illustrator, before creating more serious sketches and turning one into an oil painting. Considering he’s never had proper training in painting, Padanupong was surprised to receive an offer for a solo show after having approached Serindia Gallery with only that one complete artwork. Padanupong’s first series of oil paintings consists of only six works, each one titled after the character it depicts. Influenced by Thai traditional painting and pop surrealism, the paintings capture scenes the way they can be witnessed and further imagined by members of the audience. Unless you’re a Ramakien expert, you should bangkok101.com
pick up the reading material in order to fully enjoy the playfulness that pervades the artist’s fine brushstrokes. The idea about life as a play and people putting on masks can be found in various cultures and languages. However, Padanupong said he simply had fun imagining and depicting characters with an emotionless facial expression as if they weren’t swayed by things they’re saying, which are usually full of sound and fury. “We have this saying about people wearing khon masks” he said. “We all have a role to play and each role is dictated by the person’s function or position in society. I’d like to think that underneath a mask, there’s a decent person inside no matter what role we are given to play.”
the player until april 30 Serindia Gallery [MAP 5/B4] OP Garden, Unit 3101, 3201, 4-6 Soi 36 Charoen Krung Rd Tue-Sun 11am-8pm | 02-238-6410 | www.serindiagallery.com april 2013 | 49
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reading & screening
Bangkok’s Top 50 Street Food Stalls By Chawadee Nualkhair
If you’ve been admiring Bangkok’s sidewalk kitchens from afar, but not had the confidence to approach one, pick up a copy of this handy little guide. In it self-titled Bangkok glutton Chawadee Nualkhair whittles down the capital’s roughly half a million food stalls down to, erm, fifty. Though that’s absurd, she has chosen wisely, picking only hygienic stalls that offer something special in the best-known streetfood areas. However, what really condemns this book to a life of tom-yum-splattered servitude is its overview of the different types of noodles, rice-based dishes, desserts and beverages. All are clearly decoded, illustrated and listed with Thai script – neat. We’re also fans of the maps, the blank pages, so you can jot down your favourites, and Chawadee’s fluff-free prose: “Restrooms: yes, squat toilet, bring your own toilet paper”, etc.
Buddhist Murals of Northeast Thailand
By Bonnie Pacala Brereton & Somray Yencheuy | Mekong Press Books on Thai murals have tended to focus on those commissioned by the elite, namely those in Bangkok’s temples. Until now, that is. This glossy volume casts its gaze on the more democratic, funloving and pastoral murals that encircle the sim, or ordination halls, of temples up in the northeast, Isaan. Honing in on temples in Khon Kaen, Kalasin and Roi Et, it’s an accessible primer to this unsung subschool of Thai painting, with chapters on everything from the Buddhist and folk tales told, to how to ‘read’ them. The authors also draw intriguing links between them and the pha pha wet, or horizontal cloths, paraded at Isaan festivals. Full-colour close-ups of often bawdy scenes, which were painted using natural dyestuffs on a pale cream background.
Confluence: the Indian by Nature Cookbook Av Khanijou | Pen to Pixel
Indian by Nature is a Pattaya-based restaurant that prides itself on serving authentic north Indian cuisine, reflecting the Thai owners’ Punjabi roots. Opened in 2004, it has already become a major part of the seaside town’s fine dining scene. This book – their first – represents the accumulation of generations of culinary knowledge by the Khanijou family. Full of staunchly traditional Indian recipes that feature the best of fresh Thai ingredients, the recipes in the fuchsia-coloured hardback represent the family’s unique blend of cultures. Aware that many of the tools and techniques used in a professional kitchen are difficult to replicate in the average home – we assume most of you don’t have a tandoor oven to hand – the instructions have been simplified and altered with the home cook in mind.
THE OVERTURE (HOM RONG) Ittisoontorn Vichailak | 2004 | DVD159 Thailand’s 2004 Oscar submission is a gorgeously shot, highdrama version of the musical biopic. Drawing inspiration (if not all the facts) from the life of ranad-ek (wooden xylophone) master Luang Pradit Phairao, The Overture rattles the staid biopic from the campy tension: training scenarios reminiscent of Rocky, a clattery xylophone duel so intense it sets jowls a-trembling and water rippling in a glass, à la Jurassic Park. The film avoids the routine of most biopics by hopscotching between two eras – its hero’s youthful arrogance and his old-age wisdom, when he stands up to officials intent on “modernising” Thailand right out of its traditions. bangkok101.com
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big bangkok project photography by Joe Kasemsarn words by Isabelle Kallo
eople posing in front of one of Bangkok’s great sights, sitting quietly at the back of one of its temples, or lugging their huge backpacks across town are not unfamiliar sights in Bangkok, and yet Joe Kasemsarn’s photographs seem a little different. This is because his models are in fact miniature figures, some only 1.5cm high, and he captures them seemingly going about their daily lives with the city’s most impressive sites as backdrops. We’re completely charmed by his photographs, and apparently we’re not the only ones. What started as a research scholarship from Thailand’s National Research Council has become a Facebook phenomenon with 11,500 followers and counting. Launched at the end of December 2012, the Big Bangkok Project aims to promote cultural tourism in Bangkok. It is not, however, aimed at foreign tourists who already invade these sights in large numbers. Instead, it hopes to encourage young Thais to visit some of their city’s great sights. “That’s what makes me different,” Kasemsarn says. “My photographs are a very niche style and I’m the first one in Thailand to do this – maybe that’s why the project has been so popular.”
Kasemsarn, who is both the photographer behind the lens and the author of this original experiment, says that despite Bangkok being the city where he grew up, he has discovered new places thanks to his latest project. He admits that as a teen he was more likely to be found in front of a TV screen than visiting a museum, and now with computers and the internet also in the mix, he fears many teenagers grow up barely bothering to explore their own city. After finding that a Google image search for ‘Grand Palace Bangkok’ shows nearly 8000 results, which all look much the same, Joe devised the Big Bangkok Project and set out to capture “a big city through little perspectives”. The resulting photographs, each showing miniature people in front of one of 30 cultural destinations in the city are poetic and captivating, with each image capturing its setting in a unique way. The photographs’ altered focus has created images with a soft edge and a romantic light – a combination which Kasemsarn hopes will entice the Thai youth away from their monitors and out into the ‘big’ world. When Kasemsarn asks fans to evaluate his work, which is the next phase of the project, he will find out whether it has truly been successful at luring the young away from their online lives and into the real world. Even if they’re not visiting the cultural sites, he hopes it will at the very least get them out there because he thinks they’re missing out. When it comes to Bangkok, we agree.
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tai carpaccio at kinki (p64)
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food & drink news
AROy roaring trade at appia
It’s reservations only at Jarret Wrisley’s new place Appia (20/4 Sukhumvit Soi 31, 02261-2056), which serves traditional Italian with a focus on fresh pastas and roasted meats. Jarret, also the owner of Soul Food Mahanakorn, is joined by chef Paolo Vitaletti, previously at the Aman in Beijing.
NEW beginning for mahanaga
After operating as a restaurant for a decade, Mahanaga, on has undergone a snazzy new fit-out and reopened as The Myth of Mahanaga (2 Sukhumvit 29, 02-662-3060, www.mahanaga.com) a plush new lounge bar that does some top-notch food as well. The building is a gorgeous old private home but thw owners promise it will now be host to “Bangkok’s most stylish dining and nightlife milieu”. Inside, a mélange of unconventional furnishings and décor lends a touch of the surreal, while outside an alfresco lounge and bar make for captivating times under the whirl of stars and shimmer of moon.
ONE TO WATCH
A crew of Bangkok’s best-known foodies are embarking on a new project – the creators of WTF Café & Gallery and the chef behind Quince joining forces to open Opposite Mess Hall. Details are sketchy – it will open next month on the second floor of a Thong Lor shop-front on Soi 51, with the food a mixture of cuisines but billed as “simple, dynamic and unpretentious”. Given the success of their previous venues, this place promises to be ‘the place to go’ through the middle of this year. Looking forward to it already.
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Until Apr 30
Chinese Junk Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square [MAP 4/D5]
Siam Square Soi 6 | 02-209-8888 | www.novotelbkk.com Chinese restaurant Lok Wah Hin offers an array of traditional Chinese dishes such as crab craw pumpkin soup, sea scallop steamed with garlic or pan fried with X.O. sauce or sir fried with black bean sauce. The menu starts from B600 so take the opportunity to enjoy these old Chinese dishes during the hottest month in Bangkok.
Until Apr 27
Novotel Bangkok Ploenchit Sukhumvit [MAP 3/C10]
566 Ploenchit Road Lumpini | 02-305-6000 | www.novotel.com/Ploenchit-Hotel Enjoy all-you-can-eat barbecue at Dee Lounge for only B299 net which includes barbecue food, burgers and one litre of beer. And for only B699, on every Friday and Saturday evening, to enjoy the free flow Heineken or Tiger draft beer along with live music in an outdoor atmosphere. Choose from beef, pork chicken or lamb burgers, chicken skewers, hot dogs and side order of fries, baked potatoes and salad bar.
Until Apr 30
Chef Mikko’s New Menu Centara Grand at CentralWorld [Map 4/f3]
999/99 Rama 1 Road Pathumwan | 02 769 1234 | www.centarahotelsresorts.com
Chef Mikko Kataja has launched new menu for daily specials at Red Sky. Monday’s white stew of Kurobuta pork cheeks with morels (B955); Tuesday’s Veal shank braised in white wine, tomatoes and herbs (B1255); Wednesday’s charcoal grilled Wagyu rib-eye 26oz (B3,695); Thusday’s panroast skirt steak with shallot red wine sauce (B1555); Friday’s whole fresh Atlantic lemon sole pan fried (B1655); Saturday’s Bouchot mussels in white wine, garlic, thyme and parsley (B1155); Sunday’s French Charolais beef tenderloin baked in puff pastry and slice of foie gras (B1855).
Luce Light Business Lunch Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn Bangkok [MAP 5/D7]
31/1 South Sathorn Road | 02-210-8100 | www.eastingrandsathorn.com Luce Executive Chef and Roberto Bellitti have created the lunch break special, Pausa Pranzo, weekday from 12pm to 2.30pm with a menu rich in aroma and taste. The menu changes weekly with 2 course lunch set (B400++) and 3 course set menu (B550++) such as spaghetti pomodoro, parrot fish with spinach, sautéed chicken alla diavola plus a choice of homemade dessert.
Lunch Time Treats The Westin Grande Sukhumvit [MAP 3/H9] 259 Sukhumvit 19, Sukhumvit Road | 02-207-8000 www.westingrandesukhumvit.com
Zest Bar & Terrace offers lunchtime special where diners can choose from dishes for B290 net inclusive of one soft drink and coffee or tea. The menu features delights such as Caesar salad with bacon lardons, aged Parmesan cheese and garlic croutons, spaghetti Napolitano, classic Italian pasta. Thai favourites are gai satay or chicken skewer served Thai style; tom yum soup with prawns. Monday to Saturday from 11:30am to 2:30pm.
Until May 31
Flavours of the world Plaza AthÈnÈe Bangkok [MAP 4/L5]
61 Wireless Road, Lumphini | 02-650-8800 | www.plazaatheneebangkok.com Blow your mind with buffet at the Rain Tree Café with weekly theme nights. Fabulously French on Sunday; Italian Intrigue on Monday; German Gastronomy on Tuesday; Latino Affair on Wednesday; Asian Voyages on Thursday. All for B1,699 net person including water and Thai erbal drinks; B2,199 for free flow of alcohol beverage. Seafood dinner is on Friday and dinner and lunch on Saturday. Priced at B1980 net and B2480 net for free flow beverage. 6 0 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
ytsb - For lovers of sake and sushi -
The odd-looking name is an abbreviation for Yellow Tail Sushi Bar, which provides a pretty decent indication of what this place has to offer. The fish has different names according to size and stage but is known as yellowtail once it reaches maturity and is ready to eat. Upon a first glance, the restaurant is decked out with chic Japanese-themed décor rather than authentic Japanese style. The soft yellow lighting creates a low-key ambience likely to draw you in. It’s also on the fourth floor of VIE Hotel – so before you settle in, head downstairs to the outdoor terrace on the third floor, where you can still order food and drinks from the well-stocked bar. The name of the venue might suggest that the menu is all about yellowtail, but there’s real variety. If you’re in a group, it’s hard to ignore the set of appetisers (B1180) composed of dried stingray fin, dried shrimps, fried salmon and salted ginkgo. It arrives on a long bamboo platter, emphaising YTSB’s fusion influences, as opposed to taking the strictly traditional route. If you want to branch out beyond the raw fish, there are alternatives with wagyu and chicken. Maybe try the kagoshima wagyu namban yaki (B2500), cooked with Japanese seasoning and topped with sesame, mushroom, bangkok101.com
and asparagus. Each bite is tender, and the Japanese seasoning is exquisite. But the spotlight still comes back to the sashimi, especially the aburi Hamachi jalapeno, which includes five pieces for B600. The taste of the sashimi is driven by the jalapeno, which outweighs much of the fish’s natural smell. Freshness is the key feature in most Japanese restaurants and YTSB delivers in spades when it comes to dessert. A slice of Japanese melon (B300++) is popular and comes out partially frozen – it’s like licking a melonflavoured ice cube. You wash it all down, sake price start from B220 (Tatewaki Samurai Junmai) and goes up into the thousands if you’re looking to splash out. Otherwise, you can wet your whistle with a cocktail or shochu. It’s within walking distance from BTS Ratchatewi and only a few metres from the station. The view at night is spectacular and, although there are many new Japanese restaurants opening up in Bangkok, YTSB is certainly worth a visit.
โรงแรมว ี ถ.พญาไท ytsb
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panorama - Even the view is delicious The Crowne Plaza’s signature restaurant Panorama launched a new dining concept last month tagged ‘Inspiring By Day, Latin By Night’, in which not only the food but also the music is Latin-themed, with DJs and live bands scheduled for special events. And it’s not all the inevitable Mexican. The menu ranges from Mex to Spain, to Brazil and Argentina, with snippets of Cuba, Chile and Peru. “I want to make a menu that’s fun for people to eat, inspired by the whole Latin region, but not too stuck on authenticity,” chef Matt Dowdell says. The selection opens with snacky items and moves through a wide range of styles, ending with large plated mains designed to share. The ceviche sampler (B320++) is a good starter of four styles, arriving in separate chunky glasses, including the delicious, mildly spicy yellowfin tuna with mango and pineapple. You might then advance to wafer-thin flat breads (from B240++) with a variety of toppings; quesadillas with chilli braised duck, cheddar and salsa (B260++) or smoky, fall-offthe-bone pork ribs (B340++), which are rubbed with adobo spices, marinated overnight, slow-smoked over coconut husk, then topped with tamarind sauce and grilled. Drinks include the expected sangrias (B450++ a litre), mojitos and caipirinhas (both B220++), and a good selection 6 2 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
of custom cocktails designed by restaurant manager Vitor Goncalo Santiago (from B180++). There’s also a comprehensive wine list that impoverished journalists love for wines by the glass, starting at a mucho friendly B98++ (ten each of red and white, plus a few rosés and sparklers). And if you prefer a good claret, they stock the ’97 Haut Brion at B16,800++ a bottle. Panorama is a good size for birthdays or an after-work blow out, with party packages including food and drink for four, six, eight and ten people (B2,899++ to B7999++). And the infectious music breeds a convivial atmosphere – someone at our table even took to the aisle and wiggled her hips to the salsa rhythm between courses.
รร.คราวน์ พลาซ่า กรุงเทพ ถ.พระราม 4 Panorama [MAP 5/K4] Crowne Plaza Lumpini Park | Rama IV Rd | 02-632-9000 www. crowneplazabkk.com | Open Daily noon-2pm, 6pm-10.30pm
paste - A spectacular arrival It’s possible for passersby to miss this new addition to Bangkok’s cosmopolitan dining scene, tucked to one side of soi 49 in the backstreets of Thong Lor. But if the entrance is easily overlooked, the modern Thai food inside is unlikely to be forgotten. Chef Jason Bailey made his mark running Thai restaurants in Australia, introducing customers to surprising combinations of flavours, borrowing techniques from different parts of Asia, while remaining anchored in classic Thai flavours and ingredients. And although Paste is still relatively new, the results are stunning. The cocktails are understated but no less refreshing or delicious – some places assume cocktails are only for the ladies so offer a laundry list of sweet, syrupy concoctions. At Paste, though, where the cocktails start at B210++, the Eastern Sour (Campari with lemon, lime and red grapefruit) and the Sleek Lychee (vodka, muddled lychee, lime, egg white, elderflower and lemongrass soda) are perfectly balanced and exceptionally drinkable. You’ll struggle to stop at one. But with a menu heavy on seafood and overflowing with fresh ingredients, the food is the undoubted star of the show. For entrees, the dry-spiced chilli squid, topped with vinegar and tomato relish (B240++) is a winner, while the jelly fish and shredded chicken salad (B230++) is further proof of Bailey’s willingness to experiment. Among the mains, the prime cuts of Australian red meat stand out invitingly from the local produce – the braised beef ribs with ginger rice, tamarind leaves and mushroom soy (B380++) are perfect if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty. But two dishes, in particular, are among the most satisfying offerings you’ll find in Bangkok. The roast duck salad with lychee and Vietnamese mint (B380++) packs an immediate punch but it is the hint of banana blossom that delivers a surprising, sensational finish. And then there
is the tamarind and caramel pork belly with moonflower, red okra and green chilli pickle (400++). It’s an inspired combination, the pork belly coming apart effortlessly while its outer layer retains a rainbow of flavours, its richness lightened perfectly by the moonflower and okra. Overall, Paste is a triumph, fusing tradition and innovation with a confidence and craft that never veers into showiness. Good food is often described as “tasty” or “delicious” but these descriptions are fleeting – the best meals go a step further and stay with us long after the plates are cleared. And, on that score, Paste delivers with exceptional panache, serving food that is not just instantly gratifying but truly memorable. It’s definitely one to try and most likely one to return to several times.
เพส สุข มุ ว ทิ ซอย 49 paste
120/6 Sukhumvit Soi 49 | 02-392-4313 pastebangkok.com | Open Tues-Sun noon-2.30pm, 6pm-late
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Kinki - Japanese delights with urban attitude -
It takes a little time to become accustomed to eating and drinking in the shopping malls of Bangkok but they are increasingly home to some of the city’s slickest spots. And Kinki, a restaurant and bar hidden on the rooftop of Rain Hill, is no exception. The high-ceilinged warehouse-style space is warmly lit and lashed with colourful murals and its menu, essentially Japanese with a fusion twist, is a mixture of nibbles and mains. Venues that combine a bar and a restaurant have the inside running when it comes to cocktails and one of the highlights of Kinki is it Asian spin on familiar tipples. The Margari Thai (B240++), for example, starts with the tequila and lime but is jazzed up with lemongrass and galangal, while the Thaipirissima (B260++) adds fresh ginger and kumquats to the white rum base. Kinki’s menu is perfect for sharing with a group of friends, perhaps ordering half a dozen entrees to get a bit of everything. The tai carpaccio (B380++), with thinly sliced snapper rinsed with truffle dressing is one of those dishes diners won’t be able to get enough of – it’s finesse balanced beautifully with crowd-pleasing flavours. But the highlight may well be the foie gras and scallop sushi (B350++). It’s an unusual combination, bound together with a loop of seaweed, but it’s enough to make you eyes 6 4 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
roll back in your head. It’s one of the richer, heavier offerings on the menu but this indulgent winner shouldn’t be missed. Customers will judge a Japanese restaurant by the quality and freshness of its sushi and, on this score, Kinki’s confirms its status as place likely to bring people back for seconds and thirds. There’s a range of different make and temaki to try, ranging from B110++ to B450++. The spider maki (B350++), though, is one of Kinki’s signatures and has that perfect blend of light seafood and a soft, satisfying centre. There’s heavier fare as well, from braised snowfish in teriyaki sauce (B350++) to the okonimiyaki (320++), which is basically a Japanese-style seafood pizza. And, once you’ve had for fill, make sure you wander out on to the rooftop garden for the 360-degree view of Sukhumvit at night.
เรนฮ ลิ ล์ สุข มุ ว ทิ ซอย 47 Kinki [MAP 3/P10] Rain Hill rooftop, Sukhumvit Soi 47 | 081-935-3046 facebook.com/kinki.bkk | Open daily 5pm-2am bangkok101.com
EARTH: Fertility, Foliage and Fortune Ruen Urai’s second Thai gourmet journey explores the natural elements that represent significant meanings in Thai food and customs. Phra Mae Thoranee, “The Mother Earth,” the country’s fertile soils, provide as many produces as traditional symbols. In lush tropical gardens and orchards, several types of vegetables, medicinal herbs, fragrants flowers, and fruit trees are grown for food ingredients, decorative arrangements, and good fortune. Each bear different meanings and many imply good luck. Cultivating the right trees in the right directions is believed to bring auspiciousness to the household. Spicy roasted duck salad on betel leaves mixes robust flavours of earthly delights. Casual dining and bar from noon to 11 p.m. Plus happy hours from 3 to 6 p.m. daily. Ruen Urai at the Rose Hotel 118 Soi Na Wat Hualumphong, Surawongse Road, Tel: 66 (0) 2266-8268-72 Fax: 66 (0) 2266-8096 www.rosehotelbkk.com www.ruen-urai.com
Thai Gourmet Journey Ad Series No. 9
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thong lor market
hong Lor is already renowned within Bangkok for its trendy bars and varied fine dining but it also delivers at the other end of the spectrum, with one of the most reliable little street markets that is open until the small hours of the morning. Tucked under the armpit of Thong Lor BTS, the market stretches maybe 50 metres and is a mixture of mobile carts and shopfronts where tables spill out on to the street. As with any market, it pays to explore, but there are a couple of spots that will likely hit the spot. The first is about 20 metres into the soi on the righthand side, tucked into a little alcove, its blazing pad thais advertised on a breathless sign out the front. And although the pad thais are pretty damn good, it’s the Thai curries that really impress. If you’re hungry enough, a yellow curry and a plate piled high with stir-fried morning glory is a perfect way to fill the hole – wash it down with a long neck of Chang beer and you’ve got a two-course dinner and drinks for well under B200. The second spot is a little further down on the same side – a cafe called Pha Lamm, easily identified by the stocky Staffordshire terrier keeping an eye on proceedings from the front step. Like most of these spots, it’s family-run and the bangkok101.com
food arrives from an open kitchen. There’s a surprisingly expansive menu, made up mostly of street food staples. But the real winner is the pork leg stew (pictured above), served with a boiled egg and greens, maybe with a side serve of mixed seafood salad. The stew is some of the most satisfying street food around – the meat is of impressive quality and the sauce is rich without being overpowering. Again, for a couple of plates and a beer, you’ll pay about B180. Besides those two favourites, there are scores of other places serving plates of barbecued meat and soupy noodles. You never know what you’ll find if you’re adventurous.
สุข มุ ว ทิ ซอย 38 Thong Lor market
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Our roving eater Nym knows her local grub inside out – and thrives on the stories behind the dishes. Each month, she takes an offbeat tour in search of the city’s next delectable morsel …
PAD THAI UNDER THE MOONLIGHT
ad thai under the Moonlight! It sounds and looks equality romantic and this pad thai spot has long been known among Thai as Padthai Wat Lieb, even though the real name, as said on the sign, is “OK Pad thai”. More important, though, is the taste of food and the ambience. Here, you can inhale the delicious taste and exhale the beauty of the surroundings. This is because the stall is set inside the temple grounds, with a stunning view of a corncob-shaped pagoda glowing at night. Padthai Wat Lieb was run for many years by the current cook’s father and has always used the same ingredients and recipes. As the cook wil tell you, “there is no secret in cooking, you just need to know the right balance of taste”. But there is a secret to ordering here – you have to know what you’re doing to experience the local taste. But it’s not about big fresh shrimps or special vegetables. No – the secret is in the eggs! Sure, you can order regular pad thai, just noodles with peanuts and all the basic condiments which you see on the cooking station. Or you can order with one egg. But to make it ‘super OK’, you want Padthai Khai Koo, which means ‘eggs in pairs’. Once you have two eggs cracked open over the pad thai, it looks like
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there’s a little pad thai hiding inside the eggs blanket. Each plate comes out fresh from the stove, wok by wok. Sometimes, depending on how busy it is, you may have to wait to get a table or wait at the table to get your pad thai. But it doesn’t matter to me or any of my friends who choose to eat there – we love sitting there, watching her cook and eating the fresh hand-crafted pad thai while soaking up Bangkok’s night-time atmosphere. I haven’t had a bad visit yet.
ผัดไทยวัดเล ยี บ ถนนจักรเพชร Padthai Wat Lieb
Wat Leib Temple, Thanon Chakkrapetch Open daily 5.30pm-11pm
cooking with poo
Cooking with Poo Stop sniggering at the back! Poo is actually the nickname of one of the citys most indemand cooks, ‘Saiyuud Chom-Poo’ Diwong. A long-time resident of Bangkok’s Klong Toey slum, Poo runs her own cooking school as part of the Helping Hands initiative, a community self-help program she started with other residents. The profits help street businesses get on their feet. Each month we bring you a recipe from her cooking book, copies of which are available via her website www.cookingwithpoo.com.
Spicy Beef Salad (Yam Neua)
Many Thai people do not eat beef, as it conflicts with certain religious beliefs. However, those who do eat it, agree that this spicy salad is great to eat on any occasion. Refreshing and filling, Spicy Beef Salad will leave you and your guests wanting more.
COOKING WITH POOSaiyuud Diwong | UNOH Publications | 112pp | www.cookingwithpoo. com | Aus $20
ingredients 1 cup of water 300g beef (sliced) fresh chillies (to taste) 1 tbsp red onion 1 tomato (diced) 4 kaffir lime leaves
2 spring onions 1 tbsp lemongrass chopped finely 2 tbsp of lime juice 1 tbsp fish sauce 2 tbsp coriander 7 mint leaves
PREParation • Boil water • Add beef and boil until cooked • Drain 80% water • Add chilli, red onion, tomato, spring onions,
kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, lime juice, fish sauce, coriander and mix it all together • Garnish with mint leaves
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he idea of serving ice cream in a hotpot may sound as weird as the name itself but ‘Tongue Fun’ is Chinese for ‘successful’. Here, they serve ice cream with smoke billowing from the centre of the hotpot giving it the appearance of an erupting volcano. Instead, the burning fire is actually dry ice, which creates smoke for visual effect. The flavours range from common to exotic. There’s chocolate and strawberry along with the other usual suspects. For the more adventurous, there are flavours like X-Milk (super creamy milk) Redbull Vodka, Thai beer and yoghurt with jelly. Or, if you’ve got an appetite for spice, go for the Wasabi flavoured ice cream. The price varies on each different flavour, starting at B25 for the most common ones, B28 for more creative flavours, and B30 for the most exotic. A mini set which includes five small scoops goes for B86. If there’s a whole gang of you, you can tuck into a hotpot set, with your choice of six bigger scoops, for B168. Although the visual effect is a major part of the appeal, the taste is even more impressive.And the dry ice keeps your hotpot chilling so you have even more time to enjoy your cold, sweet treat.
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Tongue Fun [MAP 3/H9] Terminal 21, Sukhumvit Road | 089-111-6836 facebook.com/tonguefunicecream | Open 10am-10pm bangkok101.com
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khao chae Bangkok is getting hotter by the day as summer approaches. Fortunately, the Thais have some delicious treats to help you stay cool as the city swelters.
ver the years the Thais have devised numerous ways to beat the heat, from lobbing water over one another (this month) to spending much of their time in air-conditioned malls (every month). One of the tastiest is a sumptuous rice dish called khao chae. Comprised of rice (khao) soaked (chae) in icy water and served with a selection of traditional side dishes, this elaborate summer delicacy is said to have been used during the reign of King Rama II to help him regain his appetite during the oppressive heat of summer. Not until the reign of King Rama V (1868 – 1910), however, did word of its popularity as a coolant spread outside the palace walls. As for its true origins, these are thought to be traceable to the Mon, a tribe who occupied the Central Plains and would offer it the female guardian spirit of Songkran, the Thai New Year which falls this month. The painstaking preparation process and its regal back-story explains why it tends only to be served in upmarket Thai restaurants. The boiled rice is easy enough to prepare, but the jasmine-scented water is a different story. Water is added to a pot, along with fresh jasmine, rose petals and a tien hom, a candle scented with a fragrance that’s often used in Thai desserts. The pot is
then covered and left so that the fumes of the candle and oils of the flower permeate the water. A short while later, the rice is then sprinkled with the fragrant water, steamed and then served in a bowl of it along with crushed ice and yet more jasmine and rose. If the rice sounds labour-intensive, it’s nothing compared to the sides that come with it. Offering a potpourri of flavours and textures, these elaborate dishes typically include deep fried shrimp balls, sweet dried turnips, deep-fried shallots with shredded pork, and neua waan, or caramelised strips of beef.
Celadon [MAP 4/L8] The Sukhothai Bangkok, 3/3 South Sathorn Road BTS Saladaeng 02-344-8888 | www.sukhothai.com | Lunch only
Lai Ros [MAP 3/P8] 120/4-5 Sukhumvit Soi 49, opposite Samitvej Hospital BTS Phrom Phong | 02-391-3193 | 11am-10pm
Romsai Restaurant [MAP 5/L8] Banyan Tree Bangkok, 21/100 Sathorn Tai Rd |BTS Chong Nonsi/MRT Lumphini | 02-679-1200 | www.banyantree.com | 6 am-10:30am; noon2:30pm, 6pm-10.30pm
(vegetarian sets only, pictured right) Ariyasom Villa Hotel, 65 Sukhumvit Soi 1, Sukhumvit Rd BTS Ploenchit | 02-254-8880 | www.ariyasom.com | 6:30am-10:30 pm
Thanying [MAP 5/E6] 10 Pramuan Rd, between Silom Soi 17 and 19 | BTS Surasak | 02-2364361 | www.thanying.com | 11:30am-1pm 7 2 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
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BAAN KLANG NAM
THAI Baan Klang Nam [MAP 2/C11] 762/7 Bangkok Square Jatujak Market, Rama III Rd | Bang Pongpang | 02-682-7180, 02-682-7186 | www.baanklangnam.net | 11am-10:30pm If busy is the sign of a decent Thai kitchen, you won’t regret stopping by this large riverside diner. Popular with fresh-off-theboats and locals alike, the seafood-centric menu rarely skimps on the spice quotient and comes served in a big old, clapboard Thai house painted in pale yellows and whites. Wait staff are swift and genial, despite never getting a quiet moment, while the ambiance is hectic yet atmospheric. Stand-outs: steamed seafood custard in banana leaf cups; the tom yum goong with huge river prawns and tender slivers of coconut; the baked whole mussels with herbs and feisty nam jim (dipping sauce). However, the real joy here is the pictorial menu which inspires straying out of your comfort zone.
บ้านกลางน้�ำ พระราม 3 Jim Thompson Restaurant [MAP 4/A3]
6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama I Rd | BTS National
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JIM THOMPSON RESTAURANT
Stadium | 02-612-3601 | www.jimthompson. com | 11am-5pm, 6pm-11pm This city’s number two tourist attraction is home to a restaurant that pairs a sumptuous, silk-and-fabric strewn setting with some surprisingly unusual Thai food. Add drinkable white or red house wine at B200 a glass, and a daily 4:30-7:30pm happy hour (buy one get one on house wine and draught beer) and there’s absolutely no reason to be sniffy about the place. There are typical Thai dishes, yes, but there are also lots that aren’t. For a new taste sensation try the intensely spiced grilled prawn salad with traditional herbs, fresh vegetables and crispy catfish. Not only is this dish served in an intricately carved pumpkin, but each and every condiment is prepared with an artistic flair that does late silk tycoon Jim Thompson’s artistic legacy proud. Other notable dishes here include the pleasantly mild kaeng khao puak, or crispy wispy fried taro; as well as more adventurous options like the rarely seen tom som pla gra pong khao, sea bass fish soup laced with a savoury tinge of tamarind. We were skeptical too, but pop by for an elegantly plated lunch or dinner and you’ll all leave sated and happy.
จิม ทอมป์สัน เรสเตอร์รอง เกษมสันต์ ซ.2 (ถ.พระราม 1)
JUST ONE [MAP 8/L17] 58 Soi Ngam Duplee (Sathorn Soi 1), Rama IV Rd | BTS Sala Daeng/MRT Lumpini | 02679-8033 | 11am-11pm Intrepid eaters in Thailand are frequently face with the challenging choice between décor and dining – either a trophy restaurant with stunning looks but mediocre food, or a repast fit for the gods served up in a decidedly less-than-divine space. Luckily, Just One isn’t looking to just coast on its atmosphere. The perfect romantic restaurant for a special visitor, Just One is set in a pleasant garden set back from the road – a giant, gnarled tree towering over outdoor tables, and an airy, almost greenhouse-like indoor space. Food is polite Thai – fresh, with a low chilli factor for tender tongues. With its sensitive spicing, wide-ranging menu, and dreamy look, Just One might be too timid for food crusaders, but is perfect for out-of-towners who have touchy palates, or those who seek cuisine that suits a serene atmosphere.
จัสวัน ซ.งามดูพลี WANAKARM [MAP 3/J8] 98 Sukhumvit Soi 23 | 02-258-4241 | 11:30am -11pm A little piece of Thai culinary history,
Wanakarm is set in a sprawling house that may trigger flashbacks to earlier, homier times. Seated behind a gracious garden area, the house is full of unpretentious, clunky wooden tables, a lumpy sofa or two in the private rooms – and food that tastes like it’s made by Mom. Whoever is at the deep-fryer deserves a standing ovation – everything crunchy and calorie-laden, from filler-free shrimp cakes to explosively crackly Vietnamese spring rolls, is beautifully done. Curries are thick with fragrant, longstewed herbs, and flaky-tender roti make the perfect accompaniment. The fried chicken is juicy from it marinade, and the skin will have diners scrapping over the crunchy bits. Those looking for an elegant setting should head elsewhere, but if you’re up for excellent Thai food in enormous portions look no further than Wanakarm.
เรือนอาหารวนคาม ซ.ประสานมิตร สุขุมวิท ซ.23
Northeastern Thai (Isan) HAI SOMTUM [map 5/I6] 2/4-5 Soi Convent (off Silom Rd)| BTS Sala Daeng, MRT Silom | 02-631-0216 | Mon-Fri 10:30am-9pm, Sat 10:30am-8pm | $
What this drab temple to sticky rice lacks in sophistication, it makes up for with plates of gai yang (crispy-skinned grilled chicken), tart laabs (minced meat salads) and other Northeastern staples, all briskly served by efficient staff for just a smidge more than streetfood prices. The real star of the show, though, is the green papaya salad, or somtum. The kitchen-cart here, piled high with shredded green papaya, knocks up almost every known variation of the spicysour-sweet cult dish. If you’re a somtum newbie, try the somtum thai – speckled with peanuts and dried shrimp, this sweet rendition lacks the fermented crab that has many a rookie rushing for the nearest toilet a few hours later. Our personal favorite, though, is the somtum khai khem (salted egg), though others swear by the carrot or pla raa (smelly fermented fish) renditions. Worried about being met by blank stares from the staff? Don’t be. Though not a tourist joint, the place has a foolproof menu and some staff who speak passable English.
depicting shophouses along Phuket’s Thalang Road. Although spice levels have been diluted slightly for Bangkok tastes, the menu retains a faithful array of southern-style dishes and ingredients. The owner Kitty’s mum – who still resides in Phuket – sends up shipments of hard-to-find fish, herbs, vegetables and spices twice a week. These include the excellent deep-fried sea bream with turmeric (pla sai, B70). Edible from its head to its tail, this crunchy critter is a Phuket specialty; as is their take on khanom jeen nam ya poo (B130), a rich, coconut milk crabmeat curry served with bean sprouts, green beans, cucumber, pineapple, anchovies and deep-fried chillies. The steamed fish balls (B120) are also a must-try; larger than the street side variety, they go down perfectly with the accompanying hot chili sauce. Finish up with a helping of ohaew (jellied banana-flour mixed with boiled red bean, ice, and sweet red syrup, B55). Sweet and refreshing, it closely resembles the classic Malaysian dessert, eis cendol.
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ภูเก็ตทาวน์ ทองหล่อ ซ.6
Southern thai PHUKET TOWN [MAP 3/R8] 160/8 Thong Lor Soi 6 (Sukhumvit 55) | BTS Thong Lor | 02-714-9402 | 10:30am-10pm A converted shophouse, Phuket Town’s exterior resembles a classic Phuket Peranakan home – dwellings known for their ornate touches and Sino-Portuguese influence. Pushing in through the small wooden doors, you enter a small space filled with vintage wooden furnishing, seating for 30, and a hand-painted wall-size mural
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american The Firehouse Pub & Restaurant [MAP 3/E8] 3/26 Sukhumvit Soi 11 (opposite Q Bar) | BTS Nana | 02-651-3643 | www. firehousethailand.com | 11:30am-3am A tiny, Fireman-themed burger joint located just across from Q Bar, Firehouse’s come in several guises, from racks of three mini-burgers (B260) to the Australian Black Angus beef (B280). However, we always go for the Premium (B195). For that price you get a 180g patty made from 100% Thai-French rib-eye beef served with crisp lettuce, tomato, onion and mayonnaise in a nice looking bun, plus a tin can stuffed full of golden potato wedges. Extras (B30-80) range from the usual cheese and bacon to more adventurous options like gorgonzola, avocado and caramelised onions, while the all important condiments include mustard, ketchup and homemade pickles. It arrives on a wooden cutting board, looking a tad too tall to handle, but it’s nothing a firm grip can’t hold together. No complaints when you sink your teeth into this baby either: juicy, with a good texture and a beefy, well-marinated flavour. The best burger in town argument is destined to rage, but there’s no doubt that Firehouse has a very tasty contender. Other well-done comfort foods include buffalo wings (B150), tacos and wraps (B150 – 220), and a delicious stab at fish and chips (B250).
ไฟร์เฮาส์ ผับ แอนด์ เรสเตอร์รอง สุขุมวิท ซ.11
french CHEZ PAPE [MAP 3/F9] 110/1 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 02-255-2492 | BTS
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Nana | Mon-Sat 5pm-midnight, Sun 11am11pm Montand, de Gaulle and Juliette Greco… they’re all here in photos on the walls, along with a bike, a tuba, an old wireless radio and the crucial blackboard menu. Waiters in berets and hoopy French sailors’ tops flit from the bar as low key vocals à la Piaf fill the air. Chez Papé has just a touch of the theme pub in its DNA . But it’s pleasing on the eye, and they’ve managed a homey ambiance for decent food at very fair prices. Slow cooked leg of ham in hay comes as three tender rough hewn slices that give satisfying bite, simply served with cornichons and garnish. Among the mains there’s a satisfying lamb stew, lightly herbed and well presented in a wide brimmed bowl dusted with paprika. The neat little wine list has a choice of grapes from several regions, not only French, and three each of white and red by the glass (B145-B160), also available by 46cl carafe (B495-B590). Bottles run from B890. A good dessert pick is café gourmand – a shot of espresso and three decent sized shallow ramekins of ile flotante, crème brulée (not too sweet, crust not too thick) and chocolate mousse. Finish with a digestif, perhaps calvados or aged plum brandy. While there’s a sense
the kitchen might be stretched if Chez Papé gets busy, it serves up good bistro food and old-fashioned hospitality. You leave feeling sated and warm.
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indian Mrs. Balbir’s [MAP 3/D6] 155/1-2 Sukhumvit Soi 11/1 | 02-651-0498 | www.mrsbalbirs.com | BTS Nana | Tue-Sun (closed on Mon) 11:30am-11pm Progressive new curryhouses may have stolen the limelight, but Sukhumvit’s Mrs Balbir’s still has a loyal following. Inside, the fresh, cream white dining room, with its marble floors, tallback patterned velvet chairs, and furniture and finishes redolent of a camp Maharajas neoclassical palace, is an unexpectedly upscale setting for this gritty part of town, but the real coup here is the good old-fashioned cooking. The friendly owner, Vinder Balbir, a local celeb and former TV chef who divulges her secrets at her popular cooking classes upstairs, offers unswervingly traditional North Indian made using recipes and spice blends that she’s fine-tuned over the years. Our starters, spinach cutlets, were soft, warm, fragrantly spiced bricks served with
coriander chutney. They vanished in seconds. Following were lamb tandoori kebabs with a diced onion and spicy dip and the meat done just right. Mains include a bewildering range of regional curries and tandoori dishes, including an elegantly smooth butter chicken, and a grittier, bolder, more complex Punjabi chicken kadai. Paratha and naans were hot and fresh and good for dipping; but it was an emblematic dessert – rasmalai (soft dumplings in a refreshing chilled sweet milk flavoured with cardamom, almonds and pistachio) – that had us itching to log on and check air ticket prices to the Subcontinent. มิสซิส บัลบีร์ สุขุมวิท ซ.11
international Vertigo [MAP 5/K8] Banyan Tree Bangkok [21/100 South Sathon Rd | 02-679-1200 | MRT Lumphini | www. banyantree.com Is Vertigo, the city’s original, decade-old rooftop dining venue, still the must-visit it once was? Or have the masses tired of stratospheric locations and equally elevated prices? Or even moved on to the competition? Judging by a recent visit, the Banyan Tree’s flagship dining establishment still does the business, though mostly with couples, it has to be said. And, of course, the setting still wows. Soaring 200 metres above street level, how could it not? Soft house music and a gentle night breeze flutter over its multi-level wooden decks (the Moon bar side of which was being refurbished on our visit), and whichever way you look, your eye is drawn to a seemingly endless, 21st century cityscape. Bangkok still never looked more Bladerunner. The menu is tidily short, presenting Pacific Rim standards which appear just as refined as that ambassador’s wife’s gown the next table over. Undeniably not the place for a cheap night out, soups start from B400++, salads B500++, appetizers B650++. Meanwhile, seafood and meat mains range from B1,000-2,900 ++, and there are eight set menus (B2,200++ – B6,000++ no wine, B3,300++ – B8,700++ with wine). They also do a good line in “sustainably sourced” bangkok101.com
Australian and Japanese steaks. We started things off with some new signatures, including the swordfish Carpaccio garnished with chili, rocket and ginger. Served, like all the signatures, on an elongated plate, it was a subtle, mild dish, the ginger cutting through. Even better were the tataki of wagyu, which are melt-in-yourmouth oblongs of beef cooked rare in shoyu, or Japanese soy sauce. Neither, though, could match the spicy kick and decadence of the tuna tartar, which was a slab topped off with guacamole and lemon caviar. Not long after, our mains arrived decked with raw greens on oversized, deep plates. There was a pan-roasted free range chicken, the lean meat marrying well with the tarragon jus and a spot-on mash; and a lamb shank served with cumin-spiced potatoes, young roots and a little pot of sweet massaman curry sauce. Both demonstrated the Executive Chef’s fondness for sous-vide cooking, the meat in the case of the latter getting the treatment for three days. Desserts are Thai twists like the Thai tea crème brûlée, or the even richer mango and sticky rice with mascarpone served in a cocktail glass. That or sumptuous takes on European favourites such as the mille feuille of tropical berries with vanilla cream, or fresh fig tart with Thai honey, goat cheese cream and almonds. Wines are as you’d expect (wide-ranging, mostly Old World), as is the service (swift and sharp). Vertigo is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but for a romantic dinner to remember, which is what most people seem to come here for, there’s still nowhere that can match it.
รร.บันยันทรี ถ.สาทรใต้ UNCLE JOHN [MAP 5/K9] Suan Plu Soi 8 (fourth shophouse down on the left) | 081-373-3865 | 6:30pm-10:30pm Uncle John is not your ordinary mom and pop hole-in-the-wall. Every evening the eponymous cook stands at a compact outdoor kitchen stationed in front of the warm orange interior, calmly sizzling steaks, dicing vegetables, fine tuning his sauces and soups, apparently oblivious to all the A P RIL 2 0 1 3 | 7 7
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comings and goings around him. What’s his story? A former chef at the nearby luxury Sukhothai Hotel, Uncle John uses his fivestar skills to recreate the magic here. The rest is history. From a slow trickle of customers when he first opened, word has spread, particularly among expats, groups of whom sit inside and outside on stools, waiting for their food to arrive as they chat over a cold Leo beer or sweet glass of wine. And wait you must. As Uncle John cooks up everything himself, the waits can be long – often half an hour or more. Still, if you don’t have to be somewhere in a hurry, it’s worth it. Though he’s upped his prices a bit recently you still won’t find a lobster bisque this good for B129 elsewhere, even in this town. Dishes we keep coming back for include the seabass fillet with ratatouille and side of creamy, garlicky mash potato (B229); and the succulent grilled duck breast with gratin potatoes and blueberry orange sauce (B269). Others swear by Uncle John’s salads, steaks, pastas and specials board. Fine-dining touches like fancy plating are included, while others, like starched napkins, slick service and spotless toilets, aren’t.
อังเคิล จอห์น สวนพลู ซ.8
italian ENOTECA ITALIANA [map 3/k8] 39 Sukhumvit Soi 27 (enter from Soi 29 or 31) | BTS Phrom Phong | 02-258-4386 | www. enotecabangkok.com | 6pm-midnight | $$$ A small bar, arch shapes, and exposed brickwork; arty posters, a blackboard menu, a seven-table slice of northern Italy in downtown Bangkok. Chef Stefano Merlo arrived here with a respect for tradition and a flair for theatrics following spells at the Michelin starred Le Canlandre, in Padua, and the Tokyo branch of Enoteca Pinchiorri, another Michelin stalwart, in Florence. His six-course tasting menu (around B1,400 and only available for the whole table) offers the chance to try a wide selection of dishes. The opener – a tidbit of luxury carbonara sauce, cleverly served in a hollowed egg shell, and eaten 7 8 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
with a teaspoon – is followed by black ink cappuccino, in which cubelets of tender slow cooked squid in its own ink are topped with creamy whipped potato. Presented in a glass jug, it resembles blackcurrant fool, with equally comforting tastes and textures. Later, there’s saffron risotto flecked with the strong dark flavours of liquorice; rich suckling pig intriguingly balanced by coffee-laced chestnut puree.
เอ็นโนติก้า สุขุมวิท ซ.27 IL Bolognese [MAP 5/H8] 139/3 Sathorn Tai Soi 7 | 02-286-8805 | www. ilbolognesebangkok.com | 11:30am-2:30pm, 5.30pm-11pm | BTS Chong Nonsi If the name itself doesn’t tip you off, then the living room décor will: Il Bolognese says tradition from the floor-to-ceiling of its spacious low room in the glass conservatory extension of a soi villa. Just inside the entrance are a brick crescent moon counter and wood fired pizza oven, where they flip and paddle thin and thick crust pizzas. There are cold cuts and cheese displays; wooden wine racks; and shelves with hanging hams and strings of garlic bulbs. Simple square wooden tables stand on terracotta tiles with Mediterranean floral inlays similar to fragments at Pompeii and Rome’s Ostia Antica. And the food completes the picture, with both the à la carte and a special menu that changes every 15 days including surprising regional dishes that leave you with an impression of actually having travelled to Italy for a couple of hours. Good quality cold cuts (B420++ and B650++) come with home-pickled vegetables and gnocco fritto (small diamond shapes of light, deep fried bread, all puffed and airy in the middle) that are a clean and crispy foil for the tasty meats. Tortellini Emiliani (B350++) is billed as “not mama’s or grandmama’s, but the original recipe”. The pasta rings have fillings of ground pork and beef, all topped with a rich creamy sauce finished with nutmeg and parmesan. And the lasagna spinach with Bolognese sauce (B300++) has spinach mixed into the pasta dough,
which allows an unusually soft texture. On the all-Italian wine list, with bottles from B900++-B6,900++, there’s one sparkling and three each of red and white by the glass (from B190++, also available in half and full litre carafes B450++ and B800++). Add well priced meats, including Aussie tenderloin with porcini sauce and rib eye with red wine sauce at B750++ and B780++ respectively, and Il Bolognese ticks a lot of boxes. It’s a 15 minute walk from Chong Nonsi, with entrances on both Sathorn Tai Soi 7 and Narathiwat Soi 7. อิล โบโลก์นีเซ่ สาทร ซ.7
vietnamese Xuan Mai [MAP3/Q5] 351/3 Sukhumvit 55 (near Thong Lor Soi 17) | 02-185-2619 | BTS Thong Lor | www. xuanmairestaurant.com | Tue-Sun 11am2:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm A couple of years back, former FBI agent and unintentional chef Meyung Robson’s popular Vietnamese restaurant left the homey confines of Soi 13 for the main stage of Thong Lor. Small, friendly and delicious, this homey restaurant has an army of followers that will surely be migrating along with Meyung. Spring rolls are definitely the way to start and the feather-light, deep fried Imperial rolls still had us salivating the next morning. Follow that up with a healthy portion of young lotus shoot salad with shrimp and BBQ pork, contrasted beautifully with a side of peanut crackers. The ridiculously tender tamarind braised pork with rice was delicious, but despite being a Vietnamese restaurant, you’ll be doing yourself an injustice if you don’t save room (be warned: portions are massive) for the brilliant passion fruit crème brulee. Served in a coconut, it’s irresistibly creamy and you won’t be able to stop from scraping the tender and aromatic meat off the sides of its shell.
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Nightlife Pendulum swings through bed
If Songkran wasn’t wild enough to satisfy to your dance-craving feet, then get ready for total mayhem on April 25, when Bed Supperclub presents Pendulum. The drum and bass act have been banging it out for more than a decade since forming in Perth and have built a massive following all over the world on the back of their high-energy sets. Tickets to Bed Supperclub are B900, which includes one drink on entry.
Aeroplane lands at levels
Take Grace Jones, George Michael, Donna Summer and other divine pop sounds from the 80s, put them in their snazziest disco-era finery and let ItalianBelgian producer Vito De Luca, better known as Aeroplane, turn them into what he calls “a spacious cosmic disco extravaganza”. Aeroplane brings his unique blend to Bangkok, on April 10, when he plays Levels Club Room.
Ronski Speed at Narz Bangkok
Aeroplane is not the only DJ with an 80s imprint on his soul this month. Famous for his uncanny knack of picking upthe right track at the right time, German-born DJ Ronski Speed promises to make the night angels of the Bangkok club scene platonically hump their nights away at Narz. If that sounds like your cup of tea, he’s playing on April 12, so book now. Tickets are B800.
big nights at q bar
Bangkok may be brimming with nightclubs but Q Bar this month comes up with a new twist on its spectacularly popular formula, holding its first House Classics party on April 22. The plan is for it to become a monthly event, with the resident DJs digging deep into their collections to spin all your old favourites. It’s B600 to get in but that includes two drinks.
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night-tonight but always excludes hip-hop (hurrah!). For details and regular updates, check Glow’s cool website.
โกลว์ สุขุมวิท ซ.23 LEVELS [Map 3/E8]
Nightclubs BASH [map 3/F8] 37 Sukhumvit Soi 11 (entrance next to the Australian Pub | midnight-very late | www. bashbangkok.com, Facebook: BashBangkok | B300 including one standard drink Open till “very late”, Bash is brash. American owner Daryl Scott, a well-known club scene figure, has spliced strands of global clubbing DNA with the usually sleazy after-hours club concept. There are burlesque dancers ranging from midgets and robots on stilts to cross-dressing whacker Pan Pan (the shows bring to mind risqué superclub Manumission at times); the fixtures and furniture are of the very glam sort (gleaming Louis IX furniture, etc); and the DJs are often big names. Head up the stairs lined with misshapen mirrors and you’ll find three floors of fun, two of them taken up by the main room and the mezzanine which overlooks it. In the LEDwrapped booth here, DJs spin mainly house and techno, while on the top floor it’s mainly hip-hop. However, they do mix things up, with a different theme every night.
แบช สุขุมวิท ซ.11 BED SUPPERCLUB [map 3/C4] 26 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 02-651-3537 www.bedsupperclub.com | 7:30pm-1am With its uber-modern oval spaceship design, Bed Supperclub is a hugely successful hybrid, and a Bangkok icon: fine dining on what may be the world’s largest sofas on one side, and an adjoining bar on the other. For the past eight years, Bed has attracted a fashionable crowd, and with its à-la-page white interior is definitely a place to see and be seen. The food is world-class on the cosy restaurant side, and the sleek design extends to an all-white bar on the club side. Bed has talented resident DJs and brings over top-notch talent (including some very eclectic art) for special events. Big-name DJs tend to spin on Thursdays.
เบด ซัปเปอร์คลับ สุขุมวิท ซ.11 bangkok101.com
DEMO [map 3/R1] Thong Lor Soi 10 (next to Funky Villa) | BTS Thong Lo | 02-711-6970 | 8pm-1am | free Easily the grittiest discoteca in the swish Thong Lor area is Demo: a squat former tenement building turned graffiti daubed brick warehouse. Featuring a terrace and bar outside, and lots of dark corners inside, not only does it look like a venue you’d find in East London or some other hipsterville; it sounds like one, too: instead of the usual mainstream hip-hop and live-bands, Demo’s DJs blast zeitgeisty nu-disco, house and electro through a kicking soundsystem.
เดโม ทองหล่อ ซ.10 Funky Villa [MAP 3/R1] Thong Lor Soi 10 | BTS Thong Lor 08-5253-2000 | 6pm-2am The name Funky Villa conjures images of roller-blading babes in bikinis, all partying at a Hugh Hefner-owned villa in the Med. The reality’s different. Steer your way through the fairground-sized car park, past the BMWs and chic lounge-deck area, and you’ll hit a swish one-storey house, more posh than funky. Some of Bangkok’s gilded youth chill on sofas and knock pool balls around in the front room; but most hit the fridge-cool dancehall to boogie away the week’s woes to live bands and hip-hop DJs. Forget about edgy sounds – here it’s all about getting down with the CEOs of tomorrow.
ฟังกี้ วิลล่า ทองหล่อ ซ.10 GLOW [Map 3/G5] 96/4-5 Sukhumvit Soi 23 | BTS Asok/MRT Sukhumvit | 02-261-3007 | www.glowbkk.com 6pm-1am This boutique club / bar challenges Bangkok’s biggies when it comes to delivering innovative music from the world of underground electronic pleasures. An intimate, stylish cave is decked out in dark walls, funky seating, innovative lighting and a dramatic bar. The music palette changes
6th Floor, Aloft Hotel, Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 082308-3246 | daily 9pm-3am | www.levelsclub.com One of the newest clubs on Soi 11 (along with Bash) is drawing big crowds, especially during weekends and international DJ flyins. Located in the front annex of the Aloft Hotel, directly opposite Bed, entry is via a lift. Step out of it and you emerge out on to a semi-open air terrace lit by a glowing bar. Our favourite spot: the banquettes with a birds-eye view down over the soi. The rest of the club hasn’t made such a big impression on us, yet. At the far end of the huge main room, a DJ spins mainly house music in front of a tiered danceflooor spotted with tables and podiums. Dancers step up to get the crowd going. There’s also a low-ceilinged room at the back that opens up later. On Thursdays ladies get 3 free drinks, and Fri-Sat there’s a free bar until 11pm for B500, but the biggest reason for its success appears to be the lack of an entry fee.
เลเวลส์ รร.เอลอฟท์ แบงคอก สุขุมวิท ซ.11 ROUTE 66 [Map 8/Q12] 29/33-48 Royal City Avenue | MRT Phetchaburi www.route66club.com B200 foreigners incl. drink / free for Thais Rammed with hordes of dressed-to-kill young Thais on most nights of the week, ‘Route’, as it is affectionately known, is RCA’s longest surviving superclub. There are three zones to explore (four if you count the toilets – probably the ritziest in town), each with its own bar, unique look and music policy. ‘The Level’ is the huge, alllasers-blazing hip-hop room; ‘The Classic’ spins house and techno; and Thai bands bang out hits in ‘The Novel’. Route is not a good place to lose your friends but can be a blast if you all get crazy around a table, be it inside or out on the big outdoors area. One sore point: unlike the locals, foreigners are charged a B200 entry fee (but get a free drink).
รูท 66 อาร์ ซี เอ TAPAS [Map 5/J5] Silom Soi 4 | BTS Sala Daeng/MRT Silom 02-632-7982 | www.tapasroom.net | 8pm-2am On the groovy little enclave of Silom Soi 4, Tapas is a party institution and one of the few mixed hang-outs on a heavily gay strip of lively bars and clubs. For more than A P RIL 2 0 1 3 | 8 3
there’s more room to dance and more lounge space, especially at QUP, the more downtempo upstairs area. Some relative solitude and a pick ‘n’ mix of the expat and jetset scene can usually be found up here and on the outdoor terrace, which is perfect for a breather, people watching and a late evening snack. Ladies get free entry on Wednesday nights – and two free drinks!
คิว บาร์ ถ.สุขุมวิท ซ.11 q bar
10 years it’s been pumping out excellent house music and live, bongo-bangin’ percussion sets as well. Multi-levelled, with a dark, Moroccan feel, it’s easy to chill here, whether lounging or dancing your tail off! Weeknights are very quiet, but weekends are always hopping from about midnights onwards. And if it’s not, there’s the outside terrace: a good spot for cocktails and some of the best people watching in town. The tipples are mixed strong, and watching this soi’s comings and goings an eye-opening experience to say the least. The B200 entry fee on Fridays and Saturdays includes a drink.
ทาปาส สีลม ซ.4 THE CLUB [Map 7/F 5] 123 Khaosan Rd, Taladyod | 02-629-1010 www.theclubkhaosan.com | 6pm-2am B100 (incl one drink) The walk-in crowd of young Thais and backpackers must surely be amazed to find they’ve entered a techno castle on Khao San Road. The sky-high windows and raised central DJ turret lend a fairy-tale vibe, while the lasers, visuals and UV lighting hark back to mid 1990s psy-trance raves. Musicwise, it’s a loud, banging house serving up the full range of 4/4 beats, usually craniumrattling electro house and techno. The drink prices are kind to your wallet and UV glowsticks handed out for free.
เดอะคลับ ข้าวสาร Q BAR [Map 3/C4] 34 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | BTS Nana | 02-252-3274 www.qbarbangkok.com | 8pm-1am Long-standing, New York-style night spot Q Bar is well-known for pouring stiff drinks (there are over 70 varieties of top-shelf vodka!) and its strong music policy, with big name international DJs appearing regularly. Q Bar raised the ‘bar’ for Bangkok nightlife twelve years ago and is still going strong, with a flirty crowd every night and a recent top-to-bottom renovation giving the venue a maximalist style injection. Now, 8 4 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
hotel bars & clubs BARSU [map 3/F 6,7] 1st F, Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit 250, Sukhumvit Rd | 02-649-8358 | www. barsubangkok.com | 6pm-2am The informal yet sleek and minimally styled BarSu features the tagline ‘eat, play, dance,’ and appeals to the over-30 Bangkok crowd who feel disenfranchised by the city’s current nightlife offerings. To this end, there are five live bands for each night of the week. Comprised of students from Silpakorn University’s Faculty of Jazz, Tenon Round’ are a gifted young quartet who perform every Tuesday from 8 to 10pm. The other bands, JazzPlayground, P.O.8, Rhythm Nation and Hot Gossip, play from Wednesday to Saturday respectively. In between sets, the multi-talented DJ D’Zier spins an infectious blend of house, r&b, soul, latin and whatever else keeps you movin’. As well as creative cocktails (our pick: the tom yum yum - a cold cocktail version of the iconic hot and spicy soup), a ‘Night Bites’ menu of delicious premium finger food is also on hand to keep those energy levels up.
รร.เชอราตัน แกรนด์ สุขุมวิท สุขุมวิท 12 BEERVAULT [MAP 3/G9] Four Points by Sheraton, 4 Sukhumvit Soi 15 | BTS Asok/MRT Sukhumvit | 02-309-3000 www.fourpoints.com | 3pm-12pm Lower Sukhumvit is studded with Brit, Irish and Aussie pubs catering to beer lovers but ironically none can match the selection of this snazzy little hotel bar. Only 80 count ‘em paces from Sukhumvit Road, this snug glass and brick box with a colour-changing LED column dangling over its central bar, serves 48 bottled brews and six on tap (as well as wines and beer cocktails to keep the ladies happy). Most hail from Belgium, making the BeerVault the first serious downtown alternative to the ever popular Belgium beer bar Hobbs, over on Thonglor. Thanks to its street front location, it feels more approachable than your usual bleak
hotel bar, and as well as happy hours between 5:30-7:30pm, there’s a free salad bar and buy one get one free for the beer list.
รร.โฟร์พอยท์ส บาย เชอราตัน สุขุมวิท ซ.15 CM2 [map 4/D5] Novotel Siam Square, 392/44 Siam Square Soi 6 BTS Siam | 02-209-8888 | www.cm2bkk.com 10pm-2am The Novotel Siam Square Hotel’s subterranean party cave still packs them in sixteen years after it first opened, especially on weekends when it heaves with tourists and nocturnal beauties. The big and quite 1980s disco looking (black and metal and neon lighting rule) complex has lots of lounging space facing the dance floor, plus a sports bar with pool tables, smoking room, and an Absolut Vodka Lounge. It’s mainstream all the way. DJs play what the crowd wants, when they want it, usually the latest electro, funky house or hip-grinding R&B tune, while the live bands from Canada, Europe and Asia perform as if every song is a potentially lifechanging audition. Currently that includes the impressive Crush Crew, who perform their renditions of modern hip-hop, R&B and other charting hits daily except Tuesday from 10:45pm onwards. International / Thai food and a huge cocktail list are served, as is what they claim is Bangkok’s biggest pour – all drinks feature double shots for no extra charge.
รร.โนโวเทลสยามสแควร์ สยามสแควร์ ซ.6 ST REGIS BAR [map 4/G 7] 12th F, St. Regis Bangkok Hotel, 159 Rajadamri Rd BTS Ratchadamri | 02-207-7777 | www.stregis.com
Mon-Fri 10am-1am, Sat-Sun 10am-2am At 6:30 pm each day a butler struts out onto the terrace of The St. Regis Bar, a saber in one hand, a bottle of Moet & Chandon in the other. He then flicks at the collar until ‘pop!’, the cork flies off and bubbly spurts gently out onto the terrace. Come for this, stay for the view. Stretching along a plate bangkok101.com
sundown and enjoy watching the sun sink slowly behind it. Or come later, when amber floodlights make it glow against the night sky.
อรุณเรสสิเดนซ์ ซ.ประตูนกยูง ถ.มหาราช LONG TABLE [Map 3/H8]
glass window, the rectangle venue – with its suave masculine vibe, long bar, clubby sofas and high-ceilings – eyeballs the city’s Royal Bangkok Sports Club. It’s a lovely spot at sunset, even better on every second Sunday afternoon, when you can spy on the horseracing with a fine malt whisky in hand.
รร. เดอะ เซนต์ รีจิส กรุงเทพฯ ถ.ราชดำ�ริ
Bars with views Above Eleven [MAP 3/C4] 33rd Fl Fraser Suites Sukhumvit Hotel, 38/8 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | BTS Nana 02-207-9300 | www.aboveeleven.com | 6pm-2am A west-facing 33rd floor rooftop bar with beautiful sunsets, Above Eleven is a winning combination. The outdoor wooden deck bar with glass walls for maximum view has a central bar, dining tables, lounge areas and huge daybeds for parties to slumber on. Tip: choose a seat on the north side – it gets windy to the south. There’s a great view, an impressive cocktail list, an electro soundtrack with special DJ nights on Wednesday (Salsa), Friday (Hip Hop) and Saturday (House), and this is Bangkok’s only Peruvian restaurant, a cuisine with a bit of worldwide buzz. It will suit the adventurous.
เฟรเซอร์ สวีทส์ สุขุมวิท สุขุมวิท ซ.11 AMOROSA [Map 7/C12] 4th F, Arun Residence Hotel, 36-38 Soi Pratoo Nok Young, Maharat Rd (near Wat Po) 02-221-9158 | www.arunresidence.com 6pm-1am Amorosa is a sultry, Moroccan-style balcony bar offering balmy river breezes, sour-sweet cocktails and a so-so wine list. The showstopper though is the view: perched on the roof of a four-storey boutique hotel, guests gaze out from its balcony terrace onto the Chao Phraya River and Wat Arun, the stunning Temple of Dawn, on the banks beyond. Go before bangkok101.com
25th F, 48 Column Bldg, Sukhumvit Soi 16 BTS Asok/MRT Sukhumvit | 02-302-2557-9 www.longtablebangkok.om | 11am-2am Top-end Thai food isn’t the only thing that draws Bangkok’s nouveau riche to this impossibly swish restaurant-cum-bar. There’s also the trend-setting twist: a sleek communal dining table so long it makes the medieval banquet bench look positively petite. However, it’s what happens at the end of the room that propels this place deep into the nightlife stratosphere. Where the long table ends, a tall plate glass window and huge poolside patio, complete with bar, begins. Out here, 25 floors up, you can glug signature ‘long-tail’ cocktails or new latitude wines with the best of high-flying Bangkok: a glitzy hotchpotch of celebrities, models and power players; hairtousling breezes; and – best of all – widescreen city vistas. A Sukhumvit high point.
อาคารคอลัมน์ สุขุมวิท ซ.16 MOON BAR [Map 5/K,l8] 61st F, Banyan Tree Bangkok, 21/100 South Sathorn Rd | 02-679-1200 www.banyantree.com | 5pm-1am This is one place that will get you closer to the moon. The open-air bar lets you take in the urban Moloch from up-above in smart surroundings. With stunning 360° views, the hotel’s rooftop has been turned into a slick grill restaurant; one end is occupied by the bar. Nothing obstructs your view here, almost 200 metres high up. It’s the perfect spot for honeymooners – take a seat on the smart sofa stations, sip on a classy Martini or a yummy signature cocktail and feel romance welling up. For voyeurs, the telescope and binoculars come in handy. Glamour girls and unwinding business guys feel right at home here, too. Stay until the wee hours, nibble on sophisticated snacks, take in the light jazz – and never ever forget your camera.
รร.บันยันทรี ถ.สาทรใต้ NEST [Map 3/C4] 9th F, Le Fenix, 33/33 Sukhumvit Soi 11 BTS Nana | 02-305-4000 www.lefenixsukhumvit.com | 5pm-2am An all-white and urbane open-air oasis on the ninth floor of the sleek Le Fenix Hotel, Nest is a loungey and laid-back spot on
weekdays and early evenings, with couples enjoying signature martinis and upmarket nibbles from the comfort of Thai-style swing beds and Nest-shaped rattan chairs. But on weekends, a more up-for-it crowd ascends, especially during special party nights. These include MODE, a shindig every second Saturday of the month that pumps hip-hop and house beats rather than the usual smooth Balearic sounds. What are the views alike? With buildings looming above you, not below you, here you feel part of the cityscape rather than detached from it.
เลอฟินิกซ์ สุขุมวิท ซ.11 PHRANAKORN BAR [map 7/G6] Soi Damnoen Klang Tai, Ratchadamnoen Rd. 02-622-0282 | 6pm-1am Only a five minute walk from Khao San Road, multi-level Phranakorn Bar is an old favourite of local art students and creatives, mostly for its indie/80s/90s worshipping playlist and mellow trestle-and-vine rooftop offering splendid views, over old-city rooftops, towards the floodlit Golden Mount temple. The booze and Thai food is cheap, as is most of the modern art hanging on the second floor. Tried to find it before but failed? You wouldn’t be the first. From the Burger King end of Khao San Road, turn right onto Ratchadamnoen, right again and it’s down the first soi on your left hand-side.
พระนครบาร์ ซ.ดำ�เนินกลางใต้ ถ.ราชดำ�เนิน RED SKY [Map 4/F 3] 56th F, Centara Grand at CentralWorld Rama 1 Rd | BTS Chit Lom / Siam | 02-100-1234 www.centarahotelresorts.com | 5pm-1am Encircling the 56th floor turret of CentralWorld’s adjoining Centara Grand Hotel, the al fresco Red Sky offers panoramas in every direction. Just before sunset is the time to come – plonk yourself down on a rattan chair or oversized daybed and wait for the lightshow to begin. When daylight fades and the city lights up like a circuit-board, a live jazz band kicks in and A P RIL 2 0 1 3 | 8 5
Bangkok takes on a glam cosmopolitan aura. Upscale bar snacks like slowcooked baby back pork ribs and martinis, cocktails and wines are on hand to keep you company while your eyes explore the scenery. It’s not cheap, but the daily happy hours (buy one get one drink on selected wine, beer and cocktails from 5pm-7pm).
รร.เซ็นทาร่าแกรนด์ แอทเซ็นทรัลเวิลด์ ถ.พระราม 1 The Speakeasy [MAP 4/J6] Hotel Muse, 55/555 Lang Suan Rd 02-630-4000 | www.hotelmusebangkok.com 6pm-1am One of the newest al fresco rooftop bars, The Speakeasy has several sections, all radiating from the Long Bar, which you enter from the elevator. As the name suggests, the complex evokes the glamour of Prohibition Era USA, with fusion Deco details, mirrored wall panels and carved wood screens. Everything’s distressed, the parquet floors unvarnished – it’s a well-oiled joint with a warm, lived-in feel. On the wooden deck Terrace Bar people fill the lounge areas and tall tables that hug the classical balustrades overlooking Lang Suan. A long international snack menu stands out for decent portions at reasonable prices; spirits (from B 270) include luxury cognacs and malts; wines are B300-B600 a glass, while cocktails (from B 290) include home-made vodka infusions.
รร.โฮเทล มิวส์ ซ.หลังสวน SKY BAR / DISTIL [map 5/C5] 63rd F, State Tower, 1055 Silom Rd 02-624-9555 | www.thedomebkk.com 6pm-1am Among the world’s highest outdoor bars, Sky bar – attached to Med restaurant Sirocco – offers panoramic views of the city and river below, earning its popularity with visitors new to the City of Angels and those intent on rediscovering it. Indoor-outdoor Distil boasts a roomful of comfy sofas, 8 6 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
beyond premium liquor and The Dome’s signature breathtaking view. Adjacent to Asian seafood eatery Breeze, Ocean 52 sports yet another stunning view from the 51st – 52nd floors. These places are definitely not spots for the casual beach bum, so be sure to leave your flip-flops and shopping bags at home – a strict smart casual dress code is enforced.
nice selection of beer (the Framboise Ale at B250 is delightful), Heineken for just B135, and custom cocktails cost you B230. Keep your eyes peeled for the whisky and cigar lounge: a room hidden off to the side of the staircase. With muted green brocade on the walls, low leather couches, and Johnnie Walker in glass cases, this space is available for private parties or chill sessions.
BARS THE ALCHEMIST [map 3/e8] 1/19 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | BTS Nana 083-549-2055 | Facebook: thealchemistbkk Tue-Sun 5pm-midnight Fitting somewhere between Soi 11’s swank cocktail bars and the rickety dive bar aesthetic of the legendary Cheap Charlie’s, which it neighbours, The Alchemist is a stylishly stripped down drinking hole. Nothing more, nothing less. We approve, and so too, it seems, do the punters. Not only does it attract the spillover from Cheap Charlie’s, it also draws a loyal crowd of its own, who savour the intimate atmosphere, occasional live music, proper his and her toilets (Cheap Charlie’s are infamous for their dinginess) and, above all, drinks prices. Currently rocking the drinks list are assorted martinis (dry, passionfruit and espresso), classic cocktails, random shooters, and some of the best mojitos you’ll find on this end of Sukhumvit.
ดิ อัลเคมิส สุขุมวิท ซ.11 Apoteka [map 3/e8] 33/28 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 090-626-7655 www.apotekabkk.com, Facebook: ApotekaBangkok | Mon-Thurs 5pm-1am, Fri 5pm-2am, Sat-Sun 3pm-midnight As you may have guessed, the name is based on an outdated word for pharmacist and the place is meant to emulate a 19th century apothecary. Unsurprisingly, it has an old-school feel. There are high ceilings, red brick walls and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde being projected onto the wall. Indoor seating is a mix of tall tables with studded chairs, and long tables for larger groups along the main wall. Large cases filled with vintage colored bottles of medicine flank the bar. The outdoor seating is mellow – a wooden patio with some cozy furniture that could be a nice place to curl up on a date or meet some friends for a smoke and a beer. Drink selection includes a
Badmotel [MAP 3/R6] 331/4-5 Soi Thonglor | 02-712-7288 5pm-1am | facebook.com/badmotel The name Badmotel may conjure up something kitsch and grimy but, in fact, this three floor bar and restaurant is extremely sparsely decorated and painted a bright white, giving it the feel of a pre-decorated house. The top two floors can feel a little lacking in atmosphere, but the ground floor’s buzzing bar and tree-lined garden make a very pleasant spot to sip on the venue’s ‘Creation Cocktails’, all B220. The imaginative drinks menu includes locally inspired must-tries like the Hahaha Martini (made from Ketel vodka, homemade chilli liqueur, galangal, cumin powder and pickled grapes), Teenager’s Iced Tea (made using traditional Thai tea with four sprits and liqueur) and the Never Say Never (a rumbased cocktail served with Thai dessert condiments).
แบดโมเท็ล ทองหล่อ ซ.15 BREW [map 3/Q6] Seen Space, Thonglor Soi 13 | BTS Thonglor 02-185-2366 | www.brewbkk.com Mon-Sun 4pm-2am It wasn’t so long ago that the beer selection here was comprised entirely of the ubiquitous local lagers and the Heinekens and Carlsbergs of this world. The fact that it doesn’t anymore is largely thanks to Chris Foo, the owner of this beer bar tucked away on the ground floor of Thonglor Soi 13’s happening mini-mall Seenspace. Depending on what time of year it is, Brew stocks between 140 and 170 bottles of ales, lagers, ciders, you name it. Currently, the setting in which you sip them is hip in Thonglor circles. That’s not so much down to Brew’s tiny interior, with its exposed piping and bar flanked by kegs of beer and brick walls, as the buzzing outdoor area it shares with futuristic cocktail bar Clouds and the nautically-themed Fat’r Gutz. Due to Thailand’s head-smackingly high import duties, most bottles hover around the B240-260 mark.
ซีน สเปซ ทองหล่อ ซ.13 bangkok101.com
CAFÉ TRIO [map 4/H6] 36/11-12 Soi Lang Suan | BTS Chit Lom 02-252- 6572 | 6pm-1am, closed on second and fourth Sun of the month Cafe Trio is just about the only bar worth seeking out on Lang Suan Road. Tucked down a narrow alley just off the upmarket residential street, this cozy jazz bar & art gallery is a welcome alternative to Bangkok’s raucous pubs and haughty lounge bars – a true neighbourhood place. Cafe Trio overflows with plush couches, the lighting delightfully soft, the music always subdued. The vivacious owner and bartender Patti holds court nightly and has plastered the walls with her Modiglianiesque, Vietnamese inspired paintings – have a few drinks and don’t be surprised to find yourself taking one home. To find it, look for the Chinese restaurant across from Starbucks and head 50m down the road.
คาเฟ่ทริโอ ซ.หลังสวน CHEAP CHARLIE’S [map 3/D6] Sukhumvit Soi 11 | BTS Nana 02-253-4648 | Mon-Sat 5pm-midnight This joint is a Bangkok institution, bringing the charm of a rickety hole-in-the-wall bar to one of Sukhumvit’s swankiest Sois. A no-brainer meet-up spot, Cheap Charlie’s draws crowds of expats, NGOers and tourists in-the-know to fill up on B 70 beers and pocket-change G&Ts before heading off to eat and party – though don’t be surprised if you end up here all night. Its location is a winner, situated as it is on a cool little sub-soi (first on the left as you walk down from Sukhumvit) packed with restaurants and a short walk from hallowed Bangkok gin-palaces Q Bar and Bed Supperclub.
ชีพ ชาร์ลีย์ ถ.สุขุมวิท 11 (ซอยแรก) CLOUDS [Map 3/Q2] 1st F, SeenSpace, 251/1 Thong Lor Soi 13, (Sukhumvit Soi 55) | BTS Thong Lo 02-185-2365 | www.cloudslounge.com The third bar by Australian Ashley Sutton – the mad scientist of Bangkok’s bar scene – is, as we’ve come to expect, something entirely unexpected. Evoking a future where ‘there are no more natural resources’, this slim concrete shell at the rear of hip lifestyle mall SeenSpace has a living tree encased in glass in one corner, and concrete blocks, topped with lumps of translucent leafencasing acrylic, for tables. Vodka-based cocktails (B 280) by New York mixultant Joseph Boroski are prepped by ‘NASA technicians’ in white overalls; and the food offerings tasty misshapen pizzas, cooked bangkok101.com
Boroski to create 16 unique cocktails (B285 each), all named after famous WWII shipwrecks. This nautical theme loosely ties in with the short menu, from which the most popular dish is, of course, the fish ‘n’ chips (B320 for one person, B600 for two).
แฟท กัซ สุขุมวิท ซ.55 FIVE Gastronomy & Mixology [MAP 3/O9]
in a gas-oven behind the bar and served in steel trays. A lively crowd-puller with indoor and outdoor seating, the result is enjoyably bizarre: think space-station drinking hole.
คลาวด์ โครงการการซีสเปซ ซ.ทองหล่อ 13 ESCAPADE [MAP 7/E3] 112 Pra-Artit Rd, Pranakorn 08-7363-2629 | Tue-Sun noon-midnight www.facebook.com/escaburgersandshakes Unlike most bars in the Khao San Road area, the owners of this bohemian holein-the-wall, Khun Karn and Khun Van, are the sorts of locals you might actually strike up a conversion with. Karn, a former bartender at the Shangri-La and Mandarin Oriental, mixes creative, tasty and strong cocktails to order for only B140-B200. Tell him your wildest alcohol-sodden fantasies and he’ll deliver you the tipple of your dreams in minutes. Van, meanwhile, rustles up lip smacking bar grub: hot dogs buried in jalapeno peppers and sizzling bacon; baskets of honey-glazed deep-fried chicken, etc. Perhaps the most memorable thing about Escapade, though, are its proportions: you have to squeeze past strangers to enter, a quirk which makes it more intimate than most.
เอสกาเพด เบอร์เกอร์ แอนด์ เชค ถ.พระอาทิตย์ FAT GUT’Z [map 3/Q2] 264 Soi 12, Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thong Lor) 027-149-832 | www.fatgutz.com | 6pm-2am This sleek saloon is packed nightly with beautiful people, there to listen to live blues, indulge in carefully crafted drinks, and, perhaps, catch a glimpse of its in-demand owner, Ashley Sutton, the Australian behind the legendary Iron Fairies. Unlike his first bar, Fat Gut’z displays a less obvious sense of whimsy – here, the random fittings and industrial decor are replaced by straight lines and black-coloured, modern furnishings. It all feels rather serious, until you open the drinks menu. Sutton brought in master New York mixologist Joseph
Room 103, K Village, Sukhumvit Soi 26 BTS Phrom Phong | 088-524-5550 www.facebook.com/fivebkk | daily 6pm-1am Five brings a welcome wand blast of gothic whimsy to K Village, an otherwise aesthetically uninspiring community mall. Its owner, Pattriya Na Nakorn, invited bar entrepreneur Ashley Sutton to work his magic with a vacant plot on the ground floor. And, completing her dream team is Joseph Boroski, the same New York based cocktail ‘mixologist’ that Sutton uses. His bars always engage the day-dreamy part of your brain and this black magic themed one is no different. Think clanking pulleys, monumental iron piping and flickering candles. Indeed, even the staff look like they’ve stumbled off the set of Harry Potter. Creepily-monikered eats include fried bat wings (herb-coated chicken wings). And Boroski potions worth necking include the Prescription Brandy Suzerac: a strong, earthy mix of Italian brandy, lime, honey and cinnamon served in a small poison bottle. It’s not cheap, but Five casts an intoxicating spell.
ไฟว์ เควิลเลจ สุขุมวิท 26 Grease [MAP 3/P8] Sukhumvit 49 | 02-662-6120 5pm-1am | facebook.com/greasebkk This new four-floor bar is so new that nobody seems to have discovered it yet. On entry, be prepared for every member of staff to find out how you heard about the venue. Once you get over the feeling you’ve gatecrashed someone else’s party, it’s easy to feel at home. Each floor has its own theme, from Amy Winehouse, the sleek wine bar and restaurant to Cry Baby, the casual lounge floor where the walls are lined with pop art pics of babies crying and the tables stacked with Kerrang magazine. The other floors include a roof top bar and a club with low-ceilings carpeted in blinking LEDs. The floor-of-choice seems to be Cry Baby, the only level with other guests the night we visited. While the atmosphere is relaxed and the dubstep and reggae beats are sure to put you in a chilled out state of mind, the drinks prices could ruin your buzz; signature A P RIL 2 0 1 3 | 8 7
walls, clubby chairs and a large central bar, where snacks like beer battered popcorn shrimps and baby back ribs glazed with chocolate and chilli go well with fancy, custom-made cocktails or Belgian ales.
แอนธินีเรซซิเดนซ์ ซ.ร่วมฤดี MARSHMALLOW [map3 / C5]
cocktails, such as the Biscuit & Butter (Pamparo rum, butterscotch liqueur, Malibu, pineapple juice, lemon and vanilla syrup) are a staggering B340 while classics and house pours are B260.
กรีส สุขุมวิท 49 HOUSE OF BEERS [map 3/r6] Penny’s Balcony, Corner of Sukhumvit 55 (Thong Lor) and Soi 16 | BTS Thong Lo 02-392-3513 | 11am-midnight If you fancy something that suits your palate a little more than the limited selection of Thai beers, there are ubiquitous, crowded “Irish” and “British” theme pubs or several sprawling German beer gardens around town. But the most varied and numerous quality beers in the world are brewed in Belgium – and it’s been that way since Belgian monasteries started doing so in the Middle Ages.House of Beers, in the corner of Penny’s Balcony on Thong Lo, offers all sorts of them, from pale ales, like Leffe Blonde and Hoegaarden, to esoteric, doubly fermented specials, like Kwak, plus fruit beers. The liquid refreshment also comes augmented by Belgian fries and Tapas-style bar snacks, like steamed mussels in various sauces. It’s all served up a Euro-style café, which although petite, is decorated with woods and warm colours.
เฮาส์ออฟเบียร์ หัวมุมซ.ทองหล่อ 16 HYDE & SEEK [Map 4/L5] 65/1 Athenée Residence, Soi Ruamrudee BTS Phloen Chit | 02-168-5152 | 11am-1am www.hydeandseek.com This stylish downtown gastro bar is a deadringer for those chic London haunts that draw the after-work crowd for pickmeup cocktails and good food that doesn’t break the bank. Heading the kitchen is Ian Kittichai, the brains behind the successful Kittichai restaurant in New York, while the bar is helmed by the boys behind Flow, the cocktail consultancy that inspires much drunken fun around the region. The sleek, Georgian-influenced décor has paneled 8 8 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
33/18 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | BTS Nana | 02-254-1971 Facebook: Marshmallow | 11 am-1 am Occupying the corner building where Sukhumvit 11 turns left towards Q Bar, this gastro bar has a raised terrace that wraps around its perimeter, beside tall steel and glass doors that are fully retractable. Dark wood-planks line the walls and pillars; there’s a metalwork-backed bar; and a bohemian touch, bird cage lamps, dangling over the tables at one end. Cocktails come in at a very reasonable B190; champagne and sparkling cocktails B 220; local beers B90. “Food was never meant to be the focus,” the partner Fred Jungo, a resident DJ at nearby Bed Supperclub, told us. However, judging by the dishes we tucked in to – a bright and fresh haloumi cheese salad, a slab of Australian tenderloin with mash and boiled veg (B 550) – it could become their forte.
มาร์ชเมลโล่ สุขุมวิท ซ.11 Moose [MAP 3/S3] Ekamai 21 | 02-108-9550 facebook.com/moosebangkok Tucked away behind Tuba and up a shabby looking staircase, Moose is one of the most talked about new bars in the city. The same team behind Cosmic Café and Sonic have revamped this warehouse-sized space into the latest retro-inspired hipster bar. Brick walls, a small tree here and there, flickering candles and an alarming number of mounted animal heads create a relaxed, living-room-esque ambience. A DJ spins unobtrusive tunes while authentic and delicious Thai food, such as salted pork neck (150 baht) and southern style curry (B160) ensures the bar consistently draws a young, local crowd who know their food. Cocktails are just as appealing. The refreshing Smirnoff vodka-based Melon Cooler and the fresh mango and Tanqueray gin-based Yellow Submarine is thick like a smoothie and strong, like any great cocktail.
มูส เอกมัย 21 TUBA [Map 8/S14] 34 Room 11-12A, Ekkamai Soi 21 | 02-711-5500 www.design-athome.com | 11am-2am Owned by the same hoarders behind furniture warehouse Papaya, Tuba is a
Bangkok classic: room upon room of haphazardly arranged kitsch, all of which you’re free to skulk through at your leisure. Some come here to snag a comfy sofa, retro sign or goofy tchotchke. Others come for the big menu of Italian and Thai dishes tweaked for the local palate. But for us, it works best as a bar, as the setting and generous happy hours (buy one get one free between 5-8pm daily) mean there really are few cooler places to kick back with a sweet cocktail in hand (or two hands in some cases – the glassware can be that big!). A word to the wise: one glass too many and you may leave with more than you bargained for. Another caveat: smokers are allowed to puff away.
ทูบา ถ.สุขุมวิท 63 (เอกมัย 21) SHADES OF RETRO [Map 8/s14] Soi Tararom 2, Thong Lor | BTS Thong Lo 081-824-8011 | 3pm-1am Hipster attic, here we come – Shades of Retro is a hidden Thong Lor spot awash in neo-nostalgia and stuffed with vintage furniture, vinyl records, old rotary telephones. A combo furniture storecafé,Shades provides a quiet hangout for the writer/designer/artiste crowd by day, funpeople-watching at night, and nice jazz at all times. Curl up on a nubby couch, flip through a Wallpaper* magazine and soak up the atmosphere, which flirts with being too ironic for its pants. A cool, friendly crowd and bracing cocktails or coffee served up with popcorn humanizes the hip, thankfully.
เฉดส์ ออฟ เรโทร ซ.ธารารมย์ 2 ทองหล่อ Spot On Beach Bar & Lounge [MAP 3/R6]
139 Thonglor Soi 10 | BTS Thonglor 082-488-0169 | www.facebook.com/ SpotOnBeachBar | Mon-Sun 5pm-2am Spot On attempts to recreate the charms of a laid back beach bar right in the heart of Thong Lor. The concept – some may call it a gimmick – is that of a sun-downer bangkok101.com
bar beachfront bar, complete with sandcovered floor. Other seaside-y touches include decking, tables that double up as tanks, chilled out music and some overenthusiastic fans which, if you close your eyes, could well be a coastal breeze ruffling your ‘do (don’t panic, there’s air con, too). Patrons are welcome to kick off their shoes and slip on a pair of the bar’s flip flops or simply sink their toes into the fine white sand near the bar. Or, if you don’t fancy that idea, you can enjoy the beach vibe from the comfort of the decked area, where you can sink into a sofa in the open air section overlooking the street below. The extensive menu, showcased on iPads, includes some experimental and tasty options such as Mango Daiquiri, Spice Me Up (a not-very-spicy mix of vodka, triple sec, chilli and brown sugar) and The 7 Deadly Sins (tequila, gin, vodka, contreau, cognac, peppermint, sparkling wine and pineapple juice). Cocktails start at B220 and, though very tasty, do err a little on the weak side – even those on the ‘Hangover Tomorrow’ list.
สปอต์ ออน ทองหล่อ ซ.10 WONG’S PLACE [Map 8/L17] 27/3 Soi Sri Bumphen, Soi Ngam Duplee, near Malaysia Hotel | MRT Lumpini 02-286-1558 | Mon-Sat 10pm-late It’s amazing how Wong’s Place stays in business. It’s not near any public transport; opens when it wants, closes when it wants; plays crackly videos from Top of the Pops in 1985; has a couple of serve-yourself beer fridges and is not much bigger than a living room. Yet it attracts a fiercely loyal crowd of expat journalists, English teachers, hipsters, creative Thais and professional barflies who have been coming here for years and regard owner Sam as a kind of benevolent dictator, knowing better than to take advantage of the beer fridges honour system. Come before midnight and it’s usually pretty dead (the Wong’s Place at the wong time?). Come after the other bars close – it’s a mere hop skip and a jump from Silom – and watch the night unfold.
วองส์ เพลส ซ.งามดูพลี WTF [Map 3/Q6] 7 Sukhumvit Soi 51 | BTS Thong Lor 02- 626-6246 | www.wtfbangkok.com Tue-Sun 6pm-1am – gallery from 3pm This tiny shophouse – signposted by graffiti on a corrugated tin wall in the street opposite – has a bar on the ground floor, decked out with mirrors along one wall, old Thai movie posters on the other, and found items like wooden screen doors and bangkok101.com
chairs. It works. The Thaifarang owners (an art manager, hotelier and photographer by trade) have made a good fist of cocktails (from B130) with rye whiskies and unusual bitters in the mix, while plates of tapas consist of Thai and Euro choices such as Portuguese chorizo and feta salad. Expect occasional live gigs, art exhibitions upstairs and a mix of indie hipsters, journos and artscensters to chew the fat with.
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LIVE MUSIC ADHERE the 13TH [Map 7/G3] 13 Samsen Rd (opposite Soi 2) 089-769-4613 | 5pm-midnight Funky, jammy, bare – one of Bangkok’s coolest hangouts is nothing more than an aisle packed with five tables, a tiny bar and instruments. It’s a joint you’d expect to find on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, except forthe Chang beer. North of Khao San Road (ask for ‘Ad Here’, once in the quarter), this down-to-earth, bohemian hang-out packs ’em in nightly. On weekends, young Thais, expats and tourists spill out on the sidewalk when the joint is jumpin’. The resident band churns out cool blues, Motown and Janis Joplin; Georgia, the city’s only true Blues Mama, has a voice and figure to match, and would never sing Hotel California.
แอดเฮีย 13 ถ.สามเสน บางลำ�ภู COSMIC CAFE [Map 8/Q12] RCA Block C | Rama IX Rd | MRT Rama 9 The rebel in RCA’s ranks, Cosmic Café serves up a mixed diet of sonic eclecticism in a grungy, open-sided corner bar with outdoor seating and a small dance floor. On one night you might the place jumping to a rare live performance by mor lam legend Dao Bandon, on another a house band dishing out some surf guitar, ska, electronic or blues. The edgiest joint on the block, it draws a lively, musically discerning crowd, from skinny jeaned artschool hipster types to teddy boy expats. An insider’s must.
คอสมิค คาเฟ่ อาร์ซีเอ Le Bar de l’Hôtel [Map 3/G9] Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, 189 Sukhumvit (btw Soi 13-15) | 02-126-9999 | BTS Nana Daily 11am-midnight Hotel lobby bars are as safe and predictable as Justin Bieber. Which makes the Sofitel Sukhumvit’s introduction of Chai, one of Bangkok best blues guitarists, particularly welcome. And neither have they stuffed him
in a suit. Dressed in jeans and T-shirt, his shaggy ZZ Top beard on full display, Chai throws the sleepy cool of Howling Wolf. And when he cranks up the guitar it sounds like grating steel. For these gigs, running every Friday and Saturday, Chai calls his band the Blues Delivery, a seven piece line up of guitar/vocals, sax, trumpet, bass, drums, keyboards and percussion. The only thing missing from a traditional blues night is the grungy venue. Le Bar is hotel chic: an intimate 38-seat venue with a laid back vibe and slouchy sofas and cushions.
โซฟิเทล แบงคอก สุขุมวิท THE ROCK PUB [Map 4/C2] 93/26-28 Radchatewee, Phaya Thai Rd, (opposite Asia Hotel) | BTS Ratchathewi www.therockpubbangkok.com | 9:30pm-2 am If Def Leppard, Aerosmith or Wayne and Garth were in town you’d find them reliving the glory years here, at Bangkok’s very own Castle of Rock. A tacky faux-turret exterior, visible from the Ratchatewi BTS Station, makes you wonder what kind of weird, 1980s theme-park ride you’ve stumbled on, while inside local metal bands sporting Brian May hairdos and crotch-hugging jeans thrash out note-perfect renditions of everything from Black Sabbath to Sweet Child O’Mine and Motorhead’s Ace of Spades. Fans of the extended drum interl ude or lightening fast guitar solo will not be disappointed – or able to resist doing the Devil’s Horn.
เดอะ ร็อคผับ RAINTREE PUB [Map 8/K10] 116/63-34 Soi Ruamjit, Rang Nam Rd BTS Victory Monument | 02-245-7230, www.raintreepub.com | 5pm-1am This rustic Thai ‘country’ bar is a sort of all-wooden, pre-consumerist age timecapsule. Raintree hosts musicians playing Pleng Peua Chiwit (Songs for Life), the once phenomenally popular 1970’s folk protest music and soundtrack for Thailand’s politically disaffected. On a stage decorated A P RIL 2 0 1 3 | 8 9
with the movement’s trademark buffalo skulls, two artists strum nightly: a longhaired singer croons plaintive songs at 8:30 pm, a grizzled band steps up at around 11 pm. Owner Porn Pimon opened Raintree 19 years ago and has changed little since. And why should she?
เรนทรีผับ ซ.ร่วมจิต ถ.รางน้ำ� SAXOPHONE PUB [Map 8/K10] 3/8 Phaya Thai Rd | BTS Victory Monument 02-246-5472 | www.saxophonepub.com 6pm-2am Just a stone’s throw from the Victory Monument Skytrain Station, this cozy, unpretentious place is a Bangkok landmark when it comes to solid live jazz and blues. Attracting youngish Thais and the odd foreigner, the spacious joint can pack up to 400 people on its homey, low-ceilinged, woodfilled floors. Each night, two talented Thai bands belt out sincere jazz, jazzy funk and R&B while the crowd feasts on hearty Thai and Western fare. All the local live music scene greats have played here and many still pop by when they can.
แซ๊กโซโฟนผับ ถ.พญาไท TAWANDAENG GERMAN BREWERY [MAP 2/E11] 462/61 Rama III Rd, Yan Nawa district 02- 678-1114 | www.tawandang.co.th The one place that every taxi driver seems to know, this vast, barrel-shaped beer hall packs in the revelers nightly. They come for the towers of micro-brewed beer, the Thai, Chinese and German grub (especially the deep-fried pork knuckle and sausage), and, not least, the famous Fong Nam houseband. It’s laidback early on, but by 10pm, when the Thai/Western pop, luk krung and mor lam songs are at full pelt, everybody is on their feet and the place goes bananas.
โรงเบียร์เยอรมันตะวันแดง พระราม 3
Jazz clubs BAMBOO BAR [Map 5/B4] The Oriental Bangkok | 48 Oriental Ave 02-659-9000 | www.mandarinoriental.com Sun-Thu 11am-1am, Fri-Sat 11am-2am This Bangkok landmark is a symbol of past glories of the East. Situated in one of the city’s most sophisticated hotels, the 50-year-old bar oozes class, sophistication and style. Reminiscent of a tropical film noir-setting, it features a jungle theme – bamboo, palm fronds and furry patterns. Small and busy, it’s never theless romantic 9 0 | A P RIL 2 0 1 3
Le Bar de l’Hotel
and intimate – balanced by the legendary Russian jazz band that’s been on the stage here for ages. Monday through Saturday nights catch the sultry sounds of their current resident songstress, Cynthia Utterbach. Everybody’s sipping on faultless cocktails, mixed by skilled old-school bar tenders and served by a superb staff. Ideal for a boozy night on your honeymoon.
รร.โอเรียลเต็ล ถ.โอเรียลเต็ล Brown Sugar [Map 7/J5] 469 Phrasumen Road | 089-499-1378 www.brownsugarbangkok.com | 6pm-1am Little over a month after it closed down, one of Bangkok’s oldest cosiest jazz venue was back with a new, bigger location near Khao San. Now a restaurant and coffee house by day, it morphs into a world-class, jazz café-style haunt where renditions of bebop and ragtime draw an audience of locals and visitors by night. Its exterior is impressive, resembling a ritzy old cinema house. And inside, it’s huge, with a daytime coffeeshop up front, a versatile 200-seater ‘Playhouse’ upstairs, and the big, open-plan jazz pub and restaurant out back. Six house bands fill up the week, and on the last Friday or Saturday of each month they showcase an international act that’s passing through.
บราวน์ ชูการ์ ถ.พระสุเมร DIPLOMAT BAR [Map 4/K7] Conrad Bangkok, 87 Witthayu Rd | BTS Ploen Chit | 02-690-9999 | www.conradbangkok.com Sun-Thu 6pm-1am Fri-Sat 6pm-2am An architecturally striking hotel bar, mixing a funky, stylish décor with soft teak sofas and an arresting chandelier hanging over the massive round bar. Bronze silks and wood dominate this dark, contemporary, but always relaxed place. A boozy, highprofile crowd fills the Diplomat Bar nightly, especially during the elongated, buyoneget-onefree Happy Hour from 4-7pm (standard drinks only). It’s very hip among the diplomatic corps (Witthayu is stuffed with embassies), trendy guys in suits and
glitzy society ladies – ideal for peopleogling. But the main attraction here is more aural than visual and exceptional jazz acts are de rigueur.
รร.คอนราด ถ.วิทยุ THE LIVING ROOM [Map 4/F6] Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, 250 Sukhumvit Rd BTS Asok / MRT Sukhumvit | 02-649-8888 www.thelivingroomatbangkok.com | 9am-12am Perhaps the cosiest of all Bangkok’s luxury hotel bars, the leather couches at The Living Room are so snug it’ll be hard to get up again once you’re seated. It’s a stylish place, and the usually middleaged patrons live it up on great wines, champagne and strong cocktails in a quiet way. The high-ceilinged foyer offers perfect acoustics for the fabulous jazz band. Be prepared to be well-entertained. World class talents are booked in continuously, guaranteeing top-notch jazz and always a warm audience rapport. Currently, pianist Randy Cannon and his trio play Wed-Thurs (9:15pm-midnight); The Cannon Brothers Friday-Sunday; trumpeter Steve Canon and his band play Mon-Tues (9:15pm-midnight), and pianist Tim Hedges plays with his trio Mon-Sat 6pm-8:45pm.
รร.เชอราตันแกรนด์ สุขุมวิท Niu’s on Silom [Map 5/E5] 2nd F, 661 Silom Rd | 02-266-5333 www.niusonsilom.com | 5pm-1am This New York-style lounge – with its hot jazz, old leather armchairs and roses on candlelit tables – has a house band with some of Bangkok’s better local talent. They provide the backbone for various international acts who perform regularly. There’s also a jazz jam every Sunday and occasional concerts featuring established overseas visitors. Niu’s is a class act, but still casual, comfor table for beers or brandy; and you can eat bar snacks or dine formally in the impressive Concer to Italian restaurant upstairs.
นิวส์ ออน สีลม บ้านสีลม bangkok101.com
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tube gallery Words by Gaby Doman
available at: Siam Centre [MAP 3/D4]
ans of Tube Gallery are no strangers to a little art-fashion crossover but this season’s collection has gone a step further with a collaboration with Bangkok-based Belgian artist, Christian Develter, who’s known for his pop art style and bold use of colour. The spring summer collection, Chin:Unmasked is inspired by a series of paintings, Chin, Urban and Tribal, by Develter that depict the Burmese Chin tribe. The designers and artist agree the collaboration was a natural one, thanks to a mutual interest in Asian culture and a strong colour palette. Wallflowers might want to look away but for those who want to make a statement, the heavily embellished necklines, extensive use of butterfly prints and of the Chin face tattoo patterns and striped fabrics – worn by the tribe and integrated into the collection – make for some head-turning outfits. The stand-out pieces of the collection include a top printed with one of Develter’s portraits of a tattooed Chin woman. While that may seem eye-catching enough, the design duo behind the label, Phisit and Saxit, have gone one further and printed it on a heavily structured top with voluminous hips, creating a fun silhouette. A figure-hugging purple dress with gold mirrored panels that make up the intricate pattern of the Chin face tattoo packs a powerful punch, while a striped matte-sequinned sarong-style skirt is another choice piece from the tribal-influenced collection. But, if the thought of dressing like a walking, talking canvas isn’t your style, the collection also includes a few more wearable pieces. While you won’t be slinging any of the clothes on with a pair of jeans, there are some more subdued evening dresses to choose from. The tattoo design is used to great effect to create a structured 1930s-style bustiere effect on several of the dresses. But, despite this classic silhouette, the use of lapis lazuli blue, pillar box red and punchy purples, as well as the beading work on any of the pieces, means that even the simple pieces never look anything but ultra modern.
3rd Floor | Rama I Rd | 02-658-1108
Siam Paragon [MAP 4/D5] 1st Floor | Rama I Rd | contact via Siam Paragon www.tube-gallery.com
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unique boutique unique boutique
magine yourself walking through a desolated tract with a searing heat sapping away your strength – what more could one wish for other than a life-saving oasis to build up your crumbling vitality? The urban oasis and eco-friendly shopping community Rain Hill on Sukhumvit Road 47 promises to be such a safe haven for the innercity dwellers and hardcore shoppers of Bangkok. Once you’re inside this fertile ground, one can stumble upon many quirky shops at the back of this lifestyle sanctuary. Its clean architectural design is complemented by refreshing water features throughout and Rain Hill also houses a tiny shop called Apostrophe’S. This eccentric store offers a variety of exclusive items, which are carefully selected, arranged and brought over from Japan, Korea and designed by product-designer and shop owner Chanida Oradeedonseth. Apostrophe’S holds a diverse collection of stationery, cups, clothing, pillows, bags and other peculiar exclusive stuff one can pick up for an affordable price. Despite its size, the shop has plenty of eye goodies that won’t bore. Apostrophe’S has plenty to offer and will surely suit everybody with a preference for simplistic yet sophisticated taste. For those who are looking for a truly unique boutique in Bangkok during your shopping spree, don’t overlook this tiny treasure trove because you might miss out on an oasis in a desert. It’s within walking distance of BTS Phrom Phong so stop in to quench your shopping thirst and get out of the heat.
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Apostrophe’S [MAP 3/P10] Level 1, Rain Hill, Sukhumvit Soi 47 | 081-818-2336 Facebook: ApostropheS.BKK | Mon-Sun 10:30am-10pm bangkok101.com
Khlong Thom T
his city’s obsession with all things retro may be most in evidence at hipster markets like Talad Rot Fai and Ratchada, but Klong Thom is still the original Saturday night flea market. And arguably the source of the best bargains (many vendors at the former buy their vintage wares here). Its name means ‘landfill canal’, a reference to its location on the site of an old one that was paved over. Few can tell you exactly where it starts and ends, but roughly speaking the market occupies a square area boxed in by four main roads on the northern fringes of Chinatown: Luang, Worachak, Charoengkrung and Sieuh Pah. Come here on Saturday afternoon and you’ll find its already bustling, as there are many electrical appliance stores in the vicinity, but it’s not until 8 or 9pm that the second-hand side of things really gets going. While the outskirts are quieter, good to roam down, some alleys and sidewalks get clogged with bargain hunters waving flashlights (many know it as the flashlight market). You never know what you’re going to find here... Battered 1950s signage. Some beautiful teak gables salvaged from an old house. A pristine copy of Whitney Houston’s first LP buried in a box of obscure Thai folk and pop. Starwars figurines still in their original packaging. A banana shaped home telephone from the 1980s.
What really gives mass appeal, though, is its unpretentiousness. Unlike the other aforementioned Saturday night markets, Khlong Thom is not such a contrived hipster that it frowns on the knick-knacks and essentials the city’s down-home types actually need, like cheap underwear, shonky Chinese-made stereo equipment, or even a spare hose and nozzle for your toilet’s leaky butt-sprayer.
คลองถม Khlong Thom
Luang, Worachak, Charoengkrung and Sieuh Pah Roads 6:30pm-dawn every Saturday
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somnuk lamp This month’s JJ Gem started out selling old, King Rama V-era glass lamps to collectors at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang, the public green in front of the Grand Palace. But when demand for these illuminating antiques based on European or Moroccan designs outstripped supply, the owners moved into making reproductions instead. Today, Somnuk Lamp is where JJ-goers head to add an elegant, old-world glow and brassy finish to their home or business, with fauxantique, factory-made lamps of all shapes, patterns, hues and sizes dangling chaotically from its rafters. There are also freestanding table-lamps and wall-lamps on sale, as well as a selection of mock-vintage home decor items, like shelf brackets, mirrors, door knobs, brass fans and fully functioning gramophones. Local or international shipping is available, but only for wholesale orders.
somnuk lamp JJ Market : Section 1, Soi 36/1 lock 146-147 084-015-3273 | www.jrdlamp.com
Forget designer malls. Jatujak weekend market is Bangkok’s true paragon of retail. This is shopping as survival of the fittest: only those with finely tuned consumer instincts shall persevere. The rest can go and get lost – literally aking a wrong turn’s almost a given in this sprawling, city-sized marketplace, upon which thousands descend every weekend, to trade everything from Burmese antiques to pedigree livestock. Originally a flea market, Jatujak (also spelled as Chatuchak) quickly outgrew the confines of the insect world to become much more than the sum of its disparate parts. These days, young Thai designers take advantage of the low onsite rent to punt their creative wares; if you so desire, you can peruse piles of customised Zippos that once belonged to American GIs; and tasty pickings conveniently punctuate every which way. Additionally, the exotic pet section particularly supports the theory that Jatujak has evolved its own diverse eco-system (albeit one that periodically gets busted for obviously illegal activites). All this can be a bit overwhelming at first, but persevere and a semblance of order should begin to crystallise from the chaos. Go in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the worst of the heat and the crowds. Or come for a leisurely browse on Friday before the real deluge hits; although only the weekend gig gives ardent shopaholics the fully-blown, unadulterated Jatujak fix.
ตลาดนัดจตุจกั ร bangkok101.com
> The Jatujak market of Bangkok Amber House Books | hardcover | B1,950
The Jatujak Market of Bangkok presents photographer Simon Bonython’s visual inter pretation of Bangkok’s world-famous weekend market, giving particular emphasis on candid snaps of the general public and the characters who work there. In spite of the dark alleys and typically poorly lit stalls, Simon avoided using a tripod or flash, making for spontaneous, natural shots that capture the heat, buzz and colour of this labyrinthine treasure trove. A P RIL 2 0 1 3 | 9 7
WELLN ESS PALM HERBAL RETREAT
MULBERRY SPA [MAP 5/C 5] 346/10 Silom Rd | BTS Sala Daeng /MRT Silom | 02-630-9888 | mulberryspa.com | 10 am – 10pm | $$$
Despite its labyrinthine layout, this often booked-out spa still feels quite intimate. The lush reception is only the beginning– seated in the neat ‘library’, you won’t mind waiting. Spread over two floors, each homey room (they all come with their own shower) is dotingly styled in a different way but an Arabian vibe and appealing ornaments pervade throughout. The owners take a refreshingly different approach to service: therapists are not chosen for their looks but for their skills. The range of treatments is limited but all the essentials are there. You get way more than you’ve paid for – the prices are quite low for the high-quality massages masks, scrubs and facials.
มัลเบอร์รี่สปา สีลม PALM HERBAL RETREAT [MAP3/Q 1] 522/2 Thong Lo Soi 16 | BTS Thong Lo | 02-391-3254 | www.palmherbalspa.co.th | 10am – 10pm (last appointment 9pm) | $$
Although warm and inviting, with large, clean, finely decorated rooms,
Leyana Spa 98 | april 2013
the interior of this small spa deep in Thong Lor won’t strike anybody as extraordinary. What will strike you is the innovative menu with an Ayurvedic slant (which a lot of other spas have copied) and the therapists’ expertise. The retreat’s facials and massages are the crowd pullers. You’ll feel relaxed after a Four Elements Aroma Massage but nothing beats their Palm Ayurveda Massage, an invigorating blend of Thai and sports massage that is truly effective. After you’ve tried one of these, you’ll be ready for one of the retreat’s well-priced packages.
ปาล์มเฮอร์บัลรีทรีท ทองหล่อ ซ.16 LEYANA SPA (MAP 3/P6) 33 Thong Lo 13 | Soi Torsak, Sukhumvit 49 | 02-391-7694 | www.leyanaspa.com | MonFri 11am-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-10pm | $$
Tucked away in a warren of residential roads near the Japanese enclave of Thong Lor, this, boutique massage retreat combines a clean, contemporary design with an extensive menu of massage, facial, and body treatments. Choose from a range of massages – including Thai, aroma, warm oil, hot stone, Balinese or Leyana’s Back Revival – to get those kinks out. Most of
the spa’s simple yet elegant treatment rooms feature private Jacuzzis, and the traditional Thai-style herbal steam rooms (think one-person teepees) are a must. Just relax and concentrate on your rejuvenation or detox. Owned and operated by a young Thai woman who is mindful of the details, Leyana is well worth the effort of getting to. Thankfully, the spa offers a complimentary shuttle service from Thong Lo BTS station.
ลียาน่าสปา ทองหล่อ ซ.13 Crystal Spa [MAP8/T18] 1541 Sukhumvit Rd | BTS Phrakanong | 02-382-2244; 02-382-445 | www. crystalspathailand.com | 10 am – 10 pm | $$
Clamber down the steps of BTS Phrakanong station’s exit 3 and you’ve pretty much arrived at this small inner-city spa. If you’re a regular in these parts you’ll know Crystal’s look well – lots of warm-toned woods and muted silks, staff with orchids in their tied-up hair, low-lit corridors that make you feel sleepy before you’ve even taken your shoes off. Thai massages are done in quasi-public but thick curtains guarantee some privacy, while foot massages are administered in ultra-comfy upholstered armchairs. Compact treatment rooms come with telephone cubicle herbal steamers and hydrotherapy baths, good for relaxing your aching muscles pre-rub. As well as body and facial treatments, manicures and pedicures, lots of inexpensive packages are offered. Our ruling fave: the slightly kinky/painful-sounding but utterly dreamy Aroma Hot Candle Massage. คริสตัลสปา ติดกับรถไฟฟ้าพระโขนง Spa costs $ :: under B600 $$ :: B600-B1,000 $$$ :: B1,000-B2,000 $$$$ :: B2,000+ bangkok101.com
HEAVEN waits at the Banyan Tree A
t the Banyan Tree Hotel Spa, your luxuriant experience begins long before you make it to the massage table. The live band in the lobby plays gentle blues, helping to slowly empty your head of the day’s problems – or at least begin the process. Then it’s up to the spa on the 21st floor for a serving of iced tea while you choose from a laundry list of treatments. Once you’ve decided, you descend a spiral staircase and make your way through a forest of translucent, glowing bamboos before arriving at your own massage quarters. While your feet are cleansed, you choose which oil you would like to be used. That’s if you are having an oil massage, of course. Each oil has its own distinct benefits – it’s hard to go past the bergamot oil for its soothing pick-me-up qualities. A Thai Classic massage combines the authentic Thai massage with the application of oil. The treatment begins with a gentle stretching process, loosening the body before the next hour spent in a dreamy haze. The warm oil smoothed over your back dissolves the tension and any tenderness caused by slowly those disintegrating knots is remedied instantly by the sweet, fragrant smell of bergamot. With every soothing stroke and blissful inhalation, it won’t be long before you’re floating away to what feels like heaven.
รร.บันยันทรี ถ.สาทรใต้ banyan tree
21/100 S Sathon Rd | 02 679 1052 www.banyantree.com | 10am-10pm daily bangkok101.com
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comm u nit y
Find a furry friend:
Adopt a pet from the streets
arely do we find unconditional love beyond our immediate family but animals are a different matter. They are a wonder in their willingness to share unconditional love for you and require only a little care. Imagine the difference you could make to the lives of the homeless, stray animals of Thailand – and your reward would be a love that lasts a lifetime. Stray dogs – or ‘Soi dogs’ as they’re known in Bangkok – have always been a tricky issue to manage. Anyone who has explored Bangkok has no doubt been confronted by these dogs poking about the city’s nooks and crannies. Many Thais mistakenly regard soi dogs as pests, and 100 | a pril 2013
it is hard to alter the entrenched prejudices about these animals needing shelter. In an attempt to deal with the issue of stray animals and reduce the car accidents they have a habit of causing, many organisations have been set up to round up these furry friends and find them temporary homes. The Soi Dog Foundation (SDF) is one such group. A non-profit charitable organisation in Thailand, with branches in other countries, SDF looks after the unwanted stray dogs and feral cats of Asia, ensuring a no-hassle process when it comes to adoption. Whether you’re looking for a kitten, puppy or mature dog, the SDF houses at least 200 of these furry animals bangkok101.com
of all sizes – all in search of a good home. Even if you’re not living in Thailand for long, that’s not a problem, as SDF facilitates adoption internationally. The logistics of moving an animal abroad, such as blood testing and overseas transportation, will be taken care of by the organisation. It is as easy as the local adoption process. The SDF ensures that all shelter animals undergo a thorough medical check-up and have been sterilised and vaccinated. So instead of snagging a random stray dog from of the street or buying one from your local pet store, why not adopt one of these guys? If you’re in the market for a new pet, you’re most probably keen on a healthy young puppy or feline that you can train and care for from the very beginning. Perhaps the idea of having a stray animal who is injured or troubled sounds like a heavy burden. But there’s no reason to leave these underdogs behind. True, they may need that little extra ounce of patience but they can still become a perfect companion. Email email@example.com or simply log on to their website www.soidog.org and you can view the photos.
soi dog foundation Email firstname.lastname@example.org | 081 788 4222 www.soidog.org bangkok101.com
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victory monument Photographer : Walid Penpan 102 | april 2013
RAIL SKYTRAIN (BTS) The Bangkok Transit System, or BTS, is a two-line elevated train network covering the major commercial areas. Trains run every few minutes from 6 am to midnight, making the BTS a quick and reliable transport option, especially during heavy traffic jams. Fares range from B 15 to B 55; special tourist passes allowing unlimited travel for one day (B120) are available. BTS also provides free shuttle buses which transit passengers to and from stations and nearby areas. www.bts.co.th
SUBWAY (MRT) Bangkok’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is another fast and reliable way to get across town. The 18-station line stretches 20 kms from Hualamphong (near the central railway station) up to Bang Sue in the north. Subways run from 6 am to midnight daily, with trains arriving every 5 – 7 minutes. The underground connects with the BTS at MRT Silom / BTS Sala Daeng, MRT Sukhumvit / BTS Asok and MRT Chatuchak Park / BTS Mo Chit stations. Subway fares range from about B15 to B 39. www.bangkokmetro.co.th
Airport Rail Link A 28 km long monorail links the city’s main international airport, Suvarnabhumi, with three stops in downtown Bangktok and four stops in the eastern suburbs. Trains run from 6am to midnight every day and follow two lines along the same route. The City Line stops at all stations (journey time: 30 minutes) and costs B1545 per journey. The Express Line stops at downtown stations Makkasan (journey time: 13-14 minutes, trains leave every 40 minutes) or Phayathai (journey time: 17 minutes, trains leave every 30 minutes), the only one that intersects with the Skytrain. One-way Express Line tickets cost B90 while roundtrip tickets are available at the promotional fare of B150 as part of a drive to increase passenger numbers. http://airportraillink.railway.co.th bangkok101.com
RIVER CANAL BOAT Khlong Saen Saep canal boats operate from Phan Fa Leelard bridge, on the edge of the Old City, and zip east to Ramkhamhaeng University. However, you have to be quick to board them as they don’t usually wait around. Canal (khlong) boats tend to be frequent and cost around B 9 to B19. Tickets are bought onboard. Note that the piers are a little hidden away, which makes them sometimes difficult to find.
EXPRESS RIVER BOAT Bangkok’s vast network of inter-city waterways offer a quick and colourful alternative for getting around the city. Express boats ply the Chao Phraya River from the Saphan Taksin Bridge up to Nonthaburi, stopping at some 30 main piers altogether. Fares range from B 9 to B 32 depending on the distance, while tickets can either be bought on the boat or at the pier, depending on how much time you have. Boats depart every 20 minutes or so between 5:30 am and 6 pm. Cross-river services operate throughout the day from each pier for just B 3.
BUS Bangkok has an extensive and inexpensive public bus service. Both open-air and air-conditioned vehicles are available, respectively for B 5 and B 7.50 – B 23. As most destinations are noted only in Thai, it is advisable to get a bus route map (available at hotels, TAT offices and bookshops).
MOTORCYCLE TAXI In Bangkok’s heavy traffic, motorcycle taxis are the fastest, albeit most dangerous, form of road transport. Easily recognisable by their colourful vests, motorbike taxi drivers gather in groups. As with tuk-tuks, fares should be negotiated beforehand.
TAXI Bangkok has thousands of metered, air-con taxis available 24 hours. Flag fall is B 35 (for the first 2 kms) and the fare climbs in B 2 increments. Be sure the driver switches the meter on. No tipping, but rounding the fare up to the nearest B 5 or B 10 is common. Additional passengers are not charged, nor is baggage. For trips to and from the airport, passengers should pay the expressway toll fees. When boarding from the queue outside the terminal, an additional B 50 surcharge is added.
TUK-TUK Those three-wheeled taxis (or samlor) are best known as tuk-tuks, named for the steady whirr of their engines. A 10-minute ride should cost around B 40, but always bargain before boarding. Beware: if a tuktuk driver offers to deliver you anywhere for B 10, it’s part of a setup that will lead you to an overpriced souvenir or jewellery shop.
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Map 1 Greater Bangkok A
Greater Bangkok & the Chao Phraya Map 2 >
Nakhon Ratchasima c
Pattaya CAMBODIA Koh Samet Koh Chang
NAKHON RATCHASIM A
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
PATHUM THANI 5
Gulf of Thailand
BANGKOK f a
CA M BODI A CHON BURI
Rayong Hua Hin
PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN 10
Gulf of Thailand
M YA N M A R
Prachuap Khiri Khan
20 km 20 miles Country Border Boarder Crossing Province Border
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Bang Krachao b Rose Garden Riverside c Samphran Elephant Ground & Zoo d Ancient Siam (Muang Boran) e Safari World f Rama IX Royal Park
floating Markets Damnoen Saduak 2 Amphawa 1
Erawan Museum 2 House of Museum 3 Thai Film Museum 4 Museum of Counterfeit Goods
night bazaar 1
Asiatique The Riverfront [free shuttle boat from Sathorn pier everyday 4.00-11.30 pm.]
Nightlife 1 2
Parking Toys Tawandang German
Hotels 1 Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort and Spa
Don Mueng Int. Airport
Royal Irrigation Dept.
Khlong Sam wa
Royal Thai Army Sport Center
Chatuchak Bang Sue
Bangkok Yai Wongwian Yai
Khlong San *
Thon Buri 1
60th Anniversary Queen Sirikit Park
Krungthep Unico Kreetha Grande
Wang Thong lang
Khan na Yao
Prawet Yan 2 Nawa
Phra Khanong 4
Suan Luang Rama IX
Suvarnabhumi Int. Airport
Bang Khun Thian
PHRA SAMUT CHEDI
Gulf of Thailand
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Map 3 Sukhumvit Road A
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300 m 1 328 ft Canal Boat BTS Silom Line BTS Sukhumvit Line Subway Line Railway
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Conrad Bangkok Sheraton Grande 3 Seven 4 JW Marriot 5 Rembrandt 6 Four Points 7 Aloft Sukhumvit 11 8 Ramada Encore 9 Imperial Queen’s Park 10 Westin Grande Sukhumvit 2
Marriott Executive Markets Sukhumvit Park 4 Sukhumvit 12 Grande Centre Point Terminal 21 Arts & Culture 13 Sofitel Bangkok 1 Japan Foundation Sukhumvit 14 Le Fenix 2 Koi Art Gallery 15 Radisson Sukhumvit 3 Attic Studios 4 La Lanta 5 TCDC (Thailand malls Creative & Design 1 Robinsons Centre 2 Terminal 21 6 Nang Kwak 3 Emporium 7 WTF
The Pikture Gallery We*Do Gallery 10 RMA 9
14 35 31 38 39 26 2 15 7 32 29
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The Hanrahans The Pickled Liver
The Robin Hood The Royal Oak 15 The Londoner 16 Black Swan
Long Table Beervault 6 Diplomat Bar 7 The Living Room 8 Cheap Charlie's 9 Barsu 19 WTF 17 Alchemist 5
Club Perdomo The Iron Fairies 21 Clouds 22 Fat Gut'z 23 Shades of Retro 25 diVino 28 Le Bar de L'Hotel 29 W XYZ 30 Face Bar 31 Marshmallow 32 Oskar Bistro 33 Tuba 34 Sonic 35 Apoteka 20
Water Library Gossip Bar 38 Nest 39 Above Eleven 37
IR Iran LK
Qatar Ukraine NO Norway QA UA
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Map 4 Siam / Chit Lom A
5 Soi 3
Soi 31 Soi 33
Soi Lang Suan
Soi Nai Lert 15
Soi 2 Soi 3
Royal Bangkok Sports Club
Chulalongkorn University Area
Pathumwan Princess Novotel Siam 3 Siam Kempinski 4 Baiyoke Sky Hotel 5 Amari Watergate 6 Novotel Platinum 7 Grand Hyatt Erawan 8 The Four Seasons 9 The St. Regis 10 InterContinental 11 Holiday Inn 12 Swissôtel Nai Lert Park 13 Conrad Bangkok 14 Centara Grand at CentralWorld 15 Hotel Muse 16 Okura Prestige 2
200 m 1 000 ft Canal Boat BTS Silom Line BTS Sukhumvit Line Railway Airwalk Market
Arts & Culture 1
BACC – Bangkok Art and Culture Centre 2 Tonson Gallery
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Soi Ruam Rudi
Sarasin Lumphini Park
MBK Siam Discovery 3 Siam Center 4 Siam Paragon 5 Panthip Plaza 6 Platinum Fashion Mall 7 CentralWorld 8 Zen @ CentralWorld 9 Pratunam Center 10 Gaysorn 11 Erawan Plaza 12 The Peninsula Plaza 13 Amarin Plaza 14 Central Chidlom 15 All Seasons Place
Jim Thomson House Museum of Imagery Technology c Madame Tussads d Queen Savang Vadhana Museum e Siam Ocean World f Ganesha and Trimurti Shrine g Erawan Shrine h Goddess Tubtim Shrine b
Nightlife a CM2 b
Red Sky Bar Balcony Humidor & Cigar Bar d P&L Club e Café Trio f Hyde & Seek c
BR Brazil FI Finnland ID Indonesia KH Cambodia NL Netherlands NZ
QA Quatar UA Ukraine UK
US USA VN Vietnam
Shopping 16 17
Soi Lang Suan1
Soi 1 Soi 8
Soi Mahatlek Luang 2
Soi Mahatlek Luang 3
Phloen Chit 16
Soi Mahatlek Luang1
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Siam 16 Siam Square
c 10 11
Nai Lert Park
4 e 3
Soi Som Khit
Wat Pathum Wanaram
Soi Chit Lom
Soi Sukhumvit 1
Soi Ruam Rudi
Soi Kaesem San1
Soi Kaesem San 2
Rama I 5
Hua Chang Bridge
Phetchaburi Soi 18
Siam Square Pratunam Market
Silom / Sathorn Map 5 E
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Royal Bangkok Sports Club
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Suan Phlu Soi 1
Suan Phlu – Sathron Soi 3
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Sathorn Nuea Sathorn Tai Surasak King Mongkut’s University of Technology
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bars with views
a Threesixty The Peninsula 2 Millenium Hilton d Sky Bar 3 Shangri-La o Panorama 4 Center Point Silom p Moon Bar 5 Mandarin Oriental 6 Royal Orchid Sheraton Nightlife 7 Lebua at State Tower 8 Holiday Inn b La Casa Del Habano 9 Chaydon Sathorn c Bamboo Bar f Niu's on Silom Bangkok 10 Pullman Bangkok g Barley Bistro & Bar j Eat Me Hotel G 11 Le Meridien k Tapas 12 Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Pubs 13 Banyan Tree 14 Dusit Thani e Jameson's 15 The Sukothai h The Pintsman 16 Sofitel SO l Molly Malone's 17 W Bangkok m The Barbican n O'Reilly's
Arts & Culture 1
Serindia Gallery 2 Silom Galleria: Number 1 Gallery, Tang Contemporary Art, Taivibu Gallery, Gossip Gallery 3 H Gallery 4 Bangkokian Museum 5 Alliance Francaise
Robinsons 2 River City Shopping 3 Silom Village 4 Silom / Patpong Night-Market 5 Jim Thompson Store
AT Austria AU Australia BE Belgium
1 000 ft
CA Canada DK Denmark GR Greece FR France MY Malaysia MX Mexico
River Ferry River Cross Ferry BTS Silom Line Subway Line Market
MM Myanmar PT Portugal SG Singapore TW Taiwan
Sightseeing a b
Snake Farm M.R. Kukrit’s House a pril 2013 | 109
Map 6 Yaowarat / Pahurat (Chinatown & Little India ) A
Ba n D ok
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M it tr ph an
Ch aro en Ya ow a r at K r So
g j i1
Y So i 3
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Rama IV Y
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Hotels Grand China Princess Bangkok Shanghai Mansion 1
200 m 1 000 ft River Ferry River Cross Ferry Subway Line Railway Market
Arts & Culture 1
Chalermkrung Theatre Samphanthawong Museum 3 Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Centre 2
Princess Mother Memorial Park
1 Long Krasuang Market Wat Ratburana School 2 Ban Mo ( Hi-Fi Market) Wat Pra Phiren c Wat Bophit Phimuk 3 Pak Khlong Talat d Wat Chakrawat (Flower Market) e Wat Chaichana Songkhram 4 Yot Phimai Market f Wat Mangkon Kamalawat 5 Pahurat –Indian Fabric Market g Wat Samphanthawongsaram 6 Sampeng Market 7 Woeng Nakhon Kasem Worawiharn h Wat Traimit (Temple of (Thieves Market) 8 Khlong Tom Market the Golden Buddha) 9 Talat Kao (Old Market) 10 Talat Mai (New Market) Sightseeing a
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et i Ph pir
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Chinatown Gate at the Odient Circle
Map 7 Rattanakosin (Oldtown) A
Rama VIII Bridge
ha e Ka iC
ok noe Dam Rat
Chai Maha ng
Wo rach ak
Ch ak kr aw at
Wat Wat Bophit Chakrawat Phimuk
wat kkra Cha
Ya ow a
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Market Tot Phimai Market
Soi B an
Soi Mahannop 2
Unakan Siri Phong
Cha kph e Pak Khlong t
Ya i k ko ng Ba
So iW at Ka nla ya
Ma ha Ch an k
Ta l lo
Tri Ph e
g lon Kh
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Phahurat Ban Mo
Wat Arun (Temple of the dawn)
Phra Phi Phit
Museum of Siam
Bor iph at
at har Ma
Soi Sirip at
Trok Phan um
Soi Sa Song Soi Long Tha
Phan Fah Leelard
Soi Siric hai 2 Soi Siric hai 1
Ch ak ra Ph sem et
Soi Phra ya Si
i Sanam Cha
ng i Wa
Trok Sukha 2
Trok Ratchanatdaram Sin
Wat Phra Kaew
Ph ra Po kk lao
Na Phra Lan
ei Na Hap Pho
Trok hep T Sath hida ien Ram
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National Arts Gallery
Wat Chana Songkhram
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Khlong Bangkok Noi
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Pin ra Ph
Phra Pin Klao Bridge
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M Y B ANGKOK MY A N G KO K
Varin Sachdev Bangkok born and raised, although of Indian heritage, Varin is Thai through and through. Having worked in media as a news anchor and morning news broadcaster, he is one the most familiar voices on the airwaves. He also works as an MC for special occasions and knows Bangkok inside-out.
Best place for a drink? For cocktails I trust five-star or international chain hotels as they never go wrong on the mix of ingredients nor are they stingy on the liquor. Recent visits are Woo Bar at W Bangkok and Pisco Sour at the Above Eleven, Fraser Suites Sukhumvit Soi 11. Both venues are equipped with well-trained, entertaining and very educated bartenders. For wines, my all time favourite is Scarlet at Pullman G for they offer both reasonably priced wines and one of the best Bangkok skylines. Best place to eat out? As The Nomad’s host – that’s the travel and lifestyle segment on my news hour – I get to try out new venues in town, both by invitation and on my own. However, there’s this one place that has been around for decades and still thrives amid mushrooming competition around town: Chanpen Restaurant on Rama 4. Nicknamed “Chai-Ta-Lay” or “seashore”, this is our family’s regular eat out. The taste – they serve Chinese and Thai cuisines – the staff, the ambience and the service stay the same and are exceptional. 112 | april 2013
Best place to take visitors? I love organising a boat trip along Chaopraya river and Bangkok’s canals for my visiting friends and families every now and then. They all love it. We usually start with me fetching varieties of fish fresh from the market nearby, mostly by the number 108 to represent cosmic power, and then releasing them into the river, giving them back their lives before celebrating the beauty of Bangkok by the river.
called ‘Wang Wana’, a cafe by the lake overlooking Anatasamakhom Throne Hall. It’s breathtaking. The breeze, the moon and live Suntharaporn music (Thai Oldies) performed by diehard regulars just transport you to another era. An escape and a perfect hideaway in the city!
Best Place for nightclubbing? Bed Supperclub, Silom Soi 4 and private parties. The key is to dance like nobody’s watching.
Best place to shop? I was born in Phahurat, later known as ‘Little India’, but Sampheng is adjacent to it and is a wholesale market for everything you can imagine. So that’s me being impulsive. But I also lean toward air-conditioned malls that are connected to public transportation, like Central World and Paragon. Best place to relax? Dusit Zoo, especially this hidden gem
Best place for art? Bangkok’s Guggenheim, the BACC, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre at Pathumwan Intersection. Conveniently located, accessible through the sky train and with plenty of variety, be it art itself, music, cinema and events. I’m a big fan of its annual Cinema Diverse Series, showing rare art films from all over the world and the International Dance Festival. Best place for a real Bangkok experience? Markets! My most favourite and frequent visit is Pak Klong Talad, aka the Flower Market. It’s calmer during the day but gets crazier at night.
April issue of Bangkok 101.