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PUBLISHER’S LETTER

A

s you have no doubt noticed over the years, we like to get out and about in Bangkok. That said, even we need to head to the coast or break for the border occasionally, which is why this month we take a trip to the southern paradise of Phuket. For an in-depth look at this spark plug of an island, everything from its history and architectural heritage to hot new openings, turn to page 36. Meanwhile, even further from home, in a curtailed travel section we get to grips with the phallic mysticism and stunning scenery of one of Bhutan’s most remarkable regions. Of course, the capital also get’s a look-in with our usual round-up of the latest events and best places to wine and dine. Specifically, we get stuck into the mouth-watering meaty fare at recently-opened New York Steak and Burger on Sukhumvit 22, we marvel at the culinary skills of elBulli-trained chef Jacobo Astray, wax lyrical over the Tuscan cuisine at Lenzi and sip from the cup of wisdom offered up by winemaker Pascal Jolivet. On a more physical plane we visit an upcoming Chatujak venue for a kicking rock concert. All this and our 101 archive and extras can be found online at bangkok101.com. A couple of clicks is all it takes to keep in touch with what’s happening. If there’s something you feel we’re not covering but should, please drop us a line at info@talisman.asia.

?

WHAT IS BANGKOK 101 Independent and unbiased, Bangkok 101 caters to savvy travellers who yearn for more than what they find in 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.

Enjoy.

Mason Florence Publisher

B A NGKOK 101 PA R T N E R S

bangkok101.com

M A RCH 2015 | 3


CONTRIBUTORS

publisher

Mason Florence editor-in-chief

Dr Jesda M. Tivayanond associate publisher

Parinya Krit-Hat managing editor

Matt Wilde editor

Craig Sauers associate editor

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 traveller 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.

Award-winning writer JOE CUMMINGS was born in New Orleans and grew up in France, California and Washington, DC. Joe became one of Lonely Planet’s first guidebook authors, creating the seminal Lonely Planet Thailand guide. Joe has also written illustrated reference books such as Buddhist Stupas in Asia; Sacred Tattoos of Thailand; Muay Thai; World Food Thailand; Buddhist Temples of Thailand; Chiang Mai Style and Lanna Renaissance.

An American by birth, MICHAEL MOORE has spent over half of his life living overseas; first as an international school teacher and administrator and then as a freelance writer and editor. He has contributed to a variety of news and lifestyle publications, including Travel & Leisure, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and numerous inflight magazines. Although he covers a variety of topics, he particularly loves writing about food and wine.

Pawika Jansamakao editor-at-large

Joe Cummings art director

Narong Srisaiya graphic designer

Thanakrit Skulchartchai strategists

Nathinee Chen Sebastien Berger contributing writers

Gaby Doman, Keith Mundy, Nan Tohchoodee, Adam O’Keefe, Jim Algie, Marco Ferrarese, Laurence Civil contributing photographers

Dejan Patic´, Jatuporn Rutnin, Paul Lefevre, Ludovic Cazeba, Leon Schadeberg, Marc Schultz, Niran Choonhachat general manager

Jhone El’Mamuwaldi director sales and marketing

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.

AVAILABLE AT:

bangkok101.com

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. Her work appears in magazines, including Elle, Elle Decoration and GM .

Paris native LUC CITRINOT has lived in Southeast Asia for the past 12 years, first in Kuala Lumpur and more recently in Bangkok. A seasoned traveller, he writes about tourism, culture, and architecture. He was instrumental on a recent EU-endorsed project to establish the European Heritage Map of Bangkok and subsequent app covering all of Thailand. Luc still travels extensively in Southeast Asia, looking particularly for new architectural gems related to colonial and European history.

Itsareeya Chatkitwaroon

director business development

Willem Deenik

account executive

Orawan Ratanapratum circulation

Phichet Reangchit published by

Talisman Media Group Co., Ltd. 54 Naradhivas Rajanagarinda Soi 4, Sathorn Tai Rd, Yannawa, Sathorn, Bangkok 10120 T 0 2286 7821 | F 0 2286 7829 info@talisman.asia © Copyright Talisman Media Group Co., Ltd 2014. 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. S E P TM EM AR BC EH R 22001145 | 5


CONTENTS 38

46

42

30

CITY PULSE

46 thanyapura health

96 imbibe: a rebel with a

8 metro beat

& wellness: the rise of

cause

14 hot plates: lenzi’s

thanyapura

tuscan kitchen

50 resorts with csr:

16 making merit: dine in

resorts for good

the dark

54 dining and nightlife/ acqua, xana

SNAPSHOTS

56 chefs recommend:

18 tom’s two satang

the chef’s table

20 joe’s bangkok

62 photo feature: the

22 bizarre thailand

fabric of history

104

24 temples, historic buildings and museums

ART & CULTURE

NIGHTLIFE

72 exhibition highlights

99 nightlife news

TRAVEL

74 art interview:

100 review: live house

30 over the border: the

cinematic suburbia

studio

74

valley of the flying phallus

76 cheat notes

103 nightlife listings

81

PH U KET

FOOD & DRINK

SHOPPING

38 phuket top-to-

79 food & drink news

104 new collection:

bottom: tracing tin to

80 meal deals

senada spring-summer

tourism

81 restaurant reviews/

106 spotlight tailor:

42 hide-away beaches:

previews: minibar café,

fashion galleria

sands of solitude – in

okura, new york steak &

search of phuket’s

burger, jojo st. regis,

WELLNESS

hideaway beaches

el chiringuito

108 seasons spa

88 in the kitchen: jacobo astray

REFERENCE

89 eat like nym

112 maps

90 restaurant listings

120 my bangkok: woody milintachinda

ON THE COVER Panwa House, a beautiful colonial-style building now used as a restaurant at Cape Panwa Hotel, Phuket. 6 | M A RCH 2015

bangkok101.com


Perrier-Jouët Champagne Brunch The Fifty Five Surf & Turf Brunch Experience

1st Sunday of every month The Centara Grand at CentralWorld is proud to offer the country’s most celebrated and lavish Champagne brunches. Every first Sunday of the month on our 55th floor, we feature an extravagant Surf & Turf on ice buffet with delicacies, such as Main Lobsters, Phuket Lobsters, Crayfish, Deep Sea Tiger Prawns, Alaskan King Crab, Slipper Lobsters, Caramelized Kagoshima Sushi and four kinds of French Oysters. A caviar amuse bouche is served to your table and the roaming chefs offer , smoked salmon, Foie Gras & Sauterne, Bouchot Mussels, Wagyu Prime Rib, and more from the trolley to your table A free flow of a la carte specialties are freshly prepared to order. Brunch culminates with a wall of desserts from the walk-in wine tower, bottomless Perrier Jouët Grand Brut Champagne, Bellinis and wine. The Fifty Five’s First Sunday of the month Champagne Brunch is a must for discerning guests and visitors.

Baht 3,955++ per person 11.30 - 15.00 hrs Free flow of Perrier-Jouët Champagne and selected wines

999/99 Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan Bangkok,Thailand 10330 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL DINING RESERVATION centarahotelsresorts.com 02-100-6255 Email : diningcgcw@chr.co.th


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metro beat that melt into lilting, ambient refrains, although “Rave Tapes” offers an ironic allusion to Mogwai’s recent stylistic embrace of electronics. The show on March 13 will be held at Moonstar Studios (701 Soi Lad Prao 80, 0 2539 3881), a venue that’s practically tailor-made for the vast scope of the band’s music. Tickets are B1500 and available at all ThaiTicketMajor outlets. For more information, go to thaiticketmajor.com.

by Craig Sauers

ROCK & POP

Mogwai

FAIR

Incubus Incubus is back in Thailand, this time in Bangkok on March 11 at Thunderdome (Muang Thong Thani, 99 Popular Road, Pak Kret). The group rose to fame over a decade ago with chart-topping hits including “Pardon Me” and “Stellar.” They’re on tour in support of their latest album, which hasn’t been given an official title or release date yet. Tickets start at B1500 and are available from January 24 at all ThaiTicketMajor outlets. The show starts at 7pm, with doors opening an hour earlier. For more information, please contact 0 2262 3456 or check thaiticketmajor.com. Heartthrobs One Direction will make their long-awaited first appearance in Bangkok on March 14 at Rajamangala National Stadium (Ramkhamhaeng Road, Bang Kapi). The mega-group from the UK topped headlines in 2013 when their third album, “Midnight Memories,” debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. This made them the only band to date to have their first three albums accomplish that feat. Tickets start at B1800 for the 8pm show. For more information, please call 0 2262 3838 or visit thaiticketmajor.com. A musical 180 from One Direction, post-rockers Mogwai mark their return to Bangkok with a brand-new album, “Rave Tapes.” The Scottish quintet often eschew vocals for heavy guitar lines 8 | M A RCH 2015

The 43rd National Book Fair Between March 26 and April 6, bookworms of all ages will find their own personal paradise at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center (60 New Rachadapisek Road, Asoke). The 43rd National Book Fair and 13th Bangkok International Book Fair will present a variety of Thai- and English-language books united by the theme, “Reading maketh a full man.” The 2015 fair will be hosted by the Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand (PUBAT) and run from 10am until 9pm each day. For more information, please call 0 2229 3000. bangkok101.com


metro beat

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PERFORMANCE

Disney on Ice Go on a fantastic journey to faraway lands with the rollicking Dare to Dream presented by Disney on Ice. This will be a celebration of epic proportions, featuring the heart-warming stories of the princesses from Tangled, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Princess and the Frog, and Cinderella. Held from March 26-29 at Impact Arena (99 Popular Rd, Pak Kret), the timetravelling tale will light up the ice as Rapunzel, Snow White, Cinderella, Tiana, and Prince Naveen come together to make dreams come true. The show speaks to women and girls all over the world, according to the producers, which makes it unique even by Disney on Ice standards. Tickets range from B300 to B1500 for general admission, coming in at B2500 for rink-side box seats. Tickets are available from January 17 at all ThaiTicketMajor outlets. For more information, please contact 0 2262 3838 or log on to thaiticketmajor.com.

SPORTS themed shenanigans to Wonder World Fun Park (Ram Inthra Road) on March 28. You can assume the role of a survivor or a zombie, clearing various outbreak-related hurdles as you maneuver through the 5k course. The run doesn’t stop at the finish line, either. Expect chase scenes, music, and a dance party that will wake the undead. So pick up some fake blood from the store and invite all your friends, co-workers, bosses, and exes. Check facebook.com/rfylth for more information.

Run for Your Lives The zombie apocalypse rages in Bangkok. Part obstacle course, part music festival, Run for Your Lives brings its zombiebangkok101.com

On March 13, golfers of all abilities are invited to join the 20th annual Father Joe Maier’s Charity Golf Classic at The Royal Golf & Country Club (Bang Sao Thong, Samut Prakan). The best-two-ball scramble gets rolling with a shotgun start at noon. Entry costs B3900 per person and includes a buffet courtesy of Bourbon St. restaurant. Proceeds of the tournament will go to the Mercy Centre’s Human Development Fund, which serves children and communities in Bangkok’s slums by building schools, offering shelter, and much more. For more information, please call 0 2381 6801-3 or email info@bourbonstbkk.com. Space is limited, so sign up early. M A RCH 2015 | 9


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metro beat

FESTIVALS & PARTIES

big-name indie Thai bands Mad Pack It, Annalynn, and Kluay Thai, and another 16 emerging artists. The show starts at 3pm on March 6 at JJ Mall (588 Kamphaeng Phet 2, BTS Mo Chit). Tickets are B300 at the door and include one free drink.

MAYA Music Fest Another month, another massive music fest. This time, it’s MAYA. This huge party with an “electro-naga” theme will be held on March 7 at the 11th Infantry Regiment, King’s Guard, (Rab 11, Bangkhen), combining Eastern motifs with cuttingedge trends in Western electronic music. Already confirmed is headliner Steve Angello, one-third of the now defunct Swedish House Mafia. Other big names signed up include Markus Schulz and Vicetone. Tickets are B2500. Doors open at 4pm, with the show running past midnight. Search “mayamusicfest” on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, or visit mayamusicfestival.com, for more information.

Ebola Concert organizers Alternative Party have united a veritable who’s who of Thai rock bands for Paradise Fest 2015 at JJ Mall (588 Kamphaeng Phet 2, BTS Mo Chit). The festival gets rolling on March 14 at 3pm, with bands Ebola, Sweet Mullet, Retrospect, Lomosonic, Brand New Sunset, Mad Pack it, Kluay Thai, and Phongfod all hitting the stage in turn. Expect moshing, surfing, and circle pits. Tickets are B900 and include a free CD. Dress code is black in honour of the spirit of rock and metal. For more information, please call 061 414 5265 or chat up the organizers on Line at paradisefest.

CLASSICAL

Festival of India in Thailand On March 6, the Grand Millennium Hotel (Sukhumvit Road Soi 21) kicks off the Festival of India in Thailand with a grand opening night party. The festival, which runs through May, will celebrate Indian culture to the fullest with music, dance, art, literature, and fashion shows. Most of the events will be held at Chulalongkorn University. Some highlights include performances by singers Sonam Kalra and Raghu Dixit and dancer Daksha Seth; discussions led by writers Vikas Swaroop and Amish Tripathi; and an open-air “Holi bash” that will paint the town a rainbow of colours. The Embassy of India in Thailand and Teamwork Arts are organizing the festival in cooperation with Chulalongkorn University. For more information, please visit indianembassy.in.th. Anti-Hero and Singha Corporation present the Teen Spirit Music Fest. Billed as a party for those who love street art and (wait for it) have lots of teen spirit, the festival will bring out 10 | M A RCH 2015

Eri Nakagawa The Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra presents two nights of classical music that explore themes of death, love, and despair. Conducted by Alfonso Scarano and featuring solo pianist Eri Nakagawa, the concert kicks off with traditional Thai music, segues into Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4 in G Major Op.58, and crescendos with Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, a timeless portrayal of unrequited love. The show begins at 7pm on March 6 and 4pm on March 7. Both evenings include pre-concert talks scheduled to begin 45 minutes before curtain. The shows will be held at Prince Mahidol Hall at Mahidol University (25/25 Phuttamonthon Sai 4 Road). Tickets are B100-500. For reservations, please call 0 2800 2525-34 ext. 153-154 or visit thaiticketmajor.com. bangkok101.com


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metro beat

ON THE ROAD

ART

DJ Paul Harris XANA Beach Club (Angsana Laguna Phuket, 10 Mu 4 Srisoonthorn Road, Thalang) is celebrating its third anniversary exactly how it started: with DJ Paul Harris hitting the decks. The Grammy award-winning artist plunged into the industry as a member of Dirty Vegas, known for the hit “Days Go By.” Now, he’s bringing his eclectic style back to Phuket on March 7 for an all-night party. Tickets are B500 and available at XANA and all Laguna Phuket hotels and resort. The dress code is pink, a link to the cause that the party is promoting (a portion of the proceeds will go to breast cancer research). Anyone wearing pink will receive one free drink. For more information, please call 0 7632 4101.

Wat Phra Boromathat Chaiya Spend a weekend down south with The Siam Society for a two-day study trip. On March 7, Euayporn Kerdcouay, the senior consultant of The Siam Society, will lead guests on a tour of museums, temples, historical sites, and other places of interest in Nakhon Si Thammarat. The following day, travel to Chaiya and Surat Thani to explore these cities’ architecture, old religious centres, ports, and more. A contribution of B12650 per person (B13900 for non-members) will cover transportation, entrance fees to museums and monuments, and four meals. Those interested are requested to book a place as soon as possible, so that arrangements can be made. For more information, please call 0 2661 6470-7 or e-mail ekkarinl@siamsociety.org. 12 | M A RCH 2015

The Chalit Art Project and Gallery Enjoy travelling and photography? Then check out “How Are You Thailand?” on the 36th floor of the Pullman Bangkok Hotel G (188 Silom Road, 02 238 1991). This travel photography exhibition features crowd-sourced film shots taken by readers and followers of i use film and BAREFOOT Magazine. The exhibition opens on February 8 at 2pm with a special ceremony. The top 25 photos — separated into five categories: architecture, nature, people, culture, and food — will stay on display at the gallery until April 8. Thai artist Chalit Nakpawan is teaming up with Centara Grand at CentralWorld (Red Sky Lobby, Floor 23, Rama 1 Road) to raise funds for charity. Called The Chalit Art Project and Gallery, the exhibition will run from February 23 until April 23 while raising awareness and money for SOS Children’s Villages Thailand, a non-profit that supports rural children in need throughout Thailand. The gallery-style show will feature select pieces of work created by the artist’s child students. This occasion will mark their first public showing of any kind. For more information or a catalogue, please call 0 2100 1234 ext. 6753-56. From March 7 until April 26, the intimate Kathmandu Photo Gallery (87 Pan Road, 0 2234 6700) will host a brand-new photographic exhibition by emerging German artist Patrik Budenz. Titled 15 Minutes, the photos examine the nature of pain, triumph, and defeat through shots of Muay Thai fighters after they’ve exited the ring and retreated backstage. Monochrome and shot up-close, the portraits hide no secrets, bearing the battle-scarred warriors in moments of intense emotion and raw vulnerability. There’s an opening party on March 7 from 6.30pm to 9pm. The gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11am to 6pm. bangkok101.com


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hot plates

Lenzi’s Tuscan Kitchen By Joe Cummings

B

angkok’s Italian restaurants have long touted the cuisines of Rome, Naples, and Sardinia, and now Tuscany, the birthplace of the Renaissance, comes along with a nice surprise. Chef Francesco Lenzi hails from the Tuscan province of Pisa, where he started to show a talent for cooking in his grandmother’s kitchen at the age of 12. When a stint in Rome with the Italian film industry – which included a job with famed director Bernardo Bertolucci – didn’t pan out, Lenzi returned to his original passion and completed a professional chef’s training course in the Italian capital. He continued to train in restaurants in Rome and Tuscany before traveling to Thailand for a vacation, where by happy circumstance he walked into a position cooking for Swissotel. The young chef moved on to head the kitchen at highly acclaimed Opus Wine Bar, where his local fan base originally took hold. From there Hotel Muse invited Lenzi to start Medici, a new restaurant occupying the entire lower floor of the boutique hotel. While at Medici, Lenzi competed in the Thai edition of Iron Chef, which brought him to the attention of Thai gastronomes throughout the capital and beyond. In late 2014 the 35-year-old chef partnered his father to open Lenzi’s Tuscan Kitchen, where he found himself in complete control of everything from the décor to the wine cellar. With the help of an Italian designer, he has transformed a large 1970s-era residence on Ruam Rudee Soi 2 into a refined yet comfortable dining haven of understated elegance. A colour scheme alternating raw sienna and burnt sienna – originally mineral pigments named for the Tuscan province of Siena – combine with wood-plank floors, pillars and staircase to provide a warm, semi-traditional vibe. A lifelong movie fan, Lenzi says, “I want dining here to be a cinematic experience,” and to that end the restaurant’s spacious entry opens up with views of the bar, walk-in wine cellar, open kitchen, and dining areas to either side of the foyer. Lenzi sources many ingredients from his native Tuscany, including fresh white truffles from San Miniato, when available in October and November. All hams and salami come from Antica Norcineria, a farm and salumeria 14 | M A RCH 2015

founded by Lenzi’s grand-uncle in the Garfagnana region, just outside Lucca. Lenzi believes products from this farm include the best hams available in Bangkok. Keeping that in mind, the Tagliere del Lenzi (B420 to B790 depending on size), a wooden cutting board heaped with ham and salami from the family farm, is the best way to start a meal here. The contents vary from time to time but may include biroldo (blood sausage made from pig’s head and seasoned with wild fennel and other spices), prosciutto toscano (Tuscan-style ham dry-cured with sea salt, pepper and aromatic herbs) and mortadella con tartufo (sausage dotted with cubes of fat and truffle). Wedges of pecorino, Tuscany’s semi-soft aged sheep’s cheese, and parmesan (the only cheese served at Lenzi’s that doesn’t hail from Tuscany) come alongside. Another irresistible starter, Carpaccio de Branzino (B520), combines delicate slices of raw sea bass with pink pepper, smoked rock salt and mandarin orange. Moving into the pasta realm, the dish of homemade ravioli (B520) stuffed with rich foie gras and ricotta and coated in a creamy truffle emulsion is delightful. Risotto aficionados will also rejoice in slow-cooked carnaroli rice (B490) with parmesan, prawns, strawberry emulsion and 12-year-old balsamic. Agnello alla Rossini (B1290), medallions of lamb loin layered with San Miniato truffle and pan-fried foie gras, is easily the most sinfully exquisite main course on the menu. Meat-lovers may also enjoy Lenzi’s version of Florentine steak (B2400), a nicely grilled aged Australian T-bone served with roast potatoes. Pera Cotta Nel Forna (B280), pear halves poached in the wood-fired oven and served with a rich oval of chocolate gelato, makes for a decadent finish. The walk-in wine cellar at Lenzi’s offers over a hundred Italian labels, including three whites and three reds by the glass. L’Ino San Patrignano (B1900), a beautiful Tuscan red made with 100 percent cabernet franc is excellent, as is Casanova di Neri Rosso di Montalcino (B2300), a more traditional Tuscan chianti made with sangiovese grapes.

LENZI TUSCAN KITCHEN

[MAP 4/M6]

Ruam Rudee Soi 2 | 0 2001 0116 lenzibangkok.com | Mon-Sat 11.45am-2pm, 6pm -10.45pm

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J U N E 2014 | 15


Dine in the Dark Eating is a sensual experience. We revel in the appearance, smells, textures and tastes of the foods we consume. But what happens when we can’t see what’s on the plate before us? Or to put it another way, what happens when we dine in total darkness? MICHAEL MOORE

discovers for himself at BarSu, the chic gastro lounge at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit.


Making Merit

T

he Dine in the Dark experience, or DID as it is often called, was pioneered in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1999 by Jorge Spielmann, a blind clergyman. He developed the idea after guests who had dined while blindfolded at his home reported greater enjoyment of their meal through the senses of taste and smell. His initial restaurant was a rousing success and similar restaurants soon sprang up in major cities around the world. In Bangkok, BarSu at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit is offering the city’s foodies the chance to enjoy this unique sensory exploration. The hotel has entered into a relationship with Dine in the Dark, a group that employs bi-lingual, totally blind servers from local foundations as servers. For each person partaking in the experience, the hotel makes a contribution to the Foundation for the Blind in Thailand. Our evening started off with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in BarSu and then proceeded to a specially darkened dining room where we were met at the entrance by Kanie, our charming blind server for the evening. After leaving our mobile phones – and any other devices that could produce light – at the entrance, Kanie asked us to put a hand on the shoulder of the person in front of us. We were then led like a chain gang through a series of blackout curtains into absolute darkness. As we walked, we brushed against chairs and became very conscious of people talking and the occasional clink of cutlery striking plates. When we stopped, Kanie took our hands and put them on the back of our chairs. It was relatively easy to get into the chair, but once seated we all gingerly explored the table in front of us with our hands to search for the place settings. Once we discovered where plates, cutlery and glasses were located, we relaxed and started to talk about what we were experiencing. Our server soon reappeared and asked what we would like to drink. We decided to continue with the Sauvignon Blanc and all agreed it was more enjoyable in bangkok101.com

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the darkness. The flavour was fuller, or maybe ‘rounder’ is a better word; it was definitely more intense. Kanie then explained that we had a choice of four set dinners: Asian, Western, vegetarian, or ‘surprise’, but that we wouldn’t be told exactly what we had eaten until after the meal was completed. Oddly, we all chose Western. As soon we tucked into our appetizer, someone said ‘scallops’ and there was a murmur of general agreement. However, the accompanying vegetables were much harder to identify. The next dish was a soup, but again there was some trouble identifying the main ingredient. Consensus was for won tons, a decision arrived at not so much from the taste but from the shape and texture of the ingredients. The main course was more straightforward and all plumped for braised beef. Equally identifiable was a delicious dessert of chocolate bon bons filled with vanilla and accompanied by raspberries. Discussing and debating what we were eating not only made the meal fun, it forced us to concentrate on the food and consider taste, texture and aroma in greater detail. We were pleased to have identified most of what had been served and amazed at the items we couldn’t place – especially the shrimp in the won tons. When the evening began, most were convinced that dining in the dark was a fad, something that would soon go the way of the hoola hoop. But when we finished, all of us were almost sad to leave. It had been and interesting and educational experience, one that contributed to a worthy cause, and we all agreed that it was something we’d like to do again. If you would like to try Dining in the Dark there are two sittings per night from 7pm, Tuesday-Saturday, at BarSu at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit. The experience is priced at B1400++ per person. Contact 0 2649 8358 or email dining.sgs@luxurycollection. com for bookings and information. M A RCH 2015 | 17


SHORE TO SHORE: THAILAND’S SOUTHERN REGION IS HOME TO A MELANGE OF CULTURES AND TRADITIONS

18 | M A RCH 2015

bangkok101.com


insight

S N A P S H OT S

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 21st-century trends – in a lighthearted yet learned manner

ON THE SOUTH

S

andwiched between the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, Thailand’s southern region seems to have been blessed by nature. The 14 provinces running from Chumporn and the Isthmus of Kra down to Narathiwat are filled with lush tropical forests, while the adjacent seas teem with an abundance of seafood. Although the region has one of the smallest populations in the country, it also has one of the highest per capita incomes, thanks primarily to the tourism industry – a great climate and stunning coastlines mean both local and foreign visitors flock year-round to the mainland beaches of Krabi, Phang Nga, and Trang, and the golden sands of islands such as Koh Samui and Phuket. But beyond its idyllic islands and white sandy beaches, the South has a lot more to offer with its unique mix of cultures. Many of its coastal towns were once important hubs of ancient kingdoms such as Langkasuka, Tambralinga, and Srivijaya. They left a substantial wealth of historical and cultural legacies and the foundations for Brahmanism and the rise of Buddhism in the grand monasteries and pagodas in Nakhon Sri Thammarat and Surat Thani. Islamic influences can be appreciated in the magnificent mosques and local architecture of the four southern provinces of Pattani, Satun, Yala, and Narathiwat, while colonialism left its mark with the many Sino-Portuguese mansions and shop-houses found in Phuket and Songkhla. In terms of ethnicities, besides the southern Thais there are the Sea Gypsies and the Sakai, indigenous tribes of proto-Malay descent. Some Sea Gypsies still live primitively in the Surin archipelago in Phang Nga while the Sakai have assimilated into modern society. Then there are the Peranakan, the Straits Chinese, who blend local Thai and Malay cultures with Chinese traditions. Their customs, beliefs, language, clothing and food combine not only two Eastern principles but also Western influences derived from the British, Dutch and Portuguese. Hence, while most Thai Peranakans are Dheravadhan Buddhists, they also believe in Taoism and Confucianism. The southern Thai dialect is also another element that makes this region unique. Its rolling and hurried tones are bangkok101.com

infectious but difficult to master. People often jest about how fast southerners can talk – an old joke has it that even two passengers on passing trains have time to find out where each is headed. One shouts, “Nhai?” (Where?) The other quips, “Yai” (Hat Yai in Songkhla). . While words may be sparse, the fieriness in southern Thai food isn’t. The majority of Thais and visitors think that Isaan food (from the northeast) is the hottest going but in fact, many dishes from the South are as spicy or even more so. Most notable are Ghaeng Dtai Pla or Ghaeng Poong Pla (curry of fish stomach), Khanom Jeen Nahm Yaa Bpuk Dtaii (fermented rice noodles with southern style sauce), and Khua Ghling (spicy stir-fried minced meat). These fiery foods actually come with an antidote of turmeric to calm the heat. Southern ingredients are also famous for their distinctive flavours and notorious odours. Ghapi, or krill paste, is made from fermented and sundried little shrimps or fish, and salt. Sa-dtaw (stinky beans) and Loog Niang (Djenkol beans) are delicacies for those with an acquired taste. Jackfruits and durians from the South also give very particular smells that permeate and linger in the air. Like other regions, food is a major component in festivals. For the Sart Thai (the new moon in September) and the Ching Bpetr (Feeding the Hungry Ghosts) celebrations, southern dishes and desserts with symbolic meanings are served. The purpose is to pay homage and send gifts to the spirits of departed ancestors. While some Thais adopt vegetarianism for over a week in October, the devotees at the Vegetarian Festival in Phuket go further by performing ritualised mutilation. Under a trance, they impale themselves with metal spikes as a mark of veneration for their gods and families. Southerners also enjoy local sports and entertainment exclusive to their lands. Some still watch and bet on bullfighting. Then there is the dance of Nhora or Manhora, which blends curvaceous gesturing and acrobatics. Increasingly scarce today, it might have been inspired by the Kinnaree (a mythical creature said to be half-human half-bird). The dancers wear colourful costumes and long fingernails that imitate the plumage of birds. They are a singular sight in what is a truly unique part of the country. M A RCH 2015 | 19


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Joe’s Bangkok Award-winning writer Joe Cummings was born in New Orleans but became one of Lonely Planet’s first guidebook authors, creating the seminal Lonely Planet Thailand guide, as well as several other titles and updates for the region. Each month, he picks out his favourite cultural gems throughout Bangkok.

IN THE HAND OF THE GODDESS SRI MARIAMMAN TEMPLE BRIGHTENS SILOM WITH FLOWERS AND FEASTING.

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hile Sikh merchants and other 19th-century immigrants from northwestern India filled the Phahurat neighborhood adjacent to Bangkok’s Chinatown, their darker-skinned Tamil counterparts from south India found a home towards the river end of Silom Road. Gem dealers and tailors set up shop near the three-way intersection of Charoen Krung and Silom roads, creating the capital’s second “Little India”.

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The neighborhood is known to Thais as Bang Rak – Love Settlement – and its spiritual heart can be found in Sri Mariamman Temple, an arrestingly flamboyant place of worship standing at the corner of Silom and Pan Road. Built in the 1860s by Tamil immigrants, the central shrine features a six-meter tower wrapped in intertwined, fullcolour Hindu deities and topped by a gold-plated copper dome. Inside the main shrine are altars to three main deities: bangkok101.com


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Maha Uma Devi (also known as Shakti, Shiva’s consort) at the center; her son Khanthakumara on the right; and her elephant-headed son Ganesha on the left. Interior walls are lined with rows of Shivas, Vishnus and other Hindu deities, as well as a few Buddhas, so that just about any non-Muslim, non-Judaeo-Christian Asian can worship here. Thai and Chinese devotees come to pray along with Indians as the Hindu gods figure just as prominently in their individualistic approach to religion. Although primarily dedicated to Maha Uma Devi – the official Thai name for the temple is in fact Wat Phra Si Maha Umathewi, sometimes shortened to Wat Khaek or Indian Temple – the official Tamil name Sri Mariamman means Holy Mother Mari, a reference to the South Indian goddess of rain and fertility. Mari was a pre-Vedic goddess among the Dravidian cultures of southern India long before Aryans from the north brought their Vedic ways to the region. Hence the Maha Uma Devi cult co-opted the Mari cult, placing Ganesh and Khanthakumara at her sides. Mari is portrayed here in a sitting position and holding a trident in one hand and a bowl in the other. The Maha Uma Devi image is attended by white-robed Brahmins who accept offerings from the faithful in return for the placing of dollop of red paste called bindi on the worshipers’ foreheads during puja times. Six rounds of puja are held each day beginning at 6am and ending between 8pm and 9pm depending on the day of the week. You don’t have to be Hindu to enter the temple and receive bindi. Note that photography is forbidden anywhere inside the temple grounds. bangkok101.com

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In addition to the daily pujas, two major Hindu festivals are celebrated at the temple each year. Vasanta Navratri is dedicated to the nine forms of the Tamil mother goddess, which revolves around nine days of ceremonies, music, dance and much feasting. The festival begins on the first day of the Hindu lunar-solar calendar, which usually falls in March or April. This year the Vasanta Navratri takes place March 21-29. The second major festival centered at the temple is Durga Puja, which will be held October 19-23 this year. The five-day festival marks the victory of the goddess Durga – the more formidable, aggressive aspect of Maha Uma Devi – over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura. A half dozen vendor tables near the main temple entrance on Pan Road offer heavy marigold garlands, incense and other offerings for worshippers to buy and take into the temple. If all the hectic business going on inside the temple’s precincts incites hunger, there are several excellent vegetarian India eateries nearby. Mashoor Indian Sweets, just a few meters west of the temple, offers a glass case full of traditional Indian pastries. Inside the shop you’ll find all manner of Indian deities in poster and statue form. Further down Pan Road towards Sathorn, Chennai Kitchen serves authentic southern Indian vegetarian fare in a tiny four-table shop. Annapurna, on the opposite side of the road, specializes in vegetarian north Indian and Nepali fare. About a five-minute walk up Silom and into Soi 11, Tamil Nadu South Indian is the largest, most comfortable and arguably the most delicious of the local Indian eateries. M A RCH 2015 | 21


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Bizarre

Thailand

A long-term resident of Thailand, Jim Algie has compiled some of his strangest trips, weirdest experiences and funniest stories into the nonfiction compilation ‘Bizarre Thailand’ (Marshall Cavendish 2010). More bytes and pixels at www.jimalgie.com.

LIFE AND DEATH SENTENCES This excerpt from a biographical tale about the country’s last legalized assassin is dedicated in the book to the man himself, “In memoriam of Chaovaret Jaruboon, a gentleman, a rock ‘n’ roller and Thailand’s last executioner.” It’s included in The Phantom Lover and Other Thrilling Tales from Thailand.

JAILHOUSE ROCK: A former rock ‘n’ roll guitarist who loved and played Elvis, Chuck Berry and Hank Williams, Chaovaret Jaruboon died of cancer in 2012. In this file photo from 2004 we were passing the guitar back and forth to swap songs in his office at Bang Kwang Central Prison. Photo by Jim Algie.

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he executioner leaned over the barrel of the submachine-gun mounted on a wooden tripod bolted to the floor. He closed his left eye to focus on the target with his right. Then he adjusted the barrel so the target was a perfect bull’s eye in the gun sight. From this close he could not possibly miss. He wrapped his index and middle fingers around the trigger. In those two digits he held all the power that anyone can hold in this world; of life and death, of the government, police and courts, and the power to take revenge for murder victims and their relatives; always believing that he was saving many more lives by taking these ones, because he was a Good Samaritan, not a legal assassin, or the guilt would have driven him insane long ago. 22 | M A RCH 2015

Each time he leaned over the gun and wrapped his fingers around the trigger, that surge of power and responsibility made his shoulders hunch and the follicles on his scalp tingle. He squeezed the trigger nine times. That was the number of shots it took to kill most inmates. The bullets tore through the target painted on a white curtain and sank into the sandbags lined up against the wall. Excellent. The gun had not jammed or misfired. Everything was in working order. He stood up. He got a fresh magazine of fifteen bullets from the locked filing cabinet in the corner of the execution chamber. Each of the bullets he inspected by hand and with the trained eyes which had sent seventy-nine men bangkok101.com


highlight and two women to their rebirths from this small chamber on the grounds of Bang Kwang Central Prison. Boonchu could not afford to make any mistakes today. Today was special. Today, he’d told his wife, was going to be an “elephant fair”: a very big day. The prime minister had ordered the first executions to be carried out in the government’s “War on Drugs” of 2003. Among the prison’s populace of seven thousand inmates a rumor had spread like HIV, making its way to his office in an hour, that this was going to be the biggest bloodbath in the jail’s history. From 10am until noon, the warden had organized a series of interviews for him with journalists, mostly from the local press. As usual, the warden had written out a series of instructions to follow: “Toe the party line. Repeat what the prime minister said, ‘Drug dealers have been cruel to our children so we must be cruel to them.’ Praise the director of the Corrections Department and myself for all the improvements in the jail, such as correspondence courses. Do not cast any doubts on the death penalty.” Every time he had to do any press he was gagged by similar orders. Once, just once, he wanted to speak out, to say how he really felt. Behind those concrete expressions he wore and inside that cage of bones dented by a thousand hammer blows, was incarcerated a boy, a prisoner, a different self, who wanted to be heard, too; but he was always overruled by the authorities who made him repeat the same anecdotes to the same reporters that he’d been repeating for years now. Sometimes he wondered if he even believed himself anymore. How many times could he repeat the same statements before they became lies? His imposing size and the way he swaggered into the office used for interviews made it a little too tempting for most of the journalists to see him as anything but a grownup version of a schoolyard bully. That tension in the shoulders and jaw made it look like he was always about to fly off the handle – tension that worked its way out in different quirks and gestures: cracking his knuckles, grinding his molars, drumming his hands on the table to a rock song on the radio in the next office. None of the journalists could say with any certainty whether it was anger or anxiety that bubbled up to the surface of his skin and simmered there so his dark skin gleamed like polished mahogany. To confuse them even more, he alternated between mumbling while staring

THE EX AND WIFE: Two different sides of Chaovaret, the loving family man married to the same woman for 35 years, and the cold-blooded assassin. Photos courtesy of Chaovaret Jaruboon. bangkok101.com

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off into a corner of the room and speaking in such a formal tone that he sounded like a student reciting passages he’d memorized by rote to a teacher. In the background, an old cassette of his played rock standards by Elvis, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochrane and Chuck Berry; these were the tunes he’d grown up with and used to learn English. At times, a favorite melody would make him smile and he’d drum his fingers on the desk, enjoying the music more than the interviews. He pulled himself away from “Summertime Blues” and turned to the journalist. “Let me give you an example of why the death sentence is necessary. I’ve only had to execute two women...” He looked off into the corner of the room. “Yes, two. It’s not easy, no, it’s not really easy to discuss.” Apologetically, he mumbled, “They had families and loved ones too.” He looked away again and his voice turned robotic. “But we have to face the unpleasant facts. Both of them deserved to die. One of them killed an infant, gutted the poor child like a fish, then packed her full of heroin and tried to carry her across the border into Malaysia. The other woman kidnapped a child. Her and her accomplice buried that boy alive and he choked to death on dirt. What can we do with people like this?” The reporter looked up from his notepad and across the long wooden desk where Boonchu, dressed in his beige uniform with black epaulettes and golden buttons, sat framed by a Thai flag, portraits of Their Majesties the King and Queen, and a wall-mounted shrine with a Buddha image. “So you think these two women deserved to die?” He stared off into the corner again. Was there a lack of feeling in his voice or was that just resignation and boredom talking? “It’s not important what I think. It’s only important what the police and the courts and the judges say. In the end, they are the ones who decide. I have nothing to do with that process.” “So you don’t have any personal opinions on the subject of capital punishment?” He cracked his knuckles again. He twisted his lips from side to side. “I have no personal opinions, no, only what I just said that in certain cases capital punishment is necessary. If anything, I believe that we have saved many more lives by taking these ones, because...” He looked off into the corner of the room again. “Because I’m a Good Samaritan doing a difficult job that many people resent. Other than that I let the legal experts decide. We must trust their superior judgment.” This was as much as his conscience would ever permit him to admit. To confess to any personal culpability, to even suggest that there was an element of choice at work, would be the first step in dismantling the life he had built, which was a different kind of prison: the job, the marriage, the thirty-year mortgage, the three daughters, and the past he never spoke of to anyone, not even his wife of thirty-five years. The rest of the story is continued in the book.

This tale is continued in the novella, “Tsunami,” from The Phantom Lover and Other Thrilling Tales of Thailand (Tuttle 2014) by Jim Algie. Stay tuned for more in the next issue. M A RCH 2015 | 23


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listings

Ananta Samakhom Palace Throne Hall

HISTORIC HOMES ANANTA SAMAKHOM PALACE THRONE HALL [MAP 8/F8] Uthong Nai Rd, opp Dusit Zoo | Tue-Sun 10am-6pm | B150 Located at the tail-end of Dusit district’s stately ceremonial boulevard, Ratchadamnoen, this stately parliamentary palace was built during the reign of Rama V and completed by Rama VI. Cast in white Carrara marble, it is still used for the ceremonial opening of the first parliamentary session. Influenced by Renaissance architecture, the interior is decorated with detailed frescoes by Italian Galileo Chini of royal ceremonies and festivities. Out front stands a statue of King Rama V still worshipped today.

JIM THOMPSON HOUSE [MAP 4/A3] 6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama I Rd | BTS National Stadium | 0 2216 7368 jimthompsonhouse. com | 9am-5pm | B100/B50 students American Jim Thompson was the Princeton graduate and former spook who revived the hand-woven Thai silk industry before disappearing mysteriously in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands in 1967. One of the things to do in Bangkok is visit his tropical garden home beside a pungent canal: six traditional teak houses from around the country kept exactly as he left them

M.R. KUKRIT’S HOUSE [MAP 5/H8] 19 Soi Phra Pinit, Sathorn Rd | 0 2286 8185 Sat-Sun 10am-4pm, Daily | B50/B20 kids Kukrit Pramoj was one of Thailand’s mostloved statesmen of the 20th century. A natural all-rounder, he was a poet, a writer and even served as prime minister. His peace­ful abode with its lovely gardens is a terrific example of Thai architecture.

VIMANMEK MANSION [MAP 8/F8] 139/2 Ratchawithi Rd | 0 2281 1569 | TueSun 9.30am-4pm | B100 24 | M A RCH 2015

Erawan Shrine The world’s largest teakwood building was originally built on the island of Koh Si Chang, in 1868, and then moved to Bangkok for use by King Rama V. Its 81 rooms spread over three floors overlook a beautiful garden.

SUAN PAKKAD PALACE [MAP 8/K11] Si Ayutthaya Rd, Ratchathewi | BTS Phaya Thai | 0 2245 4934 | suanpakkad.com | 9am4pm | B100 A former market garden that was converted into a residence and garden by Princess Chumbot. Consisting of five reconstructed Thai wooden houses, Wang Suan Pakkard pays testament to her dedication to collecting Thai artefacts and antiques.

SHRINES ERAWAN SHRINE [MAP 4/G5] Ratchadamri Rd, near Grand Hyatt Erawan BTS Chit Lom | Free Don’t expect serenity here. This is one of Bangkok’s busiest intersections: the crowded shrine to the Hindu creation god Brahma and his elephant Erawan is filled with worshippers lighting incense, buying lottery tickets and watching the traditional dancing group.

GANESHA SHRINE [MAP 4/G3] Outside CentralWorld and Isetan Department Store | Ratchadamri Rd | Free A prayer in front of this pot-bellied gold elephant – the son of Shiva and Parvati – is 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 desserts – Ganesha has an eternal appetite.

TRIMURTI SHRINE [MAP 4/G3] Outside Centralworld and Isetan Department Store | Ratchadamri Rd | Free

The Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew If your love life is in the doldrums then this shrine is for you: at 9:30pm each Thursday it’s rumoured that Lord Trimurti descends from the heavens to answer prayers of the heart. To maximise your chances you should offer nine-red incense sticks, red candles, red roses and fruit.

TEMPLES THE GRAND PALACE & WAT PHRA KAEW [MAP 7/D10] Na Phra Lan Rd, near Sanam Luang | Tha Chang Pier | 0 2222 0094, 0 2623 5500 8.30am-3.30 pm | B500 Bangkok’s most beloved temple and top tourist site is a fantastical, mini-city sized royal complex enclosed by quaintly crenulated whitewalls. Building began in 1782, the year Bangkok was founded, and 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.

WAT ARUN [MAP 7/B13] Temple of Dawn, Arun Amarin Rd | 0 2465 5640 | watarun.com | 8am-5pm | B100 Across the river from Wat Po is Wat Arun, or the Temple of the Dawn, one of the city’s most important religious sites. Before being moved to Wat Phra Kaew, the Emerald Buddha was temporarily housed here. The five-towered structure is covered in colourful porcelain and designed as a representation of the Khmer home of the gods.

WAT PO (RECLINING BUDDHA) [MAP 7/D12]

Chetuphon, Thai Wang Rd | 0 2226 0369 watpho.com | 8am-5pm | B100 bangkok101.com


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Wat Ratchanatda The Temple of the Reclining Buddha is the oldest and largest wat in Bangkok. Originating in the 16th century, it houses the largest reclining Buddha statue in Thailand as well as the greatest number of Buddha images.

WAT MAHATHAT [MAP 7/C8] Tha Prachan, Sanam Luang, Maharat Rd 0 2221 5999 | 9am-5pm | Free An amulet market is situated near this 18th century centre of the Mahanikai monastic sect and an important university of Buddhist teaching. On weekends, market stalls are set up on the grounds to complement the vendors of traditional medicines.

WAT RATCHANATDA [MAP 7/K8] Mahachai Rd | 0 2224 8807 | 8.30am-6pm free This striking temple on the corner of Ratchadamnoen and Mahachai Road features the bizarre Loha Prasat, a multitiered castle-like structure with 36 steel spires. Climb the spiral staircase to the top for good views of the Old City and its many temples.

WAT SAKET [MAP 7/L8] Chakkraphatdiphong Rd | 0 2233 4561 7.30am-5.30pm | B10 Referred to as the Golden Mount, this wat on a small hillock is worth the hike up 318 steps for the views of China­town to the south and the Old City to the north. The hill is all that is left of the fortifications for a large chedi that Rama III planned to construct on the site that gave way under the weight. Rama V later built a smaller chedi on top.

Wat Arun sculpture. The city’s iconic Giant Swing, where brave men used to swing up to great heights to catch a bag of gold coins in their teeth during annual harvest ceremonies, sits out front.

WAT TRAIMIT [MAP 6/L3] 661 Charoen Krung Rd | 0 2623 1226 MRT HuaLampong | 8am-5pm | B50/B100 Housed safely in this unassuming Chinatown temple is the world’s largest solid gold Buddha. Its worth has been estimated at over US$10 million.

MUSEUMS – IN TOWN BANGKOK DOLL MUSEUM [MAP 8/L11, 12]

85 Soi Ratchataphan (Soi Mo Leng) Ratchaprarop Rd | 0 2245 3008 bangkokdolls.com | Mon-Sat 8am-5pm Since opening in 1956 the Bangkok Doll Museum has continually attracted tourists, students and aficionados alike with its remarkable collection of hand-made Thai dolls. Founded by Khunying Tongkorn Chandavimol after she completed a doll making course in Japan, it showcases collections of dolls produced by a small team of artisans in the atelier out back, and clad in traditional costumes based on designs lifted from museum originals, temple

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Wat Traimit murals and illustrations from antique books.

BANGKOKIAN MUSEUM [MAP 5/E3] 273 Charoen Krung Soi 43, Si Phraya Pier 0 2233 7027 | Sat-Sun 10am-4pm | free Smack in the middle of Bangrak, one of the most traditional districts of the city, find this oasis of four traditional Thai houses, one of them lovingly converted into a private museum by the compound’s charming owner, Ms Waraporn Surawadee. She decided to dedicate the place to the memory of her family and bygone daily life of Bangkok everymen – and open it to the public. While visitors shouldn’t expect breathtaking revelations here, the displays are nevertheless surprisingly fascinating. They include antiques and ceremonial items.

MADAME TUSSAUDS [MAP 4/C4] 6th F, Siam Discovery Centre, Rama 1, Phaya Thai Rd | BTS National Stadium 0 2658 0060 | madametussauds.com/ Bangkok | 10am-9pm | B800/B600 kids Probably the best thing about Bangkok’s version of Europe’s famous waxwork museum is the line-up – it’s clearly designed to keep tourists and locals alike snappy happy. About as common as international sporting legends, world leaders in sharp suits, pouting Hollywood A-listers, and sequined global pop

WAT SUTHAT & THE GIANT SWING [MAP 7/H9]

Bamrung Muang Rd | 0 2222 9632 | 9am-9pm Wat Suthat is one of the most important Buddhist centres in the kingdom and home to excellent examples of bronze bangkok101.com

Wat Suthat & The Giant Swing

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listings

The National Museum stars here are wax likenesses of Thai and regional musicians, soap stars, sportsmen and women.

MUSEUM OF COUNTERFEIT GOODS [MAP 2/E12] Supalai Grand Tower Bldg Rama III Rd 0 2653 5555 | tillekeandgibbins.com Mon-Fri 10am-4pm (App required for textile and computer collections) In 1989, Thailand’s oldest international law firm, Tilleke & Gibbins, decided to convert their evidence of counterfeit goods into educational tools for law students. To help spread the word about the perils of buying fake it’s open to Joe Public too. Over 3,500 items – from Ferrero Rocher chocolates to antimalarial tablets and a fake Ferrari motorbike – are neatly laid out, forgeries next to the originals.

MUSEUM OF SIAM [MAP 7/D13] 4 Samachai Rd | Rajini Pier | 0 2622 2599 ndmi.or.th | Tue-Sun 10am-6pm | Free A truncated history of Thailand unfurls through this down-with-the-kids discovery museum, located in a beautifully restored former government building that dates back to the 1920s. Design company Story Inc! delivered the conceptual design with pop graphics and interactive games galore. Entertaining highlights include dressing up as a 20th-century nobleman, blowing up Burmese soldiers on

Royal Barge Museum elephant-back with a canon and mapping out the borders of your own Siam using a touch screen.

THE NATIONAL MUSEUM [MAP 7/C6] 5 Chao Fa Rd, Sanam Luang | 0 2224 1333 thailandmuseum.com | Wed-Sun 9am-4pm B200 | no photo allowed Previously a palace during the reign of Rama V, the National Museum features extensive displays of Thai artifacts from all of Old Siam’s main historical periods, encompassing the Lanna, Ayutthaya and Sukhothai kingdoms up to the present day. Thai culture is well documented in sections on dance, music and drama. The first example of Thai literature and the Thai alphabet, inscribed by King Ramkhamhaeng on a black stone during the Sukhothai period, is also displayed.

RATTANAKOSIN EXHIBITION HALL [MAP 7/K7]

100 Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd, next to Wat Ratchanatda | 02621 0044 nitasrattanakosin.com | Tue-Fri 11am-8pm, Sat-Sun 10am-8pm | B100 This multimedia museum a short walk from Khao San Road offers a skillfully abbreviated introduction to an area that many admire, but few truly understand: Rattanakosin Island, Bangkok’s glittering birthplace. Wandering its eleven rooms – free of relics but rich in models, dioramas, interactive videos, text and audio clips in Thai and English – brings the area’s hard-to-fathom history, arts, architecture and traditions into much clearer focus.

ROYAL BARGE MUSEUM [MAP 7/B4]

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80/1 Rim Khlong Bangkok Noi, Arun Amarin Rd | Thonburi Railway Pier 0 2424 0004 | 9am-5pm | B30/ B100 photo/B200 video This collection of ornate royal barges, some of which are up to 50 metres long, is housed on the Thonburi side of the

Ancient Siam river in a series of elaborate sheds near the Pinklao Bridge. The barges are best seen in action during rare ceremonial processions on the Chao Phraya where the colourful crews can number up to 64, including rowers, umbrella holders, navigators and various musicians.

MUSEUMS – OUT OF TOWN ANCIENT SIAM (MUANG BORAN) [MAP 1/F6]

296/1 Sukhumvit Rd, Samut Prakan 0 2709 1644 | ancientcity.com B500/B250 kids/B1500 private guide in English for two hours Samut Prakan province’s Ancient Siam crams reproductions of over a hundred of the Kingdom’s most venerable palaces, temples, stupas, stone sanctuaries and traditional houses into a huge map-of-Siam shaped plot of land only an hour’s drive from the capital. Don’t come expecting a tacky themepark. Its late founder, eccentric culture preservationist Prapai Viriyahbhun, demanded that every replica look and feel like the real thing.

THAI FILM MUSEUM [MAP 1/E5] 94 Moo 3 Bhuddhamonton Sai 5, Salaya Nakorn Pathom province | nfat.org 0 2482 2013-15 | Sat-Sun | tours: 10am, noon, 3pm; MonFri: by appointment | Free The good folk at the National Film Archive of Thailand are fighting to preserve the country’s meagre film heritage, whether it be by restoring ragged reels of 16mm film to their former glory, screening rare films in its cinematheque, or guiding anyone interested around their museum. Film fiends will love inching around this space, modelled after the old Sri Krung film studio and filled with old cameras, props and costumes. bangkok101.com


HEAR THE SWEET SONGS OF FORTUNE THIS MARCH AS BARRED GROUND DOVES COO IN COMPETITIONS THROUGHOUT SOUTHERN THAILAND. 28 | M A RCH 2015

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UP COUNTRY FESTIVAL

TRAVEL WAT BANG PHRA TATTOO FESTIVAL

Perhaps the most bizarre – and certainly the wildest – upcountry festival on the calendar this month is the annual ‘Wai Kru’ celebration at Wat Bang Phra in Nakhon Pathom province. On this day, thousands of believers visit the temple on March 7 to take part in a special ceremony honouring the late sacred tattoo master, Luang Pu Poen, and also to have their tattoos re-consecrated. The temple is famous for the supernatural power behind sak yan, magico-religious tattoos applied by resident monks. During the ceremony, some devotees go into a trance, fiercely acting out the characteristics of the animals and mythical figures tattooed on their bodies.

ASEAN BARRED GROUND DOVE FESTIVAL

First held in Yala in 1986, this festival features ‘singing’ competitions in which the participating doves are brought from all over Southern Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Brunei. It is believed that the dove’s sweet cooing sound and the bird itself brings good luck to the owner. The festival falls on March 7-8. The highlights of the festival are the dove singing contests to find the birds with the most melodious call. Winning birds can be valued at tens of thousands of US dollars.

WORLD THAI MARTIAL ARTS FESTIVAL

Muay Thai boxers from all over the world gather in Ayutthaya, home of the legendary Muay Thai folk hero Nai Khanom Tom on March 17, to celebrate this amazing martial art. The festival includes professional Muay Thai bouts as well as demonstrations of Thai arts and handicrafts, include traditional Thai tattooing and the making of ancient weapons. In the late afternoon a Wai Khru Muay Thai ceremony is held to honour Thai rulers such as King Naresuan the Great, King Suea, Phraya Phichai Dap Hak, and soldiers who died while protecting the motherland.

PATTAYA INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL

Get your groove on at one of Thailand’s most popular music events. From March 20–22, local and international artists of all musical stripes entertain festival goers from dusk till midnight on 4 different stages. Souvenir booth operators and food vendors also gather on the shore for what is Asia’s longest beach music festival. Advance accommodation booking are recommended. To make sure you don’t miss your favorite bands, check out the festival’s programme at pattayamusicfest.com.

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Nuns at Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup nunnery.


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The Valley of The Flying Phallus In a Himalayan valley, Bhutanese villagers cherish the memory of a ribald sage, painting jolly phallic imagery on their houses. by KEITH MUNDY

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he Himalayas: snowy wastes where the planet rises to its most dizzy heights, and you actually see the highest range, surmounted by the majestic crag of Mt Everest, as you fly into the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan, dipping between mountainsides in a feat of aerial derring-do, thankfully landing on a narrow strip in a deep valley. This is the land where they measure achievement by Gross National Happiness, a mountainous enclave squeezed between the giants of India and China, not even as big as Switzerland, a lot less wealthy in gelt but rich in philosophy, making progress in its own unique way. With a national hero, a folk legend, unlike any other nation’s, a religious imp of medieval times honoured by the title of the Divine Madman. My new hero.

His spirit first touched me on a misty mountain pass, crossing from the Thimphu Valley, where Bhutan’s capital is now situated, over into the Punakha Valley, where the capital used to be until 1961. At Dochu La, the 3,140-meter crest where you stop climbing through the blue pine forests, you come upon a clump of chortens – Bhutanese Buddhist stupas, square and whitewashed – surmounting a hillock. At this pass, Bhutan’s queen erected 108 chortens, an auspicious number, to atone for the loss of life in a military campaign in the southern border region a decade ago. This heartfelt memorial no doubt displeases the local demons, a great mass of whom are believed to hang around at this strategic point. Even worse, here there once lived a cannibal demoness – until Drukpa Kunley,

Lobesa district in the Punakha Valley, in winter. Decoration on a large farmhouse in Lobesa district, Punakha Valley. bangkok101.com

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A stupa and prayer wheel at Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup nunnery. the Divine Madman, subdued her and her demonic companions back in the 15th century. “He used his flaming thunderbolt of wisdom”, said Tim, my guide throughout my trip, superbly organised by the Bridge To Bhutan agency. Pretty impressive that must have been, but only later, down in the valley, did I learn the exact nature of this mystic tool. As our SUV switchbacked down the mountain road, the high-altitude pines, oaks and maples gave way to alders, cypresses and the beginnings of spring’s great rhododendron flowering. As we reached the valley floor at about 1,300m above sea level, bamboo and cacti appeared, and a sculpted landscape of rice terraces lay before us, dry and brown in winter.

MORE LIKELY TO DROP HIS PANTS THAN RECITE THE SCRIPTURES, DRUKPA KUNLEY FELT THAT THE ORTHODOX CLERGY WERE KEEPING PEOPLE FROM LEARNING THE TRUE TEACHINGS OF BUDDHA AND WIELDED HIS WEAPON OF MASS SEDUCTION TO SPREAD THE TRUE GOSPEL. At a roadside hamlet we pulled up and stepped out through the rustic scene, its houses painted in yellow ochre and white, with gaily decorated wooden window 32 | M A RCH 2015

frames and carved gables. And big brown phalluses painted on the walls. Jolly phalluses, with big eyes, merrily spurting, some flying or diving, others standing proudly erect, all with pretty ribbons tied around them. As I gaped at this priapic display, Tim knew it was time to tell the story. “A great guru called the Divine Madman came to this valley from Tibet more than five centuries ago. He was very fond of women and taught them with what he called his ‘flaming thunderbolt of wisdom’. That’s where the paintings come from, people remember him well”. A very physical kind of enlightenment, then. It seems he was a wild and provocative fellow, a Tantric sage who went round jolting people into rethinking their beliefs, with humour and obscene antics. More likely to drop his pants than recite the scriptures, Drukpa Kunley felt that the orthodox clergy were keeping people from learning the true teachings of Buddha and wielded his weapon of mass seduction to spread the true gospel. “Everybody knows Drukpa Kunley in Bhutan, not just here in Lobesa”, said Tim. “He’s a kind of patron saint. He wrote many poems and other things to pass on his teaching”. We walk down through rice terraces, alongside a gushing water channel, passing women carrying huge bundles of straw on their backs, skirting another hamlet of farmhouses. In a field of rice stubble, a phalanx of white prayer flags tied to tall poles flutters in the breeze, with people’s wishes printed on them. Then we climb up a hill to the Divine Madman’s temple, Chimi Lhakhang. Here the plot thickens. According to legend, the cannibal demoness of Dochu La, fleeing Drukpa Kunley, ran down to Lobesa and turned herself into a dog to avoid detection. But the sage saw the ruse, walloped bangkok101.com


Songkran Splash Revel in the most joyous occasion of the year! Party in Phuket, Chiang Mai or join in the splashing festivities in Bangkok, Pattaya and have a blast this Thai New Year! No matter which destination you choose, Dusit is right in the heart of all the action. Take advantage of our incredible Songkran Splash offer. Book a room at the best available rate and get 50% off the second room. Receive an auspicious complimentary gift voucher of THB 555 as well as Dusit’s famed Songkran Splash kits! Splash your way into Songkran with Dusit.

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The Nepalese stupa of Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup nunnery.

Decoration on a large house in Lobesa district, Punakha Valley.

Prayer wheels turned by a young monk at Chimi Lhakhang temple.

the demonic dog with his divine penis, turning it into a protective deity, then buried it atop a breast-shaped hill. Triumphantly crying “Chi med!” – “No dog!” – Kunley built a chorten on the spot, which was soon joined by a temple named Chimi Lhakhang – No Dog Temple. The glee the Bhutanese take in this story is superevident in the large number of people who have the name ‘Chimi’, a corruption of “Chi med”. Strange to be called “Nodog”, but it’s worn with pride, and a sense of humour, because all things Kunley are cherished. Most of all in the hilltop monastery. Inside the prayer hall, the altar has a statue of the Mad Saint, and murals depict his colourful life. Amid the riot of religious paraphernalia, a monk offers some well-worn dice to throw. I get a five and a two, and he says that’s good, then he blesses me with a foot-long wooden phallus said to have belonged to the Divine Madman. He then pours some holy water into my cupped hand and – instructed by Tim – I sip it, then sprinkle it over my head by smoothing my hair back. Blessed am I, and a small donation settles the account. “Many women come here to ask for fertility”, says Tim. “People think the phalluses bring good luck too, and ward off evil, so that’s why they paint them everywhere around here”. “Now we’re going to a nunnery”, he announces. “Do you know Shakespeare?” I ask. “Yes”, says Tim. Embarrassed, I press on. “Well, there’s a play with a young couple where the man rejects the woman, snapping: ‘Get thee to a nunnery!’ I forget which play it is.” Tim: “Hamlet”.

My jaw drops. It turns out he knows several Shakespeare plays pretty well, having studied them at college in India. I resolve to assume he knows everything from here on in. We drive ever upward to a high ridge, where a Buddhist convent seems entirely innocent, its young shaven-headed nuns passing beneath the all-seeing eyes of a whitewashed Nepalese stupa. In a prayer hall garishly decorated with the wild fantasies of Tibetan-style Buddhism, they sit cross-legged on the floor in two facing rows, chanting the scriptures with concentrated devotion. At Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup nunnery, the mountain views are heavenly, leading your gaze along three steep valleys with densely wooded sides, slowly turning purple in the gathering dusk. On a grass verge sit two maroonrobed nuns enjoying the sight, lost in reverie. Consecrated only in 2010, this site seems to have been calling for spiritual pursuits since time immemorial. Had it been here in the 15th century, something tells me Drukpa Kunley would have turned up for some Tantric persuasion.

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Getting there drukair.com.bt flies daily from Bangkok to Bhutan. All tourists must use an authorised Bhutanese tour agent and meet specific requirements. The rules are fully detailed at the website of the highly recommended Bridge To Bhutan agency: bridgetobhutan.com.

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PHUKET101 A

h, Phuket… blessed with spectacular verdant scenery, crystal-clear waters and palm-fringed white sand beaches. For decades the island’s shining rainbow of attractions has drawn visitors in droves. The trend shows no signs of slowing down, either, what with top-notch luxury resorts, restaurants, and bars opening all the time. Throw in the island’s growing reputation as a stop-off for increasing numbers of superyachts and cruise liners and it’s easy to understand why Phuket will remain the flagship destination of Thailand’s tourism industry for decades to come. In the following pages our intrepid crew of writers gives you the lowdown on the Kingdom’s most popular island paradise. Long-time resident of Thailand and award-winning travel writer Joe Cummings serves up a potted history of the ‘Pearl of the Andaman,’ while Craig Sauers visits the island’s top eateries by night and recovers by day on some of Phuket’s best-kept secret beaches. An avid runner of no mean ability, he also pays a visit to the vaunted Thanyapura to tap into their health and wellness expertise. Thanyapura is also at the fore of a piece by Ron Gluckman, which looks at Phuket resorts that have made giving back to the local community a cornerstone of operations. Our cover shot for this issue is the beautiful and historic Panwa House, one of the fabulous dining outlets at Cape Panwa Hotel, itself a doyen of the resort scene on the island. Architecture is also at the centre of this month’s photo feature in which Luc Citrinot provides snapshots of buildings that best exemplify Phuket’s wonderful Sino-Portuguese and Sino-British architectural heritage. Dive in!

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PTHRUAV K EETL

Tracing Tin to Tourism From quasi-colonial port to world-class resort island, Phuket remains a force to be reckoned with. by JOE CUMMINGS

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ong before Phuket’s attractive beaches had earned the island its “Pearl of the Andaman” sobriquet and spawned a multi-million-dollar tourist industry, an entirely different resource supported the economy on Thailand’s largest island. The 810-sq-km island’s abundant deposits of tin, widely sought after in both Asia and Europe for smelting with copper to produce bronze, drew traders from all over the world. As the extraction and export of the utilitarian mineral expanded in the 18th century, European and Chinese traders developed a port city among the verdant hills near Tongkah Bay. Although tin mining attracted a few Siamese from the north, the main influx for both labour and commerce consisted of Chinese, Malays, Indians and Europeans from the British Straits Settlements to the south.

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The new settlement was called Tongkah, after the bay, but this was eventually superseded by Bukit, the Malay name for ‘hill.’ Years of exposure to Thai speech transformed this to ‘Bhuket,’ which was only officially changed to ‘Phuket’ in 1966. Another commodity was added to the cargo holds of visiting trading ships after rubber trees were first plated on Phuket in 1903, and the island developed a culture all its own, combining Chinese and Portuguese influences with that of the indigenous ocean-going chao naam and the southern Thais. By the late 1960s the tin industry in southern Thailand declined as resources dwindled and many dredging companies closed shop. Rubber cultivation, meanwhile, spread to neighbouring provinces in southern Thailand.

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As tin and rubber traders faded into the background, they were replaced by intrepid backpackers attracted by the Andaman island’s long, broad, sandy beaches, limestone cliffs, forested hills and tropical vegetation. The 1967 construction of Sarasin Bridge replaced the ferry service from the mainland and made the island readily accessible by road. The first beach lodging came along in the early 1970s when a budget guesthouse attached to a laundry on Patong Beach began renting rooms for the princely sum of 10 baht a night. Phuket began courting a more upscale market with the 1980s arrival of Club Med on Kata Beach, followed by the more lavish Phuket Yacht Club on Nai Han Beach and Le Meridien on Karon Noi (Relax Bay). By the early 2000s, inexpensive beach bungalows had been replaced by a wide variety of resorts around the island. Increased road traffic forced authorities to build the larger Thepkasattri Bridge alongside the old one (which has been kept as a pedestrian-only bridge much favored for evening strolls and recreational fishing). In contrast with rampant development along coastal areas of the island, Phuket’s interior still offers many hectares of land devoted to the cultivation of rice, rubber, cashew, cacao, pineapple and coconut, as well as Phuket’s last bit of island rainforest. Khao Phra Thaew Royal Wildlife and Forest Reserve covers a mountain range towards the northern end of the island and protects 2,333 hectares of evergreen monsoon forest. Jungle hikes to Ton Sai and Bang Pae waterfalls are a popular activity in the reserve. Although there are many places to dive around 40 | M A RCH 2015

Thailand, Phuket is the primary centre for the Thai scuba industry and nearby waters boasts some of the world’s top dive destinations. The island is ringed by good to excellent dive sites, including several small islands to the south and east: Ko Hae, Ko Raya (Noi and Yai), Ko Yao (Noi and Yai), Hin Daeng and Hin Muang (also known as Shark Point as it is a habitat for harmless leopard sharks).

“THIS SEASON WE’VE SEEN APPROXIMATELY 30 SUPERYACHTS CALL AT PHUKET AND THE SURROUNDING REGION. I EXPECT THAT AVERAGE WILL DOUBLE WITHIN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS.” – ADAM FROST, SEAL SUPERYACHTS Excursions further afield to Phang-Nga Bay islands to the east, and to the world-famous Surin and Similan islands to the northwest, are also for the most part operated from Phuket. A few outfits also provide liveaboard trips to islands in the Mergui Archipelago off the southern coast of Myanmar. Phuket, along with nearby Phang-Nga and Krabi provinces, offer such stunning scenery and anchorages that it is now considered Asia’s top cruising destination. bangkok101.com


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All manner of leisure watercraft, from 80-year-old wooden sloops to the latest high-tech mega yachts, can be found moored among the island’s four privately owned marinas, government marina and the deep sea port at Chalong Bay, where the government provides a one-stop service for immigration and customs for pleasure boats and cruise ships arriving in Phuket. “Luxury yachting is definitely booming in Phuket and is set to grow in coming years,” says Adam Frost, founder and owner of Seal Superyachts, a company providing a wide range of services for mega yachts. “Traditionally superyachts would restrict themselves to the Mediterranean for summer, and then cross the Atlantic to the Caribbean, in order to escape the bite of the European winter. However, in the last decade or so many yachts have dropped the Caribbean from their itinerary and chosen to come out to Asia instead. “This season we’ve seen approximately 30 superyachts call at Phuket and the surrounding region,” says Frost. “I expect that average will double within the next five years.” Several Phuket companies offer inflatable canoe and kayak tours of scenic Phang-Nga Bay, entering semisubmerged caves inaccessible by motorized boats. For the culturally inclined, Phuket Town’s historic district has developed into a major attraction following successful preservation and restoration projects launched in the mid-2000s. Century-old tiam choo (Hokkien for “shop house”) designed in the typical Straits Settlement architectural style also seen in Penang, Melaka and bangkok101.com

PTHRUAV K EETL

Singapore, line several downtown roads. Along Thalang Road, home to 141 original shop houses, the burial of electrical and phone cables has increased the street’s visual appeal immeasurably. Cables along Deebuk and Krabi roads are thankfully undergoing the same procedure now. Several art galleries are flourishing in the neighborhood. Old Phuket is a much-favoured hunting grounds for authentic local cuisine, including ba-mee moo (chewy egg noodles served with fragrant smoked pork), khanom jeen topped with a choice of naam yaa (spicy fish curry) or kaeng khiaw-waan (sweet green curry), moo hong (braised pork, served with rice) and mee hokkien (a noodle dish made with seafood). At Abdul Rotee on Thalang Road, the fez-topped owner griddles fresh rotis (round flatbread) to serve with delicious southern Thai curries. Following the general trend towards more refinement on the island, a host of more ambitious eateries offer world-class dining. Siam Indigo in the old town serves Thai dishes with a French twist, while The Boathouse on Kata Beach is renowned for fresh seafood dishes drawn from international as well as Thai cooking traditions. Acqua on Kalim Bay is highly acclaimed for modern Italian cuisine, while Diavolo at the Paresa Resort Phuket on Kamala Beach provides high-class Italian with a view from ‘millionaire’s mile.’ One of the most exciting recent additions to Phuket’s dining scene is Aziamendi at Iniala Beach House, found just across the Thepkasattri Bridge in Phang-Nga and overseen by famed Michelin-starred Basque chef Eneko Axta. M A RCH 2015 | 41


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Idle seas and quiet shores await: Phuket’s top beach spots aren’t too far off the radar


hide-away beaches

Sands of

PTHRUAV K EETL

Solitude:

In Search of Phuket’s Hideaway Beaches

All culture and chutzpa aside, Phuket is a beach destination. Always has been, always will be. When left pure and unadulterated, the island’s undulant seas and white-hot sands have near timeless appeal. BY CRAIG SAUERS

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ut there’s the rub. Phuket’s beaches have succumbed in recent times to a county fair-like herding of people, a great mass of tourists packed tight between banana boats and parked jet-skis. Each year, millions of would-be holidaymakers eager to live out their most indulgent fantasies flock to Phuket. Yet their tropical vacations don’t always add up to isolated sandy expanses and fruity cocktails with umbrella straws. Between grift, go-go bars, and taxi gangs, this southern paradise in its worst moments is a land muddied by wretched excess. Last June, the local government began its latest fight back against the swell of indecency and obstruction. Efforts to clean up the beaches — and, with them, the island’s reputation — began in earnest, with most structures built on the sand demolished or burned to the ground. Gone were bars, restaurants, beach chairs, umbrellas, and the ubiquitous massage sala. Vendors

were told to share space with other vendors, only allowed to set up shop on cordoned-off wedges of beach. The changes didn’t come without hiccups. The umbrella issue was a bone of contention for tourists, many of whom also clamoured for the return of beach chairs, and vendors protested on economic grounds. The streets of Patong remained as aggressive as ever. Sunbathers swarmed Kata. The smell of raw coconut oil on hot skin was redolent from Nai Yang to Nai Harn. Although tourism is transforming, the surge of visitors and vendors hasn’t lessened. But there are alternatives if you crave peace and quiet in paradise. To escape the madding crowds, make the effort go in search of Phuket’s hideaway beaches, where travellers might still enjoy a true tropical getaway (cocktails with umbrella straws included). The quiet Banana Beach lies just south of the more popular, yet almost as quiet, Naithon Beach and north of the exclusive Trisara Resort. Famous among snorkelers

Light on umbrellas, Laem Singh is a beach-goer’s paradise

Boats in the bay off tranquil Ao Yon

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Even during high season, there’s plenty of space to stretch out on Banana Beach for its motley underwater life, this jungle-veiled gem has plenty to offer beach bums, as well. The trouble is finding it. Only a modest wooden sign nailed to a tree (a sign which disappears altogether from time to time) marks the way to beach. From there, a narrow red-earth path leads to a patch of white sand that cleaves coconut palms and sapphire waters. Few visitors make it to Banana Beach, which keeps it secluded, off-the-grid, and as close to perfect as can be expected. On the northwestern corner of the island is Mai Khao Beach. Although not much of a secret, this 11-kilometre tract of shoreline has little going on outside of family picnics on weekends. That could be a result of its border with Sirinath National Park, or perhaps its distance from the electric nightlife of Patong. Whatever the case, Mai Khao stays more or less empty until April, when baby turtles hatch and embark on their long journey to the sea. Outside of this annual event, the most popular attraction is watching planes skim the air above the water and land on the seaside runway. Fifty kilometres from the airport, Ao Sane, the southernmost beach, suggests that Phuket has a few secrets left tucked up its sleeves. Although visible from Nai Harn Beach — as fine a spot as any to enjoy a sundowner — Ao Sane has managed to remain a hideaway. That’s because getting there, though easy, isn’t obvious. It requires driving through a private yacht club, under a tunnel, and along a rolling, potholed road until it meets a gravel parking lot. Therwe awaits an intimate beach with three bays speckled by large, smooth rocks, a setting tailor-made for reading under a palm tree. Snorkelling is good here, too, since the rocks form an ideal habitat for marine life. But Ao Sane hasn’t totally escaped the clutches of development: there’s a group of bungalows on shore, ranging in quality from basic to mid-range, and a restaurant that caters to hungry day-trippers. Not all remote beaches are well-kept secrets, nor are they vacant and lonely. That can be a good thing. 4 4 | M A RCH 2015

Vigorous human activity provides entertainment, breaks up the monotony of gentle breaking waves and soaring birds. The crescent-shaped Laem Singh Beach between Surin and Kamala blurs the line between untrodden and buzzing. The aquamarine sea is an obvious draw. So too is the wild, remote vibe. Still, before officials banished chairs, Laem Singh could get a little too intimate at times. With the flotsam gone, the beach fills with sunbathers, but doesn’t feel excessively crowded. There’s plenty of room to breathe, even if the amber sands play host to the occasional evening party, a trademark of a vacation on a Thai island. A winding road from the airport leads to Phuket’s most famous beaches, all on the west coast. It’s no surprise, then, that millions of visitors tend to congregate here. On the less frequented eastern side of the island, the standout beaches stay low-key. Ao Yon is a prime example. Just six kilometres from Phuket Town, Ao Yon feels a world removed from the pageantry of the bigger beaches. Although not a true swimming beach (it has a rocky seabed just offshore), it does offer idle days with postcard-quality views and tranquil evening walks along an empty shoreline. It is the definition of a hideaway, as well, located at the base of a hill and kept hidden from plain sight by overgrown trees and shrubs. The tide caresses the shoreline as it rolls in, leaving the water still and blue. On weekends, kayaks, dragon boats, and yachts in port decorate the bay. It’s an image of perfection, the still shot of the holiday that many tourists dream about before they reach Phuket. The beach has always been central to life and leisure on Phuket. As society grows around — and sometimes on — the sand, the search for quiet expanses, where a vacation can be a singular experience, will depend on the official pledge to protect it. In any case, a handful of beaches here still capture the essence of a perfect island escape. Let’s hope that these world-class sanctuaries remain as picturesque tomorrow as they do today. bangkok101.com


In the highest sanctuary of Lingyin Si temple, worshippers pay respect to giant images.


thanyapura health & wellness

PTHRUAV K EETL

The Rise of Thanyapura Phuket’s Sanctuary for the Mind, Body, and Soul. WORDS BY CRAIG SAUERS

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hen Chris McCormack came to Thanyapura in December, 2013, it wasn’t like this. Not even close. Its name hardly registered on the local radar. “On Google, I searched for keywords like ‘Phuket triathlon’ and ‘Phuket wellness’ and there was just nothing about Thanyapura. It didn’t appear at all,” says McCormack, one of the world’s most prolific triathletes and now Executive Chairman at Thanyapura, on gauging the scope of work to come during his first days on staff. “The growth has really been tremendous.” In the sixteen months since the man known as “Macca” joined the senior management team, the

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athletic programmes have flourished, the facilities have expanded, and the brand has solidified around a mantra of mindfulness. Each week brings new world-class sports stars to the spacious grounds at Thalang on the western fringe of Khao Phra Taew National Park. The place is crawling with talent. The Dutch National Swim Team trained at Thanyapura for a month, and the British, Hungarian, and Russian teams have all spent at least a week doing the same. Frequently, groups of aspiring semi-pro triathletes fill the on-site sports hotel, lured by the thought of riding from Phuket to Phang Nga and diving into the sea the

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next morning for open-water swim workouts with the legendary Jurgen Zack. The more universally famous Maria Sharapova has visited too (her signature drink is available at The Booster Bar). This year, former Tour de France rider Nick Gates will join the coaching staff, no doubt leading cyclists on long and challenging rides across the hilly southern terrain. “See the table behind us?” asks McCormack, kicking his head back, toward a four-top table in a corner of DiVine, the facility’s award-winning organic restaurant. “The couple sitting there practically wrote the book on barefoot running. They’ll probably be on staff next week. That’s the way it goes here.”

“ON GOOGLE, I SEARCHED FOR KEYWORDS LIKE ‘PHUKET TRIATHLON’ AND THERE WAS JUST NOTHING ABOUT THANYAPURA. IT DIDN’T APPEAR AT ALL. THE GROWTH HAS REALLY BEEN TREMENDOUS.” EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN AND IRONMAN CHAMP CHRIS MCCORMACK This kind of star-power might have seemed a pipe dream when Klaus Hebben founded the complex in 2009. At first, it had nothing to do with elite athletes. Nor 48 | M A RCH 2015

was it a source of revenue, per se. Discouraged by the state of scholastic options on the island, the German tycoon drafted a multi-platform project that would prepare students for the International Baccalaureate while guiding them toward healthy lifestyle choices. He began to funnel substantial resources into what would become Phuket International Academy Day School (PIADS), a non-profit organization whose educational programmes were built upon the pillars of mindfulness. The school stood as an outlet for Hebben’s profound belief in total wellness — mind, body, and soul — and as a means to provide holistic education to children. The project would incorporate fitness facilities made available, free of use, to students and their parents. It would bring families closer together and point the needle in a healthier direction. From there, Hebben’s vision continued to expand, gaining clarity, colour, and depth, like orchid flowers in bloom. A triathlete and spiritual practitioner, he dreamt of doing more for the community. The Mind Centre was the next addition. A quadrangle of one-story white buildings set in a secluded alcove, the Mind Centre is devoted to clearing the clutter from everyday life. Yoga and meditation courses led by luminaries like Andrea Capellari, who has worked as the Italian interpreter for the Dalai Lama, nurture spiritual well-being. The courses, however, are not only designed for zen-masters. Beginners might sit upright in chairs during meditation practice, rather than on the floor with legs folded. Athletes, in particular, are encouraged to attend classes in which they might learn to improve their focus. “Too often we stay in the artificial world,” says Pierre Gagnan, a visiting mind trainer. “We bangkok101.com


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ignore the experimental side of life. We don’t listen to the sounds around us and truly think about them. We forget to live.” Once the Mind Centre gained traction, the Sports and Leisure Club was established. Bricks and mortar gave substance to concept as facilities that would make any self-respecting athlete salivate were built. They’re dizzying, Disney-like in scale, and veritably Olympian in pedigree: Plexicushion tennis courts; two swimming pools, including a 50-metre Olympic-sized pool with a professional timing system, scoreboard, and underwater video analysis window; a 900-square-metre fitness centre that houses a variety of programmes, from pilates and martial arts to dance and spinning; a health centre, which offers anti-aging remedies based on preventive medicine; a soft 500-metre track with a field of synthetic turf; and a teched-out training room with a treadmill for lactate tests and CompuTrainers set up for Function Threshold Power (FTP) tests. By 2013, following the construction of the cosy and commodious sports hotel, Thanyapura was nearly complete, but it remained Hebben’s ship in a bottle. He had channelled all his energy into fitting his vast dream through a narrow opening. Without proper direction, it would remain behind walls of glass. So when he met McCormack while the triathlete was on holiday, he pulled out all the stops to recruit him, envisioning a brighter future with Macca in the fold. McCormack first set his sights on overhauling the business, and with it, the sports programmes. He enlisted fellow triathlete and Asia-based entrepreneur Michael Dhulst, who had organized sporting events in the past bangkok101.com

PTHRUAV K EETL

and had the chops to tackle the task. So far, the two have revamped the Thanyapura image by going digital, introducing hashtags and using Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to engage outside audiences. They’ve made inroads with famous figures and brands, testing the waters to find mutually beneficial partnerships. They’ve also laid the foundation for PIADS to become a United World College with an athletic leaning. “There are dreams and there’s reality,” says Dhulst. “We’re making sure Klaus’s vision works as a viable business.” The progressive minds shaping Thanyapura from the ground up have turned over many stones in the pursuit of perfection. The onsite organic farm grows produce used in most of the dishes at DiVine, whose brick oven, Sunday brunches, and incredible buffets draw major crowds. Grind Café, offering organic coffee and a relaxed lounge vibe, wouldn’t feel out of place in Bangkok. The training room lets cyclists measure their watts produced and runners pinpoint their target training zones. There’s an outdoor Muay Thai gym in the works, too. From detox programmes to Instagram contests that support Yaowawit School in Phang Nga, a governmentapproved welfare boarding school for children from underprivileged families, if it’s good for the body and good for the mind, the team has embraced it. Their efforts have substantiated a belief in health and wellbeing, the goals made possible through heeding our quiet inner forces. Thanyapura is a one-of-a-kind institution — not just in Asia, but the world. There’s no place like it. That’s pretty much the consensus from those who have spent any amount of time there. M A RCH 2015 | 49


Resorts for Good Phuket properties commit to philanthropy BY RON GLUCKMAN

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hen Thanyapura Sports Hotel, the world-class sports centre in Phuket, appointed Philipp Graf von Hardenberg as CEO last year, they also acquired a much needed wealth of hospitality experience. The supersized fitness facility serves many of the world’s swim teams and triathlon contestants. Thanyapura had previously tapped top international trainers and wellness instructors. But recent upgrades of rooms and other facilities positioned it to become more competitive in the market for general tourism. Enter von Hardenberg, a former senior executive at Ritz Carlton with over two decades of hotel experience.

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He also brought vital proficiency in the financial world, and as an administrator of private schools, a huge plus for Thanyapura’s companion Phuket International Academy, one of Thailand’s top institutions. Another bonus added by the new CEO was a cause he had adopted almost a decade earlier. In the aftermath of the devastating tsunami of 2004, von Hardenberg had launched a foundation that built and operates Yaowawit, a school for orphans and underprivileged children in the Kapong district, Phang Nga. This was among the most devastated areas when waves hammered Thailand and Southeast Asia, killing bangkok101.com


resorts with csr

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Thanyapura CEO Philipp Graf von Hardenberg hundreds of thousands. Although nearly two hours north of Thanyapura, the school has become a part of the operation, offering enriching options for visitors and children alike. Guests can book stays at the school and be blissfully immersed in Thai local life. Students are groomed in hospitality, among the biggest industries and employers in Phuket. Meanwhile, there are plans to increase exchanges between the Academy and Yaowawit, with more tutoring and vocational training. Yet the most moving results are unexpected spinoffs, like how staff have adopted the school for its own fundraising initiatives. Recently an outdoor fair was staged at Thanyapura. Employees and their family members cooked food, with proceeds benefitting Yaowawit. Another time, Thanyapura workers washed cars to help the foundation. “Everybody wants to do something positive,” says von Hardenberg. He knows full well how philanthropy impacts people, and one good turn often leads to another. Von Hardenberg spent several years with Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation in Germany. Among his work: outreach in schools to help students become more aware of the Holocaust. This led to be another unexpected life-changing twist in his career. His two children were in private school in his native Germany, and when the institution faced a financial crisis, von Hardenberg stepped in as administrator. All these skills proved invaluable to his Children’s World Academy Foundation, which has raised several million bangkok101.com

dollars for the land for Yaowawit school, housing and surrounding plantations. Students receive valuable training not only in hospitality, but also agriculture, another key Phuket industry. When von Hardenberg took over last year at Thanyapura, there was no specific plan to integrate his foundation. However, German Tycoon Klaus Hebben, the founder of the innovative Phuket sports centre, shared much of von Hardenberg’s vision, not only about philanthropy but also on a style of education broader than that offered by conventional schools. Phuket International Academy actually predates Thanyapura, established by Hebben partly to educate his own children in Phuket. Julian Whiteley, the new chief executive at the academy, enthusiastically described future options. “We want to challenge the students and also the parents.” He plans to expand scholarships and exchanges to attract more international students, creating greater diversity. And he wants to continue sending academy students to Yaowawit to not only provide tutoring, but also to learn more about farming and local Thai life. Eventually, he says the academy students might even take over and run the foundation. “Involvement is the key,” says von Hardenberg, who would be happy to see the project become a model for resorts around Phuket, and elsewhere. “Philanthropy isn’t a hobby, it’s a big part of my life. If every company would do something like this, we could solve so many problems in the world.” M A RCH 2015 | 51


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Thanyapura and the Children’s World Academy Foundation are by no means the only charitable organizations or supporters active on Phuket. We looked at some of the other island properties that are good-citizen resorts with philanthropic outreach. Iniala Beach House Financier Mark Weingard was a zealous philanthropist long before transforming his beachside property in Phang Nga into one of the region’s most talked about boutique inns. This art-laden 10-room resort has hosted the Kardashian clan and boasts Aziamendi, the knockout restaurant by critically acclaimed Spanish chef Eneko Atxa. Weingard has pledged 10 percent of room revenue, along with 5 percent of food and beverage takings to charity. Last year, he says, Iniala generated US$200,000 for worthy causes. But Weingard goes even further; he established the Inspirasia Foundation and says he has personally given US$1 million annually from all his businesses to charity. He espouses the same message of caring to guests and businesses alike. “We can all help.”

Anantara Phuket Layan Resort & Spa Anantara’s Layan Beach property has the luxury of involving guests in its turtle breeding programme, as they can join in release of hatched young turtles right on the idyllic beach. Turtles are released every April, according to General Manager Andrew Kunz. “Guests can come along and even sponsor turtles, or donate to the foundation. We’re always looking for ways to involve and engage guests in these causes.” Such sentiments have been a guiding principle of Anantara and parent company Minor, whose CEO William Heinecke mobilizes thousands of employees each year for Founder’s Day (his birthday). Instead of normal duties, they paint or repair schools, and do other charity. But philanthropy isn’t merely a one day a year commitment at Anantara, which also raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for elephant conservation and runs a private sanctuary for the revered Asian mammals at its property in the Golden Triangle.

52 | M A RCH 2015

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resorts with csr

PTHRUAV K EETL

Six Senses Yao Noi Six Senses, the unconventional Thai-based chain that prides itself on “Barefoot Luxury,” has always fostered the finest examples of environmental and community consciousness. The small collection of upscale properties even has a vice president of sustainability, tasked not only with overseeing chain-wide ecological measures, but also constantly promoting innovation at every resort and challenging Six Senses policies. At the charming Robinson Crusoe-style property on rustic Yao Noi Island, near Phuket, that means free-range chickens roaming a five-star coop with classical music. Guests can choose their own healthy eggs, or see how organic mushrooms are grown at huts shaped and sprouted like mushrooms among the creeks at the idyllic resort. Each Six Senses outlet also boasts its own water treatment facility and in-house bottled water, rather than the expensive imported stuff. And resorts are urged to develop their own local community projects.

Aleenta Phuket Resort and Spa Philanthropy guides the entire operation at Aleenta, which operates a serene, white allsuite beachside resort north of Phuket airport in Phang Nga. Soon after founder Anchalika Kijkanakorn caught the travel bug, guiding her family property development business into creating award-winning boutique resorts, she added sustainability to the check-list for every property and launched the Pure Blue Foundation. Phuket guests help pay for marine conservation and turtle protection, in cooperation with Phang Nga Coastal Fisheries Research and Development Center. Pure Blue oversees chain-wide environmental and social responsibility, but each resort tackles specific projects that have the greatest local impact. Beach resorts often look to reef restoration, while inland resorts help farming initiatives. Discover more about these resorts and their CSR programmes at: • aleenta.com • iniala.com • phuket-layan.anantara.com • purebluefoundation.com • sixsenses.com • thanyapura.com

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dining

ACQUA - Tastes to Travel For Amazing isn’t enough. Superb, decadent, and intoxicating fall flat. When attempting to describe a perfect meal, adjectives become objects of vanity. The experience — the pure ambrosia of a slowcooked egg on Parmesan fondue, paired with a Sangiovese red wine — exists in a vacuum, ceasing the flow of time itself. An epicurean journey like this is rare, but it’s here in Phuket. Look no further than Acqua. Decked out in grayscale fixtures, Acqua’s interior design reflects the classic-meets-contemporary style that Chef Alessandro Frau has sought to achieve with his dishes. It’s complex and subliminal — all of it, from the red, blue, and warm vanilla accenting colours to the fennel leaves and taggiasche olives that give just the right amount of bite to the supple sous-vide octopus (B600) — a deliberate interplay of tones, textures, and tastes that turns the act of eating into an artistic endeavour. “First, it’s the ingredients,” says Frau of his source of inspiration. “The best ingredients make all the difference. I buy as much as I can locally. Some things we make here, like our pancetta. We cure it in the wine cellar.” Though high-quality ingredients are the focal point, Frau elevates them to a higher level of intensity with world-class technique and deep-rooted passion for cooking. The fresh brine of the sea lingers in the scallop carpaccio, served with black truffle, raw asparagus in olive oil and lemon juice, and a twist of truffle essence (B750); the uncooked vegetable 54 | M A RCH 2015

adds a layer of texture that prevents the thin, buttery clam from becoming too soft, keeping the dish active and interesting. The pan-fried scallops, topped with seared foie gras and set on chilli jam and truffle-pumpkin sauce (B700), are so impeccably produced and harmoniously paired that the combination practically sings when it hits the tongue. It has a holistic effect: individual elements flourish as a whole. The same philosophy rings true in presentation. Frau imparts his eclectic style into every dish. The wood-fired suckling pig — a fan favourite with a seemingly impossible depth of flavour in its roasted skin — with saffron and violette potatoes, broad beans, and a robust brown sauce (B1100) comes to the table on a tray that looks like driftwood. Seafood dishes are carried out on large white stones. The Marsala-flavoured cannoli, stuffed with sweet ricotta cheese, candied orange, and chocolate shavings (B450), is served on a section of tree. It’s not just the food that distinguishes Acqua (but, oh, the food). It’s Frau’s yeoman-like dedication to making meals that diners will remember. Not many restaurants can deliver a perfect meal. Acqua belongs on the exclusive list of those that can.

ACQUA 324/15 Prabaramee Rd, Kalim Bay | 0 7661 8127 acquarestaurantphuket.com

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nightlife

PTHRUAV K EETL

XANA - New Highs in Nightlife -

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s Phuket has grown into its skin, shaped by the rapid expansion of tourism and domestic emigration, its nightlife has slipped into a seductive niche. The island mantra has always been to go above and beyond in service and style. Kata brims with panache. Patong brings the heat. Phuket Town dials down the frenzy, delivering a touch of class. With XANA, the Pearl of the South now flaunts the kind of venue its scene had gravitated toward, but lacked all the same — one defined by chilled-out days and tasteful hot nights. In the late 1990s, beach clubs became the next big thing, popping up in Mallorca and Miami and more, but they wouldn’t reach Phuket for another decade. In 2012, the brains behind Singapore’s Attica teamed up with Angsana in the Laguna Beach Resort complex to design XANA. It would be a new kind of club, a flagship on Bang Tao’s vast sands that would offer dining, drinking, and entertainment from morning to night. It wasn’t a sui generis project, but rather one aimed at giving tourists and locals a chic and comprehensive style of recreation. The pink-clad XANA has pomp without a ton of pretension. The sun-hungry can recline on wicker loungers in the shallows of the 35-metre pool. VIP sun pods — cushioned beds shaded by large, branded umbrellas — provide little oases from the heat, fitting places to retreat to with drinks in hand. When night comes, the speakers pump house music and neon lights paint the pool shades bangkok101.com

of red, blue, and green, a subtle shift suggesting the variety of action to come. Twice a week, Coco Jamboo entertains guests at sunset with his saxophone. And top local and international DJs liven up parties every Saturday. Big names, too, including Paul Oakenfold, who has played to packed audiences twice since 2013. For its third anniversary on March 7, London-based Paul Harris, who hit the decks on the club’s opening night, is returning to XANA. Last year, mixologist Richard Gillam came to the club to craft new cocktails and train local staff. The menu now features potent signature drinks, including the King Cobra (B290), a refreshing mango cocktail with bite from chilli and kaffir lime, and the Xanajito (B290), which jazzes up the alltime favourite mojito with black currant juice. The food menu is staked on Western comforts and Thai classics. While solid, if unspectacular, the vibrant cocktails are the real star here. When XANA opened, leading the beach club movement, Phuket was given a shot in the arm. Preconceived views of nightlife on the island, the corners to which it was once confined, were upended. The beach and nightlife proved not only capable of co-existing, but thriving as well.

XANA 10 Mu 4 Srisoonthon Rd, Thalang | 0 7632 4101 xanabeachclub.com

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Blue Elephant Phuket’s elegant and inviting interior.

Chef Tammasak pores over a plate in the kitchen of Suay.

Kim Steppe of Blue Elephant Phuket

The layout is as fresh as the food at Suay in Phuket Town.


chefs recommend

PTHRUAV K EETL

The Chef’s Table Phuket’s Top Restaurateurs Recommend Where to Wine and Dine on the Island

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o one knows food like a chef. Their taste buds are keen to flavours that not just any roving eater can identify. They’re Michelin keen, keen like a metal detector combing the sand for loose coins. If you want to know what’s good in town, from Batalian decadence to the rawest, most shame-inducing viscera, follow the experts. They know where to go. On Phuket, there’s a network of restaurant professionals who have a lot in common, despite their contrasting styles. They’ve worked on ships and in resorts, opened restaurants, and, not surprisingly, eaten lots of good stuff over the years. Top to bottom, they recognize talent and appreciate quality — the very best, in other words — and they’re happy to voice their recommendations, if you ask. Kim Steppe, general manager of Blue Elephant, knows a thing or two about food that satisfies on a deeper level, about meals made with passion. His mother, Nooror Somany Steppe, is an icon among Thai chefs, and her restaurant-cum-cooking schools in Thailand (one set in a heritage house in Bangkok, the other in a refurbished centenarian mansion in Phuket Town) are bona fide institutions, serving royal Thai cuisine that balances traditions old and new. Although not a chef in title, Kim’s cut from the gourmet mould. He’s spent his life in and around restaurants. Nuance is not lost on him, even in the most humble food. “Next to On On Hotel [on Phang Nga Road] in a yellow building is some of the best pork and chicken satay in Thailand. It’s juicy, not dry at all, and the sauce is excellent. It looks like nothing, but it’s great. A place you have to try for lunch,” he adds, “is Kruvit at Laem Hin. It’s a floating restaurant on the water by Coconut Island. You select your own live seafood. It’s really untouched.” As manager of a distinguished restaurant, and having spent significant time at Blue Elephant in Belgium, where he rubbed elbows with world-famous chefs, Kim can also appreciate elegance. “There’s an Italian chef doing tremendous things here,” he says. “The food is modern, but still classic, and he adds his special flair to every plate. It doesn’t come to the table without him touching it first. The restaurant’s called Acqua.” And the chef’s name is Alessandro Frau. Frau founded the aforementioned Acqua after wayfaring stints as a head chef in Italy, South America, bangkok101.com

France, and at the Sheraton Grande Laguna, where he gave its Italian restaurant an injection of authentic Italy— “They were doing Italian food, but the chef was from New Zealand and the restaurant was decorated with zigzags and bright colours and Maori designs.” His rise has been rapid to a certain degree, a six-year overnight success. In the kitchen, his philosophy is not about ostentation insomuch as temptation. He’s in the business of arousing appetites and satisfying them with a barrage of taste, texture, and visual beauty. Naturally, his favourite places on the island are as eclectic as his dishes. “Ka Jok See is really interesting,” he says. “It looks old and kind of dirty, but they bring out your meal and it’s just lovely. Then the waiters push the tables back and everyone starts dancing. All night. It’s crazy. It’s the only place Beyoncé and Jay-Z went outside of the resort when they were here.” For a diametrically different approach to dining, Chef Frau suggests The 9th Floor in Patong. “It’s all about service. You’re taken care of by, like, 15 beautiful girls. The food is rich and fresh and modern.” He also recommends Suay, a clean and cool Thai restaurant in Phuket Town headed by Tammasak Chootong, an acclaimed chef who admits finding inspiration in simple, everyday items. “Sometimes I see the end product — how the dish is supposed to look — when I stare at one single fruit. Then I add flavours that I think will match and, using techniques I learned abroad, I make the main ingredients stand out with taste, flavour, and structure,” says Chef Tammasak. With these guiding principles, he creates fresh and modern Isaan and northern Thai food (think yam apple pla dook foo and khao soi salmon) that has won the attention of prominent figures in Phuket’s food scene. But he, too, has much-loved destinations beyond his own. “The Brasserie, around the corner from my place, is great for dinner. I like The Gallery Café by Pinky in Phuket Town for a breakfast [of hearty Western fare]. The freshest seafood made with local flavour is at the beachside road in Rawai,” he says, adding, “Go there for lunch.” Phuket’s dining scene is a little like a coral reef: vast and attractive, hiding myriad secrets. Inside the maze of hills, halls, and shophouses, waiting to be explored, are bright and piebald surprises. Let the experts guide your discovery. M A RCH 2015 | 57


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resort review cape panwa

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resort review cape panwa

PTHRUAV K EETL

THE SUITE LIFE Cape Panwa Hotel, a Regal Escape on Eastern Seas BY CRAIG SAUERS

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t’s a destination, the first and only stop in an unforgettable itinerary, and there isn’t much reason to leave after checking in. The stately Cape Panwa Hotel stands as a Phuket landmark. For over a quarter of a century, it has quietly filled its receiving shoreline with guests staying long and short. Quietly is the key word: the property occupies a brilliant jade bight on the island’s laid-back southeast seaboard, providing two essential ingredients to idyllic getaways — peace and privacy. With 205 rooms spanning Junior Suites to the commodious Panwa Lodge, the hotel offers discerning holiday-makers a bevy of accommodation options. In truth, it’s hard to go wrong. Each room type includes its own unique amenities. For example, the Cape Signature Suite provides an extended sun deck as well as an outdoor whirlpool, and the Cape Absolute Suite comes with privileges typically reserved for the likes of Mick Jagger: 24-hour butler service, a private lift, in-suite breakfast with a personal chef, complimentary use of the hotel’s Mercedes-Benz, and, for stays of five days or longer, a trip on the hotel’s private yacht, the Panwa Princess. While rock-star bacchanalia has its moments, a more humble, yet still lavish, vacation awaits those who book a stay in one of the resort’s six private pool villas. Renovated in 2013, the two-bedroom villas feature natural wood floors, walk-in showers and bathtubs, tasteful furniture in several shapes and sizes ranging

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from disc-shaped pool loungers to plush couches, and, the cherry on the sundae, infinity-edge plunge pools. In keeping with the hotel’s all-embracing seaside motif, each villa is finished with rattan and wicker décor such as pandurate lampshades in shades of brown and aquamarine. The pool villas feel like home, like the home many wish to have. The buildings are large enough to cater to families or groups of friends, and yet intimate enough for couples. From the surrounding garden rises the smell of fresh grass and saltwater, while the view from the balcony takes in coconut trees, red-orange heliconia flowers, and a vast silver sea. It’s a postcard-quality setting. Even when the beach beckons from below, departing for the sand proves to be a challenge, as the sun shines brightly on the deck and music streams from a portable iPod dock. But spending any amount of time at the hotel without leaving the room ignores the many activities that Cape Panwa has to offer. The Cape Spa sits next to a curiously placed tailor in front of the Junior Suites, connected to the lobby by a narrow walkway that meanders past banana plants and papaya trees. At the foyer, guests are greeted with a rich fragrance of lemongrass, orange peel, and lavender. Inside, the spacious treatment rooms, aglow in amber light and adorned with lotus flowers floating in porcelain bowls, feel more like palatial chambers than places to go for a Thai massage. Top to bottom, the spa deals in

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service. Starting with traditional massages and extending to more advanced remedies, like enzyme therapies and body scrubs, the scope of treatments is vast and necessary. A hotel like Cape Panwa should pull out all the stops, and it does, with discreet attention at every turn. In the morning, guests flock to Café Andaman for the expected breakfast buffet. Stocked with creature comforts —pastries, eggs made-to-order, fresh fruit, endless coffee and tea, and dim sum — the buffet doesn’t disappoint, but the café is a better choice for lunch, when the kitchen opens for orders (Thai dishes, in particular the roasted duck red curry with grapes and pineapple, stand out among relatively mundane international options). For dinners, drinks, or a change in routine, the hotel does have ten other venues to try, including Panwa House, its quintessential beachside venue. Set in a nineteenth-century Sino-Portuguese mansion, Panwa House is an impressive sight, radiant with preterit romance and glory. It calls to mind images from the reign of Rama V, an era of candle-lit banquets, dinner suits, and utensils crafted from precious metals. A chandelier dangles above a wide central staircase. Faded paintings of pastoral scenes hang on the walls. Restored teakwood chairs sit on sepia-toned rugs, bounded by antiques like elephant tusks and ranad ek, a wooden xylophone native to Thailand. The cuisine fits into the august theme, too. Rock lobster with fried shallots and roasted chilli paste; fish sautéed in a dry tom yam paste; nam prik ghapi, a dip made predominantly from shrimp paste and chillies and paired with boiled vegetables — the meals become period pieces themselves in light of the ambiance, with a string band playing and food served on fine chinaware. After dinner, a ride in the creaky funicular to the top of the hill provides a couple of options for drinks and music. 60 | M A RCH 2015

The first is the Lighthouse Bar. Low-key and casual, this maritime-themed dive is a cult classic popular for its pool table and live entertainment. On most nights, a band plays from one corner of the bar while patrons hang out on the patio or linger beneath the cupola. Otter’s Bar, on the other hand, attracts crowds looking for a more patrician setting. A strict dress code requires visitors to appear suitably groomed before entering this piano bar, but it’s by no means discriminatory. According to General Manager Thomas Hain, some long-stay guests come back every night for the tasteful ambiance of Otter’s Bar and the fine French cuisine at neighbouring Top of the Reef restaurant. Beyond the bells and whistles and myriad venues, Cape Panwa also enjoys beautiful natural attractions. The kilometre-long private beach is filled with white sand as soft as talc, the kind that guests would no doubt rest on if it weren’t for the collection of free-use sun loungers. Between the beach and hill, coconut palms grow in shady groves, a reminder of the property’s former incarnation as a coconut plantation. With gentle rolling waves lapping the shore and the horizon flecked with green islands, the setting is, in a word, perfect. The east side of Phuket often gets overlooked on holiday itineraries. While it doesn’t have the immediate glitz and glamour of the west coast, it appeals to those who appreciate raw beauty and tranquillity. On an island whose selling point can also be its downfall, Cape Panwa Hotel is a gem.

CAPE PANWA HOTEL 27, 27/2, Mu 8, Sakdidej Rd, Cape Panwa, Phuket 83000 capepanwa.com | For bookings contact reservations@capepanwa. com or call 0 7639 1123-5

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art & culture photofeature

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huket old town probably isn’t the destination that springs to mind when visiting Thailand’s most popular resort island. However, far from the bustling beaches the old town is home to an amazing assortment of period structures and opulent villas dating from the time when emigrants, traders and tin miners settled the island. Inter-marriage between Chinese arrivals and locals – both Thai and Malay – gave rise to a peculiar way of life, the Peranakan culture, characterized by a taste for colour and ornamentation in houses and a mélange of regional cuisines.

THE FA

IC R B

OF HISTORY

Buildings on Dibuk, Thalang, Krabi, Romanee, Satun and Phang Nga Roads in Phuket old town all reflect the early 20th century urban planning influences of immigrants coming up from Penang, Malacca, Singapore and other Straits Settlements. They bear the same dimensional characteristics, and are often fronted by a covered walkway to allow pedestrians to walk out of the sun and rain. On the other hand, they also bear distinctive identities thanks to different stucco motifs on their facades. These feature mostly Chinese-style elements such as flowers, birds, and dragons, but also Corinthian columns and renaissance style arches. While the rows of shop-houses were mainly occupied by labourers, Chinese merchants and Thai nobles built themselves imposing villas, taking their inspiration from the French renaissance or Italian baroque architecture. That said, there is a great deal of polemic regarding the correct term to describe the Peranakan architectural legacy of Phuket. SinoBritish, Sino-Malay or Sino-Portuguese? Thais use the term ‘Sino-Portuguese’. However, it is anything but justified because, although the Portuguese arrived in the late 16th century, they left no real architectural legacy in the town. Most houses described as SinoPortuguese by guides were in fact built for Chinese or Thai merchants by architects from British-held Penang. Hence the term ‘Sino-British’ is probably most accurate. It is said that when King Chulalongkorn visited Phuket in 1890, he was impressed by the wealth of the town’s 680 shop-houses, including 300 made of brick. Unfortunately, many have disappeared over the last few decades because of neglect or the greed of developers. Today, however, local authorities, private owners, and architecture lovers are trying to save and protect the remaining heritage of Phuket old town, and to visit these streets is to recognize their valuable contribution to the island’s history.

Words & Pictures by Luc Citrinot


Limpanon Mansion at the junction of Bangkok and Phang Nga Roads is a hidden Frenchinspired gem with vaulted arches and exuberant stucco.


The Phra Phitak Chinpracha Mansion, built in 1903 for a tin mining tycoon, reopened five years ago as the Blue Elephant Cooking School & Restaurant.

Baan Thai Hua Mansion. Today a museum, the beautiful European style building was constructed in 1911 as a school for the children of Chinese tin miners.


The 100 year old Luang Amnat Mansion, built in the Italianate style, still exhudes an air of magnificence despite its sorrowful state.


Soi Romanee has been carefully restored and many of its shophouses are now art galleries and small coffee shops popular with Phuket locals and visitors alike.


Situated at the Tun Ka-Bangkok Road junction, this mansion with its neo-classical portico has been closed for a couple of years. Some say because it is haunted‌

Located in Phuket Old Town, the Sino-British style Tan Pek Huad Mansion built in 1917 is now home to the local Thai Airways office.


Detail on a house at Soi Romanee. The colour scheme – pink with golden stuccois a departure from the white, beige, cream and pale yellows used in the past.

Thalang Road is one of the best preserved streets in Phuket Old Town with rows of Sino-British, or Peranakan, shop houses. Note the covered walk-ways, now filled in.


This beautiful rounded corner used to serve as the headquarters of the Kian Nguan Mining Company. It now hosts an atmospheric coffee shop.


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A NEW SCHOOL OF PAINTING? Sombat Permpoon Gallery presents “Copy-Paste”, an exhibition exploring the inherent problems in Thailand’s education system through the works of seven artists who have been both students and teachers. “Copy-Paste” refers to the Thai education culture in which learning is centered on memorizing from text books and following instructions from teachers. It is a culture in which students are not encouraged to be independent and creative, and critical thinking while discovering one’s individual strengths is not commonly promoted.  A 2011 Public Health Ministry survey of the IQ of students across the country found that Thai children averaged an IQ of 98.59 points, lower than the present international IQ standard of 100 points. The World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report for 2012-2013 stated that Thailand’s education quality ranked lowest among eight ASEAN countries, and in 2004 The International Institute for Management Development (IMD) ranked Thai education at 51st place among 60 countries around the world. These results prompted Chonlawit Rodjaturakun, Monchai Pitayawaraporn, Powarong Boonchoui, Rukkit Kuanhawate, Saranyu Koontanagoonwong, Suebsang Sangwachirapiban, and Sujin Wattanawongchai to use their art to relay their experiences of Thai schools and create a dialogue with the audience about whether they, the viewers, have experienced the same thing. In using their art as a medium to create such a dialogue, the exhibitors hope to prompt positive changes in the Thai education system.   “Copy-Paste” runs from March 12-May 9 at 2nd Floor, Sombat Permpoon Gallery

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exhibitions

OUR BELOVED PRINCESS

ARDEL GALLERY OF MODERN ART [MAP 5/F4] 99/45 Belle Ville, Boromratchonnanee Rd (Km 10.5) | 0 2422 2092 Tue-Sat 10.30am-7pm, Sun 10.30am-5.30pm | ardelgallery.com

April 2-19 An exhibition presents the story of Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn through painting, sculpture and photography. The exhibition is to mark her public duties as well as remarkable talents, also celebrate her 60th birthday anniversary. The exhibition feature Thailand’s leading artists; Krirkbura Yomnage, Sompop Budtarad, Warawoot Shusangthong, Ekachai Luadsoongnern, Watchara Prayoonkum, Praiwan Dakliang, Nitikorn Kraivixien, Suradej Kaewthamai, Suwat Wanmanee, Thanarit Thipwaree, Watchara Klakhakhai, Chairat Sangthong, Preecha Promprabtuk, and Sornchai Kongwun.

THE AESTHETIC OF COLOURS IN SIAM

THE PIKTURE GALLERY[MAP 3/P7] F3, Elysian Tea House & Garden, Soi 49/1 Sukhumvit Rd | 0 2662 8359, 08 6339 1281 | Tue-Sun 9am-6pm | thepikturegallery.com BTS Thonglor

Until March 15 Canal and riverine life has been an integral part of Thai existence for centuries, but as the country develops and the need for water borne infrastructure lessens, canal side communities have found convenience upon dry land. Along with images of cultural pastimes like buffalo racing and Khon drama, Wattana Poolcharoen’s nostalgic Impressionist style paintings evoke the essence of a way of life that is gradually disappearing.

HOPE IN THE DARKNESS

WHITESPACE GALLERY [MAP 5/L6] 1 Sala Daeng Soi 1, Rama IV Rd I 08 1699 5298 I whitespcegallery.com I MRT Lumpini

Until March 29 Whitespace continues to give younger emerging artists a platform with a duo display featuring sculpture, painting and drawings by Preecha Noulnim and Aphiphol Techamangkhalanon. Against the current government’s recent drive to clean up both city streets and coastal stretches, the two artists take on themes attached to urban society, materialism and power, and the environmental and spiritual repercussions.

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exhibitions

A RT & C U LT U R E

IMPLY REPLY: HUANG YONG PING AND SAKARIN KRUE-ON

BANGKOK ART & CULTURE CENTRE (BACC) [MAP 4/B4] 939 Rama I Rd | 0 2214 6630-1 | Tue-Sun 10am-9pm | bacc.or.th BTS National Stadium

Until April 26 Staged on the BACC’s 8th floor and organised in collaboration with Tang Contemporary Art, this duo exhibition brings together renowned Chinese-French artist Huang Yong Ping with respected Thai artist Sakarin Krue-on. Through the integrated placement of key works from both artists career portfolio as well as newly produced works, the intention is to highlight critical issues from a national and regional perspective.

STREET FEELINGS

ARTHA GALLERY [MAP 5/B4] OP Garden, 5-7 Soi 36 Charoen Krung Rd I 0 2630 9489 I MonSat 10am-7pm I BTS Saphan Taskin | arthagallery.fr

Until April 30 Luong Van Trung ,a talented young Vietnamese artist is fascinated by the effects of ten years of globalization in Vietnam and more precisely by the project called ‘Giãn Dân’: a relocation of entire countryside families to new buildings in suburbs of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh. All the kids street characters are sketched with a wonderful & talented “palette “ of colours along with a meaningful, yet hard faces expressing all the contradictions and feelings of the new Vietnamese kids generation.

bangkok101.com

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interview

Cinematic Suburbia Much of the work of UK artist Will Klose is based in Thailand and yet informed by the traditions of Western painting. Currently enjoying his third solo show at G1 Contemporary by H Gallery at Gaysorn Plaza, he says the duality of his native culture and that of his adopted home in Chiang Mai will continue to influence his output. 74 | M A R C H 2 0 1 5

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interview

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When did you realise you wanted to be an artist? There was never really a defining moment. It was something I grew up surrounded by and it felt natural and instinctive. I was always encouraged by my family, friends and teachers. My love of art, painting in particular, became even more pronounced while studying at Edinburgh School of Art and later at Camberwell College of Art in London.

What prompted the enigmatic scenarios depicted in your ‘Disquiet’ series? The narratives at work in these paintings are influenced by living in Thailand. My experiences here, both real and perceived, intertwined with my relationship to where I grew up, are the underlying themes behind the works. It was never my intention to illustrate specific events, but to capture something more elusive and detached.

How have your childhood memories of suburbia in the UK influenced your art? I think wherever you grow up plays an important role in any artistic interest one has. The more time I have lived away from London, the greater the visual impact it has upon me. What would perhaps seem mundane and commonplace takes on a heightened significance. Obviously there was a certain nostalgia involved when starting this group of work. But as the narratives develop, they move away from this into more uncertain themes of displacement and dual cultural existence.

Why did you choose to settle in Thailand? My wife grew up in Thailand and we consider it our home along with London. I travel between the UK and Thailand frequently and feel equally comfortable in either.

Your work has an almost photographic quality to it. How did your style come about? These paintings represent quite a departure from my usual approach to working. In the previous two solo exhibitions I’ve held at H Gallery, I’ve worked exclusively from life – be that cityscapes, interiors or portraits. Because I wanted to use photos that I had taken many years previously as the backdrop for my new paintings, it had a profound effect on my work stylistically. The resulting images have much more of a cinematic feel than I initially envisaged. As the work develops it throws up lots of questions that need answering. It is this process that drives the paintings along. The modern artists I grew up admiring, painters such as Degas and Balthus, have always reinforced this sense of possibility within the discipline of painting bangkok101.com

What next in terms of your artistic career? I am never quite certain what will happen next especially after preparing for an exhibition, which often leaves my wife and myself knackered! Having moved to Chiang Mai over two years ago I am beginning to realise how I might incorporate this into my work. Originally I found the move away from Bangkok quite tough as far as subject matter is concerned. But I now feel much more comfortable with how I see my paintings developing. Alongside working on portraits and images based on my studio environment, I hope to continue this idea of duality that runs through the work in the current exhibition.

DISQUIET UNTIL MARCH 31 G1 CONTEMPORARY BY H GALLERY

[MAP 4/G4]

Ground floor, Gaysorn Plaza, 999 Ploenchit Rd I 08 5021 5508 hgallery.com I Daily 10am-8pm I BTS Chitlom

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cheat notes

WHEN IN ASIA

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quirky, light-hearted look at Asian customs and traditions, When in Asia by Trigg, the prolific illustrator behind the much-loved cartoons that have featured in the bestselling Cultureshock! series, includes traveller’s notes on China, Japan, India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and more. When cultures meet, the results are often surprising – and frequently hilarious. Even as the world becomes globally connected, customs and practices are preserved in very localised ways. In Asia, where traditions abound, daily life can be a minefield of misunderstandings – but also a rich source of amusement and enlightenment. Casting its net over the varied countries of the continent, this new book takes a fun approach to life in different cultures. Each page introduces an unusual custom illustrated by a Trigg cartoon. From strange eating habits to unusual greetings and sayings, from disparate attitudes to work and play to the sometimes bizarre ways of love and sex, this book captures it all, with a knowing wink! When in Asia is published by Marshall Cavendish International, priced at B480. Available at all good bookstores from April 7, 2015.

All A – Buzz WHAT ARE YOU CRAVING FOR?

Mix, meet and mingle over the French Market at Crave during the month of March 2015. Mouth watering Foie Gras* station, French classic Beef Bourguignon, French Cheese platters, cold cuts, seafood, Thai & Asian favorites, Pizza’s, ice-cream stations, Thai fruits, and more… * One serving per guest

ALL - DAY DINING (A LA CARTE MENU)

Available from 10.30 AM – 10.30 PM daily

FRENCH MARKET BUFFET @THB 990++/PERSON

Every Sunday – Wednesday from 6.30 PM – 10.30 PM

FRENCH MARKET BUFFET WITH SEAFOOD SELECTION @THB 1,290++/PERSON Every Thursday – Saturday 6.30 PM -10.30 PM

Aloft Bangkok - Sukhumvit 11

35 Sukhumvit Soi 11, Sukhumvit Rd., Bangkok 10110 Thailand T+66 2 207 7000 F+66 2 207 7100 alofthotels.com/bangkoksukhumvit11 facebook.com/aloftbangkoksukhumvit11


PAN-FRIED PINK DUCK BREAST AT JOJO, ST. REGIS BANGKOK P84

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AROY GREETINGS TO GARIBALDIS

Garibaldis Restaurant & Bar has officially opened at the ground floor of Somerset Serviced Apartments on Sukhumvit Soi 16. Serving fine Mediterranean cuisine, the outlet is named for the famous Italian general and politican Giuseppe Garibaldi who, with his Brazilian wife Anita, epitomized the spirit of the 19th century’s age of romanticism and revolutionary liberalism. With air-conditioned indoor and outdoor dining spaces, the restaurant offers the perfect atmosphere for casual breakfast, lunch and dinner dining 7 days a week. Giacomo Malagese, previously of Limoncello, heads the restaurant, while Chef Marco Rosato serves an excellent selection of modern dishes capturing the true essence of Mediterranean flavours from Italy, Spain, Southern France and Greece. As evening falls, Garibaldis morphs into a hip lounge bar serving creative signature and classic cocktails and a considered selection of new and old world wines.

ELEMENTS HOSTS CHEF CHRISTOPH RÜFFER

Award-winning German chef Christoph Rüffer pays a 4-day visit in late March to Elements restaurant at the 25th floor of The Okura Prestige Bangkok to demonstrate a unique style of cuisine made famous at the popular Restaurant Haerlin at the Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg. While in Bangkok he will prepare a set lunch, priced at B2600++, that includes Maine lobster with yellow beetroot, passion fruit and cocoa, and roasted Barbarie duck served with corn, potato and bacon, young leeks and peppered Nashi pear compote. His five-course set dinner, priced at B4900++, features Atlantic turbot with pumpkin, coconut and tamarind, and rack of lamb with sage, spicy couscous, small vegetables and choron sauce. Guests opting for the wine pairing (add B2500++) will enjoy a fine selection of labels from France, Italy and Germany as chosen by Sommelier Marc Bittner. The set lunch and dinner menus are available at Elements restaurant from 12 noon-2:30pm and 6pm-10:30pm respectively during March 24-28.

DOUBLE DEE LITE

DoubleTree by Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok is holding a ‘Vivre La France’ food promotion at its Dee Lite dining outlet. For just B850 per head (excluding tax and service charge), guests can experience the fabulous flavours of La Belle French during March 20-29. There’s a ‘buy one, get one free’ offer on French wines by the glass and tables of six or more can enjoy a 15 percent discount on the total bill. Dinner on March 28 includes Dee Lite Earth Hour 2015, part of the lightsout anti-global warming campaign, during which the restaurant will dim its lights to add to the atmosphere. Dee Lite restaurant is located on level 1 of DoubleTree by Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok. Call 0 2649 6666 or email bkkss.info@hilton.com for information and reservations.

SAMUNPRAI AND MOJITO MAGIC AT BASIL

Enjoy a set of three refreshing mojitos for just B650++ as a perfect aperitif prior to delicious and authentic Thai herb dishes prepared by Basil’s Chef Kesinee. New additions to her samunprai menu include neua yang khamin, grilled marinated beef sirloin with turmeric, and yam goong bai cha om thod, spicy prawn salad with fried acacia leaf. Basil at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit is open for lunch from 12 noon-2.30pm, Mon-Fri, and for dinner from 6pm-10.30pm daily. For reservations email dining.sgs@luxurycollection.com or call 0 2649 8366. bangkok101.com

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meal deals A SLICE OF FRANCE IS SERVED AT FIFTY FIVE AND RED SKY CENTARA GRAND AT CENTRALWORLD 999/99 Rama 1 Rd | 0 2101 1234 | centarahotelsresorts.com/centaragrand Chef de Cuisine Hugo Coudurier invites you to savour a 5-course dinner with mouth-watering specialties from Burgundy. This luxurious dining experience starts with a foie gras terrine paired with concorde grape and Meursault wine compote, and is followed by fricassée d’escargots with wild mushrooms, cream, and parsley. The dinner also features veal stew with smoked bacon, caramelized pearl onions and Brillat-Savarin infused with Marc de Bourgogne. Top it off with crème praliné and roasted walnuts.

SO TROPICAL PROMOTION AT PARK SOCIETY SOFITEL SO BANGKOK 2 North Sathorn Rd | 0 2624 0000 | sofitel-so-bangkok.com Keep yourself cool this March with highlighted menus at Park Society, the chic rooftop restaurant and bar. Enjoy a 5-course set dinner with amazing views at only B2900++ per person. Highlights include grilled red mullet fillet served with jack fruit puree, mushroom fricassee and asparagus, pan-seared duck breast, confit pork belly, and decadent desserts like sticky rice pudding, tropical fruit flambé, and coconut ice cream.

A MONTH OF PEKING DUCK AND FOIE GRAS AT SUMMER PLACE INTERCONTINENTAL BANGKOK 973 Phloenchit Rd | 0 2656 0444 | intercontinental.com/icbangkok Chef Khor Eng Yew of Summer Place displays his impressive culinary skill throughout March with variations on foie gras and Peking duck. The foie gras platter delivers the rich treat in three unique styles: chilled and marinated drunken chicken roll with foie terrine and Shao wine jelly, stir-fried minced duck with foie gras and crispy tofu sheets, and pan-fried foie gras served with Chinese five spice and mango salsa. Prices start at B500++ per dish.

TEA TIME AT LIBRARY BAR U SATHORN BANGKOK 105, 105/1 Soi Ngam Duphli, Thung Maha Mek, Sathorn | 0 2119 4804 | usathornbangkok.com Find a moment of peace in the daily grind with afternoon tea for two. The luxurious tea set features Western and Thai goodies, such as smoked salmon with cucumber and mustard, bacon and leek quiche, vegetable spring rolls, minced prawn in golden bags, fruit tarts, profiteroles, crème brûlée, and chocolate fudge cake served with a selection of TWG teas. Available daily from 1pm until 6pm for B690.

PREMIUM AUSTRALIAN LAMB SHANK AT WINE CONNECTION WINE CONNECTION Available in all Wine Connection Delis and bistros | wineconnection.co.th Wine Connection is whipping up an incredible signature dish this month, braised Australian lamb shank, and for only B410. The rich and tender cut of meat is marinated with rosemary, black pepper, and garlic, seared and de-glazed with Australian Shiraz, and slowly braised over eight hours. It is served with olive oil, mash potatoes, glazed carrots, and rich roasting juices.

MOMO’S BEST LUNCH DEAL MARRIOTT EXECUTIVE APARTMENTS SATHORN VISTA 1 Sathorn Soi 3, South Sathorn Rd | 0 2343 6789 | marriottsathornvista.com MoMo café brings back a city-wide favourite lunch menu, starting at B250++ per set. Enjoy scrumptious selections like Pla Sam Rod (fried dory fish served on green mango salad with a tangy chilli sauce), Greek lamb, spicy chicken, Wagyu beef parmesan, and Siam salmon (panfried salmon filet on a salad of herbs, served with lemongrass cream salsa and steamed rice). This promotion is available until the end of March, from 11.30am to 2.30pm, Monday through Friday. 80 | M A RCH 2015

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review

FOOD & DRIN K

MINIBAR CAFÉ - Home is Where the Heart is Nothing beats a home-cooked meal in the company of friends, even if the meal isn’t actually cooked at home. Foodies might remember Minibar Royale, the neo-industrial bistro built at the base of Citadines on Sukhumvit 23. Well, that restaurant has rebranded as Minibar Café and relocated to the fifth floor of the metropolitan Central Embassy. Unlike its previous incarnation, this new venue delivers elevated home-style cuisine in a much warmer atmosphere, providing comfort, class, and endless creativity. Minibar Café is a modified version of the modern New York bistro. Its pleasant ambiance is staked on good food, laughter, conversation, and music, because these elements help make meals memorable. At the entrance, a fridge shares the day’s selection of fresh-baked goods and quality wines. From there, the restaurant splits into four zones: a cosy indoor dining area, an al fresco space for splendid views of the city, a private room, and, everyone’s favourite after-work hangout, a bar. The partners behind the venture said they were each inspired by their travels, when they explored different cultures and picked up cooking tips from new friends. The international influence shows in the kitchen. The menu features a range of French, Italian, and, of course, Thai dishes, each suggested by one of the founders. The Sardine Tempura (B180), crunchy fried sardines served in bangkok101.com

the fish’s natural habitat, a tin can, tastes even better with a dish of papaya salsa placed beside it. For those who crave a local specialty, the chef recommends the colourful Saiburi Rice Salad (B200), a traditional southern rice salad with dried shrimp, a few herbs and vegetables, and a tangy seasoning made of shrimp paste. For a touch of heat, try the Deep-fried Sea Bass topped with Soy Paste and Chilli (B240), which is served with quinoa to soothe taste buds after the assault of spice. Other recommended dishes such as Ox tongue Stew (B320), Ribs de Brooklyn (B260) and a choice of tortizza. No dinner would be complete without drinks and dessert. For a sweet nosh, pick out a piece of cake or try the tangy Grass Jelly & Tres Leches Granita (B80). If the night is still young, stick around and chat up the talented bartender. His knowledge of booze is extensive, and he’s happy to talk about the how the ingredients made inhouse, from syrup to soda to grenadine, set apart drinks like the Pandan Passion Smash with Pomegranate Syrup (B120) and the Honey Matoom Pop (B120). It’s classic dinner-table talk.

MINIBAR CAFÉ [MAP 4/K4 ] 5F Central Embassy, 1031 Ploenchit Rd | 0 2160 5610 facebook.com/MinibarRoyale | 10am-10pm

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review

UP AND ABOVE - A Sunday institution destined to become a Saturday favourite The Sunday buffet brunch at Up and Above Restaurant at the Okura Prestige has been popular with foodies since the hotel opened. And now the brunch concept has expanded to include a Saturday version that takes place from 12 noon to 4pm. It is a capital way to spend a leisurely afternoon with family and friends. To start with there are the surroundings. Located adjacent to the lobby on the hotel’s 24th floor, the chic and modern restaurant is clad in marble and possesses massive picture windows overlooking Bangkok. The serving area is purpose built, meaning it was designed to serve as a buffet, and uses a variety of heating and cooling techniques to keep food fresh and at the right temperature. There is also an open kitchen where patrons can order food a la minute, and a small terrace area for those who enjoy dining in the great outdoors. Of the many highlights is the massive selection of fresh seafood on ice. The selection of local oysters (shucked as you watch), crab, prawns, mussels, clams and much more is pristine and impressive. Equally popular are giant river prawn dishes that are cooked to order and delivered to your table. As one would expect at a Japanese hotel, there is also a great selection of sashimi and sushi. In fact, Asian options are very much to the fore and include succulent 82 | M A RCH 2015

Chinese-style roast pig and roast duck, a good selection of dim sum, chicken and pork sate charcoal broiled as you watch, and an enormous selection of Thai dishes ranging from appetizers to salads and main courses. Those with a sweet tooth will simply love the range of Western-style desserts and pastries on offer. The chocolate fountain, where favourite fruits and other goodies can be coated in sweet splendour, is particularly popular with youngsters. There is also a selection of Thai sweets including mango and sticky rice and kanom sai sai, sticky rice flour mixed with coconut and steamed in a banana leaf. The Saturday brunch at Up and Above costs B1950++ with free-flow of soft drinks and mocktails, or B2650++ with free-flow cocktails, beers and wines. The price for children aged 7-12 is B975++. There is, of course, parking at Okura Prestige, but many patrons prefer to arrive by Skytrain and then use the elevated walkway from Ploenchit Station to access the hotel.

MAKING WAVES SATURDAY BRUNCH AT UP & ABOVE [MAP 4/L5] The Okura Prestige Bangkok | 57 Wireless Rd | 0 2687 9000 okurabangkok.com | 12 noon-4pm

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review

FOOD & DRIN K

NEW YORK STYLE STEAK & BURGER - The Big Apple Bites Big in Bangkok One has to admire the spirit of any plucky entrepreneur opening a business in the Thai capital these days. Step forward chef-model Naalinlat Kollman, one such daring soul, who recently decided to bring the successful Shanghai-based New York Style Steak & Burger franchise to Sukhumvit 22. Serving belt-loosening burgers and mouth-watering steak, NYSS&B offers a combination that looks certain to sate the appetites of Bangkok’s carnivorous crowd. Freshness is at the core of the food philosophy here; a mantra derived from sourcing the best ingredients from Bangkok’s top suppliers. Beef, imported from the USA, is USDA Certified Angus Beef. Burgers are ground daily each morning. Vegetables are sourced from Chiang Mai via the Royal Project Foundation. Crunchy buns are ordered from the custom-made oven at Maison Jean Philippe. Relishes, sauces and salads dressings are produced a la minute. The restaurant’s burger menu offers red meat lovers no fewer than ten exceptional 220g patty options grilled to order, ranging from “The Big Boy”, packed with authentic cheddar cheese (B390), to “The Manhattan Monster” stacked with bacon, cheddar cheese, firehouse chilli and a fried egg (B450). “Chicken Little” is on hand to satisfy white meat fans. Aside from the dazzling burger range, exposed brick interior, leather sofas, iconic black-and-white Manhattan bangkok101.com

photos and alfresco balcony, the true star of the show is the melt-in-your-mouth steak. Available in four succulent cuts (250g tenderloin B1750; 500g chateaubriand B3250; 250g NY Strip B1150; and 350g rib eye B1550), each steak is beautifully balanced with five accompanying sauces and a side of fries, roast potatoes, grilled vegetables or a baked potato. The quality of the meat is exemplary; each bite delivers a euphoric moreish desire that burns long after you can literally stomach no more. Until, that is, the New York cheesecake arrives and challenges your conceptions of spatial awareness. Homemade with a dollop of mascarpone to give a lighter, fluffier texture, the sweet blend resting on a thin Oreo layer base is just the tonic to stir you from your selfinduce meat coma. And if that doesn’t do the trick, try an imported craft beer (from B300) or Central Park cocktail (B280) to freshen up your palate. New York Style Steak & Burger serves deliciousness by the gram and – if they stick to their principles – looks set to be one of the city’s finest eateries for some time to come.

NEW YORK STYLE STEAK & BURGER [MAP 3/L11] 28 Sukhumvit Soi 22 | 0 2262 0920 nysteakandburger.com | 11am-1pm

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review

JOJO - Savouring La Serenissima Bangkok isn’t short of Italian restaurants offering Neapolitan, Tuscan and Romano cuisines. One of the few outlets proudly flying the flag for Venetian fare is Jojo at St. Regis Bangkok. Located on the ground floor of the chic hotel, Jojo’s décor features period images of the palazzos and canals that have earned Venice its fame, while ambient lighting cast a warm glow over tables and an intimate bar. Chef Carlo Valenziano uses ingredients imported from his home region to conjure up truly authentic flavours of the Veneto. Start with his Insalata di Granchio (B750), a Venetian-style crab salad made with celery, tomato, parsley gel, and salmon roe. It works well alongside Crema di Zucca (B350), a pumpkin soup with roasted seeds and a splash of the restaurant’s chilli-infused picante olive oil. In terms of main course, those with a big appetite will enjoy Chef Carlo’s beef cut (B1690). It comprises four generously thick medallions of beautifully pink and tender wagyu top sirloin served with parsnip puree, marinated carrots, and red wine sauce. Try it with a side dish of Gnocchi con Ragout D’anatra (B550), handmade potato gnocchi served with an accompanying rich duck ragout, vegetables, and wonderfully tangy sage parmesan cheese crisps. The two dishes together make for an elevated version of meat and potatoes. Also hearty is Anatra Porchettata (B980), pan-fried pink 84 | M A RCH 2015

duck breast with a porchetta-style marinade, chickpeas two ways, orange compote, and duck jus. It is deeply satisfying and an example of Veneto comfort food. A good alternative to these filling meat dishes is Cappasanta & Patate (B1150), a serving of plump Hokkaido scallops accompanied by a light potatohorseradish mousse, sautéed butterhead lettuce and roasted pistachios. The dish has a fine counter-play going between the natural sweetness of the seared scallops and the peppery kick of the horseradish mousse. Another of the chef’s recommendations which throws up flavour contrasts on the palate is Casseruola di Funghi (B670), an intriguing wild mushroom casserole with black truffle, leek, slow cooked egg, stracchino cheese, and rye bread croutons. It is rich and creamy with a tart edge thanks to the egg and cheese respectively, and yet has an earthy quality resulting from the truffle and leek components, and textural crunch derived from the croutons. These and many other choice dishes by the talented Chef Carlo can be enjoyed with a wide selection of Italian wines from a magnificent cellar.

JOJO [MAP 4/G6] Ground flr, St. Regis Bangkok, 159 Rajadamri Rd | 0 2207 7815 stregisbangkok.com | Daily 12-noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm

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FOOD & DRIN K

review

EL CHIRINGUITO - Table Talk and Tapas Soi Nana is a veritable hotbed of activity. Within a 250-metre stretch of macadam off westbound Charoen Krung, galleries, bars, and boutiques are opening by the day. Behind all this growth, behind the evolution of the neighbourhood, stand a gregarious Spaniard, his Spanish-fluent Thai wife, and a slender shophouse whose transformation begot a movement. On the face of it, El Chiringuito is a tapas bar. The menu lists nine items in chalk on a side wall. Sangria and Spanish gin distinguish the selection of drinks, also written on the wall. Small dishes and high-quality alcohol, an atmosphere defined by antiques and handicrafts: it’s an implant from Madrid dropped neatly into the Bangkok beehive. But limiting El Chiringuito’s import to food and booze would be criminal. It’s the local, a community hall for all manner of urban aesthetes. From Thursday to Saturday, Victor Hierro and Pupe Sae Ia unbolt the padlock around blue-gray doors, place a couple of wooden chairs and a table on the berm, and hit play on the soundtrack. Before long, their narrow venue fills. Many come for the pincho tortilla (B90), a classic made with caramelized onions and slow-cooked potatoes. “[Spanish expats] love it. They say, ‘It’s just like my mother’s!’ They don’t know it’s made by a Thai,” says Hierro, laughing. “She’s very good.” 86 | M A RCH 2015

After the couple met, they moved to Madrid, where in five years Pupe mastered not only the language, but also the cuisine. “The tortilla takes two hours to make,” she says with a kind of maternal pride. Her food is as honest as it comes, especially her cojonudo (B100) — rustic bread topped with morcilla (blood sausage) imported from Burgos, a slice of roasted red pepper, and a fried quail egg. Hierro handles the pizza, which is made from scratch, from the dough to the tomato sauce. It comes topped with chorizo (B190) or as a margarita pie (B160), although occasionally there’s a wonderful mushroom, potato, and black truffle option. Conversation rules here. Couples and friends chat into the night, popping croquetas (B180) that melt on the tongue and burst with flavour, sucking down piquant cocktails of vermouth and cola called calimotxo (B130) or glasses of authentic gin xoriguer (B220). “All the time my friends ask to stay with me, so I say, ‘Okay, but you have to bring olives, you have to bring lots of morcilla,’” Hierro admits, beaming, his insatiable joie de vivre on display, a glimpse of the livewire boldness that helped spark the Chinatown revival. “It’s super-good.”

EL CHIRINGUITO

[MAP4 /F3-4]

221 Soi Nana, Charoen Krung Rd | 08 6340 4791 Facebook.com/elchiringuitobangkok | 6pm-midnight

bangkok101.com


scalini created presents weekend a la carte brunch by bollinger champagne wine pairings by chef egidio latorraca by roberto visaggio in 1920’s italian-american style all-you-can-eat brunch price thb 2,200 net free flow of bollinger special cuvee price thb 5,000 net performing saturday & sunday information reservation

02-6206666

Dine Scene

hilton sukhumvit bangkok 11 sukhumvi t soi 24, khlong ton, khlong toei , bangkok 10110 thai l and facebook.com/scalinibangkok @hiltonbkk #scalinibkk bts skytrain: phrom phong bangkok101.com

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FOOD & DRIN K

in the kitchen

JACOBO ASTRAY talks to Michael Moore

A native of Galacia, Spain, Jacobo Astray honed his culinary skills at the famed elBulli, the renowned Michelin three-star bastion of molecular gastronomy that was operated by celebrity chef Ferran Adriá on Catalonia’s Costa Brava. When elBulli ceased operations as a restaurant, Astray decided to broaden his culinary experiences by travelling the world, a journey that brought him to Thailand where he operates as the Private Chef for Gula, a company that consults and creates unique dining experiences for individuals and companies. We meet at the kitchen of the Ocean Bangkok Urban Resort where Astray is hunched over a stainless steel table working on a dish he has decided to call “prawn soup with Parmesan pearls.” He has never made it before and is reading from notes scribbled on a piece of paper. “I fried the legs of the prawns,” he says, holding up a shelled prawn with the legs intact. “I want the legs to be crunchy, but will have the body of the prawn cook in the soup.” Behind him on the stove there is a saucepan of prawn bisque made from the heads and shells of the crustaceans. He samples a spoonful and nods in approval. I taste it and find it rich and full of flavour. Nothing far out or smacking of molecular gastronomy here, simply a well-constructed bisque. The modern touches soon appear. Astray has created a creamy sauce flavoured with Parmesan cheese. He takes a dollop of the sauce and places it in an alginate 88 | M A RCH 2015

bath created by mixing an algae powder with water. The bath reacts with the Parmesan sauce and quickly forms a solid but fragile gel-like sphere around the liquid. Before long he has several glossy little spheres nestled in a bowl. He places one of the spheres in a spoon and gives it to me to try. I bite into it and the taste of Parmesan cheese suddenly fills my mouth. It is a delightfully unexpected tangy flavour hit. Astray then places the prawns, but not the Parmesan spheres, in the bisque and quickly cooks them. “If we get the spheres too hot they will dissolve,” he explains. He then places the bisque in a soup bowl and positions one of the prawns artistically in the middle. More bisque is added and then some of the spheres. The dish is garnished with crisply fried Iberico ham from Spain and some minced green onions to add bite and texture. The result is an attractive, yet simple creation. But how does it taste? It is fantastic, especially when a spoonful of the broth is suddenly enlivened with a rush of Parmesan. In all it is a salient demonstration of how traditional cooking with a modern touch can provide a memorable dining experience. It is also a great example of why Jacobo Astray is a master chef.

TABLES GRILL

[MAP 4/G5]

Grand Hyatt Erawan, 494 Ratchadamri Rd | 0 2254 1234 | bangkok. grand.hyatt.com | Mon-Sat noon-2.30pm, Sun brunch 10.30am-2pm

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street eats

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eat like

Nym

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

SAM PHRAENG AND SERI

W

ander a little way beyond Wat Pho and the walls of the Grand Palace and you come to come to an area around the Sam Phraeng-Tanao crossroads. Quiet, quaint and charming, this is a part of Bangkok it is easy to fall in love with. It has a sense of community, a village-like atmosphere made all the more special by the people who live there. Locals consider the area along Tanao Road a food heaven and there are plenty of places to enjoy wonderful home-style cooking, various kinds of noodles, and traditional desserts and home-made soya drinks.

One of the best is Seri, a small restaurant tucked away in the wonderfully secluded courtyard of Phraeng Phuthorn. It is a friendly neighborhood restaurant with a big menu and most of the regular patrons – many of them local families – come because of the simple yet excellent home-style food on offer. Seri’s owner-chef started out as a sous chef at Poj Sapakar restaurant, a stone’s throw away on Tanao Road. And now Seri is one of the few outlets left in the city keeping the culinary style of the famous old restaurant (known locally as ‘Cook Somdej’) alive. Every time I visit Seri I never fail to order tom yum koong nam sai (spicy herb-packed clear shrimp soup). The refreshing scent and piquant flavours of the dish transport me back to my grandmother’s kitchen, where the whole family would sit on the wooden floor around the food deck. The simple articulation of tastes in this classic soup come from the fresh ingredients: lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, onion and galangal. I tend to get stuck on several dishes at Seri because they are so good. Try crispy noodles or mee krob: I can’t say that it’s the best in town, but, again, it has the classic, evocative tastes of home cooking. I just love to send a piece of the accompanying pickled garlic and crunchy mee krob down in one bite. The other sensation here for me is nam pla wan, a sweet fish sauce dip. Normally, we eat nam plan wan with grilled catfish and neem flowers in the cool season. At Seri, attention to detail elevates the sauce. It has a wonderful aroma of caramel derived from the coconut palm sugar. As they finish stirring during the sauce’s preparation, they add a drop of coconut milk to it, giving the finished product a sweet and wild dimension.

Seri Restaurant is located on the right side of Phraeng Phuthorn courtyard off Thanao Road. Open Mon-Sat from 10.30am-9pm / Sun from 5pm-9pm.

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listings

Mei Jiang

CHINESE LIU [MAP 4/L7] 3F Conrad Bangkok, 87 Wireless Rd | 0 2690 9999 | conradhotels3.hilton.com | Lunch 11.30am-2.30pm, Dinner 6pm-10.30pm. There’s a fine line between striking the right notes when it comes to authenticity and tradition, and becoming anchored entirely in the past. Liu at Conrad, though, manages to find this balance perfectly, delivering all the low-lit, understated grandeur of Cantonese fine dining while moving forward and executing food full of contemporary deliciousness. The dim sum selection is likely to be familiar enough for fans of this kind of food. The abalone sui mai (B110) has a richness of flavour shot through with a silky texture while the har gao with scallop (B110) has that inimitable seafood taste, isolated early on but then offset with a combination that demands to be savoured. On the a la carte menu, the raw salmon rolls with cucumber and shrimp roe (B260) feel like informal sharing food but there is a far more delicately balanced flavour. But it’s not necessary to deconstruct it that far – the simple pleasure of good salmon is there to behold.

MEI JIANG The Peninsula Bangkok, 333 Charoennakorn Rd | 0 2861 2888 | peninsula.com | 11.30am2.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm Open kitchens are in vogue but Mei Jiang at The Peninsula Bangkok has taken it a step further with the newly launched Chef’s Table concept. Already regarded as one of Bangkok’s finest Cantonese restaurants, Mei Jiang gives customers the chance to go behind the scenes and observe their star head chef Jackie Ho prepare for an exciting dining experience. Ho delivers a set menu (B6800 or B7600including matching tea selections) thatcombines strikingly elegant presentation with flavours that reveal themselves slowly but linger on the tongue. First off the line is the savoury crab claw with white custard 90 | M A RCH 2015

Chez Pape and ginger. It’s a surprising combination that has become one of Ho’s signatures. The highlights keep coming: in sautéed prawns with black garlic and wolfberries (above), Ho combines contrasting flavours in one mouthful that also lowers cholesterol. The poached red garoupa with rice sauce and sun-dried pickles settles the stomach and Ho’s special fried rice with fresh scallops leaves the emphasis entirely on the produce. The winner, though, may still be the pan-seared fillet of Australian beef with black pepper paste – it’s something that shows up in most Chinese restaurants but Ho has created a dish with refined, long-lasting flavour. The beef is perfectly cooked but it is the slightly fiery sauce, handed down through Ho’s family, that is truly spectacular.

FRENCH CHEZ PAPE [MAP 3/F9] 1/28-29 Soi Sukhumvit 11 | 0 2255 2492 chezpape.com | 5pm-11.30pm, Sat-Sun also 11.30am-2.30pm The menu brims with traditional French fare, an indulgent roll call of sauces and great bread, seafood and meat. Those in the mood for a proper French feast won’t be disappointed but that’s not to say Chez Pape feels routine. Rather, there are enough surprises, both in terms of the combinations and the presentation to elevate Chez Pape’s food to something more impressive. Starting with the appetisers, there is a ceviche of barracuda in chilli and citrus (B160) or the tartare of avocado, crab and green apple (above right, B200), both hitting the right notes: light, fresh, seafood flavours offset with the right amount of seasonings. But perhaps it’s in the more provincial dishes that Chez Pape really declares its hand, offering a port-marinated foie gras terrine, served with mango marmalade (B285). The early courses are certainly impressive enough to build expectation for the mains without being so concept-heavy that

J’aime they create confusion. And, indeed, the big plates tell you everything you need to know about Chez Pape’s ambitions. The pan-seared beef flank, an exquisite cut of meat, comes with goat-cheese ravioli and garnished with virgin sauce (B450) – it’s a deeply satisfying combination. Twisting the formula a little further is the duck breast served with apples, spinach and Japanese citrus dressing (B510). It’s a fine example of Chez’s Pape’s commitment to doing the inimitably French things well while borrowing and augmented with inspired touches from elsewhere.

J’AIME U Sathorn Bangkok, 105,105/1 Soi Ngam Duphli | 0 2119 4888 | uhotelsresorts.com 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-11pm It’s a large square room with full wall windows on two sides, a grand bar on another, and opposite an open kitchen. The floor is marble tiled, classically shaped chairs are in modernist grey and black, and the tables are dressed in linen. The whole exudes a relaxed, classical formality. The place settings have knives, forks and chopsticks, with a lazy Susan in the centre, which shows the intention for Asian-style servings to share. From a short a la carte menu and two tasting menus (six courses, B2880, plus B1050 with wine pairing; and nine courses B3850/B1400), some dishes – soups, for instance – come as single plates, others are three or four servings in small bowls. Standout dishes include red pepper and blood orange soup (B300), an unusual, light and refreshing combination with spicy depth. The citrus background is subtle and creamy salt arrives via goat’s cheese that has begun to melt in the warm broth. Baby onions add caramel sweetness and there’s a pleasant hit of rosemary and thyme from Provencal herb foam. Among the desserts (three pieces/B420, five/B700) are a gateau opera with top quality chocolate and coffee flavours, and a delicately crisp mille-feuille Napoleon served with sharp berries against the cream. bangkok101.com


listings

Crepes & Co.

INTERNATIONAL CREPES & CO. 59/4 Langsuan Soi 1, Ploenchit Rd, (also 88 Thonglor Soi 8 and CentralWorld) | 0 2652 0208 | crepesnco.com | 9am-11pm The business itself is a uniquely Bangkokian success story. It was founded nearly 20 years ago as a family business which quickly expanded and became more ambitious. The crepe may be French in origin, but the flavours and ingredients here take in the entire sweep of the Mediterranean, borrowing heavily from Morocco and Greece, in particular. The menu bulges with savoury options but it’s the desserts that attract a loyal after-dinner following. Or any time, for that matter. You can keep it simple by going for the Crepe Josephine (B240), which is a banana and chestnut cream served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce on top. But if you’ve got a major sweet tooth, you’ll probably gravitate toward the serious stuff, like the Crepe Framboise (B290), served bulging invitingly with vanilla ice cream and lathered in a rich, tangy raspberry sauce. These creations are big enough to share – or you can have one all to yourself if you have a real craving. Going down the list reveals some eye-popping desserts – try the Crepe Mango Coconut (B200), which somehow works despite the unusual pairing of freshmango and coconut slices. The real show-stopper, though, is the Flambe Calvados (B335), which comes out rinsed in apple liqueur and filled with sautee apple and rum raisin ice cream. And then they set that baby on fire.

ELEMENTS [MAP 4/L5] Fl25 The Okura Prestige Bangkok, Park Ventures Ecoplex, 57 Wireless Rd | 0 2687 9000 | 6pm-10.30pm Elements is an imposing space, where heavy ship’s lanterns loom overhead from a high ceiling lined with the inevitable exposed piping. It’s perhaps a bit large to fit the ‘living room’ atmosphere bangkok101.com

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describedin the marketing bumph, despite the sofa style and armchair seating. The décor is predominantly black and brown, low lit, with full wall sculptures of black charcoal at eachend of the room that – as well as providingan arty backdrop – apparently filter outcooking smells from the open kitchen. To wind down grab a sake cocktail (maybe ‘sakura’, with plum wine, cranberry, and syrups of rose apple and sakura, B350) as you choose from a list billed as ‘modern logical cuisine’, which they translate to me as the use of seasonal produce. The menu is divided into a la carte, with main meat courses largely in the B900-B1500 range, and four tasting menus, including a vegetarian option (B1200). We opted for the fivecourse Moments set (B2400), starting with excellent quality gravlax and lightly smoked tuna with wasabi vinaigrette and soy jelly.

PANORAMA [MAP 5/K4] Crowne Plaza Lumpini Park | Rama IV Rd | 0 2632 9000 | crowneplazabkk.com | Noon2pm, 6pm-10.30pm Although the restaurant serves breakfast and lunch, it is the dinner buffet designed by Executive Chef Marco Turatti and his team that has tongues wagging. Affectionately named “Samba San,” the buffet (B1200, Sun-Thurs; B1800++, FriSat) features Brazilian spirit and Japanese finesse – and lots of signature dishes from each cuisine. Start a la Japanese with sashimi or sushi, or go Brazilian and opt for the ceviche, seafood marinated with lime and a mix of cilantro, onion garlic and sugar. Next up try the Brazilian churrasco grill specialities available from servers roaming the restaurant with giant skewers of grilled goodies like beef picanha fillet, lamb rack, chorizo sausage, pork chops, baby chicken marinated with thyme and yogurt, plus some delectable grilled pineapple flavoured with cinnamon and brown sugar. For those who prefer a more traditional buffet, there is an excellent salad bar; a great selection of cold cuts and terrines; a fresh cheese station; a capital selection of bread and rolls and a small oven to heat them up; many great desserts prepared by pastry chef Hakim Ounas; and a selection Asian food, including those all-important noodle dishes. On Fridays and Saturdays there is a huge selection of seafood on ice that includes Alaskan king crab, tiger prawns, black mussels, rock lobster and much more. M A RCH 2015 | 91


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listings

La Bottega Di Luca

PARK SOCIETY Sofitel So Bangkok, 2 North Sathorn Rd 0 2624 0000 | 5pm-1am (bar), 6pm-10pm (restaurant) A large walk-in kitchen as you enter has a generous chef’s table stacked with cured meats, where you can choose to dine. It leads to a curiously shaped dining space with those beautiful views through full wall windows. The walls themselves and ceiling are rhomboid mirrored panels reflecting Victorian style lamps, hexagonal marble dining tables and waiters in Christian Lacroix-designed, Thai-influenced uniforms, complete with cummerbunds, knee socks and traditional wide-thighed pantaloons. The whole has an almost art deco angularity, the effect pleasantly disorienting, like a fairground hall of mirrors. The modern international menu changes daily according to available produce and starts with a mix of stalwart and exclusive items like oysters (six for B700), Hokkaido scallops (B900) and Aran Valley caviar (B4,999 for 30g). Mains are well presented, the off-kilter square plates adorned with smears and blobs of colourful purée are an arty backdrop for dishes like pigeon with gnocchi and baby vegetables (B1400/half, B2600/ whole). The well-chosen wine list, with

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Rossini’s most bottles between B2000 and B4000, has 12 wines and four sparkling by the glass. To finish, there’s a choice of three desserts or cheese plates.

ITALIAN LA BOTTEGA DI LUCA [MAP 3/P8] The 49 Terrace, Sukhumvit 49 | 0 2204 1731 labottega.name | 10.30am-11.30pm Nestled in a smallish mall on soi 49, La Bottega di Luca is an immediately welcoming space, effortlessly combining indoor-outdoor seating and cultivating a relaxed vibe that makes it a neighbourhood favourite with real panache. Luca, who runs the show, updates the parts of the menu regularly and orders produce in from Italy fortnightly. The antipasti start at B290 and the grilledscamorza (B390) – that’s smoked mozzarella – wrapped in speck ham with mushrooms and red wine sauce is a delight. It’s a simple idea but the evident care taken in preparation elevates this to a gorgeous starter, reminding diners just how much they’ve come to miss cheese in Bangkok. And that sauce – you’ll be tempted to lick the plate clean. There’s a sizeable menu and it can be tricky to know

Scalini which direction to take. The most eyecatching salad is the seafood combination (B220) with steamed prawns, baby squid, mussels and clams seasonedwith garlic. But who are we kidding? We’re here for the rustic, filling, flavoursome Italian cooking, delivered with real passion. That means it’s hard to go past the homemade pasta that gets freshly made every day – the dishes are reasonably priced at B240490, although you’ll be shelling out B1790 if you go for the lobster.

ROSSINI’S [MAP 3/H10] Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, 250 Sukhumvit Rd | 0 2653 0333| sheratongrandesukhumvit. com | 6pm-10.30pm, Mon-Fri noon-2.30pm The decor is steadfastly traditional, designed like the dining room of a medieval Tuscan castle, complete with heavy fireplace, a tiled floor that looks almost cobbled, and wooden beams and domes in the ceiling. The menu, however, has lots of moderntouches, while sticking to the flavours of thetraditional Italian kitchen. Among the starters,seared goose liver (B790) is a rich pudding of a dish, plated with pumpkin espuma and very sweet amaretti crumble. Black cod (B920) is a good choice for the main course: weighty and pure whitetai, it

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retaining a kick without being overbearing. So far, this balancing act has worked a treat – the concept is clear but it’s still all about the food. It proves slightly harder to adapt this approach to the mains, though.

Mejico

JAPANESE TAIHEI [MAP 5/K8]

sits like an iceberg in potato foam, with additions of olives and San Daniele ham powder adding salty brine to enhance the sea flavours. The trio of soups are more traditional: Tuscan artichoke, minestrone and seafood with garlic bruschetta (B580), in which a delicate, thin and light tasting broth has small islands of seabass and a central tower of chunky scallops. Rossini’s has more reasonable wine prices than many restaurants in this bracket, courtesy of its Primo Vino policy, which promises “top shelf wines at cellar prices”.

SCALINI [MAP 3/N11] Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok, 11 Sukhumvit Soi 24 | 0 2620 6666 | hilton.com/en | Noon2.30pm, 6pm-11pm Bangkok is, naturally enough, best known for its Thai food, with other Asian cuisines not far behind. But these days, European food – French or Italian – is booming, particularly when served with a twist. So it is with Scalini – it’s ostensibly a modern Italian place but it riffs on a New York connection, while borrowing bits and pieces from the international table. So, in short, it’s Italian with enough surprises to satisfy the curious diner. It’s apparent from the antipastis, which include a tuna and salmon tartar, with lemon aioli, mango salad and seared ciabatta (B450) – retaining a Mediterranean base while adding lighter, Asian-influenced combinations. Other dishes stay closer to home, such as the Wagyu beef carpaccio, with porcini salsa, rocket and parmesan, served with white truffle vinaigrette (B570). The rich, satisfying taste of Italian food has an extra layer of complexity. And it’s on show again with the Hokkaido scallops, served here with celery, red onion, tomatoes, basil and cherry vinaigrette (B480). These adventurously designed openers set the bar high so it’s perversely pleasing that the pastas tack slightly more toward the traditional, although the pumpkin and sage ravioli (B380) still has a surprisingly delicate flavour and the duck ragout with black truffle and tonino pecorino (B600) is one of the absolute stand-outs, moist without becoming soupy, bangkok101.com

53F Banyan Tree Bangkok, 21/100 South Sathorn Rd | 0 2679 1200 | banyantree.com 11.30am-2pm, 6pm-11pm From the moment the platter of sashimi moriawase (B520; left, second-bottom) comes out, prime seafood cuts delicately arranged, it’s clear that there is a real commitment to quality. The presentation is also immaculate, offering a swathe of bright colours – bright pinks and flashes of silver-grey. It’s beautiful food. And it tastes pretty damn fine as well, the tuna, in particular, soft and slightly salty on its own, mild enough to work in the mouth alongside a dab of soy and wasabi. Another highlight is the beef teriyaki (B580), sourced from Australia and broiled, before coming out served with seasonal greens, again bursting with colour. If you’re not super-keen to fill up on red meat, try the gindara miso (B600; left, second top). It’s a cod fish cooked to perfection, kissed on each side just long enough to turn the skin crispy, before being served with tangy miso seasoning. There’s also a selection of tempura to choose from, whether you fancy prawns (B450), pork skewers (B380) or chicken karage (B350).

MEXICAN MEJICO [MAP 4/F3] 2nd flr, Groove@CentralWorld | Open daily from 11am to midnight | 0 2252 6660 mejico.asia Set in fashionable Groove at CentralWorld, Méjico is every bit as cool as the latest opening in, say, Hong Kong or Shanghai, with custom-made furnishings, granite platters, a long wooden table stretching across the dining room, tequila barrels visibly stashed in the ceiling, and a balcony for al fresco dining. Chef TK, who trained in the US, has the bravado to experiment with his menu. He tackles traditions long ignored here, giving local diners a style of cuisine that many haven’t ever tried. Dishes like the beef short rib (B695), which is braised for M A RCH 2015 | 93


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listings found on the menu as well. Tacos are offered both in the traditional soft style and in the crisped-tortilla style, here labelled tacos gringos (B350).

STEAKHOUSE Señor Pico six hours, left on the bone, and finished with a smoky chipotle barbeque sauce, shatter stereotypes of Mexican food. So does the grilled shrimp and smashed avocado (B215), which is fresh, light and engaging to eat, the shrimp redolent of smoke and the radish popping against the tongue. Turning labels on their heads is the implicit goal of the restaurant. It starts with the approach. Served on stone trays, the dishes are made to share. The guacamole (B235) is mashed at the table, providing diners a fun, first-hand look at its preparation. As a starter, lighttextured salmon ceviche (B195) is zesty with orange, cilantro and coconut. Other snack-sized hits include the jalapeño poppers (B235), which vary in heat from piece to piece and are rounded out with an herb-laden feta and cream cheese mixture. Even the tacos are sophisticated, with fillings such as buttery braised pork (B185) and fried soft shell crab (B235).

SEÑOR PICO [MAP 3/K11] 1F Rembrandt Hotel 19 Sukhumvit Soi 18 0 2261 7100 | facebook.com/Senorpicobkk 5pm-1am When Chef Fernando Reyes Barba showed up alongside our table holding a heavy molcajete, Mexico’s traditional

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Prime stone mortar, it was clear times had changed at Señor Pico, which opened 17 years ago in the Rembrandt Hotel. That original Cal-Mex brand was established in 1964 by none other than Victor Bergeron of Trader Vic’s fame. It followed a similar franchise pattern until the chain died out in the United States. Nowhere else in town have we seen such dishes as aguachile de camarón (B395), a soupy concoction of prawns marinated in lime juice, olive oil and chile de arbol, common in Mexico but practically unknown beyond the country’s borders. House specialities include costillas de borrego (B695), chipotleand-garlic-rubbedlamb cutlets, atun del diablo (B595), a seared tuna rubbed with Mexican spices served with avocado and mango salsa, and espetadas (B495), chargrilled Portugesestyle kebabs, a choice of tiger prawns, jalapeño and cilantro sausage. Several dishes feature duck, which is popular in Mexico but rarely seen in American-style Mexican eateries. Higado de Pato (495B) is duck liver served with Mexican corncake, mango pico de gallo (fresh salsa) and a sauce of raspberry blended with chile ancho (dried Poblano chillies). More familiar Mexican fare like tacos, burritos, quesadillas, fajitas and enchiladas are

PRIME [MAP 5/L6] Millennium Hilton, 123 Charoennakorn Rd 0 2442 2000 | hilton.com | 6pm-11pm Once upon a time, going to a steakhouse for dinner – even an upscale steakhouse – meant being confronted with an endless list of cuts of beef in different shapes and sizes and pedigrees. Although Prime still boasts an enviable selection of red meat, cooked on a wood-fired grill that also allows them to infuse the meat with certain flavours, they’ve diversified impressively. There’s a signature Caesar salad (B450) prepared theatrically at the table, although the Waldorf salad (B450) looks more interesting. But it’s the seafood that makes Prime’s ambitions clear. From the caramelized Hokkaido scallops (B890) with celery variations, couscous and apple vinaigrette, to the wood-burned Japanese octopus (B790) with arugula and chickpeas, there’s a refinement of technique and willingness to embrace challenging combinations. It’s a welcome sophistication, befitting the sweeping views over the Chao Praya. As for the steaks, prices range from B1750 to B4350, all served suitably flame-grilled. There’s the option to add bone marrow, organic eggs or blue cheese, as well as some more exotic sauces, like bordelaise or pommery mustard.

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listings

Ruen Urai

TABLES GRILL [MAP 4/G5] Grand Hyatt Erawan, 494 Ratchadamri Rd 0 2254 1234 | bangkok.grand.hyatt.com Noon-2.30pm, 6.30pm-11pm The theme is based on the tableside preparation seen in many traditional French restaurants and the menu takes full advantage of the theatre. There are wooden floors, potted plants, oxidised mirrors and, high on the walls, largerthan-life cartoonish figures of waiters that lighten the formality. And, despite being a mezzanine restaurant overlooking the colossal pillars in the Erawan’s classically themed lobby, the only overspill of noise is the pleasant bubbling of water from fountains and a jazz trio playing on the landing. The menu is billed as pan-European and starts with items like meaty and sweet sautéed scallops (B750) balanced by chorizo and the sharp bite of wholegrain mustard and olives. The Caesar salad (B490) is wisely light on dressing so it doesn’t overwhelm the crispy leaves, grown at the Hyatt’s organic farm in Korat. Other classic dishes are the Boston lobster bisque (B850), which is perhaps a little too creamy, and the steak au poivre (B1300), cooked in the oven but finished in full view, flambéed in cognac and served under a beautiful rich sauce.

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Blue Elephant

THAI BLUE ELEPHANT RESTAURANT & COOKING SCHOOL [MAP 5/D7] 233 South Sathorn Rd | 0 2673 9353 blueelephant.com | 11.30am-2.30pm, 6.30pm10.30pm The Blue Elephant brand has been wildly successful since it was first established in 1980, introducing Thai food to the world through restaurants dotted all over the place, including those in London, Paris and Dubai. And, of course, there’s one in Bangkok, just under Surasak BTS in a gorgeous oldfashioned Thai building. When you take in the traditional interior, it’s no surprise that Blue Elephant’s food is most confidently presented when they are hewing toward cuisine that, as categorized on their menu, derives from “Thai cooking of the past”. The massaman lamb (B580) is immaculately presented with a sweet, fragrant sauce, while the tom jiew kai (B240) has all the restorative powers of chicken soup, with a deliciously peppery aftertaste. However, Blue Elephant is not content to let the grass grow under them and that’s why, perhaps sensing that Thai food has increasingly been adapted into a more modern, international cuisine, there is also a section

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of the menu for Thai food “of today” and “of tomorrow”. There are undoubtedly some interesting combinations, as Blue Elephant expands its playbook beyond the more familiar staples. There’s the grilled spare ribs with honey (B380) and a black chicken green curry (B680), using rare black chicken in coconut milk, with sweet basil and pea aubergines. For those interested in trying buffalo, there’s also a starter-sized satay set of Buffalo fillets from Ubon Ratchatanee (B320).

RUEN URAI [MAP 5/H4] The Rose Hotel, 118 Surawong Rd | 0 2266 8268 | ruen-urai.com | Noon-11pm Located in a beautifully restored 100-year old Thai golden teakwood house decorated with fine antiques and elegant silk-covered furnishings, Ruen Urai (meaning ‘the House of Gold’) at the Rose Hotel off Surawongse Road offers a unique take on traditional Thai cooking styles, giving them a contemporary lift. This is why the menu – which is refreshed annually and was recently bolstered by seven new dishes inspired by zesty rural cuisine – includes a number of non-Thai staplessuch as scallops, salmon, tuna, snowfish, soft-shell crab and lamb. The new dishes on the menu are mainly dry cooked having been marinated in roasted herbs and spices. No insipid sloppy wet sauces here but plenty of robust flavours. Of particular note is roasted curry of pork spare ribs (B300) and a dish of wild boar sautéed in a thick curry sauce (B350). Both are hearty offerings – Thai winter comfort food if you like – and perfectly demonstrate the four cardinal taste characteristics of rural Thai cuisine – a balance of sweet, salty, bitter and sour.

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imbibe

A Rebel with a Cause BY LAURENCE CIVIL

Despite being a fourth generation representative of a distinguished family of winemakers, Pascal Jolivet isn’t your typical vintner. In fact, he originally planned for a career in social management and marketing, but was eventually persuaded by his father to join the wine industry.

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n Bangkok for a recent wine dinner at Tables Grill at Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel, he says, “It was inevitable I suppose. I have an inescapable wine pedigree; my great grandparents and grandfather were winemakers at Chateau Tracey in Pouilly, one of the region’s best domains, and my father was a respected wine merchant. But I was determined to do things my way.” Jolivet served his wine industry apprenticeship as a local representative of the Pommery Champagne House and then, with the encouragement of his father, in 1982 he struck out on his own to establish Grand Vins du Val de Loire. By 1987 this business had evolved to become a

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leading provider of the wines of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume to Michelin-starred restaurants across France. It was one of these customers who suggested that if Jolivet put his own name on the label it would strengthen his brand recognition. Acting on this advice, the House of Pascal Jolivet was born. By 1990 Jolivet had bought an 8ha plot in Sancere and a second of a similar size in Pouilly, making him the first member of his family to actually own a vineyard. From those humble beginnings the award-winning estate has grown to 70ha across two premiere appellations. “With my name on the label,” he says, “I see my primary role as an ambassador for the wines, promoting bangkok101.com


imbibe

them to those who share my sense of quality, excellence and elegance. Having them listed in many Michelin-starred restaurants is key to their brand positioning, the best wines being poured where the best food is served.” A natural rebel who won’t be told how to make his wines, Jolivet strongly believes in letting nature do the work, keeping human intervention to a minimum. Grapes from individual parcels of land are vinified separately in stainless steel tanks, and long, slow, cool fermentation allows the natural yeast in the fruit to emphasise the character of the terroir. “I don’t like too much alcohol in my wines,” he says, citing his ‘Attitude’ label as an example. “Attitude Sauvignon Blanc is just 12% ABV. The vineyard is in Touraine, close to the Atlantic Coast, so there are oceanic micro-climate influences which give the grapes better maturity and help them to draw more richness and flavour from the soil. This was our first organic wine. Previously we were practicing sustainable winemaking but this goes a step further. The decision isn’t about marketing, it’s about what I believe to be the right thing to do.” Incidentally, the name for the wine came about as a result of an article Jolivet read in a magazine, which claimed Frenchmen had lost the art of seduction. He totally disagreed, believing it was a matter of ‘attitude’. “The wine is made with sauvignon grapes sourced from two distinct soil types. Some are grown at Chenny where the soil is calcareous clay, some at Anger-sur-Cher where the soil is flinty. Being located in a cool climate allows us to produce wines with more finesse. In fact, rather than dividing the wine world into old and new I bangkok101.com

FOOD & DRIN K

believe a better approach would be to categorise by cool and temperate climate zones.” ‘Attitude’ has a beautiful freshness in the mouth, a frank attack of crisp green apple and citrus lemon flavours with kiwi aromas. The minerality gives a long smooth and elegant finish, the hallmark qualities of all Pascal Jolivet wines. Indeed, their frank characteristics perfectly reflect the candid character of their maker, a forthright nature than even led Jolivet to make the conscious decision to declassify one of his wines just so that he could put the name of the grape variety on the label. “In France we are prissy about the concept of terroir,” he explains. “Today’s wine drinker wants to see the grape variety on the label but the law doesn’t permit this for a classified growth. This was the first time that I made a wine that was not AOC. I have no regrets about the decision, it was what had to be done to remain competitive.” Jolivet is equally forthright when it comes to marketing his wines in Thailand. “I find the high level of taxation on wines here hard to understand,” he says. “It’s a barrier to more people enjoying good wine in Thailand. In Vietnam and Cambodia the prices of my wines are two to three times less than they in here. There is nothing that I can do about that but I hope the situation will change one day.”

Irrespective of price, you can enjoy five of Pascal Jolivet’s best wines in Bangkok at outlets at The Peninsula, Banyan Tree, Le Meridien, Grand Hyatt Erawan, and St.Regis hotels. M A RCH 2015 | 97


LIVE HOUSE STUDIO P100

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NIGHTLIFE FREE-FLOW FUN

Enjoy unlimited beer, wine and Tapas every Friday and Saturday evening (7.30pm-9.30pm) at 180 Degree Sky Lounge at Grand Swiss Bangkok, Sukhumvit 11. Priced at just B799++ per person, the promotion (running until April 25) covers free-flow House red and white wines and draft Beer Chang, plus a selection of toothsome Tapas offerings including smoked salmon and cream cheese baguette, calamari, spring rolls, chicken wings with plum sauce, and Capresse (tomato with basil and cheese). 180 Degree Sky Lounge has one of the best panoramic views in town and this is a great way to start off your weekend. Reservations are required one day in advance. Visit grandswissbangkok.com or call 0 2253 2000 for more details.

JAZZ COMES FULL CIRCLE

Millennium Hilton Bangkok‘s ThreeSixty Lounge has a style and personality all its own. A private glass lift takes guests all the way up to the 32nd floor high above the Chao Phraya River where stunning 360° vistas of Bangkok open up; it is a fantastic back-drop against which to enjoy to a range of miniature culinary experiences and fine wines and cocktails as the sun sets in a blaze of colour behind Wat Arun. Then, as the first stars appear in the sky, the city’s coolest jazz sounds set the mood as internationally-recognized jazz singers and versatile accompanists entertain. ThreeSixty Lounge is open daily from 5pm1am. Sunday – Thursday: Live jazz starts from 8:30pm Sun-Thurs and from 9.30pm Fri-Sat.

FIREBEATZ AT ONYX

On March 12 promoter Retox Sessions presents the Thai debut of Dutch EDM duo FIREBEATZ at Onyx at RCA. The pair emerged on the music scene in 2008. Since then, they have released several highly successful tracks including Funky Shit, Where’s Your Head At, and Dear New York. Expect a night of highenergy Electro and Progressive House with a rough edge. The evening kicks off at 9pm. Call 0 2381 1814 for more information.

IRISH EYES ARE SMILING

The Rembrandt Hotel, Bangkok celebrates an extended St. Patrick’s Day this year with special offers available on Guinness, the Emerald Isle’s national drink, from March 14-17. Visit the hotel’s ground floor Lobby Bar and buy 2 pints of the black stuff and get a half pint free. Also available is a Black Velvet Guinness Shandy cocktail and delicious slices of Guinness Cake at B125 per portion.

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review

LIVE HOUSE STUDIO - Rock Out in the Green -

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s night falls, a crowd of people slowly forms outside Live House Studio. Some find seats at Khaokhong Club and sip bottled Leo from plastic cups. Others loiter, taking selfies in front of a wide banner speckled with neon logos. Visibly tattooed and clad in black t-shirts bearing the names of once-familiar punk rock bands — think Blink 182, NOFX, and Operation Ivy — the neighbouring groups of predominantly Thai youth look eager, but subdued, not the kind of insatiable mass primed to mosh, run around in circles like a human vortex, and surf on raised, half-ready arms. At 7.30pm the doors finally open. Gender-separated lines stream into a spartan room with only a back-lit bar in a corner and a centre stage set up with a drum kit and three microphones. Small and intimate, Live House Studio is an ideal venue for emotionally charged rock shows like the one about to kick off, featuring seminal pop-punkers New Found Glory. Adding to the young venue’s secret appeal is its location in Jatujak Green, a collective of bars, shops, and restaurants by Queen Sirikit Park, just a few hundred metres from the hall-of-mirrors weekend market. Most of the waiting fans fill the floor space by 8pm, rocking on their feet between concrete walls and velveteen curtains instead of outdoor bars and a ticket booth. Without warning, the lights go out and a grainy black100 | M A RCH 2015

and-white video of Judy Garland singing “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah” plays on a projector screen. The anticipation that had been simmering for hours boils over when New Found Glory bound onto the stage and start playing one of their latest singles, “Selfless.” The band powers on through deep cuts and recent tracks, their sing-along songs racing with urgency, lasting about three minutes apiece. In turns, the singer, guitarist, and bassist throw high-fives across the low gate or toss used guitar picks. This could be a show in a garage, or an old bowling alley. Something about frantic music in a venue of this size fills the crowd with a level of energy that could never be reached in a larger, more industrial setting. Jatujak is an elusive neighbourhood. On a map, it looks pretty basic — just building after building and a smattering of green parks — but the dense-packed community is rich with loosely guarded secrets. Live House Studio has sort of flown under the radar in the live music scene. After welcoming New Found Glory and This Wild Life in February, the venue seems ready for mass appeal.

LIVE HOUSE STUDIO Jatujak Green, Kamphaeng Phet 3 Rd | 08 1930 3633 livehousebangkok.wordpress.com

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listings

Cheap Charlie’s

BARS CHEAP CHARLIE’S [MAP 3/D6] Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 0 2253 4648 | Mon-Sat 5pm-midnight This joint is a Bangkok institution, a rickety hole-in-the-wall bar that predates any of the swankier clubs on Sukhumvit 11. A no-brainer meet-up spot, Cheap Charlie’s draws crowds of expats, NGOers and tourists in-the-know to fill up on B70 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 more upscale nightspots like Sugar Club.

J. BOROSKI MIXOLOGY Near Soi Thonglor | facebook.com/pages/ Jboroski-Mixology | Open every evening if you can find it Why the secrecy? Proprietor and noted mixologist Joseph Boroski puts it this way. “I want it to be difficult to find. If people take the trouble to find it, they really want to come. I don’t want it to be a place filled with tourists or casual passersby.” Boroski’s skill is legendary and he is responsible for cocktail menus at several of the city’s leading hotels and bars. There is no drinks list here. Drinks are created to reflect a customer’s specifications or according to the whims of the person making them; hence tipples at J. Boroski aren’t cheap, but their unique character and the bar’s remarkable ambiance make them worth the tariff.

MAGGIE CHOO’S [MAP 5/C5] Hotel Novotel Fenix, 320 Silom Rd | 0 2635 6055 | facebook.com/maggiechoos | Tues-Sun 6pm-2am From the Victorian steam-punk of Iron Fairies to the eco-futurism of Clouds, Aussie entrepreneur Ashley Sutton has 102 | M A RCH 2015

Namsaah Bottling Trust already proved himself as the Terry Gilliam of Bangkok’s bar world, conjuring up drinking hole after drinking hole shot through with a magical realist quality. Maggie Choo’s, with its decadent atmosphere redolent of dandyish early 20th-century gambling dens, is no different. Clomp down the staircase and you find yourself in a noodle bar. One that could pass for an old Shaw Brothers movie set. The main decoration – and they are just decoration – are the leggy cabaret girls.

NAMSAAH BOTTLING TRUST [MAP 5/H5]

Silom Soi 7 | 0 2636 6622 | namsaah.com 5pm-2am Namsaah Bottling Trust occupies a century-old mansion in Silom Soi 7 that was once a soda bottling company’s office – Namsaah means ‘effervescent water’. Here high ceilings, rich teak floors and a wealth of antique furniture achieves a warm, classy informality that makes the venue the perfect place to unwind and enjoy intimate conversation with friends. A long wooden bar segues into a small dining encourages guests to begin the evening with drinks from an extensive cocktail menu. Favourites include the Roasted Tangerine Negroni (B290), poured over a hand-chipped ice ball, and the Sathorn Dirty Vodka Martini (B290), which achieves the perfect balance of brine and bluster. A gin and tonic (B390) infused with rosemary, lavender and juniper berries, served in a brandy snifter, is also a big hit. An extensive wine list offers red, white and sparkling varietals by the bottle or the glass.

SMALLS [MAP 5/K7] 186/3 Suan Phlu Soi 1 | 09 5585 1398 | WedMon 8.30pm-2am Decorated with vintage furniture and quirky art to give it a light Bohemian feel, Smalls offers a wide selection of beers,

U.N.C.L.E. wines by the glass and hard-to-find liquors such as Basil Hayden’s Bourbon Whiskey. Spirits come in stout New York-style 45-cl servings rather than the anaemic European 30-cl pour commonly seen elsewhere in Bangkok. The playlist at Smalls tends to be non-commercial, with an emphasis on jazz and world music rather than hip-hop, house and techno. Occasionally it hosts visits by eclectic DJs like club veteran Justin Mills. The kitchen stays open until midnight (except on Tuesdays when the bar is closed), serving a well-conceived roster of entrees and bar snacks.

THE FRIESE-GREENE CLUB [MAP 3/M11]

259/6 Sukhumvit Rd | 08 7000 0795 | fgc.in.th Tues-Sun 6pm-11pm The Friese-Greene Club is a member’s only club where guests are always welcome. Just walk down Sukhumvit Soi 22 until you come to the Usman Restaurant. Three doors later you will find the anonymous entrance to FrieseGreene; ring the bell and wait for someone to let you in. There are two floors to the club. On the ground floor there is a bar with a very reasonably priced selection of drinks: wine, for example averages around B1000 per bottle, a shot of Johnnie Walker Black B105. But what really makes this place special is found on the second floor. Here a tiny cinema with 11 seats and state-of-the-art projection equipment shows a wide selection of classic and cult films.

U.N.C.L.E. [MAP 5/F6] 149 Sathorn Soi 12 | 0 2635 0406 | avunculus. com| Open every evening except Monday One of the most enticing small bars in Bangkok, U.N.C.L.E. (United Nations of Cocktail Lovers Everywhere), is a hideaway that exudes class. Located above Lady Brett, a popular tavern on Sathorn 12, it is entered by proceeding bangkok101.com


listings

Ku De Ta

Mixx Discotheque

down a narrow passageway on the side of the tavern until you reach a small door; enter and climb the dimly lit stairs. After a couple of flights, you will see a doorway covered with a piece of black velvet. Push it aside and voila, you’ll find yourself in U.N.C.L.E. Bartender Chris is a master of his trade. In addition to creating authentic classic cocktails, he serves a variety of unique drinks and will be happy to create something based on your specifications.

BARS WITH A VIEW HEAVEN

[MAP 8/K13]

20F Zen@Central World, 4/5 Ratchadamri Rd 0 2100 9000 | heaven-on-zen.com | Mon-Sun 5.30pm-1am It’s heavily dependent on the weather as the design offers precious little protection but on a warm Bangkok night, when the golden backdrop of its feature bar lights up like a metal sun, it feels like one of the most glamorous places in the capital. Crucially, they’ve got the cocktails (all B280-B320) right, using a well-chosen blend of spirits without going overboard and trying to cram every drink with one too many flavours. The Surreal Seduction – slightly cheesey name but we’ll forgive it because it tastes good – combines vodka, apple liqueur, elderflower syrup and pear puree. It’s super fruity but apple liqueur is one of the more versatile, underused ingredients in cocktails and it sets off the others in a way that’s refreshing but still carries a kick.

OCTAVE

[MAP 3/S10]

45F Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit, 2 Sukhumvit Soi 57 | 0 2797 0000 | facebook. com/OctaveMarriott | 6pm-1am Rows of plush seating along the edge of the open-air balcony offer a perfect spot to plot Bangkok’s geography from above while knocking back some of Octave’s bangkok101.com

punchy, refreshing cocktails. The Thai Mojito (B320) starts things off in a way that’s familiar enough but well-executed, combining the standards of white rum, basil and lime with spicy mango, adding a zingy twist to the established mojito formula. More innovative still is the Bloom Over The Roof (B320), which fuses Red Berry Tea-flavoured vodka with fresh mint leaves and elderflower syrup. It might seem a little flowery but the overall effect is a seriously drinkable concoction that cuts right through the humidity.

THREE SIXTY Millennium Hilton, 123 Charoennakorn Rd 0 2442 2000 | hilton.com | 5pm-1am High above the glittering lights of Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River, ThreeSixty is the only Bangkok venue to enjoy unhindered views over the entire, dazzling metropolis. It also hosts live jazz musicians every day, all year round. A private glass lift takes guests all the way up to the 32nd floor which boasts panoramic vistas from its 130m tall, circular lounge. Guests can feast on a range of miniature culinary experiences, from foie gras to caviar or risotto, or sip on fine wines and cocktails as the sun sets in a blaze of colour behind Wat Arun. Just as gently, the soft lounge lights come on to create an atmosphere of casual intimacy. As the first stars appear, the city’s coolest jazz sounds will set the mood which true aficionados will not be able to resist.

CLUBS KU DE TA

[MAP 5/G6]

39-40F Sathorn Square Complex, 98 North Sathorn Rd | 0 2108 2000 | kudeta.net 6pmlate Ku De Ta set out to add a new dimension to a night out in Bangkok. To some extent, it follows in the footsteps of Bed

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Supperclub by providing an upscale club experience for the city’s movers and shakers but it has also carved out its own unique aesthetic that is sure to make it one of Bangkok’s top nightlife destination venues. Undoubtedly, the space is the first part of Ku De Ta’s glittering fit-out that catches the eyes. The main club is a vast rectangular area with skyscraper ceilings and a long window running down an entire side, affording an exceptional view of Bangkok lit up at night. Another feature is the lighting set-up – a very snazzy, very modern LED ‘chandelier’ hangs over the dance floor, twinkling a variety of different colours in time with the music.

LEVELS

[MAP 3/F8]

6F 35 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 08 2308 3246 facebook.com/levelsclub | 9pm-3am Of all the venues of Sukhumvit Soi 11, Levels has benefited the most from the closure earlier this year of Bed Supperclub. Great swathes of that clientele now overflow to the other side of the soi, making Levels one of the most reliably busy nightclubs in Bangkok, on any night of the week. At many popular clubs in Bangkok, the crowd quickly finds a familiar groove, attracting one particular kind of revellers that old hands can identify fairly quickly – whether that’s the tourists passing through on the way to the beach or the slightly more clued-up locals returning to a favourite haunt. At Levels, though, it’s much harder to categorise – there’s a welcome mix of resident expats, stylish Thai party animals and wide-eyed holiday-makers that can’t get enough of Levels’ buzzy atmosphere.

MIXX DISCOTHEQUE

[MAP 4/H4]

President Tower Arcade 973 Ploenchit Rd BTS Chidlom | mixxdiscotheque.com | B350 10pm-late Located in basement annex of the Intercontinental Hotel, Mixx is classier than most of Bangkok’s after-hour clubs. It’s a two-room affair decked out with chandeliers and paintings and billowing sheets on the ceiling lending a desert tent feel. The main room plays commercial R&B and hip hop, the other banging techno and house. Expect a flirty, up-for-it crowd made up of colourful characters from across the late-night party spectrum. The entry price for Friday-Saturday: B350 for guys, B300 for girls and Sunday – Thursday: B100 for guys, B50 for girls. That includes a drink and the chanceto party until nearly sunrise. M A RCH 2015 | 103


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SENADA SPRINGSUMMER By Molly Lanscombe

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pring is upon us and, while for many designers it’s an opportunity to break loose on the floral fabrics, roll out a few hot pinks and sunflower yellows and introduce a little floaty layering, that’s not entirely the avenue Senada has taken. Its Spring/Summer 2015 ‘Twist & Shout’ collection pays homage to 1960s swing, which Senada’s Chanita Preechawitayakul says is a remarkable era in fashion. Struggling to place the look? Think flippy By Gaby Doman skirts and shirts that were designed to be moved in. The collection is entirely monochrome, with nary a hint of accent colour throughout xxxxx xxxxxx the collection. xxxxx But don’t be disheartened, floral fans, the spring-like xxx touch in the collection comes from its movement and easy, deconstructed xxx feel. Milky sheers placed against darks with a shine xxx is another way the contrasts between the fabrics are accentuated throughout. Monochrome might be a simple way to reference the swinging AVAILABLE AT:hasn’t just made a mock-up of Mary Quant’s sixties but this collection iconic heavy shift dresses and pixie collars. Instead, the dance inspiration xxx makes the collection carefree, wearable and so very, very cute. Fabrics xxx are light – sometimes even a little transparent – offering a fresh xxx look that merely nods to a bygone era and doesn’t attempt to replicate it. Who wants to play dress-up, anyway? Feminine xxxweb fabrics with intricate details – ruffles, trousers with laceup cross-over ties all the way up the leg and tulle fringing make this a romantic, modern take on swing – and a refreshing take on Spring/ Summer. The sixties are merely referenced in the cuts, too, which mix the A-line, floaty skirts swing is known for, with cute cotton blouses as well as a few up-to-the-minute looks. Three-quarter length trousers, flashes of belly, and high-waisted (and eye-wateringly short) hot pants. The cross-lacing on the trousers is another collection-wide microtrend, featuring across several dresses and tops in the collection, too. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a complete Senada collection if it wasn’t for a few chic pencil skirts, which stay in keeping with the overall theme thanks to their movement-friendly lightweight fabrics.

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Senada is available at: Senada: 3rd Fl Siam Center 2nd Fl Central World Department Store 1st Fl Paragon Department store. Coming soon at EmQuartier. For more information call 0 2735 1267-69. bangkok101.com

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SHOPPING

spotlight tailor

Fashion Galleria - Service and Style beside the River of Kings -

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ince 1999, Fashion Galleria has provided its diverse circles of customers with the finest hand-crafted clothing. But it isn’t just sartorial taste that has turned the shop into a familiar and favourite face in River City, the easy-going shopping complex built beside the Si Phaya Pier. Founder Latesh Kewalramani believes in selfempowerment. With every garment, he gives his clients a sense of grace and poise. The commitment to customer service starts at the door and extends over borders, when Kewalramani — who goes by the name Harry — travels to central Europe, England, the US, or Australia during one of his four annual overseas roadshows. Men and women alike are greeted with smiles that are matched in honesty only by Harry’s zeal for his trade. Fashion Galleria sources its medium to high-end fabric from esteemed international brands, many in Italy, like Vitale Barberis Canonico, Loro Piana, Ermenegildo Zegna, Reda, and Marzoni. Clients are fitted twice after selecting their preferred fabric. If in a rush, the first measurements can be finished in two or three hours. “We do cotton and linen suits,” says Harry, putting emphasis on the way he strives to stay on top of the trends. “Linen is very much in fashion right now.”

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After finalizing measurements, the team works quickly, but with a high degree of skill. “We have 28 cutters and tailors on staff. I don’t mean to brag, but they are the best in Thailand,” says the assiduous owner. “They have been renowned figures in the industry for years. They work very hard.” Whether owing to the integrity of the tailors, the courtesy of the in-store staff, or the comfort of the textiles, Fashion Galleria draws numerous repeat customers. The international sales tours help to promote the brand, but Harry explains that often new customers result from recommendations from friends or relatives of regulars. The clientele remains a tightknit network, one that includes dignitaries from the UN and the ILO and politicians from foreign nations like Belgium. Perhaps the most salient selling point, however, is that service doesn’t end when the product has been completed. “If a suit comes from us, we will take care of it,” Harry says in earnest. “Even years down the road, if a customer loses weight, it’s no problem. We will make adjustments.”

FASHION GALLERIA

[MAP 5/C2]

Suite 108 River City Shopping Complex, Yotha Rd | 0 2639 1401 info@fashiongalleria.biz

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SHOPPING

listings

Duly

TAILOR DULY [MAP 3/Q10] 55/2 Sukhumvit Soi 49 | 0 2672 2891 | 10am7pm daily | laladuly.co.th Duly recently opened a new boutique at the 2nd floor, Royal Wing of the Siam Kempinski Hotel behind Siam Square. The original stand-alone shop on Sukhumvit Road was also renovated in 2011 to reflect Duly’s pre-eminent position as Bangkok’s leading shirt maker. The real draw here is the made-to-measure service that allows customers to create their own perfect shirt with no limits. Shirt patterns can be contoured to fit, collars picked from 22 different style and cuffs from 10. The store stocks over 30 types of button and also offers a monogramming service.

JULY TAILOR [MAP 5/K6] 30/6 Saladang Rd | 0 2233 0171 | Mon-Sat 9.30pm-6pm | julytailor.com/en Established by Nui Sae Lui in 1939, today July Tailor is run by his third son, Sompop Louilarpprasert. July Tailor is famous for the tailoring of suits and royal patterns with fine and delicate workmanship. It also prides itself on punctual delivery. This is perhaps why it was selected as a tailor to the Thai royal family. The store also enjoys a fine reputation among high-level local and international government officials, politicians and businessmen. Use of fine cloths, lining materials and accessories imported from Italy ensures comfort while hand stitching ensures excellent workmanship and fit and the unique bespoke look.

LUCKY ANGEL [MAP 4/M5] 26-26/4 Soi Ruamrudee | 0 2650 7577 | MonSat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-8pm Boyce, the principal at Lucky Angel, does a fine job of explaining fabrics, cuts, timetable and prices to customers. He and his wife go out of their way to 108 | M A RCH 2015

Moon River by VJ help clients select the best materials for their needs. An 18-year veteran of the business, he takes around 30 measurements when sizing you up for a suit and will constantly ask questions regarding your preferences as he goes about his work. Only opened 3 years ago, the shop already has a loyal clientele and prides itself on its repeat business and comprehensive after-sales service.

MOON RIVER BY VJ [MAP 3/H10] 288 Sukhumvit Rd | 0 2229 4457 Mon-Sun 10am-9pm | moonriverbyvj.com Suits ordered at the majority of Bangkok tailors are crafted away from the retail shop, frequently at backstreet workshops handling jobs from several different tailors. What distinguishes Moon River by VJ from its competitors is that the business has its own in-house workshop, enabling it to have better quality control. This also means that the tailors can be present during fittings, so they really understand the changes that need to be made. The shop, which caters to both men and women, has been providing locals, expats and visitors with bespoke attire since 1981 and carries a large inventory of fabrics and styles suitable for any budget.

NARIN COUTURE [MAP 3/G10] 180 Sukhumvit Rd | 0 2251 9237 | Mon-Sat 10.30am-9pm (last fitting at 8pm) narin-couture.com B. Narin of Narin Couture graduated from Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne and spent five years working in Paris before returning home to open his own boutique tailoring service. His background is undoubtedly one of the reasons his suits receive high marks for style. He and his master cutters, many of whom have over 30 years of experience, turn out elegant evening gowns and immaculate suits in top quality fabrics. Some of Narin’s creations

Narin Couture have even made it onto the silver screen, being worn by movie stars in Hollywood blockbusters.

PERRY’S [MAP 5/K5] 2/1 Silom Rd | 0 2233 9236, 0 2267 0622 Mon-Sat 9.30am-8pm | perry.tailor@gmail.com Legendary tailor Perry’s has been going strong for four decades. It is run by genial septuagenarian twin brothers Narong and Phonchai, both of whom are known for their ability to measure and cut ‘by the eye’. They maintain superb quality through their own workshop, where 30 plus artisans use only imported fabrics – the likes of Ermenegildo Zenga, Loro Piana, Dormeuil and Lanificio from Switzerland, Italy and England. Among their more illustrious clients they count the Duke of Edinburgh, former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and late Hollywood star Robin Williams. It takes from one to two weeks for Perry’s to make a two-piece suit, which will run to B20000 or more depending on the material selected.

PINKY [MAP 4/L5] Mahatun Plaza Arcade | 888/40 Ploenchit Rd | 0 2253 6328 | Mon-Sat 10am-7.30pm (Sunday’s by appointment) pinkytailor.com Established since 1980, at Pinky you will find 3 floors of high-quality fabrics. The shop caters to ladies and gents and offers

Perry’s bangkok101.com


listings

Pinky

Rajawongse

exceptional tailoring for quality trousers, suits, tuxedos, uniforms, overcoats, skirts and dresses. A specialty here though is shirts, and as the business points out on its website, shirts are a staple part of any person’s wardrobe. From formal dress shirts and business wear through to high fashion and casual, the shirt is the ideal way to express personality, no matter what the occasion. Popular with visiting dignitaries and local diplomats, Pinky also has a loyal repeat clientele.

RAJAWONGSE [MAP 3/E10] 130 Sukhumvit Rd | 0 2255 3714 | Mon-Sat 10.30am-8pm | dress-for-success.com At Rajawongse, a favourite of visiting

SHOPPING

Tailor on Ten

statesman and ambassadors, it is possible to create your own design from a wide array of fabrics and accessories. Traditional to contemporary, dramatic to exotic, classic to original, you pick your preferred style of garment and fabrics and tailors Jesse and Victor will create it. Says Jesse, “It is our belief that every single customer should be treated like a V.I.P. From formal wear to business suits and sport coats, our motto always holds true: dress like a winner and you’ll be treated like one.”

TAILOR ON TEN [MAP 3/G10] 93 Sukhumvit Rd Soi 8 | 084 877 1543 | www. tailoronten.com

Established by brothers Ben and Alex Cole, Tailor on Ten is located in a quaint townhouse on Sukhumvit Soi 8. The business has a strong reputation for quality. Suit fabrics are sourced from renowned clothiers such as Vitale Barberis Canonico, Trabaldo Togna, Holland & Sherry (of Savile Row), and Dormeuil. All shirts are 100 percent cotton, the shop favourite coming from Thomas Mason, a British-heritage brand made in Italy. A range of Irish and Japanese linen is also available for suits and shirts. Recently, the shop launched an accessories line, with custom belts, Italian ties and pocket squares, to name a few.

IES & GENTS CUSTOM TAILORS D A L -

LUCKY ANGEL vit Rd

soi Ru amrude e

CE

Plaza Athene

s Rd

B OY

Sukhum

Ploenchit

Wireles

by

All Season Place

Conrad Bangkok

LUCKY ANGEL

26-26/24 soi ruamrudee (behind conrad hotel), ploenchit rd., lumpini, patumwan, bangkok 10330 t. (+66) 2 650 7577 m. (+66) 80 559 2655 boycelama28@hotmail.com

Ruamrudee soi 1 Ruamrudee soi 2 Aetas Hotel


WELLN ESS

treatment

Seasons Spa - The Sweet Science of Relaxation BY PAWIKA JANSAMAKAO

A

t Seasons Spa on the 7th floor of the Conrad Bangkok Hotel, the 11 exclusive treatment rooms are prepped for pleasure. Each provides a private changing room as well as a shower area that incorporates its own sauna. The presidential suite, the crème de la crème of the choices, even has a Jacuzzi. With amenities like these, it is easy to see why the spa remains such a preferred urban retreat. Factor in the various selections on the menu, such as east-meets-west massages, body scrubs, refreshing facial treatments, and an array of detoxifying packages, and a spa-lover might never want to leave. To ensure that the treatments and products satisfy particular needs, patrons are asked to supply information concerning their general health, including allergies or medical issues, and to lay out clearly what they are looking for: relaxation, stress relief, or body balancing. The rest falls into the hands of seasoned experts. The Real Aromatherapy Experience (B3500/90min) aims to melt away stress and tension through a blend of Swedish massage and Thai acupressure, using aromatherapy traditions from the West to calm the mind. This being 110 | M A RCH 2015

intended for relaxation, the therapist presses gently on muscles, rubbing along the length of the body to promote blood flow and lymphatic circulation. There is no need to worry if time is limited. The spa’s on-the-fly de-stress collection features treatments that take just 30 minutes. Guests can also indulge in various pampering packages, including Intensive Muscle Release (B3500/90min), Rose Hydrating Cocoon (B2800/60min), and a choice of three treatments in the Bath Collection (B1800/45min each). To elevate the experience, Seasons Spa uses only premium scented oils and products, imported from Aromatherapy Associates in London. When all is done and dusted, guests are casually escorted to a lounge, where they are treated to herbal drinks and light cookies. It is the finishing touch, the last bit of comfort to make sure everyone leaves with a healthy body and happy mind.

SEASON SPA AT CONRAD BANGKOK HOTEL

[MAP4 /F6,7]

7th Fl, All Seasons Place, 87 Wireless Rd | 0 2690 9355 conradhotels.com/Bangkok | Daily 9am-10pm

bangkok101.com


The Soulful Science of Thai Cuisine: Tamarind Leaves Thailand’s culinary repertoire has always been a blend of art and science. At Ruen Urai – “the House of Gold” – dishes are prepared with passion and flair based on an intimate knowledge of ingredients and their flavours, textures, and aromas. Paying homage to the doctor of herbal medicine who originally resided in the century-old golden teakwood house in which Ruen Urai is located, our Thai gourmet voyage continues to explore zesty herbs and spices and their meanings and usage. Through their chemistry and harmony, alchemy is created. Native to northern Africa and Asia, tamarind trees grow tall and graceful with sprays of fine foliage. In Thailand, Tamarind trees are planted on the west side of the house to ward off bad spirits. The leaves are highly valued in folk medicine for their antiseptic properties and are used to treat sprains and swellings, as a wash for sore eyes and ulcers, and in infusions for jaundice. In cooking, the tender Tamarind sprigs give soups a sour tang, particularly spicy and sour chicken soup, which offers a redolent and refreshing taste of summer. Ruen Urai at the Rose Hotel opens from 12 noon to 11 p.m. 118 Soi Na Wat Hualumphong, Surawongse Road Tel. (66) 2 266 8268-72 www.ruen-urai.com


MAP 1  Greater Bangkok A

B

C

Greater Bangkok & the Chao Phraya  MAP 2 >

D

E

F

G

H

J

K

L MYANMAR

Uthai Thani

UTHAI THANI

1

CHAI NAT

Nakhon Ratchasima

ANG THONG

4

j

i

g

1

Andaman Sea Koh Samui

2

Phuket

NAKHON PATHOM

5

SAMUT SAKHON

RATCHABURI

MALAYSIA

PRACHIN BURI

f SA KAEO

BANGKOK f

6

CHACHOENGSAO

k SAMUT

PRAKAN

SAMUT SONGKHRAM

4

1

Ko Sichang

PHETCHABURI 8

CA M BODI A

b

CHON BURI

Phetchaburi

7

VIETNAM

Gulf of Thailand

Krabi

NAKHON NAYOK

a

PATHUM THANI

h

Pattaya CAMBODIA Koh Samet Koh Chang

NAKHON RATCHASIM A

SARABURI

AYUTTHAYA

4

Ubon

Bangkok

3

5

Udon Thani

2

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya1 3

LAOS

THAILAND

Lop Buri

3

KANCHANABURI

Nakhon Ratchasima c

SING BURI

SUPHAN BURI

Kanchanaburi

Chiang Mai

LOP BURI

l

2

M 

c

2

1 2 1 2

3

3

Pattaya f

RAYONG

d e

Cha-am

CHANTHABURI

Rayong Hua Hin

Ko Samet

9

Muang Chantaburi

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN 10

Gulf of Thailand

M YA N M A R

Trat Ko Chang

Prachuap Khiri Khan

11

Ko Kut

N

20 KM 20 miles

Country Border Boarder Crossing Province Border

112 | M A RCH 2015

SIGHTSEEING a Bang Pa-In Summer Palace b The Khao Khiao Open Zoo c The Si Racha Tiger Farm d Pattaya Shooting Park e Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden f Mimosa Pattaya g Kanchanaburi War Cemetery h Bridge over the river Kwai i Erawan National Park j Sai Yok National Park k Ancient Siam l Bueng Chawak Aquarium

TEMPLES 1 Wat Yai Chai Mong Khon 2 Wat Phra Sri Sanphet 3 Wat Mahathat 4 Wat Phuttai Sawan HISTORICAL RUINS 1 Ayutthaya Historical Park 2 Phra Narai Ratchaniwet MARKETS 1 Amphrawa Floating Market 2 Walking Street Pattaya 3 Sam Chuk 100 Years Market

MUSEUMS 1 Teddy Bear Museum 2 The Ripley's believe It or Not Odditorium 3 Art in Paradise 4 Thai Human Imagery Museum 5 Museum of Chong Khaokad ENTERTAINMENT 1 Scuba Dawgs Pattaya 2 Alcazar Cabaret 3 Pattaya Water Park

bangkok101.com


A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

J

K

L

M

N 

F

Tanya Tanee

PAK KRET

1

Don Mueng

2

Don Mueng Int. Airport

Ko Kret

Sai Mai

F

Royal Irrigation Dept.

3

Lak Si

F

F

Rajpruek

The Legacy

F

Northpark

4

Bang Khen

F

Khlong Sam wa

Royal Thai Army Sport Center

F5

Thanont

MUENG NONTHABURI

F

Chatuchak Bang Sue

Phayathai

Phasi Charoen

Saphan Sung

Bang Kapi

F

Pathumwan

Bangkok Yai Wongwian Yai

Bang Rak

Khlong San

Thon Buri

*

Bang Kholaem

Chom Thong Bang Bon

8

Huai Khwang

Ratchathewi

Bangkok Noi

Sathorn

60th Anniversary Queen Sirikit Park

F

Lat Krabang

Krungthep Unico Kreetha Grande

Watthana

Lumpini

7

Wang Thong lang

DinDaeng

Taling Chan

Mini Buri

F

Navatanee

Mo Chit

Dusit

6

Khan na Yao

Bueng Kum

Chatuchak

Bang Sue

Bang Phlat

Panya Indra

Lat Phrao

Suan Luang

Khlong Toei

9

10

Prawet Phra Khanong

Yan Nawa Phra Pradaeng

Rat Burana

11

Suan Luang Rama IX

Suvarnabhumi Int. Airport

Bang Na

12

F

Summit Windmill

Bearing

Bang Khun Thian

13

F

Mueang Kaew

Thung Khru

14

F

Green Valley

15

PHRA SAMUT CHEDI

SAMUT PRAKAN

16

F

17

Bangpoo

Gulf of Thailand

bangkok101.com

18

M A RCH 2015 | 113


MAP 3  Sukhumvit Road A

B

C

D

E

F

G

Phra Ram 9

1

Ram

H

J

a IX

K

L

M

Roya

m9 Prara ital Hosp

l Cit

y Ave

RC A ange R ing

Driv

2

Din

Da

en

kam

phae

ng P

het 7

Phet

g

Uthai

3

Ital Thai

e

Makkasan

tcha

Stat

) Phe

2nd

Phetchaburi

buri

4

road (Toll Expy

38/1

Su

phae

ng P

kh

kam

7

het

Prasanmit Su

5

9/1

3

iP

Saw

hro m

atdi

Ph

2

on

ri

4

10

g

ont

1

15

So

Soi

nmit

kM

2

Prasa

Aso

an

ana

Ch

hai

tth Wa

mC

ng

uea

14 35 31 38 39 26 7 29

LK

Soi

Rur

Sea

aN

1

3

Soi wit

0

i2

i2

So

So

8

2

wit So i1 6

1328 ft

Canal Boat BTS Silom Line BTS Sukhumvit Line Subway Line Railway

114 | M A RCH 2015

17 DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Sukhumvit

ARTS & CULTURE 1 Japan Foundation 2 Koi Art Gallery 3 Attic Studios 4 La Lanta 5 TCDC (Thailand Creative & Design Centre)

6

Nang Kwak WTF 8 The Pikture Gallery 9 We*Do Gallery 10 RMA 7

MALLS 1 Robinsons 2 Terminal 21 3 Emporium

bangkok101.com

Phrom

Sukhumw

um

wit

i1

um

4

S

kh

um

So

kh

Tai

ay sw

ana

s re

iN

xp

So

nE

300 m

Benjasiri Park

5

10

10 Westin Grande Sukhumvit 11 Marriott Executive Sukhumvit Park 12 Grande Centre Point Terminal 21 13 Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit 14 Le Fenix 15 Radisson Sukhumvit 16 Hilton Sukhumvit

13

Soi 35

i 33

31 Su

kh

wit

Su

k

h ko

N

HOTELS 1 Conrad Bangkok 2 Sheraton Grande 3 Seven 4 JW Marriott 5 Rembrandt 6 Four Points 7 Aloft Sukhumvit 11 8 Galleria 10 9 Marriott Bangkok Sukhumvit

NO

IR

6

13

14

it So

Soi

i 29 Su

um

12

Su

Na

Son

an

Benjakiti Park

12

Sukhumwit

umw

wit

it So

hum

Sukh

Suk

umw

i 27

kh

Soi

10

ha

rm

Ton

g Su

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it So

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wit

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ale

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BG QA NZ

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So

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udi

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wb

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17

19

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Sukhum

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umw

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kh

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Sukh

Su

Su

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2

1

hum

hum

15

1

4

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Suk

10

Soi

Soi

5

4

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wit

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28 13 6

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hum

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11

7

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hum

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Nan

Nana

Soi

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11

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Witthayu

tral Cen Lom Chit

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8

10

it

wit

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ad rungr Bam ital Hosp

9

pM

Soi

ab

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h etc

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um

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7

ye in E Rutn ital Hosp

39

n

41

Soi

ho

kasa

kh

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Soi

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6

ak mM


N

O

P

Q

R

S

T

U

V

W

X

Y

1

uri

Thong Lo

Noi uan

Ekkam

Lo 25 Ekkama

Thong

ai 22

i 19

Ekkam

Lo 23

2

my on

45

Soi N

Camillian Hospital

Thong

g yon nom

6

3

ng myo

ng Lo

33

ai 21

i Ba

g4

ano

Prid

on my

Bano

kamai

Soi Tho Ekkam

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ano

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Soi Ek

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g4

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2

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chab

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ai 20

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an

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1 Prid

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4

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umw

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16 kamai

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kh

5

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So

i 49

wit

25

9/1 3

37

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20 21

6 Thong

Ekkam

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Ekkam

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ai 12

0

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kamai

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ai 1

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lang

m on g

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ma

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8

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7

9

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Soi Tho

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am

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j itive Sam vit um Sukh spital Ho

6

hu

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27 24

36 22

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L hong

mai 14

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ma

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Sett hab ut

Soi Sa

10

it So i6 5

i6

Soi

So

63

1

Ekkamai

t umvi Sukh spital Ho

w

wit

wit

Sukhumwit

um

Phra Khanong 11

hum

it S

8

i 36

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mw

So

Suk

hu

wit

Suk

kh

32

um

hum

um

Su

Thong Lo

wit So

So

Sukhum

wit

i 34

kh

Suk

kh

5

59

i5

9

Soi

So

53

Soi

40

wit

oi

S

Su

wit

Soi

9

wit

um

hum

kh

wit

51

49

PH

um ukh

Su

Su

hum

Suk

Suk

oi

47

Soi

it S

oi

7 19

wit

mw

hum

hu

it S

17

18

Soi 28

16

Sukhumwit

Soi 26

Soi 24

Sukhumwit

5

Sukhumwit

Benjasiri Park

3

Suk

Suk

mw

i 39

Phrom Phong

hu

ukda

it So

Soi 35

Suk

umw

eng M

Sukh

Sukhumwit

9

42

30

12

11

MARKETS 4 Sukhumvit CLUBS 1 Q Bar 3 Insomnia 10 Glow 24 Demo 26 Levels 27 Funky Villa

bangkok101.com

13

PUBS 11 The Hanrahans 12 The Pickled Liver 13 The Robin Hood 14 The Royal Oak NIGHTLIFE 4 Long Table 5 Beervault 6 Diplomat Bar 7 The Living Room 8 Cheap Charlie's

9

Octave WTF 17 Alchemist 18 The ChindAsia 20 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 19

31

Marshmallow Oskar Bistro 33 Tuba 35 Apoteka 36 Water Library 37 Gossip Bar 38 Nest 39 Above Eleven 32

EMBASSIES IN India IR Iran LK Sri Lanka PH Philippines QA Qatar UA Ukraine NO Norway NZ New Zealand BG Bulgaria

M A RCH 2015 | 115


MAP 4  Siam / Chit Lom

5 Soi 3

Soi 25

Soi 29

Witthayu

Soi Tonson

Soi Lang Suan

f

e

Soi Mahatlek Luang 2 15

9

NL

NZ UA

IT

15 13

b

d

Soi 2

Soi 3

i2

Ratchadamri

Soi 3

Royal Bangkok Sports Club

Soi 4

8

US

Soi 4

Soi 5

Soi 5

Chulalongkorn University Area

N

200 m 1 000 ft

Canal Boat BTS Silom Line BTS Sukhumvit Line Railway Airwalk Market

116 | M A RCH 2015

HOTELS 1 Pathumwan Princess 2 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 17 Centara Watergate Pavillion 18 Berkeley Hotel Bangkok

KH

Sarasin

Soi 6

9

BR

Soi 7

Soi Ruam Rudi

Sarasin Lumphini Park

ARTS & CULTURE 1 BACC – Bangkok Art and Culture Centre 2 Tonson Gallery SIGHTSEEING a Jim Thomson House b Museum of Imagery Technology c Madame Tussauds d Queen Savang Vadhana Museum e Siam Ocean World f Ganesha and Trimurti Shrine g Erawan Shrine h Goddess Tubtim Shrine NIGHTLIFE a Hard Rock Cafe b Red Sky Bar

Balcony Humidor & Cigar Bar d P&L Club e Café Trio f Hyde & Seek c

MALLS 1 MBK 2 Siam Discovery 3 Siam Center 4 Siam Paragon 5 Panthip Plaza 6 Platinum Fashion Mall 7 CentralWorld 8 Zen @ CentralWorld 9 Palladium Pratunam 10 Gaysorn 11 Erawan Plaza 12 The Peninsula Plaza 13 Amarin Plaza 14 Central Chidlom 15 All Seasons Place 16 Central Embassy

Rud

7

uam

Soi Lang Suan1

Soi R

Soi Mahatlek Luang 3

Soi Sukhumvit 1

Soi Nai Lert

QA VN

2

Ratchadamri

Phloen Chit 16

an

8

2

mvit

Henri Dunant

Soi11

Soi10

Soi 9

Soi 6

Soi 5

Soi 4

Soi 3

Soi 2

Soi 1

Phloen Chit

Chit Lom

hith

Soi 8

g

11 13 FI 7 12 Soi Mahatlek Luang1

ukhu

Phaya Thai

a

ng P

Rajamangala University

2

Soi S

1

19

Dua

1

Soi 7

17

16

CH

ay

14

Siam

UK

Th. Witthayu

Soi Som Khit

c 10 11

10

8

Soi Chit Lom

4 e

f

7

Nai Lert Park

Soi Ruam Rudi

Soi 23

Soi 19

Soi 15

Soi 22

Soi 31 Soi 33

12

w ress

Soi Kaesem San1

Chit Lom

Exp

Wat Pathum Wanaram

M 

Witthayu Bridge

h

3

Siam Square

L

ohn Nak

Soi Kaesem San 2

Soi 17

Soi 13

Prathunam

14 b

c 2

National Stadium

6

6

Saeb

d

Rama I 5

18

9

K

3

Srapathum Palace

1

17

J

lerm

a

5

6

Khlong San

Hua Chang Bridge

3

5

ID

Soi 20

Ratchathewi

2

uri

H

Cha

Phetchaburi Soi 18

Phetchab

G 4

Soi 27

F 18

1

4

E

Soi 32

D

Soi 30

C

Ratchaprarop

B

Ratchadamri

A

SHOPPING 17 Siam Square 18 Pratunam Market 19 Siam Square One EMBASSIES CH Switzerland FI Finland ID Indonesia KH Cambodia NL Netherlands NZ New Zealand QA Qatar UA Ukraine UK United Kingdom US USA VN Vietnam IT Italy

bangkok101.com


Silom / Sathorn  MAP 5 E

kho

are akh

ai Th aya

ong

Phr Soi

Chulalongkorn University

nan

t 17

nr y Thaniya

Soi 4

Patpong 1 Patpong 2 4

5 m n

o

Lumpini Park

Sala Daeng

Convent

CA

Ra

Sala Daeng 1/1 Sala Daeng 1

Soi 5

Soi 6

Soi 7 b

SG

14

Sala Daeng

St. Joseph School

Soi Phra Phinit

Suan Phlu Soi 1

5

Silom

l

g

4

a

12

Suan Phlu – Sathron Soi 3

Soi 11 Yaek 3

anagarindra

Soi 9

o rn S oi 1 1

GR

j

Soi 1

h

Soi 8

Soi 14

Soi 13

16 BE

Chulalongkorn Hospital

Surawong

Chong Nonsi

3

3

He 11

8 Than Tawan Soi 6

Soi 10 Soi 7

Soi 9

Soi 11

Soi 13

f

Soi 5

3 10

2

Du

Sam Yan

Sap

Naret MM

Decho

8 Soi 16 Soi 14

Soi 1

Soi 2 2 Soi P/2 – Prach radit um

Cha

Royal Bangkok Sports Club

Ph

Soi S

chit

Naradhiwas Raj

2

ui s e – S a t h

Rat

in t L o

en

S oi Sa

Charo aro

roen

Ch

Soi Nom

Soi Santiphap

ot

Soi 13

1

63

King Mongkut’s University of Technology

M 

V

Soi Phiphat 2

Sathorn Nuea Sathorn Tai Surasak

L

1

aI

Phra

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Ma 6 Soi 2

Silom

K

Pan

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an

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Ch

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7

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Soi 15

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44

46

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8

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So i 4 46 So i5 1 0

e

So

Soi 38 Soi 40

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So

3

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6

k

1

Soi 3

Oriental

Taksin

Br

FR

Soi Puttha Os

0

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Rak–

4

Soi 3

N

in

Ra

9

Bang

b 5 c

ha

ung en Kr

Soi 3

Maha Se

2

J

Phloi

4

Post

Wat Muang Khae 1 1Wat Suwan

Trok Ph et

Soi 32

sway

Cha

Si Phraya PT

Soi 39

Soi 30

Soi 1

3

H

Hua Lamphong

Si Phraya

pres

roen

N

6

Charo

Khlong San

te E x

Nak

a

2 n d St a

hon

2 2

N

Tak s

ang

G

AU

6

m

aI

V

Sathorn Nuea Sathorn Tai

9

MY MX DE

13

15

p

Ph Suan Suan

7 Soi 1

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n

Marine Dept.

Lat Ya

F

Soi 3

D

as Naradhiwind Rajanagar ra

4

Trok Klue

C N

Soi 12

B

Soi Wanit 2

A

8

lu 6

AT

Soi Nantha Mozart

Phlu 8

9

Immigration Office

HOTELS 1 The Peninsula 2 Millenium Hilton 3 Shangri-La 4 Center Point Silom 5 Mandarin Oriental 6 Royal Orchid Sheraton 7 Lebua at State Tower 8 Holiday Inn 9 Chaydon Sathorn Bangkok 10 Pullman Bangkok Hotel G 11 Le Meridien 12 Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini 13 Banyan Tree 14 Dusit Thani 15 The Sukothai 16 W Bangkok 17 Anantara Bangkok Sathorn bangkok101.com

BARS WITH VIEWS a Threesixty d Sky Bar o Panorama p Moon Bar NIGHTLIFE b La Casa Del Habano c Bamboo Bar f Barley Bistro & Bar g Eat Me j Tapas PUBS e Jameson's h The Pintsman l Molly Malone's 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 Shopping 1 Robinsons 2 River City Shopping 3 Silom Village 4 Silom / Patpong Night-Market 5 Jim Thompson Store

EMBASSIES AT Austria AU Australia BE Belgium CA Canada CE Germany GR Greece FR France MY Malaysia MX Mexico MM Myanmar PT Portugal SG Singapore

N

200 m 1 000 ft

1

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River Ferry River Cross Ferry BTS Silom Line Subway Line Market

SIGHTSEEING a Snake Farm b MR Kukrit’s House

M A RCH 2015 | 117


MAP 6  Yaowarat / Pahurat (Chinatown & Little India )  A

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HOTELS 1 Grand China Princess 2 Bangkok Shanghai Mansion ARTS & CULTURE 1 Chalermkrung Theatre 2 Samphanthawong Museum 3 Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Centre

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118 | M A RCH 2015

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M A RCH 2015 | 119


M Y B A N G KO K

Woody

Milintachinda A darling of the broadcasting airwaves for over 15 years, former MTV Thailand VJ turned popular TV talk show host Vuthithorn “Woody” Milintachinda says he couldn’t imagine working in any other industr y.

You originally studied International Economics at university… how did you make the leap to TV? After graduating from Thammasart University, at first I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so I applied for a job as a VJ at GMM Grammy and, much to my surprise, I got it. It was the smartest thing I ever did! I was given a new TV show to host and the rest, as they say, is history. What criteria do you use to select guests for The Woody Talk Show? There are no hard and fast criteria, but the guests do have to interest me. I have to believe they will make a good guest. So it all depends on me! Who is your most memorable guest and why? My most memorable guest would have to be the fortune-teller, Krit Confirm. He came on the show a couple of years ago and boy, he’s got an uncanny talent. He’s one of those people who get audiences glued to their TV screens. You have a unique style of questioning. Who influenced you in this regard? I have been influenced by a number of show hosts and presenters, both Thai and international. I love Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Fallon, Oprah Winfrey, Graham Norton, and I love Larry King. All have, in a way, influence my hosting style. I also admire Thai 120 | M A RCH 2015

presenters such as Panya Nirankul, Tripob Limpraphat, Wittawat Soonthornvinet, and Sorayuth Suthassanachinda. I suppose I’ve taken something from each and rolled it into my own style. I do like to prise unusual snippets of information out of guests. I try to ask questions that the audience would want to ask. This make interviews go naturally and casually. You have interviewed the likes of David Beckham, Jackie Chan, and Britney Spears. Do you ever get nervous in such company? Of course! It is very exciting at first. However, Hollywood stars are not as arrogant as people might think. Often I don’t feel like I’m doing an interview, I feel more like I’m having a chit chat. I once interviewed actor Hugh Jackman and taught him to say “na rak-a” which means “you are so cute.” It was very funny. Another favourite interviewee was actor Will Smith. I even rapped with him!. What is it like to interview Thai royalty? It is a huge honour. I have been lucky to interview Princess Chulabhorn and Princess Soamsawali. They both were both very generous and gracious to me and the Woody team. They gave answers openly and freely and even encouraged me when I hesitated to ask certain questions. They were wonderful. How do you balance your onscreen role with that of president of Woody World Co., Ltd?

There is no balance between my onscreen role and the role as president of my own company. I wear two hats at once. They are one and the same thing and in putting the show together I am also running the company. If you weren’t in TV, what would you be doing? If I weren’t in TV, I would be doing everything I could to get into TV! I can’t think of another answer… I couldn’t see myself selling T-shirts or crunching numbers or even becoming an astronaut. My life is television, period. Favourite places to eat & drink in Bangkok? I don’t have a favourite restaurant or a club or a pub or a bar in Bangkok that I go to all the time. But I tend to pick venues where I can just relax, be myself, eat the food and feel comfortable. I like to feel as if I’m at home. I enjoy Kram, the Thai restaurant on Sukhumvit 39. It is a hidden gem. It serves good food, plays nice music and it is simple and relaxing. Where do you go to escape the world of celebrity? I don’t really have a particular place. I mean I enjoy being who I am and what I do and you can never escape from that. But where do I go to chill away from work? I’d have to say Japan. I’ve been visiting the country over the past few years and I love it. I’m discovering more of its cities as time goes by and my dream is to move there one day. bangkok101.com


Profile for Talisman Media

Bangkok101 Magazine March 2015  

Bangkok's leading travel and leisure magazine

Bangkok101 Magazine March 2015  

Bangkok's leading travel and leisure magazine

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