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bangkok101.com


PUBLISHER’S LETTER

C

reativity is alive and well in Thailand and it never ceases to amaze us just how many Thai designers and artists are receiving recognition abroad. This is particularly the case in the fields of art and photography, and the main reason we set aside a good chunk of space in each issue to celebrate the creative output of local artists and snappers. In this issue it’s the turn of Street Photo Thailand, a group of Thai photographers blessed with a collective eye that is adept at capturing in a quirky way those seemingly mundane activities that fill our daily lives. You can see a selection of their images – some of which are to be exhibited at a show in Paris over the coming months – by turning to the Photo Feature in the Arts section. Elsewhere this month, we slip through the venerable gates of the exclusive Royal Bangkok Sports Club to enjoy an exciting afternoon of horse racing, we offer up a potted guide to having a bespoke suit made by a selection of the city’s finest tailors, and we take you on our usual culinary exploration of some of the best Bangkok eateries and night spots. 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, then please drop us a line at info@talisman-media.com.

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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

SEP T EM BER 2014 | 3


CONTRIBUTORS

publisher

Mason Florence editor-in-chief

Dr Jesda M. Tivayanond associate publisher

Parinya Krit-Hat managing editor

Matt Wilde 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.

Food and travel writer HOWARD RICHARDSON lives beside the Chao Phraya River in downtown Bangkok, from where he’s spent years exploring the city as magazine editor and freelance writer. He’s contributed to publications such as GQ , the BBC’s Olive magazine and the New York Times online, and written a monthly column in Sawasdee, the Thai Airways inflight magazine.

editor-at-large

Joe Cummings associate editor

Pawika Jansamakao art director

Narong Srisaiya graphic designer

Thanakrit Skulchartchai strategists

Nathinee Chen Sebastien Berger contributing writers

Gaby Doman, Bill Bredesen, Philip Cornwel-Smith, Dave Stamboulis, Keith Mundy, Tom Sturrock, Adam O’Keefe contributing photographers

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

Jhone El’Mamuwaldi 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 .

Very Thai author PHILIP CORNWEL-SMITH is a writer, editor and curator specialising in the areas of culture and travel. He has lived in Thailand for over a decade, editing its first listings magazine and the Time Out Bangkok guides, updating Thailand: A Traveller’s Companion, presenting Noodle Box: Bangkok on Discovery Channel, and squeezing Bangkok into the city’s first phone guide for Nokia.

director sales and marketing

Itsareeya Chatkitwaroon

director business development

Willem Deenik circulation

Pradchya Kanmanee published by

Talisman Media Group Co., Ltd. 54 Naradhivas Rajanagarinda Soi 4, Sathorn Tai Rd, Yannawa, Sathorn, Bangkok 10120 T 02-286-7821 | F 02-286-7829 info@talisman-media.com © 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.

SEP T EM BER 2014 | 5


CONTENTS 18

44

40

14

CITY PU LSE

A RT & C U LT U R E

8 metro beat

48 exhibition highlights

96 new collection:

12 hot plates: zuma

52 interview:

playhound

14 out and about:

the poetry of painting

98 jj gem:

sundays in the saddle

55 cheat notes

defy

18 best of bangkok:

56 photo feature:

99 unique boutique:

bespoke bangkok

capital exposure

lychee’s tea cups

S N A P S H OT S

FOOD & DRIN K

22 tom’s two satang

66 food & drink news

24 very thai

68 meal deals

25 thailand at random

70 restaurant reviews:

26 joe’s bangkok

the never ending summer,

28 bizarre thailand

maison blanche, indus,

30 temples, historic

lady brett, il bolognese,

buildings and museums

sole mio

SHOPPING

52

96 70

78 in the kitchen:

T R AV E L

jaikrishnan govindan

WELLN ESS

36 up country now

79 eat like nym

100 spa listings

38 hotel review

80 restaurant listings

101 cenvaree spa

freewheeling through

N IGHTLI FE

REFERENCE

history

86 nightlife news

102 getting there

44 over the border:

88 review:

104 maps

taking a chance on

the speakeasy

112 my bangkok:

macau

90 nightlife listings

lucille krajciova

40 up country escape:

ON THE COVER Explore the work of a group of Thai street photographers whose images will be exhibited in Paris. Check out p56. 6 | SEP T EM BER 2014

bangkok101.com


A CULINARY STAR

There’s

a new chef in town and he is working his culinary magic among the stars at Red Sky and Fifty Five at the Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld.

Manning the stoves in the two signature restaurants of Bangkok’s only fully integrated fivestar hotel, convention centre and lifestyle complex is a Frenchman. And Hugo Coudurier is no stranger to working with the stars. After culinary school in Dijon, he worked alongside Jean-Jacques Noguier at the Michelin-starred La Ferme De L’Hospital in Bossey. His journey also took him to the Hotel des Trois Valees in Courcheval, before moving to the three-Michelin star restaurant Guy Savoy Paris as the sous chef. Las Vegas was his next stop as executive chef of Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesar’s Palace. Before making his way to Southeast Asia, Hugo was in charge of the kitchen at the boutique K108 Hotel in Doha, Qatar His signature additions to the menu at Red Sky are a combination of both classical and contemporary French dishes that are designed to wow the senses. Start of your gastronomic experience with the sublime moreish Black Truffle Artichoke Soup accompanied by a delightful toasted mushroom brioche. Then the delicate flavours that come together perfectly in his elegant Avocado & Scottish Samoked Salmon

Gnocchi served with dill, pickled onions and lemon butter, or the Novia Scotia Lobster “Vol Au Vent”, which offers a burst of light creaminess across the palate. Other standouts include Oven Roasted Halibut with Jasberry Rice, Caramelized Endives and Morel sauce and a personal favourite, the Poached Bresse “Poussin” Baby Chicken with Truffle & Foie Gras Fragrant Basmati Rice and a magnificent velvety Albufera sauce. Showcasing his classical culinary upbringing is a fork tender Wagyu Beef Tenderloin “Rossini” with foie gras, black truffle, wild mushrooms and Madeira sauce, and a another timeless dish, Warm Old-fashioned Apple Tart and a Vanilla Bourbon Ice Cream. There is no doubt that this marriage of Hugo’s inspirational menu with the remarkable 300-label wine list straddling both the Old and New Worlds, jaw-dropping panoramic vistas and groovy music from the live jazz band definitely makes Red Sky the only place to impress an out-of-town guest, celebrate the close of a business deal, or even pop that question.

www.centarahotelsresorts.com

T: +66 (0) 2 100 6255

E: diningcgcw@chr.co.th


CITY PU LSE

metro beat

The Arrival

ROCK & POP

Swedish ABBA tribute band The Arrival will run through pop classics like ‘Waterloo’, ‘Fernando’ and ‘Dancing Queen’ at the Thailand Cultural Centre (Thiem Ruammitr Rd, 0 2247 0028) on September 30 and October 1. Thai Ticketmajor (0 2262 3456, thaiticketmajor.com) are selling tickets from B800-B3000.

ART

Heights The UK’s melodic hardcore band Heights say this is their final tour before they split for good. Catch the four-piece at Immortal Bar (6 Soi Bunchoosri, Dindaeng, 08 2082 4942, facebook. com/immortalthaibar) on September 3 playing tracks from their two albums, Dead Ends and Old Lies For Young Lies. Tickets are B800.

The exhibition Thai Charisma: Heritage + Creative Power at the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre (939 Rama I Rd, 0 2214 6632, bacc.or.th) until November 9 showcases how Thai artists and artisans create new works by drawing on the inspiration of traditional artifacts. The show, which grew out of Thai Transience, a 2012 exhibition at Singapore Art Museum, presents contemporary art works by 18 artists alongside more than 30 traditional artifacts from the Fine Arts Department, many of which are appearing in public for the first time. The artists include Thawan Duchanee, Panya Vijinthanasarn, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook and Rirkrit Tiravanija.

Teen hearts will flutter to the song and dance routines of Korean boy band EXO, who perform their Bangkok debut show at Impact Arena (99 Popular Rd, Pakkred, 0 2504 5050, impact. co.th) on September 13 and 14. Both shows are at 6pm. Tickets are B1200-B6000 from Thai Ticketmajor (0 2262 3456, thaiticketmajor.com). Popular Thai bands P.O.P, 25 Hours, Paradox, Getsunova and J Jetrin take to the stage for the Click One Concert at the Bangkok Convention Centre (Central Plaza, Ladprao, 1695 Phaholyothin Rd, 0 2541 1234) on September 20. The music starts at 7pm. Thai Ticketmajor (0 2262 3456, thaiticketmajor. com) has tickets priced B1000-B2500. Swing meets Rock n Roll with a spot of 1950s nostalgia when The Jive Aces play at the Thailand Cultural Centre (Thiem Ruammitr Rd, 0 2247 0028) on September 26. The band got their break on the UK’s TV show Britain’s Got Talent and have since appeared at events including Glastonbury Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival and the Cannes Film Festival. Tickets run from B800-B2000 at Thai Ticketmajor (0 2262 3456, thaiticketmajor.com). 8 | SEP T EM BER 2014

Akacorleone and Kruella D’Enfer Portuguese artists Akacorleone and Kruella D’Enfer, both of whom contributed to last year’s Bukruk Street Art festival, exhibit at Toot Yung Art Centre (12/6 Ekamai Soi 2, 0 2714 3766, tootyunggallery.com) until September 23. The works, completed during a two month residency at the gallery, are based on their experiences in Thailand, and inspired by the country’s people, beliefs and everyday life. The main piece is a moving gallery set in a vendor’s wheeled street stall, which will travel Bangkok streets before settling at the gallery. The whole show will comprise a mix of paintings, sculpture and light boxes. Paintings will also appear on walls around the city. bangkok101.com


metro beat

CITY PU LSE

NIGHTLIFE

Cosmic Gate German trance DJs and producers Cosmic Gate perform at the recently opened Onyx RCA (Soi Soonvijai, Rama IX Rd, 08 1645 1188, onyxbangkok.com) on September 6. The duo of Claus Terhoeven and Stefan Bossems, who have been in DJ Magazine’s Top 100 DJs for the last six years, have half-a-dozen albums under their belt, including this year’s release Start to Feel. Also appearing is vocalist Alana Aldea, who sang on Cosmic Gate’s 2011 album Wake Your Mind, and Aussie DJs Lonskii and Snaz. Ticket prices were unavailable at press time.

FESTIVALS

THEATRE Anatta Theatre with Democrazy Studio have teamed up to produce 2475 The Musical, inspired by the life of Poonsuk Banomyong, wife of the former Thai Prime Minister Pridi Banomyong. Performances are at the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre (939 Rama I Rd, 0 2214 6632, bacc.or.th) daily from Thursday to Sunday at 7pm, from September 18 to October 5. Entry is B500.

International Festival of Dance & Music The annual International Festival of Dance & Music brings a wide range of performances to the capital from September 13-October 26, in genres including classical music, opera, pop, folk and ballet. The shows are at the Thailand Cultural Centre (Thiem Ruammitr Rd, 0 2247 0028), with free shuttle buses available from Thailand Cultural Centre MRT station for the duration. See individual entries below for highlights. The full programme is at bangkokfestivals.com. bangkok101.com

The China National Acrobatic Troupe combines acrobatics, dance and drama in its production of Cirque Eclipse at the Thailand Cultural Centre (Thiem Ruammitr Rd, 0 2247 0028) from September 19-21. The first two shows are at 7.30pm, with a matinee at 2.30pm on the 21st. Tickets cost B800-B2500 from Thai Ticketmajor (0 2262 3456, thaiticketmajor.com). The New Broadway Company continues its monthly shows at the St Regis Bangkok (159 Ratchadamri Rd, 0 2252 4707, stregisbangkok.com) on September 26 with an hour long feature based on the musical Chicago. The entrance fee of B1650++ includes tapas and free flow on selected wine and cocktails. The curtain rises at 8.30pm. SEP T EM BER 2014 | 9


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metro beat

CLASSICAL There are two concerts this month at Sala Sudasiri Sobha (158/20 Ladprao 41, Yaek 7-2, 0 2541 8662, salasudasirisobha. com), opening with Ang Li giving a piano recital on September 6. That’s followed on September 13 with performances by a horn quartet and a flute quartet. Both concerts start at 7.30pm, and are preceded by a reception at 6.30pm. Tickets are B500, which includes free parking and a light meal with drinks. The organisers also welcome donations to help the Gift of Life Foundation.

DANCE B-Floor Theatre presents a solo performance by one of their regular dancers, Sasapin Siriwanij, called I Didn’t Launch A Thousand Ships at the Pridi Banomyong Institute (Sukhumvit Soi 55, 08 6787 7155) from September 4-22.

Reputed to be “the most important private opera company in Italy”, Teatro Lirico Italiano brings the world premiere of its production of Don Giovanni to the Thailand Cultural Centre (Thiem Ruammitr Rd, 0 2247 0028) on September 13. Mozart’s two act opera, with libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, delves into the legend of the famous seducer Don Juan. The show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets cost B1500-B5500 from Thai Ticketmajor (0 2262 3456, thaiticketmajor.com).

Snow White One of France’s major contemporary ballet companies, Ballet Preljocaj, performs Snow White at the Thailand Cultural Centre (Thiem Ruammitr Rd, 0 2247 0028) on September 24. The Brothers Grimm fairytale is choreographed by Angelin Preljocaj and features 26 dancers in costumes by Jean Paul Gaultier. Tickets from Thai Ticketmajor (0 2262 3456, thaiticketmajor. com) are B800-B3000.

La Boheme There’s more opera with the Puccini classic La Boheme at the Thailand Cultural Centre (Thiem Ruammitr Rd, 0 2247 0028) on September 15. The plot follows the romantic adventures of the poet Rodolfo and seamstress Mimi, living amid a Parisian artistic community. Get tickets from Thai Ticketmajor (0 2262 3456, thaiticketmajor.com), priced B1500-B5500. The Nova Amadeus Orchestra in collaboration with the Macedonia Opera Orchestra brings a selection of classical pieces to the Thailand Cultural Centre (Thiem Ruammitr Rd, 0 2247 0028) on September 16. The programme includes Rossini’s Barber of Seville, Donizetti’s Don Pasquale Overture and Puccini’s Madame Butterfly Interlude act III. The conductor is Guiseppe Sabbatini. Tickets are available from Thai Ticketmajor (0 2262 3456, thaiticketmajor.com), priced B800-B3000.

SHOPPING This month’s ThaiCraft Fair at Jasmine City Building (2 Sukhumvit Soi 23, 0 2204 5885) is on September 20, when village artisans from around the country will set up stalls with items like jewellery, fabrics and home furnishings. Entrance is free. ThaiCraft is also co-hosting the Living in Bangkok fair at Bumrungrad Hospital on September 13, where live entertainment will accompany the shopping. It runs from 9am to 5pm. 10 | SEP T EM BER 2014

Billed as a fusion of flamenco, ballet, martial arts, street dance, theatre and acrobatics, the Spanish troupe Los Vivancos bring their latest production, Aeternum, to the Thailand Cultural Centre (Thiem Ruammitr Rd, 0 2247 0028) on September 28. The work was developed in collaboration with Daniele Finzi Pasca (creator of Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo) and Julie Hamelin (co-founder of Cirque Eloize). Tickets are B800-B3000 from Thai Ticketmajor (0 2262 3456, thaiticketmajor.com).

FOOD & DRINK Seven chefs from six countries arrive for the World Gourmet Festival at the Four Seasons Hotel (155 Ratchadamri Rd, 0 2126 8866, fourseasons.com/bangkok) from September 1-7. Among the highlights are chefs from a trio of twoMichelin starred restaurants – Akrame Benallal from Akrame, in Paris; Paolo Casagrande from Lasarte, in Barcelona; and Hideaki Sato from Tenku Ryugin, Hong Kong. As well as lunches and dinners prepared by the chefs, the festival will include food and wine tastings. All the culinary details are at worldgourmetfestivalbangkok.wordpress.com. A cheap way to guzzle as much wine as you like accompanied by a selection of cheese is to head for Say Wine and Say Cheese at the Royal Orchid Sheraton (2 Charoen Krung Soi 30, 0 2266 0123, royalorchidsheraton.com) on September 19. The free flow wines are from the Chilean grower Concha Y Toro. It costs B599++, and runs from 6.30pm-8.30pm at the Sambal Bar & Grill, with a romantic views of the river. Free hotel shuttle boats leave Saphan Taksin pier every half-hour. bangkok101.com


CITY PU LSE

hot plates

Zuma by Matt Wilde

I

n recent weeks Satoshi Onuki, the engaging head chef at Zuma, the popular contemporary Japanese restaurant and bar at the ground floor of St. Regis Hotel & Residences on Rajadhamri, has added a number of reinterpreted fish dishes to the outlet’s selection of ‘authentic but not traditional’ menu items. While Zuma has a decidedly sophisticated feel – the plush interior designed by the renowned Noriyoshi Muramatsu features organic materials, natural textures and traditional textiles – the outlet is inspired by the ‘Itzakaya’ dining concept in which there is no prescribed etiquette for ordering from the menu and no differentiation between starters and main courses…you simply select whatever takes you fancy from the sushi bar, robata charcoal grill and open kitchen offerings and pile in. In fact, this is great venue for gathering with a group of friends to share a meal. But before you get to the food, pony up to the inviting bar or grab a spot on the Zen-like outdoor terrace for a pre-dinner drink. Here you are spoilt for choice and can choose a glass of wine from a 1,500 bottle walk-in cellar stocked with fine wines from around the world or a taste of old Japan from a selection of unique, hand-crafted sakes. Better still, try the signature Zumanuka cocktail (B335), a heady pale green mix of honey vodka, pineapple, fresh basil and a dash of apple. To start our meal we opted for one of the refreshed signature dish on the menu, the yellowtail (B410). It comprises thin slices of fish served chilled on a platter with green chilli relish, ponzu and pickled garlic. The fish is delicate on the palate and yet somehow not overpowered by the relish and citrus-based ponzu sauce, which provides a lovely tanginess. No less impressive is the selection of special nigiri sushi dishes that follow. These comprise otoro (tuna) nigiri with wafu sauce (B880), seabass nigiri with jelly tosazu sauce (B230) and Zuma salmon nigiri with sesame sauce and salmon roe (B380). Thanks to the counterpoint of the zesty sauces and some finely sliced ginger, each bite is a mouthful of the most delicately textured seafood packed with light but still intense flavours. At the same time we enjoy a selection of vegetable tempura (B340). At Zuma the vegetables are shallow-fried in a very light crispy batter and anything but run-of-themill; think tomato, mushroom and broccoli rather than carrot, onion and eggplant. We round out the savoury component of our meal with Chilean seabass (B880) perfectly complimented by a green chilli and ginger dressing. It has just enough fire to raise eyebrows but not enough to deaden the taste buds altogether. Following the delicacy of the savoury dishes, we end our repast with a towering Special Chocolate platter (B335) served with citrus sorbet and portions of fruit on ice. The pick if the confections has to be the Jasmine crème brûlée, which is dark, rich and deeply satisfying, which is not a bad epitaph for Zuma as a whole.

ZUMA

[MAP 4/G7]

St. Regis Hotel & Residences, 159 Rajadhamri Rd | 0 2252 4707 | zumarestaurant.com Lunch noon-3pm, Dinner 6pm-11pm

12 | SEP T EM BER 2014

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bangkok101.com

J U N E 2014 | 13


out & about

CITY PU LSE

Sundays in the Saddle When riding the Skytrain between Siam and Saladaeng stations, it’s not uncommon to hear tourists wonder aloud about the big green space with the horse racing track, grandstands and golf course situated opposite the luxury hotels on Rajadamri Road. Often simply referred to as ‘the place with horse racing’ by locals, this is the hallowed turf of the Royal Bangkok Sports Club (RBSC), one of the oldest and most prestigious clubs of its kind in the region. by MATT WILDE

A

n exclusive members-only institution patronized by Thailand’s elite, it isn’t easy for Joe Public to gain access to the RBSC – a visit usually requires a firm invite from a member. However, race days held at the club every other Sunday throughout the year (alternating with the Royal Turf Club in the Dusit area) are a different story. Then, for the princely entrance fee off B100, members of the public are allowed in from 12.30pm to 6pm to enjoy an afternoon of flat racing set against a panoramic downtown backdrop. It has been this way since January 1902, shortly after the RBSC was founded by a royal charter granted by King Chulalongkorn. A courtier, Phya Pradibaddha Bhubal, was instrumental in this. In the late 1890s he was a member of the King’s entourage on a visit to England, during which the party attended a race meeting at Royal Ascot. Phya Pradibaddha was smitten with the sport and on returning to Bangkok he and a Russian diplomat called Count Oroloffsky asked the King for permission to establish a permanent club for horse racing in the capital (earlier racing, usually organised on an ad hoc basis by the city’s expatriate community, had sometimes been staged at Sanam Luang, the royal field outside the Grand Palace). bangkok101.com

That the sport is the key reason for the club’s establishment is evident in one of many racing-related clauses in the royal charter, which explains that the aim of the club is “To build a clubhouse, to have it decorated and to maintain it, to build large and small stands for the public to attend race meetings; to establish offices, stables and other quarters including fences and drainage, and to keep the race course in good order”. Land was granted at Sra Prathum and formalised horse racing began drawing big crowds. Other sports were also taken up by the club – golf being one. In the early years snipe shooting was also a popular pastime at one end of the ground, which must have lent a frisson of danger to teeing off and the added challenge of avoiding fallen lead shot when putting on the greens. Over 100 years later and things have changed somewhat. No more snipe shooting for a start. While racing attendances steadily declined over the decades, crowds upward of 15,000 were common at the RBSC as recently as the early 1990s. Today however, they average around 6,000 a race meeting, although this figure rises significantly when one of the ‘classic’ races (the Chakri Cup in April, the Queen’s Cup in August, and the King’s Cup in December) are run. SEP T EM BER 2014 | 15


CITY PU LSE

out & about

That said, whatever the size of the crowd, the atmosphere on race days is always festive and while there might not be the glamour or prestige associated with the Cheltenham Festival, Kentucky Derby or Melbourne Cup, a certain amount of decorum is expected if you are watching the action from the more exclusive air-conditioned confines of the RBSC’s Winning Post restaurant and adjacent Committee Box – these areas are accessible by special pass and invitation respectively and require jacket and tie for gents. In the grandstands, however, anything goes. The Thais love a bit of sanuk (fun), especially when it involves a wager, and excitement reaches fever pitch during each race when the field turns into the final straight and makes for home. By this point a multitude of binocular-wielding spectators will be bouncing up and down, raucously chanting the name of their fancied horse, willing runner and rider across the line. Between races, which are all run over a the same fixed distance during a meeting (anywhere from 11001700 metres), moderate calm descends while punters check programmes (an English version of which is available for B100 at the main RBSC entrance on Henri Dunant Road) and study the form of the field in the next race. Then they’re off to place their bets at 16 | SEP T EM BER 2014

the numerous betting windows located throughout the stands. In terms of gambling – officially illegal in Thailand but allowed here because a great deal of the revenue raised is donated to royal charities – anywhere from B50 to B200,000 can be staked on win, place, quinella and trifecta bets, the odds for which are calculated using a totalizer system. With bets wagered there is always time for a snack or a cool drink before the next race gets underway (this being hot and thirsty work) and reasonably priced refreshments, including beers and local whiskies, are available from the many semi-permanent bars and booths at the back of the stands. So, if you find yourself with ‘temple fatigue’ or simply can’t face another shopping mall but have a free Sunday afternoon, a visit to the races at the RBSC is a unique and fun way to spend a few hours at a venerable city institution joining the natives at play.

THE RBSC IS LOCATED ON HENRI DUNANT ROAD [MAP 4/E,F,G6-9]

For information on racing schedules and race day packages, please visit rbsc.org or call 0 2652 5000.

bangkok101.com


The Stylish

New Way to Sleep in Bangkok

seven design hotel 3/15 Sukhumvit 31 Bangkok 10110 t: +662.662.0951 f: +662.662.3344 e: info@sleepatseven.com www.sleepatseven.com bangkok101.com

SEP T EM BER 2014 | 17


best of bangkok

BESPOKE

CITY PU LSE

BANGKOK

Avoiding a tailor-made stitch-up BY MICHAEL MOORE

T

he streets of Bangkok are lined with tailor shops, many with signs proclaiming “suits and clothing ready in 24 hours” or “one suit, four shirts and two ties for US$199.” False advertising? Not at all. You will get something back in 24 hours for the price advertised and it will be worth what you paid for it. But a suit put together in 24 hours for only US$199 will be hurriedly made and fashioned from relatively cheap materials. If it weren’t, the tailor shop couldn’t stay in business. That’s reality. Does this mean you can’t get a good tailor-made suit in Thailand? Absolutely not. Excellent tailor-made clothing is available, but as in every other place in the world, you will get what you pay for. Ronnie Singh, principle at Universal Tailors, a business established by his father, Raj, on Silom over 30 years ago, puts it this way. “You can’t compare a quality suit on the basis of price alone. A good suit is not cheap, but it will last a long time. At the end of the day value for money is what is important.” Finding a decent tailor, however, is another matter. As Victor at Rajawongse, tailor to American Presidents and numerous diplomats, says, “I don’t like to say it, but about 95% of the tailors in town are tourist rip-offs.” To avoid the rip-off trap, you have to know what you are looking for and your expectations regarding time, cost and number of fittings have to be realistic. Before considering how to negotiate the minefield, let’s consider the two basic types of ‘tailor-made’ suits available: ‘Bespoke’ and ‘Made to Measure’ (MTM). ‘Bespoke’ is one of those buzz words that is often misused in an attempt ride on the coattails of the famous tailors of Saville Row in London. The British Advertising Association requires that a bespoke suit be made from original patterns derived from measurements taken from the individual. Each suit must be entirely original and completely unique. With a MTM garment, a person’s measurements are taken and then a pre-existing base pattern is selected that most closely matches those measurements. The pattern is then altered to match the customer’s specific measurements and a garment is created from this altered pattern. bangkok101.com

At this point it appears there is little difference between bespoke and MTM, but the differences are significant. With MTM, the garment is created after the measurements are taken and the original pattern is modified. Fittings are then conducted in which changes, if required, are made to the garment that has been created. A bespoke garment involves several fittings conducted at various stages in the creation of the garment, starting with a skeleton baste. This is followed by additional fittings in which hand-sewn changes are made until the piece of clothing precisely fits the contours of the customer.

“YOU CAN’T COMPARE A QUALITY SUIT ON THE BASIS OF PRICE ALONE. A GOOD SUIT IS NOT CHEAP, BUT IT WILL LAST A LONG TIME. AT THE END OF THE DAY VALUE FOR MONEY IS WHAT IS IMPORTANT.” RONNIE SINGH, UNIVERSAL TAILORS The question that immediately comes to mind is whether or not a legitimate bespoke suit can be had in Bangkok. The answer is ‘yes’, but the overwhelming majority of suits made locally are MTM. A significant problem in Bangkok is that the people buying suits are often tourists who don’t have the time to wait for a bespoke or a high quality MTM garment. A bespoke suit will take more than two weeks to craft and a quality MTM will probably take at least a week. In addition a bespoke suit, and a quality MTM suit for that matter, involves the customer meeting directly during fitting sessions with the tailor creating the garment, not a salesperson only involved with selling the suit. This is usually not done in Bangkok. The reason? Suits at the majority of Bangkok tailors are crafted away from the retail shop, frequently at backstreet workshops SEP T EM BER 2014 | 19


CITY PU LSE

best of bangkok

handling jobs from several different tailors. Communication between the customer and tailor is non-existent and the communication between the shop and the actual tailor is often rudimentary. VJ at Moon River, a tailor catering to men and women, puts it this way. “What distinguishes us from our competitors, is that we have our own in-house workshop, enabling us to have better quality control. It also allows our actual tailors to be present during fittings so they really understand the changes that need to be made.” Another important factor is the background of the person who meets and greets customers when they enter the shop, in Bangkok often the owner. If this person, like the experienced Raj Singh at Universal Tailors and B. Narin at Narin Couture, is a trained tailor, it is likely to have a positive impact on the outcome. Narin 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. It is also important to remember that fit, workmanship and style are only half of the story, the other half being the quality of the materials used. Unfortunately, local or regionally made fabrics are often of inferior quality and much of the wool is actually a blend. Excellent imported fabrics are available, but are often significantly more expensive. Peter at Sodhi, another well-established tailor, explains that import duties on fabric are no longer significant, but that many tailors select lesser quality materials because they are cheaper. “They are not looking for repeat customers,” he explains. “So they select cheaper fabrics. We use better fabrics because we are interested in repeat customers, but many shops simply aim for tourists who are unlikely to return to Thailand.” That said, tourists without enough time to purchase a bespoke or quality MTM suit are not completely out of luck in Bangkok. Quality, MTM shirts can be had at very reasonable prices and take only a couple of days to make. As with a suit, aim for a reputable tailor and don’t skimp on the quality of the fabric. 20 | SEP T EM BER 2014

So there you have the fundamentals of how to get a quality tailor-made suit in Bangkok. And watch this space because over the next few months we will be highlighting Bangkok’s best tailors in individual articles.

DRESSED BY THE BEST - Our pick of Bangkok’s tailors Duly (shirt maker) 55/2 Sukhumvit Soi 49 (near Villa Supermarket) Nearest BTS: Phrom Phong 0 2672 2891-3 laladuly.co.th Lucky Angel Tailor 26-26/24 Soi Ruamrudee 2 Ploenchit Rd (behind All Seasons Place) 0 2650 7577, 08 0559 2655 boycelama@hotmail.com Moon River by VJ 288 Sukhumvit Rd (near Sheraton Grande Hotel) 0 2229 4457 moonriverbyvj.com Narin Couture 180 Sukhumvit Rd (between Sois 8 &10) Nearest BTS: Asoke; nearest MRT: Sukhumvit 0 2251 9237 narin-couture.com Perry’s 2/1 Silom Rd (opposite Silom Complex)

Nearest BTS: Saladaeng; nearest MRT Silom 0 2233 9236, 0 2267 0622 Pinky 888/40 Ploenchit Rd Mahatun Plaza Arcade Nearest BTS: Ploenchit 0 2252 9680 pinkytailor.com Rajawongse 130 Sukhumvit Rd (near Landmark Hotel) Nearest BTS: Nana 0 2255 3714 dress-for-success.com Sodhi 294/3 Silom Rd (near Silom Village) Nearest BTS: Chong Nongsri 0 2635 9670 sodhi.com Universal Tailors 252/2 Silom Rd (near Soi 18) Nearest BTS: Chong Nongsri 08 1611 2313 universaltailor.com

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ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL; COMMUNITY SPIRIT IS ALIVE AND WELL AMONG ASEAN NATIONS 22 | SEP T EM BER 2014

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Tom’s Two Satang Join Bangkok-born but internationally bred aesthete Dr. Tom Vitayakul as he gives his own unique take on Thailand and its capital. Each month he tackles a different aspect of the local culture – from art and festivals to 21st-century trends – in a lighthearted yet learned manner

ON NEIGHBOURS

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hailand and its neighbouring countries work well together when it comes to the crunch, but it hasn’t always been so. Situated at the heart of the IndoChina region, Thailand shares borders with four countries. To the west is Myanmar, to the northeast across the Mekong is Laos, due east is Cambodia and to the south is Malaysia. Although Vietnam and Singapore do not border Thailand, their influence can be felt here too. Through the centuries Siam waged war with Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Malaysia and it is true that in different dynastic periods our borders have ebbed and flowed like a watermark. That said, in times of peace we have always traded with each other and by and large enjoyed good diplomatic relationships. But do we Thais love our neighbours? From the Sukhothai to early Rattanakosin periods, Burma was our arch-nemesis. Countless battles took place between us and twice the old capital of Ayutthaya was occupied by invading armies from Hongsawadee. Nowadays, like many other neighbouring countries we see Myanmar it as the next frontier, a place ripe for investment and one where millions are to be made. We have always looked upon Laos with a somewhat fraternal attitude. Branching out from the main Tai tribes that settled Thailand, the Tai Yai made what is now the Shan State their home, while the Tai Noi set themselves up in Laos. And despite the inevitable conflicts and warfare, we have remained more than neighbourly with our Lao cousins. Our languages are similar. The food in the north and northeast of Thailand has been influenced by Laotian cuisine. Even the Emerald Buddha, a national treasure in Thailand, was taken from Laos in the reign of King Rama I. It is almost certainly the case that some of our ancestors were involved in the building of the Khmer temples at Angkor. In fact, without Cambodia’s originating empire there probably wouldn’t have been a Thailand – some historians believe that early lesser Khmer tribes may well have rebelled against their overlords to established small fiefdoms in Siam. Certainly the following emergence of Sukhothai included a host bangkok101.com

of Khmer principles and beliefs. And the subsequent Devaraja doctrine and royal language of Ayutthaya almost certainly borrowed from the earlier Khmer empire. In more recent times Thailand was quick to offer Cambodian refugees a safe haven when that country descended into civil war and genocide. Diplomatic relations since have sometimes been strained (witness the recent spat over the Preah Vihear temple ruins) but on balance we hold each other in high regard. Despite not having shared boundaries, Vietnam has made its influence felt in Thailand too. The descendants of Annamese settlers still have their homes and temples in Bangkok and around the country and we have watched Vietnam’s economic growth in recent years with admiration. But it is with Malaysia that we have enjoyed possibly the longest relationship, an association dating back to the Srivijaya kingdom. As with parts of Burma, Laos and Cambodia, the northern territories of Malaysia were once part of Siam until King Rama V had to cede them to the British and French as a bargaining chip to retain Siamese sovereignty. The roots (in part) of the sectarian troubles seen today in the southern provinces and around the Malay border stem from this period. And yet on the whole we remain good neighbours. Ever since it became a model state, we have both admired and envied Singapore. The island-nation has shown the world how a small country can develop and sustain progress in education, human resources, technology, and ecology. And whereas Bangkok was continually referred to as the regions ‘hub’ for all things 10 years ago, that title surely now belongs to the Lion City. Our relationships with our neighbours are about to change once again with the introduction of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) next year. We will be part of a region with a single market, the free movement of goods, services, investment, skilled labour, and flow of capital. Of course, there is always the potential for misunderstandings and envy, even in such a homogenous arrangement, but one hopes the new community will bring us all even closer together. SEP T EM BER 2014 | 23


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very thai

SOAP OPER AS FORMULA TV DRAMA REVEALS THE SECRET LIFE OF THAILAND

Photos: Phil Cornwel-Smith

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oap is the new Ramayana. Mass addiction to Thai soap opera seems a phenomenon of the past few decades, and a generic international product. Yet these frothy prime-time sagas differ from those abroad in the way their very fixed characters still conform to traditional moral roles. Adopted from India into every Thai classical art, the Ramayana epic is cast with eternal archetypes, good, bad and ugly. Now similar caricatures recur in designer guise on every TV channel. A loveable rogue, the handsome phra ek (leading man) ends up as righteous as the hero Rama, while his humble nang ek (leading lady) plays Sita, who must prove her sacrificial devotion and, crucially, her virginity. Her domineering parents pose like gods, buddies frolic like angels, and loyal siblings combat the villain, a manipulative nang rai (bitchy aunt or ex) who injects wicked glamour.

> Very Thai

River Books by Philip Cornwel-Smith with photos by John Goss and Philip Cornwel-Smith B 995

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Just as the entire Ramayana story takes literally days for dancers to perform and fills dozens of mural panels, soaps unfold thrice weekly for 30-50 episodes. Eventually they reach breaking point, stop, change set, cast and costume, then restart the tale in a new guise. Most of the public see soaps for what they are, calling them nam nao (murky waters) due to their stagnant plots and unsavoury behaviour. Restrained in life by politeness and hierarchy, viewers can sublimate their suppressed feelings through the unrestrained on-screen antics: face slaps, hair pulling, screaming fits, mockery. Oh, the release! Yet Thai censors are far more effective than America’s religious right at ruling airtime. Hand-holding and smouldering gazes from a pillow are as far as love scenes dare push.

Now out in an expanded, updated 2nd edition, ‘Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture’ is a book that almost every foreign resident has on their reading table, a virtual bible on Thai pop culture. Now with four extra chapters, 64 more pages and a third of the 590 photographs being new, it guides you on a unconventional Technicolor tour of the quirky things that make Thailand truly Thai. From the 70 chapters, we present a different excerpt every month. Prepare yourself for the sideways logic in what seems exotic, and buy a copy of the new edition at any good bookshop.

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thailand at random

S N A P S H OT S

NAGA FIREBALLS .....

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he strange phenomenon on the Mekong River known as the Naga fireballs (bang fai phaya nak) have long been shrouded in myth and remain unexplained by science. The fireballs, which have been spotted along a 100-kilometre of the Mekong at Nong Khai province as long as anyone can remember, typically appear only on the last night of Buddhist Lent (ok pansa) in October, though some people claims to see them on other nights. The sight now attracts thousands of revelers who cheer them as they shoot up from the river. “The lights looked a bit like exploding flares,” described Time magazine correspondent Jason Gagliardi, “though there was no hiss or smoke, no sparkling arc back to earth. To a cynic like myself, they looked indisputably man-made. But to the believers – gathered in tens of thousands along the riverbank- this was the breath of the Naga, the mystical serpent of Buddhist lore that many Thais believe haunts the broad reaches of the Mekong in Nong Khai province.” Indeed, while some scientists believe (and other dispute) that the fireballs are the result of the ignition of pockets of methane gas in the riverbed, locals are adamant that the fiery orbs are proof that the Naga calls this stretch of the Mekong home.

An illustrated collection of Thailand trivia, Thailand at Random is filled with anecdotes, statistics, quotes, idioms, cultural explanations, historical asides, facts, folklore and other unusual and useful tidbits. This veritable treasure trove of information on Thailand is arranged, as the title suggests, randomly, so that readers will come to expect the unexpected on each and every page. Designed in a charmingly classic style, and peppered with original illustrations, Thailand at Random is a quirky and irresistible celebration of everything you didn’t know you wanted to know about this diverse and captivating country.

TAXI

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> Thailand at Random EDM Books | editors Grissarin Chungsiriwat and Nicholas Grossman | B650

still life in moving vehicles

ON THE FLY

ccording to news reports, travellers flying into Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport will soon have less to be crabby about when queuing up for taxis upon arrival. Within the next few weeks, new kiosks will be installed along with a ‘state-of-the-art’ computerized system. This will replace the antiquated method of airport staff manually writing down passengers’ destinations on slips of paper. It should dramatically improve the airport taxi service so that travellers won’t have to wait in seemingly endless lines for taxis after long flights. Let’s hope that they will also train the staff working in those kiosks to be more efficient and that they’ll find a way to keep unscrupulous taxi drivers in check. bangkok101.com

Visual artist and academic, Dale Konstanz snaps photos of the sacred decorations and other bits and bobs he finds in Bangkok taxis, then writes about them on his blog, still life in Moving Vehicles (http://lifeinmovingvehicle.blogspot.com). Published by River Books, the spin-offbook, Thai Taxi Talisman, is available at bookstores around town for B995.

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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.

HOLD THE PRESS!

A LITTLE-KNOWN MUSEUM IN DUSIT CHRONICLES THE HISTORY OF JOURNALISM IN THAILAND.

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ith government and constitutions alternating with regularity, Thailand’s press tradition has been anything but traditional. To start with, the kingdom’s first Thai-language newspaper was written and published not by a Thai citizen, but by American Dan Beach Bradley, a Christian missionary who spent 35 years in Siam. The two-column Bangkok Recorder, which also appeared in an English edition, was published monthly, and later biweekly, from 1841 to 1845 and 1865 to 1867. Although Siam was an absolute monarchy at the time, there were apparently no organic laws controlling the budding newspaperman. It wasn’t until nearly 80 years later that a second newspaper appeared in Bangkok, again at the hands of an American, Alexander MacDonald. The first issue of 26 | SEP T EM BER 2014

the Bangkok Post hit the streets on 1 August 1946 as a daily English-language broadsheet numbering four pages and costing one baht. Now in its 68th year, the Post is Thailand’s oldest existing newspaper in any language. A solely Thai-language newspaper, Thai Rath, was founded in 1950 but didn’t begin publishing until 1962. The following year the Press Association of Thailand began operations, and as Matichon, Siam Rath and other competing Thai newspapers came along, its member roster swelled. I’d always wondered about the Thai Press Museum, at the Press Association of Thailand’s Dusit headquarters, and I finally paid a visit a few weeks ago. Both museum and press association are housed in the Chatri Soponpanich Building, which is directly opposite the main gates of Rajabhat University Suan bangkok101.com


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Dusit. In addition to displaying historical exhibits and artefacts, the museum also maintains an archive of research papers and other documents pertaining to the Thai press and related careers. Although I arrived during posted opening hours, the museum door was locked shut. I had to go downstairs to the Press Association office to ask staff to unlock the door and let me in, a testament to how few visitors the museum sees. An alcove off the foyer contains a collection of historical photos, documents and royal biographies extolling the contributions to the field of Thai journalism from each Thai king since Rama IV, with the most space given to King Bhumibol, who as an avid documentary photographer in his younger days, was once a considerable inspiration for aspiring photojournalists in Thailand. Further on in the main museum hall, a reproduction of an early Thai editorial office features life-size wax figures of editors, reporters and typesetters standing and sitting at various antiquated machines, engaged in the predigital production process. Framed and hung in a prominent spot on the opposite wall is an 1893 copy of L’Illustration, a French newspaper which purportedly served as an early inspiration for Thai journalism after it reported on King Chulalongkorn’s official visit to Europe. In the centre of the room are several glass cases containing copies of 19th- and 20th-century Thai newspapers, including original copies of the Bangkok Recorder and Siam Rath. A vintage all-black, all-metal manual Thai typewriter stands on a low table, and in a nearby corner is a manual typesetting machine of similar age. Walls at the back of the exhibition hall support large posters detailing, in Thai (all museum labels are in Thai), the seminal achievements of Thailand’s pioneer newspaper personalities, including Dr Bradley, Tor Wor Sor, Wannako, Kulaab Saipradit, Prince Pruttiyalarbpruttiyakorn, Prince Narathippongprapan and M R Kukrit Pramoj. bangkok101.com

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No displays refer to the heavy censorship Thai journalism suffered during Thailand’s military dictatorships of the 1950s and 1960s. After the success of the democratic movement of October 1973, the new Sanya Dharmasakti government brought in a new constitution guaranteeing press freedom and abolishing censorship. Hundreds of home-grown newspapers flourished practically overnight, yet none are seen here. In 1975 Dharmasakti was succeeded by Kukrit Pramoj, one of Thailand’s foremost intellectuals and founder of the Thai-language newspaper Siam Rath, renowned for its strong opinions. As prime minister, Kukrit introduced the kingdom’s first press controls, establishing a 17- to 21-member committee to oversee the media based on ethical considerations. Thailand’s libel and defamation laws today are heir to this experiment. Also missing from the museum’s displays is any mention of the bloody 1976 military coup, after which strict censorship of the media became the norm for 21 years. It wasn’t until 1997 that a new Thai constitution guaranteed freedom of the press. Thai press freedom, however, suffered another serious blow during the administration of Lt Pol Col Thaksin Shinawatra when he made a habit of suing journalists who were critical of the government. Subsequent military coups and intermittent democratic regimes since 2006 have done little to support a free press in Thailand. In a rotunda-like wing attached to the Press Association and museum is a wonderful old restaurant called Rom Sai, which serves classic Thai, Chinese and Isan cuisine. It doubles as a karaoke bar, and even in the mid afternoon you will find it full of Thai journalists and their friends sharing a bottle and singing a few tunes.

PRESS ASSOCIATION OF THAILAND MUSEUM Rajsrima Rd, Dusit, Bangkok 10300 | 0 2243 5876 thaipressasso.org/museum.php | Mon-Fri, 10am-3pm Admission free

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Bizarre

Thailand

A 20-year resident of Thailand, Jim Algie has contributed to many guidebooks and is also the author of Tuttle Travel Pack Thailand. He compiled tales of the unexpected into a book called ‘Bizarre Thailand: Tales of Crime, Sex and Black Magic’. For more bytes and pixels check out jimalgie.com.

SET PIECES:

MOVIES AND MILITARY MANEUVERS DRIVE TOURISM IN THAILAND

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s a kind of buffer zone in the 1960s and ‘70s against the spread of communism in neighbouring countries, the presence of so many GIs and military bases on Thai soil caused seismic upheavals in the country’s cultural and political landscapes. As an aftershock, Thailand served as a double for Vietnam and Cambodia in many Western movies. The first glimpses most Westerners would ever have of the Kingdom came from films like The Deer Hunter, with its infamous set piece of Russian roulette. At the River Kwai Floatel in Kanchanaburi province, where that scene was shot, you can still see the framed signatures of Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken, while Patpong Road in Bangkok stood in for Saigon’s red-light zone. Because there was a military curfew in 28 | SEP T EM BER 2014

Bangkok, the producers had to get the approval of the army to shoot on Patpong, where many of the bars had lock-ins after 1am, with patrons crashing out on the chairs and floors. Joe Cummings, Bangkok 101’s Editor-at-Large and author of the original Lonely Planet Thailand guide, worked as an extra on The Deer Hunter, not long after arriving in Thailand to witness a massive burning of books with red covers on the front lawn of King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology in Bangkok. Directed by Michael Cimino and starring Walken, De Niro and Meryl Streep, the film won five Oscars in 1978, including Best Picture. Joe played one of the ten Marines who had to guard the gates of the American embassy in Saigon, which was actually a Catholic school in Bangkok. bangkok101.com


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“In the costumers and props department we were issued full combat gear, including flak vests and M-16s. The props were real, although the rifle was missing the firing pin,” he said, adding that a Thai extra—who was a soldier in the 10,000-strong People’s Liberation Army of Thailand—tried to buy the machine-gun from him. “For that scene four of us were stationed along the top of the embassy’s fence, standing on the rooftops of Jeeps. Cimino instructed us not to let any of the Thai extras, who were portraying Vietnamese trying to hitch a ride out of Saigon on US army helicopters, over the fence no matter what they did. Madness ensued take after take. I was knocked off the Jeep twice, and the soldier extra standing alongside me had his wrist skewered all the way through on one of the spikes at the tip of the wrought iron fence. They stopped that take and carried him away. A friend who was on the ground during that scene got punched in the face by Cimino, who was trying to rile him up for the scene.” De Niro was in all of those scenes and Joe couldn’t believe how he “stayed in character all the time, even during the breaks when we Marine extras stayed in character by staying stoned and having fun.” In Patpong, he also got to have a bowl of noodles with Christopher Walken, who won the Best Supporting Actor for his performance. In person, Joe said, Walken projected the same aura of menace he usually does on movie screens. Most of another Oscar-winner, The Killing Fields (1984), was also filmed in different parts of Thailand, including the most agonizingly suspenseful scene when the Sofitel in Hua Hin – a vision of pan-colonial splendor – stood in for the French embassy in Phnom Penh, where the real-life photographer Sam Rockoff (played by John Malkovich) tries to forge a passport photo for bangkok101.com

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the Cambodian journalist Dith Pran, so he can flee the city which has fallen to the barbarous Khmer Rouge. Still later, Oliver Stone would shoot parts of a film called Heaven and Earth, based on the memoirs of a Vietnamese woman who survived the war, on the touristdrenched isle of Phuket, where Good Morning Vietnam (starring the late Robin Williams) was also filmed. The upshot of this interest, and the presence of so many military bases across the country, was that in the late 1990s the Tourism Authority of Thailand began what may well be the world’s only campaign to promote military tourism, with a team of Thai authors penning a lengthy book on the subject and myself writing an Englishlanguage chapter for a brochure on adventure travel. At the Cavalry Center in Saraburi province, visitors can drive a rattletrap of a tank salvaged from the scrap yards of World War I. At the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy, which has polished the CVs and credentials of many of the nation’s top brass, and is located only a few hours outside Bangkok in Nakhon Nayok province, travellers can hit the shooting range, play golf, go mountain biking and pursue a little “R ‘n’ R” with the soldiers. And the more intrepid weekend warriors, ready to work their way through the rigmarole of bureaucracy and organize a tour group, can experience the full arsenal of a serviceman’s life at bases scattered around the country.

This is an excerpt from Bizarre Thailand: Tales of Crime, Sex and Black Magic, which chronicles the strange, surreal and supernatural sides of Thailand, as well as the country’s weirdest museums and tourism attractions. SEP T EM BER 2014 | 29


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listings

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.

M.R. KUKRIT’S HOUSE [MAP 5/H8] 19 Soi Phra Pinit, Sathorn Rd | 0 2286 8185 Sat-Sun 10am-5pm, Mon-Fri by appt | 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 9:30am4pm | B100 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.

JIM THOMPSON HOUSE [MAP 4/A3]

SUAN PAKKAD PALACE [MAP 8/K11]

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

Si Ayutthaya Rd, Ratchathewi | BTS Phaya Thai 0 2245 4934 | suanpakkad.com | 9am-4pm 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.

ERAWAN SHRINE [MAP 4/G5] Ratchadamri Rd, near Grand Hyatt Erawan BTS Chit Lom

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 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 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.

SHRINES THE GRAND PALACE & WAT PHRA KAEW [MAP 7/D10] Na Phra Lan Rd, near Sanam Luang | Tha Chang Pier | 0 2222 0094 8:30am-4:30pm B400 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

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listings

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.org | 8am-5pm | B20 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-noon, 1pm-9pm | B100 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 | 9am-5pm | 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 SUTHAT & THE GIANT SWING [MAP 7/H9]

Bamrung Muang Rd | 0 2222 9632 | 9am-5pm Wat Suthat is one of the most important Buddhist centres in the kingdom and home to excellent examples of bronze sculpture. The city’s iconic Giant Swing, where brave men used to swing up to

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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 Mittaphap Thai-China Rd, Charoen Krung Rd | 0 2623 1226 | 8am-5pm | B20 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 | free 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 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

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listings

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 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 32 | SEP T EM BER 2014

galore. Entertaining highlights include dressing up as a 20th-century nobleman, blowing up Burmese soldiers on elephantback 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 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 hardto-fathom history, arts, architecture and traditions into much clearer focus.

ROYAL BARGE MUSEUM [MAP 7/B4] 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 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 province | 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-ofSiam 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; Mon-Fri: 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


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UP THE NAN WITH LOTS OF PADDLES: LONG BOAT RACING IN PHICHIT

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TRADITIONAL LONG BOAT RACING

PHICHIT

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ne of the country’s oldest and most significant boat races is back again on the Nan River in Phichit from September 6-7. Watch the locals turn up in hordes to cheer on their favourite teams as the competition gets fiercer with each wave. The race takes place in front of Wat Tha Luang, where homage is paid to the local Buddha statue prior to the event. Long boat racing is an age-old tradition that started around 600 years ago during the Ayutthaya period. It was an opportunity for young men and soldiers to display their strength, courage and commitment to their country, and to prepare them for any future conflict that they may encounter. Nowadays, it is a celebration of unity and goodwill, and attracts thousands from across the country. Each boat represents its respective province, which means there are hundreds of souvenirs and local handmade trinkets on sale along the river, as well as food and refreshments for the thirsty tourist.

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September 5-7 Trang Roast Pork Festival With a distinctive recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation, Trang roasted pork is known to be the best of its kind. Trang Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with local public sectors has been organizing the festival for years to promote local products as well as to boost tourism. Apart from selling these tantalizingly delicious delicacies, locals also showcase the preparation techniques for roasted pork so everyone can have a go in the comfort of their home. What makes the pork so special is its crispy skin, tender meat, and herb infused flavours.

September 13-21 Cha-am Feast Fish Flock Shellfish Festival This popular annual festival is exactly what seafood lovers out there should be looking forward to. Here, there is a wide array of fresh sea food, including prawns, fish, squid, and crab cooked by top chefs of leading hotels in the city. Apart from the delicious selection of food, other delights included in the festival are various evening entertainment programs, live music, squid fishing, fairground rides, game stands, and stalls selling a variety of local goods from clothes and plants, to accessories and OTOP products.

September 15 River Kwai Half Marathon 2014 The oldest known road race in Thailand is back this month for its 33rd annual edition. The race will start and end at the River Kwai Village Hotel and will run its course along Highway 323. With distances of 21.1 and 10.5 kilometers, runners are sure to break out into a decent sweat. People placing 1st to 5th in the marathon will receive special trophies along with T-shirts designed by New Balance. After the running is over and participants have worked up an appetite, breakfast will be served at the River Kwai Village Hotel.

September 21-25 Um Phra Dam Nam The month of September marks the annual Bathing of the Buddha event for the locals of Phetchabun. The festivities start by parading the Buddha image around the city for people to pay their respect. At exactly 1pm the Buddha image is then brought back to its enshrined temple, Wat Traiphum, where prayers, shows, and performances are held as a form of reverence and celebration. When it is time for the main event, the locals carry the Buddha image to the Pasak River at Wat Bot Chanaman pier, where the bathing ceremony is held.

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up country now

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Throughout September Quiksilver Thailand Surf Competition It’s the event of the season for surfers and beach bums. The Quiksilver Thailand Surf Competition, held at Patong Beach Phuket, is the place to be for some thrills, relaxation, and overall entertainment. With crystal clear waters at the perfect temperature of 28°C, the Andaman Sea is perfect for surf competitions as well as learning how to surf. Apart from the main event, there will be tons of other activities including a surf clinic for newbies, beach parties, live music, and demonstrations of other sports.

Throughout September Shrimp Parade at Ubon Rachathani During this season of every year, an enormous amount of tiny shrimp, known as Kung Foy, migrate up the stream of Lam Dome Yai, in Ubon Ratchathani. This parade of the shrimps only takes place after sunset, when the critters don’t have any risk of predators seeing them. Tourists often visit the stream of Lam Dom Yai to see this phenomenon. Tens of thousands of shrimp climb out of the waters onto the wet rocks adjacent to rapids. They walk along these rocks using their ten pairs of legs until they reach a point where the stream is calm enough for them to continue their swim.

Throughout September Kaeng Hin Phoeng Whitewater Rafting Festival This month is the perfect time for rafting due to the higher water levels, faster flows, cleaner rapids, and generally less hazardous conditions. With varying levels of difficulty, both amateurs and experts can enjoy this extreme sport. The staff of Kaeng Hin Phoeng National Park is there to teach the basics of rafting, as well as provide all safety measures necessary to ensure a fun-filled experience. Apart from the main event, this festival also has recreational activities such as booths selling local products (OTOP) and various other competitions.

Throughout September 13th Hua Hin/Cha-am Golf Festival During the traditionally low-season period for golfing, the Hua Hin/Cha-am Golf Festival turns the tables by giving a boost to this sport. The event is organized to support tourism and promote golf in the respective regions. Throughout September, several golf courses are offering a green fee of only B800 (excluding caddy and golf cart rental fees). Other activities include a two-day tournament for B1,400 with specially priced overnight hotel stays of B990 and B1,990. Dates and other details are available at www.tiewpakklang.com.

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hotel review

Siam@Siam BY ADAM O’KEEFE ‘Unique’ is possibly the most overused word in hotel marketing. So much so in fact, one might be tempted to question translation proficiency within the ranks of the Bangkok hospitality industry. Siam@Siam is one property that shies away from such grandiose claims however, subtly allowing guests to appreciate the hotel’s distinctive qualities without screaming it from the elegant rooftop terrace. While the hotel itself may have graced Rama I opposite the National Stadium for the past seven years, the Phornprapha family behind the property has owned the land for decades. In fact, the very land the boutique hotel stands was once the head office of the family’s successful motor business. As a homage to the family’s history, local artists were contracted to infuse the hotel with industrial elements that created the family’s fortune. From the moment one walks through the front doors, it’s plain to see that the talented artists have developed the concept with panache, leaving 38 | SEP T EM BER 2014

you in no doubt that this is anything but an average hotel. Borrowing inspiration from fairytales, each floor of the 25-storey property marries an elegant combination of dark, sultry red tones with earthly, vibrant woods and artistic facades. Indeed, artistic consideration has been delivered with enthusiasm at every turn. From exposed wooden beams within the welcoming, comfortable bedrooms to the elegant menus at flagship French restaurant La Vue (which contain carefully considered poetry, hand-drawn diagrams and dish descriptions by Executive Chef Sandor Varga that inform and enlighten), the hotel’s purpose is as layered as the deep artistic ethos. It’s this attention to detail that demonstrates the passion that went into creating Bangkok’s first artconcept hotel, even before the word ‘boutique’ made it’s invasive appearance and became the buzz word for 21st century hospitality. bangkok101.com


hotel review

“We are trying to deliver an experience at Siam@Siam, not just a place to sleep,” explains General Manager William Park. “We want to make memories for our guests. We want them to feel the passion we have, even after seven years. We take pride in every aspect, from importing the best ingredients for our restaurants to paying attention to the finer details that we proudly believe set us apart.” Conceptually, the hotel delivers on its promises but thankfully Siam@Siam’s art-deco aura is more than skin deep. Youthful passion is evident from the ground floor’s curiously named ‘Party House One’ bar with live music (open until 2am) up to the alfresco rooftop terrace that offers exceptional views across the city skyline from Rattanokosin to Asiatique on the river (firework-seeking voyeurs for New Year’s take note). ‘Industrial chic’ Japanese sushi and sashimi is served on both the Ground and 25th floor, while an International menu graces the romantic tables at the open-air rooftop bar & restaurant The Roof. Aforementioned French cuisine is enjoyed at La Vue with seasonal menus offering excellent value Gallic gastronomy that embraces locally sourced ingredients. The hotel’s 11th floor Infinity pool and bar, sensitive Spa Ten, intimate Bar Eleven, funky function rooms and bangkok101.com

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stylish fitness centre complete the expected line up of regular facilities. Again, each features an artistic touch with carefully placed sculptures and yin-yang décor – a freedom allowed by being independently owned rather than part of a world-wide chain where uniform design sometimes destroys the creative spirit. Geographically and metaphorically, the hotel is far from the typical brand hotels built in each other’s shadow. Sandwiched between the old and developed quarters of the city, Siam@Siam also offers easy access to the nearby National Stadium BTS station allowing connectivity to regularly visited shopping and entertainment districts while being on the right side of town to conveniently explore ‘Old Bangkok’. The world may be ever-changing but there’s no substitute for pride and passion in the hospitality industry. Don’t let Siam@Siam’s funky, hip décor fool you; this is a hotel that hasn’t let its artistic concept overpower the pure philosophy of great hospitality – they simply do it in style.

SIAM@SIAM DESIGN HOTEL

[MAP 4/A4]

865 Rama 1 Rd | 0 2217 3000 | siamatsiam.com

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up country xxx escape

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Freewheeling

Through History A Kanchanaburi Province road-trip BY MICHAEL MOORE

N

o vehicle more than a Volkswagen stirs retro memories. Legions of those over the age of 40 bought them new and they have remained popular as a second-hand vehicle for subsequent generations. Although there is often a gap between age groups and different nationalities, those who have ever owned a VW are permanently bonded by their common ownership and willingness to wag their tongues at length about their experiences with the iconic vehicles. The Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT), in recognition of the unifying power the car, organised a two-day caravan of VW’s to Kanchanaburi Province for Thai and foreign media based in Thailand. After we pulled away from the TAT office on a Friday morning in early August, our entourage of three ‘beetles’, a rare Notchback and about a dozen VW vans made heads turn as we motored down Highway 323 toward Kanchanaburi Province. Our first stop was at the Kanchanaburi Allied War Cemetery in Kanchanaburi town. The well‑tended cemetery is the final resting place for 6,982 former POWs, mostly Australian, Dutch and British soldiers who died building the infamous ‘Death Railway’. Maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the seemingly endless rows of graves are topped with plaques containing the names, nationality, age, military

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insignia and a short epitaph for the soldier interned below. Among other things, virtually everyone who visits the cemetery expresses shock at the youth of the men who lost their lives. Most were in the early twenties. A short time later we stopped at what is often called the Bridge on the River Kwai. For those expecting a wooden bridge like the one in the famous movie, the present structure spanning the Mae Nam Khwae Yai is quite different. The first bridge, completed in February of 1943, was made of wood, but it was replaced by a second bridge made of steel shipped in from Java by the Imperial Japanese Army a couple of months later. In 1945, after 20 months of use, the bridge was destroyed by Allied bombs, but rebuilt after the war using much of the steel from the original structure. Today, to maintain historical accuracy, the bridge is most often referred to as the ‘Death Railway Bridge’. Although there was a festive air and loads group pictures taken with the bridge in the background, for many it was a time for serious reflection. An estimated 90,000 to 100,000 conscripted labourers from Thailand, Burma, Malaysia and Indonesia and 16,000 Allied POWs died constructing the bridge and the 415 kms Death Railway, a tragic reality commemorated by the current bridge.

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After lunch at the Keeree Tara Restaurant overlooking the bridge and river, we clambered back into our vans and headed toward Thong Pha Phum district of Kanchanaburi Province. Highway 323 was suddenly transformed from an endless tedium of concrete shop-houses into a passage through lush greenery and beautiful mountains with lots of clear-watered streams and waterfalls. Following a journey of about 50 kms we stopped at Tham Kra Sae railway station on a section of the railway that was built during World War II. Here the tracks clings to the side of a cliff supported by a wooden structure. It is possible to walk out onto the railway, an experience that provides dramatic views and an inkling of how precarious working on the line must have been. There is a large cave adjacent to the station that houses Buddha images and provides respite from the rains and the hot sun. Before reaching our lodging for the night, we stopped at Vajiralongkorn Dam, a concrete-face rock-fill dam blocking the Khwae Noi River and forming a reservoir with a maximum storage capacity of 8,860 million cubic meters that provides water for a 300 MW hydro-electric power station. Interesting, but not really something to write home about. Phu Iyara Resort, our resting place for the night, consisted of rustic but extremely comfortable bamboo cabins with air-conditioning and en-suite bathrooms. The resort is set in the midst of a dense rainforest, creating an atmosphere that that is both peaceful and regenerating. The food at the restaurant was good and there was complimentary wi-fi, enabling our cadre of journalists to catch up on a little work. In the morning, many of us headed for the Thong Pha Phum market. When we arrived around 7am, alms 42 | SEP T EM BER 2014

were being given to monks from nearby temples. As we wandered about munching on snacks with cameras at the ready, locals cheerfully posed for pictures. Other than some huge catfish cut into enormous fatty slabs, what really stood out at the market was the cheerful attitude of the people working it. The shouting and intense competition found at many markets in Thailand was missing. As we headed back to Phu Iyara Resort, the rains began to fall, causing several of the adventure activities planned for the day to be cancelled. A hardy handful of our fellow VW adventurers decided to go through with a kayaking trip down the Khwae Noi River. When it was all over they all insisted they had a great time, in spite of several kayaks flipping, everyone being soaked to the skin and three kayaks passing the point on the river where vehicles were waiting to pick them up – a mishap that took five hours rectify! When we returned, wet and bedraggled, to the resort, we packed and jumped into our vans for the return to Bangkok. Along the way we stopped Krua Pad Riew Restaurant, an event that proved a fitting conclusion to our VW adventure in Kanchanaburi. The food was excellent and included a delicious wild pig curry and some great crispy fried fish that many of our Thai companions claimed was the best they had ever tasted. As we head back down Highway 323 to Bangkok, the greenery was replaced by the grey concrete found throughout Thailand and we were back to reality. Kanchanburi Province had been a welcome respite and the VW caravan an intriguing journey down memory lane. It was a journey we would all love to replicate, especially without the rain! bangkok101.com


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over the border

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TAKING A CHANCE ON MACAU Whether you’re one of life’s chancers or one of life’s observers, the kind who leaps into the fray or stands back to watch, Macau has a whole lot to occupy you. WORDS AND PICTURES BY KEITH MUNDY

W

elcome to Asia’s Las Vegas, with all the glitz, glamour and folly that goes with it. But with one huge difference. Las Vegas was created out of nothing just half a century ago; Macau is a territory with five centuries of rich history, and plenty to show for it. Beyond the throw of the dice and the thrill of the shows, Macau is a bit of old Europe marooned on the China coast, with sublime Portuguese colonial relics to counterbalance the modern gleam, narrow old streets wending their traditional ways beneath the skyscrapers, and the oddity of Portuguese language signs everywhere. It’s also a place of age-old Chinese traditions, so that Confucianism spars with Catholicism, and a tasty hybrid cuisine is cooked up. All this comes from a chequered history lasting half a millennium, in which Macau has had two boom times, two epochs of glory – the early days and the present – interspersed with long and languid doldrums when the

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world almost forgot this tiny appendage on China’s great belly. In the 1500s, it was Europe’s first toehold in China and a mercantile powerhouse. Though trade with Europe was important, Macau’s big thing was the silk trade with Japan, until the Portuguese got ejected in the 17th century and Macau slumped into decline. Then came three centuries as a colonial backwater and commercial eclipse by nearby Hong Kong – until in 1964 the territory set forth on a new career as East Asia’s gambling mecca. The first casino was at the Hotel Lisboa, newly built on the waterfront of Macau Peninsula, its iconic neon-flashing tower now modest amidst a galaxy of gargantuan gambleramas. Formed by a peninsula and two islands, Macau’s heart both historically and actually is in the peninsula. Here are the harbours that gave the colony its raison d’etre, the government, the central business district

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and the main shopping area. Until the 1960s, it was a low-rise city, spreading in a laconic Lusitanian way over the hills of the peninsula, a city whose Portuguese characteristics were as salient as its Chinese ones. Now dominated by high-rises and international architecture, the peninsula nevertheless retains a good deal of its old character in certain areas, where you can feel you’re more in the 18th or 19th century than the 21st. Largo do Senado – Senate Square – is the centrepiece of old Macau, a long triangular space that faces the stately old Portuguese senate building, Leal Senado. It is paved with wavy black and white mosaic tiling, beloved of the Portuguese throughout their overseas territories, poetically representing their attachment to and mastery of the seas in their days of imperial glory. Riding the waves, Portugal had carved out a worldwide empire, with Macau as the most far-flung outpost. Tapering away into a narrow street at the far end, Largo do Senado is completely lined with majestic colonial buildings, mostly now shops, arcaded to protect visitors from the sub-tropical elements of fierce sun and torrential rain. Round a corner at the far end, another square opens out, graced by the yellow ochre-washed façade of Sao Domingos Church. The church’s annex hosts the intriguing Museum of Sacred Art, filled with Portuguese religious artefacts which dramatically represent the oldest Christian presence in China. Turn up a narrow side street and you come to another old square, Largo do Se, presided over by the lofty Macau Cathedral and the Bishop’s Palace, a lovely 18th century mansion washed in cream and white. 46 | SEP T EM BER 2014

A hilly territory, old Macau had three strategic hilltops hosting forts and a lighthouse. The most important one, Mount Fortress, beckons from above, reached by climbing steep residential streets. Ringed by massive stone walls, the fortress – locally dubbed ‘Monte Forte’ – was once the chief redoubt of the colonial power and contained the residence of the governor. Naturally, the views are great over the whole peninsula and out to sea. One of Macau’s wide range of excellent museums is also here, the Museum of Macau, brilliantly evoking the territory’s colourful history.

MACAU HAS HAD TWO BOOM TIMES, TWO EPOCHS OF GLORY – THE EARLY DAYS AND THE PRESENT – INTERSPERSED WITH LONG AND LANGUID DOLDRUMS WHEN THE WORLD ALMOST FORGOT THIS TINY APPENDAGE ON CHINA’S GREAT BELLY From the fortress you can stroll down tree-shaded steps beneath the mighty walls and arrive at the famous symbol of Macau, the ruins of St Paul’s Church. The freestanding façade at the top of a steep flight of steps is a dramatic sight in front of which every tourist tries to get photographed. Heading on down, you pass through bangkok101.com


over the border the narrow old streets of traditional Chinese Macau, lined with little shops and packed with people until you arrive back at Largo do Senado. If you’re there at the right time, you’ll come across a vibrant Chinese festival in the Senate Square or somewhere in the old town, because the Macanese have kept their ancestral traditions and fervently celebrate them. Additionally, Portuguese tradition is kept alive in the cuisine which can be found in many restaurants, mixing Iberian and Chinese cooking into dishes found only in this tiny territory. You get an idea of what the original Chinatown looked like by walking west from the Leal Senado along Avenida Almeida Ribeiro, then turning southwards down an alley. There you find Rua da Felicidade – Happiness Street – a long narrow street lined with little two-storey shophouses, all their woodwork painted red, which is very apt, as this used to be the Chinese red light district. The waterfront, by contrast, is wholly modern, a rectangular grid-patterned district of high-rises built on reclaimed land. Called Nape, this is a mixed business and entertainment district where gaudy gambling palaces flash their colossal neon come-ons amidst the decidedly sober towers of the corporate world, like painted whores in a banking hall. But go to the far eastern end, leaving behind the world of the sensual and the material, and you find pleasures for the intellect. Firstly there is a modern cultural complex with concert halls and an art museum featuring an excellent collection of local art works, including a fascinating gallery of historical views of the territory. Further on, you see a strange futuristic complex, its asymmetrical structures

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clad in shimmering aluminium, jutting out into the sea. This turns out to be the new Macau Science Center, consisting of an interactive science museum and a planetarium – fun for all the family. Around the complex are great seafront walks, with views out across the Pearl River estuary and over the channel to Taipa Island, which is reached by a choice of three very long bridges arching high over the greasy waters so as to allow shipping – still important to Macau – to pass beneath. Until just a blink ago, Macau was a natural enclave formed by a peninsula and the small islands of Taipa and Coloane. In a phenomenal story of ever-quickening land reclamation aimed at maximizing the economic potential of its special status, the territory will soon have tripled its size of a century ago to about 32 square kilometres. The sea between Taipa and Coloane has been totally filled in, creating a whole new district called Cotai, whose glitzy Cotai Strip is set to outdo the peninsula as a gambling venue. Designed to draw the two billion potential players of East Asia, the strip’s stand-out is the gigantic Venetian Macao with the world’s biggest gaming floor. Across a reed-filled marsh – once a sea bay – from the Venetian stands a row of lovely Portuguese colonial villas built in the 1920s as seaside retreats. Now collectively called the Taipa House Museum, painted in pastel green and white, they provide an oasis of oldworld charm. To sit on a bench in this historical haven, looking out at the world’s seventh largest building, is the quintessential experience of a territory where the contrast between old and new is as dramatic as anywhere in the world.

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TAKING FLIGHT “I’ll Spread My Wings”, a solo exhibition featuring the latest works by talented female Thai artist Sudrak Khongpuang, explores the simplicity of Thai life in the cradle of Mother Nature. Through her work, Khongpuang escapes the confines of the city to connect her spirit with the veiled bird flying above the vast rice fields, rivers and streams. In this her landscapes exude a peaceful and wondrous quality. A contemporary public figure, author Bryant McGill, once said that, “Simplicity is the most complex concept you will ever contemplate.” A statement which people universally can relate to, and one expressed through the simple yet complicated brushstrokes of Khongpuang’s work. Highlighting her use of pastel colours, the exhibition seeks to find a haven within nature and expresses gratitude for life through its serene and contemplative vibe. With the work, the artist explains her desire, “I will spread my wings and fly in the breeze of freedom… they help me to illustrate my identity.” “I’ll Spread My Wings” is on show at Koi Art Gallery (245 Sukhumvit 31 Road (Soi Sawaddee), Tel. 0 2662 3218) until September 14.

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exhibitions

THE HOUSE OF THE RAJA

EAT ME [MAP 5/J6] Phi Phat Soi 2, Convent Rd | 0 2238 0931 3pm-1am | eatmerestaurant.com l BTS Sala Daeng

Until September 28 Bangkok-based Spanish photographer Xavier Comas’ exhibition of presents poetic photos that look beyond the restive situation in Thailand’s Deep South. Attempting to unfurl mythologies and truths attached to the region, Comas embedded with families in the province of Narathiwat. Living with a shaman in a dilapidated palace once inhabited by the Raja of Legeh, Comas’s series of loose narrative photographs trace memory and identity across generations.

TRANSUNIVERSE

SUBHASHOK THE ARTS CENTRE (S.A.C.) [MAP 3/K8] 160/3 Sukhumvit Soi 33 I 0 2662 0299 I Tue-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat-Sun 11am-6.30pm I sacbangkok.com BTS Phrom Phong

Until October 10 Three individual artistic interpretations are grouped to present a quirky combined perspective of the world. Physical realities, be it manmade or natural, are the subject of Sinit Saejia’s urban dioramas and the detailed floral studies of Praiya Ketkool. Meanwhile, Niam Mawornkanong attempts a visualisation of the inner mind through surreal images adapted from the natural landscape.

HUMAN SHELL

WHITESPACE GALLERY BANGKOK [MAP 5/L6-7] 1 Sala Daeng Soi 1, Rama IV Rd I 0 81699 5298 whitesp-cegallery.com I MRT Lumpini

Until October 24 This month, Whitespace Gallery Bangkok hosts artist Kraising Sudsa-nuang for his second solo exhibition called “Human Shell”. The paintings in the exhibition are a clear reflection of Kraising’s belief that the human body is just a shell that gets worn out during its lifetime and is filled with suffering. Check out the exhibition to see more on the perspective of Kraising Sudsa-nguan.

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exhibitions

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VIRA’S ETCHING (1971S-1977S) SOMBAT PERMPOON GALLERY [MAP 3/D9] 12 Soi 1 Sukhumvit Rd | 0 2254 6040 9am-8pm | sombatpermpoongallery.com I BTS Ploenchit

Until September 15 Sombat Permpoon Gallery presents a series of iconic etchings and prints from late artist Vira Jothaprasert. Remembered as one of the few artists dedicated to etchings, prints, and monotypes, Jothaprasert’s work resembles the early period of Thai visual art brought to life with western techniques. The works of art being shown were originally created during the period from 1971-1977.

CHANT OF SEASONS

LA LANTA FINE ART [MAP 3/K8] 245/14 Soi 31 Sukhumvit Rd | 0 2260 5381, 0 2204 0583 | Tue-Sat 10am7pm; Sun by appointment | lalanta.com | BTS Phrom Phong

Until September 18 Returnings for his third solo showing in Bangkok, contemporary Chinese artist Lu Jun brings his new exhibition called “A Chant of Seasons” to La Lanta Fine Art. This time, the work highlight ‘digital ink and wash’ photography techniques. With captured images of the fluid movement of ink in water, Lu Jun perfectly showcases his talent, creativity, and expertise with this exceptional exhibition.

THAI CHARISMA: HERITAGE + CREATIVE POWER 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 November 2 Co-organized by the Fine Arts Department, the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture, the Ministry of Culture, and the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, this exhibition aims to showcase contemporary works by Thai artists and artisans. The exhibition encourages observers to view and experience the links between heritage and creative power.

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exhibitions

The Poetry of Painting

The Peach Blossom Valley, the debut Bangkok exhibition by Taiwanese artist Skyler Chen, explores human reactions to social rules and prohibitions, as he explains in an interview with PAWIKA JANSAMAKAO

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exhibitions

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he Peach Blossom Valley runs at Serindia Gallery until the end of this month. It features the work of painter Skyler Chen, who was born in 1982 and grew up in the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung. After graduating from art school, he moved to the United States and opened his own studio in Long Island City. His Republic of Norman series caught international attention and was exhibited in New York, Taiwan, Singapore, Shanghai, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam. A continuation of this earlier collection, the Peach Blossom Valley paintings mark his first solo showing in Thailand. What inspires you? In general I find inspiration from reading books, history, exploring subcultures, certain magazines, and key global events. For this exhibition, though, I got my inspiration from reading two books in particular: The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert and The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan. These are two very different books, but the one thing that unites them are themes of discovery and self-discovery. I was profoundly intrigued by the idea that discovery is part of human nature. Understanding this led me to an old Chinese poem called The Peach Blossom Valley, which is the ultimate idea of discovery in Chinese culture. Visually, I was inspired by unique poses in fashion magazines that accentuate the malleability of the human form, and by traditional Chinese buildings, particularly the Chinese ArtDeco architecture found in Shanghai. These buildings and their relationship with traditional clothing created a sense of space that made its way into my work. Your latest work is based on the writings of a 5th century Chinese poet – how are the pieces made relevant for a modern audience? What do you expect the audience take away from your Bangkok exhibition? From my point of view, history and old fairy tales can still have a huge impact on modern society. The Peach Blossom Valley was written during a time of political instability and the poet, Tao Yuanming, created this story as a means of escape. There is a common Chinese expression, shiwai taoyuan, or ‘the peach valley beyond this world’, which more or less can be interpreted as finding an unexpected place of fantasy. Such a place is still needed by people. Through my work, I would like to open a dialogue about how such subconscious idealism and fantasy can impact our thoughts and decisions. bangkok101.com

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Explain your notion of ‘a modern Chinese utopia’. Modern Chinese people no longer run to the Peach Blossom Valley to escape, but Confucianism still has a strong influence over much of Asian culture, regulating family, education, work and government. In a Confucian world everyone knows their place and the role he or she must play to keep society harmonious. Creative thinking, innovation, self-expression and confrontation are not admirable values in such a place. As such, this societal repression of the individual creates an even bigger need for escape. These days, people seem to escape to movie theatres to watch Hollywood blockbusters, or even to luxury stores where they can marvel at a world of fantasy that they can’t really afford. By entering a dialogue about this need for escape I hope to create a space where people find the freedom to express themselves and shake off societal repression. How has your style progressed since your Republic of Norman series? Peach Blossom Valley paintings are still a part of Republic of Norman series, which I started eight years ago. The main goal was to create a milieu in which to discuss the human experience. With every exhibition, I pick a subject that I am passionate about as a starting point. Letting that inspiration germinate naturally into each installment of the series somehow allowed the Republic of Norman series to almost grow by itself. I enjoy translating my thoughts into a painting, which is my only outlet for expressing them. These ideas get expressed subtlety, from the smallest thoughts that get transferred into certain brush strokes to the colours I use on the canvas. I have always been very interested in painting human figures, and over the years I have been exploring the interplay of precision and fantasy. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but I hope that over time and with experience my work will grow with me.

THE PEACH BLOSSOM VALLEY AUGUST 21 – SEPTEMBER 30 SERINDIA GALLERY

[MAP 5/C3]

O.P. Garden, Unit 3101, 4-6 Soi 36 Charoen Krung Rd 0 2238 6410 | serindiagallery.com | Tue-Sun 11am-8pm

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cheat notes BUDDHIST TEMPLES OF THAILAND JOE CUMMINGS / B1250 A second, updated and revised edition of Buddhist Temples of Thailand: A Visual Journey through Thailand’s 42 Most Historic Wats was released in August 2014, with additional temple coverage and new images by photographer Andy Zingo. The original edition profiled 40 of the most historically or artistically important temples in Thailand, while exploring Buddhism’s development throughout the kingdom and the belief system’s dynamic interplay with everyday contemporary life. Beyond highlighting the most significant architectural design, murals and Buddha images, the book explores the daily rituals, regular festivals, and key architectural elements of this diverse religious form. This expanded edition features two additional temples that were not included in the first edition – Wat Ratchanadda in Bangkok and Wat Phra Kaew in Chiang Mai.

PLAE KAO M.L. Pundhevanop Dhewakul | 2014 One of the great classic love tragedies based on Thai folklore, Plae Kao was written by novelist Mai Muengderm. It has been adapted for film and television several times over the past decades and returns once again this year with two rising stars, Mai Davika and Chaivapol Julian Pupart, in the leading roles. The story is set on the outskirts of Bangkok in 1930s and tells the tale of the ultimately doomed relationship between young lovebirds Kwan and Riam, the respective son and daughter of rival village chiefs. A la Romeo & Juliet, despite the enmity between their families the couple meet secretly and eventually indulge in premarital sex after vowing to the spirits that they would rather die than live apart. A tearjerker that will tug at the heart-strings, the movie features many talented supporting actors.

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NOPPADOL WEERAKITTI


art & culture photofeature

Pathway to Exposure ----------------------Street photography is arguably the most interesting and dynamic genre in the photographic canon. It doesn’t just celebrate the seemingly mundane, it reveals those hidden nuances and profound aspects of urban living that reflect our society.

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elebrating this art is Street Photo Thailand, an online community established in 2008 by photographer Noppadol Weerakitti. The group currently numbers 11 artists who seek out typical, everyday scenes with a twist; scenes that show economic, cultural and political issues without hiding the difficulties and contrasts that abound in Thai society. Commonplace situations combine with the special, the funny and even the scary. Images ranging from street vendors selling anything and everything to shots of soi dogs wearing T-shirts and businessmen on motorcycle taxis in the busy morning traffic give an unbiased insight into a society struggling to find a balance between old traditions and the consequences of rapid development and modernisation. “Our collective aim is to promote Thai street photography at both national and international levels,” says Noppadol. “Our group includes

artists such as Akkara Naktamna, who was a finalist at the Miami Street Photography Festival 2013 and was selected for the Southeast Asia Photo Showcase at the 2013 Xishuangbanna Festival in China. We also have Vinai Dithajohn, an experienced photojournalist who has worked with the likes of Time Magazine and National Geographic.” Already well-known in local artistic circles, the work of the members of Street Photo Thailand is attracting attention further afield and this month 26 of their images will be on display at an exhibition titled ‘Street Photo Thailand2: A road to Paris’. Running until mid-January next year, the exhibition is curated by Sarah Neiger, a photo editor and organizer of art exhibitions who has rich experience in Asia and China. The exhibition is staged by travel and cultural agency Maison de la Chine et de L’Orient at 76 Rue Bonaparte on the left bank in the heart of the French capital’s art district.

Visit streetphotothailand.com for more information.


NAKARIN TEERAPENUN

TIPAWAN GATESOMBOON

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VISIT KULSIRI

MANIT SRIWANICHPOOM

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NARUEPOL NIKOMRAT

SARAWUT TAE-O-SOT

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VINAI DITHAJOHN

TIPAWAN GATESOMBOON

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AKKARA NAKTAMNA

VISIT KULSIRI

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CHATCHAI BOONYAPRAPATSARA

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AROY LUCA RETURNS

Chef Luca Cesarini, who worked as executive sous chef at The Sukhothai in Bangkok from 2004–2008, makes a welcoming return to Thailand as executive chef at Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit. A master of authentic Italian cuisine, he graduated from the renowned Italian College for Culinary Arts in Stresa, Italy, and has a wealth of experience working in top restaurants around the world, including Il Palio in New York and most recently at Jumeirah Vittaveli in the Maldives.

DELIGHTS FLOW

River Barge restaurant at Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok is holding a fresh river prawn promotion throughout September, while sister outlet Treats Gourmet will be the place for chocoholics thanks to a promotion of sinfully delicious chocolate creations including Earl Gray chocolate marguice, chocolate concode, toffee chocolate cake and more. Call 0 2307 8888 or email riverbarge. chrb@chatrium.com and chrb@chatrium.com for more information.

IT’S ALIVE!

From the 10th-21st of September, KiSara Japanese restaurant at Conrad Bangkok is serving live seasonal premium seafood fresh from the coastal reefs of Japan. Prepared by executive chef Kenji, diners can feast on Awabi – live abalone – in a variety of unique signature dishes such as Kaisen shabu shabu, Aburi wafu pasta and Awabi teppanyaki. For more information and to make reservations, please call 0 2690 9233.

GREEN DREAM

From September 24th-2nd October, The SQUARE at Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square is offering a special vegetarian menu during the annual vegetarian festival in Thailand, as well as a healthy corner packed with fresh organic produce and home-made organic salad dressings. For more information, contact The SQUARE on 0 2209 8888 or visit www.novotelbkk.com.

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meal deals MAYAN MAGIC AT ROMSAI BANYAN TREE BANGKOK 21/100 South Sathon Rd | 0 2679 1200 | banyantree.com Those looking for hot and spicy flavours in cuisines other than Thai might like to head to Romsai at the lower lobby level of Banyan Tree to try several Latin American delicacies during the period from September 13 to 20. This unique journey into the flavours of the lands of the Maya and Inca is available at lunch and dinner priced at B1650++ per peson. Thai and Latin American cuisines have more in common than might at first meet the eye, not least because of the wide use of fiery chillies.

MIDDLE EASTERN BUFFET AT THE PAVILION RESTAURANT DUSIT THANI BANGKOK 946 Rama IV Rd | 0 2200 9000 | dusit.com/dusitthani/Bangkok Throughout September, Dusit Thani Bangkok is offering spectacular Middle Eastern delicacies alongside an extensive international lunch buffet at B 1090++ per person. Experience an endless flow of specially crafted halal-certified dishes including Kebabs (grilled beef or lamb marinated with garlic and Arabic spices), Chicken Briyani, Shees Tawouk (skewered grilled marinated chicken breast), and Baklawa (delicious filo pastry layered with walnut and sugar syrup).

PORCINI MUSHROOM SEASON BEGINS AT LUCE EASTIN GRAND HOTEL SATHORN BANGKOK 33/1 South Sathorn Rd | 0 2210 8100 | eastinhotelsresidences.com Celebrate the season of the mushroom with Chef Edoardo Bonavolta and his enticing Porcini creations at Luce. Enjoy the hearty and nutty taste of the king of fungi in various Italian dishes including bruschetta with Porcini mushrooms, saddle of lamb stuffed with Porcini mushrooms and served with goat cheese cream, slow-simmered fillet of cod fish with Porcini mushrooms, plus many more fantastic choices. The promotion is available for lunch and dinner until the end of October.

THAI-FRENCH FUSION AT PARK SOCIETY SOFITEL SO BANGKOK 2 North Sathorn Rd | 0 2624 0000 | sofitel-so-bangkok.com Throughout September at Park Society, chefs Sasithorn Sachin and Angela Brown invite you to experience the best of east and west through French and Thai cuisine favourites created with a twist of fusion. Enjoy a 5-course set menu (B2999++ per person) including spicy salmon tartare, Tom Yum ravioli, Chu Chi tiger prawn, and lamb massamun followed by sweet crispy red rubies served with taro ice cream and coconut jelly.

EXCEPTIONAL SIGNATURE DISHES AT BLUE SKY CENTARA GRAND AT CENTRAL PLAZA LADPRAO 1695 Phaholyothin Road | 0 2541 1234 | centarahotelsresorts.com/cglb Executive chef Eric Berrigaud offers his guest a scrumptious dinner featuring outstanding signature dishes including cromesquis scallops (B450++), smoked and fresh salmon rillete (B250++), French classic version of shepherd’s pie (B750++), steamed snow fish (B980++) and griddled 200 gram Charolais French beef tenderloin (B1100++). The toothsome desserts on parade include vanilla pastry cream mille-feuille (B180++), chocolate moelleux (B190++) and much more.

IZAKAYA LUNCH SET MENU KU DE TA BANGKOK 39th -40th Floor, Sathorn Square Complex, North Sathorn Rd 0 2108 2000 | kudeta.com/bangkok The scrumptious Japanese bento box and Ramen noodle lunches at Izakaya are on offer with a complimentary non-alcoholic drink. Kihon bento is available at B350, Tokusen bento at B500 and Zeitaku bento for B750. The tempting lunch sets are available from 11am – 5pm until the end of October. Prices are subjected to a 10% service charge and prevailing government tax. 68 | SEP T EM BER 2014

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review

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MAISON BLANCHE - A delicious culinary journey In Masion Blanche owner Remi Joffre and Chef Bruno Serre have created a little slice of southern France in the heart of Bangkok. The restaurant is relatively new and relatively small, seating approximately 25 downstairs and a similar number on the floor above, but this only adds to the intimate feel. You know you’re on to something good when many of the patrons around you are animated Frenchmen enjoying a convivial meal over a glass or two of vino. While some of the dish names on the main menu at Maison Blanche may seem a bit of a mouthful (there is also tapas for those wanting toothsome nibbles at the bar/terrace out front), rest assured this is contemporary home-style French cooking its best. Of course, that is not to say it is uncomplicated or lacking sophistication. Far from it. We begin our visit at the bar with a pre-dinner mango mojito. The outlet has a good list of wonderfully refreshing cocktails (B220-B290) in addition to local beers and a well-considered choice of mainly French and Chilean wines served by the glass and bottle. Our first dish of the day is a signature offering. Egg cocotte royal (B390), a melange of egg white, truffle paste and foie gras baked in an oven, is a surprise. It is served with a raw egg on top and mouillettes mini breadbangkok101.com

sticks with truffle oil. Despite sounding heavy and looking a little like a refined porridge, it is surprisingly light and smooth in texture and not at all overly rich. The same can be said for our next dish, succulently tender pan-fried duck breast cooked to a rosy hue. It comes with a choice of grand veneur dressing (B440) or a Girolles mushroom sauce (B540). Girolles mushrooms are hard to find and are flown out to the restaurant from France on a weekly basis, hence the higher price. To finish off we try a dish with a slightly Asian twist. Tuna Tataki (B460) is served with a unique wasabi and citrusinfused ice cream which not only provides a refreshing ‘zing’ but also an interesting cold counterpoint to the heat of the beautifully seared tuna. In addition to the main menu, Masion Blanche offers a popular 2- and 3-course set lunch (B390 and B480 respectively) and a daily specials board. Already a hit with Bangkok’s Gallic community and gastronomes of all stripes, this is one restaurant that is surely here to stay.

MAISON BLANCHE

[MAP 5/G4]

38 Narathiwat Soi 2 | 0 2634 7939 maisonblanchebkk.com | 11.30am-2pm, 6.30pm-11pm

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THE NEVER ENDING SUMMER - Classic Thai for all seasons Adjacent to Khlong San Plaza, a modest indooroutdoor shopping area on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River, Duangrit Bunnag’s multi-use Jam Factory continues to mature with the addition of restaurant The Never Ending Summer. Occupying part of three old Chinese-Thai factories, the airy 70-seat eatery offers both short- and long-table dining, all with a view of the open kitchen at the back. Décor follows industrial-minimalist lines, preserving the warehouse feel, and walls are nearly bare save for a few paintings and hanging plants below the vaulted ceilings. Furniture is mostly wood, metal and glass. The chefs follow the vision of Duangrit’s partner Naree Boonyakiat, who mandated a menu inspired by her favourite childhood dishes. The result is an extensive, changing menu of classic Thai dishes, some of which are rarely seen elsewhere. Ma Hor (B160), bite-sized chunks of pineapple topped with minced pork, prawn, peanuts, garlic and shallot, makes a homey starter. Chilli dips are also a house speciality, with many to choose from. Nam Phrik Ma Kham Pad, Pla Sa Lid Thod (B250) has cooked tamarind in the usual kapi base and is served with fried pla salit (dried anchovies). For those who prefer less spicy nam phrik, this is a good choice. For something more complex, try Nam Phrik Tadang, Pla Grob and Moowan (B250), which teams the well-known, 70 | SEP T EM BER 2014

very spicy, northern Thai-style ‘red-eye’ chilli dip (made with chilli and galangal) with crisped fish and candied pork. According to Naree, the most popular chilli dip with Thai guests is pungent and provoking Nam Prik Long Reua, Moo Wan, Kai Kem (B280), which mashes up shrimp paste, dried shrimp, chilli and garlic served with sweet pork and salted egg. Much tamer is Poo Lhon (B270), a traditional coconutchilli dip made with minced crabmeat and served slightly warm. This one’s a winner with both Thais and foreigners. For something heartier, try the tasty and aromatic Kang Raun Juan (B320), beef stewed in a tangy broth of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, shrimp paste and chilli. This classic dates to the reign of Rama V, yet is hardly seen nowadays. Crab features large in Ka Nom Jean Nam Ya Poo Pak Tai (B280), red curry cooked with crab meat and served with thin fresh rice noodles, sliced cabbage and long bean, beansprouts, fresh lemon-basil and boiled egg. Cocktails (B280), mocktails (B180), beer and a variety on non-alcoholic beverages are available, as well as an array of tempting Thai desserts.

THE NEVER ENDING SUMMER

[MAP 5/B2]

The Jam Factory, 41/5 Charoen Nakorn Rd | 0 2861 0953 theneverendingsummer.com | Tue-Sun 11am-11pm

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review

INDUS - Regal repasts from the Subcontinent The mark of a good restaurant is its ability to deliver consistently over time and in every respect Indus, the Indian fine dining restaurant on Sukhimvit 26, does this with aplomb. Which is why it is a firm favourite among Bangkok’s Indian and ex-pat communities, and with ever-increasing numbers of Thai patrons. That the restaurant has retained 90 per cent of its original staff since it opened over a decade ago speaks volumes – this and the fact that it imports its spices whole from India and grinds them on-site is what engenders the all-important consistency. The cuisine here is also remarkable in that it maintains the authentic flavours of northern India’s Mughal cooking without the use of traditional (artery-clogging) ghee – heathier substitutes such as sesame oil being preferred. The interiors at Indus are inviting, beautifully appointed in dark woods and regal red soft furnishings. During the cool season the covered outdoor dining area and bar, which opens onto a verdant garden, is a popular spot for the highly regarded Sunday Brunch. While much of the menu remains unchanged, a few new dishes have been added in recent weeks. These include Chicken Tikka Chaat (B200), a tangy combination of diced and spiced chicken tossed with onion, tomato and pepper. It goes well with the smokey flavours of the delightful Tandoori Creamy Broccoli (B280), fresh broccoli florets that have been marinated in a creamy spice mix and barbecued over 72 | SEP T EM BER 2014

charcoal in the restaurant’s clay oven. Also recommended is the succulent Gelafi Seekh Kebab (B390), a mixture of spiced mutton mince (or chicken if you prefer) wrapped in finely chopped chilli. Full of meaty goodness and best eaten with a squeeze of fresh lemon, it has a lovely piquant finish. Two of the stars of the show at Indus are the signature Indus Kebab-E-Malai (B360), tender flame-grilled pieces of chicken marinated in yoghurt, cream cheese and herbs; and the hearty Nawabi Raan (B990 regular portion, B1590 large portion; serving 4-6 people). It comprises a whole leg of lamb marinated overnight in Captain Morgan dark rum, yoghurt and a well-guarded secret combination of spices. Slow-cooked for hours over charcoal, it is prepared by one of the newest additions to the Indus staff, a specialist Tandoori chef recruited from renowned Bukhara restaurant in Delhi. Ridiculously tender and infused with a smokey sweet and sour flavours, it has fast become one of the bestselling items on the menu. If you have room, finish off with the hand-churned Pistachio Kulfi (B120) Indian ice cream. It is a sweet way to round out a memorable meal.

INDUS [MAP3/O11] 71 Sukhumvit Soi 26, Sukhumvit Rd | 0 2258 4900 indusbangkok.com | 11.30am – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm

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September Promotion 2 Bottles for 1 Price 8 labels of wines from all around the word at discounted price Buy 3 draft Peroni, Get 1 Free! New Snack Menu 15 choices to match with your wines 3 choices for B180, 5 for B290, 8 for B490 New Wine List and new wine by glass Lunch Set Menu

diVino Food and Wine

Thong Lo 16, Sukhumvit 55 Rd., 10110 Bangkok T: 02 714 8723 I www.divinobkk.com I marketing@divinobkk.com

Take away food and Catering are available


FOOD & DRIN K

review

LADY BRETT - A New York Tavern in Bangkok The growth of dining options in Bangkok continues to amaze. Lady Brett on Sathorn Soi 12 proclaims itself a New York-style tavern and it fits the bill perfectly. It’s small (35 seats), dimly lit, and simply, but elegantly, furnished – a formula found throughout countless neighbourhoods in New York State. The owners describe their menu as ‘rustic’, however ‘simple but elegant’ is a better description. The lax tartare broed (B120), enjoyed with a pre-dinner cocktail, is a case in point. It consists of raw chopped salmon in a lemon-mustard marinade with dill and parsley served on a dark baguette croûton – a delicious start to the evening. Equally impressive are the giant scallop carpaccio (B420) and Beef Tenderloin – grass-fed Ku beef from Kasesart University served with blue cheese crostini and raspberry vinegar pearl onion. Executive Chef Patrick Marten’s dinner menu is brief but cosmopolitan. A stand-out item is BBQ pork ribs, a half rack served with roast thyme, pineapple and buttermilk onion rings. But the dish that really catches the eye is the baked Phuket pink snapper (B395) with sundried tomato couscous, zucchini, roast sage-marinated eggplant and tzatziki, a remarkably compatible group of ingredients that make taste buds swoon. Like any authentic tavern, drinks play as big a role at Lady Brett as the food. On Tuesday – Sunday, there is a 74 | S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 4

‘buy 1 get 1’ happy hour from 5-7pm featuring either pale or dark Beer Lao (B150); Charlotte Street chardonnay/ Semillion or Shiraz/Cabernet (B295) and a selection of dynamite cocktails. Standards like a Mojito or Moscow Mule (B330) are well-executed, but it is the house concoctions like the apricot julep cocktail (also B330), a heady combination of bourbon infused with apricot, spearmint and sugar, that really hit the mark. On Saturdays and Sundays brunch is served from 11am-3pm. It features a special menu of items including mango apple pancakes with green tea butter and caramel sauce (B255) and a chilled asparagus frittata with garlic crostini, saffron aioli, roasted peppers, rocket leaves and Parmesan cheese (B210). By the way, if you love to drink and snack in a hideaway, along the side of Lady Brett there is a passageway. Follow it to small door (watch you head) and climb the three floor leading upstairs to U.N.C.L.E. (United Nations of Cocktail Lovers Everywhere), an amazing little place with premium cocktails and some great items for grazing.

LADY BRETT

[MAP 5/G5]

149 Soi Sueksawittaya, Sathorn Nuer Soi 12 | 0 2635 0405 ladybrett.com | Tue-Sun 6pm-1am; Sat-Sun 11am-3pm

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review

IL BOLOGNESE - Traditional Italian with a few surprises The backstreets of Sathorn are a hotbed of wellkept dining secrets and although Il Bolognese is too well known, too much of a local favourite to fit into that category, it still warrants closer inspection. It is essentially a classy neighbourhood Italian, casual enough for a quiet lunch but with enough tricks for special occasions. A covered patio allows for outdoor dining, but it’s the low-lit interior that is most inviting; a classic trattoria layout, rustically furnished with dark wood with a charcuterie and wood-fired pizza oven in one corner. The approach to food is straightforward: top-quality produce, the majority of it imported, expertly prepared with an emphasis on bold flavours. For example, the polpettine (B290) are miniature beef meatballs baked with spinach and Parmesan, topped with a lip-smacking tomato sauce. These are quintessentially Italian flavours – the skill is in allowing them to speak for themselves rather than losing them in a maze of complexity. Similarly, the caprese burrata (B420) presents burrata cheese on a bed of roasted tomato, olives and pesto. As an entree, it is a perfect complement to the richness and sauciness of the polpettine, the velvety texture of the burrata shot through with a zingy aftertaste. The main dishes hold this traditional line but with some signature elements. The risotto alla Milanese (B550) 76 | SEP T EM BER 2014

takes a saffron risotto and elevates it with a homemade bone marrow sauce that adds a rich meatiness. Equally, the tortelloni zucca e parma (B490) showcases delicious homemade pasta filled with roast pumpkin and ricotta cheese offset with rashers of Parma ham. The debate on where to find the ‘best pizza in Bangkok’ is unlikely to be resolved any time soon but Il Bolognese makes a powerful case. Connoisseurs will appreciate the artisanal dough, slow-matured for 72 hours. The result is a crust that is “thick on the edges but thin inside”. The Ndula (B48) takes its name from the spicy sausage imported from southern Italy, and is also topped with tomato sauce, buffalo mozzarella, red onion, semidried tomato and oregano. The Diabla (B480) adds a generous dose of chilli and spicy salami to for extra bite. It’s a uniquely moreish pizza – cheesy without being overwhelming, satisfying without being too heavy. Bangkok may be a long way from Bologna but, thanks to this little gem, geography is no reason to forego delicious Italian food.

IL BOLOGNESE

[MAP 5/H7]

South Sathon Rd 139/3 Soi 7 | 0 2286 8805 ilbolognesebangkok.com | 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-11pm

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SOLE MIO - Laid back, friendly and authentic Bangkok is packed with Italian restaurants, but most of the authentic places with comprehensive menus tend to be a bit formal and stiff. Sole Mio is a refreshing exception. Laid back and casual, it is a warm and friendly place where people always seem to be enjoying themselves and authenticity is verified by the music of the Italian language wafting through the air. The front of the restaurant is devoted to a terrace with around 25 seats, but most customers opt for one of the 35 or so settings in the warm orange and brown interior with a bare wood floor and walls covered with a collection of photos and memorabilia. The restaurant not only has a large selection of excellent pizzas and pastas, its pastas are some of the best in town. Although fettuccine bolognese (B240) can be an ordinary dish, Chef Luca Giorgi, who is from Bologna, turns it into a masterpiece. The dishes here are made with both imported pasta from Italy and pastas made at the restaurant. One of the latter can almost always be found on the ‘specials’ blackboard menu that changes every few days. Although proprietor Domenico Locantore serves a wide selection traditional thin-crusted pizzas, we really enjoyed a pizza with goat cheese and salmon (B450) during a recent visit. Definitely not traditional, but the salmon and goat cheese have a remarkable affinity for bangkok101.com

one another. Of the traditional pizzas, the diavola (B260), made with tomato sauce, mozzarella, spicy salami and black olives, is delicious. All is definitely not pizza and pasta at Sole Mio; and the remainder of the menu is filled with classic dishes and numerous items that catch Chef Luca’s fancy. A good example is the scaloppine made with pork meat slices braised with Marsala wine (B280). It is beautifully tender but also rich and moreish thanks to the wine reduction. Sole Mio also does an especially good job with seafood. A stand out on the menu is branzino al forno - baked sea bass with baked potatoes (B450). For dessert Chef Luca’s panna cotta (B140) topped with an orange balsamic glaze has a wow factor; the citrus of the glaze cutting through the panna cotta. It is unique and so good you’ll want to try it again. The drinks menu includes cocktails; aperitifs; a typical selection of local beers plus some imports from Italy and a reasonably priced selection of wines dominated by Italian labels. Good house wines are available by the glass or carafe (B360 for ½ litre).

SOLE MIO [MAP 3/Q5] Thong Lor Soi 21 | 0 2185 2199 solemiobkk.com | 11.30am-11.30pm

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in the kitchen

JAIKRISHNAN GOVINDAN talks to Howard Richardson

As diners enjoy the spectacular views from the Banyan Tree’s Vertigo rooftop restaurant, down a set of adjacent stairs I meet the hotel’s executive chef Jaikrishnan ‘Jai’ Govindan and his team, who plate over 200 covers a night from their tiny kitchen. Today, Jai will show me the preparation for two of their most popular dishes – tuna ceviche and tandoori spiced 55 degree duck. “We have a lot of food styles here,” he says. “But one big influence is 14th century Mediterranean cooking with Persian, Spanish and Moorish elements. We exploit local and seasonal product as much as possible to use with quality imported items such as Barbary duck and New Zealand lamb. Line-caught tuna arrives twice a week from the Maldives.” For the ceviche, Chef Jai mixes cubes of raw tuna loin (“the belly is too fatty”) with lime juice, fish sauce, coriander root, sugar, chilli and garlic. He then adds Spanish onion, Thai basil and avocado, and garnishes with coriander leaf and colourful edible flowers to serve in a giant cocktail glass. Rooted in the Thai spectrum, it is medium spicy, with the fragrant basil and coriander bouncing against the fish sauce and creamy avocado. “It’s important that when we make it it’s eaten immediately, so that it doesn’t die,” Jai explains. For the duck breast, he fires up two small frying pans. Into one goes butter and minced garlic, and later pieces of artichoke and fresh fig. After seasoning he adds orange segments and chopped parsley. The other pan gets finely grated cauliflower couscous, parsley and cumin. In just two minutes both are done. The sauce, made of orange, star 78 | SEP T EM BER 2014

anise, cumin and duck jus, gets a last minute dousing with butter to make it shine. The duck, which has already been cooked sous vide for an hour, is now pan fried to brown and crisp the skin. “We import French duck because it doesn’t have too much fat between the skin and meat,” says Jai. “For the marinade we have a secret combination of 17 Moorish-Indian herbs and dark spices, including nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon. But we use them sparingly because sous vide already enhances the flavours.” To serve, the sauce is poured into the centre of a wide bowl to act as a bed for the other ingredients. The duck, sliced into two, is an enticing pink inside, providing a nice contrast with the browned skin. A garnish of salad leaves is brightened with a vinegar spray. This is straight ahead food; simple dishes cooked quickly. “Everything we do is fresh: prepared a la minute,” Jai says. In the restaurant, on the Banyan Tree’s former helipad, it’s a beautiful sunset scene, an unrestricted 360 degree view, including river curls, Lumphini Park and the spans of Rama VIII Bridge. It’s like sitting amid a Turner skyscape, with shafts of light playing behind the clouds seemingly just above your head. No wonder it’s a popular spot for honeymoons and proposals of marriage.

VERTIGO [MAP 5/K8] Banyan Tree Bangkok, 100 Sathorn Tai Rd, | 0 2679 1200 banyantree.com | 6pm-11pm (Moon Bar 5pm-1am).

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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

KHAO KHA MOO

T

hai cuisine is traditionally healthy but it does have its fatty and sinfully delicious dishes. Take Khao Kha Moo — rice with long-stewed pork leg. The closest comparison I can offer is the pulled-pork dishes of the south and mid-west USA because of the similar tender, fall-off-the-bone texture and the succulent sauce that penetrates the pork meat. I recently had a taxi driver take me to try his favorite version of the dish, served at shop called Kha Moo Lert Roat (Super Tasty Pork Leg). It was well worth the visit. The Kha Moo is stewed in palo (Chinese spice) soup to infuse aroma and taste. On occasion I’ve found palo soup to be too sweet or too salty and sometimes the pork texture simply isn’t soft enough to absorb the juice; but here there is a great harmony in the salty-sweet taste of the soup and the just-right texture. There are various ways to order Khao Kha Moo; you can have just the meat, or meat and skin (which also means fat), or with Khaki – stewed pig’s feet – which is my favorite! My taxi driver ordered his ‘piset’ (special), which included a hard-boiled egg and sai (intestines). The sai is the killer here because it’s so soft and seems to melt in your mouth. The rice texture verges on the edge of al dente - not too hard and not to mushy.

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Dabbing a little chilli vinegar and a slice of garlic on each bite will enhance the taste experience even more. Garlic helps to lower your cholesterol (so at least you don’t feel so guilty) and the vinegar helps to cut some of the fatty taste. To have a satisfying plate of Khao Kha Moo, for me, is all about good teamwork. Nothing must go wrong in the preparation and time is needed to create the relationship between ingredients.

KHA MOO LERT ROAT Sathon Soi 11; follow the soi all the way down to the 3-way intersection, turn right and then follow the road around to the left. Keep going for about 100 meters. The restaurant is on the right in a shop-house with tables out front on the sidewalk. It’s open from dawn until 3pm.

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listings

Crepes & Co

INTERNATIONAL CREPES & CO [MAP 8/L14] 59/4 Langsuan Soi 1, Ploenchit Road, (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 – try the eggplant caviar – but it’s the desserts that attract a loyal after-dinner following. You can keep it simple by going for the Crepe Josephine (B170), which is a straightforward combination of sugar and lemon zest. But if you’ve got a major sweet tooth, you’ll likely move on to the serious stuff, like the Crepe Framboise (B290), served bulging with vanilla ice cream and lathered in 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. The real showstopper, though, is the Flambe Calvados (B290).

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Moon Glass

MOON GLASS [MAP3/Q9] 31 Sukhumvit Soi 53 | 0 2259 8531 moonglassbangkok.com | 5pm-midnight An indoor-outdoor restaurant and bar with a modern European menu and the odd Thai twist thrown in. There are some stand-out signature coctails (all B280) such as the Harvest Moon, the Flip Man Walking and the Captain John. Tom Yum Kung Caesar Salad (B290) takes a straightforward starter and adds hints of chilli and Thai flavours, while the foie gras with pomegranate and passion fruit sauce (B590) echoes the fashionable use of citrus flavours and lends the dish an interesting offset of flavors. The pan-seared Hokkaido scallops with white truffle oil sauce (B390) make a gorgeous appetiser, pairing the velvety seafood texture with rich, flavourful tastes. The duck confit (B490) comes with red wine sauce, caramelised onion and truffle risotto. The duck itself is moist and artfully presented but again it is the sauce that carries the day, reinforcing the notion that while the owner-chef at Moon Glass certainly knows his produce, it’s his command of flavours that makes his menu work so well.

Park Society

PARK SOCIETY [MAP 5/M7] 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 offkilter square plates adorned with smears and blobs of colourful purée are an arty backdrop for dishes like pigeon with gnocchi and baby vegetables (B1400/

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Smith half, B2600/ whole). The well chosen wine list, with most ottles 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.

SMITH [MAP 3/Q10] 1/8 Sukhumvit Soi 49 | 0 2261 0515 smith-restaurant.com | Tues-Sat 5pmmidnight, Sun 11am-midnight Despite the meat-heavy menu concept not seeing to be an easy fit with Bangkok’s cosmopolitan dining scene when Smith first opened its door, the restaurant has been growing into self and deploying some inspired modern touches to make the most of its ‘nose-to-tail’ ethos. It all boils down to the food, and it’s here that a straightforward-sounding concept is elevated by curious details and smooth execution. Take, for example, the fried egg salad (B180) or the steamed black mussels (B390), served with saffron, caramelised onion, crème fraiche, chilli and butter. The steak tartare (B250) comes seasoned with crispy capers and garden herbs, creating an offset to the richness of the beef. More straightforward but no less satisfying is the half pan of mixed

sausages (B210) with warm coleslaw. The pork belly (B350) is one of the real stand-outs, glazed in verjus and served with pickled stone fruit, spicy lentils, mint and coriander. The Black Label burger (B450) is also a winner, Australian Wagyu sandwiched in a squid ink brioche with Gouda and mustard, served with a helping of rosemary-tinged fries. By the end of a visit, it’s impossible to dispute that Smith delivers on its pitch with rare panache.

THAI BENJARONG [MAP 5/L6] Dusit Thani Bangkok, 946 Rama IV Rd | 0 2200 9000 | dusit.com | 6pm-10pm, MonFri noon-2.30pm Stomachs began to rumble with rumours late last year that the The Aromatic Journey (B1100) and the Benjarong Signature Tasting Menu (B1700) could both be paired with wines for an extra B800 and B1300, respectively. We took the latter, a five-course delight that opened with sparkling wine and three well-balanced tapas bites – bitter notes in deep-fried cuttlefish with turmeric; sweet spicy scallop in a little light coconut milk; and shredded roast pork leg with smokey sweet, mildly spiced chilli jam. The tom yum goong, prettified with pickling onions and delicate balls of giant prawn, is silkily sour and mildly spiced, but traditionally flavoured. Deconstructed yam pla duk foo, which arrives in an upside-down cone-shaped glass bowl that you tip over tom yum custard with crabmeat.

FOOD & DRIN K

Benjarong

A good pinot noir partners yam neua, made with wagyu beef cubes from flat iron steak, a cut near the shoulder that has more bite than more expensive steaks

BLUE ELEPHANT RESTAURANT & COOKING SCHOOL [MAP 5/D7] 233 South Sathorn Rd | 0 2673 9353 ext 8 | 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 old-fashioned 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 categorised 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 delciously peppery aftertaste added for good measure.

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The Fine Art of Thai Cuisine Ruen Urai, “the House of Gold,” combines fine Thai culinary art with an elegant ambience. Inspired by Thailand’s diverse regions, cultures and lifestyles, our gastronomic creations vary from royal Thai cuisine to refined home-cooking. Discover the secret oasis of Ruen Urai. Casual dining and bar from noon to 11 p.m. Ruen Urai at the Rose Hotel 118 Soi Na Wat Hualumphong, Surawongse Road Tel. (66) 2 266 8268-72 Fax. (66) 2 266 8096 www.rosehotelbkk.com www.ruen-urai.com 82 | SEP T EM BER 2014

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However, Blue Elephant is not content to let the grass grow under them and that’s why there is also a section of the menu for Thai

SALA RATTANAKOSIN BANGKOK [MAP 7/C12]

39 Maharat Rd, Rattanakosin Island | 0 2231 2588 | salarattanakosin.com | 7am-10pm With vistas not only across the river to Wat Arun but also towards the spires of Wat Pho and the Grand Palace, everyone here has a drink in one hand and a cameraphone in the other. Later, head down to the two-storey restaurant, and, if possible, grab a window table upstairs or beside the river on the wooden deck outside. Executive chef Tony Wrigley describes his menu as comfort food and that pretty much fits the bill. Typical Thai dishes include tempura fried soft shell crab (B290), with a good strong zip of sour and spice in green mango salad that cuts through the crispy batter, and the northern Thai favourite khao soy (B280). The latter, served as a main course, has a thicker, more curry-like consistency than usual and the complexity loses out slightly to the more dominant palm sugar in a heavily reduced sauce. The menu has fewer Euro items but there were good flavours to the twice-cooked crispy pork belly (B590). It’s roasted for three hours and then finished in the oven for 20 minutes with a tamarind glaze. On the side are roast pumpkin puree, apple and young ginger marmalade, and stir-fried morning glory, which works very well cooked in typical local style, flash-fried with oyster sauce, garlic and chilli.

INDIAN GAGGAN [MAP 8/L14] 68/1 Soi Langsuan | 0 2652 1700 | eatatgaggan. com | 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-11.30pm Indian cuisine, perhaps more than any other, has been pigeonholed, locked into a narrow idea of heavy curries and spicy tandooris. It’s an inadequate concept, of course, and Gaggan Anand, through his stunningly unique restaurant in Langsuan, makes one of the most urgent cases for these definitions to be reconsidered. The reality is that, at Gaggan, flavours can be drawn from anywhere – as long as they work, there’s little formal structure about what’s allowed to go together. Perhaps the most interesting way to bangkok101.com

Gaggan experience Gaggan’s always delicious, often offbeat repertoire is through one of the tasting menus (B1600, B2600 or B4000). One of the more surprising combinations comes out relatively early – it’s called Viagra, freshly shucked French oysters served with kokam nectar and Indian mustard ice cream, and somehow works despite ingredients that don’t intuitively go together. The Egyptian Secret uses foie gras, red onion chutney and raspberry powder to equally stunning effect, the flavours so well-judged that your taste buds are pulled in different directions in one mouthful.

RANG MAHAL [MAP 3/K11] 26F Rembrandt Hotel, 19 Sukhumvit Soi 18 0 2261 7100 | rembrandtbkk.com | 11.30am2.30pm, 6.30pm-11pm Among the appetisers, the papri chaat (B175) and Punjabi samosa (B190) are relatively straightforward but the well-judged lightness and the fact the doughiness is not overdone mean these bite-sized dishes whet the appetite. Proceedings go up a notch when the kebabs come out. The tandoori prawn (B295 per piece, main) is smoked to perfection in Indian spices, while the murgh malai (B425) combines chicken and cream cheese for an extra kick. The house specialty, though, is the raan-ekhyber (B950 for half, B1595 for whole) – a leg of lamb marinated in rum, herbs and spices before being barbecued. It’s an impressive dish, rustic in appearance but perfectly executed, the chunks of lamb peeling effortlessly from the bone, sweet and smokey at the same time. The curries are equally successful in delivering a heightened version of familiar dishes. The Goan fish curry (B495) combines a lightly sautéed fish seasoned with a fragrant mix of onions, garlic and spices, cooked in a sauce of tomatoes and coconut gravy, the flavours deftly balanced against each other. In the kashmiri rogan josh (B525, top left), the mutton is irresistibly tender, more casserole than curry. SEP T EM BER 2014 | 83


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listings simple but isn’t. Among the prime cuts of meat, the Australian beef tenderloin with a porcini mushroom sauce (B850) is impressive.

LA BOTTEGA DI LUCA [MAP 3/P8] diVino

ITALIAN DI VINO [MAP 3/R6] Penny’s Balcony, Thong Lor Soi 16 | 0 2714 8723 | divinobkk.com | 5pm-midnight, MonFri 11.30am-2pm It’s a curious little set-up, the restaurant split between three rooms that share one corner of Penny’s Corner up in Thong Lor. One section is for private dining, another is filled with stools and high tables, while the newish wine room is a sit-down affair, the walls lined with bottles of gorgeous Italian vino. To get the balling rolling, DiVino offers a selection of cheese (B790 for six different pieces) or imported cold cuts (B700 for the most generous serving). So there’s enough variety there to keep customers happy if they just fancy a bottle of wine over a few shared platters but the main courses raise the stakes in a way that fancier, more concept-heavy places don’t always manage. It’s hard to recall pasta being this exciting. The linguine with Alaskan crab meat (B420) is a lighter affair – let’s not go too far and call it delicate – while the linguine all’astice (B580) is their signature dish containing half a Boston lobster, dripping in one of those bolshy Italian sauces that looks

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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 grilled scamorza (B390) – that’s smoked mozzarella – wrapped in speck ham with mushrooms and red wine sauce is a delight. There’s a sizeable menu and it can be tricky to know which direction to take. The most eye-catching salad is the seafood combination (B220) with steamed prawns, baby squid, mussels and clams seasoned with 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 B240-490, 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

Rossini’s 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 modern touches, while sticking to the flavours of the traditional 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 white, it 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”.

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CHEZ PAPÉ

French Bistro

Hamilton’s Steakhouse

SCALINI [MAP 3/N12] 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).

STEAKHOUSE HAMILTON’S STEAKHOUSE [MAP 8/K16]

Dusit Thani Bangkok, 946 Rama 4 Rd | 0 2200 9000 | dusit.com | 6.30pm-10.30pm, Mon-Fri 11.30am-2.30pm Hamilton’s expansive windows overlook the Dusit Thani’s swimming pool and while the unruly mass of jungle ferns offer some pleasant greenery, they do little to present natural light flooding into the interior. It’s an undeniably pleasant spot to sit down for a few glasses of wine over lunch: clean lines and comfort, straightforward without feeling routine, low-key without feeling empty. Of course, the interior counts for little if the food doesn’t stack up but Hamilton’s bangkok101.com

Prime passes with flying colours on that score. For a steak house, Hamilton’s puts together a surprisingly interesting seafood selection – you can go all out with a combined platter of lobster, oysters, crab legs and prawns (B220 for four; B3300 for six). Or, if your appetite is a little more modest, try the crab cakes (main, middle left) served with spicy dressing and pickled vegetables (B550) or the red snapper tiradito (B415) rinsed with chilli, lime, sea salt, coriander and cucumber. Tiradito, by the way, is a kind of Peruvian carpaccio that also reflects the Japanese influence.

PRIME [MAP 8/E16] Millennium Hilton Hotel, 123 | Charoennakorn Rd | 0 2442 2020 | facebook. com/primesteakhouse.mhb | 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 woodfired 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 caramelised 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.

OPEN DAILY for LUNCH set lunch 2 courses 390 B++ ONLY

H A P P Y H O U R

Selected Beers & Wines Every Day 5 pm to 7 pm

Sukhumvit Soi 11

OPEN DAILY 5pm - 11pm LUNCHTIMES 11:30am - 2pm RESERVATIONS: 02 255 2492 info@chezpape.com

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NIGHTLIFE OUT THERE VIBES

Fresh from performances at festivals such as Tomorrowland and Global Gathering, Cosmic Gate touch down in Bangkok as part of their “Start To Feel” World Tour. Among the most successful and respected Trance artists operating today, and ranked in DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs for 6 years in a row, the outfit perform at ONYX (RCA, Soi Soonvijai, Rama 9 Rd., 08 1645 1166) on the evening of September 6.

MASH IT UP

Up-and-coming Los Angeles DJ duo NGUZUNGUZU perform a mix of Neo R&B, Urban Pop, Rap, Club Beats & Electro, Kuduro, Cumbia, UK Bass and Grime at an exclusive set at Ocean Below - Ocean’s underground club room – (7 Sukhumvit 33 Alley, 0 2261 2800) on the evening of September 13. Entry fee is B300 but capacity is limited so purchase of pre-sale tickets is recommended.

RADIO STARS CLICK

The popular radio stations 98.5 Click FM and 103.5 FM ONE join forces for the CLICK ONE CONCERT. A lineup featuring the popular Pop/Rock bands P.O.P, 25 Hours, Paradox, Getsunova and J JETRIN takes to the stage at Bangkok Convention Center at Central Plaza Ladprao (1695 Phahonyothin Rd., 0 2541 1234) on September 20.

TO THE EXTREME

ULTRA - one of the world’s biggest and most renowned EDM music festivals – debuts in Thailand on September 26. The ROAD TO ULTRA lineup comprises international superstars Alesso, Fedde Le Grand, Martin Garrix and W&W performing at BITEC Bangna (88th Bangna Trad Rd., 0 2366 9797) Pre-sale tickets are available at Amiando. Open to those 20 years and above.

SWEET SOUNDS

Axis & Spin presents a lineup of DJs at the Sky Lounge & Bar, 38th/39th floor, The Continent Hotel (413 Sukhumvit Rd, 0 2686 7000) throughout September. Turntables light up from 9pm with DJ Kurrypup at the helm on Wednesdays, DJ Smiley doing her thing on Thursdays and DJ Honey taking control on Friday and Saturday evenings.

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review

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review

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THE SPEAKEASY - Old school, new creations -

B

angkok is renowned for its rooftop bars but the truth is that while many of them have spectacular views, they can be slightly ‘cookie-cutter’ when it comes to their aesthetics. The Speakeasy, Hotel Muse’s in-house watering hole, at least does a good job of distinguishing itself through its old-school touches and Prohibition Era style. That’s not to say it comes up short when it comes to sweeping views – on the contrary, the lower-level bar and dining area overlook Langsuan and, one floor up, the open-air roof garden offers 360-degree views of the city skyline. There’s also a gorgeously plush interior, decked out in dark wood and leather. As befits a place that takes its name from an under-theradar drinking den, The Speakeasy has a richly stocked bar. There’s a serious selection of wines, particularly the sparkling variety, as well as boutique spirits. The cocktails are a slightly mixed bag; some of the concoctions billed as ‘signature’ are oddly generic. Cocktail culture in Bangkok has come a long way very quickly but this is one slightly annoying trend that has come into vogue – barring some snazzy new interpretation, there’s nothing ‘signature’ about a Mojito or a Margarita. These drinks are staples of every hotel bar in the world. A place as stylishly ambitious as The Speakeasy could surely afford to try a little harder here, especially when they’re charging B330. Equally, the martinis veer a little too far toward sugary and brightly coloured – it’s fine if that’s what you like but it feels a little misjudged when the rest of the place cultivates such a romantic sense of nostalgia for the 1920s. In a place like The Speakeasy, the emphasis bangkok101.com

should be on vintage drinks made with real panache. As it turns out, the brief listing of Forgotten Classics is far more successful. There’s a cracking Negroni and a properly made White Lady – when you can deliver that, do you really need to serve up a ubiquitous B52? If that sounds like an old-fashioned gripe with certain elements of the cocktail list, the food is far more conceptually impressive – Bangkok’s other bar-focused outlets offering light bites should take note. There are some updated classics presented with real confidence, as well as the odd splicing of east and west that never feels ill-conceived or showy. For example, the pork fillet served with a drizzle of orange emulsion and dried egg (B300) is original enough to raise an eyebrow but also immediately delicious. Then there’s the goong pun bacon (B520), a Tiger prawn wrapped in bacon served with tamarind sauce. It has all the potential to be a fusion nightmare but instead works spectacularly. That modern Asian twist is executed with equal success in the salmon yum mamuang (B300), which pairs seared salmon with fresh green mango. The combinations are at once striking and wonderfully natural. At its best, The Speakeasy is superbly stylish – fingers crossed they remain bold enough to blaze their own trail without too many concessions to the mass market.

THE SPEAKEASY [MAP 3/B13] 24-25/F, Hotel Muse Bangkok Langsuan, 55/555 Lang Suan 0 2630 4000 | hotelmusebangkok.com | 6pm-1am

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listings

Ku De Ta

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]

NIGHTCLUBS KU DE TA [MAP 5/G6] 39-40F Sathorn Square Complex, 98 North Sathorn Rd | 0 2108 2000 | kudeta.net 6pm-late Since its opening amid much fanfare at the end of last year, Ku De Ta has quickly built a reputation as one of the places in Bangkok to keep an eye on. The hype and the investment have been massive and there’s an ambition to match. Ku De Ta sets out to add a new dimension to a night out in Bangkok 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. Another feature is the very snazzy, very modern LED ‘chandelier’ hangs over the dance floor, twinkling a variety of different colours.

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 90 | SEP T EM BER 2014

President Tower Arcade 973 Ploenchit Rd mixxdiscotheque.com | B350 | 10pm-late Located in basement annex of the Intercontinental Hotel, Mixx is classier than most of Bangkok’s after-hour clubs, but only slightly. 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: B350 for guys, B300 for girls.

ROUTE 66 [MAP 8/Q12] 29/33-48 Royal City Avenue | route66club.com B200 foreigners incl. drink / free for Thais Rammed with hordes of dressed-to-kill young Thais on most nights of the week, ‘Route’, as it is affectionately known, is RCA’s longest surviving superclub. There are three zones to explore (four if you count the toilets – probably the ritziest in town), each with its own bar, unique look and music policy. ‘The Level’ is the huge, alllasers-blazing hip-hop room; ‘The Classic’ spins house and techno; and Thai bands bang out hits in ‘The Novel’. Route is not a good place to lose your friends but can be a blast if you all get crazy around a table, be it inside or out on the big outdoors area. One sore point: unlike the locals, foreigners are charged a B200 entry fee.

Q BAR [MAP 3/C4] 34 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 0 2252 3274 qbarbangkok.com | 8pm-1am Long-standing, New York-style night spot Q Bar is well-known for pouring stiff drinks (there are over 70 varieties of top-shelf vodka!) and its strong music policy, with big name international DJs appearing regularly. Q Bar raised the ‘bar’ for Bangkok nightlife twelve years ago and is still going strong, with a flirty crowd every night and a recent top-to-bottom renovation giving the venue a maximalist style injection. Now, there’s more room to dance and more lounge space, especially at QUP, the more downtempo upstairs area. Also, out the back of the venue, you can find your way into Le Derriere, Q Bar’s very own Parisianstyle absinthe bar.

Barsu

HOTEL BARS & CLUBS BARSU [MAP 3/F6] 1F Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit 250, Sukhumvit Rd | 0 2649 8358 | barsubangkok. com | 6pm-2am The informal yet sleek BarSu features the tagline ‘eat, play, dance,’ and appeals to the over-30 Bangkok crowd who feel disenfranchised by the city’s current nightlife offerings. To this end, there are five live bands for each night of the week. Comprised of students from Silpakorn University’s Faculty of Jazz, Tenon Round’ are a gifted young quartet who perform every Tuesday from 8.30 to 10.30pm. The other bands, JazzPlayground, P.O.8, Rhythm Nation and Hot Gossip, play from Wednesday to Saturday respectively. In between sets, tuck into their ‘Goong goong goong’ menu, combining fresh prawns with a variety of international flavours.

SPASSO [MAP 8/L13] Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, 494 Ratchadamri Rd | 0 2254 1234 | bangkok. grand.hyatt.com | 11.30am-2.30pm, 6pm2.30am There’s no shortage of hotel bars in Bangkok but Spasso, on the ground floor of the Grand Hyatt Erawan has been around for 21 years and remains a favourite among visitors and expats looking to let their hair down. By day, it presents as a sedate Italian restaurant but after hours, after it transforms into a club and cocktail bar, it really hits its stride, revelling in its energetic, uninhibited atmosphere. The lay-out is unconventional – an open-plan foyer and dining area narrows into a dancefloor, flanked by two horseshoeshaped bars. It has the effect of funnelling all the action between the bars and on to the dancefloor. Spasso is not so much for Bangkok scenesters – its biggests selling point is that it’s slightly wild and the live band does its best to whip partygoers into even higher spirits. bangkok101.com


listings 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.

Moon Bar

BARS WITH VIEWS ABOVE ELEVEN [MAP 3/C4] 33Fl Fraser Suites Sukhumvit Hotel, 38/8 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 0 2207 9300 aboveeleven.com | 6pm-2am A west-facing 33rd floor rooftop bar with beautiful sunsets, Above Eleven is a winning combination. The outdoor wooden deck bar with glass walls for maximum view has a central bar, dining tables, lounge areas and huge daybeds for parties to slumber on. Tip: choose a seat on the north side – it gets windy to the south. There’s a great view, an impressive cocktail list and an electro soundtrack.

AMOROSA [MAP 7/C12] 4F Arun Residence Hotel, 36-38 Soi Pratoo Nok Young, Maharat Rd | 0 2221 9158 arunresidence.com | 6pm-1am Amorosa is a sultry, Moroccan-style balcony bar offering balmy river breezes, sour-sweet cocktails and a so-so wine list. The showstopper, though, is the view: perched on the roof of a four-storey boutique hotel, guests gaze out from its balcony terrace on to the Chao Phraya River and Wat Arun, the stunning Temple of Dawn, on the banks beyond. Go before sundown and enjoy watching the sun sink slowly behind it. Or come later, when amber floodlights make it glow against the night sky.

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 bangkok101.com

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Red Sky

LONG TABLE [MAP 3/H8] 25F 48 Column Bldg, Sukhumvit Soi 16 02 302 2557 | longtablebangkok.com 11am-2am Top-end Thai food isn’t the only thing that draws Bangkok’s nouveau riche to this impossibly swish restaurant-cum-bar. There’s also the trend-setting twist: a sleek communal dining table so long it makes the medieval banquet bench look positively petite. However, it’s what happens at the end of the room that propels this place deep into the nightlife stratosphere. Where the long table ends, a tall plate glass window and huge poolside patio, complete with bar, begins. Out here, 25 floors up, you can glug signature ‘long-tail’ cocktails or new latitude wines with the best of high-flying Bangkok: a glitzy hotchpotch of celebrities, models and power players; hair-tousling breezes; and – best of all – wide-screen city vistas.

MOON BAR [MAP 5/K8] 61F Banyan Tree Bangkok, 21/100 South Sathorn Rd | 0 2679 1200 | banyantree.com 5pm-1am This is one place that will get you closer to the moon. The open-air bar lets you take in the urban Moloch from up-above in smart surroundings. With stunning 360° views, the hotel’s rooftop has been turned into a slick grill restaurant; one end is occupied by the bar. Nothing obstructs your view here, almost 200 metres high up. It’s the perfect spot for honeymooners – take a seat on the smart sofa stations, sip on a classy Martini or a yummy signature cocktail and feel romance welling up. For voyeurs, the telescope and binoculars come in handy. Glamour girls and unwinding business guys feel right at home here, too.

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 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. A welcome addition to the afterwork scene in this neck of the woods.

NEST [MAP 3/C4] 9F Le Fenix, 33/33 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 0 2305 4000 | lefenixsukhumvit.com | 5pm-2am An all-white and urbane open-air oasis on the ninth floor of the sleek Le Fenix Hotel, Nest is a loungey and laid-back spot on weekdays and early evenings, with couples enjoying signature martinis and upmarket nibbles from the comfort of Thai-style swing beds and Nest-shaped rattan chairs. But on weekends, a more up-for-it crowd ascends, especially during special party nights. These include Mode, a shindig every second Saturday of the month that pumps hip-hop and house beats rather than the usual smooth Balearic sounds. What are the views alike? With buildings looming above you, not below you, here you feel part of the cityscape.

RED SKY [MAP 4/F 3] 56F Centara Grand at CentralWorld Rama 1 Rd | 0 2100 1234 centarahotelresorts.com | 5pm-1am Encircling the 56th floor turret of CentralWorld’s adjoining Centara Grand Hotel, the al fresco Red Sky offers panoramas in every direction. Just before sunset is the time to come – plonk yourself down on a rattan chair or oversized daybed and wait for the lightshow to begin. When daylight fades and the city lights up like a circuit-board, a live jazz band kicks in and SEP T EM BER 2014 | 91


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listings stars appear, the city’s coolest jazz sounds will set the mood which true aficionados will not be able to resist.

WOO BAR [MAP 5/G7]

Threesixty Bangkok takes on a glam cosmopolitan aura. Upscale bar snacks like slowcooked baby back pork ribs and martinis, cocktails and wines are on hand to keep you company while your eyes explore the scenery. It’s not exactly cheap, but the daily happy hours (buy one get one drink on selected wine, beer and cocktails from 5pm-7pm).

SKY BAR / DISTIL [MAP 5/C5] 63F State Tower, 1055 Silom Rd | 0 2624 9555 | thedomebkk.com | 6pm-1am Among the world’s highest outdoor bars, Sky bar – attached to Med restaurant Sirocco – offers panoramic views of the city and river below, earning its popularity with visitors new to the City of Angels and those intent on rediscovering it. Indoor-outdoor Distil boasts a roomful of comfy sofas, beyond premium liquor and The Dome’s signature breathtaking view. Adjacent to Asian seafood eatery Breeze, Ocean 52 sports yet another stunning view from the 51st – 52nd floors. These places are definitely not spots for the casual beach bum, so be sure to leave your flip-flops and shopping bags at home – a strict smart casual dress code is enforced.

THREESIXTY [MAP 5/B2] 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 92 | SEP T EM BER 2014

W Bangkok, 106 North Sathorn Rd | 0 2344 4131 | whotels.com/Bangkok | Sun-Wed 9am-1am, Thurs-Sat 9am-2am Located on the ground floor of the W Hotel, Woo Bar has all of the flair and emphasis on design that has come to characterise the hotel franchise. It’s chic and lowlit without being cold or inaccessible, spacious enough to find a seat without being echoey and without atmosphere. And, most importantly, the cocktails pass with flying colours, some inventive signature drinks rubbing shoulders with well-executed standard tipples. The Bliss (B325), which comes from the bartenders at W Hotel in New York, combines Ciroc vodka, elderflower liqueur, lime, mint and fresh ginger. You might struggle to stop at just one.

BARS APOTEKA [MAP 3/E8] 33/28 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 09 0626 7655 apotekabkk.com | Mon-Thurs 5pm-1am, Fri 5pm-2am, Sat-Sun 3pm-midnight As you may have guessed, the name is based on an outdated word for pharmacist and the place is meant to emulate a 19th century apothecary. Unsurprisingly, it has an old-school feel. There are high ceilings, red brick walls and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde being projected onto the wall. Indoor seating is a mix of tall tables with studded chairs, and long tables for larger groups along the main wall. Large cases filled with vintage-coloured bottles of medicine flank the bar. A wooden patio with some cozy furniture that could be a nice place to curl up on a date or meet some friends for a smoke and a beer.

BARLEY BISTRO [MAP 5/H5] 4F Food Channel, Silom Rd | 08 7033 3919 5pm-late | barleybistro.com Hidden up some stairs at the Food Channel, an enclave of franchise-like restaurants, Barley Bistro is slick and snazzy. The design is chic (blacks and greys, white-on-black stencil art); the drinks funky (lychee mojitos, testtube cocktails etc); the food new-fangled (spaghetti kimchi etc); and the clientele wholesome (Thai office workers mostly). Do check out the open-air rooftop. It’s littered with cooling

Apoteka fans, huge bean bags and funky barleystalk sculptures.

BREW [MAP 3/Q6] Seen Space, Thong Lor 13 | 0 2185 2366 brewbkk.com | Mon-Sun 4pm-2am It wasn’t so long ago that the beer selection here was comprised entirely of the ubiquitous local lagers and the Heinekens and Carlsbergs of this world. The fact that it doesn’t anymore is largely thanks to Chris Foo, the owner of this beer bar tucked away on the ground floor of Thonglor Soi 13’s happening mini-mall Seenspace. Depending on what time of year it is, Brew stocks between 140 and 170 bottles of ales, lagers, ciders, you name it. Currently, the setting in which you sip them is hip in Thonglor circles. That’s not so much down to Brew’s tiny interior, with its exposed piping and bar flanked by kegs of beer and brick walls, as the buzzing outdoor area it shares with futuristic cocktail bar Clouds and the nautically themed Fat’r Gutz.

CAFÉ TRIO [MAP4 / H6] 36/11-12 Soi Lang Suan | 0 2252- 6572 6pm-1am, closed on the 2nd and 4th Sun of the month Cafe Trio is just about the only bar worth seeking out on Lang Suan Road. Tucked down a narrow alley just off the upmarket residential street, this cozy jazz bar & art gallery is a welcome alternative to Bangkok’s raucous pubs and haughty lounge bars – a true neighbourhood place. Cafe Trio overflows with plush couches, the lighting delightfully soft, the music always subdued. The vivacious owner and bartender Patti holds court nightly and has plastered the walls with her Modiglianiesque, Vietnamese inspired paintings – have a few drinks and don’t be surprised to find yourself taking one home.

CHEAP CHARLIE’S [MAP 3/D6] Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 0 2253 4648 Mon-Sat 5pm-midnight bangkok101.com


listings Cheap Charlie’s

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Indian and Lan Na Thai serving traditional Thai – are full of fab all-Asian decor; they’re romantic and inviting, but you might be let down by the tiny portions, and the flamboyant prices.

FAT GUT’Z [MAP 3/Q2]

This joint is a Bangkok institution, bringing the charm of a rickety hole-in-the-wall bar to one of Sukhumvit’s swankiest Sois. A no-brainer meet-up spot, Cheap Charlie’s draws crowds of expats, NGOers and tourists in-the-know to fill up on B 70 beers and pocket-change G&Ts before heading off to eat and party – though don’t be surprised if you end up here all night. Its location is a winner, situated as it is on a cool little sub-soi (first on the left as you walk down from Sukhumvit) packed with restaurants and a short walk from hallowed nightspots Q Bar and the other newer spots that have cropped up recently.

CLOUDS [MAP 3/Q2] 1F SeenSpace, 251/1 Thong Lor Soi 13 | 0 2185 2365 | cloudslounge.com The third bar by Australian Ashley Sutton – the mad scientist of Bangkok’s bar scene – is, as we’ve come to expect, something entirely unexpected. Evoking a future where ‘there are no more natural resources’, this slim concrete shell at the rear of hip lifestyle mall SeenSpace has a living tree encased in glass in one corner, and concrete blocks, topped with lumps of translucent leafencasing acrylic, for tables. Vodka-based cocktails (B 280) by New York mixultant Joseph Boroski are prepped by ‘NASA technicians’ in white overalls; and the food offerings tasty misshapen pizzas, cooked in a gas-oven behind the bar.

FACE BANGKOK (MAP3/S7) 29 Sukhumvit Soi 38 | 0 2713 6048 facebars.com | 11.30am-1am Jim Thompson, move over. Face’s visually stunning complex is reminiscent of Jim’s former mansion, with Ayutthaya-style buildings and thriving flora, it’s just bigger and bolder. The Face Bar is a dimly-lit place that summons deluxe drinkers with its cosy settees, ambient soundscape, and giant cocktails. Though often empty, the big drink list will stop your body clock pretty fast. The two restaurants – Hazara serving Northern bangkok101.com

264 Thong Lor Soi 12 | 0 2714 9832 fatgutz.com | 6pm-2am This sleek saloon is packed nightly with beautiful people, there to listen to live blues, indulge in carefully crafted drinks, and, perhaps, catch a glimpse of its in-demand owner, Ashley Sutton, the Australian behind the legendary Iron Fairies. Unlike his first bar, Fat Gut’z displays a less obvious sense of whimsy – here, the random fittings and industrial decor are replaced by straight lines and modern furnishings. It all feels rather serious, until you open the drinks menu. Sutton brought in master New York mixologist Joseph Boroski to create 16 unique cocktails (B285 each).

FIVE GASTRONOMY & MIXOLOGY [MAP 3/O9]

Room 103, K Village, Sukhumvit Soi 26 08 8524 5550 | facebook.com/fivebkk 6pm-1am Five brings a welcome wand blast of gothic whimsy to K Village, an otherwise aesthetically uninspiring community mall. Its owner, Pattriya Na Nakorn, invited bar entrepreneur Ashley Sutton to work his magic with a vacant plot on the ground floor. And, completing her dream team is Joseph Boroski, the same New York based cocktail ‘mixologist’ that Sutton uses. His bars always engage the day-dreamy part of your brain and this black magic themed one is no different. Think clanking pulleys, monumental iron piping and flickering candles. Indeed, even the staff look like they’ve stumbled off the set of one of the Harry Potter movies.

HYDE & SEEK [MAP 4/L5] 65/1 Athenée Residence, Soi Ruamrudee 0 2168 5152 | 11am-1am | hydeandseek.com This stylish downtown gastro bar is a deadringer for those chic London haunts that draw the after-work crowd for pickmeup cocktails and good food that doesn’t break the bank. Heading the kitchen is Ian Kittichai, the brains behind the successful Kittichai restaurant in New York, while the bar is helmed by the boys behind Flow, the cocktail consultancy that inspires much drunken fun around the region. The sleek, Georgian-influenced décor has panelled walls, clubby chairs and a large central bar,

Hyde & Seek where snacks like beer battered popcorn shrimps and baby back ribs go well with custom-made cocktails or Belgian ales. Outside, there’s a spacious terrace with swing seats and a mini-maze of tea plants.

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 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. Every evening at about 9pm about half a dozen walk out from behind a velvet curtain and proceed to fan themselves on swings.

MOOSE [MAP 3/S3] Ekamai Soi 21 | 0 2108 9550 | facebook.com/ moosebangkok Tucked away behind Tuba and up a shabby looking staircase, Moose is one of the most talked about new bars in the city. The same team behind Cosmic Café and Sonic have revamped this warehousesized space into the latest retro-inspired hipster bar. Brick walls, a small tree here and there, flickering candles and an alarming number of mounted animal heads create a relaxed, living-room-esque ambience. A DJ spins unobtrusive tunes while authentic and delicious Thai food, such as salted pork neck (150 baht) and southern style curry (B160) ensures the bar consistently draws a young, local crowd who know their food. SEP T EM BER 2014 | 93


Bangkok classic: room upon room of haphazardly arranged kitsch, all of which you’re free to skulk through at your leisure. Some come here to snag a comfy sofa, retro sign or goofy tchotchke. Others come for the big menu of Italian and Thai dishes tweaked for the local palate. But for us, it works best as a bar, as the setting and generous happy hours mean there really are few cooler places to kick back.

Five

NAMSAAH BOTTLING TRUST [MAP 5/H5]

Silom Soi 7 | 0 2636 6622 | namsaah.com 5pm-2am Namsaah Bottling Trust occupies a centuryold 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.

OSKAR BISTRO [MAP 3/D5] 24 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 0 2255 3377 | 4pm2am; kitchen open until 11.30pm Lively Oskar has the electro music and low-ceiling cellar dimensions to qualify as clubby; and, with a dominant central bar, it’s perhaps more brasserie than bistro. The food choice includes sandwiches, the Oskar burger (wagyu beef – what else?), pizzas and a section of cocottes. Almost all are under B300, which for food of this surprising quality is a steal. Most people come here though not for the food but for a pre-club libation: be it glass of wine (from B145 a glass), imported beer, or reasonably priced cocktail.

TUBA [MAP 8/S14] 34 Room 11-12A, Ekkamai Soi 21 | 0 2711 5500 design-athome.com | 11am-2am Owned by the same hoarders behind furniture warehouse Papaya, Tuba is a 94 | SEP T EM BER 2014

VIVA AVIV [MAP 5/C2] River City-Unit 118, 23 Trok Rongnamkhaeng, Charoen Krung Soi 30 | 0 2639 6305 vivaaviv.com | 11am-midnight, later on weekends Viva Aviv reminds us of one of the hipper bars along Singapore’s Clarke Quay. Not only does it have the bar tables and stools jutting across a riverside promenade, inside there’s also a hip designer interior in full effect. Think tropical maritime chic meets dashes of outright whimsy. While the owner, Khun Ae, is responsible for this rustic look, the bar was initially looked after by the cocktail designers behind popular gastrobar Hyde and Seek.

WATER LIBRARY @ GRASS [MAP 3/R6] Grass Thong Lor, 264/1 Thong Lor Soi 12 0 2714 9292 | Mon-Sat 6.30pm-1am Aside from its upmarket, inventive set menu dining on the first floor restaurant, The Water Library also has three lounge and wine bar areas downstairs with funky food, cocktails and live music at not audacious prices. A set menu of three cocktails paired with tapas bites at B790 is a pleasant surprise, and their wine list starts at B900 a bottle. Water Library is one to watch on the regional drinking and dining scene. The very talented mixologist Mirko Gardelliano was Germany’s Cocktail Champion in 2003.

WTF [MAP 3/Q6] 7 Sukhumvit Soi 51 | 0 2626 6246 wtfbangkok.com | Tue-Sun 6pm-1am This tiny shophouse – signposted by graffiti on a corrugated tin wall in the street opposite – has a bar on the ground floor, decked out with mirrors along one wall, old Thai movie posters on the other, and found items like wooden screen doors and chairs. It works. The Thai-farang owners (an art manager, hotelier and photographer by trade) have made a good fist of cocktails (from B130) with rye whiskies and unusual bitters in the mix, while plates of tapas consist of Thai and Euro choices such as Portuguese chorizo and feta salad. Expect live gigs, art exhibitions upstairs and a mix of hipsters, journos and scenesters.

Viva Aviv

LIVE MUSIC ADHERE THE 13TH [MAP 7/G3] 13 Samsen Rd (opposite Soi 2) 08 9769 4613 | 5pm-midnight Funky, jammy, bare – one of Bangkok’s coolest hangouts is nothing more than an aisle packed with five tables, a tiny bar and instruments. It’s a joint you’d expect to find on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, except forthe Chang beer. North of Khao San Road (ask for ‘Ad Here’, once in the quarter), this downto-earth, bohemian hang-out packs ’em in nightly. On weekends, young Thais, expats and tourists spill out on the sidewalk when the joint is jumpin’. The resident band churns out cool blues, Motown and Janis Joplin

COSMIC CAFE [MAP 8/Q12] RCA Block C | Rama IX Rd | MRT Rama 9 The rebel in RCA’s ranks, Cosmic Café serves up a mixed diet of sonic eclecticism in a grungy, open-sided corner bar with outdoor seating and a small dance floor. On one night you might the place jumping to a rare live performance by mor lam legend Dao Bandon, on another a house band dishing out some surf guitar, ska, electronic or blues. The edgiest joint on the block, it draws a lively, musically discerning crowd, from skinny jeaned art-school hipster types to teddy boy expats.

TAWANDAENG GERMAN BREWERY [MAP 2/E11] 462/61 Rama III Rd | 0 2678 1114 tawandang.co.th The one place that every taxi driver seems to know, this vast, barrel-shaped beer hall packs in the revelers nightly. They come for the towers of micro-brewed beer, the Thai, Chinese and German grub (especially the deep-fried pork knuckle and sausage), and, not least, the famous Fong Nam houseband. It’s laidback early on, but by 10pm, when the Thai/Western pop, luk krung and mor lam songs are at full pelt, everybody is on their feet and the place going bananas. bangkok101.com


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PUPPY LOVE By Doman ByGaby Gaby Doman

Px

layhound’s xxxxx xxxxxx spring/summer xxxxx 2014 collection is inspired by foil balloons xxx a la Jeff Koons. The artist’s work ‘balloon dog’ experimented xxx with the reflections, shapes and colours of the kitsch-cute xxx foil balloons that we associate with summer and children’s parties, and Playhound has taken up the idea to create a small collection. AVAILABLE AT The sister brand to the more : subdued Greyhound is a chance for the designers to appeal to a younger, more playful audience while maintaining xxx the sharp but quirky tailoring we’ve come to expect from Greyhound. xxx Playhound has filled the brief perfectly with this collection. Metallics xxxmay usually be associated with autumn/winter collections but when paired with casual sportswear, which verges on pajamalevel xxxweb comfort at times, the metallics throughout the collection appear childlike and experimental. This is, undoubtedly, a collection that’s intended to be viewed as fun. The women’s collection is made up of shiny Barbie pinks, which are toned down with plenty of navy blues and creams as well as lots of nostalgic cuts; flouncy skirts and barely there hotpants and a ninetiesinspired three-quarter-length foil pink jacket. Nostalgic and delightful it may be, but be warned; though your love of hot pink shiny frilly skirts may not have faltered in the past twenty years, your adult curves may have a tougher time pulling them off these days. But, if you can rock the unforgiving cuts, this collection is a very fun one indeed. Thankfully, Playhound have toed the line carefully and, though the collection could have easily strayed into ‘irony’ territory, it hasn’t, which speaks volumes about the design talent behind the brand. Creating a foil balloon inspired collection using a heavy dose of pink metallics and nineties-inspired cuts is a tricky thing to pull off, but this collection is entirely wearable. The men’s collection is a similar story, with green-blue foil elements running through the entire range. It’s less striking than the women’s collection, but the three-quarter length trousers and metallic punctuation – particularly on the suit, whose cross-hatched green foil trim makes for a fun twist on the classic dark suit – at a little pizazz. Playhound is available at: The Mall Bangkapi Department Store Zen Central World Central Lad Phrao Isetan Department Store Siam Centre Emporium Siam Paragon Department Store

http://www.greyhound.co.th/storelocations

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SHOPPING

jj gem

DEFY Jet black walls, gold gilt frame display cases and one very creepy skeleton mannequin. Defy, with its three branches scattered around JJ, is clearly not your average girly jewelry store. To complete your emo rock chick makeover, this rebellious version of Harry Winston is a must visit, flogging chunky gothic pieces made from brass, such as skull or moose’s horn rings, and bullet or axe pendant necklaces. Each one is a snip, costing only in the B250-350 range. You know where you can go stick your diamonds. Here at Defy brass is a girl’s best friend.

DEFY Section 2 Soi 1 08 6809 9973 | thedefy.com

JATUJAK MARKET Forget designer malls. Jatujak weekend market is Bangkok’s true paragon of retail. This is shopping as survival of the fittest: only those with finely tuned consumer instincts shall persevere. The rest can go and get lost – literally

T

aking a wrong turn’s almost a given in this sprawling, citysized marketplace, upon which thousands descend every weekend, to trade everything from Burmese antiques to pedigree livestock. Originally a flea market, Jatujak (also spelled as Chatuchak) quickly outgrew the confines of the insect world to become much more than the sum of its disparate parts. These days, young Thai designers take advantage of the low onsite rent to punt their creative wares; if you so desire, you can peruse piles of customised Zippos that once belonged to American GIs; and tasty pickings conveniently punctuate every which way. Additionally, the exotic pet section particularly supports the theory that Jatujak has evolved its own diverse eco-system (albeit one that periodically gets busted for obviously illegal activites). All this can be a bit overwhelming at first, but persevere and a semblance of order should begin to crystallise from the chaos. Go in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the worst of the heat and the crowds. Or come for a leisurely browse on Friday before the real deluge hits; although only the weekend gig gives ardent shopaholics the fully blown, unadulterated Jatujak fix. 98 | SEP T EM BER 2014

> The Jatujak market of Bangkok Amber House Books | hardcover | B1,950

The Jatujak Market of Bangkok presents photographer Simon Bonython’s visual interpretation of Bangkok’s world-famous week­end market, giving particular emphasis on candid snaps of the general public and the characters who work there. In spite of the dark alleys and typically poorly lit stalls, Simon avoided using a tripod or flash, making for spontaneous, natural shots that capture the heat, buzz and colour of this labyrinthine treasure trove.

bangkok101.com


unique boutique

SHOPPING

Lychee’s Tea Cups E

xperiencing the Western tea culture is becoming an increasingly popular leisure activity among younger Thais as trendy tea houses spring up all over town and tea paraphernalia such as china cups & saucers, tea caddies and strainers become collectibles. Located at Chu Plaza behind the Thai Airways head office on Vipavadi Road, Lychee’s Tea Cups is home to an array of European tea sets. It was established by baking fanatic Jareeluck “Ja” Cherdcha, who owns over a hundred tea cups herself. For Ja, who often welcomes her clientele with homemade brownies, this is the realisation of a dream – her own little tea-related emporium. The store is crammed with a fine collection of beautiful and useful tea accessories and other vintage tableware items all picked by Ja herself, so customer are assured of quality and authenticity. Most of the products are imported from Europe, particularly tea-loving England but also from Germany and Sweden among others. In addition, the cosy outlet offers a selection of practical and decorative objects for the home and kitchen such as cake stands, photo frames, vases, lamps and ceramics. bangkok101.com

LYCHEE’S TEA CUPS Soi 7 Apples Market (behind Thai Airways Head office), Vipavadi Rangsit Rd | 08 1803 7310 | facebook.com/lycheeteacups | Thu-Sat 10am-5pm

SEP T EM BER 2014 | 99


WELLN ESS

treatment Yunomori

Refresh

REFRESH [MAP 3/N9] 43 Sukumvit Soi 24 | 0 2259 7235 refresh24spa.com | 9.30am-1am | $

One of Sukhumvit’s biggest, this 25-room manor of rubdown magic is located just down the road from Emporium mall – head here for a post mall-blitz recovery sesh. Instead of the exotic Thai overkill that prevails in spas here, this slick new-build has a plush neo-vintage look, with Louis XV-style furniture adorning the lobby and Victorian-style skirting boards lining the rooms and corridors. It’s different, but elegant, calming. The menu is similarly understated, dabbling mostly in unflashy rubs and scrubs, though there are packages and a selection of Jurlique and Algoane facials available. Of the offerings, the hot oil massage is our pick – this 90-minuter melds Thai, Balinese and other styles to snooze inducing effect.

LAVANA [MAP 3 / F 7] 4 Sukhumvit Soi 12 | 0 2229 4510 9am-11:30pm | $$$

Lavana does its treatments right. Spa options are refreshingly clear-cut, and primarily focused on massage. Scrubs and facials are also available, along with

Lavana

Shin Shin the unusual and intriguing Shirodhara oil treatment, in which warm oil is drizzled along the “third eye” in the forehead and massaged into the head and neck. Those seeking a tidier signature option should choose the herbal ball oil massage – Lavana’s dedicated therapists manage to pack a restful eternity into a well-priced 90 minutes. Masseuses combine long Swedish and sports-massage strokes with very detailed work on problem areas – they take computer-knotted shoulders and other ailments as a matter of personal concern, and banish those tweaks and twinges with wonderfully intense kneading and muscle release work.

YUNOMORI [MAP 3/O9] A Square, Sukhumvit 26 | 0 2259 5778 facebook.com/yunomorionsen | 10.30am12am | $$$

Yunomori isn’t an onsen (a Japanesestyle hot springs) in the strictest, most traditional sense of the word but rather the souped up inner-city version, with other facilities such as spas, restaurants and bars as well as pools to bath in. In the changing rooms, you strip off, lock away your belongings, take a deep breath and emerge, as naked as a

newborn, into the baths (guys bare all, girls can wear disposable underwear). Once happy in your birthday suit, the bath hopping begins. We counted five, from the warm soda bath featuring water infused with CO2 to the near scalding jet bath and main onsen, both of which use spring water sourced from Ranong. Once you’ve soaked until you can soak no more, head out in your slippers and explore Yunomori’s extras.

SHIN SHIN SPA  [MAP 3/Y6] L-floor Jasmine Resort Hotel, 1511 Sukhumvit Rd | 0 2335 5022 shinshinspa.com | 10am-8pm | $$

Located at the Jasmine Resort Hotel, on the same floor as the hotel pool and outdoor garden, the recently opened Shin Shin Spa offers modestly priced treatments in a clean, modern, minimally styled space. It’s not a big place by any means – there are two oil treatment rooms and a Thai massage room, and that’s it. However, Shin Shin’s size is no reflection of the quality on offer. In fact, as well as standards such as the wheatgrass welcome drink and aromatherapy foot cleansing ritual, it has a couple of aces up its sleeve that we’ve not come across before. First and foremost is the spa’s signature circular motion massage technique (Shin Shin translates as ‘vortex’ in Japanese). This is said to increase blood circulation and aid the absorption of oils into the skin. Secondly, a ‘silk essence’ lends a, well, silkiness to some of the massage treatments, including our pick: Shin Shin’s self-titled signature treatment.   SPA COSTS $ :: under B600 $$ :: B600-B1000 $$$ :: B1000-B2000 $$$$ :: B2000+

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treatment

WELLN ESS

Soaking it up at Cenvaree Spa T

he Centara Grand may be right in the bustling heart of Bangkok but high above the chaos of Sukhumvit, the Cenvaree Spa is an oasis of calm. You may be 25 floors up but that doesn’t prevent the outdoor terraces cultivating a lush, jungle-like environment – a pleasant, tropical distraction from the tangle of concrete far below. For anyone who has had the pleasure of visiting a high-end spa in Thailand, the interior will be familiar enough, furnished in dark teak wood and perfumed with hints of jasmine and sandalwood. There are many details that contribute to an enjoyable spa experience and, at the Cenvaree, the spacious dressing rooms are certainly part of the package, fitted out with a warm bath – for before or after treatments. The selection here is vast. If you really need to relax, try the evocatively named Salt Pot Muscles Melter (B2800 for 90 min), which is designed to flush all traces of tension from a tired frame. However, it’s hard to get past the Thai Harmony Four Hands Massage (B3000 for 90 min) which involves two expert Thai therapists working in unison. It’s

CENVAREE SPA AT CENTARA GRAND

undoubtedly more than the sum of its parts, delivering a feeling of intense relaxation. Another alternative is the Shirobhyanga, or Indian Head Massage (B1200 for 60 mins). Often during treatments, after the back and legs and have been kneaded into putty, it’s the light finish on the neck and scalp that is most effective. Here, you have the opportunity to extend that for an entire hour. Very tempting, indeed. A visit to Cenvaree is a remarkable salve for the stresses that build up in Bangkok – after an hour or so soaking up the benefits, you’ll not want to leave.

[MAP 4/F7]

25F Centara Grand at CentralWorld, 999/99 Rama 1 Rd 0 2769 1234 | spacenvaree.com

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GETTING THERE 102 | SEP T EM BER 2014

RAMA IV ROAD VIEW FROM SOFITEL SO bangkok101.com


RAIL

Chatuchak Park / BTS Mo Chit stations. Subway fares range from about B15 to B 39. www.bangkokmetro.co.th

SKYTRAIN (BTS) 

AIRPORT RAIL LINK 

The Bangkok Transit System, or BTS, is a two-line elevated train network covering the major commercial areas. Trains run every few minutes from 6 am to midnight, making the BTS a quick and reliable transport option, especially during heavy traffic jams. Fares range from B15 to B55; special tourist passes allowing unlimited travel for one day (B120) are available. BTS also provides free shuttle buses which transit passengers to and from stations and nearby areas. www.bts.co.th

SUBWAY (MRT)  Bangkok’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is another fast and reliable way to get across town. The 18-station line stretches 20 kms from Hualamphong (near the central

railway station) up to Bang Sue in the north. Subways run from 6 am to midnight daily, with trains arriving every 5 – 7 minutes. The underground connects with the BTS at MRT Silom / BTS Sala Daeng, MRT Sukhumvit / BTS Asok and MRT

RIVER

EXPRESS RIVER BOAT Bangkok’s vast network of inter-city waterways offer a quick and colourful alternative for getting around the city. Express boats ply the Chao Phraya River from the Saphan Taksin Bridge up to Nonthaburi, stopping at some 30 main piers altogether. Fares range from B9 to B32 depending on the distance, while tickets can either be bought on the boat or at the pier, depending on how much time you have. Boats depart every 20 minutes or so between 5.30am and 6pm. Crossriver services operate throughout the day from each pier for just B3.

CANAL BOAT Khlong Saen Saep canal boats operate from Phan Fa Leelard bridge, on the edge of the Old City, and zip east to Ramkhamhaeng University. However, you have to be quick to board them as they don’t usually wait around. Canal (khlong) boats tend to be frequent and cost around B9 to B19. Tickets are bought onboard. Note that the piers are a little hidden away, which makes them sometimes difficult to find.

ROAD BUS Bangkok has an extensive and inexpensive public bus service. Both open-air and air-conditioned vehicles are available, respectively for B5 and B7.50 – B23. As most destinations are noted only in Thai, it is advisable to get a bus route map (available at hotels, TAT offices and bookshops).

MOTORCYCLE TAXI In Bangkok’s heavy traffic, motorcycle taxis are the fastest, albeit most dangerous, form of road transport. Easily recognisable by their colourful vests, bangkok101.com

A 28 km long monorail links the city’s main international airport, Suvarnabhumi, with three stops in downtown Bangktok and four stops in the eastern suburbs. Trains run from 6am to midnight every day and follow two lines along the same route. The City Line stops at all stations (journey time: 30 minutes) and costs B15-45 per journey. The Express Line stops at downtown stations Makkasan (journey time: 13-14 minutes, trains leave every 40 minutes) or Phayathai (journey time: 17 minutes, trains leave every 30 minutes), the only one that intersects with the Skytrain. One-way Express Line tickets cost B90 while roundtrip tickets are available at the promotional fare of B150.

motorbike taxi drivers gather in groups. Fares should be negotiated beforehand.

TAXI Bangkok has thousands of metered,

air-con taxis available 24 hours. Flag fall is B 35 (for the first 2  kms) and the fare climbs in B 2 increments. Be sure the driver switches the meter on. No tipping, but rounding the fare up to the nearest B 5 or B10 is common. Additional passengers are not charged, nor is baggage. For trips to and from the airport, passengers should pay the expressway toll fees. When boarding from the queue outside the terminal, an additional B50 surcharge is added.

TUK-TUK Those three-wheeled taxis (or samlor) are best known as tuk-tuks, named for the steady whirr of their engines. A 10-minute ride should cost around B40. SEP T EM BER 2014 | 103


MAP 1  Greater Bangkok A

B

C

Greater Bangkok & the Chao Phraya  MAP 2 >

D

E

F

G

H

J

K

UTHAI THANI

CHAI NAT

2

Chiang Mai

LOP BURI

Nakhon Ratchasima c

Nakhon Ratchasima

Pattaya CAMBODIA Koh Samet Koh Chang

NAKHON RATCHASIM A

SARABURI

3

Andaman Sea

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya

Koh Samui

AYUTTHAYA

Phuket

PATHUM THANI 5

b

1 2

MALAYSIA

PRACHIN BURI

f c

RATCHABURI

VIETNAM

Gulf of Thailand

Krabi

NAKHON NAYOK

4

NAKHON PATHOM

Ubon

Bangkok

ANG THONG

KANCHANABURI

Udon Thani

Lop Buri

Kanchanaburi

LAOS

THAILAND

SING BURI

SUPHAN BURI

6

M 

MYANMAR

Uthai Thani

1

L

3

2

SAMUT SAKHON

SA KAEO

BANGKOK f a

CHACHOENGSAO

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SAMUT SONGKHRAM

CA M BODI A CHON BURI

Phetchaburi

7

Ko Sichang

PHETCHABURI 8

Pattaya RAYONG

Cha-am

CHANTHABURI

Rayong Hua Hin

Ko Samet

Muang Chantaburi

9

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN 10

Trat

Gulf of Thailand

M YA N M A R

Ko Chang

Prachuap Khiri Khan

11

Ko Kut

N

20 KM 20 miles

Country Border Boarder Crossing Province Border

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SIGHTSEEING a Bang Krachao b Rose Garden Riverside c Samphran Elephant Ground & Zoo d Ancient Siam (Muang Boran) e Safari World f Rama IX Royal Park

FLOATING MARKETS 1 Damnoen Saduak 2 Amphawa MUSEUMS 1 Erawan Museum 2 House of Museum 3 Thai Film Museum 4 Museum of Counterfeit Goods

NIGHT BAZAAR 1 Asiatique The Riverfront NIGHTLIFE 1 Parking Toys 2 Tawandang German [free shuttle boat from Sathorn

pier everyday 4.00-11.30 pm.]

HOTELS 1 Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort and Spa

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A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

J

K

L

M

N 

F

Tanya Tanee

PAK KRET

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

e

Khlong Sam wa

Royal Thai Army Sport Center

F5

1

Thanont

F

Chatuchak Bang Sue

Bang Phlat

Bueng Kum

8

Huai Khwang

Saphan Sung

Bang Kapi

F

Pathumwan

Bangkok Yai Wongwian Yai

Bang Rak

Khlong San *

Thon Buri 1

Chom Thong

F

9

10

1

Bang Kholaem

Lat Krabang

Suan Luang

Khlong Toei

Sathorn

60th Anniversary Queen Sirikit Park

Krungthep Unico Kreetha Grande

Watthana

Lumpini

7

Wang Thong lang

DinDaeng Ratchathewi

Mini Buri

F

Navatanee

Phayathai

Taling Chan

6

Khan na Yao

Mo Chit

Dusit

Bangkok Noi

Panya Indra

Lat Phrao

Chatuchak

Bang Sue

Bang Bon

Bang Khen

F

MUENG NONTHABURI

Phasi Charoen

1

Prawet Yan 2 Nawa

Rat Burana

Phra Khanong 4

Phra Pradaeng

f

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

d

17

Bangpoo

Gulf of Thailand

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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

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Da

en

kam

phae

ng P

het 7

Phet

g

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3

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e

Makkasan

tcha

Stat

) Phe

2nd

Phetchaburi

buri

4

road (Toll Expy

38/1

Su

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ng P

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kam

7

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Prasanmit Su

5

9/1

3

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2

on

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4

10

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So

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2

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14 35 31 38 39 26 7 29

LK

Soi

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1

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8

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um wit So

9

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ay sw

ana

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So

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300 m 1328 ft

Canal Boat BTS Silom Line BTS Sukhumvit Line Subway Line Railway

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Benjasiri Park

4

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 Marriott Bangkok 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 7 WTF 8 The Pikture Gallery

9 10

We*Do Gallery RMA

MALLS 1 Robinsons 2 Terminal 21 3 Emporium MARKETS 4 Sukhumvit

bangkok101.com

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42

30

12

11

CLUBS 1 Q Bar 3 Insomnia 10 Glow 24 Demo 26 Levels 27 Funky Villa pubs PUBS 11 The Hanrahans 12 The Pickled Liver 13 The Robin Hood bangkok101.com

13

14

The Royal Oak

20

The Iron Fairies Clouds 22 Fat Gut'z 23 Shades of Retro 25 diVino 28 Le Bar de L'Hotel 29 W XYZ 30 Face Bar 31 Marshmallow 32 Oskar Bistro 33 Tuba 34 Sonic 21

NIGHTLIFE 4 Long Table 5 Beervault 6 Diplomat Bar 7 The Living Room 8 Cheap Charlie's 9 Barsu 19 WTF 17 Alchemist 18 The ChindAsia

35

Apoteka Water Library 37 Gossip Bar 38 Nest 39 Above Eleven

36

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

SEP T EM BER 2014 | 107


MAP 4  Siam / Chit Lom F

5 Soi 3

Soi 31 Soi 33

Soi 25

Soi 29

12

Witthayu

Soi Tonson

Soi Lang Suan

Soi Nai Lert

QA VN

f

e

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9

NL

NZ UA

IT

15 13

b

d

Soi 2 Soi 3

Royal Bangkok Sports Club

8

Soi 3

i2

Ratchadamri

Soi 4

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

108 | SEP T EM BER 2014

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

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 Pratunam Center 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

2

Ratchadamri

Phloen Chit 16

an

8

2

mvit

Henri Dunant

Soi 6

Soi 5 Soi11

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11 13 FI 7 12 Soi Mahatlek Luang1

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Phaya Thai

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ng P

Rajamangala University

2

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1

19

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Dua

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ay

14

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10

8

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7

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Wat Pathum Wanaram

Nai Lert Park

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Soi 15

Soi 13

Soi 17 Soi 22

Witthayu Bridge

h

3

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Siam Square

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9

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6

5

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3

Srapathum Palace

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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

t nan nr y Thaniya

Soi 4

Patpong 1 Patpong 2 4

5 m n

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Lumpini Park

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Soi 6

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SG

14

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St. Joseph School

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5

Silom

l

g

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Chulalongkorn Hospital

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Royal Bangkok Sports Club

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en

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ot

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1

63

King Mongkut’s University of Technology

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V

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C N

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B

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A

8

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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

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 5 Alliance Francaise 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

N

River Ferry River Cross Ferry BTS Silom Line Subway Line Market

SIGHTSEEING a Snake Farm b MR Kukrit’s House SEP T EM BER 2014 | 109


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

B

C

1

F

G

H

Ma

M ai

Ba n D ok

1ulin oi Ch

E

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K

L

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So i 18

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C

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at

2

si

a n it 1

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it

g

S oi W

ang

So i 16

So i 21

on M an gk

Soi 14

Hua Lamphong Central Railway Station

i So

Du

ang

5

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t

Railway Market

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han

Phu

Subway Line

g

6

ae n Princess Mother Memorial Park

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

a

D Din

Memorial Bridge

Th

S ap

t

River Cross Ferry

han

Phu

River Ferry

S ap

e pir Em

200 m 1 000 ft

N

TEMPLES a Wat Ratburana b Wat Pra Phiren c Wat Bophit Phimuk d Wat Chakrawat e Wat Chaichana Songkhram f Wat Mangkon Kamalawat g Wat Samphanthawongsaram Worawiharn h Wat Traimit (Temple of the Golden Buddha) SIGHTSEEING j Chinatown Gate at the Odient Circle

110 | SEP T EM BER 2014

w Ta

Marine Dept.

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N

1

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6

9

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Sam peng Lane – Soi Wan

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MARKETS 1 Lang Krasuang Market 2 Ban Mo (Hi-Fi Market) 3 Pak Khlong Talat (Flower Market) 4 Yot Phiman Market 5 Pahurat – Indian Fabric Market 6 Sampeng Market 7 Woeng Nakhon Kasem (Thieves Market) 8 Khlong Tom Market 9 Talat Kao (Old Market) 10 Talat Mai (New Market)

bangkok101.com

an

N

4

K

So

i2

9


MAP 7  Rattanakosin (Oldtown) A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

Ra

ma

14

N

So

Rama VIII Bridge

J

K

L

M 

Ph

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cha

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Memorial Bridge

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11

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Soi B an

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Unakan Siri Phong

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aro

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7

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bangkok101.com

an thak

ha

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Kh

Sri

n ari Am un Ar

N

Phahurat Ban Mo

Soi

Wat Arun (Temple of the dawn)

Phra Phi Phit

Museum of Siam

8

Wat Saket

g

Royal Theatre

Thip Wari

7

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Bor iph at

tu

Che

at

Saphan Phut

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Wat Arun

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Rommaninat Park

Soi Sa Song Soi Long Tha

6

an

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Wat Suthat

Burapha

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Wat Pho

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mran

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Wat Ratchabophit

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ng i Wa

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Giant Swing

n kho

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City Hall

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Grand Palace

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Wat Ratchanatdaram

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Wat

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Democracy Monument

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t

Maharat

Wat Mahathat

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Silpokaorn University N

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Soi Dam

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aB National Museum

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National Arts Gallery

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ak

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Thonburi N11 Thonburi Railway Railway

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Wat Saodung

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N

16

5

Rajchawongse

SEP T EM BER 2014 | 111


M Y B A N G KO K

Lucille Krajciova

Investor and business consultant Lucille Krajciova only planned a short sojourn in Thailand when she arrived in the Kingdom a decade ago. But then Bangkok got well and truly under the Slovakian native’s skin and here she remains. The fashionable ‘girl about town’ is at the top of the invite list for the most elite gatherings and happenings and a regular at the city’s many exclusive night spots and eateries.

How long have you been in Bangkok and what brought you here? I arrived in Bangkok at the start of September 2004. I came here because I wanted to explore new career opportunities. My partner and I had the choice between Singapore, Vietnam or Thailand. I chose Thailand because of its wonderful culture and also because of the growing market in developing sectors and many industries. Our original plan was to stay for a year and then move on to Singapore. That didn’t happen because I grew so comfortable here. Apart from being settled, another key factor for staying was that my business partner, Teeraya Seeharit, and I wanted to get into the skincare and beauty product market, the growing stem cell industry to be precise. How has the city changed since your arrival? Bangkok has grown in the past 10 years, particularly the construction of many new roads and developments such as shopping malls, restaurants, residences, hotels and hospitals. And of course I have to mention transportation. The MRT and BTS systems have made life in this busy city much easier. How has the investment climate changed in recent years? Where do you see it heading? Generally speaking, in recent years investors have been much more careful about what they are investing 112 | SEP T EM BER 2014

in. This applies both here and globally. I thinks this is due to in part to a residual caution after the Asian economic crisis in the late 1990’s and the more recent European debt crisis. Over the past couple of years certain industries have done consistently well in Thailand, the beauty and cosmetics sector being one. It remains a fastgrowing trend – ‘physical’ anti-aging products in particular – which is why I have become involved with Luminesce, one of the world’s leading stem cell-based skincare products. It really is booming. Favourite boutiques for some ‘retail therapy’? This is difficult because the choice is endless. I truly enjoy wandering around Terminal 21. The mall has a unique theme with each floor decorated to take on the ambience of a well-known city such as London, Rome, Paris, etc. Hordes of tourist and locals flock to the mall for its wide variety of unique boutiques and local designer apparel. I enjoy also shopping in the ChidlomPloenchit area. It’s something of a battleground for the city’s finest malls, including Gaysorn, Central World, Zen and Erawan. You can easily find what you want and discover trendy new things to buy along the way. Best place for a drink? Bangkok is blessed with super-design, Wallpaper*-esque nightlife concept outlets and has been since the emergence of ‘it’ joints such as Levels,

FACE Bar, Demo and Fallabella over the last decade. This has continued with venues like KU DE TA. I enjoy them all on occasion. Making waves of late are two new roof-top hotspots – Scarlett, high above Pullman Bangkok, is perfect for the sunset scene, while I love both the ambience and food at Speakeasy at Hotel Muse. I also enjoy the intimacy of Maggie Choo’s! Favourite places to dine? I’ve always liked Eat Me on Soi Convent, but I also adore dining at Antonio on Sukhumvit 31, 661 Silom on Silom Road, and Opus on Silom Soi Pan. I’m a big fan of Japanese cuisine too, hence regular visits to Izakaya at KU DE TA. In addition, I like to dine at Spasso at Grand Hyatt Erawan. The food there is fantastic. Where in the city do you go to find some solitude? For much needed ‘me time’ I visit the Health Land spa on Sathorn. It’s very tranquil and convenient. For fresh air and exercise I enjoy bike riding and rollerblading in Lumpini Park and Queen Sirikit Park. What would be your motto for life and what advice would you give to new arrivals in Bangkok? My motto is ‘To Inspire and Achieve’! My advice to any newcomer is check out all the city has to offer before exploring the region. You’ll be here a while! Be kind and respectful, always smile, and maintain your sense of adventure. bangkok101.com


Bangkok101 Magazine September 2014  

Bangkok's leading travel and leisure magazine

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