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Adventures in Food

TM

A community of like-minded nomads, united in the pursuit of food; from chefs and restaurants to street food, culinary events and international forums. Come and discover a new culinary universe with us. See the website for future events.

Contact us: info@gastronauts.asia

www.gastronauts.asia


F

Publisher’s Letter

or November, we take to the waters and dedicate the issue to the riverside. With the iconic Chao Phraya River playing such an essential part in the lives of Bangkokians, it can often be overlooked; however, it swarms with life every hour of every day. People live and work on it, and next to it, they turn to it for travel, sustenance, for the importing and exporting of goods. And then, there are intriguing mazes of khlongs and the riverside communities, not to mention the modern-day expansion of properties emerging along the river’s edge. We begin with “My Bangkok” (p.12) and an interview with restaurateur Thanaruek Laoraowirodge on his Supanniga Champagne Cruise, followed by “Tales from the Riverbank” an interview series with riverside characters. Meet Charlie Lee (p.31)—a boat operator on the Chao Phraya for over 20 years—and Steve Van Beek (p.40)—author of Slithering South and numerous other books about Thailand, and a man fascinated with how the rivers and the sea have shaped Thailand’s history and culture—and David Robinson (p.43)—Director of the Bangkok River Partners and Co-founder of the Creative District Foundation. Snapshots (p.46) continues with our riverside theme, looking at the National Museum of Royal Barges and in Travel (p.52) we head on over to Koh Samui, Thailand’s second largest island, including a report back from the Four Seasons (p.66). Arts & Culture (p.70) continues to update you with the month’s recent gallery opening and current exhibitions, along with a colourful Photo Feature (p.76) from Pak Khlong Talat—Bangkok’s primary flower market, on the banks of the Chao Phraya. We have our columnists in Food & Drink (p.82), giving their opinion of varied subjects from the culinary legacy of Foy Thong (p.88) to Boat Noodles (p.89), and reviews of newly opened Karmakamet Conveyance (p.92) within Lhong 1919, and Jua, Bangkok Heightz and River Barge at the Chatrium Hotel. And, in “Breaking Bread” (p.98) we meet Chef Nick Natthapol Pavapaiboon, the mastermind behind Palace of Fireflies at Wang Hinghoi. All of this and more—including Enjoy. our 101 archive and extras—can be found online at www.bangkok101. com. A couple of clicks are all it takes to keep in touch with what’s Mason Florence happening in Bangkok and beyond. And, if you as a reader feel there’s Publisher something we’re not covering, but should be, please drop us a line at info@talisman.asia.

What is Bangkok 101 Independent and unbiased, Bangkok 101 caters to savvy travellers who yearn for more than what they find in guidebooks. It brings together an authoritative who’s who of city residents, writers, photographers and cultural commentators. The result is a compact and intelligent hybrid of monthly travel guide and city magazine that takes you on and off the well-worn tourist track. Bangkok 101 employs the highest editorial standards, with no fluff, and no smut. Our editorial content cannot be bought. We rigorously maintain the focus on our readers, and our ongoing mission is to ensure they enjoy this great city as much as we love living in it.

B A N G K O K 101 P A R T N E R S

bangkok101.com

NOVEMBER 2018 | 5


CONTENTS 48

CITY PULSE

52

8 Metro Beat Find out what’s going on this month in Bangkok 12

My Bangkok An interview with Thanaruek Laoraowirodge

76

14 Bangkok Riverside: A Quick Guide A brief overview of spas, dining, drinking, eating and shopping along the river

14

SNAPSHOTS 46

Now New Next An interview with Artist Bruce Gundersen

48

Joe’s Bangkok Royal Barge Museum: A History

50 Heritage “Roots of Prosperity” by Luc Citrinot 18

Riverside Shopping The best place to shop along the river

24

Riverside Bar Views A select few of the best locations to sit back with a drink and watch the boats pass

28

Supanniga Cruise A report from onboard the Supanniga Champagne Cruise

32 Tales from the Riverbank Read an interview with Charlie Lee, the self- titled “river rat” of the Chao Phraya 34

A Maze of Amazing Khlongs Hear about a riverboat journey on the Chao Phraya, venturing deep into Bangkok’s canal territory

43

Tales from the Riverbank An interview with David Robinson, Director of Bangkok River Partners

TRAVEL 52

Koh Samui 101 Reporting from Thailand’s second largest island

66

Four Seasons Koh Samui David J. Constable reports back from a blissful stay at this hidden Samui retreat

ART & CULTURE 72

Art Exhibitions Latest gallery openings and November exhibitions from across the city

74

Museum Spotlight National Museum of Royal Barges

76

Photo Feature A photo series from Bangkok’s vibrant and colourful Flower Market

Bangkok 101 is available at: 6 | NOVEMBER 2018

bangkok101.com


CONTENTS 90

FOOD & DRINK 82

Food & Drink Updates

86 Kitchen Backstories Unravelling the threads of a culinary legacy 87

Chew On This Boat Noodles

88

Eat Like Nym Peng Peng Khao Tom

89

Bitchin’ in the Kitchen Samantha tells it like it is

96

90 Restaurant Reviews Karmakamet Conveyance, Jua, Bangkok Heightz, River Barge Restaurant 96

Breaking Bread with Chef Nick Natthapol Pavapaiboon, Palace of Fireflies, Wang Hinghoi

98

Food & Drink Listings Capsule reviews of select restaurants in Bangkok

104 Bar Reviewss Character Whisky & Cigar Bar 106 Nightlife Listings Capsule reviews of select bars and music venues in Bangkok

SIGNING OFF

NIGHTLIFE

108 Did You Know?... A brief history of the Chao Phraya River

103 Nightlife Updates

ART DIRECTOR

GENERAL MANAGER

Narong Srisaiya

Jhone El’Mamuwaldi

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

SALES MANAGER

Thanakrit Skulchartchai

Ornuma Promsrikaew

PUBLISHER

STRATEGISTS

DISTRIBUTION & MARKETING

Mason Florence

Sebastien Berger Nathinee Chen

COORDINATOR

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

EVENT & SPECIAL PROJECTS

Tipparnee Prajakwit

Luc Citrinot, Robin Westley Martin, Samantha Proyrungtong, Korakot (Nym) Punlopruksa, Anansit Sangsawang, Wattanaporn Sodasoi, Tom Vitayakul, Rosalind Yunibandhu

Wasin Banjerdtanakul

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Dr Jesda M. Tivayanond

MANAGING EDITOR

David J. Constable EDITOR-AT-LARGE

Joe Cummings ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Zazi Ruengchinda

104

Pichet Ruengjit

EVENT COORDINATOR

Panisara Bunnag

PUBLISHED BY

Talisman Media Group Co., Ltd. 54 Naradhivas Rajanagarinda Soi 4, Sathorn Tai Rd,Yannawa, Sathorn, Bangkok 10120 Tel: 02 286 7821 Fax: 02 286 7829 info@talisman.asia © Copyright Talisman Media Group Co., Ltd 2018. 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.


CITY PULSE | metro beat

FOOD & DRINK November 2-3

THANKSGIVING

Diners will have a chance to enjoy what makes The Dining Room at The House on Sathorn so special when guest Chef Dani García of the 2-Michelin-Starred Dani Garcia Restaurante, Marbella in Spain, presents an extraordinary 12-course degustation menu (THB 9,900++/person). Chef García describes his cooking as “cosmopolitan” and the “product of many influences, as well as based on multiple concepts.” One aspect inspiring all his cuisine, however, is the chef’s Andalusian heritage. For his two evenings at The Dining Room, Chef García will collaborate with Chef Fatih Tutak on a 12-course degustation menu. Comprising nine courses by Chef García and three by Chef Fatih. www.thehouseonsathorn.com/en/dani-garcia

November 17 & 24

November 22

This year, enjoy all that Thanksgiving has to offer at The Dining Room at Grand Hyatt Erawan with an unlimited international buffet, featuring traditional highlights, including roasted crispy turkey, maple syrup, bread stuffing, cranberry jelly, roasted vegetables, a wild rocket salad with apple and walnut, and a variety of side dishes such as mashed potato and truffle and Brussels sprouts. Finish off the evening with a variety of classic Thanksgiving desserts such as mini pumpkin pie, pear and cinnamon cake, salted caramel sauce, cranberry mousse, apple compote and Oreo cheesecake. Prices are THB 1,790++ per adult and THB835++ per child. Available for dinner from 6pm-10pm. Secure your table now. For reservations, please call the food and beverage reservation center on 0 2254 6250 or email restaurants. bangh@hyatt.com. 8 | NOVEMBER 2018

Siam Paragon, in cooperation with Gastronauts Asia, is pleased to announce the first installment of the much anticipated “Cross-Concept Pop-Up Series”. To create a unique dining experience, world-renowned chefs will take over the food and beverage outlets within Siam Paragon, including The Costardi Brothers from the Michelin-rated Hotel Cinzia Ristorante in Piedmont at AMICI Restaurant (16th & 17th) and the pastry chef Fabrizio Fiorani from the Michelin-rated IL Ristorante in Tokyo at Ladurée (23rd & 24th). For more information, please contact: Khun Asonkai Tayasil (Joy) at Siam Paragon: Asongkai.t@siamparagon.co.th

STARS IN THEIR EYES November 14

The second edition of the much-anticaption Bangkok Michelin Guide is released on Wednesday 14th with the star revelations and a gala event held at Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok. The city’s top chefs will be in town to discover whether they’ll be the lucky recipient of a gleaming and much-coveted star (or two, or even three). This year, Phuket and Phang-Nga have been added too. Gala Dinner Tickets Sold Out. To follow the action across social media, search and follow: #MICHELINSTAR19 #MICHELINGUIDETH19. For full details, please visit: http://bit.ly/MICHELIN-Star-Revelation-2019EN bangkok101.com


presents

WORLD OF TASTE GALA An extraordinary dining experience with Michelin-Starred Restaurant Chefs

CROSS-CONCEPT POP-UP SERIES

(Sweet

THE COSTARDI BROTHERS

Savoury)

Fabrizio Fiorani

Ristorante Christian e Manuel Vercelli, Italy

A pastry Chef from il Ristorante Luca Fantin Bvlgari Tokyo-Osaka, Japan

16-17 NOVEMBER 2018

23-24 NOVEMBER 2018

at AMICI, G floor, Siam Paragon

at Ladurée Salon de thé, M floor, Siam Paragon

powered by

sponsored by


CITY PULSE | metro beat

PHOTOGRAPHY

MUSIC November 2

Legendary DJ and record producer of electronic dance music, Mark Sherry, will perform “Rush Ep.2” this month at Beans Nightclub Bangkok. The pioneer of tech-trance is known for his Outburst sound and high profile gigs, so expect a loud and rawkus evening of pumping dance tunes at Beans. Tickets cost B650 and include one free drink. www.ticketmelon.com/tlt/marksherry

November 3December 28

Kathmandu Photo Gallery proudly presents “The White Wall” and a photographic exhibition by Chakrit Leelachupong. At first glance Leelachupong seems to be toying with light and shadow in the exhibition, but these unique series of photos actually record ordinary people’s rituals of grief for their beloved King Rama 9, after he died in October 2016 when the white wall that surrounds the Grand Palace, where King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s body lay in state, became the place for simple displays of mourning by ordinary people. A professional photographer based in Bangkok, this is Leelachupong’s first solo exhibition at Kathmandu Photo Gallery. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-6pm, Sunday by appointment only. www.kathmanduphotobkk.com

BALANCE & CALM November 3

A free introduction to Meditation, held at Bangkok Meditation Center (Sukhumvit Soi 39) that will help guests to focus and allow them to let go of the sources of the obstacles and burdens that cramp the mind. As they empty their minds from accumulated thoughts, they will notice a feeling of openness and of being more aware of the world that surrounds them. Two hour blocks of lectures and meditations run throughout the day. www.meditationbangkok.org 10 | NOV EMBER 2018

November 30

Singing and songwriting sensation Rachael Yamagata will perform at the Overtone Music Cave on Friday 30th November. The American musician began her musical career with the band Bumpus before becoming a solo artist and releasing five EPs and four studio albums. She has since built a global following and has toured with the likes of The Swell Season, Ray LaMontagne and Ryan Adams. She was also invited to perform for President Obama and the First Lady in 2016. Tickets are priced at B1,800 with VIP Packages available. www.ticketmelon.com/pmg/rachael-yamagata

GRAND OPENING November 9

Bangkok’s IconSiam development opens this month. The US$1.67 billion complex opens on a 400-metre-long stretch of the Chao Phraya River and will feature 14 flagship stores of internationally renowned brands, many of them taking space in the ultraluxury 25,000sqm glass pavilion called IconLuxe, located next to the river and featuring the longest pillarless glass facade in the world. The site also has 400 meters of river frontage, the longest of any property in central Bangkok. www.iconsiam.com bangkok101.com


metro beat | CITY PULSE

CRUISE

DANCE FEST November 24

Experience the Estrella Damm Mediterranean Cruise in Koh Phai, by Comte de Sibour. Estrella Damm is happy to announce the Damm Mediterranean Cruise on Saturday 24th November upon a 71-foot luxury Catamaran for a one day trip to the heavenly island of Koh Phai. The trip will include a premium selection of food and drinks, snorkelling, fishing, Free Flow Estrella Damm beers and much, much more! Group tickets available from B3,800. www.ticketmelon.com/estrella-damm-mediterranean-cruise/ dammmediterranean-nov2018

THE EXTRA MILE November 18

Time to get your running shoes on… The DMS Bangkok Marathon is the largest marathon in Thailand. The Sunday of the third week of November, the event will begin (and end) on Sanchai Road, in front of the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew or the Ministry of Defense. Traffic in the area will be closed on the day of the event, so if you’re not competing, then come out and support the runners. It is said that the event is one of the world’s great marathons, taking place in some of the most elegant surroundings. There will also be a Mini Marthon for children taking place on the day. www.bkkmarathon.com/home

The International Dance Education Expo (IDEE) is the biggest gathering of international and local dance community and trade. The event this year will be held at the Helix Garden on the 5th Floor at The Emquartier. Solo dance competition are open to anyone 1o years of age and up with judge representatives from many renowned dance institutions. Competition will take place on Saturday 24th and the Winner Showcase on Sunday 25th November. A registration fee costs B1,980, payable on the day. www.ticketmelon.com/756/ idee2018

WEBINAR

SPORT Throughout November

If you’re hoping to catch some authentic Muay Thai Boxing competitions, then head on over to Rajadamnern Stadium where four times a week they have bouts open to the public. Every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday doors open from 6pm and guests can experience ringside seating, bringing them up close to the boxers and surrounded by fighter supporters. Ticket prices range from B1,000-B2,000. Please note to keep your confirmation email as E-Tickets are collected at the Entrance upon arrival from Prepaid Ticket Lane. www.rajadamnern.com/tickets bangkok101.com

November 24-25

November 7

You want to be financially independent. You know you can do things in a different way, like starting a blog, making money online, be location independent... But you don’t know how to do it. Well, here’s your chance to find out. The “How To Start a Blog And Make Money Online Webinar” will cover all of these points and help to get you started. This is an online only event. Webinar language is English. Brought to you by iaminyourshoes.com. www.eventful.com/bangkok/ events/start-blog-and-makemoney-on-/E0-001-1172656582@2018110719 NOVEMBER 2018 | 11


CITY PULSE | my bangkok

My Bangkok:

THANARUEK Laoraowirodge

With a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York and outlets in Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Tokyo, not to mention tea crusies along the Chao Phraya River, what’s next for this vibrant Bangkok entrepreneur?

12 | NOVEMBER 2018

bangkok101.com


T

my bangkok | CITY PULSE

hanaruek Laoraowirodge was born in the Northeastern province of Khon Kaen, but it was his grandmother from Eastern Thailand who had the most influence on him during his formative years. I’ll let him explain for himself.

University, myself and some friends found ourselves hankering after the style of dining we had experienced in the States, and we opened Minibar Royale. There was nowhere else in Bangkok like it which is why it quickly became a popular hangout.

Being born in Khon Kaen, Northeast Thailand, can you tell us how you came to know and love Bangkok? I studied in Khon Kaen until 6th grade, but it was always my father’s wish that I followed in his footsteps, as his education had been in Bangkok’s best schools and universities. I am more than happy to say that I did indeed follow his tracks, and am grateful to him for pushing me in that direction. I was actually a bit of a nerd in those days, always with my nose in an economics book, till late at night.

So, this was the powder that ignited your enthusiasm for the restaurant trade? Yes, it was, and in going forward, I wanted to use this initial venture into an industry I was not familiar with to offer a value-added dining experience. What better way to do this than to utilise the recipes of my grandmother; to give other people the chance to have the same memorable and happy experiences I had while growing up. The name of my restaurants and the river cruise is ‘Supanniga’ which was her favourite flower. There are no pretensions in my restaurants, come as you want, you will be made welcome, and can enjoy the best home-style cooking outside your own home.

(one in NYC with a Michelin-star) and a Supanniga River Cruise? My grandmother nurtured my love of home cooking. She came from Trat, in Eastern Thailand, and was the big boss of the house, and although never being trained professionally, she gave us recipes passed down through the family, which I have now fused with the tastes of the Central and Northeastern regions. And, it is also thanks to the influence of my grandmother that my restaurants and cruise have such an unpretentious, homely, welcoming feel and ambience. Where do you think the most exciting place in Bangkok is right now, for dining and entertainment? I think Charoenkrung Road is the place to keep an eye on. There are nice boutique guesthouses, bars, cafes, and unique restaurants, with more coming online month by month. Bangkok is developing fast in a modern way, but it still keeps its charms and its cultural roots. I want to do the same.

When you returned to Thailand after your studies in New York how was it that you came to point your energies towards the restaurant trade? When I returned to Thailand What is the secret of your success after earning my Masters Degree in the restaurant industry? From interview by in Economics from New York small beginnings to eight outlets Robin Westley Martin

bangkok101.com

NOVEMBER 2018 | 13


CITY PULSE | best of bkk

Bangkok Riverside:

A QUICK GUIDE The Chao Phraya River is the heart of Bangkok and the riverside one of its most charismatic areas from which you can explore the city from the water or watch the world go by on its riverbanks.

14 | NOV EM BER 2018

bangkok101.com


best of bkk | CITY PULSE

A

lthough the Chao Phraya River stretches through Bangkok, the area of most interest to visitors lies in central Bangkok, where the river borders the royal island of Rattanakosin and the opposite riverbank is full of attractions. This part of the city is home to some of the city’s most luxurious hotels and most impressive temples, along with several other landmarks. Accessible by BTS and riverboat, getting around the riverside area is pretty easy, even for a first time visitor. Make sure that you don’t miss the opportunity to take one of Thailand’s iconic longtail boats or perhaps opt for a more sedate cruise up to the ancient city of Ayutthaya. We offer just a few things to find along the river, whether you’re after a museum, a traditional Thai massage, or looking for a shopaholic experience, Bangkok’s riverside has it all.

bangkok101.com

NOVEMBER 2018 | 15


CITY PULSE | best of bkk

Getting to Riverside By BTS: Sathorn Pier, the central pier for the Chao Phraya Express Boat, is a short walk from Saphan Taksin BTS Station. Most of the high-end hotels along the river run a free shuttle boat to and from the Sathorn Pier. By River Boat: Almost all of the top sights along the riverside can be reached on the Chao Phraya Express Boat. Oriental (N1) and Si Phraya (N3) piers cover most of the Silom/Riverside area, while Tha Chang Pier (N9) provides easy access to Rattanakosin and the Grand Palace. 16 | NOV EM BER 2018

bangkok101.com


best of bkk | CITY PULSE

Wat Arun also known as the “Temple of Dawn” is an impressive riverside temple dating back to the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Reaching Wat Arun from the river is easy: take the Express Boat to Tha Tien Pier (N8), then take the cross-river ferry to the temple. Wat Prayoon is a white Buddhist temple

located on the Thonburi side of the river. Quiet and far less crowded than Wat Arun, the grounds of Wat Prayoon contain ponds with turtles and catfish. Take the Express Boat to Memorial Bridge (N6) then cross the bridge to arrive.

Asiatique: The Riverfront offers riverfront shopping and dining in a location that’s easy to access from all of the riverside hotels. Hundreds of stalls, a Ferris wheel and riverside dining make this a fun destination for families. Take the free shuttle boat from Sathorn Pier (CEN). East Asiatic Company Building was built

in 1901. The old Bangkok headquarters of the East Asiatic Company stand out from the huge luxury hotels that dominate the Chao Phraya area. Currently unused, the East Asiatic Company Building is fun to spot while you travel along the river from Sathorn Pier.

Assumption Cathedral Bangkok is obviously better known for its Buddhist temples than its Catholic cathedrals, but the beautiful Assumption Cathedral—located on Charoen Krung Soi 40—is worth a visit if you’re staying near the river.

Siriraj Medical Museum If you have a

weak stomach, it’s best to avoid Siriraj Medical Museum. If not, you’ll enjoy visiting this fairly morbid museum, which contains everything from embalmed corpses, including that of the cannibalistic Thai serial killer, Si Quey, to Elephantiasis-infected body parts.

Thai Massage and Spas The Riverside area is home to several

of Bangkok’s most luxurious hotel spas, as well as an assortment of inexpensive Thai massage shops. Try Nemita Spa for something special.

Khlong Tours While the Chao Phraya River is usually busy with traffic all day, most of the khlongs (canals) on the Thonburi side of the river reflect a quieter side of Bangkok life. Pandan Tours offers a great canal tour that lets you see Bangkok’s ancient waterway transport system up close.

bangkok101.com

NOV EM BER 2018 | 17


CITY PULSE | best of bkk

Bangkok Riverside

SHOPPING

Antiques, foods and Thai crafts: A handful of the city’s best riverside shopping locations. With so much of Bangkok’s history to absorb, there won’t be much time left for shopping. However, there are a few little treats lined up in the form of Thai arts, crafts and antiquities at River City or OP Place next to the famous Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Or, for a really local shopping experience, it costs all of 2.5 baht to cross the river from the pier between River City and the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers. What you’ll discover on the other side, tucked away in an alley next to the Millennium Hilton Hotel, is as local as it gets; clothing, shoes, bags, fashion accessories, fresh fruits... there really is so much to explore! Here are just a few options to tame that shopaholic craving.

ASIATIQUE THE RIVERFRONT Asiatique has successfully combined two of the most popular shopping experiences in the city: a night bazaar and a mall. Ten minutes downriver from Saphan Taksin BTS station this once-bustling international trade port has been transformed, with over 1,500 boutiques and 40 restaurants housed under a huge replica warehouse complex. Spending an evening here is no problem as you’ll have great fun browsing the boutiques and picking up gifts. Shows are also performed nightly, such as the Calypso Ladyboy Cabaret and a classic Thai puppet performance by the Joe Louis Theatre. The easiest and fastest way to get to Asiatique is via boat. Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin and jump on the free shuttle at the end of the pier. The boat runs until 11pm. Chareonkrung Soi 74-76 Opening Hours: Daily, 5pm-midnight

18 | NOVEMBER 2018

bangkok101.com


best of bkk | CITY PULSE

ORIENTAL PLAZA (OP PLACE) Even if you haven’t come to Bangkok to take home an antique stone elephant or art from the northern tribes of Thailand, Oriental Plaza (OP Place) is still a fantastic place to visit. This shopping centre is more like an art gallery or museum than a department store with 50 boutiques displaying a host of fantastic pieces to admire. As well as fine arts shops there are also some well-known tailors and jewellers. OP Place also has a reputation for luxury with all antiques having been issued with certificates from Thailand’s Fine Arts Department. The Plaza was completed in 1908 and was once the centre for trade in the early 20th century. It

bangkok101.com

is very fitting that this used to be the European neighbourhood as OP Place’s facade is neoclassical, standing out amongst the ramshackle shops and houses that border the lanes around it. It is easy to spend an hour or so walking around, checking out the curios and lusting after beautiful works of art. Also, it’s only a few minutes walk along Charoen Krung (New Road), just turn left when you see the sign. 30/1 Soi Charoen Krung 38 (behind the Mandarin Oriental Hotel) Opening Hours: Daily, 10:30am-6:30pm (some stores close on Sundays)

NOV EMBER 2018 | 19


CITY PULSE | best of bkk

RIVER CITY SHOPPING COMPLEX

THA MAHARAJ MALL

Built around 1980, River City is a four-storey building that started life as a huge Thai and Asian Antique showcase with dozens of shops displaying the most amazing pieces of antique artefacts. However, over the years its glory gradually faded and until recently, River City was merely considered a pier where tourists would embark for excursions down the river. A couple of years ago, however, River City rose from its ashes to once again shine as a landmark shopping complex along the river bank. The new complex takes advantage of its unique riverside location and four trendy bars and restaurants now offer seating on a wide wooden deck, exactly the kind of night venue that was missing in Bangkok. Meanwhile, shopping includes everything from art and antiques to jewelry and handmade cosmetics.

Tha Maharaj is one of only a handful of shopping malls located in Bangkok’s historic Old City. Walking distance from many of the capital’s most famous sights such as Wat Pho and the Grand Palace, Tha Maharaj also benefits from an idyllic riverside location with its very own pier so arriving by boat is the most popular way to reach the mall. If you’re on a sightseeing trip, the mall is simple to reach on foot and is only a few minutes from The Grand Palace. In terms of shopping, options are mostly centered around fashion, beauty and antique boutiques. The second floor does have a few interesting units filled with amulet dealers who have a wide range of styles, including hard-to-find originals. The elegant pavilion-styled architecture make it a special shopping experience.

Charoen Krung Soi 30 (next to the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel) Opening Hours: 10am-8pm

Tha Maharaj, 11/1, Maharaj Rd. Opening Hours: Daily, 10am-10pm

20 | NOVEMBER 2018

bangkok101.com


best of bkk | CITY PULSE

YODPIMAN RIVER WALK

TA TIAN MARKET

Yodpiman River Walk is a lifestyle mall focusing on a heritage theme inspired by the architecture of Thailand’s Ayuthaya period, and features the longest riverside walkway in the Rattanakosin area. Ornate, period fixtures are fitted throughout Yodpiman and are in keeping with the feel of Old City Bangkok. Opening in late-2014 as a self-titled Thai Heritage Mall, this is a fine place to spend an afternoon with a wide promenade with shops selling everything from flowers to fashion to Thai handicrafts. Inside of the building, you’ll discover charming little pop-up shops with fashions from many local designers. And, adding to this special setting, Yodpiman River Walk is also the location for Bangkok’s famous Flower Market, so the perfect spot to shop and collect your colourful orchids and lotus flowers.

Ta Tian Market is an immense fresh market located by the riverside, opposite the white walls of Wat Pho. The market itself is easily missed by most visitors who often take a break at one of the charming little cafes under the arches of the SinoPortuguese façades, and not many actually spot the small entrance right in the middle of this U-shaped heritage style building. A discreet door opens onto a short tunnel and beyond it, only the curious traveller discovers a gigantic and busy market. The market itself is made of a basic wood structure and shops are at best assembled with planks or at worst consist of tables folded every night. Lighting comes from bare bulbs hanging from some rough electric wires and the only visible modern facilities are fridges and mini TV sets.

Soi Tha Klang, Wang Burapha Phirom (behind the Bangkok Flower Market) Opening Hours: Daily, 10am-10pm

Maharaj Rd. (directly across from Wat Pho) Opening Hours: Daily, 11am-7:30pm

bangkok101.com

NOVEMBER 2018 | 21


UND ERG RO U

OVERGROUND ND

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LEADING ART GALLERIES BANGKOKARTMAP


best of bkk | CITY PULSE

Iconsiam Thai shopping mall developer Siam Piwat opens the country’s largest commercial complex this month as the much anticipated Iconsiam opens to the public.

R

eported to be a $1.6 billion project, as well as numerous stores and luxury boutiques—many of which are brands entering the Thai market for the first time—Iconsiam will also boast high-rise condominiums. Two luxury condo towers—one rising 70 stories and the other 52—stand adjacent to the new mall. Meanwhile, the commercial and entertainment hub will include a department store operated by Japan’s Takashimaya serving as the core tenant. The total floor space of about 750,000 sq. meters, and across 10 floors (including the underground) surpasses even retail giant Central Group’s CentralWorld mall. Iconsiam could redraw the city’s commercial map. The new complex sits on the bank of the Chao Phraya River on the western side of central Bangkok, away from the Siam and Sukhumvit areas that serve as the capital city’s main shopping districts. Whatever it’s role, it has certainly become a unique and special part of the river story, and a clear and distinctive addition to the Bangkok city skyline. www.iconsiam.com

bangkok101.com

NOVEMBER 2018 | 23


CITY PULSE | best of bkk

Top Bangkok Riverside

BAR VIEWS ALFRESCO 64 - A CHIVAS BAR, LEBUA

Perched 800 feet in the air on the 64th floor of the Tower Club at lebua, Alfresco 64 is the highest outdoor whisky bar in the world, offering connoisseurs and luxury jet-setters the ultimate whisky drinking experience along with stunning aerial views of the skyline and the Chao Phraya River below. The design draws inspiration from the sleek lines of a yacht with a 200-sqm ultra-luxury bar, and the added bonus of spectacular views of Wat Arun, especially at sunset. 1055, State Tower, Si Lom | www.lebua.com/alfresco-64

ATTITUDE, AVANI RIVERSIDE High up—26 stories in fact—way above the Chao Phraya River, Attitude offers not only stunning views but stunning cocktails too, served alongside Asian-influenced tapas plates at very reasonable prices. Mingle at the al fresco bar or embrace sophistication inside the art deco dining room. A beautiful location to socialise and sip cocktails—we recommend “Magic Summer” with Broken Shed Vodka, Vanilla Liquor, Cheery Heering and Lime—plus they have live DJ sets if you want to get down and funky. 257 Charoennakorn | www.attitudebangkok.com

THE SUMMER HOUSE PROJECT Only a stones throw from The Never Ending Summer, you’ll find the beautiful The Summer House Project terrace with a stunning waterfront view. The artfully decorated outdoor space is perfect for pre-dinner drinks and as darkness falls watch the lights of the city flicker on. If you’re trying to impress, then this is an excellent first-date spot. 41/5 Charoen Nakorn Rd. | www.facebook.com/TheNeverEndingSummer

THE LANTERN, MILLENNIUM HILTON BANGKOK Located within the hotel, on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, this is a mecca for lovers of fine blended teas all paired with artfully crafted chocolate and delicious desserts, created by the in-house pastry chef from Switzerland. With up-close views of the flowing river and bobbing boats, this is an ideal spot for those wishing to unwind and relax. 123 Charoennakorn Rd., Klongsan | www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/thailand/ millennium-hilton-bangkok-BKKHITW/dining/index.html 24 | NOVEMBER 2018

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THE DECK, ARUN RESIDENCE This is, quite possibly, the best view of Wat Arun in all of Bangkok and better still, you can enjoy it in a seat right by the Chao Phraya River, looking out across the water with a cocktail or glass of wine in your hand. Watch as the sun sets over Wat Arun and the lights flicker on, illuminating the iconic temple—very Instagram-friendly! The atmosphere here is laid back, with no dress code, and prices are reasonable. There is also an elegant restaurant with top-notch king river prawns among many other culinary delights. 6-38 Soi Pratoo Nok Yoong, Maharat Rd. | www.facebook.com/pages/Amorosa

STEVE’S CAFÉ & CUISINE There are in fact three branches of Steve’s Café & Cuisine, but the Dhevet branch, located in the small community behind Wat Devarajkoonchon, is the riverside original. This 60-year-old plus house was recently revamped after serious damage was caused by flooding, and now, after a bright lick of paint, the famed café has undergone a more modern splash of modernity. They also serve up authentic, home-cooked style Thai food with first-rate Mieng Kuay Teaw along with a whole host of local beers and special cocktails in what is a truly special setting. Accessible via the Chaophaya Express boat, exit at Dhevet pier and cross the small bridge, walking towards Thevaratkunchong temple. 68 Si Ayutthaya Rd., Dusit | www.stevecafeandcuisine.com

SAMSARA A popular spot with locals who enjoy a wind-down drink after work by the river. Set in an old wooden house, Samsara sits right on the Chao Phraya River, while inside the restaurant brims over with vintage, wooden furnishings, and an eclectic mix of chairs with touches of Japanese and Thai artworks. Back outside and a charming wood terrace allows for wonderfful riverside views—reservations are a must. Overall, this isn’t a highfalutin spot, but rather like visiting your friends house, somewhere you can comfortably kick back with a beer, the stray and curious cats all around you, while you watch the long-boats pass. 1612 Song Wat Rd., Sampantha Wong | www.facebook.com/pg/samsarabkk

VIVA & AVIV THE RIVER Located within the River City shopping complex in Samphanthawong, this fun and relaxing riverside bar, with a strong focus on quality and expressive cocktails—mostly thirst quenching and fresh fruit-based creations—is a bit of a hidden gem. A live DJ spins house tunes in the evenings, so it’s easy to find your buzz and a great place to kickstart your night. Food is drawn from the modern Australian café culture, but ultimately, it’s all about the river view and this breezy, comfortable setting is great for friends, couples and happily welcomes children too. River City, Unit 118, 23 Trok Rongnamkhaeng | www.vivaaviv.com 26 | NOVEMBER 2018

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Supanniga All Aboard!

Champagne Cruise

Fun, friendly, family dining, where guests are made to feel like part of the crew. Words by Robin Westley Martin

The iconic Wat Arun or “Temple of the Dawn” is as symbolic of Bangkok as Big Ben is of London, or the Eiffel Tower is of Paris. But not all visitors make a trip to Wat Arun or take a voyage upon the Chao Phraya River. Big mistake. The mighty river is Bangkok—the heart of the city; the long, wide, winding highway that has connected and transported locals for hundreds of years. A journey on the Chao Phraya is reason enough to visit Bangkok, and once upon the waters you are granted spectacular views of Wat Arun. Then, of course, there’s Thai cuisine, yet another reason why Bangkok was recently voted as “The Most-Visited City in the World” by Condé Nast Traveler, with an estimated 20.05 million visitors a year. Imagine combining all three spectacles— water, food, river—into one package. Well, Supanniga Cruise does just that. Designed by owner and restaurateur, Thanaruek Laoraowirodge, Supanniga originally opened

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in order to pay homage to his late grandmother’s home recipes, which feature many dishes from Trat province—on Thailand’s Eastern seaboard—not easily found in most Bangkok establishments. It will make your visit just that little bit more memorable, as you board the Supanniga boat, for either a one-hour Evening Champagne Taittinger Cruise (B1,550), or the two-hour and 15-minute Dinner Champagne Taittinger Cruise (B3,250)— partnering with the famed champagne house ensures something extra special for your voyage. Cruises can be booked at River City or Riva Arun Hotel, which are also the pick-up and drop off points. The Dinner Cruise will leave you with a never-to-be-forgotten memory of the sparkling riverside, sipping a glass of champagne or a cocktail. This month also sees the launch of an Afternoon Tea offering, where guests can choose from rare and speciality teas. This operates daily, 11:30am-10:30pm.The idea is to elavate the tea

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drinking experience, paired with enchanted views of Bangkok from the Chao Phraya. The Evening Champagne Taittinger Cruise is followed by a sunset dinner at the Supanniga Eating Room, Boarding the vessel, Thanaruek told me that although you are treated like royalty, he wants passengers to feel unencumbered by protocol. Guests are encouraged to dress as they wish—no dress code in this heat is undoubtedly a good thing—as long as they are comfortable. This casual attire rule goes for his restaurants, too. This was followed by a sharing plate that included enormous king prawns (Choo Chi Goong) in a sweet-spicy Thai chilli sauce; tender chunks of pork stewed with Thai herbs (Moo Cha Muang); and salted fish from Trat mixed with shrimp, pork, beef jerky, fresh vegetables, and lotus stems (Lhon Pla Sala Hom). Enjoying my treats, I took in the views: the fabulous Grand Palace, the Portuguesestyled Church of Santa Cruz, and several other memorable temples with their glittering gold gables—stunning!

Thanaruek informed me that he feels immense pride when his guests tell him how much they have enjoyed his home-style cooking and the presentation of the traditional family dishes, passed on by his beloved grandmother, Khun Yai. The Supanniga Appetizer Platter (B295), features rice crackers with Khun Yai’s chilli pork crackling dip (Khao Tung Nam Prik Pao Kak Moo), and Gaeng Ki Lek Moo Yang (B220)—a spicy curry of grilled pork with creamy coconut milk and aromatic herbs—was the best I have ever tasted. Combine this wallet-friendly repast with the family-style Thai cooking, quality champagne, cocktails from mixologist stalwarts Vesper, the warm and friendly ambience, and the stunning views over the Chao Phraya, and this is an experience that will long remain in the memory. This really is Bangkok at its very best, the perfect way to see this historic, bussling, and ever-evolving city. It’s time to take to the waters people; let your friends in on the secret too, this is just too special to keep all to yourself.

Supanniga Cruise Head Office

160/11 Sukhumvit 55 (Thonglor), Klongton Nuea, Wattana, Bangkok, Thailand 10110 Tel. 0 2 714 7608, 097 238 8284

supannigacruise.com

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Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai

“Rest, Restore and Recreation.… in the heart of Chang Mai” On the graceful grounds of The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai—set over 60 acres of paddy fields and tropical landscapes and within a palatial 3,100 square metre sanctuary—lies a hidden haven: Thailand’s first world-class destination wellness centre, offering a unique concept with unmatched services, design and pure and blissful indulgence. With the emerging growth in health and wellness tourism, The Dheva Spa team with their on-hand health specialist, work to improve the quality of people’s lives. Guests will be treated with the best holistic care experiences with

opportunities for enhancing their fitness level, learning about their self through lifestyle and health assessment, the use of mass therapy, and healthy lifestyle education. Programs at the Dheva Spa range from meditation, yoga, fitness, rejuvenation retreats. To detoxification, health consultation. Health specialists are also available in-house for assisting and coaching individual wellness where a variety of restorative health treatments are offered to help our guests with migraine, office syndrome, back or knee pain and overstress. Additionally, The Dheva Spa often runs specialised programmes promoting sustained health and wellbeing, such as: tailored treatments from the spa’s highly trained specialists; comprehensive retreats including, restorative massages, breathing visualisation sessions, yoga and exercise programmes; and personalised health, relaxation, detox, or ayurvedic retreats. Here, your journey to holistic wellness begins.

51/4 Moo 1, Chiang Mai-Sankampaeng Road | Tel:(66) 53 888 888 | dhevaspa@dharadhevi.com

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tales from the riverbank | CITY PULSE

Tales from the Riverbank:

An Interview with

CHARLIE

A “river rap” from Charlie Lee—the self-titled “river rat” of the Chao Phraya—who, along with his business partner, Captain Kao, operates the BuaKao boat, offering historical and adventurous river explorations, khlong cruises, and even venturing as far south as the Gulf of Thailand. Here, he details a day in the life of a boat Captain and the vast changes he has witnessed during more than 20 years on the river. In conversation with David J. Constable

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CITY PULSE | tales from the riverbank

How long have you lived in Bangkok? Twenty plus years now. What drew you to the river? I was seeking something different from the city, to expanded my adventures outside of Soi Cowboy. There’s a different kinetic sculpture along the water. I like the fresh air, well, fresh for Bangkok and much better than breathing in all of the fumes and dirt on those traffic-chocked highways. And romance, too. What’s an average day for you on the water? I’ll head to the boat about 11am — it’s called BuaKao which transaltes as “White Lotus”—with Captain Kao and we’ll get things prepared and roll up the shades. Then, check the oil, start the engine, cast off, buy fuel and ice then take it easy in the run up before guests arrive. I’ll greet the new crew, introduce them to the Captain and the river, then head down to Khlong Dalkanong, westward to Khlong Bang Khun Thien, taking in the old communities. All of these backwater areas are several hundred years older than Bangkok, they were thriving productive villages during the Ayutthaya Period. There are many temples to be absorbed and some people appear as if from the past—monks rowing for alms, local waterside general stores surrounded by boats—where locals still shop, trade, talk… this was then the local newsroom. Between the fish, birds and lizards, there is an 32 | NOV EM BER 2018

abundance of wildlife, so it’s always interesting to see this in the water. We’ll appreciate the backwaters for a few hours before returning to the main river with its action and heavy surf, the number of boats causing large swells of water, often lifting the boat to exhilarating heights. Then, it’s goodbye time to the visiting crew and off to moor the boat, which has its challenges in different forms depending if the tide is coming in or out and at what speed. What are some of the most significant changes you’ve seen over the years to the river and riverside? Watching bridges being built—Rama 8, Bhumibol Bridge— Khachanapisek Bridge—and the significant increase of buildings along the riverside, which continues even now at an impressive speed. I have witnessed the change from 30 story buildings to 70 story buildings, a dramatic difference especially seen from river level. Plus, all of the new malls being built. The khlongs have also experienced changes as massive housing projects have been built. Also, along with the new mass transit lines, condos have popped up like corn in the field, especially near transit stations. A whole new demographic is forming in what used to be, to me, jungle outposts. What is something you know but others might not about the Chao Phraya River? That the deepest part of the river, stretching 2 kilometres in front of Siriraj Hospital from Khlong Bangkok Yai to Khlong Bangkok Noi, used to be solid land. bangkok101.com


tales from the riverbank | CITY PULSE

How important is the river and the klongs to life of Bangkokians? Most Bangkokians hardly know there is a river as their daily lives do not intermingle with river activities, so it’s not essential to them. Many Thais are afraid of the river stemming from ancient spiritual beliefs. On the other hand, those that know and experience the river due to their work or living proximity have the water in their mind and hearts always. The river is influenced by ocean tides every day, so there’s much talk about tide levels, often with several high waves coming close together which causes near flooding circumstances. Tide levels vary between 1 to 3 meters per day depending on the gravitational demands of the solar system. Due to a large number of goods delivered by the river, the Chao Praya is an essential item for all Bangkokians if they know it or not. Additionally, thousands of fish are caught from the river and consumed every day. Also, lots of swimming and bathing of humans and their beloved dogs and motorcycles. What is the future of the Chao Phraya and how do you see it changing? The Chao Praya will keep on flowing, demanding its rights as the strong brown god it is. The large flat delta that caresses its boundaries along the full 372km length will remain loyal providing fertile rice fields, cattle grazing and a carefree lifestyle. This is just my river rap, but it’s what I’ve seen bangkok101.com

and how I see things here evolving. In reality, manmade items are more significant and of an intrusive influence. In the past 10 years, I have seen a substantial increase in the number of boats on the river, a massive expansion of buildings at the river’s edge, and in congested areas more oil in the river. Several ancient riverside communities are under threat, with many already pushed off their land by high dollar property developments. I love the old original homes and am saddened when they disappear. There is a small increase in pleasure boating on the river with flashy fibreglass boats appearing more frequently. This activity may give more attention to the river regarding aesthetic and safety value, thus bringing improvements. Being quite familiar with the Marine Department I’m encouraged by their operations and attentiveness to river activities. Another working group to mention are the hundreds of people crewing the yellow boats which have the job of plucking trash and water hyacinth from the river and khlongs. They tackle this never-ending job with smiles and dedication. Positive results from these efforts are evident to me as an active river rat, the river appears cleaner of floating debris than in the past. Lots of trash is still there, the mental attitude takes a long time to change, but I think it’s happening to positive effects. Email: bangkokriverboat@gmail.com www.instagram.com/riverroversiam NOVEMBER 2018 | 33


CITY PULSE | best of bkk

A Maze of Amazing Bangkok

KHLONGS A winding river journey through the khlongs and backalley waters, onboard the BuaKao boat. Words by Charlie Lee

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E

xploring the Chao Praya River and tangent waterways, opens the doors into a maze of amazing Thonburi khlongs, unfolding a rich traditional lifestyle, active natural wildlife, temples, monks, swimmers, flowers, vibrant colour and texture of Thai khlong life. The main river is full of visual treasures and lasting experiences. A mighty river loaded with Asian history. While it’s beautiful to cruise the khlongs, cruising north on the main river to Nonthaburi, Koh Kret, Patum Thani, south to Bang Krachao, Samut Prakan, Gulf of Thailand is a spellbinding trip, too. Close to the city, one can gain an eye-opening informative perspective of the Bangkok metropolis by cruising the curving river and khlongs. The choices of routes to follow are wide and varied. To pinpoint some of the engaging available content the following is a description of a typical khlong tour on the good ship BuaKao. Travelling south from the Saphan Taksin bridge on the Chao Praya River a water lock can be found beyond

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Wat Bukalo—an outstanding Buddhist temple rising high above the river plane. Approaching the water lock, if all is clear, we zoom through into the Chom Thong area. This is Khlong Dao Khanong, formerly the banks of which hosted a multitude of factories delivering goods for shipment by boat: salt, cement, fertiliser, fruit and other products were available. Most of this activity has now diminished, but many of the old factory buildings remain, with several still in use. The light industry continues in the Chom Thong/Dao Khanong area with motor transit access via Rama II rather than the khlong. There are several 90-degree bends in this khlong, one of the first harbours is a small “barge community” consisting of old teak barges resting peacefully in the river mud serving as homes for several families. There is a lush patch of landside greenery leading up to this old barge community, active outdoor gatherings and cookouts are often seen as we turn this bend. We are given a glimpse into a bygone Thai authentic lifestyle, few such

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communities, however, have survived into 21stcentury Bangkok. Onward we enjoy a peaceful cruise through quaint housing. Wildlife seen is fish, birds and monitor lizards. Formerly along the khlong banks of Chom Thong were many fruit orchards and salt warehouses. In the past two decades development of housing has taken a toll. In the section where the name changes to Khlong Bang Khun Thian, there is a temple complex Wat Bang Khun Thian Nai and Wat Bang Khun Thian Nok. These temples were founded about 300 years ago in 2246 Thai calendar date. In former times, monks used boats to receive morning alms from landowners, orchard workers and traders. Some of the fruit orchards and traditional wooden houses remain, once part of a beautiful, productive waterway. This Wat area is rather large and includes a school. Recently a building has been added near the khlong bank. On top of this new building, just in recent weeks, a large monk statue has been built, a very large black monk dressed in a golden robe. Luang Pu Thuat was born in 1582 (2125 BE) and died 1682 (2225 BE) in Ayer Kala, Lenggong, Perak, Malaysia. He is a revered monk who lived most of his life in Siam. He is said to have performed miracles. The khlongs are ever-changing, but always mixed with a solid stamp of history and tradition. In 1905 the Mahachai railway from Pak Khlong San to Mahachai crossed through Chom Thong forming a new method of transit for products and people. As more roads, cars and bridges came on the scene, the waterways began to lose importance. As the 20th-century developed a more modern Bangkok started to emerge. Chom Thong’s rural traditions took on changing forms, continuing actively into this century. The Thai Buddhist temple as an entity, a spiritual and social community centre, has held much of the traditional ways, designs, architecture, and traditional lifestyle intact. Therein can be seen the heart of Siam. After leaving the Wat Bang Khun Thian Nok section, BuaKao manoeuvres another 90-degrees, turning to the west, a snake wiggle and then a sharp obtuse turn to the north, gliding smoothly along Khlong Dan. This khlong gets its name from way back during the Ayutthaya period, Dan Phra Khanon Luang, which was a checkpoint for toll passage and security. Look up! It’s the railway crossing for the Khlong San to Mahachai track, not very high and flapping with lots of loose metal sheets. Along Khlong Dan are three temples dating from the 1400s that fell 36 | NOV EM BER 2018

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under the direct influence of Prince Chetsadabodin in the early 1800s. When the Prince became King Rama III, he followed the renovations through to completion. They became known as Wat Nok Yang “unconventional temples” due to his heavy personal thumbprint leaving a non-traditional blend of Chinese and Thai designs and motifs. First, among the three temples, we see Wat Ratcha Orasaram Ratchaworawihan structured on the west bank of the khlong. Name origin—“temple of the son of a king”. Second is Wat Nang Nong Worawihan resting on the east bank, and third is Wat Nang Ratchaworwihan perched on the west bank. These temples feature a mix of cultural aspects from Siam and local community history. Cruising along Khlong Dan, we reach Wat Mai Yai Nui sitting on the east bank and just opposite of where the famous Snake Farm resided for several decades. A good many of the passing boats loaded with curious tourists would stop here for a look at the snake collection, as well as crocodiles, birds, various animals and a performing snake handler. As a prime example of the changing elements of the Thonburi khlongs the Snake Farm site, a beautiful large piece of property set in a slight bend, is now the home of a significant condominium. This area used to seem like a faraway jungle outpost, due to the BTS Wutthakat Station being located almost immediately adjacent to the Snake Farm. As with many regions though, jungles eventually becomes metropolises, something I have witnessed all too much. A walk around Wat Mai Yai Nui, encompassed by a school, offers some beautiful scenes inside the temple and around the grounds. This Wutthakat area also bears the name Talat Phlu, “phlu” the Thai name for betel nut. Formerly there were large orchards of betel nut trees here, offering very productive crops. Cruising on northward, within just a few minutes we arrive in a beautiful, fun, classic, exciting area packed with temples, a great arching bridge. It’s time to make merit by feeding the fish of Wat Nakprok. Load up on fish food, enjoy the fun fish frenzy while the BuaKao rests at the small dock. Within sight is Wat Nakprok (1748), Wat Paknam (the 1500s) on the western bank and Wat Khun Chan on the eastern bank.

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Take a walk over the bridge to Wat Khun Chan which consists of several outstanding structures with the enormous central Buddha resting on the back of three elephants. A great area to explore, meet a few monks and reflect on life’s wonders. While Wat Khun Chan is rather astounding in its colour and imagination so is Wat Pak Nam with its enormous chedi, extensive grounds, and amulet collection, to mention a few attributes. The chedi inside and out is impressive. In the evening hours, it sometimes lights up like a significant disco attraction. Thai temples are highly respectful of Buddhism and revere spirituality. Additionally, the temples are places of mind-expanding activities and mirth. Immediately past Wat Khun Chan and at the corner of Wat Pak Nam is a small but very noticeable coffin factory, which always gives one pause for thought. It’s well stocked, standing in ready to service the three temples nearby. The BuaKao turns 90-degrees to the west and gently glides into a northern pattern of travel, and we find ourselves in Khlong Bang Luang within an arm’s reach from the boat to Baan Silipan, known in English as the Artist’s House. Baan Silipan sits in the centre of a collection of khlong side houses adjoined by contiguous wooden sidewalks, with a temple sitting on either end of a 500-meter stretch covering the community. The houses are old and rickety works of art in themselves, and here you’ll discover various art shops, massage parlours, food shops and puppet shows, in what is

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a mostly ancient Thai community and a popular gathering point to make merit feeding the fish. The south end has a great tree house perched above the khlong and active temple area—lots of local Thai food specialities in an open-air atmosphere. Another pleasant cruise of only 2 kilometres leads us to a sharp eastward turn into Khlong Mon, by far the smallest of the significant Thonburi khlongs feeding into the Chao Praya. A beautiful ride with three 90-degree turns along the way, and the BuaKao slips through the “patunam” Khlong Mon Watergate, and into the main river with the Thai Navy HQ building on the right and Thai Navy colonial style party house on the left. As we pivot south (right-hand direction) the Grand Palace is on the east bank, the fort at Khlong Bangkok Yai is on the west bank, and Wat Arun comes into sight to the right. An insightful fun tour of Thonburi has been accomplished with a 20-minute ride ahead to return to our starting point of Saphan Taksin. The trip’s boating time without stops, is about three hours. With historical Wats, culture, communities and glimpses into the heart of Siam, there is real fun to be had exploring the khlongs and the immediate surroundings of khlong life. Jump on board BuaKhao and let us show you. BuaKhao is a teakwood Thai 80-year-old workboat, she knows the river and khlongs very well. We’re happy to have you aboard.

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CITY PULSE | book review

Slithering

SOUTH

One man. One small boat. 720 miles from the Golden Triangle to the Sea. Words by David J. Constable

S

teve Van Beek’s epic voyage book, Slithering South, tells the story of his solo 58-day journey by boat from Ping River, deep in the Golden Triangle, to the core of Thailand’s heart, along the Chao Phya River. Along the way, he meets the Sin Buffalo Man, the Cowboys of Tha Sala, Jamrat and the “Boom Boom Girl”, and dozens of other intriguing characters, on a journey of deep personal, cultural and historical learning. Such a river journey, entering into Bangkok via the iconic Chao Phya, is a rewarding experience for Van Beek, this powerful brown deity delivering a daily dose of fertility, sustenance, vibrant life and deliverance to the millions who thrive on its resources.

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book review | CITY PULSE

Water is spiritually entwined in everything from birth to royal, to rites of passage, commerce, village settlement patterns, housing, transportation, literature, and art, points Van Beek is well aware of and keen to explore further during his voyage. To understand the core meaning of water to Thais adds a new dimension to appreciating the very essence of Thai beliefs, and therefore, Van Beek sets out with the goal of learning, hoping to explore the Chao Phraya and its tributaries and to trace a millennium of Thailand’s history and economic development. No river better illustrates that than Thailand’s lifeline and beating heart, the great Chao Phya River. “While living in a wooden house on stilts on the edge of the Chao Phya River, I became curious about the river’s source and course. Unable to find any information, I decided to trace it from its source on the northern border with Burma to the sea. In a small teak boat built by a village craftsman, I paddled for 58-days to the ocean. It was a journey that introduced me to a Thailand I’d not known existed and to a cast of characters I could not have invented, many of whom became fast friends.” Steve Van Beek Slithering South dips into Thailand’s rivers and delves into the vibrant heart of its belief system, the cleansing power of water, of forgiveness, respect, love and honour. The importance of water here is paramount. As Van Beek uncovers, to understand the meaning of water in Thai culture is to understand Thais and Thailand. Slithering South is available on Amazon and www.stevevanbeek.com

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tales from the riverbank | CITY PULSE

Tales from the Riverbank:

An Interview with

David Robinson As Director of Bangkok River Partners and Co-founder of the Creative District Foundation, David Robinson tells us about the Creative District and what the future holds for Bangkok’s bustling riverfront. In conversation with David J. Constable

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Can you explain the history and the development of the Creative District? When I took on the management of Bangkok River Partners, encouraging businesses along the Chao Phraya River and marketing as a destination for leisure and tourism, I quickly realised we needed to talk about our community. Duangrit Bunnag (DBALP), Pieter Compernol and Stephanie Grusenmeyer (P.Tendercool) and I invited gallery owners, photographers, writers, and entrepreneurs—about 40 people in all—to meet under a tree at The Jam Factory to discuss our part of town. We met every month, and before we knew it, the idea of an art district had become the Creative District. We held regular town hall meetings and soon planned to collaborate on BUKRUK, a significant international street art festival in January 2016. In 2017, we established the Creative District Foundation to help attract financial backing for community projects. How important is creativity for the future of Bangkok? On the subject of creativity, there was a happy convergence of ideas and activities. Thailand Creative and Design Centre (TCDC) opened in Grand Postal Building on Charoenkrung Road in May 2017. The government was renewing its support of the creative 44 | NOVEMBER 2018

economy, and in our part of town, there were already digital start-ups, ateliers, artists, chefs and barman. I’ve found that Thai people have a natural disposition for creativity. In the Creative District, makers have been living and working in the neighbourhoods for generations. With the renewed energy and focus of the community, more and more people from creative industries are looking to locate in the Creative District. Business owners such as ICONSIAM, River City Bangkok and Warehouse30 are investing in galleries and museums to celebrate Thailand’s creative talent. How are developments along the river changing and how does this effect Bangkok? There is indeed a sense of revitalisation, reinvention, and renewed interest in being on the Chao Phraya River. The challenge from the Creative District’s perspective is encouraging balance. How do we ensure that everyone benefits from more opportunities for work and a better, greener, more livable environment? How do we protect the historic buildings and shophouses? How do we contribute to the local economy? Can we work with the government to provide high-speed internet, tax incentives and lowcost office rental help stimulate start-up businesses? In our town hall meetings with residents, business owners, government representatives and landowners bangkok101.com


tales from the riverbank | CITY PULSE

we talk about the Creative District being a pilot for deployment in other parts of the country. It’s not a large area so it should be straightforward to bring about change with a little support from interested government agencies and business. Is it important for you to work with the local neighbourhoods up and down the river on these projects? We started in the riverside districts of Bangrak and Klongsan because they offer history and vision for the country. The riverside communities of Talad Noi and Soi Nana in Chinatown are also seeing a growth in creative businesses and projects. Authentic Bangkok experiences are found all along the river from Dusit and upstream, through, Rattanakosin, Kudee Jeen, to Bang Kachao and beyond. From time to time the riverside communities gather as one river group. Friends of the River’s call for a more thoughtful approach to the proposed river ‘promenade’ or coming together to collect plastic. Free downloadable guides to five districts on www.bangkokriver.com. How are you planning to attract new talent and businesses to the Creative District? We are not alone in this endeavour. Bangkok Biennial, Bangkok Art Biennale and Bangkok Design Week

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are three festivals that attract people to the River and Creative District. River City Bangkok’s new contemporary art floor for local and international artists opens this month with a multimedia art exhibition from the National Palace Museum of Taipei. ICONSIAM’s museum for national and international art opens 2019. What have been the challenges in re-energising the riverfront? Many cities around the world have established creative districts. CDF is a community-focused nonprofit organisation with the belief that everyone can benefit from creativity. While the area we are hoping to energise is small, we are all volunteers with no resources to speak of. To succeed, we seek collaboration, an enabling framework, and a financial ‘leg-up’ to help stimulate the Creative District. What future projects should we know about? There are many projects in planning. Others are community pipe dreams requiring partnership and collaboration. Keep an eye on www.bangkokriver. com for what’s in the Creative District. www.bangkokriver.com

NOVEMBER 2018 | 45


SNAPSHOTS | now new next

Bruce Gundersen The US artist on his exhibition “Many Rivers” and breathing new life into ancient myths.

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ost civilisations were born out of great rivers such as the Nile, the Ganges, and the Yangtze. Along with their ebbs and flows, histories were chronicled as well as myths, legends, and literature. Spellbound by Southeast Asian folklores such as Kuhn Chang Kuhn Paen, Bruce Gundersen, an interdisciplinary artist, has produced many series on them and recently exhibited his latest Many Rivers in Bangkok. Originally from Illinois, Bruce studied and graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago where he met his wife, Ellen Fisher. They currently live in Brooklyn, New York. At first, he was a performance artist in the art duo Gundersen/Clark and 46 | NOVEMBER 2018

performed in several festivals and contemporary museums in the US and Europe. He also makes furniture and miniature sets, and collaborates in video works for FISHGUN Films, documenting dance rituals of Southeast and South Asia. Two decades ago Ellen travelled and worked Sri Lanka. Bruce came to visit, and his fascination with Asian stories began. Bruce recalls, “My interest in Southeast and South Asia has grown as I have researched how these cultures frame human events within a larger cosmology of Hinduism, Buddhism and folklore through their arts. I find my inspiration in the belief systems and vernacular art from the ancient

and modern cultures, regenerating them through the modernity of digital arts.” Bruce’s interest in universal cultural legends and myths is an on-going creative investigation. He states, “My visual artwork explores complex visual ambiguities, perceptually bridging painting and photography. I’m fascinated by the interplay between supernatural and corporeal world. So my work is filled with characters vividly depicted through art. It reflects a contemporary approach to an ancient codified language of gesture and storytelling, similar to that of Buddhist monks travelling with silk paintings narrating the life of the Buddha.” bangkok101.com


now new next | SNAPSHOTS

On his methods, Bruce explains, “After intensive research, I travel to Asia with a storyboard of scenes to be depicted. I photograph local actors, dancers and lay people in key postures to represent characters from the tales. I also photograph architecture, landscapes and other objects essential to the story. Then I add textures with photos of a variety of objects such as cloth, paper, mould, or bits of paintings to create depth to the final project. I use these elements as digital building blocks to be layered into

NOW NEW NEXT Join Bangkok-born but internationally bred aesthete Dr. Tom Vitayakul as he meets with creative minds and artistic souls from both Thailand and overseas. From traditional, to contemporary and avant-garde, he finds out about the visions, inspirations, and creations of these talented individuals. bangkok101.com

painterly photomontages. They soften bits of the images to bring a sense of impermanence and create an image-based palimpsest. The final presentation is dye-sublimation prints on silk or poly pongee with handkerchief-rolled edges. The overall effect is somewhere between photography and painting, paying homage to the indigenous visual folk vernacular.” Bruce adds, “The audience views these images not as static ‘canvasses’ on the wall, but as ephemeral, floating figures that move and shift as the air moves through the rooms in which they are viewed. The choice of silk as the prime material was conceptually chosen as it historical use started in the Far East.” As time and tide wait for no man, Bruce’s creations emanate evanescence. On ‘Many Rivers,’ Bruce muses, “For the past 14 years, my artistic endeavours have involved pho t o graphing a nd di g i ta l l y narrating the folklores of Southeast Asia. I have worked extensively in Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia. I received funding from Asian Cultural Council New York (ACCNY) for the work created in Laos. I have immersed myself in fairy tales from these countries—the Lands of Naga or the Water Serpent.’ They

have storied rivers whose myths celebrate the people’s close bond with nature spirits and supernatural forces. These stories and sacred initiations have come down to us from Southeast Asian prehistory, filtered through Animist, Hindu and Buddhist cosmology and repeatedly revealed over the ages through literature, song, dance and visual art. Here the line is blurry between the visible and invisible. Where do ‘reality’ end and ‘fantasy’ begin? It invokes the psychic creatures of Southeast Asia that dredged up from the collective unconscious—the magnetic of a hooded cobra with a woman’s wistful face; a young maiden in a Sabai (one-shoulder sash) alone beside a jungle stream, a place and time where magic, terrible or otherwise, happens.” Bruce continues, “The cultural exchanges between Asian artists, lay people and me help create artistic interpretations that breathe new life into ancient myths through poetry, painting, performing arts and new media, embracing the subject of mortal life, myth and divine intervention. These issues remain relevant to society today and tomorrow.” Despite his roots on the Hudson, Bruce genuinely belongs to the Mekong. NOV EMBER 2018 | 47


SNAPSHOTS | joe's bangkok

Royal Barge Museum: A History Ceremonial fleets and royal welcomings; a history of the elegant barges of this special museum. Photography by Jessica Boisson

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ack in 17th-century Ayuthaya, when a French royal delegation sent by King Louis XIV arrived in the kingdom, a Jesuit priest in the entourage, Father Guy Tarchard, wrote in his diary how an impressive riverboat procession received them, writing, “Four enormous barges came to welcome us, each manned by 80 oarsmen. I have never seen such a sight. The first two were in the shape of sea-horses and entirely gilded, looking extremely realistic as they sailed up from afar.” The four barges would have been part of a fleet of 324 barges maintained under Ayuthaya’s King Narai for royal occasions and backed 48 | NOVEMBER 2018

by thousands of boats of similar design used for defence in an era when river warfare was more common than sea battle. When Burmese troops sacked the kingdom in 1767, they burned the entire Thai fleet. It was only after the Thai monarchy established a new capital in Thonburi that new boats were built and used for royal occasions in Bangkok over the next 300 years. After the Thai military coup of 1932 abolished absolute monarchy, the fleet languished in storage until WWII, when many were destroyed or severely damaged by aerial bombardment. King Bhumibol Adulyadej (19462016) revived the ceremonial fleet

and ordered extensive repairs and restoration starting in the 1950s. The first royal barge procession after the rehabilitation took place in 1959 to present Royal Kathin robes for monks. Even after the rebuilding of the fleet, royal barge processions remained a rare event. During King Bhumibol’s entire 70-year reign, only 16 royal barge processions were conducted. Under the late king, the full procession eventually included 52 barges, of which 51 were restorations or replications of historic craft. One royal barge, the Narai Song Suban, was an entirely new design commissioned by the king in 1994. bangkok101.com


joe's bangkok | SNAPSHOTS

The fleet is manned by 2,082 Royal Thai Navy officers and oarsmen. Today the fleet’s eight principal royal barges are displayed at the Royal Barge Museum, a spacious boathouse on the north bank of Khlong Bangkok Noi where it meets the Chao Phraya River. The eight boats lie parallel to one another in dry dock over the river’s edge

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. bangkok101.com

under a high arched metal roof that allows plenty of ventilation. Each of the craft is carved from a single piece of golden teak, a fantastic accomplishment considering they measure between 28 and 46 meters long. The narrow vessels boast tall, graceful prows carved with a variety of mythical creatures and deities borrowed from Hindu-Buddhist cosmology. Virtually every square centimetre of the prows, sterns and hulls above water level is gilded and intricately inlaid with shimmering mosaics of coloured glass. The proportions are simultaneously elegant and spectacular. Taking centre stage is the 46-metre Suphannahong or Golden Swan, which features a heavily stylized swan head and neck carved into the lofty prow. Reserved for kings, it was crafted in 1911 during the reign of King Rama VI and is the world’s largest dugout boat. Suphannahong’s crew consists of 50 oarsmen, two steersmen, two officers fore and aft, one standard bearer, one signalman, one chanter and seven regalia bearers. I recently paid a visit to the

museum for the first time since it received an upgrade in 2015, taking in newer exhibits along the walls of the barge shed displaying unique furnishings from the pavilions, including heavily embroidered and sequined curtains; ceremonial spears, swords and shields carried on the vessels; gilded paddles; medieval-looking uniforms worn by oarsmen and officers; and arcane musical instruments used to establish the rowing rhythms. Considering the cultural and artistic rarities on display, the museum is well worth the 100 baht admission for foreigners (free for Thais). Photo permits are an additional 100 baht. I wager that few visitors to the Royal Barge Museum know that less than two kilometres away near Arun Amarin Bridge, the Royal Dockyard Museum, maintained by the Royal Thai Navy rather than the Fine Arts Department, offers 12 royal barges on display along with extensive exhibits on Thai boatbuilding, naval warcraft and more. I’ll share more details on this little-known gem in another Joe’s Bangkok. NOVEMBER 2018 | 49


SNAPSHOTS | heritage

Roots of Prosperity

The prosperity of Bangkok comes essentially from the Chao Phraya River. This long, winding artery through the city is perhaps the most important and iconic of all Bangkok’s many attractions, sustaining life and offering employment to millions. It’s no accident that along the banks, many important monuments and heritage buildings can be seen, with even more scheduled to be added in the coming years. Here are just some of the historical buildings built along—or in some cases, over—the Chao Phraya River. shopping for souvenirs or savouring original building with its Italian Thai dishes. This was the first Renaissance style and old colonial port of Bangkok under Danish style atmosphere. management. The port started activity in 1897 with the last shipping in 1947. What remains from that time are a few original warehouses, which nowadays accommodate restaurants and cafes. The oldest warehouse dates back to 1907. There is also an old sawmill, an ASSUMPTION CATHEDRAL ancient crane and an abandoned The imposing church with its façade mansion, which is reputed to be made of red bricks and sandstone haunted. was built in 1821 but was extensively CUSTOMS HOUSE reconstructed in 1910 in a NeoIt was the most romantic old Romanesque style with interiors structure along the Chao Phraya inspired by the Neo-Byzantine River, but now, sadly, this historical style, similar to the Sacre-Coeur building has a crumbling façade Basilica in Montmartre, Paris. The with trees emerging from the roof. large vaulted ceiling with its golden The old Customs House was built in stars turns the cathedral into the 1888 like a Neo-Palladian villa from most majestic Christian structure Northern Italy by architect Joachim in Bangkok. Grassi. Where the vessel of King Rama V used to dock after months MANDARIN ORIENTAL spent in Europe, a luxury hotel will HOTEL take place in the years to come The property might look a bit old- while renovation will give back the fashioned these days, especially structure its opulence. when compared to the flux of glittering new five-star hotels in MEMORIAL BRIDGE town, however, none of these The iron bridge over the river is properties carry the historical the last largest public structure prestige of the Oriental. When constructed by Europeans in it opened in 1887, the hotel was Bangkok. Built between 1929 and ASIATIQUE considered the height of elegance 1932, it commemorates the 150th THE RIVERFRONT with flushes of European flair. anniversary of the Chakri Dynasty. Where hordes of tourists stroll, The Authors Wing is still the The iron structure was developed by 50 | NOVEMBER 2018

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heritage | SNAPSHOTS

ICONSIAM

It will be Bangkok’s newest and most luxurious shopping mall when it opens this month, a huge addedition to the many iconic buildings located along the river. The US$1.6 billion structure is made of ultra-transparent glass and crowned by golden Thai-shaped roofs. The promoters of the project want to turn ICONSIAM into the new UK-based Dorman Long company, must-see attraction of Bangkok. and was built only a few years before the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. In front of the bridge, stands a statue of King Rama I, a work from Italian Silpa Birasri, born Corrado Feroci.

WAT ARUN

Historic

Bangkok Paris native, Luc Citrinot, has lived in Southeast Asia for the past 12 years. A seasoned traveller, he writes about tourism, culture and architecture. He was instrumental on a recent EU-endorsed project to establish the European Heritage Map of Bangkok and subsequent app covering all of Thailand. He still travels extensively in Southeast Asia, looking particularity for new architectural gems related to colonial and European history. bangkok101.com

Built over 200 years ago, Wat Arun is the Chao Phraya’s most famous silhouette thanks to its prang, a Khmer-style tower as tall as 66m or 86m–depending on the source of information. Chinese style ceramics were cladded on the Prang during the reign of King Rama III. The recent temple renovation, which is now looking very white, has been a source of controversy. What remains, however, is the silhouette of Wat Arun as the sunset turns the entire structure into orange or dark pink. Not to be missed!

home to the Chakri Dynasty from 1780 to 1880 until King Rama V moved to the Dusit Palace, more modern and representative of new times. However, the Throne Hall, the number of ceremonial halls, prangs, chedis and pavilions tells all about the magnificence of Siam, its monarchy and the richness of the Kingdom’s architecture. During a full moon, the Palace glows in silver tones and shimmers into the darker waters of the River.

PHRA SUMEN FORT

Built at the end of the 18th century in an octagonal shape, and standing today in the middle of a park on Phra Arthit Road, the white fort is the last one of a series of fortifications which used to protect Rattanakosin Island. Extensive renovation has been recently carried out with special lighting giving the fort a touch of magic at dusk.

RAMA VIII BRIDGE

Royal yellow colour cables spread out from a giant inverted Y-shaped GRAND PALACE pylon, ornate with a lotus bud at This is, of course, the heart of Thai the top. Discover the sleek bridge, monarchy, Thai identity and Thai one of the most elegant structures culture. The Grand Palace has been spanning the river since 2002. NOVEMBER 2018 | 51


Long, pristine stretches of sandy beaches in Koh Samui


KOH SAMUI 101 T

hailand’s second largest island, Koh Samui has a reputation for palmfringed beaches, coconut groves and dense, mountainous rainforest. It is, therefore, no surprise that the island has become home to numerous hotels, resorts and luxury spa facilities; and one of the jewels in Thailand’s tourism crown. Peacefully set within the Gulf of Thailand—just below Koh Phangan and just above the provincial capital of Surat Thani—it is easily reachable from Bangkok, with only a one-hour flight time. Many seasoned travellers lament the undeniable over-development of Koh Samui, but it’s worth noting that the central part of the island is still mostly unspoiled tropical jungle. Here you’ll find Khao Pom, the island’s largest mountain, which measures 635 meters. Another vertically impressive landmark—this time human-made—is the 12-meter-high golden Big Buddha statue at Wat Phra Yai Temple. One of the island’s main tourism hubs is Chaweng Beach, a 7 km stretch of white sand located on the island’s eastern side, not far from the main airport. There are loads of accommodation options here too, as well as a colourful nightlife scene that offers everything from ladyboys letting loose at the Starz Cabaret show at the Chaweng Hotel, to fierce Muay Thai boxing bouts at Phetch Buncha Stadium. Another popular evening attraction is the Lamai Night Market at Lamai Beach. Samui is also full of attractions offering exotic thrills, many involving wild animals. If you’re ethically opposed to things like riding an elephant through the jungle on a pseudo-tropical safari, or posing for photos with overly languid tigers, then stick to the beach. However, if you do want to seek out some wildlife, there are carnivalesque thrills and chills a-plenty at places like the Samui Snake Farm, a freaky, old-school, off-the-beaten-track roadside attraction located near Taling Ngam Beach, on the southwest end of the island. For a more involved wildlife adventure, try soaring through the jungle interior with Canopy Zip Line Adventures and see the secret waterfalls and lush rainforests from above. Alternatively, make a trip to the serenely beautiful Samui Butterfly Garden, where you can get up close to hundreds of these colourful insects. Samui is also a great launch point for people wishing to visit the Angthong Marine Park, a fascinating archipelago made up of dozens of tiny islands. Organised speedboat day-trip tours zip past dramatic rock cliffs and bizarre rock formations, making occasional stops at caves, hidden lagoons, and white sand beaches. Park entrance fee is B300 adults, and B150 for children. Of course, Samui also has some tamer, more culturally significant attractions, including the Muslim community of Hua Thanon—a small but lively traditional fishing village—and annual events such as the Buffalo Fighting Festival, held on New Year’s Day and Songkran, where bucking bovines are decorated with ribbons and gold-painted leaves. However, for many, Samui is synonymous with nothing more complicated than umbrella drinks, sun-drenched vistas and pure pleasurable indulgence.


TRAVEL | koh samui - gettting there

GETTING THERE Although Koh Samui does have its own private airport, there are several equally convenient—and much less expensive—Fly’n’Ferry services from Bangkok that will have you there in no time.

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okAir, one of Thailand’s best low-cost airlines, offers up to seven Fly’n’Ferry packages daily, originating from Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport and arriving in either Surat Thani or Nakhon Si Thammarat, depending on the flight time. Both of these Southern airports are equidistant to the Don Sak Pier, which is where the Lomprayah Hi-speed Catamaran whisks passengers across the Gulf of Thailand to Koh Samui’s NaThon Pier, located on the Western side of the island. While on board your NokAir flight—to or from Bangkok—you’ll enjoy friendly service, including a snack meal and tea or coffee service, before touching down approximately one hour later at your end destination. For an additional B300 passengers can request a Nok Premium Seat, which puts you in the front few rows in a long-leg seat. And, for those travelling with lots of holiday gear, if you pre-book your extra baggage allowance online you can increase your baggage allowance by 5kg, 10kg, 15kg, 20kg, and even 25kg (see website for details). For those arriving in Nakhon Si Tammarat, a VIP transport awaits you at the airport. For small

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groups expect a luxury 8-seat Toyota premium van, while larger groups will be driven to Don Sak pier in a comfortable coach bus. It’s just over an hour’s ride, following pleasant, wellpaved country roads, and it’s timed perfectly to make sure you arrive at the ferry dock right on time. The roomy Lomprayah Hi-speed Catamaran—the fastest sea crossing in the Gulf of Thailand—then departs and arrives at the NaThon Pier on Koh Samui approximately 40 minutes later, allowing you time to enjoy the ocean breezes, have a snack on board, or perhaps change into your beachwear before stepping off the vessel. As a final consideration, NokAir allows you to pre-book your transfer to/from the Koh Samui ferry pier—from B200 one way per person—which provides a smooth connection to/from your place of stay on the island. Getting back is just as speedy and convenient, and NokAir representatives are present all transfer points to make sure your journey is smooth and hassle-free.

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koh samui - getting there | TRAVEL

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TRAVEL | koh samui - see & do

SEE & DO Butterfly Garden

Located near a hill at Laem Natien, this stunning paradise is a perfect family friendly venue that features a beautifully maintained tropical park which housing hundreds of butterflies. In addition, the Butterfly Garden boasts a display of insects, beehives and moths. The garden has a hillside observatory, where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the gorgeous Koh Samui coastline. Furthermore, visitors can check out the observation platforms within the garden and enjoy bird’s eye views of the coast. Visitors can also take a glass bottomed boat tour from the garden and enjoy viewing the local coral reef. This stunning garden overlooks the southeast coast of Koh Samui. Therefore, you can access the nearby Natien Beach quite easily. Visiting this beautiful park is a perfect day out for the whole family. Open daily: 8:30am-5:30pm. Entry costs B170. www.kohsamui-tourism.com/samui-butterfly-garden

Big Buddha

Koh Samui’s beautiful coastline and renowned Big Buddha sculpture will be first thing you will notice as you approach the island from the air. This majestic 12-metre tall golden statue sits on an elevated platform, adorned with dragons and traditional decor that visually dominates the landscape. This beautiful structure was built in 1972 within the Phra Yai Temple complex, which is located on a small island located towards the northern border of Koh Samui, Thailand. Many Thai visitors come here to worship and pray at this historic and religious temple on Koh Samui. In recent times, the Big Buddha has also become a favourite attraction amongst foreign tourists. Many travellers visit the Big Buddha as a part of a tour and join the locals in lighting incense to make offerings and pray in front of the sitting Buddha. And when the sun sets, the Buddha lights up and appears as a sparkling golden guardian. Open 24 hours and admission is free. www.kohsamui-tourism.com

Namuang Waterfall

Namuang Waterfall is Koh Samui’s best hidden secret. This amazing oasis is located just 10 km south from Nathon and boasts two beautiful waterfalls; the first is 18 meters high and the second is approximately 80 meters high. Namuang is easily accessed by vehicle, but the higher waterfall can only be accessed by taking a 30 minute walk to the falls. Both of these waterfalls boast some of the most scenic views on the island. While visiting Namuang’s waterfalls, you should explore the verdant forest and nearby hiking trails. The waterfalls are located towards the southern coast of Samui’s central peak; so plan a day trip as you will find a number of things to see and do. 56 | NOVEMBER 2018

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koh samui - see & do | TRAVEL

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TRAVEL | koh samui - see & do

Explore the island’s stunning landscapes, hiking pathways and acres of lush foliage. Many people visit the waterfalls as they are easily accessed by vehicles. Also, the site has a number of souvenir shops and restaurants nearby. The Namuang Waterfall 2 is the highest waterfall in Samui. If you are an enthusiastic hiker, you will enjoy the 30-minute walk to reach the summit. Admission is free, however, be aware of some of the local ‘guides’ trying to ask for money for access or assistance. www.kohsamui-tourism.com

EasyKart Samui

For a little taste of adventure, families can visit the EasyKart racetracks together for a little friendly competition. Located right along Lake Chaweng, families will absolutely enjoy stunning views of the lake and the verdant mountains as they try to beat each other to the finish line in go-carts. EasyKart features a track for beginners and a track for the experienced go-cart riders. They offer go-carts designed for children, adults, and special two-seat carts that allow a child to ride with an adult. After the race, families can either go for a refreshing swim in the pool or grab a bite to eat at the restaurant. The tracks are completely lit at night, making EasyKart a fun evening adventure for those too young to visit bars or clubs. Open daily: 10am-1am. Prices range from B300-B400 for around 10 minutes. www.easykart.net/koh-samui

Easy-Fly

For an “uplifting” experience in Samui, Easy-Fly is an indoor skydiving centre with the only indoor wind tunnel in Thailand. As 200 km/h winds blow upwards, you float safely on a cushion of air in your special designed flying suit. There’s no parachute, no airplane, and no experience needed to make flying a reality. Of course, this isn’t just something you can “jump” into. First-time flyers go through a brief training session before getting properly suited up, and an experienced instructor is in the wind tunnel with you for your first two attempts, making sure you get the positioning right—and it’s harder than it looks! The initial cost is B1,800 for adults (B1,400 for kids under 1.4m tall) and after your first two flights each, additional extra attempts cost B600. Open daily: 10am-1am (flying from 1pm-9pm). www.easykart.net/koh-samui

Coco Splash Waterpark

This popular and colourful attraction in Lamai Beach lets kids of all ages have fun beating the heat with 7 water slides, a Jacuzzi, a splash pool, a regular sized swimming pool, bungee trampoline, a mini-golf area, and an inflatable castle. There’s also a restaurant – open till 10pm daily – serving yummy snacks and drinks. Basic admission for kids is B329, which includes a t-shirt, and for adults it’s B349, which includes a cocktail (the park is run by a fabulous French couple so that explains the intriguing deal). Open daily: 10:30am-5:30pm. www.samuiwaterpark.com 58 | NOVEMBER 2018

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koh samui - see & do | TRAVEL

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TRAVEL | koh samui - see & do

Samui Circus Studio T

his fun and contemporary Circus School & Fire Show & Circus performances Agency, is located in Chaweng Noi between Lamai and Chaweng. There are no age barriers, with events and courses on offer for everyone. The studio is a place to learn a new skill on a paradise island with an array of exciting activities, such as stilt walking, magic, juggling, dance, fire-shows, LED show and circus workshops. Managed by Poppy Sanman, the studio work to unite local and international performers, who together, can share and practice their art. The studio also provide talented and responsible performers to the venue’s and event organisers on the island, as well as across wider Thailand and even international. A one-day Studio Pass costs B80 (available every day from 2pm-9pm) while a private class in Circus Arts costs B550 (every afternoon upon request). There are also special Collective Training classes available as well as workshops for children, priced at B300 (every Saturday from 3pm-6pm). 5/1 Moo3 Bophut, Koh Samui Tel: 087 881 0866 | www.samuicircus.com

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Silavadee

Pool Spa Resort Discover the Luxurious Hideaway all the privacy and pampering you deserve always

Silavadee Pool Spa Resort - Koh Samui, offers the closest thing to a heavenly experience, the perfect retreat no matter what you’re looking for. Located in the popular district between Chaweng and Lamai Beach, and only a short drive from the airport, you’ll find yourself in the comfort and serenity of this private premise atop a rocky mountain with breathtaking views across the Gulf of Thailand. The design is minimal and naturally luxurious, immersing guests in a world of majestic surroundings and catering for their every need. Each of the villas comprises of between 50-300 square meters, offering 80 Luxurious Rooms, 36 Deluxe Rooms and 40 Villas, with a choice between tropical and ocean view pool villas. Whether you’re visiting with friends, family, travelling solo, or on your honeymooon, there are incredible options for all. For the ultimate experience, there are 4 Pool Villa Suites, perfect for honeymooners, with views of the ocean on the horizon. Check-in and unwind pool-side, with a glass of champagne. Slip off those shoes and shut the world away while enjoying the panoramic beachfront view. All rooms are equipped with modern conveniencesflat screen TV, Bose sound system, Jacuzzi, Bluray DVD

player, fridge, minibar, private balcony - and offer total privacy in each of the well-appointed villas. In-house restaurants and lounges are flexible and cater to all guests, and the iconic Silavadee Spa, a truly unique spa design combining a back to nature concept, offers numerous treatments and packages, helping guests to unwind and undergo full papmering from highly skilled therapists. This inludes the exclusive Anne Sémonin Experience. Other facilities include a Fitness Center and Silavadee’s own Private Beach. Thai Cooking Classes, Thai Boxing, Kayaking and Beach Yoga Classes are all available active options, with magnificent ocean views. Other fun for all activities include a Safari Tour with choices of half-day or full-day, visiting all of the popular island sightseeing spots such as Namuang Waterfall, Big Buddha and much more on this paradise island. For those with a more adventurous spirit, sailing to private nearby islands awaits to be explored. Wedding packages fulfill romantic dreams of exchanging vows on the private beach with sand between your toes or above the sea level, with packages starting with small groups up to a maximum 50 guest capacity. Silavadee Resort Koh Samui awaits your visit - let us make your dream comes true.

208/66 Moo 4, Maret, Koh Samui | Tel: 077 960 555 | Bangkok Sales Office Tel: 02 033 6222 @silavadeeresort | www.silavadeeresort.com


TRAVEL | koh samui - see & do

November

1

CALENDAR

November Angthong Marine Park

Angthong Marine Park contains 42 islets in the middle of Ao Thai bay that you would have possibly seen from the ferry from Surathani on the way to Koh Samui? 41 of the islands are inhibited. The national park is home to local sea gipsies that still live close to nature in the same manner with their ancestors. The best way to get there is to charter a yacht to travel at your convenience. Although the travel time from Koh Samui to Angthong National park can be up to several hours ride depending on what kind of boat you’re travelling with.

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Although November rain can still be expected on the east coast, we recommend you to ask your tour operator about the weather forecast. Perhaps share a ride with more passengers to make the total travel cost cheaper and make new friends during the journey. The scenery is breathtaking and different from Koh Samui side with limestone mountain similar to Guilin national park in China or Halong Bay in Vietnam. The highlight is The Emerald Lake or Sa Morakot where scenes from The Beach was filmed. bangkok101.com


koh samui - see & do | TRAVEL

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November Centered Yoga Teacher Training

Centered Yoga is located at Samahita Retreat, a celebrated yoga teaching institute that has been providing yoga certification courses since Paul Dallaghan founded the school in New York in 1999. They offer one-month residential teacher trainings courses, which are preceded by precourse assignments and practice preparation. Centered Yoga teacher training is one of the most comprehensive and thorough trainings available in yoga today: due to the experience of the teachers, the unique completeness of the curriculum and to the outstanding training facilities and environment. This special day training course is for Foundation Level 200. For more information, visit: www.samahitaretreat.com

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November Full Moon Party

The famous monthly and in possibly the largest beach party in the east coast of Thailand. The original birth of this party was 1985 when a group of friends gathered for a going away party sharing a memorable moment dancing under the moonlight on the pristine 2-kilometre long white sand beach still yet unknown to the outside world. Later on, word of mouths spread and fast forward to the present day, the popularity of the party has been increasing and attracting numbers of visitors monthly. It has become Asian’s version of Cancun, filled with students and tourists on spring breaks every month. Koh Samui to Koh Phangan is only an hour speedboat ride away from Bophut (Fisherman’s village) pier, operating especially for the occasion, leaving every hour from dusk till dawn. Be prepared for a considerable amount of people. And always remember to party safely and wisely.

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November Loy Krathong

The full moon is jollification moment for Thais to celebrate and pay respect to the goddess of water. Locals made flower raft from natural materials, creating lotus-like shape flower raft (Krathong) and bring their loved ones to float away (Loy) the sorrow of last year to nearby water sources. Lovers are putting their kratongs down the river together with the prayer of staying together forever as well. It is believed that if the flower raft stays afloat together their paths together will remain so. This festival is also known as the festival of lights, and everyone is welcome to join. Most venues are preparing this celebration with their guests and using swimming pools to celebrate this festivity instead of travelling for miles to reach to crowded water sources.

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TRAVEL | koh samui wellness

KOH SAMUI WELLNESS Health-conscious, soul-seeking travel and relaxation.

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s a yogi connected to an ashram at the foot of the Himalayas, John Stewart and his cohorts spent seven years hauling rocks to build plots of land for vegetable gardens and fruit orchards on reclaimed riverbed. All the work was done by hand. His guru and taskmaster, Babaji, said, “We don’t wait for miracles. We create them.” Those experiences in India, where John also met his wife and business partner Karina Stewart, provided much of the heft behind the Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary & Holistic Spa on Koh Samui. Set among the boulders and palm trees of the sparsely inhabited southeast corner of the island, Kamalaya’s construction was a Herculean undertaking that dwarfed even Stewart’s previous endeavours at the ashram. The result illustrates the founders’ desire to create a nature retreat with upmarket designer smarts. Even the tiniest details at the sanctuary— menus made from mulberry bark, light-bearing fish traps that illuminate the restaurant at night—have been rendered in earth tones for visitors who not only want to reconnect with nature but, what Steve Jobs would call, their “core values.” Guests can do

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that by choosing from a plethora of programs, grouped together under such categories as Healthy Lifestyle, Detox, Yoga and Stress & Burnout, or tailor-made programs that you can design yourself.The Kamalaya concept is so vast, combining all the different programs with all sorts of other activities—from the age-old disciplines of Tai Chi and meditation, to new-age esoterica like Tibetan singing bowls and mandala art—juxtaposed against all the latest breakthroughs in science, nutrition, and bio impedance analysis, that it defies any attempts to sum it up it in slogan-sized summaries or full-length features. Far easier to grasp is that the retreat has few peers in the world of wellness and seems destined to become a prototype for the future of healthconscious, soul-seeking travel. It’s the kind of place that lives up to the vision of its founders by giving you means to create a fuller, healthier and more satisfying life. www.kamalaya.com bangkok101.com


special feature | TRAVEL

FOUR SEASONS RESORT Discover Thailand’s laid-back island life at Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui. Here, you can spend your days exploring pristine sandy beaches bordered by tropical greenery and calm blue seas, lounging by the infinity pool with a cool drink, or relaxing on your private deck overlooking the idyllic Gulf of Siam. Words by David J. Constable

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have fantasies of checking out in a tiny shack on one of Thailand’s rural islands. Something small, but charming. Nothing elaborate. I want comfort and class, but not too vast that I have to walk a mile to the bog. The city is hot, stifling and noisy, but the islands offer something other-worldly, as if they’re not part of Thailand at all. Do you get the picture? What Joseph Conrad wrote about. So it was that I left Bangkok and landed one hour later at Samui Airport, and into a place far removed from the traffic-chocked absurdity of the big city. The little strip of cement bubbled in the tropical heat, an undulating ripple of canned heat. Ah, cool weather and fresh air. That’s the thing with these islands, they’re suspended in a daydream, a sunny, spectral place

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that bobs over the computer screen and shimmers in the exhaust fumes of rush hour. I’m filled with a sort of giddy happiness, a silent chuckle, laughing at all of those morons back in Bangkok; office-bound, stuck in traffic, sweating profusely on the BTS. The islands of Thailand exist only on shiny paper and in winter brochures, yet here I am, mingling in arrivals with a reverie of prickly sunburnt shoulders, salty lips and the exotic feel of a sandal strap between my toes. This is Koh Samui, an area of three-course breakfasts, luxury spas and slippery somnambulant siesta sex; a special island lapped by the imaginations of proto-brides, honeymoon-hangouts and housewives deep in holiday reading—tales of Mr Grey for tonight’s inspiration. NOVEMBER 2018 | 65


TRAVEL | special feature

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special feature | TRAVEL

Perhaps the most impressive place of all though on this forest-tinged paradise, is somewhere out of view from nosey tourists, hidden deep within island forestry: the quite wonderful Four Season Koh Samui, a series of 22 villas dotted across verdant hillside, facing out towards the Gulf of Thailand. I arrive to the usual highfalutin international fanfare of a welcome drink and a cold flannel, meant to wipe away any remaining European pong. The entrance, the resort design, and the entire architecture of this hidden retreat is breathtaking; one of Bill Bensley’s many international achievements a designer famed for his tropical jungle flora and fauna-designed retreats. The prolific Bangkok-based hotel designer is responsible for over 200 international properties, with this Samui example surely one of his most accomplished and impressive. I’m taken by personal golf buggy directly to my One Bedroom Pool Villa, overlooking the ocean. The villas offer 60 sq. m of high-ceilinged indoor space with a spacious 43 sq. m outdoor hardwood decking. Not forgetting the thoroughly enticing 15 sq. m private infinity pool with decorative fountain. Inside the villa, there’s a bed big enough for five and all of the mod-cons you’d expect—flatscreen TV, super-fast WIFI, cotton robes, a basket of fruit, fullystocked mini bar (bottles of Tattinger and all)—and a waterfall shower and oyster-shell bathtub, that both urge you to stay villa-bound. But I have dinner booked. At the resort’s signature restaurant, Koh Thai Kitchen, I’m lucky enough to dine with local press and international guests for a special pop-up by Chef Thitid ‘Ton’ Tassanakajohn from LeDu in Bangkok. It’s a carefully curated menu of authentically Thai recipes, chosen to advertise LeDu’s repertoire but without steering too far from the main Four Seasons’ restaurant, which thrives in traditional staples such as Yam Mamuang (green mango with peanuts), Pla Kapong Neung Manao (steamed sea bass with spicy lime) and Poo Phad Pong Karee (wok-fried crab

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with curry powder). Returning in the morning, it’s unrecognisable, the restaurant turning into a colourful cornucopia of fresh fruits, pastries, cold meats and made-to-order-omelettes. I indulge, fully and without apology—everything is exceptional. The Concierge recommend I take to the water—snorkelling, diving, kayaking—but the call of my private villa is too much, and I return for some blissful napping—it’s no surprise that Four Seasons have a Pillow Menu, many resorts do nowadays, but a Mattress Menu too, oh my!—followed by a cooling dip in my pool. There’s nothing better than doing nothing. The lure of outside in this sun-soaked paradise gets the better of me though, and I descend down to the private beach for lunch at Noche Latina—Peruvian Ceviche, Prawn Causa, Wagyu Anticucho, Rice Pudding—and from recall, at least four heavily, rum-based cocktails. The resort also offers what they call “Spiritual Journeys” including full body massages and mind conditioning yoga classes in their Yoga Pavilion. For those wanting a more hands-on culinary approach, cooking classes are also available, with three-hour sessions on a terrace overlooking the ocean. I shake of any holiday laziness with a complimentary Muay Thai class in a competitive ring setting deep within the jungle, allowing for a fresh air coolness not possible in the open-air sweatbox of high-season Samui. Post-lunch, however, and this strenuous activity turns out to be a foolish undertaking, my heart pumping and working over-time—kicking, punching, but mostly retreating in self-defence. I return to the Concierge to inquire about plans the following day. The resort offer a wealth of tailormade activities, including an excellent sounding, cultural outing called “Buddha’s Delight” during which guests are taken around the island, venturing to Wat Phra Yai—home to the golden three-story Big Buddha—and two other temples, Wat Plai Laem and Wat Khunaram. There are also “Off the Beaten Path” expeditions and scuba diving, witnessing the

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TRAVEL | special feature

many beautiful coral gardens of the Gulf. I decide to take out a paddle board for a few hours and navigate my way around the bay, seeing the island and resort from an entirely different perspective. While most of my stay is filled with snoozing, occassionaly puntuated by culinary indulgences, I also visit CoCoRum Vault, located on the resort beach and Asia’s first and only library of rums from across the world. Famed rums are housed here, part of a rum member’s club, but there is also the opporuntiy to join a rum class and tasting—which, of course, I do. “El Presidente” is Coco’s signature, made from Diplomatico Mantuano Rum, Mancino Vermouth Rosso, Joseph Cartron Curacao Triple Sec and Hibiscus Grenadine. It’s a punchy number and I am delighted to find later, that a complimeantry bottle is in my room, which, as I’m sure you’ll understand, I drink all by myself, around midnight, floating in my private pool. This is a resort of significant rank, a challenge to all other resorts—of which there are many on Koh Samui— and a throw down of the gauntlet: “catch us if you can”. 68 | NOVEMBER 2018

Peaceful and concealed, it manages to exist on Thailand’s second biggest island, tucked away, wrapped in elegance. It’s not fashionable or over-swank, but understated, with all the emphasis directed towards the guest experience; staff knowing when to approach and when to leave you alone, when to fill your coffee cup, and when to offer a second rum... or a third… or a tenth. It’s about wellness and relaxation here, where doing nothing is the order of the day. But if that’s not your thing, then they cater for that too. How about getting beaten and bruised by a Muay Thai ninja warrior who grins as he kicks your ribs in, or taking to the saddle of the most advanced human-powered watercraft there is, and skimming the waves on a water bike? Four Seaons Koh Samui is it. It is for me. Privacy with efficient service, a truly first-rate offering. A slice of the good life, away from the city, away from the crowds—comfort in the trees, with a striking view, whichever way you turn. www.fourseasons.com/KohSamui bangkok101.com


special feature | TRAVEL

COCORUM

RUM VAULT

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estled in the lush tropical hillside of the Four Seasons Koh Samui is Asia’s first and only library of rums from across the world: CoCoRum Rum Vault. Housed within a small, former prison compound, the heavy cell door is locked and bolted using an original padlock from Alcatraz in San Francisco and “imprisoned” inside, treats await...

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ore than a 100 of the most-coveted rums are displayed via floor to ceiling shelves. These include Plantation Extreme Guyana N.2 (18 years), Plantation Extreme Barbados N.1 (11 years), and Plantation Trinidad (25 years). The idea is that through an elite membership of global rum enthusiasts, members can connect, request and share international rums; all housed within the vault where they are kept safe and secure, ready for collection—and consumption!

Experimenting with flavours and techniques, the Rum Vault’s first batch of aged and bottled rum is “El Presidente”, available in the private bar and Four Seasons villas. The Signature Rum is already causing quite a stir with global rum affectionados who have praised it for its rounded taste and smooth finish. Made with Diplomatico Mantuano Rum, Mancino Vermouth Rosso, Joseph Cartron Curacao Triple Sec and Hibiscus Grenadine, “El Presidente” bangkok101.com

is a punchy tipple—it comes in at 29.2%— but is a beautifully balanced rum and a clever concoction using Venezuelan rum with artisanal vermouth and the underlying hint of sweet and bitter orange peel. Other rums currently ageing in the Vault include an Aged Negroni, “The New Fashion” (Chalong Bay Promotion) and “Pirates Are Falling Down”, a collaboration with Vesper Bar in Bangkok. Guests of the Four Seasons Koh Samui can arrange for a tasting, during which they sample several rums including the much lauded “El Presidente”. The Vault also offers cocktail making lessons at the bar for guests who would like to experiment with rum-based cocktails. www.cocorumkohsamui.com CoCoRum Club Unlock unparalleled privileges as a member of the CoCoRum Club, and celebrate the world’s finest spirits. Enjoy a year-long membership to the CoCoRum Club with special benefits. See the rum wishlist: www.cocorumkohsamui. com/wishlist NOV EMBER 2018 | 69


ART

| ART & CULTURE

“Beautiful Futures” at H Gallery Bangkok

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eautiful Futures”, an installation and series of paintings conceived especially for the spaces of H Gallery Bangkok by artist Mit Jai Inn, is dark and somber in tone, signaling the immediate past of Thailand. While Mit is one of any number of contemporary Thai  artists grappling  with the profound impact of recent events in Thailand, “Beautiful  Futures”  allows for an acute acknowledgement of the public role of the artist in reflecting conflicts and ambiguities about how  experience is to be assimilated as aesthetics play a predominant role in mediating national “feelings.” But facing unpredictable futures—between succession and the military—a recognition of the problems of the present and the unavoidable forces of the past becomes paramount. “Beautiful Futures” immerses visitors in metaphoric questions of direction and guidance amidst Mit’s current use of experimental lighting to spot-light his paintings; a method that particularly emphasizes his continuing exploration of the seductions and illusions of surface as we are invited to pursue significance and insight. But, ultimately, surfaces can be in depth and we turn back and forth for other guiding lights. The title “Beautiful Futures” can be read as deeply ironic. “Beautiful Futures” runs until December 31 2018 on the Second Floor at H GALLERY BANGKOK. www.hgallerybkk.com

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ART & CULTURE | exhibitions

NOVEMBER 3-DECEMBER 28 The White Wall

Kathmandu Photo Gallery

87 Pan Rd, Silom | 02 234 6700 |Mon-Sat, 11am-6pm www.kathmanduphotobkk.com

At first glance Chakrit Leelachupong seems to be toying with light and shadow in "The White Wall". Unexpectedly, these photographs actually record ordinary people’s rituals of grief for their beloved King Rama 9, after he died in October 2016, and the white wall that surrounds the Grand Palace, where King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s body lay in state, became the place for displays of mourning. A professional photographer based in Bangkok, Leelachupong, graduated in business from Assumption University.

UNTIL NOVEMBER 17 Bangkok Biennale: Beyond Bliss– Ecstasy of Truth Sathorn 11 Art Space

404 Soi Sathorn 11 | 02 004 1199 | Tue-Sun, 11am-7pm www.sathorn11.com

Sathorn 11 Art Space is proud to participate in Bangkok Art Biennale with the theme of Beyond Bliss series. "Ecstasy of Truth" reflects the idea of the happiness and bliss interpreted by Kannika Jansuwan and Olga Volodina; painting and photos that demonstrate a variety of emotions and sensations while studying human nature. Volodina's work is executed in a surreal sometimes grotesque manner, these images opening a door to the world of her dreams and fantasies.

UNTIL NOVEMBER 18 Kawita Vatanajyankur

Nova Contemporary Project Space

Parichart Court at Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel Soi Mahadlek-Luang 3, Rajdamri Rd | 090 910 6863 Tue-Sun, 11am-7pm | www.novacontemporary.com

This is the artist Kawita Vatanajyankur first overview in Bangkok outside of a white cube setting. Works include four videos presented as site-specific installations in which Vatanajyankur explores the socio-cultural and psychological potentials of video art, utilising an inventive and painterly approach that imbues her documented gestures with a tangible sense of fragility and directness. She interrogates the psychological, social and cultural ways of viewing, the continuous and repetitive actions we perform daily. 72 | NOVEMBER 2018

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exhibitions | ART & CULTURE

UNTIL NOVEMBER 25 Early Years Project #3: COEVAL Bangkok Art and Culture Centre

939 Rama I Rd | 02 214 6630 | Tue-Sat, 10am-9pm www.en.bacc.or.th

The Incubating Project for Young Artists is dedicated to nurturing young and budding artists to enable them to take solid steps in producing creative works and embark on a healthy and sustainable development. This year, “Early Years Project #3: COEVAL” continues its mission and called for a new batch of submissions from next-generation artists and selected seven qualified artists to join the project, after which they will receive funding to create works for the 9th Floor of the BACC.

UNTIL DECEMBER 21 True Will

Chin’s Gallery

Arden Rama 3, 33/58 Yannawa Rd, Chong Nonsi 086 371 6009 | Wed-Sun 11am-7pm | chinsgallery.com

“True Will” is curated by Charoen.Victor and is an international group of exhibitions that takes upon each artist's moment, singular or plural moments, that shape their will of art today. The journey, be it painful, of regrets; or happiness or joy, is what leads to works of today in this moment in time. Internationally featured artists include Faith XLVII from South Africa, currently based in Los Angeles; L.A. graffiti artist EVOL; Spanish painter and sculptor, Okuda; Korean artist, Jimin Hong; and several local artists from a background of design, photography, sculpture and street art. RED CURRY OXTAIL + BONE MARROW kaffir lime + basil + coriander

LOCATION Conveniently located just 20 metres off Convent Rd (on Soi Pipat 2), in Bangkok’s Silom District OPENING HOURS 3pm–1am Every Day Full Kitchen & Bar until 1am CONTACT T: 02 238 0931 E: reservations@eatmerestaurant.com @eatmerestaurant @eatmerestaurant @eatmerestaurant

www.eatmerestaurant.com bangkok101.com

NOVEMBER 2018 | 73


ART & CULTURE | museum spotlight

National Museum of

Royal Barges

The Chao Phraya River is not only a main artery for commuter boats and cargo shipments, it is a grand background to spectacular traditional ceremonies and performances. One of the most stunning shows on the water is a Royal Barge Procession with its multitude of heavily decorated gilded boats. By Luc Citrinot

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f you miss this colourful majestic performance, at least you can admire the delicately sculpted ships at the National Museum of Royal Barges in Bangkok. Created in 1974 by the Fine Arts Department under supervision of the Bureau of the Royal Household and Royal Navy, the museum was set up in former dockyards along Bangkok Noi Canal on the Thonburi Side, facing the Siriraj Hospital complex. From the 52 Barges to be seen during a procession, the eight most prestigious Royal Barges on display have been used by Thailand Kings—each requiring between 30 and 60 people to operate—and are a testimony to the incredible skills of Thai craftsmen and artists, as well as the incredible strength of the oarsmen required to move the Barges.

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museum spotlight | ART & CULTURE

of Rama VI in 1914 and is carrying important Buddha images as well as royal robes to present to monks. The Anekchat Puchong Royal Barge An amazing barge as its hull is carved and gilded in the shape of small Naga figures. The barge was built during the reign of King Rama V.

The Suphannahong Royal Barge The barge figurehead was crafted into a swan-shape and was created during the reign of King Rama V the Great and finished during the reign of King Rama VI in 1911. This is a supreme barge where the king sits during the procession.

Other Barges of note with figure-heads crowned by sculptures and mythical figures include: The Asurawayupak Royal Barge with an ogre-faced bird in purple and indigo colours; The Karbi Prab Maung Marn Royal Barge with a swordsman as a figure head; The Krut Hern Hej Royal Barge with its ornate and traditional Garuda; and The Akkachai Hern Haw Royal Barge represents a crocodile.

The Narai Song Suban HM Rama 9 Royal Barge The Fine Arts department in collaboration with The Royal Navy and the Bureau of the Royal Household built this barge for late King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1996. It is crowned by a Golden statue of Vishnu mounted on a Garuda holding a Naga.

Information: The museum is open from 9am-5pm every day and is accessible by busses: 79, 503, 507, 509 and 511. Get off the bus at the first station opposite Pata Mall, right after crossing Phra Pinklao bridge. Private small boats can also dock near the Museum.

The Anantanakkharat Royal Barge The barge figurehead was crafted in a shape of a seven-headed Naga. This Barge was built in the reign bangkok101.com

Address: 80/1 Arun Amarin Road, Bangkok Noi Tel. 02 424 0004 NOVEMBER 2018 | 75


Art & Culture

Photo Feature

Flower Market Photography by David J. Constable

Bangkok Flower Market (Pak Klong Talad) is the biggest wholesale and retail fresh flower market in Bangkok. The 24-hour market has all kinds of flowers and flora-related items, including roses, forget-menots, orchids, lilies, and more. The market lies just south of Wat Pho and has access to a river pier, making it easily accessible and perfect for a day trip.


Gonzáles

Bastías Vineyard

Located four hours from Santiago in Chile, Gonzáles Bastías is a village and an old train station of the last “Ramal” train of South America. It is also the name of this ancient vineyard, located in the dry coastal land of Maule, only 40km from the Pacific Ocean.


An iconic and somewhat hidden vineyard, Gonzáles Bastías produce both red and white wines in clay vessels, a technique which dates back in Chile 400 years. Famed for its biodynamic wines, the small, family-owned vineyard is operated by Jose Luis Bastías and Daniela Lorenzo. Currently, they produce around ten thousand bottles per year, a production that comes in its entirety from the four-hectares of vineyards of almost two hundred years of País and other Creole strains. Jose’s family planted their four-hectare vineyard in the early 1800s, and they have been cultivating it ever since. Visiting the vineyard is like travelling back in time: to reach it, you must cross the Maule River by canoe from the local train station between Talca and Constitucion. The wines from this unique property are some of the most individual expressions in Chile and are remnants of Chilean ancestry, which is in danger of extinction. The grapes are crushed manually using a Zaranda de Coligue and fermentations are done in open fermenters with native yeasts, to achieve pre-fermentation macerations. Wines are produced with 100% País strain; País in Tinaja and Matorral. It’s the same process, but different ageing. Gonzáles Bastías also produce two wines in co-fermentation, which show other highly valuable Creole strains. A small production that has caused great interest, is “Naranjo”—an orange wine which combines a white strain like Torontel with a pink strain, Pink Moscatel, and a small part of País juice. Production of this is limited to a thousand bottles a year. Although Gonzáles Bastías remain small-batch with wines marketed to vineyard visitors and friends, dispatches are made internationally, imported and distributed by GFour, a wine importer and distributor of fine wines and spirits from all over the world to Asia.

www.vinosgonzalezbastias.com For more information about GFour, please visit:

www.gfour.co.th


Chef Alex Ruffinoni’s new dessert creations at Red Sky Restaurant


AROY

| FOOD & DRINK

a sweet taste of france at red sky restaurant

New arrival Chef Alex Ruffinoni has joined Centara Grand CentralWorld and Red Sky Restaurant as Executive Pastry Chef of Research and Development. With over 15 years experience in pastry making, having spent the majority of his career working at some of France’s leading hotels and luxurious bakeries, Chef Ruffinoni joins from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Dusit Culinary School where he worked as a Pastry Chef Instructor. He brings with him a brand new pastry and dessert menu, reflecting his passion, expert knowledge and artistic flair for all things sweet! You can try some of his creations as part of Red Sky’s a la carte menu or as a final course in the degustation menu. These a la carte desserts are available at Red Sky 55th floor, which can be enjoyed with other dishes from the regular menu every day from 6pm until late. www.centarahotelsresorts.com/redsky

winter treasures afternoon tea treat Indulge with a compelling “Winter Treasures” combination of Golden Afternoon Tea and Golden Oil Body Massage at Le Méridien Bangkok. Tune in and stretch out side-by-side as the hotel’s intuitive therapists knead essential mineral-rich golden oil into your compliant muscles and joints from neck to toe for 45 blissful minutes, and then proceed to Latitude 13 to banish winter woes with lustrous gold-tinged cakes, scones, tarts and tapas, complemented with lashings of piping hot Ronnefeldt Fine Teas or Premier Cru Hot Chocolate. Or would you prefer to take tea first and spa after? Available from November 1-December 31, 2018. THB1,800++ for Golden Afternoon Tea + 45-minute Golden Oil Body Massage (for two people). For more information, please contact 02 232 8888 or dining.lmbkk@lemeridien.com

brand new plant-based menu This year, alongside the annual Vegetarian Festival, Anantara Siam Bangkok’s culinary team have carefully created two tantalising set dinner options, which guests can enjoy in the beautiful setting of Siam Flowers in Parichart court. The plant-based menus feature all nutritious and delectable dishes, such as refreshing “Cucumber Roll”, “Tom Kha Hed”, “Fettucine Truffle” that caters to pasta lovers, “Gazpacho Andalouz” and “Tofu Masala” that brings out the rich flavours of India with a little twist. Set menus are priced at THB1,500++ for 6-course set menu and THB2,500++ for 7 courses per person. Advance reservation is necessary. For more information and reservations, please call 02 126 8866 Ext 1201 or or email: dining. asia@anantara.com www.siam-bangkok.anantara.com

new fine dining opening at Lhong 1919 The brand new Karmakamet Conveyance restaurant from Chef Jutamas Theantae is Karmakamet’s latest opening at Lhong 1919’s riverside Chinese complex on Chiang Mai Alley. Expect a varied tasting menu, journying through Asian flavours, unifying ingredients from Thailand, Hong Kong and the Philippines, all with Chef Jutamas’ unique touch. The focus here is on tastes and the offering of flavours as one experience, presenting the diner to new and interesting flavour combinations from different cultures, free from any agreement of how dishes should be served in any cuisine style. www.karmakametconveyance.com bangkok101.com

NOVEMBER 2018 | 83


Siam Paragon, in cooperation with Gastronuats Asia, is proud to present…

Cross-Concept

Pop-Up Series

THE COSTARDI BROTHERS Becoming chefs was their destiny. It was in the family. It was personal. For these brothers– Christian and Manuel–the path was already set, continuing the family business, learning from their grandparents and carrying on the good name of the family hotel, named after their mother: Hotel Cinzia. At the Michelin-rated Hotel Cinzia Ristorante, the brothers focus on local produce and specialities from the Piedmontese region, in particular, the famous Carnaroli rice. As Piedmont’s most famous crop, they turn the famed rice into over twenty varieties of Michelinstarred risotto. Their food combines the region’s traditional cuisine with modern culinary techniques, resulting in dishes now famous across the country. www.costardibros.eu


Fabrizio Fiorani Born in Rome, Fabrizio trained under some of Italy’s most renowned chefs and in the country’s most prestigious establishments, including three, three Michelinstarred restaurants. It was at the three-star La Pergola where he was appointed as Pastry Sous Chef, yet, his thirst for travel and knowledge saw him leave Europe for

Asia, moving to Tokyo where in 2014, he began work with Chef Heinz Beck. A year later, Fabrizio was appointed Pastry Chef of iL Ristorante Luca Fantin at Bvlgari Tokyo-Osaka. Fabrizio’s creations are now a famous part of Chef Luca Fantin’s culinary repertoire at the eponymous restaurant, Il Ristorante Luca Fantin (No.28 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018). Guests can also try his delectable creations at Il Bar, at Il Cafe in Osaka. www.bulgarihotels.com

16th-17th & 22nd-23rd November 2018 Advance reservations required. For more information, please contact Gourmet Garden Zone, G floor or Facebook: Siam Paragon


FOOD & DRINK | kitchen backstories

Kitchen Backstories

Foy Tong: Unravelling the threads of a culinary legacy.

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hether whilst squeezing through sweaty lunch-hour crowds or on a weekend amble through the crisp, air-con climes of a shiny mall, a Bangkok resident is, at one time or another, going to encounter the golden-yellow, stringy phenomenon that is Foy Tong (“Golden Threads”). Perhaps it will manifest in its full elegance as delicate golden tresses, resting languorously on a gleaming banana leaf; or, maybe as a sort-of straggly yellow toupée atop the sweet Thai crepe, Khanom Beuang. It may also show up ruthlessly squashed into a plastic-wrapped styrofoam tray. Yet, despite its ubiquity in everyday Thai life, few realise that this peculiar dessert has a decidedly long and cross-cultural past, harking back half a millennium – to the convents of Portugal. The original Portuguese version of the confection, Fios de Ovos (“Egg Threads”) is said to owe its creation to the culinary genius of some enterprising nuns. With a surfeit of egg yolks—owing to the extensive use of whites for filtering wines, starching habits and wimples; and even applying gold and silver leaf to church altars—an influx of sugar from new colonies, and a lot of downtime, hitherto quiet convents transformed into pioneering food-waste labs. The resulting innovations were what are still known today as Doces Conventuais,

Rosalind Yunibandhu is Founder & Managing Director of Arcadia Fine Foods. As a lover of both food and culture, she believes that food offers us much more than just a means of sustenance; to her, it’s also a vehicle through which we can tell the unique stories of the land, people and traditions from which it is borne. FB/IG: @arcadiafinefoods 86 | NOVEMBER 2018

or “Convent Sweets” and in particular, Ovos Moles: pastries characterised by a filling of—you guessed it—egg yolks and sugar. In parallel, significant advancements in naval construction and sea-going exploration were allowing this tiny nation on the western-most edge of Europe to accelerate its formidable, global expansion. Portuguese conquests included many parts of Asia; however, unlike Goa in India, or Malacca in Malaysia, Ayutthaya, in then Siam, was never colonised. Instead, it signed a treaty of friendship and commerce with Portugal, marking the first time Siam had ever allied itself with a European nation. Many traders subsequently chose to settle in Ayutthaya, creating a Portuguese quarter in the old capital. It is believed that it was during this period that Maria Guyomar de Pina, or Thao Thong Kip Ma—a Siamese woman of mixed Japanese-PortugueseBengali descent, and wife of Phaulkon, the highranking minister to King Narai—introduced egg-based Portuguese sweets to Siamese royal cuisine. These included Fios de Ovos, or what is now known as Foy Tong. Traditionally served in propitious ceremonies, the golden colour of the dessert represents prosperity, while its long threads represent longevity and everlasting love. Today, Foy Tong is made in much the same way it always has been, using duck and chicken egg yolks, and sugar, combined into a silky, deep yellow mixture. The batter is strained through a narrow funnel into a simmering syrup infused with jasmine, resulting in delicate ‘golden threads’ of egg yolk. Having myself just returned from Portugal—experiencing first-hand the full spectrum of its eggy delights—I can only marvel at how this five-hundred-year-old friendship—between two countries at opposite ends of the earth—has engendered one, incredible, shared culinary legacy. bangkok101.com


chew on this | FOOD & DRINK

Boat Noodles at

Victory Monument

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Bowl after bowl after bowl of the iconic bloodstock noodles.

everal major rivers like the Chao Phraya and the Mae Klong weave their way through the country and course south into the Gulf of Thailand, with dozens of tributaries and canals connecting along the way. These offshoot canals, called klongs, are like mini neighbourhoods that run up and down the river, some behind private barriers and entry-blockers, others open to public boats and snooping tourists. Accessible via the Chao Phraya, these klongs have long served Bangkokians in quieter neighbourhoods, tucked away in corners far from the bright lights of the big city. Wooden boats pass through the narrow winding tributaries, transporting goods and selling their wares to locals. The idea of a floating restaurant or supermarket may sound unusual to those of us who prefer our grub stationary, safe on terra firma, but you don’t have to go back all that far to a time when this was a common sight and a practical way to feed families. To this day, people who live along the river and particularity those deep into the maze-like structures of the Chao Phraya’s klongs, approach the river to choose their items from the incoming boats below, from which they can purchase everything from food to home appliances.

David J. Constable is a British writer currently residing in Bangkok, where he is the Editor of Bangkok 101 and the Managing Editor of Talisman Media. He has written for a wide range of magazines and newspapers, including Condé Nast Traveller, Tatler, Jamie Oliver magazine and Fine Dining Lovers. He is currently working on his first book, a collection of travel assignments. www.davidjconstable.com bangkok101.com

One of the most popular purchases remains noodle soup, assembled on board the boat with old ladies picking out pre-prepared ingredients from a bento box-like assembly of bowls. This iconic noddle soup dates back to around 1942 and the period of Plaek Phibunsongkhram, one of Thailand’s former Prime Ministers. Consisting of egg noodles, pork, fermented bean curd and a dark red broth of pig’s blood, these soups became know as Kway Teow Rua (“Boat Noodles”) and continue to be served today. Traditionally, serving sizes were small, making it easier for one person to paddle the boat and serve at the same time. Various toppings were added over the years, and I recently tried a version with pulled chicken, red chillies and coriander. Another I sampled at Victory Monument, in the northeast of the city, used thin, flank beef and solidified blood which broke down once the soup base was added into bobbing chunks of bulging blood and gore. I swallowed great visceral chugs—not quite as good as the real oozing liquid thing. In and around Victory Monument you’ll find that almost all of the boat noodles are now sold via land stalls, each offering their own spin on the classic recipe. Students sit around tables, hunched over bowls, slurping the blood broth; and I see examples of the elderly, bent-double, a single bowl in their hand, gnawing at the meat and slurping the steaming remains. Due to the variety of methods and the size of the bowl portions, it is recommended to choose between six and ten bowls, so I opt for twelve. All are piping hot broths of different consistency, some filled with pork and crisp-crackling, others with beef, garlic, crab balls and offal cuts. The classic with ba mee (yellow egg noodles), strips of boiled beef and blood stock, remains my favourite, and at only 10-15 baht a bowl, I challenge you not to stack your table high. NOVEMBER 2018 | 87


FOOD & DRINK | eat like nym

Peng Peng Khao Tom

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pleasant find recently was Peng Peng Khao Tom in the Banglamphu area, along the river and not far from the Night Market. My friend and I were on the search for good local comfort food—as we so often are—and this popular spot—busy with shoppers and backpackers—perfectly fulfilled our craving. The small restaurant is open for dinner only and has been serving hungry tourists and locals for half a century. This particular location however is still relatively new, after the owners arrived here around 10 years ago. The alley setting offers a sense of dark mystery, yet the dishes here are legendary. The operation is family oriented with the third generation currently cooking and running the business. Father and son cook side by side, and I spot a few other helpful chefs in the kitchen behind. The food is best described as fusion, something between authentic Thai and classic Chinese. A must-try dish is Jabchai, a stew of mixed vegetables with the addition of a spicy sauce of yam (Thai salad) that jazzes up the taste with lime and chili. My friend and I loved this healthy electric taste. Then, Koong Chae Nampla, the equivalent of shrimp ceviche, gets everyone at the table excited because our first Our roving roadside gourmand Nym knows her local grub insideout and thrives on the stories behind the dishes. Each month, she takes an offbeat tour in search of the city’s next delectable morsel. Follow Nym on IG: nymster 88 | NOVEMBER 2018

bite tastes like exploding fireworks on the tongue—a memorable mouthful indeed. Raw shrimps are bathed in an aromatic sauce made from lime, garlic, chili and perfume coriander leaves, the acid in the lime juice cooking the shrimp through. I don’t know if I got lucky because everything went so perfectly well, or unlucky that I had just now found this dish and it had not been part of my life for longer. Something more basic, but no less delicious was Spla Bai Khanun Tod. This fried jackfruit-leaf fish allows us to eat every part of it with the sound effect of crispiness when chewing into it. The key is dipping it in the sauce that has fermented beans together with ginger and a tiny chili; elevating the experience to something greater. The other unusual dish, but certainly no less interesting, was Kaeng Jeud Buoy Moo Sab, a sweet and sour plum soup with minced pork and vegetables. The way it looked didn’t come close to matching the way it tasted, which was sharp, sweet and ultimately refreshing—the first piquant spoonful almost lifting me up from my chair. The menu is dependent on available ingredients and what can be sourced from the market, so it’s ever evolving, which adds to the excitement of the visit. What’s important though, is that you come here hungry and I assure you, that you’ll leave happy and fulfilled. Address: Peng Peng Khao Tom is at 223 Phra Sumen Rd. Open: Daily, 4pm-9pm but closed on every 19th and 20th of each month. Tel: 086 332 9959 bangkok101.com


bitchin’ in the kitchen | FOOD & DRINK

Bitchin’ in the Kitchen Lost neighbourhoods and beyond: in search of good grub.

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here you live in Bangkok reflects the kind of foodie you are. This might be a big city, but it’s many neighbourhoods make it a complicated and intricate setup, especially if you’re on the hunt for quality grub! Bangkokians will shy away from anything which involves tedious exercise or more than one mode of transport; and yet, if there’s one thing that convinces them to wander beyond their usual stomping grounds, it’s the promise of good food. For local foodies or hungry visitors, here’s a bitchin’ lowdown of foodie hoods that are worth going the extra mile for. Charoenkrung: Expect block parties and gourmet BBQ, expats chugging Leo beer with hipsters sporting retro tees and fashionably unwashed hair. Most of all, expect badass experimental cocktails, paired with cutting edge Thai cuisine, rustic burgers and fancy meats on sticks. Here is where chefs congregate in dark eateries and dive bars well into the wee hours. It’s also a stone’s throw from the incredible Thai-Chinese street food and BBQ seafood of Yaowarat (Chinatown).

Neighbourhood hits: 80/20, Tropic City, 100 Mahaseth, Jua, Spare Parts, FooJohn Building. An Australian-born entrepreneur with Thai roots, Samantha Proyrungtong is the founder of Bangkokfoodies.com and Bangkok Foodies OFFICIAL Facebook community.She also runs her own marketing consulting agency and has become a well-known voice in the Bangkok culinary scene. bangkok101.com

Silom & Sathorn: Office buildings and diplomatic missions sit beside street food vendors, classy rooftop bars, franchise cafes, dated malls and lavish underground haunts. Most of the office crowd cram into rowdy noodle shops and expats frequent pubs at happy hour and bistros on weekends. With many Michelin-starred and Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants under its postcode, it also exudes tourist glitz and wannabe glam. Neighbourhood hits: Indigo French Restaurant, Il Bolognese, Chef Man, Eat Me, Le Du, Bunker, Smalls, Al Saray, Kika Kitchen & Bar, Via Maris.

Honorable Hood Mention: Narathiwat & Yenakart: Old yet charming, this unassuming district could threaten the culinary cachet of nearby Sathorn and Silom. Neighbourhood hits: Birds, Suhring, J’aime, Eats Payao, Arno’s Butcher & Eatery, Le Cabanon.

Upper Sukhumvit: To the naked eye Sukhumvit Road, the main artery to downtown, appears ugly and anonymous. Behind the endless stretch of concrete hotel facades, however, are Bangkok’s trendiest foodie quarters: Phrom Phong, Thonglor and Ekamai. You’ll find a concentration of Italian and other European restaurateurs who have formed tightly knit cliques that each has a fiercely loyal following.

Neighbourhood hits: Philippe Restaurant, Enoteca, Funky Lam, Haoma, Peppina, La Bottega, Upstairs Mikkeller, Indus, Canvas, Baan Ice, Supanniga, Nakiya, Tori Tama, Phuket Town, Ra-men Fukuda, Sushi Masato, The Missing Burro.

Honourable Hood Mention: Whithayu & Chitlom: A short trip down Sukhumvit leads to serious people looking for seriously good food. Neighborhood hits: Lenzi Tuscan Kitchen, Le Bœuf, Smokin’ Pug, Gaggan, Sushi Zo, Ginza Sushi Ichi.

NOVEMBER 2018 | 89


FOOD & DRINK | review

Karmakamet Conveyance Blurring boundaries and connecting people, this is proper soul food.

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et into the back of the yielding, spacious old warehouses of Lhong 1919, is a new riverside restaurant. From the duo behind Karmakamet Dinner, comes Karmakamet Conveyance, the latest offering from Natthorn Rakchana and Jutamas Theantae. Firstly, it’s a beautiful space. You enter off the former mansion quadrant into an aromatic-cumbotanic-shop, past the soaps and essential oils to the restaurant. Designed by Rakchana with sophisticated swank; every minute detail is addressed, from the flower vases to the light, white drapes. Of course, Chef Jutamas has considered everything in the kitchen too, and after a quick scan of the tasting menu—“Teasers” followed by seven courses—I entered entirely, willingly, wholeheartedly. Courses are somewhat profoundly named, with descriptions like “Emotional Seascape” and “Bangkok Street No.1” but each comes with a useful ingredients checklist, unveiling core ingredients and more importantly, the 90 | NOVEMBER 2018

inspiration behind each. For instance, an excellent Irish oyster with Pici noodles, and a braised chicken thigh with aromatic rice, tao-si lime dip and “Energy Soup”—chicken broth. This menu is anything but static, it’s bold and experimental, full of varying flavours. Better still, you don’t have to be fat-walleted with the menu costing a very reasonable B2,500 (+ B1,800 wine pairing). Inevitably with a set, no-choice menu, there’s one dish that makes me think “nope”, but the beef tongue turns out to be the dinner’s dazzling turn. It’s not, as I’d imagined, fleshy or even tongue-shaped, but like most quality bovine cuts is pliant and plump, marrying perfectly with flat rice noodles, a crisp shrimp pancake, a single beef ball, and a confidentlytitled “Incredible Chilli Jelly”. At a time when many chefs think they need to dial flavours up to 11, the subtlety here is rewarding: creative interplays between textures, various degrees of heat, including what looks like a plate of seafood leftovers but turns out to be an assemblage of spiced-coconut

crab, curried corn patty, yellow rice, fried Chempedak fruit and a meaty lobster claw. If I’d seen this on a conventional menu, I’d never have ordered it. There’s a definite benefit to having your hands tied. The food has not been heralded as a new movement or clearly identified as an alternative to the food of Bangkok, but it is moving things in a new direction. Chef Jutamas describes her food and the term “conveyance” as differences between people” and I kind of like that. It isn’t fashionable or chasing trends, it isn’t repetitive or genderspecific cooking, it’s just incredibly good. In a time when diners are obsessed with new, Karmakamet Conveyance rightly deserves high praise, a restaurant about people just as much as it is about food. by David J. Constable

Karmakamet Conveyance 248 Chiang Mai Alley, Khlong San Open: Daily, 6pm-midnight Tel: 02 116 3990 www.karmakametconveyance.com

bangkok101.com


review | FOOD & DRINK

Jua

Upscale izakoya in the hippest of hip neighbourhoods.

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aving a long history is not the same as being good. Some things have been around for ages and have always been awful—Crocs, mak huak, Yoko Ono—and so, it is with a fine guff of miso-garlic butter breath that I can happily recommend Jua, a newish izakaya joint in Charoenkrung’s “Creative District” which opened in November last year—HAPPY BIRTHDAY—and is very good indeed. At the end of a dimly-lit Soi, Jua occupies a concrete block space, formally a baan kaanphanan—or illegal gambling house—to which the name Jua derives, loosely translated as “hit me” in Thai, a commonly exercised phrase in Siamese blackjack, otherwise known as pok daeng. Inside you’re met with an intimate space, a terrazzo bar and colourful displays of rotating artwork, currently images from coowner Jason Lang’s compendium, Sake: The History, Stories and Craft of Japan’s Artisanal Breweries. Churning out first-rate kushiyaki and rattling-up varying blends of whisky and sake handcrafted cocktails, bangkok101.com

this is just the sort of place where you can loose an entire evening, hanging out with friends or trying to impress a first-date. If you’ve ever had dreams of opening a restaurant with a friend, then this would be that dream, which is just what happened with friends and business partners, Lang and Chet Adkins. The entire menu is about high flavour and textural fun. Okra skewers (B70) are grilled over binchotan—Japanese charcoal—and seasoned with togarashu spice to ensure an Oriental flavour tingle, while skewered chicken hearts (B80) are plump and velvety, tiny unconscious mouth-popping morsels of wonderful offal. Other skewered meats and vegetables include: Thigh Leek with Tare (B80) and Asparagus with Smoked Bacon (B100). From pork belly to pumpkin, this is a carefully crafted menu which forces the diner to be experimental, dipping in-and-out of small plates. The Fried Chicken Egg Salad (B280) is fun, crisped to perfection, and a bowl of Venus Clams (B300) in miso-garlic broth with milk toast is

so good, so garlicky, and so umamiladen, that I would happily punch a child in the face for another bowl. Hang on, another bowl of something outrageous, this time Orecchiette pasta (B800), fresh uni, ikura, nori and uni butter; something subtle and seductive, meant only for angels, kings and the grandiose. Service is merely the details of eating in any restaurant, not entirely the grand sweep of things that really counts, however, when it does knit together so well then you’re on to something special. Here, Jason and team run the bar and service—never dreary, never dull, always grinning. Chef Atkins will occasionally leave the kitchen to mix with diners. You can’t fault either on any front. It is a buzzing and remarkable place. by David J. Constable

Jua

672/49 Charoenkrung Soi 28 Open: 02 103 6598 Tel: Tue-Sat, 6pm-midnight, Sun, 6pm-10pm www.juabkk.com NOVEMBER 2018 | 91


FOOD & DRINK | special report

Bangkok Heightz

Where classic Thai street food meets trendy, high-rise sky bar.

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ucked away on the 39th floor of the Continent Hotel, this modern sky bar offers Thai dining with a traditional flavour. Visiting a sky bar makes you feel privileged, and Bangkok Heightz keeps things stylish with a spiral staircase featuring modern décor accessories. This place has been designed to be sophisticated, yet fun. The dining room is an ideal lifestyle setting for a special meal with a spectacular view of AsokeSukhumvit junction. The restaurant takes most of Thailand’s top dishes to another level, with a menu inspired by authentic Thai street food. Start your journey with a local favourite like Som Tum Gai Yang (B290), a spicy papaya salad, fresh and

92 | NOV EM BER 2018

aromatic with sour-sweet flavour. This is served together with herbgrilled chicken and spicy dipping sauce in one tray, all creatively presented in a generous portion, and you can even tell them how many chillies you’d like. Next, Tom Yum Goong (B390), and a signature dish in a spicy and sour soup, with prawns and mushroom, which is savoury yet fragrant. Served in a small hotpotstyle with a wax candle underneath to keep it hot, this is the perfect dish for sharing. And how about Pad Thai (B390), the star of the show. We all know that it’s one of the most famous street dishes in Thailand, and here, the jumbo prawns are perfectly cooked with a juicy texture and the Sen Chan Rice Noodles

soak up all of the flavours from the sauce, egg, tofu, bean sprouts, green onions and ground peanuts—all served with banana blossom. There are also options for other meats and vegetarians are also well catered for. For something meatier, it has to be Grilled Australian Beef Rib Eye (B870), a beefy bovine slab sufficiently tender and bold in flavour. Or, spice things up with the Jim Jaew dipping sauce that grilled meat-lovers won’t resist. The bar provides an extensive cocktails menu with fun names inspired by symbols of Thailand. Every drink is a highlight, but “Bangkok Heightz” (B320) seems to be one of the most popular choices. It’s powerful and refreshing with a mixture of passion fruit, apple, kiwi, ginger and lime juice. The “Muay Thai Mule” (B320) gives a little bit of a boozy kick with infused chilli and house gin decorated with a small boxing glove. Cocktails are creative, and the prices are reasonable for a hotel sky bar like this. Live music is performed every Friday and Saturday night. This is a hidden treasure where everyone can sit back and relax while admiring the sunset or night-lights of the central business district in Bangkok. The menu transforms Thai street food to a new level. Come around sunset time to enjoy urban vibes. Booking is recommended as seats are quite limited. by Wattanaporn Sodasoi

Bangkok Heightz

39F, 413 Sukhumvit Rd. Open: Daily, 6pm-1am Tel: 02 686 7000 www.thecontinentdining.com/th/ bangkok-heightz bangkok101.com


review | FOOD & DRINK

River Barge Restaurant

First-rate international buffet with breathtaking views of the Chao Phraya.

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ocated on the ground floor of the Chatruim Hotel Riverside, the River Barge Restaurant’s door opens into a world of spectacle. With impressive views across the Chao Phraya and a multitude of culinary offerings, spread long and wide across an international buffet, this is a place to spend an entire evening in. The floor-to-ceiling expanse of glass means that there’s also a spectacular view. If you arrive around dusk, then you can witness the everchanging wallpaper of nature, as the sun sets and the Bangkok skyline changes from blue to orange, to purple. As for the spread, they cater for everyone with pickings from Asian cuisine to Western. Chef Spencer Kells and his team work tirelessly to produce first-rate food, using only the finest of ingredients. The River Barge Signature Dinner Buffet (B1,290) is available every Sunday to Wednesday, while the Thai Night Dinner Buffet (B1,290) is open every Thursday. Other buffet offerings include the Remarkable bangkok101.com

Riverside Dinner Buffet (B1,690), offered every Friday and Saturday. And, lucky for me, I was visiting on a Friday evening. With mountains of food to choose from, including piles of seafood on ice, I took my time examining the delicious fare, with everything from lobsters to mussels to king prawns. As a sushi lover, I was not disappointed finding plenty to choose from. And, not to be outdone, there’s a wonderful offering of authentic Thai food, too: Pad Thai, Som Tam, Mussaman Curry, and the opportunity for diners to design their own version of a Thai classic, choosing from an expanse of ingredients including local herbs and spices. You’ll also find Chinese food on offer, such as grilled duck and smoked pork which pairs perfectly with a sweet sauce—trust me! If you’re seeking meat and fish, then undoubtedly the beef offering will please ravenous carnivores. It did me, cooked medium-rare and to bovine perfection by the on-hand

chef. But, my favourite station of all was Italian. I’m a sucker for pasta, and here, it’s prepared to order, and you really notice the freshness. Of course, I saved some room for desserts—colourful cakes, pastries, pies, ice creams and a delicious panna cotta served with fresh berries. Seating is available both indoor and outdoor, so you can indulge yourself with the taste of international foods all the while witnessing the astonishing view across the Chao Phraya. The River Barge Restaurant comes highly recommended for lovers of global cuisine and those who enjoy outside dining with a view of spectacular Bangkok. by Anansit Sangsawang

River Barge Restaurant

Chatruim Hotel Riverside, 28 Charoenkrung Rd Tel: 0 2307 8888 ext 1923 Open: Daily, 6:30pm-10:30pm www.chatrium.com/chatrium_hotel/ dining-specials/river-barge NOVEMBER 2018 | 93


FOOD & DRINK | meal deals

Loy Krathong Festival 2018

Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, 48 Oriental Ave, Bang Rak Tel: 02 659 9000 | www.mandarinoriental.com/bangkok On Thursday 22 November the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok celebrate their annual night of November’s full moon. Loy Krathong marks the ancient Thai tradition of honouring the Water Goddess and the iconic hotel celebrates Loy Krathong in truly memorable fashion with traditional dance shows, delectable feasts and a spectacular firework display over the Chao Phraya River. This is a special, not-to-be-missed celebration. For more information, please contact: mobkk-restaurants@mohg.com

Lunch Break at W Bangkok

106 North Sathorn Rd., Silom Tel: 02 344 4210 | www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/bkkwb-w-bangkok W Bangkok’s signature modern bistro restaurant, The Kitchen Table, introduces “Lunch Break” their newest all you can eat buffet featuring premium various food stations with premium ingredients. Available every Monday-Friday (12pm-2:30pm) priced at THB 899++/person. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For more information and reservations, call 02-344-4210 or email bf.wbangkok@whotels.com. For W Bangkok’s 24/7 updates, go to: www.facebook.com/wbangkok or www.wbangkok.com

A Winter Treasures Treat

Le Méridien Bangkok, 40/5 Surawong Rd., Silom Tel: 02 232 8888 | www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/bkkdm-le-meridien-bangkok Indulge with a compelling “Winter Treasures” combination of Golden Afternoon Tea + Golden Oil Body Massage. Tune in and stretch out as therapists knead essential minerals-rich golden oils into your muscles. Proceed to Latitude 13 to banish winter woes with lustrous gold-tinged cakes and scones, complemented with fine teas or premier cru hot chocolate. Available until 31 December 2018. THB1,800++ (2 persons). For more information, contact: dining.lmbkk@lemeridien.com

River Barge Restaurant Offers Outstanding Buffet Dinners

Chatrium Hotel Riverside, 28 Charoenkrung Soi 70 Tel: 02307 8888 | www.chatrium.com Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok steps up with a remarkable set of dining promotions this month, including the “River Barge Restaurant’s Themed Buffet Dinners” (every night of the week), “The Tiger Prawn Promotion” at the Silver Waves Chinese Restaurant and a “Chocolate Indulgence Promotion” at Lobby Floor. The 5-Star service combines with exceptional panoramic views and luxury facilities to create a captivating riverside experience. For reservations, please call Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok.

Loy Kratong Promotion

Anantara Riverside, 257, 1-3 Charoen Nakhon Rd. Tel: 02 476 0022 | www.anantara.com/en/riverside-bangkok Front row seats to Thailand’s Loy Krathong festival, where two sumptuous dining events (“Loy Krathong BBQ & Seafood Gala Buffet” & “Manohra Cruise Royal Thai Dining under the Full Moon”) will be held in the heart of the celebrations. On Thursday 22 November, guests are invited to take in the colours, fireworks and floating krathongs as they dine on fabulous feasts with the mighty Chao Phraya as a magnificent backdrop. For reservations please contact: 02 476 0022 Ext.1416 or email: riversidedining@anantara.com 94 | NOVEMBER 2018

bangkok101.com


FOOD & DRINK | breaking bread presented by sanpellegrino

FINE DINING WATER TO ENHANCE GREAT FOOD ACQUA PANNA AND S.PELLEGRINO. THE FINE DINING WATERS. w w w.finedininglovers.com Distributed by Global Food Products Co., Ltd. Tel. +66 26831751

Breaking Bread

with Nick Natthapol Pavapaiboon Meet the mastermind chef behind enchanted dining at the Palace of Fireflies.

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ick Natthapol Pavapaiboon, the executive chef of Wang Hinghoi, aka the Palace of Fireflies, has elevated Thai food into an art form. He says, “The concept of my cuisine is to create different forms and dimensions of Thai dishes, but retain the distinguished flavours, keeping it sophisticated.” Nick and his partner came up with the idea of gathering the balance of nature between the chaos of the city and rich environment, while the firefly is a symbol of 96 | NOVEMBER 2018

ecological abundance. Previously, he had studied engineering in America, but he soon discovered that it was cooking that made him happy. “I found a love for cooking from my mother. Since I was a kid, my mother always cooked with organic ingredients and shared with her students. That’s her happiness. It gave me the inspiration to cook and share.” Nick attended culinary school and dedicated himself to mastering new skills. He found endless

possibilities to work with ingredients and flavours, and pursued a culinary career, successfully opening several restaurants in America as well as the opportunity to serve his food at the NFL Super Bowl in Texas, last year. When the time came, his passion was to make Thai people have a better understanding and appreciate the value of Thai cuisine. “Thai cooking is considered a subtle art,” he says. After that, he decided to return to his homeland. bangkok101.com


breaking bread presented by sanpellegrino | FOOD & DRINK

Nick integrates all cooking techniques, with skills learned from several chefs in England, France and other countries. He had experience working with top chefs like Joel Robuchon and Gordon Ramsay—the masters of Yin and Yang gastronomy. He applied those creative and professional techniques to Thai culture. “I’ll never stop learning and wish to pass my knowledge to my team,” he says. He doesn’t want to stop surprising his guests, and sees his food like a kind of magic. “I used to be arrogant and very confident about my food, but I’ve learned that being humble and kind is very important, especially when working within a team.” Nick wants to make Wang Hinghoi the perfect spot for a oneof-a-kind dining experience, and it took three years of preparation, study and research before he was fully confident with the output. The restaurant operates under four elements: Earth, Water, Wind and Fire. Four months with a bangkok101.com

quarterly changing menu, however, it’s only temporary with a planned lifespan of only 18 months. Still, guests can experience all forms, tastes, smell and sounds, while dining. The most exciting area is the firefly room where guests can enjoy a view of more than 300 live fireflies. Every few days, a specialist will come to take care of the fireflies and check the room temperature. “Creating a successful restaurant is not a one-person show. I trained everyone from A-Z. I work very hard on it. Our key philosophy is “One team, one word” which means everyone has one goal, one target, one direction,” he says. Also, he wants Thai people to have a better lifestyle, starting from eating a good breakfast. Meanwhile, he wants to get involved in helping less fortunate people. “At Wang Hinghoi, my team and I create each menu together by using organic and homegrown products, including Royal Project produce. Our core activity is to support sustainability, and 99 per

cent of our ingredients are from local suppliers.” He likes to challenge himself by learning new things. He doesn’t want to limit himself to only cooking staple savoury dishes, but he wants to be good at desserts and pastries as well. After long hours at work, he likes to eat street food and explore new things from local restaurants. Tracking down the best products from each farm, and when he finds the product he wants, offers to buy in the long term to support local people. So, what does it all mean to Nick and what’ in store for the future? “For me, fine dining is about a great balance of a refined meal, quality, portion, reasonable price, theme, atmosphere and great service,” he says. “Wang Hinghoi is my biggest achievement to date. People start to know what we are doing and the real concept here, so I see this as a wonderful adventure” he says confidently. interview by Wattanaporn Sodasoi www.wanghinghoi.com NOVEMBER 2018 | 97


FOOD & DRINK | listings

CHINESE

FRENCH

Bai Yun

The Chinese outlet with the best view in town, and one of the highest representatives of Pearl Delta cuisine on the planet, offers high-quality ingredients you can really savour. 59F, Banyan Tree Bangkok 21/100 South Sathorn Rd. Tel: 02 679 1200 Open daily: 11:30am-2:30pm

Pagoda Chinese Restaurant

This upscale venue serves traditional Cantonese cuisine in a spacious and contemporary setting. The menu focuses on healthy dishes, while ensuring that the flavours and authenticity are retained. If you’re visiting, then well worth a visit. 4F, Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park Hotel 199, Sukhumvit Soi 22 Tel: 02 059 5999 Open daily: 11:30am-2:30pm, 6pm-10pm www.marriott.com

71, Sukhumvit Soi 26 Tel: 02 258 4900 J’Aime by Jean-Michel Open daily: 11:30am-2:30pm, 6pm-midnight Lorain Michelin-starred restaurant living www.indusbangkok.com up to lofty expectations, even rising above, thanks to the vibrancy in taste and colour of the dishes. You’ll no INTERNATIONAL doubt find yourself thinking about certain menu items the next day. The Dining Room at U Sathorn Bangkok The House on Sathorn 105, 105/1 Soi Ngam Duphli Few restaurant settings in the city rival Tel: 02 119 4899 this charming colonial-era mansion Open daily: 12pm-2:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm where Turkish native Chef Fatih Tutak www.jaime-bangkok.com keeps things rooted in the Ottoman canon, experimenting with tastes, textures, and temperatures in a 10-course tasting menu. INDIAN W Bangkok, 106 North Sathorn Rd. Tel: 02 344 4025 Indus An ambitious venture in modern Open daily: 6pm-10:30pm Indian cuisine, featuring a lighter www.thehouseonsathorn.com menu that still delivers the punch people expect, while dialling down Eat Me the stodge and oiliness; a riff on Run by the always innovative Tim Butler, Indian-Chinese—or Himalayan— this cozy Silom restaurant is consistently combinations. ranked among the top restaurants in

Cooking School & Restaurant

Amy Dabbs SINGAPORE

08/01/2017

Jarinya Thanasoonthonkul Bangkok THAILAND

08/01/2017

BANGKOK : 233 South Sathorn Rd., Sathorn Bangkok 10120 Tel : +66 2 673 9353-8, Fax : +66 2 673 9355 cooking.school@blueelephant.com

PHUKET : 96 Krabi Road, Tambon Talad Neua, Phuket 83000 Tel : +66 (076) 354 355-7, Fax : +66 (076) 354 393 phuket@blueelephant.com

www.blueelephant.com 98 | NOVEMBER 2018

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listings | FOOD & DRINK Asia and serves quite possibly the best steak in town. Trust us! Soi Pipat 2, Silom Rd. Tel: 02 238 0931 Open daily: 3pm-1am www.eatmerestaurant.com

Elements

This Michelin-starred restaurant expertly fuses Japanese and French culinary aesthetics, flavours, and precision, in a retro-futuristic space that feels like a home study but has the theatricality of a playhouse. 25F, The Okura Prestige Bangkok 57 Wireless Rd. Open daily: 6pm-10:30pm Tel: 02 687 9000 www.okurabangkok.com

Nimitr

“Oriental Cuisine” inspired by a responsible gourmand chef on the 27th floor, this beautiful restaurant has an outstanding setting and prepares wonderfully fresh plates with an Oriental leaning.

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succulent steaks and other meaty morsels. It’s also home to what has to be the coolest looking whisky room in the city. 34-36F, Park Hyatt Bangkok 88 Wireless Rd. Open daily: 5:30pm-midnight Red Oven Styled as a ‘World Food Market’, Tel: 02 012 1234 this all-day dining venue puts a bangkok.park.hyatt.com contemporary twist on buffet spreads. And on weekends, the restaurant Tables Grill offers an irresistable scrumptious, The award-winning restaurant free-flow wine brunch buffet. features prime-cut steaks and 7F, SO Sofitel Bangkok sustainably sourced seafood in an 2 North Sathorn Rd. elegantly unique setting that offers a Tel: 02 624 0000 fresh take on à la minute dining. Open daily: 6:30pm-10:30pm, Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel Sat-Sun Wine Brunch, noon-3pm 494 Rajdamri Rd. www.so-sofitel-bangkok.com Tel: 02 254 6250 Open: Mon-Sat, 11:30am-2:30pm, 6:30pm-10pm, The Penthouse Bar & Sunday Brunch: 11am-3pm Grill With a design concept that conjures www.bangkok.grand.hyatt.com up the fictional penthouse abode of a jetsetting adventurer, the open grill Up & Above kitchen at this stunning restaurant This elegant 24th floor restaurant has space and cocktail bar dishes up fine dining down, but it also boasts a

137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok 59/1 Sukhumvit Soi 39 Open: Daily 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10:30pm Tel: 02 079 7000 137pillarsbangkok.com/en/dining/nimitr

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FOOD & DRINK | listings brunch to rival all others—delivering a buffet of luxurious proportions. 24F, Okura Prestige Bangkok 57 Witthayu Rd. Tel: 02 687 9000 Open daily: noon-10:30pm Sunday Brunch: noon-3pm www.okurabangkok.com

Vertigo Too Bar & Restaurant

Neither an open-air rooftop bar, nor the kind of jazz den found in smoky brickwalled basements, the al-fresco Vertigo Too deftly toes the line between the two milieus. 60F, Banyan Tree Bangkok 21/100 South Sathorn Rd. Tel: 02 679 1200 Opem daily: 5pm-1am www.banyantree.com

JAPANESE Kisso

Combining a modern mastery of time-honoured customs in a stylish and convivial setting, this is one of the top places for outstanding Japanese cuisine in Bangkok. 8F, The Westin Grande Sukhumvit Bangkok, 259, Sukhumvit Soi 19 Tel: 02 207 8000 Open daily: 12pm-2:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm www.kissojapaneserestaurant.com

SPANISH

refined Thai fare made from the finest fresh ingredients. The Rose Hotel, 118 Surawongse Rd. Broken Eggs An Ekkamai classic (after relocating Tel: 02 266 8268-72 from Phra Khanong’s W District) Open daily: noon-11pm serving up tapas-feasts with an www.ruen-urai.com impressive wine and cocktail list. Expect freshly prepared dishes, Sala Rim Naam celebrating the food of Galicia. A stunning traditional pavilion 112/7 Ekkamai Rd (Sukhumvit Soi 63) located across the river from Oriental 02 047 7811 Mandarin where you will dine and Open: Tue-Sat 5pm-11.30pm, Sun 12-4pm experience Thai culture with all your www.brokeneggsbangkok.com senses. Classical Thai dance shows starts, every night at 7.30pm. Dress code is required: elegant attire and proper footwear for ladies, long THAI trousers and shirts with close shoes for gentlemen. Blue Elephant A wildly successful brand since it The Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok was first established in 1980, this 48 Oriental Ave. restaurant and cooking school sits in Tel: 02 659 9000 a gorgeous historic mansion. On the Open daily: 5pm-midnight menu, Chef Nooror takes a riff on the www.mandarinoriental.com Thai food of tomorrow, but also shares her heritage with every dish. 233 South Sathorn Rd. VEGETARIAN Tel: 02 673 9353 Open daily: 11:30am-2:30pm, Broccoli Revolution 6:30pm-10:30pm This veg-friendly restaurant features www.blueelephant.com a menu full of bright veggie bites that could pull in even the most stubborn carnivore. Now with two locations. Ruen Urai Set in the former residence of the 899 Sukhumvit Rd (at Soi 49) herbal medical doctor to King Rama V, Tel: 02 662 5001 Ruen Urai uses herbs and spices with 6F, Central Embassy, Tel: 02 160 5788 medicinal qualities, while delivering Facebook: Broccoli Revolution

Trattoria Pizzeria Il Bolognese

LOCATION 139/3 SOUTH SATHORN SOI 7 BANGKOK 10120 THAILAND OPEN EVERYDAY 11:30AM - 14:30PM 17:30PM - 23:00PM CONTACT T: 02 286 8805 E: ilbolognesebkk@gmail.com trattoria.pizzeria.ilbolognese @ilbolognesebangkok

www.ilbolognesebangkok.com 100 | NOV EMBER 2018

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CUISINE ART

Mhoo Yaang Muang Trang Mhoo Yaang Muang Trang is Trang-style roasted pork. The whole pig is usually the offering at the Qingming festival in Trang, the province where Khun Urai, the restaurant’s owner, was born. This is one of Ruen Urai’s “Southern Comfort” menus, inspired by multi-cultural southern Thai cuisine. Experience fine Thai culinary arts in the oasis that is Ruen Urai, “The House of Gold.” Open 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 www.ruen-urai.com


British progressive house DJ duo Third≥Party return to Bangkok this month


NIGHTLIFE | NIGHTLIFE

gin garden delights

Gin lovers look no further as Penthouse Bar + Grill at the Park Hyatt Bangkok presents a world-wide selection of gin-based drinks whipped up to your wishes, crafted with a level of personal care for uncommon and enriching experiences. Explore the gin garden at the Rooftop Terrace every Tuesday from 4:30pm-midnight. www.bangkok.park.hyatt.com

friday night is jazz night Enjoy Friday Night Jazz, from 5:30pm-7pm, at akyra Thonglor Bangkok, the luxury boutique five-star hotel where the city’s dapper and delightful drop by to chill out. Every first and third Friday of the month, Presidente Lounge at akyra invites guests to experience the cool sounds of their jazz trio, as well as the special promotion of buy one glass of beer, house wine or signature cocktail and get one more glass complimentary. www.theakyra.com/bangkok/thonglor

returning dj duo set for explosive set Returning to Bangkok, Third≡Party, the British progressive house DJ duo will play for one night only at Bangkok’s choice SuperClub Insanity on Wednesday 28th November. The Essex pair have gone from local to international acclaim, forming their own unique and anthemic dance sound in the process. They’ve played some of the biggest venues worldwide and are consistently performing at the world’s largest dance music festivals, such as Creamfields, Tomorrowland, Ultra Music Festival and EDC. Entry tickets cost B500 for men and B400 for women and includes one free drink. Book early to avoid disappointment. www.facebook.com/events/225299094831184

the a-train is comin’ to BKK Over the past decade, DJ A-TRAIN has done everything from mega clubs and festival stages to underground dance clubs and exclusive private events. He fell in love with the DJ culture while living in Tokyo as a teenager and started collecting vinyl records just before his return to the US, and by age 17 he was DJ’ing nightclubs throughout Florida. DJ A-TRAIN is now one of Miami’s top international DJs and holds residencies at Miami’s best voted parties and dance clubs, and he will be performing at Sugar Club (Sukhumvit Soi 11) on November 8th. Tickets prices are Male B300 for males and B200 for females, and include a free drink. www.facebook.com/events/1531536536946889 bangkok101.com

NOV EMBER 2018 | 103


NIGHTLIFE | review

Loads of Character

A pair of whisky and cigar bars that define elegance and sophistication.

S

erving an array of rare and fine whiskies, the second outpost of Character Whisky & Cigar Bar is an exclusive lounge set on the 32nd floor of the Compass Skyview Hotel. The first Character bar opened in the Anantara Hotel Siam, a smaller, ground-level cove, perfect for hiding away with the newspaper, a cigar in one hand, a tumbler of whisky in the other. The second outpost followed a few months later, adding, this time, a breathtaking panoramic view of Bangkok—especially superb on the outdoor terrace. I take my seat inside, on one of the plush, leather armchairs and study the extensive index of whiskies (over 100 stocked), running through with my finger, pretending that I know what I’m doing. Prices range from B250 to B3,000 for a glass, so I’d better. I stop at ones with names I can pronounce, then tap on the description confidently, “Yes, yes, that one, please. Very good indeed”. The staff seem convinced and proceed to pour. Hepburn’s Choice is my choice also, a Scottish single malt (Fettercam 104 | NOV EMBER 2018

7 Year Old) and independentlybottled by the Langside Distillers— one of only 85 bottles. I slug back the amber liquor, it’s as smooth and silky as a firstborn’s tears. I feel vindicated. Then, I’m handed a cigar. I roll the stogie between my fingertips, raising it to my nose (I’ve seen other people do this). A leggy seductress—put there to lure me out of all of the money I don’t have—cuts the base and lights the front, handing it back to me. I chug with enthusiasm. It’s damn good. “Our best seller,” she tells me. I’m just some wash-ashore English goon out of his comfort zone, but this all seems rather spectacular. I find myself the happiest and most comfortable I’ve been since arriving in Bangkok a few weeks ago. I read the cigar band: CAO Pilón Corona (Nicaragua). At first, it’s sweet and bready, like a 7-Eleven cinnamon roll, but then matures to a cedary finish. As fragrant as a novice cigar-rollers inner top thigh. I knock back the rest of my whisky to refresh. “A refill, sir?”

Leaving the comfort of my armchair, I enter the walk-in humidor for a blast of cold air—always 20°C, 70 percent humidity—and study the comprehensive library of over 100 premium, hand-made cigars. Beautifully crafted, musky boxes carry imports from Cuba, Nicaragua, Brazil, Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic, some with small signs noting top honours from industry magazines such as Cigar Snob and Cigar Aficionado. Returning to the comfort of my chair, I’m given a liberal serving of Old Pulteney (12 Years Old) from Caithness in the Highlands, along with my choice of three bottles of Scottish spring water. Not one, three. My cigar is re-lit and handed back to me with a smile. Ah, what a place! A three-tier membership here starts at B45,000 (Kennedy Membership), B95,000 (Castro Membership), and finally an eyewatering—or is it the smoky room— B165,000 (Churchill Membership), with varying benefits and privileges, though, walk-ins are also welcome. Brimming with ‘character’, ahem, and class, I think I’ll probably go back tonight. by David J. Constable NOTE: The whiskies—as well as bourbons, rums, cognacs, and wines—are available as single servings or bottles, and single cigars are available as well as boxes.

Character Whisky & Cigar Bar

32/F, Compass Skyview Hotel 12, Sukhumvit Soi 24, Tel: 02 011 1133 Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel Gf, 155 Rajadamri Rd, Tel: 02 254 4726 www.facebook.com/characterbar bangkok101.com


NIGHTLIFE | listings

BAR Bamboo Chic Bar

choose from, as well as some exciting options for the non-wine-inclined, while refined, rustic European cuisine is served up tapas-style for social dining. 2F, Gaysorn Plaza, 999 Ploenchit Rd. Tel: 02 656 1133 Open daily: 11am-midnight www.riedelwinebarbkk.com

views of the city (day and night). A laid-back bar perfect for unwinding… cocktail in hand. 28F, Hyatt Place Sukhumvit Bangkok 22/5, Sukhumvit Soi 24 Open: Mon-Thu, 5pm-midnight; Fri-Sat, 5pm-1am; Sun, 3pm-11pm Tel: 02-055-1234 www.facebook.com/airebarbangkok

Smalls

Cielo Sky Bar

Explore a selection of signature cocktails, wines, and spirits, while the culinary team prepares a variety of snacks and delicatessen favourites in a contemporary lounge setting. 4F, Le Méridien Bangkok 40/5 Surawong Rd. Scarlett Wine Bar & Open daily 5:30pm-11:30pm Restaurant Tel: 02 232 8888 This sophisticated (and elevated) drink www.lemeridienbangkokpatpong.com spot and bistro offers tipplers both a novel-sized wine list, and a host of creative cocktails—many of which make use of in-house infused spirits. 37F, Pullman Hotel Bangkok G Open daily: 6pm-late Tel: 096 860 7990 www.randblab.com/scarlett-bkk Cielo Sky Bar

The Bar

The Bar

Featuring a black and gold colour theme, and both indoor and outdoor seating, this 10th floor lounge is warm, sophisticated, quiet, and inviting—the archetype of a bar you would belly up to after a long day at work or a long flight into town. 10F, Park Hyatt Bangkok, 88 Wireless Rd. Open daily: 7am-midnight Tel: 02 012 1234 www.bangkok.park.hyatt.com

The Diplomat Bar

Drop by any night and you’re likely to find suited and booted business types chatting over martinis. Dark wood touches, soft yellow lighting, and a den-like feel partly account for the bar’s popularity, and from 8pm Monday to Thursday (and 8.30pm Friday and Saturday), a talented band entertains with jazz and R&B sounds. 1F, Conrad Bangkok Hotel 87 Wireless Rd. Open: Sun-Thu, 7am-1am,Fri-Sat, 7am-2am Tel: 02 690 9244 facebook.com/diplomatbarconradbangkok

Decorated with vintage furniture and art, giving it a true bohemian vibe, this well-loved, three-storey neighbourhood drink spot offers a wide selection of beers, wines, and hard-to-find liquors, as well as live jazz on Wednesdays. 186/3, Suan Phlu Soi 1 Tel: 095 585 1398 Open: Wed-Mon, 8:30pm-2am www.facebook.com/smallsbkk

Wine Connection The Grill

There are currently 18 Wine Connection outlets in Bangkok, however this branch also focusses on grilled meats— especially beef—to be enjoyed with the large selection of reasonably priced wines (available mainly by the bottle, but with some “by the glass” options as well). 1F, The Groove@CentralWorld Open daily: 11am-midnight Tel: 02 613 1037 www.wineconnection.co.th

A rooftop bar, with a business-casual ambiance and unbeatable views of Bangkok, serving a wide-ranging and impressive list of cocktails at fair prices. 46F, Sky Walk Condominium Sukhumvit Soi 69 Tel: 02 348 9100 Open daily: 5pm-1am www.cieloskybar.com

CRU Champagne Bar

This high altitude hot spot is owned by G.H. Mumm Champagne brand and offers tipplers dozens of tables, as well as a circle-shaped showpiece bar. If you’re craving bottles of bubbly with a panoramic view, it doesn’t get any better than this. 59F, Centara Grand at CentralWorld 999/99 Rama 1 Rd. Tel: 02 100 1234 Open daily: 5pm-1am www.champagnecru.com

Moon Bar & Vertigo

The top floors of the Banyan Tree Hotel offer three iconic rooftop spots: Moon Bar, Vertigo, and the 64th floor ROOFTOP SKY BAR Vertigo Too. All are perfect spots for a romantic rendezvous. Aire Bar Riedel Wine Bar & Cellar Offering a variety of wines, beers, 61/64F, Banyan Tree Bangkok A world-class wine bar that isn’t just all and artisanal cocktails, with delicious 21/100 South Sathorn Rd. about wine. There’s dozens of vinos to snacks to boot. Plus, one of the best Tel: 02 679 1200 106 | NOV EMBER 2018

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listing | NIGHTLIFE Open daily: 5pm-1am www.banyantree.com

Octave Rooftop Lounge & Bar

Whether you choose the outdoor lounge on the 45th floor or the alfresco bar on the 49th floor, you have breathtaking views in every direction. And those in search of a sundowner should heed the 5pm-7pm happy hours, when signature cocktails are half-price. 45-49F, Bangkok Hotel Marriott Sukhumvit, 2, Sukhumvit Soi 57 Open daily: 5pm-2am Tel: 02 797 0000 www.facebook.com/octavemarriott

Open daily: 7am-1am www.westingrandesukhumvit.com

CLUB Levels

One of the most reliably busy nightclubs in Bangkok that welcomes a mix of resident expats, stylish Thai party animals, and wide-eyed holidaymakers who can’t get enough. 6F, 35, Sukhumvit Soi 11 Tel: 082 308 3246 Open daily: 9pm-2am www.facebook.com/levelsclub

Mixx Discotheque

Classier than most of Bangkok’s afterhour dance clubs, the space is a One of Bangkok’s most acclaimed two-room affair—one plays R&B and rooftop bars—perched dramatically Hip Hop, the other does Techno & above the heart of the city—offers House—decked out with chandeliers, paintings, and billowing sheets. light bites and signature cocktails. President Tower Arcade 56F, Centara Grand & Bangkok 973 Ploenchit Rd. Convention Centre at CentralWorld Tel: 02 656 0382 999/99 Rama 1 Rd. Open daily: 10pm-late Tel: 02 100 6255 www.mixx-discotheque.com/bangkok Open Daily: 4pm-1am (Happy Hours: 4pm-6pm) www.centarahotelsresorts.com

Red Sky Bar

Rooftop Terrace at Penthouse Bar + Grill

LIVE MUSIC

This dramatic skybar is the perfect spot to drink in Bangkok’s nighttime skyline in an outdoor garden lounge setting. Order anything from a bucket of drinks, to curated cocktails and expertly crafted bites. 36F, Park Hyatt Bangkok 88 Wireless Rd. Open daily: 5:30pm-midnight Apoteka Tel: 02 012 1234 bangkok.park.hyatt.com Apoteka Built to emulate a 19th-century apothecary, this lively spot has a Zest Bar and Terrace Recently refurbished, this tippling casual old-school feel, indoor and spot entices guests with an all-new outdoor seating, an awesome line-up drink menu, featuring expertly crafted of live music almost every day of the cocktails, and a range of gastronomic week, tasty bar snacks, and a drink delights such as beer battered fish selection including beer and custom craft cocktails. No dress code, no cover and chips. 7F, Westin Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok charge, and no pretention! 33/28, Sukhumvit Soi 11 259 Sukhumvit Rd. Tel: 090 626 7655 Tel: 02 207 8000 bangkok101.com

Open daily: Mon-Thu, 5pm-1am, Fri, 5pm-2am, Sat-Sun, 3pm-midnight www.apotekabkk.com

Bamboo Bar

A small and busy landmark of the East’s past glories that is, nevertheless, romantic and intimate, thanks to the legendary jazz band that plays each night. Ideal for a boozy night out or a romantic special occasion. The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok 48 Oriental Ave (riverfront) Tel: 02 659 9000 Open daily: Sun-Thu, 11am-1am, Fri-Sat, 11am-2am www.mandarinoriental.com

Checkinn99

A lively bar and cabaret club in downtown Bangkok (next to the Lotus Hotel) and one of the city’s most celebrated live music venues. Nightly live music includes jam sessions, Sunday jazz, and a local Thai and international menu. Happy Hour and easy-listening sets run between 6pm-8:30pm. 1/1 Sukhumvit 33, Sukhumvit Rd Tel: 081 735 7617 Open: daily, 11am-2am www.checkinn99.com

Maggie Choo’s

The bar’s attraction is the live jazz music, some of the best the city has to offer. The welcoming atmosphere is amplified with sultry mysticism and redolent of Shanghai’s dandyish early 20th-century gambling dens. GF, Hotel Novotel Fenix, 320 Silom Rd. Tel: 02 635 6055 Open: Tue-Sun, 6pm-2am www.facebook.com/maggiechoos

The Zuk Bar

An ideal place for aperitifs or after dinner drinks, which can be savoured alongside a selection of tapas menu items. Chill out while admiring the fabulous garden view. The Sukhothai Bangkok 13/3 South Sathorn Rd. Tel: 02 344 8888 Open daily: 5pm-1am www.sukhothai.com NOV EMBER 2018 | 107


SIGNING OFF | did you know?

B

angkok’s river has always been and will always be the bloodline of Bangkokians. For hundreds of years, the Chao Phraya has provided all that is required for locals to live and it has driven the original settlement to prosper into present day Bangkok. Aptly named “Mae Nam Chao Phraya” the river is the original nurturer of Bangkokians. In Thai, “Mae Nam” is a generic term for a river with “Mae” signifying mother and “Nam” water. The Thai royal and noble title “Chao Phraya” may be translated as “Grand Duke”. The two terms together truly reflect the reverence Thais have for this river and it continues to play an important role in the lives of locals. Bangkok traces its origins back to the 15th century when it began as a small village under the rule of the original capital of Siam, Ayutthaya. Early settlers chose the original site because of the land’s fertility and the water’s abundance of fish.

108 | NOV EMBER 2018

The source of the Chao Phraya is in the north of Thailand where the Ping, Wang, Yom and Nan rivers merge to form an inlet at Paknam Pho District in Nakorn Sawan Province. It flows southwards through Uthai Thani, Chai Nat, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi and Bangkok before reaching the Gulf of Thailand in Samut Prakarn province. The city has expanded far beyond the river’s banks, and like all thriving urban centres of the world, Bangkok has transformed much since its birth. However, locals still live, work, and play along the Chao Phraya with an estimated 50,000 people using the ferries every day. www.bangkokriver.com

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Bangkok 101 Magazine November 2018  

Bangkok's leading travel and leisure city guide magazine. Live Like a Local!

Bangkok 101 Magazine November 2018  

Bangkok's leading travel and leisure city guide magazine. Live Like a Local!

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