Bangkok101 Magazine November 2016

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A Photographer Remembers On that afternoon, the weather was hot and humid. While His Majesty was looking at the terrain in front of him, a powerful gust of wind suddenly came up, frightening everyone. But the King stood still as if nothing happened, and just kept working. This memory has stayed with me for the past 30 years, especially the image of him on that deserted plateau. — Napan Sevikul


Publisher’s Letter

n October 13th, 2016, the Kingdom of Thailand found itself, for the first time in 70 years, without a King. The loss of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who peacefully passed away at the age of 89, caused an immeasurable wave of grief to envelop the nation. We at Bangkok 101 mourn the loss collectively, and offer our deepest sympathies to the Thai people. We grieve together as a nation—whether we were born here, or have made Thailand our adopted home. The Kingdom is now in an official period of mourning, and out of respect a number of planned events and celebrations have been cancelled or postponed. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has issued a statement that they would like all visitors to Thailand to continue with their travel plans as normal, and to kindly be advised of some basic guidelines that can be found on their website:

Much of the content readers will find here may be no longer relevant, due to the fact that the bulk of this issue had been sent to the printer prior to the announcement made concerning His Majesty King Bhumibol’s passing. However, the fact that so many carefully planned activities have been discontinued or halted without question, only demonstrates the depth of respect that Thailand holds for its beloved monarch. Of the countless images of the King now circulating the web, one particular photo has clearly struck a chord—having been shared already by tens of thousands of people. Through the magic of Facebook we tracked down Napan Sevikul, an illustrious photographer who took countless photos of the King over many years, and he graciously allowed us to feature this spectacular Royal moment on our cover. We at Bangkok 101 express our gratitude for his willingness to share this unforgettable Mason Florence photograph with even more people. Publisher

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

OCTOBER 2016 | 5

CONTENTS On the cover The iconic photograph on the cover was taken by Napan Sevikul, a consultant at the Siriraj Museum. The image itself, taken in 1982, shows HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej in the mountains of Ban Mae Kae Noi in Chiang Dao district, Chiang Mai. Khun Napan accompanied the King from 19761987, during his expeditions in the north. Image published with kind permission of the photographer.


Metro Beat What’s going on this month in and around Bangkok


My Bangkok Meet Paul Smart, ‘Head Culinary Designer’ at SO Sofitel’s Park Society

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Out and About Discover Koh Sarn Chao, one of Bangkok’s historic communities on the brink of disappearing Made in Thailand Classic ceramics made modern at Cone Number 9


Tom’s Two Satangs On Khon Dance-Drama


Bizarre Thailand Man and monkey meet in the famous temples of Lopburi


Joe’s Bangkok Bangkok’s rivers and canals are the lifeblood of the city


Very Thai Truck and bus art both beautifies and protects


Flight of the Gibbon Exciting treetop tour of Chiang Mai’s rainforest jungle


Insider’s Guides to Chiang Mai Writers Joe Cummings and James Farrell both share their favourite spots in the city


On The Block The ever-expanding Nimmanhaemin district remains Chiang Mai’s hipster hotspot


Creative Chiang Mai Discover the northern capital’s artistic heart, both historic and contemporary


Photo Feature Russian-born photographer Olga Volodina now calls Chiang Mai home


Where to Stay Shangri-La Hotel, Chiang Mai


Focus On Pai Re-visiting the North’s most chilled-out traveler mecca


Focus On Phrae The peaceful province of Phrae fiercely protects its magnificent teakwood houses


Focus On Lampang Explore this often overlooked city and discover its colourful Lanna history



30 Heritage A glimpse into Thonburi’s historic Kudi Jeen district


Lanna 101 In this special 36-page travel destination feature we head north and take a look at Chiang Mai and beyond

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Focus On Chiang Mai Don’t miss these historic Lanna Landmarks


See & Do, Chiang Mai Cultural events to plan your trip around, and a profile of the Elephant Nature Park

Bangkok 101 is available at: 6 | OCTOBER 2016



Art Updates

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Art Exhibitions The latest museum gallery openings across the city


Cinema Scope This month’s special film events and screenings


Food & Drink Updates


Connoisseur Corner Wine related news and events in Bangkok


Meal Deals Restaurants offer amazing deals for diners


Live Music What’s coming up in Bangkok’s live music scene


Hot Plates Inventive Italian fare at La Casa Nostra


Club Report Check out some of the hottest DJ events this month


Restaurant Reviews Toro; El Osito; J’Aime; River Barge; M Bistro; Erawan Tea Room


Nightlife Listings Capsule reviews of select nightspots in Bangkok


Breaking Bread with Chris Patzold, Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui


Eat Like Nym Ran Chan Tea Room in Bangkok’s Old Town


Food & Drink Listings Capsule reviews of select restaurants in Bangkok


Nightlife Updates


Bar Reviews Attitude; Zest


Lifestyle Updates


Spa Deals Bangkok spas offer amazing deals and discounts


Spa Reviews Plaza Athénée; Spa Cenvaree


Did You Know?... The Sukothai Historical Park is celebrating its 40th anniversary

Phen Parkpien Naritha Yonyubon

Korakot (Nym) Punlopruksa, Craig Sauers, Tom Vitayakul, Annaliese Watkins





Narong Srisaiya


Mason Florence


Dave Crimaldi


Thanakrit Skulchartchai

Dr Jesda M. Tivayanond STRATEGISTS

Jhone El’Mamuwaldi

Parinya Krit-Hat

Sebastien Berger Nathinee Chen



Orawan Ratanapratum SALES AND MARKETING

Bruce Scott


Itsareeya Chatkitwaroon


Danaan Andrew, Jim Algie, Robin Banks, Gary Barber, Luc Citrinot, Philip Cornwell-Smith, Dave Crimaldi, James Austin Farrell, John Krich,




Julia Offenberger

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



Pongphop Songsiriarcha



Seri Sartsanapiti

© Copyright Talisman Media Group Co., Ltd 2016. 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


In addition to the regular eclectic international fare at the Bangkok World Film Festival (see pg.12), there will also be a special section of Italian Contemporary Cinema featuring a tribute to Marcello Mastroianni (as part of the Italian Festival in Thailand and supported by the Italian Embassy). There will be screenings of some of the most lauded examples of Mastrianni’s cinematographic prowess, including Matrimonio all’Italiana, and Peccato Che Sia Una Canaglia. All screenings take place at the SF Cinema, CentralWorld, and tickets are B120 each.

November 13

ART IN THE PARK November 10

Lumphini Park will have a new resident as of today, in the form of the world-famous sculpture Wings of Mexico, created by Mexican artist Jorge Marín. This art project, currently on tour through Asia, represents the wings of the ‘Victory of Independence’, one of the most important symbols of Mexico City. The intention of this sculpture—a large rectangular metal frame with two enormous outstretched angel’s wings attached to it—is meant to be appropriated by visitors who, it is hoped, will take pictures of themselves interacting with it. The sculpture will remain in the park until April 2017.

BOOK BARGAINS November 12-13

The used-book sale at the Neilson Hays Library (195 Surawong Rd) offers bookworms the chance to browse thousands of fiction, non-fiction, and large format books in English, plus a selection of other languages, kindly donated by supporters of the library. This popular fundraiser offers books of all genres, with prices starting at just 20 baht. There will also be a special table with rare, old, and unusual books. Each day the doors will open at 9:30am and things will wrap up at 4pm. 10 | NOV EM BER 2016

There will be a free piano recital today at 4:30pm, at Sala Sudasiri Sobha (158/20, Ladprao 41, Yaek 7-2), featuring Giuseppe Andaloro. Acclaimed as an emerging talent among the new generation of Italian pianists, Andaloro has already won several awards in his career, and his magic touch and agile technique—plus a repertoire that includes Beethoven and Liszt— never fails to win over audiences.

November 24

For an evening of jazz make a point of catching the Francesco Bearzatti Tinissima Quartet performing at the Music Hall, Chulalongkorn University. Voted ‘Best Saxophonist’ by “Musica Jazz” magazine Bearzatti is a gifted musician, who has toured extensively in Europe and the United States. His latest record reinterprets the great blues and folk songs of Woody Guthrie. Showtime is 7pm and admission is free.

November 27

Don’t miss seeing three great piano masters in a unique performance, with three pianos on stage, duelling with each other on jazz, classical music and famous soundtracks— including improvisations and solo pieces. Entitled 3 Piano Generations, the free concert features a pair of soundtrack composers, namely Luis Bacalov (The Postman), and Rita Marcotulli (Basilicata Coast to Coast), as well as Alberto Pizzo, an equally renowned performer and composer. The event takes place at Mahidol University, Music Auditorium College of Music (MACM) and begins at 4pm.

November 30

The ‘In the framework of Italian Guitars’ series at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) continues with a performance by Fabio Montomoli. Recognized by critics as one of the best classical guitar performers on the international scene, Montomoli amazes audiences with a powerful sound provided and a vast timbre variety. Admission is free and showtime is 7pm.

CITY PULSE | metro beat


ALL THAT JAZZ November 6-26

Jazz lovers get set for American jazz singer Clairdee, performing live at The Living Room, located in the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit hotel (250 Sukhumvit Rd). Acclaimed for her inventive artistry and magnetic stage presence, Clairdee’s lustrous voice and soulful delivery transports audiences back to the golden era of jazz. She has shared the stage with artists as diverse as Boz Scaggs, David Sanborn, Dick Hyman, and the late, great Etta James. During her residency she will be performing with the Randy Cannon Group Tuesdays to Thursdays from 9:15pm onwards, and Fridays and Saturdays from 8:45pm onwards. Admission is B300 after 8:30pm.

LECTURES Starting November 3

The National Museum Volunteers (NMV) begin a month of lectures, held every Thursday morning in November (two per day) starting on the 3rd. This year’s theme is ‘Modernizing Siam: The Kingdom in Transition, 1850 – 1910’. The eight lectures in the series will explore the arts, politics, architecture, personalities, and culture of the intriguing period that transported Siam from antiquity to the modern era. The first two lectures will be held at the Goethe Institute (18/1 Soi Goethe, Sathorn Soi 1), while the others will be at the auditorium of the National Museum Bangkok (4, Na Phra That Alley). The first lecture begins at 9:30am, and the second at 11am. For NMV members the cost is B200 (non-members B400), which includes snacks and tea/coffee. Visit for the list of scheduled lecturers. 12 | NOV EM BER 2016

The Four Points by Sheraton (Sukhumvit Soi 15) is hosting an international art exhibition, entitled Mindful Moments, featuring paintings, drawings and photographs about mindfulness from 15 prominent local and international artists. And although the exhibit runs until the end of November in the hotel’s lobby, 20 percent of all sales during the grand opening reception on the 4th—which runs from 6:30pm-10pm, with freeflow cocktails from Campari and complimentary food from the hotel—will be donated to SATI charity to help improve healthcare and education for the underprivileged in Thailand and beyond. The artists participating in the show include such notables as Amy Diener, Toto, Julie Gunderson, Stylo, Wanvisa Klawklean, and Kat Jones.

FILM FESTIVAL November 4-13

This year’s World Film Festival of Bangkok, the 14th edition of this highly anticipated annual film event, runs from the 4th to the 13th this month. The line-up brings Bangkok film fanatics an eclectic array of carefully curated international films, Isabelle Huppert including Elle, from acclaimed director Paul Verhoeven and starring the incomparable Isabelle Huppert. Other notable titles include: Fire at Sea (Italy); Thithi (India); Gabo (Colombia); Kalo Pothi (Nepal); Diamond Island (Cambodia); and Present Perfect (Thailand). All screenings take place at the SF Cinema, CentralWorld, and tickets are B120 each. See pg.72 for more info.


Join in on the Skechers Blacklight Run, undeniably one of the brightest and most fun 5k runs ever to arrive in Bangkok. The event takes place in the field next to Makkasan Airport Rail Link Station, and kicks off at 5pm with a boisterous pre-party. The actual race begins at 6:45pm at the Blacklight Run Zones, where the colourful glow powder will be thrown on participants. After crossing the finish line, dance till the wee hours with an after party featuring great music from DJ Automatic. All participants receive a T-shirt, drawstring bag, and race bib. Tickets are priced from B1,000 to B2,000, and children age 5 and under are free with a paying adult.

CITY PULSE | my bangkok

Paul Smart

Although chef Paul Smart originally hails from Australia, he’s happy to call Bangkok his home (for now). This month, he has his hands full as one of the key organizers behind the SO Amazing Chefs event at the SO Sofitel.


fter leaving his home in Adelaide, Australia, chef Paul Smart relocated to the UK to serve his apprenticeship, spending two years at the Ritz London, where he worked alongside Executive Chef John Williams and Head Chef Fred Forrester. Relocating back to Australia, Paul played a prominent role at the multi-award winning Room81 restaurant—part of the Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach resort. His cooking career then took an Asiatic turn when he relocated to Bangkok in late 2011 to take over the kitchens at the soon-tobe-opened SO Sofitel hotel. Now, at the age of 36, he’s a firmly entrenched Bangkokian (“I even have my photo on the wall at Wong’s” he confesses), with a wife, two young sons, and maybe even a “starry” future ahead. You’ve been at SO Sofitel since you arrived in Bangkok, correct? Yes. At this hotel, right from the beginning, I was hired as the Park Society chef. The French chef, Nicolas Vienne, was here for a year, but he left and went back to Guangzhou, in China. So I went ahead pushed for the position of ‘Head Culinary Designer’. It’s the same as ‘Executive Chef’ but we’re SO Sofitel so we play on the words, you know (laughs). And we do really “design” the dishes. There’s lots of talk that Michelin is coming to Bangkok. Is the city ready for it? I think some restaurants are ready for it, like J’Aime at the U Sathorn, and Sühring. They’re no stranger to what it takes to get a Michelin star. And you might get some surprises, like in Singapore—restaurants that you didn’t think could get a star but they do. Here, at Park Society, I would love to go for one. We’ve got all these Michelin Star chefs coming for the SO Amazing Chefs event, so we know the

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Any other surprises this year? We’re also going to be doing a ‘Pop Up’ restaurant with the Michelin star chefs from November 10th to 13th at EmQuartier in the outdoor area on the ground floor, near Jones The Grocer. But it’s not just going to be us, it’s going to be their other restaurants as well. We’ll be selling about 100 or 150 portions per chef and we’ll be selling them from a booth. We’re planning live cooking demonstrations as well.

standard you have to achieve. Overall I think Bangkok’s ready for it, the customers are ready for it, the chefs are ready for it… so let’s go! Speaking of the SO Amazing Chefs event, who are some of the chefs you’ll be working with? Along with the chefs I know—Alain Caron, for instance, he’s a good friend of mine and has been at the event every year since the beginning, same as Didier Corlou—I’ve invited five chefs that I’ve never worked with before, so that should be interesting. My job is to get the chefs everything they need in order to give the guests the ultimate experience. And to make sure they can produce something they’re happy with, because they’re cooking for their name and their reputation. Have you already had some bizarre requests? I’ve got Paul Liebrandt, the two Michelin-starred chef from New York, asking me for liquid nitrogen and a thermo-bowl, which retails for about B30,000, but you can’t find it in Thailand so I’m trying to import one. I don’t know what he has in mind, but this is so he can cook at -30°C.

Has Bangkok lived up to your expectations? I love the city, there’s so much to do. And it’s a great country as well. You’ve got beaches but then up in Chiang Mai you’ve got the King’s Royal Project. I’ve visited that a few times to see what they’re growing on the farm up there—Swiss chard, different coloured cabbages, and so on. So where in Bangkok do you go to eat? I never normally go to a place twice, because once you’ve visited it you sort of get the gist. When I first came to Bangkok the big hype was around Sirocco at Lebua, so I went there to try it. I also went to Gaggan even before it was that well known—two or three years ago—just to see, because I knew it was up and coming at that time. All these restaurants, that have a bit of hype about them, I want to see what it’s all about. But also the ones that aren’t so well known you want to explore as well. You get surprised sometimes. Just down the corner from the hotel I like this little Thai restaurant called North East, right on Rama IV. They have an open kitchen but there it means that the kitchen is outside. And it’s always totally full, very busy. One of my favourite dishes is this morning glory tempura, then they make this warm sauce for it with prawns, coconut, chili, lemongrass, and kaffir lime. It’s amazing!

CITY PULSE | out & about

Resident of Koh Sarn Chao, surrounded by lush greenery

Bangkok’s Forgotten Neighbourhoods

A new project helps the city’s endangered communities to “re-appear” Words and photos by Julia Offenberger


hen typing ‘Koh Sarn Chao’ into Google, the search results coming up are primarily, at least on the first couple of pages, related to ‘Khao San Road’. This is not what I was looking for but, strangely enough, the very absence of Koh Sarn Chao was a perfectly fitting metaphor for my search request—an unknown, forgotten place which yielded virtually no results. Quite the opposite of Khao San Road, Bangkok’s infamous backpacker mecca and party central. What I was trying to source information about was a local community on the edge of disappearing. Why would I be interested in some neighbourhood

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nobody has heard of? Because the travel group HiveSters is now organising day trips to visit and explore different Bangkok communities in their quest to help locals preserve their cultural heritage. HiveSters is a social enterprise and online hub seeking to offer authentic travel experiences, with the aim to create sustainable change in Thailand’s tourism industry and a direct positive impact on local communities and the environment. In cooperation with the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) and the Culture, Sports and Tourism Department (BMA), this public-private partnership recently launched Appear, a project that matches six urban Bangkok hotels with

six local communities, to collaborate and support each other under their ‘Alliance of Good Neighbours’ agreement. By offering community visits to tourists, travellers, and locals, this project seeks to strengthen and develop certain local communities and prevent the loss of invaluable historical and cultural heritage. At the same time, it creates opportunities for hotels to offer unique travel activities and, in the long run, contribute to sustainable development in Thailand’s tourism industry. Of the six communities—Nang Loeng, Bang Lamphu, Ban Bu, Koh Sarn Chao, Bang Kradi and Hua Takhe— each of them offers interesting and exciting activities. I chose to join

out & about | CITY PULSE the group going to Koh Sarn Chao, located to the west of Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River. This community is partnered with The Sukhothai Bangkok hotel (13/3 South Sathorn Rd), and is known for its products and crafts made from natural materials. The listed workshops include banana trunk carving, visiting a Thai vintage perfumery, and learning how to make traditional banana cake. In addition, lunch and a visit to Wat Champa temple are also part of the daytrip. Depending on which trip you choose, the meeting points, prices and durations differ. To go to Koh Sarn Chao, groups get picked up and dropped off at Bang Wa BTS station. In total, the tour takes around six hours, and the prices range from B6,700/per person for one, to B1,900/ per person for a group of twelve. In addition to transport, food, and activities, an English speaking tour guide is also included in the package. After about a 10k ride, we arrived at our destination—a small village amid lush greenery, located in Taling Chan district in what is classified as the “outskirts” of Bangkok. Literally translated, Koh Sarn Chao means “island of shrine”. However, it’s not really an island. The name derived from the fact that two canals pass

through the community, making it look like a small islet surrounded by forest. The second part of its name comes from the Chao Pho Jui Shrine, a sacred site situated at the entrance of the community. Upon entering the village, visitors are immediately absorbed and calmed by the—unfamiliar to downtown Bangkok—slow pace and peaceful lifestyle that prevails. Our group was met by community activist and leader Tweesak ‘Dui’ Sawangchan, who generously invited us into his beautiful home, the Wang Chan House. This traditional Thai building was designed and built by Dui himself, and consists of three parts: a main house, a support house for guests, and a fire house (aka: the kitchen). After admiring the delicate wood carvings and beautiful interiors, we gathered around small tables where we were presented with plentiful plates of fishcakes, lhon gung (coconut shrimp stew with fresh vegetables), ho mok (steamed fish custard), spicy kua gling moo (pork with yellow curry paste), pad mee kati (pink noodles in coconut milk), and kanom buang yuan (Vietnamese crepe with Thai filling), as well as an array of local fruits such as longan and rambuttan. Full and content after our tasty lunch, we were ready to explore the community and all their local treasures.

Carved banana tree trunk

First up, we watched a demonstration by Dui of Tang Yuak, the art of banana trunk carving. Without any previous sketching, he started to cut patterns in a piece of trunk with a chisel. After this demonstration, he showed us his finished works, which were decorated with intricately carved dragon shapes and designs. This ancient skill originated from Mon artisans who fled to this area after the second fall of Ayutthaya in 1767. Carved banana

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CITY PULSE | out & about

Gable at Wat Champa

Making scented powder garlands

Thai powder garlands in the vintage perfumery house

trunks are still used nowadays for religious ceremonies, such as royal cremations, as it is believed that they can keep the fire at bay and also absorb the smell of burning corpses. With both his grandfather and father being taught by royal artisans, Dui comes from a long-standing arts and crafts family and is one of the only descents of local craftsmen who still practice this disappearing skill. Afterwards, we ventured further into the village until we reached Baan Kueang Hom, the vintage perfumery house. Here we would learn about the craft of Pang Puang, or Thai powder garlands. In the past, these were used to worship Buddha statues, but also as hairpins to decorate women’s hair, making it smell good (similar to dry shampoo nowadays). The first step involves infusing white stone powder with incense of Thai herbs and flowers before mixing it together with naam oob (Thai perfumed water) to form a paste. The paste is then put into a plastic bag and, with a steady hand, squeezed in small, even drops onto threads. When dry, the threads are bound together into beautiful 18 | NOV EM BER 2016

decorative wreaths and garlands. After watching closely it was our turn to try, but trust me, it’s much harder than it looks to get out evenly sized drops. The next stop on our itinerary was Baan Suan Rim Klong, the home of the Thongdee family. Before reaching our second workshop of the day, we stumbled across—or rather beneath— large, bright orange fruit covered in spiky shells, which were hanging from a tree above the porch. At first glance I thought they were made of plastic as I’ve never seen such an incredibly coloured fruit before. But they were very real, and are known as gac, or baby jackfruit (a rare sight in Bangkok). We even got to taste them, in the form of juice, which was a sweet and delicious refreshment. Following this quick lesson in local botany, we met granny Berm, who showed us how to make her traditional khanom kluay (Thai steamed banana cakes). She mixes flour, sugar, coconut, banana, and milk in a large pot, with her bare hands, and when the batter is smooth it is then placed onto small banana leaf boats, topped with shredded coconut and steamed until the dough

Grandma Berm prepares banana cake

is cooked through. It’s a tasty, gooey dessert made from mostly organic and garden-fresh ingredients. From there, just over the canal, we could already get a peek of Wat Champa, the last stop on our daytrip. However, to reach it we had to walk all the way back to the entrance of the community and the starting point of our tour. This ancient temple was built in the Ayutthaya era, more than 200 years ago. It is most famous for its hand-made porcelain art on the gables. This architectural highlight was a perfect end to a day full of interesting workshops and demonstrations by the local artisans and craftspeople of this laid back community. Their unique skills, passed down from generation to generation, seems to exist in perfect harmony with the surrounding nature. Hopefully outreach projects like Appear will help preserve these important, but fast disappearing, aspects of Thai heritage. To book a tour of Koh Sarn Chao, or any of the other communities, visit the HiveSters website for times, prices, and more information.

CITY PULSE | made in thailand

Progressive Pottery Classic ceramics made modern at Cone Number 9 By Julia Offenberger


n this fast paced, technologyorientated society, revolving around the latest iPhone and newest Instagram filters, traditions and heritage can easily lose their value and often tend to be forgotten. With this in mind, it’s inspiring to see when younger generations pick up old crafts by realising their potential, and turn them into modern businesses. An example of one such young entrepreneur is Varamol ‘Mint’ Chun, who runs Cone Number 9, a small ceramics shop in Thonglor that sells beautifully handcrafted, and definitely Instagram-worthy, kitchenware. Her first collection was a coffee and tea home-brewing set, consisting of mugs, coffee filters, and teapots. The shapes of her products are simple and unpretentious, reminiscent of the minimalistic style of Scandinavian pottery. Besides using different shades of blue, the main colour palate revolves around soft brown and green tones, inspired by local plants such as tamarind and teak. The flowing and uneven colouring of the ceramics not only gives every cup a special handcrafted effect, but also a beautiful, unique touch. The idea of designing her own ceramics was inspired while Mint was working as a barista. She noticed that most of the standard-sized coffee cups—needed for commercial use— were imported, and so she decided to start making her own. While Mint does all the designing in terms of shape and colour, the products are being produced at her aunt’s ceramic factory in Lampang. “I’m not a potter myself, but I understand the process,” Mint says, and explains that she visits the factory regularly to brief the potter there. The location of Mint’s family’s business is no mere coincidence. Thanks to its large deposits of kaolin, highly heat resistant white clay, 20 | NOV EM BER 2016

Lampang (a province in Northern Thailand) is one of the country’s foremost ceramic producing regions, and well known for its blue and white glazed pottery and distinctive fivecolour Bencharong ware. The process of producing a single piece of pottery—from moulding the clay, to firing it in the kiln, glazing the product, and firing it for a second time—takes around two to three weeks. It also takes a lot of skill and experience to get it just right. “The most exciting part is when you open the kiln and see how the colour turned out and if there are any cracks,” Mint says. Mint recently launched her second collection; this time focussing on home bar equipment. Among the other

items featured in the shop there are ceramic plates, as well as wooden chopping boards and coasters. While this dedicated designer mainly does wholesale, other retail outlets selling her beautiful collections include Siam Discovery’s ODS section, and the Gallery Coffee Drip Café (GF, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre). Recently she has also collaborated with local indigowear brand Kasa’ Maya at a new store at the River City shopping complex (1F, 23 Trok Rongnamkaeng, Yoda Rd).

Cone Number 9

Soi Napha Sap, Lane 1 Tel: 091 697 4223 Open: Tue-Sun, 11am-6pm

SNAPSHOTS | insight

Phra Pirap mask

On Khon Dance-Drama T he masked dance-drama Khon culminates Thai arts and culture into one theatrical art form. Most visitors may be familiar with certain characters from Khon, such as Hanuman, the white monkey, or Thosakhan or Ravana, the ten-faced demon who kidnapped Sita, Rama’s wife. However, to appreciate Khon fully, one should observe all the elements that are assembled in it. Khon is originated from Kathakali, a form of classical dance from Southwest India. Kathakali uses elaborately colourful make-up, costumes, and face-mask wearing actor-dancers. With the influence of Ramayana, or Ramakien, in Southeast Asia, dance dramas on this Hindu epic battle of good against evil also appear in the neighbouring countries. However, while the Indian style of story-telling is faster and more furious, the Ramakien version in Thai Khon is recounted in a slower pace. If the entire epic is performed nightly, it will take several weeks or months.

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Thais tell the story in one episode after another while the Indian dances fast-forward the whole thing in an hour or two. Ramakien doesn’t only fill Thai psyche but also enriches the arts by adorning the fresco murals along the cloisters of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and being performed as Nhung Dtalung and Nhung Yai shadow puppets, Hoon Ghrabok puppets, and Khon. Through many periods and reigns, Ramakien verses were written, rewritten, and interpreted for dramatic purposes. Similarly to operas in grand scale, Khon represents the apex of Thai art forms in literature, music, singing, dancing, performing, acrobatics, costumes, make-ups, and Khon masks as pièces de résistance. Khon masks and headdresses are made from papier-mâché. Then they are sculpted and decorated with paint, leather, lacquer, gold, and mirrors. They are worn by certain characters: gods, demons, and simians. The faces, colours, and

types of crown on top of each mask signify different characters and their hierarchy. Some masks are only made and used for venerations—the wai khru (teacher reverence) and khrob hua (mask covering ritual) ceremonies when Khon performers are ready to learn and perform. These represent deities and hermits such as Phra Pirap, the teacher of dramatic arts. These elaborate costumes and jewellery take weeks or months to complete. Each November the most stunning Khon costumes are seen at the royal-sponsored Khon performances. They are made from specially-woven textiles or imported pieces, then embroidered and festooned with tiny crystals. Using older costumes and photographs as references, their colour shades are more subtle than the ones at dance shows for tourists. Each dancer wears heavy layers of costumes that are sewn on before performing, plus gold or silver-plated accessories speckled with semi-precious stones. Think

insight | SNAPSHOTS about how much they have to endure on stage! Like classical ballet, Khon performers are cast and characterized into four groups. Phra, male roles for deities or heroes, should have a classic oval face, a fit, well-proportioned body, and elegantly long neck, arms, and legs. Nang, female role for heroines, goddesses, or demonesses, have a graceful oval face and a slim, well-balanced figure for delicate and beautiful gesture. Yuksa, demons or ogres, use taller men with a strong, muscular physique that can hold some positions longer such as supporting another performer during the battle scenes. Ling, simians, apply more athletic and younger men with agility and flexibility. Monkey characters require them to summersault, cartwheel, roll around, or do some acrobatic acts. Most Khon performers only dance and don’t talk or sing. Singers and narrators sit beside a piphat ensemble of classical Thai musicians off stage. They play, sing, and narrate while the dancers move on stage. Some think that Khon dancers merely strike the poses, but each gesture and movement infers body language that expresses myriads of emotions. These choreographic repertoires are studied and adapted from rum mae bot, akin to basic ballet movements. Nowadays, some Thai youngsters learn classical dance at their high school or

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

the College of Dramatic Arts next to the National Theatre. Not only their fingers, hands, and arms are bent backwards, but their whole bodies were also trained and contorted into various poses, like yoga, from thousands of rehearsals. Traditionally, Khon was performed in the inner court of Siam as a type of Lakhon Nai, theatrical dance by court women only. However, demon and simian characters were danced by men, either from royalty or military. Some kinds of Khon were also performed outdoors or out of the court, such as before the cremation ceremonies. Then they didn’t have much fanfare, unlike the splendid productions seen today. With modern technology, the scenery and theatrical techniques are employed to enhance the entertainment such as hydraulic

stage and slings for flying. When performed in a small theatre, Khon gives the audience more intimacy to appreciate the expressions and the costumes up close. In grand halls, majestic and magnificent battle scenes amaze the spectators. Following Ramakien, Khon was used to support the Devaraja doctrine, the deified king worship, as Hanuman and other simian characters are loyal to Rama, like soldiers to the General. It also serves the purpose of boosting spirit and morale among the troops and their dexterity while not at war. As the moral of this story is the triumph of good over evil, real-life situations are often reflected on stage. Oscar Wilde had it right when he said, “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”


Lady dancing posture

Epaulette on male costume NOV EM BER 2016 | 23

SNAPSHOTS | highlight

Going Ape in Simian City Man and monkey meet in the famous temples of Lopburi By Jim Algie


he macaque scampered down a power pole and scurried past a convenience store, a gold shop and a tailor, before stealing into a Chinese pharmacy. Behind the counter, the monkey snatched several bottles of medicine off the shelf and ran back outside, where it drank a bottle of codeine-laced cough syrup. Several minutes later, the monkey fell asleep on the street. A car swerved around it, narrowly avoiding a head-on collision with a motorcycle, but severing the thief’s tail. In Lopburi, 160 kilometres north of Bangkok, the city’s 1,000-plus population of monkeys are both miscreants and mascots. Some locals believe the animals are godsends from Kala, a Hindu divinity who holds sway

24 | NOV EM BER 2016

over time and death, because many of them live around the 10th century Khmer-style shrine devoted to him. But for most of the city’s residents, the monkeys are nothing more than pests and petty thieves. The old section of Lopburi is a breeding ground for three different species of macaques–the pigtail, the rhesus, and the crab-eating variety. They have lived in the city since Lopburi was Siam’s second capital. Some people believe that the monkeys are soldiers of Hanuman, the monkey god and warrior who led simian armies to great victories in the epic Indian tale, the Ramayana. The monkeys are divided into three different factions: those who live at the Phra Prang Samyod Temple and

sleep on its roof; those who roam free around the nearby Phra Karn shrine; and their arch enemies, who loiter on the streets nearby and sleep on the tops of apartments and Chinese-style shop-houses. The two groups that live around the places of worship largely subsist on handouts from visitors and have it easy. As with other primates like humans, comfort does not necessarily breed content. On the contrary, it often inspires discord and in-fighting. The macaques living on the streets and buildings have to forage for themselves, so they tend to be the worst troublemakers. Living in unhygienic conditions, they are also prone to a great many skin diseases and even leprosy.

highlight | SNAPSHOTS All three factions are as territorial as LA gangs. For instance, if a member of the street gang tries to gatecrash the shrine, it is immediately chased away or attacked, and vice-versa. In attracting foreign tourists and day-tripping Thais, the animals have been a boon for Lopburi’s economy. On any given day, you can watch visitors gawping at the macaque’s high-wire antics or having their photos taken with them at the shrine. The youngest macaques are the naughtiest. Outside the Angkor-era shrine, on a morning gilded with sunlight, Anchana had four or five of them leap on her back. She grabbed a bamboo stick, coaxed them to jump on it and then started swinging them around in circles while pulling monkey faces and cackling. Sensing they had met their mischievous match, the juvenile macaques leapt from the stick and scampered back into the shrine. The monkeys don’t usually bite, but they are notorious for picking pockets and stealing sunglasses and cameras. As a tribute to the town’s mascots, and a way of fattening local coffers, the authorities prepare a huge buffet of fruit and vegetables for them in late November every year. This wacky tribute often turns into



Jim Algie has parlayed his experiences living in Thailand into books like the non-fiction collection, Bizarre Thailand: Tales of Crime, Sex and Black Magic (2010) and On the Night Joey Ramone Died: Twin Tales of Rock ‘n’ Punk from Bangkok, New York, Cambodia and Norway (2016). The photo above is from Jim’s last tour of musical duty in Europe with his band the Asexuals, and was used on the 2001 album “Greater Than Later.” Check out for more.

a food fight between the macaques who sometimes pelt tourists with their foodstuffs. To prevent this from happening, local authorities have started putting the fruit and veggies in blocks of ice, so that the monkeys have to lick and scrabble their way to the goodies and visitors have some great photo ops with the shrine in the background. The world’s first Monkey Hospital, located in the city’s zoo, provides first aid and re-training for rogue primates– like the thieving junkie whose tail had to be amputated. The hospital also helps to spin some positive public relations for these victims of bad press, by proving they can be put to more positive uses like helping the blind. The latter programme, the first of its kind in the world, came about by accident. A local soldier who volunteered at the hospital noticed that when he put a rope around the

waist of a three-year-old female macaque named Cindy, she liked to stand upright and lead him around. Manad Vimuktipune, the president of the local branch of the Wild Animal Rescue Foundation of Thailand (WAR), saw this and thought they might be able to use monkeys as a substitute for seeing-eye dogs. Sitting behind the hospital’s front desk, in front of a black- and-gold painting showing one monkey pushing another in a wheelchair, Manad conceded that the programme was still in its infancy, but he was encouraged by an organisation in Boston called Helping Hands. Since 1979, the group has trained more than 100 capuchins (a tiny, agile monkey found in South America) and placed them in the homes of quadriplegics. The monkeys, after two years of training, could fetch food from the refrigerator, change CDs, and even comb their owner’s hair.

This tale and many others come from the author of Bizarre Thailand: Tales of Sex, Crime and Black Magic, which chronicles the strange, surreal and supernatural sides of Thailand, as well as the country’s weirdest museums and tourist attractions.

NOV EM BER 2016 | 25

SNAPSHOTS | highlight

The Rama VIII suspension bridge spans the width of the mighty Chao Phraya River

Born on the Water

Until you’ve skimmed the city’s choppy canals, you haven’t seen the original heart of Bangkok By Joe Cummings/CPA Media


ne of the quickest ways to neutralize Bangkok’s metropolitan overload is to leave the concrete behind and disappear into Bangkok’s intricate network of canals and rivers. Crisscrossing the city in all directions, these murky green waterways move cargo and passenger traffic both within the city and without, provide a seemingly endless source of water for bathing, cooking, irrigation and recreation, and conjure up a parallel universe in which 18th-century Siam collides with 21st-century Thailand. Viewed from above, Bangkok’s canal world resembles a quirky, skewed mandala, the quasi-circular diagrams created by Buddhist artists as an object for meditation. Much like 26 | NOV EM BER 2016

Hindu-Buddhist mythology’s Mount Meru—around which the cosmos unfolds in concentric continents alternating with slender cosmic oceans—Thailand’s sweltering capital straddles a vast spider web of natural and artificial canals, fanning out through sultry river delta for several hundred square miles. The Thais have always had a deep affinity for water, dating to the early first millennium when they began migrating—from where remains a matter of lively debate—into river valleys throughout Thailand and neighbouring Laos and Myanmar. Buckminster Fuller believed the prevalence of the Meru myth in South and Southeast Asia suggested a migration from the Indian and Pacific

ocean archipelagos and continental coasts to the Himalayan heart of Asia. For Fuller, the orderly alternation of land and water in the Meru mandala pointed to an Oceanic origin for Asian civilization and religious archetypes. Whatever the circumstances, the Siamese never strayed far from water. Thailand’s ruling monarchy, which has flourished for nearly a thousand years, transferred the royal capital from central Thailand’s Ayutthaya—a richly endowed city itself surrounded by canals and rivers—to the banks of the Chao Phraya River in 1769 following a disastrous war with the Burmese. Using thousands of Khmer prisoners of war, King Rama I augmented Bangkok’s natural canal-and-river system with hundreds

of artificial waterways. All fed into Thailand’s hydraulic lifeline—the broad Chao Phraya River—which bisected the city centre into two halves, Bangkok proper and Thonburi, the river’s ‘right bank’. The Chao Phraya in turn disgorges itself into the Gulf of Thailand, a vast cul-de-sac of the South China Sea. The canal expansion changed the geography of the city. Taking one of the river’s largest natural curves, city planners added two lengthy canals— Banglamphu Canal and Ong Ang Canal—to create a royal island called Ko Ratanakosin. This island quicky began to accumulate an impressive architectural portfolio centered on The Grand Palace, political hub of the new Siamese capital. Brahman priests and Buddhist monks consecrated the palace in 1782 along with an adjacent royal monastery, Wat Phra Kaew. Lining the long, shaded cloisters of the monastery, deep-hued frescoes, highlighted with rich golds and watery blues, transpose the Hindu god Rama’s heroic exploits on to visions of Bangkok’s canal network 200 years ago. Portuguese priest Fernao Mendez Pinto was the first to use the epithet ‘Venice of the East’, referring not to Bangkok but to Ayutthaya, in a letter to the Society of Jesus in Lisbon in 1554, but two hundred years later

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.

Photo by Lin Mei/Flickr (center); Photo by Dennis Jarvis/Flickr (right)

highlight | SNAPSHOTS

Floating Market

it came to be used to describe the new capital of Bangkok as well. In 1855, British envoy Sir John Bowring noted in his reports: “The highways of Bangkok are not streets or roads but the river and the canals. Boats are the universal means of conveyance and communication.” Visiting traders and diplomats from Europe marveled at not only the sheer scale of the waterways but also the exotic life encountered both on and off the water. While walking along the Chao Phraya one afternoon in 1824, English trader Robert Hunter spotted what he thought was a creature with eight limbs and two heads swimming in the river. When the oddity lifted itself on to a canoe, Hunter was surprised to see it was in fact two 13-year-old boys who were fused together at the chest. The Briton was so intrigued that he sponsored a medical examination of the boys and later introduced them to Bangkok’s Western social circuits as ‘the Siamese twins’. Throughout the history of the Chakri Dynasty, royal administrations added to the system. Khlong Mahawawat (khlong means “canal”) was dug during the reign of King Rama IV to link the Chao Phraya River with the Tha Chin River. Lined with fruit orchards and stilted houses draped with fishing nets, Khlong Mahawawat is still one of the most traditional and least visited of the Bangkok canals. Khlong Saen Saep came about to shorten travel between the Chao Phraya and Bang Pakong rivers and today is heavily used by boat taxi commuters moving across the city from east to west and vice versa. The section of the Chao Phraya River extending between the Bangkok Noi and Bangkok Yai canals was originally a canal dug as a shortcut across a large loop in the original river course. This canal broadened and merged with the Chao Phraya River

Riverside retailers

such that today most people assume it’s the natural course of the river. Meanwhile, the original river loop narrowed and became shallower, becoming the Bangkok Noi and Bangkok Yai ‘canals’. Following the Second World War, when the Japanese briefly occupied parts of the city, Thai engineers built bridges over the Chao Phraya River and began filling in canals to provide space for new roads and shophouses. However, as Bangkok tumbled headlong into the 1980s, racking up double-digit growth for over a decade, gridlock traffic and choking vehicle fumes induced nostalgia for the city’s water-borne origins. Gliding west off the Chao Phraya into Khlong Bangkok Noi knocks 50 years off big-city progress. As your boat penetrates Bangkok’s right bank, the scenery transforms into a snug corridor of teak houses on stilts, old Buddhist temples, and banana groves. Thai women in straw lampshade hats hawk steaming bowls of rice noodles from wooden canoes. Mobile banks and post offices putter along atop tiny barges, further demonstrating that virtually any errand on land can also be done on water. Authentic floating markets, in which wooden canoes laden with fruits, vegetables, noodles, and handicrafts cluster together near bridges and riverbanks waiting for customers, have disappeared from central Bangkok. Adjacent Samut Songkhram Province, however, practically floats on canals intersecting the lazy bends of the Mae Klong River, creating the perfect environment for talat nam. NOV EM BER 2016 | 27

SNAPSHOTS | very thai

Truck & Bus Art

Customising vehicles both beautifies and protects


hai traffic is notoriously slow. All the better to view how wittily Thais customize their vehicles. Not often does a lorry lift the spirits, but Thai drivers overcome grimness through frivolity. Bus, truck, tuk-tuk, e-taen tractor and songthaew (pick-up minibus) beguile the eye with grace, colour and creativity. Their handmade coachwork spans the range of Thai illustration. Some aspire to high art, most show vernacular stylisation, and others interpret cartoon graphics. Treat each traffic jam as a gallery. Beauty may be important, but meaning matters as much. With spirits underwriting any accident, drivers pay extra premiums for divine protection through décor. Chassis metalwork plays shrine, cabins act as altar, talisman-shaped bolts physically hold the trailer together. Like temple trimmings, lacquer cabinets and fruit carvings, truck art displays lai thai, a visual language of traditional patterns. As ingenious a discovery as classical Greek proportion or the paisley shapes-within-shapes of fractal imagery, lai thai likewise withstands extreme manipulation with ease. Drawn from plants and animals, it scales up to intricate oceans of texture, or scales down to the core motifs. Interleaving the kranok (flame) are leaf and shoot, feather and fish scale. The metal truck bolt is based on, surprisingly, the flower petal. Joining superstructures of timber and steel, the four-pointed prachamyaam flower evokes security (yaam means guard). Augmented by more petals into diamonds and chevrons, it adorns door lintels, window frames, and luggage racks. It also marks termini on Bangkok’s subway map. “The prachamyaam symbolises the guardians of the four directions of the universe,” says Vithi Phanichphant. “It’s a mandala, protecting everything on board. It even goes onto Thai costume.” Trucks have chrome or aluminium panels across the front and sides that act as both sacred and secular offerings more symbolic than the swoops and flanges on a Cadillac. The scrolled plates depict lotus blooms or gleaming jewelled rings, while a naga water serpent reminds us how buses and trucks are boats reincarnated. “They’re all the same—the spirit of a vehicle is in the upper part of the front,” Vithi says. Hence, the driver’s cab plays the prow, with garlands and coloured scarves

> Very Thai

River Books by Philip Cornwel-Smith with photos by John Goss and Philip Cornwel-Smith B995 28 | NOV EM BER 2016

placating the journey spirit Mae Yanang. Overall, each cabin represents sacred Mount Meru. The Buddha tops this hierarchy of chromium deities. Truckspotters can identify characters like the monkey warrior Hanuman, mythical hongsa swan, man-bird Garuda, or Thepphanom, the wai-ing angel protector. Engraved into a shield on each side, a horsedrawn chariot carries the sun god Suriya, which nothing can outpace—including the aeroplane, which often flanks the rear. Thai folklore thus pre-empts Einstein on the speed of light. Or one side may depict the chariot of the moon god Phra Chan, reflecting the pairing of sun (gold) and moon (silver) offerings in altars and regalia. “You see the sun god’s chariot everywhere. It was adapted from a sketch by Prince Naris (Narisara Nuvatiwongse) that an Italian painted on the ceiling of a bed chamber in the Grand Palace,” says scholar Anucha Thirakanont. “Prince Naris would print his sketches to give out, so it became famous and available to everybody.” Similarly, Bangkok Metropolitan Authority changed its logo of Indra riding the three-headed elephant Erawan to one based on another sketch by Prince Naris. But trucks aren’t all about traditional art. At the lowest level, truck mudflaps glower with a pop equivalent to the Yaksha guardian ogre: the painted faces of famous tough-guys like Sylvester Stallone, Osama Bin Laden and Al Pacino playing Serpico. The character Serpico busted corrupt police—a subtle warning to officers not to extract bribes from the driver in exchange for allowing common violations like overloading or reckless driving. Other motorists dread the careening trucks, but still relish the mottos stencilled on to the back: “leave and lose rice field, return and lose wife”; “if lose become a monk, if win become a devil” and that social rule, “love your senior, lament your junior.” The latest way to decorate trucks, and especially buses, is to clad them with cartoon coachwork. Manga heroes, Disney characters, cutesy pinafored maids and heavy metal monsters—often with abstract designs—cover the entire bus, often extending over windows on stickers. Amid the lurid hues you barely notice the duplicate clumps of lamps, reflectors and fanciful chrome.

Now in its expanded, updated 2nd edition, “Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture” is a virtual bible on Thai pop culture, and an influential must-read among foreigners and many Thais. Its 70 chapters and 590 photographs guide you on an unconventional Technicolor tour of the quirky things that make Thailand truly Thai. This column is based on different chapter every month. Prepare yourself for the sideways logic in what seems exotic, and buy a copy of the new edition at any good bookshop.

SNAPSHOTS | heritage

Santa Cruz Church, on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River

The Kudi Jeen Community

Thonburi’s Kudi Jeen district, which now has its own museum, offers a well preserved glimpse into Bangkok’s oldest community


t is a peaceful place; a place where you might think that you are miles away from the hustle and bustle of a metropolis of over 10 million inhabitants. Nestled in the shadow of the Memorial Bridge on one side, and Wat Arun on the other, sits the Kudi Jeen district, a small area centred around a couple of narrow streets on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River. By boat, it is easy to spot the area. A church stands near to the river—one of the oldest 30 | NOV EM BER 2016

By Luc Citrinot churches in Bangkok—known as Santa Cruz church, once the centre of the Portuguese and Mestizo community. They fled, along with the Siamese population, from the former capital of Siam—in Ayutthaya—following its complete destruction by Burmese army troops back in 1767. Ayutthaya was a cosmopolitan metropolis at that time, equivalent to European cities such as Paris or London. It had attracted for centuries a large multi-cultural, multi-ethnic community,

including Portuguese settlers. Back in the 15th century they were the first merchants, catholic priests, and shipbuilders to settle in Siam. At that time, their community in Ayutthaya numbered approximately 3,000 people. With the destruction of Ayutthaya, they decided to resettle in the new capital city of the Kingdom, created in 1768 in Thonburi by King Thaksin. The area became a “mini-Ayutthaya”. “It attracted Portuguese, Siamese, Chinese and Muslim merchants from

heritage | SNAPSHOTS

Baan Kudichin Museum

Catholic holdovers



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

Wooden heritage home

the South and Burma,” explains Mrs. Navinee Pongthai, a Eurasian lady who is proud to talk about her roots. “Kudi Jeen means, in fact “Chinese Church” due to the blend of cultures here.” Linked by ferry to Yopiman Pier across the river, the Santa Cruz Church is the most prominent structure on the opposite bank, boasting gracious belfry. It stands on the site of a previous church, built in teakwood, which was constructed in 1770. Following a fire, the church was rebuilt around 1833, and then again extended and embellished 80 years later, resulting in its final design. The church was rebuilt by architect Mario Tamagno and engineer Annibale Rigotti, a pair of Italian artisans that were at that time working for the Siam Department of Public Works. The Tamagno touch is visible in the layout of the church, with its arcades and central dome that echoes basilicas in Tuscany. The church is, however, rarely open to the public, but visitors might take their luck on Sunday morning before the mass. It’s also fascinating to walk in the maze of minuscule streets

surrounding the church, especially in the direction of the canal separating the community from Wat Arun and Wichai Prasit Fort. Many of the small houses, although modern looking, bear distinctive signs of their Portuguese heritage. Pictures of the Virgin Mary of Jesus on the Cross are omnipresent on the walls while some ornate azulejo tiles (Portuguese blue ceramic tiles) can also be seen. But perhaps what’s most amazing is simply observing the people living in this area. After almost 250 years, many still have faces with distinctive Portuguese features, turning them into perfect Eurasians. NOTE: A few steps beside the main square of Santa Cruz church—on the right side—stands an elegant new house decorated with azulejos and an inner courtyard with a coffee shop. This is the new Baan Kudichin Museum, located at 271 Soi Wat Kanlaya, which is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30am to 6:30pm. NOV EM BER 2016 | 31

Photo by e-dredon/Flickr


Ho Kham Royal Pavilion, Ratchaphruek Gardens, Chiang Mai 32 | NOV EM BER 2016



hailand’s Northern realm has a storied and colourful history. Before CHIANG MAI was nicknamed “the Rose of the North,” before the teak forests were depleted by avaricious loggers, and before the region was annexed during the reign of Chulalongkorn, the North belonged to the LANNA—a prosperous self-ruling kingdom, that was once the power base of Northern Thailand as well as parts of present day Myanmar (Burma) and Laos. From LAMPHUN to PHAYAO to CHIANG RAI, this historic region of the country is rich with archaeological relics, minority tribes preserving traditions, and elements of the nearly millennium-old cultures integrated into modern-day life. And while history is certainly one of the region’s undeniable charms, its hilly topography, cool climate, and laidback lifestyle also plays a huge part in drawing millions of visitors eager to enjoy the great outdoors or simply soak up the slow life. Whether voyaging north or Chiang Mai Chiang Rai northwest in Thailand, November is a prime time to explore this area, as Nan the tourist high season hasn’t quite Pai kicked in and the weather is primarily cool and dry. But no matter what Phrae time of year one decides to visit, there’s no shortage of fascinating destinations and Lampang diversions. The city of Chiang Mai is, in many ways, the epicentre of Thailand’s north, and Sukhothai is usually the first destination on the list for most travellers. Thankfully, despite its tremendous growth over the past decade—and the bizarre attraction it holds for the hordes of Chinese bus package tourists who arrive in BANGKOK endless succession—it retains a deeply artistic and spiritual core and a pleasant small town pace. Similarly, the bohemian mountain village of PAI (a four-hour drive northwest of Chiang Mai) is another magnet that attracts a never-ending stream of newcomers. In this issue we profile both of these captivating communities. There are so many other northern destinations worth mentioning—such as MAE HONG SON, NAN, and PHU CHI FA—that it would take a whole other magazine to introduce them all. So instead we’ve decided to focus in this issue on PHRAE, LAMPANG and SUKOTHAI, three unique and equally intriguing locales that are finding themselves more and more the centre of attention on savvy tourist’s itineraries.

NOV EM BER 2016 | 33

TRAVEL | focus on chiang mai

Lanna Landmarks T

Exploring historic Chiang Mai and its environs

he original city plan of Chiang Mai forms a near-perfect square, bounded on all sides by a moat and towering brick walls (of which only the corner bastions remain for the most part). Within these walls a charming network of narrow lanes, bisected by four broader avenues, lead to 33 historic Lanna temples and

a legion of guesthouses, hotels, art galleries, bookshops, markets, cafes, and restaurants. The easy-going pace of the city, combined with the relatively pedestrian friendly flow of traffic, makes it a great place to wander around and explore in-depth. There are also spectacular sites outside the downtown core that make for fantastic day trips.

TEMPLE TOURS WAT PHRA SINGH: Considered Chiang Mai’s most revered temple, the lavish monastic buildings and immaculately trimmed grounds are testament to the prosperity of this religious landmark. Devotees come to worship Phra Singh (Lion Buddha), housed in Wihan Lai Kham, a small chapel immediately south of the chedi to the rear of the temple grounds. The idol is reputed to have arrived in Thailand from Sri Lanka, and was enshrined in 1367. WAT CHEDI LUANG: The glorious, towering ruins of a Lanna-style chedi (built in 1441) are what draws so many sightseers, so don’t be surprised to find this landmark crowded at all hours of the day. You can also view a jade replica of the famed Emerald Buddha (currently held in Bangkok’s Wat Phra Kaew), which originally resided in the temple’s eastern niche until 1475. The temple’s other claim to fame is the Làk Meuang (city pillar), allegedly raised by King Mengrai himself when Chiang Mai was founded in 1296. WAT KETKARAM: Just east of Nawarat Bridge, a road running north along the Ping River changes names from Charoen Rat to Faham as it winds through what was the main centre for Westerners involved in trade and missionary work in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It’s one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods, however these days the historic homes and shophouses have been converted into hotels, restaurants, clubs, and galleries. One of the most historically significant landmarks here is Wat Ketkaram (known as “Wat Ket” or “Wat Gate” for short), a monastery built around the Phra That Ketkaew Chulamani stupa between 1578-81. Today it’s one of the 10 holiest stupas in northern Thailand. Wat Phra Singh

34 | NOV EM BER 2016

focus on chiang mai | TRAVEL

MARKETS THA PHAE ROAD: Between the Old City’s eastern gate and the banks of the Ping River, an amorphous conglomeration of streets lined with Shan-Burmese temples, hotels, guesthouses, tourist restaurants, and the famed Chiang Mai Night Bazaar spreads north and south of Tha Phae Road. This area was, until relatively recently, the city’s most important tourist centre.

Wat Phra That, Doi Suthep

OUT OF TOWN DOI SUTHEP: Of many well-known, well-touristed temples in Chiang Mai, Wat Phra That, Doi Suthep—a gilded 14th-century cloister perched 1,676 metres above the city on the side of the mountain known as Doi Suthep—should not be missed. If you’d rather not climb the 306-step naga-lined staircase, take the elevator-like tramway for B50. To avoid crowds, arrive around 5pm and stay through sunset, when the chanting of resident monks generates a peaceful environment (open daily 7am-7pm). DOI INTHANON NATIONAL PARK: Part of the Himalayan mountain range, Doi Inthanon is Thailand’s tallest peak (reaching 2,565 metres above sea level). The park covers an area of 482.4, and natural attractions include Namtok Mae Ya—a beautiful waterfall that flows down a steep 280-metre cliff onto different rock formations—as well as spectacular caves, various nature trails, and Phra Mahathat Napha Methanidon and Phra Mahathat Naphaphon Bhumisiri, twin pagodas that offer spectacular mountain views. WIANG KUM KAM: Approximately 5 km south of town stand the excavated ruins of Chiang Mai’s first city site, founded by the Mon in the 11th century and later sacked by Burmese invaders. Stroll among the brick remains of seven temples, and visit Wat Chedi Liam, one of two additional temples still functioning (open daily 8am-5pm). DOI MON JAM: At the heart of the Nong Hoy Royal Project, this humble peak offers surprisingly majestic views across the Mae Ping Valley. After touring the project’s strawberry fields and grape orchards, stop at the openair dining room for herb teas, natural fruit juices, and Thai fusion cuisine prepared using farm-fresh produce (open daily 8am-7pm).

WUALAI WALKING STREET: Wualai Road has been Chiang Mai’s centre for traditional Lanna silversmithing for over a century. Every Saturday evening—from 5pm till midnight—the street closes to vehicles and fills instead with vendor stalls offering silverwork and other handicrafts. Bands pound out Thai folk music from rustic stages while neighbourhood grannies hawk local snacks. RATCHADAMNOEN WALKING STREET: Along Ratchdamnoen Road, stretching west from Tha Phae Gate through the heart of the Old City, this lively, crowded market replaces the Night Bazaar as the premier shopping draw every Sunday evening from 5pm till midnight. As at Wualai, the emphasis is on local handiwork, but here you’ll also see crafts imported from Nepal, China, and elsewhere.

GETTING AROUND Bright red songthaew—small, dilapidated pickup trucks with two benches for passengers in back— ply the streets of Chiang Mai starting from B20 one way. Tuktuks and car taxis are also available at rates of around B200 per trip. To get around conveniently, many visitors prefer to rent cars (B1,000 and up) or motorbikes (B150-250 per day), or bicycles (B100 per day), from various rental shops around town.

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TRAVEL | focus on chiang mai

Plan Your Trip

Upcoming cultural festivals and unique special events NOVEMBER 13-15, 2016 YI PENG FESTIVAL While Loy Krathong is celebrated throughout Thailand each year, Chiang Mai takes the festivities one step further by releasing lanterns into the sky during the overlapping Yi Peng Festival (Lantern Festival). This year, November 14th is the night when countless sky lanterns will be released into the night sky, symbolizing the letting go of all ills and misfortunes from the previous year. The three-day event is also marked by religious and cultural activities, and street parades.

FEBRUARY 18-24, 2017 CHIANG MAI DOCUMENTARY ARTS FESTIVAL Taking place every second year, the Chiang Mai Documentary Arts Festival is a photography and film event celebrating the best of Asian documentary work. It is organized by Documentary Arts Asia (DAA) and runs in conjunction with the Chiang Mai Month of Photography Festival. During the event, a number of photo exhibitions are displayed in different locations around the city, and films are screened at open-air cinemas, and at the DAA Centre. Visit for more information.

MARCH 2-4, 2017 THAILAND INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FESTIVAL The 2017 edition of the Thailand International Balloon Festival marks the 10th anniversary of this annual event, which brings together dozens of hot air balloon pilots from around the world. Watch as a cavalcade of colourful balloons take off at sunrise each morning and glide over the city. Then, in the evening, join in on two nights of festivities at the Rising Sun Rice Field at Doi Saket, featuring food, drinks, cultural performances, and tethered hot air balloon rides.

FEBRUARY 3-5, 2017

36 | NOV EM BER 2016

Photo by Ashkan Sharifi

CHIANG MAI FLOWER FESTIVAL Chiang Mai is famous for its vibrant and vivid coloured flowers which come to life every year during the Chiang Mai Flower Festival. During this time, parks, streets and various corners of the Old City are decorated with winter orchids, ancient bonsais, roses, and lilies. The highlight of the festival is the flower parade on Saturday morning which travels down Charoen Muang Rd, and culminates at Buak Hat Park, where award winning flower projects and floral art installations and designs are on display.

focus on chiang mai | TRAVEL

River bathing

Gentle giants

Mud bath

Pachyderm Paradise Words and photos by Bruce Scott


ven though elephants are revered and glorified in the art and folklore of Thailand, in real life they are often abused, mistreated, or made to perform tricks, such as letting tourists ride around on their backs. Thankfully, none of these fates befall the gentle giants that roam the grounds of the Elephant Nature Park, a bona fide pachyderm paradise located about 50 km north of Chiang Mai. This renowned animal attraction is the brainchild of a Thai woman named Sangduen ‘Lek’ Chailert. In Thai “lek” means small, but this small woman shoulders some big responsibility. Originally founded in the 1996, Lek’s park has become a loving home to several dozen elephants, almost all of whom have been rescued from either abuse, neglect or, worst of all, downsizing. Traditionally elephants were used in Thailand’s logging industry, but after a logging ban was enacted in 1989, these working elephants became liabilities and were often sold into the tourist trade or just let loose. And while an elephant in the tourist trade may only have to contend with a certain loss of dignity, a fully grown hungry elephant roaming an inhabited countryside quickly becomes a pest to farmers, and is dealt with as such. Of the many elephants taken into the park over the years, one was blinded, one lost a tusk to poachers, one lost a foot to a land mine, and two were orphaned. The ever-growing reputation of Elephant Nature Park stems from the fact that it offers something unique to visitors—a chance to engage with these noble beasts free from chains, or saddles, or bars on a cage. Visitors are encouraged to hand feed the elephants, to bathe them in the nearby creek, to pat their leathery prickly hides, and to watch them cavort in the mud as they take their afternoon “dirt bath”. It is an unforgettable day trip (priced at B2,500)

and the number of repeat guests this park receives testifies to the quality of the experience. It’s also often booked solid weeks in advance so visitors should plan ahead. Another incentive, that generates much needed revenue, is the park’s volunteer program. This program offers those who want to more fully immerse themselves in this elephant kingdom a chance to stay for two days and one night in the park’s guest quarters (B5,800). Each individual elephant is cared for by a dedicated mahout (Thai elephant handler), who tends feeding, bathing and any ailments, but overnight visitors can get a bit of hands on mahout experience as well. Of course, this isn’t the only wildlife park in the area offering an elephant experience day trip. There are many competitors, all clamouring for a piece of the valuable tourist dollar. But what you won’t find at Lek’s sanctuary are gimmicks, such as the dubious “elephant rides”. The focus here is on respect, not servitude. After all, most of these animals have been through enough. And despite all their prior rough treatment, these noble beasts are gracious and gentle with the passing parade of trekkers that file through the park gates day after day.

OTHER ELEPHANT ATTRACTIONS: Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Chiang Mai Baan Chang Elephant Park

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Zipline rides through the jungle canopy

Treetop Tour

Getting an exciting overview of Chiang Mai’s rainforest jungles By Danaan Andrew


f the innumerable tourist touts in downtown Chiang Mai are to be believed, the best way to experience the beauty of the jungles that lie outside the city is with the Flight of the Gibbon zipline tour. It all sounded quite plausible, so after booking my trip—B3,999 per person—I found myself the following morning waiting in the pre-morning indigo dawn for a pick up by the company’s minibus. Our group that day, which consisted of about five people, was soon outside the city limits, driving down rural roads as the verdant morning beauty of the monsoon season fields flowed past. The flat plains of the Chiang Mai valley soon gave way to the surrounding hills as we ascended up to the company’s headquarters in the National Forest Reserve Area of Ban Mae Kampong. The office, which also acts as a suiting up station, offers free lockers for backpacks and other personal items and another area where the staff fits visitors into their harness and helmet. After being outfitted 38 | NOV EM BER 2016

with all the necessary gear, our group was whisked off into a minivan to the first zipline. I’ll be honest, I’m afraid of heights. However, the staff that led the zipline portion of the tour, otherwise known as Sky Rangers, were knowledgeable and amiable, and that certainly put me at ease. After a brief safety and training session I was off, leaping from the wooden platform high in the trees and careening down my first zipline cable. Floating through the thick forest canopy in the early morning northern Thai air, with the strange sounds of the jungle on every side, is truly a unique and unforgettable experience. The ziplines felt extremely safe, and by the third line I had completely forgotten about my fear of heights. Two rangers were always on hand to help us take-off, while another waited on the platform at the opposite end, ready to grab us if we ended up arriving at the landing platform backwards (usually that person was me).

focus on chiang mai | TRAVEL

Gibbon sighting

Treetop platform

Suited up

Near the midway point there was an informative hike through the jungle, during which one of the guides talked about the tea and coffee that is grown in the area. The company takes pride in the conservation work that is being done to protect the local land and wildlife, with an emphasis on working with local villagers. At the end of the hike one of the Sky Rangers led us down a narrow path to a large tree to show us actual gibbons. The two males—which are dark hazel brown in colouring—played in the treetops above us, while a female (white) snacked on fruit close by. The gibbons, we were told, are best seen in the mornings. There are about 30 zipline stations along the course, some of which are perched 50 meters above the forest floor, and along the way there were some memorable moments. One highlight was the 800 meter line—the longest in the course—where I flew over the canopy in

awe, and on two of the lines riders are split into pairs and coupled together tandem, which can be rather interesting. But by far my favourite crossing was the ‘Superman Line’ where the guides strapped a carabiner (a metal loop with a spring-loaded gate) onto the hook on my back, allowing me to jump straight out into the rainforest, falling for a couple of seconds then posing like superman with one arm stretched out in front of me as I travelled the length of the cable. After the zipline tour our group sat down to an impressive lunch. As local villagers played traditional music we dug into some delectable local northern Thai dishes, the most notable being organic purple rice, and a local cilantro salad with tomatoes and a small amount of fish sauce—a unique dish from the area. After lunch, we were taken on a tour of Mae Kampong village, which is a special excursion for early morning bookings. The village is in a small valley, and the houses rise up on one side of a beautiful stream. Of note in the village was the local fermented tea leaf chew, which is made by fermenting tea leaves which are then wrapped around strips of coconut (they provide a slow caffeinated energy boost during a hard day’s work). After the village tour we walked uphill to a nearby waterfall, where I meditated on my experience—gliding over the canopies of this idyllic northern Thai rainforest. I was later returned to my hotel by minivan. My fear of heights is probably not cured, but hey, at least I got to pretend I was superman for a moment.

Superman Line

To find out more, or to book one of the many Flight of the Gibbon adventure packages, visit the website: NOV EM BER 2016 | 39

TRAVEL | focus on chiang mai

Chiang Mai Insider’s Guide Renowned travel writer Joe Cummings shares a few of his favourite hangout spots in the city Although award-winning author Joe Cummings is currently based in Bangkok, he spent many years living and working in Chiang Mai, and still takes every opportunity to return to this endlessly fascinating city. Here are a few of his recommended dining and drinking spots, as well as some truly memorable hotel accommodations.


offices. Menu highlights include Gaeng Hung Lay Gae (northern dry curry, slow cooked lamb shank, and edamame) and Miang Yum Ped Nuea Pou (crispy shredded duck and crab salad with cantaloupe, shallots, and Shiso leaves). Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 2, Soi 1, Na Wat Ket Rd. Tel: 053 247 788

DAVID’S KITCHEN: This recently relocated restaurant, opposite the British Council, features a kitchen run by a former Dhara Dhevi chef who cooks up French and Italian dishes with subtle Thai twists. Seating includes a communal table in the informal Glass Room, and guests are invited to explore the various wines available at the wine bar. Open Monday thru Saturday, from 5pm till 10pm. 113 Bamrungrad Rd. Tel: 091 068 1744

THE DINING ROOM: Modern Thai recipes showing Chiang Mai influences are served in 137 Pillars House’s elegantly renovated Borneo Company 40 | NOV EM BER 2016

SP CHICKEN: Connoisseurs of Kai Yang, Isaan- style grilled chicken, rave about cook/owner Chavalit Van’s version, which uses vertical spits to slowly roast the lemongrassand-garlic stuffed birds on a wall of charcoal. Fill out the traditional Isaan meal with a plate of spicy green papaya salad, a basket of sticky rice, and a cold Singha beer. 9/1, Sam Larn Soi 1 Tel: 080 500 5035

RUSTIC & BLUE: This casual, creative restobar matches craft beer and signature tea-infused cocktails with such re-invented comfort plates as BBQ pork sliders with pickled beet, gluten-free chickpea-crust pizza, duck prosciutto crostini, and pumpkin-sausage gnocchi. The owners also make their own cheeses and charcuterie. They also host incredibly popular outdoor farm-to-table dinner weekends, the next ones being set for November 19-20, and December 24-25. Nimmanhaemin Soi 7 Tel: 053 216 420

AKHA AMA COFFEE: In a town with more coffee shops per capita than anywhere else in Thailand, both branches of Akha Ama stand out. The coffee beans are sustainably farmed by 20 families—mostly Akha and other hilltribe minorities—in the Mae Suay district to the north, and then

focus on chiang mai | TRAVEL signed lithographs by Henry Moore and Robert Motherwell.

carefully roasted in-house to produce blends and single-estate coffees across an impressive range of strength and complexity. Delicious cakes and muffins, baked fresh every day, are also available.

6 Rachamankha Rd. Tel: 053 904 111

9/1 Hussadhisewee Rd, Soi 3 Tel: 086 915 8600 175/1 Rachdhamnoen Rd. Tel: 086 915 8600


NORTH GATE JAZZ CO-OP: A closeknit group of jazz fanatics run this small venue just inside Chang Pheuak Gate. World-class jazz musicians turn up for Tuesday open mic night regularly, from the former trumpeter for The Waterboys to the saxophonist for The Sun Ra Orchestra. The remainder of the week the schedule is mainly jazz, with Saturday nights reserved for high-quality rock. 91/1-2 Si Phum Rd. Tel: 081 765 5246

PAPA ROCK: A top-notch sound system and roomy stage make this one of the city’s best live music venues. It’s mostly acoustic except on weekends, when local and touring bands book in. Look for The Odd Gods, an all-original rock band whose members met here while backing up former Guns N’Roses guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal in February 2016. British chef/rocker/ owner Nicky Scott also serves up excellent pizzas, burgers, and other Western food. Rat U-thit, Soi 2 Tel: 086 729 2039 FB: Papa Rock Cafe Chiangmai

WARMUP CAFÉ: This nightlife institution—first opened over a decade ago—draws a primarily Thai crowd made up of university students, post-uni trendies, and the occasional visiting Bangkok celeb. The intimate conglomeration of one-story buildings is divided into three zones, with hiphop in the main room, house music in a separate, smaller lounge, and indie rock in the garden. There’s an extensive menu of Thai and Western dishes, most of them quite tasty, and weekends are extremely busy so try a Wednesday or Thursday night if you need elbow room. 40 Nimmanhaemin Rd. Tel: 053 400 676


137 PILLARS HOUSE: The historic William Bain House (built in 1887), a legacy of the Borneo Company, has been renovated and re-purposed by Bain’s descendants as part of a boutique hotel named for the 137 solid teak logs supporting the building above the ground in Lanna style. Sixty villas in classic Chiang Mai postcolonial style have been added to the compound, while the original house contains dining rooms, lounges, and a library. 2, Soi 1, Na Wat Ket Rd. Tel: 053 247 788

SALA LANNA: Overlooking the Ping River in the historic Wat Ket neighbourhood, this property follows the overall design concept of the Thai-owned Sala hotel network, with minimalist lines of wood and concrete. The one pool villa and 15 rooms, each with at least a partial river view, boast Lanna accents via rich local textiles and teak furnishings. Both restaurants, Sala Lanna Eatery and Italia, offer scenic river settings, while the rooftop enjoys a panoramic view of town and river. 49 Charoen Rat Rd.

THE RACHAMANKHA: The Tel: 053 242 590 brainchild of architect Ongard Satrabhandhu and interior designer Rooj Changtrakul, this uniquely Chiang Mai hotel, with its central quadrangle surrounded by brick-and-plasterwalled rooms fronted by full-length porticoes, is reminiscent of an ancient Lanna Buddhist monastery cloister. Authentic antiques decorating the interior hail from northern Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and southern China. The bar and restaurant combines a minimalist-industrial décor and boasts NOV EM BER 2016 | 41

TRAVEL | focus on chiang mai

Chiang Mai Insider’s Guide Long-time resident James Austin Farrell shares a few of his favourite “hidden gems” in and around the city Journalist, editor, fiction writer, and dog-lover James Austin Farrell has been living in, and writing stories about Chiang Mai and Thailand for the past 17 years. Nowadays you will mostly see him cycling in and around the mountains, or to the chagrin of some of his friends, not leaving the Nimman area (where he currently resides).


THINK PARK: Located on the corner of the popular Nimmanhaemin Road, opposite Maya Mall, is a tract of notso-long-ago undeveloped land that has become the area known as ‘Think Park’. During the daytime it’s quiet except for a handful of tourists taking photos under a gigantic cat statue, but during the evening the wheels are set in motion. Linked by cobbled-stone walkways are a number of shops selling arts and crafts, while markets and exhibitions are held throughout the year. It’s become regular hang-out for locals and tourists looking for something that aligns with Chiang Mai’s ‘city of culture’ epithet. NAR MOR: In the area in front of Chiang Mai University (Huay Kaew Rd) hordes of students shop in the 42 | NOV EM BER 2016

two adjoining markets located a little farther down from the university entrance. There’s also a myriad of outdoor stalls selling mostly Thai and Japanese food, as well as sweet snacks and fruit juices. But what you should do when visiting Nar Mor is watch the sunset inside the university at the Ang Kaew reservoir (go into the university entrance and follow the road right). It’s not only an international selfie hotspot, but also offers a chance to sit with students serenading friends on the banks of the reservoir. The markets and restaurants are open daily from around 5pm till 10pm.

GRAND CANYON & WATER PARK: This newly opened water park is located in a water-filled quarry about 15km outside of Chiang Mai (Nam Phrae, Hang Dong District). Due to a number of (mostly cliff jumping) accidents in the past there are now

some restrictions on leaping off rocks, but the water park is very safe. After paying a B300 entrance fee you can splash around in the turquoise water, bouncing off large inflatables, with the Doi Pui mountain range in the distance. Afterwards, sit back in one of the coffee shops or picnic spots and watch the setting sun dip below the red rock cliffs. Open daily: 8:30am-6pm Tel: 095 685 3145

THE HARBOUR: Originally scripted as an outdoor shopping promenade The Harbour (Huay Kaew Rd, just before Phucome Junction) has turned more towards nighttime reveling than procuring clothes. The shops are still there, though restaurants and bars stretching down the street and within the walkways have become the main attraction. The customers are mainly young Thais, though some expats and tourists often end up there. It’s a good chance to kick back with the locals and hear live Thai bands. Open daily: 10am-midnight

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FOOD4THOUGHT: This immensely popular, though quite hard to find restaurant—turn right on Canal Road at Phucome Junction on Huay Kaew Road. and it’s the first soi—serves mostly breakfasts, sandwiches, wraps and salads, but often with innovative and intriguing variations of ingredients. It’s thoughtful food, as the name suggests. There are also plenty of options for vegans and the gluten intolerant. The intriguing menu, and its rather hipster, healthy appeal, has amassed quite a large adoring following since it was opened not too long ago. Soi Sudjai, Canal Rd. Tel: 094 619 2225

TENGOKU: This stylish and upmarket Japanese restaurant, with a la carte and hot-plate buffet options, is popular with local expats and Thais, as well as visiting dignitaries. There’s many dining options, including an outdoor patio, an intimate interior, and private upstairs rooms. They also just opened a wine bar on the same property serving imported and local beers, wines and spirits. Open daily for lunch (11am-2pm), and dinner (5:30pm-10pm). Nimmanheamin Soi 5 Tel: 053 215 801

WHY NOT: Situated on an idyllic property where great Italian food is cooked by chefs at the side of a lively and picturesque garden dining area. There’s a staple menu, but also regular specials created by a passionate Italian owner who’s more than able to regale you with stories about the dishes you eat. The laid back dining experience and always genial atmosphere results in a restaurant that’s packed most nights, especially on the weekends. Open daily from 5pm till 11pm. Nimmanhaemin Rd, Soi 11 Tel: 053 289 262

THE SERVICE 1921 RESTAURANT & BAR: Located in the Anantara resort—originally the British Consulate in Chiang Mai—this restaurant harkens back to the days British East India company first started settling in Thailand. Decorated with relics from that era, with a British Secret service theme, there’s the added excitement of a hidden dining room only accessible through the library bookshelves. The cuisine is Thai, if not creative iterations of Thai dishes, as well as Chinese Szechuan. Open daily for lunch (11:30am-2:30pm), and dinner (6pm-11pm). 123/1 Charoen Prathet Rd. Tel: 053 253 333

Nong Chom, San Sai District), but it’s worth the taxi fare, not only for superb Italian food but because it also boasts one of the largest wine collections in Thailand—2,000 labels, 6,000 bottles. There’s also some fairly rare spirits available, at rare prices. Open daily from 11:30am to 11pm. 555/148 Fifth Avenue Tel: 093 272 2406

DRINKING LA CASA DEL HABANO: Part of a global franchise, with outlets already in Bangkok and Pattaya, it was still somewhat of a surprise for La Casa Del Habano to turn up in little old Chiang Mai in September this year. Swanky, and somewhat reminiscent of a secret society hide-out, you can take your pick from a huge collection—stored in a locked glass vault—of premium Cuban cigars, to be enjoyed with some of the world’s finest malt whiskies. Nimmanhaemin Soi 9 Tel: 05 206 8600

SANGDEE GALLERY & CAFÉ: Although a gallery with regular exhibitions, Sangdee also hosts nightly events which range from open mics to hosting DJs. Being fairly eclectic you can expect a mixed crowd: party goers looking for a late night place, or an older clientele there to watch a guest pianist or local poet. In the past it was better known to Thai locals and expats, but lately it has become popular with backpackers and digital nomads. Open daily from 11am till midnight, serving coffee, snacks, beers, cocktails, and wine.

ENOTECA: This Italian restaurant was opened by one of Chiang Mai’s most Sirimankhalajarn Rd, Soi 5 well-known Italian food entrepreneurs. Tel: 053 894 955 It’s a little out of town (Meechok,

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TRAVEL | on the block

Northern Cool

Chiang Mai’s ever-expanding Nimmanhaemin district remains the city’s undisputed hipster hotspot By Bruce Scott


ome compare Chiang Mai’s increasingly popular Nimmanhaemin Road district to Bangkok’s Ari neighbourhood, while others say it’s dangerously close to becoming the next Thong Lor (an insult or praise depending on your perspective). But whatever the case, this thriving hub of artistic activity is definitely the place to see and be seen. Located a little bit to the north and to the west of the main walled downtown city core that most visitors are familiar with, this district is anchored by the stretch of Nimmanhaemin that lies between Huay Kaew Rd. and Chiang Rai Rd. The main drag itself can be walked in less than 15 minutes, but within this compact quadrant there exists a mind-boggling concentration of cafés, bars, restaurants, bakeries, hotels, art galleries, and specialty stores.

of this neighbourhood favourite, a second branch, called Ristr8o Lab, has opened on Soi 3. Coffee lovers should also seek out Impresso Espresso Bar, a funky and spacious indoor/outdoor coffee venue with a relaxed garden atmosphere (28/1, Soi 11). Simple espressos are skillfully executed—which is fortunate, considering the name—while the delicious lattes feature exquisite designs in the froth (open daily: 10am-9pm). Also recommended: • COFFEE WISH • WAWEE COFFEE



Anchan Vegetarian Decorative latte at Ristr8to

There are enough cafés in Nimmanhaemin to satisfy any java junkie, and coffee lovers here all seem to have a favourite. If you take your coffee seriously—in other words, you know the difference between a long black and a flat white—then consider Ristr8to (15/3 Nimmanhaemin Rd) ground zero when it comes to finding the best brew in the ’hood. Owner and head barista Arnon ‘Tong’ Thitiprasert is a veritable encyclopedia on the subject of coffee, and his passion for his product shows through in every cup. Try their signature ficardie (an extra-kick latte served in a 5.5oz Picardie glass). The owner also has a secret fascination with the number 8, which accounts for the shop’s name and the rather odd opening hours (open daily: 7:08am-8:08pm). And in the wake of the success 4 4 | NOV EM BER 2016

Dining options are seemingly endless in this ’hood, with even vegetarians finding bliss at Anchan Vegetarian Restaurant (Soi 10), a simple dining room of wooden tables adorned with fresh flowers—a humble setting for Chiang Mai’s most highly praised meat-free fare (open daily: 11am-8:30pm). Early morning meal seekers will love The Larder Café (333/9 Sukkasem Rd) where smooth cappuccinos, lattes and Americanos hit the spot—the fresh roasted beans come from Toongs, in Hang Dong. They also whip up great breakfasts and sandwiches, as well as a range of milkshakes. Just be aware that they are only open from 8:30am to 3pm, and are closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Another gem is the tiny but tasty Nong Bee Burmese Restaurant (Soi 13), where hard-to-find fare such as tamarind salad, and green tea leaf salad are as delicious as they are cheap!

on the block | TRAVEL

Guide to Nimmanhaemin 19. Mango Tango 20. Beer Lab 21. Beer Republic 22. El Patio Wine & Pintxos 23. LISM Café 24. Daily 25. Warmup Café 26. La Casa Del Habano 27. The Booksmith 28. Ginger 29. Nimman Promenade 30. Chabaa 31. 1 Nimman Gallery Hotel 32. Silver Birch 33. Yantasari Resort 34. Artel Nimman 35. Kantary Hills

Huey Kaew Rd.


11 9 28

Soi 1

Soi 2 Sukkasame Rd. 7

Soi 4

29 30 5 18

Soi 6 33


Soi 8 6

Soi 10 35


Soi 12


Nimmanhaemin Rd.

1. Ristr8to 2. Ristr8to Lab 3. Impresso Espresso 4. Coffee Wish 5. Wawee Coffee 6. Anchan Vegetarian 7. Larder Café 8. Nong Bee Burmese 9. Think Park 10. Kafe Vino 11. Dogaholic Café 12. Rustic & Blue 13. Tengoku 14. Why Not 15. Charin Homemade Pies 16. Kod Kring 17. Mont Nom Sod 18. Smoothie Blues

Soi 3


Soi 5 17







Soi 7 Soi 9 Soi 11



Soi 13

24 14

26 3 21 22 19


Soi 15 Soi 17



Chiang Rai Rd.

Dogaholic Café

For later in the day, over in the popular Think Park area, two great drinking and dining options are Kafe Vino, a wine bar and restaurant, and Dogaholic Café, which is more of a pub. These two hotspots are situated so close together groups often move from one to the other throughout the evening. The cuisine at Kafe Vino is a mish-mash of fusion Thai, Japanese and Western, and of course there’s a decent wine list, while Dogaholic’s main appeal is the live music and atmosphere—the kind of place you often leave with added Facebook friends of various nationalities. Both venues are located on the Huay Kaew Rd. side of Think Park, and open from 4pm till midnight. Also recommended: • RUSTIC & BLUE • TENGOKU • WHY NOT

DESSERTS There are dozens of cake shops in this district, but fans of pies—not as common in Thailand—will be glad to hear about Charin Homemade Pies (Soi 17). Try the delicious pumpkin pie for a Thai twist on an American favourite, but don’t miss their deliciously tart lemon meringue pie, or classic USA style apple pie (open daily: 10am-10pm).

Charin Homemade Pies

When it comes to ice creams and gelato the choices are also pretty endless, but the tiny, out of the way Kod Kring—which in English means “ring the bell”—is definitely a unique neighbourhood favourite (9/1, Soi 5). Choose from a list of coconut milk ice creams, including jack fruit, durian, and black sesame, or indulge in a refreshing lychee sorbet (open daily: 8am-6:30pm). Finally, for a true taste of Thailand, there’s Mont Nom Sod (45/1-2, Nimmanhaemin Rd). In business since 1964, this traditional Thai dessert spot specializes in kanompang sungkhaya, which is a sort of sweet milk-tea coloured foam that is poured over toast and eaten with a knife and fork. It sounds weird at first (if you’re not Thai, that is) but acquiring a taste for it is remarkably easy. They also make and sell an array of homemade ice creams right on the premises (open daily: 3pm-11pm). Also recommended: • SMOOTHIE BLUES • MANGO TANGO NOV EM BER 2016 | 45

TRAVEL | on the block


accessories, including jewelry, shoes, bags and dazzling designer duds. There’s also great shopping to be had in the Nimman Promenade, an arcade of independently owned shops, set back from the main road between Sois 4 and 6. Chabaa is a funky little shop there, perfect for gals who like bold and daring fashions and accessories. Over on Soi 1 the 1 Nimman Gallery hotel has a huge showroom in the back, displaying handicrafts, paintings and objets d’art, while Silver Birch, at the end of the road, specializes in wood carved furniture and decorative pieces.

Busy night at Beer Lab

Once the sun goes down, a seemingly infinite number of drink spots pop out of the woodwork along the main road and on every side street. Two well established anchor points—for beer lovers anyway— are Beer Lab, located on the main road at the corner of Soi 12, and Beer Republic, on Soi 11. Both specialize in premium suds—import draught and craft—and both are pretty much packed every night of the week. Located right next door to Beer Republic is El Patio Wine & Pintxos, a fun and funky wine bistro—with indoor and outdoor seating—serving up Spanish tapas, as well as Mediterranean and other Euro-fare. Chris, the affable owner, has a smile for everyone who walks through his arched gable entryway. Or, for a decidedly younger crowd, check out LISM Café on Soi 7, and Daily on Soi 11. Also recommended: • WARMUP CAFÉ • LA CASA DEL HABANO


1 Nimman Gallery Hotel

WHERE TO STAY If you’re going to hang out in this district it only makes sense to book a room here and there’s an ever increasing list of options available. YANTARASRI RESORT Lanna inspired architecture and superior amenities, including a gorgeous outdoor swimming pool. 1 NIMMAN GALLERY HOTEL Artistically designed rooms that combine decorative fabrics, rattan, and other natural materials. ARTEL NIMMAN A former two-story student dormitory becomes a funky boutique hotel brimming with quirky artcentred touches and a 60s-70s retro feel.

Colourful clothing at Chabaa

On the east side of the main street check out the excellent selection of both Thai and English language books at The Booksmith (between Sois 5 and 7). On the west side, pop into Ginger for three levels of shiny and chic fashions and 46 | NOV EM BER 2016

KANTARY HILLS, CHIANG MAI A mix of hotel suites and serviced apartments with kitchens and washing machines (great for long stays). There’s also a great rooftop pool.



A LA A LA CARTE CARTE BUFFET BUFFET THB THB 1,290++ 1,290++ perper person person / 11.30 / 11.30 - 14.30 - 14.30 hrs.hrs. Every Every Saturday Saturday at UNO at UNO MAS MAS Level Level 54,54, Centara Centara Grand Grand at CentralWorld at CentralWorld All prices All prices are subject are subject to 10% to 10% service service and and 7% government 7% government tax tax




TRAVEL | focus on chiang mai

Local silversmith craftsmen

Art Full of Soul

Thailand’s unique northern capital builds on centuries of artistic and cultural exchange By Joe Cummings/CPA Media


riginally a Lawa walled city, which thrived as far back as the 5th century AD, and later ruled by Mon Buddhists till Thai chieftains from the north arrived in the 13th century, Chiang Mai has long been a simmering stew of multiple cultural and artistic influences. Enriched as a trade crossroads along mule caravan routes between China’s Yunnan province and the port of Mawlamyine (Moulmein) in Myanmar, the city expanded its status and influence after an alliance of three Thai princes consolidated power in the 13th century to establish Lanna, the greatest kingdom the north has ever known. Lanna was succeeded in 1802 by the smaller Kingdom of Chiang Mai, which continued to see a constant influx of craftspeople and traders from neighbouring China, Myanmar, and Laos. Long before tourists began visiting 48 | NOV EM BER 2016

the region in the 20th century, Chiang Mai flourished as an important center for pottery, textile weaving, basketry, oiled-paper umbrellas, silverwork, and woodcarving. After the city was linked to the outside world—the first Thai monarch to visit Chiang Mai was Rama VII, in 1927—word soon spread among Thais and foreign visitors that the quaint northern capital was a non plus ultra destination for arts and crafts. By the mid-1960s tourism had replaced commercial trade as Chiang Mai’s number one source of outside revenue, a ranking it has maintained ever since. Running close behind, however, are the sale of art, local handicrafts, and modern design products. Chiang Mai now, as in the past, boasts some of Thailand’s most skilled sculptors, working in wood, stone, clay, metal, and acrylic,

focus on chiang mai | TRAVEL as well as other contemporary materials. Chiang Mai is the birthplace of colour-incised lacquerware, which has evolved from traditional utilitarian designs to the purely decorative. The northern Thai textile tradition has likewise distinguished itself both in the past and the present. Indigo-dyed cotton clothing was once de rigueur attire for most northern Thai folk, and today indigo tones in interior fabrics immediately evoke associations with Chiang Mai. Woven motifs—particularly mat-mee (ikat or tie-dying) and teen jok (weft brocade)—dating to the 17th century, crop up in everything from modern furniture upholstery to gallery wall-hangings. As a result of this astonishing creative variety, Chiang Mai today supplies designers and design products not only in the immediate region but to Bangkok, London, Paris and beyond. Among the pioneers of the movement is Patricia Cheeseman Naenna, who founded Studio Naenna ( in Chiang Mai in 1988 to help preserve and further local weaving traditions. Today her community of weavers create most of their work using frame looms, without the use of fly shuttles, resulting in fabric pieces in the traditional width of 40 inches. For all-cotton wall hangings based on traditional Karen designs, the weavers may employ traditional backstrap looms. In addition to the usual sarongs and/or wall

Oiled-paper umbrellas

Sop Moei Arts

hangings, Studio Naenna fashions loom-woven textiles into scarves, shawls and clothing. Her weavers have mastered over a hundred traditional designs in cotton and silk, and introduced dozens of original designs. Studio Naenna’s most popular designs are weft ikat, a technique in which yarns are tie-dyed before being woven together to produce soft geometric patterns. This technique originated in northeastern Thailand but has been popular in northern Thailand for at least a century. Studio Naenna uses only natural fibers and dyes, which they extracted themselves, from locally available plants and herbs, to assure consistency and quality. When one speaks of the vanguards of Chiang Mai’s contemporary design movement, Sop Moei Arts ( is an enterprise that always garners mention. Named for a district in the Salween River basin in the far west of northern Thailand, the company was set up as a cooperative to help Pwo Karen villagers market their traditional handicrafts in novel ways. Traditional Pwo Karen basket shapes, for example, have been transformed into fruit bowls, handbags, wine-bottle holders, and other items of daily use in modern urban households. In all cases, the Pwo Karen basket-weavers ensure that their baskets follow the correct detailing and techniques. The weavers also borrow techniques from other ethnic groups in Laos, Myanmar and southwestern

Studio Naenna

Hand-woven textiles, Sop Moei Arts NOV EM BER 2016 | 49

TRAVEL | focus on chiang mai China, particularly designs which are on the brink of extinction. Rather than weave faithful copies of traditional Pwo Karen textiles, the tribal weavers reinterpret fabric designs for modern contexts. Sop Moei Arts has used international textile and fashion consultants to aid in this process, the result being a unified design vision. Some of their textile products include table place mats, table runners, serviettes and croissant servers. Wall hangings that weave pieces of bamboo and wood together with colourful fabrics are another Sop Moei Arts specialty. Taking their inspiration from spiritual totems common to several tribes in northern Thailand as well as the northern Thai culture, the hangings have been enlarged to better accommodate modern display spaces and come in a variety of patterns that are in themselves one-of-a kind pieces of art. At their showroom in Chiang Mai’s historic Wat Ket neighbourhood, Sop Moei Arts also offer carefully selected furnishings, such as rattan and teak furniture, made by third parties. Chiang Mai native Vichit Chaiwongse, a Silpakorn University graduate, worked with the Thai government’s Fine Arts Department for several years to document architectural ornamentation throughout Thailand. After contributing to restorations at Wat Arun, Wat Phra Kaew and Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung, he opened Gong Dee Gallery ( in 1989 to focus on the

Gong Dee Gallery

Baan Kang Wat 50 | NOV EM BER 2016

present-day arts of northern Thailand. This highly regarded gallery offers an exceptionally wide range of works, including modern easel paintings by local artists, original furniture designs and home accessories linked for the most part to northern Thai themes. Drawing from his experience documenting traditional architecture for the Fine Arts Department, Khun Vichit applies ornamentation techniques to Gong Dee’s accessories line. Boxes and vases, for example, for use around the modern home, may be decorated using the same lai kham—gold-leaf stenciling—techniques traditionally used for wooden temple doors. Gong Dee’s ever-expanding furniture line is particularly impressive. Khun Vichit has long employed native woods for pieces inspired by traditional forms, and more recently has created synthetics that have the appearance of hewn stone but are much lighter and easier to work with. This artificial stone has become an important feature of Gong Dee’s most up-to-date furniture products. At the other end of the spectrum, a grassroots artists’ collective called Baan Kang Wat ( BannKangWat) occupies a cluster of simple, two-story cement-and-wood houses set around a small outdoor amphitheater near Wat Ram Poeng, famed for its meditation retreats. Resident artists live above their shops and studios, much like they would have in Thai villages of old. Each of the creatives in the village offers a different

Gong Dee Studio

Outdoor area, Baan Kang Wat

focus on chiang mai | TRAVEL

Maiiam Museum of Contemporary Art


The Apichatpong ‘Joei’ Weerasethakul exhibition

twist on local, handmade work. Some host demonstrations or classes open to the public. Among the shophouses at Baan Kang Wat, Nok Pha Nit Studio rotates from day to day among several media, including ceramics, jewelry and woodcuts. Another home studio, Jibberish, focuses on zakka, a pan-Asian fashion and design phenomenon that originated in Japan and has a huge following in Thailand. Described as the art of seeing the savvy in the ordinary and mundane, zakka encompasses minimalist designs for functional objects, such as bookshelves painted with a whimsical theme, or teapots daubed with cartoon-like faces. A palette of cream, light pastels, gray, and natural wood predominates. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the Thais love it. Art galleries can be found on virtually every corner of Chiang Mai’s old city within the square moated walls. The contents range from cheap and kitschy tourist art found in one-room shophouses, to high-end studio art at the aforementioned Gong Dee Gallery. Somewhere in the middle of the two extremes lies Sangdee Art Gallery (, which not only hosts regular art exhibitions but doubles as a bar and café popular with the NGO crowd.

The July 2016 opening of the Maiiam Museum of Contemporary Art ( has galvanized the art scene in Chiang Mai as nothing that’s come before it has. Jean Michel Beurdeley and his late wife Patsri Bunnag, together with their son Eric Bunnag Booth, have renovated a 3,000 sq.m warehouse near San Kamphaeng to the east of Chiang Mai in order to share their immense private Thai art collection and host rotating exhibits by contemporary Thai artists. The permanent collection includes seminal works from such masters of Thai contemporary art as the late Montien Boonma, Kamin Lertchaiprasert, Chatchai Puipia, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Navin Rawanchaikul, Natee Utarit, Vasan Sitthiket, and Rirkrit Tiravanija, as well as young and emerging artists from around Thailand. Maiiam opened with ‘The Serenity of Madness’, a firstever retrospective of the work of avant-garde filmmaker Apichatpong ‘Joei’ Weerasethakul, winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. That hugely successful program was followed by ‘The Timeless Present Moment’, a solo exhibition by famed Chiang Mai painter Kamin Lertchaiprasert which includes carefully selected works from two periods in the artist’s life and is currently running until 6 February 2017. NOV EM BER 2016 | 51

Art & Culture

Photo Feature IMAGINARIUM by Olga Volodina

Olga Volodina B

orn in the USSR, photographer Olga Volodina originally studied journalism in Moscow while working as a model. From her experiences with professional photographers she became interested in photography—starting with portraits of friends, and continuing on to fashion shoots and nudes. Eventually her projects became more personal and conceptual. She and her husband decided to leave Russia after the birth of their daughter in 2008. Not wanting their child to grow up in Russia, the couple decided to relocate. They travelled for a couple of years before finally choosing Thailand as their new home, living at first on Koh Phangan until their daughter was ready for preschool, and settling in Bangkok in September of 2010. However, in May of 2016 the trio uprooted once again, this time settling for the artistic environs of Chiang Mai. Why did you decide to leave Bangkok and move to Chiang Mai? At some point, life in a megalopolis, with all its everyday stresses—traffic and pollution—made me feel really exhausted. I felt I needed to live closer to nature. I had heard a lot of good things about Chiang Mai from my friends. They described it as a green place with a really relaxed atmosphere, and it truly is. It gives me so much needed peace of mind. My daughter likes it here very much too. It’s a bit tough because my husband still works in Bangkok but, fortunately, local flights are not expensive so he comes to see us often. Do you find yourself “inspired” by Chiang Mai? That’s a difficult question. I’m not really looking for “inspiration”. It’s quite the opposite actually. I do my projects to clear my head of all my thoughts. But, on the other hand, if we define inspiration as a source of energy for the creative process, then I could say that Chiang Mai, with its laidback vibe, history, temples, and nature, is a great source. The slow-paced life here makes me slow down and reflect. I found my balance in Chiang Mai. It was really difficult for me to achieve this state in Bangkok with the constant noise inside/outside my head. So it’s more of a therapy than a search for some inspiration. How many exhibitions have you had in Thailand so far? I’ve had four exhibitions in Thailand, and I’m preparing for my fifth—entitled ‘Imaginarium’— in February 2017. I’m doing it with my good friend and curator Oya Aydin. It’s a study on human nature, the hypocrisy of the modern society, informational slavery, religion and politics, environmental issues, and controversial historical facts. It’s about all the stuff that is boiling in my head and bothering me. Do you have a favourite place in Chiang Mai? I like Somkiat Café. It’s a very cozy place with a vegetarian menu. Compared to Bangkok, Chiang Mai is a much more vegetarian and vegan-friendly place, which is really important for me. There is also a new place that I like a lot called the Chiang Mai Community House. It’s a space for different workshops and classes that also works as a photo studio and art gallery. It was opened by Thai photographer Wisamun Sitthiket and his wife Sarah.

TRAVEL | where to stay chiang mai

Shangri-La Hotel

A grand Lanna-style luxury getaway located just a short stroll from Chiang Mai’s famed shopping district


ucked away from the street, and the often frenetic Night Bazaar market area, the ShangriLa Chiang Mai hotel houses attractions that suffice to make a holiday unto themselves. All rooms are sophistically decorated, merging traditional Thai teakwood furniture with 5-star luxuriousness. The property accommodates not only tourists exploring the city, but also long-stay visitors and business travellers. The stunning Executive Suites cater to the needs of the latter, while the palatial 215 sq.m Presidential Suite has all the attributes of a magnificent ‘Lanna Renaissance’ family home. Follow the labyrinthine walkways through the hotel and you’ll discover an opulently styled ballroom, convention rooms, and a 99-seat auditorium with stage and projector for conferences, workshops, as well as musical and theatrical performances. Outside, a fastidiously manicured garden replete with an array of local flora will take you to the city’s largest swimming pool and a rooftop tennis court. From there you can head to a

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fully-equipped gym where you can also avail yourself of a steam room, Jacuzzi and sauna. The hotel’s main dining area serves breakfast and dinner buffets, a cornucopia of Asian and Western dishes pre-prepared or made to order. Adjacent stands the Lobby Lounge bar, an eatery and coffee shop in the daytime and sometimes animated hang-out during the evening. Perhaps one of the most outstanding achievements of the Shangri-La of late is its fairly new Szechuan cuisine restaurant, China Kitchen. Offering garden-side, as well as private dining, this restaurant has become the talk-ofthe-town since its opening just over a year ago. Much of the success garnered from critics and regular customers alike is due to the veteran Chinese award-winning Chef Chen Jiang Ming. One time extolled by China’s Vice Prime Minister of the State Council for his cooking prowess, Chef Chen moved to Chiang Mai and has gained the respect of the city’s foodies and visiting tourists. Chen recently unveiled a new menu—a host of sometimes simple, sometimes audacious Szechuan dishes,

where to stay chiang mai | TRAVEL

Executive Suite

China Kitchen

Chi, the Spa

taking traditional elements of Szechuan cooking but adding his own signature to each dish. For the unfamiliar, this cuisine is noted for its playful, sometimes surprising mix of pungent flavours, infused with Szechuan peppers and garlic. Diners less accustomed to the bite of hot peppers might want to go for dishes such as the traditional roasted Peking duck, or the mouth-watering braised pork with preserved vegetable. The latter is first deep-fried and then slow-cooked in its own tantalizing juices, and served

with steamed Chinese dumplings. A restaurant favourite, and a dish with some amount of bite to it, is the steamed glutinous rice with shrimps in a basket. Similar to a Spanish paella, guests are invited to mix all the ingredients together, including the spicy peppercorns. Testament to this innovative restaurant and its charismatic dishes is the fact that on any given day its patrons are local Chinese people or tourists on visits from the mainland. Apart from fine dining, relaxation is also on the menu here and in the herb garden at the back of the hotel is where you’ll find Chi, the Spa, a truly quiescent tract of the hotel dedicated to traditional Asian natural healing. The reception area is built in the style of an ancient Lanna building whose stand-out feature is a red dome pinnacle brightly lit when the sun shines—which it almost always does in Chiang Mai during the daytime. All guests of the spa will be invited into this Lannastyle villa. The renowned Thai massage is often why people visit spas in Thailand, and at Chi guests can have their massage treatments tailored to their needs. For those seeking two hours of gentler, curative bliss—quite unlike traditional Thai massage, which is based on stretching and kneading muscles—a soothing oil massage is recommended. Other treatments include body scrubs, skin polishes, and facial treatments. by James Austin Farrell

HORIZON CLUB To enhance your stay at the Shangri-La, and somewhat spoil yourself, guests can become part of the Horizon Club. Located on the 11th floor, this exclusive realm offers astounding views of the city, as well as coffee and snacks served all day. For visitors with serious unfinished business, desks and PCs are available from morning until night, while a dedicated staff fluent in various languages can help out with any needs you may have. The evening brings the chimes of the Happy Hour at Horizon Lounge, when for a couple of hours guests can avail themselves of free flow wines, beers, mixed drinks (you can pour them yourself if so inclined), soft drinks, and a large selection of cocktails to order. During happy hour a smorgasbord of light eats are also on offer, including a cheese board, cured meats, breads, pickles, vegetables, canapes, cakes and more.

Shangri-La Hotel, Chiang Mai

89/8 Muang, Chang Klan Rd. | Tel: 053 253 888 NOV EM BER 2016 | 59

TRAVEL | focus on pai

Baan Jabo, Mae Hong Son

Easy as Pai

A free-wheeling tour of the North’s most chilled-out traveller mecca By Craig Sauers


here are 762 curves on Route 1095 between Chiang Mai and Pai. Just about everyone who has travelled this road in either direction will agree—all 762 are shattering, especially so when encased within the rambling death traps we call minivans. But, lo and behold, there is another, often overlooked method of transport that eschews these stomach-turning switchbacks entirely: airplane. Specifically, a 12-seat, Kan Air single-prop plane, the kind of tin can that hides like someone’s kid brother behind the bigger, shinier, less terrifying commercial liners on the runway. As luck would have it, your aerophobic author found himself locked inside one such tiny bird on a recent visit to Pai, along with various members of the Thai media. From Chiang Mai, our plane climbed over the western edge of the city, caressing the edges of clouds as it droned above the veiny peaks and valleys and tortuous roads of northern forests. We landed twenty-five death-rattling minutes later on 800 metres of tarmac just off Pai’s main

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artery. Never mind that the pilots had gone the whole way with Mickey Mouse sunshades on the dash or that one of the two may have only recently graduated from secondary school—the flight was electrifying. The bird’s-eye view revealed beautifully tessellated rice paddies, hills so lush they looked like Chia Pets, Pai Canyon, the murky Pai River, and a handful of other familiar tourist attractions. The aerial view was a clear reminder of the outdoor charms that drew outsiders to this region in the first place. And, conveniently enough, it also played into my narrative—as I was back in Pai for the first time in more than four years, angling for a fresh perspective of the North’s legendarily laid-back outpost. Shortly after landing, we were shuttled over to a place called Sushi Hill to have lunch. Despite the name of the venue, our spread was totally Thai: variations of pork, a crispy omelette, some stir-fried mushrooms that had been picked from the hills behind the resort’s bungalows, and a spicy salad of what appeared to be glass noodles,

focus on pai | TRAVEL but were actually translucent strands of lakeweed. At the time, it seemed odd to have gone out of our way to eat at a guesthouse instead of a stand-alone restaurant, but almost embarrassingly late in the trip I realized that Pai’s economy was such that the townsfolk couldn’t operate just a restaurant. Pai gets a comparatively small number of tourist arrivals each year, and, apart from agriculture, there isn’t any industry other than tourism to speak of. So individual financial stability depended on diversity, like attaching restaurants, cafés, and gift shops to guesthouses and hotels. Fortunately, every hotel kitchen we visited during the three days we spent up north made really good food—the larb kua (minced pork fried with pig’s blood and spices that was way more delicious than it sounded), gaeng hang lay (a Burmese-style pork belly curry seasoned with star anise, cinnamon, and so much more), and nam prik noom (a green chilli paste that lacked the fishiness and funk of most nam prik) at Belle Villa Resort in particular. Still, the best meals during our trip came from two very disparate places. The first: a Yunnanese feast in Ban Santichon, a Chinese village in the hills that toes the line between tourist trap and authentic community. Beyond cheap charms, the village was also known in certain circles for food so delicious it could justify a visit by itself. I wouldn’t have minded skipping cheesy photo-ops and going straight to the restaurant. Before we ate, the more intrepid writers took turns riding a terrifying-looking swing that spun around like a windmill, a supposedly time-

honoured tradition done for good fortune (I chose to take my chances with lady luck rather than risk a broken spine). Our feast here featured mantou (a chewy bun popular in Chinese cultures) served two ways—fried and steamed— “thousand-year” pork layered over pickled mustard greens and cabbage, an unforgettable pork knuckle stewed in Chinese herbs, and a famed, very herbal black chicken soup, among others. The second most memorable meal for me—an avocado cheeseburger, of all things—was purchased from a kiosk on Pai’s well-known Walking Street for a mere B120, and shared with the whole media gang over pale ales at Jikko Beer, which is easily the most entertaining nightlife venue in Pai (more on Jikko later). Cuisine may open a window into culture, but Pai served up more than burgers and black chicken. Even at ground level, the emerald rice paddies were stunning, and so were the sky-high viewpoints on the road to Mae Hong Son. There were other attractions still: Pam Bok and Mo Paeng waterfalls, both at their mighty best in the rainy season; the alien landscape of Pai Canyon, a series of narrow red ridges dropping off steeply into valleys teeming with pine trees and brush; Baan Jabo, where a noodle shop lets visitors dangle their feet in the air as they take in the limestone peaks (and soup!) that this little village is famous for; Pai Hot Springs, where one can actually hard- or soft-boil eggs in an 80°c pool; and the oversized cucumbers and avocados sold by Lahu women at

Verdant hills and rice paddies

Lucky swing at Ban Santichon

Morning tea on the mountain, Ban Santichon NOV EM BER 2016 | 61

TRAVEL | focus on pai

Hill tribe hound, Pai

Wildflowers in the countryside

Tourists wandering the streets of Pai

roadside markets. Since I’d been to many of these places before, I didn’t always feel blown away by their novelty (their beauty was striking, though). But history, a different element, did hook my attention this trip. A rickety wooden bridge—still somehow able to bear the weight of foot traffic—represented one of a couple vestiges of the Second World War. The Japanese had used Pai as a link between Burma, which it occupied, and Thailand, which it technically did not. Soldiers had apparently built this bridge to speed up their travel to Shan State. And the airport itself, I discovered, had been constructed for use by Japanese bombers; only decades later was it finally renovated for commercial use. Going even further back in time, during a morning run around Wieng Nuea (“North Town”), I stopped to read signage beside a rebuilt city gate that traced the village back to 800 AD, when the 14-kilometre-long moat that still outlined this mostly Shan community had a practical purpose: keeping out Lanna invaders. Of course, nowadays few people picture history, or even natural attractions, when they think of Pai. For most, it’s a hippie haven—a place to shack up for a month and do nothing—or a guidebook recommendation for Chinese nouveau riche. All these preconceived biases pigeonhole Pai into identities it doesn’t always embody. For 62 | NOV EM BER 2016

Jikko Beer

starters, accommodation offered includes more than just homestays and hostels. Some amazing resorts speckled the hills, including Puri Pai, a posh collection of villas and cabin-like deluxe rooms overlooking a valley near Baan Na Chalong. What’s more, there were signs of cosmopolitan life: the cool boutiques on the Walking Street selling handwoven scarves and blouses, the cafés brewing local beans, and Jikko, a craft beer bar where this writer spent two nights chatting up two downright gregarious bartenders. One, a co-owner of the bar, talked about everything from the wax he spun when he DJ’d in New York, to the politics of craft beer, the Thai-made brews from their friends at Happy New Beer they sold when in stock, and their plans to do contract brewing abroad in the very near future. He and his partner-in-crime also frequently hollered at familiar faces walking past. They may have doled out way too many Sangsom shots, but they knew how to encourage conversation. Upon returning to Bangkok I took stock of the Pai I had just experienced. It didn’t feel like backwater for hippies, but rather a budding destination for people who liked culture, nature, and (occasionally) the finer things in life. Pai didn’t seem to have lost its soul, as some public officials lamented over dinner with us one night—it was just beginning to grow into its own skin.

TRAVEL | focus on phrae

Baan Wongburi

Gingerbread Architecture Lost between Lampang and Nan, the small and peaceful province of Phrae fiercely protects its teakwood houses By Luc Citrinot


he old lady smiles while looking at the fading picture in her frame. The picture shows a youthful Lanna beauty dressed in a traditional outfit. The lady is the descendant of Chao Phrom and his wife Sunanta Wongburi. This Phrae nobleman was once governor of this small region in northern Thailand. The family’s glory days ended long ago with the demise of the teakwood industry. What remains is a magnificent mansion with delicately carved balconies. The house (on busy Charoen Krung Road) is now a museum, one that gives visitors a glimpse into the past life of Phrae. At first glance, visitors would never guess that this small city of 25,000 used to be one of the most important trading hubs in Thailand. Over half a century ago, Phrae’s good fortune had a name: teakwood. Surrounded by mighty teak forests, the city became the trading place

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between British Burma and Siam for the precious forest commodity. From 1880 and 1940—the boom years of the teak trade—the city accommodated the Thai headquarters of half a dozen European timber companies. They brought with them skilled Chinese labourers who designed houses for Westerners, blending traditional Thai and European styles. From them the ‘Phrae House’, with its distinctive gingerbread style, was born. At certain points, there were hundreds of teakwood houses in Phrae. Many have survived, although most are modest in size. However, two dozen spectacular mansions tell of the incredible wealth generated by teak trading and the power of the Phrae local elite, designated by the term “Chao.” There is indeed rising consciousness among the local inhabitants to nurture their unique heritage. “There are

focus on phrae | TRAVEL

Khum Chao Luang

Baan Luang Sri

Wichairacha House

Wat Chom Sawan

still houses in desperate need of repair, but many have already been restored and are now marked in a circuit around town,” says Bee, owner of a charming coffee shop called the Gingerbread House Gallery, which promotes architecture and local handicrafts. For travellers to Phrae, it is easy to wander around town and discover some of the exquisite mansions in which the former Chao lived. Biking is probably the best option, as bicycles can be rented for free at the fire station in the city centre. Thanks to the Architecture Heritage Club, explanations in Thai and English are provided on signboards. And, with a bit of luck, inhabitants will open their houses and proudly show off their unique heritage.

EIGHT SPECTACULAR SITES Khum Chao Luang, in the city centre, is the former residence of Lord Piriyatheppawong, formerly a ruler and governor. The proud mansion is surrounded by a garden and features a mix of European and Thai Lanna architecture. Just the wooden stairs along the verandah, with their intricate sculpted details, make it worth a trip. The mansion’s former grandeur appears in fixtures like the old furniture and the crystal chandeliers. The house is now a museum displaying Phrae history. In the back of Khum Chao Luang, just a street away, stands Baan Wongburi. Still home to the family of Chao Phrom and Sunanta Wongburi, the mansion evokes the

“gingerbread” Victorian houses in San Francisco, especially with its fading pink shade of colour. Inside, it’s all about the daily life of this noble Northern Thai family. With a bit of luck, the family’s descendants will be on hand to talk about the place and their history. Baan Luang Sri and Wichairacha House are both grand mansions with exquisite carvings. The latter seems to have been inspired by late 19th-century gingerbread architecture from the Philippines. Not to be missed are the balconies and verandah shades, done in typical art nouveau style. Chao Nhan Chaiwong House looks like an abandoned mansion from a fairy tale. Located in a large garden, the house was constructed in the same period as Baan Wongburi (around 1910). It features exquisite carvings and a distinct Thai-style roof. A school fills out the building today. On busy Charoen Mueang Street—number 361—sits the last mansion built in gingerbread style by local elites. Finished around 1930, the Wongprathang House is a final testimony to an art of living that was slowly vanishing. Built between 1900 and 1912, Wat Chom Sawan was given to the Shan people living in Phrae. The teakwood used for this beautiful temple was provided by Denmark’s East Asiatic Company as a token of appreciation for their teak concessions. Finally, the former offices of the East Asiatic Company and the British Borneo Trading Company have been transformed into museums chronicling the history of teak, displaying historical photos and other memorabilia. NOV EM BER 2016 | 65

TRAVEL | focus on lampang

Chae Son National Park

Wat Phra That Lampang Luang

Kad Kong Ta street market

Lots to Love in Lampang Although situated almost directly between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Lampang is—unfortunately—often bypassed by travellers By Julia Offenberger


ocated on the banks of the Wang river, Lampang was once an important city in the former Lanna kingdom. It still serves as a major transportation hub in Northern Thailand—easily accessible by bus, train, and even airplane—but for tourists it is often overshadowed by neighbouring Chiang Mai (located about 100km northwest). However this is changing, as more and more savvy travellers are adding Lampang to their itineraries. The relics of Lampang’s former glory, marked by several stunning Lanna-style and Burmese temples, as well as exquisite teak mansions, can be found all over the town. The past is also brought back to life with the numerous horse-drawn carriages—a former mode of local transport—which nowadays are used to provide tourists a fun way to explore this laid-back locale. A nice way to get to know this relaxed retreat, and dive into the city’s colourful history, is to walk along the riverside, which is lined with old homes, temples, and

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shophouses featuring a mix of Thai, English, Chinese, and Burmese architectural styles. If you visit on a weekend don’t miss the weekly Kad Kong Ta street market on Talad Kao Road— Saturdays and Sundays, from 5pm to 9pm—where visitors can browse through an array of local handicrafts, and sample lots of delicious food at the same time. The city’s main attraction is Wat Phra That Lampang Luang, a Lanna-style temple set on a small hill about 20km from town, which dates back to 1486. Other notable sights include Wat Phra Kaeo Don Tao, which is said to once have housed the Emerald Buddha, Wat Chedi Sao Lang, which features an array of twenty pagodas, and the Burmese temple Wat Sri Chum. To get a hint of Lampang’s rich logging past stop by Ban Sao Nak, an impressive teakwood house which is comprised of over 100 wooden posts. The area along the river is also home to a number of dining spots, such as the Riverside Restaurant and Bar, which offers both Thai and International cuisine. If you

focus on lampang | TRAVEL want a taste of authentic Northern Thai cuisine, head to local favourite Kong Kin Baan Hao—just a short walk north of the river—or try the more centrally located restaurant Aroy One Baht for cheap, and tasty Thai food. Thanks to large deposits of kaolin, Lampang has, over the past decades, also made a well-deserved reputation for itself in the ceramic industry (see story on pg. 20). If you want to learn more about this region’s pottery production, a good place to visit is the Dhanabadee Ceramic Museum. Here visitors can join a guided tour and learn about the manufacturing process and the history of the famous ‘chicken bowls’. Lampang the town is the capital of Lampang the province, and the province is home to several national parks, including Doi Luang National Park where the multiple-level Wang Kaeo waterfall is a major attraction. Nature lovers and trekkers should also check out Chae Son National Park, which boasts natural hot springs, caves and more waterfalls. Another of the province’s treasures are the mineral hot springs known as Bo Nam Rae Bo Nam Ron. The temperatures here reach up to 70°C, making it possible to actually boil an egg in the water. When staying in Lampang, you can choose from numerous guesthouses and hotels. If you want to set up camp close to the river, opt for the Riverside Guesthouse, a Thai styled compound of wooden houses. Alternatively, head to Pin Hotel Lampang if you’d rather stay “downtown”, or Wienglakor Hotel for more of an up-scale option.

ELEPHANT EXCURSIONS It’s no secret that elephants are a big hit with tourists visiting Thailand, and at the Thailand Elephant Conservation Center visitors can learn about these thick-skinned, gentle giants, watch demonstrations, and even go on elephant rides. However, despite the caring treatment these elephants receive, the idea of these noble beasts being forced to take tourists on jungle jaunts is almost universally frowned upon. Much more recommended is a trip to the Lampang Elephant Hospital, located next door. Don’t expect to see any rehearsed performances here, but feel free to wander around the treatment areas where thousands of sick and injured pachyderms have been treated since the hospital opened in 1994.



Welcome To Opal’s World

Art Exhibition by Krissadank Intasorn


he NUMBER 1 GALLERY is proud to present the exhibition entitled WELCOME TO OPAL’S WORLD, the 4th solo exhibition by artist KRISSADANK INTASORN. This show blends content and technic, expressing the message of the artist through a mixture of Lanna-style folk art and pop culture sensibilities—to ultimately achieve a contemporary style aptly dubbed ‘Pop Art Lanna’. In the words of the artist: “Imagination is always important; without it the world would be so plain and not so beautiful.” Because this world is not as beautiful as we wish it to be, and the fact that there are so many bad things surrounding us, imagination becomes the only solution to make Opal—and the audience—see the world in a more wonderful way, and escape from reality. This world has no limits! Krissadank was born in Chiang Rai, and went on to study fine art at Chiang Mai University, and at Silpakorn University in Bangkok. During his school years, he had his artwork shown in many exhibitions, on both the local and international stage, and in 2011 was chosen to attend the 54th Venice Biennale. WELCOME TO OPAL’S WORLD runs from NOVEMBER 5-26 at NUMBER 1 GALLERY (19, Silom Soi 21). Viewing hours are Monday to Saturday, from 11am till 7pm. For more information, call 02 630 3381.

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ART & CULTURE | exhibitions

NOVEMBER 25-26 Galleries’ Night, 4th Edition

(various art galleries in the Silom and Sukhumvit corridors)

Bangkok’s annual Galleries’ Night returns for the fourth time, promoting contemporary art in the city. Over the course of two consecutive evenings, local audiences will discover a wide variety of activities, including exhibitions, performances, meeting the artists, film screenings, talks and live music. More than 40 galleries and art spaces will be participating, mostly along the Sukhumvit and Silom corridors, as well as at institutions such as the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC). The programmes and map routes will be continually updated on the Mobile Application ‘Galleriesnight’, available to download for free on Apple Store and Google Play. For more info about participating galleries visit www.facebook. com/galleriesnight.

Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC)

NOVEMBER 11-JANUARY 15 Freepeople The Gallery

36F, Pullman Bangkok Hotel G, 118 Silom Rd. Viewing hours: Daily, 10am-5pm Tel: 02 238 1991 |

This solo exhibition showcases the latest artworks by Pom Jitpratuk, a talented artist and designer, featuring ten artworks created using ink on paper techniques. The series being presented was inspired by the artist’s everyday life— from his childhood up until present day—through reading, seeing, feeling and sensing. His bizarre illustrative drawings tell stories from his life, and depict things both in organic and inorganic forms. All living and non-living components are placed together and the colourful yet serious sentiments are presented as fanciful and whimsical illustrations which can be enjoyed by viewers from all backgrounds.


Kalwit Studio and Gallery 119/14, Ruamrudee Soi 2, Wireless Rd. Viewing hours: Tue-Sun, 10am-6pm Tel: 02 254 4629 |

This photography exhibition presents the works of three artists, all depicting patterns of transient and fleeting life. Christian Hogue’s photos portray the cycle of life and death, which captures the beauty of tranquility from what death has left behind. The works of Yossawat Kasemthirakun expose animal sacrifices in different rituals. They reflect the raw instincts hidden in us all. Finally, Zuzanna Kowalska’s photography reflects on the devastation of nature, in particular the earthquake in Nepal, which occurred in April of 2015. In these images humans realize they cannot govern what goes on in this world. 70 | NOV EM BER 2016

exhibitions | ART & CULTURE

NOVEMBER 24-JANUARY 15 Back to the Moon Yenakart Villa

69 Soi Prasart Suk, Yenakart Rd. Viewing hours: Mon-Fri, 2pm-7pm Tel: 02 235 9800 |

This is the first solo exhibition of Sivadol Sitipol since the one he had at the National Gallery in Bangkok back in October of 2006. During the intervening 10 years this Thai sculptor has been involved in a long-term project in India. In his upcoming show, he will present 15 sculptures, of various sizes—some up to 5 meters high—made from various materials, including stone, marble, bronze, brass, and metal. The shapes are at once abstract and figurative, featuring the interactions between the artist’s sensibility, his environment and his beliefs, especially his strong Buddhist culture.


La Lanta Fine Art 245/14, Sukhumvit Soi 31 Viewing hours: Tue-Sat, 10am-7pm, Sundays by appointment Tel: 02 260 5381 |

This debut solo exhibition is the first in Thailand by young Thai artist Chamnan Chongpaiboon. Entitled ‘She’, the exhibition features the unsmiling faces of various women. The expressionless portraits do not give any indication as to the model’s emotions. However, the charm of these artworks comes in the vibrant colour palette and, most intriguingly, the artist’s technique of texture construction— as each artwork consists of thousands of dots, dropped by hand, with an almost identical spacing. By merging pointillism and Aboriginal dotting technique, Chamnan creates artwork in his own unique style.

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ART & CULTURE | cinema scope

Film News & Screenings By Bruce Scott

Oliver Stone


Beatriz’s War


scar-winning film director Oliver Stone was in Bangkok recently, as part of his promotional tour for Snowden, his latest film (about the infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden). While in town, Mr. Stone turned a lot of heads when he showed up unannounced at a small party hosted by local film director Tom Waller. (although not everyone recognized him immediately). Speaking of all things Oliver Stone, the renowned director will be the recipient of the prestigious Lotus award—presented to filmmakers who have made exemplary contributions to society through their craft—at this year’s World Film Festival of Bangkok. This marks the 14th edition of this highly anticipated annual film event, which will run from the 4th to the 13th of November. As per usual the film line-up includes an eclectic array of carefully curated international films, including Elle, from acclaimed director Paul Verhoeven, as well as Fire at Sea (Italy), Thithi (India), Gabo (Colombia), Kalo Pothi (Nepal), Diamond Island (Cambodia), and Present Perfect (Thailand). All screenings take place at the SF Cinema, Central World, and tickets are B120 each. For more info visit In other film news, TK Park (8th floor, CentralWorld) continues its Contemporary World Film Series with a screening of Beatriz’s War, a 2013 film from East Timor. This shocking yet moving release is the story of one woman’s war against injustice, which is symptomatic of the country’s war against Indonesia—the country that has occupied East Timor for more than two decades. It is the 72 | NOV EM BER 2016

first feature film to be made in this rather remote nation, and when it is shown on Saturday the 5th, the Ambassador of Timor-Leste, HE Joaquim Amaral, will introduce the film (this event is also part of the Timor-Leste National Day celebrations). Start time is 4 pm, and the price is just B20, which includes post-screening refreshments. Later in the month the German film series at the Thai Film Archive (Salaya) continues on November 13th with a free 1pm screening of A Godsend (2014), directed by Oliver Haffner. The film follows the trials of an unemployed actress who takes on the job of teaching drama classes to eight long-term unemployed people. On November 19th, the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre (BACC) presents another screening in their Cinema Diverse series. This month features the powerful documentary The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu, which has been constructed solely using archival footage. The event gets underway at 4pm in the 5th floor auditorium, and will be followed by a post-screening talk with Andrei Ujica and Anocha Suwichakornpong. Tickets are B60 each. Also on the 19th, the Bangkok Underground Film Festival begins, taking place at multiple venues over two consecutive weekends. On the first weekend—Nov. 19-20—head to Noise Market 6, at Museum Siam (4 Sanam Chai Rd), for screenings of experimental short films. Although the exact dates are not yet set, the newly opened Bangkok Screening Room (Saladaeng Soi 1) is presenting three films of note starting around mid-month. Look out for: Embrace of the Serpent (2015), winner of Art Film Award at Cannes 2015; Bar21 (1979), part of the ongoing ‘Classic Thai’ series; and the thriller masterpiece Psycho (1960). Visit for updates. Finally, keep an eye out for Kabali, a 2016 Indian-Tamil gangster-drama film written and directed by Pa. Ranjith and starring Tamil film superstar Rajinikanth. The film, which is already breaking box-office records in India, is due to hit screens in Bangkok on November 11th.

Embrace of the Serpent


Cold tofu with soy sauce at Kuku Ramen 74 | N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 6


AROY delicious dynamic duo

The folks over at WATER LIBRARY HOSPITALITY GROUP have been busy lately, expanding and diversifying their mini-empire. The most recent additions are a pair of restaurants set side-by-side on Silom Soi 3, each offering something quite apart from the other. For fans of hearty and expertly prepared Japanese comfort food, at very attractive prices, there’s KUKU RAMEN, in which the kitchen is led by Master Chef HITOSHI INOUE and ramen expert Chef SHIJE HAYAKAWA. Next door the kitchen at CIAO PIZZA caters to lovers of Italy’s most famous export. Enjoy classic thin-crust pizzas—using Chef GERARDO CALABRESE’s twice-risen pizza dough—cooked to perfection in a hybrid wood-fire oven that sits right by the front window. There’s also delicious pastas and other Italian specialties on the menu, including an exquisite tiramisu.

much more mexican Bangkok’s never-ending love affair with all things Mexican continues to progress unabated, as evidenced by the recent opening of SLANTED TACO on Sukhumvit Soi 23. Starting from a simple taco stand Chef JORGE BERNAL has gone bricks-and-mortar, bringing his authentic—homemade, from scratch—Mexican cuisine to even more hungry hombres. And while the amazing tacos are a definite claim to fame, there’s also excellent quesadillas, nachos, burritos, and ceviches to choose from, as well as plenty of tequila shots and Mexican wrestler paraphernalia to enjoy at the city’s newest taqueria.

gourmet gala From November 4th to the 6th, the ROYAL PARAGON HALL on the 5th floor of SIAM PARAGON is hosting the BANGKOK GOURMET FESTIVAL, one of the most anticipated culinary events of the year. This three-day food fest features celebrity chefs, master chefs and Michelin-star chefs from all over the world. There will also be cooking demonstrations by experienced chefs and food experts, as well as musical performances, stage shows, and countless food items from top suppliers for purchase. It’s all things foodie, all under one roof, and the admission price is just B200 per day.

a taste of france French fine-dining just got more accessible now that L’ATELIER DE JOEL ROBUCHON has opened a new location in the CENTRAL EMBASSY shopping complex. Offering their own unique take on casual French lunch fare and desserts—all endorsed by the most Michelin-lauded chef in the world—this new location is good news for foodies who don’t like to travel south of Sukhumvit. Choose from light fare such as sandwiches, crepes, and waffles, but save room for the deliciously decadent desserts.

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FOOD & DRINK | meal deals

Thanksgiving Celebrations at Up & Above Restaurant The Okura Prestige Bangkok | Park Ventures Ecoplex, 57 Wireless Rd. Tel: 02 687 9000 |

Celebrate American Thanksgiving in style with a traditional buffet lunch at Up & Above Restaurant. Spend quality time with your family and enjoy a premium buffet featuring roast turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce, whole roast leg ham with bourbon and honey glaze, and roast leg of lamb with mint sauce and rosemary jus. The buffet will be served on Thursday, November 24th from noon till 2.30pm. The price is B1,200 per person, or B2,000 per person with drinks package.

Celebrate Loy Krathong at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers | 2 Charoen Krung Rd, Soi 30 Tel: 02 266 9214 |

Thailand’s annual Loy Krathong festival is best celebrated by the river, so why not enjoy Monday, November 14th at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers? Experience an unforgettable evening—with a special Sukhothai theme—at the hotel’s Riverside Terrace. Tickets are B3,500 per adult, and B1,750 per child, which includes a delicious international buffet dinner and decorative krathong. Guests can also dine at Thara Thong Royal Cuisine where a classical Thai Dinner set menu starts from B1,300 per person.

Loy Krathong Dinner at The Water Club SO Sofitel Bangkok | 2 North Sathorn Rd. Tel: 02 624 0000 |

Celebrate the Thai ceremony known as Loy Krathong by the pool of the SO Sofitel Bangkok. On Monday, November 14th enjoy the amazing view from The Water Club, located on the hotel’s 10th floor. Enjoy a 4-course Thai set menu, including dishes such as galangal coconut soup with mushroom and tiger prawn, and marinated butter fish with chili paste fried rice and lemongrass sauce. The meal, along with welcome cocktail and Thai dance performance, is priced at B1800++ per person, and runs from 6pm to 11pm.

Boost Your Immunity at Eat Well Café Well Hotel Bangkok | 10, Sukhumvit Soi 20 Tel: 02 127 5995 |

The Well Hotels’s Eat Well Café encourages everyone to stay fit in this rainy season, which is why they’re introducing a ‘Food Therapy’ menu. Try the Sore Throat Set, priced at B545++, which includes carrot and ginger soup, a rocket salad with oranges, pomegranate, cherry tomatoes and orange dressing, and ginger and honey tea. The promotion runs throughout November, and diners will get 25% off all food and drinks (except alcoholic beverages) on Saturdays and Sundays from noon till closing.

Weekend Seafood Dinner Buffet at Latest Recipe Le Méridien Bangkok | 40/5 Surawong Rd. 02 232 8888 |

Latest Recipe offers diners a ‘Weekend Seafood Dinner Buffet’ every Friday and Saturday night, featuring a varied selection of fresh catches from the sea—on ice—including Alaskan king crab, French oyster, New Zealand mussel, prawn, and blue crab. Or, have your dish prepared by the chefs the way you like at the live cooking station. You can also indulge yourself with the sushi and sashimi corner and grilled seafood station. This weekend dinner buffet is priced at B1,350++ per person, and is served from 6pm to 9:30pm.

Ultimate Grilled Prawn Dinner Buffet at Atelier Restaurant Pullman Bangkok Grande Sukhumvit | 30, Sukhumvit Soi 21 Tel: 02 204 4161 |

It’s a “paradise found” at Atelier Restaurant where diners can take advantage of the all-you-can-eat grilled prawn special as part of the weekday dinners available throughout November. The deal also includes international cuisine ranging from mussels on ice and seafood skewers, to Asian and European favourites. Tasty desserts, including a chocolate fountain, are also available. This promotion is available Sunday to Thursday, from 6pm to 10:30pm, and is priced at B1,199++ per person, including free flow soft drinks.

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hot plates | FOOD & DRINK

La Casa Nostra

Inventive Italian fare makes for an offer you can’t refuse


he well-trodden path of “affordable Italian” is not recommended for aspiring restaurateurs, especially in Bangkok. But the folks at La Casa Nostra believe they’ve cooked up something different, which is why they went with the gimmicky name. The eatery’s name is a play on words of the euphemism for the Italian mafia, but the owners want to create a cozy atmosphere in a house where one can get an offer they can’t refuse. By that they mean in addition to the pedigree of the co-founder, Alessandro Frau of Phuket’s lauded Acqua, and the head chef Nino Scognamillo, who came from Jamie Oliver’s Italian in London, the restaurant joined with importer Global Vineyards to provide rare wines with a B500 flat markup from their prices, regardless of the original price of the bottle. There is, however, a strict policy forbidding corkage, so no bringing your own bottles. The courtyard has a pétanque pitch (think lawn bowling or Italian bocce) for those who want to work up an appetite,

along with a wine room and al fresco dining. Indoors it is all dark grays and wood, with an intimate vibe provided by dim lighting and candles. Alessandro is from Sardinia, but admitted he only recently started experimenting with different dishes from the region. One fine example is grilled Sardinian pecorino cheese with eucalyptus honey and fresh figs (B190). As a harder cheese, pecorino is not usually cooked in local restaurants, but this course provided a salivating mix of salty, sweet and tart. Next up was Fish fingers with tartar sauce (B180). While many of the ingredients are imported, the chef is not immune to using local produce as here with a breaded and lightly fried fillet. Normally the province of fast food chains, this dish, as well as anchovies presented in a tin, define the unpretentious nature of the kitchen. A wide array of cured meats is on display and it was hard to stop eating the Joselito Iberico ham (B550 for 50g). Sliced paper-thin, the leg of these acorn-fed black pigs has been

called the best in the world for its salty, savory taste. Perhaps the star of the show was the main course, Risotto with salamella mantovana (an Italian sausage), smoked scamorza cheese and wild rocket (B390). The smoked cheese leant a nutty succor to the dish that complemented the hearty sausage and spicy greens. Leave the gun, take the cannoli— the dessert choice was obvious given the restaurant’s name. The Sicilian cannoli (B290) was surprisingly light given that it’s made from ricotta cheese and fried pastry dough. The meal itself was accompanied by a bottle of 2011 Elvio Cogno Barolo Cascina Nuova from Piedmont (B2,300), a robust and spicy red with a finish that was not overpowering. by Robin Banks

La Casa Nostra

22, Sathorn Soi 1, Yak 2 (Soi Goethe) Tel: 02 287 2402 Open daily: 5:30pm-midnight NOV EM BER 2016 | 77

FOOD & DRINK | review

Toro + Ko/Tapas Bar Boston-based restaurant is bullish on Bangkok


honglor’s 72 Courtyard complex has corralled some of Bangkok’s trendiest bars and eateries, both local and international. Along with Hong Kong’s Little Bao and Melbourne’s Touche Hombre, we now have Toro + Ko/Tapas Bar, which arrives by way of Boston and New York. The creation of award-winning American chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette, Toro features Barcelonainspired hot and cold small plates, to be served and enjoyed tapas-style, with wine and cocktails. Why Bangkok? “There’s not any city in the world right now that has more going on,” Oringer told reporters at this year’s Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. “There’s an energy, and the Thais love food literally like no one else.” Zach Watkins, the chef overseeing Toro’s Bangkok kitchen, says his team takes the New York branch as the basic reference, and adapts the food to suit local ingredients and palates. “We buy mostly local,” he points out, “and even the local rocket and watercress isn’t like what’s found in the US, so it’s important to work with the flavour shifts. My Thai sous chef has introduced me to all kinds of crazy Thai herbs, like roselle, and we’re trying to bring some of that into the cooking as well.” In Catalonia, tapas dishes revolve around wine, and at Toro that foundation stands firm with a solid list of Spanish and Portuguese wines, along with a few French labels to satisfy Thai customers who are unfamiliar with Iberian vintages. The best way to start your tapas fun here is to order wine in a porron, the traditional 3/4 litre glass wine pitcher native to Catalonia and Aragon. It’s equipped with a handle and spout, so you can pour the wine directly into your mouth. We tried one filled with Cava (B1,700), the light Spanish sparkling wine traditionally served in tapas bars. The key is not to forget to swallow while pouring.

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The pintxos section of the menu includes a traditional Guanciale (B350), grilled pork jowl with romesco, charred onion, and jujube berries, and a less traditional Seared foie gras (B490) with pickled honshimeji mushrooms, yellow chives, bee pollen, and Thai roselle. Cold tapas items include such familiar Spanish charcuterie as jamon serrano, iberico de bellota, chorizo, lomo, and coppa, ranging from B350 to B450 per plate. A pan of sizzling Paella de Mar y Tierra (B790-1,500) came chockful of clams, shrimp, and chorizo, and was perfectly seasoned. We also enjoyed the Filete de la Plancha (B350), strips of spice-rubbed hangar steak topped

with caramelized red onion and green curry butter. Meanwhile Croquettas de Bacalao (B300), traditional Spanish salt cod fritters, get a serious update here with the addition of tempura lemon rings. And finally, the Churros (B220), here made with roasted banana and chocolate ganache, is a perfect upgrade to this über-common Spanish sweet. by Joe Cummings/CPA Media

Toro + Ko/Tapas Bar

1F, 72 Courtyard, Sukhumvit Soi 55 Tel: 02 392 7790 Open: Sun-Thu, 6pm-11pm, Fri-Sat, 6pm-midnight

FOOD & DRINK | review


From meticulously conceived tapas, to truffle oil cheesesteak


sito is a big, bright, part-brick bar space whose main wall is currently filled with the results of drinkers’ votings for a “World Cup of Gin”, pitting high-end brands against one another tournament-style. The dress code and table settings are casual, the rock music blares, the signage outside touts cheesesteak and Reuben sandwiches, the cramped kitchen is partly open and seemingly inadequate for producing serious meals. But don’t be fooled by appearances, or you might miss some of the most meticulously conceived and created dishes in the entire Kingdom. The reason is the young, German-born but conspicuously internationalized, chef Daniel Bucher, a happy escapee from the highpressure world of hotel executive chefs who proves with every small plate of tapas that he is obviously overqualified for his current job. While the lunch and late-night staples on his playful, thin, rough paper booklet of a menu are bocadillos (glorified sandwiches), burgers and pan crostadas (open-face toasts), the amount of Spanish flavour and locallysourced ingredients that he packs into these are astounding. And the rest of his efforts are concentrated on larger dishes that expand his love of “the simple yet powerful flavours of Spain” in as many directions as a plate can hold. Scallops in a shell (B360) are topped with charred chorizo chunks. On Osito’s upcoming menu, luscious Hokkaido scallops will be served in a cold cucumber salad dosed with intense cilantro oil. Chef Bucher is also planning to try out pork cubes smoked in espresso beans, stuffed ox-cheeks or goat cheese espuma, as well as a nod to Asia in the form of duck dumplings in yuzu consomme (no prices as yet). Other tapas items include the Sevillian Salsa, try it as the base of a salad (B195), and the lavender crema catalana (B180). Look closely in the mock typewriter print 80 | NOV EM BER 2016

and you’ll find enough to explore for a lifetime. Perhaps it’s his German roots, but Bucher isn’t apologetic in the flavour of his meats, yet his artichokes and red peppers can be as delicately Japanesque as they come. Bucher shows his further skill by hitting the perfect crunchy texture with his variants on an arroz cremoso, or Spanish risotto—including one scrumptiously loaded with blood sausage, cured pork belly and baby carrots (B340). His aplomb with rice also extends to a rice pudding so loaded with cream, cinnamon, and accompanying jars of nuts and dulce de leche that it can end a meal well with a single thick scoop (B170). His

research trips to Iberia have also yielded a Spanish brick of foie gras that he amplifies Spanish-style with green olives, candied Thai chestnuts, and a clear gel of vermouth—to be featured on his next upcoming menu. And yes, there’s even one of the world’s best Cheesesteaks (B520), that’s more French than Philly, loaded with highgrade beef and truffle oil in place of melted Velveeta. by John Krich

Osito Unique Spanish

888/23-24 Mahatun Plaza, Ploenchit Rd Tel: 02 651 4399 Open daily: 11:30am-11:30pm

FOOD & DRINK | review



A rare legacy fine-dining experience

n the world of fine French cooking, Jean-Michel Lorain is legend. J’Aime by Jean-Michel Lorain, located on the 2nd floor of the U Sathorn Bangkok, represents this Michelin-starred chef’s maiden foray into Asia, offering Bangkok diners the opportunity to experience the enduring, faithfully preserved recipes and cherished cooking traditions that are behind the Lorain family reputation for innovation and quality. Overseeing the restaurant’s gleaming show kitchen is Head Chef Amerigo Tito Sesti, who keeps the Lorain gastronomic legacy flame burning with his impeccable kitchencraft and presentation, infused with his unique contemporary flair. A recently launched 7-course tasting menu—paired with French wines—created by Chef Jean-Michel, himself, features a starter course of tuna tartare served with deep-purple disks of vacuum-marinated eggplant and tomato gel with a finely laced savoury tuille cracker on top. This was followed by duck confit encased within a meticulously cast cone-shaped consommé aspic (which jiggles merrily as it’s placed on the table), served with a caviar-speckled dollop of herring-cream. Wine pairing: Clos des 82 | NOV EM BER 2016

Chartreux, Riesling, 2014, from Alsace. No sooner had the glazed crayfish with tarragon rouille and sparkling wine foam succeeded in enchanting our palate, along comes pan-seared scallops served with a precious nibble of the renowned Spanish Ibérico lomo and Jerusalem artichokes to reset the dazzle button. Wine pairing: SaintVéran Le Clos, 2014, Maison Verget. Though for many an acquired taste, the famous Michel Lorain “black pudding” has been a favourite with patrons for generations. Bearing no resemblance whatsoever to its haemoglobin-derived main ingredient, the dish has an appealing sausage-like texture and earthy flavour, masterfully equipoised with a supernaturally smooth potato mousseline and panseared apple wedge. This is followed by a veritable garden of mixed mushrooms, snuggled coyly into the fold of boneless, perfectly browned pieces of slow-cooked chicken in red wine sauce. Wine pairing: Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Parfums de vigne, 2012. The afters trio featured both a memorable pistachio soufflé served warm, along with a heavenly apricot vacherin with sichuan button and Bahibe chocolate. Meanwhile the

mille-feuille “Napoleon”, layered with cream and strawberries, is a signature dessert dish which has been on the menu continuously since the restaurant’s founding. Wine pairing: Muscat de Beaumes de Venise Domaine, Des Bernardins, 2014. The dining room is a picture of understated elegance, with details of muted gleam. Any hint of stodginess is tempered with touches of refined whimsy, most notably a see-through piano mock-up mounted upside-down on the ceiling, which gives the room a quirkily upscale, “capsized luxury cruise ship ballroom vibe”. And if the surname of the Maitre’d and F&B operations head seems familiar, that’s because Marine Lorain is, in fact, daughter to Jean-Michel. NOTE: The 7-course tasting menu is B3,199 net, including tea and coffee, or B1,850 net with wine pairings. by Gary Barber

J’Aime by Jean-Michel Lorain U Sathorn Bangkok, 105/1, Sathorn Soi 1 Tel: 02 119 4899

FOOD & DRINK | review

River Barge

Celebrate the weekend with a sumptuous Sunday brunch


unday is brunch day in Bangkok, and the options for city dwellers are vast and varied. Narrowing the choices down is never easy, but if live band, riverside view, and extensive selection of Asian and Western fare is part of your criteria, then pay a visit to the River Barge restaurant, located on the ground floor of the Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok. To be fair this spacious, newly refurbished restaurant serves up delicious buffet dinners every night of the week, but the Sunday afternoon buffet allows diners a chance to appreciate the light streaming in through the extra tall floor-to-ceiling glass windows that look out over the Chao Phraya River. Indoors there’s seating for 150 persons, but brunchers can also dine outdoors at the hotel’s Pier 28 restaurant, which offers seating for 80 persons. The brunch itself runs from noon to 3pm each week (with an irresistible dessert corner that remains open till 4pm), and the price of the feast is B1,850 net (children B925 net). For that, diners can choose from an array of menu items, all beautifully displayed and replenished regularly. There are also a half dozen live cooking stations preparing made-to-order meals, including a tempting pasta station— the first one visitors will encounter up on entering—and a joint Pad Thai and Som Tam corner where guests can customize their own version of these Thai classics. As is to be expected there are also numerous seafood items to choose from, including ice-chilled oysters, mussels, prawns, and King crab, as well as a generous selection of spiced up sushi rolls and colourful sashimi. But Executive Chef Andrew Brown also has lots to offer meat lovers, including cooked-on-the-spot, grain-fed Wagyu beef steaks, a full spit-roasted lamb, and a choice of French or Hungarian seared foie gras. There’s also tasty roasted duck and pineapple ham up for grabs, and to compliment everything there’s enough sauces and

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condiments to please any palate (the rosemary lamb gravy goes well on almost everything!). Rounding out the buffet choices are roasted vegetable dishes, pork and chicken specialties, and some inventive appetizer-sized snacks (the Thai style deep fried spicy minced pork plates proved to be thoroughly addictive). However Western palates might be just as drawn to the cured meats—smoked fish, cold cuts, gravlax, to name a few—as well as the excellent European bread and cheeses on offer. Finally, save some room for dessert. There are dozens to choose from—all neatly individualized on small plates—including passion

fruit panna cotta, tempting lemon meringue tarts, macarons, and red velvet cake. Or, make your own aprés feast treats by dipping some fresh fruits or marshmallow pieces into the gushing chocolate fountain. NOTE: Free flow drink packages are also available for B899 net, which includes beers, spirits, and cocktails, as well as red, white, and sparkling wines. by Bruce Scott

River Barge

GF, Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok 28 Charoenkrung Rd. Tel: 02 307 8888

CENTARA GRAND AT CENTRAL PLAZA LADPRAO BANGKOK IS PUTTING ON BANGKOK’S BEST FESTIVITIES. 24th December Christmas Eve Chatuchak Café Dinner buffet-style Christmas fare - Italian, Asian, grilled, and seafood classics are all on the menu. From 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. THB 1,499++ (food only). Don Giovanni For the ultimate Italian Christmas dinner, there’s a special and spectacular à la carte menu. From 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Blue Sky Restaurant A festive à la carte menu for a fabulous French-style Christmas Eve dinner. From 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. 25th December Christmas Day Chatuchak Café Celebrate Christmas with friends and family at this festive themed brunch and dinner buffet · Christmas Day Brunch Buffet From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. THB 1,499++ (food only).

· Christmas Day Dinner Buffet From 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. THB 1,499++ (food only).

Don Giovanni Celebrate Christmas Day with the irresistible flavors of Italy. From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Special à la carte menu. Blue Sky Restaurant Make the most of Noel French-style with Chef Eric Berrigaud’s fabulous Christmas Day feast. From 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Special à la carte menu.


FOOD & DRINK | review

Bistro M

Foolproof entry hack lets hungry barbarians through the gate


hile it’s true that tenants at Marriott Executive Apartments Sukhumvit Park enjoy luxurious exclusivity in facilities and services, the discerning downtown diner will be relieved to know it’s possible for outlanders to infiltrate the complex’s onsite restaurant Bistro M for some thoroughly satisfying casual-fine dining fare. With a convenient street-front entrance, floor-to-ceiling showcase windows, and not a card-key or fingerprint reader in sight, one might think the cheery, multi-cuisine eatery is “actually” open to the public (our intrepid and, as it turns out ravenous infiltrator has reported this to be very likely true). For all barbarians at the gate the main access port is easily breached by gently pulling on the decorative feature disguised as a door handle. Upon gaining entry, the multimode layout appeals to whatever dining mood prevails—a section of chic, low-seat table-pods features a menu of tantalizing pub-style fare ideal for casual-quick chill-versation noshing, while an adjoining dining area offers conventional seating and take-your-time dining ambience. 86 | NOV EM BER 2016

Once the tucking-in phase of the mission is launched it becomes clear that any attempt to limit public access to dining delights served up at Bistro M would be a crime against humanity worthy the The Hague, to wit… The spicy Linguine carbonara (B350) had a nice pasta-bite, with indulgently creamy ‘nara sauce, bacon, and a hint of dried-chili piquant, liberally roof-tiled with jumbo Parmesan flakes. Artichoke lovers who are all-too aware of the local “dearness” of this noble vegetable will appreciate the medley of sautéed carrots, mushrooms, and artichoke that manages to steal some, but not all, of the spotlight from the gorgeously tender Mediterranean grilled sea bass (B590). And speaking of Best “Supporting” Produce, tucked beneath the thick-cut and beautifully grilled Australian beef tenderloin (B790) one discovers a playfully hidden pedestal of sautéed spinach topped with grilled veggies—a conscience-soothing counterpoint to the herb butter-dolloped steak. The Chicken Maryland (B450) looks so comfy and content nestled into a mound of porcini mushroom risotto that one is tempted to dive right in and snuggle up to its golden brown-

skinned perfection. However, it turns out that consuming this signature dish in the conventional way is infinitely more satisfying, affording a deeper appreciation of the delectably crispy skin and savoury, home-style flavour. For a lighter, but no less substantial dine, Mediterranean tuna salad (B280) rocks up with two hefty, uniformly seared, pink-fresh sashimi slabs which play chaperone to a deli-tray soirée of Mediterranean cuisine classics. Far from scanty sprinkles, crumbles and slices, this salad bowl brims with jumbo whole olives, dice-sized feta cheese bites, and thick wedges of—there it is again—marinated artichoke. NOTE: Though lacking coveted Sukhumvit Road frontage, Bistro M offers Tuk-Tuk shuttle service from the Emporium end of soi 24 (call for details). by Gary Barber

Bistro M

Marriott Executive Apartments Sukhumvit Park 90, Sukhumvit Soi 24 Open daily: 11am-2:30pm, 5pm-10:45pm Tel. 02 302 5265 ext. 8070

FOOD & DRINK | review

Erawan Tea Room A true taste of Blighty, with a distinctly Siamese touch


rowing up by the British seaside on a diet of fluffy scones and pots of breakfast tea, I was a little skeptical that afternoon tea Thai-style could live up to the standards set by the traditional cafes of my childhood. Would there be bite-size desserts? Would the jam be homemade? Would it include savoury and sweet treats all served over a three-tier stand? How naive of me! Of course Thailand can do high tea just as well, if not better, than dear old Blighty, just as it has with Italian pasta and proper American beefburgers. And it really doesn’t get much better than an afternoon sipping cups of tea whilst chowing down on delicious cakes and bakes, especially when it’s in one of Bangkok’s finest hotels. Situated right in the heart of the city, the Erawan Tea Room at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok is fast gaining a reputation as one of the city’s best high teas. This upscale restaurant embraces the roots of the British tradition, all the while keeping a firm eye on its surroundings. After all, it would be a culinary crime to omit the savoury snacks and sweet treats that Thailand has to offer, particularly when they are made so beautifully by accomplished local chef Achara Toussami. Now in her twenty-second year at the luxury hotel chain, Achara works with the seasons to create a fresh menu each month, with several signature pieces remaining a constant fixture. Mango and sticky rice fans will be glad to see that this is a set menu staple, as are the spicy pomelo salad with shrimp and crispy rice puddings. This month sees the introduction of a miniature chicken and mushroom pie and banana fritter; the former a light and crispy bite that melts in the mouth, and the latter exactly what I was expecting (and hoping) from the deep fried fruit. Other highlights include the steamed crabmeat dumpling, the Chiang Mai-inspired pork sausage,

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pandan chocolate coated straws, a mini-cheesecake and, of course, a scone—easily one of the lightest, fluffiest I’ve ever tasted, served up with a healthy dollop of cream and homemade jam. It did not disappoint. At just B600 per person it’s an economical option too, with plenty of grub here to see you through the rest of the day. But if more food is in order there’s an incredible à la carte menu available, boasting Thai favourites— including delicious Pad Thai as well as fragrant carries—plus an array of dishes crafted using sustainably sourced seafood.

Furnished with classic teakwood and overlooking the Erawan Shrine, this is an unmistakably Thai venue and one that’s perfect to take visiting guests to for a true taste of Siam with some home comforts thrown in for good measure. by Annaliese Watkins

Erawan Tea Room

494 Rajdamri Rd. Open daily: 10am-10pm Afternoon Tea: 2:30pm-6pm Dinner: 6pm-10pm Tel: 02 254 6250

FOOD & DRINK | breaking bread presented by sanpellegrino


Breaking Bread with Chris Patzold


Gourmet globetrotter finds a home in Koh Samui

rom Australia, to Thailand, via Switzerland, London, New York, and Bali—in his 30 years of kitchen experience, Executive Chef Chris Patzold from the Four Seasons Resort, Koh Samui has literally cooked his way around the world. When asked about his beginnings and inspirations, the Melbourne-born chef gives a refreshingly sober and factual answer, not at all romanticised with tales of an irresistible passion of experimenting with food and creating new flavours in his early childhood. The fact is, when he started his professional career at The Old Melbourne Hotel at

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the tender age of 16, cooking wasn’t something he had wanted to do all his life—instead, it was merely his means to satiate his hunger for travelling. “I realised I could travel with this job and that’s what I did,” he explains. However, come the turn of the millennium, after having gained a lot of experience working in different kitchens on four continents, this now cosmopolitan chef had developed a full-on passion for his profession, and started to get more serious with his craft. He was offered his first job as an Executive Chef at Ku De Ta in Bali, and has since then owned a restaurant in

Bali, worked in Chiang Mai, and finally landed at the Four Season Resort, Koh Samui. “I was in Chiang Mai for a few years, then went back to Bali,” he recounts. “I really liked Thailand, the culture and the people are fantastic, so I really wanted to come back, and then I was offered this job—the Four Seasons in Thailand is a chef’s dream,” Probably just as varied as his travels is his style of cooking. Coming from Australia he describes it as modern Australian—a mix of many different cuisines. “My cooking is very Asian influenced, I’ve been here for so long and it’s a huge part of my life,”

breaking bread presented by sanpellegrino | FOOD & DRINK

he remarks. And just how varied the cuisines he’s mastered are is illustrated by his job at the Four Seasons Resort, Koh Samui, where he’s not only overseeing both a Mediterranean-style and a Thai restaurant, but also the Latin-American-inspired bar-cumrestaurant, CoCoRum. Located on the resort’s private beach, by the edge of a 50-metrelong infinity pool, this hip and lively beachfront bar/restaurant isn’t your typical fine dining location, but rather a unique and stylish spot to enjoy classic, handcrafted rum-based cocktails, paired with authentically prepared dishes showcasing Peruvian, Mexican, and Jamaican cuisine. Meanwhile, the focus behind the bar revolves around classic rum cocktails, each telling a story in connection with a specific area and time. The decision to create a rumcentred bar was based on several factors. For one, Thailand’s most popular spirit—Thai whiskey—is strictly speaking not whiskey, but rum, as it’s made from 100 percent sugarcane. Secondly, the tropical setting just calls for tropical cocktails,

which are best prepared with rum. On top of that, while it used to be considered a cheap mixer, rum has gained a much more sophisticated reputation over the past years, with a large collection of beautiful rums available these days. From this point of view, it only seemed natural to complement the drinks with LatinAmerican dishes. “We always think that wherever the concept is from, the food from there matches the best,” points out Reto Moser, Director of Food and Beverage at the Four Seasons Resort, Koh Samui. When developing new dishes, the cocktails are definitely taken into consideration. In fact, CoCoRum also offers special tasting menus in which each dish is matched with a different cocktail. However, this doesn’t mean that the dishes come as a second priority. They are, just as the drinks, prepared with the best quality ingredients and expert craftsmanship. In the quest to serve food as authentic as possible, a lot of the ingredients are imported. One such example are chilies, as they differ from the local Thai ones and will affect

the flavour of the dish. Two of chef Patzold’s signature dishes include Cebiche Mixto, a fresh mix of octopus, shrimp, and white snapper, spiced up with pineapple, red onion, celery, and rocoto pepper, and Quinoa Salad, in which the healthy grain is tossed with fresh vegetables such as avocado, red onion, coriander, tomatoes, and roasted corn. In this chef’s kitchen, there’s no overly fancy molecular cuisine gimmicks or liquid nitrogen gizmos. Instead, a selection of topquality natural products are used to prepare classic, bold, and thoroughly authentic dishes. Latin-American cuisine, especially Peruvian and Mexican, seems to be very much in vogue at the moment, with more and more of these type of restaurants popping up everywhere— not only in Thailand, but worldwide. When asked why he thinks these dishes are so popular in Thailand, chef Patzold reckons that it might be due to overlapping flavours, as both Thai and Latin cuisines are not only spicy, but employ acidic, fruity, and sweet flavours to create their unique culinary identities. by Julia Offenberger NOV EM BER 2016 | 91

FOOD & DRINK | street eats

Ran Cha Tea Room


he most pleasurable thing to have in Bangkok is space to walk. However, the metropolitan and developed areas of this city are simply too crowded to allow for this privilege. Surprisingly, most Bangkokians don’t seem to understand this simple pleasure I seek, or maybe they just don’t know how and where to find it. The neighbourhood that I know won’t fail me in my quest is located

eat like


Our roving roadside gourmand Nym knows her local grub inside-out and thrives on the stories behind the dishes. Each month, she takes an offbeat tour in search of the city’s next delectable morsel. 92 | NOV EM BER 2016

around the Sao Ching Cha area. There are endless pockets of side streets and street corners full of surprises, as well as many legacy shops in which to sit, but not many in which to “sip”. That is, until recently when I was walking along Kokwau Street and stumbled across a little turn-off leading into a charming residential compound. I made my way into that quiet and peaceful alleyway, and instantly fell for its yesteryear charm. But the discovery of a hidden ‘Tea Room’, or Ran Cha, felt like discovering an oasis within an oasis! The tea room’s setting evokes a bygone time and place, and upon entering I inhale the scent of Thai herbal medicine that perfumes the air. I then notice this fragrance co-mingling with the buttery scent of fresh baking, and am taken by surprise with all the above. If what you need is to have a cozy corner to sit in and enjoy an Old Town feel, Ran Cha will serve you well. As for me I take a break from street food for a moment, and indulge myself with something different—ordering a matcha green tea and fresh baked scone for my afternoon nosh. Khun Wii is the only person behind the bar during my visit, and she makes everything by herself as though she is performing a ritual. It’s a lovely treat. My green tea was carefully

stirred using a special bamboo whisk, and prepared in room temperature water so the aroma would not fade away in the heat. The airy, fluffy milk topping gives the beverage a creamy taste—like a bit of female touch on the strong green tea body. My first inhalation of the aroma was impressive, and the green tea taste was majestic. I also ordered one of the freshly baked scones—fresh from the oven—together with Wii’s seasonal jam on top. I am immediately impressed by the lightly toasted crispy outside, and dense but buttery soft inside. But even more interesting to me about Ran Cha is the space itself. There’s a cinema theme, as the owner has lots of friends working in the film industry (and many special film events take place here too). The “movie room” on the side is a perfect size for 10 to 12 people to sit and have a private session—anything from private film viewings, to craft workshops, or just casual get-togethers in a unique space. I adore what Ran Cha is offering to the neighbourhood, and to all of us looking for a peaceful place to sit and sip. Address: Ran Cha is in the alleyway opposite Wat Mahan Pharam parking lot gate. It is open every day except Monday, from 11:30am till 7pm.

Who will be the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016? The most exciting talent search for chefs in the world For more information visit

FOOD & DRINK | listings

CHINESE Shang Palace

The interior is elegant, but, more importantly, the food is a glowing reminder of how Chinese food should be executed and presented. The dim sum is the obvious place to start, and the signature dishes are serious standouts. 3F, Shangri-La Hotel 89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, New Road Tel: 02 236 7777 Open daily: 6pm-10:30pm, Mon-Sat, 11:30am-2:30pm, Sun, 11am-3pm


Rang Mahal

Café Riviera

A Parisian bistro located in the gullet of Bangkok’s bustling soi 23, serving tartare, cold cuts, carpaccio, duck, cheese, and more. Check the chalkboard for the daily specials being offered. 110/1 Soi Prasanmitr Tel: 02 259 3033 Open daily: 6pm-10pm, Sat-Sun, 11:30am-3pm


Meaning “palace of colours,” there sure is a courtly air about the place, down to the refined, delicate food. The proceedings go up a notch when the kebabs and curries come out. 26F, Rembrandt Hotel 19, Sukhumvit Soi 18 Tel: 02 261 7100 Open daily: 6pm-11pm


Ostensibly, it’s French, but that label is generously applied, with the menu borrowing bits and pieces from all over the place. If anything, the Frenchness refers to the rich flavours and fine, fresh produce used. 1F, Hansar Bangkok Hotel, 3/250, Soi Mahatlek Luang 2, Ratchadamri Rd. Tel: 02 209 1234 Open: Mon-Sat, 6pm-10:30pm Xin Tian Di

Xin Tian Di

The restaurant is renowned not only for its stylish atmosphere and views, but for its dim sum, set lunches, and à la carte dinners, including what many regard as the best Peking duck in Bangkok. 22F, Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park Tel: 02 632 9000 Open daily: 6pm-10pm, Mon-Sat, 11:30am2:30pm, Sun, 11am-2:30pm




A must-visit in the ever-growing fine dining scene, voted number one in 2015 and 2016 in the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards. Try one of the recommended tasting menus to experience the breadth of progressive, molecular dishes available. 68/1 Soi Langsuan Tel: 02 652 1700, Open daily: 6pm-11pm

The amount of fantastic French and Mediterranean dishes (with a few Thai touches) that this busy rooftop restaurant can churn out in an evening means one visit most likely won’t be nearly enough. 25-26F, Hotel Indigo 81 Wireless Rd. Tel: 02 207 4999 Open daily: 6pm-11:30pm

Kiosk@Thebarkyard Sukhumvit soi 26 Follow us on instagram : kioskcafe 65 Sukhumvit soi 26 (soi Thanpuying), Klongtoey, Bangkok. Tel : 02 259 4089 facebook:kioskcafe


listings | FOOD & DRINK

Crave Wine Bar & Restaurant

This 8th floor eatery offers a ‘Build Your Own’ lunch menu featuring a trio of customizable lunchtime favourites— burgers, pasta, or pizzas. 8F, Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 35, Sukhumvit Soi 11 Tel: 02 207 7000 Open daily: noon-4pm

Sukhumvit Soi 55, Seenspace Tel: 02 185 2373 Open daily: 11am-2am

Crepes & Co

The flavours and ingredients take in the entire sweep of the Mediterranean, borrowing heavily from Morocco and Greece, in particular. Sweet and savoury crepes are just as good for brunch as they are for a pre-bedtime treat. 59/4, Langsuan Soi 1, Tel: 02 652 0208 GF, EmQuartier, Tel: 095 251 5233 Thonglor Soi 8, Tel: 02 726 9398 7F, CentralWorld, Tel: 092 663 1386

Fat’r Gutz

Trendy as trendy can be, this sister to the original Fat Gutz (now closed) serves spot-on fish and chips with panache.

Red Oven

Styled as a World Food Market, this 7th-floor all-day dining venue puts a contemporary twist on buffet spreads. On weekends, the restaurant offers an irresistable scrumptious, free-flow wine brunch buffet. 7F, Sofitel So Bangkok, 2 North Sathorn Rd. Tel: 02 624 0000 Open daily: 6:30pm-10:30pm, Sat-Sun Wine Brunch, noon-3pm

ITALIAN Freebird


Inside a beautifully restored Thai home— exhibiting a combination of old-world charm and modern abstract touches— this envelope-pushing eatery specializes in modern Australian cuisine. 28, Sukhumvit Soi 47 Tel: 02 662 4936 Open daily: 5:30pm-midnight

Medici Kitchen & Bar

Traditional Italian cuisine in a stylish setting, dining here is like stepping into the murky waters of times past. The open kitchen combines the fresh and raw properties of authentic Liscia food ingredients, with the chef’s own culinary imagination. GF, Hotel Muse Bangkok 55/555 Langsuan Rd. Tel: 02 630 4000 Open daily: 12pm-2:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm

FOOD & DRINK | listings


Intense flavours spun from fresh produce, complemented by sophisticated reductions and emulsions. The interplay between rich and zesty, complexity and lightness, results in amazing creations. 1040, Naradhiwas Soi 17, Yaek 5 Tel: 02 676 4466 Open: Mon-Sat, 6pm-midnight



A cozy little Korean restaurant tucked away in the cool semi-suburban neighbourhood of Ari, offering a fresh take on authentic Korean cuisine together with a chic, contemporary interior. 59/2, Phahonyothin Soi 7 Tel: 097 247 9777 Open: Mon-Sat, 11:30am-9pm


Quite possibly the best pizza in the city, and at reasonable prices to boot—a welcome and much-lauded addition to the upper crust of the dining scene. 27/1, Sukhumvit Soi 33 Tel: 02 119 7677 Open daily: 11am-3pm, 6:30pm-12am

Theo Mio

Theo Mio

The Italian kitchen concept by British celebrity chef Theo Randall, which focuses on exciting seasonal menus created from top quality ingredients. GF, InterContinental Bangkok 973 Phloen Chit Rd. Tel: 02 656 0444 Open daily: 7:30am-midnight

57 Soi Prasarnmitr, Sukhumvit 23 Rd. open 11.30-14.30, 17.30-22.30, Tel. 02 259 9593

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Combining a modern mastery of timehonoured 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

Al Sarey


Al Saray

There’s a real commitment to quality leading the charge at Taihei. The food is beautiful, and it tastes great, to boot. Honest-to-goodness Japanese served from atmospheric heights. 53/54F, Banyan Tree Bangkok 21/100 South Sathorn Rd. Tel: 02 679 1200 Open daily: 11:30am-2:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm

7th Fl.,The Emquartier, Sukhumvit open 10.00-22.00, Tel. 02 003 6267

4th Fl.,The Emporium, Sukhumvit open 10.00-22.00, Tel. 02 664 7525

Authentic, traditional Lebanese recipes and the only place in Bangkok where you can find shanklishe–an aged, spicecoated cheese made in-house. 4F, Bangkok Plaza Building Bangkok General Hospital, Soonvijai Soi 7 Tel: 02 319 4388 Open daily: 9am-10pm

e-mail Le Dalat Restaurant



listings | FOOD & DRINK

MEXICAN La Monita Taqueria

If you’re looking for classic, affordable, Mexican fare that still packs some serious fireworks, then check out any of La Monita’s three downtown locales. Load up on guacamole, burritos, fajitas, quesadillas, and soft corn tacos, all washed down with some wonderfully potent margaritas. Mahatun Plaza, Tel: 02 650 9581 GF, Siam Paragon, Tel: 02 650 9581 7F, EmQuartier, Tel: 02 003 6238

2F, Pullman Bangkok Grande Sukhumvit 30, Sukhumvit Soi 21 Tel: 02 204 4000 Open daily: 6pm-11:30pm


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SEAFOOD Laem Charoen Seafood

Offering a wide range of other seafood delicacies—all straight from the sea—this seafood restaurant has been growing in stature while staying true to its original roots. Reliability and customer satisfaction has made it one of the best seafood restaurants in town. 4F, Siam Paragon, 991 Rama 1 Rd. Tel: 02 610 9244 Open daily: 10am-10pm




The U.S. Steakhouse

The U.S. Steakhouse

Start off with a big bowl of chunky, homemade clam chowder, before moving on to the main attraction: flamebroiled steaks, including New York strip loin, rib eye, filet mignon, and hearty Australian T-bone. 156-158, Sukhumvit Soi 16 Tel: 087 993 3527 Open: Tue-Sat, 4pm-10:30pm




02 287 3488

THAI Seafood Market

Seafood Market and Restaurant

Fresh, high-quality seafood in the heart of the city. The interior is aquarium-like, making it a fun place for dinner with family and friends. There’s also tons of local and imported seafood for sale. 89, Sukhumvit Soi 24 Tel: 02 261 2071-5 Open daily: 11:30am-11:30pm


This Spanish fine dining experience brings the art of “conversation” back to the communal dining table, with a wideranging menu of fanciful tapas treats.


A glittering array of Thai favourites and never false note. This is Thai comfort food that has been taken to a whole new gourmet level. 1F, Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, 250 Sukhumvit Rd. Tel: 02 649 8366 Open daily: 6pm-10:30pm, Mon-Fri, noon2:30pm, Sunday Jazz Brunch, noon-3pm


One of the hotel’s three beautifully preserved wooden houses, the small home-style menu offers food worth returning for. Make a nice spot for a cozy romantic evening. The Siam Hotel, 3/2 Khao Rd. Tel: 02 206 6999 Open daily: noon-3pm, 6pm-10:30pm NOV EM BER 2016 | 97

FOOD & DRINK | listings The Rose Hotel, 118 Surawongse Rd. Tel: 02 266 8268-72 Open daily: noon-11pm

Open: Tue-Thu, 10:30am-9pm, Fri-Sun, 10:30am-11pm

CAFÉ D’Ark Prai Raya

Prai Raya

If you think Southern dishes are nothing more than heat, and more heat, Prai Raya begs to differ. The food here balances spice and subtle flavours to perfection, delivering a taste of Phuket and beyond. 59, Sukhumvit Soi 8 Tel: 02 253 5556 Open daily: 10:30am-10:30pm

Ruen Urai

Set in the former residence of the herbal medical doctor to King Rama V, Ruen Urai uses herbs and spices with medicinal qualities, while delivering refined Thai fare using the finest fresh ingredients.

The stylish interior and furnishings embrace a coffee-coloured palette, offset by abstract artwork and tasteful lighting. The coffee machines are manned by world champion baristas and roasters, and the kitchen whips up some amazing Mediterranean-inspired fare (3 locations). EmQuartier, Tel: 02 003 6013 Piman 49, Tel: 02 662 7900 Central Festival EastVille

Kiosk Café

Located in The Barkyard Bangkok Complex, this dog-friendly boite is a fetching choice for an exceptional meal, a friendly cake-and-chat, or a hot coffee. 65, Sukhumvit Soi 26 Tel: 02 259 4089



Combining an international kitchen with a few Thai twists, this charming day or evening venue is everything at once—café, bar, restaurant, and function venue— with a huge selection of food and drinks. 23, Sukhumvit Soi 61 Tel: 02 714 1998 Open daily: 8am-midnight


Try a glass of golden goodness at Taproom BKK 100 | NOV EM BER 2016


NIGHTLIFE tapped for greatness

There’s a new craft beer bar in town, and they call it TAPROOM BKK. It’s located on Sukhumvit Soi 26, and within these walls beer lovers will find 26 taps of craft beer, as well as more than 100 types of bottled beer—all imported. Expect labels such as BrewDog, Stone, Bear Republic, Flying Dog, and EvilTwin, starting at B140 for a small glass, and B320 for a full pour. With plenty of exposed brick and high ceilings, the atmosphere is casual and inviting. There’s even entertainment most nights, with a live band on weekdays and DJs on the weekends. Plus the kitchen also stays open till late dishing out comfort food favourites.

dawn of the don The favourite rum of the Philippines, DON PAPA, has finally arrived in Bangkok. This molasses-based spirit—named after Dionisio Magbuelas, a foreman at a sugar plantation who became one of the unsung heroes of the Philippine revolution—originates from the island of Negros, where sugarcane is still harvested by hand. After distillation, the spirit ages in old bourbon barrels for seven and ten years (depending on the type) giving this smooth as silk rum a sweet, vanilla-like aroma and a heady finish not unlike a good whisky. Look for it at 5-star hotels, reputable supermarkets, and top bars around town.

reach for the sky The recently opened NOVOTEL BANGKOK SUKHUMVIT 20 is not only a great downtown accommodation spot but it now boasts a beautiful rooftop bar, aptly named SKY ON 20. Located on the 26th floor—offering spellbinding skyline views of Bangkok, and mesmerizing sunset scenes—this sky-high lounge is decorated with a garden and trees, creating a unique, welcoming atmosphere. Sample signature classics such as the Ginger Mojito, Coconut Daiquiri, and Bramble, and don’t miss the tempting snack menu created by Executive Chef JANNE OLIKAINNEN from Finland.

manic mondays People talk about the ‘Monday Blues’ as if they’re a bad thing, but over at INBLU BAR, the stylish drinks lounge at the PULLMAN BANGKOK GRANDE SUKHUMVIT (30, Sukhumvit Soi 21), guests can get 30 percent off on drinks from 7:30pm to 10pm as part of the bar’s BLU MONDAY special. Of course, if you can’t make it on Mondays then keep in mind that there’s live music to enjoy every day, from 5:30pm till 9:30pm, as well as a daily Happy Hour with drinks starting from B99++ per glass (5:30pm-7:30pm).

NOV EM BER 2016 | 101

NIGHTLIFE | review



Breathtaking river views at Bangkok’s latest rooftop bar

ky-high drinking and dining spots are nothing new in Bangkok, but at Attitude—the recently unveiled rooftop restaurantbar on the 26th floor of the Avani Riverside Bangkok Hotel—the view is truly unlike any other. Located slightly downriver from Asiatique, on the opposite bank, the virtually unencumbered panorama here is nothing short of breathtaking. The expansive area given over to this new nightlife hotspot encompasses—from one end to the other—a rooftop infinity pool, a sunken lounge with rattan daybeds and a retractable roof, an outdoor bar and restaurant portion offering both regular and barstool seating, an indoor exposed kitchen with adjacent chef’s table seating, and an enclosed bar, lounge and restaurant area at the far end that offers magnificent sunset views. The décor throughout is fun, funky, chic and shiny. And despite the foreboding name, the only “attitude” here is one of playfulness. The cocktail menu opens with house specialties such as Blue Gin (B380), a mix of Tanqueray, blue

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curaçao, lime juice tonic and cucumber slices, and the El Diablo (B380), an easy-drinking blend of Don Julio reposado, crème de cassis, lemon juice, and ginger ale that delivers a surprisingly potent kick. However, the portion of the menu entitled ‘Mixology Interfusions’ is where head barman Alex Hersent really throws out some cocktail curveballs. The Last Drink of Al Capone (B350) combines Absolut pears, Aperol, tonic, and orange bitter, and arrives at the table in a corked, smoke-filled apothecary jar (the smoke mixes with the drink upon pouring). Much more female friendly is the Japanese Slipper (B350) in which a tiny rubber ducky floats on a blue-green sea of Midori, Cointreau and lemon juice. Thankfully purists are catered to as well, and the Whiskey Sour (B320) here is a perfect, fuss-free version of this timeless classic. It’s also worth noting that there are some “hidden gems” lurking behind the bar that aren’t on the official menu—ask about the aperitifs and Northern European bitters. On the dining menu there are a lot of tapas-sized nibbles, including

the Smoking caramel duck (B220), which arrives in a smoke-filled glass dome. The tender duck slices have been “lacquered” in fish sauce, and are served with tea gel and bean sprouts, which sounds odd but is oddly wonderful. Another inventive starter is the aptly-name Nibble On It (B340) which consists of four lamb “lollipops”—cylindrical pieces of minced lamb shoulder on wooden skewers. For heartier mains try the Ahi tuna (B750) which sees 200g of pink grilled fish—brushed with sesame soy glaze— arrive atop a bed of bean sprouts. Rounding out the dining options are some truly Instagram-worthy desserts, including the Xtra Virgin (B260)—an apple-based combo of sorbet and mousse—and the splendid Passion fruit tofu cheesecake (B230). by Bruce Scott


26F, Avani Riverside Bangkok Hotel 257 Charoen Nakorn Rd. Tel: 02 431 9100 Open daily: 5:30pm-1am

review | NIGHTLIFE

Zest Bar and Terrace F

Crafting cocktails with world class recipes

ollowing its recent refurbishment, Zest Bar and Terrace—located on the 7th floor of the Westin Grande Sukhumvit Bangkok—entices guests with all new drink menus and dining experiences, while remaining outstanding in service and quality. This glamorous indoor/outdoor space has been strategically revamped to exude a luxurious yet more modern and welcoming ambience. Upon entering, rhythmic grooves from the jazz band and multi-coloured subdued lighting sets the atmospheric tone. The bar’s extensive panoramic glass windows, as well as the adjoining outdoor terrace, offer visitors the chance to look out over the dazzling cityscape. In addition, the high ceiling interior pleasantly contrasts with the low-slung couches, giving the 60-seat area the impression of being even more spacious. There’s also room for more at the black granite bar counter, or patrons can opt for outdoor terrace seating. As for the new drinks menu, the recently introduced cocktail lineup has been inspired by local ingredients and artisanal products—all part of the top-notch ‘Crafted at Westin’

signature program. Cocktail aficionados will be wooed by the distinctive look and taste of every glass. The original recipe Daisy Swizzle (B300) comes with essence of butterfly pea-infused gin, complemented with a touch of lime juice, elderflower, and mint. In a similar vein, the Zest Society (B300), a mix of gin, apricot brandy, elderflower, orange juice, and sour mix, is further enhanced with the scent of fresh rosemary. Other bar highlights include the Mexiparadise (B300), which combines tequila and herbal liqueur with a refreshing orange, watermelon, and lime juice lift. Meanwhile, mocktail lovers can set their tongues tingling with the L&P Punch (B230), featuring lychee juice, pineapple juice, sour mix, and grenadine syrup. Apart from their expertly crafted cocktails, Zest also offers customers a considerable range of gastronomic delights. The culinary team’s line-up kicks off with Beer battered fish and chips (B450), in which golden fried fillets and fresh potatoes are served with two styles of rich and creamy tartar sauce—perfect for whetting one’s appetite. Another outstanding star of the bar is the Infused whiskey

beef burger (B490), with bacon and grilled mushrooms. Served with apple, celery, and potato salad with steak fries, it’s a beefy, juicy chunk of meat that comes complete with its very own whiskey shot syringe. The gastro-bonanza continues with Grilled marinated beef and lamb skewer with cumin and chili (B400), in which the complex flavours of the meats combine with a diversity of herbs. By contrast the Italian-inspired Baked red capsicum (B380), filled with pesto feta cheese, pine nuts and capsicum essences, has been specially designed for vegetarians. Finally, to satisfy any sweet tooth, don’t miss the Mövenpick strawberry ice cream with coconut jelly and chocolate dipped dry banana (B380). It’s a truly tropical sweet treat. by Pongphop Songsiriarcha

Zest Bar and Terrace

7F, Westin Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok 259 Sukhumvit Rd. Tel: 02 207 8000 Open daily: 7am-1am NOV EM BER 2016 | 103

NIGHTLIFE | connoisseur corner

Wine News & Events By Bruce Scott

Ralph Hochar, of Chateau Musar, at Eat Me restaurant


t a recent “pop-up” fine dining event, organized by Fin Wines and held at Eat Me restaurant, wine lovers were treated to a curated food and wine pairing led by Mr. Ralph Hochar, the grandson of Gaston Hochar, founder of Chateau Musar (the iconic vineyard that brought Lebanese wine to a global audience). This family of winemakers has suffered through much since the founding of their winery back in 1930—including one world war and one civil war—but the business has always managed to not only survive but thrive. The intriguing wines served at this particular dinner included a 2008 dry, oak-aged rosé that almost resembled a sherry. Of the three reds on offer, diners sampled vintages from 2004, 1997, and a very rare aged bottle from 1991—and this 25-year old was, amazingly, still intact and robust with flavour. Meanwhile the food pairings included signature items from chef Tim Butler’s most recent menu, including tamarind glazed quail, grilled veal tongue, and a generous loin of venison resting in a medley of mushroom, pistachio and chocolate stout reduction. However, I personally was most taken with the exquisite smoked swordfish belly (which paired nicely with the initial rosé). Those interested in sampling some of these Lebanese “cult wines” can do so at some of the city’s top hotels as well as restaurants such as Gaggan, Le Du, Whale’s Belly, and (not surprisingly) Nadimos, where fine Lebanese

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cuisine is also on offer. Or, feel free to contact Fin Wines directly at Another recent wine dinner event showcasing the best of the kitchen and the cellar was held at La Bottega di Luca, where Chef Andrea Ortu shared the delights of his native Sardinia. The five course meal included stand out selections such as the roasted octopus salad Algherese style, the slow cooked lamb belly served with broad beans and dill, and the lorighittas—a pasta specific to the chef’s birthplace—with venus clams and salicorn (a type of salty fish egg). The accompanying wines, also from Sardinia, included a 2015 Costamolino Vermentino di Sardegna, a delicious full-bodied white, and a 2013 Iselis Monica Superiore di Sardegna, which provided a magnificent finalé. Wine dinners such as these provide not only a great way to discover new wines, but also a way to rediscover some of Bangkok’s best and most established fine dining restaurants. Patrice As for upcoming Marchand wine events, there are plenty of wine paired dinners on offer during this month’s SO Sofitel’s SO Amazing Chefs event. Each evening, from November 12th to the 17th, the special gourmet chef’s dinners being served are available with wine pairing (for a slight additional cost). In addition, on November 11th, from 7pm till 9pm, there will be a two hour ‘Wine and Cheese Tasting’ event at Mixo. The event will be hosted by Patrice Marchand, co-owner of one of the oldest family-run dairy producers in France specializing in cheese, and master restaurateur of Les Frères Marchand restaurants (price is B600). For more information or to make reservations, visit Finally, on Saturday, November 19th, the Ambassador of France to Thailand and Madame Gilles Garachon, with the support of the Pullman G Hotel and the Francophone associations in Thailand, invite wine lovers to discover the Beaujolais Nouveau 2016 collection at the Résidence de l’Ambassade de France (33 rue de Brest, Charoenkrung Soi 36). Tickets are B1,300, and for this price guests will enjoy an exquisite French buffet, served in a lovely garden setting, as well as a sampling of extraordinary new releases from France. Tickets are limited so book by calling 02 670 4200 or send an email to:

NIGHTLIFE | live music

The Rock Philosopher By Dave Crimaldi


Spitting Dicks. Nota bene: Careful standing on the narrow street there as you can easily get sideswiped by a passing bus filled with package tourists—leave the car at home and take the MRT or taxi. Bring ear plugs and wear shin guards. Moving right along to November 12th, there’s the Urban Music Festival at the Makkasan Airport Link Station. You can check out one of Thailand’s hottest musical exports—Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band—as well Rasmee Isan Soul, and the widely popular Apartment Khunpa. Also on the bill is a Chiang Mai band that created quite a stir last year, Solitude Is Bliss. But if there is only one event you have time for in a month, then make it Noise Market #6 on the 19th and

First off on the festival line up is Cat Expo 3D on November 5th and 6th, at Lumpini Square. Cat Radio puts on monster festivals with performances occurring on multiple stages simultaneously. Mark off the following bands and check them out: World Not Bad, Jenny and the Scallywags, Jelly Rocket, Penny Time, Srirajah Rockers, Yellow Fang, Triggs & The Longest Day, My Life As Ali Thomas, and of course Bangkok’s revered rockers, Degaruda. Cat Radio is getting much better at representing the unsung harder edged bands in the community, keeping ticket prices reasonable, and courting the more affordable food vendors. Looking for a smaller more intimate event to experience electronic music? Go to Jam (41 Soi Rong Nam Kang) on the 4th and 5th for Delicate Decibel 2016. The friendly soi dogs and the ice cold Asahi draughts mix well with the discordant aural dreams of the madmen on deck. We’re interested to see Cut the Crab X Tommy Srirajah, as well as Hunnycomb. In other hard rock news, Kicks Fest Vol.2 kicks off at Soy Sauce Bar (24 Charoen Krung Rd) on the 11th, with a roster of punk and metal bands including the massively huge Valley of Chrome (from the Philippines), Falling In Between, James And The Van Der Beeks, Cursed Habit and

20th at Museum Siam. This Do-It-Yourself styled festival, which brings musicians and artisans together to sell and promote their wares, is the heart and soul of the thriving Bangkok music community. Museum Siam, just south of Sanam Luang, is the perfect weekend getaway without ever leaving the city. Drop in, lay on the grass, close your eyes and breathe—you’re home again. Look out for Yui Cello, The Pillers, the pop punk banner carriers Pistols 99, and many more familiar faces and sounds.

Photo of Inspirative by Dave Crimaldi

Photo of Wednesday by Dave Crimaldi

he season of the massive outdoor music festival (and a few indoor ones) is upon us all ye friends, Republicans, and countrymen. It seems months go by without a festival, and then WHAM!... a deluge of them drowns the event calendar. But first, a Japanese post-rock band at Play Yard (Lat Prao 8 Alley, Lane 3) on November 3rd that trumps most others—Lostage, with local support from Plot, Safeplanet and Inspirative. Every time Inspirative plays it is an event, as it happens so rarely (when they performed at Stone Free 3 back in ‘14, I nearly wept). With the disbanding of the Japanese/Thai post-rock band Aire still in memory, this show gets a warm welcome.

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NOTE: The first ever event staged by the Rock Philosopher gets underway on November 5th at Fatty’s (598/66 AsokeDindaeng Rd). I scoured the city for talent, old and new, and came up with the following: the solo artist, Wednesday, with a wailing guitar and an armada of effects pedals that induce skull-thumping hallucinations. We’ve also got Matthew Fischer and amigos, a theatrical misfit called Gone Marshall, a mysterious stranger from the east known as Leopoldo, and a Mancunian rocker and jam band named Wilkie and The Mothership to Venus. More to be announced. To read more about Bangkok’s music scene, visit The Rock Philosopher at

club report | NIGHTLIFE

The DJ Booth By Pongphop Songsiriarcha




arm up your body and soul for the beginning of Thailand’s “cold” season, which ironically seems to be bringing the hottest local and international DJs to Bangkok. On November 4th partygoers and music fans are invited to journey to the outer limits with Heineken Green Room. After its recent successful staging in Pattaya a few months ago, this high-energy electronic music event is coming to Bangkok. Expect four world-class headliners from four distinctly different music genres. The line-up so far includes Headhunterz, Shapov, and R3HAB. The party starts at 5pm and runs until midnight at Jarun Burapharat Stadium (Petch-Uthai Rd). Ticket prices start from B1,500. The next day, on November 5th, starting at 4pm and running till 1am, things get unleashed and untamed at the Anotherworld Music Festival, an EDM spectacular where blasts of uncompromising music and forward fashion collide in a joyous explosion (the dress code specifies “antihuman”). The Phase 1 lineup includes big names like Coone, Noisecontrollers, and Code Black, while Zatox, and LNY TNZ are the names being thrown around for the Phase 2 lineup. The festival is taking place on the 25,000 sq.m grounds of MSL Motorsports Land (72 Phahonyothin Rd). Tickets are available at ThaiTicketMajor starting from B1,800. Another much-anticipated party on November 5th is the BaBaBoBo, taking place at Live RCA Bangkok (Rama 9 Rd) starting from 9pm. Elrow, known as the craziest party in the world, is coming to Bangkok for the first time with Marc Maya, the resident DJ from the island of Ibiza, and the founder of the renowned Elrow parties. He will be

Marc Maya

joined by some of Bangkok’s finest party squads, including Elektro Delikatessen, Blast.Bkk, Phatfunk, and House Jam. The venue itself will be transformed into an Ibiziaworthy wonderland, so get set for a wild time. Tickets are B250 presale at Event Pop, and B350 at door. One of the most anticipated EDM festivals this year is the Mystic Valley Festival Thailand, which descends on Mountain Creek in Khao Yai (Nakhorn Ratchasima province) for 3 days—November 11th to the 13th. Get set for six different musical genres running the gamut from EDM to Trap, Trance, House, Techno, and Indie. Over 30 international and local artists will be performing on four action-packed stages. This 3-day event also offers a unique music festival experience with the proximity of Khao Yai’s stunning natural scenery. With two different kinds of wildlife—the partiers and the regular forest dwellers—plus a wide selection of food vendors, pool parties, markets, and campsites, this promises to be another fantastic music event. The shows kick off at 2pm and continue till dawn each day. Ticket prices start from B2,990. Finally, Hype Events Bangkok is bringing Hucci, the up-and-coming trap DJ and producer, to Bangkok for the first time ever at Live RCA Bangkok (Rama 9 Rd) on November 19th. This young Brighton native is known in EDM circles for his signature raw, dark, and heavy trap music and mixing techniques. His hit tracks include “Ball So Hard”, “The Fall”, and “Panic Cord”. The evening begins at 9pm and continues until late. Tickets are available at TicketMelon, starting from B490-B650. NOV EM BER 2016 | 107

NIGHTLIFE | listings


Face Bar

A long-standing Mexican restaurant and bar, where the margaritas flow like water—specially during ladies’ night— and the meals always satisfy. Sukhumvit Soi 11 Tel: 02 651 3313 Open daily: 12pm-2am

This visually stunning complex is reminiscent of Jim Thompson’s former mansion. It’s a dimly-lit joint that Summons patrons with cosy settees, ambient soundscape, and giant cocktails that aim to please. 29, Sukhumvit Soi 38 Tel: 02 713 6048 Open daily: 11:30am-1am

Dark Bar

J. Boroski Mixology


A tiny and, well, dark bar serving beer and booze at cheap prices. It’s popular with hipsters and counter-culturists. Ekkamai 10, Sukhumvit Soi 63 Tel: 02 381 9896 Open: Wed, Fri-Sat, 9pm-2am

A secret bar, built by masterful mixologist Joseph Boroski, who creates drinks to reflect a customer’s specifications or, if you’re lucky, according to his own whims. Ask someone “in-the-know” to reveal the exact location. Sukhumvit Soi 55 (secret location) Tel: 02 712 6025 Open daily: 7pm-2am

Rabbit Hole

A proper cocktail bar, run by industry insiders, where the drinks come first and the cool interior just tops it off. What's more, the personable bartenders really know their spirits. 125, Sukhumvit Soi 55 Tel: 081 822 3392 Open daily: 7pm-2am

Rarb Diplomat Bar

Diplomat Bar

This elegant jazz bar is located on the ground floor of the Conrad Bangkok hotel. Here guests can unwind in chic surroundings, and choose from a diverse selection of beverages, including fine wines and specialty cocktails. 87 Wireless Rd. Tel: 02 690 9999 Open: Sun-Thu, 7am-1am, Fri-Sat, 7am-2am

Evil Man Blues

This retro cocktail bar promises only top-shelf spirits, housemade mixers, and fresh garnishes. Meanwhile, live music by renowned jazz musicians creates a close-knit vibe. GF, 72 Courtyard, Sukhumvit Soi 55 Tel: 02 392 7740 Open: Tue-Sun, 6pm-2am 108 | NOV EM BER 2016

Ensconced in a hipster-chic, glass-encased nook, this Old Town craft cocktails mecca features a rotating menu of daily drink specials and a mad scientist barman bent on experimentation, and home brewing his own spirits. 47/1 Phra Arthit Rd. Tel: 081 406 3773 Open: Tue-Sun, 5pm-midnight

Touché Hombre

This hugely popular Mexican bar and restaurant offers curious customers a chance to sample the finest mezcals and top-end tequilas, as well as superb Mexican-inspired dishes. 2F, 72 Courtyard, Sukhumvit Soi 55 Tel: 02 392 7760 Open daily: 6pm-1am (Fri-Sat till 2am)


One of the most enticing small bars in Bangkok, a hideaway that exudes class,

where you can get cocktails made to your exact specifications. Sathorn Soi 12 Tel: 02 635 0406 Open: Tue-Sat, 6pm-1am

Viva Aviv

Viva Aviv

Reminiscent of a hip bar along Singapore’s Clarke Quay, with bar tables and stools jutting across a riverside promenade. Think tropical maritime meets dashes of outright whimsy. River City-Unit 118 23 Trok Rongnamkhaeng, Charoen Krung Soi 30 Tel: 02 639 6305 Open: 11am-midnight, later on weekends

Vogue Lounge

This restaurant is established under the umbrella of Vogue magazine, and the menu and kitchen are under the direction of Vincent Thierry, a master of his trade and formerly chef at the threeMichelin-starred Caprice restaurant in Hong Kong. The menu is small and most dishes are designed as nibbles to be enjoyed over a few drinks. MahaNakhon Cube Narathiwat Ratchanakharin Rd. Open daily: 10am-late Tel: 02 001 0697


The coolest and most enduring shophouse bar in the city, decked out with old Thai movie posters and found items like wooden doors and chairs. Marked by great cocktails, live gigs, art exhibitions, and a mix of artsy patrons. 7, Sukhumvit Soi 51 Tel: 02 626 6246 Open: Tue-Sun, 6pm-1am

listings | NIGHTLIFE


Located on the 8th floor rooftop of the Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, this pool bar offers an inviting and relaxed lounge atmosphere. Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok 4, Sukhumvit Soi15 Tel: 02 309 3288 Open daily: 4pm-midnight


Located on the 26th floor of the Hotel Indigo, visitors here can enjoy a beautiful view of Bangkok’s lively downtown core. The breezes are gentle, the chairs and couches are comfortable, and the cocktails are delicious. 26F, Hotel Indigo Bangkok, 81 Wireless Rd. Tel: 02 207 4999 Open daily: 6pm-11:30pm

Cloud 47

A wallet-friendly rooftop bar in Bangkok’s bustling business district, that turns into a purple and blue neon fantasy at night with affordable beers and cocktails. United Center, Silom Rd. Tel: 091 889 9600 Open daily: 11am-1am


An urbane open-air ninth floor oasis. It’s laid-back on weekdays and early evenings, but rowdy on weekends, especially during special parties. 9F, Le Fenix Hotel Sukhumvit 33/33, Sukhumvit Soi 11 Tel: 02 305 4000 Open daily: 5pm-2am

Red Sky Bar

One of Bangkok’s most acclaimed rooftop bars, perched dramatically above the heart of the city, offers light bites and drinks such as the signature Imperial Mojito and Martini-infused cocktails. 56F, Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld, 999/99, Rama 1 Rd. Tel: 02 100 6255 Open daily: 4pm-1am (Happy hours: 4pm-6pm)

ThreeSixty Lounge

Go sky high in style above the Chao Phraya River at Millennium Hilton Bangkok’s grand rooftop venue. With 360° panorama vistas of the city, this lounge spot truly stands out from other sky bars in the city. 31-32F, Millennium Hilton Bangkok 123 Charoennakorn Rd. Tel: 02 442 2000 Open daily: 5pm-1am




When the golden feature bar lights up the city, Zen feels like one of the most glamorous places in the city. Enjoy well balanced cocktails and a beautiful backdrop. 20F, Zen@Central World 4/5 Ratchadamri Rd. Tel: 02 100 9000 Open: Mon-Sun, 5:30pm-1am

An honest club with a communal vibe, plus great music and one of the best sound systems. You can be yourself here—dance like you mean it, soak up the vibe, then spread the love. 1F, 72 Courtyard, Sukhumvit Soi 55 Tel: 02 392 7750 Open: Wed-Sat, 8pm-2am


One of the most reliably busy nightclubs in Bangkok that welcomes a mix of resident expats, stylish Thai party animals, and wide-eyed holiday-makers who can’t get enough. 6F, 35, Sukhumvit Soi 11 Tel: 082 308 3246 Open daily: 9pm-2am NOV EM BER 2016 | 109









NIGHTLIFE | listings

Mixx Discotheque

Classier than most of Bangkok’s afterhour clubs, a two-room affair, one plays R&B and Hip Hop the others does Techno & House decked out with chandeliers, paintings, and billowing sheets. President Tower Arcade 973 Ploenchit Rd. Tel: 02 656 0382 Open daily: 10pm-late

Sukhumvit Soi 22 Tel: 02 258 3758 Open: 6pm-1:30am


Titanium Club & Ice Bar

With congenial hostesses clad in ao dai, a gifted, all-girl rock n’ roll band jamming nightly, and over 90 varieties of vodka, it’s definitely a fun night out.

Pub grub, pool, quizzes, live music, and more make this landmark pub—now in its second incarnation—a perennial favourite with locals. Sukhumvit Soi 7/1 (opposite Maxim’s Hotel) Tel: 02 651 1114 Open daily: 3pm-late

The Royal Oak


Also known as Narcissus, this multi-level club has been keeping Bangkok’s dance crowd moving for over two decades with their wild party atmosphere. Perfect for groups who want to make it their playground for the night. 112, Sukhumvit Soi 23 Tel: 02 258 4805 Open daily: 8pm-3am

The Pickled Liver

The Huntsman

The Huntsman

English-style pub, cool and dark, with lots of nooks and crannies and a Sunday roast like no other. GF, The Landmark Hotel 138 Sukhumvit Rd. Tel: 02 254 0404 Open daily: 11:30am-2am

An old British enclave serving up nice food in substantial portions, draft beer, and pub quizzes. There’s even a comedy club upstairs which is open every Friday. 595/10, Sukhumvit 33/1 Tel: 02 662 1652 Open daily: 10am-1am


Built to emulate a 19th-century apothecary, this place has an old-school feel, an awesome line-up of live music, and a drink selection including beer and custom craft cocktails.

listings | NIGHTLIFE 33/28, Sukhumvit Soi 11 Tel: 090 626 7655 Open daily: Mon-Thu, 5pm-1am, Fri, 5pm-2am, Sat-Sun, 3pm-midnight

Bamboo Bar

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

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


A must-visit live music joint, dishing out stiff drinks and killer blues, ska, and jazz every single night of the week. 3/8 Victory Monument, Phayathai Rd. Tel: 02 246 5472 Open daily: 6pm-2am

The Drunken Leprechaun

This heavily Irish-themed establishment offers delicious pub grub and drinks from the Emerald Isle and beyond. The nightly entertainment includes weekly pub quizzes, generous happy hours and complimentary snacks.

Four Points by Sheraton 4, Sukhumvit 15 Tel: 02 309 3255 Open daily: 10am-1am

Tawandaeng German Brewery

Tawandaeng German Brewery

A vast, barrel-shaped beer hall that packs in the revellers who come for towers of micro-brewed authentic German-style beer. The Thai, Chinese, and German pub grub also draws a crowd, but the famous Fong Nam house band is purely for lovers of kitsch and schmaltz. 462/61 Rama III Rd Tel: 02 678 1114 Open daily: 5pm-1am


Tribe cycling studio 112 | NOV EM BER 2016


LIFE+STYLE cycling in stereo Located on the 1st floor of the PRESIDENT TOWER (close to Chit Lom BTS station), the recently launched indoor cycling studio TRIBE is offering workout junkies and biking enthusiasts a unique fitness experience that adds music into the mix. During the 45-minute classes your workout is combined with a background playlist, specially put together by your trainer. The first-timer package is priced at B1,000 for two classes, plus one free class for a friend. This “upbeat” studio also offers boxing and yoga.

siam on your smartphone A new comprehensive digital and mobile app called DESTINATION THAILAND is now available and ready to help travellers in Thailand. It will provide all the latest information on the kingdom, for both expats and international tourists alike, offering a wide range of video content and useful information on lifestyle, culture, art, music, and more. In addition, it provides functionality via strategic alliances with Asian Trails, HotelsCombined and Skyscanner, so users can reserve tours, as well as book flights and hotels at the best possible prices. The App can be downloaded for free on both Android (Destination Thailand) and iOS (Destination Thai) mobile systems.

made just for u Japanese casual apparel brand UNIQLO recently introduced their Fall/Winter 2016 collection, in collaboration with Artistic Director CHRISTOPHE LEMAIRE, one of the world’s most prestigious fashion designers. The collection, entitled ‘Uniqlo U’, reflects the brand’s philosophy and its core value of simple design using high-quality materials, and innovative styling. The collection features 52 women’s and 35 men’s items, including knits, dresses, and jackets and is available at Uniqlo shops across Thailand including Siam Paragon, EmQuartier, Silom Complex, and CentralWorld.

custom caps American fashion brand NEW ERA, one of the world’s most iconic headwear manufacturers, has finally launched its first flagship store in Thailand, located on the 2nd floor of the SIAM CENTER. Over the years, the brand has become an influencer of street and lifestyle culture around the globe with its unique designs, and exacting production process. This new store brings to shoppers the brand’s latest line, the ‘Geological Survey Collection’, together with other collections—original and limited—with prices starting from B1,390. You can also check out the New Era cap blocking machine to help restore the shape of your snapback cap.

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LIFESTYLE | spa deals

Escape to Blissful Paradise at Pañpuri Organic Spa Pañpuri Organic Spa at Gaysorn | Ploenchit Rd. Tel: 02 234 7888 |

Throughout this month, Pañpuri Organic Spa (located in the Gaysorn Shopping Centre) invites you to escape from your busy days with their four spa rituals combo. Starting with the Foot Ritual, a gentle organic welcome, the treatment continues with an Organic Body Scrub (30 minutes), and Signature Massage (60 minutes) using an infusion of lavender and vanilla. Complete the journey with a Signature Facial (75 minutes). All these treatments are priced at B4,200 (originally B6,634), and advanced reservation is recommended.

Revitalizing Bliss at Sanctuary Wellness and Spa Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok | 19, Sukhumvit Soi 18 Tel: 02 261 7100 |

Celebrate life and pamper yourself at Sanctuary Wellness and Spa presented by Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok with their custom Revitalizing Bliss package (available until the end of December). Indulge in an unforgettable experience as your body is gently exfoliated with a Rice Body Scrub (30 minutes), followed by an Oriental Fusion Massage (60 minutes), a wonderful choice for relieving aches, pains and strains. Energize your body, nourish your skin, and leave refreshed and gorgeous with this special package, priced only at B1,300.

Best Spa for Couples and Groups at So Thai Spa So Thai Spa Bangkok | Sukhumvit Rd. Tel: 02 662 2691 |

So Thai Spa Bangkok is offering a new 5-hour shared room spa package promotion for couples, or two friends, priced at B6,000 (for 2 people). You and your companion can enjoy a complete relaxation of body and mind with the So Thai Nirvana package, which includes foot massage, gold body scrub, herbal ball compress, aromatherapy oil massage, spa facial and head massage. This promotion lasts until the end of 2016. They’ve given you lots of time, so start asking your friend(s) out.

Essential Healing Winter Essences at Spa Cenvaree Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok | Phaholyothin Rd. Tel: 062 541 1234 |

The Spa Cenvaree, at Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok, is offering a brandnew range of healing and hydrating botanically-based treatments, designed to hydrate skin that’s lost its suppleness during the winter months. You can choose from the Hydrated Skin & Relaxed Body and Mind package, or the Replenishing Nutrients for Your Skin package—both are 90 minute treatments. Cleanse, clear and restore your skin, all for only B2,000++ per person. This promotion lasts until the end of December.

A Harmony of Touch at SoSPA SO Sofitel Bangkok | 2, North Sathorn Rd. Tel: 02 624 0000 |

Lose yourself in a “harmony of touch” with the Secret of Himmapan Forest Promotion presented by SoSPA at So Sofitel Bangkok. The package combines SoSPA’s signature treatments, including the SO Exhilarating Body Massage, SO Rejuvenating Facial and welcome Foot Ritual. These treatments will soothe your mind, body and spirit, while the customized massages will induce a feeling of harmony and deep relaxation. The promotion lasts until the end of November, and is specially priced at just B5,200 per person.

Mix and Match Treatment at Massira Wellness & Spa Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside | 2074 Charoenkrung Rd. Tel: 02 688 1000 |

Give yourself a break and choose spa treatments to match your own style with the Pure Indulgence promotion offered by Massira Wellness & Spa at Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside hotel. Here you can mix and match treatments like you’re at a spa buffet. The promotion is priced at B2,500 for 2 hours, and B3,500 for 3 hours. For example, choose a Jacuzzi (15 minutes), plus body scrub (30 minutes), plus aroma massage (75 minutes), giving you a full two hour spa buffet. This promo last until the end of December.

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spa review | LIFESTYLE


Spa Athénée

n a city with such good transport links, it’s surprising how much time Bangkokians spend on their feet. Feet that are probably more used to being soaked in muddy puddles than they are cleansed and soothed in rose petal-infused water. So it made a welcoming sight to see my world-wearied toes getting the treatment they craved at Spa Athénée, the luxury wellness facility situated within the five-star Plaza Athénée Bangkok hotel. A relatively unassuming building (or at least as unassuming as a modern, glass-fronted high rise can be in a city saturated with modern, glassfronted high rises), the hotel’s plush interior proves to be a sharp contrast from its more contemporary exterior. And all the better for it, because the colonial-inspired lobby at this upscale hotel has been beautifully styled with elegance and old-world luxury; a world away from the chaotic soi outside. It’s an impressive sight, and one that continues at least to the fifth floor, where the spa is located. Indeed, the further I venture into this hotel, the further I feel from the city below. The drone of traffic now a distant hum, I’m greeted into this tranquil space by

friendly faces and delightful aromas. Fusing French class with Siam charm, the spa is a peaceful space striving to relax and revitalize with a menu of treatments that soothe both mind and soul, from head to toe. Unlike any spa I’ve visited before, this serene sanctuary personalizes treatments based on your blood type. Research suggests that the blood group you belong to can influence everything from the food you should eat to the type of person you are, as well as your overall health. Should you be tempted to indulge, the Immunetra Blood Type Retreat (B8,200 for a half day) readies your body for the world outside with a series of treatments, including an aromatic steam, body exfoliation, massage, a bath infused with the detoxifying grit of gemstones, and a nourishing body wrap, each tailored according to your blood group. Every component of this blissful retreat combines fresh herbs, fruits and spices to create a truly holistic experience that works with your body inside and out. It’s a revelation in relaxation. For those who prefer something a little more traditional, the simple

but effective Aromatherapy Massage (B2,700 for one hour) is a wise option. During your initial consultation you will be given the opportunity to discuss areas to avoid or focus on, as well as your pressure preferences. It’s a small but often forgotten gesture, and one that goes a long way to ensuring your massage is as relaxing as it should be. After choosing the latter, I’m treated to a cleansing foot bath and soft exfoliation before the expert masseuse begins working my aching muscles in gentle but firm waves. As the room becomes infused with the scent of luscious lavender oils, I slip into a deep relaxation. An hour later, and as unwound as can be, I am eased back into the chaos of city life with a soothing herbal tea and fresh fruit, not to mention the smiling faces of the friendly, attentive staff. by Annaliese Watkins

Spa Athénée

5F, Plaza Athénée Bangkok 61 Wireless Rd. Tel: 02 650 8800 Open daily: 10am-10pm NOV EM BER 2016 | 115

LIFESTYLE | spa review


Spa Cenvaree

or me, the first sign of a good spa is how successfully it shuts out the outside world; whether you remain aware of what lies beyond its walls, or somehow slip into a place where not much else matters and time ticks by a little slower. Spa Cenvaree achieves this division with aplomb, placing guests amidst the busy bustle of the Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel lobby in one moment, and immersed in the calm wellness facility the next. In sharp contrast to the contemporary reception, with its clashing colours and modern art installations, the spa welcomes guests with neutral shades, luxurious décor, and warm lighting. It’s a soothing space and one that perfectly sets the tone for the blissful hours ahead. As you’re led to the sumptuous treatment room through a hallway lit by lanterns, you truly feel a world away from the everyday. Situated in a four-star hotel, just a ten minute walk from Chit Lom BTS station, Cenvaree benefits from the same quality and luxuriousness as it’s five star peers, but at considerably lower price points. I indulged in the 90-minute Instant Revival, a steal at B1,600 when compared to the other relaxation rivals in the city. The treatment began with a foot soak in neem tea infused water—an ingredient used for its purported anti-septic qualities—before moving on to a gentle citrus sea salt scrub to remove dead skin cells. Once horizontal, the sounding of a soft bell sent signals to my mind to switch off, and for my muscles to relax before the masseuse began the application of a cleansing body polish. Visitors have a wide choice of exfoliating lotions to choose from, but I recommend the aromatic passion fruit scrub, rubbed liberally from head to toe in firm, round strokes. As the scrub sets, my skin tingles and I can almost feel the city smog and stresses of life being buffed away. A quick shower and I’m ready for round two: an hour long aloe

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vera oil massage, with a focus on the body areas outlined during my arrival consultation. Each touch and push is carefully considered by my masseuse, who uses her fingers and thumbs to knead out the knots and encourage circulation. The oil melts into my pores and once again that cooling sensation tingles across my skin, energizing and enlivening from the surface down. When the bell sounds once more, it’s a signal that the treatment is over. I’m eased up and out of my relaxed stance with a hot towel press against my back before being led to the dedicated post-massage zone.

Here, I’m given a heated neck pillow to relieve any remaining muscle tension, as well as a soothing cup of herbal tea and a rare Thai dessert biscuit. For those looking for a little luxury in their next spa visit (without the five-star price tag), this affordable gem is certainly worth a look. by Annaliese Watkins

Spa Cenarvee

567 Ratchapraprop Rd. Tel: 02 625 1234 Open daily: 10am-11pm

CUISINE ART Khanom Bueang Mueang Nuea Khanom Bueng Mueang Nuea is soft crêpe filled with dried shrimp and grated coconut meat sautéed in curry paste. Served with cucumber salsa, it is one of Ruen Urai’s “Northern Exposure” menu items. These special offerings are inspired by northern 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

SIGNING OFF | did you know?

ou .. Y . d Di ow? Kn


id you know that the Sukhothai Historical Park turns 40 this year? The remains of this ancient city had been registered as a national historic site back in 1936, and conservation work began in earnest in 1953, but in 1976 the decision was finally made to develop the area as a 70 historical park. On December 12, 1991, the historic park went through a further transition when it was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

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Sukhothai, regarded by historians as the first capital of Thailand, was one of the most important kingdoms in Thai history. Wat Si Chum sits just outside the city walls of Sukhothai, at the northwest corner. It is famous for a large sitting Buddha statue (pictured) whose lap is over 11 meters wide, and occupies almost the entire vihara (prayer hall). Last year 827,000 people visited the Sukhothai Historical Park, including about 400,000 visitors during the Loy Krathong Festival in November, when the park hosts its biggest celebration. It should be just as spectacular this

year (November 14th), giving curious culture vultures one more reason to add this northern landmark to their travel itinerary. If you’ve never been to Sukhothai, then hopefully this Northern Thailand destination issue will pique your interest. It lies about half way between Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and for many these ancient ruins rival—and some say even surpass—those of Ayutthaya. Turn to page 32 to read more about Thailand's glorious North and all it has to offer.