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publisher’s letter

B

angkok is one of the great gourmet cities of the world – longtime residents know that already. There are countless places to eat and drink, and endless array of style, techniques and cuisines to be explored. This month, we’ve been indulging ourselves even more than usual on that front – it’s a tough job but somebody has to do it. We’ve been back to Quince to check out their new chef and we’ve put together a couple of bumper features in our City Pulse section – first, we went out in search of the Perfect Negroni, which turned into a pretty boozy day at the office; then, we set out to understand the real meaning of Modern Thai, from the perspective of both Thai and nonThai chefs. It’s remarkable how much they agreed upon. Of course, we’ve got stacks more reviews – we went to Zuma, La Bottega di Luca, Eve and The District, as well as Maggie Choo’s, Ashley Sutton’s latest off-the-wall watering hole. Don’t worry, we haven’t just been gorging ourselves all month – we also went the Koh Phi Phi and took in photographer Ralph Tooten’s latest project. All this and our 101 archive and extras can be found online atbangkok101.com. A couple of clicks is all it takes to keep in touch with what’s happening. If there’s something you feel we’re not covering but should, then please drop us a line at info@talismanmedia.com.

? What is

Bangkok 101

Enjoy.

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

Mason Florence Publisher

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Contributors

publisher

Mason Florence editor-in-chief

Dr Jesda M. Tivayanond associate publisher

Parinya Krit-Hat managing editor

Max Crosbie-Jones editorial assistant

Bangkok-born but internationally bred, Dr. Tom Vitayakul has a background in communication and branding but now runs his family’s boutique hotel and Thai restaurant. An avid traveller and a bon vivant, he has contributed to magazines including Lips, Lips Luxe and the Bangkok Post ’s the Magazine, and has also helped edit several books on Thai subjects.

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

Food and travel writer howard richardson lives beside the Chao Phraya River in downtown Bangkok, from where he’s spent 12 years exploring the city as magazine editor and freelance writer. He’s contributed to publications such as GQ, the BBC’s Olive magazine and the New York Times online, and written a monthly column in Sawasdee, the Thai Airways inflight magazine.

Adul Waengmol Chaweitporn Tamthai strategists

Nathinee Chen Sebastien Berger contributing writers

Gaby Doman, Urasa Por Burapacheep, Luc Citrinot, Philip Cornwel-Smith, Leo Devillers, Korakot Punlopruksa, Isabelle Kallo contributing photographers

Dejan Patic´, Jatuporn Rutnin, Paul Lefevre, Ludovic Cazeba, Leon Schadeberg, Marc Schultz, Niran Choonhachat, Frédéric Belge, Somchai Phongphaisarnkit group director sales & marketing

Jhone El’Mamuwaldi

director business development

Itsareeya Chatkitwaroon director sales and markting

Nowfel Ait Ouyahia circulation

Pradchya Kanmanee British-born writer-artist steven pettifor stopped over in Thailand 13 years ago on his way to Japan, but never left. An authority on contemporary Thai art, Steven is a commentator on the local art scene, contributing to international and domestic newspapers and journals. In 2004 he published coffeetable book Flavours: Thai Contemporary Art . When not musing, he is often found travel writing.

AVAILABLE AT:

Native-Bangkok writer, photographer and incurable travel addict, korakot (nym) punlopruksa believes in experiencing the world through food. She can usually be found canvassing the city for the best eats. Nym has been a host for music and film programmes, a radio DJ, a creative consultant for TV and a documentary scriptwriter. Her work appears in magazines, including Elle, Elle Decoration and GM .

published by

Talisman Media Group Co., Ltd. 113 Soi Tonson, Ploenchit Rd Bangkok 10330 T 02-252-3900 | F 02-650-4557 info@talisman-media.com

© Copyright Talisman Media Group Co., Ltd 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express written, prior permission of the publisher. Views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher, which accepts no responsibility for them.

bangkok101.com

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CONTENTS 52

city pulse 8 metro beat 12 metroplates: quince 14 out and about: the perfect negroni 18 best of bangkok: what is modern thai?

s n a p s h ot 22 tom’s two satang

82

24 very thai 25 chronicle of thailand

Sightseeing 26 historic homes and shrines 27 museums 36

t r av e l 30 inthakin pillar festival

food & drink

shopping

32 upcountry now

59 food & drink news

92 new collection:

34 hotel deals

60 meal deals

gallery by fly now 3

36 island escape:

62 restaurant reviews:

94 unique boutique:

koh phi phi

zuma, la bottega di luca,

bellino

40 over the border:

eve, the district

95 market watch

sipadan

67 street eats:

97 jj gem: mae klong

bamee jup gang 68 eat like nym

wellness

42 exhibition highlights

69 cooking with poo

99 spa review:

46 interview:

70 all you can eat:

the touch

venice biennale

cafe zeta

51 cheat notes

72 neighbourhood nosh:

comm u nit y

52 photo feature:

siam square

100 making merit:

ralph tooten’s rca

74 restaurant listings

second chance

nightlife

reference

81 nightlife news

102 getting there

82 review: maggie

104 maps

choo’s

112 my bangkok:

84 nightlife listings

zoltan zakor

bangkok 101

a r t & c u lt u r e

june 2013 100 baht

COCKTAIL ADVENTURES | CITY PULSE

In Search of Modern Thai | FOOD & DRINK

MAGIC

Quince

IN A

| TRAVEL

Koh Phi Phi

GLASS

june 2013

J U NE 2 0 1 3

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on the cover Bartender Suwincha ‘Cha Cha’ Sinsuwan mixes her award-winning signature cocktail at St Regis Bar. Check out p14. b a n g k o k 1 0 1 Pa r t n e r s

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metro beat

CITY PU LSE

by Howard Richardson

ROCK & POP

p.o.p.

Kids and End My Torment. Tickets are B800 inadvance, B1000 on the door but they also have limited entry tickets priced at B150 to watch all the bands except As Blood Runs Black. The appropriately named pop group P.O.P. re-formed recently and will headline a musical reunion in P.O.P. – Party of the Bakerians at Impact Arena (99 Popular Rd, Pakkred, 02-5045050, impact.co.th) on June 29. The show will see artists previously signed to the Bakery Music stable, which was influential early this century. Other artists playing on the night include Groove Rider, Two Days Ago Kids, Krisada Sukosol Clapp and Boyd Kosiyapong. Tickets (B1000-B3000) will probably sell well at Thai Ticketmajor (02-262-3456, thaiticketmajor.com). G -Dragon

South Korean rapper G-Dragon, leader of the band Big Bang, promotes his first solo EP One Of A Kind with a gig at Impact Arena (99 Popular Rd, Pakkred, 02-504-5050, impact.co.th) on June 7-8. Officially part of a world tour – although it’s currently only billed for Asia – we’re promised a show “created by the world-class team that has worked with Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson”. Tickets are B1500-B6500 from Thai Ticketmajor (02262-3456, thaiticketmajor.com). There’s an all-forms-of-metal fest, from Death to Trash, featuring the Los Angeles five-piece As Blood Runs Black at Hollywood Awards (72/2 Ratchadapisek Soi 8, 02-246-4311) on June 30. Support bands include Dreams of Mad Children, Break The

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Veteran Thai rockers Blackhead reunite at Moonstar Studios (701 Ladprao 80 (Soi Chantima), 02-539-3881, moonstarstudio. co.th) on June 8 for the White Line Concert to celebrate the release of their new album White Line. They promise old songs mixed in, too, “to make sure it is indeed what our fans, old and new, have been expecting for so long”. Tickets from Thai Ticketmajor (02-262-3456, thaiticketmajor.com) cost B1600 (standing), B2000 (seated). Musicians who want to practise their chops, sing a few songs or meet possible bandmates gather at Open Mic Nights around the city. The floor is open on Mondays at DET 5 (41 Sukhumvit Soi 8, 02-653-1232, det-5.com) and Tuesdays at Fatty’s (598 Asoke-Din Daeng Rd, 08-1438-7221, facebook.com/fattysbardiner). Both start around 8.30pm.

open mic night bangkok101.com

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SPORT

bangkok triaTHlon

Pumped athletes and crazy fools alike will join the International Bangkok Triathlon on and around the Rama VIII Bridge next month on July 7. The swim section is under the bridge, before cycling on the (traffic-free) elevated expressway (for the day renamed 'The Corridors of Marvels'). The race ends with a run back over the bridge on 'The Streets of Smiles'. Winners will get trophies and prize money. Register now. If you need some training, maybe start with the Singha Bangkok 14k Run 2013 at Rama IX Park on June 9, alongside a mini 7km run at the same venue. Runners start at 6am so make sure you get a good night's sleep beforehand.

THEATRE Mondum Complex, billed as the first ever 3D stage drama in Thailand, combines live action with special effects in a series of weekend shows at M Theatre (2884/2 New Petchaburi Rd, 02-319-7641) this month. The comedy-horror tells the story of a designer, Napak (Koy Ratchawin), who turns to black magic to save her boutique. Performances are daily June 7-9, 14-16, 21-22. Tickets are available from Thai Ticketmajor (02-2623456, thaiticketmajor.com) priced B800-B1800.

m theatre

WORKSHOPS

gemstone buying guide bangkok101.com

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Visitor guidebooks and websites all carry warnings about the perils of gem scams in the Land of Smiles, so the workshop Gemstone Buying Guide for Tourists should bring a sparkle to the GIT Training Centre (3rd Floor, ITF-Tower Building, 02-6344999, git.or.th) on June 21. The three-hour event starts at 10am and covers the important aspects of identifying rubies, emeralds and sapphires and other stones in order to separate natural from synthetic and artificial. JUNE 2013 | 9

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metro beat

DANCE

erection

The French cultural festival La Fete comes to a close on June 7 and 8 with Erection – a solo dance performance by Pierre Rigal at the Sodsai Pantoomkomol Centre for Dramatic Arts Chulalongkorn University (Fl 6, Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Building Phaya Thai Rd, 02-218-4870). Described as “an intense and futuristic show, a physic and poetic performance”, the piece includes effects of sound and vision to tell the story of evolution. The shows start at 8pm; tickets are B500 (B400 students) from Thai Ticketmajor (02-262-3456, thaiticketmajor.com). For more details see lafete-bangkok.com.

SHOPPING

Expect serious crowds at the Fashion and Jewellery Fair at Impact Exhibition & Convention Centre (99 Popular Rd, Pakkred, 02-504-5050, impact.co.th) on June 15-23. Along with costume and fashion jewellery, the exhibits will include items such as clothing, shoes, eyewear, bags and watches for both men and women. There should be plenty of bargains in the Amazing Thailand Grand Sale, which offers discounts of between 10 and 80 percent at stores countrywide from June 15-August 15. The seemingly endless list of products includes clothes, jewellery, decor, kitchenware and even hospitals, spas and golf courses.

thaicraft fair thaicraft fair

Over 40 craft groups from various villages around the country will be travelling to the capital to set up stalls for the ThaiCraft Fair at Jasmine City Building (2 Sukhumvit Soi 23, 02-2045885) on June 15. It runs from 10am-3pm. See thaicraft.org for more info. 10 | JUNE 2013

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amazing thailand grand sale bangkok101.com

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MILOS KARADAGLIC

JAZZ & CLASSICAL MontenegrIn classical guitarist Milos Karadaglic, who won the Gramophone Young Artist of the Year in 2011, performs at the Thailand Cultural Centre (Thiem Ruammitr Rd, 02-247-0028) on July 3. Following his debut album The Guitar (2011), he released Latino/Pasión in 2012, which the UK’s Daily Telegraph described as “outstanding in its finesse, warm sensuality and sheer beauty”. Karadaglic will be accompanied by the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra with guest conductor Antoine Marguier. Ticket prices were not available at press time. The Silent Prince, a new opera by Somtow Sucharitkul to celebrate the 2600th anniversary of the Buddha’s enlightenment, debuts at the Thailand Cultural Centre (Thiem Ruammitr Rd, 02-247-0028) on June 8 at 7.30pm. The following day, June 9, there will be a sermon by Phra Mahasawai at 2pm, followed by a 3pm performance. The cast, drawn from four continents, is directed by Somtow, while Trisdee na Patalung conducts the orchestra. The opera will be sung the silent prince in English with Thai subtitles. Tickets from Thai Ticketmajor (02-262-3456, thaiticketmajor.com) are B1000 to B2000, with 50 percent discount for over-65s and students with ID. bangkok101.com

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NIU'S ON SILOM

Live jazz runs nightly at Niu’s on Silom (661 Silom Rd, 02-266-5333, niusonsilom.com) with the changing Friday lineup starting this month with The Jo Jo Ma Trio, featuring New York composer and sax player Joseph Marchione on June 7. Former Dizzy Gillespie guitarist Jerry Byrd fronts another trio on June 14; it’s the guitar-led Dan Phillips Trio on June 21; and Keith Nolan’s Love Gone Wrong see out the month with blues on June 28. Admission is free, the shows start at 9.15pm, and chef Marco Cammarata serves modern Italian cuisine. The Asia International Guitar Festival & Competition brings musicians from around the world to the Sukosol Hotel (477 Si Ayutthaya Rd, 02-247–0123, thesukosol@sukosolhotels. com) from June 13-16. Among the guitarists invited for the series of master classes, concerts and competitions are Dale Kavanagh (Canada), Marco Tamayo (Cuba) and Thomas Kirchhoff (Germany). Events start from around 9.30am, ending with 8pm evening concerts. Tickets are B200 (competitions), B500 (master classes; B200 to observe) and B600 (concerts). The full schedule is at thailandguitarsociety.com. JUNE 2013 | 11

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hot plates

Quince by Howard Richardson

quince

[MAP 3/p10]

Sukhumvit Soi 45 | 02-662-4478 | quincebangkok.com | Daily 11.30am-late

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Photos by Christian Hogue

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ew Quince chef Wilfrid Hocquet has worked with Alain Ducasse, Daniel Boulud and the Pourcel brothers, while his last gig – the countrified, Michelin-starred La Bastide de Moustiers – chimes with the concept at his new Bangkok home. He serves straight-ahead food: farmhouse presentation, not too many flavours, focusing on good product and letting it fly. To the delight of traditionalists, this is unmistakably dinner on a plate. Quince has a commitment to local produce wherever possible, although this means inevitable headaches with quality and reliability of supply for lamb and beef in particular. They have a new supplier near Pattaya for these meats and now work with Bill Marinelli, of the Oyster Bar to bring line-caught fish from Indonesia. Not local, but sustainable. It’s also, by its nature, unpredictable, so you may get coral trout, sea bream, white sea bass, all depending on the catch. It arrives on Thursdays, so good days to visit are Friday to Sunday. The fish goes on the specials menu, alongside the new a la carte that Wilfrid launches fully this month. Look out for a bunch of fresh salads such as blueberry beetroot with feta cheese and rocket and substantial mains like roast chicken tagine-style with lemon and chickpeas. Beautiful Kurobuta pork, cooked sous vide and served with its own jus (B1500 for a sharing portion), is sourced in Prachinburi and also used in deliciously moist, slightly peppery pork terrine (B280). But there’s so much more to Quince than just the food. It has a buzzy, pub-like atmosphere, a generous-sized bar, unvarnished floorboards and chunky wooden tables that feel as conducive to quaffing beers as the arty cocktails developed by ‘mixsultant’ Joseph Boroski. They have 13 gins (all B280), which you can have with old Englishstyle tonic syrup mixed with soda, plus a comprehensive and delightfully adventurous wine list (B1200-B46,000), including too-often-neglected Spanish labels and an impressive range of dessert wines. Add occasional DJs and live music and Quince hits lots of high notes. Perhaps that's why it was packed again on the midweek night of our visit.

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the

perfect negroni

Drinking in Bangkok can often be an education but is it possible to successfully riff on a much-loved staple that every bartender worth their salt knows well?

T

here is no shortage of places to get a drink in Bangkok, from the gleaming rooftops of Sathorn to the chic lounges of Thong Lor to the makeshift bars that spring up after dark all along Sukhumvit and its main sois. Indeed, one of those mobile shanty bars on soi 11 has become one of my favourite haunts – once the sun goes down, one middle-aged Thai guy works his bar by himself and although his preferred soundtrack of 80s and 90s power ballads is questionable, the quality of his cocktails is truly surprising. Many evenings, I've sat on one of his stools, knocking back Negronis for just B100 and told myself that more expensive places would surely struggle to do any better. Hence, I set out in Bangkok with that challenge in mind: to find the perfect negroni. My inquiries eventually lead me to the St Regis Bar, on 14 | J U N E 2013

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BY TOM STURROCK

level 12 of the hotel of the same name, overlooking the grounds of the Royal Bangkok Sports Club in Pathum Wan. Here, I meet Suwincha Sinsuwan (above) – or Cha Cha – their head bartender, who earlier this year finished in the top eight in the Bacardi Legacy, a global cocktailmaking competition that took her to Puerto Rico after being crowned Thailand's national champion. "It's not easy to be a bartender in a conservative country like Thailand," she says. "Especially for a female – I use my passion to drive me forward." Upon hearing about her award-winning signature drink, the Wind-Up Chronicle, I decide the perfect Negroni can wait for a little while and instead settle in for a crash course in mixing drinks. "The drink had to be timeless," she explains. "Easy, not too complicated. I keep it simple – I avoid using fancy bangkok101.com

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out and about

CITY PU LSE

the view

the bar

liqueurs. They'll give you a headache the next day. A good drink doesn't need to be sweet or sour – it just needs to be well-balanced." The Wind-Up Chronicle uses the standard Barcardi as well as Bacardi black, which, as Cha Cha explains, "gives it that caramel aroma". Add a shot of espresso, a nip of cognac, a pinch of sugar and garnish with cardamom and Cha Cha's rich, velvety concoction is ready to be enjoyed with a cigar. Importantly, there's no ice because a smoker's drink needs to survive outside and, in Thailand, ice doesn't last too long when removed from air-conditioned comfort. We're just getting started, though. Next up is the Tiki Cocktail (right) – again using the delicious Bacardi black as a base, spiked with lime juice and cinnamon syrup. The surprise addition, though, is a shot of Averna, an unfashionable herbal liqueur often regarded, in Cha Cha's words, as "an old person's drink". Flavour-wise, it's in the same neighbourhood as Jagermeister, without the slick aniseed aftertaste. bangkok101.com

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redistilled hot toddy

The result is something like a mojito but vastly more interesting – with a combination of flavours that doesn't get lost in the lime and sugar syrup. And the Averna, unfashionable or not, is an absolute winner. By now, my search for the perfect Negroni has branched off into a boozy, delicious tangent but when Cha Cha explains that our next drink to make is a Hot Toddy, I can't help but feel a sense of anti-climax. I've spent enough time enough time in London pubs to be dismissively familiar with this staple – it's just whiskey, hot water and some lemon juice – maybe some honey, cinnamon or cloves for the more demanding drinker. But really, it all sounds a bit too straightforward for a bartender of Cha Cha's skill. And that's when she produces her coffee sipher machine, a bizarre-looking contraption with two connected chambers that we're going to use to redistill the whiskey. "In a hot toddy, you don't want to use an islay whiskey or anything too peaty," Cha Cha explains. JUNE 2013 | 15

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CITY PU LSE

out & about wet your whistle

Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Coat glass with Bacardi Superior 30ml, then shake Bacardi Black 15ml with Cognac VSOP 15ml, espresso 30ml and two teaspoons of white sugar. Strain into brandy balloon and garnish with one cardamom pod. Tiki Cocktail Mix Bacardi Black 60ml, lime juice 45ml, cinnamon syrup 20ml, Averna 30ml, a dash of orange bitter and serve in a tall glass over crushed ice.

"That whiskey is drunk neat or with a litle cold water – in a hot toddy, it will end up smelling like a hospital." Without further ado, the whiskey goes in the glass bulb on the bottom and a combination of lemon, honey, cloves and nutmeg goes in the top. Cha Cha then heats the bottom chamber, creating a cauldron of bubbling brown liquor that sends the evaporate into the top chamber, where it condenses and drips back down to the bottom, now infused with all the goodness of the other ingredients. The result is spectacular. The whiskey itself is now flavoured and enriched and I feel mildly foolish for thinking I knew what a hot toddy was all about. But now, finally, the moment of truth arrives. Previously, I've told Cha Cha about my conviction that my man on soi 11 does a Negroni as well as anyone in Bangkok, that the pomp and pageantry of hi-falutin cocktail bars can't hold a candle to his homespun, well-practised knack. That belief is about to be sorely tested – indeed, torn asunder. The standard recipe for the Negroni – improvised in a Florentine cafe nearly 100 years ago – is generally considered to be equal-thirds gin, sweet vermouth and Campari, although there are myriad variations, substituting prosecco or vodka for gin, or Aperol or Cynar for Campari. Cha Cha, though, hews to the original recipe, although she explains that when using exact thirds of the three ingredients, the Campari dominates, sometimes creating a bitter aftertaste like a mouthful of medicine. So she takes a little off the Campari and then pours the mixture into a tumbler over ice and garnishes with orange peel. But then comes the twist. Cha Cha takes the drink and disappears briefly, reappearing on my side of the bar carrying a covered serving tray, as though delivering a plate of caviar. Instead, placing the tray on the bar, she whips off the cover to reveal my Negroni, surrounded by four egg cups, filled with juniper, cinnamon, oregano and vanilla. Their mixed aroma immediately fills my nostrils and, most importantly, coats the glass, adding delicate touches to Cha Cha's exquisitely balanced drink. As I leave the St Regis, I feel increasingly certain that I have found the perfect Negroni. The only question left is how I break the news to my friend on soi 11 that he has been leapfrogged at the top of the pecking order.

st regis bar

Whiskey Hot Toddy Mix Johnnie Walker Black Label 45ml, lime juice 15ml, honey 20ml, three cloves, nutmeg 5g and hot water. Don't feel bad if you don't having a redistilling set-up. Negroni Sweet vermouth 30ml, Campari 30ml, gin 30ml but take a little off the Campari. Serve in a tumbler over ice and garnish with orange peel. Serve with juniper, cinnamon, oregano and vanilla if you're trying to impress.

cha cha in action

[MAP 3/C4]

12th Fl St Regis Hotel. 159 Rajadamri Rd | 02-207-7777 stregis.com | Fri-Sat noon-2am, Sun-Thurs noon-1am

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the perfect negroni bangkok101.com

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what is

modern thai? Updating a cuisine without sacrificing its essence demands a chef with great skill BY TOM STURROCK

C

hef Nooror Somany works expertly, demonstrating how to make a nam prik paow, or Thai roasted chilli paste. The base ingredients are large red chillis, vegetable oil, garlic, shallots and, today, ground dried shrimps, seasoned with palm sugar, fish sauce and tamarind juice. After the ingredients are stir-fried, they are combined in a mortar and pestle and hammered hard into a paste. Sure, a blender is close to hand but Chef Nooror insists on a more manual approach. "Chinese food comes quickly," she says as the pestle comes down with a crunch. "But we need to be patient. "It used to be when young ladies pounded the curry

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best of bangkok paste, it was very important because it showed whether they have a sharp mind and personality," she explains, demonstrating first how a lazy girl might work the pestle, before resuming her more vigorous hand-grinding of the ingredients. "But now, all ladies are working women." Chef Nooror retains a healthy sense of tradition but when it comes to Thai cuisine, she is one of the standardbearers for its march on to the world's dining tables. She is, of course, the co-founder and head chef of Blue Elephant Cooking School and Restaurant, which has enjoyed runaway success in the 30 years since it first opened, with 12 branches around the world and now established as a global Thai brand. In Sathorn, the Bangkok outlet does a bustling trade. A morning class at Blue Elephant begins with a stroll through the Bangrak market, a covered maze where the whiff of chilli hangs thick in the air, where stalls overflow with mangos, coconuts, giant watermelons and enormous sweet turnips, alongside piles of eggs and onions and stores of garlic, tamarind and palm sugar. The proximity to all this produce, the hands-on aspect of it all, is thrilling. And in its dishes, Blue Elephant prioritises authenticity and presentation but also balances tradition and innovation, walking the tightrope between centuries-old recipes and creative, unique variations of time-tested themes. "This is not fusion cuisine. Thai people cook with what they have in the gardens," Chef Nooror explains while demonstrating how to prepare a plaa jiean ta-kri, a deep-fried sea bass topped with lemongrass sauce. That, however, does not mean there are rigid guidelines. "Cooking should be flexible – this way is authentic but you can adjust as you like," she says when considering how much chilli to add. "If you don't like it too spicy, you can take out the chilli seeds but I think it is more charming to have some spice to give you energy." Later, after her class has finished preparing their own Thai dishes in Blue Elephant's gleaming kitchen, Nooror expands on her remit of combining familiar Thai flavours with more forward-thinking, truly world-class food. Blue Elephant's menu, for example, includes a foie gras with tamarind sauce and an Isan-style laab salad using raw salmon and lemongrass. "On one hand we serve all the Thai dishes that people expect – the som tam and the pad thai – but we also want to update Thai food and bring it to the rest of the world and make it international," Nooror explains. "Technique is part of it and for Thai food to be an international cuisine chefs have to be able to adapt. The style needs to be more refined." Crucially, cooking modern Thai is not a license to appropriate endlessly from other cuisines – according to Chef Nooror, there are still some non-negotiables. "Thai food is about the herbs and spices – you can't make a tom yum gai without lemongrass," she insists. "Ingredients like tamarind, kaffir and galangal – they are part of Thai cooking. But you can use those and still find new ways." Of course, it is not just Thai chefs updating their national cuisine. Bangkok is home to a growing cadre of non-Thai chefs fascinated by the palette of flavours. Jason Bailey, bangkok101.com

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CITY PU LSE

the class at work

sea bass with lemongrass

dishing up

making it look easy Plaa jiean ta-kri (Deep-fried fish topped with lemongrass sauce) • Remove bones from fish – sea bass works but is not absolutely necessary – coat fish in flour and then deep fry in pan using vegetable oil. • Pound lemongrass, garlic, ginger, coriander root, white pepper and chillis into paste. • Add paste to saucepan on medium heat – add fish sauce, palm sugar, bean paste, tamarind juice and chicken stock. • Add ginger, red chilli and spring onion; mix well and pour over fish. • Garnish with lemongrass, sliced and deep-fried, and coriander leaves.

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best of bangkok

sea bass lon

jason bailey

an award-winning Australian chef who earlier this year opened his first restaurant in Bangkok, Paste in Thong Lor's soi 49, is adamant Thai food can be modernised and refined without compromising the elements that make it quintessentially Thai. "A good modern Thai chef is not bastardising the cuisine," Bailey says, before outlining the importance of produce and technique in adapting Thai cuisine from classical to modern. "If you're talking poultry, you need free-range. It tastes better," he says. "Seafood, we want wild – it's richer in flavour. Thailand is the largest producer of farmed prawns in the world but a wild prawn is firmer. "And the technique is what I consider the single most important part of cooking. In modern Thai, we're employing things that the average Thai cook never employed in their kitchen, like ovenroasting – consistent, rounded heat that we can use to slow cook. With coals or a wok burner, you can't get that – you can't slow-cook pork belly for 12 hours like that." Bailey is zealous in his attention to detail when it comes to technique and higher standards in selecting produce but believes traditional Thai flavours are already world-class. "Thais are very good at flavours – maybe the best in the world – and they're masters of seasoning," he says. "With modern Thai, you need intense flavours – a hallmark of Thai cuisine, the most intense flavours in the world. To call it modern Thai, you must have that: hot, sour, salty, sweet and, often forgotten, astringent and bitter. "Thai food is about balance and offsetting – all cuisines aim for that balance but none have achieved it like Thais. In terms of flavours, as creative and wondrous as it sounds to say we've got more flexibility in modern Thai, no, I think I would be doing wrong to the customer – that's where I 20 | JUNE 2013

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disagree with fusion. If you don't get those flavours then it's not Thai." Still, Bailey concedes there is a degree of crosspollination within Asian cuisines. The idea that Thai food, or any other, has evolved in a bubble is simply ahistorical. "Even if I'm anchored in Thai ingredients, they can be Vietnamese ingredients as well. And if you're going to say, 'what is Thai and what is Chinese?' – they're like brother and sister. You look at a dish like pork leg with light and dark soy sauce, the khao kha moo, that's southern Chinese – and the wok is Chinese, not Thai; the curries came from the Indians and the salads are influenced by Vietnamese and vice versa. The Gang Hung Lae (left), is a northern Thai curry adopted from the Burmese. "So what is a native Thai dish? You have nam prik, the thick pungent relishes, which I love, and the elegant, refined lon, a more liquefied, less dense, soupy dish with a coconut milk base. That's native Thai." Even allowing for this crossover in regional cuisines, Bailey insists the Thai table already has sufficiently sophisticated and satisfying flavour profiles that it simply isn’t necessary, or desirable, to keep dipping into some vast pan-Asian melting pot. "You can bring in techniques and ingredients, sure – I mean, we’re talking Australian beef, definitely,” he says. “But I don't think you need to include flavours from other countries – Thailand already has a vast repertoire.”

BLUE ELEPHANT

[MAP 5/d7]

233 South Sathorn Rd, Sathorn | 02-673-9353 blueelephant.com | Classes daily 8.30am and 1.30pm

PASTE

[MAP 3/p6]

120/6 Sukhumvit Soi 49, Thong Lor | 02-392-4313 pastebangkok.com | Wed-Sun noon-11pm, Tues 6pm-11pm

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between preservation and progress

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23/05/2013 10:48


ToTwmo ’Ssatang

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

On urban planning

B

angkok wasn’t created in one day. Like other old cities, it developed over time. After starting as a swampy village and a trading post on Chao Phraya River’s banks, over two centuries ago Bangkok’s Thonburi side became Siam’s capital for 15 years. In 1782, the Bangkok side was founded. Ever since, the capital’s size and life have been transformed. Its centre and seat of power was at the Grand Palace, built over the Chinese and Vietnamese settlements. King Rama I requested them to move southward along the river to where Chinatown is. The city grew along the river, mainly north and south, and among many canals. Bangkok became renowned as ‘the ‘Venice of the East’. Similar to other medieval cities, it had moats, gates and fortresses. Klong Lord or Klong Khu Mueng Derm is the innermost canal, shaping the city as ‘Rattanakosin Island’ in the middle. Two more man-made canals, Klong Rob Krung and Klong Padung Krung Kasem, added more rings to protect the city. Paved roads and other infrastructures were built in the periods of King Rama IV and V. Charoenkrung Road or the New Road, only 8.5km, was built from 1861 to 1864, for embassies’ and expats’ coaches. During King Rama V’s modernisation, railways, hospitals, schools and government offices were widely constructed. Bangkok became a small boomtown. Colonial-style houses, buildings and palaces sprouted all over the cities. The architecture was intricate and the city was beautiful. Then the city expanded toward the southeast, where its centre is now. Siam, Silom and Sathorn areas were mainly residential, full of rarefied mansions. Now these are the business hub of company headquarters, banks, hotels, shopping malls and convention centres. In the last century, Bangkok has grown in all directions and has been out of control from the mid-80s. Occupied by over eight million people, plus those who commute to work from neighbouring provinces, a megalopolis has been created with all its perks and perils. Bangkok’s development has straddled a fine line between grandiosity and self-destruction. Too many building permits were passed, predominantly for offices, retail centres and apartments. High-rise condominiums boasting state-of-the art amenities are still built in some

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small lanes, even next to slums. Familiar problems from urban expansion, like traffic jams, pollutions, crime, hygiene, floods, and urban density are barely solved, like the terrifyingly tangled webs of electrical wires seen running alongside the roads. To achieve a balanced ecosystem, Bangkok should have environmental crisis check-ups. Parks are becoming scarce while more pockets of green spaces are needed and should be encouraged among communities. Bang Krajow (above), a large marshland in Samut Prakarn, considered Bangkok’s lung, is far from enough. In the past few decades, heritage preservation has become a prominent issue. Several cultural landscapes and architectural treasures have been in danger. Parts of Chinatown have recently been bulldozed to support more underground train stations. Some ancestral homes, historical sites and monuments are forever gone. Makkasan, an abandoned, large, leafy area with train depots and workshops, which belongs to State Railway of Thailand, could be developed into public parks, museums, libraries, and sports centres instead of commercial ventures. Hopefully, our administrators have some conscience and bravura. Then we will have an outstanding municipal zone right in the city. JUNE 2013 | 23

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S N A P S H OT S

very thai

A

PAINT me a

PICTURE images of thai royal family are everywhere

cross the Kingdom, every home, office, business and public building displays at least one royal portrait. Thais identify their monarchs with good fortune, progress and pride in nation and Thainess. It ensures royal portraits are regarded with deep reverence. The face of the current King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) is given pride of place. His Majesty’s picture is frequently paired with the beautiful visage of Queen Sirikit. Among other members of the royal family, Crown Prince Vachiralongkorn is often shown in military uniform and Princess Sirindhorn is widely pictured engaged in good works and cultural endeavours. The late Somdej Ya (the Princess Mother who bore Kings Rama VIII and IX) is depicted in many homes. So are two great former rulers, Rama IV (King Mong-kut) and Rama V (King Chulalongkorn), in tribute for securing Siam’s independence and development. In the West, mass media has helped undermine the status of monarchy, yet in Thailand new technology has extended the royal portrait’s reach. The King’s face is ever-present on television, in film and now on the internet. Each cinema chain also screens its own rendition of the King’s Anthem. Before a movie, everyone without exception stops munching popcorn or rustling bags and stands to show respect.

> Very Thai

River Books | with photos by John Goss & Philip CornwelSmith | B 995

Very Thai – Everyday Popular Culture is a book that almost every foreigner living in Bangkok has on their bookshelf, a virtual bible on Thailand’s pop culture. For page after colourful page, city resident and author Philip Cornwel-Smith guides readers on an unconventional tour of the quirky everyday things that make Thailand truly Thai. From the 60-plus minichapters, we present a different excerpt every month. Prepare yourself for the sideways logic in what seems exotic, and snap up a copy of Very Thai now at any good book shop.

24 | JUNE 2013

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chronicle of thailand

S N A P S H OT S

december 5 1999:

Bangkok residents welcome skytrain

T

problems immediately DRUG LO occur on new system as machines falter and queues form armed fo

OUST

fro he country’s first elevated rail system went into service after a last-minute rush at stations to put the finalChiang Rai Thai forces touches on platforms and service areas. However, against drug lord Khun problems emerged almost immediately at stations along his 200-mule opium ca the new SkyTrain routes. Several thousand Many ticket machines failed to operate properly and by outplanes and helicopt of-order signs began shooting up. Queues were long, forcing stronghold at Ban Hin some passengers to wait for up to an hour as they had(SUA). to buyAt least 1,000 re tickets issued manually by SkyTrain staff. as fierce fighting flared “Some people failed to read the instructions on our ticket After Thai and SU machines,” said Sivapron Pokpong, BTS marketing manager. a truce proposal put fo “People must press a button to select their destination first, Tinsulanond stated: “A and then insert coins. But some inserted the coins firstnarcotics and trafficking, fa that stopped the machines, and the passengers simplycontinue lost its drive again their money.” destroyed.” It was estim For those who lived and worked along the SkyTrain route, of the region’s heroin. the new rail system offered an alternative to crowded buses extensive headquarter that crept through the city’s snarling traffic. The SkyTrain and equipment as cas opened with two lines, the Sukhumvit line, which crosses the In July, Khun Sa’s city from north to south, from Mo Chit to Onnuj, and thetroops, Silomfought against line, which goes through the city centre. The network, with side of Doi Lang moun 23.5km of track, was built at a cost of around 60 billionChiang baht. Rai provinces. Chronicle of Thailand is the story of Thailand during the reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Beginning on the day he was crowned, 9 June 1946, the book presents a vivide eye-witness­account of Thailand’s development through the major news events of the last 64 years. Alongside a grandstand view of events and quirky aspects of daily life that just happened to make the news, the book features thousands of rare and fascinating pictures and illustrations, repre­senting one of the most comprehensive photo collections of Thailand ever produced.

> Chronicle of Thailand

EDM Books | editor-in-chief 21 January 1982

W

ater has a central place in the practices and beliefs of many faiths as it often symbolises devotion and purification. In Buddhism, water is blessed by monks during weddings and other festivities. As we’ve seen recently, water plays a huge role in Thailand’s Songkran Festival, the celebration of Thai New Year. Traditionally, water is poured over statues of the Buddha, and these days many Thais and some foreigners in this country go crazy running around splashing and spraying each other with buckets of water and hoses.

> Chronicle of Thailand EDM Books | editor-in-chief Nicholas Grossman | B1,450

Chronicle of Thailand is the story Adulyadej. Beginning on the day presents a vivid eye-witness acco major news events of the last 64 y as they unfolded and quirky aspe the news, the book features thou illustrations, representing one of Thailand ever produced.

still life in moving vehicles

making a

splash

Nicholas Grossman | B1,450

displaced hundreds of Border Patrol Police. In Sa’s new base on Doi constructed 200 buildi

CiTy vS. COUNTRy This cabby literally wears two hats. He dons a baseball cap when he’s driving his cab and puts on this straw hat when he’s farming. This is not uncommon in Bangkok as many cabbies here come from the countryside to drive a taxi between rice plantings and harvests, or when extra income is desperately needed. I asked the driver of this taxi which job he prefers and he told me that he would much rather do farming than drive in this city full of traffic jams and crazy people. Visual artist and academic, Dale Konstanz snaps photos of the sacred decorations and other bits and bobs he finds in Bangkok taxis, then writes about them on his blog, Still Life in Moving Vehicles (http://lifeinmovingvehicle.blogspot.com). Published by River Books, the spin-off book, Thai Taxi Talismans, is available at bookstores around town for B995.

JUNE 2013 | 25

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SIGHTSEEI NG

listings

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

พระที่นั่งอนันตสมาคม ถ.อู่ทองใน ดุสิต

Sat-Sun10 am-5 pm, Mon-Fri by appt B 50 / B 20 kids Kukrit Pramoj was one of Thailand’s mostloved statesmen of the 20th century. A natural all-rounder, he was a poet, a writer and even served as Prime Minister. His peace­ful abode with its lovely gardens is a terrific, increasingly rare example of Thai architecture.

บ้านหม่อมราชวงศ์คึกฤทธิ์ ซ.พระพินิจ สาทรใต้ VIMANMEK MANSION [map 8/F8] 139 / 2 Ratchawithi Rd | 02-281-1569 9:30 am-4 pm | B100 The world’s largest teakwood building was originally built on the island of Koh Si Chang, in 1868, and then moved to Bangkok for use by King Rama V. Its 81 rooms spread over three floors overlook a beautiful garden.

พระที่นั่งวิมานเมฆ ถ.ราชวิถี เขตดุสิต

with worshippers lighting incense, buying lottery tickets and watching the traditional dancing group.

พระพรหมเอราวัณ ถ.ราชดำ�ริ GANESHA SHRINE [map 4/G3] Outside CentralWorld and Isetan Department Store | Ratchadamri Rd A prayer in front of this pot-bellied gold elephant – the son of Shiva and Parvati – is said to help get the creative juices flowing, as well as protect you from harm. Aside from marigold garlands, bring bananas, ripe mango or sticky rice-flour Thai desserts – Ganesha has an eternal appetite.

พระพิฆเนศวร หน้าห้างอิเซตัน TRIMURTI SHRINE [map 4/G3] Outside Centralworld and Isetan Department Store | Ratchadamri Rd If your love life is in the doldrums then this shrine is for you: at 9:30pm each Thursday it’s rumoured that Lord Trimurti descends from the heavens to answer prayers of the heart. To maximise your chances you should offer nine-red incense sticks, red candles, red roses and fruit.

พระตรีมูรติ หน้าห้างอิเซตัน

SHRINES JIM THOMPSON HOUSE [map 4/A3] 6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama I Rd BTS National Stadium | 02-216-7368 jimthompsonhouse.com | 9 am -5 pm B100 / B 50 students American Jim Thompson was the Princeton graduate and former spook who revived the hand-woven Thai silk industry before disappearing mysteriously in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands in 1967. One of the things to do in Bangkok is visit his tropical garden home beside a pungent canal: six traditional teak houses from around the country kept exactly as he left them.

บ้านไทย จิมทอมป์สัน ซ.เกษมสันต์ 2 ตรงข้ามสนามกีฬาแห่งชาติ M.R. KUKRIT’S HOUSE [map 5/H8] 19 Soi Phra Pinit, Sathorn Rd | 02-286-8185 26 | JUNE 2013

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SUAN PAKKAD palace [MAP 8/K11] Si Ayutthaya Rd, Ratchathewi BTS Phaya Thai | 02-245-4934 suanpakkad.com | 9am-4pm | B100 A former market garden that was converted into a residence and garden by Princess Chumbot. Consisting of five reconstructed Thai wooden houses, Wang Suan Pakkard pays testament to her dedication to collecting Thai artefacts and antiques.

วังสวนผักกาด ถ.ศรีอยุธยา ราชเทวี ERAWAN SHRINE [map 4/G5] Ratchadamri Rd, near Grand Hyatt Erawan BTS Chit Lom Don’t expect serenity here. This is one of Bangkok’s busiest intersections: the crowded shrine to the Hindu creation god Brahma and his elephant Erawan is filled

THE GRAND PALACE & WAT PHRA KAEW [map 7/D10] Na Phra Lan Rd, near Sanam Luang Tha Chang Pier | 02-222-0094 8:30am-4:30pm | B 400 Bangkok’s most beloved temple and top tourist site is a fantastical, mini-city sized royal complex enclosed by quaintly crenulated whitewalls. Building began in 1782, the year Bangkok was founded, and every monarch subsequent to King Rama I has expanded or enhanced it. Today, despite being able to visit many sights on its grounds, much of it remains off-limits. The Chakri Mahaprasat Hall – the “Westerner in a Thai hat” – is worth seeing, and there are some state halls and rooms open to visitors.

พระบรมมหาราชวัง และ วัดพระแก้ว ถ.หน้าพระลาน (ใกล้สนามหลวง) bangkok101.com

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listings

WAT ARUN [map 7/B13] Temple of Dawn, Arun Amarin Rd 02-465-5640 | watarun.org 8am-5pm | B 20 Across the river from Wat Po is Wat Arun, or the Temple of the Dawn, one of the city’s most important religious sites. Before being moved to Wat Phra Kaew, the Emerald Buddha was temporarily housed here. The five-towered structure is covered in colourful porcelain and designed as a representation of the Khmer home of the gods.

WAT PO (reclining buddha) [map 7/D12]

Chetuphon, Thai Wang Rd 02-226-0369 | watpho.com 8am-noon, 1 pm-9 pm | B100 The Temple of the Reclining Buddha is the oldest and largest wat in Bangkok. Originating in the 16th century, it houses the largest reclining Buddha statue in Thailand as well as the greatest number of Buddha images.

features the bizarre Loha Prasat, a multitiered castle-like structure with 36 steel spires. Climb the spiral staircase to the top for good views of the Old City and its many temples.

วัดราชนัดดา ถ.มหาชัย พระนคร WAT SAKET [map 7/L8] Chakkraphatdiphong Rd 02-233-4561 | 7:30 am-5:30 pm | B10 Referred to as the Golden Mount, this wat on a small hillock is worth the hike up 318 steps for the views of China­town to the south and the Old City to the north. The hill is all that is left of the fortifications for a large chedi that Rama III planned to construct on the site that gave way under the weight. Rama V later built a smaller chedi on top.

วัดสระเกศ ถ.จักรพรรดิพงษ์

วัดมหาธาตุ ท่าพระจันทร์ สนามหลวง WAT RATCHANATDA [map 7/K8] Mahachai Rd | 02-224-8807 9 am-5 pm | Free This striking temple on the corner of Ratchadamnoen and Mahachai Road bangkok101.com

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BANGKOK DOLL MUSEUM  [map 8/L11, 12]

85 Soi Ratchataphan (Soi Mo Leng), Ratchaprarop Rd 02-245-3008 | bangkokdolls.com Mon-Sat 8am-5pm | Free Since opening in 1956 the Bangkok Doll Museum has continually attracted tourists, students and aficionados alike with its remarkable collection of hand-made Thai dolls. Founded by Khunying Tongkorn Chandavimol after she completed a doll making course in Japan, it showcases collections of dolls produced by a small team of artisans in the atelier out back, and clad in traditional costumes based on designs lifted from museum originals, temple murals and illustrations from antique books.

bangkokian MUSEUM [MAP 5/E3]

WAT SUTHAT & the GIANT SWING [map 7/H9]

WAT MAHATHAT [map 7/C8]

MUSEUMS – IN TOWN

บ้านตุ๊กตาบางกอกดอลล์ ถ.ราชปรารภ

วัดโพธิ์ ถ.เชตุพน

Tha Prachan, Sanam Luang, Maharat Rd 02-221-5999 | 9 am-5 pm | Free An amulet market is situated near this 18th century centre of the Mahanikai monastic sect and an important university of Buddhist teaching. On weekends, market stalls are set up on the grounds to complement the vendors of traditional medicines.

SIGHTSEEI NG

Bamrung Muang Rd | 02-222-9632 9 am -5 pm | B 20 Wat Suthat is one of the most important Buddhist centres in the kingdom and home to excellent examples of bronze sculpture. The city’s iconic Giant Swing, where brave men used to swing up to great heights to catch a bag of gold coins in their teeth during annual harvest ceremonies, sits out front.

วัดสุทัศน์ ถ.บำ�รุงเมือง พระนคร ตรงข้ามเสา ชิงช้า WAT TRAIMIT [map 6/L3] 661 Mittaphap Thai-China Rd, Charoen Krung Rd | 02-623-1226 | 8 am-5 pm | B20 Housed safely in this unassuming Chinatown temple is the world’s largest solid gold Buddha. Its worth has been estimated at over US$10 million.

วัดไตรมิตร หัวลำ�โพง (เยาวราช)

273 Charoen Krung Soi 43, Si Phraya Pier | 02-233-7027 Sat-Sun 10am-4pm | Free Smack in the middle of Bangrak, one of the most traditional districts of the city, find this oasis of four traditional Thai houses, one of them lovingly converted into a private museum by the compound’s charming owner, Ms Waraporn Surawadee. She decided to dedicate the place to the memory of her family and bygone daily life of Bangkok everymen – and open it to the public. While visitors shouldn’t expect breathtaking revelations here, the displays are nevertheless surprisingly fascinating. They include antiques and ceremonial items.

พิพิธภัณฑ์ชาวบางกอก ถ.เจริญกรุง 43 Madame tussauds [map 4/C4] 6th F, Siam Discovery Center Rama 1, Phaya Thai Rd BTS National Stadium | 02-658-0060 madametussauds.com/Bangkok 10am-9pm | B 800 / B 600 kids  Probably the best thing about Bangkok’s version of Europe's famous waxwork museum is the line-up  –  it’s clearly designed JUNE 2013 | 27

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to keep tourists and locals alike snappy happy. About as common as international sporting legends, world leaders in sharp suits, pouting Hollywood A-listers, and sequined global pop stars here are wax likenesses of Thai and regional musicians, soap stars, sportsmen and women.

มาดามทุซโซ สยามดิสคัฟเวอรี่ ชั้น 6 MUSEUM OF COUNTERFEIT GOODS [MAP 2/E12] Supalai Grand Tower Bldg Rama III Rd 02-653-5555 | tillekeandgibbins.com Mon-Fri 10 am-4 pm  ( App required for textile and computer collections) In 1989, Thailand’s oldest international law firm, Tilleke & Gibbins, decided to convert their evidence of counterfeit goods into educational tools for law students. To help spread the word about the perils of buying fake it's open to Joe Public too. Over 3,500 items – from Ferrero Rocher chocolates to antimalarial tablets and a fake Ferrari motorbike – are neatly laid out, forgeries next to the originals. While its well off-the-beaten track location means it doesn't see too many drop-in visitors.

พิพิธภัณฑ์สินค้าปลอมและเลียนแบบ ถ.พระราม 3 Museum of Siam [map 7/D13] 4 Samachai Rd | Rajini Pier 02-622-2599 | ndmi.or.th Tue-Sun 10 am-6 pm | Free A truncated history of Thailand unfurls through this down-with-the-kids discovery museum, located in a beautifully restored former government building that dates back to the 1920s. Design company Story Inc! delivered the conceptual design with pop graphics and interactive games galore. Entertaining highlights include dressing up as a 20th-century nobleman, blowing up Burmese soldiers on elephant-back with a canon (a bit tasteless that one), and mapping out the borders of your own Siam using a touch screen.

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THE NATIONAL MUSEUM [map 7/C6] 5 Chao Fa Rd, Sanam Luang 02-224-1333 | thailandmuseum.com Wed-Sun 9 am-4 pm | B 200 Previously a palace during the reign of Rama V, the National Museum features extensive displays of Thai artifacts from all of Old Siam's main historical periods, encompassing the Lanna, Ayutthaya and Sukhothai kingdoms up to the present day. Thai culture is well documented in sections on dance, music and drama. The first example of Thai literature and the Thai alphabet, inscribed by King Ramkhamhaeng on a black stone during the Sukhothai period, is also displayed.

พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติ ถ.เจ้าฟ้า ใกล้ท้อง สนามหลวง RATTANAKOSIN EXHIBITION HALL [map 7/K7] 100 Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd, next to Wat Ratchanatda | 02-621-0044 nitasrattanakosin.com | Tue-Fri 11am8 pm, Sat-Sun 10 am-8 pm | B100 This multimedia museum a short walk from Khao San Road offers a skillfully abbreviated introduction to an area that many admire, but few truly understand: Rattanakosin Island, Bangkok’s glittering birthplace. Wandering its eleven rooms  –  free of relics but rich in models, dioramas, interactive videos, text and audio clips in Thai and English – brings the area’s hardto-fathom history, arts, communities, architecture and traditions into much clearer focus. One highlight is the room show­casing Thai performing arts.

นิทรรศน์รัตนโกสินทร์ ถ.ราชดำ�เนินกลาง ROYAL BARGE MUSEUM [map 7/B4] 80/1 Rim Khlong Bangkok Noi, Arun Amarin Rd | Thonburi Railway Pier 02-424-0004 | 9 am-5pm B 30 / B100 photo / B 200 video This collection of ornate royal barges, some of which are up to 50 metres long, is housed on the Thonburi side of the river

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

พิพิธภัณฑ์เรือพระราชพิธี ถ.อรุณอมรินทร์

OUT OF TOWN ANCIENT SIAM (MUANG BORAN) [map 1/F6] 296/1 Sukhumvit Rd, Samut Prakan province | 02-709-1644 | ancientcity.com B 500 / B 250 kids / B1500 private guide in English for two hours Samut Prakan province’s Ancient Siam crams reproductions of over a hundred of the Kingdom’s most venerable palaces, temples, stupas, stone sanctuaries and traditional houses into a huge map-of-Siam shaped plot of land only an hour’s drive from the capital. Don’t come expecting a tacky themepark. Its late founder, eccentric culture preservationist Prapai Viriyahbhun, demanded that every replica look and feel like the real thing.

เมืองโบราณ จ.สมุทรปราการ THAI FILM MUSEUM [MAP 1/E5] 94 Moo 3 Bhuddhamonton Sai 5, Salaya Nakorn Pathom province nfat.org | 02-482-2013-15 | Sat- Sun tours: 10 am, noon, 3pm, MonFri: by appointment | Free The good folk at the National Film Archive of Thailand are fighting to preserve the country’s meagre film heritage, whether it be by restoring ragged reels of 16mm film to their former glory, screening rare films in its cinematheque, or guiding anyone interested around their museum. Film fiends will love inching around this space, modelled after the old Sri Krung film studio and filled with old cameras, projectors, props, costumes.

พิพิธภัณฑ์ภาพยนตร์ไทย ถ.พุทธมนฑล สาย 5 bangkok101.com

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Buddharupa surrounded by offerings

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INthakin Pillar Festival

chiang mai C

itizens of Chiang Mai worship the Inthakin Pillar for their wealth and good luck. Long ago, according to myth, before the festival became a regular fixture in the Thai calendar, flowers were set at the base of the pillar to bring prosperity and a strong harvest. The festival usually begins at the start of the rainy season. and there are three things to worship in the ceremony. The pillar, which is believed to be a column that holds the town together, is worshipped with offerings of flowers, candles, incense and local dishes and desserts. Royal rubber trees are also worshipped, along with eight elephants that appear at the ceremony at the royal chedi (pagoda). A parade follows, bearing sculptures of Buddha, known as the Rainmaker, in a bid to bring rain and ensure a successful year for the region’s farmers.

Getting there:

Take a flight or a bus to Chiang Mai. Hop into a local red pick-up truck (B10) for a ride to the Inthakin temple in the centre of Chiang Mai.

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T R AV E L

up country now

June 8 Samed Beach Festival #4 Bring your sun lotion and go with the crowd at Samed Beach Festival on an island where you can dance on the sand. The festival will feature 17 Thai singers and DJs such as Thaitanium, Mild, South Side, Tattoo Colour, Lipta and DJ Buddha, DJ Ono, DJ Fahsai (Bangkok Invaders) will be on the stage giving their best performances. The highlight is their huge space of foam for partygoers. Tickets are on sale at Thaiticketmajor for B800.

June 9 Laguna Phuket International marathon Slip on your running shoes and lycra shorts, there’s a marathon to be won – this one’s down in Phuket. Setting off from the luscious Laguna Beach Resort, the 7th Laguna Phuket International Marathon will do a loop of the island’s back roads, past temples, local villages and pineapple and rubber plantations. You don’t need to be a jogging nut to take part: as well as the full marathon, there will also be a half marathon, a 10.5km run, a 5km community walk and a 2km kids run.

June 22 Pu Sae Ya Sae It is a cultural ritual that people in the North have been taking part in for generations. Pu Sae Ya Sae – or the ghost of grand parents – are believed to be the spiritual guardians of the city. According to the myth, Pu Sae Ya Sae will need to feast on buffalo once a year. The ritual involves sacrificing buffalo and becoming possessed by the spirit. Be warned – there’s plenty of gore involved, so it’s probably not one for visitors with queasy stomachs.

June 23 Race Across the Sea There are many races and triathlons in Thailand once the hottest time of the year has passed. This is a unique event in Thailand, in which competitors race across the sea in Lang Suan, Chumphon province. The race is 14km long from the shore to an island name Phitak. If that seems long enough already, the runners have to go through knee-deep water, making it even tougher.

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up country now

T R AV E L

June 26 Sunthorn Phu Memorial Day One of the greatest poetry writers in Thailand, Sunthorn Phu wrote many royal poems. The significance of this day is to realise the importance of Thai literature and culture heritage. He has written many epic poems like The Adventure of Sudsakorn, and Phra Aphai Mani. He was born in Bangkok then moved to Rayong where his father was born. The statue of Sunthorn Phu is erected in Rayong province for tourists and it is one of the region’s best-known landmarks.

Until June 30 Chiang Mai Golf Fest 2013 Lovers of the sedate yet tricky game should swing up to Northern Thailand between now and the end of the month. During the Chiang Mai Golf Festival you can play nine of the major courses in the region, including ones in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Lampun, for green fees of only B1000. That’s a discount of more than 50 percent. Although that may not be enough to keep some golfers weeping in frustration.

Until June 30 Butterfly Watching Festival Sa Kaeo, a province to the east that borders Cambodia, is the place to head if you’re a butterfly fan. At this time, rains fall over the province’s Pang Sida National Park, causing plants to bloom and hundreds of rare species to emerge fluttering from their cocoons. Inexpensive and possible at any time of day, watching them is one of the most popular ecotourism activities. Once you’re done staring at these flying insects of kaleidoscopic hues, the other big draw in Pang Sida, which is located 25km north of Sa Kaeo city, is its waterfall of the same name.

Until mid-July In Bloom The seasons may be less obviously pronounced in this part of the world but that only makes those changes that do take place all the more special. A pinkish-purple flower known as the Siam Tulip, or dok krachiao, will brighten up the Northeast’s Chaiyaphum province until around the end of August. Fed by the rainy season and a popular tourist attraction, they are most easily spotted in the misty meadows of Thep Sathit Pa Hin Ngam (Forest of Beautiful Rock) National Park.

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T R AV E L

hotel deals

Until June 30

Thai Residents Room Packages U Inchantree Kanchanaburi 443 Mae Nam Kwai Road, Kanchanaburi | 034-521-584 | ukanchanaburi.com

Enjoy their superb accommodation surrounded by picturesque scenes and sunset vistas overlooking the River Kwai. Specially for Thai residents, it’s B2500 net for a superior room per night with breakfast for two included and 20 percent off for dining at Peppers Restaurant. Plus, there’s 24-hour room service for guests to enjoy a whenever, wherever breakfast during the stay and a choice between international and local calls at cost.

Until Sep 30

SeaSide Sanctuary Package Dusit Thani Hua Hin 1349 Petchkasem Rd, Hua Hin | 032-520-009 | dusit.com/DusitThani-HuaHin

Only hours away from Bangkok, Dusit Thani Hua Hin offers a beautiful sea-view stay. This special seaside sanctuary package includes daily buffet breakfast for two and a set dinner for two per stay. Or you can choose a barbecue seafood dinner for two if you stay on a Saturday. A bowl of daily fresh fruit and a welcome drink awaits all guests who stay at the resort. Plus, a 15 percent discount for food at any of the hotel’s outlets.

romance package

Until Oct 31

V Villas Hua Hin 63/39 Petchkasem Road, Hua Hin | 032-616-039 | v-villashuahin.com

Enjoy a romantic getaway in a private pool villa suite. The package starts from B22,000 net, which includes accommodation in a one-bedroom pool villa suite with roses set up, breakfast for four, candlelit dinner by your own pool villa for two, a 60-minute aromatic massage for four, high tea by the beach, 10 percent discount on all food and beverages; 30 percent on treatments. The resort features 13 exclusive pool villas. An advance booking is required.

resident of thailand offer

Until Oct 31

Tamarind Village Chiang Mai 50/1 Rajdamnoen Road, Amphoe Muang, Chiang Mai | 053-418-896 | tamarindvillage.com Explore Lanna-inspired design, channelling the ancient heritage of the Northern Kingdom, during your stay at Tamarind Village. A special package for Thai residents, priced at B3000 per night for two, includes daily buffet breakfast for two, a private transfer from and to Chiang Mai International Airport and 15 percent off food and beverages plus all treatments at The Village Spa. An upgrade is available from Lanna room to Lanna deluxe room for B1000 per night.

special opening offers

Until Oct 31

Regent Phuket Cape Panwa 84 Moo 8 Sakdidej Road, Phuket 076-200-800 | regenthotels.com/en/Phuket Regent celebrates its newest resort. Stay in the brand new suites and villas with more than 105 luxurious rooms to accommodate guests. Enjoy the night in the pavilion room for B5200, a suite for B6900 and B11,050 for a pool villa. If you book 30 days in advance there’s an additional 15 percent off. The rates include daily breakfast for two, complimentary use of iPad and Wi-Fi, nonalcoholic mini bar, four pieces of laundry or pressing daily and a shuttle to town.

Until Dec 20

Samui sunrise Banyan Tree Samui Tambon Maret, Thesaban Nakhon Ko Samui | 077-915-333 | banyantree.com/en/samui

Anyone looking for a place to spend their holiday, then this is it. Book two consecutive nights (minimum stay) in the Samui Sunrise package at the ocean pool villa or Royal Banyan pool and get daily buffet breakfast at The Edge Restaurant, breakfast with your own chef, round-trip airport transfers, a one-time 60-minute rainforest hydrotherapy, B2000 worth of hotel credit for later use in Banyan Tree’s operating outlets and 10-20 percent discount on beauty treatments. 34 | JUNE 2013

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CROSS TO A NEW DIMENSION OF LUXURY BY DESIGN

Proudly Managed by Boutique Hotel Management Asia

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it’s a

jungle out there

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island escape

T R AV E L

good news for those pining for the good old days in thailand – there’s plenty of charm left in the leafy northern enclaves of koh phi phi BY dave stamboulis

M

uch has been written about the fall from grace of Koh Phi Phi, possibly Thailand’s most beautiful island, sold down the tubes to developer’s greed and rampant commercialism. Indeed, I remember when I first set foot on Phi Phi some 17 years ago, and made home in a simple bamboo straw bungalow by the beach with white sand and turquoise water just a step outside my door, all to the tune of 20 baht (yes, 20 baht) a night. It’s not so much that the prices have changed – Koh Phi Phi is now the most expensive place in Thailand – but that the beautiful twin bays of Tonsai and Loh Dalam have been overbuilt beyond belief, complete with shanty towns, garbage and hundreds of internet cafes, minimarts, and travel and tour offices lining the seafront to the point that one doesn’t know if it’s an island or Khao San Rd. One could go on and on, describing the classic case of paradise found and paradise lost, but actually, the Andaman gem still has some pleasant surprises awaiting the intrepid visitor, not to mention one of the more relaxed luxury resorts in the kingdom to vacation in. While the rapid growth has destroyed the front side of Phi Phi, its back side remains relatively pristine. Access to most of the beaches and bays on Koh Phi Phi’s northeast side can only be made via boat or from steep trails over the island’s mountainous interior. It is here that some of the higher-end resort operators have opened shop, offering visitors a taste of what Phi Phi used to be like, with beautiful water and white sand beaches, sans the masses that plague the other side. The top choice on this back side of Phi Phi is the island’s only five-star accommodation, Zeavola, which is tucked into a jungle retreat just off the beach of Laem Tong at the most northern tip of the island. Zeavola was built after the tsunami of 2004, and unlike many of the other projects that went up on Phi Phi after that time the resort has done a fantastic job of keeping the modern at bay. Indeed, the resort’s motto is “step back into simplicity” and everything about the property remains rustic and charming. Walking down Laem Tong beach, one barely even notices the entry sign for Zeavola, and although the beach does share space with several other resorts, plus a real working sea fishermen’s village, once one steps into the forest canopy that hides Zeavola, it’s as if one has entered another world. The 52 villas at Zeavola resemble an authentic Thai village, with welcoming verandas in each private space and lots of small touches that keep the visitor marvelling over the detail

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T R AV E L

island escape

that must have gone into creating this tranquil hideaway. Modernities such as lights and air con switches have been hidden away into old wooden jewellery boxes, large bamboo screens can be rolled down to give each villa complete privacy and yet at the same time everything remains completely out in the open. The theme of Zeavola is one of barefoot luxury, and indeed, one even meets the general manager or resort higher-ups wandering about the property without shoes. The villas and resort are entrenched in a deep jungle, and the management has allowed the canopy to completely take over everything, save for the cleared paths connecting the rooms, restaurants, spas, and swimming pool. The sandy paths are swept throughout the day, so guests can wander about even in the dark without needing to step into ones shoes. As the beach is just metres away, most guests prefer to while away their holidays there on the comfortable bean bag pillows and large parasols that the resort has set up. Yet perhaps even more delightful is the swimming pool, hidden like the rest of the resort in the jungle. Zeavola has two excellent restaurants, Baxil and Tacada, which serve a range of elegant dishes, from local to international. In a departure from your standard resort buffet breakfast, Zeavola offers guests a small buffet selection with appetisers such as fruit, cereal, and cold cuts, but then has a choice of entrees for the main selection, ranging from Indian curry on roti to Japanese fish, miso, and rice, Thai, and several options for the bacon and eggs crowd. 38 | JUNE 2013

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The resort also boasts an excellent spa and a Padi dive centre for water sports. Perhaps the best thing about being on the back side of Phi Phi is climbing up the jungle trails that connect Laem Tong to the island’s highest viewpoint. While plenty of tourists make the long, hot, sweaty trek up via mostly steps from the Tonsai side, coming from the other way, trekkers travel through untouched forest and deep into the cliffs and jungles that Phi Phi first became famed for. Up here, even on a weekend, we never encounter a soul, foreign or otherwise and it’s almost as though the clock has been turned back 20 years.

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Gracious Hospitality

Hosting the world in Thailand Whether you visit one of our properties for business or leisure, let us take care of the details for you. For over 60 years, we have hosted guests from all over the world in Thailand. With our rapidly growing network of hotels and resorts, we are now more than ever bringing Thai hospitality to the world.

Reservations: +66 (0) 2636 3333

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E-mail: booking@dusit.com

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T R AV E L

over the border

sipadan

W

hen it comes to diving, snorkelling and crystalclear water, a lot of folks think of the Red Sea, the Caribbean or the Maldives. Little do they know that one of the world’s most phenomenal water worlds awaits just over the border more or less, in the wonderful under and above water scenery of the Sipadan and Mabul islands, which are located in Malaysian Borneo. With over 3000 species of fish and types of coral, Sipadan is considered by many to be one of the top diving spots on the entire planet, often spoken of in the same breath as Palau and the Red Sea. Huge schools of Chevron barracuda, bumphead parrotfish, green and hawksbill turtles, batfish and plenty of whale and hammerhead sharks are just a smattering of the common inhabitants visitors see in abundance while diving here. Just 15 metres from the island’s white sand beach, a vertical wall plunges straight down some 600 metres, possibly the world’s best beach dive, giving divers easy access into some astounding marine activity. Lionfish, small reef dwellers and a large numbers of turtles are always here and the wall also marks the entrance to the Turtle Cavern, an underwater tomb full of turtle skeletons that became lost underwater before being able to locate the exit to the surface. No recorded history of Sipadan can be found until a mention in Dutch government documents around the late 1800s. At this time, it was governed by the Sultanate of Sulu – a Muslim state in the southern Philippines – which gave local tribes the right to collect and trade turtle eggs from Sipadan. Now that overnights are not allowed on the island, most visitors stay 15 minutes by boat away at neighbouring Mabul, a wonderful spot in its own right, featuring shallow 40 | JUNE 2013

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Going there:

Although the area can be just as wonderful for those who want to sit in the sun, go for a swim, and just enjoy the tropical scenery, most folks come to Sipadan to dive. Borneo Divers and Sea Sports (+60-88-222 226; borneodivers.info) has been around for over 25 years.

STAYING THERE:

As overnight stays on Sipadan are not allowed, Mabul Island is the choice spot for accommodation in the area. Borneo Divers, who run the region’s premiere diving operation, have now opened these hardwood chalets set in a quiet garden just a few hundred metres from the beach and diving jetty on tropical Mabul (+60-88-222 226; borneodivers.info).

reefs and lots of macro marine diversity. Scores of cuttlefish, gobies, frogfishes, scorpion fish, octopus and moray and snake eels can be seen just off its shores. Additionally, turtles, both green and hawksbill are often seen near the various resort jetties, and even the occasional school of dolphin may be spotted. Due to the shallowness of the reefs, even non-divers are able to spot marine life. Mabul is home to a large Sulu refugee population, and is also a trading spot for the Bajau Lau sea gypsies, who come ashore in their wooden dugout canoes to trade fish for rice and other staples. Locals are extremely welcoming and their fishing villages with stilt homes a riot of colour and activity, providing a nice cultural diversion from all the undersea wonders. bangkok101.com

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subway AT la lanta fine art

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a r t

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underground art With its unique urban landscape, New York City has long been the focus of photographers’ lenses, evident in the images of Joel Meyerowitz and Saul Leiter. But for Belgian lensman Luc Dratwa, it is the Big Apple’s subterranean infrastructure that drives his atmospheric colour photographs, capturing unlikely beauty in subway carriages and deserted platforms. In his new exhbition, Subway, Dratwa reveals a harmony of lines, forms, rhythms and contrasts. This profound, personal vision proves that beauty is everywhere, even in the metal framework of a train carriage, the perspective of a tunnel and the light of a deserted platform. Be quick, though, as Subway is only at La Lanta Fine Art (245/14 Sukhumvit Soi 31; 02-204-0583; lalanta.com; Tues-Sat 10am-7pm) until June 4.

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A R T & C u lt u r e

exhibitions

sexual mythologies

number 1 gallery [MAP 5/d5] Silom Galleria, 919/1 Soi 19 Silom Rd | 02-630-3381 number1gallery.com | Mon-Sat 11am-7pm

Until June 22 Artist Chamon Nimnark has assembled a charged, provocative collection of work that explores the way globalisation and electronic media shape sexual identity and mores. In his paintings, Chamon strikes a balance between beautiful, intimate images and creating a sense of discomfort in the audience, who automatically become voyeurs.

Out of Sight

F5 [MAP 5/D5] Silom Galleria 919/3 Soi 19 Silom Rd | 02-630-1114 tangcontemporary.com | Mon-Sat 11am-7pm

Until June 22 Providing a rare insight to the current preoccupations within Chinese art, this regular group exhibition on Tang’s annual calendar brings together five emerging Chinese artists. All born long after the Cultural Revolution, they have grown up in a country in the midst of massive development and subsequent materialistic drive which this show reflects.

Choindongiin Khurelbaatar Serindia Gallery [MAP 5/b4] OP Garden, Unit 3101, 3201, 4-6 Soi 36, Charoen Krung Rd 02-238-6410 | erindiagallery.com | Tue-Sun 11am-8pm

Until June 30 As more interest is directed toward lesser established Asian art markets, such as those in the Central Asian Republics, there has also been greater focus on Mongolia. One of the country’s leading painters is Choindongiin Khurelbaatar, whose landscapes of his native grasslands brilliantly capture the calm expanses of its remote topography.

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exhibitions

A R T & C u lt u r e

Buddhadasa Bhiku

Kathmandu Photo Gallery [MAP 5/E5] 87 Soi Pan, Silom Rd | 02-234-6700 kathmandu-bkk.com | Tue-Sun 11am-7pm

Until June 30 These historic self-portraits by the revered late monk Buddhadasa Bhiku (1906-1993) are the latest in the gallery’s ongoing Seeking Forgotten Thai Photographers series. Resurrecting key lensmen that have been otherwise neglected, this series of portraits by the iconic clergyman are accompanied by dharma poems that were intended to help nurture spiritualism.

buffalo’s heart

Thavibu Gallery, Silom Galleria [MAP 5/d5] Silom Galleria, 308 919/1 Silom Rd | 02-266-5454 thavibu.com | Mon-Sat 11am-7pm

June 15-July 13 Silpakorn University graduate Maitree Siriboon is one of Thailand’s leading young talents on the international stage. In his latest domestic show he explores, through photos and mosaics, the dichotomy surrounding the buffalo, an animal integral to the prosperity of this rice-farming nation that has, in recent years, become a byword for uneducated, stupid people. The opening at 5pm on June 15 will include live performances and a video screening.

inevitably imperfect

Artery Post-Modern Gallery, Silom Galleria [MAP 5/d5] Silom Galleria, 2/2 Soi 19, Silom Rd | 02-635-3133 arterybangkok.com | Sun-Thurs 8am-7pm, Fri-Sat 8am-10pm

June 21-July 20 Organised by satirical political painter Jittagarn Kaewtinkoy and American artist Dan Barry, this eclectic and intentionally ambiguous exhibition brings together eight artists Thailand, America, the Philippines and Latvia. Having connected through social media and previous overseas exhibitions, each brings their unique perspective to the loose theme of imperfection.

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Thai art takes

Venice BY MAX CROSBIE-JONES

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hy take one artist to Venice when you can take two? Double the artistry, double the acclaim, right? This appears to be the thinking behind the Thai Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, one of the world’s most important art exhibitions. Unlike the last installment in 2011, when Thai-Indian artist Navin Rawanchaikul explored nationhood in a zany fashion, artists Arin Rungjang and Wasinburee Supanichvoraparch will share Thailand’s space, a warehouse on the Piazza Santa Croce.

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interview

What can visitors expect? According to the curatorial statement on the Thai Pavilion’s Facebook page, “the exhibition explores and unfolds the intricate facets of contemporary phenomenon that runs in parallel with the overflowing and overarching informational dispersion. By accessing anecdotes, tales, oral histories, international connectivity, and interweaving popular culture forms, it urges the Biennale audience to draw from personal experiences to re-evaluate the image-saturated world.” None the wiser? To decode the ivory tower art-speak, we got in touch with the artists. Both revealed that, rather than a close collaboration, they will present their own distinct projects. However, there will be a Thai food theme that binds the two halves of the pavilion together, albeit only loosely – this runs separate to the overall theme for the Biennale, which is ‘The Encyclopedic Palace’, although there will be some thematic links apparently. One of the co-founders of Thai art initiative As Yet Unnamed, which is currently on hiatus, Arin Rungjang’s (above) piece is called Golden Teardrop and continues his use of readymade, videos and personal stories. However, it will drop the relational art, or audience-participation, elements for which he is also fairly well-known. “The way I hope audiences participate is by finding a thread of the story that connects to their own,” he says. It will have two main components, a sculptural installation and a 30-minute documentary, both inspired by thong yod, a traditional Thai dessert with a tiny, golden teardrop like appearance. The sculpture will be made up of 8000 pieces of beaten bronze, each one shaped like a bangkok101.com

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A R T & C u lt u r e

thong yod teardrop. These will cascade from a piece of wood salvaged from an old house. The documentary, meanwhile, will tell the story of how this egg yolk-based dessert, which is often served at Thai weddings, travelled from Portugal to Japan to the former Siamese capital Ayutthaya.

“ arin rungjang’s piece continues his use of videos and personal stories ” It will include footage of a Japanese woman, whose mother and grandmother lived in Hiroshima and survived the atomic bomb, making the dessert, as well Thai craftsmen creating the pieces of bronze. “Altogether these little stories will combine to form a work about the fragmentary nature of history and collective memory,” Rungjang says. As for Wasinburee Supanichvoraparch (main image), a conceptual ceramicist who runs the Tao Hong Tai : d Kunst art centre in nearby Ratchaburi province, he will use his half of the pavilion to expand audiences’ sensitivities towards multiple levels of contemporary Thai culture. He goes on to explain that the food-referencing theme imposed by the Thai Ministry of Culture does not limit him to a specific kind of food, such as, say, tom yum goong, but should geographically or historically reflect Thailand as an agrarian country. JUNE 2013 | 47

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A R T & C u lt u r e

interview

“I have developed my concept around the underlying complexity, superficial layers and mobility of contemporary culture,” he says. To get this concept across, he will deploy video and interactive sculptural installations inspired by the agriculture and craftsmanship of his provincial hometown, including red bricks fired in his family’s kilns. In the runup to Venice, local villagers were invited to wrap multicoloured yarn around them, a symbolic act first explored in his 2012 show U.P.O. (Unidentified Permanent Object) at Ardel Gallery. “Each brick is made from Ratchaburi soil and includes a rice husk mixture,” he says. “Having villagers wrap different coloured yarn around them is a symbolic gesture. We are creating something together to metaphorically explore what I see as uncontrollable, directionless modern Thai society, and the way in which diverse cultures and people are mixed.” The bricks will be stacked within a confined space inside the pavilion, he adds. Also featuring in his half of the pavilion, or Poperomia as it’s called, will be a fibre-glass water buffalo that signifies “how this iconic creature is gradually disappearing from the land and our memory”. The 1976 Thai documentary TongPan, which is about the reality of Thailand’s advancing social and industrial development, will also be screened on a loop. All this was put together rather quickly by the sounds of things. “I was only contacted by the Office of Contemporary Art and Culture back in January, on returning from a group project in New York,” Rungjang says. It will be interesting to see whether, like a hastily made Thai dessert, it all hangs together. 48 | JUNE 2013

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cheat notes

  klongs

  bangkok days

Pamela Hamburger | B995

Lawrence Osbourne| B395

Arguably the biggest losers in Bangkok’s slapdash modernisation have been the city’s klongs, or canals. For proof, take a trip down Klong Saen Saeb: along this poisonous central waterway you are more likely to see people holding their noses than catch any glimpses of the fabled ‘Venice of the East’. And this is one of the lucky ones – many were filled in to make way for roads. This book offers a collection of interviews with those living along those that remain – ladies, as old as their wooden homes, mostly – topped off with Hamburger’s boat-bound snapshots. What emerges is mainly a sad indictment of Bangkok’s environmental negligence, and a testimony to the resilience of these stoic water communities. Most edifying, though, are the anthropological insights to be gleaned from the stories, which span everything from local Muslim and Buddhist relations and dying handicrafts to watery ghost tales.

British journalist Lawrence Osbourne spends his nights wandering the city, hanging out with old, sleazeball westerners, trying to fathom why it is they come here. Duh, the sex? Not necessarily, he suggests in this meandering and lyrical, notquite travelogue. What they’re often seeking here, in “the slutty Cinderella of Southeast Asian cities”, is the tactile interconnectedness that Bangkok’s cramped streets and cheap massages provides. It’s a compelling idea and, though Osbourne does the city a disservice by only exploring its seamy side, and is an occasional fabulist – his gigolo experience in particular beggars belief – to his credit he says a lot more about male solitude than he does sex. Titillating trash this is not. In fact, we haven’t read anything so immersive and downright well-written on low-life Bangkok since Pico Iyer’s Love in a Duty-free Zone. We were hooked, start to finish, even if it didn’t always ring true.

A R T & C u lt u r e

  A CENTURY OF THAI CINEMA

Dome Sukwong & Sawasdi Suwannapakthor | B500

Thai cinema is crying out for a reelby-reel retelling – a book which does its history justice in the same way that Donald Ritchie did with Japan’s, thus introducing it to a new global audience. The case for such a book has only grown stronger in recent years too, with Palmes d’Or winning arthouse maverick Apitchatpong Weerasethakul singlehandedly raising the international profile of Thai cinema. Unfortunately, A Century of Thai Cinema isn’t the book film buffs are waiting for. It adds mere wisps of text to the very little already written in English on the subject, instead bombarding the reader with over 2500 colour reproductions of Thailand’s zany film posters, promotional photographs, magazine covers, records and other associated memorabilia. Treat it for what it is though – a glorious picturebook – and you’ll find it to be a superficial but enjoyable pleasure.

long june Kamol Srisawat | 1996 Adapted from a popular novel, Long June is as likeable as the best of Thai soap operas – that is, if you don’t mind a series of unlikely coincidences, easy reconciliations, perturbingly melodramatic music, and a few too many flashbacks. Young, hot-blooded Long June seems to get dealt the worst possible hands in life. Born with the family’s business in disarray, he is christened Long June, the curse of bad luck. His other adversities include a near fatal incident, an arrest, and a father who deeply detests him. It’s a capsule of 90s Thailand, where youth sported long hair, raced on fast motorbikes and peppered their speech with English words. bangkok101.com

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works in

progress Photographer Ralph Tooten’s latest project sets out to humanise the anonymous Thai labourer WORDS BY MAX CROSBIE-JONES

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hen choosing a subject for their portraiture, many photographers opt for something easy, such as models, fruit or flowers. Ralph Tooten, a Bangkok-based German photographer who counts a Hasselblad Master Award among his many credits, didn’t – he chose Thailand’s worker bees. A continuation of a series shown at Tang Gallery back in 2008, RCA, or Ratchaburi Construction Workers, is an open-air exhibition now on display in the provincial town of the same name. Hundreds of the town’s anonymous workers, many immigrants from the Northeast or Myanmar, were photographed for the series. Tooten shot them as they came, often with their faces obscured by the ski-masks, sun-hats, helmets and glasses they use to block the sun. Once the shooting was complete, collaborator Wasinburee Supanichvoraprch, an artist and curator who runs Ratchaburi’s Tao Hong Tai: d Kunst art centre, then got permission for huge banners of the images to be displayed around town.

The locations include bus stations, bridge arches, traffic light intersections, crossroads, and river ferry rooftops, as well as Supanichvoraprch’s former art centre, now ceramics factory. The images are high-impact and glossy, befitting a professional photo shoot. Oddly, this makes them all the more confrontational. It’s as if each worker is saying: “don’t look away, I’m the same as you.” Despite gifting a marginalised underclass their 15 minutes of fame, Tooten wants the series to be remembered as an intense visual experience – as critic Peter Bialobrzeski puts it: “Tooten’s photos seem like microscopically enhanced images of strange insects” – rather than social commentary. He is also out to question our use of public space: “Why should space reserved for billboards only be used for commercial purposes?” R.C.A.(Ratchaburi Construction Workers) runs until August 18. Call 081-880-3600 or visit facebook.com/tht.dkunst fore more information. More of Tootens work can be found at tooten.com. 54 | JUNE 2013

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A hot district heights seafood platter the district p64

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AROy sky-high cocktails

Sirocco at Lebua (1055/42 Silom Road; 02-624-9999; lebua.com/sirocco) has launched a new range of Red Bull-spliced cocktails, including the Velocity, a mixture of Chivas Regal, dehydrated orange, fresh orange, mint leaves and orange blossom. Or try the Gold Rush, with lychee liquor, honey, beefeater gin and gold flakes. The Unleaded uses ginger, mint leave, syrup. There are definitely some intriguing combinations there.

diner style

You can get a side serve of nostalgia with your meal at the Angel City Diner (The Prime 11, Sukhumvit Soi11, 02-651-3313, angelcitydiner.com), which delivers 1950s-style American food and atmosphere. Come and fill your empty belly 24/7 with burgers, pizza, hotdog and all things American. Check out their imported Rock-Ola ‘Bubbler’ Jukebox, piled up with stacks of great albums, as well as their spectacular alcoholic milkshakes.

NEW MENU AT ELEMENTS It’s time for Elements (The Okura Prestige, Park Ventures Ecoplex, 57 Wireless Road, 02-687-9000, okurabangkok.com) to change their menu. They present the new menu in Act 4, which includes Brittany lobster with dehydrated mango and panda lemongrass vinaigrette and a new selection of main courses during asparagus season.

wagyu at panorama

Panorama at Crowne Plaza (952 Rama 4 Road; 02-632-9011; crowneplaza. com) is serving Australian Wagyu with marble grade nine for a limited time only. Known for its outstanding taste and rich finish, Australian Wagyu is a treat, even to the most discerning diners, but you can sit down for an all-you-can-eat feast for B1200.

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meal deals

Until June 30

lunchbreak menu W Bangkok [MAP 5/G7]

106 North Sathorn Rd | Silom Bangrak | 02-344-4000 | whotelbangkok.com

Spend your lunch break at The Kitchen Table, where they offer a special lunch set from noon until 4pm on weekdays. Choose between Thai and western cuisine designed and presented with fusion flair, along with rotating menus, whether it’s three courses at B520 or two courses priced at B480. You can also select from five starters, five main courses and three desserts; inclusive of coffee or tea in the set menu.

Ongoing

seafood splash buffet Dusit Thani Bangkok [MAP 5/L6]

The Dusit Thani Building, Rama 4 Rd | 02-200-9999 | dusit.com Join The Pavilion Restaurant at Dusit Thani Bangkok for a very special seafood splash buffet only on Thursdays. The buffet features the finest selection fresh from the ocean, including succulent Maine lobster, black mussels and many other seafood delights. The all-you-can-eat seafood buffet is priced at B1888 per person with a free flow of white wine and complimentary fruit juices and soft drinks.

Until June 30

crepes promotion Mandarin Oriental [MAP 5/B4]

48 Oriental Avenue, Silom | 02-659-9000 ext 7610 | mandarinoriental.com/bangkok

Crepes originated in Brittany in the northwest region of France, between the English Channel to the north and the Bay of Biscay to the south. The word crepe refers both to the individual pancake and the filled creation, which can be both savoury or delightfully sweet, depending on the ingredients. Indulge in Chef Pierre’s creations during the whole month of June, experimenting with the various different flavours.

Ongoing

all you can eat dim sum InterContinental Bangkok [MAP 4/H4]

Ratchaprasong Intersection, Ploenchit Rd | 02-656-0444 | intercontinental.com Chef Khor Eng Yew invites all to join his new dim sum menu at the Summer Palace. Some new ingredients added are caviar, saffron, spinach and tiramisu. For variety, the new dim sum menu also has steamed dumplings, black pepper and onion pancake and baked barbecued pork pastry with parmesan cheese. Enjoy your meal while listening to Chinese traditional music. Monday to Friday, the buffet is B688 per person and B988 on weekends.

Until June 30

french classic combination The Okura Prestige Bangkok [MAP 4/L5]

Park Ventures Ecoplex, 57 Wireless Road | 02-687-9000 | okurabangkok.com

Enjoy pairing France’s finest exports – wine and cheese. Try a Chaource cheese paired with Jacquesson champagne, the favourite champagne of Emperor Napoleon. Or Comte Bande Marron cheese paired with Gekkeikan Nama Sake, a favourite from Japan. Guests will be able to choose from the French artisan cheeses, with wines selected thoughtfully by sommelier Marc Bittner. Two cheese platters featuring four and six cheeses are priced from B550.

Ongoing

amazing k’s sunday brunch Grand Hyatt Erawan [MAP 4/G5]

494 Rajdamri Road | 02-254-1234 | bangkok.grand.hyatt.com The Dining Room offers various promotions for the all-you-can-eat buffet. Starting with breakfast, the continental buffet is B690 and American buffet B820. The daily lunch buffet is B920 and B1380 on Saturday. The dinner buffet is B1380 from Monday to Thursday and B1750 Friday to Sunday. And for Amazing K’s Sunday Brunch, it’s B1750, which includes the grand buffet menus and activities for children.

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review

FOOD & DRIN K

zuma

- Upmarket food, relaxed vibe Bangkok is already brimming with Japanese restaurants and it remains one of the favourite cuisines of young, cosmopolitan Thais but Zuma sets itself apart by combining a fine dining approach with a remarkably comfortable, informal setting. For anyone suffering from uncontrollable sashimi cravings, this place is, quite simply, a must-visit. The style and presentation of the dishes is unmistakably contemporary – authentic but not traditional – exemplified by a particularly snazzy range of cocktails, including the Rubabu (B295), which blends sake and vodka with fresh passionfruit, and a spectacular lychee rose martini. But, of course, it’s the food that really matters and, in a format that might take a little getting used to for those accustomed to a starter, then a main, then a dessert, Zuma is a bit more free and easy than that. Dishes come out in no precise order and can be shared or eaten individually. The technique required to execute the smaller dishes is truly impressive and, because of Zuma’s three open kitchens, customers can watch the chefs at work. There are several highlights, though, including the sliced yellowtail served with green chilli relish, ponzu and pickled bangkok101.com

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garlic (B410) – the effect is stunning, a mouthful of the most delicately textured seafood packed with light but still intense flavour. No less impressive are the plates of nigiri sushi and selected sashimi (B1100) – Japanese food has become so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget how it’s meant to taste when it’s done with absolute precision and attention to detail. Some diners may be nervous about eating raw beef (B490) but at Zuma, served with citrus dressing, it goes down so well that any apprehension soon evaporates. Combining teriyaki and fish can backfire – the tangy flavour of the sauce can easily overwhelm the taste of the seafood but Zuma’s salmon and teriyaki with sliced cucumber (B480) is perfectly executed, the sauce flavours understated enough to let the salmon retain centre stage. Make sure you leave room for dessert as the daikoku platter (B2300 for small one) is a work of art, a mix of exotic ice creams and fresh fruit, served in an entirely edible basket.

Zuma

[MAP 4/G6]

Ground Fl, 159 Ratchadamri Road | 02-252-4707 zumarestaurant.com | 12pm-3pm, 6pm-11pm

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review

la bottega di luca

- All-Italian, all class Nestled in a smallish mall on soi 49, La Bottega di Luca is an immediately welcoming space, effortlessly combining indoor-outdoor seating and cultivating a relaxed vibe that makes it a neighbourhood favourite with real panache. Luca, who runs the show, updates the parts of the menu regularly and orders produce in from Italy fortnightly. The antipasti start at B290 and the grilled scamorza (B390) – that’s smoked mozzarella – wrapped in speck ham with mushrooms and red wine sauce is a delight. It’s a simple idea but the evident care taken in preparation elevates this to a gorgeous starter, reminding diners just how much they’ve come to miss cheese in Bangkok. And that sauce – you’ll be tempted to lick the plate clean. There’s a sizeable menu and it can be tricky to know which direction to take. The most eye-catching salad is the the seafood combination (B220) with steamed prawns, baby squid, mussels and clams seasoned with garlic. But who are we kidding? We’re here for the rustic, filling, flavoursome Italian cooking, delivered with real passion. That means it’s hard to go past the homemade pasta that gets freshly made every day – the dishes are reasonably priced at B240-490, although you’ll be shelling out B1790 if you go for the lobster. The paccheri with saute Italian sausage and fennel seeds certainly doesn’t disappoint. There’s a rich, full flavour, meaty 62 | JUNE 2013

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enough to eat with a glass of red wine but with a complexity of seasoning and ticklish spice at the end of each mouthful. Pasta dishes can sometimes become a bit of a slog halfway through but there’s enough going on here that the portion disappears pretty damn quickly. For the mains, there are some serious cuts of Tasmanian beef on offer and seared Hokkaido scallops with foie gras on baby spinach with archangel pepper sauce (N790) among the specials. But the sea bass with white wine herbs and cherry tomatoes (B890) is also a winner, a mixture that adds an aroma and a hint of flavour without ever overpowering the taste of the perfecly cooked fish.

la bottega di luca

[MAP 3/p8]

The 49 Terrace, Sukhumvit 49 | 02-260-2258 the49terrace.com | Daily 10.30am-11.30pm

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review

FOOD & DRIN K

eve - A truly impressive package It seems that not a week goes by without another restaurant opening up in one of Bangkok’s gleaming hotels – for the uninitiated, it takes a little while to get used to the idea of dining regularly in a hotel. Still, places like Eve make it a whole lot easier, from the luxurious foyer to the high-ceiling dining rooms and open-air decking. It’s heavy on style and the food is no different. The concept is contemporary European food served with Asian presentation – it’s not intuitively obvious what that means until the food starts to arrive, laid out on rectangular plates, minimally but artfully garnished. Still, the proof has to be in the pudding – or, at Eve, in the amazing French foie gras (B650) served with dehydrated raspberry and Xeres jus. It adds a refreshingly tart tang to the foie gras, lightening it in a way that really works. The jumbo Hokkaido scallops (B650) come with green and white aspargus, dusted with olive oil powder (pictured). The scallops themselves are top-notch but the decision to serve them wrapped in prosciutto doesn’t quite do them justice. Still, it’s a minor quibble, compensated for by the range of varied, exciting salads. That’s right – salads can be exciting. Sometimes, in modern ‘concept’ restaurants, the ideas work well enough in micro – small portions where there aren’t as many pieces to fit together – but start to wobble when it comes to the mains. The serving size and the expectations go up – the equation becomes more complicated, demanding bangkok101.com

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greater ambition and greater skill in fusing the ideas behind the food with what works on the plate. But Eve delivers with bells on. The chargrilled stockyard Wagyu beef striploin (B1950) is exceptional, one of the best steaks in Bangkok, served with potato mousselin, morel cream, baby root vegetables and pinot noir jus. A steak on a plate might seem fairly straightforward but Eve’s offering makes it tough to go back to more standard fare elsewhere. The seafood mains are also spot on. The Pacific Ocean snowfish (B1100) comes with green pea puree, wild rocket and pomodoro sauces, a combination that heightens the seafood taste rather than working against it. The Tasmanian salmon (1050), with escalivada and red wine reduction is just as successful, ensuring Eve finishes with a satisfying bang that should attract plenty of returning customers.

eve

[MAP 4/H6]

Hansar Hotel, Mahadlekluang 2, Ratchadamri Road 02-209-1234 | hansarbangkok.com/eve | 6.30pm-11pm

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review

the district

- Spectacular scallops The black wrought iron and dark wood furnishings of The District, located in the Marriott Thong Lor, are familiar but this superior modern grill is doing a fine job of carving out its own identity. It’s upfront about its objective: produce and technique are key and there’s no room for fancy for the sake of fancy. The name of the restaurant refers to New York’s meatpacking district – that shines through in the menu but also in the impressive cocktails. They haven’t limited themselves to pink and fruity, which is a relief, instead coming up with some bold offerings, like the Boss’s Daughter, rum, amaretto, bitters and lemonade, and the Midnight Snack, whiskey, snap liqueur, demerara syrup and egg white (both B270). The highlight at The District, though, is undoubtedly the seafood. The Ice District Heights, main picture, is a jumble of lobster, prawns, oysters, scallops and crab (B2900), enough to look after a group who feel like sampling a bit of everything. In reality, though, the appetisers are impressive and varied enough to justify ordering them separately. The lobster ravioli (B720) looks simple but sets the tone for what is a seriously impressive line-up of seafood dishes. The absolute showstopper, though, are the scallops (B850), 64 | JUNE 2013

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a shining example of The District’s straightforward approach and presentation concealing the exacting standards behind the scenes. They come out as an appetiser-sized serving but they could serve them by the bucket and there would be no complaints. If The District has a problem it is that the appetisers set the bar so high – the food is not ornamental but the taste is spectacular – and it’s impossible for the mains to deliver in the same way, simply because a bigger serving generally demands slightly more complexity. Still, the Australian lamb rack (B980 – above) is succulent and expertly seasoned and the Tasmanian salmon (B690) has a freshness that fills your nostrils the moment it arrives. But damn it if we weren’t all still thinking about those scallops. The District wraps up proceedings well, though, with an inspired dessert menu and generously offers its visitors a free bottle of wine if there are two or more diners.

The District

[MAP 3/S10]

Marriott Thong Lor, 2 Sukhumvit Soi 57 02-797-0000 | marriott.com | Daily 6pm-11pm

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street eat

FOOD & DRIN K

bamee jup gang

- Heart of Chinatown Bustling Bamee Jup Gang is one of Chinatown’s more interesting noodle stalls: a socio-cultural history lesson as well as a cheap, if slightly hectic, meal. A generations-old fixture, its bustling open kitchen and tables stretch down Charoenkrung Soi 23, a narrow pedestrian-only soi that leads into one of Chinatown’s oldest shophouse communities, Charoenchai. According to the locals who live here, it originally catered to hungry Chinese coolies in need of a quick, cheap carb and protein fix, namely bowls of bamee (egg noodles) with wontons and slices of red pork. That explains why the bowls here are the street food equivalent of a Big Mac Extra Large meal: much bigger than your average bowl. Today, the labourers are long gone, and the prices have increased considerably – from a paltry B9 in the old days, to B30 for a big bowl and B40 for an even bigger big bowl – but Bamee Jup Gang still does a roaring trade among locals looking to boost give their energy levels. Head here at lunchtime and you can barely squeeze down the alley for all the people queuing for their portion while the main cook, with his Village People-esque handlebar moustache, douses the noodles in a vat. Helping him is a bangkok101.com

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production line of staff, chopping meat, topping off bowls with pork and wontons, delivering them to the tables or packing portions away into carrier bags for those who order to-go. It’s not street food at its finest or friendliest by any means – people just wolf down their bowl and head on their way – but dining here is certainly an experience; very Chinatown.

Bamee jup gang

[MAP 6/g2]

Charoen Krung Soi 23 MRT Hualumphong 089-763-5838 | Daily 8am-7pm

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ealtike

Nym

Our roving eater Nym knows her local grub inside out –  and thrives on the stories behind the dishes. Each month, she goes in search of the city’s next delectable morsel

Yen Ta Fou Noodle

O

ne late evening, after I came down from trekking up to visit the Golden Mountain Temple for the sunset in the old town area, I continued on my way to the corner of the street food area. It was a perfect way to end the day – visiting a place I didn’t need to travel too far to get the reward for a day’s hard work. With the weather cooling down, the street vendors were setting their shops and getting ready for the evening crowd. One food cart, ‘Tee’ Yentafou, was not yet ready at the time I arrived and it struck me that it was the first time that I have seen the staff preparing instead to open instead of packing up. Pink and blue plastic tables and chairs were lined on the sidewalk carefully. The stunning scene of traffic during the twilight hours was one thing and the taste of the dish I was about to have was the other thing! This noodle cart is famous for their spicy soup – it is

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spicy like thunder in the sky! Yentafou noodle is a reddish type of noodle and often uses morning glory as the vegetable of the dish – not bean sprouts – accompanied with fish balls. The unique taste of ‘Tee’ Yentafou is unforgivingly spicy! Merely by bringing my nose to sniff the aroma of the soup brought tears to my eyes. But I had no fear to celebrate the angry pink soup and the fish balls. I ate the noodles, morning glory, fish ball and soup as quickly as I could. The trick is eat the whole thing quickly, ensuring it doesn’t have long enough to burn your lips and mouth. I sometimes come here to get just a bowl of this Yentafou, for the sake of having the pain of joy.

tee yentafou

[MAP 7/k9]

Tee Yentafou is situated at the corner of Samranrat Junction on Mahachai Rd. Open daily 5.30pm-2.30am bangkok101.com

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FOOD & DRIN K

Cooking with Poo Stop sniggering at the back! Poo is actually the nickname of one of the citys most in-demand cooks, Saiyuud ‘Chom-Poo’ Diwong. A long-time resident of Bangkok’s Klong Toey slum, Poo runs her own cooking school as part of the Helping Hands initiative, a community self-help program she started with other residents. The profits help street businesses get on their feet. Each month we bring you a recipe from her cooking book, copies of which are available via her website www.cookingwithpoo.com.

Stir-fried noodle (Pad see-io)

  COOKING WITH POO Saiyuud Diwong cookingwithpoo.com

ingredients • 200g rice noodles (any size) • 2 tbs oil • 3 garlic cloves (diced) • 200g meat/seafood cut into bite size pieces • 3 eggs • 1 tsp salted soft soy beans (optional, buy in cans at asian supermarket) • 1 tsp black bean sauce • 2 tbs soy sauce • 1 tsp white sugar • 100g chinese kale, broccoli or broccolini • 3 baby corn (sliced) • 1-2 carrot (sliced) • 1 tbs white vinegar and fresh chilli to serve Preparation This rice noodle dish is eaten with soy sauce and local green leaf vegetables is a popular for foreigners who don’t like spicy food. Thais tend to add pile on sugar, chillies and vinegar to add extra flavour. for maximum taste this dish should be eaten straight after cooking.

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• boil water • add beef and boil until cooked • drain 80 percent of water • add the chilli, red onion, tomato, spring onions, kaffir

lime leaves, lemongrass, lime juice, fish sauce, and coriander • mix it all together before garnishing with mint leaves

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all you can eat

Cafe Zeta

Once upon a time, Holiday Inns were a budget option for travellers but, if the one on the corner of Sukhumvit Soi 22 is any indication, some serious rebranding has gone on. This Holiday Inn opened last year and has a sleek, modern design that extends throughout its room to its snazzy rooftop swimming pool. And the hotel’s flagship bistro, Cafe Zeta, is currently offering an all-you-can-eat buffet for the very reasonable price of B299. Hotel buffets can, of course, be hit and miss – there is either a lack of real variety or the dishes offered are simply uninspired. Cafe Zeta, though, has made considerable effort to raise the bar in this department. The range of food available is impressive – there’s the pasta in one corner, nestled in next to the wok-fried noodle bar. Opposite, a vast salad bar that also offers a potpourri of starters, mostly Thai and western. There’s also a carvery dishing up lean meat and a sashimi bar that is well and truly above the standard you might expect from a hotel outlet. Alongside, bowls of miso soup are ladled out at a rate of knots and vegetable and satay skewers are available for your selection, then seared on the grill by the waiting chef. If there’s still room after that, there’s a seriously wellstocked dessert bar, with more toppings than could ever feasibly be combined in one – or even several – servings. Full bellies guaranteed. 70 | JUNE 2013

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cafe zeta

[map 3/m11]

Holiday Inn, 1 Sukhumvit Soi 22 | 02-683-4888 holidayinn.com | Daily 6am-11pm

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neighbourhood nosh

SIAM SQUARE Brimming with variety and well-kept secrets, this culinary stretch in central Bangkok rewards those paying closer attention

Since opening in 1964, Siam Square has been one of Bangkok’s centres of entertainment and fashion, ranging from street stalls to upscale malls. However, hanging out is hungry business, so thank goodness there is a huge variety of food on hand to feed the city’s hungry trendsters. Begin your culinary tour with Scala Restaurant on Soi 1. Named after the nearby theatre, this place serves tasty traditional Chinese dishes such as Shanghai noodles, and Peking duck. On the block opposite Soi 1 is a patio on Soi 11, also known as Laan 1, which is home to two of the area’s most famous restaurants. First is Ros-Dee-Ded, the very first pork and meat noodle shop in the entire Samyan area. For more than 50 years, this place has served savoury gao-lao soup at fast speed to rush hour diners. Your choices here are simple: flat or thin noodles, served dry or with soup. That said, they do also serve simple dishes such as khao na kai (chicken rice topped with sweet sauce), khao stew nua (rice with beef stew), khao raad nua aob (rice with smoke beef and sauce) and more. Best of all? Prices range from B30-B40. Next up is Jutharos, known as the ‘King of Clear Soup Noodle’. As well as their famous pork noodles, other items on the menu include traditional pad Thai shrimp, kuay tiew rat-na ta-lay (seafood noodles in sauce), khao pud nam-prik long rua (fried rice with sweet chilli and kaffi r lime) and a variety of other popular local dishes and curries to choose from. If all the food becomes too much, then take a break at Urban Cafe, just around the corner from Jutharos. Unlike the current vogue for heavy colours and retro décor, Urban Café is a minimalist dream of glass, wood and cement, the perfect break from the busy crowds outside. Once you’re rested up, head on over to Soi 2, where you’ll find a number of literally cool spots that mainly cater to students from the nearby Bangkok Fashion & Art School. The list includes a branch of homemade ice cream favourite iberry, and the highly innovative Khao Yum Tum Tiew by Mao-Mao. Taking its cue from Japanese fast-food, you order and pay for 72 | JUNE 2013

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your meal through a machine at the front of the restaurant, before talking your seat and being served. The difference is that the menu consists of som tum instead of ramen. Next door is The Krok, which serves a variety of Isaan food that pleases Siam Square’s teen masses. Tum mua (mixed som tum), larb moo (minced pork spicy salad), fried chicken with lemongrass, and tom saap (spicy Isaan soup with pork ribs) are among their bestsellers. Last but not least is Rosniyom. The latest creation by the owners of iberry, this retro-styled eatery sells classic Thai noodle recipes such as kuay-jub Thaiyaun, chicken noodle in clear soup, and kanom-jean numya (Thai rice noodle with chicken curry).

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CUISINE ART

MONSOON: The Season of Abundance For the new monsoon spell, Ruen Urai has selected delectable dishes fit for the climes. With warm and wet southwesterly wind from the Indian Ocean, Thailand’s rainy period brings out the best and freshest herbs and lushest foliage. Abundance is found everywhere in both terrain and water. Visit and savour fresh flavours of the season, from luscious salads and young leaves to heart-warming spicy soups, supple seafood and tender meat. Casual dining and bar from noon to 11 p.m. Ruen Urai at the Rose Hotel 118 Soi Na Wat Hualumphong, Surawongse Road Tel: 66 (0) 2266-8268-72 Fax: 66 (0) 2266-8096 www.rosehotelbkk.com www.ruen-urai.com

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listings

bo.lan

thai Bo.lan [map 3/012] 42 Soi Pichai Ronnarong, Sukhumvit Soi 26 02-260-2962 | Tue-Sun 6.30pm-10.30pm Partners Bo and Dylan arrived fresh from the kitchens of David Thompson, at Naam, the world’s only Michelin starred Thai restaurant, and launched Bo.lan with a formidable ambition. They’ve imported Thompson’s philosophy of rescuing classic Thai recipes that are fast disappearing in the modern age of convenience food, and produced a pleasingly short and interesting menu, based where possible on carefully sourced regional produce. It incorporates a 10-course set that opens with a traditional herb-infused liquor called ya dong, and follows with a rollick through the spectrum of Thai tastes, including sweet cured pork in coconut cream; bitter seafood soup, and deep-fried fish with a spicy and fiercely sour nam chup baep dtai dipping sauce. While the dishes have real panache, details such as touristy market scene paintings, uncomfortable seating, and a poor wine list with only one choice by the glass, are disappointing. At these prices the ambience needs to be more than townhouse homey.

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lan na thai

But the food’s impressive and Bo.lan could be an important restaurant, possibly inspiring a new movement in what many believe to be a waning, homogenised dining scene.

LAN NA THAI [MAP  3/S 7] Face | 29 Sukhumvit Soi 38 | 02-713-6048 facebars.com | 11:30am-2:30pm, 6 pm-11pm This proudly elegant restaurant / bar / spa venue has taken the Thai wooden house of yesteryear as its inspiration and muted, sensual opulence as its mantra. Everywhere you look there is a towering Buddha statute gazing back at you, or a lustrous silk wall hanging acting to be fondled. Teak fetishists should brace themselves. At Lan Na Thai delicacies from the Northern provinces are sprinkled throughout the menu like piquant confetti while assorted Thai standards bring substance to the party. Not everything on the menu is a screaming success but the Chiang Mai sausage, colourfully laced with chilli and garlic, is exquisite while the steamed sea bass with lime juice and chilli is huge, fluffy and damn neat perfect. The soft shell crab, meanwhile, is juice, oily and lip-smackingly moreish and – if your credit has not been overly crunched, the mango cheesecake is what dreams are made of. Very naughty dreams.

red pepper

Red Pepper [map 3/k11] Rembrandt Hotel, Sukhumvit Soi 18 02-261-7100 | 11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-11pm One of the Rembrandt Hotel’s four familyfriendly restaurants, Red Pepper offers a pleasant blond-wood dining room, lined with red pepper watercolours and overlooking Sukhumvit Soi 20. On first glance, the menu reads like all the touristy others: stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts, tom yums etc. Look again, though, and the odd educationin-spice awaits. Dishes in this vein include the tom saep nua, a Northeastern soup with a satisfying lime-tart meets chilli kick and lumps of fall-off-the-bone beef shank. We also recommend the som tum set – while the papaya salad is a touch sweet, the sticky rice and grilled chicken it comes with is so moist and tasty you’ll be fighting over the scraps. The soft-shell crab in yellow curry also get the thumbs up, as do desserts like the hot banana fritters in ice cream. It felt a tad lifeless on our visit, but Red Pepper’s Thai food is not, making it a good choice for a quiet, informal and inexpensive dinner.

SPICE MARKET [map 8/k14] Four Seasons Hotel, 155 Rajadamri Rd 02-250-1000 | 11:30am-2:30pm, 6pm10:30pm, Sunday brunch 11:30-3pm

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hai somtum

Mimicking a classical Thai village – rustic with rich wood trimmings, earthen ware pots and shelves stacked with jars of dried vegetables – is the Four Seasons‘ Thai restaurant. Popular with business and society-crowds doing chatting over central Thai staples (red curry with roasted duck, mango with sticky rice) with a dash of “fusion” dishes (green curry with braised lamb, shallot soup with shimeji mushroom), plus a recently added string of innovative new dishes. The young ginger and orange lime dressing over river prawns (saeng wa goong phao) makes a robust compliment to the mollusks, while the punchy sea bass with crisp herbs (pla kra pong tod) and slightly spicy pork and prawn with bitter squash (yam yorde mara) are both superbly fullflavoured and crisp. Don’t forget to save room for the wicked ginger mousse with its zesty-sweet finish.

northeastern thai (isan) HAI SOMTUM [map 5/I6] 2/4-5 Soi Convent (off Silom Rd) 02-631-0216 | Mon-Fri 10:30am-9pm, Sat 10:30am-8pm

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What this drab temple to sticky rice lacks in sophistication, it makes up for with plates of gai yang (crispy-skinned grilled chicken), tart laabs (minced meat salads) and other Northeastern staples, all briskly served by efficient staff for just a smidge more than streetfood prices. The real star of the show, though, is the green papaya salad, or somtum. The kitchen-cart here, piled high with shredded green papaya, knocks up almost every known variation of the spicy-sour-sweet cult dish. If you’re a somtum newbie, try the somtum thai – speckled with peanuts and dried shrimp, this sweet rendition lacks the fermented crab that has many a rookie rushing for the nearest toilet a few hours later. Our personal favourite, though, is the somtum khai khem (salted egg), though others swear by the carrot or pla raa (smelly fermented fish) renditions. Worried about being met by blank stares from the staff? Don’t be. Though not a tourist joint, the place has a foolproof menu and some staff who speak passable English. Deliveries also available.

Vientiane Kitchen [map 3/r11] 8 Naphasap Yak, Sukhumvit Soi 36 02-258-6171 | vientiane-kitchen.com Noon-midnight While tom yum goong and green curry may have formed a vice-like grip on Thai food in the world’s consciousness, those in the know savour the fresh and fiery offerings from the northeastern region of Isaan. The barn-like Vientiane Kitchen, in upper Sukhumvit, takes Isaan’s close ties with Laos as its cue for an earthy showpiece restaurant that throws live music and dance

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performances into the mix. Don’t come expecting high-backed loungers and silk napkins: Vientiane Kitchen wears its bamboo furniture and ramshackle layout with pride. Simple grilled chicken and nam prik chilli dips are the stars here – true ambassadors of the region – while there’s something alluring about folding up chunks of snakehead fish and noodles into lettuce packages and washing it down with one of Asia’s finest brews, Beer Lao. Meanwhile, a huge centre-front stage hosts entertaining musicians and traditional dance routines from graceful, painted lovelies. Not a gourmet venue by any means, but still a fun, affordable night out and a good opportunity to sample some regional delicacies.

american 25 Degrees [MAP 5/G5] Ground floor, Pullman Bangkok Hotel G, 188 Silom Road | 02-238-1991 pullmanbangkokhotelg.com | Noon-11.30pm The interior of this ‘bordello meet’s burger bar’ includes a long wooden bar, oversized leather winged chairs, vintage black and white photographs and rich red, floral print

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satin wallpaper. A plush 1960s pastiche, Betty Draper on one of her saner days would not look out of place staring vacantly into space here. One thing to note is that the signature burgers, as well as the build your own option, come sans sides, so the prices here do start to rack up quite quickly. Arriving first, the Number One was a handsome, hefty specimen. On releasing it from its brown paper wrapping and biting into its golden bun we hit a layer of caramelized onion, crescenza, gorgonzola, bacon, arugula and thousand island dressing. In future we’d probably swap the gorgonzola for a less assertive cheese, as it was a tad overpowering, detracting from the succulence and flavour of the soft, mediumdone patty. The ingredients in the Number 2 – roasted tomato, burrata, crisp prosciutto and pesto – sound a little more low-key and subtle, so we might give that a whirl next time. There are other options too, like the Number 4, which pairs yellowfin tuna with a crispy fried onion (solid not spectacular), and, if you’re not bothered about burgers, grilled sandwiches and beast’s like the sonoran hotdog (B330). This almost foot-long frankfurter came bacon wrapped and buried in tomato, pinto beans, onions, mustard and garlic aioli. Messy yet enjoyable.

Three on Convent [map 5/j5] 3 Convent Road | 02-233-6721 3convent.com | 6am-midnight With scares like bird flu and mad cow disease in the newspaper headlines, it’s little wonder that the championing of seasonal, organically bred ingredients has proliferated. Now, that same spirit of food activism hits

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imperial china

Bangkok in the form of Three on Convent, which promises wine-friendly (the restaurant boasts more than 500 bottles) “Northern California” cuisine brimming with hormonefree meat and pesticidefree vegetables. Chef Patrick Bundock (whose fellow Californian Alice Waters is considered patron saint of all things organic) trawls Thailand for farms adhering to sustainable farming standards. Along the way, he has crafted a grill-heavy menu showcasing the superior ingredients in all its glory. Savour the flavors and texture of fresh grilled king prawns and thick cut steaks which are juicy and undisguised by the sauce. The food offers respite from the gimmickry that marks most new ambitious ventures of this type – no fusionfood chicanery, no cheesy disguises here. Even the dining room lacks any pretence – mostly unadorned brickcoloured walls echo the minimalism of the menu. But diners looking for pageantry may opt elsewhere.

chinese Imperial China Restaurant [map 3/m11]

Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel, 4th Fl,

Sukhumvit 22 | 02-261-9000 | 11:30am-2pm, 6-10pm The test of a good Cantonese restaurant is its seafood, and Imperial Chinese does a bang-up job. Fried shrimp preparations are greaselessly, expertly fired, showing off the sweet succulence of the seafood. A hearty filet of snowfish draped with a kicky tao chow dried soybean, shrimp and scallop sauce is addictively good – scoop that sauce over the rice for a tasty treat. Even shark’s fin soup – that old grey mare of the Chinese kitchen, trotted out for special occasions and roundly ignored – is livened up into a spoon-slurping marvel by means of its concentrated, fish-maw broth flavor. Portions are conveniently available in small, medium, and large sizes; for a full-on feast, go for a Chinese banquet. Décor tends towards the hulkingly opulent, but with food like this, who needs atmosphere?

GREAT SHANGHAI [map 3/n10] Sukhumvit Soi 24 | 02-258-7042 11am-2pm, 6pm-10:30pm An old Bangkok Chinese restaurant short on looks but long on taste sits right beneath Phrom Phong BTS station in front of Emporium shopping centre. Like most Chinese restaurants in the city it has an extensive menu, but there’s no need to open it up. Great Shanghai makes Peking Duck in its most sublime form. The skin is so crispy and golden that it retains none of the interior soft fat after they roast it. The crepe-style pancake wraps are soft and moist, and the homemade hoisin sauce perfectly sweet and salty. Order the duck and you’ll also get a duck and bittermelon soup, and the meat offered as an entirely

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listings

crepes & co

different dish, either stir-fried with garlic or made into a duck moo shoo with sprouts. One order will feed four people and costs B800. Proof of Great Shanghai’s skills in the kitchen can also be found in the clientele, comprised almost exclusively of Thai-Chinese families, the sector of Thai society that really knows good Chinese food when they taste it.

INTERNATIONAL CRePES & Co [map 8/l14] 18/1 Sukhumvit Soi 12 | 02-251-2895 9am-midnight | crepes.co.th This cosy little oasis, with its quiet tropical garden, makes for a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of nearby Sukhumvit Road. Crepes & Co’s popularity is evidenced by the teeming weekend brunch crowd, from tables of families to groups of hipsters nursing hangovers. The eclectic variety of crêpes, served by attentive wait staff donning sailor garb, may just transport you to Brittany, but crêpes are just the beginning at this Bangkok institution. Patrons can also feast on a unique array of authentic Mediterranean fare inspired by family recipes – the French owner was raised in Greece, Spain and Morocco. A full menu of superb salads, exotic treats like couscous and authentic tajine-braised dishes (glazed claypots, fired stovetop) and build-em-yourself brunch combos, available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

PANORAMA [map 8/j16] Pan Pacific Bangkok, 952 Rama IV Rd 02-632-9000 | panpacific.com 11.30am-2.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm The Pan Pacific Hotel’s Panorama has several sections to drink and dine in, including glass-fronted open kitchens, a barista style coffee area, whisky bar and The Deck. The last is the most atmospheric, partitioned behind a glass and wood screen, where casual seating, dimmed lights, and a low-slung drinks counter lend a different mood to the brightly lit main room. The windows are open to the night air bangkok101.com

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and a 23rd floor view across Bangkok, so smokers are welcome – I ate dessert here and found no smoke intrusion. The international menu is big on quality imported product, exemplified by rack of Colorado lamb, in which the flesh is studded with tiny nuggets of fat that add flavour and succulence. A simple, semi-cooked, sourish ratatouille cuts the richness. If I’ve eaten tastier lamb. I don’t remember it, although you may wince at the B2,000 price tag. Another hit is the Foie Gras Declination: four corners of a square plate housed by pan fried foie gras, foie gras terrine, foie gras ice cream and a fresh fig from Chiang Mai

japanese In The Mood For Love [map 3/r11] 9/9 Sukhumvit Soi 36 | 02-661-5076 5pm-midnight With decor inspired by the film of the same name, In The Mood For Love has a more feminine layout than many Japanese diners. Half-moon booths of flowery banquettes and armchairs lend a parlour feel, and there’s a warm mix of old-time Eastern and Euro detailing, with Japanese on-cloth calligraphy, vintage tables and repro antique lamps. T he long room, with a bar at one end, is given extra width with a full streetside facade of windows and, opposite, a ‘shattered mirror’ wall that throws fragmented reflections of the small sushi bar, busy with chefs. Overhead, it’s a posh warehouse of lowslung fans and bamboo birdcages hanging from a corrugated roof. Billed as traditional Japanese with modern signature dishes, the menu starts with ‘Originals’, including California-style rolls, like Sweet 16 (eel, spicy tuna and strawberries), which is best enlivened by the chef ’s smoky soy sauce. Other options include sliced rare duck breast with hits of wonderfully aromatic yuzu kosho relish, and not-sogood squishy chicken balls. T he loud enough funky electro soundtrack keeps conversation lively, making this cute bar-restaurant a good place to linger over sake and cocktails. And it’s just 50 metres from Thonglor Skytrain. JUNE 2013 | 77

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isao

Isao [map 3/l9] 5 Sukhumvit Soi 31 | 02-258-0645-6 | MonFri 11am-2:30pm, 5:30pm-10pm, Sat- Sun 11am-11pm Although a bit tucked away, Isao should become one of those wordof- mouth favourites where staff from nearby offi ces fl ock for hefty takeout orders. Isao is based on a popular nofrills lunchtime eatery in Chicago; and it was named after the Japanese chef who makes his maki there. The restaurant provides an innovative twist on the city’s glut of Thai-styled and oh-so-traditional sushi bars. The chic modern décor has a cosy diner-style setup, with bench seating, bamboo slats adorning the walls, an open kitchen, a welcoming atmosphere, and a genuine rarity: a female sushi chef. From the newfangled stuff, try the Volcano – a scallop baked in its shell with a spectacularly hued spicy mayonnaise sauce, washed down with an oyster shooter perhaps. Set dishes offer a good way for groups to share and sample various pickings.

mexican Coyote [map 5/j5] 1/2 Convent Rd, Silom | 02-631-2325 coyoteonconvent.com | 10am-midnight With its talented American chef, classic Tex-Mex menu and slightly kitsch, margaritafuelled atmosphere, Coyote is a place to party as well as to sample Mexican cooking. Among a traditional starter line-up, the crab taquitos are a definite standout. For a main course choose one of the platters – tacos, burritos, enchiladas, chimichangas and fajitas – and pick the fillers that best suit your palate. Add a little (or a lot of) spice from the infamous “Wall of Flame,” boasting over 50 hot sauces from around the world. Save room for dessert – the peach pecan chimichanga is out of this world. Don’t leave yet, Coyote’s relaxed vibe and kicking music will entice you to stick around and choose another frosted margarita from the over 75 78 | JUNE 2013

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senor pico

varieties, ranging from a medley of Thai fruit to daring experimental flavours like chocolate and bourbon. A second branch, at 575-579 Sukhumvit Road, near the mouth of Soi 33, delivers more of the same.

SEÑOR PICO [map 3/k11] Rembrandt Hotel, Sukhumvit Soi 18 | 02261-7100 | 5pm-1am | wrembrandtbkk.com Standing outside the Rembrandt Hotel you’d never guess it was home to Bangkok’s first and best known Mexican: a lively, carefree little joint where sprightly Latin melodies come served with a rich array of fajitas, enchiladas and suchlike. The stereotypical Mexican decor comes off as a bit cheesy but gives off a sense of tex-mex familiarity. And while it can be quiet early on, the place usually picks up when the Uruguayan house band begins shaking the maracas at 8pm (except Mondays), especially on weekends. Start with the Azteca – a mango-based margarita that will quench your thirst and loosen up those two left feet. The friendly staff suggested the enchiladas, chicken breast in poblano sauce, and juicy and meaty pork ribs barbeque (B300– 650), all of which was endearingly sloppy but undeniably tasty. Portions are large, not leaving much room for dessert, which is just as well because by this stage you’ll probably be chacha-ing upfront with the waitresses. Not the place for a quiet heart-to-heart or pursuing a makeor-break business deal then, but for decent tex-mex with entertaining trimmings.

vietnamese Thang Long [map 3/b12] 82/5 Soi Lang Suan | BTS Chit Lom | 02-2513504 | 11:30am-2pm & 5pm-10:30pm Here on one of Bangkok’s swankiest restaurant strips sits the city’s coolest Vietnamese joint. And suddenly, after an expensive makeover, it’s even cooler (or is that cooler-than-thou?), with black slate, wood, iron latticework and deep house toons now filling this moody, faintly cubistinspired two-leveller.

thang long

Diners can elect to sit in this dim, yuppie cocktail lounge like setting, eating by candelight, or go al fresco on the streetfront patio – a parcel of sexy bliss on cool winter nights now punctuated by a big copper water sculpture. The fare is neo-Vietnamese, staples like chao tom and banh xeo outnumbered on the slick pictorial menu by Thai-tongue pleasing fusions like soft-shell crab, as well as the odd French Vietnamese dish. Staff can be hovery and a little aloof looking, but one shouldn’t let this detract from Thang Long’s trump cards, namely its killer designer looks and creative concoctions – deep-fried fish with served with raw herbs and dips; a tender beef steak slathered in a delicious peppery glaze, etc.

LE DALAT INDOCHINE [map 3/j9] 14 Sukhumvit 23 | 02-661-7967 | 11:30am2:30pm, 6:30pm-10pm | ledalatindochinebkk. com Oliver Stone sometimes dines at this elegant Vietnamese surrounded by lush gardens. Maybe he enjoys the leafy herbal hit that is a meal here. Or maybe the Vietnam War movie director just sees next project potential: the ageing pictures that line the walls of this wooden two-storey house tell of the love affair between the owner’s mother and father (a Vietnamese beauty and the son of the French governor of Laos) during the last gasps of French Indochine. Ponder their screenplay-worthy story over a cocktail in the indoors terrace bar, then amble into the bourgeois dining room – all blue and white tables, ornamental trees, Lotus leaf vases, attentive staff in traditional ao dai. The dishes, most accompanied with bowls of verdant herbs, don’t disappoint. Must-tries include appetizer Bo la lop (marinated brochettes of beef wrapped in wild betel leaves); the Bouillabaisse-like Bun Rieu soup (a Gallic-tinged alternative to obvious pho); and Cha Ca, a fragrant portion of turmeric Red Snapper coated in dill that slips down very nice thank-you with rice noodles and a sweet tamarind sauce. Finish off with a flane brulee and a good giggle at the salacious toilets. bangkok101.com

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Nightlife velvet opens doors Velvet Nightclub (Sukhumvit 33, 02-261-2199, Facebook: Velvet Club BKK) throws open its doors this month, boasting a sleek, futuristic design that is likely to pull a few clubbers away from soi 11 and RCA, further along Sukhumvit. Saturdays loom as the main event, running from 9pm until late, with a B300 entry fee that includes two drinks.

one octave higher Recently opened, Octave sky lounge and bar at Bangkok Marriott Hotel Thong Lor (Sukhumvit 57, 02-797-0012) offers stunning unblocked 360-degree panoramic views on the 45th floor. More than just a rooftop bar, Octave features a restaurant and a private dining room. Serving Asian-style tapas platters, a seafood bar and ‘a modern twist’, this place promises to attract Bangkok’s nocturnal city-gazers.

falcon swoops on bed DJ Falcon, as featured in Daft Punk’s new Random Access Memories, will be playing at Bed Supperclub (Sukhumvit Soi 11, 02-651-3537, bedsupperclub. com) on June 6 for the launch of SIXSIX. The team behind this is Champion Sound, who were responsible for shows across Asia including Calvin Harris, Skrillex and Example. Check Facebook: DJ FALCON – SIXSIX Launch.

lisa lashes plays narz Lisa Lashes, rated as one of the world’s top 10 DJs by DJ Magazine, will be spinning tracks at Narz (Sukhumvit 23, 02-258-4805, narzclubbangkok.net) on June 14. She’s known for her diversified sound, slowing the BPMs and incorporating tech trance into sets. Advance tickets are B600 or B800 on the door, both prices including one drink.

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review

Photos by Nick McGrath

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- An intoxicating portal to Old Shanghai -

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rom the Victorian steam-punk of Iron Fairies to the eco-futurism of Clouds, Aussie entrepreneur Ashley Sutton has already proved himself as the Terry Gilliam of Bangkok’s bar world, conjuring up drinking hole after drinking hole shot through with a magical realist quality. Maggie Choo’s, with its decadent atmosphere redolent of dandyish early 20th-century gambling dens, is no different. Clomp down the staircase and you find yourself in a noodle bar. One that could pass for an old Shaw Brothers movie set. Pictures of old Chinese movie stars line the jade-green walls, a ceiling of paper umbrellas dangles fantastically overhead, and in the centre of the room is a caged iguana. “Very cool,” you think, “but where’s the bar at?” Then, right on cue, someone ushers you through another door, beyond which lies the cavernous main room. It is in here that Maggie Choo’s (fictional?) back-story – Shanghai cabaret owner who fled to Bangkok in 1931 stumbled across a derelict bank vault and converted it into a cabaret – kicks in. The brick vaults lining the sides, we’re led to believe, were once used to store spices by the British but now serve as private little cubbyhole rooms, while the bar looks like an old bank counter. However, the main decoration – and they are just decoration – are the leggy cabaret girls. Every evening at about 9pm about half a dozen walk out from behind a velvet curtain and proceed to fan themselves while 82 | JUNE 2013

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rocking back and forth on swings, or sprawled atop the bar. With their deep red, figure-hugging cheongsams and short bobs, these coy sex kittens are there solely to bat their eyelids at the punters. This shouldn’t work in the year 2013, but it does. The roster of live music includes R&B, blues and soul from Keithen Carter, a veteran of the Chicago scene who has worked with Chaka Khan, Ramsey Lewis and Curtis Mayfield, among others. When he’s not crooning and finger clickin’ beside the piano, there might be a DJ spinning or a set from Jul & Co, a French duo who fuse live lounge grooves with Daft Punk-style vocoder. Even more closely tied into the theme is the cocktail list by Sutton’s mixologist of choice, Joseph Boroski. Strong, aromatic concoctions such as the Cape Horn’s Remorse (bourbon, pineapple and apple juice infused with cinnamon; B340) draw their inspiration from the iconic places, aristocracy, slang and even artillery of the Pax Britannica period. Destined to go down in local bar folklore, this is Sutton’s most intoxicating assault on the senses. Book ahead if you want a seat, especially on weekends. BY MAX CROSBIE-JONES

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[MAP 5/c5]

Underground @ Hotel Novotel Fenix, 320 Silom Rd 02-635-6055 | facebook.com/maggiechoos | Tues-Sun 6pm-2am

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At the end of the work day, let the business of unwinding begin with an unbeatable offer on Taittinger Champagne and two-for-one on all other drinks. Kick back in a striking setting with a hint of Chinoiserie decadence, and relax to the mellow grooves of our resident DJ.

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TAITTINGER AND CHAMPAGNE COCKTAILS B388++ per glass B2,288++ per bottle Two-for-one on all other drinks Monday to Friday from 18.00hrs – 21.00hrs RESERVATIONS: 02 125 9000 Ground Floor Oriental Residence 110 Wireless Road Bangkok Open for Sunday Lunch: 11.30hrs - 14.30hrs Open for Dinner Daily: 17.00hrs - 24.00hrs mandopop-bangkok.com

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listings lit by a glowing bar. Our favourite spot: the banquettes with a birds-eye view down over the soi. The rest of the club hasn’t made such a big impression on us, yet. At the far end of the huge main room, a DJ spins mainly house music in front of a tiered danceflooor spotted with tables and podiums. Dancers step up to get the crowd going. There’s also a low-ceilinged room at the back that opens up later.

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Nightclubs BASH [map 3/F8] 37 Sukhumvit Soi 11 (entrance next to the Australian Pub | midnight-very late bashbangkok.com, Facebook: BashBangkok | B300 including one standard drink Open until “very late”, Bash is brash. American owner Daryl Scott, a well-known club scene figure, has spliced strands of global clubbing DNA with the usually sleazy after-hours club concept. There are burlesque dancers ranging from midgets and robots on stilts to cross-dressing whacker Pan Pan (the shows bring to mind risqué superclub Manumission at times); the fixtures and furniture are of the very glam sort (gleaming Louis IX furniture, etc); and the DJs are often big names.

BED SUPPERCLUB [map 3/C4] 26 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 02-651-3537 bedsupperclub.com | 7:30pm-1am With its uber-modern oval spaceship design, Bed Supperclub is a hugely successful hybrid, and a Bangkok icon: fine dining on what may be the world’s largest sofas on one side, and an adjoining bar on the other. For the past eight years, Bed has attracted a fashionable crowd, and with its à-la-page white interior is definitely a place to see and be seen. The food is world-class on the cosy restaurant side, and the sleek design extends to an all-white bar on the club side. Bed has talented resident DJs and brings over topnotch talent.

LEVELS [Map 3/E8] 6th Floor, Aloft Hotel, Sukhumvit Soi 11 08-2308-3246 | 9pm-3am | levelsclub.com One of the newest clubs on Soi 11 (along with Bash) is drawing big crowds, especially during weekends and international DJ fly-ins. Located in the front annex of the Aloft Hotel, directly opposite Bed, entry is via a lift. Step out of it and you emerge out on to a semi-open air terrace 84 | JUNE 2013

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MIXX DISCOTHEQUE [MAP 4/H4] President Tower Arcade 973 Ploenchit Rd mixxdiscotheque.com | B350 | 10pm until late Located in basement annex of the Intercontinental Hotel, Mixx is classier than most of Bangkok’s after-hour clubs, but only slightly. It’s a two-room affair decked out with chandeliers and paintings and billowing sheets on the ceiling lending a desert tent feel. The main room plays commercial R&B and hip hop, the other banging techno and house. Expect a flirty, up-for-it crowd made up of colourful characters from across the late-night party spectrum. The entry price: B350 for guys, B300 for girls.

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

TAPAS [Map 5/J5] Silom Soi 4 | 02-632-7982 tapasroom.net | 8pm-2am On the groovy little enclave of Silom Soi 4, Tapas is a party institution and one of the few mixed hang-outs on a heavily gay strip of lively bars and clubs. For more than 10 years it’s been pumping out excellent house music and live, bongo-bangin’ percussion sets as well. Multi-levelled, with a dark, Moroccan feel, it’s easy to chill here, whether lounging or dancing your tail off! Weeknights are very quiet, but weekends are always hopping from about midnights onwards.

THE CLUB [Map 7/F 5] 123 Khaosan Rd, Taladyod | 02-629-1010 theclubkhaosan.com | 6pm-2am The walk-in crowd of young Thais and backpackers must surely be amazed to find they’ve entered a techno castle on Khao San Road. The sky-high windows and raised central DJ turret lend a fairytale vibe, while the lasers, visuals and UV lighting hark back to mid 1990s psy-trance raves. Music-wise, it’s a loud, banging house serving up the full range of 4/4 beats, usually cranium-rattling electro house and techno. The drink prices are kind to your wallet and UV glowsticks handed out for free.

Q BAR [Map 3/C4] 34 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 02-252-3274 qbarbangkok.com | 8pm-1am Long-standing, New York-style night spot Q Bar is well-known for pouring stiff drinks (there are over 70 varieties of top-shelf vodka!) and its strong music policy, with big name international DJs appearing regularly. Q Bar raised the ‘bar’ for Bangkok nightlife twelve years ago and is still going strong, with a flirty crowd every night and a recent top-to-bottom renovation giving the venue a maximalist style injection. Now, there’s more room to dance and more lounge space, especially at QUP, the more downtempo upstairs area. Some relative solitude and a pick ‘n’ mix of the expat and jetset scene can usually be found up here and on the outdoor terrace, which is perfect for a breather, people watching and a late evening snack.

hotel bars & clubs BARSU [map 3/F 6] 1st F, Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit 250, Sukhumvit Rd | 02-649-8358 barsubangkok.com | 6pm-2am The informal yet sleek and minimally styled BarSu features the tagline ‘eat, bangkok101.com

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play, dance,’ and appeals to the over-30 Bangkok crowd who feel disenfranchised by the city’s current nightlife offerings. To this end, there are five live bands for each night of the week. Comprised of students from Silpakorn University’s Faculty of Jazz, Tenon Round’ are a gifted young quartet who perform every Tuesday from 8 to 10pm. The other bands, JazzPlayground, P.O.8, Rhythm Nation and Hot Gossip, play from Wednesday to Saturday respectively. In between sets, the multi-talented DJ D’Zier spins an infectious blend of house, r&b, soul, latin and whatever else keeps you moving.

CM2 [map 4/D5] B1 F, Novotel Siam Square | 392/44 Siam Square Soi 6 | 02-209-8888 | cm2bkk.com | 10pm-2am The Novotel Siam Square Hotel’s subterranean party cave still packs them in sixteen years after it first opened, especially on weekends when it heaves with tourists and nocturnal beauties. The big and quite 1980s disco looking (black and metal and neon lighting rule) complex has lots of lounging space facing the dance floor, plus a sports bar with pool tables, smoking room, and an Absolut Vodka Lounge. It’s mainstream all the way. DJs play what the crowd wants, when they want it, usually the latest electro, funky house or hip-grinding R&B tune, while the live bands from Canada, Europe and Asia perform as if every song is a potentially life-changing audition. Currently that includes the impressive Crush Crew, who perform their renditions of modern hip-hop, R&B and other charting hits daily except Tuesday from 10:45pm onwards.

bars with a view threeSixty [map 5/b2] Millennium Hilton, 123 Charoennakorn Road 02-442-2000 | hilton.com | 5pm-1am High above the glittering lights of bangkok101.com

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

petite. However, it’s what happens at the end of the room that propels this place deep into the nightlife stratosphere. Where the long table ends, a tall plate glass window and huge poolside patio, complete with bar, begins. Out here, 25 floors up, you can glug signature ‘long-tail’ cocktails or new latitude wines with the best of high-flying Bangkok: a glitzy hotchpotch of celebrities, models and power players; hair-tousling breezes and screen vistas.

Above Eleven [MAP 3/C4] 33rd Fl Fraser Suites Sukhumvit Hotel 38/8 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 02-207-9300 aboveeleven.com | 6pm-2am A west-facing 33rd floor rooftop bar with beautiful sunsets, Above Eleven is a winning combination. The outdoor wooden deck bar with glass walls for maximum view has a central bar, dining tables, lounge areas and huge daybeds for parties to slumber on. Tip: choose a seat on the north side – it gets windy to the south. There’s a great view, an impressive cocktail list, an electro soundtrack with special DJ nights on Wednesday (Salsa), Friday (Hip Hop) and Saturday (House), and this is Bangkok’s only Peruvian restaurant, a cuisine with a bit of worldwide buzz.

LONG TABLE [Map 3/H8] 25th F, 48 Column Bldg | 02-302-2557 longtablebangkok.om | 11am-2am Top-end Thai food isn’t the only thing that draws Bangkok’s nouveau riche to this impossibly swish restaurant-cum-bar. There’s also the trend-setting twist: a sleek communal dining table so long it makes the medieval banquet bench look positively

MOON BAR [Map 5/K8] 61st F, Banyan Tree Bangkok | 21/100 South Sathorn Rd | 02-679-1200 | banyantree.com 5pm-1am This is one place that will get you closer to the moon. The open-air bar lets you take in the urban Moloch from up-above in smart surroundings. With stunning 360° views, the hotel’s rooftop has been turned into a slick grill restaurant; one end is occupied by the bar. Nothing obstructs your view here, almost 200 metres high up. It’s the perfect spot for honeymooners – take a seat on the smart sofa stations, sip on a classy Martini or a yummy signature cocktail and feel romance welling up. For voyeurs, the telescope and binoculars come in handy.

NEST [Map 3/C4] 9th F, Le Fenix | 33/33 Sukhumvit Soi 11 02-305-4000 | lefenixsukhumvit.com 5pm-2am An all-white and urbane open-air oasis on the ninth floor of the sleek Le Fenix Hotel, Nest is a loungey and laid-back spot on weekdays and early evenings, with couples enjoying signature martinis and upmarket nibbles from the comfort of Thai-style swing beds and Nest-shaped rattan chairs. But on weekends, a more up-for-it crowd ascends, especially during special party nights. These include MODE, a shindig every second Saturday of the month that pumps hip-hop and house beats rather than the usual smooth Balearic sounds. JUNE 2013 | 85

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What are the views alike? With buildings looming above you, not below you, here you feel part of the cityscape rather than detached from it.

The Speakeasy [MAP 4/J6] Hotel Muse | 55/555 Lang Suan Rd 02-630-4000 | hotelmusebangkok.com 6pm-1am One of the newest al fresco rooftop bars, The Speakeasy has several sections, all radiating from the Long Bar, which you enter from the elevator. As the name suggests, the complex evokes the glamour of Prohibition Era USA, with fusion Deco details, mirrored wall panels and carved wood screens. Everything’s distressed, the parquet floors unvarnished – it’s a well-oiled joint with a warm, lived-in feel. On the Terrace Bar people fill the lounge areas and tall tables that hug the balustrades.

SKY BAR / DISTIL [map 5/C5] 63rd F, State Tower | 1055 Silom Rd 02-624-9555 | thedomebkk.com | 6pm-1am Among the world’s highest outdoor bars, Sky bar – attached to Med restaurant Sirocco – offers panoramic views of the city and river below, earning its popularity with visitors new to the City of Angels and those intent on rediscovering it. Indoor-outdoor Distil boasts a roomful of comfy sofas, beyond premium liquor and The Dome’s signature breathtaking view. Adjacent to Asian seafood eatery Breeze, Ocean 52 sports yet another stunning view from the 51st – 52nd floors. These places are definitely not spots for the casual beach bum, so be sure to leave your flip-flops and shopping bags at home – a strict smart casual dress code is enforced.

BARS THE ALCHEMIST [map 3/e8] 1/19 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 083-549-2055 | Facebook: thealchemistbkk | Tue-Sun 5pm-midnight 86 | JUNE 2013

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Fitting somewhere between Soi 11’s swank cocktail bars and the rickety dive bar aesthetic of the legendary Cheap Charlie’s, which it neighbours, The Alchemist is a stylishly stripped down drinking hole. Nothing more, nothing less. We approve, and so too, it seems, do the punters. Not only does it attract the spillover from Cheap Charlie’s, it also draws a loyal crowd of its own, who savour the intimate atmosphere, occasional live music, proper his and her toilets (Cheap Charlie’s are infamous for their dinginess) and, above all, drinks prices. Currently rocking the drinks list are assorted martinis (dry, passionfruit and espresso), classic cocktails, random shooters, and some of the best mojitos you’ll find on this end of Sukhumvit.

Apoteka [map 3/e8] 33/28 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 090-626-7655 apotekabkk.com | Mon-Thurs 5pm-1am, Fri 5pm-2am, Sat-Sun 3pm-12am As you may have guessed, the name is based on an outdated word for pharmacist and the place is meant to emulate a 19th century apothecary. Unsurprisingly, it has an old-school feel. There are high ceilings, red brick walls and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde being projected onto the wall. Indoor seating is a mix of tall tables with studded chairs, and long tables for larger groups along the main wall. Large cases filled with vintage colored bottles of medicine flank the bar. The outdoor seating is mellow – a wooden patio with some cozy furniture that could be a nice place to curl up on a date or meet some friends for a smoke and a beer. Drink selection includes a nice selection of beer (the Framboise Ale at B250 is delightful), Heineken for just B135, and custom cocktails cost you B230. Keep your eyes peeled for the whisky and cigar lounge: a room hidden off to the side of the staircase.

BARLEY BISTRO [map 5/h5] 4/F Food Channel, Silom Road 087-033-3919 | barleybistro.com | 5pm-late Hidden up some stairs at the Food Channel, an enclave of franchise-like restaurants, Barley Bistro is slick and snazzy. The design is chic (blacks and greys, white-on-black stencil art); the drinks funky (lychee mojitos, testtube cocktails etc); the food new-fangled (spaghetti kimchi etc); and the clientele wholesome (Thai office workers mostly). Do check out the open-air rooftop.

Though not quite worthy of our ‘Bars with a View’ section – it’s boxed in by buildings – it’s littered with cooling fans, huge bean bags and funky barley-stalk sculptures and good for postwork/ pre-club cocktails. Live bands play in the bar most nights.

BREW [map 3/Q6] Seen Space, Thonglor Soi 13 | 02-185-2366 brewbkk.com | Mon-Sun 4pm-2am It wasn’t so long ago that the beer selection here was comprised entirely of the ubiquitous local lagers and the Heinekens and Carlsbergs of this world. The fact that it doesn’t anymore is largely thanks to Chris Foo, the owner of this beer bar tucked away on the ground floor of Thonglor Soi 13’s happening mini-mall Seenspace. Depending on what time of year it is, Brew stocks between 140 and 170 bottles of ales, lagers, ciders, you name it. Currently, the setting in which you sip them is hip in Thonglor circles. That’s not so much down to Brew’s tiny interior, with its exposed piping and bar flanked by kegs of beer and brick walls, as the buzzing outdoor area it shares with futuristic cocktail bar Clouds and the nautically-themed Fat’r Gutz.

CHEAP CHARLIE’S [map 3/D6] Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 02-253-4648 Mon-Sat 5pm-midnight This joint is a Bangkok institution, bringing the charm of a rickety hole-in-the-wall bar to one of Sukhumvit’s swankiest Sois. A no-brainer meet-up spot, Cheap Charlie’s draws crowds of expats, NGOers and tourists in-the-know to fill up on B 70 beers and pocket-change G&Ts before heading off to eat and party – though don’t be surprised if you end up here all night. Its location is a winner, situated as it is on a cool little sub-soi (first on the left as you walk down from Sukhumvit) packed with restaurants and a short walk from hallowed Bangkok gin-palaces Q Bar and Bed Supperclub.

CLOUDS [Map 3/Q2] 1st F, SeenSpace, 251/1 Thong Lor Soi 13, (Sukhumvit Soi 55) | 02-185-2365 cloudslounge.com The third bar by Australian Ashley Sutton – the mad scientist of Bangkok’s bar scene – is, as we’ve come to expect, something entirely unexpected. Evoking a future where ‘there are no more natural resources’, this slim concrete shell at the rear of hip lifestyle mall SeenSpace has a living tree encased in glass in one corner, and concrete blocks, topped with lumps of translucent leafbangkok101.com

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encasing acrylic, for tables. Vodka-based cocktails (B 280) by New York mixultant Joseph Boroski are prepped by ‘NASA technicians’ in white overalls; and the food offerings tasty misshapen pizzas, cooked in a gas-oven behind the bar and served in steel trays. A lively crowd-puller with indoor and outdoor seating, the result is enjoyably bizarre: think space-station drinking hole.

FACE BANGKOK [map 3/S7] 29 Sukhumvit Soi 38 | 02-713-6048 facebars.com | 11:30am-1am Jim Thompson, move over. Face’s visually stunning complex is reminiscent of Jim’s former mansion, with Ayutthaya-style buildings and thriving flora, it’s just bigger and bolder. The Face Bar is a dimly-lit place that summons deluxe drinkers with its cosy settees, ambient soundscape, and giant cocktails. Though often empty, the big drink list will stop your body clock pretty fast. The two restaurants – Hazara serving Northern Indian and Lan Na Thai serving traditional Thai – are full of fab all-Asian decor; they’re romantic and inviting, but you might be let down by the tiny portions, and the flamboyant prices. Stay in the Bar and order from the snack menu instead. And have another Japanese Slipper.

FAT GUT’Z [map 3/Q2] 264 Soi 12, Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thong Lor) 027-149-832 | fatgutz.com | 6pm-2am This sleek saloon is packed nightly with beautiful people, there to listen to live blues, indulge in carefully crafted drinks, and, perhaps, catch a glimpse of its in-demand owner, Ashley Sutton, the Australian behind the legendary Iron Fairies. Unlike his first bar, Fat Gut’z displays a less obvious sense of whimsy – here, the random fittings and industrial decor are replaced by straight lines and black-coloured, modern furnishings. It all feels rather serious, until you open the drinks menu. Sutton brought in master New York mixologist Joseph Boroski to create 16 unique cocktails (B285 each), all named after famous WWII shipwrecks. This nautical theme loosely ties in with the short menu, from which the most popular dish is, of course, the fish ‘n’ chips (B320 for one person, B600 for two).

FIVE Gastronomy & Mixology [MAP 3/O9]

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aesthetically uninspiring community mall. Its owner, Pattriya Na Nakorn, invited bar entrepreneur Ashley Sutton to work his magic with a vacant plot on the ground floor. And, completing her dream team is Joseph Boroski, the same New York based cocktail ‘mixologist’ that Sutton uses. His bars always engage the day-dreamy part of your brain and this black magic themed one is no different. Think clanking pulleys, monumental iron piping and flickering candles. Indeed, even the staff look like they’ve stumbled off the set of Harry Potter. Creepily-monikered eats include fried bat wings (herb-coated chicken wings). And Boroski potions worth necking include the Prescription Brandy Suzerac: a strong, earthy mix of Italian brandy, lime, honey and cinnamon served in a small poison bottle.

clubby; and, with a dominant central bar, it’s perhaps more brasserie than bistro. The food choice includes sandwiches, the Oskar burger (wagyu beef – what else?), pizzas and a section of cocottes. Almost all are under B300, which for food of this surprising quality is a steal. Most people come here though not for the food but for a pre-club libation or two: be it glass of wine (from B145 a glass), imported bottle beer, or reasonably priced cocktail. Close to Bed Supperclub and Q Bar, its own ambient, loungey sounds crank up as the night matures, and – although there’s no dance space – many of the mixed Thai-farang crowd are happy to linger. It’s a good meal and drinks option for a date or business, but also a lively pick-up joint without the pressure of full-on dress-to-kill. Book ahead if you want a table.

HYDE & SEEK [Map 4/L5] 65/1 Athenée Residence, Soi Ruamrudee 02-168-5152 | 11am-1am | hydeandseek.com This stylish downtown gastro bar is a deadringer for those chic London haunts that draw the after-work crowd for pick-meup cocktails and good food that doesn’t break the bank. Heading the kitchen is Ian Kittichai, the brains behind the successful Kittichai restaurant in New York, while the bar is helmed by the boys behind Flow, the cocktail consultancy that inspires much drunken fun around the region. The sleek, Georgian-influenced décor has paneled walls, clubby chairs and a large central bar, where snacks like beer battered popcorn shrimps and baby back ribs glazed with chocolate and chilli go well with fancy, custom-made cocktails or Belgian ales. Outside, there’s a spacious terrace with swing seats and a mini-maze of tea plants to partition dining areas.

OSKAR BISTRO [map 3/D5] 24 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 02-255 3377 4pm-2am; kitchen open till 11:30pm Lively Oskar has the electro music and low ceiling cellar dimensions to qualify as

TUBA [Map 8/S14] 34 Room 11-12A, Ekkamai Soi 21 02-711-5500 | design-athome.com | 11am-2am Owned by the same hoarders behind furniture warehouse Papaya, Tuba is a Bangkok classic: room upon room of haphazardly arranged kitsch, all of which you’re free to skulk through at your leisure. Some come here to snag a comfy sofa, retro sign or goofy tchotchke. Others come for the big menu of Italian and Thai dishes tweaked for the local palate. But for us, it works best as a bar, as the setting and generous happy hours (buy one get one free between 5-8pm daily) mean there really are few cooler places to kick back with a sweet cocktail in hand (or two hands in some cases – the glassware can be that big!). A word to the wise: one glass too many and you may leave with more than you bargained for. Another caveat: smokers are allowed to puff away.

Water Library @ Grass [map 3/q2]

Grass Thonglor, 264/1 Sukhumvit Soi 55 02-714-9292 | Mon-Sat 6:30pm-1am bangkok101.com

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Aside from its upmarket, inventive set menu dining on the first floor restaurant, the Water Library also has three lounge and wine bar areas downstairs with funky food, cocktails and live music at not audacious prices. A set menu of three cocktails paired with tapas bites at B790++ is a pleasant surprise to many, and their wine list starts at a mere B900++ a bottle. Water Library is one-to-watch on the regional drinking and dining scene. The very talented mixologist Mirko Gardelliano was Germany’s Cocktail Champion in 2003, while the wine bar chef Urs Lustenberger worked with Michelin three star chef Juan Amador. This operation has a small cool bar, all black and glass, and opposite through full wall windows a clubby wine bar with just three tables, leather chairs and sofas and wine racks.

WTF [Map 3/Q6] 7 Sukhumvit Soi 51 | 02- 626-6246 wtfbangkok.com | Tue-Sun 6pm-1am This tiny shophouse – signposted by graffiti on a corrugated tin wall in the street opposite – has a bar on the ground floor, decked out with mirrors along one wall, old Thai movie posters on the other, and found items like wooden screen doors and chairs. It works. The Thaifarang owners (an art manager, hotelier and photographer by trade) have made a good fist of cocktails (from B130) with rye whiskies and unusual bitters in the mix, while plates of tapas consist of Thai and Euro choices such as Portuguese chorizo and feta salad. Expect occasional live gigs, art exhibitions upstairs and a mix of indie hipsters, journos and artscensters to chew the fat with.

LIVE MUSIC ADHERE the 13TH [Map 7/G3] 13 Samsen Rd (opposite Soi 2) 089-769-4613 | 5pm-midnight Funky, jammy, bare – one of Bangkok’s coolest hangouts is nothing more than an aisle packed with five tables, a tiny bar and instruments. It’s a joint you’d expect to find on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, except forthe Chang beer. North of Khao San Road (ask for ‘Ad Here’, once in the quarter), this down-to-earth, bohemian hang-out packs ’em in nightly. On weekends, young Thais, expats and tourists spill out on the sidewalk when the joint is jumpin’. The resident band churns out cool blues, Motown and Janis Joplin; Georgia, the city’s only true Blues Mama, has a voice and figure to match, and would never sing Hotel California. 90 | JUNE 2013

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

Le Bar de l’Hôtel [Map 3/G9] Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, 189 Sukhumvit Road (btw Soi 13-15) | 02-126-9999 | 11am-midnight Hotel lobby bars are as safe and predictable as Justin Bieber. Which makes the Sofitel Sukhumvit’s introduction of Chai, one of Bangkok best blues guitarists, particularly welcome. And neither have they stuffed him in a suit. Dressed in jeans and T-shirt, his shaggy ZZ Top beard on full display, Chai throws the sleepy cool of Howling Wolf. And when he cranks up the guitar it sounds like grating steel. For these gigs, running every Friday and Saturday, Chai calls his band the Blues Delivery, a seven piece line up of guitar/vocals, sax, trumpet, bass, drums, keyboards and percussion. The only thing missing from a traditional blues night is the grungy venue.

SAXOPHONE PUB [Map 8/K10] 3/8 Phaya Thai Rd | 02-246-5472 saxophonepub.com | 6pm-2am Just a stone’s throw from the Victory Monument Skytrain Station, this cozy, unpretentious place is a Bangkok landmark when it comes to solid live jazz and blues. Attracting youngish Thais and the odd foreigner, the spacious joint can pack up to 400 people on its homey, low-ceilinged, woodfilled floors. Each night, two talented Thai bands belt out sincere jazz, jazzy funk

and R&B while the crowd feasts on hearty Thai and Western fare. All the local live music scene greats have played here and many still pop by when they can.

Jazz clubs BAMBOO BAR [Map 5/B4] The Oriental Bangkok | 48 Oriental Ave 02-659-9000 | mandarinoriental.com Sun-Thurs 11am-1am, Fri-Sat 11am-2am This Bangkok landmark is a symbol of past glories of the East. Situated in one of the city’s most sophisticated hotels, the 50-year-old bar oozes class, sophistication and style. Reminiscent of a tropical film noir-setting, it features a jungle theme – bamboo, palm fronds and furry patterns. Small and busy, it’s never theless romantic and intimate – balanced by the legendary Russian jazz band that’s been on the stage here for ages. Monday through Saturday nights catch the sultry sounds of their current resident songstress, Cynthia Utterbach. Everybody’s sipping on faultless cocktails, mixed by skilled old-school bar tenders and served by a superb staff. Ideal for a boozy night on your honeymoon.

Brown Sugar [Map 7/J5] 469 Phrasumen Road | 089-499-1378 brownsugarbangkok.com | 6pm-1am Little over a month after it closed down, one of Bangkok’s oldest cosiest jazz venue was back with a new, bigger location near Khao San. Now a restaurant and coffee house by day, it morphs into a world-class, jazz café-style haunt where renditions of bebop and ragtime draw an audience of locals and visitors by night. Its exterior is impressive, resembling a ritzy old cinema house. And inside, it’s huge, with a daytime coffeeshop up front, a versatile 200-seater ‘Playhouse’ upstairs, and the big, open-plan jazz pub and restaurant out back. On the last Friday or Saturday of each month they showcase an international act that’s passing through. bangkok101.com

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Garden by Fly Now III Words by Gaby Doman

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available at: 3rd Fl Siam Centre, Rama 1 Rd, Pathum Wan | 02-658-1707

iffusion lines should always be a) a little more affordable than their sister label, b) a little more wearable and mainstream and c) still bear the most important hallmarks of the original label. Garden by Fly Now III has all that covered with its springsummer collection, Camouflage. The sister collection to Fly Now III – better known as ‘that odd shop in Siam Centre with all the animal heads in the window’ – is a more subdued and affordable way to let Bangkok know you make off-the-wall fashion choices. The latest collection is a riot of layers and patterns with just the right balance between ‘wearable’ and ‘art student’ to make it a favourite of the self-conscious fashionista. The collection includes play-it-safe pieces such as slouchy boyfriend shorts, cigarette pants and simple vests. On the other end of the spectrum – and much more reminiscent of its sister label – there are wood-effect printed tops, trousers and shirts, asymmetrical skirts with panels of sheer netting and dresses with elaborate woodland prints, including very Fly Now IIIesque cow and goat heads and moths. The woodland and wood grain prints make the striking underpinning for the rest of the collection. Varied layers and textures and a heavy use of sheer and shiny fabrics give Camouflage a wonderfully fun feel. It is less of the Midsummer Night’s Dream whimsy and more a cacophony of everything lovely. Pretty prints paired with silvery shimmery tops, candystriped trousers, long-flowing skirts, silky textures, unexpected slits and silhouetted forest designs. While the cohesion between some parts of the collection is difficult to see – for instance, how do the sleek and tailored 60s-style striped cropped cigarette pants tie in with the full-length smock dresses with the almost hypnotic butterfly and goat head patterns? But that hardly matters because, let’s face it, you can’t wear the whole collection at once. And anyway, who’d expect the sister brand of Fly Now III to create a collection that makes any kind of sense? That’s all part of the charm of it; a kind of madness that works.

2nd Fl Central World, Ratchadamri Rd, Pathum Wan | 02-646-1078 1st Fl Promenade, 589/7-9 Ramindra Rd, Kannayao | 02-108-5176 facebook.com/garden.by.flynowIII bangkok101.com

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SHOPPING

unique boutique

Bellino

A

wine room combined with a boutique might not sound like a perfect match but Bellino sells the famous linen, hand-crafted shoes and aromatic lemon perfume, all imported from Capri, where owner Jay Boccia was born. And a shot of lemonade is offered upon entering as a welcome drink. Wearing a vest during summertime is probably the most sensible option in Bangkok. Weirdly enough, people can often be seen wearing thick shirts. Still, it is almost impossible to find fine linen clothing in Bangkok, prompting the idea to import linen, among other things, from Capri. Unlike most traditional Thai shirts, linen is more comfortable and suitable for the hot climate. “It began when my lover and I were in Capri last year. She was so inspired by life in Capri with the lemons, people and clothing. She just wanted to share Capri with the people of Bangkok,” Boccia says. Bellino has a Carthusia perfume made out of lemon from Capri for B3200 per 50mm bottle. If you like lemon scent, this kind of fragrance is almost impossible to find elsewhere in Bangkok. “Bellino is a small place. We don’t have many seats but we are close and people coming here are the usual customers,” Boccia says. Besides clothing, Bellino offers a homemade Italian menu, which rotates according to Jay’s mood and available ingredients. A Caprese salad (B350) is a staple, while Mama’s meatballs and tapas platter are B300. A glass of wine is B120 – the price is friendly because they import the wine themselves. 94 | JUNE 2013

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Bellino Wine Room & Boutique

[MAP 3/Q6]

Thonglor 13 next to Seen Space | 02-712-5446 facebook.com/BellinoWineRoomBoutique | 6.30pm-2am

bangkok101.com

23/05/2013 16:32


market watch

SHOPPING

Talat Rot Fai T

his retro-cool flea market just around the corner from Jatuchak Weekend Market is well worth the trip, for its hipster vibes and camera-friendly setup as much as what’s sold there. Hundreds of antique hounds and retromad dek neaw (teen hipsters) flock to this plot of State Railway department land every Saturday and Sunday evening to browse and bargain for vintage collectibles, reproductions and fashions. And yet, the chance to pick up a beat-up old Michelin tyre sign, a vintage BMX, or a smelly pair of old trainers is only part of the appeal – Talad Rot Fai is also a hip place just to hang out and sip rocket-sodas with your pals. Backing up the car-boot side of things are lots of food and drink stalls, many of them operating out of converted VW vans, plus the market’s refurbished railway warehouses. These have been divided and sublet to create a parade of retro antique shops, each one piled high with antiques, collectables and nostalgia. Collectors, interior designers, landscape architects, movie set designers and exporters all delight in combing through the one-of-a-kind treasures… and so do we.

TALAT ROT FAI (THE TRAIN MARKET) [MAP8/L3] Kamphaeng Phet Road | Sat-Sun 6pm-midnight

I

Amulet Market

f there were such a thing as DNA of the soul, the Thais’ would contain big strands of Buddhism intertwined with smaller segments of Hinduism, Animism and superstition. Two of the most colourful manifestations of this – Thailand’s spiritual complexity – are the amulets and the markets that flog them. Tha Prachan Road, near the old town’s Sanam Luang, is home to Bangkok’s most famous amulet market. Seven days a week, come rain or come shine, vendors erect tables or lay out blankets under the trees along this old shophouse-lined street and display their earthy charms. Whether you want to drive more customers to your shop, become more attractive to prospective partners or finally have the baby you’ve been longing for, there’s an amulet here for you.

amulet market

[MAP 7/c7]

Tha Prachan Rd, between Sanam Luang and Maharat Rd 8am-6pm

bangkok101.com

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jj gem

SHOPPING

mae klong It’s not just soul music can be heard drifting from this shop. Listen carefully and you might hear the owner Parinya also conducting a freestyle singalong. It’s no wonder given what he sells: African instruments like the kalimba (thumb piano), bongo drums, as well as assorted shakers, and the latest must-have craze among strum-happy musical Thais, ukuleles. The name of his small, cluttered shop doesn’t just refer to the name of a river but is also actually a witty pun derived from the combination of two of the owner’s most beloved things: his Mae (mother) and klong (drum). A shop with zero pretensiousness and a great sense of rhythm, it’s the kind of place where if you ask really nicely you may even get an impromptu lesson.

mae klong Section 3 Soi 44/1 | 086-977-0265 facebook.com/tigermaeklong

Jatujak Market

Forget designer malls. Jatujak weekend market is Bangkok’s true paragon of retail. This is shopping as survival of the fittest: only those with finely tuned consumer instincts shall persevere. The rest can go and get lost – literally aking a wrong turn’s almost a given in this sprawling, city-sized marketplace, upon which thousands descend every weekend, to trade everything from Burmese antiques to pedigree livestock. Originally a flea market, Jatujak (also spelled as Chatuchak) quickly outgrew the confines of the insect world to become much more than the sum of its disparate parts. These days, young Thai designers take advantage of the low onsite rent to punt their creative wares; if you so desire, you can peruse piles of customised Zippos that once belonged to American GIs; and tasty pickings conveniently punctuate every which way. Additionally, the exotic pet section particularly supports the theory that Jatujak has evolved its own diverse eco-system (albeit one that periodically gets busted for obviously illegal activites). All this can be a bit overwhelming at first, but persevere and a semblance of order should begin to crystallise from the chaos. Go in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the worst of the heat and the crowds. Or come for a leisurely browse on Friday before the real deluge hits; although only the weekend gig gives ardent shopaholics the fully-blown, unadulterated Jatujak fix. bangkok101.com

092-097_shopping.indd 97

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

The Jatujak Market of Bangkok presents photographer Simon Bonython’s visual inter­ pre­tation of Bangkok’s world-famous week­end market, giving particular emphasis on candid snaps of the general public and the characters who work there. In spite of the dark alleys and typically poorly lit stalls, Simon avoided using a tripod or flash, making for spontaneous, natural shots that capture the heat, buzz and colour of this labyrinthine treasure trove. JUNE 2013 | 97

23/05/2013 16:32


WELLN ESS

treatment yunomori

refresh

Refresh [MAP 3/n9] 43 Sukumvit Soi 24 | 02-259-7235 refresh24spa.com | 9.30am-1am | $

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

lavana [map 3 / F 7] 4 Sukhumvit Soi 12 | 02-229-4510 9am-11:30pm | $$$

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

shin shin

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

Yunomori [Map 3/o9] A Square, Sukhumvit 26 | 02-259-5778 facebook.com/yunomorionsen | 10.30am12am | $$$

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

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

shin shin spa  [MAP 3/y6] L-floor Jasmine Resort Hotel, 1511 Sukhumvit Rd | 02-335-5022 shinshinspa.com | 10am-8pm | $$

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

98 | JUNE 2013

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bangkok101.com

23/05/2013 11:22


treatment

WELLN ESS

The Magic

touch O

ne of the first lessons of good spa-going that you should not be put off by a plain interior. After all, it’s the touch of your masseuse – not the frills – that counts. This point is well-proven by a joint on affluent Soi Ruamrudee, which happens to be called just that: The Touch. Head in through the doors and you’ll find a reception and foot massage area that looks much like most of the competition. Head upstairs and the treatment rooms are pretty plain too. However, once your face hits the massage mat you won’t care about the decor, especially at these prices. Your basic one-hour Thai or foot massage is a snip at B300, while aromatherapy treatments start from a still reasonable B790 and Thai herbal compress massages from B600. They also offer one-hour body scrubs, during which that layer of dead skin will be tenderly removed using a coarse homemade Thai herb, salt, coffee or green tea scrub, for B600. Promotional two-hour packages offering a mix of treatments, as well as facials, are also offered. These range in price from B550 (traditional Thai and foot massage) to B1490 (body scrub and aroma oil massage) – a bargain, we think you’ll agree. We found the masseuses to be well-trained and friendly and we left feeling recharged and happy.

the touch spa [mAP 3/d11] 1/2 Ruamrudee, Ploenchit | 02-651-5722 thetouch1.com

bangkok101.com

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23/05/2013 11:22


comm u nit y

making merit

R

second chance:

Make the most of your old stuff

W

e’ve all been there: you look at that piece of furniture, that pile of clothes, that unused appliance, just days before the movers are due to arrive, and wonder what on earth you’re going to do. Too often you opt to throw it all out, or ship it and worry about it later. That’s where Second Chance Bangkok, a grassroots initiative set up by expats Chris and Jodie MacCartney, comes in: they’ll take your unwanted junk off your hands for free. Not that making the lives of hoarders easier is their sole concern – they founded Second Chance back in 2009 to improve the lives of those living in Bangkok’s impoverished Klong Toei slum. All your donations are sold to the Klong Toei community, for the benefit of the Klong Toei community. In other words, items sold at their shop located in the slum go to new homes for a below-market price and the proceeds are used to help generate employment, start businesses

100 | JUNE 2013

100-101_community.indd 100

and fund social projects there. It’s an initiative balancing environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Donate and, as well as easing the pressure on your local landfill, you’ll be helping pay the wages of the Klong Toei residents who man their store and support a string of poverty-alleviation projects. These include youth and kids’ clubs, medical assistance programmes, support for small business start-ups and education scholarships. Preferred pick-up times are Monday to Friday in the mornings or evenings. Items welcomed include the following: clean clothing, baby clothing, kitchenware, children’s toys, furniture, sporting items, musical instruments, household appliances, computers, books, bedding, electrical appliances and office equipment.

Second Chance Bangkok

[MAP 2/F10]

99/101 Ardnarong Road | 08702-64295 | scbkk.org

bangkok101.com

23/05/2013 16:33

s t m t

D f


! e p a h s o t in st li e in w r ou y et G Wine List of the Year

Thailand Awards 2013 Registration opens May 1, closes July 31 2013 Be in the running to become Thailand's Best National Wine List!

“Good lists ought to be fresh, uncomplicated, brief, accessible to read

encouraging customers to buy glasses of wine… lists which have been highly praised have clearly communicated what is for sale; and have some connection between their cuisine, its origins, and wine from the respective regions which reflect both food style and wine culture…

Peter Scudamore-Smith, Master of Wine and Chairman of Judges

“We have guests in the resort because of the wine list. They

saw the award we won -- the Best Wine List in Thailand… that kind of marketing is invaluable. I think more establishments should look at the wine list as an important part of the revenue department.

Dawid Koegelenberg (left) of The Sarojin with founder of Wine List of the Year Awards, Jon Hyams

Go to www.winelistoftheyearthailand.com to enter the Awards! E. info@winelistoftheyearthailand.com 100-101_community.indd 101

23/05/2013 16:34


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samut prakarn

23/05/2013 11:24


RAIL

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

SKYTRAIN (BTS) 

Airport Rail Link 

The Bangkok Transit System, or BTS, is a two-line elevated train network covering the major commercial areas. Trains run every few minutes from 6am to midnight, making the BTS a quick and reliable transport option, especially during heavy traffic jams. Fares range from B 15 to B 55; special tourist passes allowing unlimited travel for one day (B120) are available. BTS also provides free shuttle buses which transit passengers to and from stations and nearby areas. See bts.co.th.

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

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

RIVER

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

CANAL BOAT Khlong Saen Saep canal boats operate from Phan Fa Leelard bridge, on the edge of the Old City, and zip east to Ramkhamhaeng University. However, you have to be quick to board them as they don’t usually wait around. Canal (khlong) boats tend to be frequent and cost around B 9 to B19. Tickets are bought onboard. Note that the piers are a little hidden away, which makes them sometimes difficult to find.

ROAD BUS Bangkok has an extensive and inexpensive public bus service. Both open-air and air-conditioned vehicles are available, respectively for B5 and B7.50-B 23. As most destinations are noted only in Thai, it is advisable to get a bus route map (available at hotels, TAT offices and bookshops).

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

102-103_gettingthere.indd 103

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

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

TAXI Bangkok has thousands of metered,

air-conditioned taxis available 24 hours. Flag fall is B35 (for the first 2 km) and the fare climbs in B2 increments. Be sure the driver switches the meter on. No tipping, but rounding the fare up to the nearest B5 or B10 is common. Additional passengers are not charged, nor is baggage. For trips to and from the airport, passengers should pay the expressway toll fees. When boarding from the queue outside the terminal, an additional B50 surcharge is added.

TUK-TUK Those three-wheeled taxis (or samlor) are best known as tuk-tuks, named for the steady whirr of their engines. A 10-minute ride should cost around B40. JUNE 2013 | 103

23/05/2013 11:24


MAP 1  Greater Bangkok A

B

Greater Bangkok & the Chao Phraya  MAP 2 >

C

D

E

F

G

H

J

K

L MYANMAR

Uthai Thani

1

UTHAI THANI

CHAI NAT

2

Chiang Mai

LOP BURI

Nakhon Ratchasima c

Nakhon Ratchasima

Pattaya CAMBODIA Koh Samet Koh Chang

NAKHON RATCHASIM A

SARABURI

3

Andaman Sea

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya

Koh Samui

AYUTTHAYA

NAKHON NAYOK

PATHUM THANI 5

b

1 2

MALAYSIA

PRACHIN BURI

f c

RATCHABURI

VIETNAM

Gulf of Thailand

Krabi

Phuket

4

NAKHON PATHOM

Ubon

Bangkok

ANG THONG

KANCHANABURI

Udon Thani

Lop Buri

Kanchanaburi

LAOS

THAILAND

SING BURI

SUPHAN BURI

6

M 

3

2

SA KAEO

BANGKOK f a

SAMUT SAKHON

CHACHOENGSAO

SAMUT

1 PRAKAN

SAMUT SONGKHRAM

CA M BODI A CHON BURI

Phetchaburi

7

Ko Sichang

PHETCHABURI 8

Pattaya RAYONG

Cha-am

CHANTHABURI

Rayong Hua Hin

Ko Samet

Muang Chantaburi

9

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN 10

Trat

Gulf of Thailand

M YA N M A R

Ko Chang

Prachuap Khiri Khan

11

Ko Kut

N

20 km 20 miles Country Border Boarder Crossing Province Border

104 | JUNE 2013

SIGHTSEEING a 

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

FLOATING MARKETS   Damnoen Saduak 2   Amphawa 1

MUSEUMS 1

  Erawan Museum 2   House of Museum 3   Thai Film Museum 4   Museum of Counterfeit Goods

NIGHT BAZAAR 1

  Asiatique The Riverfront [free shuttle boat from Sathorn pier everyday 4.00-11.30 pm.]

NIGHTLIFE 1 2

Parking Toys Tawandang German

HOTELS 1   Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort and Spa

bangkok101.com


A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

J

K

L

M

N 

F

Tanya Tanee

PAK KRET

Don Mueng

2

Don Mueng Int. Airport

Ko Kret

Sai Mai

F

Royal Irrigation Dept.

3

Lak Si

F

F

Rajpruek

The Legacy

F

Northpark

4

e

Khlong Sam wa

Royal Thai Army Sport Center

F5

1

Thanont

F

Chatuchak Bang Sue

Bang Phlat

8

Huai Khwang

Saphan Sung

Bang Kapi

F

Pathumwan

Bangkok Yai Wongwian Yai

Bang Rak

Khlong San *

Thon Buri 1

Chom Thong

F

9

10

1

Bang Kholaem

Lat Krabang

Suan Luang

Khlong Toei

Sathorn

60th Anniversary Queen Sirikit Park

Krungthep Unico Kreetha Grande

Watthana

Lumpini

7

Wang Thong lang

DinDaeng Ratchathewi

Mini Buri

F

Navatanee

Phayathai

Taling Chan

6

Khan na Yao

Bueng Kum

Mo Chit

Dusit

Bangkok Noi

Panya Indra

Lat Phrao

Chatuchak

Bang Sue

Bang Bon

Bang Khen

F

MUENG NONTHABURI

Phasi Charoen

1

Prawet Yan 2 Nawa

Rat Burana

Phra Khanong 4

Phra Pradaeng

f

11

Suan Luang Rama IX

Suvarnabhumi Int. Airport

Bang Na

12

F

Summit Windmill

Bearing

Bang Khun Thian

13

F

Mueang Kaew

Thung Khru

14

F

Green Valley

15

PHRA SAMUT CHEDI

SAMUT PRAKAN

16

F

d

17

Bangpoo

Gulf of Thailand

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JUNE 2013 | 105


MAP 3  Sukhumvit Road A

B

C

D

E

F

G

Phra Ram 9

1

Ram

H

J

a IX

K

L

M

Roya

m9 Prara ital Hosp

l Cit

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RC A ange R ing

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2

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3

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Makkasan

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Phetchaburi

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4

road (Toll Expy

38/1

Su

7

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Prasanmit

So

Su 9/1 3

hro m Ph on g

Soi

i1 6

HOTELS N

300 m 1 328 ft Canal Boat BTS Silom Line BTS Sukhumvit Line Subway Line Railway

106 | JUNE 2013

1

  Conrad Bangkok   Sheraton Grande 3  Seven 4   JW Marriot 5  Rembrandt 6   Four Points 7   Aloft Sukhumvit 11 8   Ramada Encore 9   Imperial Queen’s Park 10   Westin Grande Sukhumvit 2

11  

Marriott Executive MARKETS Sukhumvit Park 4   Sukhumvit 12   Grande Centre Point Terminal 21 ARTS & CULTURE 13   Sofitel Bangkok 1   Japan Foundation Sukhumvit 14   Le Fenix 2   Koi Art Gallery 15 Radisson Sukhumvit 3   Attic Studios 4   La Lanta 5   TCDC (Thailand MALLS Creative & Design 1  Robinsons Centre 2   Terminal 21 6   Nang Kwak 3  Emporium 7   WTF

8 

The Pikture Gallery We*Do Gallery 10  RMA 9 

bangkok101.com

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10

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14 35 31 38 39 26 2 15 7 32 29

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6

11

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N

O

P

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37

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10

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ma

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10

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1

63

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t umvi Sukh spital Ho

it

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59

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Phra Khanong

um

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kh

Soi

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11

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8

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hu

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w

34

Sukhum

Soi 28

m khu

oi it S

kh

Suk

kh

Soi

So

53

PH

Su

Su

wit

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wit

um

hum

kh

wit

51

49

Soi

oi

47

18

Su

Su

hum

Suk

Suk

it S

oi

7 19

wit

mw

hum

hu

it S

Sukhumwit

Soi 26

Soi 24

Sukhumwit

Sukhumwit

Benjasiri Park

3 5

Suk

Suk

mw

i 39

Phrom Phong

hu

ukda

it So

Suk

umw

eng M

Sukh

Soi 35

Soi 33

Sukhumwit

9

42

30

12

11

CLUBS 1

Q Bar Bed Supperclub 3 Insomnia 10 Glow 24 Demo 26 Levels 27 Funky Villa 2

PUBS 11

12

The Hanrahans The Pickled Liver

bangkok101.com

13

13

The Robin Hood The Royal Oak 15 The Londoner 16 Black Swan

14

NIGHTLIFE 4

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

18

Club Perdomo The Iron Fairies 21 Clouds 22 Fat Gut'z 23 Shades of Retro 25 diVino 28 Le Bar de L'Hotel 29 W XYZ 30 Face Bar 31 Marshmallow 32 Oskar Bistro 33 Tuba 34 Sonic 35 Apoteka 20

36

Water Library Gossip Bar 38 Nest 39 Above Eleven 37

EMBASSIES  IN 

India

 IR  Iran  LK 

Sri Lanka

PH  Philippines

Qatar Ukraine NO  Norway  QA   UA 

JUNE 2013 | 107


MAP 4  Siam / Chit Lom A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

J

K

L

M 

5 Soi 3

Soi 25

Soi 29

Soi Tonson

Soi 6

Ratchadamri

Soi Lang Suan

NL

Soi Lang Suan1

13

d

Soi 2 Soi 3

Royal Bangkok Sports Club

8

Soi 4

Soi 3

i2

Ratchadamri

Soi Sukhumvit 1

Soi Nai Lert 15

UA

2

US

Soi 4

Soi 5

Soi 5

Chulalongkorn University Area

N

HOTELS 1

  Pathumwan Princess   Novotel Siam 3   Siam Kempinski 4   Baiyoke Sky Hotel 5   Amari Watergate 6   Novotel Platinum 7   Grand Hyatt Erawan 8   The Four Seasons 9   The St. Regis 10  InterContinental 11   Holiday Inn 12   Swissôtel Nai Lert Park 13   Conrad Bangkok 14   Centara Grand at CentralWorld 15   Hotel Muse 16   Okura Prestige 2

200 m 1 000 ft Canal Boat BTS Silom Line BTS Sukhumvit Line Railway Airwalk Market

ARTS & CULTURE 1

  BACC – Bangkok Art and Culture Centre 2   Tonson Gallery

108 | JUNE 2013

KH

BR

Sarasin

Soi 6

9

Soi Ruam Rudi

Soi 7

Sarasin Lumphini Park

SIGHTSEEING

MALLS

EMBASSIES

a 

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

 CH 

Jim Thomson House   Museum of Imagery Technology c   Madame Tussads d   Queen Savang Vadhana Museum e   Siam Ocean World f   Ganesha and Trimurti Shrine g   Erawan Shrine h  Goddess Tubtim Shrine b

NIGHTLIFE a CM2 b

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

1

2

Switzerland

 BR  Brazil  FI  Finnland  ID  Indonesia  KH  Cambodia  NL  Netherlands  NZ 

New Zealand

 QA  Quatar  UA  Ukraine  UK 

United Kingdom

 US  USA  VN  Vietnam

SHOPPING 16   17  

Rud

b

NZ QA

uam

9

Soi R

Soi Mahatlek Luang 3

2

15

an

Henri Dunant

Soi 5

Soi 4

Soi11

Soi 3

Soi10

Soi 2

Soi 1 Soi 8

f

Soi Mahatlek Luang 2

8

7

VN

mvit

e

Phloen Chit 16

hith

Soi Mahatlek Luang1

12

Phloen Chit

Chit Lom FI

ukhu

Phaya Thai

13

ng P

Rajamangala University

g 11 7

Soi S

1

2 c

Dua

1

Soi 7

Soi 9

Siam 16 Siam Square

CH

ay

14

UK

Th. Witthayu

c 10 11

Nai Lert Park

Witthayu

10

8

Soi Som Khit

4 e 3

f

Soi Chit Lom

7

Wat Pathum Wanaram

Ratchaprarop

d

Soi Ruam Rudi

Soi 23

Soi 27

Soi 32

Soi 30

Soi 17

Soi 19

Soi 15

Soi 31 Soi 33

12

w ress

Soi Kaesem San1

Chit Lom

Exp

Soi Kaesem San 2

Witthayu Bridge

h 14 b

c 2

National Stadium

6

Soi 22

Prathunam

Rama I 5

6

Saeb

3

Srapathum Palace

1

9

ohn Nak

4

5

lerm

a

17

6

Khlong San

Hua Chang Bridge

3

5

ID

Soi 20

Ratchathewi 2

uri

Cha

Phetchaburi Soi 18

Phetchab

Soi 13

4

1

Siam Square Pratunam Market

bangkok101.com


Silom / Sathorn  MAP 5 E

kho

t are akh

ai Th aya

ong

Royal Bangkok Sports Club

Ph

Soi S

nan

t

So i S a

nr y He

Lumpini Park

Sala Daeng l

j

St. Joseph School

14 CA

Ra

Sala Daeng 1/1

m

Sala Daeng 1

Soi 5

Soi Phra Phinit

Suan Phlu Soi 1

5

Silom

Soi 6

b

SG

4

Thaniya

Soi 4

Patpong 1 Patpong 2

k

Soi 1

h

Chulalongkorn Hospital

5 o m 12 n BT

4

Soi 8

Soi 11 Yaek 3

Soi 7

Soi 9

Soi 13

TW

a

Surawong

Convent

Pan

17

3

Sala Daeng

Trok Klue

8 Than Tawan Soi 6

Soi 3

Soi 7

Soi 10

Soi 12 Soi 9

g

11

Chong Nonsi

or n S oi 1 1

2

Du

Sam Yan

Sap

Naret

Decho

Soi 14

Soi 11

Soi 1 8 Soi 16

Soi 13

10

Soi 14

9

Cha

M 

Chulalongkorn University

Suan Phlu – Sathron Soi 3

2

chit

int Lo

Rat

1

en

Soi 13

u i se – S a t h

Charo aro

King Mongkut’s University of Technology

roen

Ch

Ch

Soi Nom

Soi Phiphat 2

Sathorn Nuea Sathorn Tai

L

1

BE

Soi 15

en Ra

t

i2 So rn tho Sa 63

Surasak

K

V

Phra

aN Phr Soi

Soi 2 2 Soi P/2 – Prach radit um

Soi 2

Soi 3

6

0

k

ak Suras

3

1

g un Kr 46 an

oi

44

gS

an

Ch

5

7

run

2 8

MM

n ar oe Ch

i5

i5

3

So

So i 51 i5 3

aI

Soi Santiphap

ot

suri

Rat

2

Iam

Pramuan

4

50

Saphan Taksin i5

chai

J

Phloi

f

Soi 1

i4

So

e

7 d

2

So

e

m

Surawong Kam

Silom

i4

i 4 46 So i 1

SathornSo

S So oi 5 Ch i 61 9 aro en K

6

So So

So

Soi 3

Soi 38 Soi 40

Soi Puttha Os

Maha Se

1

3

idg

FR

Oriental

Taksin

Br

Rak–

b 5 c

4

sway

Soi 3

2 n d Sta

Dumax

in

Ra

4

pres

Cha

2

Bang

N

Ma

en Kr Post

Wat Muang Khae 1 1Wat Suwan

Trok Ph et

Soi 32

H

Hua Lamphong

Si Phraya

Soi 39

Soi 30

Si Phraya PT

ha

ung

Na 3

te E x

Nak roen

N

6

Charo

hon

2

2a Khlong San

N

Tak s

ang

G

AU

95

V

Sathorn Nuea Sathorn Tai

MY

13

6

aI

MX GR

15

p

7 Soi 1

Soi Saw

n

Marine Dept.

Lat Ya

F

Soi 5

D

anagarindra

4

Naradhiwas Raj

C N

as Naradhiwind Rajanagar ra

B

Soi Wanit 2

A

8 Suan Suan

Phlu 6

Soi Nantha Mozart

Phlu 8

9

Immigration Office

HOTELS 1

BARS WITH VIEWS

a  Threesixty   The Peninsula 2   Millenium Hilton d   Sky Bar 3  Shangri-La o  Panorama 4   Center Point Silom p   Moon Bar 5   Mandarin Oriental 6   Royal Orchid Sheraton NIGHTLIFE 7   Lebua at State Tower 8   Holiday Inn b   La Casa Del Habano 9   Chaydon Sathorn c   Bamboo Bar f   Niu's on Silom Bangkok 10   Pullman Bangkok g   Barley Bistro & Bar j   Eat Me Hotel G 11   Le Meridien k  Tapas 12   Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini PUBS 13   Banyan Tree 14   Dusit Thani e  Jameson's 15   The Sukothai h   The Pintsman 16   Sofitel SO l   Molly Malone's 17   W Bangkok m   The Barbican n  O'Reilly's

ARTS & CULTURE 1

  Serindia Gallery 2   Silom Galleria: Number 1 Gallery, Tang Contemporary Art, Taivibu Gallery, Gossip Gallery 3   H Gallery 4   Bangkokian Museum 5   Alliance Francaise

SHOPPING 1

 Robinsons 2   River City Shopping 3   Silom Village 4   Silom / Patpong Night-Market 5   Jim Thompson Store

N

 AT  Austria  AU  Australia  BE  Belgium

200 m

 BT  Bhutan

1 000 ft

 CA  Canada  DE  Germany  DK  Denmark  GR  Greece  FR 

France

 MY  Malaysia  MX  Mexico

1

N

River Ferry River Cross Ferry BTS Silom Line Subway Line Market

 MM  Myanmar  PT  Portugal  SG  Singapore  TW  Taiwan

SIGHTSEEING a  b 

bangkok101.com

EMBASSIES

Snake Farm M.R. Kukrit’s House JUNE 2013 | 109


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

B

C

1

Ba n D ok

h1u li n

E

F

G

H

Ma

M ai

J

itri

Ch

K

L

M 

it

et i Ph Tr

iP

r ad

u

M it tr ph an

So

Hua Lamphong

Ch aro en Ya ow a r at K r So

i7

3 h

g j

Y So i 3

So

Y

un

Y5

So ng Saw at

2

Y

So

i2

Rama IV

C

at

it Tr i M si ang

2

P

S ong W

a n it 1

ur han

Ch aiy aphun

Trok Itsaranuphap

g

S oi W

D oi

uan

5

a ut an P h Sa p h

t Phu

6

g

han

N

ae n

S ap

Phu

t

han

Tha Din Daeng

D Din

Memorial Bridge

S ap

S

HOTELS   Grand China Princess   Bangkok Shanghai Mansion 1

200 m 1 000 ft River Ferry River Cross Ferry Subway Line Railway Market

ARTS & CULTURE 1

  Chalermkrung Theatre   Samphanthawong Museum 3   Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Centre 2

a

Princess Mother Memorial Park

Th

e pir Em

K la

4

TEMPLES

MARKETS

1   Long Krasuang Market   Wat Ratburana School 2   Ban Mo (Hi-Fi Market)   Wat Pra Phiren c   Wat Bophit Phimuk 3   Pak Khlong Talat d   Wat Chakrawat (Flower Market) e   Wat Chaichana Songkhram 4   Yot Phimai Market f Wat Mangkon Kamalawat 5   Pahurat –Indian Fabric Market g   Wat Samphanthawongsaram 6   Sampeng Market 7  Woeng Nakhon Kasem Worawiharn h Wat Traimit (Temple of (Thieves Market) 8   Khlong Tom Market the Golden Buddha) 9   Talat Kao (Old Market) 10   Talat Mai (New Market) SIGHTSEEING a

b

j

110 | JUNE 2013

na

S

N

Ba

ha

R at

ng

Ma

Na

Y

Y Soi 11

Hua Lamphong Central Railway Station

i1

9

Phadungdao–Soi Texas

Y So i 9

Pl an g N am

So i 18

So i 6

S oi 4

So i 16

So i 21

on M an gk

Soi 14

10

it

aw gT

Marine Dept.

2

1

ong

nt

Ch

Rajchawongse

o nM 3

N

N

Soi 8

Y Soi 15

d

w

Sa

c

ha oi T

9

So i 19

Su ap a Ratch awon g

Y Soi 17

Y Soi 21 Y Soi 19

Soi 17

it 1

A nu

f

Ma ngkon

6

Y S 10 CK S 12

Soi 8

Soi 10

Ma ha Ch ak Lu ean Rit

Sam peng Lane – Soi Wan

Soi Aner Keng

P

t ur a hah 5

Y Soi 23

S oi

r ap

i

1

Rachi ni Atsad ang

8

So i 15

So i 11

9

Bo

S

ar

r at 1

2

7

a

ha

Yaow

Bu

So

i4

at

W

nu

j

i

t

um

ng

1

e

Ch ak kr aw at

an

n

u Kr

Pha

gs Ran

C ha kp he

h kP

ip Th

6

6 oi

So

oe

7

t Yo

So

i5 o Tr

ar

m

So i 13

h at

h

Charoen Krun g

iP S ir

Ch

is

ut

i3

kW

Ti 5

rip

ai Ch ha Ma

an ak on

Ugn on

g

o Tr

Th

4

Sa

8

itri

em

Romaneenart Park

gT

Ma

p

as

3

K h lo n

a iph

gK

ip

h ire n

un

i S ir

at P hom W

Kr

So

b

k Wor ac ha

2

ng

Si Thamm athirat

Lua h at

Trok

Sida

S oi C

D

Chinatown Gate at the Odient Circle

bangkok101.com

an

N

4

K

So

i2

9


MAP 7  Rattanakosin (Oldtown) A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

Ra

ma

14

N

So

Rama VIII Bridge

J

K

L

M 

Ph

its

VII

I

et md

k

ata

iW or

ok nN noe cha Rat

iB

op

t

hit

Maha ng

N

6

Memorial Bridge

Bat

Wo rach ak

ng A

ph

im uk

Wat Wat Bophit Chakrawat Phimuk

wat kkra Cha

Son

gW at

Phi

12

ren

Soi B an

un

g 13

14

Ya ow a

ra

Anu

won g

N

Kr

mW at

t

g

Market Tot Phimai Market

Boriphat

Chai

ara

en

Ch ak kr aw at

Yao w So

aro

ho

15

aw on

7

Cha kph e Pak Khlong t

ng O

Soi Mahannop 2

Unakan Siri Phong

Chai ng

Ch

gT

Ra tch

Ya i k ko ng

apho

t Ta la lo N

Ba

Wat Liap

Kh

S

Rajinee

g lon Kh

ng

Kh

T oi

So iW at Ka nla ya

Ban Mo

Sett

Wat Kanlayannamit

Phir

Tri Ph e

n haka

am

ha

lon

Sri K

n ari Am un Ar bangkok101.com

Phahurat

Saphan Phut

Soi

Wat Arun (Temple of the dawn)

N

Phra Phi Phit

Museum of Siam

10

11

Ma ha Ch an k

tu

Che

Thip Wari

t

at har Ma

Wat Arun

n pho

Kh

Bor iph at

Tha Tien

at

Royal Theatre Burapha

Wat Pho

8

9

Luan

Sam Yot

Trok Phan um

8

Wat Saket

g

Charoen Krung

i Sanam Cha

N

Soi Sirip at

Rommaninat Park

Soi Sa Song Soi Long Tha

7

Muang

Soi Siric hai 2 Soi Siric hai 1

Ch ak ra ase Ph m et

ng

i Wa

Soi Phra ya Si

Rat

Lan Luang

Phan Fah Leelard

Bumrung

Wat Suthat

Ti Thong

Wat Ratchabophit

Saranrom Park

Tha

Ratchabophit

isut

Grand Palace

mran

Giant Swing

Trok Sukha1

Trok Sukha 2

Soi Sa

6

an

Saw

ng Rak

g Tai

City Hall

uang

Fuang Nakhon

Saranrom

Khlong Lot

Chao Phraya

5

Damro

Klan

Wat Ratchanatdaram

Tanao

Buranasat

aitri

noen

Wat

Trok Ratchanatdaram Sin

Bumrung M

Kalayana M

Wat Ratchapradit

Trok Nava

Phraeng Phuthon

Wat Phra Kaew

Dam

Ph ra Po kk lao

Tha Chang

Phraeng Nara

Lak Mueang

Na Phra Lan

n kho

Na

Democracy Monument

Mahannop

hrut

K Trok

ei Na Hap Pho

Tri Phet

Wat Rakhang

Bunsiri

g Nuea

Klang

Trok hep T Sath hida ien Ram

Trok W

Soi Silipakorn

9

lang Tai

k Khro lonSgake L ot W at T

ee Rachin ng d a Ats a

Ratcha Damn oen N ai

ra Tha

t

Maharat

Wat Mahathat

Sanam Luang

o

Khlo

noen K

T

Silpokaorn University N

noen Klan

noen

Soi Dam

Na Ph

Amulet Market

Soi Dam

a Dam

an

nL

Dam

an Ratch

a Ch

Ba

Dinso

ao

Wang Lang

g

Tro k

Dinso

Kl

aos

Thammasart University Maharaj Ph r

4

on

hu

Bowonniwet ViHara

i ttr

in

Kh

ap h

So

iS am Ph long sen ra 2 Su Bang me L Wat n amp

i

Bu

P ra Ph

p sa Ka

Ch

m Ra

ok Tr

t de m So ge rid

aB

National Arts Gallery

an T ula

10

ais

Tan i

Du

N

Kh

Maha

ho

ng

Kr

kr aP

ray Ph National Museum

So

Tr ok

Wat Chana Songkhram

S

ak

o ha

Bu

3

Pra cha T

ha e Ka iC

i

ttr

am

R oi

National Theatre

t

C et md

Thonburi N11 Thonburi Railway Railway

asa tK isu

P

13

N

Phra Atith

hip

W

So

Khlong Bangkok Noi

ith

At

a hr

2

m

i

Sam

ao

s en

Kl 12

N

se g an Ka Lu g k un Lu Kr

in aP

r Ph Wat Saodung

Phra Pin Klao Bridge

1

an ulo

16

5

Rajchawongse

JUNE 2013 | 111


M Y B A N G KO K

Zoltan Zakor

Zoltan is the general manager of Bangkok's Q Bar and, although he moved to Bangkok a year ago, has lived in Thailand more than five years and travelled here more than 20 times previously. Originally from Budapest, Zoltan enjoys an active social life, inundated with invitations to networking events, opening ceremonies and the coolest par ties and places and hopes to become even more of an exper t on the city's nightlife.

Best place for a drink? The best atmosphere for me is at Le Derriere French Champagne and Absinthe bar. After entering through the revolving door, you'll be transported to an intimate, original 1930s bar completely imported from Paris: antique lights, walls, furniture and a custom-made serpentine Zinc Bar stocked with Bangkok’s widest range of Absinthes. Best place to eat out? Since my first visit to Bangkok I never miss an opportunity to visit China Town T&K Seafood Restaurant. Because of the atmosphere of the area you feel like you're in a martial arts movie. Wherever you get your table – in the pagoda or on the street – in this always-crowded restaurant you're sure to get fast service and fresh seafood for a very affordable price. Best place to take visitors? Maybe it sounds boring but I think the tour agencies offer the best one-day trips to anyone who's in Bangkok for the first time. They go to the Grand Palace and, nearby, the Lying Buddha. They also visit Wat Traimit with the 5500kg Gold Buddha Statue, go boating on the Thonburi canals and, my favourite, the Wat Aron ‘Sunrise Temple’, which is another must-see attraction. 112 | JUNE 2013

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grand palace

Best place to shop? Many tourists who pack into MBK, Paragon and Central World don't know that just a few hundred metres away, there is the Central Chidlom Shopping Mall. You can find most of the clothes, jeans and shoes brands but with the biggest discounts. Quality shopping for the lowest price. Best place to relax? I like the active relaxing. When I can take a day off, I love to go to the Thai Wake Park for wake-boarding. Between the loops you can grab some delicious Thai food or just watch the wakeboard experts jumping and flipping into the air. If I have only a few hours, I like to go to Flow House. I guarantee that a one-hour surfing session will clear your mind. Best place for nightclubbing? I realised when I showed my friends

around Sukhumvit Soi 11 that you can get the best nightclub experience not in one club but many. You can start at Oskar with a fancy cocktail and if you like live music walk over to Apoteka. For dancing you can find the youngest crowd at Levels Club, then go to Bed, one of the coolest clubs in Bangkok. And, of course, you must visit Q Bar, one of Bangkok’s most recommended nightspots, where you can meet real celebrities. In the past month, we've been visited by Oscar-nominated Djimon Hounsou and Steven Tyler from Aerosmith. For the late-night party, the best place is Bash Nightclub, also on soi 11. Best place for a real Bangkok experience? I just can’t imagine a real Bangkok experience without the bars in Soi Cowboy. All of my friends who I've taken there saw the beautiful Thai dancers and immediately decided right there that they will move to Bangkok. They haven’t, of course, but the drinks are worth the experience. Best place for art? Every two months, you can find new exhibitions at Bangkok Art & Culture Centre, right opposite MBK. Also, you can catch some really interesting exhibitions at Thong Lor Rooftop Gallery. bangkok101.com

23/05/2013 11:24


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