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Your time to chill out or let loose!

• Shop to your heart’s content at Bukit Bintang and end your day with China Town’s vibrant nightlife.

• Spend another day experiencing modern, exquisite Islamic arts and architecture in Putrajaya.

• Just an hour away, catch an ultimate thrill ride on skyway at 6,000 feet above sea level in Genting Highlands.

….Now--grab your sunglasses and cap. Get ready, get set, go!

KL-Genting Fun Package

KL-Genting Free & Easy Package

Inclusive of; - Return ticket by Malaysia Airlines with airport taxes and fuel surcharge - 2 night in hotel 3* with breakfast - City tour in KL & Putrajaya

Inclusive of; - 2 night in hotel 3* with breakfast - Air Condition Van for transfer plus Putrajaya & half day city tour Exclusive of; - Airline ticket

*** Traveling period: until 30 September 2012

*** Traveling period: until 30 April 2012

Eiam Tour & Transport Co., Ltd Tel: 02-862-2522 Fax: 02-862-3385 info@eiamtour.com, www.eiamtour.com

Sunmoon Tour & Travel Co., Ltd Tel: 02-254-3320 Fax: 02-254-3866 sunmoon@sunmoon.co.th, www.sunmoon.co.th

3D2N KL start from THB 11,900 3D2N KL-Genting start from THB 13,200

3D2N KL start from THB 2,520 3D2N KL-Genting start from THB 3,360

Ayudhya

a pi cto r ial o dyssey february 2012

Tourism Malaysia (Bangkok Office) Unit 1, 3rd Floor Zuellig House 1-7 Silom Road, Bangkok 10500 Tel: 02-636 3380-3 Fax: 02-636 3384 Website: www.sawasdeemalaysia.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/tourismmalaysiathailand

february 2012 100 baht

Ayudhya: A Pictorial Odyssey | City Pulse La Fête | Travel Kuala Lumpur | Food & Drink Issaya | Shopping Alexander Lamont

• Hop on and hop off a bus to explore around the truly fascinating city of Kuala Lumpur.

• Sit back, relax and enjoy the stunning panorama of the capital before your eyes at the Petronas Twin Towers.

bangkok 101

Malaysia


Publisher’s letter When the floods hit last October, the most devastating aspect was the human cost. Thousands were displaced, hundreds died – it was a humanitarian catastrophe. Beyond this, though, there was also the cultural cost, namely the damage done to Ayutthaya, Siam’s former administrative and cultural capital. As the experts still size up the damage to the historic ruins, this month we show our support for the popular UNESCO World Heritage site with two features. In Daytrip we pay a visit to see the damage for ourselves, while our photofeature, Ayudhya: A Pictorial Odyssey, is a look back at the site through rare stills shot by a royal photographer roughly a century ago. Our thanks go out to Athada Khoman for giving us access to his private collection, a much more extensive selection of which features in his excellent new coffeetable book of the same name. Performances with a Gallic bent are Bangkok’s flavour of the month, artistically-speaking, all thanks to the return of our favourite cultural festival, La Fête. As usual, this two month French-Thai mash-up presents a colourful run of theatrical art and other cultural happenings, our picks of which are previewed on p.10. Are you more outdoorsy than artsy? Also in our City Pulse section we present a roundup of Thai Highs: adventure activities on offer in and around the capital. For the loved up couples among you, we’ve also handpicked the best Valentine’s Day meal deals being offered, and, in Romantic Tables, a broad selection of restaurants that won’t disappoint. The city’s dining scene is in a state of constant flux and renewal, and one of our main pleasures in life is attempting to keep up with it. We check out new Japanese restaurant Zuma, and celebrity chef Ian Kittichai’s first Thai restaurant in his homeland, Issaya, plus some old favourites and streetfood stalls. Reviews of stately hidden palaces and interviews with everyone from Korean artists to Thai rappers Thaitanium round off an issue that’s as eclectic as the city it covers. Finally, don’t forget that all the above – and the full 101 archive – can be found online at www.bangkok101.com. If you’re keen to keep track of what’s being added to the site, we’re also easily found on Facebook and Twitter.

Enjoy.

Mason Florence Publisher

F ebrua ry 2012

What is Bangkok 101? 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.


Contributors Thai businessman Athada Khoman obtained a bachelors degree in marketing from Bangkok’s Assumption University, and completed his studies at the University of California, Berkeley. This month's photofeature features rare pictures taken from Ayudhya: A Pictorial Odyssey, the follow up to his first book, Siam: Days of Glory. Nearly all the photos featured in it are from his private collection.

publisher

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.

managing editor

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. 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 coffee-table book Flavours: Thai Contemporary Art. When not musing, he is often found travel writing. 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. She is the author of several travel narratives, and her work appears in magazines including ELLE, Elle Decoration and GM. Greek-born but California-raised, dave stamboulis resides in Bangkok where he works for numerous magazines, newspapers and stock agencies as a freelance photojournalist. His quest for stories and images has taken him to Borneo, Ethiopia, Bolivia, and other way out locations, while his travel book, Odysseus’ Last Stand: Chronicles of a Bicycle Nomad, received the Silver Medal from the Society of American Travel Writers in 2006.

Mason Florence editor-in-chief

Dr. Jesda M. Tivayanond associate publisher

Parinya Krit-Hat

Max Crosbie-Jones art director

Christiane Patic´ designer

Jarmmaree Janjaturonrasamee editorial assistant

Amornsri Tresarannukul Adul Waengemol strategists

Nathinee Chen Sebastien Berger contributing writers

Julia Chinnock, Philip Cornwel-Smith, Leo Devillers, Korakot Punlopruksa, Steven Pettifor, Howard Richardson, Noy Thrupkaew, Cassandra Beckford contributing photographers

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

Jhone El’Mamuwaldi

director of business development

Erika Teo

sales & marketing manager

Haluethai Wattanapathomvong administrative asssistant

Peeraya Nuchkuar circulation

Pradchya Kanmanee 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 2012. 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 bangkok101.com

F ebrua ry 2012 | 3


Table of COntents cit y pu l se

food & drink

6 metro beat 10 vive la fête! 12 thai highs

54 56 58 62 64 70

snapshots 14 history 15 chronicle of thailand 17 very thai: motorcycle taxi jackets

night l ife 72 one night in bangkok 74 clubs 75 club review: q bar 76 hotel bars & clubs 77 bars with views: leapfrog 78 bars with views 79 bars 82 live music 83 jazz clubs 84 pub review: the londoner 85 pub crawl

sightseeing 18 museum focus: phaya thai palace 22 historic homes 22 shrines 23 temples 24 museums 26 parks – flora 27 parks – fauna 27 kids in the city

shopping 86 88 90 91 92 92 93

trave l 28 32 34 37

meal deals romantic tables restaurant reviews street eats restaurants wine

daytrip : ayudhya upcountry now over the border : kuala lumpur hotel deals

new collection: q design & play spotlight: lamont jatujak market jj gem: karmakamet markets & sidewalks floating markets market focus: saphan phut

we l l ness arts & cu lture 38 exhibition highlights 42 art 1-on-1: gi-ok jeon 44 theatres & cultural centres 45 reading & screening 46 photo feature: ayudhaya a pictorial odyssey

94 massage & spa 95 massage & meditation classes

reference 98 my bangkok: thaitanium 96 getting there 96 maps

on the cover:

Phraya Boran Rajathanindra welcomes King Rama VI during his visit to Viharn Phra Mokol Bophit in 1924.

F ebrua ry 2012

Hotel Partners


CIT YPULSE

Festivals

Film The 6th Bangkok Experimental Film Festival ends on February 4 and 5 at the Bangkok

The French cultural festival La Fête combines theatre, music, circus, art, cinema, food and fashion from February 2 to March 29, mostly at Bangkok venues, but also with shows in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hua Hin, Koh Samui, Khon Kaen, and Phuket. This year’s event helps celebrate the 100 th anniversary of the Alliance Française in Bangkok. See our preview on p.10, and www.lafete-bangkok.com for full programme details. To celebrate the 20 th anniversary of the Green World Foundation, the Cycle-lyzing Bangkok Festival in Lumpini Park on February 25 offers free entry for those with a bike or taking public transport to the event (i.e. don’t drive). The reward is a day of performances from 3 pm – 8 pm by bands like T-Bone, Hugo, Apartment Khunpa and Sqweez Animal. Register at www.greenworld.or.th/node/1514.

Art & Culture Centre (02-214-6632) with film and video, including documentary, animation and installations, complete with pre-screening talks and workshops. There’s also a selection of European experimental work at the Goethe Institut on Febr uary 1 and 2. See the details at www.beffbeff.com. The German Open Air Cinema continues in the gardens of the Goethe-Institut (02-2870942) with four screenings this month, opening with Contact High by director Michael Glawogger on Feb 7, and continuing with The City Below (Christopf Hochhäusler, Feb 14), Poll (Chris Kraus, Feb 21) and The Stranger (Feo Aladag, Feb 21). The films are in German with English subtitles, starting at 7:30 pm. Free admission.

h owa r d Richardson

by

Valentine’s Day Valentine’s Day will see countless auspicious marriages in Bang Rak (The Village of Love) and much hand-wringing from certain authorities on the inappropriate behaviour of Thailand’s teens. But most will settle for one of the many special dinners offered around the city, such as the sixcourses at Red Sky restaurant, in the Centara Grand at CentralWorld (02-100-6255) available for B14,555 net per couple with a bottle of Mumm rosé champagne. 6 | F ebrua ry 2012

bangkok101.com


C I T Y P U L S E | metrobeat

Music Take a picnic for the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra’s outdoor Concerts in the Park, which mix classics, jazz, show tunes and pop, from 5:30 pm on February 5 and 12 in Lumpini Park. Admission free. T he Bangkok Guitar Fiesta 2012

presents concerts and workshops by three artists at the Thailand Cultural Centre (02-247-0028) from February 3 to 5. Ukrainian Vitaly Makukin specialises in guitar tapping on Feb 3, Frank Bungarten plays Bach on Feb 4, and the contemporary flamenco duo Dani de Morón and Alfredo Lagos end with a flourish on Feb 5. Concerts (B1,500) start at 7:30 pm; workshops (B 900) are all on Feb 5, from 10 am – 5 pm. Get tickets from Thai Ticketmajor (02-262-3456, www.thaiticketmajor.com). New York jazz composer and sax player Joseph Marchione lands at Niu’s on Silom (02-266-5333) on February 3. He’s previously played with the likes of Von Freeman, Steve Coleman and exFrank Zappa drummer Jimmy Carl Black. At Niu’s he will perform mainly his own compositions with a quartet. Admission free The Krating Dang Fat Festival has five themed stages, including Urban, Godly and Novice, at Bangkok University Rangsit Campus on February 11 and 12. There’s something for most tastes, with Slur, Scrubb and Room 39 being just three of the 150 bands in genres from acoustic through indie pop to various forms of metal. Film shows may provide noise relief. Gates open at 3 pm. A two day pass is B 500 from Thai Ticketmajor (02-262-3456, www.thaiticketmajor.com). The Music & Art Festival at the open space in front of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (www.bacc.or.th) on February 18 and 19 will combine the sale of art and related products with performances by bands such as Electronic Neon Lamp, Plastic Plastic and The Super Glasses Ska Ensemble.

Nightlife On February 9, Retox Sessions brings DJ Hardwell to LED club (02-203-1043) on RCA. World ranked at 24 by DJ Magazine, Hardwell recently toured the US with Tiesto following his international breakthrough with his bootleg Show Me Love vs Be. Entry B 800. Get there between 9:30 pm and 10:30 pm for an open vodka bar; thereafter each entry gets one free drink. Concept CM2 in the Novotel Bangkok (02209-8888) has a Sweet and Naughty Valentine’s Party on February 14, where guests receive a free Love Potion No. 9. Canadian band Cache Superstar provide the music, playing rock, Latin, R&B and reggae. The entry fee of B 650 includes two drinks. The Champion Sound 3rd Birthday Party at Bed Supperclub (02-6513537, www.bedsupperclub.com) on February 16 stars Calvin Harris, who collaborated with Rihanna on the single ‘We Found Love’. Support comes from Burns and DJ Tech 12. Trailblazing Thai folk DJs Maft Sai and Chris Menist will also celebrate the 3rd anniversary of their popular Paradise Bangkok nights with a bash at new Ekkamai nightclub Sonic (90 Sukhumvit Soi 63, 02-382-3395) on February 25 . To mark the occasion, they've lined up a rare live performance by legendary molam band Wong Dontri Molam Theppabut plus guests, and will also be launching their own 7 inch label. Records will be spun from 9pm until late.

Shopping Californian six piece A Skylit Drive, tagged as “Post-Hardcore/ Screamo”, play the Rock Pub (02-251-9980) on February 23, when we’ll get a chance to hear tracks live from their latest album Identity on Fire. Tickets are B 990. If you can face the ride out to Bang Kapi on February 25, the wonderfully named Wat Mayhem Orchestra play at the equally wonderfully named Motorcycle Emptiness Bar (089-780-9946) on Ramkhamhaeng Soi 39. B 120 entry includes one beer. bangkok101.com

Zen department store, rising from the ashes after being destroyed by fire in 2010, returned last month with 50,000 square metres of fashion and design, topped by another 13 levels of Zen World, which they claim is the largest lifestyle specialty store in Asia. It’s a short walk from Siam or Chit Lom skytrain stations. F ebrua ry 2012 | 7


CIT YPULSE

Art

Sport Muay Thai vs Martial Arts sets exponents of Thailand’s national sport against those of other disciplines such as judo, taekwondo and karate. The event is at the Mall Shopping Centre, Ngamwongwan on Feb500-B1,500 ruary 4. Tickets are B  from Thai Ticketmajor (02-262-3456, www.thaiticketmajor.com).

Desert Camp, an installation by Dennis Balk, evokes a site once occupied by “a confused group of ideologues or political misfits, whose abandoned materials are a schizophrenic mix of references and politicised imagery”. It’s at H Gallery (081310-4428, www.hgallerybkk.com) from February 2 to March 5. Local and international artists will show works in various media at the Neilson Hays Arts Festival at the Neilson Hays Library (02-233-1731) on February 12. There will also be artist demonstrations, live music, drama, dance and children’s art and crafts.

Theatre All Soul’s Cabaret (084-109-9588) continues its run of Manco Li Cani (No Even Dogs), an ensemble of short performances about Bangkok through the eyes of multicultural comedians, every Saturday in February. Shows start at 7:30 pm. Entrance is B 300 or B 500 with a glass of Italian wine and Aperitivo Italiano. Full details are at www.all-soul.org. British writer-actor Tim Crouch performs his two-hander An Oak Tree with a guest local actor on February 3 and 4 at the Sodsai Pantoomkomol Centre for Dramatic Arts, Chulalongkorn University (02-218-4802). Crouch has previously staged the award-winning play 300 times, each one opposite different actors, including Geoffrey Rush, Christopher Eccleston and Mike Myers, none of whom had previously seen the script. The shows start at 7:30 pm, tickets are B 500. The Bangkok Community Theatre presents the musical comedy Nunsense at the British Club (02-234-0247), with evening performances at 8 pm from February 23 to 25, and matinees at 3 pm on February 25 and 26. Tickets are B 800 from 087-936-3798. A pre-theatre buffet, an a la carte menu and bar are available at B 400.

Culture The National Museum Bangkok holds lectures on Thai culture on con-

Director Apichatpong Weerase­ thakul, winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2010 for his film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, is showing Primitive at the Jim Thompson Art Gallery (02-216-7368) until February 29. The multimedia installation includes music videos, sound installations and light experiments. For more details see www.jimthompsonhouse.com. 8 | F ebrua ry 2012

secutive Thursdays this month, starting with Royal Thai Cremation Ceremonies by MR Chakrarot Chitrabongs and Ramakien – Introduction by Stephanie Strasser on February 2. Joyce Meer and Bill Lipsey present Let’s go Wat Hopping on February 9 , followed by Marisa Cranfill with Invoking the Land Gods: Understanding the Thai Spirit House. Lectures start at 9 am and cost B 400 for non-members. See www.museumvolunteersbkk.net for details. The Siam Society (02-661-6470) is organising a visit on February 25 to Three Remarkable Mosques in Thonburi, part of the heritage of Thailand’s capital before Bangkok. The tour, costing B 500, will be in English and starts at 8am. The society also has a new heritage protection website at www.siamese-heritage. bangkok101.com


C I T Y P U L S E | M etrobeat

Food & Drink The culinary curious might take a trip to The Spice Market, in the Four Seasons Hotel (02-126 8866) for a taste of the Thai Yai Cuisine Promotion, highlighting the food of the Thai Yai northern hilltribe. Dishes such as deep fried yellow bamboo stuffed with minced pork and chili paste run from B100 – B 380 for lunch and dinner until February 13. Michelin-starred Italian chef Alfredo Russo creates dinner menus at Rossini’s in the Sheraton Grande hotel (02-649-8353) from February 21 – 27, including a wine dinner on February 24. Opus wine bar and Italian restaurant (02-637-9896) on Pan Road, is now open for lunch, Monday to Friday 11:30 am – 2:30 pm. The Mandarin Oriental hotel (02-659-9000) has launched the Sala Rim Naam Chef’s Table, where up to six diners sit backstage at a large table in the kitchens. Executive chef Vichit Mukura cooks some very skillful dishes, on the spot, with market fresh produce and good Thai flavours. And he’s right there to answer questions. Six and nine courses are available at B2,900++ and 3,900++ respectively. Reservation essential with minimum 24 hours notice.

restaurant

  getting there

Zuma

There’s real substance to Zuma, London’s modern Japanese restaurant that opened recently in Bangkok, from the hefty wooden swivel door, through a granite slab grill counter to quarry-like blocks of stone at the sushi station that evoke dining in Stonehenge. It’s a chippy venue, a flurry of activity, with keen waiters, chefs in constant motion, and electro music that – while quiet enough for chat – drives energy through the night. The long menu is big on quality product, and signature picks have the restaurant name tacked in front, like zuma nigiri sushi (from B 380++ / two pieces), which includes seared salmon sushi, creamily textured with the faintest hint of wasabi and topped with the salty pop of salmon roe. The luxurious zuma dragon maki (B 620++) is five mouthful, a textural tour of prawn tempura, freshwater eel, avocado and spicy tempura flakes capped with fried bonito flakes and minced sweet shrimp.

bangkok101.com

Zuma  map 3 / G 7 1st F, St Regis Hotel | 159 Ratchadamri Rd 02-252-4707 | www.zumarestaurant.com Mon – Sat noon – 3 pm; 6 pm – 10:30pm There’s a good range of wines (from B  330++  /  glass, B 2,000++ / bottle), and sommelier Samuel Davies will help unlock any mysteries about the hot, cold and sparkling sakes. He chose for us a smooth Masumi Kaden Zukuri Ginjo (B 6,000 /  1,800 ml) with a delicate flowery aroma and a slight oiliness that mimicked the fish in the miso marinated black cod (B 1,280++), which is marinated for a full three days, so it’s almost candied on the surface. Exquisitely roasted to a rich moist flake, it has a side of sweet miso sauce with mere wafts of bitter acidity from orange, lime and grapefruit. If you don’t want to eat, grab a drink at the bar, which extends beyond the full wall windows to a split level garden with sofas and a pond amid ornamental trees. Exclusive, funky, cool, Zuma is a hot venue. And that’s not something you often hear attached to the word ‘hotel’. รร.เดอะ เซนต์ รีจีส กรุงเทพฯ ถ.ราชดำ�ริ

F ebrua ry 2012 | 9


CIT YPULSE

vive la Fête!

If you like your arts classical, contemporary or avant garde, don’t miss the return of this annual French-Thai festival – the highlight of Bangkok’s normally lackluster cultural calendar Each year, the Embassy of France does its homeland’s artistic tradition proud by staging a festival of paid and free cultural events – most of them with a Gallic flavour, but some Thai too. Running from February 2 until March 29, the line-up for this year’s La Fête is as sprawling and multi-disciplinary as ever, spanning nine weeks at venues city-wide and flitting confidently between new circus, classical music, cinema, photography, hip-hop and more. Below, our picks for this month…

February 2

  when / where February 2 – March 29 Various venues

ticketing / programme www.lafete-bangkok.com www.thaiticketmajor.com

February 9 – 10

la fête opening

Ieto

For the festival’s opening, a choir of 100 singers, all of them Thai university students, will perform with the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra. Conducting the concert, which will also celebrate the 100 th anniversary of the Alliance Francaise de Bangkok, and feature a repertoire of 20th century French music, will be the famous French conductor Jean-Paul Penin.

During this contemporary nouveau circue (new circus) act, two professionals – one a tightrope walker from France, the other an acrobat from Peru – will fly and tumble across the stage, or teeter across barely visible robes at vertiginous heights.

National Theatre | 8pm | B 500 – B1,200 | www.thaiticketmajor.com February 3 – 29

Sodsai Pantoomkomol Centre for Dramatic Arts (Chulalongkorn University) | 8pm | B400 /  students B100 | www.thaiticketmajor.com

February 11

pakitsilp varamissara

gala evening

It’s fair to ask why a Thai artist retrospective is featuring in a French cultural festival, but Chiang Mai-based painter Pakitsilp Varamissara’s technique, with its formal simplicity bordering on abstraction and brilliant refinement of colour contrasts, is heavily inspired by the European masters. Over one hundred works will retrace his thirty year career.

Guests at La Fête’s Gala Evening will enjoy a sumptuous dinner, fashion show, and new circus and dance performances, all in the beautifully lush gardens of the Ambassador’s normally off-limits residence and while in the presence of her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn.

National Gallery | Wed-Sun 9am-4pm | Free

10 | F ebrua ry 2012

Residence de France | 6:30pm | B8,000 or B12,000 per person (wine and champagne included) | 02-670-4203

bangkok101.com


C I T Y P U L S E | la f Ê te

February 16 –  April 29

February 22 – 23

The Upside Down World

Stéréoptik

Due to hang at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center for two months, French sculptor and photographer Philippe Ramette’s photographs place him in gravity-defying situations. Working with photographer Marc Domage, he stages topsy-turvy photos where he appears to walk on walls or levitate skywards, and all while dressed in a crisp black suit.

One of this year’s more bizarre offerings, Stéréoptik will see French performance artists Romain Bermond and Jean-Baptiste Maillet mix video, drawings, object manipulation and music to tell two elliptical – and very surreal –  stories. Intimate and funny, this is a show where the story apparently comes to life before your eyes, and the music created on the fly.

Bangkok Art and Culture Center | 10am-9pm | Free

Sofitel SO | 8pm | B400 | www.thaiticketmajor.com February 20 – 21

February 25

Pichet Klunchun and Myself

Fête de la Musique

Apparently this will be your last chance to see modern dancers Pichet Klunchun and Jérome Bel perform the show they have toured for the past seven years. Expect the skills that have made Jerome a major figure in nouveau French dance, and put Pichet at the vanguard of modern interpretations of classical Thai performing arts, to be writ large.

Held in the grounds of the Old City’s Museum of Siam, this free concert will kick off at 2 pm with local bands, before peaking at 6 pm, when Thai rap group Thaitanium will share the stage with their French equivalents IAM, who hail from Marseilles. Finishes at midnight. Museum of Siam, next to Wat Pho | 2pm-midnight | Free

Sodsai Pantoomkomol Centre for Dramatic Arts (Chulalongkorn University) | 8pm | B400 /  students B100 | www.thaiticketmajor.com

bangkok101.com

F ebrua ry 2012 | 11


CIT YPULSE

Thai Highs To the casual observer, life in Bangkok doesn’t get much more active than a stroll around the mall or an aerobics session at sundown. How wrong can you get: there are actually lots of ways to work up a sweat and get the adrenaline pumping. Here are no less than eight of them. Some you’ll need to take a short journey out of the city for, others you won’t.

1

CYCLING While most adventure activities tend to be fairly niche, cycling is the one that all but the very youngest of family members can do. With over 10 years in the two-wheeled tour business, Spiceroads have long been one of our favourite local outfits: their full and half day tours range from sunset excursions to Bangkok’s most atmospheric temples to trips to meet Muslim communities out in Minburi. Another company with a good reputation for taking you off the tourist trail is Grasshopper Adventures, which has been operating since 2004. Spiceroads

14/1-B Soi Promsi 2, Sukhumvit 39 | 02-712-5305 www.bangkokbikerides.com | B1,650 – B2,650 Grasshopper Adventures

57 Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd, Phra Nakorn | 02-280-0832 www.grasshopperadventures.com | $35 – $105

2

Game Fishing Bangkok is the last place you’d think of for a fishing trip with your buddies – or is it? On the outskirts of town, only a short taxi ride from the main metropolis, are numerous lakes and reservoirs offering you the chance to battle with some of the planet’s beefiest freshwater fish. The most popular are the Buengsamran, which is located on the site of a former quarry, Bor Ngao Nam and Lung Lee Fishing Parks. Species lurking in their depths theme range from tiddlers to Southeast Asian heavyweights like the Giant Mekong Catfish. Expect a tussle! Bungsamran Fishing Park

21/596 Navamin Soi 42, Navamin Rd | Bangkapi 02-734-9272 | www.bungsamran.com Bor Ngao Nam

8/1 Phudthamonton Soi 2, Pasicharoen | 02-421-1434 Lung Lee Fishing ParK

Moo 3 Talingchan, Suphanburi Rd | Nonthaburi | 02-923-5333 12 | F ebrua ry 2012

3

HORSERIDING The little known Bangkok Equestrian Centre has been teaching visitors how to saddle up and do the rising trot around their horse pens since 1989. It’s run by Dane Leif Berg Jensen, formerly the coach for the Thai national riding team, and has a team of welltrained professionals who offer classes to novices. Dressage classes for more advanced riders are also available. Just want to hop on horse and take it out for a canter? It’s possible, but you need to call in advance to discuss the options, not to mention book at least one day ahead. To get there, take the skytrain to BTS Udomsuk and catch a taxi from there. Bangkok Equestrian Centre

20/1 Moo 2 Chalermprakiet Rama IX Soi 48, Sukhumvit Soi 103 | 02-328-0273 www.bangkokequestriancenter.com | Price: call

4

ICE SKATING There are no less than three places where you can practice your pirouettes out on the ice, all of them located within the city’s shopping malls. Sub Zero sits on the fourth floor of Rachada Road’s Esplanade; and a more convenient one for tourists, Ice Planet, opened on the seventh floor of Siam Square’s Siam Discovery Center last year. However, the newest, The Rink Ice Arena, at the new CentralPlaza on Rama IX Road , is the one all you aspiring Torvill and Deans should be getting really excited about: an Olympic-sized rink spanning 2,500m. Ice Planet

7th Floor, Siam Discovery Center, Rama I Rd | 02-658-0071 www.iceplanet.co.th | Mon-Fri 500B, Sat-Sun 600B The Rink Ice Arena

7th Floor CentralPlaza Grand Rama 9 | 02-677-555 | All Day Entrance 800B Sub Zero

4th Floor Esplanade Cineplex Ratchada, Ratchadapisek Rd | 0-2591-0393 | ww.majorbowlhit.com/ice-skate | 1 Day Pass B400 bangkok101.com


CITYPULSE | THAI HIGHS

5

ROCK CLIMBING The place to do it in Thailand is Krabi, but if you can’t make it down South, Bangkok has a couple of bolted routes of its own, albeit artificial indoor ones. Sukhumvit Soi 24’s The Capitol Club have an eight metre wall and offer a 1 day trial package for aspiring Spidermen (B1,000 per two hour session including equipment, training and a one day pass). But if you’re really serious, we recommend you clamber up the 13 metre wall at The Rock @ 49, in the members-only Racquet Club. Outsiders pay B525 on weekdays, B625 on weekends/holidays, and get a nice bonus: access to all other facilities. There's an equipment shop here in town too: the Climbing Factory out in Sutthisan (www.climbing-factory.com).

The Capitol Club

7

WAKEBOARDING Being winched at speed across a lake dotted with obstacles is surprisingly popular here. As with waterskiing you’re likely to spend a lot of time in the water on your first session, but should be able to stand up for more than a few fraught seconds on your second. The place to do it is the Thai Wake Park, which is located in northeast Bangkok at Lum Luk Ka Klong 6. We've only good things to say about it: the English-speaking team are forever setting up new obstacles and routes, have equipment for rent, plus your buddies are more than welcome to come along and watch you wipeout spectacularly.

Thai Wake Park

18/4 Soi Sudsawas, Lieab Klong 6 Rd | 08-8606-3776 www.thaiwakepark.com | B 550 for 2 hours / B 850 all day

99/397 Sukhumvit 24 | 02-661-1210 | www.thecapitolclub.com B1,000 per two hour session The Rock @ 49

6-8 Amara 3, Sukhumvit Soi 49/9 | 02-714-7200 www.rqclub.com | B 525 weekdays, B 625 weekends

6

8

Thai Sky Adventures

Flight of the Gibbon

SKYDIVING Pattaya-based skydive outfit Thai Sky Adventures operate the only commercial ‘drop zone’ in the region, and are real sticklers for safety (“our standards are even higher than outfits in the West,” the owner, British Cathay Pacific pilot Harry Harrison, told us). Whether you opt for a tandem jump (from B9,950 per person; no experience necessary), or a course such as their 4-7 day Accelerated Freefall Program (B79,950), everyone jumps from a Pilatus Porter Jumbo, a small but burly single propeller plane. Souvenir photos and video of you hurtling to earth cost extra (video B3,500, video & photo B4.500).

64/18 Moo 1, Tambon Bung, Sri Racha | 085-900-3412 www.thaiskyadventures.com | Tue closed

bangkok101.com

ZIPLINING Soaring from tree to tree, high above the jungle floor via harness, pulley and steel wires has become a popular tourist pastime in Thailand, and that’s largely down to the folk behind Flight of the Gibbon. At their course near Pattaya (they have another near Chiang Mai) there are 26 platforms, reached on 3km of zip lines, or by climbing spiral staircases, crossing wooden bridges and abseiling from the treetops. ‘Flights’ depart at 8am, 11am and 2pm each day, and the price, B2,999, includes access to Khao Kheow Open Zoo, a meal and water.

Khao Kheow Open Zoo | 089-970-5511 www.treetopasia.com | 8 am – 6 pm | B 2,999

F ebrua ry 2012 | 13


KINAREE STATUE at the Grand Palace


snapshot | X X X X X X X X X

The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (of Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated God, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn. * กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุธยา มหาดิลกภพ นพรัตนราชธานีบุรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์มหาสถาน อมรพิมานอวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยวิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์ * Original name of the City of Bangkok

snapshot: History of Bangkok Bangkok became Thailand's capital in 1782 , when the royal court relocated from the city of Ayutthaya, which had been left in ruins following conflict with the Burmese. After settling temporarily on the western banks of the Chao Phraya River in Thonburi, the capital moved again, this time to Rattanakosin in present-day Bangkok. Surroundedx almost entirely by water, the new location was easier to defend against potential attacks. The final move marked the beginning of the Chakri Dynasty. Rama I named the new capital Krung Thep (City of Angels) in reference to the past glories of Ayutthaya, and ordered the construction of two illustrious religious monuments, Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace, to consolidate the new capital’s ruling status. During the subsequent reigns of King Mongkut (Rama IV) and his son King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), the city developed rapidly, culminating in the modernisation and explosive growth of the 20th century. After visiting European capitals, Rama V moved the royal family to the leafy enclave of Dusit. Modern monuments here include the Thai Parliament Building, the impressive marble Wat Benchama Bophit and the enormous teak Vimanmek Mansion. bangkok101.com

Greater Bangkok now occupies nearly 1.5 square kilometres and is home to some 12 million residents. Rattanakosin remains the spiritual centre of the city, graced by the dazzling splendour of the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew and nearby Wat Po. Modern downtown Bangkok stretches southeast of Rattanakosin and looks very much like many other Southeast Asian capitals, with gleaming skyscrapers, deluxe apartment projects and lots of snarled traffic. The hectic main core of the new city encompasses the Sathorn / Silom districts and Sukhumvit Road, which include upscale shopping plazas, leafy public parks and vibrant bar and restaurant scenes. These major downtown neighbourhoods are connected by the BTS Skytrain and the MRT subway systems. With their bright, snaking trains carrying wide-eyed tourists and weary commuters alike, these slowly expanding public transport networks have not only helped relieve the city’s notorious traffic congestion and pollution, but given this City of Angels a modern, 21st century feel.

F ebrua ry 2012 | 15


S N A P S H OT

9 February 1972

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth visits

Pomp and ceremony mark first-ever trip by reigning British monarch    

  Chronicle of Thailand | EDM Books editor-in-chief Nicholas Grossman B1,450 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 vivid eye witness­account of Thailand’s development through the major news events of the last 64 years. Alongside a grandstand view of events as they unfolded 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. Every month, we serialise a major news story that sheds light on this month in the history of the Kingdom. 16 | F ebrua ry 2012

Queen Elizabeth II arrived with Prince Philip and Princess Anne for a six-day tour, the first visit by a reigning British monarch. They were greeted across the country with pageantry rarely witnessed for visiting officials, and their tour dominated local headlines for a week. The three British royals arrived at U-Tapao military airbase before transferring to the Royal Yacht Britannia at Suthathip so they could enter Bangkok’s port in true grandeur, escorted by the HMS Cleopatra and HMS Swan. Docking at the Chao Phraya River’s Rajvoradit landing to meet King Adulyadej, Queen Sirikit and Princess Sirindhorn, Queen Elizabeth shed her full length fur coat to enjoy Thailand’s warm winter. Highlights of their trip included a number of lavish banquets plus visits to Chulalongkorn University, Buddhist temples and the Christ Church on Convent Road. Thai officials, including Prime Minister Thanom Kittikachorm and army chief Gen Praphas Charusatien, also turned out to greet them. The royals then flew to Chiang Mai, where they met minority Meo, or Hmong, hilltribes who performed a cultural show. They also saw dozens of elephants working near the Mae Sa waterfalls. As a finale, the rumps of two baby elephants, each painted with the word ‘Bye’, were shown to the royals. bangkok101.com


snapshot | V ery T hai

*  very thai 

เวรี่ ไทย   *

Motorcycle taxi jackets –  Hopping on a bike to beat the traffic The unsung heroes of Thailand’s battle with traffic, motorcycle taxis are a very Thai response to a universal problem. Flitting between jammed cars with knee-endangering speed, the motercy is the one sure way to make an appointment. Perhaps with your next life. Most shuttle customers up and down soi, with as many as 100 taxi-bikes gathering at each soi mouth in a rank, known as a win. A sartorial symbol of streetlife, their seua win – zipped sleeveless vests in neon-hued nylon – is a uniform with surprising value. Originally of multiple colours and bearing names of businesses or politicians, a jacket costs a joining fee of anywhere from 4,000 -100,000 baht. Drivers also pay around 15 percent of their 400 – 500 baht daily earnings, enabling win mafia to extort 1.2 billion baht a year. In this substantially two-wheeled society, there are few organised motorbike racing outlets. Circuits, courses and training could create new sport-biking role models, just as licences increase respect for the bike taxi profession. So far, though, win reform dwells more on how they impact others – insurance, training, nice jackets – than on win welfare. Just as police get comfy traffic booths, win need shelter, water, toilets, fair treatment, and safe, affordable helmets. After all, like the hi-tech trains they connect, motorcycle taxis are modern mass transit. bangkok101.com

  Very Thai Everyday Popular Culture | River Books hardcover | with photos by John Goss & Philip Cornwel-Smith | 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 mini-chapters, we present a different excerpt every month. Prepare yourself properly for the sideways logic in what seems exotic, and snap up a copy of Very Thai now at any good book shop. F ebrua ry 2012 | 17


pret t y as a picture

Phaya thai Palace By M a x Crosbie-Jones

by Amornsri Tresarannukul


สวย

= beautiful

sightseeing FOCUS: phaya thai palace Jarring architectural contrasts are common enough in Bangkok, but even so Phaya Thai Palace, with its elegant Sino-Portuguese-style frontage and gothic turret surrounded by drab hospital buildings, is a shock to the system. A fading expression of stately European design in an area seemingly little concerned with history, the natural response is “what, when, why and how?” For the story of how this oddity, located a short stroll west of the Victory Monument roundabout, came to be you need to go back to the reign of King Chulalongkorn, or King Rama V. Back in 1909 he found himself drawn to the area’s natural beauty and so procured about 100 rai (or 40 acres) of land from local farmers. On it he had built a residence where he could relax when not out experimenting with rice crops. After his premature death in 1910, it went on to serve as the residence for his widow, Queen Siphatcharin, for the rest of her days before his successor, King Vajiravudh, then remodeled it into something resembling the palace visitors still enjoy today. Some years later, in 1926, it found new life as the Phaya Thai Palace, a luxury hotel catering to well-to-do foreigners. Not for long, however: by 1932 it had fallen on hard times and was taken over by the medical division of the Ministry of Defence. Today, all these decades later, the military still own it but the hospital departments have relocated to the

surrounding buildings, the nurses who work in them using it merely as a pretty conduit between them. Guided tours, given on Saturdays and Sundays at 9:30 am and 1:30 pm, offer visitors detailed insight into this crudely abridged history – not to mention the many unique architectural features of Phaya Thai Palace’s interlinking buildings and outhouses. Highlights include the Thewarat Sapharom Hall, the striking structure that sits to the right of the front lawn. Featuring vaulted ceilings, a central dome, and some of the most striking and well-preserved of the many quaint painted frescoes scattered throughout, this fine example of Byzantine architecture is the only building still intact from the original 1910 incarnation. Other notable spots in the complex include the grand main hall on the second floor, where King Rama VI gave private audiences or informal meals, and a room on the third where Thailand’s first ever radio broadcast (of King Praja­ dhipok, King Rama VII, giving a speech on 25 February 1931, the anniversary of his coronation) was aired. Another still houses a small model pavilion, a reminder that the palace was once home to one of the world’s quirkier expressions of political thought – a miniature city that served as a fullyfunctioning model society.   


Sightseeing

The pal ace was once home to one of the world's quirkieR expressions of political thought  –  a miniature city that served as a model society.   booking tours

Tours in English require a written request at least seven days in advance and cost B 500. Tours in Thai are held on Saturdays at 9:30 or 3 pm and by donation only. Call for more information.   getting there map 8 / K9

Phaya Thai Palace, Phramongkutklao Hospital, 315 Rachawithi Rd, Ratchathewi BTS Victory Monument | 02-354-7987 | www.phyathaipalace.org

Within this one acre metropolis known as Dusit Thani and occupying the lawns out back, there stood palaces, private houses, Buddhist temples, hospitals and many more buildings, all of them two to three feet in height. Administering it were around 200 ‘citizens’, including its founder, King Rama VI, all with the right to vote. So exhaustive, in fact, was this edifying democratic experiment that it even had its own constitution, not to mention two daily newspapers (the King also had high hopes for Thai journalism). Sounds interesting but not up for spending two to three hours on a room-by-room tour? Quite honestly, unless you’re deeply fascinated by the minutiae of Thai royal history, or European-style period motifs, it’s not a must. 20 | F ebrua ry 2012

Come on any given day and you can still admire the frontage, stroll along the first floor’s evocative frescoed corridors, or explore the grounds out back, which include a neo-classical Roman garden of marble statues and geometric Corinthian columns, and separate animist and Buddhist shrines. You’re also free to enjoy a good cup of joe in what is surely the city’s most historic/evocative coffeeshop, Café de Norasingha. Located in front of the main building, the grand, high-ceilinged room it occupies used to accommodate guests while they waited for an audience with His Majesty. The snacks are good, the old-world atmosphere even better พระราชวังพญาไท (โรงพยาบาลพระมงกุฎเกล้า) ถ.ราชวิถี bangkok101.com


www.shoppingatcentral.com

NOW OPEN!


Sightseeing

historic homes

ANANTA SAMAKHOM PALACE Throne Hall  map 8 / F8 Uthong Nai Rd | opp. Dusit Zoo | Dusit Tue-Sun 10am-6pm | B150 | dress politely 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 mounted on a horse that is still worshipped today.

Shrines

M.R. KUKRIT’S HOUSE  map 5 / H8 19 Soi Phra Pinit, Sathorn Rd BTS Chong Nonsi | 02-286-8185 Sat, Sun & Holidays 10 am – 5 pm, Mon – Fri by appt. only | B 50 / B 20 kids Kukrit Pramoj was one of Thailand’s mostloved statesmen of the 20 th century. A natural all-rounder, he was a poet, a writer and even served as prime minister. His peace­ful abode with its lovely gardens is a terrific example of traditional Thai architecture. บ้านหม่อมราชวงศ์คึกฤทธิ์ ซ.พระพินิจ สาทรใต้

ERAWAN SHRINE  map 3 / G5 Ratchadamri Rd (near Grand Hyatt Erawan) | BTS Chit Lom Don’t expect serenity here. This is one of Bangkok’s busiest intersections: the crowded shrine to the Hindu creation god Brahma and his elephant Erawan is filled with worshippers lighting incense, buying lottery tickets and watching the traditional dancing group, which performs for a nominal fee. พระพรหมเอราวัณ ถ.ราชดำ�ริ

พระที่นั่งอนันตสม���คม ถ.อู่ทองใน ดุสิต

JIM THOMPSON HOUSE  map 3 / A3 6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama I Rd BTS National Stadium | 02-216-7368 www.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, and brimful with art and antiques he acquired during his many trips around Asia. Tour guides discuss these exquisite treasures and the much-mythologised life of the man himself. There’s also a shop selling his trademark designs, an art gallery and a café. Ban Krua, the silk-weaving community he commissioned, is also nearby. บ้านไทย จิมทอมป์สัน ซ.เกษมสันต์ 2 ตรงข้ามสนามกีฬาแห่งชาติ 22 | F ebrua ry 2012

VIMANMEK MANSION  map 8 / F8 139 / 2 Ratchawithi Rd | Dusit 02-281-1569 | 9:30am – 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. Inside, many of his acquisitions from international trips are on display, including possibly the first bathtub in the kingdom. Regular tours in English are held daily.

GANESHA SHRINE  map 3 / 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.

พระที่นั่งวิมานเมฆ ถ.ราชวิถี เขตดุสิต

พระพิฆเนศวร หน้าห้างอิเซตัน

SUAN PAKKAD palace  map 8 / J11 Si Ayutthaya Rd, Ratchathewi | BTS Phaya Thai | 02-245-4934 www.suanpakkad.com | 9 am – 4 pm | 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.

TRIMURTI SHRINE  map 3 / G3 Outside Centralworld and Isetan Department Store | Ratchadamri Rd If your love life is in the doldrums then this shrine is for you: at 9:30 pm 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.

วังสวนผักกาด ถ.ศรีอยุธยา ราชเทวี

พระตรีมูรติ หน้าห้างอิเซตัน bangkok101.com


sightseeing | temples

TEMPLES

THE GRAND PALACE & WAT PHRA KAEW  map 7 / D 10 Na Phra Lan Rd, near Sanam Luang 02-222-0094 | 8:30 am – 4:30 pm B 400 incl. entry to Vimanmek Mansion dress respectfully 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. The highlight, though, is the Emerald Buddha – Thailand’s most sacred Buddhist relic – and the temple purposebuilt to house it, Wat Phra Kaew, where hundreds pay their respects each day. พระบรมมหาราชวัง และ วัดพระแก้ว ถ.หน้าพระลาน (ใกล้สนามหลวง)

WAT PO (reclining buddha)  map 7 / D 12 Chetuphon, Thai Wang Rd 02-226-0369 | www.watpho.com 8am – noon & 1pm–9pm | B100 The Temple of the Reclining Buddha is the oldest and largest wat in Bangkok. Originating in the 16 th century, it houses the largest reclining Buddha statue in Thailand as well as the greatest number of Buddha images. Wat Po is also the centre for traditional Thai medicine and a learning centre for Thai massage (see p.101).

bangkok101.com

วัดสระเกศ ถ.จักรพรรดิพงษ์

วัดโพธิ์ ถ.เชตุพน

WAT MAHATHAT  map 7 / C 8 Tha Prachan, Sanam Luang, Maharat Rd | 02-221-5999 | 9 am – 5 pm | free An amulet market is situated near this 18 th 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 and herbal potions. Courses on Buddhism are given in English. วัดมหาธาตุ ท่าพระจันทร์ สนามหลวง

WAT ARUN  map 7 / B 13 Temple of Dawn | Arun Amarin Rd 02-465-5640 | www.watarun.org 8 am – 5 pm | 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 almost entirely in pieces of colourful porcelain and designed as a representation of Mount Mehru, the Khmer home of the gods. The temple is believed to have been named by Rama I on his first sunrise visit, but in contrast with its name, it is best visited at sundown. วัดอรุณราชวราราม ถ.อรุณอัมรินทร์ ผั่งตะวันตกของแม่น้ำ�เจ้าพระยา

WAT SAKET  map 7 / L 8 Chakkraphatdiphong Rd, Sattruphai 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 China­ town 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 built later a smaller chedi on top.

WAT RATCHANATDA  map 7 / K 8 Mahachai Rd | Phra Nakhorn 02-224-8807 | 9 am – 5 pm | free This temple, a centre for buying amulets, features the bizarre multitiered Loh Prasat. Collecting amulets is popular in Thailand and many believe these miniature images of Buddha possess spiritual powers, protecting the wearer and bringing good fortune. วัดราชนัดดา ถ.มหาชัย พระนคร

WAT SUTHAT & the GIANT SWING  map 7 /  H 9 Bamrung Muang Rd, Phra Nakhorn 02-222-9632 | 9 am – 5 pm | B 20 Surrounded by perhaps the greatest concentration of Buddhist supply shops in Bangkok, 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 until the 1930s 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 ตรงข้ามเสาชิงช้า

WAT TRAIMIT  map 6 / L 3 661 Hua Lamphong, Charoen Krung Rd 02-623-1226 | 8 am – 5 pm | B 20 Housed safely in this unassuming Chinatown temple is the world’s largest solid gold Buddha. Weighing over five tonnes and standing over three metres high, its worth has been estimated at over 10 million US$ . วัดไตรมิตร หัวลำ�โพง (เยาวราช) F ebrua ry 2012 | 23


Sightseeing

MUSEUM OF COUNTERFEIT GOODS

Museums – in town There’s a museum for every interest here – hundreds in fact. Here, some of our   favourites, both in town and just outside   it.

BANGKOK DOLL MUSEUM  map 8 / L 11,12 85 Soi Ratchataphan (Soi Mo Leng), Ratchaprarop Rd 02-245-3008 | www.bangkokdolls.com Mon – Sat 8 am – 5 pm | 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 talented artisans out back, and clad in traditional costumes based on museum originals, temple murals and illustrations from antique books. บ้านตุ๊กตาบางกอกดอลล์ ถ.ราชปรารภ BANGKOKIAN MUSEUM  map 5 / D 3 273 Charoen Krung Soi 43 | 02-233-7027 www.bma.go.th/bmaeng/bangrak Sat & Sun 10 am – 5 pm | 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, traditional household utensils and ceremonial items. พิพิธภัณฑ์ชาวบางกอก ถ.เจริญกรุง 43

24 | F ebrua ry 2012

madame tussauds

Madame tussauds map 3 / C4 6th F, Siam Discovery Center Rama 1, Phaya Thai Rd BTS National Stadium | 02-658-0060 www.madametussauds.com/Bangkok/ 10 am – 9 pm | B 800 / B 600 kids /  15 % discount for online Easily the best thing about Bangkok’s very own version of the famous European waxwork museum is the line-up – it’s clearly designed to keep tourists and locals alike snappy happy. About as common as international sporting legends, world leaders in sharp suits, pouting Hollywood A-listers, and sequined global pop stars here are wax likenesses of Thai and regional musicians, soap stars, sportsmen and women, famous monks, poets and statesmen. And once you’ve finished talking human rights with Aung San Suu Kyi, or admiring Angelina Jolie’s Khmer tattoo, there are lots of interactive games to stave off waxwork-fatigue too. มาดามทุซโซ สยามดิสคัฟเวอรี่ ชั้น 6

museum of siam

Museum of Siam  map 7 / D13 4 Samachai Rd, Pra Nakorn 02-622-2599 | www.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 1920 s. Design company Story! Inc delivered the conceptual design, replacing the usual ‘don’t touch’ signs and dreary text with pop graphics and interactive games galore. Entertaining highlights include dressing up as a 20 th 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. Tellingly, the place teems with the usually museum-shy  – Thai teenagers. Afterwards, enjoy the open-sided corridors and elegant Renaissance-stylings of the building itself, which was designed by Italian architect Mario Tamagno. พิพิธภัณฑ์การเรียนรู้แ้ห่งชาติ ถ.สนามไชย

MUSEUM OF COUNTERFEIT GOODS  OFF map 26th F, Supalai Grand Tower Building Rama III Rd | BTS Surasak | 02-653-5555 www.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 offthe-beaten track location means it doesn't see too many drop-in visitors, it's an eyeopening experience, one that would make even the thriftiest market-goer think twice.

THE NATIONAL MUSEUM  map 7 / C 6 5 Chao Fa Rd, Sanam Luang 02-224-1333 | www.thailandmuseum.com Wed – Sun 9 am – 4 pm | B 200 | no photo Previously a palace during the reign of Rama V, the National Museum features extensive displays of Thai artifacts from all of Old Siam's main historical periods, encompassing the Lanna, Ayutthaya and Sukhothai kingdoms up to the present day. Thai culture is well documented in sections on dance, music and drama. The first example of Thai literature and the Thai alphabet, inscribed by King Ramkhamhaeng on a black stone during the Sukhothai period, is also displayed. Free tours by the Natonal Museum Volunteers group are given in English, French, German and Japanese and take place on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9:30 am.

พิพิธภัณฑ์สินค้าปลอมและเลียนแบบ ถ.พระราม 3

พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติ ถ.เจ้าฟ้า ใกล้ท้องสนามหลวง bangkok101.com


sightseeing | M useums &  ancient siam

Royal Barge Museum

RATTANAKOSIN EXHIBITION HALL map 7 / K7 100 Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd, next to Wat Ratchanatda | 02-621-0044 www.nitasrattanakosin.com | Tue – Fri 11 am – 8 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 seven rooms – free of relics but rich in models, dioramas, interactive videos, text and audio clips in Thai and English – brings the area’s hard-to-fathom history, arts, communities, architecture and traditions into much clearer focus. One highlight is the room showcasing Thai performing arts; another sheds light on the trade specialities of local shophouse communities. Up on the fourth floor there's also an observation balcony from which you can peer out at the area you now have a more in-depth grasp of. นิทรรศน์รัตนโกสินทร์ ถ.ราชดำ�เนินกลาง ROYAL BARGE MUSEUM  map 7 / B4 80/1 Rim Khlong Bangkok Noi, Arun Amarin Rd | Thonburi 02-424-0004 | 9 am – 5:00 pm 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. Beautifully and ornately decorated, these magnificent long craft were completely renovated and restored to their former glory by the present King, who also commissioned the newest boat for his golden jubilee in 1996 . พิพิธภัณฑ์เรือพระราชพิธี ถ.อรุณอมรินทร์

bangkok101.com

SIRIRAJ Medical Museum

SIRIRAJ MEDICAL MUSEUM  map 7 / A7 Siriraj Medical Museum, 2 Prannok Rd 02-419-7000-6363 | www.si.mahidol.ac.th Mon – Sat 9 am-4 pm | B 40 Located on the west bank of the river, in Thailand’s oldest and most prestigious hospital, the Siriraj Medical Museum is chiefly an educational facility where trainee medical students come to take notes and harden their stomachs. However, fans of the macabre can also pay a visit. Among the many chilling displays, far and away its most famous is the crisped cadaver of Si Ouey, Thailand’s most notorious serial killer, stood in a phone booth. Other stomachchurning exhibits include the mummified remains of murder victims, and deformed human foetuses embalmed in formaldehyde. Best come before lunch, just to err on the safe side. พิพิธภัณฑ์การแพทย์ศิริราช ถ.พรานนก YAOWARAT CHINATOWN HERITAGE CENTRE  map 6 / L 3 661 Mittaphap Thai- China Rd, just off Charoen Krung Rd MRT Hualumphong | 02-225-9775 Tue – Sun 8 am – 4:30 pm | B100 / B140 incl. visit to the Golden Buddha For Bangkok’s Thai-Chinese, the story of how their forefathers fled here on leaking junk ships and rose to become an affluent and fully integrated force in Thai society is likely familiar, having been drip-fed to them over the years by their elders. But for the rest of us, the Chinatown Heritage Centre is the next best thing, presenting an engaging history of Bangkok’s Chinese community and their bustling focal point, Yaowarat. Highlights include recreations of a leaking junk ship and bustling street market, a miniature model of Yaowarat during its Golden Age, and a room commemorating the community’s high-achievers. It's located within the Wat Traimit temple complex. ศูนย์ประวัติศาสตร์เยาวราช ถ.มิตรภาพไทย-จีน

ANCIENT SIAM

out of town ANCIENT SIAM (MUANG BORAN)  map 1 / F6 296/1 Sukhumvit Rd, Samut Prakan 02-709-1644 | www.ancientcity.com B 400 / B 200 kids / B1,500 private guide in English for 2 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. Teakwood, stone and brick abound; everything looks authentically aged; and amidst the scaled-down and life-size copies are lots of salvaged original buildings. เมืองโบราณ จ.สมุทรปราการ HOUSE OF MUSEUMS  map 1 / E 5 Sala Thammasop, Phutthamonthon Sai 2 089-200-2803, 089-666-2008 http://houseofmuseums.siam.edu Located on a dusty backstreet in Nakhom Pathom province, this modest townhouse museum is filled to bursting with Thai cultural connoisseur Anaka Nawigamune’s stockpile of 20 th Century Thai ephemera. Stirring up nostalgia for a time that most Thais forgot –  or never even knew – on the groundfloor is a toyshop, barbershop, gold-shop and coffee shop. Upstairs, evocative bits and bobs, most of them donated by people who heard about his madcap preservation project and wanted in, sit in glass display cases. บ้านพิพิธภัณฑ์ ศาลาธรรมสพน์ ถ.พุทธมนฑล สาย 2

F ebrua ry 2012 | 25


Sightseeing

บางกระเจ้า พระประแดง Benjasiri park  map 4 / L 7 Sukhumvit Rd, btw. Soi 22 / 24 BTS Phrom Pong | 5am-9pm Right next to the Phrom Phong BTS Skytrain station and Emporium shopping mall, this is a great place to escape the Sukhumvit rat race – amble around lakes, chase cooing pigeons, find shade under a tree, and admire pretty Thai sculptures. สวนเบญจสิริ อยู่ระหว่าง สุขุมวิท ซ.22 – ซ.24 JATUJAK & QUEEN SIRIKIT PARKS  map 8 / M,N 1,2 820 Phahonyothin Rd, Ladyao | Jatujak 02-272-4358 | 5 am – 6:30 pm | free These two parks situated not far from the mayhem of the weekend market offer some much-needed respite. Many depleted shoppers can be found taking a breather here, their bags of JJ booty splayed out on

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สวนจตุจักรและ สวนสมเด็จพระนาง เจ้าสิริกิติ์ 820 ถ. พหลโยธิน จตุจักร RAMA IX ROYAL PARK  OFF MAP Sukhumvit Soi 103, behind Seri Center Pravet | 02-328-1972 | 5:30am – 7 pm | B10 Bangkok's biggest park spans 200 -acres and features a small museum dedicated to the King, set amongst pleasant botanical gardens with soothing water features. Its a bit of a shlep from downtown but worth it – you can easily lose a day here, just strolling aimlessly or reading under a tree. สวนหลวง ร.9 ถ.สุขุมวิท 103 (หลังพาราไดส์ พาร์ค) ประเวศ

8

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Sarasin Radio Station

Lumpini Head Office

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สวนลุมพินี เข้าได้ทาง ถ.พระราม 4 ถ.สารสิน ถ.วิทยุและ ถ.ราชดำ�ริ

Glas House

Elderly Center

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Playground

Yaovarach Pavillon

Lumpini School

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Youth Center

Aerobic Octagon Pavillon

Lumpini Park

Lanna Thai Pavillon Library

Witthayu

BANG KRACHAO  map 1 / E6 Bang Krachao, Phra Pradaeng, Samut Prakan | 02-461-097 6 am – 8 pm | Free It’s hard to believe that this oasis of lush orchards and mangroves is just opposite the concrete jungle of Klong Toey. Included within it is the 200 -rai Suan Klang Central Park with a large pond where you can rent paddle boats for B30 . Or rent cycles for the same rate and ride a bike around the park then head down to the Bang Nam Pueng Floating Market.

the lawn beside them. Jatujak Park hosts some art exhibits and a collection of old railway engines and ancient automobiles. Nearby, Queen Sirikit Park has a botanical garden.

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LUMPINI PARK  map 8 / K,L 16 Entrances on Rama IV, Sarasin, Witthayu and Ratchadamri Rd 5 am – 9 pm, cycling / skating 10 am – 3 pm free Come here when it all gets too much, when you can stand the din and traffic no more. The biggest and most popular slice of public space in Central Bangkok, Lumpini Park is 142 acres of trees and grass sewn together with wide, meandering concrete paths. Busy as soon as the sun rises and again around sunset, Bangkokians of every ilk take advantage of the relative cool and quiet to practice Tai Chi, do aerobics, hold hands or jog around the picturesque lakes. A surprising number of animals also like it here – from turtles and giant monitor lizards, to flocks of crows and the occasional stray cat. Activities include taking a Swanshaped pedal boat out onto the water for a quick spin and pumping iron at the outdoor gym, while live concert recitals and film screenings take place here during the cool season. There are entrances on each of its four sides, all of them open till 9pm, but the most impressive is the one at the corner of Rama IV Road and Ratchadamri Road, where a grand statue of King Rama VI stands sentinel.

RAMA IX ROYAL PARK

dam

parks – Flora

Bang Krachao

Raja

LUMPINI PARK

Entertainment Building Lily Pond

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Thailand China Friendship Pavillon Lumpini Youth Center

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Lumpini Hall Chinese Pavillon

Indoor Stadium

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Playground Clock Tower

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Lumphini

bangkok101.com


Dusit Zoo

ROSE GARDEN RIVERSIDE (Suan Sampram)  map 1 / D5 32 Phet Kasem Rd, Yai-Cha, Sampran, Nakhon Pathom Province | 03-432- 2544 www.rosegardenriverside.com 10 am – 4 pm | B 500 Take an hour’s drive out from the city and explore this 70-acre property located beside the Ta Chine River, which includes a hotel resort, golf course, spa, organic farm and botanical gardens. The cultural shows here are about as popular as the gardens. โรสการ์เด้น ริเวอร์ไซด์ สวนสามพราน ถ.เพชรเกษม SARANROM PARK  map 7 / E 11 Intersection of Rachini / Charoen Krung Rd Phra Nakhon | 5 am – 8 pm | free This ‘green belt’ within the city is located opposite the Grand Palace, built in 1866 during the reign of Rama IV as a royal garden of the Saranrom Royal Palace. It is now a botanical garden and public park, featuring a glass house, and royal bugle pavilion. สวนสราญรมย์ แยกราชินี ถ.เจริญกรุง

parks – Fauna BANGKOK BUTTERFLY GARDEN  map 8 / M2 Suan Rot Fai Park, Kamphaeng Phet 3 Rd | 02- 272-4359 | Tue – Sun+public holidays 8:30 am – 4:30 pm | free This dome-enclosed sanctuary not from JJ Market houses over 500 species of butterflies fluttering freely in the mazes of the landscaped gardens, with their wild flowers, canopied benches, ponds and waterfalls. Besides butterfly watching, visitors can picnic or rent a bicycle for around B 30. It's located within Suan Rot Fai Park, a great big park that's great to explore on two wheels, especially as there are stalls hiring them out for just B20. อุทยานผีเสื้อและแมลงกรุงเทพฯ สวนรถไฟ ถ.กำ�แพงเพชร จตุจักร bangkok101.com

Samphran Elephant Ground

DUSIT ZOO  map 8 / F 8 71 Rama V Rd, opposite Chitralada Palace Dusit | 02-281-2000 | 8 am – 6 pm B100 / B 50 kids The city’s main zoo, situated to the north of Rattanakosin, is home to a large selection of mammals, reptiles and other animals. There’s also a lake with paddle boats. สวนสัตว์ดุสิต 71 ถ.พระราม 5 QUEEN SAOVABHA MEMORIAL INSTITUTE (SNAKE FARM)  map 5 / K 4 1871 Rama IV Rd, Henri Dunant 02-252-0161-4 ext.120 | Mon – Fri 8:30 am – 4 pm, Sat & Sun 9:30 am – 12 pm (shows at 11am & 2:30 pm) B 200 Mainly developing antidotes to poisonous snake bites, this research facility is open to the public. There’s an informative slide show followed by displays of live venom extraction. สถานเสาวภา (สวนงู) ถ.พระราม 4 สภากาชาดไทย SAMPHRAN ELEPHANT GROUND & ZOO  map 1 / D 5 Petkasem Rd km 30, Samphan Nakhon Pathom Province | 02-295-2938 | www.elephantshow.com 8:30 am – 5:30 pm | B 550 / B 350 kids Apart from The Elephant Theme Show, watch the Crocodile Wrestling Show or ride on an elephant’s back through the tropical gardens and waterfalls ลานแสดงช้างและฟาร์มจระเข้สามพราน ถ.เพชรเกษม สามพราน SIAM OCEAN WORLD  map 3 / D4 BI F, Siam Paragon | 991 Rama 1 Rd 02-687-2001 | www.siamoceanworld.com 10 am – 7 pm | B 900 / 700 kids If you're not put off by the dual-pricing policy (we are, frankly), there’s fun to be had inside, with 8 m high tanks, glass tunnels to walk through, and shark-feeding shows. สยามพารากอน ถ.พระราม 1

Funarium

Kids in the city Negotiating Bangkok with kids needn’t be the nightmare many parents presume. The single biggest plus point is that Thais absolutely adore children, meaning there are always people around ready to help out. Skytrain guards will drop what they’re doing to help you haul that stroller down the stairs and waitresses will gladly whisk junior off for a tour of the kitchens while you enjoy a coffee.Most of the big shopping malls have play areas set aside for kids, with two of the best being Kiddy Land, which has slides, a ball pit and a balloon room on the 6th floor of CentralWorld; Jamboree on the 3rd floor of Emporium; and the huge indoor playground Funarium located off Sukhumvit. Plus, of course, most of the shopping malls have cinemas and enough ice-cream stores to sate a homesick Inuit.There are also a fair few kid-friendly attractions. The city’s parks (see opposite) offer a chance to let off steam, especially Rot Fai Park near Chatuchak Weekend Market, where you can rent bicycles; and Dusit Zoo is a sprawling, chaotic afternoon’s worth of fun. Although expensive, Siam Ocean World is a great way to entertain the kids while you shop at Paragon department store. If you’re sticking around town for a while, Bangkok Dolphins (www.bangkokdolphins.com) offer swimming classes from three months old. Funarium  map 4 / O 9 111 / 1 Sukhumvit 26 | 02-665-6555 www.funarium.co.th | 8:30 am – 8:30 pm B 90 adults  / B 180 kids up to 105 cm /  B 300 kids up to 13 years Basically 2,000  sqm of slides, ball pits, trampolines, obstacle courses, cycling tracks and basketball courts, with a decent on-site café for lunch. ฟันเอเรียม สุขุมวิท 26 F ebrua ry 2012 | 27


BEGUILING Buddha head at Wat Mahathat


travel – Daytrip: Ayudhya Old Siam’s dusty former capital has endured a lot over the centuries, not least being ransacked by the Burmese, but the recent flooding was easily the worst trauma in living memory. A total of 157 historic monuments in and around the UNESCO World Heritage Site were submerged for over a month last October, a shocking turn of events given the ruins’ fragility and cultural importance. And classic temples weren’t the only relics damaged by the millions of cubic metres of wayward water. Murals and treasured books, the latter stored at Ayudhya’s Maha Chulalongkorn University, also suffered from flood damage (the Bangkok Post recently reported on how a group of German book preservation experts have been flown into to help salvage and restore the precious tomes). Our recent visit to size up the damage appeared to show that the prompt clean-up has paid off. The temples were thronged with merit-makers, the ruins as atmospheric as ever. However, as Khun Leena, the owner of the lovely Baan Thai House resort implied, all may not be as rosy as it seems. “The damage has yet to be assessed and the full extent won’t be apparent for some time,” she told us. Moreover, signs of damage weren’t that hard to spot in fact, especially at those temples located on the banks of the Chao Phraya. At Wat Chai Wattanaram, one of the most romantic ruins, for example, the high water mark was clearly visible on all of its Khmer-style prang (spires), the ground parched, the frangipani trees bare, and a water pump still stationed at the river’s edge. Visitors were also restricted from walking freely across it. This precaution makes sense given recent comments by the chief of UNESCO’s Bangkok Culture Unit, Tim Curtis: “there is a need to closely monitor the condition of the sites and the affected monuments, especially in the next few months as foundations and structures dry out, as well as, of course, over the long-term.” Conservation experts mobilised by UNESCO on a recent fact-finding mission were especially worried about the accumulation of salt and mud around the monuments, something that can lead to growth of algae and damage to the brick surface.   

Revisiting the Ruins: Ayudhya, after the floods Story by Max Crosbie-Jones


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Wat Chai Wattanaram

What does all this mean for the average daytripper? Not a lot, for the time being at least. While behind the scenes experts from UNESCO and Thailand’s Fine Arts Department formulate recommendations for the restoration of the monuments, and wrestle with what water management measures to introduce to mitigate future floods, the Si Ayudhya Historical Park is open to visitors. And, despite being mud-splattered in places, still a fascinating place to explore. There are some sights you must see first. Ask a local to mark up them up for you on one of the free maps available around town, and they’ll likely plot popular monuments such as Wat Phra Mahathat, where a Buddha head sits embedded in a banyan tree (join the queue for the photograph), and Wat Yai Chaimongkhon, which is located just to the southeast of the city and offers gorgeous towering ruins fringed by rows of seated Buddhas. The crypt of Wat Ratchaburana, the reclining Buddha at Wat Lokayasutharam, and the aforementioned Wat Chai Wattanaram are other highlights.

Museum is a storehouse for the Buddha images, carved panels and other artifacts deemed too precious to be left to the elements. On the way back to Bangkok, you should also check out nearby Bang Pa-In, where Rama V’s love for all things European shines through at a rambling estate harbouring his Summer Palace. Here you can view Western-style structures and beautifully tended gardens. Nearby, Wat Niwet Thamaprawat proves even more fascinating: built by Rama V, the striking temple resembles a Gothic Christian church. A short drive away, the Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Craft Centre beckons shopaholics interested in snapping up locally handmade crafts at fair prices.

If you have some time on your hands (and you should: Ayutthaya is even more rewarding if you stay overnight), it’s also worth heading away from the throng to seek out less well known sights. Our latest discovery: the elephant kraal, a big elephant pen made of huge wooden logs. In the days of Old Siam, royalty would sit up in the white pavilion next to it as wild elephants were rounded up. It sits just northeast of the city and was being given a new lick of paint on our visit. While we suggest you skip the elephant shows (sorry, but watching sad looking nellies being prodded to dance and totter around on their hind legs isn’t for us), we also recommend you pop by the nearby Ayudhya Tourism Centre. Upstairs, there’s a modern museum covering the site’s history and development, and an art gallery featuring pieces by notable national artists. And downstairs, the TAT office by the entrance is the place to get your free pamphlets and maps. Just across the road, the Chao Sam Phraya National 30 | F ebrua ry 2012

Wat Yai Chaimongkhon bangkok101.com


Baan thai house

  see

Bang Pa-In Royal Palace Aumphur Bang Pa-In | 035-261-044 | www.palaces.thai.net Ayutthaya Tourism Centre Tourism Authority of Thailand (Ayudhya Office) 118 / 22 Moo 4, Si Sanphet Rd | T. Pratu Chai | 035-246-076-7 | www.tourismthailand.org/ayutthaya Chao Sam Phraya National Museum 108 Rojchana Rd, T. Pratu Chai, Ayudhya | 035-241-587 | www.thailandmuseum.com Bang Sai Royal Folk Arts and Craft Centre T. Chang Yai, A. Bang Sai, Ayudhya | 035-366-252-4   stay

Countless daily buses, trains and river cruisers connect Ayudhya with Bangkok, but if you don’t want to rush things stay overnight. The town has a clutch of decent offerings, most of which offer free bicycles that you can use to gaily scoot between the ruins on. Baan Thai House 199/19 Moo 4, Tambol Pai Ling | Ayudhya | 035-245-555 www.baanthaihouse.com | B1,800 – B 2,100 (until October) “Sorry the garden looks bare… we lost twenty coconut trees and the water reached higher than the water wheel”, says Khun Leena, the owner of Baan Thai, while walking us around her charming lakeside resort just a short drive from the historical park. She needn’t apologise: unless she told you, you’d never know that Baan Thai House, opened in 2009, was under two metres of water for a month during the recent floods. Arranged around a central lake with geese, the resort is comprised of twelve villas, some with lake views and balconies, others with semi-outdoor bathrooms. Our favourite though is the Thai villa: a cosy, Jim Thompson-style teak house that was moved here, reassembled, and given a tasteful bathroom extension. On the polished teak veranda you can lie back on the twin daybeds, taking in the Old Siam-style scenery. Also within the grounds is a spa, an inviting restaurant lounge area with free internet and magazines, plus a decent swimming pool that’s great for a dip after a day spent navigating dusty ruins. The ‘oasis’ word is overused when it comes to hotels but its undeniably the case here. bangkok101.com

roti sai mai shop

Iudia on the river 11-12 U-Thong Road, Moo 4, Pratu Chai, Ayutthaya | 086-0801888 | www.iudia.com | B2,450-B4,650 Pricier but closer to the ruins, this 8-room boutique hotel sits on U-Thong Road and has a rear garden and small pool that backs on to the Chao Phraya River and faces the stunning 14th century temple Wat Phutthai Sawaan. Named after foreign explorers, the rooms are hip and modern but dressed with the odd piece of wooden furniture or antique. Free wi-fi and bikes included.   eat

Two historic dishes abound on the streets of the city and are a must-try. The first is guay deow rua, or boat noodles. Back in the days of yore, sampans would drift down Ayudhya's waterways serving tiny boat shaped bowels of noodle soup with pork or beef. Today, the boats are gone but many noodle stalls around town claim to serve up the best rendition. There are lots along the southern stretch of U-Thong Road, especially opposite Somdet Phra Sinakharin Park, but the one to try (in our humble opinion, anyway ) is Lung Lek. In this openair restaurant on Chikun Road a bowl costs a mere B20 a pop and the dark brown, nam tok beef stock is the tastiest we’ve come across, beguiling in its sweet-spicy complexity. The other must-try is roti sai mai: candy floss like strands of sugar that you wrap like a tortilla in sweet roti bread. The Muslimrun stalls that make this dessrt are strung along U-Thong Road, opposite the Phra Nakhon Si Ayudhya Hospital.   getting there

By bus: Air-conditioned buses from Bangkok depart every half hour from the Northern Bus Terminal near BTS Mo Chit. By car: Take Highway 1 (Phanonyothin Rd.) then take Highway No. 32 to Ayudhya. By boat: Ayudhya Boat & Travel (www.ayutthaya-boat.com) or Manohra Cruises (www.manohracruises.com). By train: Trains from Hualamphong station depart hourly between 4am-midnight. Call centre: 1960; www.railway.co.th. F ebrua ry 2012 | 31


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Upcountry now!

Throughout February Fringe Festival 2012

Hua Hin’s multi-million baht performing arts complex, the Vic Hua Hin, is hosting a flurry of global talent as part of its ongoing Fringe Festival this month. Performances include physical Thai theatre on February 4, traditional Japanese drumming on February 5, a one-man show from the UK on February 11, and French-Thai modern dance on February 25. Tickets (B 500 – 900) are only available from the venue: 032-827-814, www.vichuahin.com

February 5 – 7 36th Chiang Mai Flower Festival

Outside of Japan’s Sakura Flower Festival, you’ve probably never seen such amazing things done with flowers. Head down to Buak Hat Park at the southwest corner of the Old City and check out amazing floats festooned with fanciful floral designs that would melt even the brittlest Bauhaus heart. There’ll also be floral art installations and the requisite beauty contests, music and petalled stuff for purchase. Make sure to wear some flowers in your hair.

February 3 – 12 Chainat’s Straw-bird Festival

In Chainat, a little known province in the Central Plains, the locals have taken to fashioning hay, the by-product of rice cultivation, into massive bird-shaped stacks known as hoon fang. Staged in front of the provincial town’s City Hall, this annual festival offers you the chance to admire their outlandish handiwork, plus catch strawbird making contests, village handicraft competitions and light and sound shows, not to mention shop for a straw-bird of your own.

February 5 – 12 PTT Pattaya Open 2012

Now in its 21st year, this pro tennis tournament with a beachside location promises an exciting line-up of top women tennis stars, including former Grand Slam champions. As always, the eight day competition will culminate, on Sunday 12, with the finals being held in a compact 2,500 capacity stadium located on the grounds of Pattaya City’s Dusit Hotel, within sight of the sea. Tickets are B 500 to B1,200 from Thai Ticket-

major. www.thaiticketmajor.com 32 | F ebrua ry 2012

bangkok101.com


travel | upcountry now

February 10 – 12 Ban Chiang World Heritage Festival

A highlight of the Northeast is Udon Thani’s Ban Chiang, an archeological site where red pottery shards discovered in the 1960s turned out to be remnants of Asia’s oldest Bronze Age settlement. Regional cultural performances, sales of local produce, and a light and sound show will all feature in this celebration of the must-see UNESCO World Heritage site.

February 11 – 13 Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony

Sixteen years after the first mass underwater wedding ceremony, blushing brides will again be squeezing garters over their wetsuits and descending into the deep blue seas just off Trang province’s Koh Kradan island. Amazingly popular, dozens of couples sign up every year to say “I do” using divers’ sign language. Packages start at B 25,000 and include meals, costumes, air tanks and a videotape to wow the grandchildren with. www.underwaterwedding.com

February 16 – 20 King Narai Festival

One of the great kings of the legendary Ayutthaya period, King Narai was a great believer in international relations. What better way to honour his memory, then, than a tourist-friendly tribute around the ruins of Lop Buri province’s Phra Narai Ratchanivet, the palace he built? Visitors will get to enjoy a sound and light show, a traditional-style open-air market, demonstrations of folk games and Thai boxing, a song contest by village elders, cultural performances by the Lop Buri Fine Arts College, and a fashion show of traditional Thai costumes.

February 24 – 25 Phuket International Blues Rock Festival

February 26 – March 7 Kalasin Prae Wa Silk Festival

Silk lovers should slink up to Kalasin province this month. Phu Thai settlers, descendants of Vietnamese immigrants, here are renowned for their unique silk designs, or prae wa, and this festival, due to be held in the town’s Rim Pao Hotel, will be full of them. Lots of contests, and a best of Kalasin fair, will accompany the sale. TAT Khon Kaen office, 04-324-4498 bangkok101.com

This well-established annual blues bonanza down in Phuket attracts top acts from the USA, Europe and Australia, as well as Thailand. Headlining is Chris Thomas King, whose songs featured on the Billboardtopping soundtrack to the Coen Brothers movie O Brother Where Art Thou, while support comes from Rich Harper (USA), AkashA (Malaysia) and the John Meyer’s Blues Express (Australia), among others. Two day tickets cost B1,500 at the gate or B 1,200 in advance; and this year’s location is the Laguna Phuket resort. 086-682 2639, www.phuketbluesfestival.com

F ebrua ry 2012 | 33


Out and About in

Kuala Lumpur

Story by Dave Stamboulis


travel | K uala L umpur

Bangkok

over the border

South China Sea MALAYSIA

MALAYSIA

Kuala Lumpur

K

uala Lumpur doesn’t get a lot of positive press. Not quite as glitzy or vibrant as say Singapore or Bangkok, it’s like the rather plain sister who gets passed over at the prom. However the city does have several interesting and off the beaten path sights and attractions, plus a few more notable ones, and with all of its modern conveniences and excellent transportation system, is actually a very enjoyable spot to pass a weekend. Most visitors start off their journey to KL with a trip to Merdeka Square, the site of Malaysia’s celebration of independence in 1957, where one of the world’s largest flagpoles marks the spot of freedom from British rule. This area is full of historical buildings and period architecture, such as the Mogul style Sultan Abdul Samad Building, now home to the Ministry of Arts and Culture and one of KL’s major landmarks. There is also the Tudor style Royal Selangor Club, and the old Railway Heritage Building that is now the National Textile Museum.

from the nearby courts continue the tradition, sipping the restaurant’s strong and sweet kopi peng (iced coffee) while digging in to some of the best Hainanese chicken rice in town. Lunch hour sees Sing Seng Nam at its most vibrant, and most of its food is gone by 2 pm. For something completely unique, pay a visit to the headquarters of Malaysia Airlines, where you can have the experience of a lifetime. At MH’s pilot training academy, members of the public can now have a go on the company’s Flight Simulator Experience, something that until recently was only reserved for trainee pilots. While the cost isn’t cheap, the inside of the simulators are identical to a cockpit, with all of the appropriate buttons, levers, and display units, and a series of computer commands allows one to take off or land in any kind of weather conditions at any commercial airport in the world. Getting back to the tourist trail, of course no visit to Kuala Lumpur is complete without a sojourn to the Petronas Towers. The famed 88 story dual towers, one of the world’s tallest structures, rise 452 metres above the ground, are connected by a Skybridge on the 41st floor, and are KL’s most recognised landmark, visible from anywhere in the city and its surroundings. Designed by the architect Caesar Pelli, the towers are based on simple Islamic geometric forms and are supposed to reflect the Islamic principles of unity, harmony, stability, and rationality. The towers rise above the huge Suria KLCC shopping mall complex, and a visit to the Skybridge or the 86th floor Observation Deck requires tickets, which are available on a first come first serve basis from the ticket counter in the Concourse level.

All of these sights, along with the stylish Masjid Jamek, lie at the confluence of the Klang and Gambok rivers, an extremely picturesque spot with large trees and green space along the river banks fronting majestic colonial homes and buildings considered to be the true heart of the city. To take a break from the heat of the day in this neighbourhood, and experience a bit of Kuala Lumpur from its past, wander into Sing Seng Nam, a traditional coffee house from the early 1900’s, where British businessmen and lawyers convened amongst the marble table tops and wood shuttered windows to talk business. These days, Malay lawyers bangkok101.com

If one thinks the only bird’s eye view of the city comes from Petronas Towers or the nearby space needle-like KL Tower, there is another off the beaten track option to consider. Well known to locals, but not on most tourists’  agendas, the aptly named Lookout Point offers some outdoor dining options with great vistas of the metropolis and surroundings.  Actually located in in Ampang city some 15 km from KL, the Lookout Point sits up on top of Bukit Belacan Hill, which is 280 metres high and has some unparalleled views of the entire metropolitan skyline. F ebrua ry 2012 | 35


t rav e l   transport

Malaysia Airlines, the top carrier in the region, flies to KL from Bangkok four times a day: 11:05 am, 2:15 pm, 5:10 pm and 7:55 pm. www.malaysiaairlines.com   stay

Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur 2 Jalan Stesen Sentral | Sentral district | Kuala Lumpur 50470 +60 (0)3-2263-7888 | www.lemeridienkualalumpur.com

Several restaurants, including Gasoline Cafe, The Haven, LOP Western Food, and Panorama offer a variety of different cuisines and al fresco settings from which to take in the vistas. Weekends get pretty crowded, and the best time to go is right after a big rain, when the haze that covers the city is washed away. Besides gazing at the brightly lit city landmarks or wandering around the bustling Bukit Bintang club and pub area, there is a quirky alternative to KL’s standard nighttime activities. In the Shah Alam district of Selangor, you can gaze at one truly weird exhibit: thousands of colored LED lights scattered throughout the fake trees and sculptures that are part of this futuristic park. It may sound schmaltzy, but it's actually pretty spectacular.

Located just 28 minutes from KL’s international air terminal, Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur offers 5 star comfort and class. Set in the heart of the KL Sentral district, the hotel has won awards for its buffet dining and is home to the city’s signature steakhouse, Prime, along with the newly opened Favola Italian restaurant. The elegant rooms and suites overlook the city skyline and nearby Lake Gardens, and feature such elegances as goose down duvets and duck feather pillows to make one’s stay all the more cozy.   eat

Lookout Point Several restaurants set at 280 metres above sea level overlooking all of KL. About a 30 minute drive from downtown. Jalan Hulu Langat (B62), Ampang | Kuala Lumpur www.lookoutpoint.com.my Sing Seng Nam 2 Medan Pasar | 50050 Kuala Lumpur | +60-(0)3-20785359

Back downtown, if you are looking for something a little more serious and artistic to contemplate, the Islamic Arts Museum of Malaysia is well worth a stopover. Housed amidst the leafy Lake Gardens, the four-storey museum is Southeast Asia’s largest Islamic arts gallery, and is filled with over 7,000 artifacts, including a fascinating display of colourful Korans and other Islamic books from various periods. Most visitors tend to be enthralled by the model room, which features full-scale model replicas of all of the major Islamic mosques and holy sites in the world, including a large model of the impressive Majid al-Haram in Mecca. At the other end of the spectrum, the jewelry hall holds some of the world’s tiniest jewel pieces, plus other rare items such as Turkmeni headdresses or gold Iranian anklets. Still feeling at a loss for things to do? Then better start planning your trip around the Formula One Grand Prix Series, which this year takes place between March 23rd and 25th. Needless to say, accommodation, transportation, and all else will be in high demand, and you most certainly won’t have the place to yourself. 36 | F ebrua ry 2012

  do

Malaysia Airlines Flight Simulator Experience Simulator Building Complex A-AA0202, Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport | 47200 Subang Jaya | 9 am – 5 pm on – Fri | 500  R M (5000 baht) for a 20 minute experience. Sat, Sun & holiday 1500 RM for a minimum 60 minute simulation. www.malaysiaairlines.com/hq/en/commercial-services/mh-flightsimulator-experience Petronas Towers Tue – Sun 8am – 7pm | Fri closed for prayer from 1 – 2:30pm Tickets range from 10 RM for a basic Skybridge visit to 350 RM for a dinner package at the Petroleum Club. www.petronastwintowers.com.my I City Shah Alam Jalan Multimedia 7/A, CityPark, i-City, Shah Alam, Selangor | www.i-city.my Islamic Arts Museum of Malaysia Jalan Lembah Perdana, Colonial District | 50480 Kuala Lumpur +60 (3)-2274-2020 | www.iamm.org.my | 10am – 6pm bangkok101.com


travel | H O tel D eals

Hotel Deals

February 10 – 17 Romantic Escape Valentine’s package

Until March 31 20% Advance Discount

Nikki Beach Koh Samui 96/3 Moo 2 Lipa Noi | Koh Samui 077-914-500 www.nikkibeachthailand.com info@nikkibeachthailand.com

Anantara Si Kao 198-199 Moo 5, Had Pak Meng, Changlang Beach, Sikao, Trang 075-205 888 | www.sikao.anantara.com sikao@anantara.com

Hip VIP beach resort, the Nikki Beach Koh Samui, has come up with a three night Valentine’s Package exclusively for couples. Between February 10 to 17 you and your loved one can enjoy three nights for the price of two, round-trip airport transfers, a romantic private dinner on the beach (including a bottle of sparkling wine), plus a one-hour Thai massage session. All this, for B 23,000++.

South of Krabi, on a long stretch of secluded beach. the luxury Anantara Sikao Resort & Spa promises beautiful views of the emerald blue Andaman sea and breathtaking sunsets. Until the end of Feb, book your stay a minimum of 30 days in advance and get 20 % off the regular rate. Rates for deluxe rooms start at B 5,600++. The fine print: your stay must fall between March 10 – 31.

Inspired by Valentine’s Day, the V Villas Hua Hin have come up with a Romeo and Juliet themed package for couples: one night in a two bedroom pool villa suite. Included is candlelight dinner for two, a one hour aroma massage, and high tea in your villa or by the beach. Prices start at B 20,500 net and also include 30% off spa treatments and 10% off food and beverages (alcohol excluded).

Until March 31 All Seasons introductory offer

All Seasons Chiang Mai 7/1 Moo 1, Kanklong Cholprathan Rd Chiang Mai | 053-908 888 www.all-seasons-hotels.com info@allseasons-chiangmai.com

Until March 31 Nova Hotel & Spa Opening Rates

Nova Hotel & Spa Pattaya 80/167 Nongprue | Pattaya 038-725-999 www.centarahotelsresorts.com/nvp nvp@chr.co.th

Until April 30 Relax by the Ocean package

The Accor group have just opened their first All Seasons brand hotel in the north, the All Seasons Chiang Mai, and to celebrate they’re offering special introductory rates of B1,185++ for a standard room, and B1,422++ for a deluxe room until March 31. Located near the centre of town, at the Phu Come Intersection, the hotel’s rooms all feature 32 inch TVs as well as free breakfast and internet.

The recently opened Nova Hotel & Spa scores with contemporary design and a convenient location in the heart of Pattaya, within easy walking distance of the beach. Head to Pattaya before the end of March to take advantage of their tempting opening rates: a Deluxe room for two overlooking the pool is currently B 2,250++ a night, while a One-Bedroom Deluxe Suite big enough for all the family is B 3,950++.

The Sheraton Pattaya Resort, with its private beach at South Pattaya’s Pratamnak Hill, is now offering the Relax by the Ocean package: two nights accommodation and buffet breakfast for two at Elements restaurant. Rates start at B12,890++ for two nights in a garden view room and include welcome drinks, a fruit plate on arrival, and a 90 minute Amburaya Embrace spa treatment for two.

bangkok101.com

Until March 31 Romeo and Juliet Romance package

V Villas Hua Hin 63/39 Petchkasem Rd | Hua Hin 032-616 039 www.v-villashuahin.com info@vvillashuahin.com

Sheraton Pattaya Resort 437 Phra Tamnak Road | Pattaya 038-259 888 www.sheraton.com/pattaya sheraton.pattaya@sheraton.com

F ebrua ry 2012 | 37


DICHOTOMY – Michele Mikesell at La Lanta Fine Art


Arts & Culture The biggest happening in the city’s hit-and-miss arts arena this month is French-Thai cultural festival La Fête. For eight of the past nine years the Embassy of France has laid on a rich programme of new circus, classical music, rock concerts, DJ, modern dance, hip-hop, visual theatre, photography, cinema and fashion that spans months and this year’s instalment, running February 2 to March 29 at venues all over town, is no different. Head to page 10 for our picks from February’s line-up. The other big news is that long-awaited new artist’s community, V 64 Art Studio, has finally opened in the northern suburbs (143/19 Chaengwattana Soi 1, Yak 6 | www.v64artstudio. com). Postponed due to the floods, it will stage regular art happenings and have individual studio spaces for rent. Another new space, We*Do Gallery, has also opened up on Thonglor Soi 8. They kicked off with a group exhibition that runs into April. Other shows worth catching this month include Somsak Pattanapitoon’s infrared photographs of eerily quiet city streets at Silapakorn University ; a new art installation by Thai artist Prapat Jiwarangsan over at WTF; mid 20th-century nude photos at Kathmandu Photo Gallery; and tragic-comic paintings by Dallas based painter Michele Mikesel at La Lanta .


A R T S & C u lt u r e

exhibition highlights

Muang Krung Muang Thep Art Centre, Silpakorn University  map 7 / C 9 31 Na Phra Lan Rd (opp the Grand Palace) 02-221-3841 | www.art-centre.su.ac.th Mon – Fri 9 am – 7 pm, Sat 9 am – 4 pm Until feb 10

Dichotomy La Lanta Fine Art  map 4 / J 4 245/14 Sukhumvit Soi 31 | BTS Phrom Phong 02-260-5381 | www.lalanta.com | Tue – Sat 10 am – 7 pm; Sun by appointment Until Feb 22

  For her first solo exhibition in Bangkok, Dallas based painter Michele Mikesell presents a series of paintings that create visual metaphors between human ideas and animal instincts. Loaded with humour and tragedy, her stylised costumed creatures and painterly surfaces are inspired by the expressive art movements of the last century.

M L Toy Xoomsai Kathmandu Photo Gallery  map 5 / E 5 87 Soi Pan, Silom Rd | BTS Chong Nonsi 02-234-6700 | www.kathmandu-bkk.com Tue – Sun 11 am – 7 pm Until Feb 26

 The next lensman to be profiled in Kathmandu’s ‘Seeking Forgotten Thai Photographers’ archival series, the late M L Toy Xoomsai was a vanguard for nude photography in Thailand. Battling against the conservative mindset of mid-20 th century officialdom, the photographer’s black and white images of partially clothed or naked females were considered defiant during the period. 4 0 | F ebrua ry 2012

In his latest exhibition of photography, optometrist by trade Somsak Pattanapitoon scratches below the surface of his native domain to search for sanctity. Inspiration for Muang Krung Muang Thep came during the New Year holiday, when Bangkok’s streets become devoid of the daily tailbacks and sidewalk melee. The desolate thoroughfares offer a rare respite that Somsak supposes can only be sustained if the populace were to evacuate, leaving the city to wandering resident spirits. Captured on infrared film, the fleeting natural light of transient moments lend an ethereal quality to the black and white prints. the modern metropolis”. 


A R T s  &  culture | E x h i b i t i ons

Absolutely Normal Chaos Koi Art Gallery  map 4 / J 4 43/12 Sukhumvit Soi 31 | BTS Phrom Phong 02-662-3218 | www.koiartgallerybangkok.com | 10 am – 7 pm Until Feb 27

 A personal visual diary of past events,

Sakyai Mongkonprasert’s expressive abstract

paintings convey feelings attached to significant memoires. The Silpakorn graduate’s bold layering of colour and raw marks forms an intimate process of understanding that is both therapeutic and an act of celebration.

I‘ll never smile again WTF Gallery & Café  map 4 / Q 6 7 Sukhumvit Soi 51 | 02-662-6246 | BTS Thong Lor www.wtfbangkok.com | Tue – Sun 4 – 10 pm Until Mar 25

In his latest exhibition, Thai artist Prapat Jiwarangsan presents photo collages, installations, video art and multimedia works, all of them inspired by current tensions surrounding Thailand’s complex relationship with personal liberty and freedom of expression. Based on his experiences during his fine-art studies in London, the series of ten conceptual works draw links with the historical objects and images he encountered while exhibiting at the Royal Embassy of Thailand there, and his dislocated, confused view of the 2010 violence that befell his hometown, Bangkok.  

The Oracle We*Do Gallery  map 4 / R 2 79 Thonglor 8, Sukhumvit Soi 55 | 02-391-4866 www.wedo-gallery.com | Tue – Sun 11 am – 8 pm Until Apr 5

  Marking the recent opening of the new European-owned design, fashion and art space We*Do at Thong Lor 8 is the inaugural exhibition, The Oracle, featuring photographs by eleven international artists. Concerning the potentiality of the human condition, the slick, opulent imagery casts off the mundane in favour of beauty and grandeur.

  Enjoy these highlights from our sister publication the Bangkok Art Map. BAM is a free city map containing insights into Thailand's blossoming art scene.  www.ban gkokartmap.com bangkok101.com

F ebrua ry 2012 | 41


A R T S & C u lt u r e

ART 1-0n-1   by Steven Pettifor

Gi-ok Jeon on Dwelling in a Space Korean Gi-ok Jeon is an artist, woman and mother living in Thailand. In her latest solo exhibition Dwelling in a Space at Galerie N, the graduate of Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts depicts her experience of separation from her home country and adaptation to a new culture by presenting a series of traditional Korean brush paintings of her mixed-race daughter suspended in space alongside traditional Thai fabrics, known as patoong. She also introduces a shadow installation of birdcage like figures, and a set of experimental woodcut prints, both of which also grapple with the exhibition’s overarching themes: identity and alienation in a foreign land.

Describe the essence of your art. To embody my ideas and experiences of my daily life into art. Art cannot be separated from life so the roles I play in every situation and every moment such as a mother, wife and woman all inform my work. Gi-ok

different gives me a lot of advantages as an artist wherever I’m based, because I feel free from preexisting beliefs and constraints in that society, and thus am free to deliver more personal thoughts and criticisms.

What is it about using and combining craft techniques, such as woodcut prints, woven and embroidered materials and traditional brush painting, that appeals to you? Learning something new and employing different techniques is always a fascinating experience as an artist. But truthfully, one of the reasons I had to move in my current direction was because it is not easy to find brush painting materials in Thailand. I have no regrets, though. By using new materials Issues of identity have become a very popular area of and techniques, I have been able to express more freely discourse in contemporary art. What fresh perspective and find more possibilities in my art. Currently I am learning print-making at Chulalongkorn do you bring? University and incorporating my brush My search for identity can only come from "using new painting knowledge and knowhow into it. my specific experiences. What I try to bring m aterials and to this issue is that I talk about identity tecniques has Tell us more about your art program, in close relation to the society and space I allowed me JeOn Art Booth, and its scope. presently belong to. to express more JeOn Art Booth is an art circle in which freely." both Koreans living here and Thai resiYou lived in China and America before dents can explore their passion for creatThailand. How does Thailand compare as a foreign environment in which to work and engage ing traditional Oriental paintings. We’ve been putting on art classes, and holding member shows and art exchanges with new subject matter? I was a student in China and America and very familiar with Thai artists, since 2001. with both cultures prior to living in them. What made me feel more detached from Thai society was not just the dif- Workshops will feature heavily in your Galerie N exhibiference in people's way of thinking or lifestyle, but more tion. What is it about art instruction that appeals to you? importantly the difficulty of sharing my artistic style Art doesn’t exist without an audience so hopefully by (East Asian brush painting). At the beginning I was reject- introducing Thai people to East Asian painting and how ed by many galleries and one of the owners even said that, its created, more people locally can understand and enjoy due to the humid weather, people were reluctant to buy this genre. My hope is that the workshops will create more of a bond between Thailand and Korea. works on paper. Ultimately, though, I’ve found that being Is there anything about your approach to art that reflects your Korean upbringing? I liked playing the violin, but as I grew up, I felt a strong affinity with the visual arts for no particular reason and later found that I was pretty good at it. The art education I received at an early age has certainly helped me build my artistic sensibility and continued to influence my work.

42 | F ebrua ry 2012


Dwelling in a Space February 21-March 25 Galerie N  map 8 / L 15 139/5 Wireless Rd | 02-252-1592, 086-601-7111 www.galerienbangkok.com | Tue – Sun 10 am – 11 pm

Saturday workshops (2 – 5pm) are scheduled for Feb 25, Mar 3, Mar 10 and Mar 17 and are priced at B900 per session, or B3,000 for all sessions (materials included).


A R T S & C u lt u r e

Theatres Our performing arts scene may not throb like in other cities, but look under the surface and you’ll find it there, beating to its own rhythm. For more information try www.thaiticketmaster.com or our own website www.bangkok101.com .

AKSRA THEATRE  map 8 / K10 3rd F King Power Complex 8 / 1 Rang Nam Rd, Phaya Thai BTS Victory Monument 02-677-8888-5602 Tue – Fri 7 pm, Sat & Sun 1 pm and 7 pm Tucked away in the sleek white bowels of Soi Rangnam's King Power Duty Free complex, this 600 -capacity theatre, lined with fabled wood carvings, is the place to come to enjoy hypnotic performances by the Aksra Hoon Lakorn Lek (Aksra Small Puppets) troupe. Intricate Thai puppets, given life by puppeteers swathed in black, act out Thai literary epics. Family entertainment of the most refined kind, this has been one of the few places where you can catch Thai puppetry since the famous Joe Louis Puppet Theatre was demolished. โรงละครอักษรา คิงพาวเวอร์ คอมเพล็กซ์ ถ.รางน้ำ� NATIONAL THEATRE  map 7 / C6 2 Rachini Rd, (Phrapinklao Bridge) 02-224-1342 | Mon – Fri 9 am – 4 pm Along with the National Museum, this imposing theatre forms an island of high culture and is held in high esteem by those who care about classical Thai performing arts. Classical Thai drama, musicals and music performances – all elaborate affairs, sometimes strange to foreign eyes and ears – are intermittently staged on a small side stage and the open-air sala. The season runs from November to May, but you can also catch classical Thai dance and music on the last Friday and Saturday of each month. โรงละครแห่งชาติ ถ.ราชินี สนามหลวง 4 4 | F ebrua ry 2012

SIAM NIRAMIT  map 8 / R 9 19 Tiam Ruammit Rd | 02-649-9222 www.siamniramit.com A breathtaking, record-breaking extravaganza, hailed as ‘a showcase of Thailand’. Using hundreds of costumes and amazing special effects, more than 150 performers journey whirlwind-like through seven centuries of Siamese history. Up to 2,000 guests experience this spectacle nightly; eyepopping poignancy to some, detached fantasia to others. สยามนิรมิต ถ.เทียมร่วมมิตร

Cultural Centres Bangkok’s cultural centres bring in topnotch exhibitions and performances from the world of visual arts, drama, dance, music, fashion, film, design, literature and more …

ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE  map 5 / K 7 29 Sathorn Rd | BTS Saladaeng 02-670-4200 | www. alliancefrancaise.or.th Mon – Sat 10 am – 6 pm สมาคมฝรั่งเศสกรุงเทพ ถ.สาทรใต้ BACC – BANGKOK ART & CULTURE CENTRE  map 3 / B 4 939 Rama I Rd, Pathumwan BTS National Stadium | 02-214-6630-8 www.bacc.or.th | Tue – Sun 10 am – 9 pm Best described as The Guggenheim meets a shopping mall, the 11-storey Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) structure is an important player in Thailand’s contemporary cultural development, nurturing artists in a range of creative fields, including theatre, film and design. The upper levels boast 3,000sqm of exhibition space. Combine a trip here with a shopping assault at the nearby malls. หอศิลปวัฒนธรรมแห่งกรุงเทพมหานคร แยกปทุมวัน

GOETHE INSTITUT  map 8 / L 17 18 / 1 Goethe, Sathorn Soi 1 MRT Lumpini | 02-287-0942 / 4 www.goethe.de | 8 am – 6 pm สถาบันเกอเธ่ 18 / 1 ซ. เกอเธ่ สาทร ซ. 1 JAPAN FOUNDATION  map 4 / F 4 10 th  F, Sermmit Tower | 159 Asok Montri (Sukhumvit Soi 21), Soi 1 | BTS Asok 02-260-8560-4 | www.jfbkk.or.th Mon – Fri 9 am – 7 pm, Sat 9 am – 5pm เจแปน ฟาวน์เดชั่น ชั้น 10 อาคารเสริมมิตร สุขุมวิท 21 TCDC – THAILAND CREATIVE & DESIGN CENTRE map 4 / M 7 6th  F, The Emporium Shopping Complex Sukhumvit 24 | BTS Phrom Phong 02-664-8448 | www.tcdc.or.th Tue – Sun 10:30 am – 9 pm This hip design learning and resource facility located on the top floor of Sukhumvit's Emporium shopping mall aims to stimulate creativity and innovation among young Thai designers. Everyone, however, is free to attend its workshops, talks by prominent international designers and exhibitions. These are particularly good at opening your mind and eyes to curious international design concepts; be it Vivienne Westwood’s always fearlessly nonconformist fashions, or Le Corbusierinfluenced Modern Thai architecture. Don’t miss permanent exhibition, “What is Design?” a look at how 10 countries have interpreted their cultural uniqueness to create 20th century design classics; or a peek at the swish, state-of-the-art library featuring over 16,000 rare books, a large selection of multimedia, and even a textile centre. This is where the city’s freshfaced art, fashion, design and film students rush to the day before their final paper is due – only to end up distracted by the obscure arthouse DVDs and glossy tomes on modern Scandinavian architecture. ดิ เอ็มโพเรียม ชอปปิ้ง คอมเพล็กซ์ สุขุมวิท 24


A R T s &  culture | read i ng & screen i ng

  SACRED SKIN

  THAILAND AND WORLD WAR II

Tom Vater & Aroon Thaewchatturat Visionary World Publishing | 200 pp

Direk Jayanama | Silkworm Books | 566 pp | B 995

Writer Tom Vater and photographer Aroon Thaewchatturat spent a year researching the history and practices behind sak yant, Thailand’s centuries-old sacred tattoo tradition, and the result was Sacred Skin a 200-page book packed with over 170 colour photos and insightful text. Thaewchatturat’s stark studio shots compellingly capture these arcane scrawls of Khmer script, geometric forms and obscure creatures. And Vater’s words are just as revealing, delineating the origins of sak yant, and beliefs of those who wear them. Sacred Skin’s most lasting contribution to the tradition, though, will likely be its dispelling of a modern myth: that they appeal only to wayward criminals. Devotees who wear them are given a set of rules by their masters, Vater explains, which they must follow if the tattoo is to work. Or, as one devotee puts it, “the sak yant is a powerful reminder for us to stay on the right path.”

Though its role was peripheral, and it never wanted to get involved, having declared a position of neutrality early on, Thailand didn’t emerge unscathed from World War II. Not only did it have to cede some of its sovereignty to the Japanese, after the country's warships landed at southern beaches here on 8 December 1941, its image was also tainted by its declaration of war against the Allied powers. Why Thailand did so and the answers to many, many more wartime geopolitical questions (including why it tried to join the Axis powers) are buried deep within these detailed memoirs by then Thai Foreign Minister, Direk Jayanama. Written in 1966, the late master diplomat's diary-based account also spans his involvement in the underground Free Thai Movement and the post-war years, most intriguingly Thailand’s hard-won entry to the United Nations. A tough read? In parts. An important one? Undoubtedly.

  THAI THE KNOT

Pop Soisangwan | Blacksmith Books 166 pp | $ 9.95 Before you marry a Thai girl and move in with the in-laws, pick yourself up a copy of this outspoken little flexi-book, which claims to “untangle the complexities of cross-cultural marriage,” and features mini-essays on topics like ‘are women of different skin different?’ and ‘what do Thais really think of you?’. Two things distinguish it from the usual sweaty-palmed musings on Thai-Farang romance. Firstly, it’s written by a Thai woman who’s married to a westerner, and thus knows all about what Thai women need and expect from their foreign spouses. It’s all here, from the importance of not forgetting her birthday (“you will not believe the consequences”) and perfecting the hom kaem (Thai sniff kiss), to getting over her irrational quirks, and not making an utter fool of yourself at the nuptials. Secondly, she can write – well. Throughout Soisangwan keeps things instructive yet jovial.

reading   Dark Heaven (Sawan Mued)

 & screening

R. D. Pestonji | 1958 | B250 from the Thai Film Foundation (www.thaifilm.com)

Peddlers of Thai faux-nostalgia beware – if your audience ever claps eyes on the inspiration

for your cartoony, pastiche-y, too-post-modern-for-their-pants films, viewers will abandon you in droves. Run to your computer and order this musical rom-com melodrama – the

storyline isn't much, the acting is sometimes wooden, but the first colour picture by the father of Thai film is guilelessly enchanting. Dark Heaven focuses on the story of garbage collector Choowit and the beautiful young woman he saves from being arrested for stealing

food from a rich man meant to feed his dogs. It’s not subtle, but Dark Heaven won us over by dint of both its un-ironic sweetness and its arch intelligence, not to mention its beautiful

songs. Pestonji always mixes it up – expect pratfalls, sly skewering of moneyed pretentions,

war scenes, flirtation with tragedy – but his benevolent worldview and the actors' sincerity hold it all together. A new–old favourite. bangkok101.com

F ebrua ry 2012 | 45


Phu Khao Thong (the Golden Mount), one of the five most important pagodas during the Ayudhya period. It was first built outside the city wall in a Mon-style in 1744; unfortunately the pagoda crumbled to the ground. King Boromkot (1733 – 1758) rebuilt it in the Thai style as seen here.

Ayudhya a pi cto r ial o dyssey


Ayudhya featured heavily in the news in 2011, but for all the wrong reasons, when monsoonal runoff from the Central Plains submerged Thailand’s historic former capital for a whole month. After that annus horribilis, however, 2012 looks destined to be a year in which the hallowed site gets a chain of more upbeat coverage, as apart from this year marking the 20th anniversary of its UNESCO World Heritage status, a new book featuring some of the earliest known photographs of the site has just been released. A stunning coffetable book, Ayudhya: A Pictorial Odyssey has been compiled and put together by Athada Khoman, a descendent of the Bunnags: a noble family who faithfully served the Royal Court during Siam’s Fifth Reign. Covering the years between 1907 and 1920, and comprised mainly of photos given to his great-grandfather, Dud Bunnag, by a royal photographer, the book is split into two complimentary halves. Landscapes of bustling river scenes and royal functions, as well as the atmospheric ruins and King Chulalongkorn’s Summer Palace, the Bang-Pa In, fill the first half; while the second covers important events staged here during the latter years of his reign. A rare window into the old city a century ago, the book bears testimony to King Rama V’s affection for the area and its people, and also gives the lie to the myth that Ayudha was a forgotten city that lay deserted for centuries.


Mongkol Bophit Buddha after the topknot and the right wrist were replaced in 1920. Siamese people at Huaror Market during the Rajamongkol Religious Ceremony from November 29 to December 4, 1907.


The procession of Duke John Albert of Brunswick when he paused to take a photo in front of Viharn Phra Mongkol Bophit during his visit to Ayudhya on February 8, 1909. His Majesty King Chulalongkorn (Rama V)


Ayudhya: A Pictorial Odyssey

is published by Siam Renaissance and priced at B 1,150. It's available now at Asiabooks, Se-Ed, Kinokuniya and the Chula Book Centre.


MUSSAMUN LAMB SHANK at Issaya Siamese Club


PHET

maak maak

* so spicy

FOOD & Drinks Food is of the utmost importance here. Locals have been known to brave the beast of Bangkok traffic and make cross-town journeys with the sole purpose of sampling a bowl of noodles at a famous local shop. Thais often ask each other “gin khao reu yang?” or “have you eaten yet?”. This shouldn’t be understood in the literal sense, but almost as another way Thais say hello. It’s how Thai people socialise. Whether the occasion calls for family, friends, business, or anything in between, there’s usually food nearby. The Thai dining experience requires that all dishes be shared – real evidence of the importance of dining to the Thai sense of community. Look around and you’ll see that a taste of Bangkok doesn’t just stop at the world-famous national cuisine – flags of all nationalities fly here, and the results can be amazing. Tom yum soup and creamy curries can be found alongside seared foie gras, crispy tempura and heart-stopping steaks. It won’t be a challenge to find some culinary

dynamite for your palate. You’d be better off compiling a list of what the city doesn’t have on offer. You’re bound to eat very well, whether it is at the sexiest, high-end locales, or at the origin of most local food – the streets, where you can get a very tasty, hearty meal at a nondescript stall, or even crackling grasshoppers and worms! Fantastic food is also available round the kitchen clock, although choices narrow as it gets closer to midnight. Many restaurants have closing times at 9 pm or earlier. However, plenty of them feed late-night appetites. If you really want to bump elbows with the locals and get to the heart of things, Bangkok’s street food culture doesn’t acknowledge the concept of time, with some vendors even carrying on into the wee hours. If a business can survive by trading when everyone is asleep, then it must be good, right? So whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, slightly picky or a try-anything-once daredevil, you’re in for a non-stop gastronomical journey.


FOOD & DRINKS

Valentine's day

Just in case you forgot, February 14 is coming up… so mark this all-important date for lovers on your calendar now. As always, hotel and standalone restaurants across the city will be wheeling out the red roses and glasses of bubbly, but here are some of the most seductive deals we’ve come across. Book now to avoid disappointment.

Anantara Baan Rajprasong 3 Soi Mahardlekluang, Rajadamri Rd 02-264 6464 rajprasong-bangkok.anantara.com

CREPES & CO. Sukhumvit Soi 12 or Thonglor Soi 8 02-653 3990 or 02-726 9398 | www.crepesnco.com

INTERCONTINENTAL BANGKOK 973 Ploenchit Rd | 02-656 0444 www.dining-experience.com

Dine under the stars with your special someone at the Tetto Lounge’s 12th floor outdoor terrace or enjoy the views from one of the cozy tables inside the lounge. On Valentine’s Day couples will be treated to a special three course menu (B 2,990++) with a choice of three mains. Conclude your romantic dinner with a strawberry crepe suzette accompanied by a glass of Italian prosecco sparkling wine or a ‘Kiss Me’ cocktail.

Both branches of Crepes & Co. are celebrating Valentine’s throughout February by offering a selection of their most popular Mediterranean specials. Loving couples will find many good-toshare options from the array of mouthwatering Greek mezze, Spanish tapas and Moroccan variations like couscous and tajines. The wine menu will also feature a special value-for-money selection of promotional wines.

The Intercon’s week-long ‘Festival of Romance’ includes a four-course candle­ lit Italian dinner with champagne and live opera at Grossi Trattoria and Wine Bar. Other options on the day: a tasting menu at Fireplace Grill (B 6,999++ per couple); a degustation menu with matching wines (B 9,999++ per person) at Oasis Rooftop Bar; and an aphrodisiac-filled seafood buffet at Espresso (B1,999++ per person).

PULLMAN BANGKOK KING POWER 8/2 Rangnam Rd | 02-680 9999 www.pullmanbangkokkingpower.com

REMBRANDT HOTEL 19 Sukhumvit 18 | 02-117 7755 www.rembrandtbkk.com

LE MERIDIEN 40/5 Surawong Rd | 02-232 8888 www.lemeridien.com/bangkoksurawong

The Pullman’s popular Wine Pub is offering a special Valentine’s tapas set, ‘Loves Eat Roses’. Priced at B 555++ and available from 6 – 11 pm on the day only, it includes two glasses of Kir Royal wine and a selection of four tapas dishes, such as foie parfait varine, seared shrimp, parma ham canapé and French cheeses on crispy baguette. The closing dessert, pastel candy roses, has been created especially for the occasion.

Spice up your Valentine’s day with Rang Mahal’s special menu priced at B 2,500++ per couple. The restaurant on the Rembrant Hotel’s 18th floor is well known for serving some of the best Northern Indian food in town, and this menu, available from Feb 13��� –  17, will continue that reputation with vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes like Tandoori prawns, murgh malai kebab and yellow lentils with Indian spices.

Le Meridien’s signature restaurant Latest Recipe has the recipe for love: a Valentine’s Day dinner buffet featuring global delicacies. Priced at B1,200++ per person, the rendezvous will include the chance to create a giant heartshaped cookie emblazoned with the name of your loved one. Book before Feb 10 and you’ll also get a free glass of Prosecco before dinner, and a glass of red or white wine during it.

54 | F ebrua ry 2012

bangkok101.com


F o o d  &  Dri n k s | M e a l d e a ls

MEAL Deals

Until February 29 New Specials for the New Year Siam City Hotel 477 Si Ayuthaya Road | 02-247 0123 | www.siamhotels.com/siamcity

The chefs over at the Siam City Hotel’s Chinese restaurant Lin Fa have created six new appealing dishes. Seafood lovers will be lured in by the sliced snow fish with sesame dressing, or deep-fried prawns with wasabi sauce, while meat eaters can enjoy smoked honey duck. They recommend you wash your dish down with a glass of the house white (B 220++), a light and fruity Riesling from Germany’s Mosel valley. Until March Authentic Flavours of the South  Plaza Athenee 61 Witthayu Rd | 02-650 8800 | www.plazaatheneebangkok.com The rich flavours and textures of Southern Thai cuisine are the focus at Smooth Curry Restaurant for the next couple of months. Guests will be able to choose from twelve exceptional dishes on the special à la carte menu or treat themselves with one of their set menus. The 3-course set menu at B1,300++ comes with a bottle of Phuket beer, the 5-course set menu for B1,800++ includes a bottle of Thai wine. Ongoing New Chinese Creations The Imperial Queens Park Hotel 199 Sukhumvit 22 | 02-261-9000 | www.imperialhotels.com Hong Kong Chef Chu Hoi Hong and the Imperial China team have just put the finishing touches to a new menu of intriguing dishes, such as steamed crabmeat with traditional glutinous rice and stir-fried pigeon with garlic in bird’s nest. The restaurant is done out like a traditional Chinese house, complete with central courtyard, and has eight private rooms that can accommodate anywhere between 10 and 120 guests. Ongoing Italian Lunch Special St Regis 159 Rajadamri Rd | 02-207 7777 | www.starwoodhotels.com/stregis/bangkok For a tasty power lunch head to the St Regis on Rajadamri Road – on weekdays from 12 pm to 3 pm its contemporary Jojo restaurant is now serving a good value set menu made up of popular Italian classics all made with the freshest ingredients. Enjoy your pick from the changing daily selections of pizza or pasta along with a fresh salad for just B 499++ while you catch up with friends or close a deal with a client.

bangkok101.com

F ebrua ry 2012 | 55


FOOD & DRINKS

Romantic tables

Love is in the air this month, and so is the sound of nail biting as men all over the city fret about where to take their loved one for Valentine’s Day. Here is our pick of the most romantic tables in town – a selection that traverses the price spectrum, from super swank to cheap and cheerful.

Antonio’s MAP 4 / J5 26 Soi Sukhumvit 31 | BTS Phrom Phong | 02-662-1001, 02-662-0072 | 6 pm – midnight Well-spaced white-linen tables dot this intimate Italian restaurant run by Tony Armenio, a gregarious Italian-Australian who really looks after his clientele. A signature dish that never fails to impress is the porcini mushroom ravioli with black truffle sauce.

Gaggan MAP 3 / H7 68/1 Soi Lang Suan (opposite Soi 3) BTS Chidlom | 02-652-1700 6 pm – 11 pm As well as serving Bangkok’s most flamboyant Indian food (Chef Gaggan Anand trained at El Bulli, the world’s most famous molecular restaurant until it closed last year), Gaggan boasts a cool white summerhouse vibe and lots of intimate nooks and crannies.

Just One MAP 8 /L17 58 Soi Ngam Duplee (Sathorn Soi 1) | MRT Lumpini | 02-679-8033 7 am – 11:30 pm The perfect restaurant for romancers on a budget, Just One is set in what looks like an enchanted garden – a giant, gnarled tree towering over outdoor tables, and an airy, almost greenhouse-like indoor space. Food is polite Thai: fresh, with a low chili factor.

แอนโทนีโอส์ สุขุมวิท ซ.31

กากั้น ซ.หลังสวน

จัสวัน ซ.งามดูพลี

Bo.lan map4 / O9 42 Soi Pichai Ronnarong, Sukhumvit Soi 26 | BTS Phrom Phong | 02-260-2962 | www.bolan.co.th | Tue-Sun 6:30pm-10:30pm | $$$ Bo.lan’s Thai food – recipes plucked from antique cookbooks – is thrilling culinary theatre, so even if your romantic patter dries up you’ll still have something to talk about. The townhouse done out in dark woods also fits the bill, especially outdoors.

In Love MAP 8 /D8 Krungkasem Rd. (near Thewet Pier) 02-281-2900 | 11 am – 1 am Perfect for Don Juans on a budget, this open-air riverside perch is a bit tired around the edges, but really comes into its own at dusk. Expect candlelit tables, tasty yet affordable Thai food, and a camera-grabbing view: a 180 degree panorama of the King Rama VIII suspension bridge.

Medici MAP 4 /J6 55/555 Soi Lang Suan | BTS Chidlom | 02-630-4000 | www. hotelmusebangkok.com Medici is a dim Italian restaurant where you and your loved one can dine like a well-to-do Bonnie and Clyde. As well as the film-set perfect setting, this new arrival in the basement of Hotel Muse features top-notch food by Tuscanborn chef Francesco Lenzi.

อิน เลิฟ ถ.กรุงเกษม

รร.โฮเทล มิวส์ ซ.หลังสวนี

โบลาน สุขุมวิท ซ.26

Eat Me MAP 5 / J6 1/6 Soi Pipat 2, Convent Rd BTS Sala Daeng / MRT Silom 02-238-0931 | 6 pm – 1 am Amorous couples flock to this thirteen year-old restaurant-cum-art gallery. And who can blame them: the setting is seductively dim, the Pacific-Rim fusion food superb (but not cheap), and the desserts, like the sticky date pudding, perfect for sharing flirtatiously. อีท มี พิพัฒน์ ซ.2 56 | F ebrua ry 2012

In The Mood For Love MAP 4 / R7 9/9 Sukhumvit Soi 36 02-661-5076 | 5 pm – late Inspired by Asian director Wong Kar Wai’s sultry arthouse hit, this atmospheric sushi restaurant has a more romantic feel than most, with halfmoon booths of flowery banquettes, low-slung fans and bamboo birdcages dangling from the corrugated roof. อิน เดอะ มูด ฟอร์ เลิฟ สุขุมวิท ซ.36

Praya Dining MAP 8 /c9 Praya Palazzo Hotel, 757/1 Somdej Prapinklao Soi 2 | 02-8832998 | www.prayapalazzo.com | 11:30am-2pm, 6pm-11pm

The Thai and European food is pretty good, but the setting the real draw: a restored century-old riverside mansion. There’s no road access (call ahead to arrange a boat pick-up from Phra Arthit pier) but this will only make your date feel all the more special. พระยาพาลาซโซ สมเด็จพระปิ่นเกล้า ซ.2 bangkok101.com


F o o d  &  Dri n k s | r o m a n tic t a bl e s

Rang Mahal MAP 4 / J7 Rembrandt Hotel, 26th F19 Sukhumvit Soi 18 (map D3)| BTS Asok, MRT Sukhumvit |02-261-7100 Occupying the Rembrant Hotel’s top floor, Rang Mahal offers up haute Northern Indian cuisine in heavy carpeted, Mughul-themed surroundings that somehow lose out to the panoramic wall of glass offering sweeping views over Bangkok’s skyline. This is an old favourite that never fails.

Red Sky MAP 3 / F3 Centara Grand Hotel, 999/99 Rama 1 Rd | BTS Siam or Chit Lom | 02-100-6101 | 11:30am-2:30pm, 6:30pm-11:30pm (bar shuts at 1am) The views at this swank al fresco rooftop restaurant, perched fifty five floors high, bang in the centre of the downtown shopping district, will take her breath away. The food leans heavily on top-notch surf and turf, and the innovative wine cellar packs 250 plus wines.

Vertigo MAP 5 / K,L8 Banyan Tree Bangkok, 21/100 South Sathorn Rd | 02-679-1200 | MRT Lumphini | 5am-midnight Vertigo is one of Bangkok’s most dramatic – and romantic – dinner stages, soaring 200m above it all. The neverending views always make excellent conversation topics. And the Pacific Rim standards appear just as refined as that ambassador’s wife’s gown the next table over.

รร.แรมแบรนดท์ สุขุมวิท ซ.18

รร.เซ็นทาร่าแกรนด์ แอท เซ็นทรัลเวิลด์ ถ.พระราม 1

รร.บันยันทรี ถ.สาธรใต้

  To avoid disappointment (and a night on the couch),

we strongly advise you book in advance.

bangkok101.com

F ebrua ry 2012 | 57


FOOD & DRINKS

Surface

Restaurant review by Max Crosbie-Jones

Tucked away at the backend of a carpark near Thonglor Soi 11, well out of sight of passing car and foot traffic, no one is going to stumble across Surface. This is a shame: the setting at this brand new French bistro is laidback, idyllic even, and the food by co-owner Charlee, a chef with six years experience at the French Ambassador’s residence, decent (if a tad pricey). On the ground floor of this gentrified 1960s townhouse there’s a posh, six-table dining room with bar, but we were more drawn to the outdoor area, with its range of garden seating and comfy limegreen sofas, candlelight, soft lamps and herb garden flanked by a row of smart blue daybeds. Cliché inter and Thai food usually features at these sorts of low-key townhouse setups, but here it’s classic French all the way, albeit with the odd fusion-y flourish (think foie gros with pomelo and hoisin sauce). The slim menu offers six starters and fifteen mains (six fish, four meat, five poultry) and there’s a specials menu that changes weekly. Everything’s made with imported proteins and local veg and herbs, plated with modern flair, and to back things up there’s a small selection of Australian and Californian wines and an even smaller cocktail list. We enjoyed all our choices, but were a bit taken aback at some of the price tags. Our opener, a tasty enough black risotto stuffed calamari, came on a bed of ratatouille and spinach (B280), on an odd-shaped plate with a pipsqueak of garnish. Another starter, the Scottish salmon tartare (B340) had a cool, tart, interesting flavour that was overpowered slightly by the mustard.

  getting there

surface  map 4 / P2  107 Soi Renu, Sukhumvit 53 (enter through Samitivej Parking lot Thong Lor Soi 11) 02-258-2858 | 11:30 am – 2 pm; 6 pm – 11:30 pm

Our mains were simple, hearty, comforting dishes, like lamb rack on a bed of spinach and potato puree (B790), and tenderloin truffle risotto (B470). The latter was the star of the night – the tender grass fed beef cooked to perfection, the sumptuous truffle risotto likewise – followed closely by two desserts: an oozing dark chocolate fondant (B190), and a plain cheesecake brought to life with passionfruit and strawberry (B180). Is such rich food the perfect fit for such a chill setting? We’re not entirely convinced (the tapas they have planned is a good idea), but this is still a worthy addition to the area. However, as our Tuesday night visit proved, it could be a tough slog for Surface – while the nearest competition, Audrey Café, was heaving with the hi-so set, it was deserted. There’s talent here, but some word of mouth is needed if it’s to find its niche. เซอร์เฟส สุขม ุ วิท ซ.53 58 | F ebrua ry 2012

bangkok101.com


F o o d  &  Dri n k s | R e st a ur a n t R e v i e w

  getting there

Issaya Siamese Club

Issaya Siamese Club  map 8 / M18   4 Soi Sri Aksorn, Chua Ploeng Rd, Sathorn 02-672-9040 | www.issaya.com 11:30 am – 2:30 pm and 6:00 pm – 10:30 pm, late supper until 1am, bar until 2 am

Restaurant review by Max Crosbie-Jones

Bean bags on the lawn, fans whirring on the terrace, a hip, relaxed garden atmosphere that’s rare in the city… Before you’ve even glanced at the menu, Issaya – a colourful new Thai restaurant in the stately 1920s house that was formerly French restaurant Le Café Siam – has won you over. Being touted as a lounge bar as well as a restaurant, it’s a three-way tie-up between Chiang Mai based interior designer Hans Bogetoft Christensen, DJ manager Frederic Meyer (who supplies the sounds), and international celebrity chef, Ian Kittichai. Surprisingly, given his presence abroad, this is his first Thai restaurant in his homeland, something he’d always put off until he found the right location. And what a location: as well as the aforementioned, there’s an upstairs where old prints and photos hang beside armchairs and antiques, pre and post-prandial cocktails are served, and a private room is open for reservations. Out back, there’s even an organic herb garden. Even if this setting were accompanied by the most by-numbers Thai food imaginable, we still think we’d recommend Issaya to visitors, but Ian’s contemporary food is so intriquing we can see it appealing to well-heeled local foodies too. After reading through the menu divided by appetisers, entrees, homegrown / organic vegetarian, and market dishes (somewhat confusingly so in our opinion), we opted to open with two yum, Thai salads, for appetizers. Both were good: the first a mound of seafood doused with lemongrass and lime; the second, yum hua plee, a tower of banana blossom bangkok101.com

and heart of palm salad, crispy shallots, and roasted peanuts surrounded by painterly drizzles of chili jam dressing. Of our mains, the tray of wok-seared scallops served in their shells alongside a bowl of moo wan (sweet pork), and the charcoal grilled Sanklaburi chicken, marinated with “Issaya” spices and flambéed with cured Thai whiskey yaa dong, were the two highlights. Lunchtimes feature a more straightforward menu made up of Ian’s childhood favourites (Ian spent his formative years pushing a food cart through the streets of Bangkok). If the savoury dishes exhibit Ian’s shtick, the pairing of traditional ingredients with progressive methods, the desserts are where it really comes to the fore. For our dining party, none of us hardcore sweet tooths, all three of them (especially the kanom dok mali, a Jasmine flower panna cotta served with jasmine rice ice cream and jasmine rice tuile) were downright spectacular. There was even talk of coming here just for the sweet finish, something we were assured is allowed. Overall, Issaya deserves a place at the top of your restaurant to-do list, especially right now, as for the time being Ian is here each night, flitting calmly between the kitchens and the tables. Such is its broad appeal that it’s sure to be one of this year’s hottest openings, and should have no problem overcoming its tough location (printing out the map on the website is a must). อิษยา สยามมิส คลับ ถ.เชื้อเพลิง F ebrua ry 2012 | 59


FOOD & DRINKS

Charley Brown’s Mexicana Restaurant review by Yvonne Liang

One of the best loved Tex-Mex food joints in Bangkok, Charley Brown's Mexicana, in the subsoi down Sukhumvit 11, has had a wall-to-wall face lift since our last visit. The 8-year old restaurant is now glowing with rich purple and striking pink walls covered with paintings done in equally kaleidoscopic colours. The interior of Charley Brown's Mexicana is about as bright as its mouth watering dishes. A sizzling hot plate of yellow, green and red bell peppers combined with the irresistible fragrance of sliced onions and chicken and served with warm home-made tortillas makes Charley Brown’s fajitas one of the best in town. It’s impossible not to order one for yourself when that plate of awesomeness passes through the room – the hissing of the hot plate and rising cloud of fajita smoke is enough to make heads turn and get your stomach growling. Comfortable sofas and booths have replaced the rickety wooden benches, creating an excellent casual dining experience where you can really sink in and enjoy your meal. It’s a great place for a fun first date as long as you don’t choke on the home made hot sauce that you’ll be tempted to drizzle all over your enchiladas and tacos. There are three levels of hotness for you to choose from: ‘Yucaton Habanero’ is for those who just want a little extra something, ‘Veracruz Jalapeno’ for those who can take the heat, and ‘Chihuahua Chipotle’ for real thrill seekers who are not afraid to shed a few tears.

  getting there

Charley Brown’s Mexicana  map 4 / C5  Sukhumvit Soi 11 | BTS Nana 02-651-2215 | www.charleybrowns.asia Tue – Sun 11.30 am – midnight; Mon 5 pm – midnight

If you’re dining here, then you can’t leave without sampling their freshly made Margarita, with its power to instantly catapult you into party mode before you make for nearby happening Soi 11 night spots. Be sure to take advantage of our favorite promotion: Margarita Madness Tuesdays which starts from 5pm onwards, giving diners a killer half price deal on the sinfully sweet drinks. We loved the passion fruit Margarita filled with bits of freshly crushed passion fruit seeds that are good for your health. Other special promotions provide diners with something to look forward to every evening. On Sundays, the ‘Cheap Charley Brown's’ deal offers B70 beers and spirits or wine at only B100 a glass. ‘Street Food and Nibbles’ on Wednesdays is the best time to try Charlie Brown's light bites and appetizers which are buy three, pay for two. We recommend the Gambas y Ajo (prawns sauteed in garlic and jalapeño), the Albondigas (beef and pork meatballs served with homemade barbecue sauce), and the Chili Rellenos (roasted spicy jalapeños stuffed with cream cheese and topped with crispy bacon). ชาร์ลี บราวน์ส เม็กซิกาน่า สุขุมวิท ซ.11

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F o o d  &  Dri n k s | R Ee Sst TA aU ur R AN anT t R EV e v Ii Ee W w

D’Sens

Restaurant review by Max Crosbie-Jones

When it opened back in 2005, D’Sens was a big deal – a fine French restaurant with killer views – but since then its competitors have stolen its thunder somewhat. Now, however, with the arrival of a new chef de cuisine with over twenty years experience in some of France and Asia’s leading Michelinstarred kitchens, Christian Ham, it’s back on our radar again. The top floor venue’s dining room and widescreen panorama over Lumpini Park still impress, but Ham’s food is what really captured our eye. And thankfully, looks aren’t deceiving; Ham has the flavours to match his chic plating. On our visit we were offered two choices – an à la carte menu or a seven course set menu (B 3,100++) – both comprised entirely of his subtly nuanced creations: dishes such as duck liver ravioli served swimming in a heavily aerated and delicate white truffle foam; and grilled US scallops with a parsnip mousseline and smoked breast chips. Another standout was his roasted lamb loin with eggplant gnocci dumplings. The small tender slices arrived stacked like falling dominos, surrounded by artfully drizzled gravy, and were absolutely on the money. Dessert – a piping hot chocolate moelleux (a Valrhona chocolate fondant served with salted butter caramel sauce and chocolate ice cream) – was the perfect denouement to his masterful manhandling of classical French cooking. Wines are a good match here – mainly old world – and the service, overseen by the amiable restaurant manager Thomas Deledalle, first-class: ever-so attentive, but never obtrusively so.

  getting there

D'Sens  map 5 / L6   Dusit Thani Bangkok , 946 Rama IV Rd BTS Sala Daeng / MRT Silom | 02-200-9000-2499 www.dusit.com | Mon – Fri 11:30 am – 2:30pm; Mon – Sat 6 pm – 10 pm

Ham began his career at the three-Michelin-Star ‘Au Crocodile’ in Strasbourg back in 1992, and worked his way up to become the head chef of Hong Kong’s ‘L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon’. This is a chef so busy perfecting his art that he rarely has time to check out the competition. Judging by our visit – one of the most exciting meals we’ve had in months – his dedication has paid off.

รร.ดุสิตธานี กรุงเทพฯ ถ.พระราม 4

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FOOD & DRINKS

  getting there

JOK POCHANA

JOK POCHANA  map 7 / G 3 84 Soi Samsen 2, Samsen Rd | Bang Lamphu 02-281-0453, 086-383-1712 | 6 pm – 4 am (closed every second and fourth Tuesday)

Street Eat review by Amornsri Tresarannukul

Stomach growling after a wild night spent partying on Khao San Road? Amidst the many clubs, Thai massage parlours, and mobile pad Thai vendors, Jok Pochana is somewhat of a local legend, a place to fill your stomach with something other than a bucket of Red Bull. For the last 40 years, three generations of the Amnajpantanakorn family have been feeding hungry Thais and farangs. Following in the footsteps of his grandmother and parents, Panya Amnajpantanakorn, who prefers to be known as Hia Jok, or Brother Jok (Hia means brother in the Chinese dialect of Teochew, from where his family originates), maintains the secret recipes of delicious khao tom kui. The khao tom kui, or soup shop, dates back to the early days of Chinese immigration (the word kui roughly translates

62 | F ebrua ry 2012

as working-class), and was where poor Chinese labourers would sit down for an inexpensive yet filling meal. Hia Jok’s must-try dishes are tom super (B60), chicken feet steamed with Chinese herbs in a spicy sour broth (the best cure for a hangover); and pad nam liap (B80), minced pork stirred with Chinese salted olives. Aside from the mouth-watering cooking, the main reason to visit Jok Pochana is Hia Jok himself – even if you are blind drunk, he will always offer a cheery welcome and friendly smile to all and sundry. Without doubt, this is the place to go if you want to cap off a great evening out with friends, while enjoying some of the best Thai comfort food you’ll find in Bangkok – all thanks to brother. โจ๊กโภชนา สามเสน ซ. 2 บางลำ�ภู

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F o o d  &  Dri n k s | str e e t f o o d h o tsp o ts

Street Food Hotspots SUKHUMVIT SOI 38  map 4 / S7

Directly beneath BTS Thong Lo station, the mouth of this soi fills up with food vendors selling late-night delicacies to passing commuters. Sample the delicate, handmade egg noodles, or Hong Kong noodles; and never head home without trying the sticky rice with mango. SURAWONG  map 5 / J 4

A long row of street vendors offers special noodle dishes along this street near Patpong Night Market. Be sure to try the stewed chicken noodles in herbal soup in front of the Wall Street Building. Stalls are open from 10 pm until 4 am.

CUISINE ART

CORNER OF SILOM / CONVENT RD  map 5 / J 5

The stalls at the mouth of Soi Convent are popular with inebriated night crawlers; but it’s the B10 sticks of moo ping (grilled pork) served by one rotund, Zen master vendor that are justly famous. Go before the bars close (about 2 – 3 am) to avoid the queues. PRATUNAM  map 3 / G 2

Midnight khao mun gai (Hainanese chicken rice)! There are two shops at the inter­section of Pratunam (on corner of Petchaburi Rd, Soi 30 ); the first one is brighter and good, but if you like your sauce authentic – with lots of ginger – go to the second one. Also, try the pork satay with peanut sauce. CHINATOWN  map 6 / H, J 3

Shops fill the streets after dark. There’s an amazing range to sample, but a musttry for seafood fans is the vendor at the corner of Soi Texas. A bit farther on the other side of the street you can get delicious egg noodles with barbecued pork. For dessert, try fantastic black sesame seed dumplings in ginger soup next door. SOI RAMBUTRI (NEAR KHAOSAN) map 7 / F,G5

Many a hangover has been stopped in its tracks after a pre-emptive bowl of jok moo (rice porridge with pork) from the famous stall in front of Swenson’s. Popular among tipsy Thai teenyboppers, this is just one of Soi Rambuttri’s many late night food stalls.

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Hidden in a secret oasis right in the heart of Bangkok, Ruen Urai, “the House of Gold,” combines fine Thai culinary art with the elegant ambience. Inspired by Thailand’s diverse regions, cultures and lifestyles, our gastronomic creations vary from royal Thai cuisine to refined home-cooking. Experience exquisite Thai flavours. Casual dining and bar from noon to 11 p.m. Plus happy hours from 3 to 6 p.m. daily.

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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FOOD & DRINKS

Bo.Lan

Our rundown of the restaurants currently piquing our palates, both old favourites and tantalising newcomers

THAI Bo.lan MAP 4 / O9 42 Soi Pichai Ronnarong, Sukhumvit Soi 26 MRT Phrom Phong | 02-260-2962 www.bolan.co.th | Tue – Sun 6 pm – 11 pm With its uncompromising recipes plucked from antique cookbooks, made using scrupulously sourced regional product, and plated in fine-dining style, Bo.lan gave the city’s upscale Thai dining scene a welcome shot in the arm when it opened back in 2009. For us, the ‘Bo.lan Balance’ set menu (B1.680) is still the way to go, offering a rollercoaster ride through an obscure spectrum of Thai flavours. It changes in line with the seasons every few months, but always kicks off with a palate resuscitating shot of yaa dong, local moonshine, along with pandanus juice and sour fruits. Then, a tray of five bite-sized amuse bouche arrives, followed promptly by your mains and choice of soup. Some of these are more successful than others, but each one a riddle of enigmatic flavours (ask and the helpful staff will try to solve it for you). The bhon nai nueang, for example, is a nam-prik like chilli relish featuring steamed herbal-fed chicken breast, and that’s served in banana leaf and eaten with obscure – to most foreigners anyway – raw fruits, herbs and vegetables. Bo.lan isn’t cheap, and lays its devotion to tradition on slightly thick, but as dishes like this prove it’s surprising and memorable. Long may it last. โบ.ลาน ถ.สุขุมวิท 26 RUEN URAI  MAP 5 /J 4 The Rose Hotel | 118 Surawong Rd BTS Sala Daeng / MRT Sam Yan 02-266-8268-72 | www.ruen-urai.com noon – 11 pm One minute you’re strolling down lewd, 6 4 | F ebrua ry 2012

Ruen Urai

rude Suriwongse Road, the next you’re standing in a lush garden oasis, the sinuous curves of a century old teakwood house rising before you. Such is the disorientating charm of Ruen Urai: a trophy Thai restaurant serving food that lives up to the promise of its gorgeous setting. Inside, the ground floor has a contemporary feel, while upstairs is where the ancient heritage of the house is most alive, with weathered antiques and heirlooms from the owner’s family adorning an intimate teak panel room. The food doesn’t betray this historic location, but it does riff on it. Not least, there’s an emphasis on fragrant and medicinal Thai herbs – a nod to the original owner, a herbal practitioner during King Rama V’s reign. Chaphlu (betel nut) leaves fleck red crabmeat curries; spicy seared tuna salad is studded with lemongrass and mint; chicken satay with tamarind sauce comes skewered on sticks of fragrant lemongrass. This is traditional Thai remixed, artfully presented, graciously served. Best of all, there isn’t a coconut-milk sodden dish posing as the real deal in sight. Five degustation menus offer you the chance to sample a broad selection. รร.โรส โฮเทล ถ.สุรวงศ์ Taling Pling  MAP 5 / E 6 60 Pan Road, Silom | BTS Surasak 02-236-4830 | www.talingpling.com 11 am – 10 pm Hit Taling Pling for a Thai meal that’s pitched midway between chi-chi and curbside. The standalone two-storey house roughly midway down Pan Road is part of its enduring, 25-year appeal. Low ceilings, silk-backed chairs and colourful walls hung with old sepia Bangkok photographs lend an understated stylishness to proceedings. However, not until the thick orange menu thuds onto your table do Taling Pling’s true talents become clear: pure-bred Thai food at sane prices. If there is a more photogenic menu in town, we haven’t seen it. And the dishes themselves rarely disappoint. A must try is the meang taling pling: a plate

Taling Pling

of rustic chicken paste, raw garlic, peanuts, chilies, and pieces of the sour namesake fruit that you wrap in betel leafs and pop in your mouth. That usual suspect, beef green curry, is also commendable. In its herbilicious depths lurk hunks of chewy beef and whole birds eye chillies – proof that a trip to an elegant Thai restaurant doesn’t always mean betraying your spicethrillseeker ideals. ตะลิงปลิง ถ.ปั้น

AMERICAN BANGKOK BURGER CO. MAP 4 / R 2 1st F, Unit 103, Opus Building 139 Thong Lor Soi 10 | 02-715-9407 www.bangkokburgercompany.com 11 am – 11 pm The British managing director and founder of the Bangkok Burger Co., Jim Moroney, has previously achieved notable success in the United Kingdom with The Living Room chain of restaurants. Despite the apparent competition here, he saw a niche in the market for a place that only served burgers, and was geared towards a Thai, rather than expatriate market. What this means in short is strategies such as making small size burgers (regular 100 grams, large 170 grams) to cater to local appetites; and employing Thai management to run the place on a day-to-day basis, so that the Bangkok Burger Co. isn't seen as a foreigner-run restaurant. Indeed, on a recent visit we saw a mixed crowd of Thais, Westerners, and Japanese – to whom the imperious Emperor (burger cooked in teriyaki sauce with sautéed onions, mushrooms and wasabi mayonnaise) is apparently dedicated. Ordering from your menu (also your place mat), you first choose your burger size (regular or large), select beef or pork, and then decide between 15 intriguing burgers, served with coleslaw, chips or house salad – add another B30 if you want to switch to curly fries (you do). bangkok101.com


F o o d   &  Dri n k s | R e st a ur a n ts

ealtike

Nym

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

Muslim Food on New Road Roman Catholic churches, Islamic mosques and European-style buildings aren’t the only reminders that Charoen Krung (New Road) was once the city’s multi-cultural trading hub – there is also the matter-offactly titled Muslim Restaurant. I love to start my morning with a cup of spiced tea from this 50 year old staple, with its burqa-clad clientele and old-world atmosphere. Unlike many places, it’s sweet but not too sweet. As for the food, most of the Indian-influenced delicacies here are pre-cooked and displayed in the glass cabinet at the front of the shop. To the untrained eye many look the same, but in fact a different taste awaits you in each tray. Chicken masamaan is a smooth and sweet, classic Thai curry, and here the chicken and potato are so tender they break at the lightest touch. Other good choices include the kurma curry, with its darker and more complex blend of spices, and the stuffed roti, or mataba, with its vegetable or chicken filling and side of a-jad (chopped cucumber and green chili in sweet and sour vinegar) for dipping. Two other things you shouldn’t forget: to order in a plate of khao mok kai, chicken biryani (on Monday and Friday they also do a mutton variation that’s worth trying), and take a stroll to discover more of Charoen Krung’s hidden charms afterwards.

  getting there 

map 5 / C 5

Muslim Restaurant is at 1354-56 Charoen Krung Rd, near the corner with Silom Rd. Open from around 8 am – 4 pm, closed every first and third Sun of the month

diVino Food & Wine Penny’s Balcony Thonglor 16, Sukhumvit 55 Bangkok 10110 Thailand Tel: 027 148 723 www.divinobkk.com

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FOOD & DRINKS

Bangkok Burger co.

LE PETIT ZINC

Notable burgers on the menu include the Bacon Cheese (triple crispy bacon, cheddar and burger cheeses, B 230 regular, B 295 large), and the Panang (burger simmered in panang curry sauce and Thai vegetables, B 230 – 295), with the sides on offer including salt and pepper calamari (B145); and hot Buffalo wings with blue cheese (B145). It's all very good – but Bangkok's best burger? You be the judge of that. แบงคอก เบอร์เกอร์ คอมปานี ทองหล่อ ซ.10

french LE PETIT ZINC  MAP 4 / H 4 110/1 Sukhumvit Soi 23 BTS Asok / MRT Sukhumvit | 02-259-3033 www.le-petit-zinc.com Tue – Sun 11 am – midnight Muriel and Thomas Dazard left France for a sea change and set up this chic little bistro in July 2011. It hits lots of high notes, from the Art Nouveau ceiling under the

CAFÉ & ETCETERA BY KLOSET

mezzanine to cured meats hung from gallows on the bar. Diners sit at stylish bare wood furniture; there’s a faux blackboard wine list; silent movies; and patio windows sliding open to terrace seats. The menu has stalwarts such as prawn bisque, duck confit, chocolate lava cake and a choice of five cheeses, plus a few surprises like well made oxtail ravioli in clean, flavorsome beef consommé. In salmon and seabass tartare duo, the latter has a Tahitian twist, served in a glass with coconut soup and coriander. Coquille St Jacques comes with plump scallops and tasty – although oily – leek tossed with pasta. Entrecote (a 200-gram slab of well-cooked medium rare rib-eye served on a wooden board with frites) is the most expensive main dish at B 590; nearly all others are B 390. House wines (B125/glass with 50 cl carafes from B 450) are good drinkers, including a dry, light, acidic German Riesling and even a dessert wine by the glass. A smart bistro with proper bistro prices, Le Petit Zinc this will surely succeed. เลอ เปอตี แซง สุขุมวิท ซ.23

INTERNATIONAL CAFÉ & ETCETERA BY KLOSET MAP 4 / R 1  171 Sukhumvit 63 (Thong Lor Soi 10, Ekamai Soi 5) BTS Thong Lor | 02-711-6019 www.facebook.com/CafeandEtcetera 11 am – 11 pm If you’ve been down Thong Lor Soi 10 recently, you may have noticed a little pastel blue house standing incongruously by the side of the road – a little fairytale home dropped in the middle of hipster-ville. The culinary emphasis in this renovated twostorey former pub – an F&B venture from the chic design company that sells everything from fashion to accessories to stationery – is on homemade cooking, though, just like its owner, the menu has a diverse range of influences. For instance, there’s the best-selling spaghetti with northern Thai spicy sausage and basil (B 220), and the recommended green curry crispy duck served with hot rice and boiled juicy duck

WHAT THE FOX !! FREE FLOW of red wine, mojito & martini Free sambuca shots, selection of 3 Tapas Indoor / poolside seating, VIP member card, WIFI From 18.30 - 21.30 Validity: Now - 29th February 2012

TUESDAY LADIES

NIGHT

Ramada Encore Bangkok - 21 Sukhumvit Soi 10 Tel: 02 615 0999 www.ramadaencorebangkok.com 66 | F ebrua ry 2012

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F o o d  &  Dri n k s | e a t li k e n ym

VISIT & EXPERIENCE SARAS

Restaurant

Pure Vegetarian Indian & Thai Food

www.saras.co.th BANGKOK

Sukhumvit Soi 20, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110 Landmark : Near Windsor Hotel 02 401 8484 PATTAYA

557, Sun City Pattaya Hotel, Pratamnak Rd, Pattaya Tai (South), Chon Buri 20150 (Thailand) 038 424 769 bangkok101.com

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FOOD & DRINKS

check map ref

Seven Spoons

egg (B 220). The Chinese kale spicy salad with crispy shrimp (B 250) is another case of unique homemade, fusion – the adapted snack spices things up with Thaistyle salad sauce, while the kale helps cool things down again. Of course, not everything is Thai fusion – bakery fans will love the DIY Cupcake (price varies), which you assemble yourself with cream and sugar decorations. This being Thong Lor, sunset is welcomed with a cocktail buy-one-get-one happy hour promotion (5 pm to 8 pm daily), we particularly liked the Mojitos and pineapple Malibus (B180 each). Alternatively, order one of the homemade drinks like bael fruit juice (B 80), and cranberry or cherry blossom soda (B 70 each). คาเฟ่ แอนด์ เอทเซททร่า บาย โคลเซท ทองหล่อ ซ.10 SEVEN SPOONS MAP 8 / E  11 211 Chakkrapatipong Road (corner of Lan Luang and Chakkrapatipong Rd) | 084-539-1819 or 02-628-4588 | http://sevenspoonsbkk.wordpress.com Mon – Fri 11:30 am – 11 pm, Sat – Sun 11 am – midnight Tucked away on a parade of old shophouses near the Ratchadamnoen area, Seven Spoons is quite hard to find. And it’s tiny – really tiny, with only three tables. Call ahead and print out a map (or use google maps on your smartphone) though and we’re positive you won’t regret it. The tone of this Chinese shophouse lined with golden teak slats and warmed by stylish lamps is relaxed yet elegant. And the Mediterranean influenced dishes made with mostly organic produce (many of them vegetarian) unlike anything else in town. The menu changes regularly, but expect starters like chardonnay pate served with wholemeat crispbread, or Halloumi cheese on tomato slices topped with olives and caramelised almonds (B160). Seven Spoon’s forte – combos of a few unprocessed ingredients into something 68 | F ebrua ry 2012

tenderloins

uncomplicated yet exciting  –  is even more apparent with mains like pumpkin pine nut tortellini with sage butter (B 220), and white snapper with spiced chickpeas in butter ginger (B  280). Almost as surprising as the fact that the chef behind all this wholefood goodness, Somkiat ‘Joke’ Pairojmahakij, is self-taught are the prices. Order in four dishes and you should still have change from B1,000. Topping this natty neighbourhood gastrobar off are some excellent signature tipples, all shaken and stirred by the well-spoken bartender Khun Bee, who learnt his craft at Khao San’s Sri Poom bar and loves experimenting with local ingredients. เซเว่น สพูนส์ ถ.จักรพรรดิพงษ์ TENDERLOINS MAP 4 / K 5 9 Sukhumvit Soi 33 BTS Phrom Phong | 02-258-4529 www.tenderloins33.com | 10 am – 1 am Located halfway up the ‘Soi of Dead Artists’, as the lane is colloquially known, this modern sports bar and grill offers a welcome slice of normalcy on a stretch of road better known for its ladies of the night. Tenderloins is generally busy with a mixed expatriate crowd of sports lovers, including couples, families with older kids, and middle-aged men – who regularly come to watch live rugby, as well as other major sporting events. While it’s therefore well known as a place to catch the big match, the fact that it serves up a fantastic Sunday Brunch deal is a well kept secret. Every week, they offer an all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet for just B 500  – B1,000 if you want to indulge in the all-you-can-drink option (local beer, spirits, cocktails and house wine). For the bargain price, you get free range of the salad bar, assorted cold cuts, and mixed items such as chicken wings, roast beef and mussels. Then you can choose as much as you want from the cooked menu, which includes Aussie meat pies, sausages, pizza, kebabs and Wagyu rump bangkok101.com


F o o d   &  Dri n k s | r e st a ur a n ts

INDIAN

Cala la pasta

steak. While the quality never hits gourmet standards (it is an all-you-can-eat buffet, after all), it’s nevertheless a decent spread, and easily worth the price you’re paying. เทนเดอร์ลอยน์ส สุขุมวิท ซ.33

ITALIAN CALA LA PASTA  MAP 8 / R 14  Thong Lor Soi 21 | BTS Thong Lor 02-185-2199 | Mon – Sat 11:30 am – 2:30pm, 5:30 pm – midnight, Sun 11:30 am – midnight From the same folks behind Pizzeria Bella Napoli on Soi 31 comes a sister outlet devoted to pasta. Known for his insistence on authenticity, owner/operator Claudio Conversi has crafted a pleasing menu of favourite recipes, served up in a warm, welcoming venue. With a vaguely cinematic theme – the walls are lined with classic movie posters – the colour scheme is orange and cream, with a softly lit (at night, at least) al fresco area out front. It's not trying to overly impress, instead

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Mrs. Balbier's

seeking to provide a comfortable atmosphere with a few talking points. The menu lists lots of favourites, but there are also daily specials, conveniently written on a blackboard in the main dining room. We went with starters of mix salumi (a selection of cold cuts, including Parma ham and salami, B 320) and the caprese salad (buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil, B 320). Classic dishes made with quality ingredients, they summed up the restaurant’s deceptively simple approach. These were then followed by a truly delicious risotto (B 300) and a perfectly al dente seafood tagliatelle (B 290). Verging on the pleasant side of fullness, we let the chef talk us into trying a slice each of his homemade apple and lemon pies (both B150), promising to return for his tiramisu at a later date. Like every other dish, the pastry and fillings were excellent. In sum, Cala La Pasta serves quality home-style Italian food, made by an Italian chef with Italian ingredients. Throw in reasonable prices that don't break the bank and what’s not to like? คาลา ลา พาสต้า ทองหล่อ ซ.21

Mrs. Balbir’s MAP 4 / D 6 155/1-2 Sukhumvit Soi 11/1 | BTS Nana 02-651-0498 | www.mrsbalbirs.com Tue – Sun 11:30 am – 11 pm There may be progressive new curryhouses stealing the limelight, but Sukhumvit’s Mrs Balbir’s still has a loyal following. And deservedly so. Inside, the fresh creamwhite dining room, with its marble floors, tallback patterned velvet chairs, and furniture and finishes redolent of a Maharajas neoclassical palace, is an unexpectedly upscale setting for this gritty part of town, but the real coup here is the good old-fashioned cooking. Friendly namesake owner, Vinder Balbir, a local celeb and former TV chef who divulges her secrets at her popular cooking classes upstairs, offers unswervingly traditional North Indian made using recipes and spice blends that she’s fine-tuned over the years. Our starters, spinach cutlets, were soft, warm, fragrantly spiced bricks served with coriander chutney. They vanished in seconds. Following were lamb tandoori kebabs with a diced onion and spicy dip and the meat done just right. Mains include a bewildering range of regional curries and tandoori dishes, including an elegantly smooth butter chicken, and a grittier, bolder, more complex Punjabi chicken kadai. Paratha and naans were hot and fresh and good for dipping, though it was an emblematic dessert – rasmalai (soft dumplings in a refreshing chilled sweet milk flavoured with cardamom, almonds and pistachio) – that had us itching to log on and check air ticket prices to the Subcontinent. มิสซิส บัลบีร์ สุขุมวิท ซ.11

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FOOD & DRINKS

  getting there

DiVino  map4 /Q1  Penny’s Balcony | Thong Lor Soi 16, Sukhumvit Soi 55 | 02-714-8723 www.divinobkk.com Mon – Fri 11.30 am – 2 pm; daily 5 pm – 1 am

Di VINO

Wine review by Max Crosbie-Jones

DiVino is a small but welcome player on the local vino scene: an intimate space helmed by an ebullient Italian who really knows his labels, all 300 or so of them. Indeed, Roberto Ferin is not one of those winebar owners who only shows up to host his friends or fire somebody. He ushers guests in to his cosy, mock gothic wine cellar on Penny’s Balcony with an ease that soon has you chatting like old friends, and knows his stock so well he can flog an indecisive punter a bottle in seconds (we’ve seen it happen). Speaking of stock, there’s a formidable range of old and new world labels here, including some by the glass (B150 – 250) – decent ones, like Villa Solais’ full-bodied and straw-hued Vermentino from Sardinia. Because Italians don’t drink good wine without good food, Roberto, a talented chef who’s managed many of the city’s top Italians, including La Villa and L’Opera Riserva, gives equal attention to the nibbles, serving free plates of tapas and antipasti, as well as imported cheese platters (B 260 for 4 types, B 490 for 8), à la carte mains and daily blackboard specials. Highlights include his spinach ravioli in a creamy truffle mushroom sauce, and a lovely bollito (tender boiled beef leg) with salsa verde, imported artichoke and parma ham. Desserts are equally rich and indulgent, particularly the semifreddo, a semi-frozen tiramisu-like blend of amaretto, mascarpone, and raisins. Seating is inside, at tall stools with wooden wine barrel tables, or outside on Penny's Balcony terrace, with its retractable, monsoon-proof awning (ask for a demo – Roberto’s very proud of it). There's also a cosy private room for more formal sitdown dinners, including his occassional Chef ’s table parties (call for details). Yes, it’s a minnow compared to those huge, boorish wine bistros that are currently all the rage here, but when it comes to personality, service, expertise and keeping your customers happy, diVino could teach the big boys a thing or two. We’ll drink to that. ดิ วีโน เพนนีส์ บัลโคนี ทองหล่อ ซ.16

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F o o d   &  Dri n k s | wi n e

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F ebrua ry 2012 | 7 1


W XYZ bar at aloft


Nightlife NEWS

one night in Bang kok

Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project

Kolour Sundays

We thought it had been washed away with the floodwaters but no, the postponed Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project, a DJ party that was originally set to get clubbers shaking back in November, has now been rescheduled for February 10. The line-up includes two of Thailand’s favourite party bands, Thaitanium and Scrubb, as well as three electro DJs from Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak Records. A limited run of 1,000 tickets (B500) are available through www.thaiticketmajor.com and the rest available by keeping your eye on updates at www.facebook.com/smirnoff

“How Sundays should be!” “Ibiza, Miami, St Tropez move over!” Stylish, maritime-themed cocktail bar Viva Aviv, on the promenade by River City, is currently getting rave reviews for its Sunday afternoon to sundown riverside DJ parties. Held sporadically, Kolour Sundays pairs sizzling barbeques with sets by some of the best house music DJs in town, not to mention unusual cocktails by the three dishy Scandinavian mixologists behind popular gastrobar Hyde & Seek. Don’t forget your shades! For news of the next, click ‘like’ at www.facebook.com/wearekolour

Surging ahead: Sukhumvit Soi 11

Lady Libations at Leapfrog

A clutch of new establishments have just opened up on Soi 11 or are about to, including Zak’s, a wine bar in the house next door to The Old German Beer House. There’s also a new bar restaurant called Marshmellow on the corner where Soi 11 turns left towards Q Bar. The finishing touches are being made to Levels, a new club lounge by event organisers OP Worldwide. They’re promising a “world-class nightlife experience in an amazing audio-visual environment” (www.facebook.com/levelsclub). In other Soi 11 news, the recently opened Aloft Hotel, just across from Bed Supperclub, has appointed a Thai bartender well versed in ‘molecular mixology’, all in an attempt to lure revellers into their colourful W XYZ bar (see review on p.76).

This is perhaps the best ladies night special we've come across, especially when it comes to endless drinks in your hand, wind in your hair and a stunning skyline as backdrop. Through February, ladies who head up to the Ramada Encore hotel’s new rooftop bar Leapfrog on Tuesday nights and mention Bangkok 101 can take advantage of a readers’ exclusive. Available from 6:30-9:30 pm, the ladies night ‘What the Fox’ deal includes free flow red wine, mojitos, martinis, and free sambuca shots along with three tapas dishes of your choice, all for the killer price of B490. See our review of the venue on p. 77. * For more nightlife shenanigans flip to Metrobeat, p. 7.


Nightlife

BED SUPPERCLUB

Demo

ROUTE 66

ROUTE 66  Map 8 / Q 12 DEMO  Map 4 / R 1 Thong Lor Soi 10 (next to Funky Villa) 29/33-48 Royal City Avenue BTS Thong Lo | 02-711-6970 www.route66club.com 8 pm – 1 am | free. B 200 foreigners incl. drink / free for Thais Easily the grittiest discoteca in the swish Rammed with dressed-to-kill young Thais BED SUPPERCLUB  Map 4 / C 4 Thong Lor area is Demo – a former tene- on weekends, ‘Route’, as its affectionately 26 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 02-651-3537 ment building turned graffiti daubed brick known, is RCA’s longest surviving superwww.bedsupperclub.com | 7:30 pm – 1 am With its uber-modern oval spaceship warehouse. Featuring a terrace and bar club. There are three zones to explore design, Bed Supperclub is a hugely success- outside, and lots of dark corners inside, not (four if you count the toilets – probably ful hybrid, and a Bangkok icon: fine dining only does it look like a venue you’d find the ritziest in town), each with its own bar, on what may be the world’s largest sofas in East London or some other hipster- unique look and music policy. ‘The Level’ is on one side, and an adjoining bar on the ville. It sounds like one, too: instead of the the huge, all-lasers-blazing hip-hop room; other. For the past eight years, Bed has usual mainstream hip-hop and live-bands, ‘The Classic’ spins house and techno; and attracted a fashionable crowd, and with its Demo’s DJs blast zeitgeisty nu-disco, house Thai bands play in ‘The Novel’. Route is not à-la-page white interior is definitely a place and electro through a kicking sound-sys- a good place to lose your mates but can be a blast if you all get crazy around a table, be to see and be seen. The food is world-class tem. it inside or out on the big outdoors area. on the cosy restaurant side, and the sleek เดโม ทองหล่อ ซ. 10 One sore point: foreigners are charged a design extends to an all-white bar on the B200 entry fee (but get a free drink). club side. Bed has talented resident DJs GLOW  Map 4 / G 5 and brings over top-notch talent (including 96/4-5 Sukhumvit Soi 23 | BTS Asok, รูท 66 อาร์ ซี เอ some very eclectic art) for special events. MRT Sukhumvit | 02-261-3007 Big-name DJs tend to spin on Thursdays, www. glowbkk.com | 6 pm – 1 am TAPAS  Map 5 / J 5 house and mash-up hip-hop rules on This boutique club  /  bar challenges Silom Soi 4 | BTS Sala Daeng / MRT Silom Friday, and Sunday mixes 1980 ’s pop hits Bangkok’s biggies when it comes to deliv- 02-632-7982 | www.tapasroom.net with house music. ering innovative music from the world of 8 pm – 2am underground electronic pleasures. An On the groovy little enclave of Silom Soi เบด ซัปเปอร์คลับ สุขุมวิท ซ. 11 intimate, stylish cave is decked out in dark 4, Tapas is a party institution and one of walls, funky seating, innovative lighting and the few mixed hang-outs on a heavily gay CLUB CULTURE  Map 7 / J 7 a dramatic bar. The music palette changes strip of lively bars and clubs. For more than Ratcha Damnoen Klang Rd night-tonight but always excludes hip-hop 10 years it’s been pumping out excellent (behind Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall) 089-497-8422 | www.club-culture-bkk.com (hurrah!). For details and regular updates, house music and live, bongo-bangin’ percussion sets as well. Multi-levelled, with a check Glow’s cool website. Wed – Sat 8 pm – late dark, Moroccan feel, it’s easy to chill here, Club Culture comes from the same brains โกลว์ สุขุมวิท ซ. 23 whether lounging or dancing your tail off! behind the city’s annual dance music fesLike Soi 4 in general, weeknights can be tival, Culture One. After being evicted INSOMNIA  Map 4 / F 7 from its original home, a former Thai Sukhumvit Soi 12 (between Times Sq and hit-or-miss, but weekends are always hopping from about midnights onwards. And if theatre on Phaya Thai Road, it relocated Soi 12) | www.clubinsomniagroup.com to this gritty four-storey warehouse In this busy after-hours joints, LED lasers it’s not, grab a table on the outside terrace hidden away in the Old City in early twirl around a huge main room with a to enjoy a few cocktails and some of the 2010, much to the relief of its regulars –  giant disco ball at its centre, while DJs spin best people watching in town. The tipples a cross-cultural mix of hipster Thais and electro house out of a throbbing mounted are mixed strong, and watching this soi’s discerning expats. Like the old days they speaker system. Some shady ladies and comings and goings an eye-opening experipromote new talent, while still bringing in their hangers-on do head here (do we ence to say the least. the big guns, ensuring an eclectic roster of need to spell it out?), but unlike most of ทาปาส สีลม ซ. 4 indie rock, drum’n’bass and house music of the competition, Insomnia is not overrun all genres. with them. คลับ คัลเจอร์ ถ.ราชดำ�เนินกลาง อินซอมเนีย ซ. สุขุมวิท 12 (หลังนิทรรศ์รัตนโกสินทร์)

clubs

74 | F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 2

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N ightlife N ightlife | xxxxxxxxxxxxxx | C l u b review

q bar

Club review Max Crosbie-Jones

A couple of years back, the owner’s of the seemingly immortal, New York-style night spot Q Bar added an upstairs lounge designed by the guy behind Europe’s renowned Buddha Bars. It was a wise move. Q UP, as it’s known, was an instant hit that gave those not interested in throwing shapes on Q Bar’s often heaving dancefloor space to mingle. For many of the faithful, its spacious open-air smoking terrace – not the dancefloor – became the place to see and be seen. Wisely, then, given the success of Q Bar’s earlier reboot, Bruno Tanquerel is once again on design duties for their twelfth year renovations: a more radical, top-to-bottom overhaul that, as well as bathing the place in vivid neon colours, expands on the lounge space considerably while also rejigging the dancefloor. If we had to pick one word in design industry parlance to sum it all up, it would be ‘maximalist’. The first thing you notice is the new entrance: now a lounge area of its very own, complete with desert-tent feel, zebra-pattern markings on the floors, leopard print stools, a python skin bar, and chic, teepee tent-style sofa seating lining the sides. Aptly given the tribal feel, they’re calling it Q Zoo. The second: that inside the DJ is now at the centre of things, dancefloor-wise. Whereas before the DJ booth was tucked away, somewhat awkwardly, to the left of the entrance, now it’s where the bar used to be, right in front of you when you walk in. An alcove area with padded seating, glam King Louis XIV-style furniture, and discreet neon lighting complete the look. The space isn’t bigger, per se, but it feels it. Heading upstairs, Q UP has been given a similar look (we especially like the manga wall murals), but the big change is the addition of another, more intimate outdoor lounge area at the other end. Here, banquette booths on both sides flank a small, stylish central bar. If you’re looking for a moment of relative solitude or a quiet corner to whisper sweet nothings, this is now the spot to find it.

  getting there

Q Bar  Map 4 / C 4 34 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | BTS Nana 02-252-3274 www.qbarbangkok.com 8  pm – 1 am

คิว บาร์ สุขุมวิท ซ.11 bangkok101.com

F ebrua ry 2012 | 75


Nightlife

THE CLUB

barsu

BARSU

THE CLUB  Map 7 / F5 CM2  Map 3 / D5 B1, Novotel Siam Square 123 Khaosan Rd, Taladyod | Phranakorn 392/44 Siam Square Soi 6 | BTS Siam 02-629-1010 | www.theclubkhaosan.com 02-209-8888 | www.cm2bkk. com 6 pm – 2am | B 100 (incl. one drink) The walk-in crowd of young Thais and 10 pm – 2 am backpackers must surely be amazed to find The Novotel Siam Square Hotel’s they’ve entered a techno castle on Khao San subterranean party cave still packs them in Road. The sky-high windows and raised cen- fourteen years after it first opened, espetral DJ turret lend a fairy-tale vibe, while the cially on weekends when it heaves with lasers, visuals and UV lighting hark back to tourists and nocturnal beauties. The big the halcyon days of trippy psy-trance. Music- and quite 1980s disco looking (black and wise, it’s a loud, banging house serving up metal and neon lighting rule) complex has the full range of 4/4 beats, usually cranium- lots of lounging space facing the dancefloor, rattling electro house and techno. Dancers plus a sports bar with pool tables, smoking entertain on Friday and Saturday nights. The room, and an Absolut Vodka Lounge. It’s drink prices are kind to your wallet and UV mainstream all the way. DJs play what the crowd wants, when they want it, usually the glowsticks handed out for free. latest electro, funky house or hip-grinding เดอะคลับ ข้าวสาร R&B tune, while the rotating line-up of live bands from Canada, Europe and Asia perform as if every song is a potentially lifehotel bars & clubs changing audition. International / Thai food and a huge cocktail list is served, as is what they claim is Bangkok’s biggest pour – all BARSU  Map 4 / F 6, 7 drinks feature double shots for no extra st 1 F, Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit charge. Check out their Facebook page 250 Sukhumvit Rd | 02-649-8358 for news of their popular monthly theme www.barsubangkok.com | 6 pm – 2 am parties and drinks promotions. The informal yet sleek and minimally styled BarSu features the tagline ‘eat, play, dance,’ รร.โนโวเทลสยามสแควร์ สยามสแควร์ ซ. 6 and appeals to the over-30 Bangkok crowd who feel disenfranchised by the city’s cur- ST. REGIS BAR  Map 3 / G 7 rent nightlife offerings. To this end, house, 12th F, St. Regis Bangkok Hotel hip hop and techno are banned; in house 159 Rajadamri Rd | BTS Ratchadamri DJs spin soul, funk, rock, vintage 70 s, 80 s 02-207-7777 | www.stregis.com and world music. An audacious dining Mo – Fr 10 am – 1 am, Sat & Sun 10 am – 2 am concept features a menu of sophisticated At 6:30 pm each day a butler struts out onto bar snacks created by a Belgian two-star the terrace of The St. Regis Bar, a saber in Michelin chef. Joining this premium finger one hand, a bottle of Moet & Chandon in food is a menu of creative cocktails priced the other. He then flicks at the collar until at B 400 net, live music every Friday and ‘pop!’, the cork flies off and bubbly spurts Saturday from 10 pm, plus a slew of specials. gently out onto the terrace. Come for this, Drinks between 5:30 – 8:30 pm on week and stay for the view. Stretching along a days go for B 250 and include free hors plate glass window, the rectangle venue  d’oeuvres, and ladies enjoy drinks for B150 – with its suave masculine vibe, long bar, net per glass each Wednesday from 9 pm. clubby sofas and high-ceilings  –  eyeballs the city’s Royal Bangkok Sports Club. It’s a รร.เชอราตัน แกรนด์ สุขุมวิท lovely spot at sunset, even better on every ระหว่างสุขุมวิท 12 และ 14

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W XYZ

second Sunday afternoon, when you can spy on the horse-racing with a fine malt whisky in hand. The special promotions come thick and fast here: Tuesdays is jazz night, with Johnnie Walker Black Label for B1,990++ per bottle (7-11pm); Wednesdays is two for one martinis (6-8pm); and ladies get free Bellinis on Thursdays (6-9pm). รร. เดอะ เซนต์ รีจิส กรุงเทพฯ ถ.ราชดำ�ริ W XYZ MAP4 / D6 Aloft Bangkok, 35 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | BTS Nana | 02- 207-7000 | alofthotels.com/ bangkoksukhumvit11 or facebook.com/ aloftbangkoksukhumvit11 Bangkok’s newest mid-range (i.e. affordable) hotel sits smack bang in the centre of Sukhumvit partyland, directly opposite Bed Supperclub (to which hotel guests get free entrance most nights). No surprise, then, that Aloft is going after the club crowd after warm-up cocktails with W XYZ, their laidback lounge bar on the lobby floor mezzanine. What is a surprise is that this colourful space featuring funky modular furniture, colour changing glass pane floors, and lots of vivid LED lighting has a talented mixologist whose done stints at the Banyan Tree and V9, and specialises in ‘molecular’ cocktails made using all manner of gels, powders, foams and spray mists. For the ‘Heaven on Earth’, for example, he pours vodka, apple juice, lychee syrup and ginger ale into a champagne glass and freezes the top inch solid using liquid nitrogen – watch it smoke like one of Gandalf’s potions! Others like the B52+1, which is essentially very boozy ice cream, are more suited to eating than drinking. More reasons to swing by W XYZ include decent finger foods and Thai-style tapas, the happy hours (50% off select drinks and snacks between 5-7:30pm daily), and, for the budding DJs among you, Tuesday’s Pod Play session, when you get to pump your own iPod through the speakers. รร.เอลอฟท์ แบงคอก สุขุมวิท ซ.11

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N ightlife | bars with views

Leapfrog

Bar with a View review by Yvonne Liang

For us, there's no better way to spend an evening here in the capital than sipping cocktails under the moonlight as you gaze out over our sprawling metropolis. Luckily for locals and visitors alike, this city is filled with scores of venues perfect for rooftop drinking sessions; Leapfrog Restaurant and Bar, on the eighth floor of the Ramada Encore Hotel, being just the latest. Offering up some of the best tapas deals in town, it’s a swank, lofty space where you can sit back and nibble on delicious California-Asian cuisine such as salmon bites with spicy dip, lamb meatballs 'Napoli' style, marinated "Bilbao" baby octopus, and mozzarella cheese balls. For something a little more filling, we recommend the Pizza Di Mediterranean (tomato tart). In a playful twist, it comes on puff pastry instead of the usual pizza dough.

  getting there

LEAPFROG  Map 4 / E 7 7th F, Ramada Encore Bangkok 21 Sukhumvit Soi 10 BTS Nana | 02-615-0999 www.ramadaencorebangkok.com

In line with its Californian cuisine, the interior and exterior of Leapfrog was designed by San Franciscan designer Kevin Christison. Throughout the bar and restaurant you'll find playful reptilian details, from cute and practical metal frog purse hangers to a giant dinasour egg light fixture inside the restaurant. Just outside the restrooms a princely frog complete with a jeweled crown tempts female visitors to give it a kiss. Diners who book the space for private events can also take a dip in the outdoor whirlpool – the surrounding tables and chairs are splash-friendly. One other attractive feature: to lure in the female contingent, the management have laid of one of the best ladies' drinks deals we've encountered in months. See p.73 for details. รร.รามาดา อังคอร์ สุขุมวิท ซ.10

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F ebrua ry 2012 | 7 7


Nightlife during special party nights. These include MODE , a shindig every second Saturday of the month that pumps hip-hop and house beats rather than the usual smooth Balearic sounds. What are the views alike, you ask? With buildings looming above you, not below you, here you feel part of the cityscape rather than detached from it. เลอฟินิกซ��� สุขุมวิท ซ. 11

MOON BAR

Bars with views Fed up with Bangkok’s fume-filled streets? Fancy a breather? Take to the skies. Bangkok offers a clutch of dramatic high-altitude bars (both indoor and out­door) from where to survey the glittering skyline below …

NEST

‘long-tail’ cocktails or fine new latitude wines with the best of high-flying Bangkok: a glitzy hotchpotch of celebrities, models and power players; hair-tousling breezes; and – best of all – widescreen city vistas. A Sukhumvit high point. อาคารคอลัมน์ สุขุมวิท ซ. 16

RED SKY  Map 3 / F 3 56th F Centara Grand at CentralWorld Rama 1 Rd | BTS Chit Lom / Siam 02-100-1234 | www. centarahotelresorts.com 5 pm – 1 am Circling the 56 th floor turret of CentralWorld’s adjoining Centara Grand Hotel, the al fresco Red Sky offers city panoramas in every direction. Just before sunset is the time to come – plonk yourself down on a rattan chair or oversized daybed and wait for the lightshow to begin. When daylight fades to black, and the city lights up like a circuit-board, a live jazz band kicks in and Bangkok takes on a glam cosmopolitan aura. Upscale bar snacks like slow-cooked baby back pork ribs, and martinis, cocktails and wines are on hand to keep you company while your eyes roam the scenery. Daily happy hours ( 50 % off selected wines, beers and cocktails between 5 – 7 pm) and prompt, smooth service make the experience all the more enjoyable.

MOON BAR  Map 5 / K, l 8 61st F, Banyan Tree Bangkok AMOROSA  Map 7 / C 12 21/100 South Sathorn Rd | 02-679-1200 4th F Arun Residence Hotel www.banyantree.com | 5 pm – 1 am 36-38 Soi Pratoo Nok Young, Maharat Rd As the name suggests, this is one place (near Wat Po temple) | 02-221-9158 that will get you closer to the moon. The www.arunresidence.com | 6 pm – 1 am open-air bar lets you take in the urban Amorosa is a sultry, Moroccan-style Moloch from up-above in smart surroundopen-air bar featuring balmy river breez- ings. Banyan Tree’s Moon Bar is a romantic es, whisper-soft Latin Jazz, sour-sweet hideaway. With stunning 360° views, the cocktails and a so-so wine list. The show- hotel’s rooftop has been turned into a slick รร.เซ็นทาร่าแกรนด์ แอท stopper though is the view: perched on grill restaurant; one end is occupied by the เซ็นทรัลเวิลด์ ถ.พระราม 1 the roof of a four-storey boutique hotel, bar. Nothing obstructs your view here, guests gaze out from its balcony terrace almost 200 metres high up. It’s the per- SKY BAR / DISTIL  Map 5 / C 5 onto the Chao Phraya River and, on the fect spot for honeymooners – take a seat 63rd F State Tower | 1055 Silom Rd far banks beyond, Wat Arun, the stunning on the smart sofa stations, sip on a classy 02-624-9555 | www.thedomebkk.com Temple of Dawn. Go before sundown and Martini or a yummy signature cocktail and 6 pm – 1 am enjoy watching the sun sink slowly behind feel romance welling up. For voyeurs, the High fliers hankering after a taste for the it. Or come later, when amber floodlights telescope and binoculars come in handy. dramatic can head over to The Dome make it glow against the night sky. Glamour girls and unwinding business guys at State Tower. Among the world’s highfeel right at home here, too. Stay until the est outdoor bars, Sky bar – attached to อรุณเรสสิเดนซ์ ซ.ประตูนกยูง ถ.มหาราช wee hours, nibble on sophisticated snacks, Med restaurant Sirocco  –  offers panotake in the light jazz – and never ever forget ramic views of the city and river below, LONG TABLE  Map 4 / H 8 earning its popularity with visitors new 25th F 48 Column Bldg | Sukhumvit Soi 16 your camera. to the City of Angels and those intent on BTS Asok / MRT Sukhumvit รร.บันยันทรี ถ.สาทรใต้ rediscovering it. Indoor-outdoor Distil 02-302-2557-9 | www.longtablebangkok.com boasts a roomful of comfy sofas, beyond11 am – 2:00am NEST  Map 4 / C 4 premium liquor and The Dome’s signature Top-end Thai food isn’t the only thing 9 th F, Le Fenix | 33/33 Sukhumvit Soi 11 breathtaking view. Adjacent to Asian seadrawing Bangkok’s nouveau riche to this BTS Nana | 02-305-4000 food eatery Breeze, Ocean 52 sports yet impossibly swish restaurant-cum-bar in www.lefenixsukhumvit.com | 5 pm – 2 am st nd droves. There’s also the trend-setting Nest is the rooftop bar of choice for another stunning view from the 51  – 52 floors. These places are definitely not twist: a sleek communal dining table so Sukhumvit’s international party crowd. An long it makes a medieval banquet bench urbane open-air oasis on the ninth floor spots for the casual beach bum, so be sure look positively petite. However, it’s what of the sleek Le Fenix Hotel, it’s a loungey to leave your flip-flops and shopping bags happens at the end of the room that and laid-back spot on weekdays and early at home – a strict smart casual dress code propels this place deep into the nightlife evenings, with couples enjoying signature is enforced. Given this policy, then, you stratosphere. Where the long table ends, martinis and upmarket bar food from the might think it somewhat ironic that the a tall plate glass window and huge pool- comfort of Thai-style swing beds and Nest- venue featured recently in the gross-out side patio, complete with bar, begins. Out shaped rattan chairs. But on weekends, a American comedy hit, The Hangover Part II. here, 25 floors up, you can glug signature more up-for-it crowd ascends, especially สเตททาวเวอร์ สีลม 78 | F ebrua ry 2012

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N ightlife | bars

FAT GUT’Z  Map 4 / Q2 264, Soi 12, Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thong Lor) | 027-149-832 | www.fatgutz.com 6 pm – 2 am | $$$ Don’t let the fish ‘n’ chips fool you: Fat Gut’z is not about the food. Already a place to see and be seen, this sleek saloon is packed nightly with a crowd of 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 already legendary Iron Fairies. Unlike his first bar, Fat Gut’z displays a less obvious CHEAP CHARLIE’S CLOUDS sense of whimsy – here, the random fittings and industrial decor are replaced by straight lines and black-coloured, modCHEAP CHARLIE’S  Map 4 / D6 ern furnishings. It all feels rather serious, BARS Sukhumvit Soi 11 | BTS Nana until you open the drinks menu. Sutton 02- 253-4648 | Mon – Sat 5 pm – midnight brought in master New York mixologist This joint is a Bangkok institution, bringing Joseph Boroski to create 16 unique cockthe charm of a rickety hole-in-the-wall bar tails (B285 each), all named – and here’s BARLEY BISTRO  Map 5 / H5 to one of Sukhumvit’s swankiest Sois. A the rub – after famous WWII shipwrecks. 4/F Food Channel, Silom Road | BTS no-brainer meet-up spot, Cheap Charlie’s This nautical theme loosely ties in with the Sala Daeng | 087-033-3919 | daily draws crowds of expats, NGOers and tour- short menu, from which the most popular 5pm-late | www.barleybistro.com This multi-level resto-bar, hidden up some ists in-the-know to fill up on B 70 beers and order is, of course, the fish ‘n’ chips (B320 stairs at the Food Channel, an enclave of pocket-change G&Ts before heading off to for one person, B600 for two). Made from franchise-like restaurants, is one very slick, eat and party – though don’t be surprised an old family recipe, it comes served in a snazzy spot. The design is chic (blacks if you end up here all night. Its location is wooden tub, turning a takeaway staple into and greys, white-on-black stencil art); the a winner, situated as it is on a cool little finger food. Tucking in as we listened to drinks funky (lychee mojitos, testtube Subsoi (first on the left as you walk down the blues band play on the tiny stage, and cocktails etc); the food newfangled (spa- from Sukhumvit) packed with restaurants observed the hi-so crowd sipping politely ghetti kimchi etc); and the clientele whole- and a short walk from hallowed Bangkok on their aquatic-inspired cocktails, it was some (Thai office workers mostly). Do gin-palaces Q Bar and Bed Supperclub. obvious that this bar is an unusual, albeit check out the open-air rooftop. Though ชีพ ชาร์ลีย์ ถ.สุขุมวิท 11 (ซอยแรก) successful blend of ingredients. not quite worthy of our ‘Bars with a View’ แฟท กัซ สุขุมวิท ซ.55 section – it’s boxed in by buildings – it’s CLOUDS  Map 4 / Q2 littered with cooling fans, huge bean bags GF SeenSpace, Thong Lor Soi 13, HYDE & SEEK  Map 3 / K5 and funky barley-stalk sculptures and per- Sukhumvit Soi 55 | BTS Thong Lo 65/1 Athenée Residence, Soi Ruamrudee fect for postwork/ pre-club cocktails. Live 02-185-2365 BTS Phloen Chit | 02-168-5152 bands play in the bar most nights. Having shaken up Thonglor's bar scene www.hydeandseek.com | 11 am – 1 am บาร์ลี่ย์บิสโทร ฟู้ดชาแนล ถ.สีลม with his first two concoctions, Iron This stylish downtown gastro bar is a deadFairies and Fat Gut'z, his third is as ringer for those chic London haunts that we've come to expect, something entirely draw the after-work crowd for pick-meCAFÉ TRIO  Map 3 / H6 unexpected. Evoking a future where ‘there up cocktails and good food that doesn’t 36/11-12 Soi Lang Suan | BTS Chit Lom are no more natural resources’, this slim break the bank. Heading the kitchen is Ian 02-252- 6572 | 6 pm – 1 am, closed on the concrete shell at the rear of Thong Lor’s Kittichai, the brains behind the successful 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month Cafe Trio is just about the only bar worth SeenSpace has a living tree encased in glass Kittichai restaurant in New York, while the seeking out on Lang Suan Road. Tucked in one corner, and concrete blocks, topped bar is helmed by the boys behind Flow, the down a narrow alley just off the upmar- with lumps of translucent leaf-encasing cocktail consultancy that inspires much ket residential street, this cozy jazz bar acrylic, for tables. Vodka-based cocktails drunken fun around the region. The sleek, & art gallery is a welcome alternative ( B  280 ) by New York mixultant Joseph Georgian-influenced décor has panelled to Bangkok’s raucous pubs and haughty Boroski are prepped by ‘ NASA techni- walls, clubby chairs and a large central bar, lounge bars – a true neighbourhood place. cians’ in white overalls, and later on a DJ where snacks like beer battered popcorn Cafe Trio overflows with plush couches, spins acid jazz while a female dancer sits shrimps and baby back ribs glazed with the lighting delightfully soft, the music atop one of the blocks, calmly polishing her chocolate and chilli go well with fancy, always subdued. The vivacious owner and gun and blowing bubbles. They also serve custom-made cocktails or Belgian ales. bartender Patti holds court nightly and has tasty misshapen pizzas, which are cooked Outside, there’s a spacious terrace with plastered the walls with her Modigliani- in a gas-oven and served in steel trays. swing seats and a mini-maze of tea plants esque, Vietnamese inspired paintings – have It’s not yet a big crowd-puller, but the to partition dining areas. In sum, Hyde & a few drinks and don’t be surprised to find result is enjoyably bizarre: part ultramod- Seek is a rare entry into the huge market yourself taking one home. To find it, look ern mausoleum to nature, part space-sta- for high quality drinks and food at middle for the Chinese restaurant across from tion drinking hole. prices. It's busy with the rich and powerful Starbucks and head 50 m down the road. looking most nights, so best book ahead. คลาวด์ โครงการการซีสเปซ ซ.ทองหล่อ 13 คาเฟ่ทริโอ ซ.หลังสวน แอนธินีเรซซิเดนซ์ ซ.ร่วมฤดี bangkok101.com

F ebrua ry 2012 | 79


Nightlife

HYDE & SEEK

THE IRON FAIRIES

in 1985 ; has a couple of serve-yourself beer fridges and is not much bigger than a living room. Yet it attracts a fiercely loyal crowd of expat journalists, English teachers, hipsters, creative Thais and professional barflies who have been coming here for years and regard owner Sam as a kind of benevolent dictator, knowing better than to take advantage of the beer fridges honour system. Come before midnight and it’s usually pretty dead (the Wong’s Place at the wong time?). Come after the other bars close – it’s a mere hop skip and a jump from Silom – and watch the night unfold. วองส์ เพลส ซ.งามดูพลี

VIVA AVIV Map 5 / C2 THE IRON FAIRIES  Map 4 / Q2 River City – Unit 118 | 23 Trok 394 Thong Lor (Sukhumvit Soi 55), Rongnamkhaeng, Charoen Krung Soi 30 Thong Lor Soi 12 | BTS Thong Lo 02-639-6305 | www.vivaaviv.com 084-520-2301 | www.theironfairies.com Bangkok’s most bizarre bar is a functioning 11am – midnight, later on weekends iron foundry – yes, you can actually buy the Viva Aviv reminds us of one of the hipper eponymous iron fairies themselves – that bars along Singapore’s Clarke Quay. Not just happens to serve booze. Drawing only does it have the bar tables and stools heavily from the steampunk genre, it has jutting across a pleasant riverside promethe labyrinthine otherworldliness of a nade, inside there’s also a designer interior Terry Gilliam film-set. Walls are daubed in full effect. Think tropical maritime chic black, silent movies are projected on the meets dashes of outright whimsy. While walls upstairs, an in-house magician tours the owner, Khun Ae, is responsible for this the tables, and Doris Day classics are rustic look, the bar is being looked after by belted out from the cast-iron spiral stair- the cocktail designers behind popular gascase. Beers start from B 120 a bottle, a well trobar Hyde and Seek. Their ‘Rough Cut’ mixed dirty martini goes for B 280 and the Signatures, many of them underpinned burgers, served pinned to a wooden chop- with rum (tequila is so last year, apparently), come in slightly cheaper than over at ping board with a steak knife, divine. Hyde & Seek, B250. Weekly specials go for ดิ ไ อรอนแฟรี ส ่ แ ์ อนด์ โ ค ซ.ทองหล่ อ โรลลิ่งบาร์ ริมสะพานเฉลิมวันชาติ B199, along with wine by the glass, during the daily 4-8pm happy hours. Food tip: the SHADES OF RETRO  Map 8 / s14 TUBA  Map 8 / S14 risotto-filled croquet balls with yoghurt dip 34 Room 11 – 12A, Soi Cham Chun Soi Tararom 2, Thong Lor | are a must. Keep an eye on their Facebook (Ekkamai Soi 21) | 02-711-5500 BTS Thong Lo | 081-824-8011 page for news of new specials and their www.design-athome.com | 11 am – 2 am | 3 pm – 1 am | cash only shades-down Sunday DJ barbeques. Some come to this two-storey furniture Hipster attic, here we come  –  Shades store to snag a comfy sofa, vintage sign or of Retro is a hidden Thong Lor spot อาคารริเวอร์ซิตี้ เจริญกรุง ซ.30 goofy tchotchke. Others come for the big awash in neo-nostalgia and stuffed with menu of Italian and Thai dishes tweaked vintage furniture, vinyl records, old rotary WTF  Map 4 / Q6 for the local palate. But for us, Tuba works telephones. A combo furniture store-café, 7 Sukhumvit Soi 51 | BTS Thong Lo best as a bar, as the unusual setting and Shades provides a quiet hangout for the 02- 626-6246 | www.wtfbangkok.com generous Happy Hour (buy one get one writer/designer/artiste crowd by day, fun Tue – Sun 6 pm – 1 am / gallery from 3 pm free between 5  8 pm daily) mean there people-watching at night, and nice jazz at This tiny shophouse – signposted by grafreally are few cooler places in town to all times. Curl up on a nubby couch, flip fiti on a corrugated tin wall in the street kick back after work with a sweet cock- through a Wallpaper* magazine and soak up opposite – has a bar on the ground floor, tail in hand (or two hands in some cases  the atmosphere, which flirts with being too decked out with mirrors along one wall, – the glassware can be that big!). Owned ironic for its pants. A cool, friendly crowd old Thai movie posters on the other, and by the same hoarders behind Lad Phrao and bracing cocktails or coffee served up found items like wooden screen doors and furniture warehouse Papaya, it features with popcorn humanizes the hip, thankfully. chairs. It works. The Thai-farang owners (an art manager, hotelier and photographer room upon room of haphazardly arranged เฉดส์ ออฟ เรโทร ซ.ธารารมย์ 2 ทองหล่อ by trade) have made a good fist of cocktails eye-candy, all of which you’re free to skulk (from B130) with rye whiskies and unusual through at your leisure. A word to the WONG’S PLACE  Map 8 / L17 bitters in the mix, while plates of tapas wise: one cocktail too many and you may 27/3 Soi Sri Bumphen, Soi Ngam Duplee, consist of Thai and Euro choices such as leave with more than you bargained for. near Malaysia Hotel | MRT Lumpini Portuguese chorizo and feta salad. Expect Another caveat: punters are allowed to 02-286-1558 | Mon – Sat 10 pm – late occasional live gigs, art exhibitions upstairs puff away at Tuba, and many seem to come It’s amazing how Wong’s Place stays in and a mix of indie hipsters, journos and arthere to do just that. business. It’s not near any public transport; scensters to chew the fat with. ทูบา ถ.สุขุมวิท 63 (เอกมัย 21) opens when it wants, closes when it wants; plays crackly videos from Top of the Pops ดับเบิลยู ทีเอฟ สุขุมวิท ซ. 51 ROLLING BAR  Map 7 / J5 Wanchat Rd | 081-867-6568 Mon – Sat 6 pm – 2 am A big lit up marquee sign on Wanchat Road beckons you to find out what is going on below the street line. Descend a few stairs and in a quiet corner by the water you will find Rolling Bar, a small open space filled with a mixed assortment of retro decor and various model Cadillac cars. Here, every night you can hear familiar old folk and rock covers unplugged. The bar draws a mixed crowd all in the comfort of T-shirts and jeans and ready to throw back a couple of drinks. The menu’s got all the popular Thai favourites, but the bar offers you a little bit more. Owner Khun Sheeva has whipped up his own personal sweet rum, Sheeva Wop; a must try.

80 | F ebrua ry 2012

bangkok101.com


Nightlife

BRICK BAR

LIVE MUSIC Performances by top international bands might be thin on the ground here, but there are a clutch of venues where decent live music can be heard. Much, if not all of it, is world-class.

ADHERE the 13TH  Map 7 / G 3 13 Samsen Rd (opposite Soi 2) 089- 769-4613 | 5 pm – 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 for the 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. แอดเฮีย 13 ถ.สามเสน บางลำ�ภู BRICK BAR  Map 7 / G6 265 Khaosan Rd | 02-629-4477 www.brickbarkhaosan.com Mon – Sun 7 pm – 1am | Mon – Thu free /  Fri – Sat B150 incl. one drink Found at the rear of the Buddy Lodge shopping arcade, this dark and airy redbrick vault features benches downstairs, an upstairs terrace for people or band watching and plenty of nooks and crannies to party in. A magnet for young live music lovers, it’s jumping most nights of the week with fresh-faced twentysomethings out to catch some of Thailand’s biggest ska, reggae, funk and blues bands, many of whom play their own material. Perfect for friends who’ve just hit town, expect to be clinking whisky glasses with new friends all night. บริคบาร์ ถ.ข้าวสาร 82 | F ebrua ry 2012

RAINTREE PUB COSMIC CAFE  Map 8 / Q12 RCA Block C | Rama IX Rd | MRT Rama 9 The rebel in RCA’s ranks, Cosmic Café serves 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, as the Paradise Bangkok DJs host a rare live performance by mor lam legend Dao Bandon. On another a house band dishing out some surf guitar, ska, electronica or blues. The edgiest joint on the block, it draws a lively, musically discerning crowd, from skinny jeaned art-school hipster types to teddy boy expats. An insider’s must. คอสมิค คาเฟ่ อาร์ซีเอ RAINTREE PUB  Map 8 / K 10 116 / 63 - 34 Soi Ruamjit, Rang Nam Rd BTS Victory Monument 02-245-7230, 081-926-1604 www.raintreepub.com | 5 pm – 1 am This rustic Thai ‘country’ bar is a sort of allwooden, pre-consumerist age timecapsule. Raintree hosts musicians playing Pleng Peua Chiwit (Songs for Life), the once phenomenally popular 1970’s folk protest music and soundtrack for Thailand’s politically disaffected. On a stage decorated with the movement’s trademark buffalo skulls, two artists strum nightly: a long-haired singer croons plaintive songs at 8:30 pm, a grizzled band steps up at around 11 pm. Owner Porn Pimon opened Raintree 19 years ago and has changed little since. And why should she? The people are friendly, the beer snacks cheap and tasty, and the music, made famous by household names like Caravan and Caribou, soul-stirring. เรนทรีผับ ซ.ร่วมจิต ถ.รางน้ำ� PARKING TOYS  OFF MAP 17/22 Soi Maiyalap, Kaset-Navamin Highway, Bang Khen (pier 135-136 on left hand side) Lat Phrao district | BTS Mo Chit (then taxi) | 02-907-2228 | 6 pm – 1am Inside this ex-garage out in the northern

BROWN SUGAR suburbs it’s pure sensory overload. Wallto-wall retro furniture becomes instant eye-candy, while chairs without upholstery dangle from the ceiling. Here, there is a band for every alternative music lover; in just one weekend night you can catch reggae root, electronic, rockabilly, and metal. It’s a hike and not exactly easy to find, but worth it. ปาร์คกิ้งทอย ซ.มัยลาภ เกษตรนวมินทร์ SAXOPHONE PUB  Map 8 / K 10 3 / 8 Phaya Thai Rd BTS Victory Monument | 02-246-5472 www.saxophonepub.com | 6 pm – 2 am 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, wood-filled 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. แซ๊กโซโฟนผับ ถ.พญาไท TAWANDAENG GERMAN BREWERY  OFF MAP 462 / 61 Rama III Rd | Yan Nawa district 02- 678-1114 | www.tawandang.co.th The one place that every taxi driver knows, this vast, barrel-shaped beer hall packs in the revelers nightly. They come for the micro-brewed beer, the Thai, Chinese and German grub (especially the pork knuckle and sausage), and, not least, the famous Fong Nam houseband. It’s laidback early on, but by 10pm, when the Thai/Western pop, luk krung and mor lam songs are at full pelt, everybody is on their feet and the place going bananas. Great for large groups, espcially birthday parties and office outings, but you should reserve ahead for the best tables nearest the stage. โรงเบียร์เยอรมันตะวันแดง พระราม 3 bangkok101.com


N ightlife | L ive m u sic &  jazz cl u bs

Jazz clubs Click your fingers like a hepcat at one of the following respected live jazz venues. Some are all elegant and sultry, others as raw and gritty as that old crooner's voice.

BAMBOO BAR  Map 5 / B4 The Oriental Bangkok | 48 Oriental Ave 02-659-9000 | www.mandarinoriental.com Sun – Thu 11 am – 1 am, Fri & Sat 11 am – 2 am 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 nevertheless 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 bartenders and served by a superb staff. Ideal for a boozy night on your honeymoon. A definite big Bangkok must. รร.โอเรียลเต็ล ถ.โอเรียลเต็ล BROWN SUGAR  Map 3 / G9 231 / 20 Sarasin Rd BTS Ratchadamri | 02-250-1826 www.brownsugarbangkok.com Mon – Sat 11 am – 1 am, Sun 5 pm – 1 am Sarasin Road, bordering Lumpini Park, hosts a strip of bars. The best one is definitely this long-standing, smoky jazz club. The joint evokes a jazz haunt of yesteryear with dark woods, tight benches and a tiny

bangkok101.com

stage. Newsweek called it ‘Asia’s Number One Spot’ and to prove the point, it’s packed every night. If you care for seats, arrive early, before the brilliant band starts at 9 pm. Sunday nights are the best – it’s the night off for most hotel bar singers, who all congregate here to let their hair down and jam with local pros. บราวน์ ชูการ์ ถ. สารสิน DIPLOMAT BAR  Map 3 / K7 Conrad Bangkok 87 Witthayu Rd | BTS Ploen Chit 02-690-9999 | www.conradbangkok.com Sun-Thu 6 pm – 1 am, Fri & Sat 6 pm – 2 am An architecturally striking hotel bar, mixing a funky, stylish décor with soft teak sofas and an arresting chandelier hanging over the massive round bar. Bronze silks and wood dominate this dark, contemporary, but always relaxed place. A boozy, highprofile crowd fills the Diplomat Bar nightly, especially during the elongated, buyoneget-one-free Happy Hour from 4 – 7 pm (standard drinks only). Very hip among the diplomatic corps (Witthayu is stuffed with embassies), trendy guys in suits and glitzy society ladies – ideal for people-ogling. But the main attraction here is more aural than visual and exceptional jazz acts are de rigueur. รร.คอนราด ถ.วิทยุ THE LIVING ROOM  Map 4 / F6 Sheraton Grande | 250 Sukhumvit Rd BTS Asok, MRT Sukhumvit | 02-6498888 www.sheratongrandesukhumvit.com 10 am – 12:30 am Perhaps the cosiest of all Bangkok’s luxury hotel bars, the leather couches at The

Living Room are so snug it’ll be hard to get up again once you’re seated. It’s still a stylish place, and the usually middle-aged patrons live it up on great wines, champagne and strong cocktails in a quiet way. The highceilinged foyer offers perfect acoustics for the fabulous jazz band. Be prepared to be well-entertained. Worldclass talents are booked in continuously, guaranteeing top-notch jazz and always a warm audience rapport. Throughout Feb, The Living Room plays host to Alice Day alongside the Shawn Kelley Trio, performing every Tuesday through Thursday nights from 9 to 11:45 pm, plus Friday and Saturday nights from 9:30 pm to 12:15 am. You can also catch them during the Sheraton Grande’s legendary Sunday Jazzy Brunch. รร. เชอราตันแกรนด์ สุขุมวิท Niu ’s on Silom  Map 5 / E5 2nd F, 661 Silom Rd | 02-266-5333 www.niusonsilom.com | 5pm-1am This New York-style lounge – with its hot jazz, old leather armchairs and roses on candlelit tables – has a house band with some of Bangkok’s better local talent. They provide the backbone for various international acts who perform regularly. There’s also a jazz jam every Sunday and occasional concerts featuring overseas visitors. Niu’s is a class act, but still casual, comfortable for beers or brandy; and you can eat bar snacks or dine formally in the impressive Concerto Italian restaurant upstairs. Outside seating also available. นิวส์ ออน สีลม บ้านสีลม

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Nightlife

cigar lounges Cigar lounges are slowly catching on in Bangkok, with a small handful of venues now providing outstanding facilities for lovers of quality Coronas and fine Figurados. As well as cigars from Cuba, Ecuador and beyond, the lounges feature luxurious leather sofas, rich wood accents, discreet staff and selections of wine and single malt whisky. Some, like Club Perdomo, operate on a members-only basis, with membership granting access to their worldwide network of lounges. Others, like the Balcony Humidor & Cigar Bar at the InterContinental hotel, are open to guests and the general public. The members-only Pacific Cigar Company opened its first lounge, La Casa del Habano, at The Oriental hotel in 1997, and now operates another four venues in Bangkok, as well as one in Pattaya. One of PCC’s more interesting venues is the P&L Club which incorporates a traditional barber shop and ‘Thailand’s largest collection of single barrel malt whiskies.’ Balcony Humidor & Cigar Bar Map 3 / H4 Lobby level, InterContinental Bangkok 973 Ploenchit Rd | 02-656-0444 8 am – 1 am Club Perdomo Bangkok Map 4 / O7 3/1 Sukhumvit Soi 28 | 02-661-3220 www.clubperdomobangkok.com 6 pm – midnight La Casa del Habano Map 5 / B4 Mandarin Oriental | 48 Oriental Avenue 02-267-1596 | www.pacificcigar.com/eng/location Mon – Thu 10 am – 10 pm, Fri & Sat 10 am – 11 pm, Sun & public holidays noon – 6 pm | P&L Club Map 3 / L7 GF Conrad Bangkok, All Seasons Place 87 Wireless Rd | 02-685-3898 Mon – Thu 10 am – 10 pm, Fri – Sat 10 am – 11 pm, Sun noon – 6 pm 84 | F ebrua ry 2012

THE LONDONER Pub review

Descending the steps to this basement-based boozer leads to a store of surprises: what lurks behind the heavy art deco-style doors is a cavernous space punctuated by minimal lighting, nicotine-coloured walls and a wood and brass finish which lend the place a subterranean speakeasy feel. The huge freestanding bar dominates the entrance but the place seems to go on forever and fits in a large stage, bistro and even a brewery. Enjoy the extensive menu in your choice of cosy booth, bar stool or raised dining area. The highlight for ale lovers is the palatable London Pride bitter and London Pilsner 33, brewed onsite. Both are a refreshing change from the usual imported beers. The pub’s loyal following also come for the 15 screens showing big games. With two pool tables, darts, bi-monthly quizzes, 2 for 1 drinks on Wednesdays, nightly happy hours, Sunday buffet and the resident house band, it’s no surprise that the Londoner pulls in scores of punters night in, nights out. Aside from being a little pricey, the only downsides are the waitresses’ tacky beefeater outfits, but they do look better as the night wears on! อาคารยูบีซี 2 สุขุมวิท ซ.33   getting there

The londoner  map 4/ L 6  B1 F, UBC II Bldg | Sukhumvit Soi 33 | BTS Phrom Phong 02-261-0238-9 | www.the-londoner.com | 11 am – 1 pm bangkok101.com


N ightlife | C igar L o u nges &  P u bs

pubs 101

HANRAHANS  Map 4 / C7 Sukhumvit Soi 4 l BTS Nana 02-255-0644-5 | 9 am – 1am

PUB Crawl

JAMESON’S  Map 5 / D5 Gr. F Holiday Inn Silom 981 Silom Rd | BTS Surasak 02-266-7703-5 | 10 am – 1 am MOLLY MALONE’S  Map 5 / J5 1/5-6 Soi Convent, Silom BTS Sala Daeng | 02-266-7160 9 am – 1 am O’REILLYS  Map 5 /K5 62/1-4 Silom Rd BTS Sala Daeng, MRT Silom 02-632-7515 | 9 am – 2 am The BARBICAN  Map 5 / K4 9/4-5 Soi Thaniya, Silom Rd BTS Sala Daeng, MRT Silom 02-234-3590 | 11:30 am – 1 am THE BLACK SWAN  Map 4 / G6 326/8-9 Sukhumvit Rd BTS Asok, MRT Sukhumvit 02-229-4542 | 8 am – midnight The Royal Oak  Map 4 / L6 Sukhumvit Soi 33/1 BTS Phrom Phong | 02-259-4444 11:30 am – 1 am BULLY’S  Map 4 / B7 Sukhumvit Rd, btw. Soi 2 / 4 BTS Nana | 02-656-4609 | 11 am – 1am THE DUBLINER  Map 4 / K7 440 Sukhumvit Rd, btw. Soi 22 / 24 BTS Phrom Phong | 02-204-1841/2 9 am – 1 am THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON Map 5 / J5

United Center Blg. | 323 Silom Rd, btw. Soi Convent / 3 | BTS Sala Daeng 02-234-2874 | 10 am – 1 am THE LONDONER  Map 4 / L6 Basement, UBC II Bldg. Sukhumvit Soi 33 | BTS Phrom Phong 02-261-0238/9 | 11 am – 1am THE PICKLED LIVER  Map 4 / C5 Sukhumvit Soi 7/1 | BTS Nana 02-254-3484 | 2 pm – 3 am THE ROBIN HOOD  Map 4 / L6 PB Bldg. | Sukhumvit Soi 33/1 BTS Phrom Phong | 02-662-3390 10 pm – midnight bangkok101.com

SILOM AREA

Hidden among the salacious delights of Silom Road, you will still find some of the “grand old men” of libation locales. O’Reilly’s  [ Map 5 / K5 ]  is a slightly dingy affair whose décor matches its demeanour – grizzled, but down-toearth. Even so, it’s popular due to nightly drinks specials, live music, and an outdoor seating area to view the exotic sights of Silom. Just down the street is The Barbican [ Map 5 / K5]  a multi-level contemporary concoction of granite and steel where the mixed crowds of expats and locals enjoy superior food and a wide choice of imported beers. With Kilkenny and Guinness on tap, Molly Malone’s [Map 5 / J5] offers a real taste of Ireland. Drop in during their extended happy hour (5 pm – 9 pm) for live music and multiple big screens for sport. Friendly staff and excellent food (especially their Sunday roast) means this place is always busy. Opposite the infamous Patpong stands The Duke of Wellington [Map 5 / J5] . Its open plan layout makes it a bit sterile, but it does have good beer including John Smith’s, Beer Lao and Guinness, a daily happy hour from 4 pm – 9 pm and uninterrupted views of the four screens for sport. Jameson’s  [Map 5 / D5] sat under the Holiday Inn in the heart of the gem district is the newest kid on the block. It’s a cavernous place but sill packs in the punters thanks to fantastic happy hour, including ladies’ night on Tuesday featuring Margaritas for a ridiculously cheap B 29 a glass.

SUKHUMVIT AREA

Sukhumvit Road, a haven for expats, is jammed with joints catering to ale aficionados. Beside BTS Phrom Phong station, The Robin Hood  [Map 4 / L6] offers daily happy hour and drinks specials, including draught Kilkenny and Guinness, as well as live music and sports. Even so, it can sometimes seem a little sedate. Down a nearby alley is The Royal Oak  [Map 4 / L6], whose oak-panelled walls and low ceilings give off a cosy feel. The Londoner  [Map 4 / L6] is a vast subterranean hideaway that brews its own real ale and lager, has good food and a regular house band. Opposite is the ever-popular Dubliner  [Map 4 / K7], a three-storey edifice. Though slightly pricy, the superb food (try the sausages), live music and Guinness pull in the punters. Up the road in the shadow of Asok BTS, is The Black Swan  [Map 4 / G6], a proper British booze abode. No bands. No happy hours. Just snug escape offering a warm atmosphere and a wise-cracking landlord. Tucked down a pedestrian sub-street of Soi 11 lined with international restaurants is The Pickled Liver  [Map 4 / C5]. A shrine to soccer and suds, the décor is unfussy with a focus on big screen sports. But with friendly staff and daily happy hour it’s not just the sport that makes it worth a visit. Finally, Hanrahans [Map 4 / C7] offers a genuine reason to be seen in Nana. Light and airy it ticks all the right boxes with regular music, special drinks deals and daily happy hour. F ebrua ry 2012 | 85


Before 20 th Century by Q Design and Play


SHOP ’TIL YOU DROP. NEW COLLECTION: ‘Before 20th Century’ by Q Design and Play

For its latest offering, young Thai urbanwear label Q Design and Play have again looked to the past for inspiration. While their last collection, Give Peace a Chance, revisited the seventies, namely how peaceniks campaigning against the Vietnam War dressed, their latest, Before 20 th Century, is influenced by the work of late Italian surrealist Piero Fornasetti. Not everyone is going to be able to pull off this hipster schoolboy look rooted in European nostalgia, but those that can are going to look sharp (and elicit coos of approval from mother). The tees continue the label’s ongoing fascination with graphic images, while the slim cut shirts, pullovers and trousers will work well as part of a preppy ensemble. Nearly everything comes in muted shades of cream, grey, brown and khaki.

The high streets are full of loud colours and shouty slogans, but with this collection the label’s young blood, Praphat Somboonsitti and Ekkapoom Treechairusmee, have succeeded in creating clothes that are bold and unique without being in your face. Accessories available include Fornasetti-esque brooches, stylish rucksacks and classic leather shoes.   available at:

LIDO  Siam Square Soi 2 | 02 252 4089  MOB. F 4th F, Siam Centre, Rama 1 Rd | 02-658-1115 CentralPlaza Chaengwattana

Chaenwatthana Rd | Pak Kret, Nonthaburi | 02-101-0000 ZEN  5th F, CentralWorld


SHOPPING

Unique boutique

design alchemist: Alexander Lamont With their unusual forms and intriguing finishes, the furniture and household objects by Bangkok-based British designer Alexander Lamont just cry out to be touched. Be it lamp, cabinet or table, his pieces have more in common with antiques than most modern furniture in that each one has its own individual texture and character – albeit one that’s acquired over months, not centuries. “If you look at a beautiful antique it’s built up this patina over time. I try to give my work a feeling of that process,” he explains while showing us around his showroom at The Sukhothai Hotel. It’s an unusual approach that could hardly be more at odds with the factory-line precision of most modern furniture – but makes perfect sense given his background. Lamont grew up handling folk art and antiques that had been imported from across Asia to his father’s shop in Somerset, an idiosyncratic education that gave him an appreciation, he says, for the tactile qualities and soulfulness of handmade things.

Sometimes they coat it with natural lacquer, at other times gild it to give a metallic shimmer. Other materials used include parchment (goat skin), straw marquetry, rock crystal, gold leaf and bronze. His work isn’t overtly Asian looking, but it does draw from the local vernacular at times. “Sculptural, organic and art deco ideas, as well as Asian motifs are our main influences," says Lamont. The stout bronze base of one of his gorgeous lamps, for example, mimics the prickly exterior of the jackfruit; a metalwork coffeetable the lily pond; and a round mirror based on a bracelet’s interlocking pieces. As you’d expect of such meticulously designed, wrought and finished, Lamont’s pieces aren’t cheap. A stunning cabinet that caught our eye will set you back in excess of B400,000, for example. For his high-end clients, though, they’re entirely worth it, as aside from their unique character born of alchemy and happenstance his creations have one more thing in common with folk art and antiques: they’re collectible.

Today, that education informs all the work he does at his design studio and workshop, which is based near the city's Jatujak Weekend Market and employs a staff of 175. The designs are all his own, starting off as sketches that he plasters on the walls, but a team of around 120 artisans skilled in everything from parchment inlay to straw marquetry, bronze finishing, lacquering, "an antique mural painting and gilding bring them to life. acquires it's

patina over time.

In its eleven years in the business, the com- I try to give my pany has evolved steadily. In the past his work a feeling designs were solely of accessories but they’re of that process." now moving into furniture too. Also, these days they manufacture most of their materials in-house, something Lamont says they started to do reluctantly but that has now proved to be an asset to the company, as “it gives us total flexibility to experiment,” he says. One of the more unusual materials they produce is shagreen, or stingray skin. In the past, he explains, the Japanese used it to decorate swords and armour and the French to coat scientific instruments, but at his workshop they use the coarse skin – which resembles pure enamel – to lend surfaces a charismatic beaded effect.

88 | F ebrua ry 2012

bangkok101.com


S H O P P I N G | u niq u e bo u tiq u e

  available at:

The Sukhothai Bangkok 13/3 Sathorn Rd |02-287-3058 The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok Author’s Wing, 48 Oriental Avenue | 02-630-5931 Four Seasons Bangkok 155 Rajadamri Rd | 02-650-2668 Gaysorn Plaza Shops 23 & 8, 3rd Fl | Ploenchit Rd| 02-656-1392 www.alexanderlamont.com bangkok101.com

F ebrua ry 2012 | 89


SHOPPING

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.

Taking 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 they desire. ตลาดนัดจตุจักร 90 | F ebrua ry 2012

  The Jatujak market of Bangkok Amber House Books | hardcover B1,950 The Jatujak Market of Bangkok presents photographer Simon Bonython’s visual interpre­tation of Bangkok’s world famous week­end market, giving particular emphasis on candid snaps of the general public and the characters who work there. In spite of the dark alleys and typically poorly lit stalls, Simon avoided using a tripod or flash, making for spontaneous, natural shots that capture the heat, buzz and colour of this labyrinthine treasure trove. bangkok101.com


S H O P P I N G | J J gem of the month

KARMAKAMET JJ Gem of the month by Max Crosbie-Jones

The Victorian Frontier town pharmacy look of essential oil company Karmakamet, with its dark wood shelves and art deco lamps dangling overhead, provides an elegant atmosphere in which to sniff their nostalgically packaged smellies. Scented glass-candles, perfume diffusers and herb sachets with drawstring cloth pouches are among the best-sellers for the home; while bodily pampering includes massage oils, shower gels and soaps bars like ‘The Embrace’, a luscious orange blossom and mint blend. Helpful staff are on hand to advise if you’re having trouble selecting an aromatherapy oil to go with your new oil burner (our favourite: ‘Moonlight’, a romantic blend of Indian jasmine, Sumatran ylang ylang, rose geranium, English lavender and cedarwood). They have not one but two stores at JJ. The one by the MRT station is by far the biggest and has a teashop and adorable little seating area out front.   getting there

Store 1: Section 2, Soi 3 | 02-618-7047 Store 2: Beside MRT Kampangpetch Station Exit no. 2 | 02-272-5281 www.karmakamet.co.th

Soi

Antiques and Collectibles  1, 26 Art and Gallery  7 Books  1, 27 Ceramics  11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 25 Clothing, Accessories  2 – 6, 10 – 26 Handicrafts  8 – 11 Food and Beverage  2 – 4, 23 – 27 Furniture,  Decorations  1, 3, 4, 7, 8 Misc  2 – 6, 22, 25, 26 Pets and Accessories  8, 9, 11, 13 Plants and Tools  3, 4

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Chatuchak

F ebrua ry 2012 | 91


SHOPPING

Floating markets Floating markets offer an idyllic taste of the Bangkok of the days of yore. The experience depends largely on which market you choose.

Markets & SIDEWALKS While the fancy designer, air-conditioned malls of Siam grab much of the attention, when it comes to shopping in Bangkok, there’s no better way to discover the local retail experience than by heading to one of the city’s many interesting markets or sidewalks.

Khao San Road  map 7 / F 5-G6 Banglamphu Every evening (except Monday) baby-faced entrepreneurs splay out their funky wares all along the legendary budget traveler strip. ถ.ข้าวสาร PAK KHLONG TALAD (Flower Market)  map 7 / E 14 Chakphet Rd | Phra Nakorn A round-the-clock hive of floral activity bristling with blooms carted in from around the country. ปากคลองตลาด KHLONG THOM map 6 / C, D 2 Long before there was Ratchada or Talad Rot Fai, there was Khlong Thom: the original Saturday night flea market. ตลาดคลองถม NAKHORN KASEM map 6 / D, E 3 Known locally as the “thieves market”, this smallish street-side market in Chinatown offers a curious blend of second-hand goods, the odd antique, and a random assortment of household appliances. นครเกษม Pratunam  map 3 / F 1 Phetchaburi Rd, Ratchathewi BTS Ratchathewi A short walk from CentralWorld, this teeming sidewalk is famed for its cheap bulk clothing deals on textiles, jeans and more. ประตูน้ำ� 92 | F ebrua ry 2012

Ratchada Night Market  map 8 / Q2 parallel with Ratchadapisek-Ladprao intersection | MRT Ratchadapisek or Ladphrao | Fri & Sat Nights (busiest on Saturday) Vendors at this teen-thronged Saturday flea market flog retro and secondhand stuff, from art deco lamps and ghetto blasters to vintage. Flashlight essential. ตลาดนัดกลางคืนถนนรัชดา

DAMNOEN SADUAK map 1  / D6 getting there by bus: to Damnoen Saduak from the Southern Bus Terminal every 40 minutes from 6 am 02-435-5031 or 434-5558 Considered “the” floating market for visitors, this bustling stretch of waterway 100km southwest of the capital is two hours by car or bus, plus a 15-30 minute boat ride. Arrive before the horde of tourists descend upon the market at 9am – it closes up midday. For a less-crowded option, head south to Talat Khun Phitak via water taxi from the pier on the east side of Khlong Thong Lang. ตลาดน้ำ�ดำ�เนินสะดวก

Sukhumvi t Road  map 4 / D – g 6 Sukhumvit Rd (start around Sukhumvit Soi 4, Nana) | BTS Nana / MRT Sukhumvit The touristy trinkets and pirate DVDs start around Soi 4 near BTS Nana station, on both sides of the major thoroughfare, and stretch nearly to Soi 19.

TALING CHAN OFF MAP getting there by bus: take bus # 79 or # 83 to Taling Chan district 02-424-5448 or 02-424-1712 For a kinder, gentler introduction to the world of floating markets, Taling Chan is a destination often overlooked on most tourist itineraries. Built by former Bangkok governor Chamlong Srimuang in 1987 to honour HM the King’s 60 th birthday, Taling Chan also offers live performances of traditional Thai music from 11am-2pm, and is lined with boats preparing and serving authentic Thai delicacies. The market only opens on weekends from 9am-4pm, so make sure to plan accordingly.

ถ.สุขุมวิท

ตลาดน้ำ�ตลิ่งชัน

TALAT ROT FAI (THE TRAIN MARKET)  map 8 / L 3 Kamphaeng Phet Rd MRT Kamphaeng Phet Sat & Sun 6 pm – midnight Antique lovers and retro-mad hipsters flock to this plot of State Railway department land to bargain for collectibles, reproductions and vintage fashion. Even if you're out to shop, it's a great place to hang out.

AMPHAWA map 1  / D6 ลาดน้ำ�ตลิ่งชัน getting there by car: drive one hour south from Bangkok to Samut Songkhram. The market is nearby Wat Amphawan Jatiyaram. Night owls can have a slice of floating market action too. This one – only open Friday to Sunday – sets up at 4pm, allowing the luxury of a lie-in. This little-known treasure is not often on the itineraries of the tourists who flock to more famous markets. The old wooden houses that line its sides are treasure troves of cute Thai knickknacks, t-shirts and crafts. Make sure to take a boat down the canal after dusk, when the lights from the riverhouses gleam and the fireflies come out to play, especially during the rainy season.

Silom Road / Patpong  map 5  / J,K5 Silom Rd | BTS Sala Daeng / MRT Silom Silom Road gets going between 6 pm and 2 am, when stalls catering to tourists set up here and along the notorious strip of sleazy gogo bars known as Patpong. สีลม/พัฒน์พงษ์

ตลาดรถไฟ THEWET  map 8 / D 8 Samsen Rd | Phra Nakorn Not far north from the flower market is the riverside plant market. The street is lined with small shops selling a wide selection of tropical potted flora. เทเวศน์

ตลาดน้ำ�อัมพวา bangkok101.com


S H O P P I N G | M arkets

Market Focus

SAPHAN PHUT 

BY Krittana Khurana

While the Memorial Bridge (aka Saphan Phut) Night Market isn’t much more than throngs of tented stores and make-shift tables selling cheap goods, the regal backdrop is incomparable. Built in 1932 during the reign of King Rama VII (and dedicated to his predecessor King Rama I), the brightly-lit Memorial Bridge soars majestically over the Chao Phraya River, as a motley crew of barges, hotel boats, longtails, and cruise ships pass underneath. In the evening, the scene becomes more ethereal, as the bridge is bathed in a halo of light, while Wat Po and the Temple of Dawn glow in the near distance.

  getting there Map7 / G15 MRT to Hua Lumphong then taxi to Memorial Bridge / Tha Saphan Phut or BTS to Saphan Taksin / Silom Pier and take Chao Phraya Express Boat to Saphan Phut / Memorial Bridge stop (N6).

Take your time before heading to this night market, as it’s not until after dinner (usually eaten around 6pm) that the market gets busy. If you’re up for a culinary adventure, take a taxi down to Chinatown first before making your way over to the Memorial Bridge Night Market. The famed Yaowarat Road boasts an array of excellent Chinesestyle street food and restaurants. Starting underneath the Memorial Bridge and then stretching further north along the east bank of the Chao Phraya River, by 7.30pm the streets are filled with shirtless men setting up make-shift shops from which to display their merchandise, though it’s not until 8:30pm that the market fills up with pedestrians and vehicles. As if navigating the mazes of stalls and traffic isn’t dizzying enough, the bizarre variety of things for sale – from counterfeit kicks to CDs to pet rabbits – is bewildering, with street artists even on hand to draw your caricature. If it all gets too much, take time out from shopping and go for a stroll over the bridge itself, sit down for a late-night snack; or head over to the next door Pak Khlong Talat – the famous Flower Market. Ehile you may have already visited this historic part of town during the blistering heat of day, it’s now time to see it in a completely new light. ตลาดนัดสะพานพุทธ bangkok101.com

F ebrua ry 2012 | 93


W ELL N E S S

Pranali

Massage & Spa Bangkok probably offers more places to indulge in massage than any other city on earth. In each issue we help you find the best rub-down for your baht, there’s no need to break the bank in order to get a good treatment.

BA-YA HEALTH AND SPA  OFF MAP

23 Sukhumvit Soi 87 | BTS On Nut 02-311-4772 | www.bayaspa.com 10:30 am-9pm | $$$ Lying a bit beyond the usual tourist track, Ba-Ya spa is popular with native Thais and Asian tourists, who like the affordable prices and down-to-earth spa menu. The spa is set in a cute house, giving it a cozy, comfortable feel. Spa offerings are well-priced and avoid gimmicks, and are focused more on massages and other kinds of bodywork rather than high-frill aesthetic services. Massages are fairly standard – therapists follow the usual circuit quite well, but don't seek out and destroy problem areas the way a true tailor-made rubdown might encourage. Service is also a bit on the sweet but informal side – the front may not have change, but they'll run and get it for you. A potential choice for those staying on the outskirts of the city, perhaps, or those wanting a spa experience at a more affordable price. Those seeking intensive, individualized work or luxe touches may want to explore elsewhere. บาหยาเฮลท์แอนด์สปา สุขุมวิท ซ.87 PRANALI WELLNESS SPA  MAP3 / D4  3rd F, Unit 334, Siam Paragon | BTS Siam 02-610-9596 | www.pranaliwellness.com 10 am – 9 pm | $$$$ The lonely walk, to the pin-drop quiet end of Siam Paragon mall’s third floor, is worth it. Award-winning Pranali delivers ancient techniques in what resembles a shiny Zen 94 | F ebrua ry 2012

Pranali

spaceship (albeit one that’s landed next to a Martha Stewart furniture store). Past the storefront selling Pranali’s luscious takehome ointments, milkyglass corridors lead to seven private treatment rooms, each named after one of the seven chakras (Visuddha, Anahata etc). Beside your massage bed, tassels of fibre-optic lighting or artinstallation like bamboo arrangements – not to mention mystical muzak – lend a serene, futuristic quality. Many, eager to get back to the shops no doubt, opt for a warp speed foot rub or facial; but Pranali’s well worth a linger. The accurately titled Marvelous Herbal Compress is but one of the menu’s detoxifying many. What’s more the masseuses, in their spick white Buck Rogers-esque uniforms, are models of spa professionalism: smiley, strong and communicative from start to invigorating finish. สยามพารากอน ถ.พระราม 1 TRIA INTEGRATIVE WELLNESS  MAP 8 / R12 998 Rimklongsamsen Rd Bangkapi district | 02-660-2600 www.triaintegrativewellness.com 7 am – 10 pm (Sat until 9 pm, Sun until 8:30 pm) | $$$ This top-notch spa connected to Piyavate Hospital offers a full-on “integrative” approach – a team of specialists from physicians to personal trainers, to bodywork therapists – restaurants offering healthy spa facilities and treatments, and even enough function space for groups of 200. Bangkok has a few “medical spas” offering such approaches to Western-medicine and traditional therapies, but Tria is truly one of the best. Opt for extensive programs devoted to anti-aging, pre-natal care, holistic detoxification, or even simpler aesthetic treatments, and you’ll get access to a gorgeous spa pool, an infrared sauna, a steam room, and Swiss and Vichy showers. Treatments range from massage to Ayurvedic treatments and Chinese Chi Nei Tsang therapy sessions. Our simple scrub and wrap was a delight – attentive,

tria

fully relaxing , and leaving us with glowing results – but we’d recommend springing for some of the more unusual and difficult-to find treatments, and leave yourself enough time to take advantage of the firstrate facilities. ศูนย์สุขภาพตรัยยา หลัง รพ.ปิยะเวท RUEN NUAD map5 /i6 42 Convent Rd | BTS Saladaeng | 02-632 2663 | 10am-9pm | $ Set off Convent Road, a century-old house shelters a boutique spa that gives you oodles of atmosphere and world-class massages for prices you’d pay in the dingiest Silom parlours. There’s no menu to speak of. Just choose between the length of a traditional Thai, aromatherapy of foot reflexology massage – that’s it. Once upstairs, you’ll pause to settle into peaceful surroundings. A labyrinth of semi-private rooms have been installed into the highceilinged second floor (inspired interior ideas from the serene décor). Two VIP rooms are breathtaking. The Glass Room has a private outdoor shower amid a tiny tropical garden; the Room with the Downstairs Shower is self-explanatory. The therapists here enjoy a good reputation for their knowledge and friendliness – a standard massage can turn into a medical Q&A. The studio next door offers excellent facials. Few come here just once. This is one place you’ll still be thinking about on your way to the airport. เรือนนวด ซ.คอนแวนต์

  spa costs

$ under B600 $$ B600 – B1,000 $$$ B1,000-2,000 $$$$ B2,000+   payment

All credit cards accepted unless otherwise noted bangkok101.com


W E L L N E S S | classes

RUEN NUAD

Massage schools WAT PO THAI TRADITIONAL MEDICAL SCHOOL  map 7 / D 12 2 Sanamchai Rd | 02-622-3551, 02- 622-3533 www.watpomassage.com | 8 am – 5 pm B 8,500 / 30 hrs Any good traditional Thai masseuse will have undergone their training here. Constructed in a concealed building away from the tourist-infested Wat Po temple grounds, the instruction area is more functional than stylish, but the efficient course

run by competent instructors more than makes up for the missing luxury. Your costudents will mainly be Thai and Japanese, along with the odd Westerner. The 30 -hour course can be completed in five, six or ten days; a foot reflexology course, among others, is available too. You can also get Bangkok’s best Thai massage in fan-cooled, open-sided salas for just B 360 / hour.

(two-day reiki course) to B 59,000 (spa development course).

โรงเรียนแพทย์แผนโบราณ วัดพระเชตุพน ถ.สนามชัย

INTERNATIONAL BUDDHIST MEDITATION CENTRE  map 7 / C8 Wat Mahathat | Na Phra Lan Rd 02-222-6011 | www.mcu.ac.th/IBMC | free (donations welcome) This is the most traditional, non-commercial meditation class, based on Vipassana (‘insight’) mindfulness. Close to Sanam Luang, the atmospheric temple complex is the teaching centre of Mahachulalongkorn Buddhist University, one of Thailand’s highest seats of Buddhist learning. Daily classes conducted in English (1 – 4  pm, 6 – 8 pm, 7 – 10  pm) are mixed; you’ll find monks, locals and tourists here. Participants can stay on the compound in simple, quiet rooms; complimentary meals are provided. Bring offerings of flowers, a candle and nine incense sticks for the opening ceremony. Donations are accepted. Retreats of three or more days are available as well.

CHIVA-SOM INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY  map 4 / U5 Modern Town Building | 87/104 Ekamai Rd, Sukhumvit Soi 63 | BTS Ekkamai 02-711-5270 | www.chivasomacademy. com from B 9,000 Asia’s premier training centre for spa and holistic therapies offers intensive courses covering all aspects of spa-ing, from anatomy and Thai massage to stress management. Held in peaceful surroundings and conducted by skilled international instructors, half the time is spent on theory and practice, the other half is filled with case studies. The academy takes its instruction seriously; all students receive internationally accepted accreditation on completion of courses. Prices range from B 9,000

ชีวาศรม อินเตอร์เนชันแนล อะคาเดมี โมเดิร์นทาวน์ 87/104 ถ.สุขุมวิท 63

MEDITATION CLASSES

สำ�นักกองกลางวิปัสนา วัดมหาธาตุ

MAKE A SPA AT YOUR HOME b o d h i c o s m e t i c s . c o m

100% natural Body Scrubs, Pure Essential Oils, Body Lotions, Natural Soap etc. Bodhi shop at G Floor in Big C Rajdamri, Bangkok.

bangkok101.com

F ebrua ry 2012 | 95


M Y B a N G KO K

MY Bangkok by Thaitanium

Thailand’s most famous hip hoppers, Thaitanium, celebrated their 10 th anniversary at the end of 2011 with their ‘ThaiTay Ten Concert’, during which they treated their fans to a live performance of a decade’s worth of rasping rhymes and beats. Currently, the smooth-tongued rappers can be seen plastered all over the city’s BTS trains in the eye-catching Honda Scoopy I scooter advertisements, but more importantly their latest music video ‘Come Alive’, produced by Aaron Man Films, is changing the face of Thailand’s music industry, elevating it to international standards for the first time. Fans and followers of the trio can also look forward to seeing the first-ever Thaitanium documentary, which is set to be released early this year.  

Best place for a drink Shades of Retro down the street from our studio is a retro kind of place filled with second hand stuff. You can buy all the furniture and things in the restaurant such as the sofa or table you are sitting at. The people who go there are mostly creative people, rather than the type of people who go there to see people or be seen. On the flip side, Hyde & Seek is another favorite and we go there because there’s a lot of beautiful people there and the cocktails are superb.

Best place to impress a date Face Bar in Soi 38 – it’s quiet and the place itself is really nice with a fusion of Thai-Balinese style. There’s a pond outside filled with huge fish. When you’re there it feels like you’re not in Thailand, but Bali.

Best place to eat We have different favorites. Sometimes they change by the week. Right now we’ve been stuck on this shabu place called Shabu Mama Do.

Best place for hip-hop Bed Supperclub on Tuesdays with DJ Buddha.

Best place to take visitors Thong Lor. You can start from Shades of Retro, move over to Iron Fairies, and end up at Demo, RCA or Bed Supperclub. There’s a bunch of rooftop venues like Sirroco and Vertigo. A more private place that people may not know about is Eugenia.

Best place for a real Bangkok experience Khao San Road and the Grand Palace are good for sightseeing and also for authentic Thai food.

The Shortlist Shades of Retro Tararom Soi 2, Thong Lor | 081-824-8011 Shabu Mama Do 60 Narathivart Soi 8, Sathorn | 02-676-4741-3

Club 21 Siam Paragon, CentralWorld, Central Chidlom, Best place to shop They don’t really have our size in Thailand so we don’t re- Erawan Bangkok, Emporium 02-652-0740 | www.facebook.com/club21thailand ally shop much here but maybe Club 21. Face Bar Best place to relax 29 Sukhumvit Soi 38 | 02-713-6048 |www.facebars.com The beach. We like to go to Samui, Krabi, and Phuket. The Sri Panwa resort in Phuket is nice because it’s really pri- Bed Supperclub vate. You have everything you need there so you don’t 26 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 02-651-3537 want to go anywhere else. www.bedsupperclub.com 96 | F ebrua ry 2012

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SKYTRAIN (BTS) The Bangkok Transit System, or BTS , is a two-line elevated train network covering the major commercial areas. Trains run every few minutes from 6 am to midnight, making the BTS a quick and reliable transport option, especially during heavy traffic jams. Fares range from B15 to B 40 ; special tourist passes allowing unlimited travel for one day ( B120 ) are available. BTS also provides free shuttle buses, which transit passengers to and from stations and nearby areas. www.bts.co.th

there

RAIL

onboard, from the ticket attendants who shuffle nonchalantly along the sides of the boat. Note that the piers are a little hidden away, which makes them sometimes difficult to find (see our fold-out city map).

EXPRESS RIVER BOAT Bangkok’s 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 B 9 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 SUBWAY (MRT) 5:30 am and 6 pm. Cross-river services operBangkok’s Mass Rapid Transit ( MRT ) is ate throughout the day from various pier for another fast and reliable way to get across just B3. For more about routes, fares and town. The 18 -station line stretches 20 kms timetables see www.chaophrayaboat.co.th. from Hualamphong (near the central railway station) up to Bang Sue in the north. Subways run from 6 am to midnight daily, with trains arriving every 5 – 7 minutes. The underground ROAD connects with the BTS at MRT Silom / BTS Sala Daeng, MRT Sukhumvit / BTS Asok and BUS MRT Chatuchak Park / BTS Mo Chit stations. Bangkok has an extensive and inexpensive Subway fares range from about B15 to B 39. public bus service. Both open-air and air-conwww.bangkokmetro.co.th ditioned vehicles are available, respectively for B 5 and B 7.50 – B 23. As most destinations are noted only in Thai, it is advisable to get a Airport Rail Link A 28 km long monorail links the city’s main bus route map (available at hotels, TAT offices international airport, Suvarnabhumi, with and bookshops).

RIVER CANAL BOAT Khlong Saen Saep canal boats operate from the Old City's Phan Fah Leelard bridge and travel east across the city 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 bangkok101.com

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, motorbike taxi drivers gather in groups. As with tuk-tuks, fares should be negotiated beforehand.

TAXI Bangkok has thousands of metered, air-con taxis available 24 hours. Flag fall is B 35 (for the first 2 kms) and the fare climbs in B 2 increments. Be sure the driver switches the meter on. No tipping, but rounding the fare up to the nearest B 5 or B10 is common. Additional passengers are not charged, nor is baggage. For trips to and from the airport, passengers must pay the expressway toll fees. When boarding from the queue outside the terminal, an additional B 50 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 B 40, but always bargain before boarding. Beware: if a tuk-tuk driver offers to deliver you anywhere for B10, it’s part of a setup that will lead you to an overpriced souvenir or jewelry shop.

getting

three stops in downtown Bangktok and four stops in the eastern suburbs. Trains run from 6 am 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 station Makkasan only and costs B150 (journey time: 15 minutes). As part of a drive to increase passenger numbers, express trains also whiz between the airport and the last stop, Phayathai, the only one that intersects with the Skytrain, at half hour intervals (journey time: 18 minutes). The price is B 90 one-way, B150 for the roundtrip. Is the rail link worth using? That depends on where you’re coming from or heading to. Even if you’re staying centrally, you’ll find that an extra journey by taxi, tuk-tuk, skytrain or foot, and with luggage in tow, is probably necessary. http://airportraillink.railway.co.th

F ebrua ry 2012 | 97


REFERENCE

Map 1 –Greater Bangkok A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

J

K

L

M 

MYANMAR

Muang Uthai Thani

1

Chiang Mai

UTHAI THANI

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b 

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BTS Sukhumvit Line MRT Subway Line Railway

98 | F ebrua ry 2012

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f


refere n ce | B a n gk o k cit y M ap 1  /  3

Siam / Chit Lom area – Map 3 A

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1

  BACC – Bangkok Art and Culture Centre 2   Madame Tussaud's 3   Tonson Gallery

bangkok101.com

BR

g

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16  

F ebrua ry 2012 | 99


REFERENCE

Map 4 – Sukhumvit Road

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10 0 | F ebrua ry 2012

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bangkok101.com


refere n ce | B a n gk o k cit y M ap 4

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bangkok101.com

Nightlife 1

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F ebrua ry 2012 | 101

9


REFERENCE

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River Ferry River Cross Ferry BTS Silom Line Subway Line Market

a  Threesixty

  The Peninsula d   Sky Bar   Millenium Hilton 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  Sofitel b   La Casa Del Habano 9   Le Meridien c   Bamboo Bar 10 Crown Plaza e  Jameson's f  Niu's on Silom Bangkok Lumpini 11   Banyan Tree g   Barley Bistro 12   Dusit Thani h   The Duke of 13   The Sukhothai Wellington 14 All Seasons Sathorn j   Eat Me 15 Holiday Inn k  Tapas l   Molly Malone's m   The Barbican n  O'Reilly's 2

200 m

bars with views

Arts & Culture

13

Suan

Phlu 6

DE

Soi Nantha

Phlu 8

AT

Embassies

  Serindia Gallery  Number 1 Gallery 3  Tang Contemporary Art 4   Thavibu Gallery 5   Gossip Gallery 6   H Gallery 7   Bangkokian Museum 8   Alliance Francaise

 AT  Austria

2

 AU  Australia

Shopping

 MM  Myanmar

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

 BE  Belgium  BT  Bhutan  CA  Canada  DE  Germany  DK  Denmark  GR  Greece  FR  France  MY  Malaysia  MX  Mexico  PT  Portugal  SG  Singapore  TW  Taiwan

Sightseeing a  b 

102 | F ebrua ry 2012

V

DK

Suan

1

1

aI

Sathorn Nuea Sathorn Tai

MX GR

Immigration Office

N

m

Sala Daeng 1

Soi 6

Soi 8

anagarindra

Soi 9

Soi 13

or n S oi 1 1

Soi 11 Yaek 3

BT

Sala Daeng l

Chong Nonsi

TW

Thaniya

Soi 4

Patpong 1 Patpong 2

4 Soi 1

Soi 3

Soi 10 Soi 7

Soi 9

h

5 o 10

m n

k

Chulalongkorn Hospital

Sala Daeng

Trok Klue

nr y

Sap

Naret

Decho

Soi 14

Soi 1 8 Soi 16

6 Soi 2

Soi 13

M 

Soi 1

t are akh aN Phr Soi

Soi 11

g

a

Surawong

Suan Phlu – Sathron Soi 3

2

8

9

Naradhiwas Raj

1

Rat

Rat

en

roen

Ch

aro

King Mongkut’s University of Technology

u i se – S a t h

Charo Ch

Sathorn Nuea Sathorn Tai Surasak

L

Sam Yan

int Lo

rn tho Sa 63

chit

Soi Phiphat 2

Soi 15

So

en Ra

t

i2

1

g un Kr n ar oe

46

oi

44

an

5

Chulalongkorn University

BE

MM

So i 51 i5 3

gS

f

So

an

Ch

8

suri

3

K

V

So i S a

2

i5

So i5 7 S So oi 59 i Ch 61 aro en Kr un

Ch

7

So

Suras

ak

i5 1 0

Saphan Taksin i5

Iam

aI

Soi Santiphap

ot

Soi 13

i 4 46

e 15 2 3 4 5 6

m

Pan

4

SathornSo

6

i4

So

e

7 d

2

So

idg

chai

Silom

i4

Br

So

Kam

Pramuan

3

Soi Nom

Surawong

So

in

6

Oriental

Taksin

Tak s

1

Soi 3

Soi 38 Soi 40

Soi 1

Dumax

FR

9

N

Rak–

2 n d Sta

4

Soi Puttha Os

k

Bang

b 5 c

4

0

Soi 3

J

Phloi

7

Soi 3

2

Wat Muang Khae 1 1Wat Suwan

Ma

en Kr Post

Maha Se

N

Trok Ph et

Soi 32

sway

3

5

Ra

Soi 14

PT

pres

Cha

Si Phraya

H

Hua Lamphong

Si Phraya

Soi 39

Soi 30

Soi 2 2 Soi P/2 – Prach radit um

3

ha

ung

Na N

6

Charo

Nak

2a Khlong San

te E x

hon

2

roen

2

G

kho

n

Soi S

awang

Soi 5

D

Marine Dept.

Lat Ya

1

4

as Naradhiwind Rajanagar ra

C N

Soi 12

B

Soi Wanit 2

A

ai

Map 5 – Silom / Sathorn Area

Snake Farm M.R. Kukrit’s House

bangkok101.com


refere n ce | B a n gk o k cit y M ap 5  /  6

Yaowarat / Pahurat area (Chinatown & Little India) – Map 6 A

B

C Ba n D ok

h1u li n

E

F

G

H

Ma

M ai

J

itri

Ch

K

L

M 

it

1

A nu

w

na

iP

r ad

u

M it tr ph an

Na

Hua Lamphong Central Railway Station

Ch

3

aro

So

j

4 So

Y So i 3

i1

Y

Y5

en 3 h Ya ow a r at K r un g i7

it Tr i M Ph

S ong W

at

S

Tr i

D oi

uan

aw gT

an

6 N

4

5

7

ut an P h Sa p h

t Phu han

6

eng

S ap

a in D

  Grand China Princess 2   Shanghai Mansion

  Wat Ratburana School b   Wat Pra Phiren c   Wat Bophit Phimuk d   Wat Chakrawat e   Wat Chaichana Songkhram f Wat Mangkon Kamalawat g   Wat Samphanthawongsaram Worawiharn h Wat Traimit (Temple of the Golden Buddha)

Arts & Culture 1

  Chalermkrung Theatre   Samphanthawong Museum 3  Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Centre

a

Sightseeing j Chinatown Gate at the Odeon Circle

bangkok101.com

Th

S

Princess Mother Memorial Park

Temples

1

9

aD

t Phu han S ap

e pir

N

Hotels

2

8

Tha Din Daeng

Memorial Bridge

ha oi T

Em

4

K la

9

5

i

2

Rajchawongse

Ba

ha

R at

ng

Ma

i2

a

o nM 3

K

ng s

a n it 1

Marine Dept.

t Phe

1

C

So

ra anu

S oi W

c N

2

Hua Lamphong

So

So ng Saw at

i2 So

2

g

ong

it

Rama IV Y

Phadungdao–Soi Texas

Y So i 9

Ch

Y

Y Soi 11

Pl an g N am

So i 18

S oi 4

So i 16

So i 6

Soi 14 Soi 8

Y Soi 15

d

nt

So i 21

on M an gk

So i 19

Su ap a

Soi 17

Y Soi 17

Y Soi 21 Y Soi 19

Ratch awon g

Y S 10 CK S 12

Ma ha Ch ak

Soi 8

t 6

2

Rachi ni Atsad ang

it 1

9

Ch aiy aphun

P

Sam peng Lane – Soi Wan

10

Trok Itsaranuphap

i

t ur a hah 5

Y Soi 23

S oi

r ap

1

Sa

Ma ngkon

ar

13

t

Lu ean Rit

S

ha

Ya

ra ow a

Bu

So

at

W

So i 15

So i 11

9

Bo

6 oi

i3

i4

1

j

si

f

Soi Aner Keng

ip Th

um

ng

ang

Ch ak kr aw at

an

n

Ph

R anu

C ha kp he

h kP

t

So

oe

u Kr

e

So

i5 o Tr

ar

7

t Yo

Soi 10

h

Charoen Krun g

iP S ir

Ch

isu

So i 13

h at rip

ai Ch ha Ma

an ak on

Ugn

Ti

Th

on

g

Tr

W ok

m Sa

8

itri

em

Romaneenart Park

gT

Ma

p

as

K h lo n

a iph

gK

at

h ire n

un

ip h

at P hom W

Kr

i S ir

b

k Wor ac ha

So

ng

Si Thamm athirat

Lua

Trok

Sida

S oi C

D

Markets 1 2 3

  Pak Khlong Talat (Flower Market) Yot Phimai Market   Pahurat –Indian Fabric Market

4  5

N

  Long Krasuang Market   Ban Mo ( Hi-Fi Market)

Sampeng Market 7  Woeng Nakhon Kasem (Thieves Market) 8   Khlong Tom Market 9   Talat Kao – Old Market 10   Talat Mai – New Market 6 

200 m 1 000 ft 1

N

River Ferry River Cross Ferry Subway Line Railway Market

F ebrua ry 2012 | 103


REFERENCE

Map 7 – Rattanakosin (Oldtown) A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

Ra

ma

14

1

N

So

Rama VIII Bridge

J

K

L

M 

Ph

its

VII

I

an ulo

et md

k

ata

ok Rat

ara

So

iB

op

t

hit

ph

im uk

Ka

Wat Wat Bophit Chakrawat Phimuk

Sri N

6

Memorial Bridge

Boriphat

Chai ng

Bat

Wo rach ak

ng A ng O

Soi B an

Khlo

Bor iph at

Yao w

wat kkra Cha

Son

gW at

en

Ch ak kr aw at

ng

Maha Chai

apho

aro

Kr

ho

mW at

Phi

ren

un

g

Ya ow a

ra

Anu

won g

g

Ta l ng lo

Maha

Dinso

Ti Thong Burapha

Phir

Ch

gT

Ra

Wat Kanlayannamit

Market Tot Phimai Market

Saphan Phut

ng

ko

k

Ya i

Rajinee

nN noe Dam cha

Dinso

lon

tch aw on

isut

Sara Chalermkrung Royal at Theatre

Wat Liap

Kh

So

Luan Kh

Ma ha Ch an k

m

ha

l Wat Saket

g

Ch ak ra Ph sem et

Ban Mo

at

S

aK

Ba lon Kh

10 4 | F ebrua ry 2012

aka etth

h iT

So iW at Ka nla ya

Soi Sirip at

Rommaninat Park

Soi Sa Song Soi Long Tha

Phahurat

5

Ch 1 akphe Pak Khlong t

g

N

Phra Phi Phit

Che

Soi

n ari Am un Ar

15

n

ho tup

Phan Fah Leelard

Muang

Soi Siric hai 2 Soi Siric hai 1

Trok Phan um

n

Wat Arun (Temple of the dawn)

14

at har Ma

a Wat Arun

13

1

Rat

Sam Yot

Charoen Krung

Thip Wari

ng Rak

Bumrung

Wat h Suthat

t

Tha Tien

mran

Tri Ph e

8

Soi Sa

Giant Swing

Ph ra Po kk lao

N

d Wat Pho

Tri Phet

12

Soi Phra ya Si

i Sanam Cha

ng i Wa

Tha

Ratchabophit

n awa nS kho Lan Luang

Damro

Wat Ratchanatdaram k City Hall

Trok Sukha1

Trok Sukha 2

Wat Ratchabophit f

Saranrom Park

o

noen 6 Klan g Tai

in

uang

Fuang Nakhon

b

11

Trok Nava

Trok W

Saranrom

Grand Palace

nL

Na

Trok S

Tanao

Buranasat

Khlong Lot

Chao Phraya

Ba

Dam

Bumrung M

aitri

Tro k

j Democracy Monument

Mahannop

Phraeng Phuthon

Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Ratchapradit

lang Tai

g Nuea

Klang

Trok hep T Sath hida ien Ram

Phraeng Nara

Kalayana M 10

noen Klan

noen

t Khru

Lak Mueang

g

hu

Unakan Siri Phong

Trok

ei

Na Hap Pho

Na Phra Lan

Tha Chang

ee Rachin ang d a ts A

t ra Tha Na Ph

Soi Silipakorn

9

Soi Dam

noen K

3 T k Khro lonSgake L ot W at T

Ratcha Damn oen N ai

Maharat

Wat Rakhang

N

4

Soi Mahannop 2

ak Ch

ao

an

Soi Dam

Silpokaorn University

Pra cha T

ha e Ka iC Tr ok

ng ho kr aP

i ttr aos

Bunsiri

on

2

a Dam

Sanam Luang

ap h

S

Bowonniwet ViHara g

Bu Kh

Kl

8

i

Ratch

Maharaj Ph ra C han Amulet Market Wat Mahathat c

Wang Lang

K

oi h Sam Ph long sen ra 2 Su Bang me La Wat mp 6 n

ais

Tan i

2

Thammasart University

10

16

Kr

an T ula

N

9

iW or

Du

1

7

p sa Ka

Pin ra Ph

National Museum3

So

m Ra

ok Tr

t de m So ge rid

aB

National Arts Gallery

4

6

t

ray Ph

So

Bu

e Wat Chana Songkhram

m

a iR

Thonburi N11 Thonburi Railway Railway

i

ttr

Phra Atith

o ha

Khlong Bangkok Noi

5

13

N

C et md

4

r Ph

asa

So 2

5

h

tit

aA

12

N

tK isu

Phra Pin Klao Bridge

hip

W

3

m

i

Sam

ao

s en

Kl

Wat Saodung

se g an Ka Lu g k un Lu Kr

in aP

r Ph

2

N

5

Rajchawongse

bangkok101.com

t


E

F

Wat Khema

G

H

23

N

Rama VII Bridge

Wat Soi Thong

22

Prach a Rat Sai 2

N

Province Border

L 

M

N

O

P

Q

R

S

t

reference | B angk o k cit y M ap 7  /  8

Phahon Yothin

1

Jatujak Park

2 Lat Phrao

32

Canal Boat BTS Silom Line

27

21

N

t

Am

18

N

Payap Wat Thepnahree

17

N

Na

16

ko

N

rn

nu

ay

Ch

et D Ram

t an

gsi

k halo

iR

ank

v ad

S aw

ha Vip

w ay re s s E xp

y

wa ess

N

2

Wat Muang Khae

N

14 Sukhumvit

g

S ilom

5

Asok

hum

54 Benjakiti Park

Oriental Krung Thon Buri

Sathorn

orn 5  –  s

Saphan Taksin

Su

25

S at h

1

Benjasiri Park

Sala Daeng

Chong Nonsi

Surasak

26

i

lom

th  /  S a

or n

National Museum Royal Barges Museum 30  Goethe Institut 31   Rattanakosin Exhibiton Hall 33   Bangkok Doll Museum 34   Museum of Sam 35   Siriraj Medical Museum 36   Aksra Theatre 37   National Theatre 38   Siam Niramit 53   Numthong Gallery 54   Galerie N

12  

Pak Khlong Talad Talat Rot Fai 28   Jatujak Weekend Market 29   Ratchada Night Market Ratchapraprop 39   Khao San Road 40 Thewet 27  

Lumphini 30 47

kh

15

3

S uk

um

vit

Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre

16

Thong Lo

4  –

Khlong Toei Ram

a IV

 S u

kh

D BT irect S S ion tat ion

um

Ekkamai

vi

t

nighlife 41  

Route 66 The Club 43  Amorosa 44  Pullman 45   Phranakorn Bar 46   Rolling Bar 47   Wong‘s Place 48   Adhere The 13th 49   Brick Bar 50  Cosmic Cafe 51   Raintree Pub 52   Saxophone Pub 42  

m ai –

wo n

13

a b u ri

oi 5

yu

Lumpini Park

3

S ur a

12

Ekka

Si Lom

Pe tc h

or –

Sam Yan

  Arts & Culture

  Markets

ay

Nana

Witt ha

Su an

m

Wat Arun Grand Palace c   Wat Mahathat d   Wat Pho e   Wat Chana Songkhram f   Wat Ratchabophit g   Wat Bowornniwet Viharn h   Wat Suthat j   Democracy monument k   Wat Ratchanatda l   Wat Saket m   Ratchadamnoen Boxing Stadium 13   Vimanmek Mansion 14   Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall 15   Wat Benchamabophit 20  Victory Monument 21   Suan Pakkad Palace 25   Lumpini Boxing Stadium 32   Bangkok Butterfly

Charn Issara

Phrom Phong

r ay a

essw

Klongton Bridge Ratchadamri Son

un ant H enri D

Royal Bangkok Sports Club

E xpr

S oi 6

es sw ay Sri Ph

Si Phraya

Wongwian Yai

Bandon Mosque

Marine Dept.

n

N

Wongwian Yai Railway

Wat Maichonglom

ng L

ow

Italthai

Nana Chard

Phloen Chit

3 – SI A M  / Ch it L o

Hua Lamphong

4

t ate

Direction Internat Suvanabhum ional A i irport

Asoke/Phetchaburi

Chit Lom

Hua Lamphong Central Railway Station N

50

Tho

at

41

Prasanmit

Soi Ton

in

w ay

Phetchaburi

Wireless

hai

t

2 nd S

Siam

Ph ay a T

g

ra

11

Ram a IX

pre s s

Nana Nua

Pratunam

Soi La ng

 C h

Chit Lom

Thong

Ya ow a

un

gW at Rajchawongse

2  –

it / E x

National Stadium

Ba nt hat

Kr

2 nd State Ex pr

Krung Kasem

en

Son

5

ur at h

umvit

ak Maha C

hai

Wora ch

g

N

C h at

Makasan Ratchathewi

Baan Krua Nua Sapan Hua Chang

6

Memorial Bridge

21

Phaya Thai

ri

Phra Rama 9

Sapan Charoenpol

aro

Ch ak ra Ph et Ch akk raw at

et.

Tri Ph N

Ch

habu

Ratchapraprop

S uk h

Dinso

Bumrung Muang

Ti Thon

ai Sanam Ch

Cha kph et

Pe t c

Talad Bobae

10

33

Phaya Thai

hit

7

51

vit S

Phan Fa Lilat

9

Thailand Cultural Centre

52 Victory Monument

Lan Luang

a 

b 

11  

20

44

Sightseeing

17  

t 1s S t a t e E x pr

i ata Thip

cha

Pra Klang

8

38

36

ri C

N

ay a

Royal Turf Club

Mait

at har Ma

Phra Phi Phit

Rajinee

aV

V

I

en ms Sa

ng ho aP kr ak

Ch

Rachinee Atsadang

Ratcha Damno en Nai

en

Huai Khwang

Sanan Pao

m

Damno

Charoen Krung

Tha Tien

hi

se

ng

i Wa

Tha

wit

Kh

aos an Ratch a

7

Ari

Ka

8

m

n

itri

N

ok

ng

me

Kalayana Ma

Grand Palace

15

t th

g Kru

9

Tha Chang

ul

Ay u

an

10

N

53

Chitralada Palace

Sri

Lu

t

Su

an

k

asa

Wang Lang

it s

Lu

tK

11

N

Thonburi Railway

N

isu

Phra Atith

5

Sutthisan

6

S t at

Ph W

Thonburi Railway

4 o

am

2 nd

14

ra

kr

14

N

Ph

cha

Dusit Zoo

40

h

at

hra

ir i

ai

R at

N

Thewej

it N13 At ra Ph

ais

ng

ma

oth

13

Rama VIII Bridge

So

Ra

Suk

7 – Oldtown

Pradiph

tP

Sutthisan

Krung Thon Bridge

15

La

Saphan Khwai

Tho

Tet c Kheaw Khai ka

20

N

Irrigation N19 Dept.

Ratchadapisek

Kamphaeng Phet

i

han

ha

Tha

Wa ni

Airport Rail Link

Mo Chit

28

Bang Sue

Kjak Kai

amr

Railway

Phra Pin Klao Bridge 17 N12

3

Chatuchak Park

BTS Sukhumvit Line MRT Subway Line

Bangkok – Map 8

29

Bang Po

River Ferry

1

K

en

24

N

N

N

J

25 Pilbul 1

N

a Chu

D

on tha bu ri

C

P ra c h

B

Kru ng the p-N

A

17

Be

ari

Phra Khanong

ng

18

© Copyright Talisman Media Group Co., Ltd 2012. www.bangkok101.com


February2012