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october 2013 100 baht

IT’S PERSONAL | CITY PULSE  Oktoberfest | Food & Drink  Rossini’s | TRAVEL

Chiang Mai

october 2013

MONKS OF NEW YORK CITY How do Thai Buddhists adapt to life in the helter-skelter melting pot of Queens?

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publisher’s letter

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ctober is looming as a busy month in Bangkok – for beer-lovers, the Oktoberfest celebrations kick off and we’ve got the skinny on where you can get involved. In particular, though, we’re keen on the interesting craft beers that have begun to flood Bangkok. Then, toward the end of the month, it’s Halloween – it’s amazing how energetically Bangkok embraces this very un-Thai event and it’s one of the biggest nights of the year for party animals. Outside Bangkok, we’ve gone back to Chiang Mai and found it as beguiling as ever and also explored Vientiane, the charming Lao capital. In terms of our restaurant reviews, we’ve been to Rossini’s, Maya, Moulin, The Oyster Bar, Cellar 11 and Chez Pape, taking in a real mixture of cuisines, which, let’s face it, is one of the real joys of dining out in Bangkok. We also welcome Mr Joe Cummings to Bangkok 101 – for those who don’t know, Joe has carved out a roaring career as a writer, journalist and editor, establishing himself as one of the foremost experts on Thailand and one of the most successful, hardest-working guidebook writers on the planet. He’ll be writing on a range of topics, taking in art, sightseeing, music and food. This month, he’s paid a visit to Wat Mangkon Kamalawat and interviewed Thai artist Tawan Wattuya. We hope you enjoy his contributions as much as we do. All this and our 101 archive and extras can be found online at bangkok101.com. A couple of clicks is all it takes to keep in touch with what’s happening. If there’s something you feel we’re not covering but should, then please drop us a line at info@talisman-media.com.

Enjoy.

? 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.

Mason Florence Publisher

bangkok101.com

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THE LARGEST LIFESTYLE SHOPPING COMPLEX

BANGKOK’S LIFESTYLE TREND MEGASTORE

WHERE THE WORLD’S

BEST BRANDS MEET

CENTRALWORLD CentralWorld; The largest lifestyle shopping complex in Southeast Asia located in the heart of Bangkok, with more than 500 leading brands, over 100 restaurants and a 15-screen world-class cinema.

ZEN : THE CUTTING EDGE At ZEN, it’s all about style and substance. Bangkok’s only lifestyle trend megastore is a hub of alternative retailers that caters to style-conscious urbanites with edgy brands like Vivienne Westwood, Versus and Kenzo, plus emerging Thai Designer brands. Atop of these 7 exciting levels of shopping, ZEN features the world’s newest and largest rooftop dining & entertainment destination, covering 4 venues on 4 levels, including ZENSE Gourmet Deck & Lounge Panorama, Shintori Japanese Art Cuisine and HORIZONS International Tapas Bar. CENTRAL CHIDLOM : THE GLAMOROUS Bangkok’s world-class shopping destination with the world’s super-brands, such as Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Ralph Lauren, also offers top Thai fashion designers, fantastic lingerie, children’s wear, luxury home items and Thai crafts. Our premier Beauty Galerie brings together the finest cosmetic and beauty products, from the likes of Chanel, La Mer, Dior and M.A.C. While on the top level finds FoodLoft, our signature open-kitchen dining area, serving delicious Thai and international cuisines for you to experience.

5-70% Discount

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Contributors

publisher

Mason Florence editor-in-chief

Dr Jesda M. Tivayanond associate publisher

Parinya Krit-Hat editor

Tom Sturrock group editor

Joe Cummings editorial assistant

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

Award-winning writer joe cummings was born in New Orleans and grew up in France, California and Washington, DC. Joe became one of Lonely Planet’s first guidebook authors, creating the seminal Lonely Planet Thailand guide. Joe has also written illustrated reference books such as Buddhist Stupas in Asia; Sacred Tattoos of Thailand; Muay Thai; World Food Thailand; Buddhist Temples of Thailand; Chiang Mai Style and Lanna Renaissance.

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

Pawika Jansamakao art director

Narong Srisaiya strategists

Nathinee Chen Sebastien Berger contributing writers

Gaby Doman, Urasa Por Burapacheep, Luc Citrinot, Philip Cornwel-Smith, Dave Stamboulis, Sarah Cuiksa, Isabelle Kallo contributing photographers

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

Jhone El’Mamuwaldi

director business development

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

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

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

director sales and marketing

Nowfel Ait Ouyahia special projects

Wasin Banjerdtanakul 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 2013. All rights reserved.

AVAILABLE AT:

bangkok101.com

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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.

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CONTENTS

b a n g k o k 1 0 1 Pa rt n er s

34

61

16

city pulse

a r t & c u lt u r e

shopping

6 metro beat

44 exhibition highlights

92 new collection:

10 metroplates: rossini’s

48 interview:

dapper

12 out and about:

tawan wattuya

94 unique boutique:

oktober revolution

51 cheat notes

the chonabod

16 best of bangkok:

52 photo feature:

95 market watch

off to market

it’s personal

97 jj gem: karmakamet

s n a p s h ot s

food & drink

20 tom’s two satang

58 food & drink news

22 very thai

60 meal deals

23 chronicle of thailand

61 restaurant reviews:

24 joe’s bangkok

maya, cellar 11,

wellness

26 historic homes,

chez pape, moulin,

98 spa review:

shrines and temples

the oyster bar

devarana

28 museums

68 in the kitchen:

98

david morell

comm u nit y

t r av e l

69 eat like nym

100 making merit:

30 buffalo racing

70 restaurant listings

the camillian house

34 hotel deals

nightlife

reference

34 up country escape:

78 nightlife news

102 getting there

chiang mai

80 feature: halloween

104 maps

38 over the border:

82 live music

112 my bangkok:

vientiane

83 review: heaven

austin bush

32 up country now

bangkok 101

october 2013 100 baht

IT’S PERSONAL | CITY PULSE

Oktoberfest | Food & drInk

Rossini’s | TrAVEL Chiang

on the cover In his exhibition, It’s Personal, Ekkarat Punyatara captures the daily life of Buddhist monks living in New York. Check out p52

Mai

october 2013

MONKS OF NEW YORK CITY How do Thai Buddhists adapt to life in the helter-skelter melting pot of Queens? 000_cover.indd 4

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metro beat

by Howard Richardson

ROCK & POP

Pang Nakarin There’s a rock retrospective on October 5 at the Indoor Stadium Hua Mark (2088 Ramkhamhaeng Rd, 02-318-0940) when Pang Nakarin celebrates his 21 years in the business. The concert, called Ban Lu Niti Pawa, will revisit songs such as ‘Sabai Dee’, ‘Auem Mai Tueng’ and ‘Kham Tob’. Tickets cost B800-2000 from Thai Ticketmajor (02-262-3456; thaiticketmajor.com). “Get ready for extreme fun,” says the PR for Korean poppy hip hop singer Jay Park (known as The Fresh Prince of Seoul). He performs in an afternoon meet the fans party (3pm start) at JJ Mall (588 Kampaeng Phet II Rd, Chatuchak; 02-618-3333) on October 5, with the new single I Like 2 Party sure to feature. Tickets from Thai Ticketmajor (02262-3456; thaiticketmajor. com) are B1500-B6000). If you fancy “a sequel to Saturday Night Fever” tune in to Love Radio’s Stayin’ Jennifer Kim Alive Black & White Dance Night Party at CentralWorld Live (991 Rama 1 Rd; 02-640-7000; centralworld.co.th) October 26. Performers include Jennifer Kim, 6 | OCTOBER 2013

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Chthonic Mr Saxman and Takeshi. Tickets are B1500-B2000 from Thai Ticketmajor (02-262-3456; thaiticketmajor.com). Freddy Lim, frontman for Taiwanese metal outfit Chthonic, has a fine thunder and gravel voice that’s perfect for black metal, although perhaps less so for his meetings as chairman of the Taiwan chapter of Amnesty International. While the band’s music is heavy, they also incorporate traditional instruments such as the stringed koto and shamisen, ethnic flutes and Tibetan bells, and say they “want to bring ancient history and mythology into the modern era via a pan-green focus, especially to build awareness of the myths of Taiwan”. It’s at the Rock Pub (Hollywood Street Building, Phaya Thai Rd, 081-666-4359, therockpub-bangkok.com) on October 12. Tickets are B1000, available from 081-310-3457. The Kamikaze K Fight Concert brings a stable of Bangkok bands to the stage, including Demo Project, Poppy, Tomo, Lipta and Richman Toy, at Royal Paragon Hall (Fl5 Siam Paragon, 991 Rama 1 Rd; 02-6108011) on October 13. The show starts at 5.30pm; tickets run from B500-B2000 at Thai Ticketmajor (02-262-3456; thaiticketmajor.com). One-time Moldy Peaches singer Adam Green will select songs from his six-album solo “anti-folk” acoustic career in the latest Supersweet promotion Adam Green at Mongkol Studio (RCA; 081-991-6541) on October 19. It’s B800 to get in or B900 at the door, including one drink. See supersweetlive.com for more details. GMM Grammy continues the celebrations of its 30th anniversary with the Secret Garden Concert, starring ‘Bird’ Thongchai Mcintire at Impact Arena (99 Popular Rd, Pakkred; 02-5045050; impact.co.th). There are two gigs on October 19 (7pm) and October 20 (3pm), with stage appearances also from Da Endorphin, Lula Kanyarat, New-Jew and Chompoo Araya. Thai Ticketmajor (02-262-3456; thaiticketmajor.com) has tickets priced B1000-B5000. bangkok101.com

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FESTIVALS & FAIRS

Romeo and Juliet The 15th International Festival of Dance & Music continues with events in various genres at the Thailand Cultural Centre (Thiem Ruammitr Rd; 02-247-0028) until October 14. The month kicks off with The Michael Jackson Tribute Memory Concert, including songs both from his solo career and his years with the Jackson 5 (Oct 1-2). Then, the Mike Stern Band bring jazz to town, led by the ex Blood, Sweat and Tears guitarist Mike Stern, who also played with Billy Cobham and Miles Davis (Oct 4); followed by hot Brazilian ballet company Grupo Corpo, variously described as “cerebral, primitive and tough”. They perform two pieces, Sem Min and Onqoto (Oct 6). The Karlsruhe Ballet, from Germany take over with two productions: Giselle, with choreography by Sir Peter Wright

STAGE A show of music, dance and theatre called Pleng Dunk Pleng Dee celebrates 90 years of the Thai movie industry at the Thailand Cultural Centre (Thiem Ruammitr Rd; 02-247-0028) on October 19. Actors will revisit film scenes and songs from past decades with routines delivered in period costume. Tickets are B700-B2000 at Thai Ticketmajor (02-262-3456; thaiticketmajor. com).

WELLNESS Ken Rosen has been studying medicine since  he was diagnosed with cancer over 20 years ago. He has worked closely with world renowned author, Dr Andrew Weil and has taught classes in nutrition, diagnosis and Thai Medical Massage in New York. He will be in residence at the Mandarin Oriental (48 Oriental Ave; 02-659 9000; mobkk-spa@mohg.com) until November 31, providing Traditional Chinese Medicine Consultations and treatment for a wide range of problems. bangkok101.com

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(Oct 9) and a Gala Performance on Oct 11, when leading soloists perform extracts from 11 ballets, including The Dying Swan. The festival ends with a working of Romeo and Juliet created by Joëlle Bouvier of the Geneva Ballet (Oct 14). All shows start at 7.30pm, with tickets (prices vary) available at Thai Ticketmajor (02-262-3456; thaiticketmajor.com). Head to BITEC (km1, 88 Bangna-Trad Rd, 02-749-3939, bitec.co.th) from October 22-23 and get your Christmas shopping done early at the joint Bangkok International Gifts and Bangkok International Houseware Fair, handily retitled BIG+BIH. There should be a wide choice of home decor, handicrafts and plants. Get more info at bigandbih.com.

ART H Gallery (201 Sathorn Soi 12, 085-021-5508, hgallerybkk. com) exhibits works by Kornkrit Jianpinidnan in a show called elsewhere, which runs concurrently until October 27 at its two venues in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. The Bangkok segment has photography, text and drawings from four of Kornkrit’s series, including Worry and Love; Chiang Mai has a video installation. Curator Brian Curtin says the works are based on Kornkrit memories of moving to Bangkok, and examine “what it means to look back [...] and the desires that certain spaces can encode.” The Alliance Française (179 Witthayu Rd, 02-670-4231, alliance-francaise.or.th) settles into its new venue on October 16, and quickly launches a new exhibition. On The Beaten Track uses archival photos by travellers, missionaries and ethnologists to examine how the lives of Thailand’s northern hilltribe minorities have changed from the 1950s to the present day. The project researchers focus on the hilltribes’ importance in cultural diversity. It hangs October 31-November 17. OCTOBER 2013 | 7

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metro beat

Tommy Emmanuel

JAZZ & BLUES Two guitarists rated among the best in the world team up for Tommy Emmanuel & Martin Taylor Live in Bangkok at M Theatre (2884/2 New Petchaburi Rd; 02-319-7641) on October 28. The two-time Grammy nominated Emmanuel was voted World’s Best Acoustic Guitarist by Guitar Magazine in 2008, while guitar legend Pat Metheny rates Taylor as “one of the most awesome solo guitar players in the history of the instrument. He’s unbelievable”. The concert comes in the wake of their jazz-

inspired duet album The Colonel and the Governor released this year. Tickets are B1000-B5000 from Thai Ticketmajor (02-2623456; thaiticketmajor.com). The Bamboo Bar in the Mandarin Oriental (48 Oriental Avenue; 02-659-9000; mandarinoriental.com/bangkok) celebrates its 60th anniversary. On the vocal stool until October 31 is Californian Avis Ellis, backed by a mainly Russian jazz quartet.

SPORT Runners – some in fancy dress – will set off on the 16th Charity Midnight Run from the Amari Watergate Bangkok (847 Phetchaburi Rd; 02-653-9000; amari.com/watergate) on October 19. After completing their 6km or 12km course through the city streets, the participants recover with a party at Henry J Beans, which requires a different kind of training. Athletes may need a head for heights in the 15th Vertical Marathon, which races up 61 floors of the Banyan Tree Bangkok (21/100 Sathorn Tai Rd; 02-679-1200; banyantree. com) on October 6. It starts at 6am and finishes whenever you get to the Vertigo Grill and Moon Bar, perched on the hotel roof. HRH Princess Soamsawali will present prizes to the winners; proceeds will be donated to the HIV Formula Feeding Fund for HIV-positive mothers. Put on your best lycra for Bangkok Bike 2013, an exhibition of all things cyclic at Impact Arena (99 Popular Rd, Pakkred; 8 | OCTOBER 2013

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15th Vertical Marathon 02-504-5050; impact.co.th) October 17-20. Booths will have everything you need to build or repair your own bike, plus clothing and accessories and gadgets such as special cameras designed for cyclists. See bangkokbikeexpo.net for details. bangkok101.com

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FOOD & DRINK

Bangkok Vegetarian Festival The streets of Chinatown, particularly along and around Yaowarat and Charoen Krung Rds, will pulse with excitement during the Bangkok Vegetarian Festival, which also runs at various places around the country from October 5-14. A riot of cooking demonstrations, parades and Chinese opera, it’s also a good opportunity to check out some Chinese temples and nip into the Vegetarian Hall in Wat Ga Buang Kim in Soi Krai. Little yellow flags will denote the stalls taking part. French Grand Cru Classé Wine Dinner at Panorama Restaurant and Deck Bar (Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park; 952 Rama IV; 02-632-9000; crowneplazabkk.com) on October 25-26 promises to be an evening to remember. This special 14-course dinner menu featuring classic French cuisines including hot and cold foie gras, ballotine of goose, veal blanquette, wild boar ragout, Chestnut tagliatelle and tableside black truffle, and roasted rack of lamb. It’s B3999 per head but there’s a 20 percent discount if you book before October 15. There are plenty of restaurants in Bangkok that like to think they are ‘institutions’ but it’s absolutely true with Bourbon Street (9/39-40 Soi Tana Arcade, Sukhumvit 63; 02-381-6801, bourbonstbkk.com), which serves up some of the most satisfying, authentic Cajun food this side of New Orleans. They celebrated their 27th anniversary last month, so if you haven’t been past to try their gumbo or Italian cheese sausage yet, we can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Panorama Bourbon Street

Shintori (Level 18, Zen World, Zen Department Stores; 02-1009000, shintoribangkok.com) is one of Japan’s many high-end Japanese restaurants, combining a super-sleek interior with some of the most refined culinary techniques. But they taken it up a notch with the recent roll-out of their private dining villa, which offers guests the chance to dine on exquisite sushi while gazing out over the Bangkok skyline. The menu must be chosen 24 hours in advance but it’s worth it to sip sake while enjoying the spectacular view. bangkok101.com

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hot plates

Rossini’s by Howard Richardson

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hef Paride Noviello lifted the lid on his new menu at Rossini’s last month after arriving from a stint as head chef at La Gondola in the Kempinski Hotel, Beijing. He’d previously spent a couple of weeks with Rossini’s consultant chef, the Michelin-starred Alfredo Russo, who was over here presenting his own new additions to the menu. Trieste-born Paride inherits one of Bangkok’s longest-standing upmarket Italian restaurants and also one of the most stylish. The decor is steadfastly traditional, designed like the dining room of a medieval Tuscan castle, complete with heavy fireplace, a tiled floor that looks almost cobbled, and wooden beams and domes in the ceiling. The menu, however, has lots of modern touches, while sticking to the flavours of the traditional Italian kitchen. Among the starters, seared goose liver (B790) is a rich pudding of a dish, plated with pumpkin espuma and very sweet amaretti crumble, which, as well as adding texture, balances well against the earthy liver. Black cod (B920) is a good choice for the main course: weighty and pure white, it sits like an iceberg in potato foam, with additions of olives and San Daniele ham powder adding salty brine to enhance the sea flavours. The trio of soups are more traditional: Tuscan artichoke, minestrone and seafood with garlic bruschetta (B580), in which a delicate, thin and light-tasting broth has small islands of seabass and a central tower of chunky scallops. Rossini’s has more reasonable wine prices than many restaurants in this bracket, courtesy of its Primo Vino policy, which promises “top shelf wines at cellar prices”. They have a good selection by the glass, from champagne and sparkling, to whites, reds and dessert (B220-B660). You can pick up a glass of 2011 Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, by the very respectable New Zealand winemaker Sileni, for B280, which is pretty good value in this setting. And bottles, starting at B995, include a long list of both Italian and French and a small selection from Spain and the New World. There’s also a series of power lunch menus with wide choices, at B690 and B780 (two and three courses), and degustation menus (from B1500 for four courses). To finish the meal, there are half a dozen desserts (mostly B320), such as limoncello soufflé with soft chocolate and blood orange sorbet, and a very creamy take on the classic tiramisu; or make your choice from the cheese trolley. Enjoy them to a proper jazz soundtrack with the kind of wailing sax that might have you moving to the Living Room for postprandial brandies.

ROSSINI’S

[MAP 3/h10]

Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, 250 Sukhumvit Rd | 02-653-0333 sheratongrandesukhumvit.com | 6pm-10.30pm, Mon-Fri noon-2.30pm

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out & about

oktober revolution This year, Oktoberfest rolls around with traditional beers coming under threat from a rising tide of boutique craft beers and diverse artisan microbrews.

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or those who like to quaff a good brew, there is no month better than October. Germany’s brew revelry contribution to the world, Oktoberfest, is celebrated just about everywhere by beer lovers and, naturally, Bangkokians, who will use any excuse for a party, welcome the festivities with open arms, and perhaps even more so this year with the arrival of so much amazing craft beer in the City of Angels. Oktoberfest can be traced back to 1810, when German King Ludwig got married in Bavaria and threw a huge public party, which basically went over so well that it got repeated in subsequent years and eventually turned into Oktoberfest. These days, the mayor of Munich shouts out “Ozapft is” (the keg is tapped) and over 7 million litres of beer get consumed, along with tons of sausages and roast pork.

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BY DAVE STAMBOULIS

Craft beer, on the other hand, is a more recent invention, starting off in the 1970s in the UK with microbreweries creating local cask ales, and then spreading like a wildfire to the United States. In the Pacific Northwest, home brewers began creating bold and innovative tastes, making fresh beer using excess hops or experimenting with non-traditional brewing techniques. The microbrewing movement has revolutionised beer in America, creating a legion of aficionados who prefer a bottle of artisanal beer the way someone who has discovered a French fromagerie can no longer digest processed cheese. Aaron Grieser, a lawyer based in Bangkok who grew up in Oregon drinking craft beer, was tired of lamenting the lack of quality beer in Bangkok, and when he met Brian Bartusch, another American who was doing a Le Cordon bangkok101.com

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out & about

CITY PU LSE

Lederhosen are crucial

The Beervana boys

Bleu high-end cuisine programme here, the two decided to do something about bringing their passion for beer to the drinking scene by creating Beervana, a curatorship to distribute craft beer. “The difference between craft and commercial beers is like the difference between listening to your favourite band on your iPhone and standing front row at their concert. There’s a much broader spectrum of flavour,” Grieser says. The pair’s work seems to be paying dividends, as trendy pubs, bars and restaurants across town have begun stocking Beervana selections like Rogue, Lagunitas or Anderson Valley craft beers. Beer lovers can also become members of the distributor’s craft beer club, which lets folks order from around the world for delivery right to their door. Beervana helped Bangkok celebrate its first Craft Beer Festival in August, with beer coming from Singapore’s Brewerkz, Yo Ho Japanese Brewery, and Nørrebro from Denmark alongside all the US craft offerings, and the event was packed to the gills with hundreds of beer lovers welcoming the new arrivals. bangkok101.com

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Authentic style

Restaurants like Smith and Quince have recently hosted gourmet feasts accompanied by craft beer pairings and these events look to become fixtures on the Bangkok dining and drinking scene. “Craft beer is obviously beer, but it’s so different than what most people think of when they think of beer,” Grieser says. “It’s elevated, a lot like wine, is nuanced, and designed to be paired with food. We’ve been working with a lot of local chefs, and craft beer is the thing Thai food has always been waiting for. Besides, there is so much variety in craft beer that there’s something for everyone. The question isn’t whether you’ll like craft beer; it’s when you’ll find the beer you’ll love.”  Despite the harsh legal restrictions on tapping into the Thai beer market monopoly (operating a microbrewery is extravagantly taxed and pub-made ales are not allowed to be sold in supermarkets or outside pub premises), perhaps craft beer is here to stay. This Oktoberfest, why not try a down double imperial pale ale to wash down your sausages and sauerkraut? OCTOBER 2013 | 13

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out & about top oktoberfest spots

Munich style in Bangkok

The Beer Vault at Four Points by Sheraton has around 100 different bottled beers available from around the world ranging from fine craft beers from the US to draught Hoegaarden RosĂŠ and is a laidback spot that is perfect for enjoying good beer. This sleek and comfy bar will celebrate Oktoberfest in style, with all Paulaner draughts and platters of German sausages available on a buy 1 get one free special for the entire month (Sukhumvit Soi 15; 02 309 3255; beervaultbangkok.com) Bei Otto (1 Sukhumvit Soi 20; 02 262 0892; beiotto. com) provides a Black Forest atmosphere at its Schwarzwaldstube traditional German restaurant (main image) and bar. Oktoberfest will be held from October 31-November 2, with a band playing traditional Bavarian tunes to go with the Munich white sausage and Black Forest ham platters.

Wash down the bratwurst

Brotzeit German Bier Bar and Restaurant (308 Thong Lor; 081 920 5929; brotzeit.co) serves up four types of Paulaner draught to wash down traditional favorites like weisswurst (Bavarian sausages served with pretzels) and tafelspitz (beef and apple horseradish). The heaped portions of sauerkraut and large jugs of wheat beer will make it seem like you are having October cheer right in the heart of Munich.

Tawandang German Brewery (462/61 Rama III Road, 02 678 1114-6, htawandang.co.th) Bangkok’s largest microbrewery pours out pints of home brewed Dunkel, Lager and Weizen beer to the masses, along with large portions of deep-fried pork knuckle and plenty of live music every night. The brew master here is a Bavarian, and the 5.5 percent wheat beer is a winner.

BREW Beers and Ciders (Seenspace, Thong Lor Soi 13; 02-185-2366; brewbkk.com) offers up the largest selection of draught and bottles of imported and craft beers in all of Thailand, over 200 bottles of different ales, stouts, ciders, and more. Celebrate Oktoberfest with a bottle of Boch Damn, a black beer from Munich, created in 1888 or any of the knock-out craft selections lined up on the bar.

Beervana will be hosting an IPA Challenge in October, where the public is invited to take a course on beer judging and does a blind judging of a field of IPAs submitted by Beervana and other fellow importers. You can join their craft beer club, order bottles, and of course find their elegant ales distributed in most of the places listed here and elsewhere. Check out seekbeervana.com or call 02-108-0387.

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Sara


On the joyous occasion of “Dipawali” – the Indian New Year also popularly referred to as the festival of lights, SARAS chain of Restaurants brings you the exclusive DIWALI BOOTH again, offering Exclusive range of sweets-n-savories !!! New Arrivals: Rose Ball | Dry Fruits Taco’s | Harabhara Ladoo | Nutkhat Chikki | Khajoor Pak | Kalinger | more..

READY FOR THE TEMPTING SURPRISES?? Note : Special Gift/Corporate packaging and Dry Fruit Boxes available.

Wishing you all “Happy Diwali!!” Visit and Explore more : call us @ 087 001 0056 or 082 209 7060 Bangkok Outlet: Sukhumvit Soi 20 (Near Windsor Hotel) Bangkok 10110 Tel: 02 401 8484

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PATTAYA Outlet: 557, Sun City Hotel, Pratumnak Rd. Pattaya Tai (South) Tel: 038 424 769

Email/Web:

www.saras.co.th

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SarasVegFood

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off to market Bangkok’s market scene is a mix of the sophisticated and the surprising, a selection as diverse as the city itself.

BY TOM STURROCK

I Ratchada Night Market

16 | OCTOBER 2013

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n Bangkok – and Thailand generally – there seems to be a law of physics that, if any space bigger than a squash court goes unoccupied, a market of some stripe will spring up to fill the vacuum. Of course, it’s the bigger ones that attract the regular crowds but there’s nothing quite like the thrill of happening upon a little-known gem. TripAdvisor recently named Thailand’s best street markets and, although Bangkok was gazzumped by Chiang Mai at the top end, the capital was still predictably well-represented. For the record, TripAdvisor rated the Sunday Night Market Walking Street near Chiang Mai’s Tha Pae Gate as the country’s best market, followed by the Maeklong Railway Market in Samut Songkhram and Chiang Mai’s bangkok101.com

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best of bangkok

CITY PU LSE

Saphan Phut

Khao San Road

Wua Lai Road. Bangkok’s Pak Khlong Talat Flower Market and Jatujak rounded out the top five. In Bangkok, of course, chaos and conrast go hand in hand. For example, you have the enormous Khlong Toey Market, supplying wholesale produce by the truckload. Once it stirs into activity in the evening, it churns wildly all the way through to the early hours of the following day. It’s not far from the freight yard of Khlong Toey so shipments pour in and the sheer volume of produce that goes through its endless warehouse spaces, particularly on weekends, is something to behold. Then, within walking distance, up Sukhumvit Soi 26 at K Village, you can find the Bangkok Farmers Market on the last weekend of every month. It’s a far cry from the frenetic chop shop of Klong Toey Market, replacing ill-fated game birds with craft beers, gourmet sandwiches and organic juices. There’s still the focus on fresh produce but it ticks along at a much more leisurely place. The scope of variety doesn’t stop there and we’ve compiled a guide to Bangkok’s markets that illustrates this choice, regardless of what they think in Chiang Mai. bangkok101.com

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Bangkok Farmers Market

floating away Damnoen Saduak Considered the definitive floating market for visitors, this bustling stretch of waterway is two hours by car or bus, plus a 15-minute boat ride. Getting there: Bus to Damnoen Saduak from the Southern Bus Terminal every 40 minutes from 6am. Taling Chan For a kinder, gentler introduction to the world of floating markets, Taling Chan is a destination often overlooked on most tourist itineraries. Taling Chan also offers live performances of traditional Thai music from 11am-2pm. Getting there: Bus # 79 or # 83 to Taling Chan district. Amphawa (main image) Make sure to take a boat down the canal after dusk, when the lights from the riverhouses gleam and the fireflies come out, especially during the rainy season. Getting there: Drive one hour south from Bangkok to Samut Songkhram. OCTOBER 2013 | 17

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bangkok’s coolest markets

Pak Khlong Talad Khao San Road Stallholders do a sterling trade in ‘novelty’ T-shirts and cigarette papers, not to mention phoney degree certificates, driving licenses and press passes. And yes, if you must, you can still get your tie-dye and fisherman’s pants, your hair dreadlocked, or eat B 20 noodles from a polystyrene plate. Pak Khlong Talad Wake up and smell the roses, as next to Saphan Phut (Memorial Bridge) lies Bangkok’s main flower market, a 24-hour hive of floral activity bristling with blooms carted in from around the country. Horticulturalists and those with a well developed olfactory sense will enjoy strolling around these fragrant surrounds. Pratunam Phetchaburi Rd, Ratchathewi | BTS Ratchathewi) A ten-minute walk from CentralWorld, this sidewalk is famed for its bulk clothing deals. Loaded with knockoffs, and crowded with tourists shopping for all things casual, you’ll find textiles, fabrics, fancy dress and great jeans at affordable prices. Ratchada Night Market Vendors at this nighttime (and teen-thronged) flea market flog all sorts of retro and secondhand stuff, from art deco lamps and ghetto blasters to Polaroids and vintage clothing. Somewhat like a country fair, it’s open-air and most wares are laid out on the ground, so expect to squat a lot. Saphan Phut While the Memorial Bridge (aka Saphan Phut) Night Market isn’t much more than throngs of tented stores 18 | OCTOBER 2013

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Talot Rot Fai and makeshift tables selling cheap goods, the regal backdrop is incomparable. 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. Talat Rot Fai This retro-inflected flea market just around the corner from Jatuchak Weekend Market is well worth the trip, for its hipster vibes and camera friendly set=up as much as what’s sold there. Hundreds of antique hounds and retro-mad dek neaw (teen hipsters) flock to this plot of State Railway department land on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Jatujak From its humble beginnings as a flea market, Jatujak has transformed into a sprawling retail village where you can basically buy anything – it’s particularly good for furniture and bric-a-brac and homeware. The size of it and the general craziness can be hard to fathom at first, so arrive early or late to avoid the biggest crowds. bangkok101.com

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Delicacy and intricacy of royal Thai cuisine

20 | XXX 2013

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bangkok101.com

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ToTwmo ’Ssatang

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

more On thai food

Artwork: Thavorn Ko-Udomvit

A

lthough Thai food has become world-famous, especially in the last few decades, its origins come from Thais’ humble homes and markets. Street food and restaurants have only been around for a little over a century. Thais would dine at home, hence the importance of regional food influenced by local produce as well as the neighbours’ ingredients. After exploring Thai regional cuisines, then one should try diverse styles and concepts of cooking in restaurants, from traditional to palatial and modern. Once one understands the Thai palate of blending and balancing basic four flavours: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter, one will appreciate various types of cooking as well as the levels of heat from spices. At home, Thai people eat in a family style with all kinds of dishes served at once. This can overwhelm newcomers to Thai food. It’s best to start with milder dishes, like some fried ones. Then chilli relishes, salads and soups with more spices and the more flavourful and robust dishes like curries, stews, and stirfries are tasted later. On the subject of spiciness, many associate chillis with Thai cuisine. They are actually from South America and have travelled here via Spain, Portugal, the Middle East and India. The whole world owes South America as the global supermarket, not only for chilli but also for coffee, cocoa, corn, sugar cane, potato, tomato and tobacco. Through trading with the Portuguese in Ayutthaya Period, Thais have embraced chilli but not all Thai dishes are spicy and levels of heat can be adjusted to suit one’s preference, as in soups and salads. But in curries and similar dishes, diluting spice will make them less appetising. Thai restaurants can be divided into three styles: traditional (home-cooking), royal Thai and modern Thai. The first is the most old-school of all. Many of these restaurants are around the local communities and along the river. Most dishes are purely comfort food. Although this style seems simplistic, its methods and preparations are still complicated and laborious. Highlights here include good old snacks like miang, chilli relishes, salads, soups, seafood, stir-fries and grills. Many assume royal Thai cuisine is complex, pretentious, and even sweet. In fact, it started as refined home-cooking with more measured methods. It requires finesse and

bangkok101.com

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dedication to learn. Flavours are more subtle and wellrounded, less sharp and pungent. The dishes consumed in the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya periods were not much recorded except for the banquets that King Narai the Great hosted for the envoys in Lopburi. The chanting poems for royal barge procession penned by King Rama II were possibly the oldest piece recounting how His Majesty enjoyed each dish from savoury to sweets and cigars. These poems are our historical anecdotes about food. Once print publishing became more widespread, cookbooks written by courtiers were given as gifts at cremation ceremonies. The guarded secrets of chefs who had worked at each palace became legacies. However, these old recipes are not bibles but principles to learn how to cook and eat. Our culinary culture and palates keep evolving. Most middle and upper-class Thais know these recipes and have used them in home-cooking. However, these styles and methods have developed into contemporary Thai, mixing and matching ingredients and without compromising authentic flavours. Some chefs refer to the tomes of royal Thai recipes with reverence but some dishes are no longer popular, due to difficult techniques, rare ingredients, changing lifestyles and evolving taste buds. Admittedly, while some of these dishes are virtually extinct, others are alive and well-received. For example, Khao Chae, polished rice served in perfumed water with some sweetish dishes, was modest Mon fare in Petchaburi but inspired a fanciful summer treat at King Rama IV’s court. It can still be found in a simpler style in the province’s markets or more elaborately in a few Bangkok restaurants. The main difference is that there are more intricate condiments in the royal one. These days, famous Thai restaurants generally have a concept or a celebrity chef or both. Thai cooking has spun off into modern cuisine, molecular gastronomy and deconstructed dishes. New approaches and methods abound and as our gastronomic culture has become globally celebrated, this evolution has inevitably gathered pace. So there’s no good reason we can’t appreciate the heritage of Thai food while also enjoying new arrivals like frozen red curry with lobster and lychee. OCTOBER 2013 | 21

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S N A P S H OT S

very thai

A

zoos in the

sois

city-dwellers live alongside wildlife

mong the most arresting Thai city sights are animals. Stray dogs snooze in street and temple cats raise oddly bent tails. Pythons nest in gardens. And yes, that was an elephant strolling by. Hasty modernisation hasn’t regimented the casual way Thais relate to nature. Animals were so integral to rural life, wildlife so seemingly inexhaustible, and animal products so valuable, that nature got taken for granted. Now many Thais abhor that animals must endure avoidable tragedies, such as elephants falling into potholes and squirrels being electrocuted by old power lines. Bangkok’s last troupe of wild monkeys and gibbons, near Rama II Road, may have a better fate as officials want to turn their land into a model sanctuary. However, it’s up for sale and the site’s developers will want them out. During the Great Flood of 2011, lethal Brazilian mamba snakes were accidentally released and, to the hilarity of newspaper headlines and fear of flooded households, dozens of crocodiles escaped from some of Thailand’s 930 croc breeding farms. “Please do not panic. The crocodiles are not fierce like those living in the wild,” assured Thirapat Prayoonsit of the Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, in charge of their recapture. “On the contrary, they are rather scared of people.”

> Very Thai

Photos: Philip Cornwel-Smith/John Goss

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

22 | OCTOBER 2013

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Very Thai – Everyday Popular Culture is a book that almost every foreigner living in Bangkok has on their bookshelf, a virtual bible on Thailand’s pop culture. For page after colourful page, city resident and author Philip Cornwel-Smith guides readers on an unconventional tour of the quirky everyday things that make Thailand truly Thai. From the 60-plus minichapters, we present a different excerpt every month. Prepare yourself for the sideways logic in what seems exotic, and snap up a copy of Very Thai now at any good book shop. bangkok101.com

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chronicle of thailand

S N A P S H OT S

January 16, 2001

thai forces seize teenage guerillas

Htoo brothers surrender after DRUG leading ‘god’s army’ at ratchaburi

LO

OUST

armed fo

T

hai security forces took rebel twins, Johnny and Luther from Htoo, and 14 other Christian ethnic Karen insurgents Chiang Rai Thai forces into custody. The teenage brothers had led a selfagainst drug lord Khun declared God’s Army inside Myanmar, whose 150 followers his 200-mule opium ca had sought to create an autonomous or independent zone for Myanmar’s Karen minority. The long-haired Htoo twins Several thousand by planes and helicopte surrendered along the border at Ratchaburi. Since 2000, stronghold at Ban Hin T they had lost their ability to wage a guerrilla war and were (SUA). At least 1,000 re struggling to survive in the jungle. as fierce “We had seized them, including the twins, who are not so fighting flared After Thai and SUA healthy following our two-week-long encirclement sealing the a truce proposal put for broader area,” Maj Gen Mana Prajakjitr said. Tinsulanond stated: “A Followers of the Htoo twins claimed the brothers have narcotics trafficking, fac ‘black tongues’ and supernatural powers, but an inspection its drive again debunked those tales. They wanted to return home, gocontinue to destroyed.” It was estim school and live a normal life, and said they were between 13 of the region’s heroin. T and 15 years old. extensive Other Karen rebels taken into custody included some who headquarters and equipment as casu allegedly killed six Thai villagers in Ratchaburi in December 2000. Other God’s Army rebels were blamed for seizing In July, Khun Sa’s troops, fought against t a hospital in Ratchaburi in January 2000 and holding 800 side of Doi Lang mount patients and hospital staff hostage for 22 hours. Chronicle of Thailand is the story of Thailand during the reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Beginning on the day he was crowned, 9 June 1946, the book presents a vivide eye-witness­account of Thailand’s development through the major news events of the last 64 years. Alongside a grandstand view of events and quirky aspects of daily life that just happened to make the news, the book features thousands of rare and fascinating pictures and illustrations, repre­senting one of the most comprehensive photo collections of Thailand ever produced.

> Chronicle of Thailand

EDM Books | editor-in-chief

21 January Nicholas1982 Grossman | B1,450

comfortable

I

f you get married in Thailand, you’ll need a pair of matching round wedding pillows like these. One is for the bride and the other is for the groom. After the ceremony, they usually end up as decorations in homes. Or if your husband (or wife) happens to be a taxi driver, the set of sparkly cushions will most likely be proudly displayed in the back window of their cab.

EDM Books | editor-in-chief Nicholas Grossman | B1,450

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

still life in moving vehicles

a more

ride

> Chronicle of Thailand

Chiang Rai provinces. T displaced hundreds of v Border Patrol Police. In Sa’s new base on Doi L constructed 200 buildin

CiTy vS. COUNTRy

This cabby literally wears two hats. He dons a baseball cap when he’s driving his cab and puts on this straw hat when he’s farming. This is not uncommon in Bangkok as many cabbies here come from the countryside to drive a taxi between rice plantings and harvests, or when extra income is desperately needed. I asked the driver of this taxi which job he prefers and he told me that he would much rather do farming than drive in this city full of traffic jams and crazy people. Visual artist and academic, Dale Konstanz snaps photos of the sacred decorations and other bits and bobs he finds in Bangkok taxis, then writes about them on his blog, Still Life in Moving Vehicles (http://lifeinmovingvehicle.blogspot.com). Published by River Books, the spin-off book, Thai Taxi Talismans, is available at bookstores around town for B995. OCTOBER 2013 | 23

bangkok101.com bangkok101.com

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SIGHTSEEI NG

highlight

Joean’sgkok B

Award-winning writer Joe Cummings was born in New Orleans but became one of Lonely Planet’s first guidebook authors, creating the seminal Lonely Planet Thailand guide, as well as several other titles and updates for the region. Each month, he picks out his favourite cultural gems throughout Bangkok.

Wat Mangkon Kamalawat

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row of street vendors selling oranges, lotus dumplings and ritual burning paper along Charoen Krung Road announces the entrance of Wat Mangkon Kamalawat, Chinatown’s largest, liveliest and most important temple. Visitors who brave the labyrinth of corridors and courtyards devoted to Buddhist and Taoist deities will find themselves immersed in fragrant clouds billowing from burning incense and the clatter of Chinese fortune sticks. Sponsored by local Chinese merchants, and initiated in 1871 by Chinese Buddhist devotee Sok Heng (later ordained as Phra Ajahn Chin Wang Samathiwat), the temple took eight years to build and was originally known by its Chinese name, Leng Noei Yee. King Chulalongkorn gave the temple its Thai name, Wat Mangkon Kamalawat (Dragon Lotus Monastery) but most Chinese residents in the neighbourhood still call it by the old Chinese name. The central assembly hall, one of the compound’s more striking original structures, is designed in traditional 24 | OCTOBER 2013

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Chinese temple fashion, with curving, tiled roofs decorated with animal and floral motifs carved in stucco. The roof’s highest peak is crowned by a sculpture of two Chinese dragons facing each other and clasping a sphere carved to resemble a pearl, representing the attainment of wisdom. Inside stand four fierce-faced images impressively clad in traditional Chinese warrior garb, embodying the the Four Guardians of the World. Meanwhile, large gilded Buddha images line the main worship hall, where orange-clad monks sound gongs bangkok101.com

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highlight

and beat drums in tribute. Towards the rear of the temple, smaller chambers are dedicated to Kuan Yin, the goddess of mercy, and to Sok Heng, the temple’s founding abbot. In the back of the courtyard a glass-and-wood case contains 58 bronze Buddha images, the worship of which is said to bring health, success and longevity. Along the east side of the compound stands the multistorey monks’ quarters and Mahayana Buddhist school. Most of the resident monks have been ordained in the Mahayana tradition but there are also a few monks from the Thai Theravada sects in residence who come to learn about Chinese Buddhist practices and philosopy. Any time of day or night finds the temple packed with worshippers lighting incense, filling votive oil lamps and praying to their ancestors. One of the most colourful occasions to visit Wat Mangkhon is during Thailand’s annual Vegetarian Festival. Celebrated fervently by Thai Chinese for the first nine days of the ninth lunar month (this year from October 5-14)., the festival originated 150 bangkok101.com

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years ago on Phuket, when a visiting Chinese theatre troupe became deathly ill. Believing their misfortune came from failing to propitiate the nine emperor gods of Taoism, the troupe underwent a nine-day penance in which they followed a strict vegan diet, abstained from alcohol and sex, and practised self-mutilation using sharp blades. In Bangkok, only a devout few practise self-mutilation but thousands follow the other restraints, which includes dressing in white for the duration. Restaurants and food vendors near Wat Mangkon Kamalawat serve only vegan Thai and Chinese fare during the festival, announcing the fact with yellow flags emblazoned with Chinese script. Chinese New Year is another busy and auspicious time to visit the temple, if you can handle the constant barrage of firecrackers.

wat mangkon kamalawat

[MAP 8/13]

Pom Prap Sattru Phai

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listings

HISTORIC HOMES ANANTA SAMAKHOM PALACE Throne Hall [map 8/F8] Uthong Nai Rd, opp Dusit Zoo 10am-5pm | B150 Built during the reign of Rama V and completed under Rama VI, this former palace built of white Carrera marble is a masterpiece of Italian Renaissance and neo-classical architecture designed by Italian architects Mario Tamagno and Annibale Rigotti. The sumptuous interior is decorated with detailed frescoes of royal ceremonies and festivities by Italian Galileo Chini and Carlo Rigoli. No longer a palace, the building is now used for the royal opening of the first parliamentary session each year. A statue of King Rama V out front is worshipped by many Thais who believe the royal spirit can help them overcome life difficulties.

JIM THOMPSON HOUSE [map 4/A3] 6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama I Rd 02-216-7368 | jimthompsonhouse.com 9am-5pm 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. Inside is Thompson’s priceless collection of Asian art.

M.r. KUKRIT’S HOUSE [map 5/H8] 19 Soi Phra Pinit, Sathorn Rd | 02-286-8185 Sat-Sun 10 am-5pm, Mon-Fri by appt B 50 / B 20 kids Kukrit Pramoj was one of Thailand’s mostloved statesmen of the 20th century. A natural all-rounder, he was a poet, a writer and even served as prime minister. His peaceful teak abode with its lovely gardens is a terrific example of Thai architecture. 26 | OCTOBER 2013

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VIMANMEK MANSION [map 8/F8] 139 / 2 Ratchawithi Rd | 02-281-1569 9.30 am-4pm | 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.

wang SUAN PAKKAD palace [MAP 8/K11]

Si Ayutthaya Rd, Ratchathewi 02-245-4934 | suanpakkad.com 9am-4pm | B100 A former market garden was converted into a residence and garden by Princess Chumbot of Nakhon Sawan. Consisting of five reconstructed Thai wooden houses, Wang Suan Phakkat pays testament to her dedication to as a collector of Thai artefacts and antiques, including historic Khmer-style Hindu and Buddhist sculpture and Ban Chiang ceramics. The most famous feature of the complex is the Lacquer Pavilion, a small Ayutthaya-period temple structure brought from Ayutthaya whose lacquered walls gleam with gold-leaf jataka (stories of the Buddha’s past lives) and Ramayana murals as well as scenes from daily Ayutthaya life.

SHRINES ERAWAN SHRINE [map 4/G5] Ratchadamri Rd, near Grand Hyatt Erawan Open 24 hours Don’t expect serenity here. This is one of Bangkok’s busiest intersections: the crowded shrine to the Hindu creation god Brahma and his five-headed elephant Airvata (Erawan in Thai) is filled with worshippers lighting incense, buying lottery tickets and watching the traditional dancers and musicians, who are paid by grateful worshippers who have had wishes granted by Brahma.

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

TRIMURTI SHRINE [map 4/G3] Outside Centralworld and Isetan Department Store | Ratchadamri Rd If your love life is in the doldrums then this shrine is for you: at 9:30 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.

NENG NOI YEE [map 8/e13] Charoen Krung Rd | 9am-6pm | Free Known in Thai as Wat Mangkhon Kamalawat, this large, busy Chinese shrine harbours separate sections devoted to Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Bangkok’s annual Vegetarian Festival is centred here, when it is particularly packed with devotees lighting incense, filling altar lamps with oil and paying respect to their Chinese ancestors.

TEMPLES THE GRAND PALACE & WAT PHRA KAEW [map 7/D10] Na Phra Lan Rd, near Sanam Luang Tha Chang Pier | 02-222-0094 8:30am-4:30pm | B 400 Bangkok’s most beloved temple and top tourist site is a fantastical, mini-city sized royal complex enclosed by quaintly crenulated whitewalls. Building began in 1782, the year Bangkok was founded, bangkok101.com

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listings

and every monarch after 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  is dubbed the ‘Westerner with a Thai hat’ because the walls are European style while the roof is Thai.

WAT ARUN [map 7/B13] Temple of Dawn, Arun Amarin Rd 02-465-5640 | watarun.org 8am-5pm | B 20 Across the river from Wat Pho stands magnificent Wat Arun, or the Temple of the Dawn, one of the city’s most important religious sites. Originally founded in the Ayutthaya period as Wat Makok, and later named Wat Jaeng, it was rebuilt in the early 19th century by King Rama II. Before being moved to Wat Phra Kaew, the Emerald Buddha was temporarily housed here. The five-towered stupa is covered in colourful porcelain and designed as a representation of Mount Meru, the Hindu-Buddhist home of the gods.

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

Chetuphon, Thai Wang Rd 02-226-0369 | watpho.com 8am-noon, 1pm-9pm | B100 Officially known at Wat Phra Chetphon, the oldest and largest wat in Bangkok started life in the 16th century but was completely rebuilt at the end of the 18th century. Dubbed the Temple of the Reclining Buddha in English, it houses a 46-metrelong, 15-metre-high Buddha image lying on its right side, the largest reclining Buddha statue in Thailand. Combined, the four other sanctuaries in the compound together contain the most Buddha images of any Thai monastery.

WAT MAHATHAT [map 7/C8] Tha Prachan, Sanam Luang, Maharat Rd 02-221-5999 | 9am-5pm | Free An amulet market is situated opposite bangkok101.com

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this 18th-century centre of the Mahanikai monastic sect and an important university of Buddhist teaching. On weekends, market stalls are set up on the grounds to complement the vendors of traditional medicines. The monastery’s International Buddhist Meditation Centre (located in Section 5) hosts free classes in sitting and walking meditation three times daily.

WAT BENCHAMABOPHIT [map 8/f9] Si Ayuthaya & Rama V Rds 8am-5.30pm | Free Built of white Carrera marble in the late 19th century, Wat Ben’s main sanctuary is laid out according to a cruciform floor plan, unusual for Thai temple architecture. Beneath the principal Buddha image inside are interred the ashes of Rama V. The courtyard behind the chapel exhibits more than 50 Buddha images from around Thailand and from other Buddhist countries

WAT RATCHANATDA [map 7/K8] Mahachai Rd | 02-224-8807 9am-5pm | Free This striking temple on the corner of Ratchadamnoen and Mahachai Road features the bizarre Loha Prasat, a multitiered castle-like structure with 36 steel spires. Climb the spiral staircase to the top for good views of the old city and its many temples. On the grounds is a market selling Buddhist amulets and occult charms.

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WAT SUTHAT & the GIANT SWING [map 7/H9] Bamrung Muang Rd | 02-222-9632 8.30am-9pm | B 20 Wat Suthat is one of the most important Buddhist centres in the kingdom and home to excellent examples of bronze sculpture. The city’s iconic Giant Swing (Sao Ching Cha), where brave men used to swing up to great heights to catch a bag of gold coins in their teeth during annual harvest ceremonies, sits out front. Due to the frequency of injury and death, the ceremony was discontinued under Rama VII but the swing’s bright orange-red frame remains.

WAT TRAIMIT [map 6/L3] Yaowarat and Charoen Krung Rds 02-623-1226 | 8am-5pm | B20 Housed safely in this unassuming Chinatown temple is the world’s largest solid gold Buddha, standing three metres tall and weighing 5.5 tonnes.

WAT BOWONNIWET [map 8/d10]

WAT SAKET and the golden mount [map 7/L8]

Phra Sumen & Tanao Rds | 8am-5:30pm Free This stately monastery serves as national headquarters for Thailand’s minority Thammayut monastic sect, founded by King Rama IV while he was residing here as monk and abbot. All kings since then, including King Bhumibol, have temporarily ordained as monks here. Mahamakut University, Bangkok’s second Buddhist institute of higher learning, is also housed at Wat Bowon.

Worachak and Boriphat Rds 02-233-4561 | 8am-5pm | B10 This typical early Bangkok-style temples sits along the east side of the Golden Mount, an artificial hill that is the piled remainders of fortifications for a large chedi (stupa) that Rama III planned to construct on the site. After the hill collapsed under the weight of the stupa, Rama V encased the ruins in a brick-and-stucco wall and built a smaller stupa on top.

Wisut Kasat Rd | 0 2628-5550 8am-5pm | Free Known for its modernist 32m standing Buddha, Wat Intharawihan, was once the home of Luang Pho Toh, one of Thailand’s most revered monks. In addition to the tall Buddha statue, visitors worship at a hollowed-out stupa containing a lifelike was sitting image of the famous monk.

WAT INTHARAWIHAN [map 8/d10]

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listings

MUSEUMS – IN TOWN BANGKOK DOLL MUSEUM  [map 8/L11]

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

bangkokian MUSEUM [MAP 5/E3] 273 Charoen Krung Soi 43, Si Phraya Pier | 02-233-7027 Sat-Sun 10am-4pm | Free Smack in the middle of Bangrak, one of the most traditional districts of the city, find this oasis of four traditional Thai houses, one of them lovingly converted into a private museum by the compound’s charming owner, Ms Waraporn Surawadee. She decided to dedicate the place to the memory of her family and bygone daily life of Bangkok everymen – and open it to the public. While visitors shouldn’t expect breathtaking revelations here, the displays are nevertheless surprisingly fascinating. They include antiques and ceremonial items.

MUSEUM OF COUNTERFEIT GOODS [MAP 2/E12] Supalai Grand Tower Bldg Rama III Rd 02-653-5555 | tillekeandgibbins.com Mon-Fri 10am-4pm  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 28 | OCTOBER 2013

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spread the word about the perils of buying fake it’s open to Joe Public too. Over 3,500 items – from Ferrero Rocher chocolates to antimalarial tablets and a fake Ferrari motorbike – are neatly laid out, forgeries next to the originals.

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

THE NATIONAL MUSEUM [map 7/C6] 5 Chao Fa Rd, Sanam Luang 02-224-1333 | thailandmuseum.com Wed-Sun 9am-4pm | B 200 | no photo Previously a palace during the reign of Rama V, the National Museum features extensive displays of Thai artefacts from all of Thailand’s main historical periods, encompassing the Lanna, Ayutthaya and Sukhothai kingdoms up to the present day. Thai culture is well documented in sections on dance, music and drama. The first example of Thai literature and the Thai alphabet, inscribed by King Ramkhamhaeng on a black stone during the Sukhothai period, is also displayed.

RATTANAKOSIN EXHIBITION HALL [map 7/K7] 100 Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd, next to Wat Ratchanatda | 02-621-0044 nitasrattanakosin.com | Tue-Fri 11am-8pm, Sat-Sun 10am-8pm | B100 This multimedia museum a short walk from

Khao San Road offers a skillfully abbreviated introduction to an area that many admire, but few truly understand: Rattanakosin Island, Bangkok’s glittering birthplace. Wandering its eleven rooms  brings the area’s hard-to-fathom history, arts, architecture and traditions into much clearer focus.

MUSEUMS – IN TOWN ANCIENT SIAM (MUANG BORAN) [map 1/F6] 296/1 Sukhumvit Rd, Samut Prakan province | 02-709-1644 | ancientcity.com B 500 / B 250 kids / B1500 private guide in English for two hours Samut Prakan province’s Ancient Siam crams reproductions of 109 scaled-down facsimiles of the Kingdom’s most venerable palaces, temples, stupas, stone sanctuaries and traditional houses into a huge map-ofSiam shaped plot of land only an hour’s drive from the capital. Don’t come expecting a tacky theme park. Its late founder, eccentric culture preservationist Prapai Viriyahbhun, demanded that every replica look and feel like the real thing – only a bit smaller than the real thing to accommodate them in one space.

THAI FILM MUSEUM [MAP 1/E5] 94 Moo 3 Bhuddhamonton Sai 5, Salaya Nakorn Pathom province nfat.org 02-482-2013-15 | Sat-Sun tours: 10am, Noon, 3pm; Mon-Fri: by appointment Free The good folk at the National Film Archive of Thailand are fighting to preserve the country’s meagre film heritage, whether it be by restoring ragged reels of 16mm film to their former glory, screening rare films in its cinematheque, or guiding anyone interested around their museum. Film fiends will love inching around this space, modelled after the old Sri Krung film studio and filled with old cameras, props and costumes. bangkok101.com

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Orange power...

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ANNIVERSARY

Celebration!

For the month of October, we will feature family sharing set menus for 4 to 6 persons, prices starting from THB 1,400. Support us by wearing orange and receive a FREE welcome drink, tea and coffee included in set menu. GET A CHANCE TO WIN A SPECTACULAR PRIZE WEEKLY! For more information, contact (66) 2 302 5555 Marriott Executive Apartments Sukhumvit Park 90 Sukhumvit Soi 24,Klongton, Klongtoey 路 Bangkok, 10110 Thailand T: (66) 2 302 5265 | F: (66) 2 302 5252 E: measukhumvitpark@marriott.com Visit: bistrombangkok.com | facebook.com/marriottsukhumvitpark

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buffalo racing

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raditionally thought of as slow-plodding farm animals, water buffaloes get a chance to show how fast they can run at one of Thailand’s quirkiest festivals. Held on October 18-19 to mark Auk Phansa, the end of Buddhist Lent, on the full moon of the 11th lunar month, the Buffalo Racing Festival takes place in three Chonburi locations. The largest number of contestants celebrates in front of City Hall in Chonburi’s provincial capital, while smaller events take place in nearby Ban Bueng and Nong Yai districts. Jockeys and their water buffaloes sprint a distance of 100 metres, raising clouds of dust – or torrents of mud, depending on the weather – as the hefty animals stampede down the track at a surprisingly high speed, cheered on by hundreds of spectators. In the weeks leading up to the race, owners feed their buffaloes eggs and beer in the belief it will make their steeds stronger and faster. Other festivities include oxcart parades, Thai country music and dance performances and contests for the most beautiful female buffalo and for the best-decorated ox-cart. Vendor stalls offer local dishes, sweets, snacks and cold drinks. For further information, contact the Chonburi Development Institute at 03-828-4349, ext 104.

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up country now

Bathing Buddha Ceremony

Illuminated Boat Festival

October 12-20 Illuminated Boat Festival Just before sunset each evening lines of regal, candle-adorned barges glide down the Mekong River in Nakhon Phanom province, spewing fireworks and eliciting gasps from onlookers as they go. An end of Buddhist Lent religious rite, the Lai Reua Fai (literally, Flowing Fire Boats) festival also includes colourful street processions and cultural performances.

End of Buddhist Lent

October 19 End of Buddhist Lent During Buddhist Lent monks remain in their monasteries to avoid trampling rice plants on their daily walks. Marking the end of their confinement and the rainy season, Awk phansa finds people visiting their local temple to pray, monks being offered new robes, and is most notable for the nationwide torrent of festivals, some solemn, others fun-filled.

October 15 Bathing Buddha Ceremony Buddhism plays an important role in Thailand. The same can be said about rivers, which have been an indispensable part of Thai life for centuries. The Bathing Buddha Festival, in the northern province of Phetchabun, unites these two elements. Expect to see spectacular processions, cultural performances and the bathing of the main Buddha image in the Pa Sak River.

October 15-19 Wax Castle Festival Isaan’s Wax Castle Festival sees a grand procession of castles carved in beeswax being paraded through town to celebrate the end of, you guessed it, Buddhist Lent. Traditional Issan performances and folk dances also feature. In Sakhon Nakhon the festivities include longboat races with a trophy from HRH Princess Sirindhorn up for grabs.

October 18-19 Rap Bua Flower Ceremony For this photogenic ceremony unique to Samut Prakan province a large Buddha image is placed on a boat and floated down the town’s waterway, Khlong Samrong. Locals lining the banks then toss freshly cut lotus flowers on to the passing vessel to pay homage. This flower shower is rooted in a Mon legend about an image of Buddha that was once seen floating down the river. 32 | october 2013

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Wax Castle Festival

October 19 Naga Fireball Phenomenon Between 6pm and 9pm on the final night of Buddhist Lent, fireballs begin to rise from the Lao side of the Mekong river before disappearing. Legend has it that this display in the northeast’s Nong Khai province is naga (mythical serpents) shooting fireballs into the sky to welcome Buddha back from Tavatimsa heaven. bangkok101.com

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To nd a French Bistro more authentic than Chez PapĂŠ you have only one choice...

EVERY DAY SPECIALS Traditional home cooked French cuisine

Quality wine Yummy desserts!

Tel: 02 255 2492

info@chezpape.com www.chezpape.com

CHEZ PAPE

French Bistro

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Sukhumvit Soi 11

Open daily 5pm - 11pm

Weekend Lunch 11.30am - 2.30pm

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hotel deals

SCUBA DIVER PACKAGE ANANTARA SI KAO RESORT & SPA 198-199 Moo5, Had Pak Meng, Changlang Rd | 07-520-5888 | sikao.anantara.com Those who fancy learning to scuba dive with a Padi Scuba Diver – and qualified divers looking to brush up their skills or take their certification to the next level – can now take the plunge with three special scuba diving packages, starting from B9300 (per night) at Anantara Si Kao Resort & Spa. Available to book now for stays between November and April next year.

ASCOTT’S WEEKEND PACKAGE ASCOTT SATHORN BANGKOK

187 South Sathorn Rd | 02-344-2500 | the-ascott.com Enjoy 10 pecent off with these best available rates as part of Ascott’s Weekend Package, starting from B1500 per night, including complimentary daily housekeeping, WiFi access, a late check-out and a wide range of additional services and privileges. The special offer is available only for stays on Friday, Saturday and Sundays through to the end of the year.

OCTOBER discount The Kee Resort 152/1 Thaveewong Rd, Phuket | 07-633-5888 | thekeeresort.com This spectacular new hotel and plaza complex offers a quiet oasis of tranquility and luxury in the heart of the world-renowned Patong Beach. The Kee Resort provides you with the perfect blend of convenience and an unmatched location. Utilising state-of-the-art technology, the hotel’s 244 stunningly modern rooms, suites and penthouses are unlike any other found on the island.

GREAT HOLIDAY SALE SHERATON KRABI BEACH RESORT 155 Moo 2, Nang Thale Muang, Krabi | 07-562-8000 | sheratonkrabi.com Save up to 50 percent when you book your stay at Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort, one of the most popular resorts in the region for families and leisure travellers seeking a relaxing getaway experience. This stunning seaside retreat features 240 contemporary Thai style guest rooms. Rates start from B3995 for accommodation in a deluxe room.

HOLIDAY SAVER rachamankha 6 Rachamankha 9, Phra Singh, Chiang Mai | 05-390-4111 | rachamankha.com Enjoy a complimentary night’s stay at Rachamankha this month: for every booked three-night stay you can pay for just two nights and stay for three nights at the award-winning boutique hotel. In the heart of historic Chiang Mai old city founded in 1296, the 25-room and suite Rachamankha is next to Wat Phra Singh, the city’s most famous temple.

great value hideaway Avista Hideaway Resort and Spa

F o

39/9 Muen Ngoen Road, Tri-trang Beach, Phuket | 07-668-1681| avistahotelsandresorts.com If you book your vacation at Avista Hideaway Resort and Spa in Phuket for one day or more, you will benefit from a 50 percent discount on the best available rate. The resort offers five-star luxury and breathtaking views overlooking Tri Trang and Patong beaches. You’ll be surrounding by lush rainforests while enjoy refined comfort.

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Citadines ApartĂŠhotel Defining Vibrant Living In Sukhumvit, Bangkok

DAILY RATES STARTING FROM

1,600*

THB

The Ascott Limited invites you to discover the vibrant and colourful city of Bangkok and enjoy our special daily rates starting from THB1,600* when you stay at any of the four Citadines ApartĂŠhotels in Bangkok. Whether for business or leisure, we will make you feel right at home. Because life is about living.

For further information and global reservations, please visit www.citadines.com or call (66-2) 344 2500 or 1800 888 272 (Thailand toll-free) and quote Bangkok 101 at time of reservation. *Terms and conditions Rates are subject to 8% service charge and 7% VAT. Rates are subject to change without prior notice. Advance reservation required and apartments are subject to availability. Citadines Apart'hotel is managed by The Ascott Limited, a member of CapitaLand. It is the largest international serviced residence owner-operator with more than 200 properties in over 80 cities across Asia Pacific, Europe and the Gulf region. It operates three award-winning brands Ascott, Citadines and Somerset.

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chiang mai keeps on giving

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up country escape

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Chiang Mai is already a popular destination but its offbeat art scene, delicious street food and night markets can still offer plenty of surprises BY DAVE STAMBOULIS

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rowds of pilgrims jostle each other as they circumnavigate the golden chedi of Wat Phra That on Doi Suthep, clutching lotus flowers, their hands folded in prayer, as they make merit at Chiang Mai’s popular mountaintop temple. It is always crowded here but the number of visitors doesn’t detract from the cool air, exquisite religious design, and knockout views of Chiang Mai in the valley below. Doi Suthep epitomises the ability of Chiang Mai to continually attract and wow the visitor – and to reinvent itself. Back in town, my hosts drive me over to Wat Suan Dok, the Lanna flower garden temple that might just be Chiang Mai’s best-kept secret. Despite the fact that the 48 metre high gold chedi can be seen from all over the city, for some reason tourists don’t seem to make their way over here and the rows of white washed stupas which house the cremation ashes of Chiang Mai’s royal family sit eerily deserted, with only the soft footsteps of monks breaking the silence. Yet Chiang Mai, despite what the guidebooks may have one believe, is not only about the old temples and highbrow culture. Our next stop is at the cutting-edge new Art in Paradise 3D art museum, which has just opened its doors and claims to be the biggest 3D art gallery in the world. It is based completely on human interaction, visitors getting the opportunity to interact with all of the paintings and displays, using their imagination and creativity. My Thai compatriots take to the photo ops like sharks at a feeding, as Art in Paradise caters wildly to the Instagram and Facebook crowd. Some of the paintings are outlandish sci-fi creations, with dinosaurs or giant sharks or gorillas leaping right out of the pictures to attack. Sightseeing aside, the food in the north is one of the biggest attractions. First stop on our agenda is for a bowl of khao soi, Chiang Mai’s signature dish, composed of egg noodles, lime, shallots, chillies and a yellow curry soup base. Our hosts deposit us in front of a nondescript hole in the wall joint, where an awning blocking the sun hides a busy interior, packed to the gills with locals all clamouring for their daily bowl of noodles. Khao Soi Lam Duan Fah Ham has been making local khao soi for over 70 years, and in fact claims to have invented the Chiang Mai style of the Shan-Yunnanese curry. Images of monks and royal patrons that have graced the unassuming restaurant hang on the walls, along with all sorts of awards from throughout the years, but the scene at our table really tells the tale, with six silent diners, heads bowed, slurping up the noodles. Khao soi is not the only reason to come on a culinary journey to Chiang Mai. At Huen Muan Jai, modestly run by a former sous chef who has competed on the prestigious

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Iron Chef Thailand show, the décor is simple and the prices more attuned to a backpacker’s budget, yet the food is divine. The whole array of unique northern offerings here will amaze the toughest food critic, with perfect renditions of northern favourites like nam prik noom (green chilli dip) or gaeng hang lay (Burmese thick curry) coming out of the tiny kitchen every few minutes. Hard to find specialties like aeb pla, grilled catfish served with northern herbs and wrapped in banana leaves, or larb het top, seasonal mushrooms sautéed in a spicy salad are just a fraction of the items available here, and most of the menu will turn the Thai cuisine expert into a rank novice. More northern specialties can be found at Chiang Mai’s vast array of markets. One of my colleagues has gotten wind of the best sai oua (Chiang Mai spicy sausages) being available from a vendor over at the Thanin open air market near the Rajabat University. Sure enough, the lady has a Shell Chuan Chim award for her zesty sausages, and we ensure that she will be going home early, buying out most of her stock between the six of us. The Thanin market is blessed with some of the best food vendors in the country, well off the tourist track and extremely photogenic. Our last evening in Chiang Mai, we call in at the Walking Street Sunday night market. This spot, which alternates with the nearby Saturday night market, is anything but oldschool or unknown, and although it has only been around for several years, it has surpassed the night bazaar as the No.1 night-time tourist draw in Chiang Mai and has grown immensely in popularity as a showcase for young artists and other entrepreneurs. From paintings to herbal soap, 3 8 | OCTOBER 2 0 1 3

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and even a singing cop who plays guitar in full uniform, helmet and all, to raise funds for poor kids, Walking Street is a real tourist attraction. Yet, just like the temples, it isn’t overwhelming nor schmaltzy. One vendor, an enterprising young man, sidles up to try to sell one of his paintings, an image of Doi Suthep done on canvas. We have an early start and will be flying home without any check-in baggage, so his sales pitch proves unsuccessful. “Don’t worry – you can buy the next time,’’ he says, apparantly unfazed. “I am sure you will be back, no? Chiang Mai has a way of doing this to people.”

Getting There: Bangkok Airways, Asia’s boutique airline, flies several times a day from Bangkok to Chiang Mai from B1790. See bangkokair.com Stay: X2 Chiang Mai Villa (1/10 Manee Nopparat Rd Soi 2, 0918-084-257, x2lobby.com) is adjacent to the ancient Lok Moli Temple. Located on the north side of the old city moat, the villa is just minutes from downtown, yet completely hidden away in a cul de sac with a feel of utter privacy and quiet. Best of all are the promotional Lanna chic packages, which include Champagne breakfasts for 10 people and Kantoke northern Thai dinners. Rates start from 17,500 baht a night for the entire villa. Eat: Khao Soi Lam Duan Fah Ham (352/22 Charoen Rat Road, 05-324-3519) is famous for serving some of the best noodles around.

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buddha & baguettes

in Vientiane

Since the end of French rule the Lao

capital has carved out its own identity – while keeping the tasty food BY SARAH CUIKSA

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y hands grip the metal bar across the back of the songthaw’s roof as my feet teeter on the small ledge of its bumper. The truck-like taxi wobbles down a bumpy dirt road next to the Mekong River through Vientiane, Laos. It’s packed with locals – some returning from the market with bags of produce at their feet, some bleary-eyed from the mid-day heat, one clinging to an old printer in his lap – so I’m happy to forego a seat and instead, hang off the back bumper and clutch a metal railing. The taxi hits a series of potholes and dust clouds my vision. While it’s not the safest way to get to Buddha Park, it’s certainly not dull. Buddha Park is a collection of over 200 bizarre and eerie Hindu and Buddhist sculptures. At one end lies a spherical stone structure resembling a pumpkin with a demon’s open mouth serving as an entrance. Inside, a graveyard of cobwebbed statues and Buddhas surround three steep, dark staircases. The view after the haunting ascent to the top puts the park into perspective: dancers with four heads line the eastern corner, an octopus-like Vishnu with a crown of skulls hovers over the center. Lining the length of one of the park’s walls is the site’s largest statue, a reclining Buddha. It’s comparatively ordinary, and strange for that reason. Glimpses of orange appear between the weathered, concrete sculptures. A monk, guarding himself from the sun with a parasol, strolls between statues. When our eyes meet, he scurries over: he’s been waiting for visitors. The teenage monk tells me he spends his days in Buddha Park. In one year, he’ll leave the monkhood… and he’s got big plans. “I want to be politician,” he says confidently. “Do you like taking pictures?” he asks, noticing my camera. “Very much,” I respond. “Is that your husband?” he asks, indicating a male tourist that walks past. We continue through the park in this way. My new friend, eager to chat, probes curiously with a string of unconnected questions. It’s hard to tell him I have to leave the park. The return trip from the park is not quite as thrilling as the drive there, but equally memorable. Just before we reach city centre, the driver of a 10-seater bus pulls over to collect passengers’ fares. He stays parked for five minutes in order to meticulously fold each banknote; a tourist with broken English loudly and incessantly grumbles about the wait from the back. Suddenly, something shuffles beside my feet. There lies a chicken, enclosed in a plastic bag with just its neck poking out, inching its way closer. A woman across the bus looks amused at my bewilderment, unmoved by the complaints heard from the back. In Vientiane, unlike other Southeast Asian capital cities, appeasing or accommodating tourists isn’t paramount. This culture is best enjoyed at a Lao pace: unhurriedly. Though the same could be said of most of the region, this is a capital city - but you wouldn’t have guessed so. Here, traffic never halts and skyscrapers don’t outline the horizon. Everything is subtle, understated. It’s the type of impression the Lao National Museum gives immediately. Housed in an old, dilapidated Frenchcolonial mansion, the museum is nearly empty, and its bangkok101.com

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few visitors scuttle through and out. The exhibits and their descriptions are dated, a bit disorganised and poorly translated. And it’s enthralling. Not because I’m on my second cup of coffee, but because of the presentation of the exhibits – the way Laos has interpreted and explained their history. I quickly learn dinosaurs once roamed Laos: the femur of a dinosaur is encased near the entrance. Nearby, an exhibit describes the evolution of the human species through features found on skulls. It’s a simple cardboard sign that almost sarcastically states the bones of man’s earliest ancestors – 500,000-year-old homo erectus remnants – were found in northeastern Laos, but have since vanished in France, “so nothing further is known about them”. Most of these excavations happened within the past 25 years. Laos is the least studied country in the region, but its central location along the Mekong River – and OCTOBER 2 0 1 3 | 4 1

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the ancient artifacts haphazardly housed here – proves its archaeological importance. Yet, the Lao language has no specialised vocabulary for the science, nor the infrastructure to properly excavate and preserve its findings. While the displays are grammatically incorrect and the exhibits lack a chronological focus, the museum points to a bigger picture of Lao history and culture – and the exciting potential of a country that might contain some of the oldest, undiscovered human fossils. If Vientiane as a city is understated, Laos as a country is even more so. Upstairs, exhibits detail Laos’ political history, from the formation of the country from several separate kingdoms, to the country’s struggle to free itself from foreign invasion. Only in the last 50 years did the country regain its independence. Yet the time spent under French occupation has left a significant mark on the country. At lunchtime, that French influence lures me from the museum to the closest sandwich vendor. In Vientiane, the French baguette lives on. Next to every noodle soup stall is a vendor making sandwiches, called khao jee, behind teetering rows of stacked loaves. In every other bicycle basket, and on almost all restaurant menus, fresh baguettes are available with a variety of proteins– pate, pate and cheese, chicken, an omelette. After watching a local order a sandwich from the vendor, I motion for the same, nodding in confirmation to each meat, garnish and condiment she inserts. My sandwich is an expertly assembled combination of pate, cheese, diced cilantro, pork floss, julienned carrots and cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and a red chilli pepper sauce. This bread bangkok101.com

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isn’t simply getting buttered – the Lao have adapted the baguette to their own preferences. Ignoring my fear of the sauce’s spice factor, I take a bite. The sandwich is an indiscernible, delightful mix with a satisfying kick: the vendor has indeed been generous with the spicy sauce, but the cucumber and cilantro balance its intensity. My lips burn but my stomach’s satisfied. A Beerlao – the national beer, highly acclaimed and brewed in Vientiane – relieves the lingering spice. It’s made with polished rice in addition to barley, hops, yeast and water, giving the lager a unique flavor. I drink it alongside the Mekong at sunset, where a nightmarket has drawn both locals and travelers. Most food vendors are selling the brew out of a cooler; most travelers have one in their hand. When I buy a can, a young girl offers me a straw and a smile with it. The Lao are fiercely proud of their national beer. Its logo appears on every other sign hanging from a restaurant or bar, umbrella shielding the sun from a table, and guesthouse awning. Backpackers sport tank tops with the brand’s logo plastered across. The beer’s recognition is well deserved – each sip is crisp, light-bodied and refreshing, and gives a welcome chill to the heat emitting from a slowly setting sun. Drinking a Beerlao on the Mekong at sunset is commonly listed as a guidebook “to do,” and like the Buddha Park and National Museum, is well worth experiencing. But it’s more than Vientiane’s modest sightseeing circuit that make the city worth a visit – it’s the unassuming, understated charm that infuses it. OCTOBER 2 0 1 3 | 4 3

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fluorescent photogrpahy Radium Girls at the Toot Yung Art Centre (12/6 Soi 2, Soi 63 Sukhumvit Rd; 02-714-3766; tootyunggallery.com) shows again that French photographer-curator Claude Estèbe is an expert in Japanese visual culture. It was resonant in previous Bangkok exhibitions in which he dress-staged plastic dolls to raises questions about femininity, modernity and economic globalisation in Asia. In this latest series, Estèbe focuses on recent Japanese nuclear troubles at Fukushima through historical atomicradioactive pop referencing. His body of works reflects a fascination for atomic energy and technology. The plastic dolls, monsters and robots collected as photographic models are shot in fragments to deconstruct the harsh social realities involved in the deeper meaning of his images. The exhibition’s title, Radium Girls, is a reference to the 1920’s lawsuit filed by five dying young women against the US Radium Corporation for letting them work with fluorescent radium paint without any protection. The company’s management concealed the risks of radioactivity to their employees but took considerable precautions for themselves. Eventually, helped by widespread media coverage, the ‘radium girls’ won their case in the fall of 1928. Some died soon afterwards.

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A R T & C u lt u r e

exhibitions

Deconstructing Burma

Global Warming

global warming

Ardel Gallery of Modern Art [MAP 2/h11] 99/45 Belle Ville, Boromratchonnanee Rd | 02-422-2092 Tue-Sat 10.30am-7pm, Sun 10.30am-5.30pm | ardelgallery.com

Until October 20 Artist Lampu Kansanoh’s paintings brim with theatrical narratives and an endearing sense of humour. Centred upon intimate scenes that focus on a specific incident or gathering, the interplay of her subjects manifests through her acute ability to caricature.

Young Programme 2013

Mnemonikos

dennis balk: defaced fruit with american indians 338 Oida Gallery [MAP 8/l16] 1028/5 Pongamorn Building 4th Floor, Rama 4 Rd 0901-988-749 | Wed-Sun 1pm-5pm | 338oidagallery.com

Until October 31 Following on from engaging shows at Ver and H galleries, Bangkok-based American artist Dennis Balk returns with his latest exhibition, in which he brings together and reconfigures seemingly insignificant elements of contemporary existence.

deconstructing burma

Art in Effect Galleries [MAP 8/m16] Art In Effect Galleries, Sala Daeng Soi 1 | 0608-108-104 Mon-Fri 11.30am-9pm, Sat noon-6pm | artineffectbangkok.com

October 20 The collection consists entirely of paintings created by artists living in Myanmar. The artists, Tun T Lin, Khine Min So, Maung Myant Aung, K Kyaw, Min Yang Naung, and Zwe Yan Naing created all of the paintings. Some have political overtones; others focus on day-to-day life.

young programme 2013

La Lanta Fine Art [MAP 3/k8] 245/14 Sukhumvit Soi 31 | 02-260-5381 Tue-Sat 10am-7pm; Sun by appointment | lalanta.com

Until October 24 La Lanta Fine Art’s Young Programme is an initiative to seek, discover and promote the work by young artists from countries throughout Asia. The aim is to take a proactive role to reach out and nurture new talent, at the same time providing a platform for art experiments and new ideas. 46 | OCTOBER 2013

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Dennis Balk

mnemonikos

Jim Thompson Art Centre [MAP 4/a3] 6 Kasemsan Soi 2, Rama I Rd | 02-216-7368 9am-5pm | jimthompsonhouse.com

Until February 22, 2014 Curated by renowned Japanese textiles expert, Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, this show features 28 artists from Southeast Asia and beyond. Individual expressive explorations into memory, culture and environment, engage in a dialogue with a wide range of materials and processes. bangkok101.com

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The artist provocateur Tawan Wattayu’s latest exhibition will cement his reputation as an artist prepared to take risks. BY JOE CUMMINGS

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exhibitions

A R T & C u lt u r e

“Tawan invited over 100 live models to sit for him in the chulalongkorn university art centre”

O

ne of the most challenging exhibitions to be held at Chulalongkorn University’s Art Centre, Tii Tai Krua features the work of Tawan Wattuya, who is known for his unique watercolour approach to such topics as politics, eroticism, identity and social taboos. Before this project, Tawan had painted very few portraits from live models, preferring instead to work from images found on the internet or in magazines. For his latest project, he invited over 100 live models drawn from Bangkok’s art circle – including other artists, gallery owners, collectors and curators – to sit for him in the Art Centre gallery over a three-week period from September 16 to October 8. We visited Tawan on the first day he began painting in the gallery, turned into a temporary studio with all the necessities for creating art. Aside from watercolours, canvases and brushes, this included a comfortable sitting area furnished with stereo system playing vintage vinyl. We watched as Petch Osathanugrah, pop singer, actor and part owner of energy-drink producer Osotspa, sat on a bench reading Murakami’s hefty 1Q84 while Tawan daubed paint on to a canvas laid out on the floor. The artist continued in this vein for three weeks, painting five people a day, each sitting for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. After painting such disparate groups as beauty contestants, teenage gangs, boy and girl scouts, students and football teams, Tawan says it was natural for his attention to be drawn toward his immediate circle. “I’ve been watching Thai soap operas almost every day,” Tawan says. “I want the people that I’m painting for this project to appear as if they are characters in a soap opera. I also visited Angkor Wat this year and might use some of the ideas I saw in the stone bas reliefs there.” The resulting work, when pieced together, will extend bangkok101.com

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20 metres long and three metres high. The entire painting stage was recorded by time-lapse photography, to be shown as part of the public exhibition. The exhibition’s title, Tii Tai Krua, is a popular Thai saying that translates literally as ‘Beating the Back of the Kitchen’, but which figuratively means ‘making friends with someone’s wife or family for the purpose of personal gain’, a sly reference to the ambiguity of the relationship between artists, curators, collectors, and politicians involved in the art world. Asked about his art heroes, the artist names two from the ‘School of London’, Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon. “I recently bought a book of David Hockney’s work,” Tawan says. “And I look at it almost every day.” Chulalongkorn’s Art Centre has been talking to Tawan for nearly two years about the exhibition. Tii Tai Krua is also supported by Tang Contemporary Art and the Toot Yung Art Centre. French Bangkok-based curator Myrtille Tibayrenc has organised the exhibition. “When I first arrived in Bangkok, most contemporary art seemed overly tame to me,” she says. “Then I discovered Tawan, and was impressed with his penchant for provocation.” Without giving away any secrets before the show opens, Tii Tai Krua will surely add to Tawan’s reputation.

Tii Tai Krua october 10 -november 1 the art centre

[MAP 8/j14]

7th Fl, Office of Academic Resources, Chulalongkorn University, Phyathai Rd | 02-218-2965 | Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat 9am-4pm

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cheat notes

  Buddhist Murals of Northeast Thailand

Bonnie Pacala Brereton & Somray Yencheuy | B695 Books on Thai murals have tended to focus on those commissioned by the elite, namely those in Bangkok’s temples. Until now, that is. This glossy text casts its gaze on the more democratic, fun-loving and pastoral murals that encircle the sim, or ordination halls, of temples up in the Kingdom’s northeast, Isan. Homing in on temples in Khon Kaen, Kalasin and Roi Et, it’s an accessible primer to this unsung sub-school of Thai painting, with chapters on everything from the Buddhist and folk tales told, to how to ‘read’ them. The authors also draw intriguing links between them and the pha pha wet, or horizontal cloths, paraded at Isaan festivals. Full-colour close-ups of often bawdy scenes, which were painted using natural dyestuffs on a pale cream background, appear throughout.

 bangkok boy

AuChai Pinit | B525 In this misery memoir, Chai charts his downward spiral from carefree Isaan village boy to thug, male prostitute, alcoholic, gambler and all-round bad Buddhist. It’s “the story of a stolen childhood,” says the melodramatic cover, implying that his nefarious ways all stem from the sexual advances made towards him at 15 by a teacher. We’d posit, however, that Chai is far more perpetrator than victim – beating his girlfriend when drunk is his main schtick, for instance – and really only gets his karmic comeuppance. Sensationalist sell aside, this is a raw, taut and ultimately redemptive tale that explodes the myth that all red-light workers are abject souls bereft of choices. Chai has more than most and yet still he chooses to do anything – and we mean anything – for a quick buck and leg-up on Thailand’s face-gaining consumerist ladder. Bangkok Badboy would have been more apt.

A R T & C u lt u r e

  THE GENTLEMEN IN THE PARLOUR

Somerset Maugham | B430 Although best known for his novels and plays, Somerset Maugham is on fine travel-writer form in this account of his 1923 trip through Burma, Siam and Cambodia by steamboat, train, car and horse-cart. Opting to tell human interest stories rather than gush over the scenery, along the way he meets a hotchpotch of Eastern characters – from colonialist misfits to Burmese servants – and also finds time to ponder the nature of travel, Buddhism and metaphysics. Using elegant, redolent prose, he also compares Bangkok’s canals to London’s Oxford Street, gushes over Wat Suthat temple, pens a Siamese fairytale, and even lets us in on his famous stay at the Oriental Hotel, which is sullied somewhat by a nasty bout of malaria and the manageress’s fear of him dying in one of her rooms. Pour yourself a gin fizz and enjoy.

Khaw Hai Rak Jong Jaroen (Me… Myself) Pongpat Wachirabunjong | 2007 Gay angst meets lakorn-esque (Thai soap opera) boy-meets-girl tale in this confident, cross-dressing directorial debut. Lao-Aussie hunk Ananada Everingham stars as Tan, an amnesiac car crash victim who’s taken in by the surly young female driver, played by newcomer Chayanan Manomaisantiphap. Tan quickly ingratiates himself (by rearranging her apartment while strutting around – without any hint of irony – in a Hello Kitty apron) and soon the pair are lovers. The last 30 minutes drag, but the film’s memory-loss conceit does elicit interesting nature-nurture questions about sexual orientation. bangkok101.com

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brotherS OF THE

BIG APPLE Ekkarat Punyatara, an emerging Thai photographer, spent more than a year chronicling the every-day lives of Buddhist monks living in New York City. WORDS BY TOM STURROCK

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I

mages of Buddhist monks have become synonymous with Thailand, as familiar and well-worn as island paradises and bustling Bangkok cityscapes. But when Ekkarat Punyatara headed to New York, he set out to capture the lives of these monks, quintessentially Thai, in the most jarringly foreign of environments – specifically, the Spanish quarter of Queens. “Before, I was a freelancer for National Geographic and then went to New York to improve my English and take my photography to the next level – it was one of the best times of my life,” Ekkarat says. “But it wasn’t just the monks who found it hard at times. I did as well. New York was probably too fast for me, too shiny. But I liked the people – they all work hard and are crazy in a good way, very energetic.” The monks worshipped at one of the two temples in Queens – a branch of one of Bangkok’s temples but utterly different in appearance. It’s this clash between subject and surroundings that makes Ekkarat’s photos, exhibiting this month at Kathmandu Gallery, so engaging and, to some, confronting.

“A long time ago, before people went to school, it was monks who had the knowledge – if someone wanted to study, they needed to become a monk,” he says. “There is a gap between Thai people and the monks – we believe certain things about them but we don’t know where those beliefs come from. “Thai people have an illusion – an image or an ideal of what a good monk should be what a temple is meant to look like. But the temple I photographed in New York was totally different to what we have in Thailand and if Thai people saw a monk in the mall or drinking Starbucks, they might feel strange. I don’t feel that after doing this. “I wanted to capture the monks as human beings who stand firm on Buddha’s path, the middle way, where you are not too strict but not too easy either, which might make audiences more aware.” It’s Personal is showing at Kathmandu Photo Gallery (87 Pan Rd, Silom; 02-234-6700; kathmandu-bkk.com) from October 5-November 10.

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Duet of peshawari and saffron paneer tikka AT MAYA P61

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AROy water library revamps lunch

Chef Mirco Keller has launched a new lunch menu at Water Library Chamchuri (2F Chamchuri Square, Samyan; 02-160-5188; mywaterlibrary.com/chamchuri). There’s a focus on seasonal produce and fresh ingredients, which ensures the menu varies from day to day, but highlights include a tenderloin of Yarra Valley lamb with beans and fig, as well as the chicken fricassee with crispy potato and sun-dried tomato. For the seafood, try the Boston lobster with cherry tomato.

ruen urai updates menu

Every October, Ruen Urai (The Rose Hotel, 118 Soi Na Wat Hualumphong, Surawongse Road; 02-266-8268; ruen-urai.com) updates its menu and this year, seven new items include lotus petals and with salmon and crabmeat rolls in silken tofu sheets. The new selection also draws inspiration from street food, presenting a Cantonese favourite, mhu daeng bping, which is barbecued red pork served on a skewer.

new arrival, new york-style

The Hilton Sukhimvit Bangkok opened its doors last month and Scalini (Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok, 11 Sukhumvit Soi 24; 02-620-6666; hilton.com) already stands out as one of its most interesting outlets. The concept is vintage ItalianAmerican food – New York during Prohibition – combining traditional food with modern techniques. The menu overflows with elegant but saucy pasta, gnocchi and ragout as well as some top-drawer seafood and cuts of meat.

kisara hosts chef inoue

The Gourmet Japan Festival, headlined by guest chef Masami Inoue, runs October 8-16 at Conrad Bangkok’s KiSara (87 Witthayu Rd; 02-690-9999; conradbangkokhotel.hilton.co.th). Trained as a teppanyaki master, Inoue has worked at hotels and restaurants like the Royal Garden Hong Kong and the Ritz Carlton Tokyo. Her signature dishes include herb-infused foie gras mousse, teppanyaki Kobe beef sirloin with red wine and green pepper sauce.

fresh concept at crave

With its high ceilings and sweeping views, Crave (8F Aloft Bangkok, 35 Sukhumvit Soi 11; 02-207-7080; facebook.com/Crave.aloftbangkok) has already made a name for itself in competitive Soi 11. Now, led, by New York chef Mark Hannon, they’ve introduced a range of gourmet, tapas-style sharing platters, ranging from Korean cucumber to duck tacos, mojito salads to churrasco tenderloin. bangkok101.com

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FOOD & DRIN K

meal deals

SUNDAY FAMILY LUNCh

SIAM KEMPINSKI HOTEL BANGKOK

991/9 Rama I Rd | 02-162-9000 | kempinski.com/bangkok European and Asian favorites are elegantly served as a buffet as well as at your table while a live band plays popular tunes. Lunch highlights include a Caesar salad prepared according to your taste, Brasserie Europa’s signature pork belly with Iberico ham and mashed potatoes. It’s B2200 or B3150 if you want free-flow alcohol. For kids, it’s B1200 for children aged 6-12 while those under six can enjoy their meal for free.

AUTHENTIC REGIONAL CHINESE NOVOTEL BANGKOK ON SIAM SQUARE

566 Ploenchit Rd | 02-209-8888 | novotelbkk.com   A native of Hong Kong, Chef Leung presents an array of authentic home-style regional Chinese dishes, starting from B300 per dish at the award-winning Lok Wah Hin Chinese restaurant of Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square throughout October. Highlights, such as baked tofu ham with Japanese salad, duck stuffed with deep-fried taro and baked prawns with Chinese spinach and stir-fried sea scallops tare prepared just the way his mother made.

freaky halloween burger 25 Degrees

Pullman G Hotel, 188 Silom Rd | 02-238-1991 | 25degreesrestaurant.com/bangkok Available for one freaky week only, from October 24-November 3, the Halloween burger is pure American Angus beef, layered with the savoury pulp of pumpkin, a thick slice of cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce and a touch of wicked chili, and served with crispy ranch onion rings and pumpkin soup. Wash it down with a glass of Bloody Beet Juice. Try it and wish it was Halloween all year round! The set is only B400.

HALLOWEEN TREATS AND FRESH SEAFOOD NOVOTEL BANGKOK ON SIAM SQUARE

566 Ploenchit Rd | 02-209-8888 | novotelbkk.com   To celebrate Halloween, the creative kitchen team at The Square gets in the mood to present an array of Halloween Treats both sweet and savoury. The special treats include monster salad, traditional pumpkin soup, pan-fried salmon on Bloody Mary sauce and fresh baked pumpkin tarts nestled amongst the fresh delights from the sea. It’s part of the the international seafood buffet on October 31 for B1050.

CHABA AT MISS SIAM HUA CHANG HERITAGE HOTEL

400 Phayathai Rd | 02-217-0777 | huachangheritagehotel.com The Chaba Thai set (B650 per person) is available for daily lunch and dinner until the end of the year. It features the finest Thai dishes, including mouth-watering appetisers. In this special set, the master chef offers papaya salad with grilled chicken, rice noodle with garlic oil and stir-fried mushroom with oyster sauce. Guests also enjoy a delicious beef massaman curry, stir-fried glass noodle with crab meat, deep-fried fish cake and special Thai desserts.

Taihei hosts chef masami BANYAN TREE BANGKOK

21/100 South Sathon Rd, Sathon | 02-679-1200 | banyantree.com Japanese chef Masami has moved around the world, working throughout Asia and Europe. Until the end of the year, Taihei, Banyan Tree’s Japanese restaurant, will feature different selections from the master’s vast culinary repertoire. Head down to Taihei for a dining experience that will leave you wanting more and meet the mastermind behind Taihei’s creations. It’s all the way up on the 53rd and 5th floors.

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review

FOOD & DRIN K

maya

- Inspired Indian Each new month brings a glut of new openings in Bangkok but few places are quite as conceptually ambitious as Maya, way up on the 29th floor of the Holiday Inn on Sukhumvit 22. The sparkly, expansive foyer fans out into an unusual L-shaped space, dining room in one direction, merging into a lounge bar in the other. In terms of the food, it’s modern or progressive Indian cuisine that contains more than a few surprises. First, though, the cocktails (all B295) – although the selection is a little bit on the sweet side, it’s clear that some real effort has gone into devising some interesting combinations with Indian twists. The vodka khatta pudina starts simply with a mix of vodka and guava juice before adding a dash of cumin powder, while the tamarind margarita adds an exquisite sweet-and-sour edge to the familiar base. This willingness to experiment is also borne out in the food – try the murgh chandi kebab (B380), with chicken marinated in yoghurt, cardamom and mace before being finished with edible silver leaf. Or the raan e Maya (B900 for half a leg, B1600 for the whole), which takes a baby leg of lamb coated in rum and house marinade, slow-cooked in a tandoor oven. The seabass moilee (B550) is also impressive, the fish bangkok101.com

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pan-seared in ginger-infused coconut milk. The tawe ki machli (B750) offers a striking seafood counterpoint, offsetting the mild flavours of a snow fish with south Indian tomato and black olive chutney. Duck doesn’t normally get a run on an Indian menu but at Maya, the duck tikka kuti mirch (B440) marinates it in chilli flakes, garlic and sun-dried spices to delicious effect. Equally, the Indian staples are well-represented and executed with well-chosen updates. For example, the nawabi chicken tikka salad (B220) takes the well-worn chicken tikka but infuses it with Glenmorangie whiskey and serves it with a honey reduction. As with many new places, Maya is still trying to find its groove in terms of atmosphere – the bar-restaurant balance is not an easy one to strike – but there are enough intriguing ideas at work to suggest it will become a favourite among those who fancy Indian food with a difference.

MAYA

[MAP 3/l10]

29F Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit 22, 1 Sukhumvit Soi 22 02-683-4888 | mayathailand.com | 5pm-1am

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FOOD & DRIN K

review

cellar 11 - A modern banquet As busy as Sukhumvit Soi 11 is in the wee hours of a Saturday night, it becomes a remarkably quiet stretch once it turns right at the end – as opposed to going left to Q Bar and Apoteka. In this relatively sedate part of the street, Cellar 11 stands out invitingly, a spacious, stylishly refurbished restaurant split over two floors – three if you count the cellar below, stacked with wines from all over the world. The menu is essentially European, drawing mostly from French and Italian, neither entirely traditional nor rushing headlong into new-fangled modern techniques for the sake of it. For example, the scallop cappuccino (B580) comes with morel, champignon and porcini mushrooms. There’s a trend to increasingly match scallops with lighter flavours, sometimes sweeter or citrus-based, but the seasoning here is a reassuring return to a warmer, earthier mix. Conversely, the Toulouse foie gras (B620) is dressed with a choice of peach, raspberry or porto sauce. But it’s even more traditional fare that really impresses – the onion soup (B260) is one of the most familiar staples of any French kitchen but it is elevated here by the addition of chicken stock to add texture and a layer of gruyere cheese to add bite. Belying its simply presentation, the taste is exquisite. Similarly, the angel hair sea urchin pasta (B950) is straightforward enough but the taste of fresh sea urchin is one of the most memorable aspects of the meal. 62 | OCTOBER 2013

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It’s this low-key attenion to detail that emerges as the hallmark of Cellar 11’s food and it’s evident again in the duck confit (B690) that comes with crushed truffle in a pool of glorious honey thyme sauce. And the rack of Australian lamb (B990) is equally impressive, crusted with herbs and served with dauphinoise and a garlic rosemary sauce that lingers on the tongue. The desserts are equally satisfying, the soft bitter chocolate cake (B320) coming with vanilla ice cream and mixed berries – no matter how many times this dish appears, it’s still deeply satisfying to watch that chocolate sauce spill forth from inside the pudding once it’s opened up. Overall, Cellar 11 delivers – the food and the interior and wine are all shot through with good taste and there are some surprising highlights along the way.

cellar 11 wine bar & bistro

[MAP 3/f7]

71/1 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 02-255-5833 cellar11.com | 6pm-midnight

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FOOD & DRIN K

review

chez pape - French with flair Regular visitors to Sukhumvit Soi 11 will no doubt be familiar with the handy laneway that runs left from Cheap Charlie’s – it is, after all, one of the more useful little dining stretches in that neighbourhood, revealing a wide selection of well-executed but still accessible and unpretentious restaurants. Amid this melting pot is the delightfully Gallic Chez Pape, its walls lined with hundreds of pictures of French luminaries, its décor lovingly recreating Parisian bistros. For the most part, the menu brims with traditional French fare, an indulgent roll call of sauces and great bread, seafood and meat. Those in the mood for a proper French feast won’t be disappointed but that’s not to say Chez Pape feels routine. Rather, there are enough surprises, both in terms of the combinations and the presentation to elevate Chez Pape’s food to something altogether more impressive. Starting with the appetisers, there is a ceviche of barracuda in chilli and citrus (B160) or the tartare of avocado, crab and green apple (above right, B200), both hitting the right notes: light, fresh, seafood flavours offset with the right amount of seasonings. But perhaps it’s in the more provincial dishes that Chez Pape really declares its hand, offering a port-marinated foie gras terrine, served with toast and mango marmalade (B285). It’s not unusual to see foie gras served with sweetish, fruity sides but here the mango is subtle enough that the foie gras still stands out. bangkok101.com

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The early courses are certainly impressive enough to build expectation for the mains without being so concept-heavy that they create confusion. And, indeed, the big plates tell you everything you need to know about Chez Pape’s ambitions. The pan-seared beef flank, an exquisite cut of meat, comes with goat-cheese ravioli and garnished with virgin sauce (B450) – it’s a deeply satisfying combination. Twisting the formula a little further is the duck breast served with apples, spinach and Japanese citrus dressing (B510). It’s a fine example of Chez’s Pape’s commitment to doing the inimitably French things well while borrowing and augmenting with inspired touches from elsewhere along the way. It may sound like a challenge but leave room for dessert as the poached strawberries in syrup and ice cream (B230), although they sound straightforward, are a highlight.

chez pape

[MAP 3/f9]

1/28-29 Soi Sukhumvit 11 | 02-255-2492 | chezpape.com 5pm-11.30pm, Sat-Sun also 11.30am-2.30pm

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FOOD & DRIN K

review

moulin - A rewarding mix It’s hard to know quite what to expect from this newish arrival to the backstreets of Thong Lor, with a menu that shoots off in a few different directions and a setting that has spliced together a whirlwind of cabaret trimmings. This lack of a clearly identifiable theme may throw some diners but the food – broadly defined as trendy New York fare, channelling the foodie diversity of that city – does not disappoint in the slightest. If the concept is slightly confusing, the flavour, technique and presentation of the food is an emphatic winner. If you start with the crispy crab cakes with mango salad (B420) the Big Apple vibe rings clear enough but the scallop carpaccio (main image, B340), served with fresh fruit and chocolate sauce, sets the mind spinning all over. Scallops in chocolate sauce? Crazier still is that it really works. Among the mains, the pan-fried blackened seabass served with dirty rice (B480) takes diners from the east coast on a trip to the Cajun south, helped on the way by the spicy shrimp gumbo (B380). It’s at this point that you really just have to stop worrying about categorising this experience and instead sit back and enjoy, not least because the gumbo is spectacular. It’s got all those amazing elements of a big Louisiana cook-up, the fire in the first mouthful all the way through to the peppery, smokey aftertaste. In a menu that’s heavy on experimentation, the gumbo is brilliantly authentic and is worth the visit on its own. 64 | OCTOBER 2013

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But we’re back on to a bold new path with the duck lasagna, homemade and stuffed with mushroom and mozzarella (B380), taking another staple of the New York melting pot and giving it a wild, completely successful shake. The desserts are more straightforward but still worth staying for, the strawberry cheesecake (B200) delectably creamy and the mango crepe (B240) shot through with that refreshing tang. If there is a criticism of Moulin, it’s that not much thought has gone into the cocktails, which are unbalanced and too reliant on sweet, brightly coloured liqueurs. There’s room for improvement there - the food is so inventively successful that it would be wonderful to see the same studied flair and confident presentation applied to the booze.

moulin

[MAP 3/r8]

No.88 Thong Lor Soi 5 | 02-712-9348 moulinsquare.com | 5.30pm-11pm, Fri-Sun also 5.30-11pm

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review

FOOD & DRIN K

the oyster bar

- A feast of oysters and paella You know the owner of a restaurant takes his seafood seriously when there are several pages of the menu devoted entirely to oysters. With Billy Marinelli, owner of the Oyster Bar in a foodie enclave of Chong Nonsi, customers are in good hands. As a seafood wholesaler, Billy has a particularly keen eye for good produce and, as far as his restaurant goes, seems less concerned with turning a profit than with running a place where he likes to eat. Those oysters have been brought in from all over the world – you’ll find them for B75-B150 each, discounted if you go for a dozen. If you’re overwhelmed by the vast selection, Billy is generally on hand to offer his expert advice. If you’ve brought your most serious appetite, move on to the seafood platter (B2000 for two or B3500 for four or more), offering a gorgeous pile of oysters, scallop sashimi, bay shrimp, seaweed salad, Dungeness crab, mussels, clams and caviar. The presentation is impressively straightforward, emphasising the produce without the unnecessary bells and whistles. The portions here are generous – and remarkably affordable given the quality – but they’re unlikely to last long once they land on the table as every part of the platter positively glows with that slightly briney goodness. bangkok101.com

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A string of highlights follow: the seared Alaskan scallops with mango puree and pickled shallots (B450) adds a fruity tang to the soft, subtle flesh that barely needs chewing. The fish of the day will vary but it would be unwise to overlook the wild salmon (B600), served more simply but prepared with an unmistakable sense of what good salmon does in a customer’s mouth. For some diners, that may be enough but for those prepared to carry on, the rewards are well worth it. The seafood paella (main image, B600 for two) is as good at it gets, rustically presented, steaming with spices and sauce, a mountain of mixed seafood to be ladled out and shared. If that style of communal, hot and hearty dish makes your mouth water, the seafood paella will have you returning several times. It may be tempting fate to go for dessert but the mango yoghurt (B180) and chocolate fondat (B200) make a smashing finale to one of the most enjoyable meals in Bangkok.

the oyster bar

[MAP 2/e11]

395 Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra 24 | 02-212-4809 theoysterbarbangkok.com | Mon-Sat 6pm-11pm, Sun noon-10pm

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CUISINE ART Introducing our New Creations Every October our newly created dishes and inspired menu debut. Influenced by Thailand’s diverse regions, cultures and lifestyles, our gastronomic creations vary from royal Thai cuisine to refined home-cooking. Experience fine Thai culinary art in the elegant ambience and the secret oasis of Ruen Urai, “the House of Gold”. Casual dining and bar from noon to 11 pm. 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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10:35 AM

street eats

FOOD & DRIN K

JOK POCHANA

Stomach growling after a wild night spent partying on Khao San Road? Amid 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, 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 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 – 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. bangkok101.com

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JOK POCHANA

[MAP 8/d9]

84 Soi Samsen 2, Samsen Road | 02-281-0453 | 6pm-4am

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in the kitchen

DAVID MORELL talks to Howard Richardson

Much of the food at Lord Jim’s seafood restaurant takes the modern art school approach to presentation. They use a palette of colourful blobs and smears and vegetable twirls on plates of deep marine blue or decorated with sea urchins. But, today, German chef David Morell, who has previously worked with the Michelinstarred Thomas Neeser, has something different in mind. The cooking mainly happens in a large, open kitchen, opposite the sweeping, full-wall bay windows that overlook the river. Chef leads the way past jars of oils infusing with herbs to a cluster of stainless steel worktops. “Today, I am going to cook seabass in salt crust,” he says. “It’s Lord Jim’s signature dish; a very old-fashioned traditional recipe. You stuff herbs in the belly of the fish and cover it with a thick layer of salt. “It works like pastry to isolate the fish and really retains the moisture. It’s one of the best things you can do to a fish to display its own flavour. You need about double the weight of salt to fish. It’s in big grains, not processed or bleached. You add some water and mix it together, and it becomes workable, like wet sand in a sandbox.” He pats it into a fish shape with a hollow at the centre. Then, he takes the beautifully fresh, glistening seabass and places whole herbs inside a slit in its stomach: “Parsley; a bit less rosemary – it’s a very dominant flavour – more thyme; and, finally, lemongrass.” Then, he pops the fish inside and packs more salt on top, so the fish is encased like a mummy in a casket, complete with its likeness on the surface – tail, fins and eyes carved on 68 | OCTOBER 2013

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with a knife. He carefully slices along the side of the crust: “Doing this, it will bake in two halves and be easier to open. Now, it goes into the oven at 200 degrees for 35 minutes.” At the table, with boat traffic gliding past the twinkling fairy lights on the hotel’s terrace, the fish arrives on a trolley, the salt grains sparkling like tiny crystals. It’s simply served an oval plates with crispy green salad, creamy potato gratin and a tower of sauces, including olive oil and garlic, white wine and butter, tamarind, and everyone’s favourite (at our table, at least) spicy seafood. The flesh is velvet soft on the outside, meaty within, and the herbs give merely a subtle taste variation. As David promised, the main flavour is just top-quality, sea-fresh fish.

lord jim’s

[MAP 8/f17]

Mandarin Oriental (48 Oriental Avenue | 02-659-9000 mandarinoriental.com/bangkok | Noon-2.30pm, 7-10.30pm

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ealtike

Nym

I

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

A-Meuy’s Koong Ob Woonsen

have some friends who rent an old-style house in St Louis, just off St Louis 3, also (less romantically) known as Sathorn Soi 11. Their house is a sanctuary where the bustle of Bangkok seems to mysteriously fade. Their jungle-like garden is a haven for local wildlife and an army of cats. It’s also our regular venue for homecooked meals. But there are times when slaving over the stove just doesn’t appeal. In those instances our back-up plan is just a short walk away. Just around the corner lies a street-food treasure trove. Like the rest of Bangkok, St Louis doesn’t sleep. Day and night the street bustles with life and the air is thick with a mix of exhaust fumes and food aromas. The sweet perfume of Bangkok. As the sun sets, new groups of vendors begin setting up their stands along the pavements. The feast is about to begin. St Louis’s least-known but most delicious treasure is A-Meuy’s Koong Ob Woonsen. ‘Woonsen’ is the Thai word for the translucent green bean noodles which form the base of this dish. ‘Koong’ refers to the shrimps at its heart. And lastly the word ‘ob’ tells a Thai-speaking customer that the tasty ensemble, seasoned with pork fat, ginger and whole black peppers, is baked. Like most food in Bangkok, each vendor adds a

personal twist to a well-known dish, making it their own. ‘A-Meuy’ serves fabulous quality woonsen but her real triumph is the killer sauce – a mixture of lime and chilli – which bathes her dish. The recipe is a hybrid of traditional Chinese cuisine and seafood from the islands. You can enjoy A-Meuy’s Koong Ob Woonsen sitting on stools around one of her tables in a side alley or you can order it to go. A-Meuy’s Koong Ob Woonsen is closed on Monday but otherwise open 6pm-11pm. It’s on Sathorn Soi 11, opposite a shop called Top Charoen Glasses.

Zoey Jones @ ThreeSixty Millennium Hilton Bangkok Return to Bangkok’s entertainment, Zoey is performing at the hotel’s sky-high Lounge on the 32nd floor, ThreeSixty until November 2013. For a night to remember, join our team at ThreeSixty for the sophisticate Gin Tonic menu, all expertly mixed with songs in the key of Zoey. Open daily: 5.00 p.m. – 1.00 a.m. Sunday - Thursday: Live music starts from 8.30 p.m. Friday - Saturday: Live music starts from 9.00 p.m.

Millennium Hilton Bangkok HiltonBangkok 123 Charoennakorn Road, Klongsan, Bangkok 10600, T: +66 (0) 2442 2000 E: bkkhi.informations@hilton.com, hilton.com

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listings

Bo.Lan

thai bo.lan [MAP 3/o12] 42 Sukhumvit 26 Soi Pichai Ronnarong Songkram | 02-260-2962 | bolan.co.th Tues-Sun 6pm-10.30pm Since setting up shop on a snug cul-desac running off Sukhumvit soi 26, Bo.Lan has carved out a niche for itself among the myriad restaurants promising authentic Thai food. Whereas some restaurants have adapted Thai flavours to suit western palates, at Bo.Lan, the commitment to tradition is as unswerving as the all-wood Lanna-style furnishings are gorgeous. It’s a welcoming atmosphere and the menu immediately intrigues. The Bo.Lan Balance menu (B1880) offers customers a selection of mid-sized dishes, beginning with an impressive amuse bouche that includes a particularly satisfying mouthful of Thai noddles with dumplings, where a slow-burn spice silhouettes a refreshing zest and the delicate presentation does not detract from intense flavours. The main selection of dishes comes out in a flurry – there’s beef with organic mangosteen and a chilli-mint dressing, relish of salty duck egg in coconut cream, with mince prawn and grilled squid, as well

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as a stir-fried pork with santol. It’s highquality produce and the attention to detail throughout is striking, although the bolder notes of chilli and lime risk overshadowing more subtle undertones. If you want to stray from the set menu and branch off a la carte, the grilled pork salad with rambutan, herbs and red chilli (B420) is a winner, as is the northern-style hot and sour soup with banana blossom and chicken on the bone (B240). It’s worth sticking around for dessert, though – Thai sweets can sometimes be a bit too super-sweet and gloopy to really hit the spot but the immaculately presented selection of fresh fruit, Thai toffee and edible decorations, all served on a rustic wooden platter, is a fitting symbol of Bo.Lan’s modus operandi: essentially Thai, delivered with panache.

Chon [Map 8/E6] The Siam hotel, 3/2 Khao Rd, Dusit | 02-2066999 | thesiamhotel.com | Noon-11pm The signature Thai restaurant at the exquisite Siam hotel sits in one of three beautifully preserved wooden houses once owned by Connie Mangskau, a friend of silk pioneer Jim Thompson. A wooden statue of mother and child greets as you enter, lying on a table to resemble a reclining Buddha. There are orchids and candles on the tables, old mirrors on the walls, and slender standing lamps that cast light from delicate grilled metal shades. Viewed through wooden shuttered windows, the river flows beyond the palms. Blair Mathieson, who was previously chef for three years at the Chedi, in Chiang Mai has designed a small home-style menu, with

Jim Thompson House food far more impressive than the slightly insipid Siam Mojitos on the list of cocktails (B390). Dishes worth returning for include the pomelo salad, Yum Som O (B320), which has the textural addition of water chestnut and occasional pieces of toasted coconut to add interest. For luxury, a sliver of lobster tail lies on top. Sa Lat Phed Todd (B350) has juicy soft, almost pâté-like slow roasted duck flesh contrasting with light crispy skin, gained by flash frying in a wok. It’s a delicious dish, served with a sticky sweet tamarind sauce.

Jim Thompson House and Museum [MAP 4/A3] 6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama 1 Rd | 02-612-3601 jimthompson.com | Noon-5pm, 7pm-11pm Pity the hungry tourist who arrives at the Jim Thompson house hoping for authentic Thai food. Or so you would think – believe it or not, our number two tourist attraction is home to a restaurant that pairs a sumptuous, silk-and-fabric strewn setting with some surprisingly unusual Thai food. Add drinkable white or red house wine at B200 a glass, and a daily 4:30-7:30pm happy hour (buy one get one on house wine and draught beer) and there’s absolutely no reason to be sniffy about the place.

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listings Paste

There are typical Thai dishes, yes, but there are also lots that aren’t. For a new taste sensation try the intensely spiced sang wah goong kub pla duke foo, also known as oldfashioned grilled prawn salad with traditional herbs, fresh vegetables and crispy catfish. Not only is this dish served in an intricately carved pumpkin, but each and every condiment is prepared with an artistic flair that does late silk tycoon Jim Thompson’s artistic legacy proud. A restaurant that works for groups of diners with diverse tastes, other notable dishes here include the pleasantly mild kaeng khao puak, or crispy wispy fried taro; as well as more adventurous options like the rarely seen tom som pla gra pong khao, sea bass fish soup laced with a savoury tinge of tamarind.

PASTE [MAP 3/P6] 120/6 Sukhumvit Soi 49 | 02-392-4313 pastebangkok.com | Tues-Sun noon-2.30pm, 6pm-late One of the most talked about and innovative newer Thai restaurants is tucked to one side of soi 49 in the backstreets of Thong Lor. But if the entrance is easily overlooked, the modern Thai food inside is unlikely to be forgotten. For entrees, the dry-spiced chilli squid,

topped with vinegar and tomato relish (B240) is a winner. Among the mains, the prime cuts of Australian red meat stand out invitingly from the local produce – the braised beef ribs with ginger rice, tamarind leaves and mushroom soy (B380) are perfect if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty. The roast duck salad with lychee and Vietnamese mint (B380) packs an immediate punch but it is the hint of banana blossom that delivers a surprising, sensational finish. And then there is the tamarind and caramel pork belly with moonflower, red okra and green chilli pickle (400). It’s an inspired combination, the pork belly coming apart effortlessly while its outer layer retains a rainbow of flavours, its richness lightened perfectly by the moonflower and okra. Overall, Paste is a triumph, fusing tradition and innovation with a confidence and craft that never veers into showiness. Good food is often described as “tasty” or “delicious” but these descriptions are fleeting – the best meals go a step further and stay with us long after the plates are cleared. And, on that score, Paste delivers with exceptional panache, serving food that is not just instantly gratifying but truly memorable.

AMERICAN BURGER FACTORY [MAP 3/t2] 3 Soi Ekkamai 10 | 02-714-4249 | facebook. com/theburgerfactory | Sun-Thurs 11:30am11pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-midnight Stylishly wrought in black metal, the Burger Factory seems to owe more to the ironsmith’s atelier than your typical American-style diner. Not that that’s a bad

FOOD & DRIN K

Burger Factory thing – unlike your typical American-style diner this joint located in the corner of a hip but low-key strip mall on Ekamai Soi 10 looks every inch the after-work hangout, like a stylish gastro-bar. Thanks to the floor-toceiling windows the space is bright, and there’s a small outdoor terrace. So, how do they go down? We chomped on three from the list of eleven burgers, all of them cooked medium, as is the default here. The first, the Patty Melt (B300), was compact and handsome, with a generous layer of caramelised onions and melted gruyere and Gouda cheeses. The second, the Red Devil Burger (B300), was heftier and messier due to its extras: an omelet and thick layer of spicy sauce. Both hit the spot (thankfully, the latter didn’t live up to the menu’s “the most spicy burger on earth” claim); but for us it was the least fancy of the three, the Factory Burger (B290), that impressed the most. Sinking your teeth into this trim bacon cheeseburger, you could taste the homemade-ness, as the patty flaked in the mouth, releasing a succulent burst of flamegrilled flavour. Accompanying it were some squiggly, seasoned curly fries (other options: French fries or homemade potato salad), and washing it down was a vanilla milkshake –

49 Sukhumvit soi 49 - Terrace 49 Building 2nd floor - reservation +6622041731

LA

OTTEGA

www.labottega.name

private wine room - open lunch and dinner Photography for La Bottega by Studio NUMA bangkok101.com

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Little Beast a tasty one, albeit lacking the thick, creamy texture we’re used to. Should you want more, there are also grilled meats, tasty BBQ ribs (B300) and a couple of house salads available.

Little Beast [MAP 3/Q6] 44/9-10 Thonglor Soi 13 | 02-185-2670 | facebook.com/littlebeastbar | Tue-Sat 5:30pm-1am, Sun 5:30-midnight The interior designers behind this cosy, clubby little gastro-bar are PIA Interior, the same talent who conjured up the enjoyable, Old Siam-style over-the-topness of the recently opened boutique hotel, Hotel Muse. Here, though, the 1920s Prohibition-era feel is not as flamboyant or overwrought, with a concrete rawness marrying with the dimmed lighting, wood accents and button-tufted, black leather chairs. Whether you head upstairs, past the faux-vintage sketches of one of the partners’ pet bulldog – the titular ‘Little Beast’ – to the private mezzanine, or stay downstairs, this is an intimate spot suited to grazing and glugging, or a bit of both. As is the trend these days, it’s a collaborative effort between well-travelled friends with money in the bank. Rustled up by the female chef Nana Bunyasaranand, the food is New American, which essentially means that they

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serve exotic twists on old world standbys. Thus it is that the steak cut fries come with a truffle aioli, and the tuna tartare a ginger mayonnaise. Little Beast also dishes up heartier specials. We haven’t tried these yet, but confess to being seriously tantalised by the photos, which are posted regularly on Little Beast’s lively Facebook page. Think more adventurous flights of fancy such as chocolate and fig foie gras terrine, or savoury corn panna cotta with chanterelle salad and brown butter vinaigrette. Backup comes from a handful of desserts (our pick: the snickerdoddle and salted caramel ice-cream sandwich) as well as malt whiskies, beers and some creative, oldworld themed cocktails.

CHINESE IMPERIAL CHINA [MAP 3/M11] Imperial Queens Park Hotel, 199 Sukhumvit Soi 22 | 02-261-9000 | imperialhotels.com/ imperialqueenspark | 7am-10pm You might think you have a pretty firm idea about Chinese food – after all, it’s one of the most widely available cuisines all around the world, and is everywhere in Bangkok. Still, if this city has one constant – apart from the traffic – it is surely its ability to surprise and the expertly prepared offerings at Imperial China might force you to rethink what you think you know about Chinese food. That is due in large part to Chef Chu, who has been running the kitchen at Imperial China for 10 years – indeed, the restaurant is celebrating his anniversary with a range of special dishes. If you’re after a Cantonese feast, there’s

Imperial China plenty on offer – we’ll get to that – but if you fancy the lighter fare, then the dim sum is sensational; the light, bite-sized portions of ornate seafood and pork will have you and your friends fighting each other for control of the Lazy Susan. As delicious as the dim sum is, it’s the main courses where Chef Chu really fires – everyone is familiar with spring rolls, but the ones at Imperial China, made with snowfish and avocado, (B750) are unlike any you’ve had previously, the ingredients off-setting each other perfectly and the texture of the pastry excquisite. The seafood extravaganza continues with baked tiger prawn with salt egg (B950) and stir-fried Hong Kong scallops with macadamia (B850). The scallops, in particular, hit exactly the right note and will remind seafood lovers precisely why they love their food fresh from the sea.

mandopop [MAP 4/k6] Oriental Residence Bangkok, 110 Wireless Rd | 02-252-8001 | mandopop-bangkok.com 5pm-midnight Mandopop offers modern Chinese with a particular emphasis on elegance and technique. The steamed scallop dumplings (B160) come wrapped in the thinnest wonton, one side tinted purple with beetroot

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listings Mandopop

sensationally clean, fruity encore to an overall impressive performance.

FOOD & DRIN K

Crepes & Co.

INTERNATIONAL CREPES & Co [Map 8/L14]

and the other green with spinach. It’s a dish with very little margin for error – eating it is also a test of one’s chopsticks skills – but the crucial scallop flavour is never overwhelmed by the seasoning. The pan-seared foie gras served with crispy duck skin (B450) is perhaps even more ambitious, served on a bed of curd and cress with a drizzle of sweet chilli and mango dressing (above right). It’s a perfect balance of flavours and textures, the velvety richness of the foie gras offset perfectly by the crunch of the duck skin, mixed in with the spice and joyous zing of the dressing. An absolute triumph. The seafood hot and sour soup (B235) is undoubtedly less innovative but still satisfying – a thick, warm broth packed with prawns, scallops, Chinese herbs and tofu. It’s remarkably filling despite a smallish serving – just watch out for the chillis. Among the mains, the tenderloin beef in black pepper sauce (B550) is well-executed in its own right – the meat is tender and gives off exactly the right tangy bite that customers expect from this dish. There’s a spectacular return to form for the desserts, though. The yam paste with coconut cream and white gingko nuts (B150) mixes savoury sweet to winning effect, while the chilled mango pudding (B180) delivers a

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59/4 Langsuan Soi 1, Ploenchit Road, (also 88 Thonglor Soi 8 and CentralWorld) 02-652-0208 | crepesnco.com | 9am-11pm The business itself is a uniquely Bangkokian success story. It was founded nearly 20 years ago as a family business which quickly expanded and became more ambitious. The crepe may be French in origin, but the flavours and ingredients here take in the entire sweep of the Mediterranean, borrowing heavily from Morocco and Greece, in particular. The menu bulges with savoury options – try the eggplant caviar – but it’s the desserts that attract a loyal after-dinner following. You can keep it simple by going for the Crepe Josephine (B170), which is a straightforward combination of sugar and lemon zest. But if you’ve got a major sweet tooth, you’ll likely move on to the serious stuff, like the Crepe Framboise (B290), served bulging with vanilla ice cream and lathered in rich, tangy raspberry sauce. These creations are big enough to share – or you can have one all to yourself if you have a real craving. Going down the list reveals some eye-popping desserts – try the Crepe Mango Coconut (B195), which somehow works despite the unusual pairing of fresh mango and coconut slices, or the Coupe de Fraises (B170), with strawberry, vanilla and chantilly. The real show-stopper, though, is the Flambe Calvados (B290), which comes out rinsed in apple liqueur and filled with

sautee apple and rum raisin ice cream. And then they set that baby on fire.

HEMINGWAY’S [MAP 3/J10] Sukhumvit Soi 14 | 02-653-3900 hemingwaysbangkok.com | 11:30am-late (kitchen closes 10:45pm) Choosing Ernest Hemingway as a concept for your bar-restaurant may not be the most original idea but the archetypal He-Man is associated with so many locations – from the Spanish Civil War to hunting rhinos in the Serengeti – that he gives you plenty to play with. It’s ideal fodder to fill this sprawling 1920s-style golden teak house. Arriving from the soi, you enter the Spanish Garden with its own fountain and lanterns in the trees, and proceed through various rooms themed according to episodes from the author’s life. The Havana Bar dispenses Hemingway’s favourite spirits in generous 45ml pours; the Key West Café is a large dining area with waxed teak floors, lots of plants and period lampshades styled after oil lamps. We chose (very) dirty Tanqueray martinis from a long drink list (B195), including special cocktails (B220) and beers from their own system served at a reliable minus-two degree. There are 20 or so wines (B1000-B2400 a bottle), including eight by the glass (B150-B350).

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Hemingway’s The food menu moves from bar snacks – try the tasty and tender chilli salt-fried squid with Hemingway’s own tartar sauce (B165) – through soups, entrées and New York pizzas. Among the short list of mains are sea bass with Hemingway’s oyster and absinthe broth, steamed mussels and braised lettuce (B450) and grass-fed lava coal Australia grilled sirloin with sautéed kale, hand-cut chunky fries with a choice of sauce.

INDIAN gaggan [MAP 8/l14] 68/1 Soi Langsuan | 02-652-1700 eatatgaggan.com | 11.30am-3pm, 6pm11.30pm Indian cuisine, perhaps more than any other, has been pigeonholed, locked into a narrow idea of heavy curries and spicy tandooris. It’s an inadequate concept, of course, and Gaggan Anand, through his stunningly unique restaurant in Langsuan, makes one of the most urgent cases for these definitions to be reconsidered. Perhaps the most interesting way to experience Gaggan’s always delicious, often offbeat repertoire is through one of the tasting menus (B1600, B2600 or B4000). One of the more surprising combinations

comes out relatively early – it’s called Viagra, freshly shucked French oysters served with kokam nectar and Indian mustard ice cream, and somehow works despite ingredients that don’t intuitively go together. The Egyptian Secret uses foie gras, red onion chutney and raspberry powder to equally stunning effect, the flavours so well-judged that your taste buds are pulled in different directions in one mouthful. There’s the truffle mousse with a pepper infusion and king prawns with fennel Kachumber and charcoal oil. Each dish is wildly imaginative and often hard to process initially. It’s challenging food but, one after another, they prove unerringly delicious. In a nod to those who might have reservations about this kind of experimental food, there’s the Fusion Called Confusion, which combines Atlantic lobster with a coastal curry. On paper, that sounds like the lobster taste doesn’t stand a chance but, sure enough, in the mouth, they’re both there, distinctly present on different parts of the tongue.

ITALIAN IL Bolognese [MAP 5/H8] 139/3 Sathorn Tai Soi 7 | 02-286-8805 ilbolognesebangkok.com | 11:30am-2:30pm, 5.30pm-11pm If the name itself doesn’t tip you off, then the living room décor will: Il Bolognese says tradition from the floor-to-ceiling of its spacious low room in the glass conservatory extension of a soi villa. Just inside the entrance are a brick crescent moon counter and wood fired pizza oven, where they flip and paddle thin and thick crust pizzas. There

Gaggan

are cold cuts and cheese displays; wooden wine racks; and shelves with hanging hams and strings of garlic bulbs. Simple square wooden tables stand on terracotta tiles with Mediterranean floral inlays similar to fragments at Pompeii and Rome’s Ostia Antica. And the food completes the picture, with both the à la carte and a special menu that changes every 15 days including surprising regional dishes that leave you with an impression of actually having travelled to Italy for a couple of hours. Good quality cold cuts (B420 and B650) come with home-pickled vegetables and gnocco fritto (small diamond shapes of light, deep fried bread, all puffed and airy in the middle) that are a clean and crispy foil for the tasty meats. Tortellini Emiliani (B350) is billed as “not mama’s or grandmama’s, but the original recipe”. The pasta rings have fillings of ground pork and beef, all topped with a rich creamy sauce finished with nutmeg and parmesan. And the lasagna spinach with Bolognese sauce (B300) has spinach mixed into the pasta dough, which allows an unusually soft texture. On the all-Italian wine list, with bottles from B900-B6900, there’s one sparkling and three each of red and white by the glass (from B190, also available in half and full litre carafes B450 and B800).

refinement complexity intrigue www.pastebangkok.com

  info@pastebangkok.com   PHONE  +66 2 392 4313   120/6 Sukhumvit Soi 49 (Across from Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital) Su

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listings

FOOD & DRIN K

Above Eleven

La Bottega di Luca

La Bottega di Luca [MAP 3/P8] The 49 Terrace, Sukhumvit 49 | 02-260-2258 the49terrace.com | 10.30am-11.30pm Nestled in a smallish mall on soi 49, La Bottega di Luca is an immediately welcoming space, effortlessly combining indoor-outdoor seating and cultivating a relaxed vibe that makes it a neighbourhood favourite with real panache. Luca, who runs the show, updates the parts of the menu regularly and orders produce in from Italy fortnightly. The antipasti start at B290 and the grilled scamorza (B390) – that’s smoked mozzarella – wrapped in speck ham with mushrooms and red wine sauce is a delight. It’s a simple idea but the evident care taken in preparation elevates this to a gorgeous starter, reminding diners just how much they’ve come to miss cheese in Bangkok. And that sauce – you’ll be tempted to lick the plate clean. There’s a sizeable menu and it can be tricky to know which direction to take. The most eye-catching salad is the seafood combination (B220) with steamed prawns, baby squid, mussels and clams seasoned with garlic. But who are we kidding? We’re here for the rustic, filling, flavoursome Italian cooking, delivered with real passion. That means it’s hard to go past the homemade pasta that gets freshly made every day – the dishes are reasonably priced at B240-490, although you’ll be shelling out B1790 if you go for the lobster. The paccheri with saute Italian sausage and fennel seeds certainly doesn’t disappoint. There’s a rich, full flavour, meaty enough to eat with a glass of red wine but with a complexity of seasoning and ticklish spice at the end of each mouthful.

JAPANESE Above eleven [MAP 3/C4] 33rd Fl Frasers Suite Sukhumvit Hotel, 38/8 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 02-207-9300 aboveeleven.com | 6pm-2am Chef Omar Frank Maruy brings Bangkok’s first taste of Nikkei cuisine, a PeruvianJapanese fusion developed over 140 years of Japanese immigration. The outdoor wooden bangkok101.com

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deck bar with glass walls for maximum view has a central bar, dining tables, lounge areas and huge daybeds for parties to slumber on. Tip: choose a seat on the north side – it gets windy to the south. Start with a pre-dinner Peruvian cocktail – maybe a pisco sour, made with Peruvian grappa, lime, egg white and angostura (B350) – before checking out the menu, which also has some Japanese dishes. Starters include Cebiche Above Eleven (B550), in which the crunch of deep fried calamari contrasts well with raw seabass marinated in “Tiger’s Milk”, a blend including shallots, lemon and chilli with flavours similar to Thai, although much more restrained. Five skewers of cubed charcoal grilled beef heart (B240) are served with three Peruvian dips of increasing fieriness, and Kani Causa (B300) is three mounds of yellow coloured mashed potato topped with crab meat, avocado, quail egg and mayo. Plates are served centrally to share and portions are generous, particularly on main courses such as Seco de Cordero (B950), a slow-cooked lamb shank seasoned with beer, cilantro, cumin and aji amarillo. Aji is chilli, which, for cooking, Peruvians use deseeded and pre-boiled, which retains flavour and aroma but removes the spiciness. There’s a great view, an electro soundtrack with special DJ nights on Wednesday (Latin), Friday (Hip Hop) and Saturday (House), and this is Bangkok’s only Peruvian, a cuisine with a bit of worldwide buzz.

Elements [MAP 4/L5] Fl25 The Okura Prestige Bangkok, Park Ventures Ecoplex, 57 Wireless Rd 02-687-9000 | 6pm-10.30pm Elements is an imposing space, where heavy ship’s lanterns loom overhead from a high ceiling lined with the inevitable exposed piping. It’s perhaps a bit large to fit the ‘living room’ atmosphere described in the marketing bumph, despite the sofa style and armchair seating. The décor is predominantly black and brown, low lit, with full wall sculptures of black charcoal at each end of the room that – as well as providing an arty backdrop – apparently filter out OCTOBER 2013 | 75

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Hama-Ichi cooking smells from the open kitchen. To wind down grab a sake cocktail (maybe ‘sakura’, with plum wine, cranberry, and syrups of rose apple and sakura, B350) as you choose from a list billed as ‘modern logical cuisine’, which they translate to me as the use of seasonal produce. The menu is divided into a la carte, with main meat courses largely in the B900-B1500 range, and four tasting menus, including a vegetarian option (B1200). We opted for the five-course Moments set (B2400), starting with excellent quality gravlax and lightly smoked tuna with wasabi vinaigrette and soy jelly. Other dishes include a mushroom infusion poured over sautéed mushrooms, hazelnuts and thyme-flavoured croutons; and slow cooked wagyu done two ways, as 24-hour sous vide short rib, with truffle mash, celeriac and apple, and beef cheek hachée.

Hama-Ichi [MAP 3/J6] Legacy Suites, 12 Sukhumvit Soi 29, Klongtoey-Nua | 02-662-3376 | Mon-Sat 5pm-midnight (last order 11:30pm), Sun 4pm-11pm (last order 10:30pm) If you’re OK with dining side by side with the salarymen, grab a stool at the long bar, behind which the staff prep the food while dressed in bandanas and loud t-shirts

emblazoned with the restaurant’s mangastyle fish logo. Or, for more intimacy, ask to be seated at one of the tables sectioned off from each other by bamboo screens. While clearly aimed at – and mostly catering to – a Japanese clientele, the menu is easily deciphered by English readers, with a short description and small but salivating pictures accompanying the names of each of the almost 300 dishes. Dive straight in – we did, and didn’t regret any of it. The mixed tempura was done just right, not overly battered. Our pick of the sushi, the aburi-zushi gokan (seared salmon, mackerel, yellow-tail; B460), was devoured in minutes. And our bowl of kaisendon (sashimi on rice) with accompanying blob of wasabi, a sumptuous table-pleaser. Two dishes stood out above all the others. The first was the ishikara nabe, or salmon hotpot. Thick with vegetables and tofu as well as chunks of fish, this miso-based soup had a complex, almost creamy flavour that we just couldn’t say no to.

Zuma [MAP 4/G6] Ground Fl, 159 Rajadamri Rd | 02-252-4707 zumarestaurant.com | 12pm-3pm, 6pm-11pm The style and presentation of the dishes is unmistakably contemporary – authentic but not traditional – exemplified by a particularly snazzy range of cocktails, including the Rubabu (B295), which blends sake and vodka with fresh passionfruit, and a spectacular lychee rose martini. But, of course, it’s the food that really matters and, in a format that might take a little getting used to for those accustomed to a starter, then a main, then a dessert, Zuma is a bit more free and easy than that. Dishes come out in no precise order and can be

Zuma shared or eaten individually. The technique required to execute the smaller dishes is truly impressive and, because of Zuma’s three open kitchens, customers can watch the chefs at work. There are several highlights, though, including the sliced yellowtail served with green chilli relish, ponzu and pickled garlic (B410) – the effect is stunning, a mouthful of the most delicately textured seafood packed with light but still intense flavour. No less impressive are the plates of nigiri sushi and selected sashimi (B1100) – Japanese food has become so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget how it’s meant to taste when it’s done with absolute precision and attention to detail. Some diners may be nervous about eating raw beef (B490) but at Zuma, served with citrus dressing, it goes down so well that any apprehension soon evaporates. Combining teriyaki and fish can backfire – the tangy flavour of the sauce can easily overwhelm the taste of the seafood but Zuma’s salmon and teriyaki with sliced cucumber (B480) is perfectly executed, the sauce flavours understated enough to let the salmon retain centre stage. Make sure you leave room for dessert as the daikoku platter (B2300 for small one) is a work of art.

Colin says -

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BEST RESTAUR ANTS

1/20-22 Sukhumvit Soi 11, Ph. 02 651-1098 76 | OCTOBER 2013

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listings

FOOD & DRIN K

– chicken, pork, beef and chorizo – all retain enough of their distinct tastes that the different tacos never blur into a hotpotch of cheese and guacamole – although the guacamole is also top-notch. It’s a winning combination.

El Osito [MAP3/C10]

El Diablo’s

MEXICAN EL DIABLO’S BURRITOS [MAP 8/P17] 330 Sukhumvit Soi 22 | 02-663-8646 Tue-Sun 11.30am-11pm The bottom end of soi 22 – the funny little dog-leg where it kinks back toward soi 24 – is not an obvious place for a Mexican cantina. The bold, brightly coloured facade of El Diablo’s is flanked by Thai thrift shops and mini-marts. Restaurateurs here cannot rely on foot traffic, on customers happening past and popping in. That’s why El Diablo’s has gone out of their way to make sure they have the kind of food that persuades people to make the trip. Here, at El Diablo’s, the burritos are the stars of the show – quite simply, they’re enormous, ranging from B120 for the basic combination to B225 for the snazzier carne asada – or grilled beef. They make their own tortillas on the premises and while they are delightfully fresh, it’s the liberal servings of roasted salsa and pico de gallo that really deliver. If the burritos are too much for you to tackle, there’s plenty of smaller fare worth sampling. The tacos (B70-90) are particularly impressive. Again, the salsa and the toppings are light, refreshing, with just enough spice to blow out the cobwebs, while the varieties

888/23-24 Mahatun Plaza, Ploenchit Rd 02-650-9581 | Mon-Sat 11am-11:30pm New York meets Madrid at Billy Bautista’s new place El Osito, less than a minute’s walk from Ploenchit Skytrain station. San Franciscan Billy and his wife Oh also run Bangkok’s go-to Mexican, La Monita, which is right next-door. The polished concrete walls, exposed wires and bare bulbs hung from the ceiling hold to the prevailing warehouse/factory ambiance of modern Bangkok diners, but they did most of the work themselves, and so avoided the cookie-cutter predictability, and managed a homier vibe than many. The toilets have a pastiche of Picasso’s Guernica, painted by Billy, Oh and friends over a few inspirational beers. A neighbourhood Dean & DeLuca during the day with its own smoker and churro machine and deli stalwart sandwiches such as Reuben and home-made pastrami (B190-B250), El Osito morphs into a Spanish tapas bar-cum-restaurant at night. The menu runs from pinchos (light drinking snacks like shredded duck with crispy skin, and a vinaigrette with minced tomato, onion and jalapeno, served on toast, B80/ two pieces) that wash down perfectly with a sangria, a sparkling mojito (B350) or one of several American craft beers, which, to the delight of anyone who’s read tales of the Prohibition, are served in Mason jars.

©2013 Hilton Worldwide

Panorama

PANORAMA [MAP 5/K4] Crowne Plaza Lumpini Park | Rama IV Rd 02-632-9000 crowneplazabkk.com Noon-2pm, 6pm-10.30pm The Crowne Plaza’s signature restaurant Panorama launched a new dining concept last month tagged ‘Inspiring By Day, Latin By Night’, in which not only the food but also the music is Latin-themed, with DJs and live bands scheduled for special events. And it’s not all the inevitable Mexican. The menu ranges from Mex to Spain, to Brazil and Argentina, with snippets of Cuba, Chile and Peru. The ceviche sampler (B320) is a good starter of four styles, arriving in separate chunky glasses, including the delicious, mildly spicy yellowfin tuna with mango and pineapple. You might then advance to wafer-thin flat breads (from B240) with a variety of toppings; quesadillas with chilli braised duck, cheddar and salsa (B260) or smoky, fall-off-the-bone pork ribs (B340), which are rubbed with adobo spices, marinated overnight, slowsmoked over coconut husk, then topped with tamarind sauce and grilled. Drinks include the expected sangrias (B450 a litre), mojitos and caipirinhas (both B220), and a good selection of custom cocktails from B180.

KONNICHIWA! WEEKEND BRUNCH Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Indulge your appetite with our latest Konnichiwa Brunch featuring brand new brunch menus with unlimited Japanese contemporary and traditional dishes. An all-you-can-eat that cannot be missed for THB 1,750 net and THB 2,250 net with free flow prosecco and sake

3 rd Floor Lunch 11:30 - 14:30 & Dinner 18:00 - 22:30

All Seasons Place, 87 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330 Thailand For reservations call 66 (0) 2690 9233 or bkkci.kisara@conradhotels.com

Konnichiwa bangkok101.com

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Nightlife walk under the stars

Although Bangkok already has plenty of rooftop bars, the newest addition, Walk (567 Rachaprarop Rd, Makkasan; 02-625-1234; centarahotelsresorts. com) has cultivated a distinctive, sleekly modern look. From the white sofas to the sparkly walkways that mimic the stars above, Walk has delivered a designheavy environment that is sure to become a new favourite for drinkers who like a view to go with their cocktails.

kiwis find a new corner

Sukhumvit Soi 8 offers a more low-key optionthan Soi 11, which runs opposite. but, after its recent relaunch, The Kiwi (Sukhumvit Soi 8; 02 653 3144; thekiwibangkok.com) is giving revellers a reason to cross the great divide. It’s a pub and grill with a long list of pub staples and Thai favourites at very reasonable prices. There’s regular live music and a ton of live sport, as well as a very promising Sunday roast.

revolutionary breaks

American DJ Porter Robinson, who the New York Times calls a “boy genius”, takes a break from remixing the likes of Avicii and Lady Gaga to grab the headline role at the dance festival iREVOLUCION! It’s at Centrepoint Studio (911 Sukhumvit Soi 105; 02-361-9229; centerpoint.co.th) on October 9, where Robinson, whose recent release Easy made No.1 on both Beatport and HypeMachine, will be joined by a handful of local acts.

james zabiela hits levels

UK DJ James Zabeila’s signature style fuses break beats and house while also dropping in loops and effects throughout his tracks. His new single The Healing suggests he has embraced musicality even more, having drawn influences from the world of science-fiction and art in the past. On October 10 he plays Levels (6F 35 Sukhumvit Soi 11; 0823-083-246; levelsclub.com). It’s free entry but it’s worth showing up early because it’s likely to get packed.

dj dbridge joins the party

Having celebrated their first birthday last month, Glow (96/4-5 Sukhumvit Soi 23; 0866-143-355; facebook.com/GlowBkk) helps Exit Records mark their 10th anniversary when DJ dBridge plays on October 18. A veteran producer and one of the most experienced artists in drum & bass, dBridge has built a long and distinguished career, at the heart of some the most exciting collaborative partnerships of recent years. It’s B400 pre-sale and B500 on the door.

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event

halloween

B

angkok doesn’t need much of an excuse for a wild party and it’s striking how enthusiastically Halloween is embraced in these parts. There’ll be no shortage of events on the October 31 but here’s our pick of places to get your scare on. At Spasso (Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, 494 Rajadamri Rd; 02-254-1234; bangkok.grand.hyatt.com), they’ve got live music and wild costumes as part of their Black Light Night. There are a stack of prizes on offer for whoever shows up in the best costume – it’s B1000 entry, but that gets you a glass of Moet & Chandon on entry. Not content with just the one night of Halloween, CM² (Novotel Siam Square, 392/44 Siam Square Soi 6; 02209-8888; cm2bkk.com) a three-night Zombie Party that culminates on All Hallows Eve. Tickets are B250, including one drink on October 29-30 and B350 on October 31. At Bash (37 Sukhumvit Soi 11, entrance next to the Australian Pub; bashbangkok.com), they’re going back to school. But this is no ordinary school – it’s Zombie High, featuring the Zombie High Corpse Cheer Squad, the Undead Freaks football team and Mind-eaters Mathematical Society. Halloween goes impressively high-concept at Q Bar (34 Sukhumvit Soi 11; 02-252-3274; qbarbangkok.com), where their Great Gatsby Horror event invites revellers to fuse 1920s glamour with blood and guts and rotting flesh. It promises to be a memorable combination. Expect flapper zombies, gangster ghosts and feather boa-adorned party guests dripping their bloody pearls. The decor and drinks will also be adapted to fit the theme. Hard Rock Cafe Bangkok (424/1, 424/3-6 Siam Square Soi 11; 02-658-4090; hardrock.com/bangkok) presents Rock Thriller Night, featuring live music from Big Ass. Doors open at 8.30pm and tickets are B400, including one drink.

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heaven - Feeling pretty Zen -

T

he folks at Zen, the lifestyle mecca that occupies an entire wing of CentralWorld, have apparently taken the Bangkok boom in rooftop nightspots to heart. In their Heaven complex at the very top of Zen, they already had Shintori, Zense and Horizons, all boasting openair space and wraparound views. But last month, they opened their new bar, perched at the very top of it all like an expensive cherry on a gleaming wedding cake. It’s heavily dependent on the weather as the design offers precious little protection but on a warm Bangkok night, when the golden backdrop of its feature bar lights up like a metal sun, it feels like one of the most glamorous places in the capital. Crucially, they’ve got the cocktails (all B280-B320) right, using a well-chosen blend of spirits without going overboard and trying to cram every drink with one too many flavours. The Surreal Seduction – slightly cheesey name but we’ll forgive it because it tastes good – combines vodka, apple liqueur, elderflower syrup and pear puree. It’s super fruity but apple liqueur is one of the more versatile, underused ingredients in cocktails and it sets off the others in a way that’s refreshing but still carries a kick. Just as interesting is the Lady Marmalade, again with citrus-infused vodka as its base, but adding Campari for the bitter balance along with syrup and orange marmalade jam. For cocktails geeks who like to see the basics executed before being broadened in interesting bangkok101.com

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ways, it’s a winner. In the Ah-Li-Doy, Bacardi rum mixes with raspberry liqueur and cranberry juice, creating a tart, snappy foundation, which is then leavened intriguingly by the addition of Earl Grey tea. There’s also a molecular menu – that might cause those who like their cocktails old-fashioned to turn their noses up but they do a particularly swanky negroni and that simply cannot be a bad thing. Ever. Foodwise, there are Asian or European tapas (B120-B225) from downstairs at Horizons, as well as mains (B350-B420) which hew toward modern international fare and are definitely worth a look if you’ve overdone it on the tipples.

heaven

[MAP 8/k13]

F20, Zen @ Central World, 4/5 Rajadamri Rd 02-100-9000 | heaven-on-zen.com | Mon-Sun 5.30pm-1am

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live music

coming of comet by Joe Cummings

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hailand’s first label to specialise in electronica is joining forces with The Space Bangkok for an evening of digital derring-do on the last Saturday of October that could be the most unique musical event of the month. Comet Records Bkk, whose name and fiery logo were inspired by an American comic-book character The Comet, who could fly at supersonic speeds and manipulate photonic energy to fire blasts of force, blinding light and lasers, is run by a group of musical allies who enjoy blending digital and analogue musical sources. The label’s first release, Comet Comic Compilation Vol 1, came out in November 2012 and features 11 tracks by 11 new, or at least relatively new, Thai artists: Morg, de.connextor, Nymph Hutakom, Funky Wah Wah, Casinotone, Naked Astronaught, Teleport Gun, Minus 88, Around the 3rd World, Lunar and P-P. A chance to see Comet artists perform live comes along on October 26 when The Space Bangkok, a riverside loft which is steadily building a reputation as an alternative gallery and performance venue, hosts four artists and bands from the stable. Morg will kick it off with a DJ set of electronica, chillwave, downtempo and electro-house. Next de.connextor, comprised of two former members of Mind The Gap-managed Thai rock band Revenge of the Cybermen, will conjure their hyper blend of spacey vocal lines floating on grit-programmed synths. Minus 88 follows with a set in which label partner Jakchai Panchanon does vocals, drum machine and sequencers, along with Anis Iamjaika on live electric guitar and Prut Chesdapan on synth. Finishing off the night will be Nymph Hutakom, a mostly self-produced artist who typically performs her exotic brand of electronica with vocals, sequences and a live drummer.

Clockwise from top: Minus 88; de.connextor; Nymph Hutakorn, Morg

the space bangkok

[MAP 8/e16]

Above 7-11, Khlong San Plaza | 081-821-7127 thespacebangkok.com | 8.30pm October 26

Review: Plastic Section at Fatty’s Bar & Diner

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Photos: Comet Records BKK /Larry Hill

If you’re into live bands and haven’t been to Fatty’s yet, now is a good time to start looking at the weekly lineups. This is a venue that’s on the verge of becoming a dependable stalwart for local music. One of the only bars – very possibly the only bar – in the Rama 9/Din Daeng neighbourhood featuring original live music, Fatty’s sports the grungey feel of long-departed Rain Dogs, in a smaller space but with better sound. The highlight of the night was Plastic Section, led by Ben Edwards on guitar and slapback echo-drenched vocals. Ben describes his music as ‘an experimental, idiosyncratic update of crazy rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly and rhythm and blues. What we heard was good rockabilly bordering on great psychobilly. Bangkok rockabilly poser bands take note; this is how it’s supposed to sound. Capping off the night was Triggs and the Longest Day, who hacked at their guitars and howled into their mics with

drunken abandon. Their performance was haunted by a heavy hum – possibly from the guitarist’s pedal set-up – that wouldn’t be tamed. The effort was there, though, and we’d like to catch this band again when their gear is co-operating. Fatty’s Bar & Diner: Rama IX Rd; 0805-571-959 bangkok101.com

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listings more posh than funky. Some of Bangkok’s gilded youth chill on sofas and knock pool balls around in the front room; but most hit the fridge-cool dancehall to boogie away the week’s woes to live bands and hip-hop DJs. Forget about edgy sounds – here it’s all about getting down with the CEOs of tomorrow.

MIXX DISCOTHEQUE [MAP 4/H4] Bash

Nightclubs BASH [ma p 3/F8] 37 Sukhumvit Soi 11 (entrance next to the Australian Pub | bashbangkok.com Midnight-very late Open till “very late”, Bash is brash. American owner Daryl Scott, a well-known club scene figure, has spliced strands of global clubbing DNA with the usually sleazy after-hours club concept. There are burlesque dancers ranging from midgets and robots on stilts to cross-dressing whacker Pan Pan (the shows bring to mind risqué superclub Manumission at times); the fixtures and furniture are of the very glam sort (gleaming Louis IX furniture, etc); and the DJs are often big names. Head up the stairs lined with misshapen mirrors and you’ll find three floors of fun, two of them taken up by the main room and the mezzanine which overlooks it.

DEMO [map 3/R1] Thong Lor Soi 10 (next to Funky Villa) 02-711-6970 | 8pm-1am Easily the grittiest discoteca in the swish Thong Lor area is Demo: a squat former tenement building turned graffiti daubed brick warehouse. Featuring a terrace and bar outside, and lots of dark corners inside, not only does it look like a venue you’d find in East London or some other hipsterville; it sounds like one, too: instead of the usual mainstream hip-hop and live-bands, Demo’s DJs blast zeitgeisty nu-disco, house and electro through a kicking sound-system.

Funky Villa [MAP 3/R1] Thong Lor Soi 10 | 08-5253-2000 | 6pm-2am The name Funky Villa conjures images of roller-blading babes in bikinis, all partying at a Hugh Hefner-owned villa in the Med. The reality’s different. Steer your way through the fairground-sized car park, past the BMWs and chic lounge-deck area, and you’ll hit a swish one-storey house, 84 | OCTOBER 2013

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

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

THE CLUB [Map 7/F 5] 123 Khaosan Rd, Taladyod | 02-629-1010 theclubkhaosan.com | 6pm-2am B 100 (incl. one drink) The walk-in crowd of young Thais and backpackers must surely be amazed to find they’ve entered a techno castle on Khao San Road. The sky-high windows and raised central DJ turret lend a fairytale vibe, while the lasers, visuals and UV lighting hark back to mid 1990s psy-trance raves. Music-wise, it’s a loud, banging

Q Bar house serving up the full range of 4/4 beats, usually cranium-rattling electro house and techno. The drink prices are kind to your wallet and UV glowsticks handed out for free.

Q BAR [Map 3/C4] 34 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 02-252-3274 qbarbangkok.com | 8pm-1am Long-standing, New York-style night spot Q Bar is well-known for pouring stiff drinks (there are over 70 varieties of top-shelf vodka!) and its strong music policy, with big name international DJs appearing regularly. Q Bar raised the ‘bar’ for Bangkok nightlife twelve years ago and is still going strong, with a flirty crowd every night and a recent top-to-bottom renovation giving the venue a maximalist style injection. Now, there’s more room to dance and more lounge space, especially at QUP, the more downtempo upstairs area. Also, out the back of the venue, through a revolving door from the dance floor, you can find your way into Le Derriere, Q Bar’s very own Parisianstyle absinthe bar that is perfect for chilling out and chasing the green fairy.

hotel bars & clubs BARSU [map 3/F6] 1st F, Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit 250, Sukhumvit Rd | 02-649-8358 barsubangkok.com | 6pm-2am The informal yet sleek BarSu features the tagline ‘eat, play, dance,’ and appeals to the over-30 Bangkok crowd who feel disenfranchised by the city’s current nightlife offerings. To this end, there are five live bands for each night of the week. Comprised of students from Silpakorn University’s Faculty of Jazz, Tenon Round’ are a gifted young quartet who perform every Tuesday from 8.30 to 10.30pm. The other bands, JazzPlayground, P.O.8, Rhythm Nation and Hot Gossip, play from Wednesday to Saturday respectively. In bangkok101.com

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listings spasso [MAP 8/l13]

CM2 between sets, tuck into their ‘Goong goong goong’ menu, combining fresh prawns with a variety of international flavours.

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

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Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, 494 Rajadamri Road | 02-254-1234 | bangkok. grand.hyatt.com 11.30am-2.30pm, 6pm2.30am There’s no shortage of hotel bars in Bangkok but Spasso, on the ground floor of the Grand Hyatt Erawan has been around for 21 years and remains a favourite among visitors and expats looking to let their hair down. By day, it presents as a sedate Italian restaurant but after hours, after it transforms into a club and cocktail bar, it really hits its stride, revelling in its energetic, uninhibited atmosphere. The layout is unconventional – an open-plan foyer and dining area narrows into a dancefloor, flanked by two horseshoe-shaped bars. It has the effect of funnelling all the action between the bars and on to the dancefloor. Spasso is not so much for Bangkok scenesters – its selling point is that it’s slightly wild and the live band does its best to whip partygoers into even higher spirits.

ST REGIS BAR [map 4/G 7] St Regis Bangkok Hotel, 159 Rajadamri Rd 02-207-7777 | stregis.com | Mon-Fri 10am1am, Sat-Sun 10am-2am At 6:30pm each day a butler struts out on to the terrace of the St Regis Bar, a saber in one hand, a bottle of Moet & Chandon in the other. He then flicks at the collar until ‘pop!’, the cork flies off and bubbly spurts gently out on to the terrace. Come for this, stay for the view. Stretching along a plate glass window, the rectangle venue – with its suave masculine vibe, long bar, clubby sofas and high-ceilings – eyeballs the city’s Royal Bangkok Sports Club. It’s a

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St Regis Bar

lovely spot at sunset, even better on every second Sunday afternoon, when you can spy on the horseracing with a fine malt whiskey in hand.

Bars with views Above Eleven [MAP 3/C4] 33rd Fl Fraser Suites Sukhumvit Hotel, 38/8 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 02-207-9300 aboveeleven.com | 6pm-2am A west-facing 33rd floor rooftop bar with beautiful sunsets, Above Eleven is a winning combination. The outdoor wooden deck bar with glass walls for maximum view has a central bar, dining tables, lounge areas and huge daybeds for parties to slumber on. Tip: choose a seat on the north side – it gets windy to the south. There’s a great view, an impressive cocktail list and an electro soundtrack.

AMOROSA [Map 7/C12] 4th F, Arun Residence Hotel, 36-38 Soi Pratoo Nok Young, Maharat Rd 02-221-9158 | arunresidence.com | 6pm-1am

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listings here, almost 200 metres high up. It’s the perfect spot for honeymooners – take a seat on the smart sofa stations, sip on a classy Martini or a yummy signature cocktail and feel romance welling up. For voyeurs, the telescope and binoculars come in handy. Glamour girls and unwinding business guys feel right at home here, too.

NEST [Map 3/C4] Long Table Amorosa is a sultry, Moroccan-style balcony bar offering balmy river breezes, sour-sweet cocktails and a so-so wine list. The showstopper, though, is the view: perched on the roof of a four-storey boutique hotel, guests gaze out from its balcony terrace on to the Chao Phraya River and Wat Arun, the stunning Temple of Dawn, on the banks beyond. Go before sundown and enjoy watching the sun sink slowly behind it. Or come later, when amber floodlights make it glow against the night sky.

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

MOON BAR [Map 5/K8] 61st F, Banyan Tree Bangkok, 21/100 South Sathorn Rd | 02-679-1200 | banyantree.com 5pm-1am This is one place that will get you closer to the moon. The open-air bar lets you take in the urban Moloch from up-above in smart surroundings. With stunning 360° views, the hotel’s rooftop has been turned into a slick grill restaurant; one end is occupied by the bar. Nothing obstructs your view 86 | OCTOBER 2013

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9th F, Le Fenix, 33/33 Sukhumvit Soi 11 02-305-4000 | lefenixsukhumvit.com 5pm-2am An all-white and urbane open-air oasis on the ninth floor of the sleek Le Fenix Hotel, Nest is a loungey and laid-back spot on weekdays and early evenings, with couples enjoying signature martinis and upmarket nibbles from the comfort of Thai-style swing beds and Nest-shaped rattan chairs. But on weekends, a more up-for-it crowd ascends, especially during special party nights. These include Mode, a shindig every second Saturday of the month that pumps hip-hop and house beats rather than the usual smooth Balearic sounds. What are the views alike? With buildings looming above you, not below you, here you feel part of the cityscape.

PHRANAKORN BAR [map 7/G6] Soi Damnoen Klang Tai, Ratchadamnoen Rd 02-622-0282 | 6pm-1am Only a five-minute walk from Khao San Road, multi-level Phranakorn Bar is an old favourite of local art students and creatives, mostly for its indie/80s/90s worshipping playlist and mellow trestle-and-vine rooftop offering splendid views, over old-city rooftops, towards the floodlit Golden Mount temple. The booze and Thai food is cheap, as is most of the modern art hanging on the second floor. Tried to find it before but failed? You wouldn’t be the first. From the Burger King end of Khao San Road, turn right onto Ratchadamnoen, right again and it’s down the first soi on your left hand-side.

RED SKY [Map 4/F 3] 56th F, Centara Grand at CentralWorld  Rama 1 Rd | 02-100-1234 centarahotelresorts.com | 5pm-1am Encircling the 56th floor turret of CentralWorld’s adjoining Centara Grand Hotel, the al fresco Red Sky offers panoramas in every direction. Just before sunset is the time to come – plonk yourself down on a rattan chair or oversized daybed and wait for the lightshow to begin. When daylight fades and the city lights up like a circuit-board, a live jazz band kicks in and

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

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

The Speakeasy [MAP 4/J6] Hotel Muse, 55/555 Lang Suan Rd 02-630-4000 | hotelmusebangkok.com 6pm-1am One of the snazzier al fresco rooftop bars, The Speakeasy has several sections, all radiating from the Long Bar, which you enter from the elevator. As the name suggests, the complex evokes the glamour of Prohibition Era USA, with fusion Deco details, mirrored wall panels and carved wood screens. Everything’s distressed, the parquet floors unvarnished – it’s a well-oiled joint with a warm, lived-in feel. On the wooden deck Terrace Bar people fill the lounge areas and tall tables that hug the classical balustrades overlooking Lang Suan. A long international snack menu stands out for decent portions at bangkok101.com

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woo bar [map 5/g7]

Three Sixty reasonable prices; spirits (from B270) include luxury cognacs and malts; wines are B300-B600 a glass, while cocktails (from B 290) include home-made vodka infusions.

threeSixty [map 5/b2] Millennium Hilton, 123 Charoennakorn Rd 02-442-2000 | hilton.com | 5pm-1am High above the glittering lights of Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River, ThreeSixty is the only Bangkok venue to enjoy unhindered views over the entire, dazzling metropolis. It also hosts live jazz musicians every day, all year round. A private glass lift takes guests all the way up to the 32nd floor which boasts panoramic vistas from its 130m tall, circular lounge. Guests can feast on a range of miniature culinary experiences, from foie gras to caviar or risotto, or sip on fine wines and cocktails as the sun sets in a blaze of colour behind Wat Arun. Just as gently, the soft lounge lights come on to create an atmosphere of casual intimacy. As the first stars appear, the city’s coolest jazz sounds will set the mood which true aficionados will not be able to resist.

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W Bangkok, 106 North Sathorn Road 02-344-4131 | whotels.com/Bangkok Sun-Wed 9am-1am, Thurs-Sat 9am-2am Located on the ground floor of the W Hotel, Woo Bar has all of the flair and emphasis on design that has come to characterise the hotel franchise. It’s chic and low-lit without being cold or inaccessible, spacious enough to find a seat without being echoey and without atmosphere. And, most importantly, the cocktails pass with flying colours, some inventive signature drinks rubbing shoulders with well-executed standard tipples. The Bliss (B325), which comes from the bartenders at W Hotel in New York, combines Ciroc vodka, elderflower liqueur, lime, mint and fresh ginger. You might struggle to stop at just one.

BARS THE ALCHEMIST [map 3/e8] 1/19 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 083-549-2055 Facebook: thealchemistbkk | Tue-Sun 5pmmidnight Fitting somewhere between Soi 11’s swank cocktail bars and the rickety dive bar aesthetic of the legendary Cheap Charlie’s, which it neighbours, The Alchemist is a stylishly stripped down drinking hole. Nothing more, nothing less. We approve, and so too, it seems, do the punters. Not only does it attract the spill-over from Cheap Charlie’s, it also draws a loyal crowd of its own, who savour the intimate atmosphere, occasional live music, proper his and her toilets (Cheap Charlie’s are

xxx xXxx Apoteka infamous for their dinginess) and, above all, drinks prices. Currently rocking the drinks list are assorted martinis (dry, passionfruit and espresso), classic cocktails, random shooters, and some of the best mojitos you’ll find on this end of Sukhumvit.

Apoteka [map 3/e8] 33/28 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 090-626-7655 apotekabkk.com | Mon-Thurs 5pm-1am, Fri 5pm-2am, Sat-Sun 3pm-midnight As you may have guessed, the name is based on an outdated word for pharmacist and the place is meant to emulate a 19th century apothecary. Unsurprisingly, it has an old-school feel. There are high ceilings, red brick walls and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde being projected onto the wall. Indoor seating is a mix of tall tables with studded chairs, and long tables for larger groups along the main wall. Large cases filled with vintage-coloured bottles of medicine flank the bar. The outdoor seating is mellow – a wooden patio with some cozy furniture that could be a nice place to curl up on a date or meet some friends for a smoke and a beer. Drink selection includes a nice

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Bad Motel

fans, huge bean bags and funky barleystalk sculptures and good for postwork/ pre-club cocktails.

BREW [map 3/Q6]

selection of beer (the Framboise Ale at B250 is delightful), Heineken for just B135, and custom cocktails cost you B230. Keep your eyes peeled for the whisky and cigar lounge: a room hidden off to the side of the staircase. With muted green brocade on the walls, low leather couches, and Johnnie Walker in glass cases, this space is available for private parties or just chill sessions.

Badmotel [MAP 3/R6] 331/4-5 Soi Thong Lor | 02-712-7288 5pm-1am | facebook.com/badmotel The name Badmotel may conjure up something kitsch and grimy but, in fact, this three-floor bar and restaurant is extremely sparsely decorated and painted a bright white, giving it the feel of a pre-decorated house. The top two floors can feel a little lacking in atmosphere, especially if it’s a quiet night, but the ground floor’s buzzing bar and tree-lined garden make a very pleasant spot to sip on the venue’s ‘Creation Cocktails’, all B220. The imaginative drinks menu includes locally inspired must-tries like the Hahaha Martini (made from Ketel vodka, homemade chilli liqueur, galangal, cumin powder and pickled grapes), Teenager’s Iced Tea (made using traditional Thai tea with four sprits and liqueur) and the Never Say Never (a rumbased cocktail served with Thai dessert condiments).

BARLEY BISTRO [map 5/h5] 4/F Food Channel, Silom Rd | 087-033-3919 5pm-late | barleybistro.com Hidden up some stairs at the Food Channel, an enclave of franchise-like restaurants, Barley Bistro is slick and snazzy. The design is chic (blacks and greys, white-on-black stencil art); the drinks funky (lychee mojitos, testtube cocktails etc); the food new-fangled (spaghetti kimchi etc); and the clientele wholesome (Thai office workers mostly). Do check out the open-air rooftop. It’s littered with cooling 88 | OCTOBER 2013

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

CAFÉ TRIO [map4 / H6] 36/11-12 Soi Lang Suan | 02-252- 6572 6pm-1am, closed on the 2nd and 4th Sun of the month Cafe Trio is just about the only bar worth seeking out on Lang Suan Road. Tucked down a narrow alley just off the upmarket residential street, this cozy jazz bar & art gallery is a welcome alternative to Bangkok’s raucous pubs and haughty lounge bars – a true neighbourhood place. Cafe Trio overflows with plush couches, the lighting delightfully soft, the music always subdued. The vivacious owner and bartender Patti holds court nightly and has plastered the walls with her Modiglianiesque, Vietnamese inspired paintings – have a few drinks and don’t be surprised to find yourself taking one home.

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

Clouds restaurants and a short walk from hallowed nightspots Q Bar and Bed Supperclub.

CLOUDS [Map 3/Q2] 1st F, SeenSpace, 251/1 Thong Lor Soi 13, 02-185-2365 | cloudslounge.com The third bar by Australian Ashley Sutton – the mad scientist of Bangkok’s bar scene – is, as we’ve come to expect, something entirely unexpected. Evoking a future where ‘there are no more natural resources’, this slim concrete shell at the rear of hip lifestyle mall SeenSpace has a living tree encased in glass in one corner, and concrete blocks, topped with lumps of translucent leafencasing acrylic, for tables. Vodka-based cocktails (B 280) by New York mixultant Joseph Boroski are prepped by ‘NASA technicians’ in white overalls; and the food offerings tasty misshapen pizzas, cooked in a gas-oven behind the bar and served in steel trays.

ESCAPADE [MAP 7/E3] 112 Pra-Artit Rd, Pranakorn | 087-363-2629 Tues-Sun noon-midnight | facebook.com/ escaburgersandshakes Unlike most bars in the Khao San Road area, the owners of this bohemian holein-the-wall, Khun Karn and Khun Van, are the sorts of locals you might actually strike up a conversion with. Karn, a former bartender at the Shangri-La and Mandarin Oriental, mixes creative, tasty and strong cocktails to order for only B140-B200. Tell him your wildest alcohol-sodden fantasies and he’ll deliver you the tipple of your dreams in minutes. Van, meanwhile, rustles up lip smacking bar grub: hot dogs buried in jalapeno peppers and sizzling bacon; baskets of honey-glazed deep-fried chicken, etc.

FACE BANGKOK (map3/S7) 29 Sukhumvit Soi 38 | 02-713-6048 facebars.com | 11.30am-1am Jim Thompson, move over. Face’s visually stunning complex is reminiscent of Jim’s bangkok101.com

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listings bars always engage the day-dreamy part of your brain and this black magic themed one is no different. Think clanking pulleys, monumental iron piping and flickering candles. Indeed, even the staff look like they’ve stumbled off the set of Harry Potter.

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Maggie Choo’s

HOUSE OF BEERS [map 3/r6]

Fat Gut’z former mansion, with Ayutthaya-style buildings and thriving flora, it’s just bigger and bolder. The Face Bar is a dimly-lit place that summons deluxe drinkers with its cosy settees, ambient soundscape, and giant cocktails. Though often empty, the big drink list will stop your body clock pretty fast. The two restaurants – Hazara serving Northern Indian and Lan Na Thai serving traditional Thai – are full of fab all-Asian decor; they’re romantic and inviting, but you might be let down by the tiny portions, and the flamboyant prices.

FAT GUT’Z [map 3/Q2] 264 Thong Lor Soi 12 | 02-7149-832 fatgutz.com | 6pm-2am This sleek saloon is packed nightly with beautiful people, there to listen to live blues, indulge in carefully crafted drinks, and, perhaps, catch a glimpse of its in-demand owner, Ashley Sutton, the Australian behind the legendary Iron Fairies. Unlike his first bar, Fat Gut’z displays a less obvious sense of whimsy – here, the random fittings and industrial decor are replaced by straight lines and black-coloured, modern furnishings. It all feels rather serious, until you open the drinks menu. Sutton brought in master New York mixologist Joseph Boroski to create 16 unique cocktails (B285 each), all named after famous WWII shipwrecks.

Penny’s Balcony, Corner of Thong Lor Soi 16 02-392-3513 | 11am-midnight If you fancy something that suits your palate a little more than the limited selection of Thai beers, there are ubiquitous, crowded “Irish” and “British” theme pubs or several sprawling German beer gardens around town. But the most varied and numerous quality beers in the world are brewed in Belgium – and it’s been that way since Belgian monasteries started doing so in the Middle Ages.House of Beers, in the corner of Penny’s Balcony on Thong Lo, offers all sorts of them, from pale ales, like Leffe Blonde and Hoegaarden, to esoteric, doubly fermented specials, like Kwak, plus fruit beers. The liquid refreshment also comes augmented by Belgian fries and Tapas-style bar snacks.

HYDE & SEEK [Map 4/L5]

[MAP 3/O9]

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

Room 103, K Village, Sukhumvit Soi 26 088-524-5550 | facebook.com/fivebkk 6pm-1am Five brings a welcome wand blast of gothic whimsy to K Village, an otherwise aesthetically uninspiring community mall. Its owner, Pattriya Na Nakorn, invited bar entrepreneur Ashley Sutton to work his magic with a vacant plot on the ground floor. And, completing her dream team is Joseph Boroski, the same New York based cocktail ‘mixologist’ that Sutton uses. His

Hotel Novotel Fenix, 320 Silom Rd 02-635-6055 | facebook.com/maggiechoos Tues-Sun 6pm-2am From the Victorian steam-punk of Iron Fairies to the eco-futurism of Clouds, Aussie entrepreneur Ashley Sutton has already proved himself as the Terry Gilliam of Bangkok’s bar world, conjuring up drinking hole after drinking hole shot through with a magical realist quality. Maggie Choo’s,

FIVE Gastronomy & Mixology

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maggie choo’s [MAP 5/c5]

with its decadent atmosphere redolent of dandyish early 20th-century gambling dens, is no different. Clomp down the staircase and you find yourself in a noodle bar. One that could pass for an old Shaw Brothers movie set. The main decoration – and they are just decoration – are the leggy cabaret girls. Every evening at about 9pm about half a dozen walk out from behind a velvet curtain and proceed to fan themselves while rocking back and forth on swings, or sprawled atop the bar.

Moose [MAP 3/S3] Ekamai Soi 21 | 02-108-9550 facebook.com/moosebangkok Tucked away behind Tuba and up a shabby looking staircase, Moose is one of the most talked about new bars in the city. The same team behind Cosmic Café and Sonic have revamped this warehouse-sized space into the latest retro-inspired hipster bar. Brick walls, a small tree here and there, flickering candles and an alarming number of mounted animal heads create a relaxed, living-room-esque ambience. A DJ spins unobtrusive tunes while authentic and delicious Thai food, such as salted pork neck (150 baht) and southern style curry (B160) ensures the bar consistently draws a young, local crowd who know their food.

OSKAR BISTRO [map 3/D5] 24 Sukhumvit Soi 11 | 02-255 3377 4pm-2am; kitchen open until 11:30pm Lively Oskar has the electro music and low-ceiling cellar dimensions to qualify as clubby; and, with a dominant central bar, it’s perhaps more brasserie than bistro. The food choice includes sandwiches, the Oskar burger (wagyu beef – what else?), pizzas and a section of cocottes. Almost all are under B300, which for food of this surprising quality is a steal. Most people come here though not for the food but for a pre-club libation: be it glass of wine (from B145 a glass), imported beer, or reasonably priced cocktail. OCTOBER 2013 | 89

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retro sign or goofy tchotchke. Others come for the big menu of Italian and Thai dishes tweaked for the local palate. But for us, it works best as a bar, as the setting and generous happy hours (buy one get one free between 5-8pm daily) mean there really are few cooler places to kick back with a sweet cocktail in hand (or two hands in some cases.

Tuba

SALT [MAP 8/L7] Soi Ari (near Soi 4) | 02-619-6886 6pm-midnight Worth heading to Soi Ari for, Salt is a hipster-luring gastro bar with a post-modern finish. Seating is either out on an outdoor terrace or in a minimalist concrete shell – a former condominium sales office no less – with a bar at the far end and lots of raw marble, stone and wooden furniture. Behind them sits an old wooden house which is used to project digital animations on and offers extra seating. This is the sort of ubertrendy space that the editors of Wallpaper* and other design bibles kneel down and kiss the floor at, but what makes Salt is the global cuisine that’s coming out the kitchen, from fresh sashimi platters to generously dressed thin-crust pizzas cooked in a proper wood fire.

SHADES OF RETRO [ Map 8/s14] Soi Tararom 2, Thong Lor 081-824-8011 | 3pm-1am Hipster attic, here we come – Shades of Retro is a hidden Thong Lor spot awash in neo-nostalgia and stuffed with vintage furniture, vinyl records, old rotary telephones. A combo furniture storecafé,Shades provides a quiet hangout for for the writer/designer/artiste crowd by day, funpeople-watching at night, and nice jazz at all times. Curl up on a nubby couch, flip through a Wallpaper* magazine and soak up the atmosphere, which flirts with being too ironic for its pants. A cool, friendly crowd and bracing cocktails or coffee served up with popcorn humanises the hip.

TUBA [Map 8/S14] 34 Room 11-12A, Ekkamai Soi 21 | 02-711-5500 design-athome.com | 11am-2am Owned by the same hoarders behind furniture warehouse Papaya, Tuba is a Bangkok classic: room upon room of haphazardly arranged kitsch, all of which you’re free to skulk through at your leisure. Some come here to snag a comfy sofa, 90 | OCTOBER 2013

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VIVA AVIV [map 5/C2] River City-Unit 118, 23 Trok Rongnamkhaeng, Charoen Krung Soi 30 | 02-639-6305 vivaaviv.com | 11am-midnight, later on weekends Viva Aviv reminds us of one of the hipper bars along Singapore’s Clarke Quay. Not only does it have the bar tables and stools jutting across a riverside promenade, inside there’s also a hip designer interior in full effect. Think tropical maritime chic meets dashes of outright whimsy. While the owner, Khun Ae, is responsible for this rustic look, the bar was initially looked after by the cocktail designers behind popular gastrobar Hyde and Seek. Their ‘Rough Cut’ Signatures, many of them underpinned with rum come in slightly cheaper than over at Hyde & Seek, B250.

Water Library @ Grass Grass Thong Lor, 264/1 Thong Lor Soi 12 02-714-9292 | Mon-Sat 6:30pm-1am Aside from its upmarket, inventive set menu dining on the first floor restaurant, The Water Library also has three lounge and wine bar areas downstairs with funky food, cocktails and live music at not audacious prices. A set menu of three cocktails paired with tapas bites at B790 is a pleasant surprise to many, and their wine list starts at a mere B900 a bottle. Water Library is one-to-watch on the regional drinking and dining scene. The very talented mixologist Mirko Gardelliano was Germany’s Cocktail Champion in 2003, while the wine bar chef Urs Lustenberger worked with Michelin three star chef Juan Amador.

WTF [Map 3/Q6] 7 Sukhumvit Soi 51 | 02- 626-6246 wtfbangkok.com | Tue-Sun 6pm-1am This tiny shophouse – signposted by graffiti on a corrugated tin wall in the street opposite – has a bar on the ground floor, decked out with mirrors along one wall, old Thai movie posters on the other, and found items like wooden screen doors and chairs. It works. The Thai-farang owners (an art manager, hotelier and photographer by trade) have made a good fist of cocktails (from B130) with rye whiskies and unusual

WTF bitters in the mix, while plates of tapas consist of Thai and Euro choices such as Portuguese chorizo and feta salad. Expect live gigs, art exhibitions upstairs and a mix of hipsters, journos and scenesters.

LIVE MUSIC ADHERE the 13TH [Map 7/G3] 13 Samsen Rd (opposite Soi 2) 089-769-4613 | 5pm-midnight Funky, jammy, bare – one of Bangkok’s coolest hangouts is nothing more than an aisle packed with five tables, a tiny bar and instruments. It’s a joint you’d expect to find on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, except forthe Chang beer. North of Khao San Road (ask for ‘Ad Here’, once in the quarter), this down-to-earth, bohemian hang-out packs ’em in nightly. On weekends, young Thais, expats and tourists spill out on the sidewalk when the joint is jumpin’. The resident band churns out cool blues, Motown and various and impressive set list of original tracks. A great spot for music-lovers.

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

TAWANDAENG BREWERY [MAP 2/E11] 462/61 Rama III Rd | 02-678-1114 tawandang.co.th The one place that every taxi driver seems to know, this vast, barrel-shaped beer hall packs in the revellers nightly. They come bangkok101.com

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varieties to choose from. An intimate atmosphere, especially in The Vodka Room, chilled to a nipple-raising minus 10 degrees. Not exactly a place to bring Mum, but a fun night out on the slightly wild side.

Jazz clubs BAMBOO BAR [Map 5/B4] Tawandang Brewery for the towers of micro-brewed beer, the Thai, Chinese and German grub (especially the deep-fried pork knuckle and sausage), and, not least, the famous Fong Nam houseband. It’s laidback early on, but by 10pm, when the Thai/Western pop, luk krung and mor lam songs are at full pelt, everybody is on their feet and the place going bananas.

TITANIUM Club & ICE BAR [map 3/l11] Sukhumvit Soi 22 | 02-258-3758 titanium-club.com | 6pm-1:30am Well folks, and now for something different. Picture this: congenial hostesses clad in Bangkok-Zeitgeist ao dai. A gifted all girl rock n’ roll band jamming nightly. Bangkok’s widest selection of vodka – 90-some

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

Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar [Map 7/J5] 469 Phrasumen Road | 089-499-1378 brownsugarbangkok.com | 6pm-1am At one point is closed down but one of Bangkok’s oldest and cosiest jazz venues came back with a new, bigger location near Khao San. Now a restaurant and coffee house by day, it morphs into a world-class, jazz café-style haunt where renditions of bebop and ragtime draw an audience of locals and visitors by night. Inside, it’s huge, with a daytime coffeeshop up front, a versatile 200-seater ‘Playhouse’ upstairs, and the big, open-plan jazz pub and restaurant out back. House bands fill up the week, and on the last Friday or Saturday of each month they showcase an international act that’s passing through.

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magical realism by dapper By Gaby Doman

Y

ou can always rely on Dapper to produce a solid collection of beautifully tailored pieces with fine detailing and plush fabrics. Magical Realism, their 2013 collection, is no exception. Classic styling and timeless designs make Dapper an investment brand. These smartcasual pieces will make up your wardrobe’s capsule collection, making it perfect for the fashionista who doesn’t like to follow fashion’s frequent fads. Dapper have just enough innovation to keep them covetable and exciting while retaining the wearability that makes them one of Thailand’s best-selling brands. As their name suggests, with Dapper, you’re in safe hands. You can rely on the brand to produce a wearable collection of smart casual pieces that’ll have you taken seriously in the workplace and get you admiring glances in the hi-so bars, too. And – unlike the majority of Thai fashion collections – there’s never an unnecessary lace frill or cutesy bow in sight. Phew. No, with Dapper the beauty of the collection is in its simplicity and its eye for detailing and quality; great stitching, a strokeable fabric or a cut so sharp you’d think you could get a paper cut from it. The Magical Realism aspect of the collection comes from the fine detailing; wild wolfish eyes hidden in the pattern of the collection’s dresses and shorts and in the men’s suit collection, silk shirts with bird icons, and drop-back dresses with spider web-esque latticing. The overall collection – for both male and female – is dark and moody, with floor-length black skirts, metal collars, leather gloves chain-trimmed shoes, all accessorised in the look book with slicked back hair. This is a collection to be worn with attitude. There’s very little in the way of a colour palette, with the majority of the collection made up of slick shiny blacks, chocolate browns, blood reds and watercolour blues. If Brothers Grimm characters wore designer togs, they’d certainly be sporting a few of Dapper’s latest collection.

available at: Dapper Exclusive, Central World (2nd Floor); 02-541-1163 Dapper Exclusive Siam Center (2nd Floor); 02-255-3931 dapper.com

bangkok101.com

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SHOPPING

unique boutique

The Chonabod O

nly at The Chonabod would a T-shirt read ‘I love Baan Nok!’, an in-your-face way of saying: “I’m a Thai country bumpkin and proud of it!” For this and lots of other charming little reasons, this bijou boutique, run by a bohemian folk art and graphic design collective, has been one of our all-time favourites ever since we stumbled across it on Phra Athit Road back in 2010. Now at a new location, a wood-shuttered shophouse on Samsen Road, it remains a treasure chest of things 100 percent Thai0made. One wall is full of T-shirts, shoulder bags, cloth screen prints, pillowcases, mugs, aprons, pha khao ma scarves, notebooks, calendars and more – all appearing under the Siam Ruay label. Featuring graphic designs and fonts adapted from old-school Siamese alphabets, flags, prints, maps and adverts, these make awesome souvenirs or gifts. Hanging mobiles strung with crude yet cute flying elephants, monkeys and pigs dangle from the rafters, while tables are loaded with primitive yet ingenious old Thai toys made using coconut shells, palm leaf, bamboo and hemp (and the odd length of string or rubber band). “Nearly all this stuff I commission from different villages up in north Thailand, where elderly craftspeople still have the wisdom needed to make them,” says Khun Tangnet ‘Pooh’ Takrudkaew, the female founder of the Poom-Din label this lot appear under. Highlights include a toy naga (serpent) made from teak segments held together without nails, wooden pop-pop guns, coconut shell turtles that run, and a pull-string monkey door bell.

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the chonabod

[MAP 8/d9]

131 Samsen Road (near Samsen Soi 3) | 089-494-5669 the-chonabod.blogspot.com | Open 11am-8pm

bangkok101.com

9/20/13 1:42 PM


market watch

I

SHOPPING

The Amulet Market

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

Riechers Marescot pour Carven 78184.1/90 pétrole

come share with us the joy of buying fabrics ... there’s an amulet here for you. Most popular though are the amulets said to provide protection from mishap, with bas-relief images of the Buddha or revered monks being the most favoured. When blessed by a venerated monk, these are said to be even more powerful in protecting the wearer. Prices? The figurine, tablets and miniature sculptures can cost as little as B20, but the mightiest amulets can fetch prices of ten thousand or even one hundred thousand baht. The tiny differences that give the amulet its power and market value are detectable only by trained eyes. Other spiritual paraphernalia for sale here: colourful posters and postcards of Ganesh and other Hindu deities, and wooden phalluses with magical yantra diagrams inscribed on them. In the shops up and on tables along the outer walls of adjacent Wat Mahathat (a temple famous for its Buddhist university and international meditation center and retreat), you’ll also find golden statues depicting Ganesh, Buddha and revered monks. You don’t have to believe in their power, nor be an expert on amulets to enjoy a stroll along this sidewalk market. The magic charms make quirky souvenirs and the street a veritable goldmine of photos ops. Keep strolling along Tha Prachan and around the corner, along the Northern end of Maharat Road, you’ll find slightly more conventional salves.

be it for a glamorous wedding occasion, a celebratory evening dinner or cocktail party or for a stylish everyday wear ... ----- new arrivals - every 2 weeks! ----find us at: gandhiplus c025 2nd fl china world bangkok cynosure a002 g fl china world bangkok 0900-1830 mon-sun tel: 02-2252002 02-2224962 gandhi 326 phahurat road bangkok 0900-1800 mon-sun tel: 02-2255997 02-2255503 www.gandhi.co.th

Amulet market  [MAP 7/C 7] Tha Prachan Rd, between Sanam Luang and Maharat Rd | 8 am – 6 pm

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jj gem

SHOPPING

KARMAKAMET The Victorian Frontier town pharmacy look of essential oil company Karmakamet, with its dark wood shelves and chandeliers 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.

KARMAKAMET Store 1: Section 2, Soi 3 | 02-618-7047 Store 2: Exit no. 2 (beside MRT Kampangpetch) | 02-272-5281

Jatujak Market

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

092-097_shopping.indd 97

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

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

9/20/13 1:43 PM


WELLN ESS

treatment So Thai Spa

The Touch Spa

the touch spa  [MAP 3/d11] 1/2 Ruamrudee, Ploenchit | 02-651-5722 thetouch1.com | 10am-midnight

Head in through the doors and you’ll find a reception and foot massage area that looks much like most of the competition. Head upstairs and the treatment rooms are pretty plain too. However, once your face hits the massage mat you won’t care about the decor, especially at these prices. Your basic one-hour Thai or foot massage is a snip at B300, while aromatherapy treatments start from a still reasonable B790 and Thai herbal compress massages from B600. They also offer one-hour body scrubs, during which that layer of dead skin will be tenderly removed using a coarse homemade Thai herb, salt, coffee or green tea scrub, for B600.

the peninsula spa [MAP 8/e17] The Peninsula Bangkok, 333 Charoennakorn Rd | 02-626-1946 | peninsula.com 9am-9.30pm

Opulence is fused seamlessly with a relaxed, welcoming approach – en route to the treatment room, the hotel’s grand interiors give way to an outdoor walkway that snakes along the pool. The suite is

The Peninsula Spa 98 | OCTOBER 2013

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Banyan Tree even more impressive – a walk-in sauna and bath prepared in advance. There are a range of massage and facials to choose from but it all starts with a foot-cleansing ritual, conducted by a softly spoken masseuse with a virtual shopping trolley of scented oils. The holistic body massage is B3800 while the facials treatments start at B2700 – the attention to detail justifies the price tag. It’s all custom-designed – the focus of the massage as well as the scented oils used – but begins with a bowl of eucalyptus oil under the nose. The oils, combined with some truly impresive technique, deliver that toe-curling sensation of hot and cold at the same time

banyan tree [MAP 5/k8] 21/100 S Sathon Rd | 02-679-1052 banyantree.com | 10am-10pm

At the Banyan Tree Hotel Spa, your luxuriant experience begins long before you make it to the massage table. The live band in the lobby plays gentle blues, helping to slowly empty your head of the day’s problems – or at least begin the process. Then it’s up to the spa on the 21st floor for a serving of iced tea while you

choose from a laundry list of treatments. Once you’ve decided, you descend a spiral staircase and make your way through a forest of translucent, glowing bamboos before arriving at your own massage quarters. While your feet are cleansed, you choose which oil you would like to be used. That’s if you are having an oil massage, of course. Each oil has its own distinct benefits – it’s hard to go past the bergamot oil for its soothing pick-me-up qualities.

so thai spa  [MAP 3/k8] 269 Sukhumvit Soi 31 | 02-662-269 sothaispa.com | 10am-10pm

Secreted deep inside Sukhumvit Soi 31, a soi not short on high-end day spas, So Thai Spa certainly has its work cut out. That said, while its garden townhouse setting isn’t as spectacular as some of its neighbours, it beats most of them hands down in the price department. Run by Oliver O’Dell and his wife Khun Siratikarn, it’s the second branch of an ambitious, rapidly expanding day spa group. Regular spa-goers will know it’s warm, exotic, modern look well. So Thai, it is. Think parquet floors, teak wood carvings and treatment beds festooned in silk runners. There are five rooms, all of them doubles with private shower and toilet facilities, and there are more on the way. While none of this is going to set the local spa scene alight, there is a bonus that you don’t come across very often – an outdoor swimming pool that you can take a dip in, as well as some solid massage technique.   Spa costs $ :: under B600 $$ :: B600-B1000 $$$ :: B1000-B2000 $$$$ :: B2000+

bangkok101.com

9/20/13 1:44 PM


treatment

WELLN ESS

Dream days at the

deverana

A

t the Dusit Thani Bangkok, which hosts the Devarana Spa, there’s a luxuriant grandness to the surroundings, from the highceilinged foyer to the sweeping teakwood walkways that encircle the hotel pool. The Devarana Spa itself is just as impressive, beginning with the expansive, pristine waiting room. But it’s the treatment rooms that really stand out, perhaps twice the size of standard rooms in most spas, flooded with natural light and with gorgeous circular bathtubs garnished with a thin layer of rose petals. Of course, the treatments themselves are also first-class. A signature Abhyanga massage (B2900 for 90mins, B3800 for 120min) offers a range of benefits, relieving stress and energising with an emphasis on long, thorough strokes. People generally associate a good massage with tension being worked out of the back and shoulders but in an allover treatment, it’s often the attention paid to the legs that prove most effective, and this is certainly true at the Devarana. It doesn’t stop with the massage, though, as there are also some top-notch facial treatments available, including the Soothing Sea for Men (B2600 for 60mins), which proves remarkably effective, cooling and soothing the skin.

DEVARANA SPA

[MAP 8/K16]

Dusit Thani Bangkok, 946 Rama IV Rd 02-636-3596 | devaranaspa.com | 9am-10pm

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comm u nit y

making merit

SU

the camillian house:

A helping hand O

for children in need

ne of Thailand’s dirty little secrets is that the disadvantaged often get left behind, especially vulnerable children with special needs. The Camillian Home, a non-profit children’s charity located in Latkrabang, on the outskirts of Bangkok, aims to help as many as it can while also serving as a model for how Thai society should care for them. Established by Father Giovanni Contarin, an Italian Priest who has done extensive work for the poor here over the past 25 years, the Camillian Home helps orphaned and abandoned children who are living with disabilities or HIV/Aids. It is run and directed by members of a Catholic community called the ‘Camillians’, but not out to show children the light: all of them are brought up and taught values based on their own beliefs and cultural backgrounds. Everyone is free to express and follow their faith, whatever it may be. More importantly, this unique facility gives each child

100 | october 2013

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specialised treatment and care in a stimulating family environment, regardless of the severity of their condition. Or, to put it another way: this is a place where even an eleven year-old girl who is blind, autistic, wheelchairbound, HIV-positive and orphaned is now living a life in which she smiles and laughs every day. The Camillian Home is run by a full-time staff of caretakers, physical therapists and a resident nurse, but they’re always in need of extra hands and, therefore, interested to hear from prospective volunteers. At a recent speaker event held last month, Pechakucha Bangkok, we learned from one brave young speaker that those who offer to give up their free time can be as young as 11.

the camillian house

[MAP 2/n10]

81/2 Luangphang Road, Khumthon Latkrabang | 02-360-7852 camillianhome@gmail.com | www.camillianhomelatkrabang.org

bangkok101.com

9/19/13 1:26 PM

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getting there 102-103_gettingthere.indd 102

AMULET MARKET AT Trok Sanamphra

9/19/13 1:27 PM


RAIL

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

SKYTRAIN (BTS) 

Airport Rail Link 

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

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

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

RIVER

EXPRESS RIVER BOAT Bangkok’s vast network of inter-city waterways offer a quick and colourful alternative for getting around the city. Express boats ply the Chao Phraya River from the Saphan Taksin Bridge up to Nonthaburi, stopping at some 30 main piers altogether. Fares range from B 9 to B 32 depending on the distance, while tickets can either be bought on the boat or at the pier, depending on how much time you have. Boats depart every 20 minutes or so between 5:30 am and 6 pm. Crossriver services operate throughout the day from each pier for just B 3.

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

ROAD BUS Bangkok has an extensive and inexpensive public bus service. Both open-air and air-conditioned vehicles are available, respectively for B 5 and B 7.50 – B 23. As most destinations are noted only in Thai, it is advisable to get a bus route map (available at hotels, TAT offices and bookshops).

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

102-103_gettingthere.indd 103

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

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

TAXI Bangkok has thousands of metered,

air-con taxis available 24 hours. Flag fall is B 35 (for the first 2  kms) and the fare climbs in B 2 increments. Be sure the driver switches the meter on. No tipping, but rounding the fare up to the nearest B 5 or B 10 is common. Additional passengers are not charged, nor is baggage. For trips to and from the airport, passengers should pay the expressway toll fees. When boarding from the queue outside the terminal, an additional 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. OCTOBER 2013 | 103

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Map 1  Greater Bangkok A

B

Greater Bangkok & the Chao Phraya  Map 2 >

C

D

E

F

G

H

J

K

L MYANMAR

Uthai Thani

1

UTHAI THANI

CHAI NAT

2

Chiang Mai

LOP BURI

Nakhon Ratchasima c

Nakhon Ratchasima

Pattaya CAMBODIA Koh Samet Koh Chang

NAKHON RATCHASIM A

SARABURI

3

Andaman Sea

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya

Koh Samui

AYUTTHAYA

Phuket

PATHUM THANI 5

b

1 2

MALAYSIA

PRACHIN BURI

f c

RATCHABURI

VIETNAM

Gulf of Thailand

Krabi

NAKHON NAYOK

4

NAKHON PATHOM

Ubon

Bangkok

ANG THONG

KANCHANABURI

Udon Thani

Lop Buri

Kanchanaburi

LAOS

THAILAND

SING BURI

SUPHAN BURI

6

M 

3

2

SA KAEO

BANGKOK f a

SAMUT SAKHON

CHACHOENGSAO

SAMUT

1 PRAKAN

SAMUT SONGKHRAM

CA M BODI A CHON BURI

Phetchaburi

7

Ko Sichang

PHETCHABURI 8

Pattaya RAYONG

Cha-am

CHANTHABURI

Rayong Hua Hin

Ko Samet

Muang Chantaburi

9

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN 10

Trat

Gulf of Thailand

M YA N M A R

Ko Chang

Prachuap Khiri Khan

11

Ko Kut

N

20 km 20 miles Country Border Boarder Crossing Province Border

104 | OCTOBER 2013

104-111_map.indd 104

Sightseeing a 

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

floating Markets   Damnoen Saduak 2   Amphawa 1

Museums 1

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

night bazaar 1

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

Nightlife 1 2

Parking Toys Tawandang German

Hotels 1   Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort and Spa

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A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

J

K

L

M

N 

F

Tanya Tanee

PAK KRET

Don Mueng

2

Don Mueng Int. Airport

Ko Kret

Sai Mai

F

Royal Irrigation Dept.

3

Lak Si

F

F

Rajpruek

The Legacy

F

Northpark

4

e

Khlong Sam wa

Royal Thai Army Sport Center

F5

1

Thanont

F

Chatuchak Bang Sue

Bang Phlat

Bueng Kum

8

Huai Khwang

Saphan Sung

Bang Kapi

F

Pathumwan

Bangkok Yai Wongwian Yai

Bang Rak

Khlong San *

Thon Buri 1

Chom Thong

F

9

10

1

Bang Kholaem

Lat Krabang

Suan Luang

Khlong Toei

Sathorn

60th Anniversary Queen Sirikit Park

Krungthep Unico Kreetha Grande

Watthana

Lumpini

7

Wang Thong lang

DinDaeng Ratchathewi

Mini Buri

F

Navatanee

Phayathai

Taling Chan

6

Khan na Yao

Mo Chit

Dusit

Bangkok Noi

Panya Indra

Lat Phrao

Chatuchak

Bang Sue

Bang Bon

Bang Khen

F

MUENG NONTHABURI

Phasi Charoen

1

Prawet Yan 2 Nawa

Rat Burana

Phra Khanong 4

Phra Pradaeng

f

11

Suan Luang Rama IX

Suvarnabhumi Int. Airport

Bang Na

12

F

Summit Windmill

Bearing

Bang Khun Thian

13

F

Mueang Kaew

Thung Khru

14

F

Green Valley

15

PHRA SAMUT CHEDI

SAMUT PRAKAN

16

F

d

17

Bangpoo

Gulf of Thailand

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Map 3  Sukhumvit Road A

B

C

D

E

F

G

Phra Ram 9

1

Ram

H

J

a IX

K

L

M

Roya

m9 Prara ital Hosp

l Cit

y Ave

RC A ange R ing

Driv

2

Din

Da

en

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phae

ng P

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Phet

g

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3

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road (Toll Expy

38/1

Su

7

het

Prasanmit

So i4 9

Su 9/1 3

IN

hro m Ph on g

Soi

Subway Line Railway

106 | OCTOBER 2013

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Arts & Culture 1

  Japan Foundation 2   Koi Art Gallery

4 

Sukhumvit

malls 1 2

 Robinsons   Terminal 21 bangkok101.com

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Sukhum

6

BTS Sukhumvit Line

 Emporium

Soi 24

i1

BTS Silom Line

3

Markets

Sukhumwit

So

ay

Tai

sw

ana

s re

iN

xp

So

nE

Canal Boat

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

Marriott Executive 3   Attic Studios 4   La Lanta Sukhumvit Park 12   Grande Centre Point 5   TCDC (Thailand Terminal 21 Creative & Design 13   Sofitel Bangkok Centre 6   Nang Kwak Sukhumvit 14   Le Fenix 7  WTF 15 Radisson Sukhumvit 8   The Pikture Gallery 15 Marriott Bangkok 9   We*Do Gallery 10  RMA Sukhumvit

i 39

wit

k

h ko

300 m 1 328 ft

1

11  

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9

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8

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Benjasiri Park

4

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Phrom Phong

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Benjakiti Park

12

Hotels

Phro

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Clubs 1

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

pubs 11

The Hanrahans The Pickled Liver 13 The Robin Hood

12

bangkok101.com

104-111_map.indd 107

13

14

The Royal Oak The Londoner 16 Black Swan 15

Nightlife 4

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

20

The Iron Fairies

21 Clouds

22

Fat Gut'z Shades of Retro 25 diVino 28 Le Bar de L'Hotel 29 W XYZ 30 Face Bar 31 Marshmallow 32 Oskar Bistro 33 Tuba 34 Sonic 35 Apoteka 36 Water Library 23

37

Gossip Bar

39

Above Eleven

38 Nest

Embassies  IN 

India

 IR  Iran  LK 

Sri Lanka

PH  Philippines

Qatar Ukraine NO  Norway  QA   UA 

OCTOBER 2013 | 107

9/19/13 2:25 PM


Map 4  Siam / Chit Lom A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

J

K

L

M 

5 Soi 3

Soi 31 Soi 33

Soi 25

Soi 29

12

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Royal Bangkok Sports Club

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1

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N

Hotels 1

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

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

Arts & Culture 1

  BACC – Bangkok Art and Culture Centre 2   Tonson Gallery

KH

BR

Sarasin

Soi 6 Soi Ruam Rudi

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Sarasin Lumphini Park

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malls

Embassies

a 

 MBK 2   Siam Discovery 3   Siam Center 4   Siam Paragon 5   Panthip Plaza 6   Platinum Fashion Mall 7  CentralWorld 8   Zen @ CentralWorld 9   Pratunam Center 10  Gaysorn 11   Erawan Plaza 12   The Peninsula Plaza 13   Amarin Plaza 14   Central Chidlom 15   All Seasons Place

 CH 

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

Nightlife a CM2 b

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

1

Switzerland

 BR  Brazil  FI  Finnland  ID  Indonesia  KH  Cambodia  NL  Netherlands  NZ 

New Zealand

 QA  Quatar  UA  Ukraine  UK 

United Kingdom

 US  USA  VN  Vietnam

Shopping 16   17  

Siam Square Pratunam Market

108 | OCTOBER 2013

104-111_map.indd 108

bangkok101.com

9/19/13 2:25 PM


Silom / Sathorn  Map 5 E

kho

t are akh

ai Th aya

ong

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8 Than Tawan Soi 6

11 Thaniya

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Royal Bangkok Sports Club

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Immigration Office

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bars with views

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Arts & Culture 1

 AT  Austria

Shopping

 MY  Malaysia

1

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104-111_map.indd 109

N

 AU  Australia  BE  Belgium

200 m

 BT  Bhutan

1 000 ft

 CA  Canada  DE  Germany  DK  Denmark  GR  Greece  FR  France  MX  Mexico

1

N

River Ferry River Cross Ferry BTS Silom Line Subway Line Market

 MM  Myanmar  PT  Portugal  SG  Singapore  TW  Taiwan

Sightseeing a  b 

bangkok101.com

Embassies

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

Snake Farm MR Kukrit’s House

OCTOBER 2013 | 109

9/19/13 2:25 PM


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

B

C

1

F

G

H

Ma

M ai

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Hotels   Grand China Princess   Bangkok Shanghai Mansion 1

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

110 | OCTOBER 2013

104-111_map.indd 110

Arts & Culture 1

  Chalermkrung Theatre   Samphanthawong Museum 3   Yaowarat Chinatown Heritage Centre 2

a

Princess Mother Memorial Park

Th

e pir Em

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N

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

bangkok101.com

9/19/13 2:25 PM


Map 7  Rattanakosin (Oldtown) A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

Ra

ma

14

N

So

Rama VIII Bridge

J

K

L

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104-111_map.indd 111

m

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bangkok101.com

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9/19/13 2:25 PM


M Y B A N G KO K

Austin Bush After graduating from the University of Oregon in 1999 with a degree in linguistics, Austin received a scholarship to study Thai at Chiang Mai University. He's since lived in Thailand and has been working as a writer and photographer since 2005. The bulk of his work focuses on food and travel and he has contributed to more than 20 books. Check out austinbushphotography.com.

How would you describe Bangkok to someone who has never been here? Intimidating but not particularly dangerous or unsafe; intolerably hot; more cosmopolitan than one might expect; an urban centre made up of country people. Where would you take out-oftown visitors to make a great first impression?  There's an open-air morning market off Bamrung Meuang, in a particularly old corner of town, that's a virtual microcosm of Bangkok. The setting, a narrow lane of old shophouses with Thai, Thai-Chinese and Muslim vendors serving classic Bangkok and Central Thai-style dishes and ingredients can't have changed much in the last five or six decades. It makes a profound contrast with the modern, flashy Bangkok visitors would have seen from their ride into the city from the airport. What do you like to do on a weekend evening when you are free? My favourite thing to do is probably to hit an old-school restaurant or stall in Bangkok's Chinatown coupled with a bit of wandering around. I like a live music place called Parking Toys. It's basically a huge shed filled with 112 | OCTOBER 2013

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wacky vintage furniture located far outside the city centre. It takes some effort to get to but it's worth it as the music is diverse and they also serve some great food. How do you see current food and cooking trends evolving in the capital? At the moment there seems to an emphasis on 'new' and progressive interpretations of Thai cuisine, while at the same time, a dearth of places that do solid versions of standard dishes. I suppose this is the type of trend one sees in any other big, modern city but I wish Bangkok restaurateurs would make more of an effort to learn proper, well-executed versions of Thai and Thai-Chinese dishes from the older generation. What is your favourite Thai restaurant in Bangkok? What do you like to order there? There are relatively few all-round restaurants. Instead, the emphasis is on stalls or shophouse restaurants that do one or perhaps a couple of dishes really well. I generally go for the latter, and one of my favourites is the kuaytiaw khua kai (flat rice noodles fried with chicken and egg) sold near the Phlap Phla Chai intersection, at the edge of Bangkok's Chinatown. The noodles are fried in

lard, over coals, making them both rich and smoky. Do you have any shopping recommendations? I love cooking and enjoy checking out supply stores in Chinatown. You can find some fascinating and uniquely Thai cooking utensils (coconut shredders, papaya graters, moulds for Thai sweets), as well as funky old-school enamel-coated dishes and rustic ceramics.  What do you think is the most inspiring architecture in the city? Why? I like the old shophouses on and around Thanon Tanao, near Banglamphu. They're relatively well maintained, but don't appear extensively renovated, so you can still get a notion of what the neighbourhood would have been like when they were built 80 years ago.  What do you miss most when you're away from Bangkok? When I'm home in the US, or in Europe or Australia, I tend to miss the informality of dining in Bangkok. One almost never has to make a reservation here, even at the more expensive places, and often the cheap, open-air places are more satisfying than fancier meals anyway. bangkok101.com

9/19/13 2:24 PM


A New Era at

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