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Publisher’s Letter October sure is a busy month. Party people no doubt have Oktoberfest and Halloween marked in red on their calendar, but there’s a lot of other special events going on this month here in Bangkok. First and foremost it should be noted that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and there are several charity events going on in the city in aid of this cause (which we’ve highlighted with the ‘pink ribbon’ icon you see here). As well, there are lots of international cultural festivals rolling through town—Italy and Hungary are both staging festival related events this month—and, of course, the Bangkok International Festival of Dance & Music continues till October 19th with lots of great stage performances (see pages 58-59 for more on this). With all this culture wafting through our town it’s only fitting that October is also our History & Heritage issue. And since Thailand is a country with a rich heritage and a fascinating history, it’s not hard to follow through on this theme. Our photo feature showcases newly unearthed vintage photos from the reign of King Rama V (pg. 62), while our On The Block feature takes a tour of the historic artisan isle known as Koh Kret (pg. 20), and Joe’s Bangkok takes a nostalgic look at the much-loved, but fast disappearing landmarks on Sukhumvit Soi 11 (pg. 34). All this and more—including our Bangkok 101 archive and extras—can be found online at www.bangkok101. com. A couple of clicks are all it Enjoy. takes to keep in touch with what’s happening in Bangkok and beyond. And if you as a reader feel there’s something we’re not covering, but should be, please drop us a line at Mason Florence Publisher

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

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

OCTOBER 2016 | 5



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


My Bangkok Meet Supapan Pichaironarongsongkram, current chairperson of Chao Phraya Express Boat service

16 20

Best of BKK Find out where Bangkok’s true architectural heritage gems are hiding On The Block Take a step back in time on the artisan isle known as Koh Kret


Out and About Learning from the pros at Osha Café’s Cooking School


Property Profile Riva Arun, a beautiful boutique hotel in Bangkok’s historic Old Town




Tom’s Two Satangs On ghosts and spirits, just in time for Halloween!


Bizarre Thailand Deadly poisonous snakes are both revered and feared in Thai culture


Joe’s Bangkok The rise and demise of Sukhumvit Soi 11


Very Thai What actually makes something “very Thai”?

38 Heritage Café de Norasingha is part coffee shop and part museum 42

Making Merit Heritage Craft Shop & Café helps preserve traditional Thai craft techniques

On the cover

Dancer performs as part of Khon, a Thai classical masked drama which tells the epic tale of the Ramayana. Photo by Nuttawut Prasert


Travel Updates

46 48 50

Upcountry Now This month’s events and festivals throughout Thailand Weekend Getaway Barai Suites and Spa focuses on health and wellness Over The Border Kampot and Kep, on Cambodia’s Southern coast, are rediscovering their collective heritage


Art Updates

56 58

Art Exhibitions The latest museum gallery openings across the city


Cinema Scope This month’s special film events and screenings


Photo Feature Unseen Siam, Early Photography from 1860 to 1910

Art Feature Bangkok’s International Festival of Dance & Music returns for another season

Bangkok 101 is available at: 6 | OCTOBER 2016





Food & Drink Updates


Meal Deals Restaurants offer amazing deals for diners


Hot Plates Gaggan Lab, an outlet for Bangkok’s gastro-genius


Special Report Raising funds for the QSCBC at Eat Drink Pink 2016


Restaurant Reviews Tapas Y Vino; Sensi; Xin Tian Di; Crave


Live Music 101’s Rock Philosopher reports on the live music scene


Gourmet Chef Event SO Sofitel Bangkok’s annual SO Amazing Chefs event


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


Breaking Bread with Dallas Cuddy, head chef at Freebird restaurant


Nightlife Listings Capsule reviews of select nightspots in Bangkok


Eat Like Nym Lung Pa Pad Thai hiding in a heritage hub


Food & Drink Listings Capsule reviews of select restaurants in Bangkok



Lifestyle Updates


Spa Deals Bangkok spas offer amazing deals and discounts


Nightlife Updates


Spa Reviews Allure Hand and Foot Spa


Bar Reviews Rabbit Hole


Fun and Games Solve the brain-busting puzzles at Escape Break

98 Imbibe Nu Artricharin gives the Mojito a refreshing twist at R Bar 100

Connoisseur’s Corner Wine related news and events in Bangkok

SIGNING OFF 114 Did You Know?... Chinese Opera is kept alive in Bangkok’s Chinatown

Phen Parkpien Naritha Yonyubon

Samantha Proyrungtong, Korakot (Nym) Punlopruksa, Craig Sauers, Lekha Shankar, Tom Vitayakul





Narong Srisaiya


Mason Florence



Thanakrit Skulchartchai

Dave Crimaldi, Wattanapong Hotavaisaya, Marc Schultz




Parinya Krit-Hat

Sebastien Berger Nathinee Chen

Jhone El’Mamuwaldi

Dr Jesda M. Tivayanond


Orawan Ratanapratum


Bruce Scott




Jim Algie, Gary Barber, Luc Citrinot, Philip CornwellSmith, Dave Crimaldi, Prangthong Jitcharoenkul, Reena Karim-Hallberg, Victoria Kirkwood,

Itsareeya Chatkitwaroon

Pongphop Songsiriarcha EDITOR-AT-LARGE


Julia Offenberger



Seri Sartsanapiti


Talisman Media Group Co., Ltd. 54 Naradhivas Rajanagarinda Soi 4, Sathorn Tai Rd,Yannawa, Sathorn, Bangkok 10120 Tel: 02 286 7821 Fax: 02 286 7829 © Copyright Talisman Media Group Co., Ltd 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the express written, prior permission of the publisher.Views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher, which accepts no responsibility for them.

CITY PULSE | metro beat


HUNGARIAN FEST The Hungarian Arts and Culture Week brings a number of interesting free events to the city, including a classical music concert on October 26th, starting at 7pm on the 9th floor auditorium of the Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Building, Chulalongkorn University. In the same location, on October 28th, there will be a screening of the 1956 movie Children of Glory which tells the story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution (start time is 5:30pm). EmbassyHungaryBangkok


Calling all Canucks (and anyone else who wants to have a good time)! The annual Maple Leaf Ball, presented by CanCham Thailand, is being held this year in the ballroom of the Hotel Pullman Bangkok Grande Sukhumvit (30, Sukhumvit Soi 21) from 6pm until midnight. This year’s dress code and theme is ‘Art Deco’—inspired by the parties of The Great Gatsby—and will feature Steve Cannon’s Big Band Sound eleven-piece orchestra. The evening’s festivities include a pre-dinner reception, four-course thanksgiving dinner and late-night cheese buffet, a fine art silent auction, and lots of raffle prizes. The event focus is to celebrate traditional Canadian “Thanksgiving” while supporting Thai charities. Tickets are B3,500 each, or B32,000 for a table of 10. 10 | OCTOBER 2016

Photo by Man Alive/Flickr

October 22-28

October 18

The man, the myth, and the legend known as Morrissey will grace the stage of Moonstar Studios (701, Lad Prao 80 - Soi Chantima) this month, in what will be his first ever Bangkok appearance. Born Steven Patrick Morrissey, this famously self-deprecating vocalist first captured the attention of music fans as the lead singer of the seminal 80s British indie band The Smiths. To this day the band maintains a rabidly loyal fan base, even though they disbanded permanently way back in 1987. Since the band’s break up Morrissey has been forging his career as a solo artist, and to date has released 10 studio albums and several compilation discs. And while his solo career output has never quite garnered the same level of critical praise and attention as his work with The Smiths, he remains one of the most daring, compelling, unpredictable, controversial, and uncompromising artists in the music biz. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see Manchester’s most musically mercurial misanthrope live in concert. Tickets are B2,200 and showtime is 8pm.

October 26

Legendary German rock band The Scorpions are touching down in Bangkok as part of their ‘50th Anniversary Tour’. Formed in 1965, in Hanover, the band has spent half a century playing their own blend of hard rock and heavy metal, achieving their greatest string of successes in the 80s and 90s with a host of best-selling albums and singles (“Rock You Like a Hurricane” clocked in at #18 on VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs). Catch them live when they take over Bitec Hall (102-103). Tickets range in price from B1,200 to B8,000, and showtime is 8pm.

metro beat | CITY PULSE


For a taste of Thai musical culture be sure to attend The Sound of Thai Heritage concert, taking place in the Main Hall of the Thailand Cultural Centre (14 Thiam Ruam Mit Rd). The main artist performing this evening will be the legendary singer Banyen Rakgan (pictured), who bridges the gap between traditional and modern mor lam, normally appearing in traditional clothing but using electrified instruments and singing luk thung and dance-influenced songs. The evening’s scheduled selections include well-known Thai songs and folk songs, with musical accompaniment by the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra under the direction of conductor Vanich Potavanich. Ticket prices range from B400 to B2,000, and showtime is 8pm.

October 30

The Sunrise String Orchestra (SSO), an orchestra made of young musicians, will be performing a charity fund-raising show entitled Sunrise & Sunset at the Sala Sudasiri Sobha concert hall (Lat Phrao 41 Alley, Lane 7-2). The programs include selections from Mozart, Bartok, Holst, and Copland, but there will also be traditional Thai songs on the program, including Lao Duang Duen, Kang Kaw Gin Guay, Long Mae Ping, and Bua Khao. The performance runs from 4pm till 6pm, and tickets are B700.


The ongoing Italian Festival in Thailand 2016 continues with a series of offering this month, starting with an evening of jazz at the Chulalongkorn University Music Hall featuring the Giovanni Guidi Trio. This acclaimed threesome plays jazz of uncommon originality, challenging audiences with pensive, abstract ballads that shimmer with inner tension. Admission is free and the performance begins at 7pm.

October 27

The Diplomat Bar at the Conrad Hotel (87 Witthayu Rd) is hosting an evening of music entitled ‘From Napoli to Liverpool’ featuring the classical guitarist extraordinaire Giuseppe Petrella. His intriguing fusion between classical Neapolitan songs and the vast repertoire of the Beatles has secured him great success all around the globe. Admission is free and showtime is 9pm.

October 29

Classical music fans are no doubt “keyed” up for the free piano recital by Italy’s own Lorenzo Mondelli, as part of the 4th edition of the Bangkok International Piano Festival. The scheduled program includes an interesting selection of works by Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin. The venue is the Siam Ratchada Auditorium—located on the underground level of the Fortune Town mall (1 Ratchadaphisek Rd)—and the start time is 7:30pm.

Shuffle Demons

ON STAGE Till October 19

This year’s Bangkok International Festival of Dance and Music 2016 continues till mid-October at the Thailand Cultural Center (14 Thiam Ruam Mit Rd). This is the 18th edition of this hugely anticipated annual event, and highlights for October include a return appearance to Thailand by Canadian cartoon hepcats the Shuffle Demons. This quirky quintet will be performing on a double bill with the Belgian Saxophone Ensemble, providing local jazz fans with an eclectic evening of fingersnappin’ and toe-tappin’ sounds. Later in the month, ballet fans are in for a treat when the Karlsruhe Ballet from Germany performs (October 8th and 9th), followed by France’s Ballet Preljocaj on the 12th. On October 16th Spanish flamenco lights up the stage with the dynamic Sara Baras Dance Company, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company closes the festival with shows on October 18th and 19th. Ticket prices and showtimes differ for each individual performance. Turn to page 58 for further coverage of this festival of the performing arts.

Starting October 6

The Culture Collective Studio presents Twelve Angry Men, the award-winning courtroom drama by Reginald Rose. The play, about a jury deliberating over the guilt or innocence of a young man, will be staged at the Chatrium Residence Riverside, 3rd floor studio (Charoenkrung Rd, Soi 70). There will be eight performances—from October 6th to 9th, and from the 13th to the 16th— but be aware that ticket prices and times vary. Thursdays are B500 (7pm), Friday and Saturday shows are B800 (8pm), and Sunday shows are B800 (4pm). OCTOBER 2016 | 11

CITY PULSE | metro beat


VEGGIE FESTS October 1-9

The annual Vegetarian Festival in Bangkok will be taking over Bangkok’s Chinatown once again this year, and visitors will find rows of food stalls selling a wide variety of dishes—from sweet cakes to noodle soups. During this festival, known locally as the Tesagan Gin Je Festival, yellow and red flags are used to signal that a shop or stall is selling food in line with the festival’s ethos (requirements include giving up all fish, dairy, meat and poultry for nine days as a way to cleanse the body). Also strong smelling foods like garlic and onions are not allowed during the festival. People making merit at the Chinese temples, surrounded by lanterns, candles, and incense, are a reminder that this is first and foremost a religious event. The origins of this festival are Chinese—a celebration to the nine Emperor Gods— and the festival happens during the 9th Chinese lunar month. This event is also a good time to try and catch a Chinese Opera performance. The scheduled performances start between 6pm and 7pm every evening during the festival on Charoenkrung Rd Soi 20 (see pg. 118 for more about the Chinese Opera).

October 1-10

The Hindu festival of Navaratri is an event that takes on spectacular proportions in Bangkok, with the main festivities taking place at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple (Wat Phra Si Maha Umathewi in Thai) on Silom Road. The festival is observed for nine nights and ten days, during which the nine forms of Shakthi (the temples’ main deity) are worshiped. During the final days a grand procession is taken around a 4 km route. Some devotees fast continuously during this time, while others only fast on the first day and then abstain from eating meat for the remainder of the festival. 12 | OCTOBER 2016

Take part in this year’s staging of The Color Run Thailand, the happiest 5k race on the planet (presented by Fragrant Property). The concept is pretty simple— runners wear white, and finish the race covered with brightly coloured powder. After making it to the finishing line, expect music, dancing, and massive colour throws. The event takes place over two full days at Airport Rail Link Makkasan station. Gates opens at 2:30pm, and entry fee is B900, which includes a limited-edition Tropicolor t-shirt, embroidered headband, finisher’s medal, colour powder packet and tattoo.

October 16

Every girl’s (and some boy’s) favourite marathon is back! The Barbie Run arrives in Bangkok this year—its debut in Southeast Asia—under the theme ‘Funny, Healthy, Charity with Barbie’. The run starts from the Rama 8 Bridge, and runners can choose between the Beauty Run (4 km) or the Healthy Run (10 km). Thai celebrity Praya Lundberg will be participating in the event as well. Entry fees are B690 and B890 (4k/10k). In addition, 50 baht from each ticket will go to the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer Foundation. Registration begins at 4am, and runners get a Barbie running shirt, Barbie drawstring bag, and a Barbie gold medal when they cross the finish line.

October 30

The city’s biggest BMX street jam is back after a year’s hiatus, and bike nuts are already “gearing up” for Bangkok Dangerous Bmx Street Jam 2016. This year, the street jam will be held at Extreme Park at Rajamangala Stadium, Huamark (Ramkamhaeng Rd), starting from 11am. Extreme athletes can go cycle-psycho in three different categories—amateur, pro street, and pro team battle. The highlight will be the 12 Team Battle Knockout to find out who is the best BMX rider in town. Registration will be available on event day. Facebook: Bangkok Dangerous Bmx Street Jam


The annual Nai Lert Park Flower Show is taking place this month at the Swisshotel Nai Lert Park (2 Wireless Rd). It’s a great chance to see the exquisite beauty of the many species of flowers Thailand has to offer. The intricate and elaborate displays, from some of the kingdom’s most famous and skilled florists, are truly a sight to behold. There are also some other events of interest scheduled for this time, including concerts, a Thai movie star catwalk fashion show, and an artisan market.

CITY PULSE | my bangkok

Supapan Pichaironarongsongkram As the current chairperson of Chao Phraya Express Boat, Supapan Pichaironarongsongkram leads her family’s long-standing business operation— one of Bangkok’s most traditional forms of public transport. She speaks to us about her family’s history and shares her thoughts on the city’s heritage.


lmost a century ago, the grandmother of Supapan Pichaironarongsongkram started a small rowing boat business on the Chao Phraya river, which turned into the engine boat company Supatra and the Chao Phraya Express Boat service. While carrying on the family business—today the boats operate from 38 piers and carry up to 40,000 passengers each day—this business woman has also expanded the family empire to include retail outlets such as the Tha Maharaj community mall, property developments, and two boutique hotels on the riverside, including Riva Surya and Riva Arun (see page 26). Did you grow up in Bangkok? I was born in Thonburi, which was the capital of Thailand before it became a part of Bangkok. Your grandmother started the ferry boat service almost 100 years ago. Could you tell us a little bit more about your family history? She started with row boats in the 1920s, and back then you paid one satang (Thailand’s old currency) to get on a boat. The first piers were Prannok and Wat Mahathat. The business was carried on by my mother who formed the Supatra Co., Ltd. In order to solve traffic jam problems, the Ministry of Transport started a project using river transportion, and requested our company to take over in 1971. We formulated a new company called the Chao Phraya Express Boat. This was 45 years ago, and since then I have been working for Chao Phraya Express Boat— from the very first day up until now. Do you think there is enough effort made to preserve the city’s heritage? I think it’s not enough. Our city’s heritage is unheeded, and a lot of 14 | OCTOBER 2016

What is your favourite historic building in Bangkok? I love the Vimanmek Mansion Museum, especially the Sala pavilion. Its ancient architecture combines European neo-classical style with traditional Thai motifs. The lace wood carving at the eaves is my favourite part, it looks sweet and feminine.

people don’t value it, or see it as oldfashioned. If it wasn’t for foreigners interested in our country and culture, Thai people wouldn’t appreciate how beautiful their heritage is. Nowadays, people become unconcerned and often destroy old buildings and nature in order to modernize. They forget that heritage can live in harmony with innovation, something I have noticed in many other countries. I hope that we can do the same in Thailand. Development projects are changing the Chao Phraya riverfront, but they often displace the established local communities living there. Do you think these communities should be better protected? Those establishments are owned by private or government organizations, and I believe they should not force whole communities to leave in order to develop their projects. All of the communities who lived there when I was young are still surrounding those buildings. This is also true for the Tha Maharaj community mall, which is owned by my family, and located on the Chao Phraya riverside. The old market selling amulets is still there together with the new establishment.

What was the inspiration to open the Riva Surya and Riva Arun hotels, and why did you choose Bangkok’s historic Old Town as the location? Many people dream about having a house on the riverside, and I just wanted to give them an opportunity to sit there and have that experience. Since my family owns some land there, we can develop and adapt it. What does ‘Heritage’ mean to you, and how does it influence your family’s businesses? I want to spread Thai heritage into the world. It is a beautiful thing and no less valuable than that of any other country. We try to preserve Thai culture in each of our businesses. Riva Surya hotel was designed by a Thai architect, and decorated with traditional Thai elements, including a paddle of The Royal Barge Procession. A lot of foreigners travel far to come to Thailand, and I want them to really get to know the country. Do you have plans for opening any new properties in the near future? I am always looking for opportunities to grow in the mass transport and tourism business. Regarding the boat business, there’s still a lot to do. The Chao Phraya Express Boat is used in daily life, and I have to make it more reliable and safer. I ride the boat myself to learn what needs to be rectified. Our plan now is to develop better, higher speed boats.

CITY PULSE | best of bkk

Beyond the “Must-See” Monuments Find out where Bangkok’s real heritage gems are hiding Words and photos by Luc Citrinot

Ministry of Defence (left), and Saranrom Palace (right)


angkok has hundreds of places to visit, including iconic landmark buildings, but if you, as a visitor, enjoy architecture or history, there are some heritage “diamonds” hiding in the rough. Tourists generally visit the same places around the world. What would a trip to Paris be without a photo session in front of the Eiffel Tower? And what’s a selfie in Australia without the Sydney Opera House in the background? Bangkok also has its fair share of these mustsee monuments—The Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Wat Pho, the Giant Swing, the Marble Temple—but to go beyond these popular attractions you often need to venture a few streets away from the crowds. So if Vinmanmek Mansion is overcrowded with Chinese tour groups, try these alternative icons. PHRA NAKHON: This district is the historic core of Bangkok, and home to many of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Chief amongst them is The Grand Palace, but while there be sure to visit Queen Sirikit Museum of 16 | OCTOBER 2016

Textiles, located within the royal palace compound. The European style structure used to be the Siam Ministry of Finance, built by Austrian-born, Italian architect Joachim Grassi. The elegant structure was carefully restored back in 2003 to accommodate the superb royal textile collection, celebrating the splendours of Thai silk and the wonderful collection of ageless, classical dresses belonging to HM Queen Sirikit. Discover some of Thailand’s most exquisite fashion pieces, and be sure to admire the building’s classical rotunda and figures over the windows. By walking along the outside wall of The Grand Palace you can find several more heritage highlights, such as the Ministry of Defence, a huge yellow coloured European style building that used to serve as barracks for the Royal Guard (it’s also another Joachim Grassi design). Next to it is Saranrom Palace—another European building, this time a salmon colour—constructed by German architect Egon Müller. It used to serve as a residence for the King’s brother before being turned into the residence for members of royal families visiting Siam.

best of bkk | CITY PULSE Continuing in the direction heading away from The Grand Palace you will soon cross a canal and find yourself on Atsadang Road, home to Wat Ratchabophit, one of Bangkok’s most impressive temples—a true gem which is highlighted in many guide books but still mostly ignored by tourists. It was built in 1870, and serves not only as a temple but also as a Royal Cemetery. It’s also an amazing blending of architectural styles. The multi-coloured Thaistyle Benjarong ceramics covering the outside walls of the temple stand in contrast to the temple’s Ubosot (main hall), built in Venetian neo-gothic style with dark green and gold walls and heavy crystal chandeliers. Around the temple, the various mausoleums for members of the Royal family are a succession of different styles, mixing Angkor or Sukhothai traditional architecture with Gothic or Palladian-style pavilions. Leaving the temple by the backdoor, one can find an architectural gem of a different sort. Across the street here you’ll find a small yellow house of classical style, called 123 Baan Dee, which is probably the most charming ice cream shop in all of Bangkok. Situated in a 100-year old Thai-Chinese mansion, it is filled with antiques (most of them for sale), and serves many unusual ice cream flavours, including Chinese plum, and pineapple with chili. In the north end of the district, past Sanam Luang (the Royal Field), lies Khaosan Road, the de rigeur pit stop for backpackers and foreign students on budget holidays. Venture beyond this non-stop party street and head towards Phra Sumen Road (via Soi Rambuttri). You will arrive to a long round-about, bordered on one side by a massive temple complex. This is Wat Bowonniwet, another amazing structure with a succession of temples, a throne hall, monks quarters, and a school. Once more, the overall eclecticism of the style

makes this a place worth visiting—the equivalent of an open-air architectural book. The 180-year old temple, with its golden chedi, is a pure example of Rama III era religious architecture, except that the columns supporting the entrance to the Ubosot strangely evoke Greek or antique Roman columns. By contrast the Throne Hall is a pure masterpiece of Art Nouveau, with Oriental-style architecture and floral motifs. The pavilion, opened in 1914, boasts expansive marble floors and a delicate wooden roof, and was reserved for (until recently) the Supreme Patriarch. Behind it are the main monk headquarters, which have similar patterns to Italian classical villas, while the former seminary (today a school) is constructed in, of all things, Gothic style! DUSIT: The end of Rachadamnoen Nok, a tree-lined imposing avenue modelled after the Champs Elysées in Paris, is where you’ll find the majestic Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall. This imposing structure of marble has been deemed as one of the most expensive buildings ever constructed by the State, as it cost over 15 million baht 100 years ago. While worth visiting, it is also victim of its success with hordes of tourists turning the place into an overcrowded experience. A better bet is to just pass the structure, and walk through the gardens linking Ananta Samakhom to its predecessor, the Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall. Completed in 1904 by Turin-born influential architect Mario Tamagno (he was head of the Royal Department of Public Works), the Abhisek Dusit Pavilion is a gracious structure with an Orientalist flavour. While the museum inside is of mediocre interest, the architecture of the place is worth spending a bit of time observing. The classic Italian building bears Art Nouveau details along its façades, with

Wat Bowonniwet

Wat Ratchabophit

Wat Bowonniwet OCTOBER 2016 | 17

CITY PULSE | best of bkk

Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall

Santa Cruz Church

Heritage house

delicate carved flowers, an intricate main door and, above all, a pre-eminent peristyle (a row of columns surrounding a space within a building) built in wood. The carvings are so delicate that they seem to be made of lace. It’s a true masterpiece of craftsmanship!

Chao Praya River, in Thonburi. And probably, the Kudi Jeen district around the Santa Cruz Church best reflects the old spirit of Siam community life. The church is a typical construction from the team of Mario Tamagno and Annibale Rigotti, constructed in neo-renaissance style. Strolling around the district is to discover Bangkok’s last truly Eurasian community. Portuguese moved to this area following the fall of Ayutthaya at the end of the 18th century. Today some of the district’s inhabitants still have distinctive Portuguese features, while their houses are decorated with religious catholic imagery. The Baan Kudi Chin Museum was recently opened—owned by one of the last Thai-Portuguese families (17 families are recorded as “Kudi Jeen” today)—and it’s the best place to discover more about the community’s ancestral life and traditions. There’s even a small coffee shop offering some local specialty snacks and cookies. In a way, the Thonburi area is a true blend of the cultures which have cohabited in Bangkok for centuries. The Kuan An Keng Shrine, with its beautiful murals, is one of Thailand’s oldest surviving Chinese temples, and it stands next to the impressive Wat Kalayanamit, home to Thailand’s largest sitting Buddha. The shrine also stands next to the Bang Luang Mosque, built around 1840 in the shape of a Thai temple. This trio of heritage gems is just another symbol of Bangkok’s incredible capacity for tolerance.

BANG RAK/YAOWARAT: The heart of Thai-Chinese authentic culture is preserved in Yaowarat (aka: Chinatown). The district also offers visitors a chance to see many historical structures, with entire street blocks that have barely changed in the last hundred years. Some of the Charoen Krung areas are still lined with old shops and minuscule European-Chinese houses, and one of the most interesting streets is Songwat Road, a long narrow street that remains a testimony to Bangkok’s early cosmopolitan life. Located next to the warehouses of Sampheng docks, the street attracted various trading communities—Indians and Chinese—and some of the houses in the street echo Rangoon’s British-Indian architecture (particularly the building at the corner of Ratchawong and Songwat Roads). Some properties are like the shophouses of Singapore or Penang, but one not-to-be-missed building is the Luang Kocha Isahak Mosque. Built around 1895, its style evokes a neo-Palladian villa from Northern Italy. Another interesting building is Pei-ing School located just behind the Lao Pun Thao Kong Shrine. The school was opened in 1920 and became the most prestigious education facility for Thai-Chinese communities. Its imposing Western influenced façade, with majestic stairs, loggias, and galleries, emulates European boarding schools. THONBURI: Many local Bangkokians would say that the most authentic part of the city is on the other side of the 18 | OCTOBER 2016

Isahak Mosque

HANDHELD HERITAGE Download The EUNIC Mobile app for free. Search for “European Heritage Map” for Android, and “European Heritage Map and Cultural Calendar of Thailand” for iOS.

CITY PULSE | on the block

Cycling around Koh Kret

Suthiwut ‘Wut’ Jirawatwanit

Coffee House No. 1

Island in the Stream

Take a step back in time on the artisan isle known as Koh Kret Words by Prangthong ‘PJ’ Jitcharoenkul Photos by Bruce Scott


ooking for a place where you can experience a slice of rural life and see traditional craftsmen (and women) at work, but hesitant to spend hours and hours travelling to faraway provinces? If so, put Koh Kret on your must-visit list! This “island” (it wasn’t always one) is located in Nonthaburi province, just north of Bangkok proper. It came into existence because of a canal that was created as a shipping shortcut—to avoid a rather severe oxbow in the river—back in 1722 (during the Ayutthaya period). This canal, named Khlong Lat Kret Noi, became gradually larger due to tides and soil erosion, thus creating the island of Koh Kret. This island is also one of the oldest hamlets of the Mon people, who migrated to Thailand nearly 300 years ago from Myanmar (then Burma). One of the most recognizable landmarks here is the white Mutao Pagoda—

20 | OCTOBER 2016

locals call it Chedi Eiang (leaning chedi)—which is slightly tilted towards the river due to currents, erosion, and the force of continual heavy winds over the years. The island welcomes visitors every day, however many shops are closed on weekdays, so weekends and public holidays are the best time to visit (just be warned of the huge crowds wandering through shopping areas each Saturday and Sunday afternoon). After paying your two baht for the ferry that takes you to the island from Wat Sanam Nua, you are free to explore the island on foot— the entire thumb-shaped landmass is a mere 2 km by 1 km. However, I recommend taking a left turn once you get off the ferry, and renting a bicycle from one of the easy to spot vendors. For just B40 you’ll have the whole day to pedal around Koh Kret. You may notice everyone else turning right after leaving the ferry, because that is where the main souvenir

on the block | CITY PULSE shopping area and the leaning chedi are located. However, going in the opposite direction, and making your way through the island’s interior first, is a nice way to get a feel for the laid back pace and small town atmosphere—before dealing with the frenzy of the tourist market. Walking and cycling around Koh Kret are both perfectly safe—as there are no cars allowed on the island—but on a bicycle you can cover more ground with less chance of overheating. And don’t be afraid of getting lost because there are signs all along the cement pathways to keep you on track. As you make your way along the paved path, still heading in the opposite direction of the souvenir market, a pleasant first stop is Coffee House No. 1. The barista here still prepares coffee in traditional clay pots. Classic jazz fills the air, and surprisingly cheap food can be found here as well. Make sure to get a seat (a cushion actually) on the long wooden platform overlooking the small canal next to the restaurant, and swing your legs back and forth as you enjoy the tranquil setting. Within the next 300 meters or so you will reach Baan Silp Siam, where you can learn about painting and sculpture and the classic art of the Khon mask. It’s worth spending time here with owner Suthiwut ‘Wut’ Jirawatwanit who is a student of the prestigious Royal Craftsmen School (Wittayalai Nai Wang Chai), working and teaching to preserve many ancient Thai art forms. Visitors can check out Wut’s array of exquisitely handpainted Khon masks miniatures (most for sale), which he makes and paints himself. He also makes to order full size papiermache Khon masks with shell decoration (B15,000 each). Just tell him what kind of character—demon, monkey, deity, etc—you want and he’ll customize the colour, expression, and anything else you want (takes up to 14 days to complete). He also offers Thai classical dance and basic Khon dance classes for both Thais and non-Thais

Pottery craftsmen at work

alike (fee is negotiable). The house has recently undergone an extensive renovation, but by October the weekend classical Khon dance-drama performances here, at 12pm and 3pm, will have resumed. Continuing along the path you will come across a large blue sign which reads “Welcome to Koh Kret Pottery the Village Cheap Souvenirs”. Follow the arrow, and you will arrive at Pottery Factory Praditwong. A simple unpaved path leads you to the barn-like workshop, where Abhisit ‘Arm’ Praditwong, the teenage owner and master craftsman, will help guide your fingers and hands to sculpt a pot using a classic potter’s wheel. You can take your raw clay pot back home (B100 each) or have Arm fire it

Guide to Koh Kret 1. Mutao Pagoda



3. Ferry Boat 4. Bicycle Rental 5. Coffee House No.1 6. Baan Silp Siam 7. OTOP Village


14 7




Main shopping area




2. Wat Sanam Nua

12 1 13 11 4 5

8. Pottery Factory Praditwong 9. Thai Massage Centre 10. Wat Sao Thong Thong 11. Pottery Learning Centre 12. King Rama V Museum 13. Wat Poramaiyikawas 14. Chit Beer OCTOBER 2016 | 21

CITY PULSE | on the block


Wichit ‘Chit’ Saiklao

When it’s weekend time on Koh Kret, the place for beer lovers to congregate is Chit Beer, a 70 seat riverfront restaurant and brewery located just a bit down the path from Baan Silp Siam. It’s only open on weekends and public holidays—from 11am till 9pm— and many of the customers are students who come to take beer brewing lessons from owner Wichit ‘Chit’ Saiklao, the acknowledged “grandfather” of the Thai homebrew scene. Surprisingly what Chit does is technically illegal (you can’t brew your own beer in Thailand) and he occasionally has to pay fines, but he shrugs off this inconvenience with a laugh and keeps right on going. It’s his self-proclaimed “mission” to educate people through his brewing academy, and judging by the number of customers we saw there on a typical Sunday afternoon his message is getting through loud and clear. The selection is constantly rotating at Chit Beer, ranging from pale ales and IPAs, to Irish red ale, porter and stout—bottles B120 and draft B100. Some are brewed by Chit himself while some are beers he takes on consignment from other brewers (most of whom are former students). So what were the highlights? We think Chit’s Black Sticky Rice Weizen is a must-try, but his Mosaic Pale Ale was a close second. So sit back and watch the river flow as you enjoy locally made craft beer, perhaps paired with a delicious side dish such as chicken wings, mixed sausage, French fries, or pork knuckle.

in his kiln and pick it up at a later date (he can also have it delivered to your hotel for a small fee). Also of interest is the fact that this young potter is a direct descendant of royal Mon ancestors who emigrated from Hanthawaddy City and later helped King Taksin the Great of Thonburi fight against Burmese invaders. OK, are you ready for some light exercise? Please nod. From this point on you will ride relatively uninterrupted, covering about 4 km and passing through the peaceful neighborhoods of local residents. It’s a serene jaunt, and you’ll do lots of waving along the way, but just be mindful 22 | OCTOBER 2016

of the many speed bumps all along the paved path. Finally, at the end of your journey you’ll arrive at the riverside Thai Massage Centre, located in front of Wat Sao Thong Thong. Your legs may need a quick massage after all that cycling, but be sure to arrive before the 5pm closing time. From here onward, you’d better “walk” your bike, as you are approaching the main shopping areas. All along the pathway you can purchase souvenirs, including the pottery and earthenware products which the Mon people on this island are famous for, and at many of the pottery shops you can see the pottery making processes used by the craftsmen and their families. Other popular souvenirs for purchase include Thai desserts, and here you’ll find plenty—from Khanom Gluay (steamed banana pudding with coconut), to the infamous Khao Neow Ma Muang (sweet sticky rice with mango and coconut cream), Woon Ka Ti Bai Toey (coconut milk and pandan jelly), and Foi Tong (sweet shredded egg yolk). Before saying bye-bye to this historic islet, make a stop at Chit Beer—undoubtedly the island’s most popular riverside restaurant—for a delicious snack and a cold Thai craft beer (see sidebar). NOTE: You can also learn about the craft of pottery—free of charge!—with ‘Uncle Ti’ at the Pottery Learning Centre. Just make your way to the ground floor of King Rama V Museum near the island’s largest temple, Wat Poramaiyikawas.

Colourful Thai desserts

TRAVEL TIPS Take air-conditioned number 166 bus from Victory Monument going in the direction of Talad Pakkret (Pakkret Market). Disembark there and take an old-fashioned sam lor (bicycle rickshaw), which was the champion of the road before other means of short-distance transport became the norm. It’s just 10 baht for the ride to the pier at Wat Sanam Neua. Alternatively, on weekdays there is a boat that goes right to Koh Kret from Sapahan Taksin Pier, but on weekends you can take Bangkok Chao Phraya Express boat to Nonthaburi Pier, and continue the rest of the way by taxi. You can also get fairly close to Koh Kret using the recently opened MRT Purple Line. Transfer at Bang Sue station and get off at either Phra Nang Klao Bridge station, or Nonthaburi Civic Centre station, and then take a taxi the rest of the way.

CITY PULSE | out & about

Our writer and her kitchen compatriot

Kitchen Curious

Learning from the pros at Osha Café’s Cooking School By Samantha Proyrungtong


did have my reservations about traipsing out under the fierce Bangkok sun and spending an afternoon at Asiatique The Riverfront—what is generally considered Bangkok’s notorious theme park of restaurants—but upon arriving at Osha Thai ‘Cooking Chronicle’ Studio I was impressed at the minimalistic setup, polished equipment, and absolutely divine state-of-the-art air conditioning. The space is wrapped by windows which cleverly open up the narrow room. The frontage looks onto Asiatique’s pathway and, perpendicularly, onto the recently opened Osha Cafe restaurant (Bangkok’s sister outlet to the 24 | OCTOBER 2016

illustrious Osha Restaurant on Wireless Road, made famous by the original establishment in San Francisco). For our afternoon cooking lesson we opted for the Leisure and Lifestyle Class, the rookie chef’s choice (there’s a Professional Class for those much less mortar and pestle challenged). Some of the menu items on the four available lesson plans might, to a seasoned expat, appear a little on the feeble side—with Phad Thai, Fried Rice, and Green Curry appearing as usual suspects—so we decided on the more exotic course of Prawn and Pineapple Fried Rice, Tom Kha Gai (spicy coconut chicken soup), and Smoky Duck Breast

Curry. Our Chef, Thapakorn ‘Korn’ Lertviriyavit, a young man with clear and comprehensive English, was supervised by Head Chef Niphatchanok Najpinij, an expert in Thai gastronomy, and both proved to be lovely and passionate individuals. First came the demonstration. The chefs took us through each dish, step by step, and with methodical ease. Along the way, we were exposed to some fascinating local Thai fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices, which we were permitted to study, touch, smell, and taste before the cooking process. But the real coconut cream on top were the folk tales we became privy to—the roots of origin, chronicled

out & about | CITY PULSE

Prawn and pineapple fried rice

Students learning from the masters

Spicy seasonings

Smoky duck breast curry

and... voila!

recipes, tales of how it all began and evolved to this very day. Also valuable cooking tips such as, ‘don’t add lime in when the pot is hot or it will taste bitter’. If I’d only known that sooner I would have saved a number of Thai dishes and a sizable chunk of my cooking reputation. Suffice to say the produce and ingredients used were of a high quality. After each dish we were able to sample the finished product to determine the definitive taste, so we could ferret off and replicate it for ourselves. This is the most daunting process for somebody (like me) with a heighten sense of taste, but a defective sense of coordination. But there was nothing to fear and, in fact, it was a lot of fun. Even the spirits of my previously flailing compatriot were lifted (his morning hangover eventually subsiding). A cooking class such as this is surely a great experience to share with loved ones. There’s something about cooking together—or by each other’s side—which bonds us like the sticky to the sticky rice. At one point he and I became playfully competitive,

peeking into each other’s pans like cheating school girls. And nevermind that you may scorch a pan, or throw too much cumin in, or allow a spatula wet with curry to fly in the air and splatter across your instructor’s apron (whoops). It’s “Dek Dek” to the rescue! Dek Dek are the adorable, cooking apprentices at Osha who help carry you over the flames, preventing any major culinary disasters from happening (which is really kind of like cheating but who cares?). All I know is that my Tom Kha Gai tasted awesome. Well, it was likely mediocre but the fact I’d made it—yes me!—made it all the more delicious. The real challenge that lay ahead however was the duck curry paste, Chef Ning’s original recipe with about 1,000 different herbs and spices—or so it felt—needed to be pound from scratch. I felt as though my arm would drop off into the pestle and I had a couple of incidences of “curry eye” (they really should provide goggles). That was about the time I momentarily wished to have picked the Phad Thai or Green Curry lesson

plan. But after eventually pulling it off, and completing my delicious duck, all regrets were long gone. Just don’t expect your meals to taste as fantastic and rich as your instructor’s do, but you can get close enough. And for 2,800++ I think it an excellent way to indulge an otherwise lazy Sunday, or any day really. Osha Cafe hold lessons seven days a week, in the afternoon or evening, plus you get to dine on everything you cooked. And if it’s all too much, Osha’s Dek Dek will put your leftovers in an elaborate takeaway container. Eventually you will walk away into the humbled light of day (or cloak of evening) feeling full and content, and armed with great pots of knowledge… and be three Thai dishes the wiser!

Osha Thai ‘Cooking Chronicle’ Studio

Osha Cafe, Warehouse 10 Asiatique, 2194 Charoen Krung Rd. Tel: 02 046 9441 Open daily: 5pm-11:45pm OCTOBER 2016 | 25

CITY PULSE | property profile

Grand Deluxe Jacuzzi Suite

Riva Arun

Newly opened riverside gem in Bangkok’s historic Old Town By Julia Offenberger


fter four successful years, the boutique hotel Riva Surya—located on Phra Athit Road—has well established its position amongst Bangkok’s riverside accommodations. Not surprisingly, the owners have decided to expand their brand and recently opened Riva Arun, a second property, just a few boat stops down the city’s Chao Phraya river. The proximity of both hotels to the water is no coincidence, considering the owners’ family history. Almost 100 years ago they started a small rowing boat business, which turned into one of Bangkok’s most iconic means of public transport—the Chao Phraya Express Boat, which carries up to 40,000 passengers up and down the river each day. As the hotel’s name suggests, this brand new boutique property is located across the river from Wat Arun (or the Temple of Dawn), one of Bangkok’s most famous historic landmarks. The design of the 4-storey building is sleek and modern, yet features traditional Thai elements, including carved wooden wall panels and ornate ironwork. The small 26 | OCTOBER 2016

hotel offers 25 elegantly designed rooms, all of which are laid out differently and include a balcony. We settled into one of the 62 sq.m. Grand Deluxe Jacuzzi rooms which—same as the hotel—is decorated in a white and cream colour scheme, with deep green and golden highlights. The centrepiece is a king size bed, and at the foot of the bed sits a cream coloured sofa and an antique wooden box serving as a coffee table. The open concept bathroom features a large sink to the right of the bed, while the shower and toilet are hidden behind floor-toceiling mirrored wardrobe doors. The room itself is rather compact in size, but comes with a large balcony facing the river, complete with a private Jacuzzi. In addition to the standard room facilities such as a TV, minibar and Wi-Fi, we loved having different coffee options—both an espresso and French press machine were available—as well as the fragrant shower gels by the luxury skin care brand Erb. For dinner we headed to the hotel’s bar and restaurant Above Riva, located on the rooftop terrace

CITY PULSE | property profile

Above Arun

View of Wat Pho


Balcony with private Jacuzzi

and boasting a stunning view of Wat Arun to the west, and the Old Town and Wat Pho to the east. The menu offers a selection of international dishes with a ‘Twist of Thai Cuisine’. As a starter, we shared the pepper beef tataki, featuring thin slices of melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu beef, truffle mashed potatoes, and stir fried leek—all drizzled with a sweet soy butter sauce. This was followed by a plate of spicy chorizo spaghetti topped with pepperoni and pulled pork, and a green curry duck confit (which turned out to be our absolute favourite). This must-try dish is slow cooked for three hours and served with avocado and roti. The atmospheric rooftop also makes a romantic setting to watch the sun go down, especially while sipping one of the restaurant’s delicious signature cocktails. Recommendable are both the Arun Mojito, spiced up with fresh ginger, and the Sweet Lagoon, a fruity, gin based concoction with lychee. Having a weakness for panoramic views, we were glad to hear that breakfast was also served on the rooftop. In the morning guests are presented with an assortment of cold cuts and cheeses, bread and pastries, as well as an à la carte menu. While watching the sun rise high above the Old Town, we were preparing ourselves to be tourists for a day and explore this beautiful part of the city. Many of the surrounding old shophouses have been converted into quaint guesthouses, cafés and galleries, and some of the city’s must-see attractions, including Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaew, and The Grand Palace, as well as the Flower Market, are all within easy walking distance. 28 | OCTOBER 2016

NOTE: An à la carte breakfast and dinner is also served in the hotel lobby for both in-house and outside guests. In addition, plans for the near future are to open Riva Café, an all-day riverside restaurant in front of the hotel, offering Western comfort food, Thai street food, and take away options. The best way to reach the hotel is by boat, which stops at nearby Tha Tien Pier and connects to the BTS station Saphan Taksin at Sathorn Central Pier.

Historic Wat Arun

Riva Arun

392/25 Maharaj Rd. | Tel: 02 221 1188 |

SNAPSHOTS | insight

Sinners being gorged with fire in hell from Triphumikata, the largest Buddhist banner in Thailand

Prate, or “hungry ghosts�, from the Lacquer Pavillion, Suan Pukkard Palace, Bangkok 30 | OCTOBER 2016

insight | SNAPSHOTS


On Ghost and Spirits

lthough Buddhism is printed as main religion on most Thai ID cards, our belief system combines Buddhist philosophies with Animist foundations, Brahmin-Hindu ceremonials, and Confucian codes. Among these beliefs, the core of Buddhist cosmology holds Triphum, the Three Realms—the parallel worlds of Heaven, Earth, and Hell—all containing spirits. Contradictory to the Buddhist teachings as it may seem, believing in spirits and ghosts is not just a mere fascination with paranormal phenomena, but also creates activities, festivals, and big businesses. Most people don’t get to experience spirit hauntings, let alone sightings. But don’t knock it if you can’t prove it. For people with the sixth sense, spirits appear when the three realms collide, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Some can be deities, such as gods, goddesses, demidivinities, and good sprites that are benevolent to earthlings. Originating from Animist beliefs, they can be the spirit of the land, the water, the forest, the mountain, etc. Hence, the spirit houses or sal phra phoom for tutelary

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

deity can be found on the grounds of every abode in Thailand—from single homes to condominiums, office buildings, and even shopping malls. Most are as humble as the traditional Thai houses, while others can be opulent, with grand Hindu deities, or as majestic as Bangkok’s ‘Shrine of the City Pillars’. As the legend goes, four men of auspicious names were called, captured, sacrificed, and buried alive at the four corners of this shrine to protect the city forever. Reflecting Thai society, even gruesome ghosts have hierarchy—the good, the bad, and the ugly. While the heavenly ones guard us and are harbingers of both good and evil, the bad and the ugly can be either demonic or comical. Baddies such as Phii ghrasue (a female ghost with only head and innards) and phii ghrahang (a male ghost flying around using wide, flat, circular baskets and a pestle as tail) ward us off from filth and warn us about our hygiene. Nymph-like nang maii ghosts, such as nang dta-kian (ironwood tree nymph) and nang dta-nee (banana tree nymph) avert the destruction of environment. Kumar tong or “Golden Child”, customarily created from a still-born foetus and covered with gold leaves, are now statues of traditionally-dressed children. Believed to watch over and defend their owners from evils, they work as coping mechanism for conquering our fear and being careful at all times. Among the ugly ghosts, prate (or preta in Sanskrit), also known as “hungry ghosts”, are supernatural beings who can be reborn but they must undergo sufferings by being in constant and extreme level of hunger and thirst. Prates are said to be the souls of false, corrupted, compulsive, deceitful, jealous or greedy people in a previous life—or simply ungrateful children, as in dek prate. As a result of their karma, they are afflicted with an insatiable hunger for a particular repugnant or humiliating object or substance, such as cadavers or faeces. On the new moon day in September, the Ching Prate Festival is celebrated

in the temples in Southern Thailand and some around Bangkok. Blending Brahmanism and Buddhism, Hungry Ghost Festivals can also be found in India, China, and other Southeast Asian countries. Alms are offered to prates as well as ancestors and other dearly departed who can leave the purgatory for one day. Unique khanom laa, fine egg thread dessert, symbolizing clothing, is among many offerings. If there were something strange in the neighbourhood, Thais used to call mhor phii, a kind of ghostbuster. Akin to shamans and witch doctors, mediums and other charlatans still prey on gullible patrons. Using colourful magic tricks, they con and cast their spells by pretending to communicate, invoke, or exorcise spirits of the dead. Using scare tactics, they also profit from amulets and talismans. They tread a thin line between local faiths and blind idiocy. Among all Thai ghost stories that were made into spine-chilling books and films, Mae Nark Phra Kanong seems to be the most legendary and the most popular. Mae Nark or Nang Nark’s lore is based on a woman who died during her pregnancy. She and her husband actually lived during the end of King Rama III’s reign, but her myth surpasses the reality. She wasn’t a ghost but her relatives made it up that she was. Her mystery didn’t bring her fame and fortune, but to the producers, actors, and writers who keep recreating and altering her story for entertainment purposes—more than 50 adaptations so far—she’s a spirit that keeps on giving. When the three realms really collide, we should find out which is the most frightening. I’m afraid to say that the Human World is the scariest one, because we constantly fool ourselves and each other. What would ghosts gain from scaring us? Their burial grounds are even invaded by the living. Look at the Chinese cemeteries on Silom Road which are now surrounded by skyscrapers. In the end, the living are often scarier than the dead. OCTOBER 2016 | 31

SNAPSHOTS | highlight

Reptilian Ménage à Trois Deadly snakes are both revered and feared in Thai culture By Jim Algie


utside of Thailand’s national parks, it’s only in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen that you are likely to see road signs that read, “Warning: King Cobra Crossing”. It’s a sure sign that you’re on the right track to see the ‘Cobra Village’, where most of the villagers breed and raise snakes for a living. At Ban Kok Sa-nga, they also put on daily shows of derring-do where snake-handlers wrestle with king cobras up to 5 meters long. The majority of the 700 villagers raise snakes, and some even keep them as pets, says Sirisak Noi Lek, the president of the village’s Cobra Conservation Club.

32 | OCTOBER 2016

“The tradition started back in the 1950s when a man named Ken Yongla from this village began travelling around the countryside selling herbal medicines,” he says. “To attract more people, he started doing regular shows with cobras, but these snakes were too dangerous because they can spit venom for several metres. So he used king cobras instead. “They’re still dangerous, but the venom is delivered through their fangs. Ken trained many of the locals to do the performances and how to raise snakes.”

The chiming of cow bells heralds the arrival of a shepherd directing her bovine charges down the dirt road with a bamboo switch as Sirisak leads us to the back of his house. Curled up in a wooden box is a python as thick as a fire-hose. The locals catch them in their gloved hands when the snakes are sleeping during the day. Every few days, Sirisak feeds the python smaller snakes or a frog. Some of the serpents have their gall bladders removed for Chinese potions—even mixed with whiskey for an aphrodisiac. Others are cast as performers in shows that pit man against serpent. Far from the sinister figure in the Garden of Eden that encourages Eve to eat the forbidden fruit of knowledge—thereby bringing about

highlight | SNAPSHOTS the downfall of humankind—the seven-headed ‘Lord of the Serpents’ (Phaya Nak) opened his hoods to protect the Buddha from the elements as he attained enlightenment while meditating under the sacred ficus tree. For many Thais, Phaya Nak, whose long body forms the balustrades of many Buddhist temples, is a figure of reverence. So it’s not a revelation that the monks incubated a special laboratory to breed king cobras in the Buddhist temple near the zoo and the venue for performances. On this afternoon, sitting in the bleachers surrounding the stage, is a group of Buddhist monks draped with orange robes, among a smattering of Thais and tourists. Behind the stage is a gigantic billboard for Pepsi, framed by photos of the King and Queen of Thailand. To the tape-recorded tune of handpummelled drums, the clink, clink, clink of finger cymbals, and an Indian oboe playing melodies serpentine enough to charm a cobra—the same traditional tunes played live during muay thai boxing matches—three dancers take centre stage. Dressed in pink sarongs, each of the young ladies wears live garlands of sinuous pythons, jaws wired shut with string. Shooting off flashbulb smiles and moving as gently as palm fronds in a breeze, the dancers’ slow-motion body



Jim Algie has parlayed his experiences living in Thailand into books like the non-fiction collection, Bizarre Thailand: Tales of Crime, Sex and Black Magic (2010) and On the Night Joey Ramone Died: Twin Tales of Rock ‘n’ Punk from Bangkok, New York, Cambodia and Norway (2016). Check out for more.

language speaks volumes about the tranquility of traditional Thai culture. At the back of the stage, a snakehandler uses a long metal pole with a hook to pull a writhing king cobra out of a box. Black with silver bands, the 3 meters long serpent slithers toward the front of the stage. In the crowd, spines straighten and a hush descends. The venom of a single king cobra bite is enough to kill a man—or a hundred rodents—unless treated immediately. Many of the snakewrestlers take herbal concoctions daily

to lessen the possibility of fatalities. Just in case, a local medic equipped with anti-venom attends every show. On his knees, the snake-handler crawls towards the king cobra. The snake rears up into the striking position, its forked tongue flicking the air. Snakes use their tongues for sniffing out their quarry and their enemies. Quick as a whip, the king cobra lunges at him. The snakehandler dodges the attack. Distracting the snake with one hand held in the air, he crawls beside it, lowers his head and kisses the cobra on its head.

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

OCTOBER 2016 | 33

SNAPSHOTS | highlight

Cheap Charlie’s one-of-a-kind outdoor bar

The Rise & Demise of Suk 11 The days are numbered for the pedestrian friendly sub soi off Sukhumvit Soi 11 By Joe Cummings/CPA Media


can’t remember the first time I wandered up Sukhumvit Soi 11, but I know it was to stay at the legendary Federal Hotel. Of the many Western-style hotels that sprang up across Bangkok in the 1960s, principally to accommodate U.S. servicemen on leave from the Vietnam War, the Fed was considered the most venerable of them all. Built in the early 1960s, the modernist multi-storey hotel developed a loyal clientele that remained steady well after the end of the war in 1975, drawn by large guest rooms and an excellent 24-hour coffeeshop (complete with an anachronistic jukebox). Bars, cafes, pharmacies, tailor 34 | OCTOBER 2016

shops, and massage parlors came up along the soi mainly to serve the relatively meager inflow and outflow of the hotel, and as other small hotels followed suit in the 1980s— particularly after the successful Amazing Thailand 1987 global ad campaign—Suk 11 (as it was known) became a popular niche for Bangkok tourism along Sukhumvit Road. One of the earliest bars to stake a claim on the soi was Charlie’s Bar, more popularly known as Cheap Charlie’s. It occupies a highly visible spot just off Soi 11 at the entrance of a parallel sub-soi. The open-air bar was cobbled together from weathered wood scraps and discarded kitschy

decorations in 1982 by Charlie Budkajang, using money he saved selling cigarettes along Soi 11, and funds from his brother Satit’s nearby auto repair business. After the brothers passed away, the bar was left to Satit’s son Ekkachai, who has spent virtually his entire life running it. At the end of the 1990s and beginning of the early 2000s, dance clubs QBar and Bed Supper Club ushered in a new era of upscale nightlife down at the far end of Suk 11. Meanwhile Cheap Charlie’s served as a sentry for the narrow sub-soi on which it stands, which slowly changed into a haven for punters looking to escape from both the old sleaze

The Federal Hotel

and the new glitz of the main soi (Sukhumvit Soi 11 proper). Mexican restaurant Charley Brown’s moved from Town-in-Town in north Bangkok to the Suk 11 sub-soi in 2003. At the time it was one of Bangkok’s only Mexican restaurants, and the new location proved to be popular with the Suk 11 nightlife crowd. It was soon followed by Moghul Room (Indian cuisine), Tapas Café (Spanish), Snapper (New Zealandstyle seafood), and Pickled Liver (British), which was later replaced by Chez Pape (French). Two cozy bars, The Alchemist and Stash, took up residence closer to Cheap Charlie’s

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

Photo by drburtoni/Flickr.

highlight | SNAPSHOTS

VW cocktail vans

and are now packed most nights. Meanwhile, Suk 11 Hostel, virtually the only budget accommodations in the entire Sukhumvit area, spread out across two floors along the entire length of the sub-soi. Peak popularity for the sub-soi is right now, and it’s easy to see why it took off. “The best thing about this little soi,” says Charley Brown’s owner Dave Bell, “is that it’s a quiet outdoor eating and drinking area right in the heart of the city. I don’t think there’s another location like it and it certainly doesn’t feel like downtown Bangkok.” I remember sitting out front of Chez Pape not long ago and thinking the same thing. With enough cheap wine in your belly, your fuzzed vision might even mistake it for a charmingly run-down Parisian neighbourhood. When the Federal Hotel closed its doors at the end of 2013 to make way for real estate development, the writing was on the wall for Suk 11. QBar and Bed Supper Club shut down not long afterwards. Cheap Charlie’s owner Ekkachai says his father always knew this day would come. “It’s big money,” says the sun-andmonsoon-weathered bar owner. Bell agrees. “Our landlords included a new clause in our last contract stating that if they sold the land, we would get a month’s notice. We all contested that and asked for a year, to which they eventually agreed.”

When developers discovered the low-density sub-soi, and a deal with the current landowners was made, Bell and the other business owners got ten months. In March 2017, all businesses in the sub-soi will vacate to make way for a large condo and/or hotel development. According to Ekkachai, a Thai holding company with foreign investors paid B2,000 million for a land parcel which includes the entire sub-soi as well as the west side of the parallel block on Sukhumvit Soi 11. Cheap Charlie’s, Charley Brown’s, and most of the other businesses say they are looking for new premises elsewhere. Ekkachai says he’s looking for a place with a similar feel, and that the new Cheap Charlie’s will remain an outdoor bar. “We haven’t chosen a new location yet,” says Bell. “We’re looking at the other side of Lumpini—Sathorn, Silom and Surawong roads, and hope to have chosen a building by the end of December. We’ve had a very good run here, but personally, I feel like Soi 11 has run its course. Without Bed or Qbar, and now with a further 13 businesses wiped out, it doesn’t have the same character. I even miss the VW cocktail vans that used to line the street. There were definitely too many of them, but now there are none, there’s less of a fun vibe.” My advice?… enjoy this unique sub soi while you still can. OCTOBER 2016 | 35

SNAPSHOTS | very thai

What Makes Something “Very Thai”?


Discovering the history behind the heritage

offee table books and advertisements like to present an “Amazing Thailand” of dancers and temples, elephants and floating markets, with lots and lots of fruit carving. While these marvels of official Thainess do exist, you often have to look for them. Most of the time, what residents and visitors experience is the unsung popular culture, the combined expressions of daily life as accepted by the vast majority—from commercial essentials like food, transport and consumer goods, through tastes in entertainment and pastimes to memes, beliefs and cultural moments (often adapted from imports to suit local ways and needs). In this modernising, status-oriented society, what counts as culture is decided by legitimacy and awareness. Traditional Thainess—whether refined elite arts or romanticised folk ways—involves national prestige and so is promoted through pageantry, propaganda, and tourism advertising. Street-level reality is seen as undeveloped and so lags unselfconsciously out-of-sync and below the radar. Public and official comments tend to gloss over local lifestyles, especially when they touch on taboos like sex, gambling or magic. There’s actually an official definition of Thai culture: watthanatham. To the mid-20th century dictatorship of Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram, it had “qualities which indicated and promoted social prosperity, orderliness, national unity and development, and morality of the people.” Coined in a nation-building era influenced by Japanese and European Fascism, it enforces a fixed, centralised vision of a state culture from the top down. Khwam pen Thai (Thainess) is thus an ideology. Not a description but a prescription, a set of instructions of how to be a well-behaved citizen. Popular culture, by contrast, is the incremental result of decisions by diverse, ordinary people—a continual reinvention of the moment. Welling up from below without plan or policy, it proves more responsive than policy to ‘development’, whether in fashion, technology or customs. Official attempts to dictate clothing and pastimes get outdated fast and reveal how pop doesn’t fit the military ‘orderliness’ that even businessmen-turned-politicians try to enforce. Still, khwam pen Thai generates a sincere national pride.

> Very Thai

River Books by Philip Cornwel-Smith with photos by John Goss and Philip Cornwel-Smith B995 36 | OCTOBER 2016

Both high and pop culture draw upon traditional values. Information continues to be guarded by seniors and issued bit-by-bit, like masters passing down nuggets of knowledge—and then only to initiates. Getting it is like a video game treasure hunt; you reach the next levels by sifting clues and acquiring keys to overcome barriers. Never subject to colonial standardisation, Thais keep up their ancient ways, imbued with Buddhism, hierarchy, and spirit beliefs. Anthropologists call this ‘bricolage’, an animist society arranging the objects of life into a self-contained logic—in this case Thainess—that can bewilder outsiders. In this collision of values, delicate traditional Thainess has taken on a harder, commodified edge. Wood carvings turn out to be cast in resin. Garlands swinging from a car mirror may be of moulded plastic. Monk supplies fill an aisle in the supermarket. Other traditions end up disguised: lucky car plates are numerology in action; beauty queens embody deities. Today, the official culture is propagated to tourists: sanitised village festivals, sound and light extravaganzas, landmarks cleared of their vibrant old neighbourhoods. When the national narrative occupied the mainstream, much genuinely popular culture was pushed to the margins, from herbalism to folk garments. Discomfiting subcultures— magic tattoos, mediums, blind buskers, ladyboys, phallic charms, naughty massage—face haughty disapproval. Yet often what’s most fascinating are the things left unregulated and unabashed. It often takes an outsider—or at least a detached perspective—to see the patterns of what’s hidden in plain sight. The current discussion among Thais and informed foreigners about what is Thainess has parallels in other countries. The English are now pondering how Englishness differs from Britishness, but most books about the topic are penned by non-English, half-English, or English people who grew up overseas. “Every country is ordinary and unexotic to itself,” writes artist Tom Phillips, in his book on Thai postcards. “Therefore it is often through foreigners that we learn what is remarkable and strange in the places, and among the people that we take for granted.”

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

SNAPSHOTS | heritage

38 | OCTOBER 2016

heritage | SNAPSHOTS

A Hint of Old Vienna in Bangkok The Café de Norasingha is an architectural jewel in the heart of the Thai capital


ooden panels, painted ceiling, bookshelves, old wooden chairs and tables, and deep sofas—all these things make Café de Norasingha a unique institution, distilling the atmosphere of Mitteleuropa in the heart of Bangkok. The café is also unique indeed for its history. It stands within the compound of Phaya Thai Palace, which was originally conceived by King Rama V



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

By Luc Citrinot back in 1909 as a royal farm with a residential pavilion. The architectural design was put together by the chief architect of Siam Department of Public Works, the Italian craftsman Mario Tamagno. With his colleague Annibale Rigotti, the pair expanded the palace step by step following the wishes of the king. Following the death of King Rama V in 1910, King Rama VI completed the construction of the palace, giving the royal residence its current layout. He demolished some of the first structures, leaving only the exquisite Thewarat Sapharom Hall, which served as an audience hall and then as a theatre. Thewarat Sapharom stands today as one of Bangkok’s most remarkable Oriental-style structures, with its delicate wooden panels and columns. It bears similarities to the Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall (see our story on pages 16-18). Around 1922, the palace had been transformed into a kind of “fairy tale” castle, blending various European styles. A main tower had been added echoing those of German castles, while the main residential hall was rebuilt in a mix of neo-renaissance and art nouveau styles. Outdoors the backyard of the palace was redesigned in Northern Italian style with flower beds, bushes, fountains, and its unusual Roman-inspired loggia—a gallery or room with one or more open sides. Thankfully the garden has recently been restored in its original glory (after a period of neglect).

Phaya Thai Palace later became the main residence of Queen Mother Saovabha until her death in 1919, and served also as a residence for King Rama VI. By 1926, the palace was transformed in a hotel for the Royal State Railways, but the economic crisis of the late 1920s forced management to close the once opulent residence. In 1932, it then became a military hospital and is still today part of Ohramongkutklao Medical Centre. The pavilion of the Café de Norasingha had been built to serve as a royal lounge for the King when waiting for his car. The interior design is totally inspired by Vienna’s secession movement (Art Nouveau) with its sculpted wooden panels, and delicate paintings on the ceiling with their floral motifs. Painted monograms of King Rama VI can also be seen on the ceiling. A stop at Café de Norasingha is like taking a break someplace far away from Bangkok’s hectic pace—it’s as if time suddenly came to a halt. The draw of the café is, in fact, all about this Viennese style and atmosphere rather than for any unforgettable culinary experience. The coffee is good, although plastic cups for iced drinks do not really match with the intimate historic atmosphere. Best is to just sip a cup of hot coffee and dream of Phaya Thai Palace’s good old days. Café de Norasingha is open every day until 6pm. Phaya Thai Palace guided tours are offered during the weekend. Nearest BTS station is Victory Monument. OCTOBER 2016 | 39

SNAPSHOTS | making merit

Crafts from the Past

Heritage Craft Shop & Café helps preserve traditional Thai craft techniques By Julia Offenberger


rom indigo-dyed fabrics to colourful silk scarves and beautiful silver necklaces, traditional Thai crafts are a big part of the country’s heritage. Unfortunately, however, most of the products you find in the markets nowadays are only cheap copies, putting many of the historic artisanal techniques in danger of disappearing forever. In an effort to prevent the loss of the kingdom’s cultural heritage, the Fair Trade organisation ThaiCraft aims to generate a fair income for village artisans and help preserve the diverse craft traditions in Thailand. For nearly 25 years, they have organised a monthly ThaiCraft Fair, providing a market for Thai artisans while giving customers access to traditional handcrafted products. The fair—the next one is on October 8th—is held at the Jasmine City Building in downtown Bangkok (LF, Sukhumvit Soi 23), and gathers 50-60 artisan groups from all around Thailand, showcasing everything from jewellery and clothing, to household items and musical instruments. However, not all of the artisans are able to travel and attend the fair. This is why the organisation also opened the Heritage Craft Shop &

42 | OCTOBER 2016

Café. In this coffee shop customers cannot only enjoy locally produced brews, but can also browse selected handcrafted goods. It is located in a renovated shop house, in one of the city’s first brick buildings (dating back 120 years). Within walking distance from The Grand Palace, the café also makes a convenient stop while exploring Bangkok’s Old Town. Some of the items on display are batik—patterned indigo-dyed fabrics— which are typical for the Hmong tribe in Northern Thailand. Mark Salmon, the owner of the shop and café, explains that many batik fabrics sold around Thailand are factory-printed. In the traditional method the patterns on the cloth are hand-drawn (using beeswax) before the fabric is dyed. It’s just one example of how modern techniques are erasing ancient practices. This also applies to the colouring. Whereas indigo dye is historically extracted from plants grown in rainforests, it has been replaced by synthetic dyes. Nowadays, there are only a handful of indigo producers left using this traditional method. The danger of these handcrafts vanishing is partly influenced by the fact that many of the skills are primarily

practiced by the kingdom’s older generations. “Crafts can only be passed on economically and socially to younger generations if they make sense to them,” Mark continues. This is why the products in the shop are often adapted from their original use or form to fit in with more contemporary lifestyles, in order to preserve the heritage of craft production and support the artisans. As an example, a colourful jacket which is made from traditional fabrics has been cut and fashioned in a modern style. In general, Mark believes that change is slowly happening, as younger people are starting to become more aware of this cultural loss and opening businesses, which focus on preserving Thai heritage. However, there is still a lot to do. Unfortunately, many powerful authorities seem to have a different approach of handling this issue. On this note, Mark concludes “a lot of things are easy to destroy, but not easy to build!”

Heritage Craft Shop & Café 35 Bamrung Muang Rd. Tel: 02 221 1330 Open: Mon-Fri, 11am-6pm

Photo by e-dredon/Flickr


4 4 | OCTOBER 2016


ROAM Sakon Nakhon Wax Castle Festival

Beautiful beeswax creations and competitive long boat racing


eld during the 12th-15th day of waxing moon in October, to mark the end of Buddhist Lent, the SAKON NAKHON WAX CASTLE FESTIVAL is an exciting showcase of Thai artistry and craftsmanship. On the evening of the 1st day, people will join together in decorating the wax castle at MING MUANG FIELD. The 2nd day, beautiful wax castles from different temples will join the procession, roaming the municipality to Wat Phra That Cherngchum Woravihara. In this region of Northeastern Thailand, the spiritual objective behind this event is to pay homage to Phra That Choeng Chum and to wish for life in a happy home, such as a castle, and the wish for wealth if they reincarnated in human form. The Wax Castle Festival is the biggest parade in Thailand’s Isaan region, and before the main attraction the city’s river bustles with activity, as traditional long-boat races compete for the HRH Princess Sirindhorn Cup. As many as 100 crews take part, including some from Laos (directly across the border). On the final day a parade of wax “castles”, which are, in actuality, anything from ornate trees to Buddhist temples and shrines, carved from beeswax by local artists, makes its way through the center of town. The procession is also a backdrop for numerous cultural performances and entertainments, all highlighting the province’s rural way of life. These ancient traditions have been passed down from generation to generation through Sakon Nakhon locals, and offer a unique glimpse into the ancient heritage of this province. This year the annual Sakon Nakhon Wax Castle Festival gets underway on OCTOBER 13th and concludes on OCTOBER 16th.

OCTOBER 2016 | 45

TRAVEL | upcountry now


If you think those large, lumbering buffaloes you see all over rural Thailand—lingering on the side of the road or wading in muddy water—aren’t fast on their feet, then think again! At the annual Chonburi Buffalo Races visitors are treated to a combination of sport and rodeo-style entertainment as they watch jockeys clad in nothing but t-shirts and shorts guide their cattle 100 metres down a dirt track, with mud and dust billowing out behind them. Around the corral onlookers stomp and cheer, and there’s even a “Miss Buffalo” beauty contest to add to the fun.


Held during the 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar, the Phuket Vegetarian Festival is an annual event that ends up being much gorier than the name would suggest. During this time, local people of Chinese ancestry strictly observe a 10-day vegetarian or vegan diet for the purpose of spiritual cleansing and merit making. People also tend to wear white clothing during the ceremonies, but what might shock visitors is the practice of body piercing and self-mortification, as participants puncture their cheeks with knives, skewers, and other sharp items. Not recommended for the faint of heart.


In Nakhon Phanom—located in the Northeastern part of Thailand—the Illuminated Boat Procession is celebrated (known in Thai language as Lai Ruea Fai). Beginning from the 15th day of the waxing moon, and continuing till the first day of the waning moon (in the 11th lunar month of the Buddhist calendar), this dazzling annual event marks the end of Buddhist Lent, or Ok Pansa. The boats are decorated in lights, incorporating Buddhist motifs, and in addition to the boat procession there are street parades, various shows, a food fair, and traditional boat races.


In Nong Bua Daeng district, Chaiyaphum province, the Hae Krathup Tradition is the biggest ceremony of the year. Townsfolk light krathup (incense) as an offering to the Lord Buddha (following his return to Earth after preaching to his mother in heaven). The incense is made from local materials, including Om leaf and Niam leaf, and coloured paper is used to decorate the finished product. Bound with palm leaf and attached to a bamboo stick device, the finished form resembles an umbrella. The candlelit procession takes place on the End of Buddhist Lent day. 46 | OCTOBER 2016

upcountry now | TRAVEL


The annual lotus receiving festival, known as the Rap Bua Festival, takes place in the morning at Bang Phli, in Samut Prakan province (on the outskirts of Bangkok). People line up along the Samrong canal to throw lotus flowers onto an elaborately decorated boat carrying an image of the Lord Buddha. The tradition, which has passed through generations, is a way of showing the local people’s munificence and generosity to the village’s newcomers. It takes place annually on the day before the waxing moon on the 11th month of the lunar calendar.

FULL MOON MARATHON 2016 October 16

If you are tempted to make a jaunt down to Koh Pha Ngan for one of the island’s notorious full moon parties, but you want to do something healthy before the serious partying begins, then the Full Moon Marathon 2016 might be just the ticket. Runners of all ages and levels can join in on this unique marathon, which travels along the island’s beautiful beachfronts. The event is organized by Teelakow, with the theme “run under the moonlight”, and after finishing the race runners can join the legendary Full Moon Party for free.

TRAVEL | weekend getaway

Barai Suites and Spa Majestic Hua Hin property focuses on health and wellness By Victoria Kirkwood


lthough overnight stays in one of the eight über-luxurious rooms at Hua Hin’s renowned Barai Suites feature such extravagances as daily massages, and aromatherapy steams and milk baths in your suite, you can also simply visit the Barai Spa itself and experience all that this iconic facility has to offer. Located within the grounds of the Hyatt Regency Hua Hin resort, this spectacular 4.5 acre beachfront retreat provides a truly unforgettable spa experience. Majestic Thai-designed architecture, based on Khmer temples, is one of the highlights here and inspires an otherworldly spiritual calm. Lofty domed ceilings inset with star shaped skylights invoke memories of the hammam, while each treatment room comes with an outer pool courtyard for showering and relaxing. Alcoves are set

48 | OCTOBER 2016

along the maze of richly coloured corridors containing large sculptures, wavy raked sand, and in one case a trippy wall of red mirror tiles. This is very much in keeping with the needs of the new breed of wellness travelers who seek a spiritual, even sacred element to counteract the stresses of 21st century urban life. The Barai has recently launched a well-designed health and fitness concept that can help guests create lasting, positive change in their lives. Modern technology is combined with simple and effective bespoke programs created around the three pillars of good health—rest and relaxation, exercise and healthy nutrition. I dropped in for an afternoon starting with a Healthy Lifestyle Consultation including body composition analysis (B1,500/45min). This is a very useful part of any health

weekend getaway | TRAVEL

program as it shows where you have too much or little fat, your bone density and so on, which helps you make goals and then measure results. I learnt that I am very fit and healthy apart from needing to lose seven kilos, interestingly the exact amount I want to lose. I followed this with Customized Thai Herbal Compress (B3,700), a 90 minute mix of heated herbal compressing and expertly delivered oil massage which was deeply relaxing and helped with my aches and pains. I knew I was in good hands with my calm friendly therapist Dao. There is an extensive menu of other treatments, starting at B1,200, and spa packages ranging from two to four hours. All guests to the spa and suites can use the elegant day spa with sauna, steam, healthy drinks and snacks and luxury amenities. If you do decide to opt for a stay in one of the residential suites, one night with breakfast, yoga, and massage will set you back B19,600 per night, but the three day programs start at just B19,800, as they offer “free nights� when a program is booked in combination with a suite. These packages include all food, consultations, treatments, fitness sessions, and even a personal butler. In total there are five packages to choose from focusing on fitness, unwinding, weight loss, cleansing or yoga, lasting three to seven days. In keeping with the focus on wellness, signature healthy meals are served at the nearby McFarland House,

a historic, airy 19th century pavilion overlooking a stretch of white sand beach and the waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Thai and Western style tapas and indulgent desserts are also available, along with a wide range of alcoholic drinks. Pre-dinner cocktails and snacks are served in the evening to guests.

Barai Spa

91 Hua Hin-Khao Takiab Rd. | Tel: 03 251 1234 Open daily: 10am-9pm | OCTOBER 2016 | 49

TRAVEL | over the border

Former Banque d’Indochine, Kampot

The K & K Monarchies

By rediscovering their heritage, Kampot and Kep have established their rightful places on Southern Cambodia’s tourism map By Luc Citrinot


n the late 1800s in Europe the term ‘K & K Monarchy’ was popularly used when referring to the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary (1867 to 1918). The k’s stand for kaiserlich und königlich, and can be translated as “imperial” and “royal” (Austria then being an empire, and Hungary a kingdom). Nowadays, in Southern Cambodia, there exist two cities that both begin with the letter K, share historical similarities, and could rightly reclaim the long-disused K & K title. Kampot and Kep both epitomize a certain way of life, which recalls a time when Cambodia was perceived as one of the most advanced—and happiest— countries in Southeast Asia. And since both K’s are just a 2-3 hour drive from Phnom Penh, visiting them is easy. The Gulf of Siam—today the Gulf of Thailand—has long been considered as a strategic trade area for seagoing vessels. And just half way between Thailand and the

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Mekong Delta in Vietnam, a city that reaped the benefits of its positioning early on was Kampot. As early as the 17th century it was populated with Chinese merchants who were already involved in the spices trade. When the French set up their colonial grip over Cambodia in 1863, Kampot rapidly turned into the centre of the new European administration, and made its presence felt with a range of new buildings. The Lieutenant Governor’s Residence was built along the waterfront in a neo-classical style, very similar to mansions built in France to accommodate the prefecture. In addition, a hospital, the Bank of Indochina, schools, a covered market, a police station, and even a prison were all built between 1880 and 1930. The majority of Kampot’s population were Sino-Khmer and Chinese, and they emulated this new European style.

over the border | TRAVEL Shophouses and villas were constructed around Kampot administrative buildings, echoing in their details French architectural style. Houses were ornate, with balconies, columns, long windows protected by shutters, and Romanesque style porches. This architectural unity gives Kampot its everlasting charm. This small city of 40,000 inhabitants now has, arguably, one of Indochina’s most delightful collection of colonial heritage buildings (I could list 80 more properties of note). But Kampot is turning trendy these days, and around the modernist-style Central Market there are bustling restaurants, cafes, wine bars and boutique hotels. Most are housed in meticulously renovated colonial buildings, generally managed by Cambodians associated with French entrepreneurs. The old Fish Market was recently renovated and reopened as a seafood restaurant (owned by an Australian couple), serving Cambodian food with a few Western influenced twists. Although some might wish to return to the time when these decayed, fading heritage buildings gave the old town

Fish Market, Kampot

Colonial architecture, Kampot

a much more quiet, old-fashioned atmosphere, Kampot still offers tourists the image of a bygone Cambodia. But get there fast as it might not last for ever. Projects for the city have been rolled out and they might change forever the small town atmosphere. A ferry pier will soon be built, with direct links to Vietnam, while a new settlement is emerging next to the train station and is slowly swallowing the old town, making a step-by-step encroachment into the historical city core. The former city prison has already been the first victim of this modernisation push. It was recently all but demolished—save for three French style pavilions which were used, in the past, for the prison administration. They currently look like lost orphans in an empty space which will soon welcome Kampot’s first modern shopping mall. While Kampot served as the centre of administration and commerce for Southern Cambodia during colonial times, the neighbouring city of Kep had a totally different destiny in store, one of the most dramatic in the Kingdom. A century ago the term Kep-sur-Mer was synonymous

King Sisowath Villa, Kep

Kampot prison building, before and after renovation OCTOBER 2016 | 51

TRAVEL | over the border

Queen Kossamak Villa, Kep

Kep beach

Abandoned villa, Kep

with elegant seaside resorts. The area was created around 1908 by the French as an exclusive holiday retreat for the French population living in the Kingdom. The enclave was said to be built following the pattern of Southern seaside cities along the French Riviera, although I personally feel that Kep emulated more the seaside resorts along the Atlantic Coast. Either way, the city was a favourite getaway destination. It had some colonial style hotels and restaurants, as well as beautiful beaches. Between 1910 and the 1930s, French public servants and members of Cambodian royal family were spending their leisure time in this rather sleepy town. Just two structures survive from Kep’s early days. One is a typical French mansion surrounded by gardens, located across from Kep’s main beach. Today its dark facades give the mansion a foreboding presence. “The French built this villa for King Sisowath who expressed his dislike for the mansion that he considered as a suburban looking pavilion,” points out Serge Rémy, a special adviser to UNESCO who has been working on various projects to save and protect Kep’s extraordinary heritage sites. Another villa, built along the beach road in early Art Deco style, was a favourite hang-out for Queen Kossamak, the mother of Prince Sihanouk. Cambodia’s prince was, in fact, the main driving force behind the transformation of Kep from the mid-50s onwards, following Cambodia’s independence. He truly loved the area, and had the ambition to turn Kep into a kind of St. Tropez—a French Riviera in Indochina.

It was the town’s ‘Golden Age’. In the hills dominating Kep’s narrow stretch of beaches, the prince, Cambodian nobles, and the new bourgeoisie built magnificent villas. The style preference of the time was for ‘Tropical Modern’ architecture, a look inspired by Le Corbusier’s philosophy, with distinctive Khmer and tropical features added on. Well known Khmer architects of the time were Vann Molyvann and Lu Ban Hap. These “fathers” of the

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KAMPOT LITERARY FESTIVAL From November 3rd to the 7th, 2016, the annual Kampot Writers & Readers Festival takes place (the official sister festival of the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival). Enjoy poetry readings, music concerts, cooking classes, gourmet lunches, children’s events, salt and pepper tours, art exhibitions, book launches, book swaps, workshops, and much, much more. One of the writers scheduled to appear at this year’s festival is novelist and literary bluesman Arthur J. Flowers (pictured above)

over the border | TRAVEL

Villa Romonea

The Columns

WHERE TO STAY - KAMPOT THE COLUMNS: Probably the most charming hotel in the old town. Rooms are decorated with French colonial furniture, while the restaurant offers superb breakfasts and other light fare. LA JAVA BLEUE: A colonial style property with themed rooms evoking Old Indochina, located right in the old town, a few meters from the Kampot Central Market. Knai Bang Chatt Resort

new Khmer architecture movement used Kep as their laboratory. In its heyday Kep was home to some 200 villas exhibiting this new Khmer architectural style. “The town then epitomized Cambodia’s era of insouciance,” Rémy goes on to explain. “Every week, hordes of wealthy young Cambodians were driving with their sport cars to Kep. They ate in seafood restaurants along the beach, partied until sunrise, drank cocktails, and danced the cha-cha-cha and the twist.” The international jet-set also made cameo appearances during these heady days, including French actress Catherine Deneuve, former US first lady Jackie Kennedy, and even the authoritarian Singaporean leader Lee Kwan Yew. But these glory days only lasted a mere 15 years. When Cambodia was dragged into the Vietnam conflict in the early 70s, Kep became virtually deserted. In later years, when the Khmer Rouge guerrillas took over the seaside resort, they emptied the place of all its inhabitants—deeming them as the symbol of Cambodia’s bourgeois decadence. A few villas were demolished, and the materials sold for food and weapons, while the rest of the villas were slowly swallowed up by the jungle, echoing the fate of the Angkor temples that were also invaded by untamed nature. But Kep is now emerging from its decades-long slumber. Along the beach road hotels, guesthouses, and restaurants are now taking over. The ruins of some hillside villas are still waiting for new owners to spruce them up, although for now they provide popular photo ops for curious tourists looking for haunting memories of Kep’s golden age.

WHERE TO STAY - KEP KNAI BANG CHATT RESORT: This luxurious boutique resort (with spa) offers 18 individually decorated, sea-facing rooms, all designed in a tropical modern colonial fusion style. In addition a superb restaurant serves fragrant Cambodian cuisine. Restoration of this resort was carried on three original villas built in the 1960s, while two new structures were more recently built using the New Khmer architectural style. VILLA ROMONEA: This secluded villa was built in the late 60s by one of Phnom Penh’s wealthiest Khmer families. Today it’s a six room deluxe boutique hotel, generally rented by the same group of visitors for all-exclusive use. Built by Lu Ban Hap, the house was left in a sorry state but has been lavishly restored. A spa and fitness centre are available, as well as private tennis courts, and a magnificent garden surrounds the oceanside infinity swimming pool. SARAVOAN-KEP HOTEL: Located in the city centre, along the beach road, this affordable alternative offers 17 rooms—in tropical contemporary style— and a swimming pool. OCTOBER 2016 | 53



Eroded Memories

Abstract photo exhibition by Pramual Burusphat


mmediately transfixing, pleasing, and beautiful—perhaps revealing perhaps of the secret patterns of the universe—all these things can describe ERODED MEMORIES, the latest exhibit from artist PRAMUAL BURUSPHAT, one of the pioneers of contemporary Thai photography. The works appear like abstract expressionist paintings of single cell organisms dividing and multiplying violently in all directions at great speed, eating away all human memory leaving no trace of what once was. A photograph of picturesque Punyi Island in Phang-nga vanishes into black and white lines, seemingly drawn by magnetic fields. Without the sprocket holes we’d never have recognized it as a strip of negative film, once popularly used by humanity to record its memories. Perceiving the beauty of this truth of the impermanence of things when he searched through his father-in-law’s old negatives from 1977 and beyond, led in part to the creation of this photo series. All the negatives had degraded, melted and split due to the high heat and humidity of Thailand’s climate. The series also toys with the conviction that “photography must be a straight-forward record of everything before the lens”. How do we respond when Punyi Island has morphed into squiggly lines that do not correspond to reality? ERODED MEMORIES runs until OCTOBER 29 at the KATHMANDU PHOTO GALLERY (87, Soi Pan, at Silom Rd). Viewing hours are Tuesday to Saturday, from 11am till 6pm. For more information, call 02 234 6700.

OCTOBER 2016 | 55

ART & CULTURE | exhibitions

OCTOBER 4-NOVEMBER 6 Prostration

Ardel Gallery of Modern Art 99/45 Belle Ville, Boromratchonnanee Rd. Viewing hours: Tue-Sat, 10:30am-7pm, Sun, 10:30am-5:30pm Tel: 02 422 2092 |

This exhibition presents the paintings, drawings, and prints using mixed techniques, which have sprung from the mind of artist Thavorn Ko-udomvit. The concept here is to express gratitude and respect toward nature and the surroundings—everything from tree branches to flowers, leaves, rocks, water containers, rice grains, or odds and ends found in natural surroundings. These things can mean a lot to those who appreciate the delicacy of life, as professed through the Buddhism philosophy, and about change and universal impermanence. It should be interesting to see what this 60-year-old artist has in store for viewers.

OCTOBER 6-30 Between My Lines Neilson Hays Library

195 Surawong Rd. Viewing hours: Tue-Sun, 9:30am-5:30pm Tel: 02 233 1731 |

This month the art exhibition being staged at the Neilson Hays Library will feature paintings by Thai artist Sonea Rattanaruangsup. The show, entitled ‘Between My Lines’, is a collection that captures the impulsive nature of emotions—emotions which, when triggered, can change how we perceive ourselves. All of us, at one point or another in our lives, long to tread outside our comfort zones and be somebody else. In this series the artist exposes how emotions can drive us to put on certain disguises for the world while leaving our inner selves untouched.

OCTOBER 8-29 Fake – Work II Number 1 Gallery

19 Silom Rd, Soi 21 Viewing hours: Mon-Sat, 11am-7pm Tel: 083 445 8333, 02 630 2523 |

Of the artworks on display here by Prawit Lumcharoen, seven were made in 2014, three in 2015, and eight in 2016. All of them were created using oil colour, and focus on thoughts and limitless development. Because of the growth of technologies nowadays, humans are having all of the facilities to make their life easier—especially the people in the urban area that will live in the world of materials and artificial surface. Therefore, the artist took the uniqueness of the metallic surface to reflect upon life, humans, animals, and object and express it to the artwork. 56 | OCTOBER 2016

exhibitions | ART & CULTURE

UNTIL OCTOBER 14 Metamorphosis of Japan After the War Ratchadamnoen Contemporary Art Center 84 Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd. Viewing hours: Tue-Sun, 10am-7pm Tel: 02 422 8827 |

This photography exhibition, curated by Tsuguo Tada and Marc Feustel, showcases images of “postwar” Japan—from 1945-1964—by 11 talented Japanese artists. The exhibition features 123 photographs in all, and is divided into three sections: The Aftermath of War; Between Tradition and Modernity; and Towards a New Japan. Despite being defeated and devastated after WWII, Japan underwent drastic transformations in terms of society, economy, and culture. This exhibition reveals the records of social transformation through the artistic perspectives of the 11 photographers who were each active in this period of dramatic upheaval.


Sathorn 11 Art Space 404 Soi 11 Sathorn Rd. Viewing hours: Tue-Sun, 11am-7pm Tel: 02 004 1199 |

Sathorn 11 Art Space and GFour Wine & Spirits present a group exhibition featuring Italian artist Sergio Voci, whose works will be on display together with six Thai artists—Oh Futon, P7, Aof Smith, Asin, Manasawii Jane, and Anchalee Arayapongpanich. This event, which is part of the ongoing Italian Festival in Thailand, is a unique opportunity to see the works of this Italian, Nigerian-born, contemporary artist. A self-taught painter, he started off in the underground scene of Milan, and got immediately noted by local gallery owners. His works are now on display all over Europe.

UNTIL OCTOBER 29 As They Grow Older And Wiser Bangkok University Gallery

Bangkok University, City Campus, Rama IV Rd. Viewing hours: Tue-Sat, 10am-7pm Tel: 02 350 3626 |

This exhibition marks the debut of a new photographic series and installation by Ang Song Nian, presented as part of the artist’s participation in the Bangkok University Gallery’s Artist-in-Residence programme. At the heart of the show is a site specific work made up of six installations created as a response to the artist’s observation on methods of control. In particular, the ways in which potted plants, as well as trees—young and old—are being manipulated to fit into the urban landscape of Bangkok. Here the artist re-presents the controlled environment of plant nurseries.

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ART & CULTURE | arts interview

Jumpin’ Jazz

Expect the unexpected when the Shuffle Demons hit the stage By Bruce Scott


f you spent your formative years, as I did, in the city of Toronto during the 80s and 90s, then you’ll no doubt have heard of the Shuffle Demons. But if you’re a stranger to the group, then don’t miss the opportunity to see this energetic ensemble when they perform live on stage on October 3rd at the Thailand Cultural Centre (14 Thiam Ruam Mit Rd) as part of the 18th annual Bangkok International Festival of Dance & Music (see facing page). Known for their no holds barred performances that feature free jazz moments, danceable funk, poetry, killer solos and more, the band also captivates audiences visually with their spectacular hand-painted suits and wild romps through the crowd. However, all their eye catching, crowdpleasing stunts are backed up by incredibly solid musicianship. Over the years I’ve seen these cartoon hepcats perform together and individually, and I can attest to their undeniable musical chops. I spoke with saxophonist and vocalist Richard Underhill—the group’s founding member and frontman for the past 32 years, as well as my former neighbour—about his upcoming trip to Bangkok.

not the sort of year-round support of the music that we used to have. I think it’s a common problem everywhere, and is part of the reason why we tour—other than wanting to visit amazing places like Bangkok!

Richard Underhill

saxophones the better, I say, and it’s very fitting that such a saxophone focused group should be from Belgium—home of the inventor of the instrument, Adolphe Sax. I’m really looking forward to the lush harmonies that so many saxes can produce. Describe the jazz scene in Canada? The jazz music scenes in Toronto, and Canada as a whole, are similar. We have a glut of really amazing performers, but a real shortage of venues. We have great festivals, but

The line up of the Shuffle Demons has changed over the years. Who are the members who will be accompanying you on this trip? Along with myself there will be Stich Wynston (drums/vocals) who is one of the original band members, as well as Perry White (sax), and George Koller (bass/vocals), both came to the band about three years after its formation, in 87/88. Joining us will be Ryan Oliver (sax), who has been playing with us for about five years now. In 2012 you released the album “Clusterfunk”. Are there any new recordings coming our way? Yes, we have a new CD in the works and are in the writing and demoing stage now. We’ll be doing many tunes from Clusterfunk when we’re in Bangkok, which will be brand new for the audience there as we hadn’t recorded them the last time we were in Thailand.

This will be your second appearance in Thailand, once again as part of the Bangkok International Festival of Dance & Music. How were you received the first time? The reception was great. The audience was really thrilled with our show and seemed to love the visual nature of our performance. Also, the festival organizers really treated us like gold. They were very hospitable and took great care of us. Are you familiar with the Belgian Saxophone Ensemble, the band that will be performing with you? I don’t know the other band, but reading their bio they seem like a really interesting ensemble. The more 58 | OCTOBER 2016

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arts feature | ART & CULTURE

Performance Art

The Bangkok International Festival of Dance & Music continues By Lekha Shankar The Nutcracker

Romeo and Juliet

Paul Taylor Dance

Sara Baras Dance


he cultural buffet that the 18th annual Bangkok International Festival of Dance and Music is bringing to the city this year continues throughout much of October at the Main Hall of the Thailand Cultural Centre (14 Thiam Ruam Mit Rd). There are two top ballet troupes performing this month, starting with the Karlsruhe Ballet from Germany, who will be performing The Nutcracker – A Christmas Carol on Saturday, October 8th (7:30pm), and Sunday, October 9th (2:30pm). This is a dramatic amalgam of E. T. A. Hoffman’s Nutcracker and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, set to Tchaikovsky’s music and staged with splendid sets and lighting. “It’s a uniquely delicate and elegant but powerful ballet performance,” according to German Cultural Attaché Jan Blezinger, who is proud that the production has 50 dancers from 13 countries, including China, Japan, and Korea. Later in the month—on October 12th—France’s leading contemporary

dance company Ballet Preljocaj enacts Romeo and Juliet, but here Serge Prokofiev’s ballet has been dramatically transformed by artistic director Angelin Preljocaj. It’s set in a totalitarian Eastern European country, making it a gripping, contemporary drama. Spanish Flamenco is always one of most popular programs at the festival, and this year sees the highly acclaimed Sara Baras Dance Company performing in Thailand for the first time, on October 16th. This is a stunning production, with 15 vibrant dancers on stage who capture the emotion, drama and passion of flamenco. Maria Salcedo, Dep. Head of the Spanish Embassy in Thailand, raves about dancer Sara Baras, saying, “Her exceptional footwork and body expression, her dynamism, and the richness of her repertoire have placed her amongst the top flamenco dancers in the world!” The sole classical orchestra performing at the festival this month is also one of the oldest in the world, and

one of the grandest. The Presidential Symphony Orchestra of Turkey will make their Bangkok debut on October 14th. Chief Conductor Rengim Gokmen will lead the orchestra in a program that includes a scintillating range of master composers—from Liszt to Rachmaninoff. The world-renowned Paul Taylor Dance Company from the USA will close the festival in spectacular fashion, with two different programs—one on October 18th, and an entirely different performance on October 19th. Formed in 1954, the troupe has performed in more than 500 cities in 62 countries and, to quote the New York Times, “They are one of the most exciting, innovative, and delightful dance companies in the entire world!”

For more information: To purchase tickets: OCTOBER 2016 | 59

ART & CULTURE | cinema scope

Film News & Screenings By Bruce Scott

I Feel Like Disco

Alfred Hitchcock on the set of Psycho


n celebration of the 70th anniversary of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s accession to the throne, the Thailand Film Archive has scheduled an ongoing program consisting of seven classic films that the King once saw at the cinema himself way back when. This month the selected film is Psycho (1960), the electrifying horror-thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The screening takes place at noon on October 9th at the Scala Theatre (Siam Square, Soi 2) and tickets are B100 each. It’s a rare chance to see this film on the big screen and shouldn’t be missed. The most anticipated of this month’s films on the roster at the newly opened Bangkok Screening Room is the Thailand premier of Hot Sugar's Cold World, directed by Adam Bhala Lough. It’s a fly-on-the-wall look into the life of a modern-day Mozart, as he creates one-of-a-kind music made entirely out of sounds from the world around him. It was also an official selection at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival, and the 2015 Hot Docs Festival in Toronto. Check the Bangkok Screening Room website for exact dates, times. and prices. Meanwhile the Goethe Institute film series continues with a pair of free screenings of the 2013 film I Feel Like Disco (Ich fühl mich Disco), directed by Axel Ranisch. The film centers around high diving instructor Hanno, who shows no understanding for his son Florian—a fat daydreamer who listens to cheesy German pop music and is awkward with girls. The son gets along better with the mother, who indulges his love of disco, but when she falls seriously ill one morning father and son suddenly have to 60 | OCTOBER 2016

White God get along with one another on their own. The first of the two screenings will be at 1pm at the Thai Film Archive (Salaya) on October 9th, and the second at 6pm at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC, 939 Rama 1 Rd) on October 11th. On a different note, fans of the FCCT’s long running ‘Contemporary World Film Series’ are happy that the series now has a new home at Thailand Knowledge (TK) Park, located on the 8th floor of CentralWorld. On October 22nd the second film shown in this year’s series will be White God, Hungary’s entry for the 2014 Oscars. The film, directed by Kornél Mundruczó, tells the story of 13-yearold Lili who fights to protect her dog. She is devastated when her father gets rid of the animal, and so she sets out to find her dog and save him. The screening takes place on Saturday, October 22nd at 4pm, and will be followed by snacks and refreshments provided by the Embassy of Hungary. Tickets are only B20 each. Finally, the 4th in the series of ongoing Doc+Talk events will be held on October 23rd in the 5th floor auditorium of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC). The Documentary Club of Bangkok will be showing Poverty, Inc., the 2014 feature-length documentary by Michael Matheson Miller. This hard-hitting doc challenges current perceptions of global charity, and promotes entrepreneurship as an effective alternative to alleviating world poverty. The screening gets underway at 4pm, with a post-screening talk at 6pm. Admission is B100.

Art & Culture

Photo Feature UNSEEN SIAM, Early Photography from 1860 to 1910

Unearthing vintage photos from the long forgotten past always arouses interest from historians and anyone with a penchant for tradition and heritage. The art exhibition Unseen Siam, Early Photography 1860 – 1910, currently on display till November 7th at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC), in the 9th floor main gallery, has corralled together a number of rare photographs which have never been on public display before. The exhibition, which has been curated by Mom Rajawongse Narisa Chakrabongse, and Paisarn Piammettawat (with co-curation by Pichaya Suphavanij), features more than 150 photos of old Siam, from the very first beginning until the end of the reign of King Chulalongkorn, the fifth monarch of Thailand. The original negatives of these photographs have been kept in their respective country’s archives. They were taken by foreign photographers, and Thais who were later appointed Siamese court photographers. These archaic images bring various historical aspects to light. The subjects range from portrait photography of King Mongkut of Siam, King Chulalongkorn, other nobles and even some commoners, to various cityscapes and country landscapes. In addition to the museum display, these vintage photos are also available in book form, in a beautiful commemorative volume written by Joachim K Bautze and published by River Books. This 364-page volume contains over 700 images, and will be available for sale— both Thai and English versions—at the BACC for the duration of the show (priced at B1,800) .

Above: King Mongkut, also known as Rama IV (1804-1868) seen here in an undated photographic portrait together with eleven of his children 62 | OCTOBER 2016

Clockwise from top left: The Tsarevitch arriving at the royal landing stage; a print entitled ‘The first king’s brother’; portrait of King's Malay wife; Opening of the Thonburi-Petchaburi railway line on 19 June 1903; Three consorts of King Mongkut wearing guards’ uniforms resembling Scottish kilts c.1861-1862

OCTOBER 2016 | 63

King Chulalongkorn, also known as Rama V ( 1853-1910), photographed in 1874 64 | OCTOBER 2016

Top: Arch of the public works, Bangkok. Below: A group of Belgian advisors and their families at Wat Chong

OCTOBER 2016 | 65

Clockwise from top left: Ascribed as showing "one of the wives of the second king (King Pinklao)�; Young thai woman, in her native dress (photographed under the direction of M.T. Bocourt); The Siam Theatre (undated) 66 | OCTOBER 2016

Top: Mr. and Mrs. Reytter in a concourse of automobiles decorated with flowers (undated photo). Above: Taming wild elephants (undated photo)

OCTOBER 2016 | 67


Blue Elephant Go Pink menu: Mok snow fish grilled with herbs (top), and steamed dumplings with minced prawn and crab 68 | OCTOBER 2016


AROY blue turns to pink

For years now NOOROR SOMANY STEPPE, the charming and gracious Master Chef at the BLUE ELEPHANT COOKING SCHOOL & RESTAURANT (Bangkok and Phuket), has had a dual role as one of the ambassadors of the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer Foundation. And all this month, in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness (symbolized by the pink ribbon), the Blue Elephant will delight diners, and raise much needed funds, with their GO PINK special tasting menu. Proceeds will go to the QSCBC Slum Outreach Project, in which underprivileged women in some of Bangkok’s poorest slums are screened for breast and cervical cancer. It’s a great cause, and the menu selections—from foie gras to yellow chicken curry and duck mulberry soup—are absolutely divine… trust us! For more information about the QSCBC turn to page 73.

courageous cuisine With the sustainable food movement gathering momentum across the world, the upcoming COURAGEOUS BANGKOK—taking place on Sunday, October 9th from 4pm to 8pm at THE HOUSE ON SATHORN (108 North Sathorn Rd)—is a show of solidarity amongst 20 eco-conscious chefs who are taking part to raise awareness towards sustainable living. This is the first event of its kind in Bangkok and those interested can purchase a book of 10 tickets costing B1,500, giving them the opportunity to taste delicious sample portions of sustainably sourced goodies priced at B150 each. Participating kitchens include: Appia, Bo.lan, Bunker, EatMe, Gaggan, Sloane’s, Le Du, Quince, Sensi, and many more. In addition, beverage supplies will be taken care of by Wine Garage, Beervana, Raitong Organics, and Be:spoke Fine Wine. Search “Courageous Bangkok” on Facebook for more info.

food fabulous food On October 16th, in honour of World Food Day, CHO WHY (Soi Nana 17) is playing host to BIG FOOD - FOR THE LOVE OF FOOD (& DRINK). In addition to showcasing some of the most talented and innovative culinary talents in the city (they’re expecting Bo.lan, Le Du, Gula Bangkok, and Seven Spoons among others), the event will be a celebration of the different types of food the city has to offer and where our eating habits might be headed in the future—who knows, edible insects and wild forest foods might become gourmet go-to items one day. Admission is free, and apart from the eating and drinking there will also be live music, and proceeds from this event will go to supporting an agroforestry project in Nepal. Please contact for more info.

halloween hunger Ghosts and goblins can be gourmands too, which is why the two signature restaurants at the SO SOFITEL BANGKOK hotel (2 North Sathorn Rd), are both having HALLOWEEN themed weekend promotions. At RED OVEN, on Sunday October 30th and Monday October 31st, enjoy a “Witch’s Kitchen” themed buffet at brunch, lunch and dinner. Or, zombie-walk your way over to PARK SOCIETY where their ultra-goulish Halloween set dinners run from Saturday the 29th to Monday the 31st.

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FOOD & DRINK | meal deals

Kama-Meshi Japanese Style Risotta at Ki Sara Conrad Bangkok | 87 Wireless Road Tel: 02 690 9233 |

Enjoy Japanese traditional rice pot dishes at Ki Sara, on the 3rd floor of the Conrad Bangkok hotel. Enjoy a variety of ingredient choices, including queen crab, salmon, snow fish, eel, and more. The prices vary based on your choice. Salmon and Ikura Kama-meshi is B580++, Snow Fish Kama-meshi is B780++, and Premium Unagi Kama-meshi is B980++. Selections are available for both lunch and dinner. Lunch runs from 11:30am-2:30pm and dinner from 6pm-10:30pm.

Afternoon Tea at the Erawan Tea Room Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok | 494 Rajdamri Road Tel: 02 254 6250 |

Drop by the Erawan Tea Room, at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok hotel, for a taste of the new afternoon tea set selections on offer throughout October. Sample deep-fried vegetable spring roll, grilled curry fish on lemongrass stick, spicy Northern pork sausage, and spicy pomelo salad with shrimp, together with a variety of desserts including a kanom krok and look chub. Enjoy this afternoon tea menu, in a relaxing atmosphere, from 2:30pm to 6pm daily. The price is B600 net per person.

Culinary Delights at Eurasian Grill

Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside | 2074 Charoenkrung Road Tel: 02 688 1000 | The Eurasian Grill at the Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside launches its new set menu created by the hotel’s Executive Chef Boonplook ‘Bass’ Thiengsoosuk. The new menu includes a salmon crostini appetizer, seafood soup, and a choice of Australian rack of lamb or snow fish with truffle sauce as main course items. This menu is available every evening at dinner from now until the end of October. The price is only B1,250 net per person, including a dessert of home-made warm chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream.

Sunday Brunch at The District Grill Room & Bar Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit | 2, Sukhumvit Soi 57 Tel: 02 797 0000 |

The District Grill Room & Bar at the Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit hotel launches its new Sunday brunch prepared by chefs Nathan Chilcott and Christian Caluwaert. The brunch contains various kinds of food such as oysters, Alaskan king crab legs, and chilled tiger prawns. Moreover, you can enjoy the private ‘dessert’ room where the creative pastry chefs serve a variety of sweet indulgences. The brunch is priced at only B2,500 net per person or B3,000 net per person with an unlimited premium beverage package.

Zest Bar & Terrace Packs a New Punch

The Westin Grande Sukhumvit Bangkok | 259, Sukhumvit Soi 19 Tel: 02 207 8000 | Zest Bar at The Westin Grande Sukhumvit Bangkok is back with signature crafted cocktails such as Central Garden and Daizy Swizzle. Moreover, Zest Bar & Terrace’s international chefs team has perfectly prepared paired light dishes to go with the bartender’s creative cocktails. New dishes include cocktail prawn wraps, Zest beef burger with whiskey infusion, and grilled marinated beef or lamb skewers. Enjoy these new tastes every day from 7am to 1am.

Vegetarian Festival at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok Mandarin Oriental Bangkok | 48 Oriental Avenue Tel: 02 659 9000 |

The Tesagan Gin Je Festival (vegetarian festival) is a well-known nationwide event and takes place this year from October 1-10. The festival is popular among both vegetarians and non-vegetarians, and those who follow the strictly vegetarian diet believe it will bring them good fortune. With this in mind, The Mandarin Oriental invites diners to enjoy their special vegetarian menu available at The Verandah and Le Normandie restaurants. The executive chefs have lovingly created an impeccable vegetarian menu.

70 | OCTOBER 2016

hot plates | FOOD & DRINK

Gaggan Lab

Another venue for Bangkok’s chatty, extroverted genius


very mad scientist needs his very own laboratory. And Bangkok’s resident madman of molecular cuisine has just gotten his. Gaggan Anand—he of the eponymous restaurant which has risen meteorically to Number One on San Pellegrino’s Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list—has recently opened his so-called “lab.” Yes, despite its gleaming checkerboard floors and loft-like feel, the place is duly outfitted with clean counters full of space-age gizmos. Are they chillers, blasters, smokers? No, they are mostly dehydrators from which assistants proudly hand out the latest dried fruit samples. While the chef himself insists that he’ll be hard at work during daytimes, with a certified “food scientist” by his side conducting gustatory experiments to supplement his amazing array of Indo-nouvelle concoctions, it turns out this bright, glassed-in annex to the restaurant’s original whitewashed cottage is more a venue for the chatty, extroverted genius to climb out of his shell and ever more personalize the Gaggan experience. From six onwards, the lucky few with advance reservations get seats around a shared, three-sided wooden

ledge with immediate view of Gaggan and his eager international lab rats—on my visit, a young Cuban-American from Miami giving tips on salsa to one of the chef’s experienced Eastern European helpers—meticulously assembling and presenting, with virtually no sign of the bother of actual cooking, by fire or grill, a set and nearly fast food-paced cavalcade of eighteen edible wonders (one hesitates to term them mere “dishes”). The first eight are bite-sized, the last three desserts of a sort, while the remainder of main courses are drawn mainly from the Calcutta native’s obligatory nod to traditional North Indian cooking, the crispy Nan breads he does so well. Highlights include the Chef’s El Bulli inspired quivering mock yogurt egg in a spoon, his mind-blowing edible packet of nuts, a mangoflavoured cone of top-grade Japanese uni, and his edible charcoal that reveals a deliciously mysterious center. The somewhat gloppily-filled log of mushrooms may not entirely work, but is followed by a virtuoso “tea ceremony” somehow combining coriander oil and several forms of tomato so that you’ll never view the commonplace red fruit-veg in

an ordinary light again. Beyond this, comes the brilliantly done staples from the tandoor oven (not futuristic enough to be part of the lab, alas). Service, amplified by several hovering and gentlemanly wine pourers, is promptly impeccable. And all this cost a mere B4,000, a pittance by world haute cuisine standards. In between, the gonzo chef plays DJ, controlling a playlist ranging from easy rock to heavy metal, and holds forth on every topic—from British colonialism and arcane Indian herbs, to his sixty-plus collection of flashy running shoes. At Gaggan Lab, the chef himself seems at times to be the most exciting experiment in progress. But given his prodigious imagination combined with deep sense of cultural roots, it’s a good bet that this needed expansion will indeed function to keep forcing Gaggan and his fans further and further into global cuisine’s brave new future. by John Krich

Gaggan Lab

68/1 Soi Langsuan Tel: 02 652 1700 Open daily: 6pm-11pm OCTOBER 2016 | 71

FOOD & DRINK | special event

Good Cause, Great Food!

The Eat Drink Pink 2016 charity event raises funds for the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer

The 2015 Eat Drink Pink event at The Peninsula Bangkok

Riverside dining at Eat Drink Pink 2015


ourmands get ready for a culinary experience like no other. Once again, a select group of the city’s top restaurants and bars gather for the Eat Drink Pink charity event, with funds raised going towards the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer (QSCBC) and the Pink Park Village (see facing page). For the third year in a row this fundraiser will be held at The Peninsula Bangkok, as part of the ‘Peninsula in Pink’ campaign. Guests will have the

72 | OCTOBER 2016

Pink gourmet treats opportunity to sample signature drinks and dishes from some of Bangkok’s elite chefs and bartenders, while raising funds to contribute in the fight against breast cancer. Participating institutions at this year’s event include Gaggan, Eat Me, David Thomson’s Nahm, Sensi, Le Du, Bo.lan, Smokin’ Pug, The Never Ending Summer, and Blue Elephant. In addition, there will also be an interactive pink-themed art installation by Chinese artist

and fashion photographer Chen Man. Eat Pink Drink 2016 will take place on Monday, October 31st, and tickets are priced at B3,000 per person—all of which will be donated to the QSCBC (last year’s fundraiser reached more than B500,000). To secure your place at this exceptional epicurean event contact The Peninsula Bangkok at 02 020 2888, or email For more information, visit

special event | FOOD & DRINK

ABOUT THE PINK PARK VILLAGE Under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit of Thailand, the Queen Sirikit Centre for Breast Cancer at Chulalongkorn Hospital is the region’s leading medical centre with respect to breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and research. It uses state-of-the-art equipment, and was also the first centre in the world to offer 3D mammography. Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death among women in Thailand, which is why Dr. Kris Chatamra founded the non-profit organisation QSCBC Foundation in 2007. However, statistics have shown that more than half of the patients in Thailand don’t have access to adequate care, revealing urgent need for a convalescence home and hospice centre for those deprived of financial means and family support. This led to the launch—in 2014—of the Pink Park Village, Thailand’s first non-profit holistic cancer care centre for the underprivileged. The idea was inspired during a project in which a team doctors

and nurses from the QSCBC visited the poorest slums of Bangkok and selected patients for full screenings and examinations in the treatment centre. “What got me going most,” Dr. Chatamra recalls, “was when I saw a middle-aged patient in the slum lying on the floor, under her a piece of cardboard, and beside her a tin with half-dried fried rice and a plastic container with water. We could not walk away, and that’s when we got home and said we have to do something!” The Pink Park Village will be located just outside Minburi, on the outskirts of Bangkok, and the landscaping for the 125-rai piece of land—which was donated to the foundation by a patient—has already been completed. The goal is to make the entire complex as self-sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible, and that includes the use of solar energy and eco-friendly garbage disposal. A scale model of the project in the QSCBC building shows that the land will be divided into three areas. The middle section will consist of

Artist’s rendering of Pink Park Village

Scale model of the Pink Park Village

Dr. Kris Chatamra

“OUR VISION FOR PINK PARK VILLAGE IS TO BE A PLACE OF HOPE AND CARE, AND A GENUINE SANCTUARY FOR ALL WOMEN IN NEED.” Dr. Kris Chatamra Director of the Queen Sirikit Centre of Breast Cancer and Founder and Chairman of the QSCBC Foundation

several low-rise buildings, without any stairs, which will each house eight cancer patients. The areas to the left and right of this main section will be kept as close to natural surroundings as possible, and include a man-made lake and an organic garden for future use. The word Dr. Chatamra stresses the most when describing his vision is ‘dignity’. “We will look after these women as if they were our relatives and give them the dignity they deserve,” he says. In addition to housing, the village will also provide a day-care and activity centre for the patients, offering moral support and meaningful activities, as well as a learning and training centre for the medical staff, patients, and their families. All this is being done with the ultimate aim of establishing Pink Park Village as an advanced diagnostic leader that will serve as a benchmark for the region.

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FOOD & DRINK | review

Tapas Y Vino

Degustation suites of savoury solos saves us from assembled solitude


elping to diminish the looming spectre of rampant IT-worship, Pied Piper-ing us into a society of cybercentric, publically reclusive gadget-gazers, Tapas y Vino—Pullman Bangkok Grande Sukhumvit’s Spanish-hearted fine dining experience—brings the art of “conversation” back to the communal dining table, with a wide-ranging menu of fanciful finger-foodery. The 40-seat venue sports a refined Latin-inspired vibe, with an open-plan show kitchen, and a private group alcove charmingly done in a wine cellar in-the-round motif. It must be something about the pixel-esqe array of bite-sized tapas delights beckoning from the table top that triggers deeplyengrained ‘good food + good friends’ instincts—tearing down the walls of airborne data flows dividing us, with a multitude of exceedingly edible talking points that scrumptiously kick the platter-chatter into high gear. Spanish-born Executive Chef Pedro Carrillo further encourages nosh time banter with his world-class kitchen skills and a flair for thoughtprovoking presentation. Served as intimately entwined crustacean couplets in sensuous tableaux, the sautéed tiger prawns known as

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Gambas al ajillo (B380) arouse the palate with their garlic-chili bite, while the Bollo preñao (B160) evokes an intriguing symbolism—open to interpretation—as a traditional-style chorizo sausage boldly protrudes flagpole-like from a crusty bread-roll. The Patatas bravas (B140) are utterly irresistible one-bite bullets of fried mashed potatoes, dolloped with a pleasantly piquant tomatopepper sauce and creamy aioli, while Pimientos del piquillo rellenos (B300) offer a healthy mingling of tuna and beetroot aioli stuffed into roasted red peppers. Another choice, from the light side, is the Tuna tartare (B400), served with a traditional Málaga style Gazpacho sauce and chili. Pan con tomate y boquerones (150B) features hand-grated tomato and white anchovies, served bruschetta-like on slices of bread, while the Cro sandwich (B160) of porkbelly, Manchego cheese, and piquant sauce, is a veritable Dali canvas of classic Spanish flavours. Finally, the Iberico ham croquettes (B160) are delectably creamy, made with the famed succulent and smoky cured porkleg of the Iberian Peninsula. For spoilsports with little enthusiasm for the communal dining

paradigm tapas allows, entrée selections such as Black rice with squid, shrimps, and aioli sauce (B450), and Pork tenderloin (B500) with Manchego cheese gratinée, apple compote, and caramelized onions, are both superb, if not relatively monolithic, alternatives. Diners will have to wait 15 minutes for the house-signature dessert Churros con chocolate (B190). The Spanish-style donut sticks are whipped up à la minute to assure freshness of this, trust us, sweets addict’s dreamcome-true. Here Chef Pedro reveals a streak of wry humor while granting his guests a welcome touch of DIY autonomy by serving his chocolate sauce in an industrial-sized culinary syringe. Our table indulged in the inevitable “choco-junkie” pics, which were uploaded straight away (ironically spurring a momentary segue back into the screen-tapping group stupor that is social media). by Gary Barber

Tapas Y Vino

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

FOOD & DRINK | review


A feast for the senses, in every respect


here seem to be three strains of Italian fare emerging in this town. One, of course, is the good ol’ tomatoes and meatballs, pizza and pasta variety—call it global SicilianAmerican. The second is the hearty grill disguised as steakhouse, sumptuously splashy upscale places that use the lure of truffles and parmigiano to cater to Thai big spenders’ increasing yearning for copious amounts of wood-oven seared meat—formerly forbidden beef, veal, lamb and sausages. And then there’s the third kind that plays on the more traditional Italian palate and the time-honored romance, even seduction, of Italy and Italians themselves, hopefully in a new way that doesn’t fall back on the kitschy in décor or the formulaic in cooking. Sensi is a standard-bearer of this third, and most satisfying category. Everything about it is designed to create a hushed and tasteful world, oceans apart from Bangkok. Down a leafy street of old mansions on the fringes of Yen Akat—in a private house turned into a understated lair of broad windows, recessed lighting, and provocative art—this is the perfect place for that special date, special moment, the place to pop that important question or simply sink into total, pampered ease. You are in good hands all the way, and can be fully confident of the choice of Italian wines. Founding chef Christian Martena has moved on to green pastures in Myanmar, taking with him some molecular experimentations, like his carbonara in a single bite. Now the kitchen reins belong to Marco Paccetta, who has confidently restored purity and zest to Sensi’s oversized plates. The two pillars of this new approach are Chef Paccetta’s interpretation of the classic Vitello Tonnato (B590), called simply by the second name here, where instead of a carpaccio, tender hunks of veal are drenched in a sauce made of raw yellow fin rather than canned fish.

76 | OCTOBER 2016

Nothing canned here, including the powerful, biting tomato puree that gives life to the Pasta alla ‘Norma’ (B490), where chewy rounds are amplified with dollops of eggplant puree and basil leaves. The Black cod (B1,190) comes with pungent n’duja sauce, the Scallops with pomegranate (B590), a Porcini cream soup (B590) with truffle foam. Hokkaido scallops with black truffle (B690) are eminently affordable as well. It’s innovation that doesn’t scream its name, and stays true to presenting unabashedly luxurious ingredients (the Five ‘Sensi’ Menu at

B2,290 is a steal). Without missing a step, the festivities even stray into French territory: foie gras with ‘Golden Port Apple’ on brioche bread (B790), and a unique Bouillabaisse (B590). Somehow the offerings here are both familiar and surprising. Sensi carries on, sensuously of course. by John Krich


1040, Narathiwat Soi 17, Yak 5 Tel: 02 676 4466 Open: Mon-Sat, 6pm-12am

FOOD & DRINK | review

Xin Tian Di

An exploration into the art of handcrafted dim sum


ven though Bangkok is a city where, in countless corners, dim sum—small bite-sized portions of traditional Chinese cuisine—can be easily found, it’s also a truism that “quantity” does not always guarantee “quality”. At Xin Tian Di, the award-winning Cantonese cuisine restaurant located on the 22nd floor of the Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park hotel, their innovative dim sum buffet is served with a combination of quality and passion, and a relatively reasonable price to boot (weekdays B750, weekends B900, includes a complimentary bowl of braised shredded Taiwan abalone with crabmeat and enoki mushroom soup). After two months of undergoing a major refurbishment, Xin Tian Di recently reopened its doors— showcasing a new contemporary concept with a touch of classic elements. The main entrance is guarded by a pair of ornate lion statues, while the spacious interior offers a simple yet elegant and welcoming atmosphere, combining the contrasts of dark wood, shiny tiles, and black polished walls. The restaurant is capable of accommodating up to 78 | OCTOBER 2016

200 diners, with seven privates dining spaces overlooking the bustling street scene on Rama IV Road, as well as the lush gardens of Lumpini Park. Singapore-born and raised Head Chef Lam Kok Weng—a winner in the Iron Chef Thailand competition—has been honing his Cantonese cuisine expertise for over 20 years, with working stints in Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand. This master chef has crafted his distinctive repertoire by blending contemporary influences into his gastronomic specialties, and experimenting with both traditional approaches and more modern, innovative cooking techniques. The result is a unique and captivating degustation menu. The dim sum feast begins with a parade of miniature delicacies, served in bamboo steamers, which includes expertly handcrafted steamed treats such as the authentic Har Kow (shrimp and pork dumplings wrapped in a thin translucent dough), the seaweed shrimp roll bathed in superior sauce, the tender pork spare ribs with spicy XO sauce, crunchy shrimp with spicy chili and lemon sauce, and Shui Mai—another traditional shrimp and pork dumpling.

The restaurant also does justice to Cantonese snacks, such as the pork spare ribs bathed in a sweet honey sauce and deep-fried, a hot and sour Hong Kong style cabbage salad, and okra with spicy shrimp paste. In addition there’s a wide selection of classic favourites like deep-fried wonton with mayonnaise, pan-fried turnip pudding, deep-fried homemade bean curd with spice sauce, and deepfried dory fish—all worth saving some tummy space for. The dessert buffet offers diners a chance to finish on a hot or cold note. Cool down with the chilled tapioca pearls and cantaloupes in coconut milk, or heat things up with sweet ginkgo nut in syrup, which is both a refreshing dessert and a lovely palate cleanser. by Pongphop Songsiriarcha

Xin Tian Di

22F, Crowne Plaza Bangkok 952 Rama IV Rd. Tel: 02 632 9000 Open daily: 6pm-10pm Lunch: Mon-Sat, 11:30am-2:30pm, Sun and holidays, 11am-2:30pm

FOOD & DRINK | review


Craving the ideal business lunch? Go on, build it yourself!


mid the dizzying throng of eateries to be found around the Lower Sukhumvit area, afternoon tucker hunters are invited to take a pleasant sojourn down Soi 11, where Crave Wine Bar & Restaurant— located on the 8th floor of the Aloft Bangkok Hotel—offers their ‘Build Your Own’ lunch menu featuring a trio of lunchtime favourites. The venue itself is spacious and airy, with the main floor—tastefully contemporary and not at all overdone—boasting generously high ceilings and glass walls all around which make for a bright and welcoming ambience. A sparkling show-kitchen where diners can watch their order in progress, and an attached outdoor terrace with wrap-around seating and grill station, complete the overall layout. Catering to Bangkok’s businessand weekend lunch seekers, the Build Your Own Menu (B250) is fast, flexible, and simply dripping with choices. Choose either the burger, pasta, or pizza option and customize like crazy. BURGERS: With bread choices like the classic sesame bun, Ciabatta, and bagel, Crave’s burgers come dressed out more like gourmet sandwiches. Meat options include beef, chicken, or pork, with choice of sauces—we were absolutely enamoured with our creation of chicken (very nicely seasoned) with guacamole sauce on Focaccia bread. PASTA: Whereas you don’t often see burgers and decently-done pasta dishes coming out of the same kitchen, Crave’s cooks clearly know their way around a pasta pot. With five noodle varieties and six sauce options on offer, including penne, linguini and fusilli (among others), in classic tomato, pesto, arrabiata and other sauces, the choices are sufficiently varied. Our Fettuccini olio was spot-on al dente, with garlic, sweet basil leaves and dried chilies adding a nice but none-too-overpowering bite.

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PIZZA: With its authentic pizza oven, and a staggering selection of toppings, Crave serves a right tasty pizza. Go ahead and enhance your pie with up to four toppings from a list that includes all the standard pizza add-ons, plus highlights like smoked duck, emmenthal and salmon. Our tomato, mushroom, blue cheese and black olive combo was fantastic, and the ultra-thin and crispy crust gave every bite a satisfying crunch—far less filling than the conventional, breadlike variety. The ‘Build Your Own’ lunch menu portions are just right for one, but can be shared if accompanied by another dish or two. Other tempting, off-theBIY menu starter selections include the Chicken quesadillas (B200), Chicken or Salmon Caesar salad (B150/190), and

the tasty Vietnamese vegetarian spring rolls (B200). Finally, don’t even think about taking your leave without trying one or two of the devilishly toothsome desserts on offer, such as the yummy Blueberry-Oreo cheescake or Apple crumble (B120 each) which graced our table. And say goodbye to that cursed “double-plus good” (++) symbol so common on hotel restaurant menus— the price you see is the price you pay. by Gary Barber

Crave@Aloft Bangkok

8F, Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 35, Sukhumvit Soi 11 Tel: 02 207 7000 Lunch served daily: noon-4pm

FOOD & DRINK | celebrity chef event

SO Delicious!

Start preparing for the 5th annual SO Amazing Chefs event


t may seem like it’s a bit too early to be talking about the 5th annual SO Amazing Chefs event, the SO Sofitel Bangkok’s annual gastronomic gala, but with a line-up of cooking talent like this you might want to start making your reservations now. From the 11th to the 18th of November a total of 16 chefs, with an accumulation of 11 Michelin Stars between them, will be tempting Bangkok food fanatics with seven themed degustation dinners, two weekend brunches, six once-in-alifetime cooking classes (hosted by the chefs themselves), and many other culinary events—including a ceramic BBQ demonstration and a cheese tasting. Seven of the 16 chefs are making their first appearance at this year’s event, joined by nine chefs who are returning to dazzle our city’s gourmands once again. The lavish afternoon and evening meals will be taking over the hotel’s two main dining establishments— Park Society and Red Oven—while the opening evening’s wine and cheese event will get underway at Mixo, and the closing night meet-and-greet party will take place at the HI-SO rooftop bar. In addition, some of the scheduled cooking classes will be staged at Chocolab, the hotel’s ground floor café. The annual Culinary Showdown competition and gala dinner—one of the program’s most highly anticipated events—takes place on Friday November 18th, with all proceeds going towards the CCF Foundation under The Royal Patronage of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. SO Sofitel Bangkok’s Executive Chef Paul Smart, who has had his hands full for the past number of months with the organization of this mammoth event, says he still hasn’t decided what the “mystery” ingredient will be for this kitchen competition, but he’s got a few interesting ideas. When asked about the intriguing Around the World 12 course dinner scheduled for November 17th—in 82 | OCTOBER 2016

which 12 chefs each create one course—Smart admitted that, “It’ll be a lot of ego in one kitchen, but last year we had 10 chefs doing a 10 course dinner, and everyone seemed to get along and find enough counter space for themselves.” Finally, after 8 days of fun and feasting, the event will wrap up on Friday the 18th with a chef meet-andgreet after-party, open to everyone, with chef Ferry van Houten as the special guest DJ. Be sure to make your reservations soon, and… bon appétit!

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11 Vietnamese Spices (4 course dinner) Chefs: Didier Corlou, Olivier Genique When: 6pm-10pm Venue: Park Society Price: B3,000 2 Hour Wine and Cheese Tasting Cheese Master: Patrice Marchand When: 7pm-9pm Venue: Mixo Price: B600

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12 Culinary Cooking Class (2 dishes) Chef: Didier Corlou When: 10am-12pm Venue: Park Society Price: B2,400 SO Amazing Chefs Brunch Chefs: Alain Caron, Leonard Elenbaas, Thierry Drapeau, Jacques Pourcel, Patrice Marchand When: 12pm-3pm Venue: Red Oven Price: B1,950 (B2,350/free flow wine) Farm, Soil & Sea to Plate (9 course dinner) Chefs: Alain Caron, Laurent Peugeot, Hervé Rodriguez, Thierry Drapeau, Paul Liebrandt, Jacques Pourcel,

Olivier Genique, Leonard Elenbaas, Stephane Bonnat, Wanida Changsakunchai When: 6pm-10pm Venue: Park Society Price: B7,500 (B8,900/wine pairing)

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13 SO Amazing Chefs Brunch Chefs: Laurent Peugeot, Hervé Rodriguez, Paul Liebrandt, Michael Dyllong, Patrice Marchand, Ferry Van Houten When: 12pm-3pm Venue: Red Oven Price: B1,950 (B2,350/free flow wine) Five Elements (5 course dinner) Chefs: Bruno Dinel, Olivier Genique, Jean-Batiste Natali, Michael Dyllong, Laurent Peugeot, Hervé Rodriguez, Stephane Bonnat, Patrice Marchand When: 6pm-10pm Venue: Park Society Price: B4,900 (B5,900/wine pairing)

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 14 Culinary Cooking Class (2 dishes) Chefs: Laurent Peugeot, Hervé Rodriguez When: 10am-12pm Venue: Park Society Price: B2,400 Chocolate Cooking Class (2 desserts) Chefs: Stephane Bonnat, Wanida Changsakunchai When: 2pm-4pm Venue: Chocolab Price: B1,400 Sofitel Asia Pacific Chefs Dinner (5 courses) Chefs: Olivier Genique, Joost Bijster, Kenny Karlson, Andrea Molinari, Paul Smart, Sorataj Thesaphu When: 6pm-10pm Venue: Park Society Price: B3,400 (4,400/wine pairing)

celebrity chef event | FOOD & DRINK

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 15 Culinary Cooking Class (2 dishes) Chefs: Alain Caron, Ferry Van Houten When: 10am-12pm Venue: Park Society Price: B2,400 Chocolate Cooking Class (2 desserts) Chefs: Stephane Bonnat, Wanida Changsakunchai When: 2pm-4pm Venue: Chocolab Price: B1,400 SO Amazing Chefs Dinner (7 courses) Chefs: Bruno Dinel, Jean-Batiste Natali, Thierry Drapeau, Michael Dyllong, Alain Caron, Jacques Pourcel, Ferry Van Houten, Patrick Jeffroy, Patrice Marchand When: 6pm-10pm Venue: Park Society Price: B6,800 (B8,200/wine pairing)

Alain Caron

Bruno Dinel

Didier Corlou

Ferry Van Houten

Hervé Rodriguez

Jacques Pourcel

Jean-Baptiste Natali

Laurent Peugeot

Leonard Ellebaas

Michael Dyllong

Patrice Marchand

Patrick Jeffroy

Paul Liebrandt

Paul Smart

Stephane Bonnat

Thierry Drapeau

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16 Culinary Cooking Class (2 dishes) Chefs: Paul Liebrandt, Michael Dyllong When: 10am-12pm Venue: Park Society Price: B2,400 Ceramic BBQ Oven Demonstration Chef: Leonard Elenbaas When: 3pm-5pm Venue: Park Society Price: Free Six Senses (6 courses) Chefs: Bruno Dinel, Jean-Batiste Natalie, Thierry Drapeau, Laurent Peugeot, Hervé Rodriguez, Michael Dyllong, Paul Liebrandt, Patrice Marchand When: 6pm-10pm Venue: Park Society Price: 5,400 (B6,700/wine pairing)

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17 Around the World dinner (12 courses) Chefs: Bruno Dinel, Paul Smart, Jean-Batiste Natalie, Thierry Drapeau, Laurent Peugeot, Alain Caron, Jacques Pourcel, Leonard Elenbaas, Michael Dyllong, Patrick Jeffroy, Paul Liebrandt, Ferry Van Houten,

indicates Michelin Starred chef Hervé Rodriguez, Stephane Bonnat, Patrice Marchand When: 6pm-10pm Venue: Park Society Price: 9,900 (B12,900/wine pairing)

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18 SO Amazing Chefs Culinary Showdown When: 6:30pm-9:30pm Venue: Ballroom Price: 3,000 (3 course dinner)

SO Amazing Chefs After-Party DJ: Chef Ferry van Houten as special guest DJ When: 10pm-12am Venue: HI-SO Price: Free SO Sofitel Bangkok Hotel 2 North Sathorn Rd. For more information, or to reserve your tickets, call 02 624 0000. OCTOBER 2016 | 83

FOOD & DRINK | breaking bread presented by sanpellegrino


Breaking Bread with Dallas Cuddy

Australian super chef serves up modern Australian cuisine at Freebird


t night there’s not much on quiet Sukhumvit Soi 47 to indicate life at the tail end of this underlit street. That is, until you find yourself standing in front of Freebird. Even before you’ve fully taken in your surroundings—the herb garden, the open kitchen, and adjacent coffee shop—your senses are immediately stimulated. Inside, the two-storied restored Thai home is a nice combination of old-world charm and modern abstract touches. Upon arrival, Marcus Boyle, the general manager and sommelier, gives us

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a quick tour of the upstairs, which includes a private dining room and a wine room stocked impressively with well-curated selections of vintage and new-wave brands. On the main floor there are plenty of nooks to bury yourself into (indoors and out), but we seat ourselves at the long wooden communal dining table, which in turn gives us great views of the kitchen and Chef Dallas Cuddy in action. The forty-something chef arrived in Bangkok late last year and brought with him a wealth of experiences from his culinary jaunts

across the world—from his hometown in Melbourne, to London and then Singapore. The basics of Dallas’ cuisine are of course Australian, but he combines a lot of Japanese influence, owing to his time in the Michelin Star Nobu in London. This is visible when he brings out one of Freebird’s signature dishes; flaxseed crackers, layered with parmesan custard, organic sea urchin, and sea grapes. “This dish encompasses a lot of characters from my style of cooking. It’s simple, yet big on flavour,” he tells us. “I play on

breaking bread presented by sanpellegrino | FOOD & DRINK

three different things; taste, texture, and temperature.” We find similar umami characteristics in the truffle paste and seaweed butter, which we enjoy with homemade bread. “Japanese flavours add a boost to the food without making it rich and heavy,” Dallas adds. Freebird is gaining recognition for its modern Australian cuisine, a genre of food that hasn’t found its way in Bangkok, until now. But in order to really understand it, one has to know the country’s culinary history. “Melbourne is a very multi-cultural city and a melting pot of demographics,” explains the amiable chef. “The cuisine is founded in European technique, but it has embraced all the cultures. And due to our proximity to Asia, we have Asian influence. It’s contemporary, but still approachable.” We then try freshly shucked Irish oysters with apple-cider vinegar infused with seaweed, and topped with fresh apple and extra virgin olive oil. For this dish, Marcus recommends a Beaujolais Blanc, made from the Chardonnay grape variety. At this point

we’ve given into the Sommakase menu (much like the Omakase Japanese menu) which essentially means “I’ll leave it up to you”. Up next are delicious Frenchinspired duck liver parfait profiteroles, stuffed with truffle honey jelly and macadamia. Based on looks, I had this confused for a dessert. By now it’s apparent that we have stepped beyond Australian cuisine, but this cuisine, as I am told, has no boundaries. “We don’t have a food culture or identity, and that gives us liberty to borrow from many other nationalities,” admits Dallas. “All these great chefs who came to Australia 20-30 years ago laid the foundations. Combine that with our ethnic diversity, and that is what Australian food is all about.” The next offering is another example of Dallas’ distinctive style— shaved squid with oyster cream, cucumber, and seaweed butter, dressed with Yuzukoshō, a Japanese citrus and chilli paste. The cold pasta dish has a bit of kick to it, but is still really light and fresh. Marcus pairs it with sake from the Gifu prefecture. Its

floral characteristics compliment the umami essence of the dish. Our final main is a truly intriguing combination—Tasmanian lamb shoulder, slow roasted with white anchovies and rosemary. The salty fish subtly intensifies the flavours of the lamb, making it mouthwateringly good. This dish is served with an heirloom tomato salad comprised of basil, sesame seeds, onion, tomato gazpacho, vinaigrette, and whipped fresh curd. It goes without saying that each of this chef’s creations has a personality of its own, and he’s not afraid to push boundaries and our palates to experience new textures and taste. “At the end of the day the flavour profiles aren’t really that challenging, but they are different,” he says. “For me, it is in the execution, the technique, and the delivery. After working in Japanese restaurants, I tend to follow the “eat with your eyes first” philosophy. My cuisine is modern and contemporary in cooking techniques, but the technique never overshadows the ingredients, it just enhances what we do.” by Reena Karim-Hallberg OCTOBER 2016 | 85

FOOD & DRINK | street eats

Pad Thai in the Heritage Hub


any times when I walk down the streets of Bangkok, I feel like a stranger in my own city. The uniqueness of Bangkok—comprised of surprises and contrasts—is disappearing by the minute these days. The city is losing its charm and identity to land developers and government officials so quickly it seems like someone has spiked the city with yaa baa or speed. The old communities and ancestral settlements are being removed all around Bangkok, and when the city has less real life, well… doubly bad news: we get less local authentic street food too. The latest incident of losing one of these heritage spots occurred at Pom Mahakan, or Mahakan Fort. It is the oldest settlement in modern Bangkok, with a long history of art, culture, and food. However, it’s being attacked by the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority and the plan is to replace it with a canal-side park. But once the community—it’s people, architecture, culture—is gone, it can’t be put back. One small glimmer of hope is that the damaging onslaught is not yet spreading to the street food restaurants nearby. Let’s walk a couple of blocks south of Pom Mahakan, on

Maha Chai Road, to go taste one of my favorite Bangkok pad thai dishes at Lung Pa Pad Thai, an eatery that provides a simple juxtaposition to its more famous neighbor, Thipsamai Pad Thai, where so many tourists line up on the sidewalk waiting to eat. I have always been a much bigger fan of Lueng Pa Pad Thai than its next door competitor. Lung Pa (Uncle Pa) passed away not long ago, but his family members are the same team who cooked side-by-side with Uncle Pa and continue cooking to this day. The pad thai here uses better quality noodles, or sen chan, and other ingredients like eggs, dry shrimps, peanuts, and prawns. The special pad thai to order here is the ‘90 Baht Pad Thai’, known as sen chan noodles with koong sod (big, fresh prawns), mun koong (shrimp fat), and hor khai (egg omelette wrapper). The light-brown and yellow blanket of egg hugs the pad thai inside. When I open it up, I give a little squeeze of juice from the

crescent-moon shaped slice of lime, and sprinkle some dry chili on top. The chewiness of the noodles, coated with the light creamy shrimp fat, is divine— it’s neither dry nor oily, like so many others, and it’s perfectly al dente. The side vegetables, often just an afterthought, are also lovely: banana blossoms, bean sprouts, pennywort, and green spring onions. I like to have a bite of pad thai and a bite of one of these vegetables to harmonize the taste and build more texture into each bite. I found that eating in this style makes me enjoy more of each bite and prevents me from gobbling it all up too fast! Making me reflect on other things that are being gobbled up too fast in this town. Address: Pad Thai Lung Pa is situated inside the corner Chinese shophouse opposite Wat Theptidaram, on Maha Chai Road (or next door to Pad Thai Thipsamai). Open daily, 10am-2am (Closed every second Tuesday)

eat like


Our roving roadside gourmand Nym knows her local grub inside-out and thrives on the stories behind the dishes. Each month, she takes an offbeat tour in search of the city’s next delectable morsel. 86 | OCTOBER 2016

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

FOOD & DRINK | listings


The Chinese outlet with the best view in town, one of the highest representatives of Pearl Delta cuisine on the planet offers high-quality ingredients you can really savour. 59F, Banyan Tree Bangkok, 21/100 South Sathorn Rd. Tel: 02 679 1200 Open daily: 11:30am-2:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm

32F, Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, 189 Sukhumvit Tel: 02 126 9999 Open: Dinner, 7pm-10:30pm, Lounge, 5pm-1am

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon The Michelin master’s swank and superexpensive Bangkok outlet serves Gallic food at its finest. Exactly the quality you would expect from Robuchon. 5F, MahaNakorn Cube, 96, Narathiwas Ratchanakarin Rd. Tel: 02 001 0698 Open daily: 11:30am-2:30pm, 6:30pm-10:30pm

ingredients unusual in Indian cuisine with classic manifestations from the Subcontinent. 29F, Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit, Sukhumvit Soi 22 Tel: 02 683 4888 Open daily: 5pm-1am


The Glass Bangkok



A tradi onal place that o ers all the understated grandeur of Cantonese ne dining while execu ng food full of contemporary notes. 3F Conrad Bangkok 87 Wireless Rd. Tel: 02 690 9999 Open daily: 11:30am-2:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm

Not everyone is a wine expert or familiar with French cuisine, but that’s where The Glass shines. The kitchen is consistent, and guests can pick from wines they may have thought they would never try. 8/8, Civic Horizon, Sukhumvit Soi 63 Tel: 02 108 8982 Open: Mon-Sat, 4pm-11pm


The concept at Le Boeuf is simple: high-quality steak liberally doused with a unique pea-green sauce, paired with an unlimited supply of crispy pommes frites and fresh salad. French to the core. GF, Marriott Executive Apartments Mayfair, 60 Soi Langsuan Tel: 02 672 12 30 Open daily: 11:30am-11pm


One of the most gorgeous, interesting spaces in Bangkok. A meal here feels like you’ve been invited for a fabulous dinner party at a successful friend’s penthouse. Traditional cuisine charts an adventurous new course. 88 | OCTOBER 2016


Classically trained in French cuisine, and committed to the Slow Food movement, Chef Arnie—a new devotee of Thai cuisine—is a one-man melting pot. Take cover from ho-hum cuisine. 118/2, Soi Suksa (Sathorn Soi 12) Tel: 02 234 7749 Open daily: 6pm-midnight

Crepes & Co





An ambitious venture in modern Indian cuisine, featuring a lighter menu that still delivers the punch people expect while dialling down the stodge and oiliness, a riff on Indian-Chinese—or Himalayan— combinations. 71, Sukhumvit Soi 26 Tel: 02 258 4900 Open daily: 11:30am-2:30pm, 6pm-midnight


A high-flying joint that contains more than a few surprises, from cocktails with Indian twists to food that marries

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

Eat Me

Run by the always innovative Tim Butler, this cosy Silom restaurant is consistently ranked among the top restaurants in Asia and serves quite possibly the best steak in town. Trust us! Soi Pipat 2, Silom Rd. Tel: 02 238 0931 Open daily: 3pm-1am

listings | FOOD & DRINK


Located in a 1920s-style golden teak house, this classy venue dispenses upperend pub grub and a whole lot more. 1, Sukhumvit Soi 14 Tel: 02 653 3900 Open: Kitchen, noon-10:30pm, Bar, 11:30am-1am

Jones the Grocer

Jones the Grocer

Breakfast is served all day and, the smell of coffee constantly permeates the air as desserts fly off the shelf. As cosy and welcoming as a gourmet store can get. GF, EmQuartier, The Waterfall Quartier Tel: 02 261 0382 Open daily: 10am-11pm

Red Oven

Grand Hyatt Erawan, 494 Ratchadamri Rd. Tel: 02 254 1234 Open: Mon-Sat, Noon-2:30pm, 6:30pm-10pm


The Gardens of Dinsor Palace

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

A chalkboard announces specials while a one-page table menu keeps the decisionmaking pleasantly minimal. Fresh organic, fair-trade ingredients produce hearty flavours in grilled meats and seafood. 47, Phra Arthit Rd. Tel: 02 629 5165 Open: Tue-Sun, 5pm-1am

Using imported and local ingredients, some of which are grown in the hydroponic vegetable garden out back, chefs produce modern dishes with a distinct French influence. Take time to visit the verdant grounds. 1217/2 Sukhumvit Rd, between Soi 59 and 61 Tel: 02 714 2112 Open daily: 8am-11pm


Park Society

Excite both your taste buds and eyes with a cutting-edge, elegant dinner overlooking Lumpini Park and the amazing skyline of Bangkok. Perfect for a romantic evening or a friendly get-together. Sofitel So Bangkok, 2 North Sathorn Rd. Tel: 02 624 0000 Open daily: Kitchen 6pm-10:30pm, Bar, 5pm-2am

The Gardens of Dinsor Palace

Appia Tables Grill

Tables Grill

The theme is based on the tableside preparation seen in many traditional French restaurants, and the outstanding menu, billed as pan-European, takes full advantage of the theatre.

Amazing Roman-style cuisine that, to the benefit of diners, is limited to a small menu. An extremely popular venue and with good reason. 20/4, Sukhumvit Soi 31 Tel: 02 261 2056 Open: Tue-Sun, 6:30pm-11pm, Sun, 11:30am-2:30pm

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FOOD & DRINK | listings


Featuring cuisines running the length of the Mediterranean, the most memorable dishes nevertheless return to the restaurant’s Italian roots, dishes filled with energy and flair. Somserset Lake Point Tower A, 41, Sukhumvit Soi 16 Tel: 02 262 0835 Open daily: 8am-midnight


Using ingredients sourced directly from Thai farmers and artisans, Italics provides an intriguing take on Italian classics. Interesting combinations abound, and there’s plenty of wine, as well as a stellar espresso to end your meal. 63/3 Soi Ruamrudee Tel: 02 253 2410 Open daily: 11:30am-10pm


The name is short for “Yellow Tail Sushi Bar”, which provides a pretty decent indication of what this place has to offer. It isn’t all about yellowtail, either— there’s real variety on the menu. 4F, Vie Hotel 117/39-40, Phayathai Rd. Tel: 02 309 3939 Open daily: 11:30am-2:30 pm, 6pm-11pm


proven so popular that there are now multiple downtown locations, including the newest location, in the Amari Watergate Bangkok. Sukhumvit Soi 5, Tel: 02 255 8254 Sukhumvit Soi 24, Tel: 02 261 9816-7 Silom Soi 19, Tel: 02 266 9081 Amari Watergate Bangkok, 847 Petchburi Rd, Tel: 02 653 9000


The menu tackles traditions long ignored, giving local diners a style of cuisine that many haven’t ever tried, proving that Mexican food has more to offer. 2F, Groove@Central World Tel: 02 252 6660 Open daily: 11am-late




Lenzi Tuscan Kitchen

Many ingredients sourced from the chef’s native Tuscany—including fresh white truffles, hams, and salami. It just doesn’t get much more Italian than this in Bangkok. 69/1-2, Ruamrudee Soi 2 Wireless Rd. Tel: 02 001 0116 Open: Lunch, 11:45am-2pm, Dinner, 6pm-10:45pm


The restaurant occupies a 2-level shophouse on hip Suan Phlu Rd. The dishes are a modern interpretation of traditional cuisine but the best bet is to order the chef’s choice platters. 39/19 Soi Suan Phlu Tel: 02 679 3775-6 Open daily: 11:30am-2pm, 6pm-1am (Last order 10:30pm) 90 | OCTOBER 2016

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

Kong Ju

When you’re voted Bangkok’s favorite Korean restaurant 13 years running you must be doing something right. The chefs here go to painstaking lengths to ensure an authentic dining experience, by preparing meals of unparalleled culinary brilliance. Highly recommended. 2F, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, 444, MBK Center, Phayathai Rd. Tel: 02 216 3700 Open daily: Lunch, 11:30am-2pm, Dinner, 5:30pm-10pm


For authentically traditional Lebanese dishes, Nadimo’s has been the go-to place in Bangkok for years. In fact it’s



A small, sexy space run by a Mexican chef, where honest south-of-the-border fare shines. Try the chef’s chicken tinga, best savoured with a glass of sangría. 24/5, Sukumvit Soi 23 Tel: 02 262 0997 Open: Tue-Sun, noon-9pm

The Mexican

It’s worth the journey down Sukhumvit Soi 2 if you’re looking to find some of Bangkok’s most authentic Mexican food and drinks. The interior is also an eyepopping delight, with a huge mural of the Aztec Goddess Mictlantecuhtli (the First Lady of the Dead) dominating the room. Try their Jalapeno Tequila. 18, Rajah Complex, Sukhumvit Soi 2 Tel: 094 330 0390 Open daily: 11am-midnight

listings | FOOD & DRINK


Don’t expect a stack of heavy sauces and extra ingredients, but rather simple preparation rounded out with elegant presentation. One of the best fish and chips in Bangkok resides here. 1/20-22, Sukhumvit Soi 11 Tel: 02 651 1098 Open: Mon-Fri, 5pm-midnight, Sat-Sun, noon-midnight

SPANISH/LATIN El Chiringuito

On the surface, an antione filled tapas bar, with small dishes and high-quality alcohol, a space filled with antiques: it’s an implant from Madrid dropped neatly into the Bangkok beehive. 221, Soi Nana, Charoen Krung Rd. Tel: 086 340 4791 Open: Thu-Sat, 6pm-12am

El Gaucho

Meat lovers will enjoy the authentic taste of Argentinian steak in all its flame-kissed goodness, the meals best rounded out with a hearty South American red wine. 8/1-7, Sukhumvit Soi 19, Tel: 02 255 2864 88/36, Sukhumvit Soi 55, Tel: 087 213 088 Open daily: 11am-late

STEAK & BURGER Fireplace Grill Steakhouse This perennial favourite has all the attributes you’d expect in a renowned steakhouse including a superb selection of aged and chilled cuts from some of Australia’s top meat producers. InterContinental Bangkok, 973 Ploenchit Rd. Tel: 02 656 0444 ext.5505 Open daily: 6:30pm-10:30pm, Mon-Fri, noon-2:30pm


Some of the best flame-grilled steaks in the city, now abetted by high-quality seafood. It’s a welcome sophistication, befitting the sweeping views over the Chao Phraya. Millennium Hilton, 123 Charoen Nakorn Rd. Tel: 02 442 2000 Open daily: 6pm-11pm


Baa Ga Din

Baa Ga Din



New York meets Madrid. A neighbourhood Dean & DeLuca during the day, with its own smoker, churro machine, and deli sandwiches like the Reuben, it morphs into a Spanish tapas bar-cum-restaurant at night. 888/23-24, Mahatun Plaza, Ploenchit Rd. Tel: 02 651 4399 Open: Mon-Fri, 10:30am-12am, Sat-Sun, 10am-12am

Baa Ga Din advertises itself as serving “street food,” but when the cook is one of Bangkok’s most ambitious young chefs, the result is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. 26, Sukhumvit 31 Tel: 02 662 3813 Open: Mon, Wed-Sun, 6pm-11pm


A glittering array of Thai favourites and never false note. This is Thai comfort food taken to a whole new gourmet level. 1F, Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, 250 Sukhumvit Rd. Tel: 02 649 8366 Open daily: 6pm-10:30pm, Mon-Fri, noon2:30pm, Sunday Jazz Brunch, noon-3pm OCTOBER 2016 | 91

FOOD & DRINK | listings


Authentic, but daring, this is one of the top Thai restaurants in all of Asia. With a modus operandi of “essential Thai, delivered with panache,” it’s easy to see why it remains so popular year after year. 24, Sukhumvit Soi 53 Tel: 02 260 2962 Open: Tue-Sun, 11:30am-10:30pm

7F, The Emquartier Mall, 651 Sukhumvit Rd,Tel: 02 269 1000 Open daily: 10am-10pm 57, Soi Prasarnmitr Sukhumvit 23, Tel: 02 259 9593 Open daily: Lunch, 11:30am-2:30pm, Dinner, 5:30pm-10:30pm

Saigon Recipe

The well-designed dishes here reward closer inspection, as flavours reveal themselves in prescribed order. The portions are also perfect for sharing. 46/5, Piman 49, Sukhumvit Soi 49 Tel: 02 662 6311 Open daily: 11am-10pm

Siam Wisdom


Siam Wisdom

Expertly refined flavours separated with elegance and delivered with brio. As the name suggests, Siam Wisdom delivers the best kind of culinary education. 66, Sukhumvit Soi 31 Tel: 02 260 7811 Open daily: noon-2:30pm, 6pm-10:30pm


The newest branch of stately Le Dalat finds it in unusual territory—a high-end shopping mall—but its fresh Vietnamese fare is still as impeccable as ever.

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EmQuartier, Tel: 02 003 6013 Piman 49, Tel: 02 662 7900 Central Festival EastVille



The stylish interior and furnishings embrace a coffee-coloured palette, offset by abstract artwork and tasteful lighting. The coffee machines are manned by world champion baristas and roasters, and the kitchen whips up some amazing Mediterranean-inspired fare (3 locations).

Dean & Deluca

Dean & Deluca

This New York based brand cleaves to its highbred beginnings with an approachable composite of American comfort food, spiced to local levels with the aid of local ingredients. GF, MahaNakhon Cube, Tel: 02 023 1616 2F, Central Embassy, Tel: 02 160 5956 GF, EmQuartier, The Waterfall Quartier, Tel: 0 2261 0464 1F, Park Ventures Ecoplex, 57, Wireless Rd, Tel: 0 2108 2200

Kiosk Café

Located in The Barkyard Bangkok Complex, this dog-friendly boite, is a fetching choice for an exceptional meal, a friendly cake-and-chat, or a hot coffee. 65, Sukhumvit 26 Tel: 02 259 4089 Open: Tue-Thu, 10:30am-9pm, Fri-Sun, 10:30am-11pm


Cuban stogies and Columbian rum at Havana Social Cigar Lounge 94 | OCTOBER 2016


NIGHTLIFE light up the night

If HAVANA SOCIAL wasn’t already the coolest bar on Sukhumvit Soi 11, then the recent opening of its 2nd floor CIGAR LOUNGE puts it firmly in first place. This intimate upstairs nook is modelled, like the main floor, to resemble a classic, weathered old Cuban hotel bar, complete with faux crumbling plaster, soft lighting, vintage furniture, and exposed wooden ceiling beams. The room has also been equipped with excellent ventilation, so light up your Romeo Y Julieta No. 2—all 30 cigar selections sold here are Cuban—and sit back with one of the bartender’s inventive cocktails. Or, go minimalist and relax with an expertly curated rum ‘tasting flight’ (B300 for 3 pours). You can also order snacks such as pulled pork sandwiches and empanadas, but the best thing is that this smoky hideaway is open well past midnight (later than most cigar lounges in the city.)

crafting creative cocktails The Sathorn/Silom area seems to be seeing a lot of bar, restaurant, and skyscraper openings these days, and MIKYS COCKTAIL BAR (64 Pan Rd) is one of the latest additions. Located out front of the Italian fine-dining restaurant Opus, this new nightlife hotspot is helmed by Italian mixologist MICHELE MONTAUTI (previously of J. Boroski and House on Sathorn). The large open space features dark walls, floor-to-ceiling windows, a streetside outdoor courtyard area, and a lengthy backlit bar where the expert staff concoct creative cocktails. Montauti also plans to have guest DJs two nights a week, and promises guest stints by visiting celebrity bartenders. Open Monday to Saturday, from 5:30pm till 1am.

oktoberfest-ivities Germany’s annual celebration of all things beer-related is so popular that at most bars and pubs OKTOBERFEST begins halfway through September. There are already drink spots in BKK offering festive promotions, including THE DRUNKEN LEPRECHAUN (Four Points by Sheraton, Sukhumvit Soi 15) where their Bavarian bash continues right up until October 31st. Quench your thirst with attractively priced beers from the motherland—including Erdinger Weissbier, Weihenstephan, and Paulaner Weissbier—and fill your beer belly with grilled sausage or pork knuckle platters. There’s also live entertainment most nights, and if you turn up with a dirndl or lederhosen you might just get lucky!

monster mash Although HALLOWEEN is not as big an event in Thailand as it is elsewhere, more and more bars and clubs are getting in on the fun. On October 31st the SO SOFITEL BANGKOK (2 North Sathorn Rd) is holding a HALLOWEEN ZOMBIE HOUSE PARTY at the PARK SOCIETY TERRACE and HI-SO lounge (29th and 30th floor) which runs from 8pm until late (B300 per person, includes one drink). So boo-ze it up!

OCTOBER 2016 | 95

NIGHTLIFE | review

Rabbit Hole


Craft cocktails in Thong Lo’s coolest new space

t lacks a signpost, and several cocktails after you’ve passed through inconspicuous wood doors and entered this dimly lit and deeply compelling space, you might feel as though you’ve slipped into some kind of reverie. But to clarify: Rabbit Hole isn’t a “speakeasy” per se, nor does its name signify any trippy, down-the-you-know-what experiences. It’s a proper cocktail bar run by industry insiders, where the drinks come first and the interiors— for which the designers have been nominated for an esteemed Inside Award—top it off. The most obvious feature inside this remarkably renovated restaurant is the three-story tall bar shelf, its gold drawers back-lit with red and white lights. It’s stocked with an incredible range of spirits, including many Japanese whiskies and a surprisingly complex rum called Phraya that’s made by ThaiBev (the same company behind “humble” SangSom and Hong Thong). Bottle service is available, as it is on much of Thong Lo’s millionaire

96 | OCTOBER 2016

mile, but it would be a travesty to disregard the bar’s raison d’être: the cocktails. Bar Manager Suwincha ‘Cha Cha’ Singsuwan, past winner of the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition and denier of all things flair, has concocted a two-page menu of craft specialties. A quarter of them feature fruity flavour profiles, another quarter fruity-dry, and half are spirit-forward. Of this half, a standout is the Truffle Martini (B450). It’s a complex creature, a fusion of dry vermouth and Tanqueray gin that’s been fat-washed with truffle oil (the gin is mixed with truffle oil and allowed to steep, leaving the flavour and aroma of the truffle without the greasiness of the oil). It smells, quite frankly, like a really good plate of pasta, but it’s also very potent. For a take on truffle gin without the fire-breathing aftereffect, check out the Cry Me to the Moon (B380), a mix of the same gin with apple juice, citrus peel, and pandan syrup. Cha Cha calls it a “soft version” of the martini. True to form, the pandan lingers pleasantly

on the palate long after the first taste, burying the harshness of the spirit. It’s easy to jump from here to a modern classic, like the Silk Stocking (B320), or a fruity signature drink, such as the Queen of Hearts (B350), an aromatic blend of vodka, aloe vera juice, citrus, and a remarkable lotus syrup that requires a bi-weekly drive to Amphawa to obtain. For a real treat, though, ask your bartender to make you something unique. They know their spirits, and they’re personable. Who knows? They might even let you in on a secret, like the gold plate emblazoned with RH that’s kept hidden behind a bottle of Jack Daniels. Yes it seems, the bar does have a sign but, as Cha Cha playfully admits, “We just kind of forgot about it.” by Craig Sauers

Rabbit Hole

125, Sukhumvit Soi 55 Tel: 081 822 3392 Open daily 7pm-2am

NIGHTLIFE | imbibe

R Bar Raises the Bar Nu Artricharin gives the Mojito a refreshing twist

Nu Artricharin prepares a mojito at R Bar, the Renaissance Bangkok hotel’s smart and sexy flagship drink spot. On the counter, the gifted young barman sets out a dish full of lime wedges, a bunch of mint, and some simple syrup. But this isn’t your everyday rum, sugar, and mint mix. Nu gives this classic drink a refreshing modern twist, swapping Chivas Regal 12 for white rum. “In the bartending world, there’s no limit. You can always find new things to work with,” says Nu. That might mean beefing up a Negroni with cacao nibs, or adding other elements to an Old Fashioned. In this case, for R Bar’s signature Chivas 12 Mojito, Nu fuses ingredients typically found in an Old Fashioned with Cuba’s traditional highball cocktail. He explains that Chivas 12—a premium blend of whiskies that are at 98 | OCTOBER 2016

least 12 years old together with a generous measure of Speyside malts—features a light, fruity flavour profile that pairs perfectly with the homemade palm sugar syrup he swaps for the standard white sugar simple syrup. Its apple, honey, and butterscotch notes draw out the roasted, malty flavour of the palm sugar. That’s not all. Nu also laces his mojito with angostura bitters for a little extra kick. And he does so by pouring the bitters down the spine of a bar spoon. This way, the bitters distribute evenly across the surface of the ice, giving the cocktail a deep, almost purple crown. “It’s boring for me and my customers if I serve them dry, bland cocktails,” he declares. Such a passion for pushing boundaries comes as no surprise. In his spare time, Nu plays guitar and drums in a band, and says he gets the same rush from

imbibe | NIGHTLIFE

making cocktails as he does when he takes stage. The excitement stems from the look he sees on his customers’ faces when they taste something new he’s created. It’s like a crowd hanging on his every move. When Nu slides the glass to the edge of the bar top, his cocktail boasts three distinct levels of colours. There’s a lush green from the muddled mint on the bottom, a rich amber hue from the Scotch and syrup in the middle, and dark tones from the bitters diffusing through the crushed ice on top. As a clever and clearly well-planned windfall, the look of the cocktail complements the colours that distinguish R Bar itself— the red, gold, blue, and green fibre optic lights that

slowly change, reflecting off the stylish granite and polished wood interiors. Thanks to Nu, the mojito leaps to new heights without losing touch with what makes it special. The same could be said about R Bar, where “the norm” will simply never be good enough. Stop by for a Chivas 12 Mojito, and stick around and see what Nu and R Bar reveal next.

Chivas 12 Mojito · · · · · ·

Muddle 2 wedges of lime and 1 spoonful of brown sugar in a highball glass Pour in 30ml of palm sugar simple syrup, add a handful of mint, and muddle again Add 50ml of Chivas Regal 12 and 2/3 cubed ice, and stir with a bar spoon Top with crushed ice and a splash of soda Drop a couple of dashes of angostura bitters down the spine of the bar spoon Garnish with a sprig of mint

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NIGHTLIFE | connoisseur corner

Wine News & Events By Bruce Scott


here were several notable wine events in Bangkok last month, including a special wine luncheon for media held at the Plaza Athénée Bangkok which was presided over by Chris Hatcher, chief winemaker at Australia’s Wolf Blass winery. The fabulous three-course lunch was paired with some of the new upper-end wines that Wolf Blass is introducing into the Chris Hatcher local Thailand market. From their ‘Yellow Label’ collection be sure to keep your eyes out for the 2015 Chardonnay (it's so crisp and fruity you won’t believe it’s a Chardonnay), as well as the velvety smooth 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz-Malbec blend. Chris also wowed the assembled diners with Wolf Blass’ 2006 Platinum Label Shiraz, a deep, complex red with notes of chocolate, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Wine dinners and events to look forward to this month are varied, but the most lavish of the bunch is undoubtedly the eight course dinner that will take place at the House on Sathorn on October 12th. The event is another in the ongoing series of S.Pellegrino Fine Dining Lovers dinners, and local importers Gfour Fine Wines will be looking after the course-by-course wine pairing. From 6pm onwards Chef Fatih Tutak will be dazzling diners with and extraordinary culinary journey, the price of which is B4,800. Advance reservation is required, so call 02 344 4000 for more information. Gfour is also the copresenter of the upcoming gallery show Ciao Art, on display at the Sathorn 11 Art Space from October 22nd to November 10th (see pg. 57), so be sure to attend the opening reception. This group exhibition, featuring the artwork of Italian artist Sergio Voci (pictured above), and several Thai artists, is another in Gfour’s series of ‘Wine & Art’ special events.

100 | OCTOBER 2016


Finally, for those who think that Indian food isn’t worthy of a proper wine pairing, Bawarchi Restaurant (President Tower Arcade Mezzanine Level, 973 Ploenchit Rd) wants to change your mind with their new four-course Silk Road Experience wine and food pairing menu. Showcasing the culinary know-how of the restaurant’s resident chefs, the menu is inspired by the travels of Hsuan Tsang, an ancient Buddhist scholar, who traveled along the infamous Silk Road—from China to India— from 627 to 643 AD. Bawarchi has created a menu featuring dishes the monk would have encountered during his voyage, and these are in turn paired with aromatic Australian wines imported by Wanichwathana (Bangkok) Co., Ltd. The accompanying wines include a sprighty 2014 Red Bank Pinot Grigio, a mellow 2012 Pinot Noir from Tyrell’s Wines, and a very tasty 2011 Yalumba Shiraz organic wine. Meanwhile, menu highlights include: Murg Gandhara, boneless chicken marinated in yoghurt with aromatic spices and cheese cooked in a Tandoor oven; Kesaria Pulao from the Gangetic-Indus plains, a fragrant pilaf dish made with long grain Basmati rice; and Khumb Masala from Patliputra, where Portobello mushrooms are marinated and cooked over charcoal and topped with tangy masala sauce. To accommodate vegetarian and non-vegetarian diners two versions of the menu were created, and the entire four-course dinner set with wine is priced at B1,750 (B1,250 without wine).


Nahm Prig Ong Nahm Prig Ong is a relish of minced pork cooked with chillies and sida tomatoes. Served with fresh vegetables, crispy pork cracklings, and spicy pork sausage (or Saii Ua), it is one of Ruen Urai’s “Northern Exposure” menu items. These special offerings are inspired by northern Thai cuisine. Experience fine Thai culinary arts in the oasis that is Ruen Urai, “The House of Gold.” Open from noon to 11 p.m. Ruen Urai at the Rose Hotel 118 Soi Na Wat Hualumphong, Surawongse Road Tel. (66) 2 266 8268-72

NIGHTLIFE | live music

The Rock Philosopher By Dave Crimaldi

Listen Up! A band that could easily be the poster boys for Thai tourism, while also being the first band to receive endorsements from substance abuse programs worldwide, is The Ladz From BKK. While displaying little creativity in selecting a band name, these lads— composed of three parts Britannia, and one part American werewolf—can churn out unpretentious pop gold. Their new song and video “Goin Away”, which begins with the most unlikely lyrics ever conceived: “Borromoratchonni Elevated Highway takes you all the way”, proves they can take the most mundane things and transmute into something transcendent. One doesn’t expect the Celtic folk inspired verses to morph into contemporary stadium rock. By song end, one has glided through the 15th century shire of Tolkien

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Finally, on October 29th, the Rock 4 Kidz event strikes Chinatown’s Soy Sauce Factory (24 Charoen Krung Rd) with a battalion of heavy hitters including Cana, Brand New Sunset, Degaruda, Annalynn, The Rocket Whale, Ugoslabier, and Carnivola. The last time I saw Carnivola I was struck with an indelible impression these guys eat their meat raw and sleep in coffins. Reminds me of the Brazilian band Sepultura. When all else fails, Speakerbox at the impossibly cramped Ratchada Train Market (322/289 Soi Yu Charoen) is always a good go-to nighttime live music spot on the weekends.

Photo by Dave Crimaldi


icking off the month, funk disco fans should check out Cyndi Seui and Gramaphone Children on October 1st at 12 x 12 (Ekkamai Soi 19). If you’re not happy and you’re not sad about disco with an existential midlife crisis, then FU Bar Khaosan (98 Chakrapong Rd) on October 2nd might be your ticket to “nirvana”, since it’s Nirvana Fest #4 featuring The Layers (amongst others) paying tribute to the iconic Seattle band led by the late Kurt Cobain. On a different note, there really is nothing like a hardcore punk show at the bohemian community hideaway known as The Overstay (Charan Sanit Wong Rd, Soi 40) in the far off universe known as Pinklao. If you have been stopped for a bogus traffic violation, extorted your hard earned—or not so hard earned— cash, or gotten pistol whipped by a brute with a badge (in other words, if you have suffered at the hands of law enforcement), then head over to the punk show here on October 15th and get some aggression out in a mosh pit of disenfranchised youth windmilling about. Look out for performances by Sandan and License to Kill. You’ll definitely want to put in the contact lenses for this show, and wear padded armour. That same weekend an all-you-can-eat buffet of Japanese bands will grace the bar at Flow House (A Square, Sukhumvit Soi 26), on the 15th and 16th, as part of J Live 2016. The two-day fest features 25 bands covering every genre of music ever created, including Led Zeppelin tribute band Dantoz Rock with guest vocalist Jerry Kelly doing his best Robert Plant. They do Zep brilliantly—keep the fingers crossed for “Ramble On”.

To read more about Bangkok’s music scene, visit The Rock Philosopher at

and ended up at Madison Square Garden. There is an unremorseful glorification of pop culture in all its frivolity. These boys are the cold bottles of cheap beer you keep in your freezer—they always taste the same, but you still always want more. The Ladz From BKK—at least half of them—return to Bangkok this month and can normally be found wherever the drinks flow like water and Aphrodite spills milk all over the carpet.

club report | NIGHTLIFE

The DJ Booth By Pongphop Songsiriarcha



DJ Nakadia

his month, Bangkok’s DJ scene will be fired up with an impressive lineup of local and international spinmasters, who will be performing at a variety of venues in town, including waterparks and river cruises. On October 7th, the 2016 edition of the city’s legendary Lush Music Festival returns to Bangkok with 32 performers—both DJs and live bands. Held at the Pullman Bangkok Grande Sukhumvit (30, Sukhumvit Soi 21), the festival transforms the entire hotel into a massive dance party with stages on five different floors. Ticket prices range from B700 to B1400 (includes 2 drinks before, or 1 drink after, 10pm), and a portion of the money raised will go to Thai environmental charity projects. Also on October 7th, the first in this month’s series of events at Live RCA Bangkok (Rama 9 Rd) gets underway when UK-based drum and bass artist Commix makes his Bangkok debut at Phatfunk. The party kicks off at 9pm and runs until 2am, and tickets are B350 (including 1 drink). The following night, at the same venue, country girl turned nightlife nobility DJ Nakadia is making an appearance once again (fans who remember her performance at Kolour in the Park seven months ago know what all the fuss is about). Doors open at 9pm with a B300 entry fee. Don’t miss this chance to see Nakadia’s famous “All Night Long” set, or you’ll have to wait until next year to see her again! Another highlight at Live RCA Bangkok this month is the comeback of Kartell, an outstanding talent among Paris’ electronic music scene. The show is on October 20th, and tickets are priced at B350. Expect a fresh touch on house music complemented with Nu-Disco and R&B groove, starting from 9pm. On October 13th, Breda-based DJ and producer Kill the Buzz will be playing at Levels (Sukhumvit Soi 11). He’s performed at some of the world’s biggest music venues and festivals, including Tomorrowland, Solaris Music Festival Canada, Las Vegas’s Hakkasan, and Germany’s World Club Dome. Get set for cutting edge progressive and electro house at a party that lasts from 9pm until midnight.

Kill the Buzz

Another excellent October 13th event is the Sexy Nerd Party starting at 9pm at Mustache (544/5 Nathong Prachasongko, Ratchada Soi 7), featuring techno house and old school techno with DJs Adiero&Nukier and Blast. Entry is free, and although the dress code states “sexy nerd glasses” we’re sure pocket protectors are welcome too. On October 15th join in on Karma Kamp, a unique 24 hour musical voyage into the wilderness. Held at a secret location 120km north of Bangkok, the event will feature a diverse mix of fire performers, projection artists, and DJs playing 24 hours of dub, funk, house, and everything inbetween. Different types of accommodation as well as daytime activities will also be available, but be quick as there are only 150 tickets (proceeds support an environmental charity). Looking for a different nightlife experience? Why not get in on one of the two amazing river boat cruises set to take over the Chao Phraya River this month? On October 8th, Zound Cruize invites party goers to get on board and cruise downriver under the theme of ‘Mask Edition’. The event features a team of DJs, including Dee Iris, Marco Wong, Skinny Mark, Judy House Nation and Tong Apollo, as well as MC Joe Long. Tickets start at B1,000, and boarding takes place at Asiatique the Riverfront starting at 6pm. Later this month, on October 22nd, the Chao Phraya rocks again when the neon-themed EDM Boat Party returns. Enjoy UV glow black light face and body paint while dancing the night away to the hi-energy sounds of DJs FaahSai, Paka, Mirinda TwoSway, NaNa, and more. Ticket prices start from B800, and the boat leaves at 8pm from Asiatique the Riverfront (returning at 1am). Facebook: EDM Boat Party Finally, Jungle Water Park, the first and biggest EDM water park in Thailand, is having the fourth installation of their EDM Safari Pool Party on October 22nd, starting from noon and continuing until midnight. Headliners include DJs Gift OKB, Kinetic, Nui Leigo, and Sunzone, as well as stage performances from MC Dakota and MC Bizzo. Tickets are B499 for adults (includes 1 drink) and B200 for children. OCTOBER 2016 | 103

NIGHTLIFE | listings

BARS 22 Steps Bar

A great place to unwind, enjoying a cocktail or fine cigar while watching the world go by. Enjoy happy hour from 5pm to 9pm every day, and don’t miss Ladies’ night on Wednesday which offers women two hours of free-flow sparkling wine from 9pm-11pm. Hotel Indigo Bangkok, 81 Wireless Rd. Tel: 02 207 4999 Open daily: 3pm-11:30pm


This three-floor joint is minimally decorated and painted bright white. The ground floor’s buzzing bar and tree-lined garden make a pleasant spot to sip on the venue’s “Creation Cocktails”. 331/4-5, Sukhumvit Soi 55 Tel: 02 712 7288 Open daily: 5pm-1am

Evil Man Blues

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


An enclave for beer geeks, distinguished by its many dozens of brews on tap, and its lush garden. A sure bet for anyone in search of a good—and sometimes hard to find—craft beer. 26, Ekamai Soi 10 Yaek 2 Tel: 02 381 9891 Open daily: 5pm-12am

Namsaah Bottling Trust

Set in a bright pink mansion that was once a soda bottling company’s office, it’s the perfect place to enjoy intimate conversations with friends over inventive cocktails and delicious snacks. 401, Silom Soi 7 Tel: 02 636 6622 Open daily: 5pm-2am

186/3, Suan Phlu Soi 1 Tel: 095 585 1398 Open: Wed-Mon, 7pm-2am

The Friese-Greene Club

This member’s only club (guests are always welcome), screens films in a tiny cinema on the second floor and serves reasonably priced drinks on the first. 259/6, Sukhumvit Soi 22 Tel: 087 000 0795, 080 733 8438 Open: Tue-Sun, 6pm-11pm

Touché Hombre

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

Oskar Bistro Brew


See and be seen at any one of the city’s three Brew. All have a healthy list of foreign brews and cider on tap. A beerlover’s dream. 1F, Seen Space, Sukhumvit Soi 55 (Thong Lor), Tel: 02 185 2366 Sukhumvit Soi 11, Tel: 02 185 2366 Asiatique, 2194 Charoenkrung Rd. Tel: 02 108 8744

Diplomat Bar

This elegant jazz bar is located on the ground floor of the Conrad Bangkok hotel. Here guests can unwind in chic surroundings, and choose from a diverse selection of beverages, including fine wines and specialty cocktails. 87 Wireless Rd. Tel: 02 690 9999 Open: Sun-Thu, 7am-1am, Fri-Sat, 7am-2am 104 | OCTOBER 2016

This low-ceilinged club is perhaps more brasserie than bistro, but it always popular with people coming for pre-club drinks and mingling. 24 Sukhumvit Soi 11 Tel: 02 255 3377 Open daily: 4pm-2am (kitchen till 11.30pm)


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


Decorated with vintage furniture and art, giving it a true bohemian vibe, this wellloved, three-storey neighbourhood drink spot offers a wide selection of beers, wines, and hard-to-find liquors, as well as, the occasional live jazz band.



A Bangkok classic, with room upon room of haphazardly arranged kitsch. Some come to snag a goofy tchotchke, but it works best as a bar, as there are few cooler places to kick back with a sweet cocktail or beer in hand. 34 Room 11-12A, Ekkamai Soi 21 Tel: 02 711 5500 Open daily: 11am-2am


One of the most enticing small bars in Bangkok, a hideaway that exudes class, where you can get cocktails made to your exact specifications. Sathorn Soi 12 Tel: 02 635 0406 Open: Tue-Sat, 6pm-1am

listings | NIGHTLIFE

Viva Aviv

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


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

Cloud 47

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

Vogue Lounge

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


Whiskey and cigars are the focal points of this rapidly expanding Bangkok empire. Each outlet is a little different, but all cater to the finer things in life. 16, Sukhumvit Soi 23, Tel: 02 664 4252 981, Silom Rd, Tel: 02 630 1997 2F, Mahatun Plaza, Tel: 02 650 8157

Wishbeer Home Bar

It’s back and bigger than ever with new digs on the corner of Sukhumvit 67, where, though it remains a work in progress, it already welcomes satisfied beer drinkers by the dozens each night. Sukhumvit Soi 67 Tel: 02 392 1403 Open daily: 7:30am-1am

while knocking back punchy, refreshing custom-made cocktails. 45F, Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit 2, Sukhumvit Soi 57 Tel: 02 797 0000 Open: 6pm-1am

Red Sky Bar

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


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

St. Regis Bar

Long Table

St. Regis Bar

Known for its massive communal dining table – you can also glug signature cocktails or new latitude wines while enjoying the view from the 25th floor. 25F 48 Column Building, Sukhumvit Soi 16 Tel: 02 302 2557 Open daily: 11am-2am

Moon Bar & Vertigo

The top floors of the Banyan Tree Hotel offer three iconic rooftop spots: Moon Bar, Vertigo, and the 64th floor Vertigo Too. All are perfect spots for honeymooners. 61/64F, Banyan Tree Bangkok 21/100 South Sathorn Rd. Tel: 02 679 1200 Open daily: 5pm-1am


Rows of plush seating along the edge of the open-air balcony offer a perfect spot to view Bangkok from above

This rectangular venue overlooks the Royal Bangkok Sports Club through a large plate-glass window, a lovely spot at sunset, even better on Sunday afternoons, when you can spy on horse races with a fine malt whiskey in hand. St. Regis Bangkok Hotel 159 Ratchadamri Rd. Tel: 02 207 7777 Open: Mon-Fri, 10am-1am, Sat-Sun, 10am-2am

The Speakeasy

One of the snazzier al fresco rooftop bars, evoking the glamour of Prohibition Era America. Spirits include luxury cognacs and malts, wines at solid prices, and cocktails (some crafted from homemade vodka infusions). 24/25F Hotel Muse 55/555 Lang Suan Rd. Tel: 02 630 4000 Open daily: 6pm-1am OCTOBER 2016 | 105

NIGHTLIFE | listings

ThreeSixty Lounge

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


Named to reflect high-fashion ambitions, it’s sleek enough to resemble a runway. Sofas line the perimeter, attracting a young, chatty crowd. 21F Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel Bangkok 567 Rachaprarop Rd. Tel: 02 625 1234 Open daily: 5pm-1am



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


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

Cé La Vi

Cé La Vi Bangkok (formerly Ku De Ta Bangkok) is one of Bangkok’s top nightlife venues, a vast and glittering club with skyscraper ceilings and a long window that affords an exceptional view. 39-40F, Sathorn Square Complex 98 North Sathorn Rd. Tel: 02 108 2000 Open daily: 12pm-late 106 | OCTOBER 2016


Mixx Discotheque

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

Molly Malone’s

Dark wood, dark lighting, bright atmosphere, this long-standing Irish favourite features one of the best Sunday roasts in town, not to mention long happy hours and live entertainment. 1/5-6 Soi Convent, Silom Tel: 02 266 7160-1 Open daily: 9am-1am



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

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

Route 66

RCA’s longest surviving super-club, with three zones to explore, each with its own bar, look, and music policy. Crammed with dressed-to-kill young Thais. 29/33-48 Royal City Avenue Tel: 02 203 0936 Open daily: 8pm-2am

Titanium Club & Ice Bar

With congenial hostesses clad in ao dai, a gifted, all-girl rock n’ roll band jamming nightly, and over 90 varieties of vodka, it’s definitely a fun night out. Sukhumvit Soi 22

The Drunken Leprechaun

The Drunken Leprechaun

This heavily Irish-themed establishment offers delicious pub grub and drinks from the Emerald Isle and beyond. The nightly entertainment includes weekly pub quizzes, generous happy hours and complimentary snacks. Four Points by Sheraton 4, Sukhumvit 15 Tel: 02 309 3255 Open daily: 10am-1am

The Huntsman

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

The Pickled Liver

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

The Penalty Spot

Cosy, atmospheric crowds form here mostly to check out live sports on TV, drink beer on draft, and watch the passing parade. Sukhumvit main road between Soi 27 and 29 Tel: 02 661 6164 Open daily: 3pm-2am

listings | NIGHTLIFE

The Royal Oak

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

The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok 48 Oriental Ave (riverfront) Tel: 02 659 9000 Open daily: Sun-Thu 11am-1am, Fri-Sat 11am-2am

Whether you want to shoot some pool, throw darts, or just sit back and watch your favourite team on TV, it’s all here at one of the best sports bars in Bangkok. GF, Trendy Condo, Sukhumvit Soi 13 Tel: 02 168 7241 Open daily: 8am-2am

Bamboo Bar

A small and busy landmark of the East’s past glories that is, nevertheless, romantic and intimate, thanks to the legendary jazz band plays each night. Ideal for a boozy night out or a romantic special occasion.

Queen Bee

A great place to hang out and meet up with friends while enjoying great live music. Come play some pool and check out Bangkok’s best rock’n’roll and blues cover bands. 25/9, Sukumvit Soi 26 Tel: 092 446 4234 Open: 10:30am-2am

The Sportsman


164, Soi Sun Wichai 14 Tel: 02 318 1415 Open daily: 4pm-2am


Parking Toys

Parking Toys

A spacious garage-style venue, filled to the brim with random antiques, known for stellar live rock, ska, and rockabilly that runs into the early morning. A little bit far from downtown, but definitely worth the trip to get there.

The city's latest bar to enjoy local and rotating imported craft beers as well as some cool cocktails and snacks while kicking back and checking out some of Bangkok’s best local indie bands and artists at this compact, casual semi-open air venue. Ratchada Train Market (Rot Fai) 322/289 Soi Yu Charoen Tel: 084 662 6642 Open: Tue-Sun, 6:30pm-2am


The Passage of Thai Fabric : A Tribute to Her Majesty The Queen 108 | OCTOBER 2016


LIFE+STYLE haute heritage The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently marked Her Majesty Queen Sirikit’s 84th Birthday month with a display of Thailand’s traditional textiles, highlighting the weaving skills of the nation’s artisans (which the Queen has done so much to preserve). The exhibition, entitled ‘THE PASSAGE OF THAI FABRIC: A TRIBUTE TO HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN’ was held in late August as part of the TAT’s WOMEN’S JOURNEY THAILAND campaign. The event showcased the huge variety and high quality of Thai fabrics (silks and cloth that are now much sought after by fashion designers). A spectacular catwalk fashion show presented 15 unique Thai textiles used in dresses and costumes—contemporary and traditional—created by leading Thai designers. Although the exhibition is finished interested fashionistas can keep their eyes peeled for these unique outfits at various artisan fashion boutiques.

shape up in style There are two new fitness facilities in town, so no more excuses to avoid getting in shape. VIRGIN ACTIVE recently added one more branch to their Bangkok fleet of chic, high-end workout facilities. This one is located on the 5th floor of the SIAM DISCOVERY mall (989, Rama Rd 1), making it the city’s fourth and biggest of all the outlets. Meanwhile, over at EMQUARTIER (689-695 Sukhumvit Rd), the second BOUNCE trampoline fitness centre just opened, which is great news for downtown residents (we hear they’re “jumping” for joy).

smiling from ear to ear Despite what Apple Corp would have you believe with their new “no headphone jack” smartphones, the people at RHA, the specialist British audio company, know what people really want. The company’s recently introduced the T20i IN-EAR HEADPHONE features revolutionary DualCoil dynamic driver technology, engineered to produce levels of resolution, clarity, and detail beyond the conventional driver. The result is an ultra-efficient performance headphone capable of delivering refined, high resolution audio with a frequency range of 16-40,000 Hz. They feature ergonomic, stainless steel housing, three-button remote, mouldable over-ear hooks, and a microphone for use with compatible devices and patent pending. Available in Thailand at Munkong Gadget, Power Buy, iStudio by Com7, and B2S (retailing for B10,490).

lofty ambitions For entrepreneurs and digital nomads looking for a cool co-working space, The Work Loft (4F & 5F, 281/19-23, Silom Soi 1) probably has everything you’re looking for, including meeting rooms and a café/bar. Located in the middle of Bangkok’s CBD—literally right next to the Sala Daeng BTS station—this spacious hi-tech facility provides a culturally diverse community and nurturing environment that is perfect for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and startups to connect, share, experiment, innovate, thrive and grow. Spaces are available in many sizes, ranging from two to eight people, with flexible month by month contracts (bills included).

OCTOBER 2016 | 109

LIFESTYLE | spa deals

Create Your Own Spa Package at Spa Cenvaree

Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok | 1695 Phahonyothin Rd. Tel: 02 541 1234 | Until the end of this month, Spa Cenvaree allows you to experience the most blissful spa therapies and personalized spa services, priced at just B2,800 per person, and B5,200 per couple. Enjoy a full range of options when you combine any of the spa treatments available. Choices include: de-aging passion fruit lemongrass salt scrub; mocha chino mud wrap; aromatherapy oil massage; Thai massage; foot massage; signature organic facial; hot herbal compress; and back and shoulder massage.

Harmony Escape at i.sawan Residential Spa & Club

Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok | 494 Rajdamri Rd. Tel: 02 254 1234 | The i.sawan Residential Spa & Club invites guests to discover their many special treatments. Start with the Tropical Fruit Scrub (B4,800/90mins), a gentle vitamin C body polish to brighten, cleanse, and moisturize your skin. Meanwhile the White Lotus Skin Conditioning Treatment (B5,200/2hrs) helps hydrate and tone the skin. Both are followed by a soothing Asian Aromatherapy oil massage. Or, try the AgeDefying Hydration Facial (B3,800/90mins), and give your face a youthful glow.

Two New Treatments at Thada Heritage Spa

Marriott Executive Apartments | 90, Sukhumvit Soi 24 Tel: 02 302 5555 | Relax, rebalance, and rejuvenate with two new superb spa treatments at Thada Heritage Spa. Indulge with their Body Scrub And Ayurvedic Spa Treatment (B2,500/120mins), which gets rid of dead skin, followed by the use of warm oil to release stress and tension from the mind and body. Treatment number two is a Thai Traditional Massage (B1,550/60mins), which helps to improve your flexibility and circulation, and balances the body with a hot herbal compress.

Balance Mind, Body and Soul at Massira Wellness & Spa

Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside Bangkok | 2074 Charoenkrung Rd. Tel: 02 289 9099 | Throughout the month of October, the Massira Wellness & Spa allows visitors to book a Swedish Massage (90 minutes) and get a free Foot Massage (30 minutes). The complete journey starts with an original full body relaxation massage delivered by skilled masseurs. This, in turn, soothes aching muscles, stimulates circulation, and removes toxins. Then, continue with a pampering session for your feet to promote overall health. This head-to-toe promo combo is priced at B2,500.

The Best Day Spa at Siladon Spa

Siladon Spa Bangkok | 44/8 Convent Rd. Tel: 02 234 0999 | The Siladon Spa Bangkok is currently offering spa treatments for anybody wishing to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, and cool off with a little indulgent body pampering. This special promotion, running throughout October, features a ‘Buy 1 Get 1 Free’ deal on all spa packages. Highly recommended is the luxurious 4-hour Siladon Royal Package, which includes foot massage, body scrub, aroma oil massage, and facial treatment for 2 people priced at only B4,400.

Side by Side with Your Love at Vareena Spa

The Westin Grande Sukhumvit Bangkok | 259 Sukhumvit Rd. Tel: 02 207 8000 | From now until the end of this year, couples can enjoy three new side-by-side treatment programs—offered in romantic rooms made for two—at The Vareena Spa. Choose between the Princess Aromatic Bath (B1,000/30 mins), the Romeo & Juliet (B6,800/120 mins), or the Taste of Thai Sensation (B8,000/150 mins). Enjoy being expertly tended to by individual intuitive therapists. Complimented by private Jacuzzi and steam bath, the opportunities to reconnect and rekindle are endless.

110 | OCTOBER 2016

spa review | LIFESTYLE

Allure Hand and Foot Spa


overs of mani-pedis will be glad to hear that the business of getting your nails done has been taken a step further at Allure Hand and Foot Spa. Instead of only focusing on meticulously groomed nails, this beauty and wellness establishment has put a particular emphasis on the well-being and health of customer’s hands and feet. After all, these are both body parts which are essential to most everyday activities. The shop opened last March in Thonglor’s brand new community mall Maze Thonglor, a four-story complex which is also home to a number of restaurants, cafés and independent shops. Located on the 3rd floor, the one-room spa is separated into a reception area and an elevated treatment area which is furnished with four comfortable chairs to relax in while being pampered by the beauty specialist. The tropical wallpaper offsets the subdued grey and brown tones of the modern and minimalistic interior. The stand-alone spa uses mainly natural and organic products, and its menu covers five treatments with different benefits for both hands and feet (two

of which are USDA certified organic). Their signature Skin Purifying Organic Spa Treatment (B1,200/hands, B1,500/ feet) is suitable for all skin types, and especially designed for those who enjoy being outdoor and exposed to the sun. After taking a seat and receiving some refreshments, the cosmetician starts the treatment by cutting and shaping the nails and snipping off little bits of dead skin. While customers choose from an extensive selection of nail polishes—normal or gel—the beauty specialist continues the treatment, cleaning the feet, using a natural cleanser, in a small sink placed in front of the chair. This cleanser consists of both mung beans and organic oatmeal which not only cleans off dirt but also helps adjust the pHbalance of the skin, all while softening and nourishing it. After that, the skin is gently exfoliated with an organic sugar scrub which removes dead skin without any irritation. At about this time during the treatment, a second cosmetician starts to groom the hands following the same procedure. The next step in the treatment is a special ground

jasmine rice and turmeric mask which is carefully applied and covered with cling film. The mask then works its magic, cooling, detoxifying, and reducing dark spots, while the cosmetician rubs the soles of the feet with a pumice stone and shapes the cuticles of the nails. After washing off the mask with a soothing, warm towel, the wellness treatment is concluded by a deep and strong massage to stimulate the blood pressure in both hands and feet. Moving on to the beauty part of the procedure, the chosen nail polish colour is precisely applied in three layers, before finishing off with a drop of nourishing oil for a healthy shine. The treatment for both hands and feet takes about two hours in total— a relaxing morning after which you’ll look great and feel even better. by Julia Offenberger

Allure Hand and Foot Spa

3F, Maze Thonglor, Sukhumvit Soi 55 Tel: 062 395 6522 Open: Tue-Sun, 11am-9pm OCTOBER 2016 | 111

LIFESTYLE | fun & games

Escape Break Bangkok Do you have what it takes to solve the mysteries?


f you are looking for some challenging and brain-busting experiences, that are both fun and interactive, look no further than Escape Break Bangkok, the latest reallife escape game in the city. It’s a place where both intelligence and teamwork are equal partners. Channel your inner Sherlock Holmes by playing the part of detective, as you go about solving a series of mysteries that will eventually allow you to escape from a completely locked room. But you only have 60 minutes to do so! Teams as small as two, or as large as seven, can choose from four uniquely themed and decorated game rooms—Relic Rush, Ghost Ship, Kowloon Captive (all for beginners), and Outbreak (for experienced players)—and each has its own set of circumstances, clues, and puzzles. There are six working rooms in total.

Two of the four room themes are duplicated, and this allows groups of seven or more to be split into two teams and then compete against each other (two different rooms but with the same theme). Within the one-hour time limit teammates need to exhaustively investigate the room, searching for any clues, and making use of whatever objects they find. The room holds many secrets, but not everything is a clue and you might be misled and distracted by some of the red herrings. Also, teammates need to communicate extensively and work as a team—once you find something, let others know. But don’t despair if you get stuck in the middle of the game and find yourself overwhelmed by the confusing mountain of riddles, as the personal ‘Escape Master’ is watching from outside (via CCTV camera) and

will provide some useful hints if you and your team are floundering. Perched on the 3rd floor of the NST One building (a stone’s throw from BTS Sala Deang, exit 2), Escape Break is suitable for ages 6 and up, but kids under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. So whether you’re seeking a little adventure with friends, a fun-filled activity for family members, a corporate team building session, or an exhilarating sixtyminute dating experience, these grey matter games guarantee players some mind-bending fun. by Pongphop Songsiriarcha

Escape Break Bangkok

3F, NST One, 281/19-23, Silom Soi 1 Tel: 02 631 1668 Open daily: 11am-9am (Last game 8pm)

ESCAPE FROM ANGKOR WAT Because the five of us were beginners, the first game we played was Relic Rush, where the game scenario places you amongst the ancient temples of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. The pre-game instruction video told us we were a group of amateur archaeologists searching for the long lost golden artefact, and had to escape from the ruins before the doors shut forever. As the 60-minute countdown began we started searching all over the room to find the clues to solve the various mysteries which in turn would unearth more puzzles and eventually allow us to escape. The room was decorated with all sorts of faux Indiana Jones style props, and the clues were well hidden. It was also not very easy to figure out what were clues, and what was merely decoration. Every time, we hit a dead end, the Escape Master saw we needed help and came into the room, pointing out one or two clues that we’d overlooked or misunderstood. Then we’d have a “yes!” moment and were back on track. Eventually, one after another we solved all the puzzles and finally got out of the room with both a sense of achievement and a lot of laughs along the way. 112 | OCTOBER 2016

fun & games | LIFESTYLE

YEARGHH, A STORM IS COMING MATEYS! After our huge success at cracking the codes of the Relic Rush game, we immediately wanted to try another game, and so we chose Ghost Ship (another entry level game room). Here we travelled back in time to 1872, somewhere in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. We were there to investigate a ghostly shipwreck floating in the ocean, but— according to the instructional video— we were stuck in the cabin and had to escape before the oncoming storm arrived. We started this game pretty well, since we had a better understanding of what to do, but it wasn’t exactly easy either. The room was filled with many locked treasure boxes, and loads of pirate-themed items, but it was always hard to tell if they were useful or useless. However, once again we successfully completed our quest, thanks to our wits, teamwork and just one useful prompt from our helpful Escape Master.








SIGNING OFF | did you know?

ou .. Y . d Di ow? Kn

Photo by Marc Schultz/Black Star Publishing


id you know that Chinese Opera is a cultural legacy that is still being kept alive in Bangkok’s Chinatown community? These local opera companies are hired by Bangkok’s Chinese shrines to perform mythical stories in Mandarin to round off celebrations marking the Lunar New Year. Chinese opera has a long history in Thailand, as the kingdom is home to perhaps the largest overseas Chinese community in the world.

114 | OCTOBER 2016

If you can catch a Chinese opera performance while in the nation’s capital you are in for a historical and cultural treat. These performances are engaging visual spectacles—with astounding detail in the various colourful sets and costumes—and combine myth, morality, tragedy, and comedy. Performers spend hours elaborately making up and going into character, and the shows themselves can run for hours. The cast can be a mix of Chinese and Thai performers, ranging from seasoned elders to small children. During the show

talented musicians offstage follow the dream-like action while playing traditional Chinese instruments including drums, plates, and flutes. The performances are free, however they are not attended much by the younger generations these days. The sad truth is that these operas are, in many ways, a dying art, but if you time things right you may just catch one of these rare and beautiful spectacles before they disappear forever.

Profile for Talisman Media

Bangkok 101 Magazine October 2016  

Bangkok's leading travel and leisure city magazine

Bangkok 101 Magazine October 2016  

Bangkok's leading travel and leisure city magazine