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March 2013 08 INSIGHT News, letters, gossip and more 25 EXPAT WOMEN Health, shopping, people, and advice 36 SCHOOL REPORT A round up of news from Bangkok’s best international schools 45 GOURMET A round up of all the best restaurant deals and gourmet events in Bangkok 62 HOT NEW RESTAURANTS A quick round up of what’s new, what’s returned, and what’s coming up 74 MODEL MAN When not running a travel company, Jim Reed indulges his passion for collecting toy soldiers 79 WHAT’S ON Exhibitions, performance, sport, networking – we’ve got this month’s best events all wrapped up 95 SOCIAL Last month’s best events in pictures 96 RUGBY ROCKS BANGKOK The Bangkok International Rugby 10s in pictures 115 DIPLOMATS Maxmilian Wechsler talks to H.E. Lutfi Rauf about Indonesia’s interests in Thailand 121 TRAVEL Deals and news from Thailand’s hottest destinations



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Rugby Tens shows Bangkok is a great sporting venue BANGKOK has yet again demonstrated its credentials as an outstanding venue for international sports events when it hosted the Bangkok International Rugby 10s last month. Brilliantly organized by BIT chairman Eddie Evans and his team of volunteers, this two-day event held at Bangkok Patana School attracted teams from eight countries plus a raft of local participants. Now in its eighth year, the ‘Tens’ are still very much a junior rugby tournament when compared to those famously held in Singapore and, especially, Hong Kong, it nevertheless has all the makings of becoming a major occasion on Thailand’s sporting calendar, assuming, of course, that the organizers wish to take it to a higher level. Although rugby has been played here for decades, particularly by the armed forces and top universities, it is only recently that participation has extended beyond Bangkok and into the provinces. The process has begun and will no doubt continue, spurred on by the Tens and other rugby tournaments. The game of cricket has also got a foothold here, thanks in many ways to the success of international tournaments held in Bangkok, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and most recently in Phuket. Other sporting occasions such as sailing, netball, volleyball, Gaelic football and even ice hockey are similarly attracting international interest. Throw into the equation the distinct possibility of F1 motor racing in Bangkok sometime soon, and the future of sport

as a draw card for thousands more overseas visitors as well as a major foreign exchange earner cannot be exaggerated; nor should it be overlooked by the authorities. Not to be forgotten, of course, are the reasons for Thailand’s popularity – a wonderful and arguably unique combination of great hospitality and friendship, good weather plus the still comparatively low cost of staying here and enjoying oneself. It’s clearly a winner.

New Governor’s priorities AS we went to press, Bangkok’s electorate were contemplating which candidate they would back as their new Governor. With the elections now behind them, the people of this city will have had sufficient time to consider what life under their new civic leader is likely to be like during the next few years. Regardless of the new


Governor’s political leanings (and remember, Bangkok is the only place in Thailand where its governor is elected; the rest are appointed by the Interior Ministry), there are important practical issues, other than pure politics, that should occupy his time and thoughts. Top priorities include preparations to prevent flooding during the upcoming

rainy season, only a couple of months away, solutions for the increasingly dreadful traffic congestion, and solving corruption in so many areas of everyday life here. Slightly less pressing, but nonetheless vital for its future, is the implementation of new zoning rules, giving back the sidewalks to pedestrians, regulations to preserve

historically important buildings and communities, and the addition of the green space and parks fervently promised by the last administration. It’s a tough call for the incumbent. But if Bangkok has any chance of living up to its potential as a major international centre, the Governor has to be on top of the job from day one.


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PUBLISHER Colin Hastings MANAGING EDITOR Adam Purcell EDITOR Nina Hastings SALES & MARKETING MANAGER Rojjana Rungrattwatchai ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Thana Pongsaskulchoti ACCOUNTING MANAGER Saranya Choeyjanya ART & PRODUCTION Arthawit Pundrikapa, Jaran Lakawat PHOTOGRAPHY Mini Bike Gang and WJ CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Anette Pollner, Johanna DeKoning, Maxmilian Wechsler, Paul Hewitt

Our online handle is ‘thebigchillimagazine’. Simply type this into Facebook’s search box, find the image of our magazine, then just click add.

We are now on Twitter. Find out what’s happening around town, which events to attend, parties to be seen at, and read all the juicy gossip! Follow us at ‘TheBigChilliMag’ No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior written permission from The BigChilli Co., Ltd. The opinions and views of the writers are not necessarily the views of the publishers. All details are deemed correct at the time of print, the publisher, the editor, employees and contributors can not be held responsible for any errors, inaccuracies or omissions that may occur. The editor reserves the right to accept, reject or amend any submitted artwork, photographs, illustrations and manuscripts. The BigChilli welcomes unsolicited contributions but assumes no responsibility for the safe-keeping or return of such materials damaged or lost in transit.

The BigChilli Company Ltd., 1/7 5th Fl. Room 504, Siboonrueng Bldg. 2, Convent Road, Silom, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500 Tel: 02 233 1774-6, 02 266 7141 Fax: 02 235 0174 e-mail:


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Inbox|Have your say


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HAVE YOUR SAY! Write to us at:


STICK TO YOUR CAR, MR AMBASSADOR ■ ISN’T the Danish Ambassador being

just a bit reckless and irresponsible riding a motorbike in Thailand? The roads here are notoriously dangerous and more people are killed or maimed than almost anywhere else in the world. Stick to guitar-playing, I say, And drive a car, sir. Peter V B, Bangkok

■ THE article entitled ‘Don’t forget the folks back home’ by Karen Hochhauser was right on the button. When you live overseas and get caught up in all the excitement of a new home, friends and different pleasures, it’s so easy to, well, not forget totally, but put those back home on hold. They, meanwhile, spend endless hours thinking of you. But there is another side to this situation. When we – those of us who live away from home – get visitors, we normally go out of our way to spend time with them and ensure they get the best out of their holiday. It is our pleasure. The odd thing is, though, such hospitality is rarely recip| rocated when we return on vacation to our homeland. e th Don’t forget me! I have been often disappointed when friends I’ve met folks back ho and done my best to entertain here in Thailand can’t find the time to meet up with me when I’m home. The usual excuses are not very convincing, ranging from “I’m just too busy right now” to “the kids are off school and I can’t get away.” Alice Bell, Bangkok and London Expat Women

Insight Opinion

s her family hhauser visit t Karen Hoc missing and Long-term expareflects on what she’s in the US and in touch resolves to stay begun, year has just everybody I want to wish and a healthy, happy, I hope 2013. prosperous t in the you all brough most in the New Year of ways, able memor meant whether that a partying, havingwith peaceful dinner , or friends family and a good just getting night’s sleep. However your d was ushere New Year stopping in, it is worth a minute to and taking the year that think about – some may has just passed either into or ed have relocat d, others have out of Thailan members by family there added new ge, and sadly nced birth or marria who have experie may be those a loved one. living in the loss of said that often ded I have in a suspen like living enjoy a Thailand is are able to We reality. be next to state of e that would certain lifestyl most of us in the US. for ible g and imposs we are enjoyin easy However, while day living, it is very to on; day ng goes survivi life “back home” get older e to to forget that family continu friends and the US was and age. last trip to For me, this h I was home ge. Thoug a quite a challen it was definitely not for a few weeks,back to help my parents holiday. I went ize. They currently downs grew prepare to in which I same house have lived in live in the house they tes up, the same This transla married life. of room for their entire with plenty to a big house,

s no previou which I had history of a knowledge. my mum made At one point, if she was she felt as I shared comment that her life away.” “throwing that it was ed to think that I preferr opportunity and unique a rful was It a wonde life, with her. between to revisit her g experience bondin came who special aunt us and my d and other the two of times we laughe I got to hear to help. At melancholy. my times we were ging and stories of me about her upbrin was then that it hit It and grandparents. I would lose the link t her, . that withou family history details of our

■ AS a new


storage, and a significant of accumulation worth of “stuff.”nal journey. many years’ an emotio ing It was quite past (includ I revisit my I am Not only did corsages, which,thrown out) saved prom been share, have well. We found pleased to as my parents of that high school but from my mum’s cards from scrapbooks years, holiday my ng college includi and members, our family various family and parts of grandparents,

It depressed me that I am ally closer not physic of these to share more , but stories moments and d my renewe also nce this experie call and Skype on a much to I to do what commitment basis. I want and look back more regular that I won’t about family can to ensure knowing more regret not I came from. ber lore and where Year begins, remem As this New the effort time and make those to take the ted and build stories, connec to stay learn the family on the relationships, able to speak just being time. and enjoy there is still phone while


Thailand’s traffic-beaters


ago, INTRODUCED here some 60 years of the motorized tuk-tuk is today one Thailand’s best known and best loved icons. Also called a samlor, meaning heard “three-wheeler,” they’re seen and about throughout the country. Numbering 7,000 in Bangkok and 30,000 in the popular provinces, tuk-tuks are especially with tourists, who relish their eccentric design, and also with vegetable sellers, who pile their fresh produce on every to available space. And with their ability squeeze between stationary vehicles, they’re ideal for beating traffic jams. Their name derives from the sound made by their small two-stroke engines. in Coincidentally, “tuk” also means cheap in the Thai. This may have been the case past but some drivers nowadays demand relatively high fares, especially from may foreigners. In Bangkok a tuk-tuk ride in cost more than one of the same distance so pasa taxi. Tuk-tuks don’t have meters with the sengers must negotiate the price In driver, and this can be a lengthy process. as the provinces, though, they’re regarded locals. a cheap mode of transportation for

Entrepreneur|Tuk-tuks go green

THAILAND’S ELECTRIC TUK-TUKS SET TO TAKE ON THE WORLD the kingdom’s iconic Built using Dutch know-how, and ready to go three-wheelers are charged up

THE “IMPORTED” WATER SCAM IN BANGKOK RESTAURANTS ■ I’D like to warn your readers about a fairly widespread scam


– notably Despite improvements in technology petrol the original, polluting two-stroke, ed petroleum engines being replaced by liquefi gas (CNG) gas (LPG) and compressed natural regarded as a relic engines – the tuk-tuk is still of the past, in need of a makeover. to the That’s about to happen, thanks Dutch efforts of Dennis Harte, a 31-year-old (TTF) engineer, whose Tuk Tuk Factory is taking assembly plant in Samut Prakan to the Thailand’s ubiquitous three-wheeler next phase. emissionsDennis believes that silent and of the future. free electric models are the wave to take He feels strongly about the need the roads, and off vehicles guzzling fossil-fuel TTF currently is doing something about it. tuk-tuks of assembles four models of electric exports them its own design in Thailand and other European to the Netherlands and seven on the Union (EU) countries, with more the prospects of way. He is also upbeat about market. electric tuk-tuks in the local an electric Dennis invited me to test drive in a few tuk-tuk that had been assembled may BigChilli The of readers hours. Regular of luxury vehicles be familiar with my reviews say that in its own and supercars, but I have to was as way a spin in this little three-wheeler enjoyable as test-driving a Ferrari. like this Having never handled anything to get used to before, it took me a few minutes Classico model its three-wheel drive. The red – the acceleration I tested took off like a bullet seat was is quite amazing. The driver’s and most comfortable, it went pretty fast, quiet. importantly, it was absolutely

By Maxmilian Wechsler

in turns and the brakes The electric tuk-tuk was stable fun I couldn’t stop driving it were excellent. It was so much in sure that every tuk-tuk driver around the compound. I am they get a chance to drive one. Bangkok will go for it when to a meter for the local market Maybe Dennis should include save bargaining the fare. global market for clean, quality Clearly there is an expanding in many countries in Africa, tuk-tuks. They’re gaining popularity throughout Asia. Lately tuk-tuks South America, Europe and the United States. have even found their way to

How it started for many years and chose “I had been fascinated with tuk-tuks project with my colleague to work on them for my graduation Dennis, who earned a master’s Marijn van der Linden” explained in from the University of Delft degree in industrial engineering the Netherlands in 2008. mostly about hydrogen and “In 2007, everybody was talking electric was the future of tuk-tuks. other engines, but I knew that on tuk-tuks with Tuk Tuk work to started I While still at university, that introduced tuk-tuks to Holland. Company (TTC), a Dutch firm from Thailand and “They were importing the vehicles The petrol engine was faced problems with the maintenance. to European standards. They had dirty, so it didn’t comply with a permit. They obtain to order in one, by test every tuk-tuk, one them. asked me and Marijn to improve to design a new “We did some studies and decided

Dennis Harte, Managing Director

of Tuk Tuk Factory

designed the interior and Marijn conceptual electric tuk-tuk. I formed the TTF to produce the exterior. Then, in 2009, we with TTC. TTF is also electric tuk-tuks in collaboration produce the tuk-tuks in Thailand. registered in Holland and we besides being cute, is that “The good thing about tuk-tuks, the same area. This makes them they normally operate within that have to be recharged. a good match for electric drive-trains battery, motor and the motor The drive-train consists of a controller,” Dennis said. you can be quite expensive, but if “The battery and the motor over 50km/h, and you limit going not limit yourself in speed, the expense is lower. yourself to a certain area, then

perpetrated by too many Bangkok restaurants. It involves drinking water. Almost the moment you’re seated, a staff member will ask whether you’d like water. Most people will say yes. The next question is “still” or “sparkling.” This, as most of us know, is the signal that you’re going to be charged for your water. ■ YES. Yes. Electric tuk-tuks. I love the idea And most of us don’t mind, provided it is a reasonable sum. – even though I don’t think it’s new. I’m pretty Which often it’s not. In fact, some restaurants charge as sure they were proposed in Bangkok years much as B350 (plus tax and service charge, which puts ago. So why haven’t they taken off? I believe the price above B400) for a bottle of “imported” water, they haven’t been accepted because they fall which is not only a disgraceful rip-off but also sininto a special category dating back decades fully wasteful given the apparent transport costs ago, so when the authorities in more recent from France, among others. To remedy this times didn’t want any more of their kind on the situation, restaurants should be legally obliged roads (because their three-stroke engines were to give customers a ”water menu” indicating so dirty) they simply stopped issuing any new prices, plus the other option of ordinary, tuk-tuk permits. The ones we see in Bangkok hold but free drinking water, as always permits from 30 years ago or before. Thus, it might used to happen here. Alternatively, be impossible to get a licence for an electric tuk-tuk. I the government should ban might be wrong, but that’s the only reason I can think of imported water. as to why they haven’t appeared in large numbers. PersonThirsty expat, Bangkok ally, I’m on the look-out for an electric bike to get around Bangkok. Any suggestions where to buy one from your readers? J. McPherson, Phra Khanong TheBigChilli







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News|Local interest

No passport, no foreign exchange

F1 track for Buri Ram? ■ POLITICIAN Newin Chidchob, owner of one of Thailand’s top Premier League football teams, is planning to build a Formula One race track in the northeastern hometown of Buri Ram, his hometown and the name of his club. Newin’s love of soccer is equaled by his interest in motor racing, according to Thai newspapers, and he hopes to stage FI races in this remote part of the country.

■ BUYERS of foreign currencies are now required to show their passport to banks and other money exchange outlets, according to new Bank of Thailand regulations. In the past, this was not necessary. The new rules took effect at the beginning of this month and apply to all sums of money, however small. Sellers are apparently unhappy with the new regulation because of the time involved in noting or copying passport details. It is also unclear whether copies of a passport can be used for transactions. Meanwhile, most banks have announced that the maximum amount on foreign purchases is now 150,000 baht, with Visa and MasterCard having a standard 2.5% charge per transaction.

Bangkok’s ‘Stonehenge’ Foodland to spice up to disappear Patpong’s restaurant scene ■ SUPERMARKET chain Foodland is

helping to expand Patpong’s culinary attractions by adding a restaurant to its retail outlet on the area’s ‘second’ road. The restaurant, known as “Took Lae Dee” or “Cheap but Good,” is situated in the former supermarket premises, which in turn have been moved to the back of the famous Patpong car park building. Took Lae Dee is an established brand of Foodland and operates in all of the company’s other 11 branches. The Patpong supermarket is the last in the chain


to have such a restaurant. Specialising in fast food, plus a daily set menu, the outlet will have seating for 60 customers. Although construction is underway, no opening date has been given. Foodland was opened in Patpong back in 1972, making it the second oldest branch after the chain’s Ploenchit branch. The busiest outlet is located at Laksi. The company’s MD, veteran retailer Mr Edwin Lim, still runs the company on a day-to-day basis.

■ THE concrete pillars of the cancelled Hopewell mass transit project – often called Bangkok’s Stonehenge because of their similarity to the ancient British monument – are to be torn down to make way for a the new Red Line electric rail section from Bang Sue to Rangsit. Erected almost 20 years ago, the pillars were the brainchild of Hong Kong’s Hopewell Holding, which failed to complete the original project. Some 500 pillars still exist in the city suburbs.


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In good times or bad, the Brits keep coming Thailand remains a hot spot for UK visitors, despite rising costs and security issues, says a TAT executive ■ CHRIS Lee, Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Trade Marketing Manager for UK & Ireland, talks exclusively in London to the BigChilli about the British travel market.   How important is the UK market to Thailand’s tourism industr y? The UK is Thailand’s second biggest market in Europe after Russia. It was the biggest up until two years ago. The UK is also one of Thailand’s top five revenue earners. At the end of 2012, there were 890,000 UK arrivals by passport in Thailand. The average length of stay is two weeks – and we’re keen to extend this to 19 days. A key feature of the UK market is that it is a consistent performer, which is important to Thailand. Through good and bad times, Britons still get on a plane, travel to Thailand and spend. In terms of numbers, UK arrivals grew by 2% in 2012, while Thailand as a whole is seeing annual increases of up to 20% in recent years. The thing to remember is that the UK is a reliable market with quality tourists who spend well and stay long.

million), Russia (1.3 million), Korea (1.3 million) and India (1 million). Is the strength of the Thai baht a potential problem for British tourists? There’s no impact yet, but we can’t really run the ‘Amazing Thailand, Amazing Value’ campaign launched two years ago any longer. That said, Thailand still represents good value when compared to other parts of the world like Europe, for example. Some 65% of our customers are

repeat visitors so the strength of the Thai baht is obviously not deterring them. Let’s face it, the Thai economy is also getting stronger, which is a good thing for the country. Long-term, Thailand cannot be sold as a cheap destination. It’s not sustainable as such. We have to look after our product. Which are the most popular destinations in Thailand for UK visitors? Phuket and Koh Samui are still the UK market’s

favourite destinations in Thailand. But we’ve also seen a big increase in interest in Khao Lak in the last couple of years. As newer markets, such as Russia, move into Phuket, British visitors are joining the Scandinavians in places like Khao Lak. Are special interest tours continuing to grow in popularity? Most definitely, especially Muay Thai – Thai boxing. Now there are over 40 clubs in the UK, so people are >>

Who are Thailand’s major markets? In 2012, China was the country’s biggest tourist market with 2.8 million visitors, an increase of 12.5% over the previous year. It was followed by Japan (1.3



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going to Thailand to train. It’s a good example of the TAT promotional campaign “Discover the Other You,” which is aimed at promoting quality tourism. Other special interest tours attracting a good deal of interest are massage and Thai cooking. Golf is also popular even though the numbers are small. Then there’s diving and honeymoons, examples of niche markets that tend to be more recession-proof than normal visits. Is airline capacity to Thailand adequate? We’re in good shape with lots of capacity. Both Emirates and Etihad are now flying direct to Phuket from their home bases in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In fact, Emirates serves many destinations in the UK, with connections to Bangkok as well as Phuket


via Dubai. Meanwhile, Thai International has brought back its 747s on the London to Bangkok route, giving it 300 seats in economy class – more than in its previous aircraft. And now British Airways has additional capacity for leisure customers to Thailand since giving up its joint service with Qantas to Bangkok and Australia. Currently there are no charter flights from the UK to Thailand. This will change at the end of this year when TUI starts operating nonstop flights from Gatwick to Phuket, bringing some 7,500 visitors to the island during the winter season. TUI is also considering running charter flights out of Manchester, a city market with great potential. What’s the feedback on Suvannabhumi airport? No major complaints. It’s working better now than ever. Just look at the “Fast Track for Valentine’s visitors” promotion in February. A nice touch. Getting rid of the cost of a 30day visa has also helped. Prime Minister Yingluk Shinawatra met some key travel executives during her visit to the UK last November. How did it go? The Prime Minister met with the chief executives of the UK’s top ten tour operators and together they covered a range of topics, including target markets,

airports, Thailand as an ASEAN travel hub, security and tourist police, road connections to Hua Hin, and infrastructure, especially in Phuket and Chiang Mai. Another area of discussion focused on market mix, given the big increases in arrivals from other markets like Russia, India and China. The meeting was the first of its kind and it went exceptionally well. The tour operators were pleased to have an opportunity to speak directly to Thailand’s prime minister. Any worries about competition from Thailand’s neighbours? I would argue that the competition is not in ASEAN. Thailand has shouldered tourism to that region for a long time already. In fact, tourism is regional – if you like one country, you’re more likely to return again and again to visit other nearby countries. So, you may see people spending 10 days in Burma and then on to Thailand for its beaches. It’s a big mistake to think our neighbours are our competitors. I’d say the Caribbean, South Africa and Australia are the real competition. Is security a bigger issue with British visitors in light of some serious incidents in Thailand recently? One incident in Thailand gets big coverage in the UK

media. The truth is more Britons are visiting than ever before, so if safety is an issue, it’s not consistent with the growing number of UK visitors here. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office says that crime against foreigners is low.   How is the TAT regarded in the UK? I put my hand on my heart and say it is held in high esteem. And I say that as someone who has worked here as a holiday company and employee, and also as the current PATA UK Chairman. How has new technology and social media affected the way tourism is conducted these days? It’s been dramatic and changed the way the whole industry now operates. Having said that, I believe the key to today’s market is to combine this new technology with face-to-face engagement. Thailand is an emotional product, so promotions like road shows with the flavour of Thailand reflected in their cuisine, dancing, massage and even beer provide an important element. What’s your view of environmental issues? It’s most definitely an ongoing issue, with both Thailand and foreign visitors needing to take responsibility for protecting the country’s assets.


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News|Local interest

Want to interact with your favourite magazine? Check out our new website!

■ THE BigChilli website recently underwent a digital makeover and we’re so happy with the results that we thought we’d brag about it here. Still a work in progress, the website will just keep getting better every day – filled with more juicy pictures of Bangkok’s best parties, and more videos of events, travel, musicians, and personalities on our brand new BigChilli TV. Exciting events and promotions will be posted on the site’s What’s On pages, and we even plan to feature additional content on top of our usual features – extended Q&As, audio clips and the like. If you want to read the latest issue of The BigChilli you’ll

find our emag waiting for you on the website’s homepage. Click on the top banner and you’ll even be directed to, our online newsagent, where you can also read back copies for free. Best of all – we’re shifting the focus of the website to be less about us and more about you, our readers. We want to give you a platform where you can share your thoughts, comment on stories, and easily get in touch with us and other expats. The new BigChilli Forum is perfect for this, allowing you to sign in as a member and share your views and post classifieds – for free! We look forward to interacting with you. The BigChilli 16


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News|Helmets For Kids

Working to protect little heads on bikes


FOLLOWING an article in the December BigChilli on how the motorcycle helmet law is commonly flaunted in Thailand, a number of readers responded with comments and suggestions. One of these was Ratanawadee (Ratana) Hemniti Winther, a Thai-born Canadian citizen and the wife of Mikael Hemniti Winther, the Danish Ambassador to Thailand (see last month’s magazine for an in depth interview with the ambassador). As the country director of Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation Thailand, Khun Ratana has devoted an incredible amount of time and energy to promote helmet wearing, especially for children. In fact her interest and work in this area began before her association with AIP. “I first learned of AIP Foundation when my husband Mikael and I were living in Vietnam, where he worked as a diplomat at the Danish Embassy,” said Khun Ratana, who invited us last month to meet her at her residence. “I had the opportunity to travel quite extensively around the country, and as I did I observed some of AIP’s activities, such as using billboards to promote the use of safety helmets. It got me thinking and I admired their work.” “After we left Vietnam, I had work assignments that took me back to the country, in particular a capacity building project in road safety. The project was an innovative partnerships for development initiative under the International Danish Development Assistance Program (DANIDA) that required identifying key partners within the sector. “As a prominent NGO running a very


How Ratanawadee (Ratana) Hemniti Winther, country director of Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation Thailand, hopes to get kids wearing crash helmets through a series of school-based programs By Maxmilian Wechsler The launch of THVI in July 2012 in Ayutthaya province’s Talad Kriep

effective awareness raising campaign, AIP naturally was one of those identified. We worked closely together, and when Mikael and I came to Thailand at the end of 2010, AIP happened to be looking for a country director and offered the position to me. I decided to take on the responsibility and started the job at the beginning of 2011.” Khun Ratana explained that AIP’s mission is to provide traffic safety knowledge and skills to the developing world with the goal of preventing road traffic fatalities and injuries. The organization first began working in Thailand in 2006. “We concentrate our efforts on young children and educational and awareness raising activities in schools,” said Khun Ratana. “Through schoolbased programs, such as our signature program, Helmets For Kids (HFK), we empower a new generation of safer, smarter road users to make intelligent

decisions about their actions on the road. We aim for more sustainable change by combining the expertise, political motivation, and financial support of private and public sectors. HFK, which launched in Hanoi, Vietnam, with a special event attended by former US President Bill Clinton, is currently active in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. “We have been trying to make the HFK program more responsive to local needs and requirements,” explained Khun Ratana. “In Thailand HFK operates in schools to get kids to wear helmets and to instill a safety culture among them. “HFK starts with helmet donations to children. After the helmets are distributed, we provide teacher training and non-classroom activities throughout the year to raise awareness about wearing helmets and how to wear them correctly, and also on road safety in general. We also monitor helmet use by children three


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or four times during the school year. “The method we use to monitor helmet wearing in schools was developed by the US Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta, and it has been given priority in all our HFK programs so we know exactly how well we are doing.” AIP works closely with the Thai government and key road safety stakeholders in the public and private sectors. It has membership in the Ministry of Education’s road safety committee and a sub-committee under the National Road Safety Directing Center. “In early 2010, we signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM), under the Ministry of Interior, to cooperate in the national helmet wearing campaign, particularly among children. These relationships have facilitated our operations in Thailand. For instance, when we are out in the provinces, we get a lot of cooperation from provincial administration agencies and related education bureaus. When appropriate, we sometimes meet with potential funders together with DDPM representatives. “With the help of the DDPM, AIP launched the Thailand Helmet Vaccine Initiative (THVI) in Ayutthaya province’s Talad Kriep in July 2012. The overall strategy of THVI is modeled after the global HVI program established by AIP and its main partners, such as Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Foundation and the CDC. Besides Thailand, there are country specific HVI programs in Cambodia, Uganda, Vietnam and a few other countries. A couple of years ago, AIP started a program in a remote city in southern China.” As with HFK, the focus of THVI is on school children. THVI conducts campaigns and activities with parents, police and the general public. The program has been expanded to several more schools in Bangkok and surrounding areas. In addition, the AIP has been running a large educational campaign in two schools in Udon Thani in cooperation with its partners. When asked about the challenges AIP faces in getting kids to wear helmets in Thailand, Khun Ratana replied: “At the primary school level, we find parents are the key. Parents need to be much more involved and aware of how dangerous it is when their kids don’t wear helmets as passengers. “As you can see, many kids do not wear helmets when they ride motorbikes with their parents. In our programs we ask school principals to send out letters of commitment and to organize parent meetings, but it is still hard.


With older kids, it’s even harder. If they don’t develop safe habits when they are younger, it is difficult to get them to wear helmets. So it really comes down to enforcement of the laws. There have to be more efforts and resources devoted to this. Enforcement is something that we seriously need in Thailand.” According to Khun Ratana, in Thailand only about 46% of motorcycle riders and passengers wear helmets overall, and statistics show that the percentage of children wearing helmets in Thailand is alarmingly low, even in comparison with some other Southeast Asian countries − below five% in many provinces. In Vietnam it is around 20%, a figure that she stresses is also far too low. “Vietnam has a very high overall rate of helmet wearing, and it is illegal to transport children aged over six on a motorcycle if they are not wearing helmets. But our research shows that while nearly 90 per cent of adults wear helmets, only about one in five child passengers do. In Cambodia, two thirds of road crash

“Although the AIP has its own not-forprofit helmet factory in Vietnam, we use helmets produced here in Thailand due to different safety standards in the two countries. However, the helmets the AIP produces in Vietnam are comparable in terms of safety to those endorsed by the Thai Standard Bureau. “Unfortunately there are many substandard helmets sold here, as there are in Vietnam,” added Khun Ratana. “As for other protective riding gear for kids, at the moment we have not touched on this issue. It’s also important to consider factors like excessive speed. Even good quality helmets cannot protect anyone from death or serious head injury at speeds above 40 to 50 kilometers per hour. “Regarding our future plans, in Thailand we are continuing efforts in our THVI strategy and joining with the DDPM and our partners in the national campaign for 100% helmet use. At this time we have a three-year commitment from UPS International and FIA Foundation to support HFK in Thailand, Vietnam Left: Khun Ratana and her husband go for a ride (photo by Gregers Moller). Right: Launch of the HFK program at Wat Suwan School in Pathum Thani, late 2011

fatalities in 2012 involved motorcyclists, but only six per cent of passengers, including children, wear helmets when they ride. “However, our campaign in Cambodia is showing very positive results. Kids love the helmets we have given them. A sponsor of our HFK program in some schools outside Phnom Penh made several unannounced visits and was very pleased to see a high percentage of children wearing helmets.” Khun Ratana said that a reluctance to wear helmets by adults in Thailand and other places is reflected in the attitudes of children. “Many adult motorbike users have a very relaxed attitude toward safety. About 64% of adults say they don’t feel it’s necessary to wear a helmet if they aren’t going far. Safety is just not a priority. So many adults have not been good examples and too few tell their children to wear helmets.” Concerning the quality of helmets for kids sold in Thailand, Khun Ratana said:

and Cambodia, and we have other school programs funded by the private sector. Our donors include, among others, Diversey, Sigma, Rotary Club, Pandora, Ecco, and 3i Engineering.” Khun Ratana is involved in other non-profit operations besides AIP. Last year she was chairperson for the Diplomatic Participants’ Committee. “We got together to help the Thai Red Cross raise funds for several projects, such as a craniofacial operation project, hare-lip and cleft palate operations, breast cancer research, and providing spectacles for underprivileged children and the elderly. I am still active with DPC.” She also helps raise funds for YWCA charity projects which concentrate on helping needy people living in remote areas. Recently, she joined a well-known wheelchair-bound TV personality in his campaign to promote design and architecture to benefit people with disabilities.


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Business|Public Relations

Maximizing your media coverage Kittima Sethi, a PR consultant at Brand Now, explains how to get your business in print ■ EVERY business seems to

want to get in the news. They want media to pay attention to their business and to publish stories about their product or services. They see other businesses or their competitors in the news and they also want a share of that media coverage. Remember that to earn that media attention and to get the PR coverage, businesses must develop a strategy on how to craft a message that is newsworthy and informative. This is the key to successful PR, making it far more cost effective than advertising. Having your company’s name featured in the news provides great credibility and may also bring your business to the attention of potential clients, in a positive way at no extra cost. Media is in the business of selling news to their readers. They want to stimulate, entertain and interest readers and are always looking out for stories that are newsworthy and new sources that can provide attention-grabbing and exciting news. If you want to grab the media’s attention you must have a compelling story to share. Last year, Canadian Blake Dinkin made headlines around the world with his Black Ivory Coffee because of its unique production process. The Arabica beans are fed to Thai elephants and plucked by mahouts a day later from their dung, before they are washed and roasted. Dinkin explained that the natural fermentation process in the elephant creates the unique and distinct coffee flavor. Since approximately 10,000 beans are picked to produce 1kg of coffee, Black Ivory is the world’s priciest cup of coffee. The media also has a checklist that determines if the story is newsworthy or


not. Timing is very important. If you are able to link your product or service to a current trend or tie it to the topic of current news, then you are likely to get the media’s attention. If you want to launch a product or service to coincide with a holiday or celebration, then find out the lead time when the publication goes for print and send your release in advance. Your product or service must also be of some significance. For instance, has it changed people’s lives in anyway? Does it affect a large number of people? Does it reflect a human interest? Is it a feel-good story? Is there an emotional attachment to that product or service? Last month, the Associated Press featured an article about a teacher in Pennsylvania who replaced students’ chairs with yoga balls. According to the teacher, sitting on these balls kept the kids more alert and comfortable in class. A professor of movement science added that there has been research linking physical activity with better learning. Once confined mostly to gyms and fitness centers, these yoga balls, priced at US$5 (B30) must have enjoyed a windfall after the article was shared with other schools and adults.

Developing various story angles of your business can also help in getting media coverage in various publications. To get a wide media coverage you have to cast your net wide. If you have a publication you want to be featured in, browse through the various sections and see how you can develop your product or service specific to that section. Create multiple press releases that feature various angles to increase your chance of being featured in several publications. A leading US conglomerate recently launched a new version of one of their multigrain snacks in Thailand. With a competitive snack market, the product was targeted at health conscious consumers who loved to snack, but still wanted to maintain their health and appearance. In addition to the official press release announcing the product launch, several PR angles were featured in various press releases to promote the product. These included a lifestyle angle, which touched on the benefits of selecting healthy snacks, especially those that are baked and include fiber. Since the product was represented by a celebrity ambassador, who is also a dancer, several entertainment angles were also incorporated. Some of these included sharing the celebrity’s tips on keeping fit through exercise and making smart and healthy snack choices; a popular duo band who wrote lyrics to a song that was especially composed for the product launch; a music video featuring the song, artists and the celebrity; and a dance contest featuring the product and the celebrity. The examples above provide you with the opportunity to promote your business and to maximize media coverage. If you provide a story that is targeted to the readers of the various publications, is timely and has some significance, you have a better chance of coverage. Kittima Sethi is a PR consultant at Brand Now Co., Ltd. If you are looking for creative ways to develop story angles for your business to get media coverage, she may be reached at


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The tragedy waiting to happen in Bangkok’s crowded back streets


HEN a fire broke out in a small community in the backstreets of Bangkok recently, it should have been reasonably easy to get the situation under control. Word went out to local fire stations and engines quickly arrived on the scene before too much damage was done. Unfortunately, the houses – mostly

made of wood – were located at the end of a narrow dead-end soi. To reach the stricken area, the first fire engine had to negotiate its way through dozens of cars parked on both sides of the road, an extremely tricky task. Nonetheless, the driver managed to get to the conflagration in its early stages, only to discover that there was no locally available water to

Frightening – the unknown effects of the chemicals in our daily lives


OLLOWING the “horsemeat-inthe-beef” scandal, Britons have been further rocked by warnings that hair dyes used by millions of women have been linked to chemicals that can cause cancer. And that’s not all. Health experts are now saying that chemicals found in every home in the UK and probably most other countries may cause a raft of deadly diseases like breast cancer, as well as asthma, infertility and birth defects brought about by gender-bending compounds used in toys, plastic flooring, car interiors and even credit cards. It all boils down to one simple fact: we really do not know what goes into the manufacture and production of so many things we rely on in our daily lives. The horsemeat scandal proved that. What appeared on the label of so many


pre-prepared foods did not match what was actually contained inside. Indeed, the manufacturer could have written anything and consumers would have believed it. The use of chemicals in hair dyes and all kinds of plastic goods, along with their possible side-effects, has been debated for years, and all kinds of suspicions have been raised. But few of us truly understand the complex names or implications of individual chemicals described on the packaging. If the increase in cancer in recent years is indeed linked to these largely unknown compounds, does that explain why a British company is about to launch its own ‘ultra-safe’ range of hair dyes? Meanwhile it seems the European Commission knows something the rest of us don’t, because in 2010 it banned 22 hair dyes which were said to put long term

supplement its on-board reserves, which were inadequate for the job. To give other engines with more supplies access to the now burgeoning fire, the first truck had to reverse out of the crowded lane, an even tougher task than getting into it. By the time the other fire engines arrived and the firemen were finally able to douse the flames, no less than ten houses had been destroyed. Fortunately no one was badly hurt, but a considerable number of people are now without their homes and possessions. There’s absolutely no doubt the damage could have limited by a significant margin had the fire trucks been able to reach the community more quickly. But they were badly hindered by the thoughtless parking of dozens of car owners. Bangkok’s narrow and often over-crowded back streets pose a huge hazard to many people’s lives. In the case of fire, help is on hand but the fire engines regularly face great problems reaching the scene. Of course, it’s far worse when it breaks out in a dead-end lane, with no space to reverse. Other large vehicles, including garbage trucks, have similar problems as they try to weave through parked cars. Now, surely, it’s time for the local authorities to insist on sensible parking on the city’s back streets. Before a real tragedy occurs.


users at risk of bladder cancer. It’s all very frightening. Maybe it’s time for all manufacturers to follow the lead of cigarette makers and add a rather large “Warning – using or consuming this product may be hazardous to your health” on their packaging.


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Expat WOMEN p Put your feet up and indulge

From retox to detox! Joy Menzies and her fascinating life in Bangkok. Page 30


Hot new products and stores demanding your attention Page 34


Judith Coulson reveals what food labels really mean for you health Page 40

Agony aunts

Professional counselors Anette and Johanna help readers with problems Page 42 TheBigChilli

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Expat Women


Fighting Bangkok’s Beauty Bandits


How the Department of Special Investigation plans to come down hard on manufacturers and distributors of fake cosmetics and perfumes in Bangkok By Maxmilian Wechsler

WITH a guaranteed market of millions of women, the beauty products industry in Thailand is huge. Cosmetics, lotions and perfumes under top name brands are widely available in shops, malls, and markets across the city – sometimes for prices that seem too good to be true. Before you go snatching a bargain, though, consider what’s in the bottle: It may be fake and possibly even dangerous. Fake cosmetics and perfumes of famous foreign brands have been sold at shops, markets and on the streets for decades, and more recently on the internet, for a fraction of what the


genuine products sell for in a reputable department store. The unscrupulous sellers are sometimes raided by the police, but they are usually charged with trademark violation, given a light fine and are back in business in a matter of days or even hours. The police rarely conduct follow-up investigations, for example to identify and arrest the distributers or locate factories and warehouses. This is changing with the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) stepping in. DSI is a civilian law enforcement agency under the Ministry of Justice, fashioned after the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Chinnachot Daengsurisri, who has been with the DSI eight years and became director of its Bureau of Intellectual Property Crimes in April last year, says he is determined to suppress not only the sale of fake beauty products but all intellectual property crimes throughout Thailand. Since he took up his new position the bureau has conducted several significant operations and he says more are on the way. “We will continue to bust the dealers and makers of fake cosmetics and perfumes because they are a health hazard and give Thailand a bad name. I would like to urge consumers to think


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about the lack of quality and the danger these products pose, and not support the criminals,” said Pol Lt Col Chinnachot. “In one of our more significant operations, on December 12, we simultaneously raided three warehouses in Pathum Thani province (adjacent to Bangkok) together with one large shop in Talard Mai (New Market) located opposite Don Mueang Airport. We seized 25,656 items worth around 30 million baht. This amount is estimated from the price of the fake products. We arrested one Thai male who is suspected of being the mastermind,” said Pol Lt Col Chinnachot. “We are targeting the very top of the chain now.” The raids were carefully planned following weeks of investigation and conducted simultaneously by 20 DSI officers. They seized counterfeit cosmetics and perfumes of foreign brands that included Burberry, Chanel, Clinique, Gucci, Lancome, Maybelline, Olay, Shiseido and SK-II, and Thai brands such as Nitipon, Wuttisak and Yanhee. The man arrested is believed to be linked to two websites offering these fake products which received a huge number of visitors. The merchandise was sent to the customers by post. One website is still active, but famous foreign and Thai brands of cosmetics and perfumes are no longer offered, while the other one has been shut down. “The suspect has been initially charged with trademark violation,” said Pol Lt Col Chinnachot. “But in contrast to previous cases conducted primarily by the police, we have sent samples of the seized items to the laboratory for examination. If prohibited or dangerous substances are found we will also charge

the suspect with offences under the 1992 Cosmetic Act. It takes approximately two months to get results from the laboratory. “Furthermore, in this particular case the investigation is ongoing − we are trying to get more information from the suspect and are looking at his assets and financial transactions to see if money laundering charges can be brought against him. We are also investigating whether the suspect should be charged with tax avoidance. We will investigate the case in any way possible, and this should discourage others from dealing with these and other fake items.” The DSI bureau chief said counterfeit cosmetics and perfumes can be extremely dangerous because they often contain chemicals that can damage the skin and even cause cancer. “They are distributed wholesale or retail at various shops around Thailand or on the internet. At present, there are many outlets where the counterfeits are sold, many in tourist areas. “In most cases the dealers admit to selling fake watches, clothes, bags or pirated CDs and DVDs, but this is not the case with cosmetics and perfumes. The dealers claim they are genuine products, although they sell them much cheaper. But how can consumers spot a fake? “You can identify fake beauty products and fragrances in three ways,” explained Pol Lt Col Chinnachot. “The first and easiest way is by the price. If it seems too low then it must be a fake. No one can sell genuine Gucci or Chanel perfume for 100 baht a bottle. Don’t listen to the sellers’ reasons why it is so cheap, like it has been smuggled and no tax has been paid or they are giving a special discount for some reason. “Second, every item should have a


Police Lieutenant Colonel Chinnachot Daengsurisri

sticker of approval from the Food and Drug Administration or it can’t be sold in Thailand. And third, every product sold in Thailand is required to have stickers detailing, in Thai, what chemicals and ingredients make up the item, which the fakes don’t have. “Consumers should buy from well established department stores like Central, Siam Paragon, Emporium and others. Genuine brand name cosmetics and perfumes are not sold on the street,” stressed Pol Lt Col Chinnachot. “According to our investigations,” he continued, “fake products are generally made in China and smuggled to Thailand, although some are made locally.” The BigChilli learned from various sources that the raids on December 12 surprised counterfeiters, and not only the ones dealing with cosmetics and perfumes, because it signaled DSI’s desire to target counterfeiting masterminds instead of only “small fish.”

Market sur vey

A market stall in the bustling Klong Thom Center openly sells counterfeit perfumes

Fake perfumes have a long history in Thailand. In the mid-1990s, for example, it wasn’t uncommon to see Thai salesmen wandering along Silom Road with small briefcases filled with brand name foreign


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Expat Women


Just some of the items seized in DSI’s raid on December 12

perfumes. They would target female office workers and sell the bottles at 200-300 baht a pop, which was a bargain even then. They had a pitch that these perfumes had been smuggled to Thailand by air crews, which many people actually believed. I remember spraying a sample on my wrist and feeling an immediate stinging sensation which lasted a long time and resulted in a red rash. Now these travelling vendors have been replaced by shops and stalls prominently displaying their wares in many tourist areas in Bangkok and in Chinatown. One stall at the busy Klong Thom Center has dozens of bottles under a sign reading ‘100 baht.’ In broken English and unconvincingly, the seller claimed that everything is original. Some of the perfumes being sold on the street and in small shops have packaging that’s hard to distinguish from the genuine products sold at Bangkok’s leading department stores. But the contents of these fake packages can differ greatly. A quick test of the fragrancies sold on the street resulted yet again in an itchy, red, and burning rash – just like the old days. Even after I washed my hands, where I’d sprayed the products, the sensation continued. Imagine if someone were to spray this stuff all over their body.



“A quick test of the fragrancies sold on the street resulted in an itchy and burning rash. Even after I washed my hands the sensation continued.” The scent of success As a side note, around ten years ago I spoke with an executive of a famous French brand selling legitimate cosmetics and perfumes in Thailand. He told me that out of all the products sold by his and similar companies, perfumes bring the biggest profit margin, followed by sunglasses. The man said that the cost to make a bottle of imported perfume was then around US$4-5, with the biggest expense actually being the packaging (bottle and

box). The actual fragrance only cost the company then around US$1. After doing a bit of research on the internet I found that his statements were, and still are, completely plausible. According to a report entitled “Behind the Spritz: What Really Goes Into a Bottle of $100 Perfume,” written last year by Barbara Thau for, a prestige fragrance costs as little as US$2 to manufacture, while the packaging and bottle cost around US$10 collectively. The fragrances are no longer made in a time-consuming process from essential oils as in the old days. Today what is bottled is the result of a much cheaper chemical synthesis, while the prices have stayed high. With profits of the legitimate perfume industry in excess of US$25 billion a year, some might say the counterfeiters aren’t the only ones pulling the wool over customers’ eyes. Is it any wonder some women buy a genuine-looking bottle for 100 baht to show off to their friend? The bottom line is: When you purchase a well-known foreign brand of perfume, you aren’t really paying for the fragrance but also for the brand name. You also get peace of mind that what’s in the bottle has been tried and tested and is safe to use on your skin.


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Expat Women


Joy Menzies: From retox to detox! From making sausages and running pubs to becoming a star of the health and wellness industry, longtime British expat Joy has certainly led an exciting life in the Kingdom. Here she speaks to Siobhan Kennedy about her likes, dislikes, and everything in between


HOSPITALITY, spa and hotel industry expert Joy Menzies originally came to Thailand in November 1991 on a round the world trip, having become fed up of “pretty uninspiring first jobs in pretty uninspiring parts of London.” She stopped in Thailand first and it immediately felt like home, but she continued on her travels knowing that she would be back. On her return to Thailand after six months of living in Australia, Joy wondered what she could do to survive in this new tropical country. Remarkably (and you’ll find out why in the next few lines) she decided that she would make homemade sausages. As a result of this, Joy met her first employer – another well-known expat – Bob Coombes, who was obviously intrigued by this businessminded and well-educated lady who had arrived from the UK. The pair hit it off and suddenly Joy found herself as the General Manager of a group of steakhouses, thus launching her career in the hospitality industry. Ironically, it wasn’t until a few years later that the Directors realised that Joy was vegetarian! From managing restaurants came shareholdings in well-known pubs – The Bull’s Head in 1994, and The Barbican in 1997. As Joy says: “Living in Thailand successfully is about seizing opportunities, and when the prospect of managing the Angus Steak Houses came up, I grabbed it (vegetarian or not!). “The pub idea followed – at that time there really weren’t many places for a single girl so I focused on turning the Sukhumvit 33/1 restaurant into a pub I would feel comfortable in.”


Joy is someone who has been open to opportunities presented to her and she is most definitely following her dreams. You have worked in the hospitality industr y for many years – what is the appeal? I love working in industries where it’s possible to touch customers at a personal level, delivering something they want to include in their day to day lives and come back for. There is nothing more rewarding than customers/guests really enjoying themselves and making your service part of their lifestyle. In the early days I was the star of re-toxing, now I’m the star of detoxing!

Of course it was an instant hit, becoming a home from home for many expats and locals, and a very sociable time for Joy, working late nights and making great friends. Running a bar made her ‘one of the boys’ and she stood out as a businesswoman at a time when very few women were working and forging careers for themselves here. The late nights started to take their toll and Joy started to think that running bars wasn’t really her future, so she decided to train as a therapist. She studied in Bangkok and learnt right from the bottom of the industry to the top, becoming the General Manager of ChivaSom in 2001. As Joy says: “Anything can happen in Thailand, it is a country of opportunities.”

You worked for one of the most well known spa destinations in the world – highest point? Lowest point? The chairman and owner of ChivaSom, Khun Boonchu, initially took me in as his protégé. Within months I was the General Manager of Chiva-Som and half a year later the Managing Director. I poured everything into the job and worked damn hard – improving systems, service and delivery. We had some great moments, receiving many international accolades in some fantastic venues around the world and we welcomed celebrities and Royals from many countries. However, the best moment for me was Khun Boonchu simply coming around his desk one day to shake my hand and quietly say thank you. There was no one else there but it is a moment I treasure. The lowest point – the moment I received a call from reservations to say that David Beckham would be checking in the next day. I was in England! Gutted!!!


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We hear you have started a new venture? What does it involve and how is it different to what you have done before? Capitalising on our experiences with Chiva-Som and in the spa world, my sister Sharon, and a close friend Samantha Foster, teamed together in 2011 to start DSM, a destination spa management company. DSM is similar to a hotel management company in that we manage rooms, F&B and all typical hotel services. We are different in that we specialise in wellness properties delivering wellness experiences, so we are experts at integrating extensive fitness, spa, holistic and wellness activities into a healthy holiday. Our intention is to have a portfolio of wellness properties where guests can be assured of health and vitality improvements. It’s not very different to the work I did for Chiva-Som except that

we are expecting to manage properties as far apart as China and South Africa which will bring with it the opportunities to manage a far greater breadth of staff with their different skill sets and attitudes. You must have seen the business change over the years? Do you think it is better or worse? When the Oriental opened its hotel spa over 20 years ago it was one of the very first in the region. Now we can’t walk down the street without passing a spa or a foot massage shop. Driven by enormous demand the industry has expanded exponentially. Much of the growth however has been in relaxation (the spa) or extreme beauty (medi-spa). What I predict is that we are going to see greater melding of the medical and wellness worlds to produce services that can really create positive lifestyle

changes. It is disappointing that the spa industry hasn’t yet affected the tide of growth in chronic diseases – heart disease, diabetes, obesity, stress, cancer etc., but I see this changing in the future. As a population we are sicker than ever and mostly with preventable diseases! This is where the Spa industry can really help and it is the right time for the wellness industry to expand its services to meet the needs of this market. We will see new models coming up – apps to keep us on track with wellness, more properties/clinics specialising in integrated health and promoting lifestyle change. What’s the best thing about living in Bangkok/Thailand?   The people, the food, the weather and that we can do anything we want at any time. I think the Thais make foreigners

“My plans for the Year of the Snake? More sex! (Oops did I say that out loud?).”


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Expat Women

Insight|Q&A nearby – but that’s selfish because they are quite happy where they are! If you were a Thai dish, which would you be? Chicken with cashew nuts. It’s yummy, slightly comforting, has an occasional bite, more solid than a Thai soup, and not as spicy as somtam. Guess that makes me the girl next door. Ugh! Your favourite restaurant, bar/pub? ‘No Idea’ on Suk Soi 22 is my favourite place to meet friends casually – friendly active owner, great second floor balcony and excellent food at a reasonable price. Favourite restaurant – the Water Library on Thonglor – quiet, discreet, and sensational food.

Joy and her partners at DSM

a little softer and foreigners make the Thais more efficient and focused. It’s a symbiotic relationship that works. And the worst thing? Restaurants selling shark’s fin soup. They make me want to throw a bomb through their windows to make them wake up to the plight of these magnificent creatures. A very un-Joy thing to do indeed!


Do expat women face bigger challenges here than expat men? I think in many ways expat women have an advantage here – they don’t need to bother with household chores giving them so much more time to spend with their kids, on themselves, on hobbies or putting more effort into work. As working expat women we have the advantage that there is little sexism at work – unlike many western cultures there is no ceiling for women to hit if they are good at their work and we can retain our femininity here without having to be one of the boys! However, I’d make sure any new female expats are happy being single before recommending being here! In terms of opportunities for love and partnership the boys definitely have the advantage! Have you ever considered leaving Thailand and what made you stay? I haven’t no, I feel very, very happy here. I did explore South America at one point in time but really landing at the airport here always makes me smile – its hard to find a place that does that every time.


Your proudest moment so far? Giving up a great and well paid job to pursue my own dream. It’s not easy to do it and it hasn’t quite worked out yet but I’m pretty sure it will!! Where do you go to escape the daily grind/what is your favourite weekend destination? I have a simple beach house in Khao Tao near Hua Hin – it’s where I go to be with my dogs, friends and family. Pure bliss! What are your main hobbies? They’ve changed quite a lot over the years, starting here with flying and diving, turning into cycling and running. Now it’s the Russian language and planting my own organic vegetable patches at home. Drinking and socialising have pretty much stayed with me though! What or who was the biggest influence on your life? The lady in the corner shop. She and her husband slaved every day and saved for years for their retirement. Just as they reached it he dropped dead. I was about thirteen but I remembered that lesson – enjoy life while you are in it – don’t wait for a rainy day... What trait do you admire most in people? Honesty. Any unfulfilled ambitions or regrets? None so far! I do wish my family lived

What’s the best party you’ve ever been to? The opening party of the Peninsula Hotel. I ended up in the fountain at the front and still the staff were terribly polite! Yep that was a sensational party! Has Bangkok changed for the better or worse during your time here? Most definitely for the better, it will sound ridiculous to newer expats but the traffic really used to be terrible and there were no alternatives – no skytrain or underground. I really think restaurants, café and infrastructure-wise it’s one of the cities in the world that just gets better. If the authorities could just bury the overhead wires it would be such an improvement (hint, hint)! If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you say to them? I’d love to meet one of my ancestors from say 500 years ago. That would be really cool. I’d probably say, “is the kettle on, pet?” Can you see yourself spending the rest of your life here? Oh yes, at least six months a year Do you have a life motto? I don’t but my mum does – ‘we ain’t got much money but we do see life,’ which she sings out rather than says. That’s a fantastic attitude and something that I should live by more… Plans for Year of the Snake? More sex (oops did I say that out loud?).


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Expat Women

Shopping|New products

SUPER SWEET NEWS ■ GOOD news fans of Britain’s Superdry. The popular fashion brand has opened its first flagship store in Thailand at the newly revamped Siam Center. Known for its vintage t-shirts and hoodies with Japanese graphics, the brand has just launched its Spring/Summer collection which should be on sale by the time you’re reading this. The store is located on the mall’s first floor. For more information, call 02 658 1587-80 OfficialSuperdryThailand

SUPER SHADES ■ LOOK your retro best this hot season by slipping on a pair of the latest shades from Super Sunglasses. Decorated with quirky prints, and featuring top of the range Zeiss lenses, the sunglasses are currently a hot choice for celebs such as Madonna, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry. Our favourite models are the Super Lucia Kilim, which has Turkish-inspired prints and graphics; and the Super Giaguaro Tapestry, which has gold prints and gorgeous chocolate-coloured lenses. Check out the shades at leading Super Shops or go to www.facebook. com/RSFTHAILAND


Shop Hot products and stores demanding your attention


HAIRCUTS IN STYLE ■ FOR a stylish haircut in stylish surroundings the new Chalachol Hair Salon at Siam Center is well worth a look. The salon’s interior is decked out in white, silver and metal and showcases the work of Thailand’s famous Paris-based designer, Mr. Songkran Inna. All hairstylists at the branch have experience working with models at world class events such as London Fashion Week, as well as with Thailand’s leading magazines. 3rd Floor Siam Center. Open daily from 10.30am – 9pm. Welcome Back promotion with discounts up to 15% . For bookings call 02 658 1185


■ IT’S all about prints and rich colours this spring/ summer season. UNIQLO has joined the trend with a new range of skinny jeans, leggings, casual dresses and classic summer polo shirts – all in pastel colours. To combat summer’s soaring temperatures, they’ve also released a range of AIRism innerwear, which is made from a special fabric that absorbs moisture and prevents odour – perfect for Bangkok’s sizzling streets.


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Expat Women

School Report

Bangkok Prep celebrates 10th anniversary

MORE than 700 families of Bangkok Prep students, along with friends, staff, teachers and members of Bangkok Prep community, recently joined together to celebrate the school’s 10th anniversary under the slogan “imagine, create, participate.” The day included several student performances on stage, including the opening of Bangkok Prep’s 10th anniversary mural, which was a painting project participated by students in all levels. Other activities held during the celebration included games, raffles and amusement rides.

Jungle picnic at KIS

Fun and science at St Andrews

THE 2nd Eastern Seaboard Science Fair was held last month at St Andrews International School, Green Valley with students from three other schools (ISE, Garden International and Satit Udomseuksa) competing for a bunch of great prizes. Students from all four schools amazed their teachers with the variety of their investigations and proved that there is no limit to their scientific imagination if they are free to explore.


KIS International School will host a ‘Jungle Picnic’ on Sat March 9 starting at 10am and finishing at 1pm. The picnic is open to all families living in Bangkok with young children and the planned activities are ideal for children aged between two and six years old. There will be a scavenger hunt, arts and crafts activities, games and snacks and drinks. Entry is B200 per family. A free courtesy van will run to and from the MRT at the Thailand Cultural Centre, exit 2. Reserve your tickets via email

Art exhibition at NIST

FROM March 29 – April 2, NIST will host its annual ‘IB Diploma Visual Arts Graduating Exhibition,’ showcasing over 350 individual pieces of art created by the school’s 20 IB Diploma Visual Arts students. The exhibition, held at the school’s Multipurpose Hall, is open to the public.

Digital Hollywood opens in Bangkok

DIGITAL Hollywood, a leading creative and design school from Japan, has opened its first school in Bangkok offering three main departments: Mobile Application, Design, and 3DCG. The classrooms are open 24 hours for students to practice their skills. For more info see:


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Expat Women

All smiles at Arts for Hearts

â– Expat women from a wide section of the Bangkok community enjoyed a night of wine and art at the home of Dutch/Armenian artist Elizabeth Romhild, who conducted a tour of her studio, discussed her creative process, and donated part of the proceeds from sales of her artworks to Operation Smile.



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Expat Women


What the food labels really mean Can’t tell whole grain from multigrain? Think gluten free products are healthful? Judith Coulson, Executive Director of, reveals the truth behind nutrition labels and explains what to look for to enjoy a better balanced diet

■ WHEN it comes to eating healthfully, fresh fruits and vegetables are pretty much a sure way to go. Including packaged foods in a healthy diet is tricky: you can only judge a product’s quality by reading the information that’s on the packaging – and even then you could be fooled into thinking what you’re eating is healthful when it’s actually the opposite. Smart choices begin at the supermarket, though, and reading food labels can help you maintain or achieve a healthy weight and better physical and emotional health. Research shows that female food shoppers who regularly read nutrition labels are skinnier than those who don’t. You just have to know what to look out for. Here are a few pointers:

have been flooding the shelves of supermarkets recently. It is important to note that if you do not have celiac disease, or allergies related to celiac disease, these products are really not any healthier for you. In fact, they usually have less fibre and nutrients than a regular whole grain and they actually tend to be higher in calories than other starchy items what can lead to weight gain. Exceptions are the naturally gluten free grains like Quinoa and Millet.

• Gluten free products. These products

• Natural. This means that the foods


• Less sodium. This claim just means that the item has less sodium than the original item from the same brand that is on the market. This does not mean the product is actually low in sodium and therefore healthier than other products.

are made with no artificial colourings or additives, but it does not mean that the product is low in fat, sugar, sodium or calories. • Good source of. This phrase only means that you are getting 10-19 percent of your daily value of the nutrient in one serving. • Multigrain. Products with this distinction are made with many types of grains, but this does not mean that the item has any fibre and it does not mean that it is whole grain. Look for 100% whole grain items (which will be labelled as such) for the highest nutritional value when you are choosing grain products. A great way to double check the


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claim is by reading the ingredients list on the box to see what the item is really made of. You can also look at the vitamin and mineral percentages to check the claim accuracy for yourself. Use your common sense to figure what is a true claim and what is just creative wording.

Here are five ways to decode food labels • Size matters. The serving size is always the first item on the label. All other information is based on that serving size. The servings per container tell you how many portions are in the whole box, package, or can. • Pay attention. Many packages contain more than one serving. Look at your orange juice for example. If the label says 125 calories per 1dl serving and your breakfast includes a 2dl glass of orange juice, then you’ve taken in 250 calories from the juice alone. (About as many calories as you’d find in many chocolate bars.) • Look for fat. The good, the bad, and the really bad. Check the saturated fat and trans fat content of the food. For a general healthy diet, keep saturated fat and cholesterol low and avoid trans fats

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altogether. Look for foods that have 0 grams (g) of trans fat and are lowest in saturated fat and cholesterol. Try to stay away from foods that have the words “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” in the ingredients list. Foods made with healthy unsaturated oils (olive, canola, safflower, etc.) are better bets.

“Reading food labels can help you maintain or achieve a healthy weight and better physical and emotional health.” • Is it worth its salt? Compare the sodium content to the calories per serving. To keep your salt intake in check, consider products in which the sodium content is less than or equal to the calories per serving. For a food

with 250 calories per serving, ideally the sodium content should be no more than 250 mg. If you need to seriously restrict your salt intake the sodium content should be no higher than half of the calories per serving (or even better it should be unsalted). • Figure out the fibre. Aim for foods that have 5g of fibre per serving, or at least one gram of fibre for every 10g of carbohydrate • Stay away from added sugars. Sugar, no matter what it’s called, contains almost no nutrients other than pure carbohydrate. A heavy sugar intake fills you up with empty calories, keeps you from eating healthy foods, uses up your vitamin and mineral reserves and stresses your body’s ability to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Steer clear of foods that have sugar, honey, molasses, corn syrup, corn sugar, fructose, or high-fructose corn syrup among the first three ingredients. Other names for sugar include agave nectar, brown sugar, cane sugar, corn sweetener, dextrose, maltose, fruit juice concentrate, and glucose. For more practical advice on how to read food labels visit:

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Expat Women

Ask the experts Advice|Problems solved

Send your problems to:

Real Problems Real Solutions

Expat life getting you down? Don’t suffer in silence. Send in your problems and get advice from professional counsellors Anette and Johanna • Anette Pollner Adv. Dipl. Couns., is one of seven international counsellors at NCS Counseling Center in Saphan Kwai. She trained in London and the US and worked as a staff counsellor at Bart’s Hospital in London.

Battling cancer in Bangkok


ast year I was diagnosed with cancer. After thinking about it and weighing all the options I decided to have my treatment here in Bangkok, where I have lived for several years and feel very much at home. I trust my doctors here and I believe that this is my best option. But that is not the opinion of my family! Although we haven’t been close for a long time, my mother and sisters are pressuring me to go back to the US. I feel they are trying to undermine my confidence in my choice. I know this is a serious matter, and I also know it’s my own life! Shouldn’t I be the one who makes this decision? Although I am single, I have a good network of friends here, but now my sister has told me she is going to come to Bangkok to ‘help’ me. I don’t want her. I don’t want her to be here and boss me around, particularly not at a time when I may feel weak and fragile. Now my mother says I am selfish and heartless. What can I do? Elizabeth, 47, from the US

Anette says: ■ Dear Elizabeth, Yes, it is your life. And you decide what you need for your treatment, and your recovery. You are the one who is sick, not your mother and your sister.


Having said that, your family may be genuinely worried about you and just not able to express their concern in the best possible way. Maybe they suddenly realize now, in a crisis, how important you are to them. But what they need to understand is that they need to help you at this time, not the other way round, and that includes respecting and supporting you in your choice. I see issues on two different levels here: psychological (your family dynamics) and practical (the management of your treatment). Dealing with cancer is a very challenging and sometimes terrifying experience. And everyone deals with it in their own way. Not even the most loving and closest relatives can do it for you. And your relatives are not even that close. Whatever the reason for your distance to your family, this is not the time to let them crash your boundaries. If they cannot support you, it is better for them to stay away. You need all your strength for yourself, not for fighting off your sister, and if you have a good network of friends, let them provide the help you need. Yes, this is the time to think first and foremost of yourself. No, you are not heartless. Is your mother suggesting that you should look after her and put her needs before yours at this time? Is this what is going on in your family? It also seems as if they are not taking you seriously: if you consider Bangkok your home, then it is your home. It sounds a little bit as if you are worried that your family may use your vulnerable state to ‘take over.’ Maybe you even worry that they may interfere more directly with your medical choices. You could consider naming one of your friends as ‘next of kin’ so that your sister, should she insist on coming, cannot take over at the hospital. And of course there is no reason why you should have to put her up in your house if you don’t want to. Crisis has a way of bringing out reality in

relationships, even if it is not pretty. On the other hand, if your family really wants to show you their love and support, they could just ask you what you would like them to do for you. I wish you a good recovery.

Losing my wife to technology


am worried about my wife. It seems she doesn’t care about me and the children any more. All she does is sit behind the computer, play games, search the Internet or follow Facebook. She does very little housework, meals are not prepared (we mostly get instant meals from the freezer) and every time we eat our dinner she sits and uses her iPad; no pleasant conversation around the dining table anymore. My two teenagers are developing the same habits. They always have their mobiles or tablets next to the plate so they can send and read messages. My youngest is not into the habit yet and we often talk while the others are silent. We sometimes look at each other in amazement. I don’t want to have a family like this and I wonder what I can do? I admit that, in the past, I was also on the phone during meals quite a lot (but would get up and walk into the next room) and my wife often made remarks about it, but what is happening now is devastating. I have tried to talk about it with my wife, but she has been unresponsive. What can I do? Roger, 39, from Austria


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• Johanna DeKoning MS is the Clinical Director of NCS Counseling Center. She trained in the Netherlands and Australia.

Johanna says: â– Dear Roger, What you are describing is a new problem that more and more families need to address. What are your family values regarding time together, meals etc.? How are/were they established? Was/is it normal for your family to have a meal together around the table at a certain time every day? You write that you also used to use the phone during meals and of course that may now be used against you. Your wife and older kids could say that you are not much better than they are. What was the main reason for you to change your behavior? What are you missing? (Is it about feeling connected with your family, or about the convenience of a home cooked meal and a well-organized house?). So examine your own motivation for wanting this change within your family. If your motivation is that you want more connection and unity within your family, I would like to suggest that you ask all your family members for a special meeting. Perhaps organize some special snacks and announce it as a special occasion. Start the gathering by asking everyone to close their devices as you have to discuss something very important. Switch off yours and wait till all have done the same. Then you could start by telling them that you made a big mistake in the past when you used your phone during meals and tell them what message you think

this was sending to the family (not valuing those in the room, the meal and its cook, and the loss of conversation). Tell them also why you changed. After this, express your concerns and feelings about the quality time the family spends together and ask what each of them think about it. Give them all a turn to express themselves. Explain again why you think the recent development is not good for your family and be clear in what you would like to see changed, such as no phones or devices during meals so you can have time to talk to each other, to check in about everyone’s day for example. Ask them if they would be willing to do this for you as this would make you feel more connected with them. This may just be a first step, but you will be able to start a process. Regarding your wife: look for opportunities to affirm her in what she does for the family. If you only mention the negative aspects and criticize her, you can get into a negative spiral and she will be less willing to give up her iPad, something that provides the connections she would like to have. Schedule a date with your wife and try to remind her of the good times between the two of you so that you can share memories and start a new way of re-connecting. If all fails, you could consider couples counseling, because behind the urge of staying on the Internet all the time could be other reasons, such as depression, feelings of not being valued, or even of being neglected.

For more info: Email:, Tel: 02 279 8503 Send your problems to:

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Gourmet  Wine and restaurant news

kok’s g n a B New Hot urants Resteapage 62 Se

Look tempting? You’ll find this tasty treat and more on offer at The Bookshop on Sukhumvit Soi 38. Page 63.

What’s Cooking A round up of this month’s best gourmet deals. Yummy! Page 46

Meet the chef We speak to Chef Direk Kamnil of Shintori Bangkok Page 56

Dining out

Our favourite restaurants reviewed and listed Page 70 TheBigChilli

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What’s Cooking

Bangkok’s hottest dining deals and news Treat a friend


■ TAKE a friend to eat the international lunch buffet at Grande Centre Point Sukhumvit-Terminal 21’s all-day-dining restaurant, Blue Spice, and they’ll get the special price of just B98++.You’ll have to pay the full rate, B580++, but you can always split the difference (deal only applies to tables of two diners).

Sukhumvit Soi 19 (Wattana) 02 681 9000 ext.4440

Shellfish delights

The Glass House, March and April

■ HEAD to The Glass House Restaurant at Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn on a Fri or Sat night and you’ll find a special seafood buffet featuring a wide range of deep sea delights cooked in a variety of ways. Highlights include Oyster Rockefeller, Freshly cooked mussels and clams with white wine and herbs, and Australian Black Mussels. B1,399 ++ per person (half price for kids under 16). Sathorn Road

☎ 02 210 8100

50% discount for Earth Hour ALOFT BANGKOK, MARCH 23

■ ALOFT Bangkok – Sukhumvit 11 will celebrate Earth Hour this month with a ‘Lights off, Neon’s On’ promotion. Arrive at the hotel dressed in Neon on March 23 and you’ll be entitled to the following deals: 50% off B&F at Crave Wine Bar & Restaurant (except on current promotions such as a free bottle of sparkling wine for groups of four or more); and a chance to enjoy ไxyz’s Cocktail Marathon for just B450, when with a group of five.

☎ 02 207 7000 :aloftbangkoksukhumvit .com

Disney Magic at Ramada THE TERRACE@72, MARCH 17

■ RAMADA Plaza Menam Riverside Bangkok is celebrating the upcoming Disney on Ice performance (see What’s On) by hosting a special Sunday Brunch with the characters on March 17. B1,100 ++ per person (half price for kids aged 5-12).

2047 Charoenkrung Road 02 688 1000


Bangkok’s Biggest Brunch

The Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel, Every Sunday

■ LOOKING for a huge feast? Head straight for The Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel. Every Sunday the hotel serves what has to be the city’s biggest brunch. Split between three restaurants, the brunch offers over 300 dishes imported from 20 countries across the world. Parents can enjoy their food while kids are entertained by clowns, balloon artists, games and activities in the new indoor playground. B1,800 per person for food only, or add B700 per person for free flow beers, wine and Champagne. Kids aged up to 10 eat free when accompanied by two paying adults. Sukhumvit 22

☎ 02 261 9300 ext. 4162


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Great value brunch RR&B, MARCH 31

■ THE Landmark Bangkok’s award-winning top floor restaurant will cap the month with a special brunch offering gourmet food and fine wines at great value. Priced B1,700 ++ (add free-flow wine for B750 ++), the brunch will include freshly grilled and roasted meats, imported seafood, a wide selection of local and international favourites, and wines from Castello Banfi inTuscany. The Smooth Midtown Band will add to the atmosphere by playing chill-out music.

138 Sukhumvit Road 02 254 0404

New Japanese menu


All in Irish flavour BEERVAULT, MARCH 11-17

■ FOUR Points by Sheraton Bangkok’s St. Patrick Day celebrations are set to run an entire week, featuring lots of entertainment, games and an Irish menu featuring Guinness Stew, Boxty and All Day Irish Breakfast (all only B250). Meet Paddy the lucky Leprechaun and try your luck by dipping into his Pot of Gold which offers over 100,000 baht’s worth of prizes.

■ WESTIN Grande Sukhumvit’s Zest Bar and Terrace has launched a new Japanese menu featuring platters of specialty sushi and sashimi, and bento boxes filled with Japanese appetizers. Other highlights include Sashimi Japanese style seafood salad with a yuzu soy dressing; and Saut ed yellow tail and crispy fried squid with balsamic teriyaki sauce.

Opera Night Dinner ANGELINI, FRIDAYS

■ EVERY Fri this month, Angelini Italian Restaurant at the Shangri-La Hotel Bangkok will host an Opera Night Dinner priced B1,800 per person. Enjoy a five-course gourmet set dinner while some of Bangkok’s brightest opera stars perform songs from Les Mis rables, Cats, Fiddler on the Roof, The Phantom of the Opera, and more. Doors open at 6.45pm.

89 Soi Wat Suan Plu, 02 236 7777

259 Sukhumvit 19 02 207 8000

Sukhumvit 15 02 309 3201


■ SWING by the happening Señor Pico on a Thursday Night for ‘Mexican Mayhem’ and you can tuck into special tasting sets featuring three different premium tacos (choices include Shredded confit of duck with chipotle; Crispy snapper; and Crispy pork belly and spicy Habanero) paired with 3 different premium tequilas. B899 per person. Rembrandt Hotel, Sukhumvit Soi 18

☎ 02 261 7100 ext. 7550 TheBigChilli

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Dining|News Grand Sukhumvit Hotel Bangkok ■ CAFÉ de Nimes Restaurant’s “Egg travagent buffet bonanza” will feature imported prime cut meats, locally sourced seafood, Foie gras and Easter Lamb with red wine jus, and all the traditional Easter goodies. B1,295 per person (half price for kids aged 6-12). Go as a group of four to 20 diners and get 50% discount.

Banyan Tree Bangkok ■ ROMSAI Restaurant will serve up traditional dishes such as Hot Cross Buns and Roasted Lamb alongside a wide range of gourmet favourites. Fun games and activities will add to the festive atmosphere. B1,800++ per person with free-flow sparkling wine and fresh juices.

☎ 02 207 9999 

Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square ■ THE Square restaurant’s Bunny Brunch will be loaded with an all-you-can-eat selection of cuisine from Japan, India, Europe and The America, as well as a large selection of rich chocolate treats. B950++ per adult (half price for kids aged 12-16; and free for kids under 12)

02 679 1200 ☎

☎ 02 209 8888 

Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa

Grand Millenium Sukhumvit ■ ATELIER will offer an Easter-themed spread of gourmet appetizers, alongside shucked oysters, Alaskan king crab, sushi & sashimi and a foie gras station. For main course, head to the live cooking stations for succulent meats, such as Roasted prime ribs, and finish off with a wide choice of Easter-themed desserts. B1,500++ per person with free-flow sparkling wine, house wine, local beer, fruit juice, and soft drinks. Go 4 adults and pay only 2.

■ ENJOY an Easter Brunch by the river at Trader Vic’s Restaurant. Alongside seasonal favourites, the all-you-can-eat banquet will feature oysters, caviar, sushi, sashimi, trout, salmon, cured meats, homemade terrines, salads, antipasto, and a wide choice of Asian and Western specialties. Leave room for a parade of festive desserts, including a chocolate fountain, chocolate souffl and pancakes, accompanied by gourmet imported farmhouse cheeses. Kids can enjoy fun games and activities, including an Easter Egg hunt. B1,400++ per person with free-flow water and juices; or B2,199++ per person with freeflow soft drinks, juices, cocktails, draught beer, house wines and sparkling wine. 02 476 0022 Ext. 1416 ☎

☎ 0 2204 4161  48


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Evening out|Diplomat Bar

What’s Hot!

1. Happy Hours from 5 – 8pm 2. Diva Ruby Hayes singing the best of Jazz and Blues 3. New Hi-Tea Set 4. New Tearapy Tea 5. New Cocktail Menu


Jazzy nights and relaxing days at Diplomat Bar


A brand new jazz diva, innovative cocktails, and invigorating Hi-Tea sets keep things fresh at Conrad Bangkok’s popular bar

THE Conrad Bangkok’s elegant Diplomat Bar has long been a good ambassador for the hotel. Showcasing fine international wines, a long list of innovative cocktails, and regular performances by some of the world’s most talented jazz musicians and singers, it’s a hangout of choice for oenophiles and jazz aficionados who like their nights out to have a touch of class. An evening’s entertainment at the bar kicks off with the Daily Happy Hours (5pm-8pm), which offer a Beer Buffet for B550 or Wine Buffet for B650. With free-flow drinks served alongside some tasty nibbles, it’s a great deal. The normal drinks menu also offers good value for money, especially the bar’s new cocktail selection, which features unique blends

such as Thai Tide, a modern take on the classic Margarita, starting at B320. The buzz of happy hours settles into mellow relaxation when the house band takes to the stage to perform the best of jazz and blues (Mon-Thurs 8.30pm till late; Fri-Sat 9pm till late). And music fans are in for a treat because they’ve just been joined by Californian diva Ruby Hayes, who’ll perform at the bar for the next three months. Veteran performer Ruby has opened shows for international artists such as Vernon Garrett, The Four Tops and Cab Calloway III, and her headlining shows around the Washington area have earned her the nickname “The Princess of Blues.” With a sensual, powerful voice that

Diplomat Bar, Lobby Level of Conrad Bangkok, All Seasons Place, 87 Wireless Road


could hypnotize a giant, she oozes tons of on-stage charisma and has an upbeat, interactive performance style, which often sees her walking the room, serenading guests at their tables. She also takes time between sets to chat to guests, and has many fascinating stories to tell about her life as a performer. It’s not only night owls and jazz fans who benefit from a visit to the Diplomat Bar, though. The bar is open all day and proves to be a great spot to spend a relaxing afternoon, especially if you order the bar’s new Hi-Tea Set, which features a range of invigorating Tearapy Teas, including flavours such as Chai Spice, Lemongrass Mint, and Vanilla Jasmine – which offer the benefits of aromatherapy in a teacup!

☎ 02 690 9244 


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"For A Healthy Life Style"

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Dining out|Loop Italian Restaurant

It’s a deal!

Until March 16, for every B2,500 spent diners will receive one coupon for the chance to win a shopping spree at Siam Paragon worth B99,999, complete with limousine pick up and personal shopping assistant.


Loop Italian Restaurant Terrace & Bar


Delicious food and a resort-like setting make this hidden oasis in the heart of Bangkok a must visit

THERE’S certainly no shortage of Italian restaurants in Bangkok, but there aren’t many quite like Loop at the Pathumwan Princess Hotel. Tucked away on the eighth floor opposite the hotel’s huge saltwater swimming pool, it’s one of the city’s best kept dining secrets. Why? Well, sit out on the terrace in one of the plush, large banquettes and you’ll feel like you’re dining at a restaurant in a beachside resort rather than at a hotel in the heart of the city. Ensconced behind a well maintained hedgerow which screens the restaurant from the pool, the terrace is private and cozy and, with a balmy breeze keeping things nice and cool, feels far removed from the constant bustle of the sweltering streets below. Head indoors and you’ll find an

intimate dining room, seating just 24, where eating is done at mahogany tables dressed with white table cloths. It’s contemporary and minimal, but it’s also casual and friendly. New restaurant manager Julien Garrigou personally greets guests and turns up right on cue to make menu recommendations and pairing suggestions from the restaurant’s extensive wine list (starts at B300 per glass and B1,800 per bottle). Taking care of the cooking side of things is Executive Chef Charles Christiaens. With a background that includes stints working at local gourmet hangouts such as Harvey, Ma Maison, and Rib Room & Bar, he cooks in a traditional homely style with a focus on fresh Mediterranean flavours – think light

Pathumwan Princess Hotel, MBK Center. Open daily 11.30am-10.30pm.


salads, seafood, grilled Aussie beef and lamb, and, of course, pizzas. His a la carte menu boasts highlights such as Maine Lobster salad, a refreshing treat featuring a meaty portion of lobster atop a bed of red apple and asparagus (B900); Sea bass with a green pea crust and sweet and pepper sauce (B650); and the signature Loop pizza, which is topped with lamb ragout, goat’s cheese, and sun dried tomato (B550). A Chef ’s specials menu, which changes every week, features dishes made with imported seasonal ingredients and fresh seafood, and a daily set lunch deal offers a choice of either two-courses for B450, or three-courses for B550 –a great deal not to be missed!

☎ 02 216 3700 ext. 20818 


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Dining out|Panorama Restaurant


Panorama: ‘Inspiring by Day, Latin by Night’


Restaurant’s new concept brings Latin flavours to Bangkok

MEXICAN tortillas, Brazilian Churrasco (grilled meats on a stick), and Argentinean flat breads are just three of the delights awaiting diners at the newly retooled Panorama Restaurant at Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park. Panorama’s new concept – ‘Inspiring by Day, Latin by Night’ – has been introduced by the hotel’s owners in response to the restaurant’s hugely successful Brazilian food promotion, which was held late last year and saw visiting chefs from Brazil take control of the kitchens to cook up a range of their country’s signature dishes, with crowd pleasing results. Visit Panorama during the day and you’ll still find a lunch buffet featuring international and local favourites for B930 net. Drop by in an evening, though, and you’re presented with an a la carte menu that builds on the recent Brazilian theme with a wide variety of Latin (or Latin American) cuisine.

This isn’t a menu that’s been hastily thrown together on a whim. To prepare for the new concept, Chef de cuisine Matt Dowdell spent a lot of time researching the history of Latin cuisine, not just the ingredients and cooking methods, but also the origins and history of each dish, and the vibrant influences from Europe, Asia, Africa and America that go into the cuisine’s culinary make up. He then took this knowledge, combined it with his own expertise, and had a ball putting his own creative spin on the food. His Smoked pork ribs with tamarind BBQ sauce (B340++) are a must try. Smoked over coconut husks, in place of the traditional oak, the tender ribs have a delicious mellow taste which proves incredibly addictive. Stacked on a large platter and drizzled with a thick, rich sauce, the portion is huge and perfect for sharing.

Equally as tasty is the Lamb sopes (B280++), a Mexican dish which features four thick tortillas topped with braised lamb – a crispy and tender delight that more than warrants a groan of pleasure with every bite. Other highlights include Ceviche (B320++ for a taster set of four); Seafood Skewer (B360++); Chicken Fajitas (B420++); and Baked rice with prawns and chorizo (B490). For dessert, try the Alfajores – South American cookies served with horchata (B140++). A range of Party Packages are available, featuring a generous selection of dishes for four or more diners, starting at just B2,899++. Enjoy your food in the spacious restaurant watching all the action of the open kitchens; or slink into the Deck Bar, where subdued lighting and sweeping views of Bangkok set a romantic tone. Sit back with a cocktail or two, get stuck into the food, and a fun night is guaranteed.

Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park, 952 Rama IV Road. Open lunch Noon-2pm; Dinner 6pm-10.30pm (drinks till 1am)


☎ 02 632 9000


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Chefs in focus|Direk Kamnil

SERVING UP Chef Direk Kamnil

Shintori Bangkok’s executive chef talks about his favourite foods and sake Best compliment given to you Oishi Sugoi! (Delicious, Masterpiece!)

Most useful cooking utensil A sharp knife Favourite dish to make Sushi and Sashimi

Best wineproducing country I’ve worked as a chef in Japan before. Sake, not wine, has always been my favourite, and the best sake is Kubota Manjyu

What’s great about Japanese food Variety of dishes, international taste, and it’s healthy and delicious How do you describe your dishes Chic, elegant, beautiful appearance, great taste What is the relationship between art and food? The most important aspect of food is taste. But without a pleasing appearance, who would eat it? Exquisite food presentation is like a gentleman’s attraction to a beautiful lady. It may be her inner qualities—her flavour, so to speak—that he ultimately appreciates, but it is her face and figure that first catches his attention. Food presented artfully is an innovation of the new era of fine dining.


Favourite dish to eat Sushi and Sashimi

Favourite ingredients Tuna and Wasabi Ginger

Chef Direk in focus ■ SINCE starting out as a sushi chef in 1976, Chef Direk has worked almost exclusively in Japanese restaurants, including a two-year stint in Tokyo, where he refined his Japanese language and dining etiquette at Kigumi Tokyo Takasaka Restaurant. In 1991 he spent a year in Rome at the popular Sogo Japanese Restaurant, where his cooking philosophy was further shaped by working alongside chefs from Italy, France, and China. Taking their influences and expertise on board, he has put his skills to good use by creating masterfully-balanced Japanese cuisine which delights the eyes just as much as the palate, and he specializes in sushi, sashimi and teppanyaki. Try his cuisine for yourself at the newly opened Shintori Japanese Art Cuisine restaurant, located atop ZEN World in downtown Bangkok.

Favourite workplace? I had a good time working in Tokyo. As pleasant as that was, it doesn’t compare with here. Shintori Bangkok is the best place I have ever experienced.

What is a must for a great dinner Fresh food, tender taste; a good view is a plus


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Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy

Reflexions mirrors its past performances with another stunning lunch

  The main course required the combined efforts of no less than six members from the kitchen staff, led by Chef Daniel Bucher.  The course featured Slow cooked lamb loin, with accompanying potato fondant, carrot, and tapenade. This was cooked to perfection; Mark complimented the team for their efforts, and especially for the unique taste of the cumin flavoured carrot jelly.  To go with the lamb (attested by self-proclaimed experts on tender young loins as the best they had ever tasted),


HERE was an excellent turn-out at Reflexions for BB&B’s second lunch of 2013, with a total of 20 diners present. This is the fifth or sixth time we have lunched at the leading French-style restaurant of the Plaza Bangkok, A Royal M ridien Hotel, and we have never been disappointed.  To start, we drank for the second month in a row Bottega Prosseco Spumante (Venice); Ben Bootle was introducing the wines for the first time at the Club and made a good impression with his insightful comments. The wine earned 6 out of 10 from our critic but was perhaps even more popular than the score suggested if the consumption was factored in. Once seated, dining started with an amuse bouche – a p t infused with blueberries, which had the taste buds energized from the first mouthful.   A Crayfish mousseline starter followed, featuring baeri caviar topping, yellow pepper and vanilla sauce. Food spokesman of the day, Mark Guthrie, eulogised about the mousseline; the texture was perfect and the taste divine. To accompany this, Jock Tulloch had chosen the family’s Tulloch Semillon 2011 (Hunter Valley, NSW); this turned out to be an excellent choice which was well matched to the starter. Although Ben came ready


to criticise (especially as Jock and Ben are good mates away from the dining table), this was definitely unnecessary. The wine was crisp and showed a long and dry finish, full of lemon and spice: 7.5/10 (but somewhat less for the label!).   The next wine to arrive, Best’s Gt Western Merlot 2005 (Victoria), received a mixed reception. Most found it very acceptable but a minority felt something was lacking (some folks perhaps just do not enjoy Merlot or we found an off bottle). Ben scored it 6/10. The accompanying dish was described as Beef Consommé hot and cold, which came with beefsteak tartar, radish, and crab mushroom. This was an original creation from our Chef; the hot consomm was added at the last moment to cover what I could describe as a wonton made from cabbage enveloping the beef tartar. The overall dish, including its presentation, was much appreciated by the diners.

we enjoyed D’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz 2005 (McLaren Vale, S Australia); for me and for Ben too, this was the best wine of the day (8/10).    To finish an excellent meal, we were presented with a tasty selection of French cheeses which were served with more of the excellent bread that had earned compliments from Mark. And a Club stalwart wine, Offley Ruby Port (Portugal), was at hand to go with the cheese, scoring 7.5/10.   There just remained the delivery of the critiques from the spokesmen (both did an excellent job), a final round of Calvados to sip alongside the coffee, a nice selection of chocolate truffles, toffee, and hazelnut cookies, and an expression of the thanks to the team of servers and chefs for the exemplary job they carried out on our behalf. Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Méridien Hotel, 61 Wireless Road (Witthayu). Tel: 02 650 8800


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Gourmet scrapbook

Last month’s foodie functions in focus



A taste of Tuscany at da Vinci ■ THE Rembrandt Hotel’s elegant da Vinci Italian Restaurant was last month the setting for a wonderful ‘Taste of Tuscany’ wine dinner. The event saw Executive Chef Andrew Mann create a superb sixcourse menu featuring seabass, smoked ham hock, duck confit, roasted venison and more gourmet treats which paired superbly with the finest wines from Tenuta Sette Ponti winery in Tuscany.

Michelin experience at Vertigo

Rotary’s gourmet gathering ■ Rotary Club of Bangkok South recently held its annual Paul Harris Fellows, Water Fellows, Library Fellows and Luangsit Fellows Recognition Dinner at the Residence, Grand Hyatt Erawan.  Guest speaker for the day was former member/president of the Club and Canadian diplomat Sean Brady, who recounted some of his experiences over the course of his diplomatic career.

■ VERTIGO Restaurant at the Banyan Tree Bangkok marked the opening of its ‘Haute Cuisine from the Black Forest’ food promotion with a cocktail reception presided over by H.E. Dr. Ingo Winkelmann, Deputy Head of Mission and Permanent Observer to ESCAP at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany. The promotion, held Feb 21 – March 1, saw Chef Florian Stolte, head chef of the three Michelin Star Traube Tonbach Hotel in Southern Germany, take control of Vertigo’s kitchens together with his team to create a series of special set menus.


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cut out and keep


Recipe of the month Snow fish with tamarind sauce Regular visitors to Le Danang Vietnamese Restaurant will no doubt recognize this tasty signature dish by Sous Chef Suparb Sawansuk. Plump, juicy, and packed full of flavour, it’s a real treat, and quite rightly the most popular dish on the menu. Follow the instructions below and you can enjoy the same great experience at home! Ingredients • Snow fish fillet 220g • Tamarind 20g • Garlic 10g • Shallot 10g • Carrot 50g • Leek 30g • Dill 30g • Dry Shitake Mushroom 20g • Spring Onion 10g • Celery 50g • Ginger 30g • Oyster Sauce 10g • Roosdee 10g • Cooking Oil 30g • Pepper Powder 5g • Fried Rice 100g • Ravioli Sheet 1

Method 1. Grill the snow fish over medium heat for 5 minutes or until golden. Remove from heat and transfer to a shallow plate. 2. Fry the shallot, leek, dill, celery, and shitake mushroom together in a small pan over medium heat. Flavour with oyster sauce, pepper powder

and roosdee. When finished, put the mixture on a plate. 3. Place the grilled snow fish on the plate and top with tamarind sauce.

Tamarind Sauce 1. Boil tamarind over medium-high heat and flavour with sugar, salt, garlic, roosdee and chili powder.

About the chef


wa Chef Suparb Sa 60

SOUS Chef Suparb Sawansuk oversees the Vietnamese culinary team at Le Danang Restaurant, Centara Grand, Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok. She started her cooking career in 1978 at the popular “Madame Cherry” Restaurant on Sukhumvit 31, and one year later she joined Le Danang restaurant as Chef De Partie, working alongside Vietnamese Chef Nok Mai Henry. She took full responsibility for the restaurant in 2006, when she was appointed as Sous Chef. Her signature dishes include “Fresh spring roll soft shell crab,” “Prawn on sugarcane” and the wonderful dish you see on this page. Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok, 1695 Phaholyothin Road,

☎ 02 541 1234 Ext.4204


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Dining|New in town



Openings, renovations and relocations – here’s a quick round up of what’s new, what’s returned, and what’s coming up in Bangkok’s always vibrant and constantly evolving dining scene

Pssssst. Pick up next month’s issue for even more new restaurants!



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Chef Bar

■ “MY cuisine theme is quality, imaginative and affordable dishes from classic Australian to modern international,” says Chef Roland Graham, who took over this small restaurant on Sukhumvit 23 at the start of the year.The passionate chef prepares all meats, sauces, preservatives and pickles himself – so his food is as home-made as it gets.The concept suits the venue well – a cozy white-washed hole-in-the-wall which seats a maximum of 15.The homemade pies and sausage rolls are a must try, as are the burgers (pies and burgers range from B210-B290). Sukhumvit Soi 23 (opposite Prasanmit Tower and Chok Chai Steak House) 08 005 27336

BLACK. The Jazz Spot

■ WHILE it’s not officially a restaurant, this new bar on Sukhumvit Soi 33 does offer finger food from a special menu prepared by Basilico (which is located next door), and we thought we’d list it here anyway just in case anyone’s interested in getting a fill of top quality jazz. Run by veteran jazz performer Idrees Dawud, Black is dark, intimate and cozy, just like jazz bars you’d find in New York.The club is dedicated to Art Blakey, who carried the Jazz Messengers band for many decades, and the inspiration for the music is from the Bebop and Hard Bop eras. Jerry, who both sings and plays trumpet, is joined on stage by top local musicians and regular special guests. 2nd Fl Nuam Complex (next to Basilico Pizzeria) Sukhumvit Soi 33 (BTS Phrom Phong). Music starts 9pm nightly 02 259 6919, 089 024 5425

The Bookshop

■ DESIGNED by Ashley Sutton, the creative genius behind Iron Fairies, Fat Gutz, and Mr Jones’ Orphanage, this new venture at Ashton Condominium on Soi 38 is like a bookworm’s dream sprung to life – think floating bookshelves, flying books, and stairways to nowhere. Adding to the heady-bookish offerings is a list of signature cocktails (start at B180++) designed by New York drinks guru Joseph Boroski. Boozy highlights include the Librarian (fresh pineapple, honey and lime shaken with cilantroinfused vodka) and Latest Periodicals (crushed kiwi and cucumber with tequila and orange churned with crushed ice). From the kitchen comes a wide range of local and international favourites. Highlights include Grilled Portobello mushroom topped with truffle sauce, pine nuts, rock leaf and bacon B190++; Spicy Prawn Spaghetti with tomato, garlic, chilli and olive oil B270++; and Grilled beef steak with house special glaze and buttered vegetables B550++. Sukhumvit Soi 38. Open daily 11am - midnight

☎ 02 187 4949 Facebook: thebookshop38

Bangkok Burger Company (Silom)

■ WITH its restaurants in Thonglor, Mega Bangna and Patong Phuket doing a cracking trade, the Bangkok Burger Company has proved that, like the rest of the world, Bangkokians do indeed have a craving for succulent meat squeezed between a bun.The franchise has now taken its operations to Silom with a brand new restaurant on Saladaeng Road. Like its sisters, this outlet offers char-grilled gourmet burgers made with “home-ground” premium Australian Wagyu, rib eye and aged sirloin beef, blended with a secret recipe of herbs and spices. All burgers come with creamy homemade coleslaw and steakhouse chips or house salad. 5/12-13 Saladeang Rd., Silom

☎ 02 636 0232 TheBigChilli

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Dining|New in town

Saigon Recipe


■ WORLD famous pizza franchise Domino’s has now arrived in Thailand with its first store at One Fenix Square, Sukhumvit Soi 22. Serving the same pizza recipes as found at Domino’s Pizza shops in 10,000 locations around the world, the Bangkok operation is the start of what the brand hopes will be a big push into the Thai market. At the moment the shop’s delivery zone is limited, but the owners plan to expand this soon.Throughout March, the shop is celebrating its grand opening by offering 30% discount on its 9” pizzas. One Fenix Square, Sukhumvit Soi 22. Open: 11am - 10pm

■ AUTHENTIC Vietnamese dishes cooked by a Vietnamese chef are the highlights of this new eatery on Sukhumvit Soi 49.Vietnamese dé cor and music set the scene for tucking into popular dishes such as Pho (Vietnamese rice noodle soup. B160 Baht++); Bun Bo Hue (Hue style Beef Noodle Soup B160B++), and Mix Hue style appetizers (B160++).Thai dishes are also on offer, such as Nem Nuong (Charcoal grilled meatballs served with rice papers, vegetables and herbs. B200++). All food is served on antique plates and bowls, with drinks coming in beautifully hand painted cups and glasses (don’t miss the Vietnamese Coffee B70++). 46/5 Piman 49, Sukhumvit Soi 49. Open daily 11am - 10pm  02 662 6311

☎ 02 663 6111

Little Backyard Cafe & Bed

■ COFFEE shops don’t get more homely than this little gem on Sukhumvit 43. Located in a quiet residential street (ten mins walk from Phrom Phong BTS), it’s part of a three bedroom guesthouse which offers a small selection of dishes made using homemade recipes. What’s really worth the trip here though is the Homemade Breakfast and Brunch, especially the LBY Special Breakfast Set, which features fried egg with sautéed shimeji mushrooms, crispy bacon wrapped in crepe-like omelets, sausages, yoghurt, fresh fruit, and coffee or tea.

Sukhumvit Soi 43 089 914 9492 Facebook: littlebackyardbkk



■ ZEN’s new Japanese restaurant brings Shanghai and Taipei’s ‘Japanese Art Cuisine’ to Bangkok through a range of visually appealing, and great tasting, gourmet sushi, sashimi and teppanyaki. Located on the top floor of Zen World, the restaurant has an elegant minimalist design with many materials appearing in their raw forms.The chefs (read out interview with executive chef Direk Kamnil on page 56) are dressed in pure white; the waiting staff, in pure black.There’s little colour – but who needs colour when you can feast your eyes on superb views of Bangkok, watch chefs slicing and dicing in an open kitchen, and admire works of art on a plate. Zen World Level 18. Open 5.30pm till late

☎ 02 100 9000


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Dining|New in town

Vino di Zanotti

■ LOCATED in a stunning villa on Nanglinchee Road, a short walk from Yenakart and Narrathiwas roads, this unique Italian wine bar boasts a fine selection of over 500 types and 2,300 bottles of Italian and French wines.The restaurant embraces the concept of the Italian Aperitivo, providing a meeting place for professionals to wind down after work and enjoy quality wines and food in a cozy and relaxed ambience. An Italian Tapas menu is available until midnight; Italian traditional dishes are also available. Enjoy your meal in the open-air garden, main dining area, up on the first floor, or in a private room. A jazz quartet performs cool, classic tunes every night from 8.30pm-11pm. No. 399, Soi Nanglinchee 9 Road. Open Mon - Sat 5pm - midnight.

☎ 02 678 0577

Miss Siam Restaurant

■ THE signature restaurant of the brand new Hua Chang Heritage Hotel, Bangkok, Miss Siam focuses on the distinctive court recipes known as Royal Thai Cuisine. Menu highlights include Miang-Kham (Assorted Thai snacks served with sweet sauce), Mussamun Nue (Beef curry), Pla Hi-Ma Nung Ma-Now (Steamed snow fish with lemon sauce), and Ma Haw (Mandarin segments and pineapples cubes with a caramelized peanut ball topping). 400 Phayathai Road, Pathumwan. Open daily 10am-10pm 02 217 0777


■ GIVING street food a gourmet spin in a contemporary and trendy setting, Badmotel arrived on the Thonglor scene last month with a big party showcasing eats such as Grilled pork, Spicy eggplant salad, Crab cake, and Beef Sirloin steak with jeaw sauce as well as unique cocktails inspired by life in Bangkok (with names like Never Say Never and Lady Killer). With art exhibitions, weekend markets, live music, and rooftop movie nights in the planning, it’s an exciting addition to the street and one that’s definitely worth keeping an eye on. Thonglor (Next to J-Avenue and facing the main road). Open daily 5pm - 1am 02 712 7288 Facebook: badmotel


Angel City Diner

■ MODERN Spain is out, ’50s America is in at this new diner which takes over the premises which formerly housed Catalana on Sukhumvit Soi 11. Serving up American fare (burgers, sandwiches, pancakes, roast dinners) to the sounds of classic Rock n’ Roll, Angel City delivers the first genuine diner experience in Bangkok. With big booth seating, a soda fountain bar (over 20 flavours!) and an open kitchen inspired by real diners from New York to San Francisco, the restaurant caps its theme with a Rock-Ola ‘Bubbler’ Jukebox stacked with 100 great albums from the ’50s and ’60s. For a taste of traditional Americana, it doesn’t get more authentic than this. Sukhumvit Soi 11 (near Aloft) Open: 24 hours

☎ 02 651 3313 Facebook: AngelCityDiner


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Dining|New in town


■ NOW open at VIE Hotel Bangkok, the trendy YTSB (Yellow Tail Sushi Bar) features a wide range of Japanese cuisine prepared by Japanese Master Chef Yoji Kitayama, who uses live fish imported three times a week to create some of the freshest sushi and sashimi you’ll find in Bangkok. Split between an indoor dining room and outdoor terrace, the restaurant is chic and peppered with Japanese elements given a contemporary twist. The food is complemented by a wide range of top sakes, including some rarely found brands. 117/39-40 Phaya Thai Road. Open daily 6pm - 11.30 pm (soon to be opened for lunch) 02 309 3939 Facebook: viebangkok


■ MORE than your average bar/ restaurant, Grease on Sukhumvit 49 is spread over four multi-themed floors comprising a restaurant, club, music lounge with art gallery, and a rooftop chill out bar. Open from 6pm till late, the restaurant serves Thai/Mediterranean fusion food with highlights such as Spicy spaghetti tom yum goong; and Duo of lamb and snow fish. Food starts at B320 per dish.  46/12, 46/13 Sukhumvit Soi 49. Open Mon - Sat 02 662 6120-1 Facebook: grease.monsat

☎ 68


■ ITALIAN cuisine with a dash of Asian flavour is on offer at this new restaurant on the 35th floor of The Continent Hotel (see our social pages for pictures of the hotel’s grand opening). Offering casual daytime eating and fine dining by night, the restaurant’s main room is designed to have an evolving dining experience. Choose from high tables to swinging benches, your own private room, or sit alongside the sweeping vista and choose from a wide choice of salads, pastas, pizzas, grilled meats, and a good selection of vegetarian dishes. 413 Sukhumvit Road (near Asok BTS and MRT stations) Open daily 6am-10.30am, 11.30am-2.30pm, 6pm-10 .30pm 02 686 7000


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Where to eat

Recommended restaurants and bars Spanish cuisine

Thai cuisine


Spanish on 4



Spain at this cozy restaurant featuringauthentic cuisine from Rioja province. The gazpacho, a cold pureed vegetable soup, is perfect for Bangkok’s hot and humid weather. Other delights include imported Spanish ham and some great seafood. The set lunches are great bargains. A large variety of Spanish wines are available and demonstrate why wines from the Iberian Peninsula are often a bargain.

ever popular Tapas Cafe (Sukhumvit Soi 11) is a great place to enjoy lunch or dinner with friends or a loved one. The menu offers a wide range of Spanish Tapas, imported hams and cheeses, as well as weekly changing regional specials. The restaurant is modern and airy with a busy informal atmosphere and attracts a diverse cosmopolitan crowd. Good value and authentic Spanish food.

interior, but the d cor is still unmistakably Thai.There are several private rooms, making it good for a business lunch or small private function.The menu is extensive, but emphasizes light and fresh items that are easy to eat.The menu indicates the level of spiciness of each dish.The impeccable service and pleasant surroundings make this one of the best places on Sukhumvit Road for Thai food. On Sundays, Basil and its neighbouring restaurants participate in the Sheraton’s renowned Jazz Brunch Buffet.

of the flagship hotel in the Thai owned Dusit chain. This place has got to be good and it doesn’t disappoint. The interior is substantial with subdued lighting, heavy chairs and carpeting - definitely not a place for singlets and flip-flops. A large window looks out at a waterfall with outdoor seating surrounding it. The menu consists primarily of Royal Thai cuisine dishes, although less august items are also available. The wine list is excellent and the service impeccable.

•Enjoy a taste of northern

Ploenchit Rd, Central department store side, (adjacent to BTS Chidlom), 02 251 5761 

•This sister branch of the

78 Silom Soi 4. Opposite Soi Convent (BTS Saladaeng), 02 632 9955. 

•This restaurant has a modern •The flagship restaurant

Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, Sukhumvit Soi 12 (BTS Asoke or MRT 02 649 8888 Sukhumvit)

Dusit Thani Hotel, Junction Silom and Rama IV Rds, (BTS Saladaeng or MRT Silom), 02 200 9000

Tapas Café


Spanish Tapas restaurant is comfortable and lively and busy every night. Every dish on the menu has its own unique and delicious flavors – Embutidos Mixtos (A selection of Spanish ham and sausages); Gambas al Ajillo (Prawns in spicy garlic sauce); Chiperones Plancha (Grilled baby squid). Simply close your eyes and pick dishes at random; with tastes this good, you can’t go wrong.

worldwide chain operated by S&P of Thailand, Patara offers delicious Thai dishes cooked in a contemporary style. The spices, flavours and aromas are unmistakably Thai, but the food is unique without going overboard. Salient examples include the Slices of Raw Tuna in a Lime and Lemongrass Vinaigrette, and Braised New Zealand Lamb in Massaman Curry. Patara is modern, relatively small and blessed with lots of parking.

•Bangkok’s first authentic

Sukhumvit Soi 11 (Nana BTS), 02 651 2947 


•The Bangkok outlet of a

375 Soi Thonglor 19, Sukhumvit 55, 02 185 2960 


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French cuisine

American cuisine


Le Normandie

Hard Rock Café

chugging along, fuelled by a group of regulars who continue returning to its homely comforts. Although a portion of the menu changes regularly, several signature dishes have remained for years. Favourites with many customers include Rabbit in white wine sauce, and mushrooms and frog legs sautéed with garlic and dry sherry. There is a walk-in wine cabinet where you can select your wine. The restaurant is located in a converted house with parking out front.

tel restaurants, Le Normandie has been serving fine French food to royalty, tycoons and we ordinary folk since the 1950s. Elegant is the best way to describe the interior and there are great views of the Chao Phraya to boot. World famous chef Guy Martin is a consultant and what comes out of the kitchen reflects his standards. The wine list is wide ranging and features some of the world’s finest and most expensive wines. Jackets are required in the evening and children under 12 aren’t permitted.

no introduction to anyone. From opening until 10pm, the Bangkok version is a restaurant serving casual American food while lots of good music emits from the sound system, and an attached retail shop does a booming business selling Hard Rock memorabilia. But after 10pm, HRC morphs into a different animal. Patrons under 20 have to leave, live music comes on stage and the place begins to rock. Always popular with Siam Square regulars and tourists from all over the world, this is one of those places everyone has to visit at least once.

The Oriental Bangkok, (BTS Saphan Taksin, then take the hotel’s shuttle 02 659 9000 boat),

Siam Square, Soi 11, (BTS Siam) 02 251 0792 

•This French restaurant keeps •The doyen of Bangkok’s ho- •This international icon needs

Soi Ruam Rudee, 250m from Ploenchit Rd, (BTS Ploenchit), 02 253 8141

Paris Bangkok

•French food lovers should

definitely take the time to seek out this hidden gem on Sala Daeng 1/1. Located in a wonderfully renovated townhouse with a modern Asian design, it has a French chef with Michelin star experience in the kitchen and offers up a wide range of traditional French dishes with a touch of creative flair. Highlights include Duck leg confit, turnip with honey and rosemary (B390++) and French foie gras ‘Torchon’, onion and ginger marmelade, homemade butter ‘brioche’ (B520++). 120 Soi Saladeang 1/1, Silom, Bangrak, 02 233 1990 email: 

Roadhouse Barbecue

•Barbecued food from the

American south is a great antidote for the negative impression created by the pap served by American fast food chains. For excellent BBQ ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, hickory smoked beef brisket, and a lot more, try this place. There is a large exhibition kitchen, featuring an open flame BBQ and two wood smokers. Up on the third floor, you can watch sports on big screen TVs, play billiards or throw darts. Lots of fun and loads of good eats. Junction of Surawongse and Rama IV Rds (MRT Silom or BTS Saladaeng) 



HE Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit’s signature all day dining restaurant Voilà! serves international buffet lunch and dinner to a superb ‘Cuisine on Stage’ concept – which basically means you can order most of your food from live cooking stations, including a Parisian-style rotisserie and an artisan La Cornue stove. The amazing selection of dishes on offer ranges from fresh seafood and oysters on ice to Parisian bistro selections (soups and casseroles), flame grilled rotisserie meats, Italian pasta, fresh pizzas, Asian favourites, and decadent desserts. A cheese room boasts a wealth of premium quality cold cuts and delightfully pungent cheeses from around the world, and there are even 100 bottles of wine to choose from, including 25 choices by the glass. Spoilt for choice? You bet it. Buffet lunch is B995; dinner is B1,450; and Sunday Brunch is B3,200 with free-flow champagne, cocktails and house wines; or B2,250 with free flow soft drinks. Every Fri and Sat night a Seafood Buffet is just B1,999.

Sofitel Silom Sukhumvit, 189 Sukhumvit Road Soi 13-15 (between Nana 02 126 9999 ext. 3303.  and Asok BTS stations).


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Mexican cuisine

Indian Cuisine

Coyote Bangkok²


equila, Margaritas and Mexican food are what this place is all about. The tequila collection is the largest in Thailand and over 75 different margaritas are served. The menu is diverse and not only possesses the requisite Tacos, Enchiladas, and Burritos, but also more elaborate items like Empanadas Carnitas - cornmeal pastries stuffed with spicy pork and a roasted tomato salsa. Although popular at lunch, the Coyote really howls in the evening when the after work crowd stumbles in for margaritas and a bite to eat. The best news is that there are now two branches – one located on Convent road, and one near the entrance of Sukhumvit Soi 33. Coyote on Convent: Convent Road, about 100m from Silom Road, (BTS Saladaeng) Open daily 11.00 - 01.00 Tel. 02 631 2325 Ladies Night on Wednesday, 6-8pm and Saturday 10-midnight. Coyote Sukhumvit: near the corner of Sukhumvit Soi 33 (BTS Phromphong) Open daily 11.00-01.00 02 662 3838  Ladies Night on Thursday, 6-8pm.

Rang Mahal

Ask a member of the local Indian community which is the best Indian restaurant in Bangkok and the answer is invariably ‘Rang Mahal.’ The food is primarily from the Punjab with lots of items from the Tandoor oven, including always-popular tandoor chicken and a variety of Indian flat breads. The interior of the restaurant is lavish without coming across as ticky-tacky; the view from the hotel’s 26th floor is one of the best in the city and there is live Indian music to entertain in the evenings. Open for lunch, dinner and Sunday buffet brunch. Rembrandt Hotel, Sukhumvit Soi 18 (BTS Asoke or MRT Sukhumvit), 02 261 7100

Tacos & Salsa

Starting out in 2008 as a small eatery with just four tables, this restaurant fast gained a glowing reputation and had to relocate to a larger premises to meet demand. Boasting full bar service, indoor and alfresco dining, an extensive menu, and spaces to learn more about Latin American / Hispanic culture (music, movies, photography, literature etc.) the restaurant perfectly captures the essence of the expression “Mi casa es tu casa” (my home is yours). Tacos & Salsa, 422 Sukhumvit Rd, 081 381 5469 

Señor Pico’s

Tacos, enchiladas, burritos and many other Mexican goodies provide the fuel for a fun night out at this popular restaurant at the Rembrandt Hotel and Towers. The atmosphere here is convivial, and drinking margaritas, having a good time, and dancing to the live Latin music is as much a part of the experience as eating. Not to miss are the appetizers Bolas De Queso Con Chiles and Pinchos De Camarones. For mains, the Burritos at Senor Pico are always good, and we really like the Espetadas (skewers), which come with garlic potatoes and chopped zucchini with cream. Rembrandt Hotel, Sukhumvit Soi 18 (BTS Asoke or MRT Sukhumvit), 02 261 7100


•Bawarchi first arrived in

Bangkok 13 years ago and now operates four restaurants here, as well as three in India. Its menu reflects the traditional Mughlai cuisine in North West India and the food on offer is as authentic as it gets. Skewered tandoori meats (king prawn, lamb, chicken) are a definite highlight, as are the curries – lovely and thick and bursting with flavour. Meals at Bawarchi’s flagship branch in Chidlom average at B700B1,000 per head and you really do get what you pay for. Bawarchi Chidlom, Intercontinental Hotel (President Tower Arcade) B-level, 973 Ploenchit Road, 02 656 0102-3. For a full menu see: 

Himali Cha Cha

•Himali Cha Cha has long

been a popular choice for North Indian and Halal cuisine and now operates four branches in Bangkok. Each restaurant always draws a big crowd of diners looking to enjoy an authentic Moghul curry, and as all food is prepared with freshly ground spices and natural ingredients, they’re not disappointed. Meat from the specially designed tandoori oven is always delicious, too. For those who love their food spicy, try the Mutton Chutniwalla. There are four restaurants in Bangkok: Charoenkrung 47/1, Saphan Taksin BTS; Sukhumvit 31, Phrompong BTS; Soi Convent, Saladaeng BTS; Nana 3/5, Nana BTS. Deliveries also available



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Q&A|Jim Reed

Model Man When not running a Bangkok travel company, Jim Reed indulges his passion for collecting toy soldiers, military tanks, aircraft and guns



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A FEW moments in Jim Reed’s Bangkok home is all it takes to make it strikingly obvious what dominates his spare time. Neatly laid out on tables, carefully placed in glass cupboards, stored on lighted shelves, stacked in mountains of boxes yet to be opened and occupying key positions in his extensive condominium is almost certainly the largest and most impressive collection of military toys and models in Thailand, perhaps even Southeast Asia. It’s been coming together for most of Jim’s life, and his collection is clearly as great a source of pride and passion today as it was when he first got the bug half a century ago. Showing first-time visitors this amazing array of models has Jim dashing about the place, ever eager to show off his latest acquisition or a particular pleasing gem from past buying expeditions. Because it is almost certainly unique in Bangkok, the fruits of his hobby are all the more surprising; you just don’t expect grown men here to be enthusiastic about toy soldiers and tanks. But for anyone with even a passing interest in WW2, or any other modern military conflict, the collection is simply riveting. When not adding to his enormous collection, Jim is the CEO of Destination Asia, one of Thailand’s leading travel companies; it’s a position he’s held for 13 years and requires a significant amount of travel, which is handy as it allows him access to key sources of new models and accessories. Holding dual Australian and Canadian citizenship, Jim first came to Thailand in 1986 as Convention Services Manager and Director of Sales at Bangkok’s Shangri-la Hotel. Incredibly, Jim is now finding time to embrace new hobbies and pursuits, including a book he plans to write.

Where do you source your toys and models? I collect mainly ‘King and Country’ toy soldiers and related support vehicles/aircraft. This company is owned by a former British national who was a Hong Kong policeman and is now a close friend of mine. I also collect Figarti militaria figures but my pride and joy are now Russian handcrafted military figures which have a likeness, persona and quality similar to a Michelangelo statuette. These are made in St. Petersburg and are very rare and hard to source. My main interests are in the Afrika Korps desert battles and the German Army on the Eastern/Russia ‘winter fronts’

I have just over 1,300 ‘toy soldiers’ in my collection plus 93 scale related tanks, trucks and ‘half tracks,’ rockets, aircraft and railway artillery guns... all in 1/30th scale. They are designed in the UK, US or Hong Kong, but most are now crafted in China

How big is your collection? I have just over 1,300 ‘toy soldiers’ in my collection plus 93 scale related tanks, trucks and ‘half tracks,’ rockets, aircraft and railway artillery guns…all in 1/30th scale. They are designed in the UK, US or Hong Kong, but most are now crafted in China

What or who inspired you to start your collection? I’ve always been interested in the military and when I was a child growing up in Canada I made 1/72 scale model aircraft. This continued until I went to high school, when my interest in things military decreased after discovering a ‘new’ hobby – girls! Three decades later I saw a ‘toy soldiers’ exhibition in Sydney and my old hobby was re-kindled and by this time I had more money to collect at the top end/museum quality scale of militaria…and many in my collection are real, one-of-a-kind art works.

What are your favourite items? I have three favourites: 1) a 1.40 meter long 1/30th scale WW2 German artillery canon on a railway car. The original was used in the siege of Sevastopol in the Russian Crimea in 1942; its detail is amazing. 2) a set of V1 and V2 German WW2 rockets with supporting vehicles, and 3) a beautiful and highly detailed figure of a French soldier in Napoleons army during its retreat from Moscow near Borodino in the winter of 1812. The figure was sculptured by Tatyana Tsaryov, who is a true art master.


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Q&A|Jim Reed

What were the most expensive? The WW2 German artillery canon on the railway car was over US$ 3,800, but most of the basic toy soldiers are in the US$ 50-100 range with tanks running at US$ 500-plus, and WW2 aircraft around US$ 750 -1,000. How much do you think you’ve spent on your collection? Enough to buy a Ferrari! If sold today, what would it be worth? I’m afraid to ask! Are there any other like-minded collectors in Thailand? I’ve come across a few Brits, Aussies, Canadians and Americans who dabble in militaria miniature as a hobby, but they let their wives and girlfriends control ‘the purse strings’… so their collections tend to be more limited in range (and quality!). Are you in contact with other ‘serious’ collectors? My fellow ‘museum quality’ collectors tend to be transient residents in Asia so

sadly there are very few of us who are permanent residents in the Far East. Most serious collectors tend to be American, Australian, British or French. Presumably you attend exhibitions and meetings of collectors, right? I attend Toy Soldier shows and seminars and exhibitions in London and Chicago when I can, usually every two or three years. Can you see the time when you will eventually get bored with collecting militar y models? In fact, my interest in toy soldier art and militaria has fostered a new interest of mine. I am researching and writing a book on a certain aspect of WW2 in South East Asia. I expect the book to be published in three years’ time. How does your wife view your hobby? Wouldn’t she like to use the space in your home for other things? My partner knows that I’m a ‘package deal’… she says it’s “me with the toy soldier collection!” Do your children share your passion? Sadly, no. The new iPhone and iPad generation is more interested in the ‘realtime’ world of instant gratification so appreciation of art and art military history is not was it was when I was a child. What next – antiques, paintings, vintage cars? I also collect old books and timetables of Pan American World Airways (Pan Am); Beatles memorabilia (including a rare original gold plated 1969 ‘Abbey Road’ vinyl record) and 1940s and 1950s original airline art deco posters (Pan Am , BOAC and Air France). And, as you’ve seen for yourself, I think I have Thailand’s largest collection of WW2 books!



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Y O U R U L T I M A T E W H A T ’ S O N G U I D E F O R M A R C H 1 3

What’s on pArt pPerformance pSport pFootball pMovies & Albums pBooks

Join Tinkerbell on a journey through classic Disney moments. Page 82.

Bloc Party

The UK’s indie rock outfit is coming to town to play all their hits Page 82

’80s Rewind

Belinda Carlisle, Rick Astley, The Village People, and more! Page 82

Hit for Six

The San Miguel Chiang Mai Sixes returns for its 26th outing Page 84 TheBigChilli 79

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What’s On|The Arts



FRENCH artist Stephff – resident cartoonist at The Nation newspaper and regular contributor to The BigChilli – will host his second exhibition of Graffiti paintings at his own gallery on Sat March 30 from 6pm–9pm. The concept will be “affordable original art for everyone,” and the exhibition will feature more than 30 graffiti artworks – framed and unframed in 79cm x 55cm and 109cm x 79cm sizes – ranging in price from B1,000 to B5,000. Held for one evening only. Don’t miss out! Stephff’s gallery is located at Supreme Ville, 38/56 Yenakat Road off Nang Linchi Road,Tungmahamek. For more info email: 



FEATURING 30 never-beforeseen photographs of French icon Brigitte Bardot, BB Forever provides fresh new insight into the fascinating life of the legendary actress. The exhibition was conceived in collaboration with Henry-Jean Servat, a French writer and journalist living and working in Paris who has published over 35 works on cinema and history. L’Appart, Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, 189 Sukhumvit Road Soi 13-1. Open daily 5pm-1am 02 126 9999 



THAI artists Rattapoom Piwpantamit, Karin Phisolyabut, Poom Pechavanish, and AOFSMITH present a series of abstract paintings and sculptures which explore how each of the artist’s lives have been shaped by Thai society. Number 1 Gallery, The Silom Galleria Building (room404), Silom Road 02 630 3381




ITALIAN artist Marco Rossati presents a series of symbolic works reflecting upon the secret mystery and powerful phenomenon of nature. Boromratchonnee Road. Open Tues-Sat 10.30am-7pm; Sun 10.30am-5.30pm (Closed Mon) 02 422 2092 

VIEW more than 100 artworks created by students graduating with Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees from the Faculty of Painting Sculpture and Graphic Arts, Silpakorn University. Painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, video art, installation art, and performance art – this exhibition has it all. Sanam Chandra Art Gallery, Silpakorn University, Sanam Chandra Campus. Open Mon-Fri 9am-4.30pm. 



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What’s On|Performance

5 hot choices MAR 22 – 25 IMPACT ARENA


JOIN Tinker Bell as she journeys through classic moments from some of Disney’s most beloved stories of beautiful princesses and their daring heroes. (A performance in English will be held on Mar 23 at 11am). Tickets range B600-B2,000 



TAKE an audio trip down memory lane at this big concert which brings together five of the most popular acts from the 1980s – Rick Astley (Together Forever, Never Gonna Give You Up), Belinda Carlisle (Heaven Is A Place On Earth, Circle in the Sand), Tony Hadley (True, Only When You Leave), Johnny hates Jazz (Turn Back The Clock, Shattered Dreams), and the Village People (YMCA, Go West, In The Navy). Concert starts 8pm.



THE UK’s indie rock outfit is coming to Thailand for the first time to perform songs from its recently released fourth studio album, Four, plus back catalogue hits such as Helicopter, I Still Remember, and Mercury. Tickets: B1,700 

(B2,000 on the door). Doors open 6pm.

Tickets range B1,000-B6,000 



A GOOD craic is guaranteed at the St. Patrick’s Society’s annual ball, which brings together the Irish community and friends for an evening of gourmet cuisine and live entertainment. This year’s offerings include a five course gala dinner, raffle prizes, a midnight breakfast, and performances by a traditional Irish band, a Beatles tribute band, the Unicorn band, and a DJ. Tickets: B3,000 per ticket for a table of 10, or B3,200 email:




EXPECT laughs a plenty when the Bangkok Community Theatre brings to life Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit, a classic comedy famously penned in only five days during the Blitz in 1941. The play will be performed as dinner theatre at the British Club for six nights over two weekends (March 14,15,16; and 21,22,23). Tickets: B1,200 (includes dinner) 

☎ 087 529 3188


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What’s On|Sport

Sport Various dates Bangkok and Pattaya

Meet Sugar Ray Leonard

March 31 – Apr 6 Chiang Mai Gymkhana Club

San Miguel Chiang Mai Sixes

ONE of the world’s most popular amateur cricket tournaments, the International Chiang Mai Cricket Sixes returns this year for its 26th annual outing. Once again cricket teams from around the world will arrive in Chiang Mai to compete for the trophy at the Gymkhana Club. Cricket fans can listen in, watch, or follow RSS feeds of the tournament at

BOXING legend Sugar Ray Leonard is coming to Thailand in April to host a series of black tie and sport charity events, including grand gala dinners and golf tournaments in Bangkok and Pattaya. Arranged by Pattaya-based event promoter Legacy of Legends, the events will help raise funds for the Mechai Viravaidya Foundation. The schedule includes a Charity Grand Gala Dinner at Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Meridien Hotel, on Apr 5; a Charity Grand Gala Dinner at Centara Grand Mirage Hotel Pattaya, on Apr 6; a Charity Golf Tournament at Riverdale Golf Course, Bangkok, on Apr 9; and a Charity Golf Tournament at Burapha Golf Course, Pattaya, on Apr 10. Gala Dinner Tickets: B3,600 per person : :

Phuket International Rugby 10s THE 2013 edition of this popular tournament will be held over the weekend of May 24-26 at the Thanyapura Sports & Leisure Club (located 10 minutes from Nai Yang beach near the airport). Both the Coffin Dodgers Vets and main competitions are filling up fast so interested teams should sign up soon to avoid missing out. :


Start training now! ITU Series coming to Phuket

GOOD news for athletes – Phuket has joined the ITU Long Distance World Triathlon Series and will host its first event on Nov 9 and 10 in Patong. Titled the Absolute Phuket ITU LD World Series Triathlon 2013, the event is expected to draw in over 600 participants (including amateurs, professionals and Olympians) from over 25 countries. Registration is open now. Time to get in some training! :


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What’s On|Sport

Thai football focus


2013 Thai Premier League preview


ANOTHER Thai Premier League season is upon us, and once again teams from the Bangkok area are among the favourites to lift the trophy come the end of the season in November. Muangthong United, of course, ran away with the title in 2012. They finished 14 points ahead of Chonburi in second and a huge 30 points ahead of 2011 champions Buriram United, who finished fourth. BEC Tero Sasana had an excellent season, finishing in third. Bangkok Glass will certainly be looking to significantly improve on their eighth place finish this time around. And Army United and Police United will also be hopeful of improving on their mid-table finishes from 2012. TOT and new boys Bangkok United may both be happy to settle for survival.

Muangthong United THE Twin Qilins are rightly pre-season favourites to retain their Premier League crown. All the key players from the 2012 squad are still in place – Teerasil Dangda, Jakkaphan Pornsai, Datsakorn Thonglao, Mario Djurovski, Adnan Barakat – as is head coach Slaviša Jokanovi. And the squad has been strengthened with the interesting addition of Roland Linz. The 31-year-old Austrian striker has top flight European experience with the likes of Austria Vienna (65 goals in 160 appearances in two spells), Nice, Sturm Graz, Braga and Grasshoppers Zurich. He has also netted eight times in 39 appearances for the Austrian National Team. The only cloud for MTU is goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan’s broken leg. The injury was sustained in a pre-season friendly match in Hong Kong. The initial prognosis suggested a six-month absence for Flying Kawin – nearly the entire season. But recent estimates have been nearer two to three months. The loss of Kawin coupled with Muangthong’s excursions in the AFC Champions League should guarantee a closer title race than last year. But the smart money is still on the TPL trophy remaining in Nonthaburi.

BEC Tero Sasana THE Fire Dragons will be looking to go at least one better than their highly respectable third place finish from 2012, but all will depend on whether they can call on the services of Cleiton Silva. The Brazilian netted 24 times for Tero in 2012 and his goals will again be crucial to his team’s success. He had been linked with a move to the Middle East but at the time of writing news has come through that he is going to stay in


Thailand. Great news for head coach Stéphane Demol. Tero have brought in much-travelled Sarayuth Chaikamdee – now on his fi fth Bangkok club. The signing was a bit of a surprise after “Jo 5 Yards” failed to impress at Bangkok FC in League 1 last season. And experienced defender Apichet Puttan has arrived from Buriram. The club itself is on the move. They are decamping to the 72nd Anniversary Stadium in Minburi for at least a season whilst the Thephasadin Stadium is refurbished and modified. It’s not inconceivable for Tero to win their first title since 2002, but Silva will have to bang in the goals again – this time against defenders who will have his card marked – and they will have to hope that Asian adventures will take their toll on Muangthong.

Bangkok Glass

BG have been one of the busiest clubs in the transfer market in pre-season with roughly twenty players departing and a similar number arriving. That’s not surprising as head coach Phil Stubbins, who arrived in October, looks to put his stamp on the TPL’s biggest underachievers. Off the pitch, everything is in place for the club to be big and successful: a much admired youth academy, a large and loyal support, a slick PR machine and a nice stadium that’s currently being expanded yet again. But on the pitch, BG flopped spectacularly in 2012. An eighth-place finish meant that the green and whites were left looking up at the likes of Samut Songkhram and Esan United. To go from that to a title challenge in the space of a few months seems improbable, but top five is surely achievable. Significant signings include Anglo-Irish-Turk Billy Mehmet who arrived from Perth Glory and free-scoring (and free-diving) Leandro Dos Santos from Police United.


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Other Bangkok

Bangkok United return to the TPL after two seasons in League 1. The Bangkok Angels, based at the Thai-Japanese Stadium in Din Daeng, have been relatively quiet in the transfer market. But the players that canny former Thai Port coach Sasaom Pobprasert has brought in are all quality: former MTU striker Ronnachai Rangsyio arrives from BEC Tero, Brazilian defender Tony Pinho made the short journey from the Army Stadium to join the Bangkok Angels, and another well-regarded Brazilian defender Mario da Silva rejoins his former coach after arriving from Singhtarua FC (Thai Port). Furthermore, the two star turns from 2012, Sompong Soleb and Romain Gasmi, have both stayed with the club. Shrewd Sasom should comfortably guide United to a mid-table finish. It could be a tough season for Army United. The greens have seen many players leave and little quality come in the other way, and their head coach position is vacant at the time of writing, but at least key foreign players Bjorn Lindemann and Danny Invincibile remain. The ‘Gentlemen Rangers’ will be glad of a repeat of 2012’s tenth place, but all the signs are that the season will be more of a struggle than that. Police United is another club seemingly on a downward trajectory. Kengne “Ludo” Ludovick has arrived from Pattaya; he should guarantee a dozen or more goals, but the rest of Police’s signings are low-key and uninspiring. A season of hardship awaits the Cops. We would say the same thing about TOT – because we always do – but the perennial strugglers didn’t struggle too much last year, finishing in twelfth and nine points clear of relegation. In close-season Alex Ruella has arrived from Singtarua and, apparently, striker Bas Savage has decided to stay – it had been reported he was leaving. Our verdict? TOT staying up again.

Other Contenders BURIRAM United and Chonburi are expected to have a say in the 2013 title race. 2011 champions Buriram had a woeful league campaign in 2012 as mentioned in the introduction. Surely they won’t finish 30 points off the top spot this time round but they will have to do it without star striker Frank Acheampong who has moved to Belgian giants Andelecht. Buriram also have the “distraction” of the AFC Champions League again after the Thunder castle came through a one-off play-off match against Brisbane Roar. The competition seemed to have a detrimental effect on their league form in 2012. No such distractions for the Sharks of Chonburi. The blues are many people’s ante-post favourites to lift the title for the second time. Chonburi made arguably the most eye-catching signing in pre-season with the capture of Dutch-Indonesian superstar Irfan Bachdim.

League 1 THE 2013 edition of League 1 will be the least Bangkokcentric since the second tier was launched in 1997. Just three teams from Bangkok proper are involved (BBCU, Bangkok FC and Singtarua) plus Air Force United of Pathum Thani. Of the quartet, Bangkok FC are expected to be strongest. They have held onto 2012 League 1 leading scorer Lee Tuck and brought in Olaf Watson from Singhtarua to partner him. Singhtarua (formerly Thai Port) themselves are looking strong having held onto the likes of Steven Robb and Kiatjaroen Runagparn and brought in highly-rated Leandro de Oliveira da Luz from Vietnam and Lichenstein international Mathias Christen. Despite the usual off-the-pitch issues, the Khlong Toey club could be good enough for a top-three finish. BBCU and Air Force United will both struggle to do better than mid-table but should have enough to avoid the drop. The 2013 Thai Premier League and League 1 season gets underway on March 2nd.

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What’s On|Screen And Stereo

Movies & music

Mar 7 Fantasy

Oz: The Great and Powerful

Mar 21 Adventure

EXPLORING the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved wizard character, the latest trip to the fantastical land of Oz stars James Franco as Oscar Diggs, a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics who, after pulling one flimflam too many, is hurled into Oz where he must somehow transform himself into the great wizard – and just maybe into a better man as well.

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia

BUILDING on the terror of A Haunting in Connecticut, this horrifying tale traces a young family’s nightmarish descent into a centuries-old Southern hell, where they come face-to-face with a bone-chilling mystery born of a deranged desire.

Mar 14 Fantasy 21 and Over

WHAT was supposed to be one beer for a straight-A student becomes a night of humiliation, over indulgence and utter debauchery in this coming-of-drinkingage-comedy, from the writers of “The Hangover,” about living youth to its fullest.

Mar 21 Thriller

The Expatriate

WHEN ex-CIA agent Ben Logan (Aaron Eckhart) discovers that he and his daughter have been marked for termination as part of a wide-reaching international conspiracy, a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse ensues as Logan tries to outsmart his hunters and uncover the truth. Movie screenings are subject to change. Keep up to date at

Memory Lane

New Music The Next Day David Bowie

MELANCHOLY comeback single ‘Where Are We Now?’ turned out to be a red herring: iTunes previews reveal that Bowie’s first studio album in a decade packs all the glam rock punch of the artist’s earlier work. We can’t wait to get our hands on it! (Release date: Mar 12)


The 20/20 Experience Justin Timberlake JT’S acting career has taken prominence of late – his last studio album, Future Sex/ Love Sounds, was released in 2006 – but comeback single “Suit & Tie” suggests he’s still got all the charm and charisma to bring sexy back once again. (Release date: Mar 12)

Comedown Machine The Strokes

THE New York hipsters’ fifth studio album looks set to see the band further move away from their lo-fi beginnings with more sheen and polish, while retaining their signature shrill pop sound. For a taster, check out free download One Way Trigger. (Release date: Mar 12)

Topping the UK charts March 1993

1. Bluebells – Young At Heart (re-issue) 2. Snow – Informer 3. Shabba Ranks – Mr Loverman (re-issue) 4. Sybil – When I’m Good And Ready 5. Robin S – Show Me Love 6. Jade – Don’t Walk Away 7. Suede – Animal Nitrate 8. Ugly Kid Joe – Cats In The Cradle 9. Iron Maiden – Fear Of The Dark (live) 10. Cliff Richard – Peace In Our Time


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Tradeshows Mar 16 – 17 IMPACT

Thailand International Furniture Fair

SHOP from a wide range of furniture for your home, garden, or office with products from leading local and international brands. Light fixtures, floor tiles, and home décor items will also go on sale.

Mar 16 – 17 Impact


THE Bangkok International Fashion Fair and Bangkok International Leather Fair is a shopaholic’s dream come true, featuring sales on a wide range of clothing, accessories, bags, footwear, and more. Fashion shows and seminars round out the fun. Open each day 10am-9pm.

Mar 15 – 24 Impact

Homepro Expo

FIND everything you need to deck out your dream home or condo at this large scale fair. Expect special prices on products from leading local and international brands. Open Mon-Thurs 10am-10pm; Fri-Sun (and holidays) 10am-Midnight.

Mar 15 – 24 Impact

Sports world Expo

A SHOWCASE of Thailand’s sporting industry, where local and international sporting equipment and accessories, and all sports related products,

will be on sale. Open Mon-Thurs 11am-10pm; Fri-Sun (and holidays) 10am-11pm.

Mar 21 – 24 QSNCC

(PUBAT). Open each day 10am-9pm.

Mar 30 – Apr 7 Impact

Three shows in one

Commart Thailand

DISCOVER all the latest IT gadgets, accessories and tablet PCs and take part in stimulating edutainment activities, workshops and IT auctions. Every B3,000 you spend at the show gives you the chance to win a Mitzubishi Mirage, among many other prizes. Open each day 10am-8pm.

Mar 27 – Apr 7 Impact

Bangkok International Motor Show

VIEW top of the range vehicles from some of the world’s leading brands at this always popular motor show. Open weekdays Noon-10pm; weekends 11am-10pm.

Mar 29 – Apr 8 QSNCC

National Book Fair and Bangkok International Book Fair

BOOK lovers will find a myriad of premium quality local and international books at the 41st National Book Fair and 11th Bangkok International Book Fair 2013, hosted by the Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand

BRINGING together the Furniture Show 2013, Fashion & Jewelry Show 2013, and Bangkok Wedding Show 2013, this huge event is a must visit for shoppers looking for any products within these categories. Open each day

Apr 19 – 23 BITEC


BRINGING together a wide range of products and services, this popular shopping fair will once again feature a tantalizing selection of gifts, decorative items, home textiles, stationery, toys, handicrafts, household products, and more.

Apr 20 – 28 QSNCC

Apr 27 – May 6 BITEC

Power Buy Expo 2013

ELECTRONIC appliances and IT products from over 200 leading brands go on sale at special prices at Power Buy’s annual sale.

The details: • Impact Convention Center, Muang Thong Thani, 99 Popular Road, Banmai Subdistrict, Pakkred District, Nonthaburi. Tel: 02 833 4455 www. • BITEC, 88 Bangna-Trad Road (Km.1), Bangna, Bangkok. Tel: 02 749 3939 • Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, 60 New Rachadapisek Road, Klongtoey, Bangkok. Tel: 02 229 3000

The BigChilli Campaign

Save Our Seas!

Furniture/ Fashion/ Wedding show

MISS the three in one show at Impact? Head here to find another vast selection of products and services at the Bangkok Furniture Sale, Fashion & Jewelry Sale, and Bangkok Wedding Sale. Open each day 10am-8pm.

Pollution of Pattaya’s seas is at crisis levels – action by everybody is needed to avert a disaster. Visit or scan the barcode above to read the full report and leave your views. The more noise we make, the more chance we have of making a difference




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1. PATRICK is walking past Michael’s farm when he sees a sign saying ‘Boat for sale.’ “What’s that about?” asks Patrick. “You’ve got no boat. All you have is a tractor and a caravan.” “I know,” says Michael. “And they’re boat for sale.” 2. PADDY is going through customs in Dublin airport when he’s asked to identify a bottle in his luggage. “That’s holy water I’ve brought back from Lourdes,” says Paddy. The customs officer opens it and sniffs it and says: “This smells more like whisky.” “Isn’t that fantastic!” says Paddy. “Another bloody miracle!” 3. THREE Englishmen were in a bar and spotted an Irishman. So, one of the Englishmen walked over to the Irishman, tapped him on the shoulder, and said: “Hey, I hear your St. Patrick was a drunken loser.” “Oh really, hmm, didn’t know that.” Puzzled, the Englishman walked back to his buddies. “I told him St. Patrick was a loser, and he didn’t care.” The second Englishman remarked: “You just don’t know how to set him and learn.” So, the second Englishman walked over to the Irishman, tapped him on the shoulder and said: “Hey, I hear your St. Patrick was lying, cheating, idiotic, low-life scum!”

“Oh really, hmm, didn’t know that.” Shocked beyond belief, the Englishman went back to his buddies. “You’re right. He’s unshakable!” The third Englishman remarked, “Boys, I’ll really tick him off... just watch.” So the third Englishman walked over to the Irishman, tapped him on the shoulder and said, “I hear St. Patrick was an Englishman!” “Yeah, that’s what your buddies were trying to tell me.”


A MAN was walking in the woods and came to a cottage where the walls were covered with clocks. He asked the woman who owned the cottage what all the clocks were for. She replied that everyone in the world had a clock, and every time someone told a lie their clock advanced a second. He saw a clock that was hardly moving and when he asked about it he was told that it was the Pope’s. He then asked where Bill Clinton’s clock was. The woman replied “It’s in the kitchen; we’re using it as a ceiling fan.”


1. A Michael Jackson impersonator started performing right outside my shop. I told him to beat it. 2. Rumour has it that Toy Story 4 will focus on Andy’s mum’s toys. Coincidentally, these are also called Woody and Buzz. 3. At school, my teacher always caught me looking out of the window and told me I’d never get a job doing that. I felt so smug when I handed him his Big Mac at the Drive-Thru. 4. After playing for three years, I’ve found that the only thing you actually grow on FarmVille is lonely. 5. What do you get for the man who has everything? Antibiotics.


A CIRCUS owner runs an ad for a lion tamer and two people show up. One is a retired golfer in his late sixties and the other is a gorgeous blond in her mid-twenties. The circus owner tells them: “I’m not going to sugar coat it. This is one ferocious lion. He ate my last tamer, so you two had better be good or you’re history. Here’s your equipment: a chair, a whip and a gun. Who wants to try out first?” The girl says: “I’ll go first.” She walks past the chair, the whip, and the gun, and steps right into the lion’s cage. The lion starts to snarl and pant and begins to charge her. About halfway there, she throws open her coat revealing her beautiful body. The lion stops dead in his tracks, sheepishly crawls up to her and starts licking her feet and ankles. He continues to lick and kiss her entire body for several minutes and then rests his head at her feet. The circus owner’s jaw is on the floor. He says: “I’ve never seen a display like that in my life.” He then turns to the retired golfer and asks: “Can you top that?” The tough old golfer replies: “No problem, just get that lion out of there.”

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Social ď ° Last month’s best events in pictures


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Social|Last Month’s Best Events


Bangkok’s reputation as a quality destination for sport events was given a huge boost last month at the Bangkok International Rugby 10s, which saw around 24 overseas teams join local clubs to enjoy a weekend of rugby, beers and banter at the pitches of Bangkok Patana School. The event, which helps raise money for Changing Lives Forever, a junior rugby initiative for children from disadvantaged communities, is now in its 8th year. Lifting the trophy this year, after defeating local club Jam Boys in a hard fought final, were the New Zealand Legends.



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In the lions’ den The adults weren’t the only ones enjoying a cracking weekend of rugby at the Bangkok 10s. The DHL Bangkok Lions Rugby Football Club’s Junior International Tournament welcomed many clubs and schools to the event and showed that how, through a lot of hard work, the Lions are slowly bringing rugby to more and more children in Thailand.

Valentine’s Day fun at Aloft Aloft Bangkok – Sukhumvit 11 celebrated Valentine’s Day by hosting a romantic four-course dinner for couples at Splash, and a dance party for singles at wxyz bar. A live DJ kept the party jumping late into the night.



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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

MOVING ON UP The Movers and Shakers Charity Networking events just keep going from strength to strength and last month’s event, held at Four Points By Sheraton Bangkok – Sukhumvit 15 and sponsored by Kingdom Property, provided plenty of evidence of this as over 150 guests arrived to enjoy a night of swapping details while enjoying plenty of food and drinks.



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BB FOREVER AT SOFITEL A sophisticated crowd of Bangkok celebrities, media, and VIP guests enjoyed the official Grand Opening and Cocktail Reception of the “BB Forever Art Exhibition” at L’Appart, Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit. The unique photo exhibition celebrates the life of famous French actress Brigitte Bardot, and was conceived in collaboration with journalist and writer Henry-Jean Servat. See page 80 for more info.



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PANORAMA GOES LATIN Panorama Restaurant at the Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park introduced its new “Inspiring by Day, Latin by Night’ concept with a special party showcasing the restaurant’s delicious new dishes and innovative cocktails. Read more about what’s on offer on page 54.

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THE CONTINENT OPENS IN STYLE Celebrities, models and the cream of the city’s business community came together to celebrate the grand opening of The Continent Hotel Bangkok. Held over four levels, the party was based upon the themes used within the hotel – Ocean, Desert, Space and Forest – and featured a superb selection of free flow drinks plus a generous spread of international cuisine.



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ALL SYSTEMS GO FOR BLUE SKY GROUP Executives of the Blue Sky Group, developers of “The Cruz Grande Caribbean” condominium in Pattaya, recently launched phase two of the project with a party for VIP guests and media at the condo’s showroom. The event was arranged to showcase The Cruz tower and also to launch the group’s ‘Buy at the Cruz, Win a Cruze’ promotion.



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The Ghetto Bar & Bistro at The 9, Rama 9 Road, celebrated its grand opening with a huge party attended by many Thai celebs and featuring a mini-concert by ’90s Thai chart toppers Billy Ogan and U Haruthai.

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

SHERATON’S INSPIRING NIGHT Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa, in collaboration with Connect3E, a non-profit Karen refugees’ charity organization, and MondoVino Hua Hin, staged the “Connect3e Charity Dinner – A night of inspiration at Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa.” Now in its second year, the charity dinner once again helped raise funds for Karen refugees who have fled Burma and now live in Thailand along the Thai/Burma border.



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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

JAPANESE TREATS AT TAKUMI Sushi fans were out in force for the opening of the new Takumi Japanese Restaurant at Swissôtel Le Concorde Bangkok. The restaurant now offers an a la carte lunch buffet for B655, and an a la carte dinner buffet at B777.



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Mulligan’s turns one Drinks deals and free helpings of tasty snacks set the scene for a great night of fun when Mulligan’s Irish Pub, Sukhumvit 11, celebrated its first anniversary last month.



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Paramore rocks Nai Lert American rock band Paramore took time out before their gig in Bangkok to enjoy an exclusive Thai Night Dinner Party and traditional Thai performance at the Swissôtel Nai Lert Park, Bangkok.

FUTURA makes his mark New York-based graffiti artist FUTURA came to town last month for the debut of “Hennessy VS. Art Collection by Futura,” which saw his work being showcased for the first time in the country. The ceremony was held at Badmotel, Thonglor.

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Social|Around Last Month’s town Best Events

Fin Free Campaign hits the streets

THAI environmental groups, celebrities, students, prominent chefs and businesses last month launched Fin Free Thailand, a new nationwide campaign to stop the sale and consumption of shark fin. Hosted by the Banyan Tree Bangkok, the event featured a press conference detailing the environmental impacts and health risks of consuming shark fin, and was followed by a walk rally led by a number of celebrity ambassadors, including Cindy Burbridge Bishop.

New Synergy at Pullman

Marc Begassat, General Manager of Pullman Bangkok King Power, together with Jimmy Yeo, Synergy Complete Thailand, and Paul Stevens, Director of Operation Accor Thailand, recently pushed the button to start the new engine of Synergy water recycling membrane machines at the hotel. Pullman Bangkok King Power is the first Accor Hotel in Thailand to embark on this recycling water program.

Warm welcome at AETAS

SURACHET Worawongwasu, Managing Director of The AETAS Hotels & Residences and the hotel management team, extended a warm welcome to Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, the 12th Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), when he recently attended the “Director and Management Seminar 2013” at the AETAS Bangkok, Ruamrudee.

BNH marks 115 years of service BNH hospital marked its 115th anniversary last month with a special ceremony held in the hospital’s main hall. Dr. Prasert Prasarttong-osoth, Chairman of the executive board and board of directors of Bangkok Dusit Medical Services Public Co. Ltd, was the guest of honor presiding over the ceremony, together with BNH hospital’s Executive Board led by Lt.Gen.Dr. Cherdchai Jeamchaisri, chairman of the board of directors, BNH Medical Center Co., Ltd; Dr. Somsiri Sakolsatayadorn, Group 2 Chief Executive Officer; and Dr. Dhun Damrongsak, hospital director.



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Diplomats p Meet the people uniting nations

H.E. Lutfi Rauf

Indonesia’s Ambassador puts a real emphasis on fostering community spirit Page 116

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HE Lutfi Rauf|Indonesia

Indonesian Ambassador. A man of the people From midnight chats at noodle stalls to opening his embassy’s grounds to all Indonesians in Thailand, HE Lutfi Rauf puts a By Maxmilian Wechsler real emphasis on fostering community spirit issues regarding Indonesian nationals, firms and organizations abroad,” said the ambassador. “At the same time, I was also responsible for arranging all presidential visits and meetings.” From 2004-2006, Mr Rauf was Director of information and media services at the MFA in Jakarta, a role which allowed him to gain a lot of experience working and dealing with the media. Seen speaking to guests at diplomatic events, Mr Rauf comes across as friendly, humble, and intelligent – key character traits of a successful ambassador – and this is exactly what we experienced when we met him to conduct this interview; the ambassador was articulate and entertaining throughout our entire lengthy visit.


NEXT to Pantip Plaza on Petchburi road, a short distance from Siam Paragon, sits a large compound boasting a soccer field, tennis court, indoor sports hall, swimming pool, a large pond teeming with fish, and other facilities normally associated with a luxury holiday resort. Welcome to the Indonesian embassy. This vast compound, open to all Indonesian citizens, also encompasses several buildings, including the official residence of His Excellency Lutfi Rauf, Indonesian ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand. Well maintained and in magnificent condition, the house is elegantly furnished and decorated with many photographs showing the ambassador with Thai and foreign dignitaries, including US President Barack Obama. The images provide a quick glimpse into the highlights of Mr Rauf’s lengthy career, which, prior to him taking on his role in Thailand, included a position as Director General for Protocol and Consular Affairs of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), as well as Chief of State Protocol at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta. “Both positions obliged me to take a close look at various


Following a good example Mr Rauf’s upbringing explains a lot about his character, and success. “I was born in South Sulawesi, quite far from Jakarta,” he said. “It takes about two hours to fly from Jakarta to Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi Province. Then you have to continue by road for five hours to reach Watan Soppeng, my home town. I was raised in a humble family. My father was a teacher at a primary school and my mother was a simple housewife. My family was a big one − I have seven brothers and one sister who passed away when she was young. “My father worked hard to support us. He owned a small plot of land which he cultivated after finishing work at the school. We were quite self-sufficient in the countryside. “My parents emphasized the importance of education, and thanks to God, all seven of us were able to complete university. Today, we are all engaged in different things, in public service or the private sector. I am the only one working for the MFA. My brothers and I have always tried to do our best because we realize how difficult it was for our parents to provide so well for us. We work so as not to abuse their sacrifice.


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“After completing secondary education in my home town, I continued my studies at Hassanuddin University in Makassar. To help support myself I worked as a driver, but I was careful not to let my studies suffer. I studied hard and passed all my subjects. I believe that if we work with full sincerity and good faith, it will result in good things. Focusing on rewards is not important; they will come later. “After I finished university in late 1985, I was lucky because right at that time an order came from the foreign minister to recruit new graduates directly from universities all over Indonesia. The MFA sent officials to universities, and I was one of the lucky ones who passed the examination. I joined the MFA in 1986, and following a training course became a career diplomat. I have held many assignments in Indonesia and abroad. “I have served as ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand since January 24, 2012. But actually I first entered this residence in 1987 during an ASEAN meeting in Bangkok. I was a part of the Indonesian delegation and it was my first flight and first mission abroad. I never imagined then that I would be living in this residence as the ambassador. It is really extraordinary. “This is my second ambassadorial assignment. The first was to the Slovak Republic in 2006. It came as a surprise because I never realized my government had such faith in me. I was playing tennis in the morning when my secretary general called and informed me of the appointment. This was a very big step for me. At that time I was the director for information and media services, and I still have many friends in the media. “Still in the middle of my term as the ambassador to the Slovak Republic, I was recalled to Jakarta to receive another promotion. This also came as a surprise. I woke up my children and told them to start packing. We have trained them to accept change quickly and they have always managed to adjust very well.”

Ambassador’s routine “Our basic duties here are representing, negotiating, protecting, promoting and reporting on behalf of the Indonesian people. In other words, the embassy is the ‘eyes and ears’ of the Indonesian nation in Thailand. “My schedule is full. In the morning, I open the lines of communication, like reading and sending emails, and reading local, international and Indonesian newspapers so that I am well informed. There are a lot of reports to prepare, meetings to attend…the standard work of a diplomat. I enjoy golf, so meetings sometimes revolve around a game at one of the many fine courses around Bangkok. I like to exercise when I have the time. As you have seen, we are fortunate to have many facilities in our compound. “If I am in Bangkok, I always

attend diplomatic receptions or functions hosted by the Thai government or private sector. It’s very important to have relaxing conversations and make new friends.” “Since I arrived here I have met with so many people from all walks of life, and I’ve visited almost all the provinces of Thailand − Mukdahan, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Phanom in the north, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phuket and Songkhla in the south, where we have some projects. We have a consulate in Hatyai because many Indonesians visit this part of Thailand. “I try to get to know the people, to hear about their views and aspirations. Everywhere I go I visit local markets, eat food at roadside stalls…that’s what I like. Since I can’t speak Thai, I try my best to study and master the basic Thai language. I enjoy it very much. As a diplomat representing my country here, I feel a need to explore Thailand. “I visit universities throughout Thailand that our government has programs with. We have student exchange programs, and every year we offer a lot of scholarships for Thai students to come to Indonesia to study our culture, language and so on. Many Indonesian students also study in different universities in Thailand, including around 400 post-graduate students.”

Building bilateral bridges “I feel very fortunate and honored to serve my country in the Kingdom of Thailand, with which we have had such strong relations for many centuries. It is my duty and responsibility to do my best to deepen the relationship. This is the great challenge ahead, and will be done not only through enforcing government institutions. We have to involve all stakeholders and people with different perspectives − academics, artists, students, politicians, members of parliament, the private sector and so on – from both countries. Borobudur


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HE Lutfi Rauf|Indonesia


“Indonesia is the largest and most populous country in Southeast Asia, and so diverse − we have almost 250 million people living in the largest archipelagic country which has more than 17,000 islands, consisting of around 284 ethnicities and using about 600 dialects. But thanks to God, we manage to live in harmony. Of course, it is not always easy. We have been a united republic for 67 years and we have survived many domestic difficulties. We have had the faith to overcome obstacles and maintain our unity, and we will continue to do so. “It is very important for Indonesians that we cooperate within ASEAN. We are a family and we have to help each other, not only in good times but also in difficult ones, and I think the ASEAN community is already doing this. There are so many examples when ASEAN and Thailand have helped Indonesia and vice versa. We have to maintain this kind of spirit of brotherhood, friendship and cooperation. “We must not forget,” Mr Rauf said, “that relations between our two peoples go back to the 12th century. Cultural similarities are clear evidence of this close relationship. Indonesian traders and sailors in the past have played an important role in cementing the cordial relations between our two countries. “The Indonesian Representative Office was initially established in Bangkok in 1947 on a small Soi in the Silom district. During the revolution period in Indonesia the building functioned as the headquarters of our people’s struggle. On December 27, 1949, about 1,000 Indonesians gathered at the building to welcome the formal transfer of sovereignty from the Netherlands to Indonesia. The office was upgraded to embassy status and we moved a short distance to Silom Road. “In 1952 we appointed the first Indonesian ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand, and in the same year we moved to our current location on Petchburi Road. The property belongs to us, and also includes the Sekolah Indonesia Bangkok (Indonesian School in Bangkok) for the children of the Indonesian community living in Bangkok. “Some buildings in our compound, including my residence, have historic value, and are examples of the good workmanship by Thai people. We have only done small renovations. The main parts of the buildings remain the same, including the wood. We feel fortunate to have this embassy and we are committed to preserving it. I am planting many trees inside the embassy compound. “This is one of Indonesia’s biggest diplomatic missions abroad with about 70 staff, both Indonesian and Thai. Currently we have


Raja Ampat

Mount Bromo

21 career diplomats and some technical attaches. I am the only one living in the compound of the embassy. The embassy is also supported by over 50 staff, both Indonesian and Thai nationals. “The embassy is close to the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which makes it handy. I know many people at the Thai MFA and they are all professionals and very accessible. This is something all of us in the diplomatic community really appreciate. “My policy is to open the gates for all Indonesian citizens, but they are subject to security checks just like everyone else. I tell my security people to do the checks without undermining the comfort of people, as it is my assumption that everyone comes here in good faith. We have a small mosque here and we organize Friday prayer which is quite well known among Muslims. At the end of the fasting month or Ramadan, we have Idul Fitri morning prayer on the soccer field because the mosque is too small. Normally on this special day Indonesians from all over Thailand come to the embassy.” “Thailand opened a brand new embassy in Jakarta last November. It was opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. It is a very large embassy located in a prime location,” said Mr Rauf.

Trade, tourism and official visits Mr Rauf said the relationship between Indonesia and Thailand has been growing by leaps and bounds and covers political, economic, socio-cultural, education and security aspects. Bilateral trade especially is thriving, amounting to US$17.5 billion in 2011, an increase of 33.82% from 2010. From January-


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October 2012 the figure was US$16.16 billion, which is an increase of 7.62% from the same period in 2011. Indonesian exports to Thailand are dominated by manufactured products including auto accessories, machine parts and air-conditioners. “Our industries are very robust and advanced. We have strong defense industries producing airplanes, armored personal carriers for our military and also for export. We were using these weapons in our peacekeeping missions in Lebanon and in other places. We make cargo ships and other types of vessels, mainly for maritime patrol. “In the tourism sector, the number of Indonesians visiting Thailand in 2011 was about 300,000, with an increasing trend in 2012, perhaps 400,000 or more. “Some 60,000 Thai tourists visited Indonesia during the last year, which is an improvement. There is still a wide gap but we hope that this figure will keep growing in the future. We are doing a lot to promote this. That’s why we always open our immigration counter, even on weekends. “According to our records there are about 2,000 Indonesian residents in Thailand, consisting of students, skilled workers and professionals. Whenever you go to shopping malls in the centre of Bangkok, you will see many Indonesian tourists. When I see them I say hello. “Indonesian investment in Thailand is valued at US$64.517. In the period of January-November 2012, the BOI approved one application project from Indonesia valued at US$1.39 million. Our investments in Thailand include the service sector, chemicals, paper and plastics, agricultural products and electrical equipment. Indonesian companies in Thailand include Polytron, Garuda Indonesia and Samudera Shipping. “In 2012 (January - September), Thailand’s investment in Indonesia accounted for US$15.8 million, mostly in the mining sector, but also in the food industry, transport, telecommunications and other areas. Big investors include Siam Cement Group, Banpu, PTT, and Charoen Pokphand. Central Department Stores has plans to enter the retail market in 2014. “The historic frequency of official visits between the leaders of our two countries is one indicator of the good bilateral relations. On the Indonesian side, President Soekarno made state visits to Thailand in 1958 and 1961. Subsequently President Soeharto made many state visits. Presidents Wahid, Megawati and Yudhoyono have also visited Thailand to attend international meetings and to enhance the bilateral relations. The most recent state visit was from President Yudhoyono in June 2012 to attend the World Economic Forum in Bangkok. “From the Thai side, King Rama V made three historic state visits to my country, in 1871, 1896 and 1901. King Rama VII visited Jawa and Bali in 1929. King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) and Queen Sirikit visited in 1960. Princess Sirindhorn visited last November 2012, and also in 1985. “It has become a political tradition for each newly elected Thai prime minister to make an official visit to Indonesia, starting with Kriangsak Chomanan (PM 1977-1980). The most recent visit was from Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to attend the Bali Democracy Forum last November.” Mr Rauf said up to 3,500 Indonesian delegations come to Thailand every year to attend conferences, ASEAN related meetings, trade and tourist promotions and other functions.

O Making friends

“Generally Indonesians know much more about Thailand than Thais know about Indonesia, so we work hard to try to promote our country here. Fortunately I have many opportunities to do so as I receive many invitations from people in all walks of life. I am happy to provide materials, give talks or attend panels and give

lectures at Thai universities. This is becoming more important with the approach of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. We are very optimistic that we can give people in Thailand and throughout ASEAN a clearer picture of Indonesia. “I enjoy everything about Thailand. I love the culture, cities, people and, last but not least, the food. I can’t find anything I dislike in this beautiful country. Wherever you go in Thailand, the people will always welcome you. I have a lot of experience because I travel around a lot. Sometimes I go out of my residence around midnight and sit down at a noodle shop and eat with tuk-tuk drivers. Everywhere I go, I am welcomed. “As for my most memorable experience in Thailand, it was when I visited Nakhon Nayok Province. I got the chance to enter the kitchen of a local restaurant and showed the people there how to grill fish a la Indonesia. I was welcomed warmly and it was so exciting,” Mr Rauf said. “I am considered a good cook back in Indonesia. My favourite hobbies are sports and cooking. I like all sorts of physical exercise − walking, running, football, shooting. As I have found Thailand to be a golf paradise, I don’t want to miss the golden opportunity to play here as often as possible. When asked what has been his biggest achievement in Thailand so far, Mr Rauf said: “Other people should answer this, not me.”

H.E. Lutfi Rauf in focus Date of Birth: September 19, 1961 Place of Birth: Wattan Soppeng, South Sulawesi, Indonesia Marital Status: Married to Tenridolong Syam, with two children, Chaida Dasha Purti (17) and Fathul Rachman (14) Hobbies: Sports and cooking Education and training 1985 Graduated from Faculty of Social-Political Science, State Hasanuddin University, South Sulawesi, Indonesia 1987-1988 Junior diplomatic training, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, (MFA), Jakarta 1992 Graduated from Department of Political Science, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand 1997-1998 Mid-career Diplomatic Course, MFA, Jakarta 1998 “Burson-Marsteller” Public Relations Workshop, Jakarta 2004 Senior Diplomatic Course, MFA, Jakarta 2005 Strategic Planning Course for Senior Diplomat, Netherlands Institute of International Relations, Clingendael, The Hague Assignments 1986 Joined MFA 1987-1989 Desk Officer on Indochina Affairs, MFA, Jakarta 1992-1993 Desk Officer on Pacific Affairs, MFA, Jakarta 1993-1996 Third/Second Secretary for Political Affairs, Indonesian Embassy, Wellington, New Zealand 1996-1999 Assistant Director for North Asia Affairs, MFA, Jakarta 1999-2002 First Secretary/Counsellor for Information and Media Affairs, Indonesian Embassy, Canberra, Australia 2002-2003 Counsellor/Minister Counsellor for Political Affairs, Indonesian Embassy, Canberra, Australia 2003-2004 Deputy Director of ASEM-FELALAC Affairs, MFA, Jakarta 2004-2006 Director of Information and Media Services, MFA, Jakarta 2006-2008 Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Indonesia to the Slovak Republic 2008-2011 Director General for Protocol and Consular Affairs/Chief of State Protocol 2012-present Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Indonesia to the Kingdom of Thailand

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p Deals and news from Thailand’s hottest destinations

Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, is now open on Koh Samui. See page 128.

Mate’s Rates

Friends or family visiting Bangkok? Let them know about these deals! Page 135

Hua Hin

Read more about the town’s best resorts and restaurants Page 130


A round up of hot news and deals from the Eastern Seaboard Page 136 TheBigChilli 121

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Words and photographs by Adam Purcell

Island escape:

Penang Steeped in history, this fascinating island off the west coast of Malaysia offers much more than just sun, sea and sand


T might not boast the most beautiful beaches in Malaysia (for those you need to head east), but what this island in the Strait of Malacca lacks in golden sands it more than makes up for with a fascinating history, rich cultural heritage, and some of the tastiest cuisine you’ll find in Malaysia. For centuries Penang acted as a major trading hub between the East and West, attracting not just merchants from across the globe but also imperial types such as the Brits – who occupied the island and established Penang State’s capital city, George Town, in 1786. You don’t need to be a history buff to note the cultural and aesthetic influences that various nationalities have brought to the island over the years. Take a stroll around George Town – awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site Status in 2008 – and you’ll see Chinese shop houses standing next to colonial mansions, ancient temples, and historical churches and mosques. You can start your day with a dim sum breakfast, follow up with an Indian curry lunch, and cap the afternoon with English tea and scones. All authentic experiences, too. Rich history and delicious food aren’t the only highlights either. Interesting attractions abound, ranging from art exhibitions and live jazz performances, to nature walks through the tropical rainforest and even a chance to swing from trees like a monkey at the new Escape eco-friendly theme park. Here’s a round up of some of the best experiences the island has to offer.

On your bike ONE great way to beat Penang’s traffic and explore the island is to saddle up on a bicycle. Whether you plan to simply ride the streets of George Town, or head to Baluk Pulau where you can negotiate a 20.5km eco-bike trail, there are plenty of rental companies and tour operators in the city who can help to satisfy your pedal-pumping needs.


Explore: George Town CULTURE junkies are in for a real treat in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town. The city has around 1,700 historical buildings for you to feast your eyes on, including a fascinating mix of shop houses and town houses dating back to 1790, many of which can be explored. Bringing together cultural elements from the Malay Archipelago, India and China with those of Europe, the city has a unique townscape that offers interesting sights on almost every street corner. The neighbourhoods surrounding Penang Road and Chulia Street, for example, are packed with elegant colonial and Chinese heritage buildings, while Market Street, in the heart of Little India, is lined with shops selling spices and condiments, delicious curries, Bollywood music and more. The George Town World Heritage Inc (www.gtwhi., which is responsible for the management, monitoring and promotion of heritage related activities, is a good place to visit to learn more about the heritage buildings and also get your hands on free maps of the area. If you want a more structured trip, though, you can always enlist the services of a guide such as Joann Khaw (jsk_27@, who conducts walking tours of the city whilst sharing fascinating insights about its past.


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SEE: Street Art FOR a quirkier insight into George Town’s rich history and culture keep your eyes peeled for the street art which is dotted around key locations of the World Heritage Site. This includes Tang Mun Kian’s witty and comical wrought iron sculptures, which summarize the city’s history through clever caricatures; and a series of Banksyesque wall paintings by Lithuanian born artist Ernest Zacharevic, whose body of work entitled ‘Mirrors,’ commissioned as part of the George Town Festival 2012, captures the daily buzz of George Town by focusing on the people who really bring the city to life. Take your own creative photos the artwork and you can upload them to the George Town Festival Facebook page.

SEE: Peranakan Mansion WHEN the Brits invaded Penang Island in 1786 they brought with them a range of cultural influences which were adopted over time by the rich Peranakans (descendants of late 15th and 16thcentury Chinese immigrants, also known as Babas and Nyonas). The wonderfully restored Peranakan Mansion offers a glimpse into this meeting of customs, featuring an East-meets-West blend of art, antiques, and architecture which would have been typical to the home of a wealthy Peranakan in the late 19th century. The building itself once served as the office and residence of Kapitan Cina Chung Keng Kwee, and incorporates Chinese carved-wood panels, English floor tiles, and Scottish ironworks. An onsite coffee shop serves some delicious local desserts. Entry: RM10. Free for kids aged 6 and under. Daily tours held at 11.30am and 3.30pm.

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Chow down PENANG’S meltingpot of cultures translates into one of the most vibrant dining scenes in Malaysia. From the flamboyant local street food (a wonderful fusion of Malaysian, Indonesian, Indian and Chinese flavours) to the wide choice of restaurants offering everything from Thai, Indian and traditional Peranakan cuisine, to Italian and Middle Eastern staples, there really is something to suit every taste. Here are a few of our local favourites.

Perut Rumah Set within a renovated heritage mansion on bustling Kelawei Road, Perut Rumah enjoys a reputation for serving some of the best Peranakan food on the island. The restaurant is tastefully decorated, featuring a collection of genuine Peranakan antiques for diners to peruse, and the menu reflects this rich heritage with a wide range of lovingly prepared traditional dishes such as Assorted vegetable duck soup (RM18), Inchee Kabin (deep fried chicken. RM18), Kapi Kapitan (a dry chicken curry. RM26 for large); Hong Bak (Pork belly and potato. RM15); and Tamarind fried prawns (market price). Open daily 11am-3pm; 6pm-10pm.



Fishing Village Seafood Located on the north west of the island a short drive from Batu Ferringhi Beach, this street side eatery isn’t much to look at – fluorescent tube lighting, plastic tables and chairs, cats wandering around scrounging for tidbits – but its seafood is top notch and locals flock here to tuck into dishes such as Cheese baked oysters (RM6); Crispy squid with black pepper (RM10); and Steamed fish with lemon grass (RM5.80 per 100g). Great tastes and great value for money. No. 765, MK 2. Telok Bahang.

De Tai Tong Cafe A great spot for a dim sum breakfast, this popular haunt in George Town is run by a team of ‘aunties’ (a local euphemism for friendly old women) who scuttle around the restaurant pushing trolleys laden with a wide variety of steamed dumplings, hot rice-porridge, and a vast array of noodles and rice dishes. Don’t miss the Chicken with sour ginger cubes. Delicious! Dim Sum is available 6am-12pm, and a la carte menu from 12pm-3pm. Dinner from 6.30pm11pm. The café opens daily but closes on alternate Mondays. Cintra street, George Town.

China House FANS of Shades of Retro and Tuba in Bangkok will feel immediately at home at this trendy establishment which is spread between three heritage buildings and comprises a coffee shop, bakery, bar, wine lounge, restaurant, private dining room, jewelry shop, a regularly changing pop-up store, a courtyard café , a multipurpose performance theatre, and two art galleries. Filled with all kinds of retrobric-a-brac and decorated with quirky art pieces, its cozy and cool and the hangout of choice for Penang hipsters who come here to enjoy cakes and coffee, sip beers, cocktails and hard to find wines, and watch regular live music and theatre performances. 153&155 Beach Street and 183B Victoria Street, George Town. Tel: +604 263 7299

Bagan Bar FOR a night of jazz and innovative cocktails, the striking Bagan Bar at Macalister Mansion (see where to sleep) is a must visit. The cocktail menu was created by mixologist Joseph Boroski, who developed the drinks menus at the popular Iron Fairies and Fat Gutz bars in Bangkok, and has boozy concoctions to suit any mood and occasion. Upper Penang Road THIS bustling lifestyle enclave in George Town is packed with bistros, cafes, clubs, pubs, restaurants, shops, and more – a great place to meet travelers from all areas of the globe.


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Must visit: Penang Hill

Have an adventure

THE Brits have always had a reputation for moaning about the weather and it’s partly thanks to this that this wonderful hill station was created. You see, despite George Town’s conveniences and booming trade, the city’s oppressive heat had many of the island’s colonists yearning and searching for cooler climes. In the late 18th century, six kilometers from the city and 823 metres above sea level, they found them: an average of 21 degrees to be precise. Paths were forged, bungalows were built, and a rickety railroad was constructed. A holiday retreat was born. Today, a modern funicular railroad takes locals and tourists swiftly and smoothly to the peak, where stunning views, historical buildings (the oldest, the Convalescent Bungalow, dates back to 1803), a flower garden, and mini bird park await. You can even enjoy English tea and buttery scones in the gardens at David Brown’s Restaurant. Bliss. Entry for foreigners is RM30 for adults, RM30 for senior citizens, and RM15 for kids aged 4-12. Train operates daily 6.30am-8pm (weekdays); 6.30am-9pm (weekends and holidays)

WANT to unleash your wild side? The new Escape ecofriendly theme park in Teluk Bahang, a short drive from Batu Ferringhi beach on the north coast, will let you do just that. Featuring climbing walls, rope swings, assault courses, tubby slides, a leap from 30 metres (with a safe and secure landing, of course), and much more, the park has thrills for adventure seekers of all ages and is a great option for a family day out. Don’t forget to take your sports shoes – you won’t be able to use the equipment without them. Entry for foreigners is RM45 for kids aged 4-12, RM60 for adults, and RM 45 for senior citizens. Open daily 9am-6pm.

This month! Penang World Music Festival (Mar 30-31) THE PWMF brings in top quality international bands for two nights of world music at Quarry Park, Penang Botanic Gardens. Among the 12 bands set to perform this year are Mu (Portugal), Kimi Djabate (Guinea- Bissau), Nasout (Iran), Alp Bora Quartet (Turkey), Saharadja (Indonesia), Inka Marka (South America), and Kalayo (Philippines).

Images courtesy of Escape

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GETTING AROUND WITH most families on Penang Island owning around four cars each, the traffic in and around the urbanized areas can build to horn honking proportions – especially at rush hours – so it’s best to plan your excursions from your hotel to coincide with school and office hours when the roads will be quieter. A local bus service covers most of the island (and offers a free service within George Town), taxis can easily be arranged at your hotel, and three-wheeled Trishaws operate in George Town and Ferringhi Beach. If you prefer a more structured travel plan, you can always contact tour companies such as FTZ Travel ( my), which offer a wide range of excursions conducted by knowledgeable guides.

AIRASIA flies once daily to Penang from Bangkok’s Don Meuang Airport at 2.10pm (arrives 4.55pm local time). Flights to Bangkok, also once daily, leave Penang International Airport at 5.25pm (arrives 6.05pm local time). Flight tickets to Penang vary in price throughout the year, although the cheapest rates tend to be on the airline’s website, which holds regular promotions to various destinations in the region. To limit additional costs, we suggest you book online – this way you can pre-book your baggage, self check-in, and even select from a wider choice of in-flight meals. Smartphone users can download AirAsia’s handy app to make booking flights and checking in even easier.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS • Butterfly Farm. A creepy-crawly enthusiast’s dream come true, this farm houses over 3,000 living specimens from over 50 species of rare and exotic butterflies, scorpions, frogs and other insects. Open daily 9am-6pm (last admission at 5pm). Located in Teluk Bahang near Escape. • Penang National Park. Quiet beaches, ancient forests, a meromictic lake (has layers of water


which don’t intermix), and a turtle nesting site draw in the tourists here. Try the canopy walk, which is 250 metres long and 15 metres above ground. Open daily 7.30am-6pm. • Snake temple. Built in memory of Chor Soo Kong, a Buddhist monk believed to have extraordinary healing powers, the snake temple was constructed around 1850. The temple houses many pit vipers (devenomised!) which, according to folklore, made the temple their sanctuary as soon as it was completed.

STAY (High-end) Macalister Mansion NAMED after Sir Norman Macalister, one of the first British Governors of Penang from 1808-1810, this boutique hotel – the first Design Hotel in Malaysia – is set within a 100 year old colonial mansion which has been conserved and adapted to have an elegant, modern interior. A choice of eight bedrooms is on offer. Our favourite is Room 4, which offers 49sqm of bedroom and living space with adjoining bathroom suite, and a turret room accessed by an original wrought-iron spiral staircase. King-size beds and top quality amenities come as standard (one room has twin beds). Hotel facilities include dining room, bar, tea shop, gym, and pool. Low season rates start at RM800 per night. 228 Macalister Road, George Town. (Mid-range) Holiday Inn Resort Penang LOCATED in the heart of the sweeping Batu Ferringhi Beach on the island’s north coast (30 mins drive from George Town; one hour from the airport), the Holiday Inn Resort is a perfect all rounder. Split between two buildings, it offers a choice of accommodation right next to the sands in the Beach Wing or just behind the main road in the Ferringhi Wing, where most of the rooms (spacious and modern, and decked out with beds so soft they seem to hug you) boast great views of the Malacca Strait and Penang’s coastline. The resort is family friendly and even features special Kids Suites, each equipped with bunk beds (or twins), TV, DVD player, and a Playstation 3. Resort facilities include restaurant, bar, pool, gym, business centre, banquet rooms, water sport activities, and more. Batu Ferringhi’s popular night market, which sells similar fare to what you’d find on stalls in Sukhumvit, is located just a short walk from the hotel. Find the best rates online at (Budget) Chulia Street BUDGET travelers can make their money go further by heading to this lively street in George Town, which features a wide choice of inexpensive backpacker hotels and guesthouses.


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Travel|Bangkok World Thai Martial Arts Festival

LEARN more about Thailand’s national sport at this huge fair devoted to all things Muay Thai. Held March 17 at Wat Mahathat Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Historical Park, the event honors the memory and achievements of famous Thai boxer Nai Khanom Tom, and alongside boxing matches features a range of Thai arts and culture performances.


and Beyond


Vana Belle opens on Samui

THE Luxury Collection, which operates the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit in Bangkok and The Naka Island Resort & Spa in Phuket, has opened its third property in Thailand, on Koh Samui. Called Vana Belle, a Luxury Collection Resort, the newly built resort is located on the island’s southern coast (Chaweng Noi Beach) and comprises 80 Pool Suites and Pool Villas, with expansive outdoor spaces and breathtaking views. Each appointed suite and villa offers a private plush pool and balcony along with luxury amenities and facilities. :

JW Marriott Phuket launches new kids’ club

Mango time in Phuket

THROUGHOUT March and April, mango fans will find lots of treats on offer at Mercure Phuket Deevana’s World Café Restaurant, where chef Supat and his team are creating a wide range of sweet and savory dishes using this much loved fruit. Highlights include Shrimp salad with ripe mango and avocado, BBQ pork chop served with sautéed ripe mango, Mango tartlet, and Mango with coconut sticky rice. :


Hua Chang Heritage Hotel now open

LOCATED on Phayathai Road near the Hua Chang Bridge, the Hua Chang Heritage Hotel has opened its doors offering 80 guest rooms spread between seven floors. Inspired by the art and culture of King Rama V-era Thailand and turn-of-the-century Europe, the hotel has been designed to a “New Thai Colonial” concept and boasts a tranquil garden setting. Facilities include pool, reading area, meeting room, restaurant, limousine service and even personal butler service. :

JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa has reopened the doors of its Kids’ Pavilion, following an extensive upgrade. Aimed at kids aged 4-12, the new Pavilion has an array of wooden toys, games, computers, a play area and kid-friendly furniture, while the Teen Zone features a mini movie theater, karaoke, PlayStation, pool table, table tennis, and computer stations with internet access. A fully supervised activities program runs each day. To celebrate the reopening, the resort is offering a ‘Sea Sand Sun Family Package’ priced B6,700 for two adults and two kids (aged under 12 years. Minimum two nights’ stay). Rates include daily breakfast and one family activity at the Kids’ Pavilion. : Tel: 07 633 8000


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Travel|Hua Hin Easter buffet lunch at Dusit Thani Hua Hin

DUSIT Thani Hua Hin will celebrate Easter Sunday (March 31) this year with a traditional buffet feast and a roster of fun activities. Held from Noon-3pm, the lunch is B995 per person and includes Buck Fizz for all adults and a basket of chocolate eggs for all children (by reservation only). 03 252 0009 :dusit .com

Spa with a Moroccan touch SHEAZADE Hammam & Spa at the stunning Villa Maroc Resort in Pranburi has launched a new “Sense of Moroccan Touch” spa package which allows guests to customize their own 2hr30mins treatment. Priced B3,300++ (or B2,700 if you book between 10am-2pm), the package starts with Morroccan bath and scrub with black soap followed by a choice of massage, a choice of skin treatment, and a choice of facial treatment. Offer ends March 31. ☎ 03 263 0771

Gourmet golf at Banyan Golf Club

Risotto specials at Sheraton Popsicles and Sangria at Dune

DUNE Hua Hin Boutique Resort is welcoming the summer heat by launching a ‘Popsicles and Sangria’ promotion at its popular rooftop bar. Throughout April you can slurp on popsicles in a wide variety of flavours at B90++ per stick, and sip Spain’s refreshing wine punch drink at B450++ per jug. ☎ 03 2515 051-3


THROUGHOUT March and April, Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa’s poolside restaurant, Salas, will offer a special menu featuring home-cooked Italian risotto made using imported Carnaroli rice and finished with freshly grated Grana Padano cheese and butter. All combined with other fine ingredients such as Parma ham, Italian cheeses, saffron and home grown vegetables. It makes a hearty main dish and paired with a glass of wine makes it simply perfect. ☎ 03 270 8000

GOLFERS and gourmets are both well catered for this month at the Banyan Golf Club. Among the special events taking place are the following: • Mondo Vino Charity Golf Tournament. Sat March 16. Shotgun start at 11am followed by Wine dinner at Terrace Restaurant from 5.30pm. B12,000 per team of four (B3,000 for individual players). Price includes green fees, caddy, GPS cart, tournament apparel, Prosecco Gold refreshment during tournament and prize giving wine dinner. • Golf and wine dinner. Sat March 23. Tee times from 12.30pm followed by a gourmet dinner with wine. B4,200 for golf and dinner. B2,100 for dinner only • Easter Lazy Lunch. Sun March 31. Lunch buffet with loads of chocolate for the kids (big and small!). There’ll be a kids’ corner with egg painting and other fun attractions. B750 per person (half price for kids aged under 12; free for kids under 5). ☎ 03 261 6200


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Hua Hin Where to sleep Baan Bayan

The Cape Nidhra Hotel, Hua Hin

■ This fine resort features one of Hua Hin’s finest examples of early 1900’s architectural style. The beachfront resort has been faithfully restored to its former glory by the family who once lived there. Guests staying at Baan Bayan can experience the glory of a bygone era in its colonial style structure, yet without sacrificing the modern day comforts and amenities. It has 21 rooms comprising of three suites, 10 sea view rooms and 16 rooms with views of the courtyard or tropical garden.

■ Located in the heart of Hua Hin right next to the beach, this luxury hotel combines comfort and convenience for the perfect escape. Each suite is well-furnished in stylish décor and each has its own private swimming pool. General facilities include a fitness center, a swimming pool, steam rooms, spa, library, and meeting functions. Rocks Restaurant serves up a wide range of international dishes and local favourites, while the beachside bar, and the cigar and whisky bar, mix up some excellent cocktails.

119 Petchkasem Road. Tel: 032 533 544

97/2 Petchkasem Road, Hua Hin Tel: 032 516 600

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin

Putahracsa Hua Hin

■ Set within 13 hectares of landscaped gardens, the property dates back to 1923 and is one of Southeast Asia’s most renowned hotels. The luxurious colonial-era beachfront resort features 207 beautifully appointed guestrooms and suites, each one offering comfort and convenience. The Pool Villas include four Deluxe Spa Villas with queen sized twin bed, lounging area, bathroom with rain shower, and oversized Jacuzzi bathtub. Refined dining is available at Sala Thai, Hagi, the Railway Restaurant, and Palm Terrace. Guests can unwind in the Elephant Bar.

■ This stylish resort skillfully marries Mediterraneaninfluenced villa accommodation with the best contemporary Thai interior design flair to create a unique experience. Putahracsa is a secluded sanctuary with 36 SilkSand rooms bordering a magnificent swimming pool and mini beach. Interiors emphasize the ‘sleek and chic’ approach to modern design. The Oceanbed Villas are truly exceptional, providing some of the highest quality accommodation and service in Hua Hin. The resort features a day spa, and superb dining opportunities at Nahb Talay and Oceanside.

1 Damnernkasem Road, Hua Hin. Tel: 032 512 021-38

22/65 Nahb Kaehat Road. Tel: 032 531 470

Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa

Evason Hua Hin and Six Senses Spa

■ This imposing resort in the centre of Hua Hin is regarded as one of the best family hotels in the region. Accommodation features comfortable rooms and suites, providing guests with a living space that exhibits contemporary Thai design flair and good in-room amenities. There are also 11 Spa Suites available. The award-winning White Lotus on the 17th floor of the Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa offers sky-high dining at down to earth prices.

■ This resort-spa is situated at the heart of 20 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and faces the Gulf of Thailand. Pool villas and guest rooms are connected by a series of wooden walkways that meander between lush greenery. This is a retreat for those seeking time to relax and recharge. In The Restaurant guests can sip exotic cocktails, ice-cold beer or boutique wines while watching chefs cook and construct creative appetizers. The award-winning Earth Spa is one of the most visually striking in Thailand.

33 Naresdamri Road. Tel: 032 538 999

9/22 Moo 5 Paknampran Beach, Pranburi. Tel: 032 632 111



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Hua Hin Where to eat Oceanside Beach Club Cocktails ■ Set in the beautiful Putahracsa Hua Hin resort, this relaxing beachfront restaurant offers a great selection of international food, drinks and music. You can tuck into seafood with piquant Thai sauces or devour huge slabs of meat fresh from the grill. The Jumbo Tiger prawns, Rock lobster, and New Zealand lamb chops score particularly good marks here. Other bonuses include a great sea view, and a long list of delightfully boozy cocktails. Open 5pm onwards.

Hua Hin Where to drink Dune Sky Bar

■ Located on the rooftop of the boutique Dune Hotel, the Dune Sky Bar offers sweeping views of Hua Hin and is a great place to drop by for boozy cocktails and tasty international eats. Recently given a New York-inspired overhaul, the bar is stylishly furnished with eco-friendly furniture, including dining chairs made of recycled plastic bottles. Chilled out beats and subdued lighting make this one of the hippest relaxed hangouts in town. Dune Hotel Hua Hin, Tel: 032 515 051-3 email:

22/65 Nahb Kaehat Road, Hua Hin Tel: 032 531 470

Beach Mondo Cafe Restaurant  Vino

■ After a hard week of work in Bangkok you deserve a treat! Watch the perfect day on the beach transcend into a unique candlelit dining experience with your loved one. The restaurant offers excellent steaks and seafood plus an unrivaled choice of cocktails and outstanding wines at reasonable prices. The only non-hotel affiliated restaurant on Hua Hin’s main beach offers great value for money. Soi Hua Hin 75/1 by the sea, Prachaubkirikhan 77110, Open Mon – Sun 10am – 10pm.

Chay Had Restaurant

■ Feel the refreshing sea breeze at this beachfront Hua Hin restaurant, located next to the Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa pool. During the day cool off with an ice-cold beer or ice cream and in the evening enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner at sunset. This Hua Hin Restaurant is also the perfect choice for a small outdoor function. Tel: 032 538 999 Email:

Mondo Vino

■ This stylish-yet-casual wine bar should be the top of any oenophile’s list of places to visit in Hua Hin. You’ll find a large range of wines from new and old worlds (with an emphasis on Italian brands), available by the glass or bottle at more than reasonable prices. Accompanying the premium wines is a selection of cold cuts, cheeses, fresh hams, pizza, and pasta. Monthly promotions and wine tastings mean there is always something exciting going on here – simply check the website to keep up to date. Tel: 032 531 493

Sala Wine Bar and Bistro ■ No visit to Hua Hin is complete without a trip up to Hua Hin Hills Vineyard, home of the award winning Monsoon Valley Wines. Here you can journey into the vineyards to learn more about New Latitude Wines, or simply head straight to the winery’s Bistro, which is housed in a beautiful sala and serves a wide range of Thai and international eats and, of course, Siam Winery’s finest wines. An onsite shop sells premium Thai wines, souvenirs and other quality grape-based products. Hua Hin Hills Vineyard, Tel: 081 701 8874-5, 081 701 2222, 081 701 0444



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s ’ e t a M s rate

• Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok:

amily f r o s d Frien kok? g n a B visiting now about k Let them e deals thes

From March 15-May 31, the hotel’s Splash & Spice package offers special rates for two night stays, including a special dinner set each night at Shintaro or Biscotti Restaurant, and Executive Club access for two persons. ☎ 02 126 8866  offers/splash_and_spice_ package

• Glow Trinity Silom: Until June 30, a

“Premier Room, Premium Dinner” package offers rooms at B3,800 per night, including daily breakfast and a Thai dinner set for two. ☎ 02 231 5050 

• Grand Millennium Sukhumvit Bangkok:

• Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa: From March 15-May 31, the

The hotel is celebrating its fi fth anniversary with a “5 Experiences” package offering stays in a Grand Deluxe Room from B5,500 per night. ☎ 02 204 4000 

hotel’s “Splash & Spice 2013 Eat Well, Sleep Well” package offers rates starting from just B6,500++ per room per night for a Deluxe room and a host gourmet benefits. Rates apply to a minimum booking of two nights and include two dining experiences. ☎ 02 476 0022 ext 1505 

• Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside Bangkok: As an official

partner of Disney On Ice: Princesses & Heroes (Held March 22-25 at Impact Arena), the hotel is offering a “Riverside Family Happy Time” room package for a spacious Plaza Suite at B4,900 per night (minimum of two nights’ stay). Price includes a maximum of three free Ringside Tickets to the Disney On Ice show, daily breakfast, and a host of other benefits. Package is valid until March 24. ☎ 02 688 1000 

• Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit 11: Until

March 31, the hotel’s “A-List Offer” features rates starting at B2,800++ per room per night (room only). Includes free access to Bed Supperclub, Q Bar, and Bash. ☎ 02 207 7000  bangkoksukhumvit11

• Grande Centre Point Hotel & ResidenceTerminal 21: Until Oct 31, the

hotel’s ‘21st Carpet Package’ offers three consecutive nights’ accommodation for B12,000+. Rate includes breakfast for two, limousine airport pick up, 3pm check out, and a chance to add an extra night for B4,000+. 

• Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square: Book your room

online at the hotel’s website and, thanks to the ‘Hot Deal’ promotion, you’ll get 15% off the hotel’s B3,060++ unrestricted rates. ☎ 02 209 8888 

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Travel|Pattaya New GM for Amari Orchid Pattaya

MR Brendan Daly has been appointed as the new General Manager of Amari Orchid Pattaya. The Australian national has over 21 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, including six years in Thailand. Prior to making the move to Pattaya, he was the opening General Manager of Aloft Bangkok – Sukhumvit 11.

Hilton Pattaya offers 30% off room rates AS part of Hilton Worldwide’s Dream Resorts Promotion, Hilton Pattaya is now offering 30% off its bed and breakfast rates. Guests must make their reservations at least 30 days in advance. Offer ends May 14. ☎03 825 3000 :

Oodles of noodles at Cape Dara

MING Xing Restaurant at Cape Dara Resort has launched a new lunchtime noodles menu featuring 24 different dishes to choose from. The deal includes a salad appetizer, unlimited servings of noodles, and a dessert for B390. Deal ends June 30. ☎038 933 888 :

Pattaya International Music Festival

Mexican flavours at Oasis

ALL this month, Oasis Restaurant at Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort, Pattaya is offering a special Mexican menu featuring highlights such as Taco salad; Jalapeno beef burgers; chicken stew with sweet potatoes and beans; Mexican pizza topped with Jalapeno, tomato, jack cheese and coriander; and Chicken and cheese quesadillas. Dishes start at B280++. ☎03 8301 234 ext. 4314 :


PATTAYA’S popular annual music fest returns on March 22-24 with another genre-hopping selection of local and international bands. Enjoy pop, rock, hip hop and more at five stages throughout the city, with performances running each day 6pm-1am. During the event Beach Road is closed off to traffic, and the carnival atmosphere is fuelled by many stalls plying a wide range of food and drinks. :


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Funky night at Horizon THAI-Swedish old school turntablist DJ Freddy Funk whipped up a dance floor frenzy when he recently took control of the decks at Hilton Pattaya’s Horizon restaurant. A master of turntables, DJ Freddy has played alongside such renowned international DJs as Stephane Pompougnac, Gilles Peterson, Kenny Dope and many more.

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Dining out|Toscana


Toscana: Offering fresh food from the chef’s own farm


Pattaya restaurant uses own organic produce to create authentic Italian dishes

IT’S not often that you come across a restaurant that cooks and serves food produced on its own farm. But that’s exactly what happens at Toscana, arguably Pattaya’s leading Italian restaurant and trattoria pizzeria. On some 13 rai of land on the outskirts of Pattaya, chef-owner of Toscana Mr Marchetti Luca has created a truly remarkable enterprise which is home to flocks of ducks, geese, pheasants, quails, pigeons, guinea fowls and chickens. When ready, this charismatic Italian plucks the best of this home-grown produce and transports it to the kitchens of his popular Italian restaurant. Putting together this farm has been a labour of love for Luca, as he calls himself. It’s also been a learning experience. Before arriving in Thailand 12 years ago, Luca had worked in his native Italy, San Francisco and for 12 years in Macau, where he operated three restaurants. But it is only in Thailand that he decided to cut out the middlemen, so to speak, and produce his own foodstuffs.

And that has involved endless hours of research, experimentation and hard work. He’s even used e-Bay to source some animals to stock his farm. The chickens, for example, were from the top overeas sources, while rabbits came from New Zealand as well as local suppliers. Overall, the high quality he has achieved has been worth all the effort. Today, some 700 duck and chicken eggs produced on the farm are sent daily to Toscana. “Eggs don’t get fresher than that,” notes Luca proudly. “And let me tell you, my guinea fowl taste better than pheasants.” These exceptional standards have unquestionably helped to make Toscana one of Pattaya’s most popular restaurants. With seating for 700, it is also one of the largest. The menu is extensive and is full of wonderful dishes featuring Luca’s farm produce. For a mere hint of the culinary delights, here are a few starter suggestions: Duck pate with quail eggs at just B290; the Home-made beef carpaccio with rocket salad, tomatoes and paremigiano cheese Beach Road (between Sois 6 and 7), Pattaya


(B360); and Quail or duck eggs omelette with spinach or asparagus and shrimps, or squash and spring onions (B280). The menu offers an amazing selection of soups, no less than 19 different pizzas, eight varieties of pasta made with eggs from Luca’s farm, and nine seafood/fish dishes. For meat lovers, there’s beef stew, lamb shank, ossobuco, pork chop, rib eye and T-bone. Toscana’s crowning glory, of course, are the dishes featuring Luca’s farm produce. They include Free range chicken with potatoes (B400); Cacciatora style stew hen with polenta (B480); Guinea fowl in salmi sauce with polenta (B690); Grilled quails (B420); Rabbit cacciatore (B520); Grilled and oven-baked pigeon (B750 and B850); and Duck breast tagliata (B520). On hand to help diners through this fabulous selection of Italian cooking at its finest are Toscana’s 50-strong team of waiters and waitresses. The phrase “farm fresh” is often bandied about, but in Pattaya it has genuine meaning at this rather extraordinary restaurant.

☎ 03 836 2370


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The Bangkok BigChilli. March 2013.  

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