Bigchilli May 2017

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May 2017

Contents 10 NEWS STORIES Central Embassy restaurants keen to welcome guests from newcomer Park Hyatt


Horror lives on after deadliest traffic accident in Thai history

COVER STORY 18 Rethinking homework:

How Bromsgrove International School Thailand is making its curriculum more engaging and relevant



Last month’s best events in pictures



10 INSIGHT News, gossip, and opinions

76 STORIES FROM THE PAST A famous story from the past

40 SECRET BANGKOK A lesser-known attraction in the spotlight

86 EXPAT WOMEN Shopping, advice, health tips, and top local schools

42 THE HOT LIST 20 great things to see and do in Bangkok and beyond

113 HUA HIN & PATTAYA News and deals to help you get the most out of your trip

The Dutch are not just serious about politics, but about economics too

50 FOOD & DRINK Restaurant deals and dining news

Downlo our dig ad edition ital for

67 NEW ON THE SCENE Hot new restaurants & bars in Bangkok



The BigChilli Company Ltd., 1/7 5th Fl. Room 504, Siboonrueng Bldg. 2, Convent Road, Silom, Bangrak, TheBigchilli Bangkok 10500

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Editor’s Blog More immigration and police woes EVERY month we receive numerous messages and letters from our expat readers, some of which comment on our stories, while others complain about life in Thailand. Unsurprisingly, a few are unprintable or irrelevant, but some turn into interesting story ‘leads’ for this magazine. Those that pass muster usually focus on a narrow range of subjects, such as immigration and work permit woes, brushes with the traffic police, financial or business scams, and personal problems involving their partners. That said, we are not wholly comfortable reporting on issues concerning visas, work permits and the traffic police. Those who have lived in Thailand for some time will understand why. So, rather than focusing on specific cases, we tend to generalise in such cases. It does appear, however, that there is even less cooperation between government agencies than in the past. The Immigration and Labour departments are separate entities with different jobs and responsibilities, but instead of operating in tandem, which would make life much easier for foreigners working here, they seem not to know, or remain completely indifferent, what the other is supposed to be doing. Some other government departments are apparently similarly out of kilter. A long-term expat recently experienced such confusion, which resulted in him having to leave the country – unnecessarily and unfairly, in his view – in order to apply for a new visa to stay and work in Thailand. He alleges that a document issued by the relevant government agency concerning the salaries his company pays staff was suddenly no longer acceptable to immigration officials. Since this same document had been used without problems for the past ten years, he was understandably miffed. It turns out that the document in question failed because it did not show sufficient information on the salaries paid by his company – despite the fact that the document had actually been produced by another government department. Since the expat could not immediately produce the required information, he was told to leave the country. His plea for reconsideration fell on deaf ears. And to make matters worse, he alleges, his colleague who accompanied him had to prove her mobile phone was not being used to record the conversation. Meanwhile in Pattaya … When a young boy on a bicycle smashed into the side door of his car, the foreign businessman was far more worried about the young lad’s health than his vehicle. The local police arrived on the scene, and later the man’s insurance agent came to inspect the damage to the door. The boy was quickly back on his feet, though his bike was a mess. The driver of the car knew he was not blamed as the young cyclist had emerged without looking from a side street. Nonetheless, he offered to pay for the bike. The police made a report and the insurance agent took photos and made drawings. A few days later, the driver of the car was summoned to the police station and told he had to pay a massive fine. Why, he demanded, not unreasonably. The officer then produced additional information about the accident, which did not tally with what the driver remembered, while the insurance agent’s drawing of the scene bore scant resemblance to what had happened, so the foreigner believed. Having lived here for several decades, the man realised there was no point in challenging these new claims and reluctantly paid up. His bill was considerable.



Publisher Colin Hastings MANAGiNG editor Morgan Thanarojpradit editor Nina Hastings sAles & MArketiNG MANAGer Rojjana Rungrattwatchai AccouNt executives Thana Pongsaskulchoti AccouNtiNG MANAGer Saranya Choeyjanya AccouNtiNG AssistANt Janjira Silapapairson Art & ProductioN Arthawit Pundrikapa, Jaran Lakkanawat PhotoGrAPhy JL & AP coNtributiNG Writers Drew McCreadie, Maxmilian Wechsler, Kelly Harvey, Anette Pollner, Johanna Dekoning, Lekha Shankar, Phasit Kanasirichainon



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.

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Editor’s Blog Why the difference in park fees? Thailand’s double pricing policy in its national parks is unlikely to change anytime soon. Foreign visitors will continue to pay substantially more than Thai nationals to visit this country’s natural wonders. Most tourists don’t seem to mind the charges when they see beaches being cleared of rubbish on a daily base as they do on Ko Samet. And the same applies to inland parks that are kept clean and tidy. But why the discrepancy in fees? On Ko Samet, foreigners are charged 200 baht per adult (Thais pay 20 baht) while Ko Phi Phi Marine National Park admission is 400 baht and 200 baht for children? Dutch treat For a tiny country of only 17 million people, the Netherlands has an amazingly big presence in Thailand. Around 300 Dutch companies are based here, including major concerns like Heineken, Friesland Campina (Foremost), Unilever, Shell and Philips. Other major Dutch companies doing business here are NXP or Corbion in Rayong, which is mainly producing plastic out of sugarcane, and Royal Vopak, which is working with PTT in a joint venture with Thai Tank Terminal company. Netherlands is also the largest EU investor in Thailand, and the third EU trading partner after Germany and the United Kingdom. And while Thailand is the largest exporter of rice in the world, it will come as a surprise to many to learn that the Netherlands is the second largest agricultural exporter in the world. Not bad for one of Europe’s smallest nations. All this fascinating information about Thai-Netherlands relations appears in our Diplomat section this month. The two Dutch diplomats charged with boosting trade and facilitating business relations here reveals their plans and how the Netherlands is giving valuable assistance to Thailand on the key issue of water management.



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‘Bring your own wine’ Hyatt drops corkage fees in its top restaurants ■ IN a daring move that will delight wine lovers and shock other fivestar hotels, the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok has adopted a “no corkage” policy in most of its restaurants. Customers can now bring their own wines to Tables Grill, The Dining Room and Spasso without paying corkage fees. The Grand Hyatt Erawan is believed to be the first hotel in its class to waiver these charges. Corkage in some Bangkok restaurants can be as high as 1,000 baht per bottle. At the same time, the hotel has introduced significant reductions – as much as 50% – on its extensive wine list.

These apply to all of its restaurants. At a stroke, the cost of a bottle of 2013 Chablis by Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin, Grand Cru, Les Close has dropped from 7,900 baht to 4,500 baht, while a Louis Latour 2011 Côte de Nuits Village, Burgundy, is now 3,800 baht as against 6,200 baht in the past. Similar reductions are now available on top Champagne brands and various sparkling wines stocked by the hotel. The Hyatt’s new policy will be welcomed by Bangkok wine drinkers who face some of the highest taxes and duties on wines anywhere in the world.

“We recognise that wines sold in Thailand are expensive enough because of those taxes, so we want to give our customers a better deal by reducing our prices and lifting corkage charges while enjoying quality cuisine in our restaurants,” said Frederic Kolde, Grand Hyatt Erwan’s Director of Food & Beverage. “ The free corkage applies up to 10pm. Not included are Bar@494 and at Spasso during entertainment hours. “Other hotels are likely to follow the Hyatt’s lead on dropping corkage fees,” commented the F&B manager of another five-star property.

Tesco tempts wine drinkers with ten new products, including Champagne ■ TESCO is stepping up its battle for Thailand’s booming wine market with the addition of ten competitively priced products to its ‘Finest Wine List’, including French Champagne and wines from France, Spain and Italy. The supermarket’s newly launched ‘Vintage’ Chardonnay Champagne costs 2,250 baht, while its ‘Premier Cru’ Champagne featuring Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is priced at 1,850 baht. It also stocks a Bisol Prosecco from Italy at 599 baht. Tesco has added three new white wines – a Chardonnay from Chablis at 1,250 baht, and two Sauvignon Blancs from Pouilly-sur-Loire and Sancerre, both at 1,250 baht per bottle – plus five new red wines. These include a red from Chateauneuf du Pape at 1,250 baht, a Rioja (790 baht), Merlot from Chile (549 baht), Shiraz from Chile (549 baht) and a Sancerre Rose (949 baht). Tesco’s ‘Finest Wine Range’ comprises a total of 19 different vintages. These are available in Bangkok only at its supermarkets in Sukhumvit Soi 50, Rama IV and Ramindra.




Central Embassy restaurants keen to welcome guests from newcomer Park Hyatt

Siwilai City Club in Central Embassy

■ THIS month’s long-awaited opening of Park Hyatt Bangkok is set to consolidate Ploenchit and Wireless roads as the golden heart of the city. The 222-room hotel sits atop Central Embassy on land that was previously used as the front section and gardens of the British Embassy. It is surrounded by some of the most expensive real estate in Bangkok, including the remaining land still occupied by the British delegation but recently bought by the Central Group. The new head office of Bank of Ayudhya, is being built immediately opposite the hotel. Beyond is 98 Wireless, Sansiri’s ultra-luxurious condominium selling at record prices. Four major embassies and several major commercial schemes are also located in this part of town. With BTS stations nearby and access to Bangkok’s expressways, no other district matches Ploenchit’s cachet. Park Hyatt, set at the heart of this area, will feature a grill restaurant,



cocktail bar, speakeasy bar, VIP mezzanine lounge, and sky bar with unobstructed views of the city. It has its sights set on being “the capital’s leading icon of luxury and hotels in Bangkok.” This will be the second five-star Hyatt hotel in Bangkok, the other being the Grand Hyatt Erawan, located on Rajdamri Road. Another Hyatt brand, the Hyatt Regency, is presently under construction on Sukhumvit Road. A major beneficiary of Park Hyatt’s launch is Central Embassy, which opened two years ago. An upmarket shopping centre and dining destination, it will be an obvious attraction for hotel guests. To cater for the expected flow of new customers, Central Embassy has welcomed a number of new restaurants of its own. Today, the department store boasts the following restaurants:

• Nabezo Premium, serving premium Shabu-Shabu and Sukiyaki from Japan • Another Hound Café – Italian cuisine with an Asian flair • Audrey, Café Glamour ‑‑ Casual dining in a glamorous setting • Dean & Deluca – 50% retail, 50% table service with imported products not seen before in Thailand • Din Tai Fung – Chinese cuisine with contemporary flair • Ippudo – Best Japanese ramen by Shigemi Kawahara • Yuutaro – Contemporary menu and décor for a chic metro lifestyle • Som Tum Nua – a new branch of the original Siam Square outlet serving the famous Isaan food favourite and fried chicken • Tetsu – Serving high‑quality Japanese dishes • Le Salon de L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon – All day dining specialising in light dishes based on Michelin star quality food of its main Bangkok restaurant at MahaNakhon Cube • Kyo By Kyo Roll – Venue for contemporary Japanese desserts • Paul – Upmarket bakery and international restaurant


Bangkok: The art hub of ASEAN By Morgan Thanarojpradit

A vibrant art environment not only stimulates the economy but also boosts innovation, community engagement, and attracts cultural tourists


ASSIONATE about empowering through art, Madam Astrid Amaya – wife of H.E. Andelfo García González, Colombian Ambassador to Thailand, established AOTA Art 29 years ago to discover and enable talented artists from around the world to reach greater audiences and to empower corporations in the USA with effective diversity and inclusion initiatives through the power of art. “Given my passion for art and seeing how much potential Bangkok has to become a leading art city in Asia, I just couldn’t stay a passive observer. I aim to apply my experience in producing creative art initiatives to brand Bangkok as an international and domestic art city. We need to attract the support of the public sector to serve as an umbrella organisation to attract the sponsorship of the private sector in Bangkok,” said Madam Astrid in an interview with The BigChilli. ‘La Femme’ international art exhibition held at River City Bangkok was organised by AOTA to celebrate the International Women’s Day in Bangkok – and what better way to celebrate the occasion than through art. “Art helps us express our values, builds bridges between cultures, and brings us together regardless of ethnicity, religion, or age. “The event received a marvellous response. This is a clear sign that there are many curious Bangkokian minds who are longing to experience art and cultural events in the city.



“Leading international schools such as Wells, Harrow and KIS were prompt to seize the opportunity to organise groups of students to visit the exhibition. Their enthusiasm led us to organise workshops with more than 100 selected high school students from top art programs.

The students absolutely loved the experience. As Michael Case of Harrow International School said, ‘We greatly enjoyed our visit to La Femme and students came back brimming with ideas.’” The opening day saw over 300 VIP guests attending the event; over

20 ambassadors, honorary consuls, and presidents and members of the Chamber of Commerce from Mexico and India whose countries were exhibited. Leading women’s organisations also attended the event, among them were: IWC, YWCA, Soroptimist International, National Council of Women of Thailand (NCWT), Global Federation of Chinese Business Women, and more. The event was considered the stepping stone of an enormous goal to convert Bangkok into a leading art and culture city in the ASEAN region and to promote aesthetic excellence and innovation available in Bangkok. This art exhibition is part of a greater campaign called ‘Art in Public Spaces’ taking place in many leading cities and aiming to attract groups of higher-spending visitors to bolster the tourism industry in the long run. “Art in Public Spaces will stimulate direct and indirect revenue for all parties involved. It will help increase innovation, cultural diversity, and community engagement, and encourage youth to develop creative skills that are crucial in today’s job market.”


hen inquired regarding AOTA’s upcoming projects, Madam Astrid said: “In Bangkok, we are calling upon leading shopping centres to host cultural events through art, and TAT and BMA to engage Bangkok with a light or interactive festival for the region. “Some of the most successful art festivals today are Hong Kong Art

Festival, Singapore Art Week, Dubai Canvas, and many light festivals happening around the world. “Take Vivid Sydney as an example. The event garnered over 460% growth in visitors from 2012 to 2016; from 500,000 visitors to 2.31 million visitors. Sharjah Light Festival reported 650,000 visitors in 10 days versus 55,000 visitors in 2015 – according to H.E. Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce & Tourism. “As for the future plans here in Bangkok, Central Embassy will host in November a HiE-D Human Interface installation, the latest interactive technology to track people’s movements. ‘Save the Arctic’ will feature four cute arctic animals driven to extinction that will interact in real time with the visitors.” This top-notch and fun installation will not only take you to the Arctic but will also raise awareness of the effects of global warming on all living creatures. It aims to makes us question what can we do or not do to help to keep our environment safe for future generations. Bangkok has the opportunity to shine in this booming Asian art scene. Madam Astrid is in action to engage all parts as she tells us that it will take the whole society to embrace art education in daily lives. As a result, all sectors of the society will benefit from an ‘Art in Public Spaces’ campaign.



from parental support to selfmotivated learning. These tasks are designed to engage and excite the younger learners. In the Primary school from Year 3 onwards, children spice up their daily diet by choosing ‘Chilli Tasks’ in Literacy and Maths, with the number of chillis indicating the complexity of the task, allowing children to self-differentiate and plan their home learning independently. Their achievements are celebrated at the end of each topic with a ‘Fantastic Finish’, giving parents the opportunity to see the amazing work that the students have completed. The positivity and engagement levels amongst the primary students cannot be ignored. As students move into the secondary school, they are given a menu of Extended Learning Opportunities from each subject area and, similarly to the primary activities, they are differentiated by chillis. The expectation is that students complete a range of tasks throughout the year, with formative feedback given by teachers. The freedom that they have to manage their own time and their own learning has had a huge impact on confidence levels among students. Teachers regularly review the work they are completing and guide them towards challenging themselves and taking risks. As students progress to the exam years, the approach essentially remains the same, but they are now referred to as ‘tasks’ to allow differentiation between the types of independent learning required in the external exam years. Secondary students are thus free to devise their home learning schedule, choosing tasks and recording their chosen Extended Learning Opportunities or Independent Learning Tasks to suit their own needs. Having had experience of managing their own time in previous year groups, they are now able to make good choices about how to use their time effectively. To support students to record the tasks that they wish to complete, BIST designed a ‘Learning Journal’. This unique book, designed in-house, means that parents and teachers can work together to help students

manage their time and think about their priorities, giving them vital soft skills to carry forward into adulthood.


tudent achievement is celebrated through demonstration sessions, displays and social media. Outstanding independent work is used as evidence of development of our ‘Learner Attributes’, and students can gain credits towards the Bromsgrove Award. In a Student Voice survey in October 2015, students were asked to vote between the ELOs/ILTs and traditional homework. 82% of children preferred the new style of home learning. In Secondary, 82.6% of teachers agreed or strongly agreed that it allowed more independence than traditional homework. Further evidence was gathered in the annual stakeholder survey, when 60% of students from across the school agreed that ‘the school provides effective opportunities for students to study and learn at home’. This is the first time that this question has received a positive response to home learning from the student body. Although, statistical analysis for such project is limited, it is clear that by the outcomes of the students,

in both external and internal assessments, that this initiative has been successful. A reliable measure of impact is the annual NGRT test, 70% of pupils from Years 3-6 improved their standardised age score due to the increased focus on core skills in home learning. In addition, the number of A grades as AS Level



School Report

Rugby School Thailand: The Whole Person is The Whole Point Stemming from a passion for education, Taya Teepsuwan dreamed of creating a perfect school where children can truly develop into well-rounded citizens of the world.




OMMITTED to making Rugby School Thailand one of the most impressive international schools in Asia, Taya Teepsuwan, CEO of Rugby School Thailand and Wisdom Entreprise Co. Ltd, has put together a talented team of architects, interior designers, headmaster and teachers to ensure that the blueprint of her dream school is fully realised. Wanting to create a competitive international school that offers the best education and development opportunities for students, Wisdom

joined hands with Rugby School UK to launch its ‘one of a kind’ international school in Thailand. “After extensive research, we decided that Chonburi would be the perfect location for Rugby School Thailand. Our property in Chonburi offers the ideal setting for an international school.” Surrounded by beautiful rolling countryside, the state-of-the-art facilities sit on an expansive 190 rai of land and boast an 11-kilometre bicycle track, stunning greenery, a lake, and a golf driving range. Located only a short 90-minute drive from Bangkok, the school offers both day and boarding school programmes. “The reason we chose Rugby School UK as our partner school was because they offer an impressive culture of excellence, a highlyregarded pastoral care system, great opportunities to develop children’s interests and abilities as well as an outstanding record of entry to the top universities of the world.” With the launch of the Pre-Prep and

Prep Schools in 2017 and the Senior School in 2018, the ethos, values, traditions, and heritage of Rugby School UK will play a vital role. “We see a significant difference between a typical international school and what Rugby School Thailand has to offer. Our British Private School approach ensures that academic excellence, sport, music, art, or drama are all central to the curriculum, and that a broad range of co-curricular activities help children to develop interests and enthusiasms that will last a lifetime. “The traditional values of moral substance, fair play, compassion, and consideration for others are what makes ‘the whole person’ and what sets us apart from the rest. “We presented our plans to over 14 schools in the UK and, though we received positive feedback from one and all, we chose to partner with Rugby School UK. With its 450-year legacy and name, we see a track record of success from the students, not only academically but also as leaders in politics, business, sports and the arts. “We have developed our academic curriculum based on the British private school model, so the quality of education we provide at Rugby School Thailand will be comparable to its namesake. “Rugby School Thailand will share Rugby School UK’s DNA in all important respects. We are the only school in Thailand that offers the necessary combination of experience, space, location, and ambition to reproduce the quality education that draws millions overseas to the top British private schools every year.” Offering valuable access to its 450 years of educational and pastoral heritage, Rugby School Thailand recognises that modern education requires the development of ‘the whole person’ – mind, body, and spirit – and Rugby School Thailand will offer curriculum and activities that reflect this philosophy. “Our House system will help develop teamwork and discipline which helps build compassion, brotherhood, and bonding amongst the students. We combine the benefits of the Thai educational system with the Rugby School system to offer our students the best of both worlds.

“As for our teachers, we are very lucky to have a hands-on headmaster, Mr Nigel Westlake, who has over 15 years of headship experience at two UK Prep schools, to help lay the foundations of our academic curriculum from the start. He started working with us from the concept creation and design process, and he will ensure that our teachers offer the students the best education and care they deserve. The teachers are chosen very carefully, and must pass an evaluation from Rugby School UK as well.”


lso on offer is a student and teacher exchange programme with Rugby School UK to help broaden horizons through experiencing cultures and traditions overseas. “We would like to put the parents’ minds at ease. We will take the best care of their children in all aspects, whether it is food, discipline, values, morals, or academic growth. “The most important investment for families is the investment in their children’s education. Choosing schools is a very important decision. We are certain that Rugby school Thailand can provide the answer for those parents who want the very best education and opportunity for their children.” Rugby School Thailand is a selective school focusing on assessing three key areas: academic ability and potential, talents and potential in other fields (sports, music, drama, and art); and qualities of character. The minimum academic standard and a minimum level in English will have to be met by all Prep and Senior School pupils, and strengths in any one of the three key areas may lead to the offer of a place. The Prep and Pre-Prep School will open from pre-Nursery up to Year 6 (10 years old) in September 2017. Years 7 -13 will open in September 2018, with boarding available from Year 3 (7 years old). Rugby School Thailand 188/1 Moo 1, Khao Mai Kaew, Bang Lamung District, Chonburi. 084 900 9005, 084 900 9006, 02 656 0055.



School Report

It’s never too early to learn With its new stand-alone purpose-built facility for their youngest students, Traill has become an outstanding choice for parents looking for a school for two to five year olds


HE 50-year-old Traill International School has long enjoyed a reputation for being warm and caring, but since opening a new stand-alone purpose-built facility for their youngest students six years ago, the school has also been an outstanding choice for youngsters from two to five years old. The kindergarten facility boasts a large open-air play area complete with astro turf, a mini cycling track, and a further multi-purpose area, as well as a large sun-protected space. Indoors, in addition to the brightly decorated classrooms, the facility also houses a themed room for role-playing, which is renewed each month, and a separate sleeping room for the youngsters’ afternoon nap time. It is never too early to learn, and Traill’s emphasis on learning



through play enables children of all ages to develop a positive attitude towards education from the outset, giving them an excellent start to their school life. Students attending Traill’s pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes will learn: essential motor skills through physical play and creative activities; early language skills through

phonics, letter recognition, songs, and rhymes; mathematics skills through counting, numbers, and shapes; and much, much more. Music, roleplaying, and construction work is also featured on the curriculum. “Parents of youngsters want their children to get all the educational advantages in the safest and warmest environment possible,” says Traill’s Business Executive, Ms Lillian. A mother of a Traill kindergarten student herself, Lillian was most impressed with the highly experienced yet caring teaching staff. “The facilities are good of course, but the small classes and assurance that my son was being well cared for was what sold the school to my husband and I,” she said. Parents are welcome to visit during school hours for a tour of the school and to meet some of the excellent teaching staff. The warm and welcoming feel is evident upon entering the campus and is a big part of why students enjoy being at the school so much. The stimulating and colourful classrooms and common areas, staffed by experienced teachers who make learning fun for children of any age, makes Traill an excellent choice for those who value a positive start to their educational journey.

School Report

The 5th Thanyapura Superkidz Triathlon

A TOTAL of 85 children aged between 4-15 swam, biked, and ran to the finish line at Thanyapura Health & Sports Resort – one of the leading training destinations for aspiring athletes and Ironman champions. The triathlon began at Thanyapura’s Olympic-sized 50-metre pool, followed with a bike ride and a run to the athletics track and grandstand. The kids raced in individual and relay teams in four categories and the top winners in the overall age categories won a customised race suit. First started in 2013, the Superkidz Triathlon continues to attract young triathletes from various nationalities. Thanyapura runs the Triathlon Junior Development Program (JDP) for children aged 6-15 years old to prepare future champions for the ITU Triathlon circuit. The programme runs from April 24 – June 16, 2017.

Gun secures Juilliard Scholarship SHREWSBURY International School Class of 2016 Graduate, Gun Chaikittiwatana, has been awarded a scholarship to study Piano at the worldrenowned Juilliard School of Music, New York; ranked by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) in their first ever ranking of the discipline as the world’s best institution for Performing Arts. “Juilliard is one of the best places to



study in the world, but I had to give it a shot. It can be daunting at this level, being amongst such talent, but when I visited Juilliard in November, I felt surprisingly relaxed; I felt like I could belong there. “From a pianoplaying perspective, my win in the 2013 Thailand International Piano competition was a real turning point, but as a person, Shrewsbury gave me opportunities to develop in all sorts of

ways, and there was a big psychological shift when I entered the Sixth Form. I used to be quite an introverted character, but the Sixth Form gave me added responsibilities and opportunities which helped me to come out of my shell. “It’s an all-round experience that brings balance to the education and personal development. Even within music there was huge variety, like choirs and bands. For my

final Last Night of the Proms concert, I was even asked if I would like to conduct the symphony orchestra. It was a big decision, a big responsibility for such a prestigious event, but I had the complete freedom to make that decision. When it came down to it, it was an opportunity that I knew would never come around again, and I gained a great deal from that experience.”

Expat Sport

WORLD’S TOP JUNIOR SAILORS HEAD TO PATTAYA FOR THE OPTIMIST CHAMPIONSHIP Thailand has been chosen as the venue for one of the world’s biggest sporting events in terms of country participation when it hosts the Optimist World Championship 2017 from July 11-21, at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya

MORE than 62 countries have already confirmed their place. They include teams from Macau, making its first appearance in this event, Myanmar and Indonesia, seven teams from South America, Oman, Kuwait, Malaysia, as well as a strong Thai team. Almost 300 talented Optimist sailors aged between 12 and 15 years will compete in the Individual Championship (July 13-15, July 18-20) and Team Racing (July 16-17), making it the world’s biggest-ever junior sailing competition. Organised by the Royal Varuna Yacht Club (RVYC), and the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand (YRAT) in conjunction with the International Optimist Dinghy Association (IODA) plus strong support from the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT), the event is set to provide an inspiration and stimulate the development of Optimist sailing in Thailand to international standards. Thomas Whitcraft, President of the Optimist World Championship 2017 Thailand, commented: “The Royal Varuna Yacht Club is proud to have been chosen as the host venue for the prestigious Optimist World Championship 2017. “We relish the opportunity to host the Championship and showcase Thailand as a great venue for international sailing events. This is the second time Thailand has won the honour of hosting the event. We held our first Optimist World Championship here at RVYC back in 1979. “We are blessed to have weather that is great for sailing all year round as well as consistent winds. Moreover, the reputation of Thailand for providing exceptional hospitality comes from its wonderful people, beautiful seas and great food, so we really are a standout world sailing destination.” Admiral Kraisorn Chansuvanich, Honourary President



of the Optimist World Championship 2017 Thailand and President of Yacht Racing Association of Thailand (YRAT), added: “Thailand warmly welcomes all young optimist sailors from around the world to compete in the Optimist World Championship 2017. “Our Thai team is ready and has been training hard for this world class competition, so we’re expecting this to be another great year of success for Team Thailand. “This event will also help develop sailing as a sport and provide opportunities for our young sailors in Thailand to learn and gain great experience on the world stage by competing with sailors from around the world,” said Admiral Kraisorn. Thailand became a member of IODA under the Junior Sailing Squadron of Thailand in 1977. With the great guidance of Al Chandler, IODA President from 1984 to 1989, Thailand has produced several Optimist World Champions. In 2009, Noppakao Poonpat took the honour as first female in Brazil. She went on to do even better in 2010, winning the first female event and the first overall championship at the event in Malaysia – a year when Thailand won all four trophies available, breaking the record in the history of the Optimist World Championships. The Optimist World Championship 2017 Thailand has been supported by strategic partners including Sport Authority of Thailand (SAT) and the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB). Co-Sponsors include The Pizza Company, Apollo (Thailand), Thai Airways International and True Corporation, together with Coca-Cola, Ricoh, Ocean Marina, Bangkok Pattaya Hospital. Media sponsors include the BigChilli. Visitors are welcome at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club to enjoy this rare and exciting sailing spectacle.


Veteran Pattaya publisher with a passion for print media

By David James

Profile of Pratheep S. Malhotra, founder of Pattaya Mail


WNING a newspaper is no longer a dream ticket to wealth and influence. With the rise of the internet and social media, and the resultant loss of advertisers, it’s become a tough and highly competitive business; the days of so-called press barons have followed the typewriter into the out tray. Newspapers the world over are cutting back on staff and pages – and no one knows if the next edition to hit



the streets will be the last. But some brave newspaper proprietors like Pratheep Malhotra a.k.a Peter, founder and boss of the Pattaya Mail, are not giving up the fight. He’s been publishing the resort’s best known tabloid for the past 24 years and despite all kinds of setbacks along the way, including logistical and financial challenges as well as brushes with unscrupulous authorities and even physical assault courtesy of certain criminal fringes, he’s determined to carry on. “The Pattaya Mail is my passion,” says Peter, a self-confessed workaholic who presides over his company’s smart new offices on Thepprasit Road. “And I still have faith in print media.” A naturally cheerful man with a resolutely positive outlook, Peter admits that the Pattaya Mail is not the racy tabloid that often raised eyebrows and courted controversy in the past. “Our front page is more likely to carry community news these days -- and not the hard-hitting, blood and guts stuff as in the past. Pattaya has become more civilised. Yes, there’s still crime, and there are foreigners hiding from the law in Pattaya. But now it’s family-oriented destination, with more than 10 international schools, big and small, 10,000 hotels and all the community

services, along with institutions like Rotary, YMCA, Lions, and ladies clubs helping the under privileged and handicapped. The newspaper has a staff of 30, including local and foreign journalists. The print-run is currently at 5,000 copies per issue, down from 8,000-10,000 in its heydays. “We give away more newspapers than we sell,” says Peter. “We would rather do this so that our readership is wide and varied and gives a advertisers as much exposure to the Thai and expat community as possible. “The Pattaya Mail is a local newspaper that covers Pattaya and the Eastern Seaboard and we are a household name in our communities. Readers look forward to receiving their paper copies. It’s a unique niche market and we cater to the needs of both our traditional and nouveau readers. Our reports are unique – and our readership is loyal and strong.” Peter bases his confidence in the future of the Pattaya Mail and his other publications on the belief that people will gradually realise the value of newspapers as a reliable source of information, especially in today’s world of fake news. He does admit that print media is going through some tough challenges. “But those of us who persevere are proving that it still has

a constant and bright future,” he says. His optimism hinges on the ability of newspapers like Pattaya Mail to embrace social media. To illustrate the point, Peter told the audience at a recent event: “True, the age of the internet and new online media us upon us. But there are still generations of the old guard newsprint readers who maintain that to hold a paper copy of a newspaper in their hands, flip through the pages, see the full stories and photographs, still brings them much more delight and satisfaction than looking at a tiny screen.” Offering social media exposure will win back advertisers, he says.

“Businesses that advertise in our print edition actually get multiple bonuses, because their news, information and promotions in our print edition are also available online. “It’s really an important point for readers to be able to see and read advertisements in their true form, either in black and white or in living colour. That’s what attracts consumers to the numerous advertisers’ products and services. “The print media can project the full effect of what the advertiser intends for the potential client to see more effectively than on a small hand held device.” Looking ahead, Peter had no plans

to retire. He loves what he’s doing far too much, even if it’s not been particularly profitable. He also loves Pattaya, and wants to continue monitoring its transformation from a small fishing village into the rapidly growing city it has become. “Pattaya has changed enormously. In the 1960s, we had just one hotel. Today, it’s full of high rises and modern department stores. It’s got a bright future, and it will grow. “Pattaya has a knack for survival. Forty years ago, the Bangkok Post was calling Pattaya ‘a den of vice.’ We’ve come a long way since then.”

How I started the Pattaya Mail By Pratheep S. Malhotra


HEN I decided to step into the world of newspaper publishing, everyone, especially my family, wondered whether I had lost my mind. I too would have had second thoughts about what I was getting myself into, but being the determined person as I am, never backing off from challenges, I decided that I was not changing my mind and the newspaper must be published. Now I’m really happy that I didn’t. I was born in Phitsanulok where my father owned a successful business. When we were still young, he decided to make it bigger and moved to Bangkok. During the Vietnam War era, my father set up tailor shops in Bangkok and at Utapao where my brother Marlowe and I respectively started our business careers. As you can well imagine we came into contact with English speaking foreigners (Americans) at a very young age. At the end of the ‘war’ as the US troops were being pulled out of the many bases in Thailand, shopkeepers looked for newer pastures to set up shop to operate their businesses. Most of them were dealing with US troops and therefore it was relatively easy to switch to the European tourism market. In those days the Germans and the Brits were the predominant tourists to Thailand. The main tourist destinations after the ‘war’ were Bangkok and Pattaya, long before Phuket or any other tourist resorts were heard of. My family moved to Pattaya in 1975 where we set up shop in South Pattaya, now known as Walking Street. The

original shop, next to the ‘big tree’, still stands. It is called Sir Marlowe. My younger brother Bill owns and runs it now. During the almost two decades of fun and games in Pattaya I saw that the community was growing and it was not just the influx of locals but the expat community was also growing in leaps and bounds. >>




Having had close contact with foreigners for so long, I had gained their trust and many became my close friends. It didn’t matter whether they were here for a few days or had come to live here for the rest of their lives, there were always questions popping up about the various aspects of life in Pattaya and Thailand as a whole. In 1991 I realised that Pattaya needed a ‘voice’ to protect ourselves from adverse publicity in both the foreign and national press, combined with the needs of the local foreign community for information about the town and country that they had come to call home. I decided we needed a ‘proper’ English language newspaper since the national dailies were not adequately serving the needs of Pattaya. In fact, in many cases it seemed they did not care about Pattaya at all as we were just too small a community to worry about.


pplication was made for the official license to publish a newspaper, but that took almost two years to come through. I guess the authorities were confused as to why anyone even bothered to apply for one. By 1993, however, we were given the green light to go ahead and publish the first English language newspaper on the Eastern Seaboard. The Pattaya Mail was not without its growing pains. In fact, several times it looked as if it would be still-born with the conceptual editorial staff themselves not even making it to the first issue! Those pre-production days included settling on the name for the paper and the design for the masthead at the top. The font used to proclaim Pattaya Mail is as original as the paper itself. It was designed by a local artist who made T-shirts. Although it may look similar to other fonts, it truly is one of a kind. Such was the spirit as the pace continued and the date was set to publish Volume 1, Number1. In the two weeks that it took to produce that first issue, Chuck Pringle had filled the gap as editor and a young American, Dan Dorothy, had been asked to step in to cover the sports writer’s position, as the original writer had been posted overseas. An even younger Austrian, Andy Gombaez, who was on his way to Hollywood to be a cartoonist, stumbled into the artist’s job after talking to the embryonic Pattaya Mail’s driver! That the first issue, dated 23rd July 1993, ever made the streets is a wonder on its own. Three weeks later, to coincide with H.M. the Queen’s Birthday, the second issue was published and then weekly thereafter. Amazingly, every week there was a Pattaya Mail. Sometimes a day late, but it did come out! Dan Dorothy would ask Chuck as he brought in his sports articles, “Do you think you’ll still need anything next week?” But he did, and Dan kept on supplying. In those early days, the Pattaya Mail was actually printed in Bangkok as there were no local printers then able to handle the job. Andy Gombaez’s memories of those



early days included catching the bus to Bangkok to take the art-work to the printers. This was sometimes after working all night. But of this we can be proud; we maintained our stance and told the truth. There were times when that became very difficult. Pressure was brought to bear by influential persons on whose toes we had trod, disgruntled local politicians whose inefficiency or wrong doings we exposed, but we followed the principle of that great publisher Hearst, ‘Publish and be damned.’ It has not just been the power-brokers who have been sometimes upset. In 1995, after publishing stories on the local ‘mafia’ I was the subject of a serious assault and battery. Pattaya Mail had enough growing pains without giving me physical pains as well! My cousin and sometime crime reporter, Amorn Malhotra, said: “Pattaya has gone from being a wild-west town to now being a city with some order. The Pattaya Mail helped that progression by working hard to produce the new order.” Chuck Pringle backed that claim, “We can also be proud that our aims were achieved. Our message got across. Campaigns initiated or supported by us, or both, bore fruit and gradually Pattaya changed and the perception of Pattaya in the eyes of the world changed.” In 2002 we launched the Pattaya Blatt newspaper in the German language and also the Chiang Mai Mail to serve the north of Thailand. At this point we transformed into The Pattaya Mail Media Group. We are recipients of numerous awards in recognition of our work, the most prestigious being the ‘Best in the East’ Award. The Pattaya Mail Media Group won the ‘Most Outstanding Newspaper in all of East Thailand’ for the past 18 consecutive years by the Eastern Mass Media Association. Concurrently the Chiang Mai Mail was awarded the ‘Most Outstanding English language newspaper in north Thailand’ Another milestone of note is that after almost 20 years in our old premises on Second Road we moved to our very own brand new ultra-modern five-storey office building on Thepprasit Road. In the past 24 years, I can proudly say that I have befriended a team of outstanding journalists and coworkers who enjoy and believe in the same ideals as we all do at the Pattaya Mail. I take my hat off to each and every one of the Pattaya Mail family. Thank you for your enduring trust, loyalty and hard work for our organisation. Thank you for staying by my side through thick and thin, collectively keeping our shoulders to the wheel and our noses to the grindstone. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to friends, readers and clients for your support throughout the years and ask that you continue to do so for at least the next 25 years. When we reach the big Two-Five in a couple of years, it’s going to be one helluva celebration. You ain’t seen nothing yet!


Ananda Hua Hin Resort & Spa offers beachfront luxury and style


UA HIN’s vibrant hotel industry has welcomed a newcomer to its ranks – the five-star Ananda Hua Hin Resort & Spa, featuring a collection of private beachfront pool villas and 173 luxurious rooms. Located on a long sandy shoreline 15 minutes outside Hua Hin, Ananda Hua Hin occupies a 30-rai site extending from Petkasem Road to the beach. The resort is just eight minutes from Hua Hin Airport. Guests can arrive aboard a private E&O train carriage, exclusively arranged via the Ananda concierge. Ananda Hua Hin is a managed by Compass Hospitality, one of Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing hospitality management companies with a portfolio of 42 hospitality properties across all market segments. “We are very proud to enter the luxury segment in Thailand and we firmly believe Ananda will set new standards in high-end hospitality in every destination we operate,” said Compass Hospitality Executive Vice President Operations, Jonathan Lim. General Manger, Nigel Tovey, a



veteran of Thailand’s hotel industry commented: “Ananda Hua Hin is a property of its time, and perfectly fitting with this fast evolving destination as we look to redefine an area that was actually one of the first spots well-to-do families visited 30 years ago. “It is the most beautiful, natural, and peaceful stretch of the coast and therefore the ideal location for us to offer a whole new level of hospitality to our guests.” The hotel’s Ananda Pool Villa Collection is unquestionably one of its highlights. Featuring a cluster of luxurious private accommodation options with indoor and outdoor spaces ranging from 188 sqm to 268 sqm in size, the villas open onto lush gardens and private pool. Each one comes with its own private entrance. Ananda’s ‘Check-in, Bliss-out’ concierge offers everything from impressionist watercolour painting classes to a videography programme, private beauty menu and a selection of elegant classic cars to explore the nearby hills, or visit local course and Hua Hin’s famous vineyards. Home to Hua Hin’s largest ballroom, with 900 sq m of flexible function space,

including state-of-the-art audio-visual and catering for corporate events and weddings. Above the ballroom is Blue Biscuit, a contemporary club-comerestaurant that will host live blues and jazz performances. To celebrate its opening, Ananda Hua Hin is offering a special rate for all bookings made from April 1 to May 15, 2017 for stays from April 1 to October 31, 2017. Opening rates start from 3,900 baht for superior room to 35,900 baht for the luxury two-bedroom beachfront pool villa. All rates are inclusive of taxes and breakfast and need to be booked by contacting the resort directly. 032 898 989.


Never Never Land of Thailand By Natalie Glebova

No matter where you are heading, when it comes to travelling with a baby, preparation is key


OCATED just a five-hour drive (plus a short speed boat ride) from Bangkok, lies the enchanted island of Koh Kood. Last month, the three of us – the Travelbook family – had the pleasure of visiting this small piece of paradise for a little getaway and a friend’s wedding.



While browsing for accommodation on our travel-sharing platform, I couldn’t help noticing a recurring theme. There was Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Tinker Bell, and Wendy the Pool. This made me think, of course, of the legendary book by J. M. Barrie about a free-spirited young boy who never grows up – Peter Pan – which

made our choice of where to stay even easier, the Peter Pan Resort. How fitting for a free-spirited family! There are two ways of getting to Koh Kood – drive or fly, though it takes about the same amount of time for both options. We chose to drive to Trad province to make it easier as we were traveling with our 11-month old

baby, Maya. We made sure we were armed with a lot of entertainment to distract her with on the long drive. We brought all of Maya’s favourite toys and I even let her dig through my makeup kit which always satisfies her for hours on end.


f you choose to fly, take advantage of priority lanes for check-in when traveling with a child. Also, leave the stroller at home; you won’t be needing it on the island. We strapped Maya in her ErgoBaby carrier for the speedboat ride. There are no seat belts or children’s life vests on board. You

could also bring your own child life vest if you have one on hand. Make sure you stock your suitcase full of baby essentials (nappies, toiletries, medicine, canned food and snacks) as not everything will be easily found on the tiny island. We used baby food packed in small pouches filled with fruit and ready-toeat snacks. The island itself is magical and looks like a scene from Peter Pan. But one thing to take note – there are a lot of sand flies on the beach especially at and after sunset, so bring plenty of bug repellant. I had huge red itchy spots from the bites that lasted for weeks after the trip. The beautiful Viewpoint Café was a great spot for breakfast. Only a 15-minute walk from our accommodation, we ended up going there every day for the rest of the trip. The wedding ceremony was held on the beach at Tinker Bell Resort, which is absolutely beautiful. It was an intimate, ocean-themed wedding at sunset with just 30 close friends as guests. After the ceremony, there was a seafood buffet followed by a fire show and, of course, plenty of dancing. Staying on Koh Kood with a big group of friends was great fun, especially with Maya on board. It was a great experience and we will definitely be going back to this charming island.

Natalie Glebova A MOTHER, an entrepreneur, and an activist among other things, along with her husband, Dean Kelly Jr., are behind the travel-sharing online business/start-up called Travelbook. With their daughter, Maya Kelly Glebova, who was born in Thailand, they are on a mission to help families travel better and safer and inspire people to see more of the world we live in.





By Kelly Harvey


20 great things to see and do in Bangkok & beyond...


first time. The Je veux te voir singing group is one of the only French acts to have performed at Coachella three times. Tickets: B750 pre-sale and B900 at the door

Tickets: B1,190

05 Chris Henry

09 Val

May 12 The Comedy Club Bangkok AS part of his festival tour, Chris Henry performs his latest exclusive one hour, one man, one night show. Expect tales of his strange experiences and silly exploits, using his uniquely Scottish perspective on the world.

Through May 21 S Gallery IN memory of artist Valérie Goutard, who tragically passed away in a road accident in Thailand last year, S Gallery will be hosting an exhibition to showcase some of Val’s first sculptures to her last series produced at the end of 2016.

May 6 – June 25 BANGKOK CITYCITY GALLERY THE self-taught animator, director and music composer, Wisut Ponnimit, proudly presents his latest solo exhibition. LR quietly simulates living and opens up chances for viewers to contemplate their actions and decisions made at every moment of their lives.

Tickets: B600 pre-sale or B800 at the door bangkokcitycity

Tickets: B1,500 – B2,500

May 6 Live RCA LIVE RCA x Moonbeats Asia present Teen Daze and Mozart’s Sister Live in Bangkok. Teen Daze is a stage name for solo musician Jamison Isaak who shifted from an electronic-driven style with elements of chillwave, house, and ambient, to more of an indie pop sound and adding his own vocals. Tickets: B550 pre-sale and B650 at the door

02 LR

06 Nelly May 17 Muang Thai GMM Live House THE Hot In Herre American rapper and singer makes his Bangkok debut as part of the Road to Golden Axe Music Festival.

03 Mew May 7 Voice Space AS part of the Singha Light Live Series, the second show in this year’s series is the Danish alternative rock band. Mew has just dropped their new album Visuals, so expect plenty of new tracks as well as some of their greatest hits from throughout their 20-year career. Tickets: B1,700 pre-sale and B1,900 at the door

May 9 Live RCA PRESENTED by Medium Rare, the renowned French dance-pop group is set to perform in Bangkok for the



live performances, the electropunk, synthpop band are bringing their hit singles Crimewave, Not in Love, and Frail among others to Bangkok crowds.

01 Teen Daze & Mozart’s Sister

04 Yelle



07 Cigarettes after Sex May 19 Voice Space THE American ambient pop collective led by Greg Gonzales is set to perform in the third show of the Singha Light Live Series. Tickets: B1,300 pre-sale and B1,500 at the door

08 Crystal Castles May 20 Live RCA MEDIUM Rare and Moonbeats Asia present Crystal Castles live in Bangkok. Known for their energetic

10 River Kwai Trophy Adventure Race 2017 May 27 Felix River Kwai Resort, Kanchanaburi THE most popular and largest Adventure Race in South East Asia is back for its 12th edition. Over 200 international teams will run, mountain bike, swim, and kayak their way through challenging scenic trails exploring the mountains, farmlands, jungles of Thailand and the historic Kwai valley.

11 Laguna Phuket Marathon June 3 – 4 Laguna Phuket LAST year saw 6,000 runners from more than 60 nationalities take to the trail for this family-fun affair. In conjunction with the Laguna Phuket Foundation, the event is held in support of educational and social development of local communities, marine and natural

Feature By Morgan Thanarojpradit





Recently crowned as ‘No. 1 Street Food Capital of the World’ by CNN, the BMA’s decision to ‘clean up the sidewalks’ put the title at risk, as well as some of our favourite vendors


TREET food comes in various guises in Bangkok. Several of these vendors have been around for decades and have become a part of the city’s quintessence known throughout the world. The recent confusion caused by messages from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) regarding its new agenda to return the sidewalks to the public by eradicating all street food stalls in Bangkok’s 50 districts has caused quite a stir in and around Bangkok. Sensing the anger and confusion of the Bangkokians. The BMA still hasn’t confirmed what the plan will involve. So in the meantime, locals and visitors can still take the time to explore the city and enjoy the food the streets of Bangkok has to offer. This month, The BigChilli put together a guide to 10 legendary street food restaurants and stalls; some as old as 130 years old and are still going strong.



Buay Pochana

Chula Soi 36 Open twice daily from 9.30 am-2.30 pm, 3.30 pm-10 pm This one-room restaurant on the corner of the shophouse has been going strong since 1985. While the mom and pop still help out around the restaurant, the second generation sellers are the ones in charge and have expanded to a total of three branches. Well-known for serving delicious slow cooked duck in brown soup with noodles or rice for 50 baht or a choice of slow cooked duck wings, duck legs, or just meat and no bones in a pot as a bigger portion to share at 200 baht, this restaurant is packed with office workers and university students on a daily basis. Located in front of Chula Soi 36 off Rama IV Road, this restaurant is not that difficult to find. Opening twice per day from 9.30 am – 2.30 pm and from 3.30 pm – 10 pm, but they do get busy during the rush hours.

Sunee red pork

Talad Plu Open daily from 6 am – 8.30 pm

Sia Po rice

Charoenkrung Soi 19 Open daily from 11.30 am – 10 pm Established over 50 years ago, this humble little stall is in the care of the third generation seller. The signature dish is called ‘Sia Po Rice’ or ‘Se Po Rice’ – a rice dish topped with a combination of grilled duck, red pork, crispy pork, pig stomach, liver, pig’s tongue and ear served with brown soup or sauce. It’s not easy to correctly made this dish, although it seems simple enough to prepare.+ Easily spotted since it’s the only small stall set on the table in front of Charoenkrung Soi 19, open daily from 11.30 am – 10 pm.

Another humble but extremely busy stall is Sunee Red Pork. This stall has been operating for over 50 years. The food on offer is simple but what’s not so simple is the recipe for the delicious sauce.

When serving the juicy red pork and crispy pork, the secret is not only in how the meat is prepared but also in the thick red sauce that covers the plate. This secret recipe sauce is passed on in the family and it still keeps people coming back for more. The stall located along the rail and usually is the one with the longest queue. Opens daily from 6 am – 8.30 pm.



Feature Chicken noodle Suan Mali

Suan Mali Alley Open daily 4 pm – 10.30 pm

Nuttapon ice cream

Phraeng Phuthon Road Open 5pm – 10.30pm on Tuesdays-Sundays Being so close to the equator, we can’t miss some nice cold desserts. This ice cream stall has been around for over 70 years with the third generation currently running the business. Offering traditional flavour of ice cream with a few other choices to keep up with the trend, the must-try is the coconut ice cream while other options available include milk, chocolate, coffee, Thai tea, and mango. Customers can choose up to three toppings per order for no extra charges. The toppings include an array of sweet corn, palm seed, sweet potato, red beans, Jack fruit, and more. The owner is steadfast so if you didn’t ask for toppings when you order, you get none. Located in the old town on Phraeng Phuthon Road, this one-room ice cream stall closes every Mondays and opens from 5 pm – 10.30 pm.

This little stall has been serving roasted chicken noodles in the same location for over 60 years. Originally known as roasted chicken Nai Hong, the humble stall nestled in the intersected sois next to Ann roasted chicken noodles. Choose from one of three types of noodles; the chicken is roasted until almost cooked then the noodles and egg are added to the mix with some seasonings and served hot. The roasted chicken and noodles are crispy on the outside but soft and tender on the inside. Making for a very delicious yet simple meal during the day priced 40-50 baht. Located in Suan Mali Alley off Soi Thewi Worayat, the stall is reachable from Sua Pa Road and opens daily in the evening from 4 pm – 10.30 pm.

Somsak Roasted Crab Charoenrat 1 Road Open Tuesdays – Sundays from 5 pm – 10.30 pm

Open since 1985, this street food stall has been serving the people of Bangkok for 30 odd years and has since expanded to two more branches run by different siblings. The most famous dishes are the roasted crabs or roasted prawns served with glass noodles in a pot made fresh on the spot. Customers can choose to order per serving at 290 baht or per weight. Also available are boiled cockles and boiled mussels at 70 baht per plate. There’s a trick on how best to prepare the meal. Scoop up the crab or the prawns, mix the vegetables and glass noodles with the sauce in the pot then scoop the meat back in and the dishes will be that much more enjoyable. The stall offers lemon water to clean up after the meal but wet tissues would be very useful to have. Located on Charoenrat 1 Road, this push cart offers more than 10 tables on the sidewalk. Open only in the evenings from 5 pm to about 10.30 pm, the stall is closed every Monday. There’s no booking available and if you want to make sure to get a table, better get there early.



Nai Ek roll noodles Yaowarat Road Open daily from 8am – 1.30am

Open since 1960, this roll noodles restaurant offers a variety of dishes to choose from. Nai Ek Roll Noodles began humbly as a small push cart on the street selling noodles to passersby. Known for the delicious soup, it has persevered and expanded to a good size restaurant today. On offer are a variety of noodles, steamed dumplings, and other ready-made dishes but the signature menu is definitely the roll noodles. The roll noodle soup is full of flavour with a strong peppery kick at 50-100 baht per plate. Also available are the crispy pork with rice (B80-150), pork entrail soup. And pork spareribs stew with rice, to name a few must-try dishes. Located prominently on Yaowarat Soi 9, this large restaurant with tables spill onto the sidewalk is very hard to miss. The restaurant opens daily from 8 am – 1.30 am and the busiest times are during the evening rush hour.

Ploenchai bread and coffee Siphya Road Open daily 7am – 4pm, close on Sundays

This bread and coffee (or tea) place has been around for 50 odd years and is currently in the care of the original owner’s son. The place serves a selection of Thai coffee and tea with grilled buttered bread. It is sharing the room with a noodle shop so customers can get both food, dessert, and an assortment of drinks in the same location. The selection of drinks includes hot or iced chocolate, coffee, tea, milk, iced lemon tea, and iced plum drinks for 25-30 baht. The buttered bread is pre-heated and customers can order roasted or grilled at 12 baht a piece. Located on Siphya Road opposite from Chinda Thawin Alley, this one-room stall is too small to accommodate all the furniture so the tables are set on the sidewalk. Open Mondays to Saturdays from 7 am-4 pm.

Tek Heng crispy noodle Talad Plu pier Open twice daily from 10 am – 2 pm, 4.30 pm - 9.30 pm

Oki Satay

Nanglinchee Road Open daily from 8.30 am - 8.30 pm, close every other Mondays In operation for over 50 years, the current three branches are run by the sons and daughters of the original owner. Made from organic pork meat marinated in a secret combination of curry powder, coconut milk, seasoning sauces and then grilled over charcoal fire, the price starts at 6 baht a piece with a choice between meat only or meat with fat. Located on Nanglinchee Road, the satay will be sold out quick so best to get there early. The stall opens daily from 8.30 am – 8.30 pm and closes every other Mondays.

Tek Heng crispy noodles first established in the reign of King Rama V. This 130-year-old restaurant offers more than the crispy noodles but the signature dishes include the traditional crispy noodles and the crispy noodles served in a soup at 120 baht per plate. Equally delicious and quite inexpensive, is another must-try menu for both locals and visitors alike. Unlike the commonly seen orange or pink crispy noodles seen today at souvenir shops, the crispy noodles here are crunchier and finer with a tinge of sourness that creeps in like a pleasant surprise in every bite. Run by the grandchildren, the restaurant is still very popular today. Located near Talad Plu pier, this blue shophouse is hard to miss. The restaurant is modestly decorated with air conditioning and plenty of tables and seats.



Food& Drink Bangkok’s hottest dining deals and news

One stop craft beer pit-stop AVAILABLE NOW AT 25 DEGREES IN collaboration with Smiling Mad Dog, the American-style burger joint has introduced the selection of craft beers, includes more than 50 artisan ales and ciders from the USA, the UK and Europe. Highlights guaranteed to delight lovers of handcrafted beers include the beer that began the modern beer-making revolution, the award-winning BrewDog Punk IPA from Scotland, plus many, many more. 02 352 4192.

Thirst-quenching summer drinks THROUGH AUGUST 31 AT DEAN & DELUCA DEAN & DELUCA are celebrating summer with a range of cooling summer drinks featuring ingredients such as MahaNakhon Roast coffee, melon milk, fresh melon, yuzu puree, lychee puree and summer fruit sorbet. Grab the Amazing Hot Melon Crème Latte, Amazing Iced Melon Pudding Latte, Amazing Melon Smoothie, or a Summer Soda Floats at any DEAN & DELUCA store nationwide, except at DEAN & DELUCA Khao Yai and DEAN & DELUCA Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Summer ice-cream parade TRHOUGH JULY 31 AT ANANTARA SIAM BANGKOK HOTEL REVEL in the cooling sensation of gourmet desserts during the annual Summer Ice Cream Parade at Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel. An array of sundaes will be unveiled during the parade, including the All American, the Durian sundae, and the Wood Berry. Each dessert is priced at B350++ and are available at every restaurant and café at the hotel. 02 126 8866.



I Believe I Can Fly THROUGH MAY 31 AT SCALINI INSPIRED by the song ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ by the legendary R. Kelly, Chef Supoj Suwanwong is taking the city by storm with a new menu featuring Italian-inspired poultry dishes. Guests may detect the subtle use of black truffles – one of Chef Supoj’s magical additions to ensure unrivalled flavour. He also recommends the oven-roasted whole free range chicken, suitable for two persons, and priced at B1,995++. Main course menu prices start at B750++. 02 620 6666.

Saturday shot night THROUGH MAY 31 AT THE DRUNKEN LEPRECHAUN MAKE your Saturday nights one to remember. Get festive with six TDL party shots for B1,000. Reservations are recommended. 02 309 3000.

A unique menu for a spectacular view

Top of the world with Mumm AVAILABLE NOW AT CRU CHAMPAGNE BAR TAKE in 360° panoramic views of the Bangkok skyline while sipping on a glass of fine bubbles. The selection available at Cru includes the extensive range from G.H. Mumm champagnes,

Perrier-Jouët, and other favourites, enough to satisfy the most discerning palates. Connoisseurs of bubbly will also have access to Mumm N°1 PINK, which is exclusive to Cru. And while the main focus at Cru is on the drinks, the menu also features an international array of bar snacks freshly prepared by the team of international chefs. Open daily from 5pm-1am. 02 100 1234.

AVAILABLE NOW AT RED SKY CHEF Alan Wesley Kwan and his team have created an exciting six-course set menu paired with fine champagne and wines from around the world. The menu features items such as Oscetra caviar and Elyx vodka with traditional accompaniments, whole Canadian lobster salad, Wagyu beef tenderloin 'Rossini', and more! Priced at B12,855++ per person. 02 100 6255.

Beat the heat with Thailand’s classic summer treat AVAILABLE NOW AT PRIME BESIDES sunshine, water and face powder, another essential element of the summer is one of Thailand’s most favoured desserts: mango sticky rice. Taking no chances with the freshness and quality of the mangoes, sticky rice, young coconut milk and everything else, the outlets are serving their classic mango sticky rice creation, priced at B160++ per set at Prime and Liquid Pool Bar. 02 011 111.

The Cheese Master is back MAY 15-20 AT SCARLETT FRANCE’S official Cheese Ambassador to the world,

Vive La France! THROUGH JUNE 30 AT TREATS GOURMET AT CHATRIUM HOTEL RIVERSIDE BANGKOK INDULGE in a selection of classic French pastries including Paris Brest, Raspberry Dacquoise, and St. Honoré, plus many more fondant fancies for Bangkok’s Francophiles to sink their teeth into. 02 307 8888.

Gérard Poulard, once again returns to Scarlett Wine Bar & Restaurant on the 37th floor of Pullman Bangkok Hotel G. Back by popular demand, the cheese master will present his 2017 Collection of Fromages de France, bringing with him 100 varieties of French farmed cheese from the best of France’s boutique producers. 02 352 4000.



Meet the Chef SERVING UP

How many hours a week you work? 70-80. Worst customers? French. They’re very critical and think they know everything. Most difficult ingredient to cook with? Sweetbread, liver, kidneys, and other innards.

Hervé Frerard

The popular Executive Chef de Cuisine at Aldo’s Bistro shares his culinary secrets

Top chef in SE Asia? Vincent Thierry of Vogue Lounge, Bangkok.

Most influential chef? Escoffier.

Greatest achievement to date? My kids – I have daughter and son.

If you weren’t a chef what would you be? Musician – and everything that comes with it. A favourite dish cooked by someone else? Tablier de Sapeur by Chef Raphael Kinimo.

Why are the world’s best chefs French (or not)? They’re not. Nowadays there are some very good English and German chefs. Favourite restaurants in Bangkok? Le Bouchon in Patpong 2, and JP French Restaurant, Sukhumvit 31.

What’s your cooking philosophy? It’s all about passion.

How do you keep in touch with the latest food trends? Facebook, social media, and reading.

Music you listen to while cooking? Serge Gainsbourg.

Chef in

Best meal you’ve ever had? At Hotel Le Bristol, Paris, cooked by Eric Frechon.

Which restaurateur in Bangkok do you most admire? Philippe of Philippe Restaurant in Sukhumvit 39.

What’s next for you? Open a cooking school.

■ HERVÉ Frerard is one of Bangkok’s best-known and respected French chefs, having been at the helm of seven restaurants here, including the much-loved Le Beaulieu in Sukhumvit Soi 19 and later at the Hotel Plaza Athénée, now back as chef /partner at Aldo’s Bistro at the Ascott Sathorn, the restaurant he helped to launch a decade ago. Hervé was also Executive Chef of the Army Governor of France during his national service. In Bangkok, he has worked for the Talisman Restaurant, Heritage Club and Café Parisien & Milano Café & Eiffel Bakery. Another career highlight is his role as Advisor to the Royal Projects.


Aldo’s Bistro. Ascott Sathorn, 187 South Sathorn Road, Bangkok. 02 676 6982.



Desirable Dish

Grilled pork ribs and BBQ sauce Sweet and sticky BBQ grilled pork ribs served with your choice of potato wedges or sautéed mixed vegetables – at Ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai

Potato wedges Chunky handcut wedges fried until golden brown.

BBQ sauce Made from a mixture of shallots, onions, leeks, carrots, pineapples, rosemary, bay leaves, salt, black pepper, and cinnamon.

Grilled pork ribs Sweet and sticky – just the way they should be!

Sautéed mixed vegetables A mix of fresh garden vegetables.

Chef behind the dish CHEF Oat’s career started at the Grand Hyatt Erawan where he learned his expert skills in cooking traditional Thai food and blending of Western styles. The new rising star continued to shine at the Galleria Hotel and Grand Sukhumvit Hotel Bangkok. Now you may find him creating original Thai food and blending Western at the Ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai. Through June 30, a Thai lunch buffet is open from 11.30am-2.30pm Monday to Friday and an á la carte menu is served daily from 6pm-12am. Ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai. 42 Rambuttri Road, Bangkok. 02 280 5434.



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Gai kua prik – spicy baked chicken Chef Montri Jiratitkankit of Smooth Curry Thai restaurant at Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Méridien Hotel, shares his recipe for spicy marinated baked chicken served with Isaan style sauce ----------------- Ingredients -----------------Seasoning • • • • • • • •

3 tbsp fried garlic 3 tbsp fried onion 3 crispy kaffir lime leaves 5 dried chillis 2 tbsp roasted rice powder 1 tsp chilli powder 1 tbsp lime juice 2 sprigs of coriander

Chicken Marinade • • • • •

800 – 1,000g chicken ¼ cup garlic powder ¼ cup oyster sauce ¼ cup soy sauce ¼ cup brown sugar

-------------------- Method --------------------1. Wash the chicken and leave it out for the excess water to drain. 2. Cover and marinate the chicken for 3-4 hours. 3. Place the chicken in an oven at 180° for 20-30 minutes.

4. Rest the chicken until cool and chop into pieces. Place the chopped chicken into a pot on a low heat and pour the seasoning over. 5. Place the chicken on a plate and top with dried chilli and chopped coriander.

Chef in focus

Chef Montri Jiratitkankit 56


CHEF Montri Jiratitkankit has over 16 years’ experience leading renowned Thai kitchens in Thailand and around the globe. “Cooking Thai food is really an act of love,” he says. “You must prepare everything considerately and with emotion, keeping in mind the pleasure the completed dish is intended to bring. When you summon all your powers to make that possible and the dish goes down well, there’s a tremendous feeling of personal satisfaction and delight.” Smooth Curry. Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Méridien Hotel. 61 Wireless Road, Bangkok. 02 650 8800.

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Dining Out By Morgan Thanarojpradit

Sumi Tei Yakiniku Japanese imperial meat comes to Thailand


IRST opened in November 2014, this Japanese barbecue’s main attraction is the melt-inyour-mouth A5-grade wagyu, the highest ranking of all wagyu and available less than 15% of the total wagyu produced in Japan. This particular wagyu comes from a special breed of cows that are served to imperial family of Japan. Sumi Tei Yakiniku has a wide range of quality meat on offer, from local Thai-French beef to the A5-grade wagyu imported from Japan. Selecting only the prime cuts for Tokusen – a type of wagyu meat characterised by the intense fine marbling and buttery texture – these cuts are then processed using Japanese traditions of high quality wagyu meat to guarantee that every dish served will not disappoint.


The menu is separated into three categories: premium, super premium, and imperial, which include popular cuts like karubi, sirloin, zabuton, and some entrails. Some cuts are in fact so rare that there are a limited amount of dishes the restaurant can serve per day, so if these are what you are after best to request them ahead of time. To get the mood going, start off



The small bar comprises of a selection of soda drinks including White Peach Soda (B110), a selection of sake (B380 per glass), sparkling sake (B980 per bottle), Draft Asahi (B120 per glass), and Suntory Premium Malts Draft beer (B240 per glass), or choose from a choice of Japanese whiskey (B110 per glass) or a selection of wines (starts at B1,280 per bottle).

ATMOSPHERE with a light salad Sanchu Salad (B180) and Namuru Moriawase (B160) – combination of fresh vegetables with delicious Japanese sauce; followed by the signature Imperial Set (B3,980) which comes with thick slices of Tokusen Karubi (ribs), Tokusen Sirloin, Tokusen Rib Rosu (tenderloin), Tokusen Bara (belly) meat. As an alternative, the Imperial Wagyu Suki Set (B2,480) offers thinly sliced Tokusen Sirloin meat to cook it yourself in the secret recipe suki soup that is both full of flavour and aroma. There are only six dishes available per day so reserve if you want to try this menu. However, a must-try is the Royal Tokusen Karubi (B2,480) – A5grade beautifully marbled cut from short ribs. This dish too only has six servings available per day, so make haste when booking!

Sumi Tei Yakiniku prides itself in offering the best quality products and services so the staff is very attentive and friendly. The sizeable dining room is located on the second floor and is dominated by wooden furniture. There are plenty of spaces between tables and the ventilation over the stove is trustworthy so no need to worry much about the smoke fumes. Wooden partitions also offer needed privacy between tables. There are several private rooms that can accommodate groups of up to 18 people with no extra charge. Reservations are needed for these rooms.


Parking available in the J Avenue. Sumi Tei Yakiniku. Thonglor Soi 13, J Avenue Sukhumvit 55. 091 770 7747.

Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

Diageo Moët Hennessy (Thailand) sponsors The St Regis Charity Ball 2017 DIAGEO Moët Hennessy (Thailand) Ltd kicked off its corporate social responsibility programme for 2017 with its sponsorship worth more than B800,000 for the ‘St Regis Charity Ball 2017’, which was held on March 24 at the St Regis Bangkok’s Astor Ballroom. The sponsorship went towards the night’s top prize in support of The Thai Red Cross College of Nursing. The charity gala dinner ultimately raised B7,525,000 in total through the auction.



Dining Out

Le Danang Vietnamese Restaurant Regional Vietnamese classics with a French twist

By Morgan Thanarojpradit


N a city where restaurants come and go with an alarming speed, Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok’s signature Vietnamese restaurant has stood the test of time. Centara Grand Ladprao Bangkok’s award-winning Vietnamese restaurant offers a selection of exotic creations with an emphasis on the natural goodness and nutritional value of the ingredients. The restaurant serves authentic Vietnamese food and while

ATMOSPHERE the French influence is apparent in many dishes served at Le Danang, many dishes are kept true to tradition.


Carefully chosen for the occasion by Chef Suparb Sawansuk, the signature dishes combined Vietnamese and French dining experiences to present a modern taste of Indochina. The dishes included: Xa Lat Qua Bo Voi Thit Cua (B280++) – a combination of fresh avocado salad, aromatic herbs, topped with crab meat; Tom Sot Com Tuoi (B490++) – sautéed prawns in a tangy orange sauce; Ca Tuyet Nuong



Sot Me (B890++) – grilled snow fish with tangy tamarind sauce; Banh Xeo Sai Gon Voi Ga & Tom (B180++) – crispy Saigon rice crêpes filled with minced chicken, fresh prawns, mushrooms and yellow beans; Pho Cuon Voi Cua Bay Chien & Rau Thom (B240++) – a dish of fresh rice spring rolls with crispy soft shell crab and herbs; and Cuu Cot Let Com Rang Nghe (B780++) – ground black peppered lamb and mint cutlet served with seafood garlic fried rice. A buffet menu is also available daily for both lunch and dinner for B800++ per person, excluding beverages.

Featuring French-colonial mansion style decor, the restaurant offers a quiet elegant atmosphere. Greeted by the glass and wood panel announcing the restaurant’s name upon entering, the expectation of all guests are answered with friendly smiles and superb service from the staff.


Parking is available at Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok or the Central Ladprao shopping complex. Le Danang. Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok. 1695 Phaholyothin Road. 02 541 1234 ext 4041.

Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

Introducing Qfresh at the longest table in history THAI Union Group PLC, the global leader of seafood and canned tuna, introduced its first seafood brand, Qfresh, to a gathering of seafood lovers at the ‘Exclusive Seafood Dinner – Long Table’. The brand provides a range of healthy, nutritious foods of the highest quality with pure, natural flavours. The products will be offered online, with convenient multiple payment services and next-day delivery so that consumers can enjoy a wide selection of healthy and chemical-free frozen seafood, ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook meals, and dim sum. Journey the world through TEA 1823 Tea Lounge by Ronnefeldt at Gaysorn, Bangkok (the world’s first luxury Tea Lounge by Ronnefeldt) hosted an afternoon of tea and food pairing, offering guests the chance to experience Ronnefeldt Premium Tea pairing with 1823 degustation menu on March 31. This first ‘Tea and Food Pairing’ kicks off a series of monthly tea tasting events that are scheduled for the following year.



Dining Out


By Kelly Harvey

High-flying Italian-inspired dishes


TALIAN restaurants are plentiful in the Thai capital, but the truly excellent ones are few and far between. Scalini, the Italian restaurant at Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok, is a 1920’s inspired dining room featuring a live kitchen and wine cellar; but what makes it truly memorable is its interactiveness and the experience it offers to guests. Moments after we arrived we were presented with the cheeses and cold cuts of the day and received a lesson on how to properly eat and enjoy the Italian tradition. Scalini also recently announced their poultry-themed promotion, ‘I Believe I Can Fly’, running through May 31. Inspired by Executive Chef Supoj Suwanwong’s favourite song



by R. Kelly, the menu incorporates carefully selected free range poultry served with local organic vegetables. And after the appetite provoking cold cuts and cheeses we couldn’t wait to try the new dishes.


Among the poultry dishes on the limited edition menu are: Come fly with me – organic Pyrenees quail tempura style, baby spinach salad, blueberry sauce, and grain mustard dressing. (B750++); Wish I could fly – risotto Acquerello mantecato with reggiano parmesan 36 months aged, Rougie foie gras, porcini mushrooms, and Barolo wine reduction (B850++); and In the air tonight – roasted organic Bresse pigeon sauteed garden vegetables , white truffle scented creamy polenta, and a porto wine sauce (B1,200++). Other noteworthy dishes available throughout the year are: Bistecca alla Fiolentina – charred grill porterhouse steak Tuscan style, marinated with olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, and ground black pepper and

served with garlic baby spinach, baked potatoes, and fresh lemon (B2800++); Roasted sea bass, saffron fregola sarda, manila clams with a lemon butter sauce (B740++); Boston lobster and blue crab with handcrafted chitarra pasta (B740++); and Slow poached Hokkaido scallops, avocado guacamole, organic tomatoes, cherry vinaigrette, and fresh basil (B640++) Ensuring the interactivity is carried throughout the meal, parmesan risotto is also cooked tableside (B200++). And not forgetting dessert, guests are also offered the choice to learn how to make their own tiramisu, or the waiter will prepare it for you, table-side too of course (B500++).


With its dark woods and dimmed lighting, the passion and sophistication of the 1920’s is accentuated. The venue offers intimate, private dining areas perfect for romantic dates.


Parking is available at the Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok. Scalini. Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok. Sukhumvit Soi 24, Bangkok. 02 620 6666.

Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

Flying high at Scalini THROUGH May 31, Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok’s award-winning modern Italian restaurant Scalini, led by Executive Chef Supoj Suwanwong, will be featuring Italian-inspired poultry dishes inspired by the song ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ by the legendary R. Kelly – Chef Supoj’s favourite singer. Chef Supoj uses only carefully selected free range poultry free of hormones and steroids to create his enticing selection of menu choices served with local organic vegetables.



Dining Out

The Iron Fairies A dusky magical world filled with wrought iron staircases, hidden rooms, and the iron winged figurine creatures that are the bar’s namesake By Morgan Thanarojpradit


NSPIRED by a fairytale book written by the designer, Ashley Sutton, the Iron Fairies, along with several other of his madcap establishments, has achieved local fame. Originally opened in 2010 and moved to its current location in 2013, this moody bar featuring exposed pipes and atmospheric décor is a maze of staircases, hidden rooms, secret doors, and dark alcoves.

While it is still a tight squeeze, the new location offers much-needed breathing room where guests can enjoy the enchanting evening with friends. Tables are hard to come by, even the hidden lone table on the third floor only reachable by the secret door must be reserved.


While the food menu is limited it has gathered fame across the city for taste and quality. The signature dishes include: Fat gut’z beef burger (B370) – homemade beef patty with brie cheese, bacon, tomato, green & red oak lettuce, red onions, and homemade sauce; Tia’s tuna avocado salad (B320) – fresh Saku tuna, avocado, rockets, and homemade salad dressing Iron Fairy’s style; Crispy pork knuckle (B450) – crunchy deep fried pork knuckle served with BBQ



sauce, homemade honey mustard sauce, and Thai-style seafood sauce. The drinks, however, attract people from across the city. The cocktail menu offers excellent selections, while the beers list has a standard choice of Thai and international labels to choose from. Recommended signature drinks include the Smoke in the bottle No. 1 (B330) and No. 2 (B340) of which the ingredients cannot be revealed. Another must-try in all its flaming glory is Absinthe (B380). Also available upon request, bartender’s special ‘personality drinks’ in which you can request the bartender to craft up a drink he thinks will suit you best from looking at you (price may vary).


The live band starts nightly from 9pm onwards playing jazz and soul numbers with many best-loved tracks. The place is known to be packed especially on weekends, so plan to arrive early to enjoy a night in the fairy land.


Parking is available at Homeplace building opposite from Iron Fairies (paid parking). The Iron Fairies. 402 Soi Thonglor (between Thonglor Soi 12 and 14), Bangkok. 099 918 1600.

Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

Carlos Montobbio at UNO MAS IT was a night of fine Spanish food and wine with guest chef Carlos Montobbio of Esquina, Singapore, as the Barcelona-born chef presented an eight course tasting menu to guests at UNO MAS on March 29. Earlier that day, members of the media were treated to an exclusive tasting of what was to come. Among the dishes were: Spanish Nigiri, potato and truffle gratin, Patagonian toothfish ceviche, grilled Spanish octopus, Wagyu beef cheeks, and chocolate served on bread with olive oil caviar.

How we get around … the restaurants and bars visited by The BigChilli last month • Roadhouse • KiSara • Aldo’s Bistro • Chesa • Zanotti • Casa Nostra • Rosso di Sera • The District Grillroom • Le Danang • Sumi Tei Yakiniku • Iron Fairies

• Jamie’s Italian • Scalini • Alex Brasserie • Mondo • Suhring • Issaya Siamese Club • The Commons • W District • The Kitchen • Smalls • J. Boroski

• City Skyline • Beer Belly • Viva 8 • Uncle John’s • Papa’s Fish ‘n Chips • Supanniga Eating Room • Junker and Bar • Roots • Open House



Dining Out

Jamie’s Italian The Italian restaurant group finally comes to Bangkok By Kelly Harvey


HE Italian restaurant group led by British chef Jamie Oliver arrived in Bangkok in late 2016, with the official opening held on November 29. Soon after it launched, much to everyone’s disappointment, the restaurant was slammed with negative comments and poor feedback from customers. Now, after five months in operation, with Alex Barman running the kitchen and Sarah Smith leading the front of house, public opinion has swiftly changed thanks to a drastic improvement in service. As for the prices, much to our delight the Italian restaurant offers modest prices and value for money dishes that can be enjoyed by the whole family.


An Italian restaurant wouldn’t be complete without antipasti. First up was the Classic Meat Plank – fennel salami, mortadella, prosciutto and wagyu bresaola, mini mozzarella, aged pecorino and chilli jam, pickles, olives, and rainbow salad (B1180++); and followed by crispy squid served with garlic aoili (B270++).



As for the pasta, servings come in two sizes and are priced between B260-B360++. The Prawn Linguine is a definite must-try; the dish is from Jamie’s original menu and is found at every Jamie’s Italian throughout the world. This signature dish will set you back B300++ for a single portion and B390++ for a large portion big enough to share.

Among the desserts the Wobbly Panna Cotta (B210++) and the Amalfi Lemon Meringue Cheesecake (B240++) were the clear favourites.


For something on the lighter side, the Classic Super Food Salad – with avocado, roasted beets, mixed pulses and grains, sprouting broccoli, pomegranate and spicy seeds with harissa dressing and ricotta (B360++ or add salmon for an extra B120++). For mains, the Chicken Al Mattone – half a free range marinated chicken with a creamy wild mushroom sauce, lemony rocket and parmesan (B520++).

Although set inside a shopping mall, the restaurant is warm and vibrant. Cured meats and garlic are hung from the ceiling and tinned tomatoes cans can be seen on almost every table, giving Jamie’s Italian that traditional home-style environment feel.


Parking is available at Siam Discovery. Jamie’s Italian. Siam Discovery Ground Floor. 989 Rama I Road, Bangkok. 02 255 5222.

New on the


Hot new restaurants, bars & cafes in Bangkok SOMTAMNUA THE legend of taste recently opened a new branch at Central Embassy. This Isaan food restaurant is known for its authentic Isaan recipes and irresistibly bold flavours that won the hearts of foodies for years. Maintaining the original Isaan flavours, the restaurant is bringing all the Thais and foreigners favourites to the luxurious mall. Central Embassy, 5th floor. 02 119 7777.

Town House at Siam Paragon INTRODUCING an Asian cuisine restaurant with western twist. Town House is a modern Hong Kong bar and café making its debut in Thailand. On offer are Town House signature dishes like Mushroom, kimchi cheese; Hamachi sashimi with green apple wasabi ice and yuzu; Fried dirty duck, potato salad, sambal sauce; Peach & duck salad with vinegar and pine nuts, and many more. The Gourmet Garden, G Floor, Siam Paragon. 02 129 4559.

Papa’s fish ‘n chips THE third restaurant to be opened by the Papa’s Kitchen brand offers traditional fish ‘n chips and the famous homemade burgers. The signature dish is a huge 300g piece of beer battered Pacific line caught cod with double fried chippy chips, thick pea puree and tartare coleslaw. Sukhumvit 23 Road. 02 000 5473. papaskitchenbkk



Dining Out Guest review by

Pacific City Club


HE first visit to Pacific City Club was both rewarding and entertaining. Club President Tom Whitcraft invited 18 colleagues to join the lunch and take in the views of downtown Bangkok with All Seasons Place prominent in the background. Proceedings started with Raventos Blanc de la Finca, a Spanish cava made by methode champenoise, which was very nice, dry and bubbly, accompanied by tasty canapés. Once seated, we found big eye tuna ceviche, octopus terrine, smoked roe, and taramasalata daikon snow which provided a feast for both the eyes and the palate – as said by food spokesman Alex Fisken – and was nicely complemented by Domaine Testut Chablis 2014 (France), yet another great choice from our wine master. We were reminded by wine spokesman Ben Bootle that the winemaker boasted “transporting aromas of green apples, lemon zest, spring flowers, and characteristic flint and chalk notes”; none could be identified but the wine both he and I thought was still a very nice match to the octopus and tuna. Carlos Gaudencio, our chef and an old friend from his days at Le



Normandie, had chosen butternut squash soup, pumpkin seed, and blue cheese as our next dish. Again Alex was pleased by the flavours of the soup. With this came Terlano Pinot Bianco Vorberg 2012 (Italy), a very different wine which did not gain universal approval. James Suckling had promised a wine with full body, tangy and bright acidity, and fabulous fruit flavours; but this did not capture Ben and others’ total appreciation but was deemed by Ben, one hopes in jest, past its best – like the B&B members. Black Angus beef striploin with grilled Mediterranean vegetables, banana shallots mash, and peppercorn sauce proved to be the dish of the day. The loin was very substantial, extremely tasty and one could have faulted perhaps only the limited amount of sauce that came with the

Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy

beef. Alex described the dish as superb. By accident, in our glasses we found Felsina Rancia Chianti Classico Riserva 2009 (Italy) in place of the anticipated Massolino Barolo 2012, but no harm was done; both wines went well with the beef – Ben commended its spicy notes though I personally thought that Parker’s score of 94 for the Chianti was overly generous. Massolino Moscato Asti 2015 (Piedmont) was slipped in between the reds and was most enjoyable. The accompanying dish of fake cappuccino, granite, mousse, aspic, chantilly, and pâte à cigare was beautifully presented but proved a little too much for those who chose to await the arrival of the cheese platter and more of the delicious Massolino Barolo 2012 (Piedmont) – Ben’s choice as best wine of the day

that left him in raptures. Alex who is not normally a sweet-eater went as far as to promise to send his wife to taste the dessert. All were delighted by the huge helping of Stilton and accompanying port, donated by president Tom, and a gorgeously ripe triple cream Brie brought by the chef. Finally, birthday boy Alan Rankin treated us to drafts of malt whisky, a Glenmorangie from Scotland, and his reward came in the form of leading the presentation of compliments and thanks to the management, Chef Carlos, and the very professional and helpful team of servers. As normal, all the wines were selected by the Club. Pacific City Club. Two Pacific Place, 28th – 30th Floor, 142 Sukhumvit Road. 02 653 2450.

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Life should be lived passionately By Morgan Thanarojpradit

After being shanghaied to Costa Rica for two weeks by his uncle when he was 14 years old, Dean Kelly Jr. has made travelling his goal and passion in life



■ A FORMER business development manager for famed night spots like Bed Supperclub, Ku De Ta, and Ce La Vi, Dean Kelly Jr. is well-known in the hospitality scene. Starting a new chapter in life with a new role as entrepreneur, brand ambassadors, a husband, and a father, he said that life is just full of pleasant surprises. His serious travel started in 2001 when he won Mr Panama and Mr International respectively in which he landed a modeling contract in Singapore. That gave him a chance to visit countries in Asia. Thailand was high on his bucket list since he had seen the movie, ‘The Beach’ starred Leo DiCaprio in 1998 and Maya Bay

didn’t fail to take his breath away. Aiming to broaden his horizon even more, he landed a position as an air crew. This is when he really got his mileage in according to his plan. Feeling that he has grown past this chapter in his life, he took a couple of years off and just travel. He visited the Middle East included Dubai, Doha, Yemen, Barcelona, and coming back to Asia, he visited Bangkok and was offered the position at Bed Supperclub and the rest is history, as they say. As for his family, Dean said he’s met Natalie on and off at events and functions throughout the years. “We’ve known each other for 6 years and then the opportunity presented itself and we decided to give it a try.

“We have the same interests, similar passion and visions in life. It’s been a great experience. “It’s only gotten better when Maya arrived. She’s a joy. It’s been a constant learning experience with Maya because there’s really no formula on how to raise a kid or how to take care of them. You work with what you’ve got. “The most important thing is to keep an open mind and be opened to learning new things. We’re learning new things all the time with Maya.”


iscussing his recent projects, Travelbook. co is his current hustle. “It’s all about the experience, the passion, and what kind of legacy you want to leave your next generation,” Dean said. “I want to be able to leave a lasting legacy to my family, to my

daughter, and to the next generations and that’s why I decided to create “My passion is about giving people a memorable experience. Experience is so important to all human beings so how can we take a regular, mundane activity or experience and turn it into a memorable one.

“Social media is good but it’s too disruptive, too distracting. There’s always too many things going on. Timeline doesn’t last. So realising there’s benefits to be offered and to be gained, I came up with an idea to create a travel-centric platform where people can log in and share their travel journal and pictures with everyone. “Travelbook offers that and soon more. The world has become smaller and travelling has become more convenient and more efficient and there’s nothing wrong with sharing your travel stories while being able to earn some revenue at the same time. “It’s still in development but is already in beta testing phase and more and more people are signing on every day.” We are sure to see greater things from this family of brand ambassadors in the future.




The fall, rise and fall again of Thai-owned

Leicester City Fans shun the team and controversy surrounds its management

By Maxmilian Wechsler

From left: Owner of Leicester City Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, ex-coach Claudio Ranieri, and Vichai’s son Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha


HE amazing rise of Leicester City Football Club to win the English Premier League (EPL) last season was one of the biggest sports stories of last year. It was the first time the club had won the league in its 133-year history, and it happened under the ownership of Thai businessman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, Chairman of King Power International Group.



You might think that in footballcrazy Thailand this would be enough to make Leicester ‘Foxes’ the new people’s favourites, but most fans have chosen to stick with Manchester United, Liverpool or Chelsea. The club did generate more support locally during their string of wins at the end of the 2014-2015 season. And it grew stronger during 2015-2016 fairytale season, but support seems to have mostly evaporated in the current

season. There are a number of other reasons for this lack of popularity, including the loyalty of Thai fans to their traditional EPL favourites. But there’s no doubt the behaviour of some team members when the club made a promotional trip to Bangkok in 2015 has something to do with it. Although the offending players involved in a widely publicised sex scandal were promptly released, the damage had been done.

The failure to energise Thai fans can also be chalked up to the firing of the head coach Nigel Pearson and coach Claudio Ranieri. On top of that, there’s the club’s notorious inconsistency. Thai football fans contacted by The BigChilli confirmed that Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea are still the local favourites. Indeed, our unofficial poll shows that the first two clubs are about equally popular, with Chelsea in the third spot. With their long history of achievements – Manchester has won 20 English titles, Liverpool 18, and Chelsea five – it’s easy to see why. For a newcomer in the EPL like the Foxes, it’s hard to break the mould and win over local fans. Although LCFC was established in 1844, its history isn’t terribly impressive. They were virtually unknown in Thailand until the club was bought by Vichai in August 2010.


eicester was relegated from the Championship at the end of the 20072008 season to League One, the third tier of English football. They returned to the Championship in the 2008-2009 season under coach Nigel Pearson. In 2014 the club was promoted to the EPL after a 10-year absence. The team seemed anchored to the bottom of the EPL towards the end of the 2014-2015 season, with relegation back to the Championship appearing inevitable, but thanks to Pearson and an incredible team effort they won seven of their last nine matches and ended up in 14th place. It was short of miraculous, and the club’s star burned even brighter the following season. At the start of the 2015-2016 season, the Foxes were rated 5,0001 to win the title. In the end, they topped the Premier League with 81 points, ten more than second place Arsenal. Leicester’s miracle season reportedly cost the bookies £25 million, the biggest payout and loss in the history of English football. Shortly before the start of the 2016-2017 season, Vichai bought a fleet of 19 royal blue BMW i8s, each costing £104,500, to reward players

Hired fans rehearsing chants

Fleet of BMW i8s

as well as then assistant coach Craig Shakespeare, who was later promoted to the top coaching job. According to the Mirror, the squad used 23 players during the season.

One bad night in Bangkok At the height of their glory, Leicester’s star was tarnished locally because of an incident during the team’s goodwill tour of Thailand in May 2015. Three players were caught on film with a group of prostitutes, but the sexual nature of the clip was less serious than the accompanying racist commentary from one of the players. The incident caused lasting damage to the reputation of the team, especially in Thailand. At the end of May shocking footage was released by The Sunday Mirror showing Nigel Pearson’s son James naked in a Bangkok hotel room cavorting several women. Forward Tom Hopper and goalkeeper Adam Smith are also shown in flagrant. One of the players is heard calling a woman ‘slit eye’.

The clip quickly went viral. The three players issued an apology but were sacked on June 17. Only five weeks after his team’s remarkable turnaround, on June 30 Nigel Pearson also fell on his sword. A club statement said in part: “Regrettably, the club believes that the working relationship between Nigel and board is no longer viable. It has become clear that fundamental differences in perspective exist between us.” Several public relation issues during the 2014-2015 season contributed to Pearson’s falling out of favour with the board even before the dismissal of his son. On December 2, 2014, Pearson was allegedly captured on video using totally inappropriate language at Leicester fans as tempers overheated during a 0-3 at-home defeat to Liverpool. On February 7, 2015, Pearson grabbed Crystal Palace player James McArthur on the touchline near the end of another home game that Leicester lost. Finally, during a post-match news conference at King Power stadium after his team lost to Chelsea 1-3 on April 29, 2015, Pearson launched a much-publicised verbal assault on British journalist Ian Baker, calling him an “ostrich” as well as “stupid” and “daft”.




Victory parade causing traffic congestion


espite Pearson’s mishaps and the incident involving his son, his dismissal shocked many people. Former Leicester and England striker and now sports broadcaster Gary Lineker OBE said: “So, after not only getting Leicester promoted but pulling off the most miraculous escape in Premier League history, Pearson is sacked. Those who run football never cease to amaze me with their stupidity.”

‘Fake fans’ line victory parade route After winning the EPL under new coach Claudio Ranieri, the Foxes returned to Bangkok in May 2016 on a victory tour. As might be expected, the players were on their best behaviour,

but closing city streets for the open-top bus carrying the club owner, players and officials through central Bangkok on Thursday, May 19, didn’t go down well with Bangkok motorists. Many fans were disappointed that stars like Riyad Mahrez, Danny Drinkwater and Jamie Vardy, the club’s top scorer in the 2015-2016 season with 14 goals, didn’t show up in Bangkok. Photos in the Leicester Mercury and other media showed a massive traffic pile-up behind the Leicester bus. The route of the parade was decorated with blue flags and lined with people wearing blue Leicester shirts. There were some discrepancies in the number of fans reportedly on hand for the parade. Headlines in British media said the crowd was in the thousands to cheer the team, which the Guardian called ‘Siamese Foxes’. Leicester goalkeeper, Kasper

Schmeichel, went further and tweeted: “Incredible scenes in Thailand. One million people out to cheer us. We are all so humbled and grateful for your support.” The club’s website added an “s” to “million” in its headline on May 20, 2016: “Millions line streets of Bangkok for Leicester City Champions parade.” The caption under the photo reads: “Leicester City’s place in the hearts of the Thai people was spectacularly displayed on Thursday afternoon as MILLIONS turned out for an open-top bus parade in Bangkok.” Some media reports claimed that fans were recruited by the club, paid and coached on how to welcome the team. A BBC correspondent in Bangkok posted a photo on his Facebook page dated May 19 showing Foxes fans before the parade, with this comment: “Hired cheerleaders rehearsing b4 Leicester parade in Bangkok.” In a May 27 article, The Sun proclaimed: “Fake fans paid to cheer Leicester City during Bangkok

Victory parade route decorated with blue flags and Leicester City banners

VICHAI SRIVADDHANAPRABHA Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha [born Vichai Raksriaksorn Chutmarani], is a Thai businessman and Chairman of King Power International Group, an operator of duty-free shops. In 2009 the company received The Royal Warrant



Garuda emblem from late King Bhumibol Adulyadej which was raised onto the top of King Power’s offices at King Power Complex on Rangnam Road in December 2009. Vichai bought the debt-ridden LCFC for £39 million in 2010 when the

club was struggling in the Championship. On February 10, 2011, Vichai was named the chairman of the LCFC while continuing as owner. His son, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, became the club’s vice-chairman.

victory parade,” with a sub-head reading: “Thai King Power employees paid £10 to attend the parade.” The article goes on to say that thousands of Thais were paid to pose as Leicester City fans and that many there had responded to a social media advert offering 500 baht. According to the article, the hired fans were asked to meet at the Bangkok HQ of King Power, where they were given free club T-shirts and urged to clap and chant during the celebration. Another media source alleged that participation at the parade was mandatory for King Power employees.

Ranieri’s dismissal Since the start of the 2016-2017 season, Leicester’s fortunes have been on a downward spiral. During a televised game on February 12, 2017, the Thai owner was shown shaking his head in disbelief at the miserable performance from his highly paid players. There was plenty of blame to go around, with much of it landing on the shoulders of Ranieri. The club issued a statement on February 7, 2017, designed to “make absolutely clear its unwavering support for its first team manager.” Only 16 days later Ranieri was told he had been dismissed. Club vicechairman Aiyawat Srivaddhanaprabha called it “the most difficult decision we have had to make in nearly seven years since King Power took ownership of Leicester City.” Vichai said that Ranieri’s “warmth, charm and charisma have helped transform perceptions of the club and develop its profile on a global scale.

In December 2013, Vichai wiped out £103 million of club debt and continued to invest in the squad, training ground and stadium, which was renamed King Power Stadium in 2015. Vichai was bestowed the royal surname Srivaddhanaprabha (“Light of Progressive Glory”) by

We will forever be grateful to him for what he has helped us to achieve.” Fans and media voiced support for Ranieri, who in January 2017 was awarded Best FIFA Men’s Coach. He has been portrayed mostly as a good man and good coach who was treated badly by the club and its owner. Football icon Lineker said: “I shed a tear last night for Claudio, for football and for my club … Personally, I think they should be building statues to him, not sacking him.”


anchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who wore Ranieri’s initials on his shirt, said that the Leicester players were “selfish.” He was referring to rumours alleging that some key Foxes players had plotted to get Ranieri removed. Other rumours claimed that someone in the coaching staff or even higher up wanted him out. After learning of his dismissal, Ranieri said his “dream has died”. CNN also reported: “In a statement issued through the League Managers’ Association, Ranieri said: ‘After the euphoria of last season and being

King Bhumibol in 2013. In 2016 Forbes listed Vichai as the 7th wealthiest person in Thailand with a net worth of US$3.3 billion. Estimates have since been revised upward to US$4.3 billion. Vichai’s huge investment in LCFC paid off, mostly because the club took the

crowned Premier League champions all I dreamt of was staying with Leicester City, the club I love, for always. Sadly this was not to be. “No one can ever take away what we together have achieved, and I hope you think about it and smile every day the way I always will,” he added. “It was a time of wonderfulness and happiness that I will never forget. It’s been a pleasure and an honour to be a champion with all of you.” Coached by Shakespeare in the first game after Ranieri’s dismissal on February 27, the team played excellent football defeating Liverpool 3-1 at home. Vardy scored twice. In the “miraculous” transformation, the team won following four EPL matches in a row. Some speculated that certain players had previously been playing badly on purpose to make Ranieri look bad. Maybe the five wins in one go were the proof. What is certain is that the Foxes performances have much improved. Ranieri had kept quiet until he gave an interview with the Sky on April 10. “I can’t believe my players killed me,” he said. “No, no, no. Maybe it was someone behind me. I had a little problem the year before and we won the title. Maybe this year, when we lose, these people will push a little more.” In another interview, the 65-yearold Ranieri refused to identify who was pushing him out. “I don’t want to say who it is. I am a loyal man. What I had to say, I said face to face.” During an interview on BBC Sports website that appeared on April 12, Shakespeare denied having any problems with Ranieri.

EPL title in 2016. AFP news agency reported on March 3 that Leicester City made a pre-tax profit of 705.5 million baht that year. Besides football, Vichai also takes a keen interest in polo, the “sport of kings.” He founded the Thailand Polo Association in August 1998 and owns Bangkok’s VR Polo

Club. He was president of the Ham Polo Club in London between 2008 and 2012 and is a lifetime member of the club.




Horror lives on after deadliest trafďŹ c accident in Thai history Almost 100 people died when a truck driver lost control on New Petchburi Road and highly flammable liquid petroleum gas spilt onto New Petchburi Road By Maxmilian Wechsler





VERY time I drive down Wireless Road and turn right onto New Petchburi Road shivers still go through my spine. Images of people horribly injured, burned beyond recognition, and burning cars and buildings appear in front of my eyes. The intersection was close to ground zero in the deadliest traffic accident in Thai history on September 24, 1990. Just 20 minutes earlier I had passed by, two 20,000-litre tanks of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) tumbled off a tanker truck hired by Siam Gas and spilt their highly flammable contents. Moments later the LPG ignited and the congested inner city area was transformed into a hell on earth. Another reason I have such strong feelings about the incident after all these years is that I knew one of the victims, a young woman who was one of those killed in a woman’s dormitory near the intersection that was completely gutted. A friend of hers told me two days after the disaster that the 21-year-old woman had suffered burns over 70 percent of her body. She refused to tell me the hospital where she had been taken to because she wanted to spare me the experience of seeing her so gravely injured. I can honestly say that in more than four decades in Thailand, nothing has gotten into my mind and stayed there like this tragedy. Anyone who has seen the graphic photos and news footage of the accident scene will understand what I am talking about.

Remembering the fatal night At around 10 pm that Monday night I stopped at the coffee shop of the Siam Hotel on New Petchburi Road to get a bite to eat. Soon after ordering I heard many sirens blaring and went outside the hotel to see what was going on. Numerous fire trucks and other emergency vehicles sped down New Petchburi Road in the direction I had just come from. The television in the coffee shop was turned on, and regular programmes were interrupted with the breaking news that a huge fire was raging on New Petchburi Road, not too far from the hotel. Initial reports said there were many casualties. Before long, news camera teams were on the scene to capture the heart-wrenching images of people who had been burned to death and cars and buildings on fire. For a few days updates on the accident were broadcast regularly on all TV channels. Newspapers and magazines printed horrific photos on their front pages. I vividly remember one photo showing a rescue worker holding the blackened corpse of a burned child in his arms. Another extremely graphic photo showed a completely naked person clothes obviously burned off running away from the inferno.

Scenes of the inferno

opposite side of New Petchburi Road bursting on impact from the tanks was the liquid petroleum gas, which may have been improperly mounted to the truck. The LPG that was spilt on the road ignited and the flames raced like a wind-borne wildfire to consume everything within about 300-metre radius of the truck. Hundreds of firefighters, some called from surrounding districts, converged on the area. They were able to gain some control over the many fires in surrounding within a few hours, but they were still trying

The aftermath

According to witnesses, the tanker truck driven by Sutat Fackaelek, hired by Siam Gas company, exited Srirat expressway and was speeding down the ramp onto New Petchburi Road. The driver tried to beat a traffic light that was already changing to red. In an attempt to avoid traffic coming from his right, Mr Sutat swerved sharply to the left, crashed into a car and then slammed into a building on the

to cool gutted buildings the next day. Teams of emergency workers searched for victims. The firemen worked around the clock and were able to completely extinguish the blazes after almost 24 hours.

Ashes in the aftermath Close to 100 people lost their lives, many of them trapped in vehicles

waiting at the traffic lights or in buildings that went up in flames too quickly to offer any chance of escape. Many of the victims were burned beyond recognition or literally turned to ash. Those who weren’t trapped in their cars tried to run for their lives without knowing which way to go in all the chaos. Some of them died from the burn injuries later in hospitals. Around 120 people were injured, mostly suffering from burns, with some disabled and disfigured forever. The driver, Mr Sutat, also died in the fire. Forensic Institute apparently found traces of alcohol and amphetamines in the blood and urine of the driver. A fortunate few at the scene of the catastrophe survived unscathed. A Thai woman who was driving home from work along New Petchburi Road was stuck at the traffic light at the intersection when disaster struck.



Feature She said that she thought she would die for sure when she saw flames racing toward her car, but instantly got out and started running the other way. Luckily she was able to reach the safe zone beyond the reach of the flames. Her car was completely destroyed. Not surprisingly, her memories of the experience are still vivid 27 years later.

In all, the inferno completely destroyed more than 40 shop houses and other buildings, including the women’s dormitory, along with about 100 slum dwellings. Around 70 cars and motorcycles were destroyed or heavily damaged. The tragedy overwhelmed even the most hardened firefighters and other emergency workers. Most

Burnt shophouses along New Petchburi Road

The tanks after the inferno



ORAWIT Weeraborwornpong is the CEO of Siamgas & Petrochemicals. He was a newcomer on Forbes’ list of Thailand’s richest in September 2009 when he claimed the no.30 spot with a net worth US$ 165 million. In a short background on Mr Worawit, Forbes wrote: “Son of a shophouse owner who sold charcoal, rice, he founded Siam Gas Industries in 1973. Survived tragic setback in 1990 after LPG truck hired by his firm exploded, killing about 90 people. Worawit was convicted of associated carelessness but did not serve time in jail. He gave around $12 million to victims and their families. He also donates to Buddhist temples and enjoys meditation.” In June 2014 Forbes placed Mr Worawit at no.47 on the list, with a net worth of US$ 350 million. His name didn’t appear on the list in the last couple of years but there’s no doubt he remains a very wealthy man. The Bangkok Post published an interview with Mr Worawit in September 2012 in which he was asked to talk about the “ups and downs” of his long and successful career of selling gas in Thailand. His answer made it clear that the events of September 24, 1990, are burned into his mind as well, in large part because of the financial repercussions. “The gas truck explosion on the expressway exit at New Petchburi Road was due to the driver’s imprudence, and the company had to take responsibility for the tragedy,” the Post quotes Mr Worawit, who added: “Before we could get back on our feet, the 1997 Asian financial crisis set in and put the company in debt. “Thai funerals include a rite called ‘phao loak’ [fake lighting of the cremation fire when guests ask for forgiveness from the deceased] before the actual cremation. The gas explosion tragedy can be compared to the fake cremation [of Siamgas], but worse was the financial meltdown, which can be compared to the actual cremation that utterly made me feel like a dead man. “Day after day, I lit joss sticks and prayed at my spirit house. My guardian spirit helped me get a bank loan, which I used to build other businesses, and that was my rebirth. “People wonder how I could have survived such immense crises, which put us to the test whether we have the honesty, the perseverance, the integrity and so on to overcome life’s obstacles. It’s like how the Lord Buddha had to encounter Mara [the evil one] before attaining enlightenment. Whatever the obstacle, we should never give up.”



RECENT LPG TANKER MISHAPS had witnessed devastating fires and traffic accidents, but nothing on this scale. It was one of the deadliest traffic disasters in Thai history and ranks highly on the list of man-made catastrophes. Total property damages were estimated at over 300 million baht, and of course, the human lives lost is incalculable. Thai Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan visited the scene of the tragedy to encourage and show support for the firemen and other rescue workers. A large media contingent looked on as he was briefed on the situation and then inspected the damage. Top police officers and other high-ranking officials were also present. It took a few days for the emergency crews to remove all the bodies and clean up the area. Several electrical transformers had to be restored. The burnt-out cars were taken to nearby Nikhom Makkasan Road and left along the roadside for some days. Curious onlookers walked reverently and quietly past the shells of cars where so many people died. When I went I saw some people openly crying.


HILE there have been a number of explosions and fires involving LPG in various types of vehicles with LPG tanks installed, LPG remains a widely used energy source in Thailand and it is generally viewed as economical and safe. However, the potential for a large-scale disaster involving LPG tanker trucks remains very real, and two recent incidents show that more care and possibly more regulation are needed. The latest incident occurred during the transfer of LPG to a steamroller on Highway 23 in Roi-Et’s Thung Klao Luang district on April 9 of this year. Some gas apparently leaked during the transfer, and some sparks caused an explosion. The fireball was visible from a long distance away. Fortunately, no one was injured, although the tanker truck was destroyed and other vehicles and work site shelters were damaged. On March 23, 2012, a tanker belonging to Siam Gas Co. Ltd. overturned, exploded and caught fire on Pattanakarn 20 Road in Bangkok. Three people were injured, including a man who was treated for serious burns at the Petcharavej Hospital ICU unit. The explosion shattered windows of nearby houses and sent residents fleeing for their lives.


ccording to a hospital source, three Westerners were among the injured. Canadian dentist Peter Gillies, 45, suffered facial burns. His Thai wife was severely burned. American Martin Gruber, 42, and German Klaus Stenhorn, 34, also were severely burned but survived the ordeal. Mr Sutat took most of the blame for the tragedy because of his reckless driving with such a potentially deadly load, but police investigators later discovered that there were no cables or bolts in place to properly secure the two gas tanks to the truck. According to press reports, when the tanks fell off the truck rolling across the road, one of iron cylinders cracked in the process and released part of its contents, which were then ignited by sparks from the crash. The

second cylinder exploded shortly after from the heat, spreading the destruction to the opposite side of the major thoroughfare. It was found that the 20-year-old truck was unlicensed and illegally modified. Officials from the Public Works Department also found that the steel used in the construction of the tanks was not thick enough.

A by-product of the tragedy is that it heightened awareness of the need for insurance on motor vehicles, especially commercial vehicles, to cover all possible legal liabilities involved. Compulsory third party motor insurance has been enforced by the Thai government since 1993. It covers death and injury but not property.




Why Thailand’s been good for first generation Indian businessman Susheel Kumar Saraff It’s a very easy country to live, work, and do business in By Lekha Shankar


HAILAND’s Indian community is involved in all kinds of industries. Most are run by second and third generation Indians, so it’s interesting to meet a first-generation Indian heading a spread of different businesses, managing various social welfare projects, and even winning an award respected by Indian expats across the globe.



Earlier this year, Susheel Kumar Saraff was presented the ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award’ by the President of India. More than 170 leading Indians from around the world were short-listed, but Saraff was the only Indian from Thailand to win this prestigious award. The party Saraff held in Bangkok for the event attracted 60 Indian associations based in the city, along with heads of business organizations,

the Indian Ambassador, as well as some Thai government ministers Saraff has three offices in Bangkok, as well as offices in Hong Kong, India and the US. But as far as he’s concerned, it’s not the money he earns that matters, but the money he spends, to make the world a better place. We met at his office in Silom’s Jewellery Trade Centre Tower.

What brought you to Bangkok?

important for the environment.

came in 1980, as my family wanted me to start a jewellery office here. It’s been so satisfying, that I have not left! We mostly deal with diamonds, but I do coloured stones too.

What are the organisations you are a member of? I was the President of the India-Thai Chamber of Commerce for two terms, a member of the India-Thai Business Council, which takes policy decisions. I’m an Advisor to the Board of Trade for Thailand too.


How is the jeweller y business doing in Thailand? It has its ups and downs, like any other business. The Thai Gems and Jewellery Traders Association has about 1,000 members today. Indians mostly deal with wholesale and manufacturing. In the past, the best jeweller trade shows were held in Bangkok, but now they have moved to Hong Kong. The Thai government recently announced some tax exemptions for the industry, which will definitely help. You went on to create Saraff Global, with many diverse industries. How did this happen? I guess because Thailand is conducive to start many businesses! In 1994, we started the Sinter Plast Thai Company, which makes water tanks and underground tanks for industries all over Thailand. We have two factories in Lopburi province. Then in 2001, we were the first company with BOI status to start a business outsourcing company called Saraff Infotech, which does a lot of accounting for US clients. We also provide IT consultants for the local market in Thailand. My son Vijay Saraff, a tech-expert, handles this venture. In 2003, we started a real estate company Saraff Holding, which is involved in buying, selling, and renting property. Saraff Babycare was started in 2003, but our machinery was damaged during the tsunami, and we closed the company in 2011. In 2006, we started Saraff Energy, which produces bio mass and bio gas for renewable energy. We have two factories in Krabi. Any more companies in the offing? Yes. I plan to start a factory in Kanchanaburi for lead recycling and water recycling. This is very

How does Hinduism helps your business? I find it the most flexible religion. The Vedas are very scientific in approach, but no one explains it like that. Sanskrit has been described by NASA as the most scientific of languages! We have the World Hindu Economic Forum, where we never discuss religion, but plan how we can work together. Look at how the Jewish community runs the top businesses in America and the world!

What are the social and charity projects you are involved with? This takes up 70% of my time today. My main aim is to give back to society, because I’ve gained so much from it. In the 90s, I gave a donation to Ramkhamhaeng University to build community halls in villages. Today, I have a separate budget for charity, and have numerous social and educational projects in India and Thailand. Do you go to India often? At least 15 times a year, mostly to supervise my social and charitable obligations. We provide affordable education to1,400 kids from rural areas in Orissa, where I was born. We support the ‘Ekal’ movement, in India and Thailand – it’s the concept of a single teacher providing education in the rural and tribal areas. What do you think of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi? I admire him. I believe he has done a lot a lot in three years. His recent demonetization initiative was an admirable move to wipe out ‘black’ money. That’s why he won the recent UP state elections with a thumping majority. One has to be tough, to carry out tough measures. How important is this award to you? I don’t work for awards at all, but I’m proud and honoured by this award, as it is given to the best overseas Indians spread across the globe.

You are well-known for the various Hindu festivals celebrated in Bangkok-? Yes, I’m the President of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and try my best to spread the concepts of Hindu Dharma. I’m happy that numerous Thais participate in these too, as I’ve connected with many Thai temples and universities. When we started, we only knew of one Ganesh temple, but since I started the Ganesh Festival in public places like Central World and the National Stadium, we’ve seen a lot of interest about Ganesh in Thailand and a big increase in the number of Ganesh temples and shrines.

How has Thailand contributed to your success? It is a very easy country to live, work, and do business in. The BOI makes it easy for us, and the service-minded people here make it even easier. There is a lot India can learn from Thailand. What is your philosophy in life? Remember the past, live in the present, think of the future. What is the secret of your success? I do a lot of introspection, remain calm in good or bad times, and always aim for peace of mind over everything else. I think I learnt a lot of this from the Thai people.




Eating your way to good health By Phasit Kanasirichainon


OU are what you eat. Food forms a large part of our overall health, helps balance our bodily functions, provides energy, and regulates our system and often preventing sickness. This universal culinary lesson also transcends cultures, and Thailand is no different. The issue is often we think of healthy food as bland and expensive – and equate healthy eating with drastic meal and habit changes. And thus, we sit in a state of paralysis allowing ‘you are what you eat’ to remain an enemy. But it doesn’t have to stay this way. It’s important to think of healthier eating as small steps that lead to greater change. An effective starting point is the oils that we cook with. Olive oil is internationally considered one of the healthiest cooking oil options. What makes it great is its health benefits which allow us to continue enjoying our favourite menu items without radical deviations to lifestyle, or taste. And here are the reasons why: Olive oil can help lower cholesterol Olive oil is naturally cholesterol-free and contains no salt. It is also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, in particular oleic acid which health studies indicate can help maintain normal cholesterol levels, thereby reducing the risk of developing diseases related to high cholesterol. Good source of Antioxidants Antioxidants work by slowing or even preventing the harmful activity of ‘free radicals’ in our bodies. One tablespoon of olive oil provides



Olive oil consumption can lower the risk of diabetes

Olive oil can guard against cardiovascular disease

Diabetes has become a large health issue in Thailand, with more than four million cases in 2015. But olive oil’s abundance of antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress effects that diabetics suffer due to high levels of blood sugar. It, therefore, reduces the risk of diabetes complications, as well as nerve damage caused by diabetes (diabetic neuropathy) and retinal neuropathy. Oleocanthal, a type of natural phenolic compound found in extra-virgin olive oil, acts as antiinflammatory agent. Inflammation is another precursor to many diseases, including chronic inflammation caused by diabetes.

Olive oil has a higher amount of monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) than other vegetable oils. MUFAs are considered a healthy plant-based fat, they help maintain normal cholesterol levels when replacing saturated fats in the diet. This helpful ingredient can also help strengthen blood vessels, protect against Alzheimer’s, lower your risk of heart disease and provide nutrients to help maintain your body’s cells.

The health benefits of replacing your old oil bottle with olive oil are clear. Olive Oil is also versatile and can be utilised at high temperatures (468° F / 242 °C), so you can cook all your favourite Thai dishes, as well as deep fry. Best of all, it provides you the opportunity for healthier living without boredom or huge lifestyle changes. It’s time to make ‘you are what you eat’ our friend once again.

8% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for Vitamin E, which is linked to lessening our cell’s aging process. Likewise, olive oil contains polyphenol, another natural antioxidant not found in any other oil, that has beneficial properties to protect against cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

About the author: Phasit Kanasirichainon is a dietitian and nutrition consultant, health and nutrition lecturer, from the ‘What Did She Eat’ Facebook page. He has studied food, nutrition and health and a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics at the Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Chulalongkorn University.

Expat Women

Eating, living, and learning at Steps with Theera What was once a decrepit townhouse in a quiet soi off Ekkamai, is now a thriving vocational training centre come café dedicated to changing attitudes towards people with special needs




Co-owners: Theeta (Uang) Hotrakitya & Max Simpson

ITH paintbrushes in hand and can-do attitudes, co-founders of Steps with Theera, Max Simpson and Theeta ‘Uang’ Hotrakitya, set to work to transform a delapidated three-story building into what is now a positive environment for people with special needs to learn valuable skills and for the community to learn more about learning disorders. Before opening Steps with Theera, Max was working as a teacher at an

international special needs school in Bangkok, where she became aware of a number of young adult students not progressing further into employment. Max began taking students to Uang’s first coffee shop ‘Theera’ to provide them with training and work experience. Both Max and Uang are incredibly passionate about the cause, with Uang’s young son and Max’s younger brother both diagnosed with autism. In 2016 the two ladies joined forces and opened the doors to their own training centre in September of that year.


he upper floors of the newly renovated townhouse are occupied by the vocational training centre, providing an alternative pathway for ‘trainees’ with special needs to develop life skills and employability and help them move into a work environment. The ground floor is a multi-purpose café serving healthy comfort food suited to all dietary needs – including gluten-free, vegan, and meaty dishes; the café in turn provides a platform for trainees to work and for the community to learn more about people with autism and special needs. The training centre follows an accredited UK training programme that has been adapted to Thai culture. The curriculum teaches life skills and aims to give the trainees independence and ultimately make them employable. Each trainee follows their own individual programme pertaining to their interests, such as art or even computer programming. Throughout their time at the learning centre each trainee creates their own portfolio filled with diary entries, completed tasks, and photos demonstrating their skills and proving that they are capable of working.

Due to cultural taboos in Thailand many children born with special needs are often hidden from society. The lack of awareness of autism and learning disorders also leads to many cases going undiagnosed or ignored as many parents are simply not aware. As a result, the occurrence rate of autism in Thailand is reported to be roughly 1 in 1000 – which is simply impossible. In stark contrast, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US estimates that 1 in 68 children are likely to be diagnosed with autism globally. At the end of 2016, Steps with Theera in conjunction with BBDO Bangkok launched the campaign ‘1 in 68’ to raise awareness about the disease itself, but more importantly, to raise awareness of the capabilities of people diagnosed with autism. Roots Coffee, Café de Tu, Nanyang, If I were a carpenter, and Greyhound Thailand have also joined the cause and agreed to employ graduates and produce and sell products specifically to raise money for the campaign. In a very short period, the Steps with Theera team have already accomplished an incredible amount, but they’re only just warming up. In the next few years they hope to open a coffee shop and bakery at two special needs government schools

in Ubon Ratchathani and Chiang Mai; provide a life skills and employability curriculum in Thai, accredited by ASDAN from the UK; create a culturally sensitive and applicable programme to support disadvantaged young people with special needs; provide accredited training for teachers on the methodology of the programme, how to implement it, how to assess, and how to collect data; and continue to provide ongoing support to trainees and make local links in the community to find employment opportunities for graduates. A new location might also be needed to accommodate the programme’s rapid growth. Steps with Theera offers both fulltime and part-time courses; enrollment is ongoing and students may join at any time. A speech therapist, counsellor, two psychologists, and two job coaches are on hand to assist trainees, while the art and computer programming teachers work on a volunteer basis. In total there are 15 full-time employees, three of which have special needs, as well as 10 full time trainees. The café is open daily from 9am – 6pm and offers 10% discount to all BigChilli readers. 29/8 Ekamai Soi 10 02 381 6590




Expat Women

Expat life getting you down? Professional counselors Anette and Johanna are here to help.

Q I’m overwhelmed and I don’t know what to do Right now, it feels as if everything is too much for me. I have a family and a full time job – but until recently I really enjoyed both those sides of my life. Actually, I loved both my job and my family. And I guess I still do. It’s just that somehow I can’t connect to it right now. I feel so tired all the time. I suppose it all started when we moved to Thailand. I followed my husband, and I agreed to that wholeheartedly. We found a great school for our kids. And I was lucky to get a job in my own field. But what I didn’t realise was how much extra work everything was going to be. It starts with a long commute very early in the morning, much earlier than we are used to, and from then onwards it never stops. At work, long hours are expected, but I feel we are not as productive as we could be. My husband is also struggling, and we have started to snap at each other. I don’t understand it – this was supposed to be an exciting adventure, but right now all I want is go to sleep and stay in bed all the time! What is happening to me? Paula, 42, Switzerland




• 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.

Dear Paula I think I can imagine how confusing it must be to start out on an exciting adventure, only to find that you are now exhausted all the time and can’t really work up any interest in it. It also sounds as if it was a big decision, and of course a big upheaval for your entire family. And as the person who is at the core of that family, holding it together, you are the one who takes most of the stress. And of course it is also possible that there are more personal reasons why the stress gets to you, perhaps more than to others. That doesn’t mean it’s your fault. Adjusting to life in Bangkok is not easy, and if you have to do it under such stress, it may be too much all on its own. And of course, there might also be some sleep deprivation in the mix here. In fact what this sounds like is a possible case of burn-out. Both in your professional life and in your personal life. Could it be, at least partly, connected to the fact that you are trying to so hard to make it work? Could it be connected to the fact that you are prepared to run on empty while you put all your effort into others? Burnout doesn’t mean you are sick. It means that stress has accumulated over time. In your case it probably got a lot worse when you came to Thailand and tried to make it all work here, with the additional stress factors you mention. Now your stress levels are so high that you find it very difficult to switch on the relaxation response in your central nervous system. And that means that you feel depleted and exhausted all the time. What it doesn’t mean is that your decisions were wrong, or that you won’t be able to find your fun and adventurous spirit again. But it does mean that you need to find the worst triggers for your stress, and do something about them. And it also means that you need to find new ways of relaxation and self-care. It would probably be a good idea to see a professional counsellor right now, who can help you find out if there is more going on underneath the current burn-out – it could be an opportunity to work out issues from the past that have been re-activated by your stress overload. The counsellor can also guide you towards selfcare through mindfulness, breathing, creative activities and group meetings. Burn-out needs to be taken seriously because it can, over time, affect your overall health. But it is not a mental illness, and people usually recover very well if they allow time and care for themselves. All the best for you and your family – Thailand is indeed a great adventure and I hope you will enjoy it too!

Q I want to grow up but my mom won’t let me I am 29 years old and I live and work with my mother who is in her fifties, and very healthy. She also has a job. My mother is divorced and has not been in a relationship for the last four years. I dreamed of finding a husband and getting married or of living independently on my own, but whenever I mention something like this to my mother she becomes very angry and starts shouting at me. I feel I cannot keep living like this. She also expects me to give part of my earnings to her, right now at least half of my salary. I feel she doesn’t want me to grow up. She used to have the bank book for my savings account but I managed to get it back a while ago, and now I’m hiding it from her. I want to be independent and have my own life. My mother treats me like a child. She cooks all the time and insists on washing my clothes. If I try to do these things myself, she takes them out of my hands. When I was away from home at university, I lived by myself and I handled my own life, but now I can’t do that any more. I’m very frustrated and I wonder how I could solve this problem without completely disrespecting my mother. She is my mother, and I do want to respect her, but I also want to be an adult and have my own responsibilities and my own life. Nit, 29,Thonburi


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

Dear Angie I know that in Thailand children are expected to ‘care for and assist’ their parents and this is a form of gratitude and respect. But I have also noticed that can cause problems in many families because there don’t seem to be healthy boundaries that make it clear how much is enough. And often, unfortunately, the independence and adulthood of the younger generation is completely overlooked. Some mothers live their lives through their children and they want to be involved in all aspects of their lives, leaving no space for individual decisions. It seems your mother is struggling with this. You may need to think for yourself what kind of boundaries you would like to establish in the relationship with your mother. What would you like to give to her? How much of your time? How much of your money? What does she actually need? Would you like to continue to live with her? And if you do, what do you consider proper compensation for room and board? On the other hand, if you would like to live independently, how would you like to organize that? And when? Make a proper plan and consider the consequences, both emotionally and financially. Prepare the changes you would like to make. When you are ready with your decision and your plan, talk to your mother as calmly as you can. Stick to the facts of your plan and explain your preparations. Your mother may perhaps react angrily. Stay calm, listen and let her vent. Show her that you understand her feelings, but repeat your decision and your point of view in a firm and loving way. It may be very hard not to lose your temper and start accusing your mother, but if you can, try to stay calm and respond like a mature adult. You’ve made you decision, you’ve thought about the consequences. Equally, don’t let yourself be undermined by emotional blackmail, accusations and other obstacles. Stay firm in your decision (it’s your life after all!), but answer your mother with respect and love. If nothing works you could ask another family member, preferably someone your mother respects a lot, for advice and ask if this person would be willing to talk to your mother on your behalf. If, after all these efforts to get your mother to agree to your choice to become independent, your only option may be to go through that powerful and unpleasant conflict and accept that it may take some time for your mother to understand and accept you as an independent adult with her own life. But may well be worth it – after all, your mother left her own mother to live her own independent life. You want nothing more than she did! All the best

NCS Counseling Center provides counseling, coaching and care for people in emotional need. Contact: 02 279 8503,, or send your questions to




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Expat Women

First anello oFFicial store

MINOR Corporation PLC became the sole official distributor of anello in Thailand with the launch of the first anello official store with Spring/ Summer 2017 collection on the first floor at Central World.

Wedding dream package Bangkok international Fashion Week 2017

YOUNG Thai designers and 36 leading fashion brands joined to showcase their creations as part of ‘Bangkok International Fashion Week 2017’ at The Wonder Room at Siam Centre.

CENTARA Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok launched the ‘Wedding Dream Package’ designed for cocktail, Thai and Western buffet, or Chinese set menu style weddings that will create beautiful memories for years to come. Available until the end of December 2017.

pandora spring/summer collection

PANDORA Thailand recently launched the ‘PANDORA SPRING/SUMMER 2017’ collection inspired by the ‘Women’s Positive Energy’ at Central World.



smashBox cosmetics By sephora

INTRODUCING the American makeup brand Smashbox Cosmetics in Thailand. Sephora organised the launch which was attended by beauty bloggers, makeup artists, and celebrities at Sephora Siam Centre.

Diplomats p Meet the people uniting nations

Bernhard Kelkes, First Secretary of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands The Dutch are not just serious about politics, but about economics too.

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Diplomats: Bernhard Kelkes and Martin van Buuren

Dutch Embassy gets serious about business in Thailand Words MAXMILIAN WECHSLER


These days we’re more interested in boosting trade than in politics, say diplomats

N a BigChilli interview published in June 2016, Dutch Ambasador Karel Hartogh emphasised the importance the Netherlands places on strengthening economic ties with Thailand. “We are putting a great deal of energy into economic diplomacy and expanding the mission’s economic team,” said the ambassador. The two Dutch diplomats charged with boosting trade and facilitating business relations are Bernhard Kelkes, first secretary, and Martin van Buuren, second secretary, both of whom recently gave their own interviews.


First Secretary Bernhard Kelkes, who celebrates his 41st birthday this month, joined the Dutch embassy in Bangkok in July 2015. He was previously posted to Hanoi, Vietnam for four years. “The new emphasis on economics is a bit of a shift; in the past we were focused more on politics,” said Mr Kelkes. “But a growing interest from Dutch companies in doing business here prompted the decision to provide more assistance in that area. Besides the ambassador, our economic team consists of Deputy Head of Mission Guillaume Teerling, who also devotes a lot of time to political affairs besides being the Head of the Economic Department; Mr Van Buuren; and myself. We also have four full-time senior local officers working on trade and two trainees.



Mr Kelkes said he spends about 95 percent of his time dealing with economic issues, and finds his job very interesting, partly because economics is always intertwined with politics. “You have to keep this in mind. Otherwise, if you don’t have a clear picture of the political environment you won’t be able to get a good grasp of the state of the economy.” Mr Kelkes gave a brief history of economic cooperation between old Siam and the Netherlands. “It started about four centuries ago with the Dutch United East India Company, which was basically the world’s first limited company. It was a trading company, and they had a trading post in Ayutthaya. Today the Baan Hollanda Museum stands on the site and gives visitors a picture of this part of our shared history. “Dutch relations with Thailand were basically founded on trade, which now, 400 years later, continues to thrive, especially in the past few years. There’s now a steady economic growth in the Netherlands and our companies are looking to grow markets around the world, and ASEAN is definitely a market of high interest. When I was posted to Vietnam it was during the economic crisis in the European Union, and a lot of Dutch companies were retracting. But now, there’s a renewed interest from Dutch companies in ASEAN, and Thailand in particular.”

The Dutch are coming

“Thailand and the Netherlands share a lot of priority sectors, agriculture for example. Thailand is the largest exporter of rice in the world. It might surprise a lot of people to learn that the Netherlands is the second largest agricultural exporter in the world, even though we are a

THAI-DUTCH TRADE OVERVIEW By Bernhard Kelkes IN 2016 the Netherlands remained Thailand’s largest EU investor (US$ 11.4 billion) accounting for 40% of total EU foreign direct investment. While the competitive Dutch fiscal climate often shores up investment statistics, last year’s figures include several Dutch companies which started up in Thailand or expanded their production facilities.

The Netherlands also remained Thailand’s third biggest EU trading partner (Thai exports to the Netherlands, US$ 4.2 billion, Dutch imports in Thailand, US$ 988 million) after Germany and the UK. While the Thai figures show less than a 1% decrease in exports to the Netherlands, the Dutch statistics office (CBS) is more positive, showing an 8.6% increase in imports and 1.9% increase in exports. The Netherlands is the 5th largest EU exporter to Thailand. While Thai exports to the Netherlands increased significantly compared to most other EU member states, Dutch exports to Thailand increased at a much slower pace.

Dutch interest in ASEAN Across the ASEAN region Dutch trade and investment is growing and embassies see a clear increase in the number of requests for support by Dutch companies. Most events focusing on the ASEAN region are well attended by Dutch entrepreneurs. Agriculture continues to be our main sector, but other sectors, such as water, life sciences, energy and the creative industries, are catching up. A recently held survey demonstrated that participating entrepreneurs are very satisfied with our services, grading our services.



would apply. There are a lot of legal queries. “We estimate that around 300 Dutch companies are already here, including big ones like Heineken, Friesland Campina (Foremost), Unilever, Shell and Philips. We are pleased with this large presence. You can see in EU trade and investment figures that the Netherlands is the largest EU investor in Thailand, and we are the 3rd EU trading partner after Germany and the United Kingdom. We are not doing badly for a small country. “The biggest Dutch company in Thailand is Unilever, which employs thousands of workers. Some other major Dutch companies doing business here are NXP or Corbion in Rayong, which is mainly producing plastic out of sugarcane. Royal Vopak is working with PTT in a joint venture with Thai Tank Dutch diplomats and Senior Economic Officer Pantipa Sutdhapanya meet with the Terminal company. Royal Vopak is a very old Bangkok Governor H.E. Aswin Kwanmuang to discuss the Dutch expert water mission Dutch company which last year celebrated its 400th birthday. small country. We can exchange a lot of information on “A number of Dutch companies have been here agricultural practices and technology, and the Netherlands for a very long time, but we now see more new small is already exporting agriculture equipment to help produce and medium-size companies coming to explore the everything from vegetables to beef. There are many other opportunities. Many of these are located in Rayong sectors where we think Dutch companies can play a good Industrial Estate and near Chiang Mai, where we have role in Thailand. some agricultural and high-technology companies.” Mr Kelkes said. ast March 120 Dutch firms participated in two joint trade fairs, VIV Asia and HORTI Asia, held at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre [BITEC]. About 53,000 visitors came during the two-day fair. “Regularly we receive trade delegations from the Netherlands. Individual companies send representatives and we organize meetings for them with potential business partners and government organisations. We have a very close relationship with the BOI and deal with them a lot, for example to learn what kind of incentives they will offer to a Dutch company that wants to open a factory in Thailand. “We also communicate regularly with various Thai ministries. For example, if a Dutch company wants to invest in the energy sector then we will go together with Opening ceremony of the first SPAR food market in Thailand them to the Ministry of Energy to discuss opportunities and see what obstacles need to be dealt with. We have very good relations with other Thai ministries, such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, and also close ties and frequent contacts with specialized Thai agencies such as the Department of Water Resources and Royal Irrigation Department. “We have a lot of what we call ‘trade requests’ from Dutch companies wanting support from the embassy to get established in Thailand. We are seeing a very steep increase in the number of trade requests; it doubles almost every year. Last year we had almost 900 requests for support in Thailand, higher than any other Dutch diplomatic mission in the region. “The companies are interested in information on specific sectors. They ask about the feasibility of selling certain Dutch water experts visit critical water infrastructure products here, or about the rules and regulations which




FTA needed


egarding restrictions against Thailand imposed by the EU after the 2014 coup, Mr Kelkes conceded that this puts restrains on the trade relations, leading to a delay in the start of the negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA). “A Thai-EU FTA would definitely benefit trade and investment on both sides. It would also include the protection of copyrights and patterns. This is very important for Dutch and other European companies when they are looking at different countries in Southeast Asia. Vietnam has an FTA with the EU and so does Singapore. “Many Dutch companies present in Thailand are members of the Netherlands-Thai Chamber of Commerce (NTCC). The office and meeting place is at the embassy. We have a close partnership with the NTCC and collaborate on events and business support. We also use the ambassador’s beautiful residence to host all kinds of business events. The NTCC has over 300 members, not all of them Dutch companies. Thai companies which have business in the Netherlands or want to do business there can apply for membership as well. Another Thai-Dutch business association focuses on smaller companies. “A large number of the CEOs and Managing Directors of Dutch companies based in Thailand are Dutch nationals who reside here. They are generally satisfied with how things are going in Thailand. At the same time we see room for improvement when dealing with red tape and procedures around ownership, taxations, customs and visa. “Thailand is becoming more and more a hub in the region because it has better infrastructure and communications than most other countries. In terms of infrastructure and bureaucracy Singapore comes out on top in comparison with Thailand, but it is very expensive to live there. “Overall, Thailand is very attractive, and the Thai government is taking action to improve the business and investment climate. They are trying to improve the business and investment climate to attract companies to come here, particularly in sectors where new technology is needed, like agriculture and logistics.”

Corporate responsibility and sustainability

Mr Kelkes praised the skills and workmanship of the Thai labour force, and he said that Dutch companies are keen to show that they value their employees. “In general, my feeling is that our companies in Thailand are doing very well as far as the treatment of the workers is concerned. Dutch companies want to keep their workers. They put a lot of effort into training staff, and workers are paid a good salary. Benefits such as health insurance are good as well. We treat workers well and they tend to stay as a result. “Many companies from the Netherlands score very high in corporate social responsibility (CSR) international rankings. We are trying to set an example of how businesses treat their staff. The embassy is very much

involved in promoting a responsible and sustainable business model. By 2050 the world will have nine billion people and we have to find a way to feed them all. At the same time we are facing incredible pressures due to climate change. The ASEAN region is one of the world’s critical regions in terms of climate change effects. We want to promote sustainability within the local business community in order to raise the standard of living, the environment and profitability. “We feel that Thailand needs to get out of the middle income track and develop a more knowledge-based economy. What you see is that a lot of companies in labour intensive industries are slowly moving to other countries in the region where the wages are lower, like Vietnam and Myanmar. If the business climate is not good, then companies may decide not to come here. To avoid this, Thailand has to add value to its economy by attracting more high-technology companies.”


Martin van Buuren, 35, joined the Dutch embassy in Bangkok in 2015. He served the Dutch missions in Prague, Moscow, and Teheran and also participated in the recovery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 at the crash site in eastern Ukraine. The passenger aircraft was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down on July 17, 2014. He is a diplomat with considerable language skills – he can speak fluent Dutch, Czech, English, Russian, German, reasonable Italian, as well as basic Farsi and Thai. “My work on economic and trade issues at the embassy is focused on a number of sectors, but especially the water sector. This includes not only classic water management, including prevention of floods, but also wastewater management. We are also very interested in the maritime industry. In fact we are working on studies which are intended to map opportunities for Dutch cooperation with Thai parties in the waste water and maritime sectors. These will be soon finalised and the findings and recommendations will be presented at various upcoming events. “The decision to create a stronger Dutch presence in the Thai maritime sector, especially regarding shipbuilding and repairing, was made last year. The first step in that direction was organizing a conference in which a large number of Dutch companies participated including some of the most renowned Dutch shipbuilding and repair companies. Thai authorities like the Port Authority, the Martine Department and other agencies were also involved. In addition, representatives participated from the Thai Shipbuilding and Repairing Association, the Marine Department, the Royal Thai Navy and from some large local shipyards. It was a very successful event. As a follow-up a maritime business delegation consisting of several world class Dutch companies will visit shipyards in Thailand this coming May.”



The Dutch are globally recognised for a long history of successful water management, and Mr Van Buuren said his government and the Dutch private sector is eager to share expertise with Thailand. “We are very active here in that field. Last year a delegation of Dutch water experts, specialising in drainage optimisation met with the Bangkok Governor, the Department of Water Resources, the Royal Irrigation Department and other important Thai water management authorities. “It’s no secret that Bangkok’s drainage challenges contribute considerably to periodic flooding. That’s why last year Ambassador Karel Hartogh agreed with the Bangkok Governor and the Director General of the Department of Water Resources to enhance our bilateral cooperation. The Dutch delegation visited several sites in Bangkok and spoke to most of the Thai key stakeholders. We look forward to present the final report of the expert mission to the Bangkok Governor and Director General of the Department of Water Resources in the coming weeks. “In addition we are busy with an upcoming seminar on waste water treatment which is being organised with the Water Institute for Sustainability (falls under the Thai Federation of Industries). There will also be a Dutch company pavilion at the Thai Water Expo at BITEC in June, said Mr Van Buuren. He added that in all these areas his team is trying constantly to support Dutch companies to make them visible in Thailand and find areas of cooperation with Thai companies, Thai authorities and knowledge institutes.

Flood management


r Van Buuren said the Thai government has made good strides in the area of flood management, and the Netherlands stands ready to offer support wherever possible. “There are many factors which contribute to the floods in Thailand. When you look at what has changed after the big floods in 2011 you see that there was already quite a lot investment in flooding infrastructure. In Bangkok a number of water tunnels have been built and some of the dykes have been improved. There has been work done on improving the retention of the water reservoirs to make sure that in the rainy season the water is captured and is kept there. During the floods some of the reservoirs were damaged but some of these have now been repaired. Thailand has solid technical expertise in this area already. “One big way Thailand can optimise its water management is by streamlining and strengthening water governance, mainly the coordination amongst all the players in the flood and water management field. There are now more than 20 institutes dealing with water management in Thailand. The Thai government acknowledges that greater coordination is needed and is working on that. The Water Act currently under consideration will be an important step in this regard. Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha is very serious about tackling water management problems and has been actively promoting cooperation within the government. Ambassador Karel Hartogh has discussed



water management on several occasions with the prime minister. Gen Prayut has indicated that he would very much welcome cooperation with the Netherlands. “Water management is always very complicated. There are many reasons why floods occur. In Thailand key factors are the magnitude of the water runoff from the North, high tide, drainage issues, and rainfall amounts, in a given period of time, which can often be unexpectedly high in some areas. Infrastructure has as much to do with flooding as the weather conditions and other factors mentioned. Water management is in the veins and genes of the Dutch. We are helping many countries, including the United States, in New Orleans, Louisiana. We have worked with Myanmar on flooding in the Mekong Delta, which is an annual problem. We try to help to find the right system to prevent these kinds of floods. We hope that we can make our expertise available to the Thai institutions and assist them in the field of drainage and flood prevention. The Thai government has its own water management experts, and many of them are alumni of Dutch universities and institutes. There are quite a few Thai officials who studied in the Netherlands, had training there or have cooperated with Dutch experts in the past. An excellent basis to enhance our bilateral cooperation in this field.”

Thinking big

In closing, Mr Van Buuren said there are other areas in the maritime sector besides shipbuilding and repairing that hold good opportunities to develop, and the Dutch are more than willing to lend a hand. Chief among these are deep-sea ports, including dredging. “Rotterdam is the biggest port in Europe. We have the expertise to plan and develop such a project under what is called the ‘landlord model’. Basically this means that the port authority acts as the regulatory body and as a landlord, while port operations (especially cargo handling) are carried out by private companies. This kind of port model has been implemented in many places around the world, including in Hong Kong and Singapore. “Logistics is the key. The Netherlands is known as the ‘gateway to Europe’, meaning it’s an important logistical hub for the rest of Europe. Thailand is developing in the same way as a gateway for ASEAN. There is tremendous potential and we would like to collaborate. “The potential for cooperation between the Netherlands and Thailand is huge. Both our economies have had their challenges in the last few years, but it’s very likely that things will be improving in the future. “Another area where cooperation makes good sense is the energy sector, both oil and gas and renewable energy. The embassy can help show Dutch companies what Thailand has to offer – explore the markets and consider what the Dutch government can do to help support our businesses. But in the end it is up to the companies to decide whether or not to invest here. Obviously there is already a lot of interest, but we think there are things the Thai government could and should do to create a better business atmosphere and make Thailand even more attractive for Dutch companies.”


p Last month’s best events in pictures



Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Alex Brasserie Restaurant & Bar

RECENTLY launched on Suhumvit Soi 11 is Alex Brasserie – a fun and innovative Brasserie establishment. Managed by French chef Arnaud Drouvillé, the brasserie serves a combination of fusion Mediterranean and French repertoire.



amBar Pool Party Songkran Fest 2017

GUESTS enjoyed crazy, splashy good vibes with great music from special DJs while disappearing into the foam with great drinks and good food during the amBar Pool Party Songkran Fest 2017.



Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Metropole grand opening

CEO and Founder of Fico Group of Companies, Krit Srichawla, with Ascott’s Country General Manager for Thailand, Jean Keijdener, launched Metropole – the first property under The Crest Collection label in Asia.



Bacardi Top Bartender 2017

BACARDI (Thailand) Co., Ltd. proudly announced Hideyuki Saito from Bronx Liquid Parlour as the winner for the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition 2017 Thailand.

TheBigChilli 101

Social|Last Month’s Best Events

The Confrerie du Sabre d’Or 2017

THE Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok recently held ‘The Confrerie du Sabre d’Or 2017’ to celebrate the noble art of sabrage with the Thai chapter of The Confrerie du Sabre d’Or.



Exclusive experience at Townhouse, Siam Paragon CEO of Gaia Group, David Cheung, and Executive of Siam Paragon, Mayuree Chaipromprasith, launched the new high-end restaurant Townhouse at The Gourmet Garden, G oor, Siam Paragon.

TheBigChilli 103

Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Asian Beach Polo Championship

INTERCONTINENTAL Hua Hin Resort recently hosted the Asian Beach Polo Championship 2017, a charity competition benefitting the Nabha Foundation under the initiative of HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha.



Old Pulteney single malt launched

HILTON Sukhumvit Bangkok recently hosted an Old Pulteney single malt Scotch whisky tasting session at Mondo in partnership with ThaiBev – one of Asia’s largest beverage producers.

TheBigChilli 105

Social|Last Month’s Best Events

Green Wonderland garden party

GUESTS enjoyed special Jack Daniel’s cocktail shaken by Thailand 2016 Masters Winner of Marie Brizard’s Best Mixologist – Phaothong Monkongwongcharoen – at Pathumwan Princess hotel.

Celebrating the first ‘Marconi’ flagship store

DECO 2000 Co., Ltd. – the importer of the world’s leading high-end stereo sound systems – recently hosted a grand opening celebration for Marconi’s first flagship store in Thailand on 4th floor of Central Embassy.



‘Himmapan Avatar’ performance at Show DC

CHAIRMAN of Show DC Corp., Ltd. in partnership with CMO PCL invested over B800 million to produce the ‘Himmapan Avatar’ – the first 360-degree all-dimension fantasy live show at Show DC.

Open House co-living space

OPEN House, a new co-living space concept recently launched on 6th floor of Central Embassy, is offering a new and happy habitat for creators, designers, foodies, and families alike.

TheBigChilli 107

Social|Last Month’s Best Events

13th World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony

TOURISM Authority of Thailand in collaboration with Phra Nakorn Si Ayutthaya Province, Fine Arts Department, Kru Muay Thai Association, Thai Martial Art Institute Association, World Muay Thai Association, and Professional Boxing Association of Thailand, hosted a Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony with Buakaw Banchamek performing the Wai Kru Ram Muay at Nai Kanom Tom shrine.

HABITO Dogs Bark N Yard

HABITO Retail Mall recently held ‘HABITO Dogs Bark N Yard’, the ultimate activity for dog lovers to spend quality time with their pet friends. Highlightsincluded the Dog Charity Run and Thailand’s first Dog Lounge. 108


American Whiskey and Food Duo

MASTER Distiller, Steven T. Bashore presented a seminar about American bourbon and whiskey production coupled with a demonstration of three new cocktails from a guest bartender coupled with food pairing.

Michael Schulz’s 60th birthday celebration

THE main organiser, Graham Brain, together with Thomas and Rene from Chesa restaurant created a wonderful brunch with 50 friends of Michael Schulz to celebrate his 60th birthday. It was a great fun day with good company and excellent food and wines. TheBigChilli 109

Social|Last Month’s Best Events food capitals’

new partnership

FOOD Capitals PCL partnered with G Enterprise & Co., Ltd. to enhance and modify the food and drink menus, entertainment and artistic focus in bars and restaurants under the Food Capitals umbrella.

siwilai city

club launched

INTRODUCING the new concept of community hubs for culture seekers; where ocean meets the sky in the heart of Bangkok at Siwilai City Club located on 5th floor, Central Embassy.


launched in thailand

MONDE Nissin Corporation recently launched the Quorn brand in Thailand for the first time after it has acquired the global-leading meat-free protein brand from the UK.

J Jetrin’s

exclusive Mini-concert

under arMour

CENTARA Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok welcomed Jetrin Wattanasin, a talented Thai singer and performer, at his exclusive mini-concert at the Lobby Lounge of the hotel.

test of will 2017


proMote faMily attractions

MÖVENPICK Siam Hotel Pattaya partnered with local partners to promote an impressive range of activities highlighting quality experiences on offer for families within easy reach of Bangkok.



TRIPLE Pte Ltd, exclusive distributor of Under Armour in Southeast Asia, recently presided at the opening of National Heats of Test of Will 2017, Asia’s most advanced urban fitness challenge at Mega Bangna.



MUSEUM Siam recently introduced the ‘Museum Destination’, a campaign to upgrade the standards of museums in Thailand to become modern learning centres and educational hubs in ASEAN.

Hua Hin

01 Family promotion at Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa 02 Mojito Fever at Radisson Blu Hua Hin 03 Hyatt Regency Hua Hin promotion 04 Culinary classics at Dusit Thani Hua Hin 05 Friday specials at Luna La Pran 06 Summer seafood at Marrakesh Hua Hin 07 New brand and new levels of luxury

COMPASS Hospitality unveiled its  luxury brand with the opening of Ananda Hua Hin Resort & Spa, featuring a collection of elite private beachfront pool villas that will set a new high watermark for privacy and exclusivity in the royal destination. 032 898 989.

01 HUA Hin Marriott Resort & Spa is  offering the ‘Happy Families’ promotion


inclusive of daily buffet breakfast plus all meals free for up to two children under 12 years old when dining with their parents. 096 858 4420.

07 HYATT Regency Hua Hin and The  Barai are offering a ‘Pay for 2, Stay for 3

Nights’ promotion from now until June 30, 2017. 032 521 234.


ENJOY unlimited pizza and pasta for  B690 per person at Luna La Pran, Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas. Available from 6.30pm-10pm. 032 708 000.

05 06

04 ENJOY this summer with a mojito –  one of the most famous drinks that quench the thirst and cool the body. A special offer is available daily at the Ivy Restaurant and Ivy Lounge throughout May 2017. 032 421 777.



THE Dusit Thani Culinary Classics  series resumes with the Pro Musica

Quartet for a night of musical and dining bliss at Dusit Thani Hua Hin. Ticket prices starte at B500 per person. The concert will be held on Friday, May 12, 2017. 032 520 009 ext 2013.

TASTE five must-try seasonal seafood  dishes. Prices start from B450++ per dish at Al Hamra restaurant, Marrakesh Hua Hin Resort & Spa. Available from 11am10pm daily. 032 616 777.

Hua Hin

Iconic Aof at Sheraton Hua Hin GUESTS danced their bootys off to Aof’s hit tracks and sweat all night long with DJs at ICONIC AOF concert at Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa

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Phuket Marriott Resort and Spa Phuket, Nai Yang Beach

ENJOY the new ‘Upgrade Your Stay in Paradise!’ promotion and receive a free upgrade to the next Premium room category when booking stays of three nights or more. 076 625 555.

Spa Cenvaree at Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok

UNTIL June 30, Spa Cenvaree at Centara Grand Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok is offering an exclusive 60-minute ‘Hai Muea’ package designed to alleviate muscle tension and strains for only B1,500 per person. The ‘Hai Muea’ spa treatment is a muscle relief created by master therapists, combining deep tissue and Swedish massage and stretching techniques to relax tired back shoulder and neck muscles. 02 541 1234 ext 4292 or 4567.

Mates’ Rates Friends or Family visiting Thailand? Let them know about these deals

The Escape Hotel Khao Yai  THE Escape Hotel Khao Yai is currently offering the comprehensive ‘Cycling & Leisure’ package that covers all the needs of cyclists. The package incorporates a special promotion on room rates, activities for cyclists plus the whole host of necessary amenities that are guaranteed to make your cycling trip more enjoyable and memorable than any other trips. The package includes a stay in a Deluxe room with breakfast for two persons and is priced at B3,500 per room/night for weekdays (Sunday to Thursday) and only B4,000 per room/night for weekends (Friday and Saturday). 092 823 2590.

Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld

LIFESTYLES ON 26 is currently offering several membership promotions: purchase a group membership for B38,000 and receive a 5% discount, a group of three people will also receive one month free; or purchase an off peak membership (9am-5pm) for B25,000. 02 100 6299.

Thanyapura Spa at Thanyapura Health & Sports Resort

THE renowned health and sports orientated resort recently unveiled the upgraded 37-room Garden Wing and a new Health & Wellness concept inviting guests to lead healthy lifestyles through customised programmes designed to optimise one’s wellbeing. The upgrade includes guest rooms and suites, the Library, the Teaching Hall, and Khun Khao restaurant.

Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15

FEEL confident knowing that you will always get the best available rate at Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15. If you do find a lower published rate prior to, or within 24 hours of booking your room, simply submit an online Best Rate Guarantee Claim to hotel and they’ll honour the lower rate.

TO celebrate the Garden’s Wing’s launch, Thanyapura is offering the ‘4Day, 3-Night Detox Package’ starting from B33,950 per person or B58,350 for two persons, available for stays through October 31. The itinerary includes: three nights’ stay in a Garden Wing; round trip airport transfer; Thanyapura welcome gift; mindfully-prepared meals in plantbased nutrition programme; one medical consultation; one nutrition consultation; one health and wellness consultation; one colon hydrotherapy; one abdominal massage; daily well-being talks, group yoga classes, group meditation and mind training classes, and oil pulling; and complimentary use of 50m Olympic-sized or the 25m training pools and access to infrared sauna room. Use the promotional code “GARDENWING” when booking.

076 336 000.

02 309 3000.

076 336 000.

Thanyapura Health & Sports Resort



Radisson Blu Hua Hin welcomed Domestic MICE RADISSON Blu Resort Hua Hin recently welcomed a group of Domestic MICE to the Vibrant Journey to Hua Hin, organised by Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB).

Uno Mas comes to Hua Hin CENTARA Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin welcomed Chef Joan Tanya Dot – Chef de Cuisine of Uno Mas Restaurant at Centara Grand Central World Bangkok – to COAST Beach Club & Bistro who showcased an array of tapas, live Paella cooking, and succulent roasted pork.

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01 RAMAYANA Water Park Pattaya – the  biggest and best water park in Thailand – celebrated Songkran with a great ‘Wet Songkran Party’. 033 005 929.

01 Ramayana Water Park celebrates Songkran 02 Holiday Inn Pattaya CSR 03 Hilton Pattaya celebrates Earth Hour 02


HILTON Pattaya celebrated Earth  Hour 2017 from 8.30-9.30pm on Saturday,

March 25, 2017. The hotel took action to conserve energy and raise awareness of climate change, joining a global initiative that is open to Hilton’s more than 4,900 properties across 104 countries and territories. 038 253 000.

HOLIDAY Inn Pattaya organised a  corporate social responsibility activity at

the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Abuse Centre to support the social development and well-being of Pattaya’s community. 038 725 555.



Interview with Mark HamillStewart Commodore of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club


EET the new Commodore of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club under Royal Patronage. The Royal Varuna Yacht Club was founded by HSH Bhisadej Rajani and Mr Walter J. Meyer in 1957 and other members. His Majesty the Late King Bhumibhol Adulyadej and Princess Ubolratana, both keen sailors, regularly sailed at Royal Varuna Yacht Club. Unprecedented, they both achieved first place and won Gold Medals at the 1967 South-East Asia Peninsular Games.



Mark was born in Portsmouth, England in 1959. Child of a navalmilitary family, he was introduced to sailing at age eight, while plying the frigid waters of Chichester Harbour in the south of England. He is married to Annabel who, along with their three children: Lewis; George and Siri, currently reside in UK. Mark first arrived in Asia as a 21-year-old bank employee and has since held positions in such diverse locales such as Hong Kong, Solomon Islands, Taiwan, Thailand (early 80’s), UAE and France. In 2001 he established a recruitment agency in Bangkok, having returned to

Thailand three years prior, and today it is among the country’s leading companies of its kind. He has been a member of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club under Royal Patronage since 2000. Throughout his membership Mark has been active in club administration, contributing his time and considerable knowledge in various areas from 2006 until now. Mark represents a new flagship of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, and continues to promote the sport of sailing both in Thailand and worldwide. In past years, he has also lent his experience as a treasurer to Phuket Kings Cup Regattas, Asia’s premier

boating event, and is a Thailand committee member for the upcoming Optimist World Championship, slated for July 2017. With his passion for sailing, Mark can be found at the club every spare weekend. Equally accomplished in racing and cruising, he also values the social aspects of club membership.

Can you share with us about The Royal Varuna Yacht Club?


he Royal Varuna Yacht Club (RVYC) is the premier sailing club and centre of dinghy sailing in Thailand. We are a Not-For-Profit Association with a constitutional mandate to Promote Sailing in Thailand. Right now, we have about 500 members; it is a family oriented club for sailors of all abilities, from the uninitiated to serious racers. The club offers a year-round sailing program with cruising and racing. The club also offers sailing tuition for adults, in its extensive sailing program under Royal Yachting Association accreditation from the UK.

How do you see the future of Pattaya City? Pattaya will in time become a family destination for sports events as it already has a large number of sports such as horse riding, golf, cycling, marathon runs, motor racing, jet skiing and sailing. The government is certainly trying to achieve this ambition. Last year, the Royal Varuna Yacht Club has had more than 10,000 people coming for sailing courses and sailing events. Sailing is booming and many adults have now discovered this adventure sport for their children and even for themselves on a weekend escape from work and school.

What does the Commodore sees as the future of sailing in Thailand? RVYC is the nearest sailing facility to Suvarnabhumi Airport and Bangkok. In Thailand, there has been a growing

interest in sailing activities among the international and Thai schools and there is a constant flow of schools coming to train at our club. I feel this is because it is becoming better known that sailing teaches life skills such as self-confidence, leadership, teamwork, and appreciation of nature. As a result, there is a growing appreciation of sailing in Thailand. Also, many corporates and embassies use our sailing facilities for training. Recently the US Embassy hosted a sailing event for employees. We are now running a busy schedule

during weekdays and weekends for competitive youth sailors, international school extra-curricular programmes and regular training for both Thais and expats. On an international level, we are often approached to bid for hosting international sailing events. The Royal Varuna Yacht Club has been organising the Phuket Kings Cup for 30 years which has grown to be one of the largest sailing events in Asia. In July this year the Royal Varuna Yacht Club is hosting the Optimist sailing dinghy World Championships. With close to 300 competitors from more than 60 countries, this will be a fantastic showcase to the whole world for sailing in Thailand. Thailand is one of the world’s greatest tourist destinations and sailing, in all its forms, should play a growing part of this valuable industry. At the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, I am very fortunate to be Commodore of one of the most active sailing clubs in the world where the winds are good and the water warm, resulting in competitive and social sailing which takes place throughout the year. This, combined with the traditional Thai hospitality, makes the club undoubtedly one of the best sailing clubs in the world.

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Funky Molam Live at Hard Rock Café Pattaya HARD Rock Café Pattaya celebrated the Thai New Year with the internationally acclaimed Paradise Bangkok Molam International Band and their funky Molam sounds on Wednesday, April 12.

World class entertainment at Pattaya CENTRAL Pattaya PCL, a leading Thai shopping centre company, together with Laser Games Asia Ltd recently launched the LAZGAM Laser Games at Central Festival Pattaya Beach.




BeatsNBites on the beach at Pullman Pattaya Hotel G THE Beach Club Restaurant at Pullman Pattaya Hotel G hosted the ‘No Show’ BeatsNBites night featuring a selection of exclusive wine by Wine Pro on the beach.

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