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Publisher’s blog

Motorcycles behind those shocking statistics?

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hailand now has the dubious distinction of having the most number of people killed in road accidents. In 2016 fatalities reached a shocking 22,356 – almost 3,000 more than 2015 when 19,479 died roadside. Now it’s been reported that 2017 will surpass 2016 by almost 2,500. That’s 61 deaths every day on Thailand’s roads. And that’s only those who are killed at the scene of an accident. These statistics are a national disaster – and a disgrace. What they don’t show, however, is the type of vehicles involved in the accidents. We’re not told, for example, how many motorcycles or private saloons were implicated. Ditto for trucks, buses and even bicycles. The only vehicles singled out are minivans, which are well known as potential death traps because of the recklessness of their unskilled drivers. And yet minivans will probably account for less than 300 deaths this year. So, what’s behind all these fatal accidents? A good bet would be motorcycles, simply because of the utter irresponsibility of so many riders. Let’s face it, despite rules and regulations, most motorcyclists exceed speed limits by a huge margin; they’re risk-takers, weaving in and out of traffic; many do not wear crash helmets; and multiple passengers, including babies and youngster without helmets, is typical. So too is riding a motorcycle while talking on a mobile or even texting. These people are a menace to themselves and, much more worryingly, they’re a life-threatening danger to the rest of us. The police have been apparently instructed to reduce the number and frequency of traffic checkpoints. This is not a good idea. Motorcyclists must know they are being watched by the cops. Otherwise, they become an even greater danger. And they should also be targeted by police motorcyclists on constant patrol on our roads. In the wrong hands, motorcycles are death traps. And they have to be controlled. Maybe then, those grim statistics might not look so bad.

Violence on TV

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hai TV ‘soaps’ seem to follow the same formula: beautiful people, grand mansions and huge gardens, expensive cars, a love triangle or two, deviousness, arguments, shouting, screaming, a hospital scene and lots of tears. One more thing – violence. TV murders are rare, but face slapping and an assortment of body blows are often included. No one gets seriously hurt, but it is violence, whichever way you look at it. Does it matter? Yes, of course. TV audiences are influenced by what they see. And even though most soaps go out after kids’ bedtime, their trailers, complete with clips of scenes containing violence can be

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seen throughout the day. Meanwhile, images of young boys and girls in the real world fighting each other, sometimes very violently, are now a regular item on social media. Could there be a link?

On a cricket tour to Malaysia

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he other weekend, I joined a cricket tour to Malaysia arranged by the Royal Bangkok Sports Club. My colleagues were to a man of Indian or Pakistani descent. I was the only European. Our opponents from the beautiful Penang Sports Club were mostly Indian or Pakistani. Not for a moment did I feel like an outsider. Matches on Saturday and Sunday were played in the traditional cricket way, competitively but fairly and in good spirit. The results were less important than participation. The hospitality of our hosts was outstanding, with lunches, tea breaks and buckets of beer. They also put on a splendid dinner, which again followed cricketing traditions with speeches (in English, not for my benefit but as the common language), prizes for the best players, endless back-slapping and wonderful camaraderie. The goodwill generated between the two clubs cannot be overstated. And I, as the only European, was overwhelmed by the generosity of the occasion and happy to be part of it. Over the years I’ve been on scores of rugby, football, squash and cricket tours. All followed the same format. This latest outing was one of the best. I’m proud that the origin of these tours in Southeast Asia can be traced back to British expats who lived here many decades ago. I’m also proud that my Indian and Pakistani teammates in Thailand and Malaysia continue this ‘touring’ tradition with the same enthusiasm and gusto as those original players. Britain’s colonial past has been singled for some heavy but questionable criticism on Facebook recently. On this cricket tour at least, I witnessed first hand a positive British influence (there are many others) in this part of the world that has stood the test of time and continues to give lots of non-Brits considerable pleasure. And long may it last.


PUBLISHER Colin Hastings editorbigchilli@gmail.com MANAGING EDITOR Morgan Thanarojpradit morganbigchilli@gmail.com EDITOR Nina Hastings ninabigchilli@gmail.com SALES & MARKETING MANAGER Rojjana Rungrattwatchai sendtorose@gmail.com ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Thana Pongsaskulchoti thanabigchilli@gmail.com ACCOUNTING MANAGER Saranya Choeyjanya fatcatbigchilli@gmail.com ACCOUNTING ASSISTANT Janjira Silapapairson janbigchilli@gmail.com ART & PRODUCTION Arthawit Pundrikapa, Jaran Lakkanawat PHOTOGRAPHY JL & AP CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Drew McCreadie, Maxmilian Wechsler, Kelly Iverson, Joseph Henry

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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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Publisher’s blog

Second-hand condo bargains

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ne of life’s great inevitabilities is the never-ending rise in property prices. In prime areas of Bangkok, the cost of land is nudging towards a staggering two million baht per square wa, while condominiums now go for 200,000 to 300,000 per square metre – and considerably more for penthouses. Developers and real estate agents are constantly urging us to jump on the bandwagon and buy now before these prices increase again. It’s a great investment, they assure us. They may be right about the inexorable rise in prices for land and condominiums. But are they correct about them being good investments? My experience with condominiums suggests they’re not entirely right (land is a different story). Try selling a second-hand unit, even in one of the most prestigious developments in a popular area of Bangkok, and you’ll quickly discover that the resale price of a five-year-old condo may well be less than its original purchase price. To make matters worse, and extremely vexing, the square metre cost of a new condo a short walk away may be double or more than what you may be lucky enough to get for your second-hand unit. So, buying a condo is palpably not a good investment. It makes sense only in terms of avoiding those constantly rising prices by buying now. But the return on the resale compared to the money invested is bound to disappoint. Why are second-hand condos such poor investments? There are many factors but first and foremost, banks are generally not keen to lend on old properties, especially as they work hand-in-hand with developers of new projects. Many first-time buyers are inexperienced and gravitate to new projects rather than explore the possibilities offered by the resale market. Which is a shame because there are some great deals out there. Then there’s the preference, especially strong amongst locals, to buy a place that no one else has ever occupied. Land, of course, is a completely different issue. Prime plots always hold their value, and in fact can be relied on to increase in value, and therefore are easy to sell. Meanwhile, Bangkok is left with countless thousands of second-hand condos that are an investment disaster for many owners and a bargain-in-waiting for a lucky few.

Rude immigration officials

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mmigration officers are the first people visitors to Thailand encounter, so you’d think they would be encouraged to put on a friendly face and show how they appreciate someone ready to spend money here. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case. And visitors do notice. When a burly officer at Don Muang recently barked out orders for new arrivals queuing for the immigration desks to “get in line”, an Asian lady took offence. She reprimanded him in English, shouting out so others could hear that he was rude and his manners were bad. She also told him (incorrectly, as it turns out) that “this is a democratic country and not a military dictatorship.” The officer, a towering man probably still in his 20s, was unmoved and with the intensity of an army officer continued to glare at the lady. She then told him she was going to report him, which, I’m pleased to say she did, though I somehow doubt anything will come of it. Government officials need a lesson in courtesy and good manners, not only when dealing with foreigners and tourists, but to their fellow citizens as well.

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News

Convent Road revival as time runs out for Molly Malone’s Exciting new bars and restaurants, led by Brasserie 9, light up the area

■ THE Convent Road area of Bangkok is undergoing a mini-renaissance with the launch of a wine bar, cigar lounge and several exciting restaurants, including one that’s surely destined to have a major impact on the city’s dining scene. Topping the list of new openings is Brasserie 9, a lavish restaurant housed in a beautiful extended and partially converted twostorey residence on Soi Piphat at the Sathorn end of Convent. Serving fine French cuisine, this stunning venue features a series of classically decorated rooms, oyster and wine bar, and a cigar bar, capable of accommodating more than

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one hundred customers. It’s owned and managed by Bangkok Air Catering, which operates another Brasserie 9 at Asiatique open-air mall on Charoen Krung Road. Convent Road newcomer Kika Kitchen & Bar, located opposite Bangkok Nursing Home, is basing its concept on a traditional Spanish tavern, with diners sharing small plates. Kika’s creators are the same team behind Quince Eatery, Birds and Oskar Bistro, three of Bangkok’s most successful restaurants, including Chefs Julien Lavigne and Joel Chinaski. Vespers, which opened on Convent Road two years ago, has undergone an

interesting transformation, with the original restaurant being split into two separate sections – Via Maris, a restaurant serving Mediterranean food, and Vespers, a wine and cocktail bar. Indigo, an established and popular French restaurant on Convent Road, is converting its upstairs area into a cigar lounge serving craft beers and wine. It’s seen as a

arguably Bangkok’s most authentic Irish pub and restaurant. For almost 20 years, Molly has been a popular haunt for the city’s expat community. But it will be demolished in April 2018, along with the entire Sivadon Building on the corner of Convent and Silom to make way for a new head office of the Minor Group. The pub’s owners have yet to find a new location.

way of accommodating an increase in customers. Regulars in Convent Road, which links Silom to Sathorn, have been lamenting the closure next year of Molly Malone’s,

Bangkok Air Catering says that any future Brasserie 9s will be set up in independent locations. “We don’t want to be in shopping malls,” said a spokesman.


News

TAT launches Amazing Thailand Year ■ WATCH out for the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s latest campaign to boost the local travel industry. Named ‘Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018,’ this year-long project includes unique Thai local experiences and international events. In the spotlight are sports, gastronomy, maritime, wedding and honeymoon, medical and wellness, community-based green tourism. Highlights also include MICE, trade fairs, B2B marketing activity and logistics. Among several notable events is the first International MotoGP Superbike race at the Buri Ram International Racing Circuit in October 2018. “Amazing Thailand Tourism Year 2018 is an amalgamation of events that are held here every year combined with some new events, all contained in a gift set,” Mr Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Deputy Governor for Policy and Planning, said. Mr Chattan went on to speak about the responsibilities of his department: “Before the TAT implements any marketing activities, my team formulates a roadmap on how to move over the current year and the next five years. Our work is based on marketing intelligence from bodies

The TAT is reported to have contributed US$4.1 million towards the first Michelin Guide for Thailand, due to be published this month. According to Mr Chattan, this sum covers a five-year period with an understanding that after that period, Michelin will find its sponsors to continue the project. “The guide will promote Bangkok as a culinary destination. With its star ratings, the guide will help to raise standards. Other restaurants will upgrade, and the winner will be consumers.” Only Bangkok will be covered in the first issue. “There is no guarantee that any restaurant will be awarded a Michelin,” Mr Chattan added. “Also, like everybody else, the TAT won’t know the results until the guide’s launch on December 6. “We know the guide has its detractors, but we also think the benefits will outweigh any criticism.”

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like the World Tourism Organization (WTO) and World Travel and Tourism Council (WTCC) as well as research and surveys from focus groups in the private sector in Thailand and overseas.”

Through our marketing activities, TAT tries to disperse tourists more - so they don’t visit destinations that are already jam-packed.

Is your department given targets? If so, how are they achieved?

With more people visiting Thailand every year, we obviously need far more workers to run tourist-related businesses. At the moment, we don’t have enough properly trained personnel. So we’re seeing an increase in workers from ASEAN, but we must develop more home-grown talent.

This is done in two ways for the big picture. First, we have KPIs (key performance indicators) that we have to meet. Then there is revenue - this is the overarching target. In the past it was arrivals. Targeting revenue is the correct approach, I believe.

Are you close to reaching your revenue target this year? So far, it’s ok, but reaching revenue targets is getting increasingly hard because our base is already very large. We’re also facing tough competition primarily from ASEAN countries, as well as Japan and Taiwan because of their free visa policies. There are other mitigating circumstances like economic conditions.

What are you doing to improve revenue per arrival? Our strategy is to target the middle and upper end of the market. If we can attract these tourists, the lower end will come.

Do you work closely with the private sector? Most certainly - we can’t do it without them. They own the hotels, the travel agencies and related businesses. We meet with them all the time and listen to what they have to say. Right now, they have concerns like OTAs (online travel agents) and the impact of Airbnb on the market. Last month, the TAT joined a big delegation from the private sector at the World Travel Mart in London.

What else can the TAT do to help the private sector?

Any other challenges?

Which areas of Thailand offer the greatest potential for growth? Northern Thailand is still relatively undersold. Its linkage with China and Laos offers great opportunities. But any new destination has to be ready with manpower, property facilities and signage. We can only drive the marketing. The challenge is not to over-develop these new destinations. They’ve got to retain their local charm.

Do you work closely with TAT’s overseas offices, and how are their budgets fixed? Yes, indeed. There are currently about 30 TAT overseas offices – and two more are soon to open in Toronto and Sãu Paulo. Their budgets are determined by their mission and what they’ve accomplished.

What’s your take on key issues like pollution and security? The TAT doesn’t have laws and regulations. We can only create awareness. A concerted effort is required to ensure a destination is clean, safe and aesthetically pleasing. When it comes to safety and security, we leave it mostly to the overseas offices to issue warnings. We issue fact sheets only when there’s an excellent reason, such as visitor guidelines for the recent Royal cremation.


RIVER CITY BANGKOK SOUTHEAST ASIA’S PREMIER ARTS AND ANTIQUES CENTRE

In 2017, Bangkok was for the second consecutive year named the most popular city worldwide for international tourists. For arts and antiques lovers visiting this exotic capital city, River City Bangkok is a priority destination. Ubiquitous shopping malls may now dot the Bangkok landscape, but the recently renovated River City Bangkok alone continues to offer visitors an entirely unique shopping, cultural and lifestyle experience.


Here you will find more than 80 contemporary art and antiques galleries selling works of art from Thailand and across Asia, as well as RCB Auctions, one of the leading auction houses in Asia. Auctions are held bi-monthly, including three Grand Auctions in April, August and December. First centre of its kind and in scale, many antique shops have been housed here for over 30 years. But River City Bangkok offers so much more: fine dining and exhibitions, seminars on all art forms, history and culture and art-house movies. It is truly the art and cultural hub of Bangkok, as well as the starting point for luxury leisure and dinner cruises on the magical Chao Phraya River, a highlight of any visit.


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10 great things to see and do in Bangkok & beyond …

THE HOT LIST

By Morgan Thanarojpradit and Kelly Iverson

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01 Through the Lens of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Until January 7, 2018 Main gallery, ninth floor, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre THE Bangkok Art and Culture Centre Foundation, together with the Royal Photographic Society of Thailand, invites you to the exhibition, “Through the Lens of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.” It is part of the “In Remembrance of H M King Bhumibol: The Supreme Artist” project, which was created to recognise the late king’s remarkable artistic talent and his royal grace as a Thai art patron. Entrance is free. www.bacc.or.th

02 Woo Fest featuring Tyga and more December 7 Sugar Club

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BANGKOK’S premier urban music festival is back and bringing American rapper Tyga with it. Pegboard Nerds, DeeJay RayRay, MYRNE and more special guests will be joining Tyga for the live hip-hop performance on Thursday, December 7 at Sugar Club on Sukhumvit Soi 11. Regular tickets are B990 and VIP tickets are available, as well. The show starts at 7pm. www.facebook.com/WooFestBKK

03 Hugo comes to jam at Jam Factory December 9 The Jam Factory HUGO is back, this time at The Jam Factory. The English singer and songwriter spent the majority of his life in Thailand before joining the music scene with his psychedelic, rock and folk sound. He is most famous for his cover of Jay-Z’s song ‘99 Problems.’ The show is

in collaboration with SangSom Experience, who will be providing drinks throughout the evening. It will be from 7-9.30pm and will end with a chill set by DJ Jirus. www.facebook.com/ events/482417585462878

04 MAYA Music Festival

December 10 MAYA Space, Horseshoe Point, Pattaya MAYA Music Festival is happening again on December 10, 2017, at MAYA Space, Horseshoe Point (New Venue), Pattaya, Thailand. www.mayamusicfestival.com

05 Shawn Mendes Illuminate World Tour 2017

December 11 Impact Arena THIS month, get ready for 18-year-old Shawn Mendes to take Bangkok by storm on his Illuminate World Tour at Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani.


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06 Performative Art Festival at BACC

December 12-17 THE Art Festival at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre welcomed some amazing performances by both local and international artists this year. The highlights of December is Something Missing, showing from December 12-17 by B-floor Theatre & Theatre Momggol. www.bacc.or.th

07 Wonderfruit Music Festival

December 14-17 The Fields at Siam Country Club, Pattaya FEATURING the best food,

music, workshops and more is Wonderfruit. This highly anticipated music festival first launched in 2014 and has been a huge hit ever since. This year, the four-day festival will feature artists including Roots Manuva, Richie Hawtin, Yeasayer, Wild Beasts and many more. There will also be world-class speakers, renowned chefs like Gaggan Anand, wellness experts and more valued individuals coming to highlight and showcase their areas of expertise. Tickets at the door range from B4,800-6,300 for adults. www.wonderfruitfestival.com

08 White Party Bangkok - Xtreme Edition December 28-31 CentralWorld

THIS four-day music festival is back and more extreme than ever. From December 28-31, ZEN Gallery and GMM Live House in CentralWorld will be transformed into the biggest LGBT new year festival: White Party Bangkok. The festival will feature both international and regional DJs all night long. Tickets are B6,000 and the doors open at 7pm and close at 3am. www.ticketmelon.com/event/ wpbkk

09 Foster The People Live in Bangkok January 28 Moonstar Studio No.8 LOS Angeles band, Foster The People, will be playing live in Bangkok on Sunday, January 28 before making their way to Manila on their latest tour. The indie pop band is best known for

their hit ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ and just recently released their newest album, ‘Sacred Hearts Club’ in July 2017. Doors will open at 8pm and tickets are B2,600. www.ticketmelon.com/event/ fosterthepeople

10 TRANSMISSION : The Spirit of the Warrior

March 17, 2018 AFTER the massive Asia debut in March 2017, Transmission Festival Bangkok will return in 2018! Experience a new epic, audiovisual experience with music lovers from all over Thailand, Asia and beyond. Prepare for the biggest indoor festival which will be at BITEC Bangna Hall 99-100. www.facebook.com/ groups/686296558194344

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More time studying does not automatically lead to a better outcome. Brighton College UK illustrated this when they stopped their Saturday school program to give their pupils a full weekend and, contrary to expectations, their results improved. They are now the top performing co-educational school in the UK. The curriculum at Brighton College Bangkok is designed to be delivered in the allocated time at school and not overburdening children with tutoring which can lead to confusion and frustration. Giving a child time to play and enjoy their childhood will have positive effects on their learning. This was reported by Christina Hinton from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, who examined the

interplay of happiness, motivation and success. She found that happiness was positively associated with intrinsic motivation as well as with an improvement in GPA scores. Brighton College Bangkok firmly believes in establishing strong partnerships with parents so that they can stay connected to their children’s education. Mrs Robitaille explains that, “a balanced childhood is also one where parents take an interest in their child’s learning, discussing

their days with them, sharing relevant experiences, visiting museums and galleries and playing sports together. By showing your children what it means to be a life-long learner, they develop the self-motivation to love learning and the self-confidence to try new things. Some of the most meaningful learning experiences happen through trying, failing, amending and trying again.” While no one denies that academic success is critical, it is also the role of teachers and schools to ensure that children are happy. Pupils need opportunities to follow their interests, explore new things and to establish supportive relationships. Not only will these have a positive impact on a child’s well-being, but they will also make academic achievement and success in adulthood all the more likely. www.brightoncollege.ac.th

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Insight

profile FULL NAME: JEFF AMATO AGE: 46 BIRTHPLACE: ST LOUIS, MISSOURI, USA FAMILY: MY FATHER, BIG SAL, A PROFESSIONAL GAMBLER (CURRENTLY BANNED FROM ALL LAS VEGAS CASINOS) MY SWEETHEART, AMY AND MY BOYS, RICKY BOBBY AND VINCENZO PERSONALITY: DULL TIME IN THAILAND: 14 YEARS BEST FRIENDS IN THAILAND: DARREN WHITE, CEO OF COFFEE WORLD, FRISO KOOPMANS, HEAD OF SEO MARKETING FOR HOTELQUICKLY.COM AND GREG CONDON, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF FRANK KNIGHT THAILAND WHAT MADE YOU RELOCATE TO BANGKOK: I HAVE BEEN TRAVELING TO SOUTHEAST ASIA FOR BUSINESS SINCE 1996 AND ALWAYS STOPPED OFF IN BANGKOK FOR HOLIDAYS. MY COMPANY PRODUCED THE 1998 ASIAN GAMES IN THAILAND AND I HAVE LOVED THE PLACE EVER SINCE FIRST JOB: BUSKIN ASPHALT WORKED ON THE ROAD CREW AND DROVE THE DUMP TRUCK WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO OPEN A TANNING SALON IN THAILAND: MYSELF AND MANY OF MY FRIENDS OWN BARS AND CLUBS IN BANGKOK, WORKING LATE HOURS WITH NO CHANCE TO GRAB ANY SUN. WE WERE A PRETTY PALE LOT. WITH NO LUCK FINDING A TANNING SALON, I DECIDED TO OPEN ONE MYSELF THE HARDEST PART ABOUT BEING A BUSINESS OWNER HERE: KEEPING UP WITH THE REGULATIONS FOR IMPORT PERMITS AND CUSTOMS AND BEING FLEXIBLE AND AGREEABLE WITH ANY AND ALL REQUESTS ON

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COMPLIANCE ISSUES HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE TANNING BUSINESS IN A COUNTRY WHERE MANY WANT WHITER SKIN: WE FIRST TESTED THE MARKET BY SETTING UP A ‘COMING SOON’ LANDING PAGE FOR BKKSUN TANNING. IN LESS THAN 18 MONTHS, 5,000 PEOPLE HAD SIGNED UP FOR GRAND OPENING SPECIALS, SO WE KNEW WE HAD A DECENT MARKET IF WE COULD IMPORT THE EQUIPMENT WHERE DO YOU IMPORT YOUR EQUIPMENT FROM: ALL OF OUR SUNBEDS ARE MANUFACTURED IN THE USA BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT IN THAILAND: FINDING A WOOL TURTLENECK SWEATER IN BANGKOK DURING THE ANNUAL APRIL COLD SNAP BIGGEST OBSTACLE: LIFE/ WORK BALANCE, AND THE WORK PART WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING: I AM AN AVID FOOTBALL FAN. I PLAY IN AN EXPAT LEAGUE AND GET TO THE PUB FOR THE WEEKEND EPL MATCHES. WE ARE ALSO BIG FANS OF PATTAYA UNITED FC AND BURIRAM UNITED FC AND GO TO AS MANY MATCHES AS POSSIBLE. FONDEST MEMORY HERE: DISCOVERING BUDWEISER BEER AT VILLA MARKET PLANS FOR THE FUTURE WITH THE SALON: WE ARE LOOKING AT NEW LOCATIONS IN SILOM AND KHAO SAN WITH A TARGET LAUNCH OF 2018 BEST AND WORST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED: BEST: NICE TAN! WORST: PALE IS NOT A GOOD LOOK FOR YOU! WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL: MY DAD, BIG SAL MOST SIGNIFICANT TIME OF YOUR CAREER: WINNING THE LOTTERY WHEN I OPENED BKKSUN TANNING STUDIO IN THONGLOR WHAT’S YOUR SUPER POWER: ABILITY TO GIVE PEOPLE A STUNNING, SEXY GOLDEN TAN ‘INDOORS’ BEST ADVICE EVER RECEIVED: YOU SHOULD OPEN A TANNING SALON IN THAILAND (DAD AGAIN)! ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO ADD: TO QUOTE PLATO, “THE ONLY TIME I EVER REFUSED A DRINK WAS BECAUSE I DID NOT UNDERSTAND THE QUESTION.”

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ALL NEW STILL UNIQUE NOW OPEN

THE SUKHOTHAI BANGKOK South Sathorn Road, Bangkok +66 (0) 2344 8888 www.sukhothai.com


Travel

Hotel of the month

Chantra Khiri Chalet Chiang Mai A blissfully calm and laid-back hotel in the Lanna kingdom

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HE year is coming to a close, and a new beginning is looming on the horizon. Take some time off before the new year and indulge in the exotic culture of Northern Thailand while soaking in the breathtaking views of Chiang Mai’s evergreen mountaintops. Relax in the arms of Mother Nature at the newly opened Chantra Khiri Chiang Mai. The hotel is a small yet luxurious venue. Located on HangdongSamoeng Road, the boutique resort is only 24 kilometres from the Chiang Mai International Airport and 45 minutes from the city centre. The resort features five barn house villas with Northern Thai heritage accents throughout. There are also 14 rooms with five different Lanna-colonial designs. Each room comes with all the comfort, facilities and amenities one could ever need for a perfect and luxurious getaway in addition to an exceptional Thai hospitality experience. Available to all guests is an outdoor pool with panoramic views of Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. There is also an exclusive spa on-site as well

as the Chantra Khiri, an all-day dining Thai-Lanna restaurant. The Chantra Khiri sits adjacent the outdoor swimming pool and features floor-to-ceiling windows with indoor and outdoor terrace seating arrangements. Guests can enjoy authentic Northern dishes amidst the delightful ambience and sweeping views of the mountains. Guests can also choose to enjoy tea with the view. The afternoon tea set includes an assortment of savouries and sweets accompanied by the hotel’s ‘Tea-Kari’ tea and is available from 1-4pm daily (B650 net per set for two persons). Chantra Khiri Chalet Chiang Mai is celebrating its grand opening with a special promotional rate starting at B5,000 net per room per night for a stay from now until February 28, 2018 (blackout dates applied). Chantra Khiri Chalet Chiang Mai. 052 010 155-6. www.chantrakhirichalet.com


Insight

Amara Bangkok An exclusive chat with hipster, general manager of Amara Bangkok, Viranat ‘Vern’ Silananda ■ HAVING moved to the US when he was only five years old, Viranat ‘Vern’ Silananda spent most of his time abroad before returning to Thailand. His first experience with the hospitality industry was when he was looking for a parttime job to support himself while going through school, and he finally landed a job as a dishwasher at a hotel when he was 15 years old. He was exposed to other aspects of

the hospitality industry and has been hooked ever since. The highlight of his career came when he was made a general manager when he was 26. He was one of the youngest and most successful people amongst his peers. “In my experience, the most enjoyable aspect of working as a general manager is to help my colleagues to develop and become successful in their roles. The difficult aspect is the human resources, because those working in the hotel industry tend to switch jobs quite often, so finding and keeping people is always a challenge.” Following the footsteps of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, he consistently applies commitment and compassion to his management style. Amara Bangkok “Amara Bangkok sets itself apart from other competitors by offering highly personalised services catering to the individual guest. “The hotel aims to create a unique experience for the customers. It is essential to instil in our staff that every moment matters when it comes to creating an unforgettable experience for our guests. “The highlight of Amara Bangkok, other than the excellent service, is the Aka Aza Bar and the Infinity Sky Pool. However, the Element restaurant is also unique. We offer a weekly, fun Hipster Friday where guests can enjoy an array of delicious dishes and cocktails while having fun with their friends and colleagues.” Amara Bangkok is aiming for more improvements in the future. “We are looking to promote more midscale wellness and lifestyle events going forward since the health trend is the new big thing in Thailand and Southeast Asia. We want to show people that it is possible to eat and drink healthily and still have a lot of fun.” When asked what he likes to do when he is not busy working, Vern said that he prefers to do nothing at all and just relax. “As I’m always giving my time to everyone around me, when I’m not busy, I like to take back time for myself. I’d go to the gym, meditate and read so that I can reset my body and mind and be ready for the next day.” Amara Bangkok. 180/1 Surawong Road, Sipraya, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500. 02 021 8888. bangkok.amarahotels.com

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Day 3: Doi Suthep to Doi Pui 1,800 metres The last run was on the highest mountain and at the doorstep of Chiang Mai. Starting from behind the Chiang Mai Zoo, we passed Wat Pah Lat monastery to start a steep trail climb up to Wat Doi Suthep, which is 900 metres above sea level. It was impressive to see how wild and beautiful the trails were just 15 minutes from the city centre. Behind the tourist-ridden temple, a hidden gem of a path took us to the top of the mountain at 1,650 metres. area surrounded by greenery and wooden houses nestled amongst the mountainside. For the second part of the day, Sebastien warned us that a jungle river section would be rife with leeches, so we must never stop moving (I was the only runner to end up with a leech and a bloodied sock). After running all day, we rounded a corner to the sight of a beautiful waterfall, and like a group of kids, we enjoyed playing in the water. The final leg of the trip was an 800-metre climb that led us to our home for the night: a charming Lahu village called Huay Kub Kab. We ate and slept in a large communal bamboo hut. We had run over 30 kilometres. Day 2: Doi Pha Sam Liam, Doi Pakhia Summits and Chiang Dao - 2,200 metres On the second day, we began a long run down winding dirt roads, and the

atmosphere more alpine. I practised using my new running poles. It was awkward at first, but I got used to them quickly and just in time for some steep climbing and technical downhill sections. We began tackling the first of two 1,600-metre summits. Reaching the top of Doi Pha Sam Liam was only possible by the narrow goat paths along steep drops, but the view alone was worth it. After a quick break, we embarked on our last but long downhill trek. Climbing the second peak (Doi Pakhia), I could not help but think about how beautiful Northern Thailand is. At the top, we ran into pine forests and passed over part of the massive mountain of Chiang Dao. By the end of the run, we had covered 31 kilometres and over 2,200 metres of elevation. It was time to head back to Chiang Mai for a hot shower and a good night’s sleep in a real bed.

Standing at the top and eastern side of Doi Pui, the view over the valley of Chiang Mai is panoramic and imposing. On the west side, as far as we could see, it was an endless vista of green elevation. We enjoyed coffee in a Hmong village before tackling the last kilometres down the mountain to the final Hmong village and the ride back to the hotel. Tired but satisfied, I thought about the people I met during the trip. I flew back to Bangkok vowing that Chiang Mai had become my second home.

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Humour

The fall of the mighty, the rise of the new

By Drew McCreadie

■ THERE is, especially in the world of big-name comics, a power dynamic at work within the comedy community: one that is highly influenced by success, fame and celebrity. The recent fall from grace of Louis CK, whose chronic treatment of his own body like a single-ride carnival in front of an audience of unimpressed spectators, is an example of the dynamic at play in an industry where each performer works both for themselves and for the industry as a whole.

of the audience. Yet secretly (or perhaps, notso-secretly) each performer wants to out-do the others; perhaps they even want the others to fail (ever so slightly) but not so completely that the entire show and the generosity of the audience is destroyed by their incompetence. Each performer wants their own performance to be remembered as the highlight of the show. They want both the laughs and the fame, and if that means others need to fail a bit, then so be it.

This month at the Comedy Club Bangkok Dec 1 - Stand-up comedy showcase with Justin Heyes (UK) Justin Heyes, joined by Matt Long (USA), a veteran from the Taiwan comedy scene, will be in Bangkok for the first time. Ticket prices are B250 in advance or B350 at the door with drink specials. Dec 8 - Bangkok improv comedy Audience-fueled suggestions as made famous by ‘Whose line is it anyway?,’ ‘Theatresports,’ and ‘The Second City.’ Ticket prices are B400 in advance or B500 at the door with drink specials. Dec 15 - Stand-up comedy showcase with Nate Eubanks (USA) From five-star hotels in Qatar, art galleries in Johannesburg, garages in Chicago and finally clubs in Sydney, Nate brings the laughs to every audience. Ticket prices are B250 in advance or B350 at the door with drink specials. Dec 16, 17 - Stand-up comedy with Sorabh Pant The latest of the greatest Indian comics is coming to the Comedy Club Bangkok. Ticket prices are B600 in advance at bit.ly/ SorabhPantBKK or B800 at the door with drink specials. Dec 22 - Bangkok improv comedy Audience-fueled suggestions as made famous by 'Whose line is it anyway?,' 'Theatresports' and 'The Second City.' Ticket prices are B400 in advance or B500 at the door with drink specials. The Comedy Club Bangkok, Sukhumvit 33/1 (above The Royal Oak Pub) comedyclubbangkok.com

In the industry, camaraderie and competition play a delicate balancing game, the fulcrum of which is the damaged psyches of individuals who, for whatever sociopathic reason, want to stand up in front of a group of strangers and tell stories. They risk the possibility of shame and public humiliation for the promised reward of a few, meagre laughs. Stand-up comedy is a weird world. The entire industry is perfectly captured by the microcosm of the extremes of a single stand-up comedy show. Each performer is part of a greater whole: the show. The success of a show relies on each stand-up performing their part skilfully and to the pleasure and delight

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Having celebrity status and success does something to people. We have all heard the expression that, “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” but when talking about comedians, absolute power is rarely in the mix. The leader of the free world may currently be a clown, but that is an aberration; clowns rarely hold much power. That does not mean they are powerless, however. Fame is a valued commodity in the entertainment industry, and it gives a comedian power. It makes it easier to get the next job, and often makes the job easier once it is obtained. An audience in front of a famous comedian, for example, is more likely to laugh

than an audience seeing an equally skilled comedian who is unknown. “He or she is famous, so they must be good,” an audience to a famous comedian unconsciously tells themselves. The disgrace brought on the whole community by Bill Cosby and Louis CK (and whoever else is brought down between the time this is written and published) has likely destroyed the careers of individual comics, and damaged the industry as a whole. That being said, it has also provided opportunities for others to shine. As big-name comic bombs, it is time for the lesser-known ones to ‘wow’ an audience. These are exciting days, wherein new names will be given the opportunity to share their talents with a wider audience. Let us just hope that in the excitement of the opportunities, up-and-comers are able to express their excitement … with their pants on.


New on the

scene

Hot new restaurants, bars & cafes in Bangkok

‘FOODTOPIA’ Community opens in Thonglor

FOODIES, rejoice, as ‘FOODTOPIA’ Community opens in Thonglor Soi 10. The venue will boast of ten concept restaurants featuring East meets West cuisine in hopes of being an international food community mall in the capital. The ten featured restaurants include Smokin Patty for the meat lovers, Osteria (Italian), Sea Truffles Seafood Bar and many more featuring cuisine from all corners of the globe. This new community is a great place to hangout, eat and enjoy the company of other like-minded diners in a cool, new space. 02 391 8580. facebook.com/FoodtopiaBKK

James Cheese

JAMES Cheese Back Ribs, a wellknown Korean restaurant with more than 200 locations worldwide recently launched its first franchise in Bangkok. The new restaurant is located on sixth floor of CentralWorld. The modern dining space is decorated in contrasting yellow and black. The signature menu includes grilled salmon salad, kimchi pork ribs, Tok Pok Ki carbonara bacon cheese and the all-time favourite: ribs and dips. 02 089 2341. facebook.com/jamescheeseth

Jua

BOASTING impeccably prepared izakaya-style skewers and an impressive sake collection, Jua is a creation of chef Chet Adkins, previously a member of the chef team at the old Ku De Ta. This Charoenkrung restaurant offers a concise menu that is also walletfriendly including the bacon-wrapped asparagus, tender chicken wings topped with kampot pepper powder, grilled banana prawns and much more. 061 558 7689. facebook.com/juabangkok

KIKA Kitchen and Bar

KIKA Kitchen and Bar is a passion project from the successful team behind Oskar Bistro, Birds Rotisserie and Quince Eatery. Bangkok’s newest dining venue is following the tapas trends where friends can enjoy numerous dishes in a casual setting at a local taverna. Established architect and partner Frédérique (Frédo) Guillouet has transformed the former cafe into an intimate theatre where the ingredients and daily rotation of small plates take centre stage. Only the freshest ingredients will be sourced from local and sustainable purveyors, as well. 081 346 1328. kika-kitchen-bar.com

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Festive hampers at DEAN & DELUCA AVAILABLE NOW UNTIL OUT OF STOCK DEAN & DELUCA invites Bangkok to celebrate the festive season with their adorable gift hampers. The iconic brand from New York is impressing visitors once again, this time with their exclusive and unique gift hampers prepared by their gifting experts. Possible additions to a hamper include chocolates, biscuits and cookies, tea, coffee and more. The hampers come in two different sizes and are either red or green. 02 023 1616. www.deandeluca.com

Delicious hampers by Pullman Bangkok Hotel G AVAILABLE NOW UNTIL JANUARY 2018 PULLMAN Bangkok Hotel G brings festive season offerings to all. Enjoy a very special Christmas and New Year celebration at available venues at the hotel while picking out your favourite Christmas hampers with delectable treats like white chocolate puppy, raspberry jam, red and white Madeleine and festive cookies for only B2,400 or choose the special scarlett hamper packed with delicious gourmet items with a bottle of Chateau Ferran Bordeaux and more for B5,600 per hamper. 02 238 1991. pullmanbangkokhotelg.com

Festive hampers by Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok AVAILABLE NOW UNTIL OUT OF STOCK WHAT better way to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year than with a holiday-inspired hamper at Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok? There are three different hampers to choose from, and each one is chock full of sweet and delicious finds, like Christmas cookies, chocolate truffle bananas, an English fruit cake and more. The hampers are available from November 2017 onwards until the stock runs out at Zing Bakery. 02 541 1234 ext 4168 or 4151. centarahotelsresorts.com/centaragrand/cglb

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Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

Pathumwan Princess Hotel unveils Terrazza PATHUMWAN Princess Hotel unveiled Terrazza, featuring a sardinian wine dinner paired with pala wines. Cocktails were enjoyed at Vista Bar Terrace with the wine dinner and pala presentation held later in the evening.

Luxurious wine dinner presented by GranMonte GRANDMONTE Asoke Valley presented a luxurious wine and dinner on Thursday, November 16. The evening featured an eight-course degustation menu which was paired with the best of the best from the Granmonte Estate.

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Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

Perfectly matched sake pairing at Hagi Japanese Restaurant HAGI Japanese restaurant, Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok, hosted its first exclusive sake dinner. The evening featured a sixcourse set menu prepared by the talented culinary chef, Hiroaki Yamaguchi.

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Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

Love Me Tender à la plancha LOVE Me Tender à la plancha, a true Provence restaurant in town, hosted a BBQ party in the garden with special guests in attendance. They displayed their signature ‘sousvide’ cooking methods and impressed all who attended.

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Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

Wine with a view at PRIME steakhouse at Millennium Hilton WINE is best enjoyed with a view, and this was certainly the case at the wine dinner with Chateau Ste Michelle. On Thursday, November 16, ThreeSixty Rooftop bar had predinner cocktails at its helipad before guests were invited to a special, four-course wine dinner at PRIME steakhouse at Millennium Hilton.

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Dining Out

An extravagant Gala Dinner at Red Sky

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ED Sky is a luxurious rooftop bar and restaurant offering an impressive 360-degree, panoramic views of the capital from the 55th floor of Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld. This year, Red Sky is throwing a lavish, eight-course Gala Dinner on the New Year’s Eve, and everyone is invited. The meal will begin with a delicious amuse bouche followed by 30 grammes of Russian oscietra caviar with classic condiments and a shot of Beluga Noble vodka to help jumpstart the appetite. Diners can choose between the French erquy scallop served with mushrooms, leek sabayon and bone marrow or the Hokkaido scallop

carpaccio on a celeriac rémoulade. Both will be served with white alba truffle. Next is a choice between the pan-fried foie gras served with gingerbread, red cabbage and cranberries or the quail confit and foie gras glazed with madeira sauce and apricot chutney. This is followed by the Brittany blue lobster served with veal sweetbreads and mushrooms paired with Martell X.O. Feuilleté. Look forward to the elegant Mumm Cordon Rouge champagne granité. The drink will be followed by your choice between a juicy piece of Japanese beef fillet (A4) or pan-fried turbot Périgord black winter truffle and porcini parmenter. Finally, look forward to the chestnut and blackcurrant mousse served as a pavlova surprise as the

perfect finish to the fantastic meal. This special, New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner is inclusive of a complimentary bottle of Pink Mumm no. 1 champagne for every two people. The fantastic dinner starts from 7pm onwards and includes free entry to Red Sky’s glamorous grand countdown party that will be hosted one floor above. Live music and a house DJ will keep you entertained while you enjoy the panoramic views of the City of Angels. Red Sky restaurant is also the perfect location to watch the stunning fireworks as the clock strikes midnight. The dinner is priced at B15,555++ per person. Advanced reservation is highly recommended. This is certainly a one-off fine-dining deal of the year.

PARKING

Parking is available at the hotel. Red Sky. 999/99 Rama I Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok. 02 100 6255. Facebook: RedSkyCentaraGrandCentralWorld IG: RedSkyBangkok

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Dining Out

PRIME Steakhouse at Millennium Hilton Bangkok

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HOUGH the Millennium Hilton Bangkok is home to a total of six restaurants, there is one that manages to stand out amongst the rest because of its excellent offers, views and overall relaxed ambience. PRIME Steakhouse, one of the most sophisticated steakhouses in the capital, is undoubtedly a must-visit.

SIGNATURE DISHES

The restaurant’s claim to fame is its prized, imported beef and fresh seafood, every meal at PRIME Steakhouse is memorable. All of the steaks here are also grilled over PRIME Steakhouse’s unique woodburning grill and only served when aged to perfection. Signature dishes include the PRIME Caesar salad (B550). The grilled snow fish (B1,190). The surf & turf (B2,490) – the restaurant’s

grilled beef fillet mignon served with half a Maine lobster. Not to be missed is premium cut of rib eye steak from Australia (B1,890) – a 300 grammes premium cut of imported Australian beef grilled to perfection and served with accompanying sides. The well-crafted soups are not to be missed while the bread served with every meal was just as memorable as the main dishes.

ATMOSPHERE

As if the food was not memorable enough, the breathtaking views of the Chao Phraya River found along the exterior draws crowds in and has them

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parking it at their tables long into a meal. Floor to ceiling windows allow diners to indulge in both their meals while enjoying the views. The ceiling of PRIME Steakhouse is adorned with lighted, wooden bowls that cast the central dining area in a romantic glow. No detail was left behind in the making of this steakhouse, and this attention to detail is apparent in every aspect of its entirety. It is the perfect spot for a great dinner pairing with great selection of wine from all over the world. The restaurant is open daily from 6-11pm, and reservations are recommended.

PARKING

Parking is available at the hotel. PRIME Steakhouse, Millennium Hilton Bangkok. 123 Charoen Nakhon Road, Khlong San, Bangkok. 02 442 2000.www3.hilton.com/ en/hotels/thailand/millennium-hilton-bangkokBKKHITW/index.html


FRAGRANT FESTIVE AFTERNOON TEA AT ANANTARA SIAM BANGKOK. The City of Angels’ gourmands and lovers of all things fine are in for a heavenly sensory treat this festive season when Anantara Siam’s Executive Pastry Chef, Laurent Duffaut, and Lampe Berger Paris join forces to present Fragrant Festive Afternoon Tea. The Paris-based manufacturer of the famed Lampe Berger Lamp works with top French Master Perfumers to create over 50 fragrances of magnificent olfactory compositions. Lampe Berger Paris selected four fragrances to complement Chef Laurent’s delectable sweet and savoury afternoon tea treats during the four-week collaboration in December: Zest of Verbena and Eucalyptus from 2nd – 8th December; Lavender and Fresh Mint at the Raid from 9th – 15th December; Timeless Rose and Virginia Cedarwood from 16th – 22nd December; and Escape to Capri and Floral Passion from 23rd – 31st December.

The unique Fragrant Festive Afternoon Tea collaboration will be presented daily from 2.00 pm – 6. 00 pm in the Lobby of Anantara Siam and costs THB 850++ per afternoon tea set including one coffee or tea on weekdays, and THB 999++ per person including two coffees or teas for the afternoon tea buffet offering on weekends. To reserve your table, please call 0 2126 8866 ext. The Lobby or email lobby.asia@anantara.com

Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel 155 Rajadamri Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 Thailand T +66 (0) 2 126 8866 E siam@anantara.com

Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel

@AnantaraSiamBangkok


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Guest review by

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Enoteca

HIS was our ninth consecutive lunch in the cosy setting and urban oasis of Enoteca, and once again we enjoyed a great lunch prepared by chef Stefano, the proud holder of a Michelin star he earned in Turin. The weather was kind (cool), and we were able to start the lunch outside where we found Lambrusco Emilia Amabile (ex Sr Casali, Italy), a fine selection of tasty canapés and old friends Alex and Nicola. Wine spokesman, Jake Meerman, confessed that he drank no less than three glasses to take full advantage of the 8 percent alcohol.

but we all appreciated the beautifully prepared veal which had been marinated for no less than a week before cooking sous vide. Followed by lasagna 2017, of which we were told that “granny would never be able to do it.” The

The first offering was an amuse bouche (truffle ice cream) followed by a traditional tuna terrine with bell pepper sauce and a dusting of paprika accompanied by Terlano Winkl Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Piedmonte, Italy). It received praise from food spokesman John MacTaggart, who took the trouble to confirm details of the filling (olives, anchovy and mustard). I thought the Sauvignon Blanc was particularly good, a delightful match for both the terrine and the veal which followed. Jake, despite having been raised on a diet of XXXX and boxed Shiraz, also enjoyed the wine, though he did uncover a fake review from Australia which claimed the wine offered, “wafts of armpits on the subway.” Our next dish was a generous helping of veal tongue with green sauce; one or two thought the parsley sauce was perhaps a little too strong,

helping was rapidly devoured and much appreciated. As is often the case, Nicola was close at hand to provide guidance on how to do justice to the ingredients (all to be included in each mouthful). With it came the first of three reds, Toscana Crognolo 2010 (Tuscany, Italy), this earned generous praise from Jake and appeals for “more” from several drinkers. Orma Azienda Agraria 2012 (Tuscany, Italy) was Thomas Boedinger’s chosen wine of the day and again found to be excellent. It was first served with risotto and fresh porcini mushrooms from Italy. As one might have anticipated, the risotto had been cooked perfectly in a veal stock. The main course was beef shank braised in red wine with mashed potato, accompanied by more of the Orma. We learned from James

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Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy

Suckling (96 points), “aromas of blackberry, burnt orange, liquorice and spice follow through to a full body, with super integrated and fine tannins plus a fabulous depth of fruit and centre palate. This is a great wine. Drink in 2017.” The beef shank had been taken off the bone and reduced so that even the less able of us did not need the assistance of teeth (or Zimmer frames) to enjoy. John was able to confirm that Stefano had succeeded in presenting a menu that offered a wide range of flavours but which did not leave one feeling stuffed. In conclusion, a Chocolate Cigar was presented to each of the diners, a fitting and tasty tribute for the non-smokers (95 percent of us) with another excellent red, Hacienda Monasterio Crianza 2012 (Ribera del Duero, Spain). Jake, however, was able to find an acerbic Australian review that said, in jest of the nose, it reminded one of “melted plastic, burnt toast and deck shoes worn without socks.” As usual, all the wines were chosen by the Club. Those with any remaining appetite and thirst could choose from coffee or tea, a selection from the sweet slate and enjoy a glass of Johnnie Walker Blue Label generously offered in celebration of Thomas’s forthcoming birthday. Appropriately, Thomas was called upon to extend our thanks to the very professional team in the kitchen and the dining room, and especially to chef Stefano. Enoteca. Sukhumvit Soi 27. 02 258 4386. www.enotecabangkok.com


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Dining Out

French fine dining thanks to Bel-Ami

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ELF-TAUGHT chef, Jérôme Coldefy, is the founder of a new, private French fine dining concept in Bangkok. The “restaurant”, if you will, takes diners on a French gastronomic journey with a new and unique dining concept in the privacy of one’s own home: Bel-Ami. Instead of having to gather friends and family and venture to the nearest French eatery, hungry patrons can alternatively book an evening with Bel-Ami and indulge in famous, French recipes in the outside venue of their choosing. The expert culinary team at Bel-Air are available to be hired out to create a unique, pop-up dinner arrangement that is uniquely tailored to the customer. Guests can choose to host the meal in their own home or a different venue in the city and beyond, as Bel-Air has previously created this fantastic, personalised

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dining experience at many different sites around Bangkok. The restaurant only opened its doors May 19, 2016, but it has already gained traction in the culinary scene of the city. This is probably because home-cooked meals are hard to come by in Bangkok, and with cheap street food in such abundance and so many cool eateries in town, diners hardly ever enjoy a home-cooked meal in the company of one’s own home. Bel-Ami is proving, however, that there is no place like home when it comes to enjoying a special and tasty meal. Before Bel-Ami, Coldefy founded La Cuisine, a French fine dining restaurant on the beautiful island of Koh Samui. He was there for five years before taking on his next culinary undertaking. The dining experience is extraordinarily intimate and allows staff members to provide customers with a highly personalised service. The experience is perfect for global,

fine food connoisseurs and anyone who has a love for the culinary arts. All of the ingredients that are used in this unique, culinary experience are imported, as well, as Coldefy believes that a “French” ingredient grown in Thailand is no longer a French ingredient at all. Some of the delicious dishes guests can expect from Coldefy include snail and Morrel fricassee torched with bourbon, duck foie gras in a single malt jelly and lobster “pot au feu” with girolles mushrooms. Each meal is topped off with a delicious dessert, like the caramelised apple crumble with spices and light cream with oak barrel whiskey. Be sure to check out this intimate dining experience this holiday season.

Bel Ami. 082 286 7502. facebook.com/belamibangkok




AROUND THE JUNGLE CHRISTMAS 2017 Away Koh Kood Resort Very proudly to presenting & invite you to celebrate a special holy Christmas Eve 2017 Experience the Gourmet 4 course BBQ set dinner with our innovative Chef Pairat. Surprise a Christmas gift with unseen “The Jungle Santa� Guarantee romantic Seaview very purely peacefully located. THB 3,990 Net. For two persons included a bottle of wine Advance reservation is required.

For more information and advance reservation please contact us as below details

43/8 Moo2, Baan Klong Chao, Koh Kood, Trat 23000, Thailand M: 66(0) 818 354 517 E: book.akk@awayresorts.com W: awayresorts.com


'Catering to the Best of Bangkok' • Great Value • Personally Crafted Menus • Public & Private Affairs • Full Service & Equipment Provided On-Site • Established History Serving Both Expat & Thai Clientale • Multi-Lingual Staff • Open All Year Round •

22 Soi Sukhumvit 33 • BTS Phrom Phong • (02) 260-3033 • email: admin@thebistro33.com or call Susan at 099-194-4251


School Report

Shrewsbury to open new campus

SHREWSBURY International School Bangkok announced that it is building a new city-centre primary school campus for 640 pupils aged three to 11 years old on a 15-rai (2.4-hectare) site located between Sukhumvit Road and Rama IX Road. B2,600 million (US$78 million) was invested in the school, and the campus will open in August 2018. The new campus, called “Shrewsbury International School Bangkok - City Campus,’ aims to accommodate the large waiting list of children seeking a place at the primary school at the riverside campus and has begun accepting enrolments for the academic year commencing August 2018. The new campus will compliment Shrewsbury International School Bangkok’s riverside campus on Charoenkrung Road, which was established in 2003 with the support of Britain’s highly respected Shrewsbury School and comprises a primary and secondary school for children aged three to 18 years old. Almost 1,700 pupils are enrolled. It is ranked among the best schools in the region. For more information, contact 02 664 9500 ext 115 or visit city.shrewsbury.ac.th

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One million baht scholarship at KIS

KIS International School invites all ambitious students to apply for the coveted IB Diploma academic scholarship or the “One Million Baht Scholarship,” for the academic year 2018-2019 onwards. KIS Scholarships are awarded to recognise academic excellence and open up the world of the International Baccalaureate (IB) to deserving candidates. The IB Diploma scholarship winner will be granted full tuition for the duration of the two-year IB Diploma programme, valued at around B1.6 million. KIS scholarship students achieve high IB Diploma scores and go to excellent universities in the US, the UK, Europe and elsewhere, often receiving university scholarships, as well. The scholarship is open to applicants of all nationalities who are fluent in English and currently studying in grade ten (year 11). Applicants should be academically strong and well-rounded. Candidates may be eligible for a partial scholarship, as well. Applicants are welcome to apply until February 23, 2018. For more information, contact admissions@kis.ac.th or visit www.kis.ac.th


School Report

Science ‘Traillblazers’ Traill International School celebrates success at the Kuala Lumpur Engineering Science Fair (KLESF) in Malaysia A group of secondary science students added to our track record of academic excellence in early November while competing at KLESF in Malaysia.

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LESF is an initiative with various programmes and activities that aim to promote interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among primary and secondary school students. The KLESF partners comprise of the ASEAN Academy of Engineering and Technology (AAET), Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT) and the Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM).

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Traill International School was the only school in Thailand invited to take part in the prestigious event, which attracts over 60,000 visitors each year. The competition was fierce between secondary school students from China, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, Hong Kong and Indonesia. With nearly 300 entries in the secondary school section, our group of only eight young scientists submitted three projects. The competitors are judged not only on the originality and innovativeness of their projects but also on the potential impact they may have on current and future generations. Another factor considered by the judges was the ability to demonstrate and communicate their project clearly. The KLESF committee all agreed

that the quality of the entries was extremely high this year, and in an outstanding achievement, all three of our students’ projects were recognised, earning silver, bronze and merit awards. The winners of the silver award have been offered an excellent opportunity to showcase their awardwinning work at the World Science Exhibition, which will be held in Brisbane in March 2018. We are extremely proud of all of our competitors whose hard work and determination was rewarded. Work has already started on projects for next year’s fair, and we hope to build upon our success from this year.

www.traillschool.ac.th


Expat Women

LAST-MINUTE, PRE-HOLIDAY

BEAUTY

THE holiday season is slowly approaching, and all the precious ‘free-time’ we had is about to be a thing of the past. Whether you are packing yourself into a car, bus, train or plane to visit relatives and celebrate the upcoming Christmas and new year, here are a few things you can do to get your last-minute, pre-holiday beauty treatments in.

TREATMENTS Look your best his holiday season with these amazing, last minute treatments

By Kelly Iverson

NARS Cosmetics BRUSHING, dabbing, blending, applying and contouring: there are so many techniques out there for applying makeup that getting get ready for a night out often becomes a stressful and confusing endeavour. For those of us lacking the necessary skills to put on these cosmetics beautifully, we need the

help. NARS cosmetics are available in all major department stores, as well.

Overexposed Glow Highlighters Brighten your look with one of the two Overexposed Glow Highlighters (B1,550), a limited edition highlighter that will undoubtedly leave you glowing in all the right places for this special night out.

Duo Eyeshadow

Look your best on the biggest night of the year with the Duo Eyeshadow (B1,400), with a total of 43 shades to choose from. Create that perfect smokey eye, go for a glittery gold to fully embrace the special evening or try a new colour palette entirely.

Audacious Lipstick

Pucker up in preparation for a New Year’s Eve kiss with the Audacious Lipstick (B1,300), with a total of 49 stunning shades to choose from.

Photogloss Lip Lacquer

best of the best products and brands out there to ensure our look is a stunning one for a fabulous New Year’s Eve out on the town. That is where Man Ray for NARS Collection comes in. The new, 2017 NARS holiday collection is one you need to add to your holiday wish list. If you ever need handson training to help you look your best, the NARS counter staff is also happy to

If lipstick is not your cup of tea, you can instead opt for the Photogloss Lip Lacquer (B1,090), available in four, eyecatching colours.

Blush

Complete your stunning look with blush (B1,250), available in two colours: Fetishized Blush and Intensely Blush. Both will surely leave your cheeks healthy and natural-looking. www.narscosmetics.com

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Al Safiyyah PREPARED to be pampered at Al Safiyyah Beauty & Wellness. The luxury spa is Arabic in design, featuring warm, orange-coloured walls and vibrant patterned tiles behind the comfortable mani and pedi arm chairs. This opulent retreat welcomes visitors to try their many beauty services, from manicures, pedicures, massages, eyelash extensions, waxing and more to choose from.

Gel manicures

Whether you want a hand-painted, Christmas masterpiece on each fingernail or simply want a bold shade of red to celebrate this festive season, Al Safiyyah is the salon to frequent. The nail technicians are equipped with expert manicuring skills in addition to being friendly and welcoming. They pay close attention to details to ensure that each nail is perfect before visitors take on the world with their fresh new look. The acrylic nails with gel polish range from B2,300-3,100. The gel nails with gel polish systems range from B2,500-3,300. They also offer a number of unique treatments in addition to a simply manicure or pedicure, as well.

Full body massages

The holidays are normally filled with meet and greets with one too many relatives that will surely drive a few of you insane. Because of this, it is wise to set aside a few hours to get a fullbody massage prior to celebrating the holidays. The massages at Al Safiyyah are both relaxing and therapeutic,

and they offer five different massages to choose from: aroma massage, migraine therapy massage, the famed office syndrome massage, sports massage and a foot massage. They are competitively priced and will surely help visitors release some stress this holiday season.

Lash up

Get spruced up with an eyeful of lash fringe at Al Safiyyah. The professional team at this Arabian-inspired salon do a wonderful job at keeping visitors comfortable while they apply the number of eyelash extensions you so desire. Eyelash extensions range from

B990-1,500 for new unlimited eyelashes. Refills are B15 per lash, and there are five different styles of lashes visitors can choose from.

Wax on, wax off

The expertly trained wax technicians are at the ready with their top quality wax: Cirepil from France. Prices range from B250-2,700 and offer a number of different shapes and designs (depending on where it is you want to get waxed). Al Safiyyah has three different locations in Bangkok and is open during the week from 10.30am to 10pm and on the weekend from 10am until 10pm. 087 776 9955. facebook.com/AlSafiyyahNailSpa

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Humming Lifestyle Salon Bchu Runway DRESS to impress this New Year’s Eve with the pieces at Bchu Runway, the number one online fashion designer rental platform in Thailand. So many of us purchase an expensive new outfit in order to ring in the new year in style and then never wear the garment again. That is where Bchu Runway comes in. The clothing company offers a number of leading brands for ARE you having a hairstyle hay day this holiday season? Fret not, as Humming Lifestyle Salon has got you covered for all of your hair needs just in time for the New Year’s Eve countdown.

Luxury treatments

This luxury salon is perfect for women, men and children in need of a new look for the upcoming New Year. Found on the first floor of Eight Thonglor, the salon keeps up with this trendy neighbourhood with its even trendier cuts, styling and more. The salon is decorated to exude modernity while remaining casual all the same, making it the perfect spot to come and feel relaxed yet sophisticated as you get a new hairstyle. There are also two private, VIP rooms available for all services which can hold two to three people at a time.

AVEDA products

Get a cool cut from one of the professional stylists at Humming Lifestyle Salon, all of whom are committed to be ahead of what’s trending on styling techniques and more. The salon uses AVEDA products, which are perfect for all types of hair, including curly, damaged and coloured. The salon even has scalp care

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products, as well. Very few salons in Thailand use AVEDA products, making this salon certainly one of a kind.

Kid-friendly

The salon is incredibly kid-friendly, so parents can come and have their hair done while their children are distracted with a number of different entertainment services at the salon, including iPads. Temporarily escape your parental duties and relax, if only for a haircut.

In-salon dining

Those who work up an appetite while getting their haircut can utilise the salon’s premium food and beverage delivery services, as they have partnered with the neighbouring Bar Storia Del Caffe. The salon also plans to launch their very own minibar and cafe called Sparrow to serve both beverages and snacks by the end of this year. This holiday season, Humming Lifestyle Salon will have a special promotion where visitors who apply for a B20,000 membership get 15 percent more cash value (friends and family can also use this membership). The salon is open daily from 9.30am to 8pm and is found on the first floor of Eight Thonglor. 02 381 1652. humminghairsalon.com

fashionistas to choose from, as it is partnered with over 100 contemporary designer brands including Wee, Ministry of Style, Kwankao and more. This means that partiers get to enjoy these often expensive brands for half the price. Then, they can return the item hassle free, as Bchu Runway takes care of cleaning an item before and after use. With new arrivals coming in every week, you never know what you are going to find at Bchu Runway. 064 192 6366. www.bchurunway.com/clothing


Anti-ageing skin needling

Kharites Medical Aesthetic Clinic FOUND in the heart of downtown Bangkok is Kharites Medical Aesthetic Clinic, a luxurious wellness entity that is sure to rejuvenate all those who frequent before taking on the biggest night of the year: New Year’s Eve. The salon offers a number of non-

surgical medical aesthetic programs that are perfect for last-minute partiers. Each treatment is aimed at aiding the negative effects of ageing that so many of us are hopeful to be rid of before New Year’s Eve, including damaged tissue, sagging skin, wrinkles and more.

Those looking to erase some of their fine lines and wrinkles need to try the anti-ageing skin needling at Kharites Medical Aesthetic Clinic. The process will help smooth furrow lines, reduce crow’s feet, lift sagging cheeks, tighten enlarged pores and much more. Some of the treatments they offer include the anti-ageing skin refresh (B3,999), antiageing skin perfect (B4,999), anti-ageing skin perfect extra (B6,999) and finally the anti-ageing eyes recovery advance repair (B3,999). The salon is open daily from 1-9pm. 02 168 4125. facebook.com/Kharites-MedicalAesthetic-Clinic-201803200249762

Lollana Clinic THOSE looking for the effects of a face-lift without having to undergo an invasive surgery before this upcoming New Year’s Eve should look no further than Lollana Clinic in Rainhill Sukhumvit 47. This high-end beauty clinic is offering the perfect, alternative treatment: HIFU, or high intensity focused ultrasound.

HIFU

Starting at B100 per shot, this treatment will safely lift and tighten your skin. It will protect your skin as it precisely penetrates at deeper depths to treat beyond the dermis and foundation layers, which is where structural weakening starts.

What does it do?

HIFU is meant to activate cells, thus creating more collagen and elastin, thus making you look younger. Skin elasticity improves and, at the end of the short and noninvasive treatment, patrons will look as though they received a face-lift, but without the painful aftermath.

The equipment

Less painful than ulthera but just as productive, the equipment at Lollana Clinic uses an ultrasound beams which are very small to ensure that the procedure is painless but produces the same results (of which there are many). Those who undergo HIFU look younger, more rejuvenated, thinner around the chin and underneath the eyes and much more.

How long does it take?

The length of each session is entirely dependent on the treatment area, and a single treatment can take anywhere from ten to 30 minutes per area. Each treatment is individually tailored to the customer in order for them to have the best results, and all treatments are discussed prior to receiving HIFU. This year, Lollana Clinic is offering a 40 percent discount for BigChilli readers, giving away 600 shots for only B36,000. The salon is open daily from 11am until 8pm. 092 624 2442. Lollana Clinic, third floor, Rainhill Sukhumvit 47, Klongton-Nua, Bangkok 10110. lollanaclinic.com

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Voyaging the world as a speech pathologist This Irish expat does not have to choose between work and travel

F By Kelly Iverson

OR Danielle Norton, a 26-year-old speech and language pathologist based in Bangkok, it all started with a pair of very itchy feet after travelling intermittently for about two years in 2014. “I wanted to keep travelling and exploring new countries, but I love my job and wanted to keep building my professional experience,” Danielle said. With a love for both her profession and travelling, Danielle decided to apply for jobs overseas. Soon afterward, she found a job in Pattaya and fearlessly up and moved from her lovely, countryside home in County Derry, Ireland to the Land of Smiles in January 2016. It has been almost two years since she made the life-changing

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move, and so far, things are looking up. “Moving to Thailand is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Danielle said. Danielle has since relocated to the capital where she works at a multidisciplinary centre in Phra Khanong. At the Acorns to Oaks Centre (ATOC), she works with children facing a range of communication difficulties. In addition to working with kids, Danielle works alongside professional psychologists, an education consultant, a physiotherapist and occupational therapists. “I feel very fortunate to be part of such a great team,” Danielle said. Though she has adapted to the big city and certainly prefers to reside in the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, Pattaya will always have a special place in Danielle’s heart as it was her first home outside of Ireland. Being within a short drive of stunning places like Koh Samet, Bang Saray


and Koh Larn were certainly an added bonus, as well. While Bangkok is certainly a rip-roaring city, her job is almost just as exhilarating. No two days are the same, just as no two children Danielle works with are the same. “They (the kids) definitely keep me on my toes,” Danielle said. “Every new case is a new challenge in some way, and I am continually learning and growing professionally.” When Danielle is not working, she takes to one of Bangkok’s many gyms and works out three to four times a week. She also travels both in and outside of the country whenever she has time off and enjoys a ladies’ night or two with her girlfriends. “We have a mix of nationalities in our friend group here, from German to American to Thai, just to name a few,” Danielle said. “And a mix of colloquial language and accents to go with it, so we can get lost in translation sometimes! These close friendships have definitely contributed to my love for Bangkok and having great people to share this experience with makes it a bit easier to live so far away from my family. They have helped Bangkok become ‘home.” Though Bangkok has started to feel like home, Danielle is not ready to settle just yet. The adventurer in her seemingly never sleeps, and she has plans to travel around Central and South America and hopes to find some work along the way in the next year or two. Until then, she will continue to reside in and enjoy the capital. “I would like to continue living, working abroad and travelling for at least another few years,” Danielle said. “I think I would like to move back to Ireland eventually, but again, I am keeping a very open mind about my future. I would definitely like to open my own multidisciplinary therapy centre somewhere for sure – that is the long-term ambition.” For anyone looking to move to Bangkok, Danielle has but a few words of advice. “Do it, but be prepared to fall in love with it and become a laid-back, patient and flexible person in the process.”

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Spa & Wellness

01 PREPARE to have silky smooth skin at Spa Cenvaree, Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok. Their new silky skin spa package will enhance your skin, as the treatment is blended with nourishing rice milk and riceberry. The

treatment begins with an 80-minute silky and milky body massage, followed by a ten-minute nourishing rice milk body mist and finally ending with a 30-minute skin renewal with riceberry cream scrub. The treatment is available

now until January 31 and is priced at B2,850++ per person. 02 541 1234 ext 4292, 4567. centarahotelsresorts.com/cglb

01 SPA CENVAREE UNVEILS SILKY SKIN SPA PACKAGE JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON 02 CONRAD SPA KOH SAMUI NAMED ASIA’S BEST HIDEAWAY SPA 2017 03 SPA FOR KIDS AT SPA CENVAREE, CENTARA GRAND AT CENTRALWORLD 04 CHRISTMAS DAY AND NEW YEAR PROMOTIONS AT SPA INTERCONTINENTAL

02 CONRAD Spa Koh Samui, located on the grounds of Conrad Koh Samui, is one of the most luxurious spa and wellness centres on the island. It has recently been named Asia’s Best Hideaway Spa 2017 at a prestigious award gala ceremony held in Bangkok, even though over 500 spas from around the world were up for the award. The ceremony was organised by the Haute Grandeur Global Hotel and Spa. 077 915 888. conradkohsamui.com

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CHILDREN finally have the chance to join in on the relaxation and rejuvenation of having a spa treatment at Spa Cenvaree’s ‘Spa for Kids.’ Parents get to take a break for awhile while their children enjoy services tailor-made to kids, including their minitwinkle pedicure and foot massage, tropical mango manicure and scalp massage and more. The treatments are priced at B1,495++ per child, and there are a total of four different treatments for them to choose from. 02 100 1234 ext 6511, 6516. spacenvaree.com

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REJUVENATE this holiday season at SPA InterContinental® with their festive promotions. Visitors can enjoy 120 minutes of pure relaxation, with 60 minutes of the golden pearl body scrub followed by 60 minutes of the massage of their choice for only B4,500 net per person. The treatment was originally priced at B6,238.10 per person but will be available for this discounted price until December 31, 2017. 032 616 999 ext 6341. bangkok.intercontinental.com/bangkok-luxury-spahotels#.WhUAgrT1X6A

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Expat Women

‘SHOP THE UNIVERSE’ AT ONLINE FESTIVAL 2017

LAZADA’S Online Festival returned this month bringing with it over three million great deals from top brands and renowned retailers and merchants. From November 10 (11.11 Mega Day) to December 13 (12.12 Grand Finale), the month-long shopping event aims to smash last year’s records and will welcome more than 20,000 local and 25,000 international merchants.

SINGHA LIFE X BUAKAW COLLECTION

SINGHA Life recently launched an exclusive collection designed in collaboration with Buakaw Banchamek, a famous Thai fighter. ‘Singha Life x Buakaw’ accentuates a harmonious combination of Thai martial, art and fashion with an outstanding contemporary design that is suitable to wear for any occasion. The new collection is available at the Singha Life store at Siam Centre.

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NEW MUJI STORE IN SIAM DISCOVERY

MR Yuki Yamamoto, director and general manager of Ryohin Keikaku Co Ltd, opened a new Muji store on the second floor of Siam Discovery. Customers will receive special offers and can even purchase exclusive tote bags for B99.

FRANCE JEWELLERY BRAND LAUNCH QEELIN, a famous luxury jewellery brand from France, launched its first collection in Thailand featuring stunning and meaningful designs from four different collections of jewellery. Imported by Sette Peccati Ltd, A-list guests joined the launch in Siam Paragon Shopping Complex.


Expat Women

64TH YWCA DIPLOMATIC CHARITY BAZAAR 2017 HRH Princess Soamsawali recently presided over the opening ceremony of “64th YWCA Diplomatic Charity Bazaar 2017 @CentralWorld” organised by CentralWorld together with spouses of Ambassadors and diplomats based in Thailand, and the Young Women’s Christian Association of Bangkok (YWCA of Bangkok), gathering premium quality products selected from 40 countries around the world will be available in over 160 booths at the CentralWorld.

ELEGANT THAI EVENING

THE International Women’s Club of Thailand held an event to commemorate the late King Rama IX under the theme, “Elegant Thai Evening”. The event coincided with the annual fundraising event to support the club’s Scholarship Foundation which is supporting over 30 students from elementary, secondary and up to college levels. The event was held at the Bangkok Marriott Marquis Hotel and was attended by over 300 guests.

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Health liposuction and tummy tucks, and breast surgery, either to enlarge or reduce them, which is being requested even by many men these days. “Plastic and cosmetic are often used interchangeably when describing surgical procedures, but there’s a difference in degree. Cosmetic refers to aesthetics and described a procedure intended to enhance appearance rather than correct an anomaly. Plastic is derived from the Greek word meaning to mould or shape. “A plastic surgeon is also trying to reconstruct an inborn physical anomaly such as cleft lip, cleft palate or any anomaly derived from accidents or previous surgeries. A plastic surgeon is almost always automatically a cosmetic surgeon by training but not the other way,” said Dr Chartchai, whose current work is mostly aesthetic surgeries. “During past five years I have performed 500-600 operations a year. I haven’t kept track of the total number I have done over the past 30 years.” People often have misconceptions about what is involved when they opt for cosmetic surgery. “Let’s say you don’t like something about your face. So you go see a doctor, have the surgery done and walk out from the operation theatre an hour later a new and happy person. In reality it’s not so simple. “You can’t just walk in, throw money on my table and say, ‘I want you to do this or that.’ An ethical, experienced and welltrained surgeon will not promise an impossible dream. There are limits to what can be done safely and successfully, depending

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on the patient’s physical condition. A good surgeon will tell patients everything they need to know so they can help in the decision on whether or not to proceed.” He advises patients to pay close attention to what the surgeon has to say. “Patients are paying quite a bit of money for surgeons to make them look better, and they deserve true and comprehensive information about the risks, recovery period for a particular procedure, and most importantly, a realistic expectation of the outcome.”

Impressive credentials Anyone who chooses to put their personal appearance in the hands of a doctor should be sure they have the ‘right stuff’, and Dr Chartchai definitely does. A graduate of the Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital of Mahidol University in Bangkok, one of the top medical schools in Thailand, he completed his training at Ramathibodi and Siriraj hospitals. For six years he was a lecturer at Prince of Songkhla University in reconstructive, cosmetic surgery and microsurgery. Recognised as one of Thailand’s foremost plastic and reconstructive surgeons, Dr Chartchai is certified by the Thai Board of Plastic Surgery as well as the Medical Council of Thailand’s Board of General Surgery of the. He is also an active member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Thailand, the Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons of Thailand, Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons of Thailand and the National Academy of Medicine.

He specializes in facial surgery including lower and midface lifts, neck lifts and endoscopic brow lifts; breast surgeries such as augmentation, lift, reduction and reshaping; and other procedures for the body such as abdominoplasty, liposuction and body sculpting. He has an impressive record and credentials in the rebuilding of facial and body abnormalities caused by accidents, birth defects and breast cancer. His mastery in microsurgery guarantees minimal scarring for all cosmetic and reconstructive surgical

Five years ago 90 percent of my foreign patients were women, but now around 40 percent are men. A lot of them are asking for face lifts. procedures. He sometimes performs operations on burn victims, but that’s rare these days. To keep abreast of the latest techniques Dr Chartchai attends seminars in the United States and Europe. “My favorite one is held in New York,” he said. “It is not a lecture, but rather a kind of group discussion with doctors who are well known and highly regarded in their field. You learn lot from this kind of discussion. This annual meeting is organized by famous New York plastic surgeons who invite prominent colleagues from around the world to share their experiences.”

Parents’ knew best “I always wanted to be an engineer; it’s my nature to want to see everything in concrete terms. But I followed the wishes of my parents and found that being a doctor is not so bad at all. When I was in medical school we had to rotate to learn different specialties, and it seemed to me that being a surgeon was exactly the right choice. “If you’re a doctor in another specialty you have to speculate about what kind of treatment is best for a patient and whether a drug will cause side effects or bring improvement to the patient’s condition. But with surgery it is more black and white. You can easily visualize how the changes you are going to introduce will affect the patient, and see the results. This is what I like. “I chose plastic surgery because as a medical student I was inspired by one of my professors who did reconstructive surgery on a patient who suffered from cancer. It was necessary to remove a large tumor from his jaw. The operation was enormously complicated but ultimately successful. My professor re-constructed the man’s face using tissue from other parts of his body. I thought that this was pretty cool and decided then that I wanted to be a plastic surgeon and nothing else. That was nearly 40 years ago.”

Korean craze “I have to say that many Thais are overly concerned with their looks and don’t put enough emphasis on their brains. They are crazy about the Korean look. Many want to look like Korean


movie or pop stars V-shaped face, very pointed chin and so on, and they want the procedures to be quick and as cheap as possible. “Thais who can afford it often go to Korea to have their surgeries at a hefty prize hoping to get a better quality work and of course there are many very good and experienced doctors there. But as in Thailand and everywhere around the world, there are also some who lack the proper skills. They aren’t necessarily bad doctors. Experience is what you pay for. However, some patients might get unnecessary complications and when they return to Thailand doctors here may be reluctant to try and correct the mistakes of the first doctor. Thais are learning that it is not always a good choice to have a surgery done in Korea.”

D

r Chartchai said nose jobs are still the number one request from Thai patients, followed by procedures for the eyes, then alteration of the shape of the chin. ‘‘Breast augmentation is coming on strong among Thai ladies, as are procedures to make the eyes look bigger, like a doll’s. I personally think this is not a very good concept. “These days, foreigners comprise about 60 percent of my patients, mostly Australians and Americans. They are generally very well educated and have done a lot of research. They usually want to do facial surgeries, mostly facelifts, eye and nose procedures, and breast surgeries. Foreigners want their noses to be shapelier or slimmer, while Thais want theirs higher. “Five years ago 90

percent of my foreign patients were women, but now around 40 percent are men. A lot of them are asking for face lifts. Thai men don’t often want face lifts. They are coming mainly for eye procedures. “I also see Asians from other countries, mostly from around our Southeast Asian neighbors such as Cambodia Myanmar, Singapore and even from Hong Kong in that order.”

Books before beauty Dr Chartchai said that from his perspective young people these days are much too obsessed with their looks. As a father with two sons and one daughter, he believes they should spend more time studying and concentrate on education first. “After they have a job and are earning money, there is nothing wrong with looking for ways to enhance their looks.” He also sees no reason why older people shouldn’t have cosmetic surgery if they want. “As for women 60 to70 years old, surgery is not at all a problem provided they are in good health. The oldest patient I’ve had was an 84-year-old lady. She came to me to have her eyelids enhanced. They were drooping so badly that her vision was impaired. I did her lower eyelids as well. After the successful operation, she can see much better. Her face looks better too.” Dr Chartchai is not a big fan of the injections that are so popular these days: “You basically have two kinds, Botox and artificial fillers. The Botox is used to temporarily paralyze the facial muscles so that you don’t have any wrinkles, but I don’t like

it because it doesn’t look natural. It takes away facial expressions, and instead of appearing graceful and charming, people look like funny plastic dolls. “Normally beautiful people do have some facial wrinkles that come with age, but not too many. This is where my surgery comes in. Injections don’t really help in the long run. Fillers get rid of wrinkles and circles by filling up skin depressions and pumping the skin upwards. However,

Nose jobs are still the number one request from Thai patients, followed by procedures for the eyes, then alteration of the shape of the chin. Breast augmentation is coming on strong, as are procedures to make the eyes look bigger, like a doll’s. fillers give the patient an unnaturally swollen face. I don’t do either Botox or fillers for my patients. “Nowadays there are many doctors out there who are happy to do injections as it is highly profitable. I am sorry to see more and more patients going for a quick-fix and not doing their research well enough to avoid this misconceived fad. Many of these people come to see me afterwards to have their face or parts of their body corrected. That’s because both treatments can cause serious medical problems.

“Without proper training coupled with lack of experience, some doctors don’t know how to use Botox correctly, or sometimes it’s just their pure negligence. It is possible that they paralyze the wrong set of muscles and cause facial asymmetry. Luckily this is usually just temporary – maybe three to six months. Artificial fillers will gradually disappear in about six months, but if you get an infection it will be a disaster. I don’t think it is a good idea at all. “This is just one more reason why people should be extremely cautious when choosing a cosmetic or plastic surgeon. There are so many clinics out there that don’t have qualified or registered surgeons. Some of them who perform the surgeries are not even doctors. They are total fakes. I want to tell people, please be careful. This is your own face and body we’re talking about here.”

Computer images not realistic Dr Chartchai doesn’t use computer imagery to show potential patients how they will look after an operation. “Computer-generated images can be useful, but once you have shown the patient the computer image and printed it out, they may come back later and say, ‘you promised I would look like this.’ Of course I will do my very best to make my patients look as beautiful as possible within the range of safety, but there is no way the result will be 100 percent like a computer generated image. “But my patients will definitely look more beautiful and feel better about themselves. That’s

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the goal of a professional and realistic surgeon. Another reason why I don’t use imagery is that the program is time consuming, as well as costly. However, in some cases, I do show photos of former patients (with their consent) to explain the improvements current patients can expect. I take the time to give patients a realistic expectation about what can be achieved so they won’t have any illusions.” Dr Chartchai gave some guidance on how to choose a plastic or cosmetic surgeon. “Patients should take time and do research. If anything sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Over the past years there have been a lot of advertisements on the internet and social media which many times are pure frauds. Find a respectable website with genuine reviews from patients who are willing to share their real experiences. The best situation is if you know somebody who has had a surgery you are

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considering. Ask them and see their level of satisfaction with the procedure and the doctor. Just because a surgeon works in a look good hospital is not an automatic endorsement.” As for complications that may arise during and after surgery, Dr Chartchai said: “Bleeding and infection is common, but doctors have to keep these to a minimum. If you are well-trained, there shouldn’t be any major damage. But of course, unexpected complications can occur any time. No plastic surgeon in this world can or should guarantee a 100 percent safe result,” Dr Chartchai said. He usually refuses patients who were operated on elsewhere and had bad results. “I have to be extremely cautious regarding whether or not the patient can accept the less-than expected outcome, or if they are in the middle of a legal process. Also, in the first place I have to determine if it is possible to repair the damage. Honestly,

I don’t like fixing other doctors’ messes. However, sometimes I will accept botched jobs, but I must be 100 percent sure that I can make it better. “Sometimes a botched job is beyond repair. The patients are often in a state of agony and obviously I want to help, but sometimes they don’t understand that damage repair is much more difficult and there is no way I can produce exactly what they want. I think it is better that they go back to the first doctor and leave the problems with them. “I also refuse patients who expect impossible or unreasonable outcomes, and those I feel uncomfortable with for various reasons. Before a surgery the patient needs a thorough checkup. If they have uncontrolled heart disease or diabetes or any other conditions which can be dangerous then we won’t do it. Finally, I think that when the patient is mentally or psychologically unstable it is better to back off.”

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is most difficult operation was about 30 years ago, a reconstructive surgery for a patient with a cancer in his throat that had to be removed. “Long story short, I had to perform a surgery that required a lot of craftsmanship under a microscope. It was my first case of its kind and it turned out successful. “Various procedures have different ‘shelf lives’. For instance, nose operations may last a lifetime, but face lifts and procedures for the eyes lose effect over time. As for breast enlargement with implants, even the best type brand may start to leak after years.

“Operations to make Asian noses higher might take up to two hours, depending on the person. A simple augmentation with implant takes me about 20 minutes. It usually takes over two hours for a Caucasian nose job.”

When to operate? “When patients come and ask me to change something on their face or body, my first question is why they aren’t happy with it. I want to know if they are really serious and if what they want is realistic. I even tell some patients who come for a cosmetic surgery, ‘You look just fine already. Please, you don’t need surgery.’ “Some young people are overly obsessed with their looks and they see plastic surgery as a quick solution. Feeding their dreams are advertisements often featuring celebrities that may lead people to believe that cosmetic surgery is necessary to improve the quality of their lives, and is almost always safe and effective. They want to be beautiful like people they see on television, but sometimes it is just not realistic. So, it is my job to tell them what is possible and what’s not,” Dr Chartchai said. “I perform all the operations in Samithivej Bangkok Hospital. We have 10 operation theatres there. I am in charge of every operation myself but I need assistants, sometimes a doctor and a nurse. I also have an assistant to help me with examinations. Sometimes my 33-year-old son, Dr Oumyos, helps me on weekends. He is a trained plastic surgeon. He graduated three years ago and is now working at a government hospital.


“Normally for nose or eyelid operations the patients don’t stay in hospital after the surgery. They can go home immediately, but for anything else that needs a general anesthesia I will strictly keep patients at least one night in hospital for their safety. We give anesthesia for a face lift or breast work. “As a rule my patients express a high level of confidence in me and satisfaction with their procedures, but I do get some complaints. I will tell my patients, I am not a God, I am only human. They all have very high expectations. I tell them I can do the procedure and there will be a big improvement, but it won’t be 100 percent. They are almost always happy. But some may come back after a few months and say, ‘I wish my neck could be tighter’, or, ‘I wish my nose was a little more pointy’. “Whether or not I will do a second operation to make a modification depends. A second operation on the nose is very tricky. Once you do one you have to wait six months to a year if you want to make any modification. “The initial consultation with patients is usually fairly short, but at least 15-20 minutes. Those with unreasonable expectations or who can’t afford the price leave pretty quickly. For those who are good candidates for surgery I may need about 45 minutes just to make sure they understand what we are going to do. Usually they have a lot of questions and I am willing to spend more time with them. “Before any surgery the patient must talk with

me one or two times. They don’t just come in and get a surgery right away. I spend time with them and let them know I respect their opinion. I listen for what they want and I tell them what is possible. “Before the actual operation the patient will undergo an examination which is done by one of my colleagues at the hospital. I have to make sure that it is safe to put them on the operating table. Most of the patients I refuse are not upset. They know I am being honest with them and they respect that.’’

Retirement date not set “My waiting list is only for two months, but sometimes I take longer term appointments for patients based overseas. Usually I do operations six days a week, two per day, a short one in the morning and a longer one in the afternoon. I now take a holiday on Sundays. I used to work every day. “My hobby is shooting. If I want to shoot a pistol I go to the Navy shooting range in Bangna, and if I want to shoot with a rifle I go to a shooting range at Ramindra. I also play tennis twice a week, on Friday and Sunday afternoons. “I still enjoy my work and I will continue as long as my hands and eyes are still good,” said Dr Chartchai. “A few patients tell me, ‘Please, don’t retire too soon.’ I tell them that I haven’t set a date but whenever I lose the passion to perform surgeries I will stop. Whenever my eyes tell me I am not as sharp as I used to be and my hands as good as I was before, then I will stop. It’s all up to my heart, my eyes and my hands.” Strip AD_Operation Smile_Sep17.indd 1

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Diplomat: H.E. Sheikh Jassim Bin Abdulrahman Bin Mohammed Al-Thani

Qatar’s massive energy wealth is fuelling progressive development

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Words MAXMILIAN WECHSLER

IS Excellency Sheikh Jassim Bin Abdulrahman Bin Mohammed Al-Thani is not only the Qatar’s Ambassador to Thailand, but he is also a member of his country’s Royal Family. The BigChilli was, therefore, doubly honoured when he graciously accepted our invitation for an exclusive interview. The conversation took place at the Qatari Embassy offices occupying the entire 14th floor of Capital Tower, All Seasons Place in central Bangkok. The interior décor of the embassy can be described as lavishly elegant, which will come as no surprise to anyone who has visited or seen photos of Doha, the country’s shining, ultra-modern capital on the Persian Gulf, or flown with Qatar Airways. At the outset of the interview the Ambassador said the State of Qatar is making a big effort to bring about progress, even a renaissance, in the country. Because of its large natural gas deposits, Qatar is a very wealthy nation and is using that wealth to fund innovative and sustainable development projects in many areas.

Blossoming relations The Ambassador’s last position before coming to Thailand was Assistant Director with the Ministry’s Directorate of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), from August 2015 to August 2016. He visited Thailand for the first time in 2007 on a 10day vacation to Phuket and Bangkok. Like so many others from the Middle East, the Ambassador enjoys Thailand’s amazing beaches and other natural attractions. “Qatar and Thailand enjoy an excellent relationship in all spheres. Everything is perfect; we have no problems whatsoever. I was appointed by the Emir of Qatar in August 2016 to come here and work to strengthen the relationship even further based on recommendations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs led by His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Bin Jassim Al-Thani,

Minister of Foreign Affairs. My primary objectives are to increase bilateral trade, continue to provide care and assistance for our citizens here and preserve the excellent reputation of Qatar in Thailand. “Diplomatic relations between Qatar and Thailand were formally established on August 7, 1980, and they have blossomed with the exchange of our resident embassies. Thailand inaugurated its embassy in Doha in December 2002, and Qatar established its embassy in Bangkok in October 2004. We have about 40 people working at the embassy. Four are Qatari diplomats, including myself, and the rest are locals. “Thailand and Qatar support each other in regional and international legal frameworks and regularly exchange high-level visits. There have been a number of agreements or MoUs signed between our two countries. Qatar is an important trade partner for Thailand and the main destination for our energy exports. “In 2016 the trade volume both ways amounted to US$2.7 billion, according to Thai statistics. The trade balance favours Qatar; Thai exports to Qatar amounted to US$278 million while Qatari exports to Thailand reached US$2.4 billion. “Qatar’s major imports from Thailand include cars and spare parts, air-conditioners, jewellery, furniture, electronics goods, canned food products, machinery and metals, while Thailand primarily imports petroleum products, especially liquefied natural gas (LNG). There is a long-term agreement between Qatargas and PTT Public Company. The agreement states that Qatargas will export two million tonnes of LNG to Thailand annually for 20 years, starting from January 2015. Every two weeks a ship carrying LNG arrives at a Thai port from Doha. Qatargas has company offices here. We also export various chemical products to Thailand. “Qatar Airways is well known here, and the airline’s expansion has coincided with the rising status of Thailand as a tourist destination. The airline has five flights a day to Bangkok. We fly twice a day to Phuket, and we have four flights a week to Krabi. From December 12 onward

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Sustainability stressed The Ambassador said his government is committed to promoting sustainable development. “The statement outlining Qatar’s approach, presented at the Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) held in Bangkok on August 21 this year, highlights the many important pillars to achieve sustainable development promoted under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar. “Qatar seeks to support and diversify the economy by strengthening national institutions that contribute to advances in development, and also by opening doors for all our citizens, as well as foreign investors, to participate. We believe that peace, security and human rights are prerequisites for national and international prosperity. “The Qatar National Vision 2030 policy stipulates the principle of strategic planning for economic, social and environmental progress in order to improve the quality of life and well-being of everyone living within our borders. “The Qatar government is currently buying real estate in Europe. For example, we own around 30 percent of the tall buildings in Canary Wharf, a major financial centre in London. We bought Harrods, the luxury department store, as well. We are also buying real estate in Italy and France.”

The Ambassador meets with the PM General Prayuth Chan-o-cha in July 2017

Qatar Airways will launch a new route from Doha to Chiang Mai and U-Tapao,” said the Ambassador, adding that the trip from Doha to Bangkok takes about six hours. Qatar Airways’ fleet includes Airbus 380 and Boeing 777 aircraft used for long distance flights. Doha’s Hamad International Airport, which opened in 2014, was rated second in the Top Ten International Airports in the Travel and Leisure World’s Best Awards 2017 readers’ survey.”

Doha, capital of Qatar

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Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai received a copy of the credentials from the Ambassador in March 2017


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UN speech by the Emir of Qatar Following are excerpts from a speech made by Emir Sheikh Tamim of Qatar at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 20, 2017. Maintaining the regional and international peace and security is a priority in the State of Qatar’s foreign policy, whose principles and objectives are based on the United Nations’ charter and the rules of international legality. “At this time, I stand here while my country and my people are subjected to a continuing and unjust blockade imposed since June 5th by neighbouring countries. The blockade involves all aspects of life, including the intervention by these countries to rip off family ties. The blockade was imposed abruptly and without warning, prompting Qatar to consider it as a kind of treachery. “It seems that those who planned and implemented it had envisaged that their move would cause a shocking and direct impact that will bring the State of Qatar to its knees and capitulate to a total tutelage imposed on us. And what is worse, the blockade planners found it necessary to rely on fabricated quotes attributed to me and posted on the website of Qatar News Agency after hacking it. “This illegal blockade was not confined to the economic aspect and the breach of the WTO Agreement, but it exceeded that to violate the human rights conventions by the arbitrary measures that have caused social, economic and religious harm to thousands of citizens and residents of the GCC countries. “The blockading countries went beyond that to chase their own citizens by imposing penalties of imprisonment and fines on them for the mere expression of their sympathy with Qatar, even if that was on the social media, in a precedent never seen before in the world. “Terrorism and extremism are among the most serious challenges facing the world. Countering them require us all to carry out a concerted action against terrorist organisations and their extremist ideology in order to maintain security for humanity and stability for the world.”

World Cup to showcase Qatar Qatar is hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Ambassador said the construction of stadiums and other facilities and infrastructure for the competitions is progressing well. “All football stadiums will be airconditioned to around 19ºC. What’s more, the tournament will be held in December when the temperature is normally between 19ºC-25ºC, so visitors can expect good weather. We completed one the main stadiums a few months ago.

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Doha

“We are excited that so many visitors coming for the World Cup will have the chance to learn what Qatar is all about. We were doing everything we can to make this one of the best World Cups ever,” said the Ambassador. “Around 30,000 Qataris visit Thailand each year, but the number of Thai tourists in Qatar is low. We expect more for the World Cup. We want to show Thai and other tourists from around the world that we have a lot to offer. We have a long-standing cultural heritage with numerous fascinating attractions such as the Islamic Art Museum, which contains the largest collection of Islamic Art in the world; Souq Waqif, regarded as a social and civic hub in the heart of Doha. The Corniche, a waterfront promenade extending for several kilometres along Doha Bay; Aspire Park, a huge and beautifully landscaped green area in the heart of Doha; and Katara cultural village.


“A few months ago Qatar announced a new rule that allows citizens from 80 countries to obtain a one-month visa upon arrival at the airport.” Thailand is a popular destination for Qataris who enjoy its tourist attractions and also those seeking medical care. “Our government has a Medical office to serve Qataris who come here for medical treatment. The office will send them to an appropriate hospital.” The Ambassador said that in addition to Thais coming to Doha for business purposes, approximately 4,000 Thai citizens are residing in Qatar; around 2,500 of these are skilled and semi-skilled workers in the construction sector. The rest are working as Qatar Airways’ cabin crew, technicians and executives, and there are a handful of entrepreneurs, housewives and students.

Al Jazeera Recently, some well-publicised and highly controversial allegations were made by the government of Saudi Arabia against the state of Qatar. Some countries also want Qatar to close Al Jazeera, the state-funded broadcaster. “There’s no way we will close Al Jazeera down. Al Jazeera was established in 1996 and from that time, the world has had a way to get good information about the Middle East. Before that no one knew what was really going on in the region. Al Jazeera is now the number one regional media organisation, with an office in London which opened three years ago. Al Jazeera broadcasts in Arabic and English.”

Love for Thailand

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he Ambassador had a lot of praise for Thailand: “I love Thailand, I love this place, and I love the Thai people. They are very kind. The food is great as well. My whole family is here, my wife and five children, four sons and one daughter, they all enjoy life in Thailand. “This country is very safe. You can walk anywhere with no problem. I have no bodyguards. Everything is good and quiet in this country. My family and I feel safe and at home here. Sometimes my daughter, who studies at a university in Bangkok, comes to see me at the embassy when she has a break, and we will have coffee. She really enjoys her life here, as does my wife. She has many friends in Bangkok, and she often gets invited to see them. She also stays busy looking after our five children. “This is my first ambassadorial post. I have been here now for over a year,” said the Ambassador, adding that his term here would probably be three or four years. “I am very busy every day a lot of meetings, receptions and other activities. There is plenty of social life for a diplomat in Bangkok, which I like. It is better to go out than to sit at home. I enjoy walking as well. In my free time, I like to spend time with my family and to swim. “I travel out of Bangkok often. I’ve visited with my family Phuket, Krabi, Pattaya, Koh Samui, Hua Hin. They enjoy these trips very, very much, and even when I have time to go back to Qatar, my family will say, ‘no, we want to stay here.’ ” The Ambassador said that in general Muslims can feel

CV of H.E. Sheikh Jassim Bin Abdulrahman Bin Mohammed Al-Thani Work experience 1996: Appointed to Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar 1996-2000: Directorate of European and American Affairs 2000-2001: Office of the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs 2001-2005: Embassy of Qatar in Cairo, Egypt 2005-2008: Directorate of Arabic Affairs 2008-2012: Embassy of Qatar in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 2012-2014: Directorate of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) 2014-2015: Embassy of Qatar in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 2015-2016: Appointed as Assistant Director with the Directorate of GCC 1996-2017: Participated in numerous regional and international conferences Jan 2017: Granted the rank of Minister Plenipotentiary

at home in Thailand and Bangkok. “I meet members of the Muslim community in Bangkok at receptions or when we go out eat. The Thai government is also helping Muslim people a lot. You see a lot of mosques in Thailand. There is a mosque near my home in Sukhumvit Soi 49.” The Ambassador is a sharp dresser, and when asked about brands he likes he said: “I usually buy suits from Giorgio Armani, Zeina and Belzaerelli this brand is the best. I wear the Qatari national dress every Friday or if I am meeting with Thai officials,” said the Ambassador, adding that it is well suited to the desert climate of Qatar. “The summers in Qatar are very hot in the day and night. Winters can be pretty cold, especially in the desert.” He remarked that as in Thailand, most cars on the road are Japanese brands. “A lot of people drive Toyota Land Cruisers or Lexus, and people with a lot of money might prefer Rolls Royce or Lamborghini. You see many of these cars in Qatar. We have very tough traffic laws. The top speed in Qatar is 130km/h, and even if you are from the Royal Family, you will be punished if break traffic laws. No exceptions.”

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Insight

Vanuatu comes courting Thailand James Elcocke-Harris of Vanuatu Information Centre (VIS) spoke to Maxmilian Wechsler about the country’s new citizenship by investment program, which offers an honorary second citizenship and passport in a tax-free, British Commonwealth member state, in exchange for a contribution to Vanuatu Government Development Funds

S James Elcocke-Harris

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O-CALLED “CIPs” (Citizenship by Investment Programs) are widespread in the Caribbean nations, and some exist in Europe. However, Vanuatu’s initiative is unique as the first and only CIP of its type in the Asia Pacific. Citizenship is conferred on people who donated US$280,000 (under which a ‘family application’ of up to four can be made) to the country. Successful applicants have the same rights and privileges as a native Vanuatu citizen, except that they cannot stand for government office or get involved in politics in any way. “Vanuatu passport-holders enjoy significant benefits – such as visa-free

visa on arrival travel to 127 countries – including the UK, Schengen Europe and Russia, with more countries added each year,” explained Mr Elcocke-Harris.


“VIC has its head office in Port Vila, with branches in other Asian capitals, now including Bangkok. We just opened a fledgeling office on Sukhumvit Soi 26, and we plan on expanding in the coming months. “This is an aviation hub for Southeast Asia, and so we are working to establish direct flights between Port Vila and Bangkok. It will connect us to China and the Middle East, and even Europe and the Americas. A whole new range of markets will open up.

“Thai nationals don’t need a visa to go to Vanuatu,” added Mr Elcocke-Harris. A former British Army Officer, Mr Elcocke-Harris was appointed by the government of Vanuatu to represent and promote its interests under the VIS initiative. “As a small island nation, Vanuatu’s resources are limited, and their voice is not very powerful. “Vanuatu’s principal revenue source is tourism. We are relatively close to Australia and New Zealand, so that’s where most of our tourists come from.”

“Vanuatu is located northeast from Australia in a little-known archipelago of 83 islands, 65 of them populated, spread over a maritime area of 1,300 kilometres north to south. The population of 285,000 is quite dispersed, and this requires a lot of air connectivity there are a lot of flights between islands. “The weather is good all year round. During the daytime, the temperature may get up to 28ºC but not much more than that. At night it may drop to 20ºC. www.gov.vu

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Feature

BIG STORIES FROM THE PAST

Fifty years of natural disasters in Thailand – floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and drought – we’ve had them all By Maxmilian Wechsler

In the last half-century, Thailand has been ravaged by its share of natural disasters that have killed and injured countless thousands and destroyed trillions of baht worth of property and infrastructure. No province has been spared the enormous human and economic toll from floods, droughts, tropical storms, tsunamis, forest fires, landslides, earthquakes, hailstorms and other so-called ‘acts of God’. It’s often suggested, however, that many such disasters are at least partly manmade and could be minimized if authorities did more to tackle corruption, bad planning, mismanagement, negligence, and political wrangling in the realm of public works.

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HERE’S a timeline of some large-scale natural disasters in Thailand from 1966 to 2016:

thousands to flee . The storm destroyed many buildings in Koh Samui. A rail link between Bangkok and the South became impassible. Damage to the agricultural sector was high.

September 1966: About 90 percent of northeastern Nong Khai province was submerged. Torrential downpours that started in August cut all communications. About 300,000 residents were affected and up 30 people were killed. Heavy rains also caused floods in northern Chiang Rai province, resulting in substantial losses for farmers.

Februar y 1975: An earthquake was felt in Bangkok and nine other provinces. Measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale, the quake was centred below the Andaman Sea and lasted for about three minutes, causing

thousands of office workers to run out from high-rise buildings in Bangkok. Fortunately, no injuries or loss of life was reported, and damage was slight. The tremor shut down the Bhumibol Dam in Tak province, causing power disruptions in Bangkok and other areas. October 1980: Big floods hit Bangkok and other provinces causing millions of baht in damages. Some schools were forced to close for

August 1970: At least 25 provinces were devastated after two massive storms hit the country. More than 100 people were killed. Thousands were left homeless after heavy rains inundated homes, farms and other property. Most of the deaths and damage were reported in the northeastern provinces of Uttaradit, Phrae and Phetchabun. November 1970: Tropical storm Ruth battered southern coastal Thai provinces for over a week, forcing

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over a month, and damage to roads and other infrastructure and private property was widespread. The calamity prompted Deputy Prime Minister Boonchu Ronajastien to call for a long-term national flood prevention plan. Bangkok Governor Chaowas Sudlabha was red-faced when reminded of an earlier promise to keep Bangkok free of floods. October - November 1983: Tropical depressions Herbert and Kim left a trail of destruction and death in 42 central, northeastern and eastern provinces. Forty-nine people were killed, and damage to crops and infrastructure was estimated at 625 million baht. Heavy rains caused dams and rivers to overflow, flooding villages and towns and parts of Bangkok, where roads were impassable for days. About 55 Bangkok residents died, and 200,000 homes in the eastern suburbs alone were damaged. May 1986: A storm that originated as a tropical depression in the Andaman Sea caused heavy rain that lasted for several days and paralysed Bangkok. On May 9 floodwaters brought traffic across the city to a standstill, with hundreds of thousands of motorists and bus passengers stranded up to five hours. Most shops were closed as streets and footpaths were underwater. Police reported four deaths by electrocution from severed power lines that were submerged in the deluge.

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November 1988: In one of the worst disasters in the country’s history at least 350 people were killed, and 75 went missing after extremely intense rainfall caused mudslides around Khiriwong and Khao Phra villages in Nakhon Si Thammarat and Na Sarn district of Surat Thani province. The tragedy prompted Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan to order a ban on logging in forests in the South. The heavy rains also caused serious flooding in 13 southern provinces, and many villagers were stranded for days in several districts in the Pak Phanang River basin. November 1989: Typhoon Gay struck the coast of Chumphon province with gusting winds of 185km/h on November 3, causing widespread devastation as it moved inland. The typhoon destroyed houses and schools, damaged crops, made roads impassable and uprooted trees and electricity poles. The Interior Ministry reported that 529 people were killed, 508 boats sunk, 894 government buildings damaged, 400 public schools wrecked and 29,518 homes destroyed, rendering 158,605 people homeless. October 1990: Tropical storm Ira passed over Ubon Ratchathani province in the Northeast unleashing heavy rains that triggered floods which killed at least 24 people and


damaged more than 6,000 square kilometres of farmland. November 1993: A tropical depression caused severe flooding that lasted for about three weeks in the three southern provinces of Trang, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Yala. The floods resulted in the deaths of 23 people and considerable financial damage. September 1994: At least 16 people were killed and 13 missing after a flash flood surprised hundreds of people swimming and picnicking at a recreation park at Wat Takrai in Nakhon Nayok province northeast of Bangkok. Officials equipped with bullhorns warned people to leave the stream, but many ignored the warnings or were too slow to move to higher ground. October - November 1995: Millions of people in the Bangkok metropolitan area were severely affected by floodwaters that reached 2.27 metres and lasted weeks. Roads all over the city sustained major damage. The floods also spread across many other provinces and damaged large tracts of farmland. Many flood victims complained of a lack of assistance from the government. The disaster that took more than 400 lives was the worst recorded flooding in Bangkok history, until 2011. 1997: Drought in 63 provinces affected almost 23,000 rural villages and about 414,000 hectares of farmland.

Januar y 1999: Thai authorities reported that as of January 29 six million people in 44 provinces had been affected by Thailand’s worst drought in decades. August 1999: Tens of thousands of Thais were forced from their homes after the worst flooding in 30 years inundated most of Chanthaburi province. Police reported six people dead and two missing after three consecutive days of heavy rain submerged towns, farms and main roads. According to the Provincial Civil Disaster Protection Centre, 98,166 people were affected. Floodwaters inundated some 10,180 hectares of orchards and plantations and damaged more than 250 roads. Hundreds of vehicles were partially submerged on the roads of Chanthaburi town. November 2000: The southern town of Hat Yai in Songkhla province experienced epic flooding in four days of extremely heavy monsoon rains that left 26 people dead and caused an estimated two billion baht in damages.

May 2001: Following two days of heavy rain, a landslide in Wang Chin district of Phrae province in the North killed 43 people on May 4, 2001. More than 300 houses were destroyed. Thai officials blamed the tragedy on logging. August 2001: At least 122 residents of seven villages in Phetchabun province were killed and more than 100 injured during the night when mudslides brought on by heavy rains swept down from the mountains. Fallen trees also poured down hillsides laid bare by deforestation. Januar y 2002: Two people were killed and thousands of homes damaged after hailstones as large as coconuts struck nine provinces in northern Thailand. April 2002: A storm killed five people and damaged about 300 bamboo shelters in a refugee camp in Tak province near the Myanmar border. December 2004: Floods killed at least eight people and damaged thousands of homes in several southern provinces December 2004: Following an earthquake measuring 9.1 on the Richter scale off the coast of Indonesia in the Andaman Sea, tsunami waves struck the western coast of southern Thailand on December 26. More than 8,000 people were killed and about 8,500 injured. The damage to the Thai

August 1997: Flooding in northern Thailand caused by tropical storm Zita between August 22 and 23 caused 49 deaths and damage to property estimated at 2.9 billion baht. November 1997: Tropical storm Linda swept through Nakhon Si Thammarat province with strong winds and heavy rains that triggered flash floods in six districts. Linda took the lives of 12 people on land and more at sea. The bodies of hundreds of Thai and Vietnamese fishermen caught at sea were washed ashore in the aftermath of the deadly storm.

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economy was enormous. It remains the most significant natural disaster in modern Thai history. 2004 - 2005: According to government spokesman Jakrapob Penkair, between October 2004 and February 2005 wildfires destroyed more than 80,000 rai of forest area. August 2005: Over 100,000 families were affected by floods in the northern Thailand provinces of Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son. The disaster claimed 11 lives and inundated about 4,500 homes. December 2005: Heavy rains and flash floods that began in mid-November flooded a number of southern provinces including Yala, Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla, Trang, Satun, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Phatthalung.

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t least 25 people drowned, and some 368,500 families were affected. More than 80 percent of the total area in some localities was inundated. Over 2,000 schools were damaged, 1,800 of them closed temporarily. It was the worst flood in southern Thailand in 40 years.

May 2006: Two days of heavy rains were responsible for flash flooding and landslides in Phrae, Lampang, Nan, Sukhothai and Uttharadit provinces that resulted in the deaths of 87 people. Almost 400 villages were under water after rivers and reservoirs overflowed. October 2006: The remnants of Typhoon Xangsane, which had already wrecked havoc in the Philippines and Vietnam, passed over Thailand causing significant flooding in 35 provinces in the central region and killing around 50 people. Floodwaters damaged vast tracts of farmland and local infrastructure and spread water-borne diseases due to polluted water. November 2006: Devastating floods in northern Thailand killed 211 people on November 6. The floods destroyed 54 houses and damaged 10,000 more. Around 7,000 roads and 480 bridges sustained heavy damages. Ubon Ratchathani province was among the hardest hit. April 2007: At least 23 holidaymakers were killed and more than 20 injured by flash floods at three waterfalls in Trang province on April 14.

April 2008: The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM) reported that 55 provinces were suffering from the drought that was affecting more than 10 million people. The list of most seriously affected provinces included Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son in the North, Si Sa Ket, Nong Khai and Ubon Ratchathani in the Northeast, and Trang, Surat Thani and Ranong in the South. September – October 2006: Typhoon Mekkahla hit Si Sa Ket province in late September spurring torrential rains that killed 32 people. October 2008: The death toll from floods caused by heavy monsoon rains in North, Northeast and Central Thailand rose to 23 while more than 230,000 people were treated for waterrelated diseases and injuries. October 2008 - Februar y 2009: The Forest Fire Control Division reported in February 2009 that more than 10,000 hectares of forest had been ravaged by 609 fires since the start of the fire season in October. Chiang Mai was hardest hit with 262 fires, followed by Chaiyaphun and Prachuap Khiri Khan provinces, which had 72 and 39 fires, respectively. November 2008: Flooding following heavy rains in southern provinces left ten people dead and 190 families homeless. August 2010: Floodwaters one meter high caused widespread disruption in over 1,200 households in 36 villages in seven districts of Lampang province on August 13. October - December 2010: Catastrophic flooding in the Central and Northeast regions of Thailand resulted in the deaths of an estimated 180 people, while floods in the South were responsible for around 80 deaths. Government estimates put the number of people affected at about seven million in 25,000 villages and put economic losses at 54 billion baht. The floods were caused by the overflowing of the Chao Phraya River in Central and Northeast Thailand and a combination of a tropical

Photo of fires taken by NASA on March 15, 2012

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in almost a third of the country. The Royal Irrigation Department said that the amount of usable water in dams across the country, except in the West, was below 10 percent of capacity. Rice farmers were unable to plant in June or July as they usually would. March 2016: The country again struggled with severe drought that caused water levels in major dams to fall alarmingly low. The drought hit the North hardest, with 22 of Thailand’s 76 provinces affected. Agriculture was severely impacted, and there were genuine fears that taps could run dry within a few weeks. depression and La Niña monsoonal rains in the South. July 2011 - Januar y 2012: The worst flooding in five decades spread over 65 provinces, mainly in the North and Central regions, including a large part of Bangkok. Altogether there were 815 deaths, and over 13 million people were affected. About 21,000 square kilometres of farmland was submerged, along with tens of thousands of homes, factories and businesses. The total loss to the economy was estimated at 1.43 trillion baht. March 2013: Heavy storms hit the northern provinces of Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Lampang and Lampun on the evening of March 3, causing blackouts and extensive damage to houses and cars. Hailstones in Viang Hang and Soi Saket in Chiang Mai province were reportedly the sizes of eggs. November 2013: Around 4,000 households were damaged and 41 roads and 21 bridges were rendered impassable in four district of Surat Thani province due to floods. At least five people were reported dead. March 2014: A torrential rainstorm accompanied by a devastating hail storm hit several villages in Loei province on March 16, causing significant damage to houses, cars and property. The storm also downed

trees and power poles. Hailstones in some areas were the size of golf balls wreaked havoc on crops and buildings. Februar y 2014: The Northeast provinces of Buriram and Sakhon Nakhon were reportedly suffering from the worst drought in many years. May 2014: An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale with its epicentre 27km southwest of Chiang Rai struck on May 5. An 83-year-old woman in Mae Lao district was killed when the brick walls of her house collapsed on her. July 2014: Chiang Rai province was struck by flash floods and landslides after three days of heavy rain. Thousands of people in eight districts were affected, but no injuries were reported. September 2014: A total of 28 provinces, including Kamphaeng Phet, Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phayao, Phrae and Sukhothai were affected by flooding that resulted in 10 deaths. December 2014: Floods and landslides in seven southern provinces killed seven people and injured three. July 2015: Thailand was experiencing its worst drought in decades with water rationing imposed

April - May 2016: It was reported on April 6 that fires were widespread in forested areas of Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Tak and Nan provinces. On May 8 a forest fire raged on Doi Suthep Mountain in Chiang Mai. October 2016: Floods that hit Nakhon Sawan province killed three people and inundated large areas of farmland as well as almost 30,000 homes. Across the country 14 provinces were affected, with Ayutthaya province particularly hard hit. December 2016: The southern provinces of Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat Songkhla, Phattalung, Pattani, Chumphon, Krabi, Trang, Yala and Narathiwat were struck by floods that killed at least 11. 2017 natural disasters While the period covered in this article is between 1996-2016, the pace of disaster in Thailand hasn’t slackened in 2017. Before this issue went to press there were reports that flooding in the Central region was the worst since the catastrophic floods of 2011-2012. On November 9 the DDPM issued a statement saying that flooding was present in 12 provinces, affecting 233,000 people. On November 19 the flooding remains in Ayutthaya, Khon Kaen, Maha Sarakham and Phichit provinces affecting about 82,000 people.

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Social

p Last month’s best events in pictures

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR

LED by General Manager, Viranat Silananda, Amara Bangkok staff recently donated blood at the Thai Red Cross Society’s National Blood Centre to help Thais across the country in need of blood transfusions. The hotel also joined a special volunteer project as a tribute to His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at Hua Lamphong temple.

NEW GOPRO HERO6 BLACK

THE newest GoPro camera is here, and it is the most powerful and convenient one yet. It provides users with better video stabilisation, the quality of the video is next-level, it is both convenient in size and durability. GoPro’s latest campaign titled, ‘MyGoProMoment’ promotes user’s new ability to now share stories through Quik Application. The campaign invites everyone to share content from their GoPro through Quik Application and post on Facebook or Instagram and use the #MyGoProMoment and #GoProThailand. Then, tag GoPro on either social media account for the chance to win prizes valued at B129,500. The campaign will run from now until December 17, 2017.

BENZ TTC DRIVING EXPERIENCE 2017 VANUATU INFORMATION CENTRE TO OFFICIALLY LAUNCH

THAILAND welcomed government delegation from the Pacific Island of Vanuatu as a new Vanuatu information centre is launched to promote trade, tourism and citizenship by investment program. They attended a series of briefings in late September in hopes of supporting the launch of the global network of government approved offices under the “Vanuatu Information Centre” (VIC) brand. Vanuatu stretches some 1,300 kilometres and is made up of 83 islands (65 of which are populated). It remains relatively unspoilt from the effects of tourism, though there is plenty to see and do on the islands including scuba diving, hiking and more.

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SAFE driving and performance is a priority at Mercedes-Benz, and their latest project to promote these two key components titled, ‘Benz TTC Driving Experience 2017,’ was a success. Various models were put to the test with customers, and female celebrities were invited to try this fun test-driving session at Motor Sport Park Suvarnabhumi, Romklao, Bangkok. The project was created to make drivers feel more confident and safe behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz.


DER MOND CELEBRATES 25TH ANNIVERSARY AND UNVEILS NEW CLUTCH CELEBRATING its 25th anniversary is jewelry brand DER MOND, founded by Dermond Anadara Co Ltd. On November 9, celebrations were held at DER MOND boutique in Siam Paragon, and during the event, the brand unveiled the new diamond clutch ‘DER MOND DECO Clutch.’ It is valued at B3.38 million and was inspired by DER MOND’s iconic collection.

‘BONDING WITH LOVE’ CHARITY AFTERNOON TEA AT SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, BANGKOK

SHANGRI-LA Hotel, Bangkok honoured the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej with a special afternoon tea and father-son-daughter celebrity fashion show titled, ‘Bonding With Love.’ The event was on Friday, December 8 and held in collaboration with Caring Hearts for AIDS Foundation. The event featured a variety of savoury sweet which reflected the late King’s many hobbies and talents. TheBigChilli 143


Amara Bangkok super saver

SAVE more when you book with the super saver deal (minimum two consecutive nights or more) with rates starting from B2,700++ per room per night. Receive the best room rates with extra benefits including a complimentary upgrade, inroom Wi-Fi, e-concierge, a 30 percent discount on food and beverages, a free tuk-tuk service to the Sala Daeng BTS Skytrain station and Silom MRT station and access to the 24-hour gym and infinity sky pool. 02 021 8888. bangkok.amarahotels.com/ promotions/super-saver

MATES’ RATES Friends or Family

Exclusive Thai residence package at Holiday Inn Bangkok Silom

FROM now until March 31, 2018, Holiday Inn Bangkok Silom is delighted to offer their exclusive Thai residence package available for both Thais and expats. Deluxe rooms are only B2,699 net for a night including breakfast, and a premier room is only B2,999 for a night stay and includes breakfast. You must have a Thai ID or work permit in order to get this offer.

visiting Thailand? Let them know about these deals

02 207 4300. holidayinn.com/

Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok

PLAN your next getaway at Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15 for excellent rates. Book one of the special packages and promotions and prepare to experience a new level of comfort at the first Four Points by Sheraton Hotel Bangkok. 02 309 3000. deals.fourpoints.com/Four-PointsBangkok-Sukhumvit-Hotel-3409/special-offers

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X2 Khao Lak Anda Mani Resort  CELEBRATE special moments with friends and loved ones at X2 Khao Lak Anda Mani Resort this Christmas and New Year. Enjoy an international buffet with fresh BBQ seafood by the pool or by the sea. Enjoy an array of performances throughout the night while sipping the resort’s signature cocktails. There is a special package for the Christmas dinner buffet on Saturday, December 24 from 6-9pm and is B1,199 net per person. The New Year’s Eve dinner and countdown party is B1,999 net per person. 030 638 310. x2resorts.com/resorts/khao-lak


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InterContinental Hua Hin Resort

K

NOWN for its elegant architecture, delicious seafood restaurants, colourful nightlife and night markets, Hua Hin is considered a favourite yet exclusive retreat for locals and travellers alike. Exuding an air of elegance is InterContinental Hua Hin Resort, where guests can enjoy even more exclusive services with a Club

InterContinental membership. Boasting a totally new level of exclusivity, InterContinental Club offers an elevated level of hospitality and personalised services while guests enjoy their stay in the distinguished collection of guest rooms. They can also enjoy the luxurious beachfront club lounge, equipped with panoramic views of the Gulf of Thailand. The Club InterContinental room includes packing and unpacking services, warm and exclusive welcome amenities upon arrival, complimentary breakfast at Club InterContinental Lounge or in your room from 6.30-10.30am, a choice of afternoon tea sets from 3-5pm, predinner cocktails from 5.30-7.30pm which is provided throughout the resort, one relaxing soak in the aroma

of your choice from five 'Bath Time' selections per stay and two clothing pieces laundered or pressed. Special privileges also include complimentary, unlimited access to Vana Nava Hua Hin Waterpark and True Arena, Hua Hin’s sports centre. Bluport Hua Hin Resort Mall is only mere steps away from the resort, as well. There are also many diverse dining venues onsite including Pirom restaurant, Azure Restaurant and Bar, Pool Bar and Lee La Bar. he staff is always on hand to offer a sophisticated array of dining and beverage selections with panoramic views of the Gulf of Thailand acting as diners backdrop. The meticulous attention to details with thoughtful touches throughout and many pleasant surprises will make staying at InterContinental Hua Hin Resort a truly extraordinary experience. InterContinental Hua Hin Resort. 33/33 Petchkasem Road Tambon Hua Hin, Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan. 032 616 999. huahin.intercontinental.com

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01 REFRESH your body and mind with  the hidden benefits of coffee at Noora

01 Coffee secret at Noora Spa 02 All-you-can-eat pizza, pasta and risotto 03 BBQ chill and grill by the sea 04 ONE PIECE Carnival at Vana Nava Hua Hin 02 GATHER your  family and friends and

enjoy all-you-can-eat pizza and pasta at Salas. Featuring a selection of delicious homemade pizza and pasta, the buffet also includes an array of desserts including fancy mini cakes, seasonal cut fruits and ice cream. 032 708 000. sheratonhuahinpranburi. com

SPOIL yourself with an array of  imported meats and local seafood freshly

grilled before your eyes. Savour the refreshing sea breeze and the panoramic view of the Gulf of Thailand at Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas. The BBQ feast is available every Saturday at BBQ chill and grill by the sea. The gastronomic experience is priced at B1,490 per person and is served from 6.30-10pm every Saturday. 032 909 900 ext 3135. facebook.com/ Sheraton

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Spa. Packages include the latte package: a 60-minute coffee body scrub and neck and shoulder massage for B1,499 net per person (from B2,998 net). The cappucino package is a 90-minute coffee body scrub and hot oil body massage for B1999 net per person (from B3,998 net). The espresso package is an 120-minute coffee body scrub followed by a coffee body wrap and hot oil body massage for B2,599 net per person (from B5,198). 032 616 777. marrakeshresortandspa.com

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03 VANA Nava Hua Hin water jungle,  DEX (Drem Express) ONE PIECE

copyright agent in Thailand other leading partner brands and hosting ‘ONE PIECE Carnival Vana Nava Hua Hin Thailand.’ This is the only festival where all ONE PIECE fans can meet their favourite characters from Japan. The price is B1,500 for an adult and B1,000 per child. 032 909 606. vananavahuahin.com


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The Associate Long Service Award

SHERATON Hua Hin Resort & Spa presented the Associate Long Service Award to its 76 members who have been with the hotel for ten years and 22 members who have been with the hotel for five years. The award ceremony served as a recognition for the associates, their achievements, dedication and loyal support through their tenure with the hotel.

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The BigChilli December 2017  

Thailand's best-read expat magazine. Find out what's hot in Bangkok and beyond. December 2017.

The BigChilli December 2017  

Thailand's best-read expat magazine. Find out what's hot in Bangkok and beyond. December 2017.