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January 2014 08 INSIGHT News, letters, gossip and more 20 THAILAND’S SECRET SHOPLIFTERS They exist in great numbers, but nobody is prepared to admit it. 25 GOURMET A round up of all the best restaurant deals and gourmet events in Bangkok 46 DINING ON A HIGH Enjoy a feast for all the senses at Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park’s signature buffet restaurant 50 THA TIEN IN FOCUS Take a break in Bangkok’s increasingly popular riverside community 56 CORRUPTION FIGHTER Meet the woman leading the charge against corruption involving state officials 63 EXPAT WOMEN Health, shopping, people, advice and fiction 81 WHAT’S ON This month’s best events all wrapped up 93 SOCIAL Last month’s best events in pictures 113 DIPLOMATS Maxmilian Wechsler talks to Canada’s engaging envoy 119 HUA HIN Deals and news 131 PATTAYA News from the Eastern Seaboard



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

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As always, Thaksin holds the key THIS may be the season of predictions, but few are being brave or unwise enough to forecast what’s going to happen in Thailand over the next 12 months. As it stands, the political situation is on lockdown. And everything else hinges on it. Realistically, there’s only one person who can solve the impasse, and prevent this country from a fate that only military leaders have so far espoused. And that’s Thaksin Shinawatra. If he renounced his political and other ambitions, and those of his family and closest associates, then Thailand can move on, or at least begin a period of reconciliation acceptable to all sides that would lead, hopefully, to a radical overhaul of what has become a political system riddled with corruption. There’s no sign of that happening, of course. Quite the opposite, in fact, with the Pheu Thai party announcing a very pro-Thaksin line-up of candidates for the next elections, supposedly to be held next month. The man himself is clearly determined to get his revenge, money or destiny, or whatever else he wants to call it. He’s not for turning. So, the stalemate looks set to continue, which does not bode well. Surely Thaksin and his team must have watched with considerable concern the recent anti-government demonstrations in Bangkok involving hundreds of thousands of so-called middle class Thais, and wondered how on earth these masses would react if the PT party is returned (which is likely), and Thaksin is eventually forgiven and brought back into the fold. These protestors hold down important positions and perform vital roles in the economy. It wouldn’t be difficult for them to derail the new government at will, if they wanted to. That possibility must have dawned on the Thaksin team. That’s not to say the Democrats have all the answers. Patently they don’t. And besides, whatever else they might claim, and however impressive the recent demonstrations have been, it must be remembered (though many in the anti-government camp reject this notion) that only a minority of the population supports them. Moreover, many of those demonstrating are not out on the streets to show their support for the Democrats and Suthep Thaugsuban, but to express their dissatisfaction with the overall political system.


Over the past few weeks, the Democrats have done themselves no favors with their fiery rhetoric, violent behavior and chilling intolerance of alternative viewpoints. And somewhat ironically, their solution to the impasse – a people’s council – can hardly be described as democratic. Even in the unlikely event that the Democrats did get their way, and the government caved in, the reaction of the red shirt majority is almost not worth thinking about. What some people from both sides of the divide would like to see evolve from this chaos is a new party that is prepared to come clean with its candidates, their policies and their complete rejection of the corrupt practices that have bedeviled recent politics. This is a long shot, of course, and it can only happen without Thaksin and Suthep. Thailand needs a new start if it is to avoid the kind of strife a few people are now prepared to talk about in public, though many more fear it privately. • Foreign journalists covering the current political stand-off have come in for a good deal of criticism recently. When BBC correspondent Jonathon Head ran a three-minute TV clip on a red shirt stronghold in the Northeast, he was vilified and accused of bias by anti-government supporters. This was grossly unfair. Head was only doing his job. As a journalist, he is expected to present all points of view. And the couple of people he interviewed do represent the beliefs of millions of Northeasterners who vote for the Pheu Thai party and its leader. They need to be heard just as the opposition needs to be heard. For Thailand to progress, the press should not be gagged. • A common complaint amongst anti-government supporters is that the Pheu Thai party ‘bought’ its votes. This may well be true, but it’s nothing new, here in Thailand or elsewhere for that matter. Politicians have always won support with promises of great generosity once they’ve been elected. Does anyone remember how the wealthy Thai city of Suphanburi was often jokingly referred to as Banharnburi in recognition of its MP and former prime minister Banharn Silpa-archa whose largesse to his voters always guaranteed his re-election?


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

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

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

The BigChilli Company Ltd., 1/7 5th Fl. Room 504, Siboonrueng Bldg. 2, Convent Road, Silom, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500 Tel: 02 233 1774-6, 02 266 7141 Fax: 02 235 0174 e-mail: AD Foodland_May13.indd 1

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12/28/13 11:41 AM


Inbox|Have your say


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HAVE YOUR SAY! Write to us at:


■ JUST the other day, after discussing with my husband how I’d like to do some interesting volunteering in Bangkok, I picked up your November issue and what page did I open to but the story about the National Museum Volunteers “Making history accessible to all” (P.66). The group and its work sounds fascinating, and I’d like to say a big thank you for bringing my attention to it. I’ll definitely check out one of NMV’s museum tours soon and, if I like it, may even become a member, too. Sarah C, Bangkok

NICE ROAD, SHAME ABOUT THE PARKING ■ GREAT article on Soi Thonglor in the last issue. There’s no doubt it is now Bangkok’s premier entertainment area, light years ahead of anywhere else. That said, it does face one major problem parking. Those of us who prefer to drive to our favorite restaurants and bars are having a tough time finding a suitable space to leave our cars. It’s an even bigger problem for girls who don’t like to take public transport for the obvious reasons, including wariness of taxi drivers. Even if you do find a place to park on the street, you’re invariably approached by some petty crook who claims to ‘own’ this bit of this public thoroughfare and suggests you have to pay him money to “look after” your car. To refuse is to invite scratches on your paintwork. Ultimately, it will be parking that limits Thonglor’s popularity. Ms Lady Driver

THE GOLDEN OLDIES ■ I REALLY enjoyed reading your article about Bangkok’s longstanding restaurants (December issue. P12). The pace at which new establishments open and close here is dizzying, so it’s good to know that some places can survive and thrive in a fickle marketplace such as Bangkok’s. Whenever friends of mine suggest opening an eatery here, I always warn them off by telling them that most new openings in the city tend to close within a matter of months. Your list, however, has changed my mind. Now when my friends suggest opening a restaurant here I’ll tell them to go and visit the places you mentioned instead. After all, with over 20 years in the trade, these places must be doing something right, and my friends may just be lucky enough to find the kind of inspiration they need to succeed. Thanks for the tips. Traveling gourmet, Bangkok

DOGGY DELIGHT ■ I ALWAYS like reading about quirky/ interesting businesses in Thailand which reveal how anyone with a ‘can do’ attitude can set up a successful operation here. So I was delighted when I read your story about Pattaya-based, former British policeman Joe Cox, Managing Director of Defence International Security Services, who also operates as a dog breeder and supplies canines to government agencies and private companies (December issue. P26). Who would have thought that you could make a successful business out of raising man’s best friends in the land of smiles? A great read! Please keep inspirational stories like this coming. George K, Bangkok




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The Observer Interesting snippets of life in Thailand

„Taxi driver with a gun AFTER a long night on the town, an expatriate jumped in a taxi for his usual ride home to Rama 3 via Klong Toey. The journey was very familiar as he’d taken this same route many times in the past. So when the taxi driver suddenly pulled into a dark area beneath the expressways, he began to worry. Things got much worse when the driver looked back at the guy, pulled out a gun and told him to hand over all his money. He did as told, despite fumbling with his wallet out of sheer terror, and gingerly got out of the taxi. Shaken beyond belief, the man wasn’t able to record the vehicle number of even its colour. Nonetheless, he reported the incident to police, but so far has heard nothing back. The loss of B2,000 is nothing compared to the loss of confidence the man now has in local taxis. „Why sell a successful hotel? IT’S no secret that many Bangkok hotels are for sale, including one prominent five-star property on Sukhumvit that regularly records high occupancy levels and room rates that are the envy of its competitors. While it is true that most major properties in the city can probably be bought for the right price, the availability of so many apparently successful hotels must say something about the viability of the hospitality business – or the impossibly high cost of financing such projects. And yet, these factors are apparently no deterrent for would-be hotel owners. Over the past few years, Bangkok has witnessed a boom in the number of new hotel openings. Clearly, these new investors are not studying the ‘properties for sale’ advertisements now doing the rounds. It’s always said that owning a hotel is some men’s ultimate ego trip.


„No tip for pub’s stony-face waitress “SERVICE isn’t what it used to be.” That’s a phrase heard with increasing frequency in Bangkok nowadays. And judging from the recent experience of a mixed Thai-expat group of four people, it certainly applies to a popular Sukhumvit pub. One of the group decided on an all-day breakfast offering “two eggs any way you like them.” When the waitress finally approached the group to take their orders, the guy specified an omelet. “No,” said the stony-faced lady who was clearly having a bad day. “But it says eggs any way you like them,” he replied. “If you want omelet, you order omelet, not breakfast,” she shot back, unflinchingly. “But it says on the menu….oh, never mind.” Taken aback by her unfriendly attitude, and fearful that she might throw something at him, the guy settled for scrambled eggs. Things got worse later when a Thai lady member of the group tried to attract the same waitress’s attention, but was resolutely ignored. Several times. When the bill was called, the waitress sent over her only slightly less unfriendly colleague. A discussion among the group ensued. Was the service poor, or not? To a person, and that included two highly educated Thais, the answer was a resounding yes. A tip was not left. „Public beaches up for grabs BEACHES in Thailand cannot be privately owned, though you wouldn’t always think so when checking out popular resorts like Pattaya, Phuket and Koh Samui, where many have been taken over either by vendors or by hotels. In each case illegal intruders hang on to their plots with amazing fanaticism. One Wong Amat hotel in Pattaya zealously protects its beachfront and guests on their sun beds by employing security guards to shoo away itinerant vendors, who correctly claim that beaches are in fact public property and they have every right to be there. Sometimes, however, positions are reversed. The mayor of Phuket, for example, recently admitted that it had become impossible to get rid of the vendors who now dominate Surin beach. One reason he gave was that the local authorities would have to provide alternative sites for the vendors – and there was no budget for that. Possibly another reason, which the mayor didn’t mention, was that he’d face the wrath of some rather dangerous elements if they were actually removed. Ultimately, though, it’s the public who really lose out.


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News|Around town

Cycling’s ‘Hard Man’ Sean Kelly to ride here ■ JAMES ‘Sean’ Kelly, one of the most successful road cyclists of the 1980s, will be in action in Thailand from February 1-2 when he joins a weekend ride from Bangkok to Prachuab Khiri Khan organized by SpiceRoads cycling tours.   Kelly, known as ‘the hard man of cycling,’ is an Irish former professional bicycle racer who won nine monument classics and 193 professional races before retiring in 1994.   Local cyclists are invited to join Kelly on the 226 km ride, starting in Bangkok.   SpiceRoads’ package costs B10,000 and includes one night’s accommodation, race kit, vehicle support, water and snacks, four meals, and transportation to the start and from the finish.  For more info, contact:

Sneak peek at The Bull & Bush ■ FANS of the former Bull’s

Head Pub take note. Here are some ‘leaked’ design drawings of Billy Brunsdon’s new incarnation of that much-loved watering hole. Called The Bull & Bush, it’s a more modern-style gastro pub set over three-floors (with a third-floor wine bar) on Sukhumvit 33. Brunsdon promises a “colourful new experience in social drinking and dining.” Expect more info in a future issue of The BigChilli.


Top restaurants open at Groove ■ BANGKOK’S vibrant dining scene continues to boom with the opening of Groove at Central World, a project that brings together under one roof a number leading local and international restaurants, bistro bars, patisseries and cafes. The list includes Harrods and Cicchetti from the UK, Jones the Grocer from Australia, and Fauchon

and Maxim’s from France. Local eateries include Greyhound, El Gaucho, Wine I Love You, House of Beers, Hyde & Seek, and Apinara.   Located in a 12,000 sq m building in front of CentralWorld, Groove will eventually be home to 16 outlets.


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When the UK embassy would repatriate Brits in distress ■ THE British embassy in Bangkok comes in for all kinds of stick, some of it justified, much of it not. There’s no denying, however, that the number of people and issues it has to deal with has increased enormously over the years. Thailand now welcomes more than 600,000 UK tourists a year and is home to about 100,000 British expatriates. Back in 1974, when I first arrived, those figures were tiny by comparison and the British embassy was able to take an active interest in many of them. “This passport should be That almost paternal attitude impounded by the Immigration Officer on arrival in the United was particularly fortunate for me Kingdom. Valid for the single as I found myself, after an arduous journey (to) the United four-month overland trek from the Kingdom. Not to be renewed without reference to the UK, facing a double problem here in Foreign & Commonwealth Bangkok. The first was that my visa Office.” was about to expire, and the second was that I had temporarily run out funds. Although I was expecting money to be sent from the UK, transfers back then could take weeks – way beyond the duration of my visa. Seriously worried about the repercussions for overstaying my

visa while waiting for money to buy an air ticket home, I approached the British embassy and told an official of my plight. Almost immediately, the officer expressed sympathy and said the embassy would repatriate me. That is, it would purchase a ticket for me providPassport extended after ed I paid back the amount to the British paying back the UK government for an air ticket government on my return to the UK. As a guarantee, I would have to hand over my passport to an immigration officer on arrival in London. I agreed and within 24 hours the embassy gave me a one-way Bangkok-Heathrow ticket on Air France valued at 140 pounds. I was relieved and grateful, of course, but also amazed by the British embassy’s friendly gesture. Apart from major catastrophes and upheavals, it is plainly impossible nowadays for the British embassy to take this level of a personal interest in its nationals. But for one young lad, it got it just right.

Down memory lane: The White Inn ■ BACK in the 1970s, the White Inn on Sukhumvit Soi 4 (Soi Nana) was one of Bangkok’s most popular pubs. Managed by an elegant English woman married to a Thai army officer, it was famous for its pies, fish and chips, and muchused dartboard. Later, the first floor of this impressive Tudor-style building was the venue of the city’s first genuine disco, Byblos, run by the charismatic Jaran. Hugely popular, Byblos scandalized Bangkok’s middle class as its sons and daughters flocked to the place. Sadly, the property was demolished in the mid-80s to make way for a condominium.


Spotted on Sukhumvit Soi 4, a sign with an unmistakable message.


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Video Killed the Radio Star? Charting consumers’ changing preferences in the digital age ■ THE first time I remember seeing a TV music performance was probably the Dick Clark American Bandstand, which was a staple on Saturday afternoon. I hummed, sang and did the bump to the tunes of You Can Ring My Bell and I Will Survive. As a kid, I had little idea of what the musician or artists looked like until they appeared on the American Bandstand or Soul Train. In the summer of 1981, I was visiting my aunt at Virginia Beach. My cousins turned on the TV and showed me the newly debuted Music Television channel. On the channel was no other than the legendary Duran Duran, singing Hungry Like The Wolf. Like most pre-teens, I was enthralled. For the first time, I found out what Kenny Loggins looked like. Prior to MTV, he was simply the king of movie soundtracks and an invisible artist. I became an MTV addict. It was cool, fun and I could put a name, face and voice together. From what I could see, Kenny Loggins was a big beard guy, sporting a mullet, who sang the lead vocal of Footloose! In the 1990s, more musicians and singers were primped and made marketable for the ravenous TV viewers. The music factory was churning out groups like Wilson Phillips and Milli Vanilli. In the music videos and on the radio they sounded fantastic. Their popularity brought them center stage of renowned events like the American Music Awards. Later, Wilson Phillips’ singing capabilities were questioned in stories exploring how much the studio synthesized the band’s sound. Milli Vanilli, meanwhile, were found to be merely lip syncing and couldn’t sing at all. As a result, the handsome pair was stripped of their Grammys.


The lip syncing accusations extended to Madonna and Janet Jackson’s concerts. With elaborate costumes and athletic dancing, it’s not surprising that some singers resorted to lip syncing. That fans noticed it, though, proved that audiences wanted the real deal. The boy bands rose to prominence in the same decade. Cute and slick, the boy bands catered to teens and young adults. At the pinnacle of the boy band hierarchy were Boyzone and Back

Street Boys. The latter was formed by Lou Pearlman, who is responsible for bringing together many famous boy bands. With a trail of screaming girls, more boy bands formed to meet the demand. From the sweetie boy band called 911, the rapping LFO, the hot to trot ‘N Sync and the beefcake 98 Degrees fronted by Nick Lachey, the list went on and on. By early 2000, reality became a big hit with American viewers and it spouted global franchises. MTV led the phenomenon with its Real World show. Today’s shows like The Idol, Got Talent and the Voice have local versions in dozens of countries. Unlike its predecessors, The Gong Show and Star Search, today’s

By Pacharee Pantoomano Pfirsch reality TV has been criticized as being fraudulent and deceptive. There are accusations that the scenes are staged, participants are coached and directors use misleading edits to sensationalize the stories. Other critics claim that participants are exploited and untalented people gain celebrity status simply because they have appeared on TV for a season. Despite these criticisms, some of these shows outrank regular primetime shows and win highly prized time slots. Catering to the YouTube generation and its growing appetite for voyeurism, these reality shows have been instrumental in introducing new talents. These gems have proved that pure talent can be the main ingredient in winning over the hearts of millions. After appearing on a reality show, Susan Boyle and Sung-bong Choi have become household names. A little closer to home, Bell Nuntita wowed the audience with her melodic male and female singing ability. Andlast but not least, who can forget Psy and his Gangnam style! The antithesis of handsome and suave, his breakthrough as well as others have shown that there is still plenty of room in the music industry and the audience welcomes the authentic marketing of such talents. Pacharee Pantoomano-Pfirsch is a co-founder of, a boutique marketing and PR agency. When she’s not busy figuring out how to twerk, she helps weave beat and rhythm into the client marketing and PR plans. She can be reached at


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Expat Recognising the foreign community’s contribution to the Thai economy FOR the first time, companies established in Thailand by the country’s expatriate community will be recognized for their creativity, ingenuity, excellence and proven success in the The Expat Entrepreneur Awards of the Year 2014. Supported by The BigChilli magazine in conjunction with communications experts BNOW, the Expat Entrepreneur Awards 2014 will highlight the contribution foreign-owned companies make to Thailand’s economy.   Awards will be presented in a variety of categories to recognize the amazing diversity of these enterprises.   If you are an expatriate entrepreneur with a business story worth telling, or you know someone whose company deserves recognition, please let us know.

Send your submissions to:



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ting a r b e l Cebusineesns ce l excel

Entrepreneur Awards 2014 The categories include:

• Arts & culture • Agriculture • Charities & Foundations • Construction & design • Corporate training • Education • Entertainment (music, performance) • F&B (catering, restaurants) • Finance • Health, wellness, & spa • Hospitality

• Manufacturing • Retail (fashion, accessories) • Sports and fitness • Tech & IT • Others (TBA) Expat Entrepreneur Awards 2014 Recognizing your contribution to Thailand’s economy.


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Insight|Secret shoplifters

Thailand’s secret shoplifters


They exist in great numbers, but nobody is prepared to admit it. Maxmilian Wechsler finds out why

IT’S grown faster and bigger in recent times than just about any other most business sector, and yet Thailand’s booming retail industry seems to have avoided the plague of shoplifting that rages in all other countries. Why should that be? Is it because the nation’s shopping centres, malls, supermarkets, and countless other retail outlets have better security and are more efficient at protecting their products from thieving hands? Or does it mean that shoppers in Thailand are more honest and trustworthy than anywhere else?   Sadly, the explanation is much less upbeat: shoplifting most certainly exists here and is widespread, but the full extent of the problem is kept secret by retailers who believe that disclosure and the related publicity might harm their reputation.   Most also claim that financial losses from stealing are “acceptable” and do not pose a threat to their bottom line. And that in a nutshell is why the public is kept in the dark about the seriousness of this type of crime.   Nevertheless, stories about shoplifting occasionally surface in English-language media focusing on tourists. Recent headlines include “American suspected of shoplifting goat cheese from North Pattaya supermarket” and “Phuket tourists shoplift alcohol, snacks for Patong beach party.” Another announces


“Russian tourist caught shoplifting cosmetics in South Pattaya.” Of course, it’s not only tourists who steal; theft is also rampant among Thais, including in some cases store employees. Information on employee theft is kept under the rug by most companies for obvious reasons, but this almost invariably leads to dismissal and possible criminal charges.   When questioned, executives of several companies refused to go on record or didn’t reply to requests for interviews.   As a result, obtaining information and evidence about shoplifting was only possible after a promise to store managers, security personnel and salespeople that their identities, store names and brands sold wouldn’t be revealed; otherwise they feared they would be fired immediately.  

Shrink sur veys

Across the world, the seriousness of retail shrinkage or “shrink” from shoplifting, employee fraud, organized retail crime and also administrative errors is apparent from the latest report released by the Global Retail Theft Barometer, which says global losses from shrink cost retailers more than US$112 billion or 1.4 per cent of retail sales on average in 2012.


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The study was underwritten by an independent grant from Checkpoint Systems Inc and based on surveys conducted in 16 countries among 160,000 retail stores with a total of US$1.5 trillion in sales in 2012. According to the study, shrink is on the rise in most countries with increases noted in shoplifting, employee theft and organized retail crime. The lowest shrink rates were recorded in Japan, followed by Hong Kong, Australia and Germany. The highest were recorded in Brazil and Mexico.   The countries surveyed in the Global Retail Theft Barometer did not include Thailand, but another survey held in 42 countries did. The survey by the Centre for Retail Research based in Nottingham, United Kingdom, found that 1.47 per cent of Thailand’s retail sales value was lost to theft either by shoppers or by employees in 2010, and ranked Thailand ninth among the 42 countries surveyed.   In 2011, Thailand came in seventh out of 43 countries in a Centre for Retail Research survey, with the worst offenders being India, Russia, Morocco, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico. The centre didn’t conduct a survey in 2012.  

Off the record

“We don’t worry too much about the financial losses inflicted by the shoplifters or staff theft because we make money and can absorb the losses,” admitted a manager at a branch of a large supermarket chain in Bangkok.   “When we catch a thief, whether Thai or foreigner, we impose a fine on the spot, which can be multiple times the value of the goods stolen, and tell them not to come back. We don’t take the thieves to the police station to be charged because this is a waste of time for us and the police, who have more serious crimes to attend to. This is especially true if the thief steals merchandise that has little value.   “Secondly, bringing a thief to the police station means it could be reported in the media, something my boss doesn’t want,” explained the manager.   He said that the CCTV surveillance systems installed in every branch have failed to stop shoplifting, but added that the cameras are a definite deterrent because thieves usually select areas where they think the cameras won’t spot them.   “The thieves steal cheap items like instant noodles or sweets. In the past they went after razor blades and shaving cream, so we locked these items in a glass display case that staff will open only on a customer’s request.

“Maybe this looks odd to some of our foreign customers, but it is necessary because we were losing large quantities of many of these items. We do the same with more expensive whiskies, wines and other spirits.”   He also talked about “group theft” when as many as ten thieves work together, arriving between 2-5am when only a few employees are on duty. One such group targeted 24-hour stores until they were caught.   Women from Middle Eastern countries sometimes steal in his stores, concealing goods in their long dresses.   Not all companies are so forgiving. A security official employed by a food store in a large mall on Rama I road in Bangkok says: “Every shoplifter, no matter what they steal, whether it is a pack of noodles for 15 baht or imported biscuits for 510 baht, once they’ve been caught by security personnel they are taken to Pathumwan police station to be charged. It is not about the money, it’s the principle.   “Any person who commits a crime should be punished according to the law,” he said.   “Shoplifters are people of all ages, Thais as well as foreigners. We’ve had them from England, Iran, Myanmar, Russia, Spain, Turkey and Vietnam.   “Most of the thieves are amateurs who operate alone but sometimes we get hit by professionals who work in teams. Recently, we apprehended ten shoplifters at our mall, which employs uniformed and undercover personnel along with a vast CCTV network and other security equipment.   “The majority of thieves are females. From our supermarket they steal mainly items like packaged sausages, cakes and coffee as well as merchandise such as hair brushes and hair spray.   “Several employees were also apprehended stealing various items and they, too, were sent to the police station.” None of the arrests were reported in the English-language press.



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T Insight

Insight|Secret shoplifters

The official expressed disbelief that people would steal such cheap items when it could land them in a prison cell. He has a point. Shoplifting comes under Section 334 of the Penal Code of Thailand B.E. 2499 (1956), which says the penalty is ‘imprisonment not exceeding three years and a fine not exceeding six thousand baht.’   “Amateurs are easy to spot because they behave suspiciously, like walking around the store for a long time, looking around and up and acting like they are not sure what they want to buy,” continued the official.   “We have officers constantly watching monitors in our control room on the look-out for suspicious people, and if we spot them stealing, we will radio to our uniformed guards to approach the suspect. Most of the thefts occur in the supermarket section of the mall, which is usually very crowded, as well as in the men’s and women’s clothes sections.   “We don’t have much theft involving shoes for the simple reason that only one is normally on display,” smiled the security man.   Staff interviewed at various other shops, including one large food store franchise with thousands of outlets throughout Thailand, also conceded that shoplifting is rampant.  

Sales people hit the hardest

Those who suffer most from store theft are the salespeople, who in many cases are required to pay their employers for at least a portion of the losses while they were on duty. The amount depends on the brand and the circumstances of the theft. Generally, supermarket employees aren’t required to pay for losses.   However, staff selling clothes, leather goods, electronics and other durable items often have to pay the full price, less any discounts offered to customers.   A few brands will settle for less than the label price. Companies usually deduct money from the salary of the salesperson, sometimes in instalments.   Some companies won’t ask the salespeople to cover the loss if the CCTV footage can clearly identify the thief.   A woman selling a Thai brand of men’s clothes at the Rama I mall said that “theft dropped almost to zero” when a CCTV camera was recently installed in the shop. “But we still watch customers carefully and never leave the shop unattended. Before the CCTV was installed, we often had clothes stolen. When theft occurred, those on duty had to share the losses and pay the company the full price less discount, which despite being up to 30%, was still a lot of money to pay even if the amount was divided between sales staff.   “Since the camera was installed, we are more relaxed.”   Another girl in the same mall was near to tears when she described what happened to her recently: “Normally there are


two employees in our section, so one of us is always watching the customers, but my partner didn’t turn up for work one day. I went to the toilet and returned to the store after five minutes and discovered that when I was away, a man’s suit on sale at 2,900 baht was missing. “The CCTV camera is quite far away and this particular rack was blocked by another display,” she explained.   “I already reported the theft to the security people in the mall and to the brand. Now I am waiting to see what they decide to do. Normally the staff has to pay 50% of the loss. I am not making a lot of money and I work long hours every day.   “Sometimes several people gather around the displays and it’s hard to see what they are doing exactly, and I can’t really ask them to open their shopping bags. It is a difficult job and I am thinking about quitting,” she added in obvious distress.   A young salesman working for a men’s Thai fashion brand next to the mall revealed that theft in his and other shops where friends work is common, and added that on occasions he’d like to resign because the company asks him to pay the full price for any stolen merchandise.   “There are three of us in the shop and we always watch and follow the customers around but some are still able to steal.   “Those who steal the most are Thai teenagers who come in a group of three of four,” the salesman said.  

Highflying shoplifters

Last October, the South China Morning Post published in Hong Kong reported that tourists from mainland China were stealing from duty-free shops at Phuket International Airport only minutes before boarding their planes back home.   “Shoplifters sometimes escape punishment after making it aboard their flights because of reluctance by pilots to delay takeoff, along with an apparent reluctance by security staff to press the issue,” the newspaper said.   Because of such incidents, Kanpat Mangkalasiri, deputy director of the Phuket airport, announced at the end of October that passengers suspected of shoplifting from airport shops would be taken from the plane and arrested, although the whole procedure, including retrieval of their luggage, must be completed within an hour.   Phuket Tourist Police Major Urumporn Koondejsumrit commented that it doesn’t matter if the manager of the duty-free shop files a complaint with the police or only asks for the return of the goods, because when a crime is committed the police must make an arrest.   Almost all people interviewed by The BigChilli agreed that shoplifters should be arrested and these arrests should be reported in the press because this will deter the thieves.


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bangkok gets dressed.

salads, wraps, sandwiches, paninis, soups, smoothies

NOW OPEN! Mercury Ville 540 Ploenchit Road Chidlom/Langsuan Intersection Ground Floor BTS: Chidlom Open Daily 10am - 8pm Tel. 02-658-6688

Siam Paragon 991 Rama1 Road Ground Floor (Opposite MK Gold) BTS: Siam Open Daily 10am - 10pm Tel. 02-610-7714 AD Dressed_Dec13.indd 1

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Gourmet p Wine and restaurant news

Enjoy special menus and traditional Lion Dance performances when Yuan Restaurant celebrates Chinese New Year. Page 28.

What’s Cooking A round up of this month’s best gourmet deals. Yummy! Page 26

Meet the chef Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit's Executive Chef shares his secrets Page 34

Dining out

Our favourite restaurants reviewed and listed Page 38 TheBigChilli

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What’s Cooking

Bangkok’s hottest dining deals and news


■ THE District Grill Room & Bar’s first Wine Dinner of the year will feature a six-course special menu paired with wine from Grgich Hills Wine, Napa Valley. Guiding diners through the night will be guest speaker Ms. Maryanne Wedner, Director of Corporate and Export Sales of Grgich Wine Hill Estate. Reservations are essential. B2,800++. 2 Sukhumvit Soi 57 ☎ 02 797 0400 

Pizza champ joins Brio ■ ITALIAN Chef and World Pizza Champion Danilo Sangrigoli has joined Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa as Manager and Chef of the Italian restaurant Brio. A certified Master of Masters at the Scuola Pizzaioli Italiana in Venice, Chef Danilo is a three times World Pizza Champion in Speed and Quality Baking, and the first competitor in pizza history to win both the acrobatic and baking titles in Italy’s Pizza Championships. He also won the title of European Champion at the 2006 Pizza World Cup in Barcelona, and is a Guinness World Record holder for baking 540 pizzas in 103 minutes. Bangkok diners can now watch his acrobatic pizza skills in the open kitchen at Brio. 257/1-3 Charoennakorn Road 

☎ 02 476 0022 Ext. 1416

Indian Sunday Brunch Buffet


■ TUCK into Tandoori chicken, Chole bhature, Reshimi kebab, Paneer tikka, and many more north Indian delicacies at Tandoor Restaurant’s Indian Sunday Brunch Buffet, which, until the end of the month, is offered at the special price of just B499 per person. Also features live Indian music.

981 Silom Rd. 02 238 4300 


Barbecue under the stars THE SALA, AVAILABLE NOW

■ SHERATON Grande Sukhumvit’s popular annual poolside barbecue has returned featuring grilled gourmet meats and seafood served in a relaxed outdoor setting. Highlights include Wagyu rib eye, beef tenderloin, lamb chops, salmon, tuna, and Indian Tandoor favourites. Available daily 7pm-10pm. Price starts at B1,300++ per adult for one main course dish plus a buffet of appetizers and desserts. Kids menu is also available.

250 Sukhumvit Rd. 02 649 8365 

International celebrations


■ THE Square International Buffet Restaurant will take on two celebratory themes this month for special feasts loaded with festive dishes. First up, on Jan 11 and 12, the restaurant will celebrate National Children’s Day with a buffet loaded with all kinds of tasty treats, as well as a kids’ corner brimming with fun games and activities (B950++ per adult; B475++ for kids aged 12-16; kids under 12 dine free when accompanied by two adults). Then, on Jan 26, Australia Day will be marked in sumptuous fashion with an Aussie-themed buffet dinner featuring dishes such as Crocodile stew and Seared ostrich fillet alongside a selection of Australian wines (B1,050++ per person with a glass of wine).

Siam Square Soi 6 02 209 8888 ext. The SQUARE 


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A taste of China


■ SPECIAL menus and a traditional Lion dance performance are just two of the highlights planned as part of Yuan Restaurant’s Chinese New Year Celebrations. Set menus (from B12,000 to B62,000 for a table of 10 persons) and à la carte dishes will be available both for lunch and dinner, with gourmet Cantonese dishes such as Golden fried lobster croquettes coated in coconut; Abalone and king crab; and Wokfried Maine lobster, and many more. An unlimited beverage package is B999. 123 Charoennakorn Rd. ☎ 02 442 2000 

Beer and BBQ


Wine and dine surprise

■ TWO Forty Eight Café & Bar is seeing out the cool season with a “Beer Festival” promotion offering a choice of two set menus served alongside ice cold beer – either The Seafood Lover Set, featuring river prawn, fish, and more, for B400++; or the Meat Eater Set, featuring Beef tenderloin, German Sausage, and more, for B450++. Available Mon-Fri 6pm-10pm. 248 Ratchadapisek Rd. ☎ 02 939 7949 


■ THE Reflexions Restaurant is kicking off the year in style with a three-course wine dinner featuring premium vintages from Bodega Norton Winery, Argentina, paired with a selection of contemporary French dishes. The gourmet menu offers two choices for each of the three courses. Highlights include Chicken velvety with sorrel and crab mushroom; Poached black cod, celeriac, fennel, pear and light curry tones; and Valrhona dark chocolate tart with peppermint soother ice cream and tipsy cherries. B2,100 per person (includes a bottle of wine for two paying guests and pre-dinner wine tasting in The Glaz Bar).

Wine buffet


■ ANOTHER venue serving up a free-flow selection of decent yet inexpensive wines is Luna Sky Garden Café. Daily from 5pm-10.30pm, a ‘Wine I Love Buffet’ promotion offers two-hours of free-flow selected wines for B650++ per person. Among the selections: Bin 222 Chardonnay 2011 (Australia), Bin 999 Shiraz 2011 (Australia), and Mar Y Sol Merlot 2011 (Chile). A snack platter for two is also served. 919 Petchburi Road ☎ 02 257 3999 

Wireless Rd. 02 650 8800 

Bubbles and a bite


Free-flow wine special AVAILABLE NOW AT W BANGKOK

■ FLYING in the face of the recent

wine-list price hikes seen in most venues around town, a great wine deal is now on offer at W Bangkok’s new wine lounge, The W Terrace. Every day from 5.30pm10.30pm, a “Don’t Wine, Just Drink” promo offers two-hours of free-flow wines for just B550++ per person, or three-hours for B700++. Every two guests also receive a free plate of cold cuts and cheeses. North Sathorn Rd. ☎ 02 344 4210 



■ CHINESE New Year brings lots of tasty treats to Citi Bistro, which will add to its already extensive buffet a selection of Thai seafood and traditional Chinese favourites, including Dim Sum baskets, BBQ pork buns, Roast duck, and Chinese chicken fried rice. B1,290 per person. 444 MBK Center ☎ 02 216 3700 

■ BUY a bottle of bubbly at Kacho Sky Bar or Sundowner’s Bar any night this month and you’ll receive a free platter of tasty bites – Sushi and sashimi at Kacho, Cold cuts at Sundowner’s. Choices include Dom Pérignon 1998, Moët & Chandon Rouge Brut, Duval-Leroy Brut, Mangin et Fils Brut, Blanc De Blancs Ayama from South Africa or Jeio Desiderio, Cuvee Rose Veneto from Italy. B1,400 per bottle.

Sukhumvit 22 02 261 9000 ext. 4140 or 4162 


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Gourmet scrapbook

Last month’s foodie functions in focus

Almaviva marks 15 years ■ AN exclusive dinner saw VIP guests treated to the latest Almaviva 2011 vintage, complemented by Almaviva 2007 and 2003, during a bespoke food and wine pairing session held at the Peninsula Hotel in Bangkok. The event marked the 15th anniversary of the wine, which is the result of a joint venture between Baron Philippe de Rothschild S.A. and Viña Concha y Toro S.A., and the first wine in Chile created under the French Château Concept. On hand to introduce the wines on the night were Almaviva’s new brand ambassador for Asia Pacific, Andres Ballesteros; and its Commercial Director, Francisco Zilleruelo.

Festive flavours at Anantara ■ ANANTARA Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa launched its festive bazaar with a fun-packed party fuelled by cookies, candies, cocktails, and more festive goodies. On the night the hotel’s management also introduced the new Manager and Chef of Brio Italian Restaurant – Danilo Sangrigoli, a three times World Pizza Champion in Speed and Quality Baking – who wowed guests with an acrobatic pizza show and a selection of delicious Italian bites. You can read more about the talented chef on page 26. 30


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"For A Healthy Life Style"



1. 2. 3. 3.

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Jacob’s Creek’s special pairing ■ MR Patrick Castanier, Managing Director of Pernod Ricard Thailand, hosted an exclusive sit-down dinner to launch Jacob’s Creek Lamoon, the first premium Australian wine specially crafted to complement the diverse flavors of Thai cuisine. The event, which began with a contemporary performance by Patravadi Theatre and featured a special menu created by renowned chef Ian Kittichai Chalermkittichai, was hosted at Chakrabongse Palace, the former residence of Prince Chula Chakrabongse. The night was capped with a stunning fireworks display.

Italian beer showcase ■ CUSTOMERS, suppliers, partners and friends of diVino Restaurant, Thonglor 16, enjoyed the unusually sophisticated and subtly sweet tastes of Birrificio L’Olmaia beers paired with a three-course menu specially created for the occasion by diVino’s chef. The three beers sampled, which are now only available at diVino, were La9, La5, and BK. Elegant and very drinkable, they were well received by all.



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Chef in focus|Spencer Kells

Most difficult dish you’ve ever had to cook? In my very early years I could never master making a soufflé Worst habit of local diners? Being afraid to try new dishes and sticking to foods they know

SERVING UP Spencer Kells

Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit’s Executive Chef lifts the lid on his culinary life

Favourite cookbook? Mesa by Bobby Flay

Biggest culinary myth? Putting oil in water stops pasta sticking together. This is not true and will have no impact on whether it sticks together or not; the oil will simply rise to the top. Culinary trends for 2014? Environmental sustainability and Favourite locally sourced ingredients? foods Chilli and cheese Your signature dish? Tuna tartar with avocado and crispy wontons

Favourite cuisine and dish? People who know me will say Pizza, Burgers and Phad Kha Prao

Cool tempered or volatile in the kitchen? Cool tempered

Favourite cookingstyle? Modern Australian

Your proudest achievement? Getting to personally meet and cook for the Queen Mother when she came to officially open the kitchens at the Connaught Hotel, London

Do you have a cooking philosophy? Simply have fun and enjoy what you’re doing

Most influential chef? Michel Bourdin who gave me the opportunity to become a chef

Chef Spencer in focus ■ SPENCER Kells is the Executive Chef at the Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, where he oversees the operation of each of the hotel’s distinctive restaurants and bars. A passionate and creative chef, British citizen Spencer began his career apprenticing under Chef Monsieur Michel Bourdin at the one Michelin star fine-dining restaurant and grill of the renowned Connaught Hotel in Mayfair, London. He then embarked on a globetrotting career which has seen him work in some of the world’s top kitchens and exclusive hotels. Among them: Amelios Restaurant in San Francisco, USA; Oriental Hotel Bangkok;The Willard Hotel in Washington DC; and the Millennium Hilton Bangkok. He was also Partner and Director at two restaurants in Australia where he developed popular and distinctly modern bistro menus, Kells Kitchen in Sydney, and Flint Dining Room & Bar in Canberra. Prior to his appointment at Sofitel Sukhumvit Bangkok, Spencer was Director of Culinary & Service at Sheraton Pattaya Resort. Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, 189 Sukhumvit


☎ 02 126 9999 


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cut out and keep


Recipe of the month Caesar Salad

The Coffee Club Thailand’s Global Culinary Director, James Bradbury, shares his recipe for a lunchtime classic Ingredients (1 serving) • 100g cos lettuce • 20g crisp bacon • 50g Caesar dressing • 10g croutons • 10g parmesan cheese • 1pc poached egg • 2pcs anchovies

Method For poached egg 1. Bring water in a saucepan to almost bowling. 2. Crack an egg into a small cup and gently pour it into the water in one fluid movement. 3. Let it sit for three minutes (or until the egg whites are cooked) before lifting the poached egg out of the water and putting it aside for the moment. For salad 1. In another mixing bowl, place the chopped cos lettuce with crispy bacon pieces, croutons and about 5g of parmesan cheese. 2. Add Caesar dressing into the bowl and mix everything together until everything is evenly coated. 3. Place two whole cos lettuce leaves onto a designated plate before placing the salad from the mixing bowl on top. Make sure that the bacon and parmesan cheese are noticeable at the top and that

the tips of the whole garnish leaves are visible. 4. Place the warm, poached egg in the centre of the salad. 5. Decorate the dish further by placing anchovies on top of the poached egg and sprinkling the rest of the prepared parmesan cheese around the top.

About the chef

Chef James Bradbury 36

COOKING is a lifestyle and passion for James, who leads the global culinary team at The Coffee Club Thailand. Drawing inspiration from the contemporary café scene in Australia as well of years of international cooking experience – including stints in Australia, London, Thailand, China, and Middle East – Chef James holds a Diploma Culinary d ’Hotelier from Le Cordon Bleu, including Dux of the year, and he prides himself on creating hearty breakfast, brunch, and all day dining dishes with an Australian twist. The Coffee Club Baan Rajprasong, 3 Soi Mahadlekluang 3, Ratchadamri Rd. (Rajdamri BTS Station) 02 253 6382 


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Where to eat

Recommended restaurants and bars International cuisine

Marriott Café

Definitely one of Bangkok’s premiere hotel buffets. You’ll find an abundance of cook to order food stations, and an attentive managerial staff that hovers about making sure things go right. The seafood here is always sparkling fresh and the desserts are rich, diverse, and loaded with those all-important calories. The restaurant’s convenient location at the centre of action on Sukhumvit Road and the abundant parking are added bonuses. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Saturday and Sunday brunch. JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok, Sukhumvit Rd at Soi 2 (BTS Nana or Ploenchit) Tel: 02 656 7700


•IF you’re bored of supping

all the usual local and imported beers served at most Bangkok bars take yourself along to Beer Vault at Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15, and you’ll be able to quench your yeasty



One of Bangkok’s genuine wine bars, Bacchus is a trendy hideaway popular with locals and expatriates. Located at the Ploenchit end of Ruamrudee Village, Bacchus is actually two shophouses that have been cleverly designed to resemble a cross between an upmarket restaurant and a chic yet cozy home set on four levels, including a see-thru floor.The wine selection is enormous and competitively priced, while the cuisine is a mixture of European, Japanese and Thai.The restaurant can be hired in part or whole for private events. Ruamrudee Village, 20/6-7 Rua-


Chili La Roni

is located in the middle of all the nightlife action on Soi Nana. It’s an ambitious venue with 3 floors, pool tables, sports TVs, free wireless Internet for customers, and a kitchen that churns out traditional pub favourites like Bangers and Mash and Shepherd’s Pie. There is a typical 50% off happy hour, plus loads of other specials. Don’t worry about the pub’s location; Hanrahans is all about good, clean fun and the atmosphere makes it a good choice for couples.

garden on Srinakarin Road, Chili La Roni serves up a hunger-busting range of Thai and international cuisine prepared by chefs who have experience working on international cruise ships. Highlights include Barbecue pork ribs (B420), Salmon steak (B480), and Australian tenderloin (250g. B850). To wash down the food, Chili La Roni also offers an extensive selection of cocktails, beers, spirits, and wine.

•This Irish pub and restaurant •Set within a Balinese-style

Sukhumvit Soi 4, near Nana Plaza 02 255 (BTS Nana or Ploenchit) 0644-5

1055/7 Moo 12, Srinakarin Road, Bangna (next to the Maple Hotel) 02 743 0902

mrudee Ploenchit, 02 650 8986

cravings with a great selection of over 100 imported bottled beers served straight from the vault – a.k.a, the bar’s nice cold fridge. You can then pair your beer selection with a choice of great-value pub signatures such as a Foot long hot dog (B150), Ploughman’s platter (sausages, salami, cheese and baguette. B200), Braised lamb shank burger (B250), and Salmon burger (B250). BeerVault, Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15 02 309 3000


•Notable for its trendy

conversion of a warehouse, Kuppa has concrete floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, comfortable couches, marble-topped tables and a massive coffee roaster ensconced in the middle of

things. This is one of those places that could easily be found in any artsy-craftsy area of a Western city. Selected Thai dishes and a collection of international items designed to appeal to educated foodies dot the menu. Rich desserts and excellent coffee roasted in the big machine are house trademarks. Kuppa is hard to find, but worth the effort. Sukhumvit Soi 16, accessed from Ratchadapisek Rd, (BTS Asoke or MRT Sukhumvit) 02 663 0495


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Mulligans Irish Bar

An insomniac’s dream come true, this popular Irish bar on Khao San Road serves drinks and eats 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to a well mixed crowd of tourists, expats and locals who not just come for the after-hours parties, but also for big portions of traditional pub grub like Beef and Guinness Puff Pie (B240+), Fish & Chips (B330+), and Irish Stew (B340+). Daily Happy hours are held twice each day – once at 3pm-8pm when selected beer and wines are only B99 per pint/glass; and again from 2am4am when selected draught beers are B150 and also buy-one-get-one-free.

265 Khao San Road 02 629 4477

Party House One

With its artsy New York-loft inspired design and food menu packed with creative dishes, Siam@Siam Design Hotel & Spa’s Party House One has always been a great place to enjoy a day or night out with friends. The menu features a wide range of dishes that are immediately familiar but which come with extra flair, such as the Laarb Siam, a vibrant blend of tuna, salmon, and octopus carpaccio, drizzled with sesame vinaigrette, and Japanese Shimeji Mushrooms (B220++). At night, PH1’s atmosphere transforms from bright and airy to intimate and cozy, and a house band takes to the stage to play a blend of swing, jazz, blues, and lounge music. 865 Rama 1 Road, Opposite National Stadium (a 02 217 3030 short walk from the BTS station),

The Queen Victoria Pub

•This traditional British tavern’s spank-

ing-new, spit-and-polish aura lends itself to a discovery of unspoiled coziness. Slump into leather loungers, lean back, and tuck into a culinary lineup that would benefit a gourmet Steakhouse: rib-eye, sirloin, T-bone steaks, spare ribs, lamb chops. Also pick from a great range of seafood specials and perennial Thai favorites. The interior is comfortable and excellent for watching live sports; an al fresco terrace is the venue for regular barbecue nights. More prudish patrons shouldn’t worry about the pub’s location on Soi 23 (near Soi Cowboy). The Queen Victoria boasts a squeaky-clean image of family-friendly fun. Sukhumvit Soi 23, opposite Soi Cowboy 02 661 7417 (BTS Asoke)


T Aldo’s Mediterranean Bistro and Wine bar

•This is a rare gem among

Bangkok’s multitude of upmarket dining venues. Elegant and stylish without pretentiousness, an informal atmosphere ensures it’s a great venue to kick back, relax and enjoy delicious food and fine wine. There’s a well-stocked cellar providing an excellent selection of fruity New World and Old World wines, and a food menu with some of the finest Mediterranean cuisine to be found in Bangkok. All set at great prices. Enjoy your meal indoor or poolside. 7th floor, The Ascott Building, 187 02 676 6982 South Sathorn Road


•Offering an extensive

selection of hearty, traditional pub grub, Jameson’s is a great place to enjoy an authentic taste of the West. Burgers, fish and chips, and spicy hot wings score good marks here. For brave diners, there’s also the pub’s ‘Hot Wings Challenge.’ This offers prizes to anyone who can eat eight spicy chicken wings in under ten minutes. Other draws at the pub include four pool tables, 12 widescreen TVs, and the Minus 5 Ice Bar, where you can sip vodka in a large freezer room. Jameson’s Irish Pub and Minus 5 Ice Bar Bangkok, Holiday Inn Bangkok, 981 Shop 6-13, 931 Silom Road 02 266 7703-5

HE Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit’s signature all day dining restaurant Voilà! serves international buffet lunch and dinner to a superb ‘Cuisine on Stage’ concept – which basically means you can order most of your food from live cooking stations, including a Parisian-style rotisserie and an artisan La Cornue stove. The amazing selection of dishes on offer ranges from fresh seafood and oysters on ice to Parisian bistro selections (soups and casseroles), flame grilled rotisserie meats, Italian pasta, fresh pizzas, Asian favourites, and decadent desserts. A cheese room boasts a wealth of premium quality cold cuts and delightfully pungent cheeses from around the world, and there are even 100 bottles of wine to choose from, including 25 choices by the glass. Spoilt for choice? You bet it. Buffet lunch is B995; dinner is B1,450; and Sunday Brunch is B3,999 with free-flow sparkling wines, cocktails and house wines; or B2,600 with soft drinks. The last Sunday of the month a special Veuve Clicquot Champagne Brunch is B4,999. Every Fri and Sat night a Seafood Buffet is just B1,999. (Half price for kids aged 6-12).

Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, 189 Sukhumvit Road Soi 13-15 (between Nana and Asok BTS stations). 02 126 9999 ext. Voilà!


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International cuisine

The Coffee Club

Since opening its flagship branch in Thailand at Major Ekkamai in early 2013, The Coffee Club has gained a reputation for serving up some of the tastiest all-day breakfasts to be found in Bangkok. Omelettes, pancakes, breakfast wraps, the classic big breakfast, and The Coffee Club’s signature Eggs Benedict are just a few of the mouthwatering options on offer. Then there’s The Coffee Club’s regular à la carte menu, which offers dishes such as Grilled chicken and avocado (B180), Caesar salad (B180), and Classic fish and chips (B215). As for drinks – its UTZ certified coffee is made by trained baristas using premium beans sourced from the coffee growing regions of South America, Asia and Africa, so a superior cup of coffee is guaranteed. Open daily. For more info about its branches see thecoffeeclubthailand

Minibar Royale

Sink into one of the plush sofas with a steaming cup of Joe at this New York inspired coffee and liquor bar and it’s about as comfortable as it gets. “No Fuss, Just Chill” reads the motto scrawled on the window, a motto which permeates the whole Minibar experience; walk inside and you’re greeted like a close friend, pull up a seat and you feel like you’re at home. Aside from a wonderful interior that blends deep-colour panels, French doors and dark wooden tables, Minibar also boasts a delightful outdoor terrace. The food menu is fashioned on the hip cafes of New York and Paris, with tasty options like Eggs Benedict on baguette with smoked salmon available for brunch, and Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad available for dinner. A wide selection of wines, cocktails and mocktails mean it’s the perfect hangout at any time of the day.


With its tasty grilled meats, fresh salads, and liberal use of garlic, olive oil, and herbs, Lebanese cuisine is bursting with full, rich flavours which pleasure the palates of both Thai and Western diners.There’s plenty of evidence of this at Nadimos on Sukhumvit 24, where on any given day of the week you’re likely to see a well-mixed crowd of expats and Thais all happily tucking into many of Lebanon’s most popular dishes, both in the restaurant’s elegant conservatory-style setting and out on the leafy terrace. Don’t miss the Lamb and chicken kebabs (tender skewers of charcoal grilled meat with chopped parsley and onions. Start at B210) – simply delicious. Sukhumvit 24, Open daily 11.30am11.30pm (free delivery between 02 261 9816 11am-3pm)

Firehouse Pub & Restaurant

•After capturing the imagina-

tion of die-hard burger lovers, who rank amongst the world’s most passionate and critical diners, this popular establishment on Sukhumvit Soi 11 continues to receive heaps of praise for its comprehensive menu featuring reasonably priced home-cooked dishes like fish and chips, clam chowder, tacos, and signature gems like Black Angus Premium Burger and Champion Chili Burger. Named in honor of firefighters, the restaurant is uniquely decorated with what is surely the country’s largest collection of antique and vintage firemen helmets, and firefighter memorabilia. Sukhumvit Soi 11 (opposite Q Bar) 02 651 3643

Citadines Bangkok Sukhumvit 23, 02 261 5533 37/7 Sukhumvit 23,

Blue Sky

•Located on the 24th floor

of the Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok, Blue Sky offers spectacular views, innovative cocktails, and a wide range of Mediterranean and Asian delights 40

created by Chef Jean-Claude Pichon and his culinary team. Highlights include Yellow tail tartar with apple and lemon pepper caviar; Alaskan king crab and lobster ravioli in Riesling sauce; Egg net wrap with marinated white shrimp and crispy soft crab shell, tamarind sauce, Thai pesto; and Aged beef and rock lobster tail “surf & turf style.” Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok 02 541 1234 ext. 4262, 4272


•Four Points by Sheraton

Bangkok’s rooftop poolside hangout is always a great place to visit for a good value steak – top grade Aussie and American beef is just B650 per person. You can also wrap

your mouth around grilled lamb and chicken, as well as a good selection of sandwiches, pizza and fusion dishes. Sides include Jacket potatoes, French fries and Creamed spinach, and there’s also a small selection of appetizers and desserts. Four Points By Sheraton Bangkok – Sukhumvit 15. Open daily 6.30pm10.30pm. 02 309 3000


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Conrad Bangkok’s popular buffet restaurant serves delicious feasts every day of the week

BANGKOK may be famous for its sumptuous Sunday brunches, but the weekend’s not the only time diners can indulge in mountains of top quality international cuisines at great value for money. Take, for instance, Café@2 at the Conrad Bangkok. Every day of the week (for both lunch and dinner) this European-style buffet restaurant puts on a splendid spread of Asian and international cuisines, most of which are cooked to order at live cooking stations. So once you’ve had your fill of fresh salads, cold cuts, sushi, sashimi, and prawns and crab on ice, you can then load your plate with hearty, European options like Rosemary braised lamb shank and Fish and white beans stew, Asian favourites such as Peking duck and Barbecued pork, and then ask the chefs to grill selected meats and seafood, or cook pasta or noodle dishes, just as you like them. The options don’t end there. There are piping hot meats straight from a

rotisserie, pizzas fresh from the oven, a range of popular Thai dishes, and a mouth-watering selection of cakes and pastries, flambéed crepes, and ice cream in lip-smacking flavours such as lemongrass. On top of this, there’s also a selection of à la carte dishes to choose from, including gourmet highlights such as Seared salmon fillet served with roesti potato, rocket leaves, and an orange caper dressing; Singapore chilli crab; and Spicy Thai salad with Australian beef flank. Overseeing the culinary team in this bustling operation is the hotel’s new Executive Chef, Hans Kahrs, a German national with over 20 years’ experience working for the Hilton Group, who joined the hotel last month from the Hilton Guangzhou. No stranger to Thailand, Chef Hans counts the Nai Lert Park Hotel Bangkok (now Swissotel) and Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa among his former

Conrad Bangkok 87 Wireless Rd.


☎ 02 690 9999

workplaces, and he knows exactly what Thai foodies expect from a buffet dining experience. “Diners in Thailand are well educated about food and they expect only the finest quality,” he says. “So the dining experience at Café@2 is designed to reflect this. We use only the best vegetables, the finest meats, and we work hard to ensure that all the imported ingredients we use are balanced perfectly with local ones. Only the perfect marriage of flavours will do.” To keep things exciting at Café@2, each day Chef Hans changes the range of dishes available as part of the restaurant’s buffet, so visitors can expect to find new delicious surprises on every visit. With so many tempting options to choose from, just make sure you arrive hungry. Buffet lunch Mon-Sat is B920 per person; daily buffet dinner is B1,400 per person; and Sunday brunch is B1,750 per person, or B2,250 per person with free-flow house wines.


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Review|Brazilia Steakhouse


Brazilia Steakhouse


An authentic churrascaria in the heart of Bangkok

BANGKOK’S first authentic Brazilian churrascaria has opened in sizzling-style at the Hotel Mermaid on Sukhumvit 29. This new eatery specializes in meats cooked and served in the churrasco style, which, for the uninitiated, means huge skewers of barbecued meats carved onto plates at diners’ tables. The system is simple: turn over a card, green-side up, at your table and the staff will approach to start carving your preferred cuts of charcoal roasted meat. Fifteen mouthwatering selections are on offer, including highlights such as Top sirloin, Pepper beef, Pork ribs, Leg of lamb, Shrimp with bacon, and Chicken wings. Need a break from the meaty goodness? Simply turn over your card to the red side and the staff will leave you to rest for a while. Available daily from 6pm-10.30pm,

the all-you-can-eat dining experience is just B699++ per person, and alongside the hunger-busting selection of meats also includes a gourmet salad bar loaded with fresh cut vegetables, imported cheeses, cured meats, and traditional Brazilian side-dishes, as well as desserts. While the churrascaria is the main attraction at Brazilia Steakhouse, it is by no means the only highlight. The restaurant also offers an extensive Brazilian pizza menu featuring savory and sweet toppings starting at B199 per pizza (or all-you-can-eat pizza every SunThurs for B299++; Fri-Sat at B399++. Dinner only), as well as an a la carte menu teeming with sandwiches, burgers, pasta dishes, and a host of European, Scandinavian and Thai favourites. Among the selections: Chicken cordon bleu with

Hotel Mermaid, 6 Sukhumvit Soi 29,


fries (B320); Rib eye steak with pepper sauce and mashed potato (B595); and Poached Norwegian Salmon (B360). Helping to wash all the food down are some of the best happy hour deals to be found in Sukhumvit. In fact, more than just a happy hour, Brazilia Steakhouse and the adjoined Captain’s Pub offer a ‘Happy Day,’ with special deals on selected wines and beers from 11am-8pm (pints at B99 and wine at B100). Diners can keep up to date with food promotions and menu additions at Brazilia Steakhouse by following the restaurant’s facebook page (see below). Also keep your eyes peeled for special Brazilian themed parties, details of which will also be posted on facebook.

☎ 02 261 3841


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Promotion|Panorama Restaurant


Panorama Restaurant


Enjoy a feast for all the senses at Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park’s signature buffet restaurant

SPACIOUS and designed for casual-yetluxurious dining, Panorama Restaurant is Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park’s signature buffet restaurant, an elegant, high-ceilinged space where international cuisine is served morning, noon, and night to patrons who are also wowed by an unobstructed panoramic view of Bangkok’s stunning skyline. Breaking free from the usual hotel menu, guests and diners will find a wide array of dishes freshly served here, many from live cooking stations where diners can interact with chefs and have their dishes cooked just as they like. Lunch on weekdays is a meat-lover’s delight, with the buffet being loaded with chicken and pork skewers, beef sirloin, ribs, sausages, and more mouth-watering grilled meats, alongside a wide selection of maki rolls, cold cuts, and fresh seafood, 952 Rama IV Rd.


including octopus, prawns, and cobia. On weekends, the lunch buffet offers additional food stations and selections including seafood on ice, soft shell crab, salmon, Peking duck, a sashimi and sushi bar, and more. And, in a neat weatherinspired twist, discounts are also offered based on the day’s forecasted temperature (the weekend’s predicted weather is posted every Friday on the hotel’s facebook page). While Panorama’s lunches are certainly popular, the restaurant’s buffet dinners (available daily) are not to be missed. When the sun sinks into the horizon, turning the city into a Blade Runner-esque landscape of twinkling lights, the business-brawn of midday dining is replaced with the hushed conversations of lovers on dates, the laughter of friends enjoying a creative

cocktail or two, and the delighted groans of adventurous epicureans tucking into one of the many creative dishes on offer. The appetizer buffet starts with a selection of seafood on ice, cold cuts, salads, and soups. Diners can then choose a main course (salmon, pasta, pork, chicken, or risotto options available) before finishing with a heavenly chocolate mousse or a bowl of soothing ice cream. The showcase of culinary expertise at Panorama Restaurant exceeds expectations. But what really sets the restaurant apart from other dining spots in the city is its bold confidence in trying the new and the now without hesitation – a true culinary theatre where food, ambience, and design are all stars of the show, and the audience – the diners – are treated to a real feast for all the senses.

☎ 02 632 9000 Twitter @crowneplazabkk


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Enoteca Italiana

Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy heads to Sukhumvit 27 for Italian dining at its best


ECEMBER 3 saw the gourmands of Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy dining group make our sixth visit to Enoteca Italiana, where long-time friends Manager Nicola and Chef Stefano presided over yet another great culinary experience. The weather was perfect for an al fresco gathering in that oasis of peace and quiet off Sukhumvit 27 (which had been featured in November’s issue of The BigChilli). No one left in the least disappointed. There was a great selection of canapés on offer and the proceedings kicked off with home-made Egg nog, and NV Follador Extra Dry Prosecco. Very noteworthy were the oysters and sherbet, beef tartar and truffles, and smoked salmon and acid cream, all of which went well with the Prosseco. The first dish possibly attracted the most acclaim, not least from Ian Cooper, food spokesman of the day. Onion Tarte tatin with goat Gorgonzola cheese and ice cream are not likely ingredients to marry together, but Stefano (now in his second stint at Enoteca) did the unexpected and made a great job of this. It went well with Pinot Bianco Nail Magried 2012 (Alto Adige, N Italy) as confirmed by our wine spokesman and raconteur, Neil Pawsey. Next came home-made Small raviolini del plin with duck. This required lots of patience and dexterity which must have taxed the kitchen; the overall result was pleasing and the only complaint was that there was not enough of the excellent sauce.

Nicola had chosen Falesco Vitiano Umbria IGT 2011 (Italy) to accompany this, which we found to be well balanced and improved further as we sipped. Thirty-five hours slow-cooked lamb shoulder with Jerusalem artichoke followed, cooked to perfection. Ian found the artichoke especially pleasing and that Stefano had managed to preserve both the flavour and texture of the lamb notwithstanding the length of the cooking period. With this came Piston Barbera d’Alba 2007 (Piedmont, Italy), mine and Neil’s wine pick of the lunch. I quote from an independent critic: ‘This Barbera has a saturated black/ruby colour, on the palate flavours of super ripe blackberry and cherry framed with balanced acidity, making this one big juicy Barbera.’ A very tasty selection of Italian cheeses followed, and yet another very original and colourful creation – sheets of white chocolate flavoured with pink peppercorn, coffee, black olives, saffron and nuts and salt; a ‘White chocolate experience,’ including more of that wonderful ice cream and fruit berries. No one really wanted to leave but we had to. There just remained the opportunity to thank Nicola, Stefano, and the team of servers and members of the kitchen staff for another great lunch. 39 Sukhumvit Soi 27 Tel: 02 258 4386



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Travel|Tha Tien

Who needs Pattaya or Hua Hin why you’ve got Tha Tien?


Take a break in Bangkok’s increasingly popular riverside community

BY definition, a vacation is a break from one’s normal routine, a period of “idleness and amusement” often spent away from home in a new and interesting destination. For many Bangkokians, that usually means a weekend in Pattaya, Hua Hin or farther afield. And they’re prepared to put up with increasingly arduous road journeys to get there. For a small but growing number of this city’s inhabitants who want a break but can’t face those long treks to the beach, Bangkok offers a rather interesting alternative. It’s called Tha Tien, a charming area set on the banks of the Chao Phraya River near some of the capital’s oldest and most revered tourist attractions, including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the Grand Palace and the Temple of Dawn. Tha Tien is located within Rattanakosin Island, the historic centre of Bangkok dating back to the city’s founding some 230 years ago. Bordered by the river and canals dug to serve as moats and protection from outsiders, this culturally-rich area has until recent years had precious little in the way of decent accommodation to offer visitors. That began to change when some savvy entrepreneurs realised that the old shophouses and run-down commercial proper-


ties here had some of the best views of the river and with modest investment could be easily transformed into reasonably priced guesthouses and boutique hotels. Today, Tha Tien is experiencing a mini boom as the whole area is gentrified. Grubby lanes and pavements are being given a makeover, dark and dank buildings are being refurbished and riverside restaurants and rooftop bars are popping up all over the place. Even the local market is being spruced up to lure visitors. While catering mostly to tourists, this delightful local community is gradually catching the attention of people who live in wealthier suburbs such as Sukhumvit, some 40 minutes’ drive across the city. With its genuine old world atmosphere, the buzz of the Chao Phraya River and the promises of unbeatable sunsets behind majestic Wat Arun, Tha Tien is on course for an extremely prosperous future.

Getting there Take the BTS to Taksin station, then catch an orange flag Chao Phraya express boat from the Taksin pier to Tha (sometimes spelled Ta) Tien pier No.8.


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Staying in Tha Tien

Sala Rattanakosin

COMPLETELY refashioned and updated from a former commercial property, Sala Rattanakosin is a luxurious riverside boutique lodge consisting of 17 stylish guest rooms, most of which have panoramic views of the Temple of the Dawn. The property’s premier accommodation, the Arun River View Suite, is located on the 4th floor and features a king size bed and open lounge area with sofa and oversized daybed. Bathroom facilities include dual vanities and separate bath and shower. The cost per night is B9,000++. Sala Rattanaksoin also offers six River View Deluxe suites at B4900++, three Wat Po Deluxe rooms at B4000++, one Deluxe room at B3600++, and six Standards at B3100++. Under the direction of Executive Chef Tony Wrigley from the UK, the two-storey Eatery and Bar offers indoor seating and an outdoor over water dining deck, serving a variety of delectable international dishes and a diverse selection of traditional Thai favourites. Dishes not to be missed are the soft shell crab salad and the pork belly. The rooftop bar and terrace, known as The Roof, is a great venue for sunset drinks and beyond as its views encompass the entire stretch of the Chao Phraya River. 39 Maharat road ☎ 02 622 1388

Arun Residence

ARUN Residence is a recently renovated historic Sino-Portuguese house set on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. The restaurant, terraces, balconies and guest rooms all present an unfolding panorama of one of Asia’s finest views, the Rattanakosin skyline. Nothing could be further from the concrete and steel high-rise hotels that now dominate Bangkok. Arun Residence has six air-conditioned bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, all tastefully decorated in the “Bangkok Period” style. They include the Arun Suite Jasmine Suite and Ratchapruek Suite, each featuring balconies and spectacular views of the river. From the bed of every room, guests see partial views of the majestic silhouette of the Temple of Dawn. The spacious “Deck by the River” restaurant overlooks the river and serves a full a la carte breakfast, light lunch and dinner daily. This elegant venue is also available for private parties. Inside the residence is Arun Gallery, which offers local and imported decorative items. This is also the venue for art exhibitions, drawing and painting classes, charity shows, informal meetings and private parties. 26-38 Soi Pratoo Nok Yoong, Maharat Road. ☎ 02 221 9158-9 reSiso n


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Travel|Tha Tien

The Siam

SET on three acres of verdant frontage along the city side of the Chao Praya River, The Siam is a private 39room luxury retreat located in Bangkok’s royal Dusit district. Designed by renowned architect Bill Bensley, the art deco-inspired, Thai antique influenced masterpiece is set to become one of the kingdom’s premier urban resorts.   Amenities include restaurants, cooking school, bar, café, spa, gym, yoga terrace, Muay Thai boxing ring, beauty salon, library/cinema, infinity pool, gift/antiques gallery, conservatory and traditional Thai houses. The Siam features 39 of the capital’s most spacious suites and pool villas as well as a uniquely historical Thai House, Connie’s Cottage. The Chon Thai, the hotel’s signature Thai restaurant and cooking school, is set within a cluster of three, century-old Thai teakwood houses. The Deco Bar & Bistro offers international comfort cuisine amid a jazzy ambiance. 3/2 Thanon Khao. ☎ 02 206

Sala Arun

Chetuphon Gate OPENED in October 2012, this is the sister hotel of Arun Residence and Sala Arun. Located right next to Wat Po (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), it is also within a minute’s walk of the riverside and views of the Temple of Dawn. The property has nine rooms divided into three room types, starting from just B1,800 per night.

SALA Arun is a riverside boutique hotel comprising of four deluxe and two standard rooms, plus one suite. Each named after various periods in Thai history. Renowned Bangkok interior designer Chavalit Chavawan is responsible for their distinctive iron and wood-influenced décor. A small restaurant serves moderately priced simple meals in a pleasant setting. For serious lunch or dinner, the spacious “Deck by the River” restaurant is available two minutes’ walk away at the hotel’s sister property, Arun Residence. 47-49 Soi Ta Tien

☎ 02 622 2932

370-372 Soi Pratoo Nokyoong, Maharaj Road. 02 622 2060



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Baan Wanglang Riverside

THIS newly established boutique hotel, situated by Chao Phraya River in Wanglang area – between Siriraj Pier and Wat Rakang Pier – gives it great access to many of Bangkok’s most famous tourist attractions Set amidst the lively vintage Wanglang Market (best known for its savory local food), Baan Wanglang Riverside is beautifully hidden away in the serene ambience of a riverfront haven. Its views of Bangkok are absolutely stunning. Rooms are decorated in Thai-colonial style, and every piece of furniture is made of real wood. The property has a total of 32 rooms, with five roomtypes. All have free wi-fi, air-conditioning, cable television, en suite bathroom, and private balcony.   The 342 Bar is a rooftop venue overlooking some of Thailand’s most famous landmarks, while the riverside Olive Tree serves European and Thai dishes. Soi Wat Rakang, Prannok Road.

☎ 02 412 7234

Chakrabongse Villa

Loy La Long Hotel

THIS two-storey, 30-year-old teak house and deck is located on the grounds of Wat Pathumkongka and offers an unparalleled view of life on Bangkok’s ever-busy Chao Phraya River. Loy La Long was featured in Thailand’s highest grossing movie of 2009, Bangkok Traffic Love Story. Accommodation ranges in price from B2,100 to B4,400. 1620/2 Song Wat Road (inside Patumkongka Rachaworawiharn Temple). 02 639 1390

SET on the bank of the Chao Phraya River in the heart of Old Bangkok, the spectacular Chakrabongse Villa provides a tranquil haven from the pressures of modern living and yet is in easy reach of all the major tourist attractions. Six individual suites with all modern facilities are set in a lush tropical garden with a spacious swimming pool. Built in 1908 by HRH Prince Chakrabongse, Chakrabongse House was originally used when he attended royal ceremonies in the Grand Palace and also for picnics and excursions on the river. Later, it became the residence of HRH Prince Chula Chakrabongse, writer and historian. Today the grounds have been transformed into a magical boutique hotel by his daughter Narisa.   Accommodation includes the magnificent 129 sq m River View Suite, with rates ranging from B13,000 to B15,000++. This Thai-style teak apartment is set on the river front with a view of the Temple of Dawn. The romantic Thai House, a traditional Ayutthaya–style teak house on stilts (97 sq m) is priced at B10,000 to B13,000++. The stunning two-bedroom Chinese Suite (155 sq m) ranges from B23,000 to B25,000. Less expensive accommodation is also available. 396 Maharaj Road. ☎ 02 222 1290


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Travel|Tha Tien Inn A Day

BUILT in 2013, Inn A Day is a distinctive addition to Tha Tien’s accommodation roster. One of its unique features is a timing concept which divides the old four-storey building into three time zones: dawn, day and dusk, each distinguished by blue, yellow and orange colours. These correspond to a time system, starting from 7am to 5pm, which offer guests greater flexibility in the hours they choose to stay. Another unique feature of the property is the décor of its guest rooms, each of which is influenced by the local architecture of Tha Tien. 57-61 Maharat Road ☎ 02 221 0577

Praya Palazzo STEEPED in history, this magnificent building dates back to 1923 when Bangkok witnessed an influx of Italian artists who had come here to work under the commission of King Rama V. A noble of the Royal Court Custom Department who was assigned to design and build the mansion was greatly influenced by these Italian artists. Located on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River, its position was ideal as an observation point for the owner’s custom duty as well as his home. In 1946, when the main means of transportation changed from waterways to roads, the family moved to the Sukhumvit area. The building was used as a school until 1996 and then fell into decay for a decade before attracting the attention of Assistant Professor Wichai Pitakvorrarat. Convinced of its value, Khun Wichai teamed up with his wife to restore and renovate the building to its former glory, in spite of the heavy cost. Praya Palazzo was brought back to life in 2009 with the opening of its restaurant. The first guests checked in two years later. The residence is unique with sweeping verandas and rustic archways. Original features have been meticulously restored. The end result is a stylish historical residence of graceful design, with no equal in the city. Praya Palazzo has 17 rooms each with unique features. These include nine superior rooms, three deluxe rooms, four suites and the Chao Phraya Suite. 757/1 Somdej Prakinklao Soi 2.

Riva Surya Bangkok

THIS modern riverside boutique hotel features 68 rooms, elegant dining options, swimming pool and leisure facilities. Riva Surya is bounded by cultural treasures including The Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun; and within walking distance of the lively entertainment district of Khao San Road. Accommodation includes 30 Urban Rooms, each boasting a balcony overlooking tree-lined Phra Arthit Road.   The Babble & Rum restaurant serves traditional Thai, Asian and European cuisine, while the riverside Garden is great for an intimate meal or cocktail. 23 Phra Arthit Road. ☎ 02 633 5000

☎ 02 883 2998

Arom d Hostel WITHIN this beautifully preserved 100-year-old building, guest rooms have been renovated to high standards while retaining the atmosphere of the past. All have views of the Temple of Dawn. 336 Maharaj Road. 02 622 1055 ☎


Aurum The River Place

TUCKED away on Rattanakosin island is Aurum The River Place, a compact-sized boutique hotel on the bank of the river within walking distance of the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Po) and several other interesting historical attractions. This four-storey European style building has just 12 luxurious guest rooms.   At Vivi The Coffee Place, customers enjoy stunning views of the Temple of Dawn. 394/27-29 Soi Pansook (near CIMB THAI Bank, Tatien branch), Maharaj Road. 02 622 2248

☎ 54


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Fighting corruption in Thailand


By Maxmilian Wechsler

Backed by more than a thousand staff, Dr Sirilaksana Khoman is leading the charge against corruption involving state officials and government contracts CONTRARY to what some people believe, corruption wasn’t unleashed here by Thaksin Shinawatra. As in other nations, it’s been around for a long time. However, it is now a much bigger problem and more blatant than in the past, according to one of Thailand’s major corruption-busters. It’s also more complex, with different types of corruption emerging in recent years, says Dr Sirilaksana Khoman, senior academic consultant and chair of Economic Sector Corruption Prevention at the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), an independent organization with considerable powers, whose remit covers the all-important government sector. Dr Sirilaksana believes the ‘new’ type of corruption now seen in Thailand can be traced back to 1997, when the country faced a raft of previously unknown challenges, including the Asian economic crisis, the concentration of political power under a “charismatic” new leader and numerous allegations of large scale corruption. Ironically, 1997 also saw an increase in the number of organizations intended to deal with corruption. “Corruption exists in every country and has for a long, long time, even in European nations. In the old days if you had someone in authority and they were able to hand out favours like an appointment to a high position, people would come with gifts,” she says. “In Thailand, too, corruption has always been going on, but I want to use 1997 as a cut-off point, because the types of corruption that occurred before and after 1997 are very different. “Before 1997 it was mostly about petty bribery of officials, or straightforward kickbacks from projects. Some petty bribery


is still going on, but people are reluctant to report it. We do feel that the incidence of petty bribery has declined through civil service reform and the use of technology, sometimes just simple technology such as cameras at intersections that reduce contact between the authorities and the citizens. “Police and motorists have less personal contact now and that reduces the opportunity for corruption. Many government agencies have embraced the use of technology and streamlined bureaucracy and we believe that has reduced corruption for the Thai people. “Foreigners might not know this, but to get a Thai ID used to take a whole day. People had an incentive to offer a bribe in order to get an ID in an hour – the same with passports. You use to spend at least a half day waiting in the passport office, but now it takes only five minutes. This reduces the opportunity for corruption. Since joining the NACC in 2007, Dr Sirilaksana has been involved in a number of what she calls “grand” corruption cases, including the 4,000 NGV buses ordered by the Bangkok Metropolitan Transport Authority (the project was shelved following NACC recommendation); and the bribery case involving a former governor of the Tourist Authority of Thailand who gave a lucrative contract to an American couple to organize the Bangkok International Film Festivals. She’s also investigated the issue of CTX X-ray baggage machines for Suvarnabhumi airport, acquired with alleged kickbacks to Thai officials by the US manufacturer; the Klong Dan wastewater treatment project land acquisition scandal; and the alleged bribe offered by a US cigarette company to Thai Tobacco Monopoly officials.


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“One thing we are doing more aggressively now is requiring a larger number of high-ranking government officials to declare their assets and liabilities, and using this provision in the law more aggressively”


In a paper titled “Corruption, Transactions Costs and Network Relationships: Governance Challenges for Thailand,” she provides details on large road projects with a table of contract winners and their political affiliations. All of the top ten road projects from fiscal years 2007-2011 went to companies known to have political affiliations or that had made large overt campaign contributions to political candidates and various parties. The contracts involved some large amounts of money, ranging from almost 700 million baht to 19.7 billion baht. Dr Sirilksana’s family name is well known in Thailand because of her father-in-law, Dr Thanat Khoman, who was foreign minister from 1959-1971, chairman of the Democrat Party between 1979-1982 and deputy prime minister from 1980-1982. He was also a prime mover in the formation of ASEAN in 1967 when the inaugural meeting was held in Bangkok. Dr Sirilaksana was teaching at Thammasat University when first approached to join NACC. She was initially hesitant to accept a post because she had never worked outside of academia. “I liked being in the university system where you have a lot of freedom to criticize and to suggest policy. But when I was invited to join the commission, I felt that it would be interesting since I had been involved in research on public policy in various areas of international trade, education and health. “My job as senior academic consultant is unique in the organization. I oversee the research centre because of my academic background. I feel that to fight or prevent corruption, we need to have a body of knowledge defining the various types of corrup-

tion, how they occur and the areas of vulnerability. We need research for that. I am sometimes involved in the suppression side, but my job is mainly in prevention. “I look at cases that involve large government projects, such as the 350 billion baht water management project and the two trillion baht transport infrastructure project. I am also vice-chair of the watchdog subcommittee that brings together both public and private sector experts to scrutinize large projects. “We are now doing a sort of pre-emptive work, following and monitoring projects right from their inception, and hopefully intercept projects that are non-transparent, or help to improve their procedures. “This is something new at the NACC. As an economist, I feel that’s where my contribution lies, in monitoring economic policy and procedures, as well as rules and regulations that provide loopholes or opportunities for corruption to occur. “We should not wait for corruption to happen, because the investigation necessarily takes a long time. So we monitor big projects like the Suvarnabhumi airport extension Phase II or the NGV buses, as they unfold. “Once the government approves a big project, we will set up a team and recruit knowledgeable people from outside the organization to help. Our staff is very competent but when we monitor large projects we need expertise in various areas, so we recruit people like engineers experienced, for example, in the field of water resources. These are ad hoc committees that monitor government projects. “We have about 1,200 people in our organization but we have actually 1,800 positions. We cannot fill them all right now because our budget has been cut by 60 percent this year,” says Dr Sirilaksana. At this point she says the NACC needs “a different way of funding. “We are independent in every way but the budget still comes from the government and the Parliament, so if we have a hostile Parliament, our budget is in jeopardy.”


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Defining corruption In her view there are 10 different kinds of corruption, ranging from the very common sort that entails shirking on the job – spending time that one is supposed to be working in talking to friends or having a snack, for example.

CORRUPTION PERCEPTIONS INDEX RANKING OF THAILAND BY TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL THE Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. It is a composite index – a combination of polls – drawing on corruption-related data collected by a variety of reputable institutions. The CPI reflects the views of observers from around the world, including experts living and working in the countries and territories evaluated.









Ecuador, Moldova, Panama




Malawi, Morocco, Suriname, Swaziland, Zambia




Colombia, El Salvador, Greece, Morocco, Peru




China, Colombia, Greece, Lesotho, Peru, Serbia




El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Panama




Brazil, Burkina Faso, Morocco, Saudi Arabia




Bosnia and Herzegovina, Gabon, Jamaica, Kiribati, Lesotho, FYR Macedonia, Maldives, Montenegro, Swaziland




Lebanon, Seychelles, Belize, Cuba, Grenada




Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago




Ghana, Mexico




Bosnia and Herzegovina

“I feel this is corruption because you are stealing time. Corruption ranges from this most simple form to the abuse of power, like approving various permits for personal profit up to ‘grand corruption,’ where policy is formulated with certain people in mind as beneficiaries – perhaps friends and family. It is necessary to classify the different kinds of corruption as the different measures are required to deal with each type of corruption. “At this moment the NACC covers only the government sector, with all government officials being under its jurisdiction. If one company is defrauding another one, this lies beyond the scope of the NACC’s powers, but if they pay a bribe to a government official then it becomes NACC’s business. “According to the law, government officials like me can accept no gifts or favours, no lunch or anything else except for special occasions or reasons, and then the value cannot exceed 3,000 baht. This would apply to a friend who assumes a new position and you treat him for lunch. “The NACC has jurisdiction over two Acts, namely the Organic Act on Counter Corruption B.E. 2542 (1999) and the Act Concerning Offences Related to the Submission of Bids to Government Agencies B.E. 2542 (1999), or what we call the ‘Collusion Act.’ If private companies are bidding for contracts and they collude or do something which is irregular they will be under investigation as well. In fact, this is the law that was recently used to get the major conviction of a minister in the Thaksin government, in the case of Austrian-made Steyr fire trucks and firefighting boats. We convicted the minister using the Collusion Act.” She explains that the NAAC conducts an investigation then sends its findings to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). If the OAG doesn’t think there is enough evidence for prosecution and the NAAC does, they set up a joint committee. “If the joint committee still cannot agree then we will prosecute ourselves, and this was the case with the fire trucks. By the way, the case is still going on. We are trying to get cooperation from the Austrian side. Somebody in their company definitely bribed someone.”





1997 was pivotal year








Columbia, Ethiopia











Has Dr Sirilaksana had personal experience of corruption? “I guess I haven’t personally encountered it much. Once I was stopped by the traffic police, and the officer just stood there presumably waiting for me to make an offer… I told him ‘please give me a ticket.’ He told me to go. “In the past, when I was at university, someone tried to bribe me to get his son into our program. We were accepting 70 students but more than 1,000 applied. The man who tried to bribe

Argentina, Nicaragua, Romania, Yugoslavia



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me is a very prominent politician. When I refused he threatened go to the president of the university. I told him to go ahead, since it would make no difference. “I think we are reducing petty corruption, but what concerns me is the large scale corruption like the Austrian fire trucks, the Klong Dan wastewater treatment project, Suvarnabhumi airport Phase I and so many other cases still pending with the NACC. These cases involve a network of strategically placed people, and have strengthened since 1997.” During that year, Thailand witnessed a number of events that caused an upsurge in corruption, the doctor believes. “For one, the Constitution that was promulgated in that year laid the groundwork for strong government. The Constitution actually had all the underpinnings for good governance and good government with checks and balances and inclusive people’s participation, rights and liberty. But that year also coincided with the Asian economic crisis, which started with the financial crisis in Thailand. Private-sector banks were decimated, and government banks assumed greater prominence, and became tools for government policy more than they had been in the past. “A charismatic leader was elected and served under the new Constitution for the first time, and there was a structural shift in economic power from the banking sector to the telecommunications sector. At the same time, civil service reform was in full swing, allowing the creation of public organizations that had greater flexibility in their budgetary and administrative processes. Decentralization, both administrative and budgetary, was seen as a move that would empower citizens to make government agencies more accountable and responsive to local needs. “But ironically this led to a concentration of political power. Many allegations of large scale corruption emerged during this period. On the other hand, the 1997 constitution also had provisions for the creation of independent organizations, including the NACC and the Auditor General which are intended to deal with corruption, as well as agencies like the Human Rights Commission. “The NACC was actually established in 1999 because there first had to be laws enacted for the creation of the agency,” Dr Sirilaksana explains, adding that the NACC reports to the Senate, which is also chiefly responsible for appointing its commissioners.


evidence-based Transparency Index to evaluate all government agencies at the department level. There are actually 11 indexes, one of them on procurement which gives marks for proper procedures and transparency in procurement. We ask the question: Do you announce the yearly plan for the bidding for projects? Departments that say they do have to provide evidence like the screen capture of a website. “There are certain things we know most departments don’t do which we use as criteria, so they will be encouraged to do these things if they want good marks from us. For example, we ask: At the end of the year, do you conduct an assessment of procurement for the past year, like report on what percentage of procurement projects are conducted through open bidding, or through special methods? We don’t judge what percentage should be ideal for their department, simply whether an assessment is done. The Health Department of the Ministry of Public Health came in on top of the survey both years.

Eyes on assets “One thing we are doing more aggressively now is requiring a larger number of high-ranking government officials to declare their assets and liabilities, and using this provision in the law more aggressively,” says Dr Sirilaksana. “There was a case last year involving the Transport Ministry permanent secretary. Some burglars broke into his house and they found a lot of cash he had not declared. The burglars were later caught and the money confiscated. In such cases the burden of proof is on their side, to explain the source of income or wealth. In corruption cases we have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that malfeasance occurred, but in this case the permanent secretary had to give proof of where the money came from since he hadn’t declared it. He said he had only five million baht and it had something to do with a wedding. But the burglars took 19 million baht. This is what the police counted. The burglars had no reason to lie. “Our finding was that that he didn’t declare his assets, so he was removed from office and 64 million baht was ordered seized. The corruption case is still pending but at least he was removed quickly. This is a civil case. Several MPs for example in Chiang Mai and elsewhere have been removed from office.”

“The Transport Ministry permanent secretary had to give proof of where the money came from since he hadn’t declared it. Our finding was that that he didn’t declare his assets, so he was removed from office and 64 million baht was ordered seized”

Corruption index Thailand’s ranking of 102 in 2013 by Transparency International (see sidebar) is only a perceptions index, she says, but it is useful in making people aware and concerned. “I am not complaining about their findings but it’s important to remember that most of those they interview are foreign business people and the Thai people they encounter may not be able to communicate well with them, and this may cause frustration and affect the ‘ease of doing business.’ “For the last two years the NACC has constructed an

Filling in the loopholes “Thai anti-corruption laws are strong but there are some areas where there are loopholes. Just last year we amended the law with respect to removal from office. Three or four years ago one minister was removed from office and a month later he was appointed to another ministry; the law didn’t specifically prohibit it. That’s why we had to change the law to say that if you are removed from office you can’t take a new position for five years.


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“Also just over a year ago, we amended other clauses in the law, including the statute of limitations because in the past some people would flee the country and wait until the statute of limitations run out, and then return. Now, under the newly amended Anti-Corruption Law (the Organic Act on Counter Corruption B.E. 2542 (amended B.E. 2554) which is under the NACC jurisdiction rather than the Criminal Code (which has a broader coverage and is beyond our scope), the statute of limitations for corruption cases will stop if the accused flees during our investigation and will start to count again if the accused returns. “The NACC also recently amended the Anti-Corruption Law to allow us to closely monitor large procurement projects, and require procuring agencies to publish and explain how the reference prices are calculated, and file a separate tax return with the Revenue Department for each large project. Whistle-blowing protection has also been introduced, as well as witness protection. The NACC is also now empowered to use the provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering Act in pursuant of corruption cases.”


Officials and corruption Asked whether government officials like police officers have a case when they claim they have to take bribes because their salaries are low, she replies: “Yes and no. The system at the Royal Thai Police (RTP) is problematic. One of our commissioners had a bomb thrown into his home and a young policeman came to collect the evidence and he said that when he joined the RTP he didn’t even have a chair or desk and had to buy them himself. He also had to buy a gun, handcuffs, a motorcycle and other items. “The RTP is almost sending a signal to newly recruited policemen to ‘go out there and earn your own living on the street’. There’s something wrong here. The RTP’s budget should not be inadequate, but where does the money go? “On the other hand, some people say that if people are paid a lot of money then they won’t be corrupt, but I see a lot of people who have a small salary and they are content and not corrupt. Many people I know in their late 20s have families that they have to look after, they go to work by bus and live frugally but with dignity and they don’t live beyond their means. Then you look at the really corrupt people, who are often billionaires. So having money doesn’t prevent corruption,” Dr Sirilaksana said. “Corruption in Thailand can be reduced if we have the cooperation of every sector of society, keeping watch on big projects and informing us. Remember, the business sector is where the illicit payment is coming from. If there’s no bribe giver there’s no bribe taker. I would be very happy to be out of this job. If we can get the cooperation of everyone, especially business people, we can tackle this problem. There are some promising signs that the business sector is coming on board. I believe that we can accomplish good things together,” Dr Khoman said. “The Thai Chamber of Commerce now has some 400 members who are engaged in a collective action against corruption. They signed an integrity pact guaranteeing that they will not pay bribes.”

Advice to foreigners “Foreigners who are asked or forced to pay bribes should report to us directly. Now we have a whistle-blower program


DR SIRILAKSANA IN FOCUS DR Sirilaksana Khoman was born in Bangkok. Her mother was a teacher and her father a diplomat, his last post being ambassador to Japan. Before joining the NACC in 2007, Dr Sirilaksana was dean of the Faculty of Economics at Thammasat University. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Economics from the Australian National University, a PhD in Economics from the University of Hawaii, and a Certificate in International Trade Regulation from Harvard Law School. Dr Sirilaksana has done extensive work for several international organizations, including the World Bank, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the Asian Development Bank. She has taught at the Australian National University, the United Nations University in Tokyo and as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Oregon, USA. Currently she is on the Global Agenda Council on Anti-Corruption and Transparent, World Economic Forum. and witness protection under the amended law of 2012. In fact, if you know about any corruption and have evidence, please give it to us. Everyone knows it happens, but we can’t work on the basis of hearsay or rumour. We need hard evidence. Take a photo or record something, which is very easy these days. And don’t pay bribes. “If someone wants to complain about corruption to the NACC, they can send us a letter. They should sign it in their name but can request to remain anonymous. The system is very good. Only one or two people are allowed to open such letters – I don’t even know who they are. What they are told to do is to cut out the name, put it in an envelope, seal it and place it in the safe. Even a judge cannot order the opening of the envelope. People shouldn’t be afraid and they should come forward. We receive many complaints every day. Of course, the process may be a bit slow, since we have to weed out untruths, but we’ll do our best.”


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Monsoon Midnights

Expat Women

BWWG|Monsoon Midnights

Special places in Bangkok, as experienced by the Bangkok Women’s Writer’s Group Dear reader, Welcome to ‘Monsoon Midnights’, a brand new series of stories by the Bangkok Women’s Writers Group. The story tellers of the BWWG come from all over the world but they all have a special place in this city, somewhere surprising, obscure and unexpected, as yet undiscovered. Follow us to these hidden places right here, month after month.

NIGHTFALL OVER BANGKOK THERE are some very high places in Bangkok. Places where you can look out and see the city like an interactive map beneath you. I see the city below me, laid out in light, shimmering into darkness. Far away, at the edges of the veil, light seeps into the swamp, and out into the sea. Where a pale blue moon glazes the water. But the sky, too, is filled with city lights. Small lights on moving paths, faint as planets at first, budding into visibility. Then they break through: large and bright, they crawl across the night. If these are planets, they’ve chosen to crash down on us. Run! Run! Too late. Nowhere to hide. But then we look again: these are not rogue planets. Our eyes are informed by knowledge. These comets traversing the city sky are all converging on one place, to the East of the City. There are many ways to get to this place, by train, running high above the streets, by bus, by fleets of multi-coloured taxis. But the fastest way is to fly. Like other specks of light, I arrive here without incident and with little attention. This place is busy. And midnight is peak traffic time. Comets converge peacefully onto strips of asphalt and transform into shapes we can recognize. As always I am amazed at how small they are, and how solid. Can they keep us safe up there? This month’s storyteller, Tejaswini Apte Rahm, meets me in a quiet corner of the vast vaulted space where we welcome the comets. She looks a little disoriented, as if she had just woken from a deep sleep. Or is she just falling into it? She starts to speak. The noise around us blends into silence. Is she submerging me with her? When I look up, the busy airport has morphed into a something very different. I shiver...

Seaweed By Tejaswini Apte Rahm Black rain crashed down onto the glass dome of the departure area. I’d finished my mug of hot chocolate and felt warm and sweet inside. Time to go, but I was feeling sleepy, so sleepy. Looking up from the white glare of my iPad, I saw that Starbucks was empty. Next to me, the green velvet sofa looked soft, grubby, inviting. How I would have loved to lay my head down and fall into sleep. But everything was so silent. As if all the flights had left, and only cavernous echoes remained. I was


afraid that if I lay down for even a minute in this somnolent corner of the airport, tucked away next to a bucket of mops and rags, I would miss my plane. I set out, through a deserted lobby ringed with shops and eateries. Here and there in the distance I saw humanoid outlines, hunched over a bowl of soup, or gazing at souvenirs. I arrived at the entrance to the gates. An electronic display flashed nonsense word patterns – final-closed-gate-boarding. A walkie-talkie buzzed somewhere. A plane rumbled forth, past the glass dome, a colossus of bird and metal, and zoomed into


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the starry constellations of the tarmac. Then it glided up and the black sky swallowed it whole. I trudged on, past gates B, C, D and E, all silent and deserted. Why put my plane at the last gate when all these are free and much closer, I thought, peevish and heavy-eyed. Finally at F, another display in pinpricks of red light – now boarding. I peered down the stairs. Nobody there. Was this the correct gate? I looked back at the way I had come. Not a soul to be seen down the long walkway, only green carpeting and empty seats. A perverse picture formed in my mind of an uninhabited airport – its endless corridors unpeopled, shops bereft of footsteps, restrooms lined with empty cubicles. Of course, any minute now I expected to see a fellow-human being. On cue, a stewardess appeared at the bottom of the stairs, and motioned for me to come down. But now, this imagined eerieness took on a life of its own. This woman is a ghoul, I said to myself. Do not follow her. This is not your gate. There is nobody else here. It all feels wrong. But I gave her my boarding card. She was a trim, young woman in navy and white. Ready to board sir, she said. Her hair was a smooth coil of black on her head. The bus was waiting on the tarmac. Other passengers? I asked. No, sir, she said, with a toothpaste white smile, the flight is not full today. Not full? How about saying it is stark empty? I was bewildered at the thought of being the only passenger on the plane. The bus journey was dream-like. The crashing rain had stopped, and silence reigned. Shoulder to the window, I scanned the outdoor scene over and over again. Not a mechanic or baggage handler to be seen. I passed through a shadowy landscape of machinery. Rows of crouching planes,


parked vans, baggage trailers, a cluster of stairs reaching up to the sky, all in the midst of a galloping plain of tar-black concrete. There was no time to think, or rather, I did not use the time I had to reach any decision. I got off the bus with my hand luggage and looked up at the turboprop. The bus pulled away. I kicked myself for not communicating with the driver, to ensure that... there wasn’t anything peculiar about him. I boarded the empty plane and foolishly consulted my boarding card for the seat number. The same stewardess appeared with a wet towel. I found this bizarre. I could not recall a flight where the ground staff and in-flight staff were the same people. Or in this case, the same person. She had retained her doll-like smile, but her face now looked plastic, as if hidden under too many layers of makeup. I did not like the situation I was in. I did not wish to be the only person on this flight. What could I do? I could embarrass myself by kicking up a fuss, demanding to talk to the pilot, refusing to take off in the company of only one stewardess. Or I could be sensible, and buckle my seat belt. I did neither. I sat on the edge of my seat and craned my neck this way and that as if hoping for other passengers to suddenly materialise. The plane began to move. We rolled along for a long time over a twinkling skyscape of red, yellow, blue lights, arranged in patterns all around us, on the vast dark tarmac. Strings of light skittered away into the distance, converging into points at the horizon. It was easy to feel that we were already flying, in some kind of parallel sky, where the stars were all around us. As the plane left the ground with a lurch, I saw the moon, full and orange, smeared with white cloud, and in this strange sky the moon was much further away than the stars. I looked at the seats around me again and did a double-take. There was a greying, middle-aged woman a few seats behind me. She was hunched over a book. Grateful for the respite, I staggered up and went over to her. Hello, I said, I thought I was the only one on the plane. She looked up at me and nodded. A common mistake, she said, on this flight. What do you mean, I said, with trepidation. Look there, she said, nodding at something behind me. My hair stood on end as if my back were covered in porcupine quills. I did not wish to look, but I turned my head to see. The stewardess was moving backwards down the aisle, wheeling her trolley, serving drinks – to no-one. What is this, I said in fright, has she gone mad? The prospect of a mad stewardess, on board this lonely flight – the fear made me sway on my feet, and I clutched at a seat near me. Madness, said the woman with the book, is so very relative. As she spoke, her voice descended into a grotesque baritone. Where is the pilot, I shouted, I want to speak to the pilot! Who in their right mind, she went on, would board the flight of the phantoms while still alive? But don’t bother looking for a pilot, she said, and it sounded as if she was gargling a liquid giggle in her throat. Her eyes were a sun-faded blue, and as I watched they began crystallising from deep within, turning into brittle blue ice. When my gaze fell on her book I saw that it was dripping with water, as if it had been dunked into a tub. Instead of nails, shells grew on the ends of her fingers, and a strong smell of seaweed filled the air.

I screamed till my eyes clouded over with black. I seemed to slip out of my crazed faint almost at once, and opened my eyelids still in a spasm of fear.


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Expat Women

BWWG|Monsoon Midnights

The stewardess was making her way to where I stood, limping now, as she dragged her trolley along. Her make up had melted away and her face was white like vanilla milkshake. At her collar the skin darkened suddenly and began flaking as it moved behind her clothes. Where is this plane going, I said, my body beginning to shake uncontrollably. This plane, she said, is going into the sea. She enunciated each word carefully, thickly, as if it was difficult for her tongue to move. I screamed till my eyes clouded over with black. I seemed to slip out of my crazed faint almost at once, and opened my eyelids still in a spasm of fear. I was sitting next to the woman with the book. She was sipping a cup of coffee, and her book was as dry as toast. Are you alright, she asked me kindly. I sat up and looked around. The flight was full of people, normal people, eating and fiddling with their e-readers and generating a low hum of conversation. I began to feel confused and foolish, though some hot little hammer still pounded in my inner ear. I did not answer the woman. A steward handed me a cup of tea. My ghoul stewardess was collecting dinner trays in the distance. I gulped down the warm tea and kept my eyes focussed on her as she came closer and closer. She took my empty cup and reached across to fold my tray table. As she did so, I saw a small fish tattooed behind her ear. Landing now, sir, she said, and moved on.


he Bangkok Women’s Writers Group, led by Anette Pollner, founded in 2001, is where creative women from all over the world meet to workshop their writing in a supportive and inspiring environment. Many of our members are published and prize winning authors, but we are open to all women who are passionate about writing, including complete beginners. The BWWG has published a Thai English language bestseller, ‘Bangkok Blondes’ and various pamphlets. We regularly give readings around town and have been part of international festivals and cultural exchanges. Please contact for more information. This month’s story teller is prolific short story writer Tejaswini Apte Rahm. She was recently shortlisted for the London Mencap literary competition for ‘Homo Coleoptera,’ later published in the South Asian magazine, Himal. Her non-fiction publications include “An Activist Approach to Biodiversity Planning,” and “A Simple Guide to IPRs, Biodiversity and Traditional Knowledge.”



The woman with the book was watching me. Are you going to be sick? she enquired. My gaze kept hovering over her book. What was she reading? Each time I felt I might make out a word, her palm shifted to obscure the page. The plane began to descend. I took a decision. Under the dimmed lights I looked straight at her, and asked – is this plane going into the sea? I wanted, desperately, to see puzzlement on her face, I wanted to assure myself that she had no idea what I was talking about. Instead, she gazed at me in silence and then went back to her book. Down the plane went, lower and lower, till the wheels hit the tarmac, and I could see the silhouette of Yangon airport. I exhaled, my breath shaking, my body going limp with relief. I turned to look at the woman. She wasn’t there. Her seat, however, had a large damp stain on it. Maybe I will make my way back by road this time. Touching the earth, if not with my feet then through the big wheels of a slow dusty city bus. This bus reassures me. Its seats are scarred and slit, its engine’s throat coughing up slush. Driving through the deepest night, it fills up with city dwellers just like itself. We smile and are tired. I am relieved. Somewhere, not too far from here, the sea is thickly glazed with pale blue moonlight. I will see the moon over Bangkok again next month, when I visit our next storyteller, waiting for me already, somewhere, in an undiscovered corner of the city. Let me take you on that journey!


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Expat Women

Shopping|New products KENNETH COLE OPENS IN BANGKOK ■ AFTER staging one of the most-talked about runway shows of New York Fashion Week, Kenneth Cole is opening its first flagship store in the region at The CentralWorld Mall in Bangkok. Bringing the feel of New York to Thailand, the store conveys the contemporary feel of the Kenneth Cole brand and is stocked with all the sleek and stylish city garb and footwear for which the brand is renowned. Head along this month and you can catch a sneak preview of the brand’s Spring 2014 collection for women and men, which will go on sale soon. The flagship is located at CentralWorld, 1st Floor

PETS TRAVEL IN STYLE ■ TRAVELLING with pets around Bangkok can be a chore, especially if you don’t own a car (or if you do, and you’re fed up of getting hair everywhere). But if you do need to take your dog or cat to the vets, salon, or kennel, don’t despair – help is now at hand. A new pet taxi service called ‘Petxi Limo’ has opened which offers a pick up and drop off service for pet owners looking to transport their furry friends around Bangkok. Fully approved by veterinarians, the service sees pets transported in comfort and safety alongside a caretaker who ensures they’ll have a happy ride. For more info Tel: 092 409 0444


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■ EMPORIO Armani Eyewear’s Fall/Winter collection does away with the dreary and drab tones normally associated with the season in favour of a riot of colour and contrasts. Precious details and clear cut lines ensure all the frames ooze contemporary elegance, and there are a range of shapes and sizes to fit every face type, no matter how square or round your visage may be. Pictured here are a few of our faves. You can find them all for sale at leading department stores in


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CIATÈ’S MANICURE UPGRADE ■ ADD a bit of bling to your nails this month by applying the new CIATÈ Caviar Manicure Luxe, which comes in a kit featuring a salon quality Paint Pot in rich metallic tones – the perfect foundation for the Luxe look. Luxe metal pearls are heavier than the classic caviar pearls, giving this look a more substantial finish. Add Gleam pearls for a blush rose gold color. B890. Available now at Sephora Thailand, Siam Center

TOOLS OF A MAKEUP ARTIST ■ THE new STILA Artist Essentials Set (B2,000), a collection of makeup must-haves, is perfectly coordinated to create an endless array of art-inspired looks. It features four gorgeous eye shadow palettes, a Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Stingray, Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Patina, Convertible Color in Peony, and a #9 Brush that can be used to dream up any number of looks. Create your own vision or use the included instructional card if you want to recreate “Abstract,” “Surreal,” “Pop Art,” and “Renaissance” looks straight from the pros. Available now at Sephora Thailand, Siam Center

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Expat Women


Shine like a star with Romrawin Romrawin Clinic’s new ‘Celeb Lift Program’ promises youthful looks in an instant ■ HOLLYWOOD stars and celebrities have always had a knack for defying the aging process. Look at the photos of any red-carpet movie screening or party and you’ll see them – all effortlessly turning heads with their youthful, radiant, and glowing skin. Sure, with oodles of money and personal trainers at their disposal, they’re bound to look healthier than your average Joe. But the secret behind their ‘Hollywood skin’ is thankfully one that’s not unattainable for the masses. In fact, it’s already been cracked here in Bangkok – at the Romwarin Clinic. With its new ‘Celeb Lift Program,’ Romrawin Clinic promises to offer a quick route to the kind of healthy, more youthful looking skin possessed by Tinseltown A-listers. And while it won’t give you any acting talent, it’s been specially designed to make you feel like a star. What is the program and how does it work? We spoke to Romrawin Clinic’s Dr Veaw to find out.

Q. We heard that the Celeb Lift Program is based on the beauty secrets of celebrities and superstars. Please tell us more… A. That’s correct. The ‘Celeb Lift

Program’ is a skin rejuvenation program that delivers quick results. The program was developed at a research center in France which specializes in anti-aging and cell therapy. It offers just the right cocktail of nutrients which are beneficial for skin rejuvenation, resulting in quicker and more visible changes.

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results may vary between individuals, and there may be some redness after treatment, the positive visible changes usually occur quickly. Just to be on the safe side, your treatment provider will perform a pre-treatment consultation with our experienced dermatologist and physician.

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tioned cocktail are all substances that occur naturally in our body, such as hyaluronic acid and amino acids, which help the skin retain natural moisture, resulting in firmer and plumper skin. Q. So there are vitamins in there too?

A. Yes, there are. Among the ingredi-

ents are Vitamins A, B, C and E, which help produce more collagen and elastin. There are also biomolecules, which help fix skin at the DNA level; various minerals, which help protect the skin from pollution and environmental damage; and anti-oxidants, which protect the skin and remove free radicals.

Q. Who is the program good for? A. Those people who don’t have

the time for long, repetitive treatments and want to look better right away for special occasions – as I’ve said, Celeb Lift adds radiance and youthfulness to the skin instantly. So in that sense it also good for people with dry skin, signs of aging (such as wrinkles), dehydration problems, and sagging skin – anyone, basically, who wants to recapture the glowing looks of their youth and feel like a star. For more info: Wanwimon Wannarak, MD, MS. - Master of Science in Dermatology - American Board Anti Aging Medicine


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Expat Women

Review|Top Nails

Top Nails Give your nails a complete makeover at this cozy, pampering haven in the heart of Siam Square ■ A NEW look doesn’t always mean updating your wardrobe, getting a new haircut, or changing your make-up style. You can also give your nails a complete makeover. It’s amazing how good a well-maintained and lovingly painted set of nails can improve your look. Doing this at home, of course, can be a chore. Trimming, buffing, and painting all takes time, and you have to have the patience of a saint and the steady hand of an artist to get things just right. So why not get someone to do it for you? One place where you’re sure of a great treatment in Bangkok is Top Nails, a cozy, pampering haven where you can buff away your stress with a wide range of treatments ranging from natural nail care and nail extensions, to elegant nail design and vibrant nail art. What’s more, Top Nails also offers


waxing and eye lash extensions. Founded in 2007 by Khun Keatsaraporn “Mai” Bootnamthip, who has over 20 years’ experience as a manicurist and also owns Top N Toes Institute of Nail Art & Technology, Top Nails stocks only the finest international quality nail care tools and products and features treatments by manicurists with at least three-years experience. Tucked away on Siam Square Soi 1, the petite salon has four large armchairs in which patrons can sink into deep relaxation while one of Top Nails’ expert manicurists gets to work on their fingers and toes. For someone just wanting a quick polish or trim, an express service is also offered at counters at the side of the room. Before embarking upon your treatment your manicurist will help you create the perfect nail design on a tablet computer. If you have an idea in mind, no matter how intricate or bizarre, do not be afraid to speak out. Popular signature services include Manicure & Pedicure Whirlpool Spa (B1,150), which includes shaping nails, breaking down heel callus, scrubbing, masking, arms and legs massages, and the application of a nail polish of your choice; Gel Overly on Natural Nails (B1,200/ B1,500 for short/long nails, respectively), which uses gel polish instead of lacquer nail polish, and includes shaping nails and the application of a shining nail buff; and 3D Nail Art (starts at B70 per finger).

If you prefer an express service, Manicure Spa (B500), Pedicure Spa (B700), Nail Art (starts at B70 per finger), and French/Two tones glitter (B500/B400, respectively) are highly recommended. And if you are in a hurry, instead of OPI and CND products that Top Nails recommends, do not forget to ask for CND VINYLUX polish, a new polish system that dries naturally – and fast – to a flawless finish and offers a week of fashion perfection. So, want to look your best for the start of the year? After your new hair-cut, wardrobe upgrade, and new accessories hunt, don’t forget to give your nails an upgrade too! 218/9 Siam Square Soi 1 (Open daily 11am-9pm) Tel: 02 658 3933


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would like to invite your family to our Early Years Circus Party with games, activities and fun for children aged 18 months to 5 years

Saturday 1st February 2014 at 10am-12pm Exclusive school tour starts at 11am

to the Come one_come all town best circus party in For more information on a Circus Party

ook a time for a school b o T tour TS • all us at 0226 0 - 7 Adjacent to Thong Lo B • c 890 k RSVP • communications@b

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Expat Women

School Report |News Circus Party returns next month

BANGKOK Prep, in conjunction with BAMBI (Bangkok Mothers and Babies International), will host its first ‘Circus Party’ of 2014 on Feb 1 at Bangkok Prep’s Early Years Unit. Open for parents and their children (between the ages of 18 months – 5 years old), the party is a great opportunity for parents to visit the school, meet the teachers and learn first-hand about the teaching styles and academic programme offered to young children at Bangkok Prep’s Early Years Unit. Fun-packed activities include circus-themed arts and crafts, such as making clown’s shoes. The children will also enjoy clown face painting, decorating cupcakes with clown faces, and a variety of classic circus games. Bangkok’s popular Clown Eckie will entertain children with his magic tricks, and there’ll also be a clown parade with prizes for the best-dressed clown. The party will run from 10am-12 noon. Free admission. Refreshments and light snacks will be provided. Sukhumvit Soi 53 (Bangkok Prep is adjacent to Thonglor BTS station (Exit 1) - school entrance is 30 metres along Soi 53) email: Tel: 02 260 7890 (contact Ms Bank, Ms Manow or Ms Pim)

Chief Examiner to host student conference

TEACHERS and students have a rare opportunity in late February to meet one of the UK’s most highly regarded Chief Examiners – Ian Marcousé, the man behind many a GCSE and A-Level examination question, developer of the A-Z subject handbook guides, and writer of countless bestselling textbooks. On Feb 28, Ian will host a Teacher Conference, and on March 1 Ian will run two sessions for students at Glowfish (Asok). For the student sessions the morning (8.30am – 1pm) will focus on the needs of GCSE and IGCSE students, looking at the skills and knowledge needed to


secure a top grade. In the afternoon (2pm – 6.30pm) Ian will address the needs of A-LEVEL and IB DIPLOMA students, taking an intense look at critical thinking, case study analysis and evaluation. Ian currently lectures at London University’s Institute of Education and, having been Chief Examiner at AQA for many years, is also a Specification Consultant for EDEXCEL. Places on the student conference are B2,000 each, or B1,000 each if 10 or more places are booked through a school. Tel: 093 015 9909

Innovate conference a huge success

TRAILL International School’s unique educational conference, Innovate, recently brought together 250 of the brightest senior students from Thailand’s leading international schools to take part in a series of workshops at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel. Held on Nov 29-30, the workshops saw students develop and propose innovative solutions to real-world 21st Century issues affecting Thailand, such as traffic issues, from the perspective of how to secure Thailand’s position within ASEAN and the pending ASEAN Economic Community. The carousel of engaging workshops, kick started with a keynote address from industry executive Mr. Vivek Dhawan, were led by teachers from all of the participating schools such as Harrow, Shrewsbury, Bangkok Patana, NIST and Traill. After completing the workshops the teams all presented their solutions to a guest judging panel that included industry executive Mr. Nadim Xavier Salhani, who delivered the concluding keynote address. The winning group called ‘Leakage’ was made up of students from all the participating schools and was ably assisted by the charismatic and dynamic delivery of Tharm Smuthranond from Bangkok Prep School. The winner of the Individual Award was Zac Simcox of Shrewsbury International School, whilst Dayna Jagdeo of Bangkok Patana scooped the Innovative Leader Award. For more info about Innovate and forthcoming events see


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Expat Women

School Report|Harrow

Harrow – where happy memories are made

Tim Chadwick, a passionate mathematics teacher, joined Harrow International School two years ago. Aside from being a proud and active tutor, Tim facilitates activities such as Maths Challenge, Year 4 Basketball, Year 4 Taekwondo and Community Service. Like all of the school’s full-time academic staff, he believes in all round excellence which covers not only academic success but developing well-rounded young people. Here he describes a morning at Harrow...

■ A BOY jumps out of the back seat of his car onto the walkway in Harrow School. His bright purple shirt shows that he belongs to Suriyothai house and that it is a Thursday at Harrow International


School Bangkok. Next out of the back seat steps his sister, she carries a shiny black violin-shaped case on her back and a cake box under her arm. The boy runs from the car holding the strap of his bag above his head. He heads straight towards a group of boys sat on the grass in a circle swapping cards. His cards are in his trouser pocket and he pulls them out as the circle widens for him to join. His sister is at the school gates where her friends are on duty greeting students, teachers and parents as they start their day. She joins in the morning catch up.

“Peru?” “Huh?” “The Peru trip next year. Are you going?” “Ooh I haven’t asked yet, maybe.” A parent passes through the gates. “Good Morning!” Her arm extends back into her little boy’s arm behind her. He is dressed as a cowboy today and holds his hat on his head with his other arm whilst he runs to keep up with his mother’s pace. He runs forwards all the while looking backwards at the cake box under the girl’s arm, and the mother directs herself to the coffee shop.


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Outside the cafe a group of students, some sitting down, some standing up, huddle around a table looking at revision notes for this afternoon’s exam. The mother shouts Good Luck to them after recognising the boy with curly hair. He looks up and wais to her, she wais back and turns into the cooled air of the cafe. A teacher in a Suriyothai purple shirt walks out past the mother whose child now is stretching towards cookies. On the teacher’s face it is clear that things are in place for the day. Lessons ready, homework marked, shirt tucked in. Thursday is a good day. Stop. The teacher stops walking with both feet in line, looks back at nobody then up to the trees at nothing and remembers. Today Suriyothai are in the Prep School House Dragonboat race finals by the school lake. Today is afterschool activity training girls’ rugby on the field. Today the sixth formers debate in the mini theatre.

Today is busy and today is under control. A girl with a shiny black violin case passes a cake box to the teacher. “Can you look after this cake?” “My name’s not cake but I’ll look after this box for you.” The girl smiles and turns leaving the box in the teacher’s palms. She makes her way towards the sixth form area passing a quartet of girls on a bench sharing a plastic tub of pineapple, watermelon and papaya chopped into blocks. “Who just said unequivocal?” One of the fruit eating quartet points to a girl raising a glistening yellow cube to her mouth. “Wow.” The girl with the shiny violin case swings her blue school bag to her front and lifts the top flap. “Credit!” The girl puts down her pineapple and gets out her English-Speaking Passport. She is handed a sticker from the violinist’s bag to add to her collection. Three more stickers to go. If she keeps speaking English she’ll complete a set by next

week. Easy. Fallen brown leaves crisp from the sun are swept into pans all around the school. Wet leaves are scooped to the sides and out of the swimming pool. Water is pumped in curved fountains across the cricket pitch, the football and the rugby pitch. The morning at Harrow International School Bangkok marks the start of a continuous flurry of activity. Tomorrow there will be a Dragonboat champion. Next week the long curly haired boy’s test results will be revealed. Next term is the big moonlit concert by the lake. Next year there will be new pupils, new challenges and new memories made for everyone at Harrow International School Bangkok. Written by Mr Tim Chadwick, Harrow International School, Bangkok (


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Expat Women

Advice|Problems solved

Ask the experts

Send your problems to:

Expat life getting you down? Don’t suffer in silence. Send in your problems and get advice from professional counsellors Anette and Johanna


Family in turmoil

I AM a bit confused. I have three children, a girl of 9, and two boys of 12 and 5 years. My eldest was diagnosed with ADHD three years ago and is taking Ritalin. He became more focused and is doing better in school. During the time that he was diagnosed my life was in turmoil because we moved to Bangkok and it was hard to adjust. Now my youngest son seems to have developed difficult behaviour as well. He is very active and pesters his siblings. He goes to their rooms, bangs the door, screams or takes things from them. It annoys the other two and they get back at him, sometimes even by hitting him. It is hard to maintain any structure in our family. It seems all three of my kids only do what they want to do. Bedtime is unclear, and they fight and argue about the TV and/or computer. I solved this by providing them each with a laptop. Now each of them is in their own room and they refuse to come down for a meal. They get what they need by pulling food out of the fridge. At school they get a school lunch, so they say they do not need a cooked dinner at home. I feel useless as a mum and to have a family like this was certainly not my dream. The school counsellor advised me to let my youngest be tested as well, so he can take Ritalin. I feel torn apart as I have read that Ritalin can be helpful but I do not like the idea another child gets the ‘stamp’ of ADHD. Is it OK to just give your child Ritalin so that they adjust and behave? Or should we look into other solutions? I wonder if you could give any insight.

Miranda 37, from the Netherlands

A 78

Dear Miranda,

■ Your question is one that is debated extensively among psychiatrists and other care institutions. Many are in favour of a prescription of Ritalin but also many professionals are very much against giving young children medication. Some experts

say that diagnoses are made too quickly and every child that is a bit more active is medicated in order to adjust to ‘the system.’ They also claim that this is driven by the pharmaceutical industry. Other experts say that children do have disorders and the medication is a way to help them to succeed in life. What all agree on is that next to the diagnosis for the child it is important that the family, including the parents, get counselling in order to (re)learn how to deal with their children. Many children get too much information and they don’t have time to digest it all. We have very high expectations of children, particularly academically. Parents are also struggling to create boundaries for their children. When your eldest was diagnosed, your family was also in transition and you all had a hard time. You don’t mention their father at all in your letter. What is his involvement? Do your children play sports? What is their diet? Could you sit down with all three of them and discuss the atmosphere in the home, ask them how they see it, whether they have suggestions for changes? Do this and then you could tell them what you would like to be done differently. Decide together with your husband what rules you would like to establish regarding bedtime, computer time, meals and how to respect each other. After setting rules, also mention consequences when the rules are working (positive reinforcement) or when they are not kept. Write things down together in a family meeting and stick it on the fridge. Those rules are for all members (mum and dad also have appropriate rules) of the family. When you think about your youngest son and his diagnosis, try to find out what could be behind his behaviour. Does he want attention? Is he always hyperactive? What was the reason the school counsellor suggested that he should be assessed? A diagnosis for a child has many complex aspects and also many consequences for your child, and I understand that you need as much information as possible. You are a mum, r and you can do your to ec ir Clinical D MS is the trained in the g in job as a mum. For your on eK She aD • Johannounseling Center. ia. family and for yourself. al tr us of NCS C A and ds



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Haunted by abusive childhood

THE holiday season is a difficult time for me. I grew up in an abusive family. I have reflected on it a lot, and I have managed to create a good life for myself. But here is my problem: When others reminisce about their wonderful childhood, I remain silent. When they ask me to join in I am faced with a dilemma: lie so that they can keep their illusions or tell the truth and become the focus of painful attention (and change the pleasant atmosphere). Sometimes people insist on ‘drawing me out’ and then it is up to me to sacrifice my truth. The people who pressure me for my ‘happy childhood stories’ are often the ones who object the most to my (ver y toned down) real memories. I feel I am getting it twice: once from my terrible childhood and a second time from my friends and colleagues. I know that many people prefer to live a life of looking away from the truth and that many relationships are superficial and rely on a certain amount of hypocrisy. Maybe I would like to live like this myself! But I don’t have a choice. Socially, it seems more important that I respect the conventions of happy memories, particularly at holiday times, so that I don’t spoil anything. And I don’t want to dwell on my childhood all the time! I would just prefer to choose my own timing. At the ver y least, I would like to reser ve the right to remain silent. The worst is, though, when people tr y to give me ‘sympathetic’ advice. ‘This is part of you, you have to accept it’ still rings in my ears.

You make your own decisions about your life and self-image. I can understand that you feel you are asked to abandon your own truth, in a sense your own self. And that is very dangerous, particularly for someone who has experienced abuse which often leads to the survivor abandoning their own self. So what is more important, standing by yourself or even standing up for yourself, or telling ‘white lies’ that help to maintain the illusion, as you say? Your dilemma about ‘happy memories’ is actually shared by many people, but we rarely talk about it. And it is very difficult to navigate. For example, if people have to listen to racist or sexist statements, they face a similar dilemma. Speak up or shut up? I personally believe that pressuring someone to reveal something they are reluctant to talk about, and in public, is a form of bullying. It may not be completely conscious; they may say that they just want to maintain a nice group feeling. But what they are really doing is trying to force others to do what they want. Maybe they need to become more educated about group dynamics and personal boundaries? But I also believe that you have a right to privacy, and that it is entirely up to you how much of yourself you want to share and when. I also understand that, sometimes, just listening can be too much. Maybe you could develop a repertoire of non-committal statements that can be delivered in a polite tone. After that, you have every right to politely change the subject. Your mental health is more important, and even if you have to leave the room to recover, I would urge you to do so. You have achieved so much by surviving childhood abuse. Nobody should pressure you to sacrifice your sense of self. If they do, they are the ones with the problem, not you.

Wesley, 44, from England


Dear Wesley,

■ Your abusive childhood is part of your life, yes, but not in the sense that you are in any way defined by it. Whatever mental scars and psychological wounds your childhood has left you with, you are your own person and you managed to create a good life for

yourself. Someone who tells you that you have to accept abuse as part of you is himself or herself talking in an abusive way. They may only be thoughtless, they may not realize the immensity of what you experienced (because they themselves were a lot luckier than you), or they may even be projecting some of their own pain onto you. But however sympathetic they claim to be, this is really an act of aggression towards you, trying to crash your boundaries in a very personal place.

• Anette of seven Pollner Adv. Dip Counseli international co l. Couns., is one trained inng Center in Sapunsellors at NCS staff cou London and thehan Kwai. She nsellor a t Bart’s H US and worked a ospital in s London. a

Contact details:,, Tel: 02 279 8503 Send your problems to:


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Y O U R U L T I M A T E W H A T ’ S O N G U I D E F O R J a n u a r y 1 4

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

Pop punk princess Avril Lavigne is coming to Bangkok on Feb 11. Page 84.

Who’s Bad?

Enjoy Michael Jackson’s greatest hits performed by lookalike E’Casanova Page 84


The globe-trotting electronic music fest returns to BKK Page 84

Pattaya Open Catch top quality tennis from some of the world’s best female players Page 86

TheBigChilli 81

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What’s On|The Arts

Exhibitions UNTIL FEB 28



IN creating his latest series of abstract paintings, multi-talented photographer and artist Angkrit Ajchariyasophon peered into the void of time – imagining the universe in its pre-Big Bang state, and what this may have looked like. 1028/5 Pongamorn Building 4th Floor, Rama 4 Rd. Open Wed-Sun 1pm-5pm 

JAN 28 – MAR 2



THE connection between plants and animals, the sun and the moon, and the way they make up the fabric of nature is the concept behind this new range of wooden sculptures by Chumpon Utayophat. Through carefully carved and polished natural symbolic forms, he presents his views with aplomb. Sukhumvit 55 (Thonglor Soi 10) Open Tues-Sat 10.30am-7pm; Sun 10.30am-5.30pm (closed Mon) 02 422 2092 

JAN 8 – FEB 8



JAN 21 – MARCH 2

AFTER honing her craft for two years at the prestigious Kala Bhavan Institute of Fine Arts in India, Singapore born, Thai-Indian artist and training Art Therapist Karma Sirikogar returns to her Thai roots with a series of abstract-surreal drawings and paintings which captivate viewers with their universally illustrative nature and contemporary style.



CURVACEOUS, bright, smooth, delicate – life and nature is full of wonderful forms and colour. Here, sculptor Ariya Kitticharoenwiwat pays homage to these forms with a series of plant studies, all beautifully crafted from steel and titanium and infused with subtle splashes of colour.

Between Thonglor 14 and 16. Open Tues-Fri from 12pm-7pm, and by appointment.  yvliang555@ (curator Yvonne Liang)

Boromratchonnee Rd. Open Tues-Sat 10.30am-7pm; Sun 10.30am-5.30pm (closed Mon). 02 422 2092 

FEB 20 – MAR 16



EVERYDAY objects take on surreal forms in this new series of mixed-technique prints by Japanese printmaker Hisashi Kurachi. Exploring concepts of change and instability in daily life, Hirashi’s work can be freely interpreted from a realistic or abstract point of view, ensuring there’s plenty of food for thought. Rama IV Rd. Open Tues-Sat 10.30am-7pm; Sun 10.30am-5.30pm (closed Mon) 02 422 2092 



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What’s On|Performance

Performance JAN 22



LEGENDARY singer Frankie Valli makes his long-overdue Bangkok debut next month, taking to the stage with The Four Seasons to perform his repertoire of chart-conquering singles, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, Walk Like A Man, Rag Doll, Let’s Hang On, and more.

FEB 15



ENJOY 20 of Michael Jackson’s greatest hits as performed by award-winning MJ lookalike and tribute artist E’Casanova. Among the set list: Beat Hit, Black or White, and Smooth Criminal. Sha-moan! Tickets range B800-B3,000 

Tickets range B2,500-B4,500 

FEB 11



POP-punk princess Avril Lavigne is coming to town to belt out hit singles such as My Happy Ending, Girlfriend, Here’s To Never Growing Up, and more. Tickets range B1,000-B4,500 






ENJOY the cooler evenings and immerse yourself in German cinema among the tranquil gardens of the Goethe Institute Thailand. Most Tuesday evenings, the Institute will screen Germanlanguage movies (with English subtitles), giving viewers a great opportunity to learn more about the culture of German speaking countries. Entry is free. Screenings from 7.30pm. Hit the website below for a full programme. ☎02 287 0942-4 

JAZZ performers from all around the world will converge on Bangkok for a series of conferences and performances. More information, including a complete schedule, and tickets are available at ThaiTicketmajor outlets. Tickets range B500 (one day pass)-B3,000 (three-day pass) 


JAN 31



DRESS head-to-toe in white and enter a fairytale world of stunning live shows, state-of-the-art lighting effects, and dance-inducing electronic music – by top international DJs no less – at the second Bangkok outing of this globetrotting international event. Tickets range B3,000-B4,500 



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What’s On|Outdoors

Sport FEB 8



JAN 26 – FEB 2



NOW in its 23rd year, the longest running women’s professional tennis event in South-East Asia returns this month with an exciting line-up of both singles and doubles players from over 30 countries, including some Grand Slam champions and finalists. For 2014 the prize money has been increased to US$250,000, and there has been a complete rebuilding of the No 3 court to allow more flexibility with match scheduling. Matches start daily at 3pm, except Jan 26 when play begins at 10am. The semi-finals on Feb 1 and finals on Feb 2 start at 4pm. Tickets range B500-B1,200 

ATHLETES looking to push themselves to the limits will find they can do exactly that in this grueling event – a 100km trail run in the hills of Amphoe Pakchong. The adventurous trail will lead each runner throughout mango and manioc plantations and various traditional Thai temples. 100km duo, and 50km solo categories are also available. 




FOLLOWING the freestyle training trends popularized by fitness programmes such as P90X, Fitness First (Platinum and Siam Paragon branches) have introduced two new freestyle movement apparatus – the Dynamax Ball and Battle Ropes. Designed to promote stability, agility as well as body coordination, the Dynamix Balls are available in 4,6,9, and 12 kilograms. The Battle Ropes (15-20ft), meanwhile, help improve neuro-muscular coordination by building and strengthening muscles. It’s a tough work out, but perfect for anyone who’s serious about getting fit. 


JAN 18 – 19

JAN 12



THE 6th edition of this popular trail running event offers a 50km trail run, 25km trail run, 10km trail run, and 3km fun run/walk for children and families. Alongside the running the event also features an expo village, trophy ceremony and presentations, a kids’ corner, and a post-race lunch. 



JOIN Bring the Elephant Home’s annual charity bike ride and enjoy two days of adventurous and fun biking along the River Kwai and through the mountains, forest and countryside of Kanchanaburi province – all in support of the conservation of Asian elephants. The event also includes a visit to Erawan Elephants Paradise, where you can spend some time with free-roaming elephants, watch elephant bathing, and plant trees for wild elephants.

B8,500 per person (includes a mountain bike, helmet, water bottle, safety and support team, a Bike for Elephants t-shirt, an overnight stay at a resort, all meals and drinks and a donation to support wild elephant conservation work). 


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What’s On|Sport

Thai football in focus

Soccer pundit paul Hewitt examineS wHat’S Happening in tHe world of tHai football

Clean Sweep at SEA Games

Suphawut Thueanklang


THAILAND dominated the 27th South-East Asian Games in Myanmar topping the medal table with 107 golds to second-place Myanmar’s 86, and an overall medal tally of 282 to Myanmar’s 233. Of particular interest to us, however, are the four golds Thailand took away from the football and futsal events. The success in both the men’s and women’s futsal tournaments perhaps shouldn’t have come as a surprise as they both claimed gold in the last edition in Indonesia in 2011. This time round the men barely broke a sweat on their way to the title as they swept aside Laos 12-3 and Vietnam 4-0 in the group stage before hosts Myanmar were taken apart 8-1 in the semi-final. In the final, the Thais came up against group stage opponents Vietnam. But the Golden Star had to settle for silver as Thailand recorded another 8-1 victory to seal the gold. Thailand’s Suphawut Thueanklang was the tournament’s hotshot with eight goals. The women’s competition followed a different format as only five nations entered. Each team played the other in a single group; the top two then met in the final. The ladies dispensed with Indonesia (4-0), Vietnam (6-1), Malaysia (3-1) and Myanmar (3-2). The relatively fine margin of victory in the final two group games wasn’t taken into the final though as the Vietnamese were trounced 5-0.


Orathai Srimanee

Furthermore, Thailand’s captain and star player Orathai Srimanee took home the golden boot after finding the back of the net four times. In the football competition, the Thai women’s team was looking to reclaim the gold they had last won in 2007 in Nakhon Ratchasima. In 2009 in Laos they lost in the final to Vietnam on penalties, whilst in 2011 in Indonesia there was no women’s football owing to a lack of suitable venues! This time round, six nations took part and were divided into two groups of three. This was football, but the ladies racked up futsal scores as they beat Malaysia 6-1 and Laos 5-0 to comfortably top the group.

The one-sidedness of SEA Games futsal and football is clearly an issue, but it didn’t apply in an astonishingly dramatic semi-final encounter between Thailand and hosts Myanmar. The Thais thought they had won it in regulation time thanks to Kanjana Sungngoen’s 20th minute strike only for Myanmar to equalise two minutes into second-half injury time to take the match into extra time. Thailand retook the lead in the 104th minute through Kwanreuthai Kunupatham but Myanmar found another late equaliser as the wonderfully named Yee Yee Oo pulled the hosts level in the 116th minute. That’s how it stayed, and so to penalties. Both sides scored their first four spot kicks each but both then missed their fifth attempts, which took it to sudden death. Four more were scored by both sides until the unfortunate Zin Mar Win missed for Myanmar to hand the Thais a remarkable 9-8 penalty shootout victory. The girls were given the opportunity to avenge their 2009 final defeat by Vietnam as the two sides met again on December 20 in Mandalay. It looked to be heartbreak again as Nguyen Thi Minh Nguyet gave the Vietnamese the lead in the 33rd minute. But the Thais weren’t to be denied this time as Napat Seesraum drew the War Elephants level in the 40th minute, and Anootsara Maicharoen completed the comeback by scoring what would prove to be the winning goal just after the restart – a fitting winner as Anootsara took the golden boot award after netting six times The men went into their football competition in hope rather than expectation after two desperately poor tournaments in 2009 and 2011 in which they failed to even get beyond the group stage. Their nadir was in Indonesia in 2011 where the Thais took just three points from their four group matches – unheard of failure for a side which won eight successive football golds between 1993 and 2007. The team was given a boost, however, by being placed in what looked to be the easier of the two groups; the Thais would not have to face traditional nemeses Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam in the group stages, at least. Instead they found


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Kiatisuk Senamuang

themselves up against Indonesia, Myanmar, Timor-Leste and Cambodia. And with the highly respected Kiatisuk Senamuang at the helm, maybe the Thais could regain their position as the football giants of the region. They came through the group stage in steady yet unspectacular form by beating ever-improving Timor-Leste 3-1 and Indonesia 4-1; however, it was honours even in the games against Myanmar (1-1) and Cambodia (0-0), although a weakened side was fielded for that disappointing stalemate against the weakest team in the group. But it was enough for the Thais to top the table by a point over Indonesia and advance to the semi-final to take on Singapore. The men’s semi-final certainly lacked the drama of the women’s: a dour game of few chances was settled in Thailand’s favour thanks to a 23rd minute penalty scored by Prawinyat Boonyong. It hadn’t been pretty at Saruwat Masuk times but Thailand were at least back in the final for the first time since 2007 in Nakhon Ratchasima, where they beat Myanmar 2-0 in the final; this time it was Indonesia. The Thais had already beaten them 4-1 in the group stage, but the final match of any competition is usually a tense and closely-contested affair and this one was no different. Saruwat Masuk of Muangthong United gave Thailand a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute and, despite some late scares, that’s how it stayed. 364 days previously, Thailand suffered heartbreak as they lost to Singapore in the final of the AFF Cup; one year later, on the 21st December 2013, the Thais were once again at the summit of South-East Asian football – their fourteenth SEA Games football gold. Congratulations to our golden men’s and women’s futsal and football teams. See you in Singapore 2015! *The 2014 Thai Premier League season commences on February 22nd/23rd. AD Destination_Dec12.indd 1

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What’s On|Screen & Stereo

Movies & music Jan 16



ALREADY a big hit in the West (the movie scored an impressive 96 percent on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, and director Steve McQueen was named Best Director at New York Film Critics Circle Awards) this movie is based on the incredible true story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a New York State citizen who is kidnapped and forced to work on a plantation in New Orleans in the 1800s. Also stars Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, and Benedict Cumberbatch. Jan 30



ANOTHER movie that’s already been released to critical acclaim in the West, TWOWS is based on the memoirs of headline-grabbing banker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) – who, in the early ’90s, defrauded investors in a massive securities scheme that involved widespread corruption on Wall Street. This wolf won’t have you howling with laughter, but expect a few dark chuckles along the way.

Feb 2



Jan 23



PUTTING vampires to one side, ‘Underworld’ director Stuart Beattie sinks his teeth into an adaptation of Kevin Grevioux’s graphic novel “I, Frankenstein” – a gothic tale set in a dystopic present where gargoyles and demons rage in a battle to discover the secrets to the immortality of Victor Frankenstein’s creation, Adam (Aaron Eckhart).

JOAQUIN Phoenix meets an operating system who will give Siri a run for her money in Spike Jonze’s latest offbeat look at life and love. Set in a near-future Los Angeles, the story centers on Theodore Twombly (Phoenix), a withdrawn writer still aching from a bad break-up, who develops an unlikely relationship with his newly purchased OS, “Samantha” (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). Movie screenings are subject to change. Keep up to date at


NEW MUSIC Peter gabriel

Young the giant

(Release date: Jan 7)

(Release date: Jan 21)

and i’ll ScratcH YourS bruce SPringSteen

DuM DuM girlS

(Release date: Jan 14)

(Release date: Jan 21)

HigH HopeS

too true


MaxiMo Park

(Release date: Jan 21)

(Release date: Feb 3)

rave tapeS

too mucH information


katY b

(Release date: Jan 21)

(Release date: Feb 3)



mind over matter

little red

topping tHe uK cHartS Jan 1994

1. D:Ream – Things Can Only Get Better (remix) 2. Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart & Sting – All For Love 3. Toni Braxton – Breathe Again 4. Enigma – Return to Innocence 5. Tori Amos – Cornflake Girl 6. Celine Dion – The Power of Love 7. Culture Beat – Anything 8. Depeche Mode – In Your Room 9. Eternal – Save Our Love 10. Bitty McLean – Here I stand


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Ad_Nadimos_Bigchille Jan14_m2.pdf

AD The Coffee Club_Dec13.pdf



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Send your jokes to

Jokes Just for fun



A SEAMAN meets a pirate in a bar, and their talk turns to their adventures on the sea. The seaman notes that the pirate has a peg-leg, a hook, and an eye patch. The seaman asks: JOKE “So, how did you end up with the peg-leg?” OF TH The pirate replies: “We were in a storm MONT E H at sea, and I was swept overboard into a school of sharks. Just as my men were pulling me out, a shark bit my leg off.” “Wow!” says the seaman. “What about your hook”? “Well,” replies the pirate, “we were boarding an enemy ship and were battling the other sailors with swords. One of the enemy cut my hand off.” “Incredible!” remarked the seaman. “How did you get the eye patch”? “A seagull dropping fell into my eye.” “You lost your eye to a seagull dropping?” the sailor asks incredulously. “Well,” says the pirate, “it was my first day with the hook.”


1. I just heard on the news gangs are now using dogs instead of knives. I tried this and my toast was very hairy. - Gary Delaney 2. You can tell a lot about a person by which X Factor contestant they like. For example, if they like any of them, they’re a complete tosser. - Sean Lock 3. I can’t help but think that I would have been much better at sport if my dad had a different job. He was a bouncer and wouldn’t let me wear trainers. - Sean Lock 4. Velcro? What a rip-off. - Tim Vine 5. Exit signs? They’re on the way out. - Tim Vine

IT’S ALL IN THE NAME A GIRL visits her blonde friend, who has just bought two new dogs, and asks her what their names are. The blonde responds by saying that one is named Rolex and one is named Timex.  Her friend says: “Whoever heard of someone naming dogs like that?” ”HELLLOOOOOOO…,”answers the blonde. “They’re watch dogs!”


PADDY and his two friends are talking at a bar. His first friend says: “I think my wife is having an affair with the electrician. The other day I came home and found wire cutters under our bed and they weren’t mine.” His second friend says: “I think my wife is having an affair with the plumber; the other day I found a wrench under the bed and it wasn’t mine.” Paddy says: “I think my wife is having an affair with a horse.” Both his friends look at him with utter disbelief. “No I’m serious. The other day I came home and found a jockey under our bed.”


1. I worry when James Dyson dies, he’ll leave a power vacuum.

2. I just bumped into the guy who borrowed my Tippex and never gave it back. Unfortunately, he blanked me. 3. In the ’80s, my nickname was “Drugs”, because when I asked a girl out, they’d just say “No.” 4. They say people don’t like to be reminded of their mistakes, but I’m going to buy this Father’s Day card anyway. 5. When my girlfriend suggested we try playing doctors and nurses, I was really hoping for something sexier than being left in a corridor for two days.

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Social  Last month’s best events in pictures


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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

ANOTHER GREAT YEAR FOR PHUKET KING’S CUP THE 27th Phuket King’s Cup Regatta lived up to its reputation as the premier sailing event in all of Asia by delivering an exceptional fleet and high levels of professionalism and sportsmanship throughout. Inaugurated in 1987 to celebrate the 60th birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand, the event has been held during the first week of December every year since. Offering top quality sailing, the Regatta also boasts a series of superb evening parties where sailors and landlubbers enjoy free-flow drinks and food, as well as live entertainment. Pictured here is the Regatta’s Closing Party at Kata Beach Resort & Spa, Kata Beach. Sponsors of the 2013 Phuket King’s Cup Regatta included Kata Group Resorts Thailand, PTT Global Chemical, Land Rover, Jaguar, Mont Clair, Singha Corporation, Sansiri PLC, Haadthip PLC, TAT, and Sunsail. For more photos and a full list of winners see



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SCOTS ANNUAL CELEBRATION MEMBERS of Bangkok’s Scottish community had a great time at the St Andrew’s Annual Ball at the Amari Watergate Hotel. Highlights of the evening included the Sounds of Scotland by the British Club Pipe Band, a traditional dance show, and the Graham Geddes band, who flew in from Scotland so that guests could enjoy genuine Scottish band music. Plus, of course, The Haggis specially imported from the Highlands.



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PARTY TIME AT BCCT XMAS LUNCH THE British Chamber of Thailand’s annual Christmas Lunch lived up to its reputation as one of the festive season’s highlights with lots of games, prizes, music and camaraderie. Hosting the event, held at the Grand Hyatt Erawan, were Danny Poole and Paul Jackson, who provided a running commentary on proceedings and musical interludes. Many of the guests continued to party after lunch in Spasso’s in the hotel’s ground floor.

THREE CHEERS FOR BEERVAULT BEERVAULT at Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15, celebrated its third anniversary with a fun-packed party featuring special deals on Belgian beers and servings of a delicious cake, specially baked in the shape of a beer mug for the occasion by the hotel’s pastry chef.


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CHEF HERVE INTRODUCES LE BAR AN interesting crowd of young, not so young, chic and conservative guests attended the Grand Opening of Le Bar, the new all-glass extension of Le Beaulieu, one of Bangkok’s leading French restaurants. On hand to greet friends and regulars at the ‘Get Bubbly’ party was Chef Herve Frerard, who served a selection of his culinary specialties, along with Veuve Clicquot, Belvedere and Hennessy cocktails.



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HIP HOP BLING PARTY HARD Rock Cafe Bangkok swapped power chord treats for rhythmic beats when it hosted a special concert featuring Thailand’s famous hip hop band Thaitanium.

IRISH CHARM IN THONGLOR A NIGHT of cheer and Happy Hours beer was enjoyed by a large group of revellers who made their way to Eight Thonglor to celebrate the grand opening of Flann O’Brien’s – the Soi’s first ever Irish bar. The fourth establishment in a quick growing franchise, the pub serves hearty eats like Irish stew and Bangers and mash alongside a good selection of ice cold beers.


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COINS ON SILOM ROTARY Club of Bangkok South recently held “Coins on Silom,” its main annual fundraising event, which raised over one million baht for its charity projects.




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ON-SONG BANGERS FULL OF XMAS CHEER MEMBERS of Old Bangkok Bangers rugby club got together at Tenderloins Bar & Grill on Sukhumvit 33 for their annual Christmas Party. The traditional gift exchange and raffle were accompanied by a generous buffet complete with turkey, a steady flow of beer and lots of rugby songs.

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RICHARD Greaves, the outgoing general manager of the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok, was bid farewell in five-star fashion at a special cocktail reception, hosted by the hotel’s management, in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom. The event highlighted Richard’s achievements at the hotel during his ten year tenure, and featured free-flow drinks and a selection of food from each of the hotel’s dining outlets. On the night Grand Hyatt Erawan’s management also introduced the hotel’s new GM, Gordon Fuller. Richard will now go on to work with Hyatt in Shanghai. We wish him the best of luck.

AD SENOR PICO CELEBRATES FREE-flow margaritas, pass-around plates loaded with Mexican favourites, and a live band performing Latino music were just a few of the highlights when the long-standing Senor Pico Restaurant at The Rembrandt Hotel celebrated the first anniversary of its well-received renovations. Don’t miss the restaurant’s new Saturday brunch – a bargain at just B599 per person.




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STYLISH OPENING FOR MODE MODE Sathorn Hotel celebrated its grand opening in style by showcasing its trendy venues with three sizzling parties. The fun kicked off on a Friday with a Housemusic-fuelled New York, New York party at The Roof@38th Bar, followed by ‘The British Invasion’ at the same venue on the Saturday, and capped with a Balearic Brunch and pool party on the Sunday.

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SIAM KEMPINSKI SAYS THANKS SIAM Kempinski Hotel Bangkok, led by its General Manager Alejandro Bernabé, hosted a client appreciation night for its business partners and media friends at the hotel’s Chadra Ballroom. The event featured delicious food and drinks, and great music from one of Thailand’s greatest Divas, Jennifer Kim.

SPARKLING NIGHT AT IMPERIAL AN evening of sparkling entertainment was enjoyed by a large group of VIP guests at Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel’s festive tree lighting ceremony and Khon Exhibition. The event was presided over by Khunying Wongchan Phinainitisatra, President of the Foundation of Slum Child Care under the Royal Patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra; Anek Srihamat, Director-General, The Fine Arts Department, Ministry of Culture; and the hotel’s GM, Michal Zitek.



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MEINHARDT’S XMAS PARTY IS HUGELY POPULAR A HUGE gathering of up to 700 friends and colleagues joined the Meinhardt Christmas cocktail party in the ballroom of the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit. An annual event, the party is a highlight for Bangkok’s expatriate community during the festive season. MD John Pollard gave the address while Nigel Cornick of Kingdom Property was invited to say a few words.

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A NIGHT of music and cocktails was enjoyed by a large crowd of revelers at BCC Hall, Central Ladprao, when Hennessy brought together several renowned artists for its “Hennessy Artist – The Global Art of Mixing,” a globe-trotting concert concept which has been staged in more than 40 countries. Taking to the stage on the night were Japanese instrumental band PE’Z, Thai rhythm and disco outfit The Begins, and Thai rockers Flure. Aaron Shanahan and Benjamin Plant from Miami Horror, an Australian indietronica band, capped the night with a DJ set of pop-rock hits.


BOOZY cocktails, French/Mediterraneancuisine, a trendy crowd and a stunning 360 degrees view of Bangkok set the scene for a great night of partying when ZOOM at Sathorn Sky Bar & Restaurant held its grand opening last month. Located on the rooftop at Anantara Bangkok Sathorn, Zoom is now open daily from 5.30pm-1am.



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FRENCH FLAVOURS AT WINE PUB THE new Vignobles Paul Dubrule wine was introduced to the Thai market with a special launch event at Wine Pub, Pullman Bangkok King Power. Created by Paul Dubrule, co-founder of Accor Hotels and owner of Vignobles Paul Dubrule in Luberon, France, the wine is now available at King Power’s duty-free shops in Bangkok and at the airport.

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MELLOW TURNS THREE IN STYLE MELLOW Restaurant & Bar on Thonglor celebrated its third anniversary, exactly three years, three months, and three days since it first opened, with a hip party featuring a mixed media art exhibition, entitled Third Eye View, by well-known music video director Salinee Khemcharas. Adding to the fun was a special performance by Gene Kasidit Samniang (who dramatically transformed from a young boy to a woman in front of a faux mirror), and atmospheric sets by DJ Pom Pom, DJ Ben, and DJ Lows.

AD OCEAN MAKES A SPLASH OCEAN Bangkok boutique hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 31 celebrated its grand opening with a huge party featuring an open bar, pass around Gastro Tapas by chef Jacobo Astray, and DJ sets by some of the city’s hottest turntablists. Split between all the of hotel’s different venues, including Ocean Pool Lounge, Ocean Gastro Bar & Restaurant, and underground basement club Ocean Below, the party was attended by a large crowd of celebs, VIPs and Bangkok luminaries.



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BAD SANTA RETURNS LEVELS nightclub on Sukhumvit Soi 11 got into the festive spirit by inviting guests to don their brightest red, white, or green attire for a huge Christmas party called ‘The Return of Bad Santa.’ Sexy and sassy to boot, the event was packed to the rafters with revelers enjoying innovative cocktails and special Christmas performances.

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BIGCHILLI FC KICKS OFF IN PHUKET THE BigChilli FC, our soccer sensations also known as ‘The Underdogs,’ recently ventured for their first competitive kick-about at The 8th Andaman International Soccer 7s, the popular sister tournament of the Phuket International Soccer 7s. Kindly sponsored by Tune Hotels and GS Battery, our motley crew of entrepreneurs, journalists, bar managers, and international school teachers certainly looked the part in their brand new kits, but heading into a tournament against international teams with oodles of experience was never going to be easy. While our brave hungover heroes certainly were not embarrassed in the tournament, holding their own against a team whose players were all dressed as Superman and even thumping in a goal against well-drilled French opposition, they sadly didn’t win a game. They did, however, have a great time trying, and since returning to Bangkok have already played in another tournament, at The British Club, where they stormed through to the final and narrowly missed out on the trophy, losing 2-1. Next stop, the Manila Soccer World Cup 2014!



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Social|Around town


THE management of Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel celebrated the 86th birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej by unveiling a special art exhibition entitled ‘Kao-Sen-TaWai-Phor-Luang.’ On display until January 31 in the hotel’s lobby, the exhibition features 99 crayon drawings of His Majesty created by nine leading Thai artists: K.Wattana Poolcharoen, K.Pornchai Sinonpat, K.Chayanun Avakto, K.Suwit Jaiporn, K.Dinhin Rakpong-Asoke, K.Larp Ampairat, K.Banjob Putipin, K.Chingchai Udomcharoenkij, and K.Suwat Wanmanee.

THE Bangkok Networking Community (BNOW) organized a speed networking event at Hemingway’s Bar & Restaurant, Sukhumvit Soi 14, attended by entrepreneurs from various fields of work. Part of the proceeds from the event was donated to the victims of the Haiyan typhoon in the Philippines. Photo shows BNOW founder Pacharee Pantoomano (left) donating a cheque of B5,000 to Bing Santos (center), a representative from Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life (CFCFFL Thailand), Sydney Morallos (centre), a member of CFCFFL’s Kids for Family and Life and Jo-Ann Morallos (right).


THERE was lots of Christmas cheer when Millennium Hilton Bangkok’s GM, Mr Dirk De Cuyper, joined the hotel’s sponsors and team members to host its annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Flow Terrace. The ceremony, which also featured a delicious dinner attended by hotel guests, Bangkok-based executives, and members of the diplomatic corps, was capped with a donation of B150,000 to The Orphanage Foundation of Thailand.

MANAGEMENT and staff of The Conrad Bangkok ventured to Sri Sangwarn School where they donated money and gifts collected at the hotel’s fundraising Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony held earlier in December. A total of B40,409 and 200 gifts were donated, and, much to the delight of the kids, Santa also made an appearance with a bag full of goodies.

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ASTON Martin hosted a launch party at Woobar, W Bangkok Hotel, where it rolled out its Vanquish, Rapide S, DB9, and Vantage models to an appreciative crowd of car lovers, VIP guests, and Thai celebrities. The event, which also celebrated the car maker’s centenary year, was hosted by Aston Martin Bangkok GM, Suttipong Wannawanit, and Master Group Corporation (Asia)’s managing director, Dr. Sunhavut T hamchuanviriya.


THE all-new Bentley Flying Spur was introduced to the Thai market at a glamorous afternoon High-Tea launch party held at the Grand Ballroom of Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok. Hosted by K.Vutthikorn Inthraphuvasak, President of Bentley Thailand by AAS Auto Services, the exclusive event was attended by VIPs, celebrities, and super-car lovers such as M.R. Sorut Visudhi, M.R. Malinee Chakrabandhu, Monlahcha Skulthai, General Pairoj-Kleddao Panichsamai, Varavut Laohapongchana, and Suriyon Sriorathaikul.


THE management of Namu Life, a manufacturer of beauty supplements, held a special launch event at the Grand Ballroom of Okura Prestige Hotel where they unveiled the company’s NamuSOP100+ – a new beauty supplement made from Salmon Ovary Peptide (SOP), or 100 percent Japanese salmon placenta, which, according to the boffins, helps revive skin from the inside, resulting in a radiant, healthy-looking glow. The launch party was attended by Thai celebrities such as Kornkanok Yongsakul, Saranthorn Techapaibul, and M.R. Chantaraladda Yukol, and featured a fashion show by Kwankao, and a demonstration of NamuSOP100 by the product’s first presenter, Thai superstar Aum-Patcharapa Chaichuea.



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DIPLOMATS p Meet the people uniting nations

HE Philip Calvert

Canada’s engaging envoy talks about his work in the region Page 114 TheBigChilli 113

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HE Philip Calvert|Canada

“We Canadians are very relaxed and don’t go in for a lot of pomp and circumstance.” Maxmilian Wechsler talks to Canada’s engaging envoy


CANADIANS are generally known as friendly, relaxed and well informed, and His Excellency Philip Calvert, the Canadian ambassador to Thailand, lives up to all these traits perfectly. In a departure from previous interviews with envoys, Mr Calvert suggested we meet at his residence, a large twostorey house surrounded by greenery in a quiet part of Thung Mahamek district in Bangkok, where Canadian ambassadors have resided for over 20 years.   It was a good choice because the surroundings, which included a genuine Christmas tree imported from Europe, several large paintings, piano and tastefully furnished guest area created a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere for the interview. It was also an opportunity to meet the ambassador’s wife, Chantal Meagher, and their youngest daughter, 13-year-old Jessye Calvert. Both speak Mandarin, as does the ambassador.   Before Mr Calvert arrived, a large and friendly dog became an instant favourite of the BigChilli crew. “Her name is Ginger. She’s a three-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback, a mixture of Labrador and German Shepherd. She was born in Quebec, and abandoned for some reason I can’t imagine, and we adopted her.   “We discovered that when we gave her commands in French she obeyed, but she responds to English commands as well. Ginger is normally peaceful but can get angry. She hates cats because her ancestors in Rhodesia were lion hunters. I shipped her from Canada; that was the most expensive part of our relocation to Thailand.”   Mr Calvert began the interview by saying he didn’t want to overwhelm readers with statistics and figures on trade, tourism and so on. “We have good and comprehensive relations with Thailand but I don’t think that people want to read the details of Canadian-Thai relations since we have a lot of this information on our website and facebook page.   “I also think that it is very good to demystify ambassadors a bit,” he said, adding: “We Canadians are very relaxed and don’t tend to go for a lot of pomp and circumstance.”   “A lot of people, when listening to English Canadians, think that we are Americans but once you get used to it the accent actually is different. It is like being a New Zealander – many people confuse them for Australians.   “It’s interesting that over the years a lot of news broadcasters in the United States have been Canadian. They


like Canadian newscasters there because their accent is neutral and very clear. For example, Peter Jennings, a famous news anchor, was born in Canada.” Mr Calvert expressed concern over political events in Thailand but diplomatically refrained from going into specifics.  

The Ambassador’s background

“I grew up in northern British Columbia, an English-speaking part of Canada on the west coast. I learned French in high school and I studied Mandarin at university. I’d have to consider Mandarin my second language, and French the third. I probably speak better Mandarin than French, and I can write in Mandarin as well. I did my PhD in Chinese history.   “I also studied German in high school so I can speak some German and also a bit of Japanese,” Mr Calvert said.   His background, he says, is ordinary middle class. “I spent summers working in lumber mills. My mother is a nurse and my late father was a carpenter. Nurses don’t make much money, so to help pay for university I worked for two or three summers in saw mills, and then worked for the British Columbia Forest Service as a lookout. That was before there was satellite technology. You are out in the bush by yourself in the tower with binoculars looking for forest fires. If you spot one then you have to use the equipment on hand and calculate the fire’s location and get on the radio to alert the fire fighters.”   After university Mr Calvert joined the Department of External Affairs, now known as the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), in 1982 and has been a career diplomat ever since. “I served in Beijing altogether for 10 years, from 1984 to 1987 and then from 1994 to 1997.   “My third posting was from 2004 to 2008. I was the deputy chief of mission in China [number two after the ambassador]. The deputy at a big mission is the one who does most of the work. You never travel, just stay at the embassy and make sure things run smoothly and keep the ‘stupid stuff’ away from the ambassador.”   Mr Calvert said that his three postings in China were “in a way like going to three different countries. It was the same country but at three very different stages of development.   “To live in Beijing was great. Since I speak the language,


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HE Philip Calvert|Canada

I could get around very well – even arguing with taxi drivers over routes through Beijing. “I was very comfortable in Beijing. It is a very good city to live in except for the pollution, which has now gotten to the point where people are concerned about their health,” said the ambassador.   He explained that the Canadian Foreign Ministry assignment may not always seem logical, so sometimes a Latin America specialist gets sent to Asia and an Asian specialist to the Caribbean. “But, in fact, they worked it out well for me – I am an Asian specialist in Asia.

Unparalelled beauty of the Canadian landscape

Kayaking in the city

Bilateral relations and cooperation

“As ambassador, I represent the government of Canada in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, so there are wide-ranging responsibilities. These include promotion of economic, political, security and cultural ties, education, public relations, and ensuring that the embassy serves Canadian and local clients.   “Thailand and Canada established diplomatic relations 52 years ago, in 1961. Canada’s first ambassador was appointed in the same year and the first embassy of Canada in Bangkok with a resident ambassador was opened in 1967. The embassy was located at the Thai Farmers Bank building on Silom Road.   “We are now at Abdulrahim Place on Rama IV Road, with 72 people, including about 48 Thai nationals, working in a wide range of capacities.


In 2012, our two prime ministers launched exploratory discussions on a possible bilateral free trade agreement which would benefit both countries.


Kayaking in the The Bay of Fundy

“My first visit to Bangkok was in 1986, the second in 2006, and in October 2012, I arrived for my four-year ambassadorial posting. Before assuming my post here I was Director General for North Asia, looking after trade and political relations with the region at the DFATD headquarters in Ottawa.  

“Our embassy in Bangkok, in addition to managing bilateral relations with Thailand, is also accredited to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the Kingdom of Cambodia. Canada has had formal diplomatic ties with Lao PDR since 1974 and with Cambodia since 1954.   “Canada and Thailand enjoy a deep and enduring friendship. Since the 1970s we have cooperated bilaterally and regionally in the areas of community, rural and industrial development, governance and human resources development. Our current relationship is dynamic and growing, encompassing commerce, regional and multilateral cooperation, security/policing, defense, education, culture, tourism and people-to-people ties.   “Our countries enjoy a dynamic and growing commercial relationship. Bilateral trade reached over C$3.3 billion [about 100 billion baht] in 2012, making Thailand our largest trading partner in Southeast Asia, and we have an active services trade, and significant and growing bilateral investments.   “Canada and Thailand are committed to seeing this key trade relationship expand. In 2012, our two prime ministers launched exploratory discussions on a possible bilateral free trade agreement which would benefit both countries.


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Royal Ontario Museum

Vancouver, British Columbia

Canada Day Celebration Ottawa, Ontario


The embassy also actively supports the Canadian business community as it pursues new opportunities for investment and trade here. “Canadian exports to Thailand include wood pulp, satellite technology, BlackBerry mobile phones, fruits, foods and lumber. From Thailand we import mostly food products and machinery. In the financial area, the Bank of Nova Scotia is in partnership with Thanachart Bank. We have a lot of investment here in companies like Celestica [electronic equipment], Magna Automotive [auto parts], Manulife Insurance, Bombardiers [planes and rail systems], and SAE [flight simulators and pilot training].   “The upcoming Cancer Care Run in support of cancer research, which the Embassy of Canada has strongly supported for many years, is a great example of our social engagement in Thailand. I encourage the Canadian community and all residents as well as visitors to Bangkok to participate in the event on February 22, 2014 to ensure it is once again a huge success.   “Canada is also a proud member of La Francophonie and I would encouragetoute le monde to join us at the new Alliance Française on Wireless Road on Saturday, February 8, for the annual Fête de la Francophonie, a celebration of Francophone culture and great day of fun for children and families.   “Canada is a destination of choice for thousands of Thai students seeking educational opportunities. We are working with Canadian and Thai academic institutions to further grow and strengthen these important linkages. With one of the highest proportion of post-secondary graduates in the OECD, our education system is recognized as one of the best in the world.   “A number of embassy people are members of the ‘Flying Farangs,’ an ice hockey club established in 1994. They play in a local league and they have some international tournaments

as well. There was an international hockey tournament here in October at the Ring Ice Arena at Central Plaza Grand Rama 9. Mr Calvert said that high-level visits between Canada and Thailand are an important feature of Niagra Falls, Ontario bilateral relations. “Thailand graciously hosted Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in March 2012. Over the course of the past year, Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty, Chief of Defense Staff General Tom Lawson, and Minister of State for Consular Affairs Diane Ablonzcy all visited Thailand.   Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird visited Thailand in 2012 with Prime Minister Harper, and made the first ever bilateral visit of a Canadian Foreign Minister to Lao PDR in October 2013.   “I told my boss, the foreign minister, when he was in Laos that I have the best job in the Canadian public service. It is a fantastic job, but we are really busy and we have to figure out – because we are a relatively small mission – what we are going to focus on. You have to focus only on very important activities.   “One of the real challenges is that you can burn yourself out by going to events like hotel openings. For me the deciding factor on whether I attend is if it has a Canadian connection, if it is fun and useful or it helps me to connect with people.   “You are the one who makes sure that things work smoothly between the countries and the only way to do that is through contacts and getting to know people. I tend to go to events that help me to develop my network.   “I travel outside Bangkok quite frequently. For example, my travels since September have taken me to the south of Thailand.   “While there I met with women’s groups who are working on peace building. They are teaching children non-violent conflict resolution and working on a dialogue to establish the basic building blocks and restoration of a peaceful society.   “These groups are dynamic, very brave and focused. I had such a good time with them. This is what has impressed me most while in Thailand,” Mr Calvert said.   “I have also visited Chiang Mai, Trang, Krabi and Phuket. I went to Krabi and Phuket with other ambassadors in January 2013 to meet the locals and to raise our concern about

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HE Philip Calvert|Canada whereas in Canada you have a pretty good idea when you step outside. But I do like not having to shovel snow in the winter. “I am trying to learn Thai but I find it harder than Mandarin, most probably because when I started learning Mandarin I was 18 years old. Learning a new language is tougher when you are 56. I try to read Thai because I like to explore the country by car and once you get out of Bangkok many road signs are in Thai, so you must know what they mean. I can read them now.   “At the embassy, we rely on our Thai staff to tell us what various Thai newspapers say and we also talk to the locals. I use a lot websites, especially the news aggregator called ZITE which collects news from all kind of sources.   “As for hobbies I like to travel, play tennis, swim and read works of history and politics.

Four Seasons Cancer Care Run - Lumpini Park, Bangkok

protection of tourists. My point was we want Canadian and other tourists to come to Thailand and enjoy themselves. This is a shared interest with the officials we met. “Canadians like to visit and it is good for Thailand for them to come here, have a good time and spend money. It’s really win-win, but there are certain practices that we talked about with the authorities that sometimes make it not such an enjoyable experience for a small number of foreign tourists.”   Approximately 218,000 Canadians visited Thailand in 2012. This was a 12% increase over the previous year. Based on periodic updates from the Ministry of Tourism, the ambassador expects an increase in 2013.   “Given that not all Canadians in Thailand register with the embassy, we are only able to make an educated estimate of the number of us are here in Thailand – approximately 5,000 residents and tourists on any given day.  

Cambodia and Laos


Asked if it is a heavy load looking after three countries, Mr Calvert replied: “Ideally, we would like to have an embassy in every country but it’s very expensive. You have to calculate how you can best represent your country being based in one and visiting the other two.   “I enjoy the diversity and I enjoy the three great countries. I travel to Cambodia and Laos usually every couple of months.   “We have a long-standing relationship and ties with Cambodia and we were backers and funders of the postKhmer Rouge regime peace process in the 1990s and have also supported the Khmer Rouge trials. I have been back and forth to Phnom Penh a lot. I presented my credentials to the Cambodian King, His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni, in April. His French is excellent. The King is a very elegant and nice man.   “We have an embassy in Myanmar but some part of our embassy duties in Bangkok still cover Myanmar, such as our immigration and police liaison services.”  


“Although I am happy with Thailand’s climate, I do miss the change of seasons. I like spring and autumn. Sometimes I walk out in the morning and have to think about what month it is,


Canada at a glance

With an area of 9,984,670 square kilometers, Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia and slightly larger than its southern neighbour the United States. The Canadian coastline is 202,080 kilometers long. The highest point is Mount Logan at 5,959 meters. Given the vast geography, natural wonders of Canada include Niagara Falls, the Northern Lights, the Bay of Fundy, 15 UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) world heritage sites and the ski slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The population of Canada is approaching 35 million. The national capital of Canada is Ottawa, the 4th largest city in the country with a population of around 900,000. Canada has 10 provinces and three territories. The largest city is Toronto with about 2.8 million people. Canada spends more per capita on public postsecondary education than any other country in the G8 and has the most educated workforce among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. Canadian secondary students are among the top five academic performers in the world and Canadian universities rank among the best in the world. Canada is rich in natural resources that include copper, diamonds, fish, iron ore, lead, nickel, molybdenum, natural gas, petroleum, silver, timber and zinc. The Economist Intelligence Unit has named Canada the best place for doing business among G7 countries because of its secure infrastructure, market opportunities and low taxes; 7 of the world’s 50 safest banks are in Canada. Learn more about Canada at:


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Cha Am • Pranburi • And beyond...

The brand new Pranburi Boutique Resort is offering special early bird prices for its luxury accommodations. Page 120.

News & deals

Hua Hin’s hottest promotions and deals await inside Page 120

Sporting fun

Pics from Hilton Hua Hin’s fun-packed end of year party Page 120

New Escape

Escape Hua Hin, Sansari Hotel Collection now open for business Page 122 TheBigChilli 119

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H ua H i n

News and Deals

Golfers set their sights on Dubai TALENTED golfers Paul Ramon, Supree Khomsanit, and Beet Nara Kim last month landed the top three spots in the Thailand Golf Citizen Open Series Grand Final, held at Banyan Golf Club, to win an all expenses paid trip to Dubai to play alongside elite professionals in the 2014 Omega Dubai Desert Classic Pro Am (to be played Jan 27-Feb 2). Paul Ramon shot a stunning net 66 to win the Thailand tournament, while Supree Khomsanit finished first runner-up on a net 69, with Beet Nara Kim settling for the second runner-up spot a further two shots adrift after a thrilling finale.

New villas open with a deal THE brand new Pranburi Boutique Resort is offering special early bird prices for its luxury accommodations. Book at least 30 days in advance and rates range from B3,846++ for a One Bedroom Garden Villa to B11,111++ for a sumptuous Two Bedroom Thai House. Rates include breakfast. Whether you stay in a 60 year-old authentic Thai teak house or modern family villa, all options feature top quality bed, flat screen LCD TV, and MP3 connectivity. ☎ 021 687 533

Moroccan cocktails at Villa Maroc UNTIL Feb 28, Villa Maroc Resort’s Casablanca Restaurant is offering a ‘Drinks of the Month’ promotion featuring selected cocktails and mocktails starting at B159 per glass. Highlights include Pink Mocktail and Red Paradise Cocktail. ☎ 032 630 771

Sporting fun at Hilton Hua Hin HILTON Hua Hin’s 13th annual Team Member Party took on a sporting theme, with management and staff dressing for the occasion to enjoy an afternoon of fun games and activities.



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Hua Hin Escape with Sansari

SANSARI Plc’s move into the hotel business was cemented last month when the group unveiled its new “ESCAPE Hua Hin, Sansari Hotel Collection” right on Petchkasem Road. Taking over what was formerly Casa Del Mare, the completely renovated property has been specially designed to offer fast and convenient reservation services, smooth check-ins and check-outs, as well as a range of ‘superior elements,’ such as extended ‘Brunch Time’ (from 6am-2pm), uniquely designed rooms under varying themes, top quality facilities, and food menus inspired by Hua Hin’s famous seafood. For more info:

Festive fundraising at Centara

CENTARA Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin kicked off its end-of-year celebrations in customary fashion last month with its annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, where hotel guests and Hua Hin residents enjoyed an evening of food and drinks and carol singing in the resort’s elephant topiary garden. On the night guests donated funds for schools in Hua Hin Municipality, raising a total of 41,500 baht.



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HuaHin Di ni ng W hi te L o t u s


White Lotus Restaurant


Savour authentic Chinese cuisine at the Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa

SZECHUAN and Cantonese dishes served in true gourmet style have put White Lotus Restaurant on the map as being the place to go for top quality Chinese food in Hua Hin. Located on the rooftop of the Hilton Hua Hin, adjacent to the hotel’s popular Sky Bar, the restaurant boasts a 180 degree panoramic view across the Gulf of Thailand and surrounding mountains making White Lotus the perfect spot for a romantic tête-à-tête with a loved one, or simply a casual get together with friends. The dining room, featuring floorto-ceiling windows, is decorated in contemporary fashion with an oceaninspired colour scheme of black, white, and blue. White lanterns hang overhead, tables are elegantly dressed, and the courteous staff provide swift and friendly service.

A big draw to the restaurant is its all-you-can-eat dim sum (available every Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays for just B580 per person), but it’s not the only highlight here – the daily a la carte menu is loaded with tantalizing options and has something to suit every taste. Highly recommended to start proceedings is Sichuan hot and sour soup with seafood. Served in a hot pot, this subtly spiced dish is packed with fresh seafood and wild mushrooms offering great depth of textures and flavour. Another great option is the restaurant’s signature Roasted Peking Duck, a hearty dish designed for sharing, featuring crispy golden brown duck skin served with home-made steamed pancakes, spring onions, cucumber and Hoy Sin duck sauce.

Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa, 33 Naresdamri Rd.


The remaining tender duck meat is then prepared with your choice of sauce. Not to be missed is Fried rice noodles and fish fillets in black bean sauce and Steamed snow fish in soya sauce, a tasty treat of rich textures, especially the expertly cooked succulent snow fish. To finish off the meal, try Black sesame dumplings in ginger syrup, a refreshing and palate-soothing treat that really goes well with the Chinese tea. But if your tastes are more western than local (and you’re not worried about consuming extra calories), Deep fried banana in honey sauce and chocolate ice cream is a great option. With its great food, relaxing ambiance, and excellent service, White Lotus is a great place to visit any day of the week.

☎ 032 538 999


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

Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa ■ This imposing resort in the centre of Hua Hin is regarded as one of the best family hotels in the region. Accommodation features comfortable rooms and suites, providing guests with a living space that exhibits contemporary Thai design flair and good in-room amenities. There are also 11 Spa Suites available. The awardwinning White Lotus on the 17th floor of the Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa offers sky-high dining at down to earth prices. 33 Naresdamri Road. Tel: 032 538 999

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

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin ■ Set within 13 hectares of landscaped gardens, the property dates back to 1923 and is one of Southeast Asia’s most renowned hotels. The luxurious colonial-era beachfront resort features 207 beautifully appointed guestrooms and suites, each one offering comfort and convenience. The Pool Villas include four Deluxe Spa Villas with queen sized twin bed, lounging area, bathroom with rain shower, and oversized Jacuzzi bathtub. Refined dining is available at Sala Thai, Hagi, the Railway Restaurant, and Palm Terrace. Guests can unwind in the Elephant Bar. 1 Damnernkasem Road, Hua Hin. Tel: 032 512 021-38

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

Villa Maroc Resort Pranburi ■ Inspired by Morocco’s distinctive architecture, Villa Maroc combines Thai beachside living and service with some of the most luxurious furnishings from the North African Kingdom, making it a unique addition to Southeast Asia’s accommodation scene. The resort is located in Pranburi approximately 30 kilometers south of Hua Hin town. You can tuck into European, Middle Eastern and Thai cuisine at Casablanca, enjoy cocktails and shisha pipes at the Sisha Bar, relax in bliss at Sherazade Hammam & Spa, and much more. 165/3 Moo 3 Paknampran, Pranburi, Tel: 032 630 771 email:

Baan Bayan

■ This fine resort features one of Hua Hin’s finest examples of early 1900’s architectural style. The beachfront resort has been faithfully restored to its former glory by the family who once lived there. Guests staying at Baan Bayan can experience the glory of a bygone era in its colonial style structure, yet without sacrificing the modern day comforts and amenities. It has 21 rooms comprising of three suites, 10 sea view rooms and 16 rooms with views of the courtyard or tropical garden. 119 Petchkasem Road. Tel: 032 533 544

9/22 Moo 5 Paknampran Beach, Pranburi. Tel: 032 632 111 126


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Hua Hin Where to eat Papa John’s Grill Restaurant & Beer Garden

La Paillotte

■ In business for over 13 years, this popular diner has established a large and loyal clientele of locals and returning holidaymakers. The secret to the restaurant’s success is the owner’s welcoming nature and an extensive menu of good honest well cooked food. Papa John’s is a spacious open-sided restaurant with a bar area ideal for pre-dinner drinks while you survey the excellent selection of dishes on the menu. Try the fillet, T-bone or rib-eye, each very reasonably priced. The ideal venue for European comfort food and a drink with friends.

■ This charming French restaurant is the ideal place to enjoy an evening of fine food in relaxed surroundings. The fresh and colourful décor brings to mind citrus-scented Mediterranean evenings, as do the excellent range of aperitifs, wines, beers and digestifs. Although the culinary roots of La Paillote’s cuisine are classically French, the kitchen team enhances a rich culinary tradition with contemporary touches. An a la carte menu and nine set menus are available. Open daily from 11am till late.

1/54 Soi Moobaan Khao Takiab, Nong Kae, Hua Hin Tel: 032 514 295

174/1 Naresdamri Road, 77110 Tel: 032 521025

Chom Talay

■ This delightful beachfront restaurant is a great spot for alfresco dining. Pushed up against the water’s edge it has an easy going charm, good food and drink. The menu features a wide selection of delicious seafood dishes. Of note is the stir fried mud crab with X.O. sauce. A piquant tom yam with fresh prawns, pineapple and the flesh of young coconut offers an interesting variation on a classic dish. Open from 11am till 10pm. Phetkasem Road, Hua Hin, (next to the airport). Tel: 032 547 253-4

White Lotus

■ The Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa’s signature Chinese restaurant serves up a wide range of authentic Szechuan and Cantonese dishes, including a signature Roast Peking Duck with pancakes, which is a must try. Factor in the restaurant’s elegant contemporary design and breathtaking views of the ocean and mountains, and it’s no surprise that it never fails to impress first time visitors. Dinner is served Tues-Sun 6pm-10.30pm; Dim Sum Lunch on Sat, Sun and Public Holidays from 11.30am-2.30pm. Tel: 032 538 999 Email:


Mcfarland House

■ FAMOUS for its history, McFarland House is a two-storey open-sided traditional Thai house set on the beachfront. This casual bar and dining pavilion offers snacks, Thai and Western cuisines served tapas-style and element set menus. A wide range of fresh fruit juices, cocktails and wines by the glass are available. The relaxed and chilled-out atmosphere is complemented by background lounge music. McFarland House is also an excellent choice for Sunday Brunch. 91 Hua Hin, Khao Takiap Road Tel: 03 252 1234

The Veranda Grill ■ The Veranda Grill offers both a relaxed outdoor atmosphere on the beachfront, as well as an indoor dining experience, featuring exceptional views across the Gulf of Thailand. The setting is perfect for sampling some of the sea’s freshest delights. You can choose from a wide selection of authentic Thai cuisine along with continental dishes, all of which are carefully prepared to the chef ’s exacting standards. Veranda Lodge, Hua Hin Beach, 113 Soi Hua Hin 67, Petch Kasem Road, Prachuab 77110 Tel: 032 533678 email:


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Hua Hin Where to drink Fountain Lounge

Lotus Sky Bar

■ AN ideal place to meet with friends for an afternoon or evening of relaxation and drinks, Hyatt Regency Hua Hin’s open air bar overlooks the resort’s lush tropical gardens and exudes a cozy atmosphere. As you’d expect from a 5-star hotel, the bar offers a wide selection of superior teas, fresh juices, cocktails and light snacks.

■ This vibrant roof top bar at the Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa serves up a great variety of innovative and classic cocktails and boasts superb panoramic views of Hua Hin and the Gulf of Thailand. Live DJs keep the atmosphere upbeat and draw in a young, lively crowd every night of the week. The bar is open daily 6pm-11pm.

91 Hua Hin – Khao Takiap Road Tel: 032 521 234

Tel: 032 538 999 email:

Oceanside Beach Club Cocktails ■ Set in the beautiful Putahracsa Hua Hin resort, this relaxing beachfront restaurant offers a great selection of international food, drinks and music. You can tuck into seafood with piquant Thai sauces or devour huge slabs of meat fresh from the grill. The Jumbo Tiger prawns, Rock lobster, and New Zealand lamb chops score particularly good marks here. Other bonuses include a great sea view, and a long list of delightfully boozy cocktails. Open 5pm onwards. 22/65 Nahb Kaehat Road, Hua Hin Tel: 032 531 470

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

Mondo Vino

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

Dune Sky Bar

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

Hua Hin Hills Vineyard, Tel: 081 701 8874-5, 081 701 2222, 081 701 0444



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Kok Chang • Wong Amat • Jomtien • Bang Saray • Sattahip • Rayong The more nights you book, the more you save at Sugar Hut Resort & Restaurant. Page 132.

News & Deals

The Eastern Seaboard’s hottest dining and hotel promotions Page 132

New Centara

Centara Grand Modus Resort opens on quiet Wong Amat Beach Page 132

Mate’s Rates Friends or family visiting Thailand? Let them know about these deals! Page 140

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P a t t aya

News and Deals

Sugar Hut offers sweet deal

Centara opens new luxury resort

SUGAR Hut Resort & Restaurant is now offering a new deal that not only saves guests money, but boosts their relaxation too – well, if they stay a minimum of two nights, that is: Stay one night and get 10% discount; stay two nights and you get 20% discount plus a free one-hour Thai massage. Promotions include breakfast for two and, unlike most deals, can be booked on weekends and holidays. ☎ 038 364 186

Rice variety at Cape Dara RICE takes centre stage this month at Cape Dara Resort Pattaya’s Radius Restaurant, where the chefs are whipping up a wide selection of dishes featuring meat, fish or veggies served with different varieties of Thailand’s staple carbohydrate. Highlights include Deep fried fish cake and rice roll with salt egg, Crispy rice cracker with shrimp dip, and Grilled snow fish with lemon butter sauce served with butter wild rice and vegetables. Available daily from 6.30am-10pm. Dishes start at B185. ☎ 038 933 888

THE brand new Centara Grand Modus Resort, the third property under Centara Hotel and Resorts premium ‘Grand’ brand, is now in its soft-opening stage. Set near the sands of quiet Wong Amat Beach, the elegant resort is adjacent to the city’s Sanctuary of Truth and features a total of 252 guestrooms, 122 of which are lofty and spacious two-bedroom suites and penthouses. The spacious Deluxe Family Residences feature excellent ocean views, children’s area with bunk bed, and an airy living room offering self-catering facilities. Hotel dining facilities include Modus Bistro, which is designed in a trattoria style and serves Italian cuisine along with Asian and international favourites; and Breeze Beach Club, a versatile dining venue that serves comfort food during the day and becomes a lively beach club in the evenings.

Grande Caribbean celebrates a tremendous 2013 GRANDE Caribbean Condo Resort Pattaya under the Blue Sky Group, a real-estate asset developer, last month celebrated the success of its developments in the year 2013 with the “Grande Caribbean presents Sea of Dreams” party. The event also marked the launch of Grande Caribbean Condo Resort Pattaya’s “Double Your Luck” campaign, which sees any customer who buys a unit at the condo placed into a lucky draw to win one of two prizes worth 20 baht weight in gold (campaign valid until March 20). For more info see



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MUSICAL memories of the Sixties were revived in rousing style when the Mantra restaurant at the Amari Orchid Pattaya staged its Tribute to The Beatles concert. The musicians, all locally based, had guests joining in their brilliant renditions of many of the Fab Four’s greatest hits.



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Hilton ends the year in style HILTON Pattaya capped 2013 in grand fashion with a Thank You Party for travel agents and corporate guests who enjoyed a night of tasty food, free-flow drinks, and live entertainment.



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Tie the knot in style at Sugar Hut Resort


This delightful resort in South Pattaya is the perfect place to host a wedding SINCE 1984 Sugar Hut Resort & Restaurant has been giving visitors the chance to enjoy luxury accommodation in traditional Thai-style houses which, while they may look ancient, come equipped with all the modernconveniences a guest could wish for. Alongside its much-loved houses, the resort also boasts a renowned Thai restaurant serving delicious dishes such as Steamed seafood with chilli and coconut custard in fresh coconut shell (B280), and Fresh Chinese spring rolls topped with special sauce (B165). Factor in lovingly maintained gardens (inhabited by wild peacocks and rabbits, no less) which shroud the resort in privacy, and it’s no wonder visitors feel like they’ve been transported far away from the raucous fast-paced living of Pattaya just beyond the trees. A recent development at the resort, and one which will be a boon to anybody looking to plan the perfect ‘big day,’ is the introduction of new wedding packages that have been specially designed to ensure a memorable occasion, not just for the bride and groom, but also for their guests. Working with the resort’s own wedding planner, soon-to-be-weds can opt for either a Floral Garden Wedding Reception amongst the resort’s tropical trees and flowers, or a Tradtional Thai Wedding Reception.

Choose the latter and you’re in for a real cultural treat: the groom leads the way in a Long Drum Parade, before joining the bride in a Buddhist praying ceremony where the couple is blessed by monks, handed garlands, and requested to tie the knot in the traditional manner by pouring blessed water onto each other’s hands. To properly complete the experience, of course, a stay in the resort is a must. And the resort’s villas are equipped with everything a guest could need for a relaxed and enjoyable experience – including a couple of neat gimmicks, too. Take what appears to be a mattress on the floor, for example. It may not look like the most comfortable of beds, but lie down on it and you’ll find that a whole bed has actually been sunk into the floor. This means that while guests enjoy the illusion that they’re sleeping as they would

391/18 Moo 10 Tabphaya Road, Pattaya City


in a traditional Thai home, they still get the same comfort they’d find in any top quality hotel. It’s the same with the bathrooms, where, for example, guests can keep to the traditional theme by scooping water out of a large porcelain barrel to wash themselves, or simply switch on and use the hot shower. Aside from a spacious bedroom and bathroom, each villa also has a small separate living room decked out with comfy couches, TV and DVD player – not strictly traditional, but hey, you can always wear the comfortable Thai outfits offered in each villa to keep the traditional theme going strong. Sugar Hut is located five minutes from South Pattaya on the way to Jomtien Beach. Advance booking for accommodation is highly recommended.

☎ 038 251 687, 038 364 187 Email:


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Deals and Promo t i o n s Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok: Valid for stays

s ’ e t a M s rate

booked by Jan 16-25 and completed by Jan 24-Feb 9, the hotel’s ‘Chinese New Year Package’ offers rates starting from B3,377++ for Single and B3,777++ for Double. The package includes daily breakfast, two birthday cupcakes (per room per stay) and a bottle of the hotel’s Best Brews (per person per stay). ☎ 02 309 3000 

amily f r o s d ? Frien hailand t T g n i t i vis w abou o n k m Let the e deals thes

GLOW Pratunam: From now until Dec 31, the ‘Advance Purchase’ promotion offers 15% discount when booking 14 days in advance for a Deluxe Room (starting at B2,635 per night). Also valid for Deluxe Corner and GLOW Suite. ☎ 02 257 3999 

Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit 22: In conjunction with

the ‘IHG Special Promotion,’ the hotel offers a maximum discount up to 25% with reservations made now until Feb 28. 

Hua Chang Heritage Hotel:

Available from Feb 1-28, the hotel’s ‘The Touch of Romance’ package offers one night’s stay in a Premier Deluxe room for B4,900 per couple. Package highlights include in-room breakfast for two (upon request), romantic dinner set for two, late check out, and more. ☎ 02 217 0777 

GLOW Trinity Silom: Until the end of 2014, the ‘Stay 3 Nights and Save 15%’ package offers rates starting at B2,550 per night for a superior room with Wi-Fi. Also available for Deluxe Room and Premier Room. ☎ 02 231 5050 

Mode Sathorn Hotel: Throughout

2014, the hotel’s ‘Travel Industry Promotion’ offers rates starting at B2,557++ per room per night (single) and B2,800++ per room per night (double/twin) for Deluxe Mode Room. Package highlights include complimentary breakfast, Wi-Fi, 50% discount at Borisud Pure Spa, and more. Book for three consecutive nights and you get the third night free. ☎ 02 623 4555 Ext. 1055 


Windsor Suites Hotel (Sukhumvit 20): Until Mar 31, the

hotel is offering a ‘Stay 2 Weekend Nights & Save 20%’ deal on bookings of two nights or more in a Pano Suite (B11,999 per couple). The package includes in-room Wi-Fi, a 30 mins Thai massage for two at NEVA Spa, and access to executive lounge facilities. ☎ 02 262 1234 


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The Bangkok BigChilli. January 2014  
The Bangkok BigChilli. January 2014  

Find out what's hot in Bangkok and beyond with Thailand's number one expat magazine. January 2014.