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



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 Co., Ltd. 8/2 FMA Group Building, 5 Floor, Room 501, Convent Road, Silom, Bangrak, Bangkok, 10500. ☎ 02-635-5085, ☎ 081-358-1814 Fax: 02-635-5086 :thebigchillimagazine@gmail.com :thebigchilli.com

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Publisher’s blog perhaps the policeman was a great catch? There could be another explanation – maybe she was heavily in debt from a secret gambling habit, and her new lover had promised to help her, at a price. It would not be the first time this has happened. Fact is, we do not know the full story. Similar stories of woe abound. Another expat had built himself a dream retirement house in Pattaya, complete with a swimming pool and large garden, only to discover later that his Thai wife had pawned the land deeds, which by law have to be in a Thai name, to pay for her incessant gambling and massive debts. He too lost everything, and now lives alone in a cheap apartment, broke and depressed. Is there a lesson here? Lots, but a good start would be for foreigners to ensure they have control over actual land deeds and other documents relating to ownership of possessions by drawing up a legal document and placing them all in a secure location known to them, and not to be swayed by taunts of “you don’t trust me.”

Who’s responsible for the P in pool parties?


The long wait at traffic lights


AN anyone explain why Bangkok’s traffic police have decided that long intervals between changes of traffic lights are a good idea? Presumably, they think it improves traffic flow, but it does not. Once the lights turn green and it is their turn to proceed, motorists simply head off in a mad rush to beat the return to red sign. Many vehicles get separated, leaving long gaps between them, and that is not an efficient use of space. Worse, though, are drivers frustrated by the long wait, who take a chance and ‘jump’ the lights. That is both irresponsible and very dangerous. For them, the alternative is another long wait in the traffic jam. So, why can’t traffic lights change more frequently to ensure a more even and orderly flow? Surely, the traffic police would not object to the extra work it might require. Maybe they would. Talk of traffic brings to mind a suggestion made by a politician some years back on how to solve the gridlock. Believe it or not, he said quite seriously that traffic lights at all intersections should be left permanently on green!



tourist on a recent visit to Bangkok was a tad miffed on discovering shortly after checking in that her hotel swimming pool was closed to guests in the afternoon due to a private pool party. Apologies and a meal voucher kept her calm. The pool was open the following morning and this lady finally took the dip she was looking forward to. Within minutes, she could feel her skin itching. Out of the water, she saw her body was covered in blotches. Something in the pool water was clearly responsible. Staff noticed her problem and quickly attended the lady with fresh water to clean the abrasions. Later, back in her room, the hotel sent medicines and skin creams, plus flowers, chocolates and apologies. No explanation for her skin problems was offered. She was convinced that the pool partygoers on the previous day were responsible. Research in Canada and Singapore have shown that public swimming pools contain some rather nasty things left behind by humans – urine, fecal matter, saliva and mucous fluid. They cannot be avoided, and if you enjoy swimming, you are just going to have to put up with it. Of course, if cleaned properly and regularly, pools are safe, and chlorination kills the bacteria and germs they contain. People pee in swimming pools: that is a known. We asked a group of young kids whether they had ever peed in the pool, and they all admitted they had (though not poo). Hopefully, people attending pool parties and drinking alcohol are not just told but are under instruction to use the bathrooms and clean themselves before returning to the water. Maybe that hotel guest mentioned earlier simply reacted aversely to the chlorine, but would you bet on it?


AKIRA BACK RESTAURANT AND BAR (37th FLOOR) Akira Back, the award-winning Korean-born, American-raised chef has brought his unique style of contemporary Asian cuisine to Thailand for the first time. This modern style of gastronomy is inventive, exciting and vibrant, blending Japanese and Korean elements with international influences.



High above the city streets, ABar transports guests into a bygone era. With classical dark wooden décor, wingback chairs and leather -bound books, this cool sophisticated cocktail bar blends the mystery and magic of Victorian London with the gritty edge of 1930s America.

Perched on top of ABar and hidden away from the world, guests can discover ABar Rooftop – a stylish new open-air destination. Featuring one of the largest selections of gins in the city, with more than 50 different varieties including many craft labels, ABar Rooftop serves an extensive range of signature G&Ts and innovative cocktails.

For reservations, please call 02 059 5999 or email: restaurant-reservations.bkkqp@marriotthotels.com BANGKOK MARRIOTT MARQUIS QUEEN’S PARK 199 Sukhumvit Soi 22, Sukhumvit Rd., Klongton, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110 T: +66 (0) 2 059 5555 www.bangkokmarriottmarquis.com

bangkokmarriottmarquis marriottmarquisbkk

Publisher’s blog

Be cool. Stay in a treehouse


ant to know the coolest place to stay in Thailand? A classy resort in Phuket or Ko Samui? A cute riverside hotel on the banks of the Chao Phraya River? A five-star international chain hotel? None of these, I can assure you. No, the coolest place is a treehouse located deep in a huge teak forest in Thailand’s northern mountains, especially in the winter season. I know because I stayed in one last month when the temperature dropped to 10 degrees C. And I can confirm that treehouses are not really ideal in cold weather. My particular wood cabin was a marvel of ingenuity and design, with thousands of planks and shortcuts interlocking like some giant puzzle. But inevitably there are spaces between the pieces, allowing the cold outside to seep inside. That may mean great ventilation in the hot season but little comfort when the mercury falls. The resort, Rabeang Pasak Chiangmai Treehouse Resort, is a wonderland for young kids with its waterfall, pools for swimming, cycling and long fires at night. Parents need a few luxuries, including an extra blanket. editorbigchilli



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Beacon Place on Soi 50 is pulling in the business – thanks to Cheap Charlie’s ■ THE Onnut district of Bangkok has welcomed a new

drinks and dining venue on Sukhumvit Soi 50, opposite the Tesco Lotus car park. Called the Beacon Place, the new venture is a short walk from Onnut BTS station and includes Cheap Charlie’s, the immensely successful open-air bar that had to move from its long-time location on Sukhumvit Soi 11 last November to make away for a new development. Thanks to Cheap Charlie’s reappearance and reputation, Beacon Place is already attracting expats and tourists. The project itself comprises several dozen containers neatly arranged around a pedestrian area, with outdoor seating. Other businesses include Bro’s Grill and Beer, White

Bobby’s Arms owner passes away ■ BOBBY Dee, the man behind famous 70s and 80s Bangkok pub Bobby’s Arms and a number of other successful catering companies, has died. Bobby, whose real name was Robert N. De Cozier, was born in Macau and claimed to have been a police officer in Hong Kong before coming to Thailand in the mid-60s. His first business was a hot dog stand in Patpong, which proved very successful. He then opened Bobby’s Arms in Silom Soi 4, which had an additional access via the Patpong car park. With its traditional British pub design, draught beers and darts board, the pub was extremely popular with expats and tourists. Bobby made a point of ensuring that his establishment remained apart and different from the pubs and go-go bars of nearby Patpong. Among his other ventures was an Italian restaurant, ‘Trattoria da Roberto’ on Sukhumvit Soi 18. He also ran a catering company providing meals for international schools. In later years, Bobby struggled to find suitable locations for his business, though a sandwich bar on Silom Road worked well for a year or so. He was believed to be in his mid-70s when he died.



Corner (best known for its waffles), Smitr Café (quesadillas), Dog Step (German sausages and imported beers) and Rolling Stone (pizzas). Onnut’s other entertainment centre, W District, is located behind the shophouses on Sukhumvit 77.

In memory of Leo ■ THE BigChilli would like to offer its condolences to Patrick ‘Shrimp’ Gauvain and his family on the loss of their 23-year-old son Leo, who was involved in an accident on Sukhumvit Soi 22 last month. Patrick says he wishes to establish a foundation in memory of his son in the hope that similar, highly avoidable accidents can be eradicated on the streets of Bangkok.

Chiang Mai is Qatar Airways’ sixth destination in Thailand ■ QATAR Airways has become a major supporter of Thailand’s tourism industry following the launch of its Doha to Chiang Mai service last December. The carrier already has scheduled flights to Bangkok, Phuket, Ko Samui and Krabi, and will begin services to U-Tapao this month.

19/9 Soi Sukhumvit 20 • Sukhumvit Road • Klongtoey • Bangkok 10110 • Thailand E. h9343@accor.com • T. +66 (0) 2 009 4999 • www.novotelbangkoksukhumvit20.com novotelbangkoksukhumvit20 novotelbangkok20


Marriott and TCC expand partnership with a Surawongse hotel Lancaster Bangkok puts the spotlight on Petchburi Road ■ Bangkokís fast developing Makkasan district is the location of the latest member of Thailandís Landmark Lancaster Hotel Group ñ The Lancaster. The Lancaster, the first five-star property on Petchburi Road, offers 231 luxurious guestrooms and suites featuring luxury furnishings and the latest technology, including complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi and a large flatscreen TV. Dining opportunities include Siam Brasserie, featuring Thai and international menus in an open, light-filled dining room with a show kitchen; The Lancaster Bar for a selection of craft cocktails, local beer and high tea; and High Bar, a relaxing pool bar serving cocktails,



beers and wines. At the Club, Lancaster guests can enjoy complimentary food and beverage options: a gourmet breakfast, light refreshments and evening cocktails, beers and wines, plus canapes. The hotel also has an entire floor devoted to wellness, fitness and spa treatments. The Groupís hotels in London include the Landmark, The Lancaster and K West. In Bangkok, it operates the Landmark Hotel, between Sukhumvit 4 and 6. The Lancaster Bangkok. 1777 New Phetchaburi Road, Huaykwang, Bangkok 10310. 02 252 6890. www.lancasterbangkok.com

■ MARRIOTT Hotels, the flagship brand of Marriott International, will open the Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse in the first quarter of 2018. Owned by TCC Land Asset World (Asset World Corporation, A member of TCC Group), the five-star hotel is situated on Surawongse Road, which runs parallel to Silom Road from The Chao Phraya River to Rama IV Road. The 32-storey hotel combines 197 guestrooms and 106 apartment-style suites suited for longer stays which come complete with kitchenettes and up to three bedrooms for larger groups and family apartments. It also features a total of 1,555 sqm of event space including two ballrooms and eight meeting rooms, along with three distinctive dining venues that include an all-day dining international cuisine restaurant, modern Chinese cuisine and a rooftop bar that offers panoramic views of Bangkok. TCCís other collaborations with Marriott International include Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queenís Park, Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa as well as the Phuket Marriott Resort and Spa, Nai Yang Beach. www.bangkokmarriottsurawongse.com

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


By Kelly Iverson


04 01 Through the Lens of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej

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

02 Liam Gallagher Live in Bangkok

January 12 BITEC (Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre)




PREVIOUS lead singer of Oasis will be making his way to Bangkok solo this new year. He is returning to Bangkok for the first time in ten years. The show starts at 8pm, and tickets start at B3,600 and are B4,600 for VIP tickets. www.ticketmelon.com/event/ liamgallagher

03 DJ Ruby to play electronic dance music

January 13 Insanity Nightclub DJ Ruby, one of Malta’s most renowned electronic dance DJs, will be performing his amazing tunes at Insanity Nightclub on his Asia tour, and his set will start Saturday, January 13 at 10pm onwards. The price is B400 for men which includes one drink and B300 for women which includes one drink, as well. clubinsanitybangkok.com

04 Jacky Cheung coming to Bangkok on Classic Tour 2018

January 13 Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani ORIGINAL singer of ‘King of Mandopop,’ Jacky Cheung is making his way to Bangkok on his Classic Tour 2018. The 56-year-old Hong Kong singer, songwriter and actor has had a successful music career for some 30 years. He will bring his top hits to the Big Mango. The show will start at 8pm, and tickets range from B3,000-10,000 each. www.facebook.com/JackyCheung-A-Classic-TourBangkok-2018-570183696678112

05 ONE OK ROCK in Bangkok on Asia tour

January 18 Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani JAPANESE rock band from Tokyo, ONE OK ROCK, will be stopping





05 in Bangkok on their Asia tour this month. The band formed in 2005 and has gained quite the following since, with major hits including ‘Clock Strikes’ and ‘We Are.’ Doors open at 6pm and tickets range from B2,5004,500. www.impact.co.th

06 Thailand LGBT Expo 2018

January 25-28 IMPACT Muang Thong Thani Building IMPACT Exhibition Management Co, Ltd, in cooperation with Bangkok Rainbow Organisation, LGBT alliances and both local and global LGBT-friendly companies presents Thailand LGBT Expo 2018. The expo will be from 10am until 8pm. www.thailandlgbtexpo.com

07 Japanese Expo

January 26-28 Central World THE biggest Japanese event in Asia will be making its way to Central World this January. The Japanese Expo will highlight Japanese culture and tourism during the three day event, and the event will be held under the theme, ‘THE INFINITE JAPAN.’ Some of the celebrities in attendance will include AKB48, a popular Japanese idol girl group. Entrance to the expo is free. www.japanexpothailand.com

08 Foster The People live in Bangkok January 28 Moonstar Studio No.8 LOS Angeles band, Foster The People, will be playing live in Bangkok on Sunday, January

09 28 before making their way to Manila on their latest tour. The indie pop band is best known for their hit ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ and just recently released their newest album ‘Sacred Hearts Club’ in July 2017. Doors will open at 8pm and tickets are B2,600. www.ticketmelon.com/event/ fosterthepeople

09 TRANSMISSION : The Spirit of the Warrior

March 17 BITEC Bangna Hall AFTER the massive Asia debut in March 2017, Transmission Festival Bangkok will return in 2018. Experience a new epic, audio-visual experience, with music lovers from all over Thailand, Asia and beyond in attendance.

www.facebook.com/ groups/686296558194344

10 John Legend in Bangkok for the first time

March 23 BITEC Bangna Hall AMERICAN singer, songwriter and musician John Legend will be making his debut in Thailand for the first time in March. His soulful tunes have captured audiences around the world, and Legend is heading around the world on his Darkness and Light Tour. Ticket prices range from B2,800-8,500, and the show will start at 8pm. www.thaiticketmajor.com/ concert/john-legend-darknessand-light-tour-live-in-bangkok2018-en.html

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98 Wireless strengthens position as one of the country’s leading integrated property developer Staying a step ahead of world luxury consumer trends and acclaims international accreditation


HREE major trends emerged as 2017 comes to a close: healthy living, sustainability and beyond 24/7 services. The industry continues to shift as luxury lifestyle develops in hopes of providing patrons with a better quality of life and more satisfaction in all that they do, and in doing so, leading brands have

been working tirelessly to keep up with consumers in hopes of pleasing them in the new year. One venue that has been taking particular interest in this sector and the trends taking place is 98 Wireless. Owned by Sansiri Public Company Limited, this high-end residential development stays ahead of these trends and demands of its target groups by covering every aspect of the global trends in every facet of

the accommodation option. Some of the amenities that residents can expect to find include the fitness room equipped with state-of-the-art equipment (the same of which is used to train Olympic athletes) and the Ploenjit Spa and studio which serves as a multi-purpose area perfect for practising yoga, stretching and ballet dancing for all ages.

Those potential residents who have high sustainability standards will be happy to hear that 98 Wireless is the very first residential development in the country to receive LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). It was also the only super luxury project in Thailand to win “The International Design & Architecture Awards,” of which the property won “Best Luxury Residence – Global.”

98 Wireless also employs some of the most hardworking of individuals in the industry, promising excellent 24-hour services to residents with a dedicated butler service and a worldclass concierge service hailing from the UK. There is both in-house and on-call service available around the clock, as well. The rooms available were curated under a number of noteworthy concepts, including ‘The Cosy Deco,’ ‘Le Grand Hotel’ and ‘French Senses.’ Each utilises sophisticated colour palettes throughout to showcase their excellent design and accentuate the rooms’ extreme sense of style and elegance. Since it launched in March of this year, almost 80 percent has already sold. For those interested, appointments for private viewings are now available. www.98wireless.com TheBigChilli


Travel Hotel of the month

ROBINSON Club Khao Lak A extravagant resort off the coast of the Andaman Sea


HOSE in need of some R&R to kick off the new year should do so at ROBINSON Club Khao Lak. The former Pullman Khao Lak has been transformed into the German branded resort and officially opened on November 1. The resort already seems promising to become one of the top places to stay off the Andaman Sea because of its impeccable service, stylish design, secluded location, grand facilities and more. ROBINSON Club Khao Lak does not accept the status quo of luxurious accommodation and goes above and beyond to make guests happy. Found some 85 kilometres from Phuket, the resort is indeed worth making the



journey to. The massive resort consumes some 280,000 sq m of land to accommodate its 320 rooms. The types of rooms vary from luxury villas to pool bungalows and family rooms. Those travelling as a family should utilise the ROBY Club, a separate area of the resort custom made for children. Kids can participate in a variety of programmes during their stay while their guardians enjoy a relaxing afternoon free of parental duties. One of the best ways parents can do so is by visiting the full-service WellFit Ž -Spa, equipped with eight double treatment rooms and plenty of services to put even the tensest of travellers at ease. The beachside resort boasts an incredibly secluded and stunning beach. Guests can take in the ocean views from the immense, beachside restaurant or instead relax in one of the comfortable lounge chairs or stark white bean bags and listen to the waves lap the 13-kilometres of white, sandy beach that encompasses chic yet rural luxury. One of the resort’s most

memorable aspects is the app that all guests have access to upon arrival. The resort promises to be an all-inone destination, with all the activities adventurous and active travellers need to stay busy for the entirety of their trip. Sporting activities include volleyball, beachside yoga, archery, mini golf and more. Guests can also take to the ocean with one of the many water activities found on site, including paddling and kayaking. Most of the excursions are included in the cost of the stay, as well. The resort is great for selfproclaimed food connoisseurs, as it is

home to not one but three speciality restaurants, featuring delicious international cuisine, live cooking stations and some of the most delightful array of desserts one with a sweet tooth could hope for. It is undoubtedly a difficult task to offer impeccable service and be beguilingly laid-back all the same. This is precisely the case with the staff at ROBINSON Club Khao Lak, however, and there is no better way to relax after a long haul travel day with the help of their excellent employees. ROBINSON Club Khao Lak. 9/9 Moo 1, Takua Pa, Kuk Kak, Khao Lak, Phang Nga, 82190. 076 427 500. robinson.com/de/de/cluburlaub/ thailand/khao-lak/club-details

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After a successful business career in the UK, Adrien Bray has settled in the northeast town of Ubon Ratchathani. In this article, he describes his life in the distant province of Isaan and his admiration for the people and their way of life, adding that it is ideal for expats thinking of retiring in Thailand


HAVE been coming to Thailand since 2001 with my first wife, a Thai national I met in the UK. Over the years, we stayed for long periods in Pathum Thani, Khon Kaen, Koh Chang and eventually Ubon Ratchathani. I enjoy Ubon, despite being only 41 in a mainly retired expat community, though it does include a large number younger foreigners working as teachers. After the divorce from my first wife in 2013, I came to Thailand and pretty much lived here full time, and the inevitable happened I met the lady who was to become



my second wife: Khun Siriwan. She opened a restaurant in central Ubon, but as we weren’t sure whether I would be travelling back and forth to the UK, so we decided to close the place. In the end, I stayed here full time. Instead, we moved to Muang Sam Sip, a village some 30 kilometres outside of Ubon Ratchathani, where my wife was born. It was the best decision of my life. Muang Sam Sip has very few foreigners but has a thriving local economy, and you can see firsthand the good the military government is doing on the ground for ordinary

Thai people flooding subsidies, poor people’s cards and farmland subsidies. That is not to forget the many provincial government officers who are simultaneously trying to help the local economy through new strategies and ideas, which are now coming to fruition. Nowadays, my wife runs a very successful turkey farm here, selling them to foreigners throughout Thailand, and I grow and train wild boars as pets. I have too many boars now, however, and my wife is complaining, so I think in the new year we will cut back to our original two. I also raise geese, chickens and ducks. I am heavily involved in the local community and try to help as many expats as I can, whether they have intermittent problems because of their age or face other issues by just being in Thailand. I think that is because I was heavily involved in my community back home. I love to help people, but I also know when the time is right is to back away and let them resolve issues themselves. Ubon Ratchathani is a great city where you can eat anything you wish, from full-on Mexican to German and Italian food. Of course, there is Isaan food, which many expats enjoy here. Ubon also has an excellent infrastructure, and the provincial governor is very approachable, as are other influential people in Ubon Ratchathani.


bon Rajabhat University is one of the best universities in Isaan. It is led by its president, Thamarak La-Ongual, who has done so much to promote sports in the province as well as redevelop the university as a centre of excellence in many degree level subjects. He is also involved in charity work across Southeast Asia. There are a large number of other people who work tirelessly in the community, including Siriya Thavorn, Vice Director of Area 29 Secondary Schools, where she not only looks after nearly 3,000 schools in the province but also takes on voluntary work and helps others in the wider community. I would also say that the tourist police in Ubon Ratchathani is the best I have ever met throughout Thailand as a whole. They integrate well and know the expat community thoroughly. Ubon Ratchathani was once a main US Air Force base during the Vietnam War. It closed in 1975 when the war ended, but the city’s role at that time is well documented. Some of the Americans working at the base stayed on and settled here while others make frequent visits. This former GIs comprise a large percentage of the 4,000 or so expats living in the province. My wife, her family and a friend also own a resort and restaurant on the popular island Koh Chang in Trat. It is called The White Elephant Restaurant and The White Elephant Resort and enjoys an occupancy level of around 64 percent on average per year. The restaurant is a western-style Scandinavian sports bar, which is popular with both the expat and Thai communities. I must say, outside of Ubon, my favourite place of tranquillity is Koh Chang. If I feel like meeting up with the large network of

Work cost me my marriage in the UK Adrien Bray was born in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, UK and holds an MBA from Liverpool University. He is 41 years old. Here’s his story: “At the age of 15, I joined the Conservative Party in the UK and worked on several national and local campaigns, including Edwina Currie’s European election bid in 1994. I also assisted Parliamentary agents and was elected vice chairman of South West Bedfordshire Conservative Association and later as a councillor to a local authority all before the age of 24. On reaching 24, my day job was managing a manufacturing plant for an American ophthalmic manufacturer. Shortly afterward, I was given an opportunity to work in the recruitment industry, which meant a huge drop in salary. It was a daunting prospect at the time as I had recently met my first wife: a Thai living in the UK. I was planning to settle down, however, I quickly took a liking to the recruitment industry and built a logistics desk supplying truck drivers. It achieved a turnover of £1.5M in the first six months, and I was quickly promoted. In 2009, I decided that I could do this myself and earn more money, so I founded my own company, which proved very successful after winning a multi-millionpound contract with a derivative of DHL, supplying all their staff to one of the largest hubs. In 2012, I was approached by one of the major competitors in my industry, and after 12 months of negotiations, I sold my business. I also had an interest in a truck company and business but withdrew from them successfully in 2013-2014. Unfortunately, my workaholic life took its toll on my home life. My wife, with whom I have two children – Katareya (11) and Louis (10), divorced me shortly after I sold my business.

expat friends I have in Bangkok, then it is Bangkok. That said, I do not feel out of touch being so far away from Bangkok. To me, it is just another city in Thailand. Thailand for me is fantastic. I have always been a nomad, so wherever I am in the world, I am happy … except maybe Zimbabwe which holds a special place in my heart as I campaigned heavily against (former president) Mugabe when I was involved in UK Politics. Was I successful in my campaign? Probably not, but I certainly made a dent.






Thailand is a very friendly place, and I feel safer here than in my own country. The locals are nice and kind wherever that might be, and I have travelled the length and breadth of this country over the past 16 years. If you asked me to choose between Pattaya or other places that are popular with expats, I would choose Ubon Ratchathani any day of the week. You can do anything here that you can in those places but without the crime levels and hassles.


urprising to some outsiders is the fact that Ubon Ratchathani is home to many foreign families. They are mainly from Europe, but there is also an equal balance of all nationalities, including a thriving Sikh community. Among a large number of expats are young teachers and old retirees who enjoy the thriving social scene. There are also expats who do not mix hugely with other expats, preferring to make friends with local folks. I must say that although I have a very

good base of local expat friends here, I also have a much larger number of Thai friends who speak relatively good English or put up with my broken Thai! Some outsiders might imagine that at my age of 41, I suffer from bouts of boredom. You might be right.I do enjoy helping people, however, and I run a growing Facebook group called Ubon City. Then, of course, I have a wife and our new daughter, Anastasia-Nirvana Bray, who was welcomed into the world on September 19, 2017; plus all types of animals and other things to keep me occupied. Who knows what 2018 has in store; maybe I might start or run another company ‌ that is the excitement I have for being me! What I would say as a final note is that if anyone reading this article has not been to Ubon Ratchathani, they should. If you are looking for a place to retire or work, come here. Everything you need to do in Bangkok, you can do in Ubon Ratchathani, you just have to be prepared to ask around for it. Among the expats living here are current or former CEOs of large companies, teachers, chefs, oil workers and many more interesting and welcoming people.




THE Thai Polo & Equestrian Club, Pattaya, hosted the 12th Argentine Embassy’s Polo Cup 2017 (XII Copa Embajada República Argentina 2017). The teams showed excellent skills and sportsmanship while guests cheered them on and enjoyed the beautiful day.

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MANGO TREE & COCA CLIMB FOR CHANGE MANGO Tree and Coca restaurants worldwide hosted the Climb to Change Life at Khao Dang in Sam Roi Yot National Park to support Zy Movement Foundation in its ongoing efforts to change the disabled children with movement restrictions for the better. The event raised over USD$25,000 for the Zy Movement Foundation.

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genius? ■ WE have all heard someone be described as a ‘comic genius.’ Perhaps even you have been described that way. The chances that you are actually a comic genius are very low, however. I mean, look at yourself! Be it Jerry Seinfeld, Richard Pryor, Mel Brooks, Lucille Ball, Charlie Chaplin, Jon Stewart, Samantha Bee or your uncle George who always tells you to pull his finger, the term is clearly used to describe a very funny person, but is it a hyperbolic flattery to say someone is a comic genius? Does the comedy world actually have geniuses in the same way science clearly does, and is it a measure of intellect?

comedic pattern and pointing it out to the audience before they can see it for themselves. Surprise is the essence of all comedy, and to surprise others, you need to be thinking and processing information at a much faster speed than the average dotard. And so, the term ‘comic genius’ is actually more of a description regarding one’s intelligence than it is about one’s funniness. It really is about being a genius. While there are many characteristics that make up a funny person, the speed at which a comic genius thinks is likely to be the most important. Sure, it is important that one is able to laugh at a wide

By Drew McCreadie

This month at the Comedy Club Bangkok Jan 12 - Bangkok Improv Comedy! WELCOME back to the first show of the year with Bangkok Improv. The audience-fueled suggestions are made famous by ‘Whose line is it anyway”’, ‘Theatresports’ and ‘The Second City.’ Ticket prices are B400 in advance or B500 at the door with one drink and drink specials. Jan 19 - Stand-up Comedy with Darren Matthews THE Comedy Club Bangkok proudly presents one of Ireland’s finest comics with his brand new show, ‘A Backpackers guide to Oz’, a one man’s backpacking adventures through Australia, New Zealand, Canada and back to Oz. Ticket prices are B400 in advance and B600 at the door with one drink and drink specials. Jan 26 - Bangkok Improv Comedy! THE Comedy Club Bangkok welcomes a special guest, Dean Haglund from the X-Files. The show will debut new players to the improv scene in Bangkok led by The Comedy Club Bangkok’s very own multi-award-winning improviser featuring Dean Haglund. Ticket prices are B400 in advance and B600 at the door with one drink and drink specials. The Comedy Club Bangkok, Sukhumvit 33/1 (above The Royal Oak Pub) comedyclubbangkok.com

There is a clear connection between intelligence and comedic aptitude. Being able to reason quickly is vital to comedy, as comedy relies heavily on timing, and therefore it should be no surprise to anyone (except those who are slow and stupid and have yet to surmise the inevitable point of this absurdly long sentence) that someone who can calculate and reason quickly stands a much better chance of being funny. The comic must always be ahead of the audience, seeing the absurdity, noticing the



variety of topics, as close-mindedness is the antithesis of comedy. Being weird looking or having an unusual voice may be an asset, as cruel and unfair as that may seem. Being aware of yourself and your surroundings is also incredibly important, as the self-unaware are rarely funny but are more often laughable. A quick wit and the ability to see the potential for comedy in everyday situations, however, is the single defining factor that distinguishes the comic genius from the funny-looking clown.

Some comedians, such as the late and great Robin Williams, clearly think at a pace that others would find hard to match, and one may argue that the spark of comic genius is one that ignites a velocity in thinking. Williams is quoted as having suggested that the spark of comedic genius is really a form of madness, saying, “you’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” Yes, the comic world has its geniuses, and they are geniuses in the true sense, just as scientific ones are. If you are looking for answers to life’s big questions, however, like how did life begin or how will the universe end, be sure to ask the right type of genius: science geniuses do not know s*** about that stuff.















































Food& Drink

Crab Festival at Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers

JANUARY 1 FEBRUARY 28, 2018 Bangkok’s hottest dining deals and news THE head Sous-Chefs of each restaurant at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers got together to prepare all diners an array of thrilling crab menus at Riverside Grill, bar and restaurant, Giorgio’s Italian restaurant and Thara Thong Royal Thai cuisine. The menus include dishes like king crab tartar served with mango, avocado and grilled pineapple at B390++, oven-baked crab-rigatoni pasta gratin served with cucumber dill salad at B390 and soft shell crab pad thai at B590++ and many more. 02 266 0123. www.royalorchidsheraton.com

New sensational Italian menus AVAILABLE NOW LA Tavola & Wine Bar, known for its Italian dishes and terrific wine list, is bringing the classic Italian food to the fore. Executive Sous Chef Salvatore Catania’s new launched new signature menus. Ensuring that only the freshest produce is used the menu include delicious octopus salad and Salmon tartar, a tantalising fusion of raw salmon, pomelo and orange sauce. The pizzas thin, crispy, baked in a stone oven and served piping hot. Also not to be missed is chef Salvatore’s homemade pasta prepared in ‘parmigiana Reggiano wheel’ and more. 02 125 5020. www.facebook.com/latavolabkk



All-you-can-eat Saturday seafood buffet EVERY SATURDAY NIGHT FROM 6-10.30PM THE World restaurant at Centara Grand at CentralWorld is offering an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet every Saturday night for just B1,899++ per person. The price includes all-you-can-eat crab, unlimited river prawns, oysters-on-ice and rock lobsters. Not enough? Also available is the carving station, regular international stations, desserts plus free-flow draft beer. The promotion is available every Saturday night from 6-10.30pm. 02 100 6255. www.centarahotelsresorts.com/ centaragrand/cgcw/restaurant/the-world

Pop ‘the big question’ in style AVAILABLE NOW FINALLY, the opportunity has arrived, and it’s time to pop ‘the big question’ to your significant other, and you want to make it breathtaking and memorable with a romantic rooftop view of Bangkok. Centara Grand at CentralWorld presents “Rooftop Bar and Restaurant Marriage Proposal Package” which will plan the evening out right down to the roses, champagne and choice of romantic love songs. You just have to say the words. The exclusive package includes welcome drinks (in time for beautiful sunset without the crowds) at the VIP section of CRU Champagne Bar followed by a four-course set menu and a bottle of G.H. MUMM No. 1 Pink at Red Sky Restaurant from 6.30pm plus capturing the moment of a lifetime. All this is available at B14,999++ per couple. 02 100 1234. champagnecru.com

New on the


Hot new restaurants, bars & cafes in Bangkok

Stix This new Asian skewer restaurant is found on Thonglor 10, and though its location is relatively quiet, it’s tasty dishes are causing quite the stir. Stix is putting its own unique twist on the Japanese Yakitori we all know and love, and the dishes here draw upon flavours from around Southeast Asia, including Korea, Indonesia and even a few Thai favourites thrown in. All of the dishes are best washed down with beer, sake or highballs Stix is equipped with. Stix is open Sunday through Thursday from 12pm to 12am and Friday and Saturday from 4pm until 3am. 02 077 6595. www.facebook.com/stixbkk

Martin Blunos unveiled at Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn Burger & Lobster FROM the year 2011 when the story of Burger & Lobster began with four schoolmates on a rooftop in London, this year Burger & Lobster finally opens its first brand in Bangkok, Thailand. The new restaurant is hard to miss with the bold and bright neon-sign on the dark-brown wooden wall. This modern restaurant is packed full of great food, good music and bright atmosphere. The restaurant is on the Ground Floor of Gaysorn Village and is open on Sunday to Wednesday from 11am-10pm and Thursday to Saturday from 11am-11pm. 02 656 1111. www.burgerandlobster.com/en/location/bangkok

EASTIN Grand Sathorn Bangkok recently unveiled Blunos, Martin Blunos’ new restaurant at the poolside on the hotel’s 14th floor. This is the two-Michelin-star recipient’s first establishment outside of his native England. Chef Blunos is all about value for money and the classic comfort food ensembled from the finest ingredients. He takes pride in making real food for real people. His menu includes dishes like a quarter shoulder lamb slow cooked with garlic, lemon and rosemary on crushed potatoes or The Fisherman, oak-smoked salmon and salmon mousse, rollmop herring, poached white fish, prawns and mussels served chilled with lemon, Marie Rose and garlic herb dips. The Blunos is open daily from 11am to midnight with last order at 11.30pm. 02 210 8100. www.facebook.com/EastinGrandSathorn

Bank of Bakery CHEESECAKE lovers ahoy! Bank of Bakery, a leading importer of bakery products from all over the world, proudly introduces the number one cheesecake from America. Imported directly from The Cheesecake Factory Bakery, Bank of Bakery offers 13 different flavours of rich and creamy cheesecakes at a reasonable price. Available today at Gourmet Market at Siam Paragon. This Christmas and New Year, a box of four mixed flavours (eight pieces) will be available for a special price. www.facebook.com/TheBakeryBank



Ootoya new concept ONE of the best-loved Japanese restaurant in Thailand and Japan for over 50 years, Ootoya Japanese restaurant recently launched a new concept called ‘Lifestyle Authentic Japanese Restaurant’ at Central Rama 3. Held firm to the traditional Japanese style atmosphere with an added twist, the changes can be seen in the overall decoration. Diners can enjoy fresh and high-quality imported products on the menu. www.ootoya.co.th

3 BeaRs Craft Brewery THIS rustic and comfortable craft brewery is a one-and-only bar serving special in-house craft beer on tap in Sukhumvit neighbourhood. Born from a unique friendship between three friends: a sound engineer, an architect and a chef. Customers can enjoy an array of delicious dishes to pair with the craft beers. 02 108 5689. www.facebook.com/3BeaRsCB

Hung-sen: not your average noodle dishes SERVING up so much more than just average noodle recipe is HungSen, a two-storey, high-ceiling charming restaurant located on

Dressed IT was only a matter of time before healthy eating venue, Dressed, opened up yet another branch. This quickly growing brand has captured diners in Asoke, Chidlom, Siam and Sathorn, and now those residing near the BTS Skytrain station Sala Daeng have the opportunity to take part in health-conscious eating as Dressed has just opened an instalment in Liberty Square. The idea behind the eatery is that diners control their calorie intake by making their own salads, wraps or pasta. In addition to creating your own meals the a la carte menu is equally as healthy, and this new venue features new designs and and a new menu, as well. The restaurant, in addition to its main dishes, also has a number of vegetarian and vegan dishes to choose from. Dressed is open daily from 8am until 9.30pm. 02 631 1993. dressedthailand.com

Saladaeng Soi 1. It is about ten metres from the U Chu Liang building and is showcasing postmodern decoration with refreshing blue tones throughout. The restaurant features a wide variety of noodles and coveted Thai dishes that are both delicious and filling. The recommended menu includes the Sukhothai rice noodles with Kurobuta pork, chicken khao soi, tom yum kung pad Thai with large river prawns, stir-fried garlic chives spring rolls and the khao kra prow sam mhoo. Delicious desserts include many local favourites like the lod chong, tubtim krob and tubtim krob in coconut syrup, the grass jelly in milk and many more. The restaurant is open Monday-Friday from 11am-9.30pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11.30am-9.30pm. 02 233 7455. facebook.com/hungsen.noodle



Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

Stella Artois rolls out Christmas Tree Installation GET your special gift during the festive season with Stella Artois. ‘Toast one to remember’ programme together with the ‘Stella Artois Chalice Christmas Tree installation’ presented customers who purchase Stella Artois limited-edition holiday chalice with an on-site engraving service at Groove, CentralWorld. The special promotion was provided throughout December 2018.

KIKA Restaurant and Bar THIS is a fresh take on old-world traditions, Kika restaurant and bar is the latest addition to Convent Road. This is a passion project created by the team behind renowned restaurants and bars like Oskar Bistro, Birds Rotisserie and Quince together with the Bangkok nightlife impresario and partner Sanya Souvanna Phouma. The restaurant offers the atmosphere of a Spanish taverna with friendly atmosphere while serving delectable tapas almost too good to share.



Singha Secret Journey SINGHA Beer Thailand presented a year-end party Secret Journey; an exclusive party explicitly organised for special guests. SRP5 Studio was transformed into a secret hangout spot with the entrance fashioned into a maze for Singha fans to experience a new party like no other, under the concept ‘The Maze’. Singha partnered with GoPro to snap pictures from all new perspectives. Numerous A-list celebrities joined the party.

Year end promotion at The Continent Hotel THE Continent Hotel by Compass Hospitality recently honoured with a listing in MICHELIN Guide Bangkok 2018. The hotel is one of 35 hotels across Bangkok highlighted in the first-ever MICHELIN Guide Bangkok described at a stylish and modern boutique hotel reflecting the multi-national guests that stay here.



Guest review by


L’Appart, Sukhumvit Sofitel

OR our final lunch of 2017, we gathered on the 32nd floor of the Sukhumvit Sofitel Hotel. The first wine was Clos Cibonne “Cuvée Spéciale des Vignettes” Rosé 2015 (Provence, France) which the winemaker described as a serious rosé and a complex dry wine. Kim Walker, in a witty presentation, thought he and the wine should not be taken too seriously. There were mixed feelings about the wine but “the proof of the pudding” was that it all went! Our sommelier and restaurant manager, Benoit, was industrious and close at hand throughout the service and, as usual, the club retained responsibility for the choice of the wines. “management prefers you did not die for our wine, as we enjoy your custom year after year.” Ozzie Kim had more yet unsolicited advice for Kiwi Sam: “he should stick to acting.” Author’s note: harsh and unfair.

Dining started with an amuse bouche with squid as the principal ingredient; it was a tasty, good start. Next came 64ºC egg “Like a Nest” with confit duck, frisée, lardons and sherry vinaigrette. Our food spokesman, Robert Lea, was not impressed by the egg but the accoutrements won him over to the cause, assisted by draughts of Two Paddocks Last Chance 2015 Pinot Noir (Otago, NZ). For me and several others, this was the best wine of the day; an ashen, purple colour that was dominated by red fruits such as red currants and cherries with high acidity and medium bodied. The proprietor, Sam Neill, told us that the pinot from this, his biggest vineyard, usually forms the backbone of the premium “Two Paddocks Pinot Noir” — wine to die for year after year. This came with a cautionary note:

Hokkaido scallop served with Jerusalem artichoke risotto and porcini emulsion came next in addition to more of that wine that was to die for. The scallop was of right size, firm and tasty, and the artichoke and risotto was perfectly cooked. This was Robert’s favoured dish of the day. A perfect match for the Pinot. The roasted Iberico Lamb with smoked aubergine, confit onion and rosemary jus followed. I enjoyed the beautifully presented lamb, though it had obviously been over-fed on a rich diet as it came with lashings of fat and a lot of meat between the ribs. I suspected it had been cooked sous vide before a final roasting in the oven. Peter Bourke, a Melbourne resident for part of each year, generously provided Rutherglen Estates Durif 2014 (Rutherglen, Victoria) to accompany the lamb. Durif is a red grape variety whose origins are in the southern Rhône region of France. No longer grown in

Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy

France, most plantings of Durif are now in Northern Victoria and California, where it is known as Petit Sirah. Durif has small, indelibly coloured berries and highly tannic skin. It is known for its incredible inky colour, full-flavour, firm tannins and ability to age and cellar well with no less than 15.2 percent alcohol. We learned from Kim that Rutherglen’s principal claim to fame (other than rediscovering a grape variety) is that it is 10km from the River Murray and houses a water-tower in the shape of a wine bottle. Brillat Savarin “truffé” with honeytruffle toast came next. For one or two diners, the truffles detracted from the cheese, but as was said by one of them, there was only a minimal addition of truffles. It was served with Kennedy Sons of Eden 2014 (Barossa Valley, SA), a classic blend of old vine Barossa Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre varieties and found to be a good match for the cheese by most. Finally, we faced up to the challenge of spiced tarte tatin and tonka bean ice cream. Grahame Fox was one of a few who managed to last the pace. Danny Arn was elected to thank the hard-working staff for their contribution, having generously donated The Nectar d’Or, a Glenmorangie malt to the cause and in celebration of his upcoming birthday. Roy Dean topped off the proceedings by producing a hand labelled bottle of Devil’s Own Cranberry Rum, distilled from the product of an Oregon bog. Downhill from then on until Christmas, one might conclude! L’Appart, Hotel Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit. 189 Sukhumvit Road Soi 13-15. 02 126 9999. www.sofitel-bangkok-sukhumvit.com



Dining Out


IDDEN in a small soi between Sukhumvit 16 and 22 near Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre MRT stations is 3 BeaRs Craft Brewery. Offering an array of delicious dishes on the menu, 3 BeaRs Craft Brewery is also unique because of its wide selection of special-made craft beers.


While each dish on the menu is carefully created, the signature dishes are certainly recommended for all diners and foodies who frequent this venue. Be sure to start with the tapas plate (B140 per plate/B500 for four plates), which was a chargrilled octopus with spicy and sour paprika dressing. Next up was the 3 BeaRs fish & chips (B320) a large fillet of fresh fish that is fried until crispy and golden and served with the 3 BeaRs

3 BeaRs Craft Brewery signature beer batter and with a side of vegetable and French fries. The scallop pesto linguine (B380) followed, which was a generous amount of al dente linguine served with seared Japanese scallops in 3 BeaRs’ very own homemade pesto sauce. Then came an impressive serving of three little pigs (B360) smoked spare ribs seasoned with a secret recipe made of herbs and served with the homemade 3 BeaRs BBQ sauce and a side of winter coleslaw. The meal ended with 3 BeaRs burger (B300), double layers of

Australian beef patty cooked to medium well topped with double cheese, fresh tomato and crunchy onions served with a side of fries. The 3 BeaRs Craft Brewery is one of the only venues in Bangkok serving up in-house craft beers that are handcrafted by an American brewmaster. The beer flight includes four glasses (150ml each) for B320 which are 3 BeaRs Goldilocks Blond, 3 BeaRs Jackal Pale Ale, 3 BeaRs Hunter’s IPA (India Pale Ale or IPA) and 3 BeaRs Gorilla Stout (Stout).


The venue consists of both brick and wood and stands two-storeys tall and offer diners ample space for seating. The restaurant is able to accommodate over 100 people and also features a live band every Friday. The 3 BeaRs Craft Brewery is open Monday to Friday from 4pm to 12am and Saturday and Sunday from 11-12am. 3 BeaRs Craft Brewery. 1154 Soi Setthi Thawi Sap, Klongtoei, Bangkok 10110. 02 108 5689. www.facebook.com/3BeaRsCB



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Bangkok's Best

Live Music Venues This issue, The BigChilli has put together a comprehensive list of places to be for Bangkok’s after hours

By Morgan Thanarojpradit

Black Cabin Bar

THIS underground music venue has a genuine buzz, with a busy line-up of events appealing to blues and soul enthusiasts, groovy jazz and retro-vinyl lovers nightly, except Monday. The dimly-lit interior is reminiscent of a New York jazz club adds to the funky and exciting atmosphere. Recent bands include Motherfunky and Azzemble Zui as well as the house band, Nerd Alert. Reasonably priced drinks include some great whiskies, Thai craft beers and a long list of cocktails. The bar is part of Wild Meat restaurant, which specialises in Tomahawk steaks and game meats. It is located in an unfashionable area of Bangkok, just off Rama 4 Road near Bangkok University and not easy to find, but a journey worth taking. The Black Cabin Bar. 33/1 Soi Farmwattana. 061 515 6989. www.blackcabinbar.com



Sing Sing Bar and Theatre A joint venture between Oskar Bistro and Quince Restaurant, Sing Sing Bar and Theatre is the work of Ashley Sutton, the same designer behind Maggie Choo’s in Silom. Considered one of his most ambitious works, showcasing wrought iron patterns with lanterns hanging from the ceiling and dragon imagery, Sing Sing Bar and Theatre has become one of the hottest clubs in Bangkok. The

award-winning establishment features a popular DJs lineup and cutting-edge performers Open from Tuesday through Sunday from 9pm until late. Located on Sukhumvit 45. Sing Sing Bar and Theatre. Sukhumvit 45 Road. 063 225 1331. www.facebook.com/SingSingTheater

The Bamboo Bar Dating back to 1953, The Bamboo Bar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel is an international legend. Refurbished in 2014, this elegant music venue today sports a more contemporary look while retaining its iconic character as a classic cocktail bar. Live jazz bands play on Sunday -Thursday from 9pm - 12am and on Friday to Saturday from 9pm - 1am. The opening hours are Sunday - Thursday from 5pm - 1am and FridaySaturday from 5pm - 2am. The Bamboo Bar. Mandarin Oriental Bangkok. 48 Oriental Avenue. 02 659 9000. www.mandarinoriental.com/bangkok/chao-phraya-river/finedining/bars/the-bamboo-bar

Roof Bar OPENED a decade ago, the Roof Bar is an open-air laid-back restaurant and bar situated on the third floor of Centre Point Plaza Hotel on Khao San Road. The live music kicks off nightly with an acoustic show at 7.30pm followed by a full band from 9.30-11.30pm. The second group plays from 11.30pm-1.30am. The house bands know their stuff, so the playlist is very varied with wide appeal. The most popular band is the Tiger Band who perform every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11.30pm to 1.30am. Roof Bar. Centre Point Plaza Hotel, 183-5 Khao San Road. 086 777 1117. www.facebook.com/Roof-Bar-Khaosan-Road-Bangkok-1614696922142797

Wine Bibber Sangria ESTABLISHED in 1995, the Wine Bibber Sangria attracts one of the most diverse crowds in Bangkok. Previously located in Thonglor, it now sits on Ekamai Soi 2. The ground floor is dedicated to live music from 60s-90s while the second floor discotheque features an LED dance floor with DJs. Wine Bibber Sangria. 9 Thonglor Road. 02 714 0709. www.facebook.com/WBBsangria




Beer Belly ONE of the most energetic yet easy-going craft beer halls in Bangkok, Beer Belly is located on the ground floor of 72 Courtyard, Sukhumvit 55 Thonglor. This social hub offers live performance entertainment nightly while guests can enjoy fun

activities and games like Jenga, pool, ping pong, darts and more. The menu comprises of Eastmeets-Wests snacks like BBQ ribs, fried chicken, sausages and more. Plus 23 craft beers on tap. Beer Belly. 72 Courtyard FL G - 72 Sukhumvit 55 Road (Thonglor). 02 392 7770. www.facebook.com/beerbellybkk

Tawandang Brew House Thailand’s first microbrewery is packed every night, for good reason. The venue is a huge traditional German-style beerhouse with long tables running from the stage to the copper brewing tanks at the rear. The fantastic nightly shows feature a full cabaret line-up, mixing brilliant Thai performances with the latest western hits, supported by outstanding dancing.

Smalls LOCATED on the corner of Suan Phlu and Soi 1, Smalls is set in an old shophouse converted into a three-storey bar and club. The main bar is located on the ground floor where the jazz musicians play. The second floor offers less seating areas but has a small balcony. The



rooftop bar can accommodate up to 40 people. Smalls has live jazz bands once a week on Wednesdays starting from 9.30pm onwards while the rest of the week features an eclectic lineup of DJs. The jazz policy here is to promote young jazz musicians to be more daring. Smalls also features a selection of spirits led by the Head of Bar, Danny Yeung, a mixologist from Canada. The bar’s kitchen stays open until closing time. Smalls. 178/1 Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra 9 Road. 095 585 1398. www.facebook.com/smallsbkk

Famous dishes include deep-fried pork knuckle, along with three types of home-brewed German lagers. Located on the corner of Rama 3 Road and Narathiwat Road. Tawandang Brew House. 462/61 Rama III Road. 02 678 1114-6. tawandang.com

Iron Fairies

Hard Rock Cafe Bangkok

SET in factory-themed two-storey shophouse on Thonglor, Iron Fairies is filled with wrought iron staircases, winged figurine creatures and hidden rooms. In short, a mystical world of fairy tales. First opened in 2010 then moved to its current location in 2013, this bar’s popularity comes from the uniqueness of its design, good food, cocktails, beers and whiskies, plus live band playing nightly from 9pm onwards until late covering jazz and soul numbers. Tables are hard to come by, so reservations are recommended.

THIS iconic restaurant-rock museum has been around for years. It must be good to have lasted so long. Located on Siam Square Soi 11, a short walk from Siam Paragon, Siam Centre, Siam Discovery and MBK mall, Hard Rock Café features house bands like Hubris from Monday to Saturday and The Boss band on Sunday from 9pm until late. The food’s good, the atmosphere lively and the crowd is a fun mixture of expats, locals and students as well as overseas visitors.

Iron Fairies. 402 Soi Thonglor, Sukhumvit 55 Road. 099 918 1600. facebook.com/ironfairiesbkk

Hard Rock Cafe Bangkok. 424/3-6 Siam Square SOI 11. 02 658 4090. www.hardrock.com/bangkok

Check Inn 99 ONE of Bangkok’s oldest bar and nightclubs, predating the Vietnam War R&R period, Check-Inn 99 has known several locations, but is now located on Sukhumvit 33. This family-friendly Bangkok cabaret lounge and bar offers excellent food selections, plus great live music and dance music nightly. The bar also hosts blues and jazz jams on Saturday from 4-8pm and on Sunday 2.30-6pm. These sessions attract some of Bangkok’s best local and visiting musicians. Check Inn 99 is open on Monday to Saturday from 6pm-1am and on Sunday from 2pm-1am. Check Inn 99. 1/1 Sukhumvit 33 Road. 081 735 7617. www.checkinn99.com

Brown Sugar THIS 32-year-old jazz boutique is a famous among diners and music enthusiasts. Opening during the day as a restaurant and coffee house, while serving chilled beers coupled with great live bands performing six nights a week, the new 200-seat twostorey establishment has plenty of space to accommodate big crowds. The second floor also serves as a

creative space for art exhibitions, film screenings, plays, poetry reading, private events and concerts. It also showcases monthly live performances by international or touring acts every last Friday and Saturday of the month so expect great music in the house. Find Brown Sugar at 469 Phra Sumen Road, not far from Rajdamnoen Nok and Khao San Road. Brown Sugar. 469 Wanchad Junction, Phra Sumen Road. 081 805 7759. www.facebook.com/brownsugarbangkok



Feature Mexicano – Restaurante Auténtico BANGKOK’S original Mexican restaurant, Mexicano (formerly known as Senor Pico) is known for its outstanding traditional Mexican cuisine, led by the head chef Carlos Bravo. It’s a fun venue with a formula of live music band performing Latin favourites and classic Spanish songs that continues to work well after two decades in business.

Maggie Choo’s Bar Located in the Rembrandt Hotel, Sukhumvit 18. Open daily from 5pm to midnight with Saturday brunch from 12pm-3pm, with music from 7pm nightly.

ANOTHER of famous designer Ashley Sutton’s creations, Maggie Choo’s restaurant and bar is a hidden world underneath the Novotel Fenix Silom. The decor depicts a Cantonese restaurant reminiscent of the 1930s

Mexicano – Restaurante Auténtico. Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok, 19 Sukhumvit 18 Road. 02 261 7100. www.rembrandtbkk.com/restaurants

Shanghai prohibition era. The brick walls are lined with rustic statues and old paintings, and the bar offers a comprehensive list of cocktails, beers, wines and whiskies. Live jazz band on the weekends from 10pm onwards. Maggie Choo’s restaurant and bar is open daily from 6pm-2am. Maggie Choo’s Bar. 320 Silom Road. 091 772 2144. www.facebook.com/maggiechoos

Play Yard by Studio Bar FORMERLY known as Buddha Bar, Play Yard by Studio Bar features high-quality live music with a daily theme. This old retro house sees big crowds nightly. The indoor section has couches facing the stage while the terrace is lined with wooden seating and a pool, home of the owner’s pet Arapaimas fish. The band performs nightly, playing Thai and international retro favourites, acoustics, rock, funk, pop and soul. Located on Thanon Lat Phrao, near Chatuchak Park. Play Yard by Studio Bar. 11 Prasert-Manukitch Road. 085 146 8017. www.facebook.com/PlayYardbyStudioBar



The Landmark Bangkok ONLY steps away from Nana BTS station, the hotel has two great music venues: Rendezvous Bar and Huntsman Pub. The former is essentially for wines, rare malt whiskies, and cocktails while listening to live music; the latter has the air of a traditional British pub, with draught beers, authentic pub food and a highly rated house band. The pub’s excellent acoustics mean that conversation is not spoiled by the live music. The Huntsman Pub is located between Sukhumvit 4 and 6. Open daily from 11.30am-2am, and Sunday roast is from 11.30am-8pm.

The Soul Bar

The Landmark Bangkok. 138 Sukhumvit Road. 02 254 0404. www.landmarkbangkok.com

The Soul Bar. 945 Charoenkrung Road. 095 593 9661. www.facebook.com/livesoulbarbangkok

TUCKED away in a small shophouse in the old Talad Noi neighbourhood on Phra Athit Road, this cosy bar plays host to numerous live soul and funk bands weekly from Wednesdays to Saturdays. Diners can get lost in the music in the band room or have a more calming experience in the quieter lounge and terrace upstairs.

The M Pub Beers n’ Beers

Jazz Happens A collaboration of teachers and professors from Silpakorn University faculty of jazz, Jazz Happens provides a venue for aspiring jazz musicians to showcase their talents. This is the haven where ideas and visions are shared and realised, but more than anything else, it is a celebration of

jazz and a great place to chill out. Going into its fifth year, Jazz Happens hosts an array of music events, including its Sunday Jazz Happens boat cruise every last Sunday of the month from November to April. Open daily, with live bands Friday to Wednesday from 5pm-1am. Located at 62 Phraarthit Road, close to Khao San Road.

LOCATED on the ground floor of the Ascott Hotel on Sathorn Road, this gastropub is owned and operated by the same company behind the popular Pintsman and After Hours pubs on Silom Road. Offering more than 100 imported beers by the bottle coupled with an extensive international food menu and a nightly entertainment includes a band on Friday nights and the live acoustic duo on Saturday to Thursday playing Thai and English favourites. The M Pub Beers n’ Beers is open from 7pm to midnight daily.

Jazz Happens. 62 Phra-arthit Road. 084 450 0505. www.facebook.com/jazZhappens

The M Pub Beers n’ Beers. 187 Ascott Building, South Sathorn Road. 02 676 6868. www.facebook.com/thempub




Funky Villa AN upscale club located in the heart of Thonglor, Funky Villa has inside and outdoor seating, with the main room featuring the stage for live music and a DJ booth. The contemporary decor is dominated by warm colours and patterned walls with contrasting bright-coloured modern furniture. Funky Villa is open daily from 7pm-2am. There’s a parking lot large enough to fit a fleet of Hummers. Funky Villa. Arena 10, Thonglor Soi 10. 02 711 6970. www.facebook.com/funkyvillabkk

The Owl Society Whiskey Saloon LOCATED in a renovated two-storey house on Ekamai (Sukhumvit 63), Owl Society Whiskey Saloon is a gentleman’s club and saloon serving bar snacks, cocktails and, of course, whiskey. In fact there’s a choice of over 100 bottles of whiskey from all over the world. The live band performs mainly jazz and soul weekly from Thursday to Saturday. Open daily from 5pm to 2am The Owl Society Whiskey Saloon. 8/1 Sukhumvit 61 Road. 02 046 3798. www.fb.com/theowlsobkk

Fatty’s Bar & Diner A grungy shop-house bar and diner on Asoke-Dindaeng Road off Rama 9, Fatty’s Bar & Diner is more like a casual get together for friends and colleagues than an actual bar. Nonetheless, it receives far less recognition than it deserves. The bar and diner serve delectable dishes including juicy burgers, sandwiches and many other favourites such as beer battered shrimp and onion rings. All food and beers are reasonably priced while the live band performs from 9pm onwards until late. The restaurant is open every day except Monday from 11am to 12am. Fatty’s Bar & Diner. 598/66 Asoke-Dindaeng Road. 02 245 2965. www.facebook.com/fattysbardiner



The Rock Pub

A place for hard-core rockers. Located on Phaya Thai Road, next to Ratchathewi BTS station, The Rock Pub has showcased many of Thailand’s most famous rock bands over the decades. Live music nightly except Sundays from 7pm-1am. The Rock Pub. 93/26-28 Hollywood Street Building, Phaya Thai Road. 099 191 5666. www.facebok.com/therockpub

Apoteka Live Gastropub LOCATED in Sukhumvit Soi 11, Apoteka Live Gastropub is a well-known watering hole for all blues lovers. The pub’s exterior design based on a Victorian-era pharmacy and the name Apoteka resounds what it looks like. Visitors can spot the bar by its rustic brick walls, large glass windows and a bright neon-lit sign out front. Apoteka is considered one of Bangkok’s best live music venues. It is almost always full of music lovers, with blues bands performing living daily except on Tuesdays. Delicious dishes are available along with an array of great cocktails. Customers can enjoy the buy-one-get one free promotion on the weekdays, plus Whacky Wednesdays and Ladies Night Thursdays. On Tuesdays, the lineup of DJs provide the musical entertainment. Apoteka Live Gastropub. 33/28 Soi Sukhumvit 11 Road. 061 881 8401. www.apotekasoi11.com

Saxophone pub and restaurant ONE of the oldest music venues in Bangkok, this legendary bar is internationally renowned for its excellent live blues and jazz. Located near the Victory Monument BTS Skytrain station, Saxophone is popular with locals as well as tourists. Musicians and bands include Thai legends such Koh Mr Saxman, T-Bone Band, the Swing Kings, JRP Little band and The Emergency. The venue also hosts a monthly art exhibition and donates all proceeds to local charities. Open daily from 8pm-2am, and the live bands perform from 9.30pm onwards. Saxophone pub and restaurant. 3/8 Soi Ratchawithi, Phaya Thai Road. 02 246 5472. www.facebook.com/saxophone.pub.official.page

Adhere the 13th Blues Bar THIS out-of-the-way hole-in-the-wall bar has been going strong for years. Packed nightly, Adhere the 13th Blues Bar is considered one of Bangkok’s best live jazz and blues bar. The house band regularly plays the crowd’s favourites like BB King, Louis Armstrong and John Lee Hooker. The bar is popular among Thais and foreigners alike. Bring along your instruments at your own risk because you most likely will be invited to jam with the band.

In operation since Songkran of 2000, the cosy blues and jazz bar welcomes guests from all walks of life. The closet-size bar offers intimate seating and there’s no stage for the band. Lining the walls are framed album covers from famous jazz and blues singers and bands mixed with a collection of eclectic artwork. This honky-tonk bar is located at 13 Samsen Road and opens daily from 6pm till midnight.

After Hours

Adhere the 13th Blues Bar. 13 Samsen Road (opposite Samsen Soi 2). 089 769 4613. facebook.com/adhere13thbluesbar

After Hours Silom. 6 Silom Road. 02 634 0903. www.facebook.com/afterhoursbkk

LOCATED on Silom Soi 6, After Hours Bangkok is another hangout spot for music lovers. This laid-back bar offers delicious local and international dishes along with an array of beers, wines and best-loved cocktails. The band starts from 7pm until midnight daily and plays a variety of popular songs from the 70s mixed with the recent popular tunes.



floors were already packed, and more guests were entering through the unique revolving front doors. Smalls stands in even more of a contrast to the nearby Thung Mahamek police station and the building that still serves as Immigration Bureau headquarters, though most operations have moved to Chaeng Wattana. The BigChilli was at Smalls to interview its American proprietor, David Jacobson, who also founded the famous Q Bar nightclubs. David opened the original Q Bar in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in 1992 and the Q Bar on Sukhumvit Soi 11 in 1999. When the jazz band started to play downstairs at 9.30pm, a regular event every Wednesday at Smalls, it was a pleasant surprise to be able to continue the interview without shouting. That’s intentional, David explained, calling the place a “conversation bar”. Meeting him for the first time was a positive experience. David is genuinely friendly, highly knowledgeable and interesting to talk to. With no attempt at flattery, it can be said that he looks much younger than his 70 years. His daily routine revolves around Smalls. He’s usually there from 10pm until past closing, and home and in bed between 4-5am in his lovely house on a quiet soi off Sukhumvit.

Son of immigrants David was born in New York City in January 1947. His father was born to immigrants who came to the US from Germany, and his mother’s family came from England. David was a commercial photographer by profession. “I did a lot of work in Los Angeles for studios and celebrities and had a lot of advertising jobs. I went to Vietnam for the first time in 1990 on a photo assignment, photographing health care for

Q Bar Bangkok

Q Bar Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon)

After almost seven years in Vietnam, the authorities wouldn’t renew my visa. Of course, I wanted to know why. Their answer was, ‘We don’t have to tell you why’. People at the airport used to tell me, ‘Oh, they think you are CIA.’ children for the World Health Organization. At the time there was little in Vietnam. There were maybe 20 new cars in the whole of Saigon, and there were hardly any foreigners except some Russians who financed the oil industry. It was a dead city. “I went back a year later, in 1991, and everything was changing because the government’s policy of ‘Doi Moi’ that allowed the Vietnamese to own businesses, was kicking in. Investment started pouring in from all over the world. The Russians left, and the Taiwanese, Singaporeans, French

and others came back because Vietnam was a big market with a population of 95 million people. “I saw what was happening and I thought, ‘Man, this is going to be a boom town. I should be here because this is where the money is going to be made.’ But I was a photographer, and there was no Leo Burnett or Saatchi & Saatchi advertising agencies open yet in Vietnam. So I went back to the US. “I wondered how I could stay in Vietnam without being qualified to do anything. All these businesses were coming in to make money, to pan for gold. So I needed to sell the pans, in other words, something they all needed. Well, there was not one good bar in the whole city. So I was thinking, ‘We all need a drink sometime. When they sign a deal, they will celebrate. Six months later when the deals go bad, they are going to want a drink. It might as well be in my bar.’ “I had friends in California in the bar business, and I asked them to tell me everything I would need to open a bar. Bar 101. They showed me what to do, and I packed as much stuff as I could and went back to Saigon. “It took me four months to find the best location in the city. It was a People’s Committee building, the national theatre was upstairs, but the street level was available. There was a failing restaurant there. I thought this was a perfect place. Actually, nobody wanted it because they thought there were ghosts there as it was a 1900 French colonial. I don’t believe in ghosts and decided to take it.



Feature “My girlfriend at that time was Vietnamese, from Pasadena, California. She still had relatives in Saigon, and we were able to rent the place through them. I sold all my cameras so that I could build the bar. I stripped it bare and started building. I slept in the bar for months to prove to my staff there were no ghosts. We opened Q Bar in 1992, with the best location in the city and the best drinks. “I spent almost every penny I had getting it ready to open. On the day we opened, I had just US$300 left. I didn’t even have money to advertise. But I wasn’t nervous. I really wasn’t, because I was sure that the city needed a bar. “Sure enough, it became a hit right away, the only place to go in the city. Famous people came in, like Robert De Niro with his son, and supermodel Kate Moss. John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Junior was there with Daryl Hannah, and Norman Mailer came with his wife. Famous chefs from New York like Jean-Georges and eventually almost every diplomat in the city drank there. It became a celebrity hangout. All of a sudden I was on the cover of The New York Times Sunday Magazine. “I was among the first Americans to have a business in Vietnam after the war. It was very successful. Even Garry Trudeau of Doonesbury, the political comic strip, featured about a week’s worth of episodes based on my bar. That put us in newspapers and magazines all around the world. The staff was great. They just couldn’t understand why the bar was



Q Bar Bangkok

so famous and why all those famous people were coming in all the time. The government couldn’t understand the bar’s popularity because, to them, a bar meant karaoke and bad girls. There was none of that in my bar.” The notoriety proved to be a doubleedged sword, however. “After I was in the country for almost seven years, they

wouldn’t renew my visa. Of course, I wanted to know why. I pointed out that I was very good for the country. The bar was famous, in every guidebook, and we employed a lot of Vietnamese. Everybody who was important in the city drank there. Their answer was, ‘We don’t have to tell you why’. “People at the airport used to tell me, ‘Oh, they think you are CIA.’ I didn’t worry about it because I am not CIA. In those days, you couldn’t even have a fax machine in your house. They would read my faxes at the business centres and tap my phone. I knew I never had anything to worry about, but the Vietnamese authorities assumed there was something going

on. Their thinking was: ‘Who owns that bar? An American photographer. Who is he working for? [I was, for a very short time, working for The New York Times.] He must be CIA.’ They never said that to me, but from many conversations I had later with various intelligence officers, it is possible that they really did think I was CIA.”

Opening Q Bar in Bangkok Basically barred from Vietnam, David decided to try his luck in Thailand. “I met my wife in 1998, a year before I came here. She was very brave. She decided to give up her life in Vietnam and move with me here to Thailand. It wasn’t easy because she had never been outside Vietnam. “At first I thought that I would be able to get back in Vietnam. I thought it was about money. I tried for months

to get a visa but I couldn’t. I finally realised I might never get back in and I might have to start over. The money I made from the bar in Vietnam I used it to open Q Bar here. “I wanted to call the new place Q Bar too because a lot of people knew the name already. I opened Q Bar on Sukhumvit Soi 11 in 1999. I chose that Soi because the rent was cheap, there was good access from Sukhumvit and Soi 3 and the green route, and there was a parking lot across the street. It was a great deal. Right away the club did really well. It was an award-winning nightclub and a city favourite for years. “It was the first nightclub to bring in international DJs and the first to play hip-hop. Nobody was playing hiphop music in Thailand. We brought in Jazzy Jeff, DJ Premier, Ice T and tons of other great DJs. We became very famous very quickly.

A new owner raised my rent at Q Bar in Bangkok something like 600 percent. By that point, things had changed on Soi 11. More and more working girls and drug dealers were around. The crowd at the bar was changing too. We were still making money, but I didn’t enjoy it anymore. And I was getting older. I decided I’d had enough and sold the bar. “Eventually we redesigned the place. Business stayed great, the landlady was very nice, and my rent stayed cheap for almost 11 years. Then a new owner came in and raised my rent something like 600 percent. By that point, things had changed on Soi 11. It had become very popular with expats. More and more working girls and drug dealers were around. The

crowd at the bar was changing too; we were getting a little bit of everybody. We were still making money, but I didn’t enjoy it anymore. Then too, Q Bar was getting expensive to operate, what with the increase in rent and maintaining a large staff. And I was getting older. I really was not enjoying club life anymore. I decided I had had enough and I sold the bar.”

Smalls – my latest venture “After I sold Q Bar I was going to retire. But at 10.30pm I had nobody to talk to except my wife. I have always enjoyed meeting new people, and you never know who you are going to meet at a bar. You meet intellectuals, musicians, filmmakers, writers and all kind of people. Frenchman, Bruno Tanquerel, a designer and artist who did design work for me at Q Bar, that I loved asked me to join him and open a bar at this place he had a lease on. I saw the place and liked it, and we got together and opened this neighbourhood bar three and a half years ago.” From the start, Smalls was intended to be a venue for good music, especially jazz. “The originals Smalls is a jazz club in New York. I went there when I was very young.




Feature Another Smalls was opened in Los Angeles by a friend of the New York owner. It was in a bad neighbourhood but it was very popular. I used to go there a lot. The guy who opened the place – it was his first bar became the most successful bar owner in LA, and now he is probably one of the biggest players in New York. He owns hotels, restaurants, and you name it. He is like my hero in the business. He always did what he thought. “Once a week we bring the most avant-garde jazz musicians in Bangkok to the club. It’s not the ‘hotel jazz’ you hear at most other clubs. It is a much more cutting-edge jazz. The rest of the week we have DJs who

Q Bar in Saigon became a celebrity hangout. Famous people came in, like Robert De Niro, supermodel Kate Moss, John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr, Daryl Hannah and Norman Mailer. Eventually, almost every diplomat in the city drank there. All of a sudden I was on the cover of The New York Times Sunday Magazine.

play a very eclectic mix. They spin just about anything except pop music – Afro, jazz, show music, everything mixed in together. It is very creative, but it’s not really dance music. Our DJs are both locals and foreigners. “As for customers, we get Thais and farangs, young and old, gay and straight. They’re an eclectic mix too. People from the neighbourhood come in, but we draw from all over. We do hospitality nights at Smalls and many of Bangkok’s top chefs, owners and bartenders hang here. We get an international crowd because this is an adult bar and a conversation bar. It’s not a dance club. There aren’t enough conversation bars in Bangkok, and the ones that are here are often in hotels, which tend to be boring by nature and also expensive. “Here you can get a good selection of food all night and a vast selection of alcohol for a good price. We have an excellent Head of Bar, Danny Yeung. He’s a Canadian-Chinese mixologist. Popular guy! We get a really diverse crowd, and that’s one thing I love about this bar. I never know who’s going to walk through the revolving doors.”

booked on all three floors. Every seat”, said David. (Phuon’s Pho Night) He remarked that Vietnamese and Thais are very different. “There’s nothing really in common rather than maybe appearance, somewhat. Both have a very beautiful Asian look, but the characters are quite different. The Vietnamese have a totally different background. For one thing, they were colonised. Vietnam has always been a warrior nation. Thousand of years of wars. As a result the Vietnamese are survivors, and they are industrious, I would say a little more so than Thais. Thailand has a more relaxed society. “Still, I prefer to live and run a business here rather than in Vietnam. It has changed since I lived there. It was relatively easy to do business in Vietnam before, but now it’s quite difficult because there’s a lot more competition. Also, while Bangkok streets are noisy, streets in Saigon are even noisier. It drives me crazy.

Life in Bangkok “As I said, my wife came here with me from Vietnam. We have a wonderful son. She comes to the bar basically once a month to make the great Vietnamese soup called pho. She has become famous in Bangkok for her soup. On the days she makes her pho we are fully

Another thing I like about Thailand is that it’s more developed. There are more options here than in Vietnam. It’s easy to find a good bookstore, movie theatre or restaurant. Overall, it is nice in Bangkok. I am a city boy and always have been. I tried living in the countryside long ago in the US state of Oregon, but it wasn’t for me. “I am happy here. Running Smalls is a nice thing to do at this stage of my life. It’s not too demanding, not like running a big nightclub.” Back on the street around 11pm, Smalls appeared to be the only place doing much business on this Wednesday night other than the local 7-Eleven.



School Report

Two student teams won the Silver ‘Adventurous Journey’ award

TRAILL International School congratulated two teams of 11 students who brought home the Silver ‘Adventurous Journey’ award from their coastal exploration sailing trip. The sailing trip was between the islands of Koh Samae San, Koh Samet, Koh Larn and Koh Sichang. The students and the accompanying teachers experienced their first storm at sea but persevered through the challenges. Throughout their journey, the students also had to plan and prepare their meals while ensuring their teachers were well fed. The ‘Adventurous Journey’ is about the new experience, working together as a team and developing strength and resilience. www.traillschool.ac.th

KIS IB Diploma academic scholarship

KIS International School invites all ambitious students to apply for the coveted IB Diploma academic scholarship or the ‘One Million Baht Scholarship’ for the academic year of 2018-2019. This scholarship is open to applicants of all nationalities who are fluent in English and currently studying in Grade 10 (Year 11). Candidates must be academically strong and well-rounded in other aspects as well. Applications are welcome until February 23, 2018. Academic scholarships for other secondary school grades are also available. Interested students can request full details and conditions from the admissions office. www.kis.ac.th



School Report

Traill Dragon’s Basketball Teams Triumph - Go Dragons Go!

I 66

N October, the 2017 Asia Pacific Youth Club Basketball Cup hosted at the United World College, Singapore was the setting for the latest additions to the


Traill International School basketball hall of fame. There are 74 teams from eight countries including Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand competed in the tournament with Traill International School being the only competitor from Thailand. The under 15 boys team put into practice the skills they had been taught and powered-through the oppositions in the qualifying rounds. In a thrilling final, they stormed to victory against Indo Muda BC from Indonesia with a score of 74 - 51, making them the Asia Pacific Under 15 Youth Basketball Champions. This is the second time in three years that the under 15 boys team won the championship title. At only their second appearance at the tournament, the under 18 girls team overcame some strong oppositions to secure third place.

Traill’s under 18 boys team goes from strength to strength. Having moved through the qualification rounds with some ease, they faced United World College (East) from Singapore in the final. They took the championship title with a score of 103 - 58. Not only did this secure this year’s Asia Pacific Under 18 Youth Basketball Championship title but also made them back-to-back Champions. Well done to all our students whose hours of practice and teamwork saw outstanding results. The basketball programme at Traill not only continues to develop skills in young athletes but also fosters a love for the game, which we believe is why we are so successful.


A musical journey in PROMS 2017

SOME 600 guests enjoyed an evening of first-class entertainment at the tenth Shrewsbury PROMS at Shrewsbury International School Bangkok.




Reasons Why You are Always Hungry Hunger is your body’s natural cue that it needs more (or better) nutrients. When you are hungry, your stomach may growl and feel empty. You may get a headache, feel irritable or be unable to concentrate. By Judith Coulson


ost people can go several hours between meals before feeling hungry again, though this is not the case for everyone. There are several possible explanations for this, including a diet that lacks protein, fat or fibre, as well as excessive stress, sugar consumption or dehydration.

Why do you always feel hungr y? You are not drinking enough water Proper hydration is incredibly important for your health. Drinking enough water has several health benefits, including promoting brain and heart health and optimising exercise performance. Additionally, water keeps your skin and digestive system healthy. Water is also quite filling and has the potential to reduce appetite when consumed before meals. In one study, 14 people who drank two cups of water before a meal ate almost 600 fewer calories than those who did not drink any water. Feelings of thirst can be mistaken for feelings of hunger. If you are always hungry, it may be helpful to drink a glass or two of water to see if you are just thirsty. To ensure you are properly hydrated, simply drink a glass of water every hour. Always have a water bottle with you and order a glass of water before you order any other beverage. We recommend 2 -2.5 litres per day. You are stressed Excess stress is known to increase the appetite. Those who are stressed



to overeat than those with lower levels of stress. The stressed girls also reported higher intakes of unhealthy snacks like chips and cookies. There are many strategies you can utilise to reduce your stress levels.

have an increased level of cortisol, a hormone that has been shown to promote hunger and food cravings. For this reason, you may find that you are always hungry if you experience frequent stress. In one study, 59 women who were exposed to stress consumed more calories throughout the day and ate significantly more sweets than women who were not stressed. Another study compared the eating habits of 350 young girls. Those with higher stress levels were more likely

You are not sleeping enough Getting adequate sleep is extremely important for your health. Sleep is required for your brain and immune system to function properly, and it is associated with a lower risk of several chronic illnesses, including heart disease and cancer. Additionally, sleeping is one factor that controls your appetite, as it helps regulate ghrelin, the appetitestimulating hormone. Lack of sleep leads to higher ghrelin levels, which is why you eat more calories when you are sleep deprived. In one study, 15 people who were sleep deprived for only one night

Expat Women

From healing to happy By Kelly Iverson

One Bangkok expat changed her life and is now helping others make positive lifestyle changes, as well AS 2018 begins, many of people are coming up with resolutions to be both healthier and happier. Regardless of the new year, however, a fresh start is always on the horizon, and one Bangkok expat is proof that you do not need to surpass another New Year’s Eve to employ lifechanging alterations. Laura Martin is a 25-year-old Chicagoan who relocated to Bangkok after being gifted a volunteer trip to the country by her mother. Sadly, she unexpectedly passed away during Laura’s last month of university before

travelling to the country, and this is when everything changed for the young expat. “I have this emotional tie to Thailand,” Laura said. During her trip, she volunteered at an orphanage, an elephant sanctuary and even prolonged her stay so that she could celebrate the vibrant Songkran festival before heading home. When it came time to return to the states, however, Laura knew she was destined to go back to Thailand. “I went home, and things just weren’t the same,” Laura said. “I wasn’t really the same, and I felt I was just a better person when I was in Thailand.” With the support of her family, Laura bravely booked a oneway ticket to the Land of Smiles. Within a few weeks, she found a job, a place to live and even made a few friends along the way. Today, she spends her time eating, working out, hugging trees, hanging out with friends, exploring new markets, travelling and



eating some more. The country has simply captured her, and she has been here for over two years now. “It’s the way they (Thai people) view life here,” Laura said. “It’s more about actually living your life, not working your life away. They enjoy life’s moments, and it’s not pushed to the back burner by the endless flow of work.” In addition to enjoying life as an expat in Bangkok, Laura works as a Kindergarten English teacher by day and a holistic health and wellness coach by night. One can tell Laura lives a healthy lifestyle just by looking at her; from her shiny, red hair that falls down her shoulders to the incredible yoga poses she can pretzel her way through found on her Instagram feed, one does not have to know her well to see she is one active, healthy human. She has not always abided by such a healthy lifestyle, however. aura deployed significant transparency about her on and off struggles as a teenager and in her early adult life with food and how her journey to becoming a holistic health and wellness coach pulled her from this destructive path she found herself travelling. “Life took a turn around the time I was 16, and I started to use food as my form of control,” Laura said. “This also played out in different areas of my life, hence why I took the holistic approach as opposed to just solely nutrition.” Fast forward a few years, and Laura discovered the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, an online nutrition school in New York City that has a health coach training program. At the time, she was going through what she referred to as, “a little bit of an early-twenties crisis.” She was in a toxic relationship; her health was not a priority, she did not know what career path to take and had little to no spiritual practice. “I was a lost little soi dog in a big, intoxicating city,” Laura said. Her interest was piqued when she heard about holistic health at the institute, and she was determined to learn more about it in hopes of saving herself, finding some balance and sorting out the bloated belly she had at the time. She did not realise, however, that her curiosity would turn into something much more: a career and lifestyle. “As long as I’m giving my body good, my body will give good back to me,” Laura said. “Yoga and meditation have really helped me through my recovery by helping me understand mind-body connection.” Today, Laura is running her website which she launched in November, and she posts every Sunday in addition to working her day job. Some things you can expect to find on her website include healthy recipes, the art of armpit detoxing, articles on how to deal with holiday food anxieties and much more. While Laura has undoubtedly made tremendous strides


towards improving her health, she recognises that she, like her clients, can always learn something new. “I still have days where I’m not the nicest person to myself; I’m still human,” Laura said. “But I’m able to slow down and tune inward and recognise that bad days happen, and bad thoughts are simply that - they’re just thoughts, and they can be controlled.” Almost every aspect of Laura’s day and career revolves around her well-being now, but not in the obsessive and damaging ways she used to find herself succumbing to. Instead, she is a beacon of healthiness that most people could take a few notes from. Laura kick starts her day at 5.15am with what she referred to as ‘Laura time:’ stretching, followed by meditation, a cup of warm water with lemon and, finally, she wraps up her morning routine with some journaling and writing down five things she is grateful for. “I think it’s so important to start each day remembering all the things that there is to be thankful for,” Laura said. When Laura is finished with all of this, she still manages to squeeze in a HIIT workout, take a shower, make a golden milk latte and get ready to teach all before heading out the door at 7am. She also unplugs from her phone and Wi-Fi to generate more mindfulness to both start and end her days. For those thinking about making lifestyle changes as Laura did, this holistic health and wellness coach has a few pieces of advice. The first and most crucial step is seemingly the easiest but often the hardest: take the first step. “Maybe your journey is just adding in a 20-minute walk a day or drinking an extra glass of water or sleeping seven hours instead of five,” Laura said. “Whatever it is, meet yourself where you are at and take it one day at a time.” The journey to getting healthier does not start or end with a New Year resolution, either. Laura said to remember that sustainable change can only come in time and in combination with commitment to betterment and holding oneself accountable to generate a lifestyle change. “At the end of the day, being healthy doesn’t have to be hard, it’s just being better than you were yesterday,” Laura said. For now, her job as a Kindergarten teacher is what pays her bills, but being a holistic health and wellness coach has undoubtedly stolen her heart. She knows this because when she is working with people to make lifestyle changes, it no longer feels like “work.” “Being able to help someone feel what I feel, healthy, fulfilled, balanced … that’s magical.” For more information or to schedule a free consultation with Laura, please contact 096 802 2287, healing2happy@gmail. com or visit www.healingtohappy.com



Spa & Wellness 02

01 GIVE the perfect Valentine’s gift with the ‘Revival Valentine’ spa treatment at Kempinski The Spa. The treatment comprises of a 60-minute aromatic oil massage, a 30-minute body scrub and a 30-minute mini facial massage using a 24 karat gold sheet mask and Damask Rose water. The spa package is priced at B7,390+ and is available from today until February 28, 2018, as part of the Valentine’s Day celebration. 02 162 9000. kempinski.com/bangkok

01 02 03 04


SPA Cenvaree, Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok is offering a pamper session like no other. The ‘Silky Skin spa package’ is a luxurious body spa treatment using rice milk blended with Riceberry. The special treatment is created by the hotel’s talented spa manager. The organic ingredients will leave the skin feeling healthy and silky smooth. The deluxe spa treatment comprises of an 80-minute silky milky body massage, 10-minute nourishing rice milk body mist and a 30-minute skin renewal with Riceberry cream scrub. The session is priced at B2,850++ per person and is available from now until January 31, 2018. 02 541 1234 ext 4292, 4567. centarahotelsresorts.com/cglb



THROUGHOUT January and February 2018, experience the ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation at the award-winning Le SPA with L’Occitane. Indulge yourself with the relaxing Swedish massage, Chinese acupressure and Balinese techniques that will help improve circulation and ease muscle tensions coupled with the premium quality all-natural L’Occitane products to help soothe the senses. The Rejuvenating package includes a 60-minute relaxing aromatherapy massage with your choice of a 60-minute facial treatment for B5,500++. 02 126 9999. www.sofitel-bangkok-sukhumvit.com

REALLY take time off to pamper your needs this new year at Well Hotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20, an award-winning lifestyle wellness hotel. The Well Relaxing Package is a three-night stay which includes daily international breakfast buffet, free in-room mini-bar, a 60-minute Thai or Aromatherapy massage for two, a B500 dining voucher and free entrance to group exercise classes including Muay Thai cardio session. The three-night package starts at B9,499 for Superior Room, B10,999 for Deluxe Room, B14,599 for Executive Room and B19,399 for Executive Suite with a special rate for extended stay. The package is available from now until March 31, 2018, for a stay period from now until June 30, 2018. 02 127 5995. www.wellhotelsandresorts.com



Expat Women


INNO-BIOCOSMED Co, Ltd recently launched the newest innovation of Bio-Cosmeceuticals in Thailand. The company introduced two new brands: ardermis, a skin therapy products to minimise the ageing wrinkles and enhance the beautiful skin with EGF and Uderma, an advanced scar care gel products.


KARAT, the Thai national Jewellery brand, hosted a 90th-anniversary celebration to reinforce the image of luxury jewellery with the classic design that stands the test of time. The ceremony was held on M Floor at Siam Paragon.


JASPAL partnered with DESIGN ARMY, a world-famous creative studio, to create a unique capsule collection JASPAL X DESIGN ARMY to serve up this year-end fun under the theme, ‘Fashion is Delicious.’ The collection is available at Jaspal stores nationwide.

THANN recently organised an activity led by two hair experts, Nuttika Ongksirimemongkol, Beauty Director, Elle Thailand Magazine to reveal proper hair care steps and Kornkanok Yongsakul, personality experts who revealed new hair care steps to all attended. The experts provided the tips on choosing the hairstyle to match the face shape while three celebrities with gorgeous hair; Leila Soontornvinate, Karuna Vatchanaphukka, and Kanidtha Daroonnate joined the workshop at THANN Sukhumvit 47 boutique.



Diplomat: H.E. Ambassador Asfaw Dingamo Kame

Thailand and Ethiopia should be strong allies, says Ambassador Words MAXMILIAN WECHSLER

Wearing the traditional white national dress, His Excellency Asfaw Dingamo Kame, the new Ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to Kingdom of Thailand, presented his credentials to His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun in Bangkok on Sunday, November 26. He is also ambassador to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. The ambassador and his wife, Tigist Amare Reda, reside in New Delhi. Two days before Mr Dingamo gave his credentials to the Thai monarch, he granted an exclusive inter view to The BigChilli, accompanied by his wife and Zenebe Hailekiros Giday, the first secretar y at the Ethiopian embassy in New Delhi.


HE obvious first question we had for Mr Dingamo was how he copes with the responsibility of handling diplomatic relations with so many countries, to which he humbly replied: “I am not alone at the embassy. I have together with me at the embassy in New Delhi 12 Ethiopian diplomats plus around 20 local Indian staff. “I have worked out a schedule to attend to matters pertaining to the countries to which I am a non-resident ambassador. Besides that, we have a longer-term schedule to meet periodically with important officials, especially the ministers of foreign affairs. For example, I have plans to come to Thailand at least three or four times in the coming year for various government functions. “In the countries where I am non-resident ambassador we typically have an honorary consul, as we do in Thailand. We work closely with them. We also maintain very close relations with the embassies of Thailand, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar in New Delhi.

Of course, India is among the major Asian powers, and all countries in the region have strong representation there.” Mr Dingamo was excited about his meeting with His Majesty the King, which took place last November. “It was a very big day for me as a diplomat. I was eagerly awaiting the opportunity to present my credentials and shake hands with His Majesty. “I visited Thailand for the first time last June for just a couple of days. One of the matters I attended to was renewing an agreement between my country and Bumrungrad Hospital and various other Bangkok hospitals. This is a popular destination among my countrymen, including many public officials, for medical treatment,” said Mr Dingamo. “India, where I am serving now, is a big country, three times as large as Ethiopia, with a population of around 1.26 billion. It is a great country with a great history, great people and a booming economy, but I have to say I prefer Bangkok to New Delhi. It is very clean in comparison, and the air pollution in many Indian cities is life-threatening. Here, you have much cleaner air and blue skies.”

Background The ambassador was born in August 1961 at Aleta Wondo, Sidama in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia. “I come from a family of farmers; we grew coffee. In my childhood, I worked in the fields. Now I own some coffee plantations. My father is still alive, but my mother passed away recently. I have



three brothers and three sisters. I am the eldest son. My brothers and sisters all live in Ethiopia, except for a brother who died because of the policies of the former government,” he said. Mr Dingamo joined the foreign ministry only three years ago, but a look at his resume reveals an impressive list of academic and professional accomplishments.

Ethiopian resurgence “Ethiopia is Africa’s oldest independent country. Like Thailand, we were never colonised,” said Mr Dingamo. “The size is about 1.4 million square kilometres, and the population is close to 104 million, which makes it the second most populous African nation after Nigeria. Our capital is Addis Ababa, with a population of around five million. It can be called the world’s third-largest diplomatic capital after New York and Geneva because many United Nations organisations are based there, and it is the seat of the African Union, which has 54 member states. There are more than 130 embassies in Addis Ababa. “Ethiopia maintains about 60 embassies and consular offices around the world. In Asia, we have embassies in China, India, Indonesia, South Korea and in Japan. We also have an embassy in Australia.” According to the World Bank, Ethiopia is currently the world’s fastest-growing economy. GDP is forecast to grow by 8.3% in 2017. Much of this is due to government spending on infrastructure. “In 2017 the Ethiopian economy became the biggest economy in East Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. We had very tough years before. We were one of the poorest countries in the world, but since this government came to power, we have put in place very sound economic policies that have given us good results. Our economy has been growing in double digits for the past 14 years. “We have the goal to become a middle-income status nation by 2025. We are optimistic about reaching the goal, but there are big challenges, including a shortage of foreign currency to import goods. All the difficulties we are now facing are temporary, and I am confident that we will overcome them.

“Ethiopia is situated in the Horn of Africa, which is a mushrooming area for terrorism. Our neighbour Somalia has no stable government, and many areas of the country are controlled by local leaders, so the situation is ripe for terrorists. The security situation has also deteriorated in South Sudan because of internal armed conflict among different political factions. “We are fighting terrorists in a part of Ethiopia as well. But as our economy continues to grow it fosters political stability, which is helping us to counter the problem. The government has a strong commitment to fight terrorism within our borders and also support our neighbours in their struggles against terrorism. “This is being done through peacekeeping initiatives sponsored by the African Union along with the larger international community under UN Security Council resolutions. Ethiopia has deployed soldiers to southern and northern Sudan, and also to Darfur.”

Bilateral relations “Ethiopia and Thailand established diplomatic relations in 1964 when Ethiopia was ruled by Emperor Haile Selassie. He and late King Bhumibol Adulyadej enjoyed a very good

Addis Ababa-Adama expressway Addis Ababa National Stadium



relationship, and Thailand had an embassy in Addis Ababa from 1964 until 1974. The emperor was toppled by a coup d’état in September 1974, and the military took power and installed a socialist government. They killed many people. It took more than 17 years to overthrow that fascist government,” said Mr Dingamo. “Current relations between our two countries are once again very good. Successive Thai governments have stressed good relations with sub-Saharan countries. Ethiopia and Thailand support each other on various initiatives, especially in the multilateral arena. With our growing economy, there are very good platforms to elevate bilateral relations.



“Ethiopia needs foreign investment, and we have very Bangkok for medical treatment, especially to Bumrungrad sound policies in place to attract investors. And they are and other Bangkok hospitals. The Ethiopian government coming, especially from Asian countries like China, India has decided to use these hospitals to treat some officials. and Japan. We are strongly encouraging Thai investors I should point out that when a sick person comes to to join in. Africa is a big continent with big potential. We Thailand from Ethiopia, it is likely they’ll be accompanied want Thailand to engage actively in Africa and particularly by family members. Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a vibrant market. Along with the “We are a gateway to other African countries and many rapid economic expansion comes an increase in consumer African business people, tourists and people seeking spending. The standard of living is changing, and the medical care transit through Addis Ababa. middle class is growing. “Unfortunately very few Thai people visit Ethiopia. We “Ethiopia has given the world a great many good want more to come, and there are a lot of good reasons things. Archaeologists have shown that we are the cradle why they should. Ethiopia has a wealth of natural and of mankind. It is where our far distant ancestors first cultural attractions. There are many exotic locations to began to walk upright. Ethiopia is the origin of many other visit, and we have around ten UNESCO registered World good things as well, including Arabica coffee. We sell it to Heritage Sites.” the world. I don’t think it is coming directly to Thailand at this time, but it is sent to Indonesia or Singapore and then imported here. “Thailand is importing leather products from Ethiopia. We are the largest raiser of cattle in Africa and the ninth largest in the world. Leather production is very big, and many Thai businessmen are buying from us. We also export some of the world’s best sesame to Thailand. From Thailand, we import sugar, rice, palm oil for cooking and clothes. We want very much to Addis riders expand and diversify our commercial Personal ties with Thailand.” The ambassador said Ethiopia “When I am in India and have free is also interested in encouraging time I like to exercise. I walk a lot more people-to-people interactions and jog. I also like to read, visit with Thailand. “More than 30,000 historical sites and attend church Ethiopians visit Thailand every services. I am Christian, as is year. Ethiopian Airlines has regular about 60 percent of the population. flights between Bangkok and Addis Ethiopia is a very diverse society. Ababa. Many Ethiopians travel to Orthodox church in Addis Ababa Around 35 percent is Muslim, two percent animists or traditionalists, and we also have a significant Jewish population.” Ambassador Dingamo can speak and write Sidamigna, Amharic, English, and Spanish languages, and speaks fair Portuguese and some

Semien Mountains



Blue Nile Falls

CV of H.E. Ambassador Asfaw Dingamo Kame

H.E. Asfaw Dingamo Kame (centre) and his wife Mrs Tigist Amare Reda (right) with the first secretary of the embassy, Zenebe Hailekiros Giday (left)

Russian. His ambassadorial term is five years. In closing he gave the following statement: “First, I want to thank The BigChilli for giving me this opportunity to introduce myself and my country to the people of Thailand. This is a wonderful country and a very good friend of Ethiopia. “I want to thank the government of Thailand for supporting our initiative for election as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. We also received support from the Thai government for the successful candidacy of Dr Tedros Adhanom as new DirectorGeneral of the World Health Organization in 2017. Dr Adhanom was formerly our Health Minister and also Minister of Foreign Affairs. These important accomplishments for Ethiopia are the fruit of successful diplomatic relations with the world community including Thailand. “While I am in this post I want very much to strengthen our bilateral relationship. As I have said, Ethiopia can be the gateway to Africa for Thailand. With the promise of continued economic growth in Ethiopia under a stable democratic government, Thai investors have no reason

Education • Elementary education: Aleta Gure & Chuko. • Junior education: Aleta Wondo secondary school. • Secondary education: Yirgalem comprehensive high school. • 1979-1985: Higher education ‒ Higher Institute of Mining & Metallurgic of MOA, CUBA, received Bachelor of Science & Master of Science in Mining Geology Engineering. • MA course being undertaken on Public Policy & Management from London School of Economics, SOAS (School of African Studies-2005). Short-term training • 1997: Leadership training ‒ certificate for three months training from Civil Service College. • 1997: Rural development training ‒ for one month from University College of Dublin, certificate July 1997. • 1998: Maastricht School of Management ‒ certificate in project management for 45 days. • Various training on leadership, institutional reform, team building, negotiation skills, etc. Work Experience From September 1985-January 1987: Worked as Junior Mining Geologist at Adola Gold Development Enterprise, Shakisso. • January 1987: Chief Engineer, Adola Gold Exploration Project. • 1988: Adola Gold Exploration Project. • April 1988-February 1990: Appointed as Mining Division Kenticha. Tantalum Exploration Head & Development Project. • March 1990-December,1992: Chief Engineer at Kenticha Tantalum. Exploration & Development Project. • January1993-June1994: Operations manager, Adola Gold Development Enterprise. • July 1994-July 1995: Manager, Kenticha Tantalum Exploration & Development Project • August 1995-September 2005: Water, Mines & Energy Bureau Head; at the same time held offices in addition to the above task as Hawassa City Manager & as Sidama zone chief administrator, SNNPRS (Southern Nations, Nationalities’ and Peoples’ Regional State). • October 2005-October 2010: Minister, Ministry of Water Resources at a federal level. • December 2010-September 2014: Adviser to the Director- General of Ethiopian Sugar Corporation & Deputy Director- General. • September 2014-March 2016: Director-General Ethiopian Oil & Natural Gas Development Enterprise. • From March 2016 onwards: Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar and Thailand (Ambassador-Designate). • In addition, the Ambassador has taken a number of current and former positions as a member of the board or chairperson of various enterprises.

to hesitate. Thailand has every reason to be represented heavily in Africa and Ethiopia is the best place to start. “Finally, I want to say that globalisation is here to stay. All countries need each other to survive and prosper. Despite the distance and the differences between our countries Thailand and Ethiopia should be strong allies. I want to invite Thai people to come and visit Ethiopia.”

Ethiopian Airlines jet

Special thanks to Sukosol Bangkok Hotel for providing nice settings for the photo shoot.




LMOST exactly 20 years ago Thailand was the point of departure for a devastating financial crisis that began in July 1997 and rapidly spread to other countries in the region before spilling over into Latin America, Russia and Eastern Europe. Two decades later you can see the remnants of the ‘Tom Yum Kung’ crisis in unfinished high-rise office buildings like the 49-storey Sathorn Unique Tower on Sathorn Road, now known as the Ghost Tower, and several megaliths intended to be residential complexes in Muang Tong Thani, a satellite city of Bangkok. Demolition of the colossal towers of the planned SV Gardens project on Rama III Road began years ago, but only recently did the tower cores disappear altogether. Thailand was one of the fiercest Asian Tigers going into the turn of the millennium. From 1985-1996 the Thai economy grew at a rate of about nine percent per year. Then ‘Tom Yum Kung’ knocked the economy off the rails, and it has never fully recovered. What happened?

Castles made of sand The first indication of an Asian currency crisis appeared in Thailand in the summer of 1996 when it was revealed that the Bangkok Bank of Commerce (BBC) had lent billions upon billions of baht in highly questionable loans. The loans included a very large sum to a convicted swindler known locally as the “Biscuit King.” Before the news of these transactions surfaced, Thailand’s banking and bank regulatory system was globally praised and highly regarded. That changed with the revelation that BBC officials were accepting property they knew to be overvalued as collateral. It soon came out that corruption and laxity in regulation weren’t limited to BBC, but was prevalent at other financial institutions as well. The scandal rocked investors’ confidence. The origins of the crisis go back to the early 1990s when Thailand

Employees of suspended finance company carry a banner in Bangkok in November 1997

opened up its financial markets. Money started to pour in from abroad from foreign investment and also because Thai banks offered highinterest rates on deposits. Loaded with foreign money, the banks loaned big and carelessly. Eventually, the mountains of bad debt wrought by illegal lending practices exposed corrupt politicians and business practices that had been hidden by rapid economic growth, not only in Thailand but also in other Asian countries. By the end of 1997 bankrupt corporations and failed financial institutions were spread across the continent. The list of countries affected, some more, others less, includedIndonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Laos, Hong Kong, China, Brunei, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam and South Korea, then the world’s 11th largest economy. The meltdown of banking systems that were previously considered sound created havoc. The bubble of confidence that allowed Asia to prosper had suddenly and unexpectedly burst, threatening to destroy the global economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) came to the rescue, lending tens of billions of US dollars with the stipulation that countries accepting the loans must follow strict conditions. Unemployment rose to dangerous levels across the region as factories and other enterprises closed their doors because they were unable to borrow money. The crisis cut across all social classes. Thai bankers and

other white-collar workers were pawning their valuables. Many second-hand Rolexes and other expensive watches were offered for sale at shops around Bangkok. People who had held high-paying jobs were selling food on footpaths to survive. For them and many others, it was a shocking end to the decade of unparalleled economic growth that was dubbed the ‘Asian Miracle’.

The Thai meltdown In May 1996 the Ministry of Finance took over the BBC to save it from total collapse after depositors began withdrawing large amounts of money. By the beginning of 1997 non-performing loans exceeded 16 percent. Trading in the banking and finance sectors of the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) was suspended by the government on March 3 – the first time in SET’s 20-year history – after the Bank of Thailand (BOT) called for an increase in reserve requirements for all financial institutions to reestablish a confidence in the financial sector. A week later the BOT together with the Ministry of Finance ordered ten financial institutions facing insolvency to raise additional capital within ten days. This only accelerated withdrawals from the financial institutions already in progress. In the two days after the order, more than 21 billion baht was withdrawn. International hedge funds and speculators attacked the Thai baht from




p Last month’s best events in pictures



Social|Last Month’s Best Events


THE Taiwanese dessert café, QQ, recently celebrated its first successful anniversary with an opening of a new branch at Siam Paragon where the new menu, 3-Treasure Tangyuan, was also introduced at the event. The health-conscious lifestyle trend has changed the way people choose what they eat and that includes dessert choices which QQ dessert café has proven can be both tasty and healthy at the same time.


AMATA Corporation PCL, led by the founder, Chief Executive Officer and a famous Thai writer Vikrom Kromadit launched his latest book called, “My Mom”. The project is a collaboration with 7-Eleven and Booksmile, and the event was held at Siam Paragon lifestyle section. THAILAND Convention and Exhibition The celebration was attended by many family members, friends, A-list Bureau (Public Organisation) or TCEB announced the latest guests and fans. cooperative project called “Smart Village” to encourage the corporate market to organise more company outing activities in various provinces across the country. The Bureau partnered with four dominant corporations conducting a pilot programme in four model communities. This is to encourage the growth of start-up business recognised as one of the significant clusters under the government’s Thailand 4.0 Policy.



P-VALUE Distribution Co, Ltd, the manufacturer of food supplement products for men, SO KOOL collaborated with Blued, the gay social application with the highest number of users in the world to launch the SO KOOL + Blued Limited Edition for men. The new limited edition product line is to celebrate the sexual diversity in the world today, and part of the proceed will be donated to the Glory Hut Foundation to provide welfare assistance to the homeless and those with HIV. 104



PATHUMWAN Princess recently received the award of 5-Star certification at the Ministry of Tourism and Sports in Bangkok. The hotel qualified for the rating following rigorous inspections by the Department of Tourism and Sports and bears testimony to the consistently high standards of excellence that have been achieved over the past year.


THE award-winning Thanyapura Health & Sports Resort together with Thailand’s leading sports retailer, Supersports and organisers will host the country’s onlymile-distance race, “The Supersports 10-Mile International Run 2018 Phuket” on March 24-25, 2018. TheBigChilli 105

Beyond Bangkok

Chinese New Year Specials at Amara Bangkok

MATES’ RATES Friends or Family visiting Thailand? Let them know about these deals

SAVE more for the upcoming 2018 Chinese New year at Amara Bangkok. Book your stay during January 1 to February 15, 2018, for stays during February 12-25, 2018, and receive the special room rate for a deluxe room starting at B4,200++, an executive room for B4,500++ and a club room for B5,500++. Guests will be able to enjoy the perks including the complimentary breakfast, a Chinese New Year welcome gift, 1-day pass for BTS Skytrain, a Thai Passion at Element set dinner (terms and conditions applied). 02 021 8888. www.facebook.com/amarabangkok

Siam@Siam Design Hotels & Resorts Special promotion at Mövenpick Hotel Sukhumvit 15

SET up on the highest floors, the Executive rooms at the Mövenpick Hotel Sukhumvit 15 Bangkok stands out with the addition to the room features; guests also have access to the style Executive Lounge and its perks. Including daily free cocktail happy hours from 5.30-8pm, free private breakfasts. The room comes with 46” flatscreen TV, mini-bars, in-room WiFi and tuk-tuk shuttle service. 02 119 3100. www.movenpick.com/ en/asia/thailand/bangkok/bangkok/ rooms



SAVE more at Siam@SIam Design Hotels & Resort with the Hip Getaway Package: stay for two consecutive nights and get the third night with breakfast for two persons free. The package includes two consecutive nights with the free third night, and complimentary breakfast for two, instant upgrade to Biz Class Room and My Club privilege, daily complimentary breakfast for two, late check out, signature Sawasdee Cocktail welcome drink, WiFi for the duration of the stay and amenities by Panpuri. The package is priced at B14,555 net. The offers are available until March 31, 2018. Reservation must have three nights minimum length of stay, advanced reservations are required. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply. 02 217 3000. www.siamatsiam.com

Hyatt Open 2017 HYATT Hotels & Resorts Thailand in association with Banyan Golf Club recently held its eighth annual Hyatt Open at Banyan Golf Club, Hua Hin. The champion this year is Mr Simon Er who received a traditional silver Claret Jug Hyatt Open Trophy.

Latin Pisco Night At Centara Grand Hua Hin CENTARA Grand Hua Hin recently hosted a “Noche Latina� dinner to launch Peruvian food at Coast Beach Club & Bistro. Presided at the launch was His Excellency Mr Fernando Quiros the Peruvian Ambassador to Thailand.

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Beyond Bangkok

01 DUSIT Thani Hua Hin will host the  first Culinary Classics 2018, the 33rd

01 Requiem without words 02 Special recipes by two-Michelin-star chef 03 Amazing Grace package at Cape Dara

popular concert series, on January 19, 2018. This new instalment will unite the Pro-Musica String Quartet of Omporn Kowintha on viola, Esther Ho on violoncello, Cheryl Chan on violin head by Tasana Nagavajara also on violin. The tickets are priced at B600 net per person, B1,600 net per person including post-concert Hua Hin Night Market dinner and B1,800 net per person including post-concert Italian 4-course set dinner. 032 520 009 ext 2013. dthhfb@dusit.com

02 INTERCONTINENTAL Hua Hin  Resort successfully co-operated with

Takagi Kazuo, two-Michelin-star chef and the founder of Kyoto cuisine TAKAGI, Michelin-star restaurant from Ashiya city, Japan created a traditional Kyoto recipe with a concept of the colour-changing leaves to welcome the autumn season. The esteemed guests experienced the first exclusive feast of Hua Hin by Michelin-star chef. 032 616 999. huahin.intercontinental.com



03 THIS new year, indulge yourself with  the unique promotion from Cape Dara.

The Amazing Grace package includes a 60-minute milk body massage, a 15-minute milk bath and a 30-minute signature mini facial treatment by Dermalogica. The price is B3,100++ per person and B5,900++ per couple. The special package is available daily from 11am-10pm at the Luminous spa. 038 933 888. www.capedarapattaya.com

Cape Nidhra presented a gift to lucky guest CAPE Nidhra Hotel, Hua Hin recently held an opening party for On The Rocks bar where the General Manager Christian Roschli presented a gift voucher for Deluxe Room at Cape Kudu Hotel, Koh Yao Noi, Phang-Nga province to the lucky guest.

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Beyond Bangkok

The 15th Vintage Car Parade 2017 VINTAGE Car Club of Thailand together with The Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa, The Westin Grande Sukhumvit Bangkok, Cha-am Municipality, Hua Hin Municipality and Tourism Authority of Thailand co-hosted The 15th Hua Hin Vintage Car Parade 2017 under the theme “A Breeze from the ‘60s”.



Profile for The BigChilli Co., Ltd.

The BigChilli January 2018  

Thailand's best-read expat magazine. Find out what's hot in Bangkok and beyond. January 2018.

The BigChilli January 2018  

Thailand's best-read expat magazine. Find out what's hot in Bangkok and beyond. January 2018.