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Publisher’s blog

BANGKOK’S “OLDEST” HOTEL CLOSES

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ORE of old Bangkok is disappearing, with the latest landmark facing imminent demolition being the Trocadero Hotel on Suriwongse. The shutters are up, the adjoining shops have closed and the weeds are appearing through the cracks. The ‘Troc’ is reckoned by many to be Bangkok’s oldest hotel, having opened back in 1922. Purists maintain that it holds that title over the Mandarin Oriental because the exterior of the building has barely changed over the decades, while its one-time riverside competitor has gone through numerous transformations. It’s not known what will replace the Trocadero, though some reports suggest its unusual façade may be retained on the new project. Another Bangkok landmark about to disappear is the Sivadon Building on the corner of Silom and Convent roads. The Minor Group, headed by Thai-American businessman

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Bill Heinecke, will take over this valuable central plot of land to build its new head office, currently located in Sukhumvit 42. The Sivadon Building was one of Bangkok’s biggest and tallest buildings when opened in the late 1960s, predating the Dusit Thani, which is also due for demolition in the coming

year. Its retail tenants in recent times have included Dunlop, Starbucks, Wine Connection, 7-Eleven, and Molly Malone’s pub. For years, it was home to the Carlton, a popular old-style Thai restaurant featuring live music. Many of the offices were occupied by the 7-Eleven Group.

Molly’s new home Expats lamenting the closure of Molly Malone’s will be pleased to know that its owners have already found new premises for this popular pub. And it’s a three-storey house with garden and rooftop terrace that’s a short walk from the old venue – half way down Convent Road, almost opposite Bangkok Nursing Home. Expect a late September opening of the new Molly Malone’s.


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

THE HOT LIST

By Morgan Thanarojpradit

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01 The 7th White Elephant Art Award Exhibition “Inspiration for the Sustainable Community” April 7 - June 24 Bangkok Art and Culture Centre THE 7th White Elephant Art Award exhibition “Inspiration for the Sustainable Community” by Thai Beverage Public Company Limited presents realistic and figurative painting, sculpture and mixed media artworks which received awards from the 7th edition of the competition in 2018. The exhibition is composed of 20 award-winning artworks and 37 selected artworks, all of them expressing original creative ideas. www.facebook.com/ TheWhiteElephantArtAward

02 Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra 2018 June 1 - August 18 Prince Mahidol Hall, Mahidol University, Salaya DVORAK wrote “My new symphony” to a friend in 1884 with the purpose of creating something that “must be such as to make a

stir in the world.” TPO’s Honorary Founding Chief Conductor is in his element as he explores the agitation that Dvorak’s sought to make in the world. Joining TPO is Estonian-born bassoon virtuoso Martin Kuuskmann performing Theofanidis’ Bassoon Concerto, which was written for him. www.thaiticketmajor.com

03 Boyce Avenue Live in Bangkok with Special Guest Room39

June 5 BCC Hall Central Plaza Ladprao BOYCE Avenue comprises the three Manzano brothers–Alejandro, Fabian and Daniel. The Florida-based band was formed in 2004, and in 2007 they started posting videos on YouTube, sharing not only their original songs, but also their distinctive acoustic covers with the world. The popular band will perform live in Bangkok with special guest, Room39. www.thaiticketmajor.com

04 Fullmoon Party Live in Bangkok

June 7-8 BITEC Bangna Hall 98 SANGSOM Presents Fullmoon Party Live in Bangkok to be held at BITEC Bangna Hall 98. Mustnot-miss innovative and electric fun hosted by world-class DJs lineup. Get your tickets today. www.zaapparty.com

05 Caravaggio OPERA OMNIA

May 4 - June 10 Bangkok Art and Culture Centre AS part of the Italian Festival celebrating 150th anniversary of Italian-Thai diplomatic relations, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre in collaboration with the Embassy of Italy and Rai Com presents Caravaggio OPERA OMNIA, an exhibition that hosts a rich art collection by a widely celebrated Italian artist, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, compiled and reproduced with HD Digital Reproduction. en.bacc.or.th/event/1966.html


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05 06 Centara World Masters Golf Championship

June 10-16 Hua Hin, Thailand THE Centara World Masters will see you play at Hua Hin’s world-class golf courses with all the trappings of a major professional tournament. Join club golfers from around the world for Asia’s biggest and richest amateur week of golf and lively social and entertainment events every night. www.thailandworldmasters.com

07 #HYHBKK Live! with SUUNS

June 20 De Commune HAVE YOU HEARD? are back once again with news that is sure to catch any music enthusiast bouncing on their feet! Get your dancing groove on as we announce our latest musical installment, coming from Montreal in Canada, the electronic art-

rock group: SUUNS. Their contemporary aesthetic is not only synonymous to their mesmerizing bass or lightshow spectacular but also for their ability to entertain us with beats and melodies so hypnotizing that you’ll be longing for more! www.ticketmelon.com

08 Sensation Thailand 2018

July 29 BITEC SENSATION is a world-class music event which originated in Amsterdam in 2000. Since its first event, millions of people around the world have already been part of this music phenomenon. Some of the world’s best DJs have played Sensation over the years. As Sensation’s reputation has grown, the music has evolved and taken on its own style – it’s not just about booking the biggest name DJs anymore, it’s about choosing the people who can make Sensation the

best event possible, and play the most cutting-edge music of today and tomorrow. www.ticketmelon.com

09 Nothing But Thieves Live in Bangkok

August 2 Moonstar Studio 8 AN English alternative rock band, formed in 2012 in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. They signed to RCA in 2014 and released the first album in 2015, a self-titled album “Nothing But Thieves” which went to No.7 in the UK Charts, peaked at No. 3 on iTunes, and was No.1 on the vinyl album charts. NOTHING BUT THIEVES’ origins lie in schoolmates Conor (vocals), Joe (guitar) and Dave’s (drums) efforts in a variety of bands in their hometown of Southend, and they are coming to Thailand for the first time in August. www.ticketmelon.com

10 The Invitation Tour - Live in Bangkok 2018

August 11 GMM Live House @Central World “THE Invitation Tour” celebrates Why Don’t We’s latest EP, “INVITATION,” available now at all digital music retailers and streaming services. The EP–already the prolific band’s fourth release in a single year–proved an immediate international sensation, topping the iTunes Store’s “Top Pop Albums” chart in six countries including the United States. Likewise, the group has already surpassed over 65 million streams globally on Spotify. Once again taking an innovative and unconventional approach towards releasing new music and engaging a rapidly growing fan base, “INVITATION” is coming to Bangkok as part of their Asia leg tour. www.ticketmelon.com

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CUB House, a hub for modern urbanites

A.P. Honda Co, Ltd, together with Greyhound Co, Ltd, recently introduced CUB House, a co-creation lifestyle space that provides an all-rounded living experience through lifestyle and cultural elements. Each individual can choose to create their own stories, with legendary motorcycles, unique fashion, and exclusive food and drinks available only at CUB House on Ekkamai. Experience CUB House co-creation lifestyle space on Ekkamai Soi 3. www.facebook.com/CUBHouseEkkamai

Ditto - Modern Tea, will open its first branch

New

on the scene Hot new restaurants, bars & cafes in Bangkok

Croquant Chou Zakuzaku

CROQUANT Chou Zakuzaku, originally from Hokkaido, recently launched its first brand in Bangkok. Under the operation of Bake Cheese Tart Thailand, custard cream fans can now enjoy the delicious soft cream and crunchiest chou puff made fresh in store daily with the finest ingredients coupled with the latest innovation. The Croquant Chou Zakuzaku is now serving up a delicious menu at Siam Centre.

Kimukatsu – 25 Layers of Happiness

091 916 4224. www.facebook.com/zakuzaku.thailand

061 535 8666. www.facebook.com/Kimukatsu.Th

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JAPANESE pork cutlet dish, Kimukatsu – the famous original Mille-Feuille Katsu favoured many Japanese celebrities from all fields – is now serving in Thailand amidst modern Japanese decor in heartwarming luxury earth-tone palette on the 6th floor of Central Plaza Rama III.

DITTO Modern Tea has opened its first store in Central World on the 2nd floor. Offering modern t ea c r ea t i o n s using loose leaf teas, fresh fruit and premium ingredients, Ditto will introduce you to a new way of enjoying tea! www.facebook.com/DittoTea


NomineeS Thailand International Business Awards

2018

Expat Entrepreneur: Mr Luzi A Matzig

Travel agent, hotel investor, owner of retirement home, cruise boat and even a private airline, this Swiss entrepreneur is a real high-flier.

The Amazing Mr Matzig Swiss-born Luzi Matzig came to Thailand in 1971 while barely out of his teens to take a job as office manager in a Bangkok travel agency. Today, he is one of the country’s most successful businessmen, with interests in a wide variety of companies. As chairman of the Asian Trails Group, he’s also recognized as one of this country’s most experienced and influential travel professionals.   His company is a Thailand-based destination management service that provides client-focused expertise for travelers to Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand. The group has 33 offices, including one in Australia. Mr Matzig also has private investments in five hotels operating in three countries, a cruise boat on the River Kwai, and a retirement home in Chiang Mai.   Among his personal achievements is becoming a licensed pilot, which allowed him build a private airline that provides mainly internationalmedical emergency transfers. The 69-year-old expat entrepreneur, who has taken up Thai nationality with the name Lersan Misitsakul, took time out from his schedule to talk to  Maxmilian Wechsler about his life and times.

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Coming to Thailand

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R Matzig’s infatuation with Thailand goes way back to the early 70s. He recalled: “When Swissair transferred me from the operations department at a small airport in Bern to its cargo division at the airport in Zurich, I wasn’t happy at all. I didn’t want to work in freight and I decided to look for a job abroad – any job. I was searching ads in newspapers and found one for office manager at Diethelm Travel in Bangkok. I came here and took the job and worked for Diethelm in various positions for 28 years. “I was happy working for this big outfit, but I decided I wanted to open my own company, and I did just that on 09/09/1999. That was a big year for me; I also married a Thai lady in 1999. Both of those decisions have proved to be good ones. “In business as well as marriage, timing is very important, as are determination and a bit of luck. A good

friend to help you is also important, but maybe not so easy to find. Fortunately I had all of the above. “I became a Thai citizen in 1993, and that gave me a big advantage over most expats in getting my company up and running. My good friend, an Indian man fluent in the Thai language, who was then in the travel publication business, provided me with invaluable assistance. In fact, he helped me come up with my Thai name, which was necessary at the time in order to be granted citizenship. We decided it should be similar to Luzi Matzig and we came up with Lersan Misitsakul. “This was accepted by the Thai officials. Before that I had submitted another name which was rejected because it was ‘too short’. The whole process of becoming a Thai citizen was done by the book. I didn’t pay anything under the table, only the official fees.”

A big payroll Over the years Mr Matzig has taken on Thai citizenship, a Thai name and

also the Thai philosophy of ‘jai yen-yen’ (keep a cool head). That’s a useful quality for a man at the head of an enterprise that employs more than 700 people full-time, nearly a third of them in Thailand. “It is a big payroll and in our business the payroll is the main thing. I usually work from 2pm to 10pm. I like to get up late and work late.” Mr Matzig said the business is going smoothly with no major problems. However, businesses in the travel sector inevitably have working arrangements with other such businesses, and the fact that these days big tour companies, mainly in Europe, frequently change hands does sometimes present difficulties. “One company buys the other one and that company already has an office here, so you can lose an account through no fault of your own. That is an issue and it’s happened a lot in the past ten years. “I have a solid list of clients and everything is well set up, but we must always look for new markets. The internet is grabbing a bigger share of the market. Clients want to make their own bookings. People coming to Thailand or Southeast Asia for the first time are more likely to make use of our expertise because they want to be sure everything will work out well. But people coming for the third time have a better idea of which hotel they want to stay in, how to plan their itinerary and so forth. They don’t need us so much. “Of course, we also attract clients through the internet, but overall I would have to say it’s detrimental to our business. For one thing, you have to deal directly with people who book over the internet and they may not have a good understanding of the situation. So it’s more time consuming than dealing with tour operators or agents who speak our language. You might have higher profit margins dealing direct, but it complicates things. Therefore, we prefer to work with tour operators or agents because it is easier to concentrate on providing a good service to customers.”

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NomineeS Thailand International Business Awards

2018

Mr Matzig explained that Asian Trails Group operates as a distinct company in each of the eight countries it operates in. “Legally, you need to have separate shareholders in each country. Every country has a managing director and they report to our CEO here in Bangkok. When I started the company in 1999 with 54 ex-Diethelm Travel employees, I had to make the rounds regularly to every country to make sure everything was working right. But now I don’t have to do that. Everything is well established and running perfectly. “Once a year we have a board of directors meeting and it’s held at a different Asian Trails destination every year. This year the meeting is in Cambodia, on Koh Rong Island at The Royal Sands Koh Rong Resort. It’s the only first-class hotel on Koh Rong and at the moment it’s the only real hotel on the island. There are also some backpacking bungalows on the island. We opened this beautiful five-star property in December 2017. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen presided over the inauguration of the hotel on April 23. The event was attended by 550 distinguished guests. “I also operate three hotels in Thailand and one in Laos. The first hotel I opened was the Paradise Koh Yao on Yao Noi island in Phang Nga Bay. It is a very nice resort indeed. I am also a share-holder in Vivo Bene Village retirement home in Chiang Mai. This is a very good establishment for retirees at a price three times less than what you would find in Switzerland. The home has 80 nicely appointed rooms and many of the residents stay there for good. Basically we are not a medical facility but we do have five Alzheimer clients who are looked after by Thai nurses. “We are also operating the first river cruise in Thailand on the famous River Kwai in Kanchanaburi province. We do four or seven-day trips with the guests staying on the boat, the ‘RV River Kwai’. This very comfortable and elegant colonial style vessel offers guests the chance to see this beautiful river in a way that would not be possible otherwise.”

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Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is greeted by Mr Matzig at The Royal Sands Koh Rong on April 23 this year

VIP Jets Mr Matzig is a licensed pilot with a total of 2,670 hours as PIC (pilot in command). His love of flying led him to branch out and launch VIP Jets with one Cessna Citation Mustang C-510 twin-engine jet. He plans to purchase one more airplane at the end of this year, a brand-new Embraer Phenom 300E jet manufactured in the USA under license from Brazil. “The manufacturer uses the best and newest technology that surpasses most passenger airplanes in service. “From a business perspective it might be wiser to buy a second-hand aircraft, but as a pilot I want the latest technology. My Cessna is eight years old, but the cockpit is equipped with better technology than most civilian passenger planes. My jet is based at Don Mueang airport. I have two Czech pilots and one Spanish co-pilot. They are all full-time employees, otherwise they couldn’t obtain work permits. “I also bought one Bell 505 Jetranger helicopter which will be delivered in July and will be operating in Cambodia. We will base it at The Royal Sands Koh Rong Beach Resort off Sihanoukville. The helicopter will be used for transfers and for sightseeing.”

Mr Matzig holds an FAA Commercial license and is licensed to fly a variety of single and multiengine land and sea planes. He is certified in IFR (instrument flight rules) and endorsed as a Swiss Glacier Pilot. Flying started out as a hobby. He bought the Cessna and flew privately for four years. His wife said his hobby was costing too much money and he should try to make a business out of it. “So I did. Our main business is medical emergency transfers. About 80% of our business is medical evacuations, mostly from Cambodia, followed by Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos. We can convert the plane from passenger to medical use in a half hour. “Usually we bring people from outside Thailand into Thailand because the country has very good hospitals in comparison to other Southeast Asian countries. People from Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal also like to be treated in Thailand’s hospitals and we bring them here as well. We don’t advertise for medical evacuation. This goes almost exclusively through insurance companies, hospitals and other medical providers.” Mr Matzig said his happiest day in Thailand was in March of this


year when Transportation Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith presented the company with a new Air Operator Certificate (AOC). “We had been working on this for six months, day and night, sometimes until 4am. It is a significant achievement which involved a lot of paperwork.” The presentation gave him a chance to have a word with the transportation minister about an issue he has strong opinions on. “The whole process of obtaining this license was super strict. In Thailand there’s no difference between scheduled carriers and general aviation. It is all the same, and that’s not right. I told the minister: ‘Look, you should change the rules. We have one little aircraft, we carry four passengers, and you treat us like Thai Airways International with hundreds of aircraft and millions of passengers. Something is wrong somewhere.’ At this time the same rules that apply to big carriers also apply to us. Maybe my talking to him will help, who knows? “The aviation business has to deal with so many expenses, like fuel, fees for parking, maintenance, landing fees, handling and communications and permits to fly over a country. One landing in Macau cost US$8,000. This includes landing, parking and handling. Too many permits are required. If you want to fly to Myanmar for example, it takes four or five days to get a permit to overfly and land in Myanmar. It takes only one day to get the permits in Malaysia, Singapore and Cambodia, but in Vietnam it can also take four or five days. It depends on where you go. Aviation is a strictly regulated business because governments are on the watch for people who may smuggle drugs and so on.”

Off the beaten track In closing Mr Matzig reflected on the evolution of the Thai tourism industry since he arrived nearly 50 years ago. “I remember the charter flights dominated by German, British and Swiss operators in the early 70s. By the mid-90s, more and more individual clients were travelling via

a la carte arrangements. Around the turn of the millennium many group tours started coming from India, followed by groups from the Middle East and South America. “In the last few years cheap group tours from China have mushroomed and this is now the dominant factor in the Thai tourism industry. Asian Trails does not handle any zero-dollar or similar low priced group tours from China, but we are very interested in taking care of up-market individuals and small groups from China or anyplace else.

“Thailand has certainly become a mass tourism destination and there’s no going back to the old days, but that does not mean you can no longer experience beautifully planned personalized holidays, staying in wonderful boutique hotels and venturing off the beaten track. “I believe certain attractions in Thailand have reached their carrying capacity and should be controlled by setting limits on the number of visitors per day. This applies to certain islands in the South, to the Grand Palace and the Erawan Shrine, to name just a few places.” While building his thriving travel business Mr Matzig has always scheduled time to enjoy life. Along with flying, other hobbies he greatly enjoys are skiing and listening to folk music. When asked if he has considered selling the business and taking up an active retirement, he said emphatically, “No, absolutely not!”

Bio of Mr Luzi A. Matzig Education • Graduated from the “Verkehrsschule” St. Gallen, Switzerland in October 1967, majoring in Transportation. Career Highlights • Swissair Zurich, Switzerland; Management Trainee, November 1967 October 1969. • Swissair London, United Kingdom and Bern, Switzerland; Station Officer, November 1969 - October 1971. • Diethelm Travel, Bangkok, Thailand; Various Management positions, November 1971- February 1988. • Diethelm Travel, Bangkok; General Manager, March 1988 - April 1998. • Diethelm Travel, Regional Office Asia, Bangkok; Group Managing Director, with responsibility for operations in Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Yunnan, China, May 1998 - May 1999. • Asian Trails Ltd., Bangkok, Thailand; CEO (June 1999- December 2013). Chairman as of January 2014. www.asiantrails.travel Other Business Interests • Cruise Asia Ltd., operating river cruises on the RV River Kwai in Kanchanaburi, Thailand.

Hotels: • The Paradise Koh Yao on Yao Noi island near Phuket, Thailand. • The Legend Chiang Rai Boutique Resort and Spa in Chiang Rai, Thailand. • The Paradise Beach Samui Resort on Koh Samui Island, Thailand. • The Royal Sands Koh Rong, Koh Rong Island, Sihanoukville, Cambodia. • The Sunset House, a four-bedroom villa in Luang Prabang, Laos, located on the Mekong River. • Vivo Bene Senior Citizens Retreat, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Aviation: • VIP Jets Ltd., operating executive air transport and MEDEVAC services by Cessna Citation Mustang C-510 twin-jet to destinations anywhere in Asia. Memberships • Swiss-Thai Chamber of Commerce: President (mid 2012- January 2015), Vice-President (at present). • PATA Thailand Chapter: Vice-Chairman. • PATA Pacific Asia Travel Association: Member of Board of Directors.

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Thursday June 7, Bunker bar is all for charity too! Door donations include free flow and all proceeds will be donated to children’s orphanage via the Fordecthai foundation under the lunch programme providing orphans with healthy food they need. For more information, please call 092 563 9991. Friday June 8, Rabbit Hole, Cha-Cha Suwitcha and her team is hosting special event, door donation and all proceeds will be donated to the Operation Smile Foundation. For more information, please call 098 969 1335.

About Negroni Week Starting with 100 participating bars in 2013, last year’s Negroni Week welcomed the involvement of 7,770 venues in 60 countries to raise a phenomenal $1.5 million for charitable causes since the launch. Following the ever-growing contemporary classic cocktail phenomenon and the rising popularity of bitter, Negroni Week Thailand 2018 is set to be better than ever, over 120 bars participating, CHEERS TO ALL PARTICIPATING VENUES!!

Here Bangkok list 1881 BY WATER LIBRARY / ABAR & ABAR ROOFTOP / ABOVE ELEVEN / AINU BAR / AXIS & SPIN THE / CONTINENT HOTEL / BAMBOO CHIC / BILLY’S SMOKEHOUSE / BLACK AMBER SOCIAL CLUB / BLUEMOON / 25G BAR & RESTAURANT / BRASSERIE CORDONNIER / BRICKS & BONE / BUNKER RESTAURANT / CACTUS BANGKOK / CANTINA WINE BAR & ITALIAN KITCHEN / CANVAS / CHARCOAL TANDOOR GRILL & MIXOLOGY / CHEERS 2 / CIELO SKY BAR & RESTAURANT / EAT ME RESTAURANT / HARVEST RESTAURANT

Saturday June 9, Black Amber Thonglor Social Club joins the Negroni Week for the first time this year, but they are more than prepared for this special event. All proceeds will be donated to Soi Dog Foundation. For more information, please call 02 102 8617. Sunday June 10, Havana Social is hosting this year’s Negroni Week closing party. Pay whatever you want at the door and get free-flow Campari cocktails. For more information, please call 061 450 3750.

HAVANA SOCIAL /HEAP CAFE’ & RESTAURANT /INBLU BAR /J.BOROSKI /JAMIE’S ITALIAN SIAM DISCOVERY /JUNKER AND BAR /JUST A DRINK (MAYBE) /KIKA KITCHEN & BAR /LA SCALA, THE SUKHOTHAI BANGKOK /LOBBY BAR AT REMBRANDT HOTEL BANGKOK /MA-RUM-BA /MOON GLASS BISTRO & GRILL /NICHE AT SIAM KEMPINSKI HOTEL BANGKOK /OSITO UNIQUE SPANISH / OSKAR BISTRO PENTHOUSE BAR + GRILL /PINK FLAMINGO BAR BY PRELUDE /QUAINT BANGKOK /RABBIT HOLE /RARB BY ESCAPDE / ROSSANO’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT /SALT AREE /SAPE BAR BKK /SEVEN SPOONS / SHEEPSHANK PUBLIC HOUSE /SING SING THEATER /SKY ON 20 /SMALLS /SOUL FOOD MAHANAKORN / TALADNATH /TEP BAR /THE CLUB24 BANGKOK /THE HOUSE ON SATHORN /THE LONG BAR AT SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, BANGKOK / THE PUBLIC RESTAURANT & BAR /THE ST. REGIS BANGKOK /THEO MIO ITALIAN KITCHEN /TUBA DESIGN FURNITURE & RESTAURANT /UP & ABOVE RESTAURANT AND BAR AT / THE OKURA PRESTIGE BANGKOK /VERTIGO TOO, BANYAN TREE HOTEL BANGKOK / VESPER /VILLA DE SORRENTO SATHORN / VIVA & AVIV THE RIVER /VIVA THONGLOR /VOGUE LOUNGE BANGKOK/WHISGARS / WHISGARS SILOM /ZEST BAR & TERRACE /ZUMA BANGKOK

The Nearly 100-Year-Old Negroni It was around the year 1919 in Florence when Count Camillo Negroni contemplated ordering an Americano cocktail but decided it was time for a change. He requested it with a touch of gin instead of soda, inspired by his last trip to London and its prevalent gin scene. The bartender was pleased to honour Count Camillo Negroni’s request and added an orange garnish rather than the lemon wedge of the Americano to signify the new drink he had created. In Florence, the Count’s ‘usual’ became known as Count Negroni’s Americano, or the “Americano with a touch of gin”, but whatever it was referred to as back then, the Negroni was born.

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ROCK LEGEN DS:

THE MAN WHO’S KNOWN THEM ALL... Interview Colin Hastings

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... Led Zeppelin, Michael Jackson,

HUKETBASED Brit Stuart Watson spent his entire working life managing, promoting and mixing with some of the biggest names in the music business. Now retired, he recalls the best and the worst of these legendary performers and how the music scene has changed over the past five decades

Freddie Mercury, Queen, Bob Dylan, Kate Bush, Mick Jagger, BB King, Britney Spears, Deep Purple, Paul McCartney, Eagles, Justin Timberlake, Whitney Houston, Backstreet Boys and many others

After a lifetime of travelling the globe, how come you’ve decided to spend your retirement here in Thailand? I first visited Thailand in 1975 and immediately fell in love with its history, culture, people and food. Of the many places I have visited on all six continents, during my life Thailand came out on top. I earmarked it as a potential place for retirement very early on. I love living here. What first sparked your interest in music? My parents were great music lovers

and there were movie soundtracks, original cast albums and early classics by the likes of Nat King Cole, Vera Lynn and Al Jolson all over the place. But it was rock ‘n’ roll, Radio Luxembourg and pirate radio that really turned on the switch. Music was implanted in my soul at an early age. No music no life. How did you get involved in the music business? Having run local tennis club events in the 60’s and attended every one of the 60’s music festivals (including Stones + Blind Faith in Hyde Park and Dylan on the Isle of Wight) I volunteered for the social secretary’s job at uni, booking bands through a guy at College Entertainment. We became good friends and when he left to join

EMI to set up a regional promotions department, he offered me a job. It was a ‘no brainer’ and I immediately rejected the opportunity of becoming assistant biochemist at York Hospital. That was my lucky break.

What was your actual involvement in the music industr y? At EMI I looked after the promotion of touring acts working closely with the likes of T.Rex, Wings, Queen, Deep Purple, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Eagles, Pink Floyd etc. In those early 70’s days the same person (me) handled interviews, local radio, print, retail and venue promotion and, as part of the tour entourage, I got to know the artists well. I moved on to run Harvest Records ( Pink Floyd, Kevin Ayers, ELO, Roy Wood) in 1974, joining Universal/ MCA as marketing manager in ‘76 and becoming MD of MCA UK in 1981. As MD I was involved in all aspects of the business and even signed a few acts (Nik Kershaw, The Fixx, –one million US sales–Musical

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Feature Youth, Kim Wilde). I took over as Head of International in 1984 and spent the rest of my career traveling and overseeing company operations in multiple markets before starting my own business in Asia in 1986. At Singapore based Swat Enterprises we brokered licensing deals for Indie record companies in US/UK and coordinated their marketing and promotion activities throughout the region selling over 10m records in just three years. Amongst the acts we represented were Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake and R Kelly.

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ou grew up in the 50s and 60s – was it the golden period of music that your peers always claim? Definitely … there was so much talent around. Artists toured to sell long playing records and the fans knew every track. Money was made from records not ticket sales. There were so many big British acts in the 60’s–Fleetwood Mac, The Who, Traffic, Moody Blues, Jethro Tull, Joe Cocker, Taste to name but a few, and at the festivals you could watch them all on the same bill over 2-3 days. As far as British bands are concerned. I would only put Coldplay in the international superstar category today. Muse and War on Drugs should be up there but sadly they are not recognised globally. How does the live music scene in terms of concerts, oddball venues and event management back then compare to today? It is totally different. Many of the influential club venues have disappeared and nothing credible has replaced them. Records are now released because an artist is touring. It is product endorsements, ticket and merchandise sales that now generate the lion’s share of revenues. In the current climate a different degree of expertise is involved in the digital space and viral marketing contributes more than good record reviews and airplay to driving artist popularity.

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Which countr y was the most influential in building the international appeal of pop music, and why? In terms of rock music definitely the UK. Whilst its blues roots were imported from America, it took UK artists to popularise these roots. In the UK early production skills created the repertoire that spearheaded the 1964 ‘Brit invasion’ of America which in turn laid the groundwork for American pop which became more influential in future years due to sheer scale of the country. UK acts always took more time out to exploit world markets whereas US based artists preferred to spend more time at home. That said, we came up with some innovative ways to market Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears within limited time space available. Could a band like The Beatles or singer Cliff Richard make it (without professional marketing teams and financial backers) in today’s music business? I am a great believer in uniqueness and natural talent so I would like to think so, yes. The problem today is increased narrowcasting which tends to pigeon hole artists by genre. Radio has lost its impact and, without it, artists have to tour. Touring without hits tends to be a long expensive business and in many countries there is a lack of small venues. This makes it very hard to break through. Streaming usually popularised one song at a time so it takes much longer to achieve superstar status. Unless you are a Lady Gaga or an Ed Sheeran, churning out single after single, it is more difficult to build a concert-going fan base these days Please name your all-time favorites bands and singers, and why are they so great? Led Zeppelin and The Who–the best rock bands of all time. I saw them over ten times each and they were the finest by far. Queen–superb musicianship with Freddie Mercury the best frontman and vocalist of all time.

“I don’t want to be a star”,he told me, “ I want to be a legend”. He is. Our first UK based Asian legend. “Unforgettable”. Nat King Cole I loved him from the age of five, thanks to my dad. Also, Al Green. Neil Young, Pink Floyd and Leonard Cohen - amongst my all time favourites. And the most genuinely talented performers? Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Tony Bennett, Yes, and Stevie Wonder. Least talented and overrated? Sex Pistols Please, a few words on record producers, arrangers, composers, conductors etc – who was the best? In terms of record producers, Chris Thomas, Glyn Johns, George Martin, and Mutt Lange are up there amongst the best. Arranger–Burt Bacharach. Mickie Most delivered a wealth of pop hits and Brian Eno is a maestro. They are mostly Brits. Most difficult and rudest performers? And the nicest ? Rudest–Whitney Houston Most Impressive–Freddie Mercury. Nicest–Kim Wilde, Glenn Frey (Eagles) Your career highlights • When we showcased Britney Spears in Singapore in 1998 on her first ever media live vocal performance. • Introducing Michael Grant (Musical Youth) to Michael Jackson at the annual UK industry awards event when Musical Youth were No.1 with Pass the Dutchie. We stole all the headlines. • Being the first person in the world to hear Bohemian Rhapsody when Freddie Mercury played it to me on his apartment piano. • Hosting an East/West music conference in East Berlin which


Led Zeppelin and The Who–the best rock bands of all time. I saw them over ten times each and they were the finest by far.

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Feature ended on the day the Berlin Wall fell, meaning I was one of the first through Checkpoint Charlie.

Towers disaster, which resulted in the cancellation of her ‘Three Continents’ album promotion.

• The opening of MCA/Victor, our Japanese joint venture company in Tokyo, after months of near impossible negotiation.

If you could go back in time for a day or so, when and where would you choose to be? At the first ever Britney performance (in Singapore), where I was the proudest man on earth. What our team had accomplished for Backstreet Boys was nothing short of a miracle and when (after her performance) we told the cream of Asia’s media that, with their help, we were going to do the same again for Britney, she got a standing ovation. I was in tears with the emotion of it

• The Tokyo Dome concerts by Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears in 2002/3 when the whole of Japan’s music business seemed to drop by and offer their congratulations on our artist’s success. BSB alone sold over three million in Japan. • Watching Led Zeppelin for the first

time at the Bath festival in 1968. • Selling SWAT in 1999 but inserting a ‘buy back’ option if the company ever sold to a third party - which it did. • The record breaking ‘Around the world in 100 hours’ promotion tour which resulted in the Backstreet Boys visiting and performing on all six continents, helping the album explode. The branded jet was a coup (see photo). Career downers • Hearing about Lynyrd Skynyrd’s fatal plane crash and the death of some special friends and being unable to cancel the ‘Putting out flags’ radio campaign for the album released that same weekend. • Landing in Australia on September 11, 2001, meeting Britney Spears off a flight from *NSYNC and having to debrief her about the Twin

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Has the music business lost some of its spontaneity? You could argue that the Internet and social media have helped accentuate spontaneity, but I would say that new talent has lost spontaneity.’Being professional’ has resulted in signing and developing fewer artists. Music is about passion. If you believe in something good enough it will happen. Which of today’s performers do you regard highly? Adele. What’s the future of music–are we running out of ideas? We will never run out of ideas, but a worrying factor is that music’s lack of earning power from an artist perspective is diluting the birth of new artist careers. Music has lost much of its cool factor and ‘would be’ new artists are choosing a career in tech where they believe they can earn more money.

all. Six months later ‘Baby one more time’ was a worldwide No 1. How does today’s pop music compare with the 60s/70s/80s? and do you like it? In general, it is less natural and more manufactured. In many cases it is driven by producers rather than artists. The synthesiser music of the 80’s was similar. The raw talent of the 60’s and 70’s will never be matched. On the few occasions I visit the UK I hear the occasional new song on radio which I immediately download, but there are not many I rate these days. Mumford and Sons, War on Drugs and Ellie Goulding were amongst the most recent. My best successes have been in pop–Kim Wilde, Nik Kershaw, Tiffany, Indecent Obsession, Britney, BSB, NSYNC, etc. The industry just doesn’t make records and develop artists like it used to.

What first brought you to asia? Optimism, excitement, lifestyle and the fact that industry innovators here are able to take your ideas and make them better. I also love having an opportunity to deal with and resolve problems before the rest of the world awakes, creating opportunities ahead of the game. Any thoughts on Thailand’s music scene? It very hard for Thai music to cross borders despite its increased sophistication and quality.


That said, there are some very talented musicians and writers here. Bakery Records in particular was a trailblazer in this regard. Any family connections in Thailand? My son Chris made his first trip to Asia in 1986 when he was one year old and with Bangkok based ‘Fore Management’ (after a few years in Singapore) he now has a successful golf event business. I am very happy that he chose to settle here and see him regularly. How’s life in Phuket–and how do you keep yourself busy? I have written three books in the last six years and devour at least two a week. I travel regularly within Thailand, go island hopping, cook, drink and eat far too much. I have re-discovered the simple life that I enjoyed so much as a youngster. As an ageing hippy yet to cut his hair, I love day to day life in shorts and sandals and am benefiting from a culture where strong family bonding ensures access to all necessary home comforts. I probably spend more time with my Thai friends than I do with the expats. Any regrets? None whatsoever. I would relive every minute again bar none.

H

as knowing all these massive personalities ever had an effect on your own? Are they all (or some) as crazy as they seem? During my time as MD of MCA (3134) I was at times as big headed and arrogant as some of them. This was one of the factors that cost me my marriage. Thankfully I can look back on it now and realise that being under such pressure to deliver can make you lose control of your behaviour and influence your character. One should never allow this to happen and it was a lesson learned. Very few of the ‘personalities’ are ‘crazy.’ The media accounts of some of them are laughable and to a large extent should be ignored. My approach in working with them all was to treat them in the

The raw talent of the 60’s and 70’s will never be matched. On the few occasions I visit the UK I hear the occasional new song on radio which I immediately download, but there are not many I rate these days. same way as I do my mates and family and avoid kow towing. There are too men ‘yes men + women’ in the music business. At all times I shot from the hip and always told it like it was. In this way you gain their trust and respect which triggers the best possible working relationship.

Looking back, if you only had a chance to meet three persons out of all the people you’ve met, who would you choose? Freddie Mercury, Tom Petty and Glenn Frey all of whom were dear friends. RIP all. Is there anyone you would’ve rather not met? Whitney Houston. I should explain. We heard rumours that her husband (MCA act Bobby Brown) was about to cancel his sold out Coca Colasponsored Euro tour, so I flew to Tokyo where he was performing to try and persuade him to reconsider. Backstage after his show there, I began my pre-prepared pitch. The language from his wife as she had me bodily removed from the dressing room was unprintable. The tour was cancelled and, despite our warning, Bobby never sold another record in Europe. What was the most cringe-worthy moment you witnessed during your career? A head of UK A+R telling an artist that her new song was a smash hit when I thought it was a pile of s...t. Stuart’s book ‘Ever y Picture Has Its Stor y’ is available for US$30 at www.swatbooks.com. (Readers of The BigChilli can purchase the book for 700 baht, including postage, by sending an email to info@ swatenterprises. com and marking it “BigChilli Special”).

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Flava restaurant launches new a la carte menu and authentic Thai dinner buffet Award-winning Executive Chef Booncherd presents a new concept menu where colour, flavour and lightness are key inspirations

F

AMED for presenting an array of mouth-watering sharing plates, fresh salads, a variety of succulent main dishes of a unique mix of Thai authentic flavours and innovative international dishes, FLAVA Restaurant at Dream Hotel Bangkok recently introduced a new a la carte menu and authentic Thai dinner buffet. Executive Chef Booncherd and his creative kitchen team whipped up an array of premium-quality meals from carefully sourced premium local and seasonal ingredients. You are invited to explore an array of authentic Thai cuisine specially crafted with an extensive range of traditional Thai recipes. The offer includes an impressive collection of seafood buffet spread, live cooking stations, Thai salad corner and desserts corner that include everyone’s favourite like the sweet mango and sticky rice station. The must-not-miss signature dishes include the bestloved a la carte items like pad Thai river prawns, the mixit-yourself Caesar salad, the delicious and aromatic coconut ice-cream and banana fritters served with honey. The decadent buffet delights is B990++ per person and children under 12 years old dine for free. Special 50

percent discount on the buffet for BigChilli magazine members. The buffet is available every Thursday night from 6pm - 10pm at Flava Restaurant located on the second floor of Dream Hotel Bangkok. Flava Restaurant, Dream Hotel Bangkok. 10 Sukhumvit Soi 15, Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110. 02 254 8500. www.dreamhotels.com/bangkok

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Guest review by

Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy

Landmark Rib Room & Bar

IN what has become a highly anticipated annual event for the Club members, 20 diners joined this year’s pilgrimage eagerly ascending the lofty heights of the 31st floor of The Landmark Hotel to participate in another French gourmetinspired “celebration of beef” at the Rib Room & Bar Steakhouse. This unique venue, with its elegant décor and spectacular views of Bangkok, provided the perfect setting for Executive Chef Philippe and his proficient crew to showcase their culinary skills and superb level of service. Gathering at the bar, we were served a delicious assortment of hors-d’oeuvres, including Serrano ham croquettes, black ink smoked salmon roulade, anchovy butterfly, and cream cheese-stuffed olives. These were accompanied by a sparkling aperitif, Vouvray Brut Domain Pinon (Loire, France). Here comes the beef! Our two-part cold starter course featured meat from both ends of the cow: oxtail cubes and foie gras in beef jelly, and ox tongue salad on pumpernickel bread. Thomas Nowak, our food spokesman, noted the

generous portion sizes and suggested this might reflect the appetite of Chef Philippe himself. Though he felt the jelly needed just a bit more seasoning, Thomas appreciated the delicate flavours comprising the tongue salad and said the pumpernickel bread reminded him of food from his youth. The starters paired with a delightful 2014 Massaya Rosé from Bekaa Valley (Lebanon) was very well received by most, including our wine spokesman, John MacTaggart. The next dish was another clever combination: tasty morsels of homemade corned beef and mini spinach and ricotta ravioli swimming in

a creamy double boiled beef consommé. Part soup course, part pasta course, and entirely delicious! This dish was served together with 2013 Gaja Ca’Marcanda Promis (Tuscany, Italy), an enjoyable blend of Merlot and Syrah (with a bit of Sangiovese) grapes. While everyone liked this wine, John thought it was perhaps still a bit young, and could benefit from further ageing. Our main course was 270-day grainfed black Onyx beef roasted rib eye, served with pumpkin puree, a shredded beef and taro croquette, and bone marrow on toast. Generous portions of the perfectly cooked beef accompanied by a rich beef jus, fresh horseradish, and selection of mustards. Complementing this festival of beef was a rich and robust Syrah, 2015, St Joseph Olivaie Domaine Coursodon (Rhône, France). We also enjoyed this wine with the subsequent cheese course – a Gorgonzola blue served with quince jelly and fig bread. The final course was a yuzu bar and coconut cremeux, with strawberry brunoise, and mango sorbet. The tartness of the yuzu (Citrus Junos) and the sweetness of other fruit flavours were wonderfully enhanced by a sweet golden French Sauternes 2002 Château Coutet (Bordeaux), provided by birthday boy Robert Lea and which all found to be delightful. Our feast concluded with a choice of coffees, macaroons, and chocolate truffles, followed by a single malt Scotch whisky brought by our other birthday boy, Alan Rankin. It was the perfect end to a splendid meal, and we all look forward to returning next year to the Rib Room & Bar. Rib Room & Bar, The Landmark Bangkok. 138 Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok 10110. 02 254 0404. www.landmarkbangkok.com

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NOW OPEN

Top quality steaks in a variety of cuts from US and Australia. Plus large selection of House Specials and extensive wine list.

Open daily from 5pm until 3am. 9/8 Thanon Phat Pong 2, Khwaeng Suriyawongse, Bangkokj 10500 Tel. 061 097 8325 email: office@thesteakhouseco.com


Weekend Global Buffet Nights AVAILABLE AT ZOOM ZOOM Sky Lounge has launched a new ‘Weekend Global Buffet Nights’ every Friday and Saturday from 6.30 pm - 10.00 pm on the 38th floor of Anantara Sathorn Bangkok Hotel. The buffet presents glittering views across Bangkok’s skyline alongside numerous delectable choices of food including salads, aromatic soups, Seafood on ice or grilled, charcoal grilled meats, Thai specialties and more. A special beverage package upgrades weekend dining with free flow bar pleasures. Weekend Global Buffet Nights are priced at B999++ per person with drinking water and B1,799++ per person with free flow soft drinks, draught beer and house wine. 02 210 9000 ext 4304. fb_co@anantara.com

Cantonese roasted ducks by Chatrium AVAILABLE UNTIL JUNE 30 THE Emporia Restaurant at Chatrium Bangkok presents special Cantonese roasted ducks. Try three ways roasted duck with black pepper sauce, roasted duck with sweet plum sauce or roasted duck with seasonal sweet & sour sauce coupled with choices of classic desserts a rich, sensuous chocolate lava with vanilla ice cream, tiramisu green tea and more. The Emporium Suites by Chatrium sits atop The Emporium mall in the heart of Bangkok’s shopping district. 02 672 0200 ext 7912. www.chatrium.com/ chatrium_emporium

Red Sky’s new ‘Seafood Bar’ selections Outstanding Italian Dishes by Chef Stefano at Don Giovanni Restaurant AVAILABLE NOW DON Giovanni, Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok, is serving up a new range of magnificent signature dishes. Seasoned Chef Stefano Zaninelli proudly presents new dishes from starter through to dessert including seared Wagyu beef carpaccio with summer truffle lemon dressing (B720++); seared scallops in Parma ham, sautéed foie gras, asparagus, rocket salad and truffle sauce (B980++); pan roasted Halibut fillet with rosemary buttered asparagus, potato and Siberian caviar wine sauce (B999++); pan fried Mediterranean Sea Bream with potato crust, braised spinach and truffle anchovy sauce (B1,300++) and to finish with Italian semolina creme brulee (B380++) and vanilla panna cotta with fresh balsamic berry salad basil leaves (B330++). 02 541 1234 ext 4151. centarahotelsresorts.com/CGLB

AVAILABLE NOW RED Sky’s “Seafood Bar” presents extra fresh selections of premium imported seafood for all guests to enjoy. The selection includes finest selection of salmon caviar, giant prawns, lobster, oyster, king crab, Carabineros, langoustines, mussels and an array of dips and condiments. Priced at B5,555++ per person or go for the “Oscietra Caviar” which is priced at B3,955++ for 30 grams of exclusive Oscietra caviar served with classic condiments and a shot of frozen Absolut vodka. The seafood specials are available alongside regular tasting menus, light bites and signature mains on the 55th Floor of Bangkok’s iconic rooftop terrace. 02 100 6255. www.centarahotelsresorts.com/redsky

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Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

John Dewar & Sons launch world-class single malt Scotch Whisky brands AFTER the successful launch of Dewar’s premium Scotch Whisky in Thailand last year, Bacardi (Thailand) Co, Ltd have brought John Dewar & Sons Fine Scotch Whisky Emporium range of finest single malts and blended scotches to Bangkok.The three world-renowned single malt Scotches include Aberfeldy 12, Aultmore 12 and Craigellachie 13.

CHIVAS MASTERS 2018 PERNOD Ricard (Thailand) Co, Ltd on behalf of Chivas Regal, world leading Scotch whisky organised the “Chivas Masters” 2018 recently to develop bartenders’ potential and expand the world’s bartender community by searching for distinctive and creative bartenders to attend the global competition.The winner, Arron Apimuk Grendon from Tropic City will go to compete in the world stage in the Chivas Masters Global 2018 in Scotland and London from June 25-29.

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Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

Wine and Dine on ‘A Taste of Sicily’ THE authentic Italian restaurant Brio at Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort presented ‘A Taste of Sicily’ wine and dine event to celebrate the distinctive gastronomy and convivial spirit of Italy’s southernmost region. Inspiring a flavourful journey, live chef stations created a moveable feast of authentic Sicilian dishes, paired with the perfect Sicilian wines.

Thai Sommelier Affair 2018 ANANTARA Siam Bangkok Hotel recently organised the first gathering of Thailand’s Top Sommeliers in “The Thai Sommelier Affair 2018” led by Prateep Kanisthachart, Sommelier of Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel. This event aimed to promote the sommelier profession in Thailand and to offer wine lovers a chance to meet award-winning sommeliers and renowned chefs as they shared their passion and discussed their favourites while learning and tasting nearly 200 labels of premium vintages from 23 companies at Montathip Court, Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel.

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Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

Cut more Crab at Dee Lite restaurant Dee Lite restaurant at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel launched a ‘Cut more Crab’ buffet dinner with a wide range of hot and cold dishes featuring local and imported crab. The new buffet dinner is available every Friday from 6 pm onwards.

Gaysorn Food Culture 2018 GAYSORN Village, the fir st and only “Urban Lifestyle Village” in Thailand, is moving forward with “Gaysorn Food Culture 2018” offering the latest culinary experiences to all food lovers.

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Feature

New Bukhara’s Indian Restaurant WALKING into the New Bukhara’s Indian restaurant, guests are dazzled by the many beautiful and sophisticated Indian arts and culture strewn about on the walls and decorating the tables. New Bukhara’s Indian Restaurant exudes the air of sophistication offering an immediate impression of an authentic Indian dining scene in the midst of Bangkok. Run by the same owner who operated Maharaja Indian restaurant on Sukhumvit Soi 8 which closed down, the eatery is located in the thick of the tourist area on Nana Road. It is only a short walk from BTS Nana which makes it a perfect dining spot before embarking on an adventurous night out in the heart of Bangkok’s nightlife. 121 Sukhumvit Road, Between Soi 5-7, Klongtoey Nua, Wattana, Bangkok. 02 253 6265. www.facebook.com/

Indus IF you often find yourself looking for contemporary Indian cuisine at affordable rates, then Indus restaurant should be high on your list. Offering an incredible dining experience, the restaurant features a relaxed, familyoriented atmosphere, where the wait staff will have you feeling at home within moments of entering the restaurant. With an array of carefully thoughtup dishes to match, the mix of authentic Indian flavours will arouse your senses and have you feeling invigorated. Chef Anil’s passion for cooking shines through ever y dish, giving the customers a mouthwatering dining experience. Set in a fancy house filled with exuberant art pieces in central Bangkok, their contemporary approach to traditional flavours is undoubtedly not to be missed. 71 Sukhumvit Soi, 26 Sukhumvit Road. Klongtoey Nua, Bangkok 10110. 02 258 4900. www.indusbangkok.com

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Charcoal Tandoor FROM the team responsible for Above Eleven, Soho’s Hospitality, Charcoal Tandoor steers away from the norm and emphasises ‘fun’ dining instead of ‘fine’ dining. Presenting a harmonious combination of century-old recipes and innovative mixology, Charcoal Tandoor brings classic cuisine to the modern metropolis. The menu focuses almost exclusively on tandoor-cooked kebabs superbly spiced and flavoured, complemented by old Delhi-inspired cocktails. Located in one of downtown Bangkok’s most buzzing streets, the venue boosts an industrial aesthetic with a relaxed vibe that will hit the spot for anyone looking for a modern and fun Indian restaurant. Fraser Suites Sukhumvit, Sukhumvit Road Soi 11, Klongtoey, Wattana, Bangkok 10110. 02 038 5112. http:// charcoalbkk.com

Saras OPENING its doors in downtown Bangkok in 2010, Saras Indian restaurant has kept its decor to a minimum to keep the emphasis on the mouth-watering variety of meat-free dishes. From rich regional delights to the famous street food plates, the menu encompasses all India has to offer. All dishes are prepared using only traditional methods, everything on this Indian restaurant menu is vegetarian and is sure to take you on a journey to virtually visit just about every region of the country. Offering the widest possible range of vegetarian food and complemented by lightning-fast service, Saras does justice to authentic delights of India. 15 Sukhumvit Soi 20, Klongtoey, Wattana, Bangkok 10110. 02 401 8484. www.sarasvegfood.com


Khana Khazana ESTABLISHED in 2009, Khana Khazana is on Sukhumvit Soi 11 with the second brand located on Pratunam Road. The Indian restaurant presents immaculate ambience with contemporary decorations. Offering an array of North and South Indian favourites, Khana Khazana is located off the busy Sukhumvit Road. The restaurant offers many Indian delicacies including Biryani aromatic rice cooked with spices with a choice of marinated meat. Momos - a variation of the traditional dim sum, native to the North Eastern states. Chole Bhature - a spiced, curried chickpea dish served with a fried flour bread. Kati Roll - a traditional street food popular in India and internationally served with a wrap of kebabs, eggs, vegetables and spices rolled into paratha and more. Khana Khazana. 153, Sukhumvit Soi 11/1, Sukhumvit Road, Khlong Toei Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok, 10110. 02 255 2289. www.khanakhazanabangkok.com

Himali Cha Cha Restaurant Founded in 1979, Himali Cha Cha & Son is now run by the second-generation owner. There are three branches throughout Bangkok: the original branch is on Charoenkrung Soi 47/1, with the other two branches on Convent Road and Sukhumvit Soi 31.

Gaggan GAGGAN successfully reinvented Indian cuisine it has given him the No 1 title not only in Bangkok but throughout Asia. The two-times Michelin starred restaurant puts on a show around a brilliantly executed menu that charts around 25 emojis, turning every dish into a pleasant surprise. Gaggan is all about reinvention and creativity and will give your preconceived ideas of Indian food a 180 degrees turn. Look for a white colonial house on a quiet street off Langsuan Road, and prepare to be surprised and delighted by the chef’s innovative molecular cuisine that has attracted food lovers from all over the world ever since its opening. 68/1 Soi Langsuan, Ploenchit Road, Lumpini, Bangkok 10330. 02 652 1700. eatatgaggan.com

Indian Hut Himali Cha Cha & Son restaurants aim to bring Indian delicacies to the adventurous diners of Bangkok and beyond. Dishes available include deep fried vegetable Pakoras, Tandoori Chicken, Tandoori Mint Chicken, Mutton Korma, Mutton Boti Depezia, Fish Kashmiri, Bengali Fish Curry and more. The ambience in the restaurant promotes relaxed and friendly atmosphere with friendly wait staff who are quite helpful. No 6 Soi Sukhumvit 31, Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110. 02 259 6900. www.himalichacha.com

THIS long-standing Indian restaurant has been around since 1995 and is still considered by many as one of the best Indian restaurants in Bangkok. Indian Hut is known for its authentic North Indian cuisine with Chinese infusions, comprising delicacies mainly from the state of Punjab. Located in the heart of Surawong Road, just a few blocks away from BTS Surasak, Indian Hut seamlessly combines fine dining with a wide selection of traditional Indian dishes. 418 Suriwong Road, Si Phraya, Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500. 02 236 5672. http:// www.indianhutbangkok.com

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Feature Masala Art Bangkok A stylish Indian restaurant located on the second floor of the Eight Thonglor serves up an array of traditional northern Indian cuisine. Taking its name from the art of blending spices, Masala Art prides itself in its selection of masala mixes. The menu features the gamut of all the usual favourites dishes. Masala Art is in the heart of Bangkok’s chic street Thonglor. The 75-seat contemporary restaurant offers up a laid-back and comfortable setting for all diners. Certainly a perfect stop for a filling meal before a fun night out in the bustling neighbourhood.

Signature dishes include Dahi Ke Kebab (B295++), Lal Mirch Ka Paneer Tikka (B325++), Barra Kebab (B575++), Chicken Rogani Tikka (B350++), Khushk Raan (B595++), Saag Paneer (B295++), Lamb Korma (B425++) and Butter Chicken (B350++). However, be adventurous and try everything! 88 Eight Thonglor, 2nd Floor, Sukhumvit 55 Road, Wattana, Bangkok 10110. 02 713 8357. www.masala-artbkk.com

Mrs Balbir’s A true veteran of 43 years, Mrs Balbir’s lets the food speak for itself. It is one of the first authentic Indian restaurants in Bangkok and is still one of the finest despite increasing competition. With a total of nine branches, Mrs Balbir’s Indian Cuisine offers an array of delicious dishes including Masala Papadams (B100++) - Fried lentil cracker spread with small pieces of onions, tomatoes, fresh chillies, fresh coriander and a variety of spices. Tandoori Lamb Seekh Kebab (B420++) - Marinated minced lamb grilled in tandoor clay oven served with mint chutney. Tandoori Chicken (B360++) Chicken on the bone marinated in yoghurt, ginger, garlic, lemon juice extract, spices, and roasted over charcoal in a tandoori oven. Served with mint yoghurt chutney. Paneer Tikka (B350++) - Chunky pieces of soft homemade paneer cheese marinated in tandoori masala and then grilled with vegetables from tandoor and more. The restaurants offer bright and modern decor with comfortable ambience and friendly and helpful wait staff. Mrs Balbir’s Indian Restaurant, 155/1-2 Sukhumvit Soi 11/1, Bangkok 10110. 02 651 0498. www.mrsbalbir.com

Shri Ganesha THIS Indian eatery will convince even the most devout meat lovers with its great variety of vegetarian dishes. With an unusual menu, Shri Ganesha on Sukhumvit Soi 13 surprises and delights everyone going for the typical Indian food. Make sure to finish your meal with a cup of their signature creamy Madras coffee.

The stainless steel plates lined with banana leaves give the SouthIndian space an authentic vibe and will satisfy anyone looking to experience something off the beaten path in the city’s dining scene. Sukhumvit Soi 13, Klongtoey, Wattana, Bangkok 10110. 086 820 5875. www.facebook.com/SriGanesha-Restaurant-Bangkok

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Royal India Bangkok BANGKOK offers some of the most excellent Indian restaurants including Royal India, located in Pahurat neighbourhood. This nondescript open-fronted restaurant is quite easy to find since it’s on the main road. Royal India presents an array of home-style cooking with an abundance of cream and ghee in almost every menu. Serving some of the most delicious Northern Indian menus, the small restaurant tends to be quite busy. The restaurant serves an array of Punjabi dishes, and one of the must-try menus include the chicken makhani with garlic naan. 392/1 Chakkaphet Road, Phahurat, Wangburapha, Bangkok. 02 21 6656. royalindiathailand.com

Punjab Grill Bangkok THE India-based Lite Bite Foods Pvt. Ltd., are the owners and operators of finedining Indian cuisine under the name Punjab Grill Bangkok. The restaurant covers a total of 280 sqm including the bar and lounge offering seating capacity for up to 70 guests. The signature dishes include Avocado Papdi Chaat (B205++) - avocado tossed with sweet and spicy chutneys and marinated cherry tomatoes served in flour roll cones. Tawa Gunpowder Jheenga (B855++) - tiger prawns marinated in spiced lentils mix, wasabi raita. Dahi Kebab (B365++) - creamy spiced yoghurt, grapes chutney; and Kheema Mutter Shepherd’s Pie (B580++) - classical lamb leg mince cooked with green peas, potato mousse, buttered pao. The Punjab Grill Bangkok also offers authentic Sunday Brunch with live cooking stations of Punjab signatures menu including Chaat, Lassi, Siri, Egg Roll, Masala Chai and Kulfi stations. Reservation recommended. 23/2-3 Sukhumvit 13, Radisson Suites Bangkok Sukhumvit, Klongtoey Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110. 02 645 4952. www.punjabgrillbangkok.com


Dining Out

Rang Mahal Sunday Brunch

By Morgan Thanarojpradit

Indian delicacies in the midst of the Bangkok skyline tea. There are also seasonal freshly squeezed juices served as well. There’s no point holding back, just think of it as a cheat day and enjoy the meal. The buffet offers a menu perfect for both carnivores and herbivores so there are numerous vegetarian dishes to choose from. The Sunday Brunch is priced at B1,050 net per person and available from 11am - 2.30pm.

LOCATED on the 26th Floor of Rembrandt Bangkok Hotel, Rang Mahal Indian Restaurant is renowned for its authentic and traditional Indian cuisine and is offering Sunday Brunch buffet from 11am - 2.30pm. Definitely a must-not-miss occasion.

SIGNATURE DISHES

From the cutlets corners and the chatts station on the buffet line, guests will find an array of delicious appetisers to help prime your belly for what’s to come. Also available on the buffet line is the fall-off-the-bone grilled goat leg where a staffer is at-the-ready to offer you delicious cuts. The meat on the buffet line is also very tender and falls apart in your mouth. There are choices of different bread to choose from including naan (plain, butter, garlic), tandoori roti (plain or butter) and kulcha (onion, keema, paneer or potato), followed by an array of delicious dishes such as masala dosa, plain dosa, uttapam, onion dosa and paneer dosa.

ATMOSPHERE

The Rang Mahal is a spacious restaurant located on the 26th Floor of Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok. There is also a terrace outside where guests can enjoy the delectable food while taking in the beautiful skyline of the City of Angels. There’s also a beautiful lineup of curries which includes palak paneer, prawns vindaloo, chole, dal makhani and more. Desserts include an array of cakes, traditional Indian candies that you can enjoy with a choice of coffee or

PARKING

Parking is available at the hotel. Rang Mahal Indian Restaurant, Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok. 19 Sukhumvit Soi 18, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110. 02 261 7100. www.rembrandtbkk.com

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Travel Hotel of the month

Paradee Resort: an escape to luxurious tranquility An exclusive island getaway perfect for recharging and revitalising your body and soul

By Morgan Thanarojpradit

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ITUATED in an exclusive setting on Ao Kiew Beach, Koh Samet National Park, Paradee Resort is a beautiful and serene beachside haven where luxury and tranquility meet. A perfect getaway for all discerning guests seeking an escape from the city’s bustling vibes. The resort nestles between two stunning coastlines at the southern tip of the island and is surrounded by an unspoiled wide open space full of outstanding natural beauty. Who would have thought that all this is only two hours away from Bangkok. The resort also offers VIP transfer service from Bangkok International Airport to Jadet Pier in Rayong Province where it will only take a 15 minute ride on the boat across the Gulf of Thailand to the resort on Ao Kiew Beach. Guests are surrounded by lush tropical jungle at the resort. It is the perfect excuse to get out of the big city to experience the very essence of a serene hideaway with luxurious

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five-star facilities including private villa accommodations and impeccable service. Decorated inside and out with Moroccan and Balinese design elements, the resort features a blend of soft natural hues with rich decor featuring teak wood, rattan and silk. Each villa offers privacy with private outdoor living space, sun loungers and Sala for outdoor dining and most villas also have a private infinity edge pool with Jacuzzi as well. Guests can enjoy the secluded surrounding and enjoy numerous water sports including kayaking, snorkeling or diving trips or choose to stay in and enjoy a relaxing massage therapy at the Paradee Spa. The resort also features a Pool Bar, a

Sunset Bar, a restaurant serving Asian fusion dishes, 24-hour in-villa dining service, a 24-hour fully equipped air conditioned fitness centre and a library. Paradee Resort. 76 Moo 4, Phe, Muang, Rayong 21160. 038 644 284-6. www.samedresorts.com


School Report

Shrewsbury International School’s new City Campus

SHREWSBURY International School Bangkok–City Campus, was honoured to host a special reception for founding families and VIP guests ahead of the school’s official opening in August 2018. Dignitaries such as Suphawan Lamsam, Siriya Sophanpanich, Vichita–M.L. Apimongkol Sonakul, Sashon–Surawech Telan, Vorachan Chirathivat and Sujinta Banomyong joined over 200 honorary guests at the reception. The new City Campus located in the Sukhumvit-Rama 9 area, it has been designed specifically for children age between 3-11 years old. The facility will offer a unique prospect for families seeking the best international Primary age education in Thailand with the full benefit of Shrewsbury’s extensive experience and track record in Thailand and assured pathway into secondary education at the school’s renowned Riverside campus. www.shrewsbury.ac.th

Free English lessons at St Stephen

ST Stephen International School Bangkok offers free English lessons on the weekend school for children between 3-5 years old, and free English tests for children between 6-15 years old. If you apply and pay for the full 40 weeks course, you’ll receive a St Stephen’s travel case for free. For more information, please contact 02 513 0270-1 ext 234, email ploy.marketing@ sis.edu or visit www.ststephen.ac.th

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School Report

On your marks, get set, Summer School is coming!

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N the long summer international break between academic years, Traill International School runs its extremely successful summer school programme. The summer school is one of the jewels in the school’s crown. While it only lasts for four weeks of the year, our staff have spent years developing an outstanding formula to ensure that our summer school students not only enjoy their summer break but at the same time expand their knowledge in fun and innovative ways. The summer school is split into two age groups, key stage 2 (kindergarten and primary) and key stages 3 and 4 (secondary/senior). Each year a topic is selected as the basis for the specially constructed lessons and this year the chosen theme is nature. The students will be considering the impact that nature

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has on us as well as the impact we have on nature. The students in the key stage 2 group will be working on their projects relating to nature, which will involve them carrying out science experiments, using different mediums in art, reading stories about nature and maybe starting their own ecological story. By the end of summer school, they will all have an idea of just how powerful nature is. Included within the programme are two trips per group that link up with the theme and this year one of the visits will be to a farm so that the students can witness firsthand how we can all help sustain the planet. The students will also have time to enjoy swimming, drama, games and sport. A full timetable indeed! In our senior summer school, the students will have the benefit of our specialists in science, English and

mathematics, to give them a more in-depth and scientific understanding of nature and its effects. They will also carry out practical scientific experiments under expert supervision. We are also able to offer students additional opportunities within the timetable to improve their language skills in Mandarin Chinese, Thai and English. If that weren’t enough, they would also enjoy, swimming and sports. The school runs from June 25 to July 20, 2018. Understandably places are limited, so if you are looking for a summer placement for your child and would like a copy of a timetable, please contact our school office at 02 718 8779. Roll on summer!

www.traillschool.ac.th


Expat Women

Immune Boosting Supplement Strategies

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AVE you ever seen someone take loads of vitamins and tell you they are taking them because they don’t want to get sick? The premise is that by saturating the body with vitamins you boost your immunity and protect against viruses and colds. The reality though is that immunity is built over time and not borrowed in the short term by overdosing on over the counter vitamins when you feel a tickle in your throat. In fact, taking too many supplements or improper dosages can actually have the opposite effect. Dr Kanin, a wellness specialist with the Vitallife Wellness Center at Bumrungrad International, has some useful advice on using supplements to maintain strong immune function. “If you serious about building a strong immune system,” says Dr Kanin, “then supplements can help, but understand that that supplements support a healthy lifestyle, not replace it.” Dr Kanin recommends that people who catch colds and flus easily or tend to feel run down should get a proper assessment from a trained professional first. Otherwise, she says, you risk wasting your money or risking your health.

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In the world of supplements, there are a few key players that pack a powerful punch in boosting immune function and fighting off illness. Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid vital to maintaining a healthy gut lining and boosting overall immunity. Glutamine levels decline in the body after training, and so does the body’s ability to fight off infections. Ensuring steady glutamine levels can enhance recovery and reduce susceptibility to colds and flu.


Spa & Wellness 01 SPA Cenvaree, Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok, has designed a special programme to help relieve stress and relax airline crews during layovers. Choose specific treatment or schedule a sequence of daily treatments including our 70-minute therapy session of back relieve massage and herbal compress, hot oil body massage with head and scalp massage, foot, back and shoulder massage or mango body scrub and mango oil body massage. Priced at only B1,200 net per person from now to the end of June. 02 541 1234 ext 4292, 4567. spacenvareecglb@chr.co.th 01 SPA CENVAREE’S SPECIAL PROGRAMME FOR AIRLINE CREWS 02 SHANGRI-LA SUMMER SPLASH TREATMENT 03 SPA PACKAGE AT EFOREA SPA 04 POWER UP YOUR BODY AT A SHERATON FITNESS

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SHANGRI-LA Hotel, Bangkok offers a pampering session with the refreshing 60-minute “Summer Splash” treatment available from today until June 30, at B1,200 net per person at CHI, The Spa. 02 236 7777 ext 6017. www.shangri-la.com/bangkok

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EFOREA Spa at Hilton Pattaya presents a relaxing experience with the ‘Relax, Renew and Emerge Brighter’ spa package for skin nourishment and ultimate relaxation from now until the end of July 2018. The package is priced at B4,300 net per person and B8,000 net per couple for two-hour treatment at eforea spa at Hilton Pattaya from 10am - 10pm. 038 253 000. pattaya.eforeaspa@hilton.com

A Sheraton Fitness at Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers is now open for residents of Bangkok seeking for annual gym membership at state-ofthe-art gym in the city centre. Sheraton Fitness offers spectacular views while offering 24-hour services. Annual membership prices are B4,000 net per person per month, B20,400 net per person per six months, B33,600 net per person per year and B30,000 net per person per year when registering as a couple. There are also special rates for Group Memberships (3-5 persons). 02 266 0123. www.facebook.com/ royalorchidsheratonhotel


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Expat Women

LANEIGE NEW WATER BANK ESSENCE

LANEIGE recently launched The New Laneige Water Bank Essence with Green Mineral Water made from six super vegetables and deep sea water to fully replenish the skin with nourishing moisture leaving the skin refreshed and fully hydrated. The event held at Hall Of Fame, Siam Paragon was attended by numerous A-list celebrities and beauty enthusiasts.

LANCÔME “BE AN IDOLE”

LANCÔME, a leading cosmetic brand from France, recently presented Lancôme Be an Idole, an event to introduce Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Liquid Foundation in 12 new colours, adding to the existing 12 colours to take the total offerings up to 24. These new shades are making their Asian debut in Thailand. The event also serves to celebrate the launch of Lancôme’s new counter at EVE AND BOY in Siam Square One.

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THE POETRY OF TIME EXHIBITION

THE 112-year-old high jewelry Maison from France, Van Cleef & Arpels, launched the latest phenomenon of the watchmaking world through The Poetry of Time exhibition at the M Gallery, M floor, The Emporium Shopping Mall. It presented more than 40 timepieces under four new creations: Love Stories, Poetic Astronomy, Enchanting Nature, and Jewelry Tell Times.


Social

p Last month’s best events in pictures

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Social|Last Month’s Best Events

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL’S “TORUK THE FIRST FLIGHT” COMING TO BANGKOK

CP Ground and True Corporation is bringing the world’s touring production “Cirque du Soleil Toruk The First Flight” to Thailand. The breathtaking world of James Cameron’s AVATAR can be experienced at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani from June 14 – 24.

CROQUANT CHOU ZAKUZAKU AT  SIAM CENTER BAKE Cheese Tart Thailand, the local importer of Japanese-born BAKE Cheese Tart recently introduced Croquant Chou ZAKUZAKU, the pastry’s sister brand known for its crunchy Croquant Chou, to Thai foodies. The first Bangkok brand is located on the M Floor of Siam Centre.

ONITSUKA TIGER BRAND OPENS ITS BIGGEST STORE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA

ONITSUKA Tiger brand has announced the opening of their biggest Southeast Asian store in the popular Siam Center shopping mall in Bangkok. Specialising in sports shoes, the new Onitsuka Tiger store, will cater for the fashion conscious, the sports enthusiast, the sneaker collector or casual shopper. It plans to be a regional favourite for sneaker lovers. 88

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ÉCOLE HÔTELIÈRE LAUSANNE ALUMNI GATHER AT KONGJU THE Esteemed Alumni Thailand Chapter of École Hôtelière Lausanne, the world’s leading hospitality business school which attracts students from across the globe, recently convened at Pathumwan Princess Hotel. Stefan Heintze, the hotel’s General Manager who is himself a graduate of the school, hosted a Korean Dinner for members.

“LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO HATE” ART EXHIBITION

ODS Objects of Desire Store, Lifestyle products and exclusive home decoration at Siam Discovery, The Exploratorium organised an exhibition entitled “Life is too short to hate”, presenting contemporary artworks of Kantapon Metheekul or Gongkan, a new generation of Thai artists renowned overseas. TheBigChilli

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DIPLOMATS p Meet the people uniting nations

His Excellency Dato’ Jojie M C Samuel Malaysian Ambassador reinforcing bilateral bridges with Thailand

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Diplomat: H.E. Dato’ Jojie M C Samuel

Malaysian Ambassador reinforcing bilateral bridges with Thailand

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Words MAXMILIAN WECHSLER

IS Excellency Dato’ Jojie M C Samuel chose well when he decided on a foreign services career. Diplomacy seems to come naturally to the highly experienced envoy who in February came to Thailand as the new Malaysian Ambassador. In his more than 25 years with the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) he has held important positions in Canada, Iraq, Turkey, Austria and Cuba as well as MFA headquarters in Putrajaja. His profession has brought him to Thailand many times, and in the few months he’s been in charge of the Malaysian embassy on South Sathorn Road he has integrated quickly into the Bangkok diplomatic community, forming new friendships and renewing old ones. Mr Samuel was charming and articulate in a recent interview conducted at his embassy office.

Background “I was born in Johor close to Johor Bahru and Singapore, in the most southern part of Malaysian Peninsula. I have one elder and one younger brother. My parents came to Malaysia from Kerala in the southwestern part of India in the late 1950s. I can be considered a first generation Malaysian Indian,” said Mr Samuel, who turns 54 in June. “I did my schooling in Port Dickson because of the nature of my father’s job. He was a medical assistant on a nearby plantation. He worked for a British company. I did all my early schooling in Port Dickson and then earned a degree from the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, majoring in Southeast Asia Studies under the Arts and Social Science Faculty. “My career development actually started when I was in university. Before that time we are still so young and naïve and we don’t know what we actually want in life. At that time there was no internet that gives today’s students the luxury of easily learning about career options and so on.

“University life was the best time in my life. I wanted to be a lecturer. It is not in my CV, but I was a tutor for three years. Ultimately I decided to join the civil service, basically the administrative and diplomatic branch. I applied with the civil service commission and began the lengthy interview process. There are three stages plus assessments and that sort of thing. After I got through all that I underwent one year of training. I was sent to the foreign division assigned to the Eastern Europe unit. This was at the height of the Bosnia crisis. Yugoslavia disintegrated and the Soviet Union also collapsed. It was a tumultuous time in that part of the world. “My first assignment abroad was in Canada in 1995. I was posted to the Malaysian High Commission in Ottawa. After that I went to Baghdad, in 1998. It was after the first Gulf War when Saddam was still in power and the country was under United Nations sanctions. I was there with my family during the bombing in December 1998. [The December 1998 bombing of Iraq, code-named Operation Desert Fox, was a four-day bombing campaign on Iraqi targets from 16-19 December by the US and UK.] I was working at the Malaysian embassy in Baghdad when bombing started by the Americans. We could feel it inside the embassy. It was like a tremor. The rooftops are mostly flat there, so we went atop the embassy and I saw the Tomahawk cruise missiles coming, reportedly launched from a ship. It was scary. The next day we evacuated the families but essential personnel stayed back. When I came back to Malaysia I took a position looking after Myanmar and Thailand. Other assignments abroad were in Turkey, in Austria and Cuba. “My assignment in Iraq was the most challenging, but also the most interesting. Every posting has its own charm, even the one in Baghdad. Whether or not a person can see the good things in a situation like that depends on the individual and how they adapt to adverse conditions and hardships. When I was in Cuba the country was experiencing hardships because of the US embargo. Sometimes you would go to the market and not be able to

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find any of the food or other items you wanted. You just have to adapt to the situation. You know you won’t actually starve. You can find food but maybe you won’t get your choice. The experience I gained from each post has taught me a lot and I value that experience. “I visited Thailand for the first time as a student in 1987. The second time was as a government officer in July 1999. At that time I was Assistant Secretary for Southeast Asia at the MFA and I came here for a joint commission meeting. After that I came to Thailand many times officially, mainly attending various meetings in Bangkok. Malaysia has an embassy in all ASEAN countries so I am ambassador only for Thailand. Our ambassadorial term is three or four years.”

Embassy “The embassy has about 30 Malaysian officials and 36 local staff. I live inside the embassy compound. This is the first time I have held a post where the embassy and residence are together. This has some advantages. I have realised that in Bangkok you need to be near the embassy because of traffic. I think it is a blessing, and I don’t see any problems in terms of privacy. This is a very interesting and busy part of the city and it is easily accessible. All Malaysian staff members live at the compound so I get to mingle with them. “One of my chief responsibilities is to look after the welfare of Malaysians who are residing in or visiting Thailand. The consular section is always busy and the embassy is always open to all Malaysians. They come here for consular matters like renewing a passport or when they have some problem. We are always ready to render our assistance. I encourage Malaysians here to join the Malaysia Club and participate in the many cultural and social activities. We have also the Malaysian-Thai Chamber of Commerce. It is one of the most active in Thailand. They have regular meetings, seminars and other activities. Malaysian business people can always find something of interest there,” said the ambassador, adding that there is a Malaysian Consulate in Songkhla.

Bilateral relations “Diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Thailand were established in 1957 when we gained our independence. Thailand was among the first countries to establish diplomatic relations with us. We opened the first embassy in Bangkok on September 5, 1957. “Personally, there are a few aims I hope to achieve during my assignment in Thailand. I want to meet or exceed what we call key performance indicators set by the ministry. But moreover, the primary thing as I see it is that Thailand is such a very important country for Malaysia in every respect and I am really looking to enhance our already excellent relations. This is a very active and very important post for any Malaysian diplomat. We have regular visits by our ministers and senior officials to Thailand. I want to strengthen the people to people links between senior officials, lower level officials, business people and ordinary citizens of both countries. I am currently visiting various Thai ministries to introduce

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myself. I already have very close relationships with many people in these ministries and I want to build on that. What I really hope in the end is to work together with Thais to take actions that actually benefit the people of both countries. “Historically, Malaysians and Thais are connected. Many Malaysians have family linkages with Thais and vice-versa. The three most northern states of Peninsular Malaysia Kalantan, Kedah and Perlis used to be protectorates of Thailand. But in 1909 Thailand signed the ‘Bangkok Treaty’ in which Thailand gave away the three states to the British. This is history. The relations between our two countries are excellent. However, media reports on events along the Thai-Malaysia border are often incorrect,” said the ambassador without elaborating. “Besides strengthening people to people connections, I am also very keen to find ways to increase trade and investment between our countries. The total trade between Malaysia and Thailand both ways is about US$22.9 billion but we have a target set in 2018 for US$30 billion. Malaysia imports from Thailand mainly natural rubber products, electrical and electronic products, transport equipment, chemical products, machinery equipment and parts and automotive parts. Malaysia is producing two local brands of cars, Proton and Perodua, and some parts are procured in Thailand. Malaysia exports to Thailand mainly electrical and electronic products followed by crude petroleum, petrochemicals and other chemical products, as well as processed foods and plastic products. We also export some machinery and parts. We don’t export cars to Thailand. “The trade balance has always been in Malaysia’s favour. Last year it was about US$548 million. Thailand is Malaysia’s fifth largest trading partner and it’s also very important in terms of investment. There are a number of Malaysian companies present in Thailand, two of the biggest being CIMB Thai and RHB Bank. We have here also several automotive parts manufacturers such as Aapico, Ingress and Petronas. There are also a number of Thai companies in Malaysia. I would like to encourage more Thai investment in Malaysia. “I want to also encourage more Thai tourists to visit my country. There are now many more Malaysians coming to Thailand. Last year about 3.3 million Malaysian tourists visited Thailand, mainly the border areas but some came to Bangkok and points north. About 1.8 million Thais visited Malaysia in 2017. Visas aren’t needed for nationals on either side. There are thousands of Malaysians living in Thailand. Some of them are working for various Malaysian companies. “Regarding trans-national crime, there is good cooperation between the Thai and Malaysian security agencies, both the militaries and the police. Together we control, monitor and patrol the border area well despite the mountainous terrain and forest. We are constantly on the lookout for smugglers of vehicles and other goods, human traffickers and other criminals and we go to great lengths to catch the culprits.”

Vision 2020 “Malaysia is a multi-cultural, multi-racial country. Malays make up the biggest part of the population, followed by Chinese and Indians and then other groups in Sabah


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Skybridge Climb, Langkawi

and Sarawak such as Iban, Kadazan and Dayak. We have freedom of expression and freedom of religion. We have one state in Borneo called Sabah where the majority of people are Christians. In fact, I am a practicing Christian. I go to a church close to the embassy on North Sathorn Road. The civil service in Malaysia is quite open. Promotions are based on merit. I feel fortunate to serve my fellow Malaysians. I was recommended for my post here by the foreign minister. He is quite open-minded and transparent. “Vision 2020 was introduced by the current Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in 1991 with the goal of attaining developed nation status by 2020. We have two more years to go. One of the criteria for developed nation status is that you must have a GDP per capita of US$15,000. Hopefully we can make it. “We are also putting a lot of energy into a policy called ‘TN50’ (‘Transformasi Nasional 2050’). The intention is Langkawi

Mount Kinabalu Nukui

Photo credit: Yuji

that by 2050 we should be a transformed nation going into a new era. We are in the process of trying to engage people in all walks of life – this includes school children, youth in general, business people and everyone else – in coming up with ideas of what they want the country to be like in 2050. In other words, what should be the focus after Vision 2020? We are fleshing out this policy now and in the next year will have it up and running.”

Personal Mr Samuel is adjusting well to life in Bangkok and keeping very busy. For the time being he is without family here. “I got married in 1994. We have two girls, both of them currently studying at university. The elder is in Kuala Lumpur studying business management and the younger one is in London studying law. Both of them will finish their studies by this year.

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LegoLand, Johor

Putrajaya

The Top Komtar, Penang

“My wife, Catherina, also had a career in civil service working domestically for the home sector and attached to Desaru Coast Resort, Johor the Institute of Public Administration. They do the training of his time is spent doing the work of representing and of civil servants. My wife was a trainer but because of promoting Malaysia in the Kingdom of Thailand. It’s a job the nature of my job she lost her seniority every time we he’s happy to do. ‘‘We have a saying: ‘To know Malaysia is went abroad, and when we returned she remained as a to love Malaysia.’ I want to help the people of Thailand to junior officer. Therefore, she decided to resign in 2008 get to know my country.” and now has her own business in Malaysia. She will come here later. She’s looking after our daughter who is studying in Malaysia. CV of H.E. Dato’ Jojie M C Samuel “I have visited Thailand often but I have only Academic Qualifications been living here a few months, so I am still • B.A (Hons.), (Southeast Asia Studies, University of Malaya, Diploma in learning about the country. Generally I find that Public Administration, INTAN. Thais, be they officials or members of the public, Appointments are very friendly and very humble. I have known • December 1992: Appointed as Administrative and Diplomatic officer and some officials since I was an officer at the MFA served as Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Malaysia. with a position in our ASEAN department. I know April 1993: Assistant Secretary (Eastern Europe), MFA, Malaysia. them very well. This makes it easier for me, and July 1995: Second Secretary, High Commission of Malaysia, Ottawa Canada. I am also well accepted as the representative of a January 1998: First Secretary, Embassy of Malaysia, Baghdad, Iraq. friendly neighbouring country. July 1999: Assistant Secretary (Southeast Asia) MFA, Malaysia. “I have already been to Chiang Mai and to July 2002: Counselor, Embassy of Malaysia, Ankara, Turkey. Phitsanulok and intend to visit other places in August 2005: Deputy Head of Mission/Counselor, and Deputy Permanent the Northeast and South of Thailand, particularly Representative to the United Nations office, embassy of Malaysia, Vienna, Austria. our consulate in Songkhla. I feel that it’s my January 2009: Undersecretary (East Asia) MFA, Malaysia. responsibility to visit all Thai provinces and to July 2011: Ambassador of Malaysia to Cuba (with concurrent accreditation meet people. What I want to do is get closer to the to Haiti, Bahamas, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua). Thai people. I like to go out and explore Bangkok August 2014: Deputy Director General, ASEAN-Malaysia National when I have time during the weekend. For this I Secretariat, MFA, Malaysia. January 2016: Director General, ASEAN-Malaysia National Secretariat, dress casually, sometimes in shorts and T-shirt. MFA, Malaysia. “As for my hobbies, I like reading. I used to play football in my school days and I very much Award like to watch the English Premier League on TV, December 2017: Awarded Darjah Sultan Ahmad Shah Pahang (DSAP). especially Liverpool. I am a big fan.” But most

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Beyond Bangkok 

Meeting Packages at Amara Bangkok

INTRODUCING meeting packages available from now until December 31, showcasing the hotel’s award-winning event facilities, accommodation and food and beverage offerings. Prices start from B1,500++ per person for full-day meeting package, B1,200++ per person for half-day meeting package and B700++ per person for coffee break, terms and conditions applied. 02 021 8888 ext 5110. bangkok.amarahotels.com

Free Night Offer at Well Hotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20

THE Free Night offer package is full of special benefits including breakfast for two on paid night, free soft drinks and local beers in the mini-bar, free late check out until 4pm, 25 percent discount at Well Spa, Eat Well Café and The Twist Bar & Bistro, free exercise classes and more. Book one night get one night free. The free nights must be used consecutively. 02 127 5995. wellhotelbangkok.com

MATES’ RATES Friends or Family

White Sand Beach Residences Pattaya mid-year promotion

AN award-winning luxurious beachfront property, White Sand Beach Residences Pattaya launched a mid-year promotional campaign, Live a Luxurious Beachfront Lifestyle offering 15 percent off on top of current promotions. Simply enter promo code “LIFESTYLE” and make reservations on the property’s website. 033 055 210, 062 684 2922. whitesandbeachpattaya.com

35th Birthday Celebration Package

CENTARA Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok is celebrating its 35th anniversary with a 35th Birthday Celebration Package. Prices start from only B3,500++ per night for a Deluxe Room. Available from now until July 31 for stays during the period of May 10 – December 21.

visiting Thailand? Let them know Dog lovers exclusive about these deals package CENTARA Hotels and Resorts offers an 02 541 1234 ext 4116-19. centarahotelsresorts.com/cglb

exclusive deal for dog lovers at Centara Chaan Talay Resort & Villas Trat. For bookings from now until June 30, enjoy your stay with your beloved pet until the end of September. Prices start from B1,620++ per room per night. Centara the 1 Card members will get an additional 10 percent discount.

02 101 1234. centarahotelsresorts.com/centara/cct/

The SIS Kata, Phuket 1st Birthday celebration

THE SIS Kata, Phuket celebrated its 1st anniversary with a special promotion “Stay in Style” and special activity “Photo in Style” contest to win four days three nights for five great prizes. The promotion rates start from B2,700 to B8,399 depending on the room choice. Available only for bookings through the website and use promo code “SIS1stBD” for booking period from May 17 - June 17, for stay from May 17 - October 31. thesiskata.com

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Luxury Stay room package in Bangkok’s downtown

‘Club Zzz’ Program at Amara Bangkok

AMARA Bangkok announces the launch of ‘Club Zzz’ programme to enhance restful nights sleep and guests’ wellbeing during a stay in Bangkok. The ‘Club Zzz’ set-up is per stay and will be made available on the day of guest check-in. 02 021 8888. bangkok.amarahotels.com/rooms-promotions.html

CENTARA Grand At Centralworld offers a special room package in one of the luxurious suites with plenty of benefits. From now until December 23, all guests booking either the hotel’s Executive Suite (starting from B8,000++ per night per room) or World Executive Suite (starting from B11,500++ per night per room) are qualified for a range of “Luxury Stay” privileges. Contact the hotel for full list of privileges and booking details.

02 100 1234 ext 6761-6763. centarahotelsresorts.com


Royal Cliff Hotels Group Conveniently located between South Pattaya and Jomtien, the Royal Cliff Hotel, overlooking the stunning Gulf of Thailand, makes for a perfect getaway a couple hours drive from Bangkok

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N ideal location offering spectacular views of both the mountains and the ocean with an array of luxurious comfort and great dining choices, Royal Cliff is situated on the secluded beachfront perfect for families or a romantic getaway. The Royal Cliff Hotel Pattaya presents an array of dining options including Breezeo restaurant coupled with the Tiki Bar set on the resort’s private beach featuring an array of unbeatable international tapas selections, both local and international dishes while immersing your senses in the fresh, clean coastal breeze surrounded by breathtaking panorama beach. Guests can enjoy a fully relaxing getaway at the Cliff Spa. Choosing from an array of carefully selected finest treatments and therapies

performed by trained experts who will shoo away all your stress and tightness in the muscles leaving you feeling relaxed, refreshed and revitalised. Also available for the young ones is the Funtasea - Kids World where children can play in over 200 sqm of indoor play area. This is the best edutainment centre in the whole of Pattaya offering activities that are both fun and productive include cooking classes, origami classes,

balloon making classes, balloon modelling, pottery workshop, storytelling by kid’s club manager and bed making classes and more. While adults can enjoy their fun and games time at The Verge featuring interactive elements such as game stations, pool table and karaoke lounge. Royal Cliff Hotels Group. 353 Phra Tamnuk Road, Pattaya, Chonburi 20150. 038 250421. www.royalcliff.com

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Beyond Bangkok 01

GUESTS can now enjoy up to 20% discount, daily spa treatments and more for all Barai Suite bookings at THE BARAI, an award-winning residential suite and spa for booking period from now until June 30. Rate starts from B14,400++ per night per room. 032 511 234. www.thebarai.com

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01 Special discount when booking a Barai Suite 02 Hidden gem at Khao Takiab 03 Sushi Bar at Cape Dara Resort, Pattaya 04 Dusit Thani Hua Hin ‘Pay For You Package’ 05 World Burger Tour lineup at Hard Rock Cafe Pattaya 06 Sheraton Hua Hin Resort and Spa’s Special Rates 02

ENJOY the fresh taste of various Japanese dishes including fresh and premium sushi and sashimi prepared in an authentic style such as nigiri topped with salmon, tuna, tako and shrimp. Also best-loved California maki rolls, sashimi platter and more at Radius Restaurant only on Friday night from 6 -10pm at Cape Dara Resort. Promotion ends June 30. Advanced reservation highly recommended. 038 933 888. www.capedarapattaya.com

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RECENTLY launched in a new zone, Resort de Paskani is more the reason to make a grand finale for your memorable holiday. Offering exclusive vibes in the quiet private locale, hidden along the edge of Khao Takiab beach, Hua Hin, Resort de Paskani features the coastal ethnic chic approach in providing luxurious and homey accommodation complete with all the facilities that will make for a breathtaking stay. 032 655 229. www.paskani.com/th/ and www.facebook.com/paskanihuahin

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BOOK a stay at Dusit Thani Hua Hin for a minimum of two nights, Dusit Thani Hua Hin will cover the cost by giving you back one night in credit to use for food & beverages at all hotel outlets including Devarana Spa’s Treatment, pool massage, beauty salon and Dusit Sprinter shuttle bus service during your stay. Nightly rate starts from B3,500++. 032 520 009. dthhrsvn@dusit.com


Beyond Bangkok

Jazz charity dinner mini concert SHERATON Hua Hin Resort & Spa hosted an exclusive Jazz Charity Dinner Mini Concert at The Chandelier ballroom with overwhelming support from hotels and restaurants around town. The event was an ideal curtain raiser for 2018 Hua Hin International Jazz Festival and the proceeds from the evening were donated to Klai Kangwon School.

HARD Rock World Burger Tour is back and this year, for a limited-time offer of Hard Rock Local Legendary© Burgers, inspired by the taste and flavours from cafe locations around the world, hits tables at participating Hard Rock Cafe locations worldwide beginning May 2 and continues through July 31. This year more than nine local burgers were evaluated by Hard Rock’s culinary team with crowd favourites added to the 2018 World Burger Tour lineup. As part of the World Burger Tour menu, Hard Rock Cafes will also showcase the brand’s world-famous beverage menu made up of refreshing cocktails and non-alcoholic options. For more information on World Burger Tour and to contact Hard Rock Cafe Pattaya for menu details. 038 426 635. www.hardrock.com/cafes/pattaya/, www.facebook.com/HardRockCafePattaya.

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TAKE a break from the city and spend some quality time with the family in the loveliest of seaside settings at Sheraton Hua Hin Resort and Spa. Soak up the sea views and decompress. Get a personal pampering session at Shine Spa and more. Rates start from B4,200 net to B5,800 per room per night inclusive of breakfast for two adults and two children (up to 12 years old). 032 708 080. facebook.com/Sheraton TheBigChilli 107


Beyond Bangkok INTERCONTINENTAL Hua Hin Resort in partnership with Siam PGA Holidays and Banyan Golf Club Hua Hin present the InterContinental Hua Hin Resort Pairs Classic 2018. The twosome best-ball, 18hole stroke play tournament will be held the weekend of June 22-24, at elegant Banyan Golf Club Hua Hin. Guests also have the chance to win lucky draw prizes during Saturday’s Beachcomber BBQ dinner and Sunday’s lunch at Banyan Golf Club. Prizes include two nights at InterContinental. Package prices start from B21,500 to B35,000 per room. 032 616 999. enquire@thailandgolf.com

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Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa announced the opening of a 2,449 sqm eforea spa recently. Offering an exclusive treatment menu, innovative design features and carefully selected product partners that appeal to today’s global travelers. As the spa experience becomes more important to business and leisure guests, the new eforea spa located at Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa enhances the travel experience. beeforeaspa.com

07 InterContinental Hua Hin Resort Pairs Classic 2018 08 Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa opens eforea spa 09 Free English Lessons for students in Kamala, Phuket 10 ‘Free Range Chicken’ menu at Hilton Pattaya

HILTON Pattaya invites you to experience a variety of special menus made from ‘Free Range Chicken’, one of the favourite local ingredients which is a great source of protein that nourish your health. 038 253 000. pattaya.hilton.com

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HILTON Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa granted B100,000 to sponsor English lessons, in partnership with the ‘Phuket Has Been Good To Us’ foundation for local students at two schools in Kamala, Phuket. The fund came from the hotel’s 2017 Action Grant winning prize, donation box contributions and the Hilton Flea Market event, and will be used to employ qualified English teachers to provide English language classes for students. The hotel team is proud to give students this opportunity to improve their language skills and education to better their futures. The program is part of Hilton’s “Travel with Purpose” initiative that aims to impact one million youth by next year. www.phuketarcadia.hilton.com

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Beyond Bangkok

MYTT Wedding Showcase MYTT Beach Hotel Pattaya recently organised MYTT Wedding Showcase, the perfect and biggest one-stop wedding fair in Pattaya. The fair gathered more than 30 well-known wedding shops, studios and a panel with famous wedding planners who have organised many elegant and magnificent wedding receptions such as Marisa The Planner and Organizer, and GM Organise & Wedding Planner.

Hua Hin Wellness and Yoga Festival INTERCONTINENTAL Hua Hin Resort, along with partners True Arena Hua Hin and the Tourism Authority of Thailand - Prachuap Khiri Khan, proudly hosted the inaugural Hua Hin Wellness and Yoga Festival 2018. The event which was held from June 1-3 brought together top g=yoga gurus and masters, fitness professionals from Thailand and abroad. The weekend featured other ways to be well, get fit and have fun.

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The BigChilli June 2018  

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

The BigChilli June 2018  

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