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Publisher’s blog


Fruit wine boxes face the axe, but not those hefty prices HAILAND is one of the most expensive places on the planet to drink wine.

Why is that? Tax, mostly. An astronomical 400%, or thereabouts, comprising import duty and excise duty, which together have made even the most ordinary ‘vin ordinaire’ from overseas seriously pricey. Not surprisingly, importers faced with hefty fees like this look for ways to beat the system and one solution has been to under-invoice the real cost of the wine. (Speaking nicely to the customs guys sometimes also worked, according to insiders). Having seen through these various ruses, the authorities have introduced a new system to calculate the cost of imported wine. Now, every product imported is the responsibility of an exclusive agent. Nobody else can bring into Thailand that same wine. To qualify for this exclusivity, importers have to register endless copies of the bottles’ labels, back and front, to customs officials who can no longer be fooled about the real value of the wine. The import and excise duties are both 60% of the wine CIF (cost insurance freight) landed in Thailand, plus other smaller costs like handling fees. For wines valued at above 1,000 baht per bottle, there’s an additional 190 baht duty to be paid. This shake-up of official procedures will also impact fruit wine, which is either brought into Thailand in containers as concentrates and then fortified with local ingredients before bottling here or bottled in nearby Vietnam which enjoys lower duties as part of ASEAN and then imported into the kingdom. Henceforth, the taxes on fruit wine will increase substantially, making it far less attractive to



consumers. Boxes of fruit wine sold mostly through the big supermarkets are already disappearing because of the higher duties. None of this will come as good news to wine lovers, including those who have happily drunk relatively inexpensive fruit wine unaware of its real composition. Tourists are often shocked by the cost of wine in Thailand compared to much lower prices back home. Behind the scenes, a struggle is going on between several of Thailand’s biggest companies over the wine business, especially as the still-small ladies segment of wine drinkers shows all the signs of a massive increase, which will have serious repercussions on established drinks brands. Meanwhile, there’s apparently little chance of any new beer companies entering the Thai market. Even though they face no legal barriers, new entrants would find it hard to overcome some tough hurdles with regard to environmental considerations – all of which are supported by lobbyists from the country’s big brewers. So there’s no good news concerning lower wine prices in Thailand. Even fruit wine is about to become very expensive, if it survives as a product at all. And Thailand’s biggest beer companies will continue to run the show in terms of price since imported ‘craft’ beers will face the same regulations as wine.

Hard to pinpoint the real buffet gluttons


hotel in Pattaya was in the media spotlight recently for charging foreigners more than locals for its buffet. The motive, one supposes, is that foreigners are bigger and therefore eat more. This is obviously ridiculous since shrewd diners, regardless of nationality, head straight for the ex-

Publisher’s blog pensive dishes. And who can blame them? What hotels should do is charge people for the food they take from the buffet but don’t eat. Anyway, as far as anyone knows too, there’s no evidence that certain people can consume more than others. Indeed, winners of those ghastly eating competitions are often won by amazingly trim Asians.

Airline theft – who can you trust?


EVERAL airlines have been getting some bad press over allegations of theft from luggage either during or before/ after the flight. While investigations are underway in some of these cases, a senior Bangkok businessman with a gilt-edged reputation has also experienced something similar on the flight from the Middle East to Bangkok. He reports that during the night his wife noticed a steward leaning over her but she didn’t think much of it at the time, guessing he may have adjusted her blanket. However, on the way home from the airport, his wife discovered that all her cash – several thousand dollars and a hundred Euros – was missing from her handbag. Nothing else was missing, including her jewellery and mobile phone. Apart from when she was asleep, the lady never lets that handbag out of her sight. The couple contacted the airline which was unhelpful and “didn’t seem to believe our story.” “I don’t want or expect any compensation but would like to warn my friends about travelling with this particular Middle Eastern airline. Service and comfort have always been good, but this is the sixth and last time we fly with them. “The steward in question is a handsome man in his mid-thirties who made the flight announcements in Arabic. Pity we didn’t notice his name. Talk about Ali Baba and the forty thieves!”

Why the Foreign Business Act makes sense


SK most foreign businessmen what they would change about doing business in Thailand and the answer would be: Amend the Foreign Business Act (FBA). Basically, they want to make life easier and less burdened by Thailand’s infamous bureaucracy, plus better access to currently restricted types of business, and majority ownership of the companies they set up here. That’s all very understandable but it conveniently forgets about the need for government restrictions on foreign businesses. Without the act, Thailand would have been swamped long ago by



PUBLISHER Colin Hastings MANAGING EDITOR Morgan Thanarojpradit EDITOR Nina Hastings SALES & MARKETING MANAGER Rojjana Rungrattwatchai ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Thana Pongsaskulchoti ACCOUNTING MANAGER Janjira Silapapairson ART & PRODUCTION Arthawit Pundrikapa, Jaran Lakkanawat PHOTOGRAPHY JL & AP CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Drew McCreadie, Maxmilian Wechsler, Jessica Webba, Kelly Iverson



No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without prior written permission from The BigChilli Co., Ltd. The opinions and views of the writers are not necessarily the views of the publishers. All details are deemed correct at the time of print, the publisher, the editor, employees and contributors can not be held responsible for any errors, inaccuracies or omissions that may occur. The editor reserves the right to accept, reject or amend any submitted artwork, photographs, illustrations and manuscripts. The BigChilli welcomes unsolicited contributions but assumes no responsibility for the safe-keeping or return of such materials damaged or lost in transit.

The BigChilli Co., Ltd. 8/2 FMA Group Building, 5th Floor, Room 501, Convent Road, Silom, Bangrak, Bangkok 10500. ☎ 02-635-5085, ☎ 081-358-1814 Fax: 02-635-5086

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non-Thai companies with their more advanced business acumen and technology. Let’s face it, even now they continue to have a huge head start from their own countries compared to less experienced local enterprises. Seen from that perspective, the act makes sense as it gives Thais a leg-up in the business world. Despite the hurdles, the FBA hasn’t stopped thousands of foreigners from setting up companies that have become huge financial successes in all kinds of business fields.

More documents required for UK car hire


F you’re a Brit who’s planning to hire a car back home, you may find that some car hire companies suppliers are now demanding more than a valid UK driving licence before allowing you on the road. People are being told to take along examples of documents proving your address. This can be in the form of a utility bill or credit card/bank statement received within the previous eight weeks of the start of your hire. Print-outs of online statements are acceptable. Among car hire companies asking for this additional information are Arnold Clark and Thrifty. Check the rental conditions before booking.

Hemingways is back!


OOD to hear that Hemingways – one of Bangkok’s most popular pubs – will be pouring pints again shortly in a new location on Sukhumvit 11. Its demolition on Soi 14 last year was greeted with a howl of protests because of its traditional architecture and convenient position next to the Asoke BTS station. The new Hemingways will be located on the site previously occupied by Zaks, some 120 metres down Soi11.

Anybody’s name card keeps security happy


DNTIFICATION of some kind is now required at most modern office blocks. How do you get round this if you don’t have appropriate documentation? At a major Sukhumvit office tower the other day, I didn’t have any ID, so the ever-so-sympathetic girl on the front desk asked if I had a name card. I didn’t. However, a quick search in my pocket yielded someone else’s card. The girl smiled, took the card, photocopied it and then returned it to me together with a security pass. Just like that. editorbigchilli TheBigChilli




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


By Jessica Webba






April 20 - May 15 Multiple venues BAMM! or Bangkok Arts & Music Month) is back for a unique series of concerts guaranteed to please all music fans in the city. Held at different venues across Bangkok between April and May, it will feature live acts from a number of well-known international performers such as FKJ, Yung Bae, and Iron & Wine. Ticket prices range from B590 to B1,790 via TicketMelon.

02 Together Festival

May 4-6 BITEC Convention Center TOGETHER festival returns for its 7th edition. Experience the popular 2-day EDM festival and enjoy an impressive international line up with big names such as Martin Solveig, Marshmello, Hardwell and much

more. Final tier tickets start at B2,995.

03 Yolo Run Bangkok

May 5 King Rama IX Park THE global race YOLO run is returning to Bangkok for its second edition. The Singapore run event held across eight different countries is famous for providing an exhilarating experience for all participants. With a series of fitness challenges and an invigorating mass yoga session, don’t miss the fun and join the run.

04 Harry Styles Live in Bangkok

May 7 IMPACT BRITISH phenomenon Harry Styles makes his solo debut in Thailand

with the Live on Tour. Promoting the first album of the former One Direction singer, the single ‘Sign of the Times’ instantly reached the top of the charts. Don’t miss the record-breaking star’s performance in Bangkok. Ticket prices start at B2,500 via all ThaiTicketMajor outlets.

05 Sugar Club Presents Ja Rule

May 9 Sugar Club Bangkok GRAMMY nominated American singer Ja Rule is coming to Thailand for the first time. Performing at the Sugar Club Bangkok, come and stand face-to-face with the multitalented rapper. Tickets start at B875 via TicketMelon.


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08 06 Royal Ploughing Ceremony

May 10 Sanam Luang (Royal Field) EXPERIENCE an ancient royal rite that marks the arrival of the rice-growing season. The Royal Ploughing Ceremony dates back several centuries and is of great symbolic importance nationwide. Go to Sanam Luang on May 10 for a chance to witness a unique event.

07 Money Expo 2018 May 10-13 IMPACT MONEY Expo Bangkok is back for its 2018 edition. The exhibition has been a prime source of financial and investment services for investors, consumers and businesses all over Thailand. Head to Impact Exhibition

Hall Muang Thong Thani and get the chance to connect with a wide range of financial institutions.

08 Karma Kruise

May 12 Bangkok, Thailand THOSE that suffer from happy feet will be happy to hear that Karma Klique is back with its signature Karma Kruise boat party boasting the best dance beats and good vibes along the Chao Phraya River. Drift past ancient temples and the city’s dazzling skyline before taking in the majestic sunset while dancing to the sound of some of the best techno and house dj’s from Bangkok and SEA. events/922086574638896

09 I am You

Until May 27 BACC VASAN Sitthiket is a renowned and internationally recognised Thai artist whose work reflect and criticise political and social movements. The artist combines his art and role as an activist to create unique paintings of challenging nature. Shaped by contemporary societal issues, Vasan’s work makes him one of the most socially active artists in the country’s art history. Catch the exhibition now in BACC’s Main Gallery until May 27.

abstract work of American artist Sam Friedman. Friedman has worked with the New York Times and international brands such as KAWS and Nike, and is now showing his debut solo exhibition at Chin’s Gallery. In ‘Running’, he shows a combination of vivid patterns inspired by nature and displayed from different perspectives. The exhibition will be running until May 30.

10 Running

Until May 30 CHIN Gallery BANGKOK art lovers must experience the stunning

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Hotel of the month

Anantara Chiang Mai An exquisite northern retreat by the beautiful Mae Ping river


ITUATED in Thailand’s second largest city, Anantara Chiang Mai Resort is only a 15-minute drive from Chiang Mai International Airport. The colonial-style luxurious resort stands on the banks of the serene Mae Ping river and offers a

selection of the best and most elegant accommodation, food, spas and more. Stepping into the premises, a single building stands out inside the compound. A colonial-style building houses The Service 1921 restaurant. The elegant hideout is decked in undercover agents from the Oriental theme with spy clothes, suits and gadgets with a hidden room behind the bookcase. The delicacies come from Chef Huang Jing Jun or Chef Chris’s recipe book. Serving a



cache of top secret recipes, must-try dishes include pork meat dumplings, poached pork dumplings served in soya and Sichuan chilli oil sauce, braised beef shank in yellow curry with Betel leaves, Chinese roast duck, poached Choi Sum and marinated cold black fungus Sichuan style and more.

The accommodation comprises elegantly designed rooms and suites housed in the colonial-style building of wood, cement and expansive glass. Each room presents ultimate comfort and privacy with private balconies and terraces.There are floor-toceiling windows where sunlight can stream through and offer natural light illuminating the stylish furnishings accented by beautiful artefacts. The windows provide a calming view over the neatly manicured lawn

overlooking the Mae Ping River or the 34-metre riverside pool. Available for all guests is the private check-in and check-out service and a complimentary laundry service (seven pieces daily), Energy is renewed with a workout in the Riverview gym, going with the flow of yoga or tai chi, and getting fighting fit in a Muay Thai boxing class. Culture and wellness go hand in hand at Anantara Spa, where holistic pampering includes unique northern Thai rituals. Anantara Chiang Mai Resort. 123-123/1 Charoen Prathet Road, Changklan, Chiang Mai 50100. 053 253 333.










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Feature drivers had to light a fire under the bus to melt the frozen diesel oil. The buses eventually broke down in the middle of the Afghan desert so Clarence and I, along with a couple of the girls from the bus, carried on for the rest of the journey making our own way. It’s not something you would want to do by yourself. Clarence, incidentally, is still in Thailand living in Chiang Mai. There follows a couple of chapters on adapting to life in Thailand and working as a teacher, before joining the Bangkok Post in November 1969. Not surprisingly, the newspaper features heavily yne Morrison on a Wa throughout the book, and gue lea col st With former Po odia in 1971, war-ravaged Camb there are two chapters deserted beach in Thai border. just across from the specifically on life at the Post, first at the Rajdamnoen office and then the U-Chuliang. quite ignorant about the kingdom. The first dozen chapters are Some might argue I still am. But the roughly chronological after which people of Thailand were the biggest there are assorted topics, primarily influence on me staying. They were anecdotes about travelling around the so welcoming and friendly, and kingdom. Some of those trips to the from the first few days in Bangkok, provinces were very rewarding owing despite the sweltering April heat, to the natural friendliness of the I immediately felt comfortable. people. They were wonderful times. Whatever people say these days, I experience some form of culture those smiles worked a shock in just about every chapter. School days. treat. You must have a good memor y Give us a rough idea Fortunately, I kept a diary in 1969, of the contents which I still possess, so for the whole There are 26 chapters of that year, I know exactly where I in all. The first four deal was on what day. Much of the diary is with the overland trip. It trivia at its most trivial. I wouldn’t let was quite an experience anyone else read it. However, I wish I and something I’ve had continued with some sort of daily never forgotten. I didn’t journal. These days I can’t remember know anybody on the what happened yesterday. bus, but after a while became friendly with What about the nightlife? another Englishman, Yes, there’s plenty of that in the Clarence Shettlesworth. book probably a bit too much. It’s We travelled through more mainly about the early days when than a dozen countries, and I didn’t have a clue what was going it became more intriguing on. It certainly was a bit different the further we ventured to my hometown in Berkshire. My into Asia. Afghanistan was introduction to Bangkok’s nightlife quite extraordinary, and so was the old Mosquito bar down by was Nepal but in a different the docks. That was an eye-opener. way. It was freezing cold I particularly enjoyed the New all the way to Afghanistan, Petchburi Road strip, especially all Clarence Shett particularly in eastern the bands which catered for GIs on lesworth and Ro ger with stude on the Pattana nts college campu Turkey, and sometimes the R&R from Vietnam. It was heaving s in mid-1969 . until hostilities ended in 1975.



Features editor at the U-Chuliang office in the 1980s.

Any serious stuff? Nearly all the book is written in what I hope is a lighthearted style similar to the PostScript columns. However, there is one sobering chapter about the events of Oct 14, 1973, and Oct 6, 1976, which definitely cannot be treated in a frivolous manner. I witnessed both events and have attempted to convey just how traumatic those times were. They are not particularly pleasant memories, although Oct 14 was in a way inspiring. How about your maid, Ms Yasothon?


he’s got a whole chapter, God bless her, and probably deserves more. She sadly died back in 2003, but her husband Noi still looks after our house and garden, and he’s a lovely chap. I have happy memories of Tong (Ms Yasothon), and I think it rubbed off on readers. I wrote a tribute to her in the Bangkok Post the week after she died and was overwhelmed with emails of condolences from around the globe. It was very moving. She would never have any idea she had such a following.

We are actually the same age, the Post and I, established in 1946. When I joined we were a sprightly 23, so we have sort of grown up together. Even in the months before I joined the Post, I used to buy it every day. Any particular moments in the book that bring back fond memories? As a teacher singing an impromptu ‘Simon Says’ with a class of 12-yearolds in what was supposed to be an English lesson that was great fun. The tale of the haunted house which became my first (and last) front-page story; the ‘capture’ and release of

the black panther, Ai Dum, a classic Thai tale if ever there was one. And the look of bewilderment on Ms Yasothon’s face when a PostScript reader asked for her autograph, a lovely moment. You must have a special attachment to the Bangkok Post having worked there for most of your life? We are actually the same age, the Post and I, established in 1946. When I joined we were a sprightly 23, so we have sort of grown up together. Even in the months before I joined the Post, I used to buy it every day. It cost two baht and was a very good read. You have to remember that it was in the days before satellite news, so the newspaper was a key source of information. The local TV news was pretty grim. Admittedly my main reason for buying the paper was to catch up on the sports news back in England, particularly the football. But I also felt it had an excellent balance of home and international news, something that still exists to this day. Bangkok has changed considerably since you arrived. Please give us some less obvious examples of those changes.




Relaxing with BigChilli’s Colin Hastings at the King’s Cup Regatta in Phuket.

Something many people have forgotten is that until the 1980s most taxis in Bangkok had no air conditioning unless you counted the holes in the floor. Those old Bluebird rattletraps felt like tin saunas, but when you let the windows down, it also let the fumes in. They had meters which never worked and were only used by cabbies to hang their hats on. Also in the early 1970s wherever you walked in Bangkok little kids would ambush you with “hey you, one baht”, later to become “hey you, five baht”. That doesn’t happen anymore, well not to me. I also miss the traditional sounds of the sois – the comforting sounds of the night watchman patrolling the soi striking a bell every hour after midnight; the kuay teow seller with his booming but somehow melodic voice (now it’s a pick-up with awful loudspeakers); and the icecream man with his little bell. We’ve still got stray dogs, however. That won’t change. With the Vietnam War raging in your early years in Thailand, did you ever fear for your future - or indeed Thailand’s future?


he Bangkok Post provided excellent coverage of the war, so we were all alert to the situation. I was never really worried about my future, but in the early 1970s, I was



It was not exactly a village, but if you went out at night, you could almost guarantee you would run into several people you knew. football in those days and was often bumping into people I played against, and we invariably ended up having drinks together Germans, Swiss, Scandinavians, Italians, French and Thais. It was wonderful. I made so many friends from different nationalities. However, it was almost impossible to have a discreet date there would always be someone you knew showing up at the quietest of places.

Roger and wife Prapatsorn (Aon) at Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai.

concerned about what could happen to Thailand. Many people feared the ‘Domino Theory’, believing that Thailand would suffer the same fate as Laos and Cambodia and be overrun by the Communists. I am convinced that the people’s love for His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej united Thailand and played a major role in the kingdom holding firm, especially in the vulnerable Northeast. Is it true that Bangkok’s expat community in the early 70s was so small that ever ybody knew just about ever yone else? It was not exactly a village, but if you went out at night, you could almost guarantee you would run into several people you knew. I played a lot of

Who else has been involved in the book? Several people have been very helpful. My old friend John Leicester has done an excellent editing job and has been very patient with all the delays. Then there are friends and former Post colleagues Tony Waltham and Peter Finucane who came through when my memory was found lacking. Danny Speight has also been very supportive, and his work on the production side has been invaluable. And of course my late dog, Toby, who proved to be a very good listener in my more fragile moments. Is there another book in the works? While reading the proofs of the current book recently, I realised how much I had left out, so you never know. The Long Winding Road to Nakhon Nowhere is available at Kinokuniya bookstores, on as both printed and eBook formats or contact

Meet the Chef SERVING UP

Thanatchai Fakcheng

What’s your cooking philosophy? Be passionate and be open to learning new things.

Head Chef at KUTAI French-Thai Cuisine

Most influential chef? Gordon Ramsay What’s your proudest signature dish? Couscous with seafood. Most popular at Kutai. Most difficult ingredient to work with? Corn flour. Especially for certain Brazilian dishes. Your biggest mistake when you were in brand new chef? Overcooked the beef steak. Three words that best describe your cooking? Creative. Brave. Determination. The utensils you can’t do without? Kettle and knife. Best advice you’ve ever received? Stay positive and be a visionary. Music you listen to whilst cooking? I don’t listen to music while cooking. What’s your greatest achievement to date? Appointed the Head Chef at KUTAI French-Thai Cuisine What do you like doing when you’re not busy cooking? Update myself about cooking and reading books. What would you be if you weren’t a chef? Probably a farmer.

Chef in

focus 30


■ CHEF Thanatchai Fakcheng or Chef Bie is taking the helm of the kitchen at KUTAI French-Thai Cuisine. Honing his skills at fine kitchens such as at the Radisson Blu Bangkok and the Hotel Muse, he is bringing his best game to each plate. Prides himself on creating cuisine d’art, every dish at KUTAI French-Thai Cuisine is sure to make an impression. KUTAI French-Thai Cuisine. 178 Suan Phlu 1 Alley, Thung Maha Mek, Sathon, Bangkok 10120. 063 541 9242.

The Amaya Sunday Brunch:

Quality dining and outstanding value


OR many Bangkok expats, Sunday has become synonymous with a long and relaxing lunch spent with family and friends in convivial surroundings. The competition for this valuable market has prompted hotels to come up with some truly amazing Sunday Brunch concepts offering not just great food but also incredibly good value. Right now, none gets better than the Amaya Sunday Brunch at the Amari Watergate. This is simply unbeatable in so many respects. The food selection is awesome with a huge variety of Italian, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Thai and international options, plus a seriously generous spread of seafood including Fin de Claire oysters and Alaskan king crab, cheeses from Italy, France and the UK, salads, cold cuts, desserts and other delicious surprises. Items cooked-to-order include imported steaks, lobster and foie gras. And those people who love their Champagne, quality wines (New Zealand, Australia and France), beer, gin and tonic and many of the world’s most popular cocktails, the Amaya has a choice of free flow packages. Cost-wise, the Amaya Sunday Brunch represents outstanding value: • B1,500++ per person (food only) • B1,690++ per person (with soft drinks, water and juices) • B2,150++ per person (with sparkling, red and white wine, soft drinks, water and juices) • TB2,700++ per person (with champagne, sparkling, red and white wine, soft drinks, water and juices) The restaurant itself is spacious and thoughtfully designed to create a wonderfully laid-back atmosphere. There’s even a dedicated kids’ corner, giving parents peace of mind knowing that the little ones are safely and securely occupied while they enjoy a spectacular buffet. Frankly, there’s something to suit every palate. And at these prices, they’ll suit every budget too. Amari Watergate Bangkok. 847 Petchburi Road, Makkasan, Ratchathewi, Bangkok 10400. 02 653 9000.



Iron Balls Gin Parlour


on the scene TaladNath

THE new spot in town, TaladNath Ethnic Bar & Streetfood is here to provide a new drinking experience by using forgotten spirits and uniquely prepared cocktails. Hidden in Thonglor Soi 6, Talad masters cocktails and spirits from all over the world with classic drinks such as Caipirinha from Brazil, El Floridita Daiquiri from Cuba, the Margarita from Mexico, or the Joté from Chile. With the motto “no to straws, no to credit cards and no to classic cocktail presentations”, it opens daily from 6pm to midnight and does not accept weekdays reservations. Go for the great cocktails and stay for the mix of African, Latin and Jazz tunes coupled with great Thai food. @taladnath_bangkok



Hot new restaurants, bars & cafes in Bangkok

Tinidee Hotel@Bangkok Golf Club

THE rebirth of something new is always memorable, as is the transforming of Bangkok Golf Spa Resort into the Tinidee Hotel@Bangkok Golf Club, a fresh and exciting resort under the Tinidee Brand. With a perfectly convenient location

INTRODUCING Iron Balls Gin Parlour. Boasting its well-known name from Iron Balls Distillery run by the renowned bar designer and master distiller Ashley Sutton who’s also behind many famed Bangkok’s nightlife scenes including iconic venues like Iron Fairies, Sing Sing Theatre and Maggie Choo’s, Iron Balls Gin Parlour certainly won’t disappoint. The parlour features dark wood, leather armchairs and lush velvet panels with an old deep sea diving helmet as the centrepiece, a reference to Ashley Sutton’s passion for diving. Enjoy refreshing cocktails made with their distinctively smooth and fruity gin such as the Cucumber and Bael Fruit Sour and The Spitcock, or go for the Fever Tree Mediterranean, a classic G&T made right. The Iron Balls Gin Parlour opens daily from 6pm - 1 am. 02 714 2269.

for both business and leisure travelers, the resort is nestled between two of Thailand’s finest golf courses, Bangkok Golf Club and Riverdale Golf Club. Featuring a contemporary décor and offering commanding views across the golf course and surrounding countryside, you will feel surrounded by natural beauty. Only 45 minutes from Bangkok and all its amazing attractions, it enjoys a peaceful and relaxing ambience, whilst the surrounding locale also offers a wide choice of exciting activities waiting to be discovered. 02 147 5858.

Food& Drink Bangkok’s hottest dining deals and news

The Canvas Local Tour 2018 AVAILABLE MAY 18, JUNE 15 PRESENTING “Plant, Sea, Fire” theme, The Canvas Local Tour 2018 is the first of its kind to bring reputable chefs from different regions of Thailand (Isaan, Bangkok, Hua Hin and Phuket) to further drive the local ingredient movement in the casual fine dining scene. Each chef will collaborate dinner presenting three food elements as part of the Canvas Local

Enjoy authentic Spanish flavours at Uno Mas AVAILABLE NOW UNO MAS presents an updated list of signature dishes including Grilled Spanish octopus, Baked Maine lobster, Spanish Cochinillo Asado, Txuleton Txogitxu the famous Basque large Rib Eye steak, Charcoal oven roasted Spanish suckling lamb leg ‘choto lechal’ and more. Reservation recommended.

Tour 2018. On May 18, Chef Xavier from Big Fish & Bar and Chef Riley from Canvas will present the Sea Menu at Big Fish & Bar Hua Hin priced at B1,900++ for six servings. On June 15, Chef Num from Samuay & Sons (from Isaan) and Chef Riley from Canvas will present Fire Menu priced at B2,900++ for eight servings. Reservation highly recommended. 099 614 1158.

02 100 6255.

The goodness of goose at Silk Road AVAILABLE NOW CHEF Kam and his kitchen team at Silk Road, The Athenee Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel presents an array of Cantonese cuisine featuring succulent goose on the menu. Available a la carte (B450++) and set menu (B2,600++), whether barbecued, double boiled, or sauteed, the soft fresh is sure to offer rich tastes and flagrant. 02 650 8800.



Book early, get more AVAILABLE NOW UNTIL JUNE 3 BOOK your party or social event at Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15 today and receive great benefits! Starting from B40,000 net. Booking period is available from now until June 30, for events between now until December 31. 02 309 3000.

Blue Sky presents new Modern French Bistro Menu 2018

Amara Bangkok presents new all-day breakfast menu AVAILABLE NOW ELEMENT Restaurant at Amara Bangkok presents an array of exciting new all-day breakfast menu showcasing many of the all-time favourites and innovative culinary delights led by the hotel’s Executive Chef, Chef ‘Toei” Nattakit Kallayanamitr. Prices start from B220++.

AVAILABLE NOW BLUE Sky at Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok, named one of the 15 Most Exciting Rooftop Bars in the World by Architecture Art Design website, recently launched its new mouth-watering Modern French Bistro menu for 2018. The dishes include Boston lobster, 200 days aged Angus 83 T-bone steak, truffle butter, mushroom ragout, red wine jus. Dutch veal cutlet with green pepper sauce and grilled zucchini and more. 02 541 1234 ext 4178.

02 021 8888 ext 5320.

Crab carnival at Atelier Restaurant

The Spears Are Out - The Season’s First White Asparagus at Rossini’s AVAILABLE NOW UNTIL THE END OF MAY ROSSINI’s Executive Chef Gaetano Palumbo presents new set lunch menus and welcomes the arrival of the season’s first white asparagus spears. The notable mention includes pear salad with baby mesclun, cherry tomatoes, walnuts, gorgonzola cheese and mustard with honey dressing; slow-cooked darne of salmon with potato, capers and anchovies; vanilla Pana Cotta with wild berry sauce and more.

AVAILABLE FROM MAY 1 - JULY 31 CRAB hungry? Head to the Crab Carnival at Atelier restaurant, Pullman Bangkok Grande Sukhumvit and tuck in on the all-you-can-eat buffet selections available from May 1 to July 31. The dinner buffet features steamed blue crabs, seafood choices, grill stations, accompanying with a wide range of international cuisines including Indian curries, Thai, Asian and Western favourites like grilled premium beef. Priced at B1,399++ per person, the buffet is available from 6 - 10.30pm. 02 204 4161.

02 649 8364.

An Outstanding Weekend Buffet at Hagi Japanese Restaurant AVAILABLE NOW UNTIL AUGUST 31 HAGI Japanese Restaurant, Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok, invites all Japanese food-lovers to enjoy an extensive array of mouth-watering Japanese a la carte buffet dishes including sushi, sashimi, teppanyaki and more prepared by expert Japanese Chef Hiroaki. The sumptuous buffet is available every weekend, and on public holiday until August 31, 2018, this ultimate feast is being offered at only B880++ per person. 02 541 1234 ext 4151.



Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

Spanish wine tasting at Bar@494 GRAND Hyatt Erawan Bangkok recently hosted a w i n e a d ve n t u r e a t Bar@494. On offer was a selection of Nor thern Spain wine. Guests enjoyed Cava from Freixenet and Rioja from Marques de Murrieta and Bodegas Baigorri and plenty more.

High Tea Jubilee 2018 @ Ratchaprasong RATCHAPRASONG Square Trade Association (RSTA) in partnership with Bangkok Bank welcomed the Summer season with the High Tea Jubilee 2018@Ratchaprasong. Visitors, locals and foreigners alike were able to enjoy eight uniquely crafted afternoon tea sets by eight luxury hospitality premises and department stores located in Ratchaprasong District. All tea sets offer a sensory journey with floral scents and tastes from specially-brewed tea blends as well as best-in-class canapes from definitive tea rooms.



The Canvas Local Tour 2018 THE Canvas Local Tour 2018 saw a successful first instalment with the ‘Plant Menu’ by Chef Jimmy (PRUPhuket) and Chef Riley (Canvas) at Canvas Bangkok. Guests enjoyed an array of delectable dishes offering perfectly crafted collaborations between great chefs using locally sourced ingredients. Next two instalments will be on May 18 and June 15.

Iberico & Campo Viejo Dinner at Uno Mas PERNOD Ricard (Thailand) Co, Ltd, recently hosted an exclusive dinner for wine aficionados to experience special Spanish dinner sets coupled with Spanish wine to welcome the new brand ambassador, Darcy G Wilkosz, the expert from Pernod Ricard Vietnam.

Ultrafiltration Technology for clean water STEIBEL Eltron, Thailand’s leading manufacturer of water heaters, water filters and hand-dryers, unveiled its latest and sleek water filter, Fountain 7s, delivering exceptional German Engineering performance without sacrificing the design.





Abiding by a vegan or vegetarian diet is often perceived as some self-inflicted, grub agony. These restaurants in Bangkok prove it is just the opposite, however


EOPLE become vegetarians for a variety of reasons: religious convictions, environmental, health, etc. Whatever patrons’ reasoning may be, the usual meat-heavy cuisine scene is seeing a shift as restaurants are increasingly tailoring their menus to satisfy the vegans and vegetarians in the capital. Abiding by this diet just got a whole lot tastier, as well, as strictly vegan and vegetarian restaurants are coming up with unique and delicious ways to replace the fleshy alternative. For those of you thinking about switching to a vegan or vegetarian diet this year, The BigChilli has rounded up some venues in Bangkok serving up the most delectable, meat-free items in town.



Broccoli Revolution ONE of the trendiest of vegetarian and vegan restaurants is nestled in the hipster neighbourhood of Thonglor: Broccoli Revolution. While some restaurants lack in decor and make up for this with delicious food, Broccoli Revolution boasts of both.

Dining at this modern venue is undoubtedly an entire culinary experience. The ceilings are incredibly high and embellished with hanging plants. This, in addition to the abundance of large, floor to ceiling windows facing Sukhumvit Road, make visitors feel as though they are dining within a greenhouse instead of in one of the busiest cities in the world. The restaurant emphasises vegetables, freshness and quality in its dishes, and the diverse menu features recipes hailing from Vietnam, Cambodia and more. There are a few Thai favourites sprinkled in, as well, and most are not only meatfree but healthy.

Some of the most memorable menu items include the mashed pumpkin burrito with guacamole and salsa (B180), the broccoli quinoa charcoal burger (B290) and the pumpkin macaroni and cheese (B250). In addition to being delicious, the dishes are also affordable and large, so diners do not have to worry about spending one too many baht on the delicious, veg-friendly dishes at Broccoli Revolution. Fresh-pressed juices and even wine are on the extensive menu, and the restaurant is open during the week from 9am to 10pm and Saturday and Sunday from 7am until 10pm. 02 662 5001.




Govinda Restaurant & Pizzeria

DELICIOUS Italian food is hard to come by in Bangkok, and those who abide by a vegan diet are sadly almost destined to abstain from eating this type of cuisine altogether, given that cheese is a starring ingredient in almost every dish. This is not the case, however, thanks to Govinda Restaurant & Pizzeria in downtown Bangkok.



This vegan and vegetarian-friendly venue rocks a low-key location off the BTS Skytrain station Phrom Phong, but the food is anything but a knockout with herbivores and carnivores alike. The menu is overwhelmingly extensive, with bread and appetisers, pizza, soups, salads, pastas, gnocchi, main courses and more to choose from. Govinda even has an entire section of the menu dedicated to soy meat: a rare find in a capital where the inhabitants covet the real, fleshy deal. Signature dishes include the tortellini vegan (B320), a carbonara pasta made with soy bacon and parmesan (B280) and the panzerotti (B320), a deepfried stuffed pasta made with cheese, mushrooms, spinach and a tasty truffle sauce. G o v i n d a’s i n t e r i o r l a c k s a n y memorable aspects, with plain and plastic seating featuring red accented table tops and not much more. That being said, this eatery certainly makes up for its otherwise mundane decor with amazing, meat-free meals that visitors will not find anywhere else in Bangkok. Whether you are curious as to what a deep-fried soy chicken breast tastes like or are simply hankering for an enticing Italian meal, Govinda Restaurant & Pizzeria is the venue to visit. It is open every day but Tuesday from 12-2.30pm and again from 6-10.30pm. 02 663 4970.

soi (B125)–a traditional Thai dish that originates from Chiang Mai and is a delicious combination of wheat noodles in red curry. Another tasty choice is the tofu pad med ma muang (B145)–Khun Churn’s mouthwatering stir-fried tofu with cashew nuts and cooked in their signature sauce. The menu was curated under the concept, ‘healthy food good life,’ and all of the dishes found here can be made vegan-friendly, as well. Khun Churn is open daily from 10am until 8.30pm. 02 713 6599. KhunChurnSukhumvit42

Khun Churn

IF faux meat is not your style, then be sure to visit Khun Churn. This restaurant avoids featuring fake and imitation meat and seafood on its menu and is instead chock full of vegetables. The venue wishes to emphasise that plants are just as delicious as any other type of food, and it is equipped with several delicious dishes featuring fruits, veggies and tofu in hopes of convincing diners that these items are just as tasty, (if not more so) than meat, seafood and their faux versions.

The restaurant originated in Chiang Mai in 1995, and now it has four instalments in Bangkok: Ngamwongwan, Kanchanapisek, MBK and Central Embassy. The food in all instalments is both affordable and tasty, and some of the signature dishes include the khao

Rasayana Raw Cafe

MEAT, fish, egg, wheat, gluten and dairy: every dish at the lovely Rasayana Raw Cafe lacks these particular ingredients but packs a powerful and tasteful punch. This raw, vegan cafe is found nestled away off a quiet soi in Phrom Phong, surrounded by hanging, green foliage which only adds to the natural and healthy theme it embodies. This cafe is so much more than a delicious dining venue, as well, as it also doubles as a salon with an extensive pampering menu visitors can indulge

in. The cafe sits just outside of the salon and, keeping to the wellness theme, is equipped with one of the healthiest menus in town. Each item on the menu is not cooked over 42 degrees Celsius, as eating food in its natural state is one of the healthiest ways in which to do so,

and all are both memorable and leave a lasting impression on the palates of all those who visit. Kick start your meal at Rasayana with the Mexican taco cups (B210)– crunchy taco cups made with dehydrated shredded vegetables and filled with the restaurant’s signature spicy salsa and a side salad with mustard dressing. The menu is equipped with many mains, as well, and signature dishes include their filling yet healthy Hawaiian pizza (B220–a delicious combination of marinated vegetables, red onions and zesty Thai pineapple over a crunchy crust made of sprouted sunflower, macadamia and cashew nuts. In addition to starters and mains, Rasayana Raw Cafe is also serving up cold-pressed juices (B120-130), wheat grass cocktails (B140), smoothies (B140150), soups (B180), salads (B180-210), pasta (B220) and, finally, desserts (B150190). The menu also indicates which dishes can be eaten as part of their cleansing program, and the raw cafe is open every day from 9am until 9pm. 02 262 4803.




May Veggie Home

MAY Veggie Home has been serving up delicious, 100 percent vegan cuisine since it came to be in 2013. The vegan venue is near one of the most significant intersections in the capital near the BTS Skytrain station Asok, and the restaurant is adorned with large glass windows that allow diners to dine on the delicious dishes here and simultaneously people-watch.

Although the majority of the menu features some of Thailand’s most famous dishes, May Veggie Home is also serving up a handful of international favourites and even some Japanese dishes, as well, including the ped teriyaki (B149-189)–a fried, vegetarian duck in a teriyaki sauce. The menu also features many recipes with faux meat acting as their main ingredient, like the signature May Veggie burger (B159). Instead of using red meat, this unique burger is alternatively made with beans and combined with ten flavourful spices and served with French fries. Whether diners are curious to try the faux meat or just want to indulge in a delicious salad or two, one simply cannot go wrong ordering any one of the mouth-watering finds at May Veggie Home. Other favourite dishes include

the plah tuna (B179); a vegetarian tuna served with Thai herbs and a spicy sauce as well as the pa-naeng kung (B220), which is the the country’s signature spicy soup using a meat-free alternative to substitute the shrimp. In addition to an extensive menu, the restaurant is also serving up fresh juice, blended ice drinks, tea and many tasty desserts, like the vegan coconut yogurt or the wide selection of ice cream, which

is dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free and is also made without employing any preservatives or added colours, as well. Staying true to the veg-friendly theme, the restaurant’s interior pillars are entwined in faux foliage, and light wooden seating arrangements are at the ready to welcome vegan diners and their carnivorous companions, as well. May Veggie Home is open daily from 11am until 10pm. 089 042 7215.




SINCE 2010, Saras has been providing locals and tourists alike with delicious, vegetarian Indian food in the heart of downtown Bangkok. Also known as Saras Veg Food, this eatery features both street food and luxury culinary delights hailing all the way from India and, luckily for vegans and vegetarians, all the dishes are tailored to those abiding by a meatfree diet. The extensive menu is broken up into a multitude of sections: an a la carte menu, beverages, Chinese items, quick bites, healthy meals, tandoori,

set menus, international cuisine, thalis, North and South Indian selections and many more. The sheer variety of dishes can be dizzying but allows diners to let their palates lose and try everything that may peak their culinary curiosity. Some of the most delightful dishes on the menu include the extensive list of dosas (B130-240), the North Indian thali (B375), the paneer butter masala (B285) and many more. The restaurant creates every dish with Sara’s highly-valued vision in mind: excellence in food making, and this is undoubtedly clear in every dish the venue serves up. Do not forget to end the memorable meal with an even tastier, homemade dessert, with specialities including the kaju katli, angoori rasmalai and many more tasty bites found on display.

Luckily for diners, Saras has four instalments in Thailand (three of which are in Bangkok), and the location on Sukhumvit Soi 20 is open daily from 9.30am until 10.30pm. Be on the lookout for more special dishes coming soon at this delicious eatery, as Saras is currently in the process of updating their menu with even more delicious, vegan and vegetarian finds. 02 401 8484.




Veganerie Concept

BOASTING one of the most extensive selections of faux meat items on its menu in Bangkok is Veganerie Concept. There is a total of five Veganeries in Bangkok, though the owners have every intention of expanding as their veg-friendly following continues to grow. One of the main instalments is

tucked behind Benjasiri Park near the BTS Skytrain station Phrom Phong, and those lucky enough to stumble upon the meat-free eatery will find that it is filled with delicious appetisers, mains, soups, salads, smoothies and much more for diners to treat themselves to. The restaurant does an impeccable job of substituting things like cauliflower and mushrooms to mimic some of the most delicious of meat items, including the delightful Italian zoodle with soysausage and mushroom (B260), the classic Thai somtam and vegan fried chicken (B210) and the signature Caesar salad wrap (B180). Each dish is a healthy



and tasty alternative to their meat counterparts, and the sheer variety of dishes will continue to please everyone who visits this venue for a many more meals to come. In addition to tasty dishes, the venue is equipped with a vegan grocery corner and bakery, serving up animal-free and delicious finds to-go. The restaurant also has plenty of seating for visitors to choose from, including a large, plush section – the perfect place to nurse a food baby after a plentiful and delicious meal. Veganerie Concept is open daily from 10am to 10pm. 02 258 8489. VeganBakeryBangkok

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TheBigChilli 49

Expat Sport

The final day of play Chiang Mai Sixes

WITH the Chiang Mai Sixes completed, the tournament was once again an incredible success in raising funds for junior cricket in Thailand. IT was like old times at the Chiang Mai Sixes as Bangladesh side NCL Dynamites won the Cup by beating Australian team St Francis de Sales by six wickets in the final. It was Mehedi Maruf who proved the difference. Having hit 30 in the semi-final against Kashmir Thunder, he repeated the feat later in the day to be named Player of the Finals. A busy day was not even put off course by the torrential rain which delayed proceedings for an hour as a total of seven finals were decided. Central Spirit defeated Varee Thai Angels to win the Ladies Cup, while Ios Malakas beat Red Lion Wombats to win the Spoon, Drifters overcame Applecross to win the Plate, Lanna beat Roosters to win the Bowl, Got the Runs defeated Yorkshire Puddings to win the Shield and the day finished with Awali beating Summer Saints to win the Vase.



The sponsors of this event includes Lanna Rehab, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Flight of the Gibbon, and Daddy’s Antiques donated a very generous sum, and the teams donated over 300kgs of second-hand equipment and clothing for a great cause. Restaurants and hospitality venues around Chiang Mai also made donations to junior cricket, helping fulfil the Sixes’ ambition of expanding support for local cricket in the next years. The Sixes raises hundreds of thousands of baht for sports in Chiang Mai every year, and the incredible generosity of teams, sponsors, local businesses and other individuals ensures that these essential contributions can be made for years to come.

THE AMBASSADOR CUP 2018 FINAL THAILAND Polo Association led by Mr Thawatjai Thavisri,

Secretary Thailand Polo Association, hosted the Polo’s 11th International bonding “The Ambassador Cup 2018” at The VS Sports Club. The ambassadors including Pakistan, South Korea, Brunei and Malaysia attended the event for the grand final round under ‘Twilight Safari’ concept.

TheBigChilli 51

School Report

KIS International School extra curricular programmes

KIS International School believes that all extra-curricular programmes should be fun and should aim to help build a sense of community at school though they can be much more. Parents should encourage their children to participate in extra-curricular programmes that fit their interests, build on their strengths and address their weaknesses. Students must show initiative and take full advantage of the existing opportunities to develop their skills and knowledge further. Progressive schools believe that students who take a more balanced approach and explore their interests and passion through well-managed extracurricular programmes can control their narrative. They are more likely to know what their dreams are, their individuality and their valuable accomplishments.

Neal Shusterman visits ISB

ISB students, parents, staff and alumni were treated to talks and Q&A sessions with award-winning Young Adult Fiction author, Neal Shusterman. He spoke about the writing process, the inspiration and influences to his work and stories, the authors and books that ignited his wish to become a writer and more. He also discussed his award-winning book, Challenger Deep, a compelling and personal novel that explores mental illness explaining how he received numerous feedback from readers who said the book has positively impacted their lives and has been a source of comfort to them. It was an exciting event where students and staff were able to work with such an inspiring role model.



Shrewsbury International School City Campus to open in August

SHREWSBURY UK governors recently visited Thailand to inspect the progress of construction and preparations of the new Shrewsbury International School city-centre primary school campus. The second campus for Shrewsbury School International in Bangkok will accommodate up to 640 pupils from aged 3-11 years old and is due to open in August. The new facility cost B2,600 million and is located on a 15-rai site between Sukhumvit and Rama IX roads. The new campus has a gross floor area of 25,000 sqm including a 520-seat auditorium, a large swimming pool complex, natural turf playing fields, both indoor and spacious outdoor athletic tracks. The new campus is to compliment Shrewsbury International School Bangkok riverside campus which was established in 2003 which is now regularly ranked among the best schools in the region. The school also recently placed a recordbreaking eight students at Britain’s prestigious Oxford and Cambridge Universities for the 2019 academic year.

Wellington College International School Bangkok THE Wellington College International School Bangkok is opening for application for the August 2018 for both boys and girls age 2-11 years old. Contact admissions@wellingtoncollege. for inquiry regarding the application.



School Report

International Youth Basketball in Bangkok


T the end of April 2018, spectators were treated to a masterclass in youth basketball as Traill International School hosted the 3rd annual NCAA (National Conference of Asian Athletes) Pacific Rim Basketball Tournament at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. This prestigious

tournament is the brainchild of Traill’s Director Mr Robert Traill and was established to promote and develop young basketball players throughout Asia, as well as enhance the image of basketball across Thailand. In its inaugural year, the tournament attracted close to 30 clubs and teams including several fullstrength national teams, making it the

first world-class international youth tournament that basketball fans in Thailand had seen. Understandably, the quality of play was extremely high. The excitement was increased by the fact that Traill invited professional basketball teams and university teams to play, to ensure that there was a competitive environment throughout the tournament. The tournament has gone from strength to strength and this year saw 30 teams compete from across Australia, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan and Japan. As to be expected at such a world class event, many of the teams contained several of their country’s youth national players as well as their elite basketball players. Players used the tournament as an opportunity to test their skills against other players of the same calibre. This was the best opportunity of the year to see youth basketball at its finest. The competition has already caught the attention of universities in the USA, who sent over coaches to watch and scout players. Also, they were able to provide information on sports scholarships in the USA. The tournament featured U18 boys, U18 girls, U16 and U13 boys teams. The U18 boys’ Champions were presented with the Anthony Murray Traill Cup. This cup, which is named after Traill’s founder, is commemorative of the sporting excellence promoted by Mr Traill throughout his lifetime. This includes not only his successes as a three-time Olympic coach but also his dedication to the promotion of the school’s sporting programme. Congratulations to all of those who took part, for providing three days of edge of the seat excitement.



Expat Women

Born in Europe, raised in Africa, at home in Thailand The BigChilli intern Jessica Webba explains her growing appreciation of the Land of Smiles and its friendly people


HAILAND has a special place in my heart, and all comes down to where I came from. Born in Lisbon, I moved to Angola when I was five and lived there until my early teenage years before moving back to Portugal.



As a quick google search will tell you, Angola has it all. The good, the bad and the ugly. Nonetheless, it will always feel like home. I always said I had left half of my heart in Angola and the other half in Portugal. That was until I moved to Bangkok. Then the math became a little more complicated.

The first time I came to Thailand was in June 2017. As two millennials would, my boyfriend and I backpacked through the country from North to South. From peaceful Chiang Mai to crazy Ko Pha-Ngan, I loved it all, but not to the point of wanting to move. I left, feeling like

Thailand and I had unresolved issues. Before coming here, I lived in London for two years. I got my master’s degree, and the experience of living in such a big city with endless possibilities is indescribable. Still, everything always felt too close to what I had always known, and my restless mind started asking for a new challenge. I then decided I would return to Thailand, but not on a tourist visa. I hated Bangkok the first time I visited. Yet, I found out later that actually living here is a completely different experience and that removing Khao San Road from the equation would improve things almost 100 percent. As anyone who has been to Thailand will tell you over and over again and

room. Though that look will come with a smile and a polite correction, and that’s what I love about Thais. When you first hear Land of Smiles, it just sounds cliché. But when you start getting the nice warm smiles from strangers every five minutes, you realise Thais are among the friendliest people you will ever know. One of the first phrases I learned here was as a result of hearing it all the time: “Mai pen rai.” Like everything in Thailand, “mai pen rai” has a number of different meanings. But most notably, it means ‘never mind’, ‘no problem’, ‘no worries’, ‘it’s alright’. Together with a smile, that’s the best way I can describe Thai people. And that is what I love most about living here. Yes, the country has a natural beauty that’s hard to

as my scale will show you, the food is pretty amazing. The pleasure also comes from the price, since my lunch every day never goes past one dollar. I have multiple pages on my notebook filled with Thai words and phrases. The look on a Thai person’s face when you actually manage to say a full understandable sentence never gets old. Still, you never really know what you are going to say or if you will say it correctly. You know what you want to say, but if you get the tone wrong you could end up saying something that will grant you a confused look from everyone in the

beat, great food, and even with the occasional torrential rain, great weather. But what makes Thailand? The people. There’s something else that invariably pops up when you think of Bangkok – traffic. People rave and rave about the awful traffic that never ends. That, and the 50 percent chance you have of being run over if you don’t think at least twice before crossing the road. When I said it all comes down to where I am from, this was it. The chaos, the traffic, and the way you need to adopt their system of doing

things. But also the people, the food, the warmth, the simplicity, it all takes me back to Angola. Thousands of miles away, Thailand is so different yet so familiar at the same time. I have travelled to many places all over the globe, but never felt the emotional connection I feel here. The future? I have no idea. As the phrase I read on a wall somewhere says, “not all those who wander are lost”. So maybe I’ll stay a wanderer, or maybe I’ll go back home. What I do know, is that no matter where I end up going, Thailand is definitely staying with me.



Expat Women

Fatigue: the main cause of memory lapse that cannot be ignored


lot of people experience memory lapses. We become more forgetful as we age. Studies confirmed that as we grow older, the ability to remember details declines. This process begins when we turn 30 and accelerates as we approach 50 when it becomes more apparent. Dr Ketchai Suavansri, a neurology physician at the Neuroscience Center, Bumrungrad International hospital suggests that keeping yourself socially engaged and your mind active and helps prevent the cognitive decline. The memory loss and confusion are considered normal part of ageing, but can also be the results of some lifestyle-related health issues like stress and fatigue. Fatigue is a significant problem among adults and is neglected. It is a condition when we are faced with low energy, exhaustion, tiredness and lethargy. Fatigue is known to cause temporary memory lapses among young adults. The temporary memory lapses will improve when the health condition improves. Dr Ketchai recommends, “If you are experiencing frequent and prolonged memory lapse, you should see a doctor”. Fatigue is a health condition that is known to disrupt your life and cannot be ignored. Tackle fatigue today before it takes you down. Improve your memory with lifestyle adjustments Everyone forgets things sometimes, but this cannot be taken lightly. There is no definite prevention to declined cognition as we age, but keeping your brain healthy and function at its best may help. Dr Ketchai Suavansri, a neurology physician at the Neuroscience Centre, Bumrungrad International hospital recommends the following lifestyle to keep your brain healthy: • Sleep well, apply good sleeping habit and hygiene • Eat a healthy diet; provide your body with the balanced nutrition it requires. A healthy diet is as good to your brain as it is to your body • Exercise, physical activity



increases blood flows to your brain and may keep your memory sharp • Socialise, socialising makes your brain active and reduces the risk of depression • Avoid stress, overusing your brain power will result in burn out • Drink plenty of water Brain Boosters What you eat can also affect your brain function as well as it affects your

body. Even though there is no holy grail of food that can definitely prevent Alzheimer’s or other brain diseases, eating certain ‘smart’ diet will help you maintain good memory as you age. Food with high antioxidants, good fats, some vitamins like B12, C, E and bioquinone will help to keep the brain in top shape.

• Oily fish like salmon, trout, and mackerel are high in omega-3 fats, which is essential for brain function • Nuts and seeds are high in vitamin E, which help to prevent cognitive decline, especially in the elderly • Dark green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach and broccoli are high in vitamin E

• Avocado is a source of the antioxidant and vitamin E, which is associated with lower risks of Alzheimer’s Eating a well-balanced diet is not only good for your body and how you look, but also vital to your brain function. If you are concern about caloric restriction and balanced nutrition, contact the Vitallife Wellness Center team for more information about our low caloric diet program without scarifying the nutrition that your body needs.



Expat Women

The Banana Warrior This expat revolutionised her life, one banana bread at a time By Jessica Webba


OR Julia Panchkowry, a 33-year-old yoga teacher with a passion for all things nourishing, it all started with a phone call she got from a friend. As a primary school teacher in London, Julia always felt a desire to experiment and try something new. So, when her friend told her about a teaching position at an International School in Bangkok, she found herself uprooting from west London to the Land of Smiles in less than a week. “It was unreal. One day I had an interview, the next day I got the job, and in three days I found myself living in Bangkok. It all fell on my lap like it was meant to happen,” she said. Julia has been living in Bangkok for three years and is embarking upon the establishment of her brand, The Banana Warrior, that sells deliciously nutritious Vegan banana bread all over Bangkok. Struggling to find a balance between her job as a Library Drama teacher by day and managing her own business and yoga classes by night, Julia recently decided to dedicate herself entirely to her business. “It has been super busy juggling between yoga, teaching and baking, and one day I just felt like I had to give up

something. I thought, my business is my dream, and it is happening, so I have to give up teaching.” She said it felt like the universe was trying to tell her something and with a smile that goes from one ear to another, she talked about how exciting everything feels: “I can’t believe, and I still pinch myself. I am very excited and ready to go big. I have never been busier in my entire life, but I am also really happy and thrilled about what’s coming. I am now full-time Banana Warrior”. Always passionate about health and nourishment of the body, it wasn’t all easy when she moved to Bangkok.



She talked about how she felt a change in her body and had a hard time settling in. It was then that she decided to reduce eating out and start cooking at home. After a friend told her to try and be Vegan for a week, she felt a massive difference in her body and mind, and with being dairy intolerant, Vegan baking had always been in the background. The banana bread was born after Julia went to a yoga studio and felt like something was missing. “I thought about how nice it would be if there were any healthy snacks to give you a boost of energy. After that, I went home and realised, my banana bread would be quite good there,” she said. Julia experimented with a variety of flavours and by the end of the week, they started selling it. “It was amazing like the wheel was in motion and it all just took off. Banana bread is the one thing that you can make healthily and sustainably without losing any flavour and people love it”, Julia said.

The dream is to write my cookbook and have my yoga studio with a café selling all of the Banana Warrior products. It would be incredible if in the long term I could start another branch in London or somewhere in Asia.


till, she stressed how it all involves serious hard work, from finding people to bake with the same high standards as you, to the time-consuming process of handwriting the labels and wrapping, Julia has her hands full at all times. “Bangkok is a great place to start a business, with loads of opportunities. You can live a nice life, very different than anywhere else in the world”. Her favourite morning routine starts on her rooftop terrace, where she teaches yoga classes, followed by a nutritious breakfast. “I love eating, and I love creating”, she said.

Julia has big dreams and doesn’t plan to stop any time soon. “The dream is to write my cookbook and have my yoga studio with a café selling all of the Banana Warrior products. It would be incredible if in the long term I could start another branch in London or somewhere in Asia.” But for the next years, she is planning to stay. “This city has really good energy. It is very rich, vibrant, and full of amazing experience. If you let it be, the energy is quite electric. I will never regret my decision to move here,” she said. Julia is constantly working on evolving her brand and creating different flavours for the banana bread, and if your mouth is watering just from reading this, head to @ the.banana.warrior Instagram for a list of places where you can get her delicious products.




Health Improving Ways to Use Lemons and Limes By Judith Coulson


ONE fruit that is a stable presence in all Thai kitchens and is used for most Thai dishes are limes. Lemons and limes are best known for their acidic taste and their high vitamin C content. Let’s have a look at some of their benefits:

Keep wrinkles at bay It’s the vitamin C, which is also known as ascorbic acid. Your body can’t generate it, so you have to get it from food. It helps produce collagen which keeps your skin springy and full. Wrinkles is a natural part of ageing, but you can slow it down with the right amount of vitamins and proper nutrition.



Rev you up

Promote baby’s growth

Thiamin and riboflavin are parts of a group of vitamins called B complex which will turn your food into the energy you need. They also promote cells growth. Just one medium-sized lemon or lime will give you a small portion of your daily requirements.

They have a small amount of a B vitamin called folic acid or folate which helps the foetus form in the womb. Cells use it to divide to make more cells. It also creates genetic material in both your bodies that tell your baby’s cells how to develop.


Kill nasty bugs

Lemons and limes are greatest sources of Vitamin C, flavonoids, phenolic acids, essential oils, and coumarins. They’re part of a team of superhero substances called antioxidants. They band together to fight free radicals, which damage your cells and lead to diseases and other health problems.

It helps kill salmonella bacteria that might be in your food, on your cutting board, or on your kitchen counter. Don’t plan on scrubbing the bathroom with it, however, but if you want to make sure your greens are clean, mix equal portions of vinegar and lemon juice to clean and that

should zap most of the bacteria in about 15 minutes.

Lower blood pressure Add lime or lemon juice in your water before and after you go for a walk and you may get more benefits that way. Talk to your doctor if you take blood pressure medication or other medicines because citrus can interfere with them. Never adjust medication unless the doctor tells you to.

Prevent cancer While there’s no evidence that lemons or limes can fight cancer you already have, they’re full of antioxidants that may help keep you from getting it in the first place. This is particularly true for cancer of the liver, bone, stomach, breast, and colon.

Pump up your heart Flavanoids help decrease the likelihood of heart disease. They help regulate the fats and sugars at healthy levels.

Boost brain activities Lemons and limes have special chemicals that helps keep brain cells safe from toxic substances in your body, and because they also protect against general cell breakdown and inflammation, they may help prevent brain diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

Healthy gums Limes and lemons offers good sources of vitamin C which can help reduce the gum diseases. Citric acid is good for what ails you but bad for the tooth enamel, so wait at least 30 minutes after you eat or drink acidic food before you brush your teeth.

Get over nasty cold Vitamin C in lemons and limes maybe not prevent a cold, but they can keep your immune system running at peak

levels. Taking a high dose of Vitamin C (up to 5,000 mg divided by five doses, once every 2-3 hours) at the first sign of the sniffles can possibly prevent the full-blown symptoms to creep in.

Improve cholesterol A combination of garlic and lemon juice (like in a salad dressing) could be good for those with high cholesterol. Unhealthy levels of LDL is linked to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) which can cause heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

Citric acid is good for what ails you but bad for the tooth enamel, so wait at least 30 minutes after you eat or drink acidic food before you brush your teeth.

Weight control Polyphenols, a special kind of antioxidant found in lemons and limes, may help prevent weight and body fat gain. Scientists believe these substances change the way the body processes fat and improves its response to insulin. However, before deciding to live off on lime juices or lemon water, please consult with your physician first.

Prevent kidney stones The kidney stones form when minerals in your body clump together. Substances called citrates in lemons, limes, and other citrus fruits can help prevent this buildup. The best way is to add local fresh fruits to your daily diet.

Judith Coulson is a Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist, Positive Psychology and Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach, working with individuals, executive teams, schools and companies based in Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore. Judith@



Spa & Wellness

WHETHER you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, the Zumba classes at LifeStyles on 26, Centara Grand at CentralWorld offer fun and sweatinducing midweek pick-me-up for all levels. The high-energy 60-minute classes are held three times a week on Tuesdays (6.30-7.30pm), Wednesdays (2-3pm) and Thursdays (8-9pm). Drop in fee is B400 per 1-hour session. Nonmembers can save by purchasing bundles of 10 sessions at B3,500 or 20 sessions at B6,000. 02 100 6299. centaragrand/cgcw/services

01 02



VERITA Health MahaNakhon (VMH) is offering a “Transformation Supreme” package at B18,000 for the stressed out Bangkokians looking to relax and refresh their bodies and minds. From now until June 30, 2018, take advantage of the unique three and a half hours transformation package which includes Bio-feedback Screening, Verita Rapid IV Treatment, Verita OxiGlow, Oxygen Bar and Verita Health’s signature tea. 02 115 7553.



FROM today until May 31, 2018, Spa Cenvaree at Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok offers the most blissful spa therapies with an exceptional personalised spa service with price starting at B2,800++ per person and B5,200++ per couple. Enjoy a spa buffet where you can combine any spa treatment for two hours from the available selection. 02 541 1234 ext 4292, 4567. SPA Cenvaree at Centara Grand at CentralWorld presents the hot stone treatment, a combination of traditional Thai massage techniques and deep tissue manipulations with essential oil and natural scrub that will leave your mind and body relaxed and rejuvenated. Priced at B2,800++ per


person inclusive of a stimulating face massage using cold stone and 30-minute complimentary access to our luxurious hydro facilities. 02 100 1234 ext 6511, 6516. centaragrand/cgcw/services

Escape to the “Sanctuary for the Senses” at Spa Cenvaree


REPARE yourself for a two-hour escape into a world of calm, relaxation and revitalisation at Spa Cenvaree at Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok. Offering a harmonious combination of Eastern healing and relaxation techniques together with the best European and Western rejuvenation practices, Spa Cenvaree presents a wide range of massage and body treatments to satisfy the physical, mental and spiritual needs of all guests.

Allow your stress to melt away with the two-hour signature Salt Pot Muscles Melter treatment. Start with a ritual foot cleaning then a 30-minute Siamese Herbal Loofah Body Scrub using a combination of natural herbs and flowers to clean away all dead cells leaving the skin smooth and supple. Followed by the 90-minute Salt Pot Muscle Melter treatment. Based on an ancient Thai remedy, the therapy uses a heated pot containing a blend of coarse salt mixed with an array of medicinal herbs to compress and release the tension in the shoulders and lower back muscles. You wouldn’t believe how fast time flies but by the end of the treatment, your skin will feel refreshed, and your body, mind and spirit will feel relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to tackle the world. The signature Salt Pot Muscle Melter treatment is available for a special price of B2,850++ per person at Spa Cenvaree in Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok until July 31, 2018. Reservation is required. Spa Cenvaree at Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok. 1695 Phaholyothin Road, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900. 02 541 1234 ext 4292, 4567.



Expat Women


THE vintage 70’s clothing brand, Landmeé launched the new collection “Naughty Little Heart” to welcome Spring/Summer 2018 under the “Rebel Girls” concept. The collection represents the character of sweet girls with playful minds. The launch held at Benedict Studio, St Mary Room which was transformed to feature elegant and minimalistic decor. The venue was packed with numerous A-list celebrities and many media members.



THE Mall Group recently launched Beauty Playground on 600-square-metre space to delight all beauty lovers with beauty products from more than 500 leading brands. The first branch is launched at The Mall Bangkapi. Divided into three zones: Cosmetic Zone, Beauty Care Zone and Personal Care Zone, this playful, fun, vibrant and cute space is perfect for beauty lovers to test and discover over 10,000 items from leading brands such as DHC, Physiogel, Bioderma, Provamed, Phd+, Rojukiss, Seba Med, Prepskin, Rad Cosmetics, Redred, Guzzo, Missse, Dok, Dareme, Sewa, Smith, Oab’s Soap, Jellysun By Ice Apitsada and more.



UMAY Plus and U May Plus cash cards Premier recently launched a social activity for the sixth consecutive years. The sixth Pay It ...Forward is under the concept “Umay Plus Build Smile for Kids Bright Smiles ...Together” to invite all customers to join with Umay Plus and mobilise contributions to donate and support mobile clinic centre of Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Medical Centre.


COS, Collection of Style, the brand known for its modern yet timeless style, celebrated its launch in Thailand with an official opening party at the new EmQuartier store in Bangkok. Bangkok-based DJs Montonn Jira and Phunk entertained as guests discovered womenswear, menswear and childrenswear from the Spring Summer 2018 collection, offering reinvented classics, wardrobe essentials and timeless designs.


DUANGRUETAI Chotboonwong, Managing Director of M.S. Group Co., Ltd. the importer and distributor of Corine de Farme, organised its 2-year anniversary event and celebrated the brand’s success in Thailand. PraeManyasiri Chotboonwong also made a surprise appearance with her incredible singing at the Oriental Residence Bangkok.

HIVE Life in collaboration with Thai cult-favourite brand, Greyhound Original proudly presented ‘The Unofficial Show’ powered by Samsung Galaxy S9 at Bangkok International Fashion Week 2018. A one of a kind experience that combined fashion with art, the event brought together numerous A-list celebrities at Bangkok’s fashion destination, Siam.


UNIQLO, the Japanese global apparel retailer, has launched a special edition collaboration line with Finnish design house Marimekko, celebrated worldwide for its original prints and colours since 1951. Inspired by nature and urban lifestyle, the collection seamlessly combines the spirit of both brands and embodies a shared commitment to enhancing everyday living, suiting everyone’s daily lifestyles.



DIPLOMATS p Meet the people uniting nations

His Excellency Asim Iftikhar Ahmad Pakistani Ambassador brings multilateral savvy to Bangkok diplomatic corps



Diplomat: H.E. Asim Iftikhar Ahmad

Pakistani Ambassador brings multilateral savvy to Bangkok diplomatic corps



hen Asim Iftikhar Ahmad arrived in Bangkok in June 2017 to take his post as Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, his first impressions of the city were a bit out of the ordinary. “I was thinking, as we drove from the airport and approached Bangkok city, that it’s a lot like coming from Queens into Manhattan. The resemblance is very much there. I often mention to my friends that as soon as you see the Bangkok skyline, it seems you are on the FDR East River Drive in New York,’’ said the ambassador, who knows that city very well. He spent more than nine years in New York during several postings at the United Nations headquarters, including two stints as a member of Pakistan’s delegation to the UN Security Council (UNSC). In Thailand, the ambassador is also permanent representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). He joined Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in 1993 and had since held a number of positions in Islamabad and Pakistani missions abroad, with a strong emphasis on multilateral diplomacy. At a reception he hosted to celebrate Pakistan’s National Day on March 23 at the Shangri-La Hotel, Mr Asim accepted The BigChilli’s request for an interview that was later held at the Pakistani embassy on Sukhumvit Soi 3.

Background “I was born in November 1966 in the city of Lahore, where my family has lived for generations. My family is mostly in business, industry and services. Lahore is a city with a rich history in the Punjab province of Pakistan, close to the border with India. I would say that my grandfather and forefathers were witnesses to the freedom movement and took part in the struggle that led to the emergence of

Pakistan. They saw it all, as Lahore was so central to the movement. Lahore is also called the ‘Heart of Pakistan’. There are many historical monuments and famous sites, and it is a centre of learning as well. Many of the country’s well-known colleges, universities and other educational institutions are there. Apart from its history and rich cultural traditions, Lahore is famous for art, film and drama, fashion, and above all its cuisine,” said the ambassador. “I graduated from the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore. In October 1993, I joined the Foreign Service of Pakistan. It is not easy to explain, but I can think of several factors behind this decision. I liked engineering, and I initially worked for two years as an engineer. At the same time, I was looking at other options to advance. Civil service seemed like such an opening and looking back I feel it was the right choice as it offers better opportunities and forums to contribute to national policy and decisionmaking at a high level.” As his CV attests, Mr Asim has done just that. “My last assignment was at the MFA in Islamabad as Director General of UN Division. That three-year tenure was as vital as it was rewarding. It is one of the most coveted positions in the MFA. I also take great pride in having been a member of the Pakistani team on the UNSC on two occasions, 2003-4 and 2012-13, and in other roles at Pakistan’s Permanent Mission to the UN, besides a stint as the deputy chef de cabinet for the president of the UN assembly in 2009-2010. This was a very useful and distinctive experience for me, and also an honour for Pakistan. “My first assignment abroad was in Niger in 1997. Later on, I was posted to the UN Pakistan Mission in New York for the first time. I was a junior officer at that time and excited to be part of our UNSC team. I arrived at the start of Pakistan’s membership on the Security Council in January 2003. For the next two years, I had the privilege of coming to know from the inside how the UNSC operates. It was a special experience.”



most of it, about 90%, was in exports to Pakistan. Around US$150 million worth of goods were exported from Pakistan to Thailand. This is a big deficit, and it is something we have been trying to address. However, the fact is that both Thai and Pakistani exports are increasing gradually. There are some issues of import duties and tariff and non-tariff barriers, which are being taken care of in the FTA. With a more favourable environment, trade is going to increase further. “Pakistan imports from Thailand automobiles, spare parts and CKD car kits. Other major imports are rubber, plastics, food products, polyurethane, machinery, air conditioning equipment, computers and appliances. The greater part of our exports to Thailand is comprised of fish and fishery products, apart from textiles, leather products, surgical instruments and sporting goods. Most of the footballs you see in Thailand are handmade in Pakistan. We are also exploring the possibility of cooperation in the pharmaceuticals side. “There is a desire on both sides to conclude the FTA as soon as possible. There are great expectations among the business community and investors on both sides. The FTA is likely to lead to increasing in our exports especially our textile sector would be able to avail competitive duty structure. There is also great potential for export of fruit and vegetable from Pakistan.”

People to people


e need to find ways to enhance personal interactions between the two peoples. A great way to do this is through culture. I am thinking regarding screening films and TV dramas, and staging art, fashion, and music presentations. We would like to better inform the people of Thailand by showcasing the rich Buddhist heritage of Pakistan, which constitutes a strong cultural and historical linkage between our lands and peoples. Buddhism flourished in our region more than 2,000 years ago. There are not many Buddhists in Pakistan now, but ancient monasteries and other archaeological sites have been carefully preserved and maintained. Several of these are listed as UNESCO world heritage sites. “On the education side, Pakistanis are studying in Thailand at AIT and in other universities, and Thais



are studying in Pakistan at institutions like the Islamic University in Islamabad. Our military officers are attending the Staff Course and the National Defense Course in Thailand. Thailand has also been sending its officers to Pakistani institutions in the past, and we have agreed to renew and reinforce this cooperation. Thai officers have also attended peacekeeping and related courses and programs in Pakistan. “We are also exploring exchanges in the field of sports. There are such huge numbers of sports enthusiasts and fans in both countries. Thailand excels in golf, snooker, badminton, boxing and other sports. Pakistan has been world champion in hockey, cricket and squash. Golf and snooker are fast developing in Pakistan. Our countries have competed in tennis, most recently in the Davis Cup. We had Thai participants in the famous Cholistan car rally in Pakistan. “Another way to get introduced to the country, people and culture is through tourism, and that is the main area of our attention. Currently, there are many more Pakistanis coming to Thailand for tourism, but the number of Thai visitors to Pakistan is also picking up. We would very much like to strengthen this trend. Around 82,000 Pakistanis visited Thailand in 2017, while close to 4,000 visas were issued by our Embassy in 2017, including both business and tourist visas. This is a significant rise compared to 2016 and 2015. Visas for Thai business travellers and group tourists have been made easier, and Thai nationals in these categories can now get a 30-day visa on arrival in Pakistan. This would, in particular, facilitate our Thai friends living far off from Bangkok, as they would not need to travel to Bangkok to get the visa from the embassy. “Thai Airways International is flying to Pakistan, and Pakistan International Airlines has also restarted its operation to Thailand. We expect the number of Thais visiting Pakistan will continue to rise. There are so many things to experience and see out there. The landscape is spectacular. We have deserts, plains, valleys and some of the highest mountains on the planet, such as the K2 and Nanga Parbat. Some call the vast northern regions of Pakistan ‘mega Switzerland’ because of the dramatic mountain scenery, breathtaking lakes and valleys. “We don’t have the exact number of Pakistani nationals living in Thailand because not everyone registers with the embassy, but it is probably 4,000 to 5,000. Most are

engaged in various businesses, trading, and jobs. Many Pakistanis are working with multinational companies and international organisations including the UN. “Then there are also Thai nationals of Pakistani origin. They are the people whose families have been here for some generations now. Most are also known as Thai Pathans. I had the opportunity to meet many of them soon after my arrival into Thailand at their annual event held in Ayutthaya last year. We maintain regular contact. The number is quite substantial, estimated to be over 200,000. They are in many types of business and are also in civil service, including the police force. This is a big community that is present all over Thailand and well integrated in Thai society, and they make a significant contribution to the development of the country in many fields. They are also promoting friendship between our peoples. On the other hand, around 1,200 Thais are living in Pakistan.”

ASEAN partnership The Ambassador said Pakistan recognises ASEAN as a very effective organisation that in many ways is a model for regional cooperation. “Pakistan has close, and friendly relations with all ASEAN members and we see ourselves a natural partner of ASEAN. We have had a Sectoral Dialogue Partnership with ASEAN since 1997, and we are very keen to elevate the relationship to Full Dialogue Partnership. There is broad support for this, including from Thailand.

Thai Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Thai Industries. We are organising visits from Pakistan and we take Thai business delegations to Pakistan.”

Media coverage The ambassador admitted that it is a little tricky for him to promote Pakistan in the local media or get a sense of the coverage of Pakistan because there aren’t many English language newspapers or TV news shows. “I am trying to reach out to Thai people through the local media, and I have already interacted with some Thai language papers and magazines, besides prominent TV channels. “I wouldn’t say it is a problem, but one point concerning English language newspapers that I have noticed is that when doing reports on Pakistan they often rely on foreign correspondents and foreign news agencies that present stories from their perspectives. I am not talking about local news sources, but the news was originating from other countries, especially outside the ASEAN region. And you could also sense that negative stories are carried more often than the positive ones. And these are picked up mostly from other news outlets and reproduced. This is an issue we are trying to sensitise our friends in journalism too. We encourage them to write their own stories, to inquire about the situation and talk to us here and at other Pakistani embassies. Also, newspapers and agencies should use their correspondents if they are based in Islamabad rather than relying on others.”

Lahore Fort

Faisal Mosque, Islamabad


“I am happy to note that in all my interactions with the Thai foreign ministry and with Thai officials and leadership, including Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and various cabinet ministers, I have sensed a desire to take the bilateral relationship to a higher, and more strategic level. We endeavour to do this in a mutually beneficial manner by involving not only the governments but also the people and the private sector. I am reaching out, for example, to universities, the media, the Thai business community, the

“My wife and I and our children are all happy to be here. Thai people are very kind, gentle and hospitable. Thai cuisine is also interesting to us, especially to my wife. She loves cooking and is fond of experiencing a different kind of cuisine. Apparently, there are so many places to see and visit here, and the Thai culture is very rich. “Some of the things that we experienced after our arrival have left a lasting impression. When we reached Bangkok, the Thai nation was in a period of mourning for their beloved King Rama IX. What we saw and felt during that period leading up to the royal cremation ceremonies in October was exceptional and extraordinary. The unity and solidarity, and the kind of love and deep respect shown by the Thai people towards the late King were simply unprecedented. The entire experience was genuinely moving. It will always be etched in our memories. The contribution of His Majesty the late King in Thailand’s development and lifting of the people from poverty is tremendous and evident all over Thailand. This is highly




Abdul Ghaffar Warsi

Naturalised, self made business mogul is linchpin of ThaiPakistani alliance During our inter view with Ambassador of Pakistan to Thailand His Excellency Asim Iftikhar Ahmad (published in this issue), he talked about Thais of Pakistani origin that are “well integrated in Thai society and make a significant contribution to the development of the countr y.� One of the best examples of these is a prominent Pakistaniborn naturalised Thai businessman and social activist Abdul Ghaffar Warsi who came to Thailand with little but the clothes on his back. Today he is well known and highly respected by the local Pakistani community as well as Thai officials and the Bangkok diplomatic corps. Mr Ghaffar sat down with Maxmilian Wechsler for an interview at his Al-Sana Hotel and Restaurant, located next to Baiyoke Sky Hotel on Ratchaprarop Road in Phaya Thai area where he also owns a hotel of the same name.






sent it to my friends in Pakistan, who sold it in their shops. The money was quite good and I used it to invest in new businesses. In 1995, I opened Al-Sana Hotel and Restaurant, and in 2000, I also opened Ayesha Company, which trades in textiles and footwear, and SG-Canali Collections, a tailor shop, in Pratunam area. “Later on, I started a real estate business. I bought a condominium and land. The business is going well. In 2008, I applied for Thai nationality and I became a Thai citizen in 2015. This makes it very easy to do business here. I can own a business outright, buy land, obtain a loan from the banks and do everything that Thai-born people are able to do. It is a good feeling. “I prefer to run all my business ventures alone. With the exception of a joint venture with a friend that produces mineral water, everything is in my name under the A.S. Warsi Group of Companies of which I am CEO.”

was born in 1966 in Sahiwal, a city situated between the populous cities of Lahore and Multan in Punjab province. My parents were farmers. I left Pakistan because I wasn’t very good at academics, came to Thailand alone in 1986, landed at Don Muang airport, travelled by bus number 13 to Pratunam which cost five baht fare at that time, to find opportunities for my life. I arrived in Bangkok with nothing,” said Mr Ghaffar. He obviously keeps a lot of pride and affection for his birthplace, which he described as “a small village on the Karachi-Lahore railway line when it was renamed in 1865 to Montgomery, after Sir Robert Montgomery. He was the British Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab. Sahiwal got its name back in 1967 and now it is a city with a population of over 200,000. “When I came to Social Bangkok, I took a job conscience with a friend who was also from Sahiwal and Mr Ghaffar seems we had family relations blessed with success in back in Pakistan. He all his endeavours and was already successful has built an enjoyable and had four restaurants and rewarding life in Bangkok – on in Thailand, but he Suriwongse, Sukhumvit never forgets his roots. Soi 3, Sukhumvit Soi 11, Despite a very full and Pratunam. That’s calendar, he always where I worked when I manages to find time came here and I learned for social agendas a lot from him. He His Excellency Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha and that benefit Pakistani Mr Ghaffar at the Government House looked after me very community in Thailand. well. He paid me a good “I am a life-time salary and helped with member and Director my visa. of Foreign Affairs for “At that time it was the Thai-Pakistani very difficult to obtain Friendship Association a long-term, non(TPFA) which has immigrant B (business) now more than 6,000 category visa to stay members. I am a in Thailand. I had to founding member of leave the country every three months. Generally, I used the Thai-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce (TPCC) that we to visit Malaysia and kept obtaining my visa at the Thai established in 2004, and since this year of 2018, I am the Consulate in Penang. You had to produce a tax certificate Vice-President of TPCC. I am also a founding member of to immigration officials every time you wanted to depart the Overseas Pakistani Association Thailand which was the country or they wouldn’t let you go out of Thailand. formed in 2007. We have over 200 members and growing,” “After I met my Thai wife, Phanom, I was able to said Mr Ghaffar, who is also an Urdu-language presenter obtain a marriage visa and a work permit. She was from on the Thai Muslim TV channel on-demand since 2005. Ayutthaya. We married in 1990. Prior to that, I didn’t Mr Ghaffar often attends local government and have my own business, but soon after marrying I opened diplomatic functions like national day receptions and my first business the New Pop Inn, a guesthouse in also cooperates closely with the embassy of Pakistan in Sukhumvit Soi 11. Bangkok. In the local Pakistani community, he is known “I was also trading in garments like jeans, T-shirts as both a tough businessman and a compassionate and children’s clothes. I bought everything cheaply at human being. He provides support not only for his family Pratunam, Bobae and Sampeng markets in Bangkok and members in Thailand, but also for any fellow Pakistanis

At that time it was very difficult to obtain a long-term, non-immigrant B (business) category visa to stay in Thailand.



These days he doesn’t visit Pakistan often, but he did go after the big earthquake in 2008. “The Thai-Pakistani Friendship Association collected funds from the members and community and I, along with a TPFA delegate, went to Pakistan to deliver our donations. We helped more than 3,000 families who were suffering from that devastating earthquake,” Mr Ghaffar said and further mentioned: “In 2010, the TPFA collected funds from the members and community and I went with TPFA delegate to Pakistan to deliver the donations. This time, we helped more than 5,000 families who were suffering from the floods.”

“I will also help out Pakistanis who have medical problems and don’t have money for hospitals and treatments. If someone doesn’t have food, I will help them. However, I do not make any payments to lawyers or to Thai officials. ‘Thailand is my home’ who are having a hard time here. As one diplomat remarked, it’s rather uncommon for successful expats in Thailand to show such generosity to their countrymen in time of need.


or example, if a Pakistani wants to return home but first needs to pay a fine for overstaying their visa, they are likely to learn through the grapevine about Mr Ghaffar. “In such a case, I will tell people: ‘If you cannot survive in Thailand and you are in danger of being arrested by the immigration police, please go back home to your parents or families in Pakistan. I will give you the money for the trip’. “I will also help out Pakistanis who have medical problems and don’t have money for hospitals and treatments. If someone doesn’t have food, I will help them. However, I do not make any payments to lawyers or to Thai officials.”

“I have a plan, together with my children, to open an educational institute in Nong Chok district of Bangkok, for poor people only. My children will look after the school and maybe teach English and Thai. I have already bought one-rai of land for this project,” Mr Ghaffar said and added: “My parents moved from Pakistan to Bangkok eight years ago and I am looking after them. After saying that, an emotional Mr Ghaffar declared: “The Royal Family and Thai people are lenient, kind-hearted, humble and very good human beings. I have visited 23 countries around the world but always feel that Thailand is my home, and I am glad to be here and do business here. “I am very content because I came to Thailand with nothing and I was able not only to survive, but to build a successful business for my family. Before I used to say that Thailand is my second home, but now I feel that it is my first home. My future and the future of my children are in Thailand.”




p Last month’s best events in pictures



Social|Last Month’s Best Events


THE world’s leading premium coffee brand, Doi Chaang Coffee, recently celebrated its 15th anniversary, “Single Origin World Class Specialty Coffee” boasting its meticulous production which can be compared to the making of fine wines. Priding itself in maintaining the brand’s high-quality concept “From Earth to Cup”, the company has made Thailand comparable to other famous coffee countries like Brazil and Colombia.


TWO generations of Thai pop music merged seamlessly in the luxurious setting of the Presidential Suite at the Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok as Thanwa Boonsungnern (The Toys) joined legendary rapper Nattawuk (Golf) Srimork to launch their collaborative single ‘Sleep Now’. The new album is described as being ‘90s hip-hop’. Greeting the music stars are the hotel’s General Manager Ian Barrow and Scalini restaurant chef Roberto Pinna.


SEAC or South East Asia Centre, the development centre for leaders and high-level executives, received an inauguration recently. Pitching itself as the largest and most comprehensive development centre of its kind in ASEAN, SEAC is established at B300 million with an aim to expand the scope to develop potential organisation leaders and human capital not only in Thailand but also in ASEAN community.


CENTRAL & ZEN Department Store injected over B200 million to launch the Men & Unisex big project on 4th and 5th floors. The lifestyle section features an array of trendsetting collections from over 300 leading brands under the concept, “Experience the new men & unisex”, to please all creative fashionistas.




THE authorised dealer of Mercedes-Benz, Suanluang Autohaus Co, Ltd won “The Marque of Distinction Award” at the “Travel Like A Star” event organised by Benz Suanluang to celebrate the recent success and two prestigious awards of the year.


NORWEGIAN Seafood Council (NSC) together with the Norwegian fisheries and aquaculture industry have developed markets for Norwegian seafood. Together with Thammachart Seafood Retail Co, Ltd, NSC recently introduced “Seafood from Norway” country-of-origin logo at “The Incredible Flavours of Norway” retail campaign launch.

ÉCOLE HÔTELIÈRE LAUSANNE ALUMNI GATHER AT KONGJU THE Esteemed Alumni Thailand Chapter of École Hôtelière Lausanne graduates recently convened at Pathumwan Princess Hotel. The General Manager of Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Stefan Heintze, himself a graduate, hosted a Korean Dinner with pre-dinner drinks surrounded by outstanding views of Bangkok skyline at the Terrace Suite.

TheBigChilli 103

Beyond Bangkok 

Perfect getaway in Pranburi

PLAN a one-of-a-kind romantic getaway at Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas for an unforgettable experience. Discover Pranburi’s best kept secret and have the world to yourselves while perfectly capturing a true sense of an intimate holiday getaway. Book now until June 30, 2018, and enjoy the special rates start at B8,000 inclusive of breakfast for two and credit of your choice. 032 708 080.

MATES’ RATES Friends or Family Special packages at Four Points by Sheraton

FOUR Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15 presents a special meeting and event packages. Inspire your team, enjoy a stylish event space and spacious conference rooms with excellent service and great dining options in the city centre. The Smart Saver Package starts from B1,400 net per person per day; Best Value Half-Day Package starts from B1,200 net per person per day; or the Simply Basic Package starts from B700 net per person per day (minimum guarantee 15 persons per meeting per day). 02 309 3000.

visiting Thailand? Let them know about these deals

Exciting city break  Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok is offering one of Bangkok’s greatest shopping, fantastic dining and relaxing moments. Guests can enjoy a special rate starting from B2,549++ per room per night. 02 541 1234.

Super advance saver promotion at Pullman Bangkok Grande Sukhumvit

AVAILABLE from today until June 30, 2018, book a room for at least 21 days in advance at Pullman Bangkok Grande Sukhumvit and enjoy up to 20 percent off! The Super Advance Saver programme lets you indulge yourself with a luxurious stay at Bangkok’s latest playground situated near Asoke BTS skytrain and Sukhumvit MRT stations, giving you easy access to Bangkok’s greatest business and shopping districts with almost walking distance to Bangkok’s most vibrant nightlife neighbourhood. Price starts from B3,500++ per room per night through direct online booking. 02 204 4000. www.

Cool down at Amara Bangkok  PLAN your Bangkok holiday getaway in advance and

book special Value Deal at Amara Bangkok. The package includes complimentary daily buffet breakfast, complimentary fruit platter, B500 food and beverage credit per stay, 1-day BTS pass for two, guaranteed late check-out at 4pm, complimentary in-room and in-hotel WiFi, complimentary e-Concierge, complimentary PressReader, free tuk-tuk service to the nearest BTS/MRT station and 24-hour access to the gym and infinity sky pool. 02 021 8888.



Beyond Bangkok

BENZ TTC CHARITY RALLY BENZ TTC presented “Benz TTC Charity Rally 2018”, an initiative to build a relationship with Benz TTC customers while supporting the Agriculture for School Lunch cause at the same time.

TheBigChilli 105

Beyond Bangkok THE Santorini-inspired Costa Well Resort Pattaya is offering a one-night stay package for a group of four guests to enjoy a seaside getaway this summer in Bangsaray, Chonburi. The Fantastic 4 Summer package gives guests access to numerous fun activities. Priced at B8,700, it should be booked at least one day in advance from now until June 30 for stays between April and June 30. 033 679885.

03 01

01 Group holidays at Costa Well Resort Pattaya 02 Lay Back and Relax at the Dusit Thani Hua Hin 03 Family holiday at Banyan Hua Hin 04 Disconnect at Prima Wellness & Spa


GRAB the kids and enjoy the fantastic Banyan Hua Hin summer break packages this summer. Try the Family Summer Package and stay in a single (B7,200) or two-bed (B9,100) villa room for two days and one night or choose the Summer School Break Package (for children under 12) and stay in a single villa room for two days and one night (starting at B5,200) with art kits to keep the small ones entertained. Enjoy the special offers from now until October 31, 2018. 03253-8888.


THE Dusit Thani Hua Hin invites you to ease away your aches and pains and literally just ‘Lay Back and Relax’ at the award-winning resort. Book now and enjoy daily buffet breakfast for two followed by a complimentary 45-minute relaxation massage by the pool. 032 520 009.



PRIMA Wellness & Spa at Crest Resort & Pool Villas is offering a new Summer Sensation body treatment uniquely created to put you in zen mode this season. Enjoy being pampered with a 40-minute body scrub, a 60-minute Thai or Aromatherapy massage, followed by a restorative 30-minute head and foot massage. The relaxing spa experience is available from April to May, and priced at B3,200 per person.  076 310 088.

Beyond Bangkok

Joey Boy & The Gang Concert at Sheraton Hua Hin JOEY Boy & The Gang delighted a packed house of ravers at Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa. A colorful crowd grooved to the first concert of a series of ‘thank you’ performances for customers planned by the resort.

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Beyond Bangkok

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CAPE Panwa Hotel Phuket presents a delightful 3-course set menu. Indulge in a choice of appetisers such as glass-noodle salad with vegetables and Thai dishes like stir-fried crab with curry powder, fried tiger prawn with tamarind sauce, or deep-fried fish with lemongrass and steamed rice. Sweet-tooths can choose from tamarind sherbet, ice cream or mini dumplings in coconut cream. The set menu includes traditional Thai iced milk tea, roselle juice, bael juice, longan juice and lemongrass juice. Priced at B1,400++ per set. 076 391 123.

05 Southern platter set menu at Cape Panwa Hotel 06 Luna La Pran presents summer delicacies 07 Tastes of Thai Street Food at The Pullman Pattaya Hotel 08 Sri panwa presents exclusive pop-up 09 Special offers at Sheraton Hua Hin


07 SHERATON Hua Hin Pranburi Villas invites all to indulge in eminently delicious Pranburi squid prepared by Luna La Pran’s master chefs while lounging at the only rooftop restaurant in town. Enjoy a fantastic BBQ feast featuring a large array of local seafood and premium imported meats, and finish with mouth-watering homemade desserts. 032 708 000.


MAKE the most of your visit to Pattaya with “Tastes of Thai Street Food” at the Pullman Pattaya Hotel G. The Beach Club Bar brings you a combination of live acoustic tunes and a buffet of delicious Thai street food from live cooking stalls in a traditional Thai village atmosphere. Highlights include popular Thai favourites such as papaya salad, pad Thai, authentic Thai green curry and khao soi. Enhance your palette with signature Mekhong Thai spirit cocktails or draught beer, the perfect complement to authentic Thai cuisine. Priced at B480++ per person. 038 411 940-8.

SRI panwa proudly welcomes Master Chef Koji Kimura of the 2 Michelin starred Kimura Sushi and Chef Shuji Niitome of Niitome Tempura for an exclusive pop-up this May. The famed chefs will be taking over Baba IKI at Sri panwa at the same time, serving both omakase (B12,000++) and tempura omakase (B8,000++) for lunch and dinner. 076 371 008.

SHERATON Hua Hin Pranburi is offering multiple mouth-watering promotions through the season. Enjoy some of the freshest local seafood at Luna Lanai, try the remarkable Australian lamb at Salas, savour the best British cheeses at Sundara Sports Lounge, or experience the finest Wagyu at InAzia. Prices start at B290. 032 708 000.



Beyond Bangkok

Hilton Pattaya Runs for a Good Cause HILTON Pattaya organised the 5th Staircase Race Earth Hour Run, a creative initiative to inspire global warming awareness.

Hard Rock Hotel Charity Concert HARD Rock Hotel Pattaya held its annual charity fundraiser concert with all proceeds being donated to charity projects.

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

S James Elcocke-Harris



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

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

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

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

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

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Beyond Bangkok

Centara won St Patrick’s Day Parade THE Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort was dubbed the winner trophy of best decorated float at the St Patrick’s day parade in Pattaya.



The BigChilli May 2018  

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

The BigChilli May 2018  

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