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October 2017



Killer waves in paradise: the Asian tsunami


Who has the upper hand in Bangkok’s great river debate?



84 Remembering His

Batter up for Bangkok’s fish and chips

Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej “Father of the Nation”


Last month’s most exciting events in pictures

CONTENTS 6 INSIGHT News, gossip, and opinions 16 THE HOT LIST 10 great things to see and do in Bangkok and beyond 26 SECRET BANGKOK A lesser-known attraction in the spotlight 36 NEW ON THE SCENE Hot new restaurants & bars in Bangkok

68 EXPAT WOMEN Shopping, advice, health tips, and top local schools 94 STORIES FROM THE PAST A famous story from years gone by 121 HUA HIN & PATTAYA News and deals to help you get the most out of your trip

Downlo our dig ad edition ital for

42 FOOD & DRINK Restaurant deals and dining news



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Editor’s Blog

Who has the upper hand in Bangkok’s great river debate? The Promenade Project will ruin the Chaophraya’s unique environment, says the opposition. The riverside is changing rapidly anyway, say supporters ■ WORK on the controversial

Riverside Promenade Project, which will add two sevenkilometre walkways to both sides of the Chaophraya River between Rama VII and Pink Lao bridges as the first phase of a much bigger, eight-part scheme extending some 140km to the Gulf of Thailand, has yet to begin. Those opposed to the multi-billion project – conservationists, architects, hotels, restaurant owners, civil groups and activists – have welcomed the pause as it gives them more time to strengthen their case, including court injunctions for violating planning regulations. Some opponents are even hoping that it will be suspended indefinitely. The latter seems unlikely as the project was proposed by the current military government led by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha with the approval of the Cabinet. Moreover, the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA), which is responsible for the project, has already been allocated the budget for the first phase. Delays are more likely due to finalising building contracts 6


and dealing with the myriad official entities that control the waterway. Construction of the Promenade Project was originally scheduled to start in October 2015 and completed by 2020. The plan immediately fell afoul of civic groups and the public at large as it included a 19.5m-wide roadway. After a barrage of complaints about unwanted traffic and congestion along the banks of the ‘River of Kings,’ as the Chaophraya is also known, the BMA amended the design and reduced the width to 7-10m for a cycle lane and public footpath. Additional features like minimuseums, galleries and piers are planned at various points along the pathway, which will be built on hundreds of concrete pillars 3.5m above the water. The changes did not placate or satisfy the opposition groups, who want the project cancelled and the money to be

spent on improving the various communities that currently exist on the banks of the river. Their arguments are convincing and far-ranging. They say that in the absence of a master plan, the project has not been adequately thought through and the opinions of those most affected by the changes have not been fully considered. They also claim that the promenade is unsightly and will destroy the city’s unique riverside environment and cultural heritage. They cite the importance of the Chaophraya in Bangkok’s historical development and its role as the city’s main tourist attraction. The construction will obscure numerous famous sights, including temples like Wat Arun, palaces and other religious structures. Opposition groups additionally claim that the project will result in the

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



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

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Editor’s Blog demolition of communities, some of which have resided beside the river for generations. Others that remain will lose their privacy. Meanwhile, many of the hotels and restaurants located here will lose their views of the river, damaging their businesses in the process. Less navigable space will affect river transport and certain popular events. Most importantly, though, Bangkok will lose its charm, as the Chaophraya is seen as the capital’s heart and soul. But not everybody is against the promenade, and the counter-

arguments are just as valid. Supporters point out that long stretches of the river are privately owned, allowing limited access to the public. The walkway and cycle lane will open up new areas to be enjoyed by all. Many of the riverside communities are in fact illegal since they have encroached onto the river itself. Right now, they add to the pollution and floating rubbish that is so very evident at certain points along the river. 8


view. And with no end to the number of other multi-storey projects planned here, the future is looking dim. Most hotels have raised terraces, well above the water line, so will therefore not be affected by the sight of people using the walkway. The most cogent argument put forward by the supporters group is that the promenade will allow greater and free public access to Bangkok’s most valuable physical asset. Unlike Thailand’s beaches, the banks of this nation’s rivers do not belong to the people, so every effort should be made to make them more available to the public, even it involves considerable cost. The first phase of the project Suspicion probably exists is located on a stretch of the within both camps concerning river that is seeing a proliferation attempts to monetise the of massive buildings that, it is project. There is no doubt argued, are rapidly changing that powerful forces are at the nature and character of work to exploit the river’s the Chaophraya and depleting natural advantages, which the charm that the opposition will ultimately mean ridding groups often mention. the riverside of its local Sadly, some hotels here communities to make way for are discovering they can longer modern developments. Whether tell their guests they can enjoy, this is more readily achievable “glorious sunsets over the river” with or without the promenade because recent giant riverside is another debate. developments now block the


Confusion over Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider Legal or not, that is the question in Thailand ■ WITH as many as 43,000 properties for rent on its listings in Thailand, Airbnb has become a major competitor in this country’s hotel industry. Its phenomenal growth in only a few years has caught hoteliers by surprise. Understandably, they are not happy with this foreign interloper,



despite the fact that Airbnb has only a tenth the number of rooms on its books compared to the Thai hotel industry. They point to the low rates Airbnb offers its customers – on average roughly 30 percent less than hotels, which face much higher operational costs and taxes. To back their case,

By Colin Hastings

they also claim Airbnb is undermining the local hotel industry because of its lack of regulation, health and safety standards. But it is not just hotels that object to Airbnb, now the world’s largest accommodation provider - even though it does not own a single property.

Condominium juristic persons have joined the chorus of critics, saying that owners and long-term residents are having their daily lives disrupted by transient Airbnb guests who ignore in-house rules, throw noisy late-night parties and do not respect common areas. There is also the question of security since some visitors do not register their address with the immigration division, which is against the law. When it comes to the laws covering the kind of rentals offered by Airbnb and other similar booking agencies, there are several schools of thought. Last year, for example, the Phuket Provincial Land Office sent a notice to all 234 registered condominium projects on the island saying that daily renting by condominium owners was a violation of the Hotel Act 2004. According to leading global commercial real estate company Colliers International, the Hotel Act requires properties offering commercial accommodation on a less than monthly basis to have a hotel license.   “However, Ministerial Regulation 2008 that governs hotel operations specifically excludes properties for temporary accommodation from being considered hotels if (a) they have four rooms or less, (b) they can accommodate no more than 20 people, (c) they create additional income, (d) they promote tourism or local culture and (e) the authorities have been notified.”   This exemption, added Colliers, is designed to exempt guest houses and homestays from the requirements of the Hotel Act and can be viewed as generally supportive of Airbnb-style short-term rentals. A condominium in Hua Hin that clearly has had some negative experiences with Airbnb recently

posted a notice aimed at “travellers, tourists and backpackers.” Its message was blunt. ‘This condominium is for residents only and is NOT A HOTEL.’ It went on: ‘Daily and weekly rentals are not allowed and are illegal under Thai law,’ and it threatened to prosecute trespassers. This same condominium also handed out copies of a letter from the local city hall, which was also adamant about the legality of Airbnbstyle lets. Among its warnings were the following:   * Letting units for less than one month to travellers for financial gain is against the law as it is equal to a hotel business without permission as defined by Clause 15 of the Hotel Act 2004.   * A letting business of less than one month for travellers for financial gain might also be against the law concerning conducting business inside a condominium, according to Clause 17/1 of the Condominium Act, 1979.   * If co-owners allow foreigners who are permitted to stay in the Kingdom temporarily to stay in their units, the unit owner must inform an official at the immigration office located within the area of the unit within 24 hours. In the case that there is no immigration office in the area, co-owners must inform a local police officer at any local police station.   * The Condominium Juristic Person should arrange to display a notice to promote awareness of this situation in the English and Thai languages, to be posted within the common area of the condominium to inform all co-owners to comply with these rules.  

* The Condominium juristic person must inform condominium staff not to permit, neglect or participate in the above-mentioned breaches of the law. Tax is another issue. Legal experts say that if you or your company own a condominium unit or villa in Thailand that was used, even if only for one day, by someone other than its legal owner (with or without you having received rental income), then you or your company have incurred liability under the House and Land Tax Act (HLT 1932).   According to Duensing Kippen, Attorney & Arbitrators, the HLT tax is imposed by local tax offices on the owner of such structures if they receive or should have received rental income. The tax is 12.5 percent of an amount equal to the annual “rental value.” Properties inhabited by the owners are exempt.   The experience tab on Airbnb’s website has personal guides travellers can hire. According to Thai law, anyone wanting to be a guide must have a license to do so. Khaosod English claims anyone doing so without a license could face a B100,000 fine or up to a year in prison.   Airbnb has many happy customers around the world who welcome the booking platform’s low rates and great variety of accommodation. Its huge popularity has spawned many similar agencies, some specialising in upmarket properties. In the UK, where it is legal and tax-tolerated, it has raised eyebrows after being used as short-term hotels and brothels.   Regardless of all the chaos surrounding the company, Airbnb does not seem to be slowing down in terms of expansion and popularity amongst travellers.




Thailand - a haven for digital nomads, or is it? By Kelly Iverson


hat’s the deal with digital nomads in Thailand? Digital nomads are ditching their day jobs in hopes of working for themselves, by themselves. Thailand is one of the most sought after home bases for digital nomads hailing from around the world, but what does it take to be one of these vagrant employees in the Kingdom? Why Thailand? Digital nomads are trending in Thailand. After Berlin, Barcelona and Budapest, Bangkok comes in as the best city to work in remotely according to Nomad List. Chiang Mai also makes the cut coming in at number seven and the southern island of Phuket falls at number 27. The cost of living, internet connectivity, fun and safety are a few factors nomads take into consideration before relocating remotely, and Thailand seemingly exceeds expectations in each one of these categories. The country is also a hodgepodge of unique culture, the locals are friendly and it is overall a stunning place to reside, so it is easy to see why so many digital nomads are moving to the Land of Smiles.



Is there a visa for digital nomads? Unfortunately for digital nomads, there is no such visa in Thailand that exists for them. There is, however, a new visa classification that has been announced by the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU) this past August. Any guidelines or information on the visa have yet to be released, but what we do know is that it is called the smart visa, and it is estimated that it will be in effect as of January 2018. “Early specifications indicate this would be a four-year visa, eligible to applicants who must be investors, startup entrepreneurs, high-level executives or highly skilled professionals. Unfortunately, the announcement was lacking any detail in eligibility criteria, cost or procedure,” Gareth Knight, Business Consultant at Interactive Associates, said. It would also provide greater flexibility for dependents (spouse and children) attached to the visa. And while this visa has received traction on the internet as the new visa for digital nomads in Thailand, Knight is sceptical. “In our view, the new visa is unlikely to undermine any existing projects, such as BOI promotion and Thailand Elite,” Knight said. “The cheapest Thailand Elite membership card costs B500,000 for five years, and that does not include any right to

work within the Kingdom. Companies need to jump through many hoops to get BOI approval for foreign ownership and work permit solutions, including needing to show that capital has been brought into the country. In this context, it’s hard to make a connection to the eligibility of this visa for a typical digital nomad.” What now? There are still a few avenues travellers can venture down to work as digital nomads in Thailand. The most popular visas to attain as a digital nomad are tourist visas, retirement visas and education visas. The requirements for each one varies, though these ensure applicants have at least 60 days in the country as a digital nomad. The main issue on how digital nomads can obtain long-term visas has yet to be solved, however. “Over-50s have the retirement visa to fall back on, although this prohibits ‘work,’” Knight said. “Otherwise, the best way to obtain a long-term visa solution is to have a company sponsor a work permit. Savvy digital nomads have been setting up companies to support their work here and then transferring ownership to others when it is time to move on. This is by far the most reliable way of staying here legally with a long-term visa.” What about taxes? Countries enter double tax treaties or agreements with one another to ensure people do not pay taxes twice, otherwise known as double taxation. Thailand is not a tax haven, so those nomads who are not paying taxes in their home country must pay them here. Nomads can get tax identification numbers from the revenue department. Digital nomads do not need to pay taxes if they are not a resident. Non-residents only pay taxes if their income comes from a source inside the country. That being said, anyone who has resided in the country for at least 180 days is considered a resident and must pay taxes as such. While Thailand does not have any type of tangible visa for digital nomads, these remote workers will continue to live the drifting life with the country acting as their office.




EATURING some of the capital’s most distinguished art and antique shops is River City Bangkok. The grand shopping complex lines the mighty Chaophraya River and provides both tourists and locals alike with the ultimate shopping experience, right on the water. Shoppers can browse the abundance of stores or fuel up at one of the many of dining options found at River City Bangkok. Luckily for shoppers, the luxurious, riverside shopping complex

showcases the spectacular art pieces at its monthly auction, which welcomes city-dwellers to its splendid shopping hub for some of the best deals in the capital. Found on the fourth floor of River City Bangkok, RCB Auctions is equipped with an ideal platform for both buyers and sellers to exchange rare antiques and share invaluable knowledge on each piece. Each item in the auction is carefully examined, evaluated, and certified by an elite panel of experts from the

Association for the Propagation and Promotion of Objets d’Art. Because of this, the authenticity of each piece is guaranteed. Visitors are welcome to attend the Grand Auction on December 2, 2017. The auction will start at 1.30pm. All items in the auction are available for viewing ten days prior to the auction date. For more information, please visit River City Bangkok. Charoenkrung 24, Talad Noi. 02 237 0077.



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


By Morgan Thanarojpradit

01 03


01 Bangkok’s 19th International Festival of Dance and Music

September 11-October 19 Thailand Cultural Centre BANGKOK will prepare for the biggest cultural extravaganza of the year. The Bangkok International Festival of Dance and Music is stronger than ever. The festival began in 1999 with only six performances and 200 artists in attendance. Today, the festival is over five weeks long and more than 1,000 artists will participate.

02 Kumite 3000

October 7 The Stage, Asiatique, The Riverfront KINGDOM Co., the production



company behind Thailand’s biggest MMA promotion, Full Metal Dojo, has teamed up with Muay Thai Live: The Legend Lives, to create Kumite 3000 (Asia Prizefighting Association).

03 Thanyapura Tri Dash Phuket

October 21 Thanyapura, Phuket BEING that it was so successful in May, the Thanyapura Tri Dash Phuket is back on October 21. Tickets are available for B1,100 for the individual dash and B2,000 for the team relay.

04 Metaphors: An evening of sound and moving images with Kick the Machine

October 28-29 BANGKOK CITY GALLERY WAITING You Curator Lab will transform the works of Kick the Machine’s members into their metaphorical counterparts. Presenting two live performances from members of Kick the Machine and their collaborators and will also showcase short film screenings, live performances and multimedia experiences.

05 Full Metal Dojo

November 5 Insanity Nightclub FMD is proud to announce it’s next



09 08


live MMA event - FMD15: Come Out to Play. The event will be on November 4 at Insanity Nightclub. FMD invites all MMA gangs from across Southeast Asia to compete in mortal combat inside the FMD cage this Halloween weekend.

06 Ed Sheeran in Bangkok

November 16 Impact Arena CELEBRATED singer and songwriter, Ed Sheeran, is coming to Bangkok this November. This will be his first time performing in Thailand.

07 Pond live in Bangkok November 21 Nakarin Space GET lost in the psychedelic sound of Pond, an Australian rock band hailing from Perth. Formed in 2008, the friends turned band mates will be in Bangkok on Tuesday, November 21, 2017. Tickets are B2,000.

08 2017 Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show

November 23-26 Ocean Marina Yacht Club THIS November 23-26, Pattaya will be hosting the 2017 Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show. This will be the sixth

instalment of the show. It will be open daily from 11am to 7pm (except Sunday), and entrance is free.

09 Shawn Mendes Illuminate World Tour 2017 December 11 Impact Arena THIS winter, get ready for Shawn Mendes to come to Bangkok on his Illuminate World Tour. Tickets are available now.

10 Bruno Mars in Thailand

April 30, 2018 Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani THE 24K Magic World Tour celebrates Bruno Mars’ latest chart-topping album, 24K Magic. Tickets start at B3,500 and will be available as of November 4.

TheBigChilli 17








Hotel of the month

Crest Resort & Pool Villas ■ CREST Resort & Pool Villas is poised to impress all visitors to the Pearl of the Andaman. Nestled on the sunny Tri Trang Beach, otherwise known as Emerald Beach, the five-star resort offers guests priceless views of the Andaman Sea with lush, tropical rainforests acting as its backdrop. The luxury accommodation option is equipped with 144 guest residences adorned with views of either the surrounding vegetation or crystal clear water. The rooms and villas all provide sufficient privacy and are impeccably decorated to fit the unique, naturistic theme of the resort. Guests can check out not one

but four different dining options at Crest Resort & Pool Villas. Spend an evening in enjoying delicious food at ATMOS, a venue serving up both contemporary Thai and international cuisine. Those diners hoping to enjoy the sweeping, ocean views with a signature cocktail in hand may instead opt for the Diva Sky Lounge. PANO is a dining venue serving up afternoon teas, light bites and pastries in addition to panoramic views of the Andaman Sea. Guests can take advantage of Thailand’s tropical climate at the H2O Infinity Pool Bar for a quick bite coupled with a refreshing swim. The extravagant resort is

kid-friendly with an onsite club for children. There are meeting facilities for those travellers who enjoy mixing a little business with pleasure. The resort also caters to hopeful newlyweds, providing couples with the perfect romantic destination to say, “I do.” The Prima Spa provides guests with the perfect place to get pampered. The spa menu is an extensive list of both wet and dry treatments as well as expert therapies which combine traditional Thai and modern healing techniques.

Crest Resort & Pool Villas. 95, Muen-Ngern Road, Tri Trang, Patong Beach, Kathu District, Phuket 83150, Thailand. 076 310 088.,




Going and Going and Going By Drew McCreadie

■ ONCE you hear a joke a couple of times, it stops being funny. There are some jokes, however, particularly ‘injokes’ that become funny again when they are overused. The same gag that you have been teasing your friend with since high school, for instance, was likely funny at first, became unfunny, and then suddenly (and miraculously), became funny again. A different kind of funny, but funny nonetheless. My mother and her friend, both Scottish, used to tease each other about being ‘frugal’ (i.e. tight with money). One of them found a birthday card that was reversible so that you could send it back to the same person who sent you the card, thereby reusing the card and saving the cost of buying a second one. Of course, they took this to the extreme and sent the same card back and forth for some crazy amount of time: something like 30 years. What makes absurd repetition funny? It must be something to do with the expenditure of energy that is required to keep a repetitive joke alive. The joke birthday card was funny at first, and then quickly became tiresome. Then, after a



commitment of 10-20 years, the sheer absurdity of the commitment to a tiresome old joke became, in itself, funny. My mother would howl with laughter every year when the same card appeared yet again in the mail and would then giggle to herself each year as she mailed it back to her friend on her birthday. There is some weird human pleasure that can be found in wasting time and energy on something that is patently stupid. (This may explain the longevity of certain relationships as well, but I digress.) Repetition is integral to comedy. There is something in the comedy called the rule of three, which states that it takes a minimum of two times to set up a routine, after which, on the third occasion, you can undermine the expectations created by the routine and thereby create a surprising twist that serves as a punchline. There is also the comedy rule of 300,000 which states that once a joke has lost its surprise, if you repeat it, and then keep going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and going, and

going and going, that eventually, if you keep going, and going, and going and going, after a while of going, and going and going, the joke will become funny again because you kept going, and going and going. There is no guarantee, however. You just have to keep going to find out.

This month at the Comedy Club Bangkok ‘Whose Line?’ Improv comedy! Come watch comedy as made famous by ‘Whose line is it anyway?’, Theatresports, and The Second City. Fuel by audience suggestions, it’s like making comedy gold right before your eyes. Tickets are B400 in advance and B500 at the door include a drink and drink specials. For the weekly show schedule for the month of October at Bangkok’s only dedicated comedy venue, The Comedy Club Bangkok, please visit our Facebook page for further updates at ComedyClubBangkok The Comedy Club Bangkok Sukhumvit 33/1 (above Royal Oak Club)


Explore the banks of the Mekong River in the city of Chiang Rai By Kelly Iverson

There is no better way to immerse yourself into the culture of Northern Thailand than with the help of the indigenous tribes who reside there


HAILAND is a popular destination, and often travellers who stick to frequenting the most grandiose of attractions find themselves needing a break from their fellow tourists. While many of cities around the country will continue to attract holidaymakers by the herds, one city has been able to preserve its charm with the help of its local, indigenous people: Chiang Rai. The quaint city of Chiang Rai became the capital of the Mengrai



Dynasty in 1262. Since then, some of the communities here leave many visitors believing that not much has changed since its inclusion to the Kingdom, including the communities which reside along the mighty Mekong River. The Mekong River runs from Tibet to the South China Sea at the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. It is in Chaing Rai, however, that the body of water hugs the banks of three nations as the Mekong becomes one with the Ruak River. The winding rivers separate Thailand from two other Southeast

Asian countries. Known as the Golden Triangle, or Sop Ruak by the locals, visitors standing at the viewpoint in Thailand will see Myanmar to their left and Laos to their right. The Golden Triangle is renowned for its unique blend of culture, traditions and scenery. Many people visit this charming northern city just to get a glimpse of the Golden Triangle. Further downstream from the coveted vantage point are the hill tribe communities that help the city hold true to its historical charisma.

These hill tribes rely on the river for so much more than a good view, however, and they have recently been welcoming visitors to get a glimpse of what their life is like along the river.


ne of these groups of indigenous people welcoming tourists reside in the Ban Saeo Village found in the Chiang Saen District of Chiang Rai. The community sits right along the murky banks of the Mekong and consists of riverside homes, temples and other historic structures. The village is a blend of different cultures as it is made up of five different hill tribes. They have settled on the banks of the river for more than 60 years. Otherwise known as ‘Isaan Lanna,’ the people of the village originated from the northeastern region of Thailand (Isaan) and merged in the north of the country where the

Lanna Kingdom was founded. The community is celebrated for its delicious recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation, otherwise known as Khantoke cuisine. Favourite dishes consist of nam-prik, or chilli dip, kow-neaw, or sticky rice, bok choy, a type of vegetable, tom yum kai, a hot and sour chicken soup and more. The Ban Saeo Village seemingly loves dancing as much as it does eating, and the young and old will gather and jump energetically with feet pattering the floors on which they move to a variety of instruments, including a khaen, a bamboo free-reed mouth organ originating from Thailand and Laos. Exploring this community in-depth is now possible with the help of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). As of Thursday, November 2, the TAT will unveil these new tours: Village Tourism 4.0. They will be offered in ten different local communities across the Kingdom and showcased at the 45th Thailand Tourist Festival, one of them being the Chiang Saen community in Chiang Rai.






Each mon th, a lesser attraction in the spot-known light


On Lok Yun A hidden gem on Charoenkrung Road where diners can feast on all-day breakfast (Thai-style, of course) and feel nostalgic all the while By Morgan Thanarojpradit

BEFORE there were any big franchise coffee shops, there was this small, local coffee house: On Lok Yun. This family-owned coffee shop was established over 80 years ago, and its inconspicuous facade has hardly changed over the years. This cosy and hidden dining spot forged a strong following because of its simple Thai-style American breakfast, consisting of grilled bread with sweet egg custard or condensed milk, homemade coffee and tea and that unforgettable nostalgic, old-world atmosphere the shop has somehow preserved in an ever-expanding city. The small restaurant is a three-storey high shophouse that seems to have been frozen in time with all of its traditional decรณr. There is plenty of seating on the first and second floor, but many choose to dine on the first floor, even if it means sharing a table with complete strangers. The second floor is perfect for those who would like some peace and quiet, however, there is no free Wi-Fi. The atmosphere alone is electric and borderline comical (depending on the diner), with staff members



and the owners of the shop shouting orders over the chatter as they bustle about, serving hungry diners. Once seated, diners are first served complimentary, free flow Chinese tea. The menu is minimal but gives diners more than a handful of options

How to get there Located in Chinatown, this inconspicuous building is a good distance away from any BTS or MRT station. The best way to find On Lok Yun is to take a tuk-tuk, taxi or a motorbike taxi to Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre. On Lok Yun is located next to the theatre. On Lok Yun. 72 Charoenkrung Road. 02 223 9621. Open daily from 6am-4pm.

including a Thai-style American breakfast with sausages, ham, bacon, egg and Chinese sausage. A selection of grilled bread with a choice of egg custard or condensed milk on the side is another very popular dish at On Lok Yun.

Expat Sport Strip AD_Big Tom_Aug17.pdf

HARTLEPOOL AT THE BANGKOK INTERNATIONAL RUGBY SEVENS TO many, Hartlepool is more than just a Northeast England town reputedly known for hanging a ship-wrecked monkey as a French spy during the Napoleonic War and then voted one in as its first elected mayor (all of this is true by the way). But Hartlepool is also synonymous with sport and, more pertinently, rugby. The town is renowned for its history, tradition and skill in all forms of the game. The two main clubs, Rovers and West, have both graced Twickenham for the Middlesex Sevens. Thanks to the inspiration and vision of Alby Pattison and tournament sponsor from Hart Biologicals, it has finally arrived in the Bangkok International Sevens. Pattison’s 2015 visit to Bangkok went so well that he is back and bringing the team with him. Hartlepool and district is a collection of seven rugby clubs: Boys Brigade Old Boys, Hartlepool, Horden, Rovers, Seaton Carew, TDSOB and West, and they have united for this venture to Bangkok. Hartlepool has history in this great game, and Pattison and manager John Bickerstaff will create even more as the clubs come together to field its first overseas team. Hartlepool’s team for the Bangkok International Rugby Sevens will be made up of players hailing from five of the town’s seven clubs. Boys Brigade Old Boys, Horden & Peterlee, Rovers, Seaton Carew and West provided the 11 players. We are also very pleased to confirm that there will be three teams from Kazakhstan playing at this year’s Bangkok International Rugby Sevens. Expect to see some quality rugby and hard hits from these robust players!




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Expat Sport

ERAWAN RUN TOGETHER 2017 THE Erawan Group recently organised Erawan Run Together 2017 event to raise funds for the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation at Lumphini Park.




After four decades with the US Army, retirement beckons for an old soldier Having seen action in some of the world’s most dangerous places, Colonel Larry J. Redmon of the American embassy is ready for a quieter life in Thailand By Colin Hastings

Colonel Redmon (centre) on duty in the Middle East



Colonel Lang in conversation with his Thai colleagues

■ DURING a distinguished 40-year career with the US military, Colonel Larry J. Redmon, Army Attaché at the American embassy in Bangkok, has been deployed to some of the world’s most dangerous and hostile places, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Southern Philippines and Bosnia-Herzegovina, where he was involved in combat duty. He also served in Liberia, East Timor and Japan, along with postings to India and Germany. Right now, though, Colonel Redmon is half way through a fouryear posting in Thailand – his third in the Kingdom – before returning to civilian life where he will be making some important personal decisions about his future.

Married to a Thai lady who has her career as a TV journalist, Colonel Redmon is considering retiring here in Thailand, a country he clearly knows well and which in turn has acknowledged his contribution by awarding him ‘The Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant from the Kingdom of Thailand.” “It all depends on whether I can find something constructive and meaningful to do here, maybe with an NGO or as a military advisor,” said the softly spoken soldier from East Tennessee. “Otherwise I’ll probably head back to the US.” In his capacity as Army Attaché, Colonel Redmon has a long list of responsibilities. First and foremost, it is his duty to represent his service branch in Thailand as well as his ultimate boss, the Chief of Staff of the US Army. He is also responsible for maintaining cordial military relations between the US and Thailand, arranging meetings at the Pentagon for senior Thai military officers, overseeing ceremonial functions, answering questions about his

nation’s armed forces, escorting VIP visitors and briefing high ranking US Army personnel on local conditions. Another one of his tasks is to represent top American military schools such as the US Military Academy in West Point and describe to potential students from countries like Thailand what is expected of them. The historical links between the US military and its Thai counterparts are not lost on Colonel Redmon. “We are closer in this sense to Thailand than to any other nation in Southeast Asia,” he said. “During World War II, we provided covert assistance to Thailand, and then in the post-war years, the US helped to rebuild the Thai army in its fight against the communist insurgency. We also had Thais fighting alongside us in Korea and Vietnam, and helping in humanitarian roles in Iraq and Afghanistan.” His military service with the US Army goes back to 1978 when he joined the 3rd US Infantry Regiment, moving later to the 1st Special Forces Group in 1986 serving as an NCO.

Upon commissioning as an officer, he served in the artillery for a short period before returning to Special Forces. In 1993, he was assigned to the Special Warfare Centre at Fort Bragg, North Carolina for the second time, and a year later he graduated the Officer Special Forces Qualification Course. Colonel Redmon has been assigned to Thailand on several different occasions, the first being in the mid-1980s when he was posted here to help contain Khmer Rouge insurgents and Vietnamese incursions. “They were still coming over the border, chased out of Cambodia by the Vietnamese,” recalled this career soldier. His second stint came in 1988 when he returned with a group of 72 US advisors to attend military exercises in Lopburi, Phitsanulok and Pak Chong. Later, he joined the Defense Language Institute for Thai language studies and in 1998 attended the Royal Thai Army Command and Staff College. On graduation, he




was assigned as US Military Special Forces Advisor in the joint US Military Advisory Group – Thailand. This led to his deployment with the Royal Thai Army contingent in East Timor.


n the early 90s, Colonel Redmon was sent to BosniaHerzegovina as part of the 10th Special Forces Group where he commanded two Special Forces Operational Detachments in Operation Joint Endeavor. “We were responsible for separating the warring factions. It was a bizarre



and terrible time, with many of the warring factions committing genocide, rape and murder. Our task there included tracking down war criminals.” After Europe, he conducted a mission in Africa where his unit helped to evacuate American citizens from the civil war enveloping Liberia. In 2000, Colonel Redmon was again assigned to the 1st Special Force Group (Airborne) for staff and command of operational Special Forces units. While in command, he deployed his unit to the Philippines, as part of the war on terrorism Operation ‘Enduring Freedom-Philippines’ against the Abu

Sayyaf terrorist group. In June 2002, he again assumed duties as the Operations Officer of the Joint United States Military Advisory Group Thailand and US Special Forces Advisor with the Royal Thai Armed Forces. In 2006, Colonel Redmon reported to the Office of the Secretary of Defense where he served as the Deputy Director for Counter-terrorism policy. He was later appointed the Country Director, and then Regional Director, for Southeast Asia, in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asia Pacific Security Affairs. During 2008-11, he was posted to Iraq and Afghanistan, arriving in the region at a critical stage in the conflict. “It was a very dangerous period, because of the sectarian divide, with Christians being targeted. Yes, it was bad in Iraq, but even worse in Afghanistan, where I lost of seven of my guys in an encounter in Farah province lasting just 22 minutes. “I now know how the US Cavalry must have felt in the Old West – if captured alive, we’d be skinned alive. “The brutality in Afghanistan made sense in a strange way; the people there were living in the 12th century. But in Iraq, a country of educated people, schools and electricity, the brutality didn’t make sense.” For the three years before coming to Thailand before his current post in 2015, Colonel Redmon was the US Army Attache’ to India.

Over the years here, he has met and become friends with some of the Thai soldiers who were actively involved in US Army operations across the globe. Veterans of these conflicts are remembered to this day in various military ceremonies conducted in Thailand by Colonel Redmon and his team. “We want to make sure their contributions are still important to us,” he said. The experience of one particular Thai soldier during the Vietnam War resonates with him. “This man was an army sergeant and radio operator called Chaichorn Harnavee, who spent almost ten years in the Hanoi ‘Hilton’. “Today, he’s 82 years old, and his incredible story deserves to be told. Chaichorn was on a covert mission when his plane landed in Laos, where it was ambushed by communist soldiers. He and the pilot managed to escape and hide out in the jungle for several days. Eventually, they were captured and sent to North Vietnam. “He was jailed in Hanoi along with other prisoners of war, including Senator John McCain, former vice presidential candidate Ross Perot and Admiral James Stockdale. “During his time in prison, he helped many POWs to escape. On

his release a decade later Chaichorn was dumped on the Thai border, but because of his time away from this country found it difficult to convince fellow Thais that he was one of them. While in prison, he had been declared dead, and on his return to Thailand, he discovered that his wife had remarried. “He’s an amazing man and was awarded a US Silver Star and Legion of Merit.” Colonel Redmon’s CV is impressive. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history, a Master of Arts in military studies for revolutions and insurgencies (SEA and Burma), and a master’s in strategic studies. His awards and decorations include; ‘Defense Superior Service Medal’, the ‘Bronze Star Medal with Oak leaf,’ and other US and foreign decorations, including ‘The Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant.’ Looking back at the past 40 years, Colonel Redmon said: “It has been a great privilege to wear the uniform and serve my nation in so many places. I have met so many great, impressive and influential people down to the most humble, poorest person. All have made a tremendous impact on my life for the better.

“On the day I was commissioned an officer, an old soldier told me – and I have never forgotten his words – ‘Today you are entrusted with America’s most precious gifts, her sons and daughters, in this awesome responsibility you can never fail.’ “My only regret – that I didn’t do better is that some of those young people with whose lives I was entrusted with didn’t come back.” Colonel Redmon and his wife Nuntalux have two children, a son Khunsig, fifteen years old, and a daughter Yiwhaa, twelve years old. His favourite activities and hobbies are spending time with his family, hunting, enjoying nature and studying history.



New Lugang Cafe at Asiatique RECENTLY launched at Asiatique, The Riverfront is the delicious Lugang Cafe. This Chinese cafe is famous for serving up delicious signature dishes from China and Taiwan to diners in Bangkok. The restaurant was first established in 2001 and currently has over 80 branches in China, Macau, the Philippines and now Thailand. Lugang Cafe. Asiatique the Riverfront. 02 254 8379.

72 Courtyard welcomes Savoy bar

SAVOY is a new venue in 72 Courtyard that is both a punch bar and a singing room. The bar is equipped with 12 different punches and private karaoke rooms available. Savoy, 72 Courtyard. 02 392 7637.

DEAN & DELUCA opens second branch in airport JETSETTERS will be pleased to hear that coveted cafe, DEAN & DELUCA, opened up a second branch in the Suvarnabhumi Airport and is open 24 hours a day. DEAN & DELUCA, Suvarnabhumi Airport.



New on the


Hot new restaurants, bars & cafes in Bangkok

Mediterranean restaurant and bar opens on Sukhumvit

INVITE Wine & Cocktail Bar is bringing Bangkok diners upscale yet rustic Mediterranean food with a modern twist. The new venue is located on Sukhumvit Soi 8 and headed by Chef Semet Mehmet. InVite Wine & Cocktail Bar. 02 254 9290.

Desirable Dish Massaman beef curry

Cinnamon sticks rich aromatic cinnamon

Savour the Thai touches in Massaman beef curry served with potato and shallot pickle

Massaman curry paste rich Massaman curry paste

Star anise aromatic and delicious spice

Beef chunk Potato


flavourful potato

fresh shallot

slow-cooked beef chunks

Chef in focus CHEF Charlie, in partnership with Singaporean guru chef Colin, heads the dynamic culinary team of Amara Bangkok’s Element restaurant to promote both signature Singaporean and authentic Thai dishes in the heart of Bangkok. Chef Charlie previously worked with famous hospitality brands including Marriott, Hilton, Sofitel and Novotel, to name a few. Amara Bangkok. 181/1 Surawong Road. 02 021 8888.



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

Hokkaido scallops paired with eggplant caviar, parsley coulis and a mixed herb salad ----------------- Ingredients -----------------Hokkaido scallops 8 pieces of Hokkaido scallops olive oil butter Eggplant caviar 500 g eggplant 50 g chopped onions 50 g olive oil salt Tomato confit 4 pieces of tomatoes 2 pieces of garlic clove dash of olive oil Parsley coulis 200 g parsley salt cold butter Mixed herb salad 15 g Italian parsley 15 g dill 15 g chervil 15 g coriander olive oil salt flakes

-------------------- Method --------------------• Hokkaido scallops: Pan fry scallops with olive oil on the flat side. Add butter and cook only on the side that is presented. • Eggplant caviar: Cook the eggplant under the salamander until it is soft and the skin is burned. Remove and strain the flesh, but save one gram of the burned skin. Blend a third of the flesh with the onions, olive oil and burned skin. Remove from the blender and add the rest of the flesh with a whisk. • Tomato confit: Boil tomatoes for a few seconds, cool down in ice bath then peel the tomatoes. Remove the seeds from the base of the tomato. Add olive oil, salt

and sliced garlic. Keep the tomatoes on a baking tray with paper (curved side down) and add the garlic and olive oil on top. Dry the tomatoes at 100ºC for one hour, then turn. Preserve flat in a box with the olive oil. • Parsley coulis: Remove the stamps. Blanch the leaves in a pot of boiling water until they are soft. Cool them down in an ice bath to stop them from cooking and to fix the chlorophyll. Strain, blend and strain again through a fine strainer. Reheat with cold butter to adjust the consistency. • Mixed herb salad: Remove the stamps and add some olive oil and salt flakes.

Chef in focus

Chef Christian Ham 40


STARTING his career in the culinary world as a teenager and making his way up to being Chef De Cuisine at Red Sky restaurant at Centara Grand in CentralWorld is Chef Christian Ham. With over 20 years of experience in the culinary arts, Chef Christian Ham is one of the most prestigious chefs in the city, having graced the kitchens of restaurants around the world including D’Sens in Bangkok, L’Atelier Joel Robuchon in Hong Kong, Taillevent in Paris and more. Red Sky at Centara Grand in CentralWorld. 999/99 Rama I Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand. 02 100 6255.

cut out and keep


Food& Drink Bangkok’s hottest dining deals and news

Delicious buffet at Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers

Afternoon tea at Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Méridien Hotel

AVAILABLE NOW SPEND Thanksgiving indulging in a delectable dinner buffet at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers. Traditional dishes include roasted Tom turkey with celery sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and other holiday favourites. The price is B1,090 per person.

AVAILABLE NOW MADE from Royal Project produce are the sweet treats found at the Royal Afternoon Tea by Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Méridien Hotel. Enjoy fine Ronnefeldt tea priced at B1,200++ per person every day from 2pm to 5pm at The Bakery. The Bakery, Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Méridien Hotel. 02 650 8800.

Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers. 02 266 0123.

Celebrate Loy Krathong at Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 3 JOIN Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers to celebrate the Loy Krathong festival. There will be a parade, beauty contest, Northern Thai dance and music, delicious food and fireworks on Friday, November 3 from 7pm to 10pm. Tickets are B3,200++ per person and B1,600++ for a child. Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers. 02 266 0123.

Pirate Chambre launched new menu AVAILABLE NOW PIRATE Chambre presents diners with a new menu equipped with over 13 new creations added to the already wide selection of dishes. Some of the new plates include the Beijing duck spring rolls, fritto misto, runa ceviche avocado mango and caviar, Australian beef tataki with balsamic ponzu, Sicilian-style tuna carpaccio and more. Pirate Chambre. 02 252 5131.



Exclusive chivas whiskey pairing at JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok AVAILABLE ON THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19 JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok and Chivas Regal Whisky brings an exclusive four-course dinner menu on Thursday, October 19. Head Chef Yukio Takeda is behind the delicious menu, and tickets are B2,000 per person and include dinner, paired whiskys and the Chivas Regal cocktail and canapés upon arrival. JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok. 26 567 700.

Early bird New Year’s Eve discount

Amazing seafood buffet at The Café AVAILABLE NOW SEAFOOD lovers should make their way to The Café, a delicious international restaurant at the Windsor Suites Hotel. The seafood buffet dinner is only B755 per person and is currently running a buy two get one free dining special. The buffet is Friday through Sunday from 6pm to 10.30pm.

THROUGH NOVEMBER 10 AT THE WORLD AND DYNASTY BOOK your New Year’s Eve at The World or Dynasty at Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld before November 10 and get a 15 percent discount. The World restaurant will have an array of international cuisine, and Dynasty restaurant will feature a spread of dim sum, seafood and more. The price is B2,999++. Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre. 02 100 1234.

The Café, Windsor Suites Hotel. 02 262 1234.

Vegetarian specials at Fei Ya restaurant FROM OCTOBER 20-28 VEGETARIANS rejoice as Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel introduces new Cantonese vegetarian specials just in time for the Vegetarian Festival. Specials at the Fei Ya Cantonese restaurant include crispy vegetarian goose and a special dim sum menu. Prices start at B180++ per dish. Fei Ya, Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong Hotel. 02 125 5000.

Four new dishes at Dream Hotel Bangkok AVAILABLE NOW AT FLAVA RESTAURANT & BAR AND FLAVA LITE ROOFTOP POOL & BAR CHEF Booncherd Kaewplang created new menu inspired by the signature dishes from the four regions in Thailand. The menu is served with a Thai drink and is B380 per set at the Flava Restaurant & Bar and Flava Lite Rooftop Pool & Bar. Flava Restaurant & Bar and Flava Lite Rooftop Pool & Bar, Dream Hotel Bangkok. 02 254 8500.



Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

Barista Championship at Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok CENTARA Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok recently hosted the Centara Barista Championship 2017 and congratulated Phanthila Panyadee, the winner from Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok. A total of 19 baristas competed for the prestigious award and prize money.



An evening of fine wine at the Anantara Riverside Bangkok ANANTARA Riverside Bangkok held a special wine evening at Brio on Tuesday, September 26. Attendees enjoyed a six-course menu and wines from awardwinning producer Banfi, created by Italian-American brothers, John and Henry Mariani.

Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel holds the 18th annual World Gourmet Festival HER Royal Highness Princess Soamsawali attended the opening ceremony of the 18th World Gourmet Festival at Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel. The festival was held from September 4-10 and raised money to support the AZT Fund for Pregnant Women of the Thai Red Cross Society.



Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

September 2017 was the month of the BonChon Chick Challenge CHICKEN lovers chowed down this month to partake in the BonChon Chick Challenge 2017. Participants snapped a photo of their meal before sharing it on social media in hopes of winning prizes worth up to B300,000 throughout the month. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, November 15. “Spain meets Thailand” at UNO MAS UNO MAS restaurant at Centara Grand at CentralWorld presented “Spain meets Thailand,” sponsored by protos wine; diners had the opportunity to experience the extraordinary and exclusive dishes made only for the special evening.



Meet the Chef What’s the biggest culinary myth? More oil means tastier Indian food. Music you listen to whilst cooking? I don’t like to listen to music while I cook.

SERVING UP Anil Kumar Pandey

Sous Chef Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside

Most difficult ingredient to work with? Fenugreek.

Who was the most memorable person you’ve ever cooked for? Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

What’s your favourYour biggest ite wine? mistake I don’t as a brand new like wine. chef? Burnt my food. What would you be if you weren’t a chef? Electrician.


Most influential chef? Chef Anurak Polyang.

What’s your greatest achievement to date? Sous Chef.

What’s your proudest signature dish? Lamb leg tandoori.

Best advice you’ve ever received? Always listen to your chef.

What do you like doing when you’re not busy cooking? Reading a book and thinking.

Chef in

What’s your cooking philosophy? Healthy cooking makes for a healthier life.

Three words that best describe your cooking? Comforting, What’s natural, the best meal creative. you’ve ever had? The Tom yum. utensils you can’t do without? Frying pan.

■ BEGINNING his career as a cook at Nazim Restaurant in Vientiane, Laos, Chef Anil Kumar Pandey also worked as a chef at Bollywood Restaurant on Sukhumvit Soi 4. He joined Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside in March 2009 and currently works as the Sous Chef (Middle East and South Asian cuisines). He brought with him over 13 years of experience with Indian, Mediterranean and Asian cuisines. Ramada Plaza Bangkok Menam Riverside. 2074 Charoenkrung Road, Bangkok 10120. 02 688 1000.



Dining Out

Outback Steakhouse


UTBACK Steakhouse, a world-renowned restaurant brand, brings diners the juiciest deals from the land down under. Whether it is garden-fresh salads, homemade chips and dips, succulent steaks or perfectly grilled spare ribs, Outback Steakhouse has a dish for every type of diner. Leave Southeast Asia behind, if only for a meal, at the Outback Steakhouse in Bangkok.


When we arrived, we were greeted with the creamy spinach artichoke dip (B349) – a perfect blend of spinach, artichokes, Monterey Jack cheese and melted Parmesan baked until aromatic and bubbly

and served with a large helping of crispy tortilla chips. Up next were the kookaburra wings (half B269/full B399) – juicy chicken wings tossed in a mouthwatering blend of Outback Steakhouse’s secret spice recipes and paired with fresh and creamy blue cheese dressing and celery. The Australian-inspired main courses on the menu soon followed the delicious appetisers. These dishes were heavier and even more mouthwatering. The baby back ribs (half B399/full B749) were succulent, fall-off-the-bone ribs covered in a tangy BBQ sauce and served with Aussie fries. The Outback Special is the restaurant’s signature sirloin steak consisting of carefully chosen premium meat, seasoned and seared with bold spices and served with your choice of side, including mashed potatoes and fresh seasonal



vegetables. Last but not least is the typhoon burger (B469), topped with in-house fried onion rings, American cheese, lettuce, tomato and typhoon bloom sauce and served with Aussie fries. The portion sizes were extremely filling and will satisfy even the most ravenous of diners.


Outback Steakhouse is located on the 4th floor of Siam Discovery on Rama I Road. The dining venue certainly brought the fun and chilled out Aussie vibe to the capital. Outback Steakhouse, equipped with warm wooden decor and spacious table

arrangements, is ideally equipped for those looking for something more intimate and large groups of people, as well. The friendly staff makes everyone feel right at home during their meal. Stop in on the weekend to fill up before a night out or any day of the week to simply enjoy a great meal in a welcoming environment, making diners feel as though they are truly in the outback of Australia.


Parking is available at the Siam Discovery Department Store.

Outback Steakhouse, Siam Discovery 4th Floor, Rama I Road. 02 658 0202. www. FB: OutbackSteakhouseTH



Dining Out

At the Chef’s Table with Nicolas Basset New chef and new menus at L’Appart


ROWNING the Art Deco-inspired Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit, L’Appart restaurant and bar has always been a magnet for lovers of gourmet cuisine. But even by its exemplary standards, the recent arrival of Executive Sous Chef, Nicolas Basset has elevated dining at this elegant 32nd-floor venue to new heights. At just 30 years of age, Chef Nicolas is a rising star of the culinary world who has been dazzling diners with his new and exciting menu at L’Appart. Young, creative and passionate about his art, Chef Nicolas is the perfect choice for this relaxed yet stylish rooftop restaurant. While enjoying the relaxed vibe and cool music in L’Appart’s living room, library, or on the terrace with a spectacular panoramic city backdrop, diners can explore a carefully crafted menu that skillfully combines classic French technique with an intriguing touch of Asia. However, for a truly intimate and engaging dining experience, reserving a seat at The Chef’s Table in the open kitchen is highly recommended. A memorable evening’s dining at L’Appart can start with one of several signature cocktails, such as Banana Jack, a delightfully tropical mix of Jack Daniel’s, pineapple juice, banana Monin syrup, passion fruit, and lime



juice. The exceptional wine list, for which Sofitel is renowned, should not be overlooked, either. Chef Nicolas’ menu kicks off with a choice of appetisers that are beautifully executed – a feast for the eyes as well as the appetite. Notable temptations are the oxtail bon-bons, melt-in-the-mouth braised oxtail with a fabulous sauce that complements the rich and flavourful meat. There’s also a Thai-inspired tuna tartare served with a crisp tortilla, vegetables and a piquant lemongrass vinaigrette. The highlight, however, is curried lobster mayonnaise with Arenkha herring roe caviar playful served in a tin and paired with Veuve Clicquot Champagne. Chef Nicolas boasts an impressive culinary pedigree which includes working at the Michelin-starred The Orrery Restaurant and as Chef de Partie at Chez Kristof and Michelinstar La Trompette, all prestigious restaurants in London. At L’Appart, his

experience and dedication to his art shine through every dish he creates. The Chef’s Table experience continued with main dishes of Jerusalem artichoke soup topped with vanilla oil, and smoked Atlantic octopus served with black garlic aioli and Ratte potatoes, a unique French potato prized for its nutty flavour and smooth, buttery texture. Like all Chef Nicolas’ food, these dishes showcase his passion for provenance and his ability to make bring out the best in humble ingredients. There’s also coco scallops, meaty imported scallops seared to perfection and artfully plated with coconut, cauliflower and truffle emulsion, succulent ribbons of Wagyu beef with poached foie-gras and a comforting dashi-style consommé, and soya glazed pork belly with variations of celeriac. As you would expect with a chef of this calibre, dining at L’Appart ends on a high note with the delectable dessert of rum and Tahitian vanilla-marinated Phuket pineapple flambéed at the table. Discover the cuisine of Chef Nicolas Basset at L’Appart. L’Appart is located on the 32nd floor of Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit; a short walk away from the BTS SkyTrain Asoke station. L’Appart Bangkok. Hotel Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit. 189 Sukhumvit Road Soi 13-15. 02 126 9999.

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Dining Out

Mexicano, Rembrandt Bangkok


ORMERLY known as Senor Pico, the Rembrandt Hotel’s new Mexican restaurant adopted a different name and a more traditional direction under the instruction of head chef Carlos Bravo. With years of experience under his belt, chef Carlos is sure to bring a variety of exquisite traditional dishes to all diners at Mexicano, Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok.

recommend beef tacos (B375) – braised beef tacos, onions and cilantro with a fresh house-made sauce. Must-try items on the menu include the beef quesadillas (B285) – grilled flour tortillas served with shredded roasted beef, pico de gallo and sour cream. Also delicious were the braised

and vanilla ice cream and finally the pastel de tres leches (B150) – a traditional Mexican cake made with three types of milk. Refreshing beverages include the canela cinnamon sangria (B250), a mojito playaro (B280) and the strawberry margarita (B250).


The signature dishes include tacos de cabrito (B460) – tacos filled with delectably roasted lamb leg, onions, coriander and avocado sauce enhanced with fresh mint. We also had the chef short beef rib mole verde (B690) – slow-cooked Angus short beef ribs with green mole sauce and roasted potatoes. Delicious desserts include the creamy, delectable churros (B150) – deep-fried flour dumplings served with hot chocolate sauce


This restaurant is sure to leave a lasting impression on all diners. The restaurant is enhanced with colourful tiles, decorative flags and a pleasant staff. A live band plays at 7pm nightly (except Tuesdays), and the restaurant is open daily from 5pm to midnight. Mexicano, Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok, 19 Sukhumvit Soi 18. 02 261 7100.



Dining Out

Pagoda Chinese Restaurant A new luxurious Chinese restaurant amidst Bangkok’s bustling dining scene


OCATED on the 4th floor of the Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park Hotel is the newest Chinese addition to Bangkok’s dining scene. The Pagoda Chinese Restaurant offers an array of delicious traditional Cantonese cuisine, the creation of executive chef Oscar Pun from Hong Kong. He has over 30 years of experience working at Michelin-starred restaurants in Hong Kong and China.

succulent steamed prawn asparagus dumpling and the rice rolls (B150) – steamed rice rolls with fresh prawns. The soup was a fish maw soup (B680 per person) – refreshing and crisp double-boiled fish maw soup with morel mushroom.



First up was the succulent crispy roasted pork (B400) – the Chef’s signature crispy roasted pork that has been baked repeatedly in order to achieve the crispy skin while the meat stayed soft and tender. Next was the shrimp dumpling (B120), a Not to be missed include the delectable codfish with egg white (B980) – baked cod fish served with egg white, stir-fried okra with Laoganma (B320)offers a very unique flavour. The must-try is definitely the sticky rice with crab meat (B1,900),



a giant serving of steamed sticky rice with fresh crab meat served in a big bamboo basket. Dessert was a rich ginkho in pumpkin soup served in a young coconut.

The atmosphere at Pagoda Chinese Restaurant expresses modern luxury with spacious arrangements spread across the main dining room. The restaurant also includes seven private dining rooms with own wait staff. The interior has beautiful Chinese lanterns, oriental ceramics, lattice woodwork, vintage gothic chandeliers against bright wallpapers and throw pillows. This modern eatery exudes a familial ambience.


Parking is available at the Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park.

Pagoda Chinese Restaurant. Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park, 4th Floor, 199 Sukhumvit 22 Road. 02 059 5999. www.bangkokmarriottmarquisqueenspark. com/dining

Dining Out

Kongju Korean Restaurant


HIS extravagant yet comfortable Korean restaurant, situated on the 2nd floor of Pathumwan Princess Hotel Bangkok, allows diners to step into an extraordinary culinary world.


We started off with the recommended appetisers which included Goo Jeol Pan, or Princess Pathumwan (B290 small, B550 large) – an assortment of nine cold appetisers. Adventurous diners can try wrapping the collection of appetisers themselves or ask the wait staff for assistance, as it is quite a feat to accomplish. The main dishes included a selection of delicious Ho Bak Kal Bee Tchim (B330) – stewed beef ribs (or pork) in pumpkin, Dak Kang Jeong

Relish in an array of Korean fine dining cuisine in the centre of Bangkok (B340) – fried chicken with fried garlic and chilli and the Sam Gae Tang (B500) – ginseng chicken soup with sticky rice. The main course ended with a selection of barbecued beef and a set fish menu that was cooked right on the table. There is also an all you can eat Korean buffet for B680 per person available for those diners with a big appetite.

Desserts included a chewy and delectable Gotgam Ssam (B190) – dry persimmon with walnut and a refreshing and aromatic Soo Jeong Kwa (B150) – aromatic cinnamon punch with pine nuts and jujube. The cocktail of the day was the crisp and zesty Tae Yang, meaning sunrise (B250) – soju, raspberry, lime and fresh apples.


This spacious Korean restaurant exudes an aura of luxury while reflecting traditional Korean art in its décor. Kongju Korean Restaurant boasts a selection of truly authentic dishes where guests can choose to dine in the atmospheric restaurant or utilise the private facilities for a more intimate setting. Kongju Korean Restaurant, Pathumwan Princess Hotel 2nd Floor, 444 MBK Center, Phayathai Road. 02 216 3700 ext 20230. kongju-korean-restaurant



Guest review by

PizzaZo Bistro & Bar


HIS was our second visit to PizzaZo Bistro & Bar, a French restaurant serving up international cuisine. It was a full house with some 20 diners there. Last year, we had been given two mains to feast upon. Wise counsel had obviously been offered in the intervening period, but we still left with distended stomachs. Proceedings commenced with plates of cold cuts to accompany a sparkling starting wine. The first dish featured a seared Hokkaido scallop with sautéed mushrooms with black truffle sauce. The scallop was cooked very well and was tasty, but some people (not me) thought the truffle sauce was nicely seasoned but a little overpowering. What came next was delightful – butter poached lobster with crustacean purée. Not only was the lobster delicious, but the sauce, which was enriched with remnants of the lobster, was out of this world. Our food spokesman, Thomas Nowak, congratulated Chef and Owner Khun

New Shuashard, for their impeccable performances on this particular dish. Thomas had warned us that the menu offered too many selections, but we pressed on nonetheless with a butternut squash cream soup with roasted pine nuts. Once again, this was an excellent presentation of a classic dish with just one or two diners finding the soup a little too thick for their liking.



The main dish was a rack of lamb with parmesan mashed potatoes in thyme sauce. The lamb was enjoyable, tasty and was cooked medium-rare as requested. The accoutrements also paired well with the lamb. A tiramisu dessert soon followed and was accompanied by vanilla ice cream. Although it was delicious, it could not escape Thomas’s censure (a purist we learned) when it comes to tiramisu. Traditional tiramisu contains a short list of ingredients: finger biscuits, egg yolks, sugar, coffee, mascarpone cheese and cocoa powder. The original recipe hails from Italy in the 1960s, and it contains no egg whites or added liquor. Khun New’s version does contain layers of cake, however. Finally, we reached the cheeses. John MacTaggart approached bearing Stilton and Ruby Port in celebration of his birthday, and Mark Guthrie honoured his return to the Big Mango with a wide selection of Vermont cheeses. All were delicious, and we hope

Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy

we will celebrate many more happy homecomings for our travelling friends. In conclusion, we invited John to extend our thanks to Khun New and the remaining members of the hard-working service team for a very enjoyable lunch which lasted until the early evening. The wines of the day presented Peter Bourke, wine spokesman for the first time, with a tough challenge. Our aperitif, Cremant Du Jura Domaine La Pinte (France), seemed

to have lost a little of the sparkle we had been expecting and was adjudged to have past its prime. The One Off Chardonnay 2015 (Hawke’s Bay, NZ) served with the scallop, however, proved to be a hit with Peter (in his opinion, “an old-fashioned, full-bodied Australian chardonnay,”) and found it to be well-matched to the dish. This proved veritably to be one off as One Off Pinot Noir 2014 (Martinborough, NZ) earned only limited praise (leaving Peter to suggest Kiwis perhaps do not know how to make red wine) alongside the lobster and soup. I speculate that the case of Dante Rivetti Barbaresco Micca 2006 (Piedmont, Italy) had suffered irreversible heat damage somewhere between Genoa and leaving the customs hall in Khlong Toei, as the taste somewhat varied from bottle to bottle. Peter’s overall conclusion was that it had passed its sell-by date. As usual, the choice of wines was made by the Club. PizzaZo 188 Sukhumvit Soi 16 Thailand, Bangkok 10110. 02 259 1234.

r e u t t p a ! B By Morgan Thanarojpradit and Kelly Iversonn

The City of Angels is sure to surprise even the biggest fish and chips fanatics with its take on this particular culinary fusion FEW cuisines suit almost every occasion like a good batch of fish and chips can: whether they are battered, crumbed or fried. This month, we visited numerous restaurants serving up one of the most coveted international dishes of them all to find the most delicious version of this legendary meal. While this list is not a comprehensive round up, it is certainly a good starting point. Where is your favourite place to get fish and chips? Submit your suggestions via Facebook or by email we will be sure to add it to our list! It really doesn’t get any batter than this!



Fat Gut’z Beer & Whisky Saloon Ekamai Beer House ASIDE from serving up traditional Western food, Thai delicacies, draft beers, an extensive wine list and delicious cocktails, Ekamai Beer House also offers a weekend roast, which is favourited by its regular diners. Ekamai Beer House also serves up a delicious fish and chips. The dish consists of fresh seabass dipped in their signature batter and deep-fried until golden brown. It is then served with a good helping of fat chips, pea purée and crispy onion rings with housemade tartar sauce for B335++ per order.

BROUGHT to Bangkok by the same creative entity behind Maggie Choo’s, Clouds and Iron Fairies, Fat Gut’z Beer & Whisky Saloon offers a different tale from the same story but is just as noteworthy as its unique counterparts. The restaurant specialises in beer, however, Fat Gut’z Beer & Whisky Saloon’s main courses are certainly a force to be reckoned with. Priced at B280 for a small dish and B520 for a large, the fish and chips at Fat Gut’z are made with freshly dipped fish in a bucket of beer batter and served with crispy French fries and tartar sauce for dipping.



Outback Steakhouse THIS Australian-inspired steakhouse is serving up the best of the best from down under. Offering an array of delicious meat cuts, pasta dishes, ribs, seafood and more, this unique venue has something for everyone. The casual atmosphere coupled with the friendly staff can surely make anyone feel right at home. Outback Steakhouse is serving up an amazing fish and chips (B349). The dish is made with freshly cut fish dipped in Outback’s special recipe batter and then deep-fried until crispy. The hearty meal is served with signature Aussie fries, coleslaw and tartar sauce. A discounted price of B299 is available Monday-Friday during lunchtime between 11am-3pm.

Sam’s Fish & Chips THIS friendly eatery makes diners feel like they are visiting a relative’s home rather than a restaurant. The atmosphere is alive and energetic, with modest seating all fairly close to one another but comfortable all the same. Fish and chips fanatics can expect two large fillets of dory fish covered in homemade breadcrumb batter that is both light and crunchy and served with fries accompanied by tartar sauce (B235).



The M Pub Beers n’ Beers LOCATED on the ground floor of Ascott Hotel on Sathorn Road is M Pub Beers n’ Beers. This classic venue is a mustvisit destination for beer connoiseurs in Bangkok. The dark wooden furniture offers a comfortable and friendly atmosphere to go along with the wide array of brews. This, along with the helpful staff, makes for one memorable dining experience. The fish and chips found on this pub’s extensive menu include a deep-fried dory fish served with a big helping of French fries, tartar sauce and salad dressing for only B280 per plate.

The Pintsman Since 2012 THE Pintsman Since 2012 celebrates quality beer and cheers to its evolution and history. This traditional pub offers the comfort and sophistication of a modern day wine bar while providing high-quality food and drinks to all those who frequent this cool dining venue. The Pintsman Since 2012’s fish and chips (B320++) are made with crispy pieces of fish which are deep-fried in a special homemade beer batter and then served with seasoned fries and tartar sauce.

Palate Bar & Restaurant THIS hidden gem of a restaurant is located on Charoenkrung Road and sits opposite from Robinson Bangrak. This seemingly small restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating areas and serves a variety of Thai food, seafood and even vegetarian food. These meals are best paired with one of the ice cold beers found here. Fish and chips at Palate Bar (B280) consists of a good helping of fresh fish dipped in homemade batter, deep-fried then served with house-made tartar sauce and lime.



Bully’s Pub Bangkok THIS friendly sports bar is a well-known watering hole for beer lovers in the middle of Bangkok. The pub first opened its doors in 2004 and is known for its delicious food, wide array of beers and liqueurs and as a gathering place for sports fans. Bully’s Pub Bangkok serves up a number of international favourites, including fish and chips. This dish comes with deepfried cod served with yummy buttered peas, chips and Bully’s signature tartar sauce for only B395 per plate.

Hard Rock Cafe Bangkok THIS famous, rock ’n’ roll-themed restaurant has good energy and even better vibes. Known for its friendly and energetic staff, good food, refreshing beers, yummy cocktails and live performances, Hard Rock Cafe is certainly a must-visit dining venue in Bangkok. One of the best items on the menu at Hard Rock is their fish and chips. The main is made with fresh sea bass dipped in Hard Rock’s special beer batter recipe. It is then deep-fried and served with seasoned fries and a side of citrusy coleslaw. The meal is B550 per plate, and it pairs well with one of the restaurant’s signature cocktails or a cold pint of beer.



Café Fish Bangkok AS its name suggests, Café Fish Bangkok is famous for its seafood menu. The restaurant is bright, simply decorated and provides diners with a spacious venue in which to indulge in their delicious dishes, and arguably the best dish of them all is the crispy and delicious fish and chips. The fish and chips (B550) is made from imported yet fresh Atlantic cod dipped in a special house-made batter recipe and then deep-fried until golden. It is served with freshly made fries, tartar sauce and a slice of lemon.

School Report

New high results at Bromsgrove International School Thailand BROMSGROVE International School Thailand was delighted to announce that their students set new high results as AS and A Level as of June 2017. 44 percent of students in year 12 achieved three or more A grades at AS level, and 49 percent of all the grades that were awarded to the year

Warwick Institute

ESTABLISHED in 2009, Warwick Institute is known as one of the most innovative institutes in the market. It is the training ground for students who look to further their education at renowned international campuses like Chulalongkorn University or Thammasat University and has over 80 percent success rate so far. Last year alone, 427 students from the institute were able to enter Chulalongkorn and Thammasat Universities’ international programmes out of the 500 students accepted. In the past eight years, the team of dedicated teachers have helped assist and train over 2,500 students to reach their goals. Warwick Institute plans to switch its business model to become a startup business. It is looking to bring in more qualified teachers and staff to help raise the school’s standards to new heights.



Thanyapura 7 Soccer Charity

AMANPURI was victorious at the Thanyapura 7 Soccer Charity competition which fundraised some B84,000 for Yaowawit School, Kapong. The event took place on August 25, 2017, and a total of 24 hotels and companies hailing from Phuket competed in the friendly football match. Thanyapura Health & Sports Resort was first runner-up.

12 cohorts were A grades. These were just a few of the accomplishments the school achieved this year. This was achievable thanks to the hard work and dedication of each student in addition to the teachers who guided, supported and allowed them to realise and reach their full potential.

School Report

Flexible learning programme designed for the individual student


RAILL’s Accelerated Learning Programme is an example of a school system that is designed to fit a student’s needs. It allowed gifted students, Phu Sakulwongtana, to take his A-levels at 14 years of age, while being able to attend classes with students his age. Phu later received many offers from the world’s top universities, and this year he accepted a place at University

College London: he’s only 15 years old. Phu arrived at Traill knowing very little English, and his potential had not been discovered at his previous school. Students with goals of becoming professional sports players also require flexibility. At Traill, Tommy Stevens was able to fulfil his dream of becoming a professional footballer. He achieved a solid academic record together with a world-class football training regime at the school. Tommy successfully received a contract offer from Reading FC in July 2017 and will play for the Reading FC U18 team while pursuing further studies through the club, as well. With a number of outstanding international schools in Thailand, there are numerous ones where students demonstrate excellent academic grades. In a selective school, accepting only top students and guiding a top student to keep their high academic standard is one thing. How far a school has developed a student from the time they enrolled is more telling of a school’s success, however.

Traill is most proud of its outstanding academic record, which includes students who had enrolled with lower scores but were nurtured to achieve their full potential. The improvement students make while they are at Traill is remarkable. The school’s ethos where 'everybody is somebody' at Traill makes for happy students who are inspired to achieve in the expertise of their choice. The programme is inclusive in all areas of the school, regardless of a student’s previous ability. In the right environment, where the curriculum is more individualised and the staff is supportive, average students can become top ones.



School Report

Leading leaders: Chris Seal reflects on his first weeks as principal of Shrewsbury International School


was very excited to finally land in Thailand with my family in August, some 14 months since I learned of my appointment as the new principal of Shrewsbury International School Bangkok. One month into the job and there has already been plenty to celebrate. The simply outstanding examination results immediately underlined what a wonderful learning environment I have joined and am now privileged to lead. 71% A*/A grades at GCSE and 65% A*/A at A level are results that not only justify Shrewsbury’s reputation as the leader in academic excellence in Thailand but also place us alongside the very highest achieving schools in the UK.   However, this is only part of the story. As results envelopes were opened, the biggest smiles were worn by the many pupils who exceeded their own expectations. These were special moments for the students and proved to them that the hard work was worth it and that with commitment and curiosity they can achieve things they never thought possible.



It is an attitude and a culture here that characterises everything I’ve experienced so far. Two visits this September by prestigious US universities including Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and Brown University have helped to whet student’s appetite and ambition to aim for the best in higher education. Events like our upcoming TEDxYouth conference allows pupils to experience first-hand the soft skills required to organise and deliver a high-profile educational experience for others. New collaborative spaces in pre-prep and Sixth Form show our commitment to fostering a way to work across the age spectrum and benefit all in the long term, wherever their ambitions take them.   In concert with these special Shrewsbury moments, hundreds of cerebral and cultural activities, sports practices, drama rehearsals and music ensembles fill our days with stimulation. Shrewsbury is busy with purpose making it truly a special place.   As I discover more of the Shrewsbury story, I find talented and passionate staff working with

enthusiastic and inquisitive young people. The purpose-built facilities right by the Chaophraya offer us a superb environment for learning but one that we will be enhancing further over the next few years. In doing so, we will be looking to community to ensure that we continue to provide the very best opportunities for all, and rely upon the continued support of our Shrewsbury Parents in shaping the evolution of the school. The Shrewsbury parents are a committed and supportive group, and as well as raising funds with marvelous bake sales (what happened to my preBangkok diet?), I am encouraged by their engagement in their children’s learning and all important aspects of school life.   So where do I come in? I very much look forward to driving forward our valued institution  and passionately believe every child has the right to be safe, happy, explore their own potential and succeed. Great learning environments are built on mutual respect and understanding, and I intend to ensure that our great staff are enabled and empowered by working with committed and courteous pupils.  I also believe that all pupils should explore their potential outside the classroom and understand the way sport, music, drama and the arts can bring a newfound confidence to life.   In the whirlwind of finally becoming an “expat,” I have found some time to reflect on how it feels. It feels brilliant. Bangkok is an exciting place to be, and although there are moments when a drizzly and cool day in England would provide welcome relief from the humidity of the rainy season, this is insignificant when set against the experiences we have had as a family in this great community and city. There will be many more exciting times, and Shrewsbury Riverside will be at the heart of that for many years to come.

Expat Women

River City Bangkok gets a new lease on life under new management “Learning is a lifelong experience and that constitutes the enjoyment of every job I do” by Lekha Shankar


INDA Cheng, the new managing director of River City Bangkok, has successfully resuscitated the complex since she started working there a mere eight months ago. Now, it has become a talkedabout, activity-studded centre in town. Linda, born in Taiwan and educated in the US, has been living in Thailand for nearly three decades now. She sailed through different industries including lighting, ceramics, music and education at the College of Music at Mahidol University. She now focuses on retail and culture experiences at River City Bangkok. The historic and well-known complex received a much-needed new lease on life with Linda’s help. “I guess I’m persuasive and



persevering and have strong people skills,” Linda said. “Communication is all-important in any industry.” Although she was born in Taipei, her parents sent her to the US to be educated. “They wanted me to learn English and to be independent, and I’m very grateful for that, as most Chinese families are clingy but we’re not at all.” Her father moved to Bangkok to expand the family’s lighting business, and she helped sell the products in the US. Soon after completing her degree in business economics at UCLA. In 1989, she visited her parents in Bangkok. That is when her long and memorable relationship with Thailand began. She attended the reputed Sasin Business School at Chulalongkorn University and completed a degree

in business management. While she was there, she met many interesting characters and slowly fell in love with the country. She also met a fellow Taiwanese in Bangkok who was helping with his father’s ceramics business. Today, they are married and have two grown children. Linda joined her father’s lighting factory and then went to work in her husband’s ceramics factory. It was at this time that she also became the president of the Rotary Club in Bangkok, the third woman to get this post. This job gave her the opportunity to get involved in numerous projects, all of which she enjoyed. One of the speakers at a Rotary meeting was Dr Alexander Paufler, former president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz in Thailand. It was he

who introduced Linda to the Mahidol College of Music as Mercedes-Benz had sponsored many music events there. “At 45 years old, I had my first career shift, and it felt like a calling,” she said. It was a big challenge as Salaya, the music venue she started working for, is quite far from the city centre. She knew she had to work hard to fill up the magnificent Prince Mahidol Hall, equipped with some 2,000 seats. She also had to promote the numerous music events at the college.


he college never had a marketing budget, so she put her persuasive skills to use. She located numerous sponsors and media partners, actively used social media channels for promotions and placed advertisements in visible spots like the BTS Skytrain. She was able to triple their audience in three years time. “In a way, we were promoting Thailand, as all the international orchestras fell in love with the city,” she exclaimed. Linda thoroughly enjoyed her time there, not just because she was dealing with excellent orchestral programmes but also because she was promoting music education and appreciation. “Education is something I deeply believe in, and not just academics,” she said. One year ago, she received a call from River City Bangkok while on a

trip to visit her daughter abroad. A new challenge was at hand. “I had no experience in the retail industry, and this was, in effect, a mall, although it dealt with arts, antiques and ‘cultured lifestyle’ products,” Linda said. “I felt it was another calling to promote art appreciation.” She again implemented the same methods from her experience at Mahidol University, finding the right partners in media and academic institutions to attract both new and old customers to uplift the experience of visiting a venue uniquely known as the ‘Anchor of Arts & Antiques.’ Although River City Bangkok underwent renovations in August 2016, its many changes were still relatively unknown to the public. She started organising events to target new and old customers and utilise the vacant retail spaces that had been created. An exclusive exhibition of classic cars (with the support of Mercedes-Benz), an exciting elephant parade which presented 33 grand elephant images throughout the centre, a magnificent series of Khon performances, photo exhibitions, art shows, film showings and interactive cultural programmes were just some of the events Linda organised to showcase the magnificent River City Bangkok. Although 50 percent of the shops at River City Bangkok are devoted to antiques, the other half focuses art galleries, lifestyle products and dining outlets.

“We have a variety of silks, leather bags, handicrafts: we also have coffee shops, bars and multicuisine restaurants,” she said. She also planned to introduce a lot more art-oriented activities at River City Bangkok, especially in connection with students. Apart from presenting the work of well-known artists here, she planned to hold numerous exhibitions and art competitions for students from universities found around the city. “Every project we do must be entertaining and educational,” she said. She received full support and encouragement from Italthai Group. The dynamic, 39-year-old owner of River City Bangkok, Yuthachai Charanachitta, was especially supportive. “Since Italthai deals with so many businesses such as hotels, hospitality, engineering, construction and lifestyle, we are fully supportive of our varied activities,” Yuthachai said. She also held regular meetings with her partners’ strategic team to make long-term plans for events and activities. Now that her children have grown up, she said she has enough time to immerse herself fully in her job. Her husband and her family are very proud and supportive of her dedication. “I’ve moved from manufacturing to music to retail and I’ve learnt so much at every stage.” She has an open mind when it comes to the future.



Spa & Wellness

01 GETTING in shape just got easier with the help of LIFESTYLES ON 26, a modern gym located in Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld. The gym is equipped with up-to-date facilities, including a swimming pool. 01 LIFESTYLES ON 26 OFFERS GYM-GOERS MODERN FACILITIES AND CLASSES 02 STRETCH INTO SHAPE WITH A PILATES CLASS AT LIFESTYLES ON 26 03 KEMPINSKI UNVEILS ANNIVERSARY PACKAGES

02 PILATES fanatics need to venture to LIFESTYLES ON 26 every Friday from 6.30-7.30pm or Saturday from 2.303.30pm to try their popular Pilates sessions. It is located at Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld.



03 UNVEILING two new treatment packages to celebrate the seventh anniversary of the Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok opening is the Kempinski The Spa. The new absolute serene and tranquility bliss packages will be available until December 15, 2017.

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120 TheBigChilli


Navigating Bangkok as a vegetarian can be tough How to prepare for this month’s Vegetarian Festival


have been a vegetarian in the capital for some two years now and never have I mistakenly devoured meat since switching to my meat-free diet. While Thai dishes consisting of meat are certainly enticing, vegetarian Thai cuisine is arguably just as good, if not better. With the Vegetarian Festival taking place this month, we take a look at how to survive Bangkok as a vegetarian and what to expect from the festival.

Vegetarians In Thai, there are two phrases one can use to express to someone that they do not eat meat. The first is mawng sa vee rat, meaning vegetarian. Diners



By Kelly Iverson

can ask if something is vegetarianfriendly by using this phrase.

Vegans Gin jay refers to someone who is vegan, inclusive of dairy products, eggs and honey, while mawng sa vee rat only refers to meat.

What are the challenges? One of the biggest challenges meatfree diners face daily in Bangkok is the possibility of having some type of seafood sauce or paste added to their meals. This hidden ingredient has a sneaky way of making an unwanted appearance (at least for vegetarians) in many of Thai meals. Look at any

Thai recipe, and it will normally call for some sauce with an added seafood ingredient. If you are eating on the go, one of the best ways to ensure it is not added into a meal is to simply watch your meal being made. When reach for the fish-infested ingredient, simply ask the vendor not to. Another way in which to avoid an added fishy paste or sauce is to use the phrase gin jay instead.

The Vegetarian Festival

Best Thai vegetarian dishes There are very few Thai dishes that are made strictly vegetarian. There are plenty of dishes in which meat and seafood products can be omitted quite easily, however. Yam som-o, or pomelo salad, is one dish that, without the added shrimp and fish sauce, is a vegetarianfriendly dish that is light and tasty. Tod mun khao phod, or sweet corn fritters, can often be found along the many streets of Bangkok, deepfrying along uneven sidewalks and filling the city’s air with an aroma

so enticing even the healthiest of vegetarian will want to stop for a bite. Pad pak ruam, or mixed vegetables, is one of the easiest dishes vegetarians can order. Almost all side street vendor will happily fry it up for diners. Po pia thod, or spring rolls, are a light and refreshing dish consisting of green onions, vermicelli noodles, mushrooms, shredded carrots and more. Tom yam hed, or mushroom soup, is a spicy dish that is surprisingly filling and chock full of chewy and delicious mushrooms.

The Vegetarian Festival, or Tesakan Gin Jay, is celebrated the year from Friday, October 20 to Saturday, October 28. Many cities recognise the holiday and the main places in which to observe it include Bangkok, Phuket, Trang, Songkhla and Chonburi. A clear indication if a restaurant or street food vendor is abiding by the jay festival is if they fly a bright yellow flag. Otherwise known as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival the celebration is an annual festival that returns during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar. The origin of the festival is unclear, though many believe it was brought to Thailand by Chinese immigrants in the 19th century. The immigrants, who were thought to be a travelling opera group, became ill after moving to Phuket. Apparently, they all made a miraculous recovery after abstaining from eating meat. Now, Thais also participate in the festival in hopes of having good health. If you are in the capital, be sure to visit Yaowarat Road in Chinatown during the festival. The yellow flags will proudly wave above almost all of the vendors, flagging down hungry vegans and vegetarians alike. Those lucky enough to find themselves on the island of Phuket are in for a surprise as well, as it is here that many festival-goers participate in gruelling ceremonies like firewalking in addition to abstaining from eating meat.



Expat Women


WITH over 169 years of expertise in the horological world, OMEGA has a lot to pay tribute to. The Swiss luxury watch brand most recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of the emblematic Speedmaster watch, with several celebrities in attendance to commemorate the milestone and enjoy the exhibition.


RENOWNED Japanese brand, Takeo Kikuchi, unveils its autumn/winter 2017 collection, ‘Roaring Twenties.’ Be sure to check out one of the 100 stores found in Japan, Taiwan and Thailand equipped with the brand’s cool and contemporary men’s clothing items.




OPENING its first flagship store in Siam Paragon is the renowned Jim Thompson brand. In doing so, it hopes to re-energise the brand and identify in the global scene as a luxurious one, being the first one in Southeast Asia to do so.

TIME DECO HOLDS EXHIBITION FOR TOP BRANDS UNVEILING its new fall collection of 2017 is Time Deco Corporation, a leader of stylish watch brands in Bangkok. Several A-list celebrities were in attendance of the exhibition, ‘The Illumination of Time,’ which showcased the new collection in addition to highlighting the company’s top 10 brands.

IMPECCABLE COVERAGE ACHIEVABLE WITH THANN NO great makeup looks are achieved without a proper foundation. A great base is possible with the new THANN Revitalizing Fluid. A workshop was held by the head of Jane Makeup to recommend some makeup looks which pair well with the new skincare product.


10 leading Thai brands took to the runway to reveal their work with the help of Bangkok Fashion Society (BFS). The two came together with NYX makeup to create the stunning looks for models at The EmQuartier Shopping Complex.


UNIQLO, in collaboration with JW ANDERSON, unveils its new 2017 fall and winter collection. The new lifestyle line features 33 pieces made of excellent fabrics that are fit and functional for both men and women.


THE newest 2017 autumn and winter collection by Canitt was inspired by sculptor Antonio Corradini and photographer Cass Bird. The female collection, ‘Rewildling,’ debuted in a fashion show and was attended by numerous celebrities.



Shopping Charriol

KNOWN for its Swiss-made accessories, Charriol has now combined its jewellery with its timepieces to showcase its new Forever collection. The new jewellery watch will keep fashionistas from both going out of style and being tardy.

Accessorise your life Living it up in grand style with the latest accessories and gadgets OMEGA

IT was the first watch to be worn on the moon, and now everyone has the chance to wear the out-of-this-world timepieces by OMEGA, a Swiss luxury watch brand that just celebrated the 60th anniversary of the emblematic Speedmaster watch.

Another Story

WORLD-FAMOUS brands come together at Another Story, a lifestyle concept store in the Helix Quartier of The EmQuartier. Make a statement with your wardrobe with the new, bold and vibrant looks under the Africa is Chic! concept, trending and on display now.



Herman Miller

INTERNATIONALLY renowned for its furnishings for over 100 years, Herman Miller, Inc. is once again impressing furniture-loving patrons with its AeronÂŽ Chair, an ergonomic chair designed for ultimate comfort and design in mind. aeron-remastered


TAKE on the sois of Bangkok in style with H&M Studio’s new urban sophistication collection for women. Inspired by the streets of New York City, each piece was designed to enhance the exquisite female silhouette.

Jaspal Man

REGARDLESS of the season, Jaspal Man’s latest collections always bring shoppers the coolest fashion items, including their newest one, Japonism Meets Cubism, which merges Eastern and Western designs with the brand’s cutting-edge style.

Siam Discovery IMPRESS your house guests with any one of the home decorative items found at Creative Lab, found on the third floor of Siam Discovery – the Exploratorium.

Spell by Janie

THAILAND’S biggest superstar, Janie Thienphosuvan, brings her massive following both on and off social media Spell by Janie, a new perfume bound to mesmerise all those who catch a whiff.



Cover Story

Remembering His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, “Father of the Nation” By Maxmilian Wechsler

There are some major, paradigm-changing events in life you never forget, and even remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news. For most Thais and longtime expats in the country, the official announcement on the evening of October 13, 2016 that His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej had passed away is one of these moments. All across Thailand, ordinary daily activities came to a halt as people crowded around television sets that broadcasted the sad news on all local as well as foreign channels.


FTER a while Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-o-cha addressed the nation in a speech which said in part: “Throughout His Majesty’s reign, our nation was developed in all areas and His Majesty was loved and deeply revered by all Thai people.



“For 70 years His Majesty reigned with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people. Now, the 70-year reign of His Majesty King Bhumibol the Great has ended. As the benevolence of His Majesty the King for the Thai people has been immeasurable, our profound sorrow and bereavement on this loss shall also be immeasurable.

“Dear Thai people, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX, has passed away. Long live His Majesty the new King,” the prime minister said in concluding his speech. Messages of condolence from presidents, monarchs, prime ministers and heads of international organisations poured in from all



Cover Story

King Bhumibol Adulyadej: Thailand’s International Monarch

corners of the world. In Thailand, fashion themes were immediately reduced to black. Memorial tributes with large portraits of His Majesty sprang up at shopping malls, government buildings, hotels, hospitals and even along roadsides. At countless locations people waited solemnly and patiently in long queues to sign condolence books. The sincere public display of grief which still remains one year on would be hard to imagine in any other country.

According to figures from the Bureau of the Royal Household reported on September 17 in The Nation newspaper, nearly 10.7 million people had paid their respects before the royal funeral urn of King Bhumibol at Dusit Maha Prasart Throne Hall since October 18, 2016, and public donations toward merit-making ceremonies for the late King total nearly 790.65 million baht as of Friday, September 15.




is Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej led a remarkable life filled with achievements of great value and benefit to his subjects. His passing left a vacuum not only in Thailand but also in the international community. It’s not surprising that His Majesty displayed a keen, lifelong understanding of international events and developments. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, he is the only Thai monarch to have been raised on foreign soil. He spent his formative years in Europe, mainly in Switzerland. His Majesty studied science and then politics before acceding to the throne in 1946. Despite growing up in the West, His Majesty was instilled by the Princess Mother, HRH Princess Srinagarindra, with the values and traditions of the Thai people. His Majesty’s background was thus a unique convergence of Western and Eastern cultures. This was reflected in his very wide-ranging interests in arts, particularly music, photography and painting; sports such as sailing; and all manner of scientific inventions and innovations. His Majesty King Bhumibol was a true ‘Renaissance Monarch’ in every aspect.

It was His Majesty’s grandfather, King Chulalongkorn the Great, also known as King Rama V, who guided Thailand into the modern era. King Rama V’s foresight and engagement with the world enabled Siam to be the only country in Southeast Asia to escape the wave of foreign colonisation. He achieved this by learning tactics from the West and by travelling to Europe in 1897 in order to make Siam known to the Western monarchs – to showcase them that Siam was a civilized nation and not a land of ‘barbarians.’ Early in his reign, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej followed in the footsteps of his illustrious forebear. In less than a decade, from 1959 to 1967, His Majesty, accompanied by Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, visited 27 countries. He met with important world leaders, reaffirmed ties forged in Europe during the time of Rama V, addressed the US Congress and placed the small country of Thailand securely on the international map. Apart from merely ‘showing the flag’, the trips were also opportunities for His Majesty to learn the latest skills and practices from developed Western nations, which he would later utilise to benefit the Thai people.


fter that period of intense international travel, His Majesty returned to Thailand and never travelled abroad again. When asked why, His Majesty responded that he wanted to understand Thailand better in order to help the Thai people. During the remainder of his Reign, His Majesty travelled to all the remote corners of Thailand, no matter how underdeveloped or difficult to reach. He visited all of Thailand’s provinces and met with local residents from all walks of life – farmers, fishermen, merchants, local administrators – to listen to their views and needs. His Majesty provided technical advice to government agencies in forming solutions to help the common people, bringing about a synergy between local traditions and modern methods. During his domestic travels, His Majesty was invariably accompanied by Her Majesty Queen Sirikit and other members of the Royal Family. From a young age,

members of the Thai Royal Family were instilled with Thai culture and values, and made aware of their responsibilities to the Thai people. His Majesty consistently maintained that Thailand is inherently an agricultural country and should never abandon its roots. He repeatedly emphasised that Thailand must be able to feed itself. His Majesty therefore attached a great deal of importance in helping agriculture flourish. He applied his knowledge of science, acquired mainly from time spent abroad, to create and support the Royal Development Projects. The projects were focused on increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of farming methods, using modern techniques such as crop substitution, water management, reversing the effects of soil erosion, along with inventions and innovations such as artificial rainmaking and the Chaipattana Aerator. He also turned his talents to generating renewable energy from palm oil.

Many of His Majesty’s applications in this area received patents domestically and abroad. Ultimately, these and other innovations have resulted in a significant improvement in the livelihood and welfare of Thailand’s farmers. His Majesty was a visionary far beyond his time in terms of his holistic approach to sustainable development. Almost every priority in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were advocated and practiced by His Majesty decades before the UN SDG list was compiled. His Majesty first outlined his Sufficiency Economy Philosophy in 1974. The philosophy encourages people to live within their means and not abuse natural resources, in order to enhance sustainability and create resilience to external challenges. Utilising a bottom-to-top approach, the philosophy’s core principles are quite simple: live a life of moderation, applying reasonableness and selfcontrol. His approach that encourages people to live within their means and



Cover Story

not abuse natural resources in order to increase sustainability and create resilience to external challenges. Its core principles giving importance to living a life of moderation and applying discipline and self-control are at the heart of today’s global sustainable development movement.


Thailand mourns the late, great monarch, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Adapted from a statement published on the website of the Royal Thai embassy in Amman, Jordan

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was revered and beloved among all of Thailand’s 67 million people. Homes and businesses throughout the Kingdom traditionally displayed His Majesty’s portrait in an honourable, prominent position to illustrate their love for the King who reigned for 70 years (1946-2016). His Majesty King Bhumibol was the ninth King of the Chakri Dynasty and will forever be remembered as the Monarch who worked hardest to improve the lives of all Thai citizens through his comprehensive understanding of their living conditions. This earned His Majesty the well-deserved title of ‘Father of the Nation’. At His Majesty’s coronation ceremony, he made the pledge: “We shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people”. Throughout his reign, His Majesty proved through his tireless efforts that he truly believed it was the Crown’s duty to serve its subjects. Following his accession to the throne, His Majesty King Bhumibol dedicated himself to visiting every part of his Kingdom in order to understand how his subjects lived and the struggles they endured.

he significance that His Majesty attached to agriculture led to the evolution of Thailand into one of the world’s leading agricultural powerhouses. Now Thailand is not only able to feed itself, it also makes an immense contribution to the maintenance of global food security. Many of His Majesty’s inventions and innovations, such as artificial rainmaking, are increasingly being applied abroad. The remarkable achievements that have created a positive impact on both a local and global scale have earned His Majesty the accolade of “Thailand’s Development King” by the UN. This title is well deserved in light of the incredible legacy King Bhumibol Adulyadej has left behind.



There was not a single location that the young Monarch considered to be too remote. His Majesty was often seen fording rivers or trekking up mountainsides in order to reach his subjects. He was known to fly by helicopter into areas that were inaccessible to the sturdiest off-road vehicles. Often he was accompanied on these expeditions by Her Majesty Queen Sirikit and their children, and therefore they also display their father’s clear understanding of all levels of Thai society. Upon learning of the hardships his subjects experienced, His Majesty began researching projects and initiatives that could help alleviate them and help to improve their lives. As a visionary, His Majesty King Bhumibol understood that any attempts to improve the lives of the Thai people could not be temporary. To bring about real benefits to the people, projects were planned for the long term and aimed at sustaining the nation’s natural resources. Among the more than 4,000 Royal Development Projects (RDPs) that resulted are a number of programmes aimed at improving water management and reversing the effects of soil erosion. One

initiative of particular importance was devised as a way to help hill tribe people who had been engaged in unsustainable farming practices. In fact, many of these people were deriving their income from growing opium in northern Thailand’s Chiang Rai province, right in the heart of the notorious Golden Triangle.


n the 1960s, His Majesty encouraged the promotion of crop substitution programmes for the hill tribe people in Chang Rai and other northern provinces. Over the years these programmes have successfully transformed the opium-growing areas into productive agricultural zones producing high-value crops such as strawberry, coffee, macadamia, flowers and various fresh vegetables, and generated a stable income source for tribal and other rural farmers. The reduction in opium production also played a big role in reducing the drug-addicted population within and outside Thailand. The clearest proof of the projects’ success is that the Golden Triangle, once known as a stronghold of drug mafia, is now a popular tourist region. One of the main reasons for the success of the RDPs is their management system. His Majesty King Bhumibol did not issue simple orders or make quick decisions on important matters. Rather, the King utilised a detail-oriented approach and brought together a consortium of groups which he personally oversaw. The first step involved researching

available data, then combining this with information His Majesty gathered during his interactions with local people. Next, His Majesty consulted with academics and officials to ensure the best possibility of success for each project. Once this stage was completed, the initiative was passed on to the government for implementation. His Majesty King Bhumibol felt that the people would be better served if centres were created where research could be carried out to implement projects in a way that was most beneficial for each particular region. The idea was to take into consideration the big variety of climates and ecological conditions found throughout the nation. With this in mind, Royal Development Study Centers (RDSCs) were opened covering the country’s major regions, from Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the north down to the southern province of Narathiwat. Each centre works closely with academics, the government and local communities on ways to apply research and modern agricultural techniques in order to create sustainability and protect the environment. A unique feature of the centres is that they do nothing to alter the land or disrupt local culture, but work hand-in-hand with the local people and resources available in each area. There is no doubt that the RDPs and RDSCs have greatly enhanced the quality of life for people living in Thailand’s rural areas. However, His Majesty’s most significant achievement may be the creation of the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy, which was

introduced in 1974 and is the guiding principle behind the RDPs. The RDSCs have served as test beds for various applications of the philosophy. Over the course of more than 40 years, the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy has become ingrained among Thai citizens, regardless of their gender, age or economic status. It has become part of their daily lives, particular following the hard lessons learned from the 1997 economic crisis. It has even become a key element of the business practices of large Thai corporations. The philosophy has not only taken hold throughout the Kingdom, but has also been adapted and applied in other countries, including the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the Kingdom of Lesotho. Thailand continues to share positive experiences in implementing the philosophy with the international community, for example the G77 group of countries. His Majesty’s life-long devotion to advancing and refining Thailand’s agricultural sector and promoting sustainability have resulted in a significant improvement in the welfare of the Thai people and provided a beacon of inspiration for the rest of the world. Adapted from a statement published on the website of the Royal Thai embassy in Vienna, Austria Please visit for the list of medals and awards from international organisations.




How Thailand’s Interpol police track down foreign criminals By Maxmilian Wechsler


ITH the number tourists coming to Thailand now exceeding 30 million a year, it’s inevitable that some have committed serious crimes back in their home

countries and fled before their police forces can catch up with them. That’s when the INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) and Police Major General Apichat - Joom Suriboonya come into the picture. Pol Maj-Gen Apichat has been in

charge of INTERPOL NCB (National Centre Bureau) Thailand and the Royal Thai Police (RTP) Foreign Affairs Division (FAD) since, 2013. The closely linked organisations operate out of Building One at RTP headquarters on Rama 1 Road in Bangkok. The BigChilli caught up with Pol Maj-Gen Apichat in his ninth floor office. “Our primary activity is to capture foreign fugitives, and since 2014 we have arrested about 80 such people in Thailand. They all committed serious crimes in their native countries and escaped to live in Thailand. The arrests were made in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, Pattaya, and Phuket – basically all over the country. Most of them have been handed over to police in their home countries, but some are still being held at the Immigration Bureau detention centre awaiting deportation.”

Background Pol Maj-Gen Apichat has devoted almost his whole life to law enforcement. After finishing high school, he studied at the Royal Thai Police Academy at Sam Pol Maj-Gen Apichat - Joom Suriboonya



Pol Maj-Gen Apichat met with H.E. Barsky, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Thailand (left) and Maj-Gen Prokopchuk, then the head of Interpol National Central Bureau at the Russian Interrior Ministry (right) in December 2015.

Phran in Nakhon Pathom province for six years. He worked as an investigator at Don Muang police station in Bangkok for almost three years and was then appointed Assistant Secretary to a Deputy Commissioner-General at the RTP. He worked for this office for two years before being selected to work for another Deputy Commissioner-General. “I was assigned to that office for three years – until his retirement – and then transferred to Sutthisan police station, where I stayed for two years. After I was assigned to the Foreign Affairs Division and INTERPOL where I have been now for 15 years.” Asked about his excellent English, Pol Maj-Gen Apichart said: “I started studying English in kindergarten and kept at it all through primary and secondary school. “After graduating from the Royal Thai Police Academy, I was awarded a scholarship from the Australian Federal Police to study for a Master’s degree and PhD in Australia. Studying there was a great opportunity to improve my English further. I also attended an FBI course in the United States that includes the counter-terrorism, as well as a counter-terrorism training course in Indonesia.”

Triple responsibility


ol Maj-Gen Apichat explained that his department’s responsibility goes beyond the apprehension of foreign fugitives. “We have three general areas of responsibility – foreign affairs, Interpol, and intelligence. As for the first, it means combining the duties of an interpreter, translator and event organiser. For example, when a police chief from another country comes to meet with the CommissionerGeneral of the RTP, we organise the event and translate for him. We also must be well versed in bilateral and multilateral law enforcement agreements and mechanisms of cooperation. “The second responsibility is what we are best known for. It entails combating transnational crime, arresting fugitives and coordinating with the 190 member-countries of Interpol. “The third area of responsibility is intelligence, which means collecting information about criminal activities from all Thai provinces, which is entered into our computer network.

We also do analyses and send the report to the Commissioner-General who is my direct boss.

Man in the middle “Thailand became a member of INTERPOL 65 years ago. If you ask me how often I am in communication with INTERPOL headquarters in Lyon, France, I would have to say just about every minute. We are the international gateway of the RTP, coordinating its operations with international police organisations. It’s like we have two bosses. We’re in the middle. “We get instructions from Interpol headquarters in France and the RTP. Both organisations set guidelines for me. The instructions from Lyon are in English language. Interpol has four official languages: English, Spanish, French and Arabic.” Pol Maj-Gen Apichat said that these days his officers spend most of their time tracking down drug traffickers, human traffickers and cyber criminals. “As for terrorism, we only collect intelligence and coordinate closely with the Special Branch, Armed Forces Security Centre and other intelligence agencies.




“I enjoy my work very much, but I am on call day and night. Sometimes a call comes at 2am from a country where it’s daytime or evening. I often receive calls from embassies in Bangkok in which a police liaison says something like this: ‘We have a criminal case involving one of our nationals who managed to escape to Thailand, where he now lives. Can you arrest him and send him back to us?’ “The authorities in the country where the person is wanted must provide us with an arrest warrant and relevant materials like photos of the suspect and fingerprints.” Pol Maj-Gen Apichat said most foreign fugitives arrested in Thailand these days are Russians. “Many Russian tourists come to Thailand, and the vast majority are law abiding. They come here because it’s a relaxing, warm vacation destination. But this also attracts Russian criminals,” he said, adding: “We have excellent relations and cooperation with the Russian officials. “When we arrest a fugitive, for example in Pattaya, we take them to the local police station first and make a report. Then we request that officers from the station bring the fugitive to Bangkok. After that, they are sent to the Immigration Bureau centre in Suan Phlu where they are placed in a detention facility. We then contact the concerned embassy and brief them on the situation. “We are sometimes involved in undercover work, which can be dangerous. As for myself, I have never had any problems in my



police career while arresting foreign fugitives, but some officers haven’t been so lucky. “Tracing foreign fugitives often means we have to work outside Bangkok. In such cases, I assign staff members to work with the provincial police. “In order to locate fugitives, we work with many organisations, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Central Investigation Bureau, Anti-Money Laundering Office, Department of Special Investigation, Immigration Bureau, Tourist Police, Crime Suppression Division, Provincial Police and others. I am also in contact with ambassadors at many embassies, and we have good cooperation with them. However, we work closest with the liaison officers who are attached to almost every embassy in Bangkok.” The biggest challenge facing him and his officers is the explosion of transnational crime in recent years and the new challenges presented by the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Under the setup of the AEC, there are fewer restrictions on travel

throughout ASEAN for citizens of the ten member-countries. “This will pose a big challenge for me because it means transnational crime will be even bigger. This will be a big issue,” he predicted, adding that his organisation needs more manpower to properly handle the situation. “Considering the size of the problem and the size of the country, the 121 policemen and policewomen assigned to the FAD and Interpol is not enough. We need more staff, especially those who can speak English and other key languages. Some of the fugitives we deal with have committed serious and violent crimes in their home countries and to let them stay among us in Thailand is dangerous for the country.” Pol Maj-Gen Apichat is a sympathetic, hard working police officer who deserves credit for a number of successful operations that led to the arrest of foreign criminals. For that and other achievements he is highly regarded by foreign diplomats and law enforcement officers both in Thailand and abroad.

INTERPOL Thailand INTERPOL NCB Thailand is part of the Foreign Affairs Division, and made up of three subdivisions responsible for specific regions: • INTERPOL and Coordination Sub-Division (Region 1): Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a geopolitical and economic organisation of 10 countries located in Southeast Asia: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. • INTERPOL and Coordination Sub-Division (Region 2): North America, South America, East Asia, and Oceania. • INTERPOL and Coordination Sub-Division (Region 3): Europe, Africa, Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia. Mission statement To work with the INTERPOL General Secretariat, INTERPOL member countries, embassies in Thailand and other domestic and international government agencies on criminal matters; to support and assist crime suppression agencies; work with relevant domestic crime-fighting agencies on extradition and mutual assistance; to cooperate with the Department of Correction and similar agencies on prisoner transfers and to provide assistance to foreigners in liaison with national law enforcement agencies and assist fellow INTERPOL member countries in law enforcement-related activities. Priorities Trafficking in persons and people smuggling, child exploitation, drug trafficking, cybercrime, economic crime, terrorism, arms smuggling, wildlife and timber trafficking and piracy.


Killer waves in paradise: the Asian tsunami



By Maxmilian Wechsler


HE Boxing Day tsunami that killed 226,000 people in 14 countries on December 26, 2004 was the result of one of the biggest earthquakes ever recorded, an upheaval beneath the Indian Ocean that measured 9.1 on the Richter scale. Thailand suffered the fourth largest number of casualties. With its epicentre 150 kilometres off the west coast of northern Sumatra, the quake



unleashed giant waves more than 500 kilometres away on Thailand’s Andaman coast. The distance did nothing to mitigate the unimaginable power of the wall of water that struck countless Thai beachside resorts on a beautiful Sunday morning, causing the destruction of biblical proportions. No warning of the impending catastrophe was sounded for the thousands of Thai and foreign tourists, resort staff and residents of low-lying areas in harm’s way.

The recovery and reconstruction efforts began immediately, and many Thais and foreigners were quick to volunteer their help.

The 2004 tsunami was unquestionably the most devastating natural disaster to strike Thailand in modern times, with more than 8,000 lives lost and another approximately 8,500 injured, along with astronomical property costs in damage to hotels, resorts, shops, businesses, private homes and motor vehicles. In addition, hundreds of thousands of people lost their means of making a living, at least temporarily. Nearly 400 fishing

The grim, but necessary task of victim identifications By Maxmilian Wechsler

Royal Thai Police boat Buretpadungkit

Submerged buildings on Phi Phi island

villages along the Andaman coast were seriously affected, the waves laying fishing boats to waste by the thousands. Approximately 120,000 people saw their incomes vanish along with the tourists who stayed away from the most affected areas, partly out of fear of another tsunami and partly out of respect for all those in mourning. The recovery and reconstruction efforts began immediately, and many Thais

and foreigners were quick to volunteer their help. Aside from the Royal Thai Police boat Buretpadungkit, which sits in a little meadow above Khao Lak town after being carried almost two kilometres inland by the waves, there are few visible reminders of the tsunami today. It’s not likely, however, that anyone who witnessed nature’s savage display of power on December 26, 2004, will ever forget it. The following is a collection

THIS story was written in July 2005 following a visit to the Thai Tsunami Victims Identification Information Management Centre (TTVI-IMC) in Phuket. The centre was the staging area for the forensic identification of Thai and foreign tsunami victims. The final chapter on the Boxing Day tsunami is being written in a three-storey building in the Telephone Organisation of Thailand (TOT) compound, about 10 kilometres from downtown Phuket. The modern building set against a background of low hills houses the TTVI-IMC, which is entrusted with the monumental task of identifying the victims of the tsunami. The TTVI-IMC is under the command of the Royal Thai Police and is headed by Deputy CommissionerGeneral Nopadol Somboonsub. The centre closely coordinates with the Thai Health, Interior and Justice ministries. Pol Gen Nopadol explained that the identification was at first done at the Muang Phuket police station, but after many disaster victim identification (DVI) teams dispatched by more than 20 foreign governments arrived to help, a bigger facility was needed. The coordinated international effort significantly speeds up victim identification and recovery, which enables families to begin the healing process. At one time there was around 600 DVI personnel. At present, there the TTVI-IMC is staffed with 70 Thai police officers, 10 Health Ministry officials and 150 foreign DVI professionals, who include police scene of crime investigators, forensic pathologists, forensic dentists, fingerprinting and DNA experts and photographers. Interpol has been instrumental in providing assistance in setting up the overall identification procedure. But even with all these skilled professionals on hand, the sheer scale of the disaster means a lengthy process in collecting, analysing and matching all the data. “These methods of identification might be easy to do with a few bodies, but with thousands of very badly decomposed bodies, it is very difficult. For example, if we want to extract a tooth, we have to clean the instrument every time, and if we want to take a sample of bone we have to throw away the saw each time, as it could contaminate other samples,” Pol Gen Nopadol said. He also mentioned that fresh tissue must first be dried and then placed in a paper bag. It must be paper, not plastic because plastic increases humidity and allows bacteria to grow which will destroy the sample. Pol Gen Nopadol said some DNA had been mistakenly placed in plastic and the samples were lost. There were also mistakes made because of numbering, as a “7” in Thai writing might be confused with “1” written in the Arabic style used by Europeans, he explained. According to the Ministry of Interior’s Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, the number of bodies recovered in Thailand as a result of the tsunami is 5,395, including 2,280 foreign nationals from 37 countries. There are thousands more listed as missing. As of July 27, a total of 2,010 victims have been identified. >>




DNA samples were sent to officials in many countries, to compare with DNA from missing persons, taken from personal items, pre-existing blood samples, etc., or DNA from close relatives. The TTVI-IMC is split into various sections to process both ante and post-mortem information, which is then entered into a specially created database. Once a potential match has been made, data on that individual is sent to the reconciliation team for verification. If the team believes that the match is positive, the file is then sent to the Identification Board, which gives official approval to the victim identification and also authorises the body to be released for repatriation where necessary. All Thai and foreign personnel are focused on identifying victims as rapidly and accurately as possible. This is reflected in the sombre atmosphere at the TTVI-IMC offices. During my visit to the TTVI-IMC on Saturday, July 16, everyone was hard at work. A foreign policeman praised Pol Gen Nopadol and his staff for their efficiency. “Around 1,000 bodies ‒ all most probably Burmese workers ‒ can’t be identified because we have nothing to go on. We may have to ask the Myanmar government to assist us in this matter,” Pol Gen Nopadol said, adding that it was essential for relatives of missing Burmese to contact the TTVI-IMC. He said that the TTVI-IMC had completed all the autopsies with the help of about 60 Thai pathologists from Chulalongkorn, Siriraj, Police and other hospitals in Bangkok, as well as hospitals in Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and Hat Yai. A Thai police source said that unclaimed bodies would be kept at least seven years before it is decided what should be done in the way of a proper burial. This period is an exact requirement under British law in such cases, and it was decided that it would be followed by many of the victims were British. Unclaimed corpses will be kept in refrigerated containers for now and likely buried later with the use of the Global Positioning System so that they can be retrieved later if identified. According to Pol Gen Nopadol, the operational costs of running the TTVI-IMC run into the millions of baht a day, but this is almost entirely financed by foreign governments. The General expressed his deep appreciation to the Australian government and Federal Police for their contributions not only in monetary terms but also for their expertise in victim identification. Norway has also been particularly helpful and recently donated four small office buildings to place at the TOT compound. These greatly increase the working space and efficiency of the centre. The Norwegians also provided funding for three hospitals for performing autopsies and an X-ray machine and set up the site at Mao Kao, which has refrigerated containers for the bodies. Pol Gen Nopadol requested that this message is relayed to the families of victims: The reason the identification process is slow is that the TTVI-IMC wants to be 100 percent positive that the identification is correct. He said that there have been cases where criminal suspects had sent their relatives to pick up bodies, in an attempt to place themselves beyond the reach of the law. The schemes failed because of the care is taken in the identification process. “Even if the dental records and fingerprints match, we will still check further, like on the physical description. If you want us to release a body fast, you should give us something that we can use to positively identify the victim by scientific methods,” said Pol Gen Nopadol.



Pol Gen Nopadol Somboonsub

of first-hand reports from survivors interviewed in May 2005, when those memories were still fresh. “We know that disasters like fires, storms or earthquakes can occur here, but we never expected that a tsunami would reach us and destroy our lives,” said Mustafa, a long-tail boat driver from Phi Phi island in Krabi province, one of the most heavily devastated areas.


renchman Angelo Rasamimanana was the owner of the Ma Ma restaurant on Phi Phi island for 19 years until it was swept away on that fateful day. In January 2005, he collaborated with three of his countrymen to establish a relief organisation called Phi Phi Releve Toi. “We are based in Krabi and are helping people from Phi Phi island who are now on the mainland,” he said in May 2005. “Most of them are Thai Muslims, who make up the biggest part of the population there. “We are dedicated to not only providing short-term assistance to Thai victims of the tsunami but also creating sustainable development for a long-term solution. We are involved in the construction of schools, houses and temporary shelters, and also helping to

Foreign fingerprint expert

fund the education of orphans, organising sporting events and so on.” Angelo said that financial contributions were coming from sources all over the world. Wassana Ditracha from Ban Namkhem village, one of the reportedly 150 Thai tsunami victims in the area who converted from Buddhism to Christianity, explained why she changed her faith: “I was running away from the approaching wave, which hurled me 10 metres above the ground, right on top of a large tree. I was safe, but I had lost everything. I was in shock, and I didn’t know what to do.” It was then that she met some people from the Hope of Takuapa Christian Church, who helped her and many others to overcome the trauma. Another new devotee to Christianity said: “People from Hope of Takuapa Church have helped many people in Ban Namkhem village. We were

impressed by their generosity and decided to join the church and become Christians. Since the tsunami struck, they have opened three new churches in Phang Nga province.” Ban Namkhem village was totally devastated by the tsunami, and also received help from many other individuals, organisations and businesses. In May 2005, Wassana and her husband and other local families had already moved into nice houses built with support from Thai television channel iTV. The Nong Kok refugee camp was built as a temporary shelter

in January 2005. In May of that year, it consisted of 60 houses where 300 people from 70 families lived. The majority were Muslims from Phi Phi island who had lost everything. Ninety percent of the men were long-tail boat operators. The camp’s facilities were constructed and maintained with assistance from the central Thai government, the local administration in Krabi, the local Muslim community, Phi Phi Releve Toi and other foundations. The United Nations Children’s Fund built a playground for children.

Boxing Day Tsunami at glance • The word “Tsunami” originates from Japanese word meaning “harbour wave.” It is a large wave also caused by an earthquake or, volcanic explosion. Tsunamis can be anything from small waves which can be hard to see up to giant waves that can cause tremendous devastation. • The country most affected were Indonesia, where the earthquake originated at 00:58 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) 07:58 local (Indonesia) time causing 15-30 metres high waves. • According to the USGS (United States Geological Survey), the earthquake was registered at magnitude 9.1 on the Richter scale. The depth of the earthquake was about 30 kilometres. • The earthquake released energy equivalent to 23.2 megatonnes of TNT. • The tsunami killed approximately 226,000 people in 14 countries. Listed in order of the number of deaths, these countries are: Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Maldives, Somalia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Tanzania, Seychelles, South Africa, Bangladesh, Yemen and Kenya. • The tsunami killed 5,395 people in Thailand both locals and foreigners. Around 8,450 people were reportedly treated for injuries sustained during the tsunami. • All six Andaman provinces – Ranong, Phang Nga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun – suffered the loss of life and property. • Thousands of Thai and foreign volunteers left their jobs and took extended holidays to search for bodies. A number of international forensic teams flew to into identify bodies

Pol Gen Nopadol in the TTVI-IMC command centre

Thai rescuers search for bodies at Sea Pearl Beach hotel, Patong





anthawan Yimyin was a leader at the refugee camp. Before the tsunami, she had lived for 19 years on Phi Phi island. She owned a travel agency and a bookshop. Both businesses were wiped out. “Fifteen thousand books, mostly brand-new, are gone,” she said in May 2005. “I lost around two million baht,

Khao Lak


Foreign tourists look at damage in Phuket



not counting the cost of the building.” Despite her troubles, Janthawan dedicated herself to relief efforts. For example, she arranged the donation of school uniforms for children. Janthawan said the reconstruction of Phi Phi island was going full-speed ahead, with more people arriving to help daily. She was certain that the island would be ready to welcome tourists when the next season began in November 2005. She was right. On the whole, Phi Phi and other tourist locations frequented mostly by foreigners bounced back more quickly than spots that were favoured by Thais. Teerawut Chaochang, a longtail driver who lost everything, also lived in the refugee camp. After the catastrophe, he produced batik to make ends meet. Many of those who lost the boats they had used to transport tourists were sitting idly all day in the camp, hoping to find a way to buy a new vessel. One of them said: “Of course, we don’t live here in luxury, but everyone has shelter, clothing and food. It is better than nothing, but everyone wants to go back to Phi Phi.” He had heard that foreigners had donated lots of money for tsunami victims but said he’d seen none of it. “Where has all the money gone?” he asked. A foreign journalist interviewed in May 2005 said he’d recently toured areas hit by the tsunami and found that Phuket was already fully recovered. “The most popular beaches Kata, Karon and Patong are in perfect shape. The situation is worse at Khaolak,” he said. Indeed, five months after the tsunami clothes, shoes and even toys were still scattered around. “Destroyed and damaged buildings are everywhere in the same state as on the day the tsunami struck. The reconstruction there is going at a very slow pace. It is a ‘graveyard’ because so many people died there,” said the journalist.

DIPLOMATS p Meet the people uniting nations

H.E. Peter PrĂźgel

We are Thailand's biggest European trading partner, notes German Ambassador

Page 96





Diplomat: His Excellency Peter Prügel

We are Thailand’s biggest European trading partner, notes German Ambassador



S director of the German Federal Foreign Office’s Asia Pacific division in Berlin from 2012 - 2015, His Excellency Peter Prügel was in a pretty good position to choose his next assignment in the region, provided there was an opening. With Seoul and Hanoi among the possibilities, he was fortunate to be assigned his first choice -- to lead Germany’s diplomatic mission in Bangkok. A little more than two years after he took his post in August 2015, he’s clearly happy with that choice. When he has free time, he enjoys driving around Thailand behind the wheel of his private car. Joined for this interview by his charming Italian wife Lucia and Jan Blezinger, who looks after the press and cultural affairs for the mission, Ambassador Prügel gave a candid and wide-ranging perspective on the formidable German presence in Thailand at his residence inside the embassy compound on South Sathorn Road. As we talked, our attention was momentarily taken by the sight through a large window of an impressive male peacock strolling across the lawns. The big bird took then to the air and lighted on a branch of a nearby tree. “When I am walking from the chancery building to my residence, usually around 6pm as it’s getting dark, I often come across the same peacock walking in the opposite direction and looking at me. He sleeps on a tree close to chancery,” said the ambassador, adding that the peacock is relatively young. “When I arrived two years ago, there was a peacock that had been with the embassy for 15 years, but he died recently. Our housekeepers feed the peacock, but our residence garden is home also to pythons, monitor lizards and many other animals. In fact, they move between the German, Austrian and Danish embassies, which are connected by green areas and klongs. They have plenty of space to get around just off busy South Sathorn Road. “The German government bought this land in 1965, and an extensive list of ambassadors and their families

have been very happy here. We don’t have that much of a problem with high-rise buildings being constructed around us as some other embassies do – at least not yet. There’s some construction going on to one side. But having the Austrian and Danish embassies as neighbours adds to the sense of security. Just about everyone who comes to the embassy for whatever reason likes this setting. We feel that moving into a high-rise building wouldn’t be such a good representation of Germany.” Germany has embassies in all ten ASEAN countries, and the ambassador is responsible only for Thailand, adding that the term for ambassadors is usually three years. He and his team have been enthusiastically preparing for the celebration of the Federal Republic of Germany’s Day of Unity on Tuesday, October 3, commemorating the reunification of the country in 1990.

Asian curriculum What Mr Prügel calls his ‘Asian curriculum’ began fairly recently. “Prior to serving as Director for Asia and Pacific my region of expertise was much more the Balkans and the Middle East. I was deputy head of mission at our embassies in Ankara and Tel Aviv. It was quite a surprise upon my return to Berlin from Tel Aviv that I was assigned to lead the Asia Pacific division. So for three years as Director for Asia and the Pacific, I covered everything from India and Sri Lanka to Mongolia, the Koreas, China, Japan, all of Southeast Asia and down to Australia and New Zealand. I was travelling a lot and even visited North Korea. “During those three years, I followed political developments in Asia closely, including the events in Thailand in 2013 that led to a coup a year later. I was a part of the EU discussion in Brussels on how we should react and go forward. I came to Thailand for the first time in March 2015 to attend the ASEM (Asia-Europe) meeting. At that time, I already knew that this country could become my next assignment, but I wasn’t sure. Anyway, I had, of course, a close look at the embassy and residence and the city.”

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When asked about his first impression of Bangkok, the ambassador said he wasn’t surprised at all by the towering structures spread out across the city, because it is the norm in other Asian capitals he had visited like Hong Kong, Singapore or Shanghai. “But it was nice that I had an afternoon off and had a chance to see the contrast between the ultra-modern and the old Bangkok. A colleague took me to the Royal Palace, and we took a boat down the Chao Phraya River,” Mr Prügel said. He’s done a lot more exploring since taking up his post. “I travel around Thailand on official business, wherever there are many German citizens or German interests. We frequently visit Pattaya, Pukhet and Chiang Mai, the three places where we also have Honorary Consulates to take care of the concerns of our tourists and residents, as well as, for example, the Eastern Seaboard where we have many German companies. But we also travel to other parts of the country, including official visits to other provinces, such as Chiang Rai, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Pattani. “When I have free time, I like to drive my car with my family to various places. We have been to the South, to Hua Hin and we have been twice to Koh Chang and Koh Kood. We also very much like Khao Yai National Park. In March this year, we had a very nice trip, driving north to Phitsanulok, Sukhothai and Chiang Mai. To more distant places, like Phuket and Krabi, we, of course, went by plane. “I like to drive, and I am not afraid to drive also in Thailand, even though it is very different from Germany where everything is very much according to the rules of the road. But as you can see from my CV, I have spent time in Italy, Israel and Turkey, and I drove in the quite difficult traffic of these places too. “I’ve never had an accident in Thailand, but according to my observations rules are not a priority on Thai roads. At the same time, however, Thai drivers are not at all aggressive, and they don’t use their horn easily like in many other places. Here, even when you make a mistake, other drivers will ignore it and let you pass without complaint. The number of traffic fatalities in Thailand per year, however, is almost as much as in the whole of the EU. I think this should be a serious reason for concern,” said the ambassador, who is part of a group of ambassadors involved in the Embassy Friends of Road Safety initiative to promote road safety in Thailand. “There are 10-15 embassies involved in this initiative, initiated more than a year ago by the UK embassy in cooperation with the UN and the World Health Organization. We meet with the competent Thai authorities to share experience and best practices and discuss possible joint action to improve road safety in Thailand. And there certainly is no easy way to this. “What is probably needed is a package of infrastructure measures, meaning road design and signalling, enforcement of traffic rules and above all education to change the habits of drivers, Thais and our foreign residents and tourists alike. It is terrible to see all the traffic fatalities and injuries in Thailand, and we are trying to help make a difference,” Mr Prügel said.



Bilateral relations “Official diplomatic relations between Germany and Thailand go back to the 1862 Friendship, Trade and Shipping treaty signed by King Mongkut (Rama IV) and Count Friedrich zu Eulenburg. This was a treaty between the then German Customs Union and the Kingdom of Siam. There have been representatives of the German states in Bangkok since then, although the German nation-state didn’t come into existence until 1871,” said Mr Prügel. Today the German mission is one of the larger embassies in Bangkok, with about 100 full-time staff, roughly 40 German nationals and 60 locals, most of whom work in the consular section. “I work closely with the heads of the various sections, from the political to the economic, consular as well as press and cultural sections, which is a big undertaking, given the broad range of our close relations, with a lot of issues to take care of. “All in all, there is a considerable workload on all my embassy staff. Luckily in all sections, I have very capable colleagues who do their jobs largely on their own, although they of course closely coordinate with me. And fortunately most of our Thai staff speak excellent German, so this helps a lot.”

Consular concerns


he ambassador said about 800,000 Germans visited Thailand in 2016 and 30,000-35,000 German nationals are residing in Thailand permanently or for part of the year in places like Pattaya. “Taking care of all our German citizens is a daunting task. And this is not only about issuing or renewing passports. It covers a very broad range of services. Not all expectations, however, can be fulfilled. “Some of our citizens, especially among the long-time members of our German community in Thailand, are very demanding and ask for more than what our office can and is entitled to do for them. We have for example elderly people who came to Thailand a long time ago. Many of them don’t think about health insurance when they come to stay and are still in good health. Later on, when they fall ill, they turn to the embassy. But there is not much we can do in such cases; the embassy can neither provide health insurance nor cover medical costs. “Then there are all sorts of problems our tourists encounter with rented cars and jet skis, accidents, thefts, fraud and so forth. A particularly sensitive duty is, of course, taking care of Germans who die here in Thailand, from accidents or other causes. There are hundreds of them every year, and it is then our sad duty to identify and notify the families and assist them in dealing with this situation. Or think about the Germans who were injured in the bombings in August last year. “The embassy visa section is also very busy. About 55,000 visas for Thai nationals were issued in 2015, and last year the number increased to about 60,000. In addition to this figure, about 3,500 Thais applied for longer term visas for business, education or family reasons.

St Fridolin in Bad Saeckingen

Bad Saeckingen Wooden Bridge

Konstanz University Building

“We estimate that there are about 60,000 Thai living in Germany. We have big Thai communities in most big cities, with ever more Thai restaurants and also Buddhist temples. In Tiergarten, a park in the centre of Berlin, there is a big area where Thais like to gather and picnic on the weekend. So you can even get Thai street food in Berlin today,” Ambassador Prügel said.

Trade, investment “Trade between our two countries is going very well. Germany is by far Thailand’s biggest European trading partner, and the EU as a whole is Thailand’s third biggest trading partner after China and Japan. The trade volume both ways between the EU and Thailand is about €30 billion, and between Germany and Thailand, it is around €10 billion. “Interestingly, Thailand enjoys a positive trade balance with both the EU and Germany. We import about €5.4 billion in goods from Thailand while export accounts for about €4.4 billion. Germany imports above all IT products, gemstones, rubber, foods and textiles from Thailand. From Germany to Thailand it is mainly machinery, cars, car parts and chemicals, but also many other products. “What is perhaps even more important than trade is the ‘second pillar’ of our economic relations investment.

UN in Bonn

We have about 600 German companies in Thailand, and many of them have been here a long time. Direct German investment in Thailand has been increasing and last year reached €37.4 million, more than one billion baht. BMW and Mercedes-Benz are among the many well-known German brands producing here, with BMW recently even exporting cars from Thailand to China. “Bosch is building a new high-tech fuel-injection systems plant on the Eastern Seaboard including related R&D facilities. Well-known German tyre producer Continental recently also selected Thailand for its new tire production plant for the Asia Pacific region with an initial investment of about € 250 millions. “Then there are many Thai companies that are actually of German origin, the most well-known certainly being B. Grimm. In Thailand for almost 140 years, they are today a large-scale conglomerate active amongst others in healthcare, energy, industrial systems and transport. They were also the consortium leaders in the Airport Rail Link project. From the beginning of Thai-German relations, our business people have been coming to Thailand and investing money to help the economy grow.

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“Today, however, quite a lot of investment is also going the other way. In 2015 the Central Group, for example, bought high-end retail shops in Berlin, Hamburg and Munich. The Thai Union bought premium canned tuna brands in Germany. And there’s quite some investment also in other sectors like in the medical as well as in the hotel sector. We all know Thais are excellent when it comes to running hotels. “Economic and business relations are certainly a main driving force behind the successful Thai-German relations,” the Ambassador stressed. “Looking to the future, what we are doing at the German embassy is trying to assist our companies in focusing on cooperation in particular in future-oriented fields like renewable energy, green and sustainable technologies or the digital economy in order to jointly and successfully manage future challenges. And in this regard, we of course also strongly support Thailand in implementing its ambitious Thailand 4.0 strategy.”



of wealthy and powerful individuals. Above all, any party leader should be an elected representative of the people within his party and accountable to them and must be reelected or voted out according to his or her performance. “Closer scrutiny is also needed with regard to party financing and spending. In Germany we have very strict rules on party financing and spending; above all, it must be fully transparent. Thus people get to know if vested interests and corruption are involved and wrongdoings are prosecuted. This is extremely important. “The EU and all member-countries have restricted ministerial-level contacts with Thailand since the 2014 coup. There are however no limitations to the embassy’s and my engagement and contacts here. So despite limitations to high-ranking political contacts, Thai-German relations can and do cover all spheres of life business, cultural, scientific and people-to-people exchanges, tourism and sports and so on. “Even politically we continue to have a high degree of cooperation with Thailand on various issues and in particular in multilateral forums. We work together in the United Nations, for example on drug policy and alternative development with the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime. This is an area in which Germany and Thailand have a long tradition of cooperation. “Several months ago, for example, the German agency for economic cooperation GiZ together with the Thai Mae Fah Luang Foundation brought delegations from Colombia and other interested countries to Thailand in order to learn from Thailand’s experience and best practices in eliminating illicit crop growing in a sustainable way. Our present Honorary Consul in Chiang Mai, by the way, came to Thailand with the GiZ in the 90ies as team-leader of the Thai-German Highland Development Programme, a program in the North to provide assistance to opium growers converting to alternative crops.”

“I have been in Thailand for over two years now, and I am very happy to be here. There are some challenges, however, in particular with regard to our political relations since the military coup in 2014. We understand that Thailand is in a difficult transition, as a longstanding friend and partner we do however hope to see Thailand returning to democracy soon. “We reach out to the entire Thai political, cultural, business and social spectrum. It is our duty to understand where this country is going and how we can assist the country in getting back on the road to democracy. The continuing restriction of fundamental rights and freedoms, press freedom, in particular, are therefore a major concern Bangkok social whirl to us and make it even difficult to access information and to get a clear assessment “There’s more social life here than in other of the actual political situation. places I’ve been posted abroad. Besides “I want to be clear but we don’t want the many official and semi-official events, to tell Thailand which way to go. This is we are receiving many invitations from up to the Thai people. However, there are the Thai community, to a broad variety of fundamental principles and international events and activities. Thai hospitality is well standards Thailand has committed to, Friendship Trade and Shipping Treaty known for that. and it is our duty to remind Thailand of “Then there are all the diplomatic events, the national its obligations under international laws and treaties. We will days, welcome and farewell dinners. In a place with that many continue to raise objections when necessary when it comes diplomatic missions, this is something we should find a way to issues of human rights, freedom of expression and the rule to rationalize. Maybe we could have one big farewell for all of law. diplomats departing in a certain time frame instead of having “We have been actively working to help Thailand back on the whole series of farewell dinners, where you see largely the path to democracy and good governance, for example the same people at each one,” said Mr Prügel with a laugh. with a panel discussion on the role of political parties in “But actually I enjoy the dinners, parties and democracy. There is a lot of discussion and a lot of doubt receptions. It is nice to go out and meet people other in this country about the role that political parties have than in formal meetings. If you stay stuck in your office played in the past. We want to encourage discussion on how or residence, you won’t be able to get to know that many the Thai party system can develop in a more democratic politicians, business people and people from all parts of and responsible way, and not just serve as an instrument



the civil society. You need to know what is going on in the country, and, of course, those dinners, parties and other diplomatic functions are a big part of that networking, which allows you to informally meet interesting people, exchange information and so on. “Many people seem to have the impression that ambassadors lead a party lifestyle, just going from one reception to another. This has never been an accurate picture, and it’s even less true today. Apart from being a service provider for our citizens, we are representatives of our respective countries, working to improve bilateral and multilateral relations. This involves many actions and interactions.”



sked why he joined the German foreign services in 1989, Mr Prügel replied: “It was to a certain extent a logical progression from my student days. I was always politically interested and engaged. In high school, I was the speaker of the student representation. I liked to travel abroad, and I was particularly related to France. In my university political science studies, I very rapidly came to focus mainly on international affairs. It was clear that the international sphere was the direction I wanted to go. “While at the École Nationale d’Administration (E.N.A.) in Paris I also reached out to multilateral organizations like the OECD and UNESCO and even worked for several months in a French multinational company to see how it was to work in the private sector. But no one was surprised when I finally applied to join the foreign ministry, and it was a good decision. “Besides my native tongue I am fluent in French, Italian and English, and I can understand Spanish. At home, we actually speak Italian. On my different postings, I learned some Serbian, Turkish and Hebrew, but very little is left. French was my first foreign language as I grew up close to the French border and always felt very much attracted to our neighbour country, its people and culture. That’s also why I studied Romanic languages and literature besides political science. “I met my wife Lucia while at the E.N.A. in Paris, and we got married in Sorrento, close to her home town, Naples in 1990. She joins me at many of the social events I attend, but she doesn’t go to every event. She has her circle and has something going on almost every day, especially with the group of the Spouses of Heads of Mission (SHOM). “Since the beginning of this year my wife is also President of the SHOM, and they have a broad range of activities, from charitable projects to cultural events, study trips and visits to various locations around and outside Bangkok. They also just published a book of fairy tales from all around the world to be distributed to Thai educational institutions. My wife, however, suffers a little from the climate here. She misses doing things outside because of the climate, so most of her life in Thailand actually takes place in air-conditioned spaces.” The ambassador said living inside the embassy compound has its advantages and disadvantages. “Guests have to be announced and to check in with the guard when they arrive,

and it’s a long walk from the residence to the main gate to get out of the embassy compound. So you can feel quite isolated. “But traffic-wise it’s, of course, a big advantage. In the morning it takes me one minute to go to the office, and it’s good to be able to come home to eat at the residence when I don’t have lunch outside. It gives me more flexibility and even when I have a lot of work I don’t have to stay in the office late, as I have a connected office at the residence, from where I can send and receive emails until late in the night if needed, as midnight is 6pm in Germany. “Considering the traffic and the many hours I am in the car every day, I am happy not to have to drive to and back from the office. Otherwise, traffic is a problem. If I go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it takes an hour to go and an hour to come back. In the evening, it often takes two hours to get to the Sukhumvit area. Otherwise, privately and on the weekends, I often use the MRT and BTS. It is convenient and saves me a lot of time.” As for hobbies, the ambassador likes to swim in his pool or just relax. He also likes going to the Chatuchak market or doing supermarket shopping on weekends. This works out well since his wife doesn’t enjoy grocery shopping, as the Ambassador added with a smile. “Previously I also used to play tennis. But coming to Bangkok, I started to play golf in January last year upon some convincing from Asian ambassadors already back in Berlin. They told me that as Ambassador in Asia I needed to play golf in order to talk shop with colleagues. I am still a beginner, but I try to go on the driving range at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club at least once a week. I admit that I used to consider golf a game for pensioners, but I’ve revised my prejudices. I quite enjoy the game now,” Mr Prügel said.

CV of H.E. Peter Prügel Education • Master of Arts and State Exam in Political Science as well as Romanic Languages and Literature, Konstanz University • École Nationale d’Administration (E.N.A.), Paris (1987-1989) Career • Since August 2015: Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand • 2012-2015: Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, German Foreign Office, Berlin • 2009-2012: Minister, Deputy Head of Mission, Head of the Political Section, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to Israel • 2006-2009: Minister, Deputy Head of Mission, Head of the Political Section, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to Turkey • 2002-2006: Principal Private Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, German Foreign Office, Berlin • 2002: Deputy Head of Department, Department for Arms Export Control, German Foreign Office, Berlin • 2000-2002: Chargé de Mission to the Head of the Department for Continental Europe, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the French Republic, Quai d’Orsay, Paris • 1997-2000: Counselor in the Political Staff; Department for Parliament and Cabinet issues, German Foreign Office, Bonn/Berlin • 1995-1997: First Secretary, Counselor for Political Affairs, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia • 1992-1993: First Secretary, Counselor for Economic Affairs, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to Italy • 1991-1992: Political Affairs Department, in charge of the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from the former GDR, German Foreign Office, Bonn

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p Last month’s best events in pictures

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Australia’s Thunder From Down Under Live comes to Bangkok

BANGKOK welcomed a wild night featuring Australia’s Thunder From Down Under Live in Bangkok 2017. Presented by PMD+ and YSIS Entertainment, this internationally acclaimed live male entertainment debuted for six days in a row and was chock full of chiselled bodies and shiny six packs.



Gaysorn Village’s, ‘Work-Live-PlayGrow’

GAYSORN Property recently launched ‘Gaysorn Village Come To Life’ to celebrate its official launch and success of the Gaysorn Village, a unique urban space under the concept, ‘Work-Live-Play-Grow’ in Thailand.

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InVite Wine & Cocktail Bar opening INVITE Wine & Cocktail Bar is a new Mediterranean restaurant that opened last month. The creative cuisine and selection of cocktails and wines impressed its first diners, with the restaurant’s menu headed by executive chef Semet Mehmet.



Amara Bangkok unveils ‘Hipster Night’ at Element

AMARA Bangkok launched the latest hangout event, ‘Hipster Night,’ at Element. The all-day dining restaurant, equipped with indoor seating and a refreshing al fresco dining area, featured famous artists from one of Thailand’s most popular reality television series, The Voice Thailand. The event followed the successful launch of the international lunch buffet at Element in late 2016.

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Pool party at ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai

POOL party attendees enjoyed beats from DJ Steve and DJ Yui Truluv in addition to a handful of other risky live performances at ibis Styles Bangkok Khaosan Viengtai. Dubbed as Pool Party Vol. 2, the hotel also hosted a male champion pole dance show and more.



Novotel Sukhumvit appreciation night NOVOTEL Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 recently hosted an appreciation night under the theme ‘Sea on Sky’ at the Sky on 20 hotel rooftop bar. Guests enjoyed delicious food and beverages, an awesome DJ lineup, special shows and a lucky draw.

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Exclusive wine dinner at Mexicano

REMBRANDT Hotel Bangkok recently hosted an exclusive wine dinner at Mexicano Restaurante Autentico with exquisite dishes paired with ďŹ ne wine from Anura Vineyards.



AMBAR hosts pool party

THINGS got wet and wild at the monthly instalment of the amBar pool party at the Four Points by Sheraton Bangkok, Sukhumvit 15. Attendees spent the Saturday lounging by the pool, listening to the awesome lineup of DJs and enjoying refreshments and poolside bites.

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Thank you party at Avani Riverside

AVANI Riverside recently hosted a party to thank their valuable partners with an array of delicious snacks and wine at their rooftop bar equipped with breathtaking river views.



Sansiri Lounge welcomed sculptor Antony Gormley

SANSIRI Lounge welcomed Thailand’s first ever ‘LOOK’ sculpture by Antony Gormley, an internationally renowned British sculptor. From Thursday, August 24 to Saturday, September 30, Gormley had his impressive sculpture on display at the art exhibition, ‘In between body and space.’

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New Parisian restaurant opening party

FRENCH food and fashion came together as one at the launch of Brasserie Cordonnier, a new Parisian restaurant in the heart of Bangkok. The venue, equipped with a unique lounge, entertainment exhibition and more, impressed everyone in attendance of the star-studded affair.




REVEALING a long-term business strategy to expand its routes to cover more of Asia including China, India, Taiwan and Myanmar is NewGen Airways. An additional three new aircraft are projected to fly 1.5 million travellers this year alone with an additional nine flying routes within three years’ time to Taiwan.


RATCHAPRASONG Square Trade Association (RSTA) with the support of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and The Royal Project presented the annual “Taste it all 2017 @Ratchaprasong” offering delicious pheasant meat as the main ingredients.

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LEADING the world with its printing technology for some 78 years, HP has yet again launched another innovative product: the HP Sprocket ®. The portable photo printer can print directly from your cell phone or social media feed and is equipped with tools for editing photos and applying filters.


CHANINTR, a leading retailer of luxury home furnishings in Thailand, partners with Herman Miller to bring consumers its Aeron® Chair, an ergonomic chair designed for ultimate relaxation and appreciated for its tasteful design. 120


CAMPAIGNING the new Golden Spirit Gallery is Jin Wellbeing County, a new-concept residence for those in retirement. The campaign will have a photo exhibition that highlights eight senior icons as well as host a photo contest inviting people to submit photos of seniors. Prizes are worth some B300,000.


ROYAL Paragon Hall recently hosted to the third “Happy Eating Festival 2017”, bringing over 160 delicious food stalls and restaurants together in one place with a treasure hunt theme.

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

Spend your holiday at Centara Chaan Talay Resort & Villas Trat

ENJOY an all-inclusive beach holiday at Centara Chaan Talay Resort & Villas Trat with the entire family from now until Tuesday, October 31. The holiday starts at B9,005.94++, which includes a number of amenities including two, three-course set lunches and dinners, a daily breakfast and more. Centara Chaan Talay Resort & Villas Trat. 039 521 561.

New suite experience package by Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok Stay more and pay less at Thanyapura Health & Sports Hotel

FROM now until Tuesday, October 31, guests have the opportunity to pay less to stay longer at Thanyapura Health & Sports Hotel in Phuket with discounts on rooms when guests stay additional nights. Thanyapura Health & Sports Hotel. 076 336 000.

TAKE advantage of the latest offer from Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok with their new suite experience. The special package offers guests luxurious facilities, services and special benefits including discounts during their trip to Bangkok. It is available for purchase until Saturday, December 30. Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok. 02 541 1234.

Clean the beach boot camp HOTELS in the AKSARA Collection, together with Clean the Beach Boot Camp Foundation and students from Songklanagarindara University, recently hosted a cleanup on Kata Beach to celebrate World Cleanup Day.

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Janesuda holds fashion show on the sandy beaches of Koh Yao Noi FASHIONISTAS ventured to Koh Yao Noi in style as Janesuda teamed up with Cape Kudu to unveil its newest collection, Janesuda Sea La Vie, with a fashion show on the beach.



Hua Hin

EXPATS in Thailand have the  opportunity to enjoy one of many freebies


at the Marrakesh Hua Hin Resort & Spa when they book any room directly with the luxurious accommodation option. Guests can choose from a free breakfast, a 30-minute back and shoulder massage for one person, an afternoon tea set for two people or a romantic Jacuzzi bath. The promotion is available until November 30, 2017. 032 616 777.

01 Marrakesh Hua Hin Resort & Spa 02 2018 Centara World Masters Golf Tournament 03 Delicious vegetarian and Indian cuisine 04 Hyatt Regency Hua Hin 05 BABA Beach Club 02

THE Centara World Masters Golf  Tournament will be back on June 10-16 of

next year in Hua Hin. Centara Hotels & Resorts is one of the main sponsors of the amateur golf tournament which welcomes men and women (aged 35 and over) of all skill levels to participate.


04 03

BABA Beach Club is a new luxurious  hotel and residences opening in both Hua Hin and Phuket. It is estimated that the accommodation options will be worth upwards of B4.7 billion and is a joint venture between Charn Issara Development PLC., I.C.C. International PLC and Saha Pathanapibul PLC. 076 490 777.

FOODIES anxiously await a new  menu from Dusit Thani Hua Hin coming this October 2017. It will feature new vegetarian and Indian specialities from Chef Manohar Lal at The Restaurant. 032 520 009. Hua_Hin

HYATT Regency Hua Hin will offer a 20 percent discount for those guests staying at  the hotel between September 8, 2017 through December 7, 2017. Guests must use the booking code HOT17S, and it is valid for reservations made seven days in advance. The promotion ends November 30, 2017. 032 521 234.

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Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa SHERATON Hua Hin Resort & Spa recently celebrated its 10th anniversary by welcoming famous Thai singer Da Endorphine in concert to thank their loyal customers. The fivehour event also welcomed DJ A, aka Peerawat Manamontrisakul.



Extravagant night of Latino cuisine COAST Beach Club & Bistro recently had an extravagant night of Latino cuisine and dancing hosted by Centara Grand Hua Hin. The Churrasco buffet featured a wide array of South American specialities and the amazing evening finished with diners taking to the dance floor to salsa to the live band that was playing in addition to a DJ. Coast Beach Club & Bistro. 032 511 014.

BABA Beach Club BABA Beach Club is a new luxurious hotel and residences opening in both Hua Hin and Phuket. It is estimated that the accommodation options will be worth upwards of B4.7 billion and is a joint venture between Charn Issara Development PLC., I.C.C. International PLC and Saha Pathanapibul PLC. Baba Beach Club. 076 371 000.

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OCEAN MARINA PATTAYA BOAT SHOW TO CAPITALISE ON EASTERN THAILAND’S BOOM DRIVING ahead with its Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), the Thai Government plans to develop Thailand’s Gulf region into a key business and leisure hub. It will do so by expanding the U-Tapao RayongPattaya International Airport, the high-speed rail linking Don Muang and the Suvarnabhumi Airport. It will also further develop the Laem Chabang and Map Ta Phut deep sea ports as well as create a double-track rail network linking Laem Chabang, Map Ta Phut and Sattahip deep sea ports. Billed as ‘Thailand’s Biggest Outdoor Lifestyle Boat Show,’ the sixth Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show is organised by the Ocean Marina Yacht Club. It will take place November 23-26, kicking off Asia’s boat show season. Having established itself as the place to do business for the regional marine industry, more than 150 companies are expected to showcase their products and services



to an ever-growing number of people with interest in the marine lifestyle. “Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show attracts a diverse visitor demographic to experience the best of marine tourism in the east of Thailand each year,” Mr Scott Finsten, Harbour Master of Ocean Marina Yacht Club, said. “The onshore and in-water displays will be bigger than ever, and there will be lots of activities and fun for everyone, from the serious boat buyer to the

family member who wants to get a glimpse of the marine lifestyle on offer.” The four-day onshore and on-water arrangement has proven popular with both exhibitors and visitors, and it underscores the marine lifestyle that is at the core of the Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show. For more information, visit oceanmarinapattayaboatshow. com, oceanmarinapattayaboatshow


FROM now until Tuesday, October ƒ 31, the Hilton Pattaya will offer a special dinner bed and breakfast package for two nights which includes a breakfast and dinner buffet for two at the Edge restaurant. 038 253 000.

01 01 New bed and breakfast package 02 Fitz Club ninth tennis tournament a success 03 New delectable dishes at Acqua 04 Discounted stay at Rabbit Resort Pattaya 05 New seafood dishes at Radius Restaurant


02 ITALIAN restaurant Acqua at Centara ƒ Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya will

offer new, homemade pasta paired with forest mushrooms throughout the month of October. Prices start at B840++ per dish. 038 301 234.



THE Rabbit Resort Pattaya offers a  new special offer of B1,1990 per room per night until Thursday, November 30 using the code RABBIT010 on their website. 038 251 731.

FITZ Club held its ninth Fitz Club  Tennis Tournament. The three-day

event welcomed around 30 players of all different skill levels. 38 250 421 ext. 2621.



SEAFOOD lovers rejoice as Radius ƒ Restaurant at Cape Dara Resort Pattaya invites diners to enjoy new dishes featuring delicious Canadian lobster. 03 893 3888.

Host of the Optimist World Championships 2017

With 60 year’s of sailing history in the kingdom, the Royal Varuna Yacht Club welcomes all sailors and participants to the Optimist World Championships July 11th - 21st, 2017

The Bigchilli October 2017  

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