The BigChilli September 2015

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GET THE DINNER YOU DESERVE From the rooop at Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel, glittering views of Bangkok will be spread before you as you settle into one of Bangkok’s most alluring nightlife destinations. You and friends can sit, sip and sample delicacies from the imaginative cocktail list and equally temping pan-Asian menu. Let the stars continue on their courses as you enjoy yours, complemented by some good old-fashioned service and an atmosphere of nighttime glamour.

567 Ratchaprarop Road, Makkasan, Ratchathewi, Bangkok 10400 Thailand E : T : +66 (0) 2 625 1234

Strip AD_Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit_Sep15.pdf



11:25 AM

PUBLISHER Colin Hastings MANAGING EDITOR Adam Purcell EDITOR Nina Hastings ASSISTANT EDITOR Chutinanta Boonyamarn SALES & MARKETING MANAGER Rojjana Rungrattwatchai ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Thana Pongsaskulchoti Sakuna Nupinrum ACCOUNTING MANAGER Saranya Choeyjanya ACCOUNTING ASSISTANT Janjira Silapapairson ART & PRODUCTION Arthawit Pundrikapa, Jaran Lakkanawat PHOTOGRAPHY Mini Bike Gang, WJ CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Anette Pollner, Johanna DeKoning, Judith Coulson, Maxmilian Wechsler, Chloe Mason, Eric E. Surbano



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

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





Living in Bangkok: Expat life made simple Bumrungrad International Hospital’s community event returns on September 19 with a health and fitness focus ■ MOVING to a new country is far from easy. It requires a lot of planning and gathering so much information. It’s often hard to figure out where to look, who to talk to, and where to even start. But what if you could find everything you needed in one place? This is why Bumrungrad International Hospital’s annual Living in Bangkok event is such an incredible resource. Every year, this superb community event brings together the organizations, community groups, and services that help expats – both newcomers and old hands – carve out a comfortable and enjoyable life here. Staying healthy and active in Bangkok As you’ve probably guessed, this year’s event is focused on helping expats achieve healthy and active lives in Bangkok. One of the things that people often lose when moving somewhere new is the ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Unless you are extremely disciplined, physical fitness and keeping up with healthy habits can be easily overlooked during times of transition. However, it’s been proven time and again that a healthy lifestyle is not only the best defense against most illnesses, it’s also a great way to manage one’s stress levels and maintain a positive outlook on life. Living in Bangkok has been an important resource for expats for many years, and it continues to do the same for a new crop of expats, turning this year to focus on living a healthy and active life here in Bangkok.



Save the Date!

THIS year’s Living in Bangkok event will be held on Saturday September 19 from 9am5pm at Bumrungrad International Hospital on Sukhumvit Soi 3. From BTS Nana, take exit 1 and look for the Bumrungrad Hospital shuttle bus, which will come every 15 minutes, depending on the traffic. For more info visit www.bumrungrad. com/livinginbangkok Variety makes life interesting It’s very hard to be bored while living in Bangkok. Every day brings something new, and even seasoned expats who have been here for decades are constantly rediscovering the city. The current upswing in outdoor activities and healthy lifestyle trends is a good example of Bangkok’s ability to always change and grow.

As you’re navigating your new life as an expat, and particularly figuring out how to start or expand a healthy and active lifestyle, take advantage of the information that will be available to you at this year’s Living in Bangkok event. The many exhibitors will provide you with information ranging from where to find the best cycling and running routes and groups, to information on where to find healthy foods and beverages. When going into this event, just remember that Bangkok has almost everything you’re looking for – you just have to know where to look, and the best place to start is Bumrungrad’s Living in Bangkok event.


Restaurant news & deals | Serving Up | Recipe | Reviews

Italian Favourites Hearty Italian favourites are being given a gourmet spin this month at Don Giovanni Page 22



Gourmet Bangkok’s hottest dining deals and news

All in seasonal taste THROUGH SEPT 30 AT RED SKY

Wine Wednesdays at Diplomat

CENTARA Grand at CentralWorld’s superb rooftop restaurant is currently serving up a five-course seasonal tasting menu created using top quality imported ingredients. Just some of the highlights include Figue de Sollies Salad with baby watermelon and Cabeccou goat cheese; Mediterranean fish soup Rouille crouton and Bouchot mussels; and Iberico Bellota pork rack with braised radicchio and rosemary flower. B3,255++ per person, or B4,955++ per person when paired with wine.


A TWO-for-one wine deal is now offered every Wednesday night at Conrad Bangkok’s stylish lobby bar.

999/99 Rama 1 Rd. 02 100 1234

Mexican fiesta SEPT 16 AT SEÑOR PICO

With 14 premium wines available by the glass, including highlights such as Love Grass Shiraz from the award-winning d’Arenberg of McLaren Vale, Australia; and Germany’s Max Ferd Richter Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett, the promotion also offers 30 percent discount on tapas. Wines start at B360++ per glass. Live jazz from 8pm. 87 Witthayu Rd. 02 252 5538

MEXICO’S Independence Day will be celebrated in thoroughly delicious fashion at Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok’s always lively Mexican restaurant. Specially for the occasion, Mexican chef Carlos Bravo will cook up a splendid spread of his country’s most famous dishes (think Chili con carne, Stuffed green peppers, Slow roasted pork) for the special price of B2,500 per festive pack (four persons), or B4,000 per festive pack (four persons) plus one

02 261 7100



ENSCONCED within freshly-baked inky black sesame buns, Novotel Bangkok Platinum Pratunam’s new burgers are eye-catching and tasty to boot. Choose from grilled beef and cheddar cheese, flavourful BBQ chicken thigh or tender Teriyaki pork as a filling. Each burger comes with fresh tomato, crisp iceberg lettuce, house-made mayo relish and French fries. B 290++. Available at all of the hotel’s outlets. 220 Petchaburi Rd. 02 160 7100

OPERA meets gourmet dining this month at Anantara Bangkok Riverside, where Grand Opera Thailand will perform excerpts from Carmen, Don Pasquale & La Traviata while you tuck into a four-course special menu (Sat Sept 12. B3,800 per person inclusive of soft drinks; B28,000 per table of eight inclusive of two bottles of wine. Starts 7.30pm). Alternatively visit on Sun Sept 13 for an afternoon of opera, High Tea, and sparkling wine (4pm-6pm. B2,700 per person). Special package price for both events: B5,500. 257/1-3 Charoennakorn Rd. 02 476 0022 ext. 1416

Game & Wine Time OCT 2 AT LA VUE

EXPECT rich and gamey flavours aplenty at Hunts & Forest Viande de Gibier Wine Dinner, a one-night-only event at Siam@Siam Design Hotel’s rooftop restaurant. Featuring the best of European game meat (such as goose, duck, venison, and wild boar), the six-course menu will be paired with fine French wines and is great value at B3,600. 865 Rama 1 Rd. 02 217 3070 TheBigChilli

19 Sukhumvit Soi 18.

Grand Opera Dinner

Black Burger Trio


bottle of Tequila reposado El Jimador and four mixers

Oktoberfest specials SEPT 19 – OCT 4 AT THE HUNTSMAN

YOU can get into the Oktoberfest spirit at The Landmark Bangkok’s popular pub, which is celebrating the Munich-based, world-famous festival by serving up Crispy pork knuckle with Sauerkraut, German sausages, Meat loaf and more Bavarian favourites alongside German beers – all at reasonable prices. 138 Sukhumvit Rd. 02 254 0404 ext 7777

New on the

scene Restaurant & Bar openings in Bangkok

Benihana The Japanese Steakhouse

BANGKOK’S second iteration of the world-famous Benihana The Japanese Steakhouse Restaurant chain (the first is at Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa) opens its doors this month offering its unique brand of ‘Eatertainment’ at the AVANI Atrium Bangkok. Like its parent venue in New York City, which opened in 1964, the AVANI-based venture specializes in sizzling dining at Teppanyaki counters where personal chefs not only grill premium quality beef, fish, veggies and rice, but also put on an action-packed

Osito – Unique Spanish

BACK on the scene after an extensive renovation, Osito (formerly el Osito) at Mahatun Plaza is already turning heads with its new menu of rustic-yet-modern Spanish cuisine prepared in an open kitchen by well-known chef Daniel Bucher, former Chef de Cuisine at Reflexions, Plaza Athénée Bangkok, who specializes in molecular cooking and modernist techniques blended with classic flavours and recipes. His breakfast menu focuses on tasty, easy to eat treats, featuring homemade breads, cold cuts, and spreads made with the top quality ingredients (try the Organic eggs from Chiang Rai paired with jamon iberico in a breakfast skillet; and The Shooter’s Sandwich, a delicious marriage of homemade chorizo with caramelized onions and pickled bell peppers on rye bread). The lunch menu covers all-time favourites like Reuben and New York pastrami sandwiches, burgers, and a superb Spanish creamy rice cooked with jamon iberico stock and topped with smoked pork belly. Dinner, meanwhile, features unique tapas, smoked dishes (whole Maine lobsters, octopus, dry aged tomahawk steaks) and classic Spanish dishes like Paella with organic chicken and chorizo or prawns, calamari and clams. To wash it all down you can select from premium wines as well as over 30 types of premium gins. 888/23-24 M ahatun Plaz a, Ploen Chit Rd. :f sitoB K K

1823 Tea Lounge by Ronnefeldt

culinary show – think juggling, jokes and some flamboyant culinary magic – that provides great fun for diners of all ages. While premium Teppanyaki is the focus of the restaurant, it’s not the only highlight. Sushi, sashimi, seafood (such as lobster, crab and oysters), sake and Japanese-style cocktails are all top notch too. And all reasonably priced. Open daily 11.30am – 2.30pm and 6pm – 10.30pm.

SPECIALISING in superior cups of tea and offering an extensive selection of salads, pasta dishes, grilled sandwiches, afternoon tea sets, pastries and cakes, this stylish new tea lounge on the first floor of Gaysorn is a must visit for fans of the renowned Ronnefeldt tea brand (especially as it stocks two unique blends – Bangkok Blend, which marries the finest Oolong Tea with flavours of pineapple and papaya, and the Gaysorn Blend, which combines light, flowery Pui Mu Tan White Tea from China with tropical flavours of ripe mango and a hint of citrus). Open daily 10am-8pm. G /F , G aysorn Plaza , 999 Phloen Chit. 02 656 1086 :1823ronnef

A V A N I A trium B angkok, 1880 N ew Petchburi Rd. 02 718 2023

Tim Ho Wan

HONG Kong’s famous (and most affordable) Michelin Starred restaurant has made its debut in Thailand, offering delectable dim sum at Bangkok’s Terminal 21 shopping mall. Like Tim Ho Wan branches in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, Taiwan, and Singapore, the Thailand venture offers highlights such as Baked buns with BBQ pork, Pan fried turnip cakes, Steamed egg cake, and Vermicelli roll stuffed with pig’s liver. Other Hong Kong staples are also available, with Steamed beef ball with bean curd skin, Shrimp wrapped in bean curd skin, and Sticky Rice in lotus leaf among the favourites. T erminal 21 3F L , ( B T S A sok/M RT Sukhumvit) . O pen daily 10am-10pm.



02 651 4399

02 006 5288

D’ARK by Phillip Di Bella

THIS new coffee shop and restaurant at Piman 49, Sukhumvit 49, offers premium teas and coffee and high quality international and fusion dishes created by chefs Jeriko Van Der Wolf and Joffrey Cacob, who both have experience in Michelin starred restaurants. Operating to a ‘Crop to Cup’ concept, D’ARK ensures its coffee beans are sourced from sustainable farms and offers a range of blends you won’t find elsewhere. For food, highlights include the Jeriko’s duck burger (B320), Foie gras and kumquat, and Smoked beef and burrata (B280). Make sure you leave room for dessert – the cakes are delicious. Open daily 7am-midnight. 46 Soi Sukhumvit 49. 02 662 7900 :f


INDIAN cuisine is given a contemporary spin at this recently opened restaurant at Park 22 shopping complex, Sukhumvit 22. And by contemporary, we mean molecular – the same approach which saw Bangkok’s renowned Gaggan restaurant come out top in this year’s Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. While Indique doesn’t scale those dizzy heights, its reasonable portions pack plenty of flavour and its courteous staff, relaxed atmosphere, and well-priced menu ensure it is well worth a visit. Highlights include Sphericated lassi spheres (B129), Chicken tikka “cornetto” (chicken tikka in a fried papadum cone, served on dry ice. B179), and Corn chaat in masala papadum (seasoned corn in papadum cones. B89).

Indique, Park 22, Sukhumvit Soi 22 (Phrom Phong BTS station)

Rain Tree Café

02 663 5995

Iron Chef Table

SINCE its debut in 2012, the Iron Chef Thailand TV show has been the premier showcase for the country’s culinary stars. Now diners can get up close and personal with these talented chefs at the country’s first Iron Chef restaurant. Located at Room A1, The Taste Thong Lor, Iron Chef Table transforms the competition’s kitchen-stadium setting into an equally exciting “Chef’s Table” venue complete with open kitchen and bar. The restaurant’s initial line-up features renowned Japanese chef Hiroyuki Sakai collaborating with seven Iron Chefs from Thailand: Chef Pongtawat Ian Chalermkittichai, Chef Chumpol Jangprai, Chef Boontham Pakpo, Chef Thanaruk “Pom” Chuto, Chef Thanunya “Gai” Kaikaew, Chef Prasopchok “Art” Trakulphat, and Chef Tammasak “Noi” Chootong. Keep up to date with the restaurant’s schedule at

Iron Chef Table, Room A1, The Taste Thong Lo, Thonglor Soi 11 092 768 7723 :f table

THREE integrated outlets make up Plaza Athénée Bangkok’s stunning transformation of Rain Tree Café, which has been reconceived in a modern interpretation of a Thai neo-colonial royal palace. The main dining area, dubbed “The Bronze Kitchen”, combines modern iterations of aristocratic elegance with state-ofthe-art hot and cold buffet counters and kitchens, not to mention the creations of a multi-national team of renowned chefs. Adjoined to this is The Valaya Room, a formal library-style VIP space, and beyond here is a Secret Garden area where guests can dine, drink and savour elegant high teas. Each of the hotel’s specialist head chefs each prepare specialty dishes for both the lunch and dinner buffets. Moreover, each Saturday one of the chefs personally takes charge of one of the live kitchens. Gala Sunday Brunch sessions range from B1,300 – B4,900 depending on drinks packages (the latter price features free flowing Moët & Chandon Champagne). 61 Wireless Rd. 02 650 8800

Chang Surf Bar

POPULAR inner-city surf center Flow House Bangkok now has a second floor surf bar serving ice cold pints of Chang beer plus an international food menu featuring dishes like Salmon salad with lemongrass (B150), Grilled fish tacos, Penne pink sauce with salmon and caviar (B170) and California crab cakes with mango chutney – a great way to refuel after a session on the FlowRider surf machine. A -Sq uare, 120/1 Sukhumvit 26. 02 108 5210 TheBigChilli


Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

An exclusive dinner with Sansiri SANSIRI PLC hosted an exclusive dinner at the lavish clubhouse of Narasiri Bang Na, where chef Vichit Mukura presented a special menu inspired by the concept of ‘American Luxury.’ Highlights of the menu included Portobello mushrooms and scallop with mayonnaise, rind and sweet Japanese corn; and Thai Sweetmeat and coconut with red beans served with Meringue.

Wine tasting at Godfather GODFATHER, a wine boutique by Water Library at Central Embassy, collaborated with BKK Wine Club to host a wine tasting party featuring premium wines from Italy, USA and Australia. Guests also enjoyed a selection of high quality finger foods and light meals, which were specially prepared to pair with the wines.

Sunday Feast & Fun FIN Wines recently showcased its portfolio of artisanal wines by hosting a wonderful event at Bo.lan restaurant, Sukhumvit 53. Called ‘Fin Naturally Sunday Feast & Fun,’ the event celebrated all things natural and sustainable, and featured a delicious range of food cooked by Bo.lan’s owners, Bo and Dylan; and Daniel Bucher from Osito, using ingredients from local producers. Funds were also raised to support Baan San-Fan orphanage in Phang-Nga. 26


Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

All in good taste at D’ARK HIP new coffee shop and restaurant D’ARK by Phillip Di Bella celebrated its grand opening by inviting foodies and brew heads to sample its premium wares. Located at Piman 49, Sukhumvit 49, D’ARK offers high quality international and fusion dishes created by chefs Jeriko Van Der Wolf and Joffrey Cacob, who both have experience in Michelin starred restaurants. More info on page 25.

High Tea Jubilee at Ratchaprasong MEMBERS of the Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association held a press conference to mark the launch of the High Tea Jubilee @ Ratchaprasong promotion, which will see hotels and tea rooms in the association offer special rates on their respective afternoon tea sets until October 15. Erawan Tea Room at the Erawan Bangkok (adjacent to Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok) for example, will offer its afternoon tea set for two at the special price of B600. For details of participating hotels visit: 28


Mooncake celebrations SHANG Palace at Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok marked the arrival of this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival by launching three new mini moonca e fillings (including Green Tea Cookies and Cream;Taro Gingko; and Chestnut and Almond) in addition to the restaurant’s classic a ours ignature house made mooncakes in an exquisite gift set will be available through September 27.

Scrapbook Last month’s foodie functions in focus

Wine showcase at Bamboo Chic LE Méridien Bangkok and IWS hosted a tasting event at the hotel’s Bamboo Chic Bar, where they showcased 11 wines from four different international wineries. The wines were paired with a range of dishes specially created for the occasion by new Executive Chef, Markus Rotard.

Tenderloins branches out THE popular Tenderloins Sports Bar & Steak House, Sukhumvit 33, celebrated the launch of its sister restaurant on Pattanakan 30 by hosting a day of free food and drinks at the new venue. Find out more about the restaurant and its menu at

Rotarians gather for lunch ROTARY Club Bangkok South recently joined other Rotary Clubs in Bangkok on an Inter-Club Delegation to the regular luncheon meeting of Rotary Club of Dhonburi, the second Rotary Club to be chartered in Thailand and home of Past Rotary International President Bichai Ratakul. 30


Dining out

Wo rds H A R V E Y W H I T E

Attico Cucina Italiana

One year into its operations and Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok’s popular Italian restaurant has really hit its stride. Best of all – a brand new menu is launched this month


WITH its high ceiling, sweeping city views, and exposed-brick, trattoria-style design, Attico is one of the most visually striking Italian restaurants in Bangkok. And as we discovered last month, its food is some of the tastiest. Established 12 months ago with a focus on food from Tuscany, Attico has since retooled its concept to embrace classic, rustic cuisine from all areas of Italy – think homemade pastas, slowcooked meats, lovingly crafted fish dishes, and, starting this month, a range of thin-crust pizzas. The latter, made using a secret dough recipe developed over the past seven months by Attico’s head chef, Dario Busnelli, are crispy and light, and easily rival the city’s best. Gregarious, chatty, and suitably stout, half-Thai half-Italian chef Dario was born in Lombardy and raised in Bangkok. Before joining Attico last year, he was head chef at the popular El Bottega di Luca on Sukhumvit 49, and his career to date – including stints at prestigious establishments such as the three-Michelin starred Da Vittorio in Bergamo, Italy, and the Michelin-starred

Allegro at Four Seasons Prague, Czech Republic – shines through in the quality of his cuisine. His new menu, officially launched this month, is based around rustic, family-style servings and, as you’d expect from a restaurant of this caliber, high quality ingredients come as standard, and presentation is top notch. Just some of the highlights to kick start a meal include Impepata di Cozze (Sautéed imported carpet clams and bouchot mussels from France, served in a pan in a lightly spiced lobster bisque sauce. B790); Degustazione di Salumi della casa (Chef ’s selections of imported cold cuts and salami with homemade pickles. B690/990); and Chef Dario’s spin on the classic Mozzarella ‘N Carrozza, featuring a whole ball of buffalo mozzarella cheese deep fried and served with sautéed cherry tomato, fresh basil, Taggiasche olives, caper flowers and Sardinian yellow fin fish (B680). For mains, the Paccheri col Cinghiale (Paccheri pasta with wild boar ragout braised in Chianti red wine sauce and summer truffle sauce. B490)

Radisson B lu Plaza B angkok, 489 Sukhumvit Rd.



gets our vote – its rich and piquant sauce, slathered over al dente pasta, is a perfect match for the subtle gamey tastes of the boar. We also enjoyed the Branzino al Posillipo (Grilled Sea bass from Brittany, served with fine herbs and frutti di mare sauce, sautéed mi crustacean, grilled artichokes, and potato “sabbiate.” B1,290), whose large flakes of flavorsome meat slipped from the bone yet provided plenty of bite. Also hitting the sweet spot of culinary satisfaction was the Costata di Manzo Wagyu, Attico’s signature Wagyu Prime rib (B390/100g), cooked medium-rare and arriving tender and chock-full of flavour. Hearty portions perfect for sharing are the order of the day at Attico, but we couldn’t leave without sampling dessert. And we’re glad we did, because the Carosello di Dolci, a selection of Attico’s classic desserts, including Tiramisù, Pannacotta, Chocolate fondant, and Vanilla Crema cotta (B890), provided a fitting end to an excellent meal. We will definitely return for more.

02 302 3333 ext. 3328 hotel-bangkok

Dining out


Wo rds H A R V E Y W H I T E

Wine Pub

The new monthly Chef ’s Table is not to be missed at this longstanding expat favourite

ONE of Bangkok’s original wine bars, Wine Pub at Pullman Bangkok King Power has been delighting oenophiles and foodies with its European-inspired cuisine, tasty tapas, and international wines for over eight years now – a remarkable achievement in a city as fickle as Bangkok, where barflies prefer to feed on the novel and usually vacate a venue as soon as they hear a new one has opened. The secret to Wine Pub’s longevity and success is its commitment to regularly updating its menu, focusing on high quality, sustainable ingredients, and offering tempting daily deals. Put simply, diners always have something exciting to come back for. Take the new monthly Chef ’s Table dining experience. Held the third Wednesday of each month, and served only for 12-16 people, this exciting promotion sees Executive Chef Dominique Ferchaud working with seasonal ingredients to create a unique five-course dinner paired with wines (great value at just B3,150 per person).

The talented chef, a Brittany, France, native, has been plying his trade since 1986 and his rich international experience includes stints working in renowned establishments like Chef Raymond Blanc’s two Michelin Starred Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxford, England, and the famous Plaza Athénée hotel in New York. He also worked as private chef for Abu Dhabi’s Royal Family, so he knows a thing or two about pleasing discerning palates. Visit his Chef ’s Table this month (Sept 16 from 6pm-10pm), and you’ll be able to savour delicious creations such as Seared jumbo shrimp with celeriac and ginger, served with sundried tomatoes and coriander; Roasted filet of sea bass with baby vegetables and fennel, coconut and lemon leaf bisque; and Angus beef filet with crispy potato roll, seared mushrooms and rosemary sauce. “The idea is to let the ingredients really shine through,” explains Chef Dominique. “We only import the finest fish and meats, and we cook these carefully to ensure that their flavours are

the star of the show. Simple food is the best – especially when paired with decent wines.” The Chef ’s Table, of course, is not the only highlight at Wine Pub. An extensive a la carte menu featuring hearty European dishes is available daily, as well as a tapas menu with over 23 selections starting at B100 per plate (or a set of nine for B985), with popular choices such as Salmon confit on basil feta cake, and Seared duck liver with polenta. Through Sept 30, a Special Cod Tapas menu, with highlights such as Cod and potato gratin, and Cod cakes with panko bread crumbs, will also be available, starting at B250 per dish. On our last visit Chef Dominique revealed that he’d just received a new chocolate making machine from France, and he couldn’t wait to get in the kitchen and tinker with it. So don’t be surprised if you see a selection of chocolate enhanced creations on your next visit to Wine Pub – as long as we haven’t eaten them all first!

Wine Pub, Pullman B angkok K ing Power, 8/2 Rangnam Rd, T hanon-Phayathai ( f ree tuk tuk service available f rom near V ictory M onument B T S) 02 680 9999



Dining out

Wo rds H A R V E Y W H I T E

Rock and Roll dining in Phuket Meet Roberto Pettinau, the new GM of the Hard Rock Cafe Phuket


ESTABLISHED in London in 1971 as a simple rock and roll themed restaurant, Hard Rock Cafe has since gone on to conquer the world with its exuberant approach to the dining experience. Famed for its hearty portions of American cuisine (the burgers are humongous, and delicious too), the brand is equally celebrated for its bubbly staff, regular live performances, a classic rock playlist beamed live from Hard Rock headquarters in Orlando, Florida, and walls adorned with rare memorabilia from some of the world’s biggest stars. Key to Hard Rock’s success in each of its locations, of course, is its general managers. Culinary rock stars of sorts, they’re selected not just because they know their way around a kitchen and a restaurant, but also because they have a genuine love of all things rock and roll. “It’s how we strike a chord with diners,” says Roberto Pettinau, the new General Manager of the Hard Rock Cafe Phuket. “Hard Rock Cafes are all about high-energy service and a real love of providing great food, great service, and great music. And because we’re having a great time, our guests do too.” Italian expat Roberto, 42, is no stranger to the Hard Rock experience. Twelve years ago, after travelling the globe working at leading restaurants in London (including the Spoon



Restaurant, owned by Michelin star chef Alain Ducasse), Spain, Africa, China, and Malaysia, Roberto joined Hard Rock Cafe Kuala Lumpur as General Manager. “I actually owned my own company in Kuala Lumpur importing food from Italy,” he says, “But while I enjoyed what I was doing, including learning a lot about the F&B trade as a whole, when the opportunity arose to work with Hard Rock Cafe, one of the biggest franchises in the world, and one

whose concept appealed to my character, I couldn’t turn it down.” Roberto enjoyed his role in Kuala Lumpur immensely. In fact, he liked it so much, when he left the restaurant to spend some time with his family in Italy, he soon found himself yearning for the Hard Rock life. And when the job became available at Hard Rock Cafe Phuket, he applied immediately, and was ecstatic when he secured the role. “There’s a real buzz to this particular branch,” he says. “Not only is the food consistently top quality, and our live music thoroughly entertaining, we always have exciting plans in store. Soon, for instance, we’ll be introducing flair bartending shows, more beachinspired merchandise in the Rock Shop, and, in October, we’ll even be rolling out a brand new menu. So there’s always something to be excited about.” Hard Rock Cafe Phuket is located next to the dusitD2 Resort on Ruamjai Road, Patong Beach. Packed nightly with tourists, locals and expats, it’s an ideal venue for a party or group outing, or simply a fun-packed meal with family and friends. es/phuket

Dining out

Guest review by

Bangkok Beefsteak & Burgundy

Quince – Eatery and Bar Hearty portions and full-bodied wines the hallmarks of another splendid lunch


HIS was our second visit to Quince and, in the middle of the European summer season, we could only find 12 stalwarts available to join the lunch. Notwithstanding, (or perhaps because) we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Our afternoon commenced with an amuse bouche, Pickled shrimp and cocktail sauce, accompanied by Dr Loosen Riesling 2013 (Mosel Valley, Germany). The latter was refreshing but way too sweet for most and will only find its way onto future wine lists as an inexpensive dessert wine. At the dining table we were then served Beef broth with marrow croutons and truffled egg, a flavoursome soup commended by our Food Spokesman, John Handley, though many thought it would have been even better served hotter. This was John’s maiden address to the gathering which he delivered with aplomb. Danny Arn (our erudite Wine Spokesman) introduced with equal panache the next wine – Gernot Heinrich Blaufränkisch 2013, Burgenland, Austria – noting a departure from the Australian reds which have been a mainstay for the Club for several years. Next came an over generous serving of Salad of roast chicken,

bread and arugula which again met with much approval (the moist fresh salad earned special praise from John) as did more Blaufränkisch. Pasta with a braised bacon and roast tomato sauce (and Parmesan cheese) came next, and this was enjoyed alongside Zuccardi Q Malbec 2009 (Mendoza, Argentina). The latter (with ABV of 14.8%) I found deceptive; it earned mixed reviews from the winecritics though Danny complimented the nose, and speculated it may have passed

its best as the winemaker suggested to consume 2010-14. John loved the sauce and again the heaped servings of pasta. The Meat course (chosen in response to the wishes of the Club) featured Slow-cooked lamb shoulder, potato gratin, and a green salad. The lamb was excellent, the potato gratin and salad very acceptable, and all thoroughly satisfied the throng. Pursuing the European wine theme, Thomas Boedinger introduced us for the first time to Markus

Schneider Tohuwabohu 2011 (60% Cab Sauv and 40% Merlot from Pfalz, a key wine region in western Germany). The name is unpronounceable, the spelling just as difficult, but the wine was very drinkable (it had an excellent nose, good colour, exhibited aromas of wild berries, cherry, coffee, dark chocolate, and again had an ABV of 14.5%) and was Danny’s pick of the day. The Cheese course included Brie, Camembert, and Queso manchego (sheep milk cheese), Almonds & Figs, and Blueberry Preserve, and was served with Tohuwabohu, followed by Armagnac XO generously lavished upon us on by Andrew McDowell, long serving member of our Club and in celebration of his birthday. Roy Tzemah, the Manager, was attentive throughout and he and his staff did an excellent job of conducting the meal service, an event we marked with our customary collection of gratuities and group photograph. Quince – Eatery and Bar, Sukhumvit Soi 45 Tel: 02 662 4478



Hot Neighbourhood

B y C h l o e Ma s o n

Suan Plu (South Sathorn) Tired of going to the same old restaurants in Bangkok? Suan Plu is the new hot ’hood to check out… Breizh Crepes

FROM savoury to sweet, this open air restaurant serves all kinds of delectable French crêpes. Toppings range from salted butter caramel and fruit coulis, to sausage and goat cheese. If you want to try the world-famous Crêpes Suzette, then this is the perfect place to do so. Suan Plu Soi 8, Sathorn (opposite Mingle condominium) Open daily from 11am – 11pm Tel: 02 679 33 93

Uncle John

FORGET pricey French meals served in five-star hotels. Uncle John offers similar fare for a fraction of the price. Now in charge of two streetside locations on Suan Plu Soi 8, the former hotel chef creates Italian, Thai and Indian dishes using high quality ingredients, with highlights such as Foie gras, Filet mignon and Crispy duck beast. His tasty Lobster bisque soup is a bargain at B169. 279/2 Suan Plu Soi 8. Open daily 6.30pm-10.30pm Tel: 081 373 3865

H Bar

DESIGNED by Harper’s architecture, this trendy new bar is a good option for after work cocktails, wine or beer. Barbecued meats and light snacks are also available. 170/8 Soi Suan Plu. Open 5pm – 12am Mon to Sat Tel: 081 815 6416

NAGA café & guesthouse

ENJOY delicious Thai cuisine at a reasonable price in this quirky, psychedelic-inspired restaurant. The jovial service staff will immediately make you feel at home. 170/6-7 Soi Suan Plu. Tel: 02 287 2059



LOCATED a couple of doors down from Junker and Bar, this petite and funky nightlife spot is run by David Jacobson, founder of the legendary (now closed) Q Bar. Set over three floors, including a rooftop terrace, Smalls is an intimate place to chill and have late-night drinks with friends. Live jazz music and top shelf drinks (including a great selection of absinthe) will keep you buzzing for the entire night, while nachos, chicken wings, pork rillettes, cheese platters, foie gras, and more tasty snacks provide plenty of fuel for the fun. 186/3 Suan Plu Soi 1.Open Wed-Mon 8:30pm-2am. Live blues and jazz on Thursday and Friday Tel: 081 819 6808 42


LOCATED at the end of a dark alley (don’t let it put you off), this family run restaurant serves inexpensive Thai eats, with a focus on Som Tum, in the gardens of a budget guesthouse. Expect charming owners and a mostly local crowd. Mon-Fri 5pm to 11pm (more details on the website all in Thai)

Junker and Bar

THIS neat, low-key café-sized joint serves home-infused cocktails, local and imported craft beers, and delicious American comfort food like burgers, tacos, hot-dogs and more mouth-watering deep-fried goodness. Don’t expect anything fancy – Junker is small and compact with a few tables and chairs – but it has a nice homey feel. The Wagyu burger is a must-try, although do expect it to result in a greasy chin and fingers – the patties here are always juicy. 454 Suan Plu Soi 1. Open Tue-Sun noon-midnight. Live music Wed-Sat. Tel: 085 100 3608

Café Neighbor

THIS brand new coffee shop serves a selection of Arabica coffees from northern Thailand, plus Thai teas and tasty desserts like Choc fudge brownie, Matcha cheese cake, and waffles. 466/23 Thanon Suan Plu. Open Mon-Fri 7am-6pm; Sat and Sun 10am-6pm.

RenDez-Vous Bistro & Restaurant

FRENCH Chef Jeremy whips up traditional French dishes like onion soup and Bourgogne snails, alongside tasty treats such as Black pudding and duck confit. There is an excellent selection of wine from different regions of France, as well as plenty of tempting desserts. The lemon meringue pie is to die for. 101/11 Soi Suan Plu, South Sathorn Road, Thungmahamek. Closed on Wednesdays. Tel: 02 679 3292

Nando Kitchen

NOT to be confused with the popular UK-based restaurant chain, Nando serves authentic Italian street food in a no-frills space (no air con, and only ten tables) next to Breizh crepes. The thin crust pizzas are a highlight. 495/60, Suan Plu Soi 8. Open daily 1pm-11pm Tel: 097 065 1216

I’m Petra

HEAD to this popular Thai restaurant to munch on tasty homemade dishes such as Phad Thai, lab gai, and the restaurant’s popular signature dish, Spaghetti green curry – a fusion favourite. 387/5 Suan Plu Soi 8 (next to the seed mingle condo) Open from 11am – 7pm daily Tel: 093 913 0078.

Kom-Ba-Wa Japaniste

THIS modern and stylish restaurant serves Japanese food with a modern twist. Alongside the selections of sushi and sashimi and imported fish, you can enjoy premium sakes, whiskies, and wine. 39/19 Soi Suan Plu, Sathorn Road, Thungmahamek. Tel: 02 679 3775-6 Open daily, from 11:30am – 1am.

Bud’s Barbecue

Restdot Hostel

TUCKED away at the end of a small street, this comfy and cool youth hostel is a perfect hideout for budget travelers who are looking to explore Bangkok’s busy nightlife scene. This hostel has everything you need: male and female dorms, double rooms, free Wi-Fi, live entertainment, a kitchen, and hospitable staff who speak fluent English. 67/10 Soi Suan Plu, Thungmahamek, Sathorn (near Saladaeng BTS station). Tel: 02 004 8373

Le Isaan

THE ‘secret’ back garden is just one of the draws at this lovely Thai restaurant, whose serene candle-lit interior, and attractive outdoor space, are both great spots for a date. The restaurant’s modern, northern Thai cuisine goes down a treat, too. Open daily. Soi Sua Plu 8. Tel: 09 213 0169

PARKED opposite Cactus, and just outside Mingle Condominium, Bud’s Barbecue food truck sells mouth-watering slow cooked ribs and pulled pork, all drizzled with a delicious homemade barbecue sauce. The truck’s Thai Thunder Burger is also worth a try. Keep up to date with the truck’s opening hours on Facebook. Suan Plu Soi 8 Tel: 096 159 4694 www.


GET your daily dose of Mexican food at this popular food truck featuring tummy-filling burritos loaded with melt-in-the-mouth slowcooked meats. The truck normally parks in the evening outside Le Isaan, on Suan Plu 8. Check Facebook for opening hours. Soi Suan Plu 8. Tel: 083 0879 092 TheBigChilli


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The essentials

• Regular stops • Proper waterproofs – military grade in the rainy season! • Decent panniers (ensure they fit well and have a waterproof covering) • Mini hairdryer (for damp clothes. Riding isn’t a fashion show!) • Thai dictionary/ phrasebook (or learn some Thai in advance) • A wad of plastic bags • Quick dry riding tops • A smile for the police (the cops outside of Bangkok prefer photos to ‘fines’).

And without the challenge the good parts wouldn’t taste so sweet. Our chosen route took us north out of Bangkok to Nakhon Sawan, and then northeast via beautiful winding roads through national parks to Udon Thani. We then ventured to Nong Khai (on the border with Laos) and followed the Mekong all the way around the north eastern edge of the Isaan region of Thailand. This latter section of the trip was a blast, taking in wildlife sanctuaries, more national parks, Mukdahan city (home of the Second Thai-Lao Friendship

Bridge), and a rain-forced stop off in a weird ‘short time’ hotel (think complimentary condoms, dimmer switch, and a giant mirror next to our beds. And no, we didn’t partake). Our last port of call was Ubon Rachatani, where we boarded our bikes onto the train for a 15 hour overnight trip back to Bangkok. All this in eight days. And with a shed ton of rain. For the trip Simon had chosen the naked, sporty and (I’ll admit) slightly better looking Honda CB500F, whilst I went for the similar CB500X. A little

Why did we choose to see Thailand’s north by motorcycle? Well, motorbiking in Thailand has a huge number of benefits. Riding affords you the flexibility to see many parts of the country on your own terms without the need to wait in line for dangerous minibuses or tag along with a tour group. Also, fuel is incredibly cheap (especially compared to Western Europe), and riding into a village on the back of a bike is a great ice-breaker for chatting to friendly locals about where you’ve come from and where you’re heading next. It can at times be hard – especially in torrential rain – but the great experiences and sense of freedom more than make up for the difficult sections.





Loading the bikes onto the train

more expensive than Simon’s bike, this model has a higher ride position and a larger fuel tank, making it more suited for adventure travel. oth bikes performed incredibly well during the trip and, apart from occasionally – and foolishly – riding down wet, muddy tracks, we had no trouble at all. I’m sure more experienced riders would cover much further distances than we managed, but our aim was to see what Thailand had to offer, take our time and en oy the sights. Of these sights there are many to describe and not enough ink would do them ustice. My advice is to ust get out there and explore! Ensure you have a route planned but don’t make it too rigid because, as we soon discovered, some of the best experiences come from getting lost, or heading down unusual looking roads on the map. Our highlights included some epic bridges and sweeping, windy


roads through and around Nam Nao National Park (about 00km north east of Nakhon Sawan) crossing swelling rivers on Highway 1 stopping at various viewpoints, temples and wildlife sanctuaries viewing the dinosaur footprints of Phu Wiang and a fantastic

Simon negotiating a ‘puddle’



night out at the bi arre-but-ama ing rafik Caf in Udon Thani, whose gregarious owners always try to have a better time than their customers. In Nong Khai we had a couple of days of well-deserved rest and discovered all kinds of delicious local delicacies to munch on. Sitting on the banks of the vast Mekong River, sipping a Leo, and tucking into some steamed fish is a great way to relax (and made up for the fact we couldn’t find the local rum distillery we planned to visit. Let us know if you have better luck!). I must admit that by day eight of our trip, we were both physically and mentally drained, but this is when we en oyed some of best moments of the ride the scenery was ust ma estic, and the visual splendour of the Sam Pan Boak canyons, and the simply stunning cave paintings and views at Pha Taem National Park, made for a perfect end to the sightseeing. In retrospect, we both could have chosen a shorter route which would have given us more time to reach our various stop off points, but the distance

Toby admiring a view of the Mekong River

Where to sleep

(almost ,000km) allowed us to really give the bikes a good test. They performed well, and we found some ama ing spots which we plan to explore more thoroughly in the future. I cannot recommend highly enough the virtues of motorbike riding in Thailand, and urge you to get out there and do it yourself – as long as you have a licence, and biking experience, of course!

FOR most of the trip we stayed at the excellent Hop Inn chain of budget hotels, and after a hard day’s ride the clean, simple and very reasonably priced rooms that we arrived at provided a very welcome retreat from the trials of the road. Owned by The Erawan roup Plc., Hop Inn hotels currently welcome guests in Kanchanaburi, Khon Kaen, Mae Sot, Nakhon Ratchasima, Mukdahan, Lampang, Sa Kaeo, Nong Khai, Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani. Each hotel occupies a prime location close to business areas, shopping centres, supermarkets and entertainment areas, and are great value with rooms starting at ust B550 per night. All rooms have air-conditioning, power shower, free WiFi, inch flat screen T with cable channels, refrigerator with two complimentary bottles of water, free coffee, -hour service, and parking with security. For more info Tel: 02 659 2899



Enjoy low-cost train travel across Europe with special rail passes Great travel news!

Available to expats European rail tickets H

ERE’S this year’s best travel news – expatriates based in Thailand can purchase tickets from Rail Europe giving them unlimited train travel in up to 28 European countries, representing huge savings on normal train fares. Sold here through Diethelm Travel Thailand, the rail passes are a wonderful way of exploring the great cities and beautiful scenery of Europe from the comfort of a modern train. In addition to popular destinations like Switzerland, France, Germany, UK and Italy, passengers can enjoy the splendours of Scandinavia, Spain and Portugal plus the less frequently visited but equally beautiful countries of Eastern Europe. Rail passes are available to expatriates who have been working or living in Thailand for more than six months. Thai nationals have enjoyed access to these tickets for years. Aside from the convenience and reliability of some of the world’s best train



systems, the rail passes offer tremendous savings and incredible value for money compared to buying normal rail tickets in destination countries. They are designed to encourage overseas visitors to travel wide and explore from one to up to 28 countries in First or Second class – with many offers for children, youth and student travellers. To ensure maximum flexibility, there is a large choice of passes, from the multi-country Eurail Global pass, the twocountry Regional pass to a single country pass. What’s more, passengers can choose a pass lasting from three days up to three months – with no limit on the number of journeys made within that time frame. “Rail passes offer expats in Thailand and Thai nationals a fantastic way to see Europe in a very comfortable environment and at extremely reasonable rates,” says Martyn Hedges, General Manager of Outbound Travel for Diethelm. “Train travel is often faster, and

in Thailand – to 28 countries certainly more convenient because of the city-centre locations of major stations, than going by air. So it’s ideal for visiting friends and colleagues, or just sightseeing,” adds Mr Hedges. “The passes are also perfect for business travellers planning sales visits in several European countries, as well as international school and university outings, delegations from chambers of commerce and company incentive groups. Mr Hedges notes the huge worldwide resurgence of interest in train travel. “People love the efficiency, comfort and nostalgia of the great days of railway.”

The cost of the Rail Passes varies according to duration and countries to be visited. The fare for a one-day adult France Rail Pass is E 217, while the three-month adult Global Pass (First Class) is E 1,567. Diethelm Travel Thailand has been the country’s market leader in this travel sector since becoming the first Rail Europe GSA (general sales agent) over 20 years ago. Booking a rail pass can be done either at Diethelm’s downtown Bangkok office, or online – via The company has a team of experts who can assist in all aspects of train travel

in Europe, including planning itineraries, hotel recommendations and booking, along with visa information and updates. “We believe in a quality customer experience, whether planning a family rail itinerary around Europe or farther afield – directly with our highly skilled and knowledgeable rail team or buying rail passes or point to point tickets online in the comfort of your own home,” says Mr Hedges. “Until now, the many benefits and advantages of rail passes have not been well known to expats in Bangkok. That’s all about to change.”

Book now through Diethelm Travel



Princess Hotel is a great option. Thanks to the hotel’s ‘Family Plan,’ children under the age of 12 share rooms with parents free of charge. There’s also 50 percent discount on the hotel’s buffet for kids aged 4-12, while kids under four dine at the buffet for free. Babysitting services are also available.

Dining Pathumwan Princess is home to seven outstanding restaurants that serve a variety of cuisines, as well as a sophisticated cocktail bar and a relaxed café. These include the following: • CiTi BiSTRo: Offering a choice of buffet or a la carte dining, this contemporary all-day-dining restaurant serves a wide range of international cuisine, with delicious dishes to suit almost every taste.

dining establishment offers a comprehensive selection of authentic Korean delicacies, including Korean barbecue specialities. Open daily 11.30am-2pm; 5.30pm-10pm. • Loop Italian Restaurant & Bar: Overlooking the picturesque cityscape and cooled by a refreshing tropical breeze, Loop Italian Restaurant Terrace and Bar is the ideal location to sip a glass of wine or enjoy a refreshing cocktail. Perched on the 8th floor adjacent to the hotel’s picturesque saltwater swimming pool, the restaurant features an authentic Italian menu complemented by ever attentive and courteous service staff. Open daily 6.30am-10.30pm.

• Ping’s Thai Teochew Seafood Restaurant: An exceptional finedining venue with a cosy atmosphere, this restaurant boasts an authentic and delicious Thai Teochew menu prepared by its outstanding Chinese chef. Known

• Kongju Korean Restaurant: Bangkok’s original high-end Korean




Tra el

affectionately as “Ah Ping,” he has honed and refined his culinary skills for more than half a century. Open daily 11.30am-11pm. • Ping’s otpot Restaurant: Thailand’s first luxury hotpot restaurant specializes in rich and flavourful broths, a la carte steamboat items, special menu sets as well as some specialties from Ping’s Thai Teochew Restaurant. Open daily 11.30am11pm. • t Lo : A relaxing place to sit down for afternoon tea with friends or colleagues, this casual coffee shop also offers a convenient takeaway service, with a selection of freshly baked goods and pastries as well as made-to-order sandwiches. Open daily 6.30am-10pm. • ST i Bar: Professional mixologists serve up a cool selection of cocktails from behind a stylish, semi-circular bar. With live music on offer and gracious

service, patrons are immersed in a sophisticated and relaxed atmosphere day and night. Open daily 11am-1am

ealth and tness Pathumwan Princess Hotel Bangkok boasts one of the finest hotel-based fitness centres in town, as well as rooftop tennis courts, squash and badminton courts, a basketball half-court, jogging tracks, and a superb spa offering all kinds of stressbusting treatments. Occupying a massive 9,000 sqm of space, The l pic Clu itness Centre and is a great place to burn off calories consumed at the hotel’s all-you-can-eat buffet. Guests and members can work out under the guidance of experienced, professionally trained staff, take a dip in the 25-metre saltwater swimming pool, and then soak up the sun on the outdoor terrace, whose tropical gardens and five-star outdoor Jacuzzis create a resort-style ambiance. The eshelli ia ond Treasure Spa, meanwhile, offers an array of beauty and relaxation treatments with an emphasis on health. Conducted in an atmosphere of sophisticated elegance, experienced therapists will leave you feeling pampered, fresh and invigorated.

eetings and e ents It’s smooth sailing all the way for your event at Pathumwan Princess. Pathumwan Princess H otel, M B K Centre, 444 M B K Centre, Phayathai Rd, Wangmai, Pathumwan.



Alongside its excellent Club Lounge and Business Centre facilities, the hotel boasts a ballroom that caters for up to 250 sit-down diners, and banqueting and conference facilities accommodating up to 150 guests. Book an event at the hotel and you will enjoy benefits such as Coffee and espresso machine in the meeting room, a selection of high quality teas, stationery boxes inside and outside the meeting room, professional staff on hand for the duration of the meeting, wired and wireless high-speed internet access, audio/visual equipment, and laptop (available upon request). Couples looking to tie the knot in style can leave their ceremony or reception in the hands of the hotel’s team of professional wedding planners, who will ensure that, when it comes to the big day, the results will be spectacular. 02 216 3700




The General Manager of Conrad Bangkok has worked with the Hilton Group for over 30 years, serving at properties such as Hilton Nagoya, Hilton Cairns, Hilton Guam, Hilton Nanjing, and Hilton Osaka. Here he looks back on his career and shares some words of wisdom I come from the the city of liberty, freedom and tolerance – Amsterdam, the Netherlands. But I have spent many years working overseas. Prior to joining Conrad Bangkok I spent 10 years in Japan, where I oversaw a multi-million dollar renovation master plan of Hilton Osaka, and prior to that I worked in the tropical north of Australia for five years. In total, I’ve worked in 15 locations over four different continents. The move to Australia was a strategic one. My wife and I wanted our two daughters to have a settled school life, and it turned out to be a great decision. Hard to believe that our daughters are 30 and 27 now – makes me feel old! Life as a GM sure is fast paced. The average contract for a GM position is three years, so you can’t wait to get things done. You must act immediately and, when coming to a new country for the first time, you must be a quick learner. My career started 40 years ago when I finished hotel school in the Netherlands. A classmate of mine who came from Taiwan persuaded me to visit her country, and I thought it would be a great idea. So I sold everything I owned, bought a ticket, and was on my way. Seven days after arriving I landed a job at the Ritz. That was in the late ’70s. After working at the Ritz for two years I started exploring other opportunities. And I heard a lot about the Hilton Group. So that was it. In 1981 I made the important decision of joining the Army…I mean the Hilton (although there are some similarities in the discipline department). The second important decision I made that year – getting married. I joined Conrad Bangkok in February this year and I am very happy to be here. This hotel has, as we say in the industry, ‘good bones,’ meaning it is solid from both an architectural and hardware perspective. There’s also a great team in place – a mix of long-term staff and new – meaning there’s a great blend of ideas that look to the future while also respecting the hotel’s heritage. Oh – and the food in Thailand is amazing. Even better than Japan. What I imagine doing, what I plan to do, and what is required of me during my time at Conrad Bangkok are three distinctive things. But you can certainly expect to see some

improvements of our hardware, plus general tweaks to service to ensure we continue to be one of the city’s finest luxury hotels. While the real essence of the hotel business – providing high quality service to our guests – has never changed, the industry has changed a lot due to technology. For instance, we have our own app which allows guests to make bookings and, more importantly, access our Hilton Honors programme. In the future, our guests will even be able to check into their rooms and access them without even having to visit the front desk (although we will always offer this service for those who prefer it). We are in the luxury business, we are in the people business, and we will continue upgrading our services to suit the needs of today’s tech savvy travelers. Working in this industr y is full of challenges but this is what makes it interesting and fulfilling, and exactly why I do it. I also love learning about new cultures and people. Working in West Africa was one of the best learning experiences I could have wished for. It taught me how to think on my feet and be ready for any challenge. Such as when a VIP guest asked for French Toast, and my chefs had failed to turn up, so I went in the kitchen and cooked it myself. Luckily the VIP enjoyed it! My favourite motto is: ‘Always challenge the status quo.’ It has served me well throughout my career and it is a philosophy I drive home at every team meeting. If we want to be the best in town, we must always challenge ourselves to do better. This helps create a great team spirit, because everybody supports each other in this growth. The best piece of advice I’ve received is: “Rules are made for the guidance of wise men and the strict observance of fools.” And this links in nicely with my favourite motto. I would like to have received 100 baht for every expat who planned to stay in Thailand for three years but is still here 20 years later. My assignment is for between two-five years, and I hope to stay at least three. Beyond that, I let fate and destiny be my guide.



School Report


Shrewsbury congratulates record-breaking students ■ SHREWSBURY International School is celebrating the start of the new academic year with another set of record-breaking public examination results. Improving further on last year’s previous best results, 70% of the IGCSE examinations taken by Shrewsbury students achieved grade A or above (nearly 3.5 times higher than the UK average of 21.2%), with 43% scoring the highest A* grade (versus a UK average of less than 7%), another new benchmark for the school. Behind the headlines, eleven of our IGCSE students achieved 10 or more A* grades, with top performers Pavitchaya (Pearl) Yodwongjane and Chonlada (Namfon) Trirotanan both scoring 12 A*s. They head a list of 35 students (nearly one third of the entire IGCSE year



group) to secure seven or more A*s, an achievement which the school celebrates by awarding an honorary academic scholarship for those continuing their studies in Shrewsbury’s renowned Sixth Form programme. There they will look to emulate the impressive A-level achievements of our graduating Class of 2015, who in turn secured an A grade or above in 57% of exams; an incredible 26% passing with the top A* grade, more than three times the UK national average. Leading by example, Head Boy Patsakorn (Vegas) Lertprasertkul was awarded four straight A* grades and now begins his undergraduate studies in Physics as a Freeman Scholar at the University of Chicago.

Also heading to the US with straight A* grades are Sippawaich (Jazz) Laosirichon (UCLA, Financial Mathematics) and economists Monnawat (Book) Krasaesian and Thanatchaporn (Mind) Apivessa, who will study at the Ivy League’s Brown and Cornell Universities respectively. Meanwhile top athlete Alex Taylor clocked four straight A*s, adding to his 12 A*s at GCSE. He begins a degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Bath this September, and is one of nearly 40 Class of 2015 graduates to have secured places at top UK universities, including 15 places at Oxbridge and top London institutions Imperial College, UCL, LSE and King’s College. In total, Shrewsbury’s Class of 2015 now head to around 25 leading universities in the UK, US, Japan, Australia and Thailand, including 36 places at World Top 100 ranked institutions UPenn, Berkeley, Michigan, Chicago, Washington, Manchester, Edinburgh, Bristol and Durham. The list of destinations is another significant endorsement of Shrewsbury’s Sixth Form programme, which combines the focused academic rigour of A-level studies with the holistic, critical-thinking course, ‘Reading the World’; an approach which is respected and valued by leading universities around the world. Whilst we see a large number of students embarking on the traditionally popular engineering, economics and medical disciplines at university, we are also equally delighted to have helped nurture and support students who are now pursuing vocational career paths outside Higher Education. This includes Jitrin (Teddy) Soongswan, one of Shrewsbury’s founding students, who flies to the UK to fulfill his dream of becoming an airline pilot at the Oxford Aviation Academy. Congratulations to him and all of our record-breaking students.

School Report


Career guidance – A practical approach How Traill international school prepares its students for future success in the workplace ■ ONE of the key challenges in a market oriented economic system is to find the ways to match demand to the supply. Review any labour market report and you’ll likely discover a mismatch between various skill sets and demand for their services. Such discrepancies can lead to either reduced job benefits or exploitation of the work force. Schools can help redress the balance, though, because we are in a key position to influence the supply. It is our responsibility to produce employable students; and appropriate guidance is key. Schools are increasingly realizing that young people are not only in need of excellent education, but also current information that spans everything from health issues to career opportunities. And this all comes part and parcel of a wellstructured career guidance programme.



While many schools do offer career guidance programmes, at Traill we go one step further by taking career guidance beyond the classroom and integrating it with the real world. One of our approaches includes arranging guest speakers and workshops with professionals from all areas of industry and commerce. This not only gives students the opportunity to understand the actual requirements of a particular job, such as qualifications, personality, etc. but also the real challenges involved. One of the invaluable spin-offs of having guest lectures is that they often lead to further collaboration, including work placements, which are so valuable for young people. Work placement programmes usually range from three to four weeks during winter and/or summer

holidays, where interested students will be placed in different organisations. This not only enhances students’ real understanding but also helps them to secure admissions in reputed colleges/ universities. Many people waste years of their lives juggling various jobs before finding an occupation that actually suits them. At Traill, our approach ensures students gain all the knowledge and experience they need to make informed decisions about their futures, ultimately setting them up for successful careers to come.

– Mr. Praveen Kumar D, Career Counselor and Economics Teacher

School Report


Harrow Bangkok: A Stars All Round Impressive grades and top university placements are the hallmarks of a quality education ■ HARROW International School Bangkok is once again celebrating an impressive set of A Level results. An incredible total of 139 Harrow Bangkok students took 340 examinations across 22 subjects. Behind the statistics are many individual success stories, including that



of Ani Khanra, who achieved four A*/A passes. He will now take up a place at BIT in Mesra, India to read Mechanical Engineering. Ply Fah Meekul also achieved four A*/A passes and will now take up a place at University College London to read Biomedical Engineering. In addition, Sand Vamasiri achieved three A*/A passes and will now take up a place at Kings College London to read Law, and Vanessa Cannon will take up her place at University of California, Berkeley as a Science Major. Mathematics students also performed particularly well – of the 112 who took the exam 60 percent achieved an A* or A grade.

Those gaining an A* grade included Head Girl Pat Yontrarak, who will now take up a place at Stanford University to read Biology; and Oak Bunyapamai, who will now take up a place at University College London reading Mechanical Engineering. With more results still to come, some of our IGCSE students have already excelled, turning their A*-As in to Harrow Bangkok scholarship places in the Sixth Form. Harrow Bangkok would like to wish all our students well in their future endeavours and is extremely proud of their outstanding achievements. – By David Foster, Director of Studies

Expat Women


How to follow the Mediterranean Diet

Following the traditional dietary patterns of Greece, Southern Italy and Spain can have great benefits for your body and mind. Nutrition Consultant Judith Coulson explains ■ THE Mediterranean Diet offers a variety of whole food dishes which make you feel less hungry during the day, supply you with a range of antioxidants, phytochemicals and cell rejuvenating vitamins and minerals, and even allows you to have a glass of wine with your meal. Listed here are tips on how to eat the Mediterranean way.

No calorie counting!

With the Mediterranean diet, you won’t be counting calories or cutting out major food groups. Instead, you’ll be swapping out bad fats for heart-healthy ones (olive oil instead of butter; fish or poultry instead of red meat), enjoy fresh fruits instead of sugary, fancy desserts and eat a good amount of flavourful veggies and beans. Nuts and seeds are allowed, but keep them to no more than a handful a day.



Buy really fresh food

Focus on fresh, seasonal food prepared in simple, mouth-watering ways. Thailand offers many local, pesticide free, produce with a minimum on transportation and storage time. Mix a yummy salad or stir fry veggies so that they are still crunchy. Choose at least three different colours of veggies for every single meal. Example: Use spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions for a Greek Salad or whip up a colourful, veggie-filled batch of Grilled Tomato Gazpacho.

You can have bread (in moderation)

Choose whole grains for every dish. Bread and pasta made with whole grains has more protein and minerals and is generally healthier than the white flour kind. The whole grain, low GI version, will

keep your blood glucose levels balanced for longer and you will feel less hungry. Try whole-grain pita bread dipped in olive oil, hummus, or tahini (a protein-rich paste made from ground sesame seeds).

Enjoy the healthy fats

Unsaturated fat, the kind that’s good for your heart and overall health, is a staple of the Mediterranean diet. What is good fat? You’ll find it in nuts, seeds, olives, avocados and cold pressed oil like extra virgin olive oil. These fats not only add flavour, they also help fight diseases ranging from diabetes to cancer. Basic Basil Pesto is a tasty way to get good-fat walnuts and olive oil into your diet and goes well with any pasta or can be mixed with salad sauce.

contemporary indian dining

#71 Sukhumvit Soi 26. | Tel. 02-258-4900 | |

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What’s on Art




Movies & Albums

Books Maroon 5 brings its chart-topping tunes to Bangkok. Page 89.


Enjoy operatic space rock from the award winning British band Page 88


Discover the fascinating story of Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker Page 88

Dance fest

Bangkok’s International Festival of Dance & Music returns Page 89Page 84 TheBigChilli 87

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Pulse City beat

In the spotlight

Concerts in September at Prince Mahidol Hall Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra’s (TPO) music program in September features the following concerts at its wonderful new venue in Nakhon Pathom

September 4 – 5

Maestro Stravinsky

THE Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra (TPO), under the baton of principal conductor Claude Villaret of Switzerland, presents Stravinsky’s astonishingly inventive work Petrouchka, a Rachmaninoff piano concerto, featuring Thai pianist Poom Prommachart, as well as the premiere of a new work, Brilliance and Beauty, by composer in residence, Dr Thomas Hyuk Cha. Concerts: Friday, September 4 at 7pm (pre-concert talk at 6.15pm); Saturday, September 5 at 4pm (pre-concert talk 3.15pm)

September 18 – 19

TPO 10th Anniversary Concert

THE TPO, under the baton of Chief Conductor Gudni Emilsson, will celebrate its 10th anniversary in fitting fashion with a special concert featuring pianist Martin Kasik, who, together with the orchestra, will perform Frederic Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F Minor, September 11 – 12 Richard Wagner’s “Tannhauser” Overture, and Richard Beethoven´s 7th Symphony Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche. ONE of Beethoven’s all-time favourites, the Seventh Symphony is grand, As a soloist, Martin Kasik has appeared with the majestic, and relentlessly cheerful. It seems like the symphony wants to Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Minneapolis Symphony invite you to dance to it at nearly every moment, even in its most somber Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, minute. And it’s not the only highlight of this special concert: Joining the TPO, Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, under the baton of Chief Conductor Gudni A. Emilsson, will be guest flute Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Helsinki soloist, Luisa Sello, who will perform famous French flute works, including Philharmonic Orchestra, and many others. Concerts: Friday, September 18 at 7pm (pre-concert talk at 6.15pm); Saturday, Camille Saint Saens’ Romance Op.37 and Cecile Chaminade’s Concertino September 19 at 4pm (pre-concert talk 3.15pm) Op.107. Luisa Sello is one of the surprising personalities of The details contemporary art, an elegant flautist and one of the most applauded Tickets: B500 and B300 (B100 for students up to bachelor’s degree) Ticket reservations: 02 849-6565/6 ext. 6603, 6609 or 02 262 3456 interpreters of cultured music. She has performed throughout Europe, the United States, South America, Russia, and Asia. Concerts: Friday, September 11 at 7pm (pre-concert talk at 6.15pm); Saturday, September 12 at 4pm (pre-concert talk 3.15pm)



Salaya Link shuttle bus schedule (Bangwa-Salaya): More info:

fact, we attract at least 50 new people to Bangkok Swing events every week. What makes Swing dance special? Swing kicked off in the 1920s Jazz Age as a kind of rebellious dance popular at speakeasies. One of the most famous was the Savoy, in Harlem, where blacks and whites could hug, dance and have a good time without fear of being arrested. Basically, Swing dance transcends boundaries through music and dance. Even in Bangkok, about half of the people who join are expats and the other half is local. We attract about 10 nationalities to each Bangkok Swing night. What are some of the basics? In Swing there are a couple of styles – we do Lindy Hop and the Charleston. It’s all social dancing. It’s a lead and follow rule. If the guy knows how to lead and the girl knows how to follow, then there is a connection and you can dance to the music. After you dance to one song you rotate partners. You can dance with anyone you fancy! Or anyone who’s smiling!

Do you hold special events at The Hop? We normally host special events once a month. These are themed parties like Alice in Wonderland or Halloween, and the last one was a Gangsters and Gun Molls party. This time, we decided to go all out and arrange Digadigadoo, a big event in Bangkok’s Chinatown. Tell us more about Digadigadoo The Digadigadoo event will be hosted in the exotic Shanghai Mansion boutique hotel on Yaowaraj Road ( It will be a 1930s-inspired evening of mingling and dancing (everyone will be expected to dress to match the theme) headlined by burlesque champion Sharon M. Davis, all-star swing dancers and fashion gurus Rico Lim and Chloe Hong, world-class dancer Lindy Hopper Juan Villafane, and renowned tap dancer Tim Fournier. The spectacular night will kick off with an introductory Swing class for beginners followed by live dance performances and social dancing accompanied by the ‘The Speakeasies,’ a seven-piece band from Greece. The event will finish with Electronic Dance Swing music performed by DJ Frederik Funk. The Three Brothers Barber will also have a stall at the event, just in case you need to get a trim. Tickets are being sold online, starting at 900 baht. Drinks and finger food will be ser ved at the bar. Read the full interview with Khun Oat at For more info about Bangkok Swing and its events see www. / More info about The Hop at Strip AD_Destination_July14_M4.indd 1

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SUPERFLOW City Beach Club, Khaosan Road, celebrated its soft opening with a party showcasing everything this funky new venue has to offer. Keep up to date with upcoming events at



PHUKET Panwa Beachfront Resort invited media and VIP guests to enjoy a Thai and Italian barbecue buffet at its Patio beachfront restaurant. Special guest on the night was Khun Kob - Thitipong Lorprasert.



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ha a a a hamber o ommerce hel he u us e o o s mo hl e wor h a he ru e eprechau r sh ub u hum o . he ew pub has all s o emp eals o o er. ea all abou hem here aceboo .com ru e eprechau



MEXICAN restaurant chain Zambrero celebra e s rs a ersar ha la w h a a o u ra s u a s bra ch e ral orl . he h hl h o he e e was a celebr burr o coo o cappe w h a char auc o wh ch whe com b e w h he a s sales ra se a o al o bah or orl s o o ha la .



Social|Around town


PEPPERMINT Bike Park, a new mountain biking track and activity area set over 10 rai on Soi Yothin Pattana 3, Eakkamai-Ramintra Road, celebrated its grand opening with a celebrity b e r e a e e b . . hulara sr u ala . . a s hor Bhanubandh, Atchara Burarak, and more b ames. rea e b uwa a amp ul h e ecu e cer o er ram hem cal o. . he pro ucer a s r bu er o Peppermint Field natural gel and balm stick, the new Bike Park offers annual membersh p a . a b e ra es start at B100 for members, and night ra es a or members. For more info visit


s a ac c ar u ur es le po was o c all a ou ce a a ress o ere ce. he e e which will be held at Royal Phuket ar a rom c ober s be or a e b he a hor es me roup. lle as a major luxury goods networking opportunity attracting the crème de la crème of Asia, it is dedicated to offering a premier sourcing channel across many luxury product categories, including: c ars accessor es e w es ca er res aura s e cu s e whisky, spirits and premium beers, coffee, watches, jewelry and collectables, prestige cars & bikes, lu ur proper a more. For more info visit hs


ma a eme o a rec le b r ul a ur ham rec or o ales hos e a me a br e o showcase he ph losoph a u ue bus ess mo el beh he a e rec bra ow er a o all or s e or s o mpro e he l el hoo o small rowers e elop cou r es. At the event, which took place at Signor Sassi Bangkok at Siam Paragon, the complete Machu Picchu coffee range, all 100% Arabica ‘terroir’ coffee rom eru was also ro uce o he ea er crow . was accompa e b a co ee cupp a esser pa r our e lea b s oa a awso a cer e ra e o ee as er upper a he compa s procureme a ual ma a er.

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MS Jutaporn Ruengronasa, Deputy Governor and acting Governor, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), presided over the One and Only Exclusive Night o prese awar s o he al s s o he ea l o l e compe o . el under the TAT’s Discover Thainess project, at The Dusit Thani Bangkok, One a l saw par c pa s subm a cl p o hemsel es e o o eo e ha ac es clu ha a c a floral arla s ha coo pea ha a ua ha . he hree al s s clu e eams rom apore ola a elarus whose eos are ow a her o es o l e. he w eam w ll rece e a spec al awar rom . TheBigChilli 113

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es a e es me s a mob l solu o s be e c al o bo h uals and businesses, were the focus of ar e aw roup ha la s la es networking function, ‘The Executives es me ob l h . os e by Mr Bastien Trelcat, Managing Parter o ar e aw roup ha la assoc a o w h a l a roper Developers, the event was attended by Mr Simos Simillides, Sales Director of a l a as well as ma e ecu es a oo place a he h loor o he a o lub a hor ower ul .


croo ers o Men capped their one-night only performance in Bangkok last month by staying at the Pathumwan Princess o el. a members haw oc ma Nathan Morris and Wanya Morris were warmly welcomed to the hotel by its e eral ma a er r a h eu e au . 114


DIPLOMATS Meet the people uniting nations

His Excellency Mr Brendan Rogers The first resident Ambassador of Ireland to the Kingdom of Thailand talks about his career Page 116

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His Excellency Mr Brendan Rogers|Ireland


So proud of my country: Ireland’s first Ambassador to Thailand


THE BigChilli caught up with His Excellency Brendan Rogers, the first resident Ambassador of Ireland to the Kingdom of Thailand, at the residence he shares with his partner, Miss Kevin Doris Ejon, an internationally respected investigative radio and television journalist who recently won an award for a documentary film on war in Uganda, her home country. This month the Irish delegation moved into a new embassy at the 208 Wireless Road office complex, right beside the Dutch Embassy. “I was born in Ireland, in a town called Dundalk in Louth County, which is the smallest of the 32 counties in Ireland,” said Mr Rogers at the start of the interview. “It is also called the ‘Wee County.’ Dundalk is about 50 miles north of Dublin and it straddles the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. “When I was in my teenage years and mid to late 20s the conflict in the North was raging, so in a sense it formed the background of my life. I am delighted that this has now been settled in a peaceful way. “I stayed in Dundalk for 17 years and then left for Dublin to study at Trinity College at the University of Dublin for four years. I earned Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in English, History and Geography. After I graduated I went to England for a few months doing building construction, but I soon tired of that and returned to Ireland and joined the civil service. I worked two years for the Department of Agriculture and then took the diplomatic exams and joined the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), later renamed the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. “Foreign service seemed very natural to me because I had always liked travelling and experiencing new and different cultures and societies. During college breaks I travelled and worked in the United States. I worked in New York’s Kennedy Airport as a security guard and took a job in the world’s largest toy store. I also used the opportunity to travel within the US and ended up bartending in San Francisco. “I had a great interest in international relations, exploring the similarities and differences between cultures and in exploring the world generally, so joining the diplomatic service was a great opportunity for me. I spent the first three years in the diplomatic service at headquarters in Dublin. My first assignment was with Ireland’s European Union Division, and then for one year my work involved relations between Britain and Ireland, particularly security aspects. “Then I went on my first posting overseas, to Boston, Massachusetts, where I spent four years as Vice-Consul at Ire-



land’s Consulate in that great Irish American city. While there I attended Boston University and obtained a Masters Degree in International Relations and Political Science. I also studied Gaelic (the original Irish language) part-time at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “We have two official languages in Ireland, Irish (Gaelic) and English. Now English is mostly spoken. Gaelic is very different from English. There are certain parts of Ireland where it is still spoken predominantly, like in Kerry County in the south west and some parts of the west. I was taught through Irish at secondary school and I am delighted that in my early life I was able to converse in both languages. “After my time in Boston I returned to Dublin, but after just six months I was back on the road with the United Nations Development Program. They sent me to New York and then to Lusaka, Zambia. I worked two and a half years for the UN in Zambia and then returned to Dublin to work on the Asia portfolio. It was during this time that I first learned about the rich culture of this region and about the political economy of South East Asia and beyond. “After two years it was back to Africa and I was appointed the Head of the Irish Embassy in Zambia, southern Africa. I was based in the capital city, Lusaka, for seven years until 1998, supervising the development aid programme and looking after the Irish community, which included a large number of missionaries. I was then requested to go to Uganda to take charge of our new embassy there. I was Head of Mission in Uganda for two years. “After I came back to Dublin I was promoted relatively rapidly. I was chief of our emergency and recovery aid operations. In December 2004 when the tsunami hit I immediately left for the region and I spent some time in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and in Phuket, here in Thailand, to assist with the recovery efforts in the wake the tragedy. This was my first substantive visit to Thailand. I must pay tribute to the enormous efforts of the authorities and the Thai people in the wake of the tsunami. “Despite the enormous loss of Thai lives, so much was done to assist the many nationalities who lost citizens at that time. I was deeply honored to attend the ten year commemoration last December for those who died in the tsunami. “I was appointed Director General of the Irish Aid program and Deputy Secretary-General, or number two, at the DFA in 2007. Last November I came to Thailand as the first resident Irish ambassador to Thailand, and from later this year I will also be ambassador to Myanmar. My term here will most likely be four years, but that’s up to the government.”

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His Excellency Mr Brendan Rogers|Ireland St. Patrick's Day celebrations

Charles County, Cork

Trinity College

Ambassador Rogers’ first major function after arriving in Thailand was to attend the celebrations of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s birthday in early December last year. “Later, in March of this year, we had a wonderful celebration at the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where we honored 40 years of strong diplomatic relations between our two countries. “We are very proud that people will soon see the Irish flag flying on Wireless Road,” said Ambassador Rogers. [The interview took place before the move]. “We will initially have six staff working at the embassy, two from Ireland, myself and the Deputy of the Mission, and four local staff handling various matters. “Before I came here our ambassador in Malaysia also looked after Thailand. We have two honorary consuls in Thailand, Gary Biesty and Helene Fallon-Wood. Gary is in Bangkok and Helene in Phuket. For many years they have been doing an excellent job looking after our citizens and I am very proud of and I pay tribute their work.” Asked why it took so long for Ireland to establish an embassy in Thailand, Ambassador Rogers replied: “I suppose because we are a small nation, and we have been building and extending our diplomatic network for many years. It was time to extend our representation in Asia and the Irish government decided that Thailand was a key country in which to have a presence. “We now have approximately 80 missions around the world.



We have also just opened a new embassy in Indonesia and a consulate in Hong Kong. “Ireland is recognizing the importance of Asia in terms of its economic strength and political influence globally. Ireland is a small nation open to the The national sport of Hurling world. Our well-being is based on our global economic and trade relations. We feel that the time is now opportune to establish resident diplomatic relations here and we are hopeful that Thailand will soon open an embassy in Ireland.”

Diplomatic objectives

“The very first thing we want to achieve is to build a stronger profile of Ireland in Thailand. Not too many Thais know much about my country. Funnily enough, people sometimes ask me

Wexford Harbour

Fanad Lighthouse

Above: The Royal Visit of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to Ireland in September 2014

if I am the ambassador from Iceland! What I want to do is make sure the Thai people are aware of our culture, our history and the opportunities which exist to grow the trade and economic linkages between our countries. “Despite the recent economic downturn, Ireland now has the fastest growing economy in the EU for the second year in a row. Ireland is a good destination for Thai investment and Ireland can provide the goods and services that Thailand needs. Strong economic ties will benefit both countries. “On the other hand, Irish people are very well aware of Thailand, very well aware of the wonderful food of Thailand and very well aware of the fantastic tourist destinations within Thailand. We have 70,000 Irish tourists visiting every year and having wonderful holidays. We want just as many Thais coming to visit Ireland. The number of Thais visiting Ireland yearly now is in the hundreds. “Our visa regime with Britain now means that Thais visiting Britain on tourist visits can extend their visits to Ireland without an additional visa. “We have some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. The coastline is beyond compare and we have some of the most wonderful golf courses in the world, and also some of the best castles and hotels. Most important of all are the warmth and welcome of the Irish people. We love singing, dancing, conversing and having a good time. We are ready to welcome millions of tourists to our country. This year we will probably welcome over eight million visitors, the largest number ever.”

Ambassador’s duties

“I split my duties into a number of different areas. Firstly, one of my principal aims is to build economic relations between Thailand and Ireland, and increase our trade. At present it is about 500 million euros in both directions. We export pharmaceuticals, software, computer and high value goods and we import foodstuffs, canned food, rice and occasionally some machinery. The Irish Thai Chamber of Commerce, ably led by its President Paul Scales, is of enormous assistance and support in this

important work. We are hoping to organize a Thailand Board of Trade visit to Ireland. “Secondly, we want to build the cultural and educational ties between our two countries, and this includes increasing the number of Thai students studying in Ireland. Thailand and Ireland are very rich in cultural traditions – music, songs, dance, folklore and literature and I want us to share these riches. “Thirdly, I want to build good political relations. We already have a good dialog with the government. We have shared interests and good, free and frank exchanges as well. Since I arrived my government has signed an international education memorandum of understanding with Thailand. “Finally, I also want to make sure that I am able to protect and look after the interests of Irish people living and visiting in Thailand, to ensure that we can provide consular services, citizenship services, passports, visas and all the help people may need if they get into trouble. Having the embassy here will ensure faster service. “When you have thousands of tourists travelling to a country every year, it’s to be expected that some individuals will have difficulties lose their passport, have an accident and so on. We want to ensure that we can quickly protect their interests, look after them and connect them with their families at home. “On a more personal level, one of my main objectives is to get to know Thailand as well as I can. Just as Dublin is not Ireland, Bangkok is not Thailand. I want to travel all over the country with my partner. We have been to Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi, Phuket and Petchaburi. We plan to spend a lot of time getting out and about, meeting ordinary people as well as officials. I see my job as representing Ireland in Thailand, not just in Bangkok. When I lived in Africa and America I travelled all over, and that’s what I want to do here. “I was delighted by the welcome I received when I arrived in November, not just officially but also by the people. Since coming I have had a very good relationship with the authorities, and I think they are very happy with the establishment of the new embassy. It is a very tangible sign of the deepening friendship between our two countries.” On the subject of high-level visits, ambassador Rogers said: “HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn visited Ireland in September of last year before I took up my post here. I had the honor of meeting her and welcoming her at the airport in Dublin. I also had the honor of accompanying her on a visit to Trinity College in Dublin and saying goodbye at the airport. We had a good discussion about my coming to Thailand. Since I came here there have been a number of official visits on both sides, but none as important as this one.”


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His Excellency Mr Brendan Rogers|Ireland

Development aid

Sports exchange

Mr Rogers said he takes great pride in Ireland’s development aid The ambassador said the embassy is promoting Irish sports in program, which he headed before taking up his post as ambasThailand. “Gaelic football is our national sport. It is a cross besador. “We are spending up to one billion euros a year in some tween rugby and soccer. There’s also hurling, which is played of the poorest countries of the world. The Irish people have very with a stick and ball and is one of the fastest and most skillful generous side to them. We have a folk memory of hunger and games in the world. Then there’s camogie, which is a form poverty. We lost millions of people due to starvation and emigraof women’s hurling. These games are exciting to watch and tion caused by the Great Famine of 1847. I am very proud that as attract millions of fans in Ireland and now they have expanded we grew wealthier we didn’t forget our roots. That’s why we have into Asia. We have Gaelic women’s and men’s football teams in a major aid program in Africa and also in Asia. Thailand. The teams will compete in the Asian Gaelic Games in “When I was here in 2004 after the tsunami, I was delighted October in Shanghai. The women’s team has Thai, American that we were able to assist the and Irish players and the men’s Thai government in the recovteam has some Thai and mostly ery efforts. I was very proud Irish players. of our work to assist Thailand “It’s a wonderful game. Now in the recovery efforts and we have a wonderful Thai ladies in rebuilding livelihoods. Gaelic football team and a good We raised 20 million euros men’s team. I was very fortunate for Thailand, Sri Lanka and to be on hand in May at the South Indonesia, and we assisted in Asian Games which were held in the recovery efforts for three Thailand at Harrow International or four months. Our headquarSchool. I presented the prizes. It’s ters were in Phuket. It was a great for Ireland and it makes us very sad and dramatic time. We proud that our sport is expanding sadly lost four of our citizens in all over the world.” the tsunami. Of course many About Ireland nations, including Thailand, suffered greater losses. “The population of the Republic “I was in Khao Lak in of Ireland is about five million. December last year attending We are a small country. We have the ceremony on the 10th antransformed ourselves from being niversary of the tragedy. Many one of the poorest countries in EU people who lost family members to one of the wealthiest. That’s a came to Thailand to attend, and result of opening our economy to some of them had been here the world, focusing on education when the tsunami struck. It was for our people, building our tourist very moving. I felt saddened but Mr Rogers with his partner, Miss Kevin Doris Ejon market, concentrating on our also proud to have been a part comparative advantages such as of the relief effort. IT, food exports and attracting foreign direct investment. We are a “The embassy assists a number of charitable organizations trading nation and we trade very successfully. We are very proud of in Thailand. We have been working with the Good Shepherd our economic progress over the past 50 years. Sisters in Din Daeng and with Father Joseph Maier at the “Today there is Ireland, of which I am the Ambassador, Mercy Centre in Klong Toey. We are going to work with Good and there is Northern Ireland which is under the jurisdiction of Shepherd Sisters in Chiang Rai and in Phuket with an organizaBritain,” said Mr Rogers, in an attempt to describe briefly the tion called Life Home Project. They work with people who are somewhat complicated situation on the Irish Isle. HIV positive. We are happy to assist them with projects. “Ireland became an independent state in 1922 after a “Good Shepherd Sisters is an order of nuns with Irish prolonged period of conflict with Britain. Northern Ireland, members. There are not so many now but they do great work. comprising six counties in the north of the country remained They are in Bangkok at Fatima Centre in Din Daeng and in part of the United Kingdom. Loyalties in Northern Ireland Phuket, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Recently I presented the remained divided between those who whose allegiance was to Sisters at Fattima Centre with a cheque for 200,000 baht from Britain (unionists) and those who looked south to Dublin (nathe embassy to work with vulnerable women and girls in Din tionalists). A new struggle erupted in the late 1960s based on Daeng. demands by nationalists for civil rights. This struggle became “We also gave 200,000 baht to Father Maier and we will very violent and sadly over 3,000 people lost their lives over 30 give the same amount to several other charitable organizations, years. Finally in 1998 a historical peace accord known as the including the Father Ray Foundation in Pattaya. We want to Good Friday Agreement was signed. assist and be a part of the fabric of the society here.”

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“This agreement, painstakingly negotiated by the British and Irish governments, and endorsed by the people themselves in a referendum, brought the conflict to an end. Britain retains sovereignty for six of the thirty counties on the island and the government in Northern Ireland is a power-sharing one which represents all sides of the community. Our shared interest in Northern Ireland is in creating the conditions for the prosperity and wellbeing of all the people in a peaceful and democratic environment, which respects the rights of all.” “The Republic of Ireland now has a very strong, friendly and warm relationship with Britain and we welcomed Queen Elizabeth to our country in 2011 for what was an historical and popular visit. In return our President, Michael D. Higgins, was accorded the highest honors during his state visit to Britain in 2014. I think it is fair to say that our relations with Britain have never been better.”

Economic turnaround

“The Irish economy took a little hammering in 2008 because of the global downturn as well as our own banking and property crisis. But we very quickly took the right decisions to reform, to cut back where necessary and to re-engineer our economy for the future. In the last 18 months, the Irish economy has begun to move forward very quickly again. “There’s a lot of investment coming into the country and the economy will grow more than four percent this year. It was over four percent last year. Our unemployment is going down, albeit not as quickly as we would like and we are opening to the world again. “We have learned from our mistakes, but it should be understood that over the last 50 years we have gotten a lot of things right. We have moved from an economy which was closed, protected, agriculturally based and poor, to one which is economically and technically advanced providing a standard of living which would not have been conceivable two generations ago.”

Ireland and the EU

“We joined the EU in 1973 with Britain and Denmark. It was a major change for us to become a full member of the European family of nations. At the time we joined there were 12 member states; now there are 28. It has been very good experience for us as a whole and at the same time we have exerted a positive influence within the EU. “When we joined we were one of the poorest countries in the EU, or the European Economic Community as it was called then. We were in the bottom 25 percent of EU nations in terms of wealth, and within 30 years we were one of the rich countries within the EU. We believe there are many reasons for this turnaround, but certainly one is that we were welcomed into the EU framework. “Membership in the EU opened up new markets for us and made assistance available to build our infrastructure and help our agriculture. This all helped give us the opportunity to leverage our natural talents and focus on educational and industrial policies. We have attracted enormous foreign direct investment from the United States and the rest of Europe and this is due in part to our affiliation with the EU. We have benefited enormously from the EU. It is better to be a part of a family than to be on your own.”

Irish diaspora

“There is a huge Irish diaspora. We think there are probably

almost 70 million people of Irish descent living abroad, including about forty million in the US and five million in Canada. Probably nine million people in Britain have Irish ancestry, and there are about 400,000 in Asia. We reckon that between 3,000 to 5,000 Irish nationals living in Thailand including a number of Irish people who live here for several months each year. “The Irish diaspora includes a great many famous people. For example, the grandparents of John F. Kennedy came from Country Wexford. President Obama has Irish ancestors on his mother’s side. The ancestors of former President Reagan came from County Tipperary in Ireland as well. “There are also a great many Irish natives of note, including James Joyce, the famous writer; Samuel Beckett, an avant-garde novelist; W.B. Yeats, the famous poet; Maureen O’Hara, an Irish-American actress; famous footballers like Roy Keane; and musicians in the groups U2, Westlife and Boyzone. The list goes on and on.”


Personal space

“I love films, reading books and running. I have run the New York, Dublin and Boston marathons. My partner and I have been running in Lumpini Park with the British and New Zealand ambassadors and other diplomats. We also run with a number of academics from Chulalongkorn and Thammasat Universities and CEOs from various banks. We sometimes meet on Sundays and run together. “We also like to cycle at the Queen Sirikit Convention Center. My partner came in second in the women’s division in a race held for charity at the center a few months ago. We go to the cinema and we love to listen to music and to meet people. We like walking the streets and the markets of Bangkok – we like experiencing the real Bangkok. We spend a lot of time reading, and my partner is doing lots of writing.”

Final thoughts

“I want to send a special message to Thai students: If you come to study in our universities, you will receive a world class education, have a wonderful time, and hopefully, be a special ambassador for Ireland in years to come. We will warmly welcome you. Our universities are some of the best institutions of learning in the world. We speak the English language, we are a very welcoming and safe country. “I meet graduates of Irish universities in Thailand as I move throughout the country and they all have very warm memories of their time in Ireland. We are setting up a Thai Alumni Network for Thai graduates of Irish universities. “Thailand is very famous for its traditional dances and we also have a great love for our dances, like the very fast moving ‘River Dance.’ My partner and I have discussed merging some of the movements. Actually, we did this in March on Saint Patrick’s Day. It was fantastic. We would like to see more of that. “Ireland is also famous for hospitality and for our drinks as well. I was delighted to see Irish whiskey and Guinness on sale here, and we would like to see more of our very good beers and fine wholesome foods on sale here. “Lastly, I can’t emphasize enough the excellent working relationship my embassy has with the Irish community in Bangkok. They are a great source of support for us. I also want to mention the local St Patrick’s Society, which organizes a great St Patrick’s Ball each year. It is one of the highlights on the Irish calendar in Bangkok.”

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Hu aH i n

N e ws and Deals

Rest Detail makes a splash TEAMING boutique accommodation with a great day out, Rest Detail Hotel Hua Hin’s ‘Get Splash and Stay Cool’ package includes a one-night stay in a Rest Green Room for two, two oneday passes for Vana Nava Water Jungle, a set dinner for two at Rest Scene Restaurant, and international breakfast for two. B8,500 per person. Offer ends Oct 31. ☎ 032 547 733

Beach Club Chill Out CAP the month in style on Sept 26 by joining Putaharacsa Hua Hin’s White Beach Club Chill Out. Starting at 6.30pm, the night will feature a wide selection of food cooked to order at live cooking stations, and free flow beer, wine and white sangria. Adding to the atmosphere will be the cool sounds of DJ Bond. B999 per person (dress in white to receive 10 percent discount). ☎ 032 531 470

Family fun at Anantara ANANTARA Hua Hin Resort & Spa has launched a new accommodation package loaded with activities for the whole family to enjoy, such as yoga and Thai boxing for adults, and cooking classes and batik painting sessions for kids. Rates range from B4,100++ per night for a Deluxe Garden View Room to B15,100++ per night for and Anantara Garden View Suite, inclusive of daily breakfast and activities. ☎ 032 520 250



A taste of Sichuan cuisine at InterContinental CHINESE food fans take note: Executive Chinese Chef Ye Wen Chian of InterContinental Shanghai Puxi will come to town for a guest stint at InterContinental Hua Hin Resort from Sept 21-29. Try the talented chef’s signature Sichuan dishes à la carte, or, better yet, visit on Sept 26 when his dishes will be included as part of a sumptuous Chinese buffet, and Sun 27, when you can sample them alongside gourmet international fare at the hotel’s Sunday Chill & Grill Brunch (B1,200++ per person) ☎ 032 616 999

Culinary Classics returns to the Dusit THE 2015 edition of Dusit Thani Hua Hin’s popular Culinary Classics event will be held on Oct 9 in the hotel’s The Royal Dusit Hall. Italian violinist Grazia Raimondi and The Pro Musica Orchestra, under the baton of Luigi Piovano (who will also feature on violoncello), will perform three works by distinguished Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi (Concerto “Alla Rustica”, Violin Concerto “Il Favorito” and Concerto for 2 Violins in D Minor), as well as Austrian composer Joseph Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C Major. B500 per person (ticket only); B1,400 per person for ticket and post-concert Thai dinner buffet; and B1,600 per person for ticket and post-concert four-course Italian dinner set. ☎ 032 520 009

H u aHin R evi ew


Escape Hua Hin

Part of the Sansiri Hotel Collection, this delightful boutique hotel offers beachside accommodation at its best


DESIGNED to a ‘Vibrant Fisherman’s Village’ concept, and with room categories inspired by sea, sand and sun, Sansiri Hotel Collection’s Hua Hin property is colourful and comfortable and perfect for families and solo travelers alike. Hua Hin’s almost tangible charm is brought to life through colour, sounds, and scents in each well-appointed accommodation. The Sea rooms, for instance, are decorated in complementary blue tones, have Jack Johnson style acoustic music playing on the stereo by default, and are redolent with notes of eucalyptus, pine and peppermint. Sand

rooms, meanwhile, have a golden colour scheme, bossa nova music, and a rich fragrance of lavender and blackcurrants; and the Sun rooms have a fiery-red colour scheme, Latino music, and a sunny scent of jasmine, citrus and peppermint. Each room has all the usual modern conveniences (air-con, LCD TV, DVD player, tea and coffee making facilities etc.), plus super comfortable beds, balconies with oversized loungers, and free WiFi. Some rooms even have direct pool access (perfect if you love a morning swim). Delicious international and Thai cuisine with a focus on fresh seafood is served daily at the hotel’s Red Coral Restaurant, which also offers a range of sweet treats from the popular After You Dessert Café (the Chocolate lava cake and Berries crumble are divine), and a selection of signature cocktails by Niks Anumanrajadhon, one of Thailand’s best-known mixologists. Getting into town to explore Hua Hin’s vibrant markets is a breeze thanks to

E scape H ua H in. 25/2 Petchkasem Rd, H ua H in.



the hotel’s complimentary shuttle service, which conducts round trips every hour from 10am-6pm. But if you’re a beach lover you’ll most likely only use this service at night: Escape is located on one of the finest stretches of sand in Hua Hin – serene and beautiful and the perfect place to relax with a good book. With ample space provided beachside and within and around Red Coral Restaurant, Escape Hua Hin is perfectly suited to hosting private parties and networking events for up to 50 people. The resort will also soon open a brand new function room which can accommodate a further 80 people, providing a great excuse for enjoying business and pleasure by the beach. Best room rates are available at

032 653 456 :f escapehotels

H u aHin Pr ofi l e

MEET THE GM: MARTIN RAICH As Complex General Manager of Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa, Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas, and The Westin Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok, Martin Raich is one of the busiest men in the trade – and he couldn’t be happier I was attracted to the hotel industr y at a young age. The opportunity to meet and greet so many different customers and celebrities from around the world was a big attraction, and ultimately what made me want to join the industry.

leadership and working and leading teams, and I feel very comfortable working here. Throughout my career I have had many mentors and received lots of good advice. The most important thing in this industry is to always do your best and have leaders who believe in you and who guide you in the right direction.

Some of my fondest memories come from when I worked at St. Regis Beijing, 16 years ago, as Director of Food and Beverage. But the highlight of my career to date is definitely my current position. Working as Complex General Manager of a villa resort, MICE hotel, and city hotel, all within 300km of each other, is a challenge I am relishing. Technology plays a big role in my work. As Complex General Manager of Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa, Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas, and The Westin Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok, I obviously have lots of ground to cover. Thankfully this is made easy thanks to email, Skype, WhatsApp, and Line, allowing for instant communication and leadership. Each property has its own unique characteristics. Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas is so peaceful and the perfect place for couples and families to relax; Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa has one of the largest pools in Thailand (4,000sqm) and one of the country’s best-looking ballrooms; and The Westin Grande Sukhumvit, Bangkok boasts a superb location, large rooms, and one of the best Japanese restaurants in Bangkok, Kisso.



The motto I find most inspiring is: Expect no more of others than you are willing to do yourself. What advice would I give to anyone considering pursuing a career as a hotel GM? Work hard and ensure you enjoy the path to becoming a GM. Climbing the ladder is lots of fun, but once you’re at the top, there’s lots of responsibility. So don’t move too fast. www.sheratonhuahinpranburi. com The most enjoyable aspect of my job involves witnessing how our services are received by our guests – there’s nothing better than a happy customer. The most difficult aspect is finding time to attend to the individual needs of each guest and associate. I am driven by getting things done, providing great customer service, and ensuring each hotel is profitable. The most important decision I have made in my professional life was moving to Asia, learning the culture, and getting to know the people. I like hands on

GM in focus A STARWOOD man for the past 20 years at various properties in the UK, Netherlands, China, Germany, Fiji, and Thailand, Austrian expat Martin Raich, 47, has worked in the hotel industry since the age of 18. He holds several E Cornell degrees including the Master Certificate in Essentials of Hospitality Management and Harvard Manage Mentor Essentials. He is a member of the Chaine des Rotisseurs and counts skiing, cooking, jogging, golf and travel as his preferred leisure pursuits.

Hu aH i n

S ocial

Mother’s Day at La Paillote LA Paillote French Restaurant celebrated Mother’s Day in splendid fashion with an “All in White Gala Dinner” featuring all kinds of delicious creations, specially cooked and presented to follow the theme. For details of upcoming events and promotions at the restaurant visit



Hu aH i n

S ocial

Retro 80’s party BANYAN The Resort Hua Hin held a “Retro ’80s party” featuring performances by vocalists from The Voice Thailand as well as a sumptuous international buffet paired with a variety of wines. The TV stars serenading guests on the night included Tee Uttapol, Kita Piranan, Lookpad Chonlanan and Guitar Plengpraphun.



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New thee n o cen s

Hotel Baraquda Pattaya MGallery Collection Dim Sum feast IF you’ve yet to sample the delights of a traditional dim sum feast – that is, tapas-style servings of steamed dumplings and Cantonese favourites – Cape Dara’s Ming Xing restaurant is a great place to start. All this month the restaurant’s all-you-can-eat Dim Sum menu, available daily from 11am-2pm, is being offered for the special price of B650++ per person. ☎ 038 933 888

THE brand new Hotel Baraquda Pattaya will celebrate its grand opening on Sept 12. Located in the heart of Pattaya, close to the city’s shopping, dining and entertainment areas, this 72- room hotel features an all-day restaurant, a rooftop restaurant, a bar, a functioning room and a wealth of sports facilities. Until Oct 31, a ‘Splash n’ Stay’ promotion is available featuring a two-night stay in a Deluxe room, daily breakfast for two, and a complimentary day pass for two to the Cartoon Network Amazone Pattaya water park. Rates start at B8,856. ☎ 038 769 999

Culinary showcase at Hilton Pattaya AS part of the the F&B Master APAC 2015, 38 chefs gathered at Hilton Pattaya to compete in the ‘The Culinary Cup’ and ‘The Pastry Cup.’ Led by the hotel’s general manager, Rudolf Troestler, the event saw each chef complete a 30-minute live cooking demonstration of their respective signature dishes. The property finalists were Khun Joe Teeranad from Horizon, who wowed judges with his amazing Lamb dish; and Khun Eakachai from Edge restaurant, whose ‘Someone dates’ pastry was deemed “perfect.”



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Barry on song TALENTED musical all-rounder Barry Upton entertained an enthusiastic audience when his band took a trip down memory lane with his latest Mantra Tribute evening entitled ’Kings of Swing’ at the Amari Pattaya hotel. Apart from enjoying lots of favourites from the ’40s and ’50s like Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong, guests were treated to a superb five-course meal.



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Seven Days, Seven Themes at Edge Hilton Pattaya’s new lunch buffet offers a different feast each day of the week

THE setting is elegant; the view of the bay, stunning. And the food – well, pick any day of the week and you’ll find the kind of sumptuous lunch buffet that gourmet dreams are made of. All you have to do is select your favourite theme. The culinary fun kicks off each Monday with ‘Tex Mex & More,’ which sees Edge’s already extensive lunch buffet expanded to include BBQ ribs, tacos, chili con carne, prawns, quesadilla, tacos, burritos, and more flavoursome fare. “Extended Tapas,”follows on Tuesdays, featuring many bite-sized morsels from the north of Africa through Spain, Italy and the Iberian Peninsula – all bolstered by thin crust pizzas and some delicious à la minute pasta dishes. Wednesdays reward both meat lovers and vegetarians alike with the ‘Burgers, Salads and Sandwiches’ theme, featuring

panini and giant subs packed with all kinds of premium fillings, plus some particularly good baked sandwiches. Thursdays look closer to home with the ‘Across Asia’ selection (think Thai favourites, Chinese style dim sum, roast duck rolls, Indian curries, and teppanyaki), while Fridays see the restaurant source its offerings virtually from the hotel’s doorstep, with prawns, crab, fish, mussels and more deep sea delights all presented as part of its ‘Seafood Pattaya’ buffet. The gastronomic temptations don’t end there. Visit on Saturday for lunch and the sumptuous spread includes sought after meats from land and sea cooked just as you like, plus a wide range of Thai and Western favourites, grilled sausages from the churrasco, and a dessert station which, amongst its many offerings, boasts some

ilton Patta a (1 th floor). pen dail for lunch 12pm 2.



pm dinner 6pm 1 .

pm. Sunda Brunch 12pm .

extremely moreish donuts. And then, of course, there’s Sunday. The day when Edge’s chefs pull out all the stops to create the hotel’s famous “Sunday Brunch With A View,” a splendid dining experience featuring an extensive selection of Edge’s most popular dishes alongside free-flow wine – the prefect way to cap a weekend by the beach. “Seven Days, Seven Themes” is available every Mon-Sat from 12pm2.30pm, and every Sun from 12pm3.30pm. Cost per person on Mon-Thurs is B520; Fri and Sat, B580; and Sunday Brunch is B1,400 (add B1,100 for freeflow wines). A daily International Buffet Dinner is also available priced B960 on MonThurs and Sun; B1,200 on Fri; and B1,100 on Sat (add B1,100 for free-flow wines). pm.



Final Word


Monsoon Midnights Special places in Bangkok, as experienced by the Bangkok Women’s Writers Group Dear reader, Welcome to ‘Monsoon Midnights,’ a short story by the Bangkok Women’s Writers Group. The storytellers of the BWWG come from all over the world but they all have a special place in this city, somewhere surprising, obscure and unexpected, as yet undiscovered. Follow us to these hidden places right here, month after month. The first volume of Monsoon Midnights (18 stories by 12 authors with beautiful illustrations by the BigChilli graphics team) is available on Amazon:


NIGHTFALL OVER BANGKOK: High up in the sky, where the city is laid out like an interactive map shimmering under the moon, it is hard to imagine what this night might look like to another creature. One that runs along the pavement kerbs, one that lives in little holes in the trees, one that patiently eats the dark long leaves of the palm trees… One that flutters around the corners of a garden lined Soi, or one that crawls inside the garden itself. What does the city look like to them? What kind of map do they follow? Dogs read a GPS of smells leading from lamp post to the nice cool spot in front of the local 7/11. Bats fly in a tunnel maze of echo chambers. Spiders wander in a thermomap of body heat. Many animals that roam the city streets, on, under, over, or indeed inside, are free. Free to live in a city of their own making that overlays ours. Many are born here. Others made their way to find their fortune in the megapolis. More are joining them every night. But others are not so fortunate. There are dark corners here, locked up at night, half hidden during the day, where vans and trucks load up under cover, where boxes and sacks and covered cages are furtively stacked and pushed into the shadows. Inside, struggling for breath, are other kinds of animals… These are not natives of this city – or any city. They are citizens of the forest, the deep rivers, wild grasslands and deserts – some from a jungle right near to us, some from the heart of this continent. These animals in sacks and cages did not choose to come. They are not free to run or pursue their natural business, whatever it is. They don’t know where they are and they have no way of finding out. Why have they been taken to these dark places? And who comes to see them, sometimes by secret assignment, sometimes quite boldly in certain areas quite open to the public? What do people choose to see and what do they choose to ignore? What is going on? As darkness settles over such a place, noises emerge that would



surely give it away, except they are masked by so many other noises. And the place stinks, frankly. But then, even that persistent stink can be masked by the unpleasant city bouquet that runs through the open gutters in our streets. This month’s storyteller, Jenny Peres Genges, is half hidden behind the flap of a stall. She waves me closer, motions for silence, and whispers this story into my ear.

Pangolin’s Rescue By Jenny Perez-Genge It’s dark, hot and this room smells disgusting. Something is itching on my leg, it’s crawling up, but I need to stay still. A few more minutes behind this pile of dog beds and pillows… If the pet guys discover me, they’ll kill me. I’m doing it again. Yes, again. Hiding from them, saving animals from them. The thing is, I can’t just sit by my mother, selling traditional baskets to the tourists from all over the world, when I know that only a few steps from her stall, there are these hungry and exhausted animals hidden in the dark. Many local people and tourists come to the JJ weekend market to buy presents, souvenirs, to eat tasty and cheap food, and of course, to see “cute” pets. I know many farang customers buy pets from this market. The pet guys laughed the other day as one of their customers told them that, in an earlier trip to Thailand, he bought two mice and put them in his backpack and passed all the international security checks and nobody saw the mice. My family has been making baskets for a long time. My mother used to help my grandmother making baskets in the back of their house during the week, and come to the weekend market to sell them, since she was my age. I’m now 11 and help my mother. The fun part about the baskets was coming to the market to sell them. I used to enjoy counting and making additions in my head when I was selling, or listening to tourists speaking in many different languages. Customers said words in Thai and I’d reply and smile; they’d smile back at me.

When my mother would see me bored or falling asleep, she would ask me to go around and take a look at the naarak pets. I’d run to see the puppies, with their little shiny crowns and polka dot skirts, they looked very cute. Then I’d go see the birds that made all kinds of sounds. I loved the parakeets especially, as they all chirped at the same time in a high speech, kissed each other and moved quickly in the cage as if they were busy building something. Next, I’d go to see the squirrels, toads, turtles and hedgehogs. All in their own cages, resting lazily, not noticing me staring at them for a long time. I’d get dizzy with so much variety of animals and return to my mother’s stall, wanting to drink fruit juice. If you come to this section of the JJ market, you may think you’re in a real zoo. I once thought I was lucky to see these wonderful creatures any time I wanted, and I dreamed that someday I would take care of them. One day I decided to explore more of the pet area and ended up in a new section of the market I had never been to before. After passing several corridors, I arrived at a large room with no windows. It looked like a storage area. The light was dim but I could see lots of stuff around me. There was a strange silence and the occasional chirp or hiss. No people around. The strong smell of urine, excrement and chlorine made me nauseas. I covered my nose with my arm. I should have left the place at that moment but I was young and curious. I wanted to explore more. I crawled behind and underneath piles of merchandise and found myself in a corner of the room. My eyes widened when I bumped into a metal cage packed with brown and grey snakes which couldn’t even move. Next to the wall, there were two enormous fish squeezed into a small tank. The light of the tank guided me to a narrow path between stacks of empty canisters with air holes and dirty glass containers. There were plastic containers full of worms, crickets and tiny toads. A couple of squirrels lay in a bare cage. One tried to raise its head but could only move its eyes to look at me. Next to them was a cage with several possums. All looked at me with such big and languid eyes. I got close to their cage and noticed

that patches of their fur were gone. Some of the animals in the room were the discarded ones, the ones that nobody would buy as pets. The scene got worse when I discovered two little monkeys who were hugging each other, chained and facing the wall. I got closer to their cage and spoke softly to them, but they refused to turn their heads. I was feeling suffocated and about to leave the room when I saw a container with small black spotted turtles crowded inside it. I had been in the front part of the pet store the day before, observing a group of them hopelessly trying to climb up the glass wall. When I saw them there, I instinctively grabbed one of the turtles and put it under my arm inside my t-shirt. Then I ran away from that horrible place. I got back to my mother’s stall and luckily nobody saw me. I hid the baby turtle behind the baskets and soon after my mother said it was time to go home. She didn’t say a word about my new turtle, didn’t ask me how I got it and I never told her. After that day I’ve been in this room many times. I’ve seen that the animals in that room change, they come and go, some alive, some dead, but the mess and the stench remain the same. I’ve also changed. I’m not the same boy who explored the back of JJ market that weekend. I know the pet guys don’t count many of their small animals. They weigh them. They put scoops of animals like toads, spiders and lizards in the scales. I’ve seen the guys preparing the shipments. They smoke, spit on the floor, talk loud, laugh, and close boxes with ropes. I hide small animals in my pockets and free them in Chatuchak Park. I don’t know if they survive in the park, but at least they don’t stay in this nasty place anymore. Last Saturday, I was selling baskets when we heard the news that the officials of the Public Health Ministry came to take illegal merchandise, including animals. I ran towards my secret aisle to see what was happening. By the time I managed to get here, everyone was gone. The place looked more chaotic than ever. I wanted to shout out loud, but I saw a canvas bag moving on the floor. I got closer to check, and there it was. A young pangolin was left behind.



Final Word

Fiction That was my story of pangolin number one. I’m again in this filthy room today, watching the movement of the smugglers. I know now that these pet guys are smugglers. I’m here for pangolin number two. My mother and the people from the rescue centre are part of my team now. It was hard to convince the rescuers that I’m the person to do this job. They worry about me as I’m small but I’m the only one who knows this place well. The smugglers don’t suspect my presence. I’m standing up behind a tall pile of card boxes. I know how to stay quiet and still. Something is really itching on my leg. I want to scratch it. They are packing the last boxes for the new shipment, but I know they are not taking the pangolin tonight. They need it alive for a customer who is having a party tomorrow. They weighed it and it’s four kilos. They are greedy to get one thousand dollars for it. A few more minutes and they will go. I have to be patient. Then I’ll get the pangolin. I know where it is. I want to move now. I feel like teeth entering my skin. It burns. I’m scared. They may know that I come here and maybe they put a poisonous animal in this room to bite me and kill me. It hurts a lot. But I can’t move. I bite my arm and hold the pain. I can’t Grandmother told me even bend to reach my leg and swat he Bangkok Women’s Writers Group, founded about pangolins, I always that thing off. My leg feels like it is in 2001, and led by Anette Pollner (who also wanted to meet them. They getting as big as a durian. It hurts a writes the recurring ‘moon intro’ stories in are the only mammals with lot. Yes. They are leaving. They are. this series in her famous neo psychedelic style), is scales, hair underneath and a I’m alone now with the animals. where creative women from all over the world meet to very long tongue. Their mighty I finally reach my leg. It’s a workshop their writing in a supportive and inspiring scales protect the pangolin scorpion! I stomp on it with my foot. environment. Many of our members are published and from all predators including The pain is getting worse, but I need prize winning authors, but we are open to all women tigers, except humans. I know to hurry and get the pangolin. I’m who are passionate about writing, including complete they’re hunted for their meat limping. Wait! I hear steps coming beginners. The BWWG’s first publication (before and scales. I had a pangolin in back. Someone is coming with a ‘Monsoon Midnights the short story collection’, my arms with its body like a torch. I go back to my hiding place. available on Amazon right now) was a Thai English big artichoke and I was about I can barely move my leg. I can’t language bestseller, ‘Bangkok Blondes,’ and various to save him. see the guy but I figure he’s looking pamphlets. We regularly give readings around town Holding the pangolin for something. I know it’s not the and have been part of international festivals and was not easy. Its large scales pangolin. What is it then? Did he cultural exchanges. Please contact bkk_writers@ pinched my chest, and it hurt hear a noise and has come back for more information. a little. I trotted towards my to check? Silence. Ok, he moves This month’s storyteller is Jenny Perez Genge. mother’s stall not knowing chains and boxes around. He’s only She is a psychologist, an educator and a mother of how she would react this time. a couple of metres from me. Good, two children. She has written numerous articles and Perhaps it was because of my he’s leaving. The noise of his fliplectured on parenting issues. Jenny discovered her desperate looking-for-help flops is fading. It was close. I can passion for fiction and poetry through the Bangkok face that for the first time barely walk but I get to the cage Women’s Writers Group. Her stories have been she hurried to clear a space where the pangolin is. What luck. published in Peru and Colombia, as well as Thailand. between the baskets to hide The cage is not locked just closed. the animal I was carrying “Hi dear pangolin. Greetings inside the bag. After she saw to you,” I say in a whisper. He is the pangolin and made sure nobody had seen us, she called a sedated. Poor one. He’s heavier than that number one. They are friend of hers who knew someone who worked at the animal going to miss you my armored friend,’ I say, while I put him in rescue centre. After several phone calls, she told me that a team the canvas bag. of rescuers would come to our home at midnight to take the I run out of there. My mother and the rescuers are waiting pangolin. Once I learned about the rescue, I was relieved and for the pangolin and me. I hope I can make it to the hospital. sat next to the pangolin. It looked at me with tiny tired eyes, like it knew it was not in danger anymore. It was quiet, “probably The storyteller leaves me in the darkness. sedated” said my mother. And the stink. And the noise Later that night, it was hard to believe that this shy mammal I am glad that some are saved. I am aware that most are not. the size of a house cat with the look of an ant-eater wearing What kind of species run this planet? armor was digging holes in my backyard. He was more awake The moon has set a while ago. and active after dark and looked for ants and termites with his I run home by the sewers. long tongue. That night was one of the happiest moments But the moon will be back next month. The stars will rise and look of my life. down on this city. Monsoon Midnights will return.




The first volume of Monsoon Midnights (18 stories by 12 authors with beautiful illustrations by the BigChilli graphics team) is available on Amazon: TheBigChilli


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