Tropical temple

20 10 2016


Luis Barragan meets Preah Vihear at the luxe new spa-resort, The Barai, near Hua Hin in Thailand.


17 10 2016


It is the end of an era – quite literally – and perhaps even a golden age for Thailand, with the passing away of King Rama IX. What comes next is slightly scary, but with the military junta promising a return to democracy next year, and without the much-respected former king on the throne, things could once again get very messy…

For now though, Thais are largely united in grief. The much-loved king, a sometimes saxophonist and rabid Elvis Presley fan, booster of the rural poor and incarnation of Vishnu, a man who had rescued the Chakri dynasty after the untimely death of his brother and brought it hitherto-unknown status, has left behind a grieving country. And a new king.

Thailand’s Teen Giant

2 10 2016

Thai movie “Teen Giant”, still in production, has taken a leaf out of Percy Jackson’s book. It aims to keep Thai mythology alive by bringing it to a new, younger audience. Following a now-familiar plotline, a schoolboy who has always suffered from being “different” discovers the key to his true identity, that he is descended from a legendary beast – in this case the fierce yaksha giants who guard Thai temples. Embracing his true self, he is pitted into a battle against other creatures from the Thai netherworld, played out against a contemporary Bangkok backdrop. Looking forward to it!

Pink flamingoes

5 09 2016


A friend recently posted pictures of this mall in Thailand – FN Mall in Cha-am – complete with lush tropical greenery, huge stand-alone mirrors, plastic flamingoes and dinosaurs with painted flamingoes on them! Amazingly kitsch. I love it.




Bangkok: To do list

21 08 2016


It has been a while since I was in my favourite city and the list of new and interesting places I want to check out is growing ever longer, especially since I discovered the Thai magazine “aday”, which has lots of great tips like this cafe near the Hua Mak airport express stop in Ramkhamhaeng called Sunday.


Or this pretty jogging track around the Ram Inthra stadium:


Restaurant Harmonique with its courtyard under a banyan tree.


Plus a secret drinking den in the city’s US military headquarters

The Skytrain jazz bar

The dining table inside a swimming pool at 3nvy.

The city’s riverside Protestant cemetery.

And the cluster of art workshops and galleries amid old European buildings on the Charoen Krung Soi 30, also known after an obscure historical figure as Soi Captain Bush.

Then there is the chic speakeasy cocktail bar J Boroski, hidden on a Thonglor sidestreet, with a plush interior featuring a wall of mounted beetles.

image image

Plus there is the new incarnation of the Thailand Design and Creativity Centre nearby in the vast old nineteen thirties main post office building, and the glittering ICON mall across the river promising a new art museum and Takashimaya department store, coming next year.


Hidden Bangkok

4 08 2016


Thai magazine ‘aday’ has released a “100 secrets of hidden Bangkok” issue and it seems to be a hit; I asked a Thai friend to help me get hold of a copy but the magazine had sold out everywhere. These kind of “Secret City X” articles always tread a fine line, sometimes the tips are exceedingly basic and obvious, as in a recent “Travel+Leisure” magazine feature I read on Hong Kong which tipped Sheung Wan as an under-the-radar district the expat hordes had yet to discover, when of course, it is in fact firmly established.


Oneday Wallflowers, the elegant floral workshop tucked into an alley on Chinatown’s Soi Nana, and one of the 100 secrets of Hidden Bangkok.

But in the case of “Hidden Bangkok” the editors seem to have made some interesting choices – and discoveries! Some of the places listed are obscure attractions which I have none the less visited and enjoyed, while many others IU had never heard of. I can’t wait to get back to the city to explore them.


The public park in the old Tiajew Chinese cemetery near Surasak skytrain station, read more here.

Good luck getting your hands on a physical copy  of the magazine but there is a Google Map to the 100 secrets of hidden Bangkok here, although it is only in Thai – let google translate be your friend!


Chula University’s little-visited zoology museum.


The Islamic Center of Thailand in Ramkhamhaeng.

Face Off

21 06 2016


Incredible imagery from Thai makeup artist Monticha Sriyoschati and model Jan Baiboon.