Tag Archives: Bangkok

Art Weekend in Bangkok: Galleries’ Night BKK 2018

Inspired by “La Nuit Blanche” (the all-nighter), an annual autumnal arts festival in Paris, Galleries’ Night is back for its fifth iteration as a staple highlight of the cultural season in Bangkok. Running from 9 to 10 February 2018 in Bangkok, with a later opening in Chiang Mai on December 2018, visitors can expect to explore over 50 contemporary art galleries open through the two nights in the City of Angels.

Chayaporn Maneesutham, ‘Rigidity’, 2009, glicée print on Ilford Luster photo paper. Image courtesy the artist.

Year after year, the festival which is organised by The Embassy of France to Thailand, attracts a crowd of curious minded people and art lovers, with an expected 14,000 visitors to this year’s event. In light of this, Galleries’ Night transforms the city of Bangkok into a sprawling open-museum that welcomes accessibility of art to the public. The two consecutive nights of the festival are mapped out into two distinct sites. On Friday, 9 February, visitors will discover the Silom/Riverside galleries, and on Saturday, 10 February, visitors are invited to explore the inner Sukhumvit galleries.

Taweewit Kijtanasoonthorn, ‘Flashes Light’ (video still), 2014. Image courtesy the artist.

One special feature of Galleries’ Night that distinguishes it from most other art festivals is its focus on the journey between the different galleries canvassing the city. Drawing from Bangkok’s traditional mode of transportation, 30 dedicated tuk-tuks will travel through specific routes to help visitors through their journeys. Unlike typical tuk-tuks however, these do not merely serve the function of portage. Rather, they aim to immerse visitors into both the local and artistic atmosphere, and are complemented by a mobile gallery within the vehicles, created by Liv_id, that will light up the experience.

Thunchanok Plakulsantikorn, ‘Family I’, 2017, powder colour on canvas, 40 cm x 40 cm. Image courtesy of artist.

Helming the online scene for the event is the specially composed official hashtag for the event, #GN18. Visitors can continue the magic of the festival online by taking the colours and scenes from the artistic creations, exhibitions and night life of Bangkok to social media spaces, where they can win special prizes.

Sophirat Muangkum, ‘The Secret of Skin’. Image courtesy the artist.

Kanrapee Chokpaiboon, ‘Acinteyya’, 2017. Image courtesy the artist.

For more information on the festival, visit the Galleries’ Night BKK’s official Facebook page.

ART REPUBLIK is proud to be an official media partner of Galleries’ Night BKK.

The Best of akyra Sukhumvit Bangkok

An angled shot featuring a Luxury Studio in akyra Thonglor Bangkok, inspired by the glamorous sophistication of the decadent 1920s aesthetic

With the recent openings of akyra Beach Club Phuket and akyra Thonglor Bangkok, featuring 148 studios and one- to three-bedroom suites nestled in one of Bangkok’s most fashionable districts, the new akyra Sukhumvit Bangkok, an upscale boutique hotel will launch in December 2017.

Akaryn Hotel Group also manages a diverse collection of luxury hotels and resorts within Thailand and owns and manages small luxury resorts in Southeast Asia such as Aleenta Phuket-PhangNga, Aleenta HuaHin-Pranburi and akyra Manor Chiang Mai.

“Our two akyra properties offer distinct urban experiences, but each one is also defined by the strong sense of style and independence that sets the akyra brand apart from other hotels.” – Anchalika Kijkanakorn, Founder and Managing Director of Akaryn Hotel Group

The akyra Sukhumvit Bangkok consists of 50 rooms and the 30-60 sqm luxury accommodation, featuring the main living spaces partitioned with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors to create a transition between the interiors and the balconies for enhanced city views. Extending materials like natural woods add accents to the modern-retro theme, displayed in the furnishings and the room’s artworks and complemented by a range of interior touches, will lend a unique identity to the urban property.

As akyra Sukhumvit Bangkok emphasises on lifestyle travel with an overarching theme of “All Time Experience”, the hotel facilities also include a stylish pool bar with sun loungers and cabanas to provide a soulful relaxation for in-house guests, as well as a sophisticated rooftop lounge with a bar to keep guests entertained with live music. The rooftop includes also a multi-purpose function room to host event, private dinners and VIP receptions.

On the ground floor, guests can experience a casual dining experience within the mellow, stylish surroundings. The kitchen serves up signature akyra gourmet breakfast, featuring a wide array of authentic Thai dishes such as salads, pastas and delectable desserts.

Once the upscale boutique hotel opens at the end of this year, hotel guests at akyra will enjoy far more than a pleasant stay and get to indulge in the best of overall Bangkok experience too. Located on Sukhumvit Soi 20, one of tourist’s busiest and lively zone, the boutique hotel is also surrounded by fine restaurants, chic lifestyle malls with spas and green recreation spaces as well as the offer of a vibrant nightlife spot for party goers.

For more information on Akaryn Hotel Group, please visit www.akaryngroup.com.

Luxury properties in Thailand: 28 Chidlom Bangkok condominium in Central Lumpini

Situated in the prestigious Central Lumpini area on Chidlom Road, 28 Chidlom is a new project by noted Thailand developer SC Asset. A truly desirable location for those looking to live in the heart of Bangkok, the luxury condominium ensures easy access to a range of excellent lifestyle attractions, with Central Chidlom located just 180m away and the Chidlom BTS Station accessible with a three-minute walk. Also in the vicinity are the Central Embassy and CentralWorld Shopping Centres, as well as illustrious five-star hotels including The Intercontinental, The Grand Hyatt Erawan and the Okura Prestige.

Comprising two contemporary residential buildings—The Tower, a 47-storey block and The Villa, its 20-storey neighbour—the development features 427 freehold units that are up to 74 sqm (approx. 800 sq.ft.) in size, each offering sweeping views of the city’s skyline. Privacy is also ensured with a minimum number of units per floor.

Taking inspiration from a “Jewel Box Façade” concept, courtesy of architecture firms Design 103 International and Kohn Pederson Fox (KPF), the property boasts a structured form with glittering floor-to-ceiling windows spanning the high ceilings of every apartment. Lush green spaces fill most of the ground level, creating an urban oasis of tranquility, whilst various facilities such as a lobby and reading lounge; sauna and steam rooms; a heated spa pool and 20m rooftop pool; and a two-storey fitness centre, are available within the development.

28 Chidlom is scheduled for completion in May 2020.


Galar Halwa at Gaggan. Image courtesy of Gaggan

Restaurants in Thailand: Michelin Guide comes to Bangkok in 2017

Galar Halwa at Gaggan. Image courtesy of Gaggan

Galar Halwa at Gaggan. Image courtesy of Gaggan

After an announcement last week pledging to clean up Bangkok’s street food stalls, which disappointed locals and tourists, Thai tourism officials have announced plans to launch the first Michelin restaurant guide for Thailand‘s capital.

It all makes sense now.

When officials announced that street food stalls would be banned from the city’s main roads as part of a major clean-up, the news sparked widespread outcry given that roadside hawkers play a major part in the city’s grit, appeal, and authenticity.

But it seems that the announcement was to pave the way for a bigger development in the country’s tourism plan: to welcome the arrival of tastemakers from Michelin, arguably the most famous arbiter of good taste in the world.

Rumours of Michelin’s entry into Bangkok have been swirling since earlier this year, but the news was confirmed at an event hosted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand last week.

“Bangkok is one of the world’s culinary capitals, offering amazing cuisine, from fine dining from renowned international chefs to small family-owned eateries,” said Lionel Dantiacq, managing director of Michelin East Asia and Australia.

“The kingdom’s food also has a long, rich heritage which enhances the pleasure of tourists travelling.”

Meanwhile, tourism officials softened their stance on the ban following the widespread outcry, clarifying that street hawkers will continue to operate, but in designated zones away from main roads and walkways.

The Michelin Guide Bangkok will be released in both Thai and English editions at the end of the year and is projected to boost food spending by 10 percent per visitor. Michelin coverage is expected to expand to other Thai destinations in future editions.

Before Michelin susses out culinary stars outside of the Thai capital, here’s a look at some of the noteworthy restaurants that are likely to get nods in the inaugural Michelin guide for Bangkok. The restaurants below have previously been spotlighted by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards.


At Bo.Lan, chef Duangporn Songvisava, better known as ‘Bo,’ uses ingredients sourced from local farmers, artisans, and fishermen to create traditional Thai dishes like Northern-style spicy pork salad with native spices and greens, or hot and sour soup with herbal-fed chicken and young tamarind leaves. In 2013, chef Bo was named Asia’s Best Female Chef by organisers of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards. By 2018, the restaurant hopes to become carbon neutral.


Red curry chicken at Nahm. Image courtesy of Metropolitan Hotel by Como Bangkok, Nahm

Red curry chicken at Nahm. Image courtesy of Metropolitan Hotel by Como Bangkok, Nahm

It’s a Thai restaurant in Bangkok helmed by an Australian chef. Despite his Aussie roots, chef David Thompson is considered an honorary Thai for creating a restaurant that elevates Thai cuisine to the standards of haute gastronomy. Thompson tracked down centuries-old cookbooks of Thai matriarchs to create a menu that features the robust flavors of Thailand: garlic, shrimp paste, chillies and lemongrass. The London outpost of Nahm became the first Thai restaurant in Europe to be awarded a Michelin star after opening in 2001.


Basil Chocolate Butterfly at Gaggan. Image courtesy of Gaggan Facebook Page

Basil Chocolate Butterfly at Gaggan. Image courtesy of Gaggan Facebook Page

For three years in a row, chef Gaggan Anand’s Indian restaurant in Bangkok, Gaggan, has been able to boast the title of best restaurant in Asia, by organisers of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Described as a progressive Indian restaurant, Gaggan uses hyper-modern techniques to create dishes like spherified yoghurt explosion with red matcha and charcoal, Indian sushi and uni ice cream served in a miniature cone. Interested in booking a table? Best reserve within the next few years, as chef Anand has said he plans to close Gaggan by 2020 and relocate to Japan.

Review: Monument Thong Lo Condominium, Bangkok

Located in the heart of Sukhumvit 55 in Bangkok, The Monument Thong Lo is Sansiri’s latest high-rise luxury development. The 45-storey residence will be an architectural masterpiece designed by architecture firm Quintrix. They are known internationally for their Al Sharq Tower and Al Hamra Firdous Tower.

A new design team was tasked with creating the interior for the project. ITH interior make their mark on the project from the moment residents walk in the door. Marble will fill the space, giving a feeling of grandeur and pillars will be fitted with handpicked premium leather. The leather theme continues over to the furniture where it is combined with petrified wood.

A hallmark of the interior design and a unique space within the building is the mail room. Walking in to get your mail, one might completely forget about the bills waiting behind the stylish wood and premium leather cabinets. The brass handles hark back to yesteryears in this all inviting room.

When it comes time to head up to your apartment, private lifts whisk you skyward to your floor. Three different types of apartments are available, with no more than four units located on each storey. This has allowed for each unit to have at least one corner of the building and a 180-degree view of the city. A two bedroom with three bathrooms makes up the smaller units at 1,337 sq. ft., while the larger unit is a three bedroom, four-bathroom unit with 2,715 sq. ft. There are also penthouses available – more on that below.


All apartments will come equipped with Gessi products as bathroom furnishings. Sticking with the stylish overall feel of the residences, Rettangolo faucets will feature prominently throughout. It doesn’t stop there, marble is laid from the bathrooms through to the living room, creating a cool environment and adding to the high quality of materials used.

When you think of penthouse living, The Monument’s penthouse is exactly what one thinks of. It is big! Ranging up to 7,126 sq. ft. and featuring almost 16 and a half feet ceilings in the living rooms. One is so large in fact, that it has its own private swimming pool. There are not many sky high palaces in Bangkok with their own private outdoor pool to splash around in. For those on the lower levels, don’t feel left out as there’s a 92-foot swimming pool sculpted out of aluminum. A swimmers dream on the second floor.


Sansiri has done a great job to ensure there’s plenty of green outdoor space for an urban project. Working with landscape designer, Tectonix, two gardens have been created. One will measure 3,444 sq. ft. at the front and the second will measure 6,458 sq. ft. at the rear. This layout really gives a homely feel. Uniquely, five ancient trees will be kept on the project. They’ve been in Thong Lo for generations and add to the character of the gardens.

The Monument wouldn’t be complete without an array of facilities for its residents. There’s a nearly 10,764 sq. ft. recreational garden with a children’s playground, fitness center, large swimming pool and multipurpose area. Residents also have access to a 24-hour butler service, numerous parking spaces, security and 1-year with Quintessentially Lifestyle concierge service.

With everything at its doorstep, including Thong Lo BTS Station and a number of luxury shops and restaurants, residents of The Monument get to enjoy the very best of Bangkok.


The Monument Thong Lo

Bangkok, Thailand

Sansiri PCL

Exclusive Location
24-hour Butler Service
92-foot Swimming Pool
Fitness Centre
Private Parking
Large Gardens
1-Year Quintessentially

Membership Price:
On Application


Focus: Baan Bang Sa Ray House by Jun Sekino

Commissioned as a holiday home for an extended family, the Baan Bang Sa Ray House takes full advantage of its ideal location and expansive lawn. Built in Chonburi province, some two hours away by car from Bangkok, the house is also a mere kilometer from the Gulf of Thailand. The plot is spacious enough for a par three golf course that is constantly cooled by sea breeze.

Bang Sa Lay4

The owners comprise a three-generation family who enjoy escaping from the city during holidays and on long weekends. The designer Jun Sekino, founder and principal of Junsekino Architect & Design Co., Ltd, took this as a cue to create a series of private spaces and common areas where each family member can relax in solitude or mingle with family and guests. Between these two zones Sekino also provided flexible spaces that can accommodate any number of uses.

Bang Sa Lay17

The house is accessed from the main gate by a driveway and a walking path that lead to the house. On the south side are the main entrance, garage, and service areas, while on the north side are the gardens and the putting green. The house is positioned and designed to catch the sea breeze. The ground floor is an ample open space that can be converted into an entertainment area or an additional storage space if necessary. At the back is a drawing room that is connected to the golf course and serves as transition space between indoors and outdoors.

Bang Sa Lay5

The second story, where the public areas are located, has large doors and windows that take in natural ventilation, lighting and views. A stairway leads to the second storey where a series of common areas are laid out. This includes the living room, dining room, study, and work space. Outside is a terrace with a swimming pool.

The private domain and family rooms are on the third storey. The entire floor is sectioned into two wings of bedrooms connected by a drawing room and the adjacent living room.

Bang Sa Lay15

As the enormous roof covers nearly 80 per cent of the house, it is designed to be as light as possible. Together with the ceiling, they add a touch of warmth to the entire house despite its expansive size. A selection of natural materials, including wood and stone, was selected for the house to give it an organic, warm character. The house turns into a wonderful sight at night. With its glass sliding doors and several openings, the lights turn it into a virtual lantern.

This article was originally published in FORM Magazine.

Sansiri Opens Flagship 98 Wireless Property

Although some prefer the starkness of modern minimalism, at times, you just need a loft that has a bit more ornamentation and richness into which you can luxuriate yourself. For that, Sansiri has you covered. The leading Thai residential development company announced the 98 Wireless, its flagship residential project that will be located in Bangkok’s prestigious Wireless Road. This 25-story tower was designed with European Beaux-Arts influences in mind, meaning luscious curls rather than geometrical angles, resplendent marble, and an overall finish focused on traditional craftsmanship – yet still keeping the contemporary edge in mind.


When you walk into the grand reception areas and three levels of exclusive amenities, all designed by New York-based Anne Carson Interiors and styled exclusively in Ralph Lauren Home, you can already see the elegance and glamour from the walls. Hand-cut crystal chandeliers sparkle atop. Gold-leaf mirrors and hand-knotted rugs fit in to beautify the vision. Sansiri executives headed to Italy simply to select the slabs of Statuario marble, and beautifully veined Carrara and Calacatta marbles for a perfect fit. You’ll find this attention to detail seeping through everything, even the rare mahogany door panels, and solid white-oak herringbone floors from the US.


The world-class design team responsible for the 98 Wireless includes international architectural firm DWP and Bangkok-based landscape architecture studio T.R.O.P. (Terrain + Open Space). No expense was spared. The plot of land was acquired at a record setting price – an average of 550,000 baht ($15,400) per square meter. This adds up to 77 two-to-three bedroom residences, including two duplex penthouses and a 948 square-meter super-penthouse at the top two levels, only dubbed “The One”.


To further sweeten the deal, the 98 Wireless will have the ultimate in amenities, with the first on-site Quintessentially concierge in Thailand, as well as a chauffeured Bentley at the disposal of residents. This is all on top of the high class appliances and hardware coming from top international manufacturers. Besides all that, the 98 Wireless will receive a prestigious LEED certification from the United States Green Building Council, for environmental efficiency and sustainability in design. Yes the place might be sumptuous but it is not decadent after all.


For those who want the top class of refined luxury and design, this may be well worth a look at.

Interview: Artist Lampu Kansanoh

Born in Samutsongkhram, Thailand, Lampu Kansanoh is a Thai painter and sculptor who currently lives and works in Bangkok. She graduated with a Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts from Silpakorn University in Bangkok.

In 2012, she was an artist in residence at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, which culminated in the ‘Winds of Artist’ exhibition in November in the same year. In Singapore, she had her first solo exhibition, ‘Love Untitled’ at Valentine Willie Fine Art in October 2011, and ‘Nah, Just A Stopover’ at Yavuz Gallery in December 2013. Back home in Thailand, her works have been exhibited widely, including three solo exhibitions at Ardel Gallery of Modern Art, ‘Nonsense: No-nonsense’, ‘Bitter Sweet’ and ‘Global Warming’ in 2009, 2011 and 2013 respectively.

Lampu’s paintings are vibrantly colored vignettes of everyday life featuring caricature-style figures with expressive faces. Her sculptures feature similar bobble-head characters in bronze. Her work draws from her personal relationships as well as her thoughts about socio-political situations in Thailand.Lampu-Kansanoh-Thailand-Touchy-New-Blood-Art-Republik

When and how did you decide to become an artist? What have been your most significant successes and challenges to date?

I decided to become an artist when I was in high school. I was 15-years-old and I realized that painting was the thing that I did best. I did not even really like to paint then. I was inspired by the talents of my classmates and decided to work really hard at painting; when the teacher assigned one painting, I would paint two or three.

It was at Silkpakorn University that I fell in love with painting and decided to major in it. My neighbors told me that no one could be an artist in Thailand. They said it was too hard to making a living from it, and that my dream was not realistic. This was my biggest challenge but also my biggest success: when I became a successful artist even though no one believed it was possible.

 How has your work evolved? What changes your work from piece to piece?

My work evolves with each series and reflects my experiences and what happens in my life. For example, when my mom died, my paintings focused on my love for her. Now that I am getting married, my work reflects my love and appreciation for my fiancé. And my work has also shown my feelings about the political situation in Thailand.

What is your daily routine as an artist? Do you have a fixed structure to the way you work?

In a year, I usually prepare for two exhibitions. Each exhibition requires three months of intense preparation. During this time, I try to work every day. I usually wake up at 7am and work from 9am to 5pm. I try to complete each painting in four to five days.

You appear to portray everyday life in your paintings. How do you compose each painting? Do you sit and sketch while observing a scene in real time or do you put a tableau together from memory and/or imagination?

First, I roughly sketch an idea and write about my ideas for the subject of the painting. I then photograph the model with the desired facial expression and position for the painting. And after I base more sketches and eventually the final painting on the photographs.Lampu-Kansanoh-Thailand-oh-my-goodness-New-Blood-Art-Republik

 What are you trying to express in your artworks with regard to Thai society, and more broadly the human condition?

In my paintings, I try to show joy and happiness in unexpected places. In 2011, I went to Ayuthaya where there was a lot of flooding. Many people had lost their homes and it was a terrible situation, but I could still feel their optimism despite their circumstances.

What comes first: the titles of your paintings or the paintings themselves? How do the titles, such as ‘What Happens on the Subway!!!’ (2015) or ‘Oh My Goodness!’ (2013) work together with your paintings to communicate with the audience?

Sometimes I have an idea first, and at other times, the title comes first. It depends. When I was in New York, I encountered a ‘No Pants Subway Ride’, where many people were not wearing pants on the train. The title ‘What Happens on the Subway!!!’ is a question that I am asking the audience. It is my reaction to this strange experience, and I want the audience to guess what has happened from the painting.

In ‘Oh My Goodness!’, I only show the ladyboy’s back as she is lifting her shirt and the soldier’s facial reaction to the ladyboy’s sex change. This painting is a joke, because the ladyboy is blatantly proving that she is not required to join the military. She is shocking the soldier and proving that she has changed her gender. Here, the title is the soldier’s reaction.Lampu-Kansanoh-Thailand-Thai-Politicians-New-Blood-Art-Republik

Both your paintings and sculptures feature characters with large-sized heads. How did this signature style come about?

When I was a third-year university student, I looked at my friends’ faces; I saw a dichotomy between how old or scary they looked and how beautiful and innocent their spirits were. I had an idea to paint their faces on plastic in pastels and with cute childlike patterns, and decided to paint the faces of my friends with babies’ bodies; babies’ heads are often too big for their bodies, so this was why I chose this scale. I have continued to paint in this fun and playful caricature style where the heads are oversized because I can communicate more to the audience with more room to portray facial expressions as well.

Your artworks have been placed in auctions with international auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s. What does it mean to you to be an ‘auction house artist’?

I appreciate the success and at times I cannot really believe it too. But for my work as an artist, it does not really change anything.

Based on your own experience as an artist, what advice would you give to young artists just starting out?

Keep doing what you want to do, even if people tell you that you will not get anywhere.

Story Credits

Text by Nadya Wang

This story first appeared in Art Republik.


Insight: Resilience of Bangkok Property

Despite being hit by political turmoil, the robustness and resilience of the Thai market proved to be stable throughout the various turbulences. According to Suphin Mechuchep, managing director at JLL, part of the strength in the Bangkok market comes from a good balance between demand and supply in the market, as well as the political stabilisation in the second half of 2014.

Moreover, there are other factors that will add to the optimism of the market. For starters, Thailand’s reform roadmap—amidst the stability so far—will enjoy more clarity in policy and direction, and all of this will bolster investors’ and businesses’ bullishness and overall consumer confidence. Moreover, the military government had gone ahead with various major capital spending initiatives, seeking to stimulate the economy through major infrastructure investments, all of which are expected to lift the country’s macro-economy soon, which will in turn help to grow the capital’s various property sectors.

The main property players remain well-funded and have the means to acquire income-yielding assets, or to grow their land banks. In fact, some of these developers have launched their own real estate investment trusts (REITs), which are in turn partly funded by a vibrant stock market in the country. All these ensure a sustained institutional demand for property further upstream, which keeps the market growing at a healthy pace. Beyond local factors, global trends including a low interest rate and low oil prices translating into residential markets having improved household balance sheets (as energy costs now take up less income) are expected to bring about a boost in the local property market.

The trends seen in the market corroborate these observations. According to data from Colliers, over 11,000 condominium units were launched in the city in the second quarter this year, about 9.5 percent more than in the first. Over 75 percent of these new launches were in the area connecting Bangkok along new subway lines. Moreover, significant numbers of luxury condominium units were bought up by investors despite selling prices being high and a competitive leasing market (with investment yields only hovering at about 3.5 percent, based on JLL estimates). Most of such investors have bought for capital appreciation, as opposed to seeking rental income, since prime condominiums in central Bangkok see an average of 20 percent price rises between when they were offered for sale off-plan, and when construction is over.

Some fret about the weakness seen in local demand. According to the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the confidence of new home buyers (also known as the New Residence Buyer’s Confidence Index) fell from January to June 2015 to 63.9, the lowest in the past year. The weakness is said to be due to various factors, including a dim outlook that Thais in general have taken about their own economy. However, that gap is increasingly filled by foreign buyers, as many major Thai developers have gone overseas to market their projects, particularly in China, Hong Kong and Singapore. This has led to a rise in the average take-up of condominium units, especially for units in the price range of $260 to $520 psf, which registered a rate of 90 percent. Those in the higher range of $651 psf also did well, at 80 percent. What is clear therefore, is that the demographics and dynamics of the Bangkok market is changing, and that could be just where the next big opportunity is.

Story Credits

Text by Willy Teo

This story first appeared in PALACE.

Asia’s Top Bar is in Singapore…

There is a new bar capital of Asia and it is Singapore, according to a new ranking of Asia’s top watering holes. The city-state has four entries in the top 10 – the most of any country – and the top spot of course, for 28 Hongkong Street.

In the inaugural edition of Asia’s 50 Best Bars awards– a spinoff of the World’s 50 Best Bars– a panel of 154 judges including “high-level” bartenders, bar consultants, brand ambassadors, journalists and global bar hoppers weighed in to pronounce the best drinking hotspots across Asia.

Taking the top spot is a Singapore bar famous for its discretion. Since opening in 2011, 28 Hongkong Street has built up hype by playing itself down in the manner of a secret, clandestine speakeasy.

Tucked away in a downtown thoroughfare, the bar is non-descript with nothing but the street number to identify itself: There is no awning, no flashing lights, or swanky, velvet-roped entrance.

But once inside the beige doors, the bar’s swish clientele sip on cocktails like the Modest Mule, made with lemongrass-laced vodka, ginger beer, lime and rosemary, and the colorfully named Whore’s Bath, made with manuka honey vodka, umeshu (liqueur made with Japanese apricots) poire liqueur, lemon and Hawaiian lava salt pickled ginger.

“28 Hongkong Street is an emblem of the region,” editors write. “A benchmark of quality across drinks and hospitality.”

Overall, Singapore and Hong Kong tied with nine spots each on the list, followed by Tokyo, which scored eight spots.

But with four of the top 10 spots, including the No. 1 ranking, Singapore is the big winner this year.

The results also surprised editors, who predicted Shanghai to finish fourth after Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo with the number of bars represented.

Instead, Bangkok nabbed the spot with six addresses including Vesper, the city’s top-ranked bar in 17th place.

“Bangkok’s people have a serious case of cocktail fever and, with the number of international ‘tenders setting up in the city and locals opening up their own places, it is only going in one direction from here.”

Here are the top 10 bars in Asia, according to Asia’s 50 Best Bars:

  • 28 Hongkong Street, Singapore
  • Speak Low, Shanghai
  • High Five, Tokyo
  • Lobster Bar & Grill, Hong Kong
  • Manhattan, Singapore
  • Quinary, Hong Kong
  • Operation Dagger, Singapore
  • Jigger & Pony, Singapore
  • Union Trading Company, Shanghai
  • 10. Omakase + Appreciate, Kuala Lumpur

Design Focus: Storyline Cafe and Junsekino

Even the most popular neighborhood cafés have their downtimes when only a handful of customers are left hanging around, nursing their lattes for hours, and generally just soaking in the atmosphere.

Jun Sekino, founder and principal of Junsekino Architect and Design, understands this cycle, and proposed a design for a space that will serve more than a cup of Java. “Our concept was a coffee shop that serves coffee but also transforms into a the multi-purpose space. It is a meeting point where customers can relax while enjoying coffee, but it also has a purpose-built co-working space where customers can do productive work.”

Sekino’s brief from his client, who owns the space, was to set up a coffee shop within an existing office. “The owner wanted to turn a spacious meeting room and some parts of the building into the Storyline Café, a coffee shop with ‘eat, talk, and work’ concept in Bangkok, Thailand.Form-Latte-and-Beyond-Interior

The spaces earmarked for the project were once part of the office and occupied the first and part of the second floors. There was also an outdoor space that could be incorporated into the café.

On the first floor are the coffee bar, food counter, and dining area designed as open contiguous spaces. On the second floor are two sections—the co-working space and a private office.

The design of the façade was meant to preserve the building’s identity and charm by keeping much of its elements, including the old glass panels. To these, natural materials have been added to sustain the look and feel of the original structure. Plants have been incorporated around the bar to create a fresh feel inside, while wood panels extend the feeling of enveloping coziness.   Form-Latte-and-Beyond-Interior2

“During the day, Storyline Café is naturally lit, but at night artificial lighting transforms it into a quaint bar that is quite unlike the café,” Sekino explains. “Depending on their time of visit, customers can have a different experience within the very same place.” 

Story Credits

Text by Marc Almagro

Images by Spaceshift StudiO

This story first appeared in FORM Magazine.

Design Focus: House on Sathorn, Bangkok

In July last year, following a three-year restoration and a soft opening that saw the hosting of some of Bangkok’s swankiest parties, The House On Sathorn was officially launched. A familiar landmark that has had at least a couple of significant resurrections in the past, The House On Sathorn is at the same time lauded as a successful renovation for adaptive reuse.

W Bangkok general manager Tina Liu describes the project as a “sensory-rich, multi-venue complex, offering artisanal, Asian-inspired cuisine, creative cocktails, and spectacular restored artwork”. 

The pig's heads that adorn the capitals of the pillars, a reference to the original owner's Chinese Zodiac sign.

The pig’s heads that adorn the capitals of the pillars, a reference to the original owner’s Chinese Zodiac sign.

W Hotel commissioned AvroKO to undertake the full renovation, in consultation with a government body as required for any gazetted historical property, Liu explains. The international firm’s ‘design through storytelling’ approach was applied well to project in an instance of a perfect match. On the one hand is a heritage building that was completed around the late 1880s and, after over 15 years of abandonment, was identified for a revival. On the other is an award-winning architecture and interior design practice, based in New York City but with an office in Bangkok, and renowned for hospitality-centred projects.

AvroKO encompasses the design and branding outfit Brand Bureau, custom furniture and lighting designer Goodshop, and hospitality services provider Avroko Hospitality Group. Its knowledge and expertise in the areas of design, especially for hospitality and F&B, is top-notch. Add to this equation the client comprising proprietors of upmarket hotel W Bangkok and you get an exciting prospect for beautiful design.

The cosy restaurant with custom furniture, pendant lights and contemporary artwork.

The cosy restaurant with custom furniture, pendant lights and contemporary artwork.

The House On Sathorn was originally the residence of wealthy Chinese immigrant Chai Sua Yom, owner of an engineering company that was responsible for digging the Sathorn canal for public transportation. For his work, he was bestowed the title Luang Sathorn Racha Yutka by King Chulalongkorn. Although the canal had not been used according to intended purpose for decades, the name Sathorn has come to identify the stretch through which it ran.

Consisting of four separate buildings that enclose a courtyard, and surrounded by a garden in a spacious compound, the colonial mansion boasts the original three-storey structure with a hexagonal portico at the centre of the façade. It was originally painted two shades of yellow, which the recent restoration brought back. On the left side of the portico is another box-like projection that terminates with the attic windows.

Private banquets and events are catered in an especially designated space. Boasting access to the central courtyard, the hall has modern facilities installed.

Private banquets and events are catered in an especially designated space. Boasting access to the central courtyard, the hall has modern facilities installed.

The façade is decorated with a series of cornices relieved by graceful half-arch mouldings that crown each window on the ground floor. These large, tall and shuttered windows reinforce an upward sweep that gives the building an illusion of height while providing sufficient light and ventilation to the interiors. Pig’s heads, an unlikely motif for a stately home, decorate the pillars in reference to the owner’s Chinese zodiac symbol. On top of the building is a gracefully sloped hipped roof.

In the 1920s, with the owner’s fortune in decline, the property changed hands and was converted into the upmarket Hotel Royal. From 1948 to 1999, it was leased out and became the Embassy of the Soviet Union, and later the Russian Federation. Its latest reinvention is that of a hub of upmarket F&B establishments owned and operated by W Bangkok, its immediate neighbour in the same compound. The extensive renovation of the structure was done in consultation with the Thai government’s Department of Fine Arts. This ensured the faithful restoration of the building to its original, and approval of changes and additions.

The central courtyard that serves as a alfresco bar and lounge with views of the four sections of the building.

The central courtyard that serves as a alfresco bar and lounge with views of the four sections of the building.

“The renovation also called for meticulous upgrading work,” Liu shares. “This encompassed everything from matching new tiles with the original to replacing missing hardware on doors and windows— some of which were no longer available.” Parts of the old building were extensively repaired, and with the plan to covert the entire building into bars and restaurants, a complex retrofit programme was implemented. Utilities, from HVAC to power and water supplies, were installed; rooms were refurnished and refinished according to their new functions. Meanwhile, the intricate wooden staircases and the frescoes commissioned by the owner, both of which are original to the house, have all been meticulously restored.

The result is a building with four distinct areas that have been identified as The Dining Room, The Bar, The Courtyard, and The Conservatory, which includes The Loft that houses an event space as well as four hospitality suites. This became the platform for AvroKO to tell The House On Sathorn’s new story.Sathorn-revival-form-facade

Surrounded by period architectural ornaments, the designers assembled a collection of contemporary artworks—paintings, installations, and sculpture, modern light fixtures, as well as custom and original pieces of furniture. Colours were reimagined for each room with paint, wallpaper and carpets until the layers what is old and new are meshed completely
and indistinguishably.

Story Credits

Text by Marc Almagro

Images by W Bangkok

This story first appeared in Form Magazine.

Gaggan Tops Asia’s 50 Best Again

‘Progressive Cook’ Gaggan Anand’s eponymous restaurant in Bangkok took the title of Asia’s Best for the second year in a row for this year’s Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant list. This also marks the first time the list, which was started in 2013, has had a consecutive winner in its short history. Previous top winners include Japanese restaurant Narisawa and Thai restaurant Nahm.

Anand’s style of cooking has been known as playful, yet never at the expense of taste. With a deep love for his own country’s cuisine and a modernizing touch, Anand has pushed Indian street food into the ranks of fine dining.

“There are 26 cuisines in India and each cuisine is so different from each other. I could make 26 Gaggans with these 26 different cuisines… it’s so diverse” he said in an interview with Fine Dining Lovers last year.


The chef also picked up his flair from a stint in the kitchen of elBulli under the ever inventive Ferran Adrià. Some of the dishes have names such as ‘Who Killed The Goat?’ (lamb chops cooked sous vide) and ‘I Want My Curry!’ (crab curry served in tiffin pots).

A fine example of the chef’s culinary skills at work can be seen here, displaying his dish ‘The Story of a Fish called Kin-Medai’. This dish is segmented into four parts, starting off with a beautiful red cut of fish sprinkled with yellow-orange spice powder.

In his interview for Asia’s 50 best, Anand expressed confidence at what winning the award entails:

“We just want to make sure if we were given the responsibility of being the best restaurant in Asia, we must make sure that every guest feels it”


“The world is getting smaller and we got more bolder, this whole Asia’s 50 best made us more bold, it made us do what we wanted to do. The menu is, the kitchen is, everything is what we want to do, not what people want us to cook.”


Anand also made reference to other Bangkok restaurants and chefs on the list such as Issaya and David Thompson (who won the Lifetime Achievement award this year). He expressed how the award emboldened his work and helped to shine a spotlight on a region eclipsed by the other Western gastronomic capitals. He noted how it was rare to find a restaurant fully-booked in the country in the past.


“Everyone’s sharing the success of Asia’s 50 best. Suddenly things have changed in the world.”

The highest new entry for the year was Mingles, in Seoul, South Korea. It also claimed the title of Best Restaurant in Korea. With the advent of the list, more and more of the continent’s best cuisine is being illuminated.

The full list can be viewed here

The Top 10 for 2016

1. Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand
2. Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan
3. Restaurant Andre, Singapore
4. Amber, Hong Kong
5. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo
6. Waku Ghin, Singapore
7. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet, Shanghai
8. Nahm, Bangkok
9. Indian Accent, New Delhi
10. Lung King Heen, Hong Kong

This story was written in-house, from a variety of sources, including the AFP wire service. Images are courtesy of Gaggan.

Nahm restaurant Bangkok

Asia’s best restaurant 2014 is …

San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna have published their list of the top 50 restaurants in Asia for 2014, with top honors going to David Thompson, the chef of Nahm in Bangkok, Thailand.

Nahm restaurant Bangkok

Lauded for reviving centuries-old Thai recipes with a contemporary and sophisticated flair, chef David Thompson doesn’t shy away from the punchy, bold flavors that characterize Thai cuisine — garlic, shrimp paste, chilies and lemongrass — but rather distills the flavors into elegant and memorable curries, salads, soups and relishes.

The list is compiled by a group of 900 international leaders in the restaurant industry, that includes food critics, chefs and restaurateurs.

Here are the top 10 restaurants in Asia:

1. Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand
2. Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan
3. Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand
4. Amber, Hong Kong
5. Nihonryori Ryugin, Tokyo, Japan
6. Restaurant Andre, Singapore
7. Waku Ghin, Singapore
8. Ultraviolet, Shanghai, China
9. Lung King Heen, Hong Kong
10. 8 1/2 Otto E Mezzo Bombana, Hong Kong

For the full list, visit www.theworlds50best.com/asia/en.

bangkok sightseeing

The most Instagrammed places in 2013

For the second year in a row, a destination in Bangkok has bagged the most Instagrammed location of 2013, suggesting that Thais are serious smartphone shutterbugs.

bangkok sightseeing

The Siam Paragon, a massive shopping complex, outdid last year’s most Instagrammed place, the Bangkok International Airport, to take the top spot in the most photographed location ranking.

Impressively, the Thai retail center beat out New York’s Times Square and Disneyland which took second and third spots respectively.

A scan of this year’s top 10 most photographed locations echoes the results of Facebook’s recently released list of most popular check-ins:  it appears users like to boast about being at theme park attractions like Disneyland, sports and entertainment venues the most.

Siam Paragon

Interestingly, this year one of the most visited landmarks in the world — the Eiffel Tower — dropped off Instagram’s top 10 list altogether, while the Bangkok airport also fell to ninth place.

The popularity of the photo-sharing site has also grown particularly in countries like Indonesia, Russia and Brazil: 60 percent of Instagrammers are now sharing photos and videos outside the US.

New York tops the most Instagrammed city of 2013, followed by Bangkok and Los Angeles.

Here are the top 10 most Instagrammed locations of 2013:

  1. Siam Paragon shopping mall, Bangkok, Thailand
  2. Times Square, New York, NY, USA
  3. Disneyland California, USA
  4. Bellagio Fountains, Las Vegas, NV, USA
  5. Disney World Florida, USA
  6. Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  7. Central Park, New York, NY, USA
  8. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  9. Suvarnabhumi Airport  Bangkok, Thailand
  10. The High Line, New York, NY, USA

Here are the most-Instagrammed cities of 2013:

  1. New York City, NY, USA
  2. Bangkok, Thailand
  3. Los Angeles, CA, USA
  4. London, UK
  5. São Paulo, Brazil
  6. Moscow, Russia
  7. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  8. San Diego, CA, USA
  9. Las Vegas, NV, USA
  10. San Francisco, CA, USA
Suvarnabhumi International Airport

The 10 most Instagrammed places of 2012

Suvarnabhumi International Airport

Instagram, the photo-sharing app, has released a list of the most photographed places in the world via the app in 2012, with Suvarnabhumi Airport topping the chart.

According to IG, over 100,000 photos were taken via Instagram at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, over the last year, making it a surprise winner.

Interestingly another Bangkok landmark, the Siam Paragon shopping mall, took second place in Instagram’s most photographed places in 2012.

Overall, locations in the US were popular among Instagram users, with American landmarks occupying seven of the top ten locations, including five in Southern California.

Strangely enough, landmarks that have been a traditional favorite for photographers such as the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin or London’s Big Ben did not appear on the list, though Paris’s Eiffel Tower did make an appearance in eighth place — behind Dodger Stadium and LAX.

The top ten most photographed places in the world via Instagram in 2012 were:

01.    Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) Bangkok, Thailand
02.    Siam Paragon (shopping mall) Bangkok, Thailand
03.    Disneyland Park Anaheim, California, USA
04.    Times Square New York City, New York, USA
05.    AT&T Park San Francisco, California, USA
06.    Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), California, USA
07.    Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California, USA
08.    Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
09.    Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, USA
10.    Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California, USA