Monday, November 5, 2012

Best Spots in Khao San Road


The clubbing scene at Khoa San Road is best described as completely exhilarating, varied and pulsating. Some of Bangkok’s most exciting clubs and pubs are located on this road and the patrons are pretty cosmopolitan and completely hip. You will be able to explore a diverse variety of setups from Gazebo’s Shisha Bar on the roof right through to Lava’s under-floor music lounge.

Café Democ


This is a fairly unassuming restaurant/ café during the day but transforms into a strong player on the Bangkok nightclub scene every night.  It has been around for a while and has really found its niche. During events here, the patrons are treated to a good mix of dance and house music – ranging from old school house to trance. This is situated on Ratchadamnoen Road right next to the Democracy Monument – just ten minutes from Khao San Road.
Opening Hours: 11:00 - 01:00 Tuesday - Sunday
Tel:             +66 (0)2 622 2571      

Club Culture


This is best described as a musical sanctuary and allows you to enjoy some truly exotic music. Originally started by the Club Astra team after it fell victim to the fickleness of RCA’s crowds. The Club Culture is now being managed by the owner of Café Democ and headlines some of the best international live bands and DJ’s. These include Madness, DJ Toby White, Sutcliffe Jugend and DJ Nakadia. There are four floors and each feature a separate music theme that give the visitor a taste of everything from live acts to techno disco. Most of the time admission is 500 baht or less and you usually get a free drink. Depending on what night it is, you may even get in for free.
Opening Hours: 21:00-02:00 (closed Mondays)
Location: Rajdamnoen Klang (behind Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall, close to Democracy Monument)
Tel:             +66 (0)89 497 8422      

The Club


You can go back in time when it was music such as Trance and not pop like the Black Eyed Peas were played all over Khao San. The visitor gets to experience a full on rave and are even given free glow-sticks. You would be forgiven for thinking you’d been magically transported to one of the sleek clubs you find in Ibiza – less the self-centred DJs and masses of drugged up clubbers. There is a huge dance floor with high ceilings, UV lights, a giant disco ball, lasers and, best of all, a DJ booth that is raised and that has excellent visuals that play against the backdrop.
This all combines for an almost hallucinogenic extravaganza. The laser beams glide through the louvered Mediterranean styled doorways and tourists seem to float through clouds of dry ice. Some take a time out on the chic couches and wait to be served. The sound of silence is nowhere to be heard here so expect to have the music pounded into your system. Not the ideal environment if you are looking for a chat but perfect if you want to dance like a maniac or howl at the moon during a classic full-moon beach party.
Opening Hours: 20:00 - 02:00
Location: 123 Khao San Road
Tel:             +66 (0)2 629 1100      

Immortal

Immortal seems to have found the fountain of youth and is one of the legends of the Khao San music vibe.  Popular music is played very loud for a long time. This club tends more towards an alternative metal vibe and this has guaranteed its longevity. The club is not very pretty but is everything a nightclub should be – dark and lots of fun. There are several special offers for Happy Hour and you will usually find that you get a free drink with your entry fee. The entry fee varies depending on the night.
Location: 1st floor of the Bayon Building, 249 Khao San Road
Tel:             +66 (0)5 812 9111      

Gazebo

This is a bar/ club situated on a rooftop allowing you to enjoy pleasant evening winds and great city views. You may feel that you have stumbled into an incomplete pleasure palace. You may feel as though you are entering an upmarket Moroccan loft at first – just relax and go with the flow as you imagine yourself to be in an exotic bar in Cairo.
There is also the Zed Bar which features a state of the art DJ room – belly dance all your stress away. The evening breeze tends to perpetuate the idea that this is a setting out of the Arabian Nights and enjoy the juxtaposition of the live Reggae Band against this ambience. Once you are completely relaxed move into Gazebo’s inner sanctum – a small, dark room with loud dance music. You will pay 300 baht to get in after midnight.
Opening Hours: 20:00 - Late
Location: Upstairs, 44 Chakrapong Road
Tel:             +66 (0)2 629 0705      

Lava Club


You will be forgiven for thinking that you are traipsing into the underworld when you enter the dungeon world of Khao San. The waitresses are dressed suggestively and this all adds to the underworld theme. The music is decidedly hip-hop in nature and the place really only starts pumping after 11:00. There is no entry fee.
Location: basement of the Bayon building, 249 Khao San Road
Tel:             +66 (0)2 281 6565      


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dinner on Top of Bangkok


This enormous city can be best described as one of the most trendy rooftop venues in Bangkok from where you can expressly enjoy the eye view of a bird on the sprawling metropolis as you sip a refreshing cocktail. The best time to get in is the afternoon as you will witness the sun setting behind the scenic Chao Phraya River that attracts many tourists.

D’Sens Bar and Restaurant


This elegant French-themed bar and restaurant is highly recommended with its three Michelin stars, perfect view of the Lumpini Park from the 22nd (top) floor of the Dusit Thani Bangkok. Order some Jacques and Laurent Pourcel from Le Jardin fame. Most of the people who come in here are young high earning professionals.

Gazebo


This is a restaurant club cum bar that will give you’re the real upscale Moroccan loft ambiance. The shisha pipes, soft lamps and plump cushions are very Cairo. Add to this the belly dancing performer and it is like being transported to another time and place. They also play a reggae music which makes the place a bit more eclectic.

While the reggae adds much to the eclecticism, the sultry evening breeze gives you a taste of an Arabian Night’s feeling. You can then move on to the next door to meet the raucous alter ego in Gazebo once your eyes glaze over. After midnight, the entry is 300 Baht to some small dark club room with loud dance beats and nocturnes at 3am.

The Long Table

This is a hidden jewel in Bangkok’s crown that resides on the Column Tower—25th Floor.

The concept of the restaurant is unique. They have one long table that sits about 70 people. It gives people who dine here more chances of meeting new people. However, it is important to note that the long table is spacious. You don’t have to worry about being crowded by people you don’t know kno.

The walls are glass which makes the place look bigger than it is.

Three Sixty


The Millennium Hilton Hotel is the latest addition to the skyline of Bangkok. It is located on the Chonburi side of the Chao Phraya River. You will need to take a short ferry ride across this river from River City Pier.

You have to take the elevator all the way to the 31st floor and then go up one more floor through the staircase. It is a sophisticated jazz lounge with 360 degree views. There is a smoking area.

 

Vertigo


This open air bar-cum restaurant is raised 61 floors above the great and bustling streets of Bangkok. You will enjoy the sophisticated, stylish and romantic scene. You should actually indulge in some of the world’s finest exotic cocktails, champagne, nonalcoholic beverages in the bar section, wine by the glass or you get on for the most memorable dinner composed of some barbecued seafood.

There is also a telescope is available for most nights if you want to go a bit closer to the stars. During the weekends, they also have a live jazz band but don’t worry, the band is not too loud to put you out of your peaceful zone. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Truly Thailand Things You Will Find in Khao San Road


Khao San is known for its booze, music, and partying but its shopping area is hardly mentioned. Yes, Khao San also offers some items for sale. The whole Khao Road stretch is filled with different vendors. Things being sold include clothes, food, and some unique and truly Thailand items. These are the times that you will hardly find anywhere else in the world. Some stuff are crazy, some are weird, and some are downright funny. 

Actually, prices here are not as affordable as Pratunam and Chatuchak but it is still more affordable than the items you will find in malls.

Tours and Travels


If you are looking for bus tickets, travel tours, hotels, plane tickets, and other things related to traveling, you will find it here in Khao San. Travel agencies here also offer packaged tours and customized tours. That already includes food and the drive to and fro you hotel. If you do arrive in Bangkok without any hotel accommodation, you will also find a lot of hotels here or agencies that could book and take you to your chosen hotel.

Many travelers prefer to stay in Bangkok and do day trips to different sights. Khao San is the perfect place to stay in because it puts you right where the party is, a fitting closing to your day of touring.

Antiques


Many of the city’s second hand book shops are also located here. The book shops also sell old magazines, graphic novels, and other antique toys. Like everything else in Bangkok, you will be able to buy it at a reasonable price. You will find firs issues of legendary comics that may be sold for thousands of dollars in the open market. There first issues books in perfect condition too.

Spoof Shirts


Asians are the best when it comes to copying popular international brands. They are also the best when it comes to spoofing them and Thailand is the best when it comes to selling them. You will find shirts with the spoofed version of their brand names printed on it. It is a great gift for your friends when you return back home. Most of these shirts have a vintage look and not exactly suitable to be worn during the winter.

Hand Crafted Exotic Items


This is the only place where you will find hand crafted ashtrays shaped like naked people. Some of these items were made by members of the Northern Hill Tribes. Aside from ashtrays, they sell hammocks, croaking ornament made from frog skin, and one-of-a-kind jewels. It is also a perfect give away to your friends back home. The designs are good conversation starters.

Unique Belts and Accessories


You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to get your hands on those intricately-designed belts usually worn by pop and rock stars because Khao San has them for much less. They have tribal designs inspired by Polynesian, Borneo, Maori, Haida and others. You will also find contemporary graffiti-inspired designs on belts, bags, and headbands.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Galleries in Bangkok that Feature Asian Artists


Internationally, Thailand is known for great horror films and rightfully so. But Thailand is more than that. Bangkok, in particular, is the home of many galleries that give space to Thai and other Asian artists some space to get noticed.

H Gallery


This was established by H Ernest Lee, an American, in 1999 and specialises in modern art. The work of emergent Thai and Asian artists takes centre stage. This gallery is situated in central Bangkok and is based in a colonial style mansion that is over 125 years old. The atmosphere is less formal and pretty amiable. There are two different exhibition spaces and the art on display covers two floors. Paintings, photography and textiles are displayed. There are regular exhibitions – sometimes once a month.

Opening Hours: 12.00 - 18:00 (Thursday - Saturday); Sunday - Wednesday by appointment or by chance
Location: 201 Sathorn Soi 12
BTS: Surasak
Tel:             +66 (0)1 310 4428      
How to get there: From BTS Skytrain Surasak Station (exit 3), walk about 10 minutes towards Narathiwat Road.

Tang Gallery


This gallery, as the name suggests, focuses on contemporary Chinese artworks. There are varies types of art on display and all sorts of mediums represented. There are exhibitions on a monthly basis by noted Chinese and Thai artists.
Opening Hours: 11:00 - 19:00 (Monday - Saturday)
Location: Unit B-28, The Silom Galleria
BTS: Surasak
Tel:             +66 (0)2 630 1114      
How to get there: From BTS Surasak Station (exit 1), turn right into Surasak Road and continue walking until you hit Silom, then turn right, walk pass The Holiday Inn Silom, and the building will be on your right.

Thavibu Gallery


This gallery presents contemporary art mainly from Vietnam, Thailand and Burma and its name is a compilation of letters from each of these countries. There are works from different Asian countries as well. The main focus is on artists who are young and upcoming and whose work  the gallery feels portrays the imaginative aspects of the culture and also make a statement about a broad range of social issues. Exhibitions are held on a regular basis.
Opening Hours: Mondays - Saturdays (11:00 hrs. - 19:00 hrs.)
Location: Suite #308, 3rd Floor, The Silom Galleria (Jewellery Trade Centre Building)
BTS: Surasak
Tel:             +66 (0)2 266 545-4      
How to get there: From BTS Surasak Station, take exit 1 and turn right into Surasak Road. Continue walking until you hit Silom, then turn right, walk pass The Holiday Inn Silom, and the building will be on your right.

Toot Yung Gallery


This was originally the vision of a Frenchman and this is and somewhat uplifting mix of gallery and meeting place that promotes young local artists and also brings in works from foreign artists. The gallery has partners both in Thailand and abroad and so can present a wide range of contemporary art that spans all media platforms – performing arts, mixed  media, live music, etc. The aim is to create a space for artists of all kinds to meet without borders and can be accessed by anyone with an artistic bent.
Opening Hours: 10:00 – 20:00
Location: 19 Prachathipatai Road (near Wat Tri Tossathep and Wisut Kasat Road)
Tel:             +66 (0)84 914 5499       

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Proper Etiquette in Bangkok


Although Bangkok may seem a city apart, it is still a part of Thailand. Westerners, called “farang” in Thai, flock to the city and a lot have chosen to take up residence there. In Bangkok, farangs are pretty much a normal part of everyday life and most citizens have become used to the mistakes foreigners make. It should always be remembered, however, that etiquette is important in Thai society and is much appreciated. Whilst most Thai are too polite to point out gaffes, they may go down badly. Any small gesture that shows some respect for Thai culture will, however, make your stay a lot more pleasant. Here’s how you can avoid the worst gaffes:

Smiles

Smiles are pretty much a good way to communicate with anyone and a good rule of thumb is to smile when you are not sure what else to do.

Wais

Wais are pretty complex to master because of the social standings of all parties. Foreigners are generally not expected to start one off but you could return one if offered. This is done by holding your hands in front of you as if you are praying and bowing slightly. In Thai society, one only offers wais to people who is your equal or who are of greater social standing.

Keep it cool

When it comes to a quintessential Thai expression, “Mai pen rai” is probably the best example. It basically means “Don’t worry no worries or never mind.” You should never let yourself get angry or show anger in public. You should not shout in public either. This will just lead to embarrassment all around.

Your head

In Bangkok someone’s head is considered sacred and you should never touch someone’s head or pass anything over it.

Your feet

Feet are generally considered dirty. Never use your feet as a means to point out something or to move something. You should also never point your feet at anyone or reveal the soles of your feet. Make sure in temples that you point your feet away from any Buddha.

Your shoes

Just like feet, shoes are considered unclean and should be taken off at the door. There are a number of places where it is good etiquette to remove your shoes before going inside. If you see a shoe rack outside, you should be prepared to take your shoes off.

Public displays of affection

PDA’s are discouraged. You seldom see Thai couples holding hands. Make sure to avoid touching anyone of the opposite sex in public.

Dress

It is easier to dress properly in Bangkok than you might think. Think about how you would dress if you were off to meet your new in-laws for the first time and adjust this for warm weather. Thais always seem to look polished despite the awful humidity and you should aim to emulate them. Women should generally look to cover up their shoulders and cleavage but can wear shorts and short skirts. You need to wear a top over your bikini top.

Temples

Temples generally have strict dress codes and these should always be adhered to. You should be barefoot and should not touch any of the monks. Don’t point your feet at any religious icons and, when in doubt, follow what the locals are doing.

Photos

You need to ask permission of people before taking their photos. Consider the spectacle if you went up to a group of stranger’s kids at home and started snapping photos. How would your local hot dog vendor like the same kind of attention?

The Royal family

Be respectful or risk landing up in jail. Whenever the Song for His Majesty the King or the Thai national anthem is broadcast or played you need to stop whatever you are doing and stand. Do not deface images of the royals.

At the BTS

People are very polite on public transportation in Thailand. People form orderly queues when waiting for the train. It is considered polite to offer your seat to the elderly or those that need to sit.

Tipping

Tipping is never essential but you should tip when a job has been done well. Like everywhere else a tip is expected in the hospitality industries and a lot of places incorporate a service charge into the bill so check for this before you add any more money. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bangkok’s Most Popular Parks


Bangkok has several lush, beautiful parks available for the use of residents and tourists alike that want to experience the natural beauty and splendor of this fine city.  Many of these parks have excellent facilities, such as swimming pools, tennis courts, picnic areas, and more.  Whatever outdoor activities your family likes to do, there will be a Bangkok park that would accommodate them.

The best-known park in Bangkok is Lumpini Park, a tranquil place that is the oldest of the city’s many parks.  It covers more than half a million square meters (57.6-hectare (142-acre)) and was established in the 1920s as a craft and flower market.  This never came to be; Lumpini Park instead developed into a go-to spot for various outdoor activities.

Chatuchak Park


Chatuchak Park, located next to the market of the same name, is within downtown Bangkok and contains a beautiful Thai Literature and Herb Garden that visitors absolutely must experience for themselves.  Visitors can take a row boat onto the pond or watch the fish swim and eat; they can also visit nearby soccer fields and tennis courts to take in a little more intense activity. 

This place can be really crowded in the weekend as tourists flock to the Chatuchak Market. This park is open from 04:30 until 21:00 every day.  Visit the Youth Traffic Garden and Train Museum while in the area.

Queen Sirikit Park


Queen Sirikit Park was established as a tribute to Her Majesty the Queen on her 50th birthday in August of 1992.  Visit the tree garden, where the trees of Thailand’s provinces are arranged to represent the shape of Thailand itself!  Don’t forget to check out the nearby Children’s Discovery Museum and take in the park’s Lotus and Water Lily Yard, botanical gardens, and gorgeous pond.  This park is open from 5:00 until 18:00 every day.

King Rama IX Park


King Rama IX Park was built to commemorate His Majesty the King’s 50th birthday in 1987, and was commissioned by Suan Luang Rama XI.  There are several zones within this park, each with different attractions: ‘Sanam Rat’, which contains areas for sports and festivals; Rommanee Garden, which is an imitation of the various landscapes of Thailand; ‘The Garden of the Great King’, with its Ratchapreuk trees, whose yellow colouring represents the King.  The park has several other attractions that must be experienced, including a Lotus Garden and Rock Wall Garden.  This park is open from 5:00 until 18:00 each day.

Santichaiprakarn Park


Santichaiprakarn Park is unique in construction as it is centered around one of the city’s old fortifications – few of which still exist, making this park a very special place.  This place is popular with street performers and artists.  Bars and restaurants are very close to this park, as is the Khao San Road, which makes Santichaiprakarn a very popular destination; it’s right in the middle of all the action!

The next time you visit Bangkok, take in one of its beautiful parks and escape city life for a day. Bring a blanket, some snack and a book and you’re all set to enjoy the sun. 

For more articles on Bangkok and surroundings also see http://blog.bkkcondos.com

Monday, July 16, 2012

After-Dark Shopping Experience in Bangkok


If you want to spend most of your day in Thailand meeting elephants, touching snakes and watching shopping in the floating market, you may do so without ever having to worry about not having the chance the shop. There are a lot of night markets in Thailand that are open until 12 midnight. You can finish your tours in the day, head to the night market for shopping, before hitting Khao San for some drinks.

Below are some of the night markets you should check out.

Major Ratchoyothin Market


Major Ratchoyothin Market and Khlong San are very similar in terms of the merchandise they sell. Whatever you find in one will mostly likely be sold in the other too. However, the Major Ratchoyothin Market is becoming more popular because it is closer to the the Major Ratchoyothin Cinema as well as the IMAX Complex. Some people opt to shop while they wait for their movie or go straight to shopping right after the movie.

Ratchada Night Bazaar


Formerly known as Ratchada-Lad Phrao Junction Night Market, the Ratchada Night Bazaar is often called the ultimate night market in Bangkok. You will find some ridiculously low priced shoes, leather bags, books, jeans, CDs, home decorative items, assortments of knick-knacks, furniture and antiques. There are a lot of pre-owned goods as well.

The Ratchada Night Bazaar actually started off as a market for the second-hand vespas as well as used car parts but it is has now evolved to become one of the best night markets in Thailand. When you enter the market, you will be welcomed by some of the best food stalls in the country. Some people find it impossible to go through all the stalls in a single night. It’s a big market and there are many items to check out.

Sanam Laung / Khlong Lod


They are best known for their second hand items. Expect to find some brassware, old magazines, old books, motorbike parts and remote controlled toys in addition to the usual handmade trinkets, fashion accessories, T-shirts, sneakers, clothing and other items. However, it is very important that you know how to examine the items you want to buy. Many of the items on display look perfect but they don’t necessarily function perfectly.

Saphad Phut Night Market


Except Wednesdays, the area around Memorial Bridge along the Rattankosin side of this river is packed with shoppers and sellers looking to trade entertainment items and apparels including CDs, DVDs, jeans, sneakers, T-shirts, video games and many other items.

You can also find some counterfeit brand names such as Armani, Fred Perry and Ralph Lauren and other creative pieces. The prices are exclusively cheap and bartering is actually not necessary. The Saphad Phut Night Market is quite popular among the teens. It normally opens from 17:30 or much later in a rainy day. It stays open till midnight. Rush now and get your goodies.