Lepak Downstairs: Outdoor Marble Furniture Designs Viewed from the Top

Lepak Downstairs: Outdoor Marble Furniture Designs Viewed from the Top

/ Singapore /

/ Story: Natthawat Klaysuban / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Jonathan Tan /

If looking at life from a different perspective excites your imagination, here’s Lepak Downstairs a collection of marble furniture photographs taken from the top. Welcome aboard as we embark on a virtual journey through a Singapore residential neighborhood.

Lepak Downstairs Singapore

Let’s take a look at some of the visuals by Jonathan Tan, whose favorite pastimes include taking photographs for enjoyment. This episode takes you to an HBD apartment block, or a flat if you prefer the British term, in Singapore.

HBD stands for the Housing and Development Board, or the Housing Board for short. It’s a government agency that’s responsible for public housing. By a rough estimate, HBD apartment homes constitute the principal type of residences accounting for more than 80 percent of housing in Singapore.

We trust this collection will give you a real buzz about the place, providing an experience that inspires your curiosity leading to creative design thinking and fostering conversation. If you’re pleased with what you see, give us a like and share.

Lepak Downstairs

A favorite hangout on the ground floor

Jonathan has lived in an HDB apartment home since a young age. Taking photographs is among the things that give him pleasure. One day he caught sight of a set of marble furniture on the ground floor of the apartment block where he lives. He couldn’t help but noticing this kind of furniture here, there and everywhere in much of Singapore. And they all looked alike.

What’s known as outdoor marble furniture is, in fact, concrete construction tiled in various colors and designs. Jonathan started taking photographs of them from the top hoping to compare tabletop designs that vary greatly from one place to the other. He named his collection “Lepak Downstairs” in the Malay vernacular meaning a favorite hangout downstairs.

Colors that tell stories about the mid-century period

Jonathan thought that photographs taken from the top were the best way to explore the various design patterns that come with every geometric-shaped tabletop, be it circular, square or octagonal.

The outdoor furniture with its tabletop covered in glossy tiles is designed to perform well in the warm and humid climate prevailing in Singapore. Some sets of furniture have been around for more than 50 years, while tabletop designs convey a great deal about the colors of choice prevalent in the mid-century period.

Lepak Downstairs Singapore

Lepak Downstairs Singapore

Lepak Downstairs Singapore

Designs that are fading into oblivion

With most people unaware of its existence nowadays, the outdoor marble furniture is slowly being forgotten, let alone discarded. People simply take no notice of it as old apartment blocks are torn down making room for ultramodern ones now mushrooming everywhere. It has since become less popular as a hangout place among the younger generations.

Now that public transportation has become faster and more convenient, people simply pay no attention to it, preferring instead to hang out elsewhere, among them public parks, shopping malls, restaurants and café, leaving the once popular seats lying largely underutilized. Plus, some new apartment blocks even have their own recreational facilities in place for public enjoyment.

Lepak Downstairs Singapore

Lepak Downstairs Singapore

Ideas from the past hidden in plain sight

Left standing there hidden in plain sight, the outdoor marble furniture has become a thing of the past. In spite of that, the design now considered old-school is far from dead and gone.

Quite the opposite though, it continues to attract the attention of a select group – the local art community. Some people now find it cool to keep photographs of what was trending back in the 1960’s in their private collections.

They know that marble furniture that represents the great hangout of the past is slowly fading away and never coming back. So the artists are quick to make appropriate adaptations incorporating old ideas in new designs hoping to restore its popularity. For Jonathan, it’s legacy that inspires preservation. And he’s doing more than his fair share to breathe new life into past glories.

Lepak Downstairs Singapore

Lepak Downstairs Singapore

Reference: Jonathan Tan

Instagram: @jontannn



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War Memorials Across Southeast AsiaCatching a Glimpse of War Memorials Across Southeast Asia

Super Ung-LoThe Making of the “Super Ung-Lo,” Ratchaburi’s Fuel-Efficient Cook Stove

Catching a Glimpse of War Memorials Across Southeast Asia

Catching a Glimpse of War Memorials Across Southeast Asia

/ Story: Kor Lordkam / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Infographic Designer: Chittawat /

In this presentation, we take a look at war memorials across Southeast Asia, ones that inspire people to be cognizant of the turbulent past, live in the present and look to the future.

War Memorials Across Southeast Asia

Wars have the potential to bring destruction, death and losses, not to mention physical and mental injuries. They have long-lasting impacts on the social and economic fabric of countries. Soldiers who fought the battle knew only too well what it meant to suffer from a psychological trauma. So did civilians who accounted for the majority of war-time casualties.

There is no denying that violent conflicts bring painful experiences hard to be reconciled with. In memory of the hardships and tribulations, monuments are erected. Some are built in remembrance of those who died heroic deaths. Others serve as grim reminders of the terrible things that happened. Sadly, life that’s lost cannot be brought back again.

The countries of Southeast Asia are no strangers to tragic events of the past. Each one of them has a sense of history and heritage to pass on to its next generations. That’s reason enough to commemorate the struggles, freedoms and notable events that have come to define a country’s distinct character.

The Rizal Monument

Manila, the Philippines

Erected: 1913

War Memorials

The Rizal Monument is a memorial to José Rizal, the Philippine national hero, writer and leader of a reform movement. He was widely recognized for his writings that centered on liberal and progressive ideas, freedom and individual rights of the Filipino people.

An advocate of political reform in the Philippines, he was arrested and brought to trial for the crime of rebellion after the Philippine Revolution broke out. He was found guilty and eventually executed by the Spanish colonial administration in 1896. The Spanish-American War brought Spain’s rule on the islands to an end in 1898, only to be followed by the Philippine-American War between 1899 and 1902.

Memorials in honor of José Rizal were erected in several places, the most well-known of which being the Rizal Monument built in 1913. It’s situated at Rizal Park, also known as Luneta Park, one of the most famous landmarks in Manila.

Reference: [1] [2]

The Rangoon Memorial

Yangon, Myanmar

Erected: 1951

War Memorials

The Rangoon Memorial is part of the Taukkyan War Cemetery, the largest of the three battlefield cemeteries in Myanmar. It’s located about an hour’s drive from the Yangon city proper.

More than 27,000 names of men of the Commonwealth land forces who died in military operations across Burma (now Myanmar) are displayed here. The Taukkyan War Cemetery is a Commonwealth burial ground for more than 6,300 soldiers who perished during the Second World War, of whom only 5,500 men could be positively identified.

Reference: [1] [2]

The Tugu Negara

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Opened: 1966

War Memorials Across Southeast Asia

The Tugu Negara, or National Monument, is a 15-meter-tall bronze sculpture in the center of Kuala Lumpur. Designed by Austrian-American artist Felix de Weldon, it’s a memorial to those who died fighting for freedom. The Tugu Negara features a sculpture of seven human figures representing seven key attributes of Malaysia as a nation, namely, courage, sacrifice, leadership, suffering, strength, unity and vigilance.

Taken as a whole, it’s a reminder of the struggles against the Japanese occupation during World War II and the loss of many lives during the Malayan Emergency, guerrilla warfare fought in then British Malaya between communist pro-independence fighters and the combined forces of the Federation of Malaya, the British Empire and the Commonwealth from 1948 to 1960.

Reference: [1]

The Civilian War Memorial


Opened: 1967

War Memorials Across Southeast Asia

The Civilian War Memorial is a heritage landmark dedicated to civilians who died during the Japanese occupation of Singapore in World War II from 1942 to 1945. It’s the brainchild of Singaporean designers from Swan and Maclaren Architects, a homegrown architectural and industrial design firm.

The memorial sculpture standing 68 meters tall consists of four pillars representative of people of four races, namely Malay, Chinese, Indian and Eurasian, who perished during the war. The number of civilian victims taken away and executed by the Japanese occupation forces has been unknown, but the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce reported a figure of 40,000 deaths.

Reference: [1] [2]

The Patuxai

Vientiane, Laos PDR

Completed: 1968

War Memorials Across Southeast Asia

The Patuxai, literally Gate of Victory, is erected in remembrance of those who died fighting to protect their fatherland during World War II. It’s also a memorial to the struggles that resulted in the country gaining independence from French colonial rule in 1949. It’s modeled on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, except for the decorating sculptures that convey a great deal about the culture and belief systems unique to Laos.

Together they form the basis of a mix of religions, namely Buddhism, Brahmanism and Hinduism that’s evident in the figures of deities and mythical creatures from ancient literature. They include Kinnaree, the female bird with a human head; and Erawan, the three-headed elephant. The Patuxai is a memorial landmark in the center of Vientiane, the capital of Laos PDR.

Reference: [1] [2]

Monumen Nasional (Monas)

Jakarta, Indonesia

Opened: 1975

The National Monument, also known as Monumen Nasional, or Monas, commemorates the struggle for Indonesian independence. It stands as a testimony to the hardships and the fight for freedom from the Dutch who ruled Indonesia from 1816 to 1941, only to be followed by the Japanese occupation which ended in 1945.

Indonesian architect Friedrich Silaban submitted his design for the National Monument in 1955, but the project was further refined and eventually completed by another architect, R.M. Soedarsono.

The obelisk (square stone pillar) carries the torch of Indonesian independence at the top decorated with bronze and gold. It stands in the middle of 80-hectare parkland that’s part of Merdeka Square in the center of Jakarta.

Reference: [1] [2]

The Son My Memorial

Quang Ngai, Vietnam

Erected: 1978

War Memorials Across Southeast Asia

The Son My Memorial is dedicated to victims of the My Lai Massacre that took place at Son My village, Quang Ngai Province, formerly South Vietnam. The indiscriminate killing of civilians by United States Army personnel happened at the height of the Vietnam War in 1968. The GI’s arrived in the area expecting to engage the National Liberation Front (NLF), but ended up killing innocent civilians instead.

As fighting escalated in the area, it was estimated that more than 500 lives were lost. The world reacted in shock and horror. The Son My Memorial is depicted as a time of unwavering resolve in the face of tragedy and great suffering. Now the village is home to a museum and paraphernalia that people keep as reminders of the tragic event.

Reference: [1] [2] [3]

The Choeung Ek Genocidal Center

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Established: 1988

War Memorials Across Southeast Asia

The Choeung Ek Genocidal Center is located 15 kilometers from Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Formerly referred to as the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, it’s the best-known among a few hundred sites that communist Khmer Rouge forces used to exterminate their adversaries during internal conflicts that took place between 1975 and 1979.

It was estimated that more than 20,000 people were killed and buried in mass graves at this site alone. Approximately two million lives were lost at the hands of the Khmer Rouge countrywide. Choeung Ek is now home to a memorial museum dedicated to victims of the Khmer Rouge.

It’s a tall building with multi-tiered roof design symbolic of Buddhist architecture. Inside, piles of human skulls and bones are on display as a grim historical reminder. Outside, the surrounding landscape calls attention to years the country was turmoil.

Reference: [1] [2]

The Hellfire Pass

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Opened: 1998

War Memorials

The Hellfire Pass, or Chong Khao Khat in Thai, is a preserved historic site located in mountainous terrain in the western part of Kanchanaburi bordering on Myanmar. It’s home to the infamous railway cutting site on the former Burma Railway line built during World War II by forced labor including allied prisoners of war from several countries.

About 12,800 allied prisoners died of malnutrition and disease along with another 90,000 Asians who perished building the so-called “Death Railway”. The Hellfire Pass that was the most difficult section of the then Siam-Burma railway line has been preserved in memory of the allied prisoners and forced labor working under harsh conditions cutting through rocks under torchlights at night, a sight conjuring up the image of fires of hell.

Reference: [1] [2]

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/ Chaiyaphum, Thailand /

/ Story: Trairat Songpao / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul /

It was a journey through time as we paid a visit to ethnic Nyah Kur communities in Chaiyaphum Province, located in the heart of northeastern Thailand, also known as Isan.

Nyah Kur

The Nyah Kur are nonurban groups inhabiting several parts of the country. Their language is a branch of the larger Austroasiatic family indigenous to mainland Southeast Asia and eastern South Asia.

By way of introduction, the Nyah Kur is related to the Mons of Dvaravati, a kingdom that flourished from the 6th to the late 11th century in what is now Thailand. Studies show the modern Nyah Kur language shares extensive similarities in the vocabulary and sounds with Mon, the language of the ancient kingdom.

Narita Lert-utsahakul, liaison of the Nyah Kur Community Learning Center, told this writer:

“It will be nice for everyone to learn through hands-on experience the history of the community, its ethnic music, and the rural way of life.

“This way, they will get to appreciate the traditional music of the people native to the region. It’s a type of tourism activity that focuses on the conservation and restoration of cultural heritage assets.”

That was pretty much a great starting point for our journey to the Isan countryside. The trip took us to a community of descendants of the ancient Mon people located at Tambon Ban Rai in Chaiyaphum’s Thep Sathit District.

As we were witnessing history, we were also watching the present way of life unfold in real time, not to mention good food and the beautiful natural surroundings.

Ways of life

We arrived at Wang Ai Pho Village, Tambon Ban Rai to learn about the homes of the Nyah Kur people.  A remarkable lasting legacy of the past, they were built the old-fashioned way — with one exception.

As time passed, the homes once made of bamboo transformed in the appearance and character to ones built of wood for durability. What remained largely unchanged was house-on-stilts design with a three-level floor plan, each level serving a specific purpose.

The beams that supported the floors above them sat atop pile heads shaped like slingshot catapults. An unfamiliar sight for us city dwellers, it’s an age-old wisdom that’s been passed down from one generation to the next.

Nyah Kur

Nyah Kur

The Nyah Kur people originally settled in the Phang Hoei mountains located at Tambon Ban Rai in Thep Sathit District. Nowadays, ethnic Nyah Kur communities can be found in three provinces.

They made their permanent homes in two districts of Chaiyaphum Province namely, Ban Khwao and Thep Sathit. Their other communities are located in Petchabun Province, and in Pak Thong Chai District of Nakhon Ratchasima, aka Korat.

Nyah Kur

Nyah Kur

Altogether the Nyah Kur people now number more than six thousand. Their written language is adapted from visual symbols of Thai alphabetic writing. The Nyah Kur refer to themselves in the Thai language as “Khon Dong” or “Chao Bon”, literally translated as “People of the Mountains”.

Interestingly, “Nyah” is their native word for people, and “Kur” the mountains. Likewise, “Chao” also means people, whereas “Bon” refers to somewhere up there.


The simple ways of life of the Nyah Kur people are often manifested in smooth performances that combine singing and dancing.

Their musical instruments are made from objects readily available in nature, such as tree leaves. You got that right! They make music by blowing on leaves, a technique requiring practice to make perfect. And nobody does it better than the Nyah Kur, plus they can perform in a band alongside other instruments, too.

Nyah Kur

Nyah Kur

Nyah Kur

Since ancient times the Nyah Kur have perfected leaf blowing as a means of communication as they foraged for food in the forest. They made short musical sections to signal it was time to call it a day and go home.

And we got to try this technique ourselves on this trip. Sometimes we succeeded in doing it, but more than half the time, we failed.

The Nyah Kur could make music blowing on leaves, while we had fun imitating the songs of birds in the tree. Not bad, ha!

Nyah Kur

Nyah Kur

Nyah Kur

The Nyah Kur society is about caring and sharing. Traditionally women are skilled at performing rituals in their everyday lives.

They use objects with supposed magical powers to make predictions, among them a betel nut wrapped in white cloth, which they suspend from somewhere and spin. Meantime, it’s the men who go out into the woods hunting and foraging for food.

Before going on a long journey, they would seek blessings from supernatural beings. And upon their return, it’s customary to offer veneration to good spirits as a way to boost morale.

Nyah Kur

Nyah Kur



For what it is worth, the Nyah Kur people are highly thought of for their ability to use natural resources wisely.

They know the forest like the back of their hands. They can tell by experience which plant is edible and which is not. Traditionally they were born hunters. Now they make a living doing agricultural work but still occasionally hunt and forage for food.

Before the advent of agriculture, the Nyah Kur had lived life strictly following every rule. They didn’t just go out into the woods cutting down trees and clearing forest land for farming. Instead, they relied on village elders for good spiritual blessings before making a move.

After that, they would go to bed as usual. If they had a bad dream, it’s regarded as a portent of evil, and the intended project must be scrapped. Otherwise, it was good to go. Their philosophy is simply this. Every forest has a guardian angel. If you want something, ask.

It’s their symbiotic associations with nature that have helped the Nyah Kur people to survive in the wilderness. To them, the forest provides food security plus the nutrition and water they need going forward.

Take for example, a favorite recipe known as “Miang,” or bite-sized appetizers wrapped in leaves. They are stuffed full of herbs and other good ingredients such as raw banana, eggplants, lemongrass, and elephant ear plants (Colocasia esculenta) that are grown for their edible corms.

To prepare, start by cutting the ingredients into small pieces, add salt and a little bit of hot chilli pepper and wrap with elephant ear leaves. And you’re good to go

The Nyah Kur rely on Miang for a healthy, balanced diet. Plus, it’s in keeping with the long-established tradition that values sharing and caring. It’s a forum for community members to meet as they sit in a circle to share a good meal.

Nyah Kur

The Nyah Kur group whom we met today coincidentally happened to be the first to discover of a famous Siam Tulip field located deep inside the Pa Hin Ngam National Park.

We spent two days and one night on this journey into the forest. The message is clear. It’s amazing how immersing yourself in nature benefits your health. If you have a chance, stop by a Nyah Kur village for a visit. Whether you’re planning to spend a night or two, or making a day trip to the Pa Hin Ngam National Park, trust us.

There is a lot to see. It’s a naturally beautiful place to sleep in a tent if you love stargazing and night sky watching. It’s the only national park open for year-round visits unconditionally. Serious!

The original article in Thai originated in บ้านและสวน Explorer’s Club
Bangkok Then and Now

Bangkok Then and Now

As we welcome the start of a New Year with enthusiasm and renewed hope, it’s good to look back and see how far we have come.

// Thailand //

Story: Samutcha Viraporn / Photo: Rithirong Chanthongsuk, Samutcha Viraporn

A lot has changed since the time of Venice of the East, for which Bangkok was lovingly known. Along came the railway system that ushered in an era of mass travel, followed by the building of many transport routes. As people’s lifestyles changed, shopping malls were mushrooming everywhere, and mass transit light rail systems were introduced. Now it’s a city of skyscrapers. See what it’s like then and now.

Built in the reign of King Rama V, the Stupa of the Golden Mount dominates the skyline above the junction of two canals, Ong-ang and Mahanak, main routes for travel by water since the early days.

Bangkok Railway Station, also known as Hua Lamphong, then and now.

Completed in 1942, the Victory Monument serves as Kilometer Zero on major routes linking Bangkok with other parts of the country. It was designed by famous architect M.L. Poum Malakoul.

The historic Mahakan Fort overlooks Ratchadamnoen Avenue with the Stupa of the Golden Mount in the backdrop.

A bustling street market opposite the Temple of Dawn is home to river view hotels, among them Sala Rattanakosin and Sala Arun.

The Giant Swing bespeaks the influence of Brahmanism on Thai society in olden days.  The swing is gone now; only the red tower remains in front of Wat Suthat Thepwararam.

Above, Silom Road in its early days. Below, the vibrant central business district is served by passenger rail transport — the elevated BTS and underground MRT. The Siboonrueng Building, a familiar sight on Silom, is scheduled for a teardown to make room for a new project.

Siam Center, then and now. The busy intersection in Pathumwan District has become a passenger rail transport hub conveniently linked to business and shopping destinations via the Skywalk.

Ratchaprasong Intersection, then and now. The area is home to the Erawan Shrine, a widely revered Brahman shrine erected in 1956.

Views from the top of the Baiyoke 2, tallest building in Bangkok from 1997 to 2016.

Back in the day, the Post and Telegraph Department doubled as the Central Post Office in Bangrak District. There’s a river pier at the rear of the building that once upon a time was a British consulate. Nowadays, it’s home to the TCDC, Thailand Creative and Design Center.



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Pattani Naturally Charming Small Town

Pattani Naturally Charming Small Town

Many ask what is so fascinating about Pattani. We hear about negative events in the South of Thailand from time to time. But have you ever wondered what it’s really like to visit Pattani? Here’s an inside story.


Story: Samutcha Viraporn / Photo: Sitthisak Namkham, Samutcha Viraporn

Naturally charming, Pattani is a cosmopolitan area with many small town secrets waiting to be discovered. You will love southern hospitality, the friendly and generous reception that locals, for the most part Muslims and Thais of Chinese descent, give their visitors. For simplicity’s sake, let’s look at 5 good reasons why you should pay them a visit.


The mangrove forest is both a source of food for locals and a healthy coastlands ecology that protects the city from strong winds.

Adventure: Take the Tunnel of Bushes through a Mangrove Forest

If you travel the world in search of adventure, the sight of a centuries-old mangrove forest and a tunnel of bushes that runs through it will fill you with awe. It’s home to tropical trees and woody plants with countless prop roots that thrive to form dense thickets. The unspoiled forest covers the entire coastal swamp that’s flooded at high tide. Dubbed one of Thailand’s healthiest wetland ecologies, the Bang Poo Mangrove Forest in Yaring District lies along Pattani Bay and only 25 kilometers from the provincial seat.

A tunnel of bushes among tropical coastal swamps offers views of impressive natural scenery. It tells stories of an enormous richness of the mangrove forest.
Tourists learn how to collect sea mussels, a hands-on experience at the Bang Poo Mangrove Forest, Yaring District.

It’s quite an education to stop by the Yaring Mangrove Forest Study Center. Take a boat ride under forest canopies, then head out to sea and back. The service is offered by villagers. Learn how to collect sea mussels like locals do. On the way back, take a moment to observe sea birds on the bay and coastal wetlands, where sedges and other grass-like species thrive. They provide raw material for sedge basket weaving industries in the area. It could be your most exciting ride, and the view is fantastic.

The tidal mouth of the Pattani River that empties into the Gulf of Thailand.
Dense groups of sedge thrive inside the mangrove forest. The glass-like plants are used to make weaving crafts associated with the way of life in southern Thailand.

The mangrove forest was originally part of ancient coastlands that had grown to form an impenetrable mass around Pattani Bay. After a period of neglect, concerted efforts have been successful in restoring it to good health. Nowadays, tour activities vary from season to season, ranging from boat rides into the forest on nights aglow with fireflies, to stargazing night rides, to homestays at affordable prices.


The façade of the widely revered shrine of Lim Kor Niew.

Old World Charm, Chinatown, and Cool Café

Like other settlements in an earlier time, Pattani originally was a regional hub of commerce. The charming old town sits on the banks of the Pattani River that provides convenient access to the open sea and areas in the hinterland. This is evident in the way shop houses and people’s homes are located along river banks. You will like a quiet saunter on Pattani Pirom Road from Ruedee Intersection to Anohru Road.

The place of origin of an extended family in Pattani in bygone times.

Since ancient times, the little Chinatown at Anohru had been a region of diverse cultures, where Thais, Indians and Chinese met for the buying and selling of goods. It’s also home to the holy shrine of Lim Kor Niew, a goddess widely revered for her supernatural powers. Other main tourist attractions include relics of a bygone society, such as the ancestral home of the Kunanurak clan, and the residence of Khunpitakraya, son of Chinese monk Kunanurak who governed Pattani in the past.

Pattani Pirom Road, one of the city’s most popular thoroughfares.
The café named “All Good Coffee & Bakery” is right next to a famous Hainan chicken restaurant.
The interior of IN_T_AF Café and Gallery looks out over the Pattani River.
Part of an interior living space at the home of Khunpitakraya.

Anohru Road is famous for cozy Chinese style inns, charming wood homes, and Sino-Portuguese architecture. Coffee lovers shouldn’t miss the old town’s greatest hangouts – All Good Coffee & Bakery (which is right next to a famous Hainan chicken restaurant), and IN_T_AF Café & Gallery.

Civilization has diverse origins. Krue Se Mosque is a beautiful piece of architecture and pride of Pattani town. The holy shrine of Lim Kor Niew is a widely revered temple that’s the city’s heart and soul.

Looking for a holy place to pray to God? There are the famous Krue Se Mosque and the Central Mosque of Pattani. Dress properly if you intend to visit.


Don’t miss out on it! Wae Mah Roti is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Delicious Food, Good Tea, Great Roti, and all

Pattani food culture is interesting for it brings people together to enjoy good eating. There is happiness in their eyes as people meet and eat together in their favorite restaurants. If Roti, or Chapati, is your thing, you shouldn’t miss the Wae Mah Roti shop. It’s always full of people, but it’s worth a visit. There’s the slightly salty, crispy crunchy kind to suit every pleasure of taste. The best place no doubt, if you want to eat like locals do. And it’s inexpensive, too!

Wae Mah Roti shop is busy all day every day.
The frying pan that goes to work non-stop every day at Wae Mah Roti.

For a more modern atmosphere, there is Chaba Roti & Coffee located behind Mor Or (call sign of the Prince of Songkhla University at Pattani). It’s located on Samakkee Road Route B. Their famous tea recipes go together very well with Roti. A nice place to dine alfresco.
By the way, if strong tea is your thing, go to a small shop called Cha-Indo & Roti located on the same road. Right opposite from it stands Papa TaGu Restaurant that serves Khao Mok, the Thai Muslim version of Indian Biryahni. The fragrant yellow rice dish is served with chicken, fish, beef, or goat meat. All good. Take your pick. If you dine together as a group, it’s better to order trays of food and come away satisfied every time. You will love the Arab rice they use, which is perfectly fluffy and not sticky.

Chaba Roti & Coffee presents charcoaled Roti and Roti with curry, a Pakistan style recipe served with sunny-side up eggs.
Mouth-watering Khao Mok recipe at Papa TuGu. Order trays of food if you come as a group. It’s deeply satisfying.
The sign in front of Papa TuGu that has appeared in print media.

If the ambience of a restaurant is important in entertaining guests, we recommend Baan De Nara. Try out their signature yellow curry with mackerel and coconut milk. You may also like Solok, a traditional southern dish made of bell peppers stuffed with fish, shrimp, and a healthy dose of curry, a lesser-known recipe but delicious nonetheless.

The most delicious meals at Baan De Nara: Yellow curry with mackerel and coconut milk, Solok (traditional southern dish made of bell peppers stuffed with fish and a healthy dose of curry), Boodoo, and fired shrimp with lemongrass. All good.

Chinese food is meant to be savored and enjoyed. For that, we recommend London, an old restaurant widely admired for enchanting Chinese cuisine. Their highly pleasing recipes are on par with those that you get in Bangkok no doubt. But for a mouth-watering Rad-Na meal (stir-fried noodle with pork and kale soaked in gravy), go to Num Ros Restaurant, and you won’t be disappointed.


An event that’s part of the Pattani Decoded design exhibition.

A Vibrant and Growing Scene of Art and Design

You may have heard of the Koleh boat that over time has come to symbolize culture and the way of life on the Malay Penninsula. But there is more to Pattani than just the Koleh boat.
Nowadays, at a continually increasing rate the young generation of Pattani has taken a keen interest in art and design. As a result, an art gallery called “Patani Art Space” was born. It has achieved its objective in promoting the works and ideas of up-and-coming young artists in the three southernmost provinces.

Asst. Prof. Jehabdulloh Jehsorhoh, founder of Patani Art Space

Over the past several years, their designs have received proper recognition. Take for example the Benjametha brand of ceramics, which earned a few DEmark design awards; the Batik of Baan De Nara, which some Japan buyers bought for Kimono making; and the Tlejourn brand of footwear that turned recycled ocean waste into products of quality and value.

An outdoor market selling secondhand goods and vintages that’s part of the Pattani Decoded design week.
Patterns characteristic of Malay design by local artists on show during the Pattani Decoded design week.
Ocean debris transforms into raw material for the Tlejourn shoemaking industry.
Ceramic article by Emsophian from the brand Benjametha.

The force behind this success was Rachit Radenahmad. He teamed up with Melayu Living, a local creative group. Together they succeeded in staging “Pattani Decoded”, the province’s first Design Week showcasing works by local artists, designers and community members in August 2019.


Roti Achiva, a crisped-to-perfection Roti meal by members of the Vocational College of Pattani. A delicious memento to take home!

OTOP as Memento of Your Visit

Your adventures in Pattani are not complete without something to take home or a souvenir to remind you of your visit. For that, we recommend Roti Achiva, a local brand of crisped-to-perfection meals made by members of the Vocational College of Pattani. It’ so delicious it’s hard to stop eating. By the way, there’s another Roti brand called Miss Millah, which is also very good. It’s part of OTOP, an acronym for the “One Tambon, One Product” project. Take your pick. Or go for dried banana strips and fish flavored rice chips that are equally popular.


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10 Best Places to Eat in Canggu, Bali

10 Best Places to Eat in Canggu, Bali

Located on the southern coast of Bali, Canggu is known for beautiful rolling rice fields and the roar of the surf. The fast growing village is roughly half-an-hour drive from the upscale resort area at Seminyak that lies further south. Looking for good food, good vibe? Here are ten best places to eat in Canggu, from trendy café to Balinese style restaurants to cool spots to post on Instagram.


/// Indonesia ///

Story: Samutcha Viraporn /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham

Cafe Organic

One of the favorite hangouts in Canggu, Café Organic means exactly that. Good food comes from natural farming methods. Feel the atmosphere. The interior space in shades of white is adorned with lush tropical gardens. There are healthy desserts to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Warung Gouthe

A restaurant with beautiful rice field views, Warung Gouthe is well known for its home-style brochettes. The skewered meat or fish chunks grilled or roasted to perfection come in a tray with an excellent side dish of salad. You will love panini, a sandwich made with toasted Italian bread and the tantalizing aroma of a country style kitchen.

Cabina Bali

A favorite place serving breakfast and lunch, Cabina Bali is about good food, great company, and the opportunity to share the happiest moments in life. Here, food comes in a floating basket, so you don’t even have to get out of the pool. Girls in bikinis love it for the Gram.



Calm down and relax at Parachute as you take in the view of surrounding rice fields and lush vegetable gardens. If you prefer to eat alfresco, there are parachute canopies for that. Inside, coffee smells like heaven, and the aroma of baked goods will simply overwhelm you.


My Warung Canggu

Nothing beats a steak grilled to perfection. My Warung Canggu is a place to give yourself a nice treat or the ultimate indulgence. It goes together well with artistic and definitely exciting interior design. There’s even a confession room in case you think you’ve eaten too much.

A Day Trip Through Yaowarat / Chinatown Bangkok

A Day Trip Through Yaowarat / Chinatown Bangkok

The historic business hub of Bangkok is on CNN’s List of “Best Districts for Street Food” and “Top Ten Chinatowns in the World”. Whether it be fine dining or quick one-dish dinners, you can find some of the best meals in Yaowarat. Combine your favorite pastimes into one-day adventure. Living ASEAN recommends stopping by these places.

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9:00 Coffee at Ama Hostel

Start your day at Ama Hostel Bangkok, a recently renovated Chinese style building located at 191 Soi Sapanhan off Chakkrawat Road in Samphanthawong area. The café in the forward section of the hostel offers coffee that smells so good. There’s nothing like the warm aroma of a steaming cup of coffee to wake you up to a beautiful day in old Chinatown. Nearby, push cart vendors serve delicious Kuichai meals and Kuay Jub noodes.


10:00 Shop at Sampeng Market and Yaowarat

A stone’s throw away from Ama Hostel stands Sampeng Market, a shopper’s paradise for goods at bargain prices, both retail and wholesale. The area is well known for many gift shops and stores selling fabrics, clothing and accessories, toys and seasonal decorating materials. Follow Chakkrawat Road and you come to Yaowarat Road.


12:00 Lunch at the Canton House

Enjoy the pleasure of authentic Chinese food at the Canton House. Established in 1908, the restaurant has since been renovated to give it unique appeal characterized by raw construction materials. The Canton House is located at 530 Yaowarat Road, Samphanthawong area. You will love the bite-sized Dim Sum in steamer baskets, steamed pork rib with black bean sauce, and fried Mantou (buns) with condensed milk. Thai and Western meals are also on the menu.


13:00 Wat Leng Noei Yi

The historic Wat Leng Noei Yi is rooted deeply in this community of Thai citizens of Chinese descent. Founded in 1871, the temple has been involved in every facet of life of the followers of Buddhism. It sees the busiest time during the period leading to Chinese New Year celebrations. Slowly burning joss sticks are used in paying tribute to the Lord Buddha. It’s good idea to avoid getting smoke in your eyes.


14:00 Jay Noi’s Kuichai Meal

About 250 meters to the right of Wat Leng Noei Yi stands a famous push-cart business selling fried Kuichai meals. Jay Noi’s Kuichai is renowned for being one of the most delicious vegetable meals in Yaowarat. Located on Charoen Krung Road, the humble push cart vendor sells Kuichai at 10 Baht apiece. The menu also includes fried Taro and Jicama (a globe shaped root vegetable). They are equally delightful.


15:00 Cakes at Wallflowers Café

Beat the heat in the afternoon with yummy mouthwatering cakes served with frothy Thai tea with cheese. Located at 31-33 Soi Nana, Pom Prab area, Wallflowers Café sits on the upper floor of a florist’s shop, which provides inspiration for many beautiful items on its menu. The café is owned and operated by an architect who has great interest in the art of coffee making.

Go Eat, Go View! Fill up at Restaurants the Locals Love (Chao Phraya)

Go Eat, Go View! Fill up at Restaurants the Locals Love (Chao Phraya)

It’s said that waterways are the wellsprings of civilization, and that does appear to be true. Looking back many thousands of years to the earliest prototypes of human civilization it seems they all had close relationships with and originated along water sources. Civilizations in the Nile Delta, the Huang He basin, along the Indus River, the Tigris-Euphrates, and in Thailand itself, humanity’s ways of life began with connections to waterways used for consumption, travel, and agricultural use.

The international festival of contemporary art Bangkok Art Biennale (BAB) 2018 echoes this historic heritage of civilization by exhibiting the works of artists both Thai and foreign along one of Asia’s ancient and majestic waterways. Come along today as we take you to see art on the Chao Phraya riverside, and, by the way, take a few breaks to scarf down some truly delicious food.

Saphan Taksin SkyTrain Station

Our starting point today is the Saphan Taksin BTS Skytrain station, itself an important landmark. Foreigners are familiar with it for its location in the heart of Charoen Krung district and its access to the Chao Phraya Express Boat and cross-river ferries, for travel to major points such as Asiatique the Riverfront, ICONSIAM, Wat Arun, Maharaj Pier, and many others.

Sathorn Pier (Chao Phraya Express Boat, Chao Phraya Tour boats, cross-river ferries)
A songthaew minibus service running along Charoen Krung Road

For a taste treat in the Charoen Krung area, we’ll first take you to “Thip Hoi Thot Phukhao Fai,” a superb fried shellfish shop in Soi Charoen Krung 50 known for the freshness of ingredients coming direct from the sea each day. We recommend the Hoi Thap Hoi (“Shellfish on Shellfish”) for 90 baht, featuring deep fried mussels spread on top of a layer of oysters for a crispy-outside, soft-inside taste, with oysters that are delightfully fresh and juicy.

Thip Hoi Thot Phukhao Fai (Shop is in the front of the tiny 1 Khuha Building, tucked away in Soi Charoenkrung 50)

Hoi Thap Hoi (crispy-fried mussels spread over oysters)

Thip Hoi Thot Phukhao Fai Restaurant
Open Monday – Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Tel: 0-2233-1116

Full from our Thip Hoi Thot Phukhao Fai meal, leaving the shop we see Robinson’s Department Store, a Bang Rak landmark since 1992 and an early indicator of the commercial boom this area was about to undergo.

Robinson Department Store, Bang Rak Branch

Just past Robinson we glance across the street to see another of this area’s great restaurants, Prajak Roast Duck.”

In front of Robinson’s, traffic tends to get congested!

Prajak Roast Duck (directly across from Robinson’s)

Prajak Roast Duck has a long history in Bang Rak, and is famous for its roast duck, tender, skin crispy to perfection, and delicious. Today we’re ordering kiaow mee kung pet (“mee noodles with dumplings, shrimp, and duck”) and kiaow kung chin toh (“prawn dumplings”) with crispy-skin roast duck on top, for an intensely savory taste without needing to add any seasoning at all.

kiaow mee kung pet
kiaow mee kung pet

Prajak Roast Duck Shop
Open: daily, 8:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Tel: 0-2234-3755

. . . continuing our walk along Charoen Krung Road, at Soi 40 we reach a major Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 location, with Festival exhibits at three venues: the East Asiatic Building, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and the OP Place Shopping Plaza.

On the way to Assumption College, Bang Rak
Bang Rak District stands out for its tremendous number of jewelry shops selling natural stones and gems.
At Soi Charoen Krung 40 a charming old fellow directs traffic in to the exhibitions.
As we enter Soi Charoen Krung 40, the East Asiatic Building is on the left.

Going up the 2nd floor of East Asiatic Building we find an exciting group of works, including Diluvium, an installation art piece which transforms the room in a uniquely disturbing way, by Korean female artist Lee Bul. Then there is Nothing Is Less Comparable 2018 by Sara Favriau, a sculptress from France skilled in creating art works from wood. Moving on, we see Pyramid Shape Sculpture, an extremely unusual and striking sculpture by Andrew Stahl, and Performing Textiles, which poses questions about various social issues, especially women’s rights, with artist Kawita Vatanajyankur using her body as a tool for “women’s work at home.”

Inside the East Asiatic Building
Diluvium, by Lee Bul
Diluvium, by Lee Bul
Nothing Is Less Comparable 2018, by Sara Favriau
Nothing Is Less Comparable 2018, by Sara Favriau
Pyramid Shape Sculpture, by Andrew Stahl
Pyramid Shape Sculpture, by Andrew Stahl
Performing Textiles, by Kawita Vatanajyankur
Performing Textiles, by Kawita Vatanajyankur
Companion Hands, by Kata Sangkhae
Companion Hands, by Kata Sangkhae

Leaving the East Asiatic Building we encounter Lost Dog, a more than 3.8-meter-tall sculpture by Aurèle Ricard, towering in front of the Mandarin Oriental.

Lost Dog, by Aurèle Ricard

Turning left into the OP Shopping Plaza right next door, there is more great art on exhibit, beginning with Jrai Dew: a radicle room, a mixed-media presentation by Art Labor, a Vietnamese group of artists. Next is Listen to the voice my Land Papua, a painting on canvas by Moelyono. And there is QUALITY: quality, by Latthapon Korkiatarkul, which urges us to think and pose questions about our lives and surroundings.

OP Place Shopping Plaza
Jrai Dew: a radicle room – Art Labor
Jrai Dew: a radicle room, by Art Labor
Listen to the voice my Land Papua, by Moelyono
QUALITY : quality, by Latthapon Korkiatarkul
Becoming White, by Eisa Jocson

OK! We’ve seen quite a bit of art! Let’s go pamper ourselves a little with a visit to the organic café “Farm to Table.” This tiny place is hidden away near the Pak Khlong flower market, with a warm and familiar atmosphere suitable for a good sit-down chill. Let’s order lod chong + ice cream (75 baht), a mix of soft, smooth organic ice cream with the signature sweetness of lod chong dessert noodles.

Farm to Table organic café
Lod Chong + Ice Cream

Shop: Farm to Table organic café
Open: every day, 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Tel: 0-2115-2625

Feeling fat and sassy after a restful stop, we exit the shop to head out again on our art odyssey. There are two more BAB 2018 exhibition locations right nearby: Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn, or Wat Pho, and Wat Arun Ratchawararam.

We can just walk across the bridge to Tha Thien Pier (Wat Pho)

In the Wat Pho grounds six important art works are on display, including Paths of Faith, by Jitsing Somboon – a collection of white robes, backs embroidered with the word “faith” in Thai, Chinese, and English – and Zuo You He Che, by Huang Yong Ping, which uses sculptures of fantastic animals to depict stories based in Chinese culture.

Paths of Faith, by Jitsing Somboon
Zuo You He Che, by Huang Yong Ping
(Photo credit: Metthi Samanthong)

If you get tired looking at the Wat Pho exhibitions, you can walk across Maharaj Road and into a tiny alley on the Chao Phraya riverside. There you’ll find another super-cool café hidden away, the Blue Whale Café.

The Blue Whale Café

The Blue Whale Café is a tiny Maharaj Road district coffeehouse set in the soi opposite Wat Pho. What makes it special is the ambiance, a sky blue décor  matching the name. We order the signature dish, “nom anchan (“butterfly-pea milk) for 120 baht, colorful, eye-catching, photogenic! Check in there and have a taste: milk, butterfly pea, mixed, for an incredible new taste.

nom anchan

Shop: Blue Whale Café
Open: every day, 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Tel: 08-1641-4514

Once you’ve filled yourself up with this treat, let’s check out one more place. Right near Phra Athit Pier is “Khun Daeng’s Kui Jap Yuan,” is one of the area’s best-known spots for Thais and foreigners alike, and should be experienced at least once. We suggest the Kui Jap Juan (45 baht), which Khun Daeng is justly known for: soft, viscous noodles in a mellow soup that needs practically no additional seasoning.

Khun Daeng’s Kui Jap Yuan

The dish Kui Jap Yuan

Shop: Khun Daeng’s Kui Jap Yuan
Open: every day, 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Tel: 0-2282-0568

. . . Full of delicious kui jap but still not sated with all this art? Then hop on a boat, cross to the other riverbank and see more at the Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan and Wat Prayoonwongsawat Worawihan BAB expositions.

Across the Universe and Beyond, by Sanitas Pradittasnee

So, have you experienced a full menu of awesome art works and fabulous eats along the Chao Phraya riverside? Well, remember: Bangkok Art Biennale 2018’s “Beyond Bliss” is held until February 3, 2019, at a full 20 venues, not just here, but all over the city of Bangkok!

Four Cafés We’ve Picked for You to Stop and Have Some Tea or Coffee After Visiting BAB 2018’s Urban Zone

Four Cafés We’ve Picked for You to Stop and Have Some Tea or Coffee After Visiting BAB 2018’s Urban Zone

We’ve told you already about “6 cafés with cool designs for us to stop in after a visit to BAB 2018,” right? Well, now we’d like to take you on a tour of BAB’s urban zone, with four more primo cafés we’ve picked out. Besides an attractive drink menu, as with ones we gave you before, each has a uniquely cool atmosphere, and they definitely aren’t far from exhibits at Bangkok Art Biennale (BAB) 2018 international festival of contemporary art . . . so come on, don’t be a stuck-in-the-mud, let’s go check ‘em out!!

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Taliw /// Photo: Sroisuwan.T, Wara Suttiwan and Taliw

Hungry Me & Thirsty You 

bangkok art biennale 2018

The Hungry Me & Thirsty You café, on the bank of Khlong Saen Saep, stands out for its yellow color tones and chic atmosphere. It’s a bit of a secret, hidden away in the Yelo House creative space. But it’s just a short 350-meter walk from there to the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC), a major BAB 2018 exhibition location.

Yelo House is a warehouse converted into a multipurpose space right on Khlong Saen Saep, with this “secret” café inside. Besides a great drink and snack menu to refresh your body with, there’s also real food to be had.

Hungry Me & Thirsty You stands out for its cool half-glass-house design looking out on Khlong Saen Saep and some colorful graffiti for scenery. At midday the sun shines in to give the yellow-toned café a warm look. As evening stretches into darkness, Hungry Me & Thirsty You morphs into a hangout where we can socialize with the gang.

bangkok art biennale 2018 bangkok art biennale 2018

Besides its unique identity, another good point is that there are art fairs and various activities here, which can be a lot of fun depending on what Yelo House has going on when you visit. In any case, enjoy snacks and food to your heart’s content, and then . . . hop over to the BACC for another hit of BAB 2018!

Our suggestion today is a sweet snack and a light drink to relax from the heat. Start with the refreshing Apple Ginger drink (120 baht), apple juice blended with ginger for a sweet mellow taste tending just a bit toward sour. For those who like milk, we recommend ELLA (120 baht), a dark tea with honey and milk served in bottle form. It’s chilled already, so no need to add ice to muck up the taste.

Now to bakery items: we recommend the Chocolate Memories Cake (200 baht), with a soft frosting on top and a rich chocolate taste along with a succulent texture. Eaten with the Apple Ginger drink it becomes perfection itself. Or you could try the Lemon Poppy Butter Cake (150 baht), a lightly moist butter cake, sweet-tasting with a hidden sour. At first blush it may look ordinary, but the taste is extraordinary, and we’re betting you won’t stop at one piece.

  • Address: Soi Kasemsan 1, Rama 1 Road (BTS National Stadium, Exit 1)
    • Business hours: 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., closed Mondays (kitchen opens 11:30)
    • FB:

Samples of art on display at the Bangkok Art Biennale International Contemporary Art Festival 2018

Basket Tower; Artist: Choi Jeong Hwa;
Name: Basket Tower; Artist: Choi Jeong Hwa; on display at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
Genetic Manipulation
Name: Genetic Manipulation; Artist: Heri Dono; on display at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
Name: Soaked Dream; Artist: Firoz Mahmud; on display at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
Name: Soaked Dream; Artist: Firoz Mahmud; on display at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre



Heekcaa is a hot spot that tea lovers absolutely should know about. It’s located on the 2nd floor of Siam Discovery, midway between two BAB 2018 locations, Bangkok Art and Culture Centre and Siam Paragon. Actually, walk just 750 meters further on and you can enjoy the BAB exhibits at Central World, too.

For this second shop, we recommend you try an original recipe from China that Siam Discovery and café Heekcaa have found hits the spot for many tea lovers, the signature drink of this café, “cheese tea.”

This drink is both a best-seller and the signature Heekcaa offering, under the name Heekcaa Cheese (90 baht).  It has the charming taste of oolong, but is topped with soft cream cheese for a rich taste with a nice salty sweetness. Green tea powder is sprinkled on top for an added subtlety. We recommend when drinking it to raise the glass at a 45-degree angle, for a blended flavor of oolong and cream cheese.

If you aren’t a cream cheese fan, Heekcaa has plenty of other dishes to choose from, for instance the fruit juice Full Cup Passion Fruit (99 baht), a jasmine tea blended with the unique sweet-sour taste of passion fruit, a refreshing drink that’s definitely not boring!

Besides blended teas of premium freshness, another Heekcaa highlight is its simple but elegant atmosphere, subtly relaxing in color tones of grey-white in a well apportioned space, perfect for sitting and chatting with friends or simply chilling.

Examples of works on exhibit at the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 international festival of contemporary art

Tape Bangkok
Name: Tape Bangkok; Artist: Numen For Use Design Collective; on display at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
Spiritual Spaceship
Name: Spiritual Spaceship; Artist: Torlarp Larpjaroensook; on display at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
Name: ALIEN CAPITAL; Artist: Sornchai Phongsa; on display at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre

House of Eden

House of Eden

At the House of Eden café you’ll have no trouble pleasing the palate. Snacks or main dishes, you’ll experience perfectly delicious flavors in newly created dishes, especially the Thai fusion food. This half-café, half-restaurant is on the 2nd floor of Siam Discovery, an easy walk to or from BAB 2018 expositions, whether at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Siam Paragon, or Central World.

This is the second branch of the café, with the first in Groove at Central World This new outlet is remarkable for its rose-gold color, built around the unusual concept of a “Tree of God.”

What catches the eye here is the décor: the color selection gives it a cute, sweet ambience, and at same time there is the transformative Tree of God theme that gives a heavenly feeling to dining here. Furniture designed in the same color scheme and style adds to this artifice.

There is a really wide variety of food and drink choices here. You can eat light, or eat heavy, really filling up on Thai fusion, whose distinct flavors make it the favorite of many. With that in mind, here are some meal suggestions for hungry folks.

House of EdenHouse of Eden


Start with a Chicken Wings Eden Sauce (260 baht) appetizer. This is fried chicken enhanced with the café’s own special sauce for a mellow, playful taste. Moving towards the main course, we suggest Spaghetti Bacon Garlic (270 baht), with its hot, peppery Thai-style flavor with dried chilis and garlic, a perfect match for the soft noodles and crispy bacon. And don’t forget to order Grilled Kurobuta with Mala Sauce (370 baht), which really adds flavor to the meal, especially the delicacy of grilled-to-perfection  Kuroba pork with Mahala sauce, chili-hot and served with grilled vegetables to go along with the heat.

Besides main dishes, House of Eden has lots of fruit drinks, tea, and sweets to try out. There’s Passion Sunrise (220 baht), a “mocktail” with a pleasant combination of sweet and sour, for an appropriate contrast with the spicy hot of a main dish. Enjoy it with a light dessert such as Panna Cotta: softness topped with fresh fruit.

Examples of art works on display at the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 international festival of contemporary art

The Settlement
Name: The Settlement; Artist: Mark Justiniani; on display at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
The Outlaw’s Flag; Artist: Jakkai Siribut
Name: The Outlaw’s Flag; Artist: Jakkai Siributr; on display at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre
Good Girls Go to Heaven, Bad Girls Go Everywhere
Name: Good Girls Go to Heaven, Bad Girls Go Everywhere; Artist: Imhathai Suwatthanasilp; on display at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre

Boyy & Son Café

Boyy & Son Café

Boyy & Son is the last café we’ll bring you to visit today. It provides a comfy atmosphere in the Chidlom-Ploenchit district, and it’s only 700-meter walk from there to yet another BAB 2018 art exhibit location, Central Embassy.

A super-cool café that grew out of a fashion brand, it connects to Flagship Store, so the décor has a “minimal luxury” style stressing simplicity and warmth, while at the same time luxury is revealed in its selection of materials.

The décor here is simple. The furniture is based around benches constructed of gorgeous terrazzo-style polished stone. There’s a feeling of openness, with on one side glass walls letting in natural light for an atmosphere of comfort and warmth, and on the other a supremely beautiful ocean aquarium, an impressive feature that is softened with green pastels.

Boyy & Son Café

Drink and dessert menus here are unique, staring with the their signature Iced Boyy & Son Caramel (120 baht), notable for its homemade caramel sauce, flavorful with special fresh ingredients such as sea salt. This drink is delightfully rich, as a thick jelly adds texture. Continuing on, for chocolate lovers there’s the Iced Dark Chocolate Mint (140 baht), a dark chocolate from Valrhona Chocolate, a French brand known for some of the most delicious chocolates in the world. This is served with a blend of mint syrup for its characteristic fragrance and flavor.

Boyy & Son Café

Finally, we recommend a new product, freshly baked, the Almond Croissant (130 baht). This is warmed before serving: crispy on the outside, soft and luscious on the inside, and chock full of almonds. This dish makes for some fun eating, and goes perfectly with either of the two drinks above.

  • Address: Floor G, Gaysorn Village (Gaysorn Tower)
  • Hours: open every day, 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Examples of art works on display at the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 international festival of contemporary art

Name: 14 Pumpkins; Artist: Yayoi Kusama; on display at Central World
Name: I Carry on Living with the Pumpkins; Artist: Yayoi Kusama; on display at Siam Paragon
Name: Pumpkin; Artist: Yayoi Kusama; on display at Siam Paragon
Name: Happy Happy Project: Fruit Tree; Artist: Choi Jeong Hwa; on display at Central Embassy
3 Well-designed Cafés Along the Phra Nakhon Riverside for Relaxation After Viewing Fine Art at BAB 2018

3 Well-designed Cafés Along the Phra Nakhon Riverside for Relaxation After Viewing Fine Art at BAB 2018

Let’s check out the coffee and tea scene along the Chao Phraya “riverside zone” for the final weekend of the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 Bangkok art festival. Come connect with us at 3 more shops in the Phra Nakhon district for some not-to-be-missed café-hopping.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Taliw /// Photography: Sroisuwan.T and Wara Suttiwan

Ha Tien Café

Ha Tien Café

Ha Tien Café is in Soi Pratu Nokyung, just off Maharaj Road, convenient to BAB 2018 exhibits at Wat Pho and just a ferry ride from more art on display across the river at Wat Arun.

Ha Tien Café

Old-style coffee at the Tha Tien pier, surrounded by old antiques collected over 10 years in this café converted from a house that is itself an antique: what could be cooler? Customers sit and sip, enjoying the ambience with their favorite drinks and snacking on homemade sweets. There are three floors, each with a different style. Drinks are mostly coffee-based, but include added herbs and flowers that give the tastes here a unique identity. Try the Rose Latte coffee, with rose hips, or Ma-Toom Coffee, with a syrup from quince simmered to an intense rich flavor. Specially selected coffee beans give the drink an extra mellowness that brings out the flavor of the quince. The homemade cake is a perfect match for whatever choice you make.

Ha Tien CaféHa Tien Café

  • Address: Soi Pratu Nokyung
    Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

A Pink Rabbit + Bob

A Pink Rabbit + Bob

The Tha Tien district also offers a diminutive café named A Pink Rabbit + Bob that’s well known for its vintage style. The atmosphere begins with the building, a great example of the old community architecture here, and is reinforced by the vintage furniture and brash pink neon signs in the evening that seem perfect for the context. Some great delicacies are served here, not limited to drinks and pastries, but including a great food menu. This café is under the same management as the well-known “It’s Happened to be a Closet” in another part of town, so guaranteed, this is a satisfying place to eat.

A Pink Rabbit + Bob

A dish you really ought to try is the Custard Salted Choc, or “Lon Tan Cake.” This dish is noted for its flavorful palm sugar filling, cut with caramel and chocolate, and the cake is topped with a meringue and soft chocolate. There is also the chocolate-topped Zebra Mascapone, another signature dish of the shop. You can cut those chocolate oils with a Chinese Plum Frappé or the Iced Coconut Latte Cube, espresso and milk formed into an icy shape and served with cool coconut milk, pretty incredible!

A Pink Rabbit + Bob

  • Address: Maharaj Street, across from Wat Pho
    Time: Open every day, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Arelomdee Cafe @Khao San

Arelomdee Cafe @Khao San

This café is perfect if you’re traveling by car from Tha Tien to the Bank of Thailand Learning Center to catch the BAB 2018 exhibits there. The route takes you along Khao San Road and the Arelomdee Café, with the Learning Center just 1.3 kilometers away.

Arelomdee Cafe @Khao San

The cafe maintains a chic atmosphere, easy-going, with a rustic style that understates how chic it actually is. The ancient look of the walls fits perfectly with the neon lights. There are 2 floors, each with a different look. The first floor has the feel of a typical Khao San hangout, while the upstairs is really comfy and set up for relaxation. What to drink? you do not want to miss the Black Cocoa x Hokkaido and Melon Sprite. Hungry? Try the Yam Mu Yaw Kiao Krop, a salad with just the right chili-hot that won’t make you feel too full, great for a snack and some good chill time.

Arelomdee Cafe @Khao San

  • Address: Tanao Street, across from a famous Banglampoo Bakery Shop
  • Hours: Open every day, 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Examples of art on exhibit at the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 festival of international contemporary art, Phra Nakhon District and nearby areas

Dragon Boat by Huang Yong Ping
Venue: BOT Learning Center

Dragon Boat is an installation created by Chinese avant-garde artist Huang Yong Ping, founder of the Xiamen Dada art movement. Standing 4.2 meters tall, the sculptural work that measures 16 by 4.2 meters depicts a journey by the people who migrated from China’s Fuxian region to settle in Thailand more than a century ago. Huang is passionate about the art of storytelling. Huang is originally from Xiamen, a port city in China’s southeast. He now lives and works in France. One of his masterpieces, Dragon Boat, is currently on show at the Bank of Thailand Learning Center.

Memory House by Alex Face, Souled Out Studios (SOS)
Venue: BOT Learning Center

Thailand’s well-known graffiti artist Alex Face is a member of the street art troupe SOS, which is short for “Souled Out Studios”. The group includes, among other things, visual artists, videographers, and ceramic sculptors who explore questions about the end of life. Alex participates in the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 by presenting little Mardi, a three-eyed baby character with an aged face filled with disillusions. The sculptural installation shows the baby’s eyes opened wide in shock and rabbit ears crashing through the roof. Is he trying to call attention to a worrisome problem that’s happening to the Chao Phraya River? It’s left to your interpretation.

Paths of Faith by Jitsing Somboon
Venue: Wat Phra Chetupon or Wat Pho

Formerly chief designer at the Thai clothing brand “Playhound”, Jitsing Somboon is passionate about marrying art with fashion design. “Paths of Faith”, his entry into the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, is a collection of white overcoats with “Faith” in Thai, English, and Chinese embroidered on their back. The items are given for people to wear over other clothing as they enter an area dedicated to a religious purpose at the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. The clothing item is part of a live installation art that’s happening with the accompaniment of sacred music and the sounds of coins hitting the inside wall of the donation bowl.

Sediments of Migration by Pannapan Yodmanee
Venue: Khao Mo at Wat Phra Chetupon or Wat Pho

“Sediment of Migration” is a transportable installation by Pannapan Yodmanee, one of the few Thai artists to ever win the 11th Benesse Prize. The sculptural composition that’s her entry into the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 consists of six miniature mountains, hermit figures in yoga poses, and ballast stones taken from ancient cargo ships. Inspired by the mural paintings found throughout the temple, the exhibition is a chronicle of historical accounts of migration, trade, and religious travels between China and the Kingdom of Siam of olden days.

From the World Inside / Across the Universe by Sanitas Pradittasnee
Venue: Khao Mo at Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn

“From the World Inside / Across the Universe” is a site specific installation entered into the Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 by Sanitas Pradittasnee. The artist got her inspiration from miniature mountain landscapes that she saw at Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn. Her new work comes in handy as an invitation to search the mind to understand the inner self, so as to become knowledgeably aware of the goings-on in the world outside. It sends a message that's in line with "Loka-witu", one of nine rules in Buddhism. The installation consists of acrylic panels painted a bright shade of red that changes hue as time passes, a reminder that things change, people change, feelings change.

Giant Twins by Komkrit Tepthian
Venue: In Front of Khao Mo, Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn

Bangkok Art Biennale 2018

Thai contemporary artist Komkrit Tepthian is well known for creating beautiful works using Lego blocks. His past works included the reconstruction of Buddha statutes that had been decapitated and the heads smuggled out of the country and sold as ornaments on the black market. His entry into the 2018 Bangkok Art Biennale is “Giant Twins”, an installation featuring conjoined twin brothers — a Chinese warrior stone sculpture and the likeness of the iconic Giant of Wat Arun in full regalia.

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