Tuesday, November 29, 2011


King Rama IX Botanical Festival
1–12 December, Rama IX Park, Bangkok
Exhibition about Suan Luang Botanical Garden, show of winning arts and crafts like flower garlands, sale of plants and gardening tools, region’s cultural performances and fireworks.

Thailand International Motor Expo
1–12 December, Impact Exhibition & Convention Centre, Bangkok
This is where car fanatics get their fill of the latest designs, accessories and gadgets. Expect the big names like Audi, BMW, Volkswagen and Fiat, along with clever 'earth-loving' vehicles.

Trooping of the Colours
2 December, Royal Plaza, Bangkok
Members of the three armed forces – the Royal Thai Army, the Royal Thai Navy and the Royal Thai Air Force – together with the royal guards, don colourful uniforms and march in unison before HM the King and Queen and members of the Royal Family.

Thailand International Balloon Festival
2–6 December, Nakhon Nayok
The festival showcases the wonderful thrill of balloon flying and the country’s unique and beautiful hinterland.

Chiang Mai Bike Week
2–10 December, Chiang Mai
Bikers come out to play in the mountains this weekend. Charitable activities in Chiang Mai province and surrounding areas combine to make for great fun.

Isan Grand Kite Tradition
3–4 December, Buriram
See kite competitions of various selected categories, a kite procession and sales of local products.

Bangkok Pride Tournament
3–5 December, Tennis Academy of Asia, Bangkok
Asia's first Gay and Lesbian Tennis Alliance tournament hosts fiercely competitive men's singles and doubles matches played in the Thai capital's Pakkred neighbourhood. Spectators welcome too.

King’s Cup Regatta
4–10 December, Phuket
An exhilarating international boating regatta will sees international teams battle it out to win the royal trophy of H.M. The King.

H.M. the King’s Birthday Celebrations
5 December, nationwide
His Majesty the King will celebrate his 83rd birthday today. An alms-giving ceremony in the morning is followed by a huge festival of music and culture.

Koh Samet Festival
6–11 December, Samet Island
Become amazed with the night colours of neighbouring Rayong as you enjoy various entertaining events and tasty food on this tropical oasis.

World Heritage Fair
9–18 December, Ayutthaya
Celebrate this glorious former capital city with a sound and light show, exhibitions, cultural performances, presentations and shopping.

Constitution Day
10 December, nationwide
Today’s celebrations are held annually to commemorate the advent of the regime of Constitutional Monarchy in Thailand.

Rama VIII Traditional Long Boat Races
11 December, Chao Phraya River, Bangkok
Watch scores of traditional long boats, hewn from tree trunks, slice through the water. Taking place in Bangkok, boats of all sizes compete here, with up to 55 paddlers in one boat.

Vintage Vehicle Procession
16–18 December, Hua Hin
View a beautiful procession of vintage cars as they make their way to Hua
Hin via the Railway Station, Klai Kangwon Royal Palace and Clock Tower.

Concert in the Park
Dec 18 & 25, Lumphini Park, Bangkok
Music lovers picnic on tropical winter afternoons with the Bangkok Symphony. The orchestral ensemble plays both Thai and Western classical music, as well as tunes from Broadway.

Sing Buri Fish Festival
Date TBC, Singburi
Fish sculpture contest, fresh fish exhibition, food from fish contest, special dish from great chefs and a variety of industry products on offer.

Pha Mor E-daeng Marathon
Date TBC, Si Sa Ket
A marathon along the way up to “Khao Phra Wiharn” between Phumicharon
Village and Pha Mor E-daeng. Come to run, walk, stroll or watch.

Elephant Sa-Toke Fair
Date TBC, Lampang
Procession of the elephant satok, local cultural performances, exhibitions, sales of local handicrafts and more will be on hand at this delightful annual fair.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Events & Festivals - November

Golden Mount Fair
Date TBC, Wat Saket, Bangkok, central Thailand
Worshippers come from all over the world and merrymaking abounds at this Buddhist monastery where a candlelit procession ascends to the peak on the night of the full moon.

Bangkok International Wine Fair
Date TBC, Siam Paragon, Bangkok, central Thailand
Spicy, fruity, tangy wine flavours from around the world dance on your tongue at this fab fair. Small and boutique wine producers connect with distributors in Thailand and South-East Asia.

Nan Traditional Long Boat Races
Date TBC, Nan Province, north Thailand
The competition has boats of small, medium and large categories with a cheer squad competition, Thai food contest, arts ’n’ crafts fair and OTOP products sale.

Bloomin Bua Tong Festival
1 Nov – 5 Dec, Mae Hong Son, north Thailand
Feel the cool breeze of wintertime while appreciating the natural beauty of the enchanting bua tong, or Mexican sunflower. Camp in a field alongside the beautiful bloom.

Loy Krathong Festival
10 Nov, nationwide
Loy Krathong is a festival occurring on the full moon of the 12th lunar month. Loy means "to float" and a krathong is a small, hand-made boat or raft set adrift on water with a wish.

Phimai Festival
10 13 Nov, Nakhon Ratchasima, north-east Thailand
The event will include a light and sound presentation, river dances, traditional long boat races, art presentations, cultural performances and local food competitions.

Trio for Justice
13 Nov, Sankampeang, Chiang Mai, north Thailand
Choose from a half-marathon, 10K run and 5K walk through stunning rural Thai scenery. Proceeds go to Burmese and northern ethnic minority school children.

Yara Bangkok Challenge
13 Nov, Bangkok Fishing Park, central Thailand
Teams of two cycle, run, kayak and swim past paddy fields, lakes, canals, temples and farmland. There are different levels of competition, with categories for men, women, seniors and mixed.

Surin Elephant Roundup
19-20 Nov, Surin Province, north-east Thailand
To commemorate both the importance of the Thai elephant and the local peoples’ close relationship with them, the Surin Roundup has been held annually since 1960.

Phuket International Soccer 7s
26 27 Nov, Phuket, central Thailand
The largest tournament of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region, the 7s will see four tournaments, comprising 80 teams from 17 countries taking part.

Bangkok Marathon
27 Nov, Bangkok, central Thailand
The historic run is divided into four sections: marathon (42.195 km), wheelchair marathon (42.195 km); mini-marathon (10.5 km); walk and run for good health marathon (5 km).

Laguna Phuket Triathlon
27 Nov, Phuket, south Thailand
Competitors tackle a gruelling 1.8km swim, 55km bike race and 12km run through the tropical landscape. There is also a 6km fun run for a more relaxed challenge.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mansion 7: Boutique Thriller Mall

Looking more like a movie set than a shopping mall, Mansion 7, which appropriately opened on Halloween, hopes to attract Bangkok's trendy thrill-seekers by offering them something completely unique. For starters it’s nowhere near Sukhumvit, it is on Ratchadapisek Road. It also happens to have a stupendously and shamelessly “out-there” theme, as it is designed to be a haunted mansion. Best of all, every food, retail, game and drink outlet has its own unique concept and design that can't be found anywhere else in the city – a rarity in franchise-heavy Bangkok.
The entrance to the 7-rai boutique mall is a great, frightening claw in the middle of a sophisticated purple façade. Once inside, the large, lofty and air-con free space is roughly separated into three main zones: Neglected Garden (home to retail boutiques), Playground (housing cafes and restaurants) and Dark Mansion. The front is the Garden’s domain, the side is for the Playground and all the back, the Dark Mansion [insert maniacal laugh…]. And interspersed amongst it all are an array of intriguing and entertaining games (pay with coupons), like grabbing a prize from a barrel before a guillotine cuts your army off – fun! There is no denying that the site is impressive, no creativity or money has been spared on its construction. In fact, this 170 million baht project is the second masterpiece of Pattara Sahawatra, the brains behind super successful "vintage village" Plearnwan in Hua Hin.
Besides all the other distractions, the real star is the "Dark Mansion" itself. It has been created around the fictional tale of the mad noble Lord Ratchada, who committed disgusting experiments on human bodies in a bid to resurrect his daughter (explained in a video at the beginning). The 15-minute walk through (groups of four clutching a rope) is definitely a work of art that plays with human psychology and fears. Each small group self-guides through spooky experimentation rooms, past embalmed bodies and into a ghostly bedroom. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a tacky romp, it was super creepy. Every detail has been carefully thought out and the odd creaking door, hysterical scream and surprise zombie will keep you on your toes. Not the mention cramped corridors, pitch-dark rooms, strange smells and things that go bump in the night….
Once you’ve made it out alive, you’ll be shown various photos (Bht 250) of yourself in completely embarrassing states of fear that can be taken home as a loving memento. After this experience you might need a stiff drink and Mansion 7 offers two choices: Beer Mansion and Cocktails! The entrance fee is Bht 180 for Episode I and Bht 320 for Episode I and II (the latter has newly been opened). There is a "Combo Set" available, including Episode I, two game coupons and a soft drink. Word to the wise, if you can possibly avoid it, do NOT go through with any teenage Thai girls in tow – their ear-piercing screams at every turn will have you running for the exit faster than any petrified corpse.
244/7 Ratchadapisek Soi 14, Ratchadapisek Rd
MRT Huay Kwang.
Open Mon-Fri noon-midnight, Sat-Sun noon-2am

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Royal Barge Museum

It’s been a while since I’ve done any sight-seeing, a good week perhaps, so I figured I may as well hit some spots on the river as it was another hot and cloudy days and a day on the water, or near to it, seemed like the perfect diversion. Looking at my lonely planet map I’d planned a route that looked both convenient in terms of getting back to work in the afternoon, and pleasant, in terms of being on the river for as long as possible. I now know that it can sometimes be pointless to try and plan things such as routes in Bangkok, unless your taxi driver knows where he’s taking you.
I had planned to head from home to the ferry that would take us to the Royal Barge Museum; the cab driver took us all the way to the museum. Well, not quite. In order to get to the museum by foot you must first walk down a rather narrow alley off of Arun Amarin Road that twists and turns around a series of canals and homes for a good 200m before reaching the museum, which is on the water, hence my initial plan to go by boat.
When we got to the museum we were ushered towards the ticket booth by a sleepy looking guard where we paid our entrance. A note to those who wish to take photos, there is the admission fee and then there is the photography fee, each is 100B, so I would recommend taking as many photos as you can of every inch of the eight magnificent barges housed inside.
When I say magnificent, I truly mean it! The barges were unlike anything I had seen before. I’d seen pictures on the Internet but of course, a picture can only say so much, in order to really appreciate something like these you really need to be standing there, looking up at the giant Nagas that make up the bow of one of the larger barges, you have to be standing next to the huge Garuda statue to fully appreciate the sheer size of these things. If I had to give a ballpark figure, I would say that the largest was probably around 50m long.
The largest and most important of the barges is called Suphannahongsa and was carved from a single tree in 1911 and was built to resemble the mythical golden swan, is the King’s personal barge and takes some 30-plus oarsmen to move and a team of coxswains, or helmsmen, to synchronize their movements. I used to row once upon a time and I can’t even begin to imagine the precision that must go into steering and coordinating the movements of these enormous boats, especially with the whole nation watching and the single most important person in your country aboard.
Walking around the museum doesn’t take very long, it’s basically a small aircraft hangar adapted for the barges. In one corner you can get the usual postcards and souvenirs and there are some old relics from previous barges, which were either damaged as a result of either deterioration or destroyed in bombings during WWII. That isn’t to say that touring the museum a quick fix, you can’t admire the craftsmanship of these beautiful barges on the run, you need to really stop and appreciate the detail and care that has gone into keeping them the way they are today.