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For many decades, Saphan Kwai has never been considered cool—the residential stretch has always been home to non-characteristic shophouses, rundown motels, decades-old restaurants, not to mention a number of that kind of massage parlors. Recently, however, an assortment of new restaurants, cafes, and bars have sprung up, injecting the beginnings of gentrification into the area. One of them is Perfect Strangers, a part-café-part-bar specializing in coffee drinks. Perfect Strangers is located within an imposing gray structure bearing the marked signature of modern industrial architecture. A4 papers printed with words like “OPEN,” “Hello Strangers,” and “Come Inside” are pasted on the façade, inviting passersby to take a second look and possibly venture inside. Swing the door open and find yourself in a high-ceilinged space that effectively combines marble, steel and polished wood. The bar is divided into two sections—one half features high-tech coffee makers like Mavam and Trinity One, while the other half is lined up with spirits and liquor bottles. The word “mocktails” might sound the alarm for overly-sweet and juice-heavy tipples—as we have encountered at similar establishments—but the bar team at Perfect Strangers is prone to producing well-balanced concoctions that do not overpower what’s seemingly a pervading key ingredient: coffee. “One thing that we have to be careful with when making coffee mocktails is putting in the espresso shot at the right time, so the crema of
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Pokémon Detective Pikachu
The story begins when ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry's former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to communicate with one another, Tim and Pikachu join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City - a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world - they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon characters and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe.
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Doi Tung: a mountainous land transformed with love and nurtured with faith
If you visited Doi Tung, one of Chiang Rai’s northernmost peaks, some 30 years ago and never had a chance to return, you’d barely recognized it today. The once desert-like mountains suffered from mobile plantation and—worse—opium planting; now, it’s one of the lushest areas in the north. Everything changed when Princess Srinagarindra, the grandmother of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, set up the Doi Tung Development Project in 1988 with an aim to improve the quality of both the people’s lives and the area they lived in. She even had a house built in the vicinity so she could watch her project grow at close range. Learning from the consequences and successes of previous projects initiated by her son King Bhumibol, the Princess Mother opted to start out “small,” taking a slow contemplative pace—like with everything in her life. She didn’t want to merely give money to those in need; she wanted to help the people stand on their own feet, which is why she carefully created an environment and cultivated micro-industries that the community could benefit from. Thirty years have passed and, though Princess Srinagarindra didn’t get the chance to see Doi Tung in full bloom, her wish did come true. The once scraggly mountainside is now a lush plantation that produces gorgeous textile, paper and pottery—all trice handmade—and, most importantly, some of the world’s best macadamia nuts and coffee beans. Opium was replaced by harvests more beneficial to the community, both morall
The best of Tokyo (in 72 hours)
For the second year, Time Out Bangkok’s editor (okay, that’s me) was invited to be one of the judges of Time Out Tokyo’s Love Tokyo Awards, which celebrates the best that the vibrant Japanese capital can offer. I joined editors from London, New York, Barcelona, Australia (Melbourne and Sydney), and China (Beijing and Shanghai). Like the year before, it was more or less like a treasure hunt—we were individually tasked to visit and experience (that means eating, drinking, shopping and, well, beyond) the shortlisted nominees for this year, all in three days. Time Out Tokyo staffers accompanied us to some venues to help communicate with the locals and to act as translators, but, for the most part, I got to visit and discover some places on my own, which was not a problem as—like many Thais—Tokyo is my holiday playground and very familiar to me. The complete list of winners and nominees is available on the Love Tokyo Awards website, but I’ll go ahead and share my best finds, greatest discoveries and most exciting experiences. Hopefully, it can come in handy especially for those who are visiting Tokyo this coming holiday season.