Chinese New Year in Bangkok
Get ready for one of the biggest festivals in Bangkok — the Chinese New Year!. Celebrations to welcome the Year of the Rooster will take place everywhere around the city, but the grandest event can be found in the Chinatown, where you will offer a prayer at sacred Chinese shrines as well as feast on some of the best Chinese food in Bangkok.
Latest restaurants and cafés review
It’s been a few years since the farm-to-table food craze flourished in Bangkok. Some restaurants that jumped on this hype aged like milk and later on failed to stand the test of time, but not Haoma. This Indian fine-dining eatery by Chef Deepanker “DK” Khosla has aged like fine wine. The prolific chef hasn’t stopped pushing the boundaries of the culinary sphere, always utilizing innovative cooking techniques to bring back lost authentic flavors of Indian cuisine, at the same time maintaining sustainable practices by using home-grown produce from his own backyard. Since the start of the pandemic, Chef DK and his crew have been busy with feeding low-income families and the vulnerable with their #NoOneHungry campaign. But this hasn”t stopped them from cooking up something new. Haoma is now ready to welcome back discerning diners who are aching for another taste of the Neo-Indian signature that made us fall in love with the restaurant in the first place. Heritage, Roots, and Culture is the latest tasting menu series by Haoma. The whole series consists of three different sets—a 10-course plant-based menu (B2,990++), a 10-course meat-based menu (B2,990++), and a 7-course non-vegetarian menu (B2,390++). We tried the new 10-course meat-based Neo-Indian set and were, unsurprisingly, very impressed. The meal took us on a journey to India, with each dish representing the culinary cultures of the subcontinent’s many regions and telling a captivating story with an environmental message. Chef DK also pairs a home-grown herb with each course to add more layers to the entire gustatory experience. The first course, Dishaa, comprises four unique bites inspired by snacks from different parts of India and using over 20 sorts of spices. These morsels, which include mushroom galauti kebab, rawa dhola, pomegranate puchka, and melon paniyaram, awaken the senses and better prepare you for the ensuing ride. Up next is the Mattar & Daal Kachori, a curry and bread dish disguised as a crisp topped with mashed lentils and green pea curry bubbles. We were completely speechless with how amazing it looked and tasted. Another intriguing course is the Reappearing Duck, a dish of deep-fried chicken wrapped in a chaat masala batter and accompanied by a turmeric curry mousse shaped as a duck. But the Marnasann Sagar was easily our hands-down favorite. Meant to address the issue of marine creatures dying in oceans polluted with oil spills and wastes, it features Phuket lobster surrounded by a black lobster bisque. Herbs and chili oil add more flavors to the dish. #NoOneHungry is another course that gives diners more than just a palatal pleasure. This main dish is a more refined version of the actual meal that the Haoma team makes for its campaign of the same name. It consists of lamb (or chicken) biryani rice topped with a spicy Kashmir chili yogurt, and a peanut and pepper curry. To end the meal, we were served two different desserts: Double Ka Meetha and Melody. The first one is a citrusy palate cleanser, while the latter is a semi-sweet dish of burnt milk and pistachios. All three tasting menus also come with a biodynamic wine-pairing option for B2,990. Haoma also has a new à la carte menu, which can be found here.
There’s one ramen place in Tokyo where you may have to line up as early as six in the morning to get a slurp of Michelin-starred noodle soup. That said eatery is no other than Tsuta, the very first ramen restaurant in the world to get a Michelin star. Founded by chef/owner Yuki Onishi in 2012, Tsuta earned its first Michelin star in 2015 for Onishi’s innovative approach to ramen, from sourcing new ingredients to infusing truffle oil into aromatic dashi broth. Despite the Michelin accolades (and a relocation to the trendy Yoyogi-Uehara neighborhood), Tsuta has kept prices low at around 1,200 to 1,600 yen (approximately B345 to B460). And though Tsuta was dropped from the latest Michelin Guide Tokyo, the ramen place still lives up to its reputation. The good news is, Tsuta has just opened in Bangkok on the third floor of Central World. This is Tsuta’s first outpost in Thailand and its fourth overseas.
Tr.EAT by Saneh Jaan
There are three Saneh Jaan-branded restaurants in Bangkok, and each one seems to uphold a different purpose. There’s the original one-Michelin-starred Saneh Jaan at the Sindhorn cluster complex, where you can take out-of-town guests. There’s the comparably luxurious Loukjaan by Saneh Jaan at Sindhorn Kempinski Hotel for when you feel like having a swanky, get-together meal with friends. And then there’s Tr.EAT by Saneh Jaan at the Sindhorn Midtown hotel, the most affordable of the bunch. At Tr.EAT, you can enjoy the Thai dishes Saneh Jaan has been revered for at prices that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. We’re talking B200 for a dish or B1,000 for a meal. What you don’t get is the near-deferential service given at the other Saneh Jaan restaurants, the lavish plates and silverware, and the curated cocktails. It can be said, however, that the staff at Tr.EAT are friendly and efficient, the dinnerware is lovely and, instead of opulent interiors, you get casual, welcoming decor reminiscent of a Parisian bistro—wickerwork chairs, marble-topped tables, patterned parquet floors, gilded arches, and mid-century pendant lamps. Good-looking aesthetics and tasty food—that’s pretty much enough for a decent meal. We don’t always need luxury, do we?
Hidden on Soi Sukhumvit 23 is the new Mexican eatery Tortilla Quemada, which promises comida Mexicana that will make you scream, “Me gusta!” This eatery is run by Colin Stevens, the same restaurateur behind BBQ joint Ash Kickers on Soi Phatthanakan 30. The American chef, who’s logged in 20 years of experience in the Bangkok food scene, has a strong passion and affection for Mexican food, and wanted to share this passion with the rest of the city. Unlike Ash Kickers, where you can sit down and relish the food and good convos, Tortilla Quemada is stylized for a grab-and-go system. The menu includes a wide range of Mexican staples, from quesadillas (B190 to 240), to enchiladas (B220 to 290), to tacos (from B110), to chips and guacamole (B180). Each dish can be had with any of their nine homemade salsas, each one representing a certain degree of spiciness. Our pick is the burning hot habanero salsa, which adds a banging zing to tortillas and tacos. Each dish can also be made with the meat of your choice, be it chicken, lamb, pork or beef. Tortilla Quemada will be expanding its space for dine-in experiences very soon but, for now, call them at 06 5237 3307 or visit their Facebook page to make an order. Tortilla Quemada is open from Tuesdays to Sunday, 11:00 to 21:00.
These days, everyone is pretty much into the wellness craze. Left and right, people are flocking to health centers and health food restaurants to engage in a new fitness program or to get their fill of low-calorie, high-nutrition fare. But sometimes, trying to be healthy can be frighteningly pricey, and just discourages us from jumping into the wellness wagon. Although, there is one place where wellness is affordable and, more importantly, drinkable! naatea, located at United Business Centre II in Phrom Phong, proclaims itself as an expert in full-leaf tea. The brand is dedicated to providing a daily dose of wellness to anyone seeking a simple and convenient way to cleanse and detox both their body and mind. The tea served here is made using the cold-brewing process. This technique, according to founder Pratchaya “Sun” Sananvatananont, is rarely used in making tea, but it does offer a full range of benefits for nutrition and taste. He explains that, because it doesn’t go through heat, cold brew tea retains its antioxidant and vitamin C content. Moreover, the bitterness people come to expect from most teas is rid of. The result is a more enjoyable and a more body-beneficial drink. naatee has six types of cold brew tea—genmaicha, jasmine, sencha, oolong, Earl Grey and barley. You can opt for a Cold Brew Pure (B65/16oz and B85/22+oz) or a flavored Cold Brew Blends (B85/oz and B85/22+oz). Fruit lovers can try the Cold Brew Fruits (B105/16oz and B125/22+oz), a drink that deserves hands-down praise. The cup blends the sweetness of fresh fruits, like pineapple, orange and watermelon, with the invigorating taste of tea, resulting in an extremely energizing drink. The menu also includes flavored tea, such as the calming Oolong Honey Lime, the mood-boosting Earl Grey Yakult and the relaxing Jasmine Aloe, all priced at B85/oz and B85/22+oz, as well as an omakase option for those who can’t decide what they want. This tasting set (B200) comprises five 16oz cups of Cold Brew Pure tea. It’s not easy to drag yourself to a strenuous exercise session (we get it), but health and wellness may be just as easily achieved with a simple but nutrition-rich drink. Come and get your daily dose of wellness at naatea.
The latest Time Out interviews
Things to do in BangkokFind more things to do in Bangkok this week
The WATCH List
13 scariest Thai horror movies you need to watch
Okay, now that we got to scream that in all caps, let us tell you–in a more normal tone—why Thais scary films are a source of pride for the country and why they’re more deserving of praise from the rest of the world. Before we begin, we do have to point out that horror films are generally the most underrated genre in the cinematic scope. A lot of people are turned off by the idea of getting shocked by thumping sounds and ghostly figures, and the unpleasant sight of gore, not to mention disturbing and depressing stories that reveal the dark side and twisted minds of humanity. Ironically, these are also the reasons why they’re a hit with a particular audience and why they’re critically successful. The last decade has produced very good horror movies like Hereditary (2018), The Witch (2015), The Conjuring (2013), and Get Out (2017). These titles, with their clever plots, historical references and social commentaries, have brought the whole genre up from a deep dark hole into the spotlight while still successfully eliciting fear for brilliant entertainment. What’s little known is that Thailand’s film industry serves a big, fat, fearful feast of great horrors. Our country is overflowing with rich culture and folklore circling around Buddhist-driven concepts like spirits, reincarnation, karma and black magic, all of which inspire Thai film directors to take turns producing a horde of spine-chilling motion pictures. Whereas jump scares and tongue-in-cheek brouhaha may be the gimmick of the genre, Thai horror films go beyond. Good locally produced scares, usually adapted from true stories and urban legends, are a great window into Thai society, allowing the audience to unearth hidden, mysterious truths about Thai people and culture. With the spooky spirit of Halloween soon upon us, we’ve rounded up 13 Thai horror films that are all about the good, the ghost and the gore, plus adrenaline-inducing storylines and full entertainment value. Better start preparing your state of mind because you are about to get haunted for life.
5 best political series you need to watch on Netflix
Thailand is going through some tough times, with the threat of COVID-19 and the political protests in the capital. Now maybe the best time to reflect on the country’s situation with a proper binge of Netflix’s best politics-propelled TV series. Apart from its gripping plots, some of which are inspired by true events, these series offer impactful storytelling and give viewers insights into some of the most complicated aspects of humanity.
Best Japanese movies and series on Netflix
Whether you’re stuck inside on a rainy day or in the mood for a cheeky weeknight binge, Netflix is a gold mine of movies and tv shows to get stuck into when you’re bored. There is an abundance of titles in the anime category with new episodes available every week, but there are also seamlessly crafted documentaries, heart-tugging dramas and guilty pleasure reality TV shows that are just as worthy of your attention. Here are the best Japanese series and movies available with English subtitles on Netflix right now. RECOMMENDED: Best Thai movies and series on Netflix
Comedy specials on Netflix you need to see
The whole world is dealing with anxiety and stress, as well as the physical complications of home quarantine. Even in these trying pandemic-tinged times, we find that laughter can still be the best medicine. At the very least, it can make things more bearable. Here are stand-up shows on Netflix that, for at least an afternoon, will allow you to indulge in some comic relief.
Latest bars review
Bangkok’s watering hole game is stronger than ever. A number of new drinkeries have emerged across the city, bringing life back to Bangkok’s night scene. A new bar on the riverside of Chao Phraya has caught our attention like no other. Of the many new watering holes that have opened this year, Sirimahannop is probably one of the most unique. The bar is in fact a massive 50.50-meter-long three-masted schooner that’s (hopefully permanently) docked at the waterfront promenade of popular riverside bazaar Asiatique. This newly constructed, high-reaching sailboat takes inspiration from a Royal Thai navy ship in the era of King Rama V, but stylized with contemporary decor and enchanting details that make guests feel as if they are on an actual seafaring adventure. The upper deck is blueprinted for more casual outdoor hangouts. Each visit is enhanced by the fresh breeze and an exquisite view of the Chao Phraya River. The lower deck, meanwhile, is fashioned for quieter and classier gatherings. Both levels have private rooms for small parties or meetings, including the Captain Room, a space on the upper deck where guests also have exclusive access to a hidden rum bar. The food and drinks menu is limited due to the confined space—it’s a boat, guys!—but each dish or tipple impressively revolves around the nautical narrative of a timber-exporting vessel that’s exploring the globe for the best ingredients. Twelve local fruits are adapted into 12 lip-smacking cocktails. Many of these fruits are rarely used in mixology, such as starfruit, jackfruit, longan and pomelo, further igniting our alcohol cravings and curiosity. The tamarind long drink (B380) has a sour zing that electrifies the palate, while the rambutan cocktail (B380), which has hints of aromatic pandan, refreshes the senses. As you sip on these fruity tipples, the kitchen crew is busy churning out small plates and bites inspired by the great wide ocean. Start with the Green Papaya Fries (B85), which comes with a Bengal curry sauce, and the Fresh Asian Baby Greens (B220), a salad dish that mixes various greens with Thai herbs and tamarind dressing. Mains look to the Slow-Cooked Chicken Thigh (B120), which benefits from a flavorful satay sauce, and the Smoky Eggplant (B120), which exudes the aromatic scents of herbs and spices from Southern Thailand. The menu also lists international dishes like the Crunchy Fish Sliders (B160), a satisfying treat that boasts fresh cod imported from the Scandinavian region, as well as a variety of freshly-shucked oysters served with a refreshing pineapple vinegar dressing. Sirimahannop can be your next favorite spot for the ultimate sundowner experience—that is, if seasickness doesn’t ail you. While the food is good enough to keep the party going, the creatively-concocted cocktails and engaging yachting atmosphere certainly deserve your praise and attention.
Guests are taken to a whole new world at REI Bar, the newest bistro in the heart of Old Town Bangkok. Behind grills and a thin wall of glass is a futuristic space where Oriental-inspired images are projected on concrete walls and neon-lit LED lamps cast an eerie glow. The food, just like the vibes, also have a show of cool. Michelin-starred chef Andy Yang is behind REI’s culinary offerings, serving up dishes like cheek of buri (Japanese amberjack) grilled with soy sauce (B315) and spicy salmon salad (B195). Other recommended small bites are the tako wasabi (B115), grilled pork jowl marinated in fish sauce (B175), and the REI fried chicken (B295 for 10 pieces). Every dish is meant to be paired with a cold beverage or one of REI’s signature cocktails. Guests are welcome to chillax on the ground floor, but small groups can reserve a private corner on the second floor, which looks down on the crowd below. Live music goes on full blast every Friday and Saturday night. There aren’t too many bistros with a modern futuristic vibe in Bangkok, which makes REI Bar unique and a definite must-visit.
Best hotels in Bangkok
15 luxury hotels in Bangkok that offer two-week quarantine packages
The thing about COVID-19 is that it still remains largely mysterious. The virus emerged out of nowhere, seemingly around the end of 2019, and then it swept up the entire world in the blink of an eye at the start of 2020. It’s been some time since the pandemic broke out and yet we still can't pin down for sure where and how the virus originated, let alone how it can be cured. And until medical experts can come up with a safe vaccine, COVID-19 will be a huge part of our lives. Thailand, however, has been more fortunate in its dealings with Monsieur C-19 than other parts of the world. The country is gradually easing up on lockdown constraints in its bid to return to “normal”, including constraints on inbound travel. Authorities have recently lifted border restrictions, allowing residents to return, but mostly for necessary purposes like work or to reunite with family. But the one thing Thailand still strictly holds on to is mandating a 14-day self-quarantine in authority-credited locations for all incoming travelers. The government is kind enough to facilitate free accommodations for these returning passengers, but luxury hotels and resorts in Bangkok and other provinces also offer Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) packages for those who are more particular with their preferences. To help those planning to fly back to Thailand, we’ve rounded up 15 top hotels in Bangkok that offer all-inclusive ASQ packages. Let’s take a look.
Out of town
Check-in: OZO North Pattaya
Pattaya is undeniably one of Thailand’s most popular holiday destinations. All- year round, vacationers from every corner of the globe flock to this bustling coastal destination to enjoy its natural beauty and endless attractions. COVID-19, unfortunately, was not too kind to Pattaya. More than a fair share of hotels, resorts, restaurants and entertainment spots on the island have had to close down and bid their final farewell. OZO North Pattaya, however, braved through these tough times and recently had its grand opening. A brand under ONYX Hospitality Group, which is also behind renowned hotel brands Amari and Shama, OZO Northern Pattaya is situated on the northern end of the bay (close to mega-complex Terminal 21 Pattaya). It took over the area once occupied by Amari’s suite huts. The hotel has 406 guest rooms and suites in six different types, including the 27-square-meter Dream room, which comes with a magnificent view of the beach; the 35-square-meter two-bedroom Sleep Family, which has a bunk bed for your little angels; and the 39-square-meter OZO Suite. Each room is simply but tastefully decorated. OZO specializes in deep-sleep experiences and deserves praise for how it guarantees a good night’s slumber for all guests. The bed comes with a high-quality mattress from DreamMaster, and you can choose from a pillow menu that offers varying degrees of softness and thickness. Each room also comes with thoughtfully-placed power plugs and sockets, a smart TV and soothing decor that reflect ocean scenes. All of these assure everything you need for a comfortable stay and a peaceful night. OZO also encourages a “Wake Bright, Stay Bright” philosophy at its in-hotel facilities. You can indulge in Thai and international cuisine from sunrise to sunset at EAT, have a small business meeting at TALK, and enjoy an invigorating workout at TONE fitness center or the large outdoor pool. In a nutshell, OZO North Pattaya is a brilliant choice for guests who want nothing more than a relaxing and comfortable stay by the beach. Pattaya may be more quiet these days, but OZO will give you enough reason to drive down for a visit.
Check-in: Banyan Tree Samui
In this age of social distancing, the ideal holiday would be spent in a villa that has space for you and your loved ones, and is isolated enough to escape from the crowd. Among the hundreds of hotels and resorts out there, Banyan Tree Samui is one of the precious few that fits the bill. After a one-hour fantastic flight by Bangkok Airway to Samui International Airport, guests are taken to the resort which is located in Lamai Beach, one of the more tranquil and less bustling areas in Koh Samui. Each of its 88 roomy villas are nestled among palm trees and far apart from one another, assuring that, if you wish, you won’t have to see anyone else but your party for the entirety of your stay. Banyan Tree Samui was established on the island about a decade ago, but its timeless and exquisite design has withstood the test of time. Throughout the hotel, brown wooden patterns are placed against black marble, and given a contemporary take with floral Thai prints and design elements depicting sea turtles and monkeys. All of these give the Samui resort its own identity separate from the other Banyan Tree undertakings. There are nine different villa types to choose from. Each villa is equipped with identical eco-friendly and world-class amenities—except for a hot jet pool that’s available in certain villas—guaranteeing everything you need for a luxurious stay. There’s also a pillow menu to ensure the perfect sleep! How fancy is that? Some trekking is needed to move around the resort premises. But if you’d rather not strain yourself, they provide a 24-hour electric buggy service so you can go from place to place. And there are indeed many places to explore at the resort. To start, the Banyan Tree Samui has three dining rooms—The Edge, Sands, and Saffron—the latter of which is a renowned restaurant frequented by Samui visitors craving for a casual Thai street food-inspired feast. The resort’s beachfront area is ideal for lazing away in the sun. But if you’re feeling a bit active and adventurous, the resort also provides paddle-boards, kayaks, catamarans and snorkelling equipment, as well as cruises and island tours. Wild night outs are possible with a driving service to lively Chaweng. Your stay wouldn't be complete without an hour or two at the Banyan Tree Spa, which has earned the Singaporean chain much praise and acclaim. The spa’s grand highlight is The Rainforest, a hydrotherapy center where you can enjoy features such as a rainwalk, sauna and steam rooms, and a vitality pool. The entire experience will definitely relax and loosen up your tight muscles. At the same time, it’s actually fun! Throughout your stay, you will be pampered by friendly but still polite staff who will do all they can to provide you with anything you need. This dedicated service is what seals the deal on the brand’s unrivalled reputation. From start to finish, a holiday at Banyan Tree Samui just brings to life what you thought you’d only see in postcards or hard-to-believe hotel ads. And to cherry-top your entire experience, with a current promotion, an experience at this resort is now even more affordable. Definitely worth every satang. For more information, please visit the hotel's website or drop them a call (07 7915 333) or an email (email@example.com).
Off-the-beaten-track local destinations
In these COVID-19 outbreak times, traveling is strongly prohibited. So if you still feel the itch to get out, why not start researching where to go when things are over? Here are some off-the-beaten-track local destinations that you might want to consider. Imagine yourself strolling away from the crowd, enjoying a bit of serenity, and also discovering something new.