• Heineken’s Beer Garden Coming to EmQuartier

    BANGKOK — Attention booze normies who are still missing the cancelled “beer gardens” at CentralWorld: we have found what could be the closest alternative for you.

    Heineken, one of the top lager sellers in the country, said it is hosting a 1,500-sqm open-air beer garden several BTS stops away at EmQuartier shopping mall. The venue openes nightly from Dec. 6 to Jan. 5, according to Heineken’s press release.

    CentralWorld earlier this year announced the cancellation of its long-running annual beer gardens, where major beer conglomerates like Heineken, Singha, and Chang entertained the crowds with free concerts and ‘sao cheer beer’ eye candies.

    On top of the usual lager, Heineken said its beer garden at EmQuartier will also sell cocktails and mocktails.

    There’s also a similar beer garden at Gaysorn Village, right opposite CentralWorld, though it deals mostly in craft beer.


  • Where to Celebrate Oktoberfest 2019 in Bangkok

    BANGKOKProst! Get your fill of German beer, brawny sausages, and giant pork knuckles when you celebrate Oktoberfest starting this weekend.

    Bangkok may be a long way from the home of the world’s biggest beer festival, but a number of bars are serving up great selections of traditional German brews and fare throughout the two-week celebration.

    GTCC Oktoberfest – Oct. 25-26

    Photo: German-Thai Chamber of Commerce

    Claiming to be “the one and only authentic German experience in the kingdom,” perhaps it is because it’s organized by the German-Thai Chamber of Commerce. Get your Bavarian outfits ready to enjoy live music, a festive buffet feast, and a lucky draw.

    The event will be held on Oct. 25 and 26 from 6.30pm to 1am at Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park on Sukhumvit Soi 22. The venue is reachable by a short walk from BTS Phrom Phong. Admission is 2,000 baht for Chamber members and 2,500 baht for non-members. The price includes a beer, a souvenir mug, and food buffet.

    The Irish Pub Oktoberfest – Sept. 21 – Oct. 6

    Photo: The Irish Pub Bangkok / Facebook
    Photo: The Irish Pub Bangkok / Facebook

    Don’t get the Shamrock wrong – they’ll also celebrate the Volksfest in style with five traditional dishes and special beer deals.

    The menu includes Schweinegulasch (pork goulash), Geschnetzeltes (chicken ragout), pork knuckles, a sausage platter, and apple strudel. A live band plays every Wednesday to Friday.

    The event will be held from Sept. 21 to Oct. 6 from 10am to 12pm at The Irish Pub on Sukhumvit Soi 5. The venue is reachable by a short walk from BTS Nana. Dishes cost between 219 to 299 baht, excluding VAT and service charges.

    Mikkeller Running Club Bangkok #57 Oktoberfest Edition – Oct. 5

    Photo: Mikkeller Bangkok / Facebook

    Get your feet ready, though not for dancing. This Danish microbrewery in Ekkamai is holding a running event before the party starts. Runners will earn their beer calories with a 5.6 kilometer course around Ekkamai. Instead of a medal, they’ll get a cold house-brewed beer. Special food and booze deals will be offered for runners after the race.

    The event will be held on Oct. 5 from 5.30pm to 8.30pm at Mikkeller Bangkok on Soi Ekkamai 10 Lane 2. The venue is reachable by taxi or motorcycle taxi from BTS Ekkamai. A lifetime membership costs 500 baht.

    Bei Otto Oktoberfest – Oct. 29 – Nov. 2

    Photo: Bei Otto / Facebook
    Photo: Bei Otto / Facebook

    This old school German restaurant, which has served traditional dishes for over three decades, will offer not only a classic feed, but also games and a lucky draw.

    Sip the seasonal Erdinger Oktoberfestweizen, presented by Bavarian outfitted waitresses, while a live band stirs your appetite into action.

    The event will be held from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2 from 5pm to 11pm at Bei Otto on Sukhumvit Soi 20. The venue is reachable by a short walk from BTS Phrom Phong.


  • Durians, ‘Arrogant’ Englishmen: 19th Century Russian Explorer’s Journals About Siam

    BANGKOK — The recently translated journal of a Russian explorer detailing his visits to Siam in the late 19th century bears surprising parallels with modern travel experiences.

    “He wrote sincerely, without the political correctness we know today,” Kirill Kuznetsov, a lecturer for the Russian Geographical Society, said. “What he saw, he wrote it straight, as it was.”

    Kuznetsov presented a lecture on the journeys to Siam of Grigory de Vollan and Nikolai Mikloukho-Maclay, two 19th century Russian explorers, on Aug. 1 at the Siam Society. de Vollan’s travel journals were recently translated into English for the first time in an academic journal.

    Grigory de Vollan’s (1847–1961) observations in “In White Light,” written during his travels to Siam between 1890 and 1894, are certainly blunt to some modern sensitivities.

    Grigory de Vollan.
    Grigory de Vollan.

    Kuznetsov live-translated some of de Vollan’s statements on farang expats in the Kingdom: “Siam was never a colony of England, but Englishmen are here and they built some buildings. Englishmen, as anywhere in the world, waste their money when constructing overseas. They want to impress the local population with their grandeur, so that they can show they are rich and can afford it.”

    “Diplomats behave the same as the buildings: arrogant,” de Vollan continued.

    Like modern day travellers to Thailand, de Vollan made sure to check out local fruit and goods at markets, accompanied by a Russian expat.

    “River travel in Siam,” by Grigory de Vollan.
    “River travel in Siam,” by Grigory de Vollan.

    “I cannot understand how they can allow this fruit with such a bad smell,” de Vollan wrote on durians. “But it has a nice taste, and exciting properties.”

    Possibly referring to kapi, de Vollan also noted the strong smell of fermented prawns. He and his friend also “bought silver and gold for cheap” while perusing the bazaar, before concluding, “There are a lot of Chinese here. And the items are not so different from a market in China.”

    Kuznetsov also described Nikolai Miklouho-Maclay (1846 –1888), who recorded his observations on Bangkok during a nine-day trip from Feb. 17 to 26, 1875. He would go on to conduct pioneering anthropology in New Guinea.

    “The city is not old by Asian standards, but has its own character,” Kuznetsov translated Miklouho-Maclay’s text. “There’s too little time for such an interesting city.”

    Miklouho-Maclay came with Singapore governor Andrew Clarke’s company on the Pluto ship in an attempt to recover from a fever. Like many farangs today, he visited tourist spots like Wat Pho, Wat Saket, and the Grand Palace.

    The then 23-year-old Russian even saw the then 22-year-old King Rama V from afar but did not get a chance to greet the King. Later on, Miklouho-Maclay requested an elephant to dissect and study anatomy. The King granted him the elephant.

    “Some faces are similar to the Malay, and some are similar to the Chinese. Others are neither, and the young prince falls in this category,” Kuznetsov said, live-translating Miklouho-Maclay’s records.

    Kirill Kuznetsov speaks Aug. 1 at the Siam Society.
    Kirill Kuznetsov speaks Aug. 1 at the Siam Society.

    Mikhoulo-Maclay regarded polygamy negatively, Kuznetsov said. And like many farang travellers, he had much to say on Thai women as well.

    “The women work a lot, and they wear clothes for working. One could mistake a woman for a man, but upon closer look, the forms are different. Some of them are pretty,” Kuznetsov read.

    Nattanop Palahan, a Ph.D. Candidate in the History of Journalism from St. Petersburg University, said that the records provide a refreshing perspective on Thai-Russian history.

    “In Thailand’s Russia studies, people don’t often talk of ordinary Russians, or Russian explorers, who visited Thailand. Mainstream history just talks about Nikolai II’s visit in 1891 or Chulalongkorn’s visit to Russia in 1897,” Nattanop said.

    There are Thai records that mention Russian visitors prior to Nikolai’s visit – for example, the Rama III-era tablets, “Poems and Images of Foreigners,” which were later converted into a book describing foreigners from 32 countries. The 15th and 16th poems are titled “Rus Petersberg” and “Rus,” and describe Russians from St. Petersburg and Tartars.

    “Rus Petersberg of the western lands / many people of their city, we hear / are in freezing cold seasons,” reads the first poem, with mentions of “strong-smelling” meat and dairy.

    de Vollan and Miklouho-Maclay were explorers from the Russian Geographical Society, founded by Tsar Nicholas I in 1845 to send expeditions into Siberia, Central Asia and beyond. The society’s activities were largely halted after the 1917 Revolution. Revived today as an NGO, the society focuses on giving lectures, promoting tourism, and hosting photography contests.

    The first recorded contact between Russian and Siam was in Feb. 19, 1863, when the ships Gaydamak and the Novik set anchors at Bangkok. Another little-known fact is that the Thai Royal Anthem, “Sansoen Phra Barami,” was composed by Pyotr Shchurovsky in 1888.

    Close relations between Thailand’s aristocratic class and the empire continued, with a well-documented friendship between Rama V and Nikolai II. Chakrabongse Bhuvanath, the 40th child of Rama V, also married Ekaterina Desnitskaya, whom he met while studying in the Russian Empire.

    Kirill Kuznetsov’s presentation on Nikolai Mikloukho-Maclay. Image: Kirill Kuznetsov / Courtesy
    Kirill Kuznetsov’s presentation on Nikolai Mikloukho-Maclay. Image: Kirill Kuznetsov / Courtesy


  • Shop Taiwanese Green Goods at Indie Craft Market in Bangkok

    BANGKOK — For 11 days, 11 Taiwanese indie designers will sell sustainable, hand-crafted goods in a pop-up market.

    The Pinkoi Eco Pop Up market will feature small-scale crafters from Taiwan hawking eco goods from bubble-tea drink holders to heat-retaining lunch bags.

    Event organizer, Chang Chinfang, said that Taiwan’s design community saw an influx of “green” goods after the government set a goal of phasing out single-use plastics by 2030.

    Pinkoi, Asia’s answer to Etsy, launched in 2011 and provides online access to small designers across East and Southeast Asia. Pinkoi held their first fair in Bangkok in November at Lhong 1919. The markets aim to spread local culture across borders, as shown by a Malaysian vendor that sold iron-on patches at the Lhong 1919 fair.

    The market will run from Aug. 29 to Sept. 8, open from 9:30am to 6:30pm at Phak Cafe & Crafts shop, reachable from BTS Thong Lo.

    Reusable bottle holders. Photo: Pinkoi / Courtesy
    Reusable bottle holders. Photo: Pinkoi / Courtesy
    Reusable lunch bags by Pockeat_agooday. Photo: Pinkoi / Courtesy
    Reusable lunch bags by Pockeat_agooday. Photo: Pinkoi / Courtesy


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