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  /    /  March

As travel restrictions have been eased, Phuket Old Town is filling with tourists once again. Nevertheless, if you prefer hanging around quieter spots, or are just wishing to take a break from the crowds, here are our picks of not-so-touristy places in the old part of town for quality experiences.   Museum Phuket The museum has long been located in the Old Town, but you may have walked past it many times without realising it as it sits within a beautiful Sino-Portuguese building. The museum showcases stories of Phuket’s rich history, Peranakan culture, Chinese influences and much more that will all help you appreciate and enjoy the island even more.   Drawing Room Phuket Drawing Room Phuket is an art space with a slow bar serving handcrafted coffee made with an intelligent choice of coffee beans, as well as non-coffee drinks. If you are an epicurean, you should stop by when you are in town.   Rosa Sweets & Chocolate Rosa is a new paradise for those with a sweet tooth! When you enter the shop, you will be delighted by the myriad choices of craft chocolate. There is seating so you may slowly indulge into some sweet treats, and coffee and chocolate drinks are offered here as well. You may even like to opt for a bottle of Prosecco to pair with your choice of confection.   Pop Espresso Phuket This coffeehouse delivers the fine aromas and flavours of coffee, to be selected from an array of well-chosen beans and then transformed into a heavenly cuppa using either the pour-over method or with an Aram Espresso Maker. If you are looking for a spot to sip and chat, discover new coffee flavours and take a break from the outside sun, this is the place for you.   Cloud Markt It is neither a grocery store, restaurant nor bar, but a terrific combination of all three! Open day to night, you will find local products like snacks and aromatic candles here and be able to enjoy tasty dishes, light bites and a range of drinks including craft beer, kombucha cocktails and natural wines with cold cuts to accompany those.     Text and Photos by Pakvipa Rimdusit

The influence of Peranakan culture is one the biggest cultural charms to be discovered on Phuket. The province was once a destination for numerous immigrant Chinese who married with locals and merged their cultures into a harmonious blend, even incorporating some of the Western influences which had started to seep through. Even though the heart of Peranakan culture is still Singapore and Malaysia, the southern region of Thailand is rich with multiculturalism and Peranakan culture is most prominent in Phuket. Whether it’s Peranakan cuisine or architecture you would like to delve into, there are a number of places to experience them on Phuket. There are, however, two very elegant Peranakan manors that are eminent and not-to-be-missed.   Baan Ar-Jor HISTORY: The three-storey mansion was built by Chinese tin-mining businessman Tan Jin Nugn in 1936. He was not only a successful entrepreneur, but a man who lived a compelling life. The house remained intact throughout decades of its occupants’ trials and tribulations, was abandoned for some more decades, and then thankfully revived by the original owner’s great-grandsons in more recent times. They have turned the mansion into a living museum that showcases rare collectibles and unveils the rich story of the family. The mansion-turned-museum’s name comes from the word ‘Ar-Jor’, which means 'great-grandparent'. STYLE: Peranakan architecture with a nostalgic ambience and décor, surrounded by tranquil greenery. HIGHLIGHTS: The mansion is home to Michelin-recommended Toh-Daeng Restaurant, which serves authentic Phuket dishes made from the family’s recipes which have been passed down for generations. All proceeds from the entrance fee (THB 200 per person) will be given to Baan Mai Khao School to support educational purposes. Artwork by the young students of Baan Mai Khao School are displayed at the museum, delightful to see and heart-touching. The mansion is also a homestay, so you can enjoy a very unique stay on the island. LOCATION: A few minutes’ walk from Mai Khao Beach. WEBSITE: www.baanarjor.com   Baan Chinpracha HISTORY: The manor was built during the reign of King Rama V by Phra Pitak Chinpracha, a prosperous tin-mining businessman who was also a philanthropist. He lived in Malaysia prior to settling down in Phuket, and brought many Peranakan and Western influences with him, such as Western-style furniture imported from British Malaya (present-day Malaysia). The manor is considered to be the most beautiful and well-preserved Sino-Portuguese building in Phuket, and the descendants of the original owner still live here. STYLE: A Melaka-inspired Peranakan manor with luxurious architectural details. The architecture lets plenty of natural light in, since the house was built when there was no electricity available. The building was constructed with a traditional version of cement that allows breathability, and the pond in the centre framed by an arch not only acts as a visual delight but also serves to collect rainwater. There are more architectural details to amaze visitors, which they can learn about during their visit. HIGHLIGHTS: The kitchen preserves its original look and functions, and displays rarely-seen kitchen ware. Numerous antiques, collected for over a century, are showcased alongside a collection of intriguing vintage photos.

MICHELIN-Starred restaurant Elements, inspired by Ciel Bleu at The Okura Prestige Bangkok invites you to experience its new 'Autumn Guestronomic Dining Journey', featuring an array of autumn-inspired fares created by Chef Gerard Villaret Horcajo and his team. As lush green leaves turn red, orange, and brown, the weather gets cooler, yet the ambience gets warmer and comforting. Chef Gerard's autumn offerings are, therefore, characterised by herbs, spices and hearty ingredients, at the side of lighter touches to classic French cuisine and exquisite premium seasonal produce from Japan. Always seeking to be playful and bold, he often uses tow sauces in a dish so as to provide complex flavour range and contrasts. Warm, tangy and full of a inspiring seasonal essence, highlights of the autumn menu includes succulent ‘chutoro’ with marbled Kombu, daikon and hijiki; ‘Hokkaido scallop’ with eryngii (oyster mushroom), sherry and scallop-bushi (cured, cold smoked and dried scallop); ‘canard en croute de sel – on the bone’ with togarashi (Japanese mixed chilli and spices), confit Cannellonis, and foie gras; ‘A5 Miyagi wagyu – Baba’ with Pommes Dauphine, shallot and umeboshi; and signature ‘binchotan’ with Japanese whisky, citrus and milk chocolate. The 'Autumn Guestronomic Set Journey' is available from 23 September 2022, from 18:00 to 22:30, with prices starting from THB 4,800++ per person. For more information and reservations, please call +66 (0) 2 687 9000 or email elements@okurabangkok.com

During 29 September – 3 October 2022, MICHELIN-Starred IGNIV Bangkok at The St. Regis Bangkok will welcome Chef Timo Fristche from Oz by Andreas Caminada, Sweitzerland's acclaimed vegetarian restaurant with state-of-the-art concept, who spent years working at three-MICHELIN-starred Schloss Schauenstein, for an exciting four-hands culinary collaboration with IGNIV's Head Chef David Harwig. During his visit, Chef Timo will work closely with Chef David and his network of farmers and local suppliers to source carefully grown herbs, plants, and vegetables. The menu will also showcase his signature fermentation techniques which transform and preserve the richness of plants. The 4-hands Vegetarian Fine Dining Sharing Experience at IGNIV Bangkok comprises vegetarian dishes from IGNIV Bangkok and Oz, from starters to desserts, as well as a choice of delights from IGNIV’s signature Candy Store to enjoy with coffee or tea, or to take home. The Vegetarian Fine Dining Sharing Experience at IGNIV Bangkok is available for lunch and dinner during 29 September – 3 October 2022, priced at THB 4,000++ per person. Reservations can be made by calling +66 (0) 2 207 7822 or email igniv.bangkok@stregis.com. Visit www.ignivbangkok.com for more information.

After 10 years of anticipation, The Coral First Class Lounge and Finest Business Class Lounge at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Thailand, are now ready to provide luxurious comfort for travellers a with wide range of facilities including private lounging space, wellness spa, comfy bedroom with Omazz mattress, and shower rooms with bathtubs, among others, inspired by the unique charm of Thai culture with the use of modern creature comforts. In addition, guests can indulge in a delicious variety of Thai and international delicacies in an elegant setting, aromatic Drury English tea, premium Nestlé coffee, 4700BC Gourmet Popcorn, organic dried fruits, and more. The Coral was founded in 2008 by Mrs. Naphaphat Supsoonthornkul and Mr. Tassachon Supsoonthornkul, with aspiration to provide a service beyond standard luxury lounge services, being an exquisite space for travellers to escape from the crowded, bustling airport, and completely unwind as they wait for their upcoming flights. The initiative was first launched at Phuket International Airport. After considerable success, the company has opened more lounges at airports in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Udon Thani, as well as Bangkok's Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi International Airports, with a plan for further expansion. The Coral First Class Lounge and The Coral Finest Business Class Lounge is located at Concorde D1, Suvarnabhumi International Airport. For more information, visit www.coralthailand.com 

This December, the exclusive clubhouse Soho House Bangkok will officially open its door, being the first House in South East Asia. Soho House Bangkok is located within the quaint colonial-style building of the former Eugenia Hotel in the Sukhumvit neighbourhood, with stylish spaces for members and their guests to enjoy foods and drinks. Soho House is a members-only club for those working in the creative industries. In addition to its 38 houses around the world, as well as restaurants, workspaces with Soho Work, and the interiors and retail brand Soho Home. Each House is designed to be a 'home away from home' for the local members; every element including design, furniture, artwork and food and beverage reflects the unique and individual characteristics of the community, culture and creative scene of its city. Founder and CEO Nick Jones said; "I have wanted to expand Soho House in Southeast Asia for a long time so this is an exciting moment for me and our members everywhere. To have a truly diverse and inclusive global membership, we need to represent cultures and creative communities from all parts of the world. Bangkok has such a vibrant and progressive energy, full of Thai warmth and kindness, and I can't wait to welcome members from the city into our new House."  

Available daily at Peacock Alley, Waldorf Astoria Bangkok unveils its new afternoon tea set that pays homage to classic American dishes, featuring creatively crafted savouries and sweet treats by executive sous-chef Chalit (Toddi) Kobaukaew and executive pastry chef Andrea Noli. Highlights include Organic Eggs Benedict with Smoked Salmon; Waldorf Salad Tortilla Wrap topped with Walnut Tuiles; Crab Cake dipped with Thousand Island Dressing; and Green Zebra Tomato-Shaped Virgin Bloody Mary (New York’s beloved drink turned into a bite!); Modern Strawberry Red Velvet Cake; New York Sundae Choux; among others. The afternoon tea set is available from 13:00 to 17:00, priced at THB 2,500++ (or THB 2,943 net) for two and includes a selection of fine savory and sweet pastries, freshly-baked scones served with clotted cream, lemon cream and strawberry jam, and Mariage Frères tea or coffee. Reserve a table at +66 (0) 2 846 8888, bkkwa.fb@waldorfastoria.com or LINE: @WaldorfAstoriaBKK

Officially open in 2022, ibis Styles Bangkok Silom has been welcoming discerning travellers from all over the world as a stylish base of exploration with playful details, well-appointed facilities, and best value for money. ibis Styles Bangkok Silom is situated right at Silom Road, which is Bangkok's CBD, surrounded by mouth-watering eats and vibrant entertainment. The BTS Skytrain and MRT subway is just a short walk away, so getting to places is completely convenient. From the entrance to the rooftop pool, there are vivid murals inspired by the neighbourhood by talented Thai artist Tikkywow, and the 264 guest rooms are painted in a lively colour palette, with the famed Sweet Bed™ by ibis in every room. "We are so thrilled to open ibis Styles Bangkok Silom. Guests staying at this stylish hotel can look forward to enjoying comfortable rooms at accessible prices and creative dining experiences, from street-food-style fare to the funky rooftop bar. Silom has long been loved for its lively energy, and our hotel is ready to welcome guests seeking to  explore the neighbourhood," said Nitah Thongsuk, General Manager, ibis Styles Bangkok Silom. For more information and reservations, email HB6N1@accor.com, call +66 (0)2 3525 999, or visit www.ibisstylesbangkoksilom.com

An avid food enthusiast from an early age, Sahil Rattanaphas spent his childhood mesmerised by cooking shows rather than cartoons, and learned to read poring over cookbooks! It was perhaps inevitable that he would find his calling in merging his love of food with his other great passion: photography. The prolific food photographer specialises in producing stunning visual assets for hospitality businesses under his agency, 'The Turquoise Truck Creative'. Sahil has worked in 15 countries so far, photographing extensively in Asia and Europe.   Capturing Bangkok’s Finest Chefs in Action Sahil’s instinctive creative flair stands out in his dynamic movement shots—a unique skill he’s carefully honed over the years with careful diligence and dedication. Apart from his profound understanding of food, his ability to visualise and create breathtaking compositions on the fly is what makes him such a highly sought-after food photographer in the hospitality industry.  Currently based in Bangkok, Sahil Rattanaphas has worked with some of the city’s finest chefs, from iconic street food establishments to Michelin-starred restaurants. He shares his perspective on working with them through his captivating shots and personal impressions.     Jay Fai: Bangkok’s Michelin-Starred Street Food Legend Being contacted by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants during the middle of the pandemic for a photo shoot was thrilling enough for Sahil, having been a huge fan since he was a kid. But when he discovered that he would be taking photos of Jay Fai, he couldn’t believe his luck!  Supinya Junsuta, better known as Jay Fai, has been operating her humble street food stall since the 1980s. She received international fame when her roadside eatery became Bangkok's first street food stall to be awarded a Michelin star in 2018 and then again in 2019.   Photographing Jay Fai for Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants: Icon Award 2021, Sahil found her an absolute inspiration up close. As a food lover, Sahil was initially sceptical about the feverish hype surrounding Jay Fai—how good can an omelette possibly be?  But when she forced him to stop shooting to eat, one bite of her signature crab omelette blew him away. He immediately understood her viral success. Jay Fai’s passion and dedication in transforming simple ingredients into masterpieces are, in his opinion, what makes her a true culinary artist.   Chef El Palanca: An Eccentric Force of Nature  Head Chef at Vaso When Sahil first met Chef El Palanca, he couldn’t help but feel slightly bewildered at the Madrid native’s outrageous eccentricity and flamboyant personality. Covered in tattoos from head to toe, with a forehead tattoo that reads “Can’t Lose”, Chef El Palanca is an absolute force of nature in (and out of) the kitchen. But despite their vastly different cultural backgrounds from different corners of the world, Sahil and Chef El Palanca quickly bonded over their passion for food (and beer). The chef’s quirky yet delicious Asian-influenced traditional Spanish cuisine at Vaso, Bangkok’s hottest new tapas bar, embodies his love of both cultures in his highly individualistic style.    Wilfrid Hocquet: A Classical Chef with an Urban Edge Executive Chef at Blue by Alain Ducasse When asked what he enjoyed most about