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Splitting atoms in the Big Bang – a day in the Big Mango

Bill Barnett

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Splitting atoms in the Big Bang – a day in the Big Mango | The Thaiger
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OPINION by Bill Barnett of c9hotelworks.com

Despite the global pandemic, Bangkok’s rapid-fire megacity growth trajectory has remained largely in place. While life in Covid-19 times is a bit like sparring with wild gangs of chaos monkeys in a dead-end ally, thankfully one of the singular guilty pleasures of these strange times is the ability to at least travel domestically.

Last week, in the country where time stands still or at least it seems that way, as the waning days of the lost summer blaze away, I bumped a ride on the big bus in the sky up to the streets of Thailand’s capital. New hotels were on my mind, as my pulse raced along with a staccato beat. Or maybe it was the third double shot Americano.

Glancing at my phone, thinking out loud who still wears a watch? It’s only ten in the morning and here I was amped and ready to roll. Bright sight’s, big city, drum roll, please.

First stop, down Langsuan to the expansive Sindhorn Village, landing me on the front door of the new Kimpton Maa-Lai. Being from the US, I have some history with the Kimpton brand which is part of the IHG brand stable.

Yet, for those in Kingdom come, the name is a blank slate here in Asia, with the City of Angels providing an opportunity to cut its teeth as it looks to rep-up. My first impression is that of a gentrified West Coast vibe, posh dog walkers (part of the Kimpton brand DNA is pet-friendly) glide by, and rightly so in the age of dining dogma, the focus is on food and beverage from the get-go. Scions of the leisure class are a common sight, leash in hand.

Most memorable is the rooftop Bar Yard, which has Bangkokians buzzing, but I did love Craft on the ground floor and is an homage to a variety of stunning Thai coffees. Ex-IHG F and B concept guy Shane Giles who is now out on his own, leading consulting start-up – Blue Salt is behind the current and soon to be expanded offerings. It’s a big ask with all the bars and restaurants in this hotel, but let’s just say it will be an interesting ride. The hotel rooms will open in October.

Shifting the chit chat to Sindhorn Village on a warm breezy day you can take a look into the future and feel the vibe of great things to come within a New York Central Park way. Lumpini as it goes is starting to see a massive set of mega-projects in the peripheral area such as Bangkok One and Dusit Central Park. It’s a strong promise of lifestyle in the margins, without a dancing bear. Some of the city’s most expensive addresses will are yet to come with uber-luxury dog walking crash pads.

Keeping the flame burning, my next stop takes me past the wall of voodoo and down to the resurging Chao Praya River. One of Asia’s most notable accidental tourism phenoms has to be how the two-decade-old commissioning of the BTS sky train shifted tourists away from the river and Silom, and up into Sukhumvit and beyond.

Today, the culture club is seeing a virtual renaissance in the area. In the mood for art, I took some ‘me time; to head over to the River City complex to browse the Andy Warhol Pop Art exhibition which runs through 24 November. On display are 128 original works of art from the king of pop, and what am amazing happening for Bangkok. My recommendation – just do it.

One organisation that is getting thing rights is the Bangkok River collaborative project that is being led by a stacked deck of leading hotels, retail, and travel players. The connection to the creative district that is driving some of the most exciting urban redevelopment in the region. Hats off to David Robinson for some inspired thinking and giving creativity a sense of belonging.

Splitting atoms in the Big Bang - a day in the Big Mango | News by The Thaiger

Near but oh so far away I was about to be blown out of my tattered green, road-weary sneakers. There was no dancing bear, but a quick looksie at the new Four Seasons left me gobsmacked. Everything about this place speaks luxury, from the design of Jean-Michel Gathy and Denniston to an articulated horizon of river life on the move. General Manager Lubosh Barta poked his head around corners, to point out a series of memorable discoveries.

Part of the mega complex which includes the towering posh Four Seasons Residences is the sleek, low key chic Capella. Talking to the GM John Blanco, my first line was “it just looks like a Capella.” Understated, intimate, and boutique the sizing suite size rooms and riverfront villas, make it a formable object of desire. The bottom line is with October openings, these twins are both stunning yet provide a distinct yin and yang to Bangkok nouveau lux.

Meanwhile back on the BTS, clutching my tattered, massively worn-down Rabbit Card, that looked like it had been chewed on by some beat weasel, I masked up in Anglo Batman style and rode the rails to Sukhumvit. It was time to scuddle down Soi 8 to the spanking new lyf from Ascott. Bright, brash, coliving in a social setting. I love it. It’s a spontaneously engaging entry for affordable travel, with a somewhat sophomoric tongue in cheek sense of place. It was in all a coolio moment.

As the afternoon waned, cocktail time neared, my trip to the big smoke was indeed a look behind the curtain of tomorrowland. Bangkok’s splitting atoms is seeing a new set of districts or mini-metros that look to throw a curveball into the current marketplace. Had I seen too much, or did it only wet my appetite for another trip?

Splitting atoms in the Big Bang - a day in the Big Mango | News by The ThaigerSplitting atoms in the Big Bang - a day in the Big Mango | News by The Thaiger

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    September 7, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    Not for me.
    During three days last January the air pollution was so bad it was a danger to health.
    And it persisted for weeks more. Every things a rip off there as well.
    The taxi drivers will not put their meters on. Foreigners pay more than Thais at many attractions,and bar swindles are common.

    • Avatar

      Rinky Stingpiece

      September 7, 2020 at 11:41 pm

      It really isn’t. I can get good food for a quid in central Bangkok, stuff they charge ten times more for in Phuket. You must be looking in all the wrong places, or maybe they just see you coming 😀

    • Avatar

      J West

      September 8, 2020 at 9:01 pm

      Lol . You’re not wrong. Even Thai know exasperating it can be. It isn’t an easy city. You learn to laugh….and walk away.

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    September 8, 2020 at 10:29 am

    They will not see me coming for a long long time.

  3. Avatar

    Joe

    September 8, 2020 at 3:11 pm

    The city that shall be under water in the near future, you must be an idiot to invest in real estate there.

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Bill Barnett has over 30 years of experience in the Asian hospitality and property markets. He is considered to be a leading authority on real estate trends across Asia, and has sat at almost every seat around the hospitality and real estate table. Bill promotes industry insight through regular conference speaking engagements and is continually gathering market intelligence. Over the past few years he has released four books on Asian property topics.

Crime

Mother abandons 3 young children in their locked Bangkok room for 3 days

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Mother abandons 3 young children in their locked Bangkok room for 3 days | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Khaosod.co.th

3 young Bangkok children were abandoned in a small room for 3 days after the mother allegedly visited her new boyfriend. A neighbour was taking care of the youngest of the 4 children, a 4 month old baby, but the mother never contacted anyone about her other 3 kids. The mother hadn’t returned to pick up her baby from the neighbour, as promised. Police report that the 3 children had no food for the 3 days. Paveena Hongsakul from the Foundation for Children and Women called Police at the Khan Na Yao Police Station, a northeastern suburb of Bangkok.

Police received a report about the 4 children, aged 7, 6, 4 and the baby.

The 25 year old stepsister notified the foundation on Thursday informing police that her 32 year old sister, Gift, is the mother of the children. Gift’s husband is serving a sentence for drug charges and has been incarcerated for 3 years. Since then Gift had the 4th child, although the family is unsure who the father is. The sister claimed that Gift was always asking the family for financial assistance.

Last Monday Gift’s neighbour contacted the sister saying that she had been taking care of the young baby. She went to Gift’s room to see if she was there and the room was locked. She checked through a window and could see the 3 other children and noted that they were stressed and looked hungry.

When she asked the children about their mother the youngsters remained silent. She worked with the other neighbours to rescue the children through the window. Gift’s phone was left in her room. After filing a report with the local police the neighbour took the other 3 children in to care for them but told police that her room was only 33 square metres and there were 11 people living in her tiny room already.

Police and the neighbour tried to call Gift’s new boyfriend. Eventually he answered but told them that he was “far away and didn’t know when Gift could return”.

All 4 children are now safe at the foundation after a visit to the local police station as police wait to interview Gift when she returns.

SOURCE: Thai Residents | Khaosod.co.th

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Thailand

Charter vote delayed, committee formed and Senators escape Parliament by boat – VIDEO

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Charter vote delayed, committee formed and Senators escape Parliament by boat – VIDEO | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: Protesters gather outside the Thai parliament - Tanaporn Choopanya

Thailand’s MPs and Senators have kicked the constitutional can down the road at least a month after the parliament failed to agree on charter amendments. A panel will be sent up to examine 6 motions that were proposed and debated over the past 2 days. Meanwhile, up to 2,000 protesters were gathered outside the unfinished parliamentary buildings as an act of solidarity for the MPs supporting the changes to the current Thai Constitution.

The reality of the vote, and the setting up of an investigative committee, could push any votes on real reform well into 2021.

The 2 Houses of Parliament voted 431-255 to delay the vote. Opposition Pheu Thai and Move Forward MPs stormed out and missed the opportunity of nominating anyone to the new 45 member parliamentary committee to examine the motions, whilst the remaining members chose members for the committee. Move Forward Party’s, Pita Limjaroenrat, described the vote as “a way to stall for time” complaining that the decision “was moving the country towards a dead end”.

It was not known how the NCPO hand-picked Senators would vote on the bills. Many were thought to side with the idea of constitutional reform but the reality was that, in most scenarios, they’d be voting themselves out of a job if any reforms went ahead. Thailand’s entire upper house is a military-appointed rump of conservative former businesspeople and Army officials, mostly men.

Charter vote delayed, committee formed and Senators escape Parliament by boat - VIDEO | News by The Thaiger

The protesters viewed the afternoon’s proceedings as a blunt stalling tactic to keep the current parliament, and its unelected senators, in power. The session ran until 8.30 last night. Rather than face the angry mob of anti-government protesters at the front of the building, most of the senators escaped on boat at the rear of the building, which backs onto Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River.

The demonstrators, with a consistent theme of reform over 3 months of rallies, are demanding changes to the current constitution because it was drafted by the NCPO who kicked out the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014.

The protesters specifically point to the NCPO-appointed senate and the power they wield to elect the country’s prime minister, even though none of them were elected (nor was Prayut Chan-o-cha).

Protesters say they will now organise the next lot of rallies in October. Meanwhile, the Parliament is now is recess.

PROTESTSLive scenes from today’s protest rally to lend their voices, albeit from outside the The Parliament, to the debates inside about amendments to the Thai Constitution. The Thai parliament buildings are unfinished and, so it seems, are the student and anti-government protesters.

Posted by The Thaiger on Thursday, September 24, 2020

 

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Road deaths

Bangkok DJ dies in high speed crash on notorious ‘death road’

Caitlin Ashworth

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Bangkok DJ dies in high speed crash on notorious ‘death road’ | The Thaiger
PHOTO: INN News

A well known local DJ died early this morning in a high speed car crash on a Bangkok road bend nicknamed “Curve of 100 Deaths.” Police say his car’s speedometer was found stuck at 200 kilometres per hour.

Police suspect 33 year old Annop Poonsripattana was going around a curve when he lost control of the car due to the slippery road conditions from the rain. His black Toyato Altis was found smashed into an electricity pole around 2:30am today. The impact caused Annop to be flung to the back seat. Police say his skull was shattered and his neck broken.

A security guard at a nearby building says heard an explosion and the electricity cut out. The entire area went black, he says. The so called “Curve of 100 Deaths” is near Ratchada Criminal Court in Bangkok’s Chatuchak district. The guard says many fatal crashes happen on the road.

“This area is highly prone to road accidents. Just last week a mother and her small child were killed here.”

The Ratchada Road curve so dangerous that locals honk when driving through the curve to show respect and to ask for permission from the spirits of those who have died there for safe passage, according to Coconuts Bangkok. In the past, many people have left offerings like zebra statues in honour of those who died in car incidents while driving on the road.

Annop played music at many entertainment venues in Bangkok. He was also a contestant in the Take Me Out Thailand TV show in 2015. An autopsy is being done at the Police General Hospital. Electricians are working to fix the electricity pole and restore power.

Bangkok DJ dies in high speed crash on notorious ‘death road’ | News by The Thaiger

An event with Annop Poonsripattana.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | Coconuts Bangkok

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