GETTING a haircut in Bangkok can be a confusing, amusing and sometimes traumatic experience for expats who speak limited Thai.
From ramshackle backstreet barber shops to high end salons in malls, no matter where you go, if your hair-stylist doesn’t speak any English, that short-back-and-sides or perm you’re after could potentially go horribly wrong.
And even if you do speak some Thai, use the wrong tone and you could leave your stylist flummoxed. To foreign ears the Thai word for fringe (see The long & short of it), for instance, sounds remarkably similar to the Thai words for horse and dog. So you could potentially walk into a salon, pull up a seat, and ask your stylist to cut your family pet. Woof, woof.
You may think your best bet is to head to popular malls such as EmQuartier, Siam Paragon and CentralWorld. But while there are plenty of glitzy salons to choose from, each stocked with the finest hair products and top of the range equipment, you still run the risk of having your barnet chopped by a one-trick pony who’ll leave you looking like a military conscript, no matter what style you ask for. Sir, yes, Sir!
Our first ‘How To’ column, then, intends to make bad expat haircuts a thing of the past. After combing the streets, canvassing the Internet, and undergoing the clippers, here we suggest some of the places where you can expect to have your ears lowered without looking like a freak. Best of all – each have English speaking staff. And should understand you don’t want to shave your pet. Result!
A cut above
• Hive Hair & Nail. Stylist Jirakiat “Gong” Wattana and his team regularly pamper Thailand’s superstars. Haircuts start at B1,200 for women; B1,000 for men. Two branches: Portico Building, Langsuan Rd., 02 65 0956; and Central Embassy, 02-160-5996/7, www.hive-salon.com.
• Mark Thawin Ultimate Hair Solution. Another celebrity stylist offering his services for the public, Mark Thawin does great things with even the wildest of barnets. Women’s haircuts start at B1,200; Men’s at B800. 330 Soi Ladpraow 94, Town in Town, 02 934 7776, www.markthawin.com
• Never Say Cutz (Men’s barbershop). Founded by Way, from hip-hop trio Thaitanium, NSC specialises in urban styles and modern cuts. Operates several branches in Bangkok. Haircuts start at B350. www.neversaycutzbarber.com
• SJ Best Salon Bang Rak. Several readers recommended this friendly establishment in Bang Rak. Haircuts for women start at just B400; men at B350. 35 Charoenkrung, 50 Bangrak, 02 630 6938 on.fb.me/1QGGxAM
• The Element Lifestyle Salon. Staff speaks limited English, but the Wednesday deal is great: B900 for women’s haircuts; B700 for gent’s. Park Lane, Sukhumvit Soi 63, 02 382 0123, on.fb.me/1SainxT
• The Lounge Hair Salon. Run by famous model Metinee "Lukkade" Kingpayome, alongside renowned hair stylists Somporn "Kai" Tirin and Porntep "Rang" Wanpate, The Lounge offers women’s haircuts starting at B1,400; men’s at B1,100. Two branches: K Village (02 665 6020-1); and EmQuartier (02 003 6172-3), theloungehairsalon.com
• Toni & Guy Thailand. London-trained stylists offer cuts starting at B900 at the Bangkok branch of this world-renowned brand. The Esplanade, 99 Ratchadaphisek Rd., 02 660 9212-3, www.toniandguy.co.th
• Truefitt & Hill (For men). Like their parent venue in London (the oldest barbershop in the world!), Bangkok’s T&H branches offer a luxury grooming experience for men. Haircuts start at B1,400. Two branches: Central Embassy (08 3636 146) and The Emporium (061 1624 663), on.fb.me/1QWGzCW
• Zenred Hair Salon Bangkok. An internationally-trained team of English speaking Bangkok hairstylists specialize in hair colouring, highlights and straightening. Women’s haircuts start at B500, Men’s at B400. Monopoly Park Mall, 59/27 Industrial Ring Rd., Chong Nonsi, 0836 0061 76, www.zenredsalonbangkok.com www.facebook.com/zenredhairsalonbangkok