Story and Photos by Geoff Morrison - www.siamscenes.net
For a man who makes a living around the golf course, Tjeert Kwant doesn’t take his swing too seriously. “It’s probably about time I learned to play a half-decent round, jokes the CEO of Banyan Thailand. “I spoke to John, our in-house golf pro, the other day and he’s promised to help me at least stay on the fairway.”
Located on the fringes of the kingdom’s eastern coastline only moments from the heart of Hua Hin, the resort community is home to one of Thailand’s most celebrated golf courses. The par-72 facility, designed by legendary links architect Pirapon Namatra - winner of multiple “Best Golf Experience in Asia-Pacific” accolades - consistently ranks in Thailand’s top three.
Nowadays, however, Banyan Thailand’s array of upscale residential, leisure, and – increasingly – villa rental and active lifestyle offerings boast a reputation on par with the championship course. Indeed, the addition of a long-term lease component and recent efforts to diversify leisure activities is part of Banyan’s wider vision to broaden its appeal beyond the green and transition it into a holistic lifestyle destination.
“Even prior to the pandemic, we identified this great opportunity to support the wellbeing of our residents and guests by developing a healthy and active lifestyle concept,” he explains. “It’s something I’ve personally been doing for many years.”
"Another factor behind the recent Hua Hin renaissance is the proliferation of high-quality leisure activities such as windsurfing, sailing and water-skiing since restrictions on international travel encouraged tourists to holiday closer to home."
‘ALATi Up the Road’ – gourmet travels by Siam Kempinski Hotel
Reminisce about your travels as ALATi, the Mediterranean restaurant at Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok, takes you to experience delicious flavours from the Mediterranean Sea.
Enjoy the ‘ALATi Up the Road’ mouthwatering three-course set menu, from France, Spain, Italy and Turkey to your doorstep.
Executive Chef Carlo Valenziano has created five set menus, cooked to order and available as a takeaway or for delivery via the LINE MAN and Foodpanda application.
A Trip to France: THB 990 net per set
• Duck Terrine, Mesclun Salad, Pickles, French Mustard
• Roasted Pork Chop, Milk Sauce, Rosemary or
Pan-fried Salmon with Meunière Sauce
• Garlic and Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
• Bread of the day
• Choco Choux
A Trip to Spain: THB 990 net per set
• Salpicón de Marisco
• Duck Leg Confit with Prunes or
Seabass Basquaise Sauce
• Butter Mashed Potato
• Bread of the day
• Spanish Flan with Caramel
A Trip to Italy: THB 990 net per set
• Burrata Cheese, Rocket and Roasted Seeds,
Tomatoes with Basil and Balsamic Vinegar
• Gnocchi Truffle or
Pan-fried Seabass, Sicilian Caponata, Pistachio Pesto
• Bread of the day
• Delizia al Limone
A Trip to Turkey: THB 990 net per set
• Spinach and Feta Cheese Pide
• Chickpea Hummus, Garlic Confit
• Tomato and Walnut Salad
• Pitta Bread
• Roasted Seabass, Cardamom Fried Rice, Tarator Sauce or Spiced Grilled Chicken, Sesame and Garlic Spinach, Harissa Sauce
A Green and Healthy Trip: THB 600 net per set
• Mediterranean Chicken Salad
• Pumpkin Soup
• Bread of the day
• Mango, Strawberries and Mint
Takeaway and delivery service is available daily between 12:00 and 20:00 hrs via the LINE MAN and Foodpanda application.
Tel. +662 162 9000 between 12:00 and 20:00 hrs, email email@example.com
Plenty have tried - and failed - to publish a magazine in Thailand. And they include the BigChilli
By Colin Hastings
Magazine publishing reached its zenith in Thailand in the early 2000s, with every Dom, Tik and Hari believing they could, and should, get into a business they really didn’t understand.
Not surprisingly, most quickly went of business, a lot worse-off than they ever thought possible. One would-be lady publisher lost her house and land to pay off debts amassed in her pursuit to become Thailand’s version of Conde Nast, while others kissed goodbye to lifetime savings – and their partners in a couple of cases.
In the last issue of the BigChilli, we featured the front covers of some of the English language magazines that once graced the shelves of Bangkok’s bookshops. Here are few more:
Clearly, publishing isn’t as easy or rewarding as many imagine. And nobody knows that better than the BigChilli, so we’re not gloating.
By Little Wandering Wren
If you haven’t been to Phuket in recent months then come on down! There has never been a better time to visit. It is pristine and empty with fabulous resorts and hotels. However, with the returning tourist clock ticking don’t leave it too long. Phuket is readying itself as an Immunity Island to entice and welcome back international tourists.
Phuket was developed as one of the world’s leading holiday destinations with visitors drawn to its wondrous beaches. What ruined Phuket for me in the past was that it became too popular, and as I live in Thailand, I’m not going to vacation with the masses.
However, as Covid 19 transformed the world, it also changed Phuket and since Christmas my husband and I have swapped our Bangkok city living for the gentler, good for the soul Phuket way of life. As was our custom for the past year, we went on staycations every weekend. We now continued our Thailand Staycations in Phuket hotels in nearly twenty hotels.
Look again Thailand, the island is truly special AND its people really need your help.
Bangkok-based Robert Tyler recalls how close he and his team came to conquering Denali, formerly Mt McKinley, the highest mountain in North America
"The moment the diagnosis was made it felt like a death sentence. Cancer at 40 with two kids still dependent on their mom …"
The simple fact is this: when you go to Alaska, you get your ass kicked.
Not for the first time, climber Matthew Twight’s words came to mind. With crampons fixed firmly in the snow, our team crouched in defiance of the electric storm that hummed around us. Josh, our youngest climber, cradled his damaged hand. He had been injured by an electric shock when unclipping his metal carabiner from the conductive nylon rope that threatened to shock the whole team.
I threw my metal axe to the side and waited for instructions from Chad, our talisman and lead guide. In the deteriorating visibility I discerned a radio abandoned in the snow; one of the many metallic items discarded by the team after the first shock. Would I feel the lightening rod that killed me or would the lights just mercifully go out? The anticipation was sickening.
We were 200 metres from the summit of the highest mountain in North America. At 6190 metres, Denali was the dominant peak of the austere and impenetrable Alaska Range. Three weeks earlier, we had been nine jet-lagged strangers sitting in a circle in a bland Anchorage travel lodge. Like practitioners of meditation, each climber took turns to share their intention; why they were choosing to subject themselves to three weeks of extreme physical exertion, sleep deprivation from 24/7 daylight, the constant threat of cold injuries, and the disjointing effects of high altitude. I hadn’t been ready to explain that I sought restoration following a turbulent series of life events. There are things you share with a room full of strangers, and things you don’t.
From the rice fields of Isaan to fame as a filmmaker, the long struggle of a country girl who overcame cancer to put her family and career back on track
By Robin Westley Martin
The year 2020 was the year that the scourge of Covid began to affect all our lives, to a greater or lesser degree. I myself lost a childhood friend, and it was a major contributing factor in the closure of my café business in Bangkok.
The pandemic, then, created difficulties for everyone, but for some there was worse yet to come. One such was Naruemon (Ploy) Chaingam, who was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer at the same time as the Covid pandemic was gathering steam around the globe. This is her story – a story of courage and determination.
The Northeast of Thailand, known as Isaan, is the poorest part of Thailand, and its economy is largely agriculture-based. This is where Ploy was born, in Sisaket, a province bordering Cambodia. Ploy was an observant and inquisitive child who took a deep interest in what was going on around her. From an early age she knew that a life in the rice fields was not to be her destiny.
Ploy is now a confident 40-year-old woman who has two teenage boys, aged fourteen and fifteen, and she has juxtaposed being a caring single mom (since 2010, when her children were three and four years old) with a successful career in journalism and documentary film-making. She learnt to speak English by herself (her spoken English is better than some Thai politicians I have interviewed) and Ploy is well-known - and respected - by the foreign media community in Thailand.
So let’s find out a little more about what makes Ploy tick:
Robin: When did you first become interested in journalism and film work, and what was it about making documentaries that drew your attention?
Ploy: Growing up in a poor farming village in Isaan you see the real Thailand, the grassroots. It felt a long way from the Bangkok I saw on TV, let alone the rest of the world. But what things I was able to find out (long before smartphones and Google search) gave me a hunger to learn more about my country and further afield.
This was our first visit to Savelberg and it proved to be an excellent choice of venue. I must begin by mentioning the excellent service led by Hostess K. Pui that we enjoyed from start to finish.
We were accommodated in the restaurant’s private room which has ample space for more than 20 diners and is reached by elevator.
Proceedings started with a Club favourite, Bellavista 'Alma' Cuvee Brut NV (Lombardy, Italy), which might best be described as a cost effective Italian response to champagne. It is attractively pale yellow in colour, with green reflections. Fine, elegant yet rounded and beautifully balanced, the grapes used are 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero and the bubbles are small and long-lasting.
Wine spokesman (for the first time) Vernon Johnson shared with us of experiencing his first sampling of wine, a Chateau Lafite, collected from a local drugstore without knowing its provenance or reputation but much enjoyed. He confessed not to be a fan of sparkling wines but this one had made a great start for the meal.
Our first starter course was Beef Tartare, made from Simmentaler Beef (from Switzerland) served with a Mustard Tartar Sauce, Potato Sorbet and Cannelloni of Bacon. It was a very different Beef Tartare to my expectation and one heartily endorsed by Food Spokesman Mark Guthrie, who gave us a brief overview of the history and many common variations of this iconic dish.
The second starter was a Monkﬁsh fillet served with a medley of Organic Tomato, Tarragon, Chive, Basil, Shallot and Parsley. It was an expertly prepared dish and the vegetables and herbs beautifully complemented the sweet taste and firm texture of the Monkfish - which some have called “a poor man’s lobster”.
Both starters were well paired with magnums of Claude Riffault Sancerre Les Boucauds 2018 (Loire, France), which for me was the wine of the lunch. Ageing of the Sauvignon Blanc lasts 7 to 8 months, when the wine was bottled before the arrival of summer. On the nose, the wine revealed aromas of white fleshed fruit and citrus and tastes including gooseberry, grapefruit, lime, and melon. Vernon thought the pairing was good and an enjoyable full-bodied wine.
Robin Westley Martin in front and behind the camera at Bangkok Chit Chat
Bangkok Chit Chat, a YouTube and Facebook channel talk show that focuses on interesting people and topics in Bangkok and beyond is the offspring of two enterprising expats, Andrew Sloan, and Andy Francis.
Both have 30-plus years of experience living and doing business in Thailand, and being known as ‘guys around town’. I first became friends with Andrew over 30 years ago when he was the advertising and marketing director for Business in Thailand, where I was the news editor and writer.
I have also known Andy Francis for the same length of time – albeit vicariously – through his work as a DJ on several radio stations, and also as the DJ at some of the venues and functions around town that I attended.
Recently, since the birth of Bangkok Chit Chat, I have renewed my friendship with Andrew, and have formed an amity with Andy. All three of us have a lot in common, and we all do our best to see the bright side of life.
Andrew – the owner of Clip Cube Media, an agency focused on digital media and online brand management – thought that there was a place for a not-too-serious discussion show that himself and his friends would find entertaining. When his buddy Andy Francis, a well-known media personality, also expressed his interest in the project, the formation of Bangkok Chit Chat began in earnest.
Andrew already had the premises, and he wanted to make an impact with his new venture, so no half-measures were taken. In mid-2018 he began building a studio, and equipping it with cameras, green screen, lighting, sound-proofing, studio sets, and computer editing software. The whole shebang cost about 750,000 baht, but would have cost rather more had Andrew not been hands-on during the construction.
The stage was set, and in early 2019 they were ready to roll … Bangok’s very own homegrown TV interviewers were about to hit the airwaves. Andrew Sloan and Andy Francis complement each other well: Andrew has the business background and is able to research well the subjects they have choose to invite to the studio, and Andy, with his background in the entertainment industry is able to add another slant to the proceedings.
hey choose their subjects together, and when their invitation has been accepted they start their work on the research, and what questions they need to ask their guest interviewees. It’s all very informal, and the banter goes back and forth between them and their guests. This is not to say that it is a comedy exercise, as some of the topics cover important matters.