There’s Just Never Enough To Wanderlist in Bangkok

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While the first part of Easter was spent quietly with family in the Philippines, I actually finished the last weekend of Easter Week in a different country altogether, for a third trip back to Thailand in Bangkok this year alone. The occasion was special, we went to celebrate the marriage of my friend, Jiki (above), with my sister, Bernadette (below), coming along for a chill weekend of sightseeing, shopping, and spa, just us three. And because Jiki never got a proper hen’s night pre-wedding, we thought we’d just do a last minute trip out to celebrate the nuptials.

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It’s been a while since I’ve been on a proper trip with Jiki, and never with Bernadette since she moved to Hong Kong a couple of years ago. This was a great opportunity to bond and spend some quality time with my real sister, and my adopted sister….especially now that Jiki went from Ms. Jiki Lim to Mrs. Jiki Ford last month.

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Good timing too. With proper holidays for easter and the husband being away back in London, well… I guess here we all are. Always eager to relax.

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Overall, it was a pleasant couple of days back in a vibrant and creative city I love, which I’ve pretty much established in an epic post about Bangkok a few weeks ago.

Check out the view from our hotel room!

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Almost a near perfect trip really, thanks to Pullman Bangkok Hotel G Silom and Medium Asia for hosting all of us for those two nights. I say “almost” because the taxi situation in Bangkok has gone from bad to worse. Good luck getting a cab with a driver willing to drive you with a meter on or to take you anywhere for less than 200 baht!

Speaking of taxis, as per usual, traffic in SIAM SQUARE is horrendous. 

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But the shopping in the Square itself… always a treat. Check out my new favorite brand, Common-T which I’ll do a post on soon.

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And another #JJStyle kind of place, Headquarter The Fifth… which I think made it to this month’s issue of Monocle Magazine.

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Beyond the square, in Siam Center across the street… of course there’s always Level 3 Thai Indendent Designers where everything is just divine. The girls did pretty well at PEDZ.

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… and my favorite, Greyhound where Bernadette purchased this skirt.

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Staff at Greyhound are just so slick.

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I on the other hand, picked up a pair of camo swimmers from TIMO, my favorite brand of the moment at The Selected Boutique on Level 3.

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It was a tough choice… especially with this number…

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Word on the street is… TIMO is doing a collaboration with Hong Kong’s, Kapok. Now that news is just epic. Don’t believe me? Ask Arnault.

Meanwhile I had to stop by CONTAINER Bags to drool.

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And then a quick nibble at Greyhound Cafe. (Much MUCH better in Bangkok than in Hong Kong, FYI. Cheaper too for better quality food.)

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Other places we were able to check out on this trip for the first time… the Jim Thompson Outlet! There are two of them in Bangkok, with one location only two blocks from the Pullman Hotel we stayed in. I was so excited I lost my wallet between getting out of the taxi and getting into the shop. Not so “outlet” after all.

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We also went to check out a brand spankin’ new, family friendly, Drag Show at the Calypso Theatre at Asiatique, Bangkok’s new version of Marina Bay Sands on the river. Everything was a complete homage to cabaret and Hollywood-esque stage spectacles from the 20’s to 50’s. Very glam. And very talented these women.

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The best thing about our hotel is the 24-hour burger joint on the ground floor, called 25 Degrees, a concept imported from the Los Angeles original located within the Roosevelt Hotel.

We ate here very late, and had breakfast here very early a few hours later.

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I loved our hotel. It was chic. And the staff was even chicer.

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While having sunset drinks at the roof top bar, Scarlett, a wine and cheese tapas bar run by 2 Star Michelin Chef, I bumped into a friend of mine, Pao Patpongpibul, who is the mother of a uni friend. Pao owns a hospitality interior design firm in Bangkok called P49 DEESIGN… the same firm which gave the hotel its fresh look. They designed pretty much all the public areas, ie. all the lobbies and restaurants at the Pullman Bangkok Hotel G. It was great to catch up with Pao over a glass of wine.

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Would I return to stay at Pullman Hotel G? Most definitely. From P49 DEESIGN’s amazing interiors, the hotel’s central location, on top of the excellent service, I would definitely return in heartbeat. Main advice… have the American Breakfast at 25 Degrees, and skip the hotel buffet. The buttermilk pancakes at 25 Degrees is really something else. Also make use of the Pullman “Welcomer”. They’ll take care of ALL your Bangkok concierge needs. 

That’s all folks!

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STAY Pullman Bangkok Hotel G / DRINK Scarlett Wine Bar & Restaurant / EAT 25 Degrees Burgers, Wine, and Liquor Bar / EAT Greyhound Cafe / WEAR Common-T / WEAR Headquarter The Fifth / WEAR TIMO / WEAR Greyhound / WEAR PEDZ / WATCH Calypso Cabaret / SHOP Jim Thompson Outlet

JJ.

Pink Friday, Style Spotting at the Affordable Art Fair… and Then Some

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It’s really intense how dense the selection has been for Art Fairs in Hong Kong, especially in the Spring. So far we’ve got Art Basel HK (it used to be Art HK), and now we’ve got Fine Art Asia, Asia Contemporary Art Fair in the Grand Hyatt, and Asia Hotel Art Fair Hong Kong in the Mandarin Oriental. In addition, imported flagship galleries have opened up in the last two years alone, including the Lehmann Maupin which celebrated with a cocktail soiree last Thursday on my Birthday. (I didn’t get to go because I was covering the launch of Thom Browne’s Black Fleece label with Brooks Brothers and a talk on fashion at Marc+Chantal instead…hey you cannot do it all.) 

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Even with the glut of art fairs, this weekend saw the arrival of our very own edition of the Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong (AFF). This pink branded fair from London has been successfully hosting art fairs around the world selling contemporary art at “affordable” prices for the last 14 years. In fact, the fair founder and CEO, Will Ramsay, who was in town for the AAF, actually helped establish ArtHK in its infancy. I covered the fair’s Friday night Artylicious Vernissage event for Surface Asia Magazine while simultaneously touring Monocle Magazine’s managing editor, David Michon, through all the exhibiting booths.

In exchange for the walk around, David was able to help me out by asking professional questions to exhbiting gallerists, like AO Vertical Art Space’s Sarah Greene, below.

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AO Vertical Art space had pretty amazing photographs of vertical Hong Kong on sale. We’re talking limited small sized prints of work by the iconic Michael Wolf and Ho Fan.

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As well as cool works by newcomer, Romain Jacquet-Legreze. A young french photographer who recently found inspiration in Hong Kong’s architectural profiles. He was even nice enough to chat with us about his work and his manuscript, also printed by A0. Some compositions look very similar to Wong Kar Wai’s opening sequences for a few of his films. See below.

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I really love this piece by Vietnam based Australian artist, Glen Clark. Titled, Cheung EK 2006, the work valued at 68,000HKD, is a reflection on on the mass graves and tunnels that exist in Vietnam’s physical landscape.

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The AAF was an opportunity for gallerists like Gaffer’s Jules Lambe, to unload some works by lesser known artists and to have a direct space for people to visit and speak 1-on-1 with her about her collection. Gaffer is one of a handful of galleries in Hong Kong with no shopfront, so the AAF was really useful as a way to get a catchment of audience and attention that is rare for some of these galleries.

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David was a pro at asking questions, but he was also great at pointing out what he thought was really cool art. It turned out he and I liked the same pieces, and we realized that the selection of sculptures at the AAF was far better than the paintings, prints, and photography that was on offer. Who knew that the AAF was going to be a sculpture heavy show?

Glazed porcelains by Shin Koyama below at about 13,000HKD for the La Lanta Fine Art in Thailand.

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This one is a funny one, titled Happy Mushroom 2012, by Siy Tak Yin for 9,000HKD.

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This is Johan Thurell’s Nylen Ceramics at 2,400HKD from Villa del Arte galleries.

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It was really great to see this ink work by Peter Yuillvia The Cat Street Gallery for 18,000HKD.

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You can read about my general assessment of the AAF via the Surface Asia article which went live yesterday and see more works of art that were available including prints by Damien Hirst and Gilbert & George.

David also helped me pick out Fashyon Fairgoers for some on-the-spot street style shots. I just realized that most of the fair-goers wore pink… I wonder why. Probably because the AAF logo is pink. Who knows?

Style blogger, Cindiemindie

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Girl with the Pink Hair.

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Artists Charles Munka and Laurent Segretier who participated in a group show called Surface Tension hosted by the Cat Street Gallery this month.

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Style editor, Jing Zhang and partner.

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Indie concert producers, Mike and Jane of Songs for Children.

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Gentleman in Pink and Lime Green Striped tie and Pink blazer.

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Style bloger, ElleIconLee in pink and mustard yellow.

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Social media guru, Taura.

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Style stalking UK Designer, Elizabeth Lau. (We’ve been Twitter friends for a while, and I’ve only now just met her.)

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Designer, Thuy-Tien Crampton of the children’s wear label, La Petite Caravane and her partner. Check out her blog here!

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Artist, Joe Joe Ngai.

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Bag designer, Michelle Lai of MISCHA and partner looking fresh from showing in Paris.

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It was like Christmas!

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Later that night, David and Elleiconlee, joined me to have dinner and drinks with university pals, Roberto and Narin at Bistecca, one of HK’s best steak houses. But first drinks at this dive called OTTO in LKF.

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Where apparently a “DJ TROY” plays.

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The dinner at Bistecca turned out to be a pseudo-Birthday dinner for myself. Which is great because everyone else around me was celebrating their birthday too. Narin and his partner Due were visiting from Bangkok that weekend.

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They showed up with this!!!!

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A NEW BAG FROM CONTAINER for my birthday!!!! (Due is the founder, owner, and designer of the amazing line of men’s bags called CONTAINER, which I wrote about last year.)

Which by the way… David, was coincidentally carrying a CONTAINER bag that night as well. So it was really great to have him over for dinner to meet Due, the designer. What a small world.

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Let me rephrase that, what a pink world.

VISIT Affordable Art Fair International / WEAR CONTAINER / EAT Bistecca / READ Surface Asia Magazine / READ Monocle Magazine

JJ.

theW+ Bangkok Wanderlist, Spring 2013

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Above, the most instagrammed location in the world, Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.

It’s only February 2013, and already I’ve journeyed twice to Bangkok this year. My friends in Hong Kong who’ve seen me return back from Asia’s “City of Sin” (only half true… it’s also a spiritual and design oriented city) post-Western-New-Year AND Chinese-New-Year-Vacation, could tell an immediate difference in my general attitude about everything. I feel lighter, I feel younger, and I definitely feel revived. No it’s not botox or the red light district, Bangkok is an exhilarating destination for those who enjoy creative cities, and everything creative cities can offer the creative soul.

Below, a fabulous sculpture at the new Museum of Contemporary Art Bangkok.

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I always return from a Bangkok trip feeling I want to write about everything, but I just can’t, there’s just too much to write and not enough time. That said, my friend, photographer and fellow blogger, Carmen Chan, will be off to Bangkok this week, so I wanted to get this post out published for her while it’s still fresh in my head. So here it goes.

While there is more to do in Bangkok than what’s just below, this would be my ideal itinerary NOW if I only had one or two days in the city. So without further ado, these are MY Top 6 places to check out in Bangkok that I would personally try to visit again because I loved it so much the first and second time around.

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#JJStyle: CONTAINER A/W12 Bespoke Goes Hunting

Im so proud of my friend, Due Suvisit Laohapongchana, in Bangkok for actually following his dreams and establishing his first menswear line of bags called, CONTAINER

Here below, I’m holding my own CONTAINER bag from the first collection. This was on my last trip to Thailand end of last year.

Since the first line was launched in the Spring 2011, CONTAINER has since received much great press and notoriety, the highlight being a spread in UK’s Monocle Magazine.

I find CONTAINER bags quite sturdy and masculine and great to take on trips because it holds up well to brutal travel scenarios… and I’m sure we’ve all had them in one point or another. Below is the CONTAINER Office Keeper from the 1880’s line which I took with me on my last trip to Beijing with CNN. Due sent me one of these as a gift to highlight the launch of the third collection, 1880s.

The 1880’s line reflects the designers’ interest in British Hunting Fashion, and used those influences inspiring the use of raw leather, check patterning, and corduroys throughout the collection of weekend duffels, backpacks, messenger bags, briefcases, totes, laptop backs, iPad sleeves, money clips, wallets, and card holders.

1880’s Small Leather Goods. 

1880’s Casual Resort.

CONTAINER leather is derived from tanneries based in Italy and Europe, and are handpicked by Due himself. Fabrics are sourced from markets in Hong Kong and Japan, and are all assembled by hand in their atelier in Bangkok.

The atelier and the 3 partners behind CONTAINER were all documented and published in Monocle.

More product images from the collection… curdoroy backpack.

The Totes.

iPad Envelopes.

Office Pen Holders.

And my favorite gift buy of the season… the card wallets.

Congrats Due! Keep it up. I’m a fan!

SHOP CONTAINER, Zen Department Store @ Central World, Bangkok / ONLINE CONTAINER Facebook 

JJ.

Henry Holland for Le Specs // theWanderlister+ Asia Spring Giveaway

If you come visit my flat, the first thing you’ll notice by the side of the front door my glass bowl of sunglasses. Yes… it’s a glass bowl. Due to HK space constraints, a glass bowl is really the best I could do with my sunglasses collection. Everything is in there from Tom Fords to the drug store variety. I’m officially a sunglasses addict, which is why I was stoked when my friend, Denise emailed me late last year that I.T. in Hong Kong was going to start carrying a new line of sunglasses from Le Specs in collaboration with London fashion designer, Henry Holland of House of Holland.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Independent designer, Henry Holland, at this point, he outfitted M.I.A. for her performance at the Grammy’s before she had a baby.

With a range of 8 styles & 19 pieces, the collection focuses on round silhouettes and goggle-like shapes in a series of classic colours along with clear, green and purple highlights. Le Specs designer Hamish Tame explains “we started building on a circular story, and it evolved into more of a fixation with eyebrows and facial features. the overall aesthetic of the range feels very fresh, and Henry was constantly coming up with new and crazy ideas that we bounced around.”

Lennons Below.

And Circle the Mesh.

DressMeBlog’s Jasmine Webster in MONOBROW at their launch at FLY in Hong Kong. (via DRESSMEBLOG)

My Pick…the FLAT TOP, which I wore on my recent trip to Krabi and Rayong for my friend Sai’s wedding.

Which went pretty well with my #JJStyle duds, including my CONTAINER bag, designed and produced by my Thai friend Due, now on sale at ZEN and Central Chidlom.

The glasses were very useful for the New Year’s Eve party with my #HKSocial Gang at the Hullet House when the theme was “Old Hollywood”.

This and all of Henry Holland’s Le Specs Sunglasses are really futuristic, but with a bit of that sci-fi / film noir edge.

+ HENRY HOLLAND x Le SPECS: theWanderlister+ Asia Giveaway

From now until I name the winner on April 10th, one lucky reader will have a chance to win a pair of these new classic FLAT TOPs by Henry Holland for Le Specs!

All you have to do is email info@wanderlister.com with a subject heading, "Wanderlister! Give Me These Henry Holland Le Specs Shades NOW!" and basically winner will win by lucky draw. You can only email/enter once, and the winner will be notified by email on April 10th! Easy.

And by the looks of the weather this past weekend… we’ll need them sooner rather than later! And if you cant wait… you can always grab yours at the address below!

I.T HYSAN ONE / Address: 1/F, One Hysan Avenue  Causeway Bay, Hong Kong / +852 2890 7391 / Price: HK$899.  Up / Le Specs ONLINE

JJ.