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T / bangkok love song

It’s become a tradition now.  Tiff gets new contract.  Then Emily says I’m coming to Bangkok.  Tiff immediately says I’M COMING (because having a new contract allows for flights of fancy).  Tiff gets the heck out of dodge.

But first, a little bit about Emily (read her stuff here! and here).  We met by chance outside the offices of this big organization in Phnom Penh nearly six years ago.  We share the same birthday and at the time of our meeting one friend, which quickly ballooned to 28.  Emily is also the one who introduced me to Cait.  And there was that infamous roll of Hello Kitty duct tape from Target involved.  And now we have this blog and amazing friendship and all these things I hold so dearly.  So now you get it.  She’s gorgeous.  The conversation, brunch, gin and wine are in constant flow.  We both love Emily.

And now about Bangkok.  It’s got to be my favourite city in Asia.  With the class and familiarity of Hong Kong (but without the prices, or my relatives), and the kids are so incredibly hip.  The culture is homegrown and authentically Thai.  It is so easy to get around (Uber and GrabTaxi are your apps to get) – and there are trains!  I’ve written about it before.  I’m writing about it again.  The place is delicious.  This time I hung out around the downtown center.  Here are some of my faves.

Start at The Commons.  You could in theory have all of your meals here. In my case, I actually did, over a 24 hours period.  With Em not getting in till the following morning, I landed, based myself in the super central and perfect Thong Lor neighbourhood, and went on to have dinner, drink, big breakfast and coffee as lunch (because if you’re a Thai barista that just invented a thing called Banacotta – why not) all at the best concept to have ever been developed.  Imagine if all the best restaurants in the city decided to open a small stand at a hawker center.  Then bring a few great designers, air conditioning, a great community vibe and you have The Commons.

Any trip to Roast requires two coffees. The special one you need to wait for (because it features cubes of espresso that will slowly melt into that ice cold cream). And the one you need now.

You can actually have coffee as your lunch here. Because you’re probably so full from all the other meals. But also because the crazy baristas at Roots decided to put banana panacotta in your iced latte.

Then Em arrived and we needed food.  Specifically Thai.  Thanks to our Bangkok expert, Jane, we were well armed with recommendations.  I originally thought Err was Jane’s way of saying that she was thinking.  It’s actually a really great rustic-style Thai restaurant down an alley near the Chaophraya River.  You feel every flavour.  Not because there’s a massive chilli in there.  The drinks are curated and so well designed around Thai ingredients.  I’m craving Issan sausage and green curry as I type.

Toby’s is where you might order 1.5 dishes.

Yet another Jane recommendation!  This one I had squirrelled away in one of our communication channels (there are at least 4).  When I found it, Toby’s on Sukhumvit 38 instantly became a brunch objective.  Because that’s apparently how I view food.  With our limited time together, every meal and drink had to be quality.  So that pumpkin scramble with smoked salmon had to be followed up by a ricotta toast topped with figs and dill.

Emily and I have fond memories of sunset balcony hangouts over G&Ts.  So naturally I made us attempt to drink every single gin concoction that was part of Bangkok’s Gin Jubilee earlier this year.  We only made it to two. But The Bamboo Bar at the Mandarin Oriental was by far the most memorable.  Just LOOK AT THIS PLACE.  It’s gorgeous in that colonial way you might feel ever so slightly bad about adoring.  Also – where’s Ernest Hemingway?

Cait’s written about JJ market (sorry – Chatuchak).  So I don’t need to add to the poetic waxing.  But this is where you can find one of our favourite bag companies, TA.THA.TA (hi Kivi!) and all the treasures, which in my case were cacti and succulents.

Some JJ tips.  It gets HOT.  Bring a big shopping bag because you’ll unexpectedly wind up with a bunch of tiny things.

I usually don’t go for the tourist sites in Bangkok.  But Jim Thompson has always stoked my conspiracy theory tendencies.  Not only did the guy helped reinvigorate and bring the Thai silk weaving traditions to the West, but he also went missing while “going for a walk” in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia in 1967.  So when Emily made the suggestion, I gave an enthusiastic YES and then went on to tell her all of my Cold War conspiracy theories (sorry Em).  But mysteries aside, the Jim Thompson House is a gorgeous museum of a very cool period in Bangkok’s history. His house is a traditional masterpiece that remains in sumptuous green despite being in the heart of Bangkok.  Also there’s a bunch of pretty silk on sale.

All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission to use. Cait+Tiff are not liable for a costly Bangkok habit.


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T / at the speed of light in Bangkok

Bangkok-HeaderAsian mega-cities. Oh man.  Imposing and intimidating they can be no matter where you are on the continent. But after spending a month in rainy, still emerging Yangon, my heart slowed to a more comfortable pace when the scape of a thumping populous city, home to over 6 million, came into view.  And then my taxi driver informed me that there had been another bombing.

Nonetheless, I was still determined to make up for lost time, and I wasn’t going to let acts of terrorism get in the way of that.  But I would have to be wary and listen to the advice of others.  I hadn’t visited Bangkok for over 18 months, and I was doing it with new eyes. This trip was no longer limited to 72 hours, nor was it constrained to the tiniest of budgets that would have relegated a much younger me to the famous Khaosan Road backpacker bubble or other more tourist-ridden areas.  23 year old Tiff was going to be high-fiving 30 year old Tiff big time.

And for the whirlwind of a day that I spent with my pal Jane, it never felt like it.  Both of us were taking a breather in the big city.  Catching up, spinning wheels and looms of ideas.  Jane’s spent more time in Bangkok than I have and she was super keen to show me to her favourite haunts while discovering new ones with me.  With the bounty of very efficient public transportation at our feet, I was so incredibly thankful (after hours spent in traffic in Yangon) to go hard and fast.  I wanted to share some favourite new bits of the city I discovered on this trip, adding more proof that Bangkok is one of the hippest cities this side of the Pacific.


Bangkok---Live-in-AriBesides hang out with these cool kids, the first thing I did in Bangkok was to get settled.  And where else than the emerging, hipper than thou neighbhourhood of Ari?  Recommended by nearly everyone in Yangon (who know their Bangkok well after more than a few visa runs), I found a perfect homey little AirBnb hosted by foodies Sara and Alex.  Upon arrival, they swept me off on a little food tour of the very walkable neighbourhood.  I loved staying here and if I ever relocated to Bangkok, I would definitely want to call Ari home.  Start with very good coffee at Porcupine (among others). Or have an espresso with some high quality bicycles at tokyobike.  Spend all of your money at Vick’s Weekend. Grab an apertif and perhaps even a delicious Thai seafood dinner at Summer Street. Finish off the evening with whimsy and delicious cakes at Puritan, or maybe an artisanal hot dog on a charcoal bun, right on the street.  Ari I heart you.

Start the day off fresh with a workout at CrossfitAri and then follow it up with some coffee at Porcupine Cafe, around the corner.

Start the day like you mean it with a workout at CrossfitAri and then follow it up with some coffee at Porcupine Cafe, around the corner.

Spend the afternoon admiring quality cycles at tokyobike

Spend the afternoon admiring quality cycles at tokyobike


Bangkok---Work-with-OthersAs a hyphenate, there’s always some work to be done and Jane had the perfect place to do it.  The Thailand Creative & Design Centre’s library sits on the top floor of the Emporium Shopping Complex at Phrom Phong BTS stop.  It’s a bit of a maze through the food stands to get to it, but when you do, it totally pays off.  Your first visit is free of charge (so long as you bring your passport), with free wi-fi and design resources up the wazoo included.  Your neighbour could be one of these guys. Plus respect for the quiety, plenty of desks and power outlets. It made the productivity side of my heart very happy.


Bangkok---Eat-SlowBefore you head into your work-related headspace, consider having some slow coffee and an indulgent ode to the eggs Benedict at Roast just below the TCDC.  Do it with a very good friend you haven’t seen in a while, and share stories and plan future travel together while that frozen cube of espresso makes friends with milk.


The tenderest roasted chicken (left) and spiciest duck curry (right) at Neverending Summer.

And invite others to join you for an even more generous dinner at Neverending Summer on the other side of the Chao Phraya river.  While contemplating dining options, Jane jumped at the chance to introduce me to this family run, Thai resto housed in part of an old jam factory complex refurbished into an epicentre of design and food in the Klong San neighbourhood. We were greeted by the matriarch of the establishment and thus began a night of slow food, with each dish deserving a good amount of time to ruminate over, be amazed by, (and on my part – photograph).  I’m still dreaming about that chicken.


All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use. We are not liable for expenses incurred for sudden relocations to Bangkok.