My Bangkok, Part 1

I’ve been to Bangkok three times this year — once in February and twice last month. You might say that it’s a little excessive, and you’d probably think, “Don’t you get sick of it?” The answer is a resounding NO. Recently, Bangkok has proven to be more than just a quick, cheap getaway destination. It’s a place that recharges me, both spiritually and creatively, despite the heat and constant madness.

I made a conscious effort to avoid the touristy spots whenever I’d find some time to myself and this has proven beneficial. By doing so, I discovered places (with the help of some friends, of course) that celebrate the city’s creativity, whether it’s through design, retail or food. These places are hidden, but not inaccessible; hip, but not pretentious; beautiful, but not overpriced.

EVERYDAY KARMAKAMET
1/F Yada Building, Silom Road, Bangkok
Nearest BTS Station: Sala Daeng
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Hidden in an unassuming alley lined with tiny Japanese restaurants, Everyday Karmakamet is a lifestyle store that celebrates the beauty of everyday life.

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Karmakamet is known for its range of locally made products, such as essential oils, handmade soaps, artisanal candles, room scents and body sprays. Take your pick from row upon row of sweet smelling options. I went for the Egyptian Fig and Tobacco body spray, which goes for 550 baht each.

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Aside from their own label, Everyday Karmakamet also stocks various local brands, such as Summerson Bags, which I recently featured.

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There is also a wide selection of stationery, notebooks, home decor, leather goods, footwear and clothing. All made in Thailand, of course.

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If you want to take a break from shopping, order their flavoured iced teas. My personal favourite would be the green apple (88 baht).

THINGS TO MAKE AND DO
THE BLOC, Ratchapruk Road, Bangramad, Talingchan, Bangkok
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Located within THE BLOC, an artistic compound made up of re-purposed container vans, Things To Make And Do is a store known for its home decor. While the Scandinavian design aesthetic is present in almost everything in the boutique, all of it is 100% Thai made.

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Leaving empty handed is almost impossible here, so please observe self-control.

ROCKET COFFEEBAR
149 Sathorn Soi 12, Silom, Bangrak, Bangkok
Nearest BTS Station: Chong Nonsi
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The brunch scene, like anywhere else, is alive and well in Bangkok. Leading the pack is Rocket Coffeebar, a chic cafe in the charming neighbourhood of Sathorn.

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Here, a mix of well-heeled locals and expats converge en masse on weekends, sipping on cold brewed coffee (75 baht), smoothies and freshly squeezed juices.

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The food is also worth raving about. The omelette topped with herbs is simple, filling and tasty, while the eggs benedict with chorizo is a good choice if you’ve got an afternoon of shopping ahead of you.

To be continued.

kapok Tools Opens at Robinsons Orchard

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I’m tremendously happy that one of my favourite multi-label boutiques from Hong Kong, kapok, is doing well in Singapore, a city where trends come and go extremely fast. On 8 November, the second kapok Tools branch opened at the new Robinsons Orchard, featuring a wide selection of niche brands from all around the world, adding another layer of excitement to Singapore’s vibrant retail landscape.

This time, expect a more premium selection of brands, which include modern classics like Common Projects, Mark McNairy, Mismo and Norse Projects. Alongside these labels are new arrivals into Singapore, such as Island Slippers from Hawaii, Aurlandskoen from Norway and Crash Baggage from Italy. Other kapok favourites like Kiel James Patrick, Seventy Eight Percent and Sandqvist bags are also available.

Make your way down to kapok Tools today and discover a refreshing way to shop!

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Visit the new branch at Level 4, Robinsons Orchard, 260 Orchard Road, Singapore
Photographs courtesy of Working Unit

Haystakt — The Makers’ Marketplace

In case you haven’t noticed, there has been a shift in the shopping patterns of discerning individuals. From simply buying luxury goods, they now care about the stories behind the items they purchase; they want to know the provenance behind the materials used; and ultimately, take comfort in the fact that what they bought was made with pride and knowledge.

Enter Haystakt, a new global destination for people who care about the origins of products. The website houses carefully chosen, well-designed, quality goods from a wide network of independent makers around the globe — from Asia, Europe and the US. Notable labels include TIMO, ATEM, KEDAI BIKIN, Container and The Workshop Gallery.

Founder and Director Joel Leong, who hails from Singapore, started Haystakt in late 2012 with the ultimate goal of reintroducing a human touch to the marketplace. He shares, “What the Internet has done is to allow the niche to surface. Today, purchasing a product is about understanding the process and personalities behind it. Haystakt allows artisans to showcase their work and connect with people easily.”

On Haystakt, people interact with Makers by advocating or commenting on their work, sharing feedback on how their products are used, customised and owned. In addition, products come to life with videos and photos of the artisanal process, educating and inspiring consumers while fostering a virtual community spirit.

In order to create a more holistic experience, Haystakt introduces the inaugural issue of The Makers’ Journal, a monthly online-only publication that focuses on Making in Asia, as well as the people involved, products and processes. In this issue are interesting features that include designer profiles, a unique shopping destination in Bangkok, the tea drinking tradition and more.

Siam Center: Bangkok’s Fashion Playground

To the unfamiliar, Bangkok is an exotic place that conjures visions of chaos, golden temples and adult entertainment. What others don’t know is that it’s a city brimming with creativity, on a level that could even compete with Tokyo. Head over to Siam Center and you’ll know what I’m talking about. This creative hub houses some of the most inspired fashions, creations and interiors that Thailand’s artistic minds have to offer.

Step inside and you’ll be greeted with a beautiful marriage of style and interior design that could turn the most jaded traveler into a curious child once again.

Aside from the beautiful clothes and accessories from local designers, you’ll also be in awe of the decor that complement the Siam Center’s slightly dark personality.

In most shopping centres, mannequins behind glass walls are de rigueur. But at Siam Center, all white bookshelves behind mannequins are the norm, allowing the clothes to stand out in a unique way.

Keep your eyes open for displays that pay close attention to details, making your retail experience anything but ordinary.

If you’re headed to Bangkok, make sure to include Siam Center in your itinerary as it gives you a look into the youthful and creative heart of this bustling Southeast Asian metropolis.