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.

Meet Mr. Smith from Summerson

Started by three stylish friends from Bangkok — Pumintr Dusitanont, Patanin Ngamkitcharoenlap and Thammatat Asawathepmetha — Summerson bags are the ultimate companion for the stylish city slicker. The boys come from various backgrounds, ranging from product design to interior architecture, and came together to start the bag brand that does away with bells and whistles, celebrating clean lines, smart details and utilitarianism instead. And in a city like Bangkok where excess and maximalism is quite common, the quiet elegance of Summerson is a much needed addition to the city’s burgeoning and inspiring design scene.

Summerson’s bestseller, the Mr. Smith tote, is a study in timeless design, which features four colours (off white, navy, black and military green) that easily matches and complements any outfit. Mr. Smith is also the perfect tote for carrying around daily essentials or the ideal carry-on bag for quick weekend getaways.

Want your own Mr. Smith tote? Visit their Facebook page and place an order. Each tote retails for 1,790 Baht plus 100 Baht shipping cost per piece.

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.