I travel for the Chill

Just Back From: Thailand

by Waris Ahluwalia

Tilda Swinton painting at a House of Waris batik workshop. Photo: Piyatat Hemmatat.

Just back from: Thailand.

Was it your first time? My third time. Actually my third-and-a-half time. Once I went for a meeting that lasted five hours. I'm keen on face-to-face meetings.  

How long were you there? About three weeks. Time flies in the tropics.

Why did you go? For two reasons. One was for a film festival called Film on the Rocks Ya Noi at Six Senses, curated by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Tilda Swinton and founded by Chomwan Weeraworawit and Nat Sarasas. 

Lagoon

Photo: Piyatat Hemmatat 

Then I went on to Bangkok to develop new pieces for my next House of Waris collection. Bangkok is fast becoming one of my favorite cities to visit. Great friends, fun nightlife, and unbelievable food.

Map 

 Night

All photos by Waris Ahluwalia unless credited otherwise.

Who were you with? There's nothing like being in paradise with dear friends. We met for sunrise swims every morning. In Bangkok I also have dear friends who take very good care of me.

Group shot

Photo: Piyatat Hemmatat 

What did you do? Arrived in Bangkok and spent a day here. I went to the Grand Palace Temple and then the mall, of all places. I needed a pink bathing suit. I lost every one I had, and it's all I'll swim in. I tried to get one as I was leaving NYC, but it turns out pink is a seasonal color. It's year-round for me. Thankfully, they're more sensible in Bangkok.

temple

temple

temple

Scenes from the temple. 

We had a few days in Yao Noi before the festival started. So we swam, ate, swam, ate, went to the spa. I tried Muay Thai and almost broke my thumb, stepped on coral and had to be bandaged up every day, got hit in the head by a tennis ball. Adventures in leisure. 

Sunrise

At the festival, I ran the first ever House of Waris batik lab. Artisans from the local village assisted us in our artistic endeavours. We spent hours making large scarves which will be auctioned off later this year at dinners in Bangkok and New York City. 

Batik

Photo: Piyatat Hemmatat 

Were you there for the right amount of time? The right amount of time in the tropics is forever. So no, it was too short.

This was especially great: I put together a little dinner in the garden of my Rajah Suite at the Sheraton Grande Sukhmvit in Bkk. The chef prepared my favorite dishes. The breezes were perfect for my little oasis in a maddening city. Outdoor spaces are to be treasured: I think I must insist on the same suite when I return. There are only three, so please don't take mine when I'm there.

invite

Dinner

Photo: Piyatat Hemmatat 

Drinks

Favorites meals:
Soul Food Mahanakorn
(56/10 Sukhumvit Soi 55; Soi Thong Lor)
This is a great casual restaurant. Free-range meats, organic rice, and produce from farms in the northeast: all adds up to delicious food. I would like them to Fedex me some dinner. 

Dalian
(G-1 39 Boulevard Blg, 41 Soi Sukhumvit 33 Rd, Soi Promchit)
This is a brand new restaurant, a Chinese place opened by a Japanese company in Bangkok. And let me tell you, it works. This is the best Chinese food I've had in my life. The poached chicken sesame just melted in my mouth. The eggplant was seared to perfection. Obviously, the best gyoza I've had. I was fortunate enough to have dinner with the owner. I would go back to BKK just for dinner here. Maybe I can convince them to open in New York. 

Dailan

Dinner at Dailan.

Brunch at Gastro at RMA 
(238 Soi Sainamthip 2, Sukhumvit 22 Rd; Klongtoey)
Sunlight drifting through hanging plants and tables scattered around a tree. Great eggs and homemade yogurt. You can't go wrong.

What's the local specialty? 
55 Pochana
(Sukimvit Soi 55)
This is where all the locals eat. Order everything, but I liked the morning glory, the black pepper chicken, and the duck.

55

Favorite Thing to Do: Every time I'm in BKK I love going to the Chatuchak Market. There's always something special to find. This time I bought wooden games like backgammon, antique opium scales, and little porcelain jungle animals. I stumbled on an artist making dolls by hand (Row JJ, section 24) and had one made for everyone in my office. Then he made one of me. 

Dolls

When you need a break from the heat, stop by Viva in section 26 for fresh juices. The watermelon juice is the answer to all your questions.

Viva

One place you didn't get to visit, but wanted to: I wanted to go to a mall called NBK. Apparently, they take your phone apart and give you any color you want. I wanted fire-engine red but never made it over there. 

Favorite new discovery? A gem of a gallery called RMA Institute, a non-profit space for creative discovery and artistic experiments (238 Soi Sainamthip 2, Sukhumvit 22 Rd, Klongtoey).

Glad you packed: Everything. I'm not a light packer.

Would you go back? Of course. I'll be back later this year. There's a new Luxury Collection resort opening on the island of Koh Samui. 

You can't stop thinking about: The fruit.

Thai Fruit

Waris Ahluwalia

Waris is an explorer. You can follow him on Twitter at @House_of_Waris. He travels for the love.

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