Jan 29, 2009|
If you want to know our favorite spots, people and places in Bangkok, all you have to do is pick up your weekly copy of BK. But once a year, we let you, our dear readers, voice your opinions through our online survey. Yes, we’re bummed that despite our crack coverage of dining your favorite all-time restaurant and favorite Japanese restaurant continues to be a chain but, unlike some people in our wonderful country, we respect the democratic ideal. This year’s other big winners are Long Table (three awards, even if one is “Most Overrated Restaurant”) and Soi 11’s Q Bar and Bed Supperclub. The latter is managed by the same people as Long Table—guess they know a thing or two about winning your hearts. But enough spoilers, get ready for old-time favorites (CentralWorld, Heineken) and some new faces (Let’s Sea, BACC). We hereby declare the Readers’ Choice Awards ceremony open.
Favorite Politician: Abhisit Vejjajiva
Ah, Mr. Oba-Mark. We really don’t mind the fact you’re not exactly elected, your charm and your smile has won the hearts of the Thai people since you started out as a young Democrat. And really, anyone who can shut up those aunties-with-clappers gets our votes.
Most Annoying Politician: Thaksin Shinawatra
The fugitive, the divorcee, the man-who-ruined-Man City, the list goes on for this square-faced demon. It’s no surprise that his successor, the rose apple-nosed cook comes in second. But you didn’t give all the credit to the red team though, dear old Sondhi Limthongkul from the yellow side was not too far behind at third.
Favorite New Thing in Bangkok: Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC)
At a time when shopping means bleeding yourself dry, we’re glad to see that Bangkokians now prefer culture over retail. Even the interactive Museum of Siam comes second. Congrats on this new level of enlightenment.
Favorite Thing about Bangkok: Food
That makes it two years in a row! Whether it’s the roadside khao mun kai or the foie gras at top-notch restaurants, we’ve got plenty of scrumptious eats to satisfy every passionate foodie.
Worst Thing about Bangkok: Traffic
It all comes down to infrastructure, which unfortunately, Bangkok lacks. So whether or not most of the city has switched to using the BTS or the MRT, Bangkok will continue to be synonymous with traffic. It’s part of the package, you just learn to deal. And yes, protesters did make it into the top three.
Neighborhood With the Most Buzz: Sukhumvit Soi 11
Obviously! With the never-ending list of events that Bed, Q Bar, Twisted, Nest, etc… put on, it better have won the title. And with the launch of the Sukhumvit Soi 11 Association, you can bet they’ll do everything in their power to hold on to top prize. We are slightly concerned that a remarkable number of you put Cambodia as your answer. You don’t work for the Thai Army, do you?
Favorite Festival in Bangkok: Songkran
We all know that the Songkran festivities—be it the craziness of Khao San, Silom or the gCircuit parties—are off the hook! But just out of curiosity, is it the public molestation or the wet in white that makes this festival so popular?
Favorite Fitness: California WOW
WOW… Looks like hard-sell calls, deafening music and controversial pole-dancing posters have done the trick, or maybe it’s just down to the ridiculously cheap lifetime membership and the fun to be had in the toilets.
Try its Silom branch, Liberty Square Bldg., Silom Rd., BTS Saladaeng, 02-631-1122. www.californiawowx.com.
Favorite Yoga Place: Absolute Yoga
A variety of classes from hot yoga to Vinyasa and Ashtanga makes Absolute Yoga your absolute winner, beating runner-ups True Fitness and California WOW by a landslide.
4/F, Amarin Plaza, Ploenchit, 02-252-4400. www.absoluteyogabangkok.com.
Favorite Hospital: Bumrungrad
Au Bon Pain, McDonald’s, Starbucks, bookstores. You don’t even need to be sick to drop by this five-star hospital.
33 Sukhumvit Soi 3, 02-667-1510. www.bumrungrad.com.
Favorite Place for Facial Treatments and Place for Anti-Aging: Romrawin
The “skin body rejuvenation clinic’s” wide range of state-of-the-art treatments from botox injections and acne care to skin whitening make it a clear winner. Whether it’s for a simple facial or to turn back the clock.
4/F, Chidlom Tower, Ploenchit Rd., 02-655-7612. www.romrawin.com.
Favorite Spa: Health Land
With an extensive menu of treatments and extremely affordable prices (B350 for a two-hour Thai massage is hard to beat), perhaps it shouldn’t have been such a surprise when Health Land beats of a host of lavish competitors to scoop top spa.
Try its Sathorn branch, 120 North Sathorn Rd., 02-637-8883. www.healthlandspa.com.
Favorite Venue for Ladies Night: Bed Supperclub, Coyote on Convent
Cuddling on white sheets or downing free margaritas? The ladies of Bangkok seem to enjoy both as Bed (Sukhumvit 11) and Coyote (Soi Convent) tied for top spot.
Favorite Place for Happy Hour: Coyote on Convent
It’s a close tie between the buy-one-get-one-free promo at Londoners and Coyote but it seems Coyote is this year’s undisputed champion when it comes to promotions. All that’s free is always better… even if it’s just for the ladies.
Favorite Place for DJs: Bed Supperclub
Bed takes the award from Club Culture this year while 808 crawled into the second spot thanks to its strong international lineup. That’s it guys, we love some healthy competition. Play it loud, Mr. DJ!
Most Overrated Bar: Bed Supperclub
So its overrated but the ladies love it and apparently you guys think it has the best DJs? Make up your mind people!
Favorite Gay Hangout: 70’s Bar
The chilled retro bar on Sarasin scrapes a win over long-time winner DJ Station. Look, being openly gay and playing fresh music is out. Or is it the freelancers in soi 2? Congrats, 70’s. You’re faaabulous.
Favorite Place to Hook Up: Q Bar
Q Bar’s sexual vibe continues to make it your favorite place to hook up. Cruise the meat market downstairs or flirt with the sophisticates above—either way, you’re not going home alone.
Bar with the Best Drinks: Q Bar
Bar with the Best Bartenders: Q Bar
Bangkok’s widest selection of spirits and some of the most potent cocktails have earned Q Bar the coveted Best Drinks Award. Of course, you gave it Best Bartender Award as well.
Favorite Beer: Heineken
Greenspace (www.i-greenspace.com) was the talk of the town. The beer garden on the top of CentralWorld was absolutely grandiose. The beer tastes great. Who said it ain’t easy being green?
Favorite Place to Chill: Nest
While rooftop venues multiplied all over Bangkok, the Hollywood style restaurant and bar nestled on the rooftop of Le Fenix Hotel got brownie points for its prime location on Sukhumvit 11.
Party of the Year: Chivas Private Island at Nest
A winner by miles was the pre-Zoukout gig at Bangkok’s favorite chill out spot. This invite-only party, which featured two of Zouk’s DJs, became the talk of the town when many of the city’s night owls were deprived of an invitation. Shocking!
Favorite Gentlemen’s Club: Piano Club
The long standing club on Ekamai has made a comeback ahead of previous winners like Resort and Forte. Friendly staff paid off handsomely—ok, maybe the girls had something to do with it, too.
Favorite Jazz Bar: Saxophone
In this category, can any other bar even come close to this temple of jazz music? Located at Victory Monument, It’s a bit out of the city center but artists like Koh Saxman continue to draw true music lovers to its dark interior.
Favorite Place for Live Music: Saxophone
It doesn’t matter that it’s known for jazz because it managed to take the award despite having to compete with the beer gardens. Well done.
Favorite After Hour Place: Tunnel
When the boys in brown say it’s time to go bed, real party goers don’t just lay down. Tunnel (Soi Langsuan) takes it this year but don’t be put off, because with places like Gazebo coming up; you might reconsider your notion on partying till dawn.
Favorite New Restaurant: Long Table
Most Stylish Restaurant: Long Table
Long Table and Zense were close, but Supperclub’s little sister takes first spot in the new restaurant department. (And Minibar Royale came in third.) Seems like hiso is in. Dare we ask: what about the food? We’re not going to challenge you on the Style Award, though. Long Table’s communal dining concept was bold and novel for Bangkok. And what a view!
25/F, The Column Residence, Sukhumvit Soi 16, near BTS Asok, 02-302-2557. Open daily 11am-2pm, 6:30pm-2am
Most Overrated Restaurant: Long Table
You love it so much, you love to hate it—or are you just unfazed by the blinged-out, glammed-up, hiso hype of the eatery? Long Table definitely gets the Award for Most Buzz.
Favorite Coffee Shop: Starbucks
Starbucks may be stumbling in the US, but it seems that they’re still safe in Siam. We know you only like it because you can pick up BK there. Venti banana frapuccino, anyone?
avorite Burger: Mos Burger
The small but filling Japanese burger keeps hold of the title ahead of Burger King. We can’t walk past the place without ordering; it’s that addictive.
3/F, CentralWorld, Ratchadamri Rd., 02-613-1494. www.mos.co.jp/english. BTS Siam. Open daily 10am-10pm
Favorite Buffet: Oishi Grand
We’re still crazy about all-things-Japanese and despite hotels JW Marriott and Grand Hyatt Erawan’s solid performances; Oishi Grand’s mass market raw fish topped them all. Try Siam Discovery or Seacon Square to get your fix
Favorite Restaurant with a View: Vertigo
Favorite Outdoor Dining: Vertigo
Newcomers Red Sky and Zense were close but you guys keep it old-school with the Banyan Tree’s renowned 61st floor open-air eatery. It’s certainly a surefire way to impress your date. It’s also your favorite outdoor dining place.
61/F, Banyan Tree, South Sathorn Rd., 02-679-1200. Open daily 6:30pm-10:30pm
Favorite Cheap Eat: Yaowarat Road
Cheap, varied and authentic (despite the tourists), it just doesn’t get better than Chinatown. The clubber’s favorite after hours spot “saam paed” (Sukhumvit Soi 38) was a close second.
Favorite Hotel Dining: Four Seasons
Favorite Sunday Brunch: Four Seasons
Four Seasons is a hands-down favorite, having knocked down the Mandarin Oriental from its three-year winning perch. We saw it coming. Of late, Four Seasons has definitely garnered a reputation for having the best F&B in town. As for the Brunch Award, Crepes and Co.’s streak has finally been broken. Four Season’s popular Sunday brunch (11:30am-3pm) at the Parichart Court is B2,350 (reasonable for a hotel brunch) and many consider it the best in town.
155 Ratchadamri Rd., 02-250-1000.
Favorite Chinese Restaurant: Crystal Jade
The Singaporean franchise beats out local favorites like Somboon, but not by much.
G/F, Siam Paragon, 991 Rama 1 Rd., BTS Siam, 02-129-4343. Open daily 11am-2:30pm, 5:30-10pm
Favorite Steak: New York Steak House
The upscale steak house won over the crowds with its quality steaks and sophisticated ambience. For a perfect hunk of cow, there’s no denying, New York Steak House is number one.
2/F, JW Marriott, 4 Sukhumvit Soi 2, 02-656-7700. Open daily 6-11pm
All-Time Favorite Restaurant: Fuji
It’s Fuji’s once again (they also won last year). There must be something in the water they serve. Greyhound came second and MK placed third. Fine, eat at chain restaurants, see if we care.
Favorite Japanese: Fuji
We point out authentic and amazing Japanese eateries; we do stories on obscure Japanese foods; we slam bad Japanese restaurants in our reviews. But in the end, you just want to go to Fuji. We won’t stop trying. See you next year.
Favorite Thai: Taling Pling
Even with steep prices, Taling Pling’s flavorful and authentic dishes (and its hi-so following doesn’t hurt) make it the happening Thai place. Kalaprapreuk might just be shaking in its boots.
60 Pun Rd., Silom, 02-236-4830. Open daily 11am-10pm
Favorite Korean: Kongju
Despite all the great standalones in Soi 12, the hotel eatery gets top spot once again. We guess the key to a good restaurant is just location, location, location.
2/F, Pathumwan Princess Hotel, Phaya Thai Rd., near BTS National Stadium, 02-216-3700. Open daily11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30-10:30pm
Favorite Pizza: Scoozi and Pizzanotti
It’s a tie between the high-end favorite and the hiso shopper’s favorite pizza. Sorry no mention of Basilico. Do we hear clamors for a recount?
Scoozi, 174/3-4 Surawong Rd., near BTS Saladaeng and MRT Silom, 02-234-0943. Open daily noon-2:30pm, 6-11:30pm
Pizzanotti, 98 Sukhumvit Soi 49, 02-712-5214. Open daily 1-am-10:30pm
Favorite Italian: Zanotti
Zanotti does it again winning over the Bangkok crowd with its lively but classy ambience. And of course its traditional and sophisticated cooking.
1/F, Saladaeng Colonnade Condominium, 21/1 Soi Saladaeng, Silom Rd., near BTS Saladaeng and MRT Silom, 02-636-0002. Open daily 11:30am-2pm, 6-10:30pm
Favorite Mall: CentralWorld
Despite being located in the middle of two BTS stations, it still doesn’t stop Bangkokians from heading to CentralWorld for their shopping fix. Hey, they have Topshop and Forever 21, okay? Need we say more?
Favorite Fashion Brand: Zara
Despite the arrival of Topshop and Forever 21, the favorite brands of Bangkok fashion smugglers, you still want to fill your closet with Zara. Even MNG ranks at number two. Spain rules.
Favorite Thai Fashion Brand: Greyhound
Didn’t know Bangkokian girls dig the quirky designs from Greyhound? We were quite surprised to see the Gossip Girl-esque design of Senada popping up at number two, though. Even the guys voted Greyhound their favorite brand.
Most Overrated Trend: The 80s
You’ve got a problem with neon leggings, legwarmers, headbands and puffy hair? OK, we admit we do too but sometimes you can’t help it, especially when Madonna and Kylie tribute parties are all over Bangkok. We agree with other trends you hate though: baby-faced Korean boys and the ketchup-mustard battle of the shirts.
Favorite Mobile Phone Brand: Nokia
Nokia is known for coming out with phones that look good and are easy to use. In a world where everything can be done in the palm of your hand—photo taking, video recording, internet surfing, document typing—Nokia has it all figured out.
Favorite Camera Brand: Canon
Sony, who comes second, might have won people over with their style and design but it seems that, when it comes to serious photo taking, Canon wins out with its super professional features and high image quality.
Favorite Gadget of the Year: iPhone
True Move might have been a bit late to enter this market but the iPhone is still the desirable gadget for us Bangkokian geeks. Despite the fact that there’s no 3G network in sight, we don’t care, the iPhone’s smooth back is sexy enough for us to nab one of these babies—be it from dodgy MBK vendors or a legit blood-sucking corporation.
Favorite Wine Shop: Wine Connection
A highlight of 2008 was the number of swanky wine stores popping up around town but the one that’s still winning the hearts of Bangkok drinkers is Wine Connection. Not only a great place to search for your favorite bottle of vino, but great for people watching, especially the one at Third Place (Thonglor Soi 10), if you’re into the artsy type.
Favorite Bookstore: Kinokuniya
This Japanese mega chain still reigns supreme in the hearts and minds of Bangkok bookworms. Their humongous outlet in Siam Paragon can see you lose yourself for hours freeloading their extensive reading selection. The staff are super friendly and can do special orders for you even when they don’t have what you want in stock.
Favorite Furniture Store: Index
We thought you would say Habitat (which comes second) or Casa Pagoda, or at least some obscure designer store just to look good but no, you guys like mass-produced compressed wood furniture from Index. OK, we’re not dissing, we’re actually congratulating you for keeping it recession chic.
Favorite Beauty Products: L’Occitane
We have realized one thing. Once you Bangkokians find a tried-and-true brand, you guys stick with it. Despite Benefit and Smashbox hitting the city, you guys wouldn’t budge and stay true to brands like L’Occitane, Origin and Bobbi Brown. Keeping it old school.
Favorite Airline: THAI
Runner-ups Air Asia and Bangkok Airways were simply left in its silken slipstream as the reliable THAI received a huge number of votes to remain your favorite airline. THAI also won as your favorite airline for intercontinental travel.
Favorite Hotel Outside Bangkok: Let’s Sea
It was a close run thing between Hua Hin’s two leading resorts: Let’s Sea and Six Senses Hideaway Hua Hin. And it seems that the intimate Moon Deck Suites of Let’s Sea just swung it as it takes the final count by a mere three votes.
83/188 Soi Talay 12, Khaotakieb-Hua Hin Rd., 032-536-888. www.letussea.com.
Favorite Spa Resort: Evason Hua Hin & Six Senses Spa
A combo of relaxing, holistic spa treatments, calming atmosphere and five-star facilities makes Evason Hua Hin your destination of choice. Lagging far behind were the Veranda Hua Hin and Chivasom Hua Hin. Notice the Hua Hin thing going on?
9 Moo 5, Paknampran Beach, Pranburi, 032-632-111. www.sixsenses.com/evason-hua-hin.
Favorite Party City: Pattaya
We told you way back in September that Pattaya is hot so we’re glad (relieved) to see that you agree with us. Where better to party after the sun goes down than in Sin City? Runner-ups Hua Hin and Chiang Mai didn’t come close.
Favorite Shopping City: Hong Kong
This was never even a contest as Hong Kong wins. Again. It seems even shopping heavyweights like Tokyo and Singapore can’t live with the island retail Mecca.
Favorite Weekend Getaway and Favorite Beach: Hua Hin
Confirmation if it was needed that Hua Hin is still the No.1 destination for that weekend break. The royal resort receives three times more votes than Samet and Pattaya. It also won as your favorite beach! It might not be that big, it might not have the best sand and it certainly doesn’t have the nicest water but it seems convenience outweighs any other considerations. Following far behind are Samet and Krabi.
Favorite Destination: Chiang Mai
With a string of chic cafes, hip galleries, bustling nightlife, pandas and pristine nature on its doorstep, the Northern capital triumphs over the beach-based opposition of Hua Hin and Phuket.
Favorite Destination Outside Thailand: Japan
Everything about Japan—from its delectable cuisine to Harajuku girls—is intriguing and probably explains why the Land of the Rising Sun came first as your favorite overseas destination. Following far behind were Hong Kong and Australia.
Dream destination: Himalayas
Well, we did say dream destination and it’s clear you let your imagination scale the heights, with the roof of the world proving to be the biggest draw. Still it ended up being a close run, with many of you looking to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. It lost just by just four points. There were also plenty of wannabe astronauts who picked the final frontier of space. Hats off to the one person who wanted to uncover the secrets of area 1.