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Laurel is a Southeast Asia-based writer. Her favorite stories focus on weird and wonderful travel, culture, and lifestyle. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Vice, BBC Travel, Travel + Leisure, South China Morning Post, The Culture Trip and more. On the copywriting side, she has written for some of the hospitality field’s biggest names. Reach her at laureltuohy@gmail.com

Laurel is a Southeast Asia-based writer. Her favorite stories focus on weird and wonderful travel, culture, and lifestyle. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Vice, BBC Travel, Travel + Leisure, South China Morning Post, The Culture Trip and more. On the copywriting side, she has written for some of the hospitality field’s biggest names. Reach her at laureltuohy@gmail.com

TRAVEL

An Art Lover’s Guide to Siem Reap

Proving it’s more than just a temple town, Siem Reap has lately blossomed into a happening creative hub, where both locals and expats contribute to a burgeoning arts scene. A number of independent art spaces have sprung up around town— here we round up some top spots for a DIY Siem Reap art tour. A good place to start is One Eleven Gallery, which features both Khmer and international artists covering diverse topics

NIGHTLIFE

Bangkok’s Bars Reopen post-COVID, We Talked to Partiers on Opening Night

Drinking at home in your underwear can be fun. But when it’s the only entertainment option on the table for over three months, it gets pretty sloppy — in more ways than one. With most of Bangkok closed down in mid-March and the majority of residents working from home, nightlife in the most visited city in the world, was nonexistent. Thanks to swift action

  • ABOUT

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    Laurel is a Southeast Asia-based writer. Her favorite stories focus on weird and wonderful travel, culture, and lifestyle. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Vice, BBC Travel, Travel + Leisure, South China Morning Post, The Culture Trip and more. On the copywriting side, she has written for some of the hospitality field's biggest names. Reach her at laureltuohy@gmail.com

ANIMALS

How Thailand’s Elephants are Surviving Without Tourists

With borders closed since March and tourism all but non-existent in the Land of Smiles due to the global pandemic, the entirety of Thailand’s tourism industry has been deeply impacted. Some of the largest of the affected victims are, well, elephants ­– the national symbols of Thailand. With thousands of domesticated elephants in the country, whose massive appetites have not been diminished by lack

TRAVEL

Bill Bensley on the Future of High-end Travel

He designed the St. Regis Bali, Four Seasons Koh Samui and the Mandarin Oriental Sanya (among others). His own hotels include Siem Reap’s Shinta Mani Angkor, Shinta Mani Shack and The Bensley Collection villas. Further afield in Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains, his Shinta Mani Wild tented camp was one of the most widely anticipated hospitality openings last year.

ANIMALS

I had a Zoom Call With an Elephant and it was Strangely Reassuring

Asian elephants can easily eat 300 kilograms of food daily. The giant vegetarians graze constantly. They eat when they’re hungry, when they’re bored, and even when they’re scared or anxious. So, they’re pretty much like everyone in quarantine. Feeding an elephant in Thailand costs a minimum of THB500 ($15) per day

ART

An Impressive Family: The Chirachaisakuls Reimagine Printmaking

Kraisak Chirachaisakul and his two sons are fine-art printmakers whose Bangkok home does triple duty as their studio and gallery space as well. Kraisak is well-known in the field, winning prizes around the world for his highly detailed works. His sons Kit and Wal are emerging printmaking talents in their own right, while his youngest son Kit runs Kalwit Studio & Gallery in the Ploenchit neighbourhood.

FASHION

Bangkok Chic: An Insider’s Guide to Bangkok Fashion

For the last twenty years, Tube Gallery has stood near the top of the Bangkok fashion scene. What started as a small menswear project by two childhood friends, Saxit Pisalasupongs and Phisit Jongnarangsin, has evolved into one of Asia’s best-loved boutique fashion brands, with their dreamlike, over-the-top designs appearing in annual showrooms at Paris Fashion Week and catering to clients that fly in from across the world for a new ensemble.

FOOD

Bangkok’s Top Tables

The Big Mango is among Bangkok’s oldest nicknames, but in some ways, it describes the city’s food scene perfectly – juicy, multi-dimensional and bursting with flavour. Whether you’re after Michelin-starred, brag-worthy celebrity chef fare or the best street food on the planet, Bangkok delivers. Food is such a big part of life in Thailand that friends often greet each with the uber-casual “Kin Kao?” or “Have you eaten?”. After all, what more important question could there be?

TRAVEL

24 Hours in Bangkok

No matter what turn you make, which BTS stop you jump off at or what adventure you end up on, every corner of Bangkok offers something unique, delicious, ancient or breathtakingly modern to discover. From the Muay Thai gyms to herbal massage rooms, world-class restaurants and romantic rooftops, we’ve compiled our top picks on how to pass one day (and night) in The Big Mango.

TRAVEL

How to Spend A Weekend In Vientiane

Sleepy little Vientiane is one of the more overlooked capitals of Southeast Asia—most pass through for no more than one night. But on a long-weekend trip, I quickly learned that what it lacks in wow-factor attractions, it makes up for with plenty of small-town charm. I live just a short flight away, in Bangkok, but had never visited

STYLE

What it’s like to be Bill Bensley, designer of whimsical resorts and fan of gay pirates

If you are Bill Bensley, the world that the rest of us know is not the only one you inhabit. For the prolific designer, each project has its own realm, based on a backstory he makes up and uses to inform every decision from wall art, to doorknobs and lobby soundtracks. His latest, Shinta Mani Wild, is the fourth in his own Bensley Collection and has

FOOD

We Tried the Spicy, Pork-Filled Menu of Bangkok’s First Taco Bell

The extent to which Bangkok was hyped about the opening of Taco Bell’s first ever Southeast Asia location was clear when I arrived at MercuryVille, a mini mall in the heart of the city’s financial district. By 9 AM, over 500 diehard enthusiasts of the chain were already in line. Many of them had posted up the night before to stake out their spots ahead of the crowd trying to win free tacos for a year

MUSIC

Thailand’s Forgotten Country-Psychedelic Music Is Having a Global Renaissance

A psychedelic organ riff pours out of a taxi’s stereo in Bangkok. I point at the radio and the taxi driver flips it off with a pleasant “Excuse me.” He’s used to foreigners and rich Thais looking down on his music, but I want him to turn it up, explaining I’m a Molam fan and headed to a nearby club to hear the same music live.

CULTURE

Thailand: The country where people don’t like to say no

Thai people don’t like to say no. This is evident even in their simplest words: “yes” is chai and the closest thing to “no” is mai chai, which translates as “not yes.” This is more than just a simple language quirk. It reflects much about Thai society that isn’t apparent to outsiders until they’ve spent some time in the country. When I arrived in Thailand four years ago, mai chai seemed a clunky phrase. I soon realised, however, that it becomes even more unmanageable when a polite ending is tacked onto it

LGBT+

First Black Queen Crowned at Thailand’s Premier Trans Pageant

Miss International Queen 2019, arguably the world’s most prestigious trans pageant, crowned its latest winner in Pattaya, Thailand on Friday. History was made when judges selected their first queen of African descent, Miss USA Jazell Barbie Royale. Jazell is more than a pageant girl. She is a full-time HIV awareness advocate with a message to spread, a cabaret performer and an opera singer.

RISQUE

What happened when one woman got a ‘happy ending’ massage in Bangkok

She imagined a sensual massage, aromatherapy scents and a cheeky hand between her thighs finishing her off. What she got was something completely different. Londoner Janie Thompson* lived in Bangkok for three years and was fascinated by the raunchy tales her guy friends shared about their experiences in Thai “happy ending” massage parlors.

RISQUE

I Went to a Blowjob Bar in Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand, is one of the world’s deepest pits of pure sin, a forbidden zone where you can get pretty much whatever sexual perversion tickles your pickle presented to you

TRAVEL

The Slate: Artsy Phuket resort is a win for design fans, adventurous eaters, and spa lovers

If you’re the kind of person who appreciates a bit of culture even when you’ve got sloth mode turned on high — this unconventional resort in Phuket pulls off a clever balancing act between artsy and indulgent. The Slate is a design-oriented beachfront

NIGHTLIFE

Alleyway dive bar The Vagabond delivers homage to Bangkok beer bars of the past

At the end of a dark alley, in the far reaches of Sukhumvit Soi 11, a small oasis has popped up in the form of The Vagabond bar. The outdoor drinks spot quietly opened for business six months ago and has gained traction purely by word of mouth. It’s drawing much of the crowd that