View of Bangkok from the 64th floor of Lebua Hotel, State Tower.
As part of a gang of 11 bloggers, I spent 10 days last November in Thailand and India courtesy of Smirnoff’s Nightlife Exchange Project (see all posts from the trip) checking out the nightlife, music and culture of the cities of Mumbai, Bangkok and Bangalore.
When you think of Bangkok, you’d be forgiven for thinking of lady boys, lurid sex, rickshaws and Thai brides but if you look beyond those clichéd ideas, you’ll find a city where young people are thriving in creative practices. On my recent trip to the city, in between visits to authentic Thai restaurants, The Grand Palace, roof-top firework displays, Thai-boxing, a water-taxi ride, a thrilling Sunday afternoon visit to JJ weekend markets and inhaling the ubiquitous smell of Thai spices (see gallery below), I met a number of young people who are doing their own thing in music, fashion, art and graphic design while doing lots of partying.
These twenty somethings are breathing new life into the city. There was the cute as a button Ploi Horwang (pictured on the left with Lola), the singer of an electro-pop group called The Diet Pills who I met along with a posse of local photographers, musicians and DJs in Blue Velvet Bar, a neighbourhood bar with a moat and draw bridge at its entrance. There was Jan Navanath Sriyuksiri aka Jelly Jan, a local entrepreneur who specialises in custom cakes and baked goods.
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to visit South Africa courtesy of Smirnoff where amongst checking out the local kwaito music scene, I also had one of the best days of my life in Soweto at a Shangaan Electro dance.
For the next 10 days, I’ll be doing the same in India and Thailand where I’ll be visiting Bangalore, Mumbai and Bangkok as part of Smirnoff’s Nightlife Exchange Project. The idea is that 14 different countries will be swapping nightlife events on the 27th of November. Toronto is swapping nightlife with Bangalore and I’ll be there to check it out. A list of the international sister cities is here. Dublin is swapping with Buenos Aires, and that event takes place in the Wright Venue on the same night. However, you can win an all-expenses paid trip to the London show at the Smirnoff Ireland Facebook page. Artists and DJs playing around the world on the night include N.E.R.D., Bonde do Role, Spoek Mathambo, Zane Lowe, Boys Noize, The Golden Filter, Dragonette, Superpitcher, Van She and more. A full list is here.
If you guys know of any great bands or particularly any music scenes to check out in Bangalore, Mumbai or Bangkok, please do let me know in the comments. I’m on a mission to discover new music.