What can be learned from Bangkok?

Travel log August 31, 2017 14:53

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Canadian journalist and entrepreneur Tyler Brule waxes lyrical on the charms of Bangkok



Tyler Brule, editor-in-chief of Monocle magazine and a columnist for the UK’s Financial Times, recently suggested Bangkok when asked to name a good place “to get a read on the world.”  In his view, Bangkok’s got everything you need for a business – a merging of various markets, strong trend uptake from the region, good design scene, smart start-ups and the general feeling of a city that’s on the up. Here are some of his observations on the city we all love to hate from a piece that appeared in the Financial Times:

On hospitality

“Bangkok has the most diverse range of hotel projects in the world. From massive new developments by Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental to smaller-scale properties from the likes of Rosewood, the city is awash with talent and ideas for bringing lobbies, suites, bars and cafes to life.

“At the same time there are all kinds of experiments in co-working spaces, dorm-style inns and smaller-scale hostels that make western cities feel somewhat sleepy.”

On retail

“Spend a bit of time pushing a trolley around a Bangkok food hall controlled by one of the main retail groups (Siam Piwat, Central and Mall Group) and you’ll be depressed when you return home and have to do the same in a Waitrose, Kroger, Wegmans or even Harrods. The Thais at the top end of the market seem to have taken all their foodie experiences from their years studying in the US, Australia and the UK and mixed them with all their ski holidays in Japan. The result is a hybrid approach to grocery retailing that mixes familiar fast-moving consumer goods brands with rare butter from Hokkaido and local bounty. Central’s recent overhaul of its Chidlom food hall should be high on the list of anyone with shares in a grocery store group or who has aspirations of opening their own delicatessen.”

On creativity

“If first prize for ingenuity and creativity goes to the Japanese then the Thais get the runner-up award for their unique approach to architecture, fashion, interiors and industrial design. The relaunched design foundation TCDC is a clever catalyst for stimulating the next generation to consider taking up a post in the creative industries. Bangkok’s inner suburbs are also bursting with ateliers and workshops that can put patterns and prototypes into full production in an afternoon.”