Mark your calendar

A round-up of exciting developments in 2013

The day of monumental importance for every Bangkokian is here! Today is the day the revamped Siam Center reopens its doors, ya'll! And if you're planning to blow all of your bonus money there, maybe you should pace yourself since it is just one of many events expected to liven up your life this year. We've done some research on exciting new and upcoming happenings worth looking forward to in 2013. Mark your calendar.

Central Embassy

Siam Center: Today

Despite turning 40 years old this year, Siam Center reopens with a fresh look and new ideas. Foreign and local celebs alike will show up there today (Jan 11). British singer Taio Cruz and Ed Westwick and Leighton Meester from Gossip Girl are on the appearance list. Gearing towards becoming a hotspot for art and style trends, it will hold an exhibition with original pieces by Andy Warhol as well as works by Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto and leading Thai designers. Idea Avenue at the hall on the first floor serves as a venue for artists to show their works. Take a picture in Siam Center, work the number 11 into it, post it on Instagram and add "@Siamcenter", "#siamcenter" and "#welcomebacksiamcenter" for a chance to win a limited edition iPhone case designed by Finnish illustrator Santtu Mustonen. Go to its Facebook page for more info on this contest.

(10am-9pm. 989 Rama I Road, 02-658-1000-19, 02-687-5000, facebook.com/SiamCenter)

Gaysorn: October

A place to shop, dine and be seen for 10 years now, Gaysorn is becoming even more hi-so as it goes through a B1 billion facelift under the concept of Gaysorn: The House of Luxe. You might have already noticed the fancier bridge connecting it to the Skywalk at BTS Chidlom. "Street-front Multiple Flagship Concepts" means three storeys of flagship stores of luxurious brands such as Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior (which should provide you plenty of nice backdrops to pose in front of). It will add more high-end brands to the existing 100. On the dining front, there will be more choices of eateries and settings. For example, The Terrace Bar is where you can eat outdoors while enjoying the cityscape. Exterior-wise, Gaysorn will be redesigned with pleats to convey Thai gentility by internationally recognised design firm Orbit. The interior revamp is expected to begin in February and to finish in October. Fear not though, as it will remain open for business as usual while it goes through the changes.

(10am-8pm. 999 Phloenchit Road, 02-656-1149, www.gaysorn.com,facebook.com/gaysornshoppingcentre)

SOHO: February 25

Setting itself apart from other shopping centres by dedicating an entire floor to clothing items at wholesale prices around the clock, Soho will open on February 25. A 24/7 supermarket, food court and restaurants will be on B1 level. Do your shopping spree at any time of the day on level B2. Fashion items at wholesale prices are on offer on the first floor. Banks and services are on the second floor, while the third and fourth floors feature a variety of products at wholesale prices.

(611 Bamrungmuang Road, 02-223-2299, www.sohothailand.com)

Senafast: March

Lifestyle mall Senafast will liven up the Thon Buri side of the river with tons of shops and services when it opens in March. Two basement floors will accommodate over 200 cars. The ground, first and second floors will be dedicated to restaurants, a supermarket, IT shops and banks, while the top floor is where to find beauty clinics and tutorial schools.

(Charoen Nakhon Road, 02-863-6181-2, www.senafest.com)

Vanilla Moon: Middle of 2013

Development Bangkok will open Vanilla Moon a few months from now. The family-friendly mall will feature two buildings. The first building is expected to be completed mid-summer, and the second in winter. The front building will have four storeys and include 24/7 MaxValue supermarket and restaurants. The back building will have 10 storeys and feature a mix of shops on the first three floors, tutorial schools on the next four floors and the top two will be LWN Fitness. Judging from its tentative line-up of shops and services, it's geared towards families. Kids can take an English class while mums and dads get fit at LWN Fitness or sip Starbucks coffee. The 60-something-year-old Panlee bakery of Bangrak will also open a dessert cafe there.

(888/8 Chan Road, 02-673-3288, facebook.com/vanillamoonbangkok)

lIn Square: Late 2013

The eight-storey mall with over 50,000 sqm of retail space and a parking lot that can accommodate up to 900 cars is expected to be completed late this year, adding yet another shopping destination in Chatuchak. The first three floors will house mostly shops selling fashion items. The fourth floor will be an IT hub. The fifth floor will have banks, furniture shops, and antiques. A food court, spas, beauty clinics and restaurants will be on the sixth. Well-known names such as Anna's Cafe and Casper Burger will be there. It will sit near Chatuchak Weekend Barket, Or Tor Kor fresh market and Rod Fai night market, if you plan to do some market-hopping.

(551 Kamphaengphet 2 Road, 02-615-8715-6, www.insquarejj.com)

Siam Square One: December

Managed by Chulalongkorn University Property Management Office, Siam Square One will open on the plot where Siam Theatre used to be before it was torched. LG and the first level will be where to find local fashion shops. The second floor will house shops of international fashion and lifestyle brands. The third floor will have more fashion brands and also gadgets. Foodies will flock to the fourth and the fifth floors for a quick meal or a proper sit-down dinner. Beautify yourself at clinics or update your bank books on the sixth. A garden will sit on top of the building.

(254 Phaya Thai Road, 02-255-9999, www.siamsquareone.com, facebook.com/SIAM.SQUARE.I)

Siam Square One on Rama I Road

Central Embassy: December

Central Retail Corporation's new calling is to bring the long-awaited Central Embassy into reality on the land it acquired from the British Embassy. It will be a 37-floor complex. Eight storeys will be used for retail and lifestyle and the rest will become a luxury hotel with 222 rooms. The total area is 144,000 sqm, about half of which will be for retail (we don't know how big that actually is, but it sounds like we could be happily trapped in there all day). A bridge will be built to connect it with Central Chidlom, which will be renovated as well.

Cataholic Cafe

EMERGING EATERIES

Cat Cafes: Now

The concept of a cat cafe isn't exactly new as it first began in Taiwan in 1998 and has become popular in Japan. Customers go there to play with cats and have some light food. We spotted two new cat cafes opening in November. Whether this is the start of a new trend that will crawl its way into Bangkok's dining scene remains to be seen but we think you should check them out anyway. Purr Cat Cafe Club (Tue-Thu 11am-8pm, Fri-Sun 11am-9pm. Sukhumvit Soi 53, 02-108-3604, BTS Thong Lor Exit 1, facebook.com/PurrCatCafeClub) could be a perfect place to hang out for lovers of cats and cakes. It offers 13 cats to play with, and desserts and drinks prepared by a Le Cordon Bleu chef. Another venue is Cataholic Cafe (Tue-Sun 11am-9pm. 2/F, Ozono, 307 Sukhumvit Soi 39, 089-851-6500, 084-664-4936), which offers a cosy and homey feel. Sit on a floor cushion to get friendly with the furry friends or watch them play on the cat tree. Food-wise, there are cupcakes, toast with butter and condensed milk, coffees and teas.

Second Branch of Mr. Jones' Orphanage Milk Bar: Today

The new branch will open today on the third floor of Siam Center. Since this one is easier to get to compared to the Thong Lor branch, we predict it will soon become one of the most photographed places in Bangkok. Highlights include a kiddy and whimsical ambience, toy soldiers and train to play with while waiting for your orders to arrive, props and backdrops for posing cutely and, of course, lots of desserts. There are 35 tables.

Magnum Cafe: Today

Magnum Cafe: Today

The world's fifth Magnum Cafe will open on the first floor of Siam Center today from 6pm until midnight. After that, the pop-up shop will open from 10am-10pm until the end of May. Go there for some Magnum ice creams with fancy twists or to make your very own Magnum with various toppings and sauces. We foresee a flood of Magnum-savouring pictures on Instagram this weekend.

The Great Kabab Factory: February

The Great Kabab Factory will start producing aromatic and hearty kebabs before the end of February. Thirteen years ago, it opened its first outlet in Radisson, Mahipalpur, on the outskirts of Delhi. The chain restaurant today has won many accolades, opened 16 outlets in India, one in Oman and is about to have another in Bangkok. You may find the dining concept here exotic. A different menu is set for each day and diners will be served unlimited helpings of each dish. The epicurean journey begins with six varieties of kebabs, followed by the main course. It comprises of daal, biryani, Indian breads, and curry of the day. Top it all off with a dessert. You also have the choice of ordering menu items individually, of course.

(Majestic Grande Sukhumvit Hotel, 12 Sukhumvit Soi 2, 02-262-2999)

UPCOMING EVENTS

Together Festival 2013: January 19

The giant music event will take place at BITEC. Snoop Dogg (or Lion if you can keep up with his name changes), Justice, Max Vangeli alongside Thai acts including Thaitanium will rock the city. Buy your ticket from Thai Ticket Major.

(From 5pm. 88 Bang Na-Trat Road Km 1, 02-262-3456, facebook.com/TogetherFestival)

PechaKucha Bangkok: January 23

The seventh PechaKucha Bangkok will take place at Neilson Hays Library. PechaKucha was first devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as a platform for young designers to meet, network and show their works. The same thing now happens in 500 cities around the world. The format of presentation is simple but unique. Each speaker shows 20 slides and each slide appears on the screen for 20 seconds while they talk about their work or topics they feel passionate about. There will be 10 speakers on the night.

(From 6:30pm. Neilson Hays Library, 195 Surawong Road, facebook.com/ PechaKuchaBangkok)

Reearth Festival: February 22-23

Have fun while giving back to the Earth at Reearth Festival 2013. It will take place on Koh Samui with a long line-up of DJs and bands such as Movits, Moneybrother, Lazee, Chords, Guncci and more. There will be two stages. The main stage in the jungle is for live performances while the beach stage is for deejays playing until the early hours. A two-day festival pass costs B1,500 and can be booked at reearth.com/tickets-packages. There are also camping and volunteering packages on offer.

(Koh Samui, Surat Thani, facebook.com/reearthfestival, www.reearth.com) G

About the author

columnist
Writer: Pornchai Sereemongkonpol
Position: Guru Reporter