Is urban farming sustainable in Bangkok?

An apartment building with a small flower and ...
Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been growing my vegetable garden for six-months now and I’ve got Asian greens and cucumbers to show for it. Now that it’s the rainy season, the plants are really taking off. But, having seen urban farming being practiced in the US, I really am wondering if the urban farming movement can take root in Bangkok?

Traditionally, Thais have been a culture which maintained kitchen gardens and often raised small animals like ducks and chickens. However, things have changed as large numbers of Thais now live in Bangkok and its suburbs. With more people living in crowded dwellings like condos and apartments without any land for gardening, many of the traditional ways have been forgotten. I’m sure the retired grandmothers and grandfathers who live in the city have the knowledge and time to grow a vegetable garden, but what about the younger generation? Moreover, the rapid lifestyle of the average worker means that few have time to spend gardening, even if they have the time to do so. Many young Bangkokians spend their days pushing computer keyboards and nights working late before heading grabbing a bit to eat at the nearest food court or street vendor. They rarely have time for a home cooked meal, let alone grow their own vegetables.

While I am keen on urban farming in general and think that now is the time for people everywhere to embrace the concept. I truly wonder if the average Bangkokian teenager, twenty- or thirty-something would want to be part of the urban farming movement. Most Bangkokians are a bit on the lazy side, try to keep out of the sun and are not looking to get their hands dirty. Bangkokians are notorious for rushing to the malls and movie theaters on weekends to enjoy the shopping and air conditioning. Doesn’t exactly sound like the types who would have fun pulling weeds and turning compost.

So, again I ponder the question : Is urban farming sustainable in Bangkok?

Rooftop Gardening in Bangkok


An excellent example of a rooftop garden in Bangkok which is cared for by the District Office in Laksi, Bangkok, Thailand. The main purpose for growing rooftop gardens is to increase the productivity of the area, increase the green area, decrease global warming and increase the amount of healthy vegetables grown for household consumption. By using household organic waste in composting, it is also a way to decrease the amount of waste that needs to be managed by the municipality. As you can see in the video, rooftop gardening is done in raised beds which are placed on the concrete roof. The beds raise a variety of vegetables, including climbing vines and salad greens. The district office at Laksi is open to all Bangkokians who is interested in gardening, getting advice and they will even give you some seeds to get your garden started.
Language: Thai only

How to Start Growing an Urban Garden in Thailand

Based on this video, one of the most difficult issues with growing an urban garden is actually starting. For the sunny, hot climate in Thailand, providing enough water for the plants will be one of the trickier aspects of caring for the plants. The plants which are recommended are pak boong and basil as being hardy plants for beginners. If you have a concrete slab and no place to grow your vegetables, coconut husks can be used to provide a layer of insulation before putting some soil over. The coconut husks help to maintain the moisture in the soil and helps keeps the plants cooler throughout the day. Manure is added to fertilize the soil instead of using chemical fertilizers.

Urban Garden in Thailand

Seeing as buying organic vegetables can be expensive, this urban dweller in Thailand decided to grow his own fruits and vegetables. Buy using the small area around his house, including the car park, the formerly unused area has been turned into an area for producing food. Amazingly, he even grows mushrooms and composts in this small area. This is a very practical approach for urban Bangkokians and a good model for anyone looking to trying growing more than landscape or ornamental plants. It’s very encouraging to see that some people are producing their own food, even in an urban jungle like Bangkok. For me, I think it definitely proves that small, urban food gardens are possible in Thailand.

Beagle Gang in Bangkok

For any beagle lovers residing in Bangkok and the surrounding areas, there is a website dedicated to you. It’s called the Beagle Gang and it’s slogan is “We all love a little monster.” Mainly there are a few blogs and web board for beagle owners to share pictures, thought and stories about their beagle babies. I saw this group’s gathering featured in one of the Thai pet magazines.  This website is primarily in Thai though so that might be limiting for some folks. I look at it as another way for me to practice my Thai reading skills. I registered on this website and want to try to go to one of the next events. A gathering of beagle lovers and their beagle babies sounds like a chaotic and crazy time!

iCare Club 2010, Creative Social Business Contest

There will be nine teams of university students presenting their ideas on three different topics. This event gives teams 15 minutes to present their ideas and judges will ask questions for 10 minutes. The event is run in Thai language and is geared towards the Thai context in terms of it’s problems, participants, judges and audience.

iCare Club
Location: Hotel S31
Time: 8:00-17:00
Partner: change fusion, Ashoka, Magnolia, TCDC, BE magazine, I care

THANN Sanctuary for an indulgent experience

Bangkok is well-known for its tropical nights, sandy beaches, Thai massage, and trendy designs, whether house wares or high fashion. The THANN Sanctuary will definitely add to Bangkok’s image as an indulgent destination.

THANN is the popular Thai that focuses on being a contemporary Asian lifestyle brand. Its products include wood-infused shower gels, the jasmine-scented hand and body creams, facial products incorporating rice barley and shiso as well as a lovely line of scented candles and essential oils. The great scents are a combination of new and old, which THANN also tests for effectiveness in the lab.

There are two locations of the THANN Sanctuary Spa, which offers THANN products in conjuction with its THANN spa services. The first location is in the ultra-glam shopping destination, Gaysorn Plaza, in the Ratchaprasong District. Another location is at the Siam Discovery Center at the ever convient Siam District.

The interiors of the rooms are fragrant, moody, and sensuous with many natural elements to give the entire space a relaxed, earthy feel. The therapists are very good, the products themselves are first-rate, and the atmosphere hints at a natural Zen-like quality. The attention to detail and service is evident the moment you step into the THANN Santuary.

I recently had a Nano Shiso Anti-Aging Face Massage that lasted 1.5 hours. After a hectic day at work, it was an almost unreal experience to be so pampered. First, you are treated to a foot soak. Then, you are moved onto the massage table. The face massage involves several applications of different facial products including cleanser, mask and scrub. With each application, the therapists goes through a tedious routine while you relax and breathe in all the lovely aromas.

At the end of the face massage, the therapist briefly massages your arms and feet. The finale of the whole experience is a head, neck and shoulder massage. After the massage you are treated to some fruit, light rice tea and a warm towel. The results were an extremely relaxed mind and body with wonderfully soft skin.

THANN Sanctuary

Photo: StreetFly JZ on Flickr

Suan Rod Fai Park – A Wonderful Park in the City

Near Chatuchak Market there is a great place for jogging, biking, swimming, playing tennis or having a family picnic. It is best known as “Suan Rod Fai”, or Train Park, by the Thais and there are several train artifacts lying around.
The park is a converted golf course which the BMT changed into a public park. Now it is a popular spot for joggers and bikers to go, especially in the mornings, to get a good workout. It is also a great location for families to spend the day. There a several playgrounds in the central area of the park, a pool, a butterfly garden and nice lakes to look at. There a many large trees which provide a shady place to sit and relax.
There is a wonderful 3 kilometer paved bike path that goes around the perimeter of the park. Even if you don’t have a bike or want to bother transporting it, bikes can be rented for as little as 20 baht for the day. The selection varies from toddler sized bikes with trainning wheels to typical bikes with baskets, mountain bikes and tandem bikes.

After you @ J-avenue, Thonglor

Enjoying some Nutella Shibuya toast at a trendy local hangout, After You. This shop offers a great selection of sweets, hot and cold beverages and even a few breakfast items.
Many of the desserts are warm concoctions topped with ice cream. The result is a delicious teat that must be eaten quickly and is better when enjoyed with a few friends.
At this shop you must order at the counter and pay first. If you have a sweet tooth, you can even pour additional syrup on your dessert. Also, try the lightly flavored iced tea that is available and complimentary.

Pizza Bay Restaurant in Chatuchak Market

In the artist section of Bangkok’s weekend market is a funky corner filled with interesting galleries. After browsing the different shops in the area, you can stop for a bite to eat at The Pizza Bay Restaurant. The restaurant has a selection of pastas and pizzas as well as a few Thai dishes. There is a real pizza oven on site so you are garuanteed a tasty pizza, hot from the oven.
I took a moment to sit at The Pizza Bay and watch the people walking by. The thin crust pizza was delicious and the French fries were perfect. Th atmosphere was relaxing and matches the eclectic surroundings in the artist section.