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.

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

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.

Krispy Kreme Craziness at Siam Paragon

A few weeks after Krispy Kreme’s Grand Opening of it’s first branch in Bangkok, Thailand and people are still waiting two hours in line just to get these popular donuts.
In the mornings, some folks arrive two hours before Siam Paragon even opens in order to beat other anxious customers. The lines have been consistently long and be prepared to wait a minimum of two hours to get your quota of one dozen Krispy Kreme donuts per customer.
I had already had a sample of these donuts made in Thailand and I can verify that they taste just as rich and sweet as they did in the US. I enjoyed watching the donuts being made in the traditional Krispy Kreme conveyor belt fashion, even though I didn’t have the patience to wait in line to actually buy any of them. I’ll wait a few more weeks to see if the hype dies down.

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.

Strategic Car Ditching to Avoid Bangkok Traffic

As a Bangkok commuter living in the suburban areas of the city, I find travelling by private car a necessity. Most days travelling to and from work is the main priority, but things get more complicated on the occasions I need to go into the Sukhumvit or Sathorn area of Bangkok.
Whenever possible, I’d suggest using the BTS skytrain or MRT subway lines if it is convient. There are designated parking lots situated at the certain stations like Mochit, Thailand Cultural Center, and Queen Sirikit Center for BTS and MRT passengers. When using these parking lots, remember to stamp your parking cars at your destination station to get the lower parking rate. One word of caution, check the times of operation for these parking lots since most close at 1:00 am. If you have not collected your car, you will have to pay a rediculous overnight fee.

Rain Brings Out the Worst in Bangkok Part 1

It’s probably true all over the world that rain is one of the weather conditions that will reek havoc on traffic conditions. As a Los Angeles native, it’s often been said that Californians don’t know how to drive in the rain because even a drizzle will bring our freeways to a stand still.

It’s no different in Bangkok except that the scale of traffic is at least ten-fold. Most Thais don’t have an affinity for rain and Bangkokians especially because they know that rain equals traffic. As soon as it gets cloudy in the afternoon, you’ll hear Thai saying “fon thok” and that they have to go home as quickly as possible as to avoid the anticipated traffic conditions.

Now imagine millions of people all over Bangkok doing the exact same thing and instead of lingering around their workplaces or stopping somewhere after work, all of them rush home as soon as they can. The unavoidable result is that the road are packed with the normal traffic, as well as these “fon thok” traffic avoiding Bangkokians. Unless you were lucky enough to actually beat the “fon thok” traffic, whether or not it’s actually raining, depends on if you got out earlier enough.

If you weren’t one of the lucky ones, expect to be stuck in the kind of traffic that Bangkok is famous for. It isn’t unusual for your daily commute to double or even triple under rainy conditions. You’ll sit in your car or taxi counting the number of times the windshield wipers swish by as cars all around you sit at a stand still for no apparent reason. By the time you get home, your bladder is probably about to burst, a condition worsened by listening to the sound of rain for an hour.

Perhaps the best thing to do if you suspect that it will rain during rush hour is to stay put and wait it out. At least you won’t have to suffer through gridlock traffic like the millions of Bangkokians who fear “fon thok” traffic. The down side is that in Thailand it can easily rain all night and you’ll never know when the traffic will subside.  

Underground Recycling

Bangkok has been hit by a new trend: Greening. If you go around town you will see supermarkets advertising their new environmentally friendly canvas bags. Bangkokians seem to be catching on to the fad and buying the little bags. Ironically, in this same town, you can walk by the trash can labelled recycling and see that there is all kinds of trash in it without any kind of sorting at all.

While most Thais, aren’t as aware of recycling as most Westerners, it doesn’t mean that they don’t recycle. In fact, Thais have been recycling long before the slogans “Go Green!”  and “I’m Not a Plastic Bag” started being promoted. Most well-to-do Thais left it to their servants and workers to do their recycling for them. They did their part simply by buying the product in the first place and leaving if for the less fortunate to do all the dirty work.  Only lately has recycling become a middle class thing to be applauded.

Previously, only the poorer segment of the population cared about those plastic bottles and aluminum cans strewn along the street or left unsorted in trash cans. To them, these materials represented money once they had been collected and sold to recycling centers. It didn’t matter if you didn’t recycle personally because someone else would do the recycling for you. Realistically though, it just makes the job of recycling harder, dirtier and less effective for those that do.

The “saleng people” do this for a living and they ride around in their tricycle-wagon, or saleng, through the streets of Bangkok. They start out early in the morning to get the good finds, wear ragged and dirty clothes, and spend most of the day searching through Bangkok’s garbage. Every garbage bin or pile of trash becomes a place to find the goods that they sell to earn the money they need to live off of. They are sometimes called “the unsung heroes without whom Bangkok would drown in a sea of trash.” (Bangkok Post May 26, 1998)