Asia Thailand

✈ Keeping Kosher in Bangkok, Thailand

Contributed by: Noam Hazan | Last Date of Travel: August 2007

1. Kosher Info: Bangkok surprisingly enough consists of 3 Chabad centres. The main one you would be concerned with as a traveller (backpacker) would be the one by the Koh San Road, which is one of the famous tourist destinations in Bangkok. The Chabad house, which is the largest in Thailand is located on Ram Buttri Street. There is a large meat menu with the opportunity to taste some great Thailand cuisine (not the squashed fried squid that you see on every street corner) or for those a little home schnitzel and hummous would do. The Chabad also have a small store where you can purchase packet soups and matza!

2. Tourist Info: Bangkok smells! No seriously it really does, and if you can handle the smell then Bangkok is a great place to spend a few days.

SHOPPING: For those who can’t be bothered to do their own laundry, it may be worth buying a Ralph Lauren polo shirt for every day of the week (usually about £2/$4 each). The marketsare a key attraction in bangkok – Koh San road Market, Phat Pong Night market and the Bazaar Night market (where I bumped into Gwen Steffani) are quality markets but be sure to barter as they will always try and screw you. TIP: When visiting markets find some Israelis to go with, they always manage to get the price down to the minimum (hence why the Thais ‘love’ them so much.)

SITE SEEING: If you have not visited a Palace or Temple in Thailand I would definitely recommend the kings one in Bangkok. Locals may approach you and tell you that the palace is closed, ITS NOT. They may offer you a ride in their TUK TUK (small golf-cart taxi) and tell you that they will give you a tour of other smaller temples. These are not that impressive and they will try and take you to suit makers and jewelry factories where they get commission for bringing tourists. It is an experience and if your lucky you he will be your driver all day for less then a dollar (since the commission pays much more apparently).

HAKESHER TOURIST OFFICE: This Israeli tourist office just off the Koh San Road (3 min from Chabad) offers you storage (to leave your fake watches, t-shirts etc… during your trip so you don’t have to schlep them) for approx £2/$4 a week. They can also book good tours and flights and basically anything else travel agents do.

ACCOMODATION: RAM BUTTRI ST. Greenhouse Guesthouse – cheap and cheerful, lots of travellers. Vientien – bit more classy but also about double the price, Its bang opposite Chabad and has a pool. Tell them chabad sent you and you may get a discount.

3. Jewish Info: Chabad have minyan 3 times a day and a free meal on Friday night. If you stay after the meal the rabbi has a second seuda in his private home for the few that know about it. Make sure you prepare a story to say (usually bit cheesy) or think of a song you want him to sing. Contact: Rabbi Nechemnya Willhelm | Tel: +66(0)2 6292770 | Mobile: +66(0) 81 8695164 | Email: [email protected]