Every year, the Thai community in the Benelux area meets up late August in the seaside city of Bredene for the event formerly know as Thaise Markt (Thai market). Rebranded as I ❤ Thailand Festival and on a slightly different location, this year’s edition on August 19th seemed to draw in an even bigger crowd than before. With a large food court, a market area, traditional Thai dance, family-oriented activities, an outdoor live music stage, an indoor party area, this year’s introduction of a Muay Thai boxing competition and plenty lot of Chang beer, there is something for virtually anyone. Just like last year, I did a photo spread in my signature style. Available if you continue reading. I do hope you’ll enjoy the pictures.
When Thai-Flemish cultural organization Thaivlac offered to spend a day on the road with their Ram Thai dance group, I grasped the opportunity with both hands. Belgium has a thriving Thai scene and a weekend rarely goes by without some kind of a public event. While these parties, festivals and cultural initiatives primarily used to cater to a niche (ie. Thai) audience, these are increasingly popular and growing out to be wholesome and colorful family outings. They usually include music, dance and Thai food. Thaivlac is one of the organizations that function as pillars of the Thai society: they teach Dutch-Thai and Thai-Dutch languages courses, operate the Thai Belles dance group and distribute a monthly newsletter that lists the upcoming events. Do check their website for both the newsletters and bookings for the Belles. More information on related initiatives and other dance groups coming up. Picture report of my day as a roadie is available here. A few smartphone videos if you continue reading. Thanks for a lovely day!
Getting married to a Thai national (or any foreign national, for that matter) in Belgium isn’t a straight-forward process. Official sources contradict each other in tiny (but crucial) details, different cities (or even contacts) interpret requirements differently and some government officials can’t be bothered to assist properly. My goal is to write our experiences down, to help others maneuver these murky waters. Part 1 will teach you how to successfully jump the first hurdle: the wedding registration at City Hall in Belgium.
In my quest for a decent traditional Thai massage in Belgium, I came across Baan Prathumwan in Antwerp. The inside looks like a proper above-average massage parlor like you find them in Siam. Sadly, they could not schedule me in. Next time, I will make a reservation and do a proper review.
The Thai Market in Bredene (Belgium) has been one of the most popular events in the local Thai community for a while. With 3 stages, 4 sitting areas, plenty of authentic food stalls, several booths selling authentic food, the largest Thai event in the Benelux area significantly grew with this year’s edition. Not just in square footage, in visitors as well: the family-friendly event seems to have made its way into the calendar of a wide range of people. Below is my pictorial report, with a personal touch, but still true to the event. As an Easter Egg, Thai popstar Kratae Rsiam does a cameo. Can you find her?
Tjoung Tjoung in Antwerp is one of those rare restaurants that serves authentic Thai food in Belgium. It is situated slightly out of the way at Breydelstraat 16, close to the central train station and mere minutes by foot from the De Keyserlei. Coming from the train station, just take a right at the Australian Ice Cream parlor and keep walking until it appears on your left. With the popular Isaan Café and a Thai massage parlor in the direct vicinity, there seems to be a cluster of Thai businesses in the making.
Looks like there’s a new Thai eatery serving street food in the Van Wesenbekestraat in Antwerp, right in the middle of the Asian neighborhood. Siam Senses‘ interior seems contemporary and even stylish, albeit small. Will definitely swing by for a review, asap.
Whenever I am in Thailand, I regularly visit an authentic Thai massage parlor. Thai massages are quite intense and in some cases you are even thrown around and walked on. The contrast between intense and relaxing feelings really makes me feel exhilarated when I walk out. Every muscle feels loose and back where it should be. For years, I’ve been looking for that experience in Belgium, but have never indulged as I am always put off by a possible shady nature of local massage. When I was assured by a friend that Thongfaa Thai massage (website currently down) could be trusted, I decided to give the parlor a try.