The world adventure begins - reeling in Bangkok!

Trip Start Nov 06, 2006
Trip End Jun 15, 2007

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Where I stayed
Big John's Guesthouse

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Monday, November 6, 2006

Our world journey begins! It's only been two days here and already the whirlwind of people, experiences, tastes, culture, language, smells, and noise leaves me tongue-tied. How to even begin to describe this mysterious, fast-paced, friendly place?

We step off the plane at beautiful, new, ultra-techy Suvarnabhumi International Airport and the sticky air engulfs us as we walk the causeway into the terminal. Surprisingly, the touts at the airport doors are fairly relaxed and we have no problem getting past them to the metered taxi stand. Though everyone back home it tucked away quietly in bed, it's mid-day here and we're determined to adjust quickly to the time change. After a quick stop at our hostel, Big John's, a sparse but decent place way out on Sukhumvit near the Thong Lo BTS stop, we are off to explore the city.

We hop on the easy-to-navigate Sky Train and arrive at our first stop - Bangkok Gay Pride! With our tired eyes blurry and bloodshot from the long plane ride, it is otherworldly to watch a volleyball tournament, attempt to comprehend all the pamphlets written in Thai, and listen to the highly animated Thai announcers. We last for about an hour here before we have to get on our feet again or risk falling asleep.

A nice stroll takes us through Lumpini Park past a Muscle Beach-style outdoor gym, a man-made lake, and a huge crowd of people doing aerobics, directed by a woman on a stage calling out the beat (5, 6, 7, 8!) and yelling instructions ("C'mon, Ladies, LIFT those legs?!?") all in Thai.

By 9 p.m. we can barely keep our eyelids open and we crash until late on Sunday morning. A breakfast of pancakes and syrup gives us the energy to visit the famous Chatuchak Weekend Market. We are surrounded by complete mania, something like a cross between Indiana Jones and the funny dive bar in the Star Wars movie - teeny stalls packed into swelteringly hot corridors, American pop music blaring on teeny boomboxes, racks of clothes, trinkets, and household goods hanging everywhere, pens filled with puppies for sale, row upon row of Buddha statues, food stalls piled high with cooked meats, fresh fruits, pans of curries, fried squid, and a million foods and smells I don't recognize. There's almost nothing familiar here and it's so huge and crowded and noisy that I find myself frequently checking out then relaxing and coming back to being right here. We escape the heat and noise for a bit by ducking into an air conditioned restaurant for lunch where we chow down some curry and roasted duck and sip coke served in icy cold bottles through a straw. The taste of something familiar is liquid sanity for my overworked brain. Todd returns a bit from that spaced-out mental place he goes sometimes when there's just too much to take in. Toward the end of the day, I bargain hard for a nice looking short-sleeved white cotton shirt priced at 290 Baht (about $7-8 USD). Since haggling is the name of the game here, she quickly drops the price, and in my newbie ignorance I offer 150. She thinks I'm crazy. For some reason, I decide that by walking away she'll come down more, but instead she lets me leave empty-handed. Not at all the outcome I was hoping for, but at least I know now about what a shirt will cost me at the market!

Today we visited Jim Thompson's House, one of the spots on the Bangkok tourist circuit. Mr. Thompson, an expat American, fell in love with the Thai people and culture during a tour of duty here, eventually returned and built a large teak wood home and single-handedly revived the art of Thai silk production and weaving. Every inch of his wooden-walled home is filled with handsome Thai paintings, hand-carved furnishings, blue and white Chinese porcelain, and wood and stone Buddha statues. In 1967, he mysteriously disappeared while walking the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia, leaving behind his legacy of silk production to the Thai people.

Our fear of the unknown is finally overtaken by curiosity and we decide that it's time to jump headfirst into real Thai culture, so for lunch we squeamishly sit down at an open air restaurant just down the street from our hostel. We're the only farangs here (the Thai word for foreigners) and there's not a word of English anywhere in sight. We don't have the slightest idea how or what to order, but a daring waitress comes over and tries her English on us. "Pork?" she asks. "Yes!" we exclaim thankfully. "Soup?" she asks. "Yes!" we say with a smile. Then she's off to the front where they slice some pork off a chunk of meat hanging from a hook in the sunny front window, throw some noodles into a pot of boiling water, add a few green vegetables and some broth (fish, I think) and in minutes she's back with our lunch. It's delicious, though I wonder how the system will do on meat that has literally been hanging around. Only time will tell.

One other funny tidbit. We stop by the Erawan Shrine, a complex dedicated to Bramha, the Hindu god of creation. The shrine was originally built to ward off bad luck during construction of the hotel next door. The shrine was interesting, but the people we met here were hilarious. First, a well-dressed Thai man who works at the police hospital across the street strikes up a conversation with us about where we're from, where we're going, where we're staying, and how long we're visiting Thailand. He then proceeds to tell us all about where we could go to get gems and jewels (a common scam in Bangkok), but he also tells us all about the paperwork they're required to display to certify the authenticity. Next we're talking about Thai silk and he's writing down an address for what we think is a wholesale silk dealer. After he leaves us, we're halfway down the street when another well-dressed man stops us to talk for several minutes. He's shocked to hear that we're Buddhists. Somehow our communication gets confused - he's trying to get us a tuktuk to the TAT office to make reservations for Chiang Mai, a city we won't be visiting for weeks! When we tell him that we'd prefer to just visit the shrine across the street, he throws his hands in the air, walks off hurriedly, and says we're a waste of his time! I'm starting to get the sense that everyone here wants two things. One is to practice their English. Two, to somehow be helpful, even if their being "helpful" isn't really what you want!

We decide to check out the "silk wholesaler" that had been recommended to us and before we can walk another half block, a woman behind us starts up another conversation with us. This is hysterical! She tells us that she's taking English lessons from an American (only "he's black", she says, "and he's funny"...). When we tell her we're heading to Brioni Bangkok Fashion House, her eyes get big and she purrs with a big "oooh!" and she gestures excitedly at her clothing and says "best place!" and gives us a big thumbs up. Within seconds, she's pushed us aboard a tuktuk - a motorized scooter - and is giving instructions to the driver who screams off down the road and dumps us off in front of Brioni, which turns out to be a very expensive looking tailor. Somehow we're drawn in and a suave character dressed in a dashing suit whisks us up the red carpeted stairs, plops us down on a sofa in front of fashion catalogs, and starts launching into his spiel. "What kind of suit you wanting? You no want to carry around? Is no problem. We can ship to your country. We keep your measurements for five years so you can re-order anytime and we ship to you!" I've heard Bangkok is a fantastic place to have custom-tailored clothing made - he's offering a suit for around $100 USD, a good price - but we've just arrived in Asia and I'm not ready to spend the cash on something I won't need for awhile. Somehow we peel ourselves away from the couch, escaping his glare by asking for a card and telling him that we'll be back.

We have lots more planned for our time here, but it's hard to believe how much has already happened in two days. I'm excited and apprehensive to see what the days ahead will bring?

Missing you all, sending lots of love, and wishing you were here to experience this with us!
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csimpson on

Re: Re: hey need a little help
Yeah, I had LOTS of trouble having them send our suits to us. Part of the issue was some difficulty on their end with understanding English. But after numerous calls, they finally sent them (and paid for the postage!).

It was awhile ago, so I don't remember our contact there unfortunately. We ended up having to speak with the manager.

Good luck!


jean paul colin on

I have bought suits at Brioni in 2006. My brother is actually in Bangkok and he can't locate the shop and we would like to order suits and his mobile is 66894786265. please let us have a contact number or email address of Brioni Shop.

Stefan on

1115-1119 Rama 4 Road
Wangmai, Pathumwan
Bangkok 10500 Thailand
Tel (66) 02-611-6655
Mobile: (66) 086-573-1912
I´ll hope you find it man, it was on a big street called Rama Road 4

Hancok in Bangkok on

Loved Brioni. I ended up getting 3 suits, 6 shirts, a bunch of ties and shoes! The wife got some suits made for her work.

They are very good.

Joe on

I know a shop called Brioni in Bangkok but don't believe it is a real Brioni branch as the only one showing on the Brioni website is in Tokyo.
Anyway, this one is at 94/1 Soi Langsuan. Tel: +66 (0)2 650 4511

James on

They are the worst tailors I have ever experienced, avoid at all costs. I have been in for two fittings so far and each time the fit of the suit gets worse, next fitting is tomorrow and dont have high hopes.

mm in bangkok on

My husband and I ordered many suits and shirts and dresses from Brioni in Bangkok. They arrived to our home in Tokyo within a couple of weeks and are excellent quality. I'm not sure if this is the same place everyone else was talking about, and if it was, they seemed to have cleaned up their act.

Aisha on

There seem to be a number of tailor shops with the name Brioni. I just got a few things at Brioni at Bangkok on Soi Lansuan and the workmanship is great, price not bad, fabric lovely and service good.

Alex on

Yeah I got 2 suits made by Brioni on Soi Lansuan Bangkok.Very happy with their work

moritz on

I ordered two suits at brioni, and it didn't turn out very well. first they are very expensive 17000 baht for one suit and second they didn't finished how i wanted - wrong lining, no piping, etc. i went to the shop, all i got was a very angry salesman (kevin) which shoutet at me and called me a liar and asshole. after 3 houres fighting i got what i wanted but i really don't recommend thes shop to anyone! go to a small tailor, pay around 600 baht for the best qualitzy and i promis you will be happyer!

moritz on

p.s. i'm talking abuot brioni shop (abprofessionals) rama 4 road

Kona on

I think i have been done by the Brioni Shop! Do you have a number for them? I seem to have the same problems as everybody else?

Jean on

Seems that we have 2 Brioni in Bangkok : one at Rama IV street, and one at Soi Lansuan 94.
Last month, I had good experience with the second one : 2 suits for 10000baths, good quality, and very good service. Now I am just curious about their ability to manage orders sent by email or telephone, as they promise ...

Ando on

Hrmm... All this is a little worrying, i bought 2 suits last week on the pretext that we would pick them up on our way back through Bangkok, I had been dealing with a gentleman by the name of Ram who offered to drop them by the airport, but due to by naivety of how big the airport was we couldnt find each other. Now my only option is to have them sent over to Aust. im dealing with the branch on Rama 4 Rd (Ab professionals) My question is have you all had good dealings regarding shipping from the place? i emailed them yesterday with no response yet, also not reassuring that when i go to their website it's "Under maintenance." Please Help!

Alex on

I got back from Bangkok a couple of weeks back and I used ABProfessionals.
We were actaully travelling through Thailand and after two fittings, they agreed to meet me in the airport a week later to let me try on what I'd bought... if they needed further alteration it would be done and mailed back to me here in Oz. Thankfully they didn't need to and I took them back with me on the plane to Sydney.

Given my recent experience, I would be confident that they'll deliver!?

hope this helps.


jean paul on

Dear Ando and Alex,

I would like to get the email address and phone number of Brioni so that I can make an order.

Haveibeenscammed? on

Bought 2 suits from "The Oriental Galleria" @ 1115-1119 Rama 4 Rd

Does anyone have experience with this place? I am concerned about the "A Grade" material that I have selected for my suit as well as the quality of the tailoring / finishing?

I was directed to this place by a 'teacher' the the Erawan shrine - obviously part of the scam perhaps?

Are my suits going to last a few dry cleans and is the quality of the material indeed "A grade"? Roger, the salesman, kept burning the material and saying that the hair smell meant it was of great quality.

The suit also looked very odd on the shoulder pad / arm join - I was told to face forward and not to worry about how the suit looks from the side.

Paid 15000 baht for 2 suits - have I been scammed?

Any comments welcome......

Jason on

I went to BK in 2005. I randomly found Brioni on Rama 4. My overall experience was good. I purchased 12 suits and 39 shirts. I get complimented on them all the time. Very few men have true bespoke suits in the US. You are just going to look better than everyone who bought a cheap suit from Banana Republic.
The material on every single suit still looks brand new and I wear them for work. Every shirt except one still looks brand new. There is a small amount of fray on the collar. None of the shirt colors have faded and I wash them in a standard washing machine. I'm certain I could have paid less somewhere else, but I do question if the quality would be the same. I'd love to hear if someone has a similar experience at another shop in BK. I did also notice a lot of flight attendants went there to get work outfits made for the Asian airlines.

I did spend a fair amount of time getting the fit perfect. I think it took 3. The hard part was the shoulders of the suit coat where the seam down the middle is. It should be perfectly flat with no ripples. If there are, make them fix it.
Brioni finishes their pants with a band on the inside of the waist that helps keep your shirt tucked in. It isn't perfect, but I don't see it in department store suits and it does work better than nothing. They also finish with a static free lining that feels great. It extends just past the knee so the pant always sits right and doesn't bunch. That lining shouldn’t go all the way down to the cuff in my opinion.
I would perhaps suggest instead of just sitting on the couch getting the sales pitch, look at the way they stitch, finish their stitch, sew on their buttons. This is where a tailor’s workmanship will fail after you leave with your suits (still have all my buttons). Fit is something you can ascertain immediately .It should feel perfect and make you look good. If you don't feel they do, change them. How well the dyes hold requires time and washing, but this is where the shops ability to pick good fabrics comes in.
Another way you could train yourself to see good quality is go to Nordstrom’s or any other high end department store and look at their $200+ shirts and see what you like about them. The fit is terrible for me on all store bought shirts, but color, patterns, stitching etch should be top notch. I would also go to BK knowing where exactly you like your sleeves to end for both your shirts and suit coats. The shirt should stick out the end of the suit coat in my opinion. If you get the sleeve too long, it could bunch. It should lay perfectly flat with your arms at your sides. Also consider if you wear a watch, too long and you can’t check it. All these points make it an important detail.
My only regret was really not purchasing more. Even if you typically wear pants and a button up shirt to work, the more you have, the more versatility you have. Plus, getting more is a lot of work. I'm working on going back to get more made. For shirts, dress shirts have pockets, going out shirts don't. I like having the same shirt with both standard and French cuffs. If you get pin stripe pants, wear a plain shirt. Plain pants, get a striped, herring bone or grid pattern. I like having a couple great seasonal suits (say linen in the summer) . A few for going out. Work suits in both traditional colors (grey, black and navy) as well as lots of browns. No one has brown suits. You have all the way from light tan to bark brown to work with. A suit for evening work events (even if you don’t have them, ever been to a spouses work party and not been quite sure what to wear?) where it falls in somewhere between a formal work suit and a going out suit.
I paid $3900 for all my stuff or about $325/ suit with 3 shirts. I’m sure I could have paid less somewhere else, but quite frankly I would rather pay a little extra for perfection and they had them all done on time. How perfect the suit looks is your goal. Otherwise go buy one from Men’s Wearhouse.

chris on

Brioni (AB professionals) in Rama road. Little pricey but on time delivery and the best workmanship!

Dealt with them November 2011

Henk on

Seems that we have 2 Brioni in Bangkok : one at Rama IV street, and one at Soi Lansuan 94.
Last month, I had good experience with the second one : 2 suits for 10000baths, good quality, and very good service.
Jean on Sep 14, 2011 at 12:37PM
I was at Brioni Soi Lansuan 94 last week for suits. I paid 8000B per suite, and my experience was okay. The first time the measurements failed completely but they took care of it. Make sure you reserve a few days in order to make them perfect. I think it is really a store to make as much money as possible at the expense of the quality. I would not recommend the store to other people.

Henk on

The 8000B includes shirt and tie btw, though I think you can get it for like 5000B too.

B on

I was brought to Brioni via a Tuk Tuk. I didn't know better and trusted them because it was several floors and they looked serious. They were not!

I ordered a suit in the best fabric they had with 2 shirts and 2 ties. I did the mistake to tell them when I was leaving to my homecountry. So when I got the stuff (the same day that I left) they gave me another suit with another fabric and not the fitting that I was supposed to get.

I didn't have time to wait for it to be fixed or argue about it being the wrong suit so now I got a suit I cant do anything with.


AC on

Terrible place! We bought an overpriced suit with the wrong lining at Brioni Bangkok. Salesmen were so rude!

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