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What up 2019!

Exciting things to look forward to

2019 is here, bringing with it a whole slew of events and things to look forward to as we struggle to achieve our New Year's Resolutions (not really). Although the year has only just begun, there are already tonnes of things to look forward to and lucky for you dear readers, GURU has compiled a list of is worth your attention. Mark your calendars!

Art

For art aficionados, there's plenty of art events to go around and appreciate local and international art. You can tour around the Big Mango with the ongoing Bangkok Art Biennale, which took off last October and is set to end on Feb 3. The numerous works of art by more than 70 local and international artists are still up for show in more than 20 locations, you can download their mobile app to schedule trips. If you're thinking of leaving Bangkok, head to Krabi for the Thailand Biennale Krabi with its "Edge of the Wonderland" theme that lasts until Feb 28. No matter where you go, we reckon you will have lots of IG-worthy pics, giving your social media game a strong head start.

Maison Close, the dark tattoo parlour/bar/fetish art space, may have closed following their New Year party, but there may be a new edgy art space in town real soon with Bangkok Psycho. The grand opening party of which will be held on Jan 10.

Other artful events include the Paint With My Heart art exhibition at Centara Grand by Secret Art Garden founder Surindr "Uncle Noi" Sonthirati, which showcases 99 portraits of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej until Jan 22. Another event with two days on the clock (Jan 6) is the Across The Bridge group art exhibition by Thai and Malaysian artists held at the Subhashok Art Centre, showcasing Thai and Malaysian cultures, past and present. Until Feb 10, head to WTF Gallery for a marriage of art and social statements with the More Or Less contemporary exhibition by Portuguese artist ±MAISMENOS± and Thai street artist Headache Stencil. For a multimedia experience, head to Charoen Krung's River City Bangkok before Feb 12 for the Up the River During Qingming exhibition (http://bit.ly/2P0ksCp) where visitors can learn about the people of Kaifeng, who lived along the Yellow River in China, the second longest river in Asia. #funfact

Activities

On Jan 19 and 20, Bangkok Maker Faire will take place at The Street in Ratchada. The event will showcase a variety of electronic products, including robots, virtual reality and all things related to the Internet, as well as workshops and arts and crafts. From Jan 26 to Feb 3, creators, designers and producers will gather for the annual Bangkok Design Week under the theme "Fusing Forward". Bangkok's brilliant minds will join forces to create products and services for commercial purposes, which will be split into five key activities: a showcase and exhibition of products, workshops, a programme where creatives can demonstrate their potential through musical and artistic performances and film screenings, a creative market and a "Creative District Project" that aims to support commercial activities and community well-being.

If you're looking for some sporty action, participate in Singha's Bangkok 16K City Run to be held on Aug 4 or the Bangkok International Run 2019 in October. You have plenty of time to get into shape before things get started. Bring out the inner salsa dancer in you by attending the annual Bangkok Salsa Fiesta from Oct 31 to Nov 3 at the Windsor Suites Hotel on Sukhumvit 22, which has been the longest-running Latin dance festival in Southeast Asia. This year celebrates its 15-year anniversary.

Independent cinema Lido may have shut shop in May last year, after 50 years of giving cinephiles films they may not have seen in mainstream cinemas. However, they make a comeback in May 2019 as Lido Connect thanks to music company LOVEiS Entertainment. The venue will be revived to a cultural arts centre and commercial space. It will serve as a multifunctional venue with a concert hall, exhibition centre and a recording and filming studio.

Music concerts everywhere

The music scene in Thailand is at an all-time high and if you're a huge fan of all things music (like me), you better prepare your wallet because there are a huge number of concerts planned for this year. EDM fans will be thrilled as Marshmello is set to light up the dance floor once again with his catchy songs on Feb 20, courtesy of new music organiser Passionhead. The music promoter will also bring English singer Rita Ora on Mar 11. Both artists will perform at the Crystal Design Center's Crystal Arena.

BEC-Tero continues to bring top global artists to BKK every year and 2019 is no exception. British synth-pop trio Years and Years will be debut at CentralWorld's GMM Live House on Mar 1, whereas Maroon 5 is coming back on Mar 9 as part of their Red Pill Blues Tour (honest question: how many times have you seen Adam Levine and co perform live here?). April will see the return of two big acts -- the Pet Shop Boys and Ed Sheeran. The legendary British synth-pop duo will perform on Apr 4 at the Impact Exhibition Hall 5 as part of their #SUPERtour. Tickets go on sale on Jan 12. Sheeran, who made his Bangkok debut at Impact Arena in 2017, will be performing at Rajamangala National Stadium on Apr 28. Hat-wearer Jason Mraz will bring his Good Vibes Asia Tour to Bangkok to Impact Arena on May 19, with tickets available for purchase on Feb 5.

Music organiser Have You Heard? has recently announced Grammy-nominated LA-based soul band The Internet in Bangkok on Feb 21, where they perform at Voice Space with tickets on sale at Ticketmelon.

Popular singer-songwriter John Mayer makes his Thailand debut early April. South African-born, Australian singer Troye performs his first show in the Big Mango in May as part of his Bloom Tour. Indie pop band LANY, who has previously performed in Bangkok, will be back on Jul 30 as part of their 2019 World Tour. All three shows have yet to reveal ticket prices and venues.

Music promoter Viji Corp will bring American pop singer Lauv to Bangkok in May as part of his Asia Tour. He performs at Moonstar Studio in Lat Phrao. Viji Corp will also bring English rockers The 1975, who will perform in September at Thunder Dome. Both shows have sold out so if you haven't got yours yet, beg, borrow, steal!

Festival season

2018 gave us tonnes and tonnes of festivals and this year shows no signs of stopping. On Jan 19, renowned Ibiza party brand Circoloco will be making its Southeast Asia debut at Phuket's Baba Beach Club. Expect to see famous house and techno DJs return such as Seth Troxler and Nic Fanciulli, as well as some making their debut in Thailand for the time such as Peggy Gou and waFF. Chiang Mai will be hosting their popular and environmentally-friendly Jai Thep Festival from Feb 1-3, which features varying music genres, comedy and magic performances, art and activities, including yoga and dance workshops. On Feb 8-9, trance music fans are in for a treat as the second edition of Unkonscious Festival kicks off at Phuket's Paradise Beach featuring some of the hottest trance DJs and producers on the scene. Mar 2 will see the annual Kolour in the Park at Thai Wake Park with new artists making their Thailand debut such as Belgian DJ/producer Charlotte de Witte, Masego with his "traphousejazz" music style and London-based DJ SG Lewis with his moody and atmospheric sounds.

Rock fans can rock out to tunes from popular bands with upcoming festivals. After two successful entries last year, Mangosteen Music Festival returns on Feb 22, bringing Irish rockers Kodaline for their first performance in Bangkok, with more international artists to be announced soon. The indie rock-centric Maho Rasop Festival plans to return on Nov 16-17, although the line-up has yet to be revealed.

By the end of the year, Wonderfruit will be back with not just four days of non-stop music and activities like before, but five days -- from Dec 12-16. Super early bird tickets are available now at Ticketmelon so you should get to it before the price hikes up.

Food

If you're craving for exquisite Italian food you can head to Biscotti at the Anantara Siam Bangkok for a Carnival de Venice that runs through Jan 28 to Feb 11. The festivities will unfold every evening with Italian food inspired by ingredients from Venice (duh!). Prepared by chef Andrea Buson, the event will see visitors from around the world indulge in dishes such as "Fritto Misto Alla Veneziana", a Venetian deep-fried mixed seafood consisting of calamari, prawns, soft shell crab, fish fillet, vegetable sticks, the traditional "Spaghetti Alla Busera" and the "Maialino Alle Mele", which is slow-cooked Kurobuta pork belly lathered with apple sauce, Venetian-style braised cabbage and sautéed turnip. The event runs daily from 6am-10.30pm.

Meanwhile Mediterranean eatery Quince, which has been around for six years on Sukhumvit 45 is moving "down the road" to Soi Somkid, behind Central Chidlom. The restaurant will be outfitted with a new concept dedicated to "the cooking method that has defied trends and stood the test of time" -- the woodfire. Taking centerstage in their new open kitchen will be two woodfire ovens -- for baking and smoking -- and a fabulous charcoal grill. Though the new menu will echo that of their popular Quince Saigon in Vietnam, the new Quince Bangkok will have its own unique character with its special setting in a beautiful 1970s home beside Central Embassy. Meanwhile, for those who are more location-bound, the current space in Sukhumvit 45 has been transformed to a kinetic Forty Five Bar & Kitchen, review of which comes soon. Stay tuned!

Last but definitely not least, Thailand will get its very own Taco Bell! The world-leading Mexican-inspired fast food chain will open shop at Mercury Ville, across Central Chidlom and connected to BTS Chidlom, on Jan 24. Customers are surely gonna say: Yo quiero Taco Bell! (or something along those lines) once they step foot in the resto, finally being able to try their menu ranging from the Cruchwrap Supreme, Grilled Stuft Burrito and of course, their signature Crunchy Taco. They can also opt to order a side of snacks such as Cheesy Fries and wash them down with the Taco Bell Freeze, flavours of which include Mango Madness, Tropical Punch or Berry Blue. Apart from their usual selection of Mexican food, there will also be dishes that cater exclusively to the Thai palate. Visit http://fb.com/TacoBellTH or follow @TacoBellTH on Instagram, Twitter and Line. Salivating yet?

Shopping delights

Back in November, mega retail and entertainment complex Iconsiam opened its doors for eager shoppers and tourists to explore the numerous stores, including the first Apple Store in Thailand and Siam Takashimaya, as well an array of restaurants to dine in, including the first Thai branch of Singapore's Jumbo Seafood. It is also home to the massive Icon Cineconic cineplex and the River Park community space, and July will see the launch of the True Iconhall, said to be the most technologically advanced auditorium in the country. Expect it to be host to concerts, conferences, meetings and all sorts of events. Additionally, the River Museum Bangkok will open its doors on the eight floor, where world-class art from around the world will be on display. A Fitness First also opens in March.

In August, Thailand will be getting its first international luxury outlet mall -- Central Village -- located near Suvarnabhumi International Airport (coz if it's one thing Thailand does right, it's malls). The outlet has more than 200 boutique stores with brands such as Adidas, Converse, CK Jeans, Superdry, Ralph Lauren and more for all fashion needs, as well as stores for home appliances and decor and children's toys. Something for everyone. A shuttle bus service will be available at Suvarnabhumi International Airport and CentralWorld for easy access.

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