Takorn ‘Champ’ Wannawong, designer and founder of edgy Thai label TAKARA WONG took us on a tour of his five most inspiring spots in his native town Bang Sean.
Chao Mae A Niao Shrine, Nong Mon
Hidden behind the bustling Nong Mon market, renowned Chao Mae A Niao Shrine has been the center of the Chonburi’s chinese community for a long time, with the highlight being the 200-year-old wooden Guanyin statue.
Champ’s ancestors immigrated from China to Thailand and landed at Bang Sean shores. Since his home and office is only a few steps away from the shrine, he suggested that we meet there, a place from where his childhood memories and cultural identity stemmed.
Woowon, Wonnapa Beach
Although Wonnapa beach is currently being renovated, further away on the other end of the road, nestled in a small encove, lies a super chill seaside restaurant and a small cottage bar facing the sea dotted with fishing boats.
Champ introduced us to a friend, the restaurant's owner who prepared us a feast fresh from today’s catch. A lot of the inspiration behind Takara Wong’s clothes comes from this place where he can chill out with friends over some drinks.
Never See Sunset, Nong Mon
As the afternoon rolled in, so did a cool breeze. Champ brought us to a bar called ‘Never See Sunset.’ Decked out in the mid-century style, the recently opened bar finds itself on the rooftop of Mommy Busyday vintage shop. Located just opposite of Nong Mon market, the bar faces the mountains with no sunset views available, hence the name.
Champ told us that a lot of people in the creative field were from Bang Sean. One of them is an icon, ASAVA’s Polpat “Moo” Asavaprapha. When asked if there was anything he wanted to tell his native town, Champ said “You have your own cool vibes. Don’t ever change.”
Junk Bar, Wonnapa Beach
It was six o’clock and we made our way back to Wonnapa beach for a bit of sunset watching, which is Champ’s daily routine. Then, we went to Junk Bar, a riverside bar he co-owns with a few friends. Boasting a laid back vibe, this is where Bang Sean’s creatives get together for a spot of after-work chilling soundtracked by deep house and disco.
Izakate, where skate meets izakaya
We concluded our day at Izakate, a Japanese restaurant and skate park rolled into one. Apart from tasty izakaya-style food, we got to see aspiring young skateboarders, some as young as 8 years old!, showcasing their talent.
We understood now the reason why Champ decided to relocate from Bangkok to live and work in Bang Sean permanently. It’s like they say, great art happens when artists are relaxed and truly themselves.