Wonderfruit is supposed to be the Asia “Burning Man”, or at least it was somewhat influenced by it. Created by a bunch of rich Thai kids, Wonderfruit is a wonderful event for you to explore, dance, create, and experience. And doing all that in hipster clothes and style.
The discovery of this event was during a tipsy moment when we were talking about my Visvim friend’s chair in his apartment. He bought the chair in the music festival, and soon enough, the hype about the event led to my impulsive purchase for an early bird ticket of the event later in the night. I bought my ticket extremely early, in July, to show commitment that I am definitely going to the event and that other people will follow suit since I’ve committed. The worst is when a group of friends talk about doing an event, and no one follows through, and ends up no one goes to the event. Once one person does it, other people will want to join.
Anyway, Wonderfruit was actually supposed to happen in the middle of December 2016. Due to the unfortunate passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thai people had to pay their respects to the passing of the king and had to mourn for several months, and a lot of entertainment was suspended including Wonderfruit itself. After days of silence, the Wonderfruit organizers decided to delay the event till February. Thankfully I had only bought my ticket and not the flight or accommodations yet.
So this is the third time that Wonderfruit is being hosted. I’m very glad I went, it was fun, and I wouldn’t mind going again. Apparently, the Thai celebrities go on Friday when there is less people, because Saturday was the most packed day usually.
For this post, I’ll talk about Pattaya and the accommodation briefly, then chronologically talk about my general experience at Wonderfruit.
There was a special partnership deal Wonderfruit had with Thai Airways, the airline that we took. I actually generally like airline meals, unlike most people, and actually the chicken green curry I had on the way to Bangkok was one of the best plane meals I’ve ever had, even better than many other chicken green curry in Thai restaurants in Hong Kong.
And yes, we took a plane to Bangkok airport, because there wasn’t any direct flight from Hong Kong to Pattaya. Although the difference would have been minimal, because from Bangkok airport to Pattaya was about 2 hours, and if we were to land in Pattaya airport, it would have taken 1 hour to reach the city center anyway.
There’s a famous saying that Good Guys Go To Heaven, Bad Guys Go To Pattaya. And it lives up to this saying’s reputation – streets and bars there are filled with old expat men above their 60’s with young and exposed Thai women.
As I wouldn’t have time to try some local Thai food, went to a restaurant/bar nearby my place. Taste is OK, but before this photo was taken, there was a strand of hair at the bottom part of it >.< I didn’t eat that part.
We stayed at Adelphi Suites as it was one of the featured accommodations of Wonderfruit, and therefore there was a special promotion going on that place. Still, it took about 30-40 minutes from this place to reach to Wonderfruit, so perhaps next time we’ll see if there’s a place even closer to Wonderfruit.
Overall, you would find the place spacious, but a little bit woody and brown. To be honest, it felt as if the staff had just “cleaned enough” to make sure that the next guest would find it acceptable, but not impeccably speckless. Whatever, I was here for the music festival anyway, and coming back just to shower and sleep.
Finally we come to the main purpose of this post, Wonderfruit Music Festival! Yes and to be frank, I didn’t spend any time exploring Pattaya this trip around, as most of our time was spent at Wonderfruit. On the first night, we got to Wonderfruit at around 11pm and stayed till 4am ish. The second day, we were there by 12pm and stayed till 3am. Then I had to leave my hotel at 9am to get to the Bangkok International Airport, so time was tight.
It’s hard to talk about Wonderfruit in detail, it’s not something you write about. It’s an event where you go there and feel and experience and enjoy yourself. I can say that Wonderfruit is both a chill, laid back event but at the same time, especially during the evenings and nights, it can be more like a party but without everyone cramped with each other.
Below are pictures from the event, and I’ll offer any commentary that I think is useful or relevant to each picture. The festival was located at The Fields at Siam Country Club.
Our transport to Wonderfruit. 600 baht for 7 of us plus a Singaporean “Time is Money” girl who paid her own 200 baht. She was in a hurry to go to the event so she gave an amazing time is money quote that will forever be remembered.
4am, we’re all pretty exhausted, time to go. 7 of us, 1000 baht. No negotiations… there was no other transportation left, no ubers nearby. So 4 of us sat at the back of a pickup truck, including myself. Actually I wanted to, to feel the “rawness” of this place. I felt it fitting to be in a bumpy non seater in Pattaya rather than, let’s say, a limousine. Funny story – so I wore a cowboy hat, and while trying to adjust my hat, it flew off. Luckily the driver braked fast enough, and I was able to get the hat in the middle of the road… there were no cars behind us.
We had to come back by 12pm here because my cousin signed us up for a lunch.. FEAST. Not just a lunch, but a FEAST. Unfortunately, they didn’t say anything along the lines of, “LET THE FEAST BEGIN.” Would have helped our energy levels as we only slept for like 2-4 hours from the previous night. By the way, this feast was called a Cocotte.
See that thing in the middle? It’s called I can eat this for 7 days, or otherwise known as the big cheesy sourdough – Two-pound sourdough bread from Conkey’s, filled with Camembert and truffle, served with truffle green salad – to share with friends (from their website)
OK something not as massive but still filling, the Paella style risotto – Carnaroli rice, saffron, chicken, chorizo, green peas, bell pepper confit, mussels, prawns, cuttlefish and clams. (from Wonderfruit website)
After filling your stomaches to the max with paella and sourdough bread with cheese, they surprise you with a massive Australian Wagyu Tomahawk – Cooked medium-rare with signature Cocotte sauces and served with mashed potatoes (from their website). Side note: How would you like your tomahawk? Rare, medium rare, medium, well done? What sorry can’t hear you, well here’s your tomahawk, very rare.
Oh we also got ourselves a bottle of red wine because in music festivals you’re not supposed to drink water. Oh also, we had thin thin wooden utensils. Sometimes it felt like the steak was cutting our utensils. Imagine Kate Moss but instead of a human being she was our forks and knives, that’s how fragile our utensils were.
The band I was talking about – The Lowdowns! Absolutely amazing – they are a funk band but their music style is a bit… fresh and distinctive and unique. There’s 4 of them, the drummer is hidden (like you can’t see him in this picture, not invisible duh). Usually they perform in Bangkok and are all music teachers. How much do I think they are brilliant? I’ve already got them contacting with one of my friends who has a restaurant in Hong Kong to come and play here, so for those in Hong Kong, maybe we will get a special treat!
Besides music and the arts and the drinking, during the mornings and afternoons Wonderfruit has many different workshop sessions on many different things, like Ableton production, learning about teas and herbs etc. Oh my favorite one with a cool name was Yoga for Modern Jedis and Sexy Ninjas.
DJ KATSU. Born in Manila and based in Los Angeles, Katsu blends nu-wave, house, and techno into her music. Also, she’s one of the creative directors for Wonderfruit. Very cool, you could feel her presence when she is around.
One of my favorite DJ sets in the whole festival, by Fadi Alturk. The wonderful thing about Wonderfruit (pun intended) was that all these artists were fabulous, but if you try to find their sets on YouTube, you wouldn’t be able to find them. They are relatively “haven’t made it but upcoming” artists.
And one of the main highlights for this program, RUDIMENTAL.
Like mentioned earlier, Wonderfruit is only in its 3rd year but it’s heading towards the right direction. Everything already looks astounding in its infancy stage, and I expect more in the coming years. Plus, the passing of their King might have affected certain aspects of the show, including attendance, but I definitely wouldn’t mind coming back again. Maybe I’ll skip the lunch feast this time however.
As a side note, you can also sleep in camps at the festivals so you wouldn’t have to be like us to find transportation to go back to your hotel. The tents have air con, but I’ve talked to people and they said it’s too hot to sleep when the sun is out. So up to you.