A Break from Bangkok

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Aomploy Srikanok

VERY JANE AUSTEN: The gazebo at Agalico

With 10 million people, nearly 6 million vehicles and frequent antigovernment protests, Bangkok can be an overwhelming place. For the perfect respite, head to Agalico, tel: (66-2) 662 5857, an all-white teahouse set in a sequestered garden in the middle of Thailand's capital. It's the period fantasy of a Thai aristocrat who was educated in England and lives in a traditional Thai house next door. Homemade scones, quiches and cakes are served in the main teahouse, which, with its wicker furniture and fanciful birdcages, could serve as the location for a Jane Austen courtship scene. You can also dine in the walled garden, which marries English restraint with tropical abundance. But the best seat of all is in the air-conditioned gazebo nestled amid the foliage. (See 10 things to do in Shanghai.)

Book well in advance, because the gazebo is a favorite rendezvous for members of Bangkok's high society, and Agalico is only open Friday through Sunday. The place is a bit hard to find — there's no sign — but having to enter through the side entrance of an unassuming commercial building gives your arrival an Alice in Wonderland quality. And if there's no white rabbit, the white Persian cat that strolls the garden is an acceptable substitute. Diners who like the furniture can have reproductions made by the owner, who also runs a design and landscaping firm. There's no word on whether he can build you your very own gazebo, however. Even if he could, Agalico's ambiance is matchless.

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