The Visionaries: Papawee Pongtharavaranon Inspires “Better” Bangkok Culture

Bangkokians, meet The Visionaries. The business owners who are taking Bangkok into the next generation. 

Better Moon, Sukhumvit 77/1

We take a peek inside the minds of our city’s great thinkers. Those who are going against the grain, challenging our old habits and changing our world for the better.

Papawee (Pear) set a new trend in the bustling Bangkok street of Sukhumvit 77/1 when she opened Better Moon in 2017. Her passion towards the environment has started to spread throughout the city, and meanwhile her business has continued to evolve and gain in popularity and prominence.

Better Moon stands out like a sore thumb in this lively soi, full of traditional Thai street food sellers. Pear has created a very different kind of establishment, in the street she lived in as a child. She’s converted her old family shophouse into an eco-friendly cafe, which is also a Refill Station and guest house, and host of environmental workshops.

Better Moon provide cozy surroundings and have joined forces with Refill Station

Pear has created a culture where people can stop by and refill their containers with necessities (laundry detergent, soap etc.), work and relax in peace, and dine on healthy, organic food. Her mission is to raise awareness that each plastic container we dispose of comes at a heavy price for the environment. The message is: this is our environment, that we will hand over to our next generation, so let’s treat it with the love and respect it deserves. Pear set a trend in Bangkok, and other restaurants have started to follow her lead.

Better Moon is an oasis in the busy, noisy, Onnut area and for anyone who enjoys peace and quiet, cleanliness, beautiful interior design and healthy food and drink – this cafe is still one of Bangkok’s best kept secrets. 

Better Moon is a short stroll from BTS Onnut

Our vision is to try and do “better” every day. Better Moon is a place where you can stay in our guest house or visit our cafe to experience an alternative lifestyle that’s good for the environment. Now we are also in co-operation with the Refill Station team.

Papawee Pongtharavanon – Better Moon Co-Owner

Pear runs her business with passion and a palpable determination. She’s buzzing around Better Moon whenever I go there, and when she’s not there, she’s attending events relating to her mission – to help grow a community of environmentally conscious people in Bangkok.

Pear’s Better Moon cafe is a co-operative with the Refill Station team

Why are Better Moon so big on being a “low waste community”? In 2015 Thailand was named as one of the worlds biggest contributors to ocean waste, including 8 million tonnes of plastic, which has devastating consequences to wildlife. The destructive plastic waste in the ocean is killing sea life, and Thailand is one of the world’s worst culprits. Pear is doing everything she can to help change our collective ignorance on this topic, but it’s not easy.

This is a major challenge for us at Better Moon. Some customers are still bringing plastic bags with street food inside, even though we announced that they can borrow our utensils. It’s a great feeling when I see people use our bowls to bring snacks in, and it hurts my heart when I see plastic containers being used in here. At Better Moon we have to manage our mindset and also educate our customers more.

Papawee Pongtharavanon – Better Moon Co-Owner
Three products you can buy at Better Moon: Your own aluminium straw, a straw cleaner, and a cute cotton case

Pear’s stance on the environment has won over many supporters, both Thai and foreign alike, who are inspired by her cafe’s ethos and the welcoming atmosphere. There is a family-friendly vibe as parents often bring their children. In every little detail, you can feel Pear’s passion shining through.

I really believe that nowadays business is not about only making profit but to give back to the environment as well. We cannot count our money if we’re not breathing.

Papawee Pongtharavanon – Better Moon Co-Owner
A Better Moon product: the folding silicon cup, which can slip neatly into your pocket

As Better Moon’s message starts to catch on, we may well see more eco-friendly cafes and Refill stations pop up around Bangkok. After decades of apathy, we are all starting to take notice of the damage we’ve done to the environment. Visionaries like Pear have paved the way for a better understanding of the truths which have been covered up for so long; that we are slowly and painfully killing our sacred environment with our excessive levels of consumption.

We plan to organize more workshops and co-operate more with people and communities who are interested in the same mission. We have guesthouse, meeting rooms and café, if anyone wants to do anything in co-operation with us, please let us know.

Papawee Pongtharavanon – Better Moon Co-Owner

How to contact Better Moon:

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