Public flocks to buy
cut-price tour programs
The Thai tourism industry celebrated as it became
apparent that strategies to boost the domestic tourism industry had paid
off, with the four-day Youth Tourism Fair clocking up 250 million baht in
sales as members of the public rushed to take advantage of cut-price tour
programs announced on May 4th.
Speaking at the close of the fair, Tourism Authority of
Thailand governor Juthamas Siriwan said that the fair had attracted over
100,000 visitors each day.
The news could not have come at a better time for
Thailandís tourism industry, which has been dealt a major setback due to
fears over Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. The fair marks an attempt by
the tourism industry to boost domestic tourism to compensate for flagging
international arrivals, with tour companies, hotels and airlines encouraged
to slash their prices by 20-70 percent.
The government has indicated it will support similar
promotions in the future. (TNA)
The Ancient City
at Samut Prakan
The Ancient City has been carefully constructed to
portray the character and appearance of Thailand. Divided into four
different regions, each is dotted with regional and architectural icons.
Scaled down, the architectural design is intended to draw
visitors into a thumbnail sketch of a miniature depiction of old Siam. The
best way to tour this tourist attraction is by bicycle.
The Dusit Maha Prasat palace from the Rattarakosin era is
in the south, Ayutthayaís Sanphet Prasat Palace lies a bit further north,
while Khunphaen House is on the edge of a moat. Magnificent temples and
palaces come into view. The experience is a scene straight from
"Gulliverís Travels", a Lilliputian mirage spiced with Siamese
history and fantasy.
Covering over 320 acres, itís the worldís largest
outdoor museum and features 100 palaces and temples from the early Sukhothai
to Rattanakosin eras, along with other unique architecture from all over
The northern region, for example, features Mae Hong Sonís
Wat Chong Kham, Nanís Wat Phumin and many exotic temples from other
Getting there is easy. From Bangkok take the expressway
heading southwest to Samut Prakan. Turn off at the Samrong-Samut Prakan
Exit. Drive along Sukhumvit Road and turn left at the Samut Prakan
intersection. The Ancient City is on the left of old Sukhumvit Road at the
kilometer 33 marker.
The Ancient City is open everyday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00
p.m. Bicycles are available for rent at 300 baht per day.
The Cultural Bicycle Tour package with an
English-speaking guide can be arranged by calling the Ancient City at (02)
Chanthaburi Fruits and Products Fair showcases Thai tropical fruit
Held from 24 May - 1 June 2003 at Thung Na Choei, Chanthaburi
Durian, rambutans, lychees, and pineapples may be some of
Thailandís best sellers in the international market, but that is only a
sampling of the fruits available in the fertile province of Chanthaburi.
A vast variety of tropical and local fruits, from
mangosteens and custard apples to jackfruit and mangoes will be featured at
the Chantaburi fruit fair. The festival is held to promote Chanthaburiís
various products. Special activities held will include agriculture products
competitions, agricultural exhibitions, free durians, free gemstones, a
mini-marathon, music concert, folk music performances, agricultural products
on sale, and a beauty pageant.
How to get there
If you take the bus, both air-conditioned and non
air-conditioned buses leave from Bangkokís Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekamai).
The rare non air-conditioned buses cost 93 baht. Air-conditioned buses leave
every hour, starting from 05.00-24.00 hrs. The fare is 130 baht.
The journey takes Highway No. 34 (Bang Na-Trat) or
Motorway to Chonburi, then proceeds to Highway No. 344 (Ban Bung-Klaeng) and
Highway No. 3 to Chantaburi.
For more information, contact Transport Co. Ltd at
0-2391-2504; Choet Chai Tour at 0-2391-4146; Phonnipha Tour at 0-2391-5179.
THAI reduces rates
on domestic fares
Thai Airways International (THAI) cut its domestic fares
by 25 percent for the first time, offering the reduced rates at the
International Youth and Eco Travel Mart 2003 held at the beginning of the
month at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.
THAI president Kanok Abhiradee said, "The price cut
was an unusual measure. But in regard to the current business environment
the airline felt it was warranted."
Conceding that Thailandís national carrier stood to
lose "billions of baht of revenue" because the SARS outbreak has
made people fear flying, Kanok said that THAI has cancelled dozens of
flights to SARS-affected destinations, especially China, Hong Kong and
Leading hotels in Bangkok also cut room rates by 30 to 70
percent at the tourism fair. The Plaza Athenee Hotel on Wireless Road halved
the rate of standard rooms to 2,999 baht a night, while Sofitel Central
Plaza Hotel cut its price by 70 percent, offering standard rooms at 2,600
baht per night.
Lak Island new paradise tourist haven
As the popular resort island of Phuket increases its
commercial development, a new star on the horizon may lure beach lovers and
divers away from an environment they say is just too overdeveloped and
Foreign diving tourists, sick of the deterioration of a
once tropical paradise are forsaking Phuket and its raucous Patong Beach for
Khao Lak Island.
Life in Khao Lak is peaceful and relaxing. Some European
tourists who visit Phuket find it hard to avoid the mass tourist boom that
is now affecting Phuket. They say their visits to Patong Beach are
disappointing and leave them itching to find a more soothing place to spend
Scandinavian tourists say they come to Thailand to escape
the European winter, enjoy the beaches and warm tropical waters, and relax
from stressful jobs at home. "We found Phuket crowded and noisy,"
said one couple from Norway.
Lak Island is getting raves from Western eco-tourists who
are searching for a more peaceful destination. The island life is quiet but
cozy and is easily reached from Phuket.
Yet, development on the island is on the rise. Rows of
shop houses are springing up and a cinema and shopping center is being
built. Local authorities estimate the island receives about 100,000 tourists
Some residents know tourist revenue will help Lak Islandís
economy but hope commercial growth can be controlled.