Will the Bird catch the worms?
Nok Air opens with Royal support
Nok Air, the long awaited new low cost airline that is
dedicated to broaden the Thai horizons opening travel between Bangkok and
the provinces had its official launch ceremony on Thursday, July 22.
Sarasin, CEO Nok Air, Dr. Chirayu Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, chairman of Sky
Asia and Kanok Abhiradee, president of THAI Airways International just after
the official launch.
HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presided over the
formal procedure to unveil Nok Air’s first plane at THAI’s Technical
The newest choice in airlines has some heavyweights at
the helm. People like Dr. Chirayu Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, Chairman of Sky
Asia, the operation company of Nok Air, chairman of Siam Commercial Bank,
Deves Insurance and the National Institute of Development Administration.
Dr. Chirayu is also a former Minister of Industry (1985) and currently
serving as secretary-general of the Sai Jai Thai Foundation and the Royal
Projects Foundation, plus treasurer of the support foundation of H.M. Queen
Sirikit amongst other duties and titles.
Next in line is Patee Sarasin, the Chief Executive
Officer (CEO) of Nok Air who is the son of H.M. the King of Thailand’s
Principal Private Secretary, HE Arsa, and is Chairman of Bates Thailand
since early this year.
Patee Sarasin said in his opening speech, “Nok Air is
the result of ideas, concepts, extreme hard work and the commitment of many
different people who reached a major step in a journey which began in
February. Nok Air was established with the support of the national airline
Thai Airways International (THAI) and leading private sector groups to
provide a transportation choice that is more convenient and comfortable,
with prices that are affordable.”
After HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn officially
unveiled the first of three Boeing 737-400s, Koh Saxman and his band gave
the ceremony a modern touch with the sounds of ‘Fly me to the Sky’
played in front of the violet Nok Air plane.
Nok Air will serve Chiang Mai during the next three month with special
launch prices starting from 598 baht (return 1,198, baht) with the policy
that the earlier you book, the cheaper your ticket. E-booking may be done
www.nokair.co.th, via the Call Center (1318) or at the Airport Check in.
THAI agreement signed with Rajabhat University, Surat Thani
Kanok Abhiradee (second from right), Thai
Airways International’s president signed an ‘Education and
Technology’ contract with Dr. Narong Phuthicheevin (second from left),
dean of Rajabhat University, Surat Thani.
The contract signifies cooperation between THAI and
Rajabhat University, Surat Thani, with programs offered on the study of the
Tourism Industry and on Tourism and Tourist Guide for THAI employees to
boost the company’s human resources.
Tourism Development under scrutiny
Chiang Mai hosts Asia Cooperation Dialogue Working Group
After the first successful meeting of the Asia Cooperation
Dialogue (ACD) Tourism Business Forum in Phuket in May last year, the second
one was surprisingly held in Chiang Mai on July 18-20, this year at the
Na-Ranong, president of the Tourism Council of Thailand; vice governor of
Chiang Mai, Prinya Pathong; Dr. Sasithara Pichaichannarong, director general,
Office of Tourism Development, Ministry of Tourism and Sports; Pradech
Phayakvichien, senior advisor of TAT; Chalermpol Thanchitt, ambassador,
attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Photo by Gerard Krebs)
Originally, the government of Cambodia had agreed to host
the second ACD Tourism Business Forum, but due to politically motivated
uncertainties there, it was moved to Chiang Mai, organized by the Office of
Tourism Development, Ministry of Tourism and Sports, in collaboration with the
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tourism
Council of Thailand.
Thoeun, director of international cooperation and Chhun Nak, deputy director of
international cooperation, Ministry of Tourism from Cambodia. (Photo by Gerard
Initiated by the Thai PM, who suggested that Asia as a
continent should have its own forum to discuss Asia-wide cooperation, the ACD
is aimed to build unity among Asian countries and forge a platform for ‘Asia
only’ by creating a high powered and strategic partnership.
At present, ACD is composed of 25 countries, including the
10 ASEAN countries, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Bangladesh, India,
Pakistan, Iran, and some of the emerging Gulf States. Interesting to note is
that ACD is encompassing cooperation between government, private sector and
academic circles. As the tourism potential of Asia is tremendous, the goal of
the ACD Tourism Business Forum is to enhance the region’s competitiveness and
negotiation power against other destinations in the world and develop a
sustainable tourism industry.
Tourism will bring on economic and social development in
Asia, creating employment, income, and foreign exchange earnings. Through ever
widening person to person contacts and steadily improving understanding between
different cultures, tourism is also one of the keys to peace and prosperity in
President of the Tourism Council of Thailand Wichit
Na-Ranong officially addressed the 46 participating delegates by underlining
the vision of Thailand to become the tourism capital of Asia and attract 20
million visitors in 2008.
Pradech Phayakvichien, senior advisor of TAT, gave an
important speech about the ‘Green Leaf Program’ on energy saving and
conservation in tourist accommodations.
After a lively discussion on inter-regional promotion
activities, safety and security concerns, human resource development and the
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME’s), Dr. Sasithara Pichaichannarong,
director general, Office of Tourism Development, Ministry of Tourism and
Sports, gave a stimulating presentation on ‘Possible tourism investment
co-operation in ACD countries’ and in the evening, the governor of Chiang Mai
On the concluding day of the forum, a visit was scheduled to the Mae Sa
Elephant Camp and the Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens. The next ACD Tourism
Business Forum in 2005 will be held in Siem Reap, followed by India in 2006.
Get back to nature with
an unforgettable experience
IMAC ATV takes you there
Warasin and Autsadaporn Kamthai
Are you getting bored with city or town life and looking for
adventure and an exotic experience? Then spare the time for a ride on one of
Chiang Mai’s All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs).
The IMAC ATV not only gives you hours of fun and adventure;
while riding you will get close to nature and spend unforgettable moments
exploring the lifestyle of Hmong hill tribes folk.
ATVs are much more fun than riding motorcycles.
It is included in the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s
Unseen in Thailand campaign as one of recommended pursuits for travelers. The
IMAC ATVs camp is located 10 km from the main Mae Rim-Samoeng intersection. It
is easy to find, just follow the signs.
The IMAC offers three hour trips and one and a half hour
trips, with eight ATVs provided for each trip.
The one and a half hour trip covers 22 km. There are two
trips daily, starting at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. This route goes through an area
within Ban Maew (Hmong) Mae Sa Mai. You will pass a rice paddy and lychee
gardens. If you visit during the rainy season, you can taste fresh and
delicious lychees plucked straight from the tree.
On the way back to the camp, you will pass the Royal
Development Project and observe how the villagers plant vegetables.
The three hour trip covers a 45 km route in the Mae Rim
zone, starting at 8 a.m., 12 noon and 3 p.m. The first impressive sight you
will come across is the Nariew Waterfall. The route then takes you to Ban Buak
Chan, a village where you can get a taste of Hmong culture, lifestyle and
The route continues up a mountain, with rows of flowers,
cabbages and many other kinds of vegetables planted at the summit, from where
you can see the beautiful panoramic scenery of the Mae Rim, Samoeng and Hang
Afterwards, you will be led to a 1,350 meter high fire
observatory tower. On the descent, you will find yourself in the midst of high
bushes. It’s a wonderful experience of being close to nature.
The last stop is at the Royal Project’s Land Development Center from where
you can almost see Bhumibol Dam in Tak province, according to the Hmong
villagers. The place is most charming at sunset. The center is a highlight of
the trip where you can take photos of the beautiful sunsets. The clean and cold
air and beautiful views at the center will invigorate your weary body after the
drive and recharge your batteries before returning to the busy city life.