HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Nok Air presents Nok Plus

Tibetan meditation retreat

Chiang Mai to get electric train system within 4 years

THAI wins environmental standards certification

Public invited to visit special Royal exhibition at parliament

Nok Air presents Nok Plus

Sponsors 10th anniversary Bakery Music

Maetavarin Maneekulpan

Nok Air is now offering “Nok Plus” seats at a surcharge of B. 500. These seats are larger and at the front of the Nok Air planes.

Suki (Kamol) Sukosol Clapp, co-founder, Bakery Music boards a Nok Air Boeing.

Purchasers of Nok Plus will also be offered a flexible no-limit flight change for up to three months after their first confirmed reservation. In addition, a special snack box and free newspaper will be given to all “Plus” passengers, while their luggage allowance will be upgraded to 30 kg. Nok Plus seats are available on all Nok Air flights.

Nok Air has five daily flights to Chiang Mai, one to Phitsanulok, three to Udon Thani, Hat Yai, and Phuket. They are using 149 seat Boeing 737-400s.

Nok Air travelers have the option to make reservations through the Nok Air website (, which provides them with the opportunity to choose their own seating (Nok Plus status will be indicated on seating map), or they can call the Nok Air call center (1318). Payments can be made online or via the call center with a credit card, or at any 7-Eleven throughout Thailand featuring Counter Service Plus, or at Siam Commercial Bank ATMs (for SCB account holders), or at any Nok Air airport counter.

Nok Air joined with Bakery Music as it celebrated its 10th anniversary to fly Bakery Music’s management team and artists to Chiang Mai.

Tibetan meditation retreat

Lister Hannah

The Prem Center has recently been privileged to host, for the first time in South East Asia, a seven day (December 16-22) teaching and meditation retreat presenting the “Zhang Zhung Nyan Gyud”, the highest teaching of the ancient Tibetan Bึn tradition. The great Master, H.E. Yึngdzin Lopึn Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, the senior authority of this tradition, led the instruction. He was supported by Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung, abbot of the monastery in Kathmahdu. This occasion attracted widespread interest and participation.

The great master, H.E. Yึngdzin Lopึn Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche

The Bึn-religion is the original and oldest of the five spiritual traditions of Tibet where it had been practiced as the state-religion for 2000 years, before the introduction of Buddhism from India in the 8th century A.D. Bึn represents the indigenous source of Tibetan culture and spirituality, and so H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama emphasized “The importance of preserving the Bึn tradition, as representing the indigenous source of Tibetan culture, and acknowledging the major role it has had in shaping Tibet’s unique identity.”

Today scholars and practitioners from many countries in the world feel drawn to Bึn because of its richness of profound ancient knowledge and its unique spiritual practices for awakening the individual to the real nature and the full meaning of life.

Chiang Mai to get electric train system within 4 years

Chiang Mai is to get its own electric rail system within the next four years, the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) revealed.

Speaking at a seminar on Chiang Mai’s transformation into a regional transportation hub, OTP director-general Khamroblak Surasawadee said that the OTP and the Chiang Mai municipal authorities were currently designing a new transportation system for the city.

Not only would the city get a new bus system, it would also get an electric train system, which would take around a year to design and another three years to construct, he said, adding that the first route would link the Chiang Mai provincial hall to Chiang Mai International Airport and Hang Dong district.

Information technology experts from Chiang Mai University are currently working on a bus system for the city, expected to be up and running by the beginning of next year.

A recent public consultation on the city’s transformation into a regional transport hub witnessed widespread support from local people, but also a proposal to ensure that the project respected the environment. (TNA)

THAI wins environmental standards certification

An international accreditation body, BVQI, handed an environmental standard certification award to Thai Airways International Public Company Limited (THAI), the national flag carrier on December 20.

Speaking after receiving the ISO 14100 award, THAI president Kanok Abhiradee noted the importance of environmental standard for the aviation industry.

While acknowledging that the environmental standard had received more attention abroad than in Thailand, he promised that the national flag carrier would be at the forefront of standard development, pointing out that all five of the airline’s business units had already received ISO 9000 status. He also revealed the airline’s three-point strategic plan for 2005, saying, “THAI will ensure a balance in investment in aircraft procurement, with both the purchase of new aircraft and the modernization of its existing fleet. At the same time, the airline will focus on customer services, while ensuring that it receives consistent revenue.”

Next year the airline predicts a six percent growth in passenger numbers, and a 5-6 percent increase in revenue. Nonetheless, Kanok admitted that rising oil prices remained a risk factor, and noted that the airline would have to bring down costs in order to compete within the context of the increasing liberalization of the aviation industry. (TNA)

Public invited to visit special Royal exhibition at parliament

The parliament is organizing a special exhibition in honor of a late Thai Queen. Rear Adm. M.C. Pusan Sawadiwat, the deputy president of the Memorial Foundation of the late Their Majesties King Rama VII and the Queen, presided over the opening ceremony of the exhibition at the parliament in Bangkok on December 20.

The exhibition, aimed to pay homage to and honor the late Queen Rama VII, Her Majesty Queen Rampaipannee, is being held at the first floor hall of the parliament from 20 December, 2004-21 January, 2005.

Visitors will learn the Royal biography and activities of the late Queen, and the history of the Thai democracy, which began in the late King Rama VII, with Her Majesty Queen Rampaipannee being a key advocate. (TNA)