HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Cool season brings fields of sunflowers

Madame Tussaud’s to open in Bangkok

Medical tourism promotions begin

6th Lanna Japan Festival coming this month


Cool season brings fields of sunflowers

The Bua Tong Festival in Mae Hong Son starts November 6, with fields of Mexican sunflowers turning the hills yellow and gold. The event runs through Loy Krathong with music, festivities and a Miss Bua Tong competition.

By Chiang Mai Mail reporters

The cool season in the North heralds not only the start of high tourist season in the Northern provinces but also fields of blooming flowers, cool temperatures and morning fog picturesquely draping the mountains and valleys.

The Bua Tong festival features not only the Mexican sunflower but also traditional dances, entertainment and more.

The sunflower fields of Doi Mae U Kor Mountain in Mae Hong Son are famous for their vibrant colors and photographers and tourists alike flock to the area to see the bright yellow flowers known as Bua Tong in Thai.

Located in Khun Yuam District, the area also boasts the Pang Ung Pine forest, Rak Thai Chinese village, hot springs at Nong Haeng and more natural beauties throughout the mountainous region. Additionally, the Thai Japanese Friendship commemorative park near the fields where Japanese soldiers were treated during World War II has museum pieces on display of old weapons, uniforms and other memorabilia.

The fields bloom annually in November and December and the Bua Tong Festival celebrates the beauty and color of the fields. Beginning on November 6 and running through Loy Krathong, in Khun Yuam, one of the highlights according to the municipality’s mayor, Sakchai Supasa, will be the Khao Wongkot ceremony at Wat Muay Tor in line with the Loy Krathong Festival.

Music and other entertainment will also be on offer as well as the ubiquitous food stalls and, of course it would not be complete without a Miss Bua Tong. The Mayor waxed enthusiastically about the display stating that this year it is expected to be in full color with fields covered in yellow and orange glowing in the sun.


Madame Tussaud’s to open in Bangkok

Bangkok is the third Asian city to have a Madame Tussauds after Hong Kong and Shanghai. Madame Tussauds Bangkok — a first in Southeast Asia — is a 500 million baht on the 6th Floor of Siam Discovery. The figures of Mitr Chaibancha, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Michael Jackson were unveiled for the first time.

Madame Tussauds is a wax attraction established 250 years ago by Madame Marie Tussauds, a French sculptor who dedicated her life to the creation of wax figures of important individuals. Today’s attraction continues to pay the same level of attention to details as did its namesake, beginning from the meeting with the model to obtain facts, exact body measurements, skin complexion, eye and hair colour. Four to six months’ time is required to produce each figure which can cost as much as 8 million baht.

Anne Thongprasom, seen here in a file photo, will have her likeness displayed at the new Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum at Siam Discovery Center in Bangkok.

The world’s best loved wax attraction has won the hearts of people, worldwide, with a unique “interactive” experience. Visitors can get up close and personal with global celebrities, wrap their arms around their shoulders and have photographs taken as if it was an VIP party.

Paul Williams, General Manager, Madame Tussauds Bangkok, says “A visit to Madame Tussauds is like a rollercoaster ride of joy with constant thrills where we take you to meet some of the world’s most famous individuals and the secrets of their rise to fame.”

Madame Tussauds has been graciously granted the permission to create the wax likenesses of HRH Prince Mahitala Thibed Adulyadej Vikrom Phra Baroma Rajajanok and HRH Princess Srinagarindra to be displayed in the Royal Hall as a reflection of the Chakri royal family’s kindness towards their subjects.

The Bangkok attraction will feature over 70 wax figures including those of Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth II, Barack Obama, Dalai Lama, Mahatma Gandhi, Beethoven, Einstein, Michael Jackson, David Beckham, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Will Smith, Stephen Gerrard, Bruce Lee, Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie and Jim Carrey.

Famous Thai figures include Field Marshal P. Pibulsonggram, M.R. Seni Pramoj, M.R. Kukrit Pramoj, Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, Sunthorn Phu, Luang Vichit Vadakan, Dr. Porntip Rojanasunan, Pawina Thongsuk, Khaosai Galaxy, Tata Young, Ad Carabao, Pumpuang Duangjan, Yodrak Salakjai, Mitr Chaibancha, Petchara Chaowarat, Sombat Metanee, Tony Jaa, Ken-Theeradej Wongpuapan, Pancake-Khemanit Jamikorn and Anne Thongprasom. This is a unique collection found no where else throughout Asia.

Anne Thongprasom shares her impression of the experience, “I am so glad to be a permanent part of Madame Tussauds Bangkok, to stand next to all of these Hollywood celebrities. The professionalism of the attraction’s London team is totally commendable. They came over to take measurements and went back with all the data to create my wax figure at the studio there. I kept wondering how it would come out. The first time I saw a photograph sent over the e-mail, I had this chill down spine. It looked so much like me. Just like when I stand in front of a mirror! I cannot help but wish it was December 4th soon so I can see this wax figure with my own eyes.”

Buy one ticket and get one free from October 1 to November 30, 2010. Tickets are available from the ticket booths at Siam Discovery, Siam Center, Siam Ocean World and all branches of Thai Ticket Major.

Madame Tussauds Bangkok will open on December 4. For more information, please call 0 2658 0060 or visit (TAT)

Medical tourism promotions begin

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) launched its “E-Marketing Campaign for Medical Tourism in Thailand” and website www. at the Emerald Hotel in Bangkok on Friday, October 15, 2010.

The event kicks off three marketing campaigns that will run through to April 2011 to enhance Thailand’s reputation as the “Global Centre of Excellence For Medical Tourism”.

The website collects and provides information on medical tourism providers in Thailand, including hospitals, clinics, spas, and Thai traditional medicine practitioners and their level of accreditation and standards. So far, more than 340 medical tourism providers are listed on the website.

TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni said, “The online campaign will boost the number of medical tourists as well as increase the average time they stay in Thailand. And this will help other tourism related businesses, such as hotels, spas, and restaurants. All in all, it will benefit all the tourism industry and follow the Thai government’s strategy of promoting Thailand as the ‘Medical Hub of Asia’.”

Three marketing campaigns are planned. The first, the “Medical Tourism Blogger Contest” campaign, is a competition for bloggers to promote Medical Tourism in Thailand with the best invited on medical visits to places including Bangkok, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Koh Samui. Prizes are valued at more than USD 25,000 in cash and vouchers. Joining the competition is easy, for details visit:

TAT will launch the “Healthy Beauty Holiday in Thailand” in November. This sales promotion will offer exclusive rates for dental treatments, Lasik corrective surgery, cosmetic surgery, holistic and anti-aging treatments, and medical check ups. For this campaign, TAT has joined hands with partners including Royal Orchid Plus (ROP), which will offer 1,000 mileage bonus points when booking medical services under the campaign. Well-known websites will also take part, including www., www., and www.

Then, from December 2010, the “You are in Good Hands” campaign will debut and emphasize the credibility and safety of the medical services offered in Thailand. (TAT)

6th Lanna Japan Festival coming this month

The Japanese Consulate in Chiang Mai has announced the 6th annual Lanna Japan Lantern Festival to be held from November 17 to 30 which will feature the beautiful lanterns on display as well as a Comic party, Japanese Karoake contest, Bon Odori festival with martial arts performances, dances and crafts and more. At various locations around the city be sure to check the website for more information.