Dhara Dhevi wins Top Hotel in Thailand
TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards
The Dhara Dhevi took Thailand’s Top Hotel award in
TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards.
Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai has been named the Top Hotel in
Thailand in the 2014 Travellers’ Choice awards by TripAdvisor. The luxury resort
was voted the best among properties around the kingdom in the category of Top 25
Hotels in Thailand. Other properties in the voting for Top Hotel included
Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa, Code (Samui), Layana Resort and Spa (Koh
Lanta), 137 Pillars House (Chiang Mai), Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai, U
Sunsuri Phuket, Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, Conrad Koh Samui, The Peninsula
Bangkok and Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa (Mai Khao).
This latest international accolade joins a host of other awards the property has
earned, including Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2014, Travel +
Leisure World Best Resort 2013, Voyages & Hotel de Reve Top 50 Hotels in the
World 2013 and Travel + Leisure Top 500 World’s Best Hotels 2013.
This is the 12th edition of the 2014 Travellers’ Choice awards. The awards for
the winning hotels and resorts were based on the reviews and opinions of
millions of TripAdvisor travellers from around the world. In total, 7,123 unique
properties worldwide won awards in 2014, with Asia and Thailand featuring 1,518
and 130 unique hotel winners respectively.
“To be considered the Top Hotel in Thailand is a true honour”, said Dhara Dhevi
Chiang Mai general manager Andrew Quinlan. “To be considered the best by the
very travellers who experience not only your product but that of others as well,
makes it all the more rewarding and is something all staff can be extremely
proud of. Paying attention to details and anticipating the needs of our guests
is a top priority for us.”
Air Asia launches 3 new
routes from Chiang Mai
Free tickets for lucky winners
Air Asia Thailand promoted their new direct
Chiang Mai flights and special deals for residents of Chiang Mai at Tha
Pae Gate on January 25, 2014.
Air Asia held a party at Tha Pae Gate on January 25, 2014 celebrating
their three new routes and to launch a competition for lucky winners to
score free tickets on Air Asia. The company recently launched direct
flights from Chiang Mai to Hong Kong and Krabi and will launch a new
route to Hangzhou this month. The new routes are offering a 20% discount
for all seats.
Tassapol Beleveld, the Chief Executive Officer of Air Asia said that
this year Air Asia will focus on the importance of provincial aviation
bases, especially Chiang Mai. He noted that this major city of the north
is a major attraction that receives a lot of visitors both Thai and
foreign. Because of the increased attention to Chiang Mai Air Asia
launched two routes in late 2013 and early 2014, Air Asia launched 2
routes; Chiang Mai – Krabi and Chiang Mai - Hong Kong. They will begin
service to Hangzhou in China from Chiang Mai on February 21, 2014 in
order to provide Chiang Mai people even more travel choices.
Air Asia held activities around Chiang Mai to launch their new promotion
of 1 Bill Fly Free which will allow Chiang Mai people to compete for
free flight tickets for the 3 new routes as well as promote the 20%
discount for all seats. The company hopes to boost awareness of Air
Asia’s flights and routes to people in Chiang Mai.
Under the 1 Bill Fly Free contest, people can earn a chance to win 15
flight tickets on the 3 new routes by eating, drinking or shopping in 25
participating restaurants, cafes and shops in Chiang Mai. Spending 500
baht in one bill will give one coupon in the contest. The contest, which
will be held until February 16, will see the winners announced on
February 24, 2105. Check the Air Asia Thailand Facebook page for more
Winter blooms bring tourists
“Falling in Love with Chiang Mai”
The Dok Siew or Chongko flowering tree is
one of the highlights of the new tour routes.
Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The newest promotion of Chiang Mai’s spectacular winter blossoms
is being held by the Tourism Authority of Thailand Chiang Mai and the
Highland Research and Development Institute and was announced at the
Orchid Garden at Royal Park Rajapruek on January 22, 2013.
“Falling in Love with Chiang Mai; the 7 blossom routes” begins with
“beautiful flowers at Royal Park Rajapruek.”. The 2nd route is “Worship
at Phrathat Doi Suthep and visit the rose garden at Bhubing Palace.” The
3rd route is “Mon Cham, the Romantic Mountain, and learn at the
botanical garden”. The 4th route is “See the sea of mist at Huay Nam
Dung, and visit Ban Wat Chan Pine Forest, Galyani Vadhana District.” The
5th route is “Worship at Phramahathat Chedi, view winter flowers at Khun
Wang, the top of Doi Inthanon.” The 6th route is “See the spectacular
flowers at Doi Ang Khang” and the 7th route is “Worship Wat Phrathat Doi
Saket, and see the blooming butterfly tree (Dok Siew) at Thep Sadet”.
The TAT wants to especially promote the 5th route; viewing winter
flowers at Khun Wang at the top of Doi Inthanon as the flowers there are
Chareonrit Sanguansat, the Deputy Governor of Chiang Mai, Wisut
Buachoom, director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (Chiang Mai Office),
and Siripong Hungsapruek, director of Highland Research and Development
Institute (Public Organization) announced the new planned routes for
tourists. The TAT hopes the project will impress tourists and visitors
with the natural beauties of Chiang Mai province.
Maya Lifestyle Shopping Mall opens to great fanfare
The ribbon cutting ceremony
was attended by the Deputy Governor as well as company executives,
government officials and celebrities.
Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The grand opening of the new Maya Lifestyle Shopping Center, located at the
Rin Kham intersection, was held on January 23, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. Presided
over by Deputy Governor Adisorn Kamnerdsiri along with officials and famous
celebrities as well as honored guests, the grand opening saw music concerts,
shows and contests as well as heavy traffic on the Superhighway from those
visiting the mall.
The first shopping mall form the Maya Development Co. Ltd (SF Group),
construction began in mid – 2012 on 9 rai of land at the Rin Kham
intersection of Huay Kaew Road and the Superhighway. Located in the trendy
Nimmanhaemin area, with easy access for area residents and university
students, the mall has clothes stores, health care, a unique 4 D show
experience, the SFX Cinema with shows in English and Thai and a popular
Rimping Supermarket offering a sushi bar, cheese bar and wine along with
their popular grocery store.
With its modern design, top location and variety of stores both
international and local brands Suwat Thongrompo, Executive Chairman of Maya
Development Co., Ltd. said that the Maya will create a new dimension of
lifestyle shopping to fulfill the lifestyles of consumers, he is sure the
Maya will become an iconic symbol of the area.
Representatives of the
Japanese Consulate General join Rimping executives and Suwat Thongrompo,
Executive Chairman of Maya Development Co., Ltd. at the grand opening of the
newest branch of Rimping Supermarkets in the Maya Lifestyle Shopping Mall.
Suwat Thongrompo, Executive
Chairman of Maya Development Co., Ltd is joined by Deputy Governor Adisorn
Kamndersiri and company executives for the grand opening.
Maya Lifestyle Shopping
Center held several days of celebrations for Chinese New Year with their
Carnival Spectacular Maya Sphere show with Chinese music performances and
featuring a concert by Katreeya English and an aerial acrobatics performance
that kept the audience enthralled as the aerialist hung by silk pieces of
fabric hanging high above the crowd.
Tourism, gems & jewelry and food industries hit hardest by protests
Chiang Mai tourism still positive
The Industrial Promotion Department disclosed that Tourism, Gems
& Jewelry, and Food industries had been the most affected
industries by the political protest during the last three
Mrs.Atchaka Sibunruang, Director-General of Industrial Promotion
Department said that the political demonstration in Bangkok
during the last three months had already affected industrial
sector, especially the SME industry related to tourism. The most
affected businesses were Gems & Jewelry and One Tambon One
Product (OTOP), while Food Industry came second, stemming from
the decreasing number of tourists, and thus lower demand.
However, an assessment on the impact was being conducted to work
out ways to help these businesses.
Nonetheless, an overall perspective for the SME business is
still positive, especially in tourism destination provinces such
as Chiang Mai. As a way to remedy the situation, the
entrepreneurs would have to adjust themselves, reduce the cost
of capital and other essential expenses, including stockpiling
of products to minimize risk. In addition, highly skilled
labour, machinery improvement, human resources development and
expansion of market channels, such as selling products via phone
and online as well as expanding the market to ASEAN Economic
Community (AEC) should be the strategies to focus on. (NNT)
Thai exports suffer first
deficit in four years
Thailand’s exports last year declined by 0.3 per cent from the
preceding year – the country’s first such deficit in four years,
a senior Commerce Ministry official said on January 31, 2014.
Srirat Rastapana, Permanent Secretary for Commerce, reported
last year’s export value at US$228.5 billion and imports at
US$250.7 billion, or a 0.29 per cent increase.
She said Thailand’s export deficit was less severe than those of
Malaysia and Indonesia, both of which reported deficits at 8.96
per cent and 6 per cent respectively. Vietnam, on the other
hand, enjoyed a 16.47 per cent export growth.
Exports in December enjoyed a slight increase to US$18.4 billion
despite registering a deficit in the three preceding months.
She predicted Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow
3-5 per cent this year, which is equivalent to the average
projected GDP growth in China, India and Southeast Asian
Regarding the downward trend of Thai baht this year due to the
US adjusted measures on quantitative easing, Ms. Srirat said
Thailand’s medium-term export growth should be at 5 per cent
In the best case, exports could enjoy a double-digit growth, and
a deficit in the worst case, she said, adding that the
prediction was purely based on economic factors without taking
political issues into consideration.
Thailand’s overall economic landscape will not be positive if
political conflicts remain unresolved, she said. (MCOT online
Central bank predicts gloomy economy in first half of 2014
Thailand’s economic policy will be disrupted, with direct and
indirect impact on the economy and state investments, if the
political stalemate prolongs until the middle of this year,
according to the central bank governor.
Prasarn Trairatvorakul projected this year’s gross domestic
product (GDP) growth at less than 3 per cent, or similar to last
year, saying the Bank of Thailand’s interest rate cut has only
slightly stimulated the economy.
If a new government cannot be formed by the middle of this year,
execution of the government’s policies, investment projects and
budgeting will be slowed down, thereby affecting investment,
economic expansion and domestic consumption in the private
sector, he said.
Despite unfavourable economic factors, Thailand’s economic
fundamentals are strong enough to cope with political issues and
a volatile money market for a certain period, he said, adding
that credit rating institutes have maintained the country’s
The downward trend of the Thai baht was not too harsh compared
to currencies of newly-emerging markets, thanks to Thailand’s
Thailand has not faced problems with inflation or a current
account deficit, while the exchange rate is flexible and
international reserves are as high as US$200 billion, or 50 per
cent of GDP, said Mr Prasarn.
Kosit Panpiemras, executive chairman of the Bangkok Bank, said
Thailand’s GDP and exports will grow 3 per cent and 7-8 per
cent, respectively, despite the political stalemate, thanks to
the private sector’s competitive capabilities.
Financial institution lending will expand by almost 5-6 per
cent, he said, adding that Thailand’s competitiveness will be
strengthened in the long term if the country can operate with
less populism and corruption.
Supavud Saicheua, managing director of Phatra Securities’
research group, predicted Thailand’s GDP growth at only 2.8 per
cent this year on the condition that the new government is
formed by the second half of the year.
GDP growth in the first half of the year will be only 0.6 per
cent and will jump to 5 per cent in the second half, he said.
This year’s export growth will be around 4 per cent, concurrent
to the strengthening global economy, while investment in the
public and private sectors will grow at only 1 per cent, he
said. (MCOT online news)
A New Fight Against Corruption in Malaysia
Cynthia Gabriel of the Center to
Combat Corruption and Cronyism hopes to educate rural people
that loyalty to certain people or groups does not mean
tolerating corruption and cronyism.
Citra Dyah Prastuti, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kangkung or water spinach is a cheap dish in Malaysia,
but the vegetable has been the source of much discussion
recently following recent remarks by Prime Minister Najib Abdul
Razak cited kangkung as an example of a commodity that has
dropped in price because of the actions of his administration.
He complained that the government is often criticized for rising
prices, but ignored when prices go down – a statement that has
been widely ridiculed online.
“Malaysians have a brilliant sense of humor,” says Ambiga
Sreenevasan, a leading activist who chaired the Coalition for
Clean and Fair Elections, or Bersih. “The government doesn’t
realize that this is not about kangkung, but a lot more than
that. I think if prices went up, people could accept it if the
government was also doing its best to tackle corruption,” she
says, “In fact, if they did take those things seriously we may
not have to face such a price increase. So that’s what is
getting people angry.”
Sreenevasan says Rakak’s comments show that he is out of touch
with the general population.
The government recently asked Malaysians to tighten their belts
in the face of price hikes, but some ministers continue to live
lavish lifestyles, throwing birthday parties and weddings at
luxurious hotels in Kuala Lumpur.
“Oh you can see it in the houses that are built, in the
entertainment that they have, the weddings... lavish
lifestyles... and the cars that they drive... so people are not
blind,” says Sreenevasan, “You cannot tell people to tighten
their belts but you carry on spending. It’s not right.”
The recent Asia Pacific Fraud Survey Report shows that Malaysia
is one of the most corrupt nations in the region. Retiree Vince
Lee, 58, says he almost became a victim. He was driving with his
motorcycle when he was suddenly stopped by a police officer.
“They deliberately stand in places where motorists are going to
get caught,” says Lee, “It’s actually entrapment. They block you
in places where they know motorists will break the rule.
That’s a very obvious way to get money from people.”
Lee refused to pay a bribe and when he went to court he
convinced the judge that he didn’t deserve a ticket and managed
to avoid any penalty.
Malaysia has an official anti-corruption body, the Malaysian
Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), but anti-graft activists like
Ambiga Sreenevasan says there’s a lack of political will from
“The MACC may be doing its job, but ultimately the decision to
prosecute goes to the Attorney General,” she says, “And I
believe there id government intervention because you can see
there is selective prosecution.”
In Malaysia, there are a number of human rights NGOs tackling
corruption. Most recently a new group, the Center to Combat
Corruption and Cronyism, or C4, was launched in the capital. The
group describes itself as the civil society’s response to the
rampant and endemic problem of corruption in Malaysia.
Co-founder Cynthia Gabriel says one of their main campaigns is
educating people in rural areas about corruption. “In rural
areas, it becomes very problematic,” explains Gabriel of endemic
graft, “Because they’re fed mainstream information and they’re
made to believe that they need to be loyal to certain political
Gabriel hopes that C4 can push the government to be more
transparent and accountable. “Only the corrupt will be afraid of
an organization like C4. There will be a lot of people
celebrating C4, and there will be a lot criticizing C4,” she
says, “And you know that they would probably be afraid that
their own practices will be exposed. So we know who is who
For his part, retiree Vince Lee says he’s started the discussion
about corruption within his family. “I will tell them not to
either offer or accept bribe to get things done,” he says, “If
you feel that it’s not the right thing to do, that shouldn’t be
This article was first broadcast on Asia Calling, a regional
current affairs radio program produced by Indonesia’s
independent radio news agency KBR68H and broadcast in local
languages in 10 countries across Asia in conjunction with the
Faculty of Mass Communications Chiang Mai University. You can
find more stories from Asia Calling