Thai Fruit: The Exotic Taste of a Tropical Paradise
Written by Steve Vincent
A holiday in Thailand is all about trying new experiences. Blessed with
plentiful sunshine and rich soil, Thailand offers you the chance to enjoy the
flavours, textures and scents of a vast array of succulent and healthful
tropical fruits. There are probably many Thai fruits you have never have seen
before, or are a rare and expensive treat back home.
After savouring the delicately-balanced flavours of local
cuisine, many diners in Thailand – whether at a superb, five-star establishment
or perched on a plastic stool at a busy sidewalk restaurant – top off a meal
with a serving of fresh fruit. In most places, when you’re done eating, the
smiling restaurant staff automatically bring you a plate of small, often
stylishly shaped, slices of fresh watermelon (in Thai: tangmo), pineapple
(sapparot) and papaya (malagor).
Rinsing the mouth and cooling the palate, this after-dinner fruit is a perfect
complement to a delectable and perhaps spicy Thai meal. However, there is a
remarkable variety of tropical fruits you can enjoy while in the Kingdom. Here
are some suggestions for Thai fruits for you to sample. They will certainly add
a special flavour to your holiday.
Durian (in Thai: Turian): We’ll start out with the legendary “King of
Fruits”, a love-it or hate-it experience, largely due to the durian’s pungent
odour. The powerful smell of durian is so pervasive that it’s banned in some
places such as hotels and on airplanes and public transit. Don’t let the odour
stop you from trying durian at least once in your life – it’s surprisingly sweet
and rich, with the creamy texture of fine custard and a slightly nutty taste.
Adventurous epicureans visiting Thailand must make sure you don’t miss durian.
Thailand is the world’s largest durian exporter, so the fruit is widely
available at wet and dry food markets during the hot season of April through
June. You may find it quite challenging to buy a good durian yourself – the
large, spiky fruit comes in a variety of types and there are many subtle signs
to look for regarding its quality and ripeness. Even local durian connoisseurs
can find it tricky to pick out a good one. Then you’re faced with the challenge
of breaking through the thick husk while fending off anybody around who takes
exception to the powerful odour of your fruit.
It takes a sharp knife to cut lengthwise through the durian husk. When it’s
finally open, get ready for a bracing durian rush from the pungent smell. Most
vendors that sell durians are happy to cut it open for you, although you may be
less happy carrying the durian back to your hotel or to the beach as the
freshly-opened husk allows the full odour to escape. An especially entertaining
way to open the fruit is the “durian dance”, in which an expert stands on the
husk and rocks back and forth to split it in two.
Once the durian is open, you simply peel back the thin membrane to reveal the
pale yellow meat in all its glory. Scoop out a pod of durian meat with your
fingers or a spoon, and simply hold it in your hand to eat it. Be sure to watch
for the large seeds. Durian is considered a fruit that heats the body, so resist
overindulging or you may end up with heartburn.
An easier way to consider for your exotic durian experience is to ask whether a
restaurant offers fresh durian in season with sweet sticky rice. Wrapped
packages of durian meat are widely available at most supermarkets in Thailand,
even off season, as are tubes of durian paste. If you’re still wary, you can get
a milder taste of the fruit’s flavour by buying durian ice cream, dried durian
chips or durian candy. Boxes of durian candy are an excellent gift to share an
exotic taste of Thai fruit with your friends back home.
Custard Apple (In Thai: Noina): Sometimes
called a sugar apple, the custard apple suffers from a bit of an identity
crisis. It isn’t like any apple most visitors to Thailand would know, and it
actually looks similar to an artichoke. Yet, break apart these segments by
applying some light pressure with your fingers, or just cut the custard apple
open, and you’ll find smooth and juicy flesh inside with a marvellously mellow
flavour. The custard apple is most delicious on the outer part, as the flavour
diminishes and the flesh gets drier towards the core. Watch out for the large
and slippery seeds, which are inedible.
Longan (In Thai: Lamyai): One of the most popular fruits among
Thai people, longan are most often sold in bunches. Extremely sweet and very
juicy, it takes little effort to open a longan. Squeeze the end of the speckled
brown peel around the stem and the fruit pops out. You can easily see the
inedible, dark seed in the center through the translucent flesh, which is
slippery with a slightly chewy texture similar to a grape. The longan has a
refreshingly mild flavour – it’s the perfect place to start for a cautious eater
who is apprehensive about trying a new and exotic fruit.
Longkong (In Thai: Longkong): Similar in name
and look to longan, the longkong delivers a juicy burst of sweet but not
overwhelming flavour. It’s easy to remove the rubbery, speckled brown peel to
reveal a thin layer of sticky, translucent flesh you nibble off the large seed.
While the flesh of the longkong fruit is pleasantly light and refreshing, be
careful not to bite too hard – the seed is very bitter. With this delicious
fruit, it won’t be long before your longkong are long gone.
Mangosteen (in Thai: Mungkoot): Known as the
“Queen of Fruits”, don’t be fooled by the dark burgundy colour that gives the
mangosteen its sombre appearance. Beneath the thick peel, the luscious
mangosteen is an absolute treat to eat. You can cut through the peel with a
knife, but be careful of juice stains. Use a fork or spoon to scoop out one of
the interior segments (called an “aril”) and delight to the wonderfully strong
burst of sweet & sour flavour. The juicy mangosteen’s silky flesh melts in your
mouth, leaving behind a few dry fibres attached to the seed. Usually a luxury
import in cold climates, mangosteens are widely available at a reasonable price
in Thailand, so you can indulge all you want.
Rambutan (in Thai: Ngo): While this bright red
fruit covered with rubbery hair may look like some kind of alien life form, it’s
sweet and juicy with a restrained flavour that stays with you a long time. The
rambutan comes with its own, cute serving container when the top half of the
peel is removed. You simply hold the bottom half in your hand and nibble the
slippery and slightly chewy flesh from the large seed. You can buy a bunch of
rambutans in almost any market in Thailand and easily twist off the peel by
hand. High season for rambutan is May through October, but you should be able to
find them year round.
Roseapple (in Thai: Chompoo): Other than the peel’s red and green skin,
the bell-shaped roseapple is nothing like the apples you enjoy back home.
Similar to a pear in size and texture, it has a thin and edible skin. Roseapple
flesh has a delightful crunch and is slightly fibrous. The fruit is very juicy,
with a hint of rosewater and a mildly sour aftertaste that ends in a dry
mouthfeel, making it the perfect choice if you prefer your fruit not too sweet.
Roseapples are widely available throughout Thailand year round.
Salacca (In Thai: Sala): The oval-shaped sala,
looking somewhat ominous due to the small, sharp barbs that cover the brittle
red peel, belies the fruit’s slightly sweet flavour that is reminiscent of pink
bubblegum. It’s easy but a bit painful to peel one with your bare hands – Thai
people put sala in a strainer and shake them to scrape off the barbs. Inside,
you’ll find one to three solidly-textured pieces of dark yellow flesh that have
a pleasantly bold and slightly sweet taste.
Tamarind (In Thai: Makham): The provincial tree
of Thailand’s Phetchabun province, the tamarind has a long, pod-like fruit with
a thin, hard shell. While it’s often used as a flavouring in Thai cooking, the
tamarind can be eaten raw for an unusual taste treat. It’s an easy purchase, as
most tamarind in Thailand is sold in boxes. You simply crack off the shell to
reveal the flesh, which looks like chocolate paste . Strip off the slightly
acidic vein that runs down one side of the fruit, then nibble the thick and
gooey flesh off the seeds that are inside. The taste is similar to dates, with a
slightly sweet and sour tone and very rich.
Santol (In Thai: Krathon): Also known as sour
apple, the santol is about the size of a grapefruit. Inside the thick peel, the
fruit is divided into four or five segments of slippery, white pulp firmly
attached to very large seeds. You can pop the segments out or bite into them
like an orange. The pulp is firmly attached to the seed, so you need to suck out
the tantalisingly tangy citric juice. Get ready for an initial burst of flavour
with a nice long aftertaste. The giant seeds are slippery so be careful to avoid
In Thailand, even tropical fruits that you can get almost anywhere become
exotic. For example, take coconut (In Thai: Maprow). A fresh
coconut makes a great break during your busy day touring the Kingdom. In many
places you can buy a whole, young coconut, often chilled on ice. The seller will
lop off the top with a large knife and you can enjoy sipping the mild and clear
coconut milk through a straw. When you’re done, use the spoon you were given to
scoop out the thin layer of chewy, tender meat from the inside of the shell.
These are just a few of the luscious Thai fruits you can enjoy during your visit
to Thailand. There are many more depending on the time of year that you’re here,
and to which parts of the Kingdom you go. Ask any Thai person what local fruits
you should try. They’ll be happy to make suggestions, show you where to get it,
and probably even help you to pick out some of the best. You’ll be smiling
yourself after your first bite into a mouth-watering piece of fresh and
fantastic Thai tropical fruit.
To download high-resolution, 300 dpi photos from this article, and other scenes
of Thailand, please visit Media Zone at www.tatnews.org
Historic Lamphun: A Journey into Thailand’s Past
Written by Andrew Forbes
Thai history and culture comes alive in Lamphun, a relaxed and traditional
northern Thai city that is filled with historic architecture from the Mon, Lanna
and Chiang Mai eras. Visitors to Thailand can explore the past in the bucolic
provincial capital of Lamphun, the oldest city in the north, and one of the
longest-inhabited settlements in all of Thailand.
Founded in the mid-9th century by the legendary Queen Chamadevi, Lamphun was
established as the centre of the Kingdom of Haripunchai. It flourished as a
centre of Mon Buddhist culture and influence until its conquest by King Mangrai
of Lanna in 1281.
Lamphun has been overshadowed by Chiang Mai ever since, and therein lies much of
the town’s charm. Located just 26 km south of Chiang Mai, Lamphun is generally
visited as an enjoyable and rewarding excursion from the northern capital.
Tranquil, lotus-filled moats and some of the most distinguished historical
architecture in Thailand combine to attract both Thai and overseas visitors who
want a glimpse of the Kingdom’s past.
Exploring Ancient History
History abounds in Lamphun. In the centre of the old walled city, on the east
side of Inthayongyot Road, stands the splendid Wat Phra That Haripunchai. This
magnificent temple, unequalled in northern Thailand, was founded in 1044 by King
Athitayaraj of Haripunchai on the site of Queen Chamadevi’s royal palace. Legend
has it that the queen's personal quarters are enclosed in the main 46-metre high
Lanna-style chedi, covered in copper plates and topped by a gold umbrella.
In addition to an impressive Ratannakosin-style viharn, built in 1925 and
housing the revered Phra Chao Thongtip Buddha image, the temple complex also
includes the unusual stepped-pyramid Suwanna Chedi, dating from 1467. This is
one of very few surviving examples of Mon architecture in Thailand. Nearby hangs
a giant bronze gong, claimed to be the largest in the world. By any standards,
Wat Phra That Haripunchai is a remarkable structure that history and culture
buffs should not miss.
At least one other Lamphun temple is essential viewing, and in its own way it is
as important as Wat Phra That Haripunchai. This is Wat Chamadevi, better known
locally as Wat Ku Kut. Named after Lamphun's founding queen and most celebrated
ruler, this temple lies on the western side of town, about one-and-a-half
kilometres from the moats down the road to Sanpathong Village.
Wat Chamadevi is the site of the two oldest surviving monuments in Lamphun, both
brick chedi decorated with stucco figures of the Buddha. Dating from 1218, they
are considered to be the finest surviving examples of Mon architecture in
Thailand. The larger of the two, Chedi Suwan Chang Kot, is a stepped pyramid 21
metres high. Nearby there is another chedi of smaller proportions but equal
style. This structure, the Ratana Chedi, is said to contain the ashes of the
great queen herself.
One of Thailand's Best Provincial Museums
Back in the town centre, just to the west of Wat Phra That Haripunchai, is the
informative and well-maintained Lamphun Haripunchai National Museum – certainly
one of the best provincial museums in Thailand. It features displays of various
fine bronzes, stuccoes and terracottas from Mon times, including masks and
carvings of figures with the fierce eyes and enigmatic grin that are a hallmark
of Mon Haripunchai Art.
Beautiful bronze repoussé Buddha images, some damaged, have also survived from
the Mon era and are on display, together with distinctively Mon-style terracotta
Buddha heads. In the basement of the museum is a carefully designed and
maintained gallery housing an impressive collection of stone tablets bearing Mon
letters derived from ancient south India, as well as later examples engraved
with northern Thai script.
Immediately to the east of Wat Phra That Haripunchai, a covered footbridge lined
with small shops selling northern food delicacies and locally-produced woven
cloth crosses the River Kuang to Wiang Yong. This suburb is largely inhabited by
Tai Yong people from Burma resettled in the area by Chao Kawila at the beginning
of the 19th century.
The Yong have stayed put and prospered, and today there is a Yong Museum
featuring aspects of their cultural heritage and, especially, a Yong Weavers
Collective where visitors can watch local women weaving intricately patterned
cloth for phasin tube dresses and other items of clothing. These items are on
sale here and at many of the small shops on either side of the covered bridge.
Honouring Queen Chamadevi
At the southern end of Inthayongyot Road, near the banks of the encircling moat,
stands a striking statue of Queen Chamadevi. This remarkable ruler, who was
instrumental in the spread of Buddhism and of Mon culture in the region more
than one thousand years ago, is one of the heroines of Thai history. By all
accounts she was both determined and ingenious, and Queen Chamadevi is still
revered, with amulets and pictures for sale at small stalls standing near the
Further reminders of Queen Chamadevi are found to the north of town, outside the
city walls on the way to the railway station. These are Lamphun’s remarkable
“animal shrines”, chedi in various states of repair enshrining Queen Chamadevi’s
various royal animals. The largest and most impressive is dedicated to
“Blacky-Purple”, a great war elephant that helped the queen defeat King Viranga,
ruler of the indigenous Lawa people.
Every day, the shrine is packed with local people bringing offerings of sugar
cane and fresh bananas, and the precincts are stacked high with wooden and
ceramic elephants. Other animals remembered at nearby shrines include Queen
Chamadevi’s horse, cockerel and cat, but none are as well maintained or as
popular as that of “Blacky Purple”.
In sum, it’s astonishing how rich in cultural relics this small provincial city
is. In recognition of this, in 2004 the Lamphun World Heritage Research and
Development Project was formed as the first step in applying for UNESCO World
Heritage status for the entire old city. This bid continues and, if successful,
will make Lamphun Thailand’s fourth World Heritage Cultural Site after
Ayutthaya, Sukhothai and Ban Chiang.
While in Lamphun, visitors can sample Northern Thai food including nam phrik
num, nam phrik ong, gaeng hanglae, sai oua sausage, khao soy noodles and khao
niaw (sticky rice), called khao nung in Northern dialect. A real Lamphun
speciality is kuaytiew mu tun lamyai – pork noodles cooked with lamyai (longan)
fruit, for which the province is famous.
For souvenirs to remember this trip into Thai history, Tai Yong woven clothing
such as dresses, blouses, jackets are unique and for sale in Wiang Yong and
especially on the covered bridge. As a good luck charm, pick up a Queen
Chamadevi amulet, which are for sale near the queen’s statue.
Chiang Mai provides the easiest access to Lamphun. There are regular buses from
Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Station. Regular songthaew pickups leave from the Chiang
Mai-Lamphun Road near the TAT office. Two trains departing from Chiang Mai
Station to Lamphun Station in the early morning, and two trains return in the
evening. Lamphun Station is about 2 km north of town, but there are motorbike
taxis and songthaew pickups that take passengers into the old city.
Underwater condos for fishes
Two hundred kilometers of seabed off Thailand’s southern
provinces of Narathiwat and Pattani was once the rich source of fishes which had
fed more than 150,000 fishermen and their family members.
Unfortunately, the unsparing use of trawling nets has negatively affected the
marine environment and ecological system.
inshore fishermen had no choice but to go further from shore for fishing. Some
decided to petition Her Majesty the Queen and sought her help.
The Fisheries Department surveyed the seabed adjacent to the two provinces and
found that it was mostly flat—definitely not an inviting habitat for fishes,
corals and sea fans. How about building underwater condos for marine lives? That
was how artificial corals, comprised of old army tanks, railroad trains and
garbage trucks, were placed on the seabed.
years later, the sea condos became lively communities for fishes, marine animals
and corals. Better than that, the fishermen were all smiles again. They can fish
close to shore, saving fuel, and on average the catch has increased by 20 per
Marofi Lotanyong, leader of the Inshore Fisheries Network, said the artificial
coral has greatly increased the population of marine life and the deteriorating
seabed has turned lively again.
“The army tank is a condo for fishes, many of which returned after disappearing
for years. Fishes are also abundant outside the artificial corals zone,” he
Naengnoi Yossunthorn, founder of Save Our Sea, said the giant objects making the
artificial corals have also deterred fishing with trawling nets.
“After two years,” she added, “many sea objects have attached to the surface of
the tanks, trains and garbage trucks. Natural coral and sea fans will soon stick
over them. It’s so beautiful with diverse species of fish inside a train.” (MCOT
THAI to fly fleet's first A380 next month
BANGKOK, Sept 1 – Thai Airways International (THAI) will fly
its first Airbus A380 to Hong Kong and Singapore after receiving the aircraft on
Sept 27, a senior THAI executive said.
Mr Chokechai Panyayong, THAI acting chief executive office, said three A380s
will be delivered to THAI within this year, and the second superjumbo will be
added to the Bangkok-Frankfurt route.
He said THAI will have a total of six A380s, each with a capacity of 507 seats.
Mr Ampon Kittiampon, Chairman of THAI Board of Directors, said THAI’s passengers
on European routes were reported at 70 percent capacity despite the economic
crisis in the Eurozone.
The national airline has enjoyed continued and satisfactory growth on regional
routes, such as to Japan, China and Southeast Asia, Mr Ampon said, expressing
confidence that THAI’s overall performance will be positive despite the EU debt
crisis and the massive floods of last year which have had an impact on the Thai
economy. (MCOT online news)
Thailand Hosts Miss Hong Kong Pageant 2012 Finalists
Hong Kong, August 31, 2012: The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Hong Kong
office joined together with Hong Kong’s Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) to
bring the 10 finalists of Miss Hong Kong Pageant 2012 to Thailand to mark 40th
anniversary of the pageant.
According to Mrs. Thitiporn Maneenate, Director of the TAT Hong Kong Office,
“Reaching over 2.43 million households, Chinese-language TVB is Hong Kong’s
largest television station. It has also extensive global reach, as TVB’s
programs are broadcast in more than 40 countries, reaching about 300 million
households globally. Our collaboration with TVB highlighted the beauty and
attractions of Thailand to Chinese-speaking audiences in Hong Kong, Macau,
China, as well as overseas Chinese around the world. The Miss Hong Kong Pageant
2012 broadcast reached an estimated 129 million viewers through the live
broadcast, program archives, and mobile applications.”
The ten finalists in the Miss Hong Kong 2012 Pageant enjoyed a variety of
activities in Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, and Koh Samui. During the final round,
viewers of the pageant broadcast enjoyed seeing the finalists experience the
beauty of Thai culture, art, traditional dress, Thai massage, medical and
wellness services, seas and beaches. Miss Cheung Ming Nga Carat, who was crowned
Miss Hong Kong 2012 in the pageant finale on 26 August, will have the
opportunity to visit again to experience more of Amazing Thailand.
Thailand welcomed 531,192 visitors from Hong Kong in 2011, a 35% increase over
the previous year. From January until the end of July 2012, Thailand has seen
247,231 visitor arrivals from Hong Kong. The average stay in Thailand for a
visitor from Hong Kong is 6.54 days, with average daily spending of 5,599.70
baht. Over 80% of Hong Kong arrivals are repeat visitors.
To watch highlights of Miss Hong Kong 2012 Pageant and the finalists’
experiences in Thailand, visit mytv.tvb.com.
Mr Sansern Ngaorungsi, TAT Deputy Governor of International Marketing for Asia
and the South Pacific, presents a Thai traditional garland to welcome Miss Hong
Kong 2012, Miss Cheung Ming Nga Carat.
Photo Release: Thailand Wins Golfers’ Choice Award 2012
Bangkok, August 23, 2012: The Tourism Authority of Thailand
(TAT) Hong Kong Office recently received the Golfers’ Choice Award 2012 on
behalf of Thailand from Hong Kong-based Golf Vacations Magazine. The award
reflects the preference of golfers in Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China, who
have scored Thailand as their favorite destination for golf.
In the photo: The Golfers’ Choice Award 2012 presentation ceremony with a
representative from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Hong Kong, the Hong
Kong Golf Association, Hong Kong Professional Golfers’ Association, Hong Kong
Chinese Lady Golfers Association, LPGA Hong Kong, and Golf Vacations Magazine.
Go Exclusively to Thailand
New Delhi, August 30, 2012: The Tourism Authority of Thailand
(TAT) New Delhi office joined hands with Odysseus India Pvt. Ltd. to organise
familiarization trips for luxury-end agents to visit Thailand from 4th to 10th
August, 2012. A total of ten agents from Delhi, Kolkata, Punjab, and Bangalore
participated in the trip.
The properties showcased during the Thailand visit included
“romance” destinations such as Krabi, Khao Lak, Phuket, and Chiang Mai. In Krabi,
the exclusive properties visited were the Ritz-Carlton Phulay Bay, Hotel,
Sofitel Krabi, Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort, Hotel Centara Grand Beach Resort
and Villa Krabi.
In Khao Lak and Phuket, the agents explored Wannakarn Beach Resort & Spa, Le
Meridien Khao Lak Beach & Spa Resort, Trisara Phuket and The Paresa Resort. The
group also travelled to Chiang Mai and visited the Four Seasons Resort, Mandarin
Oriental Dhara Dhevi, The Chedi and the Shangri-La.
The TAT aims to increase revenue from Indian travelers by 20% in 2012, with 10%
growth in the number of travelers.
TAT Awarded as Best Overseas Tourism Office in India
New Delhi, August 21, 2012: The Tourism Authority of Thailand
(TAT) New Delhi office was honored with an award as the "Best Overseas Tourism
Office in India 2012” at the Safari India National Tourism Awards ceremony,
which was held at the Ashok Hotel in New Delhi on 18th August, 2012.
The award followed a voting process by Pacific Area Travel
Writers Association (PATWA) committees. The TAT received acclaim for being
proactive and creative in promoting Thailand as a preferred tourist destination.
The TAT was also recognized for providing regular, tourist-friendly updates
about the tourism market and various situations in Thailand.
Mr. Chanyuth Sawetsuwan, Assistant Director of the TAT New Delhi office,
accepted the award.
The Safari Awards are organized by PATWA, which is the leading travel writers’
organization representing members from all over the world. They are given
annually to recognize leadership in the fields of hotels, tourism, destinations,
airlines, travel agents and individuals. The Safari Awards also recognize the
professional work done by the state governments.
Safari India is a prestigious regional tourism magazine
covering India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Southeast Asia.
The TAT received two Best National Tourist Organisation (NTO) Awards in the
first seven months of 2012. The first was “The Best Outbound Tourism Board” in
The International Tourism Conclave & Travel Awards (ITCTA) on 6 April. The “The
Best Overseas Tourism Office in India 2012” from PATWA is the second major award
for the TAT so far this year.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand would like to thank all its partners for their
continued support for Amazing Thailand.
Sixty One Thai Tourism Products Score High Marks in Best in Travel 2012 Poll
Bangkok, August 22, 2012: Thai tourism destinations,
airlines, airports, hotels and spa resorts scored high marks in the Best in
Travel 2012 Poll announced by the popular website Smart Travel Asia 2012.
Altogether, a total of 61 Thai tourism industry products were
listed in the poll rankings, some in the top ten and others in the top 25. The
list was led by Phuket, which was ranked the second-best holiday destination in
Asia. Bangkok ranked 4th best city for business and fifth in the top ten holiday
destinations in Asia. Ko Samui ranked the 10th best holiday destination in Asia.
Thai Airways International, Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and Samui Airport
also fared well. An analysis of the poll results also indicated that the
award-winning products were located nationwide, including Hua Hin and Chiang Rai.
Commented TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni, “We are proud to see so many of our
destinations and products scoring highly in these rankings. It clearly shows
that the determined effort made by our entire industry to upgrade quality is
paying off and getting global recognition.”
Announcing the awards, Smart Travel Asia’s Editor-Publisher Vijay Verghese said,
“This year (2012) marks the eighth year of our online poll to discern travel
preferences among our affluent frequent traveller readers who take over 16 air
trips a year.
“The focus of the Best in Travel Poll is to determine which travel brands are
sought after and why. The three-month exercise from May to July each year offers
insights for our own editorial direction and generates useful comparative
research data for hotels and airlines.”
Mr. Verghese said that one interesting finding this year is that affluent
travellers by and large first seek trusted brand evaluations online (rather than
price), but often fail to find this due to the blizzard of booking engines and
sales sites that tend to dominate search results. “Readers clearly state that
they will first evaluate a brand before booking it,” he said.
“Another point to emerge is that while affluent travellers make travel decisions
online, they do not commonly book online. They go offline to talk to a human
being in order to ask questions and personalise the purchase. Business
travellers in particular are averse to online bookings as travel circumstances
change rapidly and unpredictably. They tend to use their own trusted travel
agents or will talk to sales persons at a hotel of their choice. In other words,
tracking ‘conversions’ often fails with this elite audience.”
Approximately 70 percent of the voters were based in Asia (largely Singapore,
Australia, Hong Kong, India, China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, and
the Middle East), 15 percent in UK/Europe and 15 percent in USA and North
America. They recorded an average of 16.22 air trips (up from 15.75) over the
past 12 months and earned US$162,134 in household income (up modestly from
US$156,716 in 2011).
There was no charge for nomination or any hidden fee. Readers were free to vote
for any of thousands of travel products in Asia from Japan to the Middle East.
Here is a listing of all the Thai destinations and products that won awards:
In photo: Smart Travel Asia presents plaques
recognising the Best in Travel 2012 results to the Tourism Authority of Thailand
(TAT). From left to right: Mr. Vijay K Verghese, editor & director of Smart
Travel Asia; Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, director of the International
Public Relations Division, TAT; and Ms. Pidichanan Petchngaovilai, Advertising
Manager, Thailand & Indochina of Smart Travel Asia.
Chiang Mai launches tourism promotion campaign
CHIANG Mai, 21 August 2012 (NNT) – The Tourism and Sports
Ministry has launched the 'Miracle Thailand: Believe in Chiang Mai' project to
promote tourism and meeting and incentive businesses in the province.
Tourism Department Director-General Supon Sripan yesterday presided over the
opening ceremony of the event at Chiang Mai Hall in Central Plaza Chiang Mai
The event is aimed at promoting the meetings, incentives, conventions, and
exhibitions (MICE) business in the northern province. Activities were held
during August 20-21 to give a good grounding on tourism business to tour guides,
tourists, students, and related agencies.
Over 500 participants are expected attended the two-day seminar on the future
and opportunity of the Thai MICE business.
Special Report: Thais encouraged to visit Chiba - Gateway to Japan
On the occasion of the Governor of Japan’s Chiba prefecture’s
visit to Thailand during August 17-22, the Embassy of Japan in Bangkok hosted
the ‘Chiba – the Gateway to Japan’ hospitality event on August 20 in order to
deepen the Thai-Japanese relations.
Chiba, the lesser-known neighbor of Tokyo, is located directly east of the
capital. The prefecture is best known for being home to Tokyo Disney resort and
Narita International airport, which draw in millions of visitors and passengers
each year. Unbeknownst to most travellers, Chiba is Japan’s third agricultural
producer and its population is one of the country’s wealthiest thanks to its
strong commercial and industrial sectors.
Chiba Governor Kensaku Morita, former actor and singer, said at the event that
in addition to their locally grown fruit and vegetables, the prefecture,
surrounded by oceans and rivers, is one of the leading exporters of marine
products in Japan. Black water hot springs are also unique to Yoro Valley in the
prefecture, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area.
Accompanied by 40 Japanese delegates during this visit, Mr Kensaku was best
known for the early 1970s TV series, "Ore wa Otoko da", in which he played a
high-school kendo enthusiast who has a strong passion for moral rectitude and
love of Japan’s spirit. The series was broadcasted in countries across Asia
The governor noted that the prefecture aims to attract Thai visitors as the
prefectural government has strong ties with the Thai communities in Chiba, which
boasts the second largest Thai population next to Tokyo.
Mr Kensaku also expressed his appreciation for Thailand’s assistance during last
year’s Fukushima nuclear disaster, which damaged parts of the agricultural land
in the prefecture. Addressing rumors of power shortages in the prefecture in the
aftermath of the March 2011 disaster, he confirmed that power supply in the
region is more than sufficient.
National Parks entrance fees raised nationwide
BANGKOK, 21 August 2012 (NNT) - The Department of National
Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation yesterday announced a major raise in
entrance fees to 33 national parks across the country.
The department’s director-general Damrong Pidej said that due to a rapidly
growing number of visitors, the department needed to implement new support
strategies to fund the rising maintenance costs as well as to improve existing
infrastructures and amenities in the country’s most frequented national parks.
Under the new rate, entrance fees for Thai nationals will increase by as much as
150%. The admission fee for Thai adults will jump from 40 baht to 100 baht,
while Thai children’s fees will increase from 20 baht to 50 baht. Park entrance
fees for foreign nationals will be raised from 400 baht to 500 baht, and from
200 baht to 300 baht for foreign children.
National parks affected by the new fees include Doi Inthanond in Chiang Mai,
Khao Yai in Nakhon Ratchasima, Kaeng Krachan in Phetchaburi, Sai Yok in
Kanchanaburi, Phu Kradueng in Loei, Koh Chang and Koh Samet in Trat, and Lunta
islands in Krabi.
The new rates will be effective from Oct 1 onwards.
Director of the National Parks Office Vithya Hongvienchan elaborated that in
addition to each park’s annual budget of 10 million baht, the increase in
admission fees is expected to generate overall revenue of up to 500 million
baht, up from the current 300 million, per year for the Department.
Travel agents: Outbound tourists cut by half this year
BANGKOK, 21 August 2012 (NNT) – The Thai Travel Agents
Association (TTAA) has revealed that the outbound tourist number is expected to
be reduced by half this year, compared to last year's.
According to TTAA President Suthipong Phuenphiphop , after the nation was hit by
the devastating flood in 2011, the first quarter this year, which should have
been a high season, saw outbound tourists nosedive. On an average, only 500,000
people travel overseas each month from January to July. He expected around
1.5-1.6 million people to travel abroad through Suvarnabhumi Airport this year,
a big drop from the previous year, which saw about 2 million Thais flying
outbound through the airport.
Mr Suthipong said outbound tour businesses were hard hit by the flood last year,
as many tourists canceled their reservations but the companies had already paid
deposits to airlines and hotels. As a result several smaller travel businesses
had to shut their doors.
The TTAA President said the flood in 2011 created more impacts than did
political problems, as all flood victims had to make rehabilitating their houses
and businesses their first priority before thinking of going abroad for
vacation; whereas political tensions tended to create stress, which resulted in
more people traveling to other countries to relax.
According to Mr Suthipong, this year's outbound tourists number has fallen to
the lowest in the past five years, which will eventually lead to a price war
given tour operators will go all out to attract customers; especially tours to
nearby countries such as one to South Korea ,which costs as little as 10,000
baht. With that kind of price, holidaymakers probably won't get their money's
worth as the entrepreneurs will likely allow tourists to spend most of their
time shopping on their own.
Roadshow for Amazing Thailand to Punjab & West Bengal
New Delhi, August 20, 2012 - The Tourism Authority of
Thailand (TAT) organized a roadshow to North & East India, with 14 travel trade
partners invited from Thailand, consisting of hotels, handling agents,
attractions, entertainment options and airlines.
The roadshow was held in two cities - Kolkata on 31st July
and Chandigarh on 2nd August. Over 100 travel agents were invited from Kolkata
and nearby cities and Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, and Amritsar.
There were two B2B sessions held in each city. The first session was held
exclusively for the top agents to interact with travel trade from Thailand one
on one. This was followed by table-top sales sessions for the rest of the agents
followed by a Thailand products presentation and a Thai dinner.
The presentation was done by Tourism Authority of Thailand New Delhi Director
Ms. Runjuan Tongrut, who updated the agents on new destinations and new trends
for Thailand. The new destinations introduced were Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya,
Khao Yai, Rayong, Samui, Krabi, Phuket, HuaHin/Cha-am, and Chiang Mai among
others. The director also gave a brief explanation about the different segments
such as weddings, celebrations, golf, health & wellness, adventure as well as
Over 100 Indian weddings have been held in Thailand in the
past year and many other celebrations such as birthdays, anniversaries and
graduation parties were held in Thailand. There are many options for Indian
weddings in Thailand such as banquet space, floral services, temples and
Gurudwaras in Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Ko Samui, and Chiang Mai. Thailand has
received two awards from Travel + Leisure Magazine, India readers as The World’s
Best Destination and The Best Wedding Destination.
The evening ended with fun-filled activities in both of the cities, where
several agents received exciting and attractive prizes sponsored by the TAT.
There was also a lucky draw with prizes sponsored by the Thai travel trade as
well as a grand prize of a return ticket sponsored by Thai Airways International
as well as in Kolkata, where the Thai Consul-General (Mr. Prasitidesh
Vichitsorasatra) from Royal Thai Consulate-General Kolkata presented the prize.
Ms. Runjuan mentioned, “By the end of 2012, we aim to have at least one million
Indian visitors to Thailand.” She also thanked the Punjab agents and West Bengal
agents for their co-operation and support for Amazing Thailand.
The Road Shows were a big success and Indian agents as well as travel trade
partners from Thailand appreciated the event.
Tourism Authority of Thailand to encourage growth of medical tourism sector with Thailand Medical & Wellness Tourism Trade Familiarization Trip
Bangkok, August 21, 2012 - To sustain the growth of
Thailand’s medical tourism sector, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has
organized the “Thailand Medical & Wellness Tourism Trade Familiarization (fam)
Trip”, which runs from September 10 to 15, 2012. The fam trip will play an
important role in showcasing Thailand as one of the world’s leading destinations
for medical & wellness tourism.
Over 150 international medical tourism facilitators and staff
from health insurance companies and tourism business partners from all over the
world will join the fam trip to meet and network with medical service providers
in Thailand. The fam trip opens with a one-day trade event at the Centara Grand
at CentralWorld in Bangkok on September 11. The event will feature exhibition
booths, a country briefing, business meetings, and a networking night.
During the remaining four days of the fam trip, the international visitors will
go to many Thai health and wellness providers to tour facilities, meet their
experts and try out the various services available to medical tourists. The
result of the fam trip will be greater recognition of the variety and quality of
medical and wellness options available to visitors to Thailand, which will
encourage the growth of the Kingdom’s medical tourism sector.
“Thailand has established itself as a global leader in medical tourism. People
from all over the world put their trust in Thailand’s health and wellness
providers, thanks to their internationally-accredited medical facilities,
advanced technologies, excellent service and affordability. This fam trip will
help to increase momentum for the Kingdom’s medical tourism sector, reinforcing
Thailand’s position as the world’s preferred destination for health and wellness
holidays,” said TAT Governor Mr. Suraphon Svetasreni.
According to the Department of Health Service Support, 2.24 million foreign
visitors came to Thailand for medical purposes in 2011, generating 97.8 billion
Baht in income. The number of medical tourism visitors is expected to rise to
2.53 million in 2012.
The TAT has actively supported Thai medical tourism for many years. This
includes a web site to provide healthcare information for international patients
travelling to Thailand, as well as conducting a Medical Tourism Blog Contest as
an innovative way to promote the medical tourism experience in Thailand.
For further information:
Interested sellers, please contact: seller@ThailandMedTourism.com
Interested buyers, please contact: buyer@ThailandMedTourism.com
TAT to organize concerts to commemorate royal birthdays
As a tribute to His Majesty the King’s 84th birthday
anniversary last year and Her Majesty the Queen’s 80th birthday and HRH Crown
Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn’s 60th birthday this year, the Tourism Authority of
Thailand (TAT) is organizing ‘the Miracle of Thai Monarchy Concert’ in Chiang
Mai and Udon Thani provinces on August 26 and September 1 respectively.
2012 has been designated the Miracle Year as part of the agency’s 'Miracle Year
of Amazing Thailand' mega-campaign. According to the campaign, the government
has set a target to push international tourist arrivals to 30 million, with a
goal of generating revenue of 2 trillion baht in 4 years' time.
TAT’s Deputy Governor Thawatchai Arunyik said that to celebrate the auspicious
occasion, the TAT is holding the concerts to retrace His Majesty the King’s
extensive journeys across the country, which paved the way for many of his royal
projects. Mr Thawathai said that these development projects will be showcased at
the exhibitions and concerts held as part of this event to reaffirm His
Majesty’s position as the father of the nation.
The Deputy Governor elaborated that Chiang Mai and Udon Thani have been selected
as the sites for the event as His Majesty has patronized several royal projects
in both provinces. The Northeastern region, in particular, was once deemed the
most barren region of the kingdom. With the establishment of royal projects that
cover a spectrum of rural problems, the living conditions of his subjects in the
area have dramatically improved.
The Roysadej concerts are expected to attract around 40,000 visitors for each of
the venue and to generate over 100 million baht for local businesses.
Overall, Mr Thawatchai said the agency has forecasted the number of domestic
travellers to grow exponentially at 103 times more than that of last year. The
international tourist arrivals this year, meanwhile, is estimated at 19 million.
Chiang Khan opens scenic biking route in line with TAT eco-friendly initiatives
LOEI, 18 August 2012 (NNT) - Mr. Phanu Yaemsri, deputy
governor of Loei province, presided over the opening ceremony of a scenic biking
route which allows bikers to view temples and experience ways of life of Chiang
The ceremony was attended by Ms. Benchawan Sunetvorakul, executive director of
the Product Promotion Department, Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Chiang Khan
district chief, heads of various government agencies, provincial officials, and
local people, numbering altogether about 500.
Ms. Benchawan revealed that the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has
initiated the event, which aims to conserve the environment in Chiang Khan, Loei
province, and promote Chiang Khan as an eco-friendly tourist destination.
Earlier to the project, the TAT had conducted workshops and training for
stakeholders in the area concerning garbage and wastewater management, and
Since 2008, the TAT has been working to promote environmentally-friendly and
sustainable tourism, under the “7 Greens” campaign. The “7 Greens” refer to such
measures as “Green Service”, which aims to provide services that do no harm the
environment, Green Logistics, Green Community and Green Attraction.
Feeling Heavenly at Wat Pho after a Thai Massage
Visiting a Buddhist temple (called a “wat” in Thai) can be a
fascinating part of a traveler’s cultural experience in Thailand. Visitors are
welcome at any wat as long as they are respectful and conservatively dressed. In
addition to being places of worship, Thailand’s wats serve as community and
learning centers. One wat where travelers can not only get closer to heaven, but
also leave feeling heavenly thanks to a soothing Thai massage, is Wat Pho, home
of Thailand’s oldest traditional massage school.
Located in the heart of Bangkok in the Phra Nakhon district, next to the Grand
Palace, Wat Pho is one of Thailand’s largest and oldest wats. Renowned for its
magnificent 46-metre long Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho was also the location of
Thailand’s first public university hundreds of years ago. Wat Pho is today
Thailand’s leading center for learning ancient healing arts, especially
traditional Thai medicine and Thai massage.
The Wat Pho Thai Traditional Massage School opened in 1962.
Here, students learn the intricacies and rhythmic movements needed to provide a
traditional Thai massage. The time-honoured techniques taught in the course are
based on diagrams inscribed on 60 stone plaques mounted on nearby walls. These
stones, placed during the reign of King Rama III in the mid 18th century, map
out the human body’s therapeutic points and thousands of energy pathways known
as “sen”. Students at the school learn how to use their hands, feet, knees and
legs to manipulate these therapeutic points and sen to reduce muscle pain,
relieve tension and stimulate blood circulation.
The massage school’s two open-air pavilions are on the east
side of the Wat Pho grounds. Look for the buildings with the brightly-coloured
roofs, identified by banners in Thai and English. Visitors can experience a Thai
massage in two ways – by enjoying an affordable massage by one of the school’s
advanced students, or by taking a course to learn the fine art of Thai massage
Enjoying a Thai Massage at Wat Pho
Even though the masseurs are students, they are very well-trained and highly
practiced, so you can be assured of getting an authentic Thai traditional
massage. You can book your massage session at the pavilion. There are 20
platforms available for body massage. Waiting time depends on how many people
are queued up ahead of you. It’s best to visit early in the morning for the
Before your massage, you are given a comfortable pair of
loose-fitting fisherman pants to wear. An attendant leads you to a massage
platform in the pavilion. You lay on a firm mattress covered with a fresh sheet
and pillow case. The simple and functional communal space has no partitions
between the massage platforms, so you may feel a little self-conscious at first
about the stranger getting a massage right next to you. The yellow-shirted
masseurs start out by asking if there is any health problem or part of your body
that needs particular attention. Then, with some gentle yet firm motions, your
traditional Thai massage begins.
Traditional Thai massage involves a lot of hard pressing and
stretching to reach your body’s deep tissue, so some of the techniques may feel
a bit strenuous for first-timers. Your masseur knows exactly what muscles to
work for the best effect. Once you loosen up, you can soak up the calming
atmosphere; the humid tropical air cut by the cool breeze from the fan, the
quiet conversations among the masseurs, and the faint sounds of the city beyond
the walls. The massage itself will be focused and feel deeply intimate, even
with many people around you. When your massage is over, you will be incredibly
relaxed and rejuvenated. Only in Thailand can you have an invigorating and
heavenly experience such as this.
A traditional Thai massage at Wat Pho costs 260 Baht for 30
minutes or 420 Baht for a full hour. A dry herbal treatment costs an additional
100 Baht. For visitors who want to give their feet relief after exploring
Bangkok, foot reflexology massages are also available at 420 Baht per hour. Tips
are not included or expected, but are certainly appreciated.
Learning the Art of Thai Massage
For visitors interested in learning the ancient art of Thai massage, the school
offers both basic and advanced courses. The 30-hour basic course, spread out
over five days, teaches you how to give a Thai massage to relieve muscle fatigue
and pain, reduce tension throughout the body, and restore flexibility. The foot
massage course integrates the finer points of Chinese reflexology with relaxing
massage techniques. Students learn how to improve the functions of various
internal organs, increase blood circulation and stimulate the immune system to
slow the aging process and promote long life.
The basic Thai massage course costs 9,500 Baht, while the
foot massage course is 7,500 Baht. Both courses are conducted in English. After
completing the basic Thai massage course, you are eligible to take advanced
courses such as Thai medical massage therapy (60 hours), oil massage and
aromatherapy (30 hours), or infant and child massage (21 hours). All teach you
in-depth techniques to promote the further development of the mind, body, and
spirit. The cost of advanced courses ranges from 6,000 to 14,000 Baht. To
register for the courses, you’ll need to have one photocopy of your passport and
three passport-size photographs of yourself.
Traditional massage is an integral part of life in Thailand.
By making a Thai massage a highlight of your visit to Thailand, you will have a
memorable Thai experience while recharging yourself to fully enjoy the rest of
your stay in the Kingdom.
2 Sanamchai Road, Phra Borommaharachawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10020
(Immediately south of the Grand Palace)
By Taxi: Ask the driver to take you to Wat Pho (or Wat Phra Chetuphon as it is
known to most Thais)
By Boat: Take the Chao Phraya River Express to Tha Thien, then walk 5 minutes to
By MRT: The closest station is Hua Lampong; take a taxi from there.
By Bus (Non-air conditioned): 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, 25, 32, 43, 44, 47, 51, 53, 82,
By Bus (Air-conditioned): 1, 6, 7, 8, 12, and 44.
You can enter Wat Pho from Chetuphon Road or Thai Wang Road
Hours of Operation:
Open every day from 8:00 – 17:30 hrs.
100 Baht to enter the Wat Pho compound
You should dress appropriately for a temple. Women who arrived in shorts or
tank tops will be given a cloth to cover body parts.
Cha-am annual tourism festival will begin in September
PHETCHABURI, 16 August 2012 (NNT)-A popular tourist town of
Cha-am and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) are inviting everyone to
visit Cha-am’s annual tourism festival, that is guaranteed to bring travelers a
unique experience, from September 8-16, 2012 in Phetchaburi province.
Travelers visiting the festival will be encouraged to embark on squid fishing
and bird watching trips and please their taste buds with a variety of fresh
seafood menu choices. The festival titled “Kin-Hoi-Doo-Nok-Tok-Muek” is a
collaboration between the Council of Cha-am, the TAT Petchaburi Office and
Singha Corporation Co., Ltd. According to Director of TAT Phetchaburi Office
Mrs. Nongnit Tengmaneewan, the September festival will be the 14th event since
its inception a decade ago. It will take 9 days starting from September 8 to 16
on one of the most popular beaches in Thailand.
The Director said the objective of this event is to stimulate tourism activities
during the low season. She added it will also coincide with the growing number
of squids in the sea and the arrival of the migratory birds which, she said, is
the perfect opportunity to invite holidaymakers to visit Cha-am.
There will be an array of seafood vendors from reputable hotels and restaurants,
as well as live musical shows throughout the night for 9 days. For those who
would like to try their luck on squid fishing, the boat will leave the shore
from 19.00 – 24.00 hrs daily for 100 baht per person.
As for avid and amateur bird watchers alike, bird watching trips to Ta-kad-plee
swamp and Nang Panthurat National Park will be provided throughout the day from
7.00 – 16.00 hrs. A bird expert will also accompany visitors free of charge
during the trip to answer any questions regarding the animals. For more
information please call the TAT Phetchaburi Office at 0 3247 1005-6 or the
Cha-am Council at 0 3247 2550 or 0 3247 1665.
Doi Inthanon awarded best hiking park
BANGKOK, 7 August 2012 (NNT) - Doi Inthanon National Park in
Chiang Mai Province has recently received best hiking award from the Department
of Tourism, under the Tourism and Sports Ministry.
According to the department, good management at the Kew Mae Pan Trail helps make
hiking at the Doi Inthanon National Park more enjoyable. It said the nature
trail management incorporates participation from the locals in the community,
adding that many tribe members who used to encroached on the forest have become
local guides and are helping authorities protect the park.
Doi Inthanon National Park is located in Mae Chaem District, Chiang Mai
Province. It encompasses the highest mountain in Thailand, which is a very
popular tourist destination for both Thai and foreigners
Luxury Cruise Ship Route Featuring MV “Ocean Dream” Launched on Gulf of Thailand, Reinforcing Thailand’s Position as the Travel Hub of the ASEAN Region
Bangkok, August 6, 2012 - The luxury cruise ship MV “Ocean
Dream” recently kicked off its inaugural 4-day, 3-night cruise on the Gulf of
Thailand. The 420-cabin luxury liner departed from the port of Laem Chabang in
Thailand’s Chonburi province, stopping at Ko Samui, and then calling in at
Sihanoukville, Cambodia before returning to Laem Chabang on Monday, 6 August
Thai company Eastime Shipping Limited has teamed up with
Profit Summit Deluxe Cruise Limited, a Chinese cruise ship operator, to run the
service twice weekly, departing from Laem Chabang on Mondays and Fridays at 6:00
TAT Governor Mr Suraphon Svetasreni said, “The TAT is delighted that the MV
Ocean Dream offers a great new option for travellers to enjoy the tranquil
beauty of the Gulf of Thailand while offering a different perspective on Ko
Samui and an introduction to the joys of Cambodia. It also highlights Thailand’s
convenient location and marine transportation facilities in the heart of the
ASEAN region. Thailand’s readiness in terms of transportation links and
facilities, when combined with creative ideas in tourism, certainly will
benefits all countries in the region.”
The 20,000 ton MV “Ocean Dream” offers passengers a full selection of luxury
cruise ship amenities on its nine decks, including choice restaurants, clubs
featuring a variety of entertainment, a swimming pool, a casino, a movie
theatre, a shopping gallery and Internet access. The ship’s 420 cabins
accommodate 1,060 passengers. The cost for the 4-day, 3-night Gulf of Thailand
cruise is 11,000 Baht per person.
For more information please contact:
“Ocean Dream” Pattaya Office
Eastime Shipping Limited
75/60-61 Moo 10 Sukhumvit Road, Tugsukla, Sriracha, Chonburi, 10900 Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 3849 1099, (0) 3849 1100
Fax: +66 (0) 3849 2616
For further information, please contact International Public Relations Division,
Pai in the Sky: Go Green
High up in Thailand’s far north, the village of Pai has been
identified as the perfect site to develop a responsible and environmentally
Surrounded by the forested peaks of Mae Hong Son province,
Pai village stands in a lush green valley and made its name with Thailand’s
young generation travellers as a chic cool season destination.
But that is not enough to ensure the village can develop year-round business to
sustain a growing number of attractive boutique resorts, spas and nature related
soft adventure tours.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand objectives is to work alongside the village’s
tourism industry to develop a long-term and sustainable business to keep the
area green and clean for future generations.
Pai is a key pilot project under the concept “Seven Greens,”
which is intended to foster environmental awareness including active
participation from all stakeholders in tourism from government agencies to media
through to non-governmental organisations, tour operators and private service
The “Seven Greens concept” aims to reconcile the challenges facing Pai’s
environment and tourism to protect the environment and restore quality by
raising environmental awareness and promoting Corporate Social Responsibility
The Seven Green programme provides a conceptual framework and establishes
practical guidelines. It facilitates the formation of strategic partnerships and
provides a cooperative basis for green initiatives in the following areas.
Green Heart: Urges tourists to be socially responsible and
environmentally aware as well as to be part of global efforts to help protect
and preserve the environment at all tourist attractions;
Green Logistics: Encourages more environmentally-friendly tourism-related models
of transport to minimise direct and indirect environmental impact;
Green Destinations: Promotes responsibly managed tourist sites that respect the
Green communities: Supports community-based tourism in both
urban and rural areas that places greater importance of responsible tourism
management that also promotes conservation of the environment, local traditions;
Green Activities: Promotes tourism activities that are well-suited to local
communities. These provide visitors with engaging and culturally-enriching
experiences without comprising in the integrity of the environment;
Green Service: Urges tourism-related service providers to create positive first
impression for visitors, and to win hearts and minds by attaining higher quality
assurance standards whilst demonstrating respect, care and concern for the
Green Plus: Encourages Corporative Social Responsibility
(CSR) among operators by encouraging them to give back to the communities where
they operate. For example, by refraining from undertaking any acts that might
cause environmental damage.
The small district of Pai in northern Thailand’s Mae Hong Son province, near the
border with Myanmar, is tucked away in one of the country’s remote mountain
The village stands on a river of the same name, 111 km from Mae Hong Son’s
Mueang district and 135 km north of Chiang Mai.
Initially catering to backpackers, the area gained popularity after it was
discovered by Thai TV channels that promoted it as a chic, cool season
destination often using it as a venue for fashion shoots.
From 2006 onwards there was a boom in travel during November through to February
when temperatures can fall to around 8 to 10 degrees centigrade in the mornings
and evenings. It shot to fame after a romantic Thai soap opera was filmed on
locations using many of the small town’s landmarks such as bridges, river and
the walking street market.
During the peak season, October to February, the village is packed with visitors
and getting a room can be a challenge, although during the remainder of the year
there is an oversupply of rooms. The official count is 350 guest houses and
hotels offering 2,682 rooms.
The town’s most popular attractions is its walking street, packed with stalls
and shops selling handicrafts, postcards, and T-shirts that sport a variety of
rhymes playing on the word “Pai”.
The Pai River flows from the Daen Lao range 180 km through the province and is
the main attraction for tours and soft adventure. During the rainy season the
river is popular for white water rafting, while in the cool season the hot
springs, caves, forest walks and elephant treks are popular.
Mor Paeng waterfall is located 9 km from Pai at Ban Mo Pang Moo 4 Mae Na Toeng
sub-district and is a popular route for travellers who hire motor cycles.
Tha Pai Hot Spring is located in the Huai Nam Dang National Park, 8 km south of
Pai. The hot spring is 2 km off highway 1095 at Km 87. Water temperatures range
around 80 degree Celsius.
Muang Pang Hot Spring located in Baan Mueng Pang area, 28 km from Pai district.
The site is much bigger with water temperatures of 95 degree Celsius.
Santichon Village is a U-narn Chinese community made up of people who emigrated
from China 10 years ago. They have managed to preserve their culture, written
language, Chinese dress and this is reflected in the traditional houses built
from clay and rice straw.
Happy Air operates a nonstop daily flight Bangkok-Mae Hong Son route on Fridays
The other way is to fly to Chiang Mai first and link with the daily air services
to Pai from there.
Kan Air operates a daily flight on weekday and twice daily flights on weekend
from Chiang Mai to Pai. Meanwhile, Nok Mini provides twice daily flights to Mae
Loei’s Homestay Attracts Slow Tourism
Traditional homestay in Loei province gathers momentum in the
slow tourism niche.
Northeast Thailand hardly figures in the region’s mountain league as far as most
tourists are concerned. When they head for the hills it will invariably be to
Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai, both famous for their cool seasons and misty mountain
But sitting on the western edge of Northeast Thailand, Loei
province is gaining attention for its own version of craggy hill country and
It may have fewer tourists, but it makes up for it with a variety of natural
attractions that are not overcrowded.
Located around 500 km north of Bangkok, the province borders the hill country of
Laos where the Mekong River resumes its journey south as the border line between
the two countries.
Ridges and mountains dominate the horizon to the north and
travelling due north from Loei town would bring you to the world heritage town
of Luang Prabang 400 km in the heart of Laos.
Loei is famous for its hilly geography and high peaks such as Phu Kradueang, Phu
Luang and Phu Ruea that offer breathtaking views of mountain ridges covered in a
sea of mist.
For those who love cool weather, Loei is one of the coldest with temperatures
occasionally dropping almost to freezing point. However, temperatures are more
likely to hover around 20 to 26 degrees centigrade, November to February.
But there is more to Loei’s charm than just natural
attractions. There is a diversity of ethnic groups living in areas bordering
Sayabouly and Vientiane province in Laos. Loei is a province where the cultures
of two countries mingle. It is also a province with an abundance of homestay
accommodation that allows visitors to interact with communities.
Homestay and Community-Based Tourism
Homestay tourism is part of the new trend towards slow tourism where the
emphasis lies on appreciating natural beauty as well as learning from
communities visited. It is about taking time out to learn village skills, or
understand a different culture. One of the most popular spots for homestay
especially for young tourists is the small riverside town of Chiang Khan now the
most popular tourist address in Loei province .
To gain more from homestay it is recommended that visitors spend time in Baan
Na-O Homestay in Muang district, Loei province.
If the objective is to learn more about the province’s
folklore tradition known as Pee Ta Khon; then the best venue is Na-Thum
Nham-Tang Homestay in Dan Sai District.
Natural attractions can be explored at Baan Na Pah Nard Cultural Village in Khao
Kaeo sub-district, Chiang Khan District.
• Baan Na-O Homestay
Located in Mueang district, Baan Na-O Homestay highlights the lifestyles of a
local ethnic group known as “Tai Loei.” They orginated from Luang Prabang and
Vientiane in Laos and migrated to establish a community at Baan Na-O 350 years
The community offers 40 local Tai Loei traditional houses for
tourists where visitors can learn more about the Tai Loei lifestyle, history,
architecture and traditions.
Rates of Bt350/person/night apply for accommodation, two meals, local
performances and the morning activity of offering sticky rice to monks.
Visitors can choose from a variety of activities priced at Bt500/ person. This
rate includes local guides and narration. Also guests can visit a local museum
and various temples.
Baan Na-O Homestay is 16 km from Loei Airport. For bookings, visitors can
contact Na-O municipality at email@example.com or call 6642 834 930.
• Na-Thum Nham-Tang Homestay
Dan Sai is the home of the famous Phee Ta Khon festival and the popular Na-Thum
Nham-Tang Homestay. The place is open year round, but during the famous Phee Ta
Khon festival the place is packed with tourists, mainly Japanese who are keen to
learn more about Pee Ta Khon traditions linked to Dan Sai.
Na-Thum Nham-Tang Homestay won the top standard award in 2006
from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports so visitors can be sure that the
community is ready to welcome tourists.
The history of the community is related to Phra That Si Song Rak, or Si Song Rak
Stupa. The stupa was built in 1560 by the Laotian King, Setthathirath and the
Thai King, Somdet Phra Maha Chakkraphat, to signify the harmony between the two
The highlight of a visit is the demonstration show known as the Phee Ta Khon
performance, but in addition guests will learn how to make a Phee Ta Khon mask.
The homestay can accommodate up to 100 persons. Rates start at Bt150/ person/
night but excludes meals. Meals cost an extra Bt50 a day. Tours cost Bt300
including a local guide and the tour.
Dan Sai district is around 90 km from Loei Airport. To book accommodation,
contact 6642 892 339 or 6686 862 4812.
• Baan Na Pah Nard Cultural Village
Baan Na Pah Nard Cultural Village or Tai Dum Cultural Village, is located in
Khao Kaeo sub-district. Tai Dum or Black Tai, is a reference to the costumes
that villagers wear.
They are mainly descendents from the Tai Dum hill tribes that lived around Dien
Bien Phu in Vietnam. These people still maintain their core values as
illustrated in houses, handicrafts and their daily lifestyle.
Baan Na Pah Nard Cultural Village opened for homestay quite recently and
concentrates mainly on weaving.
Overnight stays cost Bt100/ person/ night without meals. Meals cost Bt80 per
Baan Na Pah Nard Cultural Village is around 50 km from Loei Airport. Visitors
must book at least one week in advance at 6681 048 2000.
• Phee Ta Khon Festival
Phee Ta Khon Festival is held annually in Dan Sai district, Loei province. The
festival is part of the merit ceremony of Boon Luang, which is a combination of
merit making ceremonies, March to April, called Boon Pha Ved and another
ceremony around June called Boon Bang Fai. However, instead of holding two
separate ceremonies, the local community combined them and scheduled the event
in June or July. The dates of Phee Ta Khon Festival vary as they are determined
by the town’s mediums.
Loei is accessible by road and by air. There is no railways to the province, but
nearby provinces-Udon Thani and Nong Khai.
Currently, there are two airlines flying to Loei; Nok Air (four weekly) and
Solar Air (three weekly). Both airlines are based in Don Mueang Airport.
Nan: New Gateway to Laos
Will anyone disagree when we say North Thailand is the region
that is richest in culture and tradition?
Probably not as volumes have been written to illustrate the wealth of Lanna
heritage in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, two provinces that have influenced the
life and times of Mekong River basin in their gateway travel role.
But there is much more to North Thailand that is now catching
the eye of discerning travellers. Nan is one province often hidden from the
spotlight that deserves to be a hot spot for tourists asking for more than
shopping and beaches.
Nan shares its border with Laos in the North and East so it will ultimately
become an important gateway for trade and tourism linking Thailand, Laos and
Nan shares a 277 km border with Laos. One important checkpoint for international
visitors, who want to visit Laos, is Ban Huay Kon in Chaloem Phra Kiat district
(138 km from Nan town) which is emerging as the ‘adventure’ gateway to Muang
Ngeun in Xaignabouli province, Laos.
From here it is possible to travel to Luang Prabang in Laos using road and
Apart from offering a gateway to Laos and the shortest route
to Luang Prabang, Nan has an abundance of cultural and natural attractions to
keep a tourist busy for a couple of days. The province is famous for its
attractive temples, many of them located all within a short walk of each other
in the town centre.
It takes almost a day to travel the 668 km from Bangkok to Nan that nestles in a
valley surrounded by high mountains. On the way, take a stop in Phrae a town
famous for its teakwood furniture. If you need to fly then there is just one
airline, Nok Air, offering three weekly flights from Bangkok’s domestic Don
Meuang Airport. Kan Airlines operates four weekly flight from Chiang Mai to Nan.
Tours and Attractions
• Cultural and traditions
One of the most famous temples is Phumin Temple, located in the compound of the
old city in Nai Wiang sub-district, Meuang district.
Phumin Temple, which has ‘royal status,’ is renowned for its
beautiful mural paintings called Hup Taem, that depict Buddhist Jataka stories
(stories that tell about the previous lives of the Buddha) and also other famous
paintings like Yu Khuang traditional painting, that show Thai Lue ethnic
lifestyle as well as the Pu Man – Ya Man paintings.
Phrathat Chang Kham Worawihan Temple is also in Mueang districtlocated on
Suriyaphong Road, opposite the Nan Municipality Office. Previously known as Wat
Luang, the temple is famous for the sculptures of the front half of elephants
made of brick and cement. The sculptures surround the base of a bell-shape
pagoda. Within the Wiharn, is housed the Phra Phuttha Nanthaburi Si Sakkayamuni
Buddha image made of 65% pure gold in the posture of forgiveness.
Phrathat Khao Noi Temple in Chai Sathan sub-district, Mueang district houses
Buddha relics. The highlight of the temple is its viewpoint of Nan and the
surrounding valley. Also the courtyard, there is a 9-metres Buddha image of Phra
Phuttha Maha Udom Mongkhon Nanthaburi Si Nan facing the town.
Nan National Museum is a treasure trove of information about
the province’s traditions and history. The museum is on Phakong Road, opposite
Phrathat Chang Kham Temple and near Phumin Temple, which makes it easier for
tourists to combine attractions in one trip. It was constructed as the city hall
but later turned into a museum. Open daily 0900 to 1600. Entrance: Bt100. You
will need a guide to translate the descriptions that are in Thai.
The signature attraction of Nan is Phrathat Chae Haeng Temple. It houses several
Buddha relics as well as silver and golden votive tablets. It is understood that
construction of Phrathat Chae Haeng Temple was influenced by the Phrathat
Hariphunchai Pagoda in Lamphun province. The temple opens daily from 0600 to
• Community tourism
For those looking for authentic lifestyles particularly ethnic groups, Nan has
Nong Bua Thai Lue Village is located in Ban Nong Bua, Pa Kha sub-district, Tha
Wang Pha district. The Thai Lue or Tai people are valley-dwelling rice
cultivators from China’s southwest frontier. This village is renowned for its
local fabric weaving called Pha Lai Nam Lai and is the source of most of Nan’s
Ban Mani Phruek Security Development Project is an agro-tourism attraction.
Located in Thung Chang district, 98 km from Nan town, it is noted for its
natural scenery, sightseeing and a Hmong and Kua hill tribe village.
A fisherman lifestyle can also experienced in Nan province at the Pak Nai
Fisherman Village in Na Muen district more than 100 km south of Nan town.
Originally, it was set on the banks of the Nan River but after the construction
of the Sirikit Dam, the village was relocated uphill to the edge of the
reservoir. Tourists can rent a boat, or dine at one of the rafts and some
villagers offer simple raft accommodation.
• National parks
Nan has several national parks that are popular for trekking. At Tham Pha Tup
Forest Park visitors can enjoy light trekking following a nature study route and
visit caves such as Tham Phra and Tham Bo Namthip. The park is located in Pha
Sing sub-district, Mueang district.
Si Nan National Park in Na Noi district is also worth a visit. The park is in an
evergreen forest high up on a mountain side where visitors will be able to see
wild peacocks, and possibly elephants that inhabit the mountain ranges between
Thailand and Laos.
• Border tourism and gateway to Laos
Nan shares its border with Laos at Chaloem Phra Kiat district.
The checkpoint is 138 km from Nan town and is open daily from 0800 to 1800. For
further information, contact Nan Immigration Office, 054711913
www.nanimmigration.com or Ban Huay Kon – Muang Ngeun checkpoint 054693530. The
checkpoint is the gateway to Muang Ngeun and from there it is possible to travel
to Luang Prabang.
From Muang Ngeun travellers use a combination of boat and buses. By boat, the
distance is 180 km via Pak Bang – Pak Ou and finally to Luang Prabang.
By road, there are three routes:
Huay Kon – Muang Ngeun – Hong Sa – Jom Petch – Luang Prabang Route. This route
is popular during the dry season as the distance is just 152 km.
Huay Kon – Muang Ngeun – Hong Sa – Xaiyabouly – Tha Dua – Luang Prabang Route.
Can be travelled year-round, but the distance is longer at 250 km.
Huay Kon – Muang Ngeun – Pak Bang – Udomxai – Luang Prabang Route. The most
comfortable route on a paved road, but it is also the longest route at 350 km.
Phuket: Door to Thailand
Phuket has quietly positioned itself as an alternative
gateway to Bangkok and the long-term strategy is beginning to pay off.
Its gateway status stregthens its ranking as one Asia’s most
attractive island destinations capable of attracting the world most discerning
And hard passenger traffic statistics also confirm its right to be called
Thailand’s second aviation gateway after Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport,
offering travellers an alternative starting point for a memorable holiday
exploring Thailand. A practical itinerary can include visits to destination far
and wide without the need to transit or double back through the Thai capital.
This enviable status has crept up on the island’s tourism industry with very
little fanfare, possibly as the island came of age across a variety of travel
related business sectors.
Certainly the island’s appeal has broadened beyond hotels and
boat trips to reach out to the long-stay luxury property market, yacht marinas,
world class golf courses and even hosting regional exhibitions and international
It could also be attributed to the fact that well over 50% of Thailand’s annual
visitors are repeaters. Some of them have visited the country annually for a
decade or more and make it their second home during the harsh European winter.
Phuket is a favourite.
This particularly true in the Swedish market where a recent survey indicated
that more than 10,000 Swedes had bought holiday homes in Thailand, mainly in
Phuket and nearby resorts.
Phuket’s gradual evolution from a beach destination to a
major international gateway to Thailand’s southern region was driven by airlines
that saw the potential for traffic growth and had a vision. They include Air
Berlin that serves the island from Germany with scheduled airline services. Air
Australia, previously Strategic Airways, flies nonstop services from Australia.
Today, Australians are the top visitors to the island, providing year-round
Qatar Airways pioneered services from the Middle East and this too has helped
boost traffic to the island during the rainy season, often called the “green
season” by enthusiastic travel executives.
This island destination has come a long way from those early days in the 1980s
when it was served by a 40-seat Avro aircraft flown under the colours of the
domestic airline Thai Airways.
Today, there are 51 airlines serving the island offering 683
flights a week from Asia and Europe. There are also 13 charters from China,
India, Russia and Europe, totaling 64 flights a week. They supplement the
scheduled airlines (342 scheduled international flights offered by 33 airlines)
and pack the island’s 44,000 tourist-standard hotels from November through to
Five domestic airlines serve Phuket with 277 flights a week making it possible
to fly to all major destinations in Thailand, either transiting through, Samui
or Bangkok. One airline has gone as far as offering nonstop flights direct to
popular destination in North Thailand. This trend will continue.
Showing considerably vision and faith in the island’s ability to be a gateway,
Thai Air Asia bases aircraft at Phuket International Airport and offers services
to cities in Asia.
This long-term commitment will pay big dividends because it addresses a customer
need. They want to get to their favourite island or other destinations nearby as
fast as possible without having to change aircraft in Bangkok.
AirAsia offers international flights from Phuket to five destinations: Singapore
(seven flights weekly); Kuala Lumpur (28 flights weekly); Jakarta (three flights
weekly) Hong Kong (seven flights weekly) and Bali (four flights weekly).
Thai AirAsia also offers domestic flights direct from Phuket to four major
gateway cities in Thailand: Bangkok; Chiang Mai; Udon Thani and Ubon
This underscores Phuket’s ability to host visitors for a holiday or corporate
meeting, while making it practical for them to extend their visit with side
trips to explore other destinations in Thailand.
Phuket’s travel industry identified this need early in the game and lobbied
airlines to consider direct air links from the island to other tourist
destinations in Thailand as well cities in Asia.
Initially it looked like a hard sell, but as Phuket expanded offering luxury
holiday homes for long-stay visitors and made inroads into niche markets such as
sports and medical tourism, it became apparent that it had the potential to
become a tourism gateway independent of Bangkok.
Bangkok Airways has tested the concept by extending its services through Phuket
to offer links to Samui and Trat province (home of Chang Island). It promotes
itself as an airline offering Thailand’s top three island destinations; Phuket,
Samui and Chang, all within the same network and with connecting services to
Hong Kong, Singapore and points in India.
Even if the traveller decides overland travel is the way to go, Phuket is an
ideal base for self-drive tours to visit mainland destinations such as Khao Lak,
Phang Nga, Krabi and Trang on highways that are a pleasure to drive.
Expansion of its gateway role continues as Phuket International Airport welcomes
new airline services from Seoul and Copenhagen during this high season.
Thai Airways International is offering nonstop services from Seoul to Phuket
(three flights weekly) and from Copenhagen in Denmark, three weekly services.
Air China launched a mix of scheduled and charter services from Beijing to
Phuket 18 November.
Silk Air offers four daily service from Singapore, while Malaysia Airlines
offers twice daily services from Kuala Lumpur.
Out of Hong Kong, Dragon Air flies 10 services a week.
In Europe, Air Berlin leads with scheduled services from Berlin and Munich
(three flights each).
There are hundreds of charter flights during the peak season that make Phuket
International Airport one of the busiest resort airports in Asia, far exceeding
the traffic going through Bali or the Maldives.
Some of the charters are:
• Fly Airlines routing from Novosibirsk and Kransnoyarsk (two flight weekly);
• Britannia Airways from Stockholm and Copenhagen (four flights weekly);
• My Travel Airways from Helsinki, Malmo, Gothenburg, Oslo, Copenhagen and
Stockholm (11 flights weekly);
• Sunny Airways from Seoul (three flights weekly);
• Thomsonfly from Helsinki (two flights weekly);
• XL Airways from Paris (one flight weekly).
Phuket International Airport for the first nine-month of this year welcomed
41,838 aircrafts movements up 18.83% from 35,296 movements in 2010 with an
increase in international aircraft movements of 24.54% from 16,840 to 20,972
movements during the same period.
This indicates the success of Phuket in international markets and its ability to
sustain a steady business flow for airlines that invest in a new service.
The island is also a staging point for scuba diving tours that head for the
clear waters and coral reef dive sites of Similan Islands. It is close enough to
other attractive beach resort destinations such as the mainland’s Khao Lak and
Krabi where there are attractive boutique hotels and wellness resorts all within
100 to 150 km of Phuket island. They are ideal destinations to visit on a
But Phuket has a variety of beaches. In fact there are 20 beaches strung along
its west coast making it an island with a plenty of options. Each beach location
has a resort village that has grown up over the years to offers a distinct
atmosphere. Patong is the racy entertainment beach bustling with shops, bars and
entertainment. To the south and north of this resort hub there are quieter
beaches where communities offer a different take on the holiday experience.
There are some noted for five-star hotels that are more likely to be hosting
corporate seminars and golf events. Further south there are smaller bays that
have created a coffee culture with walking streets and boutique shops.
Phuket has over 44,000 rooms in tourist class hotels and another nine hotels
will open in 2012.
It welcomed 2,853,367 tourists in 2010 up 4.85% from 2,721,269 in 2009 with
2,380,709 were foreigners improved 9.65% from 2,171,238 in 2009. The top three
suppliers were Australia (422,017), Russia (151,945) and UK (134,867).
Airports of Thailand: Suvarnabhumi's eastern runway returned to service
BANGKOK, July 31 – Repairs on Suvarnabhumi Airport's damaged
eastern runway finished earlier than scheduled and it was returned to full
operational service at noon today, according to Airports of Thailand (AOT)
President Aniruth Thanomkulbut.
A1.62km section of the 4km runway had been closed since June
11 for repairs. The runway's closure had resulted in heavy congestion at the
The runway repairs were completed today, ten days ahead of the Aug 9 deadline,
the AOT chief said.
Mr Anirut said he believed the return to full service will help reduce and
eventually eliminate flight delays.
During the first week of repairs on the eastern runway, some 104 flights were
delayed daily, with an average delay of 20-30 minutes for each flight.
Since reopening today, the eastern runway is now capable of servicing 76 flights
per hour as it used to be. It can accommodate all types of aircraft. (MCOT
TAT will stage world’s biggest fashion show mid August
BANGKOK, 1 August 2012 (NNT) - Tourism Authority of Thailand
(TAT) Deputy Governor Wilaiwan Tawitsri has disclosed that the TAT, in
collaboration with Rakchat Management Ltd, will attempt to break the world
record for the number of models taking part in a single fashion show, by
organizing the biggest one in the famous tourist town of Hatyai on August 18th,
According to the TAT Deputy Governor, the Hatyai show is an attempt to break the
world record for the largest fashion show made in Argentina on October 8th,
2009, where, according to Guinness World Records, 280 models marched down the
catwalk. The August 18 event is also aimed at boosting tourism as well as
The planned biggest fashion show, the first one ever staged in Thailand, will be
held on Sanehanusorn Road, which is right in the heart of Hatyai City, while
other smaller catwalks will be set up at several department stores in the town
such as Central, Robinson, Diana Complex and Odeon Fashion Mall.
Over 300 male and female models are expected to be part of this grand event. The
Deputy Governor added that the event will also be coinciding with the Hariraya
Celebration, which marks the end of Ramadan. She said this is a period when
Malaysian tourists spend their holiday in Thailand.
More than 20,000 Thai and foreign tourists have been forecast to travel to
Songkhla province to witness this spectacular fashion show and possibly the new
largest fashion event in the world.
KidZania set to debut at Siam Paragon in December
BANGKOK, 1 August 2012 (NNT) - KidZania, the world's leading
and fastest-growing edutainment chain, is launching its first Bangkok branch in
December. The planned center is expected to be the world’s third-largest, built
with a total budget of 760 million baht.
KidZania will be located on the fifth floor of Siam Paragon shopping complex,
covering a massive area of 10,000 square meters. The site will be transformed
into a scaled-down, kid-size city, complete with streets, buildings, utilities
and vehicles. The aim is to offer children aged 4-14 the opportunity to work in
adult offices and to perform job tasks.
Xavier Lopez Ancona, founder and worldwide CEO of KidZania, said parents are
finding new ways to motivate their children and to prepare them for future
roles. The company seeks to provide both children and their parents a fun and
educational environment where children can learn to role-play and take on adult
activities. The experience is expected to enhance children’s creativity,
communication skills and critical thinking.
He elaborated that to add to the realistic environment, children will be
participating in activities sponsored by over 400 real-life leading
multinational and local brands.
Tourism Authority of Thailand supports the 13th World Gourmet Festival to be held September 3-9, 2012
Welcoming chefs, winemakers and food experts from around the
globe for a celebration of great cuisine and wine
Bangkok, August 6, 2012 - The Tourism Authority of Thailand
(TAT) is an official sponsor of the 13th annual World Gourmet Festival,
organized by the Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok, set to take place at the hotel from
September 3 to 9, 2012.
Since its inception, the Festival has grown in prominence to feature an
extraordinary lineup of some of the best chefs, winemakers and food experts from
across the globe, all under one roof for a week-long celebration of outstanding
food and superb wines.
Chefs currently confirmed to participate are:
• Shiqin Chen, La Rei, Il Boscareto, Piedmont, Italy
• Igor Macchia, La Credenza, Piedmont, Italy
• Michael Mina, Michael Mina Restaurants, USA
• Masa Shimakawa, ONYX, California, USA
• Frédéric Vardon, LE 39V, Paris, France
• Victor Quintilla, Lluerna, Barcelona, Spain
• Galvin Lim, Les Amis, Singapore
Also confirmed to participate in World Gourmet Festival events are Master of
Wine Jeannie Cho Lee, who will be conducting a wine masterclass, Eleveur de
Fromage Jean-Francois Antony, who will be hosting cheese-tasting events, and a
cigar and rum-pairing event with Patoro Cigars and Eastory Rums.
Once again this year, the World Gourmet Festival is proud to
support HRH Princess Soamsawali’s Save A Child’s Life from AIDS Project under
the auspices of the Thai Red Cross Society. A portion of every ticket price, as
well as proceeds from an auction, will be donated to this charity.
More to Come
More chefs will be announced in the coming weeks, and all the latest updates and
further information about this year's festival will be available at
www.worldgourmetfestivalbangkok.com as well as Facebook and Twitter
For further information, please contact International Public Relations Division,
TAT governor opens Trang cake festival
TRANG, 5 August 2012 (NNT) - Mr. Suraphon Svetasreni,
Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), presided over the opening
ceremony of the 22nd Cake Festival in the southern coastal province of Trang.
At the ceremony, the TAT governor made a token cut on a giant Trang cake. The
40-kilogram cake was a three-flavor one, measuring one meter at its diameter.
Mr. Theerayut Iamtrakoon, governor of Trang province and Mr. Surin Tohtubtiang,
vice chairperson of the Thai Chamber of Commerce also joined in the opening
Aside from the cake-cutting ceremony, the opening event saw a costume parade of
Trang students and a procession of bikers that was over three kilometers long.
The event drew the interests of both tourists and residents in the area.
Owners of over thirty cake businesses have brought their wares to sell. The
cakes are sold at sixty THB a box while ten THB from the proceed of each box
will be donated to support education in the province of Trang.
Longan festival underway in Lamphun
LAMPHUN, 4 August 2012 (NNT) – The province of Lamphun is
holding its annual longan festival entitled “Longan, Miracle Fruit of Lamphun”,
which will run from August 3 to 12. The festival will feature a number of
events, including a competition to name the best vehicle decorated with longan,
which will see 11 competing vehicles, each with a beauty queen contestant on
The parade of vehicles will travel to the city hall. An official opening
ceremony will commence with the cutting the world’s largest longan cake, as well
as handing out awards to winners of agricultural products contest, and
longan-decorated floats. Following this will be a beauty contest and a show by
the Mai Muang band with celebrated singers.
Mr. Sakchai Tanatwanit, provincial chief of the Lamhun Agricultre and
Agricultural Cooperatives office, made known that Lamphun is the largest grower
of longan in the country, having the most land dedicated to cultivation of the
fruit. The festival is being held to educate longan farmers to help them
increase the quality and standard of the fruit produced. The longan is an
important cash crop of the province.
4 Gulf of Thailand provinces joining hands to promote tourism
SURAT THANI, 4 August 2012 (NNT) – A new tourism promotion
effort is being launched under the cooperation of provinces located along the
Gulf of Thailand.
Director of the Surat Thani Province Office of Tourism and Sports Promchote
Traivate said that 4 southern provinces along the Gulf of Thailand, including
Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Chumphon and Phatthalung, have recently joined
in an integrated tourism marketing collaboration.
Mr. Promchote stated that the initiative was intended to connect the tourism
industry of all 4 provinces while promoting key and quality products from each
locality to visitors.
The project kicks off with the 7-million-baht project, titled “Zest of the
South”, scheduled during August 15th and 19th at Queen Sirikit Convention Center
According to the Surat Thani Province Office of Tourism and Sports, around 3.5
million tourists have visited all the 4 provinces each year, 55 % of whom are
Thais and the remainder are foreigners, generating about 35 billion baht in
In 2012, the tourism income in the four provinces is expected to increase from
last year’s record to about 40 billion baht, said Mr. Promchote.