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To celebrate the grand opening celebration of the "2015 Discover Thainess" campaign, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has rescheduled the country's biggest tourism event, the Thailand Tourism Festival (TTF), to be held during 14-18 January 2015, at Lumpini Park in Bangkok.

TAT Governor Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik said, "The TTF is normally held in June in conjunction with the country's largest travel trade fair, the Thailand Travel Mart Plus. But 2015 is a very special year for Thailand's tourism, so we have rescheduled the dates to coincide with the grand opening celebration of the "2015 Discover Thainess" campaign to showcase our unique cultural treasures and the Thai way of happiness to international visitors, as well as to encourage the Thai people to take part in the preservation of Thai traditions and culture."

In 2015, the TTF marks its 35th anniversary and forms part of the "2015 Discover Thainess" campaign in offering a showcase of the kingdom's glorious centuries-old culture and rich natural heritage that can be classified into five categories, or five major regions of Thailand - Central Region, North, Northeast, East and South.

Mr. Thawatchai said, "During the five-day festival, local and international visitors will have the chance to immerse themselves in Thainess or the Thai way of life through observation and participation in various activities available at the five uniquely-designed Thailand tourism villages. At the same time, visitors can take part in the TAT's 55th anniversary and the Lumpini Park's 90th anniversary celebrations. The TTF 2015 is a festival that should not be missed."

The five cultural villages will showcase the variations in the Thai way of life from the five regions of Thailand. Each is designed to evoke the distinct atmospheres of the region it represents.

The Central Region - Visiting the Central Region in a Variety of Styles : There will be displays of Thai-style communal houses and villages as well as floating markets, village stalls and cultural performances that portray some of this region's ancient folk wisdom. There will also be presentations that enable visitors to learn about the region's 19 provinces while a number of folk performances will be performed at the zone's dedicated stage.

The North - Celebrated Cultural Treasures and Abundant Natural Beauty : This zone will feature a traditional northern Thai village life through demonstrations of local arts and crafts techniques; such as, cloth weaving and silverware making, all of which make northern Thailand a very unique region that is rich in cultural and natural heritage. There will also be a range of cultural performances to enjoy and the chance to experience shopping in a charming northern Thai-style market.

The Northeast - The Land of Ancient Civilisation : A replica of the sacred Phra That Phanom will be the landmark for this zone, where visitors will be mesmerised by unique cultural treasures and outstanding local wisdom that are seen in the indigenous architecture of the buildings and the rich element of the festivals. There will also be a range of demonstrations of the region's unique arts and crafts, as well as a host of cultural performances.

The East - The Colours of the East : This is a showcase of the East-Meets-West way of life in this region, which has seen a rise of modern-world attractions in recent years. Hence, the zone will be presented with a replica of "Mimosa Pattaya : The City of Love" tourist attraction, and will be highlighting several other tourist sites; such as, the Art in Paradise - 3D art museum, the Teddy Bear Museum and the Bottle Art Museum. There will also be a range of stage performances, demonstrations of local arts and crafts, and displays of local fruits and food unique to the region.

The South - The Sea of Natural and Cultural Heritage : In depicting the region's crystal-clear sea, lush forests and unique blend of people and cultures, a replica of a southern Thai-style house will take the centre stage in showcasing the ancient folk wisdom. The zone will be featuring sacred festivals unique to the region, including Chak Phra, or the hauling of the Buddha image, as well as a wide variety of folk performances and local arts and crafts.

At the main stage, visitors are also invited to enjoy daily traditional and contemporary performances, including some rare Thai folk dance traditions. Highlights include the Khon Thai masked dance, a Thai martial art show, Thai puppet show, traditional Thai gag shows, as well as concerts and music performances from well-known singers and famous bands. In addition, there will be a daily "Discover Thainess" parade taking place within the park at 16.00 hrs.

The TTF 2015 will take place at the Lumpini Park at 16.00-22.00 hrs during 14-16 January and at 12.00-22.00 hrs during the weekend of 17-18 January. Admission is free.
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Activities for Children's Day 2015

[ Tourism News ] Posted by admin on 2015/1/6 16:30:00 (858 reads)

On the second Saturday during January every year, Thai people celebrate Thai youth by putting on National Children's Day. This year it is on 10th January 2015. Listed below are some of the events taking place that I have found so far. Please bookmark this page. I will update with more on Twitter : @RichardBarrow as and when I find anything.

- The opening ceremony will be at Sanam Sua Pa, next to the Royal Plaza. Activities will take place here from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Government House will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is the only time of year that children can sit in the prime minister's chair. There will also be activities on the lawn for the children
- The "Fun10" fair at TK Park on the 8th floor of Central World, will be packed with fun activities including a challenging adventure, exciting games, street show-styled entertainment, magic shows, juggling, Bozo the Clown with balloons, a storytelling-themed show and performances of khon masked dance and music and dance performed by kids.

- Kidzania Bangkok has special fun and activities from 9 - 11 January. They also have special prizes for kids of only 375 Baht (usually 750 Baht) and for adults 250 Baht (usually 400 Baht) **

- The Museum Siam will open its doors for free on Saturday with special activities for Children
- Safari World has a special discount of 50% for kids **
- The army will put on a display at 2nd Cavalry Division on Phahon Yothin Road, Sanam Pao
- In Samut Prakan the Navy Academy, The Navy Museum and Chulachomklao Fortress all have special activities for children.
- The area in front of Bangkok City Hall has stands set up for activities for children. Kids can also sit on the Bangkok Governor's chair
- The BMA will organize activities at the Wachira Benjathat Park, also known as Suan Rot Fai
- After being closed for four years, the Bangkok Children's Discovery Museum near Chatuchak Park will re-open it's doors for free on Saturday with special activities
- Swensen's will be giving away 100 ice cream scoops to the first 100 children who line up at their stores from noon onwards.
- At Paradise Park on Srinakarin Road, the "Paradise Park J-Hero Fun Fest" is a chance to meet iconic superheroes and famous cartoon characters from Japan including Ultraman Zero, Ultraman Dyna, Monkey D Luffy, Nami and Gon the Tiny Dinosaur.
- At Future Park on Phahon Yothin Road, the "Future Park Super Kids" fair allows children to meet and greet their favourite superheroes on Saturday before they will perform the "Iron Man Action Show" at 11am, 2pm & 5pm.
- The "Thai Children...Wisdom of the Nation" fair at the National Institute for Child and Family Development, Mahidol University, Salaya campus, features many activities including fun games and workshops on cake decoration and pancake making.
- The "Dek-Art@BACC 2015 : Wonderful Journey" will take place at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre on the Pathumwan intersection. It features various art activities, creative workshops on sand painting and paper collage, live performances on classical music and khon masked dance, mime shows, a screening of short films and animations and fun games.
- At Asiatique The Riverfront, the "Children's Day Celebration", from 1pm-6pm, features activities in four zones. The Food Zone offers complimentary sweets, the Fun Zone is packed with fun games including a bouncy house and go kart racing, the Health Zone offers free health and dental check-ups, and the Knowledge Zone showcases military tanks and helicopters.
- The "Little Geniuses Discovery Native American World" fair at Thanya Park on Srinakarin Road, will take children and parents to explore nature in a 10m enclosure that houses rare insects and butterflies and meet herds of more than 200 sheep and rabbits. There are also western cowboy shows and games.

** Please note they have two prices and foreign kids might not be included in the discount.

There are many more like the air show at Don Mueang but I am trying to get them confirmed before I list them. If you know any more then please let me know.

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Elite Personal Assistant : Angel of the Airport

[ Tourism News ] Posted by admin on 2014/12/30 14:10:00 (806 reads)
The heartfelt smile of the staff member wearing an elegant gold Thai silk dress at Suvarnabhumi Airport proudly represents the image of our company, Thailand Elite. Not only do we provide invaluable services to the best of our abilities, we are here also to assure that our members enjoy a unique and memorable

stay in Thailand. The Elite Personal Assistant ("EPA")-the face of Thailand Elite-also facilitates special privileges and offers useful information to our members.

Now let's have a look at a typical Elite Personal Assistant and the responsibilities that go with this all-important job.

Name : Vanida Amornkul, Airport Service Manager

Qualifications needed to be an Elite Personal Assistant : The ideal EPA is service-minded with a pleasant personality. They must have a positive outlook, a strong sense of initiative and exude traditional Thai charm.

Responsibilities : The main task of the EPA is to render assistance, provide personalised service and useful advice concerning the member's visit to Thailand. Ever mindful of their obligation to provide the best service possible, EPAs must be sincere and diligent in carrying out their duties, whether welcoming a member at the gateway, arranging their accommodation or offering helpful tips on living in Thailand.

Miss Vanida and her team are also duty-bound to inform customers about all Thailand Elite Card services offered, regardless of whether the member has indicated an interest in knowing about them. This is to assure that members are kept fully aware and do not miss out on any of the privileges to which they are entitled as a Thailand Elite Member.

The human touch : As EPAs are often mistaken for airport staff by the travelling public, they are sometimes approached by confused passengers with questions ranging from baggage allotments and weight limits to customs and immigration formalities. Besides taking care of members, EPAs must also be prepared to use their friendly demeanour and lovely smile to set these harried non-member passengers' minds at ease and render assistance in any way they can.

Proud to be an EPA : Because the EPA is the first person a member will encounter upon their arrival, it is part of their job to embody the essence of traditional Thai charm and cultural mores in their treatment of a customer. They take great pride in being given the responsibility exemplifying the Thai character and warm hospitality for which the people of Thailand are known the world over.

Satisfaction of a job well done : One of the most rewarding aspects of being an EPA is receiving praise and commendation on the quality of their work from satisfied customers. Frequently members will offer Miss Vanida a token of their appreciation in the form of a small gift for her, as well for the other EPA staff. This shows that these members feel a genuine friendship and personal connection with not only Miss Vanida as an individual, but also with the Thailand Elite organisation as a whole.

While it is true that our members have had to endure some of the typical difficulties international air travellers often face, our EPAs are able to quickly and efficiently smooth over these potentially time consuming problems. The EPAs feel personal satisfaction in bringing the smile back to a member's face, and are proud to be such an important and positive part of their Thailand expatriate experience.
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New 8km Cycle Lane around Rattanakosin in Bangkok

[ Tourism News ] Posted by admin on 2014/12/29 16:50:00 (969 reads)

Cycling in Bangkok has just become a step easier and safer with the official opening of the eight kilometer cycle lane around Rattanakosin Island, the old quarter of the city. This area covers such sites as the Grand Palace, the Reclining Buddha, Phra Sumen Fort and the Democracy Monument. There have been cycle lanes here before, but for the first time, all 12 lanes have now been joined to make one giant continuous loop.

The eight kilometer cycle lane goes along the following route : Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue, Tanao Road, Bamrung Muang, Kalayana Maitri, Sanam Chai, Thai Wang, Maha Rat, Na Phra Lan, Na Phra That, Rachini, Phra Athit, Phra Sumen and Sip Sam Hang roads (click here for map). The cycle lane is clearly marked in green with plastic bollards protecting the cyclists from traffic. This time the bollards are spaced closer together which helps to stop inconsiderate motorists parking on the lane.

When you approach an intersection or a pedestrian crossing then you will get a warning like this. Unfortunately it is only in Thai, but it is clear that it is telling you to be careful of cars. When it is a pedestrian crossing the car is replaced by people.

Unlike the old cycle lane, this one has green painted on the road to show you the safest way to cross the intersection. This usually means not going straight across, but going left first, then across the pedestrian crossing and then right back onto the same road again.

They have also made an improvement on the gratings in the road. The drains used to run the other direction which meant that bicycles with thin tyres would sometimes get stuck in them. They have also cemented holes around the drains and also along the lane to make it a smoother ride. It is not perfect, but better than it was.

Of course, we are still going to get cars parked on the cycle lane. However, I cycled around the circuit twice and only saw this one car illegally parked. And it is illegal. The Bangkok Governor said they will be fined 1,000 Baht for parking on cycle lanes. Though to be fair to this motorist, they need to move the bumper on the left of the lane to where the white lines are on the right.

I was impressed to see the Tuk Tuk drivers respecting the cycle lane. They didn't park on it. You can also see that a motorcyclist has parked off the lane. However, I did come across a taxi who was waiting for customers on the cycle lane a bit further up. This is going to take time to educate them about this problem.

Another problem I spotted was on Sanam Luang near the Grand Palace. There were quite a few coaches dropping off or picking up Chinese tourists. Although these coaches are no longer allowed to wait here, the tourists had a habit of just standing around on the green cycle lane instead of the footpath. I just kept going and rang my bicycle bell. Which of course they just ignored as they were too busy taking pictures of each other.

Overall I would give the new cycle lane around Rattanakosin 9/10 as they have done a good job. Much better than I thought it would be. But, the real question here is will it stand to the test of time. Do they have a budget to maintain it and more importantly, will the police be strict with motorists who park on the lane? In the past, many of the plastic bollards were run over by coaches who wanted to park by the side of the road. I will be going back and so I will let you know.

This is a map showing the eight kilometer route around Rattanakosin Island. North is to the right of this picture. I have done an interactive Google Map which you can find here. On this map I have also marked the cycle lanes on the Thonburi side of the river. They are working on these now and will hopefully be ready in the first part of next year.

It is taking time, but things are certainly looking up for cyclists in Bangkok. So far there are 31 cycle routes around Bangkok covering a total length of 232 kilometers. In 2015, the BMA will set up five more routes on Somdet Phra Pinklao, Arun Amarin, Phra Sumen and Sanam Chai roads and footpaths of Ratchadamnoen Road. The prime minister has also announced his intention of building 25 kilometers of bike lanes along each side of the river. I cannot wait to see all of this completed.
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Art on the water

[ Tourism News ] Posted by admin on 2014/12/26 14:40:00 (680 reads)

The Chao Phraya ferry, a cheap and popular mode of transport between both sides of the river, is now also an art space, offering commuters a chance to enjoy interactive works as they sail from bank to bank.

Part of "The Ferry Gallery" project, the ferries running between Tha Thien Pier and Wat Arun Pier are showing a video installation "Finding a Voice" by Australian artist "Nina Ross" and one by Palestinian artist Sharif Waked titled "Gaza Zoo/Bath Time (2012)",

No beef with that!

Yamazato, the signature Japanese restaurant at the five-star The Okura Prestige Bangkok, brings the best of Mie's Matsuzaka beef to Bangkok. This marbling beef is the pride of Mie prefecture in Japan's South can enjoyed in the Matsuzaka beef sukiyaki (Bt6,500 per person) between 6pm to 9.30pm. This set menu includes a starter, four kinds of sashimi, noodles or rice, and dessert. Matsuzaka beef is available for a maximum of eight guests daily, and the restaurant advises Matsuzaka fanatics to book the table three days in advance. Call (02) 687 9000 or e-mail :

Prayers for the dead

The annual Bridge of River Kwai week gets underway this Friday on and around the site at Kanchanburi province. Running until December 7, it will feature a sound and light presentations World War II and the thousands of prisoners of war and local labourers supervised by Japanese troops who lost their lives building the Death Railway between Thailand and Myanmar. The event features a remembrance ceremony held at the Allied War Cemetery.

Fire in the sky

Pattaya City is hosting the annual International Fireworks Festival this Friday and Saturday. Staged by international pyrotechnic masters, the festival features 40-minute shows on Saturday along Beach Road, which will be closed to pedestrians from late afternoon. Parade, carnival and live concerts from Thai pop singers Jetrin Wattanasin, Stamp and Zeal add a little local colour.
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