Vegetarian Street Stall at Bangkok’s Chinatown, Yaowarat
Thailand is set to celebrate one of the country’s most unique cultural celebrations, the Vegetarian Festival which is held annually for nine days in the ninth Asian lunar month or during 24 September to 2 October this year.
Here is where you can witness or participate in the Vegetarian Festival in Thailand.
Bangkok: In the Thai capital, visitors can expect to be mesmerised by a spectacular procession of floral floats and god images to mark the grand opening of the festival along Yaowarat Road in Bangkok’s Chinatown and a ceremony to choose a virgin lady to represent Guan Yin or the Goddess of Mercy.
Samut Sakhon: The beachside province of Samut Sakhon boasts a humble yet impressive celebration to mark the annual Vegetarian Festival at its nine sacred Chinese shrines. This year, the provincial authorities and stakeholders have introduced a “passport” programme to encourage visitors to visit and worship all the nine shrines and have their passport stamped in exchange for a special amulet of Guan Yin or the Goddess of Mercy as a memorabilia. Only 10,000 amulets are available.
Chon Buri: Another unique place to witness distinctive celebrations of the Chinese descendants in Thailand. Local and international visitors can join the celebration at the Sawang Boriboon Foundation in Na Klua district, about a 30-minute drive from Pattaya city centre. The celebrations include a sacred ritual to make a special vegetarian diet to please the gods. Special memorabilia will be distributed for visitors during the event.
Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat): A spectacular procession of god images from 25 Chinese shrines will be paraded around Korat town for people to worship and ask for blessings on 27 September, from 8:45 hrs. to mark the Vegetarian Festival.
Chumphon: All the Chinese shrines in the province will be joining the procession of god images that will be paraded around the city for people to worship and ask for blessings. The Festival will boast a range of special activities including merit-making rituals, light and sound presentation and films.
Phuket: The province boasts Thailand’s most famous Vegetarian Festival celebration that is also known as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival. Two important gods: Yok Ong Hong Tae and Kiew Ong Tai Tae are invited to come down temporarily from heaven to grace the opening ceremony. Other notable ceremonies include the processions of god images and of celebrants in a trance-like state displaying awe-inspiring supernatural power; such as, bathing in hot oil, walking on fire, piercing their cheeks with spears or blades, and climbing ladders studded with bladed steps.
Hat Yai: One of the largest communities of Chinese descendants in Thailand, Hat Yai features a range of spectacular celebrations to mark the festival. Activities at the Tong Sia Siang Tueng Park include cultural performances, demonstration of cooking vegetarian dishes, vegetarian eating contest, healthy kids contest and many other activities.
Krabi: More than 70 Chinese shrines from all over Krabi will be joining the grand celebration with a procession of god images around the town, starting from Krabi’s Provincial Hall.
Trang: The lovely province of Trang will celebrate the festival with a grand procession of god images around the provincial town. At night time, there will be breath-taking rituals of supernatural power; such as, walking on fire and climbing ladders studded with sharp bladed steps, as well as merit-making activities to ward off bad luck.
Phang Nga: In the quaint town of Phang Nga, all the Chinese shrines will join the procession of god images. Here too, there will be displays of mind-blowing supernatural power; such as, walking bare feet on fire walking and climbing ladders studded with bladed steps, as well as merit-making activities.
Serpent in Phra Mahathat Kaen Nakhon (Khon Kaen)
Under the new Thai cabinet, Thailand moves forward to promote Khon Kaen as a new, premium destination for MICE to international and national media. Organised by The Thailand Exhibition and Convention Bureau (TCEB) and supported by Ministry of Foreign Affair (MFA), Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Thai Airways and Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association (RSTA). The Thailand CONNECT 2014 – ISAN indulgence Media Familiarisation aims to showcase the vibrancy of two of Thailand’s foremost MICE Destinations – the endless inspiring Capital of Connection, Bangkok and the thriving commercial centre of Khon Kaen, Gateway to Indochina and Southern China.
(From 2nd Left) Mr Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, President of TCEB, Mr Sek Wannamethee, Director-General, Department of Information, and Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,Mr Charles Pamonmontri, Director Thailand Sales Services Department, Thai Airways International Public Company Limited and Mr Chai Srivikorn, President of Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association (RSTA) and Ms. Parichat Svetasreni, Director of Marketing and Corporate Image Department,TCEB
Welcome Address by Mr. Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, President of TCEB
Located 449 kilometres from Bangkok, Khon Kaen is the second-largest of the north-eastern provinces of Thailand. Both Thai Airways, Thai AirAsia and Nok Air have regular flight services from Bangkok to Khon Kaen. Flights depart from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Muang Airport and arrive 45 minutes later on Khon Kaen International Airport. Some 32 flights are handled by the airport each day, and daily passenger number average 8,000 per day. Laos Central International Airlines has become the first international commercial airline to offer services to Khon Kaen International Airport, flying Khon Kaen – Luang Prabang.
Media Brief at The Airport of Thailand (AOT)
As one of Thailand’s premiere MICE location and newly appointed MICE City, Khon Kaen has become the heart of meeting and seminars for both the public and private sector alike, as well as international conventions. According to an overview of the MICE industry surveyed by TCEB in 2013, the industry generated revenues of US33.92 million baht from a total 692,292 MICE visitors, of which US$14.31 million was from 4,292 international MICE visitors and US$19.61 million from 688, 000 domestic visitors. In 2013, TCEB anticipates the growth of the domestic MICE business at 15 per cent, or 4.3 million MICE travellers, which could generate up to 13,706 million baht in revenue.
Centara Hotel and Convention Centre Khon Kaen – Convention Hall
Khon Kaen has a wide variety of accommodation options to suit both business or leisure travellers. Located in the heart of the city, the 196-room Centara Hotel and Convention Centre Khon Kaen houses the largest indoor venue covering an area of 4,000 square metres, offers a flexible indoor event space with a maximum capacity of 2,000 attendee. The four-star hotel provides easy access to Khon Kaen’s largest shopping and lifestyle centre, Central Plaza Khon Kaen and is a comfortable 15-minute drive from Khon Kaen Airport. Other recommended hotels include Pullman Khon Kaen, Wishing Tree Resort etc. Khon Kaen also has Khon Kaen University Convention Centre managed by Charoen Thani, the largest convention centre of north-eastern Thailand that can cater for up to 3,000 visitors.
CSR Activity – Shelves for Child
With the support of the Thai government, Khon Kaen has emerged as a potential city to cater for the MICE venues according to its location in the heart of the Northeast region, conveniences of transportation, facilities and capability of various convention centres and hotels, attractiveness of the tourist attractions, and connectivity to neighbouring provinces and gateway to Indochina and Southern China.
Bai Sri Su Khwan ceremony – Isan Cultures & Traditions
Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and by far its largest city with an estimated population of over 10 million. Bangkok, for many, represents the quintessential Asian capital. Although intensely urbanized, the capital exhibits an uncompromised Thai identity beneath its modern veneer. It provides untold opportunities for memorable MICE functions that combine Thailand’s unbeatable value and flexibility with its distinctive culture and legendary hospitality, resulting in truly unique and inspiring experiences.
Bangkok Convention Centre at Central World
From large-scale exhibitions and conventions, to intimate meetings and incentives groups, Bangkok has the venue, accommodation, and creative support you need for enriching, productive functions. According to statistics from the Thai Hotels Association, Bangkok has a total of 299 hotels and 59,824 rooms in the city alone. New hotel openings in 2013 – 2014 can be found around the business and commercial areas located in Ploenchit/Sukhumvit/Silom/Sathorn and Chao Phraya Riverside districts along the BTS routes and MRT subway lines. Besides best shopping, dining and entertainment, Ratchaphrasong, “The Heart of Bangkok” is also a centre for MICE activities, with ample venues and facilities up to 420,000 sq.m.
Welcome Reception at Marriott Hotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 57
According to The Trade Fair Industry of Asia 10th Edition, 2014 by the Union des Foires International (UFI), Bangkok has five world-convention and exhibition centres, offering a total of 200,174 square metres of floor space. These include: Impact Arena, Exhibition and Convention at Muang Thong Thani (137,000 sq.m), Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre (BITEC) (36,000 sq.m), Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre (QSNCC) (13,971 sq.m), Royal Paragon Hall Exhibition & Convention Centre (7,800 sq.m) and Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at Central World (5,403 sq.m).
Bangkok luxury accommodation for the discerning traveller
This offering of world-class facilities is set to grow even further, with BITEC owner Bhiraj Buri Group recently announcing a Bt6-billion expansion in the capital aimed at raising its profile among international venues. The new development of a convention centre and office tower is located in eastern Bangkok. Construction is expected to be completed in 2016.
Bangkok has a modern mass transit system and new routes, totalling 508 kilometres (316 miles), are being constructed within a development period of twenty years (2010-29). Suvarnabhumi International Airport is designed to handle a capacity of 45 million passengers. Facing the increasing network expansion of low-cost carriers, an expansion plan to increase the passenger capacity of the airport to 60 million by constructing a third runway by 2016. The airport is only 20 minutes from the city centre via the fast Airport Rail-Link.
Suvarnabhumi International Airport
Thailand remains a welcoming MICE destination. The government will inject Bt304 billion into the economy. According to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the total number of international tourist arrivals to Thailand in the January-August 2014 period is equal to 15.7 million. With ongoing MICE promotion activities, TCEB expects the total number of MICE travellers to Thailand this year will reach 888,210, earning to the Thai economy approximately US$2.90 billion.
Thailand CONNECT 2014 – ISAN indulgence Media Familiarisation (7-11 Sep 2014)
Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul has been named Thailand’s latest Minister of Tourism and Sports.
Wattanavrangkul is the former female head of the Toshiba Corporation in Thailand.
Wattanavrangkul has joined the cabinet of Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-ocha, with immediate effect.
Baan Suan Rudee Resort – A Perfect Retreat in Chanthaburi
If you are looking for a peaceful retreat with a touch of Thai hospitality, I will recommend Baan Suan Rudee Resort, a locally run hotel situated in Khlung district in Chanthaburi province, 22.8km from Trat Airport. This beautiful piece of property is located in a private orchard surrounded by lush vegetation and a year-round stream. It is a perfect place to de-stress and unwind with your loved one while enjoying the beautiful natural landscape.
Clean & comfortable guestroom (Baan Suan Rudee Resort, Chanthaburi)
Far from the hustle and bustle of the city, Baan Suan Rudee Resort (A Beautiful Garden House) is a friendly and relaxed place to stay. There are only ten guestrooms each with its own private balcony overlooking the lush green natural landscape and the fruit orchard. I recommend that you make a reservation. The room and amenities are basic but everything is very clean and comfortable. The family room is big enough to accommodate 4-7 pax. The bed rate is net and inclusive of daily breakfast. Rates start from 1,500 THB.
A Good Garden Landscape (Baan Suan Rudee Resort, Chanthaburi)
Known as a center of gemstones, Chanthaburi is also a fruit heaven. During the fruits season (May – July), the province is overflowed with plenty of tropical fruit such as durian, mangosteen, rambutan, longkong etc. There are lots of fruit trees in the orchard where you can eat to your heart’s content. For dining, there are many food outlets in the nearby town offering a wide range of local delicacies and dishes.
Interior of The Church of The Virgin Mary (Chanthaburi, Thailand)
Besides fruit orchards, there are many places of interest to discover while you visit Chanthaburi. I managed to visit two main attractions in the city despite of the bad weather. Established over 300 years ago, The Church of The Virgin Mary on Chanthanimit Road on the river bank is the largest Catholic edifice in Thailand. This was my second visit to a Catholic church in Thailand. The first was ‘The Nativity of Our Lady Cathedral’ located in Bang Khonthi district in Samut Songkram province. The Gemstone Market (Talad Ploy) is open every Friday and Saturday where anyone come here to trade and it was an eye-opening experience.
This was my first trip to Chanthaburi and it was a memorable stay at Baan Suan Rudee Resort. It really is a lovely place and a perfect retreat spot for me.
Bangkok’s Ekkamai and Mochit bus terminals both offer regular service to Chanthaburi, while minibuses leave each hour from Bangkok’s Victory Monument. The resort offers pick-up services from Chanthaburi town and Trat Airport.
Baan Suan Rudee Resort
Tambon Trok Nong, Amphoe Khlung, Chang Wat Chanthaburi 22110,
Tel: +66 3938 6119, +668 1806 5030, +668 1641-7973
Clear running stream by the resort (Baan Suan Rudee, Chanthaburi)
More than 900 travel media, bloggers, celebrities and travel industry executives from 47 countries and territories around the world were in Thailand in late July for one of the largest fam trips ever hosted by the Thai tourism industry as part of its post-crisis recovery campaign.
Called “Thailand’s Best Friends Forever Mega Fam Trip” (Thailand’s BFF), the event is designed to convey a powerful message that the Thai tourism industry is back to normal.
“Thailand Happiness”, a mega outdoor event organised by TAT
Business is back to normal in Bangkok as compared to my previous trip in December. Ratchaprasong has sprung back to life with colourful parades, great shopping, fashion shows, concerts and culinary delights under the theme “Thailand Happiness”.Roads cut off by the demonstration have been reopened for traffic. The whole road is lined with street vendors. You can take a leisure walk from Pratunam to Erawan Shrine, to pay homage to the famous Four-Faced Buddha.
The group of travel agents and media from Singapore and Philippines also visited the old prestigious city of Ayutthaya and learned a page of Siam history and interesting places in Bangkok such as Or Tor Kor Market, an upscale wet market next to Chatuchak Weekend Market; Muay Thai Live stage show at Asiatique The Riverfront and Art in Paradise Bangkok – 3D Museum at The Esplanade.
A day trip to the old prestigious city of Ayutthaya
The welcome reception was presided over by Admiral Narong Pipatanasai, Commander-in-Chief, Royal Thai Navy and Deputy Chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) who oversees the tourism industry.
Visitors planning to visit the kingdom need not worry about the country being under the administration of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) as that has had no impact on Thailand’s tourism at all. The atmosphere is pretty relaxed even though life is now under military rule in Thailand and I feel safe to travel in Thailand.When the political situation recovers, TAT projects the number of international arrivals in 2014 at 25.6 million, a slight drop from the statistics of 2013.
Original image of Four Face Buddha (Erawan Shrine,Bangkok)
The Erawan Shrine or San Phra Phrom located at the Rajprasong intersection, next to Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel is the most popular shrine amongst Asian tourists and locals in Bangkok. From day to night, people from all walks of life come here to seek blessings. The shrine holds the Hindu god Brahma in the center, known in Thai as Phra Phrom. The four-headed deity is a class of celestial beings but not Lord Buddha. The name Erawan comes from Brahma’s thirty-three headed elephant.
Classical Thai dancers (Erawan Shrine, Bangkok)
The Shrine used to be a spirit house in the past. Spirit houses are common throughout Thailand, and can be found outside almost every house and building. It protects the land and its inhabitants. The gilded plaster statue was enshrined on November 9, 1956 to ward off bad luck during the construction of the first Erawan Hotel. It is a very significant date for true believers and devotees from all over the world come and pay homage to the highly revered deity every year. In March 2006, the statue itself was unfortunately destroyed by a demented man and a replacement was quickly built in May.
Offerings to Four Face Buddha (Erawan Shrine, Bangkok)
The Four Face Buddha literally has four faces. It is said that each of the four faces represent the elements of the earth that face four different directions. In a clockwise direction starting at the entrance, the first Face which represents the Face of Peace and Health, Face of Good Fortune, Face of Good Relationships and Face of Protection against Evils.
Urn filled with holy water (Four Faced Buddha of Erawan Shrine)
Devotees usually sprinkle a few drops of holy water over their heads and shoulders or dropping a couple of coins into the urn after prayer.
Cages of birds for releasing (Erawan Shrine, Bangkok)
Merit making has become part of my routine in Bangkok. The Thais believe that we create merit credit for doing good deeds and merit deficit for bad deeds performed. At the entrance of the Shrine, caged birds like Munia are being sold for releasing. I usually pay 100 THB to release a family of birds but not at Erawan Shrine, 500 THB for a cage of birds!!!
There are many who claim their wishes have been granted here, especially on Thursday and devotees offer marigold flowers, coconuts, candles and incense sticks in front of the deity. Often, if a wish has been granted, people thank the God by offering gigantic teak elephants and candles and have also commissioned classical Thai dancers to dance in front of the God.
But even if you do not believe in such things, it is worth the visit to learn more about the Thais distinctive culture and traditions.
Price for the dancers to dance for you
2 dancers = 260 Baht 4 dancers = 360 Baht 6 dancers = 610 Baht 8 dancers = 710 Baht . Remember to purchase your offering inside the Shrine because it will only cost you from 50 THB and above.
Visiting Times: Brahma Shrine: 6.00-23.00 hrs
Getting There: Skytrain to Siam Square if you are from the Silom Line or skytrain to Chit Lom Station if you are in Sukhumvit Line.
A devotee offers gold leaf @ Four Face Buddha of Erawan Shrine (Bangkok)
Best Hotel Rates Around Four-Faced Buddha of Erawan Shrine Best Hotel Rates & Availability
Come to coffin donation,you will either catch a cab or motorbike to Ruamkatanyu Foundation situated next to Wat Hua Lampong. The Taoist shrine is situated right above San Yan MRT station (Exit 1). If you are interested to donate some money to the poor, go to Thien Fa Foundation located in Bangkok’s Chinatown (Yawaorat). A beautiful statue of Kwan Yim or the Goddness of Mercy crafted from teakwood await you. For protection, pray to Lord Ganesha or if you are looking for love, simply pray to Phra Trimurti (God of Love) in front of Isetan at CentralWorld.
Four Face Buddha of Erawan Shrine (Bangkok, Thailand)
Long Neck Karen Woman (Kayan Village, Mae Hong Son)
Finally, I managed to meet the long necked women in Mae Hong Son province, northern Thailand. I can vividly remember the first time I saw an image of a long neck Karen woman when I attended a themed exhibition titled” Endurance Beauty” at Muzium Negara, National Museum of Kulau Lumpur in Malaysia many years ago. The exhibition celebrated the diversity of tribal peoples and their traditions and culture and the wild beauty of their homelands. Importantly, what is beauty through the eyes of tribal peoples and Mae Hong Son has become my secret dream destination for many years.
Boat Jetty at Ban Huay Dua (Mae Hong Song)
A journey of discovery (River Pai, Mae Hong Song)
So far, there is a lot of controversy about their conditions of living and people have written lots of reviews about visiting long neck villages in northern Thailand. Some felt like visiting a “human zoo“. As a photographer, photography offers me an opportunity to see things differently from a different angle. Furthermore, I am interested in ethnobotany, the study of tribal people and their plant medicines, documentary photography and photojournalism and I hope that my photos will speak for themselves.I am here not just taking photos of people but to document the things that I see through art of photography. Living in a fragile world, things are disappearing fast. I remembered seeing lots of Akha women in beautiful native headdress and costumes in the past but now, time has changed. I had to search for them on motorbike in Chiang Rai province last year.
Snaking through river Pai (Mae Hong Son)
Welcome To Long Neck Village (Kayan) (Mae Hong Son)
The long neck village (Kayan) that I visited is nestled along the river bank of Pai surrounded by lush forest and mountain ranges . The village (Baan Hui Poo Kaeng) is easily accessed by road and water transportation. We rented a long-tailed boat (600 THB) from Ban Huay Dua in Mae Hong Son province. It takes you on a journey of discovery into the world of Mother Nature in just 25 minutes where you can find gigantic fig trees, bamboo forest, waterfowls foraging for food along the riverbank etc. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a blue wooden signboard “Long Neck Village (Kayan)” and trays of chilli peppers being dried under the sun. Spices and herbs play an important role in Kayan cooking. Free for the locals but a foreigner like me has to pay 250 THB for entrance to the village.
Cassie Tree (Baan Hui Poo Kaeng, Mae Hong Song)
Long neck Karen woman demostrating the art of Kayan weaving (Mae Hong Son)
When I arrived at the village of the Kayan ( Baan Hui Poo Kaeng) in the late afternoon, the long necked Karen women wearing colourful head gear were either selling souvenirs or demostrating the art of traditional Kayan weaving to tourists. They are pretty friendly and willing to pose a photo upon requst. The children peeked shyly at the visitors from the balcony of their wooden stilted home. As a tradition, Kayan people place beehives in front of their wooden houses to ensure good luck.
Tourist possing photo with Long Neck Karen woman (Mae Hong Son)
Textiles weaved by the long neck Karen women (Mae Hong Son)
Kayan tribe girls started wearing brass rings around their necks, as well as rings on the forearms and legs, at age of five or six years. Normally, a Kayan woman carries 5 kg of brass coils around the neck. In the past, it made the women looked more attractive or simply preventing the women from getting bitten by tigers. In recent years, younger women have started removing the coils. Presently, there are 247 Kayan nationals residing in the village.
Kayan tribe girls started wearing the brass coils at the age of five (Mae Hong Son)
FYI, the Long Neck Karen (Kayan) are a Burmese tribe who reside in Thailand on refugee status. They cannot travel out of their designated area, and must stay in the provincial managed locations unless they had permission from their District Office.
Snacks – Kai Ping (Grilled eggs) (Kayan village, Mae Hong Son)
Chilli – Spice of Life (Kayan Village, Mae Hong Son)
It is an eye opening experience to witness the Kayan culture, lifestyle and traditions. As a token of appreciation , I bought a Kayan brass bangle for 100 THB from one of the stalls. Perhaps, beauty does truly lies in the eye of the beholder.
Long neck Karen woman in her daily routine at Baan Hui Poo Kaeng (Kayan village, Mae Hong Son)
Bloom Your Luck with Mandi Bunga (Floral Bath) Cleansing Ritual at Wat Phakor Suwanaram Temple ( Songkhla, Thailand)
Mandi Bunga (Floral Bath) Cleansing Ritual at Wat Phakor Suwanaram Temple ( Songkhla, Thailand)
If you want to get rid off of your bad luck in life and attract success? Visit Wat Phakor Suwanaram Temple for a Mandi Bunga (Floral Bath) cleansing ritual today located in Namom district, Songkhla province. Founded by the late Luang Poo Thong more than 30 years ago, the southern temple is extremely popular with Malaysians and Singaporeans.
A bucket of holy water containg flower petals and kaffir lime (Manti Bunga ritual, Thailand)
The Mandi Bunga (Floral Bath) is a traditional cleansing ritual practiced to ward off evil and illness and to bring good fortune and luck by the Malays, Chinese and Indians in Malaysia. Besides flowers, Kaffir Lime (Limau Purut) and pomelo (Som-O) leaves are commonly used ingredients in the mandi bunga ritual. The Malays and Indians believe that bathing with kaffir lime can dispel evil and bad luck. The fruit is cut and blended with plain water and flower petals and then bathe with as part of spiritual cleansing.
The undecomposed body of the late Luang Poo Thong (Wat Phakor Suwanaram Temple (Songkhla)
After his death in 2000, Luang Poo Thong’s body to this day remains undecomposed is encased in a glass coffin with no preservatives at the temple premises. Since Luang Poo Thong was a strict vegetarian, devotees are advised to offer fruits and vegetarian food only.
Many people who have seen the positive results after taking the floral bath (Mandi Bunga) come back for more and Wat Phakor Suwanaram is one of the most famous temples in Southern Thailand.
Note: Mandi refers to a traditional Indonesian or Malaysian way of bathing and Bunga refers to flowers
Devotees come as far as Malaysia and Singapore (Wat Phakor Suwanaram Temple, Songkhla)
Mandi Bunga (Floral Bath) service at Wat Phakor Suwanaram Temple(Songkhla):
200THB (S$8.11) per session
Time: 5.45am – 8.30pm
Wat Phakor Suwanaram Temple
Amphoe Namom,Songkhla 90310, Thailand
Phone: 074-382395, 074-382140
Mobile: 081-609 2092, 087-2953656
Coming Soon – A New Amazing Thailand Clip on Eugene Tang : A Journey into The Land of Thousand Smiles
A New Clip on Eugene Tang – A Journey into The Land of Thousand Smiles
Sawasdee krab! Every journey begins with a single step and I would like to invite you to join me on an amazing journey into “The Land of Thousand Smiles“.
Photography has always been an important part of my life in one way or another and Thailand has the most beautiful and lively cities and tourist attractions in the world. With the kind support and cooperation from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the travel industry players, I have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet many beautiful people and see many beautiful places and enjoy a fantastic array of traditional Thai cuisine and world class accommodation and outstanding services.
Winner- Friends of Thailand Award 2008
The journey began on 2008 with my receiving the “Friends of Thailand Tourism Award”. Every single trip has inspired me to capture those precious moments that can slip by unnoticed and to freeze them in time with my “Third Eye“.
And now, I am pleased to present to you a breathtaking photographic journey into “The Land of Thousand Smiles“.
My Amazing Journey…Once in a Lifetime!!!
Eugene Tang – A Journey into The Land of Thousand Smiles
Siam Center – The Ideaopolis – Be Amazed/Be Inspired/Be Revolutionary
There is a wide range of shopping malls in Bangkok but if you are into art, fashion, technology and lifestyle, do check out the new makeover of Siam Center. The shopping center has undergone a US$60 million facelift to strengthen and modernise its position and is now the most beautiful and stylish shopping centre in Bangkok. With over 200 brands, Siam Center offers a shopping experience like no other.
Spectacular visual merchandising displays (Siam Center Bangkok)
What’s new in store:
Inside Siam Center, shoppers like me will be blown away by the new interior and the beautiful shop fronts. Siam Center dedicates a large space totalling 500-1000 sqm for use as flagship stores for leading international brands. Each flagship stores comes with glass walls on all four sides, allowing the brand to enjoy the ultimate freedom in decorating the shop to represent the brand’s character to the fullest.
Unique shop front (Siam Center Bangkok)
Around 20% of offerings of the stores and food-and beverage outlets will be unique to Siam Center and only available at Siam Center, while big, fast-forward brands have agreed to present their newest collections in Siam Center before they are presented at any other store in Thailand. If you’re familiar with the Bangkok fashion scene, level 3 is a mecca for local designers.
Siam Center offers a warm and relaxing dining atmosphere
As for restaurants and cafes, a new menu will be exclusively designed for customers of Siam Center while some place will offer a personal service available at Siam Center in the entire region.
A new digital experience awaits you at Siam Center
Siam Center strives to be the center of new innovations in terms of digital media creations and multimedia. Over 70 million baht are invested in these technologies such as an interactive catalogue/style guide from which customers can enjoy choosing latest items from the hottest trends, acquring information on products and collections, as well as new style ideas through a new enjoyable digital experience.
Art exhibition at Siam Center
Siam Center has collaborated with world-renowed artists and local talents in producing works as well as display and exhibition of rare art. Whatever the time of year, there’s always something new to see in the Siam Center.
From now on…
“Siam Center isn’t about shopping.
Siam Center is about New Experience.
The Experience You Have Never Experienced Anywhere Before”
Quote: Mrs Chadatip Chutrakul, CEO of Siam Piwat Group
The new face of Siam Center
Krabi – The Adventure MICE of the Andaman
The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) recently combined two familiarization trips, one for media members and the other for corporate executives worldwide known as “Connections Plus 2013“, into a special trip called “Thailand: Connecting Asia’s Diversity of Dynamic Destinations“, to showcase Krabi southern province as an adventurous MICE destination of the Andaman.
Welcome speech by Mr. Nopparat Methaveekulchai, President of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB)
TCEB Media Familiarisation Trip 2013
Apart from the official MICE cities such as Phuket, Krabi is fast becoming an ideal destination for a corporate retreat, conference or event. Located 800 kilometres south of Bangkok, Krabi is one of the cities in the Andaman Cluster which is comprised of Phuket, Krabi and Phang-Nga.
Krabi’s landscape comprises virgin beach fringed with spectacular limestone formations that tower to the skies
Crystal clear waters and long endless strtches of powdery white sandy beaches literally take your breath away
In terms of accommodation, Krabi’s hotels are mostly resorts but the landscape is rapidly changing with additions from many of the international and Thai hotel chains such as the Sheraton, the Sofitel, The Ritz Carton, the Amari, Centara etc.
French elegance and Victorian – Colonial style hotel (Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort)
Phulay Bay accomodations are luxuriously designed with a modern interpretation of contemporary style
Although the infrastructures and facilities for business events in Krabi are not as sophisticated or large-scale, they have attained world-class standard that are able to meet all the requirements of business events. At the moment, Krabi is capable of hosting conferences and events from 50 to 500 delegates and participants.
Krabi reflects a perfect connection between business and leisure
Peace Laguna Resort’s conference facilities
In addition, with its geographical diversity, Krabi has many options for outdoor and adventurous activities such as diving, rock climbing, kayaking and canoeing etc which can be creatively adapted to team building activities, themed dinner events, or pre and post programmes for delegates.
Krabi offers several unique venues to host your guests at a function site they will remember for years to come
such as a candlelight dinner right on the beach
Krabi is served by Krabi International Airport with numerous daily flights from Bangkok, Malaysia and Singapore and Phuket is just a two hour drive by road.
CSR activity at Koh Hong
Indoor and outdoor team building programs available year round
Blessed with awesome natural beauty and geographical diversity, Krabi reflects a perfect connection between business and leisure that is sturdily demonstrated Thailand’s diversity of dynamic destination.
Rocking climbing at Railay Bay (Krabi)
Mu Ko Hong – One of the Best Sea Kayaking Paradise
Thailand’s MICE industry is growing strongly despite the economic crises in Europe and USA. MICE visitor numbers to Thailand in 2012 reached 895,224. Asia market represents 65 percent of all MICE business travellers . In 2012, Thailand hosted a total of 7382 MICE events, 6.84 percent up from 2011.
An interview with Ms. Parichat Svetasreni, Director of Marketing and Corporate Image Department (TCEB) : http://youtu.be/p4ytBXV7rp0
As Asian economies continue to grow, Thailand’s MICE industry is expect to welcome approximately 940,000 business travellers to the country, generating expected revenues of 88 billion bath and most importantly, TCEB will continue to further strengthening Thailand’s position as a preferred MICE destination in Asia.
A romantic sunset at Tubkaak beach
Thai Pineapple Fried Rice – Aroy Aroy!
Here is another lovely dish that you won’t want to miss! Pineapple Fried Rice (Khao Phat Sapparot) is one of my favourite Thai dishes and it tastes so much better in Thailand. The dish is usually garnished with meat or chicken floss and beautifully presented in a pineapple. In case you missed it, this wonderful dish is available at LEE Cafe located on the 3rd Floor, Terminal Building, Suvarnabhumi Airport. I believe that you will come back for more:-)
Ban Khao Homestay – a little paradise nestled in the middle of rice paddies (Songkhla, Thailand)
All huts come with mosquito netting (Ban Khao Homestay, Songkhla)
Located in Amphur Ranod, northernmost district of Songkhla province, southern Thailand, Ban Khao Homestay is an ideal place to stay for nature and bird lovers. A world away from the hectic city life. Ban Khao Homestay offers native hut accommodations set in the middle of the rice fields. The accommodation is very basic inclusive of simple breakfast, lunch and dinner.
A leisure boat ride on the waterway (Ban Khao, Songkhla)
Look who’s watching you!
With an open mind, I enjoyed every moment of my stay at Ban Khao Homestay such as taking a morning outdoor shower from rain barrels overlooking the deep green rice paddies, it was such a wonderful feeling! One of the great things to do is bird watching but prepare to wake up early in the morning (5am). Thanks to its rich diversity of habitats and wildlife, there is an impressive variety of waterfowl and waders in the territory of Ban Khao Homestay such as the Asian Openbill Stork, Little Egret, Grey Heron etc. The connecting waterways are lined with colourful tropical water lilies in full bloom early in the morning. It is a heavenly sight!!!
A massive flock of Asian Openbill Storks (Ban Khao, Songkhla)
The famous Chinese fishing nets, located in the Cochin/Kochi city of Kerala can be found in Ban Khao (Songkhla, Thailand)
What about food in Ban Khao Homestay? Pee Khao’s wife is an excellent cook and a gracious host. She will prepare you sumptuous home-cooked meals using fresh, locally sourced ingredients that can be enjoyed while relaxing in the open air. The freshwater river shrimps (Goong Mae Nam) from Thale Noi are simply delicious. Must try!!!
Overall it was a good experience and I had the chance to go back to basics of life as well as a unique opportunity to experience life in the countryside. It is the perfect destination to relax and rejuvinate. Last but not least, thank you once again for the warm hospitality and sumptuous meals.
Water lilies yield edible celery-like stalks
A bowl of delicious Tom Yum Goong
Ban Khao Homestay can be visited all year long but the best time is during March to October where the water lilies are in full bloom. Undoubtedly the best time to see the migratory birds such as Redshank is during September to March.
Discover Nature at Ban Khao Homestay
There is no direct transportation from Hat Yai to Ban Khao Homestay. It takes about 2.5 hours drive by car from Hat Yai city. From Phatthalung, head to Thalenoi and use the Sapan Chalerm Phra Kiat 80 Pansa (Head to Amphur Ranod of Songkhla). Then follow the signboard showing direction to “Khuan Chalik”, drive another 4km, you will reach Ban Khao Homestay. If you are coming from Nakhon Si Thammarat, simply head to Amphur Ranod and look out for the signboad showing direction to “Khuan Chalik”.
For anyone taking the public transportation, after arriving Ranod then hire a local motorcycle or truck to Ban Khao Homestay.
My little companion in Ban Khao Homestay, isn’t she cute?
For more information, please kindly contact TAT Hatyai office:
1/1 Thanon Nipatuthit 3 Soi 2
Tel: 0 7424 3747, 0 7423 8518, 0 7423 1055
Fax: 0 7424 5986
My gracious hosts in Ban Khao Homestay (Pee Khao and his wife)
Meditating Buddha Statue (Phra Phuttha Nirarokhantarai Chaiwat Chaturathit) in Phatthalung – A Gracious Gift from His Majesty The King
Meditating Buddha Statue (Phra Phuttha Nirarokhantarai Chaiwat Chaturathit ), Phatthalung
Located in downtown Phatthalung, this beautiful Meditating Buddha (Phra Phuttha Nirarokhantarai Chaiwat Chaturathit ) is one of the four Buddha statues commissioned by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It is a royal tradition to establish directional Buddha images for auspiciousness as well as well-being and security of all subjects.
Phra Phuttha Nirarokhantarai Chaiwat Chaturathit resides in the cruciform pavilion of Wat Sala Daeng (Phatthalung, Thailand)
It is a Buddha image of the South made by the Territorial Defense Department. The width of the lap span is 49 inches and was casted from an alloy of bass, platinum and copper (3:1:1) and other precious metals such as gold and silver donated by the general public, weighing 1400kg in total.
The Buddha Image was enshrined in Wat Sala Daeng in the centre of Phatthalung city on 27 December 1968 and was a gracious gift from the King to the people of Phatthalung. The remaining of the three Buddha images installed at the same time are located in Lampang (North), Saraburi (East) and Ratchaburi (West).
Nam Prik Maeng Da is best eaten with fresh or boiled vegetable
Some 200 edible insect species are eaten in Thailand and the giant water bug (Lethocerus indicus) or maeng-da-na is highly appreciated in Thai cuisine for its unique flavour and Nam Prik Maeng Da is definitely one of my favourite nam priks. It is a spicy Thai chili dip that incorporates pounded giant water bugs as the main flavoring ingredient. To me, the dip has a fruity flavour like raw mango. It has a much lighter taste than the traditional nam prik pla ra or fermented fish dip of Northeastern Thailand.
This is an amazing dish with a strong exotic scent. Like durians *King of Fruits* either you love it or hate it!
A bowl of giant water bugs (Lethocerus indicus)
Thai-style omelette (Khai Jiao or Khai Jeow)
Thai-Style Omelette (Khai Jiao or Khai Jeow)) is a comfort food for many in Thailand. It is also a popular street food especially during Songkran Festival where you will find numerous street vendors selling Khao Khai Jiao (Thai-Style Omelette with rice) for 20-25 THB to satisfy the hunger of partygoers. Unlike western style omelettes, the Thai omelette is flavoured with fish sauce (nam pla) and it is super easy to make but a great Thai omelette must have crisp borders and soft center.
It is a perfect meal at any time of day.
Thai-style omelette served with Sriracha Dipping Sauce
Mobile Sushi Bar at Songkhla Old Town Walking Street (Thailand)
Checkout this mobile sushi bar (Sakura) if you are visiting Songkhla Old Town Walking Street (Songkhla Tae Raek) located in Southern Thailand. It operates from 4pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I think it’s a pretty cool ideal to convert a Song Taew, a pickup truck for carrying rear passengers into a mobile sushi bar!!!
Sushi Kitchen on the Upper Deck (Songkhla Old Town Walking Street, Thailand)
Dining on the Lower Deck (Songkhla Old Town Walking Street, Thailand)
Bangkok skyline (DDYXXE) sold by www.Alamy.com
I would like to thank you once again for your kind support of TourismThailand Blog (www.eugenegoesthailand.com).
If you are interested in my photography and wish to purchase my stock, I am pleased to inform you that the photos are now available through www.Alamy.com.
Please kindly visit the link below:
The stock library features the best images of beautiful People and Places etc that I have discovered during my own journey in Thailand. As the days go by, more photo images will be added to the library. Meanwhile, join me on my epic journey:
Eugene Tang – A Journey into “The Land of Thousand Smiles”
New Governor of TAT, Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) executive Mr. Thawatchai Arunyik, who became the new TAT Governor on 22 December, has issued a broad statement of thanks to all visitors who are presently in Thailand, and all those who are sticking to their travel plans in spite of the present state of political flux.
Mr. Thawatchai will replace Mr. Suraphon Svetasreni, who has completed his four-year term. Born in Phetchaburi province in 1955, Mr. Thawatchai is the 9th Governor of TAT. Graduating with a Bachelor of Science from the University of the East, Manila, Philippines, he joined TAT in 1983 and has since held a number of positions both in Thailand and abroad, as follows:
Director of the TAT Central Region Office Region 2 (1995 – 2000)
Director of the TAT London Office (2000 – 2003)
Executive Director of the Central Region (2006 – 2007)
Executive Director of Europe Africa and Middle East (2007- 2010)
Deputy Governor for Domestic Marketing (2010 – 2013)
TAT is anticipating visitor arrivals of 26.1 million in 2013, and projecting 28.01 million in 2014. Revenue projections are for 1.1 trillion Baht in 2013 and 1.326 trillion Baht in 2014.
Misty morning in the valley (Pai,Mae Hong Son)
Morning has broken (Pai,Mae Hong Son)
Magnificent Sunrise over the mountains(Pai,Mae Hong Son)
Yun Lai Viewpoint is situated in Shandicun or Yunnan Chinese village which is located 4.5 kilometers from Pai in Mae Hong Son province, northern Thailand.
This Free & Easy package includes return flights, three nights accommodation and 2 ways roundtrip airport transfers.
However, price does not include airport taxes and fuel surcharges.
Book from 1 February to 15 July 2014.
Terms and condition apply.
For more information or reservations please kindly contact:
AD Travel 6535 8588
Diners World Travel 6292 5522
Euro-Asia Holidays 6339 9133
Farmosa Holiday Tour 6534 1133
Giamso International Tours 6534 1010
Jetabout Holidays 6734 1818
H.I.S International Travel 6222 1230
Konsortium 6392 5000
Lotus Travel 6336 6333
MISA Travel 6538 0318
Nam Ho Travel 6221 8433
Pinnacle Travel 6332 1522
PriceBreaker 6317 2888
Scenic Travel 6226 3611
Sino-America Tours 6536 6633
Sunny Holidays 6767 6868
Thailand to end state of emergency from 19 March 2014
The caretaker Thai Cabinet has today decided to end the 60-day state of emergency that has been imposed on Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Bang Phli district in Samut Prakan, and Lat Lum Kaeo district in Pathum Thani since 22 January, 2014.
The revocation of the emergency decree will be effective from tomorrow (19 March 2014).
In 2013, Thailand welcomed 26.7 million tourist arrivals, a 19.6 per cent increase over 2012. For 2014, TAT has set a target of 28.6 million tourists generating estimated foreign exchange revenue of 1.32 trillion Baht, up 13 per cent.
Thai-German model/actor Mario Maurer
Thai-German model/actor Mario Maurer together with much sought-after Thai actress/model Treechada Petcharat, better known to fans as Poyd Treechada will be in Singapore to share his favourite Thai destinations from 4pm – 5pm on 31 May at the Bull Ring, Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore. Organized by Nara Thai Cuisine Singapore, along with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Chang Beer, brings Through Eyes of Us Thais (TEOUT), a travelling photo exhibition showcasing the best of Thailand’s hidden gems captured by talented budding Thai photographers.
TEOUT will commence with the official opening ceremony on 30 May at 7pm at the Bull Ring, Resorts World Sentosa, and will be graced by Ms. Ekajit Kraivichien, Deputy Chief of Mission and Minister, Royal Thai Embassy, and Ms. Kanokittika Kritwutikon, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (Singapore Office). The exhibition will be open to public daily from 30 May – 1 June, from 11am to 7pm. Admission is free of charge.
In celebration of the Thai culture, Thai music fans will be treated to the exclusive TEOUT Thai Music Showcase on 31 May at The Coliseum, featuring electrifying performances by pop star Tata Young and two of Thailand’s most popular rock bands, Endorphine, and Big Ass. Priced start at $69, tickets are on sale at all Sistic counters island-wide.
TCEB Join Hands With TAT and VISA in Launching “Spice Up Your Business Agenda”, 2014 Online Marketing Campaign to Lure MICE Travellers
Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Visa International Asia Pacific LLC have jointly introduced the latest online marketing campaign “Spice Up Your Business Agenda’ giving special privileges and discounts of products and services for MICE travellers who participate trade exhibitions in Thailand throughout the year 2014.The campaign aims to create demand for spending and extending the length of stay of business travellers coming to Thailand.
TCEB’s President, Mr Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, says that “TCEB is confident that the ‘Spice Up Your Business Agenda’ campaign will help enhance a business trip, restore the tourism image, and create confidence in MICE travellers who come to Thailand for trade fairs and exhibitions. We hope this campaign will also help increase the number of MICE business travellers to Thailand.”
Trade fair exhibitors and MICE travellers can now register and download the ‘Privilege Coupon’ from the website www.spiceupyourbusinessagenda.com. The content is currently available to download in English and Chinese.
This year, TCEB expects to draw 987,000 MICE travellers and generate revenue of 96,900 million baht to the country. Meanwhile, it hopes to help strengthen the MICE businesses and establish the country’s reputation as one of the leading MICE destinations in the world.
The activity is joined by more than 15,000 shopping malls, department stores, brand-name outlets, and restaurants in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Ko Samui in offering special deals and bargains for tourists.
For couples looking for alternatives to the ordinary honeymoon trips , then “Honeyteering” – Honeymoon + volunteering can be the trip in a lifetime. Organized by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) together with Thai Airways International and some of the world’s most luxurious hotels in Thailand such as Casa de La Flora , the new campaign will definitely make your honeymoon a memorable one in Thailand.
Volunteering at orphanage home
Besides romantic getaways, “Honeyteering” offer all married couples the opportunity to give back to the community by engaging in meaningful activities that contribute to local culture, the environment and education. Between March – May 2014, newlyweds and honeymooners from around the world were invited to enter the “Dream Honeyteering Contest” online, organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).The contest attracted over 190 couples from 37 countries.
Community Project – Mangrove Reforestation
The 4 couples who received the highest number of views on their blog will win return international air tickets from their destination of origin, six nights accommodation at a luxury hotel in Thailand, all meals, volunteer activity of in the destination of their choice, sightseeing tours and transfers. A honeymoon trip once in a lifetime! Log on to www.honeyteeringthailand.com to find out who are the lucky couples.
Marine Conservation – Save The Sea Turtle
Just an hour drive from Phuket, Khao Lak located in Phang Nga province is fast becoming a new honeymoon destination.The beachfront has been magnificently transformed after the tsunami. It is now home to many luxurious resorts such Casa de La Flora, the latest member of the Design Hotel in Thailand. The tropical beachfront resort is dotted with 36 cube-shaped pool villas overlooking the azure waters of the Andaman Sea.The ideal location to treat your loved one with romance and privacy.
Casa de La Flora (Khao Lak, Phang Nga)
Weddings and honeymoons is one of the four key niche markets in the 2014 TAT marketing strategy and volunteering tourism is one of the fastest growing areas of the tourism industry and “Honeyteering” is a unique way to travel which allows people to make a difference to the planet in a safe, responsible and supported way and make the world a better place.
Honeyteering Thailand 2014 by Tourism Authority of Thailand
Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and Thai Airways Search for Best Itinerary for Business Travellers
Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and Thai Airways International (THAI) recently launched an online challenge: “The Itinerary Contest,” to be held from May — August, 2014, in order to showcase creativity in planning destinations and activities for a given business trip in Thailand.
The contest is welcoming trip planners and business travellers from all over the world to design pre- and/or post-tour itineraries including agenda items, destinations, and recreational activities. Based on the viability and desirability of the entries, five final itineraries will be chosen to compete in the final round via voting on social network. The itinerary with the most votes will be awarded THAI Airways flight tickets (for two) together with boutique accommodation in Thailand.
TCEB and Thai Airways aim to enhance awareness of Thailand as one of the world’s best business event destinations, a place that provides singular, memorable experiences.
For more information and to take part in the activity, please visit www.businesseventsthailand.com/itinerarycontest
Tourism Thailand Update (3/6/2014) – Curfew lifted in Thailand’s major tourist destinations: Pattaya, Phuket & Ko Samui
Curfew lifted in Thailands major tourist destinations: Pattaya, Phuket & Ko Samui
The nighttime curfew has been lifted in three of Thailand’s key tourist areas including Ko Samui, Pattaya and Phuket with immediate effect, as announced today by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), currently overseeing the country’s administration.
While the curfew remains in place from midnight – 04.00 hours in the rest of Thailand.
For more information, log onto www.tatnews.org