Archive | November, 2011

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Island of wonder

Posted on 30 November 2011 by admin

If Seoul represents the utmost side of modernity in South Korea, then Jeju represents the greener side, as well as the simple beauty of the country.

Since ancient times, fertile soil from volcanoes and abundant marine life have made Jeju a good place to live. Today, a beautiful landscape created by volcanic activity, extremely refreshing air, plentiful seafood and the easy atmosphere of an agrarian society are making the island an attractive destination for tourists.

Recently, Jeju Island was brought to the rest of the world’s attention when it was named one of the official finalists in the worldwide “New7Wonders of Nature” campaign. The official “New7Wonders of Nature” is the second global campaign run by the New7Wonders Foundation in Switzerland, after its first campaign to elect the “New7Wonders of the World”.

Over the past decade, Jeju Island has received three different Unesco certifications: It was designated a Biosphere Reserve in 2002, a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2007, and a Global Geopark in 2010.

The latest position mirrors the great attempt by Jeju, as well as the Korean people to boost tourism to this oval-shaped island. It is quite remarkable to learn that the island, a bit larger than Bangkok, welcomes more than eight million tourists per year.

And via a series of tourism and meeting promotions, a million more tourists are expected each year from now on.


Visit www.ijto.or.kr/english.

No matter how bad the weather is, tourists keep on walking along the coast at Seopjikoji. The word koji means ‘‘a small bay’’. With its romantic seascape, the small bay surrounded by vast grassland was used as a location in famous Korean TV series, All In .

As Jeju Island has become quite famous as a honeymoon destination for newly weds, the sex museum is very popular. It is quite normal to see couples deeply in love wearing the same-coloured shirts, while admiring the garden filled with erotic sculptures. Even rain can’t stop tourists from visiting this place. So don’t be surprised if you find these sex museums filled with joy and laughter.

Around the island of Jeju there are a number of man-made attractions. Among 80 museums, there are four sex museums, one of them is Love Land. This sex museum has outdoor exhibitions that feature sex-related sculptures, an indoor gallery that documents sex experience in Korea, and a sex shop displaying sex toys from ancient times to the modern era.

Joanne Bear Museum. If you are crazy about teddy bears, then you might want to spare a few hours for this place, the gallery exhibition hall for Joanne Oh, a teddy bear artist. Showing concern for the environment, all the teddy bears on display are handmade from all-natural materials. The soft touch of their natural material and natural dyes fascinate visiting teddy bear lovers, most of whom are adults. The museum features a variety of teddy bears, including polar bears and ‘‘Joon bears’’, which were created based on Bae Yong-joon, a famous Korean actor. One of the most famous teddy bears on show here is the Obama bear.

Tourists can enjoy a cruise to witness scenic sunsets in Jeju. Those who pass by the Jungmun coast may notice various geological phenomena. A section of Jeju’s coastline is lined with columnar joints, known as the Jungmun-Daepo Columnar, formed by the spewing of lava from the volcanic cone about 140,000 to 250,000 years ago. The columnar joints are naturally formed heptagonal, hexagonal or square vertical pillars made from rapidly cooling lava.

Manjang Cave. The cave is actually a lava tunnel, which is formed when lava spouts to the surface. While standing in the tunnel, you can notice various types of rock textures, stalactite and pillar created by volcanic activity and may consequently feel that the human is a tiny spot compared to Mother Nature. The cave features a turtle-shape rock, which looks rather like Jeju Island.

A girl performs the dance of women divers. Women divers are symbols of Jeju Island. Normally the women divers hold their breath for about two minutes at a depth of approximately more than 10 metres below sea level, to make a living by catching marine products. Most of the women divers have been doing this job since they were 12-14 years old. At present there are more than 5,000 women divers in Jeju, but their numbers are dramatically decreasing.

With an ideal climate and excellent geographical conditions for producing tea, Jeju Island is a historical tea site where Kim Cheonghi, the best-known Korean calligrapher of the 19th century, grew tea and enjoyed his life with other tea enthusiasts. And the O’Sulloc Tea Museum is the ideal place on Jeju where tea lovers can enjoy a break, sipping tea amid the easy atmosphere of the island’s beautiful landscape. Inside the museum, the tea culture room allows visitors to learn about many varieties of tea, and there’s also a gift shop selling various types of tea, tea-related food, green tea ice cream and gifts. Go upstairs to enjoy a cup of tea accompanied by a view of the vast green tea fields.

Among various man-made attractions on the island is Jeju Glass Castle, a glass art theme park featuring an exhibition hall, garden and models made entirely out of glass. There are six themedmodel parks showcasing hundreds of exhibits, including glass labyrinth, glass ball, mirror lake and a glass bridge. There are also glass art masterpieces by famous artists from countries including Italy, Czech Republic and Japan.


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About the author

columnist
Writer: Peerawat Jariyasombat
Position: Travel Reporter


Article source: http://feeds.bangkokpost.com/c/33101/f/535956/s/1a8be282/l/0L0Sbangkokpost0N0Ctravel0Ctravel0Efeature0C26870A0A0Cisland0Eof0Ewonder/story01.htm

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Gallic Galore

Posted on 30 November 2011 by admin

The Franco-Thai Chamber of Commerce is holding the Bonjour French Fair 2011, which will feature a variety of unique quality products from France, at the Grand Ballroom of Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre, from December 8-11.

Held in collaboration with Ubifrance _ the Trade Commission of the French embassy, and the Committee of Importers of French Products in Thailand, the festival will celebrate its 9th anniversary in the Kingdom with a grand exhibition of well-known French consumer goods including wine, champagne, foods, groceries, beauty products, brand name cosmetics, perfumes, fashion products, clothing, appliances, services and many more.

With more than 70 booths of leading products, visitors will have the chance to indulge in a shopping spree, purchasing their favourite brands and other quality products at special prices offered by the importers and direct distributors.

Admission is free of charge.


Call 02-650-97ȥ or 02-650-9613/4 ext 190.


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Venting pent-up feelings

Posted on 30 November 2011 by admin

As floodwaters began to recede and the highways became usable again, Bangkok’s downhill mountain bikers did not wait to unleash their long-suppressed desire for gravity-assisted thrill. Last Saturday many of them headed for Chet Khot in Kaeng Khoi, Saraburi, where one of the closest DH trails to the capital city is located.

Riding in Chiang Mai the past weekend, I missed that DH gathering at Chet Khot which also drew like-minded bikers from provinces such as Rayong and Nakhon Ratchasima. No regret about that though because sooner or later they will gather again and I can join them then. However, if I fail to include Chet Khot among the mountain bike trails featured in this column, it would be gross injustice.

Located on the western fringe of Khao Yai National Park, Chet Khot (the full name is Chet Khot-Pong Kon Sao Nature Study Centre) is just a 2-hour drive from Bangkok, or less depending on your driving speed and which part of the city you start from. With such proximity, no doubt it’s one of the most popular destinations for Bangkok mountain bikers, especially DH riders who have just a few trails to enjoy in the Central Region.

The DH trail at Chet Khot, if I remember it right, was purpose-built for a fun race held in 2005 by the knobbyonline.com website that is no longer functioning. Usually after such an event, the DH race track is left at the mercy of nature which gradually reclaims it. However, that was not the case here. The trail has been maintained continually by downhillers from Bangkok and nearby provinces who take turn to use it every once in a while. After all, they can’t afford to lose it. Apart from Khao I-to in Prachin Buri, this is the only DH track within a 130km radius of Bangkok.

The DH trail at Chet Khot starts from the scenic viewpoint atop Mo Khrua, a small hill about 500 metres above mean sea level. That explains why it is only 1.2 kilometres long and features no extended steep section. However, in the same vein as “small is beautiful”, short in this case can be so much fun. This DH trail is peppered with moderate drops and jumps and some rough sections that you need to storm through while trying not to let them slow you down. Some riders clock just a little over a minute.

Another great thing about the DH trail at Chet Khot is the short shuttle time. The road distance between the finishing point and the hilltop is less than two kilometres so it takes just a few minutes for the pickup truck to get you and your bike back up to the starting point for another round of adrenaline-pumping fun.

Yet it’s not that the DH trail is the only thing that Chet Khot has to offer. For cross country mountain bikers, there is a nice looped dirt trail around the park’s peaceful lake where you can do as many rounds as you want. And if you venture down the mountain to the surrounding areas the XC options are virtually endless. You can ride to Chet Khot Waterfall, explore the villages and farmland in nearby areas or go all the way to Namtok Sam Lan National Park about 30 something kilometres to the west.

I can go on and on about Chet Khot but with the limited space perhaps the accompanying photos, which I took during previous biking trips there, will give you a clearer idea why this place has become the favourite destination of so many mountain bikers.

Well, see you here again next Thursday. Until then, if you have questions, news or biking insights you wish to share, please feel free to send an email to pongpetm@bangkokpost.co.th or go to “Freewheel Bangkok” community page on Facebook.

Pongpet Mekloy is the Bangkok Post’s travel editor and a mountain bike freak.

Chet Khot Nature Study Centre

GPS info: N 14 29.366 E 101 09.395

Trail condition: A high-speed DH single track and a double track for recreational XC.

Distance: The DH trail is 1.2 km long, the XC loop is about 2 km or so.

Getting there: There’s no public transport so you need your own vehicle. Just follow the given map.

Parking: Plenty.

Food drinks: There are a couple of local restaurants at the foothill. At the park’s information centre, beverages and frozen food are also available.

What your family can enjoy while waiting: Nature is all around!

Accommodation: Apart from camping space, the park also offers bungalows both with and without air-con. Rates range from 800-1,200 baht.

Contact number: ጙ-237-8659.



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Writer: Pongpet Mekloy
Position: Deputy Features Editor


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Gaysorn’s glorious gift of giving

Posted on 30 November 2011 by admin

For the 6th annual Pure Reward shopping extravaganza at Gaysorn Shopping Centre this year, the benevolent folks at Gaysorn have decided to turn their usual shopping spree party celebrations into a series of charitable events, to provide much needed aid to flood victims in Thailand.

2011 was going so well, all things considered, for Thailand for a change, and Gaysorn was duly prepping for the annual lead up to Christmas shopping rewards, until the mass floods hit Thailand, with significant and at times deadly impact. On this somber note, Gaysorn Shopping Centre could not stand idly by and see people suffer, while others simply indulged, and swiftly converted their Moulin Rouge party concept into a charitable affair, the theme remains, but the wind behind the sails has changed.

All manner of activities and events, with the expected glitz and glam of a Moulin Rouge theme, have been lined up, to ensure that a maximum of funds are raised, throughout the festive season of giving. Quietly and confidently expecting a minimum of 1 million baht to be raised, this year’s Pure Reward runs from 23 November񎧛 to 5 January 2012. All proceeds collected will be donated, after that period, to Friends in Need of (PA) Volunteers Foundation, Thai Red Cross Society.

This Pure Reward campaign has three main components: the regular in-store promotions and Soi Dao lucky draw a charity auction of high-end world brand items; and a celebrity flea market. From the lower lobby level Ladies Closet floor and Diamond Members Lounge (usually exclusive to the top 1,000 spenders at Gaysorn), right up to the very tip of the stylishly oversized Christmas tree, every corner of Gaysorn is geared towards spending and raising money. Already since July 2011, to aid flood victims in the south of Thailand, Gaysorn has had donation boxes strategically placed around the mall, and has since widened that appeal for flood victims throughout Thailand.

Brands taking part in the campaign and fund-raising activities are still, as usual, offering up to 70% off their products in store, but also donating goods as reward prizes and auction items, to be sold off for charity. So, if you have a penchant for expensive, exclusive international brands and luxury Thai designs, then now is the best time of the year to pop in to Gaysorn and max out your credit cards, but also feel good knowing you can simultaneously be doing your part for a good cause. There are also plenty of bank credit card deals to be added on top of the savings too, so be sure to bring your whole range of plastic flexible friends, with their magic magnetic strips, as many banks are participating in the festivities.

For every 15,000 baht spent, there is a chance to win one of the Soi Dao lucky draw prizes, by heading down to the Soi Dao tree, with your receipts, and plucking one of the baubles from its branches. For AMEX holders, it is per 12,000Baht. Prizes include an exclusive gift collection of totebags, notepads, mugs and purses, in an exclusively designed print gift collection by S.Guy, not for sale. S.Guy has designed one of his famous floral prints in honour of the occasion, especially for Gaysorn, in limited edition. There is an iPad2 from i-Studio by Copperwired, a card case from Ce{aac}line, Pucci tote, a Lamont Design vase, Bally key chains and cross-body bags, Olivia Diamonds accessories, Disaya jewellery, belts from Della Spiga, shoes from Jelly Dreams, a shawl from Private Collection, a pen case from Daks and Thann products, all up for grabs. Angry Birds junkies can even bag some novelty speakers, also donated by i-Studio by Copperwired, new to Gaysorn.

If you are one of the privileged top Gaysorn spenders, then there is the chance to win different St Regis luxury holiday packages, in the St Regis hotels and resorts of Abu Dhabi and Rome and the W in Hong Kong.

Whether watches, diamonds or luxury designer brands, there is certainly plenty to splurge on over at Gaysorn Shopping Centre. Even if your pennies do not stretch far beyond a discreet monetary drop in one of the donation boxes, it is worth remembering that Gaysorn Shopping Centre has become one of the city’s Christmas landmarks with its excellent flair for Christmas de{aac}cor and sophisticated Christmas cheer. Geared towards families, there are also weekend activities, including a Santa photobooth, fortune teller, popcorn and cotton candy for the kids to smear across their faces, a live band, clown and Christmas carols, right up to the end of the year. Bring along your camera for a photo op or two amid the creatively designed Christmas lights and winter setting.

The second element of the Pure Reward campaign took place on 30 November, with a charity auction, starting in the late afternoon, before the official annual 6pm Christmas Tree lighting and Champagne sabering ceremony, courtesy of St Regis and its sommeliers. With Christies volunteering its expertise, press and around 100 specially invited VIP guests bid on items from the likes of Salvatore Ferragamo, Emporio Armani, Pendulum, Montblanc, Kwanpen and more, at Gaysorns Heart to Heart Auction for Thai Flood Relief.

The other main event, this year, at the ground floor, is Gaysorn’s Heart to Heart Flea Market, opening tomorrow. Stores, Gaysorn partnerships, celebrities and stars, as well as Ratchaprasong-area hotels are all getting in on the action, to ensure plenty of buzz about this additional fund-raising fun. The Srivikorn family, owners of Gaysorn, will providing sweets and snacks to munch on, SENADA Theory has designed limited edition scarves for sale, Bally shoes and Coach bags come from the Soontornvinate family, while vintage clothes and accessories have been provided by Yui Orawan from Olivia Diamonds and her friends. Delicious food and bakery items can be purchased from donations by Big Knit and many more new and vintage items have been generously provisioned by a variety of celebrities and stars who everyone will recognise. It is a great time to rub shoulders with your personal favourites and let the money flow, to help those less fortunate in Thailand recover quickly from the devastating floods. Christmas and New Year shopping this year at Gaysorn puts a new spin on the giving season. There is no need to sit at home and wonder what you could do to help out. Just go out and get involved. The gift of giving, sharing and caring this season is in giving back.



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Writer: Nikki Busuttil
Position: Writer


Article source: http://feeds.bangkokpost.com/c/33101/f/535956/s/1a8c0ce8/l/0L0Sbangkokpost0N0Ctravel0Ctravel0Efeature0C2687150Cgaysorn0Es0Eglorious0Egift0Eof0Egiving/story01.htm

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The Living Room Bangkok’s Premier Jazz Venue

Posted on 30 November 2011 by admin

Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, A Luxury Collection Hotel, is home to the finest live jazz venue in Bangkok. The Living Room, a showcase for high-calibre international performers playing the hottest jazz in town, simply swings!

The great jazz pianist and composer Thelonius Monk once said, “I don’t have a definition of jazz. You are just supposed to know it when you hear it.” One thing is certain, walk into The Living Room at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit any night of the week and you’ll know it.

Over the years, The Living Room has hosted many jazz greats. The line-up regularly features inspiring performances from some of the finest local and international talent including Grammy Award winners, and the most respected musicians on the jazz scene today.

Each evening, sophistication and comfort is the name of the game. Tasteful de{aac}cor, a sweeping bar, comfortable armchairs and sofas, and subdued lighting, not to mention the availability of fine whiskies, cocktails, and cognacs, make The Living Room a seriously cool place to hang out. With the black and white images of jazz legends looking respectfully down from the walls, attentive service staff in flowing outfits that recall the decade of swing and style, and the best musicians in town, the ambience at The Living Room hits all the right notes.

“The Living Room – It Simply Swings!”


THE LIVING ROOM
Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit. 250 Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok.
Tel. 02 649 8600.


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Make it more special with a Merriment Package

Posted on 30 November 2011 by admin

Make the difference between a good holiday and a great one with a “Merriment Package” at Grand Millennium Sukhumvit in a Deluxe or Grand Deluxe room. Enjoy 25% off best available rates and breakfast from now to 12 Feb 2012.

Grand Millennium Sukhumvit

30 Sukhumvit 21 (Asoke), Bangkok. Tel 02 204 4000 or email rsvn@grandmillenniumskv.com


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Cake for The King

Posted on 30 November 2011 by admin

Celebrate the King, support a good cause and enjoy a delicious dessert all at the same time at The Landmark Bangkok’s Bakery and Cafe{aac} from now to Dec 31, 2011.

To mark the occasion of H.M. the King’s 84th birthday, the hotel’s chefs have come up with something extra special. And the results are mouth-watering!

Enjoy a delectable birthday “Cake for The King” made with fresh pandanus leaves and other fine ingredients. This appropriately striking yellow dessert is sure to tickle your taste buds with its delicious, secret recipe coconut mousse layers.

Only Baht 600 net per 1 pound, from which proceeds will be donated to one of H.M. the King’s projects.


The Landmark Bakery and Cafe
G fl. The Landmark Bangkok. 138 Sukhumvit Rd.
Tel 0-2254-0404 ext 4106 or 7777.


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Japan factory output rises but outlook weak

Posted on 30 November 2011 by admin

Autos, general machinery and chemicals drove the latest increase, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s preliminary report.

Article source: http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2011/11/30/japan_factory_output_rises_but_outlook_weak/

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Nikkei ends lower, caution on euro zone persists

Posted on 30 November 2011 by admin

Wed Nov 30, 2011 2:21am EST

Article source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/30/markets-japan-stocks-idUSL4E7MU0UW20111130

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Twitter, mixi form Japan tie-up as Facebook gains

Posted on 30 November 2011 by admin

The Associated Press

TOKYO — Twitter Inc. and Japan’s biggest homegrown social networking site mixi Inc. joined forces Wednesday to strengthen their ground against a rapidly expanding Facebook.

For Twitter, the partnership with a local social network could point to a new strategy as the San Francisco-based microblogging service seeks to accelerate global growth. Japan is the company’s second-biggest market after the U.S. and has served as a key international testing ground of sorts.

Japanese was Twitter’s first foreign language platform, and it opened its first overseas office in Tokyo earlier this year. In April, the company hired James Kondo in Japan as its first international country manager.

Kondo said he didn’t know if Twitter would forge similar partnerships in other countries. But the company is keen to see what happens with the experiment, which launched with a limited Christmas-themed application, he said.

“This is going to be an interesting case,” he told The Associated Press. “We’re going to see what works and what doesn’t work, and we’re going to build on top of that as opposed to throwing out something that may not work.”

For mixi, the announcement couldn’t have come at a better time.

The seven-year-old Tokyo-based company had been the dominant social networking platform in Japan. Despite its massive popularity elsewhere in the world, Facebook failed to make much of an impact in the country. That is, until this year.

Data released this week from Nielsen NetRatings Japan showed that mixi stood in third place behind Twitter and Facebook in terms of unique visitors in October.

More than 14.5 million users visited Twitter, and 11.3 million went to Facebook, according to the Nielsen report. In contrast, about 8.4 million visited mixi. Google’s social networking service was a very distant fourth.

Facebook has surged over the last year in Japan, in part due to the popularity of the hit movie “The Social Network.” The Nielsen data indicates that it surpassed mixi midway through the year. Growing social gaming services GREE and DeNA also pose threats to mixi.

Twitter and mixi said they offer contrasting — and mutually beneficial â€� services. While Twitter is a public platform with real-time information, mixi is a closed network. Most users limit their networks to a small group of their closest friends.

Mixi hopes that by partnering with Twitter, it can better integrate public information and conversation into its tight-knit communities.

“Mixi rightly had a choice to do it themselves or partner with someone who’s good at this,” Kondo said. “And we’re glad that they thought that Twitter would be a good partner. I think we can provide value that’s distinctive.”

Kenji Kasahara, mixi’s founder and president, said that the two companies started talking after the March earthquake and tsunami. Both services were used extensively as critical information lifelines in the wake of the disaster.

Twitter in particular gained credibility in Japan after the earthquake. New users flocked to the site for real-time information about the nuclear crisis, electricity blackouts and aftershocks.

“Had our services been connected during the disaster, we would have been able to provide much better service for our users,” he said at a joint press conference at mixi headquarters.

But for starters, mixi has created a “mixi Xmas 2011″ page, through which its users can share holiday messages on both platforms and send “social gifts” to friends.

Other new joint products are also in the works. The companies said they hope to cooperate on emergency communications during disasters, location-based applications, advertising and business services.

___

Follow Tomoko A. Hosaka on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tomokohosaka

___

November 30, 2011 07:16 AM EST

Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Article source: http://www.ajc.com/business/twitter-mixi-form-japan-1245946.html

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