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Emirates: Bangkok-Dubai-Geneva

Posted on 13 July 2011 by admin

 

2/F, B.B.Building, 54 Asoke Road, Sukhumvit 21, Wattana, Bangkok 10110
- Tel: 02-664-1045 – Fax: 02-664-1059
- Website: www.emirates.com/th – Email: bkkrestktg@emirates.com

Emirates, a Dubai government-owned airline, started operating between Dubai and Geneva on June 1. According to its president, Tim Clark, Geneva is a key access point to Europe and this new route has created a network of flights and markets in Asia and Africa. At present, Emirates has a fleet of 153 aircraft and flies to 28 European cities via Dubai.

Although this new flight is not a direct one, it is another good choice for those wishing to fly to Geneva. From Bangkok to Dubai, travellers can fly either a Boeing 777냴, which comes from Christchurch via Sydney, or a new state-of-the-art A380 aircraft, which flies from Hong Kong. The two wee-hour flights depart from Suvarnabhumi airport just an hour apart. During layovers, which last for about four hours for the Dubai-Geneva flight and eight hours for the Dubai-Bangkok flight, passengers can relax and shop at the modern and convenient Dubai airport.



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A Song boat trip

Posted on 13 July 2011 by admin

The Song dynasty was a culturally rich period in China when the visual arts, music, literature and philosophy blossomed. A new height of education was achieved with the introduction of strict and extensive examinations to recruit officials for the ruling bureaucracy. Widespread printing, growing literacy and appreciation for the various forms of art led to the development of Chinese culture.

Wat Intharam in the Talat Phlu area.

River City shopping centre and Khun Mae Cruise will host a trip tomorrow (July 2) to explore the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Song dynasty in Thailand. Led by a knowledgeable tour guide, participants will travel on an ancient vessel along the Chao Phraya River and visit Tek Ka Association in Klong San district where the statues of several Chinese gods from the Song era are enshrined. The next destinations are Thon Buri’s ancient Kudee Cheen community _ a melting pot of Chinese, Western and Islamic cultures _ and the nearby Haroon community which is dominated by Muslims.

After the tours and dinner on the boat, they will be led to the River City shopping center to see “The Wealth of Song Dynasty 960-1277 Exhibition” being held there until July 10 from 10am-7pm daily.

Seats for the boat trip are limited. Fee is 1,350 baht per head. For more information and reservations, call 02-639-4532.


Lhinping, a baby panda, at Chiang Mai Zoo.

A cultural walk in Talat Phlu

Culture lover Chulphassorn Panomvan na Ayudhya will lead those interested in the history, art and culture of the Talat Phlu area to several temples and local communities there tomorrow (July2).

Participants will meet in front of Wat Intharam opposite Soi Therdthai 19 at 8am and later visit Wat Intharam, a royal temple established when Thon Buri was the capital. There, they will listen to real stories of King Taksin the Great’s war strategies and victories in many battles, pay respect to the late king’s relics, a Buddha statue and a pagoda dedicated to the king and see important artefacts, such as his bed.

At 9:30am, the group will walk past the Talat Wat Klang Community by the Bang Luang Canal to look for traces of the glorious trade of betel nut leaves in this area and listen to related literature and folktales. They will then worship a sacred wooden Buddha statue and see murals depicting ancient Chinese ceramics in exotic shapes at Wat Chantharam Voraviharn.

At 11am, the group will visit a local tycoon’s ancient house as well as one of many mackerel boiling factories in the area. After having lunch and tasting several kinds of famous desserts near Talat Phlu Railway Station, they will visit Siang Kheng Tueng vegetarian centre _ an ancient spiritual centre of the Talat Phlu area _ to worship several Buddha statues and religious sculptures. At Wat Pho Nimitr, the group will learn how outstanding sema stones around this temple’s ubosot are. They will have the opportunity to see Phra Ajarn Daeng’s murals dating to the Fifth Reign depicting the bringing of the Sri Maha Bhoti tree’s offspring from Lanka to Siam. The tour ends here.

Advance registration and payment is required. Fee is 400 baht per person. For more information and reservations, call絑-343-4261 or email nutchulapassorn@gmail.com.


Chiang Mai Aquarium

Three zoos and one garden in one day

The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Chiang Mai Office, Chiang Mai Zoo, Chang Mai Zoo Aquarium, Chiang Mai Night Safari and Rajapruek Royal Botanical Garden present a tour package of one-night’s accommodation, three meals and a one-day trip to “Three Zoos and One Garden”. The special price of 999 baht per person is being offered from now until September 30.

Upon arrival in Chiang Mai, participants will be picked up by vans to worship Phrathat Doi Supthep first. Then, they will meet three pandas and many more animals at Chiang Mai Zoo and walk through the world’s longest escalator-equipped underwater tunnel at Chiang Mai Zoo Aquarium. After that, they will enjoy the beauty of gardens, plants and flowers at Rajapruek Royal Botanical Garden. At night, they will see wildlife at Chiang Mai Night Safari.

For more information, contact the TAT’s Chiang Mai office on 053-2Ȑ-604 or 053-248-607 or the TAT Call Centre on 1672.

If you have any comments or news to share, send them to pichayas@bangkokpost.co.th.


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Writer: Pichaya Svasti
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The hustle bustle of the pearl of the orient

Posted on 13 July 2011 by admin

A city that forces you to make some rapid adjustments. From the calm and cool of a Kowloon hotel lobby, the heat and hustle of teeming streets engulf you. You fight your way through multitudes only to stumble into sudden shade, greenery and space.

Hong Kong is a place that provokes questions, some without answers. Those five-star hotels and soaring skyscrapers are first world, but those crumbling tenements look third world, don’t they? Where has all the oil-slick slow traffic come from and where on Earth is it going? How do seven million people fit on this tiny speck of land? And how do they decide where to eat in the City of 10,ዀ Restaurants? How can a simmering tureen of tripe stock look so evil yet smell so good? And what, exactly, is in the food product you saw in the supermarket labelled vegetarian gizzard?

Pondering, you reach the water and stare across to Hong Kong Island. Nothing has quite prepared you for the spectacle up close _ freighters and motor junks forever plying their harbour trade and, beyond them, a Futurama cityscape rising from near-vertical jungle slopes.

VICTORIA HARBOUR

You can’t say you’ve done Hong Kong until you’ve taken a ride on the implausibly inexpensive Star Ferry. For a mere HK$2 (eight baht) you can board the upper deck of one of this small fleet of diesel-electric boats first launched in 1888. With names like Morning Star, Celestial Star and Twinkling Star, the ferries are most romantic at night. The boats are festively strung with lights, the city buildings beam onto the rippling water, the frenzy of Hong Kong by day has eased (somewhat) and Hong Kong Island bathes the harbour in its neon glow. If possible, try to take the trip on a clear night from the Kowloon side to Central; it’s not half as dramatic in the other direction. The trip takes about nine minutes (as long as it used to take to read the now-defunct Hong Kong Star, a lowbrow tabloid newspaper, it was said), and departures are very frequent. Indeed, morning and evening, the Star Ferry is a genuinely useful and commonly used way for local people to hop from island to mainland and back again.


HONG KONG ENCOUNTER: Available from all good bookshops for绂 baht.

FOOD

It is hard to have a conversation in Hong Kong without mentioning food, especially when many still greet each other by asking, ”Have you eaten yet?” The vast majority of Hong Kong’s 10,000-odd restaurants serve Chinese food, of course. Cantonese is by far the most popular Chinese cuisine in Hong Kong, but Chiu Chow, Shanghainese, Sichuanese and Northern Chinese are also widely available. Cantonese cuisine is famously fresh _ there’s an emphasis on freshly slaughtered meat and seafood. It is common to see tanks in seafood restaurants full of creatures of the finned or shelled persuasion enjoy ing their final moments on terra infirma. Simple techniques such as steaming and stir-frying allow the ingredients to retain their delicate and well-balanced flavours. Chiu Chow cuisine, a kind of Cantonese cuisine thats managed to distinguish itself from the crowd, makes liberal use of garlic, vinegar and condiments; it’s famous for braised goose and seafood dishes, such as cold crab and shark’s fin soup. Shanghainese cooking and its lighter cousin Hangzhou cuisine use a lot of wine, sugar and cured meat, and rely on stewing, braising and frying. Sichuanese is the most fiery, making great use of chillies and pungent peppercorns. Northern Chinese food uses a lot of oils coupled with such ingredients as vinegar, garlic, spring onions, bean paste and dark soy sauce.


This is an edited extract from ‘Hong Kong Encounter’ by Piera Chen, et al. Lonely Planet, lonelyplanet.com.
For more information visit www.lonelyplanet.com.


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Sharing the MUSIC

Posted on 13 July 2011 by admin

Already a major tourist attraction, with famous floating market and fireflies, Amphawa in Samut Songkhram province is now aiming at another goal _ to become a “city of music”.

The Amphawa Floating Market, a signature tourist attraction of Samut Songkhram province, draws visitors with delicious native cuisine and simple rural lifestyle. There are plans to turn Amphawa into a city of music.

The plan to promote the small city, about 65km west of Bangkok, is being adopted this year by local administration agencies in collaboration with the Bangkok-based Luang Pradit Phairoh Foundation.

“Amphawa has proved that it has high potential as the city of music, given its opulent cultural capital,” said Amphawa mayor Patcharodom Unsuwan. “It is the birthplace _ and also breeding ground _ of the country’s celebrated artists since the early Rattanakosin era, from King Rama II, Luang Pradit Phairoh (Sorn Silpabanleng), to Eua Suntornsanan, founder of Suntaraporn Band.”

The idea has been materialised with “Silpabanleng Pleng Amphawa I,” an ambitious music event which will take place from August 5-7 to commemorate the 130th birth anniversary of Luang Pradit Phairoh. Augustņ was the birthday of the maestro who left his hometown at a very young age to join the court ensemble at Wang Burapa Pirom Palace of Prince Bhanubhandu Vongvoradej before emerging as the ranad legend of his time.

A tribute will also be made to one of Luang Pradit Phairoh’s outstanding students, the late Uthis Narksawat, who was also an Amphawa native.

The Pleng Amphawa event will also see a gathering of musicians from various conservatories, most are them learning music from the generations of the maestro’s students.

A night out in Amphawa is never dull, full of colours.

Amphawa is no newcomer to art and cultural promotion work. The district has played host to a stream of cultural activities that drew huge crowds over the past few years.

One of these remarkable events is the annual mask dance performance by the Fine Arts Department at the Rama II Memorial Park in February, the birth month of the artistic king.

“We also have a concert in memory of Khru Eua every year, on the third Saturday of January. His birthday is January 21, but we hold it on Saturdays in order that more people can join,” said the mayor.

Amphawa still boasts a living musical heritage, with a number of prominent pi phat ensembles and also local trae wong brass bands which still well serve the local people’s cultural needs. Their performances are in high demand, in particular for monk ordination and funeral ceremonies.

Boat vendors perform brisk trade at the floating market.

Apart from the musicians, Amphawa and other parts of Samut Songkhram, in particular Bang Khonthi district, are famous as the source of unique heart-shaped coconut shells that are perfect for low-pitch saw u fiddle-making, and the artisans who produce the musical instrument.

Patcharodom said there will be project to create ”young Luang Pradit Phairohs” _ a music education programme for youth in the area.

”We are looking into the possibility to groom Amphawa kids to ensure they are knowledgeable in the area of Thai traditional music,” he said.

In addition, Patcharodom said the local agency is considering a museum project in honour of Luang Pradit Phairoh.

The project to celebrate the 130th birth anniversary of the maestro is being supported financially by the Designated Areas for Sustainable Development Administration. It also coincides with the administration’s plan to enlist Amphawa and adjacent areas as designated sustainable tourism zone.

Sawangpong Muadphet, director of Dasta’s Creative Design Project, said Amphawa is about to be placed on the special tourism zone list.

Amphawa youths join a Thai classical band at Ban Dontri music house. There are plenty of music and music-related activities in Amphawa. This old school at Wat Phumarin Kudeethong has been turned into ‘Ban Dontri’ or music house. Each classroom is designated for different instruments. Amphawa municipality envisages a museum in memory of Luang Pradit Phairoh inside the building.

”All the process has been completed, just pending the nod from the new government,” he said.

To become a designated zone, local people have to work out a community plan for sustainable tourism, he said.

”Local villagers will have a say in the plan. Before this, we concentrated primarily on economic aspects when promoting tourism, overlooking the social and environmental impact.

”Now, we’re seeking more balance in the development. Money may not be the most important factor in the development,” he said.

Amphawa is outstanding in the area of art and culture, and the development plan should start from there, Sawangpong said.

”We focus on what makes local people proud and to what they give value in pursuing development,” he said.

At the same time, Suan Luang Tambon Administration has proposed the construction of a Luang Pradit Phairoh statue in Amphawa district.

The agency has begun raising funds for the statue, which is to be located in the grounds of Wat Phumarin Kudeethong temple, in addition to the statue of another Amphawa artist, vocalist Toon Tongchai.

However, the Luang Pradit Phairoh Foundation has received this proposal with hesitation.

The Rama II Memorial Park boasts a museum and it is the venue for an open-air khon mask dance performed every year in honour of King Rama II.

Malinee Sagarik, the foundation’s president, said: ”The large amount of money for the statue should be spent on something more constructive with long-lasting benefits, like the making of young Luang Pradit Phairoh project that will equip young people with music knowledge.”

The Amphawa municipality has secured support for the music education project.

”It’s in the plan but local administration bodies can’t do this alone. We have no knowledge about this art and need help and commitment from people in the know, from musicians, and also from the Luang Pradit Phairoh Foundation,” said Patcharodom.

AMPHAWA TO SALUTE ITS FAVOURITE SON

Amphawa district in Samut Songkhram is the scene of revelry next month to celebrate the 1Ǿth birth anniversary of Thai classical music supremo Luang Pradit Phairoh.

Scheduled for August 5-7 and organised by local government agencies and the Luang Pradit Phairoh Foundation, the event promises plenty of fun for fans and exponents of traditional Thai musical instruments. Born in Amphawa, Luang Pradit Phairoh is regarded as the father of Thai classical music as we know it today.

On the cards are a group performance featuring 130 ranad or xylophones on A-noo, a musical gem composed by the maestro; a traditional pi phat prachan cherng musical contest; and a folksy luk thung concert titled “Pleng Khru Khu Samai” inspired basically by classical music genre.

A host of musicians from various disciplines will be on hand to entertain the audience. Playing lead xylophone in the pi phat contest will be one of its top exponents, Chaichana Te-aun, who will lead his Sid Khru Boonyong Katekong band against Sid Khru Prasert Sodsaengchand band helmed by Prasit Intarapipar, while Thaweesak Akrawong of Korphai fame will lead his troupe against Kraisan Yaemtap’s Lai Thai band.

The celebrations wrap up with a traditional wai khru ceremony in which participants pay their respects to Luang Pradit Phairoh.

On sale will be a commemorative book on music and musical arts of Amphawa, written by ethnomusicologist Anant Narkkong and the College of Music lecturer, Asdavuth Sagarik.

Amphawa mackerel is one of the delicacies sought by tourists.


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Bangkok leads Asia Pacific tourist spending

Posted on 13 July 2011 by admin

Bangkok will lead other Asia Pacific countries in terms of international tourist arrivals and spending. The city will also be in the 3rd global position regarding the highest numbers of visitors in 2011, according to recent research by MasterCard.

Bangkok will welcome 11.5 million foreign visitors who will spend US$14.4 billion (432 billion baht) in񎧛.

The MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities found that there will be 20.1 million visitors to visit London followed by 18.1 million to Paris and 11.5 million to Bangkok _ slightly higher than Singapore in 4th place with 11.4 million visitors and Hong Kong in 5th position with 10.9 million international arrivals.

For the top five destination cities in the Asia Pacific based on visitor expenditure, Bangkok comes in top position again with an estimated total visitor expenditure of US$14.4 billion in 2011, followed by Sydney (US$13.8 billion), Singapore (US$10.8 billion), Hong Kong (US$10.4 billion) and Seoul (US$10.2 billion).

The research also found that the top five visitors to Bangkok are from Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul and London. However, spending by visitors from Hong Kong, estimated at US$1.5 billion, is the largest.

The top five cities that have the largest tourist spending are London (US$25.6 billion), New York (US$20.3 billion), Paris (US$14.6 billion), Bangkok (USพ.4 billion) and Frankfurt (US$14 billion).

To further promote Bangkok, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has joined hands with MasterCard and 180 service providers in Bangkok to launch the “Stopover Bangkok” campaign.

It is targeting 1.5 million transit passengers at Suvarnabhumi International Airport to spend a night or two here.

The campaign offers various privileges such as up to 50% discounts, buy-one-get-one-free, or up to 9,000 baht price reductions in various service categories such as local tours, dining, golf, shopping, Thai cooking classes and transportation. In addition, MasterCard holders will have special top-up privileges and discounts from 5% to 20%.

To join the campaign, one needs to register at StopOverBangkok website (www.stopoverbangkok.com). The campaign will run until the end of October.

The TAT has also joined hands with goods and services providers in the tourism industry to launch the “Amazing Thailand Grand Sales” nationwide campaign.

The two-month campaign, which ends on August 15, will offer 10-80% discounts on goods from participating department stores, shopping malls, King Power Duty Free, jewellery shops, golf courses, spas, hospitals, airlines, online travel agencies and local providers of Otop products.

The campaign extends beyond Bangkok, including Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Phuket, Hat Yai and Koh Samui.

Visit www.tourismthailand.org/thailandgrandsale/index. php for more details.

Airlines and hotel update

- Thai Airways has climbed the stairs of World’s Best Airline Award from 9th to 5th place this year.

The results are based on Skytrax’s passenger survey 2011 which surveyed 18.8 million passengers and covered about 200 airlines. It measured passengers’ experiences across more than 38 different items of airline front-line product and service starting from check-in to boarding to seat comfort and cabin cleanliness to food and beverages and staff service.

Top of the world’s list is Qatar Airways which pipped the 2008 winner Singapore Airlines into second place, with Asiana Airlines (2010 Best Airline) in third position this year. Cathay Pacific Airways retained its 4th place from last year, and Thai Airways International was a mover, rising four places to 5th position.

THAI was also named the World’s Best Economy Class Airline Catering and the World’s Best Economy Class Airline Seat.

In addition, THAI took the 2nd place for Best Airline Ground Services after All Nippon Airways and Best First Class Airline Lounge after Qatar Airways.

For the Best Low-Cost Airline, AirAsia has been in the position for the three consecutive years, followed by JetStar Airways and Virgin America.

For the Best Regional Airline Asia, the top three are Dragon Air, SilkAir and Bangkok Airways.

Visit http: www.worldairlineawards .com for more details.

- Nok Air will launch two new direct and daily flights; Chiang Mai-Udon Thani, and Bangkok-Nakhon Phanom on July 15.

The flight to Udon Thani will serve up to 66 passengers and will depart Chiang Mai at 5:35pm daily while the Bangkok-Nakhon Phanom flight will be a 34-seat fleet and will leave Don Muang two times a day at 11:30am and 6:10pm.

The airline will also increase one additional flight from Bangkok to Phitsanulok, and Bangkok to Nan in the middle of this month.

Visit www.nokair.com for more details.

- Bangkok Airways has closed its check-in service at Airport Rail Link’s Makkasan station after only dozens of passengers used the service per day.

The airline had expected up to 400 passengers to check-in at the city’s station on Phetchaburi Road. But, in fact, only 20-50 people used the service per day.

At present, only Thai Airways offers the city check-in service which is operated daily during 8am to 9pm. However the number of counters was reduced from four to just one.

Meanwhile the Airport Rail Link Express service has offered another direct ride from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Phaya Thai station in addition to the existing route from Suvarnabhumi and Makkasan station.

The service is available every 30 minutes from 6am to midnight.

It also offers a discount round-trip ticket of 150 baht for both express line services from now until the end of December.

- Centara Hotels Resorts will soft launch Centara Anda Dhevi Resort Spa in September.

The four-star resort will be Centara’s second managed property in Krabi. The resort is owned by Anda Dhevi Resort and Spa Company which invested about 350 million baht in construction.

Located about 100 metres from Nopparat Thara Beach and a 40-minute drive from Krabi Airport, the resort will offer 135 rooms and suites offering choices of spaces from 36ф to 92m2. Each room has a furnished balcony or terrace and a private bathroom.

Other facilities are a restaurant serving both Thai and international cuisines, a Lobby Bar, a lounge, a 43-metre-long swimming pool with waterslides and Coco’s swim-up bar, a children’s pool, Camp Safari kids club, fitness centre, a spa and two meeting or function rooms.


If you have any comments or news to share, send them to karnjanak@bangkokpost.co.th.


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One day in Dubai

Posted on 13 July 2011 by admin

Halfway between Asia and Europe is Dubai, the United Arab Emirates’ major port city by the sea and desert. It is where old and modern cultures blend and is well worth exploring. During the day, visitors can ride traditional abra or water taxis along the Dubai Creek, visit cultural attractions, sip Arabian coffee, try shisha, hit local souks and see the local way of life. In the evening, they may want to see the sunset on the beach, climb the world’s tallest building, shop until they drop at the Dubai Mall, stretch their tired legs in limousines and check into a seven-star hotel.

The Bastakiya cultural district is full of traditional buildings with wind towers and exhibitions on local and Bedouin ways of life.

Many Thais know Dubai as an international business hub, a shopping paradise and an important workplace for Thai workers. Dubai’s population is around 1.8 million, according to Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. Each year, 6 to 7 million tourists visit Dubai and 20-25 million people use or transit Dubai International Airport.

Dubai is the world’s second most popular destination for shopping after the US. However, for non-shopaholics and non-business people, a one-day stopover in Dubai sounds tedious. As a matter of fact, this city has a lot to offer culture lovers, both well-heeled and budget travellers.

History buffs may find the world’s tallest skyscraper, 200 man-made islands and large shopping malls in Dubai. A better idea would be visiting a mosque, museum and a local village, haggling at spice and gold souks, tasting local specialities and crossing the Dubai Creek alongside veiled locals and sari-clad Indians. Each spice costs 30-60 dirhams (249 to 450 baht) per kilogramme. Saffron is the most expensive.

Visitors to Dubai should not miss the opportunity to visit Jumeirah Mosque, located on beach road in the old Jumeirah district. This mosque was built with modern construction materials in the medieval Fatimid fashion less than two decades ago. The most outstanding feature of this mosque is that it is open to non-Muslims to visit on organised tours four mornings a week to learn and understand more about Islam. The project is aimed at tearing down religious and cultural barriers.

Dubai Museum, located at Al Fahaidi Fort dating back to 1787, has a tunnel of history and exhibitions on the history, culture and development of Dubai.

The Jumeirah area was the home of Arab fishermen, traders and pearl divers before becoming a residential area for well-off Western expats since 1960. Its growth has continued since the ’90s.

Not far away is the Dubai Museum. On the way to the museum, travellers may choose to stop and taste Arab, Egyptian, Lebanese and international fare on Al Safa Road, known as one of Dubai’s best places for food. It costs between 30-35 dirhams (249 to 290 baht) per meal per person.

Dubai Museum was established in 1971 at the Al Fahaidi Fort dating from 1787. This fort is a part of the Wall of Old Dubai dating to 1800. The fort’s wooden gate leads to several halls with displays and exhibitions on the history of Dubai. The north wing features the history of the Emirate and the fort, while the south wing has a tunnel of history and also a military section displaying ancient weaponry. A vintage cannon in the Northeast tower has been there since the establishment of the tower.

Walking through the south wing’s tunnel of history, visitors will learn about Dubai’s past via images, words and multimedia displays. After reaching Dubai Creek, they will see many shops and lives in a traditional souk and then enter the old city with colourful social, cultural and religious ways of life. They will proceed to the desert and oasis where they will see how the Bedouin live. Later, they will learn about natural history and astronomy, see Dubai’s close ties with the sea and archaeological evidence dating to 3,000BC.

Jumeirah Mosque is notable for opening its doors to people of other faiths to visit and learn more about Islam and the Muslim way of life.

Another cultural must-see is theಎkm Dubai Creek, a natural sea-water inlet which divides the city into two sections – Deira Dubai and Bur Dubai – and is where Dubai’s centuries-old trading traditions came into existence. Originally, the creek was established for ancient trading routes to faraway destinations like India and East Africa. It first accommodated only small vessels, so traditional Arab sailing dhows had to wait at its entrance to load and unload goods. Later in the 1960s, the creek was deepened to serve larger vessels.

Stunning is a panoramic view of the city from the water taxis, which travel the creek between the Deira side and the Bur Dubai side and stop by the souks. Travelling on an abra is cheap with prices starting from 1 dirham (8 baht) per trip per head. From the banks of the creek, people will see dhows load and unload goods. In other words, Dubai’s centuries-old trading traditions had emerged on these banks.

In ancient times wind towers lined both sides of Dubai Creek. Wind towers were a cooling technique for houses in pre-electricity days. At present, traditional courtyard houses with wind towers can be found in the old Bastakiya district, a cultural centre representing the old city which accounts only one percent of Dubai.

The traditional courtyard houses with wind towers and their compounds in Bastakiya currently serve as museums, art galleries, traditional markets and restaurants. Situated by Dubai Creek, this “village” is like a living museum. On the ground in front of the village stand the Bedouin’s traditional shelters, clothes and kitchen tools.

Dubai�™s Spice Souk is situated by the Dubai Creek.

Those wanting to see more of local and Bedouin ways of life can also visit Hatta Village, or Dubai Heritage Village, a recreation of a traditional-style mountain village set in an oasis. This village is filled with mud and barasti (palm leaves) houses and boasts an oasis. Facing it is a large fort and tower.

After half or all day of their cultural roundabout in the city, visitors can enjoy dinner in local restaurants or traditionally decorated cruise dhows or trying Dubai desert safaris in the evening or overnight. Dubai has a wide array of desert safari and mountain safari tours on offer. Dubai desert is famous for the stunning shapes and colours of sand dunes, where visitors can enjoy dune bashing, sand skiing, camel riding or desert quad biking, barbecues, Arabic coffee and tea, shisha and belly dancing. Another must-see is a 80-million-year-old fossil rock in the desert.

With all these cultural and natural wonders, how can anyone say a one-day layover in Dubai is boring?

An abra on the Dubai Creek whose both banks are filled with souks and old buildings with wind towers.


HOW TO GET THERE

- Emirates Airways and Thai Airways fly between Bangkok and Dubai. Emirates’ all-inclusive economy class airfare is around 29,000 baht.

- Visit www.emirates.com. Until July 12, Thai Airways is offering a special promotion at the starting price of 15,350 baht for economy class and 25,975 baht for business class.

- Visit http://www.thaiairways.com/offers/special-fare-promotions/en/thai-51st-en.htm.


TRAVEL INFO

- The Dubai Museum is on Al Fahid Street in Bur Dubai. Open from 8am-8pm daily, admission fees are 3 dirhams for adults and 1 dirham for children under the age of 6.

- Jumeirah Mosque tours are conducted every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday starting at 10am. The fee is 10 dirhams per person.

- Abra or water taxis operate between Dubai and Deira. Fares are 1 dirham for a creek crossing trip and 50ᇐ dirhams for an abra for half an hour.

- Visit http://www.dubaitourism.ae or www.timeoutdubai.com.


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columnist
Writer: Pichaya Svasti
Position: Life Writer


Article source: http://feeds.bangkokpost.com/c/33101/f/535956/s/166a2386/l/0L0Sbangkokpost0N0Ctravel0Cintertrips0C24549ȺCone0Eday0Ein0Edubai/story01.htm

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Tongsai Bay

Posted on 13 July 2011 by admin

84 Moo 5 Bo Phut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 򉱠 Tel: 077-245-480_500 Fax: 077-425-462 Website: www.tongsaibay.co.th Email: info@tongsaibay.co.th

One of the oldest five-star resorts on Koh Samui, Tongsai Bay is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Sitting amidst 10 hectares of lush jungle overlooking a sandy bay, it is renowned for privacy and passion to preserve the island and its environment. From word of mouth I’d learned of Tongai Bay’s famous “service” its staff accorded to visiting guests, and I wished to find out if it’s really as good.

Tongsai Bay offers 83 suites, cottages and villas of various sizes  starting from 68 m2 to 400m2. All rooms have terraces with a view to the sea.

I stayed in the Pool Villa that came with a large balcony, a giant bathtub and a private swimming pool with a sala for spa and massage.


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A Korean caper

Posted on 13 July 2011 by admin

If you try to work up a list of countries that have witnessed the fastest changes since World War II, Seoul, the capital of South Korea, would certainly make that list.

Digital Media City is a new project rising on a former garbage dump in Seoul. The Seoul municipality is developing the area as a futuristic city to attract IT firms as the country braces for the digital age. The project was envisaged as a showcase of emerging technology that could be adapted for use in daily life, such as homes equipped with health check sensors, automatic internet connections with wall-size monitors and education gadgets. Seen here is interactive snow projected on a wall at the touch of a button.

Some 60 years ago, the country was in a shambles, still trying to rise from the ashes of a war. Pictures from that era show how difficult life was in South Korea at the time.

Even less than two decades ago, most Thai visitors returning from Seoul regarded South Korean people as a very serious, grim looking lot who rarely smiled and, if they bumped into you, which happened often especially during the rush hours, they would never stop to apologise, just brush past you. They seemed in a hurry all the time.

“That may be true,” conceded my tour guide Park Seungjoo. “You may have read that in some tourist literature. But the fact is life then was much more difficult than it is now.”

But the Seoul I visited just recently was a far cry from those days.

People seemed relaxed. Seoul the city looked neat and tidy, with new mega malls overlooking famous corners and junctions, and the public places adorned in works of art are soothing and bring peace of mind to visiting tourists. Just incredible, how much the city had changed.

Today South Korea is a frontline Asian state with a robust economy and cutting-edge technology hurtling fast-forward into the digital age. The change manifests itself via proliferation of the Korean culture we have come to know as the K-Wave: Korean pop music, fashion, cuisine and digital gadgets. The new trend is an expression of the age – youth, speed and vitality – and it’s swept across fast to other countries in its vicinity, including Japan and China, and is now poised to move on to a bigger audience on the global stage.

Life seems much easier these days, and the local people appeared more eager and willing to flash a smile than before, and they did not seem in a hurry. I traded many a smile with them walking the streets of Seoul, and had several eye contacts as well. The experience made me feel they’re a friendly people and, at times, perhaps even more than my own lot in this Land of Smiles.

All said and done and the pace at which change has taken place, I told myself at the end of the trip it would be hard to recognise Seoul if I returned there a decade from now.

TRAVEL INFO


 - For more information about attractions, events and activities in Seoul and its vicinity, visit

www.visitseoul.net.

For shoppers, a few days in Seoul is hardly enough to do full justice to its spread of shopping districts, malls and local markets. Insadong is a street famous for native art and craft, the shops specialising in traditional Korean goods such as Hanbok cloth, Hanji paper, teas, pottery and handicraft.

From late morning till dusk, Namdaemun market is always bustling with shoppers foreign and local. A stone’s throw from the fashion hub Myeongdong, Namdaemun is the largest traditional market selling household appliances and other goods such as apparel, kitchen utensils, electronics, local produce, native handicraft, imported goods and much more.

The demilitarised zone (DMZ) at the 38th parallel dividing communist North from South Korea is now a tourist attraction and, for security reasons, accessible only to foreign tourists. One of the main attractions is a network of tunnels dug by North Korea with the purpose of attacking Seoul. So far four have been found. Shown here is the third tunnel. Taking pictures inside the tunnel is prohibited.

The border fence that divides North and South Korea is a patchwork of names. Koreans trying to make contact with relatives across the DMZ write out their names on colourful paper, which they paste to the fence. It is estimated that over 5 million Korean families were dislocated by the DMZ.

An exhibition hall at the third tunnel depicts North Korean soldiers at work. Discovered in 1ᚒ, it’s 1,600 metres long, 150 metres under the ground and only 52km from Seoul. It’s estimated that it would have taken approximately an hour to move 10ꯠ soldiers through the tunnel.

Tourists and Seoul residents enjoy colourful scenery along the Cheonggyecheon, a stream that snakes around the Dongdaemun shopping hub in Seoul. In 2005 the city launched a project to clean the river. The outcome: the area has become a nice place for city dwellers to come relax and enjoy.

Admission to the National Museum of Korea in Seoul is free. The place is home to many precious artefacts from ancient times, such as a gold crown from the Silla era, a 10-storey marble pagoda from the 14th century and many more. One of the most famous pieces on show is the gilt-bronze Pensive Bodhisattva dating to the late sixth century. It is in the 78th place on the national treasure list.

Last month Seoul marked the 61th anniversary of the start of the Korean War, fought from 1950-1953 leading to the carving of Koreas — North and South, when the city put on display pictures from the war. Thailand was among the first countries to send troops there, dispatching 2,100 soldiers to fight the communists in what was then a unified Korea.

Teenagers exhibit their talents at Dongdaemun shopping area in Seoul. Korean Wave or K-wave is a popular trend in which teenagers are encouraged to show off their talents.

Dorasan is the northernmost railway station in South Korea situated only 700 metres from the DMZ. A rail line from this station connects Pyongyang some 200 kilometres away. Rather quiet, with no real rail traffic between the two countries, Dorasan is a symbol of hope for millions either side of the DMZ who dream of a reunified Korea.

From Kijong-dong village on the South Korean side of border, you can see Panmungun, or Peace village, on the opposite side. The South Koreans have dubbed it Propaganda village. After watching it for a while, you’ll notice there are no villagers there, only soldiers.

The National Assembly in Seoul is open to the public so people can come and learn about politics and the price South Korea was forced to pay for freedom and democracy. After a long struggle for independence from the Japanese, the Korean people were finally liberated in 1945 after Japan’s defeat in World War II. But it was small consolation as the nation was torn asunder by another war thereafter, that led to the Korean peninsular being divided into a communist North and democratic South, signalling the start of the protracted Cold War — capitalism vs socialism — that pitted the West, led by the US, against the now defunct Soviet Union.


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columnist
Writer: Peerawat Jariyasombat
Position: Travel Reporter


Article source: http://feeds.bangkokpost.com/c/33101/f/535956/s/167a6d05/l/0L0Sbangkokpost0̌Ctravel0Cintertrips0C2458460Ca0Ekorean0Ecaper/storyǡ.htm

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Tourism display livens up London

Posted on 13 July 2011 by admin

Thailand has wowed visitors to the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show with its spectacular “Thailand: Experience the Elements” feature, inspired by the country’s natural wonders which blend everyday life with tourism.

Juthaporn Rerngronasa, deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thai Ambassador to the UK Kitti Wasinondh, second and third from left, at the opening of ‘‘Thailand: Experience the Elements’�� at the Hampton Court Flower Show. At second right is Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, director of the Office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, London.

Opened by Juthaporn Rerngronasa, deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and Thai Ambassador to the UK Kitti Wasinondh last Monday, the display is themed “4Elements” – combining the traditional concept of the four elements with interactive interpretations featuring witty gimmicks.

For example, since the Wind element in a tropical country is linked to the warm and sunny climate, there is an activity featuring the work of umbrella-painting artists. Visitors can purchase the product and have it personalised.

Similar interpretations are given to the other three elements: Water with spa and water therapy treatment; Earth with Thai pottery, which turns into a fun-filled activity for kids who can make their own clay creations to take home; and Fire with hot and spicy Thai cuisine. Visitors can feel the Lanna atmosphere with tung, northern-style decorative items, as well as chong, a northern term for umbrella, all over the place.

This is the fourth year in a row the Tourism Authority of Thailand has joined the show at Hampton Court. Last year, its “House by the River” show garden grabbed a Gold Medal and Best at Show Tudor Rose Award.

“Following our huge success last year with a double win, we wanted to return with an idea that really engaged with visitors, bringing Thailand to life in front of their very eyes again. ’4Elements’ is a truly interactive, fun and interesting feature, that is not to be missed if you want to gain a real sense of this amazing country,” said Tourism Thailand’s Joanna Cooke.

Visitors have the chance to win a holiday for two to Thailand with EVA Air, Bangkok Airways, Travelbag and Centara Hotels Resorts.


“Thailand: Experience the Elements” will welcome visitors until Sunday, July 10.


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Novotel Bangkok Impact

Posted on 13 July 2011 by admin

94 Popular Road, Pakkred, Nonthaburi 11120 Tel: 02-833-4888 Fax: 02-833-4889 Website: www.novotel.com Email: h8059@accor.com

From a consumer perspective, the popping-up of a new hotel hardly makes any difference at all in one’s life. But the recent launch of the 380-room Novotel Bangkok Impact is good news for a lot of people.

The entrepreneurs, exhibitors and conference delegates who attend or participate in the numerous events held throughout the year at Impact Muang Thong Thani now have a decent place for overnight stays in the vicinity instead of having to travel back and forth between the complex and downtown Bangkok.

Shoppers can now enjoy the trade fairs and sales events for two or more days in a row without worrying about traffic jams around the complex and finding a parking space. Concert-goers not wishing to drive or take a taxi home late at night after a show now have a safe refuge until the next morning, or at least until their parents come to pick them up.

So next time you visit Impact, drop in and check out the new Novotel and you may also be thankful for this latest addition to the complex.


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