THAILAND

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Flight delays? There’s an app for that

Published January 21, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30362547

Flight delays? There’s an app for that

Thailand January 19, 2019 11:18

By The Nation

Travel booking website Traveloka introduces its latest feature, Flight Status, which enables users to track flight status in real-time. This feature aims to make it easier for users to track flights in various conditions and can be used both by people who want to take a flight or by family and close relatives who want to pick up their colleagues at the airport.

When arranging a trip by plane in this era of frequent delays, passengers need some kind of information on what cannot be predicted. The same goes for colleagues, friends or family who want to be picked up at the airport, who often find themselves waiting for hours because they didn’t know the flight had been delayed.

“We want to provide flight status information in a way that’s convenient and easy to access, both to help passengers and those meeting them. By having this new feature, users can easily have the information only by their fingertips and users can also share their flight status information with their closest family and relatives when needed,” says Tee Chayakul, Country Manager at Traveloka Thailand.

To access Flight Status feature, open the Traveloka app (3.6.0 version), select Flight Status at the homepage and fill in flight details by choosing Route or by Flight Code. Then click “See Status” and the real-time of your flight status will appear on the screen. Users can also check their flight status in their e-ticket on My Booking section.

“The availability of the Flight Status feature for the first time by Traveloka, is expected to answer users’ anxiety, both passengers and relatives, making for better planning,” Tee adds.

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Thailand comes out tops

Published January 11, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30361850

Thailand comes out tops

Thailand January 09, 2019 01:00

By The Nation

4,030 Viewed

For those seeking a fresh idea for their next holidays, Expedia offers a list of the rising destinations according to air travel demand between January 1 and November 1.

Expedia analysed thousands of data points to identify the top travel trends and the results show that Thai travellers love exploring their very own backyard. Secondary cities like Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Nan, Buri Ram and Loei have earned popularity with non-traditional lodging options such as aparthotel and tentalows (tent bangalows).

Expedia crunched flight data from 2018 to determine the top travel spots and discovered Thai travellers are choosing to explore local destinations, which may not be surprising as Thailand has a lot to offer. From adventures to laid-back sandy beaches, and a delightful culinary experience– there is something for everybody.

Garnering more than 50 percent growth year on year from 2017, Thailand’s new Top 10 popular destinations are Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Nan, Buri Ram, Loei, Roi Et, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phitsanulok, Narathiwat and Ubon Ratchathani. International destinations include Hong Kong, Tokyo, Osaka, Singapore and Taipei.

Hotels continue to be top choice of accommodation for Thais, who prefer the comfort of staying in a hotel or traditional resort, instead of roughing it out at other alternative lodging options. Despite the numerous long weekends and public holidays, Thais only stayed an average of 1.9 days at hotels.

The Top 5 hotel properties for Thai travellers are Sotetsu Fresa Inn Ueno-Okachimachi and APA Hotel Asakusa Tawaramachi Ekimae in Tokyo, The Neelawat Riverside in Phunphin, V Hotel Lavender in Singapore and Amari Don Muang Airport in Bangkok.

If you want to experience these properties next year, beat other Thais to it by booking through Expedia’s mobile app – simply because it give you extra mobile-only discounts for hotels, and you can double your Expedia Reward points.

Expedia’s flight data confirms that travelling ahead of the holidays is bound to be hectic. For Thais, the most popular booking month is April and the least popular booking month is May.

Find new inspiration at travelblog.expedia.co.th.

Kimono my house!

Published January 8, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30361652

  • Sak Lamjuan founded the Kolak Thai Date Farm 20 years ago.
  • A tunnel of torii at Hinoki Land mimics the one at Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine.
  • Chiang Mai’s Chaiya Prakan district has become “Tokyo North”, although Hinoki Castle at Hinoki Land actually replicates Kyoto’s Temple of the Golden Pavilion.
  • Thais don kimonos to pose for photos at Hinoki Land’s own Thunder Gate.
  • Anirut Jeungsutprasoet continues to add to Hinoki Land.
  • The main Japanese-style pavilion at Kolak Thai Date Farm is one of many photogenic attractions.

Kimono my house!

lifestyle January 07, 2019 01:00

By Jintana Panyaarvudh
The Nation
Chaiya Prakan, Chiang Mai

3,634 Viewed

Thai admirers of Japanese culture have separately recreated an authentic Japanese town and village in Chiang Mai

ANIRUT Jeungsutprasoet had a dream – one that he was sure no other Thai could have had. The 61-year-old businessman wanted to replicate in Thailand the Japanese town where he spent almost 20 years.

He had two reasons.

“First, I fell in love with Japan and I’m really impressed with its people, and I wanted to share that feeling with my countrymen,” Anirut grins.

Second, he wanted to give Thais who are unable for whatever reason to travel to Japan the chance to sample the experience and learn something about Japanese tradition and culture.

As has been said, no dream is out of reach.

Chiang Mai’s Chaiya Prakan district has become “Tokyo North”, although Hinoki Castle at Hinoki Land actually replicates Kyoto’s Temple of the Golden Pavilion.

Anirut opened what he called “Hinoki Land” this past October, in Chiang Mai, after 17 months of construction.

The Bt1.3-billion, 200-rai Japanese theme park is in Chaiya Prakan district, about 120 kilometres from downtown Chiang Mai, and it’s quickly proven popular. Tourists are flowing in, signalling their visits with “check-ins” on social media.

Anirut, who was born in Si Sa Ket but whose wife hails from Chiang Mai, designed the landscaping and interior decoration and oversaw construction so it would be as faithful as possible to the original in Japan.

This huge torii gateway rises outside Hinoki Castle.

The name “Hinoki” is borrowed from Chamaecyparis obtusa, a cypress tree native to central Japan, whose wood is used to build palaces, temples, shrines and noh theatres and also makes a fine incense, admired for its light, earthy aroma.

Discovering that hinoki grows in Laos as well, Anirut realised he had a chance to pursue his dream. In 2002 he acquired a concession to fell enough of the trees to erect all of the buildings for his town. Among these are landmarks well known enough even in Thailand that visitors feel like they’re exploring the real places.

The entrance gate with its gigantic lantern mimics Kaminarimon, the “Thunder Gate” of the famous Sensoji Temple in Tokyo’s Asakusa district.

The massive gate at the entrance to Hinoki Land is a copy of Kaminarimon – the “Thunder Gate” at Sensoji Temple in Tokyo.

What many people do upon arrival is rent a traditional Japanese kimono to wear while enjoying the tour, making the visit that much more memorable. As part of his aim to celebrate the culture, Anirut actually imports the kimonos from Japan.

The next amazing sight to see is a palisade of 88 red torii, a copy of the one at Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine. A pleasant stroll through the arches includes a few pauses to pose for pictures, resplendent in your classical Japanese garb.

A tunnel of torii at Hinoki Land mimics the one at Kyoto’s Fushimi Inari Shrine.

At the end stands the largest torii of all, directly in front of Hinoki Castle, a grand wooden structure four storeys tall that replicates Kyoto’s Kinkakuji Temple – the Temple of the Golden Pavilion.

Alongside is a building housing “Japan Town”, a great place to dine, drink and shop. The items on sale are all imported.

Thais don kimonos to pose for photos at Hinoki Land’s own Thunder Gate.

Anirut is planning more. Over the next two years he’ll build a ryokan – one of those terrific traditional inns where Japanese and foreign tourists still can stay all over Japan. He wants everything to seem as authentic as possible.

“This is a real Japanese town – not just something similar,” he says.

Hinoki Land is indeed a genuine town, and just a kilometre away is cosy Japanese village – just as realistic and just as charming.

Ban Suan Kolak, known in English as Kolak Thai Date Farm, was the first farm in Southeast Asia to grow dates in large quantities and it too welcomes visitors, as well as hosting date exporters on a regular basis.

The “Kolak” in the name refers to Sak “Ko Lak” Lamjuan, who founded the farm 20 years ago after developing the original Thai species of date, designated “Kl1 [Maejo36]”.

Japanese architecture is everywhere to be enjoyed at Kolak Thai Date Farm.

Now 64, Sak says the dates grown there are better than the ones grown in arid countries overseas – the more common sources – thanks to Thailand’s rainfall.

The 60-rai farm initially only grew dates to sell to tourists passing through and to export to like Malaysia and Indonesia, where the populations are primarily Muslim. Muslims regard the fruit as a gift from Allah.

Five years ago Sak began promoting the farm as a tourist attraction, drawing interest with Japanese-style architecture inspired by visits to Japan by his daughter-in-law Pannarat.

The main Japanese-style pavilion at Kolak Thai Date Farm is one of many photogenic attractions.

Souvenirs, teas, sweets and dried fruit are sold at the main pavilion near the entrance to the garden, which boasts a simple yet exquisite design. Pannarat dispatched an architect to Osaka to learn how to build the copper roof by hand.

The gorgeous and tranquil Japanese garden is half Arab-style date farm. A small, red arched bridge over the beautiful pond between a cafe and the main shop is perfect for keepsake snapshots.

Also near the main pavilion is a staircase of stones that leads to a large red torii and then the date farm.

The reception area and a Muslim prayer hall are inside a chalet with a triangular roof that’s a replica of one seen at Shirakawa-go, a traditional village and World Heritage site in Japan’s Gifu Prefecture.

Fresh dates 

The best time to visit Ban Suan Kolak is between July and October, when the palms are yielding fruit. Sak even encourages guests to get involved in the harvesting.

But, at any time of the year, the farm is a marvellous place to take a rest and sip date tea. Try the sweetened sticky rice mixed with date fruit and perilla seeds – and don’t miss sampling fresh dates, which taste completely different from dried dates.

SUN RISING IN THAILAND

Hinoki Land is at 73 Si Dong Yen, Chaiya Prakan district, Chiang Mai. It’s open daily from 8 to 5. Call (094) 731 0731 or visit Facebook.com/bannhinoki.

Kolak Thai Date Farm is at 31 Moo 1 Si Dong Yen in the same district and open during the same hours.

Call (089) 202 5298 or check out Facebook.com/intapalum.

The world at our feet

Published December 30, 2018 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30361306

  • Japan is still the most popular holiday destination thanks to its diversity of culture, beautiful nature and illumination festivals. (Photo/EPA)
  • Mae Hong Son is one of 25 eco-cultural tours under the Once as a Tourist campaign.
  • Tourists can find some new rising culinary stars in the second edition of Michelin Guide Bangkok. (Photo/EPA)
  • Travellers staying at Hotel Jen Orchardgateway and Tanglin Singapore are greeted by a pair of robotic butlers Jeno and Jena. (Courtesy of Hotel Tanglin Singapore)

The world at our feet

Thailand December 29, 2018 01:00

By Pattarawadee Saengmanee
The Nation Weekend

4,440 Viewed

Trips to space may well be in the future for the inveterate traveller but in the meantime there’s plenty to do and see on Planet Earth

AS 2018 COMES to an end, we take a look at what’s coming up for travel in 2019 and the best places to go to satisfy our inner ecologist

Medical tourism

With many countries entering an ageing society and people increasingly focusing on their health, it comes as little surprise to see that more than 10 million tourists are now travelling to other countries to seek out the best treatments at an affordable price. According to Patients Beyond Borders, Thailand ranks among the top 10 medical tourism destinations, along with Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Mexico, Israel, Costa Rica, India and Turkey.

“The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has conducted research into medical tourism and discovered that in 2016 Thailand welcomed more than 60,000 medical tourists from China, England, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, India, Germany, Australia, Vietnam, America and Qatar. This year, the number has continued to increase,” says Thapanee Kiatphaibool, executive director of the TAT’s product promotion department.

Fishermen’s villages in Nakhon Si Thammarat give travellers a chance to sample local life.

“Thailand is home to 64 hospitals accredited by Joint Commission International, which assures visitors safety and high-quality standards – this is the highest number in Asean and the fourth in the world.”

Thailand is best known for its regenerative and anti-ageing programmes, rehabilitation, in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) and wellness centres. In the coming year, TAT is promoting 12 cities including Bangkok, Khao Yai, Hua Hin, Khon Kaen and Udon Thani as top-class health destinations, where tourists can take advantage of quality treatments and enjoy a shopping experience, sight-seeing tour and great hospitality during their stays.

Go local

For those who wants to get back to basics and take a break from the stressful pace of urban life, the TAT and travel agencies Local Alike, KTC World, AirAsia, Journey D and Take Me Tour have tailored 25 “eco-cultural” tours as part of the new “Once as a Tourist” campaign.

Part of the “Amazing Thailand Unseal Local” project, it features 42 communities in 15 provinces to which visitors can enjoy a day trip or three-day homestays.

“Today’s younger travellers want to find new experiences, not just stay in a hotel, and the ‘Once as a Tourist’ campaign will meet that demand. It will be a channel that connects travellers with communities and give villagers a chance to promote their local wisdom and way of life, while travellers will have the opportunity to sample new things and get closer to nature,” says TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

Mae Hong Son is one of 25 eco-cultural tours under the Once as a Tourist campaign. 

Designed to showcase its unique lifestyle, Baan Laem in Nakhon Si Thammarat has “Once as a Mud Man” that involves a cruise to Ao Thong Kham (Golden Bay) for a mud bath, a cooking class and a hike through a mangrove forest. Baan Nong San and Na Chueng in Sakon Nakhon have “Once as a Designer” with workshops on indigo dying techniques and traditional silk weaving, while for “Once as a Hill Tribe”, Baan To Phae in Mae Hong Son dresses guests in Tai Yai apparel, the better to explore the local history and have fun making handicrafts.

Gastronomic tours

With Thailand now home to several Michelin-star restaurants, tourists will also be coming here to eat.

Jay Fai’s shop-house restaurant, which is famous for Thai-style crabmeat omelettes, has retained its Michelin star, remaining the only street venue in Thailand to earn this internationally recognised praise. Meanwhile the 60-year-old restaurant Methavalai Sorndaeng as well Le Du, Gaa, Canvas, R.Haan, Saawaan, Sorn, Ruean Panya and Suan Thip are among the 14 restaurants to have received their first star in the second edition of the “Little Red Book”.

The 12 one-starred restaurants in the first edition have also retained their honours, namely Bo.lan, Chim by Siam Wisdom, Elements, Ginza Sushi Ichi, J’aime by Jean-Michel Lorain, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Nahm, Paste, Saneh Jaan, Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin, Upstairs at Mikkeller and Savelberg. The European contemporary restaurant Suhring run by chef brothers Mathias and Thomas Suhring earned an upgrade from one to two stars.

This year, the Michelin Guide also covers some dining venues in other parts of the country including Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Sakhon and Samut Prakan to Phuket and Phang Nga.

Tourists can find some new rising culinary stars in the second edition of Michelin Guide Bangkok. (Photo/EPA) 

Pru restaurant in Phuket is the only restaurant in region to have been awarded one star, while the “Bib Gourmand” award, a rating that recognises restaurants offering exceptionally good food at moderate prices, doubled in number this year from 35 to 72 venues.

Among them are the legendary Southern food restaurant Raya and its sister restaurant Chomchan in Phuket, along with Krua Bai Toey and Nai Mueng in Phang Nga.

Visa-free travel

Visa-free entry will continue to play an important role in drawing visitors next year. Japan has claimed the crown for top Asian holiday destinations according to this year’s booking data from Agoda and has capitalised on its no visa requirement policy for Thai tourists by adding flight routes to coax more visitors into enjoying everything from the ephemeral sights of cherry blossoms to quirky robot cafes.

Taiwan continues to gain in popularity thanks to its wealth of nature, history and culture and South Korea has stolen the heart of young travellers with K-pop music and drama series. Meanwhile, Hong Kong has turned some historical buildings like PMQ, the former police and court compound, into a creative art space called Tai Kwun for Hong Kong artists and designers to showcase their works.

Malaysia takes advantage of Air Asia’s direct flight to Kota Kinabalu, capital of Sabah State, where vacationers can enjoy striking views of verdant mountain ranges, massive farmlands and beautiful beaches and have fun with a wide range of outdoor activities.

Japan is still the most popular holiday destination thanks to its diversity of culture, beautiful nature and illumination festivals. (Photo/EPA)

Easy does it

Based on over 163 million verified guest reviews and surveys of 21,500 travellers across 29 countries, Booking.com predicts that tech travel innovations will be much in demand.

In the coming year, those offering the technologies as practical solutions like keyless room-access with your phone, personalised travel tips or a robotic concierge who can communicate with guests in their mother tongue will be the winners.

“2019 is set to be an exciting year for travel. With technological advancements, an ever more connected world and a continuously growing consumer appetite for the best travel experiences, we’re poised for groundbreaking developments, taking travel to unexplored heights. With a mission to empower people to experience the world, Booking.com learns and innovates continuously and we’ve never been more excited to be at the epicentre of thrilling industry,” said Pepijn Rijvers, chief marketing officer at Booking.com.

He adds that the innovations won’t be the most futuristic or exotic, with travellers more enthusiastic about real-time luggage tracking through a mobile app and having a single app for all their planning, booking and travel needs than the prospect of using self-driving transportation in their destination.

2019 will also see more tech developed for use pre-trip at the research stage. Booking.com’s study shows that almost a third of global travellers like the idea of a “virtual travel agent” in their home, using voice-activated assistants to answer travel queries, and one in five want to see such technology as augmented reality helping to familiarise themselves with a destination before they arrive.

Travellers staying at Hotel Jen Orchardgateway and Tanglin Singapore are greeted by a pair of robotic butlers Jeno and Jena. (Courtesy of Hotel Tanglin Singapore)

In Singapore, Hotel Jen Orchardgateway and Tanglin Singapore are introducing a pair of robotic butlers called Jeno and Jena to deliver amenities and local favourites from the in-room dining menu to guests.

Designed and built by Savioke, the Relay robots can move unmanned around the hotel at a safe speed of 2.5 km per hour, half that of the average human walking speed. They can ride the elevators, make phone calls to rooms upon arrival, and are equipped with sensitive sensors that know to avoid obstacles in its path.

“The Relay robots, yet again proves that it can surprise and delight urban adventure-seekers,” said Cetin Sekercioglu, executive vice president of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts.

Jeno and Jena are integrated with a software system that can easily track their to-do list once an order is placed and guests can expect one of the pair to have these delivered within 15 minutes from the time of request.

This is the first fully autonomous delivery robot that has been deployed in over 70 dynamic busy environments such as logistics, hotels, office buildings, and high rise apartments. Using advanced technology to navigate around people and objects, the Relay robots deliver items quickly, safely, and reliably.

Plastic not-so fantastic

The issue of single-use plastic will continue to be a hot topic, but in 2019 environmental concerns will turn into greater environmental action. Millennials and Gen Z travellers will look for sustainable experiences in their destination, while accommodation providers will be working to reduce their plastic usage and increase their sustainable credentials.

According to Booking.com, an overwhelming majority of global travellers say they would be willing to spend some time on activities that offset the environmental impact of their stay, with over a third willing to clear plastic and litter from a beach or other tourist attraction.

The “Appren-trip”

Representing a new type of currency and means of personal fulfilment, 2019 will see a focus on travellers making choices with extra significance as they look to add more purpose to their trips.

Over half of global travellers agree travelling has taught them invaluable life skills, and 2019 will see a rise in people’s desire to learn something new whilst away, as well as an increase in volunteering and skills-based vacations across generations.

In particular, Generation Z will increasingly scrutinise the value of expensive college degrees against the life skills and practical learning that can be gained from travel, especially as experiences beyond the classroom and office cubicle continue to make for attractive potential employees in many companies’ eyes.

Garden ideas sprout for visitors at Chiang Mai Botanic Festival

Published December 27, 2018 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30361150

  • Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens/Jintana Panyaarvudh

Garden ideas sprout for visitors at Chiang Mai Botanic Festival

Around Thailand December 26, 2018 10:24

By The Nation

3,634 Viewed

The Botanic Festival 2019 has kicked off in Chiang Mai, with fresh garden ideas blooming at Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens.

The Botanical Garden Organisation is showcasing the beautiful plants and designs at the festival under the theme “Home Garden” theme until next Wednesday, January 2.

The festival offers tours of the gardens, where visitors are invited to learn more about cultivating stylish displays and also growing their own vegetables.

Thailand’s very first botanic gardens are now a major travel destination in Mae Rim district, where they cover a mountainous area of 560 acres and showcase a vast collection of plants from different climates around the world.

Established in 1992 to honour HM Queen Sirikit, the gardens’ highlights include a Rainforest Glasshouse where you get to walk among a dense array of plants from tropical forests all over Asia.

Canopy Walk

Visitors can also take a bird’s-eye view by strolling among the tree tops on a Canopy Walk, where lush mountain vistas greet the eye.

For more, visit www.facebook.com/qsbgcm

New Year celebrations? There’s an app for that

Published December 27, 2018 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30361053

New Year celebrations? There’s an app for that

Thailand December 25, 2018 09:45

By The Nation

2,156 Viewed

Traveloka, a leading online travel agency recently unveiled its “Attractions & Activities” product, allowing users in Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia, to book tickets to tourist attractions and activities for the first time in one single platform.

Available on both Traveloka’s website and app, this new product is designed to check all of right boxes for travellers’ preferences making each trip easier and more convenient, and most importantly, making the upcoming long holiday that much more meaningful and special.

Thailand has become one of most popular destination in Southeast Asia visited by the travellers, as well as Traveloka’s second largest market.

Traveloka is Thailand’s first and only online platform that integrates all travel-related booking services including flights, hotel accommodations, airport transport (including pick-up and drop-off services), train tickets to cities, and admission to tourist attractions and activities.

 “Traveloka has developed an innovative new feature called ‘Attractions & Activities’, or ‘A&A,’ to serve increasing demand to interesting tourist attractions and fun-filled activities on our website and app. Users can now book admission to both domestic and international tourist attractions via Traveloka at cheaper prices, and we’re proud of the fact that we are the only online travel agency providing a comprehensive set of travel-centric services. Our strengths include user-friendly, customer-centric features and functions that put our customers at ease and make every trip more accessible and convenient,” says Tee Chayakul, Country Manager of Traveloka Thailand.

When planning activities or trips for year-end holidays or new year celebrations, there is often a sense of confusion and anxiety in determining a suitable destination to celebrate the new year. Tickets have sometimes run out and travellers have little information or other recommendations. this new product makes it easier for users to celebrate the new year.

“Traveloka Thailand has partnered with more than 300 inventories, and this number reaches over 1,000 if we add in international inventories. We’re pleased that our A&A focuses on interesting tourist attractions, fun activities and convenient services that respond to all types of journeys including admission to amusement parks, train tickets to cities, transit and museum passes. Travel planning is made that much easier with this new feature which is now available on Traveloka’s website and app, compatible on both iOS and Android. Users can search and book any activity they are interested in and we will promptly email them their booking confirmation. Traveloka is well-equipped to make the forthcoming holiday that much more meaningful and memorable allowing Thais to enjoy being with their loved ones or friends through our latest ‘A&A’ feature, which makes every trip easier and more convenient”, Tee Chayakul adds.

For further information and updated promotions, visit http://www.traveloka.com/th-th/ or http://www.facebook.com/TravelokaTH

Down on the farm

Published December 24, 2018 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30360916

  • Visitors have a go operating the traditional hand-powered mill machines.
  • The most popular place to take photos at Jim Thompson Farm is the 50-rai pink cosmos field.

Down on the farm

Thailand December 22, 2018 01:00

By Khetsirin Pholdhampalit
The Nation Weekend

3,399 Viewed

There’s food, art, fun and great weather too at the annual Jim Thompson Farm Tour

BANGKOK MIGHT have enjoyed an all-too-brief spell of colder weather last week but up in the Phayaprab foothills of Nakhon Ratchasima’s Pak Thong Chai district, the cool breezes are once again blessing the crops of vegetables and flowers that make Jim Thompson Farm such a delight to visit.

Like every December, the farm has once again opened its gates to welcome visitors for an agro-cultural tour devoted to sustainable living and the Isaan way of life. Continuing until January 6, the tour also offers visitors the chance to learn about the intricate silk production that makes the farm’s namesake a household name all over the world.

The observation tower is surrounded by a field of yellow blooms. 

Slightly more than three hours by car from Bangkok, the farm was originally created to raise silkworms and the mulberry bushes on whose leaves they feed. It was developed as a tourist attraction in 1999 and in the last two years alone has attracted almost 500,000 visitors –270,000 in 2016 and 170,000 in 2017.

The theme changes every year. Last year, it was “Ter Toen Wen Wang” (Rushing Water – the Life Force of Isaan) to showcase water’s vital role as a natural resource and a core component of northeastern traditions and beliefs, This year, with “Zap Nua Huamuan: Happy Flavours”, the focus is on Isaan culinary delights and fun spirit for which the region is known.

Different Isaan-style delicacies are on offer.

In the Isaan dialect, zap nua refers to something that is pleasingly tasty while huamuan means bursting into laughter and joy.

“Issan food is chosen as the main theme this year because it’s not just tasty but also narrates the way of life, cultures and traditions. Visitors can discover more about Issan people through their cuisine, such as how they forage for the ingredients, the tools they use, the cooking techniques and what they use to preserve their food,” says Chutima Dumsuwan, Jim Thompson’s communications director.

Grilled chicken is a local favourite and best enjoyed with sticky rice and som tum.

“Many delightful attractions and activities are also arranged for people of all ages. This year, the weather is very nice and the flowers are in full bloom, making the farm an ideal place to relax and have fun.”

The clear sky, cool breeze and stunning vista of flowers as well as colourful organic fruit and vegetable orchards are inviting enough for people to return year after year. Everywhere I look, a visitor is holding a camera or a mobile phone and I find myself taking evasive action to avoid photobombing someone else’s shoot.

The most popular place to take photos at Jim Thompson Farm is the 50-rai pink cosmos field.

The tour of the 600-rai farm starts at its famous 50-rai field of pink cosmos, this year also boasting six site-specific installations by celebrated female artist Pinaree Sanpitak for the “Art on Farm” project that sees the farm inviting guest artists to create works revolving around the tour theme.

Titled “Breast Stupa Topiary”, six structures of steel rebars are created in form of a breast and are entwined with vines of edible plants such as butterfly pea, gac fruits, and ivy gourd.

Pinaree Sanpitak’s site-specific works “Breast Stupa Topiary” are created in breast form and entwined with the vines of edible plants.

For more than two decades, Pinaree has used aspects of the female form as gender metaphors that are both universal yet deeply personal. Breasts become temple stupas, then morph into cooking pots.

Her 1996 installation “Confident Bodies” involved an array of rather scary female torsos sculpted from saa (mulberry) bush fibre. Breast-shaped baking moulds and other cooking vessels continue to pop up (or out) in her ongoing “Breast Stupa Cookery” project that has guest chefs

and artists finding ways to fill out the aluminium and ceramic mammaries.

On the opening day of the farm on December 8, Pinaree collaborated with noted chef Weerawat Triyasenawat of Samuay & Sons restaurant in Udon Thani in holding a special dinner for invited guests. Pinaree created a set of ceramic dinnerware inspired by the form of the breast and chef Weerawat took diners on his culinary journey by adopting a modern take on traditional Isaan fare, with an emphasis on indigenous, sustainable, seasonal and foraged produce.

Pinaree’s installation art “The Mats and the Pillows Jim Thompson Farm” invites visitors to enjoy a short nurturing nap.

At the central pavilion of the Isaan Village is another of Pinaree’s installations titled “The Mats and the Pillows Jim Thompson Farm” featuring mats made out of defective yarns from Jim Thompson’s production and khid pillows made by craftsmen from Maha Sarakham province. These mats and pillows are laid out for visitors to take a rest and recall her previous puffy organza breast cushion “Noon Nom” (Resting on the Breasts), which also encouraged the viewer to enjoy a short nurturing nap.

The popular spots on the farm are, as ever, the pumpkin patch and the observation tower shaped like a traditional bamboo water jar, both of which are surrounded by a sea of yellow dao krajai, dao rueng farangsed, and soi gai blooms.

The rice field forms the backdrop to a cluster of Isaan-style wooden houses.

A cluster of Isaan-style wooden houses with its backdrop of rice fields isn’t just candy for the eyes but this year serves as the central spot in hosting an array of activities related to Isaan cuisine, among them the health benefits of local dishes, the foraging technique, and the local diet that includes freshwater snails, tadpoles, frogs, and insects. A variety of Isaan foods prepared by many eateries are also provided.

The new attraction is an 80-year-old triple roller mill machine that mills grains grown on the farm.

The new on-site attraction is an 80-year-old triple roller mill machine that still functions and mills grains grown on the farm. It also supplies jasmine and sticky rice to the Spirit restaurant by Jim Thompson in downtown Bangkok.

Visitors can enjoy a relaxing boat ride along the reservoir to Jim’s Market.

Visitors can enjoy a recreational boat ride or a journey by bamboo raft on the reservoir to Jim’s Market, which offers a wide range of goods from silk apparel and accessories, agricultural products and processed foods, all of which make great festive season gifts.

ISAAN DELIGHTS

The Jim Thompson Farm at Pak Thong Chai district, Nakhon Ratchasima province is open to the public daily until January 6 from 9am to 5pm.

Admission on weekdays is Bt180 (Bt130 for children), and Bt220 (children Bt160) on weekends. Senior citizens pay Bt90.

Online tickets are available at http://www.ThaiTicketMajor.com.

Find out more at (02) 762 2566 or visit http://www.JimThompsonFarm.com.

The long arm of the law

Published December 21, 2018 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30360822

  • A mural of two koi fish swimming by Danish urban contemporary artist Christian Storm
  • PMQ, one of the biggest conservation projects in recent Hong Kong history, has been transformed into a creative hub.
  • PMQ offers “Hong Kong on Steps”.
  • Pomch was established by designers Jeffrey L and Felix T, graduates of the School of Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
  • Glue Associates is a platform that promotes a selection of international designer products and shares the stories behind their creations.
  • Vivienne Tam is an international fashion designer renowned for her culture-bridging, East-meets-West approach to design.
  • Garden Meow is a cat-themed restaurant.
  • Tea products are among others at Goods of Desire.

The long arm of the law

Thailand December 21, 2018 01:00

By Kitchana Lersakvanitchakul
THE NATION

Hong Kong turns its former Police Married Quarters into a fashionable art hub

A popular destination with Thais, Hong Kong has a well-deserved reputation as a shopping mecca. But it’s also a great place to discover art, design and culture and the best way of doing this is by taking a stroll through Old Town Central towards the historic site-turned-creative hub PMQ.

 

Old Town Central brings together unique tourism hotspots in both Central and Sheung Wan districts and the Hong Kong Tourism Board has designed five themed walking tours – “Tasting Hong Kong”, “Time Traveller”, “Crazy for Art”, “Treasure Hunt” and “Something for Everyone” – to offer visitors endless avenues as they experience the vast and vibrant Central district. The attractions include but are not limited to colonial monuments, temples, art galleries, antique stores, street art displays, popular restaurants, rooftop bars and local delicacies.

 

I choose to set out on Hollywood Road, one of the first roads built in the city and home to a canvas of graffiti and street art, most of it tucked away in the streets and alleys that intersect the road.

The first piece of street art that I come across is Alex Croft’s colourful mural of old townhouses on Graham Street, which is very popular on social media. Next up are Danish urban contemporary artist Christian Storm’s eye-catching mural of two koi swimming on a wall on Shing Wong Street, which combines his trademark geometric elements with Chinese culture, and Japanese artist Shingo Katori’s “Large Mouth Dragon Boy” on Shelley Street, his first artwork accessible to the public outside Japan. Wanting to bring good fortune to Hong Kong and visitors from around the world, he decided on a lively colourful dragon, a powerful symbol in feng shui.

 

I’m so engrossed in admiring the street art that I don’t realise how far I have walked until I reach Aberdeen Street from where it’s an uphill trek to PMQ, one of the biggest conservation projects in recent Hong Kong history.

“The revitalisation project has kept something of the original,” says Chuek Yiu Wong, senior executive of corporate communication and tourism marketing at PMQ Management and also my guide.

 

Before it was revitalised into a centre for all things creative and design-based, the PMQ was known as the former Police Married Quarters. It housed the very first dormitory open to junior Chinese police officers from 1951 to 2000, as well as the Central School, the first government school to provide Western education to the Chinese from 1884 to 1944. Its alumni include the founding father of the Republic of China Sun Yatsen, casino tycoon Stanley Ho, and businessman Lee Hysan.

 

After it was destroyed in World War II, the 6,000-square-metre site was developed as the first dormitory for married Chinese police officers and their families, with two seven-storey buildings housing single and double rooms accessed from an open-air corridor.

Architecturally, the buildings have remained as they were with retaining walls, granite steps, and relics, and with the residential units converted into an eclectic mix of boutiques, studios, and cafes. Interiors remain simple with concrete walls painted white while window frames and railings have been restored to their original teal colour. A newly constructed bridge linking the two parallel buildings over a central courtyard doubles as an indoor event space and rooftop garden.

 

In 2014, the hub was opened with more than 100 retail-studio units and 15 pop-ups of around 40 square metres each, along with a multifunction event space called The Qube. Old residential units have been converted into small boutiques and design studios selling handmade products from jewellery to homeware. Pop-up stores from international designers are also a common occurrence at PMQ and the regular night markets are particularly popular among design enthusiasts.

 

I have lunch at the cat-themed Garden Meow restaurant before wandering around several shops on the ground floor. I stop at Gong Fu Teahouse, which enthusiastically cultivates the Gong Fu tea arts culture and holds regular tea arts workshops. Found Muji prides itself on being the first independent store in Hong Kong to make use of various raw materials and traditional technology to remake discarded items into goods that fit the modern life while sustaining the craftsmanship and value. Sukigi Swim boasts swimwear that has been thoughtfully designed to bring character and femininity to each costume. Kapok, meanwhile, has an authentic yet approachable take on fashion and design.

 

The second floor is home to Harrison Wong with original contemporary apparel and accessories for urban males and KMC Design, which makes unique innovative jade jewellery with an oriental touch. Up another flight of stairs is Bamboa Home, purveyor of green eco-products made of locally harvested bamboo, BlkSheep Empire Footwear, which brings an explosion of colour and textures to shoes, and Waka Artisans showcasing the very best of Japanese culture through hand crafted ceramics.

 

The fourth floor hosts the premises of Vanessa Tao who strives to capture the feeling of life and energy in light and effortless garments, Cilocala offering sneakers and rucksacks, Eravolution, a multidisciplinary design studio for architecture, furniture and homeware. Up on the fifth, I wander into 513 Paint Shop, a boutique offering environmentally safe and green house paints for homes and interiors and look at AaaM, a studio that believes architecture is an network of ideas encapsulating urban conditions, public interests, political agenda, snapshots of technologies and philosophies. I linger at Taste Library and browse briefly through its collection of 3,000 books covering different food cultures from around the globe and finish my tour with Lumio on the sixth floor, which gives people the freedom to experience beautiful lighting.

 

PMQ also offers “Hong Kong on Steps”, an unique art project that brings together local and overseas artists from Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, France and Hong Kong to create stair paintings inspired by the vibrant and diverse Hong Kong landscape.

“PMQ serves as a platform to connect local design talents to both local and international markets. In order to help local talents to continue to grow and flourish, PMQ provides rental discounts and also sponsors the designers to participate in different overseas trade shows and fashion shows, which helps them gain international exposure,” says Chuek Yiu.

“Since our opening in 2014, the designers have been able to continue to make and develop substantial and steady progress.”

IF YOU GO

– To get there, take Exit 1 of MTR Sheung Wan Station, turn right on to Des Voeux Road Central, then right to Gilman’s Bazaar. Go straight towards Queen’s Road Central. Walk along Aberdeen Street for around seven minutes to reach PMQ.

– Or take Exit C from MTR Central Station Exit C and walk along Des Voeux Road to the Hang Seng Bank Headquarters, which is linked to the Central–Mid-Levels Escalator. Take the escalator to Staunton Street and turn right. PMQ is about three minutes on foot.

– For more information, visit http://www.PMQ.org.hk.

Flying? There’s an app for that

Published December 18, 2018 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30360561

Flying? There’s an app for that

Thailand December 17, 2018 13:29

By The Nation

Thai Airways International (THAI) has launched a new “Thai Airways” mobile application, with a new look that makes the customer travel experience more comfortable and convenient.

The new mobile application increases channels for more customer reach as well as customer service.

“The new developed application under the name ‘Thai Airways’ improves the customer travel experience, making it more convenient for return customers as the new app will save information from previous searches and the passenger’s past travel itineraries. The application makes it easier for customers to make reservations, payments, check-in, and check other information before and after the journey, as well as other THAI promotions and special offers,” says Wiwat Piyawiroj, Executive Vice President, Commercial.

The new mobile application offers new capabilities, such as flight information and travel itinerary, travel reminder, Royal Orchid Plus membership services, E-Boarding Pass within the application, displaying flight details on smart watches that are linked with the application, and other services such as hotel reservation, car rental, and travel insurance.

Passengers who apply for Royal Orchid Plus membership from today onward, then log-in, make flight reservations through the Thai Airways mobile application, and travel with THAI will receive 3,500 miles.

The Thai Airways mobile application may be downloaded through the App Store (iOS operating system) and through Google Play (Android operating system).

Bangkok tops Agoda’s 2018 list of Asian destinations

Published December 12, 2018 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30360181

Bangkok tops Agoda’s 2018 list of Asian destinations

Thailand December 11, 2018 13:17

By The Nation

Online travel agent Agoda has found Bangkok to be the most popular Asian destination of 2018, “not only a convenient transit point to explore the rest of Thailand, but also teeming with energy, quirks and fascinating culture”.

 According to the year’s booking data from Agoda, beachside city Pattaya has been the 10th most popular Asian destination.

Tokyo is No 2, followed in descending order by Hong Kong, Osaka, Taipei, Seoul, Singapore and Bali, and then Pattaya.

Thailand ranked second-most-booked Asian country this year. “From historic temples and sparkling white sandy beaches to rich culture and world-famous cuisine, it’s no wonder why Thailand continues to draw in travellers from around the world,” Agoda says.

 Japan has claimed the crown for top Asian country overall, the credit going to “ephemeral sights like cherry blossoms to the endless quirky, wonderful experiences such as robot cafes”. Malaysia ranks third.

Thai travellers have mainly enjoyed domestic trips in 2018, with Japan and Singapore the most popular countries further afield.

Agoda says Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin and Phuket have been the top five destinations in Thailand for Thais, followed by “laid-back destinations” Khao Yai, Chonburi, Krabi and Chiang Rai.

Tokyo appeals to Thais because it has no visa requirements, additional flight routes and diverse cultural highlights.

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