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February Travel News from Thailand
February Travel News from Thailand

Published date : February 21,2013

 

 

 
Sawasdee and welcome to Thailand! 

 

Welcome to the Tourism Authority of Thailand e-newsletter,
your guide to what's new and happening in Thailand!
 
 
 
February 2013
IN THIS ISSUE:
* TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND-NEW YORK WELCOMES NEW DIRECTOR SRIMALA WARAPASAKUL
* FEBRUARY'S FEATURED HOT SPOT...TRANG!
* THAILAND CELEBRATES THE MONTH OF LOVE
* TRANG OPENS NEW ECO-TOURISM ROUTE
* LOOKING AHEAD: WORLD THAI MARTIAL ARTS FESTIVAL AND WAI KHRU MUAY THAI CEREMONY
* THAILAND TAKES HOME INTERNATIONAL SNOW SCULPTURE CONTEST TOP PRIZE AT THE SAPPORO SNOW FESTIVAL
* SHERATON GRANDE SUKHUMVIT, BANGKOK VOTED "TOP 25 HOTELS IN THAILAND" IN THE TRIPADVISOR TRAVELERS' CHOICE AWARDS 2013
* GOLDEN TRIANGLE ELEPHANT RESEARCHER EXPERIENCE
* ENDLESS ROMANCE AT HISTORICAL 137 PILLARS HOUSE
 

FROM THE DIRECTOR
 
Dear Friends,

 

As February is the "month of love," we're excited to share our love of Thailand and tell you about the latest news and happenings.

 

This month we highlight Trang, a province located along the Andaman Sea in southern Thailand. Trang is perhaps best known for its underwater weddings, a unique spin on the traditional wedding in which the ceremony including the exchanging of vows takes place while submerged in the waters near Kradan Island.

 

This month's issue spotlights other romantic Thai celebrations including wedding celebrations on elephant-back and in "Million Red Lotus" Sea, as well as the "Amazing Thailand, Amazing Romance" promotion which grants couples (including same-sex couples) access to the premium immigration line at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok.

 

It is also bittersweet to announce that after four incredible years at the Tourism Authority of Thailand - New York office, my term as director has officially come to an end. It will be difficult to say farewell to all of the friends I have made during my time in New York, but I am thankful for all of the memories from the past four years. I am honored to announce that Srimala Warapasakul, who has worked for TAT for more than 22 years, will serve as the new director of the New York office. You can learn more about Khun Srimala in this month's e-newsletter.  

 

On behalf of the entire TAT-NY office, we hope that in the "month of love" and ongoing, you'll have the opportunity to share your passion for Thailand. We look forward to providing more news for you throughout the year and hope to see you all, in person, in Thailand very soon!

 

For more information about Thailand, please visit us at tourismthailand.org/us.  

 

   

Kop koon ka (thank you!)

Srisuda Wanapinyosak
Director

 

 

 
 

 

TOURISM AUTHORITY
OF THAILAND

 

www.tourismthailand.org/us 

www.tatnews.org


 

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TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND-NEW YORK WELCOMES NEW DIRECTOR SRIMALA WARAPASAKUL
 

Srimala Warapasakul has joined the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) as Director of the TAT New York Office. Warapasakul replaces Srisuda Wanapinyosak, whose term has been completed after serving as Director for the past four years.

 

"I'm very excited about this opportunity," said Warapasakul. "I am passionate about our amazing Thailand and looking forward to working with the TAT-NY team to share the treasures of this great destination with travelers from the Unites States. U.S. tourism increased by 12.57 percent in 2012, so it is gratifying to see that there is such strong interest in the destination."

 

In her new position, Warapasakul will lead TAT's efforts in promoting Thailand to U.S. travelers. Warapasakul has worked with the Tourism Authority of Thailand for more than 22 years and most recently held the position of Director under the Deputy Governor for International Marketing in Asia and the South Pacific. She has also worked in the Office of the Governor in Thailand and in 2012 served as the Director of the Marketing Communications Group.

 

Warapasakul holds a BA in Education from Chulalongkron University and a Masters of Public Administration (M.PA) from Southeastern University in the United States.

 

For more information, visit tourismthailand.org/us.

 
FEBRUARY'S FEATURED HOT SPOT...TRANG!  

 

With an abundance of blissful attractions mixed with cultural heritage, Trang Province is truly a fascinating tourist destination with numerous jungles, mountains, waterfalls and beaches.

 

Trang is a magnificent coastal province with a long, beautiful shoreline that stretches 199 kilometers along the Andaman Sea. In addition, the province has two major rivers flowing through it: the Trang River, which originates in the Khao Luang Mountain Range, and Maenam Palian, which flows from the Banthat Mountain Range. 

 

It was only recently that Trang has been poised to establish itself on the international travel map. Trang has geographical advantages similar to that of Krabi and Phang Nga. This includes breathtaking islands and beaches along the coast as well as awe-inspiring inland limestone mountains. Trang has both mainland beaches and a whole string of offshore islands; the province features an archipelago in the Andaman Sea consisting of more than 46 islands. 

 

Visitors interested in light-adventure activities can cruise the coastal waters and visit notable sights, such as the enchanting Emerald Cave. Additional attractions include the nearby Mu Koh Petra National Park, where idyllic beaches and islands are perfect places to enjoy the warm, clear waters of the Andaman Sea. Some of the dive sites in the National Park are world-class. There are also wildlife sanctuaries such as Namtok Khao Chong and Khlong Lamchan Park where waterfalls, nature trails, and caves are awaiting exploration. For those looking for a relaxed, tranquil ambience, Trang is a perfect place to unwind amidst stunning scenery.

 

The waters off Trang have also become a refuge of the threatened dugong, the "sea cow" cousin of the manatee. Koh Libong is one of the best places to spot these docile sea mammals which have become the unofficial symbol of Trang. Trang city, the provincial capital, is a centuries-old seaport with a multicultural population of Thai, Malay, and Hokkien Chinese residents, a mixture that is best appreciated while dining on the local cuisine or mingling with the locals at a local coffee shop.

 

Trang is perhaps best-known for its unique underwater weddings, which took place for the 17th year on February 13-15, 2013. The Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony takes place near Koh Kradan (or Kradan Island) about an hour's ride out from Trang's coast; the coast itself a spectacular natural site, famous for its extensive mangrove forests. In 2000, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized it as the world's "largest underwater wedding ceremony." Couples experience a traditional Thai wedding ceremony - complete with the formal signing of the wedding certificate as well as the exchanging of vows - while submerged under water. The event promotes an exotic traditional Thai wedding culture to foreign wedding couples, divers and tourists from all over the world. 

 

There is no shortage of amazing hotels to experience while visiting Trang. Anantara Si Kao Resort & Spa, located just an hour south of Krabi International Airport, features 139 rooms and suites along with 15 km of private beach access adjacent to the Had Chao Mai National Park. Located on Koh Mook (Mook Island), the Koh Mook Sivalai Beach Resort offers 58 villas situated on nearly 14 acres of stunning beachfront property amongst bushland and wildlife on Trang's breathtaking on Hao-Laem Beach.

 

For more information on Trang, visit tourismthailand.org/us.

 
 

THAILAND CELEBRATES THE MONTH OF LOVE 

 

Thailand is widely regarded as one of the most romantic travel destinations in the world. Over the years, Thailand has won a number of awards recognizing the many creative and unique opportunities to get married and/or enjoy a memorable honeymoon. These awards include:

  • Most Popular Wedding Destination at the 8th Annual International Awards 2012
  • Best Wedding Destination by Travel & Leisure magazine
  • Sexiest Romance Honeymoon Destination in Asia by Recommend magazine for the sixth consecutive year

In honor of the month of love, here are some unique ceremonies offered throughout Thailand in addition to the Trang Underwater Wedding Ceremony highlighted above:

  • Wedding Ceremony on Elephant-Back, Surin Province: Wedding Ceremony on Elephant-Back is held on St. Valentine's Day at Elephant Study Center, Tha Tum District, Surin Province. The ceremony, known as "Sut Tae Ceremony," is the traditional wedding of the local tribe called "Kuai" which believes that it brings good fortune and prosperity to the couples. Even the marriage registration process takes place on elephant-back. Additionally, couples can experience and/or participate in accompanying activities such as Bai Si Su Khwan, a parade of a symbolic sum of money representing dowry, traditional drum performance and dancing.
  • Wedding Ceremony in "Million Red Lotus" Sea, Udon Thani Province: Red Lotus in Kumphawadpi reserve in Udon Thani Province or "Ramsar Site wetland." Located in Thailand's Upper Northeast region, this wetlands area boasts a rich ecosystem full of numerous species of water plants and marine life. The local people around the Nong Han pond all help to maintain the local ecosystem, making the pond clean and pure. February is also the month in which good weather conditions are ideal for the local red lilies to bloom. A "tricycle parade" is provided for wedding couples to pay homage to the Buddha at various prominent temples in the city of Udon Thani. 
  • "Amazing Thailand, Amazing Romance": This activity provides couples with a fast-track entry via the Immigration Premium Lane at Suvarnabhumi Airport throughout February 2013. For the first time, the privilege is also being extended to same-sex couples. Newly-wedded couples and honeymooning couples can register at any of the booths located before the Suvarnabhumi Airport immigration check-in counters. After registration, the couples will get stickers, welcoming gifts and souvenirs (Sukjai dolls). Thereafter, they will be escorted into the immigration Premium Lane No. 2 where they will show the stickers to the Immigration officers.

For more information, visit tourismthailand.org/us.

 
TRANG OPENS NEW ECO-TOURISM ROUTE

 

Trang Province, located along the Andaman Sea in southern Thailand, is opening a new inland trail to promote eco-tourism in the area. Located south of the town center in Palian District, the new route features whitewater rafting, elephant rides and visits to the Sakai, a tribal community in the Banthat mountains, according to provincial chief Kit Leekpai.

 

Mr. Leekpai noted, "Trang has long been known for its beautiful beaches and diving. We want people to know that our nature on land is also spectacular." Two mountain ranges - the Khao Luang and Banthat - are the sources of its two major rivers, the Trang and the Palian.

 

Tourists will be able to cruise down the Palian on one of 16 brand-new kayaks, guided by local officers, over a gorgeous five-kilometer stretch of river, which is also excellent for rafting. Additionally, visitors can make their way to the Sakai people's village on foot or by elephant.

 

For more information, visit tourismthailand.org/us

 

LOOKING AHEAD: WORLD THAI MARTIAL ARTS FESTIVAL AND WAI KHRU MUAY THAI CEREMONY

 

The professional Muay Thai sports competition has gained worldwide recognition. In response to this new interest in the sport, Thailand will host its ninth Wai Khru Muay Thai ceremony in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Historical Park in Ayutthaya province on March 17. 

 

Thai martial arts boxers from around the world and Thailand will flock to Ayutthaya to demonstrate their respect to their teachers and mentors and thank them for their diligent effort and patience during training in the Wai Khru Ceremony.

 

The festival will include demonstrations of Thai arts, handicrafts and cultural shows including traditional Thai Tattoo, Aranyik sword making, an ancient weapon exhibition and Thai martial art performances.
 
This year, the festival will also include a youth contest in the Wai Khru Muay Thai or respect-paying ceremony. Thai youth in the past had to learn self-defense, a tradition that has been passed down through the ages in all social classes.
 
The ceremony will pay respect to the late Thai kings and masters of Muay Thai. Muay Thai boxers will also attend rituals to honor Nai Khanom Tom a famous muay Thai boxer.

 

History has it that Nai Khanom Tom; a warrior from Ayutthaya defeated ten consecutive Burmese army fighters because of his excellent fighting skills and thus freed himself from his Burmese captors.

 

For more information, visit www.krumuaythai.net or www.aitmathai.com.

 
THAILAND TAKES HOME INTERNATIONAL SNOW SCULPTURE CONTEST TOP PRIZE AT THE SAPPORO SNOW FESTIVAL IN JAPAN
 

The title of Grand Champion has again been bestowed on Thailand's master ice craftsmen as they produced the winning entry in the 40th International Snow Sculpture Contest at the Sapporo Snow Festival, Japan, held during February 5-11, 2013.

 

11 international teams participated in this year's competition. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) sponsored an ice sculpting team and entered the snow statue "The Artist from the Wild," which represented the figures of four elephants, the national animal of Thailand. The statue depicted the elephants holding a paintbrush in their trunk and painting, symbolizing the amazing artistic skills of Thai elephants that are in contrast to their size and strength. The sculptor team included Mr. Kusol Bunkobsongserm, Mr. Kritsana Wongtes and Mr. Amnoaysak Srisuk.

 

In past competitions, Thailand has won the Grand Champion title four times in 2000, 2008, 2009 and 2010. This is the first time in the competition's history that one country has won the award five times.

 

The award ranking is as follows:

  1. Thailand
  2. Finland
  3. Indonesia
  4. Sweden
  5. Singapore
For more information, visit www.tatnews.org.
 
SHERATON GRANDE SUKHUMVIT, BANGKOK VOTED "TOP 25 HOTELS IN THAILAND" IN THE TRIPADVISOR TRAVELERS' CHOICE AWARDS 2013 

 

Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok was recently voted as one of the "Top 25 Hotels in Thailand" at the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2013.

 

Now in its 11th year, the annual Travelers' Choice Award is the highest honor a hotel can receive from the TripAdvisor community. It's based on the reviews and opinions of millions of travelers and is awarded only to a very select and distinguished group of hotels.

 

Mr. Richard Chapman, General Manager of Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit, said recently, "TripAdvisor awards are one of the greatest complements we can receive because they are voted for by those with genuine firsthand experience of the hotel and services - our valued guests."

 

Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit is a renowned hotel in the heart of Bangkok's vibrant business and entertainment district. With a direct pedestrian sky bridge link from the hotel to BTS Asok Skytrain and MRT Sukhumvit subway stations, guests are moments from attractions such as Siam Ocean World, the largest aquarium in Southeast Asia. Terminal 21, Bangkok's new shopping experience, is located opposite the hotel and many other palatial malls are just minutes away including The Emporium, Gaysorn Plaza, Siam Paragon and Central World. 

 

Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit is defined by grand designs and opulent interiors. The majestic 33-story hotel offers luxurious accommodation complemented by exceptional service, award-winning Thai and Italian restaurants, a chic nightclub and Bangkok's premier live jazz venue, The Living Room, which also hosts the Sunday Jazzy Brunch, an extraordinary gourmet feast of international cuisine that makes the weekend memorable for the whole family. There's also a well-equipped fitness center, a tranquil spa, and a glorious swimming pool set in a tropical garden that was recently voted fourth in the "Top 10 Hotels with a Fantastic Pool" by users of TripAdvisor.

  

For more information or reservations, call +66 (0) 2649 8888 or visit www.sheratongrandesukhumvit.com.

 

GOLDEN TRIANGLE ELEPHANT RESEARCHER EXPERIENCE

 

The onsite Elephant Camp at Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa in Chiang Rai promises unforgettable adventures with a cast of gentle giants and the opportunity to interact with scientists and their elephant research partners. With this special Golden Triangle Elephant Researcher Experience, guests can enjoy a full program of exciting, explorative and educational activities, guided by elephant experts. 

 

For every package sold, Anantara will donate USD $1,330 (40,000 baht) to the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation to help sustainable elephant projects throughout Thailand and South East Asia.

 

The package, which is available from January 12, 2013 - August 18, 2013, includes:

  • Four nights' accommodation in a room or suite for two
  • Breakfast for every night stayed for two
  • Lunch for every night stayed for two
  • Dinner for every night stayed for two
  • Selection of non alcoholic drinks, house wine, beer and spirits for two persons staying in an Anantara Suite
  • In-room mini bar
  • Internet access
  • Roundtrip transfers from and to Chiang Rai airport for two
  • Full program of elephant activities for two:
    • One full day of mahout training
    • Three private presentations on elephant behaviour, cognition and conservation, given by elephant researchers
    • Two full elephant intelligence research sessions with elephant test subjects, led by elephant researchers
    • One elephant veterinary examination, led by the resident veterinarian
    • One meal with elephant research staff

Deluxe Three Country View - Rates start from USD $1,387

Anantara Suite - Rates start from USD $1,622

Three Country View Suite - Rates start from USD $1,655

 

For more information regarding the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Researcher Experience, visit goldentriangle.anantara.com.

 

To find out more about the Foundation, please visit www.helpingelephants.orgTo find out more about the research in which guests participate, please visit www.thinkelephants.org.

 

ENDLESS ROMANCE AT HISTORICAL 137 PILLARS HOUSE   

 

The award-winning 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai is the perfect destination for romance. The hotel is a luxurious 30 suite boutique property that encompasses a colonial teak homestead built in the early 1800's. It is located in a leafy residential enclave a few minutes walk from the historical Wat Gate Temple, Ping River and boutique shopping area of Chiang Mai.

 

The 137 Pillars House Romance Package for two includes:

  • Private round trip airport limousine transfers
  • Two nights accommodation in a stunning Rajah Brooke Suite
  • Sumptuous daily breakfast at The Dining Room
  • Complimentary fruit basket and bottle of champagne in suite on arrival
  • Complimentary chocolate coated fruit at turndown nightly
  • Private three-course dinner, inclusive of a bottle of French wine at the terrace or suite balcony
  • Rose petal bath in romantic Victorian free standing bathtub
  • A full day sightseeing with unique Elephant Life Experience and private picnic. The Elephant Life Experience consists of bareback riding, painting with the elephant (and a souvenir picture), an elephant Mahout costume and a DVD with photos and a video of the unique experience.
  • Two hour Sukothai Surrender Signature Spa Package
  • Personalized bathrobes to take home
  • Complimentary Wi-fi connectivity
The Romance Package is valid through October 31, 2013 and is priced as follows:
  • January 11 - April 30, 2013 = USD $1,750
  • May 1 - October 31, 2013 = USD $1,680

Additional nights are available at best available rate for applicable dates, and are inclusive of accommodation and breakfast. All rates are subject to applicable service charge and Government taxes.

 

For more information and reservations, please visit www.137pillarshouse.com or call +66 53 247 788.

 
 
Tourism Authority of Thailand