BANGKOK, 9 May 2013: I am trying to be a new age traveller, smart and mobile, savvy and switched on. I might just qualify for premier status if I believe in miracles.
“Raise your hand if you have more than one mobile device on the table here today”, a whiz kid from Google asked delegates attending the recent PATA Summit. I can count. I raised my hand reckoning I had around five items. My reading glasses are for ever mobile, so is my pen if it is still on the table. Then there is my Iphone, a laptop and a wrist watch, an ancient mobile device that you can strap to your wrist or hang off a chain and dangle it from your waistcoat. That’s a fob watch and I don’t have one.
I thought I played the quiz quite well and the speaker was happy as he made his point. I was hoping he would sit down and call it day, but no he had to labour the point. Considering we all raised our hands and our mobile devices you would have thought the proverbial penny would have dropped. He was preaching to the converted. But he motored on; a speech had to be delivered.
BANGKOK, 7 May 2013: In the event of an airline related labour disrupt or strike, the best piece of advice I could find was: Get friendly with your travel agent.
That’s the recommendation from a popular travel website but it was not reckoning on travel agencies going on strike as well.
They did all 3,000 of them in India or 4,000 depending on the media your read this morning.
BANGKOK, 17 April 2013: It seems like a thousand moons have waxed and waned since I was last in Mandalay so when THAI Smile invited me to join the inaugural flight to Myanmar’s second city I accepted.
Yes I knew it would mean I would have to say something nice about THAI Smile, but that turned out to be easy enough. Three smiling cabin attendants dressed in brilliant orange uniforms were assigned to escort us for the duration of the trip. We were treated to permanent manicured smiles regardless of the weather conditions. No wonder the press release noted the uniforms “draw customer attention.”
Then THAI Smile has seven brand new 168-seat A320s in its fleet and that will grow to 10 this year, 17 next and 20 by 2015.
PATTAYA 18 January 2013: One of the best known hideaway spots in busy Pattaya, is Sugar Hut Resort and Restaurant. Its restaurant has a reputation for serving top Thai food noted for its authentic taste and a superb atmosphere.
Surrounded by greenery, the three timber pavilions are built Thai style around a central timber courtyard that serves as a welcoming reception zone for visitors.
Two of the pavilions have western-style tables and chairs, while the third offers the old Thai traditional seating arrangements, soft mats on a wooden floor with low tables.
BANGKOK: 15 January 2013: Travel risks for solo travellers are mounting prompting New Year tips from internet bloggers and newspapers on how to stay safe while travelling alone.
Here are some of the important recommendations.
Keep your passport, visa, IDs, credit cards and tickets in your carry-on bag. This bag should not leave your arm/side at any time during your trip. Make copies of important documents and keep them in a safe place in case you lose documents or your carry bag is stolen. Better still photograph IDs and save images to your mobile phone or Ipad, so you always have a near perfect replica of documentation at hand. But keep a close eye on your phone.
BANGKOK, 20 December 2012: The world ends Friday, according to a Mayan doomsday prophecy. Friday is not a good day. I usually spend the evening with friends sipping a chilled Guinness at my favourite pub. The options of fleeing to a bunker, or booking into an overpriced disaster proof hotel are poor choices.
I hadn’t the slightest notion that doomsday was just around the corner until the international media got on the case. First it was the perfect date (12/12/12) to wed that prompted a crush at registrar offices throughout Asia. Now this Friday after splurging on expensive weddings we are told to party until the lights go out permanently.
The pessimism is based on the Mayan “Long Count” calendar that identifies 21 December as the end of a 5,000-year era.
BANGKOK, 19 December 2012: “Racism, Thailand’s reputation on the line over dual pricing” was the catchy slug on an email that dropped into my box early Monday morning from an irate long-time expatriate resident who signed off with “read all about it.”
So I did, following the link to the Bangkok Post’s online story, which was essentially a pick-up from a popular travel blog. After that detour I headed for Richard Barrow’s website that was still glowing with praise from grateful expatriates who were incensed over dual pricing at Bangkok’s celebrity spot Asiatique.
The flurry of social media gripe focused on Bt50 that the expatriate owner of a Ferris Wheel, intended to squeeze out of expatriates and foreign tourists.
FIVE years into its career as the world’s largest commercial aircraft the Airbus A380 still turns heads as it taxis to its bay at Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Eight enormous yellow canvas tentacles deliver cool air to the aircraft as it parks next to a double-deck air bridge waiting for passengers to board for the short two-hour flight to Singapore.
THAI’s first Airbus A380 was delivered last month and was immediately commissioned to fly the Hong Kong and Singapore routes until mid-December when it will be permanently assigned to serve Frankfurt. The airline claims that using it on heavy density regional routes will help the cabin crew, all 24 of them, to familiarise themselves with the aircraft layout and iron out hitches before it serves long-haul routes.
BANGKOK, 14 November 2012: Two key new senior appointments designed to improve bookings from Europe were confirmed by the Dusit Thani Group, Monday.
Simon Trengove-Jones was named the group’s new regional director of sales, Europe, while German national, Marie-Rose Vesterling joins as senior sales manager, Europe, effective 15 November.
Both positions are based at the Dusit International European regional sales office in the UK.
PHNOM PENH, 12 November 2012: Essentials for a rewarding tour of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat are personal fitness if you walk, or bike the tour, and a knowledgeable guide who can speak your language. Without a guide the vast historical park turns into a puzzling maze.
Actually, walking around Angkor Wat is fine, but if you want to explore the hundred thousand hectares of the wider Angkor complex, then a bike is the faster and a more convenient option. The lazy way is to sit in a mini-bus or a Tuk-Tuk and be driven from one site to the next, but that is not much fun.
“It would be good if you could lead us through back roads,” my travel companion and owner of Bike and Travel, Tanin Rittavirun, asked his local partner, Travel Loops, just a day before we set off on the day-long cycling trip.