ROT ET, 23 January 2013: There are no natural wonders or grand architecture in Roi Et. This northeast town, a commercial hub for rice farmers, stands far down the ranking of places to visit even for domestic visitors let alone international travellers.
But change is on the way as a community in the rice growing province hopes to use the homestay concept to attract tourists to experience Isan traditions. up close.
If travellers want to soak up a genuine rural life style and get to know what makes Isan tick then this is the place to be, but homestay by its very nature is challenging and the format is still very much a subject for discussion.
BANGKOK, 28 November 2012: The first-ever floating market in Bangkok’s eastern suburb of Min Buri district opened last June claiming it is the only spot where visitors can see Buddhist monks, conducting early morning alms round using boats.
Kwan Riam Floating Market, located on Saen Saeb canal arguably the longest and possibly the oldest waterways in the capital, is one of the newest tourist attractions for visitors to Bangkok.
The weekend floating market was built to replicate traditional life along the canal for the new generation to learn more of the long history of Saen Saeb canal and the communities that live on its banks.
BANGKOK 22 November 2012: Definitely an attraction for Thailand’s repeat visitors who have a keen interest in culture, the Bangkok Doll Museum gives insights into doll production with craftsmen on site who demonstrate the skills involved.
Although it is promoted as a museum, it has some distance to cover before it becomes what we would usually associate with a museum identity, but it is a fine example of how a single person, with lots of passion, can turn a hobby into a collection that has excellent educational value.
The owner has spent decades creating and gathering doll collections and has been covering the cost since its inception in 1957. Guide books particularly Lonely Planet recommend a visit to the museum.
BANGKOK, 30 October 2012: Phuket is best known for its beaches and no one is taking any bets on tourists deserting their deck chairs for a cultural experience in a museum.
Yet, they are there in Phuket for travellers interested in exploring Phuket’s links with Chinese migrants during the 19th century. Possibly the most outstanding examples is the Phuket Thai Hua Museum located on Krabi Road in Phuket town.
The building is a good example of Sino-Portuguese architecture set in a garden in what is fast becoming a busy commercial town centre.
HO CHI MINH CITY, 9 October 2012: Boasting more than 3,000 km of coastline, facing the South China Sea, Vietnam has huge potential for marine and coastal tourism. And more to the point its natural assets remain relatively intact.
Due to its close proximity to Ho Chi Minh City, organisers of the country’s annual International Travel Expo have been promoting Mui Ne Bay in Phan Thiet, Binh Thuan province as an emerging beach destination through post tours for international buyers and media.
However, the main obstacle is poor access as it takes at least five hours to cover the 200 km distance from Ho Chi Minh City by bus or car.
CHIANG RAI, 3 October 2012: Situated in Chiang Rai, Oub Kham Museum exhibits invaluable Lanna culturaal exhibits and attempts to teach the next generation the value of heritage and the need to conserve and understand the wisdom of history.
It all started as a simple project to collect and preserve Lanna art and culture exhibits some 20 years ago by a retired teacher, Julasak Suriyachai. He opened his house as a private museum to exhibit thousands of rare northern-style items, as well as the artefacts of the Tai people from neighbouring countries.
He named the place Oub Kham Museum, derived from a northern term referring to a golden serving bowl that was used by the royal family during the Lanna period, 13th to 18th centuries.
BANGKOK 19 September 2012: As people become more concerned about wellness and explore the world of non-medical treatments to improve their health, beauty or simply relax to beat stress, the spa business is expanding at an amazing pace.
In Thailand alone, we will lose count of all the spas, their innovative selling points and the creativity they display in coming up with new signature products. But there are always newcomers and some of the catch our attention.
Recently, SpaNovator, a spa consulting company, launched its own spa, arom:D Academic Spa” (read ‘arom-dee’ Thai words meaning good mood). It claims to be the world’s first academic spa offering a variety of massage and treatment workshop courses.
CHIANG MAI, 6 September 2012: Thailand’s only night safari targets what it calls generation X travellers (born early 1960s to early 1980s) by introducing the Segway Personal Transporter to get around the park silently.
The electric self balanced vehicle are ideal for visitors who want to minimalise their presence and noise to observe the animals up-close.
Introduced by Chiang Mai Segway Tour late last year at the 131-hectare zoo, the venture cost Bt2.5 million in equipment, transporters and servicing support. It offers visitors an alternative to walking around the park or using the zoo’s vehicles.
LEARNING the lessons of history can be a rewarding experience as we travel through Southeast Asia
One of the learning centres, so to speak, is the Hall of Opium Golden Triangle Park where a powerful story unfolds of the illicit poppy or opium trade and its impact on the lives of communities in the Golden Triangle. The most telling story at this museum of life follows the battle to win hearts and minds against a culture of drugs and abuse.
Situated in Chiang Rai’s Chiang Saen district this edutainment museum aims to entertain international and Thai visitors, but at the same time open their eyes to the hazards of the opium trade.
DESPITE rich culture, Northeast provinces face an uphill task convincing international tourists to book a trip to this region.
In the past, most of the blame was placed at the door of airlines as they were very reluctant to offer a consistent service. If they did serve the region they chopped and changed schedules until tour operators gave up in despair.
Then there are the long distances by road travel between attractions that deter overland tour operators.