Cruise beyond money matters

August 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Don Ross, Myanmar, Travel Logs

BANGKOK: Heritage Line a river cruise operator in Myanmar is a mite shy about sharing its prices online so discovering just how amazing the latest offers are becomes problematic for the online booker.

But there is definitely demand for river cruises in Myanmar from travellers who want to explore rural scenes beyond the popular urban destinations; Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan.

Just this week a Singaporean traveller asked me what I thought about cruising between Mandalay and Bagan? Read more

Thai Smile suspends Sabah link

August 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Aviation, News, Travel Logs

BANGKOK, 17 August 2017: Technically all the indicators, including media statements, suggest Thai Smile flies to Kota Kinabalu from its Suvarnabhumi airport home-base here in Bangkok.

It is even an option on the airline’s its website where travellers can select travel to three Malaysian destinations; Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Kota Kinabalu the state capital of Sabah.

But that is where the travel experience ends; waiting for a web page to tell you “ups something is amiss.” Read more

Chiang Rai’s China flights take off

August 15, 2017 by  
Filed under News, Travel Logs

CHIANG RAI 15 August 2017: Thai Lion Air took off from Chiang Rai’s airport, 10 August, to establish its first international flight from this far-north town to Changsha in China.

The  Chiang Rai-Changsha flight means Chiang Rai has  four international routes serving destinations in China. The others three are Kunming, Hong Kong and Haikou with more in the pipeline.

Thai Lion Air has served the Bangkok Chiang Rai route four times daily since 2015 and now has the distinction of being the first Thai airline to fly beyond this far-north town to an international destination. Read more

Cut the cost of a China visa

August 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Don Ross, Travel Logs

BANGKOK, 4 August 2017: China has been making it easier to travel to and through the country without any cost since last year. But the message might not be getting through.

UK’s Independent newspaper alerted UK travellers that they can now visit Shanghai stay for up to six days on what is for all intents and purposes a free transit visa. Read more

Airlines in sneaky seat squeeze

August 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Don Ross, Travel Logs

BANGKOK, 3 August 2017: Passengers measuring leg room between airline seats is not a trendy habit in Asia, but apparently it’s a hot topic in the US.

CNN reported the squeeze on the typical airline seat made it all the way to a Congress hearing when the spotlight shone on how airlines have quietly eroded the centimetres between seat rows.

CNN reported that American Airlines is planning to squeeze in more seats on its new Boeing 737 Max aircraft due for introduction later this year. Apart shaving space between seat rows it may also introduce slim-fit  toilets. Read more

More than Michelin stars on the menu

July 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Thailand, Travel Logs

CHIANG RAI, 26 July 2017: CNN Travel readers listed seven* Thai dishes among Worlds 50 Best Foods in its latest Facebook poll that garnered 35,000 responses. Good news for Thai food fans.

If that is not enough to underscore the popularity of Thai food, worldwide, the momentum continue as Michelin Guides prepares to introduce a guide for Bangkok embedded with its famous star-rating.

The Thai government splurged THB143.5 million on the sponsorship deal to bring Michelin and its star rating to Thailand. Under the terms of the five-year contract the first guide will focus on Bangkok’s top restaurants before spreading out to other popular tourist destinations in Thailand. Read more

Art shines In Her Eyes

July 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Don Ross, Events, Travel Logs

CHIANG RAI, 25 July 2017: An art exhibition by 26 female artists living in this far-north Thai province, underscores efforts to brand Chiang Rai as a “City of Art.”

The ‘In Her Eyes’ exhibition opened last Saturday at the town’s ArtBridge that has more than 300 members many of them artists in their own right and residents who support the arts. The exhibition runs until 20 August displaying more than 60 paintings.

Efforts to brand Chiang Rai based on its strong art community date back to 2015 when the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports funded an exercise to assist the province to discover a path to branding its tourism identity.

A series of seminars were held after the inaugural briefing and presentations at the town’s Legend Hotel. Nothing much came of the initiative until earlier this year, when it became apparent tourism officials had settled on the tag “City of Art”. Very little has been carried out since to present the branding to the province’s travel industry and the TAT office in Chiang Rai was conspicuous by its absence from the launch of the In Her Eyes exhibition. Read more

Exception to a rule

July 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Don Ross, Travel Logs

CHIANG RAI, 18 July 2017: I thought it was a pretty simple decision to make. I wouldn’t ride elephants. But that all changed when my grandson visited last month.

“Grandpa,” he said just minutes after he exited Chiang Rai’s airport terminal building after a six-hour flight from Singapore, “I want to ride an elephant”.

Grand fathers are not supposed to pontificate on what’s politically correct. They make things happen, perhaps beyond the peripheral vision of mum and dad. Anyway, he wasn’t going to take no for an answer.  That’s when I realised that there are always exceptions to the best of rules. Read more

Reputation rules the roost

July 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Don Ross, Travel Logs

BANGKOK, 13 July 2017: A country’s tourism rises and falls on its reputation and also on what research identifies as its emotional connection, or how international travellers relate to and perceive a destination.

Apparently Thailand has plenty in the positive emotional connection department, according to the 2017 Country RepTrax study, released last week, but it needs to work on its overall reputation index.

Reputation Institution established in 1997 has been tracking the reputation score of 55 top GDP countries worldwide for the last 12 years. Read more

Vientiane’s top-notch attractions

July 11, 2017 by  
Filed under TAKEABREAK, Travel Logs

VIENTIANE, 11 July 2017: Travellers arrive in Vientiane and within a couple of hours wonder what on earth are they going to do for three days.

You have to do your homework to discover Vientiane and soak up magic moments. There are plenty of them, although the dominant perception suggests this is a place to chill out; a capital city that appears to have stopped in its tracks. Mind you, that is not such a bad idea when you consider the consequences of unchecked and haphazard urbanisation that has blighted capital cities around Asia.

Admittedly, for travellers who remember the Vientiane Times bemoaning the arrival of the first set of traffic lights in the early 1970s, the city has changed dramatically. As if to measure the pace of growth, the media noted in 2006 there were 26 traffic lights. Today, no one bothers to measure prosperity by traffic lights. Hotels and coffee shops are the new benchmark. You could also count TripAdvisor’s reviews that help to equate the top places to visit where the city’s charm shines through and that is what really makes a trip memorable. Read more

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