Travel

1
The winner of this year’s King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament
2
Shangri-la Bangkok MICE destination
3
Dusit becomes first hotel group in Thailand to accept WeChat Pay
4
10% discount for all online reservations for Centara The1 Card members
5
Celebrate Songkran at Four Seasons Chiang Mai
6
Festival du Feminin Bangkok at VIE Bangkok March 24 and 25
7
Sharing love and fun with your family at Dhara Dhevi
8
New book on the early days of Thai tourism
9
Banyan Tree  Samui’s  coconut celebration
10
Romantic Valentine Dinner inspired by Michelin Star Chefs at La VIE

The winner of this year’s King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament

IN CASE YOU’RE WONDERING who won King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, it was Mekhong, who went head to head with reigning champions, King Power, culminating in a thrilling end to the tournament, with Mekhong clinching the title in the last moments of the match in a final score of 10-11.

A total of 10 teams with over 40 players from around the world created many memorable moments on and off the pitch during the annual four-day charity event in Bangkok.

A total of 25 unemployed ex-street elephants took part in this year’s tournament, during which time they received full veterinary checks from the Zoological Parks Organisation of Thailand (under the patronage of His Majesty the King of Thailand) and the Department of Livestock Development.

In addition, all elephants were given essential vitamins, food and care which are not available to them during their normal daily lives.

The tournament was introduced to Thailand in 2001 by Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas and is now one of the biggest charitable events in the Kingdom, raising funds for projects that better the lives of Thailand’s elephant population.  Six million THB has been raised this year, taking the total raised to date to over 50 million THB (US$1,400,000)

Funds will be donated to various projects including the Positive Reinforcement Target Training program for mahouts and vets, the Zoological Parks Organisation of Thailand which supports veterinary and educational projects to improve the year-round lives of the 300 elephants and mahouts in Ban Ta Klang, Surin Province where ex-street elephants face ongoing hardship.

Other significant benefits from the money raised by the tournament include: the ongoing Thai Elephant Therapy Project which has been underway since 2009 in conjunction with Chiang Mai University’s Department of Occupational Therapy, with future clinics to include children with Down’s syndrome and other conditions.

Other benefits include a 500,000 THB gantry to help lame elephants stand, donated to the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC); 4,000 trees planted in Hua Hin for elephant corridors to stop farmer/elephant conflicts.

Funding a conservation curriculum for schools to teach children the importance of conservation and protection of wild elephants in Thailand, and funding Asia’s first workshop to show traditional elephant trainers and camp owners the benefits of Positive Reinforcement Training for captive elephants.

The event had something for everyone, kicking off with a colourful opening parade, with the opening ceremony overseen by the Kru Ba Yai, Thailand’s ‘elephant spirit men’, traditional dancers, plus the daily trunk-to-trunk action on the pitch.

Day two saw the tournament host hundreds of children from local schools in Bangkok. Known as Chang Noi Day (Little Elephant Day), the children were invited to get up close with the elephants and learn more about their national animal.

A range of educational walks, games and activities all teaching the benefits of elephant conservation and wellbeing were showcased by the organizers.

Saturday was ‘Ladies Day’, popularly known as ‘Bangkok Ascot’, where ladies dressed to impress with the best-dressed lady winning a stay in the Maldives.

The highly-anticipated final was presided over by the King of Thailand’s Royal representative, H.E. Air Chief Marshal Chalit Pukbhasuk, Privy Councillor.

Final Leaderboard for 2017 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament:  Mekhong, King Power, Casillero del Diablo, Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Arabian Knights, Citi, PWC All Blacks, IBM, Benihana and Anantara.

For more information on the 15th Annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, visit www.anantaraelephantpolo.com.

 

 

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Shangri-la Bangkok MICE destination

SHANGRI-LA BANGKOK is gearing up for a busy meeting season. The hotel is known for its ability to cater large or small MICE groups as needed, without ever compromising its renowned five-star standard.

Shangri-La Bangkok has 802 rooms including 72 suites, in two wings, the Shangri-La and the Krungthep. It is the only riverside hotel that is adjacent to the Saphan Taksin BTS SkyTrain station.

Step through the entrance and gaze upon a sparkling lobby and lounge and beyond that, into a free-form swimming pool set by the river amidst lush tropical greenery, offering an oasis of tranquility in the middle of bustling downtown Bangkok.

A culinary paradise by the River of Kings consists of Salathip Thai Restaurant; Volti ristorante & bar for the finest Italian cuisine; and NEXT2 Café, a vibrant all-day dining café with theatre-style live cooking buffet stations.

The Horizon Cruise is the hotel’s own riverboat, offering dinner cruises and charters.

Modern presentation technology and the expanse of the Grand Ballroom, which can accommodate over 1,000 guests for a banquet, promise smooth meetings, conferences and evening functions.

The Garden Rooms – Event Suites provide the seamless flow of event space for meetings and private dining with residential flair. Each spacious and innovative suite is available individually or can be combined for larger meetings and corporate functions.

Nineteen function rooms, some with natural daylight, are also available for smaller functions.  Wi-Fi and high-speed broadband connections are free of charge throughout the hotel.

Shangri-la Bangkok has a professional team of highly trained banquet staff, audiovisual technicians and dedicated MICE specialists guarantees your event is smooth and successful.

For enquires and bookings, call (66 2) 236 7777, fax: (66 2) 236-8570, or email: events.slbk@shangri-la.com for more details. Alternatively, request a proposal online via the hotel’s website https://www.shangri-la.com/bangkok/shangrila/meetings-events/request-for-proposal/.

 

 

 

Dusit becomes first hotel group in Thailand to accept WeChat Pay

THAILAND-BASED, GLOBAL HOSPITALITY GROUP Dusit Hotels & Resorts has signed a partnership agreement with Ksher (WeChat Pay Thailand) and Asset Bright Public Company Limited to accept WeChat Pay at Dusit Hotels and Resorts.

WeChat Pay is part of China’s largest mobile instant messaging app, WeChat, which to date has over 800 million active users. It allows users to pay bills, order goods, transfer money to other users, and pay in selected stores directly via smartphone using credit from their personal WeChat Pay accounts.

Under the new partnership agreement, Dusit Hotels & Resorts will be the first hotel group in Thailand to accept WeChat Pay at its restaurants, spas, participating outlets, and for hotel rooms upon check-out, initially at its owned properties in Thailand and subsequently its other properties around the world. Users will be able to pay their hotel bills by simply scanning a QR code to have the relevant fee deducted from their accounts.

Authorized by the Bank of Thailand, Asset Bright Public Company Limited will process all e-payments made via WeChat Pay at Dusit hotels in Thailand. Ksher, meanwhile, will implement and maintain the WeChat Pay system, including providing online security and technical support.

According to figures released by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), 8.75 million Chinese tourists visited Thailand in 2016, and Chinese visitors now account for 27% of all foreign travellers to Thailand.

Dusit Hotels & Resorts believes implementing WeChat Pay at its owned properties in Thailand will prove an attractive proposition for Chinese visitors who are well aware of the security and convenience that WeChat Pay affords.

“In China’s top-tier cities, approximately 90% of stores now accept WeChat Pay as a payment method and the platform’s reach is starting to expand globally”, said Lim Boon Kwee, COO of Dusit Hotels & Resorts.

“Chinese tourists are high value market and increasingly significant to our business, so it’s important we do all we can to cater to their needs. By implementing WeChat Pay, our Chinese guests will now be able to benefit from favourable exchange rates and occasional exclusive promotions, so we are confident it will be a huge success.”

“As WeChat Pay’s strategic partner in Thailand, we work together with Asset Bright to provide secure, stable and advanced mobile payment solutions designed to provide the utmost of convenience to Chinese travellers.

“We are delighted that Dusit Hotels & Resorts is the first hotel group in Thailand to adopt WeChat Pay, and we now look forward to working with the company to delight its Chinese guests,” said Donald Tang, vice -president of global business development at Ksher

“We are fast moving towards a cashless future where transactions are made seamlessly online. As WeChat Pay allows Chinese guests at Dusit Hotels & Resorts to pay for rooms and services securely, easily, and without currency exchange, we believe this will lead to more transactions made at each hotel, making it a solution that benefits all parties involved.”

In addition to all Dusit hotels in China, WeChat Pay is now accepted at all Dusit-owned hotels in Thailand, including Dusit Thani Bangkok, Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket, Dusit Thani Pattaya, Dusit Thani Hua Hin, DusitPrincess Korat, DusitPrincess Chiang Mai, DusitPrincess Srinakarin Bangkok, and dusitD2Chiang Mai.

Dusit Hotels & Resorts will also introduce the service at its international properties in the near future. In celebration of the launch, from now through Sept. 30, 2017, Dusit Hotels & Resorts will offer an exclusive Dusit WeChat Pay package of up to 40% off regular room rates at its owned hotels in Thailand. Guests must use WeChat Pay to qualify for this package, which also includes breakfast, and is bookable via Dusit’s WeChat account.

 

10% discount for all online reservations for Centara The1 Card members

THE1 CARD MEMBERS will now enjoy a permanent 10% discount  — increased from 5% — on all publicly available online rates on Centara Hotels & Resort’s website, including packages and promotions.

Centara The1 Card, Centara’s global loyalty program, provides members with “exceptional rewards and privileges”, including enhanced levels of luxury and services as well as 10% off Centara’s best available online rates.

Members can redeem points for free nights in any room type at all Centara hotels/resorts with no blackout dates, or they can choose from any number of ways to redeem their points, including points exchange with The1 Card.

Each time card members stay at any Centara property – from dining at its restaurant outlets and indulging at its beachfront and rooftop bars, to pampering experiences at Centara’s award-winning spa facilities. They also benefit from free WiFi.  

“Increasing our permanent members’ discount to 10% is our way of showing our members how much they mean to us and ensuring they can never get a price as good or privileges as fantastic, as when they book directly with us.

“We greatly appreciate continued support from our very loyal fan base and following, and we are committed to continuously expanding our range of privileges and benefits to further enrich their Centara experience,” said Arthid Chitchulanon, director of CRM and Customer Loyalty, Centara Hotels & Resorts.

 

 

Celebrate Songkran at Four Seasons Chiang Mai

ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR FEATIVALS in Thailand is the Songkran, which attracts hundreds thousands of visitors every year. It’s really different.

Every April, Thailand ushers in a brand-new year in stunning, vibrant style with the festival of Songkran: a celebration like no other – from its sacred ancestral rituals to the spirited aquatic games in streets across the country.

The use of water holds a special place in these ceremonies: it is believed to grant good luck, bring much-needed rain, and wash away past sins.

The water-play of Songkran is accompanied by a myriad of other cherished traditions that provide an insight into the rich heritage of Thailand: Temple visits, offerings for the monks, elaborate meals with family and friends, the creation of sand pagodas, vivid processions, blessing rituals, and local contests.

Depending on which part of the country you are in, the celebrations can last anywhere between three to seven days.

Chiang Mai is the best place to ring in the Thai New Year, with the festivities lasting an entire week and featuring many a unique sight.

The old town, fringed by the moat, is the heart of Songkran celebrations in the city, where revelers begin splashing each other with water at dawn, and the merriment lasts until the sun goes down.

The surrounding moat is cleaned up and transformed into a convenient refilling station for water guns and buckets, with ice adding a welcome relief on hot days.

Perhaps the most famous Songkran event in Chiang Mai is the spectacular parade held on the first day of the New Year: Scores of beloved Buddha images are placed on intricately decorated floats and carried through the city, where they are sprinkled with water by residents and visitors as a sign of respect and for good luck.

Other smaller processions can also be seen such as that of the Mai-Khum Saree – a long piece of wood that is taken to support a local Bodhi tree. It was under the shade of a Bodhi tree that the Buddha gained enlightenment, which is why it holds a special place in Thai tradition.

Four Seasons Chiang Mai offer:

Head into Chiang Mai town to join the spectacular parade with the resort management team and enjoy the water games with your very own Songkran survival kit. After the lively celebrations, return to the resort, nestled amid glimmering rice fields and lush mountains. The offer also includes plush accommodation, round trip airport transfers, daily breakfast and a special meal credit.

Valid from April 12-16, for a minimum stay of two nights. To book, visit fourseasons.com/chiangmai/offers/Songkran-package

 

Festival du Feminin Bangkok at VIE Bangkok March 24 and 25

GET READY FOR a women-only event at VIE Hotel Bangkok, MGallery by Sofitel on March 24 and 25, dedicated to the exploration of the feminine through 20 interactive workshops.

The two- day time and space will be devoted to body-mind experience, women’s personal growth, the healing arts and spirituality hosted by an array of local and international experienced workshop facilitators.

The Festival du Féminin is a worldwide registered trade name in France, USA, Canada, India, Colombia, Morocco. It is the second edition in Bangkok before heading to Singapore, Hong Kong, and is being developed further in Kenya, Iran, Japan and Malaysia from next year.

The festival is about transmitting and sharing in sisterhood, connection, fulfillment and empowerment.

Learn and enjoy joyful powerful practices to help guide the woman in her inner path, to challenge her shadows, to heal her wounds, to reinvent herself and the world, as part of a bigger international calling to awaken the sacred feminine power and beauty.

When : March 24-25, 2017

Where: VIE Hotel Bangkok, MGallery by Sofitel

E-mail: bangkok.womenfestival@yahoo.com

Contact: Sylvie Baradel, organizer

Tel:  66 85 0204 777

Program & registration: www.festivaldufeminin.com/en/bangkok-2/

 

 

 

Sharing love and fun with your family at Dhara Dhevi

THE DHARA DHEVI CHIANG MAI is now offering an exclusive “Fun Family Bonding” package created to satisfy the whole family while also ensuring a luxurious escape.

From getting to know the resident water buffalos on the Colonial Lawn every morning during breakfast to splashing in the two expansive swimming pools, giving alms to local monks for a colourful cultural experience to taking an old-fashioned horse carriage through the lush grounds, you and your kids will find an endless array of exciting activities over this 60 acres of a destination resort.

In addition to the resort’s event-packed Kid’s Club and various child-friendly dining specials, families can now enjoy even more fun together with the “Family Fun Bonding” package.

The offer is inclusive of three days two nights for families of two adults and up to two children under the age of 12. Available from now until Dec. 15, 2017, with price start from 19,550 THB per suite per night, and comes with the following benefits:

An accommodation in selected room type; complimentary one extra bed set up for kid under the age of 12; daily buffet breakfast at Akaligo for two adults and one child; one set dinner for two adults and one child at Fujian restaurant or Le Grand Lanna; private rice planting experience for the entire family; complimentary scheduled activities for kids each day; and roundtrip transfer from and to Chiang Mai International Airport.

The offer requires a minimum of two-nights stay and advance reservation and booking must be made directly with the hotel in advance.

To make a reservation, the reservations office at 053 888 888 or e-mail:  reservations@dharadhevi.com

 

 

 

New book on the early days of Thai tourism

A NEW BOOK that charts the development of Thai tourism over the past 60 years – Thailand Tourism: The Early Days – has been published by Dusit International, in partnership with Bangkok Bank, Boon Rawd Brewery, Central Group, Chiva-Som International Health Resort, Jim Thompson, Siam Piwat, Thai Airways, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The book was written by Thailand-based journalist and lecturer, Steve Van Beek, and edited by Roy Howard, the original advertising manager of Thai Airways International Public Company Limited.

The book examines in rich detail the challenges faced by these early pioneers and, through profiles, anecdotes and quotes, underscores the need to preserve their stories.

Among the key figures profiled in the glossy, full-colour book are His Serene Highness Prince Bhisadej Rajani, president of the Royal Project Foundation; General Prem Tinsulanonda, former prime minister of Thailand; Lt. General Chalermchai Charuvastra, founder of the Tourist Organization of Thailand; Niels Lumholdt, former executive vice-president of Thai Airways International; Dr Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth, founder of Bangkok Airways; Kusa Panyarachun, founder of Thailand’s first travel agency; Chin Sophonpanich, founder of Bangkok Bank; Samrit Chirathivat, founder of Central Group; and Thanpuying Chanut Piyaoui, founder of Dusit International.

A special section dedicated to Thailand’s royal family highlights how projects initiated by His Majesty the late King, Bhumibol Adulyadej, have had a positive effect on tourism.

Chanin Donavanik, Dusit International, hopes the book will not only help to preserve the stories of the early pioneers, but also inspire a new generation of hospitality workers to follow in their footsteps.

The travel industry is one of the most important industries in Thailand, and today employs almost 15% of the population and contributes 17% GDP to the Thai economy, said Mr. Chanin.

“I think it’s vitally important that the new generation understands what happened in the past, and how the risks and opportunities taken by the early pioneers ultimately shaped the industry as we know it today.

“In producing the book, we hoped to preserve the inspiring stories and wisdom of our forebears by featuring as many influencers from 60 years ago as possible.”

In keeping with Dusit’s aim to help boost hospitality education in Thailand, copies of the book will be distributed for free to schools, colleges and universities offering tourism, hotel management and culinary programs in Thailand. A free ebook, available in English and Thai, will also be available at www.thailandtourismtheearlydaysbook.com.

The book is also available at Asia Books and all Dusit hotels in Thailand, priced at 1,500 THB.

In remembrance of His Majesty the late King, all proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to the Royal Project Foundation, which helps to improve the living conditions of Thailand’s rural communities.

For more information visit www.thailandtourismtheearlydaysbook.com.

 

 

Banyan Tree  Samui’s  coconut celebration

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BANYAN TREE SAMUI is offering a special experience that enables guests to sample the coconut spirit of Samui ,while relaxing in the comfort of the pool villas set amid the privacy of the resort’s bay, or pampering themselves at the award-winning Banyan Tree Samui’s spa, or enjoying the resort’s  cuisine at the its signature restaurants.

Banyan Tree Samui’s villas, each with its private pool, are evenly dotted around the hills. All villas that are the same, retaining a unique charm and featuring scenic views of the Gulf of Thailand.

On checking-in, guests will receive a personalized handbag made from coconut wood for use during their stay. The Lobby Lounge is perched on a headland, with a panoramic view of the resort and surrounding sea.

Guests can enjoy the taste of coconut in one of the resort’s restaurants, when ordering such traditional Thai dishes as Kanom Buang Chao Wung (Thai style crêpe prawns with crab meat and young coconut filling), Mieng Som O Goong Sod (spicy pomelo salad with shrimps, roasted coconut and shallot) or Panang Mhoo Maprao Onn (dried red curry pork and young coconut accompanied by grilled palm heart, pumpkin and asparagus), or the signature cocktails including Tom Kha (based on Malibu, coconut cream, lime, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaf and red chili) or Banyan Tree Iced Tea (based on Malibu, gin, vodka, triple sec, lime juice and young coconut juice).

The following day starts with a trip to local coconut farms –  a short distance of the resort. Here, among the coconut trees, you can sample the freshest coconut juice; buy authentic oil and watch specially trained monkeys  climb and pick coconuts from the trees.

After the fun-filled day, Banyan Tree’s award-winning spa beckons, or be treated in the privacy of your own Spa Sanctuary Pool Villa, nestled in the lush hillside. Coconut oil, widely used for its healing effect, is the key ingredient in a soothing 120-minute Coconut Immersion package that includes a 30-minute Pineapple & Coconut Scrub; 60-minute Island Dew Massage; 30-minute Refreshments and Relaxation. The coconut oil is always freshly made in-house from the local coconuts grown at nearby farms.

There are even coconut souvenirs to remind you of your magical time in Samui, such as handcrafted bags, coconut soap and coconut oil available at the resort’s retail outlet, Banyan Tree Gallery Samui.

For reservations and enquiries, visit www.banyantree.com

 

Romantic Valentine Dinner inspired by Michelin Star Chefs at La VIE

LA VIE – CREATIVE FRENCH CUISINE in VIE Hotel Bangkok, MGallery by Sofitel is offering a special Valentine’s set dinner tasting menu of dishes inspired by the Michelin Star Chefs on St. Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.

Valentine’s Day at La VIE features an elegant atmosphere designed for romance, with candlelight, soft piano music and a complimentary mini bottle (200 ml) of sparkling Spanish Cava Rosé per couple.

The menu for our special Valentine’s Day Set Dinner begins with a lightly poached Tsarskaya Oyster, Champagne Sabayon; moving on to roasted Hokkaido scallop, coconut and cauliflower, truffle emulsion; a perfectly prepared 45 ̊C Tasmanian Ocean trout, avocado, blood orange, coriander; and breast of Muscovy Duck, salt-baked Celeriac, Cassis.

The sweet table features “Rouge” Raspberry, Rosé and Lychee desserts.

The five-course Valentine’s Day Set Dinner is 5,000 THB per couple.

 

 

 

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