Travel

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Earth/Check recognizes Centara for its sustainability program
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Soneva Kiri’s environmental support offer
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Ring in Thai New Year with the traditional Thai way at The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai
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Anantara’s 2016 King’s Elephant Cup Polo Tournament winners
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Celebrating Easter at Soneva
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Dates for Anantara’s King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament 2016
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AVANI Riverside Bangkok set to re-energize Thailand’s River of Kings
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Holiday Feasts at VIE Bangkok
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Christmas and New Year at Soneva Kiri
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Dhara Dhevi’s Oriental Culinary Academy

Earth/Check recognizes Centara for its sustainability program

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CENTARA HOTELS & RESORTS has received two more gold certifications from EarthCheck for Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui and Centara Grand Beach Resort & villas Hua Hin along with numerous properties achieving silver certifications.

The “EarthCheck Gold” designation is only conferred after five years of continual independent assessment and adherence to internationally-recognised, scientific standards. These efforts help inspire stakeholder confidence and drive further organizational improvement, competitive advantage, innovation and growth.

Centara Gold Certified properties have continued to engage in programs such as energy, water and waste management since 2008, along with stakeholder and community education and engagement that helps Centara manage and the communities monitor their impact on the environment.

At Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui, for example, its ‘green’ team understands the importance of educating and working with stakeholders, partners and the local communities to further implement sustainability efforts.

Working together with local environment groups, Centara assists to increase the level of public awareness for the environment.

As part of these initiatives, Centara Grand Samui also produces EM Water (Effective Micro-organisms Water) out of fruit and vegetable waste, which is then used as fertilizer and biochemical to use in the hotel.

The EM Water is also donated to the local temples and schools.  This water has many benefits to the environment as well as for agriculture and in order for the community to yield the benefits, the team at Centara Grand Samui helps to educate the nearby community on how to produce their own EM Water.

Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin, has a rich history, as it is the original Railway Hotel, first opening its doors to welcome guests in the early 1920s.  It was Thailand’s first beach resort.  This history is preserved with the original building as well as the popular topiary gardens.

Centara-640x400A water management system was implemented as it was vital to the operations of the property as well as to the ove-rall guest experience. The water management system uses the waste water, including over 100,000 KL of gray water, which are effectively treated and reused to water the extensive topiary gardens.

The giant topiary animals that are featured in the garden require a great deal of attention and water and the use of the recycled wastewater allows for property maintenance without heavy impact on water usage.  Centara Grand Hua Hin also produce EM Water and run programs with the local community.

“As one of Thailand’s leading hospitality groups, it is important to take a leadership role and to encourage others to join in the efforts,” shares Mr. Thirayuth Chirathivat, Chief Executive Officer of Centara Hotels & Resorts.  “These accomplishments motivate our teams as we continue our efforts to bring about positive environmental change while providing our guests with memorable travel experiences.”

In June 2015, Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi became the first property in Thailand to be Gold Certified.  It is overall an amazing achievement by the operations and ‘green’ teams to be honoured with three Gold Certifications.

Centara is also noted that 12 properties had achieved silver certification in 2016: Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at Central World; Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao Bangkok; Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya; Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket; Centara Grand West Sands Resort & Villas Phuket; Centara Karon Resort Phuket; Centara Kata Resort Phuket; Centara Villas Phuket; Centara Villas Samui; Centara Hotel Hat Yai; Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives; and Centara Ras Fushi Resort & Spa Maldives. 

“Centara Hotels & Resorts has taken a significant leadership position in sustainability and has shown continued dedication to the EarthCheck program. Achieving EarthCheck certification is not an easy task to achieve. It requires the commitment and ownership from management, staff and suppliers and a willingness to submit reporting to expert scrutiny,” said Stewart Moore, CEO for EarthCheck. 

“Congratulations to all 15 certified properties, in particular Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin, Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Krabi and Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui for being awarded with EarthCheck’s prestigious Gold Certification.”

Two more properties are on track to receiving gold certification in 2017 – Centara Grand & Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld and Centara Karon Resort Phuket.

While Centara Hotels & Resorts continue to make great strides in its sustainability management, they are always exploring new opportunities that will allow for even greater sustainability measures to further lessen the impacts on the environment and to better support the local communities, he added.

 

Soneva Kiri’s environmental support offer

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AN INTERERESTING OFFER from Soneva Kiri. Do your part to preserve the environment and support the local community and get three complimentary nights added to your retreat at Soneva Kiri in Thailand.

Assist the resident tropical ecologist to identify and log rare species of flora and fauna thriving in the tropical rainforest and support the local community through a variety of sustainable initiatives. This is a real opportunity to get close to nature and learn more about the complexity of the rich ecosystem of this beautiful island.

For booking, contact reservations@soneva.com or call 91 124 4511000 and quote S6P3UBB. The offer is applicable on all room types for stays from May 10 to Sept. 20, 2016 and will be offered in the same room category as booked.

Food and beverages, transfers and experiences are not included in the offer, and bonus nights cannot be exchanged for cash or other equivalents, be transferred or be taken during a different period.

All guests under the same booking reference must participate in the volunteering programs to avail the offer. The booking reference is required to confirm the booking.

 

Ring in Thai New Year with the traditional Thai way at The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai

 Dhara Dhevi Songkran

THE DHARA DHEVI CHIANG MAI is inviting guests to come together with their families to celebrate the Songkran Festival that includes traditional Thai games and ceremonies to ring in the Thai New Year together.

Thailand’s New Year merriments, celebrated from April 13-15 this year, combine ancient rituals with modern practices, religious beliefs with rambunctious celebrations.

While historically a time to gather with family and wash away the old while preparing for a fresh start, today the festival is well known around the world for its iconic, nation-wide water fight where people of all ages take to the streets splashing and spraying water at each other as a way to celebrate and catch some relief from the hot season’s high heat.

Visiting a temple is an important part of all Thai holidays and Songkran is part of it. Especially early in the mornings, temples will be busy with locals offering food, goods and money. Many will also hold special merit making ceremonies.

Dhara Dhevi Songkran 2Songkran Celebration in The Dhara Dhevi style will run from April 13 to 19, 2016, when water will be gently poured over Buddha images.

There’s also the resort’s Songkran Parade and Rod Narm Dam Hua ritual honouring and rinsing the hands of elders, as well as gathering sand to be used in creating piles topped with flowers at the temples.

It’s part of the ancient “raising of the temple grounds” ritual and one of the great experiences that guests can join in.

There is an extra special celebration holding this year on Saturday. April 9 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the resort’s expansive lawn, Khuang Khong Khao as the ideal come together to “play Songkran”, which emphasizes traditional Thai culture, combined with a splash of style.

Guests can join local revelers to play the afternoon away while also learning traditional Thai folk games, enjoy local snacks in preventive market style as well as the live music in the early evening.

Throughout the celebration, the resort encourages everyone to dress up in traditional Lanna, Northern Thai attire to add a unique touch to the experience. The best-dressed family of the day will win a prize from the hotel. Entrance ticket is priced at 100 THB per adult and complimentary for the kids.

For Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai, it’s not just a cultural demonstration but a way to raise money for the resort’s CSR annual projects.

The family experience stay offer of four days and three nights runs from now until April 20, 2016.

For more information on the festivities and accommodation, email enquiry@dharadhevi.com, or call +66 53 888 888.

 

Anantara’s 2016 King’s Elephant Cup Polo Tournament winners

Anantara King's Cup Opening_Ceremony

REIGNING CHAMPIONS KING POWER went head to head with rival team Rueang Chang in the finals and managed to retain this year’s King’s Cup trophy by scoring two goals in the dying moments of the match, resulting in a final score of 9-7.

Ten teams with players from around the world, including Miss Thailand, the New Zealand All Blacks rugby players and professional polo players created many memorable on (and off) pitch moments.

Audemars Piguet & Citi Team and PricewaterhouseCoopers New Zealand All Blacks & Johnnie Walker Blue Label took third and fourth spots, followed by Mekhong, Anantara Arabian Knights, Casillero Del Diablo and Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spa

Twenty unemployed ex-street elephants took part in this year’s tournament, during which time they received full veterinary checks from the Zoological Parks Organization of Thailand (under the patronage of 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.

Anantara Mahout_having_a_moment_with_his_elepehant.jpgThe tournament was introduced to Thailand in 2001 by Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas and has grown to become one of the biggest charitable events in Thailand, raising funds for projects that better the lives of Thailand’s elephant population. 15 million THB has been raised this year, taking the total raised to date to an impressive 47 million THB (US$1,300,000)

The money raised from the 2016 tournament will be donated to a variety of elephant related projects including funding a new mobile clinic in Mae Teang, Chiang Mai Province which has the largest concentration of trekking camps in Thailand.

Funds will also be donated to the Zoological Parks Organization of Thailand to support projects to improve the year round lives of the 200 elephants and mahouts in Ban Ta Klang, in Surin Province, where the ex-street elephants face ongoing hardship.

Other significant benefits from the money raised by the tournament include: the on-going 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.

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 has something for everyone, kicking off with a spectacular opening parade, with the opening ceremony overseen by Thailand’s last ‘elephant spirit men’ (Kruba Yai), traditional dancers, plus the daily trunk-to-trunk action on the pitch.

Day two saw the tournament host one thousand children from schools all over 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’, known as ‘Bangkok’s Ascot’, where ladies from all walks of life dressed to impress with the best dressed lady winning major prizes including a trip to Paris.

On pitch, an exhibition penalty shoot off between the New Zealand All Blacks rugby players Olo Brown, Robin Brooke and Charles Riechelmann and Thailand’s most famous trans-gender cabaret show members Miss Tiffany – the All Black’s showing their sporting prowess by winning 2-0.

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

 

 

 

 


 

Celebrating Easter at Soneva

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CHAMPAGNE BREAKFASTS, egg decorating, Easter brunch, guided snorkelling tours, desert island picnics, sunset cruises, movie nights and more are part of the celebrations during the Easter Week at Soneva Kiri and its sister resort, Soneva Fushi.

From beachside barbecues, authentic Thai cooking classes and Easter breakfast to special culinary events such as a traditional Scottish breakfast and set menus at the resort’s signature restaurant Khun Benz, Soneva Kiri has a few surprises planned for guests this year.

Highlights include the Asian Orient Express for a gastronomic journey from Singapore to Chiang Mai, and the Easter Gourmet Special Menu, which will see the Eastern chefs take on the Western chefs in an exciting kitchen battle.

Easter festivities at Soneva Kiri include an Easter Butterfly Quest with the resort’s resident marine biologist for a look at the island’s beautiful butterflies.

Leading holistic therapist Lorenzo Becchi will be on hand to help guests rid themselves of unwanted habits, chronic stress, anxieties and emotional blockages with simple and efficient solutions.

Guests can also take part in the annual kayak race, go on a spectacular sunset cruise; or, for something more physical, sing up for Muay Thai classes. Other exciting activities include the Jungle Jim’s Wildlife and Fauna Journey, a discovery cruise to the nearby island of Koh Kradad (Deer Island), and the Koh Rang snorkelling trip.

For more detailed information of the Easter programme at each resort, click on Soneva Fushi or Soneva Kiri.

Award-winning luxury resort Soneva Kiri sits on Thailand’s fourth largest but least populated island, Koh Kood – just one hour by private plane southeast of Bangkok. It offers an unrivalled combination of luxury, an integral environmental approach, authentic Thai experiences and organic food.

Soneva Kiri Resort comprises 36 vast pool villas on beach level, hillsides or cliff tops, all overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. Available to rent or purchase, all have impossibly chic furnishings, personal electric buggies and impeccable service courtesy of Mr./Ms. Friday private butlers.

Highlights include the open-air Cinema Paradiso, a home-made chocolate and ice cream parlour, a high-tech Observatory, a manta ray shaped children’s Den and the spectacular Treetop Dining Pod.

 

 

 

 

Dates for Anantara’s King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament 2016

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THIS YEAR’S  King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament will be held by the banks of Bangkok’s Chaophraya River from March 10-13.

The four-day event, sponsored by Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, will feature 10 teams encompassing over 40 players, including Thai celebrities, professional horse polo players, New Zealand All Blacks rugby players and Thailand’s famous transgender cabaret team Miss Tiffany.

A total of 18 elephants will be given a break from their work in tourist-trekking camps in Pattaya or bought from unemployment in Surin to take part in the festival, during which they are given much needed food, essential vitamin supplements, full veterinary checks and care for the duration of the event.

Now in its 14th year, the tournament has become one of the biggest charitable events in Southeast Asia.

It has raised almost US$1 million and donated to projects that better the lives of Thailand’s wild and domesticated elephant population, including continued support for research and clinics using elephants in therapy sessions for children living with autism; donating a gantry to help lame elephants stand and a purpose -built elephant ambulance to the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC), and donating an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) to the Government Elephant Hospital in Krabi.

Other projects include funding farmer/elephant conflict mitigation projects in three Thai and one Tanzanian National Park; planting 4,000 trees to form an elephant proof fence in Thailand; fully funding the protection of 18,000 hectares of standing forest in Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains; funding the roll out of children’s educational programs with the Thai Ministry to teach them the importance of conservation and protection of wild elephants in Thailand and funding the world’s first Target Training Positive Reinforcement Workshops teaching mahouts and trainers throughout Southeast Asia elephant friendly training methods.

Anantara%20Elephant%20Polo%202016_Opening%20Elephant%20ParadeDomestic elephants are micro-chipped by the Thai government to show that they have not been caught from the wild.

The worst trekking camps can be tough for an elephant. In order to make money, mahouts are forced to work their elephants 10 – 12 hours a day.

Conversely, at home in Surin, unemployment means elephants are often left isolated from other elephants with a short chain on two legs 24 hours a day with no exercise or enrichment.

In both circumstances, the poverty of existence means their owners cannot afford to feed them anything close to their daily physical needs, emotional needs are forgotten, and shade and sufficient water are often overlooked.

The King’s Cup schedule is designed to give these trekking elephants rest and relaxation on a scale they are never afforded in their ‘normal’ lives and ensure elephant rest time with interaction and enrichment that neither set of elephants gets in their daily lives.

The festival will have something for everyone including an opening parade, Children’s Educational Day, Ladies Day known as the ‘Bangkok Ascot’ and a wide range of fun elephant-related activities for the whole family.

Anantara has long been associated with elephant conservation efforts with the formation of The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, which has performed over 40 rescues of elephants off the streets of Thailand, as well as bringing the hugely successful Elephant Parade to Bangkok, where 88 elephant statues were decorated by local and international celebrities and artists to honour Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 88th birthday, and will be auctioned off in a gala dinner in February 2016.

For more information on the 14th annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, visit www.anantaraelephantpolo.com.

 

AVANI Riverside Bangkok set to re-energize Thailand’s River of Kings

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A NEW STAR is ready to shine fresh light on the banks of Bangkok’s picturesque Chao Phraya River with the opening of AVANI Riverside Bangkok Hotel in April 2016.

Rising 26-storeys, AVANI Riverside Bangkok overlooks the city’s bustling waterway and will boast uninterrupted views across Asia’s most dynamic city. Each of its 251 guest rooms and suites will feature an uninterrupted view of the river and city.

On the hotel’s rooftop sits Attitude Bar and Restaurant, offering views of unmatched panoramas over the city, as well as a designer infinity pool for a very chilled perch to tower above the energy of capital.

AVANI%20Riverside%20Bangkok_River_View_Junior_Suite_Twilight_with_viewAttitude, which has been designed for parties, private events or sunset drinks, is just one of the four bars and restaurants at AVANI Riverside Bangkok. Long Bar and Skyline dish up an impressive choice of plates, while the casual Pantry offers up grab-and-go delights in the lobby.

Avani’s lobby is digitized, with computer connections and open meeting spaces, that help make check in a breeze.

The hotel also raises the bar with its modern Grand Ballroom, a flexible space of nearly 4,500 square metres, perfect for any event accommodating up to 1,500 people. Its design will ensure that weddings, product launches, corporate events and conferences all go off without a hitch. The ballroom also has its own open-plan kitchen.

The highest ballroom ceilings in Bangkok vault overhead, while its skylights flood the venue with natural light. Situated on the 10th floor, the venue showcases the same stunning views found throughout the hotel.

AVANI Riverside’s complimentary shuttle boat reaches the BTS Skytrain station and pier at Saphan Taksin in only 15 minutes. However, with 60 world-renowned retail brands, restaurants, bars, spas and entertainment outlets at the adjoining Riverside Plaza, guests will have everything at their fingertips, without venturing into the city’s excitement.

 

 

 

Holiday Feasts at VIE Bangkok

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IT ALL STARTS with a grand buffet dinner on Christmas Eve that will feature its Christmas Carolers, followed by a Christmas set lunch on Christmas Day, and another grand dinner on New Year’s Eve and a pool party.

Christmas Eve set dinner at La VIE – Creative French Cuisine will feature appetizers, Jerusalem artichoke cream soup with black truffle, sous-vide turkey bread roll with confit potato, and more.

The evening will be accompanied by a live trio of our own VIE carolers singing the heartwarming songs of the season and plenty of Christmas spirit.

Cost – 2,700 THB per person. Selected wine pairing is an additional 1,500THB. Christmas Eve Dinner is served 7:00 – 10:30 pm

 Three-course Christmas set lunch, also served at La VIE – Creative French Cuisine, with feature holiday dishes and “everything just the way it is meant to be on Christmas”. Cost – 790 THB per person and served from noon to 3 pm.

Toast the old year out and welcome in the New Year at a grand buffet dinner. Cost – 3,500 THB per person and includes a welcome glass of sparkling bubbly. The dinner is served from 7 to 10.30 p.m.

Then, top off the evening at VIE’s New Year’s Eve party at the hotel’s rooftop pool with a fabulous view of the city coming alive at the rousing countdown with music by special guest DJs.

Entrance fee is 1000 THB and includes three drinks, during 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. 

For reservations and more information, call +66 (0) 2309 3939, email fb@viehotelbangkok.com, or click on www.facebook.com/viebangkok

 

 

Christmas and New Year at Soneva Kiri

Sovena Kiri Palms

“THE FESTIVE SEASON AT SONEVA is where every day holds the promise of new activities to inspire our guests and rare moments of perfect contentment … sunset cruises, wine tastings, gourmet pleasures, astronomy lessons, cocktail parties and traditional Christmas dinners, said Sonu Shivdasani, founder and CEO of Soneva, talking about celebrating Christmas and New Year at Soneva Kiri.

“The highlight at both resorts ( Soneva Kiri in Thailand and Soneva Fushi in The Maldives) is the New Year’s Eve gourmet journey that takes guests on a journey via numerous culinary and entertainment stations through the islands, which we plan almost one year in advance.”

Everything starts on Christmas Eve at The Beach at 6.30 p.m. for pre-dinner drinks and yuletide classics and carol-singing by children from Klong Jao School, Koh Hood.

The Christmas Eve dinner, served from 7.30 to 10 p.m., at Benz for an intimate Thai family style meal or a European-style Christmas Eve set dinner at The View.

On Christmas Day, there will be will be a Christmas Brunch that includes traditional Christmas dishes or a variety of Thai gourmet classics at the Barefoot Festive Feast ,

Between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, there’s a wide range of activities to keep everyone in your group active and busy. Kite making, for example. It’s a treasured tradition in Thailand, and guests are invited to construct and fly kites made of organic bamboo under the expert tutelage of Khun Weera, the visiting ‘Bamboo Guru’.

There’s also snorkelling at Koh Rang National Marine Park or kayaking along the scenic Yai Ki River.

At night, stargaze with the award-wining astronomer Prof. Massimo Tarenghi from Soneva Kiri’s state of the art observatory, and learn all about the stars and planets in the unpolluted skies above Koh Kood. There’s also Six Senses Spa as well as yoga and exercises to keep you in shape between feasting. Put on your Party hat as Soneva Kiri will offer a memorable New Year’s Eve celebration, with an evening of food, wine, adventure and entertainment that will span the breadth and depth of the resort.

Guests will be taken on a five-stop culinary journey through the elements and the continents, at every twist and turn enjoying another unexpected sensory treat.

The evening will climax in a spectacular event at the beach with a guest DJ and laser show accompanying guests into the early hours of 2016.

 

 

Dhara Dhevi’s Oriental Culinary Academy

Culinary Academy

WANT TO LEARN some of the secrets behind preparing what is one of the world’s most loved cuisines?

Answer yes to any of the above and you’ll want to make a reservation at the resort’s Oriental Culinary Academy, which runs Thai cooking classes daily (except Sunday).

The Culinary Academy is located in a wooden pavilion behind Le Grand Lanna restaurant. Its classroom-style kitchen is fitted with individual cooking stations, extractor hoods, sinks and preparation areas for up to 20 “culinary students”.

More than just a cooking class, it’s a journey of culinary exploration and discovery, in which the chef explains the subtle balance of flavours in Thai cuisine – including the secrets of Lanna herbs and spices – and the difference between northeastern, central and southern Thai styles.

At the end of a class, guests are presented with an apron, Oriental Culinary Academy certificate (perfect for hanging on the kitchen wall back home) and easy-to-follow menu print-outs of the dishes cooked… great mementos from a great experience.

The Cooking Class is held twice daily from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 3.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m., at 2,800 THB per person. A Fruit and Vegetable Carving Class runs from 1.30 p.m. to-2.30 p.m., at 1,000 THB per person

There is an option to include in the Cooking Class a visit to the local wet market, where guests are guided through an intriguing maze of stalls selling fresh vegetables, fruit, meats, sweets and other exotic market produce. The Cooking Class with Market Tour is available once daily from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m, at 3,500 THB net per person.

 

 

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