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The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) showcases a model multi-destination ASEAN connectivity itinerary that combines the cultural and historical heritages of Lao PDR., Myanmar and Thailand
A new alliance to promote travel and tour packages among key destination partners — Lao PDR., Myanmar and Thailand — could help accelerate the region’s tourism growth as part of greater ASEAN connectivity promoted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
A five-day excursion for Bangkok-based international media was fully hosted by TAT and achieved its objective to highlight Thailand’s potential as the region’s primary aviation hub and tourism engine. Low-cost carriers continue to add new flights around the region helping to make the action-packed itinerary possible. It clearly showed how air connectivity between secondary tourist destinations helps maximise the immense tourism potential of the region.
DAY ONE: Bangkok-Mandalay
The first day started with a direct Thai AirAsia flight from Bangkok to Mandalay, the former capital of Myanmar. After arrival, the group took a private boat trip up the Irrawaddy River to Mingun, taking in the picturesque scenery along the river. Here, the group visited Mingun Paya, an incomplete monument stupa that was intended to become the world’s largest pagoda, the white Myatheintan Pagoda, and the Mingun Bell, the world’s biggest functioning bronze bell. After a return boat trip to the town, a climb up Mandalay Hill provided stunning panoramic views of Mandalay.
DAY TWO: Mandalay-Chiang Mai
The second day kicked off at 3.30 a.m. to observe the early morning ritual of washing the face of the Mahamuni Buddha image at Mahayatmuni Monastery. The temple was packed with devout Buddhists coming to witness the sacred ritual, initiated since 1988, which commences every day at 4.00 a.m. and lasts over an hour. The group then travelled to Mahagandayon, a famous Buddhist monastery in Amarapura, south of Mandalay, to observe nearly 2,000 monks lining-up for a lunch almsgiving ritual, and continue onto the nearby 235-year-old U Bein Wooden Bridge. Following this, the group stopped at Kuthodaw Pagoda that contains the world’s largest book, the Shwenandaw Monastery and the Golden Palace Monastery in which the latter contains remnants of what was the former royal apartment of Mandalay Palace.
From palaces and temples of Mandalay, the ASEAN connectivity itinerary in Myanmar concluded with a direct flight to Chiang Mai on Bangkok Airways.
DAY THREE: Chiang Mai
The Hua Tung Forest community outside Chiang Mai proved a highlight. The homestay village is a sustainable ecotourism model on environmental conservation and protection. Activities included bamboo basket weaving, visiting an organic farm and the community forest, and enjoying culinary delights native to Thailand’s Northern Region. Next was a cooking class at the Meena Rice Learning Centre from the owner and head chef about Khao Yum or five-grained rice salad. An evening visit to the MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum was another highlight as the co-founder, Mr. Jean Michel Beurdeley, personally gave a tour of the art gallery. The Museum was built in memory of Chao Chom Iam – a royal consort to King Rama V the Great – the great-great aunt of Eric Bunnag Booth, another co-founder. It is is located in San Kamphaeng, a village in Chiang Mai best known for its Lanna-style silk and cotton products.
DAY FOUR: Chiang Mai-Luang Prabang
A visit to Wat Sri Supan started the day with lovely welcome dances by local school children followed by a sacred ritual of extending life performed by the abbot, Phrakru Phitak Suttikun. The temple’s main chapel has silver decorations, reflecting its location amid Chiang Mai’s famous silversmith community on Wua Lai Road. Hence, it is also known as the world’s first silver temple.
After discovering many unique Thai local experiences in Chiang Mai, the ASEAN connectivity itinerary in Thailand concluded with a one-hour flight to Luang Prabang on Lao Airlines.
After landing, a climb up Mount Phousi provided a breath-taking sunset and view of Luang Prabang and the surrounding rivers, including the mighty Khong River. The first evening ended with a walkabout at Luang Prabang’s famed night market along Sisavangvong Road.
DAY FIVE: Luang Prabang-Bangkok
The final day of the ASEAN connectivity itinerary began with early morning almsgiving to Buddhist monks followed by a visit to the morning market in Luang Prabang. The group then went on a Khong River cruise to the famous Pak Ou Cave (Ting Cave). The Cave houses thousands of Buddha images of various sizes, many of which were placed by devout Buddhists from near and far for good luck. Stops at Wat Xien Thong, one of Lao PDR’s most beautiful and richly decorated temples, and the Royal Palace Museum, originally the residence of the last king of the country, provided insights into the history and culture of the only landlocked country in the whole of Southeast Asia. The trip concluded with a direct flight to Bangkok on Thai AirAsia.
After heading back from the five-day visit to Myanmar, Thailand and LaoPDR., the group believes this trip can inspire others to create enjoyable new travel itineraries between the three countries and beyond.
Bangkok,05 October, 2017 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has won the “Outstanding Achievement Award for Best Travel Marketing Effort” at the 28th Annual TTG Travel Awards 2017 held in Bangkok, on 28 September.
Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, the recently-appointed TAT Deputy Governor for Policy and Planning, received the award on behalf of Thailand at the awards ceremony held at the Centara Grand and Bangkok Convention Centre, CentralWorld.
“To each and every member of the fantastic marketing team that we are so lucky to have at TAT, both those in Thailand and those posted abroad, I say thank you for your tireless efforts and your continued passion and dedication in promoting Thailand to the world,” Mr. Chattan said.
“And a big thanks to the editorial team at TTG for the prestigious accolade you bestow upon us, with this year’s award for ‘Best Travel Marketing Effort’. It is particularly rewarding to have been chosen for the title by those such as yourselves whose role it is to constantly keep abreast of the industry and all its players.”
TAT was among the 82 outstanding travel and tourism stars at the 28th Annual TTG Travel Awards 2017. Organised by TTG Asia Media’s Travel Trade Publishing Group, the TTG Travel Awards have been recognising the best of the Asia-Pacific’s travel industry since 1989.
Bangkok, 06 October, 2017 – Thai Airways International (THAI) and Thai Smile Airways have introduced a new direct daily flight between Bangkok and Kaohsiung, starting from 1 October.
Operated by Thai Smile, the roundtrip flights on Bangkok-Kaohsiung is expected to help THAI strengthen its route network and increase its competitive positioning in Taiwan. Currently, THAI operates roundtrip Bangkok-Taipei flights.
Thai Smile will operate on the Bangkok-Kaohsiung, using an Airbus A320-200 aircraft which can seat 162 passengers. The flight departs Bangkok at 10.00 Hrs. and arrives in Kaohsiung at 14.00 Hrs. The return flight leaves Kaohsiung at 15.30 Hrs. and lands in Bangkok at 17.50 Hrs.
Mr. Kittiphong Sansomboon (8th from left), THAI Regional Director, Greater China, presided over the launch event at Grand Hi-Lai Hotel in Kaohsiung, which was attended by Mr. Wit Kitchathorn (4th from left), THAI General Manager of Taiwan, Mr. Piroon Laismit (6th from left), Executive Director, Thailand Trade and Economic Office in Taipei, Ms. Tseng Tzu Wen (7th from left), Director of Kaohsiung City Government, and Mrs. Nednapang Teeravas (9th from left), Chief Customer Services Officer, Thai Smile Airways, and honoured guests from the Taiwanese aviation and tourism industries.
Bangkok, 6 October, 2017 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Sports recently hosted the ASEAN Plus Three Tourism Youth Summit 2017, from 18 to 24 September in Bangkok.
The event was attended by 46 delegates, including tourism youth and officials from the National Tourism Organisations of ASEAN member states as well as Japan. The participants continued their activities in the Philippines, from 25-30 September, 2017.
The ASEAN Plus Three Tourism Youth Summit 2017 was co-hosted by Thailand and the Philippines with the aim to promote a network of tourism youth in the region. The event was held under the theme ‘ASEAN Plus Three Youth for Competitive and Sustainable Tourism Development’ in line with the ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan for 2016-2025 and to mark the United Nations Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development in 2017.
Dr. Walailak Noypayak, TAT Executive Director for ASEAN, South Asia and South Pacific Region said, “TAT recognises the importance of developing a sustainable and well-integrated tourism industry, for which close cooperation with all concerned is required. This tourism youth initiative is a great tool to build love and understanding, and can lead to balanced sustainable tourism development both for Thailand and the region.”
In Bangkok, delegates of the ASEAN Plus Three Tourism Youth Summit 2017 attended a meeting on 21 September at the Berkeley Hotel Pratunam. They were also hosted to several activities that focused on unique Thai local experiences during the seven-day trip.
This included the ‘Bangkok Hidden Treasure Hunt’ at Nang Loeng Market, where delegates had the chance to try their hand at many local experiences including a Lakhon Chatri, lesson, one of the oldest forms of Thai music and dance arts. They also learned how to make Thai iced-tea, a traditional dessert and one of Thailand’s all-time favourite dishes, Som Tam.
“Delegates were keen to learn about unique Thai local experiences, and enthusiastically shared their experiences with their friends and followers on Instagram. The interaction among delegates plus the community people helps build a better understanding of the Thai culture and local way of life,” said Dr. Walailak.
Following the completion of the 13-day trip in Thailand and the Philippines, a group of youth will be selected to attend the ASEAN Plus Three Youth for Competitive and Sustainable Tourism Development project in Japan, from 15 to 19 October, 2017.