Sunday, August 20, 2017

#Bangkok gets a ‘walk of fame’

The new pedestrian walkway at the Pathumwan intersection is as lovely as it is accessible to all

PATHUM MEANS “lotus” in Thai, and the new skywalk at Bangkok’s Pathumwan intersection is designed to resemble a vast lotus pond, a peaceful heaven above the clouds of exhaust fumes rising from the traffic sweeping along the road.

The elevated walkway – it still needs a name – encompasses 3,000 square metres and connects Siam Discovery, Siam Square, MBK, the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre and the National Stadium.

Siam Synergy – an alliance of entrepreneurs in the downtown Siam area – funded the Bt350-million project, which replaces a much narrower pedestrian bridge that people found less than “user-friendly”.
  The new skywalk, which the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration now owns, emerged from the concept of “universal design”, meaning it’s handy and helpful for everyone, not just shoppers. The needs of the elderly and disabled are attended to with ramps and stair lifts.

“This is a friendly-design skywalk, the first of its kind in Bangkok,” Nation TV host Krisana Lalai, who’s been using a wheelchair for 20 years, said on a recent broadcast of his show “Khui Kan Yam Chao”. 


 “The old pedestrian overpass was not designed for the disabled, the elderly or tourists hauling large pieces of luggage,” said Krisana, who’s also president of the Friendly Design for All Foundation. 

“This one has the sloped ramps and lifts. The drain covers are aesthetically pleasing as well as functional and safe – no wide gaps to swallow my wheels.”

 Chadatip Chutrakul, chief executive at Siam Piwat, a partner in Siam Synergy, told Krisana on the show that he was the main inspiration for the skywalk.

“Three years ago I saw you struggling to cross the intersection from the side where Siam Paragon, Siam Centre and Siam Discovery are. You were doing a survey of friendly-design construction and found the stairs too narrow. That’s when I decided to build a new walkway that would be accessible to all.”


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Move to exempt Thais from immigration form

Agency boosting staff and counters at Don Muang airport in bid to alleviate huge crowds of arriving passengers.

EXEMPTING Thai nationals from filling out immigration forms is among the measures being considered to help relieve the overcrowding of arrivals at Don Muang International Airport.

Immigration Bureau commander Pol Maj-General Nattorn Prohsunthorn said yesterday that his agency had discussed the passenger backlog problem with executives of the airport. 

They agreed to increase the number of immigration counters and outsource some of the work.

 He said one of the measures being considered was for Thai passengers to no longer be required to fill the departure and arrival TM6 form.

The immigration police chief said his agency wanted the proposed exemption to be implemented as soon as possible and it was seeking to expedite amendments to relevant regulations.

He dismissed concerns that cancellation of the requirement would adversely affect national security, pointing out that authorities already have a database of Thai passengers.

“The Immigration Bureau has also sought permission for foreign passengers from certain countries to pass through the automated passport control channels” that are now reserved for Thai passport holders, to help relieve the overcrowding, Nattorn said.

Contingency plans

He said that from tomorrow, the number of immigration officials at Don Mueang airport would be increased to 100, from 42 at present, and they would work four shifts around the clock.

He also said Airports of Thailand (AOT), which oversees Don Mueang airport, has agreed to create space to set up more immigration counters. Within two weeks, the number of immigration counters will be increased from 25 at present to 39, he said.

The Immigration Bureau chief was speaking to The Nation after inspecting immigration operations at Don Mueang airport yesterday, where there were still long queues of arriving passengers.

Over the past year, the number of passengers passing through Don Mueang airport every day has increased to 40,000, up 400 per cent from 2012, when it was reopened as Bangkok’s second international airport.

 On Tuesday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha ordered relevant agencies to tackle the problem of long immigration queues at the airport.

The PM instructed the Immigration Bureau, AOT and the Transport Ministry to prepare contingency plans to deal with chaos similar to that seen at the airport last Friday night, when almost 10,000 passengers had to wait up to five hours to be processed by immigration officials. The chaos was blamed on the delay of over a dozen flights. 

Meanwhile, the Immigration Bureau yesterday described as “inaccurate” media reports that the prime minister had signed a new ministerial order last Friday to exempt all passengers from having to fill the TM6 form when they leave and enter the country.

In a statement, the bureau said that the order, effective from October 1, would cancel the existing TM6 form and replace it with a new one that asks for information necessary for the Ministry of Tourism and Sports in analysing and planning tourism marketing strategies.

“Passengers still have to fill the form when they leave or enter the country,” the Immigration Bureau statement said.

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports clarified yesterday that from October 1, the existing TM6 form would be replaced by a new one – in which both the “departure card” and the “arrival card” will be on the same page. 

The ministry said in a statement that an electronic alternative to collect necessary passenger information would be needed before the TM6 form was eventually scrapped.

“The relevant state agencies are in the process of doing so,” the statement added.

Recently, Somkiat Tangkitvanich, president of the think-tank Thailand Development Research Institute, said the TM6 form cost Bt5 each and that almost 7 million Thais travelled overseas, according to the 2015 statistics.

He noted that all the information that passengers have to fill in is already on the passport, which has to be produced while passing through the automated passport control machine.

Source - TheNation

Saturday, August 5, 2017

#Indonesia - Ubud listed among 'world's top 15 cities'

American travel publication Travel+Leisure recently made a list of the "World’s Top 15 Cities".

“Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe—to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines and more. Readers rated cities on their sights and landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping and overall value,” as quoted from the article.

Taking the 9th spot with the score of 90.13 is Ubud in Bali, right after Cape Town in South Africa that has the score of 90.24. Meanwhile, topping the list is San Miguel de Allende in Mexico that scores 92.12.

 In a separate article from Travel+Leisure titled "The Top 10 Cities in Asia", Ubud takes the 4th spot with the same score, coming after Hoi An in Vietnam that takes the 3rd spot with the score of 90.31. The 1st winner is awarded to Chiang Mai, Thailand, with the score of 91.40.
“High up in the interior of the island of Bali, Ubud continues to draw those who favor the arts and reflection—rather than beaches and parties. ‘I loved everything about Ubud,’ said one reader. ‘I was spoiled by the kind and thoughtful people I met everywhere I went,’” the article wrote.

Ubud has arguably become more famous after being shown in the popular movie Eat Pray Love that featured Julia Roberts, where it showcases the beauty of Ubud Monkey Forest. These days however, Ubud is known as the best place for yoga.

Other attractions that you can visit while going to Ubud include Campuhan Hill, Nyuh Kuning Village, Tegalalang, Ubud Temple, Sarawati Temple and Apung river where you can do rafting.

Just like other Balinese, Ubud residents adopt the traditional philosophy of tri hita karana that epitomizes the balance and harmony between the three sources of life: humans, nature and God

Below is the list of the World’s Top 15 Cities according to Travel+Leisure:

1. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
2. Charleston, United States
3. Chiang Mai, Thailand
4. Kyoto, Japan
5. Florence, Italy
6. Oaxaca, Mexico
7. Hoi An, Vietnam
8. Cape Town, South Africa
9. Ubud, Indonesia
10. Luang Prabang, Laos
11. Santa Fe, United States
12. Roma, Italy
13. Siem Reap, Cambodia
14. Udaipur, India
15. Barcelona, Spain

Top 10 Cities in Asia according to Travel+Leisure:

1. Chiang Mai, Thailand
2. Kyoto, Japan
3. Hoi An, Vietnam
4. Ubud, Indonesia
5. Luang Prabang, Laos
6. Siem Reap, Cambodia
7. Udaipur, India
8. Bangkok, Thailand
9. Tokyo, Japan
10. Thimphu, Bhutan

Friday, August 4, 2017

#Thailand - Passengers in Krabi boat capsize rescued.


All passengers were rescued after a small diving boat capsized in Ao Nang, in Krabi province, on Friday afternoon due to strong winds and waves.



The boat, named Phetwari 4, carried 12 passengers – two Thais and 10 foreigners – and was heading for a sightseeing in the seaside Nopparat Thara-Phi Phi National Park, off Krabi.

The incident took place at around 3.30pm.

 Source - TheJakartaPost

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

#Indonesia - Kei Islands still a hidden gem waiting to be explored

Kei Islands in the southeastern part of Maluku are reportedly attracting more and more tourists.

Home to Kei Kecil and Kei Besar islands, they can be reached by air via Karel Satsuitubun International Airport, which is located in Langgur district. Travelers can access the airport by hopping on a plane from Jakarta to Ambon, the fare starts from Rp 2.5 million (US$187).

In terms of accommodation, both islands have three-star hotels with starting rates of of Rp 400,000 per night. Affordable homestays are also available.

When on the islands, visitors can opt to stroll the soft, white sand on the beach or snorkel deep into the Banda Sea. They can also travel to Tanimbar Kei Island, which is only one hour away from Kei Besar Island, and explore a village where the majority of residents are Hindu.

Those planning to visit Kei Islands are recommended to go during Meti Kei from Oct. 22 to 23.
“Meti Kei is a phenomenon where the seawater recedes up to 6 kilometers,” Roy Rahajaan, the Southeast Maluku Tourism Agency, told, adding that travelers can reach the other islands by foot during this period instead of using a boat.

Dubbed “the most popular hidden gem in Indonesia” by the Tourism Ministry in 2016, Kei Islands are still less known compared with other similar destinations, such as Raja Ampat and Wakatobi. Only 300 travelers reportedly visited the place in 2016 -- which is an increase compared to 2015 when it only welcomed 40 tourists.
Source - TheJakartaPost

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

#Indonesia - Penglipuran: Cleanliness through conservation.

 In order: Rows of neat and tidy houses in Penglipuran traditional village, Bangli, Bali, which has become a tourist attraction teem with local and foreign visitors.

Clean and tidy houses can be found in neat rows in Penglipuran, a traditional village located at an altitude of 700 meters in Kubu sub-district in Bangli, Bali.
Penglipuran was declared one of the world’s cleanest villages in 2016 along with Giethoorn floating village in the Netherlands and Mawlynnong village in India.
Previously in 1995, the village community of Penglipuran also received the Indonesian government’s Kalpataru Award for environmental sustainability for raising and maintaining 75 hectares of bamboo forest as well as preserving its traditional spatial layout and buildings based on ancestral designs.

The village has also been a tourist attraction since 1993. In the last five years, Penglipuran has been one of the most frequently visited tourist destinations in Bali alongside the regions of Ubud, Kuta and Nusa Dua.

Penglipuran is among Bali’s oldest villages, having existed since the 18th century, during the period of the Bangli Kingdom. 

The name of the village is derived from the words pengeling or eling, which means “to remember” and pura, which means “ancestral land.”

 The name Penglipuran, therefore, implies that residents keep the land of their ancestors in mind.

Along with Trunyan village, Penglipuran has been designtated a Bali Aga village, or original Balinese village, for preserving its ancestral traditions.

Visiting Penglipuran is like taking a trip in a time machine back to Bali’s more traditional times.

“Amid the intense forces of modernization, Penglipuran continues to retain its ancestral traditions. I think this has attracted many tourists to our village,” chairman of the Penglipuran Village Tourism Awareness Group, I Nengah Moneng, said.

Moneng revealed that before becoming a tourist destination in 1993, the locals had conducted conservation works through the village’s participation in the settlement and environment reordering project formulated by the Public Works Office in the late 1980s.

The efforts, Moneng said, were meant to preserve the village’s ancestral traditions in the interests of future generations.

In 1990, villagers along with students on rural service assignments, also developed parks by utilizing portions of the village road to the front and side of house yards. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

What is wrong in Thailand ?

In Holland we say

A man, a man - an word an word (Same a Rock)

(Een man, een man - een woord, een woord)

In Thailand is an word same a balloon.

The break their word in a minute.

An appointment has not any value, the come always to late (or not)

Same as a contract and a relation. 


The change from relation quicker than from their own car.


Difficult to live with, when you are always straight.