Thailand announces 14 Thai tourism favourites as voted by Chinese visitors

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The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced the 14 most popular tourist attractions and activities as well as medical and wellness services in Thailand among Chinese tourists, as a result of the much anticipated “2017 People’s Choice Awards Thailand Voted by Chinese Tourists” campaign. H.E. General Tanasak Patimapragorn, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, and H.E. Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports, presided over the “2017 People’s Choice Awards Thailand Voted by Chinese Tourists” ceremony at the Muang Thai GMM Live House, 8th Floor, CentralWorld. The winners of the 2017 People’s Choice Awards Thailand Voted by Chinese Tourists are :

1. Luxury Hotel: Rayavadee Krabi
2. Boutique Hotel: Anantara Lawana Koh Samui Resort
3. City Hotel: Centara Grand at CentralWorld
4. Beach Hotel: Banyan Tree Samui
5. Airline: Thai Airways International
6. Show and Entertainment: Muay Thai Live: The Legend Lives
7. Medical and Wellness Service: Samitivej Hospital
8. Restaurant: Baan Rim Pa Phuket
9. Spa: Let’s Relax Spa
10. Golf Course: Gassan Khuntan Golf and Resort
11. Shopping Centre: Emquartier
12. Tourism Activities/ Theme park: Vana Nava Hua Hin
13. Attraction: Pattaya Floating Market
14. Destination: Pattaya

The contest was a continuation of a project carried out successfully in 2015 and 2016 to enhance Thailand’s tourism profile and brand image via social media networks, which are frequented by millions of Chinese every day. It also helps support the many Thai tourism products and services seeking more exposure in the Chinese market. TAT organised the voting campaign in partnership with Tencent, which owns a number of Chinese online channels; such as, WeChat (570 million users per day), QZone (330 million users per day), QQMusic (70 million users per day) and Tencent News (27 million users per day). Chinese who have travelled to Thailand were invited to vote via the website http://www.peopleschoiceawardsthailand.com between 26 May to 8 June, 2017, in 14 categories; such as, tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants, medical and wellness services, spas, shopping centres, golf courses, etc. The voting attracted a total of 3.7 million votes, and the publicity given to this activity was estimated to reach an audience of 45 million. TAT launched the “People’s Choice Awards Thailand Voted by Chinese Tourists” project in 2015 as The Best of Thailand Awards Voted by Chinese Tourists, and renamed it to the current name in 2016. In its second year, the voting attracted over 3.2 million votes. During the first four months of this year, Thailand welcomed 12 million visitors, spending around 620 billion Baht, an increase of 4.71% from the same period last year. In this number, 7.5 million came from East Asia generating 308 billion Baht. China remained the leading source market at about 3.2 million arrivals, who generated 161 billion Baht in tourism revenue.

TAT Newsroom TAT Newsroom is committed to supporting the international media by providing latest news and updates on travel and hospitality industry in Thailand http://www.tatnews.org

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2017 Optimist World Championship

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July 11-21, 2017 Royal Varuna Yacht Club, Jomtien Beach, Thailand Thailand has been selected to host the Optimist World Championship 2017 to be organized between 11-21 July 2017 at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club (RVYC) in Pattaya. 62 countries have already confirmed to compete in the event, and each country will send their most talented Optimist sailors to race as national representatives on this world stage. The event is set to provide an inspiration for young Thais to take up sailing and stimulate the development of Optimist sailing in Thailand to international standards. Visit http://www.2017worlds. optiworld.org or Facebook: Optimist- WorldChampionship2017 for more details

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THE GREAT CHARCOAL BBQ BUFFET

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A wide selection of perfectly barbecued meats, pork, chicken, lamb, seafood – prawn, fish, squid, crab and mixed skewers straight from our Old Hickory Churrasco grill – truly a BBQ lover delight! Bt. 788 per person* on Sun – Thu Bt. 1,299 per person* on Fri & Sat Kids under 12 eat FREE • 12 to 18 years old 50% off • 65+ years old 25% off 6:30-9:30 p.m. daily at Starz Diner Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya : +66 38 428 755

Enter the Depths of Chill at Deep Bar

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Located on the Pattaya 2nd Road next to the Avenue Outlet, Deep Bar is on the 3rd floor of the bespoke and boutique Hotel Baraquda Pattaya. At Deep Bar the fine art of chilling out finds a whole new and enticing meaning. As you stepout of the private elevator you’ll step into a world of sublime relaxation and a true taste of things to come as you take in the uniquely shimmering undersea experience brought about by the stunning décor with colors in their seductive shades Opened daily from 6 pm. – late.

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Rim Talay Seafood Restaurant Celebrates 7 years with complete makeover

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Opened 7 years ago, Rim Talay restaurant celebrates its 7th birthday with a complete makeover from top to bottom. “We are so happy to celebrate 7 years of successful operations for which we thank our many customers from around the world,” says Khun Kanuengsuk Prungpluem (Khun Oy) the general manager. “Our new renovations will reflect customer wishes so that we are able to provide better facilities and services. It is one of the ways we thank our customers for their continued custom by listening to their suggestions.” When the restaurants first opened its doors 7 years ago on the beach at Half Moon Bay at the end of Soi 18, next to the Centara Grand Mirage Resort the area was not very well known and there were thoughts that customers would not know to find the place.

However customers came and found the location perfect and the restaurant’s presence helped generate more traffic in the beach area so that today the beach is a very popular place for people seeking refuge from crowds off the main beach in Pattaya. Rim Talay’s new renovations start right at the beginning when customers enter the restaurant. Here they have created the biggest “seafood restaurant market” in Pattaya.

 

First they transformed one of their shrimp fishing pools into the largest seafood display pool in Pattaya where customers can choose live seafood like king lobsters, rock lobsters, river prawns, Fish and so forth swimming for customers to select prior to cooking. In addition they also have around 10 large glass aquariums where fresh live seafood and fish are kept for customers to eyeball.

Morever they have kept another pool nearby for their very popular fresh shrimp fishing where customers can try their luck skills with fishing for shrimps. A fun activity that is easy to do, but requires a bit of skill in order to master. This has been one of their signature fun activities and remains very popular. The restaurant cooks shrimp caught for customers with the slogan “you do the fishing and we do the cooking”.

Next to the live seafood pool customers pass through the fresh chilled food area where seafood are kept for people that prefer not to order live fish. Then customers pass near the grill area and kitchen next to it where they have a staff of 25 cooks busy with many orders. The cooks are specialists in seafood cooking as well as in the preparation of imported steaks.

The second floor is kept as the place to view the beautiful Half Moon Bay and is very popular particular during sunsets. The second floor area is reduced a bit to allow for more open roof space for the first floor terrace. “The second floor we have redecorated a bit to allow for private parties and other functions. Customers wanting to celebrate specials events like birthdays and such and can now have a better private area to celebrate” says Khun Oy. “Our redecorations of mainly white themes keep the mood of casual and relaxed elegance to reflect the spirit of the restaurant and mirror the beauty of the ambiance of the dark blue sea, white clouds, long golden sandy beach and lush greenery of our tropical garden areas.

Sunsets are often spectacular with the sun sliding into the distant ocean’s edge”! The biggest change is on the first floor or the “Sunset View Terrace” as they call the area. The area has been expanded doubling its capacity with more open sky space with the removal of part of the floor of the second floor. A retractable awning has been installed to allow for a roof cover in case of inclement weather. “This means more of our customers can dine under the stars while enjoying one of the best seafood in Pattaya” says Khun Oy. “Rim Talay is the only seafood restaurant that offers full service dining experience right on the beach for breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner in Pattaya and we intend of keep and improve on this tradition,” according to Khun Oy. During the day there are dozens of sun beds for customers who wish to enjoy the sun while dining. In the evening more tables and relaxing beach sofas are set up according to demand so customers are able to dine under the stars with the ocean practically lapping at their feet.

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“Rim Talay is the only seafood restaurant that offers full service dining experience right on the beach for breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner in Pattaya and we intend of keep and improve on this tradition,” according to Khun Oy. During the day there are dozens of sun beds for customers who wish to enjoy the sun while dining. In the evening more tables and relaxing beach sofas are set up according to demand so customers are able to dine under the stars with the ocean practically lapping at their feet. As an added innovation and a conversation piece they have also transformed a ‘tuk-tuk’ to become a draft beer bar, which is parked in the beach area. In addition to beer the restaurant maintains an excellent selection of wines from around the world for customers who want to choose the right wine with their meals. There are also tempting tropical cocktails served throughout the day. “We provide friendly and professional service together with our truly delicious seafood as well as imported steaks. Our wine selections go well with most dishes. We also have Australian or Canadian steaks, which we keep chilled to keep its unique flavors, as well as Thai, Asian and European food. We also offer New Zealand mussels, Norwegian salmon, and Thai specialties all at compatible prices because we want customers to return. Advertising and “word-of-mouth” are our marketing strategies and it has worked well for us,” according to Khun Oy.

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The main menu is spectacular boosting over 200 items of seafood, steaks, Thai and European food and each menu item has a photograph of the actual dish plus describing each dish in 5 languages (Thai, English, German, Chinese and Russian). Khun Oy further mentioned; “We also added a completely new and chic as well as romantic and relaxing “Chill-out-Zone” in front of the beach with cozy furniture, sparkling lights and a special chill-out-menu offering “Stone Oven Pizza” and other delicious items besides our international variety of seafood, steaks, Thai and Asian delights. Since we opened the “Chill-out- Zone” it quickly became a hit with our guests!” Another new addition is the “TukTuk Beach Bar” located right in front of the beach with breathtaking views and offering a wide varieties of drinks from draft beer to tropical cocktails, wine and delicious Mock-tails all of which are also available for take-away while strolling along the beach!

What the spirit house means to Thais

Spirit worship is as old as mankind itself. In Thailand the phenomenon goes back to the ancient days when the Thais were beginning their slow migration from the Red River Delta in northern Vietnam to all parts of the Southeast Asian region. Spirit worship, or animism, was a religion by which the entire world lived at one time, and when Buddhism came to Southeast Asia, it developed side by side with the ancient spirit religion. Today, many of the old animistic beliefs are intertwined with Buddhism and some animistic practices still exist in Thailand. One of these which is practiced by every Thai is the spirit house. The spirit house can be seen at a prominent spot outside every business establishment in the country. It can be seen on a pedestal in front of every hotel. It dresses the corner garden area of a restaurant, the front of a bar, disco.

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They can even be seen at outdoor food markets. They are built on the grounds of Buddhist temples, outside caves in the mountains, near fish ponds in the valleys, and occasionally in the middle of an otherwise uninhabited forest. Most importantly, however, the Thai spirit house is built at the yard of every home. The purpose of the spirit house is to provide an appealing shelter for the spirits, or celestial beings, who would otherwise reside in the heavens, find a place in large trees, or in caves, cliffs, waterfalls or other natural surroundings. According to folklore, the spirits themselves are either good or evil, but most are just finicky and mischievous, demanding respect from humans. They are, it is said, capable of disastrous interferences if they don’t get their way. The spirit of the land, for example, expects to be informed when a human intends to start a business or engage in improvements to an existing business. If the spirit is not informed, and if the human does not respectfully request permission, the spirit can indeed cause the venture to fail. The style and construction of a spirit house may be as simple as a typical Thai-style shelter or as elaborate as a Thai palace.

The exact style often depends on two factors — which spirit the person wishes to invite and how much one can afford for the spirit house construction. Construction itself is a specialized field and only an expert spirit house builder would be considered for proper construction. His responsibility, in addition to construction, is to be familiar with all the necessary rituals involved so that the spirit to be invited will find it an acceptable earthly abode. The house may be permanent or temporary, made of wood, concrete or brick. At certain times the spirits are invited down only for special occasions and this is when temporary spirit houses are built.

The size may vary from the very small to a large, walk-in, ground-level affair. The houses are finished with statues, small figures, or symbols of many other sorts in the center within the spirit house. In addition, there may be various animal figures, such as elephants or hones; figures of people, such as a married couple or other images; and even furniture. Outside, around the balcony that usually surrounds a spirit house, incense holders, candle sticks, and vases for flowers are placed. There are countless gods and other celestial beings in Thai folklore, The primary spirits the Thais are concerned with, however, are called the Phra Bhum Jowthee , or Guardian Spirits of the Land. There are nine of guardians and each offers a different type of protection. The Guardian of the House and the Guardian of the Gardens are so frequently consulted with and prayed to that they are the only two that have permanent spirit houses built for them.

p8The Guardian of the House is the spirit that watches over and protects the home. It is uncertain whether there is one spirit that watches over all homes , or if individual spirits do this for each home. However, all you have to do in Thailand is look around and you’ll see that every home has a spirit house. Thai families who believe wholeheartedly in the spirit house and its importance light incense every morning and ask the spirit to watch over and protect the home. Others do it on ritual occasions.

The Guardian of the House includes the spirit or spirits who help in business matters, and spirit houses at business sites are of the same type. More often than not in Thailand, the business and the home are in the same location. The Guardian of the Gardens also has a permanent spirit house shelter built for him. This spirit watches over and protects the natural surroundings, yards, gardens and orchards of the Thai family. There is a separate spirit for rice fields, so the Guardian of Gardens should not be mistaken for a spirit protecting all of agriculture. Rather, nature, flowers, plans and fruit are so important to the Thais that the Guardian of the Gardens receives a separate and permanent house of his own.

The other seven Guardians of the Land are Protector of Gates and Stairwells, who is believed to reside in the home doorstep which explains why one should never step on the doorstep of a Thai home; Protector of Animals ; Protector of Storehouses and Barns; Protector of Forests; Mountains; fields and Paddles; Protector of Temples; Protector of Waters ; and Protector of Military Forts and Defense. The various temporary spirit houses built at times requiring the intercession of a particular spirit can be constructed at any time and at any place.

An example of this is a spirit house that sits in the rhododendron forests at the top of Doi Inthanon in northern Thailand. Here in the middle of a forest hundreds of years old is a spirit house constructed for soldiers who died in a helicopter crash years ago. At the front of this spirit house, in addition to candle holders and incense holders , are small ledges for the placement of burning cigarettes. This is because those in the helicopter were believed to have liked to smoke. Offerings to a spirit house and the spirit who is intended to reside within can be nearly anything.

p8The traditional offerings include flower garlands, betel leaves, bananas, rice, chicken, duck, and a wide range of other edibles and non-edibles. Candles are often used while incense is usually lit daily before a spirit house. There are spirit houses everywhere In Thailand. Some very famous ones such as the one that houses the Chiang Mai City Pillar are large enough to walk into. A visit to Wat Chedi Luang in Chiangmai will give you an opportunity to see it for yourself. People go to these places to make offerings and request help from the spirits for various things, such as a good harvest.

The ritual at such events often involves hundreds of people with a common goal and the spirit is called upon to help all. In return the people make promises of future offerings in the event that they are successful. Thus a return visit to repay the spirit for his help is another important part of the ritual. The spirit house is one of the most fundamental features of Thai life even today and it is easily the most obvious. In Thailand devotion to Buddhism most often shows itself in ritual within a temple while Thai devotion to the spirits, especially to the guardians of the land,is often done in front yards.