Feeding the monkeys at Sammuk Hill

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Some tourists in Pattaya think of something else other than the beach thing. They go to Sammuk Hill in Bangsaen and feed some monkeys. That is not to say Pattaya’s attractions are not great, but a day with the cuddly primates is, indeed, another story.

Sammuk Hill is just a short distance from Bangsaen beach and features the shrine of Chao Mae Khao Sammuk, a Chinese girl who, according to one version of the story, committed suicide by throwing herself into the cliff, after her parents refused to give her the blessing to marry her lover. The entire hill is inhabited by wild monkeys, but can be hand-fed if you have bananas.

If you go more than picture-taking and want to do this and you don’t have anything to give, fruit vendors, who ply their trade on Sammuk hill, will provide. The top of the hill where the shrine is located can be reached by cars. The road is winding but not steep so that you don’t have to rev up your vehicle beyond necessary. Besides, monkeys do exercise their liberty, crossing the road at will.

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You don’t want having a bad day after killing one instantly with your rubberized tires! There are those who hike their way up the hill. If you do this and you’re over 40, make sure you had taken a dozen of energy drinks prior to embarking on this short journey. Halfway up the road is the first stop, though. Take a rest, deep breath, under a shelter, and enjoy a spectacular view of the sea. Right here is a relatively large tree where lazy and overfed monkeys take their nap.

If you need additional energy to reach the top, buy a bunch of bananas and do feed yourself first, before you do to your ancestors. Look through the thick trees and bushes beside the road. You’ll find a lot of baby monkeys, breast-feeding mothers, and banana-belied males. Most of the time, especially when many other people have come before you, the monkeys will not even throw a glance at your bananas. You need quail eggs to lure them towards you for the photos. This is a more expensive commodity around here, but it is readily available.p3

The top of the hill is a watering hole in itself. There is a car parking area. The shrine is never without people around it, devotees and curious onlookers alike. Ironically, despite its sad story, people worship it for luck and to improve on their love relationship. Another legend has it that this spot was used as “Lover’s Leap” where couples kill themselves after making a vow to their forbidden love.

Still another tale says that the shrine was built in memory of a fisherman’s wife who waited atop the hill for her husband who was lost at sea. They are not so sure, of course. It’s an old tale and we are talking here of an 18th century story. — Jony Reese

OTHER ATTRACTIONS IN BANGSAEN • Bangsaen Beach, ideal for swimming, windsurfing and other water sports. • Wat Saensook, where there are many statues, describing hell and heaven stories. • Ang Sila Village, where large oysters, lobsters and shells are kept in a fisherman’s farm. Also in this village are many stone handicraft factories, where you will be surprised at the craftsmanship skills of artisans in creating beautiful sculptures out of stone boulders.

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Fun and thrill in the Sunshine Strip

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From a sleepy fishing village in the ‘60s, Pattaya has grown into what it is now — a world-class beach destination. And one thing that has contributed to its worldwide appeal, apart from its dynamic nightlife, is watersports. Despite the rise in prominence of other beach destinations in the country, such as Phuket and Koh Samui, Pattaya has stood its ground as the place to go for watersports.

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Arguably it is now – in fact, always has been — the watersports capital of Thailand. Windsurfers from around the world come here to surf, thanks to its good sailing conditions. While the waves here are not that strong compared to those in Hawaii or Florida, many enthusiasts still enjoy coming over because Pattaya, particularly Jomtien Beach, is one of the few places in southeast Asia where enough wind blows year round.

During summer, while much of the region basks in sunlight and the beaches are full, Jomtien Beach, sometimes referred to as Pattaya’s Sunshine Strip, teems with amateur and professional windsurfers seeking to hone their skills. What makes Jomtien the favorite among foreign surfers is that it has a long coast and wind speed in the area is relatively the same year round. Also, there is little in the way of rocks or coral to watch out for in Jomtien. Due to this favorable environment, Jomtein has been host to a number of local and international windsurfing competitions.

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But windsurfing isn’t all that this resort city can offer. Another popular beach activity in Jomtien is parasailing. Like windsurfing, parasailing relies on wind. And the wind speed is perfect for parasailing. Parasailing is something that few have even dreamed about, much less tried. “My heart started to beat faster once the boat turned slowly. Suddenly, the parachute took me higher, causing an air-pocket effect,” said a first-time parasailer. “My knees felt rubbery. There was an unexplainable sensation to the whole thing. You practically felt like a bird. And it’s just great,” he added. Indeed, the sport gives those up in the air a different perspective of everything on the ground, and definitely a natural high.

How does one get to fly and watch the world while in Pattaya? Simple. Just go to the beach and ask for the parasailing team to attach the harness to your waist. Don’t forget to wear swimming goggles for eye protection. Then, get into the water and wait to be lifted to the sky. While up there, feel the wind and the freedom, and enjoy the breathtaking bird’s-eye view of Pattaya below. There are many other watersports to try here in Pattaya. They include water skiing, riding jet-ski, water scooter or banana boat, diving, kite-sailing, kayaking, cable skiing, and deep-sea fishing. So while in Pattaya, experience what many can only dream about. Take to the beach and go for some thrills that only the Sunshine Strip in Pattaya can offer.

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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