Skål hotels in Koh Samui sweep up Travellers’ Choice awards
Skål International Koh Samui hotels – Cape Fahn, Coast Samui, Conrad, Hansar, The W, Poppies & Zazen resorts – were among the top 25 to be named “most picture-perfect”, “most romantic” and “best small hotel” in the latest Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards.
The awards are based on reviews posted on Tripadvisor over the past 12 months.
As challenging as the past year has been, these Skål International hotels have stood out for continuously delighting visitors.
“We are very grateful to our loyal guests, who have travelled to our Samui member hotels and to their dedicated staff for their commitment to exceeding expectations,” said James McManaman, president of Skål International Koh Samui and general manager of Poppies Resort.
“This is also a great endorsement for our Skål Samui destination marketing campaign: #rediscoversamui which reminds travellers about the beauty and lifestyle that awaits holidaymakers in Samui,” he added.
The Travellers’ Choice Awards focuses on places that deliver quality experiences while navigating changing customer expectations and new ways of working.
This oblique photograph captures an astronaut’s perspective of Thailand at night as viewed from the International Space Station. The prominent lights of Bangkok — Thailand’s capital and most populous city — are the focal point, with the lights of other cities lining the coast of the Gulf of Thailand.
The dark swath of land in the top left is the Malay Peninsula, which separates the Andaman Sea from the Gulf of Thailand. The darker, forested Tenasserim Hills stand out from the lighter-toned, lower coastal plains to the east.
Bangkok is considered a “primate city”, which is defined as a city twice as large as the next largest in the urban hierarchy of a country and twice as significant economically. Bangkok’s population of more than 10 million is many times greater than that of Chon Buri (population 1.4 million), the next largest.
City lights provide a visual indication of the high population density in and around the city centre.
Laem Chabang is visible along the eastern coast of the Bay of Bangkok. It is the country’s largest deep seaport and sees most of the international shipping reach Thailand.
The green dots sprinkled throughout the Gulf are fishing boats using lights to attract plankton and squid. Fishing is an important industry, as most of Thailand’s consumption of animal protein comes from seafood.
Companies around the Gulf of Thailand are also among the largest foreign suppliers of fish to the United States.
Astronaut photograph ISS064-E-37842 was acquired on February 26, 2021, with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 58 millimetres. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center.
The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 64 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed.
The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the Nasa/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.
Caption by Laura Phoebus, Jacobs, JETS Contract at Nasa-JSC.
Thailand’s fighting fish still the world champions, says betta breeder
Not many people gain income from their hobbies, but Wisit Phumpetch is one of the rare and lucky few. A prominent breeder of Siamese fighting fish, Wisit has managed to turn his casual pastime into a lucrative career.
Afish with history
Also known as betta, Siamese fighting fish are a freshwater species native to Southeast Asian countries – Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and of course Thailand.
Fighting fish go back a long way in Thailand, first surfacing during the reign of Rama I (1782-1809). But it wasn’t until the rule of King Rama III (1824-1851) that their fame spread overseas. The third monarch of the House of Chakri gave some fighting fish to Danish zoologist Theodore Cantor, who became the first Western scientist to describe the species. Betta first appeared in the West in the late 1800s, and within decades were popular as ornamental fish.
They remain a symbol of Thainess around the globe, even inspiring the national costume worn by Thai contestant Amanda Obdam during the recent Miss Universe contest.
To learn more about the fish, The Nation Thailand visited Wisit at his farm in Rat Burana, Bangkok.
Thailand’s fighting fish still the world champions, says betta breederFrom hobby to lucrative business
Known in the trade as Deen Chevroret, Wisit began breeding fighting fish three years ago after being captivated by their beauty and variety. He explained that today’s ornamental betta are far more beautiful than in his younger days, when the fish were bred purely for fighting, like cockerels or bulls.
His first big success as a breeder came six or seven months after he went full-time. He put a fish he had raised up for auction in an online group. The price started at 1 baht but the bidding eventually soared to THB4,800. “I was very happy with that success, which has inspired me to breed betta to this day,” he said.
Wisit now makes a good living from ornamental fighting fish, selling specimens to both Thai and foreign customers for impressive sums of money.
Thailand’s fighting fish still the world champions, says betta breederHigh-priced fighters
He explained that fish with unique and colourful markings fetch the highest prices.
“Low-priced fish are what you see sold in [Bangkok] pet markets such as Chatuchak or Thonburi,” he added.
Away from shops and pet markets, much of the trade in fighting fish happens on social media. However, trading and prices have been subdued since Covid-19 arrived in Thailand – though Wisit said his business was only slightly affected.
Demand from abroad may have helped soften the impact of the virus crisis.
Wisit said most of his foreign customers live in Southeast Asia, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia. But he also receives orders for fish from as far away as Europe and America.
That should come as no surprise since Thailand still produces the best quality betta in the world, he said. And with ornamental fighting fish in high demand, there is room in the market for new players, he added.
The current trend is for specimens with dark pigmentation or dazzling scales.
“The scales shine when they are lit up,” he explained.
Thailand’s fighting fish still the world champions, says betta breederRaising a fighting fish
The obvious question to ask someone who won success so quickly is how he overcame the challenges of breeding fighting fish. The answer was simple yet surprising: There was no hardship involved, said Wisit, since he loves his work.
Despite his answer, raising fighting fish as a career requires hard work, time and attention. Wisit told us that he worked every day, with only one assistant to share the load. He breeds the fish, then feeds and cares for them until they are large enough for selection.
The most beautiful specimens are exhibited in glass bottles for his online and offline customers. Meanwhile, the lower-grade fish are retained for breeding or sold on for modest prices.
Fortunately, keeping betta as pets is a much easier task than raising them professionally. Wisit explained that fighting fish are a good choice for people who have limited free time.
Despite their short average lifespan of three to five years, betta are a tough species. Owners can leave the fish at home alone for up to five days, as long as they have fresh water and adequate food supplies.
Promote for ‘2021 P4G Seoul Summit’ to Thai People aiming Carbon-neutral
83 Thai art works participated in “Project For Green Contest” by KCC Thailand
The Korean Cultural Center in Thailand (KCC Thailand) hosted the online contest ‘Project For Green Contest’, to promote interest and participation on ‘2021 P4G Seoul Summit’ scheduled on May 30-31, 2021.
The P4G – Partnering For Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 – Initiative was launched in 2018, and twelve partner countries including South Korea, Denmark, Indonesia, Mexico and South Africa are participating in the initiative. The contest fields are total four – Video, Poster, Graphic and Slogan – having theme ‘Eco-friendly’ or ‘Environmental preservation’.
After the contest period from 26th April to 16th May, total 83 art works from 70 Thai citizens – the youngest competitor was 9-year-old, and the oldest one was 78-year-old -entered a competition. The competitors showed a lot interest in the environment issue. As a result, the grand prize goes to Ms. Wansasikun Lertsiri-amorn (age 16, Samsenwittayalai school), who made a music video with composing and sing a song. said, Ms. Wansasikun said, “I would like to let audiences to know environmental knowledge with interesting ways, so decided to use ‘playing an instrument’ and ‘sing a song’, which are my hobbies.
“Her song included Korean and Thai lyrics, encourage people to do eco-friendly actions such as tree-planting, using eco bag, and saving electricity.
Promote for ‘2021 P4G Seoul Summit’ to Thai People aiming Carbon-neutral
The winner of ‘Slogan’ field is Ms. Palita Wutitam, who submitted ‘3 line poem’ by Korean language. Ms. Palita showed the excellent Korean skill, and an estimated 46,000 Thai middle school students study Korean in this year, the most in any country outside of Korea. Mr. Somchai Pinitsab, who is artist and teacher, win ‘Poster’ field by the great art work inspired by respect for life from Buddhism. The art works of all winners and excellent competitors, will be uploaded in KCC’s facebook channel (https://www.facebook.com/koreanculturalcenterTH) from 25th May. KCC Thailand will award a gift certificate valued 10,000 THB to the grand prize winner, and valued 5,000THB to the winner of each field.
The eco-friendly body soaps will be distributed to the other excellent competitors, and flowerpot set will be given to all participants.
Mr. Cho Jae-il, the Director of KCC Thailand, said “We thank for all participants, who understand our idea that small changes in a daily-life can overcome the climate change”.
He also mentions that “KCC Thailand will constantly organize the online events that Thai people can join in Covid-19 situation, for exchange of Korea and Thai culture.”
Embassy staff are seen tucking in to six spicy Thai dishes – Nam Prik Noom (grilled green chilli dip), Phad Krapow Moo (stir-fried basil with minced pork), Mama Phad Khee Mao (spicy stir-fried drunken instant noodles), Gaeng Hed (fermented mushroom soup), Gaeng Tai Pla (fermented fish entrails curry) and Gaeng Leung (yellow curry with fish and papaya).
The munching diplomats comment in Thai on the food between mouthfuls, remarking on its tastiness (“aroy mak”) and also comparing the spicy flavours to the Tex-Mex cuisine of Arizona. However, as the spice level gets higher with each dish, some diners begin to struggle. “It’s worth eating for bilateral relations between the two countries,” one US diplomat splutters in Thai after taking a fiery mouthful of Gaeng Leung.
They sign off with a message for Thailand: “We hope you all have a fun, safe and delicious Thai New Year! Happy Songkran!”
Meanwhile, the Australian Embassy had fun with a virtual Songkran celebration posted on its Facebook page.
Ambassador Allan McKinnon appears in traditional Thai dress as a message board is virtually handed around to individual staff in a Zoom-style video. Each member chalks a Thai letter before the message is handed back to McKinnon, who is promptly soaked by water guns from all sides.
“This year we are celebrating Songkran virtually, with a bit of physical distancing. Our Embassy staff has a small message to everyone in Thailand and to our Thai friends in Australia. Wishing everyone a happy and safe Songkran!” the message read.
In a bid to revive tourism in Phuket, resort group Laguna Phuket is set to kick-off a 19-day festival offering a series of exciting events that will showcase the island’s beauty and preparedness.
Running from March 31 to April 18, the “Laguna Phuket Revive 555 Festival” will include sports, music, cultural and community events over three weekends, including the Songkran weekend.
Headline artists Kong Saharat, Da Endorphine, Yes’sir Days, Pop Pongkool, LABANOON, Golf F Hero, Thaitanium, Ice Saranyu and Instinct taking part.
Hoping to boost Phuket’s economy and spur domestic tourism, the festival offers something for everyone. And there has never been a better time to visit the island – the Andaman Sea and beaches are pristine, the air clean, and people welcoming as ever.
“Phuket is ready to welcome tourists from all regions of Thailand,” said Phuket’s deputy governor Pichet Panapong. “The island’s natural beauty has been revived again. The beachfront Laguna Phuket is perfect for this festival – it is spacious and festival goers can enjoy the activities and facilities in a safe environment.”
“A lot of passion went into planning this festival,” said Ravi Chandran, the resort’s managing director. “While a Laguna Phuket initiative, the festival is a true collaboration of Phuket people and organisations. Now is the perfect time to visit and through this series of events we hope to spark interest in Phuket, whether you have visited before or not, and aim to highlight that Phuket is a welcoming island open to everyone.”
Laguna’s Revive 555 Festival official poster
Held at Xana Beach Club, the inaugural event is the Laguna Phuket Thailand Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Championship 2021 which runs until April 4. The Laguna Phuket Soundwave presented by Works.com, on April 3 and 4 at Laguna Grove, showcases world-class entertainment including famous Thai artists, while the Angel Market on the grounds of Cassia Phuket promotes local arts and crafts, and food.
Phuket province will host Roy Rim Lay from April 10 to 12 at Laguna Grove. The event gives guests the chance to sample Phuket’s famous, delicious local cuisine and enjoy on-site live entertainment. For active travellers, Xana Beach Club will host a beach run on April 11, ending the day with live entertainment and refreshments as the sun sets over Bang Tao Bay.
The Songkran holiday will be devoted to celebrating the LGBTQ+ community with the four-day Laguna Phuket Pride 2021 kicking off on April 12. The pride parade coincides with Laguna Phuket Sustainability Day and Night Community Activity – two events linked to the heart of Laguna Phuket’s corporate social responsibility endeavors. Golf-lovers can take part in a Laguna Golf Phuket tournament on April 14.
The final weekend of the festival on April 17-18, is sure to draw the trendiest of crowds. Cassia Phuket will host Laguna Phuket’s first-ever Surf Skate event against the backdrop of live music and entertainment in the form of Laguna Phuket Soundwave presented by Works.com.
The fast-growing sport has become a Phuket favourite in recent months, and festivalgoers are sure to enjoy the cool moves of the skaters. Concerts also return to Laguna Grove that weekend for an epic finale to the 19-day festival.
“We are confident that these collaborative events between the island and Laguna Phuket will boost domestic tourism and showcase Phuket for the unique and inclusive holiday destination that it truly is. Measures have been put in place to ensure that each event venue strictly adheres to high safety and well-being standards, ensuring that the Laguna Phuket Revive 555 Festival is not only a fun, but also safe event, for everyone,” Chandran added.
Each Laguna Phuket hotel will arrange exclusive fringe activities to complement the festival. Guests of Angsana Laguna Phuket, Banyan Tree Phuket, Cassia Phuket, Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket and Saii Laguna Phuket will have direct access to all events via Laguna Phuket’s on-site shuttle services.
Airbnb has jumped on the bandwagon for International Women’s Day (March 8) by pointing out that 55 per cent of its hosts in Thailand are female. Chiang Mai is home to the highest proportion of women hosts in Thailand (60 per cent) – 9th in Airbnb’s rankings of global cities with the highest number of female hosts.
“In Thailand, our women Airbnb hosts are breaking down barriers and blazing new trails. They recognise Airbnb as a valuable platform that provides them with the opportunity to earn extra income. They see Airbnb as a way for them to become financially independent and a way to support their local communities and neighbourhoods,” said Amanpreet Bajaj, Airbnb general manager for India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
To celebrate International Women’s Day in Thailand, Airbnb is launching two new experiences hosted by leading women chefs – Chef Gai (Thananya Kaikaew), owner of dessert cafe Brioche from heaven, and Chef Nooror (Nooror Somany Steppe), owner of Blue Elephant restaurant.
Thananya KaikaewNooror Somany Steppe
Next Saturday (March 13), guests will enjoy a tour of Chef Gai’s cafe while learning the art of making the perfect brioche.
Meanwhile, Chef Nooror will launch the Airbnb “Cooking Experience with Blue Elephant” on March 11, revealing the secrets of her signature lamb massaman curry.