Bangkok – ‘Preserve the charm of Pak Klong Talad’

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Architecture professor says a special committee should be setup to ensure famous Pak Klong Talad market area retains its appeal.

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PAK KLONG TALAD is not just one of Bangkok’s wholesale flower markets but also an area rich in charm and history. Given this, academics have proposed a joint committee be set up for footpath regulations to ensure the attractive aspects of the area stay well-preserved.

Bangkok Metropolitan Admini-stration (BMA) should talk to vendors, who stand to lose business, as well as the land owner or lessees to find a good solution, Silpakorn University Architecture Professor Chatri Prakitnonthakam told the Nation via phone yesterday.

A joint committee should be set up, with academics, vendors, landlords, and city officials, to find the solution that satisfies all parties while improving the landscape and preserving the area’s charm, he said.

There also needs to be moderators to ensure talks go smoothly, who could be from the Siam Museum, which used to carry out research on the Pak Klong Talad area, or university people with a good knowledge of the area, he added.

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Lek-Prapai Viriyahpant Founda-tion historian Sudara Suchaxaya said street vendors were an icon of the Far East and should be preserved as part of the area’s charm. She urged the BMA to do more than clear vendors off footpaths, warning that pushing them out to the road would force them to set up shops that could add costs and drive up the price of |flowers.

She suggested the area should be regulated as a market and each street vendor provided with a stall.

Sudara recalled Pak Klong Talad was first a fish market before turning into a flower market 60 years ago. Back then, flower farmers from the Thon Buri side reached the market by boat and sold local flowers from the roadside. Later the products ranged wider to orchids and many imported flowers.

Previously 1,700 vendors of Pak Klong Talad and the nearby Saphan Phut Bridge were told to move out and relocate to three privately-run sites nearby – Yod Piman Market, Tha Din Daeng Market and Songserm Kankasetthai Market. Many vendors lamented that such markets would charge monthly rent plus an expensive “Pae Jia” membership fee.

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Flower vendor Prapaksorn Ananthamanee, who has sold marigolds at Pak Klong Talad for over 20 years, said the relocation to Yod Piman meant a rental fee of Bt8,000 per square metre a month for eight hours use a day – and time beyond that charged hourly. Her selling of thousands of marigolds would require a bigger space, costing Bt40,000 per month, she said, and a membership fee would be Bt500,000 to Bt1 million.

No rent at Pak Klong Talad and vendors can trade 24 hours

As there was no rent at Pak Klong Talad and trade could be around the clock, she only paid a monthly cleaning fee of Bt300 and sometimes a Bt500 fine to city bylaw enforcers for dirtying the area.

“Moving to the new place, I’d have to hike flower prices to survive. If flowers piled up due to lack of customers, it would affect farmers,” she said.

Meanwhile, farmers growing roses on 3,000 rai in Tak’s Phop Phra district, whose blooms are sold at Pak Klong Talad, also objected to the BMA plan. They said it would deprive them of sales outlets. The new locations proposed could not sufficiently support the vendors, they claimed.

In the meantime, the BMA governor’s chief adviser Wanlop Suwandee led officials to inspect Wat Rakhang Khositaram in Thon Buri yesterday – to ban unauthorised people using space in and around the temple for trade and illegal parking service. Previously, some 52 vendors were told to leave by Monday and move to other places, such as Bang Khun Sri Market or Pata Pinklao mall area.

The BMA has already reclaimed Klong Ong Ang from vendors between Saphan Han to Saphan Lek and regulated areas in Klong Thom and Tha Chang to Tha Phrachan. Talks on Monday between BMA officials and Pak Klong Talad vendor |representatives failed to come up with a solution, but were continuing as of press time last night.

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Source: The Nation

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Thailand – Valentine tie-ups by boat, balloon and on elephant

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Several provinces arranged special marriage ceremonies yesterday according to their own special views of Valentine’s Day.

Many couples yesterday launched their married life at the ceremonies, which were set up with local themes to promote tourism in the provinces and make the start of a long life together more memorable.

Napaporn Sawatdimongkol, director of the administration and registration office of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, said 3,486 couples had registered their marriages in the capital this year.

Bang Rak district was still the most popular area for couples to register their marriage, as the district welcomed 1,045 couples yesterday.

In the northern province of Chiang Rai, 20 couples registered their marriage in Singha Park before riding hot-air balloons to celebrate the start of their honeymoon in the sky.

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Pro golfer Kiradech Aphibarnrat was among the 20 couples joining the ceremony in Chiang Rai.

In Rayong, 30 couples chosen from 15 tambons in Klaeng district registered their marriage on a luxury yacht at Cape Mae Pim to promote local tourism.

The couples were given framed marriage certificates that they had signed, a voucher for a one-night hotel stay and a pair of lottery tickets as gifts on the joyous occasion.

In Ang Thong, one of the grooms who attended the marriage registration ceremony at Khun Inthapramool Temple, an important historical site in the province, wore traditional warrior garb, catching the attention of many tourists.

Ang Thong is famous for the local resistance army that fought Burmese invaders during war in the Ayutthaya era.

Another of the distinctive registration ceremonies was held at the Nong Nooch Garden in Chon Buri, where marriages on elephant-back were arranged.

There were 99 couples attending the ceremony there.

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It was also the marriage registration for the elephant couples at the event.BothThere was also a marriage registration for the elephant couple. Each one drew red hearts on the certificate to represent their signatures.

In Ubon Ratchatani, traditional Isan (Northeast) weddings and marriage registrations were held at the confluence of the Mekong and Mun rivers.

Even in the deep South, a caravan of 700 bicycles and 10 off-road vehicles transported 83 lucky couples from Narathiwat to the Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary to register their marriages on a raft in the jungle.

A hornbill was chosen as the mascot of the event to signify true love.

Source: The Nation

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Chinese Spring Lantern Festival

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The Spring Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month.
In the fifteen days following of the Chinese New Year, China will celebrate the Spring Festival. People flock to parks to behold dragon dance and Chinese opera. And that goes cheerful and colorful.

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Love likes to have the final word, and on the last day of Chinese New Year celebrations, couples spend time together on what’s informally known as ‘Chinese Valentine’s Day.

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Hong Kong is a beautiful sight during this event, when colorful lanterns are hung in parks, flower markets and restaurants.

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The Lantern Festival of 2016 falls on February 22. There is no holiday for this traditional festival.

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Falling on the 15th day of the first lunar month, Lantern Festival is the first significant feast after Spring Festival, so called because the most important activity during the night of the event is watching various wonderful Chinese lanterns.
And because every household eats yuanxiao (a rice ball stuffed with different fillings) on that day, it is called Yuan Xiao Festival. For its rich and colorful activities, it is regarded as the most recreational among all the Chinese festivals and a day for appreciating the bright full moon, and family reunion.

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With a history of over 2,000 years, various traditional customs and activities are held during Lantern Festival that appeal to people of different ages, including watching lanterns and fireworks, guessing lantern riddles, performing folk dances, and eating yuanxiao.

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During the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD), Buddhism flourished in China. So in order to popularize Buddhism, one of the emperors gave an order to light lanterns in the imperial palace to worship and show respect for Buddha on the 15th day of the first lunar month. During the Tang (618 – 907), Song (960 – 1279), Ming (1368 – 1644) and Qing (1644 – 1911) dynasties, lighting lanterns became a tradition for Chinese people.

Today, when the festival comes, red lanterns can be seen in the street, in each house, and store. In the parks, lanterns of various shapes and types attract countless visitors. Visitors marvel that various lanterns so vividly demonstrate traditional Chinese folklore.

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Beginning from the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279), guessing riddles is regarded as an indispensable part of the Lantern Festival. People write all kinds of riddles on pieces of paper, and paste them on colorful lanterns to let visitors guess. If one has an answer to a riddle, he can pull the paper to let organizers verify the answer. Gifts are presented to the people who get the right answers.

Because this intellectual activity is exciting, people from all walks of life enjoy it.

Chinese Public Holiday Calendar

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Thai Smile launches cheap direct flights from Bangkok to Siem Reap

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Fed up of the daily city grind and fancy some culture at a low cost?

Then you’re in luck, because next month Thai Smile Airways launches direct flights from Bangkok to Siem Reap.

The budget carrier, a subsidiary of Thai Airways, also flies to Phnom Penh but recently got a permit to operate the route to the home of Angkor Wat.

Bangkok Airways and Thai AirAsia also run the same route, but Thai Smile Airways hopes to offer competitively priced fares, with a one-way flight starting at THB2,480 including fees and taxes.

Book a flight now on the new service, which offers 10 flights each week and will start on Feb. 1.

Source: Coconuts

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Chiang Rai’s cherry blossoms in full bloom

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Chiang Rai’s wild Himalayan cherry blossoms, locally known as “Thai sakura,” are now in full bloom and ready to be enjoyed by visitors.

As winter disappears, many tourists have been flocking to Wiangkan district to see the pink flowers and take selfies with them.

The Watershed Management Unit of Ngao, where the sakura flowers were grown, will let people take photos and enjoy the sight of the beautiful cherry blossoms until early next month.

They are advised to travel to the Watershed Management Headquarters either via Phu Chi Fa or Wiangkan district, which is just two kilometers away, state media reported.

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Source: Coconuts

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The 6 Yacht Weeks

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Yachting 2016

Perhaps you’ve heard about this thing called The Yacht Week, an exclusive seven-day, spring break-like flotilla for kind-of grownups that involves sailboats, exotic locales, and hard-partying young people from around the world. Days are spent drinking onboard chartered boats while nights are spent drinking in clubs you’ve only seen on Wild On! Somewhere in between people sleep and probably quote that Andy Samberg & T-Pain song waaaay too much.

But how can you get in on the action and live like a billionaire playboy for the week? For less than $2,000. And where, exactly, is all this partying going on? To sort it out, we talked to Kiersten Rich — aka, The Blonde Abroad — a travel blogger and one of our favorite Instagrammers on the planet. She’s been to Yacht Week a time or five, and broke it all down for us. Here are her insider tips for all six routes.

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So, what is The Yacht Week?
Yacht Week is not like Fashion Week or Music Week, where you just show up and party. It’s a private trip full of private parties that you buy your way into. Old and new money are accepted.

Actually, The Yacht Week isn’t just one trip but a series of flotillas throughout the year organized by European Travel Ventures. You join the fun by either rounding up your friends and chartering a boat or, if you’re flying solo, reserving a cabin on an existing yacht using their handy website. The number of boats on each route is limited, so in either case, you should book early.

Also, there’s the catch: The Yacht Week regulates the guy/girl ratio on every trip, aiming for an even 50/50 mix. So when you book, you’ll see a percentage next to the boat you’re trying to reserve; this is the minimum percentage of female patrons that must be in your party to set sail. It’s kinda like going to a high-end club, except instead of getting seven hours of pounding techno music, you get seven days of it.

Once onboard/on location, participants receive a weeklong schedule of events planned by TYW that includes everything from exclusive parties, to snorkeling adventures, to day trips around nearby islands; again, it all depends on the itinerary. And again, ONLY people from the organized Yacht Week itineraries can attend those crazy parties you keep watching on YouTube. Participants are easily identified by their brightly colored wristbands that scream, “Yes! I’m one of the cool kids!”

The exact routes aren’t planned until a few weeks before the trip, so you’re kind of flying blind when you book. But nobody (to our knowledge) has ever come back and called it “the worst week of my life.” So, you can probably trust in The Yacht Week’s planning skills.

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Where is The Yacht Week?
There are six locations where The Yacht Week operates: Greece, Croatia, Turkey, Italy, Thailand, and the British Virgin Islands (BVI). As mentioned, each route runs during a specific time of year (although there is some overlap), typically summer in Europe, winter in Thailand, and winter/spring in BVI.

Here’s the thing though, despite the name, it’s not just ONE set week. In fact, participants typically have six or seven weeks to choose from throughout the season for EACH destination. This summer, there are actually 13 weeks for the Croatia route.

How much does it cost?
Again, that depends on the itinerary, how many people are in your group, and what kind of boat you charter. It can range from about $600-$1,000 a person, not including food, plane tickets, or transfers from the nearest airport to the marina. The rate also doesn’t include fuel or port fees for your boat (which can range from $25-$100 per night) or the cost of a skipper/hostess should you not know how to sail the damn thing and/or want to make your own sandwiches.

And speaking of skippers and hostesses?
Most people on The Yacht Week can’t sail. And even for the people who do know how, the amount of partying involved typically doesn’t lend itself to a long day at the helm. So participants often hire a skipper who will both lovingly refer to you as “Lil Buddy” and drive your rig. He’ll also teach you how to sail if you want to actually learn something during your week of debauchery. But no pressure.

For a mixed or all-female boat, the skipper will cost you between $800-$1,200, depending on your route and exchange rate. For an all-male group, it runs between $1,300-$1,800.

You can also hire a hostess for the week to do all the cooking and cleaning, and have meals (and drinks) ready when you return to the boat after a hard day of partying. This will set you back an additional $750-$1,000, plus the cost of food (all of which, she’ll buy).

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YACHTING VIDEO IN THAILAND

Source: thrillist.com

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