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Malaysia, Indonesia to cooperate in Marine Tourism Triangle

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya and Malaysia’s Tourism and Culture Deputy Minister Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Marine Tourism Triangle Cooperation that will establish a cruise route between Langkawi in Malaysia, Phuket in Thailand and Sabang in Aceh province.

The agreement was made in Bangkok on Wednesday, during the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) 2017 Global Summit.

“We want to build a yacht and a sailing route that will allow travelers to visit three countries on one cruise,” said Arief.

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“After the Sail Sabang 2017 [event] in December, there will be a marine tourism project that is going to connect the three ports,” he added.

The agreement aims to help promote the Triangular Sailing Passage between Langkawi, Phuket and Sabang.

During a recent meeting with Arief in Bangkok, Thai Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said that Phuket has agreed to join the cooperation and would soon sign the MoU.

Source – TheJakartaPost

Rolls-Royce brings its malefic Black Badge to the Bangkok International Motor Show

Rolls-Royce brings its malefic Black Badge to the Bangkok International Motor Show.

Billed as the alter-ego of the world’s leading super luxury brand, the Rolls-Royce Black Badge makes its Southeast Asian debut this week, with the Wraith model showing its star quality to visitors at the 38th Bangkok International Motor Show.

According to Rolls Royce, Black Badge speaks to a younger, more assertive customer, the people they call the “rule breakers” and the “disrupters”, those that work hard in the day and commit the same intensity to play once darkness falls.

“Southeast Asia is now a global hub for highly successful young entrepreneurs, who have broken away from tradition to make their own mark in the world. Rolls-Royce Black Badge is presenting a darker and bolder proposition to suit this new attitude,” says Paul Harris, regional director for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in the Asia Pacific region.

“These clients are assertive, demanding and unafraid to take charge. Black Badge is the perfect bespoke answer to this distinctive, decisive and dynamic breed of owner-drivers without compromising the sublime Rolls-Royce driving experience.”

Starting from Bt35 million depending on the bespoke specification, the metamorphosis of the Rolls-Royce Wraith into its Black Badge alter-ego starts with the intensity of the black. Multiple layers of paint and lacquer are repeatedly hand-polished in the most exacting process ever developed for a solid colour. The result is a black that’s darker than night, sinister but sensuous and above all smart.

The Wraith Black Badge also includes a sophisticated centrepiece – aerospace-grade aluminium-threaded carbon fibre composite surfacing. Threads of aluminium just 0.014mm thick are woven together and bonded with carbon fibre through a painstaking process, resulting in one of the world’s most innovative and super-luxury materials.

Black Badge holds the ground with exclusive composite carbon fibre and lightweight alloy wheels, developed over four years, featuring 22 layers of carbon fibre laid in three axes and folded back on themselves to create 44 layers of strength. Further strength is added via a 3D forged, aircraft-grade aluminium hub, which is bonded to the rim using titanium fasteners.

And while the intense black will appeal to many, customers can specify whatever colour they want for the exterior and interior of their Rolls-Royce Black Badge.

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Supercar caravan marks Ferrari’s 70th anniversary

FERRARI importer Cavallino Motors is staging a caravan of 70 Ferraris from Bangkok to Ayutthaya Historical Park on March 25 today to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Italian sports-car brand.

Making its appearance in Thailand is the LaFerrari Aperta, a hybrid supercar. Only 209 cars will be built and one is available for Thailand.

Cavallino Motors enjoyed 60-per-cent sales growth during the past two years, which it attributes to improved after-sales facilities, and plans to open more centres in the future, said Voravud Bhirombhakdi, the company’s vice president.

“Establishing more integrated service centres is the goal,” he said.

 It is also offering restoration services for cars older than 20 years, offering certificates from the Ferrari factory in Italy, which helps boost resale value.

In terms of unit sales, managing director Nondhamalee Bhirombhakdi said, the company’s growth each year is driven by the popularity of models among the Ferrari fan club in Thailand. This depends on the price – a higher-priced model tends to lead to a more niche client base |but revenue per unit will be higher. 

The company offers a wide range of models, including vehicles for everyday life such as eight-cylinder models – California T, 488 GTB and Spider – as well as 12-cylinder models such as GTC4 Lusso and the newest 812 Superfast, she said. 

The company can also arrange financing deals to meet customers’ budgets, in line with the goal to increase trade-ins of second-hand Ferraris for new models. 

As many as 60 per cent of sales come from new customers introduced by existing customers, Nondhamalee said.

Source – TheNation

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CNN names Isaan as one of best places worldwide to visit this year

THAILAND’S northeastern region of Isaan was recently named by CNN as one of the top 17 places in the world to visit this year.

Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the TAT, (TAT) said: “Isaan has a long history with some of Southeast Asia’s oldest settlements found here. In modern times, the region is famous for its fiery salads, country music, stunning scenery and elaborate temples. 

“There is so much to be enjoyed here and most of it is unseen by tourists, so we encourage people to explore and discover their own amazing Isaan stories.”

The flowers of the Red Lotus Sea in Khumphawaphi district of Udon Thani are usually in full bloom from New Year until around February. Tourists can hire a boat to see the red lotuses up close and enjoy the natural scenery of the freshwater lake and waters, which are home to a variety of fish, birds, wildlife and aquatic plants.

 The list was put together by CNN travel experts and international reporters who named their favourite destinations around the world for a feature on the news organisation’s website. Other destinations on the CNN list included Penang in Malaysia, Columbia, Bordeaux in France, Bhutan, Albania and Senegal.

Isaan was cited as “a piece of Thailand that’s still largely unexplored by the international market”. CNN also noted Isaan’s “excellent infrastructure” including domestic airports and hotels.

CNN also wrote about Isaan’s most famous food exports, sticky rice and papaya salad, as dishes that are among Thailand’s best – provided diners can handle the spices.

Aside from Isaan, Bangkok was named the “Best City” in Asia by readers of DestinAsian, a travel and lifestyle magazine in the Asia-Pacific region with a print run of 33,414 copies and a readership of 100, 242 per edition.

This is the 12th annual DestinAsian Reader’s Choice Awards and Bangkok took the top spot in the city category with Singapore and Hong Kong taking the second and third place on the list. Another popular Thai city, Chiang Mai, was also popular with DestinAsian readers, taking ninth place in the poll.

This poll shows how Bangkok is fast becoming a popular short-haul trip for travellers and tourists across the region. The city offers a range of shopping and entertainment as well as historic sites, temples and attractions that can be easily enjoyed by visitors coming for a few days visit.

Source: TheNation

Cambodia – JC Airlines is almost ready to fly

With its operating licence almost in the bag, JC International Airlines is gearing up to launch passenger service next month with two aircraft and an ambitious expansion plan.

The Cambodian-registered airline, managed by China’s Yunnan Jingcheng Group, the parent firm of China’s Ruili Airlines, expects to launch its first flight on March 17.

Initial service will cover domestic routes, flying between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, according to Cheav Kirirom, the airline’s production manager.

“This is a new brand of airline offering a full range of products and services to passengers, and providing excellent service and comfort, [as well as . . .] reasonable fares and good connections,” he said yesterday.

JC International Airlines has already received two Airbus A320s from Ireland-based air leasing company Avolon. The aircraft, one new and one briefly thrown into service by Air Berlin, will be configured as all-economy class with 180 seats.

According to Kirirom, two additional A320 aircrafts are on order and expected to arrive in June and November, respectively.

“As to plan, we are scheduled to add four aircrafts every year to operate on more prospective routes,” he said.

The additional planes will allow the airline to add international service starting with flights to Ho Chi Minh City, then adding routes to China and ASEAN countries.

Kao Sivorn, general director of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA), confirmed that JC International Airlines had acquired two A320s for its upcoming operations, and could expect to receive its air operator’s certificate (AOC) by early next month.

“We are now in the process of checking [the licence application,] which is now in the third phase in accordance with international regulation requirements,” he said.

“We expect it will be done and ready to receive its AOC in March.”

According to an operations plan submitted by the airline to the SSCA, and which differs slightly from details provided yesterday by the airline, JC International Airlines has applied to operate weekly service between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, three flights a week between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, and three flights weekly from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville.

The airline has also applied to fly three times a week between Phnom Penh and Kuala Lumpur, three times a week to Singapore, four times a week to Hong Kong and once weekly to Bangkok.

“The main target of JC is Chinese passengers,” said Sivorn, adding that the airline’s management has laid out plans to operate a fleet of 20 Airbus aircraft by 2020.

JC International Airlines registered at the Ministry of Commerce in June 2014 with $1 million in registered capital. Its total investment is $100 million, according to Sivorn.

“Investment in airlines provides a lot of benefits to all sectors and promotes economic growth,” he said.

Source: PhnomPenhPost

Exploring the delights of the Eastern and Oriental Express

Exploring the delights of the Eastern and Oriental Express

Eastern and Oriental Express, the luxury tourist train, played host to a lavish evening cocktail party in Bangkok on Monday, February 13, giving the Thai media a short but very luxurious ride that started at Bangkok’s Hualampong Station.

The three-hour ride allowed guests to discover the services and hospitality of Eastern and Oriental Express. 

Cocktails, finger foods and music from DJs and the piano bar fuelled the cocktail reception, which was already in swing as the locomotive pulled out of Bangkok’s main station. 

The Eastern and Oriental Express is run by the British hotel and leisure firm Belmond, formerly known as Orient-Express Hotels.

The luxurious tourist train offers a travel opportunity of a lifetime through its classic routes – Bangkok to Singapore and vice versa. It journeys through the countryside of Malaysia and Thailand stopping off at some fascinating destinations. 

In Thailand the tourist train travels further to Kanchanaburi Province, where tourists can see the famous Bridge of the River Kwai spanning the river dividing Thailand and Myanmar.

Tuesday’s cocktail event allowed guests to have a sneak preview of the luxurious cabins (sleepers), which range from the Pullman Cabin made for the solo traveler to the State and President cabins for two sharing.

All rooms have ensuite facilities. The cabins feature wood and lacquered panels with floral motifs and wooden floors that reflect the exotic East. 

The party reached its highest point as guests gathered in the main bar where the resident pianist, saxophonist and vocalist entertained with cool jazz. –

Phoowadon Duangmee, TheNation

Thailand – Couples tie the knot in style on Valentine’s Day

LOVE was celebrated across the nation yesterday as couples marked Valentine’s Day by professing their love in style and tying the knot at venues as diverse as aloft in air balloons, under the sea, on the edge of a cliff at the first light of day or in events in Bangkok.

Bangkok’s Bang Rak district, or the “Village of Love”, was the most popular location for marriage registrations (625 couples), followed by Bang Sue (125 couples), Bang Khae (84 couples) and Lak Si (82 couples). On the same day last year, 1,045 couples tied the knot in Bang Rak. 

The 50 district offices in Bangkok registered 2,663 couples, 823 less than last year. As many as 80 couples also marked the day by signing divorce papers yesterday, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s Administration and Registration Office director Panupong Sutthisarn said.



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Thailand – Construction of new royal crematorium goes forward

PREPARATIONS for the construction of the royal crematorium for the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej at Sanam Luang is progressing well with the crematorium’s base already built, while the designs of royal chariots and the six enamelled, gem-studded Royal Urns have also been initially approved.

The designs are now pending approval by the royal cremation coordination committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, a senior official said yesterday. 

The late monarch passed away last October, plunging the Kingdom into grief.

Deputy Prime Minister General Tanasak Patimapagorn, who chairs the committee overseeing the building of the royal crematorium and the restoration of royal chariots for the cremation ceremony, said everything should be ready for the crematorium’s main foundation pillar-setting ceremony slated for February 27. 

The Phra Thinang Songtham royal merit-making pavilion had already set the foundation and metal structure in preparation for the pouring of concrete, he said, adding that other structures, including the Sala Luk Khun government officials pavilions on the south side of Sanam Luang, were also being constructed. 

“Officials also have started work on the related items’ designs at the Withanasathapakasala, a working space for artists. All the works have progressed so I’m confident that it will be complete by the September deadline,” he added.

He also said that the six Royal Urns – one of which will be situated at the Royal Palace’s Chakri Maha Prasat Throne Hall and the five others to be presented to His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Royal Family members – each had a 20-centimetre base and were 80cm tall.

Fine Arts Department chief Anan Chuchote said the royal cannon chariot construction by the Royal Thai Army Ordnance Department would be completed in April, after which Fine Arts Department staff would decorate it.

Tanasak’s comments came yesterday after the committee’s meeting following an inspection at Sanam Luang and related facilities involved in the royal cremation construction.

Meanwhile, Somkuan Umtrakul, the director of the Office of the Traditional Arts, said a project to recruit volunteer artists to join the crematorium construction had already ceased accepting applicants. 

He said 385 artists specialising in various fields were now being screened and categorised by skill group so they could compete in a contest on February 27 as a means to assess their artistic skills.

Source: TheNation

Strike at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok

Suvarnabhumi luggage staff go on strike, call for bonus and raise

Baggage handlers at Suvarnabhumi International Airport are on strike and demanding a missing year-end bonus and pay raise from their outsourced security company.

Three-hundred employees from Asia Security Management Co. Ltd, which provides security and baggage check services for the airport, held a protest on the first floor of the terminal last night.

A representative from the company initially agreed only to raise their monthly salary from THB9,000 to THB9,300 in accordance to the new minimum wage rate with at least a one-month bonus at the end of the year.

Sirote Duangratana, Director of Suvarnabhumi Airport, said that the strike had been going on for 2-3 days, with 20 employees absent from work. To handle the staff shortage, he said that some baggage handlers from Don Mueang Airport were relocated to Suvarnabhumi, and Asia Security Management will finish the training of 150 new employees by the end of this month.

Kittipong Kittikachorn, the airport’s security chief, confirmed the passengers will not be affected by the strike, Workpoint reported.

Lawsuit looms over airport strike

Sirote Duangratana, director of Suvarnabhumi Airport, said Monday the Airports of Thailand (AOT), which operates Bangkok’s main airport, is considering filing a lawsuit against Asia Security Management Co (ASM) and claiming compensation over disruption caused by a labour strike.

AOT said that 300 luggage-handling workers at ASM, a subsidiary of Loxley Plc, have been out on strike for several days, causing huge financial losses as well as inconveniencing passengers. AOT can claim compensation based on damage incurred by the hour, as the airport operates around the clock. Sirote said the company has arranged for 100 baggage handlers to be diverted mostly from Don Mueang and Phuket international airports to cover for the striking workers on night shifts.

Source: Coconuts / TheNation