Archive for Travel

Thousands To Tourists Expected In Thailand To Celebrate Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year celebrations will be held in Bangkok as well as other popular tourist destinations in Thailand. If you are planning to attend, now is the right time to book your accommodations at the family resort in Phuket before it runs out of rooms. Events are planned in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket with cultural performances from China and Thailand.

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is joining hands with China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Chinese Embassy to organize the most festive Chinese New Year’s eve celebrations in Bangkok for this year. According to Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of TAT, this year’s celebration will be unique because it comes after Thailand welcomed 10 million Chinese tourists for 2018.

TAT expects that more than 330,000 Chinese tourists will be welcomed between February 4 and 10. This will represent more than 30% of the overall total of 1.03 million foreign arrivals over the Chinese New Year in Thailand. The TAT governor also expects the Chinese tourists to spend more than 10 billion baht or $314 million during the 7-day period. It is also estimated that the total revenue from international visitors will reach 24 billion baht.

Chinese New Year celebrations will be held in other destinations that young Chinese tourists frequent. Aside from the events being planned at Bangkok’s famous shopping mall, Siam Square, there will be celebrations at Chiang Mai and Phuket.

Aside from cultural presentations participated in by both Chinese and Thai performers, there will be demonstrations of various Chinese art forms that include paper cutting and calligraphy. There will also be fairs selling different goods and foods. Festivities will also be organized in large Thai-Chinese communities at locations that have long-standing traditions of holding Chinese New Year activities in the country.

At the beautiful family resort in Phuket, there is no dearth of activities that will entertain both adults and kids. You can explore around, go to the beaches or engage in a shopping spree. You can also satisfy your cravings for mouth-watering Thai cuisine from the various beachfront restaurants while you are waiting for the Chinese New year celebrations to begin.

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Thousands Have Tied The Knot Following Australia’s Legalization Of Same-Sex Marriage

It’s been more than a year since Australia legalized same-sex marriage, which has been a good time for same-sex couples across the country, as well as the wedding industry, with many a Sydney wedding stylist getting more work thanks to the new weddings.

According to the Registry of Birth, Deaths and Marriages in the states and territories of Australia, there’s been thousands of same-sex marriages across the AU, following the legalisation of same-sex marriage, in December 9 of 2018.

A lot of the registry offices provided statistics up to the end of November 2018, resulting in a slightly off data. That being said, the numbers show that there were 5,985 same-sex marriages registered across Australia.

New South Wales is the home of the world-famous Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras, and, unsurprisingly, it has the most same-sex marriages registered, as of November 15, 2018, with 2,004, to the benefit of many a Sydney wedding stylist and others in the wedding industry.

The top five are rounded out by:

  • Victoria (1,552)
  • Queensland (1,241)
  • Western Australia (519)
  • South Australia (372)

Tasmania had 128 same-sex weddings, with 39 of these were male couples, while the remaining 89 couples were female.

The Australian Capital Territory, as of the time of writing, has the only openly gay leader in Australia; Chief Minister Andrew Barr. The region saw 124 same-sex marriages registered up to November 30. The Northern Territory, meanwhile, had a smaller population, which accounted, in part, for its smaller numbers; 45 same-sex weddings for 26 female couples and 19 male couples.

Aussie Marriage Equality spokeswoman Shirleene Robinson says that the country embraced the change when they voted for marriage equality. She believes that the most beautiful thing is to see all of the weddings that are happening because of the legislation being passed, and all of the loving couples having the power to make that statement in front of their loved ones.

While the legislation has been good, and a step forward in the right direction, there remains work to be done in order to make Australia completely accepting of same-sex marriages. One marriage celebrant, by the name of Joanne Armstrong, opened up about the terrible stories she’s either heard of or were part of. She says the legislation gave the people the ability to marry who they love, but that’s just a first step.

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Bangkok Welcomes New Observation Deck

There are many buildings in Thailand including family hotels in Bangkok which cements the city’s reputation as a budding metropolitan. There are tall buildings everywhere in the capital that developers are aiming to beat the tallest ones in order to create a new milestone. For MahaNakhon, the completion of the observation deck by the developer Buro Ole Scheerenmeans they have bagged the title of the second tallest building in the entire kingdom.

MahaNakhom, a local name pertaining to great metropolis, is composed of 77 storeys. It takes a pixilated form and the design has cuboid cutaways which continue upward in order to complete its facades.

According to Ole Scheeren who is Buro Ole Scheeren’s principal, the main idea for the construction of the skyscraper is to embody the city life in Bangkok and showcase it in the form of a tower which exudes a dramatic effect with a movement that spirals.

The building of MahaNakhon, with a final height of 314 meters, took home the title of the tallest building in Thailand when it was first launched in 2015. A residential tower with height higher than one meter was then constructed which snatched the title away from the skyscraper.

At the top of the building is an observation deck with glass floors. This gives the viewers a chance to see the entire city of Bangkok in 360 views.

Scheeren said that the observation deck at the very top of the building was intended to be used by the public so that human activity is not only at the ground floor but at the entire length of the skyscraper from bottom up to the top.

At the beginning of the project, it was intended to be an integral part of the city as well as the public and the creation of the observation deck was a testament to that proclamation.

The observation deck called Skytray can be visited by guests at family hotels in Bangkok which gives them direct view of the ground which is over 300 meters from the top. The entire glass platform’s dimension is 4.5 meters by 17.5 meters.

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Hotels In China Apologise Following Video Scandal

Most hotels across the world, like family hotels in Bangkok, adhere to strict standards, and any news about properties not adhering to these standards tend to stain the hotels’ reputation.

Such was the case with some Chinese hotels, run by several major international hotel chains, who recently came under fire following a viral video that showed the hotels’ unhygienic practices, like housekeeping staff using the same sponges on cups and sinks, and wiping bathroom surfaces with the guest towels, among others.

The hotels have since released apologetic statements towards their customers following the video going viral on Weibo, a popular Chinese social networking site, which claimed to show hidden-camera footage of cleaning staff from major hotels in the country, like Shangri-La Asia and Hilton Worldwide Holdings. The video already has at least 29 million views, alongside tens of thousands of shares and comments.

An activist blogger, sporting the pseudonym “Huazong” was responsible for the video going online, and claims that the problem has been around for a while now, and is distressingly common, saying he spent 2,000 nights at 147 hotels across a six-year timespan.

There’s also video from state broadcaster CCTV airing video of uniformed inspectors at an unnamed property showing their identification and holding up a drinking glass to the light in order to inspect it.

According to Shaun Rein, founder of China Market Research Group in Shanghai, hidden-camera videos of hotel staff behaving badly at Chinese luxury hotels surface almost regularly, due to the working conditions, which are unlike those in family hotels in Bangkok and other properties. He says that worker shortages are common, and pay is low, which means that hotel employees don’t really have much of an incentive to act properly, as they can simply quit and find employment elsewhere.

Bulgari Hotel Shanghai, operated by Marriott International, posted an apology on Weibo recently, stating that they will look into the matter and take the appropriate action. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel also issued a similar apology, stating that it would be reinforcing room-check rules and working with the government to deal with the issue.

The Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued a statement on the matter, saying that cultural and tourism authorities should look into the matter and pay close attention to the service quality of the tourism industry in the country.

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Chinese Tourists In Phuket Choose Other Options For Golden Week

It seems that the recent incident with the sunken boat in the island has led to Chinese tourists avoiding the Phuket boat charter and the country itself for their trips. This is according to Vichi Prakobkosol, President of the Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta), who expects that this shift in demand would lead to the Kingdom losing about B2.1b in revenue from China, calculated from average spending of B6,000/head/day or B42,000 for a week-long trip.

Atta warned that the number of Chinese tourists to Thailand would drop by at least 10% during the Chinese National Holiday or Golden Week, which starts at October 1 annually then runs until October 7.

The Phuket boat charter tragedy that struck the island in July, which was then followed by dengue fever epidemic in Thailand as well as an incident of an airport official at the Don Mueang airport attacking a Chinese tourist in early September have damaged the country’s reputation as a tourism destination.

He says that the boat accident in Phuket is most likely the major factor in the reduction in Chinese tourists, which was followed by a number of tour cancellations while airline and charter operations in China have omitted Thailand from their seasonal trip schedules.

Mr. Vichit has said that Chinese tourists are option for other destinations like Japan and South Korea in the three months following the incident, which prompted the Chinese government to issue travel advisories on Thailand, as well as asking their travellers to avoid Phuket and other islands in the Kingdom.

This is problematic as the Golden Week is the key point of the year where Chinese tourists visit Thailand in droves. Chaiya Rapuepon, President of Andaman Tourism Business Association, implored the government to improve the safety and security in the islands and across the country in order to restore the confidence of travellers from China. He says that, if tourists see clear preventive and security plans, they will likely return to the country in the remaining months of the year.

Current expectations forecast that 7 million Chinese tourists will head for the Golden Week period, which is up from 6 million in the same time in the same time in 2017. China Tourism Academy meanwhile, reported that 71.3mn Chinese made overseas trips during the first half of 2018 which is a 15% from the prior year.

 

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Brit Facing £100,000 Hospital Bills In Thailand Thanks To A Lack Of Insurance

A Brit who’s fallen ill in Thailand is now facing the possibility that he’ll be stranded in the Kingdom’s KohSamui island following his hospitalization, where his hospital bills have gone up into the thousands.

George Gannon, 29, woke up on September 25 and discovered, to his horror, that he could no longer speak or move his legs. The social media consultant and DJ, who has lived in the Kingdom since 2014, was hospitalized, where diagnosis revealed that he had a malignant brain tumour.

Now, the Basing stoke-born expat, is facing increasing medical bills, which include, among others, £3,500 for an operation, as he hasn’t consulted some of the best health insurance in Thailand meaning he was caught off-guard.

His family, who was informed of his condition by his girlfriend Natalie Hobbs, have been told that getting George back home would cost around £100,000. His 53-year-old mother, Sarah Evison, describes the situation as utterly terrifying. She says that she was in bed and noted that she had missed several missed messages on her phone. It wasn’t until she went downstairs that she learned that it was Natalie informing her of what had happened to George.

Doctors believe that the malignant tumor, located on the left side of his frontal lobe, could be a recurrence of his skin cancer, which he battled back in 2013. The self-employed consultant, who lives in KohPhangan reported about headaches for weeks before suddenly losing movement on the 25th of September.

They report that the best-case scenario for George that he could be home by three weeks, but they are uncertain of the matter. The doctors say that it was unlikely that something like this would happen, considering the operation George underwent.

The family has opted not to get the best health insurance in Thailand, and have launched a crowdfunding campaign to help George get treatment back home. In five days, they’ve already raised £20,000, which Ms.Evison describes as overwhelming and heartwarming.

She says that they’re quite lucky, receiving donations and messages from concerned people from across the world.  Even amidst the locals, people are holding raffles and bucket collections in KohPhangang.

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