Bangkok Airport passengers told not to leave gifts for the gods

Passengers using Bangkok’s main airport have been asked to refrain from leaving gifts for the gods at the base of statues. The request follows an increase in the number of spiritual donations placed on the plinths of the statues in the terminal building at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Bangkok Airport passengers told not to leave gifts for the gods

The giant statues are spread throughout the Departures hall and feature characters from Thai and Hindu legends. Vishnu, multi-headed naga dragon statues and a scene depicting the churning of the milk ocean are among the highlights.

Thai people believe giving gifts to statues and small spirit houses at their homes keeps the gods happy and may actually bring good fortune. It seems like the same beliefs are behind the desire to placate the spirits before boarding flights.

12GO ASIA says an image of a red soda water placed at one of the statues went viral on social media on Monday and led to the request. The team says food and drinks left at the statues could be regarded as a security risk in the same way as unattended bags are.

Imagine Dragons to play Bangkok gig in January

US rockers the Imagine Dragons are due in Bangkok in the New Year and will play live at the SHOW DC mall. Singha Music is supporting the gig at the mall’s Oasis Arena on the 11 January.

Imagine Dragons to play Bangkok gig in January

The group’s Bangkok stopover is a part of the Evolve World Tour which started with concerts in San Diego and Las Vegas at the end of September. The Dragons' set lists generally include staples from the Evolve album such as the singles Thunder, Whatever It Takes and Believer in addition to It Comes Back to You.

Tickets for the Imagine Dragons’ Bangkok show went on sale last month, but a search on ThaiTicketMajor’s online reservations portal reveals there is still some availability. Ticket prices range between THB2,500 and THB4,500.

12GO ASIA’s archivists say the Imagine Dragons stopped in Bangkok two years ago on the Smoke + Mirrors Tour and the gig was sold out. The January concert venue, SHOW DC, is a trendy lifestyle and retail mall on the east side of the city,

The mall is about two kilometres from the intersection on which the Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link station of Makkasan and Phetchaburi Metro station are located. From either of the stations, a short taxi ride will get you to SHOW DC.

Phuket marks arrival of debut New Gen flight from Nakhon Ratchasima

A delegation of VIPs was on board a debut flight from Nakhon Ratchasima when it touched down at Phuket Airport on Sunday. Nakhon Ratchasima governor Wichian Janthorn-otai led the delegation and was welcomed by Phuket’s vice-governor and local tourism authority officials.

Phuket marks arrival of debut New Gen flight from Nakhon Ratchasima

In a welcome speech, vice-governor Prakob Wongmaneerung said the new flight link would offer convenience for travel between the two locations. He carried on by saying Nakhon Ratchasima and the provinces around it were home to 15 million Thais and the air connection would give them an expedient means of reaching Phuket and the Andaman sea region of the nation.

New Gen Airways launched the Nakhon Ratchasima-Phuket service. Since the Thailand based airline inaugurated its first route in 2014, it has undergone rapid expansion and now flies to other locations in Thailand including Bangkok Don Mueang Airport and Suratthani as well as a number of cities in China. 

According to 12GO ASIA’s flight specialists, new Thai domestic air routes as well as ones to international destinations launch on an almost weekly basis. The team says a definite side benefit of this is that fares remain low and there are always plenty of bargains to be had.

Crackdown on alcohol at Thailand national parks

The director of Thailand’s National Parks Department has issued a warning saying a no-alcohol rule will be rigidly applied. Thanya Netithammakun says rangers have been given orders telling them to ask visitors caught drinking alcoholic drinks in parks under the department’s jurisdiction to leave.

Crackdown on alcohol at Thailand national parks

He carried on by saying violators could be slapped with a THB1,000 fine and risked being jailed for one month. The department already has banners proclaiming the rules and will be putting them up in parks nationwide before the start of the New Year holidays.  

Thailand’s national parks were originally designated alcohol-free zones seven years ago, but the ruling has not been strictly enforced up to now. It was introduced in response to a fight started by drunken visitors at Khao Yai National Park which saw a student fatally knifed.  

12GO ASIA notes that Director Netithammakun says alcohol is as much a risk to life and damage to park property now as it was when the regulation was first introduced. The team explains that the Parks Department’s hotline number is 1362 for those who spot visitors flouting the alcohol ban.

Teen pop star Shawn Mendes due to play Bangkok concert

Canadian singer Shawn Mendes is due to make a stopover in Bangkok next week on his Illuminate World Tour. The teen singing sensation will play live on stage at the Muang Thong Thani complex’s Impact Arena on Monday 11 December.

Teen pop star Shawn Mendes due to play Bangkok concert

The Illuminate tour is taking in around 60 global concert venues and includes dates in Hong Kong and Singapore as well as Bangkok. The tour is in support of the album, the singer’s second, of the same name.

Illuminate was released last year and has already spawned the singles Treat You Better, Mercy and There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back. This trio of hits plus other tracks such as Don't Be a Fool and Bad Reputation typically feature on the Illuminate World Tour set lists. 

In a recent review, the Associated Press noted that Mendes’ second album and the support tour had revealed a new maturity. The article explained that the former teen idol had made the successful transition to authentic pop and rock star.  
 
12GO ASIA says tickets have been on sale since May, but there are still some available at ThaiTicketMajor outlets and the agent’s website. Ticket prices begin at THB2,000.

King Bhumibol Remembrance Day public holiday in Thailand tomorrow

Tomorrow is a public holiday in Thailand in honour of the memory of the late King Bhumibol. The main branches of banks, post offices, provincial immigration offices and local government offices will be shut for the day.

King Bhumibol Remembrance Day public holiday in Thailand tomorrow

12GO ASIA notes that border and airport immigration checkpoints plus bank branches in shopping malls will be open as usual. There has been no official confirmation so far as to whether restaurants and pubs will be barred from selling alcoholic beverages.

December fifth was King Bhumibol’s birthday and had been a public holiday and also national Father’s Day before he passed away in October 2016. After the king’s death, the Thai government decided to preserve the holiday as a tribute to his memory and enduring legacy.

While King Bhumibol was alive his birthday was celebrated with the likes of fireworks displays and the erection of huge portraits festooned with yellow streamers.  This year’s King Bhumibol Remembrance Day is expected to be more sombre with people limited to laying flowers at royal monuments such as the King Chulalongkorn Statue in Bangkok’s Royal Plaza and the Three Kings’ Statue in Chiang Mai.

Langkawi Island to host international music fest

Authorities on Malaysia’s Langkawi Island have confirmed the 2017 edition of the popular international music fest will take place. The two-day musical extravaganza will take place at Pantai Cenang Beach and will kick off on the 23 December.

Langkawi Island to host international music fest

The organisers say the event will feature an eclectic mix of musical genres including Indonesian keroncong and calypso plus top Melbourne DJ Stick Mareebo. Among the acts scheduled to appear are Mayu Wakisaka, Aru and the Republic, and Bustamento. The music is set to start at 17:00 each evening.

As well as music, the fest will feature great food and drink, firework displays and educational workshops. Additional details can be found on the Facebook page for the Langkawi International Island Music Festival. Advance tickets are available online from AirAsia RedTix.

12GO ASIA says the Northern Hemisphere’s winter months are the best time to enjoy Langkawi and Pantai Cenang. The weather is warm and rainfall is sporadic. Airlines such as AirAsia fly here from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Penang and make the island easy to get too.

Qatar adds Pattaya Utapao Airport to route network

Qatar Airways recently confirmed the addition of Pattaya’s Utapao Airport to its fast evolving network of flight options. The service will launch on the 28 January 2018 and will operate four times a week in each direction between the Thai eastern seaboard airport and the Qatari capital of Doha.

Qatar adds Pattaya Utapao Airport to route network

In a statement, Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker said he was pleased to announce the airline’s fifth destination in Thailand. He carried on by saying demand for travel to Thailand was at an all-time high and Qatar always tried to give customers what they wanted.

Qatar will utilise Boeing 787 Dreamliners to serve the route. These are configured with 254 seats, 232 economy class and 22 in business. The outbound services from Doha will leave at 20:05 on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Arrival at Utapao Pattaya Airport is the following morning. This means return flights will depart the next day.  

12GO ASIA says Utapao is slowly gaining popularity as an alternate to Bangkok’s two airports when heading for Pattaya, Rayong or even Koh Chang Island. It is currently served by local carriers such as Thai AirAsia and Bangkok Airways with connections to domestic and Asian locations.

Iconic Bangkok bar Cheap Charlie’s officially reopens tomorrow

The proprietor of Bangkok’s legendary Cheap Charlie’s Bar has confirmed tomorrow will see the reopening of the facility in a new location. According to the bar’s Facebook page, the bar will officially rise from the ashes just eight months after it closed.

Iconic Bangkok bar Cheap Charlie’s officially reopens tomorrow

Cheap Charlie’s has moved around seven kilometres and six BTS Skytrain stops down Sukhumvit Road from its original location on Sukhumvit Soi 11. The new venue is among the collection of shops, cafés and restaurants at the Beacon Place complex on Sukhumvit Soi 50.

Beacon Place is just five minutes on foot from Onnut Station. A sneak preview of the new bar reveals much of the memorabilia from the original has been teleported. 12GO ASIA notes that as Beacon Place is a more modern venue, bathroom facilities should be a tad better than at the old location.

Such was the fame of Cheap Charlie’s during its 35-year tenure on Soi 11, taking a cheap drink at the bar was almost a rite of passage for a generation of international travellers. It ranked along with the likes of the glitzier bright lights of Nana Plaza and Patpong as a must visit spot on one night in Bangkok odysseys.

Annual Phuket King’s Cup Regatta sets sail at the weekend

One of southern Phuket island’s most eagerly anticipated annual happenings will begin this weekend. The 31st King’s Cup Regatta will see 80 sailing boats cutting sleek wakes in the seas off the west coast of the Thai holiday island.

Annual Phuket King’s Cup Regatta sets sail at the weekend

The Beyond Resort Kata is the start and finish point for the regatta events. Pre-registration is on Saturday. Sunday the 3 December will see the yachts and dinghies taken out for practices before the racing proper starts on the following day.

Four days of racing are scheduled to take place over the five days before Saturday’s prize giving ceremonies and closing speeches. The head of the Phuket King’s Cup organising committee, Kevin Whitcraft, said a record number of entries for this year’s event should be exciting for competitors and spectators alike.

12GO ASIA notes that the Phuket King’s Cup scooped up the prize for Best Asian Regatta in last year’s Asia Boating Awards. The 12GO ASIA image of the 2016 regatta comes with courtesy of King’s Cup.

Thai AirAsia ramps up Phuket flight connections

Thai AirAsia is increasing the number of flight connections to Phuket with the forthcoming launch of two new services. A four times weekly service from Khon Kaen to the southern Thai island will inaugurate on the 22 December.

Thai AirAsia ramps up Phuket flight connections

This will be followed on the 8 January 2018 with a direct daily service between Phuket and the Asian gambling capital of Macau. Commenting on the new routes, AirAsia Phuket manager Arun Lilapantisitt explained that demand for travel to and from the island was steadily increasing and warranted the additional options.

He said that flights to and from the hub airport were always above 80 per cent full and this included the pre-dawn service from Bangkok Don Mueang Airport. He finished off with the codicil of the peak tourist season on Phuket was underway and there was no better time to introduce new air travel choices.

12GO ASIA says Khon Kaen-Phuket flights will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The outbound service from Khon Kaen will take off at 08:45 and land at Phuket Airport at 10:40. Return flights will depart at 11:10 and arrive in Khon Kaen at 12:50.

On the Phuket to Macau route, the outbound service will leave at 05:20 and land in Macau at 10:05. Return services are scheduled for takeoff at 10:40 and arrival back on Phuket is 13:10. The times quoted are local at each location.

Katy Perry returns to Bangkok, tickets on sale in January

Thai concert promoter BEC-Tero Entertainment has confirmed US songstress Katy Perry will be playing in Bangkok again. The pop icon will be live on stage at the Muang Thong Thani Impact Arena in Bangkok on the 10 April 2018.

Katy Perry returns to Bangkok, tickets on sale in January

The Bangkok date is a part of the world tour to promote the singer’s fifth and latest album, Witness. The tour kicked off in Montreal in September and judging from the set lists so far, the audience at the Bangkok gig can expect to hear the likes of I Kissed a Girl, Firework, Swish Swish and Roar.

BEC-Tero only confirmed the Bangkok date this week. The promoter noted that ticket prices had not been finalised yet, but would go on sale on the 13 January. ThaiTicketMajor is the main agent for tickets and they will be sold at official outlets and on the firm’s website.

12GO ASIA says demand for tickets is expected to be high. Katy Perry played to a full house the last time she visited Bangkok back in May 2015. The Bangkok stopover is only one of six on the Witness tour. Perry will have played Singapore two days before arriving in the Thai capital.

China to Hanoi freight train services inaugurated

The weekend saw the arrival of a pioneering freight train service from China at Yen Vien Station in Hanoi. In what could be the precursor of a passenger service from Nanchang, the 33-container long train arrived at the Hanoi suburban station on Saturday after an epic three-day journey.

China to Hanoi freight train services inaugurated

The cargo containers were loaded up with the likes of Chinese furniture and parts for cars and trucks. From Vietnam, containers for the return trip were filled up with agricultural and natural products as well as electronic appliances and accessories.

A source at Vietnam Railways confirmed the plan is to run the goods trains once weekly in each direction to start off with. He noted that although the train took three days to travel between the two end destinations, this was far quicker than the average 15 days needed to ship products by road or road and sea.

12GO ASIA explains that Nanchang is in China’s Jiangxi Province and is only around 600kms as the crow flies. The team says that if passenger services are launched somewhere down the line, they would need to be a lot faster than three days.

Adverse weather warning for Thai south

The Thai Meteorological Department says heavy rains and storms will batter Thailand’s southern provinces over the next few days. The alert said the storms would bring downpours, strong winds and choppy seas which are expected to be sporadic through until Friday.

Adverse weather warning for Thai south

Provinces affected stretch down from Phang Nga and Suratthani to Satun, Yala and Narathiwat. The Meteorological Department also noted that the rainwater drain off might cause flash flooding and residents and visitors should be careful.

The weather alert noted that waves of up to three metres in height would make boat and ferry journeys uncomfortable in both the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea. It said the skippers of smaller boats would be better off not putting out to sea at all.
 
On Phuket island, governor Norraphat Plodtong echoed the weather department’s advice. He explained that emergency services personnel and disaster relief officials were keeping an eye on the situation and were also on call.

12GO ASIA says no delays to ferry services across to the gulf islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao have so far been announced. The team says the same is true for ferries to islands such as Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta on the Andaman side of the country.

Revamped Phuket Airport domestic terminal opens tomorrow

The management team at Phuket Airport say the facility’s revamped domestic building is scheduled to open this week. The southern part of the structure will reopen tomorrow, but manager Phet Chancharoen says renovation on the other half will not be completed until next April.

Revamped Phuket Airport domestic terminal opens tomorrow

He noted that the work on the second part of the upgrade would start just as soon as the southern section was fully operational again. The partial revamp already completed is adding an extra 20,000-metres² of space for passengers and this is spread over both the Arrivals and Departures zones. 

Mr Chan-charoen noted the upgrade should alleviate the congestion arriving and departing passengers have faced while the work was being carried out. 12GO ASIA notes the timing of the reopening could not have been bettered as the peak Christmas and New Year holiday is almost upon us.

Aircraft movements are gradually increasing to a forecast 300 daily. The number of passengers expected to use the airport over the next month is 50,000 a day. The domestic terminal revamp is part of a total project to almost double the airport’s annual passenger capacity from 6.5 million to 12.5 million.

Gourmet dining in the sky preparing for takeoff in Bangkok

Global gourmet experience Dinner in the Sky is winging its way to Bangkok and is scheduled to open in time for the Christmas festive season. The hanging dinner table will be hoisted above the Emporium Mall on Sukhumvit Road and provide space for 22 diners to enjoy dinner with the twinkling lights of the city as a magical backdrop.

Gourmet dining in the sky preparing for takeoff in Bangkok

The sky high dinner table will be 50 metres above ground and diners will be strapped in before embarking on the culinary voyage of a lifetime. The dining pod will be dangling from a heavy duty boom crane. Four-course dinners will be prepared by the chefs at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit Hotel. 

Dinner In The Sky Thailand’s Friso Poldervaart explained that the new culinary option would add an extra facet to the dining choices in a city already acclaimed as one of the top global destinations for foodies. Dinner In The Sky is already up and flying in over 40 countries which range from Portugal to Colombia and Taiwan. 

According to the 12GO ASIA news team, Dinner in the Sky will open in Bangkok on the 20 December. The Emporium Mall is directly linked to the BTS Phrom Phong Skytrain Station. The image shown comes courtesy of Dinner In The Sky and shows what tourists and the people of Bangkok have in store for them.

WiFi connectivity points set up at Pattaya Beach

Pattaya authorities say hi-speed wireless internet is now available on the beach and the Beach Road esplanade. Municipal spokesperson Pinit Maneerat told media sources the service was being provided for free under the terms of an agreement reached with CAT Telecom.

WiFi connectivity points set up at Pattaya Beach

A total of 24 WiFi hubs have been installed at staggered intervals along Beach Road. These range from the north end of Pattaya Bay at the Dusit Thani Hotel all the way down to nightlife hub extraordinaire at Walking Street and Bali Hai Port.

Registration to use the free WiFi is via the official Pattaya City webpage. This gives connectivity for two hours a day for up to two months. There is a call-centre help-desk number provided on the page for those having trouble with the instructions and connecting.

The introduction of the WiFi service comes as part of a series of improvements to improve tourism infrastructure instigated by mayor Anan Charoenchasri. 12GO ASIA’s man about town in Pattaya says the connectivity is not too bad at all and is latent and fast as claimed by CAT and the council.

Extension of Bangkok Purple Line put on back burner

Thailand’s Transport Ministry has deferred the opening of bids to build an extension to Bangkok’s suburban Purple Line tracks. The add-on in question is a 23km extension from the current southern terminus at Tao Poon Station to Rat Burana.

Extension of Bangkok Purple Line put on back burner

Speaking to reporters recently, transport-minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith explained bids had not been put out to tender last month as originally planned. He carried on by saying the ministry was still putting the finishing touches to the terms of reference and the bidding process would likely kick off in the New Year. 

Minister Termpittayapaisith finished off by saying that working on this scenario, contractors would be able to start work on the project before the end of 2018.  The original section of the Purple Line opened in August 2016 and linked Khlong Bang Phai Station in Nonthaburi Province to Tao Poon.

12GO ASIA notes ridership was low during the first 12 months the Purple Line was in operation. The reason for this was a missing link connecting Tao Poon to Bang Sue Station and the MRT Subway Blue Line was somehow forgotten. The link launched this past August and the number of passengers using the Purple Line immediately doubled.

Hua Hin Waterpark to host Japanese manga cartoon expo for Xmas

Hua Hin’s Vana Nava Waterpark Jungle is set to stage a six-week carnival featuring the characters of Japanese manga cartoon One Piece. The event will begin on Friday the 1 December and conclude on 16 January 2018.

Hua Hin Waterpark to host Japanese manga cartoon expo for Xmas

Thai ainime cartoon distributor DEX Dream Express is bringing the One Piece Carnival ensemble to the Vana Nava Hua Hin. DEX manager Vichien Vangveravongsa explained that One Piece had legions of fans in Thailand and it was time to pay them back for their loyalty with a unique and fun happening.

Waterpark Jungle boss Natha Jamasevi said there would be four activity areas giving interactive experiences with the One Piece crew. A highlight will be a towering seven metre effigy of Monkey D Luffy while a pose zone will be perfect for selfies featuring other denizens of the One Piece world.

12GO ASIA says the One Piece carnival will be an added enticement to visit Vana Nava Hua Hin. The team also noted that it would likely be very busy over the main Christmas and New Year holiday days as well as national Children’s Day on the 13 January.

Thai telecoms bureau clarifies new rules on SIM card registration

Thailand’s National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has issued an update on the new regulations for the purchase of SIM cards for mobile telephones. The rules will still be effective from the 15 December but will only apply to new cards and not old ones.

Thai telecoms bureau clarifies new rules on SIM card registration

NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasith confirmed the ruling that people who buy SIM cards before the deadline will still only have to have their ID cards or, in the case of foreign tourists, their passports scanned. Once the deadline has passed, people buying SIM cards are going to have their fingerprints scanned.

This will only apply to Thai nationals on implementation day as the fingerprints will be matched to the buyer’s entry on the national ID card database. The plan which would have required overseas visitors to have their faces scanned and matched with their passport photographs has been shelved for the time being. 

12GO ASIA explains the reason for the delay is simply down to cost. Citing a statement issued by the NBTC’s Prawit Leesatapornwongsa, the team noted that fingerprint scanners were far cheaper than face scanners. Fingerprint scanners are already in place in the likes of 7-Eleven stores and AIS and TRUE outlets whereas face scanners have primarily been distributed in the far south of the country.