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jerusalem A City of Many faiths off the beaten track

festivals of issan


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appy New Year! Thai New Year that is. Prepare for one Thailand’s biggest and funnest celebrations known as Songkran. If you’ve never experienced it, you are in for an experience you’ll never forget. Read more about it in our ‘What’s On’ section. From hot and sexy Miley Cyrus to the holy city of Jerusalem, this issue covers a lot of basis. We also have tons of resort and restaurant recommendations. One thing I can be sure of: if you are in Thailand at the moment, you are either reading this in an air-conditioned room or by some cool water as the hot season is now upon us. Personally, I run from air-conditioned room to air-conditioned room; I physically melt in direct sunlight. But this beautiful country and its beautiful people make it all worth the trouble. Thailand would definitely win the award for the ‘friendliest nation’ if such an award were given out. So don’t be shy. Get out there and mix it up with the Thais and throw your share of water. Try not to get too distracted by all the wet t-shirts though.

CREDITS CHAIRMAN: Bryan Lunt Bryan.Lunt@AbsoluteThai.com MANAGING DIRECTOR: Mike Hall MikeHall@Absoluteworld.net EDITOR: James Chanodom Editor@AbsoluteThai.com FEATURE EDITOR: Tim Knight TimKnight@AbsoluteThai.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Jason Hull Advertising@AbsoluteThai.com PUBLISHER: San, Sea and Sand Co. Ltd.

TIM KNIGHT EDITOR Advertising Sales GENERAL MANAGER: Callum Mckay Callum@AbsoluteThai.com Mobile: +(66) 083 596 7537 Loran Wanigasooriya: Media Consultant Loran@AbsoluteThai.com Mobile: +(66) 086 267 8235 Vinda Kallayanamitr: Media Consultant Vinda@truemail.co.th Mobile +66 (0)86 355 6218 Paul Eastland: Sales Manager Paul@AbsoluteThai.com Mobile +66 (0)80 826 2315

Absolute Thai is published by San, Sea and Sand Co. Ltd. Registration Number 8837354810366. Registered address 42/11 Taveewong Road, Kathu, Patong, Phuket Tel: 076 342 147. Printed by Royal Siam Printing Services Co., Ltd. All material is strictly copyrighted and all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without prior permission of the copyright holder. While every care has been taken in the production of this publication, the publisher takes no responsibility for an errors, loss or omissions that may occur.


contents 36

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jerusalem

Miley Cyrus

A CITY OF MANY FAITHS

WILD TRANSFORMATION

10 What’s On 26 Reprogenetics Specialist 77 Absolute News

72

Napapa Tantrakul MODEL AND PHOTOGRAPHER

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rouge restaurant

82

gadgets

THE IDEAL PLACE TO MEET, GREET AND EAT.

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out and about along THE KRABI COAST

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PAMPERING THE OASIS SPA WAY Enjoy a mind blowing, relaxing day at one of the prestigious Phuket Day Spas

OFF THE BEATEN TRACK In Issan

42 THE BENEFITS AND ADVANTAGES Of medical tourism facilitators

64 EAST 88 BEACH LOUNGE Lazy Days, Beach Lounge Ways

80 TOP BOOKS & APPS

ABSOLUTE THAI

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What’s On

what’s on

UPCOMING EVENTS IN THAILAND National Elephant Day in Thailand

In Thailand, March 13 is designated as National Elephant Day to highlight the importance of the Thai elephant (chang Thai) in Thai history and culture. It’s a day where special events take place at various zoos and elephant parks throughout Thailand. Some elephant parks will even hold Buddhist rituals where the animals are thoroughly scrubbed and showered before monks are invited to perform ceremonies to wipe away bad luck and wish for good luck for the elephants and their mahouts in the coming year. Thai Elephant Day has been held on an annual basis since the idea was first approved by the Thai government in 1998. Special events are held at a number of venues in northern Thailand including the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre and the Elephant Nature Park. At the Mae Sa Elephant Camp, it has become a tradition on March 13 for the dozens of elephants there to be treated to a huge feast of fruits and sugar cane.

Pattaya Music Festival 2014 Pattaya International Music Festival is one of the best recognized music events in Asia to attract music lovers and fun-seekers from all over the world. The three-day free concert featuring Thai and international artists of every genre starts around 6 p.m. and goes until midnight. Visitors can enjoy beach activities during the day before attending the music festival as the night falls. In addition to the concert, there are booths selling music-related accessories and food stalls within the concert venue. Highlight: This festival is regarded as ‘The Longest Beach Music Festival in Asia’ with 4 different stages at which you can enjoy all styles of music; such as, pop, R&B, hip-hop, rock, and jazz, in the one festival. 21 March 2014 - 23 March 2014 Contact Details: TAT Call Center 1672 TAT Chon Buri Office Tel.+66 3842 7667, +66 3842 8750, +66 3842 3990

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Isaan Rocket Festivals May 2014, exact date to be confirmed, The north-east of Thailand, a region known as Isaan, has traditionally been a pre-dominantly rural farming area and it is this region that holds one of Thailand’s more unusual festivals every May. In particular, the town of Yasothon has become renowned for the Bun Bang Fai Rocket Festival to herald the start of the rice-planting season. Traditional Folk Beliefs In the agricultural areas of north-east Thailand and Laos, rain arriving at the right time in the rice-planting season can be the difference between success and failure for the rice crop. Old folk beliefs in Isaan say that the rains will only fall when the gods are in the mood

for love. To encourage this, festivals and parties have traditionally been held all over Isaan to cajole the gods into a bit of amorous activity during the sixth lunar month (usually in May). This has always involved lots of merry making with food, drink and dancing at the start of the rice-planting season. The ancient fertility rites date back centuries with phallus-shaped bamboo tubes packed with charcoal and nitrates (gunpowder) launched into the skies. This time of the year is also a time to make-merit in the Buddhist tradition and novice monks are often ordained during the festival. Very worth a visit to experience this spectacular event.

Important Event dates and program details may be subject to change. Many of the festivals and events listed on Thailand’s official calendar of annual events are traditional Buddhist or folk festivals, the date of which is either determined by the Buddhist lunar calendar and waxing and waning moon. These are not staged events. The festivals reflect the rhythm of life in rural Thai villages and local traditions as observed in times past. To ensure you have the most updated information, please reconfirm details prior to travel.

ABSOLUTE THAI

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What’s On

Songkran: Thai New Year Water Festival 13-15th April The annual Songkran Water Festival is one of those events that has to be experienced in person to begin to appreciate the enormity of the spectacle and the uniqueness of the occasion. In Thailand, Songkran is an annual nationwide party, but beyond the image of playful water-fights it’s an event steeped in tradition and meaning for Thai Buddhists. The word songkran is derived from the Sanskrit language and means ‘move into’, referring to the orbit of the sun moving into each of the houses of the zodiac. In Thailand, the word songkran has come to be identified specifically with the sun moving into Aries in April (usually on the 13th) marking the end of a 12 month cycle and the beginning of a new solar year. Thailand still celebrates the Western New Year on January 1st, but Songkran remains as the traditional Thai New Year festival. Today, Songkran is widely associated with water throwing. This can go on for just one day in places in the south, but can last for a week or more in areas of the north. The water association has a number of meanings. Water is thrown to cleanse and purify all the ills, misfortune and wrongdoing of the previous year, thus providing a clean slate for the new year ahead. Throwing water during Songkran is also associated with fertility. It is a time when Thai people traditionally looked to bring on the rains for rice cultivation and ensure a successful and bountiful harvest. The festivities were also a time for courtship in days gone by and the trend continues today, though not always in quite such a traditional manner! Songkran is officially a three day festival. On the first day, firecrackers are often lit to send the old year on its way and ward off evil spirits, whilst homes and gardens are given a good cleaning. The most important aspect of the day is the cleaning of Buddha images. Many towns and cities parade important Buddha images from local wats through the streets. Local inhabitants then gather to throw lustral water scented with jasmine flowers over the images. The general mayhem of water throwing begins on this day, with the streets of many towns thronged with people dousing each other with water from buckets, hoses and toy water pistols.

Family is important in Thai life and never more so than at Songkran which is a time for family gatherings and reunions.

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Feature

pampering the oasis spa way ENJOY A MIND BLOWING, RELAXING DAY AT ONE OF THE PRESTIGIOUS PHUKET DAY SPAS words: Paul Eastland


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hai Massage has been taught and practiced in Thailand for over 2,500 years.  Jivaka Komarbhacca, an Ayurvedic doctor and renowned Yogi is the founding father.  His shared teachings with Buddhist monks came to be known as Traditional Thai Medical Massage or “Nuat Thai”.  In Thailand the practice is considered a vital and integral part of regular health maintenance practice. Thai Massage is a very individual experience in the hands of a skilled practitioner; each session is customized and tailored to meet specific client needs, ranging from a relaxing, passive, slow palm massage for stress reduction to energizing, deep work using elbows and knees to apply stronger presses, accompanied by stretching, tractions and twists.  Slow and rhythmic, each posture flows easily into the next.  Mild, firm or strong touch techniques are applied to create a powerful, singular, healing experience. The health and wellness benefits of Thai Massage are many.  By restoring the flow of energy through the body, it can increase flexibility, range of motion, athletic performance, mental clarity and energy levels.  Most clients immediately feel more physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually balanced.  The nervous system, blood flow and relaxation response are all stimulated while simultaneously relaxing the mind and body. The Legend that is Oasis Spa In August 2003, Oasis Spas burst upon the scene and revolutionized the Thai day spa experience in Chiang Mai. Two, forward-thinking individuals each with special skills and knowledge merged their talents to create the spa of their dreams. It soon became the most patronized day spa in all Chiang Mai, growing to eight branches in four cities; Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya.

To provide the optimal day spa experience, they blended the most effective ancient Thai herbs with cutting-edge expertise and added the skills of professional pampering to all of our guests, with our highly trained therapists. The results ares healthier, happier, more beautiful patrons. Whether a guest spends an hour or an afternoon they will enjoy moments their body will relish for a lifetime. Lanna Experience Oasis Spas offer the unique “Lanna-style” spa experience. Guests delight in the graceful attention that defined the Northern Thailand golden era. The gentle and courteous Lanna ambience pervades all to create a magical place where beautiful and gracious people provide the ultimate in personal service without pretentious airs. A Garden of Eden Hideaway In all Oasis Spas the healing ambience of peace and serenity begins the moment guests pass through the gate and follow the stone pathway to an exotic world of beauty and pleasure. This place of lush foliage, wooden bridges and walk ways, waterfalls, reflective ponds, private treatment villas are all encompassed by the arms of ancient venerable trees.

The health and wellness benefits of Thai Massage are many. By restoring the flow of energy through the body, it can increase flexibility, range of motion, athletic performance, mental clarity and energy levels.

ABSOLUTE THAI

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Feature

Oasis in Phuket Can anyone imagine a more perfect scenario than being on a lush tropical isle on the Andaman Sea being pampered with the most incredible spas treatments available anywhere? For years now Phuket has been the meca for spa enthusiasts worldwide, with the stunning beaches and laid back lifestyle there can be no place like it. Here Oasis Spa offer 3 different spas in contrasting settings all set in the best locations available. With a full range of treatments to cater for every budget and every possible spa indulgence, guests will not be disappointed at the Oasis world class spa experience.

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Oasis Secret Garden Spa

Oasis Royal Thai Spa

47 Moo 1 Lagoon Road, (Laguna Hotels Entrance), Chengtalay Phuket

128 Moo 3, Kamala Beach Road, Kathu, Phuket

Nestled in the lagoon of a tropical paradise there is a hidden sanctuary devoted to creating relaxation, peace, and the rejuvenation of body, spirit, and soul. Each of the five individual treatment villas and private outdoor showers overlook the tranquil waters of an inland lake. Find Oasis Laguna on Lagoon Road, Cherngtalay, near the entrance to Laguna Resort and discover a secret garden for 10 clients complete with garden hydrotherapy pool and Thai Herbal Steam Room. This is your invite to a garden of delight.

Nestled among perfect sunsets, an unspoiled tropical beach, and cascading mountains lies a modern and beautifully appointed day spa housed in a traditional Thai-style structure. Stepping through the door is like going back hundreds of years to a more gracious time. Prepare to be pampered to in one of the eight elegant treatment rooms equipped with its own Jacuzzi, Thai herbal steam room, and shower. Set the date, “majestic treatment� awaits.


Oasis Spas offer the unique “Lanna-style” spa experience. Guests delight in the graceful attention that defined Northern Thailand’s golden era.

more information

Oasis Sky Breeze Spa 26 Soi Plukjae, Karon, Phuket With a breathtaking view of the Andaman Ocean and Phukets Big Marble Buddha, this spa affords a mountaintop experience, the opportunity to step back from life and become reacquainted with your earthly roots whilst reveling in its gentle breezes. Located in a lush valley with stone walkways, walled gardens. Consisting of six treatment rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, an Herbal Steam room, it has a capacity for 12 clients.

Reservation Center: Phuket: 076-337777 Bangkok: 02-2622122 Chiang Mai: 053-920111 Pattaya: 038-364070 Open Daily 10.00 am – 10.00pm www.oasisspa.net

ABSOLUTE THAI

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Celebrity

Miley Cyrus WILD TRANSFORMATION words: Tim Knight

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orn on November 23, 1992, in Franklin, Tennessee, famed actress/singer Miley Cyrus is the daughter of country star Billy Ray Cyrus. She began acting at a young age, appearing on her father’s television series, Doc, and in Tim Burton’s Big Fish. In 2004, Cyrus landed the starring role on Disney’s hit show Hannah Montana. Since then, she’s starred in films like The Last Song (2010); released several successful albums, including Breakout (2008), Can’t Be Tamed (2010) and Bangerz (2013); and become known for hits like “Party in the U.S.A.” and “We Can’t Stop.” Early Life and Career Born Destiny Hope Cyrus on November 23, 1992, in Franklin, Tennessee, Miley Cyrus is the daughter of ‘90s country star Billy Ray Cyrus. (She later changed her name to “Miley,” the nickname she was given as a baby for often smiling.) Cyrus grew up on the family farm, near Nashville, Tennessee, with two siblings and three half-siblings. She was passionate about acting at a young age, appearing on her father’s television series, Doc, and in Tim Burton’s Big Fish (2003).

Image : s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

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Hannah Montana In 2004, Cyrus beat out 1,000 hopefuls to land the starring role of Miley Stewart on the hit Disney show Hannah Montana. The tween series features a young pop superstar (Montana) who hides her celebrity identity to be an everyday teen in real life (Stewart). To accommodate filming, the entire family moved to Los Angeles, California, in 2005; Billy Ray plays her fictional dad-manager on the show. Cyrus released a successful Hannah Montana soundtrack album in 2006. In 2007, Cyrus’s double album, Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus, launched a tour: “Best of Both Worlds.” The concert series sold out in record time, and the show was extended by 14 dates to help placate disappointed fans. Her successful 3-D concert film collected $31.3 million during its opening weekend in February 2008. Cyrus reportedly earned $18.2 million in 2007.

Image : Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

Pop and Film Star

Image : Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

Cyrus changed her legal name to Miley Ray Cyrus in 2008. That same year, she found herself amidst controversy for posing for revealing photographs taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz, which appeared in Vanity Fair magazine. The resulting criticism and media frenzy did little damage to her career, however. Her second studio album, Breakout (2008), was a huge hit, reaching the top of the pop album charts.

ABSOLUTE THAI

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Celebrity

Image : Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com

Image : JStone / Shutterstock.com

In early 2009, Cyrus provided a look into her life with the autobiography Miles to Go, featuring previously unseen photos, family stories and “a look at her inner circle of loved ones.” In a statement around this time, Cyrus said of the book, “I am so excited to let fans in on how important my relationship with my family is to me. I hope to motivate mothers and daughters to build lifetimes of memories together and inspire kids around the world to live their dreams.” Also in 2009, Cyrus released the EP The Time of Our Lives, featuring the hit singles “Party in the U.S.A.” and “When I Look at You,” the former being the singer’s most successful song to date, selling more than 5.38 million copies and earning a spot among the bestselling singles of all time.

Image : s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

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Celebrity

Image : Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com

In 2010, Cyrus starred in the romantic drama The Last Song, a film based on a novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. Enthusiasm for Cyrus’s TV alter ego remained strong for several years, as well. In April 2009, Hannah Montana: The Movie scored at the box office, bringing in more than $79 million. The young star followed that success with the release of a new album, 2010’s Can’t Be Tamed. In recent years, Cyrus has sought to distance herself from her Hannah Montana persona. She cut her hair short and took to wearing edgy fashions as part of her effort to craft a new image of herself. But no one was quite prepared for how far she would go. At the MTV Video Music Awards ceremony held in August 2013, Cyrus stunned the audience with her lewd and raunchy performance of

her latest single, “We Can’t Stop.” But the controversy stirred up by this stunningly explicit appearance seemed to bolster sales of Cyrus’s fourth studio album, Bangerz, released in early October 2013. Personal Life Miley Cyrus has also made headlines for her romantic life. The young superstar briefly dated Nick Jonas of the musical group the Jonas Brothers in 2007. Cyrus has also been romantically linked to model Justin Gaston and actor Carter Jenkins, among other celebrities. In June 2012, after three years of dating, Cyrus announced her engagement to actor and Hunger Games star Liam Hemsworth. The pair called it quits in September 2013, after four years together.

Public Image Cyrus has a Christian faith, and was baptized in a Southern Baptist church in 2005. Cyrus is an avid supporter of gay rights, and is often vocal about her beliefs on the opinion. In 2011, Cyrus got a tattoo of the equals sign on her right ring finger, symbolizing equal rights for gay people. In 2012, she named London as her favourite place to perform due to its extensive gay scene. Cyrus’ song “My Heart Beats for Love”, taken from her Can’t Be Tamed album, was written about one of Cyrus’ gay friends, and is dedicated to all of Cyrus’ gay fans. In several interviews Cyrus has mentioned her use of cannabis. However, rumours addressing her use of cannabis before 2013 were denied. In a video obtained by The Daily, taking place at Cyrus’ 19th


birthday party at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, Cyrus went to the microphone and addressed the crowd. Immediately after her Bob Marleythemed birthday cake had been brought out, Cyrus said, “You know you’re a stoner when your friends make you a Bob Marley cake. You know you smoke way too much fuckin’ weed.” Cyrus’ representative later stated that the Bob Marley cake had just been a “joke” and that Cyrus’ response had been “sarcastic”. In a 2013 Rolling Stone interview, Cyrus said cannabis was “the best drug on earth” and called it, along with MDMA, a “happy drug”. On November 10, 2013, while accepting the Best Video award at the 2013 MTV Europe Music Awards, Cyrus smoked what appeared to be a joint (cannabis cigarette) on stage, causing so much controversy MTV decided to censor the act when the award show aired in America. In 2007, Cyrus earned $18 million. In 2008, Cyrus earned $25 million and was ranked number 35 on Forbes magazine’s Celebrity 100 list. Parade magazine reported she was the richest teenage celebrity and that her franchise would be worth approximately $1 billion by the end of the year. In 2009, Forbes ranked her #29 on the Celebrity 100 and reported she had earned a total of $25 million. In 2010, Cyrus was ranked 13th on Forbes’ Celebrity 100, earning $48 million from June 2009 to June 2010. She was the 4th highest earner under 30 years old and the youngest on the list. Between June 2010 and June 2011, Cyrus earned $54 million. Miley Cyrus was chosen by TIME magazine as one of their finalists for Person of the Year in November 2013. She came in third place with 16.3% of the vote.

Image: JStone / Shutterstock.com

Image: Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

ABSOLUTE THAI

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Review

gender selection & guaranteed pregnancy plan INTRODUCING REPROGENETICS SPECIALIST DR. SUCHADA MONGKOLCHAIPAK

Gender Selection

P

reimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) with IVF for Gender Selection is the most reliable method for gender selection, approaching 100% accuracy. By IVF, embryos are created from the couple’s eggs and sperm. On the third day after fertilization, when embryos have reached 6 to 8 cells, one of the cells is removed from the embryo to be analysed for its chromosomal makeup (The removal of the cell at

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this stage does not negatively affect the embryo’s growth competency.) This chromosomal analysis allows us to determine whether the embryo is male or female. Then, only the embryos of the desired gender are transferred to the uterus. If you decide to use PGD for gender selection with Dr. Suchada, her choice of PGD is one that screens for all chromosome abnormalities (aneuploidies) at the same time. By analysing all the chromosomes with array CGH, you may have

a significantly higher chance of conceiving and carrying the pregnancy to term than by analysing only the sex chromosomes (chromosomes X and Y) and/or fewer than 12 chromosomes. Guarantee Plan: We give you three chances of having a baby It is in Dr. Suchada’s experience that after three cycles of IVF over 84% of her patients brings home a baby. In our Guarantee Plan, we give you three chances of having a baby and also


more information DR. SUCHADA MONGKOLCHAIPAK Dr. Suchada Mongkolchaipak underwent medical training in Chiang Mai, Thailand where she graduated from Chiang Mai University. She then completed her medical specialty in the field of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine. She has been specialising in reproductive medicine since 2001. She also has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Embryology and Andrology from Jones Institute, Eastern Virginia Medical School in the United States. The Jones Institute is widely acknowledged as an international leader in clinical and scientific research in ART, and has trained many prominent physicians and scientists. Dr. Suchada’s clinical expertise includes treatment of infertility, IVF, embryology, reproductive and genetic science. www.suchada-ivf.com E: suchada.ivf@gmail.com T: +66958765559 (International), 0958765559 (local)

give you a good idea on how the total cost of the treatment will be. If not successful within a year of achieving clinical pregnancy, a 50% refund will be made. Dr. Suchada is the only IVF doctor in the region confident enough in her clinical outcome to provide an assurance to her patients – a free IVF cycle and 50% of the cost of the program. *Candidates have to have healthy eggs reserved.

ABSOLUTE THAI

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В нашем ресторане предлагается меню на русском языке.

Located on one of the most beautiful paradise shores in the world, is Chaweng Noi’s idyllic resort. An unspoiled beach-front setting, overlooking lush tropical gardens, endless turquoise lagoon, and luminous white sands, it pampers you with the ideal ambience of tranquility and romance. And not to forget, we offer you the very best location to suit all tastes. Whether you want to get away from it all and relax or shop till you drop!

Воплощение вашей мечты в реальность в отеле Impiana Resort на пляже Чавенг Ной острова Самуи. Идиллический курорт расположен в одном из самых красивых райских уголков мира - на пляже Чавенг Ной. Нетронутое побережье с видом на тропические сады, бесконечные бирюзовые лагуны и белоснежный песок балует идеальной атмосферой спокойствия и романтики. И не забывайте, мы предлагаем вам лучшее место, подходящее на любой вкус. Независимо от того, что вы хотите: убежать от городской суеты и расслабиться или наслаждаться походами по магазинам до упаду! www.impiana.com.my 91/2-3 Moo 3, Chaweng Noi Beach, Koh Samui, Suratthani 84320 Thailand Tel: 66 (0) 77 448 994 Fax: 66 (0) 77 448 999 Email: info.kohsamui@impiana.com 


out and about along

out and about along THE KRABI COAST words: Andrew Forbes

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e ith majestic limestone cliffs and outcroppings, large stretches ofwellpreserved wilderness, and a laid-back vibe, Krabi province, on Thailand’s southwest Andaman Sea coast, is ideal for travellers looking for a relaxing vacation in a wonderfully natural setting.

Most visitors to Krabi head straight for the magnificent beaches at Railay, Ton Sai and Ao Nang. With a little extra effort, you can explore further afield to experience even more of the green goodness this scenic southern province has to offer. The Krabi coast features many less-visited national parks and nature reserves, along with quieter beaches, where you can discover your own true tropical paradise. Than Bok Khorani National Park We start with Than Bok Khorani National Park, located 45km northwest of Krabi town. Distinguished by a series of towering limestone outcroppings, brilliant green rain forests, fascinating mangrove forests, pristine islands, intriguing sea caves and beautiful waterfalls, it’s a wonderful place to recharge your batteries and commune with nature.

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You can easily reach the park by bus, motorbike or hired car from Krabi town or the Ao Nang area. Once there, the best way to get about is by foot – particularly exploring the rich mangrove forests by wandering along the specially-built ironwood boardwalks. By contrast, the breathtaking sea-girt caves and delightful islands nearby are ideal for exploring by kayak. This has to be one of the most enjoyable kayaking experiences in Southeast Asia. If you’re archaeologically-minded, there are also prehistoric rock paintings of human and animal figures at Tham Phi Hua To Cave. Khao Phanom Bencha National Park If you’re up for a rewarding jungle trek, you could do no better than head for Khao Phanom Bencha National Park, located 20km north of Krabi town. While there is no public transport to the park, it’s easily accessible by bike or car along well-maintained roads. The chief attractions here are several lovely waterfalls, including the Huai To Falls just 500m from the park office, that tumble through a series of 11 large pools. You’ll find them perfect for swimming, or just laying back and cooling off.


out and about along

Huai Sade Falls, about 1km further into the park, cascade over a high cliff. Khlong Haeng Falls are even more spectacular, crashing down about 500m from Khao Thep Bencha, the highest peak in Krabi province. If you’re feeling energetic, immerse yourself in the wilderness on the 16km trek through the wilderness to Ton Han Falls. Another park attraction is Khao Phung Cave. Cool and quiet, you can enjoy the intriguing ambience resulting from the curious stalactites and stalagmites that the park authorities liken to mushrooms, curtains and pagodas. Pa Phru Tha Pom Khlong Song Nam Reserve Another natural wonder for the ecotourist is the Pa Phru Tha Pom Khlong Song Nam reserve, a forested peat swamp traversed by channels of sparklingly clear fresh water flowing from Chong Phra Kaeo pool. This fresh water meets and mingles with sea water at high tide, resulting in an unusual ecosystem ideal for both mangroves and marsh-dwelling

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Lumphi palms, with their exotic exposed root formations lining the channels. The reserve is ideal to explore by boat or on foot. Walking is safe and easy, with well-constructed boardwalks that have comfortable wooden benches placed at special viewpoints where you can quietly contemplate of the beauty of the place. Khao Nor Chu Chi Wildlife Sanctuary Less demanding but just as entertaining is a visit to Khao Nor Chu Chi Wildlife Sanctuary and its excellent Tung Tieo Forest Trail. Renowned as a bird sanctuary where you may just see rare species such as the Black Hornbill and Gurnet’s Pitta, the lowland forest area features a 3km nature trail to Tung Tieo Waterfall. There are 18 stations along the way with signboards that tell you all about the local wildlife and tree species. Two small and delightful freshwater lakes, the Emerald Pool and the Blue Pool, are ideal for a refreshing swim.

Ko Klang Ko Klang, or “Central Island”, is a short distance across the Krabi River from Krabi town. Ringed by mangrove swamps, it’s most easily accessed by water taxi or a privately-chartered longtail boat. While the majority of visitors cross to the island for an hour or two to visit the mangroves, Ko Klang is also home to a quiet, mainly Muslim fishing community that warmly welcomes visitors. The community is an idyllic spot, and the people are as friendly as usual in Thailand. If you want to gain insight into the lifestyle and environment of southern Thai fishermen, boatmen, and their families, this is a very special place to stay for a few days. There are no resorts, but any of the travel agencies in Krabi Town will be pleased to arrange a homestay visit with a family on Ko Klang. The seafood is as fresh as could be and the nights peaceful and tranquil – this is one genuine Thai experience you will never forget.

The Krabi coast features many less-visited national parks and nature reserves, along with quieter beaches, where you can discover your own true tropical paradise.


Hat Noppharat Thara

Hat Klong Muang

If you are looking to stay on one of Krabi’s many beautiful beaches, but somewhere more casual than Ao Nang or Railay, Hat Noppharat Thara might just fit the bill – and without having to go too far. Immediately to the west of Ao Nang, it’s a long stretch of sand lined with casuarina trees, offering with magnificent views of the massive karst outcrops for which the Krabi coastline is famous.

Well to the west of Hat Noppharat Tara, beyond Laem Hang Nak Peninsula, Hat Klong Muang is a more isolated beach facing west towards Ko Phi Phi. Here, the beach is well-shaded by casuarinas and coconut palms, and offshore islands add a fascinating profile to the horizon.

This area is also noted for its fleet of brightly-painted fishing boats, a sure sign of an affordable feast of fine, fresh seafood at nearby restaurants. While you won’t find rows of umbrellas and deck chairs for rent on Hat Noppharat Thara, this undeveloped beach offers plenty of breezy, shady spots under the casuarinas. At low tide, you can wade through the warm, azure waters to tiny Pak Klong Island in the bay. If you tire of getting away from it all, bustling Ao Nang is just a short stroll away.

Hat Klong Muang is gradually moving up-market from a backpacker destination to a cove with a cluster of higher-end resorts. It’s the ideal destination if you love the water, and is gaining an international reputation for great scuba-diving and snorkeling, as well as sea-kayaking to the offshore islands and beyond. These are just some of the areas off the beaten track of Krabi’s picturesque Andaman coast that offer unforgettable moments for ecotravelers. By going a little out of your way, you will see a green side of Krabi that few visitors get to experience.

Getting to the Krabi coast Getting to Krabi is easy. Krabi International Airport (KBV) is just 10km from Krabi town and has regular flights from Bangkok. You can also to reach Krabi by train via Surat Thani on the Gulf of Thailand coast, but you need to travel over to the Andaman coast by bus or private vehicle. Once in Krabi, whether you stay by the beach or in Krabi town, it’s easy to rent a bike or a car from one of the numerous hire companies. For the firsttime visitor, it’s probably best to stay in Krabi town for a day or two to get the feel of this surprisingly relaxed and naturally beautiful province.

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Absolute Thai iPad app is a user-friendly interactive magazine which contains extra content not found in our printed magazine, so now there are even more stunning photos, articles and even videos!


Travel

Jerusalem, located on a plateau in the Judean Hills between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, is one of the oldest cities in the world.


jerusalem A CITY OF MANY FAITHS words: Peter Houlsen

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here is something about Jerusalem that seizes the imagination when you first see the city looming on the horizon. I have been travelling there for over four decades, ever since I was a student, and I never fail to be surprised by my first glimpse of the place, the way it suddenly appears without fanfare as you drive southeast from Ben Gurion International Airport, on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, into the Judean Hills. It is a city of singularly spartan beauty, built entirely out of different shades of native stone – yellow, pink, and grey – and pocked with scrubby growth as well as sudden, random bursts of bougainvillea, forsythia, and honeysuckle. For such an ancient city, Jerusalem is enamored of the new: luxury apartment buildings under construction loom at odd intersections, with an eye to American and European Jews who look to buy second homes here. If you are wondering how Jerusalem became such a centre of religions and spirituality and a pilgrimage site for millions of tourists from around the world, the answer begins thousands of years ago. Jerusalem’s history is one of wars and struggles. Its strategic location attracted many nations that wanted to capture the city, and some of them did rule over it for various periods. This city has known war and peace, love and hate, riches and poverty, destruction and renewal, happiness and pain.

According to Jewish tradition, the creation of the world began 5,766 years ago with the foundation stone on Mount Moriah (under the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount). This is where an important royal Can’anite city was built about 4,000 years ago, and which was conquered from the Jebusites by King David in 1004 BC and became the capital of his Kingdom and a ‘holy city’. David’s son Solomon built the First Temple and his descendants (Hezekiah, Zedekiah and the Judean Kings) continued to enlarge and fortify the city’s boundaries, and to build a water supply system (Hezekiah’s tunnel).

This city has known war and peace, love and hate, riches and poverty, destruction and renewal, happiness and pain.

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Travel

These efforts paid off, and when King Sennacherib of Assyria besieged Jerusalem he could not subdue the city and withdrew. Only in 586 BC did Nebuchadnezzar conquer the Jewish capital. The city was destroyed and most of its inhabitants exiled to Babylon (located in what is now present day Iraq). In 538 BC Xerxes, the King of Persia, who has conquered Babylon, permitted the exiled Jews to return to Judea and Jerusalem, where they rebuilt the city and built the Second Temple. For 370 years Judea was an autonomous district, first under the Persians and then under the Greeks. After the Hasmonean Revolt

in 168 BC, Jerusalem again became the capital of a Kingdom, that later came under the rule of the Roman Empire. King Herod the Great further expanded the Temple in the years 73-4 BC. At the end of the Second Temple period Jerusalem was a city of great social and religious tension. It was during this period that Jesus was preaching in Nazareth. In 66 AD the Jews rebelled against the Roman Empire and took over Jerusalem. The suppression of this bitter revolt ended in 70 AD, and the Romans, led by Titus, conquered the capital, destroyed the Temple completely and exiled the city’s inhabitants. For the

The Altar of the Nativity in Bethlehem, beneath which is the star marking the spot where tradition says the Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus.

After the Roman Empire accepted Christianity in 324 (and later became the Byzantine Empire), Jerusalem again became a very important city. 38

next 60 years Jerusalem was desolate, until the Bar Kokhba Revolt, when the Jews returned for a short while. In 135 AD, the Romans rebuilt and renamed the city Aelia Capitolina and barred the Jews from living there. After the Roman Empire accepted Christianity in 324 (and later became the Byzantine Empire), Jerusalem again became a very important city. The sites connected with Jesus’ life and death were located and declared holy, and many magnificent churches were built, including the basilica of the

Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (also called the Church of the Resurrection), identified as the site of both the crucifixion, resurrection and the tomb of Jesus, and the “Mother of all Churches”, on Mount Zion. Many of these religious sites can still be visited today but there is a strict dress code and please be prepared to queue. In 1250 the Mamluk dynasty rose to power in Egypt and its rulers conquered this region and became the new lords of Jerusalem. In 1517 the


The Western Wall is visited by millions of worshipers. Here, at the base of the massive wall that is a remnant of the Holy Temple, prayers are offered and notes containing heartfelt wishes are wedged between the crevices.

Ottoman Empire spread to Jerusalem and for 400 years was under Turkish rule. During the first 100 years the city flourished and its walls were rebuilt. In the second half of the 16th century, as the Ottoman Empire began to decline, so did Jerusalem’s fortunes. In 1917, with the start of the British Mandate period, Jerusalem retained its status as the capital of the land. When Israel was established in 1948, Jerusalem was declared the State capital, and all the major government institutions were built here. These included The Knesset (Israel’s parliament building), the Supreme Court and the various government offices.

During the War of Independence, following bloody battles and ceasefire agreements, Jerusalem was left divided between Israel and Jordan, until the capital’s liberation in the Six Day War in 1967, when the two parts of the city were united and Jerusalem became Israel’s largest city. Today, Jerusalem is a city of overwhelming emotions, a city that promises a religious and spiritual experience, excitement and pleasure, interesting tours and entertaining adventures. Here, alongside Jerusalem’s fascinating historic and archaeological sites, there are amazingly modern tourist attractions for all lovers of culture, the arts, theatre and music, architecture and culinary delights.

At Jerusalem’s heart is the Old City, which is surrounded by a wall and divided into four quarters – Jewish, Armenian, Christian, and Muslim. Inside the walls are the important holy sites of the three major religions: the Western Wall, which is holy to the Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. Within these venerable walls you will find a labyrinth of souks selling everything from religious icons to the necessities of life to Old City residents. Jerusalem is also very important to Christianity, as Jesus Christ lived and died here. The Christian Quarter alone houses some 40 religious buildings. One of the most prominent and important sites in the Christian

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Travel

Quarter is the Via Dolorosa, the “Way of Sorrows”, Jesus’ final path, which according to Christian tradition led from the courthouse of Pontius Pilate to Calvary, or Golgotha, where he was crucified and buried. Many pilgrims come to Jerusalem to follow Jesus’ footsteps along a route that starts in the Muslim Quarter at Lions’ Gate, and passes the 14 ‘Stations of the Cross’, ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

find some fascinating attractions in the New City, such as the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Bloomfield Science Museum, and The Knesset. Jerusalem is a city of superlatives, a city whose history can be heard in the whispering of the wind along the hallowed walls, where every stone tells a wondrous story of its long and tumultuous past.

At Jerusalem’s heart is the Old City, which is surrounded by a wall and divided into four quarters – Jewish, Armenian, Christian, and Muslim.

East of the Old City is the Mount of Olives, where there are other important Christian sites, and several churches: The Ascension, Pater Noster, Dominus Flevit, Mary Magdalene, Gethsemane, Lazarus and Abraham’s Monastery. Apart from the holy places throughout the Old City you will also

One of the most prominent and important sites in the Christian Quarter is the Via Dolorosa, the “Way of Sorrows”, Jesus’ final path along a route which passes the 14 ‘Stations of the Cross’.

Within the venerable walls of the Old City you will find a labyrinth of souks selling everything from religious icons to the necessities of life to its residents.

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Feature

the benefits and advantages of medical tourism facilitators words: Gavin Wadell


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owdays, a growing number of people are discovering the benefits of medical tourism and travel. In the USA, Europe, Australia and the Middle East, it is becoming common knowledge through effective marketing and word of mouth that medical tourism offers a cheaper option for receiving medical treatment without compromising on quality. What is Medical Tourism? In summary, medical tourism is the act of going overseas to obtain medical treatment whether it be for chronic or acute surgical procedures, or elective procedures such as cosmetic, dental, and wellness treatment in another country. Medical tourism is also regarded as Health Tourism, Medical Travel or Global Healthcare. Over the past several years, many medical travel companies specializing in medical tourism have been offering packages to people who want to receive medical treatments abroad. There are many reasons why more people are opting to receive medical treatment abroad rather than in their own countries with the following being the most common.

§ Some medical services are not available in their country of residence. § Their health insurance does not cover the cost of a procedure. § Long waiting lists for public funded procedures in their own country. § Expensive costs for private sector treatment. § Immediate treatment with no lengthy waiting time. § Opportunity to combine foreign travel along with medical treatment If you are thinking of overseas medical travel you could consider using the services of a medical tourism agency. They are also known as medical tourism facilitators. These types of agencies have been found to be of great use as they can take care of all the arrangements for you. The agency will search out the best global healthcare available and provide support throughout the course of the medical tour. Many medical tourism agencies have certifications that can reinforce the patient’s trust in the responsibility and capabilities of the agency.

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Feature


The medical tourism agency will arrange your air tickets, visas, transport, accommodation and sometimes food and leisure activities. This means you don’t have to worry about anything and you can concentrate on getting treated and recovering. The patient still has to perform due diligence and check the hospital, the doctors and the costs before they commit to the agency. This will ensure the medical tourist knows what he or she is getting into beforehand. Some Advantages of using a Medical Tourism Facilitator There are considerable advantages and benefits to be gained by using the services of a health tourism referral agency or facilitator which can save you time and also some possibly some expense in the long run. The agents direct contact with doctors and a medical facility whether it be a hospital or clinics providing plastic surgery or dental services is a huge plus as close working relationships can be forged over a period of time. The agency in many instances has the direct contact details of many doctors and specialists by either telephone or email and in many cases the patient can be put in direct contact with their doctor or surgeon of choice which can be a great relief and comfort to the health traveler to be able to talk to their doctor before travelling. Other important points on the medical side of your trip is the facilitator can not only arrange appointments, but also forward any of your recent medical reports , blood tests and x rays which helps to save time if you are on a tight schedule. Referral agents can even help you obtain visas with the hospitals help for procedures requiring a lengthy hospital stay along with post surgery recovery. One of the

most important aspects of your trip is to get a fairly reasonable estimation of the costs, although this may not be possible until the day of your consultation, it’s still best to clarify medical charges as transparently as you can, before finalizing your trip.

There are considerable advantages and benefits to be gained by using the services of a health tourism referral agency or facilitator which can save you time and also some possibly some expense in the long run. You can also get a lot of information from the referral agencies website for example on hospitals and clinics, doctor’s and surgeons, medical facilities specialties and occasionally costs involved along with testimonials from former patients on their overall experiences. Once you have decided on the hospital and specialist of choice for your particular treatment, the next step is your travel and accommodation arrangements. This is where the medical tourism facilitator can also be of beneficial help as some referral agencies can offer treatments costs, combined with airport pick up transport and hotel accommodation in a special package price. Depending on where you are having your treatment done, whether it is in Bangkok, Pattaya, Phukhet, or Chang Mai the medical facilitator can

arrange hotel accommodation for you to suit your personal requirements. Things to remember are that your hospital should be within reasonable distance from where you are staying as you may have several appointments arranged over the course of your stay for treatment and follow ups. Most facilitators also arrange for transport to pick up on arrival at the international airport and transfers from between your hotel and hospital to make sure you are on time for appointments. While all the main international hospitals in Thailand have international patient service centers with interpreters in different languages, often a member of staff from the medical tourist agency will also accompany the patient on hospital visits as they have experience of the medical facility and may well know the staff from previous visits which all helps to ensure everything runs smoothly for the benefit of the patient. Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world as it offers the visitor an exotic experience of a country rich in culture and tradition. It has also now become a top destination of choice for medical tourism travel. Medical treatment and facilities in Thailand are of the highest quality and most of the top international hospitals have local and international accreditation such as Joint Commission International. As already mentioned above the benefits of using a health tourism facilitator are many, however the main advantages are they can help to save time in communication, any worries and frustrations and even some expense, leaving you more time to enjoy the many delights that Thailand has to offer.

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Off the beaten track

off the beaten track in issan words: Nick Wilson


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he Northeast of Thailand, which is also known as Issan, makes up around a third of the area of Thailand. The geography of the area commonly starts at Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat) which is also known as the gateway to Issan, all the way up to Udon Thani, whilst the whole Western boundaries are the flowing waters of the mighty Mekong River, with stunning views over to the mysterious Democratic Republic of Laos. This area is the heartland of the Kingdom where folk go about their daily lives as they did centuries ago. Out in the villages it’s like a time warp, where you’ll see local farmers planting or gathering in the year’s rice crop, which is the main agricultural crop of the area, often using no more tools than a scythe and water buffalo. If you are lucky and have the time, it’s well worthwhile interacting with these very proud and immensely friendly people who think nothing of inviting you into their homes and sharing a meal with you. You might even get invited to observe the local women going about their daily routines of silk making, where many of the houses are designed to actually make the silk from breeding the silkworms to selling the finished product. You can then buy authentic Thai silk at a fraction of the price you’ll pay in the more tourist

This area is the heartland of the Kingdom where folk go about their daily lives as they did centuries ago

geared destinations, (just ask my mum, she bought loads). Don’t think for one minute that Issan is so remote as being called the back of beyond, there are some very modern cities, the four main ones being Khorat, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani and my favourite Ubon Ratchathani. Here you will find grand shopping malls and luxury hotels, just as you would in Bangkok or other tourist inclined areas. So these are ideal bases to get your insight into this almost extinct way of life. Do not expect tourist attractions like theme parks and bright lights, but what you will get is an insight into the culture and history of the Kingdom. Every village will have its own temple, many being of the ancient Khmer Empire from days long since passed. Also, three of Thailand’s most popular national parks are found in this area. To see the area and people of Issan in their entire splendour it is imperative that you visit one of the many world renowned local festivals. Memories of these will stay with you forever. Here’s my top five, not in any order, but my favourite has to be the candle festival In Ubon Ratchathani The Candle Festival in Ubon Ratchathani If giant carved candles are your thing you’ll love the Ubon Ratchathani candle festival, which takes place around the beginning of August every year. The event celebrates the beginning of Pansa, or Buddhist Lent, when monks retreat to their temples for a three month period during the rainy season. The candles, which are often carved to tell stories from the life of the Buddha, are paraded through town on floats before being put on display.

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Off the beaten track


Phanom Rung Solar Events in Buriram Head to Buriram’s hilltop Khmer ruins to observe a fascinating solar event. Four times a year you can watch the sun rise or set in perfect alignment with Phanom Rung’s 15 doorways, which face east slightly out sync with the line of the sun. These events happen about 14 days before and after the equinoxes in March and September. This visually stunning event attracts locals and others who often dress in white and make offerings at the temple. To watch the sunrise, plan on getting to the temple at about 5:30 a.m. Yasathon Bun Bangfai Rocket Festival If you like rockets and explosions, you’ll love this quirky festival in Yasathon. Every year villagers and others make enormous homemade

rockets which are fired into the sky as part of a ceremony to guarantee good rains in the season to come. Though there are somewhat traditional roots to this event, it’s become a rocket launching showdown, with each contestant trying to outdo the other. The event lasts for two days, during which there is also live music, parades and processions and folk dancing. Needless to say, there have been accidents at this festival so stake out your spot carefully! Bon Fai Naak festival in Nong Khai Want to see some mythical naga (water serpent) fireballs rising out of the water and floating overhead before silently disappearing into the night sky? Head to Nong Khai in late October, where you’ll find hundreds of other visitors crowding the banks of the Mekong River in the evening to watch for this phenomena, also

known as the Mekong Lights. The fireballs can be seen throughout the year, but during this festival there are other surrounding events, too. As for a scientific explanation of the fireballs, they’ve been linked to tracer fire by neighbouring armies and burning gas from the river, but no one has provided a satisfactory explanation for them yet. The Khon Kaen Silk Festival or Phuk Sieo festival Is an annual traditional event. It’s one of the most important events in Khon Kaen held in late of November at Khon Kaen City Hall. The purpose is to present the local silk industry, which is mostly a tribute to the fabulous handmade works. The fair includes parades, local product booths and other interesting activities such as, students’ performances, live bands of pop, rock, and country music and North eastern traditional music. To see these amazing sights with you own eyes is a must when travelling to Thailand. So for a few days, forget the beautiful beaches and tourist sites and come and enjoy the real Thailand.

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Review

seaside chilling at its best: beach bar IMPIANA RESORT CHAWENG NOI, KOH SAMUI words: Peter Warring

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ince the dawn of tourism when the first holidaymakers began to frequent beaches, beach bars have been popular; they followed in the wake of the first waves of bathers and have never gone out of fashion. The original style, with thatched roof and serving a handful of snacks and drinks still remains everpopular, a simple formula that keeps on charming us. Even when beach bars become sophisticated, they tend not to lose sight of their beginnings. Perhaps with all this in mind the architects behind Beach Bar have kept things disarmingly simple: clean, modern lines, plenty of space and

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relaxing furniture make this a winning addition to Chaweng’s places to eat, drink and chill out. Beach Bar, which just opened a few weeks ago, replaces its modest and smaller predecessor and opts for a strikingly contemporary note. Colors are earth brown, plenty of wood is used throughout, but perhaps the main material used is simply… air. Fresh air circulates everywhere, and almost always there’s a sea breeze while light fills the building, giving the ambience an easy feel. The two tier structure is entirely open to all elements, and it hardly seems

like a traditional building. Indeed, it fits in with nature; trunks of trees grow up and through the ceiling and then on the top floor fill out to form a leafy canopy that protects the top floor from the sun. Beach Bar is well-situated; no matter which floor you’re on, you can see most of the bay of Chaweng, stretching away to the north. Impiana, where Beach Bar is to be found, is virtually at the southern end of the bay, a lot less trafficked, though the coast here is every bit as beautiful. Behind the resort lush hills rise towards the sky, few buildings to be seen. You’re still on the island’s favorite beach, yet far from all the crowds. The sea, by the way, is like the rest of Chaweng, shallow enough here for children to enjoy and, though


Afternoons, you can opt for tea – Beach Bar stocks some of the world’s best, thanks to importing the Ronnefeldt brand. Beach Bar essentially follows the old traditions of laid-back seaside fun; as such it’s a place you’ll want to come back to simply to relax, have some food and drink before heading out into the sun once more. not patrolled, the Impiana has a red flag system for days when the sea is choppy. Mostly it’s calm here and often enough the sea is transparent, ranging in color from blue through turquoise. But you don’t have to stay at Impiana itself to enjoy Beach Bar. Everyone’s welcome, and this is an ideal place to unwind. Visitors go swimming in the sea, and then afterwards have a drink, snack or full-scale meal at Beach Bar. It’s an ideal place to alternate swimming with just relaxing in the shade. Beach Bar’s open for breakfast, too, with an excellent buffet served just a few meters away at the main restaurant.

Prices are reasonable and you can also take advantage of not one but three separate Happy Hours: midday to 2 pm, 5 to 7 pm and finally 9 to 11 pm. All operate on a one-for-one basis. Then there’s the food. It’s all highly tasty with a great mix of popular dishes. Beach Bar offers a tapas-style menu, along with all the old favorites, such as pizza and pasta, paninnis and a whole range of snacks. There’s also a select choice of Japanese dishes and some fusion food. If you’re here in the evening, you can even have a sumptuous dinner from the restaurant. Often there’s live music from Sentinel, a 3-piece band that provides some soothing tunes.

more information

Beach Bar is at the Impiana Resort Chaweng Noi, Koh Samui. Open daily from 08:00 am until midnight, with last food orders at 10:30 pm. Directions: on the ring road, 2 kilometers south of Chaweng as you head towards Lamai. Tel: 0 7744 8994

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Review

horizon @ hilton pattaya A CLASS OF ITS OWN words: Paul Eastland

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f all the thousands of dining establishments worldwide the most sought after and renowned are the stylish roof top restaurants. It’s been almost two years now since Hilton Pattaya opened its own offering into this select market, Horizon, which has now become unquestionably the premier fine dining establishment in the area. Horizon is situated majestically above the Pattaya skyline on the 34th floor of the world famous Hilton Hotel Pattaya. Boasting an impressive interior design to offer guests spectacular views of Pattaya City, Horizon features 1,390 square

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meters of indoor and outdoor space, which includes three private dining rooms with floor to ceiling glass panels allowing for seamless views over the city and the bay. Guests can also enjoy a few drinks at the open-air Infinity Bar while taking in views of the skyline. On entrance you will be met by the highly motivated professional staff and directed to your selected table, be it inside the sophisticated restaurant itself or one of the many luxurious sofas on the terrace. For the romantics, why not get here early and watch the dramatic sun set gradually down over the namesake horizon.

The chefs have created an unparalleled menu of culinary genius and art with only the best imported and local seafood and meats from all corners of the globe. My wife and I had been eagerly awaiting our first and definitely not the last experience at Horizon. I started with Blackened Hokkiado Scallops, which arrived in a green onion vinaigrette with squid spaghetti and smokey tomato sauce. All too often, scallops can be very difficult to master, but these were cooked to perfection and just melted in your mouth. Madam chose Duck Confit


The staff pulled out all the stops to make Horizon the most craved culinary destination in Pattaya, and in our experience they have certainly achieved that goal. Our evening was a great success and will never be forgotten; if you only get the one chance to visit, believe me, do it. It’s a must. Bon appétit!

Ravioli, which arrived in orange scented lobster bisque with sautéed greens and truffle foam; she was ashamed to eat it because of the masterful presentation.

sage butter, never before have I tasted such a divine, moist culinary dish than this. As the chef says we only use the best ingredients available, and how right he is.

For the main course, it was an easy choice for madam, despite having a myriad of seafood choices. As always, she chose the Atlantic salmon; this came with cherry tomatoes and octopus ragout, sautéed rocket and poached egg in herb emulsion. As a salmon “expert” she was taken aback as all the side dishes married with the salmon to perfection.

To round off our experience we both settled for Affogato which is an Espresso shot accompanied by cookies and cream ice cream with pistachio biscotti; a perfect way to end our indulgence.

I chose Kurubuta Pork Tenderloin. Now I’ve always wanted to taste this world renowned dish, so I jumped at the chance and was not disappointed, it arrived wrapped in Parma ham in a parsnip puree with grain mustard and topped with Medjool date jus and

The drinks choice is just the same with a menu that can’t be equaled anywhere with a wine and champagne list that covers just about everywhere on the globe, but what you must try, as we did, was one of the many specialty cocktails that are available. Specifically, the Horizon signature cocktail called the Horizon To wer. This comprises two cocktails in one.

more information

For more information or reservations please dial T: +66 (0)38 253 000 E: pattaya.info@hilton.com

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Review

rouge restaurant THE IDEAL PLACE TO MEET, GREET AND EAT. words: Laurence Civil

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t was a diving holiday that first brought Charles Christiaens, the newly appointed Executive Chef at Hansar Bangkok, to Thailand. He fell in love with the country and has been here ever since. It was at Le Bistingo (now Aubergine) in Soi Saladaeng where he launched his culinary career in Thailand, moving on to be the opening chef at Harvey Restaurant in Thonglor, before becoming Chef de Cuisine at the iconic French restaurant, Ma Maison at Nai Lert Park Swissotel. He was Executive Chef in two more hotels, Landmark Bangkok and Pathumwan Princess, before coming to Hansar

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Bangkok a few months ago to add a contemporary French touch to Eve, their fine dining restaurant and Rouge their French Lounge Bar, previously Vue Bar. With more than 18 years’ experience under his belt, Chef Charles has a wealth of experience, talent and creativity. He loves to create amazing flavours and aromas in his dishes, to ensure a memorable dining experience for his guests, using the freshest seasonal ingredients. Chef Charles will work closely with Executive Chef Stephen Dion at Hansar Samui, to ensure that Hansar brand standards and met, while each keeping the

distinct culinary personality of their own property. Rouge is an elegant stylish bistro-style French lounge, the ideal place to meet, greet and eat. It was here that I was introduced to what Charles describes as his Chef’s Bites, grazing food to enrich the cocktail experience. Creative cuisine doesn’t fit neatly into other peoples’ definitions. My interpretation is gourmet European tapas, exquisite two bites wow taste experiences. His Foie Gras Creme brûlée is sublimely delicious as it’s elegantly plated. Porcini mushroom ravioli with shaved black truffles is positively addictive. He has brought a subtle taste of Belgium with his croquettes, mashed potato, ham and cheese balls rolled in fine breadcrumbs then deep fried. Cocktail cuisine that encourages the customer to linger longer at the bar, making it an experience rather than just another drink or two.


From Rouge, the evening progressed through to Eve to sample his tailor made French Mediterranean seasonally driven tasting menu. Logistically, Bangkok sits on the global crossroads where chefs are able to source any western ingredients they may want all available year round, what isn’t available in the northern hemisphere can be sourced south of the equator. As seasonality is an important part of gourmet dining experience, his menus are driven by the European seasons. The first dish he brought to the table was Alaskan king crab wrapped in a sharp cucumber and apple jelly topped with an avocado foam. He paired it with a 2011 Zonin Classico Pinot Grigio from Cervignano in Northern Italy. A delicately fruity wine with aromas of great finesse. In the mouth, the taste is lightly dry yet extremely fresh, pleasantly balanced with an elegant structure.

I was then served pan fried Soulard foie gras, rhubarb compote, Armarena cherries and jus Acidulate with honey vinegar. My dining companion had a delicious lobster bisque with lobster medallions and sea urchin foam. Both of our dishes paired with a 2012 San Elias Chardonnay from Chile’s Central Valley. A yellow coloured wine with an intense pineapple aroma. In the mouth, the taste is very fresh with tropical fruit flavours. For the main course, I had Wagyu short ribs which Charles had slow cooked for 24 hours, served with garlic mashed potatoes, and sautéed mushroom served in a Pinot Noir jus. This was paired with 2010 Michel Lynch, made from fruit sourced in Bordeaux, a beautiful expression of what the region can produce. A full flavoured wine that is chewy with plenty of volume and round with ripe tannins.

more information

HANSAR BANGKOK 3/250 Soi Mahadlekluang 2 Ratchdamri Road Bangkok, 10330 Tel +66-2209-1234 E-mail info@hansarbangkok.com Eve 6-10.30pm Rouge noon-midnight

My Thai companion who doesn’t eat beef opted for Pacific Ocean snow fish with a garlic and basil crust, brendade, vegetable tian, clam salsa and spicy chorizo. This was perfectly paired with a 2012 Amanda’s Brook Sauvignon Blanc. This wine has a lovely fragrant aroma of gooseberries, peas, freshly cut grass, white flowers and herbs. It has the usual hint of sweetness and finesse. Unusually, this mediumbodied wine has a seductive, soft mouth feel and even has the faintest suggestion of sweetness. This is what Australians describe as fruit character as there isn’t any actual sugar in the wine. The taste is refreshing with a zesty apple flavour, a slight dash of acidity and a long fruity finish, a harmonious pairing. To finish for dessert, an exquisite combination of a coconut delicacy, rhubarb compote, strawberries poached in balsamic vinegar complimented by pink peppercorn ice cream. By putting his stamp on the menu, Chef Charles has successfully raised the profile of the dining experience at Hansar Bangkok.

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Review

serenity resort & residences, phuket east 88 beach lounge LAZY DAYS, BEACH LOUNGE WAYS words: Paul Eastland

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or those wishing to experience a truly unforgettable beach lounge atmosphere, you need look no further than the East 88 Beach Lounge.

Set in a prime location overlooking the majestic Chalong Bay, you will find unparalleled luxury, coupled with ample activities to make a visit here one of the highlights of your visit to the “Land of Smiles”. For the energetic there are a number of water activities for you to partake, including Sea Kayaks that are available free of charge, or if you prefer why not try your hand at horseback riding, there’s

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nothing more romantic than galloping along a deserted beach and through the gentle surf. For the less energetic there’s the option of taking a leisurely cruise out on our very own traditional Long Tailed boat, out to one of the many secluded beaches that are situated on one of the many tropical islands in the near vicinity. Just want to relax? no problem! Life at the East 88 Beach Lounge naturally revolves around the Impressive pool area. Settle down in one of the luxurious sun loungers and take in the beautiful surroundings of the impeccably clean


this is where the East 88 Lounge comes into its own, and where the top class chefs have spared no expense preparing a mouthwatering array of expertly prepared an unlimited menu of exotic fare from around the globe. You can indulge in a choice offering anything from light salads, comfort foods including specialty burgers and Club sandwiches, European dishes with everyone’s favorites,

names to totally unique concoctions that the skilled bar staff have created. An unparalleled assortment of international and local beers and spirits are available, accompanied by a champagne and wine list that would put most five star hotels to shame. For the teetotalers and kids there’s a wide range of taste tingling “mocktails”, fresh fruit and milkshakes and to cool down ice creams.

a stunning array of the abundant locally caught fresh seafood. Here to sample the local cuisine? You won’t be disappointed

Summary

freeform pool, with its surrounding lush tropical foliage. Here you can read a book, soak up the rays, anything and just forget about the rigours of everyday life, whilst sipping one of the many long, cool, exotic cocktails that are on offer. For the kids there are ample areas of impeccably manicured lawns for them to amuse themselves, plus a welcome children’s pool area where they can play to their hearts content in complete safety ( whilst keeping an observant eye on them, of course). Wining and Dining A Beach Lounge is nothing if it doesn’t set the standards in its culinary fare,

with an incredible selection of all your favorite, classical Thai dishes and many others that you won’t know, even down to the hugely popular local dish of Somtum.

To experience a lifestyle that many can ever dream of, with first class surroundings, unparalleled collection of fine dining and wining, you can do no better than spending some time at the East 88 Beach Lounge.

more information

With the culinary choice at the East 88 Beach Lounge, there can be very few others on the island that can match the offerings here, so there is no reason for anyone to go home hungry Balu’s Bar is the watering hole, set by the pool, here you will be amazed at the sheer quantity of drinks on offer, as mentioned before, a beach Lounge would not be a beach Lounge without its signature long, cool exotic cocktails, lucky you! There’s a mind boggling collection on offer, from the usual

Serenity Resort & Residences, 14 Moo 5, Viset Road, Rawai, Phuket 83130, Thailand. www.serenityphuket.com

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Some Things Money Can’t Buy...

· Save 25% on your total bill (every day) at leading restarants · Free cocktails for yourself and invited guests at great nightspots · VIP service and other special benefits

www.PhuketPrivileges.com www.SamuiPrivileges.com


Feature

bangkok shopping mall TOPS LIST OF THE MOST INSTAGRAMMED PLACES IN 2013

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he popular Bangkok luxury shopping mall, Siam Paragon, has emerged as the world’s most Instagrammed location of 2013. This is the second year in a row that a Thai location has topped the list. In 2012, the chart-topper was Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.

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Siam Paragon was Number Two on the list in 2012, and has risen to Number One in 2013. Although Suvarnabhumi Airport has dropped to Number Nine in this year’s list, Thailand is still the only country outside the United States with two locations on the list.


The most Instagrammed locations of 2013 1. Siam Paragon, Bangkok 2. Times Square, New York 3. Disneyland, Anaheim, California 4. Bellagio Fountains, Las Vegas 5. Disney World Florida 6. Staples Centre, Los Angeles 7. Central Park, New York 8. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles 9. Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), Bangkok 10. The High Line, New York As Instagram is hugely popular with global tourists, both Siam Paragon and Suvarnabhumi Airport have provided visitors with extensive opportunities for attractive photographic backdrops

featuring a range of cultural, floral and architectural icons of Thailand. Both have taken advantage of their locations as major transportation hubs and the global technological revolution to generate millions of dollars worth of free publicity for Thai travel and tourism. Siam Paragon is located at the primary interchange station of Bangkok’s popular mass transit system, the Skytrain, used by thousands of city visitors every day. Built at a cost of US$450 million, it is one of the biggest shopping centres in Asia. Opened in December 2005, it includes a wide range of specialty stores and restaurants as well as a multiplex

movie theatre, the largest aquarium in South East Asia, an exhibition hall, a Thai art gallery, an opera concert hall, a large bowling alley and karaoke centre. These provide perfect venues for a ceaseless range of activities from fashion and flower shows to trade events and film festivals. Suvarnabhumi is Thailand’s primary aviation hub, recording more than 23 million embarking passengers and 1.3 million transit passengers in 2012. Its departure halls are dominated by photo-friendly icons of Thai culture and heritage; such as, the famous King of the Nagas, the mythical giant guardians of Thai temples and replicas of stupas which house relics of the Buddha.

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Feature

Millions of tourists who visit Thailand, especially first-timers from China and India, are seen taking photographs of themselves along with their travelling companions in front of these colourful and iconic images. Overall, the Instagram popularity of these two locations saw Bangkok hit Number Two on the chart of the world’s most Instagrammed cities, behind New York City. This was largely due to the popularity of New York’s primary tourist spot, Times Square. The list of 10 most Instagrammed Cities: 1. New York 2. Bangkok 3. Los Angeles

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4. London 5. São Paulo 6. Moscow 7. Rio de Janeiro 8. San Diego, California 9. Las Vegas 10. San Francisco Commenting on the results, Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Thawatchai Arunyik said, “This is an example of how technological opportunities can be merged with our well-known Thai heritage and culture to generate positive publicity of infinite value. Thai people are known for being creative and artistic. We are glad to see these characteristics producing such wonderful results for promoting the country.”

Millions of tourists who visit Thailand, especially firsttimers from China and India, are seen taking photographs of themselves along with their travelling companions in front of these colourful and iconic images.


Fashion

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Napapa Tantrakul MODEL AND ACTRESS

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at Napapa Tantrakul is a very famous actress from Thailand and has proved to be very talented. She is ever present on he TV screens whether this be in Lakorn , or one of the TV

commercials she has starred in. However most recently she has opened her own beauty clinic , beautyvivaclinic.com, a business that is very close to her heart.

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Fashion

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Photos by Khan Thongduang Make Up Artist: Jiratthanont chanyotha

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Absolute Promotion

hua hin’s perfect golf getaway package CELEBRATING HUA HIN RECEIVING THE TITLE OF “ASIA AND AUSTRALASIA’S 2014 GOLF DESTINATION OF THE YEAR” WITH “HUA HIN’S PERFECT GOLF GETAWAY PACKAGE”

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oasting itself as a scenic and laid-back seaside town on the Gulf of Thailand for more than 80 years, Hua Hin now has another claim to fame after receiving the title of Asia and Australasia’s 2014 Golf Destination of the Year, announced by the International Association of Golf Tourism Operators (IAGTO). In order to celebrate this great news, Amari Hua Hin is teaming up with the Majestic Creek Golf Course, one of the best golf course destinations in Thailand, located in the beautiful countryside and offering 27 holes of golf. Together they will launch one-of-a-kind accommodation packages titled “Hua Hin’s Perfect Golf Getaway Package,” to welcome all golfers in Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia.

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Hua Hin’s Perfect Golf Getaway Package includes: • A two-night stay with daily breakfast for two (or boxed breakfast for early tee-off) • Complimentary green fee and caddie • Complimentary round trip transfer to golf course • Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the stay • Complimentary upgrade to a higher room category if available • Complimentary single seafood platter per stay when dining at Shoreline • A choice of a two hour spa package for non-golfing guest Rates start from 8, 000 THB per room for two nights for two people This package is valid from today until 30 June 2014

Terms and Conditions: • This special package is available via online booking only at www.amari.com/amarihuahin • A minimum of two consecutive nights stay required • Our complimentary services are limited to only two people per package • Reservation must be made a minimum of three days before arrival • A valid credit card number is required for guaranteed booking • Subject to availability upon reservation • Not to be combined with any other offer or promotion • All rates are subject to applicable government taxes and service charges

more information

For more information, please call Amari Hua Hin +66 (0) 3261 6600, email to reservations.huahin @amari.com or visit our website at amari.com/amarihuahin


Absolute News

INTRODUCING THE NEW

anantara king’s cup

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nantara’s King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament Packs its Trunk and Moves to Bangkok

Mark it in your diaries, Anantara Hotels, Resorts and Spas is announcing the 2014 dates for the highly popular King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament. This year’s event will move from its original home of Hua Hin to the Thai capital of Bangkok from August 28th - 31st and promises to have more nailbiting action both on and off the field. The annual tournament, now in its thirteenth year, has become one of the biggest charitable events in SE Asia. Last year’s event which had 16 teams encompassing over 50 players, including Thai supermodels, professional horse polo players, the New Zealand All-Blacks rugby team and Thailand’s famous transgender cabaret team

Miss Tiffany’s was a far cry from the small two teamed event back when it started in 2001. Over $US750,000 has been raised and donated to projects that better the lives of Thailand’s wild and domesticated elephant population. Fundraising from last year’s event has been donated to a number of projects in Thailand including supporting research and clinics using elephants in therapy sessions for children living with autism; building the first elephant hospital in Krabi in the southern part

of Thailand and donating a gantry to help lame elephants stand to the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC). Due to the popularity of the tournament the event will move from the Royal seaside town of Hua Hin to the Siam Polo Park at VR Sports Club in Bangkok. The four day festival will have something for everyone including an impressive opening parade, Children’s Day, Ladies Day and wide a range of fun elephant related activities for the whole family.

more information on the 13th Annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, please visit www.anantaraelephantpolo.com

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Absolute News

absolute sanctuary THAILAND’S PREMIER DETOX & YOGA RESORT CELEBRATES ITS SIXTH ANNIVERSARY.

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he acclaimed wellness resort ABSOLUTE SANCTUARY celebrates its sixth anniversary this April. Situated on the hills of Cheong Mon in the idyllic island of Koh Samui, overlooking panoramic views of the sea, the resort has grown from strength to strength over the years to achieve its positioning as one of the top destination spa resorts in Asia. From its humble beginning as a wellness resort with basic program offerings, it has expanded to offer more programs, therapies, facilities

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and better rooms. Noticeably, the resort has also achieved the status of choice destination for yoga retreats and teacher trainings. To celebrate its anniversary, the resort is launching a special Sixth Anniversary Room Promotion with up to 40% discount on room rates during the months of April and May. In appreciation of their support, returning guests will also be rewarded with complimentary room upgrades, treatments and other benefits should they visit during these months.

more information

Absolute Sanctuary please contact: absolutesanctuary.com or call +66 77 601 190


Absolute News

AWG break ground ON PHASE II OF ABSOLUTE TWIN SANDS RESORT & SPA

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HUKET, Thailand – Continuing to redefine mixed-use development in Phuket, Thailand, the Absolute World Group recently broke ground on Phase II of their award-winning Absolute Twin Sands Resort & Spa. Set on a stunning peninsula just south of Patong and nestled between two of Phuket’s most idyllic white beaches, Absolute Twin Sands Resort & Spa is a solid resort investment offering from established development partners the Absolute World Group and leading international agent Jones Lang LaSalle. The resort enjoyed tremendous success in its sell out first phase and Phase II was official launched in 2013 and quickly sold out off plan. Construction is now underway and expected to be complete Q2 2015.

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A stylish mixed-use development, Phase II offers outright real estate and an award-winning shared ownership programme. The 50 apartments offer a contemporary tropical living experience in a highly-sought-after neighbourhood which will also welcome a six-star Rosewood Resort also in 2015. At a time when lifestyles are changing and investors are looking for more creative investment opportunities, the Absolute World Group and it’s awardwinning shared ownership programme at Absolute Twin Sands Resort & Spa give buyers choice and flexibility in a world-class resort property. While Phase II enters the construction and delivery stage, the exciting Phase III of the award-winning mixed-use resort development is nearing launch.

Select opportunities at pre-launch prices will be announced late February 2014 but these are expected to start in the region of THB100,000sqm upwards, compared to many on the island now starting around THB140,000sqm, with the general release of Phase III anticipated to be in April 2014. The Absolute World Group are also set to open their much anticipated Boutique Private Residence Club, The Beach Samui, on Koh Samui in May 2014, part of the world-renowned Design Hotels™ collection. For more information, visit www. absolutetwinsands.com or for all latest updates follow Absolute World Group on Facebook, Vimeo and most major Social Media channels.


Top Books

top books A Hundred Pieces of Me BY LUCY DILLON

A Flash of Lightning BY TONY DRURY

Jessica agrees with her mother; it’s time she had a baby. She’s given up looking for the right father. City financier, Matthew, has raised £6 million to make a film. Now it’s gone missing and his neck is on the line. Detective Chief Inspector Sarah Rudd has learned that there are terrorists planning to murder 400 people. She doesn’t know where or how and now her brilliant career is threatened. Will DCI Rudd uncover the terrorist plot in time to save the nation? Who has taken the film money? Will Matthew find the love of his life and a new mother for his daughter? And why is The Great Train Robbery on everybody’s mind?

Burial Rites: A Novel BY HANNAH KENT A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829. Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard. Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

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As heart wrenching and life-affirming as One Day or Me Before You, A Hundred Pieces of Me is a story about what it means to finally live life to the full. Letters from the only man she’s ever loved. A keepsake of the father she never knew. Or just a beautiful glass vase that catches the light, even on a grey day. If you had the chance to make a fresh start, what would you keep from your old life? What would you give away? Gina Bellamy is starting again, after a difficult few years she’d rather forget. But the belongings she’s treasured for so long just don’t seem to fit who she is now. So Gina makes a resolution. She’ll keep just a hundred special items - the rest can go. But that means coming to terms with her past and learning to embrace the future, whatever it might bring ...


Top Apps

top apps

Flight Track Pro

The Weather Channel App

What it does: FlightTrack Pro is almost perfect for the obsessive air traveler. What it does: All you need to know about weather, any way you want it. The Weather Channel App includes full screen radar weather maps, seasonal information and weather news. The iWitness Weather function allows users to upload pictures of “exciting weather” to share online. Don’t we all love watching exciting weather online?

It can import flight data from airline confirmation emails. It has real-time status updates for gates, delays and cancellations for more than 4,000 international airports. It allows users to find alternative flights at a click. Its inbuilt live flight tracker maps work even when the phone is offline. Heck, it’s even supposed to predict the future for you, by projecting flight delays based on airport warnings and historic delay patterns. Cost: US$9.99

Cost: Free

Packing Pro

Trip Journal

What it does: A godsend for the absentminded traveler, the app’s Expert List Assistant creates packing lists based on the number of adults, children and days of travel.

What it does: With Trip Journal, users can now do scrapbooking anytime, anywhere. Trip Tracking has an inbuilt GPS route-tracking function that also records points along a journey.

The functionality also takes into account temperature, destination, food preparation and even laundry preferences. Excellent. We never have to think for ourselves again.

It supports geo-tagged photos and videos.

Those who like to be a bit more hands-on can use the app to create, edit and check off customized packing lists.

Trip Journal allows users to store as many recorded journeys as they want. And best of all, the app is wired to major social media portals, making it supremely easy to brag about your travels to family and friends back at home. Cost: US$2.99

Cost: US$2.99

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Gadgets

NEW HI TECH

must buys SPHERO V2 THE BALL. EVOLVED. AGAIN

FITNESS GADGETS WITHINGS SMART BODY ANALYZER This do-it-all device is a big upgrade from your standard bathroom scale. Step on the Withings Smart Body Analyzer ($150, withings.com) to get readings of your body weight, BMI, and body fat percentage along with resting heart rate, a good indicator of overall fitness. The scale also monitors indoor air quality, including room temperature and CO2 levels, and syncs all its data with your iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth or a wireless internet connection.

Twice as fast, three times as colourful with colours that we humans can’t even dectect! The Sphero V2 is the new and improved, most fun ball we have ever seen! At a glance it might not look like anything special, but make no mistake Sphero V2 is a revolution in the world of robotics and has wowed everyone at RED5 HQ. Build race tracks and obstacle courses, program and hack into the internal robot to get your geek on, make your own games with the open API, track how far you’ve rolled – the possibilities are endless. w: gosphero.com

w: withings.com

Water Dancing Speakers WATER GREAT IDEA

LED CLOCK FAN COOLEST CLOCK AROUND No one enjoys working in a stuffy office with no windows on a hot summer’s day. When the temperature reaches anything above 20° it becomes a bit unbearable. This super cool clock is here to wipe that sweat off your brow (not literally, but it could prevent this ever happening). Plug the LED Clock Fan into any USB port and it will power the fan to send a cool breeze your way. As the fan blades are spinning, the cleverly aligned red and green LED’s clearly display the time on a standard analog clock face, with moving hour, minute and second hands. w: alibaba.com

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Look at your speakers, now back at these, now look at your speakers, When the music plays the speakers explode (not literally) with jets of water illuminated by bright multi-coloured LED’s, creating a truly unique water show. Powered by USB or mains supply, they make the perfect laptop accessories, and before you scream Each speaker spurts 4 jets of water illuminated by multi-coloured (red, blue, green, yellow) LEDs to the beat of the music. w: red5.co.uk


NIO TAG LOSS AND THEFT PREVENTION

TOUCH SPEAKER BOOM BOX LOUD NOISES!

Nio Tag is the world’s first Bluetooth low energy security tag and works by creating a ‘wireless chain’ to protect your treasured items from loss or theft. Simply attach the Nio Tag to the item you don’t want to lose (laptop bag, wallet etc.) and relax in knowledge that it is now being tracked by the free Nio app on your iPhone! w: bluenio.com

APP WRITERS STYLISH STYLUS The App Writers are a group of stylish styluses that unlike others, are near impossible to lose as they can attach to any phone or any device with a 3.5mm headphone socket! A strong retractable elastic cord attaches to the stylus giving you plenty of movement even when they are still plugged into your phone. The soft rubber tip accurately presses gently against your phone screen without leaving any marks or scratches behind.  With 8 different designs to choose from, there’s sure to be one for everyone - perfect for when your hands are covered in sun lotion or when greasy pizza is covering your fingers.

The Touch Speaker Boom Box is just that. Hidden inside the retro boom box design is a clever bit of technology that allows you to play your phones music, through the speaker of the boom box without any wires or pairing of devices. Simply place your device on top of the Touch Speaker Boom Box and the speakers will automatically interact with each other making the sounds instantly amplified. So your music can get finally get the sound quality that it deserves. Since there is no wiring or cables needed, the speaker is completely portable and boasts a massive 10 hour playback time – perfect for outdoor entertainment! The Touch Speaker Boom Box is compatible with any device as long as it has an external speaker. The Boom Box also has a 3.5mm jack for any music players that dont have their own speaker. w: gizoo.co.uk

w: red5.co.uk

You can guarantee, when your battery indicator starts to flash is when you will need your phone the most. Whether that’s trying to drown out your companions on a long drive or just finishing off that really important email – the last thing you want to see is only 3% battery remaining.

ULTRA POWER BANK 5200 POWER-FULL CHARGING

Luckily, the Power Bank 5200 stores a whopping 5200mAh of power which is enough to charge up to two phones! All this power is stored into a small sleek and portable device with a smooth rubberized finish, ready to go on any trip with you. Simply plug your USB charger into the Power Bank 5200 and it will automatically start refilling your battery power giving you more time to watch all the weird and wonderful things the internet has to offer. w: pqigroup.com

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