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asia : recommended

quarterly microzine for leisure and event planners

MAY 2012

Pillars of Style in Chiang Mai 137 PILLARS COMES HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


Uber-Hip hangout in Phuket Laurence Civil tastes Organic Living Cuisine

A taste of Thai kay cooks Andrew Wood

thai tourism arrivals predicted to soar

Hi 5! for Thai DMCs



137 Pillars House Chiang Mai 137 Pillars House gives us one more reason to recommend Chiang Mai. March 2012 saw the grand opening of a heritage house, rich in history, reinvented, restored, and since recently a boutique hotel. Rapidly gaining fame and fans, this centuryold teakwood house is the centerpiece of an enchanting hotel. Composed of 30 elegant suites, ranging in size from 70 to 135 square metres, (753 to 1,452 sq.ft) each paying tribute to Colonial-era explorers, the hotel is named after the 137 teakwood columns that supported the original structure. During transformation into a hotel, architectural historians and conservationists worked meticulously to reinforce the integrity of the original 1889 structure. The low-rise two-storey buildings maintain a sense of space and light. Thankfully, the old trees have been preserved and form an integral part of the landscaping. Indoors, all thirty suites are styled with period décor and kitted out with state-of-the-art essentials; WiFi (albeit a little slow) and intelligent air-conditioning. Four-poster beds, fitted with Sealy Posturepedic mattresses and luxury cotton bed linen, ensure a blissful night’s sleep. Outdoors, an organic garden supplies fresh ingredients making dining a tasty and healthy option. The spa with three treatment rooms, pocket-sized gym and slender swimming pool, set against a towering vertical garden, ensure lifestyle options are catered to. While personal butlers and concierge service aim to make your stay carefree as they take care of the details. Getting there is a breeze. After an 1-hour 20-minute flight from Bangkok, in light traffic the all-suite hotel is under 20 minutes from the Chiang Mai airport. Open for a total buy-out for corporate groups, 137 Pillars joins our asia:recommended list of places to stay in northern Thailand, either for a business event or for a personal trip.

Here are the numbers:

1889 was the year the original structure was built. 400 US Dollars introductory rate plus applicable service

charge and Government taxes. 137 pillars supported the original structure. 135 square-metre Louis Leonowens Pool Suites. 70 square-metre Rajah Brooke Suites. 30 elegant suites named after Colonial explorers. 25 people can gather for a business meeting, social or private dining function. 15 metre-high vertical garden provides a dramatic organic backdrop. 6 options for drinks and dining. 5.5 x 2.5 metre private pools featured in two Louis Leonowens Suites. 3 treatment rooms at The Spa. 1 management company, Silver Needle, runs the hotel. 137 Pillars House, 2 Soi 1, Nawatgate Road, Tambon Watgate, Chiang Mai, 50000, Thailand

More than a mascot... Morice, Asia’s MICE Ambassador visited Phuket and inspected the highly recommended Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort. View Morice’s walkabout online at YouTube. Click on this link:


Uber-Hip hangout in Phuket

When the Boathouse Phuket acquired neighbouring Oasis restaurant, Fredo Taffin, architect of the trendy beach club, Ku De Ta in Bali, was hired to create Re Ka Ta, an uber-hip hangout with a deck and beach seating, small pool, spa and innovative invogue ‘Living Cuisine’.

“Tropical sunshine dehydrates the body,” Chef advises. “ Our organic living cuisine is designed to make you feel full without feeling lethargic, so you can function throughout the day and get the most out of your stay in Phuket.”

Re Ka Ta is open to non-residents for THB 1,000, redeemable against services throughout the day. Prepare to be pampered by attentive staff at this azure blue and crisp white linen oasis. Treat yourself to a day by the pool, rejuvenate in the spa and dine on ‘Living Cuisine’ from a menu that is as healthy as it is tasty.

“Living cuisine suits the beach life”

“Living Cuisine suits the beach lifestyle,” says Chef Brian Burger. “Using a lot of local ingredients, especially seafood, I cook with minimum/minimal intervention at 42 degrees C to maintain taste and texture integrity.” In addition to superb beach fare of meat and seafood, Chef caters to vegetarians, who he says deserve a quality dining experience. Sharing a culinary secret, chef explained “I substitute zucchini for wheat in my spaghetti, sliced as thin as wire, softened with lime and salt then refreshed in iced water. The base of my sauce is young coconut ground with macadamia nuts to which I add ingredients such as sun-dried tomato and sweet corn. I also use zucchini cut into sheets to make my Lasagne complemented with a rich earthy walnut paste.”

Who 200 guests (40 seats air-conditioned) What Day access to stylish beach club Where Kata Beach, Phuket, Thailand When 09:00am to 12:00 midnight Why Group friendly, can be privately hired How THB 1,000 day pass asia: recommended thanks Laurence Civil, Guest Contributor and renowned food critic, for sharing his visit to Re Ka Ta with us.

Years in aviation awoke a passion for food, wine and travel excellence. Laurence’s first unique travel story came out of 80’s China. He stands firmly “I won’t write about what I haven’t tasted.”



asia: recommended 5 Thai DMCs

In recent weeks I have been asked to recommend Destination Management Companies (DMC) in Thailand for procurement purposes. So, to address this popular request, I going to recommend five DMCs who all deserve a Hi Five! But first, I apologise to Thai DMCs who did not make the list. There are countless mainstream DMCs, all delivering good service, and many marketspecific operators who excel. I am probably being politically incorrect, but here goes with my five recommended DMCs in Thailand, selected for their stellar performance and listed alphabetically.

d d d d d

Free from D MC commitmen ts, David Barrett reco mmends five premier league DMCs in Tha iland

Asia World - Hi Five! for Max who heads their DMC operation in Thailand and Dmitry Smirnov their Russian Rep. Asia World appears to be out there leading the pack and winning the lion’s share of Russian business to Thailand. Creative Destination Management ‘CDM’ - If there is one boutique DMC in Thailand it has to be CDM. Hi Five! for Khun Sumate, one of the founders of Thailand’s incentive industry and President of Thailand Incentive & Convention Association (TICA). CDM deservedly has “Creative” in their company name. Destination Asia - Seen by many in Australia as the No.1 DMC in Thailand, thanks to their Aussie rep Nicole. DA also enjoys long-standing recognition in UK, USA and South African markets. Hi Five! for Kris and Wanchai based in Bangkok for consistently Oriental Events - The Pros in Phuket. Themed functions, island catering, audio visual production and team building are their forte. Been around for ages and really know the ins and outs of Phuket. Capable of handling events in other destinations around Thailand. Hi Five! for Khun Worapot, Founder of this Phuket-based DMC. Pacific World - Another premier league Asian DMC who have been around for ages. Hi Five! for Pacific World Thailand as they are well known and trusted in traditional source markets such as USA, UK, Australia and Singapore. PW is now part of a global tourism resource.

The above selection and impressions are intended to be unbiased, made from personal observations as a former competitor and from conversations with hotels and clients.

the outlook for Thailand asia:recommended asked Andrew Wood to give us an overview of Thailand’s tourism industry, with hopes that tourist arrivals will sky rocket to 30 million. The Thai Government has high hopes for continued strong tourism growth over the next four years. Deputy Prime Minister and Tourism and Sports Minister, Chumpol Silpa-archa, announced a target of at least 30 million foreign inbound tourists by 2015, who he said, were expected to generate national revenues of 1.4 trillion baht or $US466 billion at current exchange rates. The Tourism Authority of Thailand forecast a record 19.55 million inbound visitors to the kingdom in 2012 which is up from 19.1 million in 2011. Clearly 2011 was a record year. If not for the last quarter, when Thailand was hit hard by flooding of large portions of the northern, central region and Bangkok itself, the country might have headed for 20 million visitors.

“However it is not all clear skies.” However it is not all clear skies. Suvarnabhumi Airport is above capacity. Plans are in place however for expansion and the AOT have given the go-ahead to build an additional terminal. The old international airport Don Mueang is also being upgraded and is used for budget LCC and domestic flights. A fast link from the new to the old airport will also need to be added.

Andrew Wood is a passionate hotelier and a Skalleague. Andrew is currently President, Skal International Thailand and an enthusiastic environmental advocate for green policies in tourism and an avid writer in his spare time.


Who’s buying Asia? asia: recommended put Ian Quartermaine, CEO and Founder of MeetingsIn in the Q&A hot seat.

Q: Is Asia an attractive proposition for 2012-2013? A:

Ian Quartermaine is CEO and Founder of MeetingsIn, the world’s leading online portal for small to mid-size meetings.

Asia is attractive for meetings, particularly if you are from within the Asia Pacific region. At MeetingsIn we are seeing the growth in interregional traffic for the small meeting market. Popularity in Malaysia is strong and interest in Thailand is coming back. Singapore and Hong Kong, although attractive venues, are starting to price themselves out of many SME budgets. In the USA market, where we are based, our RFP stats for Q1, 2012 show that the four most popular destinations for small to medium-sized meetings are Thailand (Bangkok and the Islands), Bali, Vietnam and India. One to watch is China, where Shanghai is attracting increased attention from US meeting planners. To find our more about MeetingsIn and how they specialize in lead generation for the small to mid tier meetings and event market email

kay cooks: Hoy Mangpu Cook, consultant, writer and presenter, Kay Plunkett-Hogge was born and brought up in Bangkok. Kay spent her childhood between two kitchens: inside for western food, outside for Thai. It’s an experience which has left her with a foot in two worlds. And it gives her a unique perspective on cooking Thai in western kitchens, making her the perfect person to take you beyond green curry and pad Thai and into a whole new world of flavour. Kay shares with asia:recommended one the simpler Thai dishes to whet our appetite.

Hoy Mangpu Op

Steamed Mussels with Lemon Grass and Holy Basil Clean, healthy, economic and delicious — think of a Thai moules marinières. Serves 2, or 4 as a part of a larger meal 1 kg fresh mussels 6 cloves of garlic, chopped 1 large red chilli, sliced 1 tablespoon oil 200ml water 4 Thai shallots, peeled and finely chopped 1 large bunch of holy basil or sweet basil 6 lime leaves 2 stalks of lemon grass, finely sliced 1 tablespoon Naam Plaa (fish sauce) 1. Clean the mussels thoroughly with running water, pulling off any beards they may have. If any mussels are open, give them a firm tap with the back of a knife. If they refuse to close, discard them immediately.

2. Heat the oil in a large deep pan (one with a tight fitting lid) and sauté the shallots, garlic, chillies and lemongrass of 1 minute. 3. Add the water, nam pla, and lime leaves, and bring to the boil. 4. Add the mussels and bring back to the boil. Put the lid on, and give the pot a good shake. Leave on the heat for 3-4 minutes — until all the mussels are open and cooked. (Any mussels that remain closed are dead, and should be discarded). 5. Serve in a bowl surrounded by the delicious cooking

“I think that people are a little scared of cooking Thai food”


“I think that people are a little scared of cooking Thai food at home — will it really taste like the food they ate on holiday? I say: give it a go. Use the recipes I provide as a blueprint. Of course we can’t replicate those red-hot charcoal fires, or the skill of the vendor who cooks basil chicken or kow soi curried noodles all day every day — but we can at least replicate the spirit. We can treat our family and friends to a taste of Thailand in our own homes.” Thai food is one of the fastest growing segments of the takeaway and ready meal market: why don’t you let Kay show you how to do it yourself?

to find out more about kay cooks click this icon:

Kay is resurrecting her Thai Food Tours — Adventures In Thai Food — and offering hands-on seminars to bring Thai cooking back to the home cook.

note from David Barrett Thank you for taking time out to read the first issue of asia:recommended. What started out as a short email to friends and colleagues, has evolved in to a microzine, designed to be interactive.... And inspirational. I would welcome suggestions and feedback on the format, subjects covered and what you would like to see in the next issue of asia:recommended.

As most of my time these past weeks has been spent in Thailand I thought it appropriate to dedicate this premier issue to the Land of Smiles. Other parts of Asia will get their fair share of coverage in future issues. There are some interesting new products and hotel openings in Macau, Cambodia, Vietnam and India to keep future issues overflowing with new ideas for leisure and event planners. This is an interactive document, so email, web addresses and hot buttons, once clicked, all link to more information. Keep clicking and sign up for the next issue here.

David Barrett is publisher of this microzine whilst on the lookout for a new career opportunity.

This microzine and the covering email are intended for friends of David Barrett and may contain information that is confidential, privileged or unsuitable for overly sensitive persons with low selfesteem, no sense of humour or seriously lacking joie de vivre. If you do not wish to receive further issues of asia:recommended please unsubscribe by clicking the blue button and sending an email.

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