Issue 42 / January 2015
SNOWYDESTINATIONS IN ASIA www.facebook.com/lomprayah
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Editorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Talk Hello, January Happy New Year 2015! Did you have a wonderful vacation? In the beginning of the year, we, as Lomprayah staffs, would like to say thank you to you, who are always support us. No matter how long we have been published Lomprayah magazine, the one thing that weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d never forgot is the quality of the content in every column, and this issue is also. We still have many useful and interesting stories, especially in the Hilight column. We hope that you will enjoy our magazine. Until we meet again. Good bye.
Lomprayah Team Editor in Chief Photjanard Kantiwong
Executive Editor Wanitcha Sukchet Tinn Chacalanuwattanapong
Editorial Staff Vorapong Vongvarothai Juntiya Laoniyomthai Areeya Pichittanabordeekul Jiraporn Boonta Kitthawat Chaisingthong
Art Director Methakritsada Wanngoen
Graphic Designer Seattakit Meunnak Annop Sawatdipol
10 MOST LUXURIOUS SNOWY DESTINATIONS IN ASIA
When most people think of traveling to Asia they may be imagining the pristine beaches of Thailand or the sweltering heat while walking through markets in Hong Kong, but there is much more to Asia than just fun in the sun. There are, in fact, a surprising number of locales to visit in Asia if you prefer luxurious ski resorts and breathtaking ice festivals to developing a tan. The destinations on this list may be warm, and maybe even hot, in the summertime, but in winter they are snowy paradises with temperatures often falling well below zero. Historically, Asia didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get the praise it deserved as being a place for world-class skiing, but these days it rivals North America and Europe. China has eight ski resorts, South Korea has 17, and Japan has over 100!
If you visit a place like northern Japan in the winter you can experience the joy of being warm in a hot spring (onsen) while snow covers the ground around you. If you are in northern China, do as the locales do and head inside and stuff your face if it gets too cold outside. If you are in South Korea in the winter try ice fishing; you can also partake in some street food thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s only available in the winter like sweet potatoes or chestnuts. The destinations on this list offer fantastic high-end shopping, hotels where you can be pampered, world-class restaurants and breathtaking scenery. Some of these tourist stops even offer first-class options for cruises. If you are thinking of visiting Asia this winter and want to embrace the cold rather than escape it, here are some of your best options. Just make sure you bring your winter coat and boots.
Forget shopping in New York or Paris, the capital of Mongolia is the newest spot for luxurious fashion. Thanks to itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recent independence and vast minerals deposits, luxury brand retailers like Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Hugo Boss are opening shops in SĂźkhbaatar Square. For the most high-end place to stay in the city try the Kempinski Hotel Khan Palace. Thirteen kilometres from Ulan Bator is Sky Resort, which is a year-round resort that typically offers skiing from November to March or April.
NISEKO AND KUTCHAN
This world-class skiing destination is one of the most visited ski resorts in Japan and consists of six ski areas, which never have a shortage of snowfall. Onsens, snowmobiling and spas are also popular in the area. At the Wakka Spa at Hilton Niseko village guests are pampered with Asian-influenced massage techniques.
Harbin is the northernmost major city in China and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s famous for its ice festival. The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival held its 30th anniversary this January, and if you plan to visit next year and stay in luxury then check out the Sofitel Harbin or the Shangri-La Hotel. The Shangri-La Hotel features the luxurious Ice Palace Restaurant and Ice Bar, which is only open during the winter, where patrons can enjoy world-class Chinese hot pot dishes and expensive alcohol.
This little resort town just is a short train ride from Sapporo, and it is known to have the freshest sushi in Hokkaido. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s famous for salmon, uni (sea urchin) and ikura (salmon roe). Visitors can take a short, relaxing cruise down the Otaru canal; the canal is the most breathtaking in the winter at night when it is lined with snow and glowing lights. The luxurious Grand Park Otaru offers spectacular views of the canal and palatial rooms. No.6
The Raffles is an extremely elegant place to stay if you want to splurge on your accommodation while staying in China’s capital city. The hotel exudes class and style and provides guests with a historic feel newer luxury hotels can’t offer. Duck de Chine is the finest example of classic, up-scale Cantonese cuisine in Beijing. The restaurant is famous for its Peking duck. The Great Wall of China is open year round, and it can be visited in winter. Nanshan Ski Resort and Village is just 80km from the capital’s downtown core.
Japan is famous for its wagyu beef, and it is widely regarded that the best wagyu cattle are raised in the country. The number one spot goes to Kobe beef of course, but Yonezawa beef from the Yamagata Prefecture is one of the other big three beefs along with Matsusaka beef. The Yamagata Prefecture is also home to the Yamagata Zao Onsen Ski Resort where tourists flock to see Juhyo or “ice monsters” – trees caked in a thick layer of windswept snow.
This small town in South Korea is best known for its annual Firefly Festival, which takes place in June. The abundance of fireflies is a testament to the clean air in the area because these delicate insects require ideal environmental standards to survive. When the snow arrives visitors enjoy nature in a different way â&#x20AC;&#x201C; by hitting the slopes. Muju Resort is located in Deogyusan National Park. The Silk Road Slope, one of six courses at the resort, is the longest in South Korea.
From December 1 until Christmas Day Hakodate is a holiday wonderland. During the Christmas Fantasy Festival, a massive floating Christmas tree (itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s on a barge) is lit and sent drifting along the bay. Fifty thousand lights adorn the tree and fireworks displays are held during the nearly month long festival. The five star La Vista Hakodate Bay features a rooftop onsen and spa complex.
Famous guests like Bill Gates and Tom Cruise have frequented the presidential suites at the Shilla Hotel in Seoul. If you are willing to spend $8,7000 a night you will be treated to 24-hour butler service and a Finnish dry sauna. You can land your helicopter on the roof, head down to the main floor and take your limo to the Gangnam district to enjoy shopping and nightlife. Si Wha Dam is one of the best restaurants in the city and features a 23-course tasting menu that will set you back approximately $330 USD. The Grand Hyatt features a spectacular outdoor ice rink that is always in operation on time thanks to itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s built in cooler.
The capital of Hokkaido Prefecture and largest city on Japanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s northernmost main island, Sapporo has an endless selection of luxurious pastimes. The city is home to three 3-star Michelin restaurants: Sushi Tanabe, Nukumi (a kaiseki style haute cuisine restaurant) and French restaurant Moliere. Earlier in the year when there is plenty of snow lining the streets, the city holds the Sapporo Snow Festival. The streets around the Susukino neighbourhood and Odori Park are filled with snow sculptures and ice carvings. Street vendors fill the area selling delicious Hokkaido seafood delicacies like snow crab and uni. Classic staples of the islandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s agricultural prowess like corn, potatoes and cheese can also be bought to fill your stomach. Built in 1936, the luxurious Sapporo Grand Hotel is elegant and classy. A leisurely stroll down any main street in Sapporo is a dream compared to other snow-filled cities that to the innovation of heated sidewalks that melt the snow away.
Ref: http://samui.thaivisa.com/koh-samui-top-ten-picks/#.U32iGnaPOOk http://www.kohsamui.org/samui#.U32iGnaPOOk
Koh Samui is located in the Gulf of Thailand (bordering the South China Sea in the Pacific Ocean). The island is a district in the Surat Thani province. Koh Samui became a backpackers destination in the late 70’s. Today, all kinds of tourists from all over the whole world are visiting this easygoing “paradise”. There is so much to see and do on the island and in the surrounding area that that visitors to Samui are positively spoilt for choice with the amount of fun activities, interesting sights, incredible restaurants and stunning natural beauty that can be found here. Koh Samui has an abundance of waters sports and other activities that are popular with many people who visit the island. With the Samui’s incredible beaches, clear, warm waters and stunning natural beauty, the island and its surrounding area offers the perfect setting to participate in a wide range of water sports, such as scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing, sea kayaking and sailing. Over the last decade or so, Koh Samui has established itself as one of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations. What was once only a place for backpackers and people looking to get off the beaten track, the island has now developed in to a place that can be enjoyed by all manner of people both young and old.
ROYAL SAMUI A much more recent arrival is the Royal Samui Golf & Country Club, Koh Samuiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s second championship golf course.
Royal Samui is located atop a mountain in the Lamai Beach area Royal Golf & Country Club and also presents spectacular views towards Chaweng, Lamai, the surrounding islands, and even the Thai mainland from practically every point on the golf course. Again this is a challenging golf course but the views are always sufficient to ensure that spirits do not flag even after a box of lost balls. Ref: http://www.baankilee.com/golfing-galore/
TRISARA SEAFOOD IN PHU
Trisara, consistently ranked in the top 10 luxury hotels on the island of Phuket, Thailand, is opening a new ocean-side restaurant this month, Trisara Seafood. The restaurant has a private entrance, leading guests either to an outdoor, beachfront terrace under gently rustling palms or the elegant, refreshing interior. Designed along classic lines the restaurant is stylish without being pretentious. Ref: http://liveinalux.com/best-luxury-hotels/best-luxury-restaurants-in-thailand-bangkok-phuket-pattaya/#.U5gNYXaPOOk
THAILAND TOURISM FESTIVAL (TTF) To celebrate the grand opening celebration of the “2015 Discover Thainess” campaign, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has rescheduled the country’s biggest tourism event, the Thailand Tourism Festival (TTF), to be held during 14-18 January, 2015, at Lumpini Park, Bangkok. This is a campaign to showcase our unique cultural treasures and the Thai way of happiness to international visitors, as well as to encourage the Thai people to take part in the preservation of Thai traditions and culture. In 2015, the TTF marks its 35th anniversary and forms part of the “2015 Discover Thainess” campaign in offering a showcase of the kingdom’s glorious centuries-old culture and rich natural heritage that can be classified into five categories, or five major regions of Thailand – Central Region, North, Northeast, East and South. LOCATION: The Lumpini Park DATE: 14-18 January 2015 TIME: 6.00-22.00 hrs during 14-16 January and 12.00-22.00 hrs during 17-18 January Ref: http://www.tatnews.org/thailand-tourism-festival-2015-to-be-held-14-18-january/
EXPERIENCE TRAVEL TALES:
THE CULINARY DELIGHTS OF BANGKOK BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT Ref: http://www.experiencetravelgroup.com/blog/2014/02/travel-tales-tnary-delights-of-bangkok/
BY DAVID GOOKEY In our ‘Travel Tales’ series, our Travel Consultants share their travel stories. Our Travel Consultants regularly travel to the destinations they specialise in. This is how each hotel, experience and mode of transport we recommend has been road-tested and reviewed. This ensures that our advice to you is fresh, up-to-date and first hand. Here David Gookey, our Thailand Travel Consultant shares his travel tales in Thailand… “Smells like hell, tastes like heaven” These are serious words from my personal guide Lee about Durian fruit as part of my full day exploring the culinary delights of Bangkok using public transport. After being picked up by Lee at my central Bangkok hotel she and I hopped on to the BTS Skytrain monorail system to our first stop of the day at the Samyam market. This is considered one of the best food markets in Bangkok and is in between a traditional market (with individual stall holders) and a supermarket (being covered, pretty clean and with trolleys). This is where the highclass local people or their staff shop and it was an absolute haven for a foodie like myself. Lee is a big fan of sweet deserts and within moments of arriving at the market, I was already trying a whole host of different treats starting with a coconut custard served in a tiny metal bowl, ‘Kanom Kloay’ a rather unusual white flat cake made from steamed banana and coconut milk and then small cakes made from roasted sticky rice flour. I later tried a sticky rice, black bean and banana dessert wrapped and steamed in banana leaf and this was a firm favourite of mine – so much so that Lee insisted on getting more should I feel hungry later on!
As well as trying a variety of local fruits, we also stopped by a counter selling freshly steamed savoury buns, trying both a bamboo shoot and dried shrimp version as well as one made out of onions and cabbage. The stall holders loved our enthusiasm and we got away lightly only trying two types! We then flagged down a passing Tuk-tuk, the famous thai three-wheeled transport, to the Nanglerng food market which is one of the oldest local markets in central Bangkok. Here, the quality of produce was perhaps a little lower than at the first market but it was certainly more atmospheric especially in and around the seating area where locals where enjoying the freshly cooked food from a number of vendors.
Lee bought yet more food – this time two pyramids made from betel leaf on a stick but she wouldn’t tell me what was in them! They were sweet, savoury and crunchy at the same time and Lee explained they were an appetiser with ‘coconut meat’, with ginger, shallots and cooked with palm sugar. Lee played a little trick on me and took me to a stall where two old ladies were cooking something that had won food awards and had featured on local television. I had no idea what I was eating – a rather glutinous sweet and savoury concoction with a topping of fried garlic. It turned out to be pork cooked in rice flour which I should have recognised given the huge amount of pork I had in Northern Thailand recently. We then took a local taxi to Kim Linang a famous restaurant more than 100 years old near Bangkok City Hall. I must admit that I was feeling a little full at this stage but had some room to try a little of the Bitter Gourd soup – apparently good for cooling the body down and it was certainly bitter and not to my taste, penang pork curry which delicious and spicy and a rather unusual looking catfish cake which I had pointed out. With Lee’s guidance I was certainly trying different dishes than I would never have previously ordered. We crossed the road to an unassuming place that sold a very famous dessert made from vermicelli, coconut and covered in ice. They have a special technique where the smoke from a beeswax candle gives the dessert a delicious smokiness and they are official suppliers to Thailand’s royal family!
It was then a short taxi ride towards Chinatown after a detour to Bangkok’s flower market – I had heard great things about it and asked Lee if we could visit. That’s one of the advantages of having a personal guide rather than being part of tour group – you can make changes on the day if there’s something that catches your eye! The market was particularly busy as it was the day before the annual Loy Krathong festival where Thai people float a Krathong (a decorative floating boat decorated with banana leaves, flowers, incense sticks, and a candle) on rivers or canals. We rounded off the day by having a Pad Thai at the famous Thipsami restaurant – the locals will come all over the city to eat and will often send a motorbike taxi to collect a big order. Coconut juice or orange juice the order of the day and a sign lets you know the market rate for a bottle of orange juice – something I had never seen before and was perfect with the Pad Thai.
B A N G K O K t was a great day with Lee and we managed to fit in a huge amount as she knew all the different shortcuts and it was a lot of fun using public transport although for more than 2 people (or those that want to escape heat or rain) I would recommend doing the tour with private transport. Did I get to try the durian? No, as Lee never buys it when she’s working as a guide as it gives a smelly breath! In any case, she explained that her home town produced the highest quality durians which do not smell but these come with a huge cost of up to 5,000 – 8,000 Bhat (?100 – ?150) each. Far beyond my budget…
Top of the World
GERMANS THE BEST TIPPER IN THE WORLD
Ref: http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/worlds-best-tippers/story?id=19320757 http://www.learnvest.com/2013/06/who-are-the-worlds-best-tippers-123/ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/03/worlds-best-tippers_n_3380120.html
A new survey of 9,000 travelers from eight different countries around the world: Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, England, and the United States, revealed that Germans were the best tippers of the nations surveyed. Americans came in second. Germans took the top spot with 69% always tipping on trips, and Americans followed them with a strong 57%. Interestingly, we seem to tip by default when we’re unsure whether we should, as only 16% say that we always feel well-informed on how much money we should leave.
THE RANK OF THE EIGHT NATIONS SURVEYED Germans – 69% Americans – 57% Russians – 53% Brazilians – 40% French – 39% Brits – 39% Spanish – 36% Italians – 23%
January 16 is a special time for Thai students to pay respects to their teachers, often by giving them flowers in gratitude for the knowledge and guidelines that the teachers have imparted to them. All around the world, a special day is set aside so that students can give thanks to their teachers for their hard work and dedication. In Thailand, most educational institutes across the country will hold various activities on January 16 to express gratitude for their teachers’ devotion. The Teachers’ Council of Thailand under the Ministry of Education passed a resolution to establish January 16 as Teacher’s Day from 1957 onwards. Teacher’s Day has been a holiday for teachers and students ever since. The ministry usually holds many activities to celebrate Teacher’s Day, such as religious activities arranged to provide encouragement for educators, ceremonies held in appreciation of exemplary teachers, and formal events to present Best Teacher Awards, which are granted annually by the prime minister.
GREEN TEA AVOCADO Avocados are not just for eating! A good source of biotin, avocados help to prevent dry skin and brittle hair and nails. When applied topically, they can hydrate parched skin.
SALMON Slow down aging with salmon. Salmon contains astaxanthin, a carotenoid that improves skin elasticity, so youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have fewer fine lines.
Sip your way to healthy skin. Green teaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s high on the list of skin-friendly beverages thanks to its impressive storehouse of polyphenols. Aim for four cups throughout your day.
Reach for tomatoes. A German study found that lycopene-rich tomato paste helped participants prevent sunburn when they combined it with olive oil, daily for ten weeks. Besides being a great source of the antioxidant lycopene, tomatoes are considered a high-carotenoid fruit. These nutrients may help slow down cellular damage from free radicals.
Crack open some eggs. Protein helps repair cells that have suffered free radical damage. Eggs, a complete source of protein, also contain biotin, an essential vitamin that protects against dry skin.
Put pomegranate on your list. When applied topically, this antioxidant-rich fruit may help skin create more collagen, while speeding healing.
Try walnuts. Looking to add Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet but not a fan of fish? Walnuts are a rich source of Omega3s, which help put shine in your hair and aid in making skin smoother and younger looking.
Build better skin with beans. Another protein source, legumes help repair cells that have suffered free radical damage. During digestion, protein breaks down into amino acids, the building blocks of cells. Amino acids help to speed the repair and regeneration of skin cells and collagen.
Global News TAT and 3rd Planet launch virtual reality tour of Bangkok’s Grand Palace Travellers from all around the world will now be able to take an amazing interactive 3D tour of Bangkok’s magnificent Grand Palace and explore the sacred Temple of the Emerald Buddha via 3rd Planet’s Wonders of the World platform, which is available on PCs, Smartphone’s and tablet devices for both iOS and Android users.
Asian source-markets lead as Thailand visitor arrivals end 2014 on a high note Strong recovery in visitor arrivals from China, India and the ASEAN countries played a major role in helping Thailand report an 11.76% upturn in total arrivals in December 2014. The figures indicated that a strong and sustained recovery in arrivals is well under way.
No fuel surcharge for Air Asia Air Asia has abolished fuel surcharges on its flight fares. This applies to all airlines under the Air Asia Group, including its long haul affiliates Air Asia X, Thai Air Asia X, and Indonesia Air Asia X. The low-cost carrier (LCC) has attributed the decision to the global decline of oil prices.
Thanks : http://www.traveldailynews.asia/news/article/57830/tat-and-3rd-planet-launch http://www.tatnews.org/asian-source-markets-lead-as-thailand-visitor-arrivals-end-2014-on-a-high-note/ http://www.businesstraveller.asia/asia-pacific/news/no-fuel-surcharge-for-air-asia
Tip to Trip
ESSENTIAL ITEMS FOR AN INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT WHAT YOU’LL NEED ON BOARD THE AIRCRAFT
These items will be required in order to check in for your flight and to proceed through customs and immigration at your destination. Having this documentation in order before arriving at the airport will ensure a quick and easy check-in process.
D N A T R O P S PAS TS EN
M U C O D L E V A R T
Travel insurance is highly recommended for international travel and is if nothing else piece of mind should the unexpected happen.
ANCE On a long flight, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always a good idea to have some basic toiletries in your cabin luggage in the event you want to freshen up.Just remember, for international flights all liquids, gels and toothpastes taken into the cabin must be in travel size containers that are 100 millilitres or less. These items must be stored in clear plastic zip-lock bags and presented separately at the security checkpoint.
For those long flights when you’re seated in a window or middle seat it’s often difficult to access your bags in the overhead compartment, especially when there is a sleeping passenger between you and the aisle. A backpack is small and can easily fit under the seat in front of you without taking up much needed leg and foot space. It’s easy access anytime for toiletries, reading material or anything else that you like to use in flight.
Most international flights provide thin, narrow pillows but if you truly want a relaxing sleep then consider taking a contoured travel pillow for the ultimate head and neck support.
D E R U O T N O C
W O L L PI Bring a pair of eye covers to block out reading light from nearby passengers or the TV glare from surrounding video screens. It’s just a little touch but can make all the difference when you’re trying to sleep.
For those times when the cabin is cooler than you would like, pop on a light jumper, jacket or hoodie for a warm and cosy rest. Just pull it out from your cleverly stowed tote bag – easy done!
Most airlines today provide extensive in-flight entertainment from personal seat back video screens. You may be on an aircraft where these systems are not equipped, so why not take a personal tablet or laptop with your very own selection of movies, shows and music. Works every time!
BOOK AND PERSONAL ENTERTAINMENT
Flight attendants will come through the cabin passing out immigration forms and these must be filled out and handed to the immigration officers upon arrival.
It may seem trivial, but comfortable slip-on shoes are the way to go when travelling on a long international flight. They are quick and easy to take off and put on, especially when sitting in a cramped economy seat.And while in flight, sliding easily into a comfortable pair of shoes is easy when needing to get up and use the bathroom â&#x20AC;&#x201C; something you never want to do barefoot.
COMFORTABLE SLIP ON SHOES