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MIM Europe magazine Destination Report Thailand a special edition of MIM Europe magazine May 2014 Published by Meeting Media Company (Europe) www.mimmagazine.eu press@mimmagazine.eu

Thailand

A meeting and incentive trip to Bangkok, Pattaya and Hua Hin


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Thailand

A magnet for meetings and incentives Bangkok Skyline

I already wrote many times on Thailand as a convention destination. But it’s actually the first time I’ve reported on meetings and incentives in Thailand. Generally regarded as one of the most popular destinations for this kind of travel, Thailand is a magnet for meetings and incentive activities of all kinds because it is ideally situated at the heart of Asia and offers an enormous range of facilities and services. Report Rémi Dévé

Ask any person who’s been to Thailand before what it is that they loved about the country, and most would say, in a heartbeat, it is definitely the friendly people. It might be a cliché but it’s true: Thai people are known for their smiles, spontaneous grace and kindness. It may be why so many people return to Thailand on business travel or simply for their holidays over and over again.

Has it all It seems the country has it all: from magnificent palaces to fascinating ruins, from quiet and picturesque rural towns to thrilling beach resorts and vibrant metropolises, from white-sanded islands to national parks rich in flora and fauna, there is certainly no shortage of choice.

If meetings are easily organised in most areas, incentive travel is also an option: cooking classes, trekking, elephant riding, four-wheel drive safaris, mountain biking, eco-tours and many more are also all available. One of the aspects of Thailand that makes it unique is the blend of the old and new where rich cultural and historical features are seamlessly combined with modern technology and infrastructure. The country’s main destinations are home to major hotels with comprehensive meeting facilities and services. Thailand also boasts several high-end venues in Bangkok, Pattaya and Hua Hin - the focus of this supplement. I’ll deal with Chiang Mai and Phuket hopefully very soon.

Ultimately what makes Thailand’s tourism product so exceptional is that it is so vibrant. The meetings industry, with the highly-professional Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) as its spearhead, is constantly seeking to refine and add to the options. There is always something new to discover and when you add expert staff and experienced destination management to the already existing mix, Thailand becomes as much a winner for delegates as for both meeting and incentive planners.

Easy access Thanks to its location in the centre of Asia, Thailand is a major aviation hub with Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport as the main entry point to the country.


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Flying in and out is easy: Suvarnbhumi Airport handles flights from over 100 airlines, providing connections to most of the world’s major cities. Thai carriers also provide links from Bangkok to 26 destinations in Thailand, none more than one-hour’s flight away. When it comes to meetings, easy access is paramount, and Thailand definitely flexes its muscles in this area. The system of highways, lesser roads and railways also complement Thailand’s air infrastructure quite efficiently. I stayed almost a week in Thailand and drove from Bangkok to Hua Hin to Pattaya very smoothly: the roads are good, the drivers generally careful, the connections flawless!

Open to the world My stay in Thailand coincided with the civil unrest the media all over the world reported on. If, at first, I was a bit dubious about my coming over, I immediately concluded that it was just stories blown a bit out of proportion. I guess if TCEB had had any doubt about my safety, they would not have invited me in the first place. And indeed I found out that the protests were mostly happening in one place, while, in the rest of Bangkok and the country, it was really business as usual. In fact, at the time of writing, it looks like demonstrators and the government have come to an agreement, and the violence the media sensationally dealt with is history. In fact, Thailand might well be a country in transition to an ever-more international status. This is what makes it such a great place to visit and to go back time and time again. Thailand has a rich cultural background, incredible diversity and a climate suitable for travel almost year round. It’s no secret Bangkok is now a centre for business within South East Asia, due to its geographic location, but also due to the fact that Thailand has a

strong economy, with the meetings industry being a big part of it. I will even go one step further. Thailand’s location in the heart of Southeast Asia makes it a natural gateway to the emerging economies of the Greater Mekong Sub-region, while its membership of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) provides easy access to this fast-growing economic market. ASEAN’s 10 member states aim to create an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015, an integrated market that will have a combined population in excess of 600 million people. In this regard, meeting in Thailand makes all the more sense, as it will allow for business opportunities like never before.

Contact

Bangkok, The Emerald Buddha Temple

Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) mic@tceb.or.th / info@tceb.or.th T. +66 2694 6000 www.businesseventsthailand.com

Thailand, the fast facts • Accessibility: Suvarnabhumi International Airport is reachable from nearly every major city on earth. Domestically, most flights are serviced by Don Muang Airport. • Accommodation: almost 85,000 hotel rooms catering to all kinds of budgets available in the Metropolitan Cluster comprising Bangkok, Pattaya and Hua Hin • Meeting facilities: Major and varied choice of venues in all Thai destinations making up thousands of available meeting square meters • Incentive options: variety of activities comprising golf, spa, team-building packages, as well as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Green Meeting programmes and much more

Pattaya

International Suvarnabhumi Airport


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Bangkok

Larger than life

Millennium Hilton Bangkok

Like you would expect in a large metropolis, there’s so much to do and see in Bangkok. Coming from the airport or driving around, your eyes actually can’t get enough. It’s like everywhere you turn, there’s a temple, a hotel, or a venue that you can hire out for events. The writing space I’m dedicated to Bangkok here won’t do justice to the destination, but I hope this will give a you a good taste of what the Thai capital can offer in terms of meetings and incentives. As it is for conventions, Bangkok is very popular with international companies wishing to organise meetings or incentive activities because of the wide range of high-quality venues and hotels with superb service and meeting rooms, hosting up to a few thousands people at a time. There’s also a handful of DMCs and agencies on the ready to help you make the most of Bangkok as a privileged incentive playground.

aviation hubs, while the Airport Rail Link provides a 15-minute fast commute into the city centre. A network of cross-city elevated expressways also facilitates traffic, while a well-run mass transit system provides fast links to pretty much all corners of the city. While Bangkok has extensive accommodation to suit all budgets, its 4-5 star hotels are renowned throughout the world

While Bangkok has extensive accommodation to suit all budgets, its 4-5 star hotels are renowned throughout the world for their luxurious quality and outstanding service Accessibility and commuting around Bangkok is quite easy: an integrated infrastructure ensures international visitors enter the capital and move around the city without difficulty. Suvarnabhumi Airport is one of the region’s major

for their luxurious quality and outstanding service (let’s put it this way: there’s nothing Thais can’t seem to do when it comes to welcoming guests from around the world in a high-standard kind of way), while Thai hospitality is legendary.

Many leading hotels have well-developed facilities for meetings and social events. Most importantly, accommodation in Bangkok is usually good value for money! Take, for instance, the Millennium Hilton Bangkok, where I was lucky enough to stay. Incorporating contemporary western design with a touch of Siam, it’s literally stunning, with its 32 floors and outstanding views of the Chao Phraya River. Located in the heart of Bangkok, on the Thonbusi side which is the former capital of Bangkok, it offers one of the city’s most enviable meeting space. Along both sides of the river also lie many spectacular hotels such as Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, Shangri-la Hotel, Royal Orchid Sheraton, Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa Two more boutique options would be The Siam and Praya Palazzo Hotel. Set


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The Siam Lobby

Thai Boxing at Praya Palazzo Hotel

Praya Palazzo Hotel

Main Venues in Bangkok

Muay Thai Live, The Legend Lives

on discreet and elegant verdant ground along the Chao Phraya River, the former is a private 39-room luxury retreat located in Bangkok’s royal historic district. Designed by internationally acclaimed architect Bill Bensley, the hotel is a fascinating mix of Art Deco highlights and Thai antique infused masterpieces, allowing for a serene and quiet atmosphere. A meeting room is available for 30 people, but exclusive intimate dinners can be arranged in the beautiful above-sea level villas facing the waterfront. As to Praya Palazzo Hotel, it is a 17-room elegant mansion by the Chao Phraya River as well, a graceful oasis in which you feel immediately at ease. Dating back to the ancient kingdom of Siam, it has a rich historical background - it was once a house of a noble family and a school for children - and space for meetings up to 150 people. But Bangkok is not only about business, it’s also about fun and play. Dining out is both affordable and immensely enjoyable, with restaurants all over the city serving a mouth-watering selection of cuisines, including the exotic taste of Thai food. An abundance of department stores, malls and markets will allow

you to shop until you drop - you might take home some famous Thai Silk if you wish. But above all, visitors should make time to experience a traditional Thai massage or a pampering treatment in an elegant spa to truly savor Bangkok’s gentle hospitality. Those are of course not the only options in Bangkok. Groups can also enjoy a luxury dinner cruise aboard a converted rice barge along the Chao Phraya River, which winds its way past the city’s most famous temples and palaces, like the Grand Palace, the former residence of the Kings of Thailand. Other popular options include a Thai theme party at the Siam Society, cocktails at the Sampran Riverside formal known as Rose Garden (a 70-acre resort on the outskirt of Bankok with botanical gardens, a hotel, conference facilities, a spa and an 18-hole golf course), dinner at the Chakrabongse Summer Palace or a special event at the Ancient City, a ‘mini-Thailand’ theme park. Another experience includes the performance ‘Muay Thai Live: the Legend Lives’, showcasing the origins and heroes of Thai Kickboxing at Bangkok’s newest playhouse.

• Queen Sirikit National Convention Center: Thailand’s first purpose-built worldclass exhibition and convention centre can hold up to 6,000 delegates. • IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Center: It’s the ultimate choice for any business event in need of up to 140,000 m2 of space accommodating up to 42,000 people! • Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC): An attractively designed facility offering 36,000 m2 of columnfree space and a total exhibit area of 50,400 m2 for up to 12,000 people. • Royal Paragon Hall Exhibition & Convention Center: Branded as ‘the Ultimate Venue in a Prestigious Location’, ie on the fifth floor of Siam Paragon, the ‘Shopping Paradise’ of Asia with a total area of 12,000 m2 • Bangkok Convention Center: Located inside the Central Plaza Shopping Complex, it provides more than 5,000 m2 of usable space over two levels. • Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld: Sitting alongside the five-star Centara Grand Hotel, the fully integrated, now iconic venue seems ideal for any kind of corporate events. The main hall can accommodate up to 6,000 seats in theatre style • Royal Thai Navy Convention Hall: With views of the Chao Phraya and the Grand Palace, it’s a unique space for up to 2,000 people.


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I would personally advise a simple stroll through Chinatown and Little India. Walking narrow alleyways and winding pathways best accessed through twowheel transport, you will pass scented markets, local Buddhist temples and a vast array of ‘street life’ features. Learning Thai cooking is also a must for delegates who want to experience something different or who are just curious, just like food carving and flower arranging which can be organised pretty much any time of the day. Wat Suthat, better known for the towering red Giant Swing that stands at its entrance, is one of the oldest and most impressive temples in Bangkok. It features an elegant chapel with sweeping roof, magnificent wall murals and exquisite hand-carved teakwood door panels, definitely a must-see. Last but not least, there is the Princess Mother Memorial Park and Museum, a memorial to the King’s beloved mother. Amid mature trees is her home recreated, while a museum documents Thonburi and the royal family history. Cocktails in the inner gardens are possible, combined with a visit of the premises.

Case Study

Herbalife Asia-Pacific Extravaganza 2013 Attended by over 23,000 Herbalife independent distributors from 12 countries in Asia Pacific, the Herbalife Asia-Pacific Extravaganza 2013 was held 14-16 June 2013 at at Impact Exhibition and Convention Centre. It was the largest event Thailand hosted last year. Extravaganza is Herbalife’s annual regional event for its independent distributors to celebrate their business success, as well as to receive the latest training in products and business building initiatives from Herbalife leaders and nutrition experts. Mr Nopparat Maythaveekulchai, President of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) said: ‘We are honored that Herbalife selected Thailand once again. TCEB has a mission to create long-term competitiveness and sustainable fundamentals for the meetings industry in Thailand. It is perfectly in line with our strategy to connect business opportunities in Asia and a testimony to our country’s attractiveness and capabilities to host international gatherings of this magnitude. It underscores our readiness and high potential as a MICE destination in terms of large, world-class infrastructure and facilities.’ He continued: ‘TCEB provided its full support to Herbalife’s mega event. In addition to highlighting Thailand’s famed hospitality, renowned cuisine and unique culture, the economic impact of the Herbalife Extravaganza gathering was very significant.’ Mr William M. Rahn, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Herbalife Asia Pacific, said: ‘The Bangkok event is the largest of our three Extravaganzas held in Asia Pacific this year. Conveniently located in the central region of South East Asia with modern infrastructure and rich experience in hosting world-class events, Bangkok is an ideal choice for us to host business events in Asia. We are thankful for the support extended to us by the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, which has been a remarkable help in making our Extravaganza event a success.’

Bangkok Giant Swing at Wat Suthat

Herbalife Extravaganza


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Pattaya

On the way to high-end meetings

I didn’t know much about Pattaya before I got there. I knew the ICCA Congress took place there in 2007, and that the destination is suffering a bit from an image not in line with what it wants to be. I discovered a city in the process of reinventing itself, with a MICE industry and players willing to take it to the next, high-end level. A two-hour drive from Bangkok, Pattaya was, not so long ago, just a fishing village when American soldiers fighting in the Vietnam War discovered a coral-filled bay and decided to set camp there. Tens of thousands of lonely soldiers armed with dollars sought respite from the war in a country of affordability and open-mindedness, making Pattaya known as a city rich in nightlife entertainment and party goers.

Maths quickly done If, to this day, Pattaya has still not a reputable image, things are gradually changing, partly due to the efforts of the local meetings industry, with the support of the Thai government. Though the overall ambience in Pattaya is that of a relaxed tropical resort - Pattaya is in fact one of Asia’s premier beach destinations - recent tourism investment and development has led to an increase in meeting space and venues, turning the city into a MICE destination. Easy accessibility from Bangkok, at 140 kilometres from Bangkok and less than one and a half hour drive from Suvanabhumi International Airport via

modern motorway, along with the city’s many attractions, have increased the interest of a growing business meetings segment and corporate groups looking for off-site experiences while taking a short break from business. And when you know that Pattaya also offers nearly 400 international standard hotels, with a combined 36,112 rooms available, the maths is quickly done.

into four large sound-proof sections or into 9 smaller sections. There are also 18 breakout rooms with capacities ranging from 10 to 470 delegates. No wonder that, with this, Pattaya has become a good contender on the international meetings map!

Stronger together Recent efforts to change the image of Pattaya have mainly come from the North Pattaya Alliance, a partnership of seven North Pattaya hotels, which just launched a brand-new destination campaign entitled ‘North Pattaya, More Than You Think’. The idea is to build up

Recent efforts to change the image of Pattaya have mainly come from the North Pattaya Alliance, a partnership of seven North Pattaya hotels The largest of Pattaya’s venues is the so-called PEACH, Pattaya Exhibition and Convention Hall. Located on the 1,090-room Royal Cliff Resort, which was constructed over the slopes of the cliff, with beautiful views over the Gulf of Thailand, it’s a stand-alone, more than 7,000-m2 multi-purpose facility and the largest convention centre outside of the greater Bangkok. The huge but easy-to-navigate building accommodates up to 8,000 delegates theater-style or 3,640 for banquets. The hall is flexible and can be divided

the area as a world-class destination for corporate meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions of all kinds, as Brendan Daly, General Manager of Amari Orchid, explains: ‘The aim of our ‘North Pattaya, More Than You Think’ campaign is to create a new identity for our neighborhood and increase awareness of the superb infrastructure and hotels within North Pattaya. This campaign provides an opportunity for us, and thus the destination as a whole, to increase the volume of quality visitors and meetings held in the district.’


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David Barrett, Executive Director, Events, at Amari Orchid, who was instrumental in creating the alliance, goes even further: ‘Pattaya is gradually moving away from a cheap seaside image. All of the seven members of the alliance, as well as our stakeholders, share the same vision: it’s possible to make Pattaya an upscale MICE destination, we have the human resources and infrastructure to do so.’ Indeed, during my stay in Pattaya, I almost became dizzy with, for instance, the MICE hotels on offer, ranging from luxurious options with flexible meetings facilities to smaller properties, most of them with stunning ocean views. The Centara Hotels & Resorts group has two meetings-friendly properties - the 152-room Centara Pattaya Hotel and the Lost World themed 555-room Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya - with a combined 2,500 m2 of meeting space. Elsewhere, the 525room Amari Orchid Resort & Tower has almost 4,000 m2 of meeting space – and the expert and friendly staff that goes with it! Right next door, there is the Scandinavian-looking and recently opened Holiday Inn Pattaya, whose nice Ballroom accommodates up to 950 people. At the time of writing, they were actually already building an extension of the hotel. Another option would the deluxe Dusit Thani Pattaya for up to 3,000 delegates, who will, I’m sure, enjoy the hotel’s atrium as much as I did.

Incentive options Being a seaside resort, Pattaya offers a lot of incentive opportunities. The sporting ones will enjoy activities both on land and water, including golfing, game fishing and scuba-diving. Golf around Pattaya is pretty close to golfer’s heaven for high and low handicappers alike. Twenty or more international standard golf courses

are within an hour’s drive of Pattaya, and the courses, designed by such names as Nicklaus, Dye and Faldo, offer the golfer a rare opportunity. Daytrips to nearby island groups are also popular, and of equal quality as the ones found around Phuket. Many visitors to Pattaya don’t realize there are idyllic islands and shipwrecks in nearby waters which offer beautiful scenery for those wanting to go deep Floating also Market sea diving. Pattaya’s attractions range from tropical gardens to Buddhist temples to Ripley’s Museum and elephants. There are plenty of family type activities in Pattaya involve more than chilling out on a beach. There are go-karts to race, horses to ride and theme and amusement parks to enjoy.

Holiday Inn Pattaya

Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya

Pattaya’s main attractions

Thai Alangkarn

• Thai Alangkarn: a spectacular show complete with fireworks, projections, dances, and elephants! The venue also serves for meetings for up to 3,000 people. • Sanctuary of Truth: Thai craftsmanship at its very best • Pattaya Floating Market: the name says it all, the market is big, covering 100,000 m2 • Mini Siam: a small-scale minicity showcasing replicas of 100 sacred places • Pattaya Elephant Village: a home for former working elephants, it’s a fascinating place • Tiffany Show: this transvestite cabaret show is the first in Southeast Asia, of good taste and fun!


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Hua Hin

Fun in luxury

Hua Hin Hills Vineyard

There’s a trend saying the global meetings industry is gradually shifting towards high-end meetings. If that’s true in Pattaya, it’s also the case in Hua Hin, a nice and laidback resort situated on the west coast of the Gulf of Thailand, about 200km south of Bangkok. One of the country’s favorite beachside destinations by royalty and members of the Thai elite, it also offers good infrastructure, accommodation and plenty of incentives options.

It’s the construction of the Southern Railroad that allowed Hua Hin to rise on the tourism map. Once the city was connected to the rest of the country (all the way to the Malaysian border actually), it was set to become a visitor’s favourite, with the opening of the Railway Hotel - now Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin - and, later on, complexes of bungalows and condominiums. Known as the ‘famous seaside resort of Siam’, where leisure and business tourists alike can enjoy swimming, fishing, golfing and much more, Hua Hin today enjoys a solid reputation. If the city is known as a leisure destination both nationally and internationally, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, in 2011, selected Hua Hin as one of five MICE luxury destinations, in a marketing initiative especially designed for an untapped niche market. It’s easy to understand why: Hua Hin is in the position to offer luxurious venues and services at a competitive price, delivering a truly captivating experience

against the backdrop of unspoiled natural landscapes.

Meeting and more Hua Hin has an airport, which is served by a growing domestic network, getting there is easy by road (it takes about 2.5 hours come from Bangkok) or by train. Meetings in Hua Hin are mostly held in hotels: the city boasts more than 11,000 hotel rooms, with venues for business events accommodating up to 5,000 guests. My first night was at Dusit Thani Hua Hin. A short drive from the city centre, it combines sumptuous comfort with wondrous traditional style. An ornamental lake, a lily pond and tropical gardens, a magnificent swimming pool complete the scenery, making you feel immediately at ease. As to meetings, the largest space, the Royal Dusit Grand Ballroom, accommodates up to 1,100 for a cocktail and 800 for a conference. Dusit Thani Hua Hin can also help with any teambuilding

programme you might have, with a dedicated team. I also liked Hyatt Regency Hua Hin very much. Enjoying a prime 250-metre stretch of white sandy beachfront, this deluxe 213-room hotel houses cluster-style low-rise accommodation set among beautifully landscaped gardens and interconnecting pools. The most interesting and famous feature of the facility might well be THE BARAI, an award-winning destination spa set amidst lush, tropical gardens, where you will rediscover what it means to be pampered. I don’t write much about spas, but I’ll make an exception for this one as it takes you to a real journey through the senses, leading ultimately to inner peace and tranquillity. Meeting wise, Hyatt Regency Hua Hin includes six function rooms with capacity for 40-400 persons, inclusive of the Grand Ballroom, which can accommodate up to 400 persons for receptions. Outdoor events can be arranged for up to 500 guests.


© Tourism Authority of Thailand, Phetchaburi Office

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King’s Summer Palace, Hua Hin

Golf, elephants and wine Along with providing an engaging base from which to explore countless other seaside villages, Hua Hin is also just a short drive from two royal summer palaces, Krai Kang Won, where the King Bhumibol Adulyadej spends his time mostly nowadays, and Mrigadayavan, which is a beautiful teak palace built by King Rama VInearly 100 years ago. The good news is that you can use Mrigadayavan palace for events for a few hundreds of people, mostly cocktails and gala dinners. Should you go for it, I’ll bet you will find those outstanding: right by the sea, where King Rama VI once spent time, the venues are simply breathtaking.

architectural style, which contrasts and complements the nearby Mrigadayavan Palace (the Palace of Love and Hope), which is styled in a Thai-Victorian fashion. Recently, the area has also emerged as one of the premier golfing destinations in Asia, with eight world-class courses, ranging from the Black Mountain Golf Club to the Springfield Village Golf & Spa. Opened in 2005, the former is surrounded by jutting mountains with large black rocks protruding from their faces, giving it its name. Small meetings are possible in then central building, larger gatherings in the outside area. The latter was designed by gold legend Jack Nicklaus, and is host to more than 100

If the city is known as a leisure destination both nationally and internationally, Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, in 2011, selected Hua Hin as one of five MICE luxury destinations The region’s vibrant heritage and fishing roots are also visible in its numerous temples and the iconic Hua Hin Railway Station. The country’s oldest railway station, it is constructed in classic Thai

species of birds and 12 lakes. It provides 97 rooms, making it ideal for residential meetings, along with 3 rooms, the biggest of which accommodates up to 200 people, and a so-called

Hyatt Regency Hua Hin

‘Activities Zone’ perfect for teambuilding challenges. Kite surfing, paragliding, beachside horseback riding, bike rides and more provide additional ways to discover the region’s breathtaking natural sites. Among these destinations is Hua Hin Safari & Adventure Park, a home for Thai elephants which you can ride through mountains, trees and pineapple fields. Quite an experience if you ask me! The park also houses a bunch of crocodiles, which you can ‘enjoy’ during a scary but so attractive performance… Last but not least is Hua Hin Hills Vineyard, where the now-famous ‘New Latitude Wines’ are to be found. I had no idea there were some vineyards in Thailand actually! Build on a former elephant corral, where Asian elephants were once domesticated, the place successfully produces aromatic and award-winning Moonsoon Valley Wines from international grape varieties. It’s of course perfect for wine-tasting sessions for small groups. Larger gatherings for up to 200 people are also an option on the outside lawn.


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Clay House Building and volunteer work in Thailand Clay houses are made fully out of natural resources, clay bricks and wood. Building clay houses is becoming increasingly popular in Thailand. An important point is that even unskilled people can contribute to the building process through the production of clay bricks, stamping clay foundation or plastering. Moreover, the insulating qualities of clay generate a cool temperature to live in. Besides, the ecological way of building contributes to a healthy lifestyle. Not only because it is fun to build one but it is also quite a challenge that will test your teamwork, creativity and is a great experience! Volunteering work and intercultural travel share a common trait: the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. Incentive programmes involving clay building are designed for proactive individuals and groups.

Case Study

Clay house building in Hua Hin In 2011, Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau organised its annual familiarization trip “Connections Plus” in Hua Hin for 130 delegates. Part of it was a CSR activity which consisted in the building of a clay library for a community school, the Kok Chang School. The delegates helped stamp the clay with their feet, made clay bricks and also plastered the clay building. Kok Chang School is now the proud owner of a library building made from clay. At the time of writing, there’s another clay building rising off the ground, destined to be a kindergarten school. Building a clay building involves hard, manual labor. So a large group of volunteers is the perfect fit for the mission. While Thailand offers modern and luxury comfort, it is also well versed in providing sustainable, ecological practice for large groups wanting to leave some sort of legacy. Business tourism is not just about attending meetings and participating in incentives, it can also be about showing you can do your share as a citizen of the world. Clay house building involves the use of local resources, low-cost labor and the end result is suitable for the hot and humid climate of Thailand, making local communities more self-sufficient. For a corporate group to contribute to clay house building is a great opportunity for those wishing to incorporate some CSR features into their programme. Clay buildings are popular in Thailand, especially in major destinations like Chiang Mai in the north or Khao Yai in the northeast. In Hua Hin, there are accommodation, resort and even art venues made from clay to cater to environment-conscious travelers.

Black Mountain Golf Club

Springfield Village Golf & Spa

Building a clay house



MIM Destination Report Thailand