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www.tropicalstartravel.com

Tropical Star Travel & Tropical Magazine invites you to feel the incredible moment of Indonesia’s fantastic and active volcano scenes and beautiful cultures

Package 1: Bangkok-Surabaya-Mt. Ijen Mt. Bromo-Surabaya-Bangkok (3D2N) * Price: 19,800 THB/Person (Minimum 2) Fly Garuda * Price: 5,200 THB/Person (Minimum 2) Own travel arrangement BKK-Surabaya Package 2: Surabaya-Mt. Bromo-Surabaya (2D1N) * Price: 4,500 THB/Person (Minimum 6) Own travel arrangement BKK-Surabaya Package 3: Bangkok-Surabaya-Mt. Bromo-Jogyakarta-Borobudur-Bangkok * Price: 28,500 THB/Person (Minimum 2) Fly Garuda * Prices are subject to change without prior notice

Star Travel 

For more information, please contact Tropical Star Travel Company Limited 80/23 Soi Ladprao 23, Ladprao Rd, Chankasem, Jatujak, Bangkok 10900 Tel: +668 (0) 0881876, +662 5134913, 5134996 Email: info@tropicalstartravel.com ใบอนุญาตประกอบธุรกิจนำเที่ยว เลขที่ 11/05765 


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for Airline staffs and Hotel staffs.

tropicalguide v o l . 7 i s s u e 68

MAINFEATURES

MUMBAI

Being the country’s biggest city, Mumbai has become the nation’s most favorite destination for local people to grab their individual dreams.... [..72..]

MUSEUM SIAM

CWithout O Vcosmetics, E R F EIndia A Tis UnotRtheEplace to see only on its surface

The centuries-old mysteries of the Suvarnabhumi region, which is behind the golden era of Siam that formed the nation we know today as Thailand, leads many to question “Who are we?” [..84..]

with your bare eyes to be able to make a judgement. Its charm will gradually appear after you get yourself into the local scenes for a while, and you will discover its magnificent appearance when you see it with your heart.... [..30..]

S mart C aravan

The special 23 day travel event to explore the charms of Thailand’s borderline came to an end recently with great success, thanks to ‘Toyota Thailand’ raising awareness of travelling locally ... [..82..] 




tropicalguide v o l . 7 i s s u e 67

LIFESTYLE & LIVING

REGULARS E Y E S H O T [..12..] t r i p B U L L E T I N S [..18..] b o o k S T O R E [..28..] a r t T R O P I C A L [..88..] T R O P I C A L n e x t i s s u e [..90..]

B u k h ara

From its cradle in the heart of North India, the tandoor travelled along trade routes, beginning as early as 165 BC when the Kushan Empire... [..67..]

S u k k O S P A R esort

Tracing back thousands of years, on the land which is presently the Kingdom of Thailand, many customs and traditions have been well blended ... [..16..]



P e d aling for E art h

Advanced technology today can provide you with a ride in state-of-the-art vehicles traveling at speeds faster than sound/almost as fast as light ... [..12 ..]




KOTAO Resort

Ed i to r’s Pa ge

Happy Songkran! The grand festival of Songkran is arriving and it’s time to kill the heat by getting yourself soaked with water. In Thailand, many streets in major cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai will be turned to water battlefields and are always packed with pick-up trucks and crowds who get out of their homes to have fun. That’s a choice for people to escape from the hot summer in April. In this summer issue, TiTM chose to escape to India, a large country with numerous travel resources and, definitely, being one of the most incredible countries in the world. A trip to India showed me a proof that just once in a lifetime visiting India would be a lifelong engraving in your memory. Don’t forget to visit our magazine’s blog at www.tropicalmagazine.info where you can read most updated news and view some more photos. Enjoy getting wet during Songkran.

Gaid Phitthayakornsilp Editorial Director



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"P$IBMPL#BO,BP#BZ ,PI5BP4VSBUUIBOJ5IBJMBOE 5FM   'BY   &NBJMJOGP!LPUBPSFTPSUDPN8FCTJUFXXXLPUBPSFTPSUDPN 


Up To

75% DiScoUNT

Tropical Team PUBLISHER

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ToUr pacKaGeS

Tr o p i c o f C a n c e r C o . , L t d Chairman Manachai Inkaew E d i to r i a l D i re c to r G a i d P h i tt h a ya k o r n s i l p Executive Director Kanita Srewiphat Sub-editor Valerie Webb Suwanseree, K a r l a C r i p p s , B re tt C a u l t o n , P a u l A xf o rd R e p o r te r & Wr i te r s J i tt p at C h a n p e t c h , Att a p o n g A k k a r a s i r a k u l Sales & Marketing Director Manachai Inkaew Marketing Assistant Nanthana Inkaew D e s i g n e r s K i tt i S r i v i c h i a n A c c o u n t i n g & A d m i n i s t r a t i v e S u p e r v i s o r K a n c h a n a Ye y a p h a n

CONTRIBUTORS Thailand, Malaysia & Singapore: Rangsan Srirat, V o r a l u k K l a s u k o n , N u t t a w e e To s s a r o d , S u p s i n C h i m p l e e Indonesia, The Philippines: Edy Siswanto, Pierre Ryckmans M y a n m a r , L a o s P. D . R , C a m b o d i a a n d V i e t n a m : Duanratchada Chimpalee Japan & Korea: Kanokpong Muangsri Hong Kong, Macau & China: Siriporn Suparuchatakarn Australia & New Zealand: Timothy J. Black U n i te d K i n g d o m & E u ro p e : M u t j a r i n I tt i p h o n g

EDITORIAL & SALES OFFICE 80/23 Soi Ladprao 23, Ladprao Road, Chankasem, Jatujak, 10900 Thailand Te l e p h o n e : + 6 6 ( 0 ) 2 5 1 3 4 9 1 3 , + 6 6 ( 0 ) 2 5 1 3 4 9 9 6 Fax: +66 (0) 2513 4674 E m a i l : t r o p i c a l @ t r o p i c o f c a n c e r. i n f o Color Separated & Print Concept Print Ltd. Local Distributor K.K. Distributor R e g i o n a l D i s t r i b u t o r M a r k e t A s i a D i s t r i b u t o r s P T E , LT D S i n g a p o r e A d v e r t i s i n g E n q u i r i e s m a r k e t i n g @ t r o p i c o f c a n c e r. i n f o , s a l e s @ t r o p i c o f c a n c e r. i n f o

REgIONAL DISTRIBUTORS

www.vacationasia.info your online travel reservations 10 10

Market Asia Distributors Singapore Te l e p h o n e : ( 6 5 ) 6 7 4 4 8 4 8 3 , ( 6 5 ) 6 7 4 4 8 4 8 6 Fax: (65) 6744 8497 email: direct@marketasia.com.sg Foreign Press Distributors Hong Kong Te l e p h o n e : ( 8 5 2 ) 2 7 5 6 8 1 9 3 Fax: (852) 2799 8840

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Eyeshot

text & photos: Gaid Phitthayakornsilp

Pedaling for Earth Ad va n ce d te c h n o l o g y to d ay c a n provide you with a ride in state-of-the-art vehicles t r a ve l i n g at s p ee d s f a s te r t h a n sound, almost as fast as light . However there are m a n y p e o pl e a ro u n d t h e wo r l d w ho prefer to relax and move a little more slowly on a b i c yc l e . A h u s t l e -free r i d e u t i l i zes your own body’s energ y, powered by your feet , i t n ot o n l y rewa rd s yo u w i t h s a v i ngs through not requiring petrol, but it also helps co n s e r ve en e rg y; a i d i n g t h e re d u c tion of high temperatures on earth, and hel ping to s l ow c u rre n t l y r a p i d g l o b a l warming.

H a n o i, Vi et n a m

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Copenh a ge n, D e n m a r k

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Special O f f e r ! Stay 3 n ig ht s ge t f r e e t o ur to 4 isla nd s fo r o ne p e r s o n (Exce pt Fa n B ung a lo w )

Enjoy your stay in new and well designed bungalows, surrounded by natural jungle and breath taking Cliff Mountains.

Ao Nang Cliff View Resor t

Kr a bi T hailand

Han o i, Vi et n a m

Jak a r t a, I n d o n e s i a 14

Vientiane, Laos

AO NAN g C l iF F V i Ew R ESO R T 1 0 / 5 So i 1 1 , M o o 2 , Ao N a ng K r a b i Te l: 0 7 5 - 6 9 5 2 4 0 - 1 Fa x : 0 7 5 - 6 9 5 2 4 2 Em a i l: r e s e r v a t io n@ a o na ng c lif f v ie w r e s o r t . c o m w w w. a o n a ng c lif f v ie w r e s o r t . c o m

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Advertorial | PHUKET

Spa-ing culturally At Sukko Cultural Spa & Wellness Resort Tracing back thousands of years, on the land which is presently the Kingdom of Thailand, many customs and traditions have been well blended and developed to grace the culture of Thais today. This culture has become the foundation of the living – peaceful, simple, and well along with nature. Thai people are generous to others and respect their environment. Delicate arts have soothed the mind to be kind and generous. The Philosophy of Buddhism brings the spirit to the freedom. To create good health, Thai people nourish the body and mind with the knowledge of traditional Thai medicine. Today, in the heart of Phuket, on a piece of verdant forest by the stream and hillside, Sukko Cultural Spa & Wellness Resort was founded to prolong the great and glorious culture of the kingdom. Living Thai could be diverse and charming. One of those stories is told through

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‘Sukko Spa,’ the special spa resort, aiming for well-being, both physically and spiritually. Sukko Spa is well recognized as the World’s First Cultural Spa. Revealing genuine Thai life and spirit, it blends the profoundness of Thai medical philosophy, a warm welcome and generous hospitality to create its cultural spa which is among one of the most perfect spa‘s in Thailand. Prestigious awards received both within Thailand and other Asian countries can guarantee its quality of service and standards. You can ensure that the spa experiences you receive from Sukko Spa will last long in your memories of this heavenly island. The therapy at Sukko Spa is holistic health care which is both protecting and encourages good health with nat-

ural treatments following traditional Thai medical theory. Thai people believe that the human body consists of 4 basic elements; namely earth, water, air, and fire. To be in good health, all elements must be balanced. Diseases and disorders are the result of an imbalance within these elements which may be caused by the change of weather during the time of the day, the change of season, or even inappropriate body gestures such as standing or sitting too long, staying to long in the sun, too much exercise, or even stress. To gain balance of these factors means to reduce the causes of illness. Sukko Spa helps healing by massage, hot herbal compression, herbal bath, herbal scrub and body mask, as well as herbal diets and beverages according to a genuine Thai recipe. All methods help the body and mind to regain balance, detoxify, generate natural immunity and integrate good health. Materials used in all processes of the treatment are well selected according to the ethical and medical standard of tradi-

tional Thai pharmaceuticals. All herbals ingredients must be planted, harvested, and kept righteously. Each compound is controlled by doctors and certified by traditional Thai herbalists. No artificial fragrance or color is added, therefore your body doesn’t absorb any synthetic substances and is purely nourished by herbal essences of the highest quality. The therapists at Sukko Spa are all well educated from Sukko Spa Academy and the academy is already certified by the Ministry of Education. All therapists must attend and practice in class for 800 hours before qualifying as candidates to join Sukko Spa. The education here is among the best in world standards while still preserving traditional Thai teaching methods, which the students respect while the instructors kindly pass on all their knowledge to their students as if they are their own children. The students then have to practice for profound knowledge and understanding at the same time there experience is nurtured with ethical knowledge and meditation training.

Thai Spa, Sukko Cultural Spa & Wellness Resort also proudly provides holistic health care with Thai wellness retreats for a whole day. The well-being of living the Thai way consists of herbal cuisines, various health-nourishing activities such as traditional Thai Yoga (Ruesi Dat Ton), Yoga, Aqua Yoga and aerobics, Thai boxing, macrobiotic Thai cuisine class, as well as other Thai-art-oriented therapies like silk weaving, mattress weaving, and genuine royal fruit carving. Here at Sukko Cultural Spa & Wellness Resort, the well-being and comfort from traditional Thai therapies, the gracefulness of the inherited cultures, and the peaceful happiness of the Thai’s way of life still really exist for visitors from all around the world to appreciate the experience and true value for the body, mind, and spirit that could be one of your lifelong joyous memories of Phuket.

www.sukkospa.com www.sukkosparesortphuket.com

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tripbulletins Airlines

Kenya

slashes visa prices The Minister of Tourism for Kenya, Hon. Najib Balala has announced entry visa rates are to be reduced by 50% from April 2009 to December 2010 and they are scrapping visa fess for children less than 16 coming to the country as tourists, in a move aimed at stimulating demand for family travel. The visa cost for adults has been reduced from $50 to $25 while there is no cost for children under 16.

Early Bird and Night Owl promotion

A special treat for early morning and late night travellers on the Bangkok-Samui route Bangkok Airways announces a new promotion - “Early Bird and Night Owl” to offer special fares for the first and the last flight between Bangkok-Samui, beginning from March 29 onwards. A one-way fare will cost 2,200 baht and a return fare will cost 4,400 baht (this rate excludes airport tax, fuel surcharge and travel insurance). The first flight from Bangkok by PG103 leaves at 06.00 hrs arrives at Samui at 07.05 hrs and the last flight by PG199 leaves at 21.00 hrs arrives at Samui at 22.00 hrs. From Samui, the first flight by PG100 leaves at 06.00 hrs arrives at Bangkok at 07.05 hrs and the last flight by PG962 leaves at 22.00 hrs arrives at Bangkok at 23.05 hrs. For more information and reservations, please contact Bangkok Airways’ Call Center - 1771 or visit www.bangkokair.com.

Jet Airways Rewards Frequent Flyers with More Mileage Points One of a few airlines to award points for group travel bookings

Jet Airways, India’s most awarded and one of Asia’s finest airlines, has announced the award of additional points for all eligible classes on its inter national and domestic flights. The airline will also start giving points for group travel bookings, making it one of the few carriers in the industry to offer such an incentive. This generous mileage scheme, effective from 15 February, is open to all members of the airline’s frequent flyer programme, Jet Privilege. This enhanced mileage award gives 50 per cent of base miles on Group Travel bookings for domestic and international travel. Jet Privilege members are also entitled to 18

accumulate increased mileage points for flights on Jet Airways’ code-share partners: JetLite, Air Canada, All Nippon Airways, American Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Etihad Airways, Qantas and Malaysia Airlines. The airline already offers 500 bonus miles to Jet Privilege members who use e-ticketing services on www.jetairways.com. It also credits 250 bonus miles to members’ accounts when they check-in for their flights using the internet. All Jet Airways passengers enjoy an additional 10 kilogramme baggage allowance when they check-in via the internet. For more information, please visit www.jetairways.com.

Emirates to launch A380 service to Bangkok Closely following the successful deployment of Emirates’ A380 to Sydney and Auckland, the Dubai-based airline announced it will introduce the revolutionary product to Bangkok, effective 1st June 2009. The new Emirates service represents the aviation world’s first A380 operation to Bangkok and promises to usher in a whole new, luxury air travel experience to and from the Kingdom. The existing EK 372/373 daily service will be operated by Emirates’ A380. EK 372 departs Dubai at 09:40 hours, arriving in Bangkok at 19:00 hours. It turns around as EK 373 departing Bangkok at 21:25 hours and arriving in Dubai at 00:30 hours the following morning. Thailand’s latest announcement to withdraw fees for tourist visa applications up to 4th June 2009 will be welcomed by Middle East and other international visitors. 19


tripbulletins Hotels

Venetian Songkaran Holiday Getaway Offers 72 Hours of Non-Stop Fun at The Venetian® Macao The Venetian® Macao-Resort-Hotel is now offering “Venetian Songkaran Holiday Getaway” package for Thailand visitors from March 30 to June 14, 2009 to treat families with unforgettable memories while exploring the finest monuments and art of Venice.

X2 Samui Launches Amazing “Happy Weekday Package” X2 Resorts Thailand, the design hotel brand of Astudo Hotel and Resort Group, announces the launch of the amazing “Happy Weekday Package” at their X2 Resort on the tropical island of Koh Samui. Treat yourselves to a quality time under the swaying palm trees and enjoy the comfort and style in Pool Villa at X2 Samui - book two nights including daily breakfast, 2 dinners, enjoy a free body massage of your choice in the X2 Spa and get more than a 20% discount for other spa treatments, free kayak and mountain bike use, free daily shuttle service to Chaweng Beach, free WIFI throughout the resort and free shuttle service from/to the airport – only Baht 14,580 Baht net per couple. The offer lasts from now until the 31st of May 2009 – reserve now by calling +66 2696 8239. For more information please visit www.astudo.com/weekday.

The Package is now tailor-made to suit your traveling needs where families can enjoy a two-night stay in a luxurious split-level Bella or Royale suite. Guests are free to start their day with a hearty breakfast choosing from Café Deco, Fogo Samba and Blue Frog or enjoy a buffet lunch at Bambu. Café Deco and 3 Monkeys Restaurants are offering children of 12 years old and under a complimentary meal upon receiving orders for lunch or dinner with 2 main courses.

AD Tipa Resort

Family may play football like never before in The Manchester United Experience, Asia’s first interactive football zone and visit our brand new, innovative play zone called Qube that features a 6-meter-high multi climbing facility with a free fall slide, rainbow slides and much more. For more information or reservation, please contact Nice Holidays Discovery (Dhakul Chan) 710, 716 Prachautid Road, Samsennok, Huaykwang, Bangkok 10320. Reservation Hotline: +66 2274 3255 or +66 2274 4216

Le Bayburi Pranburi Launc hes Exclusive “Happy Weekday Package” Le Bayburi Thailand, the luxury vacation residence brand of Astudo Hotel and Resort Group, announces the launch of the exclusive “Happy Weekday Package” at their luxury beachfront villas Le Bayburi Pranburi - Hua Hin. Experience absolute luxury and total privacy at the beautiful beaches of Pranburi. Discover the amazing sense of quality and style in the villa of your choice - Mediterranean Retreat, Pacific Hideaway, Modern Tropical, Scadinavian Vacation – each of the unique designer beachfront villas consists of a private swimming pool, Jacuzzi, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, an entertainment room and a beach front pool bar and private barbecue space. Enjoy 2 nights accommodation including daily breakfast for 6 persons only at Baht 24,960 net per villa. This exclusive offer is valid from now until the 31st of May 2009. For reservations please call +66 2696 8239. For further information please visit www.astudo.com/weekday.

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tripbulletins Hotels

SUBSCRIBE TO TROPICAL AND ENJOY CONSIDERABLE SAVING OF 20% OFF COVER PRICE

Best Western International to open the first two Best Western Premier in the Middle East Best Western International – Asia has announced the partnership with Mohammad Bin Haider Group to open the first two Best Western Premier hotels in the Middle East in May 2009. Best Western International is currently rebranding a 282-roomsand-suites Dhow Palace Hotel in Bur Dubai. The rebranding process is expected to be completed within 60 days and the hotel is scheduled to open its doors to welcome the first guests as Best Western Premier Dhow Palace on May 1, 2009. The hotel will offer newly refined superior standards, amenities and services, complemented by four restaurants, a bar, a health club, a rooftop swimming pool, and magnificent meeting rooms. In addition, Best Western will also brand a new-built deluxe Best Western Premier Creek, Bur Dubai, scheduled to be open in May 2009. The hotel is peacefully located in the desirable Dubai neighborhood and comprising 210 rooms and executive suites. Both hotels are centrally positioned in the heart of Bur Dubai’s commercial district. This puts guests in easy reach of the airport, World Trade Center, Bur Juman Shopping Mall and other prominent landmarks and attractions.

Three Nights for Price of Two at The Opposite House

Exclusive offer for discovering premier world tourist destination

S U B S C R I B E N OW !

12 issues for only Bht 1,200 enclose is a cheque/money order for bht payable to tropic of cANCER CO.,LTD. MONEY TRANSFER OF BHT TROPIC OF CANCER CO.,LTD. UOB RAMA VI BRANCH CURRENT ACCOUNT NO. 123-1-00387-0 PLEASE FAX BACK PAY SLIP AT 0 2938 1848

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Room rates start from RMB 2,300 and include daily breakfast for two and a guided cultural walking tour of the Chinese capital on Saturdays, along with complimentary mini-bar and internet access. Bookings can be made directly by phone at +8610 6417 6688 or via the hotel’s website at www.theoppositehouse.com or through www.preferredhotels.com.

MY DETAILS :

Away Tusita Chumphon Launches Phenomenal “Happy Weekday Package” Away Resorts Thailand, one of the four brands of Astudo Hotel and Resort Group announces the launch of the phenomenal “Happy Weekday Package” at their Away Tusita Resort in Chumphon, located by the beautiful unspoilt beach of Had Arunothai in one of the most unique provinces of Thailand. Escape real life and enjoy every single moment in a peaceful hideaway paradise - book two nights in Nimman Villa or Beachfront Jacuzzi Room including daily breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner, extra 20% discount for spa treatment, enjoy a snorkelling trip at Koh Rangpratad, free kayaking and mountain bike use and free WIFI internet throughout the resort – starting at Baht 8,860 net per couple. This offer is valid for weekdays from now until the 31st of May 2009. For reservations please call 02696 8239. For more information visit www.astudo.com/weekday.

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1 Year = 12 issues BHt 1,200 Commencing at Issue

Please Send Me Tropical For :

Visitors to Beijing can stay three consecutive nights for the price of two at the luxurious contemporary hotel, The Opposite House until May 31, 2009.

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tripbulletins

Health & Spa

1IBOHBO#BZTIPSF Resort Haad Rin Beach

“Healthy Asian Delight”

Perfect for your health by Sofitel Centara Grand Bangkok Sofitel Centara Grand Bangkok has a great relaxing time and great food to offer for you with its “Healthy Asian Delight” promotion from now until 30th June 2009. Our SPA Cenvaree’s “Healthy Asian Delight”, the specially designed promotion offers you a complimentary Vietnamese Buffet Lunch or Dinner at Le Danang restaurant, whenever you reserve your favorite 90 minute Spa Treatment. Prices of “Healthy Asian Delight” are starting only at Baht 1,500++ per person. You can also choose to tailor-make your own individual program to suit personal needs. Spa concierge is prompted to help with suggestions and health giving tips. For more information

New signature treatment “Thai Harmony” Spa Cenvaree, Centara Hotels & Resorts’s launches 2009 Signature Massage, ‘Thai Harmony’ performed by 2 therapists, available at selected SPA Cenvaree branches throughout Thailand including Bangkok, Hua Hin and Phuket from 1st April onwards and available at Spa Cenvaree in Samui from 1st May onwards.

141 Moo 6, Haad Rin, Bantai Koh Phangan , Suratthani 84280 Thailand Tel: 66 77 375224 , 375227 Fax : 66 77 375226 Email : info@phanganbayshore.com

Performed in unison by 2 expertly trained therapists, guests experience a new level of well being, and relaxation with twice the effects and sensations. Each sequence has been designed carefully to reflect the exceptional levels of attention to detail and the standards of service that is intrinsic to Spa Cenvaree. Treatment duration ranges from 90 – 120 minutes. For more information or reservations please contact Spa Cenvaree call 0 2769 1234 ext. 6223 or visit www.spacenvaree.com

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tripbulletins Gourmet & Restaurants

Miso Magic at Benihana

Perfect for your health by Sofitel Centara Grand Bangkok through May 2009 | Bangkok Marriott Resort & Spa

AD Peace Laguna

Miso is the taste that defines Japanese cuisine. Made from fermented soybean, it may not be much to look at but its qualities are legendary. It is delicious, has an array of uses and boasts extraordinary healing powers.

Cold Noodle Time! April 17-26, 2009 | Hiiragi Japanese Restaurant, Novotel Bangna Bangkok Cold Noodle or Hiyashi is a popular dish in the summer. Many restaurants in Japan serve cold noodles only in summer. Master Chef is preparing special “Hiyashi, Cold Noodle” menu such as Cold Noodle with Vegetable, Somen Cold Noodle, Green Tea Noodle Fried Tofo with Cold Noodle or Cold Soba Noodle and much more. Prices start from Bht.250++ / dish. For more information or reservations, please call 366-0505 ext. 1470, 1471.

Enjoy a range of soups or savor the taste as a marinade on meat and fish. Choose from Miso soba noodle soup with Japanese bean curd and hamachi, Phuket lobster Miso soup, Miso glazed sea bass with asparagus with Teriyaki miso sauce, Miso-marinated pork cutlets with rice wine, onion & garlic sauce or Grilled snow fish with sake, rosemary & miso sauce. For a truly incredible taste sensation try the Miso Wagyu striploin teppanyaki with red miso sauce. For more information or reservations, please call (66) 2 476 0022 Ext. 1416 or email to restaurantrsvncenter@minornet.com

La vita a bella, life is beautiful at MoMo Café on the Beach

Courtyard by Marriott Hua Hin at Cha-am Beach Enjoy the best of what culinary Italy has to offer at MoMo Café on the Beach, Courtyard by Marriott Hua Hin at Cha-am Beach. The menu is great for sharing and can complement your lunch or dinner with some unique, and value for money, Italian wines. Something to start with, Roast Pumpkins & Riscotta Cheese Bruscretta followed by Gorgonzola River Prawns, Tomato, Olives & Sauce Verde. Enjoy Cashew nut Presto Crusted Fillet of Snapper, or Roast Duck Breast, Chorizo Ratatouille and finished with Red Wine Poached Pears with Mascarpone. MoMo Café on the Beach is the signature dining spot Courtyard by Marriott Hua Hin at Cha-am Beach Further information or reservation, please call +66 3 2708 3000

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tripbulletins License 11/04895

Books * Bangkok Hua Hin Beach 6D 5N (T-HUA-001)

Bangkok Sightseeing - Rose Garden– Hua Hin (sun bathing and swimming)

Bangkok Guide for Kids by Kids

Great Travel Co.,Ltd.

Andrea, 15, and Ines, 14, two dynamic sisters who have co-authored the first Bangkok Guide for Kids by Kids, describe their favourite attractions and activities in their own words for the benefit of other kids and their parents, who find themselves in the City of Angels as tourists for a week or as expats for a longer time. Humorous, light and refreshing, the 160-page guidebook offers candid reviews of top local attractions, out-of-town quick trips, favourite hangouts and food options.  It also includes useful information for young visitors, from jet set tips to a crash course in Thai gastronomy and language.   Parents will be delighted to own ‘The Bangkok Guide for Kids by Kids’ simply because each suggestion has been kid-selected, kid-reviewed and kid-approved. Children can now help plan the family’s Bangkok itinerary, helping to ensure they get as much out of this incredible city as adults do. After all most adults know from experience that kids will always listen to other kids!    The Bangkok Guide for Kids by Kids is available at Asia Books, Kinokuniya and B2S priced at Baht 450.

PACKAGE TOUR AMAZING THAILAND * Beautiful Krabi Friendly Beaches 3D 2N (P-KRA001) Krabi the one of three beautiful southern

provinces in Thailand, along with Phuket and Phang – Nga, is a popular destination for weekend breaks * Bangkok City of Angel (HOT) 4D 3N (T-BKK-001) City Tour - Grand Palace – China Town - Ayudhya Tour

* Beautiful Bangkok

6D 5N (T-BKK003)

Grand Palace – China Town - Ayudhya - River Kwai Bridge – Kwai Noi River - Shopping at Chatujak Market

* Beautiful Bangkok 7D 6N (T-BKK-004)

Bangkok - City Tour – Grand Palace – China Town - Ayudhya Tour - River Kwai Bridge – Kwai Noi River - Floating Market – Crocodile Farm

* Bangkok – Cruise – Jatujak Market 3D 2N (T-BKK-007) Bangkok Tour – Shopping at Jatujak Market

* Kanchanaburi 3D 2N (T-KAN-001)

River Kwai Bridge Hell Fire Pass Memorial Mon Tribal Village… Sight Seeing Kanchanaburi – Bangkok

* KANCHANABURI 3D 2N (T-KAN-002)

Nature & Culture River Kwai Bridge Mon Tribal Village Elephant Riding… Kanchanaburi War Museum - Visit mon Tribal Village And Elephant - Take a Historic ride on Death Railway Train

* Beautiful Bangkok – Kanchanaburi 5D 4N (T-KAN-003) Bangkok City Tour – Grand Palace – Wimarn-

mek Palace - Floating Market – Rose Garden – Kanchanaburi – Erawan Water Fall – Tiger Temple

* Pattaya 3 D 2 N (T-PAT-002)

Pattaya - Coral island - Seafood Lunch - Cabaret ShowSriracha Tiger Zoo tour

* Thailand Pattaya Fantasy 5D 4N (T-PAT-003)

Bangkok – Pattaya - The Reclining Buddha - The Golden Buddha, and the Marble Temple - Alcazar Show or Tiffany Show

* Thailand Bangkok Pattaya Special 7D 6N (T-PAT-004) Bangkok – Pattaya - The Reclining Bud-

Bangkok – Dinner on Cruise - Chiang Mai – Wat Pra That Doi Suthep - Doi Inthanon National Park - Umbrella Village

dha - The Golden Buddha, and the Marble Temple - Alcazar Show or Tiffany Show - Full day Tour to Safari World. Thailand’s greatest and most popular open zoo and show park – Shopping

Highlight Elephant at Work .. Chiang Mai - Elephant Show + Doi Suthep Temple - Handicraft Village

Phi Phi Island Tour

- Dinner on Cruise / Chao Phraya River

* Bangkok – Chiang Mai 6D 5N (T-CHI-001)

* Beautiful Chiang Mai Trip 3D 2N (T-CHI-002) * Chiang Mai in Dreaming 3D 2N (T-CHI-003)

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* Mae Hong Son-Long Neck Village Tour 3D 2N (T-Hon-001) Maehongson - Visit Morning Market Agricultural Produces at Market

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* Seamed Island – Nice Package (HOT) 3D 2N (T-SA-001) A haven for relaxation, this T-shaped island is a perfect retreat for those looking for sun, sand and sea.

Weekend Drives Weekend Drives is a compact guide for holidaymakers who drive for leisure, with recommendations of 22 very different itineraries originating from Bangkok, including places to visit, eat and stay. With this guide, readers can explore the 22 driving routes to the provinces, along with city-by-city coverage of major sights. It also comes with a detailed colour road maps, clear travel directions and useful information about where to eat and stay. This book will make your drive more time-efficient, cultural and fun. ‘Weekend Drives’ is available at Asia Books at price of 230 Baht.

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The World Without Us Alan Weisman looks to some unoccupied areas of the world to find out the answer to the question “how would the world change if human beings vanished from the earth?”. He has spoken to experts in fields ranging from nuclear physics to archaeology, all in order to reveal the reaction the ‘natural world’ would have to our disappearance. What would the planet be like in a day, a week, a month, a millennium? It’s a ‘Must-Read’ - The World Without Us, priced at 495 Baht, is available at Asia Books.

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www.greattravelthailand.com

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Cover Feature | India

story & photos: Gaid Phitthayakornsilp

India

Iridescent Passages through the Soul It was for several days that I just couldn’t stop thinking about my recent trip to India following my return to my hometown. Traditional Indian music that I’d heard in the hotel’s lobby still plays in my head when I wake up in the morning. The pictures of Indian people and vari-

ous kinds of animals walking along the buzzing streets are still illuminating my brain. I

After a month immersing myself in a plan for my trip to India with my flights and accommodations reserved in advance on the Internet, I exposed myself beneath the Indian sky eventually during the period of the comfortable weather of January.

Before my trip to this incredible country, I had been warned with many negative ideas towards India and its people. But I’m the type of person who walks on earth with positive thoughts, not someone who always carries the whole world on his shoulders. So I’m always ready and happy to encounter any situations during my journeys.

With premium service provided by Jet Airways from my home city in Bangkok, I arrived in Mumbai and spent a couple days exploring this India’s business capital (read more about Mumbai on page 72) From Mumbai, I flew by the same airline to Jodhpur, my first destination, to begin my actual journey by Indian trains across the state of Rajasthan to Agra in Uttar Pradesh and the ending my trip in Delhi.

just couldn’t control my heartbeat every time my vehicle tried to pass through the chaotic scenes on the crowded streets without a hit.

The only caution when visiting India is that you might fall in love with this charming country immediately on your first arrival and you will long

for it the next day after you return home. So apply for a multi-entry visa and prepare your next trips to India again and again!

Without cosmetics, India is not the place to see only on its surface with your bare eyes to be able to make a judgment. Its charm will gradually appear after you get yourself into the local scenes for a while, and you will discover its magnificent appearance when you see it with your heart. So

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I decided to arrange my trip to India by myself instead of purchasing tour packages, which mostly provide you more places to see but less chance to experience only one good place.

I chose to travel between cities in India by train because

India has a huge railway network with over 63,000 km of railroads throughout the country.

It’s very convenient to travel by train to many major tourist towns and it’s also quite easy to book my tickets on the internet and board a train with my own printout ticketing paper. This is India, an extraordinary country of vibrant people and diverse cultures, a heaven of gods on earth, and the land where you will be overwhelmed by astounding feelings with almost every step you take.

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Jo d h p u r

Members of Indian family getting together at the rooftop area of their house Facing page: The Blue City seen from Mehrangarh Fort

The Blue Won der I arrived at Jodhpur, my first destination in Rajasthan, in the afternoon. As soon I dragged my luggage out of the exit gate of Jodhpur Airport, I saw a hotel guy standing there showing his affable smile with his hand holding a plate written with my name on it. After greetings, I followed him outside to the hotel’s limousine and jumped into the back seat. We started basic conversation with the car moving out of the airport, to the main road heading to my hotel in downtown Jodhpur. The road ahead leads to the hill with a huge iconic construction located on its top. It is Mehrangarh Fort, the most significant landmark of Jodhpur and one of the largest forts in India, which is visible in the distance from the outskirt of the town. It takes about 15 minutes when I approached the busy area considered to be downtown Jodhpur in front of the gate to the old city. The car came to a near stop in front of the narrow gate. Measured by my eyes, it was impossible to drive through but with acquaintance, the driver could make his car pass through the gate to the other side of the wall easily. Inside the wall is the lively town square and marketplace named “Sardar Market” where local people dress in tradi32

tional multihued apparels getting out to meet and greet while some of them are busy trading at stalls located around the city’s clock tower. The area is composed with a large number of people and some cows gathering together in the square. I was fascinated by the lively scenes at the market when my car was plowing through the waves of crowds, and I told myself to come back to the market another time while I was in this city. Once the car passed by the buzzing marketplace, it turned into a small narrow lane through the density of local houses and made a few turns until it stopped in front of my reserved hotels. The sign in front of the doorway read ‘Krishna Prakash Heritage Haveli.’ I flicked through this hotel while I walked to the lobby for checkin. The old building was built in a mixture of Rajasthan’s architectural heritage with a patio in the middle of the mansion complex opening to the splendid view of the grand Mehrangarh Fort behind the building. There are only 28 guest rooms in this hotel but with different decorating styles in each room. (Read more about this hotel after this story.) 33


Facing page: A house facade painted different shades of blue Left: Rajasthani people dressed in traditional costumes Below: Jodhpur still preserves its ancient method of making pottery bottom: Kids at play in the village

I left the restaurant and started my walking trip up to Mehrangarh Fort. Actually there is another way to get to the fort by automobile, but I prefered to walk up there with my own legs for a better chance to observe the local way of living. On the way up the hill, I stopped several times to look at the Blue City from the top. It seemed the whole town had been splashed with blue color. There are reasons behind why the whole city has become blue. In the past, people painted their homes to notify people they were Brahmin. I’ve heard another reason that the blue house also prevents its dwellers from mosquitos and helps cooling down the temperature. But I didn’t ask anyone who lives inside those houses if this was true.

After check-in I stored my luggage in the room, I walked outside the hotel looking for a place for lunch. Along the tapered paths in town situated a compact cluster of old houses built in box shapes with each not higher than three stories. Most of them are painted in bright blue, a derivation of its nickname – “Blue City” that inspires a number of tourists to visit Jodhpur. Many of the old buildings were modified and refurbished as shophouses, internet cafés and guesthouses for tourists. Many of them provide open space on the rooftop for restaurants serving local food with a stunning view to the Mehrangarh Fort and the townscape. Jodhpur is located on the edge of the Thar Desert which always brings a hot and arid atmosphere to the city. Fortunately, at the time I visited the city, the weather was not very hot. I rewarded myself with a big lunch set at a rooftop restaurant where I lied down on a big soft pillow seat laying my eyes on the great fort. Before I fell asleep on the big cushion due to the slight breeze, my lunch was served on the table. I had my favorite garlic nan with a few plates of local cuisine and regained my energy to walk up to the fort on foot.

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This page and facing page: Splendid view inside the palatial complex of Mehrangarh Fort Finally, I arrived at the entrance to Mehrangarh Fort where the ticketing office is situated behind the gate. If climbing up the hill is enough and you don’t want to spend more you can buy a ticket to use a lift that will elevate you up to the topmost part of the building where the fabulous cityscape of Jodhpur in blue can be seen in panorama. As one of the largest forts in India and the most spectacular in Rajasthan, Mehrangarh Fort is usually listed on itineraries for tourists visiting the desert state of India. Founded by Rao Jodha in 1459, the Mehrangarh Fort, with its beauty, is the remaining substantation of fine arts and skilled craftsmanship of the Jodhpuri sculptors. Inside the huge compound of the fort, there are several other places worth visiting include the Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), temples and galleries. From the view point, other major attractions of Jodhpur, Umaid Bhavan Palace, can be seen in the distance. The palace located on the outskirt of the city - built by Umaid Singh in the 20th century – has been now utilized as a hotel and a museum. ON THE NEXT DAY I spent most of the time strolling around small streets of the old town of Jodhpur. It seemed like I had walked into the lively labyrinth where on both sides of the passage I passed by, were decorated with pictures of vivid lives and friendly people.

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Overnight | Jodhpur

A vendor showing passing tourists a piece of shawl from his shop The rest of this page: Lively scenes at Sardar Market in the heart of Jodhpur

I strolled around the city until winding up at the clock tower – the Sardar Market - which I had passed on my first day. The area around the clock tower was bustling with local vendors and shoppers, passers by, all kinds of vehicles, bicycles, and herds of cows. It was a little bit chaotic but I really like to exposed myself in such a vibrant atmosphere. This market is a live example of the 19th century town plan, usually with small shops lining along both sides of the narrow lanes. Sardar Market is where you can find a huge number of goods to buy from fresh vegetables, spices, food, to household products and handicrafts. But the most outstanding products are the ones that colorize the market area such as Indian garish fabrics and body embellishments, bracelets, and anklets in all sorts of colors. In fact, I was quite reluctant to leave the charming city named Jodhpur, but I was forced by a tight schedule on my itinerary. Early in the morning on the next day, I left Jodhpur in the dark by train to my next destination in Jaipur, yet, the bright blue color of the city still illuminated inside my memory throughout my whole trip in India. 38

Krishna Prakash Heritage Haveli

Experience Original of Jodhpur

Standing at the foot of the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort, Krishna Prakash Heritage Haveli, which is almost as old as the fort, is an authentic heritage haveli, lovingly restored, to serve as a comfortable oasis for travelers in their quests for the charms of Rajasthan. Krishna Prakash Heritage Haveli has a selection of luxurious suites and fine double rooms painstakingly restored to blend with the period and architectural style. Each of the 28 elegantly appointed rooms and suites are individually designed and furnished with genuine antiques and fixtures, old family portraits adorn the walls and the ambience and experience is further enhanced due to the presence of state-of-the-art in room facilities. 39


Its recently restored kitchens offer a culinary experience with a variety of choice menus ranging from a delectable palette of traditional Marwari cuisine to restaurants which offer a-la-carte options. Besides, its open to the sky moonlit terraces under a canopy of stars with Mehrangarh Fort as the background, lend to the Haveli, an eternal elegance which brings the rooftop alive.

Jaipur

Into the Pink Compound

Feel and experience the original charms of Jodhpur at Krishna Prakash Heritage Haveli. For more information, please contact this home hotel at Nayabas, Killikhana, Jodhpur 342001 Rajasthan, India Tel: +91-22-3200254 Fax: +91-22-66459115 Email: info@kpheritage.com Website: www.kpheritage.com 40

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This page and facing page: The main street of Jaipur where most buildings are painted in pink and red

The train that departed Jodhpur at 6 o’clock in the morning arrived at Rajasthan’s capital city – Jaipur at around 11 o’clock. There are several reasons I chose to make my inter-city travel by train – a huge rail system network that connects most major cities in the subcontinent of India, it‘s covenient to book online and comfortable enough to ride in the 2nd class cabin. From Jaipur railway station, I hopped in an autorickshaw to the hotel located not very far from the station. On the way to my hotel, the driver offered me his services, a Jaipur city tour by autorickshaw. I asked him to list where he would take me to and he proposed a few must-see places in Jaipur which costed 400 Indian Rupees. It was an interesting price but anyway I asked him for sure whether he would charge this amount of money for all places he had mentioned. He confirmed 400 IDR excluding admission fee to the palaces and museums. I thought it was fair enough to deal so I agreed. After I checked in at the hotel and had a light rest, the young man was waiting for me outside the hotel with his autorickshaw. ‘Anish’ – as he introduced his name - took me to the main street of Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan. I came to realize its reputation as the “Pink City” because when I saw all the buildings along both sides of the street, they were all painted in pink. Anish told me that the whole city was painted in pink to welcome the Prince of Wales who visited Jaipur in 1853. Since then, it has become a tradition to paint buildings in the city with pink color. To my eyes, the color is not that pink but it’s rather a reddy brown. I assumed the color had changed from its original shade due to several layers of repainting. Anyway, it is a beautiful city. 42

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Facing page: The City Palace, Jaipur This page: Gaitore - a royal crematorium reserved for the majestic rulers of Jaipur I made the first stop at the place on the top list of must sees in Jaipur, “The City Palace,” a vast royal residence complex occupying nearly one-seventh of the whole area of Pink City. Admission tickets for the City Palace costs 300 IDR include an audio guide fee. Originally built by Maharaja Jai Singh II, the City Palace is composed of a series of courtyards, gardens, and buildings. With the headset always attached to my ears and listening to a good quality narrating voice, it was enjoyable to follow the useful audio guide into the historic compound where valuable items from the period of Rajput and Mughal are on display at several galleries inside the palatial buildings. Some significant displays in the palace include museum of textiles and arms and the Hall of Public Audience. A walk in the palace provided me with a feeling of an elegant past of Maharaja and the capital city of Jaipur during its previous glory. Within the territory of the palace complex there also stands the famous building of Hawa Mahal, one of the most visited and photographed places in Jaipur. This 5-story building constructed of red and pink sandstone was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, and designed in the form of the crown of Krishna. Hawa Mahal was functioned as the Zenana or the ladies’ apartment. With its 953 small windows, it provides a good circulation of breeze (Hawa) into the building to keep the hall cool even during the hot months as its name, Hawa Mahal means the Hall of the Winds. Those small windows also provided royal ladies chances to observe everyday life in the streets without being seen. 44

After spending several hours in the City Palace, Anish told me he knows another beautiful place which is less known by tourists and that he would love to take me there. Within 20 minutes, we got out of the downtown area to the suburbs of Jaipur where a place Anish recommended to me is situated. The sign in front of the doorway read “Maharaja Sawai Mansingh – II, Museum Trust, Gaitore Ki Chhatriyan.” I didn’t know what exactly the place was but I was willing to pay 30 rupees to get inside. Anish came with me inside and explained that this place is called Gaitore - a royal crematorium for majestic rulers of Jaipur and a cenotaph for each maharaja built in his honor. The royal cenotaph is known as “Chhatris” – umbrella-shaped memorial - each engraved with magnificent Rajasthani cravings. The Gaitore provides a peaceful and soothing ambience to visitors as it is well kept secret from the masses of tourists. During the hour I walked around, there were only two French tourists that stopped by. It seemed that this place is best known only among public vehicle drivers. If Anish didn’t tell me about it, I wouldn’t have known and would have missed a good chance to visit one of the most beautiful monuments of Jaipur. My next destination was Amber Fort but Anish seemed to be reluctant to take me there. Instead, he tried to persuade me to skip the place because the fort is located 11 kilometers away from downtown onto the hillside. Soon after I offered him some extra money, he raced to the fort without hesitation. 45


A remaining ancient site in the old city of Amber near Jaipur 46

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Gateway to Amber City

Amber Fort is listed at the top amongst touristic places to visit in Jaipur. And it is the place where many tourists usually pose on elephant backs for photos. Actually I should have spent a day or so exploring the historical site at Amber Fort but my time didn’t allow me to do so. It was late in the afternoon when I arrived at the fort with Anish and his autorickshaw so we had to get back to town before sunset. A brief visit to Amber Fort was strong enough to drag myself into the flashback scene of the glorious past in the Amber city, the capital of the former Kachhwaha clan before the official establishment of Jaipur. The enormous construction of Amber Fort, built by Raja Man Singh I in 1592 with white marble and red sandstone, appeared in front of me so stunningly. Contrary to its craggy, tough and rough outer appearance, its interior atmosphere is restful with great sources of exquisite and intricate cravings on the walls and ceilings.

Lakeside area next to the Man Sagar Lake

Jal Mahal located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake

On the way back to town, I also made a brief stop for photos at Jal Mahal, the famous water palace of Jaipur which poses elegantly in the middle of The Man Sagar Lake. It was built by Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799 AD with Indo-Mughal architectural style and used as a pleasure place for royal duck shooting parties. Anish took me back to the hotel at the end of the day tour in Jaipur. Before he left, Anish asked me to take photos of him posing with his autorickshaw. And he kept repeating to me that whenever I come back to Jaipur, do contact him and use his services again. Then I gave him a promise. It was my first visit to Jaipur and definitely it wouldn‘t be my last.

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Amber Fort

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The main marble building of the Taj Mahal

Agra

A Majestic Love Engraved

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The grand Taj Mahal on the bank of the Yamuna River Facing page: Taj Mahal from several angles Agra was the only city during my time in India where I didn’t stay overnight because there were two World-Heritage places I wanted to visit. The first place is the world renowned love monument the Taj Mahal, the significant symbol which always appears on advertising media promoted by India’s Ministry of Tourism and one of the world’s most recognizable attractions where many people always dream to visit before they die. I am one of those people. The second place in Agra I wanted to see was the Agra Fort or Red Fort that houses numerous palatial buildings and constructions within its teritory. At first, I intended to leave my luggage at the train station’s cloakroom so that I could travel around the city baggage free but when I disembarked the train at Agra Fort Station awkwardly standing in front of the sign board trying to find the platform number for my train to Delhi in the evening, I was approached by an Indian guy asking which train I was looking for. I told him my train number and departure time and he said that my train would arrive at Agra Cantt Station which is not this Agra Fort Station. That’s why I couldn’t find my train on the board. The young ,man saw an opportunity and immediately offered his services to take me around Agra and then after the tour he would take me to Agra Station to board the train to Delhi. His vehicle was a small van but looked more comfortable than an autorickshaw. And the most important thing was it seemed to be safe to leave my belongings in his van. When we made a deal at 1,000 rupee, the tour began forthwith. His name was Arshad, he introduced himself right after I hopped in his van. The young chauffer edged his way through the street along the wall of Agra Fort and just at about 2 kilometer, we arrived at the entranceway of the Taj Mahal. 52

As a protected heritage building with crowds of thousands visiting each day, security is quite rigorous at the Taj. Before entry, I had to leave my tripod, laptop computer, and iPod in the locker room and the officer told me to make sure my cellphone was already switched to silent mode before getting in. I was charged 750 Rs. admission fee as a foreigner. I passed through the entry gate inside the marjestic complex of the Taj Mahal and followed the walkway to darwaza, the main gateway to the famous white marble tomb. The gate is usually crammed with tourists as it is the main point where the beauty of the great marble mausoleum first appears to the eyes behind the arch of the gate. I could feel that everyone there was stunned by the impressive grandeur of the Taj scenery. Standing in front of this huge masterpiece of art, I had no wonder why the Taj Mahal is one of the most photographed edifices in the world and instantly recognisable. The colosal monument of love, Taj Mahal, was built by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, between 1631 and 1648. It is a fine example of Indian Muslim architecture with a reflection and dedication to fine art and craftsmanship. In the main chamber, inside the marble mausoleum, houses the tomb of Shah Jahan and his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal with the false sarcophagus displayed to public while their actual graves are hidden at a lower level. Photographs inside the chamber is prohibited, so I got out of the building and strolled around the marble monument. At the rear side of the Taj Mahal, there is a balcony provinding a panoramic view over the Yamuna River. I had an idea to get across the river in the eveining for sunset photos of the Taj. 53


After passing through Jahangiri Mahal, I exited to the east side of the fort where some of remarkable structures are grouped in the area including the white-marble imperial apartment - the Khas Mahal, the Hall of Private Audience, the Hall of Public Audience, and the Nagina Masjid or Gem Mosque. Behind this group of palatial buildings is the vast balcony overlooking the Yamuna River with a sight of the Taj Mahal seen in distant.

Clockwise from above: Agra Fort railway station; Security guard on duty at Agra Fort; Local transportation in Agra; A man on his bicycle crossing the bridge over the Yamuna River; The outer part of Agra Fort

Before proceeding to the Agra Fort, Arshad took me to a restaurant in downtown Agra for lunch. The rooftop restaurant where I ate provided a relaxed ambience under the shade of some big trees but I didn’t have much time to repose myself there. We headed to Agra Fort as soon we finish the meal. Standing on the ancient site by the Yamuna River, Agra Fort is one of the most important forts in Indian history. In the past, the country was governed from this fort and it was the permanent residence of several great Mughals. Agra Fort houses many historic and significant sites and structures. Through the entrance at Amar Singh Gate, I walked inside the complex and soon was first impressed by Jahangiri Mahal, the building used in the past as a zenana or the palace for women of the royal household. Best known for its exquisite stone cravings, Jahangiri Mahal also functioned as the gateway leading to an interior courtyard. 54

Until late in the afternoon, I rushed back to the Taj Mahal but to the opposite side of the Yamuna River with an expectation to see the sunset behind the great monument of love. To access the riverbank by car, we had to get out of city to the main highway and cross the bridge, then get onto a local road along the riverbank passing local villages to the view point at the river opposite. It took nearly one hour to get there during the peak traffic hour. On the way to the river, Arshad showed me Itmad-ud-Daula’s Tomb, which is often called the “Baby Taj” due to its architectural look alike the real Taj Mahal. I spent a brief amount of time and moved to the target area to get the best view of sunset. I got there just in time. The silhouette of the great Taj was right in front of me on the opposite side of the river while the sun gradually began its descent. There were some tourists waiting for a spectacular view at the sandbank on the river ready to snap the most stunning moments. The sun was not positioned right behind the Taj Mahal but oblique to the far right of the monument. Anyway, the last light of the day finally created a super imposing view of the grand monument of love. It really was a romantic scene worth waiting for. My trip in Agra was then complete after the sun totally disappeared behind the horizon sky of Agra.

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Jama Masjid in Delhi

Delhi

Days Long of A Great Delight

India Gate 56

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Clockwise from above: Clockwise from above: Lal Qila - the Red Fort of Delhi; Jama Masjid; street in the Connaught Place area; passengers on a rickshaw at Chandni Chowk Market; An Indian lady in colourful costume Delhi was the last port of call before I flew back home after a long and exhausting journey through several cities in India, so I had a reasonable excuse to splurge on good food, 5-star accommodation, and shopping in the capital city of India. With a personal butler on hand after I had checked in on an executive floor at the Sheraton New Delhi Hotel, it was very hard to force myself to get out of my room to see what’s going on outside while I was lying down lazily on the daybed asking my butler to make me a cup of coffee. Actually Delhi was a city for me to get a break from the trip. I would visit some remarkable places in the city, spending most of the time strolling around shopping sites and certainly getting some rest in my cozy room. That was a plan for me to follow loosely while I was spending my days in the metro city. On the way to the hotel, I looked out of the window of the car and it is obvious Delhi is the place for all walks of life with a harmonous mixture of ancient and modern blended into one city. A friend of mine told me he had made a second visit to Delhi ten years after his first visit and he was quite shocked with the dramatic changes of the city.

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Delhi is a diverse place where you can buy a pack of ten pairs of socks at less than 1 US Dollar at an old local market while rich people spend their cash extravagantly for one pair of brand-name shoes at several hundreds US Dollars in a modern shopping mall downtown. Delhi is the place where I could notice a very big gab between the poor and the rich. Just a few blocks away from the Sheraton, there is a newly opened shopping complex where I spent one evening promenading in the modern compound of buildings. There are many shops inside inviting rich people with world-recognizable brand name products. It is the place where the new generation of Indians wealthy people and new Indian families assemble for their leisure purpose having their credit cards levied. A day before, I had visited the historic Red Fort and spent several hours at the huge market place, Chandni Chowk, located opposite the main façade of the fort. There was a noticable difference in the type of people I saw at the shopping mall. It was just like a certain place belonged to a certain group of people. My Indian friend admited that classes of people still remain today.

Sidewalk hamburger stand and local snacks Products from Tibet, sold at Tibet market in Chandni Chowk

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Arakashan - the road of hundreds of hotels in New Delhi

Back to the Chandni Chowk Market, I was fascinated by its lively vibe. There were a huge numbers of goods for sale ranging from fashioned apparels, luggage, household utensils, handicrafts, IT and electronic products, and so on. The marketplace being marked as Asia’s largest wholesale market occupies the area on the main road opposite the Red Fort to the vast area on many backstreets. Within a short walk was situated the Jama Masjid, the principal mosque of Old Delhi, where I also paid a visit.

This page: Modern shopping complex in Delhi

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This page and facing page: Vivid atmosphere at Dilli Haat Market In the heart of Delhi was located Dilli Haat, a combination point for a food plaza and craft bazaar built with a good idea. It is where various handicraft products from every region and city throughout India are sold in one place. But it slightly irritated me when I found many of the same souvenir items I had bought, and had been carrying, from the very first days of my trip in Jodhpur and Jaipur and were being sold here at a similar price. Poor me! Anyway, there’re something else to enjoy buying. Delhi is definitely the vibrant city that gave me a footloose time off getting around and I saw thousands of charming faces of Indians on busy streets. My trip to India would never be complete unless I made a visit to the Indian’s capital city, Delhi.

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Overnight | new delhi

Sheraton New Delhi

S a n c t u a r y o f H a p p i n e s s i n To w n

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ocated right in the city center of Southern Delhi where guests can easily access major city destinations like the airport, convention center, hospitals and shopping centers, Sheraton New Delhi is a perfect place to warmly host both business visitors and holidaymakers alike.

its Deluxe Executive Club offers the guests a spacious environment and international standards of amenities. While staying in a cozy environment, the guests can still expose themselves to the business world with Wi-Fi connectivity and round the clock business center facilities.

From the moment guests step into the hotel grounds, they immediately feel the unique Indian hospitality style that impresses, making guests feel at home but with enhancing facilities to give all guests the most comfortable of stays.

Besides, a five star Sheraton New Delhi is well recognized among the locals and all guests with its superb cuisines presented in a range of selected authentic restaurants and bars. The Pan Asian Restaurant presents a colorful repertoire of the seven gastronomic landscapes and is a sheer delight for lovers of Pan-Asian fare while The South In-

The contemporary colors and design of its well furnished 220 guest rooms and

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Eat East | India

story : Chef J P Singh photos : Bukhara & Gaid P. Kornsilp

dian Cuisine Dakshin Restaurant is a showcase of rich diversity and local tastes with rare pleasures of authentic coastal and regional specialties from Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, Dakshin takes your taste buds on an unforgettable culinary journey. For those who want to get some different kind of fun, they can enjoy themselves at the Baywatch restaurant and the Lounge Bar. Experience genuine Indian hospitality and make your next visit to Delhi more memorable, Sheraton Delhi is waiting to answer your questions.

Bukhara

Culinary Tales of the North Indian

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rom its cradle in the heart of North India, the tandoor travelled along trade routes, beginning as early as 165 BC when the Kushan Empire covered territory from the western part of China to the border of Persia, from Sind, Gujarat, Punjab, Kashmir and right up to Benars. Traders heading from Punjab to the North-West Frontier provinces along the famous Silk Road spread their cuisine, knowledge of food and the use of the tandoor to other parts of the world. For more information, please contact Sheraton New Delhi, District Centre, Saket, New Delhi 110017,India Tel : 91-11- 42661122 Fax: 91-11-42662112. 66

North–West Frontier cuisine uses a simplistic style of preparation, with large chunks of meat, seafood and vegetables marinated sparingly and cooked in

the clay tandoor at a high temperature so they remain tender and succulent. The spices and flavours are used judiciously so as not to overpower the main dish and remain appealing to every palate. The rustic nature of the cuisine and the focus on preserving the flavours and ingredients is another unique selling point of the cuisine. North West Frontier cuisine has long been popular around the world, mainly because most kebabs owe their origins to this cuisine and because of its unique style of cooking in terms of methods and the quality of the ingredients used. The flavour

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tomatoes, ginger, garlic, salt simmered overnight on coal embers and finished with cream and a dollop of butter. Another dish called Sikandari Raan features a whole leg of spring lamb marinated in a mixture of malt vinegar, salt, ginger, garlic, royal cumin, cloves, bay leaves and braised in the marinade and cooked on a slow fire for a longer time, allowing the spices to really seep into the meat (raan), which is grilled in a deep charcoal oven to perfection. Reputed to be the world’s best Indian restaurant, Bukhara’s incredible menu has remained unchanged for the last 31 years. Redolent of the rugged flavours of North-West Frontier cuisine, Bukhara’s delicious food has, over the years, created a formidable reputation. This is succulent Khyber fare - low on oil and high on authenticity - at its best.

that the clay tandoor imparts on the food cannot be duplicated, while this method is quite adaptable to vegetarian ingredients/kebabs. Thus the tandoori aloo or the tandoori phool (cauliflower) is also as popular as tandoori murgh or chicken tikka. Bukhara brought the subtleties and nuances of North-West Frontier cuisine that lay hidden in time to the world. The chefs of Bukhara can be said to be have perfected clay oven cooking into a fine art. It is just not a restaurant, it is an experience. While the preparation seems simplistic, the standardization of recipes, quality of the ingredients used, marinating time, usage

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of various tenderizers and the temperature of the tandoor are followed religiously. The food is cooked in rustic style on slow fire for a long time, especially for dishes like Dal Bukhara which tastes best when cooked overnight on a slow charcoal fire. It is a harmony of black lentils,

At Bukhara, visual vibrancy and culinary perfection come together in a truly unforgettable dining experience. Exceeding the highest quality of food and service standards, waiting unobtrusively upon you with a smile and warm courtesy that captures the essence of India, the restaurant awaits at the ITC Hotel Maurya. The mood is set with the perfect blend of efficient

chefs and craftsman and an understanding of the desires of global travellers, making it a preferred restaurant for visiting heads of state, corporate honchos and celebrities. Bukhara has played host to innumerable world dignitaries including Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Bryan Adams, Greg Chappel, Cherie and Tony Blair, Greek Prime Minister Konstandinos Karamanlis and Singaporean President Seellapan Rama Nathan. Offering the most delicious kebabs found anywhere in the world, Bukhara was awarded the ‘Golden Fork’ in 1991 and the “Restaurant of the Year for Indian Cuisine 1998”. Bukhara has also received recognition from the renowned ‘Restaurant’ magazine of the UK for the years 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 & 2008. And for all these years it has been placed among the top 50 best restaurants of the world and as number one in Asia. Bukhara also got a mention in Patricia Schultz’ New York bestseller “A Thousand Places to see before you Die’’. The inaugural edition of The Miele Guide, Asia’s first truly independent and authoritative restaurant guide, rated Bukhara as the 14th Best Restaurant in Asia. And it’s still going strong, gathering fans from across the world. For more information: + 91 11 2611 2233.

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En Route | MUMBAI

story: Manachai Inkaew photos: Gaid Phitthayakornsilp

Dream Hunting in

Mumbai Being the country’s biggest city, Mumbai has become the nation’s most favorite destination for local people to grab their individual dreams. For international investors, this city is one of the biggest hubs in the East that provides many opportunities. How about for the travelers? It is a perfect place to witness the excitements of India’s biggest city dealing with much diversity for all dream catchers.

Taj Mahal Hotel and Gateway of India, Mumbai 72

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Most convenient way to get around the city of Mumbai is by taxi

Indian food seller

Street life in the city

A

fter some 3 hours enjoying the in-flight service of Jet Airways from Bangkok, I found myself standing at the Sahar International Airport where I could witness some new constructions within the airport in order for it to cope with the increasing air traffic.

Sunset at Juhu Beach

Mumbai or previously known as Bombay is the capital city of Maharashtra and often referred as the ‘Economic Power House of India’ Remarkably, it is well recognized as the financial and commercial capital of India. A modern metropolis as well as a living museum of the British era in India which can be clearly seen in this city.

Vendor at Juhu Beach 74

some are jogging or walking their dogs and some are enjoying swimming in the sea. The sun was gradually setting at the edge of the Arabian Sea but the people in the beach are becoming more crowded. A lot more activities are set. It made me feel like I was walking around a very lively funfair. The food stalls are full of people who bring their families for recreational activities. Those travelers who want to test the real Indian street foods can also enjoy eating here too. The price is half the price than food served in the restaurants.

As soon as I was outside the airport, a young Indian guy was smilingly waiting for me in front of the exit way. Seeing from his teeth, this young man is in keeping with India’s old tradition of chewing betel nut.

The sun has finally set in Juhu Beach and people are still crowded around with more activities being offered. I didn’t miss my last chance to experience Indian beach massage before the end of a lively day.

The place I checked in to was the Best Western Emerald located just a few minutes walk to one of the most famous beaches of Juhu. I didn’t miss a chance to stroll around this long beach. It was a fascinating scene when I first entered the beach. I soon found that this beach is the natural property for all to enjoy.

In fact, Mumbai reflects unusual diversity in all its forms – it is not only the city of commercial and financial activities, but also the city of temples, churches, mosques, shrines and much much more. Besides, it is the hub of tall skyscrapers as well as wide sprawling slums, one of them being the biggest slum in Asia. Moreover, here you can see it as the city of age old traditions and high fashions, the industrialists’ haven and the largest movie making center of the world.

Some homeless families spend their lives by the shady corners of the walls. Young Indian boys play their country’s most popular sport, cricket, by the beach while

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Rajabai Clock Tower

Walkway inside a colonial building in downtown Mumbai

Nehru Center and Museum

As I said Mumbai features rich diversity and there are a lot of attractions that the travelers can appreciate. I spent time wandering around the city and finally standing at the Marine Drive area where I could see the superb coastal views. Marine Drive, which encompasses the most beautiful Chowpatty Beach and Nariman Point and is one of the perfect places to appreciate the breathtaking scene of sunset. Not very far from the Marine Drive is Kamla Nehru Park where the children and their parents can hang around together. After filling my stomach with delicious Indian food, I headed to see the Gateway of India which is located next to the Taj Mahal Hotel where there was the tragic scene of the Mumbai attack last year. The Gateway of India seems to be one of the landmarks of Mumbai city. It lies on the southern side of the city. The gateway was opened in 1924, although stopped being used some 20 years later. This has become a favored gathering spot, attracting large crowds, who come here to enjoy the atmosphere, street entertainment, photographers, giant-balloon sellers, pleasure boats and horse-drawn carriages.

Students from Mumbai University 76

Close to the Gateway is the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower which by the time I was visiting, had undergone renovations after the terrorists attack. However, seeing from what I have seen, the Indian people are having good encouragement. They are working hard to restore confidence for visitors which I think they can make as the numbers of big crowds flowing around the city.

Boot house in Hanging Gardens

Old mailbox in front of Mumbai post office headquarter 77


Marine Drive

Tourists visiting The Taj Mahal Hotel

This majestic Taj Mahal Palace and Tower is considered an important landmark located next to the harbor. It was built more than 100 years ago and has become one of the city’s most luxurious hotels with more than 500 guest rooms. I looked at its domes pointing to the clear blue clear sky and imagined the ambitious faces of human beings who created such an elegant landmark on earth.

Double-deck bus in Mumbai

The architectural scene in Mumbai is fantastic. Travelers can walk from one corner to another corner with different feelings and experiences. Waking street people are filled with faces of hope. The scene of people working hard both young and old reflects the fact that Mumbai city is full hopes and dreams that all people can catch one way or another. As a traveler, I felt impressed by their colorful flow of lives which drive the world restlessly. See you again Mumbai!

Artist selling his paintings in front of Mubai Art Gallery 78

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Overnight | mumbai

T

he long shoreline of the Arabian Sea at Juhu Beach, located in the central suburb of Mumbai, is a place of joy where many local visitors and tourists come to enjoy breathtaking views of the sunset. As well as its famous long coastline, Juhu Beach also offers a seaside funfair where beach lovers can enjoy local food, shopping and even a beach massage. Excellently located close to the lively Juhu Beach and up market areas, Best Western the Emerald is a three-star accommodation with premium service. It is offering guests a variety of room types ranging from furnished Superior Rooms, Deluxe Rooms, Studio and Club Rooms and exquisitely furnished and equipped one to three bedroom Suites or apartments, to suit individual guests preferences.

Best Western the Emerald

A p l a ce to fe e l t h e c h a r m s o f J u h u B e a c h

Conveniently, Best Western the Emerald is close to the airport while being near the city’s most popular Juhu Beach with just a few minutes walk to experience a recreational atmosphere with a comprehensive range of local foods and beverages up for grabs.

The staff are very affable and helpful for any arrangements the guests may have, for example seminars or conferences for groups from 25 to 425, local tour arrangements, transfers etc. Best Western the Emerald is one of the best midrange hotels at Juhu and the neighboring area.

For more information, please contact: Best Western the Emerald, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu, Bombay 400049, INDIA Tel: + 91-22-6714 4000 Fax: + 91-22-6714 4005 Email: info@theemerald.com www.theemerald.com.

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Complete d i t s M i s s i o n T he special 23 day travel event to explore the charms of Thailand’s borderline came to an end recently with great success, thanks to ‘Toyota Thailand’ raising awareness of travelling locally.

The final 4th and 5th trips headed down to the South, starting with Petchaburi Province, where from their smart caravan the beauty of Mrigadayavan Palace was revealed, the Royal Home of King Rama VI. The team then proceeded to Prachuabkhirikhan where they could enjoy the white and pristine beach along the coastline. On the way, they have stopped to visit several interesting places such as the Marine Life Centre, and Wat Tangsai Temple Park which houses Buddhakitti Sirichai’s replica and many Buddhist images. From Prachuabkhirikhan Province, the team headed down to Surat Thani before entering the

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culture rich province of Nakhonsi Thammarat. The caravan then stopped for a while, as everyone took time to pay worship to the city’s ancient Wat Phra Mahatat. They then continued on to the Nakhonsi Thammarat’s Pakpanang District, where old ways of southern style living can still be seen. Besides this, in this area there are many manmade sanctuaries or condos for native swallows, which provide a good income for local villagers as they collect the bird’s nests to sell. Then, the team had some good moments at the Taloompuk Cave, where in the year 1962 a large storm unfortunately killed many people, and completely destroyed entire communities in the area. Songkhla was the next destination; where the team had a chance to breath in the fresh sea air, enjoying a cool breeze on its famous Simila Beach. They then drove onward, passing Satun Province, and

witnessed a group from ‘Petra Marine National Park’ exploring the Andaman Sea. From Satun, they turned off to Trang Province, Krabi and Phuket. Apart from enjoying the beautiful beaches of Phuket, they also traced back to the old heritage of the area while visiting the Sino-Portuguese Building Street. From Phuket, the caravan tour proceeded on to visit the previous Tsunami sites, which now have re-grown and reclaimed their previously lost beauty, attracting many big crowds of holidaymakers again. The Final destinations, coming up from the South were some stops at Ranong Province and Hat Nawakorn National Park, which were intended to show these visitors how amazing some of the naturally created wonders within their own country can be. The mission of 8,800 km’s to explore the charms of the Kingdom’s borderline successfully came to an end. ‘Smart Caravan, journeys to make you love Thailand more’ campaign has done a great job of encouraging Thai people to travel within the motherland.

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On Display | bangkok

story : Attapong Akkarasirakul photos : Warong Suwanchartkul

Museum Siam

A Th a i Ti m e M a c h i n e

T

he The centuries-old mysteries of the Suvarnabhumi region, which is behind the golden era of Siam that formed the nation we know today as Thailand, leads many to question “Who are we?”, and “What does ‘Thainess’ really mean?” These questions led to the creation of “Essays on Thailand,” a permanent exhibition that invites us to find the answers for ourselves at Museum Siam. The area of Museum Siam is surrounded by historical places, namely Wat Phra Chetuphon (Wat Pho), the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) and Sanam Luang. Even the building that houses Museum Siam was once the Ministry of Commerce, built during the reign of King Rama VI. Rattanakosin is always crowded with Thai and foreign tourists who come to appreciate the heart of Bangkok’s old town, where the nostalgic charms of the old days blend into the atmosphere of modern society. But have we ever questioned why its many landmarks are so interesting? 84

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A short introductory film was shown shortly after we stepped into the “Immersive Theatre”. Though I was still puzzled by the first chapter of the story, I found myself in another dazzling environment when I entered the next room. ‘Thainess’ is certainly in the air, depicted by a scene of a temple fair, Thai boxing, Thai classical dancing, a tuk-tuk taxi, a spirit house, street hawkers, grilled chicken and papaya salad som tam. But while these things certainly reminded me of what it means to be Thai, the question of what typical Thai really is remained. As I soon learned, the answer was ahead.

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nings of the Suvarnabhumi civilization. My journey is full of stories which are told through modern multimedia presentations, which inspire new thoughts and encourage people to interact and enjoy finding the answers through an endless self-learning experience.

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All of the above questions become the main theme of the contents exhibited in Museum Siam. However, the content is not the only thing that makes this museum interesting; the way they are exhibited and displayed makes it outstanding, unique from other museums in the country.

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For more information on Museum Siam, please contact Tel: +66 2225 2777. www.ndmi.or.th. 86

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the past and inspire me to imagine the lives of my ancestors during those times. I wonder how much they would be proud of if they had a chance to see how far we’ve come today. While I’m enjoying the exhibition, the stream of new knowledge I acquire blends with the things I’ve learnt long before. Each step I take brings me closer to my own identity. I leave Museum Siam with the thought that if our country had more such places, department stores may no longer be the first choice for weekend excursions.

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ARTropical

“Noble Individual - Satu” E x h i b i t i o n b y A l o n g k o r n La u watt h a n a Number 1 Gallery 2 3 A P R – 2 4 M AY 2 0 0 9 This particular series of works by Alongkorn Lauwatthana is the latest interpretation of the artist’s own experiences, expressing the harsh reality of absolute truth, without any attachment to the superficiality of physical appearance; mimicking his life, his works resolve is to develop and progress.

“He Is the Most Beautiful Lady III” S o l o e x h i b i t i o n b y C h a k a p h a n R at a n a c h a n Th e S i l o m G a l l e r i a A r t S p a ce 2 4 A P R – 2 4 M AY 2 0 0 9 Inspired by the emotional shows performed by lady-boys on stage, and their routine backstage activities consisting of facial makeup, wigs, costumes and ornaments. Artist Chakaphan Ratanachan has portrayed the lady-boy dancers in his contemporary artworks, producing an artistic reflection of conflicts between their masculine physiques and feminine expression. More Info: +66 86 600 3906, +66 2630 3381

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Capitalism is Dying!

By Va s a n S i tt h i k e t Th a v i b u G a l l e r y 2 5 A P R – 1 7 M AY 2 0 0 9

On the back of the current financial crisis, Vasan Sitthiket will present a series of paintings and an installation piece related to capitalism and the financial trouble the world finds itself in. The artist explores some reasons behind the crisis, and points fingers – as he has become infamous for. More Info: www.thavibu.com , +66 2266 5454

Reflection

Happiness

co n te m p o r a r y wo r k of a r t b y N a re t Ya m a h a r n Gossip Gallery – Silom Galleria 2 A P R 0 9 – 9 M AY 0 9

P i c h a ya K h u n n a wat 1 0 0 To n s o n G a l l e r y 2 A P R – 1 0 M AY 2 0 0 9

As the title suggests, the collection’s main inspiration originates from the artist’s visions derived from the shadows an object casts on a surface. The surface could be solid ground or water in a pond.  To Naret, the shadows and reflections shift and change shape constantly. Depending on the brightness of the illuminating light, the images can be vivid with colour or dull and bland. Change is a given, but the reflections never go away.

Pichaya continues to reflect his personal perspective on social environments through his paintings, drawings, and acrylic on Paper. His latest works have become more concrete and compassionate. As he has changed his life style and attitude, persuaded by all kinds of things happening around him in the past few years, Pichaya wants to express “Happiness” in a way that is factual and frank. “ Human interaction” is the theme he uses in his latest works to represent the emotion, and also display an awareness of happiness through different social situations.

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