Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit - the wonderful hotel in Bangkok

Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit
On a recent trip to Bangkok I was fortunate to stay at the Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit. This is a new modern 29 floor hotel that is part of the respected IHG Hotel chain.

Upon my arrival the Concierge Team on the Ground Floor took care of my bags and I was taken to the Reception on the 9th floor. I was smoothly checked in by the welcoming staff, and given a welcome drink.

I enjoyed my corner Executive Room on the 26 floor. There are a total of 300 well appointed rooms and 6 suites to choose from, with non-smoking, accessible and connecting rooms available. Complimentary wireless internet is available in all rooms, suites, Business Center, public areas and meeting spaces.

I was given access to the the Executive Lounge on the 9th floor, which offered privileges of a gourmet breakfast, evening cocktails and refreshments during their happy hour from 6pm-8pm each day and free flow of coffee anytime. I must say that their Cappuccino coffee was the best I experienced in Bangkok.

The service given by the staff at the Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit was great. They were always there to help. The service given was friendly, attentive yet not intrusive. I was greeted with smiles wherever I went in the hotel. The staff all spoke excellent English. I noticed that languages spoken by the staff also included Thai, Hindi, Japanese and Korean.

Welcome bowl of fresh fruit
My Executive Room was a good size. It was bright, modern and clean. It was light filled from the large windows that had blackout curtains to keep the room dark at night. My room provided free wifi, ergonomic work space and lamp, universal power sockets, direct-dial phone with voicemail and in-room safe. There was a hanging wardrobe, iron and ironing board, and in-room heating and A/C controls. I was very comfortable in my room. I appreciated the welcome note from the manager and the bowl of fresh fruit in the room.

The seperate large bathroom had a refreshing rain shower, toilet, seperate vanity area and a good supply of ammenities to use. There was a hair dryer, bathrobe, slippers and weighing scales. There was even an extra phone in the bathroom.

My Guest Room at Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit
I had wonderful sleeps at night on the large bed, which had a choice of pillows and down comforter.

The kitchen area provided a mini refrigerator, coffee maker, tea maker, complimentary coffee & tea supplies and complimentary bottled water.

A full range of entertainment options were in the room. A flat-screen TV with cable/satellite
and premium channels, a stereo/radio, iPod docking station with clock radio provided plenty of choice.

The Suites in the Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit have all the features of the guest rooms, with the addition of a seperate living room and a bathtub in the bathroom.

Outdoor Pool at Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit
The Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit offers plenty of recreation facilities. On the 8th floor I enjoyed a dip in the outdoor lap pool that was open from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm. I enjoyed lounging on the poolside tanning beds and the drinks and snacks from the nearby Zeta Cafe.

There is a complimentary Fitness Center with 24 hour gym access. The hotel gym is equipped with modern work out facilities and weights such as a rower, stair stepper, treadmill, elliptical machines, free weights, and a stationary bicycle.

It was a difficult choice to decide where to have breakfast each day - in the Executive Lounge on the 9th floor, or the Zeta Cafe on the 8th floor. During my stay I experiences both options and enjoyed them both. The Zeta Cafe offers an extensive breakfast buffet of hot and cold freshly cooked local Thai and International food in the restaurant overlooking the pool. They even had a Take & Go Counter at the where you could take your pick of Danish, muffins and croissants, pack them in boxes provided and carry them with you for your next bout of hunger. It is a very considerate gesture. The Executive Lounge also offered a smaller, but still delicious, breakfast buffet.

The Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit Hotel offers a choice of 2 on-site Restaurants and a Champagne Bar.

The Zeta Cafe offers all day dining and features an expansive international buffet. It provides a la carte menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Indoor, alfresco and poolside dining are available.

The Maya Restaurant, on the 29th floor, presents exquisite Indian fusion dishes with a chic yet relaxed ambience with fantastic views of the Bangkok skyline. It serves brunch, dinner, and dessert.

The Champagne Bar serves an extensive wine and drinks selection. This rooftop bar is open to 1 am every morning and is an ideal place to relax at the end of a busy day.

Evening Canapés at the Executive Lounge
One thing I noticed about the Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit is the way it welcomes children. They have a special at the moment where Kids Stay and Eat Free. Children aged 12 and under stay for free when sharing their parents’ room, and up to four children aged 12 and under eat free any time of the day in any Holiday Inn on-site restaurant. They treat children like VIP's and even give them their own special children's menu of food that children like. 

In addition to children using the swimming pool and indoor play area, I noticed several nearby attractions that would appeal to children.

Dinosaur Planet is right next door to the Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit. Here children can experience various types of dinosaurs and enjoy exciting presentations, memorable activities, and world-class performances. There is even a ferris wheel to ride on.

Benjasiri Park, a few minutes walk from the hotel, provides an oasis of relaxation and calm, offering a tranquil space for all the family to enjoy from a running track to kids playground and outdoor gym. The 11.6 acre park has large grassed areas, an ornamental lake and sculptures dotted around the park.

Dinosaur Planet, Benjasiri Park, Emporium shopping mall
The newly opened nearby EmQuatier and Emporium Shopping Malls offer a complete range of activities for children. There is a free high-tech fun park for kids. Bounce is a huge trampoline center, There is a Virtural Reality zone and a new theme park "Warp Zone by FUNfesta" that has laser tag, arcade games and an amusement park. The Little Gym of Emporium is a children's gym offering activities for kids including parent/child classes, kids dance, gymnastics, sports skills and karate. There are several cinemas to choose from.

The Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit is ideally set up for groups and meetings with 8 meeting venues. For weddings, large functions and meetings, the hotel offers a high ceiling, pillar-less versatile ballroom with LED lighting and high technology meeting equipment with a capacity up to 700 standing guests and 400 seated.

The Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit has an enviable position right in the heart of Sukhumvit. For guests who drive, complimentary daily self-parking is available from the 1st - 6th floor. Valet Parking is also available.

The better option is to use the nearby BTS Asoke and Phrom Phong Skytrain stations, both within walking distance of the hotel.

For shopping pleasure the new EmQuatier and Emporium Shopping Malls are located either side of the Phrom Phong Skytrain station. Here you will find many shops, a department store, cafes, restaurants, cinemas and other leisure pursuits. For shopping further afield, a BTS Skytrain can be taken to shopping malls located next to other BTS stations. The hotel also offers free tuk-tuk transport to Nana BTS station every 30 minutes in the morning and evening.

For this my first trip to Bangkok, I was looked after very well at the Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit. I would not hesitate to stay there again the next time I come to Bangkok. It is a wonderful hotel for individuals, couples and families to stay at. Business people and leisure tourists will appreciate all that the Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit offers. 

Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit

Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit

1 Sukhumvit 22, Klongton, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110, Thailand

Phone: 66 2 6834888 
+61 1800 760 595

BOOK ONLINE OR CALL RESERVATIONS 1800 007 697

Government Stresses the Need for Investment in the Thai-Chinese Railway Project

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has cited the Thai-Chinese high-speed railway project as an investment for the future, saying that the project would be carried out under the government-to-government basis.

The Prime Minister gave an explanation of the Thai-Chinese railway project in his national address on 23 June 2017. The explanation came after the Government invoked Section 44 of the Interim Constitution to clear technical and legal hurdles in order to expedite the project.

He stressed the need for Thailand to enhance its competitiveness and distribute wealth to the regional areas of the country. The project would link Thailand’s transportation networks with those of other countries in the framework of the "One Belt, One Road” initiative.

Thailand needs to carry out the railway links, along with its cross-continental highway networks. The Prime Minister said that Laos is now in the process of building a high-speed railway to be connected with that of Thailand. Therefore, Thailand should start the project now. It also needs to take into consideration the value of good relations with 64 countries in the framework of the One Belt, One Road initiative.

Both Thailand and China have already held 18 meetings to discuss joint investment in the project, which was initially set at 1.7 billion baht. The Prime Minister said that the standards of Chinese technology have been recognized and that the technology has also been used in many countries, including those in ASEAN.

On the part of Thai investment, he said, bidding would be conducted by Thailand and Thai companies would be entrusted with the construction work. As many local construction materials as possible would be used in the project. Chinese engineers would be entrusted with designing and they would supervise the construction work to be handled by Thai companies. The design process must be carried out with great efficiency in accordance with international standards, as well.

As for technology transfer, the Prime Minister said that Thai engineers would join in planning the construction work and supervising the project. The issue must be further discussed and it is also included in the agreement of the project.

The Prime Minister stated that the Government and the National Council for Peace and Order needed to use Section 44 of the Interim Constitution in order that the project would proceed as planned. Delays in the project could result in lost opportunities for Thailand to become the regional center for connectivity with neighboring countries.

Priscilla Queen Of The Desert is coming home!

Get ready to shake your groove thing as PRISCILLA rocks in to Australia! Featuring a non-stop parade of dance-floor classics including IT’S RAINING MEN, I WILL SURVIVE, FINALLY, and many more.

Coming to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide in 2018.

TICKETS GO ON SALE THIS AUGUST!

From London to Brisbane - The Royal Ballet has landed

From London to Brisbane, The Royal Ballet has landed

The wait is over as members of The Royal Ballet arrive in Brisbane, in the Company's first Australian visit for 15 years.

Premier and Minister for the Arts Annastacia Palaszczuk welcomed The Royal Ballet to Queensland ahead of its residency at Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) as part of the acclaimed International Series.

“I know all Queenslanders join me in welcoming The Royal Ballet, which will present award winning productions of Woolf Works and The Winter's Tale, (29 June to 9 July 2017) at QPAC for the first time outside of the Company's home in London's Covent Garden,” she said.

“More than 160 company members, including The Royal Opera House Chief Executive, Alex Beard, The Royal Ballet Director, Kevin O' Hare, Choreographers Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon, and 85 dancers are arriving in Brisbane ahead of the company's exclusive Queensland visit.

“In addition, The Royal Ballet has travelled with the largest prop ever built by the Royal Opera House. The spectacular 9-metre high and 11-metre wide tree is a key set element in the production The Winter's Tale.

“I am proud that my Government through Tourism and Events Queensland has continued to support QPAC's International Series to enable the exclusive presentations of the world's best performance companies here in Queensland.

“In a wonderful addition to their QPAC performances, and in a first for the QPAC International Series, a contingent of the Company's dancers will also travel to Cairns for a one night only Gala performance in the Munro Martin Parklands on 12 July 2017.

“By extending the reach of QPAC's International Series and creating opportunities for cultural exchange across Queensland, it is building a tangible legacy for the state's cultural sector and for our communities and furthers Queensland's reputation as a vibrant cultural destination,” Premier Palaszczuk said.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones also welcomed Britain's flagship ballet company highlighting the benefits that nationally exclusive cultural events such as the season by The Royal Ballet bring to Queensland.

“Over the past seven years of the QPAC International Series, on average a third of season audiences travelled from outside of Brisbane to see performances stimulating visitation and the local economy in Queensland,” Minister Jones said.

“This year, Brisbane and Cairns will play host to ballet 'royalty' and we look forward to welcoming visitors to both cities for this extraordinary cultural program,” she said.

QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas highlighted the broad program of events and activity that surrounds the season and is designed to offer audiences and the public a way to connect with the Company, the themes and relevance of the two works and their own creative practice.

“Through The Royal Ballet season we celebrate exquisite artistry and phenomenal athleticism as well as the role dance and movement plays in our everyday lives. It's no accident we have projects called We All Dance and Let's Dance!

“Dance and movement can strengthen our social connections, promote physical and mental health and create a lot of joy.

“We are committed to creating live performance experiences for all Queenslanders. Following the ballet's season at QPAC, an ensemble of dancers will travel to Cairns to perform a one night only Gala Performance in Munro Martin Parklands. The specially curated program will include a series of short solo and pas de deux works from Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet and Don Quixote as well as others,” said Mr Kotzas.

For more information on The Royal Ballet season and associated program of free and ticketed events at QPAC please go to https://www.qpac.com.au/the-royal-balle

The Royal Ballet's Woolf Works and The Winter's Tale will run in the Lyric Theatre for an exclusive 2017 QPAC International Series season from 29 June to 9 July 2017. For tickets to these or any of the events mentioned visit qpac.com.au or 136 246

For tickets to the Cairns Gala Performance in the Munro Martin Parklands on 12 July 2017 go to via www.ticketlink.com.au or 1300 855 835.

The QPAC 2017 International Series with The Royal Ballet is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland as part of the It's Live! In Queensland major events calendar. The Gala Performance in Cairns is supported by Arts Queensland's Playing Queensland Fund.

The QPAC International Series is also supported by Principal Partner, MinterEllison; Major Partners, Treasury Casino & Hotel and Aveo; Airline Partner, Singapore Airlines; Accommodation Partner, Mantra Group; Champagne Partner, MOET Chandon; and Media Partner, JC Decaux. The Series also receives philanthropic support from QPAC's Circle of Influence members, and benefactor, Mr Philip Bacon.

Visit Hida Takayama

Although it is the rainy season in Japan, not quite rain here. Most of the days are sunny or cloudy. (Currently, here is sunny and bright, about 28℃! which is already hot for us! That might be one of the reasons that we crave to see some green!)

The color contrast between the houses and plants bring out the best in each other and make us refreshed.

In spite of the rainy season, recent alpine days have a been cloudy or a blue sky. At Present, it's about 28°C Hot :-! such a day is especially cool to the cool green and plants. 

In the townscape of takayama in early summer, the bowls of beautiful plants are lined up with the landscape of the city.

Get swept up in the 10th anniversary of Mary Poppins Festival

The sweetest festivities start TODAY, with plenty on offer for the young, and the young at heart in the heritage city of Maryborough.

Live performances, book readings, circus workshops and famous authors are just the beginning of a jam packed program in the birthplace of the Mary Poppins author.

Have a spoonful of sugar at Mary Poppins Day in the Park!
On Saturday July 1, the Mary Poppins Day in the Park will take over the Maryborough streets for Queensland's most whimsical event!

The historic Maryborough Portside precinct transforms into the scenes of Cherry Tree Lane to celebrate the unique connection to author P L Travers.

Travers was born in 1899 in the heritage-listed bank building that her father managed, where she lived for the first two years of her life.

Magic fills the air in the heritage city where the novel comes alive as Admiral Boom fires his time cannon throughout the day. Sidewalk art, street theatre, circus workshops and more are just the beginning of all of the charming fun…

The supercalafragalistic event continues with chimney sweep challenges, nanny races and is topped off with a grand parade all in famous Cherry Tree Lane.

Maryborough's riverside parks and heritage streetscapes are the perfect setting for this unique and quirky festival. With just a spoonful of imagination they will transform into pages from the novels, creating a fantasy experience for all!

More supercalafragalistic highlights

In the beginning… A special Maryborough Story Trail tour
Lead by a member of the ancient guild of story tellers, starts in the Maryborough Bond Store basement and walks through the heritage wharf precinct. Take a journey with live performances from Butchulla and South Sea Islanders where, if you listen closely, you may even hear the voices of those gone before.

A Spoonful of Circus
A Mary Poppins themed, week-long program taught by professional circus artists, kids will learn to juggle, hula hoop, plate spin and more!

Robbery in Cherry Tree Lane
Join the forensic team to solve the mystery that's got Cherry Tree Lane in a twitter! Process DNA and learn techniques that the pros use!

Adam Harvey & Beccy Cole
For the last two decades, Adam Harvey and Beccy Cole have stayed at the forefront of Australian country music… And they're coming to Maryborough!

For all these dates and many more wonderful and quirky events, head to marypoppinsfestival.com.au.

Further news… We've lit up the streets!

With just days until the Mary Poppins Festival begins, the city has installed traffic lights using a silhouette of the world's most famous nanny!

Maryborough is now the only city in Australia that has transitioned from the regular stick-figure silhouette to a quirky representation from the city's history. It is part of a unique story trail that winds through the streets of Maryborough to discover the history of the city and Mary Poppins.

While you're there, follow the story trail through the streets of Maryborough to discover links to the novel… You're sure to be delighted!

The details:

Mary Poppins Festival – June 23 – July 2
Mary Poppins Day in the Park – July 1

For further information visit  marypoppinsfestival.com.au, BYO spoon and sugar!

Monday, 26 June 2017

VILLA SANTI HOTEL & RESORT - The dream of a dream villa

Santi Resort & Spa 
On my first visit to Luang Prabang in Laos I was fortunate to stay at the Santi Hotel & Resort, where I enjoyed its rich history, luxury and tranquility with a touch of warm Lao hospitality and personalized service.

Luang Prabang is known as the crown jewel of South East Asia. It is situated where the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers meet in Northern Laos. The city of Luang Prabang is filled with an ancient palace, many temples and charming French colonial style architecture which provides a backdrop to the timeless atmosphere of this former seat of kings. Luang Prabang was claimed by UNESCO as a World Heritage City in 1995

My room, top left, Santi Resort & Spa 
The Santi Resort & Spa is located on the edge of Luang Prabang, about 15 minute drive from town center. The Resort provides a regular shuttle service to and from its sister hotel in the old town section of Luang Prabang. 

The 67 elegantly designed rooms, Bungalows and Suites are on 12 acres of landscaped gardens and water features. I viewed mountains on the horizon, rice fields at my doorstep and canals of lotus flowers, creeks and waterfalls stretching through the sprawling serene landscape of Santi Resort & Spa.

My room at Santi Resort & Spa 
My Deluxe Room of 30sqm was on the second floor of one of the many buildings scattered around the Resort. It had a wooden floor and was decorated with beautiful wooden furniture, featuring a king bed with mosquito netting (tho there were no mosquitoes inside or outside the room). It was surrounded by the lush greenery of the Resort. 

A welcome bowl of tropical fruit welcomed me in the comfy room. Complimentary wifi internet was provided. A minibar, tea and coffee making facilities, and flat screen TV were in the room, which was made comfortable with air-conditioning.

There was an inviting marble bathroom with a shower and bathtub. My room like all the others, had its own private balcony, with mine offering garden and swimming pool views.

Swimming pool at Santi Resort & Spa 
The Santi Resort & Spa offers a free form swimming pool, spa, steam sauna and gym. It was truly a place to unwind and rejuvenate at the end of each day I attended the Mekong Tourism Forum in town.

Each morning I ate breakfast in the Torseng Restaurant which overlooked the serene views of green tropical gardens, mountains and rice paddies. Unfortuantely I did not have the opportunity to dine in the evening with the sun setting over lotus ponds, so I missed out on enjoying their evening authentic Lao specialties and international cuisines. 

I enjoyed swimming in the large blue freeform pool each day that was surrounded by the tropical greenery of the Santi Resort & Spa.

The Santi Spa delivers all aspects of wellness in an environment of tranquility; offering a wide range of treatments to leave you feeling restored, revived and inspired.

Santi Resort & Spa 
Santi Resort & Spa offers the ideal venue for incentives, team building activities, meetings and conferences. The Resort offers an impressive range of indoor and outdoor event spaces. The Kinnaree Pavillion is beautifully nestled near a large pond overlooking the rice paddies and mountains, an ideal place for private dining or cocktail reception seating up to 30 guests. The Phikkaneth conference hall is equipped with latest audiovisual equipment and meeting technology including wireless connectivity seating up from 150 guests. For beautiful outdoor events, Poolside area and Garden area can provide the perfect settings seating up from 200 to 250 guests in banquet style.

Night Market at Luang Prabang
In my spare time when staying at the Santi Resort & Spa I was able to enjoy going to some of the nearby attractions in the old part of the town. The large Night Market is held each night in a closed off street. It offers an extensive collection of handicrafts, souvenirs and food. Mount Phousi is local religious site on a 100 metre hill in the centre of the old town. It has lots of steps to climb to the top! The Royal Palace Museum was once Lao’s Royal palace. It houses many interesting historical items. The Wat Xieng Thong or Golden City Temple is one of the most important of Lao monasteries and remains a significant monument to the spirit of religion, royalty and traditional art.

Santi Resort & Spa 

Santi Resort & Spa

Nadeung Road, Ban Nadeuy, Luang Prabang, Laos
Phone:+85671 253470-9
Fax:+85671 253471

Thailand offers family fun mobile application for tourists

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is working with True Corporation to support tourist families arriving in Bangkok by giving away sim-cards and offering a Family Fun Thailand application for smartphones that allow families to take advantage of a range of promotions and offers in Thailand during June – November, 2017.

True Corporation will provide 1,000 sim-cards per month to family during the six-month period. When travellers register these sim cards, they will receive a text message via a short message service (SMS) with instructions to download the Family Fun Thailand application. Once downloaded, visitors can view family-friendly tourism products and services on offer across Thailand, including discounts of up to 60 per cent on some attractions including the Flying Squirrels, Yoyo Land, Upside Down Pattaya, Vanich Farm, Phuket, Mercure Hotels, Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok, Botanica Khao Yai, Long Beach Garden Hotel and Spa, Pattaya, Life Spa @ Sea, Springfield, Oasis Spa Lanna, and River Star Princess.

The activity is part of the ‘Family Fun’ project launched by TAT in late April to promote Thailand as a family destination, targeting especially at families from ASEAN, South Asia and the South Pacific. The project is aimed at boosting tourism to the kingdom during the ‘Green Season.’

The Family Fun Mobile App can be downloaded here:

CHINESE REALITY STARS HIT THE ROAD IN SYDNEY

Images of Sydney’s popular tourist attractions and experiences will be seen by around 220 million Chinese television viewers when the latest season of the popular Chinese reality TV show Divas Hit the Road goes to air.

The top-rating program on Hunan TV features Chinese celebrities travelling overseas, taking part in incredible experiences, on limited budgets, without the help of assistants or agents.

The episode which features the celebrities in Sydney, will showcase the stars arriving at Sydney Airport, travelling to Circular Quay via public transport, catching a water taxi to Darling Point, and taking part in a sailing lesson at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia at Rushcutters Bay.

The filming, which took place in March, was supported by Destination NSW.

Divas Hit the Road is now in its third season and airs in a prime time slot on Sunday nights in China, with the Sydney episode to air on 25 June.

Click here for more information.

Shiraishi-odori Dance in Okayama prefecture

Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Japan Shiraishi-odori Dance (Kasaoka City)

Shiraishijima is one of the Kasaoka Islands in The Inland Sea. The Shiraishi-odori Dance festival takes place here from Sunday, August 13 to Wednesday, August 16. Everyone is welcome to join in this traditional event.

7 min. on foot from JR Kasaoka Sta. to Kasaoka Port, and then 22 min. by high-speed boat (35 min. by regular boat).

https://www.okayama-japan.jp/en/spot/925