Tuesday, October 9, 2012

‘Amazing Thailand’ is in the ‘green’

By Rama Gaind

“Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time.” This should consciously be everyone’s contribution to ecotourism. 

Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa
The Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa, at
twilight, along the Chao Phraya River.
   No longer are holidaymakers seeking destinations that offer just crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches and water sports. Worldwide focus on responsible travel is reaping some benefits for ‘Amazing Thailand’ where the environment is conserved and the local community’s welfare is enhanced.   The Tourism Authority of Thailand is one corporate body that is striving to minimise ecological or other damage to areas visited for their natural and cultural interest. Jointly with the Thai tourism industry, the authority is pursuing “green initiatives” in an effort to maintain the delicate balance between tourism promotion and environmental protection to ensure long-term sustainability.
   One of the tour specialists, Royal Silk Holidays, offers an illuminating ‘Flavours and Fragrances’ tour package of the Central Plains to Samut Songkram and Petchaburi.
Cape Nidra Hotel Hua Hin
The Cape Nidra Hotel Hua Hin is a wonderful beach
resort that overlooks the Gulf of Thailand.
Photo: Rama Gaind
   Here are the 10 must-see highlights in the kingdom, starting with a luxurious stopover in Bangkok and ending with total recreation in Hua Hin and Kanchanaburi.

1. Spend deliciously lazy or adventurous days, cushioned by indulgence, at the Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa, edging the Chao Phraya River.
   Let Anantara’s Streetwise Guru Chettha Khambunditkul help you uncover the capital’s best back street cuisine and hidden cultural highlights, relax at the Mandara Spa, enjoy the riverfront sights on a Manohra dinner cruise and retrieve your harmonious connection of body, mind and soul at the Rarinjinda Wellness Spa Bangkok.
Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum
Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum is an Australian-
built complex located within Konyu Cutting.
Photo: Rama Gaind
2. Drive to the province of Samut Songkram and see how villagers produce traditional coconut sugar on plantations at Amphawa and traverse the Mae Klong River before unwinding at the Baan Amphawa Resort and Spa.

3. Savour the local produce and food at the Tha Kha Floating Market before you hear about traditional methods of producing salt at the Salt Learning School.
   Learn how the sugar palm is useful to the locals in Tambon Ban Thamrong, in Phetchaburi Province.

4. Be touched by the heart-warming humanitarian efforts of the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand at the Wild Animal Protection Centre, in Amphoe Thayang.
   Unwind at the smoke-free Petchvarin Resort and Spa on the banks of the Phetchaburi River. 
Jungle Rafts hotel
Marvellous sunrise over the River Kwai at
Jungle Rafts hotel. Photo: Rama Gaind

5. Fronting Cha-Am Beach, be enthralled by Maruekhathaiyawan Palace, built during the reign of King Rama VI in 1923.

6. ‘Explore wines from new latitudes’ at the Hua Hin Hills Vineyards, check out Thailand’s “most beautiful train station” at Hua Hin and, on the west coast of the Gulf of Thailand, be mesmerised by the beauty of Cape Nidra Hotel Hua Hin, where each of the spacious 59 suites has an inground swimming pool—and more!

7. Drive through the 98-square-kilometre 'Three Hundred Peaks' Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park and discover some of the finest examples of shoreline habitat remaining in Thailand.
   Explore the remarkable 130m-high Phraya Nakhon Cave housing a pavilion built for a visit by King Rama V in 1896. 
Lucy Clark
Former Sydneysider Lucy Clark works as manager
and veterinarian at the Wild Animal Protection
Centre, in Amphoe Thayang. Photo: Rama Gaind

8. Relive poignant moments from more than six decades ago as you walk around the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery where you will find the graves of thousands of World War II victims. 
   JEATH War Museum houses memorabilia of the Thailand-Burma Railway built by allied POWs under the direction of the Japanese Army.

9. Walk across what remains of the celebrated Bridge over the River Kwai and remember the fallen at the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum, an Australian-built complex, that houses artifacts of the Thai-Burma Railway.

10. Cast off your depression and be enveloped in nature’s tranquility as your boat glides down the River Kwai to the Jungle Rafts hotel where paradise is quaint—in the heart of the tropical forest.

   Fabulous sojourn!

Rama Gaind was a guest of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa and Cape Nidra Hotel Hua Hin.
Getting there
Contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Sydney, on (02) 9247 7549 or visitwww.tourismthailand.org. Fast facts, visit: www.tourismthailand.org/about-thailand/

Flight details 
   Thai Airways International has more than 40 flights a week between Australia and Thailand. Connections are also available with Bangkok Airways domestic network. Check out: www.thaiairways.com.au

Staying there
   Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa and Cape Nidra Hotel Hua Hin.

More information
Royal Silk Holidays specialise in ecotourism www.royalsilkholidays.com,product@royalsilkholidays.com

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