Thursday, 21 October 2021

Cover Story : Vol.35 No.1 / 5 January 2018

By Kanjana

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is hoping to make Thailand a preferred destination among foreign visitors as part of its 2018 marketing initiative. In 2018, TAT will change its marketing angle slightly with a new concept of “Open to the New Shades of Thailand”. The concept will deepen the Unique Thai Local Experience to a Million Shades of Thailand. This will give more depth to the presentation of Thailand’s tourism, and enhance the country’s image as a land of amazing diversity worth discovering further.

The concept of Open to the New Shades of Thailand reflects another kind of “Thainess”, which is the unique characteristic of the Thai people to welcome visitors from around the world. TAT’s Open to the New Shades of Thailand concept will encourage visitors to discover new perspectives in existing attractions, or indulge in experiences in new tourist attractions. There are 5 sub-themes under this concept -- Beach and Nature, Gastronomy, Art and Craft, Culture, and Way of Life.

Shades of Thai Beach & Nature

Thailand is rich in natural attractions. There are more than 100 national parks, including over 20 marine parks. With a long coastline of over 3,000 kilometers, Thailand offers numerous beautiful beaches and islands, both on the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman. That’s why Thailand has become one of the world’s most popular destinations for international tourists.

A) Gulf of Thailand

Some premier beach resort towns on the Gulf of Thailand are as follows:

Pattaya (120 km from Bangkok) Less than a two-hour drive from Bangkok, Pattaya has become famous for its sunny tropical beaches, many tourist attractions, fantastic restaurants and shopping facilities but, most notably, its vibrant nightlife.

Hua Hin (200 km) Being the country's oldest beach resort, this long white sandy beach attracts lots of Thai and foreign tourists who seek a nice beach holiday close to Bangkok.

Ko Samui (700 km) Samui is Thailand's second most popular vacation island after Phuket. It is an island of natural beauty and charm, a place where you can have your holiday anyway you like it. Beautiful white sand beaches, clear blue water, and lush tropical gardens await you at this ideal holiday destination.

B) Andaman Coast

Consisting of many popular tourist spots, Andaman coast is a real paradise for both beach and water sport lovers. Here are some famous places.

Phuket (870 km) Spectacular scenery, stunning tropical sunsets and warm blue sea awaits you at Asia's most popular beach destination. This fun island provides a marvellous combination of white sandy beaches, superb hospitality and great value accommodation!

Krabi (814 km) This is a coastal province abounding with countless natural attractions. The Krabi coastline is dotted with many small limestone islands, palm fringed beaches, mangroves, caves, and strange rock formations. It offers a great opportunity for diving due to its numerous marine resources including over a hundred offshore islands. Krabi's Railay Beach is the most well-known and popular climbing destination in Thailand. Phi Phi Islands, located about 40 km from Krabi and can be reached by a 2-hour boat trip, are among the most beautiful islands in the world.

Phang-Nga (800 km) This province is renowned for a variety of outstanding natural attractions including the stunning Phang Nga Bay, the idyllic Surin and Similan Islands, and the sandy coast of Khao Lak. The most famous place is Phang Nga Bay National Park, a geological wonder filled with islets, sunken caverns, and startling rock formations rising vertically out of the sea.

Shades of Thai Gastronomy

Gastronomy tourism is considered as an important part of the travel through local experiences. Thai cuisine is one of the most renowned in the world. It is well known for the diversity of ingredients, outstanding spiciness and ample medicinal properties. It is characterized by a remarkable balance of sour, sweet, creamy, salty and spicy flavours. Each part of Thailand features a different cuisine prepared with essential local ingredients. Apart from its long tradition, Thai food owes its fame to the meticulous attention needed for ingredient selection, flavouring, cooking, and even the graceful arrangement of food in elegantly decorated containers. Such qualities represent the charm of Thai cuisine, earning it worldwide recognition.

Here are some famous Thai dishes that you should try when visiting Thailand -- Tom Yum Kung, Phat Thai, Som Tam (Green Papaya Salad), Massaman Curry, and Green Chicken Curry. All these dishes are voted among the World’s 50 Best Foods by CNN travel readers.

Shades of Thai Art & Craft

Traditional Thai art primarily consists of Buddhist art with influences from Thai folklore and Hinduism. Thai sculptures most often depict images of the Buddha and other characters from Buddhist and Hindu mythology. Examples of traditional Thai architecture and paintings can be clearly seen in the old temples that are scattered around Bangkok and other provinces. The obvious examples of Thai arts include the martial art of Thai boxing, the theatrical mask performance called "Khon", and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok.

Thailand art and craft is woven into the country's rich cultural heritage and is an inherent part of Thailand's history and national identity. Traditional Thai art and craft ranges from paintings and musical instruments to beautiful silk, silverware, pottery, puppets, Khon masks, bronze ware, lacquer ware, sculptures, wood carvings, ceramics and much more. Moreover, Thai handicrafts are well-known for elaborate design, fine craftsmanship and low prices.

Shades of Thai Culture

Thai culture is deeply influenced by Buddhism. With around 95% of Thailand’s population being Buddhist, the belief system and values of Buddhism play a key role in day-to-day life and the formation of Thai culture. Many public holidays in Thailand are related to Buddhist festival. A Buddhist temple is not just a place of worship but also a community center. It is thus a best place to learn about Thai art and culture.

Thai people are generally polite, kind and friendly. Elderly people are considered to be important in Thai culture and are revered. Children are taught to respect their parents and teachers. Furthermore, Buddhist monks should be treated with great respect. Hierarchies of social status characterize nearly every interaction.

Shades of Thai Way of Life

Thailand is known as the Land of Smile and Thai people by nature are very friendly and hospitable. Besides, Thais are known for their compassion and gentleness, fun-loving, open-mindedness, and laid-back attitude. Thai people's hospitable personality is what contributes to the unique feature of a Thai community. Though Bangkok and many big cities have gone through the process of urbanization, Thai people in rural areas still maintain the traditional and peaceful way of life.

You can experience true happiness in simplicity just by spending some time with local family. If you are in Bangkok, one of the easiest and best ways to observe Thai way of life is visiting floating markets or taking boat trips to explore Bangkok canals. You will be amazed to see that people in those areas still maintain traditional, laid-back way of life.

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