Monthly Archives: December 2014

Where to spend the New Year celebrations in Thailand?

If you are in Thailand to say “goodbye” to 2014, take advantage of the programs offered by the TAT in one of the seven major destinations of the kingdom to accompany the stroke of midnight and the arrival of the New Year.bangkok-night

In Bangkok, from December 31 to January 1 at the intersection of Ploenchit, Pathumwan and Ratchaprasong: entertainment, shows, concerts, dazzling fireworks and countdown the New Year has in front of CentralWorld complex and Amarin Plaza.
Note that the taxi company Uber offers two free tickets to its members on Christmas Eve (Bangkok only).
Two races free uberX per person, up to THB 700 including tolls
Any amount above 700 THB will be charged to your account Uber
Valid for uberX shopping requested after 1:00 December 24, 2014 and before 1:00 December 25, 2014 in Bangkok only
No coupon code required
In Chiang Mai, Tha Pae Gate in and all the Tha Pae Road down from 25 to December 31: mini-concerts, shows, cultural performances, fireworks spectacular countdown.
In Chiang Rai in the district of Mae Sai, “Countdown to 2015 3 Nations” held in the Thai-Myanmar border Thai side, from December 31 to January 1: different shows (music, dance, entertainment …) highlighting the culture of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, and countdown the New Year with fireworks.
In Pattaya, from 25 to 31 December, the Bali Hai Pier on the south end of Pattaya Beach, seven days of entertainment with famous musicians for concerts and Thai and international groups before the display of the countdown and the fire of fireworks ablaze the sky by the sea.
A Hat Yai, on December 31, “Night Paradise” and countdown 2015 Niphat Uthit 3 Sanehanusorn, Thammanoonvithi and Chee Uthit and in front of Lee Gardens Plaza and Gong Kong Villa Market Songkhla: Day concerts Thai stars (singers and groups) ending with a spectacular fireworks display.
In Phuket, from December 29 to 31 at Sanam Chai Field on the other side of the Phuket Provincial Hall: various concerts and shows, and bright floral decorations and fireworks countdown.
In Khon Kaen, from 25 to 31 December, great “Rock Party” for the countdown to 2015 Srichan Road. Will culminate the garden illuminations “Magic Light of Happiness” rock concerts and a superb countdown accompanied by a fireworks display.

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Bangkok and Chiang Mai among the 10 cheapest cities in the world

The cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai would be part of the 10 least expensive cities in the world to visit, according to a recent report (Backpacker Index for 2014) published by Price of Travel, ranking 124 cities from the cheapest to the most expensive.

Get the best price for your hotel in Bangkok

In recent years, Thailand saw its number of visitors increase, making the Kingdom of Siam one of the most visited countries in the world. The diversity of its landscapes and living standards are certainly part of the main selection criteria for travelers.
Chiang Mai with 13 euros per day.
Bangkok, the capital, Chiang Mai, the largest city in the north, so be part of the cheapest destinations for backpackers on a budget.
The study based its selection criteria on the cost of day: a dorm bed, three meals, two transport trips together, pay-cultural attraction and three beers cheap (considered as the leisure budget).

Get the best price for your hotel in Chiang Mai

Asia dominates the ranking of the top 20 cheapest cities in the world with 15 entries, including Bangkok and Chiang Mai, the capital and the third largest city in Thailand.
Only the Vietnam surpasses Thailand in the list of most “routardes” cities with three mentions (Hanoi, ahead Chiang Mai with the second position, Ho Chi Minh City that Bangkok ahead with the 5th position, and Hoi An in 14th place ).
Here is an overview of the complete rankings with the average budget for a day calculated in US dollars
Pokhara, Nepal – $ 14.32
Hanoi, Vietnam – $ 15.88
Chiang Mai, Thailand – $ 17.66
Goa, India – $ 18.25
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – $ 18.27
Kathmandu, Nepal – $ 18.46
Vientiane, Laos – $ 21.38
Delhi, India – $ 21.38
Luang Prabang, Laos – $ 21.71
Bangkok, Thailand – $ 21.78
Phnom Penh, Cambodia – $ 21.95
La Paz, Bolivia – $ 22.24
Quito, Ecuador – $ 22.30
Hoi An, Vietnam – $ 23.26
Colombo, Sri Lanka – $ 23.87
Bucharest, Romania – $ 24.24
Jakarta, Indonesia – $ 24.67
Manila, Philippines – $ 25.16
Kiev, Ukraine – $ 25.36
Sofia, Bulgaria – $ 25.95
Eat in Bangkok for 1 euro …
No wonder Bangkok is ranked in tenth place and Chiang Mai in the third, when you see all that you can do with a very limited budget in these two cities.
You can travel for less than 20 € per day including accommodation. In Bangkok, for example, eating in a Thai restaurant costs only 40 baht, or about 1 € for a very decent and enjoyable meal. One can easily find accommodation in a guest house for € 10 per night, with private bedroom and bathroom.
On cultural visits, we will not ruin either: the price of the entrance of temples is very correct: 100 baht (about 2.4 €) to Wat Pho for example, one of the most beautiful temples in the city . Beware though, it’s easy to spend a lot of money if we try to live in the West.
… To eat local condition
French restaurants in Bangkok for example, one can easily ruin because imported products are much more expensive. Not to mention it is often necessary to add the VAT and service in addition to the price of food in addition quickly becomes salty.
In Chiang Mai, backpackers will also travel cheaply, without worrying too much about their budget. As ranked by the Backpacker Index for 2014, the budget of a day amounts to 17.66 US dollars, or about 13 euros.
The choice of guest houses and other hotels are many, we are no less than 500, the first prices starting at about € 6-7 for a night in the dorm.
For added comfort, the prices are still very affordable. We can eat for a pittance, as in Bangkok. Although the meter taxis do not swarm here as in the capital, songthaews (kind of pickup equipped for the transport of passengers) will take you wherever you want for a very reasonable price.
What afford some beautiful forest excursions to admire the beautiful landscape of northern Thailand. For the shoppers, the Sunday market in Chiang Mai offers countless local craft stalls. The perfect place to bring back memories of his trip: embroidered fabrics in silk, silver jewelry, sun carved objects …
Be careful though, there are more and more counterfeit products as we see everywhere in the markets of Bangkok.
The two major cities offer a multitude of things to discover, each being very different but equally interesting, providing opportunities for small budgets to enjoy their trip to Thailand. This is however not the case in the country.
Indeed, in the southern islands, for example, everything is much more expensive because the more isolated and highly prized by tourism, although we can still afford to stop there a few days with a limited budget. Prices obviously vary depending on the season, high or low, and may go up to threefold.

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Ten years after the tsunami in Thailand: the warning system is operational

The tsunami in Thailand was 17,000 victims (over 5000 dead, 8500 injured and about 3,000 missing) in December 2004. In particular, because the country was with no warning system. It has been created since then, and every year it is tested, in October. This does not prevent the Thais to be panicking at the slightest announcement of an earthquake in the region.
In Khao Lak, one of the places most affected by the tsunami in Thailand, found throughout the coast, warning signs that tell of places of refuge in case of tsunami. These Safe House, a kind of big houses are all built on high ground with closed rooms and platforms. They culminate up to fifteen meters high. They are designed to temporarily accommodate the number of people living in the area (50-100 people at a time).

Everybody knows, everybody knows what to do “if a signal sounds, it has to run, it was just time, about 15 minutes to get there,” says Man Phetsara -Pôd- guide tourism. Every village has one or more of these Safe House. Since December 2004, they were never used. But false tsunami warnings scared the population. “When we learned that there are earthquakes, especially in Indonesia, often times there are moments of panic, and then everyone runs to these homes. But what matters is that it is now, it’s better than nothing! »

Every year in October, before the high season, we organize a real test to see if the system works.

The interest of disaster movies

It was in 2004 that left the film The Day after Tomorrow, Hollywood disaster movie about the harms of climate change. Lim, the fishing village of Baan Nam Khem, had seen just before the tsunami. That’s why this morning, when he saw the sea recede at once and find the boats in dry dock, he warned tourists on the beach and told them to go away quickly.

Twenty of them followed. And were saved. “The others,” he said with a smile sorry “did not listen to me …” Children Lim, who were in the village have been spared because they were up on the highest terrace one of the houses. They were watered, but clung, and fortunately the foundations of the house have held up.

This is far from being the case in the village … Most of the houses of the fishermen were destroyed. The Thai government has funded reconstructions, but the houses built in hard, are often much smaller than the fishermen of the village lived before …

There are also those deserted houses. “Sometimes,” said Pod, “it has provided a home for a family, but there is only one or two people, the other died … and people do not like to live here.”

This is probably also why the houses bordering the two boats, red, blue stranded in the middle of nowhere in the village after being thrown by the waves, are deserted.

The spirits of the dead haunt maybe … And nobody wants to live in a dismal place

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Corruption has cost $ 35 billion to Thailand in 2012

Corruption wreaked havoc in Thailand: not really a scoop you will tell me. But Thailand is different this time with a dramatic increase since 2006: the funds withdrawn by the illegal export of capital more than tripled between 2006 and 2012.
Over $ 35 billion have been removed illegally from Thailand by money laundering, tax evasion, crime and the false sales literature in 2012.
For Thailand, 2012 was a record year for corruption, marking the fourth consecutive annual increase in outflows related to corruption according to the study by Global Financial Integrity.
The study group based in Washington said in its latest report that Thailand has climbed to eighth on the list of most affected developing countries through illicit capital outflows from 2003 to 2012.
In terms of proportion, with a GDP of $ 380 billion, the level of corruption in Thailand is among the highest in the world: more than 10%.
corruption2012
However, Indonesia, the seventh most corrupt country, Malaysia, in fifth place, and China (first ranking in absolute terms) are even more corrupt countries as Thailand in Asia.
Corruption has more than tripled in Thailand 2006-2012
Asia accounted for 40.3% of cumulative illicit financial flows in the developing world during a decade of 2003-2012. There are five Asian countries in the top ten of the world affected by illegal capital outflows countries: China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
During the period of government of the Shinawatra family, from 2006 to 2012, corruption has more than tripled in Thailand from 11 to 35 billion dollars.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has recently released the findings of its investigation in a corruption case involving the former head of government Yingluck Shinawatra and former senior officials of the Ministry of Commerce.
Rice sales agreement with China that never existed
The case revealed by the NACC highlights one of the many manipulations related to the rice subsidy program: a government-to-government contract of five million tonnes of rice signed with China in 2012. This contract has in fact never existed, if it is in the form of a canceled check in favor of a company related to a director of “Red Shirts”.
The company based in Guangzhou responsible for the execution of the transaction, GSSG Import and Export Corporation, was represented by Rathanit Sojirakul, a collaborator of the Pheu Thai MP Rapeephan Phongruangrong, who is also the wife of the leading pro-Shinawatra Red Shirts “Arisman Phongruangrong .
China has since indicated that it did not recognize the transaction. The NACC has since tried, but failed, to contact the GSSG to confirm the transaction that has never existed in fact, according to an article published by The Diplomat.
“Normally when there is a government-to-government agreement, the money has to come from China in the form of a letter of credit, but in this case there has never been a government letter of credit just a check cashed in Thailand, “said Warong Dechgitvigrom, MP of the Democratic Party who compiled the evidence against the rice subsidy scheme.
Trade misinvoicing
The fraudulent falsification of commercial operations is also the most important component of illicit financial flows from developing countries, 77.8% of all illicit flows.
Amount of corruption in Thailand
Country 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Average over 10 years
Thailand 11513 10427 20550 14755 24243 29322 35561 17168
China dominates the world ranking of corruption over the period of the last ten years with 1.25 trillion dollars in illicit outflows, followed by Russia, Mexico, India and Malaysia.
Overall, illicit financial flows worldwide grew 9.4% per year during the decade, about twice as fast as economic growth.
Overall, the report estimates that illegal capital flows from developing countries and emerging economies in 2012 represent 991.2 billion dollars, a sum greater than the cumulative sum of foreign investment and foreign aid in these countries.
Rank Country Average annual illicit Outputs
(Where data are available) cumulative illicit outputs over 10 years
All developing countries 658,713 6,587,133
1 China (PR: Mainland) 125242 1252419
2 Russian Federation 97 386 973 858
3 Mexico 51426 514259
India 4 43959 439587
5 Malaysia 39487 394869
6 Saudi Arabia 30862 308 620
7 Brazil 21710 217103
8 Indonesia 18784 187844
9 Thailand 17168 171679
Nigeria 10 15746 157455
source:http://www.thailand-business-news.com/news/featured/49859-maximum-levels-corruption-hitted-thailand-2012.html#MWduIlqSlSrCu6Jy.99
Illicit financial flows have averaged 3.7% of the region’s GDP over this period of ten years. The largest outflow of capital is illegal from poorly regulated economic giants such as Brazil, China, India and Russia.
“Emerging and developing countries have suffered a hemorrhage of one billion dollars in 2012, which could have been invested in local businesses, health, education and infrastructure,” said co-author of the study, economist Joseph Spanjers.
Over a decade, the total of misappropriated funds is $ 6.6 trillion, equivalent to nearly 4% of the entire global economy. In terms of the relative size of the impact, the most affected by corruption countries in the Middle East and North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

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Thailand: “sea gypsies” rushed towards modernity by the tsunami

Koh Phra Thong (Thailand) (AFP) – Although he always throws his fishing net in a blue sea off Thailand Saponkit Klatalay gave up the nomadic existence of generations of “sea gypsies”, since it was relocated to the mainland after the 2004 tsunami.

This fisherman Chao Lay community owes its survival to the knowledge of the sea transmitted by his ancestors.THAILAND-SEA GYPSIES

But, paradoxically, the tsunami also resulted precipitate Chao Lay towards modernity, moving them away from the traditional way of life in harmony with the sea.

“Everything you see is new. When the tsunami struck, this has all been destroyed,” said the fisherman of 36 years, showing the wooden houses of his native village on the coast of Koh Phra Thon.

He is among those who have agreed to leave the small island but located on the mainland, in the district of Khura Buri, ten kilometers away.

In all, some 5,400 people died in the tsunami of 26 December 2004 on tourist beaches of Thailand.

Here, the wave reached four meters high but the 500 Chao Lay village survived, thanks to the teachings of the elders who had to explain how to decode the signs of the disaster.

“They taught us that water back down, change its color, and the birds and other animals have unusual behavior,” recalls Saponkit Klatalay.Phang-Nga-Bay-sea gypsies village

Until 26 December 2004, “did not believe” those old prophecies.

But he had memorized the warning signs, which allowed him to find his children, to prevent other people and run away from the beach, before the wave of scans.

The approximately 12,000 Chao Lay Thailand are part of the ethnic group of the Moken and Urak of Moklen Lawoi, nicknamed “sea gypsies” because of their nomadic lifestyle for centuries in the Andaman Sea, moving their villages rhythm fish fisheries, shrimp and sea cucumbers.

The Moken tribe is the best known. Members are still many practicing underwater swimming without masks and diving equipment.

Their knowledge of the sea allowed them to save tourists during the tsunami, either by requiring them to take shelter in height or in conveying their boats out to sea, where the wave would feel less than near the coast .dropoff window

On the western and southern beaches of the island, over a hundred people died, most Thais and immigrants from neighboring Burma, but also some Chao Lay and Western tourists.

– Culture endangered? –dropoff windowSea-Gypsies-Villages

Following the spotlight focused on these “sea gypsies” by the tsunami, the Thai government pledged in 2010 to preserve their traditions, oral. Little effect so far.

“The tsunami proved that they knew things that we as modern humans do not know. There is so much to learn from them,” laments Narumon Hinshiranan anthropologist, university of Bangkok.

By moving the tsunami in the village of Khura Buri built by NGOs, Saponkit received for the first time in his life a title.

He still lives on fishing, but now goes fishing for the day. And complete 120 euros monthly from fishing by other small jobs like gardening.

On the island, the village school of his childhood was enlarged with donations for tsunami victims. But, ironically, the blue building is deserted because of the mass exodus of people after the tsunami. Only 100 of the 500 residents stayed.

Concerned about the education of his three children, he does not regret his settlement, however, despite the discrimination often been his community.mergui_archipelago

Like him, most of the “sea gypsies” settled say their new life “easier”.

“I feel safer here. We are near the fish market and life is easier,” says the mother of Saponkit, Arom, proudly showing its first washing machine, acquired 63 years

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End of reign in Bangkok

The Thai monarchy came last week in a transition phase and uncertainty clouded by a financial scandal that affects the wife of the crown prince.
With a sick monarch who is no longer able to leave her hospital room the day of his birthday, and a crown prince forced to separate from his wife involved in an unprecedented corruption scandal: the end of the reign of King Bhumibol looks challenging for Thailand.
Even more challenging it will be preceded by a debate, since the lese majeste law prohibits any comment on issues affecting the monarchy and the king.
It also protects the same way the royal family, so the crown prince, who is currently affected indirectly through his wife, by a huge corruption scandal.
Because of censorship, the Thai press has merely reproduced an official press line three of the palace, indicating that the princess had renounced his royal title.


A fundamental challenge for Thailand
The challenge yet size for Thailand because the monarchy is often presented as a pillar of stability in the country. During his exceptionally long reign, the king intervened repeatedly in Thai politics to appease conflict that threatened to escalate into bloody battles.
Last year, when Bangkok was paralyzed by protests and fear of clashes on 5 December (day of the royal birthday) had been a day of truce and reconciliation.
For the current monarch, although very weak and less present in public life, remains a beloved personality as a sort of demigod, and highly respected by the vast majority of Thais.
A reign that merges with the history of Thailand
The life of King Bhumibol coincides largely with the history of modern Thailand: inducted in 1946, crowned in 1950, he identified himself to the fate of his country.
Under his reign Thailand has deeply transformed from an agrarian country to a modern industrial power. Thailand is often cited as a model of economic development in the countries of Southeast Asia, and King Bhumibol has contributed significantly to the stability and development of his country.
Thailand, choosing to ally with the United States, was able to escape the communist disaster that ravaged its neighbors like Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia.
Cambodia monarchy behaved as an objective ally of the communist insurgency, facilitating the coming to power of the Khmer Rouge, and genocidal madness that ensued.
A unique blend of tradition and mondernité
The Thai monarchy has avoided this pitfall, without falling into the Westernization and loss of substance other countries aligned with the United States.
Thailand has always kept a form of independence, jealously preserving its traditions and peculiarities, probably a legacy of the country’s history that has never been colonized.
This unusual blend of tradition and modernism, she must now probably in large part to the exceptional personality of King Bhumibol, who spent much of his reign to go to modernize his country, through numerous projects funded the funds of the crown.
Today, if the end of his reign will be difficult, it is in large part because some intend to use the prestige of the monarchy for political purposes.
This is the case of the law of lese majeste has become a tool of censorship in the service of power away from its original mission was to protect the monarch insults and slanders.

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Uber partial ban in Thailand

Thailand partially prohibited service Uber, latest setback in the US service cars with drivers in its international development.Uber

“We do not prohibit the use of the application Uber. But we ban black plate vehicles because it is illegal,” said today Teerapong Rodpraert, Head of Land Transport. “Green plates” are reserved in Thailand drivers registered with the authorities. “Black plates” are on the other for private drivers.
The Thai official cited the “Passenger safety” in discussions with officials Tuesday Uber, arguing that his department “criminal record checks for taxi drivers” official.

The Uber app nevertheless still functioning today as the “black plate” and “green.” Uber, which collects a commission on the fare achieved through its implementation assured in a statement “respect” the decision of the Thai authorities, noting want to continue the negotiations. Founded in 2009 in California, Uber has drawn the ire of traditional taxi companies in many cities, and the authorities in New Delhi and Portland in the US gave a halt to its activities.

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Thailand’s Top 10 Destinations for expatriation

HSBC Expat Explorer According to the survey, Thailand occupies 7th place worldwide destinations for expatriates, and won the first place to provide affordable quality of life.
Among the top 10 destinations for expatriates, Switzerland is first, followed by Singapore, China, Germany, Bahrain, New Zealand, Thailand, Taiwan, India and Hong Kong.
Regarding the quality of life / cost ratio, Thailand is followed by Vietnam, Taiwan, China, Bahrain, India, Turkey, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.Top_destination_expats
Mr Thawatchai Arunyik, Governor of the National Tourist Office of Thailand (TAT) said: “This is great news, and it is very encouraging that expatriates have high esteem of the Kingdom.”
The precise survey: “This higher level of disposable income can be attributed to the high proportion of expatriates saying they spend less in Thailand for public services (71% compared to a global average of 26%) for accommodation (70% compared to a global average of 23%), public transport (69% compared to a global average of 35%) and grocery stores (66% against 22% globally) dropoff window.
Thai cooking and culture as well as shopping opportunities were highly regarded by expatriates who participated in the survey.
About travel experiences, over two thirds of expatriates surveyed said they travel much since arriving in Thailand, enjoying the beautiful destinations of the country and the position of Bangkok as a gateway to the rest of Asia.
79% of them said it was easy and simple to travel locally, either to discover historical sites and temples, national parks in the mountains or beautiful resorts.

The HSBC Expat Explorer survey is one of the largest conducted on expatriates. It focuses on their experiences in their new country of residence, the opportunities and challenges they face living away from home.
Carried out for the seventh year, this study, commissioned by HSBC Expat, led by YouGov. The 2014 edition was conducted online in April and May. 9,288 expatriates from more than 100 countries were surveyed.

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The Bridge on the River Kwai, Kanchanaburi Red Cross are celebrating.

From November 28 to December 5, Kanchanaburi province organizes the River Kwai Bridge Festival 2014, offering an opportunity for tourists to discover the great variety of natural and historical attractions of the region.
Under the theme “From war to peace,” the strengths of this year times are a sound and light show depicting the Allied bombing, an exhibition on World War II and the concert “Music for Peace”.River_Kwai_Week_2014
The spectacle of sound and light will be given twice daily at 19:30 and 21:00 hours on 28 and 29 November and the 4, 5 and 6 December. There will be only one performance at 20:00 on 30 November and 1 and 3 December.

At the same time the fair will be held in the Red Cross Kanchanaburi which will offer many local products for sale as well as a variety of entertainment, as a competition of Thai kickboxing, a mini car show, concerts and cultural performances.
Sound and lights can accommodate 1,200 spectators, the seat is 300 baht (about 7 euros). Tickets can be purchased before the show or to book in advance, call +66 (0) 3451 1778, 3451 5208 and 3451 2399.

The best prices for hotels in Kanchanaburi

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