Watermelon Day, Thailand

NEWS & TRAVEL GURU MAGAZINE

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When the humble watermelon takes centre stage from the provinces better known famous James Bond Island, which featured in the 1974 movie The Man with the Golden Gun. You not only get the chance to enjoy the water melons in all their glory, there is also a beauty contest, as well as exhibitions, including agricultural products, a food competition and beauty contest, all wrapped up in a carnival atmosphere.

Water Melon Day Facts about Watermelon you may not know

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Watermelon Is a Fruit and a Vegetable

Watermelons are related to cucumbers, pumpkin, and squash? That’s because it’s part vegetable and part fruit (it’s a sweet, seed-producing plant).

You Can Eat Watermelon Rind and Seeds

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Most people throw away the watermelon rind, but try putting it in a blender with some lime for a healthy, refreshing treat. Not only does the rind contain plenty of health-promoting and blood-building chlorophyll, but the…

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Holidays in Pattaya

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For all those who are planning to come for holidays to Pattaya or just looking for the right place to stay, we have opened Rental Department in Baan Dusit Village, and I invite all those who want to live comfortable in a big and nice houses with private pools and beautiful gardens.

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In the village there are a lot of facilities: water park with slides, beautiful lake where you can fishing, gyms, massage salon, volleyball and basketball courts and the restaurant. If you wish, we can arrange a rental bike or car for you.

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Beautiful beach just a five-minute drive from the village, also as a huge water park Cartoon Network and the Ramayana, Nong Nooch Tropical Garden, the temple complex of Wat Yan, Silver Lake and a large number of very popular and delicious restaurants such as Pricha Seafood, Rimpa Lapin, Pan Pan and other …

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We offer different types of houses in different phases of the village, prices starts from 18 000 per month or 900 baht per day. The houses area is not less than 150 m2 with a private pools for such a small money- this is a very good offer.

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Directly contact with the managers of the rental department Igor Glukhov (private message or by phone +66868486704 -Viber, WhatsApp, Line, WeChat or by e-mail taicentr@gmail.com, Skype- igor197734), Karina Карина Вахитова (private message or by phone +66851175343 -Viber, WhatsApp, Line, Hangouts, Telegram or by e-mail vahitova.karina@gmail.com), and they will tell you all the details.

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Essence Hoi An Hotel, Vietnam

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Essence Hoi An Hotel 1

This 4-star Essence Hoi An Hotel & Spa is only 500 m from the centre of Ancient Hoi An Town, and offers a swimming pool and fitness centre. All its modern rooms come with free Wi-Fi and a welcome fruit platter. Essence Cafe serves Vietnamese and international dishes and caters for 24-hour room service.

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Fitted with air conditioning, all the soundproof guestrooms come with a 32-inch flat-screen TV, a minibar and a personal safe. Some rooms have a private balcony. The en suite bathrooms come with either a bathtub or rainshower.

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Essence Hoi An Hotel & Spa is 6 km from Cua Dai Public Beach and 4 km from An Bang Public Beach. Da Nang International Airport is 30 km away. Parking is free.

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A daily breakfast is available from 06:30 – 10:00. Guests can request for breakfast to be served in the comfort of the guestrooms.

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Free bicycle rentals are available. Guests can also relax with a massage or visit the sauna. The hotel also provides laundry services and English newspapers.

This is our guests’ favourite part of Hoi An, according to independent reviews.

Essence Hoi An Hotel 8

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Not bad: Thailand ranked 21st best country in world

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21th best

Thailand has been voted the 21st best country in the world in the “Best Countries” list unveiled at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on Wednesday.

A survey of 16,000 people worldwide placed Thailand in the 21st place out of 60 selected countries in the rankings conducted by U.S. News & World Report, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and global brand consultants BAV Consulting.

The respondents, 8,000 of which were classified as “elites” and 4,500 as “business decision-makers,” were asked to share their perceptions on a random selection of 65 country attributes.

The attributes were then grouped into nine sub-rankings: adventure, citizenship, cultural influence, entrepreneurship, heritage, movers, open for business, power and quality of life.

Thailand received an impressive score in the “adventure” category, as well as “movers,” which predicts a country’s future growth in terms of gross domestic product based on purchasing power parity per capita.

However, Thailand’s score for “citizenship,” which explores the country’s interest in issues such as human rights, environment, gender equality, and as well as its trustworthy quality, was among the lowest in the world’s chart.

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We lost to Singapore (15th) and China (17th), while our neighboring countries such as Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos were not included in the list – except Malaysia, which placed 28th.

Globally, Germany won first place as the world’s best country (congrats!) followed by Canada, United Kingdom, United States, Sweden, and Australia.

Meanwhile, at the bottom of the list was Algeria, preceded by Ukraine, Iran, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Source: Coconuts

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Asean set for tourism push

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Asian Beach

As grouping turns 50 next year, campaign will promote 600 destinations in the region.

IN ORDER to build a real sense of community, Asean will for the first time launch a regional tourism campaign to promote 600 destinations to boost arrivals and income when the regional grouping turns 50 next year.

Pongpanu Svetarundra, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, said officials of national tourism organisations from the 10 nations had agreed at a meeting in the Philippines to introduce “Asean at 50” as the new regional tourism campaign.

The campaign will be announced tomorrow at the Asean Tourism Forum in Manila and there will be a grand opening at the International Tourism Berse (ITB) in Germany in the first quarter of this year.

“Asean promotes itself as a single-market tourist destination as all members were integrated into an economic community at the end of last year. The campaign will be part of Asean’s 50th anniversary celebrations,” Pongpanu said.

Asean will be promoting 600 attractions located across the region, which will be divided into 12 different categories under the theme of “50 Best…”.

The dozen categories will be the 50 best of cities, hotels, restaurants, food, festivals and celebrations, beaches, shopping, historical sites, adventure tourism, small towns and villages, markets, as well as unforgettable experiences.

Pongpanu said each Asean member would propose their attractions and products to a central committee, which should complete the selection procedure before the grand opening in Germany.

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Thailand is assigned to lead the selection of two categories: festivals and celebrations, as well as unforgettable experiences, he said.

“The new campaign should boost tourism income and total arrivals in the region by 15 per cent from 100 million to 115 million,” he added.

Officials from national tourism organisations also approved another 10-year Asean Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) set for 2016-25, while Asean tourism ministers adopted the ATSP 2011-15 that focused on 19 measures.

Plan for tourism professIonals

The 10-year plan is also expected to boost tourism earnings for the entire region from 10 to 15 per cent in 2025, while employment in the sector should rise from 3 to 7 per cent, travellers’ length of stay will climb from 6.3 days to eight days and average spending per trip per visitor will rise from $900 to $1,500 or Bt 27,000 to Bt45,000.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the total number of international arrivals in Asean is expected to rise to 123 million by 2020, 152 million by 2025 and 187 million by 2030.

Pongpanu said Asean will be also focusing on other developments such as improving infrastructure, enhancing competency, labour transfer, a single visa for all nations in the grouping as well as maintaining major tourism markets such as China, India and Russia.

Myan Mar

On January 19, all 10 Asean tourism ministers signed an agreement on the establishment of the Regional Secretariat to support the implementation of Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professional (MRA-TP.) The secretariat will be based in Jakarta and will commence operations this year.

Signed by Asean Tourism Ministers in November 2012, MRA-TP was developed to facilitate mobility of tourism professionals in the region.

Dr Ong Hong Peng, secretary-general of Malaysia’s Tourism and Culture Ministry, said the MRA-TP marked a significant milestone for tourism development in Asean.

“Moving forward, Malaysia, as chairman of the Asean Tourism Professional Monitoring Committee, will fully support and contribute towards the realisation of the objectives and targets of the Asean MRA-TP,” he said.

Source: The Nation

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Lombok Island – Surf, sand, sun, sea and solitude

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Lombok Island is gradually joining its more prosperous neighbour Bali in the global spotlight.

For decades overshadowed by its neighbour to the West, the Indonesian island of Lombok is today gaining favour with holidaymakers wanting something a little less commercial than Bali.

The four bikini-clad Americans taking in the sun at Kuta beach are among them. Jessica, a lithe blonde, says she wants to see the sunset.

In the world’s largest archipelago, Bali was the only Indonesian island included on a list of the top 30 islands in the world by US-based Conde Nast Traveler magazine in October 2015. It ranked 17th, far behind Palawan Island of the Philippines, which earned first place.

“Lombok deserves to be included on the list. Now it is heading that way,” says Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB) Culture and Tourism Agency head Lalu Faozal.

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Surrounded by 35 smaller islands, the 4,514-square-kilometre Lombok is flanked by Bali to the west and Sumbawa Island, NTB, to the east.

Like Bali, Lombok provides hospitality, serenity, rich culture and beautiful natural features.

Unlike Bali though, it never feels overcrowded.

Kuta is among the many breathtaking spots for sunbathing, swimming, surfing, snorkelling and diving on Lombok and its smaller islands, or gili as they are called in the local Sasak language.

Off the northwest coast of Lombok, the Gili Islands comprise three exotic islets: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. All have crystal-clear waters, rich biodiversity, enchanting coral reefs and beautiful sea creatures.

Visitors can reach the Gili islets by using the services provided by one of the 370 travel agencies in NTB.

The Komodo Dragon Backpacker Cruise, for example, offers a four-day boat trip for 2.5 million rupiah (Bt6,500) to visit the Gili islets and other tourist attractions. The boat, 25 metres in length and 4.5 metres wide, can accommodate up to 35 people.

Other agencies not only offer trips, but also provide surfing, snorkelling and diving courses.

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Faozal advises tourists to climb the 3,726-metre Rinjani Mountain, the highest of the seven mountains on Lombok, to admire the astonishing views.

“The mountaintop is home to the beautiful Lake Segara Anak,” he says.

Besides natural tourist attractions, Lombok is also rich with cultural events, such as the annual celebration of Bau Nyale, adds Central Lombok Tourism and Culture Agency head Lalu Putria.

Local people celebrate Bau Nyale on the 20th day of the 10th month of Sasak calendar. They go to sea to search for the colourful nyale (sea worms) that they believe to be the reincarnation of Princess Mandalika.

According to legend, Mandalika was a pretty princess of the Tanjung Bitu Kingdom that existed on Lombok a long time ago. Due to her good behaviour, many princes from other kingdoms were in love with her. Mandalika thought that if she chose one of the princes, wars would break out because the others would feel jealous and disappointed and they would fight against each other.

She then asked the princes and people to meet her at the Kuta Beach. She stood on a reef, telling them that she chose no one. Afterwards, she threw herself into the sea, The princes and local people tried to save her, but they found thousands of colourful sea worms floating on the sea instead of the princess’ body. They believed that the worms were her reincarnation.

“She jumped because she did not want people to become victims due to her choice. She showed us heroic values as she sacrificed herself for the interest of the people,” Putria says, adding that the locals consume nyale because they believe they would make women look ageless and boost the sexual vitality of men.

NTB hosts different festivals to bring in tourists. Last August to September, it hosted the first Lombok Sumbawa Cultural Month to boost tourism on Lombok and Sumbawa islands by exploring and developing the potential of arts and culture through various exhibitions and cultural events. The Pearl Festival, involving the producers of pearls with international standard quality, was among the highlights.

Faozal is optimistic that the number of tourists will reach two million in 2016, up by about 25 per cent from last year’s 1.6 million. Out of those 1.6 million, 752,306 were from overseas.

Besides the three airports, hotels and restaurants in the province are ready to welcome the tourists, he said.

The province has 925 hotels, consisting of 50 five-star hotels and 875 jasmine-class hotels along with 1,378 restaurants.

Faozal believes that the target of 2 million tourists could be realised because Bali, which was visited by 3.4 million tourists last year, has committed to encourage its tourists to visit NTB.

“The beauty of Lombok is complete. It ranges from the tops of the mountains to the bottom of the sea. Our rich culture will also attract tourists,” he says confidently.

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Amari Garden Hotel, Pattaya

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Amari Garden Hotel, Pattaya 1

Hotel Amari Garden, hidden away in #Pattaya. Amari Garden Pattaya offers an outdoor pool and an on-site a la carte restaurant. The property offers free Wi-Fi access in all areas. Guests can enjoy beautiful garden view from all guestrooms. Free parking is also available.

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Located in Pattaya Central, Amari Garden Pattaya is 2.3 km from Royala Garden Plaza and 3 km from Pattaya Walking Street. It takes only 2-minute walk to reach Pattaya Beach.
Alcazar Cabaret is 400 m from the property. Suvarnabhumi Airport is 84 km away.

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Fully equipped with air-conditioning, each room has a seating area. Guests enjoy a dining area, a refrigerator and an electric kettle. An en suit bathroom features shower facilities, a bathtub and a hairdryer.

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Nestled in the garden, guests will find on-site shops and several activities like a table tennis and a spa and wellness centre. Meeting facilities and business centre are also available at Amari Garden. There are a concierge service and luggage storage offered at the property.

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An on-site restaurant serves both international and local dishes.

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