UNESCO-inscribed Khon performance added to Grand Palace ticket

Bangkok, 21 March, 2019 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to inform all tourists to Thailand that the 500 Baht entrance ticket to the Grand Palace in Bangkok now includes a Khon performance at the Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre.

Purchased onsite at the Grand Palace, the ticket has until now covered entry to the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Wat Phra Kaew Museum.

The Bureau of the Royal Household, thus, has added the opportunity to see the Khon performance into the 500 Baht ticket.

UNESCO-inscribed Khon performance added to Grand Palace ticket

A Khon performance at the Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre, Bangkok

There are five performances daily of the 25-minute masked dance drama from Monday to Friday, at 10.30 Hrs., 13.00 Hrs., 14.30 Hrs., 16.00 Hrs., and 17.30 Hrs. A shuttle bus is available to take one-way trip from the Phiman Deves Gate at the Grand Palace to Sala Chalermkrung, leaving 30 minutes before the start of each performance.

Thailand’s Khon performance, which depicts the glory of Rama the hero and incarnation of the god Vishnu, is inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (link), where it is described as “a performing art that combines musical, vocal, literary, dance, ritual and handicraft elements.”

“On one level, Khon represents high art cultivated by the Siamese/Thai courts over centuries, while at another level, as a dramatic performance, it can be interpreted and enjoyed by spectators from different social backgrounds.”

The Ministry of Culture’s Department of Cultural Promotion has declared a year of activities in 2019 to celebrate Thailand’s Khon masked dance drama.

UNESCO-inscribed Khon performance added to Grand Palace ticket

Khon Perfomance Episode of Hanuman Becoming Phra Chakri’s Devotee at Sala Chaleamkrung Royal Theatre, Bangkok

Khon is among Thailand’s most significant performing arts, and the performance at Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre follows in the efforts of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s to preserve and carry forward the masked dance drama. The theatre itself, symbolically, is an institute to present the nation’s arts and culture and true identity.

Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre’s Khon performance embraces the grace and beauty of the Khon masked dance drama, with accompanying live traditional music and narrators’ singing. English and Chinese subtitles are provided throughout the performance.

Wat Rong Khun Light Fest to take place this November

Bangkok, 21 March 2019 – Index Creative Village and Thailand’s national artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, are investing over 100 million Baht to put on a world class multimedia show, “Wat Rong Khun Light Fest”, from 22 November to 22 December 2019.

Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple is the creation of Chiang Rai-born Chalermchai. It records about 10,000 visitors per day, or over two million people per year. The “Wat Rong Khun Light Fest” would be the first phenomenon where the temple will be opened to visitors at night.

Wat Rong Khun Light Fest to take place this November

Chalermchai Kositpipat

Chalermchai said: “Imagine… Walking into the temple grounds to breathe in the atmosphere of Wat Rong Khun at night, immersed in the experience of a world-class multimedia show – imagine how charismatic and beautiful the temple will be.

“I want the people of Chiang Rai, those living in the North of Thailand, as well as all Thai people to be proud of this event, which we have created especially for the Thai people and for foreign visitors to experience, and continue to talk of it in times to come until it is the “talk of the world,” he added.

The “Wat Rong Khun Light Fest” takes on the concept of “The Illumination of White Temple”, created from the tips of Chalermchai’s paintbrushes, combining with world class multimedia techniques. These include the use of over 100 lasers, in conjunction with the newest innovation in 3D Mapping, displaying 3D images that are visible with naked eye. A 360-degree view and virtual reality techniques further enrich the viewers’ complete immersive experiences.

Wat Rong Khun Light Fest to take place this NovemberThere will be five highlight locations:

Ubosot (the main temple hall) – be amazed and thrilled by the horrors of hell, and experience the beauty of the walk across the bridge to the heavens.

Wishing Well – make a wish and bring illumination into your hearts.

The Bell Tower – the Bodhi Tree of Enlightenment that tells the story of the Lord Buddha.

Crematory – come face to face with the diseases of life’s truths birth, aging, disease and death.

Ganesha Tower – the final unmissable highlight show and extraordinary mapping experience, with astonishing paintings mapped onto curtains of water, alongside the amazing light and sound experience.

Wat Rong Khun Light Fest to take place this NovemberMr. Kriengkrai Kanjanapokin, founder and group chief executive of Index Creative Village, said: “All the components of the show – the laser production, the multimedia, mapping, water curtain, light and sound – result in an investment of over 100 million Baht. We are certain that this project will truly make the event world-famous and unforgettable for the visitors.”

The “Wat Rong Khun Light Fest” show will open on 22 November and run until 22 December 2019, with two performances daily at 18.30 and 20.30. Each performance lasts 60 minutes.

Tickets are priced from 400 – 1,150 Baht, and are limited to 1,000 seats per performance. Tickets are available to purchase via Thai Ticketmaster or through www.thaiticketmajor.com.

For more information, please visit www.watrongkhunlightfest.com.

To keep up with the latest news and updates, follow:
facebook.com/Watrongkhunlightfest
Instagram: Watrongkhunlightfest

15th World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony attracts record numbers to Ayutthaya

Bangkok, 20 March 2019 – The 15th World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony attracted a record number of participants to Ayutthaya with over 1,500 Muay Thai practitioners from 70 countries attending the event from 16 to 17 March.

This eclipses the largest previous attendance of over 1,400 participants in 2017.  The Ayutthaya Historical Park was a hive of activity with multiple events at Wat Langkha Khao and the sacred Wai Kru ceremony held at Wat Mahathat with the temple’s ruins serving as a dramatic backdrop.

15th World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony attracts record numbers to Ayutthaya

Muay Thai practitioners paying respect and getting blessed with the white headbands from the masters

Similar to religious pilgrimages, Muay Thai practitioners should participate in the annual World Wai Kru Muay Thai Ceremony on 17 March at least once in their lifetime.

The event gathers Muay Thai practitioners from around the world who express their gratitude to master teachers and trainers in the time-honoured ritual known as the Wai Kru ceremony, while celebrating the aged-old martial art of Muay Thai. It also pays homage to Nai Khanom Tom, a local hero, famous for his victory over 10 Burmese fighters in a boxing bout that took place in 1774 and who remains a hero of Muay Thai boxers to this day.

This year event kicked off as usual at 5 p.m. with Muay Thai practitioners from around the world attending a Brahmin ceremony paying respect to ancient Thai kings and warriors; namely, King Naresuan the Great, Phrachao Suea, and Phraya Phichai Dap Hak.

Then, the Wai Kru ceremony started with the 1,500 Muay Thai practitioners paying respect and getting blessed with the white headbands from the masters. They are from all ages, from as little as a baby to a senior person. After the ceremony, the newly blessed Muay Thai practitioners joined a mass Wai Kru dance, led by four Thai Muay Thai champions.

Prior to the sacred ceremony, Muay Thai practitioners and the public learned more about the different styles of Muay Thai from various parts of Thailand, including Muay Chaiya, Muay Korat, Muay Thai Sao, Muay Lop Buri during the two-day Miracle Muay Thai Festival at Wat Langkha Khao.

There were also booths offering Yantra tattooing by famous tattoo masters, which were very popular among international visitors. In addition, there were stalls in the Thai food pavilion, selling local delicacies, as well as booths offering instruction in Yantra writing, Aranyik sword making, Thai martial art performances, and traditional Thai massage.

TAT Newsroom launches second Blogger Thailand competition

TAT Newsroom launches second Blogger Thailand competitionBangkok, 20 March 2019 – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is launching its second TAT Newsroom “Blogger Thailand” competition for international bloggers residing in the Kingdom, offering six successful applicants the chance to go on an exclusive three-day itinerary.

Campaign dates for submissions run from 1 April to 31 May, 2019, with trip dates proposed for July 2019. The competition is open to bloggers residing in Thailand with an established, active blog (website) plus at least one main social media account with serious engagement.

This category accepts submission of photos, videos, or blogs that highlight off-the-beaten track Thai destinations or unseen experiences around Thailand. The entry can cover any of the following subjects: local Thai culinary tours, less crowded natural attractions, local Thai festivals and folk performances, unique Thai traditions, homestays and community markets.

The competition accepts only one entry per applicant. It can be a blog, vlog or photo (all content should be submitted in English only).

  • Entry blogs must be from 400 to 500 words long with up to five complementary photos illustrating each story. Each photo should be submitted via a link to a media file on the entrant’s blog (website), or a link to an Instagram post.
  • Entry vlogs from 60 to 90 seconds in length should be submitted via a link to the video on YouTube or Facebook.
  • Entry photos should be submitted via a link to post on Instagram and should be titled with the text that accurately describes the image in brief, stating where the image was taken in Thailand.

Applicants should create well-composed entries that are organically beneficial to the Thai tourism industry by promoting the country’s good image. Only approved entries will be published for the short-listed selection process by the TAT Newsroom Team, supported by colleagues from the TAT’s International PR Division Team.

The TAT Newsroom team recorded a number of entries to the main competition from bloggers residing in Thailand. These submissions have automatically been entered into the second competition and are eligible if they meet contest criteria.

For more information, please contact the TAT Newsroom team at [email protected].
For registration and entry submission, please visit TAT Newsroom Blogger Thailand.

Picture yourself in Phrae

Nestled between its neighbouring provinces of Lampang, Uttaradit, Nan and Phayao, Phrae today still boasts among the country’s largest teak forest reserves. It is one of the 55 secondary destinations being promoted around the kingdom in a complementary fashion with key destinations, in the ‘Amazing Thailand Go Local’ campaign.

Architectural Treasures

Picture yourself in PhraeThe old town area of the namesake provincial seat is home to a number of historic buildings and locations that are a proud testimony to Phrae’s history. And with this section of town being reasonably compact and relatively traffic free, the area lends itself to leisurely exploration on foot for those who so desire although there are motorcycle taxis and samlos (three-wheeled taxis) readily available.

Among places to visit is Wongburi House, a splendid two-storey teak mansion that was built in Phrae’s teak heydays of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and which is today open to the public as a museum. On display through various rooms of the house are old documents and photos, antiques and other artefacts that paint an interesting picture of life in Phrae in the past.

The mansion itself, which is set amid picturesque gardens, boasts turn-of-the-century architecture that blends Thai and European influences. Its colonial style of high ceilings and wide balconies is reminiscent of other such mansions that can be found across Northern Thailand.

The nearby Khum Chao Luang Museum, built during the same period, likewise stands in proud testimony to the glory days of the area’s teak trade. The furniture, ornaments, household items and period photographs on show here provide further insight into a prominent part of the local history.

Also located in the old town of Phrae is Wichai Racha House, a gingerbread teak mansion with Lanna architecture that was popular among nobles and aristocrats from the reign of King Rama IV until the reign of King Rama V.

Picture yourself in Phrae

Temples and Religious Sites

Among the various temples in Phrae, Wat Luang in the old town area is thought to be the most ancient with some saying it dates back to the 12th century while others put its origins in the 9th century. A few streets away is Wat Phong Sunan with its impressive reclining Buddha image and a 500-year-old seated image in the subduing Mara posture, as well as a striking chedi with gleaming white spires.

Also in the old town is Wat Phra Bat Ming Meuang, which includes on its premises a museum and an octagonal drum tower made of teak wood.

A couple of kilometres to the north is Wat Chom Sawan, this temple having been constructed by a group of migrant Tai Yai, or Shan, teak workers in the early 20th century. It’s considered one of the best temples of its kind still remaining in Thailand and features a main hall all in teak and raised on stilts with a three-tiered roof.

Picture yourself in Phrae

Wat Prathat Cho Hae

A few kilometres east of town, on a low hill, is a highly revered temple that locals say if you don’t visit you haven’t really been to Phrae. The main chedi at Wat Prathat Cho Hae is said to house relics of Lord Buddha, both hair and parts of his left elbow. The temple’s origins are thought to date back to the late 13th or early 14th centuries.

Cultural Creativity

The village of Ban Thung Hong, situated a few kilometres from Phrae’s old town area, is renowned for its products made from Mo Hom, a local indigo-dyed cotton fabric. Traditionally the fabric was used for farmers’ pants and tunics yet today the village also offers a range of lovely handmade clothing.

2 Million Years of Nature

Phae Mueang Phi Forest Park, a short drive outside of town, has been described as a geological curiosity. Some 2 million years of erosion has resulted in a landscape of intriguing red sandstone rock formations which, although only covering a small area, isn’t the kind of landscape you see every day.

Also known as the Forest City of Ghosts or Spirit Grove, this sacred forest park has a legend attached to it that tells of a woman who came across gold and silver deposits in the area and tried to take them home with her. This apparently offended the spirits there, and the woman became more and more lost and was only able to find her way home after she put the deposits back.

Fantastic Local Cuisine

It can be said that wherever one’s travels take them in Thailand, they’ll always be delicious local cuisine that’s easy to find and remarkably inexpensive for the culinary quality that’s served up. In Phrae, one of the best spots for a variety of great snacks and meals is the weekly Saturday walking street market that comes to life on Khum Lue Road at Prathu Ma (the West Gate) in the old town area.

The market stalls selling a range of items from handicrafts to T-shirts to carved candles and what can be best described as a taste bud-tingling array of exotic food dishes, begin setting up as the sun starts to go down. The amazing aromas, the captivating sounds of tasty morsels on the sizzle, and the unmistakable clang of spatula upon wok creates the perfect setting in which to enjoy such delights as barbecued kebabs, spicy northern Thai-style sausages, grilled chicken and pork, fresh fruit, sticky rice, sweet desserts and more.

Thailand wins Best Asian Destination Award by German marketing website GoAsia

Berlin, 12 March 2019 – Thailand was voted the “Best Asia Destination” in the annual GoAsia Awards 2019 presented at the Internationale Tourismus Börse (ITB) 2019, the world’s leading travel trade show.

Thailand wins Best Asian Destination Award by German marketing website GoAsia

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn (above photo, left), Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said, “We are indeed very proud that the influential readers and users of the reputed GoAsia website have voted us as the Best Asian Destination. We are humbled by their confidence. These awards will be a constant source of motivation for us to continue working hard to maintain this confidence in the years to come.”

Go Asia (www.goasia.de) is a B2B tourism platform run by tour operators. The Go Asia Awards 2019 are based on a comprehensive online survey among all registered users (sales representatives, travel agents, and tourists). This year, more than 3,000 people cast their votes for a total of 40 countries/destinations.

The Go Asia initiative was founded in 2003 in order to facilitate tourism marketing in German-speaking regions. Members get access to the Go Asia website, participation in exhibitions and trade fairs, media relations and training initiatives.

Thailand has always figured very highly on the awards list.

– In 2014, Thailand won the “Most Popular Tourist Destination in Asia” award.

– In 2010, Thailand won the “Best Asian Destination” award. The Tourism Authority of Thailand was voted the “Best Asian Tourist Board in Germany” award.

– In 2009, Thailand won the “Most Favoured Asian Destination” award. The Tourism Authority of Thailand was voted the “Best Asian Tourist Board in Germany” award. Prior to this, the Kingdom of Thailand had received the Go Asia Award for “Best Destination in Asia” for four consecutive years from 2005.

Germany is Thailand’s third largest source market from Europe, second only to the UK. In 2018, Thailand recorded 889,777 German visitors, up by 4.66% over 2017, generating an estimated 57.643 billion Baht, up by 8.30% in tourism revenue.

In 2018, Swiss visitors to Thailand totalled 207,596, (-0.92%), generating an estimated 17.508 billion Baht, (-1.10%) in tourism revenue. Austrian visitors to Thailand totalled 116,779, up by 11.45%, generating an estimated 9.096 billion Baht in tourism revenue, (+13.95%).

Ms. Denduen Luengcheng, Director of the TAT Frankfurt Office said that in the past few years, TAT has been stepping up its marketing activities in German secondary cities in order to attract more German visitors to destinations like Ko Chang in Trat and Khanom in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, as well as Chumphon and Ranong.

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