Hungry Ghost Festival – Sart Chin (สารทจีน)

August 23, 2010 by  
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Hungry Ghost Festival – Sart Chin (สารทจีน)

The Ghost Festival also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival is a traditional Chinese festival and holiday celebrated by Chinese in many countries. In the Chinese calendar, the Ghost Festival is on the 15th night of the seventh lunar month (14th in southern China). In Chinese tradition, the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar is called Ghost Day and the seventh month in general is regarded as the Ghost Month (鬼月), in which ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm. Distinct from both the Qingming Festival (in Spring) and Chung Yeung Festival (in Autumn) in which living descendants pay homage to their deceased ancestors, on Ghost Day, the deceased are believed to visit the living.
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Money Exchange, Credit & Debit Cards and ATMs

July 11, 2010 by  
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Exchanging Money and Restrictions

CIMB Bank In Krabi Town

There is no black market exchange rate, so you should only exchange money at a bank or similar foreign exchange facility, which give the best rates. (Of course, hotels give bad rates.) The international airport in Bangkok has currency exchange facilities. Traveller’s cheques are widely accepted in many major Bangkok establishments, though you should convert them into the local Thai baht at a bank or similar foreign exchange facility. There is not a large difference in value between traveller’s cheques and regular money, and you can get a slightly higher rate for traveller’s cheques. Large denominations of money (e.g., $100) get you a better exchange rate than small denominations (e.g., $20). Most of the major European and Asian currencies are accepted, though some are not. For example, it seems nobody will exchange Chinese Yuan/RMB or Indian rupees. If you’re not sure, then bring U.S. dollars. There’s no limit to the amount of money you can bring into Thailand. However, you can’t leave with more than 50,000 baht per person unless you have special authorization (this exact amount seems to change from time to time). You can carry out any amount of foreign currency, but there are restrictions at banks on how much Thai baht you can convert into foreign currency at one time, and for large amounts you will need to show your airplane ticket and passport, and maybe provide an explanation for very large amounts. (These restrictions are mainly the result of currency speculation surrounding the 1997 currency crisis, and again in 2007 due to “capital controls” which were discontinued in 2008.

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Thailand Currency

July 11, 2010 by  
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Thailand’s currency is the Baht. Bills come in denominations of 1000, 500, 100, 50 and 20 Baht. Thai Coinage are 10, 5, 2, 1-Baht. 50 and 25-Satang pieces. Satangs are very small brass-colored coins with a value equivalent of 100-Satang = 1 Baht.

1000 Baht Denomination

Front: Portrait of H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the reigning monarch, in the uniform of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
Portrait of H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej while performing royal activities & the drawing depicting the Pa Sak Jolasid Dam.
Security Thread:
Metallic color security thread.
Portrait of H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej & the classical Thai design “Phum Khow Bin.”
Ink Color:
Dark brown printed on a orange & violet-pink background and on multicolour elaborate design.
width 7.2 cm x length 16.2 cm
Special Features

1, Silver hologram foil stripe with the Royal Garuda Emblem and the numbers “1000” in Thai and Arabic, which will be seen in different reflecting colors and in various dimensions when viewed at different angles as the note is flipped back and forth.
2, Intaglio latent image “1000”, hidden inside the Thai art design which becomes visible when the note is viewed from the lower left corner toward the middle part of the note.
3, The Arabic denomination numerals “1000”, printed with optically variable intaglio ink (OVI), change from greenish gold and green into green when the lower edge of the note is flipped.
4, The “Lotus” floral design which is printed on both sides, becomes completely formed when viewing the note against a light source.

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Recalling Days Of Ore.

July 7, 2010 by  
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A Phuket museum will celebrate the island’s rich tin mining history

Phuket was once famous as one of the country’s major tin producers and the memories of days gone by when a thriving tin mining industry brought economic prosperity to the southern province remain vivid.  A local tin mining museum in Kathu district recently had its soft opening. It will relive the success story of the island province’s industrial past and promote local history. Scenes of vibrant tin mines are now a thing of the past, but every old tin mine has its own story to tell and is worth preserving for educational purposes and posterity. According to old records, tin mining in Phuket began around 1526 during the reign of King Eka Tossarot who ruled the Ayutthaya kingdom. Tin trading in Phuket began to thrive around 1686 during the reign of King Narai the Great of the Ayutthaya kingdom. French merchants then arrived in the province and set up companies with a monopoly in the tin trade. The tin mining industry in Phuket created economic prosperity for local communities for a long time before natural supplies of ore ran out. In the past, tin mining was very labour-intensive before it evolved into a large-scale industry using heavy machinery. Edward Thomas Miles, an Australian, brought the first tin dredge to Phuket in 1909. He was granted the Tongkah Harbour Concession Agreement to mine tin deposits on Phuket Island. Tin helped boost the local economy in Phuket.
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Singapore Air, Cathay Pack Planes, Mask Yield Slump

October 6, 2009 by  
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Singapore Airlines Ltd. and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. are flying fuller planes. Profits may take longer to recover.

dataSingapore Air, the world’s largest airline by market value, packed an average of 79 percent of its seats in July and August, while Cathay, Hong Kong’s biggest carrier, filled 83.8 percent, beating their averages for the year. Airlines have slashed ticket prices to lure business and leisure travelers amid the worst global recession in six decades as well as taking planes out of service. The discounts have pushed global ticket prices to “profitless levels,” according to the International Air Transport Association, with August premium-class fares 22 percent lower than a year earlier. “It’s better than flying empty planes, but yields are still not strong,” said Christopher Wong, a fund manager at Aberdeen Asset Management Ltd. in Singapore, which oversees about $25 billion of Asian assets. “The worst is probably over, but I am not saying there’s going to be a strong recovery.” Airlines globally may lose $11 billion this year, IATA said last month, widening its June forecast by $2 billion. Asia- Pacific carriers will account for a third of that, the trade group predicted.
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Unique gift for Asean leaders

October 4, 2009 by  
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An impressive picture book on the Asean region will be Thailand’s parting gift as it vacates the association’s chair

“Linking people with arts will help them appreciate and be proud of the closeness of one’s community,” said Vitavas Srivihok, director-general of the Asean Affairs Department at the Foreign Ministry. His words later inspired the birth of an artistic book entitled Asean: Portrait of a Community which will be presented as a special gift to the 10 Asean leaders at this year’s final Asean gathering this month in Cha-am/Hua Hin. What makes this book unique is the compilation of sketch drawings of all Asean leaders, as well as the top tourist attractions of the region. The livelihoods of the Asean peoples are portrayed in the natural flow of water colours. The project took shape in June after an exchange of ideas during a friendly chat between Mr Vitavas and artist Taveepong Limapornvanich. “The ministry thought it should have a surprise gift for the leaders. I’m sure it will be unlike anything they have
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Scam in Phuket

October 3, 2009 by  
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Beware of vanishing cabbies and pressure sales tactics in Phuket

I WOULD like to warn Singaporeans of some unsavoury sales tactics I encountered in Phuket during my recent visit with my family in the second week of June. When we arrived at Phuket airport, one taxi driver approached us. He agreed to drive us to our hotel for an agreed sum. He then asked us to follow him. We thought he was taking us to his taxi. Instead, he took us to a counter near the exit. A woman tried to sell us a Marriott hotel holiday package, but we said we were not interested. When I returned the brochure to her, she snatched it rudely. And as for the taxi driver, he had disappeared. We made our way out and were greeted by many taxi drivers. We took one. About 20 minutes into our journey from the airport to our hotel in Patong Beach, the cabby turned into a carpark outside a tour agency, saying he had to sign something, and jumped out. We waited for a few minutes. Two women from the tour agency approached us and spoke for more than 15 minutes, asking us to book an island tour. The driver did not come out and we felt stranded and pressured. In the end, we gave in and signed up for the tour at an overpriced rate, as we discovered later. Read more

Beads Of Lasting Heritage And Pride

September 19, 2009 by  
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Captain Boonyarit Chaisuwan raises awareness on illegal bead hunting and the importance of conservation of artefacts

The sky was still dark when Captain Boonyarit Chaisuwan, an archaeologist of the Phuket-based 15th Fine Arts Office, readied himself for another mission. His destination: Ban Dan School, in Kapoe district, Ranong province. The archaeologist was to meet with a group of 40 students and teachers from the school who took part in a heritage conservation project in which participants attended archaeological workshops, as well as an excavation process. The project is the brainchild of Capt Boonyarit in a bid to promote conservation awareness in communities close to key archeological sites on the Andaman coast of southern Thailand. Ban Dan School and Wat Pathum Tararam were chosen because of their rice heritage, he said. The archaeologist said the project, which ended earlier this month, was to serve as a model for conservation awareness campaigns.

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Feast for the senses

September 19, 2009 by  
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A riverside community in the South delights with its natural bounty

There’s a host of things to see and do and lots of tasty tidbits to sample during a day’s outing to Pak Phanang, 36 kilometres east of Nakhon Si Thammarat town. During the 19th and early 20th centuries this district was the rice bowl of the far South. Its strategic location near the mouth (pak) of the Phanang River made it convenient for ships from British Malaya and even from as far away as Java to dock and load up with hulled rice from the steam-powered mills that lined a long stretch of the waterway. ”Commercial vessels no longer tie up along here,” said Paisarn Wipoosanapat, a local resident who’d volunteered to be our guide for the day, ”but we’ve preserved the old wooden shophouses and I think the atmosphere is similar to what it must have been like in the past.”

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More clicking for holidays

September 12, 2009 by  
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Online sites see spike in bookings even as travel firms struggle to come out of slump

INTERNET-SAVVY travellers are double-clicking their way to holidays in droves, even as the travel industry in Singapore wrestles with the economic credit crunch. An average of 1,997 bookings per month have been made on so far this year, up from 1,408 bookings a month last year – an increase of 70.5 per cent. In the past two months, hotel and flight bookings at Zuji Singapore increased 10 per cent year- on-year.

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