June 2010 Newsletter
Wednesday, 2nd June, 2010
We are halfway through the year already and here in Australia we are into winter which always makes you start to dream of warmer places and thoughts of holidays drift through our minds.
When planning doesn’t give up on our friends in Thailand as they need to attract tourists back to their country and there are some wonderful deals around such as breakfast included in your accommodation costs, day trips or shopping vouchers. Most department stores have specials and are offering shopping vouchers. Reports in the media and from emails from friends in Thailand would indicate that things are returning to normal and with good buys being advertised it sounds like a great time to go. Of course you should always check out Government warnings before you travel anywhere.
The Tourism of Thailand recently released an article from Philip Cornwel-Smith who is the author of Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture, and writer-editor of the Time Out Bangkok guidebook. He writes To the millions who have visited or lived here, Bangkok appeared unfamiliar as the protests escalated. That’s true of any city during a spasm of political unrest. Yet most of Bangkok stayed untouched throughout. In the aftermath, most of the Ratchaprasong and Siam Square shopping districts remain intact and operating as before. Returning visitors will recognise the city they remember.
Shopping mall operators and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration have provided space for displaced shop-owners to maintain their businesses. Residents have already splurged on the discounted wares. Now tourists can expect a lot more sales, promotions and festive markets, Thais also take their market culture indoors. Bangkok boasts several of Asia’s biggest malls, brimming with international brands and emergent Thai labels. On the mile-long ‘Ratchaprasong Shopping Street’ between Central Chidlom and Siam Square, all the malls bar two now trade as normal. CentralWorld will reopen in stages and the BMA has pledged to upgrade the area’s public spaces.
As Bangkok develops, its affluent suburbs gain destination attractions. During Ratchaprasong’s temporary closure, the spotlight moved to chic new malls beyond downtown. At the end of March, the semi-outdoors K Village lifestyle mall opened where Sukhumvit Soi 26 meets Rama IV Road. Near Suvarnabhumi Airport, the former Seri Centre on Srinakharin Road emerged in April from total transformation into the luxury mall Paradise Park. The recently launched Crystal Design Centre on the Ekamai-Ramindra Road also came into its own as Asia’s biggest integrated design complex. In a measure of Thai retail verve, Bangkok ironically emerged from the protest period with even more shopping options.””
The Amazing Thailand sale commences on the 15th June and goes through to the 15th August. This annual shopping extravaganza offers a diverse selection of quality products and discounts of 10 – 80 per cent and promotional offers being extended by leading department stores, shopping complexes, King Power Duty Free shops, airlines, hotels, spas, golf courses, online travel agencies, hospitals, jewellery shops and participating retail outlets along designated ‘Shopping Streets’ in Bangkok and at special events held in the popular tourist destinations of Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Koh Samui, Udon Thani and Hat Yai.
The ‘Shopping Streets’ provide a convenient opportunity to spot great buys in an exotic range of unique crafts and cottage industry products, including exquisitely hand-crafted decorative items for home and living and fashion accessories, available in the traditional as well as contemporary design.
Look for stores with the “Amazing Thailand Grand Sale” decal on display.
Some examples of attractive promotions under this year’s campaign include:
Visa cardholders can enjoy five to 80 percent discounts and other privileges from participating merchants in Bangkok and key cities throughout Thailand.
Visa cardholders can redeem a special gift at the Visa booth located at King Power Duty Free at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok (departure only) and at Chiang Mai and Phuket Airports when they spend a minimum of baht 5,000 on single receipt on any internationally-issued Visa card at participating partners.
For every baht 500 spent on any Visa card, cardholders will receive two lucky draw coupons for a chance to the win grand prize of 1,000,000 baht.
For a complete list of participating merchants, promotions and terms and conditions please visit www.tourismthailand.org/thailandgrandsale2010
AMAZING THAILAND GRAND SALE FAIR
JULY 29 – AUGUST 1, 2010
At the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center (QSNCC)
In addition, the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center will also be hosting its annual Amazing Thailand Grand Sale Fair during July 29 – August 1, 2010. Over 600 participating exhibitors representing large retail brands as well as individual retail outlets will be offering special deals and tremendous bargains on a vast variety of very attractively-priced consumer products and services as part of a special promotion.
A selection of designer brands will be offering deep discounts of up to 80 per cent.
There are many impressive offers all over Bangkok, Bobby at Raja’s Tailors (maybe a photo here) has offered Hot Spots to Shop readers two Egyptian cotton shirts with any suit ordered before the end of August. This tailor is on Soi Nana opposite the Nana Hotel is just around the corner from the Landmark Hotel which is on Sukhumvit Road.
Those of you who have the book Hot Spots to Shop Bangkok will find details of the address in there. Several of my friends; both male and female have had suits made there and have been happy with their suits and shirts.
Mid year brings sales all over the world not just in Asia Hong Kong the Sensational Summer Sales run from June to August maybe not as good as their Chinese New year sales but still lots of bargains to be found.
Also in Singapore the Singapore River Festival is on from the 25th June to the 3rd July. As part of the celebrations there will be special deals and promotions at various outlets located along the river. At Clarke Quay there will be fashion shows, Empress Place will have an Asian Music Festival with talent from all around Asia. Robertson Quay is focusing on wine with samples available and there will also be jazz concerts . These are just some of the things planned so if you are going to be in Singapore head down by the river. Don’t forget the Great Singapore Sale continues through to the 26th July.
At Singapore’s Changi Airport departing passengers go through pre-flight security screening before they are allowed into the gate holding area. Many people get this far with items that are not allowed on board so Changi Airport Authority and Singapore Post are launching a two month trail of a postal service in Terminal 1. Speedpost@Changi provides departing passengers with an option to post any of the refused items that fit into one of two standard Speedpost envelope sizes, with a limit of 200ml on liquids. Each envelope comes with a barcode number which facilitates on-line tracking of the package’s delivery status. All shipments are also subject to SingPost’s Speedpost regulations and guidelines. Several Airports such as Sydney have a postal service but this is the first time a postal service has been step up airside.
At long last Sydney airport has unveiled the results of a US500 million dollar upgrade. The much maligned baggage reclaim area has been upgraded and the carousals have increased capacity.
On the way out there is a multitude of shops to keep you busy right up to the time you board your flight. My only criticism is that as your enter the departures area you walk directly into shops and it can be a little confusing. Check out the new shopping options http://www.sydneyairportshopping.com.au/
Hot Spots to Eat
Toong Kwoon Chye in Kuala Lumpur is famous for its dumpling noodles (wantan mee) and has been run by the Yap family since the 1930s. In the Bukit Bintang area next to the Royal Bintang Hotel down towards the end of Jalan Bukit Bintang, this so called coffee shop is well known to locals for its hand made egg noodles. My choice is with mushrooms but you can go for the chicken or try the steamed chicken noodles or variations with curry
Toong Kwoon Chye also known locally as TKC
9, Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Opening Hours: 0700 to 1900 daily but closed on alternate Wednesdays
Hot Spots on the Web
These days airlines vary in what weight you are allowed for your checked bags. A site that will help you sort through the information is http://www.luggagelimits.com/ it claims to have detailed baggage allowance information available on all routes and ticket classes for over 100 airlines! All of the information you need to avoid expensive airline luggage fees is provided along with helpful airport specific links. Low cost carriers are all not included but it does give you all the main carriers.
Search results by ticket class include:
- Weights and dimensions permitted for checked and carry-on baggage
- The number of free bags permitted
- Fees for oversized, overweight & excess baggage
- Maximum weights and sizes permitted
- Route embargo information
- Possible online discounts
- Special baggage policies
- General airline information
When travelling by taxi when you are away from home:
- Use only marked taxis, check with your accommodation place for a list of local companies or signs to look for.
- Organise the taxi through your hotel or restaurant and ask the doorman or a waiter to negotiate for you. Many large hotel notes down the registration of your taxi and your room number as you leave
- Before the taxi departs check the taxi licence photo and driver, if the driver does not look like the photo do not get in.
- If a price has not been negotiated make sure the metre is running and keep tabs on the metre to see that it is running properly.
- Carry a mobile phone.
- Do not get into a taxi that already has a passenger in it.
- Be alert as you travel especially if you are on your own, note familiar landmarks or hospital or police stations so you know where you are and where safe havens are
- Hail and leave cabs in well light areas or as close to the entrance of buildings as possible.
- Keep you hand luggage or shopping within easy reach
- Not all cab companies accept credit cards so ensure you have sufficient local currency with you
- Avoid arguments with regards to the fare, alight and call the concierge or doorman or somebody local close at hand.
If you do have a dispute take details of the cab driver ID and car registration and report to the police