Thailand Among World’s Top Muslim-Friendly Travel Destinations, Report Finds

Thailand has been named the second most Muslim-friendly travel destination among non-OIC markets, according to a new report.

The 2018 Mastercard-Crescentrating Global Muslim Travel Index revealed that Thailand placed second among non-Organisation of Islamic Cooperation countries, and 16th among 130 destinations overall, up two spots from the previous year. The improvement could be attributed to the increasing availability of Halal restaurants and promotion of the destination to Muslim travellers.

“Thailand is already ranked second among non-OIC countries as our growing tourism industry taps into this increasingly important market segment,” said Donald Ong, Thailand and Myanmar country manager at Mastercard.

Securing the top spot in the US$220 billion global Muslim travel market is Malaysia, which could attribute its success to excellent ease of access and communications for travellers.

Thailand’s Low Cost Airline Sector Continues Rapid Growth as Fleet Number Tripled

Thailand’s low-cost airline industry has grown rapidly as number of fleet tripled in the last five years.

According to the CAPA Fleet Database, low cost carrier (LCC) fleet in Thailand has more than tripled in size, from just 42 aircrafts in 2013 to 136 by April 2018. LCCs account for 45 per cent of the country’s total commercial aircraft fleet. The aircraft number is expected to reach 150 by the end of 2018.

LCC capacity has also increased more than threefold, from approximately 11 million domestic LCC seats in 2012 to 33 million in 2017.

Thai AirAsia, which was one of the first LCCs to launch in Thailand in 2004, remains as the market leader. Its fleet has doubled in size over the past five years from 28 to 59 aircrafts.

Recipe: Nam Dang Mo (Watermelon Drink)

Looking for a recipe that will brighten your winter days? Why not try this recipe?

Nam Dang Mo or watermelon drink is a refreshing drink that is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre as well as low in calories. Try it, and you’ll keep coming back for the flavours…

Recipe taken from Rachel Cooks Thai and Khiewchanta

What You’ll Need:

  • 1-2 kilograms watermelon, cut in cubes and de-seeded
  • 300-500 grams ice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Sugar (optional)

Method:

  1. Blend the ice until finely broken up.
  2. Put in water and the watermelon cubes and blend until liquified and well-mixed with the ice.
  3. Put in lime juice and sugar until a desired level of sweetness is achieved.
  4. Serve in a pitcher or glasses. Garnish with a mint if desired.

Recipe: Sweet Sticky Rice

Mango Sticky Rice by Dennis Wong

As one of the most well-known Thai desserts, sweet sticky rice is truly irreplaceable, especially served with coconut sauce and fresh mango slices. Here’s a recipe for you to recreate at home…

Recipe by: The Spruce Eats, Thaitable, Taste, Epicurious

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of sticky/glutinous rice
  • 1 cup of fresh coconut milk (if unavailable, replace with 1 can of coconut milk)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons of brown or caster sugar
  • 1 large ripe mango, sliced thinly

How to Make:

  1. Soak the rice in a bowl overnight. Drain and put the rice on a steamer basket. Cook over boiling water for 15-25 minutes, until the rice is tender and translucent.
  2. Place the coconut milk in a pot. Cook over medium heat until hot, and be careful not to boil it. Add sugar and salt, and stir until completely dissolved.
  3. Put the cooked rice in a bowl, and add in half of the hot coconut milk. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to let the flavours soak in.
  4. Serve the rice with mango slices and the remaining the coconut milk.

Tip:

  • Replace the white glutinous rice for the black variety for a more colourful presentation. Steam the rice for 10 minutes longer.

Koh Samui and Other Islands to See New Bans

The Thai government is set to adopt new rules to undo the damage from tourism activities on three islands.

Starting in July, the government will ban fishing, fish feeding, anchoring on coral reefs, beach construction and walking on the islands’ seabed, said Jatuporn Burutphat, director of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources. The islands covered by this ban are Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Koh Pha-ngan.

“The amount of garbage and waste water on these islands is so big that it will become unbearable in the near future, and we have to think about the future,” said Jatuporn.

The Southeast Asian country continues to be a popular holiday destination. The Ministry of Tourism and Sports expects 37.5 million tourists in 2018, up from last year’s 35.3 million.

People violating this rule will face up to one year in prison and a fine of 100,000 baht ($A4154).

The rule follows the smoking and littering ban on 24 beaches introduced in February. Violators could expect to face a criminal court and one year in jail, or a fine of up to 100,000 baht ($3,190), or both.

Best Summer Fruit Blends Recipes

Summer is the best season for tropical fruit drinks – from mango and coconut to bael and tamarind. Why not take some inspiration from Thai drinks and make your own at home? Here are some of the best Thai summer fruit blend recipes…

Coconut Juice (Nam Maprow On)

This refreshing drink only requires one ingredient: a young coconut. After you’re finished with the drink, pick up a spoon and scoop out the coconut meat inside!

 

Papaya Drink (Nam Maragor)

Blend fresh or canned papaya with sugar syrup, and serve with crushed ice for maximum coolness.

 

Bael Fruit Tea (Cha Matoom)

Roast two slices of bael fruit on a grill, and boil them with four cups of water for around two minutes. Serve warm or with ice!

 

Mango Juice (Nam Ma Muang)

Blend your fresh or frozen mangoes with water and lime juice, and serve cold with crushed ice cubes.

 

Tamarind Drink (Nam Makham)

To create this, mesh half a cup of fresh tamarinds until they turn into a paste. Heat the paste with three cups of water and some sugar until the sugar dissolves. Chill the tamarind drink in the fridge and serve with lime.

Google Celebrates Pad Thai in Doodles

On Tuesday, Google celebrated Pad Thai with special doodles on its homepage.

On November 7, 1945, the dish was announced as the national cuisine of Thailand, despite some claims that it is of Chinese origins.

The doodles featured three cartoon characters in Google’s primary colours cooking up the Thai noodles. The Internet behemoth said in a statement:

“Today’s Doodle was inspired by Doodler Juliana’s own research into cooking up Pad Thai with a friend. She wanted to be able to show all the delicious ingredients up close and invented some small pea-sized characters to be our culinary guides. Her lovely creation celebrates the process of cooking this unique dish and eating it with friends — warm, colorful, messy, social, and wonderfully Thai.”

Why not join in the celebrations and eat some Pad Thai tonight?

Three Things to Do in Koh Samui

Koh Samui is not only the second largest island in Thailand, but it’s also one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. The gorgeous natural landscape and historical attractions will make you want to return for more. But while you’re there, make the best out of your trip with these top recommended activities…

Visit the Big Buddha and Guanyin

Located on a small island linked to Koh Samui’s northern end, there are two temples worthy of a visit. The first temple, Wat Phra Yai, houses the 12-metre tall gold Buddha statue sitting in the Mara position, symbolising the strength of overcoming temptations and dangers. Located nearby is another temple, Wat Plai Laem, where the statue of 18-armed Guanyin lies. Learn more about Buddhism by looking through the murals and artefacts as well as observing religious practices firsthand.

 

Shop and Dine at Fisherman’s Village

Source: Hipponite Monruedee Jansuttipan

The gem of Bophut beach has something for everyone, but it’s mainly famous for its wide range of shopping and dining options. The highlight is the popular weekly market – however, if you cannot make it, you can still go around the boutique shops and souvenir stalls. Beachside restaurants facing Koh Phangan are also aplenty, offering Thai seafood as well as western style dishes. The streets, which previously housed the French outpost on the island, boast rustic and beautiful architecture that pedestrians can enjoy while they’re out and about.

 

Hike to Na Muang Waterfalls

Source: Maksim Sundukov

At the heart of the island are two beautiful waterfalls, where one can swim and enjoy the surrounding lush nature. Na Muang 1 is 30 metres tall, whereas Na Muang 2 is smaller and located 30 minutes further on foot.

 

Five Things to Do in Chiang Mai

As Thailand’s second biggest city, Chiang Mai is a popular holiday destination among both locals and foreign travellers – and it’s not without a reason. Situated in Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai offers a quieter, more grounded experience compared with the crowded Bangkok. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do here – in fact, there is a diverse range of activities that you can try your hands at. Here are top five things to do in Chiang Mai!

Visit Ancient Temples

Source: Matthew Schwartz (CC BY-SA 4.0)

There are hundreds of temples (wats) and ancient sites in Chiang Mai, where you can see historic artefacts and landmarks as well as learn more about Buddhism. The recommended ones include Wat Chedi Luang Varavihara, Wiang Kum Kam, and Doi Suthep.

 

See Animals

You can get up and close with the wildlife in Chiang Mai. For a short day trip, try Chiang Mai Zoo, which houses 400 species of animal including two pandas from China, or elephant camps. Prefer to go out at night? Join the Chiang Mai Night Safari, where you can walk or ride a tram through three animal zones: Savanna Safari, Predator Prowl, and Jaguar Trail.

 

 

Shop at Local Night Markets

Source: Nicolai Bangsgaard / Flickr

Whether you’re looking for local food, handmade handicraft or just want to enjoy the scene, night markets can give you an unforgettable experience. Night Bazaar at Chang Klan Road, Saturday Night Market Walking Street at Wua Lai Road, or Ploen Ruedee Night Market can be your choice. Remember to haggle to get the best prices, and make sure to keep your belongings safe from pickpockets!

 

Take A Cooking Class

cooking class
Source: VietnamStay

Eating around is great, but why not take it a step further and learn how to make your own Thai dish from the experts? The instructors will teach you how to coo authentic Thai dish, ranging from appetizers to desserts. You will also have the chance to taste test everything – so don’t eat beforehand!

 

Go Back to Nature

Source: Golfz82 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Chiang Mai’s rich natural landscape will let you escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Venture to  Bua Thong waterfalls and Mae Sa waterfalls, or hike up to Doi Pui National Park or Doi Inthanon National Park.

 

Sources: TripAdvisor, Hotels