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

Event: 2018 World Cup Qualifiers – Socceroos vs Thailand

World Cup’s qualifiers are coming to an end, and the Thai team is up against the Socceroos one more time.

After a bout that ended in a 2-2 draw last November, the two teams are back again. This September, the Australian soccer team is playing its final 2018 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifier Group B match against Thailand – a real make-or-break match that can bring one of them to the World Cup in Russia next year.

Come and support your national team! Tickets are on sale now, starting from $30 for adults and $15 for children. For more information, visit the Socceroos’ website.

Tuesday, September 5 | Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Olympic Boulevard, Melbourne

Two Thailand Music Festivals You Should Go To This December

When it comes to music festivals, Thailand is a great up-and-coming place to be. As CNBC points out, music festivals have become one of the best attractions that the country has to offer. But which ones are a must to see? Here’s two of our recommendations…

 

Big Mountain Music Festival

Kaeng Krachan Country Club Village, Kaeng Krachan | December 9-10, 2017

big mountain
Source: Big Mountain Music Festival / Everfest

When other festivals seem to pursue international acts relentlessly, Big Mountain focuses on the locale. The fest celebrates Thai scene across a wide swath of genres, such as rock, pop, dance, indie, and electronica. If you want a truly authentic festival-going experience, this one is for you.

 

Wonderfruit Festival

Siam Fields, Pattaya | December 14-17, 2017

Source: Wonderfruit / Facebook

Wonderfruit is an all-around experience, covering not just music, but also arts, wellness and environment. Their production and infrastructure are eco-friendly, using biodegradable and recyclable materials – your fun time doesn’t have to hurt the Earth, indeed!

Best Muay Thai Gyms in Sydney

Muay Thai is one of the most popular martial arts in the world today, and it’s not hard to see why. The traditional Thai sport is explosive, exciting, and useful for both combat and self-defence – practitioners include UFC’s Conor McGregor and Joanna Jędrzejczyk. Granted, not everyone can fly to Thailand – however, there are a lot of great places in Sydney where you can train and learn the art authentically. Here are a few of them:

SRG Thai Boxing Gym

2/576 Botany Road, Alexandria

With numerous current and former professional competitors as your trainers, you can be sure you’re in good hands to unlock your potential.

 

Sinosic-Perosh Martial Arts

29a Majors Bay Road, Concord

Run by two former UFC fighters, SPMA also offers training in mixed martial arts and Brazilian jiujitsu.

 

Machai Fairtex Muay Thai

214 Harbord Road, Brookvale

With two Thai trainers, the Northern Beaches gym will push you to your limits with authentic training.

 

Muay Thai Temple

Level 1, 810 George Street, Sydney

Conveniently located in the heart of the city, Muay Thai Temple offers a friendly environment for beginners to train. It also has a $12/visit special for lunchtime sessions!

 

JNS Muay Thai Gym

2/15 Stanley Street, Peakhurst

One of the most well-reviewed places in the city – a perfect fit for Southern Sydneysiders.

Five Sports You Should Try in Thailand

Consider yourself a sporty person? Thailand boasts a vast range of physical activities for you to enjoy and challenge yourself with. Training with local experts and fellow tourists will also make it a fun, cultural experience like no other. Here are five of sporting activities that you should do in Thailand…

Muay Thai

muay thai
Source: Eric Langley

Muay Thai is a national sport of the country. As a combat martial art, Muay Thai utilises the whole body, allowing the use of punches, elbows, knees, and kick strikes. The only guard allowed is gloves. It’s one of the most popular martial arts in the world today – why not get among it?

 

Sepak Takraw

takraw
Source: robertpollai

It’s like volleyball, but without your hands. Takraw is a team sport using a woven rattan ball, which players are allowed to hit with their head, chest, knees and feet. It is played in at least 31 countries and now a regular sport event in the Asian Games and the Southeast Asian Games – but it doesn’t beat the excitement of playing with local fans.

 

Kite Flying (Len Wow)

Source: Narisa (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Usually played in March-May, the sport has been popular since the 13th-14th centuries. The sport has even expanded to kite fighting, where a huge kite that needs 20 people to maneuver (Chula) battles the lighter one (Pakpao).

 

Boat Racing (Kaeng Ruer)

Source: TakeMeTour

This one is another team sports, consisting of around 9-11 people per boat. Races are usually held in October-November after the rainy season.

 

Krabi-Krabong

Source: Sergio Piumatti (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Another one for martial arts fans! Krabi-Krabong utilises two weapons: a curved sword (krabi) and a staff (krabong). It focuses on strikes, locks, holds and kicks than can improve your everyday self-defence skills.

 

Sources: Muay Thai Thailand, Asian Inspirations, Tiger Muaythai, Columbia