Monday, 31 March 2008

Holidays in Scotland

Looking for holidays in Scotland? Head to the North of the United Kingdom for picturesque views and historic sights are set to be found in bonny Scotland.

Craig Tara Holiday Park in Ayrshire, here you will find a breath of fresh air with stunning views of the Isle of Arran and the head of Ayr from the holiday park.

With the many activities and facilities available to you at the holiday park you wont find yourself with nothing to do, from a round of golf on the 9-hole golf course to rock climbing on the climbing wall as well as go-karting, big multi pool with flumes, 2 big entertaining venues and mini-ten pin bowling, fun is to be had all round.

As well as the self catering option, Craig Tara offers a half board option meaning no cooking and cleaning at breakfast and dinner. Wake up to a continental or full English breakfast and after tiring yourself out for the day return to a range of choice for your dinner.

As well as Ayrshire you can choose to stay at Seton Sands, just 30 minutes drive away from the historic sights of Edinburgh. This beach location holiday park is tailor made for family fun.
There are lots to see and do at the Seton Sands Caravan Park; the near-by beach is situated across the road, directly in front of the park, bear in mind this a rocky beach (the nearest sandy beach is 8km away), day and night time entertainment for all, indoor pool, food and drink can be found and not to miss the character breakfasts the Kid's Alive Programme keeps them healthy and active, some activities may have a moderate charge.

So just for a quick recap, holidays in Scotland leaves you with great choices to make, from stunning scenic views of Ayrshire to the historic sights of Edinburgh, meaning just one thing, a tough decision to make in choosing holidays in Scotland!

Information about Craig Tara, Seton Sands and holidays in Scotland

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Tom_Heath

Packing Tips for Travel

Packing a Suitcase:


For most travelers, packing for a trip is an unwelcome chore. Most of us take too much, end up with bundles of wrinkled clothing, and forget a few essential items. There are, however, some steps you can take to lessen the hassle of packing.


Getting Ready:
1.Make a list of what you need to take. Imagine yourself at your destination and think of the activities in which you'll participate. Choose clothing that travels well- washable, wrinkle-resistant. Choose a few basic colors and mix and match items to create different outfits. Don't forget to include accessories and toiletries on your list.
2.A week before you leave, start assembling what you will take. Put clothes in a separate section of your closet; put accessories and toiletries in a box.
3.Before putting everything in a suitcase, take a long, hard look at what you have pulled together. Do you absolutely need all of it? Usually, the answer is no.


Packing It Up:
1.It is recommended that the interfolding method is used, which utilizes luggage space ingeniously.
2.Shoes and other heavy items should be placed along the hinged side of the suitcase. When the suitcase is closed and standing upright, these heavier items will be on the bottom and won't slip down and wrinkle the clothes.

3.Roll up items like sleepware, t-shirts, and socks and fit them into available spaces. Smaller items like socks and pantyhose should also fit nicely into your shoes. When you are finished, the contents of your suitcase should be comfortably solid (meaning no big, empty spaces). Thus, the contents won't shift too much.

4.If you use a duffel bag, roll all clothing. If you use a hanging garment bag, center all clothing on hangers and bring sleeves up toward the front.


KiyaSama is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Writers.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Chiang Mai North Of Thailand

“Nopphaburi Si Nakhon Ping Chiang Mai” (new town) was established by King Mengrai in 1292. Two hundred years later, the city was subdued by Burmese invasion and became Burma's vassal state in 1558. In 1774, Chiang Mai was liberated by King Taksin and became part of Siam and once again capital of anna (a million rice fields) an independent princedom, tributary to Bangkok. Today, Chiang Mai is the largest city of northern Thailand possessing unique cultural characteristics surrounded by truly magnificent natural beauty. Chiang Mai is also a centre of learning, art, antiques, and the ancient tradition of Lanna. An increasing number of tourists, both Thai and foreign, visit again and again, impressed by the hospitality and talent of the people, reflected in various silk, silver, sa paper products, and made cotton and silk, wood carving, ceramics and other handicrafts – and, of course, the food.
Chiang Mai is situated at 300 metres above sea level in a large mountainous area. The province encompasses approximately 20,000 square kilometres. Chiang Mai is separated from Bangkok by 700 kilometres of highway or 761 kilometres of railway. Chiang Mai province is located between the northern latitude 17-21 and the eastern longitude 98 – 99. Chiang Mai’s northern border of 277 kilometres of mountain range separates Chiang Mai’s Fang and Mae Ai districts from Myanmar’s Chiang Tung State. In some parts of northern Chiang Mai, the Kok River plays the role of the border between Chiang Mai and Myanmar. In the east, Chiang Mai is bordered by Chiang Rai, Lampang and Lamphun provinces. The south of Chiang Mai is separated from Tak province by the Mae Tuen River and also borders Lamphun province. To the west lies Mae Hong Son province.

Doi Sutep
The Doi Sutep Mountain is probably the first feature any first-time visitor to Chiang Mai would notice. It is part of the ring of mountains that surround Chiang Mai City. Doi Sutep is 3,051 feet high and standing proud at the peak of the mountain is the guardian temple of the city, the Wat Prathat Doi Sutep (holy temple of Doi Sutep). This gleaming pagoda could be seen from virtually any point in Chiang Mai City. This pagoda is the holiest of all Chiang Mai's temples. To reach it, you would have to drive through 17 kilometers of the beautiful mountainous national park. It is, without a doubt, the most visited temple and tourist spot in the north.

Upon arrival at the temple, visitors will get to see many street vendors trading their ware from sweet corn to Buddha replicas. Two awesome Naga (serpents) fiercely guards the temple's entrance. To reach it, you would have to walk up the 300 steps. It is a rather tough climb for the elderly, but rest assured that your patience and effort will be well rewarded when you reached the temple. Built in the 16th century, not much of the temple's original architecture remains today. However, the view you get from the temple is spectacular. And the view of the gleaming pagoda in its entire glorious splendor is even more awesome up close.

Phuping Palace
Phuping Palace, the winter home to the revered monarchy is located further up the mountain from Doi Sutep. You may view the palace during weekends and public holidays as long as the Royal Family is not in residence. The Royal Palace was completed in the year 1962 and the palace grounds are gorgeously beautiful during the winter months (December - January) for the well planned garden is in full bloom.


Chiang Mai Zoo
Visitors will find the Chiang Mai Zoo on Huay Keaw Road, about 5 kilometers from Chiang Mai City center. The zoo had been around for the past 21 years and currently occupies a land area of about 200 acres. This zoo located at the foothills of Doi Sutep is the largest zoo in Thailand. You'll find a huge variety of animals. There are about 6,819 animal living in the forested and green grounds. The wonderful nature that surrounds it includes two waterfalls, two lakes, various camping sites for the night zoo and some awesome view of the city. To enter the zoo, an entry fee of between 20 and 40 bath is charged. Additional charges for a tuktuk (Chiang Mai's version of a taxi) is recommended, as it is almost impossible to explore the entire zoo by foot. This is a nice and pleasant way to spend the day.


Chiang Mai National Museum
For those of you who are keen on northern Thai arts and archaeological findings, then head on down to the Chiang Mai National Museum. It is located on the Superhighway road about five kilometers from the city center. The Chiang Mai National Museum can vie for a spot with the rest of the world for its modest collection of arts and information. Here, you'll find interesting artifacts and pieces from the past such as The Buddha's footprint and a large Buddha head that once belonged to a complete statue. There are even artifacts dating all the way back to the fourteenth to fifteenth century, such as the Kalong, Sankampaeng, Haripunchai and other northern ceramics. On the grounds of the museum, you'll get to see two 500-year old kilns. Those kilns had been transported from these ancient sites.
Temples
Temples are one of Chiang Mai City's most prominent features. The city has over 36 active temples with majority of them, a tranquil and beautiful place where thousands of monks and novices were ordained. To many, these temples are social centers. Here are some:

• Wat Suan Dok bears the meaning of "flower garden". It is the resting-place for the old royal family of Chiang Mai. Their tombs are impressive and there are cenotaphs in the shape of pagodas. Visitors will notice that it is painted in white. This was done in reminder of the glorious past of the Kingdom of Lanna (Chiang Mai used to be the capital city of this Kingdom).

• Wat Umong is one of the oldest temples in Chiang Mai. At the Wat Umong, you'll get to see an old painting that is about 500 years old. There are also old monastic cells found underground that was used for meditation. Today, Wat Umong is well known as a modern temple for many Western monks have become ordained here. You can also take meditation and Dharma classes in English. The Wat Umong is also unique for it is an "open zoo" where many Thais released animals to earn merit. Although not so easily accessible, yet it is a quiet and peaceful place to study Dharma.

• Another famous temple is the Wat Chedi Luang. Its history began from around 1401. Its prominent feature has got to be the massive pagoda. Once, in 1545, it was struck by lightning. The pagoda was never restored but its sheer size is still impressive. On the temple grounds, you'll also find a city pillar that was placed beneath a tall gum tree. The tree was said to last as long as the city does.

• One of the most respected temples in Chiang Mai is Wat Pra Singh. It was founded in 1345. This has got to be one of the best-preserved buildings in Chiang Mai. Its history dates back to the 1800s. Despite its age, there are still beautiful murals and old scrolls found in this small building. The Wat Pra Singh is popular place during religious holidays. You will see people walking around the temple three times with lit candles. You may even join in if you wish.

Pattaya Thailand


Pattaya is a phenomenon. Once a tiny fishing village, it has developed into an international playground of such renown as to be justly dubbed the "Jewel of the East Coast".

Located just 145 km southeast of Bangkok, Pattaya can be visited on a day trip from the capital, although most visitors are so enchanted by the variety of things to do and see that even a week's stay doesn't seem long enough.

Colorful and alive with activity, Pattaya is unrivaled as a beach resort. It is in a class of its own, offering more attractions in greater profusion than any other single destination in Southeast Asia. Day and night, it presents an ever changing kaleidoscope of fun and thrills.

Facing a wide bay and a long majestic sweep of beach, Pattaya has been groomed over more than three decades for the international visitor, and today, it boasts the unique distinction of a beach resort with city status. Where most other resorts rely simply on their natural surroundings, Pattaya makes an all-out attempt to provide the best of everything in an exhaustive mix of facilities.

Indeed, Pattaya can be whatever you want it to be. Such is its variety that it is ideal for all kinds of visitors. While there is plenty to keep the children happily occupied, there is also everything for the sports enthusiast, for couples of all ages seeking rest and relaxation, and for those who are simply looking for good times in the sun.

Bangkok Thailand

Bangkok is Thailand's capital in every sense. It is where the Royal Family resides, it is the seat of government and administration, and it is the focal point for virtually all major industrial, commercial and financial activity. It is the country's main port and home to one tenth of the Kingdom's population. Bangkok is also the country's principal gateway and prime tourist attraction.

Playing such an important role, Bangkok bears the full brunt of Thailand's present rapid economic growth. As such it can appear a chaotic and confusing city. The skyline is dominated by high-rise offices, buildings, condominiums, luxury hotels, departmental stores and shopping malls, while the streets bustle with activity.

Yet, here too, are exotic temples and other wondrous monuments, and the true character of what s a legendary Orient city is manifest in the capital's proper name - "Krung Thep". This translates as 'City of Angels' and is the first in a whole string of illustrious titles that properly define the place. To the Thais Bangkok is always Krung Thep, the spiritual and symbolic, as well as physical heart of the nation.
Divided by the Chao Phraya, the River of Kings, Bangkok spreads across a flat alluvial plain. Originally a small riverine trading post, it was founded as the capital in 1782 by King Rama I. Over the next two centuries, it developed in such a way as to reflect both ancient glories and modern dynamism. Successfully blending old and new, it is an expression of the Thais' enduring respect for tradition and their exuberant involvement with progress.

In the midst of dynamic modern growth, Bangkok miraculously manages to preserve its cultural heritage to a marked degree. The soaring roofs and gleaming spires of the Grand Palace and the city's many historic temples present the visitor with a picture of medieval oriental wonder, the very stuff of Eastern fairytales. Further, contained within Bangkok's monument and sights are treasures of the nation's artistic and cultural endeavor that typify the land and the people.
The influence of the past and the enduring threads of the social fabric are not limited to the static. They continue to pervade daily life. Files of saffron-robed monks making their early morning alms round, for example, present an image unaltered in essentials by the passing of time. Today's backdrop of high-rise building serve only to emphasize the exotic and timeless scene, while the city draws definition from it.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Thai Food Berkeley

Bangkok Thai Cuisine
1459 University 848-6483

Berkeley Thai House
2511 Channing Way 843-7352
Delivery daily after 5:00 pm

Boran Thai Restaurant
1892 Solano 525-3625

Cha-Am Authentic Thai
1543 Shattuck 848-9664

Jayakarta
2026 University 841-0884
Indonesian and Singaporean cuisine

King of Thai Food
1581 University 666-1125
. Small seating area, mostly take-out and delivery.

Lucky House Thai & Lao Cuisine
2140 University 841-8900

Palm's Thai Dining
1923 University 548-1888

Plearn Thai Cuisine
2050 University 841-2148

@ Siam Cuisine
1181 University 548-3278

Simply Thai Gourmet
2156 University 883-9728

Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine
1736 Solano 527-8611

Thai Delight
1700 Shattuck 549-0611
Menu online, organic foods available.

Thai E Sun
1958 Shattuck 549-1958

Thai Noodles
1936 University 848-6531

Tuk Tuk Thai Cafe
2466-68 Shattuck 540-6360

Your Place Thai Cuisine
1267-71 University 548-9781

Vanni Innovative Cuisine
1096 Dwight Way 843-3646

Chiang Mai International Art & Culture Festival 2008

The Tourism Authority of Thailand to be held the Chiang Mai International Art and

Culture Festival 2008 at the Three Kings Monument and the Chiang Mai City Arts

and Cultural Centre from April 2 to 6, the festival will turn the northern capital into a

colourful playground with Thai and international performances. The festival will also

celebrate the birthday of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, on April 2, which is

also Thai Heritage Conservation Day.



Date : April 2-6 , 2008 18.00 – 22.00 pm.



Venue : At Three Kings Monument



Activity :


April 2 :

- Registration / Opening ceremony

- The great Chanting honor HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

- The great dances honor HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

- Opening Show “The heavenly Lanna Kingdom” Lanna Drum Festivity

- The beating of prosper Lanna drum

- The beating of Chai Ya Mong Kon drum

- The honorary beating of greatest Lanna drum

April 3 :

- The Unity of Thai Shows;

- Cultural Contemporary Performances

- Tribal Cultural Performances

- 4 Regions (Northern – Central – North Eastern – Southern Region) Cultural Performances



April 4 :

- Lannas mourns the passing of HRH Princess

- Galyani Vadhana

- Orchestra

- ballet




April 5 :

Chiang Mai the colorful of Multi Culture and International Music

International Cultural Contemporary Show

“World’s Famous Music” performed by Viol instruments


April 6 :

Lanna Artists Performance “Lanna folk to the international”

- The preservation of Northern fiddles and flutes show

- The contemporary of folk music festivity



For further information : TAT. Northern Office : Region 1,

Tel. 0 5324 8604, 0 5324 8607

Webside : www. tatchiangmai.org / http://www.tourismthailand.org/

Education in Thailand

Education in Thailand is provided mainly by the Thai government through the Ministry of Education. A free basic education of twelve years is guaranteed by the constitution, and a minimum of nine years' school attendance is mandatory.

Formal education consists of at least twelve years of basic education, and higher education. Basic education is divided into six years of primary education (Prathom Suksa) and six years of secondary education (Mathayom Suksa), the latter being further divided into three years of lower- and upper-secondary levels. Kindergarten levels of pre-primary education, also part of the basic education level, spans 2-3 years depending on the locale, and is variably provided. Non-formal education is also supported by the state.

English Language Education in Thailand
The use of English in Thailand while far from being as developed as in the Netherlands, Germany, the Scandinavian countries or the Philippines, is nevertheless rapidly increasing through the influence of the media and the Internet and is far greater, for example, than in France, the United Kingdom’s nearest neighbour.

The government has long realised the importance of the English language as a major core subject in schools, and it has been a compulsory subject at varying levels for several decades. Since 2005 schools are being encouraged to establish bilingual departments where the core subjects are taught in English, and to offer intensive English language programmes. Notwithstanding the extensive use of, and exposure to English in everyday life in Thailand, the standard of correct English in the schools is now the lowest in Southeast Asia. In 1997 Thailand was still in the forefront, but by 2001 Laos and Vietnam had caught up, and by mid 2004 were clearly in the lead. (SAMEO Conference, Singapore, April 2006).

Following the announcement of the University of Cambridge to launch a new course and qualification for non-native speaker teachers, a survey was carried out in February 2006, with the collaboration of the University of Cambridge as part of a field trial, by the country’s largest group of independent schools of its 400 or so teachers of English. The project reported that in over 60 percent of the teachers, the knowledge of the language and teaching methodology was well below that of the syllabus level which they were being expected to teach. Some teachers with a Grade 6 level - or lower - in the language were actually attempting to teach Grades 10, 11, and even 12. Of the remaining top 40 per cent, only 3 percent had a reasonable level of fluency and only 20 per cent were teaching grades for which they were correctly qualified and competent. For the most part, the level of spoken and written English was often incomprehensible to the native speaker designers and administrators of the project. Within the group of over 40 schools representing nearly 80,000 students in primary and secondary education, random parallel test groups of primary school pupils often scored higher in some tests than many of the teachers in other schools of the same group. The schools resisted the initiative of the central governing body to provide intensive upgrading programmes for the teachers. In spite of the evidence, the schools doubted the results, and to save face, argued that their teachers had qualified through their various universities and colleges and either had nothing more to learn or could not afford the time. In the government schools the situation is no better and many primary teachers freely admit that they are forced to teach English although they have little or no knowledge of the language whatsoever. A debate began in several circles as to whether teaching English badly during the most influential years is in fact better than not teaching it at all at primary level. The situation is further exacerbated by the ever-changing curriculum, which is frequently misinterpreted into syllabuses by the teachers themselves at levels often far too advanced for the cognitive development of the students.

Thousands of native English speakers are employed in public and private schools throughout the country, their existence being encouraged by the need to develop students’ oral expression and knowledge of foreign culture; much of their time however, is taken up with remedial teaching: putting right any grammar, orthography, pronunciation and cultural background that has been wrongly taught and which leads to great misunderstanding - they see this as a greater priority. The official version of English, although not always practical in its dispensation, is British. Qualified native teachers with a background in linguistics will ensure that students are exposed to both major variations of the language and understand them and their differences, whichever version the students choose to speak.

Language classes, sponsored by the governments of English speaking countries such as those provided by the British Council, enjoy an excellent reputation for quality, both for general English, and for the preparation for international exams such as the American English TOEFL and the British English IELTS, which are prerequisites for the entry into many professions, particularly aircrew and tourism. There is also no shortage of cramming schools, usually franchise chains, in the capital and larger cities, but although they are staffed mainly by highly motivated, qualified native speakers, and have excellent resources, they are often branded by cynics as ‘the McDonalds of English language’.

There has been a dramatic increase since 2000 in the number of Thailand based TEFL/TESOL (Teaching of English as a Foreign Language / Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages) teacher training institutions. Some dispense internationally recognised teaching certificates and diplomas which follow the courses of established universities, and some provide courses and certification franchised from other organisations and universities, still others dispense their own courses and certification. Whatever their claims, there is no single, internationally recognised accrediting body for the certificates. Currently, to teach English in established schools, public or private, the minimum academic qualification for native speakers to obtain the required government teacher licence is a bachelor degree - in any subject. However, the government is in the process of exercising greater control, particularly to combat the use of bogus certificates and degrees issued by diploma mills, and to prevent access to schools by persons with doubtful motives.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Thailand

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Thailand Beach

WELCOME TO THAILAND
"LAND OF SMILE'
Pattaya
Ko Lanta

Ko Samui

Ko Samet

Krabi

Phuket

Thailand Airport

Suvarnabhumi Airport, New Bangkok Airport, Thailand
Suvarnabhumi (pronounced “Su-Wana-Poom”) means “The Golden Land”.

Developing Thailand as the aviation and air transport hub of Southeast Asia is among the priorities set by the Royal Thai Government.

One of the ways this can be achieved is to develop Suvarnabhumi Airport to achieve the highest international standards, to ensure its support for the rapidly increasing air traffic demand corresponding to the need of aviation business worldwide. His Majesty the King has graciously conferred the name of �Suvarnabhumi Airport� which means the �Golden Land� and is located in Bang Phli District, Samut Prakan province, covering an area of approximately 3,200 hectares.

The Suvarnabhumi Airport, which is due to replace the overloaded and unexpandable Bangkok International Airport (Don Muang), is scheduled to open in June 2006. However, this date may be delayed until September 2006 for testing and validation by ICAO.

The ‘New Bangkok International Airport’ company was formed in 1996 but due to political and economic chaos it took six years for construction to start. The new airport has also been delayed countless times due to cost overruns and construction problems.

The new airport is located on a boggy, 3,100ha site in the Samut Prakarn province of Thailand at Nong Ngu Hao (translated as Cobra Swamp), 30km east of Bangkok. Construction of Suvarnabhumi Airport began in January 2002.

Don Muang will be relegated to domestic-only status when the new airport opens. Don Muang is currently the world’s 22nd busiest airport and the busiest in Southeast Asia, but it has already reached its full capacity at over 37 million passengers per year.

Suvarnabhumi will be able to cope with 30 million passengers per year when it first opens, a figure which will be increased to 45 million within a short space of time. Following further expansion phases, including two additional runways, it will cater for over 100 million passengers per year.

Suvarnabhumi Airport Background

The plot of land occupied by the airport with an approximate area of 8,000 acres (324 km�) was purchased back in 1973, but the Thammasat student uprising on October 6 of the same year succeeded in overthrowing the military government of dictator Thanom Kittikachorn and the project was shelved.

After a series of ups and downs, the “New Bangkok International Airport” company (NBIA) was formed in 1996. Due to political and economic instabilities, notably the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the civil construction began only six years later in January 2002.

The airport is located in a once low-lying marsh, formerly known as (”Cobra Swamp”), which took about 5 years (1997 - 2001) to clear through land reclamation. In 2005, the construction supervision and management was transferred to the Airports of Thailand PLC, while the NBIA company was dissolved.

The airport was due to open in late 2005, but a series of budget overruns, construction flaws, political interference and allegations of corruption continues to plague the project, and after much speculation the Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra announced that the airport would be open by September 2006 at the latest. Symbolic first test flights involving two Thai Airways aircraft were held on September 29, 2005, a previously announced deadline for opening.

The construction of the City Airport Terminal in Makkasan and a 28.6 km high-speed rail link to the new airport started in July 2005 and are planned for completion in November 2007, although this deadline, too, seems unlikely to be met.

The airport express, informally known as the Pink Line and operated jointly with SRT’s planned Red Line commuter service, will connect with the BTS Sukhumvit Line and MRT Blue Line at Phaya Thai and Phetchaburi stations respectively, offering airport-bound passengers a fast 15-minute limited stop journey from the city.

http://www.airportsuvarnabhumi.com/

Monday, 24 March 2008

Thailand Hotels

Chiang Mai is not only a large and ancient city of northern Thailand, but also a famous tourist destination. Historical places from the Lanna era as well as natural beauty, which allows for climbing, elephant riding, trekking an bicycling await tourists.
Chedi Chiang Mai : Amata Lanna : Yaang Come : Sofitel Riverside : Tea Vana : Holiday Inn : Ban Sabai : Bann Tazala : Amari Rincome : Tri Yaan Na Ros : Ayatana : Rachamankha : Baan Saen Doi : D2 Hotel : Puripunn : Mandarin Oriental : Sukantara : Huen Come : At Niman : Novotel Chiangmai : Muang Gudi : Tamarind Village : Belle Villa : Chiangmai Hills : Baan Namping : Imperial Chiang Mai : Baan Gong Kham : Pornping Tower : Lanna Mantra


Pattaya is 147 km. southeast of Bangkok. Pattaya features a wonderful natural bay and to the south a long, sandy beach known as Jomtien, offshore are more than a dozen islands which have amusement park, offbeat museums and lush botanical gardens offer numerous forms of leisure activities and cultural entertainment for all family members. And after dark, Pattaya offers all the allure and magic of a truly vibrant nightlife with a spectacular variety of restaurants, night clubs, bars, discotheques, cocktail lounges and cabarets.
Dusit Resort : Amari Orchid : Mantra Pura : Royal Cliff Beach : Hard Rock : Horseshoe Point : Siam Bayshore : Siam Bayview : Pattaya Marriott : The Montien : Rabbit Resort : Nirvana Boutique : Pinnacle Jomtien : Ambassador : Jomtien Garden : Jomtien Palm Beach : Eravana : Tropicana : Thai Garden : Cholchan : Woodlands : The Zign : Aisawan : Tim Boutique : Nirvana Place : Mike Garden : Royal Orchid : Sugar Hut : Momchailai : LK Royal Suite


Koh Samui is an island of natural beauty and charm, a place where you can have a wonderful holiday. Blue-sky days and a nice ocean breeze are the norm. Today tourist from the whole world go to this paradise. It's located in the Gulf of Siam and surrounded by over sixty other Islands, including Koh PhaNgan and Koh Tao.
Sila Evason : Samui Escape : Punnpreeda : Saboey : Lawana : Sunrise Villas : Villa Tanamera : Samui Palm Beach : Bandara : Anantara : Bo Phut Resort : Chaweng Resort : Samui Paradise : Cabana Grand View : Chaweng Bayview : Samui Natien : Baan Chaweng : Baan Samui : Chaweng Buri : Muang Kulaypan : Iyara : Kandaburi : Baan Haad Ngam : Buri Rasa : Villa Nalinnadda : Le Paradise : Samui Honey Tara : Pavilion Samui


Hua Hin is located about 200km south of Bangkok on the west coast of the Gulf of Thailand. Hua Hin is the oldest beach resort in the Kingdom of Thailand. Hua Hin has many attractions for the tourist: Chinese new year, Songkran Festival, Loy Kratong, Hua Hin Jazz Festival, Hua Hin & Cha Am Golf Festival and the world famous Hua Hin Kings Cup Elephant Polo Tournament.
Dusit Resort : Springfield Village : Veranda Resort : Hua Hin Marriott : Wora Bura : Putahracsa Hua Hin : Hyatt Regency Hua Hin : Hilton Hua Hin : Sofitel Central Hua-Hin : Let`s Sea : Anantara : The Villas : Brassiere : Purimuntra : Aleenta : Evason Hideaway : Evason Hua Hin : Praseban : Privacy Beach : The Rock Hua Hin : Supatra Hua Hin : Pattawia : Casuarina : Ocean Breeze : Casa Papaya : Baan Talay Samran : Casa del Mare : Kaban Tamor


Bangkok is one of Asia's most cosmopolitan cities, known as "Krungthep" which means the City of Angels. Major tourism attractions include glittering Buddhist temples, palaces, timeless 'Venice of the East' canal and river scenes, classical dance extravaganzas, an almost legendary nightlife, and numerous air-conditioned shopping centers.
Novotel Suvarnabhumi : Royal Orchid Sheraton : Oriental : Bangkok Marriott : Amari Atrium : Shangri-La : Millenium Hilton : Peninsula : Baiyoke Sky : Pathumwan Princess : Sofitel Central Plaza : Amari Watergate : Four Seasons : Grand Hyatt Erawan : Banyan Tree : The Sukhothai : Novotel Bangkok : Grand Diamond : Intercontinental : Fraser Place : Landmark : Dusit Thani : JW Marriott : Sofitel Silom : The Eugenia : Rama Gardens : Centre Point Silom

Thailand Holidays

Holidays to Thailand launch an all-out assault on the senses. Whether you're being dazzled by the bright lights of Bangkok or wading through turquoise shallows in sun-kissed Phuket, this is one of those places that'll capture your imagination and steal your heart.

First things first, travel to Thailand and one of the first things you'll probably want to do is smooth on the suncream and sink into those sparkling sands. There's just one word to sum up Thai beaches – wow. Think ivory shores. Swaying palms. Bath-warm waters. You'll feel as though you've been dropped into a giant postcard.

If beach-lounging is your priority, take a look at Phuket, the pearl of Thailand's southern shores. It's beautiful beyond words, with milky-white sands melting into crystal waters. When it comes to somewhere to stay, Cape Panwa is a great choice. You'll find it on the southeast tip of the island, gazing out on glittering sands. And if you need further proof of its popularity, just take a look at its guest list. Pierce Brosnan, Leonardo di Caprio and Catherine Zeta Jones have all stayed here. Impressive credentials we think you'll agree. Patong Merlin is another star choice. It's just across the road from one of Phuket's biggest and most popular beaches so it's ideal if sunbathing tops your holiday wish list.

Away from Phuket, holidays in Thailand shine the spotlight on Krabi, a beach-rich slice that's got what it takes to wow you. Then there's Khao Lak, whose great sweep of sand gives way to a sea teeming with tropical fish.

But, of course, there's more to Thailand holidays than beaches. Like Bangkok, the country's sizzling capital for instance. Tick off a list of famous temples. Take a dizzying tuk tuk ride. And haggle your heart out in some of the most exciting markets in South East Asia.

Whether you're eyeing up sun-drenched summer holidays or pick-me-up winter breaks, we've got a great range of holidays to Thailand. And check out our late deals, too – we've got some bargain holidays to Thailand you'll love.

A word of warning though – one trip to this exotic pocket of southeast Asia is just never enough…

Find the cheapest late deals to Thailand leaving in the next six weeks.

http://www.thomson.co.uk

2008 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament

The event organiser Anantara Resorts announcced that the 2008 Thailand's highly popular King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament would take place from 31 March - 6 April in the northern-most region of the country popularly known as the Golden Triangle.


This annual event, ranked as the 6th largest event on theThai tourism calendar has, for the past five years, taken place in the royal saeside town of Hua Hin, situated 220km south of the Thai capital Bangkok. The tournament was introducted to Thailand in 2001 by Anantara Vice-President, Chistopher Stafford and is a charitable event that raises money for the country's National Elephant Institute in Lampang , northern Thailand.

In just six years the King's Cup elephant Polo Tournament has gine from a small 2-day event with 6 teams into a week-long extravaganza, which in 2007 featured 12 teams encompassing 36 players from 15 countries. The Tourism Authority of Thailand supports the King's Cup Elephant Polo tournament and spector entrance is free of change. The 2008 event will take place at the Anatara Resort Golden Triangle, driving less than an hour from Chaing Rai Internation Airport.
To date the tournament has raised over US$140,000 for the National Elephant Insitute, which provides medical care, sustenance, employment, welfare and mahout training to Thailand's elephant population. It is estimated that Thailand has around 2500 domesticated elephants and 1500 wild elephants. This is down from an elephant population of around 50,000 in 1950 and 100,000 in 1900.
The modern game of elephant polo was founded in Nepal in 1982 by Englishman Jim Edwords, ownedr of Tiger Tops Lodge in Nepal and James Manclark, a former British Olmpic bobsleigh competitor. The King's Cup elephant Polo Tournament is part of the World Elephant Polo Association World Series. The World Championships take place in Chitwan National Park, Nepal every Deceember and the Ceylon Elephant Polo tournament takes place each February in Sri Lanka's fort town of Galle.




2008 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Official Program

31st March 2008 – 6th April 2008

At Anantara Golden Triangle Resort, Chiang Rai

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Poll: nearly half reject party dissolutions

BANGKOK, March 22 (TNA) - Nearly half the respondents in a new Suan Dusit Poll disagree with dissolution of the three government-coalition parties for alleged involvement in electoral fraud cases.

The poll, conducted among 2,056 people nationwide March 20-22, found that some 45.5 per cent opposed dissolution of the three parties – People Power Party (PPP), Chart Thai and Matchimathipataya – of their alleged vote-buying in the last December general election.

They reasoned that such a dissolution would lead to further political turmoil, a worsening economy in Thailand and that the government would also need to invest a significant budget for new elections.

Over one in four persons interviewed -- 27.44 per cent -- said however that they believed the dissolution would foster more political transparency, while a slightly lower number, 27.11 per cen,t believed no gains would be realised because the accused politicians of dissolved parties would switch to other parties.

Over 41 per cent said punishment should be give the individual wrongdoers rather than on the entire political party, while 32 per cent said that parties should be dissolved if their executives were found guilty as stipulated by the Constitution.

Near two-thuirds -- 60 per cent -- of respondents said dissolution of the three parties in the coalition government, formed by PPP, could create trouble for the country as people opposing the ruling by the Supreme Court could protest the decision by marching in the streets.

The Election Commission is scheduled to decide early April whether the poll fraud alleged to have been conducted executives of Chart Thai and Matchimathipataya parties will lead to the parties' dissolution or not. (TNA)-E111

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Bangkok hosts india's OSCAR Awards

BANGKOK, March 22 (Bernama) -- The Thai capital will host the prestigious ninth International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards, the Bollywood equivalent of the Oscars, from June 6 to 8.

More than 500 Hindi film stars, directors and leading industry players from the world's top film producer will converge here for the three-day extragavanza.

Shefali Munshi, associate vice-president of Wizcraft International Entertainment, which is the rights holder and promoter of the event, said details of the films in the running for the top awards and the stars attending would be announced at press conferences in Mumbai on April 15 and here on April 30.

"This will be the first time that Bangkok is hosting the event. We can revisit the country but not the host city," said Shefali, who is here to finalise venues and other preparations for the event.

According to IIFA, the event has brought immense benefits to the host country in terms of tourism and the film industry.

It said the number of Indian visitors to Malaysia rose by 35 per cent and Indian occupancy at Genting Highlands went up by 190 per cent in the year after the staging of the event, which showcases the cream of Indian cinema and provides a platform for the country's film fraternity to globalise their products.

Thailand, which is one of the favourite shooting locations for Indian films, attracted 510,000 Indian tourists last year and is aiming for more than 600,000 this year.

Indian film legend Amitabh Bachchan is the brand ambassador of the IIFA.

Besides the awards ceremony, the IIFA also incorporates a global business forum and workshop. (Bernama)

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Thai Queen set to leave hospital today

BANGKOK, March 23 (TNA) -- Her Majesty Queen Sirikit was expected to leave hospital later Sunday following a good recovery from a cold and bronchitis, according to the latest announcement issued on Sunday by the Royal Household Bureau.

The statement said the Queen would be discharged from the state-run Chulalongkorn Hospital after her condition had improved significantly.

However, doctors at the hospital advised her to temporarily refrain from daily activities until she was fully recovered, the statement said.

The 75-year-old Queen was admitted to the hospital on March 9.

The announcement – which will be the last one – said the Queen also thanked those who had signed condolence books while she was receiving treatment at the hospital. (TNA) – E111

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Thai advertising business to grow 7-8% in 2008

BANGKOK, March 22 (TNA) - Thailand's advertising business, languishing during the past two years due to the country's ongoing political uncertainty, is expected to enjoy growth of around 7-8 per cent in 2008, a senior official in the industry said.

Witawat Jayapani, president of the Advertising Association of Thailand, said that the confidence of manufacturers had improved since the country now has an elected government.

Goods producers are now able to lay out business plans several months in advance while they could only map out short-term plans when the country encountered political problems, Mr. Witawat said.

Advertising business growth during the first quarter this year retreated some 7 per cent as the new government was being formed but it is hoped that the business would rebound during the current summer and during the Songkran festival, Thailand's traditional New Year which falls in mid-April, and would become bullish later this year, he said.

It is projected that advertising business would grow between 7-8 per cent with earnings estimated at Bt92 billion this year, surpassing growth of between 3-4 per cent in 2007, he said. Normally, advertising business usually grows not less than 10 per cent annually but it fell in the past two years.

Skin care product advertisements topped the advertising users chart during the first quarter of 2008 followed by cell phone and automobile advertisements, he said. (TNA)-E111

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Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Thai PM holds talks with Singapore leaders


SINGAPORE, March 19 (TNA) – Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej on Wednesday met his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong and President S.R. Nathan during his three-day official visit to the island state.
Mr. Samak said the Thai government had thanked Singapore for hiring 47,000 Thai labourers to work in Singapore, which was enhancing Thai labour force skills.
He said Singapore understood the political situation in Thailand, including an ongoing probe by the Election Commission into the People Power Party (PPP), for allegedly acting as a nominee of the now defunct Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party.
Mr. Samak is the PPP leader while the TRT, dissolved after the September 2006 coup, was headed by then premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
"Singapore is confident to invest in Thailand. Our tourism potential will also draw Singaporeans to Thailand," he added.
The premier's visit to Singapore is the fourth leg of his tour of Southeast Asian countries to introduce himself and to strengthen relations with the neighbouring countries after he took the post as Prime Minister following the December 2007 general election.
He visited Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar earlier this month. (TNA) -E004
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Mekong River International Multi-sport Championship


Mekong River International Multi-sport Championship

Date : 28-30 March 2008

Venue : Chiang Rai

Take in the triathlon races on the longest river in Southeast Asia. Partake in the organized trip “Gateway to Indochina”. Enjoy the food festival and beautiful cultural shows.

Contact : TAT Northern

Office : Region 2 Tel : 0 5371 7433, 0 5374 4674-5

Website : www.thaitriathlon.org

Tibet protest at Chinese embassy seeks Beijing Olympics boycott

BANGKOK, March 19 (TNA) - About a dozen demonstrators staged a protest at the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok, calling for the Thai government to condemn China's Tibet crackdown and boycott this year's Olympic Games in Beijing.

A force of about 30 Thai police officers reinforced security at the Chinese embassy and erected barricades in response to the protest by the Free Tibet Network and the Federation of Students for Democracy led by Giles Ungphakorn, a social activist.

The demonstrators called for the Chinese government to cease its alleged violations of human rights and to refrain from using violence on the Tibetan demonstrators.

They asked the Thai government to issue a statement condemning the Chinese government and to boycott the Beijing Olympics in August by not sending Thai athletes to compete in the games.

Worldwide protests over China's crackdown in Tibet are spreading, putting pressure on Beijing's Communist leaders just months ahead of their showpiece Olympic Games in August.

China has denied any wrongdoing and has blamed Tibetans for the unrest. The protests began on 10 March, on the anniversary of a Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule, and gradually escalated.

Tibetan exiles say at least 99 protesters have died in clashes - in Lhasa and beyond - with authorities. China says 13 people were killed by rioters in Lhasa. (TNA)-E004

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Government OKs budget deficit of Bt294.5 billion for fiscal 2009

BANGKOK, March 19 (TNA) – The Thai government has approved its Finance Ministry's proposed budget of Bt1.84 trillion for fiscal 2009, including a deficit of Bt294.5 billion.

Finance Minister Surapong Suebwonglee said the cabinet meeting on Tuesday approved in principle a budget of Bt 1.84 trillion, up Bt175 billion from that of Fiscal 2008.

It represents a budget deficit of Bt249.5 billion or 2.5 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), which meets the ceiling of fiscal sustainability.

He projected the country's economy would grow 5.5 per cent in GDP of Bt10.65 trillion and an inflation rate of 3.5 per cent.

Mr Surapong said the budget deficit was set to meet the fiscal sustainability ceiling because it is the first year the government must earmark up to Bt31.9 billion of the budget to offset a shortfall in the country's fiscal coffers as required under the 2007 constitution.

He viewed the economy would continue to grow since the government had come up with various economic stimulus measures.

Mr Surapong said the first set of the economic stimulus package was aimed at jumpstarting purchasing power and boosting confidence in investment and spending.

The second package will focus on human resources development and training to increase competence for production of value-added products and boost incomes for communities. (TNA)-E005

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Thursday, 13 March 2008

Bangkok governor steps aside from work during corruption probe

BANGKOK, March 13 (TNA) – Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayodhin has suspended his role amid a corruption probe regarding a controversial fire truck and boat procurement.

The charge was pressed against him, Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, and four other persons by the Assets Examination Committee (AEC).
Mr. Apirak said he will submit a letter to the AEC for more details about the charge on Thursday, he said adding that he was ready to clarify himself as he had worked with prudence and transparency since he took the post in September 2004.

Speaking about the controversial fire truck and boat procurement, he said he had referred the case to the Interior Ministry in its role as endorser of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and set up a committee to consider whether or not to honour the contract.

The suspension will allow him to acknowledge the charges and ensure to the public that there will be no intervention in the scrutinising processes.
"It's (both) my personal standpoint and (that of) the Democrat Party. I talked to Abhisit (opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva). That's the sign of an ethically guided politician, one who is ready to step back from his role until the final verdict is reached without waiting for any request from the public," he said.
Mr. Abhisit said that the Democrat Party has followed up this matter and he confirmed that Mr. Apirak is concerned about the benefit to the public.

Mr. Apirak had raised questions regarding the firetruck and boat procurement contracts.

He talked to many officials and had received confirmation from all agencies that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) needed to proceed with the contract, or otherwise the BMA would be sued.
The case involves the purchase of 315 firefighting trucks and 30 boats at what is alleged to have been an inflated price of Bt6.7 billion. Mr. Samak was governor at the time of the purchase and Mr. Apirak later signed a letter of credit. (TNA)-E004

Oil price surge can deter economic recovery, says BoT

BANGKOK, March 13 (TNA) – Surging oil prices could deter the country's economic recovery and fuel rising inflation, according to the Bank of Thailand.

Siripan Nakornthap, head of the economic analysis team of BoT's Local Economy Department, said in an article on Thailand's "Energy Policy in Time of Major Oil Price Rises"' that the price of crude oil price had surged to US$109 per barrel at present and is likely to further rise to $120 per barrel within this year.

Many have begun to worry that the continued increase in the crude price will affect Thailand's economic recovery, particularly local consumption which is seen as picking up in the fourth quarter of last year and the first month of this year.

It might have a domino effect on production and employment, leading to a less-than-expected degree of recovery in the economy.

In addition, it could worsen inflationary pressure if the crude price continued its surge.

She said her team saw a need for the government to implement an alternative energy policy.

However, the government must realise the policy implementation would fuel rising energy plant prices, which could then have an impact on food prices.

She said her team supported the oil price subsidy because it could help ease impacts of the fuel price surge.

Such a price support subsidy should not last long because it requires a substantial budget, and additionally, it would not encourage the production sector to adjust to the realities of a changing environment.

Finally, it would undermine the country's econoimic and export competitiveness.

To address the problem in the long term, the team suggested that the government set aside a budget to invest in construction of the mass transit system, encourage the private sector to reduce energy consumption in the production process, and promote energy-saving campaigns. (TNA)-E005

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Thailand to import generic drug from India

BANGKOK, March 11 (TNA) - Thailand's Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) will import the generic version of breast cancer drug Docetaxel from India under Thailand's compulsory licensing (CL) as it was 100-times cheaper than the original version, a senior GPO official said on Tuesday.

In response to the Public Health Minister Chaiya Sasomsap's Monday announcement of a go ahead with the CL policy on four cancer drugs, Wanchai Supachaturas, the GPO deputy director, said the Indian-based company Dabur Pharma would soon be able to deliver the first batch of the drug to treat some 1,000 lung and breast cancer patients.

The Indian-based company, which recently won the GPO-sponsored bidding to distribute the drug under the CL policy, has offered to sell the drug for Bt15,000 (US$468) per dose, or 100 times cheaper than the patented version, said the GPO deputy director.

Mr. Wanchai stressed the GPO drug procurement process was carried out on a non-profit basis only for the benefits of poor patients.

The agency, he said, would also go ahead with a plan to import the generic versions of the other two cancer drugs--Erlotinib and Letrozole.

Former public health minister Dr. Mongkol Na Songkhla on January 4 announced the CL policy to override the patents on the four cancer drugs because the patent owners refused to lower prices after many rounds of negotiations with the price-negotiation panel led by former Food and Drug Administration secretary-general Siriwat Thiptaradol.

Earlier, Novartis (Thailand), patent owner of the life-saving drug Imatinib agreed to provide the medicine free to some patients under the universal healthcare scheme in exchange for Thailand opting to not issue compulsory licences on the drug.

The company would provide Imatinib for patients suffering from leukaemia and gastrointestinal cancer without charge under the Glivec International Patient Assistance Programme (GIPAP).

The free access to the life-saving drugs will be given to those patients who have household income per year less than Bt 1.7 million (US$51,515). (TNA)-E001

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Friday, 7 March 2008

Chiang Mai smog expected to ease in several days

CHIANG MAI, March 7 (TNA) – Chiang Mai's governor on Friday insisted the level of smog in the city was not critical and expressed confidence that the province's air quality would soon improve.

Gov. Wiboon Sanguanpong said even when the situation improves, no kind of burning was permitted in open areas. He had asked the nearby provincial administrations to prevent possible burning during the coming days.

However, the level of dust particles measured Friday morning was at 141 microgrammes per cubic metre, above the maximum safe level of 120 mg.

Meanwhile, Chiang Mai municipality officials have been spraying water three times a day around the city's heavily-travelled roads alongside the historic moats, to reduce toxic fumes and dust particles in the air.

Pollution Control Department director-general Supat Wangwongwatana said weather conditions were improving due to falling temperature.

"The situation this year was not as critical as that of last year as the rain helped increase the humidity. Moreover, many related agencies have worked closely together to control possible wildfires, open-air burning and toxic fumes emitted by vehicles," the director-general said.

Mr. Supat added, as part of the campaign to reducing pollution in Chiang Mai city, car users would soon have to pass a toxic fumes emission test. (TNA)-E110

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Finance minister willing to accept opposition's stimulus measures

BANGKOK, March 7 (TNA) – Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Surapong Suebwonglee on Friday expressed his willingness to accept the economic stimulus approaches proposed by the single opposition Democrat Party, saying he believed the packages initiated by the government and opposition could be well-integrated to boost the economy.

He said he welcomed the Democrat's shadown finance minister Korn Chatikavanich's move to propose economic stimulus measures because the government wanted to see reconciliation among all parties so that they could jointly drive ahead the country in a constructive manner.
Dr. Surapong said he had monitored the proposed measures through mass media channels and found that many are in harmony with those of the government.

Previously, the government had come up with tax measures to promote investment and reduce the cost of living.

He said that other stimulus measures to be announced during this month to help boost the grass-roots economy include the village fund, the small-, medium-, and large-scale (SML) enterprise fund, and a debt moratorium for farmers.

These measures, if implemented, would help create new jobs for residents in localities and would stimulate the economy in local communities.

He added he had monitored possible repercussions from the end of capital controls end during the first four days after the measure was lifted and found it had not caused panic as many worried.

The baht had fluctuated so slightly and no foreign capital had flowed into the country for speculation on the currency following the lifting of the measure, he said, adding that it resulted partly from the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Thailand's proper contingency measures to rein in the currency volatility. (TNA)-E005

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Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Anti-Thaksin camp vows to launch counter-campaign


BANGKOK, March 5 (TNA) – A coalition of opponents of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his political allies warned on Wednesday of an imminent unrest as a result of the recent government move to purge a number of senior government officials and interfere in judicial procedure, vowing to launch its campaign to counter the powers-that-be.

The Peoples' Alliance for Democracy (PAD) issued its second statement entitled "Here Comes the Chaos", accusing the government led by Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej of insulting the public through its recent decisions, specifically the appointment of some members to the Cabinet and legislature with "unclean" track records, unfair transfers of some senior government officials and interference in the judiciary procedure in connection with corruption cases against the former prime minister.

PAD coordinator Suriyasai Katasila read a statement accusing Mr. Thaksin of pulling the strings behind the People Power Party (PPP), the leading party in the six-party coalition government

The statement claimed such moves were aimed to provoke social and political turmoil prior to a military reshuffle that might culminate in another coup to override the remaining coup-making council orders under which Mr. Thaksin may be put on trial.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Surapong Suebwonglee denied the accusation, saying the government would never stage a putsch to help Mr. Thaksin evade prosecution.

The PAD also announced that it would soon call a meeting of key members in all 76 provinces to plan a strategy to counter-balance and scrutinise the state authorities and follow up the progress of prosecution of the ex-premier.

Mr. Thaksin and his wife Pojaman are facing corruption and conflict of interest charges in connection with the purchase of a prime piece of Bangkok real estate in 2003, while he was prime minister.

The Supreme Court released him on an Bt8 million (US$267,000) bail and set a trial date on March 12.

The former prime minister was barred from leaving the country unless he first receives court permission.

The Attorney General's Office freed him on one million baht (US$33,530) bail in a second case in which he and his wife are accused of concealing ownership of shares in SC Asset, the family's property development company.

A hearing on whether Mr. Thaksin will be indicted was set for April 3. (TNA)-E001

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Energy Ministry to consider easing diesel price burden

BANGKOK, March 5 (TNA) – Thailand's Energy Ministry will submit three approaches for reducing diesel fuel prices to the National Energy Policy Committee for consideration next Wednesday.

Speaking after meeting with senior ministry officials, Energy Minister Lt-Gen. Poonpirom Liptapanlop said the ministry would seek committee deliberation on three options to lower diesel prices next week.

The first is to give up the proposed collection of an oil surcharge of 0.50 baht per litre to the Fund for Energy Conservation Promotion to be used to build electric rail routes because it remains unclear which form of funds the government would mobilise to finance construction.

The second measure is to scrap the collection of the oil surcharge of 0.10 baht per litre for the State Oil Fund.

The third is to move money from the Oil Fund to subsidise diesel prices by at least 0.30 baht per litre.

She said the ministry saw a need to propose the changes because oil prices had increased to record high levels. In particular, the diesel prices had now surged to US$110 per barrel. (TNA)-E005

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Monday, 3 March 2008

Baht continues to move in narrow range after capital control lifting

BANGKOK, March 3 (TNA) – The Thai baht continued to stay at around 31.50 to the US dollar in the Monday’s morning trading session after the Bank of Thailand’s decision to lift the 30 per cent reserve requirement took effect, according to a money dealer at Bank of Ayudhya Plc.

The dealer said the baht still moved in a narrow range near the level of last Friday’s close since the market waited to see the central bank’s contingency measures to rein in the currency volatility.

However, it is expected the baht would further appreciate because of foreign capital inflow and a dumping of the US dollar by exporters, who are afraid the baht would continue to strengthen.
Under the circumstance, the baht had an opportunity to appreciate further and break through the level of 31 to the dollar.

Charoen Iam-pattanatham of KTB Securities Co, projected more money would flow into the Stock Exchange of Thailand following the central bank’s move to end the capital control.

However, it remained to be seen whether the SET index would rise since the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged on Friday’s night and other regional markets plummeted in pursuit of the US stock market in the morning trading session.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Surapong Suebwonglee on Monday voiced confidence the baht would become stable within one week following the lifting of the capital control.

Commenting on the baht movement at around 31.50 to the dollar in the morning trading session, he said the central bank must closely supervise the currency to ensure it is stronger than other currencies in the region.

He believed investors and players in the money market would understand the situation soon and the currency volatility would ease within one week

Regarding news about the ousting of BoT’s Governor Tarisa Watanagase, he said he did not know where the news came from.

He affirmed the Finance Ministry and the central bank had coordinated performance efficiently. So, he saw "no need for a change of the central bank’s governor for now." (TNA) – E005

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Thai PM visits Cambodia to strengthen bilateral relations

BANGKOK, March 3 (TNA) – Thailand's Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej began his second official trip abroad, leaving for Cambodia on Monday morning.

The prime minister and his delegation left for Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, Monday morning on a two-day visit, after having made his first visit abroad since assuming the premiership in an official visit to Laos last weekend.

Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said the Thai premier's visit to Cambodia was aimed at strengthening ties between the two countries Gen. Anupong Paochinda, Thailand's Army chief, who also accompanied the prime minister, said the main issue to be discussed with Cambodian authorities is border demarcation, which has not achieved much progress in the past.

Among the agenda items is the Cambodian request for a loan from Thailand to build a road with the budget of Bt1.4 billion (currently US$43.75 million).

Land development, oil and gas exploration in disputed, overlapping Thai-Cambodian geographic areas, are expected to be dealt with on the agenda, said Mr. Noppadon.

Speaking about the ancient Preah Vihear Khmer temple ruins, which Cambodia has proposed to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for designation as a World Heritage site, Mr. Noppadon said Thailand can discuss the issue to reach a solution with the neighbouring country. However, Cambodia said the issue won't be considered.

"The International Court of Justice in the Hague ruled (in 1962) that Preah Vihear temple belongs to Cambodia, but the move by Cambodia to push the temple on the UNESCO World Heritage list should neither affect Thailand's rights in the overlapping zone nor at the border," the Thai foreign minister said. (TNA)-E004

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Saturday, 1 March 2008

Thai central bank lifts capital controls Monday

BANGKOK, Feb 29 (TNA) – After a year of implementing reserve witholding measure, by which Thailand forced investors to hold in reserve 30 per cent of all short-term capital flowing into the country, the Bank of Thailand (BoT), the country's central bank, acted Friday to remove the measure, effective Monday.

BoT Governor Tarisa Watanagase announced the lifting of the controversial measures to take effect March 3, ending the regime of the unremunerated reserve requirement (URR) after nearly 15 months in effect, a measure that was introduced to rein in the volatility of the Thai baht when demand was falling and "robust export growth was the main driver of the economy".

Political and economic players alike have both supported and condemned both the initiation the measures, and the ending of their implementation.

Stating that the country's economic performance in the last quarter of 2007 and in January this year indicated that the time was right to withdraw the measures, Mrs. Tarisa indicated Friday that the time had arrived.

"Foreign exchange inflows/outflows have become more balanced', according to a BoT statement, with a moderate trade account surplus in January 2008, increasing Thai investments abroad, and regulations permitting residents to deposit foreign currencies as of this month.

The appreciation of the baht – whether it will continue, and by how much – is at issue.

Mrs. Tarisa told a press conference that the controversial capital controls the BoT had imposed to restrain the country's currency from getting too strong had done the job they were intended to do.

The BoT's move follows the policy of the new government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej to remove the controls.

The central bank's web site is carrying notification of the lifting of the URR measures, rules for non-resident baht accounts and related matters at www.bot.or.th. (TNA)-E006

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Thai Prime Minister visits Laos and Cambodia

BANGKOK, Feb 29 (TNA) - Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej began a series of visits to introduce himself and his government's policies to ASEAN member countries with a trip to the neighbouring countries of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) and the Kingdom of Cambodia from February 29 through March 4.

PM Samak and his entourage left Bangkok Friday morning for Vientiane to visit Laos between February 29-March 1 to strengthen diplomatic relations and cooperation with Thailand's neighbour.

Mr. Samak and his Lao counterpart Bouasone Bouphavanh were scheduled to hold bilateral talks regarding road links and energy cooperation.

The prime minister will also discuss with senior Lao officials current concerns in Thai foreign policy to have close links with ASEAN member countries.

He was also scheduled to pay a courtesy call on Lao President Choummaly Sayasone.

On Saturday morning, Mr. Samak will meet Thai officials and the locally resident Thai community at the Royal Thai Embassy in Vientiane.

The prime minister will return to Bangkok Saturday afternoon and the second leg of his ASEAN neighbour visits starts Monday with a visit to Cambodia.

Mr. Samak and his delegation will leave for Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, early Monday morning.

Thai Prime Minister and Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, will co-chair a bilateral meeting in the late afternoon, and Mr.Samak will fly back to Thailand on Tuesday. (TNA)-E003

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