Thursday, 26 February 2009

Thailand’s Andaman - World Heritage

Thailand’s Andaman region spans four degrees of latitude and two degrees of longitude. It boasts spectacular land and seascapes across Thailand’s southern provinces of Phuket, Krabi, Phang-nga, Trang, Satun and Ranong.

A new assessment of the biogeography of peninsular Thailand shows the Andaman coastline to be more diverse than ever before imagined. A myriad of ecological processes and diverse geology are concentrated into an area of about 500,000 square kilometres. This diversity is reflected in the vast range of natural habitats and ecosystems that form key elements of the complex fabric of the landscape and marine environment. These include the northern and southern mangroves and seasonal forests, central beaches and forests, karst caves, shallow reefs and sea grasses, as well as islands further offshore.

Scientists are only now beginning to understand how ancient geological and ecological processes have combined to produce the dazzling biodiversity to be found above and below the sea.

This remarkable variety places the region alongside some of the most diverse areas on the planet, and make it unique in places. Peninsular Thailand is one of only two geographic areas where equatorial habitats have links to northern tropical areas via a narrow land bridge. The other is the DariƩn Gap in the Isthmus of Panama, connecting Panama in Central America to Colombia in South America. In Thailand, the land bridge occurs entirely within a single country, making it unique.

In only a very few locations around the world is it possible to see coral reefs, mangroves, sea grass and rainforest covered islands so closely juxtaposed. In the Andaman bioregion, these features also cover a larger area than in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere in Mexico or the Coiba National Park in Panama. Like the Andaman coast, the Sundarban National Park in Bangladesh features extensive mangroves but it lacks islands by comparison.

Compared with karst rock formations in China, Vietnam and Sarawak, those in Thailand’s Andaman bioregion represent a different period of geological history. Only Vietnam’s Halong Bay and Phong-Nha-Ke Bang World Heritage Area are comparable in size and beauty with the drowned karst seascape of Phang-nga Bay, and the islands stretching to its southeast.

Active fault lines criss-cross the region exposing rock layers from various geological ages. Some of the oldest rocks on the planet are found here, dating to the Cambrian era roughly 500 million years ago. The first evidence of human life in Thailand comes from rock formations in Krabi that are 40,000 years old. Dinosaur fossils are found here too.

These recent findings have led to a new quest by a Thai project team spearheaded by scientists from the Centre for Biodiversity of Peninsular Thailand at Prince of Songkhla University; Kasetsart University; the University of Hong Kong; and the Thailand Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation. Their shared mission is to protect and preserve this rich natural heritage.


  • Coral reefs - globally significant diversity
    The Thai Andaman Bioregion is home to over 300 species of the world’s 800 species of reef-building corals. A quarter of the world’s fish species are to be found here in about 1,200 square kilometres of coral reefs that support about two-thirds of the diversity of Australia’s much larger Great Barrier Reef, which is 344,400 square kilometres in area.

  • Sea grass beds
    Shallow waters stretching from Phangnga Bay to Trang support concentrations of important sea grass and serve as feeding grounds for the highest numbers of dugongs anywhere in the world outside Australia. The sea grass beds are also vital nurseries for many reef species.

  • Offshore islands
    The Surin and Similan islands form an extension of Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago. Here, southern and northern flowing ocean currents converge in the eastern Indian Ocean and feature large underwater granite boulders. These characterize world-class diving spots noted for their diversity of marine fish, corals and crustaceans. Further south, ocean currents that flow northwards up the Straits of Malacca from Indonesia and the South China Sea converge with currents from the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. In this unusual part of the world, Hin Daeng and the islands of Racha, Adang and Rawi boast even greater marine fauna diversity.
  • Caves and karsts
    At Phang-nga Bay between Phuket and Krabi province, towering karst pinnacles covered with scrub forest and plants march seawards from the north, forming caves and arches at sea-level and below. Macaques, serow and flying foxes are some of the distinctive fauna peculiar to this distinctive habitat. The area is immensely popular with sea canoeists. Above them, world-class rock faces offer avid climbers serious challenges and truly spectacular views.

  • Forests and swamps
    Nearly 300 species and subspecies of forest birds reach their southern or northern-most distributions around the Isthmus of Kra, an area eleven to thirteen degrees north of the equator where the Thailand peninsula is only 45 kilometres wide. This means the rainforests in the Andaman bioregion are exceptionally diverse in birdlife. The phenomenon dates from ancient times when sea levels alternately rose and fell, isolating the bird populations of Indochina to the north from those of the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia to the south in the evolutionary process.

    At the Thai-Malay border, almost 600 genera of flowering plants reach their southern or northern limits. This is evidence of a second prehistoric event that shaped the unique biota of Southeast Asia. In the south and the north, old-growth mangrove forests form wide swathes, harbouring the early life stages of a diverse range of marine creatures.

  • Coastal dunes — the world’s most important nesting sites for marine turtles
    At Khao Lak, Tai Mueang, and north Phuket, coastal dunes protect beach forests and sleepy lagoons, forming some of the most important nesting areas for Leatherback turtles and other sea turtles in the region. Other than the larger islands in the eastern Indian Ocean, Hat Thai Mueang in North Phuket is probably the last beach left for Leatherback turtles on the mainland.

  • Rest stops for migrating birds and whale sharks
    Tidal mud-flats in the Trang, Krabi and Kraburi River estuaries, along with coastal flats in Phang-nga Bay, are internationally important feeding areas for migratory wader birds. Raptors use the forest corridor leading down the peninsula for their annual migration. In October, over a dozen species of raptors can be seen flying south over Thaleban National Park. Whale sharks frequent the Andaman coastline from October to May. Researchers postulate that whale shark movements are responsive to plankton levels and currents from the Bay of Bengal, both of which increase at this time of year.

The natural wonders of this stretch of the Andaman coastline form treasures that do not belong exclusively to any one nation. Serendipitously, they are to be found in Thailand but form part of the whole world’s heritage — a heritage for all mankind to share and enjoy. Promoting this notion has been a central plank of the Andaman Bioregion Project.

Protecting and Preserving Thailand’s Andaman Coastline
Although parts of the Andaman coastline have been impacted by various developmental and environmental pressures, and by tourism-related activities, eighteen coastal and marine national parks covering 5,380 square kilometres already receive some level of official protection. A further four wetland areas are protected as RAMSAR sites. RAMSAR is an international agreement to conserve and wisely use wetlands of special significance in 158 countries. Thailand has been a signatory to the treaty since 1998 and has nominated ten sites totalling 370,600 hectares for inclusion. Two-thirds of these lie in the Andaman Bioregion.

The Andaman Bioregion Project – Key Approach
The traditional approach to managing Thailand’s Andaman Coastline has been to protect this treasured set of existing national parks. Individual parks might justify nomination as World Heritage Areas. According to marine biology expert Dr Thon Thamrongnawasawat, places such as Phang-nga Bay where karsts, mangroves, coral and sea grass beds meet, easily make the inclusion grade on the grounds of diversity alone. So too would locales further offshore such as the Surin Islands, where human impact is lower and more easily managed.

By comparison, the Andaman Bioregion proposal in its complete form is a visionary approach to managing regional diversity with a solid grounding in science. Dr James True, the plan’s main architect, says it draws lessons from managing the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem by incorporating existing protected areas as the core features, but including other areas as buffers and special management zones. There are also exclusion zones for areas that are heavily degraded and cannot be protected.

Thais have long considered their Andaman coastline a biological treasure. Now scientists are able to demonstrate why this is so, and in so doing they are supporting its nomination as Thailand’s sixth World Heritage Area — the kingdom’s first in the marine realm.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

The 24th ASEAN Barred Ground Dove Festival

The 24th ASEAN Barred Ground Dove Festival
Date : 7 - 8 March 2008
Venue : Khwan Mueang Park, Mueang District, Yala

Thais have long believed that doves are creatures which bring good luck to those who rare them. They are also regarded as symbols of purity and peach. Those with qualities specified by ancient texts are believed to bestow great wealth and honor upon their owners. The ASEAN Barred Ground Dove Festival attracts dove-lovers from the southern part of Thailand as well as from neighboring countries. The major highlight is a dove-cooing and red-whiskered bulbul singing competition. Local products are on sale as well.

Contact :
TAT Narathiwat Office, Tel. 66 (0) 7351 6144, 7352 2411
Yala Municipality Office, Tel. 66 (0) 7321 4898

Friday, 20 February 2009

4th Phuket Japanese Festival

4th Phuket Japanese Festival

Tourism Authority of Thailand, Phuket Office and Phuket Japanese Association will hold “The 4th Phuket Japanese Festival” on the 7th of March 2009 at Queen Sirikit Park in Phuket Town.

As we are one of the parts of Phuket, we would like to provide the opportunity to the local people who is working for the tourism and local students interested in Japan and Japanese people through the Japanese traditional festival which introduce the Japanese culture and foods, and we hope these experiences will help them to be familiar with Japanese tourists.

And also, we hope this festival make Japanese children in Phuket improve their knowledge of Japan.

Due to the economic crisis and the Bangkok Airport closed last year, it is very hard situation for Japanese market. So we hope this festival shows the good news of Phuket through the media to Japan and can be contributed to the tourism as we usually had done in the past.

This festival is supported by Tourism Authority of Thailand (Phuket Office), Japan Embassy in Bangkok, The Japan Foundation, Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Bangkok, and Japanese Association in Thailand, Fujifilm and Japan Airlines which are our special sponsors.

The highlights of the festival are “Free photo taken with Kimono by Fujifilm” and “JAL Air Ticket to Japan” for the lucky draw.

Also, In order to promote further exchanges between Japan and Mekong Region Countries (Kingdom of Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Union of Myanmar, Kingdom of Thailand, and Socialist Republic of Viet Nam), it was decided at the Japan-Mekong Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in January 2008 to celebrate the year 2009 as "Mekong-Japan Exchange Year." By the government.

In this Japanese festival, it came to co-sponsor with The Japan Foundation, Bangkok, and to screen the movies as a film festival, and it is authorized as one of the events of the Japan - Mekong Exchange Year. Two movies will be shown (“YUKI NI NEGAUKOTO” and “BEAT KIDS”).

The movies will be shown at the Baan Kathu School one day before the festival on March 6, 2009 and it is also one of the promotions for the festival.

We will hold the first speech contest during the festival. We would like to provide the opportunity to the students who are studying Japanese hard, and we hope they use this event for the improved motivation to further studying Japanese.

In others, the Heisei Nozomi no Kai, Japanese acting volunteer group comes from Japan to show the Edo folk craft as same as the last time, and you will enjoy it. And also we will organize Thai Classical Dancing Performance to present Thai Traditional cultural for relationship between Thailand and Japan; such as local Thai dessert.

Additionally, we have much more things at the festival. Lucky draw free ticket and free gift will be distributed, first come and first served basis. We are waiting for many people coming on that day.

More information Contact: TAT Phuket Office Tel. 076 – 212213, 211036 or
Phuket Japanese Association Tel. 076 – 234446

Thursday, 19 February 2009

The North Face River Kwai Trophy 2009

The North Face River Kwai Trophy 2009
Date :
28 February 2009
Venue : Saiyok district, Kanchanaburi

Under the banner of the Amazing Thailand Adventure Race Series, the event will attract 120 teams comprising of two participants in each team, who will tackle an adventure course that includes running, mountain biking, swimming and kayaking. The race route travels along scenic trails and explore the mountainnns and farmlands of western Thailand.

Backing the event are the Tourism Authority of Thailand and North Face, while the actual running of the event comes under sports activity specialist, Active Management Asia.

Extreme adventure racing, that test stamina and team work, has grown in popularity in Thailand with the Kanchanaburi event attracting nearly 60% of its participants from neighbouring countries such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, as well as participants from even Europe.

The 2006 augural event gained 46 team registrations, while the 2007 event grew to attract 80 teams and 120 teams in the 2008 event. Now 120 teams, of two participants in each team, will participate in the 2009 event.

There are three signature events in the 2009 series. The season kicks off with the River Kwai Trophy in Kanchanaburi, followed by the inaugural Chiang Mai Challenge, 10 May and the second Bangkok Challenge, hosted in Nong Chok district, on the outskirts of the capital, this November.

For more information, visit

Monday, 16 February 2009

Phangan Film Festival 2009

The Phangan Film Festival grew out of a pure love for meaningful independent filmmaking. Additionally, the organizers are world travelers who rejoice in the cross-cultural expansion that subtly transforms all those who wander far and wide, and they embrace film as a medium for this soul-level evolution.

Following the auspicious premiere events earlier this year, the 2009 festival, to be held Saturday February 21 and Sunday February 22, 2009, will mark PFF’s 2nd annual edition.

For more information, please contact
Phangan Film Festival
c/o Julien Balmer
58/10 Mu 8, Koh Phangan, Surat Thani 84280
Phone: +66 (0)83 393 90 21

Friday, 13 February 2009

Season of Love @ Pai

Tourist Hit Festival, “The Valentine at Pai, Mae Hongsorn from 13-15 February 2009”
There will be Group wedding and Marriage Registration at The “Season of Love @ Pai “, this is will be the first ever in Pai. Come and see yourself from 13-15 February 2009, Pai , Mae Hong Son

Mae Hong Son, Thailand’s second northern most province, is sheltered by several high mountains and enjoys a cool climate almost all year round. Mae Hong Son is approximately 924 kilometres from Bangkok and can be reached from Chiang Mai. Mae Hong Son is bordered by the Union of Myanmar (Burma) to the north and the west, and a strong Burmese influence can be seen in the province’s temples and buildings. The population of Mae Hong Son include Thai Yai and various hilltribes such as Karen, Hmong, Lahu, Lua and Lisu, scattering in the districts.

For More Information
TAT Mae Hong Son Office, Tel. 66 (0) 5361 2982-3

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Phuket International Blues Rock Festival

Phuket International Blues Rock Festival
Date : 19 - 22 February, 2009
Venue : Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa, Phuket

The 2009 Phuket International Blues Rock Festival promises to be bigger than ever with at least 12 acts performing on stage during the two-night event. Now a firm fixture in Phuket’s annual entertainment calendar, the festival attracts top blues bands from around Thailand, while two popular bands from Australia and the US return once more.

Ricky Zen will once again MC the event which will have a minimum of twelve acts total with five international bands, and its headliner will be none other than Eric Bibb! Eric is a New York native but has lived in Europe most of his adult life. He is one of the greatest contemporary bluesers and tours constantly all over the world. We are very pleased to have been able to secure this wonderful artist for the 2009 show.

Next on the big newcomer list is California’s Mitch Woods and his Rocket 88s. Mitch is a world class New Orleans style boogie-woogie piano man and has set crowds abuzz around the world for 30+ years. From Europe comes Bert Deivert & Janne Zander, a top rated blues duo from Sweden.

The OZ contribution to the festival this year is a beautiful lady from the city of Perth in Western Australia. Her name is KNIKI and her voice is grunty, strong and sexy. Having listened to her just released second cd, "JUST", we just felt compelled to invite her to the 2009 show.

The 2009 festival will see a tribute act for the first time: "Chasing Jimi" - a Tribute to Jimi Hendrix featuring Jimmy Fame (USA).

By popular demand Rich Harper will return along with The Blues Machine and Bangkok’s Cannonball.

Our very own Groove Doctors fronted by Tony ’Hacksaw’ Wilson will also be back for some on-stage surgery.

See The Bands page, and more coming – stay tuned!

Established to support local charities, this year’s event will donate funds to charities that organise education for young children -- the Phuket International Women’s Club and the Phuket Has Been Good To Us Foundation.

For more information

Friday, 6 February 2009

In Bed With Pattaya

The Very first Thailand charity Bed Push will take place on Sunday the 8th February, 2009 from 2pm from outside the Royal Garden Plaza, along Beach Road and Walking Street ending at Bali Hai.

Organized by the Rotary Club of Pattaya in partnership with Pattaya city Hall, it will provide a great social activity for everyone in the bars, clubs, community groups and businesses together and attract sponsors for this unique, not to be missed event in Thailand.

The idea of a Bed Push or Bed Race is a very popular fundraising and family activity in many countries around the world including the UK, USA , Australia and New Zealand, It is a tried and tested successful way of fundraising for local charities and community projects. It involves teams of up to 6 members dressed as outrageous and funny as possible, pushing their spectacularly decorated beds from a designated starting point to the finishing line, The object is to not only get to the line in the shortest time but also to keep the designated passenger to remain on the bed at all times.

This first ever Bed Push Race in Pattaya will be a major undertaking by the Rotary Club of Pattaya and will no doubt require the help and cooperation of the Pattaya community to safeguard and contribute to a well managed family orientated event! If successful, then this showcase which will undoubtedly raise the profile of the work of the Rotary Club of Pattaya and help promote Pattaya as a fun, family resort, It will hopefully provide good wholesome family entertainment in a safe environment whilst bringing together the multi faceted groups working for a better community, and will become an annual event on the Pattaya Calendar.

Further details : Steve Dickens 081-940-8191

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2009

Chiang Mai Flower Festival 2009
Date : 6 - 8 February 2009
Venue : Nong Buak Hat Park, Chiang Mai

If you are obsessed with beautiful flowers and decorative plants, this is the festival for you. Experience these beautiful flower-decorated floats and a magnificent tapestry of floral splendor that blankets the land. There are also agricultural exhibitions, floral contents, and product sales by local groups of housewives.

A highlight of the festival is the grand parade that attracts sponsoring companies and organisations that beautify floats with elaborate flower decorations, presenting an eco-tourism message or just simply stealing the hearts of spectators with their vivid colours and beauty.

The parade leads up to the annual beauty competition to crown the city’s flower queen, who represents the flower growers and exporters as an ambassador of good will.

Entertainment, an opportunity to dine on tasty northern snacks and view cultural performances are clearly features that draw both visitors and locals to this annual event.

Home and garden lovers discover Chiang Mai is a February showcase for exotic orchids, flowering plants and blooms that thrive in the northern valley’s temperate cool season.Particularly during the cool season months, mid-November through to February, this northern provinces justifies its title “Rose of the North.” But for flower lovers, who flock to this annual festival, 6 to 8 February in the town’s Buak Hat Park, there is far more to the town’s garden reputation than the impressive display of elegant roses.

Since 1977 when the annual festival was inaugurated, it has earned a reputation on par with similar events such as Japan Sakura Flower Festival and the Netherlands’ flower parades. This was further enhanced by the successful flower expo in 2006.

Due variations of climate and its mountain landscapes, the Chiang Mai Flower Festival presents a diversity of blooms and flowers. Many of them, originally imported from temperate climes such as carnations, chrysanthemum, tulips, are displayed side-by-side with tropical flowers including exotic orchids.

Contact :
TAT Chiang Mai Office
Tel : 66 (0) 5324 8604, 5324 8607, 5324 1466
Chiang Mai Municipality Office
Tel : 66 5324 8604
Website : www.tatchiangmai .org