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Vol. XIV No. 52
Friday December 29 - January 4, 2007


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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]: 

Thai AirAsia names Langkawi its 10th International destination

Seaplane shuttle service launched

Looking for a bit of adventure next year? Maybe Lonely Planet has the answer

Travelers assistance center opens at airport for New Year’s holiday

Jumeirah to manage exclusive private island resort in Phuket

Thai AirAsia names Langkawi its 10th International destination

Thai AirAsia has selected Langkawi as its 10th international destination and will start flying to the beautiful island on January 6, 2007.
Thai AirAsia will serve the Bangkok-Langkawi route every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Flights from Bangkok will depart at 2.15pm (Bangkok time), while flights from Langkawi will depart at 5.30pm (local time).

Tassapon Bijleveld, chief executive officer of Thai AirAsia announces the opening of the Bangkok-Langkawi route at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, December 19.

Tassapon Bijleveld, chief executive officer of Thai AirAsia, announced the opening of the Bangkok-Langkawi route to the media in Kuala Lumpur last week.
“We look forward to expanding our reach to Langkawi because of the growing tourism appeal towards the island, especially for tourists visiting Bangkok. As a tourism hub, Bangkok brings in millions of tourists every month. These tourists are always interested in visiting neighbouring destinations, and Langkawi is among their favourite destinations,” Bijleveld said.
“We will start flying to Langkawi this January with three flights a week, but this route has the potential to have daily flights six months after its opening,” he added.
Thai AirAsia offered 1,000 seats at zero-baht airfare (exclusive of taxes and other fees) to announce the opening of the route. It continues to offer low fares to guests wishing to fly between the two cities.
Langkawi will be Thai AirAsia’s fourth destination in Malaysia, besides Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Kota Kinabalu.
The airline’s other international destinations are Singapore, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Yangon, Xiamen and Macau. It also flies within Thailand to the cities of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hat Yai, Krabi, Narathiwat, Phuket, Surat Thani, Ubon Ratchani and Udon Thani.
To-date, six million passengers have flown with Thai AirAsia. The airline is celebrating its third anniversary on February 3, 2007.

Seaplane shuttle service launched

Destination Air Shuttle will launch regular seaplane shuttle services between Phuket and the Andaman coastal islands in January.
Claiming to be Thailand’s only seaplane shuttle service, the company will initially serve Krabi and its islands of Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta, offering 12 flights daily and leaving every two hours from Phuket International Airport. Further landing locations are planned for Similan Archipelago National Park, Koh Racha and Khao Lak.
The company said its seaplane shuttle service would depart from Phuket International Airport and land directly in the waterfront of most major hotel resorts. It said its service would significantly reduce the travel time from the usual half-day overland trip from Phuket to less than 13 minutes to Koh Phi Phi, 20 minutes to Krabi and 30 minutes to Koh Lanta.
Destination Air Shuttle CEO, Captain Nithit Kesangam, said: “This is an outstanding service to hotels and tour operators in the Phuket area. This is a fantastic shot in the arm for hotels and tourists going to Koh Phi Phi, Krabi and Koh Lanta.” (TTG)

Looking for a bit of adventure next year? Maybe Lonely Planet has the answer

“A Year of Adventures: A Guide to What, Where and When to Do It”

Every week of the year, somewhere around the world, there is an adventure experience to be had.
Lonely Planet’s new title, A Year of Adventures: A Guide to Where, What and When to Do It, is a full-color journey through adventure activities all over the world, and the best times to undertake them.

A Year of Adventures will have travelers day-dreaming of everything from watching whales to climbing Everest, with a tantalizing adventure activity profiled for every week of the year. Divided into 52 weeks, each section profiles the very best adventure vacations to immerse yourself in at that time - whether it’s trekking Iceland’s interior at one of the only times of the year it’s accessible (August), encountering Costa Rica’s 850 animal species during the country’s driest month (February), or seeing the rapids of Victoria Falls at their best (November). Each entry includes an inspiring description of the activity and captivating photographs, as well as essential information such as ‘why now?’ and the fitness or expertise level required.
The book also demonstrates that adventure vacations don’t have to involve putting your life in your hands - A Year of Adventures profiles everything from the North Pole Marathon (requiring superior fitness!) to watching wild turtles in Vanuatu (no strenuous activity involved). Whether high or low impact, the common link between each experience is that they evoke the spirit of adventure: achievement, discovery, wonder, and taking yourself out of the everyday.
Featuring fun-filled family activities like ballooning, fishing and horse riding; perennially popular activities like cycling, diving, mountaineering, sailing, and trekking to cutting-edge experiences like bungee jumping, heli-skiing, zip lining and even space travel, this book is an ideal companion for anyone with an adventurous spirit.
The author of A Year of Adventures, Andrew Bain, is a renowned travel writer and former sports journalist. Bain has written about travel and adventure for Australian Geographic, Global, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and South China Morning Post. In 2003 he was awarded the Australian Geographic story of the year. Andrew has trekked, cycled or kayaked his way around five continents, and is the author of the book Headwinds, the story of his 20,000km cycle journey around Australia, as well as Lonely Planet’s Walking in Australia.
Feeling adventurous? 87% of travelers say ‘a sense of adventure’ is an important or very important motivator for their travels. Source: Lonely Planet’s 2005 Travelers’ Pulse Survey which polled 20,000 travelers worldwide.
To compliment the book, Lonely Planet has also launched a Year of Adventures website where an RSS feed provides ongoing information regarding activities in any selected destination:

Travelers assistance center opens at airport for New Year’s holiday

With expectations that large numbers of foreign tourists and local travelers will be traveling by air during the New Year holiday, the management of Suvarnabhumi Airport are to offer special traveler’s assistance this weekend, according to Somchai Sawasdeepon, general manager of the airport.
The travelers’ center will be based on the seventh floor of the passenger terminal building and services will include advice on facilities available at the airport, flight timetables, prevention of luggage delays and providing sufficient transportation facilities.
Whilst acknowledging that problems such as insufficient toilets, delayed luggage delivery, and safety concerns still exist, Mr. Somchai said the Airports of Thailand (AoT) and he himself personally would accept full responsibility for customer care and services.
He said the AoT is trying to resolve the problems, and that he believed they could be eliminated within six months. (TNA)

Jumeirah to manage exclusive private island resort in Phuket

Source - Jumeirah Group
Jumeirah Group, the Dubai based luxury international hospitality group and member of Dubai Holding, has been appointed by TGR Group - Asia to manage the five star private island resort currently under development in Ao Po Bay, Phuket.
Scheduled for completion in late 2008, the Jumeirah Groups’s Phuket Private Island Resort will feature 65 lavishly appointed deluxe pool villas each with private infinity pool and Jacuzzi, 12 three-bedroom luxury residential villas, four restaurants and bars as well as extensive leisure, spa and fitness facilities including a large free form swimming pool and a 400-metre private, white sandy beach. In addition, the resort will offer a marina, a private yacht club, a tennis court, several boutiques, a business centre and a library with dedicated reading room.
Jumeirah Phuket Private Island Resort will be situated on the shores of Koh Raet, an untouched tropical island located just 500-metres offshore from Ao Po Bay, north east of Phuket Island, providing easy access for guests to the main tourist areas of Phuket. The resort can be reached by a four minute private motor yacht ride or island ferry from the access point on the mainland which is located just fifteen minutes from Phuket International Airport.
Set on 56,000 square metres of private land, Jumeirah Phuket Private Island Resort will be an exclusive, luxurious island resort offering spectacular views of the limestone karsts of Phang Nga Bay to the north, views of the beaches of Ao Po Bay to the west and kilometers of white sandy beaches with views of both Naka Yai and Naka Noi.
Partner and Managing Director for TGR Group - Asia, Mr Dilokpol Sundaravej, commented: “It is with great pleasure that we appoint Jumeirah Group and we feel this partnership will provide our clients with a unique and exclusive luxury experience unparalleled by any other in the region.”

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