HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]: 

Pattaya’s first ‘Miss Condom’ heralded a big success

The Italian Winemaker’s Gala Dinner

Casinos in Pattaya: Good or Bad?

Acrobatic show highlights Sriracha Chinese New Year celebrations

Space Shuttle Columbia and Songkran

Thunder Rock Dinosaur Park

Pattaya’s first ‘Miss Condom’ heralded a big success

Songklod Kaewvisit

Pattaya’s first ‘Miss Condom’ pageant held last week was heralded as a huge success with a large number of people attending the fun event. The event also marked the beginning of Pattaya’s St. Valentine’s Day celebrations.

Mayor Pairat Suttithamrongsawat (left), Mechai Viravaidya, PDA president and team Cabbages and Condoms walk the streets to promote AIDS prevention.

The winning contestants of Pattaya’s first ‘Miss Condom’ pageant; No. 7, Jim Yai (centre) from Blue Hawaii, Runner up, Dao (left) from Sexy Bar and third place Nuch, from Roxy Bar.

The pageant was officially opened by Mayor Pairat Suttithamrongsawat on the stage in front the Public Health center on Soi 6.

During his opening speech the mayor said, “We all know the problem of sexually transmitted diseases, and specifically HIV knows no boundaries. HIV and AIDS affect people from all walks of life and socio-economic levels, therefore it is important for government and private organizations to promote and educate prevention of transmission. The city would like to thank the Population & Community Development Association, the Bangkok Pattaya Hospital and the Norwegian Church Aid for their support.”

Once the official formalities were over, there were plenty of games and entertainment for the throngs of people watching the event.

Mechai Viravaidya (right), president of the Population & Community Development Association (PDA) hands out condoms to punters.

Plenty of fun and games during the ‘Miss Condom’ pageant, including this novel way to fill a condom.

The Miss Condom Pageant consisted of 32 ladies who work in the bars on Soi 6, each vying for the title of Miss Condom Pattaya. Miss Jim Yai from the Blue Hawaii Bar was the winner and took home a trophy and a cash prize.

The following day everyone was invited for free health checkups at the Bangkok Pattaya Hospital. Cabbages and Condoms Restaurant and Hotel also provided information on family planning between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The Italian Winemaker’s Gala Dinner


By Miss Terry Diner

If you are fond of the lilting Italian way of speaking English, then you should have been at the Italian Winemaker’s Gala Dinner at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort last week. Featuring wines from the Fantinel label, Wine Club captain Ranjith Chandrasiri brought over Marco Fantinel, the owner and third generation winemaker of the Fantinel vineyards, who captivated all the women in the packed ballroom with his Italian accent. He also captivated much of the diners with the choices of his wines, some of which had not been experienced in Thailand before. As always, Ambrose Wines were there to make it all happen, even if Managing Director Ron Batori could not (get well soon, Ron).

(L to R) Andrew Wood, Christine Verbeke, Bruno Forrer, Panga Vathankul and Mrs Van Boxel-Portael.

(L to R) Ranjith Chandrasiri, wine club captain and resident manager of the Royal Cliff Grand, Panga Vathankul, managing director of the Royal Cliff Beach Resort, Marco Fantinel, vice president of Fantinel Wines, Andrew Wood, general manager Royal Cliff Beach Resort and Maurizio Rocco, export manager for Fantinel Wines.

I have written extensively on the standard of the Winemaker’s Dinners, as being some of the best value for money culinary events in Pattaya, and this was no exception. Executive Chef Walter Thenisch and his team produced items such as the king lobster, clams and green asparagus with saffron, tomato and extra virgin olive oil blended vinaigrette as starters and following it up with an oh-so-European clear barley and pea soup with juliennes of crispy prosciutto di San Daniele. One could imagine eating this in a rough hut the Italian Alpine region, while washing it down with a Santa Caterina, Tocai Friulano Collio, DOC 2001 - which is exactly what we did, other than the fact that we ate and drank in the five star Grand Ballroom, surrounded by attentive wine and food service personnel! Bella! Bella!

The main course (out of six) was an adventurous oven roasted pigeon supreme on glazed endives with a delicate sauce made from Recioto, Amorone wines and figs. My pigeon came with a message attached to its leg which said, “I go best with a Borgo Tesis, Merlot Grave Friuli, DOC 2000,” and it was quite correct. This wine was my favourite for the evening. Bravo! Bravo!

(L to R) Regular guests of the Royal Cliff Beach Resort Mr. and Mrs. Peter Phillips, Andrew Wood and Mr. and Mrs. Richard Wingham.

(L to R) David Jones, Michael Burchall, Andrew Wood and Hugh Miller enjoy fruit of the vine from Fantinel estate.

Roberto Ferin from La Piola (2nd left), and friends join Andrew Wood, GM Royal Cliff Beach Resort for a pre-dinner drink.

Royal Cliff’s three culinary masters (L to R), Walter Thenisch, Stefan Beutler and Didier Bachelet whipped a fantastic meal for guests at the Winemakers dinner last week.

The Winemaker’s Gala Dinner was another success, with all tables being booked out, Ranjith being unable to accept any further bookings one week before the event. The restaurateurs of Pattaya were out in force that evening. They know a good thing when they see it. Applications to join the Wine Club should be made by email [email protected]

Casinos in Pattaya: Good or Bad?

by Andrew J Wood, GM
Royal Cliff Beach Resort

As Thailand ponders the question of whether to legalise casinos and with Pattaya earmarked as the likely venue, we asked Andrew Wood, general manager of the Royal Cliff Beach Resort, whether it would be good for tourism in Pattaya.

Andrew J. Wood

The answer to this question is quite complex. On the surface it would appear to benefit all sectors of the tourism industry in Pattaya and if one were to imagine a Las Vegas style complex with dinner, shows and hotel then ‘yes’ it would be an attractive proposition.

Certainly my recent experience of visiting the Philippines and Cairns in Australia would support this view. The casinos were well regulated, attractive and of the highest standard. If Thailand can reach this standard and keep it ‘clean’ then it might work. The fear of many, unfortunately, is that this will be difficult.

Gambling in Asia is very popular. I suspect the largest numbers of gamblers in Pattaya (were it to be approved) would be Thai followed by Taiwanese, Hong Kong, Japanese and Singaporean visitors. Currently those Thai’s who wish to frequent casinos take themselves (and their money) to neighbouring countries, so yes, it would be good to keep this revenue in Thailand.

As to a resort casino attracting new MICE business and being good for the tourism industry - most definitely. For an event organiser it is an added attraction if they wish to have an optional evening out. (Some companies may not condone or encourage their employees to gamble so it would still have to be an option.) Estimates for the number of additional visitors the casino would attract are difficult to estimate. With Pattaya already receiving over a third of the 11 million visitors to Thailand and with recent infra-structure improvements, the new international airport, fast motorway connections to Bangkok and the excellent choice of hotels and restaurants, I believe it could be upwards of 750,000 to a million additional visitors within 3 years. For example, Japan - over one million visitors to Thailand annually but only 90,000 to Pattaya. And let’s not forget China - get ready for an absolute explosion of tourism related business in the next few years. If you want an example of just how quickly China is developing ask the PC computer manufacturers who are currently the world’s No 1. producer: China.

As for the social impact - we will have to wait and see. Thailand, being a Buddhist country, will have to weigh heavily on the moral decision as to accepting gambling or not. In truth there is much hypocrisy about gambling in this country. The majority of Thais already gamble, whether betting on horse racing, the lottery, football or whatever ... it is already here, and legalising casinos would have the advantage of raising much of it from the under-growth.

As a consequence of gambling, if it were allowed, I do hope that part of the revenue collected in taxes will be used to benefit Pattaya and the region, with infrastructure enhancements and good maintenance of essential services and to continue with the good work being carried to beautify Pattaya. The similarities between Cannes and Pattaya can then continue to grow ever stronger, particularly if we get our promised film festival!

On the question of will we / wont we agree to license casinos in Pattaya, it would appear that the pro lobby have a strong line-up of supporters including the locally born minister of tourism and sport and his family, one of the most influential in Eastern Thailand. Add to this a number of powerful cabinet advisors and a recently conducted local poll coming out in favour for the pro lobby.

Little is heard of the opposition, but the rumblings are there, quietly and out of public view. The fear being expressed is what effect it could have on Thai culture and particularly the effect on families.

As to my own view - yes it will certainly bring in more tourists and possibly even raise the price of real estate. But is it a good thing? I’ll need to spend more time with my priest before I can answer that one.

Acrobatic show highlights Sriracha Chinese New Year celebrations

Plenty of dragon dances and acrobatic shows imported from Sichuan, China, were performed at the Pacific Park Sriracha as part of their annual Chinese New Year festivities.

The gold medal acrobatic group from Sichuan put on a show that thrilled the audience.

This lavish event was presided over by Wichien Techapaibul, the managing director of Sriracha Nakorn and attended by many dignitaries and guests including Chatchai Thimkrachang, Sriracha municipal mayor, and other executives from various companies in the area.

The occasion marked the beginning of Chinese New Year as well as an opportunity to show goodwill between Thailand and China.

This show rendered a stunning performance from the gold medal acrobatic group from Sichuan, which thrilled the audience. Sichuan is the province that gave birth to the dragon dance.

The performers are graduates of gymnastics from Hue Nan Institute, a well-known school that has produced many well-known and winning gymnasts from China. Performers from this institute have performed in more than 145 countries around the world, including their latest performance in Thailand’s Nakorn Sawan.

Over 100 members of the troupe performed in Sriracha with shows including dragon dance, lion dance, a bicycle show, and fire dragon.

Space Shuttle Columbia and Songkran

Commentary by Dr. Iain Corness

The Space Shuttle Columbia has been lost, and with it seven astronauts have lost their lives. America, India and Israel mourn the loss of their nation’s space scientists. Seven families mourn the loss of a member, a loved one, a partner, a parent, a child. They died in the pursuit of exploration of space, to make space travel a reality for the future world. They cannot be replaced.

Songkran in Thailand is coming shortly, and hundreds of families will take the time after the week of the national holiday to mourn the loss of hundreds of Thai citizens. Loved ones, partners, parents, children who will die in the pursuit of ‘sanuk’, a moment of hedonism, leaving a lifetime of sorrow for those who are left.

The world mourns for the astronauts. I do too. Will the world mourn for the hundreds killed in the Songkran road toll? I hope not, because it is needless, avoidable and a national disgrace that this can happen every year. One day the government will truly look at the problem, but I am sure it is not this year. Thailand, I mourn for you too.

Thunder Rock Dinosaur Park

Lesley Warner

I first visited Thunder Rock about a year ago when it was still just the vision of a man with a dream. The man was Craig Rhodes, and he was so full of energy, drive and enthusiasm. As I stood next to him and looked out at the piles of rocks and dirt I have to admit to being somewhat skeptical, and I said call me when you have completed a bit more.

Wow! Look at those teeth.

When Craig called me again it was about a year after my first visit. I didn’t know what to expect but certainly not the amount of effort and work that has gone into creating a really different theme park for Pattaya. The park currently has twenty-three life-size dinosaurs on display and they are increasing the number of dinosaurs and other attractions all the time.

One of the more tranquil scenes at the park.

Fancy a “Dino-burger” and some fries?

As I walked round the winding paths past waterfalls, streams and lakes, I listened to the authentic jungle noises of a time long past and gazed up at the huge open mouths of the magnificent dinosaurs that ruled the earth so long ago; it made my imagination play strange tricks. I could have been Rachel Welch running across the plains in my fur bikini (OK, so use your imagination).

The park is set out so that you do get a very realistic idea of the size and power that these massive beasts had, especially when you see the fierce T-Rex doing battle with a Torrosaurus. The children will love it. All the dinosaurs are the correct size, and each has full descriptions in both Thai and English.

Whoops! He looks mad.

Just follow the path, you never know what you might find around the next bend.

At present a new moving dinosaur, a Spinosaurus, is being created, plus an 18 hole mini golf course, and within the next couple of months the park will also have an exciting water ride through the caves and who knows what you will meet inside? Future developments include a volcano-shaped museum, a children’s petting zoo (no dinosaurs!) and a display of modern raptors. All of the new developments are scheduled to be finished within twelve months.

The park is open until 8 p.m. I should imagine walking round the park in the dusk is even more stimulating for the imagination. And don’t worry, they have thought of everything. When you come out of the park and need to relax you will find an international restaurant with a fossil find play area for the children. The restaurant is open to the general public and designed so that you wouldn’t be surprised to see Wilma Flintstone serving you.

The park is suitable for all ages and is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. It is located on the Sukhumvit Road, four kilometers past Tesco Lotus, South Pattaya. 349\5 Moo 12 Nongprue. Telephone 038.706055.

Skal International

Pattaya Fun City
By The Sea