| Syafiq Affendy |
AS MY flight from Bandar Seri Begawan started to descend to prepare for landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, I saw green pasture lands which seemed like paddy fields spanning towards the horizon.
Hints of civilisation started nucleating from the scarce sight of small road branches from high up aboard a Royal Brunei flight, converging into bigger and longer stretch of roads which were assumingly highways.
The ground picked up speed as everything down below started to turn into blurs of green, grey and other random colours from buildings as the airplane approaches the earth’s surface moments before touchdown.
Thailand is truly an amazing country – now with more new attractions and places of interest.
‘Thailand’s Best Friends Forever Mega Fam Trip’, recently organised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, was as an eye-opener to the current havoc-free conditions of this beautiful nation.
For almost 1,000 travel media people, bloggers, celebrities and travel industry executives from 47 countries and territories around the world, it was a fabulous experience.
Among the best attractions in Thailand is the Palio Khao Yai, where visitors get to enjoy ‘Little Italy’. Here a strip of land has been dedicated for buildings and the ambience is reminiscent of the typical streets in Italy.
Located in Pak Chong, the whole area is perfect for photo shoots, with the vicinity also housing various shops selling a wide range of products – from antiques to travel accessories, fresh ice cream shops and the most interesting of all, Café Burgundy where visitors will be able to enjoy a cup of coffee or any of their favourite beverage whilst absorbing the Italian ambience within. The Balios Resort Khaoyai hotel is conveniently located two minutes’ walk away, and has also been designed to suit the theme.
Another attraction in Khao Yai is the Panorama Farm, which is an avenue built for the farming of various types of mushrooms, including the highly beneficial Ling Xi mushroom.
Back in Bangkok, the Asiatique the Riverfront is a must-visit, as the whole area has been designed from remnants dating back to the reign of King Chulalongkorn, who took the initiative to raise Siam to the level of leading countries of the world.
Asiatique The Riverfront was designed from the remains of former piers belonging to the East Asiatic Company, a business dedicated to the export of teak wood and owned by Hans Nille Andersen, a Danish national. The piers signalled the beginning of international trade between the Kingdom of Siam (the former name of Thailand) and European nations, and were the key to Siam maintaining the sovereignty and independence till this day.
Today, that same area which the East Asiatic dock occupied is being restored to its original glory under the name “Asiatique The Riverfront”, the first and the biggest lifestyle project in Asia on the banks of the Chao Phraya River which is fast developing to become Bangkok’s trendiest landmark.
The Secret Art Garden is for lovers of arts, crafts and gardens which was launched 30 years ago in 10 acres of barren land and is becoming another of Khao Yai’s main attractions.
Its owner, Surindr Sonthirati, with the aid of his wife and three children, handled the art, crafts and decorations of the entire place, which is surrounded by over 1,000 planted trees.
The artworks installed in the vicinity are sure to keep you mesmerised as their most intricate details are sure to catch the eye. The creative works here portrays the passion and love of art lovers, whose wish to share their life’s works has become a reality in this garden.
Overall, Thailand is sure to promise a very different experience for visitors, and has definitely wooed me into wanting to return, but most definitely, with my own gathering of friends, family and those who want to experience another side of Thailand that needs to be discovered.