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Thailand Directory

Top 3 Places for Souvenir Shopping in Bangkok

October 10th, 2013 10:28 pm

Thai Craft Market at Amarin Plaza

The most affordable of the three locations is the Thai Craft Market at Amarin Plaza. Located on the third floor of the mall, this craft market has dozens of stalls filled with trinkets and tchotchkes dominated by silks, colourful beads and woven bags. The souvenirs here are excellent bang for the buck with purse prices starting at around 250 baht and a whole range of cheaper gifts that can be bought in bulk, like cute magnets, woven change wallets and wooden bookmarks. Amarin Plaza is just off of the BTS station at Chit Lom. It is open daily.

Narai Phand Thai Craft Village at President Tower

For some of the priciest souvenirs but also the most traditional and best quality, Narai Phand has an elaborate selection. While you might not be in the market for a 100,000 baht hand-painted urn there are plenty of affordable gifts to be found at Narai Phand. Beautiful silk skirts are sold for 1,000 baht and are the type of well-made piece that will last forever. Lovely pillowcases and silk scarves are sold here as well. There is also an immense selection of pottery and porcelain with prices starting at around 500 baht. Narai Phand is probably not the place to buy something for everyone, but is a good spot to buy that one special thing for Mum. Narai Phand is open daily from 10:00 until 20:00, and is located right off the BTS at Chit Lom across the street from Amarin Plaza. It is a bit hard to find, but is tucked behind the Intercontinental Hotel next door to Gaysorn Mall.

Exotique Thai at Siam Paragon

On the fourth floor of Siam Paragon mall is a section devoted to Thai gifts and handicrafts. With a beautiful selection of fabrics, tablecloths and ties, the prices here are steeper than at Amarin Plaza but the wares are more eclectic and higher quality. Before a trip back to your country, don’t forget to load up on silk scarves, for 200 baht a piece, to bring as gifts. Additionally, there are some unique pieces of jewellery and delicate bags. Gold and silver necklaces with Thai letters sell for around 1,200 baht while beautiful make-up pouches range from 200 to 1,000 baht. Siam Paragon is open daily from 10:00 until 22:00 and is located directly off the BTS stop Siam.

4 Best Beach Hotels for Affordable Stay in Thailand

July 24th, 2013 3:45 am

Sai Thong Resort, Koh Tao

While the nearby gulf islands of Samui and Phangan have been long-term draws for beach-loving travellers, the smaller Koh Tao has only recently emerged as one of Thailand’s headline destinations. Primarily Tao is famed for its diving – shallow waters, easy currents, epic corals and whale sharks pull in the crowds – with numerous scuba-diving schools based here. But much of this small island still has a tranquil get-away-from-it-all vibe, and the pick of the places to indulge that atmosphere is the Sai Thong, the only resort on the tiny Sai Nuan beach. Sai Thong’s tidy wooden fan-cooled bungalows are simply furnished and all have balconies, hammocks and private bathrooms. The owners are incredibly friendly, the food’s excellent and vistas include the almost-private white sand beach and a massive boulder-strewn headland. Superb snorkelling, plenty of nice spots to lounge and an unforgettable arrival by long-tail boat complete the picture.

Nimmanoradee Resort, Koh Samet

The island of Samet, off Thailand’s easterly coast a four-hour drive from Bangkok, is infamous as a weekend party island. But it offers far more than eating, drinking and loud music. The beaches are picture-perfect expanses of powder-white sand, with bay after bay running south along Samet’s east coast. And the further south down the island you head, the quieter it becomes until you reach, right on the very southern tip, the Nimmanoradee Resort. Cute clapboard huts are scattered on rocky outcrops and amid trees, all with sea views, and a private sandy beach is a step away. There are kayaks, a swimming pool, deckchairs everywhere and the rooms are bathed in natural light with neat designer touches. Flatscreen TVs and bathtubs add extra comfort to the natural setting. Room rates on Samet tend to be much lower during the week.

Relax Bay, Koh Lanta

Just along the Andaman Sea coast, south of Krabi Town, the landscape turns into a mix of mangroves and beguiling islands. The largest of these is Koh Lanta, rightly famed for its nearby diving sites and its beaches, which are usually long, sweeping affairs, gently sloping into the warm Andaman Sea. One of the best is found at the suitably named Relax Bay, home to the resort of the same name, a French-owned endeavour complete with a range of secluded and comfortable wooden beachside bungalows and large tents. Relax is the kind of place where you might end up staying longer than planned, thanks to the almost homestay style of genuine and friendly service, authentic Thai food – the French menu isn’t bad either – and calming, restful atmosphere.

Bamboo Bungalows, Koh Phayam

The northern end of Thailand’s Andaman Sea coast leads to the Burmese border and the sea-frontier town of Ranong. From here it’s a two-hour boat ride to the island of Phayam, famous for its cashew nuts and superb beaches; indeed, Phayam is possibly the only place on earth where you can enjoy a full-moon beach party and an annual Miss Cashew Nut contest. Head to Ao Yai, or Big Beach, a 3km crescent of white sand on the west of Phayam where you’ll find Bamboo Bungalows. There’s a variety of beachside bungalows at this laid-back and engaging operation, from basic A-framed “shell-huts” to comfortable villas with contemporary Thai furnishings. There are kayaks and snorkelling equipment and the restaurant, which often bakes its own bread, is regarded as one of the best on the island. For a longer stay on Phayam, you can rent an entire house at Koh Phayam Sanctuary from just over £200 a month.

Knowing Healthy Thai Food

April 25th, 2013 3:19 am

Like other Asian cuisines where meat is scarce and expensive, Thai cuisine is rice- and noodle-based. Since Thailand is formed around a gulf, there is a large variety of fish dishes. In general, Thai food is light and combinations of herbs and spices yield sour, salty, hot and sweet flavors in every bite. Many of the herbs used are thought to have medicinal benefits, such as aiding digestion, as well. The harmonious blend of flavors and fragrances makes Thai food irresistible to Western palates.

A major element in Thai cuisine is the yam (sometimes spelled yum), a kind of salad. Unlike traditional salad as we know it, a yam can be made of pork, beef or other protein, dressed with ingredients such as nam pla (fermented fish-flavored sauce), salt, lemon or lime juice, garlic or shallots, and chilies. For example, sliced steak soaked in lime juice and mixed with chilies, onion, tomato, cucumber, coriander leaves and lettuce are the ingredients that compose nuur yung namtok, yet the same flavor mix used with a base of sliced squid yields yum pla muk. If you’re feeling adventurous, frog legs are a Thai specialty, and are prepared in many different ways.

Thais do not eat in traditional, individual courses the way we do; they enjoy a communal eating experience. All the dishes are placed on the table where diners can sample a little bit of everything, family-style. Some of the most common flavorings you’ll find in Thai dishes are coconut milk, lemongrass, tamarind, nam pla, ginger, galangal (a member of the ginger family that tastes like a cross between ginger and pepper), garlic, cilantro, basil, palm sugar, turmeric, cumin, green onions, shallots, peanuts, lime juice and kaffir lime leaves, in addition to chilies in varying degrees of heat.

Know Your Menu

Fish cake: Patties of ground fish and curry paste combined with ground shrimp and usually served over a salad

Steamed dumplings: Ground pork, shrimp and Thai herbs in paper-thin wrappers

Pad thai: The classic and most popular of Thai dishes, a noodle-based dish that incorporates shrimp, green onions, eggs, dried tofu, bean sprouts and chopped peanuts

Curry: Thailand is famous for curries, usually beef, chicken or shrimp simmered in coconut milk with mixtures of different curry pastes (red, yellow, green), and sometimes potatoes, peas, bamboo shoots, basil and hot chilies

Further Notes

– Avoid bean thread, a vermicelli-like noodle that appears in many dishes not specifically listed as such and is high in carbohydrates.

– Anything listed on the menu as pad will almost certainly be a noodle dish.

– If you order curry, request one that doesn’t contain potatoes.

– In general, stick to dishes that are quickly sauteed with lemongrass and/or basil, other aromatic Thai herbs and vegetables.

– Many Thai dishes use sweet ingredients – pineapple, oyster sauce, sweet-and-sour sauce – which should be consumed in moderation, to complement more pungent ones.

5 Reasons To Source Products From Thailand

February 20th, 2013 3:20 am

With growing economies such as China and India offering mass-produced products at extremely low prices, most importers would opt to outsource their manufacturing to these countries. But if you are looking for just low prices then perhaps you should keep looking because you are missing out on the two other very important aspects – reliability and quality. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should choose Thailand to import or source your products from.

#1. High Quality Products at Competitive Prices

Thailand is very cost-competitive and product quality is generally a lot higher than its neighboring countries. The country is well known for its wide variety of superior quality products such as rice, rubber, food & beverages, seafood and textiles. It has also become competent in exporting hardware products, furniture, handicrafts, gems and jewelry.

In 2008 and its third consecutive year, Thailand was also ranked #1 for ‘value for money’. This can be attributed to the fact that it is rich with high-quality raw materials combined with low labor and manufacturing costs. In addition, most Thai companies and manufacturers follow the International standards such as the ISO, ASTM, CE, and Halal certifications together with human health and global environment concerns, so you can be sure the products won’t lack in good quality.

#2. The Culture and Ease of Business

As a non-Thai resident of over 17 years, I have come to love and understand the Thai people and culture. They are friendly, wonderful and hard-working individuals but their teamwork is even more remarkable. You will find working with them very easy and enjoyable.

If that is not convincing enough, then it might help to know that Thailand was awarded the 3rd “Best Country Brand for Friendly Locals”, 13th in “ease of doing business” worldwide while ranking 3rd in Asia.

In a 2009 report by the World Bank, Thailand was ranked 11th in the world for protecting investors, 10th for trading across borders, and 25th on enforcing contracts.

#3. A Strategic Location with a Strong Business Environment

As the “gateway to Asia”, Thailand offers access to China, India, and the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). This has allowed the country to have well-developed infrastructure, free enterprise economy, and pro-investment policies, allowing it to experience one of the highest GDP growths.

#4. Intellectual Property

Nowadays Thailand is very concerned about Intellectual Property, despite most beliefs. Business owners can be assured now that products in their hands are completely legal and have no copyrights issues. We at MPN certainly make sure that there are none.

Likewise, if you are an inventor who is looking for a factory that can produce your products with low cost while protecting your intellectual property, Thailand seems to be the best choice for now.

#5. Buying Agents and Sourcing Companies

Like MPN Intertrade, there are dozens of multinational and Thai companies as well as agents that can greatly assist importers. Although most manufacturing and exporting companies do business in English, some may not. Sourcing agents can alleviate issues such as language barriers, trade restrictions and most importantly find the best manufacturer match and negotiate best prices.

Not to mention, this is also improves reliability and quality assurance as these agencies provide professional and expert services.