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ATS Thailand & Maynmar Tour Feb 2018


Read the itinerary here.  

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2014

ATS Summer Reception 2014 - as popular as ever!

 

 

 

 

 

 



Thursday, 19th June

The  Anglo-Thai Society (ATS) held its Annual Meeting on Thursday, 19th June 2014 at the House of Lords.  Once again, ATS is indebted to Lord Geddes whose sponsorship enables us to meet in such an impressive venue.  Somehow, walking through the Central Hall on the way to the Committee Room for the AGM, past all the statues and paintings of prime ministers and people of power, gives an air of gravitas and the feeling that we can all make history, each in our own way, just by participating.

The Annual meeting itself was an informal affair although the Committee was disappointed to have seen just ten members attending, when there have been some twenty in past years. Thanks are due to those that did attend  and they had the added bonus of seeing the House of Lords in working mode. The Committee really does need members to interact by saying what events they would like to attend and what they thought of events in the past.  The forward programme is packed with a variety of activities, ranging from a talk on the political situation in Thailand to literary evenings and from the much loved River Thames lunch cruise to a visit to the Avebury World Heritage Site, Wiltshire.  The visit to Thailand was so successful earlier this year that another is being planned for early 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 





The reception in the Cholmondeley Room was as popular as ever. How could it not be with the backdrop of the River Thames and the wonderful sound of the Thai Music Circle?  ATS Chairman Dr Orapin Dawson welcomed everyone and recounted the successful events of the past year.  Minister Nadhavathna Krishnamra welcomed ATS on behalf of the Thai Ambassador who is our Patron.  If members are interested in an update on the political situation in Thailand, the Royal Thai Embassy’s website at http://www.thaiembassyuk.org.uk is the place to go.

 

 

ATS Visit to 'Unseen Thailand' - February 2014

On 18 February 2014, 18 members of the Anglo-Thai Society (ATS) arrived at Suvanabhumi Airport , Bangkok, at the start of the first organised ATS visit to Thailand in the more than 50 years of the society’s existence. It was well worth the wait.

For some it was their first visit to the Kingdom. Others had previously lived in Thailand but had not been to places in the “unseen” itinerary. Two members of the group had fascinating experiences of Thailand during World War II. All were impressed by a country that continues its rapid development whilst retaining the traditions of its unique culture and society.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The group spent four nights in Bangkok, based at the Chatrium Riverside Hotel on the Chao Praya River. The programme (affected only slightly by ongoing political demonstrations) included : a visit to the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles (which chronicles the  development of Thailand’s silk and design industry); dinner at Chakrabhongse Villa (courtesy of M.R. Narisa Chakrabhongse); a tour of Ayudhaya Historical Park on foot and by boat (courtesy of the Tourist Authority of Thailand); lunch with committee members of the Siam Society (an ATS-linked cultural organisation); and tea at the British Embassy Residence (courtesy of HBM Ambassador, Mark Kent).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Bangkok the group travelled by coach and train south-west to the unique railway market “Talad Rom Hoop” and then to a delightful canal-side Home Stay (B&B) in the village of Amphawa, which has a vibrant floating market. Early risers were able to offer food to monks paddling flat-bottomed boats along canals in the dawn mists.

The group then travelled south to the seaside fishing town and resort of Hua Hin, stopping on the way to visit a fascinating King’s project to recycle waste water, creating a bird sanctuary in the process. The programme in Hua Hin included wine-tasting and lunch at the scenic Monsoon Valley vineyard (courtesy of Monsoon Valley Wines) and a sumptuous beachside seafood dinner hosted by Surreal Holidays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old timers remember a different Hua Hin.  The old narrow road from Bangkok, which used to be lined by flame trees and menaced by fume-belching sugar cane lorries, is now largely dual carriageway though continuous ribbon development. In the town, traditional wooden fishermen’s homes have been replaced by neon-lit concrete shop houses and an incongruous high-rise hotel. Nevertheless, Hua Hin is a thriving resort, which hosts a growing resident expatriate community. The Centara Grand Beach Resort (the old Railway Hotel), where the group spent two nights, remains one of the nicest hotels in SE Asia, retaining its colonial-style charm in the oasis of its luxuriant beach-side gardens. The railway station is still one of the most attractive in the Kingdom. After years in Bangkok, Their Majesties the King and Queen have returned to live in their favourite “Far from Worries” Palace on the town’s outskirts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Hua Hin the group headed back to Bangkok, via the beautifully restored Maruekhathaiyawan Summer Palace, in time to catch the overnight sleeper train to Chiang Mai. Although Thailand’s transportation infrastructure has benefitted from decades of investment, the  railway system remains sadly neglected. However, Hualampong Station in Bangkok has been restored and made easily accessible to tourists as well as locals. The overnight train to Chiang Mai is excellent value for money, comfortable, clean and punctual, and the attendants provide a cheerful, helpful service, including tasty Thai food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The group stayed at the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort (formerly the Chedi), a beautiful designer hotel, which has preserved and tastefully incorporated the old British Consulate building (although sadly the elephant stables are long gone). The group enjoyed a northern-style lunch at the traditional Thai house of ATS member Khunying Noi Svasti in the tree-shrouded hills above Chiang Mai, a reception in town hosted by ATS correspondent, Colin Jarvis, and a visit to the historic foreigners’ cemetery.

The group continued its travels north through reforested mountains, stopping at the Disney-like Wat Rong Khun (“the White Temple”), to the Golden Triangle area of Chiang Rai province, where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Burma/Myanmar converge and wild elephants still roam across man’s borders.

The group stayed at the Anantara Golden Triangle Resort, another of Thailand’s amazing and unique hotels, which overlooks Laos and Myanmar. Time in the Golden Triangle was too short, but sufficient to allow a visit to the Opium Museum (an unexpectedly extensive, modern and interactive exposition of the drugs trade in Thailand and Asia), and an excursion across the Mekhong River to a village tourist market in Laos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Golden Triangle was a fitting culmination to an eclectic tour, thoroughly enjoyed by all the participants. After a river-side dinner in the attractive city of Chiang Rai, the group dispersed, some to spend more time in the north, some to head to the islands of the south and others to return to the UK.

Thanks are due to many, including the various hosts mentioned above, Surreal Holidays, who provided an excellent service throughout, and Khun Siripakorn Cheawsamoot of the Tourist Authority of Thailand, H.E. Mr Kitti Wasinondh, former Thai Ambassador to the UK, and H.E. Mr Pasan Teparak, current Thai Ambassador to the UK, for their support, advice and participation in elements of the programme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following the success of this inaugural ATS visit, consideration is being given to another ATS tour, possibly including Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. We hope it will not take another 50 years. 2016 is our target.


   

ATS BBC Tour - A fun filled outing

Monday 31st March

The BBC tour was a great success.  The Portland Place headquarters is such a bustling venue, with lots of other tours coming and going, school parties working on quizzes and studios being prepared for a variety of programmes, including the World Services Freedom Day debate.

The tour started with an explanation of how various programmes are made and our group would soon have some very hands on experience of this themselves. However, before that, the first port of call was the gallery that looks out onto the vast newsroom where editors and researchers, divided into domestic and international halves, provide the very considerable back up to the news readers.  When ‘on air’ the familiar people who deliver the news sit in a small studio of their own, where cameras wielded by unseen editors glide eerily back and forth.  The weather presenters are in a class all of their own, all meteorologists and, unlike the newsreaders, they work without any scripts.  They must not only know the weather prospects for the day by heart, but also bow to the greater importance of the news, so that if it is a heavy news day, they must deliver the weather in record time, and if it is a slow news day, they must extend their report to fill time.

From here the ATS group were led to the ‘do it yourself’ bit where three ATS brave souls read the news and gave the weather report to camera and were rewarded with the fame of being seen on screen.  Then it was on to the newly set up ONE show studio, complete with green sofas and a backdrop of a picture window looking out over the piazza from which passers by could stop and stare.

After a visit to another studio which was being prepared for a debate on Europe, the group were invited to try their luck at recording a bit of drama in which the participants were eventually eaten for dinner.  It was a really fun filled outing.

   

Joint ATS Event with Thai Studies Centre at Leeds University

Friday 14th March, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



In an effort to broaden and extend its activities outside the London area, ATS recently organised a talk in co-operation with Thai Forum at Leeds University.  The Talk, by David Fall CMG, former British Ambassador to Thailand, was entitled "The historical roots of current political divisions in Thailand: a farang's perspective."   Based upon his experiences during three postings in Bangkok, over a period of 36 years (during each of which there was a coup d'etat) David gave a very insightful and well-informed perspective on the historical roots of the current political problems in Thailand.  Jointly organised by ATS and the Thai Studies Centre at Leeds University, who celebrate their 10th anniversary this year, the talk was extremely well received by all who attended.  Over 60 people attended the talk including, H.E. Mr Pasan Theparak The Thai Ambassador, Embassy staff and ATS Committee members as well as both English and Thai students at Leeds University, academic staff and representatives from other organisations such as UKTI Yorkshire . After the talk a reception was held, jointly sponsored by the royal Thai Embassy and Thai Children's Trust.

The ATS would like to thank Dr Martin Seeger, Associate Professor of Thai Studies and Rebecca Iszatt, fourth year student of Thai Studies at Leeds University for their hospitality and for organising the event; and the Thai Children’s Trust and the Royal Thai Embassy for sponsoring the post-talk reception.

The ATS hopes to make arrangements for David Fall to repeat his talk later in the year in London.  More details and photographs of the Leeds event can be found at www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/info/125199/thai_studies/2294/thai_forum.

Following the talk, ATS members and guests were invited to dinner at Chaophraya Restaurant in Leeds by Khun Saipin Lee to celebrate the launch of another activity in the north and welcome a new ATS corporate member, Chaophraya Thai Restaurant group.

Congratulations are also extended to Khun Saipin for her new post as Director of the Chaophraya Thai Restaurant group.

 

   

Calendar of Events

Thursday 9th March

Talk by Claire Keefe-Fox on her book 'Siamese Tears' with Thai dinner at Thai Tho restaurant, Soho

Monday 20th March

'Searching for Ali Wallace' a docu-drama film at the Overseas League. For more details please click here

Sunday 9th April

Songkran Festival at Buddhpadipa Thai Temple, Calonne Road, Wimbledon. Wat Buddhapadipa is unique in Europe. The only Thai temple in the UK purposely built in the Thai architectural style and a perfect place to celebrate Songkran in London. The programme of events includes the chance to make offerings to monks and enjoy Thai food and cultural performances on stage. Free entry, all welcome.


 

Tuesday, 16th May

Talk by David Hallmark on The Travels and Trials of an English adventurer Advocate in Thailand 1970-1971. Venue and booking details coming soon.

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