The Anglo-Thai Society (ATS) held its traditional Summer Reception on Monday 20th June 2016 at the House of Lords. Once again, ATS is indebted to Lord Geddes whose sponsorship enables us to meet in such an impressive venue. Members and their guests enjoyed a delightful evening in the Cholmondeley Room with it's stunning views of the River Thames and were entertained by the wonderful sound of the Thai Music Circle. The good weather meant that full use could be made of the riverside terrace. The event was attended by the Thai Ambassador to the U.K. and the Society's patron, HE Mr. Kittiphong Na Ranong.
As a follow-up to the successful 2014 Anglo-Thai Society (ATS) tour of Thailand, 19 members visited Thailand and Laos from 16 February to 1 March 2016.
Owing to a cancelled flight, half of the group unfortunately missed the first night’s welcome dinner at Chakrabongse Villas in Bangkok. However, the delayed group arrived in time for a reception at the British Embassy, hosted by H.E. Ambassador Mark Kent and his wife, Martine. After two nights in Bangkok the group departed by coach for Khao Yai National Park in the north-east (Isaan) of Thailand. Highlights there included a night safari and dinner and karaoke hosted by General Trairat and Mrs Chamapan Rangaratna.
After visiting Prasat Hin Phimai, the largest sandstone Khmer temple in Thailand, the group headed for Loei Province, once a bastion of communist guerrillas, now characterised by stylish resorts, golf courses and vineyards. Two nights were spent at the delightful, little known, riverside town of Chiang Khan. The group then followed the Mekong River, enjoying a splendid lunch at Khunying Narisa Chakrabongse’s traditional riverside house, and crossed into the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) via the Friendship Bridge at Nong Khai.
The group spent two nights in the small, but rapidly developing, Lao capital of Vientiane, where they were treated to tea and a briefing at the residence of the British Ambassdor to Laos, H.E.Mr Hugh Evans. After a short flight to Xiengkhouang the group visited the Plain of Jars and saw something of the continuing work to clear unexploded ordnance dropped from American bombers during the Vietnam War. (Laos has the unfortunate distinction of being the world’s most bombed country per head of population.)
From Xiengkhouang a scenic coach journey took the group to the former royal capital of Luang Prabang, now a beautifully preserved World heritage site. Situated at the junction of the Mekong River and one of its tributaries, nestling in forest-covered mountains, and combining French colonial architecture with a myriad of Buddhist temples, Luang Prabang is one of the most tranquil and stunning destinations in South East Asia.
The group stayed in a delightful Thai-owned boutique riverside hotel. A roof-top sunset dinner above Luang Prabang was a fitting end to another excellent ATS tour.
The ATS gratefully acknowledges the support and assistance of the Tourist Authority of Thailand, the London Embassies of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Lao PDR, the British Ambassadors in Bangkok and Vientiane, Surreal Holidays and a variety of kind hosts and friends in Thailand and Laos for helping to make this visit so memorable.
The ATS is now planning, in conjunction with the Britain-Burma Society, a cultural tour to western Thailand and Myanmar.