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More direct flights between Vietnam and Thailand amid growth in tourism

May Taylor

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More direct flights between Vietnam and Thailand amid growth in tourism | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: Asia 361

Thailand is gearing up to welcome more Vietnamese visitors, with a number of airlines increasing direct flights between both countries and adding some new routes too. The Tourism Authority of Thailand says the additional routes should help boost the number of first-time visitors from Vietnam.

The Nation reports that several carriers are launching new services from beyond the usual hubs of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, instead departing from secondary cities such as Nha Trang, Da Lat, Hai Phong, and Can Tho.

The number of flights between Thailand and Vietnam now stands at 301 a week, up from 288 last year. Thai cities being served include Phuket, Chiang Mai, and Bangkok, with Thai Vietjet expected to launch a daily service from Ho Chi Minh to Pattaya’s U-Tapao airport from December 23.

Vietnam Airlines, Thai Air Asia, and Bangkok Airways are also offering new routes, with TAT’s Ho Chi Minh director, Napasorn Kakai, saying this should see an increase in first-time visitors to Thailand from different regions in Vietnam.

“Vietnam has a population of 97 million people, there is still room for growth in first time tourists. According to the marketing base of Vietnamese tourists travelling abroad in 2018, 1.07 million people from almost 9 million chose Thailand as the first tourist destination for two consecutive years since 2017. We expected continuous growth of 2-3% a year in the number of Vietnamese tourists, while growth of the country’s tourism market is forecast to reach 8% next year.”

Meanwhile, two of the main South Korean carriers are also introducing new routes between Vietnam and South Korea, and increasing flights to over 403 a week. The number of Vietnamese tourists choosing South Korea rose to around 500,000 during the first ten months of 2019. The increase is seen partly as a result of successful marketing initiatives, promoting cultural trends such as K-Pop and South Korea’s advanced plastic surgery services.

But Napasorn isn’t too concerned about potential competition from South Korea, claiming Thailand can hold its own in the battle to lure Vietnamese tourists.

“Competition with other countries is not a major factor because the Vietnamese economy has been growing well. Besides South Korea, Japan and Indonesia are also strong competitors of Thailand in the Vietnamese market, but TAT is still confident of Thailand’s products and tourist attractions, especially the retail shops in Pratunam, Ratchaprasong and Ratchadaphisek areas.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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Politics

Future Forward prepare for probable disbandment by the Thai Constitutional Court

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Future Forward prepare for probable disbandment by the Thai Constitutional Court | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit speaking at the weekend - Facebook/Future Forward Party

The Future Forward Party is bracing itself for, what they expect, will end up in the disbandment of their political party when the Constitution Court meets tomorrow. Over the weekend the party’s secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul denied accusations that his party is trying to overthrow the Thai regime, an allegation made by Dr. Natthaporn Toprayoon, a former advisor to the chief ombudsman.

Speaking at a seminar at Thammasat University Rangsit Campus over the weekend, “Future is Now”, Piyabutr fired back claiming that the “ones who are trying to target them with these kinds of accusations were those who had violated the constitution.”

Both Thanathorn, the party leader and founder, and Piyabutr, confirmed that they would not give up if the party was dissolved. They have already requested their 60,000 members of Future Forward to register for the new party, assuming that the Court will disband Future Forward tomorrow.

The Constitutional Court will deliver its verdict tomorrow (January 21) at 2pm on what the media call the “Illuminati” case. The case seeks the dissolution of Future Forward Party. The bizarre claims allege that the ‘Illuminati’ is supposedly a secret anti-monarchy group and that Future Forward are somehow involved.

Speaking at the seminar, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, head of Future Forward, presented an economic model under civilian state policies to “fight injustice and the failure of the Thai nation to build a better society”.

During his speech to the seminar, Thanathorn said there was a dependence on foreign investment in the existing economic model in projects such as the Eastern Economic Corridor, high-speed trains and Thailand Riviera is likely to make Thailand grow without technology development.

“The power that comes from the authorities, not the voice of the people, will cause a gap in society. Whether it is an economic gap or a social gap, the development of manpower and technology will meet obstacles that are caused by the economic model.

“We cannot rely on foreign capital which regards Thailand only as a production base.”

“The government should not spend only on projects in Bangkok but also distribute to other provinces.”

SOURCE: The Nation

Future Forward prepare for probable disbandment by the Thai Constitutional Court | News by The ThaigerFuture Forward prepare for probable disbandment by the Thai Constitutional Court | News by The Thaiger

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Thailand

Dutchman jailed for 100 years in Thailand for money laundering is released

Greeley Pulitzer

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Dutchman jailed for 100 years in Thailand for money laundering is released | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Johan van Laarhoven walks free after serving six years of a 100 year sentence in Thai prison - The Chiang Rai Times

A Dutch citizen who was jailed for 100 years in Thailand, is now on his way home after years of campaigning for his release. His sentence was reduced to 75 years on appeal and later to 50 years by the Supreme court. Johan van Laarhoven, who ran several cannabis “coffee shops” in Holland, was jailed in Thailand for money laundering, along with his Thai wife, though the offences took place in The Netherlands.

Thai authorities began investigating Van Laarhoven in 2014 after a letter from a Dutch public prosecutor’s office, informing them that he had earned his money selling marijuana and requesting their help. Last year, MPs called on the government to to extradite Van Laarhoven and his wife back to Netherlands. The Dutch justice minister even met with PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and the Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin to discuss the case.

Even though cannabis is legal in the Netherlands, Dutch officials bungled a tax query to Thai authorities regarding the sale of the Dutchman’s cannabis cafe chain. This led to a criminal investigation and his televised arrest in Thailand.

Thai authorities seized the Dutchman’s assets and he was sentenced to 100 years in prison. His young Thai wife, Mingkwan, was jailed for 13 years as an accomplice. The Netherlands has an extradition treaty with Thailand, but it can only be implemented after a case has been ruled “definitive.” Van Laarhoven’s sentence was upheld late last year, clearing the way for a diplomatic solution. It’s unclear whether his wife will be allowed to join him in the Netherlands.

Once back, Van Laarhoven will spend two years in a Dutch jail to complete his sentence, and also face criminal investigation for money laundering. The investigation will focus on tax fraud, membership in a criminal organisation and laundering €20m (675 million baht) according to a Dutch public prosecutor.

SOURCE: The Chiang Rai Times | Dutchnews.nl

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Food Scene

Thailand is making you fat

Tim Newton

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Thailand is making you fat | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Big Mac or Pad Thai? Which has the most calories?

“…compare a Big Mac to an average Pad Thai and there’s at least double the kilojoules in the Thai noodle dish.”

I came to Thailand as a fit, healthy 70 kilogram Australian. After six years in Thailand I’m now a reasonably fit, healthy 76 kilogram Australian. Why? Well, Thai food, despite its healthy appearance and fresh origins is also full of fats, sugars and salt. For example, compare a Big Mac to an average Pad Thai and there’s at least double the kilojoules (or calories) in the Thai noodle dish. (There’s plenty of variation in Pad Thai servings but we took an average from three websites reporting on the nutritional value of Thai food). One website went as far as reporting that your average Pad Thai had FOUR times as many calories in it.

(A big Mac has 1075 kilojoules per 100 grams of weight and weighs approx. 200 grams)

Whilst Thai food is generally fresh, cooked quickly, full of nutrition (vegetables, carbohydrates and protein), it’s also full of calories. But the problem goes deeper than this. And it partly answers the question as to why Thais, as a population, are growing taller and fatter than in the past – they’re getting a lot more calories than in the past.

Head to your local convenience store and scan the shelves. Anything fresh is difficult to find. Many foods that would have traditionally come without sugar are now laced with additional sugar – yogurt, fruit juice, bread, and we’re hardly past the front counter yet.

Anecdotally, I would suggest that the ingredients for your average Thai meal have evolved over the past 100 years and now there is a lot more salts, sugars, MSG and saturated fats than a century ago (the MSG argument is something for another time). Of course, all these things make most foods taste better, I won’t deny it.

Thai food is still a great source of all the nutrients you need to get through the day but eating large Thai meals with lost of noodles and white rice is not going to help you return to your 20 year old surfer body. White rice has about as much nutrition as cardboard. Cook it in a sea of saturated fat (fried rice) and you’re on the way to a big calorie intake.

Nutritionists recommend avoiding six types of Thai foods including Pad Thai, yellow, green and red curries, Tom Kha soup (Tom Yum is ok), stir fries and Thai tea (the orange sweet milky concoction).

Well, that’s about every Thai meal I love 🙁

chefjohnhowie.com has a list of Thai food dos and don’ts.

Meanwhile Hayden Rhodes, Phuket nutritionist and well-being consultant, says there are three things to take into account when consuming our beloved Thai food.

1) Most food is fried, many times in cheap nasty rancid vegetable oils. Avoid fried Thai food.

2) Thai food over the years has followed the SAD… standard American & Australian Diet (very SAD) which means consuming more sugar per head per year. Sugar makes you fat. Period. Ask for no sugar to be added to Thai dishes (yes- it’s in everything!)

3) A lot of Thai food is full of chemicals ‘fresh from the farm’; detoxification processes will be hampered – body fat will be stored. Ask your fancy hotel or beach club where their food comes from and 99% will likely be ‘Macro’. Find out who uses organic ingredients and eat there. Yes – this will have a direct impact on your energy, mineral content in your body and your fat line… oops I meant waist line.”

Add to the high calorific content of all our favorite Thai foods is the relatively inexpensive and plentiful alcohol and street food stalls every 50 metres along any road and you’re heading for a fright when you step onto the scales. It’s also a lot easier to jump on the motorbike in Thailand to travel short distances we might have happily walked back in our home country.

So next time you see a friend heading into McDonalds for a Big Mac, rather than fat-shaming them, they might actually be trying to lose weight! (We certainly don’t recommend eating Bic Macs or ‘fast food’ too often though)

Health aficionados and doctors would always recommend a balanced food intake with fresh food at the top of the list along with regular exercise, at any age.

Good advice! So it’s back to the swimming pool and gym, and choosing Tom Yum over Pad Thai.

Thailand is making you fat | News by The Thaiger

(per 100 grams of weight)

 

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