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Embrace ‘slow travel’ this Vegetarian Festival

The Thaiger

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Embrace ‘slow travel’ this Vegetarian Festival | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Airbnb

Airbnb’s tips to travelling well, eating clean and supporting local farming communities…

Thailand’s Vegetarian Festival is one of the country’s largest and most colourful annual festivals attracting locals and international travellers each year. A festival about spirituality and food, at its core is the cleansing of mind and body – a common theme amongst travellers today.

Travellers now understand the power of going slow and using the down time to seek out experiences to find balance in their life. With the rise of such mindfulness, it’s reflected in their travels – instead of shuffling from place to place, they embrace the often-missed “in between” moments and truly want to connect.

In Thailand, the phenomenon of sustainable travel is catching on where travellers are conscious of making a minimal impact on the environment and local communities. Whether it’s a hike, or opting for a farm-to-table meal, they are socially conscious and strive to make a positive contribution to communities they engage with and places they travel to.

Believed to have been started in 1825 in Phuket, the Vegetarian Festival is the island’s largest festival, and has since spread to other destinations in the south – Phang Nga, Trang, Songkhla and Ranong – and even a cityscape such as Bangkok.

What was once seen as something only for a handful of devotees, the Vegetarian Festival is attracting more and more people today, visitors and residents alike, to take part in a 9-day cleanse, and while a challenge in itself, it can be even more challenging if you are travelling during the festival period.

Here are Airbnb’s travel tips during the Vegetarian Festival to help make it enjoyable and soul-cleansing at the same time!

1. Eco Homes A Stone’s Throw From The City

If you’re a city-lubber, you don’t have to travel far to be surrounded by clean air, greenery and flora. Enjoy a slower pace of life on the riverbank of Bang Krachao, Bangkok’s “Green Lung”, and gain some spiritual credit while enjoying a healthy stay. These three-storey private eco-homes offer something truly unique, and are an ideal base from which to explore the neighbourhood by foot or bicycle along the elevated paths. Choose from the firefly, ant, butterfly or bee rooms and cleanse your mind while following the Vegetarian Festival’s 10 precepts.

Embrace 'slow travel' this Vegetarian Festival | News by The Thaiger

2. Source Your Own Food

As more people make healthier diet choices, what better way is there to learn about what you put inside you than experiencing the newest tourism trend – agricultural tourism. Try an Airbnb farm stay and find out how to grow hydroponic lettuce and fruits such as strawberry. Take these tips home with you and live “farm to table” from your own urban farm.

Alternatively, go on an Airbnb Experience where you can visit a permaculture farm and learn more about farm practice and how to grow food healthily. This is also a social impact experience where 100% of what you pay for this experience goes to Permaculture Children’s House.

Embrace 'slow travel' this Vegetarian Festival | News by The Thaiger

3. Head To The Hills

The Northern capital of Chiang Mai is well equipped for festival devotees with vegetarian and vegan restaurants galore. Avoid any temptations and clear your mind with a stay at the unique Tamarind Cottage Treehouse or the Chiang Mai Lanna Sunrise Farmstay. Head to the hills and weave with Sai, a hill tribe villager, and learn about the Karen hill tribe and their local way of life.

Most recently, Airbnb has partnered with Thailand’s Department of Local Administration (DLA) recognising the power of communities to offer unique experiences for visitors, empowering local entrepreneurs and dispersing the economic benefits of tourism.

Embrace 'slow travel' this Vegetarian Festival | News by The Thaiger


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If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

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Thai Life

Alcohol sales banned October 24

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Alcohol sales banned October 24 | The Thaiger

Alcohol sales will be strictly prohibited tomorrow, Wednesday, October 24. The day marks the end of the Buddhist Lent.

Police say offenders will face a 10,000 baht fine and/or a six-month jail term.

“The ban on alcoholic sale applies to both shops and restaurants, retailing and wholesaling,” the Royal Thai Police deputy spokesman Pol Colonel Krissana Pattanacharoen said on Tuesday.

He said police would strictly enforce the ban, which is imposed in line with an announcement of the Office of the PM and the Alcohol Control Act. According to the announcement, no alcoholic sale shall be allowed on religious days.

Alcohol consumption is considered a sin in Buddhist belief.

Awk Phansa marks the end of the three-month Buddhist Lent period and the traditional end of the rainy season. The final day of the Buddhist Lent period falls on the full-moon day of the eleventh lunar moon and is known in most parts of Thailand as Awk Phansa. According to Buddhist belief, the day commemorates when Buddha descended back to earth after spending three months in heaven where he had visited his mother.

According to Krissana, police plan to check on restaurants, karaoke parlours, and convenience stores based at petrol stations to ensure compliance with the rules.

Krissana also asked for tip-offs from the public.

“If you find anyone or any place violating the ban, please alert police by calling 191 or 1559. Our hotlines operate round the clock,” he said.

STORY: The Nation

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Koh Samui

Ode to the Honda Click

The Thaiger

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Ode to the Honda Click | The Thaiger

No helmets, but a lot of effort, some cameos by local dogs and a drone, brings together a heart-felt ode to the ubiquitous Hand Click, the favourite scooter rental for Thai tourists for a decade. This unlikely, hastily organised boyband duo deserves 10 out of 10 for effort but a lower score for their singing and fashion sense. Filmed on Koh Phangan. Enjoy!

(The Thaiger reminds everyone riding motorbikes in Thailand to always wear a helmet – because it’s the law and it could save your life.)

Jimbotronic – Honda Click

Ich fühl mich so geil auf meiner Honda…

Posted by Jimbotronic on Sunday, October 14, 2018

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Bangkok

Soi Dog Foundation responds to rabies and dog registration stories

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Soi Dog Foundation responds to rabies and dog registration stories | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Bangkok Thailand Soi Dog

Phuket’s Soi Dog Foundation has sent The Thaiger a response to an article published on October 16. The story was sourced from our Bangkok partners ‘The Nation’ and, according to Soi Dog, contains some glaring inaccuracies. You can read the original article HERE.

We reprint the response from the Soi Dog Foundation below…

“The Department of Livestock Development (DLD) carries out a survey, twice a year, in an attempt to count the number of dogs and cats in the country, both owned and stray. In 2016, it counted 7.3 million dogs and 3 million cats in Thailand, excluding Bangkok. This year the number of dogs was recorded by the DLD as 7,770,969, excluding Bangkok.

We at the Soi Dog Foundation carried out a census of free roaming dogs in Greater Bangkok two years ago and came up with a figure of 640,000, so a realistic number for dogs nationwide is somewhere around 8.4 million, not – as your story states – 820,000.

Another figure given in your story is that 40 per cent of stray dogs in Thailand could carry the rabies virus. If this were true, there would be hundreds of human deaths a year, if not thousands, and the carcasses of dead dogs would be scattered all over the place.

A story published by The Nation on September 28 (“Expert says rabies still not under control and official statistics may be misleading”) gave a DLD figure of 15.3 per cent for the first nine months of this year.

But even that is highly suspect. It was based on a very small sample – just 8,472 dogs. And those were 8,472 dogs that had been caught by the DLD, and their brains examined post mortem for the virus because they were believed to be rabid.

Plainly, to base a percentage infection rate on a sample made up entirely of dogs that are already suspected to have rabies is utterly misleading. It would be like saying, “We checked a bunch of people thought to have diabetes and found that 15 per cent of them did indeed have diabetes.”

The real figure must be much lower. We believe it is between 1 and 4 per cent.

At the root of all the problems being discussed is, in fact, Thailand’s ineffective garbage disposal problem system, which allows a high number of dogs to survive and even get fat by scavenging from trash bins.

Trying to remove 8 million-plus dogs to “shelters” is futile, and carrying out culls (which would probably be illegal under the Cruelty Prevention and Welfare of Animals Act of 2014) would be equally ineffective. Here’s why:

  • The cost of building shelters to hold 8.4 million dogs would be astronomical and the annual budgets for running them would equally expensive. It would be a huge drain on the national treasury.

  • Dumping dogs in government pounds would probably lead to large scale suffering and death, as was seen earlier this year when, as a result of the rabies panic, 3,000 dogs were crammed into the government animal quarantine facility in Nakhon Phanom. In just weeks, around 2,300 died from disease, starvation and wounds from fighting.

  • Dogs that were not caught in this proposed nationwide roundup, or which avoided being killed in a nationwide cull, would swiftly move into the territories of the dogs that had been removed, breeding rapidly and replacing them.

  • A female dog can have up to three litters of pups a year, each litter averaging seven pups. This means that one female and her offspring – and their offspring and so on – can become 67,000 dogs in six years. This is why an extended campaign of “catch, neuter, vaccinate and release” is so effective.

  • Even if all the dogs could be removed, the garbage problem remains, Other species would take over, notably cats, who breed even more rapidly than dogs, and monkeys. If they, too, were impounded – and cats and monkeys are far harder to catch than dogs – then the country would see an explosion in rat and mice populations. Outbreaks of bubonic plague transmitted by rats and their fleas would be far more frightening than rabies.

As we have seen in Phuket, large scale sterilisation, coupled with vaccination, works, not only in reducing numbers but also in eliminating rabies. It does require large scale investment, though far less than sheltering would, and spread over several years.

As to the issue of compulsory licensing of pets, whether there is a fee or not, we believe this is not a viable solution. It has been tried by other countries and then abandoned because the majority of dog owners – numbering in millions – simply decided not to comply.

Does Thailand have the resources to find, arrest and bring to court millions of dog owners, in order to extract small fines from them, always assuming that the authorities can prove in the first place that the dogs actually have “owners”?

We doubt very much that the government will find this is an effective measure for controlling Thailand’s population of strays, reducing abandonments or reducing the spread of disease. Indeed, it is likely to have the opposite effect.

SDF Founder John Dalley, Soi Dog Foundation, Phuket

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