Chef Lijo George
Full Day Charters, Overnight Excursions and On-Board Staycations
137 Pillars Hotels & Resorts have added a luxurious new offering to their collection with the launch of 137 Pillars Spirit, their sleek Azimut 55 flybridge motor yacht, based out of Yacht Haven Marina, Phuket.
137 Pillars Spirit can accommodate up to 12 people for a chartered half or full day cruise with optional catering, or explore further afield on overnight excursions and onboard staycations.
The yacht can accommodate up to six people overnight with two double cabins and one twin. The master cabin has its own en-suite. Join Captain Boonchom and his experienced crew from Asia Marine for an enjoyable and memorable cruise.
While scheduled options include the following, personalized itineraries can be arranged in accordance with guests’ specific requirements. Catering showcases delicious Thai cuisine with a vegetarian menu option and a choice of beverage packages.
Phang Nga and Surrounding Islands
Some of the smaller islands off the coast of Phuket offer unique sights and are easily accessible by boat. The pristine waters are excellent for snorkelling and diving, with inviting sandy beaches perfect for swimming and relaxing. Sail through sparkling lagoons and see the majestic limestone cliffs and overhanging rock formations. Canoes can be rented from local suppliers to sail into interior lagoons to see spectacular tropical rainforest.
Chef’s short description
Chef Pakpilai Chainman, Head Chef at Sirimahannop
Chef Pakpilai Chainman is the highly skilled chef, funny, friendly and easy-going. Chef Som (as she is better known) demonstrates the authentic charm and elegance of Thai culture and cuisine. Chef Som started out as Commis at Thien Dong, the Vietnamese restaurant at Dusit Thani. She was then appointed by the popular Ku De Ta restaurant in Bangkok, where she created the menu of contemporary Asian cuisine. Having moved into the hotel dining sector, she worked at some of Thailand’s most impressive international properties, including The St. Regis Bangkok and, more recently, Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park. Now, still only 36, she brings her immense talent to Sirimahannop, which is docked on the banks on Bangkok’s “River of Kings”.
Khao Yai is the ideal getaway, not far from Bangkok
By Robin Westley Martin
People visit Thailand for any number of reasons; the great weather and beaches; the temples and culture; the nightlife; the fantastic food, and a myriad other attractions. This also applies to non-Thais who live here, but with travel options likely to remain limited for a while, visitors and locals who have been double-jabbed might be looking for other ways to spend their time rather than simply lazing on the beaches or taking in the temples.
We are now 20 years into our new millennium, and people the world over are more aware than ever of the need to preserve the flora and fauna of our planet, and to take care of the forests and jungles. We need to do this for our own enjoyment, and for that of our children, grandchildren, and the generations to come.
Residents and tourists cannot go wrong by getting back to nature in one of Thailand’s wonderful national parks. And the third largest of these parks, Khao Yai, is only a two-hour drive from the concrete spires and traffic jams of Bangkok. Thailand’s first commissioned park, it opened to the public in 1962, and remains the most popular with visitors.
Thailand now boasts 127 national parks, including marine retreats that are home to enigmatic whale sharks and multi-hued fish making their way through coral reefs, dense tracts of rainforest, humid jungles and mangrove forests, blossom-covered hills, mountains and valleys, winding cave systems, bird sanctuaries, and hundreds of waterfalls.
As Thailand slowly starts to welcome back visitors, they will be greeted by natural grandeur as well as amazing peace and quiet.
They will find themselves brushing through the lush, dew-dropped tropical vegetation in the mornings, enveloped by a miasma of never-smelt-before aromas, as well as living side-by-side with the varied local wildlife. And the chance to collect stunning photos to be shared on Instagram around the world.
What is the “Phuket Tourism Sandbox?”
Starting this month, Phuket is waiving quarantine requirements for foreign arrivals who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 under the new scheme, enabling returning Thai residents to be free to enjoy the island instead of spending 14 days in a locked hotel quarantine in Bangkok.
How will it work?
As far as I can see, everyone is still working out the finer details! Expect this to be an ever-developing story, as we know plans do change in Thailand.
Phuket Sandbox at a glance
• International arrivals must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a registered MoPH vaccine, or approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
• All arrivals are required to stay in certified accommodation registered with Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Plus certification.
• Travellers wishing to visit other Thai destinations must stay in Phuket for 14 nights before continuing their travel.
• The first seven-night reservation must be at one hotel, on day eight after a negative PCR test you can move to another hotel.
• All ‘SHA Plus’ hotel bookings must be fully prepaid for the first fourteen nights, unless you plan to stay in Phuket under fourteen nights.
• Travellers are allowed to engage in tourism activities but are advised to strictly follow the DMHTTA precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19: D – Distancing, M – Mask wearing, H – Hand-washing, T – Temperature check, T – Testing for COVID-19, and A – contact tracing application (Thai Chana and Mor Chana).
Former marketer for Wrangler, Levi's, Polo Jeans and Diesel, talks about his life as an independent consultant in Bangkok
Name Paul Poole.
Nickname PP (sometimes Boss).
Born Cornwall, UK.
Age : 51
Education I left school without waiting to see my exam results, but I recognise I am privileged to have worked alongside some of the most creative and positive influences. They educated me and enhanced my journey to become a successful business owner.
Where do you live? Bangkok’s historic old town quarter.
What is your profession? Marketer, business owner.
What is your present position? Founder, Managing Director and Chairman of the sponsorship consultancy that takes my name.
What does Paul Poole (South East Asia) Co., Ltd. do? We are an independent marketing consultancy specialising in commercial sponsorship and partnership marketing. We act as a catalyst by bringing rights holders and brands together to maximise the relationship.
Any other business interests? Once a year, we run training workshops to help rights holders and brands understand and practice all aspects of commercial sponsorship and partnership marketing. As a company, we also offer Marketplace, a platform for rights holders to promote their commercial sponsorship and partnership opportunities in a forum frequented by decision-makers and influencers in sponsorship.
Under the umbrella of The Sponsorship Experts, we also sell limited edition “SHOW ME THE MONEY!” tees, hoodies, caps, and coolers inspired by the cult classic Jerry Maguire (still one of my all-time favourites!). All proceeds from the sale of these are donated to non-profit organisations focusing on youth development in Thailand.
Southeast Asia’s greatest river has nourished the people of this region since their very beginnings, inspiring all kinds of ancient and present-day myths. Now, with so many dams holding back its natural flow, the river is under immense stress like never before.
Story and Photos by Geoff Morrison - www.siamscenes.net
It was incredibly dark and unusually misty when we arrived. At 5 a.m. we were perhaps the only humans in Pha Taem National Park in Ubon Ratchathani province. We could hardly see our feet and certainly didn’t comprehend the sprawling rock-scapes beneath us. We could have been on the dark side of the moon!
With i-phone torches we inch our way towards Cha Na Dai Cliff top. The horizon begins to glow, then glisten, then erupt with Thailand’s very first rays of sunlight striking its eastern most face. Higher the sun gravitates, warming the mist, washing the valley, touching our souls before illuminating the nation beyond. This mythical metamorphosis was our first experience of the great Mekong River basin, Mother Nature’s 4,350 km liquid lifeline nurturing much of Southeast Asia with its agriculture, food and water.
The Mekong is born of melting ice in the Himalayan Plateau, draining through the deep gorges of China, known as the upper basin, and then through the lower basin countries of Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, before emptying into the South China Sea. The physical origins of the river are fascinating - a serpentine tapestry of mountains, gorges, valleys and deltas manipulated over millions of years by the forces of plate tectonics, sea level fluctuations, ice age and water erosion.
Spiritually, the origins of the Mekong are intertwined with religious beliefs and mythology throughout the greater Asian region. In some Buddhist narratives, Lord Buddha uses a sword to slice the mountain and release the sacred waters that carved the Mekong we know today. Many believe the river was the place to which Lord Buddha journeyed to drink and bathe before reaching Nirvana.
Other myths describe two friendly but quarrelling Nagas commanded by “the Great Sky God” to dig a channel to the sea. A giant golden catfish would be gifted to the winner. Throughout these spiritual legends the origins, water, wildlife, places and objects of the Mekong are considered sacred.
Headed by Greg Lange and Friso Poldervaart, a team of volunteers have spent the past year helping the poorest of the poor in Bangkok to survive Covid-19.
By Robin Westley Martin
We go where it's needed, when it’s needed, on the ground, every single day
Wow! It’s a whole year already! … I had just received a Facebook notification reminder about a story I wrote in 2020. It has now been just over a year since the first lockdown in Thailand due to the Covid pandemic.
The article I had written was about a group of farang (foreign) business guys in Bangkok who were visiting impoverished parts of the city delivering hot meals, bags of rice, and household necessities to the poorest people in the city, who were struggling because of the lockdown, as well as other restrictions put in place.
The deliveries by this team and their other foreign and Thai volunteers had kept hundreds of families going, kept the wolf from the door while they were unable to make any money for themselves.
I got to know the team quite well last year, and had accompanied them on some of their visits to the slum districts to hand out meals and other living necessities. None of us imagined that we would be doing the same thing over twelve months down the road.
The team, ‘Dinner From the Sky,’ have set up a dedicated charity during the intervening year, ‘Bangkok Community Help’ which has just been granted foundation status, and which helps them to maximise any donations they receive.
The two people behind it are Greg Lange and Friso Poldervaart. Greg told me, “When the restrictions eased last summer we never stopped, because we knew that there are always going to be poor and underprivileged in Bangkok. We went out every Sunday, and delivered 500 hot meals, bags of rice, household goods, and clothes and children’s toys that had been donated. We never missed a week.”
At the end of April there was a huge surge. The situation on the ground rapidly deteriorated, and in no time they soon found themselves delivering 2,000 meals per day … every day … plus the rice and all the other items. Things were going from bad to worse every day, and it was all getting out of hand. The team, and the city, needed help.
The area of the city where the most help is needed is Klong Toey, with its large population of Bangkok’s poor, and this is where Friso, Greg and their team have been concentrating their efforts. They soon realised the severity of the third wave threatened to overwhelm them, and they were in desperate need of help. It came!
Meet the American-Thai husband and wife team whose passion for flying kites has brought immense prestige to Thailand from their non-stop participation in festival across the globe. In this uplifting story, Ron Spaulding tells how he and his wife Baew have weathered typhoons in Taiwan, freezing rain in Daishan, sand storms in Inner Mongolia, no wind in India, and all kinds of other challenges to share their dream with like-minded people of many nationalities.
After nearly 60 years of flying kites, and having done just about everything to do with kites, Ron Spaulding says: "I'm living the best life I could ever imagine... and there are still a lot of new kite adventures waiting for me around the corner."
American-born Ron, a resident of Thailand for more than 40 years, got his first introduction to creative kiting in the 70s. “I was working in Sweden and enjoying a 'creative life' as Art Director at one of Stockholm's most creative agencies. It was on a memorable weekend in Stockholm at the Gardet Kite Festival that I saw amazing kite creations made by the students of Konstfact, the Swedish University of Arts, Crafts and Design. The seed was planted, and I immediately made my first kite, a two-meter bird.
“In 1974 I accepted a dream offer in faraway Bangkok at the Couldry, Jones & Lindberg ad agency to work on the Thai International Airways account with Thai's marketing guru, Roy Howard.”
The Thai lady who took on warlords in Afghanistan and armed groups in Myanmar in her fight for people’s rights