Blog : CITY

Bangkok Then and Now

Bangkok Then and Now

As we welcome the start of a New Year with enthusiasm and renewed hope, it’s good to look back and see how far we have come.

// Thailand //

Story: Samutcha Viraporn / Photo: Rithirong Chanthongsuk, Samutcha Viraporn

A lot has changed since the time of Venice of the East, for which Bangkok was lovingly known. Along came the railway system that ushered in an era of mass travel, followed by the building of many transport routes. As people’s lifestyles changed, shopping malls were mushrooming everywhere, and mass transit light rail systems were introduced. Now it’s a city of skyscrapers. See what it’s like then and now.

Built in the reign of King Rama V, the Stupa of the Golden Mount dominates the skyline above the junction of two canals, Ong-ang and Mahanak, main routes for travel by water since the early days.


Bangkok Railway Station, also known as Hua Lamphong, then and now.


Completed in 1942, the Victory Monument serves as Kilometer Zero on major routes linking Bangkok with other parts of the country. It was designed by famous architect M.L. Poum Malakoul.


The historic Mahakan Fort overlooks Ratchadamnoen Avenue with the Stupa of the Golden Mount in the backdrop.


A bustling street market opposite the Temple of Dawn is home to river view hotels, among them Sala Rattanakosin and Sala Arun.


The Giant Swing bespeaks the influence of Brahmanism on Thai society in olden days.  The swing is gone now; only the red tower remains in front of Wat Suthat Thepwararam.


Above, Silom Road in its early days. Below, the vibrant central business district is served by passenger rail transport — the elevated BTS and underground MRT. The Siboonrueng Building, a familiar sight on Silom, is scheduled for a teardown to make room for a new project.


Siam Center, then and now. The busy intersection in Pathumwan District has become a passenger rail transport hub conveniently linked to business and shopping destinations via the Skywalk.


Ratchaprasong Intersection, then and now. The area is home to the Erawan Shrine, a widely revered Brahman shrine erected in 1956.


Views from the top of the Baiyoke 2, tallest building in Bangkok from 1997 to 2016.


Back in the day, the Post and Telegraph Department doubled as the Central Post Office in Bangrak District. There’s a river pier at the rear of the building that once upon a time was a British consulate. Nowadays, it’s home to the TCDC, Thailand Creative and Design Center.


 

 

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Pattani Naturally Charming Small Town

Pattani Naturally Charming Small Town

Many ask what is so fascinating about Pattani. We hear about negative events in the South of Thailand from time to time. But have you ever wondered what it’s really like to visit Pattani? Here’s an inside story.

///THAILAND///

Story: Samutcha Viraporn / Photo: Sitthisak Namkham, Samutcha Viraporn

Naturally charming, Pattani is a cosmopolitan area with many small town secrets waiting to be discovered. You will love southern hospitality, the friendly and generous reception that locals, for the most part Muslims and Thais of Chinese descent, give their visitors. For simplicity’s sake, let’s look at 5 good reasons why you should pay them a visit.

 

The mangrove forest is both a source of food for locals and a healthy coastlands ecology that protects the city from strong winds.

Adventure: Take the Tunnel of Bushes through a Mangrove Forest

If you travel the world in search of adventure, the sight of a centuries-old mangrove forest and a tunnel of bushes that runs through it will fill you with awe. It’s home to tropical trees and woody plants with countless prop roots that thrive to form dense thickets. The unspoiled forest covers the entire coastal swamp that’s flooded at high tide. Dubbed one of Thailand’s healthiest wetland ecologies, the Bang Poo Mangrove Forest in Yaring District lies along Pattani Bay and only 25 kilometers from the provincial seat.

A tunnel of bushes among tropical coastal swamps offers views of impressive natural scenery. It tells stories of an enormous richness of the mangrove forest.
Tourists learn how to collect sea mussels, a hands-on experience at the Bang Poo Mangrove Forest, Yaring District.

It’s quite an education to stop by the Yaring Mangrove Forest Study Center. Take a boat ride under forest canopies, then head out to sea and back. The service is offered by villagers. Learn how to collect sea mussels like locals do. On the way back, take a moment to observe sea birds on the bay and coastal wetlands, where sedges and other grass-like species thrive. They provide raw material for sedge basket weaving industries in the area. It could be your most exciting ride, and the view is fantastic.

The tidal mouth of the Pattani River that empties into the Gulf of Thailand.
Dense groups of sedge thrive inside the mangrove forest. The glass-like plants are used to make weaving crafts associated with the way of life in southern Thailand.

The mangrove forest was originally part of ancient coastlands that had grown to form an impenetrable mass around Pattani Bay. After a period of neglect, concerted efforts have been successful in restoring it to good health. Nowadays, tour activities vary from season to season, ranging from boat rides into the forest on nights aglow with fireflies, to stargazing night rides, to homestays at affordable prices.


 

The façade of the widely revered shrine of Lim Kor Niew.

Old World Charm, Chinatown, and Cool Café

Like other settlements in an earlier time, Pattani originally was a regional hub of commerce. The charming old town sits on the banks of the Pattani River that provides convenient access to the open sea and areas in the hinterland. This is evident in the way shop houses and people’s homes are located along river banks. You will like a quiet saunter on Pattani Pirom Road from Ruedee Intersection to Anohru Road.

The place of origin of an extended family in Pattani in bygone times.

Since ancient times, the little Chinatown at Anohru had been a region of diverse cultures, where Thais, Indians and Chinese met for the buying and selling of goods. It’s also home to the holy shrine of Lim Kor Niew, a goddess widely revered for her supernatural powers. Other main tourist attractions include relics of a bygone society, such as the ancestral home of the Kunanurak clan, and the residence of Khunpitakraya, son of Chinese monk Kunanurak who governed Pattani in the past.

Pattani Pirom Road, one of the city’s most popular thoroughfares.
The café named “All Good Coffee & Bakery” is right next to a famous Hainan chicken restaurant.
The interior of IN_T_AF Café and Gallery looks out over the Pattani River.
Part of an interior living space at the home of Khunpitakraya.

Anohru Road is famous for cozy Chinese style inns, charming wood homes, and Sino-Portuguese architecture. Coffee lovers shouldn’t miss the old town’s greatest hangouts – All Good Coffee & Bakery (which is right next to a famous Hainan chicken restaurant), and IN_T_AF Café & Gallery.

Civilization has diverse origins. Krue Se Mosque is a beautiful piece of architecture and pride of Pattani town. The holy shrine of Lim Kor Niew is a widely revered temple that’s the city’s heart and soul.

Looking for a holy place to pray to God? There are the famous Krue Se Mosque and the Central Mosque of Pattani. Dress properly if you intend to visit.


 

Don’t miss out on it! Wae Mah Roti is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Delicious Food, Good Tea, Great Roti, and all

Pattani food culture is interesting for it brings people together to enjoy good eating. There is happiness in their eyes as people meet and eat together in their favorite restaurants. If Roti, or Chapati, is your thing, you shouldn’t miss the Wae Mah Roti shop. It’s always full of people, but it’s worth a visit. There’s the slightly salty, crispy crunchy kind to suit every pleasure of taste. The best place no doubt, if you want to eat like locals do. And it’s inexpensive, too!

Wae Mah Roti shop is busy all day every day.
The frying pan that goes to work non-stop every day at Wae Mah Roti.

For a more modern atmosphere, there is Chaba Roti & Coffee located behind Mor Or (call sign of the Prince of Songkhla University at Pattani). It’s located on Samakkee Road Route B. Their famous tea recipes go together very well with Roti. A nice place to dine alfresco.
By the way, if strong tea is your thing, go to a small shop called Cha-Indo & Roti located on the same road. Right opposite from it stands Papa TaGu Restaurant that serves Khao Mok, the Thai Muslim version of Indian Biryahni. The fragrant yellow rice dish is served with chicken, fish, beef, or goat meat. All good. Take your pick. If you dine together as a group, it’s better to order trays of food and come away satisfied every time. You will love the Arab rice they use, which is perfectly fluffy and not sticky.

Chaba Roti & Coffee presents charcoaled Roti and Roti with curry, a Pakistan style recipe served with sunny-side up eggs.
Mouth-watering Khao Mok recipe at Papa TuGu. Order trays of food if you come as a group. It’s deeply satisfying.
The sign in front of Papa TuGu that has appeared in print media.

If the ambience of a restaurant is important in entertaining guests, we recommend Baan De Nara. Try out their signature yellow curry with mackerel and coconut milk. You may also like Solok, a traditional southern dish made of bell peppers stuffed with fish, shrimp, and a healthy dose of curry, a lesser-known recipe but delicious nonetheless.

The most delicious meals at Baan De Nara: Yellow curry with mackerel and coconut milk, Solok (traditional southern dish made of bell peppers stuffed with fish and a healthy dose of curry), Boodoo, and fired shrimp with lemongrass. All good.

Chinese food is meant to be savored and enjoyed. For that, we recommend London, an old restaurant widely admired for enchanting Chinese cuisine. Their highly pleasing recipes are on par with those that you get in Bangkok no doubt. But for a mouth-watering Rad-Na meal (stir-fried noodle with pork and kale soaked in gravy), go to Num Ros Restaurant, and you won’t be disappointed.


 

An event that’s part of the Pattani Decoded design exhibition.

A Vibrant and Growing Scene of Art and Design

You may have heard of the Koleh boat that over time has come to symbolize culture and the way of life on the Malay Penninsula. But there is more to Pattani than just the Koleh boat.
Nowadays, at a continually increasing rate the young generation of Pattani has taken a keen interest in art and design. As a result, an art gallery called “Patani Art Space” was born. It has achieved its objective in promoting the works and ideas of up-and-coming young artists in the three southernmost provinces.

Asst. Prof. Jehabdulloh Jehsorhoh, founder of Patani Art Space

Over the past several years, their designs have received proper recognition. Take for example the Benjametha brand of ceramics, which earned a few DEmark design awards; the Batik of Baan De Nara, which some Japan buyers bought for Kimono making; and the Tlejourn brand of footwear that turned recycled ocean waste into products of quality and value.

An outdoor market selling secondhand goods and vintages that’s part of the Pattani Decoded design week.
Patterns characteristic of Malay design by local artists on show during the Pattani Decoded design week.
Ocean debris transforms into raw material for the Tlejourn shoemaking industry.
Ceramic article by Emsophian from the brand Benjametha.

The force behind this success was Rachit Radenahmad. He teamed up with Melayu Living, a local creative group. Together they succeeded in staging “Pattani Decoded”, the province’s first Design Week showcasing works by local artists, designers and community members in August 2019.


 

Roti Achiva, a crisped-to-perfection Roti meal by members of the Vocational College of Pattani. A delicious memento to take home!

OTOP as Memento of Your Visit

Your adventures in Pattani are not complete without something to take home or a souvenir to remind you of your visit. For that, we recommend Roti Achiva, a local brand of crisped-to-perfection meals made by members of the Vocational College of Pattani. It’ so delicious it’s hard to stop eating. By the way, there’s another Roti brand called Miss Millah, which is also very good. It’s part of OTOP, an acronym for the “One Tambon, One Product” project. Take your pick. Or go for dried banana strips and fish flavored rice chips that are equally popular.

 

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Thailand Has Widest Income Inequality in the ASEAN

Thailand Has Widest Income Inequality in the ASEAN

It’s an inconvenient truth that doesn’t bode well for the future. But let’s face reality in an honest way. The Global Wealth Report 2018 published by the Credit Suisse Research Institute showed Thailand scoring 90.2 on the Gini coefficient (also the Gini index), making it a country with the widest income inequality in the ASEAN, and one of four worst performers on the world chart, which include Ukraine (95.5), Kazakhstan (95.2), and Egypt (90.9).

/// ASEAN ///

The Gini coefficient, named after Italian demographer Corrado Gini, is a statistic measure of the degree of inequality represented by a set of values from zero to 1, or 100 depending, zero being perfect equality in either income or wealth. Hence, the higher the values, the greater the wealth is being more unevenly distributed.

The Credit Suisse report visualizes the global wealth distribution in the form of a wealth pyramid, which places adults in one of four wealth bands: under-10,000 USD, between 10,000 and 100,000 USD, between 100,000 and 1 million USD, and over-1 million USD.

In Thailand, the distribution of adults by wealth range is heavily concentrated at the bottom end of the wealth spectrum. Precisely, 91.7% of adults belong in the under-10,000 USD wealth band, 7.5% in the between 10,000 and 100,000 USD band, and 0.7% in the between 100,000 and 1 million USD band. Only 0.1% are members of the over-1 million USD wealth range. This translates into a high income inequality value of 90.2 on the Gini coefficient.

As for Asia, there is a substantial degree of polarization between high-income countries (Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore) and the low-income countries (including Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Vietnam). On average the Asia-Pacific region (excluding India and China) has a high income inequality value of 90.1 on the Gini index.

North Jakarta, Indonesia / Photo: Chris Bentley

Across the ASEAN membership, Indonesia comes in second at 84.0, followed by the Philippines at 82.6 on the Gini index. Like in Thailand, only 0.1% of Indonesian and Philippine adult populations are members of the over-1 million USD wealth range.

Myanmar has a Gini index value of 58.2, making it a country with the narrowest income gap in the ASEAN. Interestingly, 98.9% of its adult population belongs in the low-income wealth band with 0% in the 100,000 USD range and beyond.

In Singapore, only 13.8% of its adult population are members of the under-10,000 USD wealth range, while 38.2% belong in the between 10,000 and 100,000 USD range, and the majority 44% in the between 100,000 and 1 million USD wealth band. Its income inequality value on the Gini index is 75.8.

The Gini coefficient shows the statistical dispersion of income or wealth among the citizens of a country. It’s the most common method of measuring inequality. The scale ranges from zero to 1, or 100 depending. A Gini coefficient of zero refers to perfect equality in the data being analyzed, while 1 (or 100) means there’s a maximum inequality. Gini values are key to understanding a wealth pattern that gives us an idea where to start to tackle the problem.

 

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3 Apps to Check Air Pollution Levels

3 Apps to Check Air Pollution Levels

Despite the omnipresence of the Internet in society today, there seems to be a disconnect between the impact of pollution and access to the information needed to protect public health. Strange as it may sound. According to a 2017 estimate by the environmental tech company Plume Labs, only 0.246% of the earth has access to that vital information.

/// ASEAN ///

 

 As air pollution levels rise from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok to Yangon, and Phnom Penh to Jakarta, it’s wise to stay abreast of the latest developments. There are many websites and apps that measure the concentrations of both PM2.5 and PM10 and other pollutants. Here are three useful apps to check air quality wherever you are.

An example page of the Real-time AQI app.
An example of Real-time AQI’s advisory page showing air pollution values, concentrations of airborne particulates, and protective mask recommendations by Greenpeace.

– Air Quality: Real-time AQI App –

The Real-time AQI app for Android and iOS shows air quality information from more than 10,000 monitoring stations in over 60 countries, including mainland China, Korea, Japan and countries across Southeast Asia. It provides, among other things, data about the concentrations of smaller airborne pollutants (PM2.5) and larger particulates (PM10). The former refers to extremely small particulate matter 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter or about 3% the diameter of human hair.

Updated hourly, the same information is linked to the developer website http://aqicn.org along with data on harmful gases and other readings such as temperatures, pressures, and humidity. The site also publishes visualized maps and protective mask recommendations from the global independent campaign organization Greenpeace. Get to know three types of masks to protect you from PM2.5 that ordinary surgical masks cannot. Whether it’s on the mobile app or the website, good infographics are worth a thousand words and a good place to start researching.


 

Plume Air Report provides air pollution levels in Yangon and Phnom Penh, which are not listed in the AQI app.
Flow, a portable instrument for checking air quality values and weather maps by Plume Air Report.

– Plume Air Report App –

Plume Air Report on the iPhone is a reporting and forecasting app that tracks real-time air pollution levels for every city in the world. The environmental tech company (website https://plumelabs.com) is the maker of “Flow,” a mobile personal air tracker that measures harmful pollutants indoors and outdoors. Real-time data including air quality indices, temperatures, UV levels, winds, and humidity are updated hourly along with pollution forecasts for the next 24 hours and statistics for the past 7 days. Flow makes it possible to track harmful air pollutants even in cities without AQI monitoring stations. The device is open for pre-order. Check the website for availability.


 

An example page of the AirVisual app showing unhealthy air pollution levels in cities across the globe. The information is updated hourly.

– Air Quality: AirVisual App –

AirVisual is a real-time and forecast air quality app that provides AQI indices for over 70 countries worldwide. Available on both Android and iOS, the free app gathers information from more than 9,000 locations via global networks of government monitoring stations and AirVisual’s own sensors. By giving historical, real-time, and forecast air pollution data, AirVisual is a pocket guide to avoiding harmful airborne particles. The AirVisual Earth Map is a good place to start tracking pollution levels and weather conditions with hourly updates.

In Southeast Asia, notably Bangkok, Chiangmai, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Jakarta, thick haze of air pollution isn’t going away any time soon. As the fight for clean air continues, it pays to be in the know and avoid places with high concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10. The mobile apps mentioned above are three of many technologies designed to get the message across in the interest of public health and safety.

 

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Air Quality around the ASEAN

Air Quality around the ASEAN

Air pollution is just one aspect of the wider environmental and health problems in major cities around the ASEAN. It’s a wake-up call among city dwellers from Bangkok to Jakarta to Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.

 

Traffic jam in Bangkok, Thailand
PM2.5 Level, Hanoi and Jakarta, 14 February

The crux of the matter is the high concentrations of small airborne particles (known as PM2.5) that enter the body through the nose and mouth. They pose greater health risks than larger particles (known as PM10), which the body is capable of eliminating through coughing, sneezing, and swallowing.

Technically speaking, PM2.5 refers to particulate matters with a mass aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 micrometers. They are capable of traveling deep into the body causing anything from mild symptoms such as nose and throat irritation to more serious conditions like lung and heart problems, even lung cancer.

To get the information across to the public, a monitoring system was devised. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a number used to communicate how polluted the air is in real time, and how bad it is forecast to become. AQI readings above 150 are considered to have direct impacts on the health conditions of sensitive groups of people.

While industrial pollution left cities across China and India in the smog, countries in Southeast Asia have become alert to the man-made problem and begun taking action to reduce PM2.5 levels.  Let’s hope that it’s not too late.

PM2.5 Level, Bangkok and Chiang Mai, 14 February
Highest PM10 Level, Saraburi in Thailand, 14 February

A few weeks into the new year 2018, it was a terrible shock to find thick haze of air pollution blanketing the entire landscape of Bangkok Metropolis. The spike in PM2.5 concentrations that cut down visibility and posed a threat to public health was blamed on a mix of humidity and seasonal inactivity in the air flow.

The same also happened to Chiangmai in the northern part of the country, and the haze hasn’t fully lifted. While local governments called on farmers not to burn their fields in preparation for the new planting season in Chiangmai, Bangkok authorities were looking for ways to free up traffic snarls and reduce air pollutants from industrial plants.

In Jakarta, where traffic jams were just as bad, the need to reduce air pollution has been a hot topic for quite some time. Jakarta’s problems stemmed from rapid increases in vehicular emissions in the city and industrial pollution in the northern part of the city. A recent study showed that over 60% of the population of the Indonesian capital were facing increased risks in respiratory and pulmonary disease.

Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City were no exception when it came to air pollution from vehicular emissions. Motorbikes remained the most popular means of transportation nationwide. The country with a population of 92 million had over 45 million registered motorcycles. A 2013 study showed that high PM2.5 levels were linked to about 40,000 deaths, equivalent in seriousness to a 5% economic loss.

Sources:

http://aqicn.org

http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/environment/176546/how-serious-is-air-pollution-in-vietnam-.html

 

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Southeast Asia’s Car Market Updates

Southeast Asia’s Car Market Updates

Here’s an update on Southeast Asia’s automotive markets at the close of 2017. Used cars made up the largest sector in the car markets of Myanmar, and Cambodia. Thailand ranked number 12 among the world’s top motor vehicle producers. Indonesia was the largest car market in Southeast Asia. Region-wide, Toyota reigned supreme as the bestseller except in Malaysia, which was happy to stick with homegrown brands.

The ASEAN car market represents a diverse assortment of brands and a great deal of variety in the way member countries respond to their specific needs. The mix includes thriving homegrown brands, world-class motor vehicle producers, as well as heavens for new and pre-owned cars and trucks.

 

Toyota Avanza is Indonesia’s bestseller among SUV’s and APV’s.

– Thailand and Indonesia –

Thailand and Indonesia are major regional economic players. Indonesia boasted the largest automotive market, while Thailand ranked number 12 among the world’s leading motor vehicle producers. In 2017, its total production was expected to top two million units, of which more than half were exported. A slight decrease in 2017 export volumes was more than offset by a 12-percent increase in the internal car market.

The Toyota Hilux pick-up truck reigns supreme in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.

The Thai automotive industry has been a success story since 2000. The country produced a little over 400,000 motor vehicles in that year. Toyota Hilux has long been the bestselling model especially in the provinces throughout Thailand. Apart from carrying goods and agricultural products, the truck was used in various forms of human transportation. But for people living in or near the city, Toyota and Honda cars were the preferred choices.

Indonesia, the ASEAN’s largest automotive market, ranked number 17 among the world’s top motor vehicle producers. Its 2017 production was expected to far exceed 1.2 million units, up from 1,177,389 in 2016, during which 1,048,134 new units were sold on the domestic market. Sport utility vehicles (SUV), all purpose vehicles (APV), and larger trucks were the favorites, considering Indonesia had the largest population in the ASEAN.

Bangkok ranks number 2 among the world’s cities with bad traffic jams. At the same time, Thailand is an automobile manufacturing hub in the ASEAN. / Photo: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com

The two countries are grappling with the same problem – traffic congestions.  A TomTom traffic index ranked Bangkok, and Jakarta number 2, and 3, respectively, among the cities with the worst midtown traffic snarl-ups. It was a high price to pay since it was the automotive industry that generated incomes from exports, employment, and tax revenues. As technology advanced, both countries were hoping to count on electric cars and new urban public transport to improve traffic flow.


 

Motor vehicles designed for left-hand-side driving cause much difficulty in Myanmar, which had adopted right-hand-side driving since independence. / Photo: Samutcha Viraporn

– Myanmar and Cambodia –

It was a different situation in Myanmar and Cambodia. Strong economic growth in recent years has seen sharp increases in demands for pre-owned motor vehicles. In both countries, new cars accounted for less than 10 percent of total sales in 2016, during which Myanmar imported as many as 120,000 secondhand vehicles from Japan. Here Toyota Probox was the favorite. Trouble was the all-purpose vehicle from Japan was designed for driving on the left side of the road (the steering wheel being on the right-hand side).  After independence, Myanmar had changed to move traffic in the right side of the path. If you are front seat passengers, watch out for passing and oncoming vehicles when you get out of the car in Myanmar. Judge the space available when getting off the bus, because you could find yourself in the middle of the road.

Suzuki Carry truck

To solve the problem, the Myanmar Government has enacted a law banning the importation of secondhand automobiles designed for driving on the left side of the road. But it would take a long time to see any results. To meet an increasing demand for new automobiles, Suzuki has recently opened a factory in Myanmar. In 2017, it produced 2,700 Suzuki Carry trucks, of which about 1,000 units were sold in the domestic market. In big cities like Yangon and Mandalay, more new cars from Europe and Japan continued to make their presence felt, albeit very slowly.  

Secondhand cars are everywhere in Phnom Penh. / Photo: Samutcha Viraporn

Meanwhile in Cambodia, secondhand Toyota Camry and Lexus SUV’s were the favorites among people in urban areas. The country imported pre-owned automobiles mostly from the United States, Japan, and the Middle East. In the small new-car market, the Cambodians generally preferred the Toyota brand with pick-up trucks being the all-time bestsellers. The same was true in nearby Thailand and Laos, where the light-duty trucks were used to carry both farm products and human passengers.


 

The homegrown brand Perodua Axia is Malaysia’s bestseller.

– Malaysia –

The only ASEAN country with successful homegrown brands, Malaysia boasted the third largest automobile market in the Region. Here, new car sales exceeded 580,000 units per year with the Perodua taking the largest portion of the market. (UMW Corporation held 38 percent of shares in the Malaysian car manufacturer.) Perodua sold about 200,000 cars per year, far outranking Honda which sold a little over half that number. Proton, another homegrown Malaysian brand, came in third place, while Toyota in fourth.  


 

Singapore halts car population growth and concentrates on developing urban public transport. / Photo: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com

– Other ASEAN Member Countries –

Keep an eye on the Philippines, whose automobile market grew by a whopping 20 percent in 2016. The same was expected in 2017, during which new car sales were expected to be about 450,000 units. Singapore was an entirely different story. It was government policy to keep new car sales growth below 0.25 percent. Meantime, it was focusing on proper maintenance of existing automobiles and developing urban public transit, for which Singapore has already invested US$22.9 billion.

 

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Bangkok Is Top Global Destination City, Continued Growth Forecast for 2017

Bangkok Is Top Global Destination City, Continued Growth Forecast for 2017

Bangkok was at the highest place on the chart of Top Ten Global Destination Cities attracting 19.41 million visitors in 2016, outranking London, Paris, Dubai, and Singapore. A Mastercard index released recently showed the Thai capital benefited the most from international travel, while further growth in visitor arrivals were in the forecast for 2017.

/// ASEAN ///

 

Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Bangkok / Photo: Tanakitt Khum-on

 

Visitor Volume

The Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index predicted that Bangkok’s visitor arrivals would increase by 4.0 percent in the 2017 calendar year, while Singapore was forecast to move up one notch growing by 2.6 percent and outranking New York (at minus 2.4 percent). Meantime, Kuala Lumpur was likely to post a strong 7.2 percent gain in visitor arrivals for 2017, enabling it to keep its eighth place on the chart.

Kuala Lumpur / Photo: Sitthisak Namkham

From 2009 to 2016, two ASEAN cities also saw strong growth in visitor arrivals, namely: Jakarta up 18.2 percent, and Hanoi up 16.4 percent. Of all 132 destinations across the globe, Osaka was at the top with a whopping 24.0 percent growth in overnight visitor arrivals during the 8-year period.

Overall, international visitors to leading global destination cities increased in the 2016 calendar year. As for 2017, Tokyo’s visitor numbers were forecast to increase by as much as 12.2 percent, making it the strongest growth in visitors among the top ten.

 

National Gallery Singapore / Photo: Sitthisak Namkham

 

Cross-border Spending

The Mastercard index was more than just a ranking of top destination cities across the globe. Apart from international visitor volume, it also looked into tourist spending that contributed to furthering economic growth of countries. For the 2016 calendar year, Dubai was at the top with overnight visitors spending $28.50 billion, followed by New York ($17.02 billion), London ($16.09 billion), Singapore ($15.69 billion), and Bangkok ($14.08 billion), all in USD. Destination cities benefited greatly from tourism. Shopping accounted for 22.9 percent of tourist spending, local service 21.5 percent, and food and beverages 20.6 percent).

Royal Palace, Bangkok / Photo: Aphirux Suksa

Reference:

https://newsroom.mastercard.com/digital-press-kits/mastercard-global-destination-cities-index-2017/

https://newsroom.mastercard.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Mastercard-Destination-Cities-Index-Report.pdf

 

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/// Thailand ///
Story: Samutcha Viraporn /// Photography: Soopakorn Srisakul 

Make Mistake
Koch
Brezza Dee

Situated near the MRT Kampaengpet Station, Jatujak Plaza is open on weekdays, too, except either Monday or Tuesday depending. It’s a popular marketplace for not only furniture, home furnishings and decorating items, and souvenirs, but also plenty of pet animals from dogs to cats to fishes. And the list goes on.

Hat Up

The Plaza at Jatujak Park sits right next to a vast built-up area set aside for the weekend market. Furniture, home décor items, and a plethora of lifestyle goods combine to give the Plaza its distinctive character. The marketplace had been the hub of pet lovers before it was transformed into rental spaces for businesses, notably art and craft retailers.

Philos
Philos
MS Natural Design

As time went by, Jatujak Plaza continued to attract more and more business people from makers of furniture and home décor items to architects, interior designers, and fashion stylists. Over the years it has become a popular rendezvous for homeowners as well as hotel and hospitality business entrepreneurs who are in the market for cool furniture and décor supplies. Some furniture makers have retail businesses here, while others import decorating goods from regional sources, notably Indonesia and the Philippines.      

Mango
Leather O
Tin Home Toy
ML Living

The plaza’s advantage lies in its proximity to an MRT station and business hours on weekdays. The marketplace is open from 10 AM to 6 PM daily, but you have to pick the right day to shop. Most retail businesses here are closed on Monday, while others choose to stay closed on Tuesday, too. Some shops don’t open exactly on the hour. For your convenience, it is recommended that you be there around 11 AM. There is a pet zone located at the further end.

10 Countries Experiencing the Harshest Effects of World Climate Change

10 Countries Experiencing the Harshest Effects of World Climate Change

 

Four ASEAN countries are listed in the 2017 Global Climate Risk Index Report as among the 10 countries most strongly affected by world climate change between 1996 and 2015.

// ASEAN //

Who Suffers Most From Extreme Weather Events? Weather-Related Loss Events in 2015 and 1996 to 2015 In Order To Report Effects of Climate Change in Various Countries Around The World,” a 2017 Global Climate Risk Index report released by Germanwatch, shows that climate change caused more than 528,000 people to lose their lives between 1996 and 2015, with financial losses amounting to  US$3.08 trillion. UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) estimates suggest that by 2030, total losses will be two to three times greater, and by 2050, four to five times these amounts.

Loss of life, economic loss, and number of catastrophic events summarized in this data table show that the harshest effects have fallen on “developing countries” not rich in resources. In the the top ten are four ASEAN nations. Myanmar is in second place on the worldwide list; most of us probably remember the beating it took from Cyclone Nargis in 2008. An island nation, fifth-place Philippines is listed with the highest number of natural disasters. Vietnam takes the number 8 spot, with number 10 Thailand right behind, its economic losses – $7,574,620,000 US – greater than any of the others. 13th place Cambodia nearly makes the cut to join its ASEAN friends.

Table courtesy of Global Climate Risk Index 2017 by Germanwatch

The Climate Risk Index gives clear indications of the huge effects climate change will have on development, as well as on personal property, quality of life, and national GDP in these countries. A secure future depends on each country having a solid plan for cooperating with nature and with each other. Sitting back and doing nothing as before isn’t an option.

 

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5 Must-Visit Galleries in the ASEAN

5 Must-Visit Galleries in the ASEAN

It’s fun going on the hunt for art galleries featuring works that will excite the imagination. They can be anything from small art scenes to full-sized museums of fine arts, classics, and the avant-garde that goes above and beyond what is expected. Here are five galleries in the ASEAN that you should visit at least once.

/// ASEAN ///

Photo : National Gallery Singapore
Photo : Sitthisak Namkham
Photo : Sitthisak Namkham
Photo : National Gallery Singapore
Photo : National Gallery Singapore
Photo : National Gallery Singapore
Photo : National Gallery Singapore

– National Gallery Singapore –

The National Gallery Singapore is a new visual arts institute. It oversees the world’s largest public collection of Singapore and Southeast Asia art. In 2016, it won several prestigious awards for its roles in enhancing the vibrancy of Singapore’s tourism landscape, including “Best Attraction Experience,” “Breakthrough Contribution to Tourism,” and “Best Customer Service (Attractions).” Featuring the island country’s unique heritage and geographical location, the National Gallery collaborates with leading museums worldwide to present Southeast Asian art in a wider context, thereby positioning Singapore as regional and international hub for the visual arts.

Link : https://www.nationalgallery.sg/


 

Photo : MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum
Photo : MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum
Photo : MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum
Photo : MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum
Photo : MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum

– MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, Chiang Mai –

Officially opened in July 2016, the MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum has four exhibition halls, a screening room and indoor/outdoor spaces for show openings and live performances. It was founded by Jean Michel Beurdeley, his late wife Patsri Bunnag and his son Eric Bunnag Booth. MAIIAM sits in a 3,000-square-meter converted warehouse in Chiang Mai’s historic crafts district of Sankampang. It was designed by “allzone,” an architectural firm known for the contextual approach. The museum has the Bunnag-Beurdeley family’s collections on permanent display, which includes seminal works by the masters of Thai contemporary art.

Link : http://www.maiiam.com/


 

Photo : ILHAM Gallery

Photo : ILHAM Gallery
Photo : ILHAM Gallery
Photo : ILHAM Gallery

– ILHAM Gallery, Kuala Lumpur –

A public art gallery, ILHAM is committed to supporting the development and understanding of, as well as pleasure in Malaysian modern and contemporary art in both regional and international contexts. The gallery engages a diverse range of audiences through exhibitions and education as well as public programs that seek to bring society closer to the art and the artists behind them.

Link : http://www.ilhamgallery.com/


 

Photo : www.mondecor.com/
Photo : www.mondecor.com/

– ART:1, Jakarta – 

Formerly known as Mon Decor Gallery, ART:1 was founded in 1983 and later grew to become a pioneer in the art gallery business in Jakarta. It won the Favorite Art Gallery of the Year Award in 2010. Over the years, the then Mon Décor Gallery has earned numerous recognitions, including the Favorite Art Gallery in Indonesia Award, and the Purwakalaghra Museum Award for Best Facility. In 2011 Mon Décor reinvented its initial fine art gallery concept and expanded into a private museum, art spaces, and an art institute supporting the art infrastructure of Indonesia. This shift in concept resulted in its moving into a bigger exhibition space in Kemayoran, a sub-district of central Jakarta. Art:1 now has 4,000 square meters featuring original works of art by old and modern masters, as well as contemporary artists, curated over the past 30 years.

Link : http://www.mondecor.com/


 

Photo : https://www.kult.online/kult-gallery/
Photo : https://www.kult.online/kult-gallery/
Photo : https://www.kult.online/kult-gallery/

– Kult Gallery, Singapore –

Albeit rather small, the Kult Gallery features a bewildering array of works of art that will arouse your curiosity and interest. Founded in 2009, Kult is Singapore’s first street art gallery in a lowbrow urban style located at Emily Hill. It showcases interesting works by both local and international artists. Kult aims to promote young street artists and illustrators, shining a spotlight on future talents. It features autographed editions, original works, and other obscure pieces which defy the conventional and challenge the norm.

Link : https://www.kult.online/kult-gallery/


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