Thailand welcomes Middle East visitors for Ramadan

Dubai Chronicle

Special Packages, Activities and Unique Attractions in Thailand during the Holy Month

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), in collaboration with Thai hotels and travel industry partners, is set to entice Middle Eastern travellers to Thailand with a ‘home away from home’ experience this summer by way of special “Ramadan Packages” and related activities during the Holy Month.

The packages, specifically designed with the Middle Eastern and Muslim traveler in mind, are being promoted among Middle Eastern travel agents and consumers in a bid to increase the number of visitors to the destination from the Middle East during the special period.

Core to many of the “Ramadan Packages” on offer are the various services, activities and special arrangements being coordinated by Thailand’s leading hotels, with many offering specially prepared Iftar and Suhour services as well as regular Halal menus. Additionally, as an added service many hotels are offering Muslim guests fresh fruit platters at appropriate times following the arrival of their guests.

Centara Hotels and Resorts have exclusive benefits for Arabic travellers to Thailand to ensure their summer break is combined with the comforts of home. Arabic speaking guest relations staff on the front desk will be ready to welcome guests at their various properties, and rooms will be equipped with prayer mats and pointers to the Qibla. Arabic newspapers, television channels, halal food options, which can be ordered through room service menu, and an exclusive ladies and children lounge area and spa facilities are also an added service. Special provisions for Ramadan, such as Iftar and Sohour, exclusive evening oriental shopping and extended spa opening hours are being promoted at most Centara, Lebua and Trisara properties.

Additionally, the Dusit Thani, Bangkok’s “Marhaba” package for Ramadan is aimed at helping visitors from the Middle East enjoy a relaxing holiday by escaping the Middle East summer to the green tropics of Thailand, with shopping and sightseeing adding to the experience. Especially catering to its Muslim guests, special Halal cuisine options, an Arabic channel, prayer time information and prayer mats are provided within the guest room of the hotel.

The Onyx Hospitality Group’s Amari Boulevard Bangkok will also be planning special iftar and sohour meals and information regarding nearby mosque locations and prayer times will be readily available at the concierge desk of the hotel.

Mr. Pramoth Supyen, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Dubai and Middle East Office says: “Visitors from the Middle East are continuing to increase year on year and it’s encouraging to see many Thai hotels and the tourism industry in general make special arrangements to ensure that visitors from this region are well taken care of. With our welcoming signature hospitality known as “Thainess”, all Thais look forward to welcoming visitors from the Middle East to enjoy a memorable and meaningful Ramadan in Thailand, with a feeling of ‘home away from home’. It’s a great time and opportunity for Muslim travellers to visit some of our beautifully designed mosques, enjoy our delectable Halal cuisine, and to enjoy the evenings with family shopping for bargains as the ‘Amazing Thailand Grand Sale’ will also be in full swing.”

Thailand boasts exquisite and intricately designed mosques of historic importance as 5% of its population is Muslim. Located on Yarang Road in Pattani, the Pattani Central Mosque is the largest and most stunning mosque in Thailand. Built in 1954, the construction of this mosque took almost nine years. It is the centre for religious ceremonies to be performed by the Muslims in Thailand’s South. The architecture is western, with some similarity to the Taj Mahal of India. A focus of the design is the large dome in the centre, which is surrounded by four smaller ones.

In contrast, the Taloh-manoh Mosque (Wadil-husen Mosque – or ’300-year Mosque’ as dubbed by the locals) was built in 1769 and is situated in Bangkok’s Bacho District. Made of old building materials such as Malarbar ironwood (a local timber known as Mai Takien) and wooden bolts and pins, the most prominent feature is the building’s three-tiered roof where the Imam prays. The top tier features a dome constructed in the Chinese pavilion style. Visitors can see the building from the surrounding area, however, those wishing to see the interior are required to receive permission from the village Imam. Apart from this, the Attaqwa and Hedaytul Islam (Baan Haw) Mosques in the Chiang Mai province of Thailand are also a must see. The Ramadan spirit can also be truly experienced in certain parts of the country with exclusive food and sweets especially available during this period. Thailand is a shoppers’ paradise all year round, however with the “Amazing Thailand Grand Sale 2011? being held from 15th June – 15th August, there are added incentives to prepare for Eid gift-giving and complete one’s new wardrobe with up to 80% discounts being offered at all participating shopping malls and centers, in addition to the many other privileges and prizes on offer. For the evenings, the various free family-entertainment also on offer as part of the “Amazing Thailand Grand Sale” festivities, makes Thailand the perfect place for families and friends to enjoy memorable Ramadan evenings together.