Sunday, January 11, 2015

The year of 'Thainess'

The Thai government has declared 2015 as the 'Discover Thainess' year.

What is 'Thainess'
Thai people are remarkably resilient in their way of life under the 'sanook' (fun) and 'mai pen rai' (don’t worry about it) attitudes to not get stressed out and to be kind and hospitable towards others. 

The spirit of 'Thainess' is a blend of traditions and beliefs. Everything is interconnected. For example, Thai boxing incorporates the Thai way of life in the wai kru dance as a way of paying respect to the trainer, the Thai fun in the enjoyment of the crowd, the Thai wisdom in the techniques and training handed down over centuries, and the Thai wellness in the many techniques used to treat wounds. 

The hill tribe of Chiang Mai
The everyday life of the Thai people can boast a similar mix of culture and traditions that epitomises 'Thainess'.

With this in mind, Thailand wants to encourage tourists to experience the distinct entity and characteristic of the Thai people and the nation’s cultural assets or 'Thainess' which can be characterised in seven unique aspects: Thai food, Thai arts, Thai way of life, Thai wellness, Thai festivals, Thai wisdom and Thai fun. 

As part of these seven aspects, Thai culinary experiences, traditionally made (not necessarily traditional-looking) Thai silk and visits to strongholds of Thai art such as temples, home-stays, holistic wellness, participation in key festivals, meditation over ancient Thai philosophies and interaction with the Thai people are being promoted as key experiences.

The experience 'Thainess' calendar
Opening ceremony (14 January at Siam Discovery and Ratchaprasong Intersection, Bangkok) Thailand Tourism Festival 2015 (14-18 January at Lumpini Park, Bangkok)
The Golden Kinship Celebration (19-20 February at Chinatown, Bangkok)
A Muay Thai festival (14-17 March, Ayutthaya Historical Park) 
Songkran - Thai New Year (10-15 April, nationwide) 
The Thailand Music Festival (22-23 May, in Phetchaburi) 
Thailand Grand Sale (June until 15 August)
The ASEAN Music and Arts Festival (17-18 July, Chiang Mai) 
A ‘Queen of Silk’ festival - one of the Queen’s brainchildren for uplifting key arts (14-16 August, in Bangkok) 

September beckons all food-lovers with the Thailand International Food Festival (18-20 September), October (24-26, in northern Thailand) will be all thrills for road-trippers and bikers at the Thailand Time Trial, on 25 November Thailand turns ethereal as Loy Krathong is celebrated nationwide and in December In Royal Melody will showcase the beautiful compositions of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who is also an accomplished musician. 

The experience 'Thainess' map
Thailand is showcasing a few hidden gems for fans of Thailand to explore. These are locations that even those who return year on year from India, are yet to visit. These include serene Lampang, Phetchabun with its mist-shrouded mountains of flowers, Nan, the most romantic province in Thailand, Buriram where ancient Khmer and modern Thai civilisations meet; Loei to revel in the mountains; Samut Songkhram to witness the glory of mighty rivers; arts capital Ratchaburi; the islands of dreams, Trat; the fruit capital, Chanthaburi; all things exotic (even underwater weddings!) in Trang; untouched emerald isles in Chumphon and unspoiled nature combined with distinct religiousness in Nakhon Si Thammarat. 

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