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As travel restrictions have been eased, Phuket Old Town is filling with tourists once again. Nevertheless, if you prefer hanging around quieter spots, or are just wishing to take a break from the crowds, here are our picks of not-so-touristy places in the old part of town for quality experiences.   Museum Phuket The museum has long been located in the Old Town, but you may have walked past it many times without realising it as it sits within a beautiful Sino-Portuguese building. The museum showcases stories of Phuket’s rich history, Peranakan culture, Chinese influences and much more that will all help you appreciate and enjoy the island even more.   Drawing Room Phuket Drawing Room Phuket is an art space with a slow bar serving handcrafted coffee made with an intelligent choice of coffee beans, as well as non-coffee drinks. If you are an epicurean, you should stop by when you are in town.   Rosa Sweets & Chocolate Rosa is a new paradise for those with a sweet tooth! When you enter the shop, you will be delighted by the myriad choices of craft chocolate. There is seating so you may slowly indulge into some sweet treats, and coffee and chocolate drinks are offered here as well. You may even like to opt for a bottle of Prosecco to pair with your choice of confection.   Pop Espresso Phuket This coffeehouse delivers the fine aromas and flavours of coffee, to be selected from an array of well-chosen beans and then transformed into a heavenly cuppa using either the pour-over method or with an Aram Espresso Maker. If you are looking for a spot to sip and chat, discover new coffee flavours and take a break from the outside sun, this is the place for you.   Cloud Markt It is neither a grocery store, restaurant nor bar, but a terrific combination of all three! Open day to night, you will find local products like snacks and aromatic candles here and be able to enjoy tasty dishes, light bites and a range of drinks including craft beer, kombucha cocktails and natural wines with cold cuts to accompany those.     Text and Photos by Pakvipa Rimdusit

The influence of Peranakan culture is one the biggest cultural charms to be discovered on Phuket. The province was once a destination for numerous immigrant Chinese who married with locals and merged their cultures into a harmonious blend, even incorporating some of the Western influences which had started to seep through. Even though the heart of Peranakan culture is still Singapore and Malaysia, the southern region of Thailand is rich with multiculturalism and Peranakan culture is most prominent in Phuket. Whether it’s Peranakan cuisine or architecture you would like to delve into, there are a number of places to experience them on Phuket. There are, however, two very elegant Peranakan manors that are eminent and not-to-be-missed.   Baan Ar-Jor HISTORY: The three-storey mansion was built by Chinese tin-mining businessman Tan Jin Nugn in 1936. He was not only a successful entrepreneur, but a man who lived a compelling life. The house remained intact throughout decades of its occupants’ trials and tribulations, was abandoned for some more decades, and then thankfully revived by the original owner’s great-grandsons in more recent times. They have turned the mansion into a living museum that showcases rare collectibles and unveils the rich story of the family. The mansion-turned-museum’s name comes from the word ‘Ar-Jor’, which means 'great-grandparent'. STYLE: Peranakan architecture with a nostalgic ambience and décor, surrounded by tranquil greenery. HIGHLIGHTS: The mansion is home to Michelin-recommended Toh-Daeng Restaurant, which serves authentic Phuket dishes made from the family’s recipes which have been passed down for generations. All proceeds from the entrance fee (THB 200 per person) will be given to Baan Mai Khao School to support educational purposes. Artwork by the young students of Baan Mai Khao School are displayed at the museum, delightful to see and heart-touching. The mansion is also a homestay, so you can enjoy a very unique stay on the island. LOCATION: A few minutes’ walk from Mai Khao Beach. WEBSITE: www.baanarjor.com   Baan Chinpracha HISTORY: The manor was built during the reign of King Rama V by Phra Pitak Chinpracha, a prosperous tin-mining businessman who was also a philanthropist. He lived in Malaysia prior to settling down in Phuket, and brought many Peranakan and Western influences with him, such as Western-style furniture imported from British Malaya (present-day Malaysia). The manor is considered to be the most beautiful and well-preserved Sino-Portuguese building in Phuket, and the descendants of the original owner still live here. STYLE: A Melaka-inspired Peranakan manor with luxurious architectural details. The architecture lets plenty of natural light in, since the house was built when there was no electricity available. The building was constructed with a traditional version of cement that allows breathability, and the pond in the centre framed by an arch not only acts as a visual delight but also serves to collect rainwater. There are more architectural details to amaze visitors, which they can learn about during their visit. HIGHLIGHTS: The kitchen preserves its original look and functions, and displays rarely-seen kitchen ware. Numerous antiques, collected for over a century, are showcased alongside a collection of intriguing vintage photos.

As tourism is flourishing again, the world's largest multi-attraction pass, Go City, has made an exciting debut of 'Go City Bangkok' – value-for-money travel passes with access to a number of top attractions and experiences in the vibrant metropolis. Go City's unique passes offer the opportunity to see the best of a city, from the top sights to unique off-the-beaten-path experiences, all at a massive savings. There are two options for the Go City Bangkok pass, each designed for a different type of travel style. Presently, the Go City Bangkok passes allows access to these unmissable experiences: King Power Mahanakhon Skywalk, Chinatown Food Tour and Bangkok Pub Tour, Ayutthaya Day Tour, Chao Phraya River Dinner Cruise, Tuk Tuk Tour, and authentic Thai massage experiences. In the near future, Go City is planning to add more lifestyle options into the mix like stunning sky bars, mouth-watering food and beverages options, and others. On top of that, for Thai travellers who is taking a trip overseas, Go City has also expanded attraction options in various cities including London, New York, Paris, Stockholm, and Sydney. The Bangkok's All-Inclusive pass lets spontaneous customers maximise their visits and see as much of the city as they can for a set number of days. An Adult 2-Day All-Inclusive Pass is priced at THB 2,999 (approximately USD 89). The Explorer Pass offers flexibility for your exploration across 60 days, which you can choose ahead of time or upon arrival. An Adult 3-Choice Explorer Pass is priced at THB 1,899 (approximately USD 57). To learn more or make a purchase, visit GoCity.com/Bangkok, or download the Go City app from the App Store or Google Play.

The long-awaited water-splashing is returning soon! Even though this year's Songkran Festival is not yet optimal to celebrate the days with a huge crowd, there are plenty of compelling options to make this year another one to remember with your family, whether it's a relaxing getaway to the beach, feasting on unlimited tasty foods, or enjoying a mini-celebration and other funs.   10-30 April: Meliá Chiang Mai The new star of Chiang Mai City celebrates its very first Songkran Fest with a special offer: a two-night stay in a Meliá Room including breakfast for two, a round-trip airport transfer, a complimentary cocktail for two at Mai The Sky Bar with spectacular 360-degree panorama of the Ping River and Doi Suthep, only at THB 4,599 nett per room! Thailand's 'We Travel Together' discount can be applied and it will cost THB 2,760 nett only! To get this special price, book now until 16 April 2022, applicable for a stay period from 10-30 April 2022. To book: +66 (0) 52 090 699 / reservation.chiangmai@melia.com   13-15 April: Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queens Park Throughout 3 days, Goji Kitchen + Bar will present tasty times filled with mouth-watering Thai and international dishes and sweet treats, with a focus on Thai favourites, as well as special station for Thai traditional summertime cuisine – 'Khao Chae', chilled rice in jasmine-infused water topped with refreshing condiments. The Songkran Feast is available for lunch and dinner, priced at THB 1,698++ per person (except dinner on 15 April, which is priced at THB 2,199++ per person). An optional beverage package is also available for just THB 1,488++. Marriott Bonvoy and Club Marriott discounts apply. To book: +66 (0) 2 059 5999 / restaurant-reservations.bkkqp@marriotthotels.com or HERE   13-15 April: Banyan Tree Samui Take your family to the tropical paradise and enjoy the splashing away the heat in style at Banyan Tree Samui. On 13 April, the elegant resort invites you to enjoy the 'Splash Party' at its private beach with unlimited drinks, light bites, and ice-cream (THB 799 per person, free of charge for children under 12) at daytime, and revel in delectables at a beachfront street market along with amusing Thai folk dance (THB 1,500 nett per person, free of charge for children under 12) in the following evening. On April 15, don't miss out on the High Tea Buffet with a breathtaking view at Saffron Restaurant (THB 1,550 nett per couple, including a complimentary Sanctuary Day Pass). You can also opt for a special 5-course dinner featuring finest tastes of Thai cuisine (THB 2,1000 nett per person) throughout the week. To book: +66 (0) 77 915 333 / samui@banyantree.com   13-16 April: Anantara Chiang Mai The five-star riverfront resort offers the sweet 'Songkran Escape' with special rates for a two-night stay and an additional 'Khao Chae' meal, starting from THB 9,000 per room. On 15 April, Friday fun is elevated in this year's festivity at Anantara Chiang Mai Serviced Suites with an exclusive pool party on its rooftop, featuring all-you-can-savour ice-cream and an array of activities (THB 799 per adult / THB 400

Whether you plan to celebrate New Year's Eve and step into 2022 with your loved ones in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, or other favourite places, we have compiled a list of cool spots where you can make the evening and night even more memorable.   COOLING TOWER, CARLTON HOTEL BANGKOK Up on the 34th floor, enjoy the last light of the year and spectacular fireworks as you step into the new year with your friends, with DJ Poyjii and live saxophone to get the groovy beats going throughout the night. Time: 17:00 till late Price: THB 1,500++ per person inclusive of 2 beverages Book at: +66 (0) 2 090 7888 / Fbreservations@carltonhotel.co.th   RED SKY, CENTARA GRAND AT CENTRALWORLD Bid farewell at one of Bangkok's most popular rooftop bars with special 8-course Gala Dinner, featuring French-influenced cuisines cooked with premium imported ingredients. All bookings will receive a complimentary a bottle of Exclusive G.H. Mumm Grand Cordon N.V Champagne per couple. Time: 19:00 till late Prices: THB 11,999++ per person (outdoor) /  THB 9,999++ per person (indoor) Book at: +66 (0) 2 100 6255 / diningcgcw@chr.co.th   Yào Rooftop Bar, Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse Revel in the sensational celebration with mesmerising views from the evening until late. Pamper your taste buds at the pre-countdown session featuring Dim Sum Tower for two and a bottle of sparkling wine or house wine, then get the party started at the Ultimate Countdown sesh with numerous fireworks lighting up the sky. Time: 17:00 - 19:30 for pre-countdown / 21:00 till late for the countdown event Prices: THB 2,288++ per set for the pre-countdown / the countdown starts at THB 5,888++ for 2 persons with a bottle of champagne or wine Book at: +66 (0) 2 088 5666 / LINE OA @marriottsurawongse sala ayutthaya Savour tasty fares inspired by the Chao Phraya River at sala ayutthaya eatery and bar, comprising mouth-watering 'Massaman Goong Maenam' – giant river prawns in spiced potato curry to be indulged with roti. Time: 11:00 - 22:00 Price:  THB 1,899++ per set Book at: +66 (0) 35 242 588 / wineanddine@salaayutthaya.com   DUSIT THANI HUA HIN Take joy in a special 3-day 'Local Feast New Year Celebration', a market-style feast with local products and foods, sustainability workshops, film screening, live music, nighttime paddleboarding, and more. On 31 December 2021, ring in to the new year at a lively countdown event with live music and fireworks display. Date: 30 December 2021 - 1 January 2022 Time: 17:00 - 22:00 (17:00 - 24:00 on 31 December 2021) Price: THB 1,000 net per person (free for children under 12) for entrance fee Book at: +66 (0) 32 520 009 / www.facebook.com/DusitThaniHuaHin   HYATT REGENCY KOH SAMUI For New Year’s Eve, Yangna Cuisine will host a barbecue gala dinner with a live band, and SESUN will let you celebrate in style with DJs, live performers and a fireworks display will see out 2021 and usher in 2022 at a lavish countdown party. Book at: +66 (0) 77 448 777 / fb.usmrk@hyatt.com   Khao, FOUR SEASONS CHIANG MAI For a heart-warming get-together on the special day, Khao will offer a fireside BBQ dinner featuring juicy grills and Thai favourites in a tranquil

Celebrated across Thailand, Loy Krathong Festival has been a long-time tradition and one of the most awaited annual delights nowadays. As the magical festival is approaching again, we have gathered some ideas for your special night with your loved ones on 19 November 2021.   Anantara Chiang Mai Resort With its one-off vibes and nice weather, there's no doubt Chiang Mai is one of the top destinations to enjoy Loy Krathong Festival. Right at the river bank, Anantara Chiang Mai Resort will take the beautiful tradition to the next level, inviting you to imbue with gorgeous candlelit lotus-shaped rafts decorated with vibrant flowers, as well as enjoying extravagant international buffet dinner and enchanting Lanna dance. Prices: THB 2,600 net (adult) / THB 1,300 (child aged 8-12) / free of charge for child under 7 To reserve: +66 (0) 53 253 333 / chiangmai@anantara.com   Capella Bangkok At Capella's riverfront courtyard, you can revel in magic moments under the moonlight in the lush tropical garden with exquisite Thai dancing, soft sounds of live music on classical instruments, take part in the Loy Krathong tradition with the resort's biodegradable 'krathong', and enjoy Bangkok's leading epicurean journey. A team of skillful chefs at Phra Nakhon Restaurant will pamper your taste buds with an array of authentic Thai cuisine made with organic and high-quality ingredients, using Old-Siamese recipes. Prices: THB 6,000 net (adult) / THB 2,000 net (child below 12 years old) To reserve: +66 (0) 2 098 3888 / phranakhon.bangkok@capellahotels   Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok As the Chao Phraya River gets gilded by countless candle lights, you can relish the beguiling sight along an array of shows including long drum dance parade that will lead you to the river, with classical Thai dance awaits, and spectacular fireworks to end the night memorably. Shangri-La Hotel's outlets will offer various dining experience like international seafood buffet at NEXT2 Café, Thai buffet in a romantic setting at Salathip Restaurant, a chic Italian set menu at Volti restaurant & bar, and more.  Additionally, don't forget to put a Thai costume on, since the best dressed individual and couple will receive complimentary stays in the luxury hotel. Prices: Starting from THB 1,698 net per adult To reserve: +66 (0) 2 236 7777 / restaurants.slbk@shangri-la.com   Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok will please you during the celebration with lavish international and seafood buffet dinner, together with stunning live performances and fireworks display. If you want to make turn this festivity into a special staycation, the hotel offers a tempting 'Loy Krathong' package that includes buffet dinner for 2 and a one-night stay in a Grand Deluxe Room City View. Prices: THB 2,790 net for buffet dinner / THB 5,995 net for the package To reserve: +66 (0) 2 307 8888 /riverbarge.chrb@chatrium.com / LINE: @ChatriumRiverside   SO Sofitel Hua Hin How about celebrating the festival by the sea? SO Sofitel Hua Hin will arrange a special afternoon-to-evening event at the SO Pool, where you can create your own krathong, take pleasure in delectable foods and drinks from Beach Society, live bands and DJ, and enjoy shopping at the monthly night market

Have you heard about 'forest bathing'? – It's a simple leisurely activity that gives a number of benefits to your body and soul, requiring only a nice pair of shoes and a right place. In Japan, there is a practice called 'shinrin-yoku', literally meaning 'forest bathing', which is different from hiking or physical exercise as you will have to leave out the challenge to conquer the top of mountain or the aim to burn calories – just connect with your nature and your own soul at your own pace. To do the forest bathing, you should leave your phone and camera behind in order not to be distracted. As you arrive at the forest, you can simply stroll along the route without forcing yourself to reach anywhere quickly. The key is to lose yourself into the sounds, sights, smells, and feelings you discover along the way. Aside from calming effects the act can give, you may be surprised by the novel beauty that you have always missed out on when you rushed things. There are many studies on the immersion into nature indicating various benefits to our physical and mental health. The act can help preventing cancers and other disease, reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness, and indisputably joyful for the soul. The magical province of Krabi does not only offer a glamourous seascape and aquatic funs, but there is also a lesser-known hiking trail: Khao Ngon Nak National Park, which is an ideal spot to relish in forest bathing. Also known as the 'Dragon Crest Hill', the protected mountain remains unspoiled, boasting its lush forest, together with unpolluted streams and falls. On top of the mountain is one of the most mesmerising viewpoints overlooking pristine Andaman Sea dotted with limestone island, which is a vista unique to Krabi. At five-star Banyan Tree Krabi, not only you can enjoy its top notch facilities like a private pool, luxurious spa treatments, vast front yard by the sea, and tasty delicacies, but you can also take a walk into the forest on the Dragon Crest Hill right from your villa, since the start of the hiking trail is at the back of the resort. As previously stated, you don't need to force yourself to reach anywhere, but if you make it to the top (taking around 2 hours per trip), it's completely rewarding. If you don't have enough time to complete the whole route, there is also a viewpoint along the way to relieve your weariness before getting back down. To step up the sense of wellbeing, in months ahead, the resort will be ready to launch Wellness Sanctuaries that combine club floors or resort wings, dedicated dining and spa options into one exclusive journey, as well as personalised programs for guests based on their '8 Pillars' principle (good sleep, good diet, interaction, intimacy, physical vitality, cultivating the mind, learning and development, harmony with nature, and sustained practices). For more details and to book your stay, visit www.banyantree.com/en/thailand/krabi

As Phuket has been welcoming more international tourists with strict safety protocols under the 'Phuket Sandbox' model, if you are one of those who are interested in unwinding safely in the paradise island, Megatix has brought together the best deals for your getaway across Thailand, including SHA Plus-certified hotels and resorts in Phuket, most of which are 5-star stays with breathtaking views and world-class services. The accommodations featured on the Megatix Phuket Sandbox campaign offer their most appealing packages or accommodations bundle with delightful inclusions such as airport transfer, daytrips, meals, ocean activities and just about everything else the heart could desire in Phuket. Presently, the participating hotels include Banyan Tree Phuket, InterContinental Phuket Resort, Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa, JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, Le Méridien Phuket Beach Resort, The Naka Island - a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa Phuket, Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa, The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa Phuket, Angsana Laguna Phuket, COMO Point Yamu Phuket, The Racha Phuket, Amatara Wellness Resort, Amanpuri, Trisara Villa and Residence Phuket, and many more. E-vouchers bought via Megatix allow you to pick your travel dates at your convenience, and if you wish to modify your dates, the process is rather easy since you are contacting the properties directly, so the complicated procedures with third party platform are cut out. Find and book tempting Phuket hotel packages via Megatix here!

From 1 July 2021 onwards, Phuket will reopen to international travellers again under the 'Phuket Sandbox' model, allowing fully-vaccinated foreign tourists to stay in Phuket at certified accommodations without having to quarantine. To warmly welcome tourists from aboard once again, a number of hotels and resorts in Phuket offers tempting promotions for guests' best experiences on the paradise island.   The 'Phuket Sandbox' in a Nutshell For a quarantine-free travel, tourists must strictly follow these requirements: Fly directly to Phuket from countries with a low to medium risk. Adults must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a vaccine registered with the MoPH or approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) no less than 14 days before the travel date. Unvaccinated children under 6 years old must travel with vaccinated parents. Unvaccinated children between 6–18 years old travelling with fully vaccinated parents must be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at their own expense. All traveller must obtain a Certificate of Entry (COE) available here. Tourists are required to install the 'ThailandPlus' application. Tourists are required to stay ONLY in an accommodation establishment certified with the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Plus. Tourists will be required to do RT-PCR test before arrival and during the stay in Phuket following the guidelines by the MoPH. If travellers are staying less than 14 days in Phuket, they cannot visit other domestic destination – they can only leave the country for international destination. To visit other provinces in Thailand, travellers must complete staying in Phuket for 14 days or more before leaving the territory to elsewhere. Travellers can enjoy places in Phuket freely, but are advised to strictly follow the DMHTTA precautions: D – Distancing, M – Mask wearing, H – Handwashing, T – Temperature check, T – Testing for COVID-19, and A – alert application. Please visit the Tourism Authority of Thailand's page for more detailed information.   Attractive Offers at World-Class Stays in Phuket Check out the latest attractive offers that are now available at Phuket’s world-class hotels and resorts: The Slate Phuket The Bill Bensley-designed, art-oriented beachfront resort has unveiled its 'Summer Sandbox' package, treating guests with a free 7th night when they book a six-night stay, as well as other appealing perks such as a guaranteed room upgrade for certain room types, welcome cocktails, roundtrip airport transfers, daily breakfast and 15% off all food, non-alcoholic beverages, spa treatments throughout the stay, and many more. Validity: Valid for bookings and stays until 30 September 2021 Rates: Starting from THB 5,000 per room per night Book at: www.theslatephuket.com/offers/summer-sandbox-package.html   Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket The luxurious family-friendly resort on beautiful Karon Beach is now offering free nights – including 'Stay 3 Pay 2', 'Stay 6 Pay 4' and 'Stay 9 Pay 6' options – and get 100% of their room rate back in hotel credit to be redeemed for room upgrades, F&B, spa treatments and more. Validity: Valid for bookings made from now until 31 August 2021, and stays taken by 23 December 2021 Rates: Starting from THB 2,800 per room per night Book at: www.centarahotelsresorts.com Four Points by Sheraton Phuket Patong Beach Resort The Patong's young resort offers a chance to