Friendship to Friend Trip

Posted on March 14, 2012


Twenty representatives from Australia’s leading media outlets recently visited Thailand on a “Friendship to Friend Trip” tour to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the relationship between the two countries. They followed four themed routes during the programme, which aimed for the visiting media to inspire and encourage Australian travellers to explore Thailand and enjoy even more exciting and enchanting experiences.

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“The Friendship to Friend Trip” media visit will not only strengthen the relationship between our two countries, but was also a great opportunity to introduce specially-designed tourist routes with themes that match traveller’s lifestyles and interests. These routes were based on the themes of At the Cultural Crossroads, Cultural and Lifestyle, Green Experience and Food and Fruit. Thailand has so much to offer that meets travellers’ specific interests and expectations, so they can experience what they really enjoy,” said Mr Suraphon Svetasreni, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

The media visit kicked off with a day-long tour under the Food and Fruit theme, led by great Australian chef Mr David Thompson, a world-renowned expert on Thai cuisine who is putting Thai food into the international spotlight. Mr Thompson’s London restaurant, called Nahm, was the first-ever Thai restaurant to receive a Michelin star.

Highlights of the destinations under the four themes were:

Food & Fruit route: All of the Australian media started off with a day-tour exploration of street foods and Thai delicacies in Bangkok’s Chinatown, led by Mr Thompson, before separating into three routes on the following days. In Chinatown, called “Yaowarat” in Thai, the media enjoyed a tasting at “Nai Mong Hoi Tort,” the famous oyster omelette place in Talad Gao, lunch at Krua Apsorn, and a scenic boat trip along the Khongs (canals) in Thonburi on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River.
At the Cultural Crossroads: On this route, seven members of the media travelled to Chiang Rai to explore Doi Tung and the Mae Fah Luang Botanical Garden, as well as the amazing white temple called “Wat Rong Kun.” They also visited “Baan Huay Khi Lek Akha Village” to observe its community-based tourism initiatives, complete with an Akha-style lunch. This memorable route also included Ayuravedic massages, Thai-cooking classes, Chiang Mai’s beautiful temples, and Ayutthaya’s historical sites.
Green Experience: This route caters to nature lovers who like a touch of adventure during their journey. The trip started with collecting clams on the Gulf of Thailand tidal flats, as well as water skiing, visiting a mangrove restoration, and spotting rare birds in Phetchaburi province. The Australian media then visited Laem Pak Bia Environmental Research and Development Project, Sam Roi Yot, and Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi. They also spent time in Hua Hin, the Royal beach resort town in Prachuab Khiri Khan, as well as in the Kamphaeng Saen district in Nakhon Pathom.
Cultural & Lifestyle: Attractions in Chiang Mai, an artisan’s paradise with small craft shops on streets such as Nimmanhemin Road, were the highlight of this route. The Australian media visited the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek exhibition and Chiang Mai Zoo, as well as nearby Doi Suthep. As a contrast, they also explored Bangkok’s cultural spots, including trendy dining venues and Asiatique the Riverfront, a major new shopping destination, along with more traditional attractions such as the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall. The media especially enjoyed luxury Thai spa treatments and cooking classes at some of Thailand’s leading resorts in Chiang Mai and Bangkok.


Australia is a key market for Thai tourism. Last year, 854,064 Australians visited Thailand, an increase of 22.35% over 2010. Australians accounted for 4.47% of the total inbound tourists in 2011. During January 2012, Thailand welcomed more than 84,000 visitors from Australia, up 16.69% compared to the same month the year before. Around 69% of Australians visiting Thailand are repeat visitors and over 92% are Free Individual Travellers (FITs).

The preferred destinations for Australians visiting Thailand include Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Ko Samui, and Krabi. Islands such as Ko Chang, Ko Tao, Ko Lanta, and Ko Samet are gaining in popularity. On average, an Australian tourist stays in Thailand for 11.80 days, spending around 4,700 Baht per day. Favourite activities for Australians in Thailand include shopping, visiting beaches and coastal areas, soft-adventure activities, along with ecotourism activities such as scuba and skin diving, elephant riding, trekking, and Thai food cooking classes. Golf, family-friendly activities, cruises, and wellness and spa visits are also popular pastimes for Australian visitors to Thailand.

Posted in: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi