Thailand Tourism Festival 2016: Glimpses

Bangkok’s Lumpini Park came alive between 13th to 17th January, as the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) wowed everyone with a stunning cultural parade and stalls showcasing various facets of Thailand at the Thailand Tourism Festival 2016 (TTF).

The Thailand tourism mascot - cute, isn't he?

The Thailand tourism mascot – cute, isn’t he?

The festival was divided into four zones spread across Lumpini Park’s serene 142 acres of open space, lawns and a lake that was awash with fiery colours at dusk. Zone 1 was reserved for stalls showcasing TAT’s primary activities and Zone 2 was devoted to the five major regions of the Kingdom of Thailand. At Zone 3, visitors could participate in various activities from the 50 districts of Bangkok.

Cultural parade

Cultural parade

But Zone 4 was where the main action took place. And I was there for the brilliant opening ceremony, graced by Thailand’s deputy Prime Minister and the elegant Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports.

The main stage at Zone 4

The main stage at Zone 4

Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports

Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports

As we made our way to the main stage, we passed by colourful set-ups and beautiful Thai men and women in traditional attire, dancing and proceeding along the walkway in a stately manner.

Cultural parade at Lumpini Park

Oriental wings!

Cultural parade at Lumpini Park

I’m not sure which is more colourful – the bird or the people!

By the time the opening ceremony began, the sun had set and Lumpini Park was adorned in glittering night lights.

Bangkok at dusk

Lumpini Park at dusk

Dance at Thailand Tourism Festival 2016

The setting sun casts its glow on these lovely women

Drones are a common fixture on the streets of Bangkok and we spotted one at the tourism festival as well. Before the opening ceremony, we chatted with Ms Wattanavrangkul briefly and she told us that last year, Thailand had received 1 million tourists from India. “In 2016, we are hoping for 5-10% growth; perhaps more as we’re promoting a lot of new locations and activities.” TAT is now focusing on offering a combined offering of Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Posing at Thailand Tourism Festival 2016

Posing with these lovely people! Please excuse my contrastingly tired face – I arrived here straight after an overnight flight.

A make-shift cottage at Thailand Tourism Festival 2016

A make-shift cottage

Finally, it was time for the opening ceremony and a gala extravaganza of song and dance awaited the packed lawn. We were served little snack boxes containing sticky rice and meat and welcome glasses of cool lemongrass water while we watched.

Dance at Thailand Tourism Festival 2016

We were as happy as the dancers!

The costumes were as attractive as the steps they performed

The costumes were as attractive as the steps they performed

A shower of confetti rained upon the dignitaries and the audience as the ceremony came to an end and the ministers posed for a photograph.

The mood was electrifying and joyful!

The mood was electrifying and joyful!

Dignitaries at Thailand Tourism Festival 2016

The shutter bugs go crazy

But the magical evening hadn’t ended yet. After the ceremony, we took a tour of the different zones and encountered curious sights and sounds.

A contraption at Thailand Tourism Festival 2016

Don’t ask me what this does.

Food stall at Thailand Tourism Festival 2016

Because we need to eat!

If you haven’t been to Bangkok yet, plan a trip already! Apart from tranquil Lumpini Park, several delights such as the Art in Paradise 3D Museum, the ethereal dinner cruise along River Chao Phraya and the mesmerising Siam Niramit show await you.

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