Wat Arun needs restoration

The Fine Arts Department is to table to the government a three-year restoration project for Wat Arun Ratchawararam, or the Temple of Dawn, valued at 100 million baht.

A pagoda at Wat Arun undergoes repairs.

The historic temple located on Thon Buri side of the Chao Phraya River was built in the Ayutthaya period and is now in need of urgent repair, particularly its main pagoda, parts of which are covered in mould, an equestrian statue and ancient porcelain artefacts.

"Although the structure of the stupa looks strong, it needs a serious check," said the temple's assistant abbot Phrakhru Arun Thammanuwat. The last time the temple received a major restoration was about 50 years ago. The Fine Arts Department sent a team to survey the area in the wake of last year's flooding and it found that the ground around the temple was partly damaged.

If the funding is approved in time, restoration work could start next year.

The public can join in the restoration by making donations, for which the Culture Ministry has opened an account with Krung Thai Bank _ 081-0-09603-6 _ to which they can send money directly.

Spa and wellness congress

Impact Exhibition and Convention Centre in Muang Thong Thani is host to "World Spa & Well-being Congress 2012" from Sept 19-21.

Organised by the Thai Spa Association, highlight events include seminars where leading experts from countries such as the United States, New Zealand, Italy and China will take turns to present their views on future direction as well as emerging trends in the spa and wellness industry.

The first two days are reserved for captains of industry, and it is open to the public only on Sept 21. The organisers expect 10,000 visitors to attend the three-day event.

For more information please visit www.worldspawellbeing.com.

Airlines update

- Ethiopian Airlines is expanding services to Kuala Lumpur starting Oct 31.

The airline will fly there three times a week via Bangkok, the flight originating in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said the Kuala Lumpur flights will connect business and leisure travellers from Malaysia to dozens of cities in Africa such as Johannesburg, Nairobi, Lagos, Accra, Dar-es-Salaam, Entebbe, Harare and Khartoum.

Kuala Lumpur will be Ethiopian Airlines' 70th international destination and 18th in Asia.

n Singapore Airlines will launch a daily flight to the Myanmar city of Yangon from Singapore on Oct 28.

"Demand has been growing strongly for both business and leisure travel to Myanmar, and Singapore Airlines looks forward to serving the country," said its executive vice-president Mak Swee Wah.

It will use the 323-seater Boeing 700-200 aircraft on the route. Flying time is 2 hours and 55 minutes one-way.

Hotels update

- Orient-Express Hotels plans to introduce a cruise service on the Irrawaddy River between Yangon to Bhamo in Kachin state in northern Myanmar next July.

It will ply the route with Orcaella, a luxury vessel capable of accommodating 50 overnight passengers, with onboard facilities such air-conditioned cabins and suites, a lounge and bar, a restaurant, a swimming pool, a fitness centre, an infirmary and boutique shops.

- The Senses Resort Phuket will open on Patong Beach in December.

The resort features 116 rooms and suites ranging from 42m2 to 63m2.

Each room is equipped with a private balcony, a 40-inch LED flat screen television, a rain shower and wi-fi internet access.

Other facilities include a rooftop swimming pool with a bar, restaurant, kids club, fitness centre, spa, business centre, retail shops and a 400m2 meeting and function room.

The hotel will also be offering a complimentary shuttle bus service to the ever-popular Patong each.

If you have any comments or news to share, send them to karnjanak@bangkokpost.co.th.

About the author

Writer: Karnjana Karnjanatawe
Position: Travel Reporter