Thailand makes holiday magazine poll, despite taxi rip-offs

Tourists, recently.
Tourists, recently.

Thailand held its ground as Thai Airways and Bangkok slipped in Smart Travel Asia magazine's latest poll.

The big winners were Bali, Thailand (despite Bangkok's drop, largely on account of airport problems and taxi scams), Hong Kong, Shanghai, Dubai, and Singapore, with Vietnam picked as the fastest climbing destination with an attractive quality-to-price ratio.

While Qatar Airways took the top spot in 2018 as the best airline worldwide with the best business class, just ahead of perennial favourite Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways got sixth place for business class (the same as last year) and sixth place for cabin service (down from third in 2017).

AirAsia was back as the No.1 budget airline in Asia, with Jetstar Asia at the second spot, while Nok Air featured in the top 10. No American airline made it in the top 10 list in any category.

"Most airlines have cut back dramatically on economy class comfort and service. But US-based carriers are notoriously horrific in all classes compared with Asian carriers," said a reader.

Singapore's Changi airport once again ranked as the best airport worldwide, while Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi was out of the top 10 for the second year in a row, with passengers complaining about overcrowding, poor traffic flow within the airport, and problems with taxis refusing to use meters.

While Shanghai took the top spot in this year's top 10 holiday destinations in Asia (with Bali and Taipei together at second), Bangkok came in at fourth (down from third in 2017 and No.1 the year before that). Again, taxi scams appeared to be the major complaint among frequent travellers. Still, four Thai destinations made it to the Top 10 holiday destinations in Asia: Bangkok, Phuket, Samui and Chiang Mai.

Hong Kong placed as the No.1 city for meetings, while Bangkok stayed at fifth (same as in 2017). Singapore stayed at second having received a small boost with recent world events focusing on the city.

In a heavily contested field for the 10 best luxury hotels in Asia was the Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok, coming in third. The hotel was a popular choice across the board for a variety of reasons, with a top 10 ranking as well for best wedding hotels in Asia. The hotel was cited for service, food, and proximity to shopping and dining.

For the top 10 boutique hotels in Asia, 137 Pillars House in Chiang Mai shot to No.1 with Twinpalms Phuket and Indigo Bangkok also appearing on the top 10 list.

According to the survey, younger online travellers are increasingly brand-blind as the online media they primarily read is dominated by small boutique brands building presence through social media and word-of-mouth. 

They are also impulse buyers who tend to go with the flow and can change direction abruptly. Older travellers (50-60 years) and up tend to be more discriminating when it comes to travel research, and tend to stay with classic picks where service standards can be predicted. 

The poll is based on the views of a high-spending, high-travel audience that makes an average of 14 annual air trips within and to Asia.

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  • boost: an action or event that helps something to increase, improve, or become more successful - การส่งเสริม
  • brand: a type of product made by a particular company - ตรา, ยี่ห้อ
  • cabin: the area where passengers sit in an aircraft - ห้องคนโดยสารในเครื่องบิน
  • complaint: when someone says that something is wrong or not satisfactory - การบ่น, ข้อที่ไม่พอใจ
  • contest: to compete for something - โต้แย้ง ถกเถียง
  • cut back (verb): reduce, decrease - ลดลง, ทำให้น้อยลง
  • horrific: so shocking that it upsets you - น่าขนลุก
  • impulse: a sudden strong wish or need to do something, without stopping to think about the results - แรงกระตุ้น, แรงผลักดัน
  • notoriously: famous for something bad - ซึ่งมีชื่อเสียงในทางไม่ดี
  • perennial (adj): continuing for a very long time; happening again and again - ยาวนาน, ตลอดกาล
  • proximity: the state of being near in space or time - ความใกล้ชิด
  • rank: to put someone or something into a position according to their success, importance, size etc - จัดลำดับ
  • refuse (verb): to say or show that you will not do something; to say or show that you will not do something that someone has asked you to do - ปฏิเสธ
  • scam: to carry out a clever and dishonest plan for making money - โกง, ฉ้อโกง, หลอก
  • word of mouth: free advertising that comes when people start telling each other about a new product or service - การบอกเล่าแบบปากต่อปาก, การบอกต่อ, การเล่าสู่กันฟัง
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