Club Sanook Newsletter - December 2006

December  2006

We really do not dress like this every day.

From Us to You

This has been an exciting year for us and we hope it has been good to you as well. During 2006 we gave ourselves a new name, launched India programs, added new destinations and activities in Thailand, Cambodia and China, added numerous new hotels, and welcomed many, many return guests. If you have never visited our retail office in Bangkok, you might know our names, but not our faces. So here we are... Standing: Nut, Joe, Douglas, and Bobby. Seated: Kate and Chutima (Bhu). Miss Fu took the photo. She does not stand in front of a camera too often. We have a Purple Dragon shirt in your size. The story is below.

The Sliding Greenback

Wheeee. The value of U.S. dollar has been tumbling steadily downward for almost one year. Not long ago a buck was worth around 41 Thai baht. Today, it is worth about 35.5 baht. In other words, the baht has increased in value more than 15% against the dollar. The economy of the world's richest nation seems to be slowing down. The Bush administration is encouraging a cheap dollar to make imports more expensive and prices of American products cheaper abroad.

What does this mean to you? To begin with, the price of a holiday in Thailand is slightly more expensive than it was a year ago. Nevertheless, Thailand is still a huge bargain compared to many, many other holiday destinations with less to offer. If you normally spend Euros or Pounds Sterling, our prices for programs in other countries are actually dropping since most of our local contracts are in US dollars.

For customers who do not like the idea of paying in dollars, we are in the process of adding Euro, pound and baht prices to our website. This will take a while. In the mean time, however, please ask for a price quote if you wish to pay in other currencies.

Suvarnabhumi Redux

A lot of crooks made a fortune building this placeLast September we promised to give you our feedback after we experienced Bangkok's new airport for ourselves. Now that most of us have been through the place at least twice, we are ready to join the chorus of people who have found plenty of blemishes, from lack of toilets and lack of proper signage to filthy windows. Once inside the main terminal building you might as well be in a shopping mall. Wide walkways and broad public areas were sacrificed to make room for more shops than you can imagine. Getting to your gate could involve a walk equivalent to four or five city blocks. There are no moving sidewalks or motorized shuttles. The expansive departure gate areas are really quite ugly and depressing. After passing through customs when you arrive in Bangkok, the arrival hall is utter chaos, as hundreds of people try to connect with passengers in half the space than should have been allowed. It's very easy to miss your driver if you exit the wrong door. Our biggest complaint is that there is nothing Thai about the airport. It lacks the warmth and soul that the Land of Smiles is famous for.

The unbelievable thing about Suvarnabhumi is that it has already reached 100% capacity at just under 80 flights per hour. Recent stories in the Bangkok Post suggest that the old Don Muang airport may be reopened to relieve congestion. One way or another, Don Muang may be back in business sooner than expected. Some government officials believe that the new airport is plagued with shoddy construction which may force parts of the facility to be shut down for repairs. It has been suggested that building contractors took a lot of liberties with the engineers' drawings, used substandard materials, or just plain did not know what they were doing. This has noting to do with  the scoundrels who used to run the country, of course.

Airline News

Thai Airways has just inaugurated service from Bangkok to Varanasi four days a week. That is great news for people who want to take our Path to the Ganges package. No more connections with long layovers in New Delhi, the world's most decrepit airport. Moghul emperor Shah Jehan built it 1632. Even though the airplane had not been invented yet, he somehow knew the city would need something like that. The problem is, nobody has cleaned for fixed anything since it first opened and there is only enough parking for about twenty camels.

Bangkok Airways has recently added a "Blue Ribbon Class" to its flights between Bangkok and Phnom Penh. You can read more about it on Douglas' new blog (story below).

If you are in or near Vladivostok, you will be thrilled to know you can now fly to Bangkok on Vladivostok Avia. If you live in Khabrovosk or Irkutsk or just any other major city in Russia you can connect through Vladovostok. We knew you would want to know.

Our Holiday Gift to You

If you are a Club Sanook Member and someone who likes to plan in advance, we have something to celebrate the Holidays with. Choose three or more of our packages for travel between 1 April and 30 September 2007 and we will give you 5% off the most expensive, 10% off the next most expensive and15% off the least expensive. You must book and finalize payment by 28 February 2007. Discounts apply to all-inclusive packages only but do not apply to VIP or Ultimate price levels, and can not be combined with other discounts or offers. You have to ask for this discount when you make your reservation since we will not extend it automatically.

Purple Bloging

Everybody seems to have a blog these days. Our internet guru told us Purple Dragon would rank higher in search engines if we had one, too. Since it is something that most people are not likely to read, we think it is a good place for Douglas, our Managing Director, to share his views on life. He will also share regular news about what is going on with Purple Dragon and in our part of the world, sometimes-witty insights occasional beauty secrets.

New on Purple Dragon's Website

On board the Manorah DreamSomething More for Foodies: You can not imagine a more beautiful setting for a cooking school. You can learn to cook your favorite Thai dishes on a private beach along the spectacular Andaman Sea.. Thus, the silly name for our new Phuket cooking school package "Wocking on the Beach." We can't wait to attend these classes ourselves.

Cruise the River of Kings by Luxury Boat. If you are looking for a unique Thailand experience as well as incomparable luxury, we have recently added River of Dreams to our collection of Bangkok programs. You spend three days or more on a magnificent private boat with your own chef and valet and cruise north to the Ayuttaya, historic temple villages and a look at country life along the river. The Manohra Dream is very private, with only two luxurious cabins. This is a great trip for a honeymoon or a small group of friends.

Angkor from on highHigh Above Angkor: Some of the most fantastic treasures of the Khmer Empire go unseen by more than 99% of the tourists who visit there. If you are an adventurer and not merely a tourist, you can see Angkor from a different prospective and visit some of the most remote, yet most fantastic Khmer temples by helicopter. We now offer optional trips ranging from a few minutes to almost a full day. How about a Champagne picnic in a temple that is practically impossible to reach by road?  It's not cheap of course,  but it's a lot easier than climbing Everest and cheaper than blasting yourself into space aboard a Russian rocket.

Where to Stay

We constantly fine-tune our programs and we listen closely to what our customers have to say about the hotels we use. Here are two hotels we have added to our packages. We know you will love them:Triple Two Silom is very cool

222 Silom
You will love this stylish boutique hotel on Bangkok's Silom Road. All of Silom's famous nightlife is a short walk away. Triple Two Silom is memorable for its sleek, contemporary architecture and interior design. The hotel's  stunning guest rooms feature the latest in technology, including electronic safes, fireproof doors, electronic security system, DVD player, internet access, work station and much more. With only 75 rooms Triple Two Silom is intimate, so you will enjoy personal service during your visit. We have added 222 Silom as our Deluxe hotel selection in all of our  Bangkok programs.
A spiffy room at Raming InnRaming Lodge
You won't believe that this great three-star hotel is our new budget hotel in Chiang Mai. It's located in the heart of the city, convenient to the Night Bazaar, Thapae Gate and even Starbuck's. Attractive rooms are decorated in a contemporary Lana style that combines rich colors, natural fabrics, beautiful woods, and the kind of amenities you would expect from a much more expensive hotel, including satellite TV and wireless internet, IDD telephones, round-the-clock security and 24-hour room service. Raming Lodge is also home to shops, a popular Thai restaurant and Supaya Spa. This fine hotel is now the Standard hotel selection in all three of our Chiang Mai programs.

The Coveted Purple Dragon Polo Shirt Can At Last Be Yours

The news you have been waiting for... Our Purple Points program will begin at long last in January. Past guests will receive a gift of points based their previous travels with us. Points can be redeemed for discounts, upgrades, books or even one of our divine purple and white polo shirts. If you are a Club Sanook Member you will receive a personal email about this early in 2007.

About This Newsletter

You are receiving this newsletter because you are a former guest, because you have asked for information about our company, or because you have registered as a Club Sanook Member. Our list is very private. We do not share it with anyone. However, If you do not wish to receive future email from us, we will remove you promptly at your request. Just remember, points you may have accrued in our Club Sanook program will be lost.

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Copyright 2006 Club Sanook. All rights reserved.

Purple Dragon is proud to be a founding Member of the Thai Alternative Tourism Association
Purple Dragon pioneered gay Asian travel