‘A Journey to the Enchanted Kingdom of Siam’
Set in the heart of Bangkok, affording convenient access by MRT subway and major thoroughfares, ‘Siam Niramit’ is an example of how one’s culture, traditions, heritage and history can be showcased with an element of drama and entertainment at one place. Spread over 10 acres, it not only provides an insight into the roots of Thai culture but also is a great way to spend an evening. Single or with family or friends of any age group, Siam engages one and all in an enchanting show in a spectacular setting.
There is a quaint Thai Village set on a canal, bringing to life the traditional lifestyles, arts and crafts of the four regions of the Kingdom. Here one can see Thai folks busy weaving bamboo crafts or preparing coconut dishes or making a beautiful flower necklace. Wallapa Phokawat, Assistant Managing Director, Siam Niramit, explained that from the start it was the intention of Siam Niramit to present an introduction to Thai culture and traditions, both with the show itself and in the accompanying attractions such as Thai Village of the four regions. “So, much attention was devoted to cultural fidelity, and we are delighted to say that this has been recognized, leading to our winning the Award for Excellence of Thailand Tourism Awards in 2010, and recently collecting a prestigious Prime Minister’s Creative Award for Arts, and finalist in the ‘Heritage’.”
Another initiative has been to ensure that Siam Niramit is a disabled-friendly environment.
“On an average we have seen fluctuations caused by periods of political unrest but generally we average around 800 visitors per day. We face the usual challenges that arise whenever large numbers of people are involved, namely directing the flow of visitors from the time of entry to the time of exit. Factors beyond our control sometimes add to the challenge. For example, on occasions when the traffic is especially bad we can have groups arriving later than anticipated, but they still need to be dined and ushered into the show. Also heavy rain can be a challenge because our outdoor pre-show entertainment area is largely uncovered, so temporary cover must be supplied.”
Apart from the usual things (collection and grading of recyclable waste, etc.), Siam Niramit has initiated a number of eco-friendly projects:
• It collects and stores rainwater to use in the gardens.
• All used water is processed and recycled before being returned to the system: sedimentary by-products of this treatment are collected and used to fertilize plants.
• Waste fruit/vegetables from catering are collected and used to produce natural composting for the gardens.
• All cleaning products are assessed and chosen on the basis of minimal adverse environmental impact.
“We take hygiene extremely seriously at Siam Niramit. We keep the theatre and facilities clean and hygienic at all times. For the extra peace of mind of our guests we also provide a number of free hygienic hand gel dispensers, both in the dining areas and inside the theatre itself.
“We employ 19 cleaning staff under the supervision of a head housekeeper. They maintain the theatre, the grounds and facilities clean at all times. The theatre is cleaned after every performance. Restrooms are cleaned before the show and again during the show so that they are clean & ready again by the time the visitors are leaving.”
All drinking water at Siam Niramit, for both customers and staff, is treated on-site by reverse osmosis technology. Commercial bottled water is available to customers on request.
In response to the popular acclaim received in Bangkok, we have decided to invest over 2,000 million baht on a sister theatre on Phuket Island, the Southern part of Thailand, which schedule to open towards the end of the year 2011.
Tourists take to cleaning
More than hundred followers of Matha Amritanandamayi including few foreigners clad in white saree took part in the clean Mangalore campaign by cleaning in and around Central Market region recenlty. The campaign is being conducted as part of Matha Amritanandamayi’s dream project ‘Amala Bharatam’ by the Amritanandamayi Mutt, Boloor.
Foreign tourists, who had come to the Ashram on a spiritual tour, joined the drive. “It feels good to take part in the cleanliness drive. All of us should voluntarily become aware on the need for cleanliness. If all of us develop cleanliness attitude, then total cleanliness is possible,” said a tourist. “Awareness has been created on cleanliness among the foreign countries. If people voluntarily create an awareness and decide not to dump waste on the streets, then the city can be kept clean,” said a spiritual seeker residing in Amritanandamayi Mutt for the last four years.
While there is a spurt of foreign tourists arriving into India, there is a need to focus more on making destinations better and cleaner. India’s tourism sector is witnessing an encouraging growth with foreign tourist arrivals at 5.58 million in 2010.
This was 9.5% higher than 2009. The Ministry of Tourism endeavours to enhance India’s share in the global tourism market up to 1%. There is also a rise being witnessed in domestic tourism. It has risen to 650 million in 2009 which is an increase of 15.5% over 2008. The “major concern” about the condition of some of the destinations in India is mainly hygiene and sanitary conditions at key tourism destinations. The Minister for Tourism has said that the growth in tourism has also led to a gap in trained manpower in the hospitality sector. Safety and security is also one of the major concerns for the tourism sector. “State governments have been requested to be sensitive on safety issues and take all preventive action wherever required,” he added.