Today marks the Royal Ploughing Ceremony in Thailand, an ancient royal rite held in many Asian countries to mark the traditional beginning of the rice growing season.
In the ceremony, people sow rice seed as two sacred oxen plough some ceremonial ground. After the ploughing, the oxen are offered plates of food, including rice, corn, green beans, sesame, fresh-cut grass, water and rice whisky.
The oxen’s choice of food is seen as a prediction of whether the coming growing season will be bountiful or not.
At ICS Travel Group, your experience is important to us. We routinely inspect destinations and suppliers to ensure quality is maintained at a high standard.
Are you attending?
The Arabian Travel Market tradeshow will be in Dubai 4 – 7 May 2015. Join us at the Ministry of Tourism – Indonesia booth, Table 26 to meet our sales team and product experts, and to learn more about exciting new products and services from ICS Travel Group.
To schedule an appointment, please contact:
Karan Chhabra, Manager, ICS Travel Group (Indonesia)
Palanisamy, Head of Sales & Marketing (India & U.A.E.)
Shrouded in mystery, Myanmar – formerly known as Burma – is often referred to as the Golden Land. Due to being cut off to the rest of the world for so many years, very little is known about this country where monks, holy men and magnificent temples are just part of the everyday scenery. Therefore we asked Raphael Kern, our Assistant Country Manager from the ICS Travel Group office in Myanmar, to share his knowledge and his love of the country with us.
The abandoned “ghost town” of Bokor Hill Station provides us with a glimpse into the life of French colonials who settled in Cambodia more than 70 years ago.
In an effort to escape from the heat, humidity and “general unhealthiness” of Phnom Penh, this resort was built near Kampot in southern Cambodia. The focal point of the resort was the elaborate Bokor Palace Hotel & Casino, but the development also contained shops, a post office (now demolished), a church and the Royal Apartments which were used by the Cambodian royal family.
During the First Indochina War, the French abandoned Bokor Hill because of local insurrections guided by the Khmer Issarak. The site was abandoned again in 1972 as the Khmer Rouge took over the area. As the Vietnamese invaded in 1979, the Khmer Rouge were able to entrench themselves at Bokor Hill and hold on tightly for months. Even into the early 1990s, Bokor Hill was still one of the last strongholds of the Khmer Rouge.
In observation of the Buddhist holiday known as “Songkran,” Thai custom is to pour water over the hands of elders and other respected figures. The religious significance relates to cleansing and purification, and is believed to bring good luck in the coming year. Team members in Bangkok lined up to take a cup of water, scented with flower petals, and pour over the hands of CEO, Sandor Levai.
Songkran has become one of the most popular festivals of the year and the main attraction has become splashing passerbys with water and powder. Click here to learn more about the annual Songkran Festival.
Next week, Thailand marks the start of the Buddhist holiday known as “Songkran” which has become one of the most popular festivals of the year. The religious significance relates to purification, a fresh start, and cleansing. Consistent with these themes, many Thais mark the occasion by thoroughly cleaning their homes, gently washing Buddha statues with scented water, and by showing respect to their elders by pouring water over their hands.
Although the origins of Songkran are religious, splashing complete strangers with water has become the main attraction of the festival. Soaking or sprinkling people with water signifies the washing away of bad thoughts and actions, and brings them good luck in the new year.
At the end of the processions and festivities, crowds form in the street to dance, party, and throw water in good-natured fun. To add another layer of intensity, many Thais add ice to their water or travel in teams that wear masks and carry large water cannons. But you probably won’t mind the getting wet because afternoon temperatures in April can rise above 40°C/100°F.
Click here to see our infographic “What to do During Songkran”
In Thailand people add the word “Kuhn” in front of first names to show respect, while Vietnamese add the word “Thua” which translates as ‘please.’
With the Songkran holiday coming up in Thailand (13-15 April 2015), we’ve created this handy infographic to illustrate the rituals the Thai perform for this important (and wet!) holiday.