Introducing… Pastel Rooftop

Pastel Rooftop is Bangkok’s latest rooftop dining experience. Located on top of the Aira Hotel on Sukhumvit 11, it offers visitors panoramic views of the Bangkok skyline.

Pastel’s decor is an elegant mix of contemporary and traditional styles, reflecting the spirit of the Mediterranean – and a menu to compliment, filled with delectable Mediterranean flavors and aromas, made with farm-to-table ingredients.

From classic small plates to refined crudo and flavorful seafood dishes, there’s something for every taste and appetite. And if you’re in the mood for something to drink, the restaurant offers a vast selection of Mediterranean signature cocktails and wine.

A highlight is the convivial and festive atmosphere, which is perfect for enjoying good food, engaging conversations, and laughter with friends and loved ones. The rooftop is also known for hosting lively and vibrant nights, featuring talented musicians, performers, and DJs.

The restaurant opens at 5pm, the perfect location to enjoy a few cocktails with views of the Bangkok skyline at sunset. In fact, for all these reasons, Pastel Rooftop has quickly become one of the most popular rooftop restaurants in Bangkok.

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just looking to enjoy a night out with friends, this rooftop restaurant offers everything you need for an unforgettable evening.

Be sure to add this to your Bangkok itinerary! Reservations can be made HERE.

Thailand Awaits: A guide to Pattaya

Founder of Expert Travel Media, writer Paula Morgan is well-known for her comprehensive travel guides; Sydney Expert and Australia Your Way. Paula has now set her sights on creating an equally comprehensive guide for travellers to Thailand: Thailand Awaits. Here’s an excerpt from the Expert Guide to Pattaya – a taste what to expect from this new blog!


Walking Street, beer bars and sunburn? Another beach and more bars? There’s much more for visitors to Pattaya, Thailand’s premium party town, than the old cliches from last century. How about fine dining, five-star hotels and family attractions?

“Pattaya, the Extreme City,” declares the welcome arch at Jomtien Beach, the southern portal to sprawling Pattaya. It’s a fair description, or brag, because Pattaya and its zones run the gauntlet from beach resort, family destination and expat retirement enclave to red light bar-world, and back again via golf mecca and much more.

Tiffany Show. Copyright John Borthwick

These days the town has a growing sophistication that overshadows its still-rocking nightlife…

This comprehensive guide to Pattaya includes a guide to the region’s beaches, theme parks, shopping, dining out, night clubs, hotels and golf courses, as well as information on how to get there, and how to get around.

Read the full Guide to Pattaya here.

TAT’s 3rd Sydney Beach Cleanup at Clifton Gardens

On 28 October, 2022, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Sydney Office and Team Thailand Sydney took part in a beach and underwater clean-up event at Chowder Bay.

Twenty five volunteers took part, including six scuba divers, staff from TAT Sydney, the Royal Thai Consulate Sydney, Thailand Board of Investment Sydney, Thai Trade Sydney and media friends of TAT. 

This is the third time TAT Sydney has collaborated with volunteer organisation; Friends of Chowder Bay at Clifton Gardens.

Approximately 3K metres fishing line, 21 fishing lures, 8 chemical light sticks, 102 fishing hooks, 32 lead weights, 131 plastic and aluminium foil food wrappers, cans, cigarette butts, styrofoam balls and hundreds of plastic remnants were recorded.

Last year on World Ocean Day (8 June), TAT supported Spotlight Koh Tao event which comprises workshops and exhibitions that highlight the island’s dedication to conservation and land and sea revitalisation.


Next year (2023), TAT has committed to support the event again and we look forward to welcoming more tourists and volunteers from around Thailand and overseas to join us.

Spotlight Koh Tao 2023 is scheduled 7 – 9 April. More information here and on the Facebook page here.


Visit the magical islands of Koh Lanta National Park with Pimalai Resort & Spa

Southern Thailand’s beautiful Mu Ko Lanta National Park reopens to visitors on 15 October 2022 following its annual restoration. Nearby Pimalai Resort & Spa has announced immersive, small-scale excursions to two of the region’s most idyllic islands – Koh Haa and Koh Rok. 

Beautiful Koh Haa, in Koh Lanta National Park

Every year, this tropical wonderland is closed for six months to allow its delicate ecology to be refreshed and replenished. Pimalai Resort & Spa fully supports the closure and works with local authorities to protect and preserve the area.  

Mu Ko Lanta National Park is a breathtaking natural paradise – 134 square kilometres of turquoise waters, unspoiled islands, hidden coves and captivating coastlines in southern Thailand’s Krabi province. 

The Koh Haa Snorkelling & Sunset adventure transports travellers to Koh Haa (Five Islands) – a captivating collection of limestone islets that enclose an aquamarine lagoon, a vibrant coral reef and a white sandy beach. The perfect spot for an afternoon of swimming and snorkelling. On the leisurely boat ride back to Pimalai, passengers are served canapés and cool drinks, including wine and beer, as the sun sets over the Andaman Sea. 

The Fabulous Koh Rok tour is a scenic one-hour boat trip to Koh Rok, a pair of islands lined with sandy beaches lapped by warm, crystal-clear waters. Following an hour of swimming and snorkelling, guests are treated to a delicious onboard lunch before embarking on a sightseeing cruise around Koh Rok, with more opportunities to swim and explore the underwater world. 

“At Pimalai, we feel a deep connection with Mu Ko Lanta National Park and a deep responsibility to preserve it for future generations. That’s why we conduct regular coastal clean-up activities, do not allow motorised water sports and only permit small-scale, eco-sensitive excursions in the area. We are delighted to invite our conscientious guests to explore this pristine paradise when it reopens this October. Following five months of replenishing rains and no human interference, this idyllic area will be looking more breath-taking than ever,” said Charintip Tiyaphorn, Pimalai’s Owner Representative. 

Pimalai’s fleet of seven boats are all skippered by professional captains who have a deep knowledge of the local area. 

Pimalai is featuring Early Bird Promotions with discounts of 10 to 30 percent on bookings through to 31 October 2023. Rates commence at THB6652 (approximately AUD270) per night including daily breakfast and a roundtrip Krabi Airport transfer for two people.

For more information visit

Now is the time to visit Phuket

Phuket is open and welcoming travellers once again. Expat Aussie travel writer Michael Cullen provides an update on the Pearl of the Andaman Sea.

US NEWS recently ranked Phuket number 8 in their top 30 “World’s Best Places to Visit.” They raved about its outstanding sights, scenic beauty, food scene, and culture. Other pluses were the choices to fit all budgets for accommodation, excursions, and spa and wellness.

Credit: Michael Cullen

There are also the island’s welcoming locals, outstanding beaches, laidback tropical lifestyle, and easy connections to the surrounding islands. Add to that adventure activities like jungle zip-lining, excellent water sports, family-friendly water parks, and fabulous shopping, to mention just a few attractions. Additionally, Phuket’s international airport means Thailand’s largest island is easily accessed, often with direct flights from your home destination. That’s a lot of positives.

One bonus in the pause of visitors during these last two years is that the island’s natural resources rested and rejuvenated. Always part of its allure, the island’s forests, beaches, coral reefs, and marine and land-based wildlife have thrived and are in the best condition people can remember.

In the post-pandemic world, many travellers look for outdoor activities, and less crowded places to keep them and their travelling companions safe and Phuket offers that and much more.

So read on to learn why now is the perfect time to visit Phuket.

Phuket’s Beaches

Phuket has some of the most amazing beaches in Thailand and perhaps, all of Southeast Asia. Its west coast beaches, in particular, are known for their stunning beauty, fantastic sand quality, clean, calm waters, and the potential for spectacular beach sunsets.

On the lower west coast, Kata and Karon Beaches, with their long, broad expanses of sand, are relaxed, family-friendly holiday locations. Patong’s famous 2.5 km long crescent beach remains inviting, with its water sports plus the choice of longtail and speed boats ready to whisk you out on day trips. Kamala’s 2 km long wide beach with its beginner and intermediate surf breaks remains uncrowded.

Surin, Bang Tao, Nai Thon, and Nai Yang, further north along the west coast, have great sandy beaches and fewer crowds. Nai Yang and neighbouring Sirinat National Park favour those seeking extra space and gloriously long near-empty beaches.

A Wealth of History – Phuket Old Town 

It was only in the mid-1970s that Phuket turned its attention to tourism. The island has over 1,000 years of rich stories, including being a major port on the trade route between Europe and Asia in the Spice Trade days. Tin mining through the 19th century saw an influx of Chinese migrant workers, whose influence can still be seen in present-day Phuket. And in recent times, plantations of rubber, coconut, pineapple and palm oil are all actively cultivated.

Phuket Old Town is a great starting point for learning more about the island’s history. Grand historical buildings and museums offer insights, while photographers will delight in the restored shop houses’ Sino-colonial architecture. Rassada, Thalang, Phang Nga, Dibuk, and Krabi roads and the smaller Sois (lanes) branching off is where you will find most points of interest. Take your time wandering these to get a sense of the area and its treasures. You’ll find cool cafes and cute boutiques, plus ‘old world’ authentic eateries along the way to entice and enthral.

Be sure to stop at the Thai Hua Museum on Krabi Road first to get the big picture and delve into the island’s tin mining history (it’s much more interesting than you might think) and Phuket Town itself. It has a fantastic display highlighting the Town Centre’s original buildings and a paper map for self-guided walking tours.

And do return Sunday evenings for the Walking Street Market. Stretching along Thalang Road with the restored pastel-toned Sino-Portuguese houses as the backdrop, this is a market worth visiting. Stalls line this busy walking street with entertainment, food, drinks, and arty knickknacks. Boutiques, cafes, bars, and galleries in some buildings are also open. A great market to sample the diversity of Phuket street food.

Wildlife Encounters

Thailand and other SE Asian countries have a history of native animals being ‘tamed’ and used in industries, including tourism, or illegally sold to overseas collectors. Something the Kingdom has now consciously moved away from. Here are two rescue and rehabilitation project recommendations that will positively connect you with the wildlife.  

Phuket Elephant Sanctuary is Phuket’s most ethical in its care and treatment of Thailand’s revered pachyderms. There are no riding or bathing with the elephants, yet many opportunities to be close and see these rescued giants being themselves. The sanctuary’s new, 600-metre-long and 6-meter-tall canopy walkway means elephants have maximum freedom to naturally roam, forage, bathe and socialise in the jungle below. Visitors can observe them from above and from a safe and respectful distance whilst hiking through the 30-acre sanctuary on guided tours. There are several other elephant parks on the island but be sure to choose Phuket Elephant Sanctuary if you want the confidence you are supporting the most ethical.

The Gibbon Rehabilitation Project has successfully reintroduced 50 gibbons back to the wild and into the same jungles where these primates were poached to extinction 40 years ago. Visitors of all ages can spend a half-day as a ‘gibbon research assistant’ making nutritious banana leaf food parcels and delivering them to the long-distance feeding system. You do not get up close, as these primates are being readied for the wild. You will hear their stories and learn how to differentiate and understand their high-pitched calls and the hidden meanings in their movements. Visit by advance bookings only.  

Temples & Viewpoints

Buddhism is an essential part of Thai culture and its people’s beliefs. Here are two opportunities to respectfully glimpse into this aspect of Thai life.

Big Buddha (Phra Phuttha Mingmongkhon Akenakkhiri) is a 45 meter tall seated Buddha covered with beautiful Burmese white jade marble. The sculpture sits high on a hill and is visible from many southern parts of the island. The views provided over Chalong Bay alone are worth the visit.

Wat Chalong (Wat Chaitararam) is the highly revered and most significant temple in Phuket. Locals claim to have experienced miracles, and it is known for its healing role in fighting between Chinese secret societies in the late 1800s. The Wat is on the way to Big Buddha, making it convenient to experience the two in one outing.

With at least ten viewpoints overlooking the island’s beaches and cities, you can visit a new one every day. Some are harder to access than others, requiring some trekking or scrambling.

Promthep Cape, on the southern tip, is one of the most popular, especially sunsets, and has a large car park. And just 1.5 km north is Windmill Viewpoint, between Nai Harn and Prompthep, with fabulous views west. You can also catch sunrises from there.

Panwa Viewpoint, also known as Khao Khad Views Tower, offers 360° views over southern and eastern Phuket. This lesser-known viewpoint has ample parking and is located on the way to Cape Panwa. The stairs are a bit of a climb, yet more than worth it once at the top.

Rang Hill lies northwest of Phuket City, providing city and distant beach views. Photographers might prefer to visit in the early evening, as the lights start to twinkle across the island. Rang Hill is also an excellent spot for dinner on the open restaurant terraces with panoramic city views.

Island Day Trips off Phuket

Phang Nga Bay, with its limestone karst outcrops and islands, is a well-known and easily accessible day trip from Phuket with many operators ready to take you. Ko Phi Phi and that famous ‘beach’ from the similarly named movie is also open, though with some access restrictions. Visitors can not swim from the beach now, so this is more photo opportunity than reliving the movie scenes.

If you want somewhere not so familiar, consider some of Phuket’s 32 smaller islands, some just 15 minutes by boat. Koh Racha and Koh Hea (Coral Island) are popular, as are Koh Maiton and Koh Khai, with visits that include swimming, snorkelling, and other water fun from picture-perfect beaches. Take your pick of a longtail boat, speedboat, or catamaran tour for day visits.

Credit: Michael Cullen

Koh Yao Yai and Koh Yao Noi are two larger, less-visited islands in the middle of Phang Nga Bay. These are not tourist islands, although each offers a choice of family-run guesthouses and discreet high-end resorts. Experience island life as people go about their self-sufficiency focused existence growing rice, rubber or fishing. Swim in secret lagoons, be in awe of the imposing limestone karsts, spot hornbills, lunch on fresh seafood at quaint beachside restaurants, and take selfies on the powder white sands of Laem Haad Beach, which featured in the Hollywood movie ‘Mechanic 2’.

Phuket’s famous lobster farms are found between these two islands, and if in season, you are in for a treat. Asian Trails arranged our day trip to Yao Yai and Yao Noi islands, and the ability this private tour gave us to tailor our day was excellent. General day tours can also be easily arranged. Simply consult your hotel’s tour desk.

Phuket Feasting

Since 2015, Phuket has been designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, making it the first city in Thailand to receive this recognition. Phuket’s Baba cuisine was the reason for this listing and recognised the traditional food of Baba-Peranakans, descendants of the early, mainly Hokkien Chinese who migrated here and intermarried with locals melding cultural traditions and cuisines.

The famous Blue Elephant restaurant features Baba-Peranakan dishes and is a must-try for a memorable Phuket dining experience. The classic Sino-colonial architecture of this Phuket Old Town restaurant is reason enough to visit. The on-site gift shop means Thai food lovers can take home authentic curry pastes, sauces and other premium ingredients to continue the Thai food experience.

Blue Elephant is also renowned for its Cooking School, and what better way to learn about Thai food than hands-on. Our chef instructors’ insights into the health and medicinal benefits of the fruit, vegetables and herbs we used in cooking added extra context to the food we created. You even get to eat your culinary creations at the end of the class.

Thai Master Chef Nooror is the heart and soul of Blue Elephant. She is a leading advocate and educator of Thai cuisine through her restaurants in Thailand (Phuket and Bangkok) and Europe (Copenhagen and Malta).

Another sure way to eat your way around Phuket is with Thailand’s Michelin Guide. The 2022 edition lists 58 eateries, from simple Thai cafes to the luxurious dining experience of PRU – Phuket’s only Michelin Star restaurant. All deemed worthy of inclusion by the Guide’s judges.

Take, for example, Roti Taew Nam, a communal breakfast spot in Phuket Old Town. Sit on simple stools at your pavement table and watch roti rolled, cooked over coals and served with eggs or banana, or plain with a side to homemade curry. Surprise your taste buds and wallet using the Michelin listings to guide your Phuket feasting. 

What Are You Waiting For?

Now is the time to make the most of reopened and welcoming Phuket and all this glorious island has to offer. We’ve only scratched the surface of what awaits. Looking forward to seeing you soon!

About Michael Cullen

Michael is an Aussie now based in Thailand. As a freelance writer and compulsive traveller, he loves discovering new places, delving into the history, and experiencing the local food and culture wherever he ventures.

Check out his latest published articles:

See what he’s posting on social:

Thailand: Amazing new chapters

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently launched the Visit Thailand Year 2022: Amazing New Chapters campaign. Mr Tanes Petsuwan, Deputy Governor for International Marketing Asia, joined a delegation of TAT representatives in Sydney this month to explain the 5-pronged marketing campaign to a select group of media representatives.

1. New Segments

With the growing popularity of a ‘workation’ or working remotely, Bangkok and Phuket rank high on the list of cities that best suit digital nomads.

2. New Areas

TAT is now promoting new areas to Australian tourists, such as sea, sand and sun destinations of the east coast including Trat and The Gulf’s popular centre for golf and wellness; Hua Hin, as well as the northern regions including Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai for soft adventure.

3. New Partners

TAT is actively seeking new promotional partners across a number of platforms, engaging influencers and new digital mechanics for collaboration.

4. New Infrastructure

During the pause in tourism forced by the Covid-19 pandemic, Thailand has been developing infrastructure, including the construction of Grand Bang Sue Station, underground walkways linking the Grand Palace, highways connecting Bangkok to other parts of the country, light monorail in Khon Khaen in the north-east, Betong Airport in the south and a high-speed rail connecting Bangkok to Malaysia, due for completion in 2029.

5. New Way.

The pandemic has also increased awareness among the world’s travellers and how their behaviour has impacted the environment, TAT will focus on promoting responsible tourism.

Sustainable stays in Thailand

Thailand has some of the world’s most progressive hotels when it comes to leaving a minimal footprint. Which means you can sleep soundly across the country in hotels that unite style and sustainability.

In Phuket, a collaboration between JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Minor Hotels (Anantara, Avani) is working to fund environmental programs that support fragile marine life, such as the foundation’s Nesting Beach Patrols, protecting leatherback turtles that return to nest on the sands of Mai Khao.

Also in Phuket, five-star Keemala has a strong commitment to environmental and ethical practices. From the villa design to the landscaping, garden-to-table culinary approach, plastic-waste free policy and ethically sourced materials, everything has been carefully considered to help ensure a greener future.

AKARYN Hotel Group is one of the hospitality pioneers in Thailand to nix single-use plastics and, among several other sustainable initiatives – it now invests in solar panels, has started an organic farmers market at its Aleenta Phuket resort which also rewards locals and guests for beach cleanups with a free coffee at its beachside cafe.

Travel north to witness the work of the trendsetting Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF), which is co-funded by the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort and Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle. The sanctuary has, for over a decade, promoted the ethical treatment of elephants, with its camp where mahouts (handlers) and pachyderms co-exist in a safe, peaceful and natural setting – a benchmark for sustainability.

‘Time for Thailand’ Anantara Gives Travellers Something to Smile About

Thailand is making its long-awaited comeback with the resumption of quarantine-free international travel. To support the Thailand’s long-awaited reopening, Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas has launched the ‘Time for Thailand’ travel campaign. From street food vendors and spa therapists to Tuk Tuk drivers, the people of Thailand are sending a clear message to visitors from across the globe that they are ready to welcome you back.

A new video captures not only the beauty of the Kingdom’s landscapes but more-so the smiles and warmth of the Thai people – something frequent visitors to the kingdom know so well.  

Anantara, who has its roots firmly in the local soil and whose story started in 2001 with the opening of a luxury resort in Thailand’s historic seaside retreat of Hua Hin, offers some of the country’s most iconic experiences. From urban sophistication at Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel to wildlife encounters at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort and beachfront oases across the South, the brand’s Thailand portfolio is a treasure trove of immersive, hyper-local experiences.

“With our ‘Time for Thailand’ campaign, we are sending a clear global message of anticipation, excitement and belonging,” said Dillip Rajakarier, Group CEO of Minor International and CEO of Minor Hotels, parent company of Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas. “We want everyone, whether this is their first trip to Thailand or fifth, to feel welcome in the knowledge that the people of Thailand are welcoming them back with their genuine warm hospitality.”

From the 1st November 2021, Anantara guests are welcome to visit all of their favourite destinations after meeting the government’s health and safety requirements under the new ‘Test & Go’ scheme that offers a safe and seamless arrival in Thailand with a PCR test on arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers from non-approved countries can enjoy travel to Thailand in a choice of popular ‘Blue Zone’ destinations, while all non-vaccinated travellers will need to complete a mandatory ASQ hotel quarantine. 

Let’s all keep the country smiling and say, it’s ‘Time for Thailand’. For more information about Anantara’s ‘Time for Thailand’ campaign or the ‘Test & Go’ scheme, visit

Accor ‘Unveils’ Thailand

Fully vaccinated travellers from 63 countries can now visit Thailand without quarantine, bringing the world even closer to Thailand’s lush landscapes, sparkling beaches, renowned food, and hospitable locals.

To welcome travellers back, hotel group Accor has launched its ‘For the Love of Amazing Thailand’ campaign with savings of up to 30% at more than 70 hotels and resorts across the Land of Smiles.

To celebrate of the return to travel, the reopening of Thailand, and the joy of great hotel stays, Accor has also launched a short-film entitled ‘Unveil Thailand’, to inspire travellers to rediscover the country.

The video is part of Accor’s global campaign which encourages people to experience the beauty, depth and meaning that travel brings to their lives. American dancer and choreographer Lil Buck leads the campaign as he unveils a hotel lobby, ready to welcome guests again.

Lil Buck said: “We’re showing you in our own artistic way that you’ll be able to unveil and enjoy your world. This summer make sure you give yourself an opportunity to enjoy yourself, go fly, go somewhere you always wanted to go, go to your dream place because we never know when we will be stuck in the house again.”

For more information or to make a reservation check out Accor Hot Deals.