What comes to mind when you think of Thailand? Is it the infamous full moon parties jam-packed with backpackers; the notoriously head-titling, mind-boggling entertainment shows; or perhaps the heaps of spicy food?
You aren’t wrong for associating these vibrant images with the Southeast Asian nation, but you would be surprised to know Thailand is one of Asia’s leading regions for business travellers.
When you mix business and leisure travel, you concoct a lexicographer’s nightmare and a travel agent’s dream: “bleisure” travel.
Bleisure travel is a combination of traveling for business reasons but also injecting some local culture and sightseeing on a trip.
Thailand also has the infrastructure to support some of the world’s biggest conferences and events making it a haven for MICE travelers.
Earlier this year, Bangkok’s Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre welcomed 60,000 guests and 500 speakers to Startup Thailand 2018, a conference which aims to boost investment and interest in Thailand’s startup scene.
A few months after this successful event, the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau further promoted Thailand as the Kingdom of Bleisure, focusing on three major cities. One, of course, being Bangkok, the quintessential Asian metropolis.
The Thai capital takes the crown for providing MICE and bleisure travelers with an abundance of outstanding convention and meeting venues, hotels, retail facilities, fine-dining, local dining, and entertainment options.
The city is constantly expanding to accommodate all types of travelers. Tourism and business hubs are beginning to seamlessly connect via investment in first-rate transport links such as The Skytrain (BTS) and the underground railway (MRT). These easily-navigable modes of transport connect to the newest addition to Bangkok’s thriving business hubs, such as Ratchada, and ensure you don’t waste precious time in the gridlock traffic which plagues Bangkok’s roads.
Located just three MRT stops from hectic Sukhumvit, Ratchada offers a refreshing yet authentic reprise from central Bangkok. It is a place where contemporary and traditional blends beautifully. The area boasts brilliant night bazaars which brazenly lure in travelers with their variety of local food and quirky souvenirs.
However, if travelers spend a moment looking up in Ratchada, they’ll notice they’re among a forest of futuristic skyscrapers, home to the likes of insurance giants AIA, the Stock Exchange of Thailand, and the world’s largest consumer goods company, Unilever. These big brand names have helped earn Ratchada the title of Bangkok’s official central business district.
In the center of Ratchada and just a two-minute walk from Huai Khwang MRT station is Swissotel Bangkok Ratchada. The affordable yet luxurious five-star hotel is located close to Bangkok’s entertainment hub and business hub, and comes without the steep price tag normally associated with this centralized area.
Swissotel Bangkok Ratchada’s 407 elegantly spacious rooms and suites are combined with four delectable dining facilities serving up Cantonese, International, and Japanese cuisines, as well as fresh bakes and an impressive bar.
This hotel also features innovative meeting and convention facilities such as the 4,006-square-meter meeting space, equipped with a team of event planners to take the weight off your shoulders.
For those looking for a little rest and recreation between business meetings, conferences, and events, the hotel’s luxurious Spa De Concorde is the perfect place to unwind and revitalize. Matching the local area’s ambiance of old-meets-new, the spa combines traditional Thai therapy techniques in a tranquil, modern environment.
No matter your reason for traveling, be it business or leisure, or a little bit of both, Swissotel Bangkok Ratchada provides you with an authentic Thailand experience while catering to all your professional and personal needs.
Another one of Thailand’s charming contrasts is the paradise island of Phuket. The region is best known for its verdant rolling hills, pristine beaches, and warm oceans, but it also has one of the country’s most celebrated MICE cities, as Phuket Tourism Association’s event schedule illustrates.
The southern Thai island hosts annual domestic and international events earning it the title of the “MICE city of the Andaman.” With over 500 hotels to suit every budget, most fully-kitted out with MICE facilities and all set within stunning scenery, Phuket might just be the epitome of bleisure travel.
Phuket’s unique selling point in the MICE and business travel market is its variety of unique venues. Whether you want to sign off on that multi-million-dollar deal on one of Phuket’s 30 outstanding beaches then celebrate with something bubbly as day turns to night, or hold a memorable conference in a traditional Thai venue with charming architecture, Phuket can provide you with ample options.
Phuket is also renowned for its genuinely warm hospitality which can be experienced through the business day and into leisure time, be it on one of the many golf courses around the island, when you’re trying your hand at cooking pad thai, or simply soaking up the glorious sunshine.
When it comes to spectacular MICE facilities and accommodation for the bleisure traveler, Thavorn Palm Beach Resort is a winner.
Set on Karon’s Beachfront, the resort has two luxury-fitted meeting spaces which can be divided into five separate rooms and a banquet hall capable of hosting 460 people.
Its central location isn’t further than 30 minutes away from any of Phuket’s major attractions, including the Big Buddha, Old Phuket Town, and Jungceylon shopping mall. So, whether you’re looking for a touch of Thai culture, a few new additions to your wardrobe, or to learn about the island’s history, it’s all on Thavorn Palm Beach Resort’s doorstep.
Thailand is undoubtedly giving other ASEAN business hubs such as Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia a run for their money.
But unlike its neighbors, Thailand has all the attributes of a vacation destination to be enjoyed after the business day draws to a close.
*Some of the companies featured on this editorial are commercial partners of Travel Wire Asia