written by Wayne Brown
Hi to all of our tribal executives. I’m feeling pretty relaxed and recharged right now having just spent an enjoyable 1 ½ weeks on holidays with my wife. And it’s not often that I get the opportunity to kick back and enjoy my travels as a tourist. More typically I’m roaming the world supporting our business partners or campus colleagues.
However, this time we took a break and decided to get away from our hectic work schedules to detox by tripping around several cities in Thailand – a country of some 70 million inhabitants.
In the past I’ve been a frequent visitor to the country – mainly Bangkok and specific cities as the need arose. Even destinations such as Phuket (yes, we sometimes need to work in the toughest of locations – life can be a challenge I know 😊 ).
Through-out this blog we will include links to travel sites which hopefully assists anyone interested in taking a similar trip. You’ll find there’s no shortage of things to do and see, but one dominant theme you will find is a country heavily devoted to it’s Buddhist beliefs and therefore every location lined with temples.
So be prepared to spend at least some of your time visiting and understanding this religion and practice. In fact, we learnt that many Thai males will spend time volunteering as monks at some stage of their lives.
We’re in Bangkok baby! …
This trip was purely for pleasure and to absorb the local Thai atmosphere and vibe. Our first stop was the capital, Bangkok. On the verge of becoming a mega city with a registered population of 9.7 million in 2019 (10 million being the requirement for mega city status).
But with a metropolitan population of 14 million it accounts for roughly 22% of the countries total human count.
It’s truly a bustling, modern city with it’s own unique local flavor. And that traffic! – which is not helped by two factors;
- first the motor bikes that zig zag through, on both sides of and in front of the cars….
- and second, the traffic light design where change intervals are so long that they create a block-chain effect and traffic backs up through several previous sets of intersections. #nightmare on Bangkok streets!
The system seems insane to all, except the locals, and yet somehow people, bikes and cars all manage to co-exist.
The following statistics taken from the CTBUH’s website – The Skyscrapper Centre (Bangkok)
|150m+ Buildings||89 Completed • 17 Under Constr.|
|300m+ Buildings||3 Completed • 1 Under Constr.|
|Tallest Building||Magnolias Waterfront Residences Tower 1 (315 m)|
|Global Ranking||#11 in the world by no. of 150m+ completed buildings|
|Regional Ranking||#8 in Asia by no. of 150m+ completed buildings|
|Country Ranking||#1 in Thailand by no. of 150m+ completed buildings|
As you can see from the above and below this city is bursting with skyscrappers – residential, hotels, office and commercial all claiming their share of the fresh air, high above the streets.
|1||One Bangkok O4H4||2025||436 m|
|2||Magnolias Waterfront Residences Tower 1||2018||315 m|
|3||King Power MahaNakhon||2016||314 m|
|4||Baiyoke Tower II||1997||304 m|
|5||Four Seasons Private Residences||2019||300 m|
|6||One Bangkok Phase 3 Tower 2||2024||285 m|
|7||One Bangkok Phase 2 Residential Tower||2023||278 m|
|8||One Bangkok Phase 1 Office Tower 1||2022||274 m|
|9||Mandarin Oriental Residences Bangkok||2019||269 m|
|10||One Bangkok Phase 2 Office Tower||2023||264 m|
The following images are taken from the city’s second tallest building, but built with the country’s highest observation deck – King Power MahaNakhon.
The glass walking deck is a special treat for those that love heights and is well worth the price of the ticket to get up to the observation level. In addition check out the 3 floor hydraulic elevator with curved glass doors – quite impressive and running well.
Heading into Pattaya – the playground for many …
I’m a “progress centric” type of guy, meaning I really enjoy seeing development, whether it’s in people, projects or even cities. And I was very pleasantly greeted with an immediate feeling of progress as we drove into the coastal holiday destination.
The number of high rise was the first thing which leapt out, closely followed by the extent to which the city has been transformed since my last visit many years earlier.
Although like many Asian cities it’s a combination between the new and old, modern and archaic. I’ve grown used to this seeing this balance, it’s somehow the fabric which enables the locals to survive with-in the dynamics of a world changing all around them.
Pattaya is a resort city filled with a healthy mix of tourism and local business, both feeding off each other. For those like my wife and I, it was a great location for kicking back and enjoying the water, the dinning and the sights.
The following statistics taken from the CTBUH’s website – The Skyscrapper Centre (Pattaya)
|150m+ Buildings||12 Completed • 1 Under Constr.|
|Tallest Building||Reflection Jomtien Beach Oceanfront Tower 1 (234 m)|
|Global Ranking||#79 in the world by no. of 150m+ completed buildings|
|Regional Ranking||#48 in Asia by no. of 150m+ completed buildings|
|Country Ranking||#2 in Thailand by no. of 150m+ completed buildings|
As you can see from the above table Pattaya is ranked #2 behind Bangkok for highrise over 150m. Quite impressive for what was once just a party location for the tourist – in particular those Navy sailors from around the world that found the allure of the beautiful girls (and boys) so strong.
|1||Reflection Jomtien Beach Oceanfront Tower 1||2013||234 m|
|2||North Point Tower 1||2010||226 m|
|3||Zire Wongamat Tower A||2014||188 m|
|4||Reflection Jomtien Beach Oceanview Tower 2||2013||183 m|
|5||Pattaya Park Beach Hotel||1995||180 m|
|6||North Point Tower 2||2010||177 m|
|7||Park Plaza Waterfront||2019||173 m|
|9||The Palm Wongamat Beach Tower A||2016||160 m|
|10||Mövenpick Siam Hotel & Residences||–||155 m|
Our time in this great location was probably a day short, but as we still had two new destinations to visit and the need to return our vehicle in Bangkok, so it was on-wards and upwards.
Next stop an ancient Thai capital …
This is Ayutthaya, a former capital of Thailand. Located about 90 km north of Bangkok. Because the area is rich in ancient temples there are no high rise or even medium rise, so a stark contrast to our previous two cities. This means of course that there is little need for elevators traveling above 10m.
However the temples and other structures are important both historically and architecturally, with Ayutthaya added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1991. Founded around 1350, the town was unfortunately destroyed (including most of the architecture, art, and literature of Ayutthaya) in 1767, which also marked the end of the kingdom.
One of the greatest gifts I receive when traveling is discovering little unexpected gems, those things which bring value to your life and life’s purpose – whether it’s through new knowledge, experiencing new sights, cultures, awareness or friendships. It all adds to moment and the memories.
So with little other than ancient temple ruins in Ayutthaya keeping us looking skyward, it was an opportunity to break from habit and enjoy the surroundings. In that environment we experienced a tranquil, warm, friendly and relaxing part of this country which I had not been exposed to or considered before.
And to our final destination, Chiang Mai …
It was 1981 when I last visited this city, some 38 years ago and in contrast to Pattaya, where I witnessed significant change towards a modern world city, Chiang Mai by contrast appears to have changed little in that period. With the exception of adding more food, clothing and craft markets to it’s offerings.
Of course like every town or city across Thailand there is no shortage of Buddhist temple and it does boast trees growing some of the largest mangoes I have ever encountered. But each to their own preferences and for my wife enjoyed this city more than the other three places on the trip.
From a “lifties” perspective, there are a few buildings sporting our products, but nothing major. Nor are there many commercial or infrastructure properties on offer where escalators may find a home.
All-in-all, its more your average suburban neighborhood, where you could imagine bring up your family in relative comfort, without the hustle and bustle of the other major locations on offer.
In it’s favor, is a small but international airport, which means travel outside of the country is possible, avoiding the need to travel to Bangkok before setting off on your next adventure.
And so to conclude …
As the title to this article suggests, there has been a lot of development in past years to transform the major cities into true international mega city status. And rightly so, those responsible for supporting this growth in our tribe should now expect to see that transformation continue into the service side of the business.
Until now the maintenance contract values in Thailand have reflected those of emerging markets across many of the Asian countries, but with so many international large scale business houses now enjoying the local hospitality and benefits, we are hoping to see an increase across the board in service value and thereby generating a sustainable result for the bottom line.
Well, all good things come back to normality and my life is no exception. I’m now back to the grind and my next travel takes me back to the UAE (Dubai) and then onto Germany (Essen). So expect to see my next article in a couple of weeks from one of my favorite cities in the Middle East.