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  • Thursday, May 13, 2021 14:48 | Naphatsorn Kijmongkoltham (Administrator)

    *Please be informed that currently Bangkok Hospital cannot provide COVID-19 vaccination service. As soon as the vaccine is readily available, we will keep you updated.

    A number of medical studies have proved that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing people from getting COVID-19. The vaccines do not only reduce the chance of infection, but they also help to mitigate disease severity in case a person becomes infected. Although vaccines appear to be acknowledged worldwide due to their efficacy, people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should still keep taking precautions and preventive measures in public areas, e.g. wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces as well as frequent hand washing. To remain safe and healthy, it is essential to know and have a better understanding about important information related to COVID-19 vaccines prior to vaccination. 

    Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

    COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 which is a single-stranded RNA virus. Considered as global pandemic, COVID-19 is highly transmissible. The virus is thought to primarily spread person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected patient coughs or sneezes. COVID-19 can be transmitted via direct contact of saliva, nasal discharge and sputum.  It could also spread if people touch an object or surface with virus present from an infected person and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes. Patients with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – extending from mild symptoms to severe illnesses, despite the fact that the majority of infected people are asymptomatic without disease manifestation. Mild to moderate symptoms often include malaise or muscle weakness, low-grade fever and sore throat. However, some patients might develop life-threatening complications such as severe lung infection which can potentially lead to death. Based on currently available information obtained from clinical studies, the elderly or patients who have certain underlying medical conditions, especially diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Compared with the general population, patients presenting with these comorbidities appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the COVID-19. Owing to the fact that the incubation period of COVID-19 (the time between exposure to the virus and symptom onset) is on average 2-14 days, therefore, quarantine should be strictly in place for 14 days from the last exposure to a confirmed case.

    COVID-19 Vaccines

    When different microorganisms, such as bacteria or viruses, invade the body, they attack our immune system. This invasion eventually becomes an infection. The immune system uses several tools to fight off infection. Besides red blood cells, blood also contains white or immune cells used for defense against infection. These white cells consist primarily of macrophages, B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes. Macrophages are white blood cells that swallow up and digest these microorganisms as well as dying cells. The macrophages leave behind parts of the invading germs called “antigens”. The body identifies antigens as dangerous foreign substances and stimulates antibodies, produced by B-lymphocytes to attack them. T-lymphocytes, another type of defensive white blood cell, attack cells in the body that have already been infected. After the infection, the immune system remembers what it learned to protect the body against that disease when the body exposes to those particular germs again.

    Vaccines help develop immunity by imitating an infection. This type of infection induced by vaccines, however, almost never causes illness. In fact, it activates the immune system to produce antibodies and T-lymphocytes. Once the imitation infection induced by vaccines goes away, the body is left with a supply of memory T-lymphocytes, as well as B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight off the disease in the future.

    COVID-19 vaccines greatly reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection by working with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to the disease. However, it typically takes some weeks for the body to produce immunity against COVID-19 after vaccination. Therefore, after vaccination it is crucial to follow all preventive measures, e.g. wearing a mask, frequent hand washing and keeping social distancing. More importantly, these vaccines do not entirely protect everyone from being infected with COVID-19. In fact, vaccines help to reduce disease severity and serious complications that might arise if a person becomes infected. Given latest information, it remains unknown how long the efficacy lasts after vaccination. In addition, conclusive information is recently insufficient to determine whether COVID-19 vaccines are efficient in immunocompromised patients or patients who take immunosuppressant drugs. 

    Types Of COVID-19 Vaccines

    According to recent information provided by World Health Organization (WHO), vaccines become a critical new tool in the battle against COVID-19. A number of vaccines with different manufacturers have been continuously developed and launched. All of them intend to achieve the same purpose – immunity to the virus by stimulating an immune response to an antigen which is the spike glycoprotein protruding on the surface of the virus. The spike glycoprotein plays an essential role in virus attachment, fusion and entry into the human cell. This spike glycoprotein specifically binds with host cell receptors in the respiratory tract or digestive tract. After entering the human’s body, viruses start invading and causing disease afterwards.

    Recently, there are four categories of COVID-19 vaccines available. Their differences lie in whether they use a whole virus; just the parts of the germ that triggers the immune system; or just the genetic material that provides the instructions for making specific proteins. Four types of COVID-19 vaccines are as follows:  

    1. Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine: 

    COVID-19 mRNA vaccine gives instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of viral spike glycoprotein. Once this genetic material gets into human cells, it uses our cells’ protein factories to produce the antigen that subsequently triggers an immune response to fight against the disease.

    2. Viral vector vaccine: 

    Viral vector vaccine uses a modified version of a different virus, called the vector, to deliver important instructions to our cells. For COVID-19 viral vector vaccine, the vector (harmless virus) inserted with genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 enters a cell in our body and then uses the cell’s machinery to produce a harmless piece of the virus –a spike glycoprotein that causes COVID-19. Later on, our immune system recognizes it as a foreign substance which triggers our immune system to begin producing antibodies and activating other immune cells to fight off the disease.

    3. Inactivated virus vaccine:

    Inactivated virus vaccine uses SARS-CoV-2 viruses whose genetic materials have been destroyed either by chemicals, radiation or heat. Thus they cannot replicate, but can still trigger an immune response to build up antibodies to fight against the disease.

    Protein subunit vaccineProtein subunit vaccine uses only fragments of specific protein of SARS-CoV-2 virus to trigger an immune response. By doing so, it boosts up immunity to fight off COVID-19 without causing any harm to the body.

    Who Should Get COVID-19 Vaccine?

    Even though COVID-19 vaccines are recommended in general population, there seems to be a shortage of vaccine supply while clinical data indicating vaccine safety and efficacy has been only derived from certain groups of population. In Thailand, therefore, Department of Disease Control has recommended that the COVID-19 vaccines should be primarily offered to:

    1. Health care personnel, both government and private sectors
    2. Patients with underlying diseases, such as respiratory disease and cardiovascular disease
    3. People aged over 60 (according current information on 3 March, 2021, only certain types of COVID-19 vaccines can be given to this group).
    4. Frontline immigration officers and essential workers, such as soldiers, policemen and volunteers in social work.

    Given recent information relating to special population groups, vaccination in people aged lower than 18, pregnant or breastfeeding women remains indecisive with limited clinical studies. The specialist might consider prescribing COVID-19 vaccines if benefits outweigh the possible risks.

    COVID-19 Vaccines In Thailand

    As of 2 March 2021, COVID-19 vaccines available in Thailand include:

    1. AstraZeneca vaccine: AstraZeneca vaccine is a viral vector vaccine that is proved in people aged over 18. AstraZeneca vaccination course consists of two separate doses of 0.5 ml each. The second dose should be administered 4-12 weeks apart from the first dose. It is for intramuscular (IM) injection only, preferably in the deltoid muscle.
    2. CoronaVac or SinoVac vaccine: CoronaVac or SinoVac vaccine is an inactivated vaccine recommended in people aged between 18-59. Similar to AstraZeneca vaccine, Sinovac vaccination course consists of two separate doses of 0.5 ml each. The second dose should be administered 2-4 weeks apart from the first dose. Route of administration is intramuscular (IM) injection only, preferably in the deltoid muscle. For those who live in high-risk zones, a two-week interval is advised since it proves the stronger antibody response in clinical trials
    3. Johnson and Johnson vaccine: Johnson and Johnson vaccine uses a shell of a virus to carry genetic material, DNA of SARS-CoV-2 virus into human cells, allowing for immunity against the virus. The shell has been modified so it can no longer replicate and cause disease. Unlike AtraZenaca and SinoVac vaccines, Johnson and Johnson vaccine is administered as a single dose via intramuscular route in the deltoid muscle. 

    To reach the maximum efficacy against COVID-19, it is essential to complete the course. However, interchangeability of COVID-19 vaccine products (mixing vaccines using different types and manufacturers) for the first and second doses has not been yet advised since no confirmative evidence can be recently obtained from clinical trials, although combined regimen may provide more protection and flexibility whenever production of a vaccine falters, as often happens. Moreover, after completing a two-dose course of vaccination, it is undefined whether an additional dose is required with unknown regimen and interval.

    Possible Side Effects Of COVID-19 Vaccines

    Undesired reactions caused by COVID-19 vaccines widely vary among individuals. Some might experience only mild side effects or even none while some might develop life-threatening reactions. Possible side effects after getting COVID-19 vaccines include:

    • Common side effects:g. pain, redness, itch or swelling at the injection site, weakness, fatigue or discomfort, mild headache, low-grade fever, nausea and vomiting, muscle and joint pain.
    • Rare or unusual side effects: high-grade fever, lump or bump at the injection site, dizziness, drowsiness, palpitation, abdominal pain, decreased appetite, excessive sweating, enlarged lymph node and flu-like symptoms, such as sore throat, runny nose and cough.

    Contraindications To COVID-19 Vaccine

    • Allergic reaction of any severity or known (diagnosed) allergy to a component of any vaccine.
    • Severe allergic reaction, e.g. anaphylaxis, shortness of breath, swelling face or tongue and airway obstruction after a previous dose or to a component of the COVID-19 vaccine.


    Important information that needs to be informed physician and medical personnel prior to vaccination includes:

    1. Allergic history of vaccines, foods and other allergens.
    2. Body temperature greater than 38’c on the vaccination day.
    3. The presence of bruise, unusual bleeding or the use of anticoagulant drug such as warfarin.
    4. Immune suppression, such as being immunocompromised host, using high-dose or long-term corticosteroid drugs or receiving chemotherapy or other immunosuppressive agents.
    5. All side effects that arose after the first dose of vaccination
    6. Being pregnant or breastfeeding or planning for pregnancy   

    In case that mild signs or symptoms present before vaccination, the physician might consider prescribing vaccine without delays if benefits are distinctly seen. Nonetheless, vaccination must be suspended if severe conditions persist based primarily upon individual’s health status and underlying problems.

    Post Vaccination Instructions

    After vaccination, a 30-minute observation at vaccination clinic or hospital is compulsorily required in order to monitor possible side effects caused by COVID-19 vaccines. If any sign or symptom exhibits, it must be immediately informed to physician, pharmacist and nurse. Appropriate medical treatment used to manage immediate allergic reactions must be readily available in the event an acute anaphylactic reaction occurs following administration of COVID-19 vaccine. Nevertheless, some people might develop other unwanted reactions which have not been reported in previous clinical trials. In case that mild side effects present, such as low-grade fever and mild headache, over-the-counter drugs, e.g. paracetamol can be taken to subside these effects. However, if serious symptoms manifest, e.g. high-grade fever, chills and severe headache, immediate medical attention must be sought. For safety purpose, it is important to keep vaccination booklet or record for vaccine tracking.  

    Besides healthcare crisis induced by COVID-19 pandemic started in the end of 2019, the economic and social disruption caused by this pandemic is enormously devastating. COVID-19 vaccines as a novel weapon to battle against COVID-19 are considered “a game changer” for preventing people across the world from the disease while reducing disease severity and confining virus spreading.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has urgently prompted scientists from around the world to design anti-SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. The availability of advanced science data has allowed creating different types of vaccine based on innovative platforms and directed towards well defined sensible targets. Nevertheless, the development of these vaccines in a very short time necessarily implies that is not yet possible to anticipate their long-term efficacy and possible side effects as well as the use in special population. Therefore, the future trend of clinical studies should involve medicines used to treat COVID-19 and vaccines that can fully protect all variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus.

    Source : https://www.bangkokhospital.com/en/content/know-well-before-getting-the-covid-19-vaccine 

  • Thursday, May 13, 2021 13:45 | Naphatsorn Kijmongkoltham (Administrator)

    More recently, data have emerged that some patients continue to experience symptoms related to COVID-19 after the acute phase of infection.

    Some patients may develop a so-called “post-acute COVID-19 syndrome,” in which they experience persistent symptoms after recovering from their initial illness.

    VitalLife offers Post – COVID Rehabilitation Program for people with past COVID- 19 to help repair and restore their health.

    See recommended treatments here: https://lnkd.in/eWaJ3HT 

    For more information please contact:

    VitalLife Scientific Wellness Center Bumrungrad International Tower

  • Tuesday, April 27, 2021 10:24 | Chonnipa Nakpontong (Administrator)

    Andara's "HOME SUITE HOME" 

    Welcome back to your Phuket HOME AWAY FROM HOME with our best long stay package for 7 nights or more. Exclusively for Thai Residents & Thai work visa holders. 

    Enjoy even more room with a bedroom upgrade for suites, HKT Airport transfers, breakfast, private chef, massage treatment, and more!

    Starting from THB 5,100+++ per night (based on 7 night minimum stay) Inclusions:

    • Guaranteed bedroom upgrade for suites (ex. 1-bedroom suite upgrade to 2-bedroom suite)
    • Daily Breakfast in the renowned SILK Restaurant overlooking to Andaman Sea for Suite stays
    • Enjoy Breakfast in-villa served by Private villa attendant for Villa stays
    • Daily private chef services (5 hours per day for suites, all day for villas)
    • Welcome basket of grocery and Phuket specialties
    • 60-minute massage at Andara Spa (1 time per adult every 7 nights , subject to the local regulations)
    • Return Phuket Airport transfers
    • Access to resort facilities including Fitness Centre, Kids Club (subject to the local regulations)
    • Guaranteed early check-in and late check-out
    • 20% savings at Andara Spa (subject to the local regulations)
    • 20% off laundry services


    Booking period: until 31 May 2021

    Stay period: until 30 September 2021

    Fact sheet               Andara Overview             Andara Video

  • Tuesday, April 27, 2021 09:59 | Chonnipa Nakpontong (Administrator)
    • Andara's "UPGRADE YOUR WAY"

    • Inclusions : resort credit from 1,500 THB + guaranteed complimentary Suite upgrades and many more : 

    • Exclusive Package for Thai Residents & Thai work permit holders starts from THB 6,235+++ per night

      • Book Terrace Suite, receive guaranteed UPGRADE to Pool Suite
      • Book Pool Suite, receive guaranteed UPGRADE to Penthouse Pool Suite
      •  Suite bookings: stay two nights or more enjoy complimentary Afternoon Tea (one time per stay)
      • Villa bookings: enjoy sultry Southern Thai specialties dinner (one time per stay)
      • Daily Breakfast in the renowned SILK Restaurant overlooking to Andaman Sea for Suite stays
      • Enjoy Breakfast in-villa by Private villa attendant & Chef services for Villa stays
      • Welcome Fruit Platter upon arrival
      • Enjoy Andara’s resort facilities including Fitness Centre, Kids Club (subject to the local regulations)
      • Guaranteed early check-in at noon and late check-out
      • Minimum two nights stay, receive complimentary One way Phuket International airport transfer (one van per way)
      • Minimum three nights stay get complimentary Roundtrip Phuket International airport transfers (one van per way)Add-on: Book now and save THB1,000!  Enjoy in-suite Shabu Hot Pot for two with additional charge of THB2,000 (Original price: THB3,000, inclusive of  applicable taxes & service charge)

     Booking period: until 31 May 2021

     Stay period: until 30 September 2021

    Fact sheet               Andara Overview             Andara Video

  • Monday, April 26, 2021 09:45 | Naphatsorn Kijmongkoltham (Administrator)

    Enjoy the ‘ALATi Up the Road’ mouthwatering three-course set menu, from France, Spain, Italy and Turkey to your doorstep. Executive Chef Carlo Valenziano has created set menus designed to evoke gastronomic memories from the Mediterranean region to tease discerning palates and satisfy every size of appetite.

    For your convenience, a delivery service is available daily between 12:00 and 20:00 hrs via LINE MAN via https://bit.ly/3nGjybn or Foodpanda via https://bit.ly/3v76fF8.

  • Monday, April 19, 2021 09:55 | Chonnipa Nakpontong (Administrator)



    Stay close to home and enjoy exclusive savings in luxurious surrounds in Thailand’s most breathtaking destinations. Treat yourself to a serene escape in Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai, an island getaway in Samui, Koh Phangan or Phuket, or an enchanting staycation in Hua Hin or Bangkok. Take advantage of our extraordinary rates and enjoy a host of exclusive benefits, such as dining delights, spa treatments and authentic local experiences.   

    Book now at https://www.anantara.com/en/thailand-residents-rate
  • Monday, April 19, 2021 09:50 | Chonnipa Nakpontong (Administrator)



    Hit the beach for a chic Hua Hin retreat. Settle into some staycation sophistication in Pattaya or Bangkok. Or get away from it all with an idyllic island escape. Grab a fun-filled Thailand getaway for less with our incredible deals for residents. Not only will you enjoy our exclusive local rates, we’ll also throw in lots of awesome extra perks, like dining treats, welcome drinks, transfers and more!  

    Book now at https://www.avanihotels.com/en/thailand-residents-rate 

  • Thursday, April 15, 2021 14:12 | Anonymous

    There’s a very cool chain of healthy restaurants in Bangkok called Getfresh and they are backed and supported by Stonelotus Ventures, a trio (John Stevens, Derek van Pelt and Dan McKay) who are an integral part of CanCham Thailand.

    But before we get there, we must examine the story of Sid Sehgal (photo above), whose vision was to bring a salad chain to Bangkok. After graduating from the International School of Bangkok (ISB), Sid was accepted at prestigious New York University. Back then, NYU offered 90 first-year international students the chance to study at their campus in Florence, Italy. Sid jumped at the chance, and the students he met there are among his best friends today - twenty of them even flew into Bangkok for his wedding.

    Sid loved Florence, “The food, the people, the art, the vibe of the city – all of it.”

    He also learned about the value of money “Eating out with friends is different than eating out with your parents. You are paying for it, so you need to decide how much you want to spend, and where you want to spend it.”

    Sid’s roommate, Sunny, was a DJ, and Sid joined forces with him at bars and nightclubs, where they worked at to promote events on the weekends.

    When the two moved to New York City, they started a company together called “The A-List” because they wanted to be on the A-List, as it was very difficult to get into popular bars and clubs. They hired sub-promoters, and printed postcards (no smart phones back then). If you brought the postcard to the club, A-List got a cut, the sub-promoter got a cut and the person presenting the ticket got a discount. They started out just helping clubs get busy. Sid’s knack for promotion would later come in very handy in the food and beverage industry.

    Upon graduation from NYU, a family friend visited Sid in the Big Apple; he was an Indian man, Lalit Bakshi, who ran several successful restaurants in Japan. For a week he took Sid out to a different restaurant every night. These were all the restaurants Sid knew of but never had a chance to visit. Sid had become an avid follower of the dining scene, Michelin stars, and the World’s 50 best restaurants. The whole time, Lalit was scoping Sid out to see what kind of restaurateur he would make. Impressed, he eventually became Sid’s partner in Indus, Sid’s Indian restaurant in Bangkok, sending him his first chef from India, and giving him the seed capital and necessary know-how to get the restaurant started. From May-October, the pair made numerous trips to India, traveling around visiting different restaurants. They signed a lease in October, taking over what was then the Whole Earth restaurant.

    Bu we need back up a little because when Sid returned from New York, where he studied economics, finance and marketing, he was thrust into the position of editor of the family run publishing business. This included LOOKEAST, which at that time was the longest running English-language magazine in Thailand; it started in 1971 (other publications included the Thailand Airline Timetable and The Secretary) and ceased publication in 2016. His only other experience in journalism was as the editor of the yearbook at ISB, so his learning curve was steep. When the summer ended, he had originally planned to go back to New York City and look for a job in finance.

    Sid’s partnership with Lalit led to the purchase of the Whole Earth restaurant, which he ran for a year from the ground up, in order to learn how to run a restaurant the hard way. His maternal grandfather C. Rai Narula had owned a restaurant on Sukhumvit Soi 11 called the The Moghul Room and Sid used to visit him often after school - he believes he subconsciously he gained some tips on hospitality from watching his granddad operate.

    Sid recalls, “With the help of my family I was running Lookeast during the day, and working at the restaurant at night: I valet parked, worked as a cashier, server, cook, accountant, I wanted to learn it all.

    “Whole Earth became Indus in 2005. My mom had big role with their interior design, the cutlery, crockery, tableware, and dad helped with accounting and finance. I was involved in the food, the menu planning, the marketing and the training.

    Our family is a little different to other Thai Indian families – we have members of the family from Thailand, Japan, Germany, the US, Venezuela, and Canada.

    I had a deep-seeded motivation for starting an Indian restaurant in Thailand. Being a Thai citizen with Indian heritage I have always felt connected to both countries. Thais and Indians have an ok relationship, but it could be better, I thought the restaurant could help bridge that gap.

    The Thai Perception of Indian food was also based on what was around them, which was shop-house restaurants serving mostly greasy and ‘aromatic’ food.

    I wanted Thai people to experience Indian food the way I had overseas, in restaurants like Tabla and Tamarind in New York City, the Cinnamon Club in London, and Asha’s in Dubai. These are restaurants that have waiting lists for tables, where you would want to take a date to on a Saturday night or celebrate an important occasion. Nothing like that existed in Bangkok at the time. I wanted to change the perception and that’s what I set out to do.”

    Indus has been going for fifteen years now. Many staff have been with the restaurant since day one. Indus also has satellite kiosk in the UN ESCAP building in Bangkok, which is temporarily shut because of COVID.

    Now back to the origins of Getfresh: in 2003, eating crappy junk food, putting on weight, and feeling terrible, tired, and lazy, Sid realized he had to make some lifestyle changes. NYU had a deli called Campus Eatery, where you could get a filling, tasty, and cheap salad for US$4. Sid started eating a healthy lunch every day, immediately lost eight kilos, started working out more and felt much better. He knew then that he wanted to open a chain of salad bars in Bangkok but the city wasn’t ready for that yet.

    Then the fitness craze hit.

    Sid had a long-time friend named Anchit Sachdev, who went to ISB with him and then went onto UCLA. In 2006 the two opened a chain of 13 bakeries called the Bun Factory in Bangalore with India’s Starbucks, Cafe Coffee Day. They ran the company for two years, and then sold it. Anchit went on to open and operate a number of restaurants in Mumbai. He eventually decided to move back to Bangkok, remaining a shareholder in his Mumbai eateries.

    Over time, Sid had become more and more determined to open a salad chain; he had observed Just Salad in New York City, Tossed in Los Angeles, and Prêt a Manger in London. He had also traveled to Dubai, Japan, and Singapore studying how salad chains were run, sitting in their shops for days on end having franchise discussions. But he still needed a partner; Anchit’s return to Bangkok gave him just that. By now, both had close to a decade of experience running restaurants.

    The pair decided to bring a Dressed franchise to Bangkok and opened the first restaurant at The Mercury Ville in September of 2013 (it’s still open today). The chain was founded in Atlanta but regionally based in Hong Kong. As a good franchisee, Sid and Anchit followed the company guidelines to the tee but soon realized the business model wasn’t sustainable in Bangkok, especially in terms of customer preference.

    “We went back to them a couple months later and told them the concept wasn’t working,” recalls Sid. “We were running 60 percent food cost, the layout out of the store wasn’t right; there wasn’t any table service, there were no menu boards, the text-based menu didn’t have photos, and the portions were far too large for Thailand (American-size portions) and the prices were just too high.

    “We told them we needed to make adjustments based on our experience and that if we didn’t make these changes, we wouldn’t survive and we urged them to make changes as well. They said we could go ahead and make changes, but they didn’t and they ended up going out of business a year later and all their franchises went out of business as well. When that happened they told us we were on our own.

    “We continued on our own for awhile until we met the guys from Stonelotus Ventures, who said that they thought with some help, funding and support we could be all over Asia and go from five restaurants to 50, one day. They would buy out our existing investors, and put in additional money as long as Anchit and I re-invested as well.

    “They didn’t have restaurant experience, but they were passionate and all came from different professional backgrounds. Derek is a creative and optimistic person – he supports the business primarily by introducing technology to increase efficiency. John has a strong background in entrepreneurship, marketing and brand management. And Dan McKay has a very solid background in financial management.”

    One of the first things the new team did was some research to see what people thought about the name Dressed. Many associated it with clothing and even those who did know Dressed was in the F&B industry thought it was all about salad dressings.

    But Dressed was more than that; so they decided take the plunge and take it to the next level, by giving the restaurant chain a new name and a new logo, (John Stevens came up with both).

    On 6 Jan 2020, Getfresh was officially launched. The company had five stores before it joined forces with Stonelotus 2 & ½ years ago and now it has 12.

    Dressed had a very fluorescent fast-food look whereas Getfresh has a more earth-tone café appearance with the outlet in the Mall Ngamwongwan being the latest masterpiece, which is set in a glass house and built from the ground up.

    Sid and Anchit are co-MDs of the company with Sid’s focus being on F&B, marketing, ingredient sourcing, and business development. Anchit is focused on operations, accounting, human resources, and purchasing.

    Sid has also served as a judge on Iron Chef Thailand and as a panelist on Asia’s 50 Best and the World’s 50 Best restaurant competitions. To relax, Sid plays tennis, works out, plays horse polo, and he still eats a healthy lunch five days a week.

    What really sets Getfresh apart is the transparency when it comes to knowing where its ingredients come from. Sid and his wife, Narisa, travel domestically throughout the year and visit farms to source ingredients for both Getfresh and Indus. Both brands also have purchasing managers who are constantly on the lookout for suppliers of great ingredients.

    His uncle has an organic farm in Chiang Rai raising free range organic eggs, rice, and chia seeds – under the brands Hilltribe Organic, Perfect Earth, and Urmatt.

    Oh yes, the cost of ordering at Getfresh, very reasonable, a soup and a main course for Bt200. Guess we just have to wait for them to get some organic donuts, eh?

    www.getfresh.co.th, www.indusbangkok.com

  • Thursday, April 15, 2021 14:00 | Anonymous

    Words by Samantha Rae Harriss

    Photos by Samantha Rae Harriss, Kate Waddell, Justin Waddell, and Vicki Waddell

    Queenesh origin story from www.komoks.ca and Comox Valley Indigenous Education (https://indigenouseducation.comoxvalleyschools.ca/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=1064875&type=d&pREC_ID=1357946)

    I wake to the harsh sound of my alarm beeping. It is 4:30am and I have no time to do anything but wipe the sleep from my eyes, dress myself, grab my bag, and jump in my car, driving to the head of the Comox Glacier trail. A challenging 18 kilometre hike to the iconic glacier that overlooks my hometown, the Comox Valley, the Comox Glacier trail is no easy feat with over 2,500m in elevation gain. Nevertheless, on August 16th 2020, my good friend Kate, her family and I decided to attempt the trail.

    The Comox Glacier is an iconic symbol of the Comox Valley, a community of 66,000 on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Its name originates from the K’ómoks First Nation, who have resided in the area for thousands of years and refer to the glacier as Queneesh, meaning whale.

    According to the local First Nations story, the legend of Queneesh describes a great flood that occurred thousands of years ago. In the story of Queneesh, the K’ómoks people had to pile into their canoes as the rain relentlessly fell and flooded the Comox Valley, with the water rising even taller than their totem poles. As the rain continued to pour and the waters rose higher and higher, eventually the water reached the level of the glacier, almost covering it completely. But then, all of a sudden, the glacier began to float and swim through the flood, taking life as a beautiful white whale: Queneesh.

    Soon after, the rain halted and gradually the high waters drained, allowing the K’ómoks people to return to their homes. Looking back to the mountains, Queneesh had settled in place again upon the mountaintops, looking over the Comox Valley like a king on his throne. To this day, the Comox Glacier, or Queenesh, is honoured by the K’ómoks First Nation and is a significant symbol of their origin story on the land.

    Growing up almost my entire life in the Comox Valley, the Comox Glacier was a focal point of the landscape of my childhood and youth. From Glacier Greens Golf Course and the local Glacier Kings hockey team to roads named Glacier View Drive or Queneesh Road, references to the great glacier overlooking the Comox Valley can be found all over town. Even my elementary school was named Queneesh Elementary, after the huge white whale. Looking up to the glacier in admiration and awe nearly every day, from childhood right up until when I moved away for university, the view of the mountains and the icy mass resting on top became both a comforting scene of home as well as a revered and mysterious place ever so slightly out of reach. It wasn’t until my friend Kate proposed the idea of hiking up to the glacier that I realized it was even possible to experience this looming ice form, such a strong symbol of home for me, from a closer perspective. After some research we discovered it was possible to hike to the glacier as either a day hike or a multi-day overnight trip, and we instantly committed to completing the hike later that summer.

    It’s now 6am on August 16, and I’ve driven the long and rough logging road to the trailhead where I meet Kate, her mum, and her brother. We’ve ambitiously decided to attempt the trail to the glacier as a day hike, knowing that the logging gates will close at 8pm- regardless of whether or not we’ve made it back to the car in time. The sun is slowly rising in the sky and gradually warming the air as we begin to trek through the trees, gaining elevation quickly as we move through seemingly endless uphill switchbacks. I still shiver in my shorts and t-shirt, the trees’ shade sheltering us from the light, and I already know this is going to be a demanding and physically exhausting day. My body is pumping adrenaline and I’m working hard to keep pace with the others, a little nervous about the long hike ahead, but ultimately excited by the thought that I might get to reach what has become a distinct symbol of my hometown and life in the Comox Valley.

    By about 8am we had reached the end of the switchbacks and had made it to an elevation of about 1300m at the top of the ridge leading toward the glacier. Pausing briefly to admire the view from our new position, we soon carried on, marching along the ridge with eager anticipation. Century Sam Lake, a popular short day hike leaving from a similar trailhead as the glacier trail, came into view and we looked down at the tiny figures of hikers surrounding the turquoise-blue lake hundreds of meters below. So high above, we already felt a sense of accomplishment in the ground we had covered. The glacier was now clearly in view, visibly in reach, yet we still had a long way to go.

    With the sun rising higher and higher in the sky, we continued to move with urgency; the possibility of not reaching the glacier with enough time to hike back to the car and drive past the logging gates before their closure was in the back of our minds. We marched on, both losing and gaining elevation rapidly as we climbed down multiple steep gullies and scrambled back up with ropes on the other side. Finally we completed the last descent, before a big push up the rock face to the top of the glacier; legs aching with exhaustion from the relentless up and down peaks, I slogged steadily upward toward the snow.

    And just like that, after about 5 and a half hours of gruelling hiking, scrambling, and climbing, we finally stood atop the Comox Glacier. Looking around at the panorama of rocky mountains, snow and ice, forested valleys, and the little urban conglomeration of the Comox Valley was an incredible feeling. To stand on the glacier that I’ve admired every day growing up, and to see my home from above, is a feat that few others can say they have done. We refuelled with lunch atop the glacier, bathing in accomplishment and the hot sunlight. A slight wind cooled our bodies as we sat on a rocky outcrop eating, enjoying the few moments we could spare on the peak before beginning the descent to the car. My legs throbbed intensely from the stress of the final uphill scramble, but the feeling of making it to the top and looking out over the landscape overrode any pain I was feeling in the moment. We had made it, and it felt amazing.

    Our downhill climb went much quicker than anticipated, and we easily reached the car in time to make it past the logging gates. The final leg of the hike down the endless switchbacks in the trees was a brutal test for our knees and mental strength; exertion, hunger, and aching was at an apex. Eventually, ten hours after setting out that morning, we returned to the trailhead and celebrated our great feat.

    We made the long and bumpy drive back into town and headed straight for Goose Spit, one of our favourite local swimming beaches, where we rinsed our sweaty bodies of the day’s grime in the salty ocean water. In a perfect end to a demanding but beautiful day, I lay back floating in the water, gazing up at the outline of the mountains with the sun fading behind. My eyes drifted to the figure of the glacier, the great white whale Queneesh, and the feeling of knowing I was standing there just hours before brought a smile to my face.

    Now, every time I return home and see the glacier, I am reminded of my summer trek with Kate and her family to the summit. That hike was one of the most challenging trails I’ve ever hiked, one of the most awe-inspiring, and one of the most rewarding. Reaching the summit and gazing down at the valley I grew up in below, and then being able to always look back up at the same icy summit and know that at one point I was there... it’s a phenomenal feeling. Ultimately, it’s a sense of accomplishment that many can relate to: the mental and physical exhaustion of putting yourself to a difficult task, working hard to accomplish it, and upon reaching that summit--maybe one that once felt entirely out of reach--feeling wholly satisfied and content.

  • Thursday, April 15, 2021 13:53 | Anonymous

    For Smiling Albino, a boutique luxury travel company based in Bangkok, the concept of innovation is nothing new. As a group of creative thinkers constantly looking to challenge the status quo, the team at this luxe-meets-adventure outfitter is much more than a group of professionals that know the ins and outs of how best to experience Southeast Asia. Often foregoing the buzzwords associated with big business—product, sales, operations—they instead prefer the likes of "adventure engineers" and "experience designers." So when the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by storm in early 2020, particularly hitting hard the travel and tourism industry, the team at Smiling Albino's shift in focus was requisite to survive.

    Pivot, change, and innovation have been champion words of 2020, and now, 2021. The world looks different than it did in the years leading up to 2020. What used to work is less relevant for now. As the team at Smiling Albino often say, "that's so 2019!" And with that mentality driving their forward momentum, it's been this flexible thinking that has allowed them to not only survive but to thrive, while Thailand's borders have remained closed.

    Of their new avenues in the pursuit of riding out the pandemic's unknown lifespan, Smiling Albino has changed itself from a travel outfitter that welcomes guests from around the world to a "by locals for locals" neighbourly business. As Smiling Albino calls it, they’ve been "going local." Though by their definition, "going local" doesn't mean what you may think. For Smiling Albino, their definition of "local" rejoices in the characteristic of a place. "We have always prided ourselves in going beyond the surface: introducing guests to the noodle shop owners, giving them backstage access to the nitty-gritty of Bangkok. And this is exactly what we've been doing for our neighbours and friends. We've been digging a layer deeper to have places like Bangkok re-appeal to locals and expats," says Daniel Fraser, CEO & Co-Founder of the Ramhamhaeng-based crew.

    Though it isn't just Bangkok they've been sharing with those who are lucky enough to call Thailand their home while the pandemic still controls much of the world. Smiling Albino has also been exposing destinations that tend not to cross the minds of weekend-trippers looking for a break. "Going local also means exploring areas in-depth that may not have been high on the bucket list; places like Phayao, Phrae, and Lamphun. These destinations are culturally-copious with so much to offer."

    And it was in these Northern Thailand locales that they've been reimagining how travelers experience the destination. Always focused on challenging the conventions of what travel is, it was in 2020 that Smiling Albino pulled off one of the wildest travel experiences Thailand has ever seen. This was exhibited when Smiling Albino re-imagined a railway journey between Lamphun and Phrae. Labeled "The Curious Carriage," the team put together a 5-hour train experience that was far more than an excursion by sidecar. Traveling in a privately hired train bogie with on-board performances, a revue show, free-flow bar, seated dinner, and a slew of surprises, the journey was a loco-emotive experience that transported guests into a whimsical fantasy world.

    "We've always focused on making our experiences about more than destinations, and this is especially true when hosting adventures for locals. It's been the antidote to domestic familiarity." Their most recent experiences, such as December’s outrageous train escapade, have been aimed at surprises, surrealism, and unbridled fun.

    When hosting a group of some of the country's most well-traveled locals at the end of last year, Smiling Albino delivered on its goal to share "beyond the norm" moments. From value-add gimmicks that included personalized airline safety cards in the guests' seatback pockets, to dramatic surprises, and even nightly personalized pillow cards written by none other than the guests' dogs. The mission was to create the experience of a lifetime. And no idea was too zany. No stone was left unturned for the dream makers at Smiling Albino.

    So what does the future look like for the innovators that still aren't able to welcome their usual clients back into the wonders of Southeast Asia? "We're planning [more] new experiences in Thailand's lesser-visited realms. Our latest focus is Isaan," said Fraser. While many are itching to get out of the country, the team at Smiling Albino is taking this time to go deeper and further afield to highlight more of Thailand's underexplored villages, crafts, personalities and natural wonders.

    Thailand's largest region, Isaan is more often than not overlooked. "Isaan is a mysterious region for both expats and Thais. Many people aren't familiar with the varied cultures and diverse ethnic groups. Southern Isaan is also home to stunning Khmer ruins, which can feel like you've crossed the Cambodian border without having to leave the country." And it's these paragons that Smiling Albino is committed to sharing.

    While the travel world [extremely anxiously] awaits the opening of borders, the focus for Smiling Albino's team is always forward. Reinvention and innovation fuel the creative fires at Smiling Albino. This has been true since day one over twenty years ago and that drive has only multiplied as they've had to face adversity head-on. The COVID-19 pandemic has re-energized the company to explore and deliver the promise they set out to since its early days: deliver joy, deliver value, and think differently.

    In their own words, "A Smiling Albino trip might be one of the most special trips of our guests' lives. It's different. Before they show up, they may not really grasp what's been created for them. But, when they’re done, they’ll notice the difference between what they thought was good travel and what is Smiling Albino travel. They'll have seen a different part of the world, differently, and it's those 'memory bank moments' that we've orchestrated that keep us creating."

    Want to learn more about travel with Smiling Albino? Visit them at www.smilingalbino.com.

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