Tourism in Cha-am Benefits from the 14th ASEAN Summit (25/02/2009)
Cha-am district in Phetchaburi province, the venue for the 14th ASEAN Summit, will be known more widely in the international community as one of Thailand’s major tourism destinations. Local residents are now ready to welcome all visitors for the summit.

The Mayor of Cha-am Municipality, Mr. Nukul Pornsomboonsiri, said that leaders of the 10 ASEAN countries would gather at the Dusit Thani Hua Hin Hotel in Cha-am from February 27 to March 1. During this period, more than 700 people, comprising ASEAN delegations and members of the media, are expected to stay at both Cha-am and the nearby district of Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan. Cha-am would accommodate altogether 2,000 people involved in the summit.

The Mayor said that the summit would contribute to economic and tourism growth in Cha-am. It was estimated that more than 400 million baht would circulate in Cha-am and Hua Hin during the summit. Out of this amount, about 100 million baht is expected to be spent on hotel accommodation and the remaining 300 million baht on tourism products and services.

About 120 kilometers from Bangkok, a drive of only two hours, Phetchaburi province boasts many tourism attractions. Among its natural attractions, the province is notable for Cha-am beach resort. This tranquil beach is a favorite among both Thai and foreign visitors. Cha-am is famous for Mrigadayavan Palace, the “royal home of love and hope” of King Vajiravudh, or Rama VI, who ruled the Thai Kingdom from 1910 to 1925. Local residents take pride in this beautiful palace, which will be the venue for a gala dinner for ASEAN leaders and their spouses at 7:00 p.m. on February 28.

Mrigadayavan Palace is located in the compound of the Special Training Division, Rama VI Camp, in Huai Nua subdistrict. It was built by King Vajiravudh, who drew the preliminary design in the sand, and then appointed the then Interior Minister, Chao Phraya Yommarat, Pan Sukhum, construction project director. Mr. Ercole Manfredi, an Italian architect, who worked for the Civil Works Department, was also entrusted with the construction of the palace,

King Vajiravudh’s intention was to build the summer palace for his provincial tours. The palace consists of 16 golden teak buildings, and most of the construction materials were brought from Bangkok. The high ceilings of the buildings, raised well above the ground, facilitate ventilation and make the most of sea breezes. There are open corridors connecting all the building clusters.

Construction of the palace began in 1923 and was completed in 1924. King Vajiravudh named the palace “Mrigadayavan,” meaning the “hog deer forest,” which came from the name of the park where the Buddha gave his first sermon. Most of the furniture and other accessories are still found in their original places. The palace is included in the list of Thailand’s national heritage sites and draws the attention of a great number of visitors to Phetchaburi.

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