Thursday, 29 September 2011

Design for all, Society for accessible travel and hospitality

SATH, Society of Accessibility
for Travel and Hospitality, USA
September 2011
Design for all, India

A few months ago Mrs. Jani Nayar invited us to write an article about accessibility for the disabled traveller in Thailand. Mrs. Nayar is executive coordinator of SATH (Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality) in New York and was guest editor of the September newsletter from Design for all in India. We were very honoured with her request and happy about the possibility to promote accessible travel in Thailand.

In our article we wrote about accessible (public) transport, accessible accommodations and accessibility of tourist sights in whole Thailand, but mainly in Bangkok and Hua Hin.

Go here to read the article, page 55 to 64.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Review of Australian guest in Accessible Holidays Apartment

A review of our Australian guest in wheelchair accessible Apartment. He travelled with his Thai wife and daughter. We like to thank him for this review and hope to meet him again in Hua Hin.

Travel! Just do it!

If you have a disability, especially one requiring a wheelchair, the trepidation and anxiety that can fill your mind can be enough to put you off going anywhere.

Even when you do commit it’s hard to muster that natural excitement you should be allowed when going abroad. On the flipside the rewards for ‘just doing it!’ can be well worth it and to get some peace of mind before setting off- Research!

My recent trip to Hua Hin in Thailand was wonderful and it came down to the homework I did. You are not the only one in the world with a disability who wants to enjoy their life. Duh!  I found a couple from Holland who have a villa and an apartment in Hua Hin that I could rest assured was wheelchair accessible as he needs it to be as he has muscular atrophy. And they have thought of everything from roll-in showers, electric beds, private pool hoist, air-con, beach wheelchairs, portable ramps, airport transfers and transport in an accessible van right through to recommending a competent nursing agency that can assist anyone who requires it.

Hua Hin itself is a quite laid back and mellow town when compared to Bangkok, Pattaya or Phuket. It is where the King lives and where many Thai people themselves choose to holiday. Thai hospitality in my opinion is unsurpassed and Hua Hin is a non-threatening place not so renowned for sex tourism as other places. The healthy fresh seafood and Thai offerings are a sumptuous delight and combined with swimming and massages I left with more vitality than I arrived with no doubt.

Not all the shops are accessible and the curbs can be high but if cautious you can just use the roads and find the places you can get into, like wonderful restaurants on stilts where the water is lapping under you and the seafood is still alive in brine tanks nearby. That’s fresh! Go onto the jetty and watch the boats come in or right near the apartment you have the night market for shopping and more eateries. Don’t be afraid to get a real cheap feed from the street vendors either- satay sticks, dried and rolled flat squid and banana roti’s or corn on the cob with spiced sugar, Thai grapefruit with a sugar/chili blend. Yum!

I write this for anyone who thinks of travelling but lets the perceived difficulties get in their way. Yes things can go wrong and awkward moments may arise but that goes for anybody disabled or not. The comforts of home are great but so are the experiences to be had away from your own doorstep.

Hanneke Fronik

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Food for winners, survivors of the fittest.

Elephant Polo Tournament
King's Cup Hua Hin
5 September 2011

Last Monday a great spectacle began and was present with a few guests of their wheelchair accessible accommodations to witness the ceremonial opening of the King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament in Hua Hin. We saw the Parade and the Elephant buffet and were amazed how well trained  these elephants were and how close we could get to make some pictures.

Twelve international teams will compete for the King's Cup. From Tuesday till Sunday matches will be held with the semi-finals on Saturday and the finals on Sunday.  A Royal Representative will handover the King's Cup to the winner. More information about the matches and the rules can be found in this booklet.

The tournament is held on the Somdej Phra 16th Infantry Division Suriyothai Camp in Hua Hin opposite Suan Son Beach. Just follow the road signs after the flyover and you will get their. The entrance is free and it is wheelchair accessible. Only keep in mind that the tournament is held on grass grounds and although it is fairly smooth it can be a bit bumpy to you and your wheelchair. And in case you use a manual wheelchair you might need some assistance.

A few tips. It is an open area fully exposed to the sun and rain. So take at least a hat, sun screen, drinking water and a umbrella with you to see these giant suvivors of the fittest.

Have fun.