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Sunday, March 29th 2020.


Anja De HaenIT&CMA 2009
One night in Bangkok… is not enough!


By Anja De Haen, BCD Travel, Head of MICE Benelux


Did you know that Thais will hardly ever call their capital city Bangkok? Some of them in the more remote provinces may even never have heard of it being called that. Locals always refer to their capital as “Krung Thep” which means something like “City of Angels” – whereas Bangkok literally translates into “Village of Wild Plums” …

Krung Thep actually is short for a very long ceremonial full name – certified as the longest place name in the world in the Guinness book of records: Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.

This full name translates to a string of superlatives: The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (of Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn.



Now you know…

bangkok bangkok bangkok
bangkok bangkok bangkok
bangkok bangkok bangkok


From October 6th through 8th, the 17th edition of IT&CMA (Incentive Travel & Conventions, Meetings Asia) took place at the Bangkok Convention Centre at CentralWorld in Downtown Bangkok.

This year, the trade show attracted 265 exhibiting companies and organizations from 33 countries. The majority of exhibitors originated from the Asia-Pacific region but suppliers from the USA, Europe, South America and Africa were present as well – all very eager to meet the 435 Buyers, both MICE planners and Corporate Travel Managers from about 40 different countries.

Amongst the hosted buyers was a small group of Belgian MICE organizers, invited by BBT Online on behalf of IT&CMA: Isabelle Deniaud (MCI), Dominique Vermeirsch (Master Events), Anouk Carryn (ACTE Travel & Events), Frank Bouckaert (De Buck Incentives) and myself. BBT Online’s own Karin de Graauw was our host for the occasion, turning the trip into a “Six Belgians in Bangkok” experience… No need to say that one night in Bangkok indeed would not have been enough!


bangkok bangkok bangkok
bangkok bangkok bangkok
bangkok bangkok bangkok
bangkok bangkok bangkok


Our travels took us via Munich to Bangkok, onboard one of Thai Airways International’s recent aircraft, the Airbus A340-600. A real treat, even in economy class: a comfortable 2-4-2 configuration, plenty of leg space and an individual in-flight entertainment system. This type of aircraft however offers limited seating capacity in economy class, forcing the airline to switch back to the “older”, but bigger, Boeing 747-400 to operate its MUC-BKK route this winter season. But regardless the aircraft type, Thai Airways International remains one of the best airlines to service the East! During the 2009-2010 winter season, it offers daily direct flights to Bangkok, originating from Frankfurt (twice daily!), Munich and Paris CDG. And even when all these routes are B747-400 operated, passengers can still enjoy the excellent service, the nice catering and the typical Thai hospitality that the airline of the “Land Of Smiles” is so famous for - !

Being a first time visitor, IT&CMA – proved itself to me as a small and well organized trade show. Fully hosted buyers receive complimentary round trip economy class air ticket to/from Host Destination, 4 or 5 night’s 5-star hotel accommodation with breakfast and a 50% reduction on the registration fee of 300$ – provided that at least 75% of their pre-scheduled appointments (PSA) are realized. Other advantages include free evening functions and the possibility to take part in a selection of pre- and post tours at no or very limited cost of 100$. And all revenues of these tours are donated entirely to official charitable institutions... A nice initiative indeed! 

Unfortunately, in my case, the PSA were less well organized. Only about 30% of my requested appointments got confirmed, whereas another 40% of my agenda got stuffed with exhibitors that wanted to meet with me, but in whom I had little or no interest at all. And even during the “Sellers meet Buyers” session the day prior to the show, it was the “Sellers” who decided which “Buyers” they wanted to meet. In my opinion it should be the Buyers – even fully hosted – who decide whom to meet or not.


Mandarin hotel Mandarin hotel Mandarin hotel
Mandarin hotel Mandarin hotel Mandarin hotel


But of course there was more to Bangkok than just IT&CMA. Karin de Graauw turned out to be a great host and showed us Bangkok from a very professional MICE-planner’s point of view! On the first evening, she took us on a site inspection followed by dinner and a high standard cultural show at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok - and on day 2 BBT Online invited us all for excellent cocktails and dinner at “Fifty Five Red Sky” – the absolute TOP roof top venue in Bangkok, located at the Sofitel  Centara Grand Hotel -, our home away from home in Bangkok. And of course nightly site inspections (?!) of the renown Sirocco and Vertigo rooftop bars and restaurants were on the program as well!


Red sky Red sky
Red sky Red sky


No need to say that I really wanted to offer something in return! So when Ludovic Gallerne, Brand Director of Sales & Marketing, and Francis Zimmerman, General Manager of the Marriott Bangkok Resort & Spa invited me for a full site inspection of the only resort hotel in Bangkok, followed by its famous dinner cruise on the Chao Praya River, I did not hesitate to get “the girls” invited as well (Frank had continued his trip to Australia). A perfect way to celebrate our last night in Bangkok!   

When in Bangkok, even during a five day stay, it is difficult to experience a dull moment! Every single free minute of our program was filled with relaxing, active, fun and/or professional activities. Listing everything we did is impossible, but when travelling to Bangkok, make sure to stay more that that famous “one night” and give the following suggestions a try: 

Hotels worth checking out:


A very interesting restaurant:
Suea Norn King, (“Chilled Out Tigers”) – Eat, drink and be merry, just like the locals!
no website, address Sukhumvit 31, Bangkok – tel +66 (0)2 662 1779


Site seeing:
City tour by longtail boat:
See why Bangkok used to be called “the Venice of the East” by exploring its canals and the communities that still live on them, right in the heart of the modern metropolis.

Cycle Tour Chinatown:
Take a fascinating glimpse into the Bangkok of old.

Tuk tuk ride:
Get ready for the sticky climate, choking exhaust fumes and a rough ride – a must when in Bangkok!  

Baiyoke Sky Tower:
Enjoy the city view from the 85th floor.


Bike tour


Chatuchak Market:
Bangkok’s famous weekend market, covering 35 acres of land with over 15,000 stalls and more than 200,000 visitors every Saturday and Sunday.

MBK Center:
Considered by the locals to be Bangkok's best shopping mall. It's where they go for the real bargains as well as designer specials, seconds and fakes.

CentralWorld Shopping Complex
The mall of superlatives: the best, the biggest, the newest, the most modern, ...


And definitely do not forget:
Thai massages, oil massages, pedicures, manicures, ...


Are you interested to join BBT Online’s Hosted Buyer Group in 2010? Send us an email to

OCTOBER, 5 – 7 (2010)




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