By Phoowadon Duangmee
With an unusual large-format layout, fascinating features and stunning travel photos, it's not surprisingly that the Lonely Planet Magazine is one of the best selling travel mags on the market. Many will have seen the English version in bookshops but now, with the launch of the Thai edition, we have our very own destination-drenched pages over which to drool.
"We want to inspire everyone to travel," says the editor of Lonely Planet Magazine (Thailand), Rathasiam Sinlakhun. "With Lonely Planet's great resources and global editorial teams, the Thai edition of Lonely Planet magazine gives informative content as well as making great sense of travel for Thai readers."
Founded by Maureen Wheeler and Tony Wheeler, Lonely Planet enjoyed enormous success with its guidebooks before BBC Worldwide brought up 75 per cent of the shares from the Australian couple. The company introduced the monthly Lonely Planet Magazine in 2009 with the aim of making inroads into the lifestyle and travel market. Within three years, the magazine has earned great respect in the industry and has given birth to several different foreign editions and now has offspring in Argentina, India and France.
"The Thai edition is the 11th in the Lonely Planet Magazine family," says Rathasiam. "Imagine Lonely Planet's photographers and travel writers trotting around the world: We have sufficient travel tales and photos to give anyone wanderlust."
The large format gives the magazine a coffee table book quality and its 190 pages cover global destinations through features, photo essay, news updates and round-ups of hot places and destinations.
The September issue put Bhutan on the cover, and almost 30 pages of the magazine are devoted to the Himalayan kingdom. The stunning pictures portraying high and mystic snowy ranges and young priests in burgundy-coloured robes make you want to spend your life savings on a week's trip to Bhutan (or at least buy copy of the "Lonely Planet: Bhutan" guidebook). But it's not just all about stunning photos. The travel-tales and content are well worth your reading time.
"Unlike a travel diary kind of story, Lonely Planet magazine focuses on content. We inspire you, of course, and we also guide you how to get there and where to spend your time in a particular destination," says the editor, who wrote a piece on Bhutan for the September issue.
The Thai edition, according to the editorial team in Bangkok, is different from the English edition - which is also available at leading bookstores. It attributes 65 per cent of international content, with the rest contributed by the local editorial team.
"The Thai edition is tailor-made for Thai readers," Rathasiam explains. "We've designed the magazine to fit with local orientation. Unlike the Americans and Europeans, Thai people don't take long leave but travel for long weekends. So we give them some idea what to do in certain places and the city. In the September issue, for example, we published "52 ideas for weekends in Thailand" with an informative guide for independent travellers.
The magazine also educates its readers to be smart travellers. It gives some tips to avoid scams and travel traps when you're hitting the road. Readers will also find choices for alternative and green travel.
The Thai edition costs Bt100 a copy and comes out monthly.