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Contestants in the Miss Grand International pageant have spent the past week soaking up Thai sights and culture

WITH THIS YEAR’S Miss Grand International to be crowned in Bangkok tomorrow, the 78 contestants have been touring parts of the country – probably seeing more of it than most of us have – much to the delight of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
Cameras have followed the lovely young ladies everywhere, including a slew of public appearances during the four-day “beauty camp” in eastern Trat province that began their stay. As well as being coached on stage presentation, they learned a lot about local culture and got to see the islands offshore.
Urban Trat is one of the “12 Cities You Can’t Say No To”, according to the Tourism Authority’s current “Fall in Love with Thailand” campaign, and Wichian Sapcharoen, director of the local Provincial Administrative Office, was there to give them a warm welcome.
Wichian guided the contestants through an exhibition on King Rama V’s visit to the province a century ago and treated them to a show of folk dancing, which the girls naturally wanted to try, aided by Miss Grand Thailand 2015, Rattikorn “Pormai” Kunsom. They also joined 100 cyclists for a tour of the city and stopped at the Trat Museum, ending the day by putting on a fashion show.
“This is my first time in Thailand,” said Tatana Makarenko of the Czech Republic. “I was always amazed by what my friends told me about the beauty of Thailand, and I’d seen it on TV, but I’m still really impressed by the friendliness and all the smiles.”
The following day the contestants dived into “Dream Island Thai Culture” – the theme this year’s pageant. They got a crash course in history and observed first-hand the way of life in Baan Nam Chiew, a fishing community, and learned how ngob hats are made from sugar palm leaves. 
The afternoon featured a ferry ride to Koh Chang and Koh Mak, where they viewed an organic-vegetable plantation and visited a museum. Then they boarded speed boats to Koh Kut to learn how coral reefs are protected and to Koh Kham to release juvenile sea turtles. On the final day in Trat the ladies donned swimsuits for a catwalk show at the pool of the Kacha Resort & Spa on Koh Chang. 
Next it was off to Samut Songkhram for a showing of their national costumes, a sight surely never witnessed by King Rama II, whose statue dominates the memorial park established in his name in Amphawa district. Thai hopeful Pormai wore a “Chantha Kinnari” outfit inspired by the half-bird, half-human creature from the Jataka tales. It was designed by Myriad Grand Monde.
Judges loved the costume, and named Pormai among the 20 winners. The others were the representatives of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Suriname, Haiti, Sri Lanka, India, Nigeria, Guyana, Ghana, the Dominican Republic, Scotland, Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico, Peru, Japan, Kenya and Tonga.
- Miss Grand International 2015 will be crowned tomorrow at the Hua Mark Indoor Stadium, the culmination of a show beginning at 7pm and being broadcast live on Channel 7 and streamed around the world via

Published : October 23, 2015