Flight from Munich to Bangkok


First solo flight around the world
Aviator Friedrich Karl von Koenig-Warthausen who flew the first ever solo flight around the world was born in Munich in 1906. In 1928 President Hindenburg of Germany announced a cash prize of 10000 Marks and the Hindenburg Cup that would be given to any amateur pilot who would complete a sporting flight around the world. Determined to win this hefty cash prize and the prestigious cup, Friedrich requested his parents to buy him a Klemm L 20B aircraft and set off on his journey from Munich. He had a great wish to see the Taj Mahal of India and hence he chose to fly down the Southeast Asian route. He landed in Bangkok in the middle of a tropical thunderstorm and got stranded. While in Bangkok, he met King Prajadhipok who gave him a Thai cat as a present. Friedrich named the cat Tanim and took it on his flight. The Bangkok cat was with Friedrich till the end of the journey. So an aviator from Munich and a cat from Bangkok flew together on the first ever solo flight of the world setting up a flying bond between Munich and Bangkok.

Of hotels and royals
Kempinski hotel headquartered in Munich, is one of the oldest hotels of Europe and was established by Berthold Kempinski. As he didn’t have a direct heir, he gave away this property to his son-in-law, who made Kempinski a popular hotel chain worldwide. Today, the major shareholder of Kempinski hotel group is Crown Property Bureau of Bangkok directed by Bangkok’s royal family. Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn often stays at Kempinski. The hotel is now being redesigned by German architect Helmut Jahn. This chain has properties in Abu Dhabi and China too. Kempinski is known to host famous celebrities from the west who take flights to these hotels to savour their oriental charm. So, Kempinski connects Munich and Bangkok through its hoteliers’ services.

Saga of the Royal Thai aircraft
Bangkok’s crown prince King Maha Vajiralongkorn has always led a scandalous life and often made headlines. In 2011 the German Judicial Authority of Munich seized his Boeing 737 aircraft. The Thai government had €30 million debt, so Vajiralongkorn’s aircraft was impounded. The Bangkok royal family was shocked at the news and called the act highly inappropriate. King Maha Vajiralongkorn announced he would pay off 20 million euro himself to clear the debt. Vajiralongkorn often took his own Boing 737 jet for a flight from Munich to Bangkok as he lived in Munich with his youngest son. He married and divorced thrice. After his last divorce, he even sent his wife and her family to prison and took away his youngest son with him to Munich. Though he and his son were not allowed to attend the cremation ceremony of his father King Maha Bhumibol, as per tradition he was declared king at the age of 64. The residents of Bangkok are not fond of King Maha Vajiralongkorn. He happens to be the oldest king ever, in the history of Bangkok’s royal dynasty.

Actor married in Munich died in Bangkok
Hollywood actor David Carradine was born in 1936 in an affluent family of the silver screen. All his relatives were associated with acting. His father Kohn Carradine was a marvellous actor of his time. David Carradine played both major and minor movie roles and also performed on stage. His career included more than hundred feature films, Broadway performances and stage theatres. He gained popularity as the peace loving monk Shaolin on television series Kung Fu. Carradine shared a special connect with Munich and Bangkok. He married his wife Linda in a civil ceremony in Munich. The Ju Jujutsu club of Munich also made David Carradine their honorary member. He often took flights to Bangkok to spend holidays. His connection with Bangkok is tragic as he breathed his last in the city he loved. He died in Bangkok’s Swissotel Park hotel in 2009.

Hitting the bull’s eye
Wu Liuxi is a Chinese shooter born in Weinan. She was selected for the national team at 20 after outperforming two ace Chinese shooters, Du LI and Zao Yinghui. She won two back to back gold medals in the World Cup Finals, the first in Munich in 2005 and next in Bangkok in 2008. She has three gold, three silver and three bronze medals in her kitty which she won by defeating world class players. Wu Liuxi held a national record of 386 points in China. She never missed the top spot in the national championship series. Both Munich and Bangkok proved lucky for her and every time she takes a flight from Munich to Bangkok, she must be remembering her gold medals that she won in these two cities.

Olympic link
Mullera Poovayya Ganesh, an Indian Hockey player was born in Karnataka in 1946. He is a legendary sports personality who has won several awards of excellence. He was also a brilliant student and did his Masters in Arts before joining the Indian Army. While serving the army, Ganesh started playing hockey and in 1970, he was selected in the Indian National Hockey team. He became captain and represented India in the Asian games, World Cup finals and Olympic Games. His first ever international medal was at the 1970 Asian Games held in Bangkok where he won a silver medal. In 1972 he won his second silver medal at the Munich Olympics. While taking a flight to Munich he must have thought if he would be as lucky as he was at the Bangkok Asian Games. Both cities proved to have changed his destiny for the better. Ganesh later became the coach of India’s National Hockey team that went on to win gold at the Moscow Olympics in 1989. He was on the coaching committee in the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games. Ganesh received the Arjuna Award from the Indian government for his excellent performances in his sporting career.