The Kingdom of Thailand rejoices at the celebration of Their Majesties the King and Queen’s fifty-third wedding anniversary
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great and Her
Majesty Queen Sirikit will celebrate Their 53rdwedding anniversary on
Monday, April 28.
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Mom Rajawongse
Sirikit Kitayakara were married by Her Majesty Queen Sawang Vadhana, the
paternal grandmother of His Majesty, at the Sra Pathum Palace in Bangkok on
April 28, 1950.
Mom Rajawongse Sirikit, the daughter of the Thai
Ambassador to France Mom Chao Nakkhatmongkol Kitayakara and Mom Luang Bua
Sanitwongse, met the soon-to-be-King at the Thai Embassy in Paris in 1948.
They were engaged to be married at the Windsor Hotel in Lausanne,
Switzerland on July 19, 1949.
They returned to Thailand during the government of Prime
Minister Field Marshal Pibul Songkhram and a stunningly beautiful marriage
ceremony was held while the Thai military forces formed to honor and salute
the Royal Couple.
Following the Royal marriage, His Majesty King Bhumibol
Adulyadej the Great ascended the throne, becoming the ninth King of Thailand
in the Chakri Dynasty with all the pomp and pageantry befitting a Royal
coronation on May 5, 1950.
Their Majesties have four children, HRH Princess Ubolratana, HRH Crown
Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and HRH
Muangsamut Road residents complaining over water shortages
Summer water shortages have riled local residents.
According to an official, the Water Works authority has been repairing water
pipes following breakages during the past months. “They are very old and
deteriorated pipes so they frequently break; however, the authority has been
allocated a budget for repair, replacement and improvement work,” he told Chiangmai
water pipes in front of the Muangsamut Bangkok Bank. A waterworks official
told Chiangmai Mail that help is on the way.
Work on improving the water pipes around the city is expected to be
finished by September. The water authority is already working along the 69
roads, replacing existing cement pipes that are old and broken. Residents in
the meantime will just have to be patient.
Eco-tourism being promoted in
Ban Mae Kampong and Banpong
The Tourism Authority of Thailand, Chiang Mai office is
promoting sustainable eco-tourism of two interesting places - Ban Mae
Kampong in San Kamphaeng District and Banpong community in San Sai District
to both domestic and foreign tourists this year.
Ban Mae Kampong, located in San Kamphaeng District, is a
small community surrounded by mountains and beautiful scenery. Mon Lan is an
important mountain for the community for it is the water source of many
rivers, such as the Mae Kampong Waterfall, the Tad Moei Waterfall and the
mountain provides many trekking tracks for jungle tourists.
Meanwhile, TAT officials told Chiangmai Mail that
Banpong community, a village outstanding for its Agro-Ecotourism, is a
cooperative between the villagers and Mae Jo University.
There are many interesting activities in both Banpong and
Ban Mae Kampang communities, including agricultural product demonstrations,
flowering shrubs and decorative plants, walking or bicycling along trekking
routes to study nature, and experiencing local life style.
180 Sato bottles in Lampang
Unfortunately they will be empty
The Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment has
swung in behind the first Sato (local liquor) Ceramic Bottle contest to
support the economy in Lampang. The contest will be held May 3-7 at
Boonyawat School in Lampang.
Anurak Napawan, president of the Federation of Thai
Industry, Lampang Province, said the contest would be arranged in accordance
with Lampang’s integrated development schemes. The province will use over
1.3 million baht and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment has
already provided 500,000 baht.
In the school area, there will be a Sato liquor
exhibition and 180 Sato bottles in the contest will be on display at the
Boonchu Trithong multi-purpose hall. There will also be a fair in the
grounds. Demonstration of distilling Sato will also be shown.
Hill tribes to get their own radio programs
Radio Thailand Chiang Mai is hoping to produce a regular
program for hill tribes, broadcasting in their own languages. Bamrung
Siriwat, director of Radio Thailand Chiang Mai disclosed that the
project’s hill tribes language program, aired through AM 1476 KHz on Radio
Thailand, has been popular and has received good feedback from listeners.
The team consists of announcers from each tribe - Hmong,
Akha, Yao, Karen, Thai Yai, Lisu and Lahu. The pilot program is being
divided into two periods: April 30-May 2 in Chiang Rai, Phayao and Nan
provinces and May 7-9 in Lamphun and Chiang Mai provinces.
Free red busses for Chiang Mai
As long as it’s to the Central Airport Plaza
Central Airport Plaza is providing free public bus
transportation for customers who want to go shopping at their department
stores. There are five routes, with every one naturally leading to Central
The first route runs from Chiang Mai University - Ton Pha
Yorm market - Suan Dok - Wat Pra Singh - Muang District Police Station -
Chiang Mai Gate - Central Airport Plaza.
The second route runs from Waroros Market - Night Bazaar
- Chang Klan - Suriwong Book Center - Chiang Mai Moat - Niyom Panich -
Central Airport Plaza.
The third route is Chiang Mai Rajabhat Institute - Chang
Puek bus station - Yupparaj Wittayalai School - Three Kings Monument -
Chiang Mai Gate - Wua Lai road - Central Airport Plaza.
The fourth route goes from Chiang Mai International
Airport direct to Central Airport Plaza.
The last route is from Railway Station - Bus Station -
Dara Academy - Prince Royal’s College - Nakorn Ping Bridge - Nawarat
Bridge - Nong Hoi - Super Highway - Central Airport Plaza.
Busses will run from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. everyday. Look for
red busses with the Central Airport sticker. For more information, contact
Central Airport Plaza on 0 5328 1661-2.
Four Nations Buddha image to promote Mekong friendship
Mongkol Sittilor, head of Chiang Rai Cultural Office,
declared that Chiang Rai monks, government offices and residents would
together create Four Nations Buddha images for Buddhists in Chiang Rai,
Thailand; Tachilek, Burma; Bor Keaw, Laos and Chiang Rung, China, to worship
and to strengthen relationships between the neighboring peoples.
Mongkol stated that the Four Nations Buddha images are
different in accordance with each nation’s particular style and were
designed by Dr. Thawal Dachanee, the national artist, and Chaleomchai
Kositpiphat, another famous artist.
The budget used in creating the images has been given by
the Government Lottery Office and the Chiang Rai people. The original image
will be held at Wat Wiang Parn, Mae Sai. Another Buddha image for worship
will also be created in the temple.
Thailand bucks the world GDP downturn
160 million baht to be spent on development of this region
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak presided over
the opening ceremony of a recent seminar on development strategies for
competitive competence in the northern region, organized by the National
Economic and Social Development Board, at Imperial Mae Ping Hotel, Chiang
Somkid stated that the government would focus on
development in each region of Thailand since the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) announced that during the Iraq war and fears of SARS situation, the
Thai GDP for year this year had risen from 3.5% to 4.2% while the world GDP
had fallen from 3.7% to 3.2%. This is clear evidence of the reliability of
the Thai economy, he said.
As a consequence, he said, the government will spend 160
million baht to develop northern region tourism, transportation and industry
under the Greater Mekong Sub-region economic development plan.
Head: US Department of State closely watching the SARS epidemic
Thai preventive situation in line with other countries
Public announcement from the U.S. Department of State Office of the
The US Department of State issued the following statement
for U.S. citizens regarding the Thai government’s response to the SARS
The Royal Thai Government has announced new measures for
arriving travelers due to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
situation. This Public Announcement expires on July 3, 2003.
The Royal Thai Government announced the following
protective measures applicable as of April 3, 2003, to passengers arriving
at Thai points-of-entry (including international airports in Bang kok,
Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai, and Ko Samui) from Singapore, Hong Kong, China,
Taiwan and Vietnam. These measures apply to Thai nationals and foreigners
and do not differentiate between persons originating from the five listed
locations and those who merely transited those countries. Thai authorities,
including health care professionals, will perform a quarantine inspection of
all aircraft arriving from the listed countries. All disembarking passengers
and crew are required to fill out a Health Control Document prior to
proceeding to quarantine inspection. Passengers and crew transiting Bangkok
who elect to remain on the aircraft are exempted from the quarantine
All persons suspected of SARS infection may be isolated
and quarantined for up to 14 days. The Royal Thai Government strongly
recommends that Thai travelers arriving from the listed countries quarantine
themselves at home for 14 days. The Thai government also urges expatriates
residing in Thailand returning from any of the listed countries remain at
home for 14 days. Government offices, schools, and private sector businesses
are strongly encouraged to permit all employees returning from the listed
countries to remain at home for the full 14-day period.
The situation in Thailand is evolving, and we expect that
the Thai authorities may alter their procedures as the situation changes.
U.S. citizens resident or traveling in SARS affected
areas should closely monitor the website of the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov and the website of the World Health
Organization at http://www.who.int for the latest information on SARS.
For further information on travel to Thailand, U.S.
citizens should also consult the Department of State’s Consular
Information Sheets for Thailand, the Fact Sheet on SARS and the SARS in Asia
Public Announcement, all of which are located at http://www.travel.state.gov
Salween National Park logs under scrutiny
Log smuggling and stealing came under the scrutiny of
Newin Chidchob, minister of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperation, in
conjunction with Chatchai Rattanopat, director-general of the Forestry
Department, and Suphot Laowansiri, Mae Hong Son governor. They were looking
at the results of the suppression of log poaching in Mae Hong Son at the log
depots of the Forest Industry Organization, Mae Sa Riang and at Salween
Minister Newin stated after their inspection that the
purpose of their visit was to look at means of carrying the remaining logs
in Salween forest out of the area. The Thai army is responsible for
extracting logs out of the area and the task should be completed by the end
of this year.
Prayoon Tongsirikul, head of Salween National Park,
reported that log smuggling and poaching in the area was being carried out
by refugees who lived in Thailand, but the problems came after cancellation
of government concessions for the allowance for carrying logs from Burma
Summer windstorm hit Saraphi District, Chiang Mai
In Tambon Saraphi, nine villages were hit by a summer
windstorm. 410 longan trees were uprooted and four mushroom nurseries
damaged. The storm resulted in 320,000 baht damage; however, Saraphi Tambon
Administration Organization (TAO) has already compensated residents for up
to for 70% of their losses. House owners were given roofing materials to
effect rapid repairs.
In Nong Pheung, 17 longan trees hit by the windstorm were
also blown over, and local houses and farms were also damaged. Nong Pheung
TAO was also quick to respond, and has already supplied residents in the
area with roof tiles and zinc roofing sheets.
Yang Nueng Municipality, led by Manoon Buranapattana,
mayor of Yang Nueng District, distributed housing materials for residents in
that area, too.
In Nan Province, summer storms hit the Muang district
causing damage to 20 houses in Don Num Krok, Num Krok Kao and Thong Luang
villages. About 20 longan trees and 50 rai of soybean fields were damaged by
the storm. It was estimated that the damage bill in Nan was approximately
500,000 baht from the storm. Nan Governor Suwat Choksuwattanakul has already
given his residents some assistance.
Thai government urged to build
Huay Kron-Laos bridge
But who will benefit?
The Economic Quadrangle development project is urging the
Thai government to spend 500 million baht to build a bridge crossing the
Mekong River at the Huay Kron checkpoint to connect Thailand with Laos.
The Office of Special Area Development and Neighboring
Economic Cooperation has proposed the government provide the budget of 500
million baht to construct the bridge and other facilities which are expected
to foster trade and investment in both countries.
Damrong Sangkaweelert, the deputy director of the office
said that the Economic Quadrangle project in the Greater Mekong Sub-region
(GMS) is progressing well. In the latest developments, officials looked at
locations for trade, investment and tourism and the results appeared to show
that the best way was the economic link between Thailand and Laos, at the
Huay Kron checkpoint in Nan Province connecting with Pak Baeng in Laos.
Damrong said that the Pak Baeng checkpoint is on the
Mekong River connecting to Luang Phra Bang City, so tourists could cruise by
boat from Nan directly to Luang Phra Bang. When the bridge is constructed,
it is expected that it would boost tourism in Nan and neighboring provinces
However, at present, the Lao PDR government has not
allowed Pak Baeng border to be used as a permanent trade border checkpoint
and tourists could not enter Laos at this point. The Ministry of Thai
Foreign Affairs will discuss this project further with the Lao government.
Traders and investors in the northern region expect that
there would be opportunities for export and import valued at 10,000 million
Ping landscaping and dredging has cost 34 million baht so far
Government kicks in another 42 million
By Autsadaporn Kamthai
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra authorized 42 million
baht to go to the Regional Harbor Department, Chiang Mai Office to dredge
the Ping River from Tambon Don Kaew, Mae Rim District to Saraphi District,
Chiang Mai and Lamphun provinces covering a distance of more than 10 km. The
excavation work is being done to prevent flooding and since December last
year, the office has spent over 34 million baht on dredging.
Suchin Rattanasatien, chief of the Regional Harbor
Department in Chiang Mai, accompanied by Anant Onsaeng, an official from the
Regional Harbor Department Chiang Mai office, inspected the Ping River banks
and the landscaping. The work runs from Diamond Hotel to Wat Ban Tor, Tambon
Pa Tun and will provide spacious banks for the people and restaurant owners
who live close to the river. The office also adjusted the riverbanks and
landscaping in front of Chiang Mai Municipality Office to provide a white
sandbank for Chiang Mai residents.
An officer from the Harbor Department, Chiang Mai Office
said that riverbank development in some areas faces another difficulty
caused by landowners who are not allowing them to do drainage in their
areas, but the office has already begun taking legal action.
5 million baht hailstorm
damage in Lamphun
On April 16, hailstorms hit many tambons in Lamphun
including Tambon Ton Thong, Pra Tu Pa, Nong Chang Kuen, U-Mong, Muang Nga,
Nai Muang and Wiang Yong leaving severe damage in their wake.
The storms produced high winds and hail, de-roofing many
houses. Electricity supply was interrupted as electricity poles and trees
were uprooted. Some trees fell on parked cars as well as residents’
properties. It was estimated that the storm caused 5 million baht damages to
the Muang district with much of the costs being borne by residents in the
By the morning of April 17, some 500 residents whose
houses were damaged by the storm submitted their petition to Lamphun
Governor Tawat Satiannam, to ask for assistance. The governor said he wished
to show his sympathy with them and would undertake to assist where he could.
The Social Development and Welfare Office, Lamphun
Provincial Administration Organization, and associated organizations have
already examined damaged residential areas and have indicated their
intention to help.
No SARS in Chiang Mai
But effects are hitting the tourism industry
Phitsanu Thepthong and Autsadaporn Kamthai
SARS is hitting the Chiang Mai tourism industry,
according to Vorapong Muchaotai, president of the Thai Hotels Association,
Northern Chapter. He told Chiangmai Mail that the SARS epidemic would
affect the tourism industry through June, July and August, a period that
brings concern to all sides. “We are very worried about it because so far
there have been no hotel bookings from travel agencies abroad,” he said.
Northern Chapter President Vorapong Muchaotai said that the SARS epidemic
would affect the tourism industry through June, July and August.
The occupancy rate for Chiang Mai hotels was only 60%
last week, lower than expected, particularly since last year’s rate was
80-90%. This resulted in many hotels discounting their room rates and
running special promotions to help attract more visitors and guests.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said the
tourism authority attributed the downturn to the spread of SARS in nearby
countries, rather than in Thailand, but this was still scaring tourists.
However, Vorapong said that the hotel industry’s only current benefits are
from seminars and meetings organized by the government sector.
It had been hoped that Songkran would help the industry
but hotels and resorts reported occupancy rates of 50% for those located
outside the city, while hotels in the city still only had 60 - 70%
occupancy, which was again down when compared to the past two years.
Meanwhile, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Chiang Mai
Office Director Chalermsak Suranant also accepted that the spread of SARS
had adversely affected the tourism industry, but was still satisfied with
revenues generated from tourists and visitors. He said more than 100 million
baht was generated per day during Songkran, but admitted that the figures
for both tourists and income had dropped from the previous years.
It was also reported that the tourism industry in the
North was approaching crisis level, and tourism-related organizations are
attempting to solve this problem by launching tourism promotion plans
linking destinations in the North and the South. The plan is to open new
tourist spots, especially for Thai domestic tourists and visitors, to
promote the “Thais tour Thailand” campaign. This is expected to be
launched next month, according to the Chiang Mai Tourist Business
Khajornwit Boonsom, managing director of North Wheel Rent A Car Limited
Company, said that SARS has affected tourism related business such as rental
car service companies in Chiang Mai. The government guarantee regarding the
SARS situation in Thailand was too late leading up to the Songkran festival
in Chiang Mai. The reservation rate for rental cars was also decreased and
in fact was the lowest in 15 years.
B. 600,000 items seized by Mae Sot customs
Donated to educational and government institutes
Suchart Junwatcharakorn, head of Mae Sot Customs, last
week donated 600,000 baht worth of goods seized by Mae Sot customs to local
educational institutes and organizations.
The property given out included 230 kilograms of precious
stones (B. 246,100) to Supphawittaya School, planks of wood (B. 98,979) to
another 8 government schools, 17 microscopes (B. 149,886) to Mae Sot public
health office, and 20 chain saws (B. 109,085) to the 3rd Border Patrol
police headquarters. All of the goods had been seized at the border and
forfeited by the original importers.
Suchart also said that in the second quarter budget -
year 2003, that the three major exports from Thailand were spices valued at
B. 109 million, zinc plated roofing iron (BH. 80 million) and printed cotton
(B. 57 million). Imports were cows (B. 32 million), fish (B. 18 million) and
dried fish maw (B. 11 million).
Mae Sot Customs has collected B. 6.6 million plus
additional fees of B. 1.79 million. This is less than in previous years
because of the restriction on wood imported from Burma to Thailand.
Ya ba costs go up and addicts turn to glue sniffing
Many ya ba drug addicts have turned into glue sniffing
addicts, said Wichien Noonrowd, Chiang Mai Provincial Public Relations
Since the government’s War on Drugs campaign began, the
price of speed pills has risen to 200-300 baht a tablet from less than 100
baht previously, but this causes many young methamphetamine addicts to turn
to glue sniffing.
Wichien said the Cabinet had previously proposed measures
to prevent inhalation abuse, which were entered in statute in 1981, covering
solvent producers, peddlers, traders, and users. He stated that all solvents
must have warnings on the containers. Youths under the age of 18 are also
not allowed to purchase glue or solvents, and there is an ongoing campaign
to educate people on the health dangers of sniffing glue or solvents.
Traders and producers who disregard the regulations will
be punished, with a 20,000 baht fine and 2 years in jail for failure to
attach warning messages or for selling solvent to under age youths.
Plans to reduce Songkran road deaths unsuccessful
Chiang Rai numbers up 25%
More people died this year during the past Songkran
festival in Chiang Rai, according to Chiang Rai Traffic Safety Operations
Center. Chiang Mai numbers remained much the same as 2002.
Road Traffic Safety Operations Centers in Chiang Rai
reported that the that there were 980 people involved in traffic accidents,
711 of whom were male and 269 female, resulting in 19 deaths between April
12 - 16. Figures in Chiang Mai were 1,459 road accidents and 12 deaths
during April 11 - 15.
Breakdown of the official figures would indicate that
some of the reasons for the appalling statistics in Chiang Rai were
motorcycle riders not wearing helmets and excessive use of alcohol. Of the
road accidents reported, 774 motorcycle riders were not wearing helmets and
633 were under the influence of alcohol during the Songkran festival. Most
accidents also occurred on roads in rural areas.
The day after Songkran, Nikorn Charmnong, minister of
transport and communications, said at the opening ceremony of the Drive
Safety campaign that although the government had launched measures to
prevent road accidents during the festival, Chiang Mai’s rate of road
accidents and deaths were comparable to last year’s celebration when 15
Minister Nikorn also suggested that there should be a
road traffic court only dealing with road accidents and he would support the
establishment of such a court.
New form of bus wash?
about 4.30 a.m. on April 18, this bus somehow managed to find its way into
the Chiang Mai moat in front of Sompetch Market. Apparently only the bus
driver was on board at the time, and he was reported to have “narrowly
escaped death” as the bus slowly sank into the moat. Luckily, no
fatalities were reported.
20 rental cars stolen in Chiang Mai
At a conference held by the Chiang Mai Committees on
Tourism Promotion and Development, Khajornwit Boonsom, the committee
treasurer of the Chiang Mai Tourist Business Association, who is also the
owner of North Wheels Rent A Car Co Ltd., announced that there is a big
problem with rental cars being stolen, and asked the conference for help in
Khajornwit said that at present the owners of many rental
car services are facing the problem of stolen rental cars, especially
luxurious and expensive cars. Since December last year, about 20 cars have
been stolen, valued at approximately 20 million baht.
“It is difficult for the rental company owners to
notify the police when a rental car is stolen since the police deny the car
is actually stolen but is just behind in the installment payments,” he
Moreover, the owners also complained that they cannot
call for any compensation from their insurance companies because the
insurance companies deny responsibility in these cases, saying it is outside
the conditions set by their insurance contracts.
To solve the problem, the conference gave the police,
insurance companies and associated organizations one month to find solutions
and review the law that limits legal action.
Drug smugglers warned - don’t try the Nan route
Following the drug suppression methods launched by the
government, many areas in Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son and Tak provinces appear
to now be free from ya ba smuggling. It is expected drug dealers will now
change to other drug trafficking routes, including the border area in Nan
However, Nan Governor Suwat Chokesuwatthanasakul declared
that he was not worried about this because since the war on drugs started
there has been much cooperation from government and private sectors to deal
with drug problems. “As you can see in many communities, people are
working together to give important information to the authorities and assist
in setting up the rehabilitation program in villages. It is easier for all
concerned to help the get rid of drug operations,” he said.
Governor Suwat said the officers in the meantime would
work both day and night to stop drug trafficking. He believes that his
communities in the province are stronger and clever enough to tackle the ya
ba (speed pill) problem.
Amphetamines ‘no longer risk to national security’
Thailand hailed a milestone on April 16 in its fight
against drugs when the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB)
announced its recognition that amphetamines were now merely a criminal
problem rather than a threat to national security.
Teeraphat Santimataneedol, ONCB deputy secretary-general,
said that the nation’s amphetamines problem had eased considerably, and
could now be regarded as simply a small-scale criminal problem within the
society, no more threatening than the drugs problems faced by Singapore or
Teeraphat said, “This reduction has come because the
government declared its war on drugs less than three months ago. Drugs users
and dealers in certain provinces across the country, such as Chiang Mai in
the north, have virtually halted all activity due to the stringency of the
government’s drugs suppression measures. This tough stance has pushed up
the average price of amphetamine tablets to 300 baht each with some areas
recording prices as high as 400-500 baht per tablet, and in several areas
amphetamines are extremely difficult to get hold of.”
According to the narcotics board, most of the
amphetamines still on sale are old ones which had entered the system before
the government launched its anti-drugs campaign at the beginning of
Teeraphat said that border sources indicate that drug
traders across the border were continuing to stockpile drugs, and were
waiting to assess the government’s next moves before trying to release
them on to the market. He also conceded that amphetamines were still being
traded in Bangkok’s Klong Toey slum area, and that former amphetamines
addicts were turning to solvent abuse in increasing numbers.
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has ordered all
agencies involved in the fight against drugs to review the success of the
government’s campaign before the end of November, in order that the
information can be handed over to His Majesty the King to mark His birthday
on December 5.