Over 1,000 people in Chiang Mai turn out to pay respects
to the King Rama V
October 23 marks the passing, 94 years ago, of King
Chulalongkorn (King Rama V the Great), known locally as “Phra Piya
Maharaja”. The day has become a national holiday, a day Thai people
remember this great monarch.
King Chulalongkorn was instrumental in modernizing the
Kingdom of Thailand. His many accomplishments included establishing the
Council of State, setting up 12 different ministries, reorganizing the
government administrative system, and abolishing slavery.
Other achievements included contact with foreign
governments and modernizing the country by introducing revolutionary changes
such as police security, a postal system, hospitals, and railroads.
The great King was also instrumental in maintaining the
nation’s sovereignty during a critical period when powerful nations were
expanding their influence and colonizing neighboring countries.
City officials, people from the business community,
members from local charitable organizations, the private sector and many
local residents, in all over 1,000 people, led by Chiang Mai Governor Suwat
Tantipat, came together in the field in front of Chiang Mai City Hall to
celebrate this Remembrance Day for King Rama V, all paying homage to one of
the greatest and most highly revered Kings of Thailand. Each organization
and institute presented wreaths to the King Rama V statue. The ceremony is
performed all over Thailand, as October 23 marks the day that the great King
passed away in the year 1910.
Rama V monument stands tall in front of Chiang Mai City Hall.
Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat spoke about the history of King Rama V, as city
officials, people from the business community, members from local charitable
organizations, the private sector and many local residents, in all over
1,000 people gathered in the field in front of Chiang Mai City Hall to pay
homage to one of the greatest and most highly revered Kings of Thailand.
Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat lit a candle in front of the King Rama V
monument, setting off a procession for many organizations and institutes to
present wreaths to the King Rama V statue.
Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat spoke about the history of King Rama V.
and teachers from Rajabhat Institute Chiang Mai after the ceremony.
Chutima (2nd right), president of Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, was
present along with other dignitaries.
Tom and Kitty’s house(boat) warming party
Newlyweds Tom and Kitty (ex-Full Monty Pub owners)
unveiled TK’s boathouse, their new venture. The boathouse is situated on
the Mae Ngad reservoir in Sri Lanna national park (near Mae Taeng), about 30
minutes north of Chiang Mai and caters for private parties and provides
accommodation for short or long stay guests.
The bus/boat trip from Chiang Mai to the reservoir is
relatively short, and all guests were met by Kitty, who supplied a
refreshing lime cocktail. But after the bar was opened, buffet was served
and ‘serious chilling-out’ proceeded.
Most guests were content to just relax and enjoy the
beautiful surroundings, but a few decided it was too tempting to miss the
opportunity to frolic in the lake, to the amusement of everyone except the
local fish who resisted all attempts to lure them onto the fishing hooks!
It has taken about six weeks to completely renovate the
boathouse to provide ‘western-style’ facilities whilst maintaining the
Thai-style building infrastructure. The stunning boathouse survived the
first run of people and it looks already as if this is exactly the place to
relax and just hang out when the city and the stress of daily work has worn
For further information, contact Tom or Kitty (bookings)
telephone 0618 53191 or Rudi for transport on 0621 32713.
from a holiday catalogue - sun, surf and sea (almost). Everything is
possible with the right people and a good mood.
Kitty’s aim for the completely renovated boathouse was to provide
‘farang-style’ facilities whilst maintaining the Thai-style building
how you wanted to spend a day off? No excuse anymore, it exists, just 30
minutes outside Chiang Mai.
was all about relaxing and having a good time.
neat, holiday-style - just the place to relax.
Rafting through the rapids of the Mae Taeng
It is a well known fact that young adults often seek a
‘thrill’ to give them the necessary adrenaline rush for the day. The
other day I had the need for this rush and decided to take a ‘one day
trip’ white water rafting.
ready and excited to get on the boats and tackle the rapids.
Thai Adventure Rafting offered me the opportunity to
spend my day outdoors with nature and the promise of a little adrenaline
thrill as well.
I was picked up in the morning at eleven, with a one hour
drive into the mountains surrounding Chiang Mai behind Mae Rim. After
turning off the main road we took a smaller road into a beautiful valley
which was green, green and green as far as the eye could see.
landscape, the challenging bridges and nature made the day worthwhile.
Arriving at the Maetang River Base Camp in Muang Khut,
Alex Brodard, director of Thailand Adventure Tours and organizer of our trip
welcomed us. He gave us a quick tour of the facilities of the camp and their
ability to organize trekking, cycling, kayaking and elephant tours in
conjunction with a rafting trip.
together for a group picture (from left) Jaew, Galare GH; Jonggon Duangsri,
Chiangmai Green Alternative Tours; Sampan, trekking guide; 5 helpers from
Alex’s team; Wilai, Galare GH; Smith Panichcharoen, Chiangmai Green
Alternative Tours; Alex Brodard, director of Thailand Adventure Tours; Noi,
Panya and Chai the captains of the rafts.
After a delicious lunch of Thai food and fresh fruits, we
were given a briefing on the techniques for sitting on the side of the raft,
paddling and safety measures needed to be taken to make our river descent a
safe one. Life jackets (flotation vests) and helmets were distributed to
everyone and we were introduced to our boat captains before loading up the
truck with our equipment for the short ride up river to our embarkation
made it! All are accounted for after the ride.
Our rafting trip consisted of two stages, number one
being a kind of ‘warm up’ to get us accustomed to paddling in
coordination with some small rapids to test our balance and make sure we
knew how to act if we were unsure of ourselves.
on land - shaky knees but something to talk about and more than enough
reason to come back for a longer trip.
This first stage took us about 20 minutes on the
‘still’ gently flowing, and a bit muddy river and included some
‘Songkran’ activity between the two rafts since we all wanted to get a
little wet. But it was perfect to give us the confidence to handle anything
that was about to happen.
Between the first and second stage there is a long
section of rapids which is too dangerous for beginners to go down. Our boat
captain took us off the boat before these rapids started, so we reloaded
everything on the truck and drove down to the end of the hazardous part
before we boarded the rafts and embarked on the second stage.
packed up and ready to go.
The second stage was more exciting and I was sitting
inside the boat more than on the side while going down the rapids.
Thankfully we had some strong men in the boat so the men and captain of our
boat got us safely back to base camp and nobody fell in, except those who
decided to go swimming at the end. Our full descent took us a little more
than an hour and was full of laughter and everybody finished in high
scary than expected and one had to hide on the bottom of the boat.
After a quick shower, some coffee and drinks we were
taken back to Chiang Mai. It was considerably quieter than in the morning
because people were snoozing, tired from the adventurous day. For me, as a
‘first-timer’ with more than enough energy and adventure skills, who
loves nature, fun and exercise - it was a more than perfect day.
laughing at the face of danger.
Next time I’ll try the two day rafting trip in Pai.
Let’s see if I get my parents to sponsor it as a Christmas present for my
friends and me? It was a great day for a beginner and it gave me a good
taste of what rafting is like and how much fun it actually is - I can’t
wait to go again!
More information is available from Thai Adventure
Rafting, Chiang Mai Office 053 818 844 or www.Active Thailand.com
We’re stranded on the rapids! Help!
holidays, water, nice adventurous people - what else can you wish for? I
know, a two day trip!
were laughing so hard that we had no time to be afraid!
Shaolin - Wheel of Life Martial Arts Show
Some monks have amazing habits
Michael and Marion Vogt
Shaolin has become synonymous with the finest and most
extraordinary feats of discipline, strength and courage. The Shaolin
philosophy is a combination of Taoism and Buddhism, and the ‘Wheel of
Life’ tells the exciting story of the Shaolin monks’ early struggle to
establish and protect their temple deep in the mountain jungles 1500 years
ago and a celebration of their history, their religion and their tremendous
Chiang Mai Vice Governor Thongchai Wonglienthong, in a
short opening speech, expressed his delight that Chiang Mai was host to this
world class production. And then the show began, a two hour visual event
that was colorful, exciting and dramatic. Monks, demonstrating martial arts,
developed from both the need for self-protection and the desire to practice,
united with their religious and philosophical beliefs. All this with
dramatic lighting, imaginative music, and a stage set representative of a
Chinese Shaolin temple.
The group of around 25-30 members, monks and children,
showed us Shaolin fighting skills, astonishing somersaults, sparring - bare
handed or with traditional weapons such as spears, sticks and swords. The
Wheel of Life was on one side a martial arts exhibition and on the other
side a historical live Kung-Fu performance.
The skills and the strengths involved were amazing, and
showed the intense physical and mental discipline instilled in these men
from a very young age. We saw one monk do a handstand balanced solely on his
index fingers. Another monk allowed his brothers to break bamboo poles
across his head and lower back, and then they took turns breaking iron bars
over their heads. It was so different seeing this in a live stage
performance; far more impressive than anything any of us had watched on TV
It was a show which amazed everybody present, a show
which would fit in to Madison Square Garden, as well as in a high class
hotel in Las Vegas. A combination of theater; gifted, highly trained
performers and the religious faith, paired with the Shaolin way of life.
an iron bar on his head!
Mai Vice Governor Thongchai Wonglienthong presented flowers to the senior
monks, thanking them for their charity work in Chiang Mai.
Life was on one side a martial arts exhibition and on the other side a
historical live Kung-Fu performance.
exciting and dramatic! Fighting skills paired with physical strength and
five razor-sharp swords, one Shaolin monk, a double sided nail board,
another monk with a stone on his stomach and then try to break the small
stone with a hammer...
air, on the ground, with swords, sticks and wooden bars...
motionless like this - why don’t you try?
relaxing, but if you try it, make sure there is somebody on hand to
stage set left no doubt where this was supposed to happen - at a Chinese
stones with bare hands...
the pair of 7 year old twins, balancing with one leg in the air while
standing guard on the stage.
Thai Folk Puppets
A matter of hearts and hands
Magical is the word for the Thai Folk Puppet exhibition
and show currently running at the Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Center.
Last Saturday an enthusiastic group of traditional performance aficionados
gathered in the elegant courtyard of the Cultural Center to witness an
impressive performance of music, dance, and puppetry.
of the beautiful puppets that looked like small gems of exquisite costuming
with traditional Lanna faces.
The costumes and scenery were stunningly beautiful in
this multi-performance piece - the puppets, small gems of exquisite
costuming with traditional Lanna faces seen in murals on walls of Lanna’s
best preserved wats.
the actual show started, the story of Kinnaree was ‘danced’ by a very
talented dancer in a stunning costume.
At the beginning of the performance, a sacred space was
invoked by an offering of candles and dance, reminding us that dance and
music were formerly religious acts and, at least for this magical evening,
would be as well. As the performance unfolded, the audience grew silent in
awe at the beauty and professionalism of the show. I hoped other members of
the audience felt as I did - our senses are fully awakened in the immediacy
of a live performance in a way that film and TV cannot fully simulate.
dedicated puppeteers who brought Vilawan’s art alive “only by the hearts
The Hobby Hut Puppet Troupe’s director, Vilawan
Svetsreni, is to be applauded for bringing to Chiang Mai a sample of strong
tradition of puppetry in Southeast Asia.
Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia are exemplary, but Thailand
too has a little-known tradition of puppets called Hun Krabok and small
shadow puppets called Nang Talung.
Vilawan is currently a lecturer in Fine Arts at CMU.
Deeply loving puppets since she began studying at Thammasat University, she
founded Hobby Hut in 1998. Vilawan is fond of saying that “only by the
hearts and hands” of dedicated puppeteers can these engaging art works
There are two more opportunities to see this free show:
Saturdays at 6 p.m. on November 1 and 8 at the Chiang Mai Arts and Cultural
Different performances on each date and the story
narration in both Thai and English. (See the Community Happenings section
for more info.)
Don’t miss these memorable shows!
Thai International takes inaugural flight from Japan
Thai launches direct Tokyo-Chiang Mai service
On October 26, Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn
presided over a welcoming ceremony to celebrate Thai Airways International
(THAI) inaugural flight between Narita and Chiang Mai. To mark this special
occasion, THAI invited the Thai ambassador to Tokyo, Kasit Piromya, THAI’s
travel agents, as well as the Japanese media to join the first flight and
visit Chiang Mai.
THAI aims to promote Chiang Mai as a new destination to
accommodate trade, export, tourism, agriculture, education and medical and
health care services.
Mayor Boonlert said that Chiang Mai is well suited as the
aviation hub of northern Thailand for its effective transportation network
linking land and air, as well as having an international airport, connecting
the provinces in the north, northeast and major cities in neighboring
countries. THAI will operate this new service three times per week between
Tokyo and Chiang Mai following the government’s stated policy of turning
Chiang Mai into the future northern aviation hub of Thailand.
Flights are every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, utilizing
Boeing 777-200 aircraft, with 303 seats in the economy section and 55 seats
in Business Class.
Future plans for THAI in this region include expanding
its services between Chiang Mai and other countries, such as Singapore,
China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India and Taiwan. This winter THAI will begin
flights between Chiang Mai-Luang Prabang, Taipei -Hong Kong-Chiang
Mai-Bangkok and Chiang Mai-Yangon.
ceremony of the first official flight from Narita to Chiang Mai. (Front row
from left) Add Boonya-Ananta, THAI general manager of Japan; Prakaidao
Hovatanakul, THAI district sales manager of upper-northern Thailand; Mrs.
Piromya and her husband Kasit Piromya, the Thai ambassador to Tokyo, next to
Chiang Mai Mayor Boonlert Buranupakorn.
the first passengers on the inaugural Tokyo-Chiang Mai-Bangkok flight on
October 26 were the Thai ambassador to Tokyo, Kasit Piromya and his wife.
northern girls showered the arriving guests with orchid blossoms before
entering the arrival hall.