Vol. V No. 3 - Saturday January 14 - January 20, 2006
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FEATURES
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Scorpion-tailed boats follow a historic river trail through city and country

School for Life holds thank-you party for German friends

Scorpion-tailed boats follow a historic river trail through city and country

Kittiyaporn Kanjam-Pinutda Suwanchaisri (MFLU student trainees)

Scorpion-tailed boat port or Sri Khong port

There are many tourist attractions in Chiang Mai province but one of the most popular is visiting the national parks, particularly at this time of year when the weather is cold and frosts and fogs add to the novelty of the surroundings.

One way to see a good deal of the forest and mountain scenery is to travel by boat on the Mae Ping River, which will take visitors through both natural scenery and the historic center of Chiang Mai city itself.

Samak introducing places that the boat passed and he also told about the ancient history of Chiang Mai

Scorpion-tailed boats were once used for transporting royalty and court dignitaries, and also for shipping goods along the rivers. For many years this type of boat was an important form of transportation, but eventually other more convenient forms of travel arose and the boats faded into obscurity.

That is, until a group of enthusiasts decided to resurrect the boats and put them to a more modern use. Samak Laosatirawong and his wife had for a long time been studying scorpion-tailed boats and the method of building them. Eventually, new boats took to the water, with a guide on board to show tourists the historical landmarks and other areas of interest.

The condition of the community along Ping River

Scorpion-tailed boat trips begin from Sri Khong pier in Muang Chiang Mai. Samak himself likes to act as guide, showing visitors areas where the way of life has remained essentially the same for centuries. The boat runs southwards, passing under the Nakorn Ping Bridge, Nawarat Bridge and Iron Bridge. Samak points out Jedi Q, which was the residence of Princess Dararatsamee, and Ton Lamyai Market, for hundreds of years an important trading place for Northern people. There is Wat Ket port, the original scorpion-tailed boat community, and the first post office in Chiang Mai, now the Post Museum. Wat Chai Prakarn has a pier that for generations has been used for releasing aquatic creatures and birds as a way of making merit, and not far away is the first Christian church in the city.

Iron Bridge, the old historic bridge of Chiang Mai

The journey ends at Chiang Mai Department of Forestry Office Region 1, where there is accommodation at Scorpion-tailed Boat Village for those who need it, in lodges built to a similar shape as the boats. There is a souvenir shop here selling local handicrafts and handmade toys.

Scorpion-tailed boat trips offer a glimpse into the past and also allow visitors a different perspective on the beautiful local scenery. A trip takes between 1  to 2 hours, with boats leaving at 9.00 am, 11.00 am, 1.00 pm, 3.00 pm, and 5.00 pm. Ticket price is 400 baht per person, and reservations can be made by calling 0 5326 0229.

Picture of traveling by Scorpion Tailed Ping River Cruise in the past

The back of King Kawila’s monument

Picture of the first Chiang Mai Post Office

The room of Scorpion-tailed Boat Village which were built in the shape similar to the Scorpion-tailed boat


School for Life holds thank-you party for German friends

Preeyanoot Jittawong

Foreign volunteers participated in singing and playing games with children.

Traveling about 30 kilometers from the city of Chiang Mai towards Doi Saket district, you will find the location of the School For Life, tucked in amongst the natural scenery. The school, which is part of the Foundation for Thailand Rural Reconstruction Movement Under Royal Patronage, gave a very warm welcome recently to visitors from Germany, more than a hundred pupils greeting their guests and ensuring they enjoyed their day.

The Thailandfriends Community of Germany was led by its president, Dirk Weber-Arayatumsopon. Thailandfriends is based in Germany and its members are from all walks of life. They work to raise money for projects in Thailand, organizing events such as Thai dance performances and cabarets.

Sri Wichai dance and Klong Sa Bud Chai, the victory drum, provides a welcome

Having had the opportunity to visit the School For Life, association members said they have seen there are many things that the foundation needs, and they intend to give continuing support from now on. In this initial instance they have donated 7,000 euros, which is about 350,000 baht. This, they say, is just the beginning.

Dirk will travel to the School For Life again in April and December. He says the Thailandfriends Community will raise one million baht because he believes that giving a good opportunity to the children is a worthy cause.

School For Life arranged a “Happy New Year and Thank-you Party” for the visiting members, and it was a memorable day for everyone.

Dirk Weber-Arayatumsopon President of The Thailandfriends Community Germany hugging member students of the learning center with mercifulness.

School For Life was founded by a German lady named Gisela Zimmer. She began by helping children in Germany after World War Two, and received recognition from the German government. Her successor, Prof Dr Jurgen Zimmer, went on to extend the idea to other countries, including Thailand.

Thanin Worawitayakhun established the School For Life in Chiang Mai in 2002. At first the school was like an orphanage, and its first intake was only seven children. The number however quickly rose, especially after the tsunami disaster, and the number of children now stands at 120.

Dirk Weber-Arayatumsopon President of The Thailandfriends Community Germany (second from left) giving supporting fund for 7000 euro to Thanin Worrawittayakun The Director of Family Department (lady on the left)

Children introducing themselves to the member of Thailandfriends Community Germany

At present, Yothin Som-manonont, representative of the Foundation for Thai Rural Reconstruction Movement Under Royal Patronage takes responsibility as the director of the Education Department. Yothin said that School for Life is a non-profit organization that serves education and community development.

The school is for underprivileged children, hill tribe children, and poor children living in the Northern provinces, and provides primary education of mixed levels and ages. The educational program has been developed by the Office of the Basic Education Commission. Foreign volunteers are accepted to work as teachers and helpers.

Students of the learning center helping together in cooking food for visitors.

Students of the learning center gave thank you to Thailandfriends Community Germany

The residence of student inside the learning center

Shop that sells students’ work of the learning center

The hotel part for tourist who visit here