Some 50 Skåleagues, including members and guests,
had an outstanding experience to ride on an elephant back to be a “real
mahout” for once in their lives during the outdoor meeting of Skål
International Chiang Mai and North Thailand on February 23. Anchalee
Kalmapijit, Operation Director of the Maesa Elephant Camp, was a gracious
host by welcoming the party for a late afternoon special elephant show,
exclusively for the Skål members.
elephant is definitely into painting dots only….
Most of the participants arrived by four-wheel drive land
rovers, which were parked at km 3 on the Mae Rim-Samoeng Road and organized
by the company. After the safari to the camp and a welcome reception at the
Maesa Elephant Nursery area 7 km further on, there was a short demonstration
of the performing elephants and the opportunity to ride an elephant under a
mini mahout training program. There is always a native mahout, normally
recruited from the Karen hill tribe, who accompanies each elephant.
International Chiang Mai and North Thailand members and friends on February
23 with most participants appropriately dressed in Mahout Outfits.
The Maesa Elephant Camp was established by Choochart
Kalmapijit in 1976, when there were only five elephants. Now the camp has
now grown to 75 elephants. Interesting to note that elephants can get to 80
years old, like humans, but need 250 kg of vegetarian food plus 200 liters
of water per day, unlike humans.
Junnapong Saranak, Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Northern
Office Region 1 ever think of retiring from his active post, this elephant
would certainly take him on as his ‘personal mahout’, after the
successful riding session.
A new attraction in the elephant camp is the Maesa
Elephant Art Exhibition and the Art Exhibition Shop. Furthermore, there was
a Palong Hill Tribe Dance Show, before the official Skål Meeting
started at 7.30 p.m., when Junnapong Saranak, Director of Tourism Authority
of Thailand (TAT), Northern Office Region 1, gave a speech about the tourism
industry of Chiang Mai.
Saranak, Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Northern Office
Region 1 received an authentic elephant painting from MC Michael Vogt for
his humorous and informative lecture on Tourism development in North
Junnapong revealed that there are altogether 17 domestic
and 22 international TAT offices to promote and do the marketing of
Thailand’s tourism products. The Chiang Mai office alone has a staff of 10
and has to operate with a budget of 10 million Baht in 2006. The number of
tourists in Chiang Mai is rising and will reach 5 million this year. There
will be the Chiang Mai Travel Mart in October to attract buyers worldwide.
Another exciting highlight will be the Horticultural Exhibition Rajaphruek
at the end of the year, in connection with the 80 years anniversary of His
Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Finally, an extraordinary buffet dinner catered by the
Amari Rincome Hotel accompanied by wine – homnored the Skål
principles of good health, long life, friendship and prosperity.
The next meeting of Skål International Chiang Mai
and North Thailand will be at the new D2 Hotel in downtown Chiang Mai on
Thursday, March 23 at the world-famous night bazaar.
To become a member of Skål International Chiang Mai
and North Thailand, please contact Secretary Eleanor Hardy by e-mail
on, let us check if you have some bananas hidden in your shirt and
trousers’. Mark Bradford, GM of Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi Resort is
‘body-searched’ by a group of elephants.
Allen from the Chiangmai Oasis Spa all smiles during the Mahout Training
drinks and snacks were hosted by Maesa Elephant Camp for all participants.
Hill Tribe dancers entertained during the night with traditional dances and
highlight was the visit of the Maesa Elephant Art Exhibition Hall, to view
the original Guinness World Records piece.
the most romantic candle-lit outside catering ever done by the Amari Rincome
Hotel, at the nursery of Maesa Elephant Camp.