It’s a sport, an adventure game and
a treasure hunt all in one -
It’s Geocaching and it’s here in Thailand!
“Do we go right?” John asks his partner, Tsukino, as the
couple hike up a dirt trail. Tsu’s eyes are fixed on a hand-held GPS device
that tells her their quarry is a few yards away and to the left, near a
They stop when they reach the coordinates displayed on the tiny screen and
begin to root through a patch of dried weeds and shrubs.
“I found it!” John says, pulling out the hidden treasure: a
camouflage-coloured container filled with plastic toys.
then, a man in baggy shorts walks by and gives the couple a suspecting
“Muggles,” John sneers at the hiker. It’s a term from the Harry Potter
fantasy books, used to describe non-magical folks. In John’s world, muggles
are people who don’t understand or appreciate geocaching.
Only a few months ago this couple were muggles themselves. Now, geocaching
is their passion.
“We love it,” Tsukino says. “We get caches, exercise and entertainment.”
Geocaching is a hobby that combines hiking and treasure hunting with the
latest advances in portable global positioning system devices. It’s a high
tech “hide and seek” idea, which is family and environmentally friendly. A
“cache” can be hidden anywhere from outside your house, (or inside if you
like), to the highest peaks to under the sea.
Cachers, as they like to be called, hide waterproof containers - caches- and
mark their exact locations with GPS coordinates that are posted on the
Internet. Other cachers get the coordinates, punch the numbers into
hand-held GPS receivers and follow the digital directions to the hidden
What’s inside the containers - usually cheap knickknacks, plastic toys and a
logbook - is not significant. It’s the challenge of the hunt that fuels this
sport. Serious cachers compete to uncover the greatest number of caches. The
world champion claims more than 12,000.
The hobby is surging in popularity worldwide, almost doubling in new players
annually for the last six years. There are currently caches hidden all
around Thailand including Chiang Mai. You could be standing right next to
one and not even know it.
So, how does one get involved in this game? Well, the first premise is that
you possess or have access to a GPS device. It is possible to find some
caches without one by using Google Earth, a digital map of Thailand and a
compass but for others, it is an unavoidable necessity.
you have access to a GPS, the next thing to do is to log onto and register
at the official geocaching website - www.geocaching.com. Once you are a
registered user, you can then gain access to the co-ordinates of all the
caches in your area. Armed with these, you can input them into your GPS and
go searching or enter the coordinates into Google Earth, where in some cases
you can zoom to within a few meters of where the cache is hidden. Don’t go
thinking that finding the cache will be a ‘cake-walk’ though. What might
appear easy from a satellite photo can look totally different when you’re
scrabbling around on your hands and knees through the undergrowth.
Geocaching is a great way to get out and about and see some of the areas of
natural beauty in Thailand that you may not even realise existed. It’s a
perfect excuse to take the family for a day out, (the kids will love it) and
also for a day out on your own if you prefer the solace. It costs nothing,
only your time and effort and reading the logs of finders, one can see the
sense of achievement they have felt on finding a cache. Even the taxi
drivers used by treasure seekers have become engaged in the hunt.
Modes of transport can be public transport, foot, bicycle, motorbike, family
car, SUV, whatever. Owners of macho off-road wheels will have the
opportunity to actually be off-road, other than the times they are in the
supermarket car park for the weekly shopping.
There are also many variations, such as team competitions, puzzle caches,
multi-caches and “Travel Bugs”. The latter are tracked automatically by
Google Earth as cachers move them around the world.
The sport also prides itself on being environmentally friendly and there are
even caches that involve clearing litter from sites - Thailand could
certainly do with a few of those! If you want to place a cache yourself, as
a general rule it is always advisable and more polite to ask the landowner
If anyone would like more information about the sport of Geocaching in
Thailand please email John at [email protected]
And now for your first challenge: for this you will not require a GPS.
Firstly, find a computer that has Google Earth installed or download it onto
your own computer. Once done, register yourself at www.geocaching.com and
look for a cache called ‘No Granny’ in the Thailand caches. Decode the clue
then copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth, hit ‘Enter’ and then
go find that treasure - Good Hunting!
Pattaya Soccer 7s
on world cup
final weekend, July 8 and 9
Looking for teams from Chiang Mai1
Chiangmai Mail Reporters
Chiang Mai has the Cricket Sixes which attracts teams from around the
world, and now the Soccer Sevens appears to be taking off in Thailand. The
next event will be the Pattaya International Soccer 7s, on July 8 and 9,
The categories are Open Men and Masters (Over 35s) with entry fees: US$ 450
(10 players) and US$ 500 (for 12 players). Expressions of interest due in by
May 27, with the deposit necessary by June 2.
The venue is either Horseshoe Point Resort or The Regent International
School, and there will be an official hotel with preferential room rates.
Venues will also be arranged where, after the tournament, teams can watch
the World Cup final and 3rd and 4th place game.
Those who are interested to enter a team should contact the organizers Alain
and Tim, www.thai7s.com as soon as possible as the number of teams is
limited in each category.
Chiang Mai Hashers Two Year Run
The Chiang Mai hashers will celebrate their two year run
with a mini OutStation at the beautiful Lanna Resort. There will be a
special T shirt, buffet and two runs. We will also arrange special room
rates at this resort on the Samoeng Road. Make sure you keep this May 27 and
Meet at fish n chips at 4 p.m., run at 5 p.m.
Check out the temporary website at:
Chiang Mai Pool League: Foul sends Friend’s out in front
By Pat Black
Half Moon Pub bounced back, Out Back sent Enjoy Place crashing and high
drama at The Wall saw Friend’s Corner go outright top of the Chiang Mai Pool
League, in a week when six of the seven matches played were decided by the
After losing the first game at The Wall, Friend’s Corner began to dominate
proceedings by winning the next four. But the home side put in a spirited
performance to take the match into a deciding frame and have a winning
chance on the black.
playing for Enjoy Place
Wall supporters cheered loudly as the black went down, and seconds later,
Friend’s fans went wild as the white ball trickled round the table before
dropping into a pocket on its dying roll.
This result gave Friend’s pole position in the league – just two games ahead
of Half Moon Pub, who overcame The Local in another exciting encounter.
Looking more like their old selves, a lowly placed Local side gave the
reigning champs a good run for their money to move 4-3 ahead just after the
interval. And at 4-4, The Local reached their last ball with six of their
oppo’s still on the table. However, some strategic play by The Moon set up
their last four balls including the black, and David made no mistake in
putting them down.
One-armed Paul plays for Enjoy Place by improvising with his right arm and
the rest, and it’s best not to sympathize because he usually sends his
rivals away feeling sorry for their selves. When asked how long it had taken
to get used this style of play, he said, “I didn’t start playing pool until
I lost my arm.”
Paul won both his matches last week at Out Back, but that wasn’t enough to
stop the home side from winning in dramatic style. With the score at 4-2,
Out Back’s Pe had the choice between hitting a snookered black with a simple
shot off the top rail; or doubling back from the far cushion, missing
offending balls on the way and sinking the black for a win, which is what
the boy did.
While Enjoy dropped to 4th in the table, Chiangers and Bangers took third,
with a hard fought and first away win this term at Rock Hard Bistro. Neither
side looked to dominate until Chiangers ran out 5-4 winners to keep the
unpredictable Bistro entrenched in 7th place.
A careful eye should be kept on Blue Sky Bar, who continued their recovery
from a poor start to the season with a narrow 5-4 derby win against Blue Sky
Garden. The match was evenly poised after the singles, but young Billy
polished off the 8th frame to ensure victory for The Bar.
In other matches, December Bar must be delighted with their recent
improvement. Last week they achieved a comfortable triumph over Number 1 Pub
to celebrate their second successive win and rise to 10th in the table.
La Villa will also be relieved to pick up a point at Happy Bar, who had led
2-0 before the Pizza Boys turned the screw by winning the next four frames.
Happy struck back and at 3-4 presented their selves with a perfect
opportunity to go level. But a double on the black turned into a treble in
the wrong hole.