HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Rotary plans series of major events to honor HM the King’s birthday

Chiang Mai’s newest five star hotel

Cabaret at the Fondue House benefits Chiang Mai Choral Society

Talented Chiang Rai students wow Bangkok

Skål wines and dines at the Mandarin Dhara Dhevi


Rotary plans series of major events to honor HM the King’s birthday

Celebrations to be held in Lumpini Park on November 18, 2007

An artist’s impression of the spectacular float that will feature during the parade to honor HM the King.

(L to R) Dr. Krisada Ruengareerat, Assistant Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office; Pichai Chaipojpanit, Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, Suchada Itthijarukul, chairwoman of the organizing committee and Apa Ataboonwongse Tansode, Governor of District 3350 R.I. display their Rotary spirit at the press conference held at the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

Representatives from the 4 Rotary Districts in Thailand unite to promote
this historic event.

Rotary Clubs throughout Thailand are planning a series of events to celebrate the 80th birthday of His Majesty the King, with those in the Bangkok Metropolitan area intending to donate 80,000 plants to public parks and also to organize free medical check-ups in Lumpini Park.

The Rotary wheel will come alive when 800 Rotarians gather to interpret the Rotary symbol for photographs to honor His Majesty’s 80th birthday.
Mrs Suchada Itthijarukul, chairwoman of the organizing committee in Metropolitan Bangkok said that some events are also planned as fund-raisers, with all income after the deduction of expenses being presented to His Majesty the King for his royally sponsored projects.
Rotary is working with Bangkok City Hall on the organizing of the activities. Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayothin has already announced that 80,000 plants and saplings would be received from Rotary for planting in public parks under Bangkok Metropolitan Administration authority. This, said the governor, is in accordance with the BMA’s own environmental conservation policies.
The plants will be delivered by a parade of floats that will take place on November 18, starting from Lumpini Park and proceeding along Ploenchit Road, Payathai Road and Rama IV Road before re-entering the park. The parade cars will stop for people to take souvenir photos along the route.
Free health check-ups will also be held on November 18 at Lumpini, with those who are accepted for free operations being transferred to participating hospitals. Rotary says that the free treatment will cover 800 cases of cataracts, 80 cases of valvular heart disease, 80 cases of degenerative knee, and 80 cases of finger lock. All people interested in participating in this project must apply by presenting their ID cards and 30 baht health card at the activity location.
Another important activity will be 800 Rotarians gathering to interpret the Rotary symbol for photographs to honor His Majesty’s 80th birthday. The photographs will be used to publicize the celebrations amongst Rotary Clubs worldwide.
Suchada said that November 18 at Lumpini Park would also feature booths promoting other activities such as Rotary work to eradicate polio, and various Rotary family events. Entertainment will be provided on-stage throughout the day, ending with a concert featuring Whaen Thitim, Calorie Bla Bla, Rose Sirinthip, C nam from AF 1 and Tod Thongdee.
Rotary is a worldwide organization that works to support the underprivileged, along with world friendship and peace. There are about 1,200,000 Rotary Club members throughout the world.
For additional information please contact: Kanok-on Kasemsuk 089-816-4021 / 02725-9493, or Nisakorm Joraka 081-801-6501 / 02725-9366.

Free treatment will be given to treat 800 cases of cataracts, 80 cases of valvular heart disease, 80 cases of degenerative knee, and 80 cases of finger lock.


Chiang Mai’s newest five star hotel

Shangri La’s new General Manager Phillip Dailey talks to The Chiang Mai Mail

Philip Dailey (left) rallied his management team for a photo outside
 on the bridge – Julian Wipper Director of Food and Beverage; Sandeep Dewan,
 the Finance Manger; Morarot Sudtar, Director of Human Resources
and Golden Whitehead, the Executive Chef.

1. When will the Shangri La be open? It is going to be open on the 22nd of December. The Shangri La (Thailand) bought 5 acres of land in Chiang Mai 15 years ago – the same time when the Shangri La in Bangkok was opened. Approx 2 and half years ago building of the Shangri La Chiang Mai began.
2. Who owns the hotel? It is owned by Shangri La (Thailand) which is part of a lot larger group - Shangri La Hotel (Asia). The third hotel Shangri la Phuket will be opened in 2009.
3. How would you describe the hotel? It will be a City Resort of Lanna Renaissance Style. The hotel, along with ‘Art Alliance’ has purchased many local pieces of art and crafts to be displayed around the hotel. As most readers will know – it is very close to the ‘buzz’ of the Night Bazaar. It is within walking distance of the Mae Ping River and many restaurants. The old town (inside the moat) is a five minute tuk-tuk drive and the airport is only 10 minutes away.

The view of the front of the new Shangri La Hotel as workers press on to make the December 22nd opening day.
4. How many rooms will there be? 281 rooms and suites. The majority are deluxe rooms (194 of them) and each are 43sqm, with a range of other rooms and suites culminating in the Presidential Suite totalling 215sqm. The deluxe rooms are expected to be in the range of US$270 and the Presidential US$1000 per night (peak season rising to US$1127.) On floors 10-11-12 there will be the Horizon Club – like a mini hotel in itself with its own private lounge; these rooms and suites will be priced at about US$400 per night. Every room and suite will have a book describing the flowers of Chiang Mai.
5. What about the restaurants? Philip explained that he hopes 60 per cent of the restaurant clientele will be made up of locals and the expat community. ‘Kad Kafe’ will be a live market culinary theatre showcasing a variety of cuisines ranging from sushi, dim sum, western dishes, pasta and pizza to Thai cuisine – with chef’s cooking in front of you – while you wait. Prices will range between 350 – 450 baht per person. In the evenings there will be ‘live bands’. The other themed restaurant is named ‘WOW Bar and Grill’ (whisky or wine restaurant). In a casual setting where guests can come in their jeans and T shirts – relax and have fun. You can get the best burger in town, great steaks, after your Thai starter. The chef can come and cook at your table upon request. The ‘Silapa Thai,’ restaurant (means Thai art restaurant) wants to become the hip place in town – with a DJ booth in the middle and private booths for more intimacy and even a chef’s table which overlooks the kitchens (mingling with the chefs while they work) and outdoor lounging beds and tables similar to the ‘Bed Supper Club’ in Bangkok where international DJs will be brought in to entertain. However this restaurant will open at a later date.
6. What other facilities will the hotel have? Philip explained that the Shangri La will be the conference centre of the North of Thailand with 5 star luxury standards offering over 3500sqm. There will be a 100 seat auditorium with a built in stage available for local theatre groups to use. Three meeting rooms - including the showcase - Grand Lanna Ballroom - with 8 meter high ceilings. On top of the ballroom there will be a mini putting green and tennis court. The Spa Village will be located in the hotel gardens.
7. How will the Shangri La differ from other 5 star hotels? Every hotel is different Philip started off saying and then explained that he wants Chiang Mai to be proud of the Shangri La and vice versa. It is a 5 acre plot of land in the centre of town with easy access to everything. Although being a 5 star hotel; the Shangri La wants to make it a place for the expat and local community ‘Lets go for lunch at the Kad Kafe Shangri La’.
8. How many staff will be local Chiang Mai people? The entire staff is from Chiang Mai. There is 350 staff currently employed.
9. Have you found it difficult to find staff locally and do you offer training? There were over 2200 applicants for the 350 positions available. Everyone will be multi-functional. There is a 9 week training course including orientation, history of Chiang Mai, staff policies and four weeks in the classroom. From December 1st it will be rehearsal time – where staff alternate between being a guest staying the night and eating in the restaurants. Philip wants his staff to be the ambassadors for the hotel and Chiang Mai. He has also employed CMU as cultural advisors. The staff will have colorful uniforms ‘Lanna style’ that are made in Chiang Mai.
10. Where have you worked before? Philip comes from New York. He has a BA in Hotel Management, starting work at the Hyatt hotels followed by Ritz Carlton and the Four Seasons. He was then offered a position with the Shangri La in Asia and has worked in the Philippines, Malaysia and now Chiang Mai.
11. What attracted you personally to Chiang Mai? Culture. Philip has been here over one year learning about the city. He loves the Sunday market walking street. He is fascinated about the history of Chiang Mai.
12. What do you think are the main problems with tourism for Chiang Mai? Chiang Mai is undersold. Basically Chiang Mai is not marketed correctly – especially internationally. The Amazing Thailand effort is all about Bangkok or Phuket – but it cannot be about Thailand if it does not include Chiang Mai. Philip wants to see Chiang Mai become the Aspen of Asia; however there is still a problem with ‘getting here’
13. When can I make a reservation? Straight away. All reservations go via his office – however within 2 weeks it is expected to be online reservations.
At the end of the interview Philip explained he wants to work with the local and expat communities, to become involved and to promote Chiang Mai for all people. He wants The Shangri La to be available for everyone.

Cabaret at the Fondue House benefits Chiang Mai Choral Society

l/r Joanna, Rujira, Ken and Jah waiting for the show to begin.

(l/r) Pai, Waranan, Preecha and Mai Pongcharoenkul meeting Becky and John. Waranan and Preecha are the owners of the Fondue House and supporters of the Choral Society.

Mark Walder and Ard spent months preparing and rehearsing for Cabaret.
The audience loved it.

Toe, Bob, Ginny and Kelli seen here enjoying the show.

Lianne, Astrid and Chaon looking forward to the performance of Cabaret.


Members of the Chiang Mai Choral Society recently produced and performed in a Cabaret at the Fondue House to benefit the choral society. Organized and produced by Mark Walder, with musical backup by John, Ard and Jun, the cabaret included dinner by the Fondue House followed by a musical review of songs from Broadway shows.

La Cage aux Folles comes to life during Cabaret at the Fondue House.

Mark and Ard set the stage with introductory numbers from the 1966 musical, Cabaret, which were followed in the first act by My Fair Lady, Girl Crazy, Top Hat, Singin’ in the Rain and others. Sharon and Richard, made guest appearances and the act ended with the entire company performing The Lambeth Walk.
Act Two began with Ard’s rendition of Thoroughly Modern Millie, followed by pieces from Show Boat, Fiddler on the Roof, Guys and Dolls, La Cage aux Folles and others. Sharon, Richard, Becky and Frank made guest appearances in this act, which ended with Together, Wherever We Go. Ard brought A Chorus Line to life with his spectacular rendition of “One”, and members of the audience could be seen singing along with the performers for many numbers. But all were spellbound when Mark took the stage for “If I Were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof. It was a delightful evening; one that many members of the audience hope will be repeated.

Carla, Aubrey and Pam at the Cabaret.

Seated are Mongthakan, May, Roger and Philip meeting Sharon and Ard from the cast of performers of Cabaret.

The Cabaret cast together on stage (l/r) Jun, Ard, John, Sharon, Richard,
Becky and Frank.

Talented Chiang Rai students wow Bangkok

Count Gerald van der Straten Ponthoz, Mrs Agnes Matthysen, H.E. Mr Jan Matthysen, Ambassador of Belgium in Thailand, and President Komol Rattomrattana, of Rotary Club of Bangkorlaem, in front of the large size pictures remembering the friendship between H.M. King Bhumibol and H.M. King Baudouin of Belgium.

Happiness was the biggest reward for all the students and everyone who was involved in the organization of this wonderful event.

A multi cultural concert with 40 children of the Chiang Rai hills to celebrate His Majesty the King and his friendship with former King Baudouin of Belgium took place in Bangkok when the talented students performed and wowed the audience with their musical celebration at the Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theater.

Dr Jintanand Subhamitra and Thanpuying Pungjit Subhamitra. When King Baudouin of Belgium died, H.M. The Queen Sirikit instructed Thanpuying Pungjit to write a song as a tribute to the King of Belgium. The song, “At Dawn” was played during the concert.

Over 600 distinguished invited guests attended a unique and unconventional concert presided by H.E. Mr. Jan Matthysen, Ambassador of Belgium to Thailand.
The event, initiated by Count Gerald van der Straten Ponthoz and the Rotary Clubs of Maechan and Bangkorlaem, was the finale of a wonderful musical experience for 40 children of the Chiang Rai hills.
The musicians of Belgian band Belch’Quartet accepted an invitation to join a 2 month project in which innovation and musical creativity was their sole guidelines.

A student sings a Hmong song accompanied by Mathieu De Wit, the Belgian pianist.

Rather than merely importing their western skills and knowledge, they came to learn about the local cultures and their work soon evolved towards a real fusion of styles.
After only a month of intensive rehearsal with the students at the Suksasongkroh School of Maechan, they successfully achieved their goal, respecting but uniting cultures, traditions and modernity.
Jazz, traditional songs, rock, Thai melodies and hill tribes’ compositions kept surprising the audience, with the Belgian musicians and the students singing several times in each other’s language.
The event was an occasion to remember the special friendship between H.M. the King and former King Baudouin of Belgium, with a photo exhibition presented during the cocktail party which took place earlier in the evening. But it was during the concert that emotions and memories were brought back, when the students sang a song written by Thapuying Pungjit Subhamitra as a tribute to King Baudouin.
Celebration has been an exceptional experience for these disadvantaged children. They not only could achieve their dream of going to perform in Bangkok. They have been allowed a chance to also be part of this year of celebration of their King.

Student Wisaed played Kreng and danced, accompanied by Belgian musician Damien Campion at the double base.

Celebration was not only a concert; it was a show which included numerous performers of the Suksasongkroh Maechan School.

Chalisa, a student of the Suksasongkroh school, with Count Gerald van der Straten Ponthoz and the 4 Belgian musicians of “Belch’Quartet”..

Students playing an Akha song with the Belgian musicians.

14 hill tribes violinists accompanied a combination of traditional, rock, pop and western music during over an hour of concert.

Skål wines and dines at the Mandarin Dhara Dhevi

Ampaipun, Malai and Chompunut.

Chaleenuch, Anchalee and Supranee at Skål .

Richard, Mohamad and Thana at the Skål dinner.

The monthly Skål dinner was held on Oct 26 in the Akaligo Restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi. Skål is an international association of professionals in the Hotel/Tourism/Travel Industry. The local chapter members and their guests meet once per month to socialize and to share information about tourism in Chiang Mai.
Each month a local hotel or a restaurant will host the meeting and dinner for the attendees. Mr. Mark Bradford, general manager and Mr. Savas Rattakunjara, assistant general manager of the Oriental Dhara Dhevi planned an excellent evening of dining and socializing in the incredible surroundings of the hotel.
This month, formal presentations were made by Mr. Frank S and Mrs. Vanita Sethi. They operate “Fashion King” custom tailors and have been active in the Chiang Mai business community for over 20 years.
The Dhara Dhevi recently began offering a “Dine in Style Privilege Card” and Mr. Thanabalasingham Balakrishnan of Hospitality Marketing Concepts outlined the many significant benefits offered to card holders. The card is available to all business and professionals for baht 3000 per year. Cardholders receive substantial discounts at any of the fine restaurants on-site, and the Spa, and Bakery. In addition, cardholders receive special room rates at both the Oriental Chiang Mai and the Oriental Bangkok.
The evening started with wine and complimentary hors d’oeuvres at the elegantly masculine Horn Bar and continued with a five course dinner at the Akaligo Mediterranean Restaurant. The Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai, continues to provide what some believe to be the finest service in the world. The membership of Skål thanks everyone who was involved in this evening – it will be remembered for a long time to come.

Skål members gather for their monthly group photo at the elegant Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi hotel.

l/r Thana, Lawrence, Vanita, Frank and Sarah - Frank and Vanita from Fashion King were the guest speakers of the evening.

Savas, Chompunut, Naphat and Chompunut at the Skål dinner Mandarin Oriental.

l/r Todd, Mark, Annette, Jessica and Philip before the Skål dinner
at the Mandarin Oriental.