SKÅL’s monthly meeting at the Vernada High Resort
SKÅL members at the Vernada High Resort during
their monthly dinner.
The Vernada High Resort in Ban Pong, Hang Dong, was the venue for
the latest of Skål’s monthly dinners, held on October 30. A record-breaking
91 guests attended, with the entire committee being put on stand-by to
welcome the arrivals! Efficient as always, Hon.Sec. Mohamad Jesr, who
fine-tuned the event, had alerted committee members to the growing number of
attendees, so members and guests were greeted warmly as they arrived.
Cocktails were served in the bar area. Unfortunately it was, by then, dark,
and guests were unable to enjoy the beautiful views for which the resort is
famous. The drinks and conversation, and meeting and greeting, however,
helped to ameliorate their disappointment.
The evening’s guest of honour was Chalermsak Suranant, the “Chiang Mai home
town boy,” who recently returned from Hong Kong to take up his position as
TAT director for the northern region. Other guests included Mom Luang
Preeyapun Sridhavat in her capacity of Honorary Peruvian Consul to Chiang
Mai and the North.
After cocktails, dinner was served, as a buffet rather than a sit-down meal
due to the large number of guests. Prior to tucking in, Anchalee Kalmapijit,
Skål’s Madame President, presented Chalermsak with honorary membership of
SKÅL, and congratulated Toby Allen and Pakin Ploywaen, whose Oasis Spas in
Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Pattaya, have just won Thailand’s Tourism Award
2008. New members were introduced, including Jaffee Yee, Nima Chandler,
Jessica Mauer and Khaetthaleeya Uppakham. Judging by the number of emails
that Anchalee received the following day, it was a very successful event,
and one to be remembered. For further details about SKÅL and the next
meeting, please visit www. skalchiangmai.com.
Count Gerald’s Chao Phya Abhai Raja
Siammanukulkij Foundation launched
On October 29th, in collaboration with Count Gerald van der Straten Ponthoz,
H.E. Jan Matthysen, the Belgian Ambassador to Thailand, hosted an elegant
cocktail party at his residence in Bangkok. The event took place on the
occasion of the launch of the Chao Phya Abhai Raja Siammanukulkij
Foundation, based in Chiang Rai. The party was also an opportunity for Count
Gerald to present the Thai version of his book: ‘Chao Phya Abhai Raja
Gustave Rolin-Jaequemyns, General Advisor of H.M. King Chulalongkorn,’ which
deals with his family’s long and distinguished relationship with the
Kingdom. The party was attended by over 200 distinguished guests from
Bangkok society, including Privy Counsellor M.R. Thepkamol Devakula,
together with ambassadors and representatives of the corporate world.
Vajarodaya, Somjai Sasomsarp, Count Gerald van der Straten Ponthoz, Wilaiwan
Phiriyakrit, Governor of Chiang Rai Trisit Sinsomboonthong and Sansanee
Sitapan-Moller, with 3 students of the foundation holding the books.
If it is a coincidence that brought Count Gerald van der Straten Ponthoz to
Thailand 7 years ago, it was only the first of a long series of
coincidences. It was on Chiang Rai that Count Gerald found out that an
ancestor of his grandmother’s family on his father’s side, had been the
general advisor of King Rama V. Another coincidence was that when King Rama
V was in Belgium in 1897 on a royal visit, his great-grand father on his
mother’s side, had made portraits of the King. Two extraordinary
coincidences – two ancestors, from both sides of Count Gerald’s family,
connected at different levels with the King of Siam. So, a book was born. A
book reuniting the two ancestors through a common descendant, uniting art
with history, and sealing the long lasting friendly relationship between the
kingdoms of Thailand and Belgium.
Count Gerald’s beautiful coffee-table book “Chao Phya Abhai Raja Gustave
Rolin-Jaequemyns, General Advisor of H.M. King Chulalongkorn” was edited in
English in 2007 and has now been edited in the Thai version. However, this
new limited edition of 1,500 copies is not for sale, as was the case with
the previous English edition. It will only be offered in exchange for
donations of 3,000 baht to the new Chao Phya Abhai Raja Siammanukulkij
Foundation, now officially launched.
For some years, Count Gerald has devoted much of his time to help society.
After having made Chiang Rai his base, he involved himself in creating
innovative charity projects to the benefit of the most disadvantaged
students in the province, mostly from the local hill tribe villages.
Together with the Rotary Club of Maechan he initiated successful artistic
and musical projects, such as the Hill Tribe Violin Band, the Sindoi Ceramic
Project, the Hill Tribe Magicians, all with the ultimate goal of creating
revenues for the students and making them independent in life.
The Chao Phya Abhai Raja Siammanukulkij Foundation has been created in order
to continue with these activities, and to better structure the help provided
to the students with the aim of opening even more doors to the world for the
Besides its primary goals of helping the poorest students, the foundation
aims at transmitting the values of Chao Phya Abhai Raja to the younger
generation. Values of honesty, trust, hard work and respect. It is also
hoped that the activities of the foundation will keep the memory of the work
and achievements of Chao Phya Abhai Raja alive forever. The foundation is
based at Insii Thai House in Maechan, Chiang Rai province.
Imm Eco Hostel opens
in downtown Chiang Mai
A very different kind of accommodation is now open in Chiang Mai,
under the Imperial Mai Ping brand, but with a new and very “now” focus. The
Imm Eco Hostel, which enjoyed its official opening on November 2, is taking
the “eco” part of its name very seriously, offering value-for-money
accommodation on a beautiful site on Bumrangraj Road, comprising 7 rai of
mature gardens. During the conversion of the 70 year-old Thai-colonial main
building, the other buildings, and the landscaping of the plot, great care
was taken not to disturb even one of the lychee, longan and coconut palm
trees in the grounds. The gardens themselves were beautifully laid out,
designed by Dr. Nirwat Tantayanusorn, Ph.D., with hanging and climbing ferns
in place to give shade to reduce the heat in the adjoining rooms.
The opening ceremony and entertainment, organised by JOE Consulting, began
with guests being invited to tour the main building itself, which was
previously used as a kindergarten, after which eco-friendly games were set
up in the gardens. The main event was the reception, which took place around
the swimming pool, and was graced by Chalermsak Suranant, the director of
TAT’s Northern region, and Songvit Ittpatanakul, the president of the Chiang
Mai Tourism Business Association. The hostel’s staff, carrying through with
the “eco” theme of both the event and the hostel itself, all wore badges
reading, “I can make a difference for a better world tomorrow.”
Accommodation available includes several categories, from Dormitory through
the Classroom House to the Octagon and the Common House, with prices ranging
from 250 baht per bed with an additional 150 baht for single occupancy of a
room. A TV room and library, an internet café and a coffee shop serving at
reasonable prices are all available; for those who cannot bear to be parted
from their laptops, there is also wireless internet throughout the
For further information or reservations contact www. immhotel.com or
[email protected] immhotel.com. If you would like to make your event that little bit
more special contact [email protected]
Yee Peng festival 2008
This year’s Loy Krathong 2008 festival in Chiang Mai is officially
scheduled to run for four days, from November 10 through to November 13
inclusive. Apart from the Grand Opening of Loy Krathong Yee Peng 2008
between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., there will be a children’s beauty contest, Lanna
music performances which will continue for the full 4 days, and even a
beauty contest for pigeons! The main festivities will take place from the 11
to the 13; as a result, Ratchadamnoen Road will be closed to traffic from 4
p.m. onwards and Thapae Road from 6 p.m. onwards on those days.
November 11 will see the 17 Yee Peng lantern parade starting 6 p.m. at
Thapae Gate and moving down Thapae Road to Wat Sri Don Chai, where it will
finish at midnight. At the Three Kings Monument, there will be the Miss Yee
Peng beauty contest, and the beginning of the three-day “Legend of Yee Peng”
The following day, November 12, will feature the ‘Small Krathong Parade,’
from 6 p.m. to midnight, and on November 13 the last and main parade, the
‘Giant Krathong Parade’ will take place. These two parades will both start
at Thapae Gate and continue down Thapae Road to the Municipal Offices, and
are expected to start at 6 p.m. and continue well into the night.
As with most Loy Krathong Festivals, on the evening of 12 and 13, there will
be a large firework display for the Buddha Bucha on the Ping River in front
of the Municipal Offices from 7 p.m. onwards, together with Krathong
floating Lanna style, also from 7 p.m.
On 12, from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. on (or rather, IN) the river, bamboo
rafting and diving competitions will take place. The west side of Narawat
Bridge, in front of the Governor’s Residence, will see traditional Lanna
merit-making ceremonies, Phra Siri Mong Ka La Yee Peng. On 11, 12 and 13,
Wat Jed Lin will display the folk art of 6 ethnic races.
The two main areas from which to release your own Khom Loys are at Thapae
Gate and in front of the Governor’s Residence. On 13, Wat Muang Sart Noi
will feature the conservation of traditional Yee Peng Wisdom from 6 p.m. to
11 p.m., and Wat Inthakin will feature a traditional display of Lanna
lanterns throughout the period. Enjoy!
November 19 will be a special night for the Royal British
Legion in Chiang Mai, who will be holding “open house” at the Olde Bell on
Loy Kroh Road. This is an opportunity to find out about their work in
Thailand as well as to meet the local members. You do not need to have
served in the armed forces to belong to the Legion, although most members
have served in the British or Commonwealth forces. A free buffet will be
provided from 8 p.m., and all are welcome.
November 21 CMIS Dinner and Silent Auction at the Chiang Mai
International School. All proceeds will go towards a new, permanent cover
for the CMIS Community Sala/Basketball Court. Preview the silent auction
items from 6 p.m. until the dinner starts at 6.30 p.m. Tickets cost 400 baht
per person and are available from [email protected] For more information,
contact 053-306-152 (ext 104).
November 21 The Montford Boy’s Choir’s ‘We love Singing Concert 2008’
is at the Saisuree Chutikul Music Hall, Maekhao Campus, Payap University.
The concert starts at 7.30 p.m. Admission is free. For more information,
please call 053-252-565.
November 30 The Citylife Garden Party will take place from 10 a.m.
until 4 p.m. at the Citylife grounds on Canal Road. Anyone wishing to donate
unwanted clothes or household items should drop them off at Reception,
Hillside 4 on Huay Kaew Road. All monies raised will go to the 5th Annual
Charity Rooftop Party to be held on 10 January 2009.
Tamarind Village hosts
a Chilean wine dinner
Dao, Pat, Urh, Puii, Toom,
Toii and Nok,
all pictured at the Tamarind Village wine dinner.
Whilst Halloween celebrations were under way across the city,
Tamarind Village on Rachadamnoen Road in the old city held a very special
gastronomic wine dinner for over 70 guests, featuring Chilean wines and
sponsored by ItalThai, Vittel, Perrier and Dona Dominga.
Wine expert Anuchit Saeng-On was on hand to give advice while guests enjoyed
the Chateau Los Boldos Sauvignon Blanc, followed by an excellent Thai dinner
served by the swimming pool. Dishes presented included a tasty first course
somtam Papaya Salad with sea scallops. The Chef’s recommendation for the
main course was sliced roasted duck with lychees in red curry sauce,
complimented by a 2006 Chateau Los Boldos Merlot Tradition. A side dish of
fried pumpkin with sweet basil was served with sirloin steak as an
alternative to the duck, complimented by a 2007 Dona Dominga
Cabernet-Merlot. A very pleasant evening in a charming setting was the
One guest commented, ‘’I was rather taken with the place; the service was
excellent and the manageress is a lovely person. The restaurant menu looks
impressive – especially the Thai section – and the bar is very well
stocked.” The dinner was sponsored by ItalThai, Vittel, Eau de Perrier and
New tourist initiative includes
Ratchapruek’s December exposition
A new campaign by the Tourist Authority of Thailand (TAT) is planned
to run in conjunction with the “Visit Thailand Year- 2008-2009” initiative,
and aims to give a much-needed boost to the flagging Thai tourism industry
by organising and publicising attractions nationwide.
Entitled “Thieo Thai Khreuk Khreun Settakit Thai Kheuk Khuk” (Bustling Thai
Tourism, burgeoning Thai economy), the campaign, officially launched in
Bangkok on November 5 by Weerasak Kowsurat, the Thai Minister of Sports and
Tourism, will feature countrywide events and publicity. Included will be
Chiang Mai’s contribution, the Ratchapruek Exposition in Honour of His
Majesty the King, slated to take place between December 1 and 10.
The outdoor exhibition is planned to amaze visitors with a superb show of
rare and exotic plants and flowers. Entertainments and spectacular
performances of traditional musical and dramatic arts taking place from 6
p.m. to 10 p.m. each evening are also promised, originating from all 4 of
Thailand’s regions. Featured will be country and folk music, grand Thai Khon
performances, and jazz bands playing the compositions of His Majesty the
King. The dates of the exposition have been specially set to be the official
opening of the Royal Ratchapreuk Garden.
CEC holds its first
“open meeting” since its inception
On October 25, the Chiang Mai Expats Club had its first open
meeting. CEC has been around for over three years, and one of the many
decisions made at this meeting was that both board and members wouldn’t wait
three years to do it again!
Treasurer Al Trussell kicked things off with the money trail. He’s got hard
copies for anyone who’s interested, and the club will be posting regular
updates on the website. The group has rapidly grown from 29 guys on top of
Art’s Cafe to well over 600 members, so the club’s tireless Board is working
to ensure transparency in their operations.
During the August meetings, the group held their second club survey, and the
rest of the meeting was dedicated to its results, which will also be on the
CEC website in full very soon. Nothing, of course, was unanimous, but the
majority agreed with venue, frequency, meeting times, and new member intros.
More announcements were preferred to fewer, outside group activities should
be promoted more. The guest speaker should remain the meeting’s focus, 45
minutes is a good time limit, and the Open Forum and Lucky Draw remain
valuable parts of the meetings. Plenty of support for Expat Newsletter. Rock
on, Alan and Tom!
Members want more information about club finances and Board’s governance,
and this open meeting was a great first step. The second half of the survey
results page, in a much smaller font, is a list of suggestions to improve
the club, and these are always welcome. The Board will take them on board
(groan) and the “Website” section will be regularly reviewed.