Chiang Mai Friends meet
at Track of the Tiger
Chiang Mai Friends Group members gather for
their monthly meeting in the beautiful gardens at ‘Track of the Tiger.’
The March meeting of the Chiang Mai Friends Group was held at the
premises of ‘Track of the Tiger,’ a beautiful house and garden owned by the
innovative Shane Beary, another of whose stunning and ecologically sound
projects, Pang Soong Lodge and Outdoor Education Centre, was the subject of
a recent and very favourable review in this paper.
Admittedly a little difficult to locate (one new Friend whose favoured means
of transport was by songthaew, reported that even the local driver got lost
several times) the peace and quiet of the countryside was a welcome relief.
A total of 9 ’first-time’ guests enjoyed meeting new people and hearing
first-hand experiences of CMF’s activities; the rest of us enjoyed catching
up with old friends before dinner.
The meeting itself began with Duenpen Chaladlam (Boong to her many friends)
welcoming guests new and regular, and introducing the evening’s speaker,
Komsan Poursripan from Chiang Mai’s Labour Office. Boong then announced
Green Chiang Mai’s upcoming projects, one of the most important of which is
One of the project’s main aims is to support and encourage friendship
between farangs and local people by means of the ‘One Visitor – One Tree’
events, which take place in Ban Papai, a self-sufficiency village in Doi
Saket district. Each visitor plants, in a local garden and in friendship,
one sapling, which will be watered and taken care of by the garden’s owner.
Because the little tree was planted as a symbol of friendship, it will not
be cut down or allowed to wither and die. The planting events will continue
all year. The event, which took place on April 1, is reviewed elsewhere in
this week’s paper. The village itself is set in beautiful countryside, close
to the hills and next to a large klong, full of sparkling water. What
Boong reported that the Saraphi Women’s Group are now designing and making
products for sale from recycled grass, wire and unused fabric, thus
transforming waste into value and reducing burning. Shane then introduced
his new programme, ‘Eco-Logical,’ which aims to encourage responsible
tourism and to promote education and environmental protection. The project
has already been trialled in Ban Pan Soong. Shane invited CMF member to
visit the village and see how local people were able, as a result, to earn
money from tourism without harming their precious forest location.
Boong announced that the municipality is inviting CMF members to volunteer
as helpers, mostly in the ‘polite zones,’ during the upcoming Songkran
Festival. A member of Chiang Mai’s Urban Development Institute Foundation
(UDIF) gave information about the UDIF’s petition, organised to request
urgent action on the city’s pollution problems. As many signatures as
possible are requested; the petition will be presented separately to PM
Abhisit Vejjajiva and to the new Chiang Mai governor.
A long-standing CMF member, Elizabeth Spring, presented an interesting idea
by suggesting that those of us who love Chiang Mai should wear a bright
orange ribbon (please note, not red and not yellow) to signify that love,
and that we should explain why we are wearing it to all who ask!
Khomsan, the formal presentation given by the speaker, ably assisted in
translation by Joe, gave a great deal of informative advice about Thailand’s
labour regulations, including work permits, company formation and the link
of a work permit to a work visa. Somewhat complicated, but, here in
Thailand, what isn’t?
Lanna Spa Association Launch
Guest speaker Dr. Chris
Moretti (centre) with president Pakin Ployphicha (4th left), secretary
Sutthiruk Sitthisoonthorn (3rd right) and vice-president Ben Wongthong
The newly formed Lanna Spa Association held its first meeting,
entitled ‘SpaRty,’ at the Four Seasons Resort on March 27, attended by 40
guests representing a number of Chiang Mai spas. Guests dressed in white and
gathered at the resort’s cooking school for soft drinks, coffee, tea and
The aim of the new association is to unite and to work together to promote
spas in Chiang Mai, hopefully improving the city’s tourism potential as a
result, in addition improving the revenues of the spas themselves. Members
are committed to training their staff to a high professional standard, thus
improving the image of the city’s many spas. Pakin Ployphicha, Oasis Spa
president, is heading up the association, with Ben Wonghtong as his
vice-president and Sutthiruk Sitthisoonthorn as secretary.
The guest speaker at the inaugural meeting was Dr. Christian Moretti PhD, a
chemist-bio-scientist from Aberdeen University, who presented an extremely
informative talk on Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, explaining that
aromatherapy is the practice of using specific essential oils (complex
products containing many different components) to alleviate physical,
emotional and mental symptoms. The therapy is viewed by its practitioners as
a natural alternative to traditional medical treatments. True aromatherapy
uses essential oils derived from herbs and plants, ranging from Lemon Grass,
used for headaches, sore throats and respiration (surely a must for
residents of Chiang Mai in recent months…) to Jasmine, used for depression,
anxiety and other similar conditions. For memory loss and fatigue, Rosemary
is recommended; for nervous or sexual debility, White Orchid may be
prescribed. The lists of ailments and their remedies are almost endless.
Aromatherapy originated in France 70 years ago as a result of an accident
Rene Gattefossé, a chemist, burned his hand quite badly, and, seeking relief
from the pain, plunged it into a container of pure lavender oil. To his
amazement, the pain and discolouration faded almost immediately, and the
burns healed a few hours later! The techniques Gattefossé and his colleagues
subsequently established are still in use today, and the popularity of
aromatherapy continues to increase as more people seek natural alternatives
to conventional medicine.
Dr. Christian also explained that essential oils and essences are highly
concentrated substances extracted from various parts of aromatic plants and
trees. They are usually captured by steam distillation, a process whose
origins can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia, and must be diluted with
an inert vegetable oil or with water as they are volatile and flammable. He
discussed many other aspects of aromatherapy, including quality control and
the mixing of different essential oils, warning against mixing oils which
contain incompatible components, which causes a chemical reaction resulting
in the degrading of the mixture. He also explained that, as there are
divided opinions amongst professional aromatherapy practitioners concerning
the use of essential oils during pregnancy ;it may be better to avoid their
A very long, interesting and complex talk with guests being provided with a
hard copy to study at their leisure! The next meeting of the Lanna Spa
Association will be held at the Tamarind Village, on April 24; with a focus
on ‘Going Green’ – another interesting and topical subject in the current
For further information contact [email protected]
Amari Rincome launches 2009’s
Rincome-Angkhan Family Rally
Natthapas Yot-arlai, GM
Angkhang Nature Resort; Punyaporn Pradubsule Asst. Director TAT Chiang Mai
Office; Suthat Pleumpanya Director of Highland Research & Development
Institute Royal Project; and Warunee Exe, Asst. Manager Amari Rincome Hotel
join event organizer Ongkarn Chaiongkarn MD of Man Muang Chamber Co. Ltd.,
at the press party.
Last Thursday, the rooftop suite at the Amari Rincome saw the press
party to launch the 13th annual Rincome-Angkhan Family Rally 2009, which
will take place on May 9 and 10. The party, including entertainment and a
delicious dinner, was led by Natthapas Yot-arlai, GM of the Angkhang Nature
Resort, which will host competitors for an overnight stay, and, in the
absence of the Amari’s GM, Wim Fagel, his assistant manager, Warenee Exe.
The guest of honour was Suthat Pleumpanya, director of the Highland Research
& Development Institute’s Royal Project.
The rally event will cover the full weekend, including the overnight stay at
the resort, and will begin at the Amari Rincome Hotel. The route to the
resort normally takes around 3 hours; however, for contestants there will be
many fascinating and fun diversions, games, and ‘tricks and turns’ to occupy
their time! The route will take them through some stunning scenery, with
plenty of chances to enjoy the natural beauty of this picturesque region.
Last year’s winners were Phakphoum Diewtrakul and Chairat Roosue, who were
awarded the Prince Bhesadej Rachanee Trophy, 5,000 baht cash and a Samsung
camera with which to record their future adventures. So far, this year,
there are 30 entrants, with the rally’s organisers hoping to top last year’s
total of 49 vehicles and 180 guests. Prizes this year include a 2-person
round trip air ticket for either Chiang Mai – Pai or Chiang Mai – Chiang
Rai, donated by rally sponsors SGA Airlines.
Anyone who wishes to join the rally, at a cost of 3,950 baht for 2 persons,
including the overnight stay at the resort, plus breakfast, lunch and
dinner, please contact 053-221-130 or email on sales @rincome-amari.com.
Sounds like fun and a bargain!
British Council launches new website for prospective UK students
A new website was launched by the British Council in Chiang Mai on
March 27, aimed at giving expanded information to students wishing to
continue their education in the UK. The site
www.britishcouncil.org/thailand-educationuk.htm contains updated news on
choosing courses, university prospectuses, course websites, information on
study visas and scholarships, transnational education (UK distance learning
qualifications) and links to a large number of relevant and informative
Thind and Supattra Honghirun at the launch with prospective UK students.
Supattra Honghirun, British Council representative, explained that it is
essential for prospective overseas students to be given accurate details on
available courses and visa requirements, together with an overview of
Western culture which will assist students in dealing with ‘culture shock’
when they arrive in the UK.
As the British Ambassador stated on his recent visit to Chiang Mai, of
45,000 visa applications received by the embassy, 40,000 are granted, many
of which are for study purposes, indicating that the UK is open for
business, for investment, and especially for further education.
Reception marks Australian
Ambassador’s visit to Chiang Mai
A reception was held at the Shangri-La Hotel in honour of the recent
visit of H.E. Paul Grigson, Australian Ambassador to Thailand, to Chiang Mai
to meet with the Chiang Mai governor and the city’s mayor.
Australia’s ties with Thailand focus strongly on further education, with a
large number of young Thais choosing Australian universities as a
destination to continue their studies. The Australian Embassy is involved in
developing government-to-government relations, including working on
bilateral education reform projects in Thailand and supporting multilateral
engagements to advance Australia’s position on education and related issues.
Earlier this year, 15 distinguished Thai scholars and professionals were
selected as winners of the Australian Government’s internationally
competitive, merit-based Endeavour Award scholarship programme.
The Embassy also supports a Cultural Relations Programme, which showcases
artistic events and cultural assets of Australia’s foreign and trade policy
objectives. The recent visit to Chiang Mai of Logic, the Australian jazz
band was organised in co-operation between the Australian Embassy and the
dusit D2 Hotel.