CMF’s day out at Ban Papai
Earlier this month, a visit was arranged by Chiang Mai Friends group
to Ban Papai, the self-sufficiency village located in beautiful countryside
a short drive from Doi Saket. The village has, for the last year, been a
focus for Green Chiang Mai’s tree-planting project; many more saplings for
planting were awaiting the arrival of the group, their friends, and a
bus-load of youngsters from Prem International School.
chosen, it was off to find the right spot to plant them.
On arrival, we were greeted by Duenpen Chaladlam, CMF’s president and friend
to us all, and a large number of villagers, in whose gardens the trees were
to be planted as a sign of friendship between Thais and expats, with the
agreement that the owners would look after the trees for us, and replace
them if they died. For those of us making our first visit to Ban Papai,
Duenpen explained that village life was based on self-sufficiency, in that
residents were committed to recycling, composting, organic planting,
re-using waste to make saleable produce, and the forbidding of burning. A
homestay project for visitors provides extra income, and the entire village
is a part of the One Tambon One Product (OTOP) scheme.
After Duenpen’s introduction, cards with the group’s names were given out to
the villagers, to determine which garden would receive a tree from which
visitor. After we’d introduced out selves, we rushed to choose our trees,
varying from fruit trees through coconut palms to rubber trees. The village
homes are spread out along a beautiful valley, with lakes and rivers, a
wonderful setting. But a long walk for farangs clutching trees.
Consequently, we were happily transported to the planting sites in cars,
trucks, sidecars, motorcycles and even bicycles by laughing people.
planted the trees will be tended to by the local villagers.
After we’d planted our trees, we returned to the centre of the village, and
had time to look around before lunch. Several of us were lucky enough to end
up at a smallholding owned and run by an ex-local businessman and his
family…an amazing example of total interdependency and organic husbandry.
The smallholding provides both an income for the family and food…spaced out
in the area behind the house were large concrete pens full of frogs, ponds
crammed with catfish, pens holding pigs (including pregnant females and
piglets), boars, chickens and a paddock with cows. Organic vegetables and
fruit are also grown.
amazing irrigation system provides water to the village year round.
The logic and simplicity is stunning…the pig waste and frog waste is fed to
the catfish, who keep the water in their ponds fresh; the muddy water from
the fish ponds is used to fertilise the organically grown vegetables.
Traditional, and highly successful. There are huge trees everywhere on the
smallholding…everything is hand and home-made with an eye to environmental
impact. Even the recently-constructed large concrete water tanks are shaped
as huge tree-trunks. And the trees which were planted by the CMF group
member were rubber trees. When fully grown, they will provide another source
of income as well as shade. We farangs often note, here in Chiang Mai,
imported ideas from the West. Perhaps we should be looking in the reverse
direction, and noting traditional ways used here for centuries.
Somewhat reluctantly, and promising to return, we left the smallholding, as
lunch had been prepared for everyone. Totally organic and delicious, green
curry, fresh vegetables lightly braised, soup, noodles and huge quantities
of rice, eaten by the side of the main canal. Afterwards, we walked along
the canal, and out into the countryside. Peace, quiet and an amazing
irrigation system consisting of a huge canal and lake feeding numerous
klongs, ensuring that Ban Papai remains self-sufficient even in the driest
Xanadu restaurant opens
in Grand Hillside 5
Wachara Tantranont, owner of
the new ‘restaurant with a view,’
receives a beautiful bouquet at its opening on April 10.
A new restaurant in a very well known condo block celebrated its
opening on April 10. The Xanadu is situated in the 17th floor rooftop area
of the Hillside 5 condo building, adjoining Hillside 4 on Huey Kaew Road,
with stunning views to the west across town towards Doi Suthep and the
surrounding mountains. Hillside 5 is at present being renovated, and will be
reopened on completion as the Grand Heritage Hotel.
For the restaurant’s opening, invited guests included residents of Hillside
4, friends of the owner, Wachara Tantranont, and selected media
representatives. The Xanadu will specialise in Italian and French cuisine
with a side menu of Thai and German dishes, and will feature two bands
playing live ‘golden oldie’ music nightly.
New project gives mahouts basic elephant first aid boxes
Dr. Pornsawan Pongsopawijit,
from CMU’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, (2nd left) shown witnessing the
donation on April 14 of 10,000 baht from DTAC’s assistant vice-president,
Sutirapan Sakkawatra to Anchalee Kalmapijit, (3rd left), the president of
the Hug Elephant Club.
Anchalee Kalmapijit, president of the Hug Elephant Club, was on hand April
14 to receive a welcome donation of 10,000 baht from DTAC’s assistant
vice-president, Sutirapan Sakkawatra, for the benefit of her new Elephant
First Aid and Medicine Box project.
The number of Asian elephants in Thailand, both in the wild and in
captivity, has declined during the last 20 years by an average of 3%
annually, with less than 5,000 remaining in Thailand at the present time.
Due to the scattered nature of the elephant population across the kingdom,
the urgent treatment of disease is a major problem, as only one major
elephant veterinary centre, the Elephant Hospital in Lampang, has been
provided by the Thai government. Private donations help support the
facility, ensuring that treatment is free; however, transportation of a sick
or injured elephant over distance is a very expensive and beyond the means
of mahouts. Even minor injuries can escalate if prompt treatment is not
The Elephant First Aid and Medicine Box project aims to provide mahouts with
free basic medical essentials such as antiseptic for cleaning wounds,
antibiotic eye ointment for controlling and curing infections,
anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce pain, etc. The Hug Elephant Club will
work with the Mobile Elephant Clinic project on providing the first aid
boxes to mahouts during the clinic’s travels around the kingdom.
The Hug Elephant Club was founded by Anchalee and a small group of
supporters in 2006, motivated by concern at the falling numbers of elephants
in Thailand. Its members campaign for elephant conservation by providing
knowledge about dietary requirements and other aspects of elephant care; by
cooperating with elephant camp businesses in organising camp management and
first aid courses; by organising elephant-related activities such as the
Elephant Art Project; by supporting the Mobile Elephant Clinics; by
fund-raising for the successful Artificial Insemination with Frozen Sperm
project; by spreading information and knowledge about elephants and their
care; and by cooperation with both domestic and international elephant
The club is requesting donations in support of the Medicine Box project;
these can be made through Kasikorn Bank’s Suthep Chiang Mai branch to the
Hug Elephant Club’s savings account, number 471-2-26088-8, swift code
shop for Chiang Mai
The new-style Mokador coffee
shop, pictured on its opening day.
A new style of coffee shop recently opened opposite Wat Phra Singh,
as part of the Mokador chain, which bases its reputation for delicious
coffee on Italy’s premier Arabica bean, grown in South America and marketed
worldwide. The Mokador chain was started by Domenico Castellari in 1967, and
presently has outlets in Pattaya, Bangkok and Phuket, with planned expansion
to Udon Thani and Hua Hin. Chiang Mai’s Mokador has 40 covers, 20 of which
are in the air-conditioned interior, and boasts its own bakery, ensuring
delicious desserts to accompany the various varieties of coffee.