Chiang Mai recently welcomed the athletes of the ASEAN
University Games and while the athletes spent most of their time competing
in sports like track and field, volleyball, sepak takraw and football, they
did get a day out and many took advantage of that day out to visit the Bor
Sang Umbrella Village, Baan Tawai, the San Kamphaeng Hot Springs, the Mae Sa
Elephant Camp and the Night Safari.
the visiting Lao athletes seemed a bit reluctant to hold the python!
A visiting athlete from Brunei, Zman Barahim a Pencak
Silat player said, “I am excited to go to these hot springs because we don’t
have one in our country. I feel very happy to take a lot of pictures and
boil eggs, and put my feet in the water. In Brunei, they don’t have such a
weather like this it’s very cold and the scenery is very beautiful also so
are the girls.”
While Herman Wewe, the Basketball captain of Indonesia
said that he was very happy to visit and relax here, “It was my first time
and we had great fun and got to know each other better by getting together
at the elephant show. The elephant is a lovely animal with a lot of
abilities, and I am really impressed with their painting, with really
beautifully created pieces. It is incredible. Also, the weather is really
nice for relaxing and taking a break from the games.”
The ASEAN University Games ran from December 15- 23 with
all 11 ASEAN nations competing for the first time.
relax at Baan Tawai, admiring the many carved handicrafts.
Indonesian athlete finds her hat being removed
by one of the elephants at the Mae Sa Elephant Camp.
Year round tourism on offer
By Phitsanu Thepthong
As the cool season draws in, the town of Pai found in Mae
Hong Son shows off its charms.
District Officer Nives Poonsawat said Pai hit 700,000 visitors in 2009.
“The charms of Pai have drawn tourists and visitors in
increasing numbers as they come here and find we have all the facilities and
conveniences they need,” said Nives Poonsawat District Officer.
From the lush forests to the beautiful mountains like
those in China, the Pai river, Kong Laen grand canyon, hot springs and
activities like elephant rides, river rafting and trekking, the visitor to
Pai will not be disappointed. He stressed the year round aspect of tourism
to Pai, adding that Pai, really is heaven for tourists and visitors as it
offers all the natural beauties alongside traditions and culture, and “Pai
people are actually very generous. Most of them still keep up their original
way of rural life.”
He noted that the facilities offered full services for
the tourists to stay overnight and that the grand canyon called Kong Lae,
there is camping, there are elephant rides, trekking and a walking street
market at night with local products on sale.
cool morning fog over Huay Nam Dang National Park is a huge draw in the cool
In 2008, there were about 160,000 Thai and foreign
tourists visiting Pai, and last year (2009), these number rose up
dramatically to 700,000 tourists per year as Pai has developed quickly. The
District officer added, “I really hope that the number of visitors to Pai,
this year will reach 1 million for the whole year.”
“We have an outstanding tourism strategy, as Pai is still
virgin and unspoiled with tranquility and peace. From Chiang Mai to Pai
there are 762 sharp curves along the road. And on this road, there is the
beautiful Huay Nam Dang national park, with the beautiful Kew Loom view
point at Huay Nam Dang National Park on the way from Chiang Mai to Pai.”
Park officials noted that a car is charged 30 baht,
adults 40 baht and children 20 baht, and the viewpoint is about 5 km from
“I can say we rarely see criminal cases here,” said Nives
Poonsawat, the Pai District Officer, adding that “We do not have the big
nighttime entertainment venues, but we have small pubs, restaurants for
listening to music and classic songs to entertain. Additionally, there are
no prostitutes, service girls or beggars, because we care about Pai society,
Pai is rich in nature, an abundant variety of food, from
local Northern to western to Japanese. The hilltribe people are a large part
of the identity of Pai as it is rich in local culture and tradition.
With the start of the cool season, morning fog and cool
nighttime temperatures draw people to Pai.
retains a slow and relaxed pace for visitors.