Chiang Mai Beautiful City
Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn
launched the new project to garner support for new laws instituting zoning
and height restrictions at the Lanna Folk Life Museum on March 31, 2013.
Nopniwat Krailerg and Shana Kongmun
The latest effort, titled “Chiang Mai Beautiful City”, a bid to
muster support for implementing measures to control development, institute
zoning laws and restrict the height of buildings in the Old City was
launched on March 31, 2013 by Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn. The project is
being implemented to preserve the historic architecture and scenic resources
of the city that are essential to the future development of the city.
The goal is to raise public support for enacting laws that would limit the
height of buildings around the moat and inside to 12 meters, or around 3-4
stories the Mayor explained. He would limit buildings to 23 meters outside
He noted that it was important that the Old City retain its charm and will
ask that the colors of houses be limited to those that fit in with
traditional Lanna architecture. Additionally, he would like to enact laws
that implement design standards for new construction inside the moat.
“We must have a lot of public support for this project,” Mayor Tussanai
said, adding that even though he planned on presenting the laws to the
Municipal Council in August, approval and laws must also come from the
central government in Bangkok. “Great public support is needed if they are
Royal Thai Air Force joins in the battle
Spraying water in
a bid to reduce the smog
The Royal Thai Air Force is spraying water at
high altitudes in a bid to reduce the smoke and haze blanketing Chiang Mai.
Royal Thai Air Force officers met at Wing 41 on March 28, 2013 to
discuss ways in which they could assist the North in battling the smothering
smoke and haze that has covered the region. Air Chief Marshal Anirooth
Khittirat, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff for Civil Affairs Royal Thai Air
Force Headquarters and Surapol Sattayarak, Chiang Mai Permanent Secretary
met with relevant agencies to discuss the situation and offer solutions to
lessening the concentration of particles in the air.
Air Marshal Anirooth said that 3 BT-67 aircraft will spray up to 3,785
liters of water at an altitude of 4,000 – 7,000 feet (1.2 – 2.1 km). Flying
at 150 knots, the planes should be able to cover approximately 1 rai per
trip. The Air Force plans on flying 2 times a day, from 9 a.m. to noon and 1
p.m. to 3 p.m. with a total of 6 flights. Flight operations will focus on
dense urban areas. The amount of dust and smoke will be assessed during the
first 15 days and they are coordinating with the Royal Rain Making and
agricultural aviation to seed clouds for rain to bring the smoke and haze
The last ten days of March saw the levels of PM10 over the allowable amount
but light rains helped to bring the levels down at the beginning of April.
The Thai Meteorological Department is forecasting summer storms and rain as
an active high pressure area from China sits over Central Thailand causing
gusting winds and possibly hail in the North.
Lamphun villagers receive
donations from Italy
Lamphun villagers received cows and chickens
from donations raised in Italy.
A group of volunteers with the Italian Red Cross created a non-profit
organization, Castelli di Carta or, Castles of Paper. The Castelli di Carta
President Mrs. Paola Mazzocchi says, “I’m happy with the result of what the
Red Cross Station Three in Chiang Mai have accomplished to help Thai needy
families. The Castelli di Carta is an association that has organized several
events to raise the necessary funds. Our members are close longtime friends
who, after hearing the experience we gained on our 2011 trip in northern
Thailand, have decided to join in our solidarity projects. Many of them have
offered to help the association by creating handmade items for sale; they
have organized charity dinners and accepted the invitation to donate in
support of this project for the benefit of needy villagers in northern
From the Christmas Bazaar held in Rome selling many kinds of crafts and
household items they successfully raised money for a livestock project
assisting needy farming families. The proceeds of the bazaar were used to
purchase livestock and were presented by Mr. Pino Ungaro and the Chiang Mai
Red Cross Station Three team and cows and 100 young hens were given to
families in Ba Pua village in Li, Lamphun Province.
Northern Auto Show 2013
at Central Airport Plaza
The Northern Auto Show was launched at the
Chiang Mai Hall at Central Plaza Chiang Mai Airport on March 29, 2013 by
Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Charoenrit Sanguansat and Wiwat Kittipornpanich
of V-Sign Media. Under the concept “Driving 4 Life” the auto show will run
through April 8, 2013 and not only has the latest in auto technology, new
cars and special promotions but the popular NAS Girl 2013 (Naughty & Sexy)
to add some glamor to the event.
Good news for panda lovers!
Chiang Mai’s famous panda Lin Ping celebrates
the 3rd year and 10th month birthday on March 27 as Chiang Mai Zoo officials
are hopeful that her stay will be extended for a further two years.
The Chiang Mai Zoo’s Panda Research and Exhibition announced at the 3 year
and ten month birthday of their famous resident Ling Ping on March 27, 2013
that they expect her stay will be extended past the deadline that falls in
the next two months after negotiations with China.
Zoo officials hope that Ling Ping will be allowed to stay for a further two
years as she is in very good health, according to head of the Panda
Exhibition Prasertsak Boontrakul-Poontawee reported. Additionally they are
hoping to breed Lin Ping’s parents, Lin Hui and Chuang Chuang this year and
are looking for a close signal that Lin Hui will be in estrus and ready for
New rules for Songkran water throwing
No more pickup trucks!
The “Be Happy Be More” Party in front of Kad
Suan Kaew Mall will offer 9 famous Thai bands and singers during April 13-15
from noon to 6 p.m. for those who prefer to avoid the traffic on the moat
and the new restrictions on water throwing.
The Ministry of Interior has issued new measures in a bid to reduce
road accidents during Songkran by asking Governors and police to prohibit
people from carrying water tanks in the back of pickup trucks and throwing
water from the truck. The Prime Minister expressed concern that the safety
of the traveling public was at risk and the Ministry of Interior has issued
this order in an attempt to keep the number of deaths and accidents to a
minimum. Police will also be enforcing the drunk driving laws and speed
limits in checkpoints set up around the city and province.
The Chiang Mai city moat is usually bumper to bumper traffic of people with
water tanks in the back of pickup trucks crawling at a snail’s pace around
the moat for the three days from April 13-15.
Creative & Design Center opens in Chiang Mai
Director Apisit Laisatrukrai announced that the
TCDC Chiang Mai office will offer services and resources free during the
month of April, it closed Mondays.
The TCDC or Thailand Creative & Design Center opened their first office
outside Bangkok on April 2, 2013 at Muang Samut Road in Chiang Mai City near
the Muang Mai Market.
TCDC offers creative and design resources such as a library with over 6,000
volumes of design publications, 70 periodicals and 500 items of design
resources in multimedia formats. Additionally the Material ConneXion Chiang
Mai Experience offers real materials that world-class designers used to
create their works with over 7,000 material database and 250 rotating
samples. Additionally TCDC Chiang Mai will offer seminar activities and
design and product development workshops as well as design and educational
exhibitions alongside creative showcases for emerging designers. There will
also be design consulting services and business planning support for local
Apisit Laisatrukrai TCDC’s director said the center aims to educate the
public and encourage all levels of design and creative applications for
economic benefits that are fundamental in the development of the country.
In Chiang Mai Songkran is seen as one giant party, either in the
streets around the moat or on Huay Kaew road where people fill the streets
dancing and spraying water. However, the Chiang Mai Municipality has issued
a calendar of events that includes Sand sculptures at temples along Tha Pae
Road and the Iron Bridge on April 14, bathing of Buddha relics at Wat Phu
On, celebration of the Phra Singh Buddha image, a local market and New
Year’s blessings in the evenings at Wat Phra Singh, Miss and Mister Songkran
contests at Tha Pae Gate, and a parade of the Salutation Ornaments with the
Chiang Mai Governor from Three Kings Monument to the Governor’s Residence on
April 15 from 1:30 p.m. Other events include merit making and the bathing of
Buddha images at temples around the city and worship ceremony for the
ancestors of Chiang Mai royalty at Wat Suan Dok on April 17 at 9 a.m. The
full calendar can be found online at www.chiangmai-mail.com.
Le Meridien Chiang Rai introduces new GM and looks to Chiang Mai
GM Stephen Morahan is joined by staff at the end
of the Wine Tasting held at Le Meridien on Friday, March 29, 2013.
By Shana Kongmun
Stephen Morahan, a friendly Australian with a casual laid back
approach met with Chiang Mai press at Le Meridien Chiang Rai, a stunning
resort that is situated in an idyllic spot on the banks of the Mae Kok river
just outside this small but not so sleepy town. Many visitors overlook
Chiang Rai as “just a small Chiang Mai” but it is a great get away from the
‘big city’ of Chiang Mai and the slower pace and charming atmosphere sets
Chiang Rai apart according to Stephen. “We hope to keep this charm and to
help the community in Chiang Rai cope with growth in a way that doesn’t make
it look like every other city in the country,” he added, when asked about
the upcoming Asean Economic integration and its effect in Chiang Rai.
The amazing 115 year old Sukkasem rain tree sits
in the middle of the resort, connected to its mate via the roots.
Le Meridien was constructed around two rain trees, each over 100 years old
and named after the famed prince Sukkasem (yes the same one the soi in
Chiang Mai was named after), son of King Nawarat, who fell in love with a
beautiful Burmese commoner Mamia while studying in Burma. The two vowed to
stay together forever but the Prince’s family forced him to marry a
noblewoman. Mamia returned to Burma to become a Buddhist nun for the rest of
her life. The two trees were named after the star crossed lovers when it was
discovered during construction of the resort that they were connected to
each other by their roots. The owners declared that they should not be
harmed and so the design of the resort was altered so that the two could
stay together. A romantic story for a very romantic place.
Le Meridien Chiang Rai employs almost completely local Chiang Rai people as
Stephen noted they are committed to their homes and helping the local
environment and culture. The resort is based around promoting the senses of
the North, from the sounds of the birds to the tastes of Northern foods, the
smells of the flowers and trees to the sight of the peaceful river and the
young novice monks playing football on the banks at the Wat on the other
side of the river.
The calm Mae Kok sits just beyond the infinity
Le Meridien Chiang Rai, like most Le Meridien locations, Stephen noted, is
also dedicated to the arts and hopes to bring the local community into the
resort for art and wine. He plans on adding a sculpture garden featuring the
works of local artists. He added that Le Meridien wants to be a relaxed and
cozy place where guests feel at home, indeed offering child care and a play
center for guests children in the garden.
Stephen concluded that his goals as the new General Manager would be to
increase that cozy feeling, to get away from the clinical hotel environment,
to utilize the public spaces more offering weddings, birthdays and afternoon
teas on the lawn and wine tastings in the gallery.
Dhara Dhevi welcomes new GM
Hosts a high tea
The new General Manager of the Mandarin Oriental
Dhara Dhevi Torsten Van Dullemen is joined by his Director of Sales and
Marketing Wichai Charoenpanvorakul at the high tea held on Thursday, March
The beautiful Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi hosted a high tea for
its new General Manager, Torsten Van Dullemen, an affable Dutch man who
joked that at 194 cm he is now short in Holland. Torsten replaces the
outgoing Andrew Abram who is leaving the group to pursue other
opportuntities. Torsten started his career with the Mandarin group in 2004
as Resident Manager of Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London where he met his
lovely wife. He moves to Chiang Mai property from his most recent position
as Hotel Manager at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, a post he held for two
tries his hand at making macaroons with a little help from a little friend.
Torsten welcomed the media, consuls and honorary consuls and other Chiang
Mai notables to the high tea where he thanked everyone who came and
commented on how much he was looking forward to his stay in Chiang Mai. He
noted that he had originally come to the Dhara Dhevi on a trip some years
back and at the time, commented to his wife that it would be a dream job.
Torsten then turned his hand to making macaroons but enlisted a young guest
to help him.
Torsten also reminded visitors of the whiskey and cigar evenings held at the
Horn Bar and added that he would like to make that a regular event. He also
noted that the chef from the Normandie at the Mandarin in Bangkok was now
the chef at the Dhara Dhevi.
26th Northern Corrections Products Fair
No keys or cakes!
Chumphon Sattayarak, Permanent Secretary of
Chiang Mai, views the many products on sale at Kamthieng Market until April
Kamthieng Market hosted the 26th annual Northern Corrections
Department products fair where Chumphon Sattayarak, Permanent Secretary of
Chiang Mai, presided over the opening ceremony. The Fair began March 29
until April 8.
The fair features the products created by inmates taking part in vocational
training in 23 detention facilities around Thailand. The Department of
Corrections uses part of the income derived from the sales of products to
fund the prisons. The program has been found to encourage inmates, offer
them a chance to learn a skill and use that skill after serving their
The Cotton Fair is also running at the Industrial Promotion Center on Thung
Hotel Road and will feature cotton textile products from around the North
until April 8.
38 dead in fire at
Mae Hong Son refugee camp
Chiang Mai residents rally to send aid and supplies
swept through the Mae Surin refugee camp in Mae Hong Son on March 22,
killing 38 people.
(Photo courtesy of Mae Hong Son Province).
At 4 p.m. on March 22 a fire broke out in the Mae Surin
Evacuatin Center in Khun Yuam District of Mae Hong Son, sweeping through
the tinder dry thatched roof bamboo homes, with the death toll reaching
38 after some victims died from their burns at the hospital.
The camp holds more than 3,000 refugees clustered in the valley along
the river. More than 100 people were injured and transported to
hospitals in Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son. Conflicting reports as the
start of the fire have circulated with officials first claiming a
cooking fire and other witnesses claiming a helicopter had dropped
something incendiary. The cause of the fire remains unknown and Thai
authorities continue to investigate.
Narumol Palawat Mae Hong Son Governor traveled to the camp with Red
Cross officials, government officials and military to assess the needs
and provide assistance. Temporary shelters and tents were being erected
for the refugees and funerals were held after the deceased were
of the RideAsia community raised 80,000 Baht to purchase food and goods
for refugees at the camp.
(Photo courtesy of Ron Lister).
Not only have international
organizations such as the UNHCR and IOM been working with local
charities to distribute goods and provide housing but local Chiang Mai
citizens banded together to purchase goods and take them to the camp.
Members of the RideAsia motorcycle community quickly raised
approximately 80,000 baht to purchase much needed items for the
survivors. They purchased such items as rice, fresh fruit, clothing,
noodles, toys, activity books, toiletries and delivered the supplies to
the Khun Yuam Municipality warehouse, where the goods were received with
great appreciation then transported the 37 kms to the camp. Another load
of toys and games for the children was delivered on Friday 5th April
because it was stated at Khun Yuam that one of the greatest immediate
needs was for “toys for the children”.
Other locals including K. Art collected funds and filled trucks with
goods for the victims, Central Airport Plaza staff collected clothing
and donated boxes of clothing and bags of rice to be delivered to the
camp as well while local NGOs such as Best Friend Library and Free Bird
Café organized donations and deliveries.
Police blow up suspicious bag
Bomb squad rushes to Thai Military Bank
Police blew up a suspicious bag near the
Thai Military Bank on Huay Kaew Road on March 22, 2013. The bag
contained only a mobile phone, charger and clothes.
Chang Puak Police rushed to the Thai Military Bank on Huay Kaew Road on
March 22, 2013 when someone reported an abandoned bag left near the
bank. The security guard at the bank found a large black bag on the
ground near the bank and called police.
The bomb squad from Police Region 5 were called to investigate. The bomb
squad officer used a high pressure water gun to first spray the bag.
When nothing happened he went to investigate and found electric wires
and a mobile phone. Fearing a bomb they dragged the bag away from the
bank and blew it up. Upon investigation they found an iPhone, charger
and some clothes presumably forgotten by a customer to the bank or one
of the nearby shops.
Fire breaks out
in Patan Sub District
Dry grass fed the fire in Patan Sub District
on March 27, 2013.
It took firefighters more than 2 hours to put the fire out.
Firefighters were called to a brush fire at 3:30 p.m. on March 27, 2013
that had spread out of control in Tiem Porn village in Patan Sub
District in Chiang Mai City. The fire started in an abandoned field,
high winds and dry conditions saw it quickly grow and nearby residents
were concerned that the fire would spread to their homes.
The area filled with smoke as the fire spread quickly through the dry
grass and burned over 1 kilometer in area, more than ten fire trucks
were called to the scene to put out the fire and it took firefighters
more than two hours to get the situation under control. Fire
investigators are checking to determine the cause of the fire.
Chiang Rai police
net 140 suspects in sweep
Police netted 140 suspected drug traffickers
and dealers in a sweep through Chiang Rai province.
The Chiang Rai Provincial Police, Police Region 5 and the Pha Muang Task
Force targeted drug dealers throughout the province in a sweep that
resulted in the arrest of 140 suspected drug traffickers and dealers.
Royal Thai Police advisor Gen Wuthi Liptapanlop, Maj. Gen. Chamnan
Ruwdrew Deputy Commander of Police Region 5 and Pha Muang Task Force and
administration officers announced the arrests at Chiang Rai Provincial
Police Headquarters on March 28, 2013. The sweep was a bid to clear drug
networks operating out of Thailand, Burma and Laos in the border areas
around Mae Sai, Mae Fah Luang and Wiang Kaen districts, more than 900
officers took part in the raids.
Pol. Gen. Wuthi Liptapanlop said the clearance was a result of
government policies and directives from the National Police to clear the
region of drug traffickers and producers. Checkpoints have been
increased in vulnerable border areas.
Burgling brothers busted in Chiang Mai
Two brothers, Teerasak “Boy” Manorot age 34 and Thanakorn
Manorot age 27 were arrested by Chiang Mai police on suspicion of
robbery by gunpoint, sexual assault and burglary.
On March 30, 2013 Pol. Maj. Gen. Kasemsan Boonyakan, Commander of Chiang
Mai Provincial Police and Pol. Col. Aksorn Wongyai, Superintendent of
Muang Chiang Mai Police announced the arrest of Teerasak and charged him
with robbery at gunpoint. He was found with a revolver and ammunition at
the time of arrest. The earlier arrest of his younger brother,
Thanakorn, led police to Teerasak. Thanakorn was arrested on March 26
after using a gun to commit robbery in the city. He confessed to the
police that he and his brother had worked together to rob people.
Thanakorn is also being held for a sexual assault committed at Chang
Theerasak was the ringleader of the two who were suspected of at least
ten robberies around the city. Theerasak had been arrested for burglary
and sentenced to jail for 8 years, he was released in September 2012.