Chiang Mai celebrates Songkran
Prime Minister returns home for the festivities
An elderly resident ties string around the Prime
Minister’s wrist in a good luck ceremony.
Thousands of visitors flocked to Chiang Mai streets with water
throwing beginning April 12, 2013 at Tha Pae Gate. Prime Minister Yingluck
Shinawatra returned to her hometown to preside over the opening ceremony in
the morning hours of April 13 where she was joined by Minister of Culture
Sontaya Khunplume, Governor Tanin Subhasaen, President of the PAO Boonlert
Buranupakorn and Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn to launch the festivities.
Tourists were thrilled by gorgeously dressed women and men, performing
traditional Lanna dances and the early morning merit making ceremony with
The Prime Minister then traveled to Wiharn Lai Kham in Wat Phra Singh to
worship the ancient Buddha image of Phra Buddha Sihing. The image was then
bathed in a centuries old Songkran tradition of bathing Buddhist images. She
joined in the parade where locals threw water on a Buddha image. Finally in
a good luck ceremony, elderly people tied cotton strings around the wrist of
the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister noted that Songkran was the time to discard the bad
things of the previous year and to start the New Year with good things as
well as bring blessings to the people and visitors to Chiang Mai.
3rd Army enlisted to help with forest fires
The 3rd Army has been coordinating with
authorities in the 9 Northern provinces to help combat forest fires.
The 3rd Army was enlisted by the government to help combat Northern
forest fires and haze over 3 months ago. The Army set up headquarters in
Prapinklao Camp in Mae Rim December 16, 2012 and plan to conclude operations
on April 30, 2013. They have been coordinating with relevant authorities in
the 9 Northern provinces to coordinate firefighting equipment and personnel
Maj. Gen Sutat Jarumanee, Chief of Staff of the Command reported.
The established the command to monitor the situation and broadcast and
coordinate with the relevant authorities. The Army assigned 14 personnel to
maintain and coordinate equipment, tools and vehicles as well as implement
an education and information campaign. The War Room supported up to 100
Lin Ping leaving Chiang Mai in May
Panda returns to China on her 4th birthday
Chiang Mai’s favorite panda, Lin Ping, will be
sent to China on her 4th birthday, May 27, 2013.
Governor Tanin Subhasaen announced on April 9, 2013 that Chiang
Mai’s beloved Lin Ping would be returned to China on her 4th birthday on May
27, 2013. Born to mother Lin Hui and father Chuang Chuang on May 27, 2009,
Lin Ping’s stay was extended an extra two years although normally China
allows baby pandas to be returned after two years.
The Governor said that the loss of Lin Ping would be a blow to the Chiang
Mai people who have taken her to their hearts. Lin Ping, the Governor noted,
has been a tremendous goodwill ambassador between China and Thailand and
that Lin Ping was so popular that her virtual presence, online and on tv,
extended her fan base and made Chiang Mai well known around the world.
Chiang Mai Zoo begins the countdown to Lin Ping’s trip to China and the
Governor added that they have already set plans into place for the return
Nong Nam Wan celebrates Songkran with Governor
The Chiang Mai Night Safari held a “rod nam dum
hua” ceremony for Governor Tanin Subhasaen on April 9, 2013 where “Nong Nam
Waan”, one of the elephants at the Chiang Mai Night Safari, poured water
over the Governor’s hands. The Governor was joined by Dr. Sarawut Srisakul,
CEO of the Chiang Mai Night Safari for the ceremony.
1st Chiang Mai Rock Festival this month
Chiang Mai’s first official rock festival, the
Chiang Mai Rock Festival, will be held at Huay Tung Tao Reservoir in Mae Rim
on April 27, 2013. The festival, featuring such famed bands as The Sun,
Silly Fools, Lang Rock Orchestra, Dezember, Super Ritard, the Lord of Rock
and the Bug, was organized by Fest Master Chiang Mai Jazz Festival, the
Music School Class, Singha Beer, Overdrive Magazine, Dontree Season and the
Tourism Authority of Thailand. Part of the income will be contributed to The
Fund for the all who have dedicated their lives in the southern and in the
area under Navy and Army responsibility. Tickets for the Rock Festival ae
350 Baht at Thai Ticket Major.www.chiangmairockfest.com.
Youth volunteers to conserve old city
Student volunteers took part in a training
program to help conserve and protect Chiang Mai’s historical sites.
More than 100 students from various schools around Chiang Mai took
part in a volunteer training course held at the Chiang Mai University Arts
Cultural Center on April 4, 2013 in a plan to educate students on the
importance of cultural and environmental preservation.
Dr. Kamolchai Kohcha, Director of the Office of Natural Resources and
Environment presided over the ceremony that launched the project. Dr.
Kamolchai pointed out to the volunteers that the old city is a conservation
area and that it was vital to preserve and protect historical sites and
attractions. The establishment of museums and legislation to preserve the
city and promote its heritage was key to proper development in the area and
that educating students as to the importance of their history and culture
was an important part of that plan.
Pekky Pro Superbike grand opening
Adisorn Kamnerdsiri, Deputy Chiang Mai Governor
presided over the opening of the Pekky Pro Superbike on Huay Kaew Road on
April 8, 2013. Famed tennis star Paradon Srichaphan and former Miss Thailand
Panadda “Boom” Wongphudee, girl groups and various motorcycle clubs attended
the grand opening of the new store near Kad Suan Kaew shopping center. The
owner, Jednipit Kanoksuthipong, said he had loved motorcycles since a child
and that he wanted to bring the love of big bikes to Chiang Mai. The new
shop is selling accessories for big bikes such as Ducati, KTM, Honda and
others. They will offer nationwide delivery and a professional service
technician as part of the growing biker scene in Chiang Mai.
ERDI CMU. Showcases Biogas Energy
CMU’s Energy Research and Development Institute
is on Canal Road and is a leader in promoting biogas renewable energy
Assoc. Prof. Prasert Rerkkriangkrai, Director of Energy Research and
Development Institute – Nakornping (ERDI), Chiang Mai University revealed
that there have been plants producing biogas energy or biodiesel for the
livestock sector in the country for more than 18 years. There are more than
1,000 farms involved in the business of pig farming, dairy farming, poultry
and slaughter producing biogas using innovative technology. The byproducts
of farming are used to generate biogas across the country, providing renewal
Currently there are 1,062 participating farms producing 170 megawatts of
natural gas, around 676,399 cubic meters of electricity. The electricity
produced by the farms is valued at around 3.3 billion baht which would power
Mae Hong Son for 6 years.
The Institute has prepared a project to enlist the farms’ biogas energy to
fight the energy crisis. Thailand was prepared for a serious power shortage
in April when Myanmar shut down their natural gas pipeline for repair from
April 5-14, 2013. The Department of Energy requested the cooperation of the
country’s private sector in tackling low power reserves. Thailand imports
52% of its electricity from neighboring countries. The Department has set a
goal of reducing the country’s dependence on foreign energy with such
renewal energy sources as farms by increasing renewable energy sources to
25% of the total supply of power in ten years.
The Chiang Mai Agriculture Office and the Confederation of Mango
Farmers announced the new Mango Days which will be held at the Agriculture
Office at City Hall from May 28-30, 2013.
“Chiang Mai is in the top level in the production of good quality mangoes
for export and distribution for sale in the country. About 73,000 rai is
planted in Fang, Phrao, Mae Taeng, Chiang Dao and Chai Prakarn districts.
This year farmers expect to produce around 58,000 tons of mangos. The new
consumer festival will promote conservation of the various mango varieties
in Chiang Mai, Sompol Saenkham, Head of Chiang Mai Agriculture Office
The event will feature a variety of activities such as an exhibition from
the Agriculture Production Marketing from government agencies, private
institutions, and exporters of mangos. There will be more than 20 varieties
of mango available as well as a mango contest and processed mango products.
Usakane Songkran Festival showcases Splendours of Songkran
Splendid floats with lovely ladies took part in
the parade on April 11, 2013. Here Laos PDR is represented as one of the
countries that holds New Year water festivals in April.
Chiang Mai Provincial Government together with the Tourism Authority
of Thailand launched a new celebration of the festival at Suan Buak Haad
Park on April 11, 2013. A procession led by traditionally dressed, dancers,
school bands, and floats traveled from 3 Kings Monument via Phra Pok Klao
Road to reach the park at 4 p.m. Led by Khemanit “Pancake” Jamikorn, the
well-known Thai actress who was presented as the “Nang Songkran” or Songkran
Goddess named Mahothron Dhevi.
In addition to this new parade which celebrated our ASEAN neighbors that
also have water festivals including Laos PDR, Myanmar, and Cambodia, also
included was the Autonomous Prefecture of Xishuangbanna Dai of the People’s
Republic of China.
In addition to the parade, sculptures of sand pagodas were set up in the
park, there were cultural shows and demonstrations from neighboring
countries as well as performances by popular singers Aod Keereeboon, Chompoo
Fruity, Tak Siriporn, Christy Gibson, Ford Sobchai Kraiyusen and Puifai AF4.
The Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Suraphon Svetasreni and
Chiang Mai Governor Tanin Subhasaen welcomed a special guest; the new
Minister of Tourism and Sports Somsak Pureesrisak who made a special trip to
Chiang Mai for the festival after only taking office on April 6, 2013.
The TAT hopes that the Usakane Songkran Festival will leave visitors with a
memorable impression of Songkran beyond buckets of water.
The Minister of Tourism and Sports Somsak
Pureesrisak joins the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Suraphon
Svetasreni and Chiang Mai Governor Tanin Subhasaen for the opening ceremony
of the Usakane Songkran Festival.
TAT tourism figures for Songkran
2.7 million tourists
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) projected that this year’s Songkran
festival holiday will generate 2.7 million domestic and foreign visitors and
estimated expenditures of 11.1 billion baht, up respectively 10% and 20%
over the numbers recorded in the 2012 Songkran holiday.
The number of domestic travelers is estimated at 2,034,000, with
expenditures of 4,450 million baht, and 678,000 foreign visitors, with
expenditures of 6,675 million baht.
Said TAT Governor Suraphon Svetasreni, “Thanks to domestic political
stability and a generally good economic situation, both within Thailand
within our key source markets in the Asia-Pacific, we are expecting to have
record number of visitors nationwide. We hope that the festival will help
everyone ‘cool off’ in more ways than one.”
TAT research shows that hotel occupancies in major tourist destinations such
as Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai, Pattaya are already reported at over 70%.
International arrivals are also up. A total of 177 charter flights (about
31,973 seats) were scheduled to arrive from major markets such as China and
Russia during the Songkran festival.
Domestic travel boomed as thousands of people left Bangkok to return for
family visits in their provincial hometowns or to participate in the
“Songkran Splendour 2013” festivals being held in 12 provinces — Chiang Mai,
Suphan Buri, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Chon Buri, Samut Prakan, Sukhothai,
Khon Kaen, Nakhon Phanom, Nong Khai, Songkhla, Nakhon Si Thammarat, and
The projected visitor arrivals this month are expected to go a long way
towards helping meet the TAT’s visitor arrival target of 24.09 million in
2013. So far, the trend is good. In January-February, visitor arrivals to
Thailand totaled 4.56 million, up 18.8% over the same period last year.
During 1- 27 March 2013, international visitor arrivals just at Bangkok’s
Suvarnabhumi International Airport totalled 1,230,296 up 11.93 % over the
same period of 2012. (TAT)
Sleepy Phrae gets its first boutique hotel
becoming known as local Patcharin Taekul returns home to build the
province’s first boutique hotel.
Sleepy Phrae province is opening itself up to tourism with the opening
of a its first 4 star boutique hotel, the Huern na na. The new hotel
will offer 28 luxurious rooms on the Sasiburta Road in the city. Phrae
is noted for its untouched architecture featuring antique teak houses.
The owner of the new hotel, Patcharin Taekul welcomed guests to the new
hotel at a party held on March 25, 2013. Famous Thai singer Jennifer Kim
was on hand to join the festivities as was actors Boy Pakorn and Diana
Jongjintanakan, bringing a touch of glamour to the province.
Patcharin said, “I have traveled to many different places but I realized
that my hometown would make a good place for a hotel. I decided to make
the hotel at the local residence at Huern Chetawan. There are 24 deluxe
rooms, 2 Exclusive rooms and 2 Suites, each offering a different
atmosphere.” The hotel is a modern style with a touch of Lanna.
The hotel has a pool and seminar and convention room as well. The hotel
is near to government offices, the airport, bus terminal and shopping
and entertainment areas. Contact 054-524800 or
Thai singer Jennifer Kim was on hand to join the festivities as was
actors Boy Pakorn and Diana Jongjintanakan attended the opening party
with owner Patcharin Taekul.
Chinese visitors to have their own magazine
China Communications (ACC) Limited announced the launch of NiHao, a new
Chinese language travel magazine due to roll off the press on August 8,
NiHao is the way Chinese people say hello as is “Sawadee” in the Thai
language. The magazine will be Thailand’s only definitive Chinese
language travel and business guide promoting business investment and all
tourism related businesses in Thailand. Content will focus on hotels,
spas, shopping, golf, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues as
well as properties.
Distribution will target the rapidly increasing number of affluent
Chinese visitors to Thailand from Greater China (covering mainland
China, Hong Kong, and Macau, as well as Taiwan), estimated to exceed 4
million in 2013. It will also reach overseas Chinese, visiting Thailand
from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
NiHao will be distributed free-of-charge to all major cities in China
and nationwide in Thailand. It will reach thousands of top business
executives, and elite, affluent, and well-educated Chinese travelers who
have a taste for travel, art, and culture. Each edition will have a
substantial number of copies of controlled free circulation distributed
in China and Thailand to embassies, selected airline lounges, deluxe
hotel business centers and guest rooms, exclusive restaurants, top golf
courses, national travel bureaus, major travel organizations, and at
major travel fairs and conferences. (PR)
The international editorial team of NiHao is headed by an award-winning
veteran publisher, Jaffee Yee, Skal Chiang Mai & the North committee
member, with more than 30 years of experience in publishing. Yee was
formerly based in Hong Kong as the regional manager of McGraw-Hill and
CBS International Publishing (a Division of CBS Inc. New York). Access
China Communications Limited is incorporated in Chiang Mai with liaison
offices in Bangkok and Chiang Rai. The core business activities are
publishing, marketing and public relations focusing on travel and
tourism covering China, Thailand and other Asean countries.
Chiang Mai man arrested
for stealing Buddha images
Police reveal many of the Buddha images
stolen from Chiang Mai temples over the past weeks.
A 33 year old Chiang Mai man was arrested on April 10 after
police investigation of a series of thefts from Wat Aruayawat uncovered
the culprit, Maj. Gen. Prajuab Wongsuk Commander Region 5 announced. On
March 26, 2013, Doi Lor Police received a report from Wat Aruayawat that
many of the Buddha images had disappeared from the temple.
Police investigation of CCTV revealed enough information for police to
track down Sitthisak Yuenjaidee, age 33 of Nongpakrang sub district in
the city. A search yielded ten Buddha images that had been stolen. The
man confessed to police that he had been stealing Buddha images from
many temples around Chiang Mai and had sold them at shops around town.
Three teenagers arrested for murder of 16 year old
Three Tai Yai teenagers were arrested on April 8, 2013 after the
brutal assault on two teens on the street. 16 year old Patpong
Arpornhirun and 18 year old Khin Nainae were attacked and stabbed by
three young men as they returned home from renting VCDs at a shop in Pa
Phrao Nok Road in Padaed at 1:40 a.m. on April 6, 2013.
The 16 year old died from his wounds at the hospital while the 18 year
old Khin Nainae sustained serious wounds.
The attackers fled after the assault but police managed to track them
down from CCTV footage and arrested three young men under the age of 18
in Sarapee and Mae Taeng, police found the weapon, a foot long knife,
with one of the suspects.
The teens confessed that they had decided to attack the two young men
for fun, that there had been no prior provocation but that they had come
back from partying and thought it would be fun.
The relative of the 16 year old victim presented police with a bouquet
of flowers thanking them for solving the crime so quickly.
Police net 188 suspects
in pre-Songkran sweep
The Chiang Mai Provincial Police announced the arrest of 188
people after they held a sweep through the province before the Songkran
holidays to catch suspected criminals. On April 11 Pol. Lt. Gen. Suthep
Dejraksa Police Region 5 Commander and Pol. Maj. Gen. Kasemsan
Boonyakran Commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police announced the
arrests resulting from the Royal Thai Police and Police Region 5
Commander order to mobilize the police to clean up crime ridden areas.
The Commander noted that the pre-Songkran period was rife with crime as
many people were traveling to visit relatives and carried drugs or stole
Pol. Maj. Gen. Kasemsan reported that during the period of April 7-11,
2013 144 people were arrested for drugs including methamphetamine,
heroin, opium and crystal methamphetamine. A further 9 people were
arrested with firearms as well as other people arrested for gambling,
sexual assault and assault.
Housing development seized by police as proceeds of drug trade
Police Region 5 and ONCB officers seized the
Jasmine Happy Home Park as profits of the drug trade by the owner,
A 37 year old Sansai woman who was arrested for hiring a hit man
to kill her husband was also charged with drug trafficking and saw 575
million baht in assets seized under the law that allows police to seize
the profits of the drug trade.
Nittaya Jirayanithhikul, age 37, was arrested by police on January 16,
2013 after her husband, Somchai Theja who had just been acquitted on a
drugs charge, was found dead in Doi Saket in October 2011. 3 gunmen were
arrested for the murder as well as Nittaya.
Police started investigating Nittiya after the arrest and connected her
to the drug trade. The owner of the Jasmine Happy Home Park housing
development saw the housing development seized by police, along with
land in Mae Taeng and 12 bank accounts.
The seized property is valued at over 575 million baht; land and two
houses valued at 50 million baht, the housing project including a club
house, 6 units worth 20 million and 60 rai of land valued at 480 million
baht. Also seized was Land in Mae Taeng valued at 23 million baht, bank
accounts with over 2 million baht and a luxury car.
Drought sends farmer to traffic drugs
28 year old farmer Jito Kabulkanpai told
police that the drought and wanting to take of his pregnant wife pushed
him into carrying drugs for a local gang.
Police arrested a 28 year old Karen man from Om Koi on April 3
after he behaved suspiciously when stopped at a police checkpoint set up
on Kuay Lor Dook. Jito Kabulkanpai was stopped by police for driving a
motorbike with no license plates and his nervous behavior had police
search him and the motorbike.
Pol.Col. Mondob Saengchamnong Deputy Commander of Chiang Mai Provincial
Police reported that Om Koi police found a package containing 8,000
methamphetamine tablets and 3.2 kg of raw opium. He confessed to police
that he normally worked as a farmer and the drought affected crops, he
added that he needed to support his wife who is 9 months pregnant. He
was hired by a drug trafficking gang in another village of his district
to carry the drugs. He has been charged with drug trafficking with the
intent to sell.
Environment Minister hits drought-hit areas
The Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment visited
Pong Yang in Mae Rim on Monday, April 8, 2013 to meet with area people
regarding the water issues the area regularly faces as well as
encroachment in the National Parks.
Preecha Rengsomboonsuk met with area people to discuss implementing a
‘monkey cheeks reservoir” in the watershed in the Upper North which
would allow for water storage in swampy areas and unused land. The
Minister said that the government’s first priority for water is the
consumer and agriculture to support the food system.
Chiang Mai is one of 40 provinces suffering from drought due to the
weeks long heat wave of temperatures from 38-40 Celsius.
The Minister said that water would be released from dams at the
beginning of May and will discuss the drilling of artesian wells in
problem areas. He noted that farmers need to consult with the Land
Department regarding the legal use of land before using it for farming.
The Forestry Department will investigate complaints within 7 days.
Recently the Ministry of Defense distributed 25 water tanks of 1,500
liter and 2,000 liter capacities to the Pha Muang Task Force to help
combat drought in the North, the tanks were part of a total of 180 from
money given by donors who want to give the tanks to soldiers and
civilians living in border areas.
Deputy Prime Minister reviews
security at new Convention Center
Leaders of ten countries expected for water meeting in May
Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi
planted a tree in honor of HM the King at the International Convention
Center before reviewing security measures for the upcoming 2nd Asia
Pacific Water Summit in May.
The Deputy Prime Minister visited the new International Convention and
Exhibition Center Commemorating HM the King’s 7th Cycle Birthday in
Chiang Mai where he planted a ‘kino’ tree, the symbol of Chiang Mai and
a Pink Shower tree in honor of HM the King. A further 186 trees were
planted after his visit to increase the shade and greenery surrounding
the Convention Center.
Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi then traveled to the Chiang
Mai International Airport where he met with officials from the Chiang
Mai Police, the Army, and the Pingnakorn Development Agency to discuss
security measures for the upcoming 2nd Asia Pacific Water Summit. The
2nd Asia Pacific Water Summit, hosted by the Thai government, will bring
Heads of State, Ministers, senior officials from national and local
governments, as well as heads of international organizations, the
private sector, the media, and technical experts to discuss the crucial
issues of water security and water resources management under the theme
of “Water Security and Water-related Disaster Challenges: Leadership and
Commitment.” The Summit will be held May 14-20, 2013 at The
International Convention and Exhibition Centre Commemorating His
Majesty’s 7th Cycle Birthday Anniversary.