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Visiting the beauties of the North

Chiang Mai, Lamphun, Lampang and Mae Hong Son

Lampang is home to the beautiful Wat Phra Kaeo Don Tao that has an over 500 year old history.

By Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai media, tourist guides and Cultural Council volunteers were lucky enough to join the Public Relations Office Chiang Mai to visit the four provinces of the North in Provincial Cluster 1 with the goal of promoting tourism and the North and reminding the Northern people of all that their region has to offer.
Sixty people joined the trip that visited villages, temples and markets from September 25 -28, 2014 where they learned about the history of the region and how the relationship of the four provinces was formed by migration in both times of peace and war which caused a blending of cultures and values.
The lifestyles of the local people have been directly affected by the changes of economic conditions, politics and society, the wide use of modern technology and the decline in traditional arts and culture. The group was taught the importance of preserving cultural identity in the region.
The trip stared with Baan Tawai in Chiang Mai Province, a master OTOP tourism village and the largest craft village of Thailand. The village, renowned for artwork and carvings has seen a decline in visitors and is working to restore the area and restore the village’s reputation as a tourist attraction.
The group visited the magnificent Wat Phra That Haripunchai in Lamphun next, a 17th century Buddhist Era temple that was built to enshrine the relics of the Buddha. In front of the temple, there is a distribution center of the Khua Mung community, with a bridge over the Kuang River to Wiangyong Cultural Street where locally produced cotton textiles are sold at affordable prices.
In Lampang, the group visited Chae Son National Park in Muang Pan District, about 70 kilometers away from Muang Lampang. Not only is the waterfall stunning but the hot springs are very soothing in the cool months from November to February. Tourists should make sure and visit Wat Phra Kaeo Don Tao in Muang Lampang. This temple has a history of over 500 years and formerly enshrined the Emerald Buddha for 34 years before it was moved to Chiang Mai, Vientiane, Thon Buri and now at the Emerald Buddha Temple in Bangkok. This temple has a stunning Lanna style pagoda with a Burmese movable throne, magnificent murals, as well as Lanna Viharn that the famed monk Kruba Srivijaya created together with the people of Lampang.
The popular Ceramic Museum, origin of the Chicken bowl, can be found in Lampang. The Dhanabadee family established the first ceramic factory in Lampang province in 1965. Now, there are many factories producing the famed Chicken bowl but the original factory is still producing the bowl and also developed new product lines.
The last province we visited was Mae Hong Son, the City of Three Mists. This is the home of Wat Chong Kham, the first temple of the city with Thai and Tai Yai styled combined in the temple’s structure, pagoda, and Buddha painting on glass. Visitors can also join in local Tai Yai culture at the “Zu Tong Pae Bridge”, the longest bamboo bridge of Thailand that is 500 meters long and 2 meters wide and falls between Kung Mai Sak Village and Suan Tham Phusama This stunning bridge stretches across rice fields and a small river for monks to use to receive alms and villagers use to travel.
Pai District, at the crossroads between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son, is a very popular destination in the North with many natural attractions and numerous temples. Ban Santi Chon is a village of Yunnanese Chinese who were evacuated after the defeat of General Chiang Kai-shek and now is a unique tourist attraction and well-known for its Chinese Yunnan cuisine.
The group learned that while the North is a land of history, art and culture with much of it still awaiting discovery by tourists, that the sustainable management of tourism to the region by the government is key and that the government must ensure that tourists are not exploited. As long as the tourist is seen as the victim the areas will find less and less visitors and no one interested in visiting in the end.

Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu, Mae Hong Son.

The original hand-painted Chicken bowl from Dhanabadee Ceramic factory in Lampang.

Some of the many handmade products available at Baan Tawai, Chiang Mai.

Souvenir Shop at Baan Santi Chon, Mae Hong Son.

The Memorial Bridge in Pai was made of iron and built in 1942 by the Japanese to transport weapons and provisions to Myanmar (Burma) during World War II.

The group of media that spent the weekend learning about their home region.

China celebrates their National Day in Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya and his wife offer Chinese Consul General Chao Xiaoliang and his wife a congratulatory bouquet of flowers in honor of China’s National Day celebrations held at the Empress Hotel Convention Center on September 26, 2014.

By Shana Kongmun
The Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Chiang Mai welcomed members of the Chinese community in Chiang Mai along with government officials and businesspeople to celebrate their National Day on September 26, 2014 at the Empress Hotel Convention Center.
National Day is held on October 1 every year and celebrates the founding of the People’s Republic of China in Tiananmen Square on October 1, 1949. This national holiday marks the seven day holiday called “Golden Week”. The original National Day has been celebrated since the Western Jin Dynasty in 265 AD when it fell on the day of the ascension of the Emperor to the throne. Across the Chinese nation grand parades and military reviews are held while Chiang Mai celebrates in a much less grand scale with a party attended by over one thousand residents.
The national anthems of both countries were played before Chinese Consul General Chao Xiaoliang spoke in Chinese to the audience about the close friendship between the two countries and the importance of Chiang Mai. He was followed by Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya who then led the audience in a toast to the friendship between the two countries.
Guests were treated to a buffet dinner and fabulous performances by Chinese acrobats, singers and dancers in honor of China’s National Day.

U.S. Consul General Michael Heath and his wife greet the Chinese Consul and his wife before the start of the party.

Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn and Municipal Secretary Assanee Buranupakorn congratulate the Chinese Consul General on the celebrations.

Members of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn join Governor Suriya Prasatbuntitya in toasting the Chinese Consul General.

The evening ended with fabulous performances, including this one by an acrobat troupe.

Expats Club and Rotary International join hands to donate surgical equipment to Mae Tao Clinic

From left: Joe Evans, Nancy Lindley, Roger Lindley, Dr. Cynthia Maung, Jerry Nelson, Pat Corey, and Kevina Maddick, Fundraising and Grants Manager, Mae Tao Clinic at the clinic.

By Jerry Nelson
I am an ardent supporter and huge fan of The Mae Tao Clinic Mae Sot Thailand. Just in case you don’t know, let me begin with a few highlights, big reasons I’m a huge fan and continue to support their cause:
First, the Mae Tao clinic provides, free of charge, medical care to between 300 and 500 people a day, six days a week. Mostly they are Burmese migrants and refugees who have found their way to the clinic.
Second, the Mae Tao clinic, under the guidance of Dr. Cynthia Maung has expanded and improved steadily since that humble start in 1988, the year of the student uprising in Burma. It was then that Dr. Cynthia escaped to Mae Sot and started the clinic.
Third, the clinic has a large budget, but like so many good organizations on the Thai side of the border, suffers from funding cuts, partly because of the Western World’s rush to Burma. The Mae Tao clinic has a marvelous degree of financial transparency; their financial statements are available to the public. Just download them from www.maetaoclinic .org
Fourth, the Mae Tao clinic is also instrumental in Child Protection in a community where education is a scare commodity and abuse is rampant.

Kevina Maddick and Eh Ta Mwee (center) display some of the equipment with Pat Corey, President of the CM Expat Club Nancy Lindley and Jerry Nelson.

Fifth, Dr. Cynthia is truly selfless. A friend recently described her as the most humble woman she knows. I totally agree!
During a visit to Mae Tao clinic earlier in the year by members of the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC) we asked for specific suggestions of ways we could make a difference. Among other ideas, we were presented with a wish list of badly needed surgical equipment. The ball was set in motion. The Chiang Mai Expats Club generously donated 50,000 baht and Chiang Mai International Rotary Club donated 10,400 baht. .The needed equipment was purchased with the assistance of CMIRC through a Rotarian in Bangkok and together we were able to give them almost everything on their wish list. This little project would not have been possible without the generous work of several wonderful people from both Rotary and the Expats club.
A small group from the Chiang Mai International Rotary club and the Chiang Mai Expats club visited the Mae Tao clinic on Tuesday 15 September to deliver the equipment and even more importantly inquire about other ways we could help. People who may want to get involved in doing good are encouraged to visit the Chiang Mai International Rotary club which meets at the River Market Restaurant every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The Chiang Mai Expats Club which so generously donated to this important mission meets on the 4th Saturday morning of the month at Le Meridien hotel with informal coffee mornings on the 1st and 3rd Friday mornings of the month at River Market restaurant. CMIRC is a Community Sponsor of CEC and when CEC revenues exceed expenses, the club is able to support good causes like the Mae Tao Clinic.

Nancy Lindley, President of the Chiang Mai Expats Club, presents the gift of medical supplies and surgical equipment to Eh Ta Mwee, head of Mae Tao Clinic’s Surgical Deparment.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Visiting the beauties of the North

China celebrates their National Day in Chiang Mai

Expats Club and Rotary International join hands to donate surgical equipment to Mae Tao Clinic