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Vol. XIII No.8 - Sunday April 20, 2014 - Saturday May 3, 2014


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Update by Saichon Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Business - Travel - Tourism
 

Lion Air ready for Chiang Mai – Mae Hong Son route

Awaiting approval

Lion Air hopes to get confirmation of its new Chiang Mai – Mae Hong Son route soon.

Chiang Mai Mail reporters
The recent cancellation by Nok Air of the Chiang Mai – Mae Hong Son route has caused Mae Hong Son many problems for tourists wishing to visit the province. The cancellation of the flight saw many groups cancel plans to visit Mae Hong Son, according to Supoj Klinpraneet, President of Mae Hong Son’s Joint Private Committee. He said he had started talks with Thai Lion Air about starting a Chiang Mai – Mae Hong Son flight and the airline agreed to submit an application to take over the route.
Tawan Thianthong, Director of Engineering, Thai Lion Mentari Co., Ltd. said that Lion Air was sending documents about the air transportation route and expected that they would know the result soon. Lion Air has a plan to fly on every route that is ready. The marketing team of Lion Air said that if Lion Air is allowed to fly the Chiang Mai - Mae Hong Son route, the cost won’t be expensive.
Lion Air or Thai Lion Mentari Co., Ltd. is the lastest low-cost airline to fly in Thailand, established at the end of 2013. Thai Lion Air is subsidiary of “Lion Group”, Indonesian low-cost airline. Lion Air has operated more than 13 years and is very well- known in low-cost airline industry.


Nan; rich with the history and culture of the Tai Lue people

Huan Tai Lue House of Ban Rong Ngae, preserved for tourists visiting by Ban Rong Ngae Cultural Leaning Center.

By Nopniwat Krailerg
Chiang Mai’s neighbor to the East, Nan, is surrounded by mountains and is rich in nature; its extensive forests and rivers a tourist attraction. Nan is also home to the Tai Lue people who maintain their traditional lifestyle and rich culture.
Nan was established since the Sukhothai period named “Pua”, and later became a vassal of the Lanna Kingdom with the decline of the power of the Sukhothai kings. The kings of Nan fought against the Burmese occupation but were defeated. The capital city of Nan was restored during the Rattanokisn period but large parts of the province were ceded to the French during the Paknam crisis.

The murals of Wat Nong Bua are known for their beauty and interesting details.

Nan is a largely rural province, most people still rely on agriculture as the main occupation. The Nan River flows from the Luang Prabang range through the heart of the city to eventually join the Ping, Want and Yom rivers to become the Chao Phraya River.
The Tai Lue people living in Nan were settlers originally from Xishuangbanna in China. Originally,the Lue or Tai Lue settled in Lue Luang, the upper of Mekong River area and later moved into the area where Kunming is now before moving to the Mekong River Basin or Xishuangbanna. They extended their area to Dien Bien Phu, Keng tung, Chiang Saen and Lan Xang to reestablish a unified residence and establish the twelve districts of Tai Lue called “Xishuangbanna”.
Some groups of Tai Lue migrated or were forcibly moved out of these districts about one hundred to two hundred years ago and resettled in the more Southern countries such as Myanmar, Laos and Thailand. In the reign of King Rama I the Chao Fah Atthawalapanno (Ruling Prince of Nan) and Chao Sumon Dhevaraj (Ruling Prince of Nan) led the army to push the Tai Lue People from Xishuangbanna to Nan and some cities in Laos and later in the reign of King Rama IV, Chao Suriyapong (Ruling Prince of Nan) pushed more Tai Lue People from Xishuangbanna to Nan.
Pua district has the largest population of Tai Lue people in Nan. Tha Wang Pha district also has a large number of Tai Lue people in 5 sub-districts as does Mengla, Yom sub district, and Chom Phra sub district. Other Tai Lue people are scattered in Song Khwae district, Chiang Klang district and Thung Chang district. In the past many also migrated to other provinces in the north such as Lamphun, Lampang, Phrae, Doi Saket sub district in Chiang Mai, and Chiang Maun, Chiang Kham and Phu Sang in Phayao.

Traditional lamps made from clay, highly important to villagers before the advent of electricity.

Wat Rong Ngae is a beautiful old Tai Lue Temple in Woranakorn sub district of Pua District with a viharn that is several hundred years old. The building still has ancient wooden tiles and inside the temple the murals behind the principle Buddha image are well-known for their beauty and intricacy. It is believed that this temple was built in 1767 by Chao Luang Theppayalen and Chao Chang Puak Nga Kheaw, defeated warlords from Xishuangbanna who gathered troops to this area and built the temple.
A living temple still used by the village, elders take turns to welcome and care for tourists and they still speak the Tai Lue language. There are 2 restored buidlings; Huan Tai Lue (Tai Lue house) of Ban Rong Ngae opposite from the temple, is considered as a learning center of the village so that visitors can see and learn about real Tai Lue culture. The Tai Lue have homes similar to traditional Thai and other Northern homes with a wooden house raised on stilts with a kitchen and livestock living under the house. Housing remains a traditional mix of wooden Tai Lue and Lanna architecture in some communities.
There is a traditional Tai Lue village in Ban Nong Bua, Pa Kha sub district in Tha Wang Pha district beside the Nan River. Men do the farming and women weave at home. The villagers plant cotton, and then weave it into beautiful textiles from ancient designs showing water flowing, such as the Sin Lai Nam Lai (water flow pattern), Sin Pong, Sin Karn and Sin Man. Ban Nong Bua has a major ancient temple named “Wat Nong Bua”. According to village elders, the temple was built in 1862 in the Reign of King Rama V. Mural paintings inside the temple show the lifestyle of villagers with women wearing the traditional textile patterns especially the Sin Lai Nam Lai or Pha Sin Teen Jok, a weaving technique for decorative pieces on the hem of women’s sarongs. The murals show steamboats and western soldiers with rifles without bayonets as western style was used extensively in the reign of King Rama 4 to 5. The mural was restored after damage from the natural elements.

The ancient viharn of Wat Rong Ngae, Pua district in Nan Province.

At the back of the temple is the location of Huen Tai Lue Ma Kao (ancient Tai Lue house) or Ancient Tai Lue House Museum. The house is traditional architecture with teak roof tiles or Cogon Grass and raised on stilts. The house has only one large bedroom because the Tai Lue family likes to sleep all together, but would build a new room when a daughter married.
Although the Tai Lue people do not wear their traditional clothes in day to day life, including the Phasin, they still dress in traditional finery for the major festivals. The Tai Lue people of Nan still maintain a rural traditional lifestyle in a province rich in natural resources and beauty.


Microchips for ATM, debit cards to tackle fraud

Commercial banks in Thailand will use microchips instead of a magnetic system on ATM and debit cards to prevent fraud, starting next year, according to the Bank of Thailand (BoT).
BoT spokesperson Rung Mallikamas said the central bank and commercial banks have been trying to find measures to prevent skimming – a fraud method in which a device is affixed to the mouth of an ATM and secretly swipe credit or debit card information when bank customers slip their cards into the machines to withdraw money.
She said commercial banks have installed anti-skimming devices at cash machines, warned people on the risks of ATM fraud, and told customers to be more cautious in using their cards.
“It’s right that commercial banks hold responsibility in case of ATM fraud, but they will have to change to microchip system for cards to prevent skimming,” she said. (MCOT online news)


Do You Have an Expat Exit Strategy?

By Don Freeman
It may be too soon to think about leaving Thailand if you have only recently arrived, but its still worth asking: Do you have an expat exit strategy? If you don’t, you could find yourself digging a very deep hole into your savings or illiquid investment accounts in a rush to fund one at the very last minute. With that in mind, here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning for a “proper” expat exit strategy:
You Need To Tie Up Extra Emergency Funds. Ideally, you should keep liquid emergency fund(s) in both Thai Baht to deal with the costs of leaving Thailand and in your home currency to reestablish yourself back home.
Don’t Assume You Will Get Your Rental Deposit Back or Sell Anything. Never assume even if you are leaving at the end of your property lease that you will get back your entire deposit or any deposit at all for that matter. Likewise, any quick look at an expat forum or listserv will reveal how likely you are to get even a fraction of the value for items like cars, home electronics, furniture and other household goods you might intend to sell to raise extra funds. In other words, do not count rental deposits or assets sales as part of your expat exit strategy.
You Can’t Take It All With You. Even if you moved to Thailand using a 40-foot shipping container, what you have accumulated while living here is almost guaranteed to not fit inside whatever you came with and its definitely going to cost you more to ship it home. Moreover, you will need to check with customs both in Thailand and your home country (or a professional relocation company) as what you were able to ship in may not be easily shipped out or vice versa without a tremendous amount of paperwork or hassle.
You Need to Maintain a Financial Track Record Back Home. If you still maintain a property and most of your financial accounts back home, it should not be too difficult to re-set yourself there. However and if you have been away for a considerable amount of time and have little financial presence in your home country, just re-opening bank accounts, getting a mobile phone account and finding a place to rent can become a bureaucratic nightmare – especially if you are British or European returning home after a long period as an expat. Even for Americans, it might be difficult to find a place to rent if you lack much of a credit history or credit score. That’s why it’s important to at least maintain some financial accounts (especially checking accounts and credit cards) in your home country in the event you need to return there to live.
Remember Entitlements (Or the Lack Thereof). Generally speaking, most countries pay pensions to their citizens no matter where they are residing. However, other entitlements like disability and unemployment compensation are usually only for onshore residents while in the United States, there are 50 states with potentially fifty different sets of regulations. If you have become disabled or unemployed while living as an expat abroad, be aware you may have a tough time or you may not even qualify for entitlements even after you return home.
Check Your Health Insurance and Keep Your Medical Records. For Americans in particular who aren’t retired, health insurance and health care tends to be much more expensive back home than abroad. Therefore, you should have an expat health insurance plan that works in your home country or is convertible to a local plan in the event you return home. Likewise, don’t forget to bring all of your medical records home with you and remember that it could be difficult to reconnect with doctors back home.
Don’t Forget Taxes. For Americans who never escape from filing income taxes and from the reporting of their worldwide income or assets, returning home might actually be easier than for other nationalities who once they reestablish residency in their home country, could find themselves owing substantial taxes on any offshore income, assets or investments. In other words, consult with a tax expert from your country before you return home and reestablish your residency there.
Don Freeman is president of Freeman Capital Management, a Registered Investment Advisor with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), based in Phuket, Thailand. He has over 15 years experience and provides personal financial planning and wealth management to expatriates. Specializing in UK and US pension transfers. Call 089-970-5795 or email: [email protected]


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Lion Air ready for Chiang Mai – Mae Hong Son route

Nan; rich with the history and culture of the Tai Lue people

Microchips for ATM, debit cards to tackle fraud

Do You Have an Expat Exit Strategy?

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