Historic International Jazz Festival for HM the King comes to Chiang Mai
(From left) Thanawat
Hiranlekha, manager of Thai Airways International North Region office,
Surapon Sawetseranee, marketing communication deputy governor of TAT, and
Thongchai Wongrianthong, Chiang Mai deputy governor, who joined the press
conference for the Jazz Royale Festival at Sofitel Riverside Hotel, Chiang
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will stage the International
Jazz Royale Festival to honor HM the King – a world-class musician. It is to
be held between December 9-17, 2006 in Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, and
Phuket. Accomplished performers from around the world will be travelling to
Thailand to participate.
Almost 100 musicians will gather to perform. Headliners include Kenny G, the
world’s best selling saxophone player, jazz pianist McCoy Tyner, the Trio
band, the Regina Carter Quintet, and Dizzy Gillespie’s All Star Big Band
(with Paquito D’Rivera and Claudio Roditi). Solo performers Nancy Wilson,
Chris Botti, Georgie Fame, Ahmad Jamal, and Marta Topferova complete this
standout list of the famous and talented who will share their musical gifts
with the audience.
The Jazz Royale Festival is to be staged at Sua Pa Field, Bangkok on
December 9-10, Chu Point Hall in Pattaya from December 11 to 12, Chiang Mai
University in Chiang Mai from December 14-15, and Karon Beach in Phuket from
on December 16-17.
As a major highlight, Kenny G will perform HM the King’s compositions for
the first time in his inimitable style. Kenny G will play for 90 minutes,
with 50-minute concert durations for the other musicians. The performances
will begin at 6pm each night, and continue until midnight.
Surapon Sawetseranee, a marketing communications deputy governor of TAT,
remarked that the objective of this festival was to honor HM the King on the
occasion of his 60 year’s on the throne in 2006, and 80th birthday in 2007.
It was also to encourage tourists from Asia and Europe (and ex-pats living
in Thailand) and Thai citizens to come together to celebrate these two
historic occasions. TAT plans to make the jazz festival an annual event.
Ticket prices are 2,000 baht in Bangkok, or 1,500 baht at the other
locations. You can reserve tickets at the TAT head office, Thai Ticket
Master (www.thaiticketmaster.com), TTM Call Center 02-2623456, Central
Pattaya Department Store, Central Airport Plaza Chiang Mai, and Central
For additional information, contact the call center of TAT at 1672. A
percentage of the revenue from the festival will be presented to HM the
King. Sponsors include Thai Airways International, TMB Bank, Bangkok
Insurance, and TMB Asset Management Company Limited.
Regina Carter Quintet
Chiang Mai Hotels earn 500 million baht in 2 weeks
By Saksit Meesubkwang
Sangvorn Santisuk, the chairman of the Thai Hotels Association (northern
chapter), said that due to the International Horticultural Exposition:
Ratchaphruek 2006, hotel businesses in Chiang Mai have earned more than 500
million baht in the last two weeks. Room reservation rates have averaged
approximately 80 percent of full capacity, compared to only 50-55 percent
last year – an increase of 30 percent.
Of the tourists who stayed in hotels in Chiang Mai since November 1-3, 60
percent were Thai and 25 percent were foreigners. Since the International
Horticultural Exposition in Chiang Mai began, many hotels have been full,
especially on Saturdays and Sundays. Mostly, tourists prefer to stay in 3 or
The Thai Hotels Association predicted the income from hotel reservations in
Chiang Mai will be more than 5 billion baht by the end of the Expo. In
addition, they believe that in the remaining time of the Expo, the average
number of tourists will increase, especially in December 2006 and January
Vorapong Moochaotai, secretary of the Chiang Mai Tourism Business
Association, said that according to predictions of income for the hotel
industry since the opening of the Expo, it was believed that between
November 1-13, hotel businesses in Chiang Mai received at least 555 million
baht from tourists.
In total, throughout the 3 months of the Expo, it is expected that there
should be approximately 20 billion baht of income from the International
Royal Flora 2006 Mascot Collectables in High Demand
Many tourists are interested
in buying the expo mascots
By Nopniwat Krailerg
Praparn Prangla-or, owner of the PRT Inter Trade Company, which
produces the mascots at the Royal Flora Expo, said that, initially, there
were 5 separate mascots on display. However, with the addition of 4 new
models, there are now 9 models to collect. They are: Khun (Indian Laburnum),
Kulap (Rose), Nari (orchid), Bua (Lotus), Kan Yao (Durian), MangKurt
(Mangosteen), Fak Bua (Watering Pot), Chon (Chinese radish) and Ta Thung
(Scarecrow). Mascots come in 2 sizes, 7.5 inches and 12.5 inches. It is
predicted that 200,000 dolls could be sold.
Narong Tananuwat, president of the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, said
that, since the expo started, sales of souvenirs have generated Bt100,000 to
Bt200,000 each weekday, and more than Bt200,000 on weekends. It is expected
that by the end of January 2007, the income from souvenirs at the Expo could
reach Bt20 million.
Chiang Mai to improve existing tourism sites and create new ones
By Preeyanoot Jittawong
Lt. Suwit Yodmanee, the Minister of Tourism and Sports, visited
Chiang Mai to learn how tourism management was proceeding at Chiang Mai
province. He stressed that faltering areas should be improved while
expanding new tourism areas. He also stressed the benefits of careful
selection of tourist groups.
Suwit Yodmanee, Minister of Tourism and Sports
On November 12, Lt. Suwit participated in a conference to learn the Chiang
Mai province tourism policy and management structure from Junnapong Saranak,
the Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Northern Office Region
The minister disclosed that the north region’s tourism activities would
follow the Thai travel in Thailand policy. In the meantime, old tourism
areas that are deteriorating, such as the hot springs, should be improved in
order to spread money among local area residents and local communities. If
the local tourism destinations improved, residents will be proud of them and
they will be better hosts.
New tourism destinations are as important as existing location improvement
because Chiang Mai has many beautiful attributes to attract tourists.
Several places should be developed as new tourism destinations, without too
much concern about the number of visitors this year. In 2007, the government
will attempt to attract tourists with more purchasing power. Too many
visitors could cause tourism areas to rapidly deteriorate, which would cause
the government to spend its budget on improvements.
Students recruited as guides for Mae Hong Son tourism
By Chiangmai Mail Staff Reporters
Wisoot Buachoom, the head of the Mae Hong Son Provincial Tourism
Coordination Center, said that the center has organized a training program
for students. The program was organized in cooperation with Mae Hong Son
Province College of Arts, Media, and Technology (CAMT) of Chiang Mai
University, Mae Hong Son Cultural Office, Education Area 1, Mae Hong Son
Municipality, Mae Hong Son Non-Formal Education (NFE) Center, and related
“Mae Hong Son’s Small Guide Training Program” began on November 11
with 60 students, including 50 students from Hongsonsuksa School and 10
students from Tedsaban Muang Mae Hong Son School. The training program is
under the guidance of famous lecturers from Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son, who
will use their experience to provide knowledge to trainees.
November is the high tourism season at Mae Hong Son. Numerous numbers
of Thai and foreign tourists visit during this time. Attractions include:
arts and cultural activities, architectural structures, Tai tribal
traditional places, and nature itself. The number of tourists has increased
5 percent each year and should continue to grow.
Last year, 329,580 tourists visited Mae Hong Son (187,060 Thais, 142,520
foreigners) and spent about Bt1.5 million. For the first 9 months
(January-September) of 2006, there were 238,963 tourists, an increase of
approximately 5.50 percent from 2005. This shows that Mae Hong Son province
is becoming an important destination for tourists. Tourism in Mae Hong Son
will be sustainable if every agency works together to develop and promote
tourism. Young people will also be important personnel for tourism in the
“According to our development strategies, Mae Hong Son will be known
as the city of tourism, or Mae Hong Son: the Land of Dreams. There were many
activities in 2005. In order to achieve their objectives, Mae Hong province
assigned CAMT of Chiang Mai University to develop ICT personnel to support
e-tourism. These places will be advertised as “must-visit” places, or The
Best of Mae Hong Son. There will be arrangements made for bicycle
routes, and youths in Mae Hong Son will be volunteer guides to help tourists
visit 15 interesting historical and intrinsic places in the province.”
Wisoot Buachoom said.
International Day for the Handicapped to be celebrated in Chiang Mai
By Preeyanoot Jittawong
A five day celebration to show gratitude to His Majesty the King for
His caring and love for all the disabled in Thailand will be held, including
a special appearance by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
Suweera, subcommittee member of Disabled People’s Quality of Life
Improvement in Chiang Mai
At a press conference on November 15, Monchai Thesaphaet, editor of the
Chiang Mai News, together with Prayad Songkham, director of Special
Education Area 8 and Samit Suweera, subcommittee of Disabled People’s
Quality of Life Improvement in Chiang Mai said that preparations were
underway for “Gratitude to His Majesty the King for His caring and love for
all the disabled in Thailand,” which will be held December 1-5 at Sala
Angkaew and Rugby Field of Chiang Mai University.
The event will showcase many entertainment activities, and one of the
highlights will be the “Run in obedience to HM the King’s teachings” Rally.
The winner will receive a special cup from HRH Princess Maha Chakri
Other activities include concerts from famous singers, a product exhibition
from disabled people, and a food festival with entries from many famous
restaurants in Chiang Mai (special price of 10 baht for disabled persons).
There will also be exhibitions from government agencies, foundations, and
disabled associations. Of particular interest is a sports competition for
all, handicapped or not. Moreover, there will be special-skill performances,
intelligence skills, and teaching demonstrations to give disabled people
opportunities to perform their skills.
Beware of Falling Space Rocks
By Saksit Meesubkwang
On the night of November 18, Sirindhorn Observatory at Chiang Mai
University invited people to observe a meteor shower using their telescopes.
About 100 people attended. Doi Inthanon and Doi Suthep were also crowded
with people who braved the cold weather to watch the celestial event.
Asst. Prof. Dr. Boonruksa Soonthorntham, director of the National
Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT) at the Ministry of
Science and Technology, said that the Leonid meteors could be seen at night.
They are formed by ice and stone that have separated from the Temple-Tuttle
comet, which orbits near the Sun every 33 years. Each time it orbits near
the Sun, it cracks and loses pieces of its tail, which become asteroids.
When the Earth orbits near these asteroids, they are pulled into Earth’s
atmosphere by the gravitational field. Upon entering the atmosphere, they
are burned and fall to the Earth. This is called a “meteor shower”. This
meteor shower, from the Leo asterism, dropped hundreds of meteors per hour.
In 1998, the Temple-Tuttle comet approached the Sun, causing 1,000 meteors
per hour to fall on us in 2002. Since then, the meteor showers have dropped
to less than 100 meteors per hour.
This year, it is expected that there will be 100-150 meteors showering down
on us per hour. The meteor showers continued until November 21. On November
19, at 11.45 a.m. in Thailand (4.45 a.m. Universal Time) the amount of
meteors were at their peak.
HIV-AIDS cases in Chiang Mai reach an alarming level
By Saksit Meesubkwang
Rathawut Sukmee, an officer of the Chiang Mai Provincial Public
Health Office, disclosed that the AIDS situation in Chiang Mai and nearby
areas is becoming critical. In the past 9 months, 376 new patients were
diagnosed with HIV. The most common cause of infection is from unprotected
sex, although there are other causes as well. Most of the infected people
are between the ages of 15-39 years old, and are carriers posing a high risk
of spreading the disease to others.
Rathwat added that from September 1984 – August 2006, infected people who
are 15-29 years old accounted for 101,724 cases, or 34 percent of all
HIV-infected people. According to research as recent as 2005, it was found
that the AIDS situation has become more severe. 40 percent of Thai teenaged
males have sex with women whom they don’t know. Only 35 percent use condoms,
leaving the other 65 percent at a high risk of becoming infected. Among 5
million 15-19 year-olds, about 1.3 million are in danger of being infected
Moreover, statistics show that in 2003 there were 10,934 people who were
infected with Gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), but
by 2005, the number had increased to 12,235 people. Half of them were
According to recent evaluations of juvenile problems, parents do not spend
enough time with their children, who spend their time shopping in department
stores or chatting on the Internet. This lack of supervision can lead to
many problems, including under-aged, unprotected sex.
Since 1988, there have been 20,629 AIDS infected patients, 15,769 of which
are still alive. In 2006, there are 376 new patients; 345 were infected by
sexual contact, the rest from using illegal drugs, from mother to newborn,
and other unknown causes. People aged 25-39 have the highest rate of
infection, but 15-25 year-old’s are also in critical condition. A large
number of cases have been reported in Mae Ai, Mae Taeng, San Sai, Chiang
Dao, Fang, Phrao districts, and Muang Chiang Mai.
Prime Minister concerned about cold weather and the drugs abuse in Mae Hong Son province
Direk Konkleep, Mae Hong Son’s Governor, and head officers of
governmental organizations consulted with Prime Minister Surayuth Chulanont
via video conference about the cold weather and drug problems in the
province of Mae Hong Son. The governor reported that Mae Hong Son’s
residents need 49,210 blankets and 32,314 sweaters. People in 45
sub-districts of the 7 districts are facing the chilling weather. The
province has already requested help from the government and private sector
to aid these cold weather victims.
Regarding the drug problem, it was discovered that small groups located
opposite Mae Hong Son province have set up 4 or 5 drug production factories.
Therefore, police, soldiers, and administrative officers will work together
to protect the border, preventing the drugs from entering the province.
In addition, the governor also asked for 20 million baht from the Prime
Minister to dredge five creeks and to fix areas damaged by flooding in the
Pai district in 2004. He also requested 70 million baht to set up reservoirs
in Pai district to prevent future flooding. The province has made these
requests before, but has never gotten a favorable response. The Prime
Minister promised to look into this issue so that the province could
possibly receive the money they need.
Creative Spirits at the Indy Festival
Well-known Comedy Star “Eak” joined the Indy
On November 17-18, the Indy Festival was held at the Fine Arts
Museum of Chiang Mai University. This alternative gathering was hosted by
the Thai Health Promotion Department, Thai Writer’s Network, the Fine Arts
Museum of Chiang Mai University, and “To Tell” Bookshop. The goal was to
organize new activities for those who do not follow the trends.
This is the 3rd Northern Indy Festival from BooMF (Book Battle, Mind Music
and Film Free). Activities were plentiful, including meeting with famous
writers, Siawchan Ramphai, Khomsan Nanthachit, and Akewichai. Also showcased
was the opening of a paparazzi book, named “Ching Mha Kerd” (competing with
a dog to be born).
Student bands and Indy artists gave concert performances. There was a “Book
Battle” contested by students from many academies in Chiang Mai. Individual
focus groups conducted discussions on music (including a talk on the
independent path of music), books, and the film, Chor Ma Kok. Independent
filmmakers gathered to discuss their work, and there was even a prize given
to an independent film director.
Dozens of booths were on hand selling a variety of products including books,
magazines, postcard cds, music, films, handmade crafts, and, of course…food.
This event is the largest gathering of Indy lovers in Chiang Mai.