The Doctor's Consultation: by Dr. Iain Corness
A penniless ending?
I don’t know how many of you saw the following piece in the
Bangkok Post? It went, “State hospitals in the southern province are
shouldering a heavy burden for treating elderly foreigners who cannot afford
to pay their medical bills.
Many retired foreigners who came to Thailand with the hope of settling down
here are now struggling after spending their pensions wastefully and
marrying Thai women, some of whom left them after their money ran out.
Lots of foreigners have fallen ill and been admitted to local hospitals.
Their relatives back home refuse to pay for their treatment on being
contacted by the embassy…”
What is forgotten by these unfortunate people is that there is no “free”
National Health Scheme. No safety net to catch them when things go bad. You
have to provide your own in this country, and that is called Medical
But is your insurance cover enough? This is a perennial question. And a
perennial headache for private hospitals and those who end up in them! And
if you haven’t upgraded your cover recently, then you may be in for a nasty
surprise. Unfortunately, everything, be that petrol, bread, or baby’s
nappies has gone up in price in the past 12 months. If you haven’t upgraded
there could be a shortfall, which you would have to find (or fund), not your
When I first came to Thailand to live permanently 14 years ago, I was just
as remiss as far as insurance was concerned. Hospital in-patient insurance?
I passed on that one too. After all, the only foreseeable problems that
could stop me working were massive trauma following a road accident or
suchlike, or a heart attack. In either case you don’t care where you are as
long as there are wall to wall running doctors and plenty of pain killers.
In Australia, the “free” public hospital system is fine for that.
So I blithely carried on, after all, I was ten foot tall and bullet proof.
Then a friend over here had a stroke and required hospitalization. Said
friend was four years younger than me and I was forced to review the ten
foot bullet proof situation to find I was only five foot eleven and the
world was full of kryptonite. Thailand was a completely new ballgame.
Enquiries as to hospital and medical costs showed that they were
considerably less than the equivalent of private hospitals in Oz, but, and
here’s the big but, there’s no government system or sickness benefits to
fall back on in Thailand. Suddenly you are walking the tightrope and there’s
no safety net to stop you hitting terra firma.
So I took out medical insurance. Still, it was no gold plated cover. But it
was enough to look after me if I needed hospitalization, and that came
sooner than I imagined. I had always subscribed to the “major trauma”
theory, but two days of the galloping gut-rot had me flat on my back with
the IV tube being my only life-line to the world. We are only mortal – even
So do you have medical insurance? Perhaps it is time to chat to a reputable
insurance agent! Yes, reliable insurance agents and reliable insurance
companies do exist, but you need help through the minefield.
You also need help when it comes to filling out the application forms, in my
opinion. And you also need to be 100 percent truthful. Yes, insurance
companies will check on your records, and if it is found that you have been
sparing with the truth over pre-existing conditions, expect a shock at
settling up time at the cashier’s desk.
Remember, too, that just because you have an insurance card does not
automatically signify that ‘everything’ is covered. This is why private
hospitals will ask you for a deposit on admission. If the insurance company
later verifies that you are indeed covered for that ailment or condition,
then you’ll get it back, but you have to prove that you are covered, not the
other way round!
And remember that cheap insurance premiums means you are only getting
partial cover. This is something you have to plan for. Start by asking
Salsa is a sweetie!
This sweetie is still a pup at 1 year. She is medium-sized and has a
short golden brown coat. She is playful, yet gentle and
affectionate. She is not dominant and gets along well with other
dogs. Adorable! Contact the Care for Dogs shelter English (08 47 52
52 55) or Thai language (08 69 13 87 01) to make an appointment to
meet her or e-mail [email protected]
Heart to Heart
Is this Singha Jerry for real? I was thinking he might even have been
that Mister Singha guy who used to write in with drivel every week. Glad
he’s gone. He’s a fine one to complain about other people’s spellings.
His is the worst you’ve had recently. Thanks for the fun column each
Carlsberg (it’s back) Ken
Dear Carlsberg (it’s back) Ken,
Glad you like the column, Petal. I can only keep trying to keep you
amused. I don’t think Singha Jerry and Mistersingha (he used to spell it
as all one word) are one and the same. As the T-shirt says “Same, same -
but different!” And yes, I was told that Carlsberg has returned to our
shores, not that I really cared. I am a champagne drinker, as you would
also know - when someone nice sends me a bottle (or two). It’s far too
far out of my budget, I’m afraid.
One of the women at work told me she needed some money as deposit for a
unit close to work. It wasn’t much, only 4,500 baht, so I gave her 5,000
baht. I didn’t expect it back. Just a gift and I forgot about it after
she said she had moved in to her new place. About a couple of months
later she left the job, but came back to see me as she was waiting to be
paid and was behind in the rent, so I stumped up for another 1,500 baht.
She saw me a couple of weeks later and said everything was going fine,
but that didn’t last too long as she came back again this week with
another tale of woe. I realize I’m being played as a sucker here,
Hillary, but how should I deal with it. I don’t want to be bad friends
with anybody. Not in my nature.
Wally the wallet, you have certainly been tagged as a soft touch,
haven’t you, my Petal. There’s no secret in what to do here, and you
know it already. Just say “No”. You can do it nicely, by saying you are
a bit short this month yourself, and that’s all. She will find someone
else, just the same way as she found you! But learn something from it.
OK? Charity may start at home - but that’s at your home, not hers.
Is there any real way to tell if these Thai girls really fancy you, or
is it just an act? I have met a nice one, we get along well together and
we went to Phuket for a week and that was good, she says she loves me,
but I’ve heard all this before and it was all just lies. I’d like to
think this one is for real, but what is the way to find out? Help me
Hillary before I get in too deep and get disappointed again.
I presume you met this young lady in a bar somewhere, James, as it is
not so easy to get a girl holding down a good job from a traditional
Thai family to just take a week off and go to Phuket with a foreigner
she doesn’t really know all that well. This being the case, you always
have to take into account that protestations of “love” are the bar
girl’s stock in trade. Once she thinks she has you snared, then what you
have to look out for are mothers with health problems requiring
expensive medicines, brothers with broken legs, fathers with cancer and
buffalos with hoof rot. All these conditions can only be cured with
large lumps of money - yours! So in a nutshell, the “way to find out” is
to listen to the requests for financial assistance. If they include help
for family members, then that is the time for you to consider slipping
on the running shoes. Got the message, Petal?
I am thinking about buying a motorcycle but all the reports about theft
has stopped me. Is it really as bad as people say? Is it worse than the
UK for example? Have you any ideas on how to make a motorcycle “thief
proof” or should I just stick to baht busses?
Motorcycle theft is a problem all over the world. Not just here. In
fact, I believe that theft is so commonplace in the UK that you would be
very lucky if you didn’t get your car or bike stolen at some time. The
answer is to be vigilant and lock the bike securely. Mind you, you can
never be 100 percent secure. One chap in the UK chained the front wheel
of his expensive sports car to a lamp post but when he returned the car
was gone. The front wheel was still chained to the lamp post, as all the
villains had done was jack the car up and put on the spare wheel and
drive away! With bikes you have the additional problem of it being easy
to throw it in the back of a pick-up. A good chain and a stout padlock
and attach it to something solid seems to be the answer. But not to the
car parked next to you!
by Harry Flashman
Polarizers - circular and linear
I have often mentioned filters in this column, and there are
many which can produce some spectacular images. However, many of
them can also be duplicated post-camera with one of the programs
such as Photoshop. However, a polarized image is not something
that can be done later.
The polarizing filter is needed at the time of taking the shot,
not later. There is no other filter that can make such a
difference to your final pictures, especially in the bright sun
of Thailand. Once you become used to polarized effects, you will
want to leave the filter screwed on the end of your lenses
These filters are different from most others in the fact that
they are made up of two distinct elements. There is an outer
ring that rotates the outer “glass” relative to the inner
element. This increases or reduces the degree of polarization to
allow the photographer an endless range of polarized effects
from one filter.
The principal behind these filters is to remove reflections, and
funnily enough it is reflections that take the color out of
color photography. Look at the surface of a swimming pool, for
example - a shiny white, non-transparent surface. Now look
through a polarizing filter and you can see right down to the
tiles on the bottom of the pool. And the people frolicking in
What happens is that these filters remove reflections from any
surface, not just water. The reason you cannot see through some
normally transparent windows is because of reflected images on
the surface of the glass. The reason some tree leaves appear to
lose their color is through reflected light from the sky above.
One of the traps for young photographers is that because you
know the grass is green, you see it as green when you look
through the camera lens - even though it is not truly green,
caused by reflections. Look again at the scene in the
viewfinder. The green grass is really a mixture of green and
silvery reflections, dark shadows and pale green shoots. Put the
polarizing filter on the lens and slowly rotate the outer ring.
Suddenly the silvery reflections disappear and become a deep,
solid green color. The grass is now made up of green, dark green
and pale green. This green will really leap out at you and smack
you fair between the eyes!
Your next beach scene when taken with a polarizer will really
amaze you. Again, slowly rotate the outer ring on the polarizer.
Look critically through the viewfinder and you will see the sky
take on a much deeper color to highlight the white clouds. Keep
turning that outer ring and the sea will change to a deep blue
to green luminescent hue. The end result is at your command. Try
taking the same shot this weekend, but with varying degrees of
polarization and see the differences in the final shots.
Another shot to try with or without polarization is
photographing a reflective, shiny object like your family car.
Again, by looking critically through the viewfinder you will see
what happens when you remove the reflections from the paintwork.
So, if the polarizer is such a wonderful bit of gear, why do we
not make it a standard piece of equipment on all cameras? Well,
like everything, there is a downside as well as the upside. In
the case of the polarizer it does its bit of brilliance at the
expense of the amount of light that gets into the camera. With
most polarizing filters you will lose about one and a half to
two stops of light. What this means is that the shutter speed
will be at least twice as long to record the same scene, or that
the aperture will have to be twice the size. This means that you
are more likely to get camera shake effects and suffer from lack
of depth of field when using the polarizer. Another drawback is
that the light drop can confuse the camera’s flash settings, so
compensation has to be made for night shots.
However, if you haven’t got one - get one and see the full
bodied difference a polarizer can make!
Money Matters: Paul Gambles
MBMG International Ltd.
Climate Change - Have we got it right? Part 1
From the start, let me explain that I am not a scientist and
I know nothing about global warming. However, I am concerned we may be spending
money in the wrong places and these funds could be better used elsewhere.
It cannot be disputed that wherever man settles there must be a micro climate
change by the simple fact that, once he had progressed beyond the
hunter/gatherer stage in order to grow food crops, he had to destroy the forest
tree climax. As the population grew, he progressively killed off more and more
forest cover. This was no problem for Gaia provided the availability of forested
land was not a limiting factor. This was the case up until comparatively recent
times but there are indications that the present level of world population is
now too great for the natural resources of this planet.
Most of the world’s agro-socio-economic woes can be laid at the doors of ‘world
over-population’. Strangely, most of the developed world’s leaders, both
scientific and political, have ignored this issue and diverted themselves into
considering what are simply symptoms. In particular, the main distractions are
Global Warming or Climate Change. Undoubtedly, this is a major issue for the
world’s ecological stability but there seems to be little understanding that
this is a symptom and not the cause, which is leading politicians into massive
expenditures on attempting to control carbon dioxide emissions.
This expenditure may well end up being a complete waste of funds when money and
time could be used better elsewhere. To pinpoint carbon dioxide emissions as the
sole cause of all the world’s environmental woes is also a waste of time. It is
not only carbon dioxide that is the problem. Indeed, high levels of carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere are actually beneficial for plant growth and it should
be remembered that carbon dioxide is only 340 parts per million in the
atmosphere whilst nitrogen is more like 700,000.
More than a few people are now coming round to the thought that a lot of the
global warming is due to the removal of the rainforest cover. Politicians and
even some scientists do not seem to appreciate the critical role of trees in the
world’s ecology. Some do not even understand why it is cool if one walks in a
forest and hot if one comes out into the sunlight. They think that the forest is
cool because it provides shade and some reduction in temperature. This is true
in the same way that a corrugated iron roof will give shade and reduce the
temperature. However, the tree is an entirely different matter. The tree during
daylight carries our photosynthesis on a grand scale, converting carbon dioxide
and water in the presence of chlorophyll to carbohydrates (timber), using vast
amounts of incoming solar energy. This is what takes the heat out of the
surrounding atmosphere and is, in reality, the tree’s immediate micro climate.
It also uses up tremendous energy in transporting water from the soil and
evaporating it into the atmosphere.
Let me re-state that I am not of a scientific bent and nobody with a modicum of
scientific knowledge will deny that mankind is the cause of climate change -
every time a family cuts down trees to grow annual crops they inevitably change
the micro climate. The natural ecology of the Earth is a tree climax which
creates a sustainable macro climate. If the tree cover is removed, as is
happening all over the planet, then the ecological stability is endangered. The
cause of this instability, and rising temperature, is entirely due to population
pressure on a finite resource - that is cultivable land. The real problem is
entirely due to the amount of people in the world and not carbon dioxide
emissions - air pollutants are obviously creators of social problems, such as
pea-soup fogs, smoke, nuclear waste, etc., but these are normally micro climate
changes and not macro ones.
It is critical in the management of the world’s ecology that the relationship
between man and plants is understood. The most important element in the world is
carbon - for both plants and mankind. Life is not based on silica or nitrogen or
any other element - though they are all involved in organic chemistry. The world
is actually a carbon based environment.
Another simple fact is that mankind and animals cannot live or survive without
plants but plants can survive quite happily without animals. The next important
fact which must be understood is that mankind needs oxygen and plants (including
trees) need carbon dioxide. To put it another way, man cannot survive without
oxygen and plants will die without carbon dioxide. I apologise for the
repetition but it seems to me that these simple facts of the world’s nature are
not completely understood or appreciated.
However, it is the tree that is the most important factor in all this. Thousands
of years ago, the ecology of the earth was predominantly a tree climax, with
upper storey and lower storey environments. With the unstoppable increase in the
population of man the tree has been removed simply because it does not allow man
to cultivate the soil and grow food crops.
Despite this, the tree, and other green plants, remains an important part of the
world’s natural cover and without its natural biology man would find it next to
impossible to survive on this planet.
To be continued…
The above data and research was
compiled from sources believed to be reliable. However, neither MBMG
International Ltd nor its officers can accept any liability for any
errors or omissions in the above article nor bear any responsibility for
any losses achieved as a result of any actions taken or not taken as a
consequence of reading the above article. For more information please
contact Paul Gambles on [email protected]
DVD of the Week:
By Brian Baxter
The Departed (U.S.A. 2006)
fool would deny Martin Scorsese’s obsessive talent, which is barely
surpassed by his enthusiasm for and love of movies. He’s generous with his
time, opinions and money(for preservation) in praise of the greater earlier
directors who inspired him to abandon thoughts of becoming a priest and
frequently pays homage to them with referential nods in his own movies: or,
as with Shutter Island, in tribute to a bygone era, like Tarantino’s
Departed, which is derived from the fabulously successful Hong Kong film
Infernal Affairs, there are references to The Red Shoes and The Third Man
among others. There is also – rather unsatisfactorily –a sense of déjà vu to
the whole enterprise and not because of the earlier version. True, there’s
originality of approach but the overall sense of familiarity stems in part
from the genre which has been mined so deeply from the late silent days of
cinema, through early talkies such as Scarface, Public Enemy and Little
Caesar right through to films by de Palma, Coppola and Scorsese himself with
no Scorsese work goes unnoticed (even misfires such as Gangs of New York)
and this violent, long and brilliantly acted work is no exception. It also
got him a long awaited Oscar as ‘best director’, though oddly Mark Walhberg
failed to receive one, though nominated, as ‘best supporting actor’. The
Academy being as dumb as always, I guess. True it leaves a bitter aftertaste
but then one does not go to a film by ‘Marty’ for an edifying sense of
release nor – despite the concern with Catholicism – for a notion of
redemption, least of all in the callous ending to The Departed.
together by style and energy and by the actors, notably Leonardo, whose
early prettiness relegated him to ‘poster boy’ status for too long. He has
now made four movies with this director and has the film’s central role,
alongside the talented Matt Damon and the electrifying Jack Nicholson, who
once again proves that no-one can do ‘Jack’ a tenth as well as Jack. The
cast is a standout, including Alec Baldwin, a rather tired looking Martin
Sheen and Mark Walhberg in a telling role as the foul mouthed co-chief of
the investigation team for which Di Caprio, as a recent graduate into the
police force goes undercover and in harm’s way. A fellow graduate, Damon,
has long been corrupted by Nicholson and the counter informant: they are
handsome sides of the same coin, representing good and evil.
honest the story does not stand up to great scrutiny and the ending is
highly questionable at every level, not least plausibility and the moral it
offers. As often with this director the success is in the telling, not the
tale and it is odd that his best film is not a visceral study of a boxer,
nor a walk on the seedier mean streets but a period set work.
have a lack of emotional restraint, common in so much American cinema, so
that effect is created by intense psychological explanation rather than the
rigorousness and subtlety we hope for in great art. Scorsese’s films are
vivacious, impactful and grab one’s attention New York style as does The
Departed, a colourful mood piece, vivid and exhausting and very much on the
surface, rather than offering us iceberg-like a suggestion of hidden depths.
It is, I guess, the difference between the best films from the U.S.A. and
those from Europe. Vive la difference! Happily, in my book, there’s room for
both. This and other Scorsese films are available from the DVD Film and
Music shop at 289 Suthep Road.
Bridge in Paradise :
by Neil Robinson
something a bit different---a bridge crossword printed by kind permission of
Carlton Parker of Singapore. Carlton and his partner Chris Wong recently
paid a visit to the Bridge Club of Chiang Mai for a session of duplicate (and
won!) If you need the solution to the crossword please contact me at:
By Shana Kongmun
Year of the Rabbit
Well, the Year of the Rabbit is upon us. What that means for me, as a Horse person, I
am not entirely sure. But I have to say, I have always found the Chinese
horoscopes very interesting.
Less interesting perhaps, was to find out that I, as a female fire-horse
would result in the early death of my father because of my headstrong
personality. Fire Horses are seen as outgoing, people-loving, ambitious,
rebellious, and independent. They are supposedly freedom-loving and
impossible to contain. Acceptable qualities for myself, as a western woman,
and, thankfully, less taboo to the Asian woman than they used to be, but,
the story goes, they would be troublesome for the families, drain them of
their resources and cause the early death of the father.
Well, since Dad celebrated his 75th birthday last year, I guess that one can
be put paid to rest. But it generates an interesting thought about many of
the traditional ideas that carry weight across the centuries and sometimes,
even across cultures. A well known phrase, “the apple doesn’t fall far from
the tree”, has an equivalent in the Thai phrase, “the fruit doesn’t fall far
from the tree”. But, is it true? Are children necessarily always going to
take after their parents? And what about another old phrase, “You catch more
flies with honey than you do with vinegar”? This does seem to ring true in
Thailand as the famous Thai smile generally gets a person much further than
a frown or a bad attitude.
And what about the western idea that redheads have fiery tempers? Why should
red hair make one more inclined to angry outbursts? Or the phrase “Still
waters run deep”, perhaps the person isn’t so deep as they have nothing to
say? I always take these things with a grain of salt (why salt?) seeing that
while they may have some basis in reality they could also just be considered
true because of repetition and that the role one chooses to take in one’s
life is just that, one’s choice.
So, as we enter the year of the Rabbit, I will be sure to check my horoscope
but I will also be equally certain to choose my own path and make my own
choices as best I see fit.
By Shana Kongmun
certainly is a sad day for all of us here at the Chiang Mai Mail as we, too
have finally succumbed to the financial difficulties facing businesses here
in Chiang Mai and in media in general as we are now forced to temporarily
cease printing of the newspaper.
many herald the end of print media as we, too go online, it’s a sad day
for everyone when the only English language local news source can no
longer print. Many people prefer to read a real newspaper and some don’t
have internet, or as we know, have really awful internet and find it
more convenient to read a newspaper in print.
continue to publish news of interest to our readers online, so while the
Chiang Mai Mail will no longer be available at your local supermarket or
7-11 you will be able to find us online.
Subscribers please visit our office on the 2nd ring road with
your receipt for a refund, or fax your receipt to 053 260 738 along with
your banking details. Alternatively, scan your receipt to
[email protected] and bank details.
So, it is
with quite a heavy heart that we must say goodbye to the printed version
of the Chiang Mai Mail. I guess we never really know what we are missing
until it’s gone.
How does your garden grow?:
By Eric Danell,Dokmai Garden
Southeast Asian fruits and vegetables
A couple of days ago we received the book ’Fruits and Vegetables in
Southeast Asian Markets’ (2011). 195 pages, 270 colour photographs from
White Lotus Publishing. An author can never write a review of his own book,
so I leave that to others, but I can expand the blurb by sharing some of the
ideas behind the book.
Thailand has fantastic food, marvelous markets and interesting fruit
orchards. At times a new book is published on how to identify the fruits and
vegetables. For several years, such a book has not been available, which is
why we decided to describe 120 common fruits, vegetables and mushrooms found
in the Southeast Asian markets. We believe that such a book has to be small
and affordable, and contain clear colour photographs next to a concise text.
Such a text should not be too botanical, but instead create an interest for
the plant. A year’s efforts to track down plants and literature were
therefore spent to create the book. Thanks to Ketsanee Seehamongkol’s Dokmai
Garden, we could follow many plants when growing, and also share the
family’s experience and advice. We also tried to make the book more cheerful
and less stiff by including many human faces. The index is 14 pages, because
we packed it with many vernacular names (English, Thai and other Southeast
Asian languages) in addition to the more precise scientific names and common
synonyms. Something which surprised me is that many southern Thai
specialties such as breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis, sake) and horse mango (Mangifera
foetida, mamut), are rarely seen in the Chiang Mai markets. Surely, with the
cosmopolitan mix here, there must be a demand for any commodity. With this
new book, you may overcome the language barriers and simply show a picture,
to get what you long for. www.dokmaigarden.co.th
How does your garden grow?:
By Eric Danell,Dokmai Garden
Can plants get viral infections?
living organisms, animals, plants, mushrooms and even bacteria can suffer
from viral infections.
The latest news indicates that a viral infection, Coconut cadang-cadang viroid (CCCVd)
disease, has hit the oil palm plantations in Sabah, Borneo. This comes at a
time when the cooking oil prices in Thailand has gone up due to demand being
higher than supply, one of many symptoms of the over-population of Earth.
The demand will probably speed up the transformation of ancient rainforests
into more oil palm plantations. The question is, what do we do when we reach
50 billion inhabitants on Earth at the end of the century, and demand is
still higher than supply, but there is no space left for expansion? Better
turn the trend now!
Anyone who has gone to Kuala Lumpur may remember that between the airport and the
city there is hardly any forest, only oil palms. A gigantic monoculture is
always dangerous because disease may thrive and wipe out everything. The
Philippines have lost some 30 million coconut palms already. A monoculture
is even more susceptible if a plantation is based on a clone, i.e. a million
identical twins. Genetic variation, found between seedlings, may imply
various degrees of sensitivity. Plant viruses, or in this case a viroid
which lacks the protein vehicle typically carrying viruses, are spread by
insects, or contaminated knives or shears.
Since the West African oil palms (Elaeis guineensis) are commonly planted in Chiang
Mai gardens, along with coconuts, we should all take a close look on our
trees. For the first two years, yellow spots appear on the fronds, and the
nuts get smaller and scarred. Then the yellowing becomes larger and fruit
production ceases, and after about five years the tree may die. A tree
infected by the virus has to be cut down immediately, and the tools cleaned.
Another common virus here in Chiang Mai is the papaya ringspot virus (PRSV).
The symptoms are distorted leaves and dwarf fruits with irregularities. Such
trees have to be cut down too.
Day Tripper: Is it me, or is it Hot?
Hot district is pretty cool
By Heather Allen
Hot or Hod, as some like to call it, is a district in Chiang Mai, south
of Hang Dong. Well worth a visit, Hot is easily reached and boasts some
beautiful scenery and a village well known for its hand woven cotton
Driving out of town on Highway 108, you can visit Ban Rai Phai Ngam, a
short (4km) side trip off the main highway. Renowned for their high
quality hand woven cotton cloth, local weavers gather at the home of the
late National Artist Saengda Bansit who initiated the project of
extracting dyes from natural materials. The uniquely beautiful cloth is
worth the stop.
Continue on Highway 108 until it ends, turning left into Highway 1130.
This will take you to the man made reservoir, Doi Tao Lake to dip your
feet or take a swim, boating and rafting is available for visitors. Part
of the Ob Luang National Park, Doi Tao was formed when Bhumibol Dam was
built in Tak Province. Ob Luang National Park is famous for the Ob Luang
Gorge framed by teak forests and mountains, a small stream cascades
through the gorge and a small bridge allows visitors to cross over. Not
for those fearful of heights! A nearby hot springs allows weary hikers
to soak their feet.
Another beautiful park to visit, also off Highway 108 is the Mae Tho
National Park. Located about 160 km from Chiang Mai, drive past Ob Luang
National Park to Highway 1270 and turn North. The road into the park is
dirt and not for the faint of heart. But, the scenery is beautiful and
the viewpoint at Doi Mae Tho was made famous when HM the King visited it
over 30 years ago. With several beautiful waterfalls, the Park is
especially noted for the Karen highland rice paddy fields situated near
the Park headquarters. As part of the same mountain range that
encompasses Doi Inthanon, the highest peak is Doi Gew Rai Hmong reaching
1699 meters near Baan Paang Hin-Fon.
Easily reached in a day, a return trip back to Chiang Mai can be easily
done by backtracking along Highway 108, or continue and drive through
Mae Chaem and Doi Inthanon.
Day Tripper: Camp it up!
By Heather Allen
Daytripper’s usually involve simple one day trips out of Chiang Mai to
surrounding areas but some people really enjoy camping out over night, and
curling up around a campfire roasting marshmallows or whatever it is the
outdoorsy types like to do, so this time we will talk about some of the more
out of the way or lesser known national parks for camping.
A newish park in the region is the Khun Chae National Park in Wiang Pa Pa in Chiang
Rai, established in 1995. Encompassing 270 square kilometers of deciduous
forests of bamboo and, at higher elevations pine, waterfalls, granite
outcroppings and wildlife, many of which can be found in the lush river
valleys covered with wild bananas, ferns, mosses and deciduous trees.
Several species of civet cats have been seen in the park as well as wild
pigs; barking deer; hog badgers; and many species of flying arboreal and
ground squirrels along with bats, birds.
Maetow waterfall has seven levels, the highest of which is about 40 meters, all
seven levels of the fall can be reached in abouty two hours of hiking. The
waterfalls for which the park is named, Khun Chae waterfall is a 6 level
fall reached by 2 hours drive from the park's headquarters to the trail head
and an hour hike from there.
For the plant lover the trail to Doi Mot is a must see, it passes through a lush,
dense, wet evergreen forest, with epiphytic and ground orchids, ferns and
many other shade loving plants. The mountain top is at 1700 meters and
affords an amazing view of the forest and you can see Doi Lahnga and Doi
Thailand’s fifth highest peak is found in the park, Doi Lahnga is just over
2,000 meters. Doi Lahnga and its many sister peaks are located on southern
edge of the park, next to Jae Son national park and Mae Dahkry national
Khun Chae is famous for a unique fig tree that grows near the park’s headquarters,
covering 1,660 square meters the large branches are supported by stems from
the ground, covered in a multitude of epiphytic plants, it’s truly a
Khun Chae is also home to a reservoir where picknickers can paddle out to the middle
of the lake on a bamboo raft. Khun Chae Park has two guest houses with
western style bathrooms near the park’s headquarters.
Take Highway 118, the park is about 56 kilometers away.
Tel. 0 5316 336, 08 4366 5213. Fax 0 5316 3364.
[email protected] for reservations.