Christmas Fair at 3 Kings brings Santa
And an ice skating rink!
Chalermsak Suranant of the TAT
Chiang Mai, Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn and CEO of ECC International Tjeer Kwant
light the Christmas tree to start the Christmas Charity Fair.
By Shana Kongmun
ECC International Real Estate, developers
of Promenada, the new luxury shopping mall and resort that plans to open at the
end of 2012, hosted a Christmas Charity Fair at the 3 Kings Monument this
weekend, opening Thursday December 22 through December 25, replete with an ice
skating rink (albeit, synthetic ice). And yes, they do rent skates, 30 minutes
for 100 Baht. There are also booths offering goods for sale and restaurants such
as the Steak House, offering delicious food as well.
Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn joined CEO of
ECC International Tjeer Kwant were joined by TAT head Chalermsak Suranant to
light the Christmas tree to start the Fair. Many of the participating
organizations donated money to a fund that supports Chiang Mai communities and
flood victims, including Rimping Supermarket, First Drug, Doi Chang Coffee and
There are free concerts by such acts as Aof
Pongsak, Tuk Viyada and Lanna Cummins, a live Jazz band along with shows and
entertainment. In addition, there is that childhood favorite; a carousel with
flying horses and tigers.
The Christmas Fair runs until December 25,
at 3 Kings Monument. Eve when a Miss Promenada contest will be held. The Fair
opens daily at 5:30 PM.
Christmas trees and Santa Claus are featured photo attractions with the Thai
A synthetic ice
skating rink fills the 3 Kings Monument square. Skates are available to rent for
performances and music are all featured highlights of the Fair.
for Bangladesh Rachan Veeraphan is joined by Santa and friends at the opening of
in costume perform for the opening day crowd.
Expats club members celebrate Christmas
Golden Whitehead, F&B Manager for
the Shangri La joins Alan Hall and Richard Prouse at the start of the party.
Quite a few members of the Chiang Mai Expats Club had a party
at the Shangri La Hotel on Thursday, December 22, 2011. The gathered crowd
enjoyed the Thai food buffet set out by the Shangri La and caught up on their
holiday stories as the evening passed. The lucky draw included gift certificates
to Girasole and a bottle of red wine donated by the hotel.
Alan Hall and Richard Prouse directed the
lucky draw and welcomed everyone to the evening. Members old and new got a
chance to sit and chat and get to know each other better during the party. The
regular meeting is not being held this month but the next meet will be the
coffee morning at the Brix in the M Hotel on Tha Pae Gate on the second Friday
in January, the 13th at 10 a.m.
members Roger and Nancy Lindley joined in the evening fun.
Ana Gracey made
a rare appearance out after the birth of her daughter, much to everyone’s
joins SOS Chiang Mais’s Andrew Williams and new member Terry for before the
Expats Club members chatted over the Thai food buffet at the Shangri La Hotel.
Thailandfreunde hold their Christmas dinner to raise funds for charity
Bobby Khotbuntao and Marisa
Chuchan (right) organized the Christmas gift exchange.
By Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon
On the 16th of December the Chiang Mai
based bilateral, cultural and social human rights organization Phuenthai German
International also known as Thailandfreunde e.V. (in English Friends of Thailand
organization) held their annual Fund Raising Christmas Event. This year it took
place at CoCo Ok Restaurant at Huay Kaew Road. Wuttipong Arayatumsopon,
ThailandFreunde President for Thailand estimated a low turnout since so many
other events were on at the same time but organization and good promotion by Dr.
Dirk Weeber Arayatumsopon (the chair man and founder of the International TF
group) and Janet Henry (international coordinator) with a gift exchange, a door
prize and some auctions combined with Christmas Karaoke brought out enough
people that the evening turned out to be quite a success.
Many friends and
supporters attended the evening held at CoCo OK restaurant.
Marisa Chuchan (Financial Director) and
Bobby Khotbuntao (Vice President for Thailand) took care of the arriving guests
and arranged the gift exchange; everybody had to bring a wrapped gift with a
minimum amount of 1000 Baht. Beautiful gifts were on offer, from baskets with
food and drinks, silk, microwave, mobile phones, oven, kitchen equipment, coffee
packages, teddy bears and gift vouchers - everything could be found.
The team of CoCo ok arranged an excellent
Thai Buffet and well known Chiang Mai residents attended including Raya Luelai,
Ongkarn “Jojo” Chaiongkarn, Liz and Kate of ITM and Spa Mantra, Anne from V-Sign
Media, Designer Tananan Willson and many more.
From left, Liz
of Spa Mantra, Thailand president Wuttipong Arayatumsopon, Dr. Dirk
Weeber-Arayatumsopon, Anne from V-Sign Media and Bobby KhotBuntao at the fund
The Door Prize was donated by Mango Crafts
Team Member Martin Halpin - a short trip to Phuket valued at 20,000 Baht for 2
in a 5 star resort including breakfast. The Benusilho couple from Paris, France
were the lucky winners.
Auctions were held offering rare 50 Baht
silver coins from Thailand, never issued 10 Baht coins as part of a 26 piece
collection, a long neck painting, a Petit Journal Newspaper of 1899 dealing with
King Rama V at the grave of Napoleon and finally two Petit Journal Yearbooks of
1897 and 1899.
The total amount raised through the
auctions surprised the team from Thailandfreunde - as they raised more than
20,000 Baht during the evening. The night concluded with Christmas carols led by
chairman Dr Dirk, assisted by Wichit Tanakunagkool who held the music book,
played the piano with Johann Sebastian Bach's Prelude No. 1.
The owner and
staff at CoCo Ok receive a big round of applause from Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon
and party goers for their hard work and good service.
Royal Flora in full swing
The Giant Flora Wheel soars over
the gardens at the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek.
By Shana Kongmun
The Royal Flora Ratchaphruek launched into full swing this week with
various international and corporate Garden openings. The Dutch Ambassador flew
up to Chiang Mai to visit the opening of the Netherlands Garden which featured
not only tulips but vegetables, H.E. Ambassador Joan A. Boer noted in the
opening speech that the Netherlands was a leading researcher in fruit and
vegetable production to cope with the ever increasing population and demand.
The Japanese Garden offers a
serene quiet spot in the middle of the bustling exhibition.
Take Me Home Tomatoes by Dutch Agro Technology and Trade
(DATT) is the marketing arm that offers fresh produce grown by local farmers
under DATT supervision. Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda Diskul greeted the
Ambassador and welcomed all visitors to enjoy the beauty of the gardens at the
Other gardens included the serene Japanese Garden; the lovely Bhutan Garden with
its beautiful bridge; the Nepal Garden had a miniature Mount Everest while many
other countries including India, China, Bangladesh, Canada and more were
featured. In all 30 countries have established lush gardens at the Royal Flora.
Corporate Gardens are also there as well as the popular Royal Project Garden.
The Giant Flora Wheel is popular with the many student groups who visit during
the weekdays. Daily tickets are available for 200 Baht or unlimited passes for
800 Baht. The Royal Flora Ratchaphruek’s Grand Opening with HRH Princess
Sirindhorn will take place on January 15, 2012 while the event itself runs until
March 14, 2012. The gardens are fully open, however and the park is open at
evening to take advantage of the brilliantly lit Imagination Light Garden.
(from left) Chiang Mai Governor ML
Panadda Diskul joins Privy Councillor HE Mr. Ampol Senanrong, Dutch Ambassador
Joan Boer, and Dutch Honorary Consul Peter van Loo at the opening ceremony for
the Dutch Gardens.
The tulips at the Dutch Gardens
were a big hit with visitors, who loved to have their photo taken with the rare
flower in Thailand.
Police patrol the park on Segways.
A giant cornucopia filled with
plants and flowers is one of the many unique and beautiful garden decorations at
the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2011.
New Bear Bar offers jazz on Loi Kroh
The newest addition to Chiang
Mai’s music scene is the Bear Bar, recently opened on Loi Kroh road, near the
river at the site of the old Guitarman bar. This bar is offering something
different, with the fun sounds of Latin and Jazz keeping the guests dancing.
Lanna Interbrews kicks off near Nimmanhaemin
Locals Sydney Moss and Riddhi
Diskul of the Steak House and Le Crystal share a beer when Dirk
Weeber-Arayatumsopon and friends drop by dressed in Lanna finery for the grand
The latest event on the busy high season calender is the
Lanna Interbrews Festival which is being held near Kad Cherng Doi, on
Nimmanhaemin Soi 6. The Festival features local and imported beers for the
discerning beer drinker set in a lovely beer garden atmosphere. Food is
available as well, with many local restaurants offering their food at the event.
The festival kicked off with a Lanna performance and visitors are encouraged to
dress in Lanna style for the event. The Lanna Interbrews Festival runs through
to December 24, 2011.
Imported beers including
Weihenstephan and Guiness are on offer for the discerning beer drinker.
drinkers enjoy their Guiness at the event.
Miguels of Nong Hoi is just one of
the many restaurants offering food for visitors attending the event.
Skålleagues celebrate Christmas
Skål International Chiang Mai
members join in a group photo at the Christmas Dinner at the Shangri La Hotel.
Members of the hospitality management organization Skål
International Chiang Mai celebrated the holidays in style with a lavish buffet
set outdoors at the Shangri La Hotel on Thursday, December 15, 2011. New
President of Skål Chiang Mai Annette Kunigagon was joined by former President
Marc Dumur in welcoming the guests and encouraging them to join in the charity
The cool evening temperatures ensured hearty appetites from
the Skålleagues. Annette noted that they had representatives from many different
types of organizations including adventure travel, excursion, hotels and more.
The evening concluded with the closing of the silent auction that raised funds
New President Annette Kunigagon
the members and guests to the annual Christmas party.
Jo Baggaley and Gill Dobson
dressed up in style for the evening.
Helping Hands Radio was
represented by Tom and Jade.
US Consul General Susan Stevenson makes her farewell round
U.S. Consul General Susan
Stevenson is joined by the Creative City Goodwill Ambassadors at a farewell
lunch held at Nasi Jumpru.
By Shana Kongmun
Cutting short her role in office as the
U.S. Consul-General in Chiang Mai was not in Susan Stevenson’s plans as she has
enjoyed her tenure as U.S. CG. However, life makes other plans for us and Susan
is transferring back to the United States to work out of Washington D.C. as
family duties call. Here for nearly a year and a half, her stay in Chiang Mai
has seen this busy woman involved in many projects including a pet project; the
Chiang Mai Creative City. As Dr. Nat Vorayut pointed out at a farewell lunch
held at Nasi Jumpru on Tuesday, December 15, she attended every committee
meeting and has a been a strong supporter of the concept that was first floated
under the offices of the former Consul General Mike Morrow and U.S. Ambassador
Susan’s work here will not go unnoticed
however, as the Creative City concept continues to grow and gain support in the
community. She will be leaving shortly and Kenneth L Foster of the U.S. Embassy
in Bangkok will be taking her place in January.
sent a parting gift to the Consul General, presented here by his aide.
NAP Fair 2011 chimes in to the festive season
The grand opening of the NAP Fair
2011 was marked by the ding ding of bicycle bells onstage.
The Nimman Art Promenade 2011 started with the ringing of
bicycle bells in a unique grand opening ceremony arranged by Ongkarn ‘JoJo”
Chaiongkarn. TAT Director Chalermsak Suranont was joined by a member of the
Chiang Mai Chamber in ringing bicycle bells after a Lanna performance and a
unique modern dance number to start the Fair.
Music performances by many local bands will
be on every night and the varied clothes, crafts, jewelry and food on sale make
it not only a fun night out but a great place to stop in for Christmas shopping.
The Fair runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day until December 12 on
Nimmanhaemin Soi 1.
The NAP Fair
has developed a reputation for being a high quality arts and crafts fair
featuring textiles, jewelry, toys, pottery, art, natural beauty products and
organizer Ongkarn ‘JoJo” Chaiongkarn is joined by friends and VIP guests to the
Many stalls are
selling different clothing than you see in the shops, from hemp material to
vibrant and unique clothes.
Sabu Sabu has a
stall selling their high quality organic natural beauty products.
are selling lovely handcrafted jewelry at the NAP Fair that runs until December
Plus size beauties prove that Jumbo Queen’s deserve the title
Evening gown clad contestants
lined the stage, with crowd favorites receiving roses.
The Miss Jumbo contest was held at Praserland over the long
holiday weekend, with plus size beauties strutting their stuff on the walkway as
confidently and elegantly as their smaller sized counterparts. The style and
beauty of the mixed gender contest, featuring both women and ladyboys, kept the
crowd enthralled and guessing as to who the winner would be.
The contest started out with a large number
of contestants, over 30 in all, and whittled down to the top 3. The crowd had
their favorites and, as with most beauty contests, flowers were given as a sign
of favor. This was the concluding competition in the Chang Chiang Mai Food
Festival that was held at Prasertland. (Photos by Ronnakit Norkham)
were all beautifully dressed and lovely in their confidence.
contender was a crowd favorite.
New Dukes Burger Bar launches with Chiang Mai Insurance networking event
Gary Newitt is joined by Chiang
Ma Expats members Andy, Alan and Richard at the opening of the new Dukes Burger
Bar and the launch of Chiang Mai Insurance.
The newest The Dukes venture launched on Thursday, December
8, 2011, alongside that of Chiang Mai Insurance with Gary Newitt. The new burger
bar is located on Moon Muang Road opposite the Siam Commercial Bank and features
an old style diner feel as well as a larger sit in area. A sports bar is planned
for the upstairs as well. Gary Newitt hosted the event with the launch of Chiang
Mai Insurance to coincide with the opening of the newest the Dukes in town.
The crowd enjoyed hot dogs and fish and
chips as well as The Dukes famous burgers, albeit in a mini size. The evening
ran late as many newcomers, including Dave’s new partners in the newest
location, got to know some of the old Chiang Mai hands that regularly attend
Partners in the
newest Dukes venture on Moon Muang Road.
Dukes restaurant is designed like an old fashioned American diner, complete with
hot dogs, burgers and more.
June and Mark
enjoyed the networking evening hosted by Chiang Mai Insurance.
Celebrations for HM the King’s 84th birthday around Chiang Mai
Khun Wanpen Sakdathon, owner of
Saen Kham Terrace invited children from Sacred Heart College and Prince Royal’s
College to learn to harvest rice at their rice field in celebration of His
Majesty the King's Birthday, the Governor of Chiang Mai presided over the
ceremony held on December 5, 2011. (Photos by Uraiwan Hanwong)
Chiang Mai celebrated His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s
84th, 7th cycle birthday on December 5, 2011 with events
taking place around the city. Rice planting at Saen Kham Terrace in honor of HM
the King, early morning merit making and alms giving at Tha Pae Gate and dancing
and shows with fireworks at 3 Kings Monument ended the celebratory day. Everyone
got into the picture with the International We Love the King Day Parade and
festival at JJ Market that saw more than 3,000 people, Thais, ethnic minorities
and foreigners combined parade from Tha Pae Gate to JJ Market on December 3,
2011. The organizers plan to make this an annual event for everyone to join
hands in their love and respect for His Majesty the King. (Photos by Ronnakit
Norkham, Martin Vanderklooster, Shana Kongmun and Chiang Mai Muncipality)
Chiang Mai Municipal officials,
including Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn and Deputy Mayor joined the
Governor in offering alms in the early morning in honor of HM the King on
December 5, 2011.
The CMU Convention Center hosted
the ceremonies to honor HM the King on his birthday on December 5, 2011.
Government and military officials, Consul Generals and Honorary Consuls joined
the event and book signing.
Ceremonies to honor HM the King
were held by the Municipality at 3 Kings Monument on the evening of December 5,
3 Kings Monument hosted the
celebrations to honor HM the King on December 5, with performances, music and
Center photo: Air Chief Marshal
Kamthon Sindhvananda and his wife Thanphuying Phungchai Sindhvanana release a
Khom Fai in honor of HM the King at the International We Love the King Day
festival held on December 3, 2011.
The first annual International We
Love the King Day Parade saw participation by foreign residents, Thais and
ethnic minorities joining together to walk from Tha Pae Gate to JJ Market to
honor HM the King.
A party was held at the Empress
Hotel on Tuesday, December 6, 2011 presided over by Governor ML Panadda Diskul
where he spoke of the HM the King’s call for Thai people to work for the common
good. The party was attended by government officials at the Provincial level as
well as Consul Generals and Honorary Consuls and members of the local community.
Center photo: Chiang Mai Governor
ML Panadda Diskul raises a toast to the long life and health of His Majesty the
King at the celebrations held at the Empress Hotel.
Finance and parades at Chiang Mai Friends
Big, Boong, Patrick and Robert
enjoying the lovely gardens at the Whole Earth Restaurant before the start of
The Chiang Mai Friends group held their monthly meeting on
Wednesday, November 30 at the Whole Earth Restaurant. The group met to discuss
the upcoming parade for the International We Love the King Day as well as group
finances, elections and organization.
and Beryl are regular Friends members and bought pink t-shirts for the parade on
The group announced upcoming board elections, noting that only fully paid up
members can run or vote. Feel free to contact the group to nominate either
yourself or another member if you are interested. Dues will be paid on a yearly
basis, with fees due in January for the coming year.
The main speaker for the evening was joined in impassioned discussion afterwards
as the Friends discussed the global economic crisis and the major issues facing
the Eurozone today. While the main speaker felt that the Euro would not
collapse, others were not so certain. The discussion ranged among members
afterwards as many had their own theories and projections.
No meeting will be held in January but the group plans to hold their anniversary
party at JJ Market on January 21, 2012.
Discussion of the global economic
crisis brought out impassioned conversation.
Old friends Richard, Dave and
Colin share a laugh at the dinner.
Another successful Garden Party at Citylife
Students at a local dance academy
performed for the Fair goers.
The annual Citylife Garden Party is one of those events that
everyone looks forward to and are rarely disappointed. It fills all those basic
needs, food, shopping, games for kids, shows, music and meeting up with friends
old and new. Many local restaurants set up booths at the event offering
everything from Mexican food from Miguels in Nong Hoi to sinfully rich brownies
from Butter is Better, Steak House offers grilled meats, doner kebab from Zoe in
Yellow, the list is while, not quite endless, certainly multi-varied enough to
suit all tastes.
Sally Ward did her usual
extraordinary job organizing raffle prizes and silent auction items to raise
funds for the Elephant hospital.
In between raffle tickets sold to benefit
the new elephant hospital in Mae Taeng people watched a magic show, local girls
dancing bravely in the hot sun and Flight of the Gibbons was there amusing many
by letting them try their latest attraction, Segway scooters. The children, like
with many things, hopped on and rolled about easily while the adults took things
a bit more cautiously. Flight of the Gibbons plans to offer Segway tours of
Chiang Mai city in the near future.
The event raised over 70,000 Baht for
charity with 120 booths and about 1,500 people attending making for a busy, fun
filled day. The party rolled on into the evening with a traditional Temple
Festival setup that saw live music on into the evening.
This huge doner
kebab was set up by Zoe in Yellow.
Randi Egan from
Miguel’s in Nong Hoi was on hand with her manager, Toy to offer hungry visitors
chips and salsa, quesadillas and margaritas.
This girl was
getting a beautiful design painted on her hand at the fair.
The staff from the
All Seasons Hotel were in colorful form as they poured herbal drinks.
Food festival, salabao and a beauty contest
The beautiful gowns are all part of
the experience of beauty shows.
The Chang Chiang Mai Food Festival at Prasertland held until
December 4 is a traditional Thai fair, complete with kiddie rides, bingo (or
rather a Thai form of bingo) dart and balloon games where you win giant stuffed
animals, booths selling goods and booth after booth of Thai food of all kinds.
All the favorites, from fried chicken to steamed salabao buns and many more. The
Food Festival at Prasertland is a popular family affair.
Included in all the usual fair events was
a uniquely Thai event: a ladyboy beauty contest. With 33 contestants, this was a
huge affair, and peopled with exquisitely dressed, coiffed and made up katoeys
wearing some of the most impossible shoes imaginable. The event was more than
just a popularity contest, though of course the obligatory flowers were
available to hand out to favorites but was also judged by notables from the
Chiang Mai LBGT groups and local celebs.
The judges winnowed the numbers down until
they had the top winners in the contest, but the crowd certainly had their
favorites. The Food Festival continues until the 4th every night at
Prasertland behind Nimmanhaemin Road.
One of the crowd
favorites for her sweet smile and lovely gown.
Mplus was the
organizer for this contest.
Some of the 33
contestants that took the stage for the beauty pageant.