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New U.S. Consul General makes friends at the Friends Anniversary Party

New U.S. Consul General Kenneth L. Foster joined Boong Chaladlam (left) Colin Jarvis (2nd right) and Shana Kongmun at the 4th anniversary party of the Chiang Mai Friends.

By Shana Kongmun

The Chiang Mai Friends held their 4th anniversary party on Saturday, January 21, 2012 and JJ Market where the new Indian Consul Dhirendra Singh Garbyal and U.S. Consul General Kenneth L. Foster had a chance to meet many local expat and Thai residents.

Irish Representative, Chiang Mai Goodwill Ambassador and owner of Eagle Guest House Annette Kunigagon and Patinya “Joon” Srisuk of Horeca shared the spotlight when they were awarded Citizen of the Year awards by the Chiang Mai Friends. Deputy Governor Rittipong Techapun handed out the awards on behalf of the Friends Group.

Irish Representative and Chiang Mai Goodwill Ambassador Annette Kunigagon accepted her award as Friends Citizen of the Year from Deputy Governor Rittipong Techapun.

The giant cake, made by The Steak House, was cut by the Deputy Governor after everyone sang Happy Birthday.

The crowd was kept entertained by Tony Putrino of Yummy Pizza and Nicky Scott whose new place The Orchard just opened in Mae Rim on the road leading to the X-Centre. Then the Aussie John Experience took to the stage to get the crowd dancing, including Consul General Ken Foster who said he had a great time at the evening.

Aussie John then called Boong, President of the Chiang Mai Friends and Ruchuchai Potha, Head of the Work Permit Office at the Labor Department up to the stage for a bit of impromptu singing. Khun Ruchuchai joined John in several songs, before heading back down to join the crowd in conversation.

Sponsors of the fun night included the Spa Resort, Bangkok Bank, Flight of the Gibbons, JJ Market, the Crown of Lanna and many others.

Nicky Scott of the Orchard joined Aussie John on stage for some good old fashioned rock and roll.

Joon Srisuk arrived late to accept her award as Friends Citizen of the Year from Deputy Governor Rittipong Techapun.

Deputy Governor Rittipong Techapun (2nd right) and British Honorary Consul Ben Svasti Thomson (2nd left) were guests of honor at the party here with Boong Chaladlam and Shana Kongmun.

Colin Jarvis and Indian Consul Dhirendra Singh Garbyal chat at the start of the party

Frans Bloehm entertained the crowd with his delightful cabaret singing, here he is calling everyone to join in singing Happy Birthday before the cake is cut.

Aussie John and Khun Ruchuchai Potha of the Work Permit Office join together in song on stage.

Chinatown festival in Chiang Mai

The Year of the Dragon was ushered in with dragon dancers leading the parade from Tha Pae Gate.

By Nopniwat Krailerg

Chinese New Year opened at Waroros Market on January 23 with Deputy Governor of Chiang Mai Rittipong Techapun, President of the Provincial Administration Organization Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chinese Consul General Dr. Zhu Wei Min and Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn, Director of TAT Chiang Mai office Chalermsak Suranant and Chinese-Thai Associations in Chiang Mai presiding over the 10th Annual Chiang Mai Chinatown Festival.

President of the PAO Boonlert Buranupakorn, Chinese Consul General Dr. Zhu Wei Min, Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai Buranupakorn are joined by Deputy Mayors, Academics and Business leaders at the start of the parade.

Chinese Consul General Dr. Zhu Wei Min said: "On behalf of the Chinese people I offer my thanks to the City to hold this event every year for the past ten years. The Thai and Chinese share a link to each other as relatives and brothers. In such an event, it's a great opportunity to get to know people from both cultures and exchange between the two great cultural traditions during this auspicious Chinese holiday.”

Pretty girls in Chinese costume carried the banners for the parade.

Deputy Governor Rittipong said: "It is well known that Chiang Mai is close with Thai-Chinese people. There are a large number of businesses and residents. Trok Lao Chow Lane off Chang Moi Road is well known as a district for business and tourism. The Festival of China Town of Chiang Mai helps to promote the business district of the Thai ethnic Chinese and to preserve cultural traditions and beauty of Chinese people for past generations and those to come.”

Chiang Mai Mayor Tussanai said: "These activities were organized by the Chinese Government, the Municipality and Chinese business organizations to celebrate Chinese New Year. "Chinatown, the city"from January 23-24, 2012 to encourage the Thai people to enjoy and learn about Chinese New Year with the Chinese government. It also promotes cultural traditions so that Chinese and Thai people can show their solidarity. The event gives tourists the opportunity to learn about local arts and culture and the traditions of the Chinese Thai people.”

President of Chiang Mai PAO Boonlert noted, "I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to see the people of China unite together with Thai people for the 10th year in a row. The city's Chinatown today is very large and impressive and shows off the achievements of the city. Unity and solidarity among all people in Chiang Mai shows the success of the event.”

The Chinese New Year festivities offered children’s beauty contests, musical performances, dance and food as Waroros Market was closed off and turned into a walking street for the two day event. (Photos by Nopniwat Krailerg and Shana Kongmun)

Chinese figures were also part of the parade.

Lion dancers were a part of the parade and would stop at houses and businesses to be given money to bring prosperity to the New Year.

This family got into the spirit of Chinese New Year by wearing red, the color red is believed to be bright and vibrant enough to scare away the evil spirits and the beast named Nian who would come out on New Year to prey on villagers.

Waroros turned into a Walking Street Market with food and goods for sale.

One of the large Lion Dancers to take part in the festivities.

Woofstock 2012!

Kids and dogs make a happy combination at the Woofstock Festival.

By Shana Kongmun

Local dog lovers joined in for Care For Dogs First Annual Woofstock Festival in Mae Rim on Saturday, June 21, 2012 at the Happy Gambol’s dog training and boarding facility.

Everyone took part in fun and games, including drawing, sculpture of your favorite pet, agility shows by the dogs and, of course, cute dogs looking for forever homes. Happy Gambol owners Patrick and Nok gave dog behavioral training classes alongside the agility shows, as well as dog walking sessions, competitions, a dog bathing station, homemade doggie treats, local pet food and supplies and Care for Dog’s very own veterinarian offering health advice, vaccinations and heartworm prevention

Clowns kept the crowd entertained and visited the dogs, not sure what the dogs thought of this clown’s hair though!

The event was a great success with children, adults and pets coming together to enjoy a lovely sunny Chiang Mai day. The proceeds from the charity fundraising event go to Care For Dogs efforts to sterilize, treat, vaccinate and rehome ill and stray dogs in Chiang Mai, making the city a happier place for everyone; people and dogs.

For more information about Care for Dogs or how to help please visit or the Care for Dogs Facebook page. Call 084-752-5255 (English) or 086-913-8701 (Thai). (Photos courtesy of Care for Dogs)

Care for Dogs volunteers helped out during the event.

Puppies were up for adoption and it looks like this one may have found a forever friend.

Kids enjoyed facepainting and balloon animals at the festival.

Happy Gambol owners put on dog agility shows, the dogs certainly enjoyed it as did the people!

Balloon Fiesta 2012 takes to the San Sai skies

Beautiful hot air balloons of fantastical shapes are the unique feature of the Balloon Fiesta.

The President of the Provincial Administrative Organization Boonlert Buranupakorn joined Chiang Mai Governor ML Panadda Diskul and TAT head Chalermsak Suranant in opening the newest hot air balloon festival to take flight in Chiang Mai. This balloon festival features balloons with unusual shapes, such as an ice cream cone (Belgium) and a birthday cake (USA). There are 26 balloons taking part in the event that runs through Sunday, January 22, 2012.

The balloons will go for early morning rides, you must be there by 6 a.m. in order to take part, and limit the number of riders. In the evening, the more fantastical balloons will be lit up in a night glow show at the San Sai Luang Municipal Field. There are concerts, food and shows as well as the lovely balloons filling the night skies.

The Chiang Mai Balloon Fiesta is easily found by taking the 118 Doi Saket road to the 1001 San Sai turnoff and following it until you come to the field on the right hand side. The last day is Sunday, January 22, so be sure to get up early if you want to go ride in a balloon!

Governor ML Panadda Diskul, President of the PAO Boonlert Buranupakorn and TAT head Chalermsak Suranant join the pilot of the U.S. birthday cake shaped balloon for the opening of the Balloon Fiesta.

TEDx Tha Pae Gate’s inaugural Chiang Mai event

Speakers and organizers joined for a group photo at the pre-event party on January 20, 2012.

The popular series of TEDx talks has come to Chiang Mai for a second time, last year the talks were titled TEDx Doi Suthep, this year with new organizers and a different theme, the TEDx Tha Pae Gate talks are being held at CMU on January 21, 2012 from 11 a.m. to 5:20 p.m.

For those without tickets but who still wish to listen to the series of talks, Sangdee Gallery on Sirimangkalajarn Soi 5 is live streaming the talks. They will also be uploaded to Youtube for viewing at a later date.

Speakers include the editor of Post Today, Pattara Khampitak, Mervyn Levin, Professor Dr. Guenter Faltin, Sebastian-Justus Schmidt, Alfa Hugelmann, Khun Waewdow and many others. A full schedule and synopsis of each speaker can be found on the TEDx Tha Pae Gate website.

The speakers and organizers met for drinks at the lovely Ping Nakara Hotel on Charoen Prathet Road where the owner, Dr. Chairat Usavangkul graciously hosted the event.

Local handicrafts featured at Central Airport Plaza

This gorgeous piece of handcrafted work dominated the display with its fine craftwork and size.

The first event featured handmade silver jewelry and pieces of art with several silversmiths on hand practicing their art for the guests. Chiang Mai Deputy Governor Chuchart Keelapaeng was on hand to join Anuwat Phuwatsi from Lamphun for the opening of the event which had huge sculptured pieces and gorgeous intricate silver jewelry for sale.

Silver jewelry will be featured until January 8, 2012 and then on Monday, January 9 traditional woodcarving will be shown at the 2nd Floor Northern Village. Woodcarving craftsmen will also be on hand to offer a display of their work.

Local artisans displayed their skills.

This intricately beautiful necklace was not just on display but also for sale.

Deputy Governor Chuchart Keelapaeng (5th right) is joined by Anuwat Phuwatsi (6th right) and Orachorn Chantarawiwattana, General Manager of Central Airport Plaza (2nd right) for the opening on December 5, 2012.

6 Hands 1 Piano concert returns to Chiang Mai

(from left) Jonas Dept, Nicolas Collinet and Matthieu Normand play 6 hands on one piano.

By Shana Kongmun

Last year I had the great privilege and joy to hear three talented young men perform at Sangdee Art Gallery. This year, to the privilege of even more, these young men have returned to Chiang Mai to perform for a larger audience at the Chiang Mai University Art Center auditorium last evening and again tonight at the Rachamankha Hotel. For those who missed last night’s engaging and entertaining performance, you still have a chance to see them perform tonight.

Performing solo, in pairs and with all three men playing the piano at the same time, Nicolas Collinet, Matthieu Normand and well known local Jonas Dept, showed their passion and love for music in every piece. A lighthearted show, the music and their joy in performing spoke for themselves and left everyone grateful that Chiang Mai is able to attract such performances.

There are high hopes and much encouragement for them to make this concert a regular event in Chiang Mai and the sold out performance at CMU Art Center offers hope that they will return. The amazing skill, joy and friendship that shines through each piece that they perform makes this a show worth seeing, again and again.

Petchnoi Osathaphan and Supreeda Wongsansee help out by taking tickets at the door.

Concertgoers include Olivier Faucherent, Soho owners Krathai and Shauna, James Barnes of Out in Thailand, and Singaporean artist LiLi Tan.

Event organizer Marisa Marchitelli also provided the unique and beautiful black and white photos that set the backdrop for the concert.

Former Miss Thailand Areeya “Pop” Chumsai acted as emcee for the evening.

Organizers Donjai Srivichainanda and Marisa Marchitelli joined their Emcee Areeya Chumsai and performers Nicolas Collinet, Matthieu Normand and Jonas Dept to offer flowers after their stellar performance.

Care for Dogs Woofstock festival

A colorful get-together event for adults, children, puppies and dogs alike!

Pet owners and dog lovers are welcome to attend Care for Dogs’ inaugural Woofstock Festival 2012 on January 21, 2012. Woofstock is a celebration and fundraising event bringing Chiang Mai area people, children and pets together at  a beautiful, doggie-friendly location for a real family event, with something for everyone to do.

Woofstock will be held on Saturday, Jan. 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Happy Gambol’s dog training and boarding facility located in Mae Rim on the road to the PTIS International School. Admission is free.

Care for Dogs has announced that several community businesses are donating a wide range of prizes for two Lucky Draws to be held during the event to help raise funds for the Foundation.  Music, games, a kids’ handicraft and art center all with a doggie flair, a story-teller, magician Nick Wiszynski performing his magic and singer Ana Gracey entertaining us during the lunch hour are among the featured attractions.

The event will also feature dog agility and behavioral and puppy training demonstrations by Happy Gambol owners Patrick and Nok presented throughout the day, as well as dog walking sessions, competitions, a dog bathing station, homemade doggie treats, local pet food and supplies and Care for Dog’s very own veterinarian offering health advice, vaccinations and heartworm prevention. And what is a Care for Dogs event without their famous puppies! Vaccinated, healthy bundles of fluff will be on display for families looking for that new addition – so come prepared to have your heart melt!

Healthy and yummy vegetarian food options prepared by “A Taste of Heaven” Restaurant, PTIS’s Young Farmers and other local vendors, homemade lemonade, soft drinks, and beer and wine will be on sale throughout the event. Gourmet ice cream, coffees and cakes from “Icedea” and “Butter is better” are available for those looking for the sweeter things in life.

Rest assured that all proceeds generated from Woofstock activities, raffle sales, T-shirt sales, and other resale items will go to the Care for Dogs rescue shelter. Plus, two Chiang Mai International Schools working to help the temple dogs in their communities, PTIS Hand to Paw Temple Outreach and NIS Care for Dogs Temple Aid, will have activities and items for sale to help generate funds for their programs.

Woofstock is sponsored by the many dedicated volunteers from the Care for Dogs Foundation, The Happy Gambol and members of Chiang Mai’s U.S. Consulate community.

The Care for Dogs Foundation is a non-profit organization and our community’s leading rescue shelter working diligently 365 days a year to sterilize, vaccinate, treat and care for Chiang Mai’s injured, neglected and ill street and temple dogs. As a resident or visitor to Chiang Mai, you may not be a dog lover or pet owner, but surely recognize the necessity of the effort being done to make our community a better place for both humans and animals. Please come support us –for together we can make a difference!

For more information about Woofstock, please visit Care for Dogs at www.carefordogs. 084-752-5255 (English) or 086-913-8701 (Thai). A map to The Happy Gambol can be found at

Action packed Hmong cart racing day

The action was fast and dusty at the cart drivers came down the ramp and onto the track in their homemade carts.

The Hmong villagers of Puak Toey spent the 28th of December dressed in their finery for an epic day of cart racing. The entire village gathered to watch the day of downhill cart racing. Down a platform, but down nonetheless. Many of the cart builders went to lengths to ensure their victory with sturdy builds and heavy duty tires while others went the more cosmetic route and adorned their carts with speedometers.

Of course, food and laughter was an integral part of the day, but it didn’t see any lessening in the competition or the enjoyment of the children who perhaps dreamed of building their own carts and taking part in the races.

Beginning at 8 a.m. the cart racing continues through the day, slowing down in the afternoon. Puak Toey is reached by traveling Highway 1096, but parking is difficult and the village a long hike from the highway, best to take a motorbike according to photographer Ron Lister. Photos and report courtesy of Ron Lister.

Rapt attention was paid by all both young

and old.

Ready for action at the top of the ramp.

The closer to the action the better for this little boy.

Hmong villagers dressed up in their finest clothes for the cart racing.

Forest party turns magic

Chiang Mai favorites from the North Gate Jazz Co-op joined with international DJs in entertaining the partygoers.

Club Martini’s last party was held in an appropriately scary abandoned building on Halloween, this time, they took it to the forest for a magical party out of town at 909 Gardens. The party, also held as a benefit to raise funds for flood victims, saw Dirk Weeber-Araytumsopon make the winning bid for the helicopter ride to the site of the party.

A huge hot air balloon offered tethered rides for a reasonable 300 baht per person with proceeds going to flood victims, and Bacardi bars were set up around the area along with catered food. There were horse and carriage rides into the party, along with fire and magic shows and many of the partygoers dressed in costumes suited to a magic forest.

International DJ’s were joined by Chiang Mai favorite North Gate co-owner and saxophonist Pharadon 'Por' Phonamnuai and a friend who kept the music going. Dancing lasted until hours of the night while partygoers could relax in unique tents reminiscent of the onion domes of Moscow.

Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon hosted friends on the helicopter ride that he won with a bid of 41,000 Baht. (Photo courtesy of CityNow!)

Partygoers dressed up in festive Magical costumes.

The Bacardi hot air balloon offered rides for charity.

This happy crowd won a two nights stay in a Phi Phi hotel for two.

Party organizers Alessandra Maderni (center), Jay Slangen and James Nopparat are joined by Jay Spinnaker (left) and Petchnoi Osathaphan (second left).

Classic cars meet for a New Years quiz

This fabulous classic Mercedes was just one of many beautiful old cars on display at Nim City.

Members of the Classic Cars of Lanna met up for a New Year’s Day brunch, Bloody Marys and classic car quiz at Nim City Daily on January 1, 2012. More than a few intrepid souls turned out for the gathering on a quiet Sunday morning. Funds were raised for the Santisook Dogs Home which shelters abandoned dogs.

The Quiz was a difficult one this time around, consisting of blueprints of cars rather than photos and included some that few had ever heard of. The quiz is being shared with other classic car clubs to run as well.

Car lovers can normally enjoy the many beautiful old cars at Nim City Daily on the last Sunday of every month when members of the Classic Cars of Lanna gather from 10 a.m.

Rex Baggaley is joined by fellow enthusiasts, including Nest leading the Jaguar team.

The row of classic cars parked out front of Nim City.

All different makes and models of classic cars can be found at the monthly meeting of Classic Cars of Lanna.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]]

New U.S. Consul General makes friends at the Friends Anniversary Party

Chinatown festival in Chiang Mai

Woofstock 2012!

Balloon Fiesta 2012 takes to the San Sai skies

TEDx Tha Pae Gate’s inaugural Chiang Mai event

Local handicrafts featured at Central Airport Plaza

6 Hands 1 Piano concert returns to Chiang Mai

Care for Dogs Woofstock festival

Action packed Hmong cart racing day

Forest party turns magic

Classic cars meet for a New Years quiz