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Elephants feast on National Elephant Day

16th annual National Thai Elephant Day honors Thailand’s national animal

Mahouts and their elephants join in the massive feast of sugar cane and fruit.

 Nopniwat Krailerg
The beloved and magnificent elephants were feted and feasted on Thailand’s National Elephant Day on March 13, 2015 at Mae Sa Elephant Camp in Mae Rim. The Chiang Mai Provincial Office and the Tour Guides Association worked together to organize the feast under the concept of “The Everlasting Thai Elephants”.

Deputy Governor Chana Pangpibul and organizers join together to celebrate the Thai national animal on Chang Thai Day at Mae Sa Elephant Camp in Mae Rim.

There were no entrance fees and in the morning the Tour Guides Association led over 100 students from two schools in Hang Don to join the 15th “Guide to Fulfill Your Dreams” project and a basketball tournament for ASEAN participants as well.

At 1 p.m. Deputy Govenror Chana Pangpiboon presided over the opening ceremony with Sawatithirath Kalmapijit, director of Pang Chang Mae Sa as the host. The opening ceremony featured a drum performance and an awards ceremony to the Elephants of Pang Chang. Other activities included a fiddle performance by famed Poh Kru Boonsri Rathanang.

Feeding the elephants is always a joy for those taking part.

The highlight of the event was the huge feast, which saw over seventy elephants enjoying bananas, sugar cane, watermelons and pineapples. A demonstration of how to look after and care for old elephants was held as well as elephant drawings, traditional shows and many more activities that attracted huge numbers of both local and foreign visitors.
Chuchart Kalmapijit, the owner Mae Sa Elephant Camp, said that the “Pang Chang” feast was first held in 1976 and is focused on the importance of Thai elephants and why Thai Elephant Day is held annually. Pang Chang has recently signed an MOU with the Faculty of Veterinary Science of Chiang Mai University to perform research to help elephants and to help them increase breeding.

Over 70 elephants took part in the feast on Chang Thai Day, March 13, 2015.

Thai elephants have been a key part of the community and culture in Thailand for centuries but their numbers have dropped, the organizers noted that if there is no conservation of elephants they could be in danger of extinction.

There are three purposes for Chang Thai day the organizers added; the first is to show how significant elephants are to Thailand. The second is to show the strong connection between Thai people and elephants. Lastly, this event promotes awareness about protecting and conserving the Thai elephant population and their habitats.

The white elephant was named the National Animal of Thailand in 1963 and in 1998 the National Elephant Foundation held the first Elephant Day on March 13, the Thai government declared the day Thai National Elephant Day or Chang Thai Day on May 26, 1998. March 13 was chosen because this was the day the white elephant was added to the old version of the Thai flag.

Mae Sa Elephant Camp offered free entrance to everyone to enjoy and celebrate Thai National Elephant Day.

Organizers and officials joined with performers for a group photo.

Skålleagues learn about Wellness tourism at latest meeting

Skal Chiang Mai Events Director Manfred Ilg (far left) and Le Meridien General Manager Greg Anderson (2nd right) chat with speaker Michelle Ring (2nd left) and Claire Lawless.

By Shana Kongmun
Skål Chiang Mai members and friends met at Le Meridien Chiang Mai on Thursday, February 26, 2015 for their monthly meeting and dinner. Local business owner Michelle Ring of Absolute Bootcamp Fitness spoke to the gathering about the rise of medical tourism and more specifically wellness tourism which falls under medical tourism.

She noted wellness tourism includes bootcamps, yoga retreats, spa and wellness retreats. She noted that medical tourism has grown worldwide by 14% annually but wellness has grown by 18% and Thailand is a prime destination. She pointed out that the government takes this very seriously offering BOI promotion for eligible wellness and medical tourism businesses.

New Membership Director Supachok “Joe” Buranasilapin signs up new member Jane.

The interesting talk sparked discussion about fitness and health with Michelle asking everyone how many exercised three times a day, a pretty good number raised their hands before returning to the fabulous dinner. Host Greg Anderson, General Manager of Le Meridien, was on hand to greet guests and thank everyone for joining the evening. The staff came out for a round of applause before the evening ended.

Skal International is a travel and tourism professionals organization that works to bring together people in the travel industry and spark discussion and find solutions.

Irene Thepper-Sukanya of Le Meridien meets with members Lamorna Cheesman of Studio Naenna and Armelle Pennors-Chungcharoensuk of Chang Puak Magazine.

David Thomas, James De La Cloche, John Rees and Kishore Ladsaria at the cocktail session before dinner.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Update March 20, 2015

Elephants feast on National Elephant Day

Update March 1, 2015

Skålleagues learn about Wellness tourism at latest meeting