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Update April 6, 2016

Chakri Dynasty commemorated on April 6

Banks and businesses to close in observance of holiday

Chakri Day (April 6) was first instituted by H.M. King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) in the year 1919 to commemorate all the Kings in the Chakri Dynasty, which started with Rama I and continues to this day with Rama IX, H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great.

The reigning Kings in the House of Chakri brought peace and tranquility to the people within Thailand’s borders and successfully protected the Kingdom, maintaining sovereignty and integrity through crucial periods threatened by European colonization and two World Wars.

In commemorating “Chakri Day” the national flag is proudly displayed by the people of Thailand and both government officials and members of the community participate in traditional ceremonies, making offerings of flowers and garlands at the many statues of Kings in the House of Chakri.

The Chakri Dynasty, or the “House of Chakri” followed the reign of King Taksin the Great, when He abdicated due to poor health. The Chakri Dynasty was ushered in on 6 April 1782 when a close aid of King Taksin, General Chakri, marched back into Thonburi and assumed the throne as H.M. King Buddhayodfa the Great. Each Monarch thereafter has had “Rama” as part of their title.

Banks, government offices and most business offices will close on Wednesday, April 6 in observance of this special day.

Chakri Dynasty - Chronology of the present-day Dynasty of Thailand

King Buddhayodfa the Great (Rama I) 1782-1809

Rama I

The first King of the Chakri Dynasty moved the capital city from Thonburi to Bangkok and built the Grand Palace that houses the Emerald Buddha. Helped release Thailand from Burmese control after Ayuthaya succumbed 14 years earlier.

King Buddhaloetla (Rama II) 1809-1824

Rama II

The first great poet king of the Chakri Dynasty, renowned for his literature. His reign was known as the “Golden Age of Rattanakosin Literature” as Loetlanaphalai was patron to a number of poets in his court and the King himself was a renowned poet and artist.

King Nangklao (Rama III) 1824-1851

Rama III

Extensively encouraged international trading and education, enhanced promotion of Buddhism and built many temples.

King Mongkut (Rama IV) 1851-1868

Rama IV

Modernized Thailand in both commerce and education. Known as the “Father of Thai Scientists” and famous for his astrology.

King Chulalongkorn the Great (Rama V) 1868-1910

Rama V

One of the most beloved and revered kings, He abolished slavery, extensively contacted the Western world, modernized the government, education, transportation, and communication. His diplomacy skills saved Thailand from being colonized during the colonial period.

King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) 1910-1925

Rama VI

King Vajiravudh is known for his efforts to create and promote Siamese nationalism. His reign was characterized by Siam’s movement further towards democracy. A great poet king. Continued the work of Rama V in modernizing Thailand. Promoted education and established the Boy Scouts in Thailand.

King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) 1925-1935

Rama VII

On April 6, 1932 the country celebrated the sesquicentenary of the Chakri Dynasty - two months later On December 10, 1932 King Prajadhipok granted a constitution to the Thai people, and the Constitutional Monarchy of the present day was born.

King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) 1935-1946


A direct grandson of King Rama V, King Ananda Mahidol was the eldest son and second child of H.R.H. Prince Mahidol Adulyadej, Prince of Songkla. He succeeded his uncle, King Prajadhipok, as King on March 2, 1935.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great (Rama IX)
1946 to the present

Rama IX

A true monarch of the people and guiding light for the whole Thai nation. Saved Thailand from many crises, dedicated to raising the living standards of the poor, especially in remote regions.

Update April 20, 2016

Songkran celebrations fill Chiang Mai streets

Focus on culture and water conservation

The parade of the Phra Buddha Singh filled the city streets with the Buddhist faithful pouring water over the image in the traditional ceremony.

Officials and members of the public performed the Rod Nam Dum ceremony to honor Governor Pawin Chamniprasart and his wife on Songkran Day.

kids line up to fill their water pistols with water to spray the unwary as they pass by.

People pour water over the shoulders of Buddhist monks as they pass by in a traditional blessing ceremony.

Governor Pawin Chamniprasart and his wife at the start of the parade on Songkran Day on April 15, 2016.

Riders are splashed as they ride the city streets during Songkran festivities.

Tourists spray people as they pass by in tuk tuks.

Everyone joined in the party to splash water from April 13 – 15, 2016.

Visitors are blessed by Buddhist monks at the Songkran festivities.

Locked and loaded, visitors are ready to for Songkran.

Nopniwat Krailerg

Despite the drought Songkran festivities filled the streets of Chiang Mai from April 13 – 15, 2016 although in a less lively fashion than in previous years. There were concerns about using moat water as it was less fresh due to the water restrictions imposed by the drought that has been affecting Chiang Mai province.
There was a strong government campaign to save water so many used water guns instead of large buckets of water. Additionally, strict measures were in place prohibiting the sale of alcohol around the moat and stages with loud DJ music were restricted from the Tha Pae Gate area. Stages with live music were set up at Kad Suan Kaew, Maya Mall and Central Festival where festivities went into the evening. The streets still filled with tourists from all over including Thailand, Europe and China.

The focus on culture was part of the 720th anniversary celebrations of the founding of Chiang Mai. A traditional nam rod dum ceremony was held with the Chiang Mai Governor Pawin Chamniprasart and his wife and the traditional parade of the Phra Buddha Singh. The parade began from Rajadamnoen road to Tha Pae and along to the Governor’s House on April 15, 2016. The parade route was lined with the Buddhist faithful and visitors interested in the traditional celebrations.

Update April 7, 2016

A romantic touch of orchids at a traditional Songkran celebration

Royal Park Rajapruek celebrates Lanna New Year

Royal Park Rajapruek will offer special discounted rates to people dressed in traditional Lanna clothes for their traditional Lanna Songkran.

Nopniwat Krailerg

In a bid to conserve water during the drought and to provide visitors with a traditional Lanna New Year’s celebration the Royal Park Rajapruek is offering visitors to the park a traditional Songkran Festival with the traditions of pouring water over Buddha images and over hands and shoulders rather than the wild splashing of Songkran in the city.

Native orchids will be the highlight of the Songkran Festival at Royal Park Rajapruek.

The event is part of the Celebration of the 720th anniversary of the Founding of Chiang Mai going on during the year and will take place at the Park from April 13 – 16, 2016. Activities will include pouring water of the Buddha images from nine temples; Wat Morkamtuang, Wat Muen Lan, Wat Chang Thong, Wat Jom Jeng, Wat Chang Kient, Wat Phra That Doi Kham, Wat Ban Fon, and Wat Tonpin. Sand pagodas with lunar zodiac signs will be available for people along with a Umbrella Tunnel, and Lanna market.

In addition to celebrating Songkran in a kinder and gentler fashion there will also be over 100 kinds of orchids on display with many of them coming from the North.

The highlight of each day will include “Glong - Sa-Bud-Chai” for prosperity on Songkran Day on April 13. April 14 will feature Lanna sweets, and Payawan Day on April 15 where there will be a performance of the gong and bell. April 16 will feature jackfruit curry and a demonstration on how to make this classic Northern dish. These events will occur from 3 – 5 pm each day.

The Park will charge 50 baht for Thai adults and 25 baht for Thai children, foreigners will be charged 100 baht for adults and 50 baht for children while government officials and students with ID will be charged 25 baht. The fees do not include the open bus service which will cost 20 baht for adults and 10 baht for children. People wearing traditional local dress will receive a special price of 2 for 3, three people enter for the price of two. For more information, please call 053-114110-5.

The Road to Mandalay… and Bagan with Bangkok Airways

Chiang Mai media group photo before leaving to Myanmar trip.

Nopniwat Krailerg
The Chiang Mai Mail was fortunate enough to be invited to tour Mandalay and Bagan in Myanmar courtesy of Bangkok Airways in cooperation with Best Western Plus Eastern Palace Hotel and P.B. Travel Agency Center Co., Ltd. (Thailand) on March 17 – 20 to promote the airlines routes to Mandalay in Myanmar.

Daily life in Mandalay remains relaxed and traditional for local people.

Many people still view Myanmar as the “Hermit of Asia” due to the Western media but the opening up of the country by the military and recent elections won by the National League for Democracy and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi has seen the country opening up to visitors. Although Aung San Suu Kyi is still prohibited from holding the office of President under the Constitution she has been appointed as a State Counselor which will offer far reaching influence in the running of the government.

Myanmar now offers tourist visas and e-visas online giving everyone a chance to visit the country.

Making lacquerware in Bagan.

Members of the Chiang Mai media were given the opportunity to explore this beautiful country where we began our trip in Mandalay, flying there directly from Chiang Mai with Bangkok Air flight PG725 that arrives at 5:35 pm local time. The trip from the airport to downtown Mandalay was incredibly scenic with pagodas, rice paddies, as well as more development along the way.

Shwezigon Pagoda with its beautiful gold cladding.

The group was welcomed and listened to brief tour by Suranart Taveesab, Managing Director of P.B. Travel Agency Center Co., Ltd. (Thailand) and General Manager of Best Western Plus Eastern Palace Hotel where the group was staying. This four-star hotel has only been open for two months and the staff were still in the learning phase, however he reassured the group that the hotel will be up to 100 percent soon.

The group was reminded to dress appropriately for temple visits and not wear tank tops or shorts and to remember to wear sandals as shoes would need to be removed for each entry.

Sunset from Shwesandaw Pagoda with a fabulous view of the 1,200 pagodas in Bagan.

The group visited Bagan in the morning, a five-hour dusty bus ride, passing other buses was quite exciting on the narrow road. The bus passed villages and small cities with many people still living a rural agricultural lifestyle in single story houses thatched with palm leaf roofs. Most locals take the train from Mandalay to Bagan which runs alongside the road.

A novice monk at Wat Mahakandayoung – the biggest Buddhist Scripture School in Myanmar.

Our guide, Thida, told us about the history and stories of the area as we drove, on arrival we tried local food; different from Thai food but familiar as well. The group also visited a lacquer factory, observing the production of lacquerware, made in a manner similar to that of Chiang Mai. Betel leaves were found everywhere as many people still chew Betel nut, called Kwin Ya there.

The unfinished Mingun Pagoda; construction was abandoned after a prediction that the kingdom would collapse if it were finished.

The group visited the amazing Shwezigon Pagoda; this 160 tall pagoda was build by King Anawrahta as well as the beautiful Anada Temple with large standing carved teak Buddha images. Finally, we were treated to the view of the 2,400 temples of Bagan at sunset from Shwesandaw Pagoda, a stunning panorama of the city with the glowing sun setting behind.

We returned to Mandalay in a short twenty-minute flight and a weaving factory and famous shops in the city. Many Burmese girls wear the traditional sarong and tanaka powder on their faces dotted the streets.

Wat Mahakandayoung – the biggest Buddhist Scripture School in Myanmar was out next station with a wonderful shady atmosphere in the heat. We were fortunate to arrive in time for the monks’ lunch, one hundred monks lined up to eat was an impressive sight.

The face-washing ceremony for the Mahamuni Buddha.

The group also visited the famed U-Ben Bridge, the longest wooden bridge in the world, Sagaing City across the Irrawaddy River about ten kilometers south of Mandalay and Mingun Town along the Irrawaddy. Mingun is the home of the remains of the Settawya Pagoda, the Taj Mahal of Myanmar; Mya Thein Dan Pagoda. The Mingun Bell is the second largest bell in the world and still in good working condition. Also in Mingun is the unfinished Mingun Pagoda, built byt King Bodawpaya who halted construction after it was predicted if the pagoda was finished the Kingdom would come to an end.

Mandalay Palace was reconstructed after its destruction during the war for independence from the British.

We ended our stay in this wonderful part of the country by attending the ritual face washing of the Mahamuni Buddha, one of the five great places of worship in Myanmar. The Buddha is covered in gold leaf, more than two inches thick from decades of faithful applying the leaf to the image.

We also visited the teak Shwenandaw Monastery in the traditional Burmese architectural style by Mandalay craftsmen as well as Kuthodaw Pagoda holds the Tipitaka set of 84,000 teachings carved in 729 marvels located in movable thrones around the pagoda.

The lovely girls of Mandalay in their colorful costumes.

Mandalay Palace is located foot on Mandalay hill with wide canal surrounding the palace’s wall for four directions. The edge of canal is white contrast with dark brown palace’s wide and high wall. We could periodically see tops of gate’s roofs made from wood with dark brown umbrella style around the wall. The original palace was destroyed during the war for independence and a duplicate built to take its place.

Before returning home we visited the ancient capital of Burma at Inwa City, the founding of the new dynasty took place here in 1364, after many wars between the Burmese and the Mon the dynasty ended in 1527. The area remains relatively undeveloped with locals living a traditional lifestyle and offering a warm welcome and wide smiles to their visiting neighbors from Thailand.

Bangkok Airways Airline flies from Chiang Mai to Mandalay four times a week and to Yangon three times a week and special rates are on offer until April 30, 2016. Booking is online or at the office in Kantary Terrace or via the Call Center at 1771.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Chakri Dynasty commemorated on April 6

Songkran celebrations fill Chiang Mai streets

A romantic touch of orchids at a traditional Songkran celebration

The Road to Mandalay… and Bagan with Bangkok Airways