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Technology takes command

Published June 1, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30370280

Baan Suan Melon is a learning centre as well as a place to relax and eat.
Baan Suan Melon is a learning centre as well as a place to relax and eat.

Technology takes command

Thailand May 31, 2019 01:00

By Kitchana Lersakvanitchakul
THE NATION

Young smart farmers in Chachoengsao province adopt the Internet of Things to grow their 100-per-cent organic produce

One of three provinces in Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard designated for the development of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) along the soon-to-be-built Bangkok-Rayong high-speed train network, Chachoengsao has also been selected to host a smart city.

A designation given to a city that incorporates information and communication technologies to enhance the quality and performance of urban services such as energy, transportation and utilities to reduce resource consumption, wastage and overall costs, the smart city aims to enhance the quality of living for its citizens and visitors through technology.

Welcome to Baan Suan Melon

 

The younger generation of the province’s farming community has taken the smart concept to heart. Known as young smart farmers (YSF), they are actively taking part in the development of the smart city concept by switching to technology and organic farming.

“This YSF group wants to get rid of old idea of farmers being always exhausted as well as poor,” says Jittakorn Phadejsuk, president of the province’s Highly Safe Fruit and Vegetable Cooperatives and vice president of the local Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s hard to work alone in trying to develop the country and improve agricultural productivity, so we gathered together a group of the young smart farmers from all districts and formed a cooperative to raise farmers’ status.

 

“It makes my family life stable, prosperous and sustainable,” says Pakuna “Kaew” Boonkorkuea.

“People often say that Thai farmers are a disappearing race. I disagree. All the members of our cooperative are part of the new generation of farmers, aged between 20 and 40 years, who hold bachelors’ degrees. They have developed their knowledge and raised the quality of their produce. The highly safe agriculture is chemical-free and we are receiving support from Buddhasothorn Hospital, which has signed a memorandum of understanding with the group,” he adds.

The young smart farmers have been practising pesticide-free farming on a 3-rai parcel of the 46 rai owned by Jittakorn. Each farmer pays Bt1 a year to cultivate the land.

 

“It’s actually non-arable land. We took the group of young smart farmers to Mab Aung Natural Agriculture Centre to learn how to practise natural agriculture without insecticides and adapt His Majesty the late King Bhumibol’s new theory of sufficiency philosophy. Today, we are a learning centre for natural agriculture or highly safe agriculture as it is sometimes called,” says Artorn Chuaynarong, headman of Bang Phra.

“We also signed an MOU with Thai Airways International to provide five agricultural products.”

 

The IoT-based agricultural solution used on Kaew’s melon farm.

“We are building a GMP (good manufacturing practices) room to clean vegetables and fruit before delivering them to the hospital. We produce melons, Chinese kale, bok choy, napa cabbage, and yard long beans. Tourists can visit our farms before purchasing our products,” says Jittakorn. “We focus on cleanliness and safety. We are promoting our chemical-free agricultural products and consumers can rest assured that our fruit and vegetable will leave no residue in their bodies.

“Today, we are working on both orders from outside and selling straight from the farm. This is a kind of agrotourism that allows visitors to learn how the young smart farmers work on their land, the tools and technology they use and how they make their money. It can serve as a guideline for other new farmers,” he adds.

 

Melon is processed for food, smoothies, and cake.

Pakuna “Kaew” Boonkorkuea is one of the cooperative’s members and runs a successful melon orchard, Baan Suan Melon, based on HM the late King’s sufficiency economy philosophy. The melons are grown in 17 greenhouses on her four rai of land in Baan Pho district.

Kaew laughs as she tells me that she didn’t start growing melons for business but because she was so shocked when her husband, who has a passion for melon, bought one of the fruits grown in Japan for Bt3,000.

“I learnt by trial and error and I have now been growing melons for three years and have turned the orchard into a learning centre. I studied the late King’s philosophy and adapted it to my land. I divided it up into 30, 30, 30 and 10 parcels as he advises. The first 30 is a coffee shop designed in the shape of melon and a meeting room near the entrance. The second 30 is for economic crops, in this case melon, and the third 30 is for our economic crops. The 10 per cent is where I built our home.

 

Baan Suan Melon also offers organic vegetables.

“I planted three types of melon – Chanchai, Baramee and Snow Green – which are easy to grow in the laterite soil we have here. Our melon is a little salty. Chanchai is crispy and sweeter than Baramee melon and is orange while Snow Green is the least sweet but soft. I also grow Kimoji Japan melon, which is priced at Bt150 per kilogram, while the other Thai melons go for Bt100. As production grew, I faced a shortage of labour. That persuaded me to adopt smart farming, using the internet-of-things-based agricultural solution developed by Dtac for my garden. No matter where I’m in the country or the world, I can manage my farm through the internet. For watering the garden, I installed the primer, which is set to work automatically.

“I don’t only plant melons but also tomatoes and cowpea, and breed ducks, chickens and fish. I follow the late King’s sufficiency philosophy to the letter. It has made my family life stable, prosperous and sustainable,” says Kaew.

“I want consumers to visit my farm and pick the melons they want before paying for them.”

Chachoengsao is promoting agrotourism along the Bang Pakong River from Wat Sothon Wararam to Wat Tha It.

“We will have a taxi boat run between the two temples to allow for trade on both banks. That will help reduce traffic on the road. We will also use the pier at Wat Tha It as a flea market where farmers can sell their produce every Sunday,” says Jittakorn.

“Wat Tha It is planning to build a big Buddha statue, which will be 10 metres wide. It will serve as a landmark and our agricultural products will support tourism. Wat Sothon is always packed with people. In the future, visitors will be able to park at Wat Tha It and travel by boat to Wat Sothon.

“And before going home, they can stock up on their favourite vegetables and fruits,” adds headman Artorn.

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Sweets for our Queen

Published May 29, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30370118

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Sweets for our Queen

Thailand May 28, 2019 09:55

By The Nation

Thai Airways will celebrate Her Majesty Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana’s birthday by serving special desserts to passengers on board both international and domestic flights on June 3.

The Royal Silk Class and Economy Class passengers on domestic flights will be welcomed with Purple Sweet Potato Agar with custard on outbound flights. On inbound flights, the Thai Dessert “Leum Kleun” will be offered in Royal Silk Class and the Thai Dessert “Kleeb Lum Duan” will be offered in Economy Class (except TG226 that provides breakfast services).

Royal First Class passengers can enjoy Blackcurrant macaron with sago coconut and blueberry ice cream, while the Royal Silk Class passengers will be served Sweet purple potato cheese tart.

Economy passengers will be served Sweet purple potato cheesecake, during lunch and dinner services (except flights departing to the Middle East, India, and Kuala Lumpur).

Check out the flights by calling (02) 356 1111 or visit http://www.ThaiAirways.com.

The other side of Bangkok

Published May 26, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30369962

  • Wat Hong Rattanaram has a display of old murals painted on glass, depicting the legend of the Emerald Buddha statue.
  • Wat Kanlayanamit Woramahawihan is home to a huge statue of Phra Buddha Trai Rattanayok created during the reign of King Rama III.
  • The 100-year-old Guan Yin statue is the centrepoint of Kuan An Keng Shrine.
  • Suvarnabhumi Mosque is home to a collection of mirrored walking sticks given by King Rama IV and old wood pulpit.
  • Navinee Pongthai and her family have turned their house into the Baan Kudeejeen Museum, relating the lives of the Portuguese communities from the Ayutthaya era to the present.

The other side of Bangkok

Thailand May 25, 2019 01:00

By Pattarawadee Saengmanee
The Nation Weekend

3,816 Viewed

With fewer visitors but lots of interesting attractions, Thon Buri is the perfect place to spend a day

LINED WITH ancient temples, mosques, shrines and churches, Thon Buri is home to a broad mix Chinese, Muslim, Buddhist and Christian residents who have lived happily in harmony here for more than 250 years. The former capital of Siam, it’s still a great place for visitors, both local and foreign, to spend a day observing the traditions of the old riverside communities and looking back at what the area was like in the old days.

Wat Kanlayanamit Woramahawihan is home to a huge statue of Phra Buddha Trai Rattanayok created during the reign of King Rama III. 

Not too far from Bangkok’s latest high-end shopping mall Iconsiam, the revered King Taksin statue guards the front of the monarch’s former palace Phra Ratcha Wang Doem.

The elegant Throne Hall, the apartments of King Pinklao and the Whale Head Shrine have been maintained although today, the palace serves as the headquarters of the Royal Thai Navy. It will open its doors to welcome the public in December but also allows visitors by appointment.

Older than King Taksin’s palace is the Wichaiprasit Fort, formerly known as the Wichayen Fort. It was built in the reign of King Narai the Great and was a stopover for sea merchants from China, Portugal, France and India during the Ayutthaya to early Rattanakosin periods.

A stone’s throw away is Wat Kanlayanamit Woramahawihan, an attractive mix of classic Chinese-Thai architecture and home to Thailand’s biggest bell. Sitting at the mouth of Bangkok Yai canal, Chao Phraya Nikon Bodin donated his house and land in 1825 to build this temple as a tribute to King Rama III.

In 1837, the main hall was constructed to enshrine the gigantic statue of Phra Buddha Trai Rattanayok, which is inspired by the Sam Por Kong Buddha statue at Wat Phanan Choeng in Ayutthaya. Local pilgrims come here to ask for success in business, safety and good friends.

The 100-year-old Guan Yin statue is the centrepoint of Kuan An Keng Shrine.

“King Rama III and Chao Phraya Nikon Bodin were close friends. They did business together, so King Rama III named this temple Kanlayanamit (which actually means good friend in Thai) to represent their relationship,” says Thanat Bhumarush, a tourist officer with the Bangkok Tourism Division of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, who serves as a guide on our tour, organised by Iconsiam.

“King Rama III renovated several temples around town, adopting classic Thai and Chinese style architecture and focusing on simple elegance. For example, this temple only has the gables and hang-hong decorative ornaments at the centre.”

A short walk from Wat Kanlayanamit is the 240-year-old Kuan An Keng Shrine, which was recently designated a historical site by the Department of Fine Arts. Built by the descendants of Hokkien immigrants, this shrine is home to an old statue of Guan Yin carved out of fragrant wood and brought from China as well as a collection of beautiful gold Buddha images attired in floral robes crafted in the reign of King Rama III.

“This area was inhabited by Chinese residents from the mid to late Ayutthaya period. According to Prince Damrong Rajanubhab’s letter written in 1930 while visiting Wat Kanlayanamitr, the river was dotted with floating homes,” says Boonyanit Simasathien, the fourth generation of the Simasathien family that has been responsible for taking care of the Kuan An Keng shrine.

“Initially, this land was home |to a compound of two shrines built in the Thon Buri period, which fell into disrepair. Our Hokkien ancestors moved here and constructed a new building to enshrine the man-like statue of Guan Yin. The legend has it that Mercy goddess was a monk, who transfigured himself into a beautiful angel to help humans.”

The shrine itself is currently undergoing extensive restoration but visitors can still see some of the unique Hokkien-style murals and fine woodcarvings depicting Chinese legends of the Three Kingdoms.

Kuan An Keng Shrine boasts ancient powder-coloured wall paintings and wood carving portraying the legend of the Three Kingdoms.

“The Fine Arts Department |has spent millions restoring |the architecture here, including |the powder paintings on the walls and wood carvings damaged by bats and humidity. We’ve used special cement made from animal glue, sugar cane juice and sand to reduce the heat,” says Teeranun Mandee, art technician of the Fine Arts Department.

Not far from the Guan Yin shrine is the Kudeejeen community that dates back to 1767 when King Taksin established the Thon Buri Kingdom and allocated the land to Portuguese migrants. Its name means the “Chinese monks’ abodes” in Thai.

Spread over narrow sois behind the Santa Cruz Roman Catholic church, the area is famous for kanom farang kudee jeen, a cupcake-like pastry that is soft on the inside but crispy on the outside.

We take a break from the heat in a shady cafe on the ground floor of the Baan Kudeejeen Museum. Opened two years ago by Navinee Pongthai and her family, this three-floor wood house boasts classic Thai-Portuguese style architecture and a striking exhibition detailing the history of Portuguese communities from the Ayutthaya era to present days.

“I retired from my job and wanted to find a hobby. I bought this house from my cousin and turned it into a community museum so that our young generation can come and trace their roots. This neighbourhood was surrounded by the river and we used to enjoy fishing blue prawns,” Navinee says.

A time capsule of bygone |days, the third floor has a living room, bedroom and dining room furnished with old wood furniture, zinc kitchenware and ceramic tableware, plus some collectible books and letters.

The third floor of Baan Kudeejeen Museum allows visitors to observe the daily life of Portuguese ancestors. 

“Portuguese houses tend to be airy with high ceilings and several windows that allow the air to flow. Unlike in Thai houses, there’s no shrine room but the biggest altar is installed in the master bedroom,” Navinee says.

Next door is Baan Chantanaphab, which welcomes tourists and students interested in Thai architecture and culture.

This 125-year-old teak house is today in hands of 77-year-old retired teacher Charupa and her husband. It showcases the traditional techniques of wood joints and boasts a front frame constructed in rising sun style and windows embellished with carved Puttan flowers.

“We’ve opened our house to help promote tourism in the community. Made from teak and takien, it has a gable roof and on the walls, you can see the holes made by bullets fired during the Mahattan Rebellion of the Royal Thai Navy in 1951,” Charupa says.

Back on our boat, we head to Wat Hong Rattanaram, which was built in the Ayutthaya period. The main hall underwent major renovations during the reign of King Rama III and is now enshrined with an ancient black statue of Phra Saen brought from Champasak province in southwest Laos.

“Phra Saen is a mixture of bronze, brass, zinc and gold. It comes in the posture of subduing the mara and has a flat nose with a skinny body. The bottom of the stairs is decorated with a couple of three-legged toad sculptures, representing wealth according to Chinese beliefs,” guide Thanat explains.

 Baan Chantaphab is a showcase of classical Thai architecture. 

The wall paintings were recreated a decade ago, depicting the story of Lord Buddha and above the windows, visitors can now admire beautiful old paintings on glass recounting the legend of the Emerald Buddha image.

Another hall is home to an ancient gold Sukhothai-style statue of Luang Poh Thong Kham. Initially, it resembled an Ayutthaya-style Buddha statue but during the restoration in the reign of King Rama IV, its white shell cracked and revealed its real form.

We end our sightseeing tour at Suvarnabhumi Mosque in Klong San district, a simple but elegant edifice with a display of walking sticks adorned with mirror glass that King Rama IV gave to Imams around the country. The sticks glitter in the light given out by the attractive lamps used in King Chulalongkorn’s royal cremation ceremony.

The water of life

Published May 5, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30368718

  • “Tourists can learn the king’s wisdom while at my homestay.” Viroj Soongying.
  • The opportunity to see elephants and gaurs in the wild attracts tourists to Kui Buri National Park.
  • Cows and sheep grazing on a 1,500-rai meadow bring to mind the New Zealand countryside.
  • Yang Chum Reservoir is a great place to fish or simply relax.
  • The stump of a sandalwood tree, which was cut for King Rama IX’s cremation ceremony.
  • Villagers from Phubon, Yang Sue and Ruam Thai have created the first khok nong na model on Viroj Soongying’s land.

The water of life

Thailand May 03, 2019 01:00

By Kitchana Lersakvanitchakul
THE NATION

Kui Buri district in Prachuab Khiri Khan has adopted the late Monarch’s new agricultural theory on land and water management and is keen to show it off

His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej had a long and happy relationship with Kui Buri district in Prachuab Khiri Khan province and today his new agricultural theory on land and water management is being applied here for the first time.

 

The water management system is called khok nong na – khok meaning a moulded mound, nong a catchment, and na a field. Here, when it rains, the water runs down from the Tenasserim hills into the first catchment. When that catchment overflows, the water goes to the second catchment and runs through a khlong sai kai (spiral filling canal) towards the third catchment and the loom khanom khrok (a small catchment dug along the canal) before ending in the field. Along this canal line, the flow is continuously decelerated by a fai or weir. Crops are planted in terraced fields between those catchments to ensure irrigation.

Kui Buri has developed its own khok nong na and it’s known as the Kui Buri Model.

 

The district has long offered a range of homestay accommodation, but Viroj Soongying is the first resident to connect his homestay with the khok nong na model to promote sustainable tourism following the royal wisdom of the late King Rama IX.

 

Viroj, who lives in Baan Phubon, recently turned 50 though he looks considerably younger thanks, he says, to his love of cross-country mountain biking. Born and raised in Kui Buri, he left as a young man to work in the jewellery trade for 20 years, returning to his native land after learning about the late monarch’s philosophy related to natural agriculture.

 

“I love eating local, wild and organic vegetables that are in season and grow organic vegetables on two rai of my land,” says Viroj, who uses a further rai as a demonstration plot for the khok nong na model. “Climate change means that the world is heating up almost daily and we have to reduce the use of chemicals. This Kui Buri Model is a cooperation between three villages – Phubon, Yang Sue, and Ruam Thai.”

 

Viroj is a mountain-biking coach for five students from the villages and also a member of a group actively promoting the King’s philosophy for sustainable tourism. He has two homestays and also welcomes tourists to his own house.

 

“Visitors can learn the king’s wisdom by themselves through digging catchments, planting vetiver grass and trees, and finding shellfish, shrimp fresh water fish in the reservoir. And when they’ve done that, they can relax over such healthy dishes as pineapple curry with mussels and pork ribs soup. A homestay is priced at Bt600 per person,” says Viroj.

 

We start our stay by visiting the check dams built above Yang Chum Reservoir to store water for use as well as slow down the water flow to prevent flooding, maintain soil moisture and to provide water for the elephants that roam this area. The construction of check dams can be done at intervals and take the shape of a pond that is then connected with a pipeline system to disperse water and create moisture for the forest, which continues to serve as a food source for the elephants. We also spend time at the reservoir, which is wonderfully tranquil and demands to be photographed.

 

We have fried tilapia fish from the reservoir for our lunch and dinner. The freshwater fish, whose history dates back to Ancient Egypt, was introduced to Thailand by the late King in the 1960s. In 1965, the Thai monarch was looking for fish species with high nutritional value and which could breed fast to solve the problem of malnutrition among Thais in rural areas, and the tilapia fish from Japan was the species he chose. Later, the king bestowed the fish with the name “Pla Nil” from its English name “Nilotica” or Nile River fish.

 

Later, on the way to Kui Buri National Park to watch elephants and gaur and where, we are told, we are only allowed entry between 2 and 5pm, we stop off at a 1,500-rai meadow managed by the Department of Livestock and admire the tunnel formed by chamchuri trees and the herds of cows and flocks of sheep that graze here. Pine trees sway lightly in the background and the bucolic scene reminds me of happy times spent in rural New Zealand. The meadow had also been planted with ruzi and pangola – the highest-quality tropical grasses – which serve as forage for Phra Sawet Adulyadej Phahon, the first white elephant of King Rama IX.

 

Kui Buri National Park is a sight for sore eyes and we quickly climb into a ranger’s vehicle for the almost eight-kilometre drive to our first stop. After a while we spot a family of three elephants and others in the far distance. After that, we drive on to Phu Yaisai, Payang Ranger Station and Pong Saladdai, spotting the occasional elephant and also some gaur. On our way back, the ranger receives a report of elephants near the path and we stop for a while until these magnificent beasts move away of their own accord.

 

Prior to the park’s creation, villagers and elephants were at odds, with many conflicts turning tragic, even deadly. In the late 1970s, settlers migrated from all corners of Thailand to the area, establishing the village of Ruam Thai and cultivating pineapple where elephants had once roamed unimpeded. With fields of the fruit encroaching on what had been their territory, the animals began raiding farmlands, destroying crops, and leaving villagers furious. The killing of two elephants in 1997 – one poisoned, the other shot dead and burned – marked the peak of the conflict, attracting countrywide attention, including from King Bhumibol Adulyadej – the unquestionable patron of Thailand’s conservation movement.

 

Upon the park’s establishment in 1999, the king issued a special royal address calling for people to protect the elephants and their habitat: “Elephants should be in the forest. But we must ensure that there is enough food for them. In practical terms, we should create many small food plots spread around the forest in order to keep the elephants from invading the plantations and to help protect the elephants,” he said.

 

And thus came the Conservation and Restoration of Kuiburi National Forest Project to conserve wild elephants and wildlife.

The following day, we head back to the national park but this time through a different entrance to see the stumps of sandalwood trees. Nine of the trees were cut for use in HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s royal cremation ceremony, three for that of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana, and a further three for the funeral rites of Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara Suvaddhana Mahathera, the 19th supreme patriarch of Thailand.

 

“Some Thai tourists sit and cry while hugging the stump,” Viroj tells us.

We take the longest of the two routes to see the stumps and are led up the two-kilometre climb by park official Somnuek Klinhom, who tells us about the trees, insects and salt licks along the elephant trail.

 

“Kui Buri National Park has more than 200,000 sandalwood trees and is the first and only place that can grow sandalwood for the royal family’s cremation ceremonies. Because of the dry evergreen forest, the timbers of the sandalwoods don’t contract like in other places. For King Rama IX’s cremation ceremony, a royal brahmin spent more than a month with us selecting the trees that met the criteria – they must be dead and aged over 100 years,” says Somnuek.

If You Go

– To visit Kui Buri National Park, call (032) 510 453, (081) 776 2410, or email kuiburi_np@hotmail.co.th, and kuiburi_np@hotmail.com.

– To reserve Viroj Soongying’s homestay, call (090) 784 7298.

Rites of passage

Published April 20, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30367983

  • An ancient statue of Mae Hong Son’s ruler is carried on horseback to protect the Sang Long processions from demons.
  • Mae Hong Son’s annual Poy Sang Long Festival is held during summer to pay homage to Lord Buddha.
  • Relatives act as “Ta Pae” (horses) to carry the Sang Long from their houses to the temple.
  • The colourful Sang Long processions roam around the town.

Rites of passage

big read April 20, 2019 01:00

By Korbphuk Phromrekha
The Nation Weekend

Young Tai Yai boys become novices in an annual ceremony that draws visitors from far afield

THE SUN has barely risen over the northern province of Mae Hong Son, but already the Tai Yai residents are out on the streets banging Lanna gongs and beating long drums to mark the beginning of the annual Poy Sang Long Festival.

The festival is centred on Wat Pha Bong Nuea, which serves as the main ceremonial venue and turns its pavilion into a dressing room for veteran and amateur make-up artists to groom the young boys who take part in the traditional ordination ceremony to become Sang Long (novice monks) in a tribute to Lord Buddha.

Mae Hong Son’s annual Poy Sang Long Festival is held during summer to pay homage to Lord Buddha. 

The festival’s name is a combination of three Tai Yai words – Poy meaning an event and Sang, which is thought to come either from Khun Sang (Brahman) or Sang (novice monk). Long is derived from Along, meaning Bodhisattva or the king’s lineage.

In Tai Yai tradition, the novice monks don the very finest costumes as a symbol of Prince Siddhartha. Legend has it that King Ajatashatru hosted the ordination ceremony for his son to redeem his sins, while a folk tale focuses on a poor widow and her son, both disciples of Buddhism, who wanted to take part in an ordination ceremony hosted by the aristocracy.

Indra perceived their wishes and descended from the heavens using gold and silver waters to transform her son into a handsome prince. Brahman also gave him a crown and a gold breast chain and served as his godfather, hence the belief that the Sang Long is an adopted son of Brahman.

The celebrations are held during the long school break to ensure the Tai Yai boys have enough time to learn religious practices. Each ceremony takes three days and the kids will spend a few days memorising their lines for the ordination and undergo the tonsure ritual the day before the event.

The boys ask for forgiveness and receive the five precepts from the monks

The Hub Sang Long Day starts with a bathing ritual, which sees the boys cleaning themselves in water mixed with acacia and full of precious gems and gold to bring them prestige. Dressed in white shirts and refined jong kraben, they head to the temple and attend a ceremony to ask for forgiveness and receive the precepts from the monks.

“Sang Long’s costumes are inspired by the clothes worn by the angels in the second heaven where Indra dwells. They dance to welcome Lord Buddha back to Earth,” says Tai Yai elder Jing Na.

“The Sang Long ceremony is more important for Tai Yai culture than being ordained as a monk because the kids are still innocent. This is regarded as making major merit. The procession of novice monks will usually start at 3pm or 4pm – the time when Prince Siddhartha departed his hometown to start his pilgrimage.”

The ceremony continues late morning with a colourful procession of men known as Ta Pae who carry the boys around the town on their shoulders The procession stops at several sacred places and at private houses, where villagers and elders offer the boys culinary delights and tie string around their wrists as a blessing.

The remarkable procession known as Kho Lu is the highlight of the second day. Here the boys dance while perched on the shoulders of the Ta Pae and local residents carry monks’ necessities to the temple, with an ancient statue of Mae Hong Son’s ruler perched on the back of a horse to serve as a guardian to protect the procession from demons.

 In the evening, Sang Long and celebrants will be entertained with Nok Ging Kara dances and other cultural performances.  

In the evening, the Sang Long attend a ceremony during which string is tied around their wrists and feast on Kin Pak 12 Mee, a meal featuring 12 auspicious dishes while guests can enjoy a programme of cultural performances like the Nok Ging Gara dance. The sacred ordination ceremony takes place on the last day, which is called Wan Lu.

“According to Tai Yai beliefs, the families have to join the Poy Sang Long Festival when their first son is 10 years old though boys as young as seven can be ordained. They’re old enough to learn dharma. The novice monks can extend their status until they’re 20 if they don’t want to study in a formal school,” says Uncle Sophin Kaentun, who serves on the Ban Pha Bong committee.

“In the past, some Sang Long disappeared from the ceremony and we believed that the spirits tried to hide them from our eyes. The families now provide at least two guards to watch closely over the young novices even when they go to the bathroom.”

The Tai Yai descendants have managed to conserve their cultural heritage and the religious ceremonies are hosted to promote solidarity in their communities. Sang Long’s costumes are elaborate and each neighbourhood comes up with different designs. Up north on the border with Myanmar, the outfits are adorned with gold ornaments while residents of Mae Sariang district have adopted Lanna fashion. The original Tai Yai tradition only used breast chains and women cut their braids to decorate Sang Long hats to make merit. Today, the families spend around Bt100,000 to host an ordination ceremony.

After the procession arrives at the temple, the parents will treat Sang Long to the Kin Pak 12 Mee feast.

“The Sang Long festival in other villages has changed but here in Ban Pha Bong, we follow the original Tai Yai traditions. For example, Sang Long’s shirts are decorated with lace woven into star shapes to match the jong kraben, while celebrants still don traditional Tai Yai costumes and hold small bunches of orchids,” adds Jing Na.

Blasts from the past

Published April 14, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30367622

  • All generations of Mon are pouring water through a long bamboo tube to bathe a Buddha image.
  • Tourists in Ayutthaya have fun in a water battle with the elephants.
  • Asiatique the Riverfront joins the Water Festival with a wide range of delightful retro-themed activities.

Blasts from the past

Thailand April 13, 2019 01:00

By The Nation Weekend

3,595 Viewed

Tourists as well as local residents have the opportunity to travel back in time and enjoy a retro-style Songkran. Here’s where

IT’S SONGKRAN and while plenty of Thais will head home to spend time with their families, cities all over the country are celebrating the Thai New Year with ceremonies, performances, fun activities, food and the occasional water fight.

We take a look at what’s on over the holidays.

Bangkok 

Known for celebrating the most beautiful of Thai traditions, the Water Festival is once again turning nine iconic piers along the Chao Phraya River into entertainment venues from today to Monday.

Designed on the theme of “Yoo Yen Pen Sook” which literally means “live peacefully”, the festival invites visitors to pour water over elders’ hands in the rod nam dam hua ceremony, bathe Buddha statues to ask for blessings and have fun creating their own handicrafts at a series of workshops.

One of the popular stops is Lhong 1919, where visitors can pay respect to the Mazu Goddess, watch a contemporary long-drum dance troupe perform, check out the food truck carnival and learn how to prepare Thai desserts, craft fish out of palms and make Thai flower garlands.

The Tha Maharaj community mall is transforming itself into a Thai temple fair and offers a variety of classic games, Thai brass and long-drum troupe performances, watercolour classes and a Thai kite-making workshop.

From 5 to 10pm on all three days, Asiatique the Riverfront joins the celebration with concerts featuring Thai favourites Lada R-Siam, Wan Thanakrit and Paowalee Pornpimon. Here visitors can walk through the Very Cool Loincloth tunnel, experience Wet ’n’ Wild Sea Boxing, roam around the old market, join the traditional loincloth workshops and ride the giant Ferris Wheel to watch the sunset over the Chao Phraya River.

Thai cultures and traditions are the focus at Iconsiam.

Thai cultures and traditions are also the focus at the Iconic Songkran Festival 2019 being hosted by Iconsiam on the Thon Buri side of the river until Monday.

Visitors are invited to pour sacred water on four revered Buddha images from different periods, namely Shinnasri Buddha from the Sukhothai period, Nimit Vichitmarn Molee Sri Sanpetch Borom Tri Lok Nart Buddha representing the Ayutthaa era, Buddham Viseth Sasada Buddha from Thonburi and Siam Dheva Thirat Buddha of the Rattanakosin period.

The Songkran exhibition depicts the festival’s history and tradition and features performances of the Viva Songkran dance, silk reeling dance and traditional drumming. Here too visitors can take part in free workshops such as making scented fans and scented water, Thai-pattern fabric painting and the art of fruit and vegetable carving and also dress up in traditional costumes for a photo shoot.

Top Thai actresses will join the procession by dressing in royal court costumes from four eras – Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, Thonburi and Rattanakosin. There’s also some water splashing and a concert by Nont Tanont and Da Endorphine.

Iconsiam’s Sook Siam zone is home to the “Sook Siam Yoo Yen Pen Sook” where visitors can pour water on hands of senior residents from the Ban Bang Khae Elderly Centre. Other highlights include a Ferris wheel, the egg pond game, sand pagoda making, a Songkran beauty contest and the presentation of traditional foods and handicrafts.

From 9am to 10pm, celebrants can take advantage of the free Chao Phraya Express Boats cruising to Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklaram, Wat Arun Ratchawararam, Wat Kalayanamitra Worawararam, Wat Prayurawongsawat Worawihan, Tha Maharaj, Yodpiman River Walk, Lhong 1919, Iconsiam and Asiatique.

Pathum Thani

Just 30 minutes away from downtown Bangkok, Thai-Mon residents are gathering in the grounds of the provincial hall today to take part in the grand Hang Hong Thong Takhab processions, which see statues of swans decorated in coloured mirror glass and centipede-inspired handcrafted flags carried to the temples.

All generations of Mon are pouring water through a long bamboo tube to bathe a Buddha image. 

They will also show off their skills in making the traditional hot season dish khao chae and building sand pagodas.

Continuing through Thursday, the festival includes the rod nam dam hua ceremony, culinary demonstrations of khao chae and mixed red sticky rice, Thai, Muslim and Chinese cultural performances, a sand pagoda building competition, Mon dance and Mon orchestra concerts. Youngsters will play Mon skittles in a showcase of the ethnic group’s unique culture.

Ayutthaya 

Travelling back in time to the good old days of the old capital, Si Sanphet Road will serve as the main Songkran venue throughout the weekend. Here tourists can join the bathing ritual of Buddha statues and sand pagoda building and have fun with retro Thai dance and water fights with elephants from Ayutthaya Elephant Palace & Royal Kraal.

Tomorrow, the Thai-Mon residents of Bang Pa-in district will don traditional costumes for a unique centipede-inspired flag procession to Wat Thong Bo and join a bathing ritual of Buddha statues, in which they will pour water through split bamboo tubes to ask for luck, happiness and success in the coming year.

Ratchaburi

Nang Yai Wat Khanon National Museum is the place for art lovers to celebrate Songkran. Taking place today and tomorrow in a classic Thai ambience, the event features an art market and Thai-Mon food street where visitors can use cowrie shell money to bargain, a grand shadow play, a pong lang performance, a likay hulu dance and Lanna-style khon (masked dance drama).

Wat Ban Sing in Photharam district is today hosting the Bai Si ceremony to bring luck and happiness to Lao-Wieng residents for the year to come. There are also several cultural performances and activities to enjoy.

Later than in other parts of the province, Wat Ched Samian will celebrate the beginning of the Thai New Year next week with Flower Car processions, a long-tail boat racing tournament, a sand pagoda contest and the rod nam dam hua ceremony.

Sukhothai underlines its traditional heritage in the Songkran celebration at the historical parks.

Sukhothai

The Retro Songkran Splendours event at Sukhothai Historical Park runs until tomorrow and features a variety of cultural activities and performances including a sand pagoda building competition, a Songkran beauty contest, bullock-cart processions from 12 communities, traditional sports and a market selling all kinds of local dishes, snacks and desserts.

The city is also hosting the Flowery Shirt Songkran Khao Tok Road festival around the Clock Tower until Monday, which will see residents building sand pagodas at Wat Thai Chumpol and dressing in colourful flower-covered shirts for the “flower car” procession. Other activities include retro Thai dance and a Miss Songkran contest.

Phetchaburi 

The Amazing Songkran 2019 event, which runs until tomorrow at Phra Ram Ratchaniwet, takes visitors back to the contemporary culture during the reigns of Kings Rama V and VI.

Visitors can bathe Phra Buddha Sothon, register for royal cuisine workshops and watch demonstrations of 10 traditional Thai handicrafts, and enjoy a classical music concert by Sunatraporn Big Band, Vietrio, Lula, Radklao Amaradit, Saranya Songsermsawad and Praew Kanitkul.

The reception hall serves a formal Afternoon Tea set and guests can dress in period costumes to join a palace tour and watch a vintage car exhibition.

 

Chiang Mai is hosting the Pee Mai Muang Festival all over town. 

Chiang Mai

The Northern city always prides itself on fantastic Songkran celebrations and this year the old Lanna capital celebrates its cultural heritage with the much-loved Pawenee Pee Mai Muang Festival that gets underway today and continues through Monday.

Running from Tha Pae Gate to Wat Phra Singh and the Three Kings Monument, this morning will see residents taking part in the alms-giving ceremony, the bathing rite of the revered Phra Buddha Sihing and a spectacular procession of Buddha images to mark the beginning of the New Year.

Tourists can enjoy several Lanna handicraft demonstrations and free workshops by TAT Chiang Mai Office, along with a temple fair, wisdom art performances and a Light & Sound presentation telling the story of Songkran Festival.

Other activities include a parade of women riding bicycles while holding umbrellas, the Lanna Traditional Devotion Ornaments Contest and the Miss & Mister Songkran Contest.

Chiang Mai University’s Lanna Traditional House Museum meanwhile gives visitors a chance to celebrate Songkran as their ancestors did. Here families will gather on an open space to build their stunning sand pagodas, join a bathing rite of Buddha statues and a rod nam dam hua ceremony and learn how to craft tung sai moo (an elaborate paper lantern resembling a pig’s intestine).

The old Lanna market serves as the main entertainment and dining venue with local dishes on sale and a stage for classic cultural performances and music.

Mukdahan 

Featuring the Cool-Isaan water tunnel, Isaan classic dance by the Mekong River and a Sand Art contest, the Northeast province of Mukdahan is hosting the Muk-Savan Fun & Fin Festival on Had Mano Phirom until Tuesday

Not to miss is the sand sculpture zone boasting lifelike models of such tourist attractions as Wat Roi Phra Phutthabat Phu Manorom in Mukdahan, Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, Dragon Paradise Park in Suphan Buri, the Phi Seua Samut statue in Rayong and Wat Maha That Woramahawihan in Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Mukdahan draws local villagers and tourists with the MukSavan Fun & Fin Festival.

Phuket

Down south, Dee Buk Road in downtown Phuket will be lined with 40 booths selling a wide selection of local dishes and desserts from today to Monday as part of the Water Festival.

Visitors can rent Baba costumes and take pictures in front of old Sino-Portuguese houses, join a bathing rite of Buddha statues and admire a collection of Phuket sketches by art students from King Mongkut’s Institue of Technology Ladkrabang. Lipta and Bird & Heart provide the entertainment tomorrow and Monday.

Samui

The resort island turns Chaweng Beach into a water splashing riot today and tomorrow. Before the water fights, celebrants can take part in alms-giving and rod nam dam hua, take in the dazzling Alpha Gay parade around the town and watch 100 villagers perform a traditional Nora dance.

The Songkran celebration at Nathon Market draws to a close today by inviting visitors to dress in Thai costumes and join several fun activities on the Cultural Street.

Flowers raised by cool waste

Published April 14, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30367607

Flowers raised by cool waste

Thailand April 12, 2019 15:05

By The Nation

2,376 Viewed

PTT is showcasing how cool waste can be used to nurture flowers in the 8th Wonders of Cool-Season Crops – Tulip in Bloom Festival that runs until April 21 at the Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden in Rayong.

On the theme “Charming Wonder Village”, this botanical garden, which is powered by Liquefied Natural Gas, boasts more than 120,000 colourful tulips and several entertainment activities for people of all ages.

“PTT has fully supported the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECi) project, initiated by the Thai government to accommodate the Thailand 4.0 initiative. The EECi helps create a value-based economy that is driven by scientific knowledge, technology and innovation and enhances the competitiveness of the Thai industry,” said Chansin Treenuchagron, president and chief executive of PTT.

“The company leverages cool waste from the regasification process at its LNG receiving terminal in Rayong, helping to add value to the country’s farm sector. Meanwhile, carbon dioxide derived from the gas separation process in its plant is used to speed plant growth.

The chemical substance is also used as material for the production of dry ice, an ingredient in the artificial rainmaking process, enabling PTT to fully support the operations of the Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agriculture Aviation and disaster relief operations.”

This year’s highlights include the Rocky Gateway tunnel that transports visitors to the middle of the village set in a mountainous European town. Visitors can walk along a see-through glass Miracle Bridge and admire the field of tulips underneath.

Other activities include a puppet performance, Bozo the Clown show, live storytelling a painting corner, a concert, a One Tambon One Product fair and a gardening workshop conducted by the Eastern Flowers and Ornamental Plants Welfare Association. Visitors can also join the bathing ritual of Buddha statues to celebrate the Songkran Day.

“We aim to promote tourism in the local communities and help residents to generate more income. Our garden showcases 15 different types of tulips. Each year, we come up with a fresh idea for a cool waste management project to create a great experience for visitors,” said Nattawoot Krerpradab, vice president of Natural Gas Products Distribution.

Tickets are Bt40 and all proceeds will go to Rayong’s long-term care institution in Ma Ta Phut district.

Splendours of the South

Published April 7, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30367221

  • Khanom Jeen Pa Son, opposite Chao Mae Ma Cho Po Shrine, offers riceflour noodles with curries and a wide array of vegetables.
  • Travellers take photos in front of a mural painted by Alex Face and explore the city of Phang Nga in a song thaew, the local distinctive taxi.
  • The street-food eatery Khrua Nong earned a Michelin’s Bib Gourmand award for good value for money.

Splendours of the South

Thailand April 06, 2019 01:00

By Khetsirin Pholdhampalit
The Nation Weekend
Phang Nga

Taking a gustatory journey through Phang Nga province

LOCATED SOME 800 kilometres from Bangkok, the Southern coastal province of Phang Nga is well known for its stunning scenery. Less known but equally as stunning are its culinary creations that take the visitors on a palate-pleasing journey through its streets.

Phang Nga is one of 55 secondary cities being promoted by the Tourism Authority of Thailand to draw travellers eager for new experiences. The second edition (2019) of the Michelin Guide Bangkok has been happy to play along, extending its coveted ratings to the best dining venues in Phang Nga and Phuket.

The fishing village of Bang Pat on the mangrove peninsula of Phang Nga Bay is home to about 80 families, most of them Muslim. 

After a short flight from Bangkok to Phuket – the nearest airport to Phang Nga, I climb into a car for the 70-kilometre trip to the fishing village of Bang Pat on the mangrove peninsula of Phang Nga Bay.

A small 200-metre concrete bridge leads to the village, which is home to about 80 families, most of them Muslim. Fresh and dried fish, shrimp paste and palm sugar are on sale at very reasonable prices in front of many houses, which also offer comfortable homestays. I pass locals busy mending their nets before setting out to sea at night and other preparing sun-dried fish.

The Bang Pat Village offers fresh seafood and dried fish at affordable prices.

Her Majesty Queen Sirikit visited this village in 1997 with her son – the current King Maha Vajiralongkorn – to encourage its residents to preserve the mangrove forest and set up a crab bank to promote sustainable fisheries. Photos taken during their visit grace the walls of many homes.

The village is known for its fresh seafood and Khrua Aree is a seafood eatery packed with locals and tourists alike. Foreign travellers are dropped off at the pier for lunch after a morning spent visiting the various islands along this coast.

The seafood eatery Khrua Aree offers dishes at resonable prices, at Bt250 net per person for each meal.

Crab, fish, shrimps, squids, mantis shrimps and shellfish are cooked in different styles and each meal costs Bt250 net. Groups of up to four diners are invited to choose five dishes with seven offered to larger groups.

For our group of 15, the dishes on offer range from steamed crab, tom yum goong, stir-fried squid with ink, deep-fried sea bass, stir-fried Venus shells, spicy sea grape seaweed salad and fried rice with shrimp.

After lunch, we set off to explore the cultural route designed by the TAT’s Phang Nga Office and covering eight spots in the town’s Muang district. We pack into song thaew – the shared pickup taxi with a bench along each side of the cargo bed.

Travellers take photos in front of a mural painted by Alex Face and explore the city of Phang Nga in a song thaew, the local distinctive taxi.

The Song Thaew Cooperative of Phang Nga has joined the campaign, allowing eight to 10 interested travellers to hire the whole song thaew for a very reasonable Bt800 and takes them to visit the eight spots over the course of four to five hours.

Our schedule is tight and we only have time to visit three attractions. Driver Chanchana Saelim first takes us to the Phang Nga Museum housed in the Colonial-style building constructed in 1930 that once served as the town hall. After renovations, it opened as a museum in 2013 and relates the history of Phang Nga as a marine trading port and tin mining town.

The Phang Nga Museum tells the history of the Southern coastal province during its time as a marine trading port, emphasising its tin mines and cultural diversity. 

Among the exhibits are maps illustrating the marine peninsular route in Southern Thailand, the equipment used for mining tin, the distinctive dress of the Buddhists, Muslims and Thai-Chinese who inhabited the town, as well as photographs of the Sino-Portuguese row houses in the old town and the Southern-style food.

The next stop is Chao Mae Ma Cho Po Shrine, one of the most revered shrines among Thai-Chinese residents, and the residence of the goddess of the sea who is believed to give Chinese merchants and immigrants a spiritual anchor along the coast.

 Khanom Jeen Pa Son, opposite Chao Mae Ma Cho Po Shrine, offers riceflour noodles with curries and a wide array of vegetables.

Local guide Viriyah Hongkhao suggests we stop for food at local favourite Khanom Jeen Pa Son directly opposite the shrine. The self-service eatery is known for its rice-flour noodles and curries, which include nam yanam priktai pla and gaeng paa, priced at Bt30. Gracing the long tables are more than 20 vegetables – fresh, blanched and pickled – as well as fried dried small fish and pineapple for all you can eat.

Several walls in the city have been painted with colourful murals by Thai street artist Patcharapol Tangruen, aka Alex Face. He’s best known for his iconic three-eyed child Mardi, who peers out at passer-by with her eyes half-opened and a sense of weary vulnerability and who has graced walls in Bangkok as well as Singapore.

In Phang Nga, visitors are encouraged to ride song thaew to find the three Mardi murals in the city. In one Mardi is wearing a sarong and holding a metal pan to extract ore and in another, she is sitting behind a giant glass bottle containing a junk.

“Alex was commissioned by TAT and the local administrative office to paint three murals in the city to tell the history and the multi-cultural diversity of Phang Nga. He finished last month and the murals are now popular spots for visitors to snap a photo,” Viriyah says.

“Phang Nga is a charming and peaceful city where you can enjoy fabulous seascapes, mountain views and jungles bustling with wildlife. The city is also becoming a popular place for elderly Germans to live out their retirement. They rent a house and spend their time sunbathing and hiking.”

Members of Baan Pring Local Enterprise showcase how to make local sweet treats.

Our last stop is Baan Pring Local Enterprise, which produces such local foods and desserts as nam prik goong siab (Southern-style chilli dip made with dried shrimp) and local pastry tao sor in gift packaging. Visitors are also invited to knead the flour and cook the fillings.

The other five spots on the route are Phang Nga City Pillar Shrine, Chedi Khao Lang Bat, Tham Sam Rock Art, Saraphimuk Temple and Rai Foon Road and while we couldn’t visit them, we stop off at the popular viewpoint called Samed Nang Chee in Takua Thung district. To see the stunning scenes of Phang Nga Bay and pristine beaches from the top, visitors have to board four-wheel drive vehicles offered by the local community at Bt90 per person for a round trip.

 A traveller takes a selfie with a backdrop of Phang Nga Bay from Samed Nang Chee viewpoint.

The two-kilometre, zig-zag trail is high and steep, requiring skilled driving and visitors are told to grab the rack firmly. It is a thrilling experience and the view from the top makes it all worthwhile.

Samed Nang Chee is actually a good spot to watch the sunrise and to marvel at the Milky Way at night. The only blimp is the sign bearing the name Samed Nang Chee, which has a colourful Thai font and is out of place with the natural scenery.

The street-food eatery Khrua Nong earned a Michelin’s Bib Gourmand award for good value for money. 

My culinary journey in Phang Nga ends at the small street food eatery Khrua Nong in Takua Pa district that earned Michelin’s Bib Gourmand award for its good value for money. In this case, it means a maximum price of Bt1,000 for three-course meal.

The owners are husband-and-wife team Komson and Chanida Jewsakul who left behind their careers as a photographer and a secretary in Bangkok to operate this eatery 18 years ago. Despite its humble setting and compact space, Khrua Nong offers about 200 dishes made with fresh ingredients that are locally sourced.

“I returned to my hometown to take care of my mother. Cooking runs in the family. My grandfather had a Western-style restaurant when Westerners worked in the mines. My mother and her sister also run a made-to-order eatery. We started with just four tables and today can accommodate a maximum of 80 diners,” says Komson.

Komson and Chanida do all the cooking themselves in an open kitchen as diners watch on. During my visit, they had just taken delivery of fresh river prawns, which they used to make a delicious tom yum soup. A dish not to miss is the deep-fried spotted mackerel fillets seasoned with home-made soy sauce for Bt200. Other tempting choices include deep-fried soft shell crab with garlic (Bt160), stir-fried sato beans with shrimp and shrimp paste (Bt120), and stir-fried bai liang leaves with egg (Bt70).

“We were so honoured to get the prestigious Michelin’s Bib Gourmand award. From an overlooked eatery that normally serves local people, we are welcoming more customers from different provinces. We’re renovating the space by replacing the roof and building an additional toilet that is user-friendly for the elderly and handicapped,” Chanida says.

The writer travelled as a guest of Tourism Authority of Thailand’ southern region.

IF YOU GO

Learn more about tourist attractions in Phang Nga at Facebook.com/wonderful.phangnga

Bangkok Airways operates daily flights to Phuket. Check the flight schedules at http://www.BangkokAir.com.

The Song Thaew Cooperative of Phang Nga can be reached by calling Chanchana Saelim at (093) 794 9966.

Contact Khrua Aree at Bang Pat Village at (086) 274 4557.

Khanom Jeen Pa Son, opposite Chao Mae Ma Cho Po Shrine, can be reached at (086) 593 9658.

Contact Baan Pring Local Enterprise at (081) 537 5370.

Khrua Nong can be reached at (080) 389 5554.

Songkran’s fruity flavours

Published April 7, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30367061

Songkran’s fruity flavours

Thailand April 05, 2019 01:00

By THE NATION

2,215 Viewed

Travellers flying with Thai Smile between April 13 and 17 will be welcomed on board with two special fusion desserts created by Audrey Café.

“Thai Smile is committed to delivering excellence services beyond customer’s expectations as always. We provide inflight meals and beverages to all passengers for free on all flights and during festivals offer a special dish that symbolises the occasion,” said Nednapang Teeravas, chief customer service officer of Thai Smile Airways.

 

The Songkran treats are Mango Sago Panna Cotta that gets its crunch from pearl tapioca crumbled with young coconut meat and topped with mango. Marian Plum Panna Cotta adds a sweet and sour taste thanks to the slightly sour plum sauce.

“Audrey Cafe is delight to create these two special dishes with local seasonal fruits,” said Janista Charoonsmith, chief executive officer of Audrey Group.

“Panna cotta is our best seller. We’ve crafted two new desserts to cool passengers throughout the Songkran festival.”

The desserts are available on both domestic and international routes (except WE011, WE051, WE177, WE419 / 420, WE426 and WE609).

For flight information, go to http://www.ThaiSmileAir.com.

An elephantine task

Published March 30, 2019 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/thailand/30366804

  • Visitors join a Walking with Giants tour.
  • Elephant masters from Surin’s Ban Ta Klang elephant village perform a traditional ritual to celebrate the Nation Elephant Day.
  • Animal osteopath Tony Nevin teaches visitors how to massage the elephants.

An elephantine task

big read March 30, 2019 01:00

By Pattarawadee Saengmanee
The Nation Weekend

A foundation dedicated to helping pachyderms and their mahouts holds and educational open day

SITTING ON a border of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF) in Chiang Rai recently opened its camp to celebrate the National Thai Elephant Day and give local and foreign visitors a chance to experience several educational activities about elephants and mahouts.

Set up in 2006 by the five-star Anantara Hotels chain, the foundation aims to solve the problem of elephants coming to city streets and generally improve elephant welfare in Thailand. Today, all elephants in its camp are rented from different villages to conduct the exclusive mahout and trekking programmes for the guests staying at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort and Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle.

 The Elephant Buffet is stacked high with fresh fruits.

“Anantara took over this property with its elephant camp back in 2002. We recognised the potential for tourism in the Golden Triangle and wanted to do more with the land. That gave birth to the idea of setting up the foundation and inviting mahouts to work with us rather than taking the elephants to towns to walk on the streets,” says John Roberts, director of Elephants and Conservation Efforts of Anantara.

“In those days, tourism in this part of the world was still relatively small and the mahouts had no other ways of making money.”

But despite the good intentions, the foundation hasn’t always had it easy. Last year, Anantara Hotels was put in the hot seat after the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) released worrying video footage showing mahouts using bullhooks to beat and jab elephants during the polo matches, resulting in all the big names drawing back their sponsorship.

Anantara took quick action and launched the inaugural King’s Cup Elephant Boat Race and River Festival to replace its annual polo match. The charity event is taking place this weekend, joined by veteran Thai Navy paddlers and international teams from China and the Philippines.

“To improve the situation, we provide a positive and targetted training programme that can help the villagers teach their elephants without using bullhooks or hitting them,” Roberts explains.

“All mahouts learn the basics for controlling an elephant from their parents. It’s like learning to drive with our parents. It might not be the best way but this is tradition and the techniques have been passed on from generation to generation for 4,000 years. We don’t want to touch their heritage. We just come up with a different way that can help them do better.”

The GTAEF camp in the luxury Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort occupies 2,000 square metres as is home to 25 rescued elephants and a small village of mahouts and their families. Many of elephants here came from the streets but others used to work for illegal logging camps or elephant shows. The camp pays Bt25,000 a month to provide mahouts with an guaranteed income and also supports their spouses in their silk weaving group.

For the recent celebration, the lush jungle was transformed into a ceremonial ground, where a group of elephant spirit men from Surin’s Ban Ta Klang Elephant Village performed a Kui traditional ritual to pay respect to the guardian spirits.

A long table was set up in the middle of the lush grounds packed with offerings and nang pa kam, a sacred 100-year-old robe made from buffalo leather that has been used to capture a wild elephant in the past.

“Being an elephant spirit man is local wisdom and passed down from father to son. We pray in the Kui language and blow sang (a buffalo horn), which is traditionally used to capture wild elephants. The offerings include a chicken chin, a pig head, fruits and bai si,” explains Uncle Chalerm Salangam, 70.

“Today, our village has 300 elephants and we’ve trained a new generation of elephant spirit men to maintain our traditions.”

The elephants themselves were more excited about the buffet, eagerly tucking into watermelons, coconuts, bananas, sweet corn, pumpkins and pineapples.

Elephant masters from Surin’s Ban Ta Klang elephant village perform a traditional ritual to celebrate the Nation Elephant Day. 

A short walk from the ceremonial venue, development manager Laddawan Yonthantham was acting as a tour guide to give visitors an introduction to sustainable elephant welfare management.

“About 30 years ago, the government enacted legislation to ban logging in the jungle and mahouts became unemployed. To generate income, they shifted to putting on elephant shows at tourist attractions or took their elephants to the city essentially to beg. Raising elephants is expensive as they need 200 to 300 kilograms of pineapples, watermelons and sugar cane, depending on their weight – and the average weight of an elephant is 2,500 kilograms,” Laddawan says.

“Our camp offers natural space near the river so that the elephants can exercise and eat organic fruits from the local plantations. Initially, we purchased some overworked and street elephants from mahouts but they bought new elephants to sell to us again. So, we rented the elephants and hired the mahouts to conduct eco-friendly activities for our all-inclusive hotel packages.

“Mahouts can take advantage of Anantara’s staff welfare programme, which includes a residence, uniforms and three meals a day. Based on sustainable living, it aims to keep them from falling back into the same cycle.”

Hotel guests can register for trekking and riding an elephant or learn the basics of being a mahout while the elephants get additional exercise. As we walk around the property, we see domesticated giant Bo and her friends jumping into the Ruak river and having fun in the clear water as they take their daily bath.

“We limit work to three-and-a-half hours and even have a customised exercise routine for elephants so that they can stay healthy. They love jumping into a mud pond to cool down,” says Laddawan.

Mahout Wattana Salangam and his giant friend Bo have worked with the elephant camp for 14 years. Before that they were in Bangkok, roaming the streets to earn money.

“I was in debt so I took Bo to Bangkok. We would walk around the streets and would collect about Bt2,500 a day. We made ourselves a camp on vacant land to save money. Then we moved to the elephant foundation in Phetchaburi and had to take care of many elephants, most of them belonging to other people. It was dangerous because most elephants only obey their owners,” Wattana says.

“Here, I started on a salary of Bt18,000 and now receive up to Bt25,000, plus extra income from guest activities. I’m happy to work here. My elephant has enough food no matter if I have work or not.”

An elephant splashes dirt to chase off bugs on his back.

“Our foundation doesn’t support mahouts to breed their elephants. Today, there are more than 4,200 house elephants and not all of them live in good conditions. We can’t release them to the forest because they have no skills to survive. Normally, elephants live in a group and don’t accept strangers,” Laddawan says.

An in-house veterinarian team is in charge at the positive reinforcement target training station where elephants learn to perform certain tasks such as raising a foot in a purely positive manner. A small branch is used but no punishments are meted out. Instead the elephants quickly learn about rewards.

“Our camp set up this training in cooperation with Dr Gerardo Martinez, a world renowned large animal trainer from the Africam Safari Park in Puebla, Mexico. This target training can be used to train the elephant in the event that they need veterinary treatment. It can help feel free and release stress for both elephant and vet,” says Laddawan.

The camp also conducts Elephant Cognition (problem solving) Research. Here, visitors can see the elephants using their trunks to pick up tokens of different textures and work as a team.

Next door was the space for Elephant Osteopathy Demonstra-tions undertaken in collaboration with veteran British animal osteopath Tony Nevin. Adapted from techniques used with humans, the massage treatment is designed to relieve muscle tension and pain.

“We focus on the elephant’s spine and balance while walking. The massage starts from the neck and goes from rib to hip. This treatment can be used for other animals too, like giraffes, horses and ostriches,” Nevin says.

The Walking with Giants activity takes place in the early morning and takes guests to explore a trekking trail around the camp and learn about daily life of elephants. For example, elephants splash dirt over their back to chase bugs and black dung means they are eating too much dirt probably have flatulence.

Animal osteopath Tony Nevin teaches visitors how to massage the elephants.

“For the next step, we would like to help the elephants in several trekking camps have access to better welfare. We will also continue to train mahouts across Southeast Asia in positive reinforcement and elephant friendly training and handling techniques,” director Roberts says.

“We have teamed up with US Agency for International Development (USAID) to teach travellers not to buy ivory. We’re also working with Srinakharinwirot University, which is going to send students to the area where villagers are facing problems with elephants coming out from the forest. We will try to identify what is the best practice to keep both people and elephants happy when they come out from the national park.

 

PACHYDERM PARADISE

>> The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation is located in Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort, Chiang Rai.

>> Find out details at http://www.HelpingElephants.org.

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