Birthday of the Crown Prince

Tomorrow, July 28, is the 60 th birthday of  of HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.

The following article is from the Chiang Mai Mail.

Happy Birthday to HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn on his 60th Birthday

On the most auspicious occasion of the 60th Birthday of HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn the Chiang Mai Mail would like to join the Kingdom in offering our heartfelt wishes for a most happy birthday.

HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn was born on July 28, 1952, in the Ambara Villa of the Royal Dusit Palace in Bangkok, the second of four children, and the only son of Their Majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great and Queen Sirikit.

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej conferred his son with the title of ‘Somdech Phra Borama Orasadhiraj Chao Fah Maha Vajiralongkorn Sayam Makutrajakuman’ on December 28, 1972, making him the Crown Prince and Heir to the throne.

The Crown Prince has continued the Royal Family’s assistance programmes in underdeveloped areas around the country and visited depressed urban areas around Bangkok distributing food and necessities to people in need. He has been active in support of the country’s great agricultural pursuits.

HRH Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn and Mom Srirasmi Mahidol are the proud parents of HRH Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, born on April 29 at 6:35 p.m. at Sriraj Hospital in Bangkok. It is the couple’s first child.


Left Turn

Most farangs assume that “turn left with care” applies at all light controlled intersections in Chiang Mai. This is not the case. Some intersections have the sign pictured. The sign which is in Thai only is attached to a post at the stop line itself. Apparently it means “wait for green before  turning” or “do not turn left against a red light”

Thailand conforms to International Road Signage according to the Vienna Treaty so that non-Thai speaking persons may drive here. There is NO requirement to speak or read Thai. .

Never mind, like many Thai traffic signs, it seems to be applied mainly as a “suggestion”, rather than a strict traffic infringement.

This link about driving in Chiang Mai sounds frightening, but I have been driving for years without any real problems. Motor bike drivers don’t realise how vunerable they are and you must check your rear vision and side mirrors constantly. Thai drivers don’t seem to have ever heard of defensive driving.

Traffic Police Tuk Tuk in Chiang Mai


Recital by Pornphan Banternghansa

Pornphan Banternghansa

Last night I attended a piano recital at the Santi School of Music by  Dr Pornphan Banternghansa. It was a repeat performance from the previous night and organised by The Friends Of Music Making in Chiang Mai. Unfortunately the recital clashed  with another recital at AUA by Nina Leosawasthiphong. Nina, however,  is booked to play for the Friends in November

She played a most attractive program consisting of Beethoven’s Waldstein Sonata (No 21 in C), the beautiful nostalgic Brahms Opus 118 Klavierstucke (except No. 4) and the scintillating Liszt Spanish Rhapsody. An unforgettable program by an unforgettable artist!

Pornphan Banternghansa, a native of Bangkok, Thailand, has received numerous awards, including first prize at the fourth Bangkok Chopin Competition. She was winner at Salzburg College’s summer program piano competition and second-prize winner at Mizner Park’s Scholarship Competition at the Centre for the Arts in Boca Raton, Florida. She received a bachelor’s degree with a double major in piano performance and composition as a full scholarship student at the University of Miami.

The piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53 the Waldstein, is considered to be one of Beethoven’s greatest piano sonatas. In the video below the fisrt movement Allegro con brio is played by Hugo Kitano at the Colburn Academy Festival on 7-8-2011. (8 1/2 minutes)










In the next video a very young Russian pianist, Nikolay Khozyainov, plays Liszt’s Spanish Rhapsody. (nearly 14 minutes)


Construction in Chiang Mai

Artist's impression of Central Festival under construction

Construction in Chiang Mai is booming. Whether it be shopping centres, moo baans, shop houses, condominiums, or apartments construction is occurring. Some say it is a building boom and there will eventually be a bust, but others say the demand is there for so much building activity. Certainly, everywhere you go in the city and surrounds construction is going on, and there is an exciting feeling of growth.

Activity has reached fever pitch as new buildings spring up everywhere.

 In a previous post I mentioned S-One Nimmanhemin. There are two other major malls under construction in Chiang Mai. Central Festival, located at the intersection of the superhighway and Chiangmai-Doi Saket Road, and Promenada Resort Mall, located Located on the main road linking the
Super Highway (New-Sankampang Road) and the 2nd Ring Road (Thanon Somphot Chiang Mai 700 Pi). You can read about them and follow progress on their respective web sites.


STOP PRESS Another new mall announced

Satellite Dish

I now have my own satellite dish mounted on the roof of my apartment building. It cost 6000 Baht (A$190), including installation, and there are no monthly or ongoing charges.

The picture quality of the in house TV service in my building is very poor. The satellite service comes from a Vietnam provider which seems a bit dodgy to me. However it does include Star Sports in the channel line up which has Olympic Games coverage.

After constantly complaining about the picture quality without success, the last straw came when they replaced Australia Network with Bloomberg. Nothing wrong with Bloomberg, actually I enjoy the channel, but I missed Australian News.

My satellite dish is focused on Intelsat 8 © LyngSat. The Australia Network channel is crystal clear. I don’t worry about any other channels. Many are in foreign languages.

In the morning I enjoy the ABC News and Business Today. There is also a News Bulletin at:4 o’clock in the afternoon followed by The 7:30 Report.

 There is an App available for the Australia Network; details in the video below.

ASEAN Economic Community

The AEC 2015 forum was held at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre, Bangkok, in June this year. The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) aims to make ASEAN a more dynamic and competitive economic block by making it a single market and production base by the end of 2015. You can read the blueprint here.

Yingluck Shinawatra opening AEC 2015 in June

ASEAN has set a target of emulating the EU’s single market by creating a border-less market across it’s member countries.Thailand’s Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, opened the meeting.

Will ASEAN members be ready for the AEC by 2015? Read this.

ASEAN was created back in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Since then membership has expanded to include Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

Despite their economic integration ASEAN member countries have vastly different cultural, political, social, and economic systems. For example, most are economically poor, while Singapore has one of the world’s most advanced economies. There is an enoromous gulf between the fairly sophisticated economies of Thailand and Malaysia one the one hand  and Burma and Laos on the other.

Burma (Myanmar) has been seen by many as an embarrassment to ASEAN, but in recognition of it’s gradual change to democracy, ASEAN leaders have awarded Myanmar the chair in 2014, a decision welcomed by the opposition party led by the country’s democracy icon, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Whatever is the outcome, This part of the world is going through incredible change. As they say this is the Asian Century! The Australian Government has commissioned a White Paper on the impact on Australia in the Asian Century

New Tong Cafe

A new bar / restaurant near my apartment had it’s soft opening last night. It is called the New Tong Cafe (I wonder if there was an Old Tong Cafe).The picture shows Green Hill Place 1 in the background and Green Hill Place 3 under construction. My apartment, which is in Green Hill Place 2, is not visible. Perhaps bar and music noise will be a deterrent for prospective tenants in Green Hill Place 3.

The venue is very Thai. There is no English on the menu. Wine is not available. All the customers were Thai! Needless to say, I did not eat there. I ordered a large bottle of Singha for 90 Baht (A$ 2.09)and then went on to the Wine Shoppe were Glid and I ordered a delivery from S & P.

Happy Customers

Chang Beer Promtion Girls

S-One Nimmanhemin


A new mall is being constructed at the Rincome intersection a couple of hundred metres from my apartment. Construction is by the Ritta Company Limited. a large Bangkok based, 100% Thai owned company. The project is called S-One Nimmanhemin. Estimated completion date is July 2013. It is being built on a large block of land and is said that it will have 2 floors of parking and 6 floors of shopping and cinemas.

Follow construction progress here.


The Construction Site from the roof of my apartment building

Diagonally opposite the site is the now closed Amari Hotel. It has been bought by Mah Boon Krong (MBK), the Company that operates the huge shopping centre in Bangkok. Although the hotel is said to be demolished, no redevelopment plans have been announced.

Amari Hotel - to be demolished

Personally I think it’s great that I will have shops and cinemas within walking distance of my apartment.

This is already a very busy intersection, at the junction of Nimmanhaemin Rd and the Super Highway, and one wonders how the roads will cope with additional traffic. There is evidence that at least some land will be resumed for slip lanes to be built.





Instructions from the foreman

Construction workers having breakfast before work


Exercises and massage before startng work


Too late for the exercises


Construction progress


The foreman smokes cigars!

The Spirit House Restaurant

It’a a rainy morning in Chiang Mai. Far too wet for my morning walk! The rain started about 8 o’clock last night and has been falling all night. Typical rainy season weather really. I love the rainy season, the rain clears the air, drops the temperature, and makes everything fresh and green.


Photos of The Spirit House Restaurant & Bar, Chiang Mai
The above photo of The Spirit House Restaurant & Bar is courtesy of TripAdvisor


Burmese Antiques for sale at Spirit House

Leigh and Kris

Last night I had dinner at The Spirit House Restaurant with my American friends, Leigh and Kris.

Leigh is not blind! He opens his eyes to eat. But now Kris has caught it!

Leigh and Kris again




 The Spirit House is situated in Viangbua Road in the Chang Puek area. It has two sections; the inside area has rustic wooden tables and chairs and is decorated with Burmese antiques, while the outside area consists of individual private Salas, with lots of foliage. It is built around an old chedi.

The restaurant is run by Steve, an American guy who has lived in Chiang Mai for a long time and his Thai business partner, Wonchai. Steve formerly owed antique shops in the city. The two wait staff are Golf and Dar.

Golf and Dar



Thai Currency

The currency unit in Thailand is the Thai Baht, sometimes spelt Bath. It is regarded as a strong currency in Asia. It is subdivided into 100 satang.

Coins consist of 25 satang, 50 satang, 1 baht, 2 baht, 5 baht, and 10 baht. Notes consist of 20 baht, 50 baht, 100 baht, 500 baht, and 1000 baht. Satang coins are not in general use, but they exist in supermarket pricing.

For a description and pictures of Thau currency click here.


Thai Coins

Yesterday the exchange rate was 1 Australian Dollar = 31.68 Thai Baht at the Bangkok Bank.

Here is a recipe for a Thai dessert called Toong Tong , (Thai Money Bags)

Thai Money Bags Dessert


Thai Notes