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Recent Assignments

January 22, 2012

CHIANG MAI is certainly our home, but we always welcome opportunities to get out and about for research and for photo shoots elsewhere in the Kingdom.

Recent assignments for the Tourism Authority of Thailand have included visits to Historic Phuket and to beautiful Ko Tarutao Marine National Park in the far south of the country, as well as to little-visited and unspoiled Loei Province in the northeastern region of Isan.


A Baba-Yaya marriage in Phuket, c. 1920 / ℗ Pictures From History

Peranakan is a Malay word that means “of mixed race”. It refers to the children of intermarriages called Peranakan, meaning that they are born locally and are of mixed blood. The word is used to identify the descendants of the first Chinese settlers in southern Thailand and peninsular Malaysia and their locally-born wives.

The great majority of these Chinese migrants came from southern Fujian province and spoke the Hokkien dialect. Industrious and ambitious, they were commercially successful, gradually developing and expanding both local and regional trade. Before too long, many became rich. Since few Chinese women made the long and adventurous journey south, they married with local Malay and Thai women. In this way the Peranakan community was born. The descendants of the original hardy and adventurous Chinese migrants adopting many facets of local culture while retaining their commercial links with home and with each other… continued



Fishing boats on the beach of Ko Rawi / © David Henley / CPA Media

Tarutao Marine National Park is the largest marine preserve in both Thailand and Southeast Asia. Founded as Thailand’s second marine national park in 1972, it comprises 51 islands in three distinct groups, located in the balmy waters of Thailand’s Andaman Sea. Thailand has more than its fair share of picture-perfect islands and beaches but what makes Tarutao so special is that, with the exception of the tiny island of Ko Lipe, no private resorts or infrastructure developments are permitted. This regulation is very strictly enforced.

This makes Tarutao a model for environmentally friendly tourism. Great emphasis has been placed by the authorities on preserving the region’s natural resources. Moreover the park is officially closed during the monsoon between May and November. Consequently the park remains wonderfully pristine and unspoiled… continued



Old wooden shophouses on Chai Kong Road, Chiang Khan / © David Henley / CPA Media

Loei Province in the far west of upper northeastern Thailand, or Isaan, is defined by the natural beauty of its landscape which embraces mountain ranges, rocky outcrops, waterfalls and extensive forests. Then there’s the mighty Mekong and the rich lowland farmlands. Remote and sparsely populated, the isolation, open spaces and abundant fresh air make Loei an attractive destination for natural and cultural ecotourism, while the provincial capital, also known as Loei, retains a charming small town feel.

The scenic landscape gives the province its unique ecotourism appeal. The beautiful and unspoiled Mekong River between Pak Chom and Chiang Khan, two traditional small towns with wooden shophouses and narrow streets joined by a winding riverside road, offers fine views of neighbouring Laos, shoals, rapids and sandbanks, as well as rich farmlands and orchards. Loei’s Mekong Valley really is a bucolic, rural idyll… continued

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