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Recent Assignments (August 2012)

September 1, 2012

Recent assignments for the Tourism Authority of Thailand have included visits to the historic city of Lamphun, once capital of the Mon Kingdom of Haripunchai (c. 800-1200 CE) and to fascinating Patara Elephant Farm, both in the north of Thailand and so quite close to our home city of Chiang Mai:

The Hor Trai or Scripture Library at Lamphun’s Wat Phra That Haripunchai / © David Henley / CPA Media

Thai history and culture comes alive in Lamphun, a relaxed and traditional northern Thai city that is filled with historic architecture from the Mon, Lanna and Chiang Mai eras.  Visitors to Thailand can explore the past in the bucolic provincial capital of Lamphun, the oldest city in the north, and one of the longest-inhabited settlements in all of Thailand.

Founded in the mid-9th century by the legendary Queen Chamadevi, Lamphun was established as the centre of the Kingdom of Haripunchai.  It flourished as a centre of Mon Buddhist culture and influence until its conquest by King Mangrai of Lanna in 1281.

Lamphun has been overshadowed by Chiang Mai ever since, and therein lies much of the town’s charm.  Located just 26 km south of Chiang Mai, Lamphun is generally visited as an enjoyable and rewarding excursion from the northern capital.  Tranquil, lotus-filled moats and some of the most distinguished historical architecture in Thailand combine to attract both Thai and overseas visitors who want a glimpse of the Kingdom’s past…continued


Making friends with an elephant at Patara Elephant Camp / © David Henley / CPA Media

The national symbol of Thailand, elephants are wonderful, intelligent and deeply compassionate creatures.  If you dream of a Thai elephant encounter in a natural and positive environment, you can enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience of personally caring for an elephant among the rolling hills and lush valleys of northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai Province at Patara Elephant Farm.

The Thai elephant experience at Patara Elephant Farm is simple and pure.  Each visitor is introduced to an individual elephant.  A mahout (elephant handler) will teach you to say the elephant’s name and then assist you with the animal throughout the entire day.  This is the beginning of a real “one on one” elephant experience.  You’ll become totally immersed in caring for and learning what elephants need and how to look after them.

The number of visitors at to the farm on any particular day is strictly limited.  During my visit, there were two families comprising no more than a dozen people between them.  This is one place where there are always more elephants than people! Continued

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