Chiang Mai Expats Meetihg – January


Dr. Michael Shafer

 At the January meeting of the Expats Club, Dr. Michael Shafer, President, Warm Heart Worldwide Foundation, spoke about what his organization and others are doing to reduce the seasonal pollution problem in Northern Thailand.  Every March and April, Chiang Mai has a smoke pollution problem caused by forest fires, farmers burning rice stubble, and corn processors burning corn cobs and husks.

He claimed the problem could be eliminated in five years by {a) the government introducing legislation to prevent mushroom gatherers from starting forest fires and (b) building factories to produce “biochar” by a smokeless process.

He claimed it was up to everybody for their personal health to ensure this happens.

The General Meeting was proceeded by the Annual General Meeting . Nancy Lindley stood as President, because she and Roger will be relocating to Kota Kinabalu later in the yea.r She deserves much credit for restoring the Expats Club to its present vital position.

Nop’s Land


Nop’s Land

Toy has  a friend called Nop , who owns a block of land at Doi Saket, about 20 km outside Chiang Mai. At the moment it is a part of a working rice farm.A neighbour works the farm and harvests the rice in return for keeping the land tidy and  clear of weeds etc.Yesterday we decided to pay a visit. Nop has no immediate plans to build a house. He regards the land purchase as an investment.

Nop’s neighbours are Allan, a Welshman who has been in Thailand 17 years, and his Thai wife of 13 years , Amorn. They are building a beautiful home there, surrounded by paddies and with great mountain views.


Nop,Jen, & Me


Panorama of the Dam

On the way home we called in to the Kuang Udom Thara Dam, built across the Mae Guang River , for a photo session. The rice farms get their water from here.

Our Holiday – Thirteen

Here is the final post of our holiday and is various pics of Hong Kong, taken by Toy, from The Bus.


Waiting to Board our Sampan


Boarding Our Sampan


The Boss


The Jumbo Floating Restaurant


A Busy Intersection


Top Deck of Bus


A Honk Kong Skyline


A Large Apartment Block


Another Large Apartment Block


A Kowloon Street Scene

The Dining Out Group – Red Chilli


entrance to the Red Chilli


Spring Rolls

Last night 16 of us from the Dining Out Group, ate at the  Red Chilli restaurant.The restaurant is located at the Santitam Guest House and occupies the site of the former Sadaidee restauant .It has been rebranded with a smaller menu with cheaper prices.


Our Table

Toy ordered raw prawns and rice chicken with ginger. I had spring rolls and sweet and sour fish. Meals were adequate without being wonderful.


Don,Toy,& Me

A lot of new people have joined the Group. It was a pleasant and sociable evening. Service was pleasant throughout the meal.

Our Holiday – Twelve


Thai Restaurant Opposite Our Hotel


Apple Cider

We had dinner at a very popular Thai restaurant opposite our hotel. Toy declared it to be authentic. He also ordered an apple cider, which was served upside down on a bed of ice in a glass. It was popular with locals there.


On the Tram

The next day we decided to do a Hong Kong tour by bus. We had enjoyed the “hop on hop off”  bus experience in Singapore so much. We took a taxi to the Star ferry where we bought tickets. In Hong Kong the service is called the “Big Bus”.For our first trip we toured the island including the Peak Tram.                                                                                       


The Big Bus


View From the Peak Tram


On the Top Deck of the Bus


Entrance to the Peak Tram


The Peak Tram


Our Holiday – Eleven


The Lights of Hong Kong Island from the Kowloon Side

The square outside our hotel was a pedestrian mall, lined with many restaurants. Most buildings had Christmas decoration lights As well there were groups singing Christmas Carols and other activities. It was a popular area for families and young people.


Christmas Lights


Christmas Lights


Christmas Lights


Christmas Lights

Our Holiday – Ten


Click to Enlarge


Departing Sanya

Internet on the ship was very expensive. Depending on the whims of the satellite it was sometimes unreliable or painfully slow. All in all a frustrating experience.


Sunset from the Wharf

We returned to the ship after our bus trip to Sanya and had a snooze. We sail for Hong Kong tonight so it will be our last day at sea. To celebrate the occasion we watched the sun set from the Topsiders’ Bar. Toy discovered a new drink….Angry Birds Cider.


Gatsby’s Bar

We had our last drink in Gatsby’s Bar and had dinner in the Dining Room.


Hong Kong Harbour


A Wheel Chair Was Available

In the morning…there was Hong Kong. Disembarkation went smoothly. Our luggage, which we had put outside our cabin door the previous evening, was waiting for us in the customs area.This time a wheel chair was waiting for me!


The Regal Kowloon Hotel


The Business Lounge

We caught a taxi to our hotel,the Regal Kowloon, and checked in.We were offered a room upgrade package which included a Happy Hour for three hours every evening and a cooked breakfast in the Business Lounge each day. We accepted the offer.


Hotel Room

The hotel room was very comfortable indeed


Angry Birds Cider

Our Holiday – Nine


Futuristic Hotel Towers

This morning we arrived in Sanya, Hainan Island China.This modern major tourist destination is still under development. The futuristic towers of a major hotel is near the harbour entrance and immigration facilities. It is an impressive entrance to Sanya, which has been called the Hawaii of China.

Disembarkation  for tours in Sanya was nothing short of a disgrace.


Sanya Chinese Immigration

 The ship provided only one gangway exit point .Part of the blame probably lies also  with the authorities by not allowing faster clearance.It took over one hour to disembark passengers. Immigration authorities had to inspect passports one by one.


Sanya on Your Own Bus


Toilet Facilities

We had booked a Sanya on your own tour  which included a bus to a mall in the city centre returning on a regular basis to passengers pick-up. I checked out the facileties. They were about the usual Chinese standard!



Seafood Restaurant

We had lunch at a great seafood restaurant. As usual not munch English is spoken, so ordering was by sign language.Anyway we had delicious fish, oysters, and scampi.

Obvioously Sanya attracts a lot of high end Chinese and Russian tourists. Shops were stocked with leading retail brands and a lot of shop advertising was in the Russian language.



Scampi and FIish




The Beach at Sanya

Our Holiday – Eight


On Board Art Auction

 Our bad luck continues. We were due to berth at Nha Trang, Vietnam, today, but it was too rough to use tenders. So another day at sea…who cares! The next morning we berthed at Chan May, Vietnam. I was not supposed to disembark here but due to some beaucrastic stuff up I was given a landing pass. I expected to be shot as I walked accross the wharf but nothing dramatic happened.


LangCo Beach Resort


Reception LangCo Resort


Shuttle Bus to Resort

I only wanted to go to the souvenir shop at the end of the wharf but, we discovered shuttle bus there to the Lanco Resort 8 kms away for US $10  return eacdh. So off we went for an adventure in the drizzling rain!


Me and My Vietnamese Friend

We had a cup of Vietnamese Coffee and a walk arond the resort. Because of the inclement weather  a strong surf was running. After a while we got tired of pestering by maotor cycle taxi operators and headed back to the ship.




Our Berth at Chan May


Our Berth at Charn May

Our Holiday – Seven


Entertainment in Gatsby’s Bar – Our Favourite Bar


Just Relaxing


Our Daily Folded Towel


A Good Way to Lose Money


On Deck


More Folded Towels

There is always something to do on board. Each morning a new edition of Freesthle Daily is available, which highlights the day’s activities.