Floral Festival

Doi Phu Kha National Park is home to chompoo phu kha flowers. Photo: Arthur Jones Dionio

This month, those travelling to Nan should not miss the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the Bretschneidera sinensis (chompoo phu kha) flowers at Doi Phu Kha National Park as well as Doi Maneepruek and Khun Sathan National Park.

This kind of trees is very rare. It went extinct from the south of China and the north of Vietnam and was thought to have disappeared in Thailand as well, but was found again almost 30 years ago at Doi Phu Kha in Pua. At Doi Phu Kha, tourists will also be able to see the rare orchid singto Siam (Bulbophyllum siamense Rchb.f.) and kularb phanphi khamkhao (Rhododendron moulmainense) flowers.

Flower lovers should also go camping near a field of pink wild Himalayan cherry flowers near the Khun Sathan Watershed Management Unit.

Contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)'s Phrae Office at 054-521-127.

Marine fest in the South

From tomorrow until Tuesday, the Chumphon Marine Festival will take place at the Chumphon Estuary. The objective is to promote local tourism. Chumphon is a southern province and gateway to the other southern provinces. It has a coastline totalling 222km and many natural attractions, particularly beaches and islands, and some of the country's best diving sites.

The event will feature photo exhibitions, underwater world and underwater learning centre exhibitions, the display of centuries-old sail boats, land and water sports competitions, one-day boat and diving trips, and the sale of One Tambon One Product (Otop) goods and seafood. Also, there will be activities to raise public awareness of environmental preservation, such as beach cleaning, diving to collect garbage under the sea, and releasing sea turtles. A highlight is a tour to see a rock in the shape of the Lord Buddha's hand.

This annual fair is in its 27th year since the province initiated it in 1990 to stimulate the economy after a typhoon hit Chumphon in 1989, damaging many houses and farmland.

Call the TAT Chumphon Office at 077-502-775.

Tribute to deities in Lop Buri

Until Sunday, the annual fair in honour of Chao Phor and Chao Mae of Luk Sorn Shrine will take place in tambon Tha Hin, Muang district of Lop Buri province.

Every year, local residents of Chinese descent host this fair by taking the statues of Chao Phor Chao Mae Luk Sorn, Chao Phor Khao Tok, Chinese god Guan Yu, goddess Guan Yin, Chao Phor Phra Kan, Chao Mae Tubtim and other deities to the streets of Muang Lop Buri.

According to legend, Phra Ram rewarded his monkey warrior Hanuman by giving him a land plot to establish his own city. He shot an arrow to mark land boundaries and the arrow fell onto Lop Buri, causing a fire and white clay called dinsor phong. An item believed to be that arrow is kept in the Luk Sorn Shrine. Monkeys living in Lop Buri are believed to be the descendants of Hanuman.

Tomorrow, nine monks will pray and give blessings at the shrine at 7am. At 10am, the ceremony to pay homage to the deities will begin at the shrine, followed by golden dragon and lion dances, acrobatic shows and a parade by the mediums of the deities.

On Saturday, the procession will begin at 8.09am, along with lion and dragon dances and other Chinese dances. On Sunday, a Chinese-style reception will be held at 6pm, followed by a charity auction of amulets by the shrine.

Call the TAT's Lop Buri Office at 036-770-096/7 or Lop Buri Samakkhi Songkhroh Foundation at 036-411-021.

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