HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]: 

A safer and more secure Songkran

Jumbo-size Songkran fun at Nong Nooch

Lustral water ceremonies celebrate National Elderly Day

BPH well prepared for Songkran accidents

Songkran tradition takes centre stage at Dusit Thani Pattaya

Hard Rock invites underprivileged kids to enjoy Songkran fun

15 hotels supply practical training for new vocational course

A safer and more secure Songkran

But plenty of fun for everyone

Staff reporters
The Songkran festivities in Pattaya this year were as exuberant as any other year, but with tough controls placed on the throwing of water on the highways and on drunken driving, the accident rate was lower than might have been expected.
Ten people died on the roads of Chonburi Province during the seven-day period April 11 to 17, in a total of 72 accidents. Of the 10 fatalities, five occurred in Sriracha, two in Baan Bung, one in Muang Chonburi, one on Koh Chan, and one in Banglamung. People injured in the accidents numbered 101, of who 71 were male. Motorcycles accounted for 95 percent of the accidents.
In the Pattaya City area there were only five accidents reported, which resulted in nine people being injured.
Wan Lai for the Naklua and Pattaya area took place on April 18 and 19. Celebrations at Naklua started at dawn on April 18 in Larn Pho Public Park, with the park and the surrounding streets soon filled with thousands of people. Food was offered to 99 monks before the parade began, circling the Naklua area so people had a chance to pour scented water on the Buddha images and to sprinkle the monks with water to mark the beginning of the traditional New Year.
After the formalities were over, people then began to throw water over each other in the ritual water fights.
April 19 was considered the official Songkran Day for Pattaya. Traffic began to pile up early in the morning on Sukhumvit Road, as thousands of revelers made their way into the city. Despite the best efforts of police and volunteers, the sheer volume of traffic clogged the roads of North, Central and South Pattaya.
Traditional celebrations in Pattaya began at Wat Chaimongkol, followed by the parade of Buddha images along Pattaya Beach Road in the afternoon, the parade wending its way back to the temple via Second Road.
Pattaya Beach Road was closed between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. for the people to enjoy themselves totally on a traffic-free road, the first time that the city has done this. Along Beach Road were entertainment stages and stalls. One of the main attractions took place in front of the Hard Rock Cafe, where 100 Pipers Whisky sponsored the famous national band Black Head to entertain the crowds.
Police and volunteers were around to ensure maximum security around the area, while more than 200 giant water tanks were provided by city hall to keep the water fun going at full force.
Pol Maj Pitakpong Krongchon, inspector of the traffic department said that the police had kept a very close eye on safety and security, confiscating any high-powered PVC water pipes they found, which have been such a danger in previous years.
Food vendors all reported good sales, and one business that did really well was the car wash operators, where vehicles began queuing early in the morning of April 20, which was a Sunday, the traditional car wash day, given greater significance this year by drivers eager to clean the residues of Songkran from their vehicles ready for the start of the working week on Monday.

Jumbo-size Songkran fun at Nong Nooch

Festivities included a Miss Songkran and a flower parade.

Songkran festivities begin at Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens.

Elephants join in with the water play, much
to the amusement of the Thai and foreign visitors.

Traditional Thai dance is also part of the event.

Thai and foreign visitors become submerged in the fun.

Patcharapol Panrak
Songkran attractions at Nong Nooch Tropical Garden included a parade with floral floats and a team of elephants to join in the water fun with tourists.
Sattahip District Chief Narong Chantarangkul, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Central Region 3 Office Chaiwat Charoensuk, and Nong Nooch general manager Mrs Kwanwan Khantisuk presided over the opening of the festivities on April 12, with celebrations being held through to April 14.
There was a Miss Songkran and a flower parade, and 20 elephants to entertain visitors. Plai Maimuang, one of the star turns, helped open the festivities by shooting a basketball, and the elephants joined in with the playing of water much to the amusement of the Thai and foreign visitors.

Lustral water ceremonies celebrate National Elderly Day

Staff reporters
Lustral water was poured onto the hands of the senior citizens of Pattaya as part of the ceremonies taking place around National Day for the Elderly.
Pattaya Public Health Center staged its own ceremony on April 11, with Mrs Pranee Maneesarn, chairwoman of the Pattaya Elderly Club escorting more than 200 club members to the traditional ceremony.

Mrs Pranee Maneesarn, chairwoman of the Pattaya Elderly Club begins the proceedings.

Pranee said that the Pattaya Public Health Promotion Bureau always organizes special events for the National Day for the Elderly, which takes place on April 13 each year, with the blessings ceremony this year taking place slightly earlier.
The senior citizens gathered to pray in the morning, with the remainder of the day given over to traditional song, followed by dancing and games. The emphasis, as in previous years, was on tradition.
National Day for the Elderly was initiated in Gen Prem Tinsulanonda’s time, to help maintain the Thai tradition of respecting elderly people. The celebrations are based on very old Thai traditions.
Private organizations also staged festivities. The Pattaya Business and Tourism Association worked with Bangkok Hospital Pattaya to organize a lustral water ceremony, with those present including Santsak Ngampiches, chief advisor to the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Banglamung District Chief Mongkol Thamakittikhun, former mayor Niran Wattanasartsathorn, and PBTA chairman Jamroon Visavachaiyaphant.
At the Fountain of Life Center a ceremony was organized for the children to be aware of the tradition, with a lustral ceremony followed by games for the youngsters and the young at heart.

Pouring scented water on the Buddha during activities
for National Day for the Elderly at Bangkok Hospital Pattaya.

Pouring scented water on the hands
of the elderly and receiving blessings in return.

Younger folks pour scented water older folks at Bangkok Hospital Pattaya.

Young children at the Fountain
of Life enjoy taking part in the ancient traditions.

Members sing the “Devil Tree” song, the symbol for this day.

No event would be complete without a beautiful traditional Thai dance exhibition.

Elderly Club members turned out in droves for the event.

The young and the elderly dance to begin the festivities
on National Day for the Elderly at the Public Health Center.

BPH well prepared for Songkran accidents

Teams given special Songkran training

During the training exercises, emergency personnel practice
first aid before transferring the patients to the hospital.

EMTs practice using a back board before moving an injured patient.

Sawang Boriboon rescue workers practice loading
injured patients into their transport vehicle.

The Emergency and Trauma Center physician analyzes
the patient’s condition before recommending treatment.

Patients are immediately transferred into the care
of trained medical personnel upon arrival at the hospital.

Pramote Channgam
Bangkok Pattaya Hospital was well prepared for the usual rush of Songkran accident cases, having prepared its medical teams for the various specific accident types that happen over the holiday period, and staged dummy runs with volunteers.
BPH, which has 391 beds, is able to support up to 1,800 patients per day, and has an Emergency and Trauma Center that handles accident cases.
Teams of paramedics, physicians and nurses were given special Songkran training alongside Sawang Boriboon rescue workers, with accident scenarios prepared under different conditions so they were in complete readiness during the festive period. The training included treatment at the scene of the accident and during the transfer to the hospital, and liaison with the hospital units and medical specialists.
Dr Naruemol Wong-Un, physician at the Emergency and Trauma Center said that the hospital had nine ambulances on standby for the Songkran festival, dividing them into three shifts for 24 hours of service.

Songkran tradition takes centre stage at Dusit Thani Pattaya

Celebrating the Thai New Year in fine tradition, from morning till nighttime

In keeping with the Thai tradition of celebrating the Songkran festival, Dusit Thani Pattaya held a Buddhist ceremony in the morning of April 13 to set the scene in welcoming the Thai New Year, which coincides with the holiday also known as the water festival.

Management and staff of Dusit Thani Pattaya perform the traditional Songkran pouring of scented water over the hands of elders. Photo shows the hotel’s general manager Chatchawal Supachayanont (right) as Atchara Boonmak of the executive office wishes him a happy Thai New Year.

The management and staff of the five-star hotel, led by their general manager, Chatchawal Supachayanont, attended the ceremonies held at the hotel’s Napalai Convention Hall. They were joined by a number of guests during the merit-making and prayers as well as the traditional pouring of scented water over the hands of the elders while wishing them happy and blissful times ahead. This traditional rite symbolizes cleansing and a fresh start of the New Year.

Hotel guests participate in the merit-making and festival rites.

“Dusit Thani Pattaya has over the years preserved this Thai tradition at our hotel. It has always been a heartwarming occasion that sees us all gathered together as a family to perform merit-making and wish each other a prosperous Thai New Year. By the same token, we also would like to extend our appreciation to all our guests who have made the time to join us as we celebrate the Songkran festival in the legendary Thai traditional way. Our heartfelt wishes for happier days in the New Year!” said Chatchawal Supachayanont.
The official start of the Songkran festival was wrapped up with a dinner buffet event called “Songkran Night” held at the hotel’s Chaba Pool. It was attended by some 300 guests who were treated to a night of fun and prizes, the best of Thai regional specialties as well as a Thai folk dance and music show.

Chatchawal Supachayanont offers donations
to Buddhist monks before the start of the religious ceremonies marking
the Songkran festival, also known as Thai New Year.

Hard Rock invites underprivileged kids to enjoy Songkran fun

Andrew Khoo, general manager of the Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya,
lights a candle and joss sticks to observe Thai tradition.

Hard Rock Hotel employees sprinkle scented water on 9 monks.

The monks bless the staff for auspiciousness on Songkran Day.

Fr. Lawrence Patin (center), director of the Fr. Ray Foundation,
 thanks Andrew Khoo (right) for his kindness.

Preparing to eat is lots of fun at the Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya.

Children from the Redemptorist School Pattaya truly enjoy
the water activities in the Hard Rock pool.

Andrew Khoo cools off with the children.

Pramote Channgam
Hard Rock Hotel organized traditional Songkran festivities on April 13, and invited underprivileged children to the hotel to enjoy the facilities.
The Thai New Year tradition was observed by organizing the sprinkling of scented water on images of the Buddha, and offering a meal to nine monks from Thammasaakkee Temple.
Hotel general manager Andrew Khoo led the festivities, with 35 children being invited from the Redemptorist School to join in the pouring of the lustral water, and then to enjoy dinner and games at the hotel.
The evening ended with a grand display of fireworks, to the delight of the children and the guests.

15 hotels supply practical training for new vocational course

Working in cooperation with city hall

Representatives of fifteen Pattaya hotels co-sign an agreement
to begin a hotel management course.

Sawittree Namwiwatsuk
Fifteen of Pattaya’s leading hotels are working in cooperation with city hall to provide training for youngsters who wish to pursue a career in the hospitality business.
Pattaya permanent secretary Sittiprap Muangkoom on April 10 formally inaugurated the Hotel Management Course for Vocational Certificate Level, signing an agreement with director of Sattahip Technical College Watchara Anusatsanakul and the representatives of 15 hotels in the city.
Sittiprap said that the course has been devised by the local education authorities in cooperation with Sattahip Technical College and is designed for students who have graduated from secondary school class 3.
The intake will be 40 students, and the course complies with Ministry of Education requirements for vocational training. Terms 1, 3 and 5 will be devoted to theory, and 2, 4 and 6 to practical application, with the students training in hotels with which Pattaya City has an arrangement. After three years of education are completed, the students will receive a Vocational Certificate from the Ministry of Education. They can then continue to the High Vocational Certificate Level, or apply to work in 4- or 5-star hotels.
This project was planned before the end of the administration’s term. Former mayor, Niran Wattanasartsathorn said the course would prepare youngsters for a satisfying career in the hotel industry, and lead them on to continuing their education to bachelor’s degree or master’s degree level if they wished. The course would also help to ensure hotel standards are at the highest level by supplying staff trained to international levels.
Panga Vathanakul, managing director of the Royal Cliff Beach Resort said that the initiative for the project arose because the school for hotel management in Bangsaen had closed several years ago, but the level of investment in the hotel business is growing, and there is a major problem with lack of trained personnel.
The course was therefore designed to encourage youngsters into the industry, support the market with qualified personnel, and to develop a syllabus that responds to local needs.
The 15 hotels participating in the project are the Hard Rock Hotel Pattaya, A-One the Royal Cruise Hotel, Asia Hotel in Pattaya, the Amari Orchid Resort, the Long Beach Garden Hotel, the Royal Cliff Beach Resort, the Marriot Resort and Spa, the Montien Hotel Pattaya, the Pinnacle Resort Jomtien and Spa, the Pattaya Park Beach Resort, the Dusit Thani Pattaya, the Sheraton Pattaya Resort, the Jomtien Palm Beach Hotel, the Green Park Resort, and the Siam City Hotel Resort Group.

Private and government organizations pose with some
of the students at the signing ceremony.