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Swedes skate from Chiang Mai to Singapore

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Swedes skate from Chiang Mai to Singapore | The Thaiger

PHUKET TOWN: Two Swedes who are skating almost 5,000 kilometers from Chiang Mai to Singapore are on course to roll into Phuket next month for a quick respite – and maybe a foot massage or two.

Education workers Jim Petersson, 25, and his girlfriend Maria Larsson, 29, have endured high speed spills, heat and exhaustion, but say they’re relishing the long slog south.

Skating from 30 to 90 kilometers a day, Petersson is riding a long board skateboard and Larsson is strapped into rollerblades.

At the time of writing, the pair had skated through 10 Thai provinces and were 160 kilometers from Bangkok. They left Chiang Mai on January 16.

The pair plan to arrive in Singapore in June.

“No one has ever skated this route before. It has taken over a year of planning for us to prepare,” Petersson said.

The couple are skating to raise funds for the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation.

They have already raised 18,000 Swedish krona (81,000 baht). Their target is 50,000 krona (223,000 baht).

Petersson said he drew inspiration from the distance skating Guinness World Record holder New Zealander Rob Thomson, who skateboarded 12,000km across the USA, Europe and China in 462 days, ending in Shanghai in October, 2008.

With 8,180 fans following their progress on their Facebook page and plenty of Swedish media interest, Petersson welcomes the positive response for their cause.

Thais have also shown support for the pair’s adventure on this country’s highways.

“People in the North have been stopping and asking what we’re doing. Most of them clap and cheer for us,” he said.

One family invited the pair into their home for food, but as much as they enjoyed the local fare, Petersson has to be mindful of what he eats due to his allergies to curry, nuts, beans and peas.

With no support vehicle and the daily slog of skating busy highways, avoiding potholes and living out of small backpacks, Petersson said life on the road is tough, “but it’s the only way for us.”

Maria fell badly after hitting a pothole on their skate between Kamphaeng Phet and Nakhon Sawan, sustaining cuts and bruises to her leg.

Petersson has a sprained back and bruised foot and elbow after he lost control of his board on a steep descent en route from Mae Tha to Lampang City in Lampang Province.

But breaking his board, not bones, is Petersson’s greatest fear.

Petersson said they trained hard in Sweden to prepare for the trip.

Training involved 100 kilometer skates from his home in Eringsboda to his girlfriend’s hometown of Kristianstad in southern Sweden.

“At home I never use my car. I skate to work, I skate everywhere,” he said.

Jim’s custom long board is specially designed for distance skating: “Super-light carbon fiber, suspension and oversize wheels built to withstand small stones in the road,” he explained.

Maria’s inline roller blades are also designed for endurance and have 90mm wheels built for speed and durability.

Traveling light for obvious reasons, the pair carry three changes of clothes, a towel, a camera, a laptop and Petersson’s numerous allergy medications.

Sleeping wherever they can find guesthouses along the way, the pair said they are indebted to locals who have helped them bed down for the night.

In Thailand on 60-day tourist visas, the pair say they will arrive in Phuket on March 10, extend their visa 30 days and roll on down to Satun and enter Malaysia.

They plan to coast down Malaysia in under two months before eventually arriving in Singapore.

If they make it, the pair will fly to Bangkok and then back to Sweden.

Petersson said plans are already in place for his next international skate.

“My brother and I will skate from Germany to Italy this summer, but we’ll have to wait and see how our Asian adventure works out first,” he said.

For more information, see Petersson’s blog at mrjimonlongboard.blogspot.com or visit www.mrjimonlongboard.com.

— Fraser Morton



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Air Pollution

Developer pulls the plug on 500 million baht retirement project in Chiang Mai

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Developer pulls the plug on 500 million baht retirement project in Chiang Mai | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Sunshine International Retirement Residence & Serviced Apartment, Hua Hin

Sunshine International, Thailand’s leading brand of retirement residences says that their project which was due to be constructed near Chiang Mai’s city centre has now been cancelled.

Sunshine International, a retirement property that included around the clock medical facilities, on site doctors and nurses, and state of the art facilities, was due to be built on a five rai site in central Chiang Mai.

But ThaiVisa reports that the company says, due to the problems the city is experiencing with poor air quality, smog and pollution, it has been forced to cancel the Sunshine International Retirement Residences project.

Andrew Stocks of Sunshine International said they had an increase in people contacting them saying they have been forced to leave Chiang Mai because of the smog.

He said that due to the negative impact the project is currently not viable.

Andrew said his company will now focus on its other retirement projects located in Hua Hin, as well as a soon to be announced project in Phuket. He said Sunshine International would consider returning to Chiang Mai again if the smog situation improved.

Andrew called on the authorities to step in to help protect the livelihoods of local people who rely on income generated by the tourism industry in the region.

SOURCE: ThaiVisa.com

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Chiang Mai

UPDATE: ‘Flight of the Gibbon’ ride in Chiang Mai temporarily closed

The Thaiger

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UPDATE: ‘Flight of the Gibbon’ ride in Chiang Mai temporarily closed | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Guruchiangmai

The ‘Flight of the Gibbon’ zipline ride in Chiang Mai has been ordered to temporarily shut down while an investigation continues into the death of a Canadian tourist on Saturday.

The Canadian tourist’s weight has been officially reported now as 122 kilograms after a lot of discussion in Thai media whether the man was over the 125 kilogram weight limit for the ride.

The 25 year old Canadian tourist, Donaldson Spencer Charles, fell to his death after safety lines allegedly broke on his zipline ride in Chiang Mai. He was traveling with a group, including his girlfriend, at the time. Initial investigations indicate that the young men fell shortly after launching off the treetop platform.

Read The Thaiger’s initial report HERE.

Guruchiangmai website report that the zipline has been order to temporary shutdown and the riding license has been withdrew

And Khaosod English reported yesterday that Chiang Mai’s Governor Supphachai Eiamsuwan has published the 25 year old Canadian tourist Spencer Donaldson’s weight as 122 kilograms. He was a resident of British Columbia.

No charges have yet been filed in the ongoing investigation.

Meanwhile, the management at the Flight of the Gibbon say they will take full responsibility and have offered extra compensation to the victim’s family, in addition to a 1 million baht insurance payout. At this stage their website is taking bookings and there is no mention of the incident.

Online, the tourist attraction claims it’s the “#1 zipline tour operator in Thailand,” and that it was established 12 years ago.

Flight of the Gibbon has been temporarily shut down before after three Israeli tourists were injured after colliding into one another and falling to the ground in 2016.

Another two Chinese tourists died in 2015 after falling from two separate zipline attractions, one operated by Skyline Adventure, the other at Flying Squirrels. There was also another Chinese tourist injured at the Flying Squirrels’ zipline attraction in 2016.

UPDATE: 'Flight of the Gibbon' ride in Chiang Mai temporarily closed | News by The Thaiger UPDATE: 'Flight of the Gibbon' ride in Chiang Mai temporarily closed | News by The Thaiger

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Air Pollution

New fires in the North likely to be arson – Army

The Thaiger & The Nation

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New fires in the North likely to be arson – Army | The Thaiger
by Nathawat Laping 

Some 1,000 combined professional and volunteer firefighters are battling a major forest fire in the mountainous area overlapping Chiang Mai’s Muang and Mae Chan districts.

The fire started on Sunday night in the Doi Jorakhe area of Tambon Tha Sud in Muang before spreading to Tambon Pa Teung in Mae Chan, a densely populated area and home to Mae Chan Hospital and temples.

As of this morning the fire had already devastated 1,000 rai of forestland and nearby plantations.

Mae Chan disrict chief Wandee Ratchomphu led the efforts by 800 state officials and volunteers to put out the fire and prevent it from reaching communities or more forestland in Mae Fah Luang district. A special coordination centre was set up at Wat Pateung to dispatch firefighters to the affected areas by first light, attempts to put out the flames in the heavily wooded mountainous area during the night considered dangerous.

Third Army Region deputy commander Major Buncha Duriyapan was also on the scene to help supervise soldiers joining the fire-fighting efforts. The Army brought in a helicopter to provide support to the Protected Area Regional Office 15’s chopper being used to carry water from the three-metre-deep Tham Sua reservior to douse the flames in hard-to-reach spots.

Buncha also ordered related agencies, especially the police and army, to investigate and identify the person(s) who started this massive fire, saying this was “a strange and unprecedented situation when wildfires erupted all over the province’s mountainous areas simultaneously”.

He said he was convinced that this was a case of arson and not a freak natural incident like a lightening strike.

The Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency’s fire monitoring system, as of yesterday morning, identified 521 hot spots in the North. Chiang Rai led the pack with 291 hotspots, followed by Nan (57), Lampang (46), Phayao (46), Chiang Mai (44), Tak (15), Mae Hong Son (14), Phrae (6) and Lamphun (2).

New fires in the North likely to be arson - Army | News by The Thaiger New fires in the North likely to be arson - Army | News by The Thaiger New fires in the North likely to be arson - Army | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation

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