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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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Chiang Mai

Thailand will swelter through searing temperatures this summer

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Thailand will swelter through searing temperatures this summer | The Thaiger

Temperatures in Thailand this summer is forecast to be 1-2 degrees Celsius warmer than last year. The announcement comes from the Thai Meteorological Department director-general Phuwiang Prakammin.

And it’s predicted to hit 42-43C in seven provinces in northern Thailand.

In Thailand summer, as a regional season, is listed as running between February 21 to mid-May.

Phuwiang says daytime temperatures in March and April will hit 40C in much of the North, Northeast, Central and Eastern regions. But he doesn’t foresee the record set on April 28, 2016, when Mae Hong Son, on the north-western border sweltered at 44.6C, being broken.

“But Mae Hong Son is one of the seven provinces forecast to reach 42-43C this year, the others being Lampang, Uttaradit, Sukhothai, Tak, Nakhon Sawan and Kanchanaburi.”

“In southern regions, the maximum temperature will be 38-39C in Prachuap Khiri Khan, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Yala, Krabi, Trang and Satun, accompanied by occasional rain and waves at sea up to a metre high.”

“Rain will increase towards the end of April (the traditional start to the country’s wet season is Songkran which is on April 13 each year), and waves will be up to three metres high.”

“The weather in Pattaya in Chon Buri will match that of the South, with a maximum temperature of 35-37C in April.”

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Chiang Mai

Bangkok Airlines schedules more flights out of Chiang Mai

The Thaiger

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Bangkok Airlines schedules more flights out of Chiang Mai | The Thaiger

Competition is heating up on two direct airline routes out of Chiang Mai – to Krabi and Luang Prabang in Laos.

But Bangkok Airways is facing tough competition on the direct Chiang Mai – Krabi route, already served with three daily Thai AirAsia flights, while Bangkok Airways will schedule only three flights in March and up to the the end of April, followed by daily services from May.

Bangkok Airways will heading to the two destinations – Krabi in southern Thailand featuring beaches and amazing landscapes, and Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage town in mountainous Laos – with three weekly flights each from March 31 to the end of October.

Bangkok Airways is scheduling the 144-seat Airbus A319 on the route, while Thai AirAsia flies the larger A320 with 180 seats.

Thai AirAsia’s cheapest roundtrip fare from Chiang Mai to Krabi is around 5,500 baht before tax and fees. Online travel agencies such as Skyscanner are not currently posting Bangkok Airways fares for the new service starting March 31.

Airline links from northern cities such as Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai to the two Andaman Sea destinations – Phuket and Krabi – are also attracting the attention of travellers keen to combine mountain and beach experiences into a single holiday.

There are already numerous direct flights from Chiang Mai to Phuket. Thai AirAsia serves the route with three daily flights and roundtrip fares are pegged at around 6,480 baht. Bangkok Airways also offers a single daily flight from Chiang Mai to Phuket with fares around 8,000 baht.

Vietjet’s daily service from Chiang Rai to Phuket has been a resounding success.

Bangkok Airways’ three weekly Chiang Mai-Luang Prabang service will compete head-on with Lao Airlines when it starts April 2.

The Lao national airline offers five weekly services to the World Heritage town in northern Laos (no flights Tuesday and Thursday).

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Air Pollution

“Close down the schools” – Chiang Mai University academic

The Thaiger & The Nation

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“Close down the schools” – Chiang Mai University academic | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Measuring the PM2.5 particles and pollution from public transport in Chiang Mai

With Chiang Mai making the list for worst air pollution in the world (Number 3), calls are growing for schools and educational institutes in the northern province to close down temporarily.

“The Chiang Mai University, in particular, should suspend its classes until the situation improves. Not only will this save students, but it will also raise public awareness of the severity of smog,” the Legal Research and Development Centre of CMU’s Faculty of Laws said in a statement yesterday.

AirVisual, an international platform for air-quality data, ranked Chiang Mai as the world’s third-most polluted city on Tuesday. Only New Dehli and Lahore were worse on that day. The sky in Chiang Mai has been a brownish hue for the past week.

Some readings around Chiang Mai today are up to 168 this morning.

CMU’s Legal Research and Development Centre says that in the face of such serious air pollution, government agencies should start handing out free protective masks to people. The centre added that relevant authorities in Chiang Mai should also urgently draw up tangible long-term solutions for smog – which has been affecting the province for over a decade now.

“If those in power do not take action or show any responsibility, they should be transferred,” the centre declared.

Meanwhile, PCD said the amount of small dust particles in the North was very high yesterday mainly due to forest fires. There have been more than 1,000 hotspots in the North this past week.

Though haze in the northern province of Phrae appeared to have eased yesterday, it was still at a worrying level with PM2.5 per cubic metre of air recorded at 68mcg and its AQI at 141, down from 130mcg and 240 respectively. The haze was so bad on Tuesday that one aircraft was not able to land at Phrae Airport.

Smog also enveloped the nearby province of Nan for three consecutive days, as locals rushed to burn agricultural fires before authorities imposed a ban in their area.

In nearby Lampang, the smog was so bad that authorities vowed tough action against those lighting outdoor fires.

SOURCE: The Nation

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