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Huge new aquarium for Chiang Mai zoo hopes to attract tourists
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  1. #1
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    Huge new aquarium for Chiang Mai zoo hopes to attract tourists

    Huge new aquarium for Chiang Mai zoo hopes to attract tourists

    Two tier entry charges may drive them away

    Saksit Meesubkwang

    A news conference was held on May 8 to announce Chiang Mai Zoo’s opening in October of the world’s longest aquarium, which will display 8,000 fish from 250 salt and fresh-water species in two compartments, each of which will measure 66.5 metres. The zoo’s director, Sophon Khamnuy, announced that the construction work was 90% complete, and the total cost would be 600 million baht, shared between the Zoos Organisation and the public company MarineScape Thailand, whose investment in the scheme gives them the right to manage the aquarium for a period of 20 years under a profit-split agreement.

    The MD of MarineScape, Rongroj Thuwanlin, described the aquarium as being located in an area of 13,895 square metres which will include a reception hall and an 8,000 metre viewing walkway, and will have a capacity of 1,000 visitors at any one time. The fresh-water display will be modelled on the marine environment of the Mekong River. Rongroi estimated that 40% of visitors would be foreign tourists.

    Entry for Thais will cost 180 baht; entry for foreigners will be 380 baht; this amount, according to Rongroj, is cheap compared to entry charges to foreign aquariums. He did not speculate about entry charges for foreign residents in Chiang Mai who do not have access to foreign aquariums. Entry for children under 3 years old and adults over 69 will be free; again, it was not specified whether or not this includes foreigners.

    Chiangmai Mail

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    Re: Huge new aquarium for Chiang Mai zoo hopes to attract tourists

    Khun Don This is an interesting item in the Age newspaper in Australia too

    Controversial 'human zoo' opens in Thailand


    May 20, 2008 - 10:21AM

    Thai provincial officials have reportedly allowed a new "human zoo" featuring "long-necked" or "giraffe" women to open near Bangkok despite mounting international criticism of the tourism practice.

    The residents are part of an ethnic group whose women wear brass rings around their necks as status symbols and beauty enhancements.

    They are called the Padung or long-necked Karen in Thailand, but they consider those terms denigrating and call themselves Kayan.

    Seven Kayan villages are already marketed as tourist attractions in Thailand's northern provinces of Mae Hong Son and Chiang Mai, where there is a sizeable population of Kayan, some of whom are refugees from neighbouring Myanmar.

    But for the first time, a new "village" of Kayans was recently opened in Sattahip in Chonburi province, 100 kilometres south-east of Bangkok and a few kilometres from the Pattaya beach resort, the Daily XPress newspaper said.

    It charges and entrance fee of 25 baht (80 cents) for Thai visitors and 250 baht ($8) for foreigners, the newspaper said.

    Sattahip district chief Narong Thirachantarangkoon brushed off accusations that he had allowed the establishment of a "human zoo" in his district.

    "I don't think so because the Karen are willingly living here," he said.

    "This is better than staying in their home region and starving."

    The rings worn by the Kayan women can weigh 10 kilograms or more and over the years the weight pushes down their collar bones and shoulders, making their necks appear longer and giving the women their nicknames of "long-necked" women.

    Thai tour operators have exploited the cultural anomaly for decades, turning Kayan villages into money-making attractions, but the practice became an issue last year when Thailand refused to issue exit visas for a group of Kayan women from Burma to travel to New Zealand for resettlement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

    The women, who had originally come to Thailand as refugees, were reportedly lured to a border camp where Thai businessmen created a village to serve as a tourist attraction, or "human zoo".

    Thai government officials said the group had forfeited their resettlement eligibility by moving out of designated refugee camps along the border.

    There are tens of thousands of Kayan refugees living in camps on the Thai-Burma border who are theoretically denied permission to work in Thailand.

    They have fled a Burma military crackdown on a Kayan separatist movement and poverty in their home country.

    DPA

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    Re: Huge new aquarium for Chiang Mai zoo hopes to attract tourists

    we went to the zoo a couple of weeks ago with the kids. the aquarium is nowhere near completion, looks like an empty concrete shell! but it is advertised at the zoo entrance as if it was already open, it is very near deception.
    the monorail, recently opened, also has a two-tier price system, 150 for farangs (kids too!), 70/40 for Thais. who on earth is going to go on that stupid rail for this price? the entrance ticket prices have skyrocketed since I first visited. you need to pay extra for the pandas as well (don't remember exactly, 150 probably?), and the tram (or you can walk, uphill, maybe more than a mile). let's imagine a farang family, maybe two kids, whoops there goes 1000 baht for visiting the zoo? and then you didn't go anywhere near the aquarium. it's a joke.

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