Royal Development Projects have characteristics that set them apart from other projects. The projects are initiated to help provide the people with solutions to problems that they have been unable to overcome on their own; and the projects also enable and teach the people to live a better life without destroying the environment or natural resources. His Majesty has far-reaching knowledge in many fields and he is not an extravagant man. He believes in sustainable living – use only what is needed and nature will replenish herself. He does and he learns and he experiments. The best equipment and the best methods are not always the most expensive. Sometimes things don't work as well as was hoped, but he doesn't give up. The costs of unproductive projects are always borne by the projects, never by the farmers. The projects initiated by H.M. the King are never for his personal or financial gain. The royal ‘profit' or ‘dividend' is the satisfaction of seeing improvement in the lives of his people. Royal Development Projects can be divided into four subheadings. The First are "Projects Initiated According to His Majesty's Wishes" These are projects on which His Majesty himself conducts study, experimentation and implementation. Those experiments are often carried out within the Royal Chitralada Projects area, but also are sometimes tried in other project areas. These are financed by H.M. the King's own funds."The Royal Projects" cover development and preservation of water resources and watershed areas; and crop substitution to curtail opium planting by hilltribes, and encourage them to settle in permanent villages where they can have alternative sources of income."The Projects "Under His Majesty's Patronage" are those for which His Majesty gives advice and guidelines for implementation by the private sector that also provides its own funding, staff and on-going supervision."Royally Initiated Projects" are those planned by His Majesty and for which he gives advice to appropriate government agencies to undertake study and implementation. The Royally Initiated Projects are spread throughout all regions of the country and focus on both short-term and long-term development.
His Majesty emphasizes "development work which aims to strengthen the community to the self-supporting level". Progressive technology brought into a village or region that has no foundational structure to help local people to cope with the tremendous change is usually of no value to them.
The Public Relations Department, Region 3 organized the trip of Self - Sufficient theory which is initiated by His Majesty. Our group of the press and public relations members visited the Chitralada Villa, Dusit Palace in late morning of July 3, 2007 (Please read our two Last Issues).
Later in the afternoon, we headed for a boat trip to the sufficient economy village on the island of Goh Gred in Nonthaburi. This 4 square kilometers island is very remote from the frenetic pace of Bangkok. A fast swelling branch of the Chao Phraya River surrounds the Island.
Descendants of the Mon ethnic group, they have managed to keep the skills and culture of their forefathers alive today. The pottery is known by its red and black shiny glazed surface and intricate designs. Several restaurants specializing in the delicious taste of central Thai food are also located here.
After a one-night stay in Grand Tower Hotel located on Klong Prapa (Water Supply Canal) at the corner of Soi Rewadee and Soi 11 Phaholyolthin Rd., we headed the southern route.
We stopped at the Floating Market, Damnoen Saduak District, Rajburi. This very long established destination is a prime example of sufficiency economy life-style of villagers. Tourists from all nations were having a great time photographing, eating exotic fruits, and riding the canal in simple sampan boats. Khun Goson helped a Korean couple anxious to sample the outstanding papaya salad they had heard so much about. But they were having a problem explaining their request to the vendor. Needless to say they were so pleased to have a food expert like him to handle the ordering. "Boat noodles" were sampled, and much fruit displayed everywhere for purchase.
The Laem Paakbia Project in the subdistrict, Baan Laem District in Petchburi was established in 1991 in a search for solving environmental problems including solid waste, wastewater, and mangrove forest deterioration. The area occupies nearly 160 hectares of former deserted salt farmlands and deteriorated mangrove forest. The technologies developed are simple, easy to practice, low cost and based on the principal of self purification process or utilization of natural means to restore deteriorated natural resources.
On the Next day a trip to model village with large reservoir in The Baan Yang Choom, Haad Kham Sub district in Guiburi, Prajuab Kirikhan. The reservoir was constructed to halt flooding. The ogee weir is a square rectangle built in front of the drain. The strength of the three walls holds back the heavy mass of water from the drain. The overflow during the heavy rains then easily flows into the drain lessening fear of collapse.
After lunch we drove to Chai Pattana Mae Fah Luang Project in Nhong Plub Subdistrict of Hua Hin to learn more about Forestry and Biodiesel Projects. Located on 10,300 rai increased from the first phase of 6,000 rai. In the beginning 5,000 rai was rented by Dole pineapple. At the end of the rental contract, the land was returned depleted. The project first has to replenish the land and the increase the water source. That was when Mae faek was planted 15 years ago. The wild grass was planted on the plain as well as on the hills in the acreage. Today the hills are green with trees and the bird, porcupine, squirrels and small forest animals have returned to the land.
We stopped to pay respects to Luang Poo Tuad image of a respected monk. The drizzling rain felt good.
The walking street in Hua Hin city had just about everything visitors need such as cotton clothes, cotton hats, costume jewelry. But we wanted something really from Hua Hin and we took a took took to the Sofitel where 40 shops were selling seashell items. We got some unusual souvenirs.
At Dinner we enjoyed several choices of seafood. I learned a new expression Khote Pbed (which means something like many generations of my family will be suffering from the very hot hot food I ate that night.)
Back to the Maythawalai Hotel. An early breakfast and ready for the drive back to Chiang Mai. We stopped for shopping at OTOP market for those delicious but odorous salty and preserved seafood items. Then shopping at the largest shop selling toy dolls, dogs, rhinos, slippers with "tweety pie" smiling back at you and just anything your inner child's heart would like to have.
Lunch in Supanburi the very spick and span clean city of wide streets and a very fine large dramatic arts college. The food was so good.In order to save time, we had snacks on the tour bus and later fast one dish supper on the bus. Finally we reached home in Chiangmai and said goodbye to our 50 travel companions. For five days we traveled together in a metal box, sharing experiences, telling jokes and singing Carabao life songs.
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