A Model Centre of Learning
& Self Help at Mae Rim
I like the story of the Thai Monarch's, H.M. King Bhumibol, response to a reporter's question on the concept of a Kingdom. King Bhumibol replied "People say that a kingdom is like a pyramid the king on top and the people below. But in this country it's upside down. That's why I sometimes have this pain around here" smiled King Bhumibol as he indicated his neck and shoulders. And the King should know because his royal shoulders have been pushing rural development in Thailand since his coronation in 1950.
Ably joined by his wife, H.M. Queen Sirikit, over 1,000 Royal Projects and Initiatives have spearheaded irrigation developments, reforestation, crop substitution and sustainable, self-help, economic programmes in rural areas. With a university education in engineering and political science, His Majesty has lead his people to a better and more prosperous life-style and continues to put his shoulders and influence to the wheels of progress. Thai people, from the humblest to the highest in political life, have learnt from his knowledge and example and willingness to give of himself.
Following His Majesty's philosophy of self-help, and to give honour, homage and respect to King Bhumibol's example, a group of government wives have helped finance the opening of a new Centre of Learning at Mae Rim. Situated just off the Chotana Road or Highway 107, (before Mae Rim township) on army land superfluous to military requirements. At about Km. 13 there is a curb on the left side toward the centre, keep driving for another 2 kilometres. The Centre aims to both teach and show "know how" to young Thais who are interested in earning an income from handicrafts or the land. The Centre is also a window for visitors from other countries (or other regions in Thailand) to see how that beautiful length of silk or cotton or intricate rattan suite is produced.
Spread over a large area of 78 rai, the Centre features many different aspects of "Learning & Knowing" each with space dedicated to the theme. Centrally placed is a pool and recreation area. Also accommodation facilities for Thai groups visiting from further afield. A model farm provides "hands on" opportunities to learn of animal husbandry, crops and crop rotation, soil conservation and all things important to encourage the student towards being a "model" farmer.
For indoor skills, separate buildings are divided into booths devoted to demonstrations of how particular items are made (textile weaving, ceramics, bamboo furniture, beds, lampstands, etc) and a permanent exhibition of a host of handcrafted products is housed in another building. Immediately inside the entrance gateway, an Information & Administration building will guide visitors to what and where they want to see. Visitor souvenirs and a selection of food products (preserves, herbs, dried fruit, pickles, etc) are accommodated in a building nearby. A restaurant, overlooking the pool, is available for a relaxing lunch or simply snacking during Centre opening hours (9.00 am-4.30 pm daily) and there is parking for those arriving by car.
As a basis for the entire Northern Centre of Learning & Knowing, one building houses the permanent exhibition from where it takes its inspiration the example and self-help projects launched by H.M. King Bhumibol and H.M. Queen Sirikit over the years. Over the buildings three storeys a variety of working and topographical models are on display as well as a wealth of photographs, posters and audio-visual presentations. These displays will prove fascinating and educational for everyone from school child to adult visitors who want to learn and know more.
More about the philosophy, leadership and example of H.M. King Bhumibol and MORE about how to enhance their own lives and future through education and skills. The Northern Centre of Learning and Knowing continues the process of encouragement and "know how" inspired by the Thai Monarch. It is well worth a visit! Visitors without their own car or motorcycle should take a "Songtaew" taxi (destination Mae Rim, yellow color for this route) from either Wororot Market or opposite the Bus Station (at the White Elephant) on Chotana Road. The bus fare should be around 20 baht but you will need to request a drop-off at Km. 13 sign and walk the remaining distance to the Centre.