Tag Archives: udon thani

CP Land to develop Condos in Udon Thani

CP Land Condos Udon Thani

CP Land Condos Udon Thani

CP Land have plans to develop Condos in Udon Thani. CP Land is part of the Charoen Pokphand Group which is better known for CP Foods Thailand.

More information will be posted here when we have it. In the mean time you can contact CP Land on details below:

Head office : 313 C.P.Tower 1, 1st Fl., Silom Rd., Bangrak, Bangkok, 10500 Thailand.
Tel. +66 2625 7000 Fax. +66 2625 7027

The Pannarai Hotel Udon Thani

The Pannarai Hotel Udon Thani by Dan Keegan

Located on Sampanthamit Street, the mid-sized hotel is situated at the epicenter of Udon’s entertainment and shopping district. The Pannarai Hotel is an elegant yet comfortable hotel that’s likely to become an Udon favorite.

The Pannarai Hotel Udon Thani

Pannarai Hotel Udon Thani

One of the Pannarai’s best features, is its location.  The hotel is within easy walking distance of Udon’s top attractions.  Just behind the hotel, is the stunning Central Plaza shopping complex, with shops, restaurants, a movie theater, and bowling alley.  On Sampanthamit Street itself (Soi Sampan), the Pannarai is surrounded by Udon’s nightlife scene and popular foreign food restaurants.  East of the hotel, are the lively night market and UD Town shopping center.

The Pannarai offers guests many amenities.  One, is the hotel’s swimming pool, nestled in a small private garden.  It’s a nice place to cool-off or sip a drink, away from the city bustle.  The hotel includes the full service “Pannawadee” restaurant, which specializes in gourmet Thai food.  There’s also a coffee shop in the lobby.  While the hotel lacks a dedicated exercise room, they may add one in the future.

Ease of access is important for a hotel. Udon’s main bus station and train station are just a short walk from the Pannarai. Guests will appreciate the hotel’s shuttle bus to and from the airport. The hotel’s underground parking makes coming and going a breeze.

One thing you’ll notice about the Pannarai is its natural ambiance.

The hotel’s color scheme is soothing brown, beige, and white colors bathed in natural light.  In guest rooms, the interior design, furniture, and bathrooms are elegant and tasteful. Most rooms have natural woods floors.  Each guest room has a small balcony to survey the surrounding city.  Room prices start at 1280 Baht.

Many travelers will seek out the Pannarai for its size.  With just 79 rooms (58 Standard, 19 Deluxe, and 2 large Junior Suites), this is not a huge hotel.  You won’t get lost in endless dark hallways here.

Instead, the Pannarai is big enough to provide upscale guests with the features they desire, but small enough to feel comfortable and homey.

The Pannarai’s motto is, “Best Service is Our First Priority”.

The Pannarai offers two meeting rooms and a theater for conferences and weddings etc.  Each of these rooms holds 50-80 people.  Management expects the conference facilities to draw quite a few Thai guests to the hotel.

During the “soft” opening period, the Pannarai Hotel will accommodate a small number of guests.  The management team will use this time to ensure that guests receive the high-quality experience they expect.

The hotel plans a Grand Opening a few months after the soft opening.

Feel free to drop by the Pannarai to see it for yourself.  After experiencing the hotel first-hand, I expect many Udon residents will recommend it to family and friends coming for a visit.

For more information about the Pannarai Hotel, please visit their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/The-Pannarai-Hotel/183957345036968.

UD Town – ‘Enjoy More Everyday’

By Steve Graham – Udon Thani Magazine Guide Issue 21

To be honest, before writing this article, I didn’t know too much about UD Town except for what my children have told me and let’s be truthful, am I really going to believe them? They are always asking if it is OK to go to UD Town and see a show or go shopping etc. I thought I would have a look for myself.

Khun Tanakorn CEO UD Town

Khun Tanakorn CEO of UD Town

In order to get a good picture of what is going on, I interviewed Khun Tanakorn who is the CEO of UD Town to find out what the initial concept of UD Town was and where it is going, especially as 2015 and the Free Trade Agreement is just about upon us.

Khun Tanakorn, a self professed native of Udon Thani, informed me that the idea behind UD Town was to do something completely different from what residents of the province had been used to before. By using green spaces and water features, the aim was to have a commercial and entertainment center that conserved energy rather than consumed it by air conditioning areas that were just used as walkways by the general public as demonstrated by the majority of shopping malls around the world. In addition, it was also pointed out to me that the fire risk had also been reduced and there was easy escape for the public in this event.

I was informed that another objective was to increase the economic growth of the province by assisting local entrepreneurs from Udon Thani and surrounding provinces to start their businesses at UD Town after graduating from university; with an emphasis on private companies rather than government ones. Khun Tanakorn hoped that some graduates would prefer to stay in Udon Thani rather than go to Bangkok to do business. In fact, some examples were put forward where workers in Bangkok had been granted transfers to Udon Thani, staying at the same company and receiving the same salary. He wants Udon Thani to be the trade and transportation capital in the region.

The Free Trade Agreement is eagerly awaited by Khun Tanakorn and he confirmed that business was good as the financial crisis was being offset by the influx of natives from Udon Thani returning from Bangkok due to the floods that took place last year. He observed that in times of financial crisis, it is fashion and beauty products that people cut back on first and UD Town was predominantly for dining and entertainment.

UD Town Scene

UD Town street scene

I asked Khun Tanakorn how safe it was at UD Town at night time as I was a parent with two teenage children who constantly ask my permission to go there (at least they ask). He explained that although there is a large area to secure, everyone can be seen as there is abundant lighting and security guards patrol to ensure public safety. During concerts there is an increase in security and age limits are enforced daily when it comes to drinking and smoking in those designated Plaza areas. I confirmed this later with my daughter who was quite specific with her detail (How did she know? Someone must have told her!).

It won’t surprise you to know that UD Town is involved with the local community and does its fair share of charity work too. Projects like “Keep Udon Tidy” helps to educate people about recycling and the environment and they also provide art classes for children with HIV. I was able to see the junior “Club UD” in their preparation for a dance competition. A senior team, sponsored by UD Town has just come back from competing in France, representing S.E. Asia.

I had to ask about McDonald’s. Why did it take so long for McDonald’s to come to Udon Thani? Khun Tanakorn explained that the people at McDonald’s were not sure that Udon Thani was a viable option, so they spent a long time considering their position before opening at UD Town with opening day record sales figures for Thailand. I must admit to finding this difficult to understand, especially if you watch Udon Thani’s youth filling their faces with all things fast.

So, apart from stuffing my face with McDonald’s, what else is there for me to do in UD Town? It was explained to me that the people at UD Town were conscious of the amount of foreigners visiting or living in Udon Thani city and the surrounding districts. Special events were always on the calendar to celebrate days like Valentine’s Day and Halloween. If the kids are happy, then so are the parents!

Songkran is obviously a special time for Thai people and UD Town has organised many events in the past to entice people to the area. Last year, it was estimated that 150,000 visitors were drawn to UD Town for the Songkran festivities and this year there will probably be more. This would explain the extra parking that is being made available as UD Town continues to grow, keeping in mind the 51% green policy that the company adheres to.

This year we were able to enjoy the Chang Wonder Water Land which was placed in three zones around UD Town. Zone 1 was located at Soi 1 of UD Town and comprised of ‘Arayathai’ (Thai tradition), Zone 2 was at The Square and called ‘Sook Jai’ (Fun) and the last, Zone 3 called ‘Muan Lai’ a distinctly Isan phrase meaning enjoyable. After an extravaganza like this it makes you wonder what they will come up with next year!

And don’t mention the beer bar. I thought I told you not to mention it! Seeing as you have, I couldn’t help noticing it when I was eating in the food court area. I may have to investigate that section of UD Town on special assignment. All I have to do is find a sponsor!

So much to do and so little time! Having visited UD Town and spent time listening to my children, it seems that we now have an alternative venue for shopping, eating and entertainment that has moved away from the normal shopping mall concept. To be truthful, I don’t do shopping at all as it isn’t compatible with my wallet; however, the idea of just walking through and stopping for an iced coffee or a quick snack (Whoa, steady on there big fella!), sitting outside watching people go by does seem appealing when I need to take a break from the rigors of daily life.

To obtain more information, UD Town has a free magazine with many articles for the discerning shopper; however, at the moment there are not too many articles in English. This, I am told will be remedied in the future.  For up to date information concerning all the future activities that will take place at UD Town, have a look at their website at www.goudtown.com which will explain, in English all the up and coming attractions. Be there or be square!

EK Decorate & Designs – Quality uPVC products

I had the pleasure to meet with Khun Eknarong Kongpan, the owner of EK decorate & Designs Udon Thani, at his product showroom the other day. Khun Eknarong invited me to have a look around his business and view the products and services on offer there.

Khun Eknarong Kongpan

Khun Eknarong Kongpan managing director of EK Decorate Udon Thani

Their salesroom was very easy to find, it’s located just across from on the Udon-kudjab intersection on the ring-road. Their sales office looks more like and elegant house than a business, it’s a modern looking building with coffee shop joined at the side with a neatly manicured garden. The coffee shop and sales office was built entirely using their own product range to give customers ideas and inspiration what can be created with their products; their working model coffee shop provides refreshments for customers and people passing by.

EK Decorate & Designs manufactures and distributes VINYL uPVC products under the WINDSOR brand. Khun Eknarong established the first showroom in Udon over 20 years ago and since then they have built a strong reputation in Udon Thani and the Northeast for great value and exceptional service in the design, production and installation of uPVC windows and doors. Today the company employs over 30 workers and has a vast array of high profile clients under their belt. They now have offices in Bangkok, Udon and are soon to open a showroom in Vientanne, Laos.

Khun Eknarong originates from Chiang Rai, he moved to Udon in the early 90′s when he met his wife. He fell in love with the area and decided it was the ideal place for him to set up his business. Since then he has developed the business into a well known local brand name and the company has gone from strength to strength ever since.

EK Decorate Showroom

EK Decorate Showroom Udon Thani

EK Decorate not only manufacture doors and windows, they also produce uPVC rain gutters, kitchens and other indoor and outdoor uPVC products which are perfect for Thailand’s tropical climates. Not only that they sell and install home elevator systems and chair lifts. They also offer interior and exterior design services, install creative ceilings, glass and much more.

Khun Eknarong showed me around their factory so I could see the production process from start to finish.  I was amazed at how clean and organized everything was; their products and workmanship all looked very high quality. It’s easy to see why their business is at the forefront of uPVC fabrication in the area.

Khun Eknarong together with his workforce continues to develop and resource modern products that have both a unique design and are eco friendly. Their ultimate goal is leaving all customers more than satisfied. You can view all the products in their purpose built showroom or read up about them on-line www.ekdecorate.com. (Please note at the time of writing their website is currently down and under development).

EK Decorate & Designs
Tel. 042-348-481-(2), 081-954-5959 Fax. 042-348-242
Email. ekdecorate@gmail.com
499 Moo 9, Liab Klong Charoen Road,
Maakaeng, Muang Udon Thani 41000 Map F14

History of Udon Thani

The province has been home to humans for a long, long time.  The archaeological site at Ban Chiang dates from the Bronze Age.

historic udon thani

Old street scene in Udon Thani

The, what is now known as Udon Thani, area sprang to  significance to Bangkok and the rest of Thailand in 1826.  Anouvong, the last king of Wieng Chang (or Vientiane as it is now known) had been an ally of Thailand in its wars with Burmah. However he rebelled against Thailand and invaded the North East in a bid to gain greater independence for his kingdom.  His forces were repelled and eventually defeated by local Thai forces.

Then in 1885 Prince Prachak brought his forces from the south to defeat a Chinese warlord who was causing chaos in the North East.  As a result of his victory the Prince was made Governor of the North and settled his administration at Nong Khai.  However the Franco-Siamese war in 1893 resulted in the French taking full control of Laos.  The Prince thought it prudent to move his troops and administration away from the border and they pulled back to Ban Mak-kaeng (also known as Barn Duea-mark-kang).  Here he established a town for his troops and administration which would grow and be known as Udon Thani – literally the Northern City.

The next significant event for the city was the arrival of American forces in the area in the 1960s as a result of their war with the North Vietnamese.  The joint-force Udon Royal Thai Airforce Base was established.  The base was completely transferred over to the Thai military authorities in 1976.  However both the people of the North-East and Udon Thani and the surrounding area had been significantly affected by the American presence.  The base had provided a large number of jobs to local Thais in the area.  These were very well paid when compared to wages available elsewhere in the region and so improved the general economy.   In addition the job holders acquired English language and work skills that would not otherwise been available for them.  A significant number of the better educated moved to the middle east to work in the oil fields.  This has been ongoing as family member descendants have followed their fathers because of an understanding of the work involved and personal contacts within the area.  The base also caused America to set up a Consulate in Udon (sadly closed in 1995) and a VFW (Veteran of Foreign Wars) post.  The general impression given to the outside world was that Udon Thani was a regional hub with firm contacts with America which further enhanced its’ reputation.

In recent years the province has received international attention because of the large deposit of potash discovered in the area.  If this discovery is exploited then the region will become a significant  exporter of potash to the world.  However, although some preliminary work has been done at the site, the granting of a licence and the commencement of mining has been delayed because of local opposition over environmental concerns.  While a company who wish to mine the site have issued an Environment Impact Assessment many are worried that the possible salinization of groundwater and soil and land subsidence.  If either of these problems actually occurred then they would have a major economic impact on the lives of those living near the site as rice farming is the main source of income.

History of Major General Prajak Silapakom

On the 5th. March 1865, Sangaw, the wife of King Rama IV gave birth to a son. The Prince was the 25th. son sired by Rama IV and was named Thong-korn-yai at birth. The name means Big Gold in Thai and it was rumoured that it was given in honour of the generosity of one of the early visitors to the infant Prince. The baby would grow up to become Major General Prajak Silapakom, the founder of the Thong-yai family.

prince prajak udon thani

Major General Prajak Silapakom

In 1885 the general and his troops were ordered by King Rama V to proceed to North East Thailand and restore order in the area as chaos was being caused by a Chinese bandit who had invaded the area. The general met and defeated the interloper in one single battle. As a reward for the victory and to ensure that peace remained in the North East, King Rama V made Prajak Silapakon Governor of the Northern Province.

He held this position from 1894 to 1900. The administration originally centred itself at Nong Khai so it could keep a watch over the Mekong. However France had being gaining more control over the region and in 1893 it gained control over what is now Laos P.D.R. The General though it would be a better military option to move his administration directly away from the Mekon. He moved south and settled his troops and administration at Barn Duea-mark-kang. Here he built a new town which grew into the city that we would all know as Udon Thani.

© udonmap.com


Italian Food Festival in Udon Thani

“Italian Food Festival”

Italian Food Udon Thani

Italian Food Festival

Centara Hotel & Convention Centre Udon Thani in cooperation with Rotary Club of Ban Chiang and Centara Grand mirage Beach Resort Pattaya Proudly present “Italian Food Festival”, Italian food in Buffet style at lunch from April 3-8, 2012 or a special dinner set only 660 baht on Thursday night 5th, they have a gala dinner which is soured with wine only 1,280 baht/person (limited for 60 people only).

More over, guests who order Italian dishes can fill out their menu and enter our special prize draw, which is a special room in Centara grand Beach Resort Pattaya, Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin.

You can make a reservation at 042-343555 or opscud@chr.co.th or http://www.facebook.com/Centara.cud

Teacher arrested for selling drugs to students

A 32 year old college teacher from Udon Thani was apprehended by police on February 8th 2012 for selling methamphetamines to students. He was caught taking drugs with a parent and confessed trading drugs at the school.

udon thani teacher selling drugs to children

Teacher and Parent arrested at Udon Thani Police Station

The teacher had been a government officers for 6 years before he became a history teacher at college. He said he was not addicted to the drug and took it recreationally with students and parents during private lessons at their homes.

Udon Thani director of education said the teacher would be expelled from February 8th onwards. The case is being forwarded to the Udon Thani Mayor for consideration.

Udon Expat Club

Udon Expat Club By Steve Graham

The offer of free coffee and snacks on the 4th floor of Panyavejinter Hospital was too much of a temptation for this sad man to miss, so I took my sorry self to a recent meeting of the Udon Expats Club with a view to finding out what was on offer.

Udon Expat Club

Udon Expat Club Meeting December 2011

Personally, I am not really into this sort of thing; however, a club that helps its fellow members to fit into a new lifestyle in Thailand away from their country of origin could be something I would be interested in, especially if there’s lots of coffee!

This club has been running for about three years with the idea of helping expatriates with advice on immigration, finances and visits for those who are in really isolated areas.

At the beginning of this meeting, new members introduced themselves before moving onto details of a DVD and book exchange system that had been proposed in the agenda and also a discussion on how best the club could give charitable donations to worthy causes in the Udon Thani vicinity.

To liven up the monthly meetings, there is a presentation by an individual or group connected to Udon Thani or on a subject that would interest the members attending. I was fortunate enough to listen to a group from Udon Thani’s Air Traffic Control, who spoke in English about their duties and were prepared to answer questions from the audience once they had presented their presentation and short video.

Of particular interest to me was the fact that charter planes from China, The Philippines and Switzerland use Udon Thani airport for freight. In addition, the air traffic controllers have been working round the clock during the recent floods last year.

Udon Expat Club

Guest Speakers at the Udon Expat Club Meeting

One question from the audience concerned the amount of training that an individual would receive to do the job. We were informed that after four months of tests, candidates would spend a year training, followed by the completion of one year of work experience before being qualified. Starting salaries are around 15,000 baht a month, so is above the average wage for Udon Thani, but doesn’t really blow your socks off!

Once the lecture was finished, members discussed the possibility of having a future presentation by a teacher explaining how to learn the Thai language and various entertainment ideas for the future enjoyment of the membership.

Before the meeting closed, there was a heated debate concerning administrative matters that seemed to have been outstanding for a considerable period of time; however, this did not detract from the obvious will of the membership to have a club that was for the benefit of all members and one that would also benefit the local community as well.

If you are interested in joining, application forms can be found on the internet www.udonexpatclub.com and at the time of going to press, membership costs 600 baht a year or 3,000 baht for life membership. So, if you are interested in keeping up to date with all things ‘expat’ that are going on in and around Udon Thani, why not take yourself to the monthly meetings which is on the last Sunday of every month (usually) at the Panyavejinter Hospital. I believe that you will get out of it as much as you put into it!

Udon Thani Potash Project

Udon Thani Potash Project © Steve Graham

Udon Thani Potash Project

Conceptual Layout Udon Potash Mine

Whilst attending a recent Udon Thani Chamber of Commerce meeting, I met a representative from the company that is developing the potash mining project in Udon Thani. We spoke briefly about the project and I asked if I could interview someone high up the chain of command with a view to getting the latest information about where the project is going.

Potash is used in the production of fertilisers, so on paper this would look like a good idea as the local communities could benefit from the business that would be generated and there would be a local supply of fertiliser on hand at an attractive price. I have read many negative articles on the internet and in the newspapers concerning the human rights aspects of what is proposed; however, the company who is conducting the development doesn’t seem to publicise their side of the argument. My research seemed very one sided, so I wanted to address the balance (in my own mind, at least).

Months later, I found myself on the other end of a telephone line talking to Khun Visuth Jirathiyut, the Managing Director of Asia Pacific Potash Corporation (APPC) Ltd. Our conversation lasted for about an hour and I was able to pose some questions and receive answers that our readership may find interesting concerning a project that will take 25 years (3 years construction and 22 years for the operation).

I found that there is a certain amount of distrust between local communities and APPC. This goes back to the early 1970s when allegedly a ten year survey was carried out by the Thai government without the full knowledge of the local people. Nobody was sure whether the officials were looking for oil, water or something else.

NGOs have taken up the case for the local communities involved and publicised a list of grievances including land rights violations, environmental damage due to initial exploration, lack of informed consent, bad communication between agencies and local residents, perceived lack of credibility of initial Environmental Impact Assessment, fears of contamination, loss of livelihood, mental anxiety, community division and potential loss of culture. All these subjects were taken from one report by the Educational Network for Global and Grassroots exchange (ENGAGE) published in 2003.

Khun Visuth informed me that there are two sites, Udon North and Udon South, of which Udon South is where the proposed first development will begin. Here, there is an estimated 300 million tonnes of potash of which 120 million tonnes will be excavated into ‘rooms’ and the remaining material will act as pillars to support the load above the mining area, leaving 180 million tonnes behind. Khun Visuth explained that the Room and Pillar method of mining requires that the rooms are cut underground with a continuous miner type rotating head which means that no explosives would be used as part of this process.

Let’s not fool ourselves, mining is a dangerous business and requires plenty of planning and forethought. The main problem for this project whilst drilling is the chance of hitting water and flooding to occur. Safety measure can be in place; however, it is always difficult to take on nature, especially underground.

The total mining area for Udon South is a proposed 26,000 rai. 1500 rai of land has been bought in order to construct a processing plant which will separate the sodium chloride and the potassium chloride using what they call a flotation process. The potassium chloride is the material required for this project. The left over material (tailings) will be backfilled into the “rooms” after a period of 3 to 4 years to assist with the added prevention of subsidence. Khun Visuth assured me that the ground where this processing plant is to be built will be fully prepared and protected with a monitoring system (water, air, dust and soil subsidence) in place to check for any form of contamination as the company appreciates that the water table at this location is not very deep.

One of the main concerns from the ENGAGE report was the perception by local people that the initial environmental impact assessment approved by the Thai government was flawed. A second study has been underway for sometime now in order to address the fears of locals and interested NGOs. Due to a change in Thailand’s constitutional law, it is proving a lengthy process; however, two of the three stages have been completed to date. The first public scoping phase and the visit to the villages affected has taken place and all that is left is the public review stage before being submitted for approval by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

So how will the local community benefit from this project, I hear you ask? Well, 900 jobs should be created directly for local people with a further 4,500 indirectly. Landowners within the mining area are set to receive 48,000 baht per rai without obligation and 250 scholarships have been provided for local students, increasing to 500 once production has started.

The government will receive a 7% royalty payment over the period which has been calculated as 37,372 million baht @400 US Dollars per ton and an exchange rate of 30 baht to 1US Dollar (prices are nearer 500 US Dollars now). This money is to be divided up with 40% going to central government, 20% to the districts in the mining area, 20% to Udon Thani Administration, 10% to other districts in Udon Thani and 10% to other districts in Thailand.

A compensation fund has been set up administered by the local community in the event that there is any environmental damage during the mining and production processes.

Khun Visuth and APPC are hopeful that their license will be granted even though there are many more steps of the scrutinisation process to be approved by numerous government departments. We have to wait and see as to whether the second Environmental Impact Assessment will be accepted to the satisfaction of the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of National Resources and Environment and of course, the general public sometime next year. Even then APPC will allocate funds to hire another consultant to review the study before being presented to a public hearing for all stakeholders in accordance with the Mining Act and onward submission to the mining licence committee under the Ministry of Industry for consideration.