This is Thailand

 |  March 31, 2010

[right]For those of you with any questions regarding Thailand, Thai culture, history, tourism, laws, rules, food, nightlife, sub-cultures, dating; generally anything as long as it is relevant,
we have a panel of three experts who will respond to your enquiries.

1. I believe that there are more than three hundred temples in Chiang Mai, which I would like to visit. Whilst I am aware that the old city is contained within the gates and moat, I am unaware of the boundaries of the new city, where there are temples. I presume the Superhighway is the boundary.

The official area of the city of Chiang Mai is 40 square kilometres. This was decreed before the ring roads were built; where the boundaries are somewhat vague, however, the earthen wall which is well beyond the moat, and which was built in the early 19th century, contains many wat. The moated city itself contains 34.

I presume that you are speaking of older temples. No, you cannot assume that the Superhighway is the boundary. Here are a couple of examples.

Wat Jet Yod (Temple of the Seven Spires, design based on the Mahabodhi temple in India) is situated just north of the Superhighway, near the Chiang Mai National Museum. A great temple that had fallen into ruin and is now getting spruced up again. It was built in the 1400s for a very important World Buddhist Council. Wat Prathad Doi Kham (Golden Mountain Temple) is in the Mae Hia sub-district of Ampur Muang, about 8 kilometres south of Suthep Road, off the Irrigation Canal Road, just behind the International Horticultural Exhibit. You go up a small mountain to get to it and the most striking feature is a huge Buddha image overlooking the Chiang Mai valley. This temple is the sister temple of the one on Doi Suthep. All the features from the sala, to the bot, to the main chedi are replicas, although much smaller, of the ones on Doi Suthep. The great thing about this temple is that there are no vendors and almost no people there. The view is just as good as the one on Doi Suthep. The story goes that this temple was built before the one on Doi Suthep and has been a place of worship for about 1300 years. It is said to have originally contained the relic of the Buddha that now resides on Doi Suthep.

Wiang Kum Kam. On the second ring road just east of the Ping River. Built by King Mengrai, it is the site of ruins of a city that predates Chiang Mai (which means ‘New City’) but because of the flooding from the river it was abandoned. There are more than 20 temple sites and old chedi there. Worth a visit.

2. Before I left England I made a will through my solicitor, leaving everything to my daughter. I have a small amount of money here in Thailand, which I would like to leave for friends here. Am I allowed to make a will here for the money I have here, or is it all treated as one lump sum based on my will in England?

The questioner should definitely get the advice of a solicitor back in England and a lawyer here. But from what I have read, one should be very specific about which assets are to be left to whom. Example, all the funds in my Lloyd’s Bank account are left to Person X and all the funds in my Bangkok Bank account are left to Person Y. If there is not to be a problem then the will back in England may have to be modified to be more specific, and should be translated into Thai and a copy kept here with a lawyer. A Thai lawyer should be able to advise whether a Thai will is needed. A problem may arise if the funds in Thailand have been kept secret from the people back in England. If that is the case, then higher advice than what we poor humans are able to provide may be needed.

You can make a separate will covering your Thai interests which is not subject to your English will.

3. Do I need to worry about rabies in Thailand?

Not so much. They have almost wiped out rabies from the Chiang Mai area and very few cases have been reported in the last decade. It’s virtually unheard of. Still, if you get bitten and the bite draws blood it’s better safe than sorry. Go to the hospital and ask the doctor if you need a shot. Do this within 24 hours of being bitten. A case of rabies was in the media recently when a woman died after being bitten by a dog she bought at JJ market in Bangkok, so it does still exist here.

4. What are my options here for academic study in the English language?

Payap University has some courses taught in English, as does CMU. Mae Fah Luang in Chiang Rai offers courses too. Their websites give you all the relevant information on the courses you can take.
You might also go to where you can find loads of links about international study in Thailand.