Information & Events
This bi-monthly blog offers an insight on the activity undertaken and scope of service provided to clients in the North of Thailand as well as providing information. The first two months of 2019 have been active with 317 consular activities that required 128 hours of participation.
AMBASSADOR TO THAILAND – The new Australian Ambassador-Designate, Allan McKinnon is getting out and about for Australia in Thailand.
CONSULAR SERVICE OUTREACH VISIT – The next Embassy Consular Services visit to Chiang Mai is anticipated to be sometime in June 2019. You can monitor the date & venue by checking this web page.
AUSTRALIAN PASSPORTS – reminder that application for new or renewal passports can be lodged at the Consulate in Chiang Mai. Please contact the consulate for details and appointments. Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
MARRIAGE IN THAILAND – On 1 April the Australian Embassy Consular Services will no longer be issuing statutory declarations for Marriage in Thailand. Instead they will be issuing Certificates of No Impediment (CNI). The current marriage “stat decs” will continue to be accepted by Ministry of Interior until 14 June. From 1 April 2019 the process for obtaining a form to get married is essentially the same, but the form is changing as the Embassy moves away from statutory declarations which are for use in Australia only. Details and changes to the form and process at the Embassy can be viewed, once updated, at the Embassy web page – Getting Married in Thailand
BANGKOK CONSULAR SERVICE APPOINTMENTS – Please remember that if you are looking for notarial or passport services at the Embassy in Bangkok, you must make an on-line appointment booking. See this web page on how to book.
ANZAC DAY – On 25 April at 5:45 am in Chiang Mai there is a dawn service. The public are welcome, you can lay a wreath if you wish and a bbq breakfast follows. It is held at the Christian Outreach Center/House of Praise International. Here is a link to the Facebook Event post for details.
Community Outreach & Public Diplomacy Highlights
There are events and invitation from the Thai Government, private sector and other agencies that often provide opportunities for engagement in the community and public diplomacy. The following highlights some of the activity during January and February 2019:
We dropped into the Chiang Mai Tourist Police Headquarters for a visit – Location: https://goo.gl/maps/xUtWQdu4T6x and exchanged introductions and information on roles and assistance. The Tourist Police Bureau of Thailand was apparently formed on September 1, 2017. It was elevated from the Tourist Police Division, which was previously formed in 1992 and can trace its origins to 1976. The Tourist Police is a Department of the Royal Thai Police, which is the main law enforcement agency in the country. The creation of the Tourist Police is due to the fact that the tourism and entertainment industry in Thailand is growing every year, and the number of people arriving in the country is constantly increasing. The priorities of the Tourist Police include cooperation with foreign nationals and the promotion of their security. Their national contact number is – 1155
AUSTRALIAN ARTIST EXHIBITION – LUCKY
12 Animals of the Chinese Zodiac – From February 1 – March 15 there was an exhibition by Australian born Chinese artist Chris Chun, from Melbourne, at the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort and Hotel. Each animal picture combines traditional Asian symbolism with contemporary Western sensibilities to bring good fortune, health and happiness to their owner. Taking inspiration from his surrounds and Asia travels, Chris has considered all important elements that are central to Chinese culture. The result, a whimsical, colorful and engaging series of paintings that uniquely capture each personality trait of each zodiac animal. There was a lovely launch event and an opportunity to hear from Chris and the GM of the Hotel.
NORTHERN CONSULAR CORPS
The US Consulate General Chiang Mai hosted a reception at her residence for members of the Consular Corps in Chiang Mai last night. It was a chance for new years greetings and an opportunity to meet some of the US Consulate staff that are new to Chiang Mai. Thank you Jennifer for the lovely social evening with opportunity for discussions and exchanges on many topics.
The consulate hosted a visit by Maejo University for new years greetings and discussions. The Vice President, Dean of the International College and the Assistant to the President represented the University. MJU has a very large student body, 3 campus sites and 16 faculties. Agriculture is a strong focus of the University so we discussed the Australian-Thai relations regard agriculture initiatives, thanks to brief provided by the Embassy. MJU was established in 1934, based on a major concept of HM The King, thus becoming one of the oldest degree-granting agricultural institutions in the country. MJU foresees greater significance of its role as leader in agricultural excellence in the Asian region. Maejo University hopes to strengthen its international relations by striving to promote academic internationalisation without sacrificing its distinct character.
Thanks to the British Embassy Consular staff and their Honorary Consul in Chiang Mai for a productive working lunch. We discussed a range of consular case issues and practices. It was a very good exchange and useful information was shared. I am the more casually dressed one – they had just come from a Government meeting.
KHON DANCE PERFORMANCE
As a member of the Consular Corps it was enjoyable to join a large audience tonight to experience a Khon dance special performance at the 3 Kings Monument Chiang Mai. Khon dance is the traditional Thai masked dance drama, based on the classic Hindu Ramayana epics with elaborately made costumes and masks.It was performed by the Khon Salachalernkrung Royal Theater. Thanks to Chiang Mai City and Provincial Government for our invitation.
The Consulate joined about 150 others to celebrate Australian Day 2019 in Chiang Mai at Yummy Family Restaurant and thanks to Tony for hosting this event. There was lots of food, Aussie treats, music and entertainment from Tony and the Aussie John Band, photo opportunities & fun. Thanks to community supporters the Consulate held a lucky draw for 3 prizes – Rimping Supermarkets Australian Food Pack; the Elephant Parade for Aus Flag Elephant & workshop vouchers and the Australian Embassy for other Gifts. It was a wonderful, relaxed and fun evening for Australia Day in Chiang Mai.
The Consul also dropped in for lunch with the crew at the Downunder Pub to enjoy an aussie pie and sausage sizzle (with onions on top). The consulate offered a lucky draw to the lunch time crowd for 3 prizes – a fine Australian wine from WA, and 2 boxes of delicious Lamingtons. Had a good to chat with some of the local Aussie community over lunch. Thanks to Torry at the Downunder for hosting.
PAYAP UNIVERSITY INTERNATIONAL DAY
The 16th Annual Payap University International Day social event was held this evening on the campus peace park. We joined some Consular Corps colleagues and many others to enjoy food and entertainment from various countries of the student body. It was a fun evening with the 6th President of Payap University, Dr Rux Prompalit. The university has 45 years of history, but it’s roots back 135 years involving missionaries to Thailand. It has an MOU with Deakan University in Australia.
CHINESE SPRING FESTIVAL
A lovely evening of socialisation and networking. On the occasion of the Chinese Spring Festival we enjoyed joining other guests and members of the Consular Corps to celebrate. Thanks to Consul General of the Peoples Republic of China in Chiang Mai for inviting us. Speeches, school donations, cultural performances and abundant food were enjoyed by all.
Scope of Support Services
Much of the consulates workload involves contacts from Australian’s, Thai nationals and others seeking consular services, visa information or some form of inquiry or assistance. While we can’t share details of cases or assistance, due to privacy reasons, I can provide some data regarding the type and scale of activities from the past two months.
The month of January involved 200 contacts & activities requiring 98 service hours. The client language mix was 87% English & 13% Thai. By comparison the month of February was less hectic due to a holiday break, with 117 contacts & activities that required 30 service hours. The client language mix was 90% English & 10% Thai.
The work involved a wide variety of matters such as providing information in response to inquiries for notarial and passport services, Australian visa inquiries, other assistance, information and offering referrals to websites or correct contacts/place for services. As well the Consulate assisted the Embassy on case management for clients requiring personal consular assistance & support. The breakdown of Consulate service activities by percentage of overall work for the two months are:
- Consular Support & Passports: – Jan 73.5% & Feb 84%
- Australian visa Information: – Jan 15% & Feb 9%
- General Assist & Information: – Jan 4.5% & Feb 5%
- Public diplomacy/Outreach: – Jan 7% & Feb 2%
The Consulate uses social media, such as Facebook & twitter and dedicated websites in order to disseminate & share information.
Facebook pages – This is where I post routine activity on a more frequent basis – mainly the public diplomacy activity & consular information. You can check out these FB page links:
Australian Thailand Chamber of Commerce – AUSTCHAM – check out this groups activity and business information in their e-Advance – Monthly Newsletter
Consulate Contact and Hours of Operation
The consulate is open from Monday to Thursday from 9 am to 12 noon. You can contact the consulate using email – email@example.com or phone: 091 857 6996 – (during operating hours). For after hours contact or assistance you can contact the Embassy in Bangkok on 02 344 6300 or for consular emergencies outside of these hours please call the Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305