Chiang Mai hotel offends religious sensibilities

TNA, Nov 1, 2004

CHIANG MAI, Thailand -- Cultural experts in Thailand's northern city of Chiang Mai are up in arms over a five-star hotel where the accommodation comes in the form of replica Buddhist temples.

Academics gathered for a Lanna studies conference at the Chiang Mai campus of Chulalongkorn University yesterday were aghast to be shown video shots of the hotel, where replicas of a number of famous temples form the bedrooms and dining hall.

Prof. Kiertikhun Manee Phayomyong, one of the academics attending the conference, warned that the architecture of the hotel was clearly wrong, and would give a false impression of Buddhist beliefs to foreign tourists.

Chulalongkorn University lecture Sirin Hinkhong pledged to drum up the support of monks and local cultural institutions, saying that the construction completely missed the complex symbolism of the Buddhist structures.