Monday, 6 December 2010

Khun Woropot Nimsakul suggests an island I've never heard of ...

Khun Woropot lives in a large, airy house he built himself on his father's former longan farm with grandstand views of Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai. Gardeners busy themselves preening the plants on the rambling lawn, and squirrels dart from tree to tree.

Born and raised in Chiang Mai, this thirty-something guy's a fan of the northern capital: "It has a combination of local style and modern style; you can find Bangkok lifestyle in Nimminheiman, and local traditional lifestyle there. It is perfect to have both."

Not that he spends much time there; he always seems to be on the road travelling."The most exciting thing I do is travel," says the quiet-spoken construction industry executive, who enjoys reading books he buys at Suriwong Bookstore in his spare time.

His favourite destination is Koh Tarutao ( "It is nice and quiet, not like Phi Phi. I knew this island about 20 years ago when it was hard to get to. Now it's easier fly to Had Yai, then minibus to the pier at Stoon, then across by speedboat. I think they also have a ferry. It's become popular in just a few years, especially Lipe Island, but it's changed only a little."

Woropot has been there three times already.

The rest of the year he enjoys the festivals and ceremonies. "The exciting thing in Thailand is the ceremony ... New Year, Loy Krathong, Songkhran ... everyone is happy for the festival.Thai people celebrate everything, including Christmas," he laughs.

What he likes most about Thailand is the people and the lifestyle. "Almost all the people are nice and easy, and welcome to everyone whether you are from Europe or Middle East or wherever. The weather is nice ... but a little hot in the afternoon sometimes," he smiles.

Khun Woropot's top 5 Chiang Mai tips are:

1. Huen Jai Yong restaurant, San Kampaeng. "Real local food, good taste, clean. It's in an old-style Lanna house so the atmosphere is great."

2. Tan Tong Waterfall, Doi Saket. "Nice area, many resorts, it's quiet and green, and just 30 minutes from Chiang Mai."

3. Chez Marco, Loi Kroh. "Nice home-cooking by Marco who is French. My favourites are the slow-cooked beef and the salmon carpaccio."

4. Ban Tawai village. "I always go there for furniture and decorations made from teak and other materials such as mango wood and coconut. Yuang Kum store has good antiques and reproductions," he laughs.

5. Sunday Walking Street, Rachadamnoern Road. "It has many, many things, and food, but I like paintings from the artist at a reasonable price. Almost everything is hand-made so I love it. Not mass-produced like at Night Bazaar."

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