Saturday, 29 January 2011

Ginny's serene life in the Golden Triangle ...

We are enjoying wickedly delicious desserts at the cool Chillout Cafe overlooking the Golden Triangle, and Jirachada 'Ginny' Assavanich is telling me about her hobbies ...

'Cooking, flower arrangement, yoga, reading, and swimming.' But then it strikes me that Ms Perpetual Motion would hardly get time for any of that. She hardly sits still for one minute, and, running the blossoming boutique Serene at Chiang Rai Hotel ( keeps her on the hop. 

Yummy desserts at Chill Out Cafe.
Many of these interests she's incorporated into her property, with arguably the best cafe food in Chieng Saen coming from her cafe's kitchen, floral arrangements used to great effect in the contemporary fusion-style hotel, and a new swimming pool on the banks of the Mekong having just been installed.

All of this is a long way from where the Bangkok girl grew up. 'Bangkok is full of life and every moment is quite rushed,' she says. But Ginny has fond memories of summer because she'd spend nearly all her time at Talad Klongsuan (100 Year Market) at Samutprakarn. The famous market is built in wood and has been around since the time of Rama 1V.

Klongsuan boats.
'I consider that one part of my hometown. The neighbours know each other, and there's never a lack of caring and sharing. The children always group together and play around neighbor hood home. Almost all of the population is Thai-Chinese. Some are Thai and Muslim but never argue for what they believe,' she reminisces wistfully.

As she gazes out over the Mekong River, with wooden boats chugging upstream, I am sure some of that reminds Ginny of all that childhood playtime near Klongsuan. Ginny says: 'We spent a slow life over there.If we would like to have some pastries it meant I had to help my mom baking. It was good quality time.' With that, she insists we have another round of mouth-watering desserts ...

Ginny's Top 5 Places to Chill in Chiang Rai:

The new pool with Mekong River and Laos in background.
1/ Swimming pool, Serene at Chiangrai Hotel: 'From this swimming pool, surrounded by its petite garden, I can see the Mekong river and lie down and feel at ease.'   

2/ Hall of Opium Museum, : 'I like it because it's a world-class quality museum, something difficult to find in Thailand. There are good presentations and it educates us a lot for knowledge of story of opium which IS the story of the Golden Triangle.'

3/ Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai: 'I love this place because from that place can be linked Thai, Myanmar and Laos by the Mekong River.'

4/ La Valley Gallery, Doi Chang Ngoo (or Doi Sa -ngo), Chiang Rai: 'I have visited this small art gallery and even experienced eating fusion food in the forest here. This is the place to find the famous artist professor Sriwan ... her portraits are so cool. Everything is set for good composition.'

5/ Jan Ka Pak, Chakaphan Pensiri Plant Development Center, Chiang Rai: 'They have a nice view of mountains and flowers. They provide organic quality vegetables. Here you can have quality Saldana bar with papaya salad and grilled chicken with sticky rice (the sticky rice is their specialty). Eating with this mountain view is soooo relaxing.'

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