Saturday, 29 January 2011

Say Armin to that (or Schoch Therapy)

Armin with 'a little bit of car trouble' up north.
Armin Schoch is Swiss by birth but arrived in Thailand and 1983, and that was that. He never left.

He's now a Thai citizen. He even has a Thai name: Arin Chokphisit. He speaks Thai with the chattering rapidity of a machine gun, testament to all the time he's spent in the far-flung villages and outposts of this country, looking for authentic cultural experiences to offer his clients.

Pool table at Be Bop Bar, Pai
You see, he's a tour operator. He used to run Diethelm Travel in Bangkok for many years but now runs his own bespoke operation, Impulse (

He's turned one of his hobbies -- motorbike touring -- into a business. Armin is a notorious figure throughout northern Thailand on his blue-and-white BMW 650 Dakar. But when he's not terrorising the buffalo in the countryside on his bike, he's enjoying a game of tennis or a few frames of snooker with the lads.

He now calls rural Mae Rim (north of Chiang Mai) home. ‘Been there 7 years; best home town I’ve ever had.’

Northern Thailand is firmly his favourite part of the country. ‘Great topography that makes for great motorcycling, ethnic variety, genuinely friendly people, fantastic food, amazing cultural, historical, ethnic background.’

Armin’s impulsive Top 5 Thailand Travel Tips:

1/ Nan: ‘Is a city that is laid back, yet surprisingly developed, and yet largely unrecognized.’

2/ Doi Mae Salong, Chiang Rai: ‘A place with a hugely diverse and rich historical background.’

3/ Ban Dam, Chiang Rai: ‘For contemporary modern art, very avant-garde, yet also very Thai.’

4/ Hill-tribe villages: ‘Any hill-tribe village that is still unspoilt by tourism where I can sit down and have a chat with the locals.’

5/ Be Bop Bar, Pai: ‘I am not a fan of Pai per se, but do always enjoy the great music on a not-too-busy night at Be Bop.’

No comments:

Post a Comment