Thursday, 27 January 2011

Tee time in the north ...

There's always a warm welcome from Khun Tee ...
"When I was young, there was nothing here," says Kayoon 'Tee' Wishwoot, from her furniture showroom in the middle of Chiang Mai's bustling and trendy Nimminheiman Road. "No foreigners, no big airport, no infrastructure."

As a five year old, she moved from Bangkok to Chiang Mai with her parents, her father being one of the pioneer doctors who opened up the Chiang Mai Medical School. "That was 50 years ago, together with the Americans. That's why there were all these huge American cars around then. Western missionaries also had an impact -- the McCormick Hospital changed Chiang Mai to be more international."

The way she saw it, that also spawned the city's handicrafts industry. "First, westerners came as tourists, got souvenirs, then asked 'Can you make more for me?' So now we are the biggest for wood, handicrafts, etc.We started with one container, now thousands."

The shop where she is Sales Executive/ Showroom Manager is Gerard Collection ( specialising in bamboo furniture, and exporting worldwide.

"Because Chiang Mai is a small town with a big university, so the mentality is different. The people here are different -- it makes our vision a little wider. So when tourists come, we know how to deal with them. We don't operate like a business ... we don't hit and run."

Tee has travelled widely within the Kingdom. "I've been to every part of Thailand, but it's not like here. People are different, and the weather is number one!" she gives a big thumbs up to the north.

Tee's Top 5 Thailand Travel Tips:

1/ Bangkok: "If foreigners come to see us, they should go to Bangkok first and see the Emerald Temple, and the history and culture of Thailand there."

2/ Babylon Italian restaurant, Chiang Mai: "It's been there 30 years, in a quaint old house opposite Chiang Mai University on Huay Kheaw Road."

Khao soi, Lam Duan style. The best???
3/ Khao Soi Lam Duan, Chiang Mai: "This place on Fa Ham Road is famous as they used to serve in the Palace for the King and Queen when they came here. Have lovely pork satay too. It's famous because it's been there 30 years, the oldest."

4/ Goodview Restaurant, Chiang Mai ( "I go there to the river all the time with friends from out of town. Easy!"

5/ The Salad Concept, Nimmanhaemin Soi 13, Chiang Mai: "New style of eating with healthy things. Quick, easy, not too heavy like Thai food with rice and coconut milk."

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