Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Ton and Mee's sweet life in the hills ...

Ton and Mee -- and Ouan makes three.
I found myself in the mountains of Doi Mae Salong recently, and had to check out this place everyone's been raving about. On the lower part of the town, Sweet Mae Salong [look it up on facebook] is perfectly charming from the outside with its wood and bamboo cladding.

Then once inside, cool jazz tunes sweep over you, and your eyes are drawn to the valley outside. The cafe hangs over a stunning piece of countryside, with terraced tea plantations opposite. Cast your eyes around and you can hardly believe you're in some little mountain town; it feels as cool as anywhere in downtown Sukhumvit Road. Magazines in any number of languages, arty photographs of the area, and a certain designery chic. It seems soooo out of place ...

Sweet Mae Salong is the 'baby' of Ton and Mee, a lovely young couple from Bangkok who decided to pursue their dream. "My family ran a traditional Thai restaurant, very primitive," Mee laughs. "But I love baking, not really cooking." Her raspberry tart is wicked, and her creme brulee the best this side of Paris.

Oh, so you studied dessert-making under some renowned chef or something? "No, I studied international business in Melbourne," she laughs. "And I studied photography," chimes in the affable Ton. "Spend lots of money to study in Melbourne, now serve coffee and bake cakes!"

Hungry diners thaw out over a huge breakfast ...
They serve up a splendid breakfast; a mountain of scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage with slices of the best home-made wholemeal bread thick as hard-cover novels. Ton's tertiary education was not wasted -- his coffee is spot on.

Other guests shuffle into the tiny cafe, rugged up against the morning chill which can get down to about 5 or 10 degrees on a wintry morning. Everyone wants to sit on the balcony and be thawed by the morning son that stream across those tables.

We chat between cups of coffee. Why Doi Mae Salong? "It's a balance between nature, culture and money," says the artistically slim Ton. "And Mae Salong is interesting. We have tradition and we have the internet." A Mac computer sits wired nearby. "But it's quiet versus Bangkok and Mee loves the weather."

Ton's favourite place in Thailand is Lanta Island in the south. "Coz Lanta Island is very big but you still can find peaceful and quiet beach," the 35-year-old enthuses. You can also catch the boat to many beautiful islands around, rent a bike to visit Amphur Gao ... San Ga Ou village. Kao Mai Gaew waterfall in Tambon Klong Rin is also very, very beautiful."

Ton and Mee's Top 5 Thailand Sweet Spots:

1/ Lao Liang Island, Trang Province: "There's no resort on that island so you can really feel the beauty of nature there. The sea is very clear, the sand is so soft and white just like woman's leg. You can also do cliff climbing and kayaking around the island."
Quiet fields in Nan, near Laos.
2/ Nan province: "Beautiful temple and lovely lifestyle. Life is slow there and the cost of living is reasonable."
3/ Pranakorn Bar and Gallery, Bangkok: "At Kok Wua intersection. Located in the middle of Ratanakosin island and not so far from the Grand Palace. From the roof top you can see the Golden Mountain temple and Rachadamnun Road view."  
View from The Deck
4/ The Deck at Tartean, Bangkok: "Close to Wat Pho in Bangkok, it provides you the great view of Chao Praya river and Wat Arun;  it's very romantic to have a glass of wine with your date there."
5/  Street Food at Chinatown, Bangkok: "It has so much to mention  -- variety of great food, mixture of nationalities from around the world, lifestyle and so much more. Walking in the middle of Chinatown it's so lively!"

1 comment:

  1. I made an enjoyable trip to Thailand and shoot many photographs in beautiful beaches. And there are Koh Samui long term rentals to stay and to enjoy Phuket islands.