Skal members learn all about coffee
Skal’s July gathering was held at the Chedi
Hotel where members learned all about the award winning locally grown Nacha
Over forty members of Skal club (Thailand- Northern chapter) and their
guests gathered at the elegant Chedi hotel for a delicious Indian food
The evening started with attendees gathering next to the sculpted terracotta
pond hall that is attached to what used to be the old British Consulate and
is now part of the Chedi hotel, sipping cocktails and wines, chatting and
getting to know each other.
The guest speaker for the evening was Khun Chanon Poncharoenkul who made a
brief presentation on his award winning Nacha coffee. He explained how a
locally grown coffee, hand picked from their coffee plantations in Doi
Saket, grown in an organic way with great care, roasted and packaged in
Chiangmai went on to win an international award: the Asian Best coffee of
2007. Nacha coffee was served for a tasting of this really smooth and fine
winning brew. Gift bags of the Nacha coffee were distributed to all
After the presentation, a delicious dinner was served to everybody’s’
delight. The menu: a selection of exquisite variety of Indian dishes like
Machi Tikka, Murgh Tikka Masala, Terka Dal, not to forget the Rasmalie
dessert and the famous Indian masala chai (tea).
The Skal club dinner for the month of August will be held at the recently
re-located Buonnissimo’s restaurant along the Mae Ping River.
For more information about the next month’s dinner or about joining Skal
club, please contact Khun Armin by e-mail: [email protected]
Bangkok Airways to begin one way flights to Angkor Wat
According to a press release from Bangkok Airways, commencing from October
29th, Bangkok Airways will launch a new air link from Chiang Mai to Siem
Reap (Angkor Wat), shortcutting a transit in Bangkok to facilitate high
The airline continues to strengthen its network in the region by making
access to cultural landmarks such as Angkor Wat more readily available.
Bangkok Airways will operate flights twice a week on Thursdays and Saturdays
on the 70 seat ATR72. The flight leaves Chiang Mai at 16:10 hrs and arrives
at Siem Reap at 18:30 hrs. This flight is specifically a one way flight. For
more information or reservation, please call 1771 or visit their website at
A northerner visits Pattaya
Despite the fact that most foreign residents of Chiang Mai are convinced of
their city’s superiority to Pattaya as a place to live, it is occasionally
tempting to head down to the shores of the Gulf of Thailand to check out
what is going on there.
With that in mind, I recently spent a week in the self-styled “Extreme City”
and found it to have visibly changed from my last visit over a year ago.
Firstly, there is construction going on every-where, some of which has
resulted in shopping malls, hotels and residences that are more modern and
attractive than the ones they replaced. Particularly in the more established
part of town, there is a freshness about the facilities that confirms
Pattaya’s broad popularity and affluence.
Out towards Jomtien, there has also been a lot of face-lifting, as well as
tremendous amounts of new building on what had formerly been open space. The
net effect is a “boomtown” atmosphere and a noticeable upgrading and
diversification of dining and residential options near what was formerly a
relatively sleepy beach. Of course, these developments may be viewed
negatively by some, especially since they have increased the noise levels,
traffic and sewage treatment problems which are a chronic challenge in a
Ironically, the surge in tourist-related facilities in Pattaya seems not to
have been accompanied by a proportional increase in visitors. In fact, even
during the recent Thai holiday weekend, there was a notable lack of crowds,
except on the bar and club-filled Walking Street in South Pattaya. During
the preceding week, the streets were eerily quiet, even in the nightlife
districts, with staff outnumbering customers in many outlets. Of course,
this seems to be the case in Chiang Mai as well, with low occupancy rates at
hotels, and sharply diminished numbers of foreign visitors.
Pattaya’s hotel prices have been adjusted down to reflect the over-supply,
but property purchase prices, as in Chiang Mai, are still trending upward,
as developable land gets scarcer and condos remain an attractive investment
option, both for foreigners and for Thais who are unable to invest freely
outside the country.
Food prices, particularly for Western food and restaurant meals, are 50%
higher than what is available in Chiang Mai, but the variety and ease of
access are superior, particularly for seafood. Thai food is available at
modest prices, but only if one goes directly to public markets to get it.
Transport within the city is reasonably priced, but sometimes inconvenient
due to the large number of one-way streets and the ban on air-conditioned
taxis (except for trips outside the city). Getting to Pattaya by metered
taxi from Suvarnabhumi Airport now costs 1000 baht (plus tolls) and 1200
baht from Don Muang Airport. There is construction on the Motorway from
Bangkok, so the trip usually exceeds two hours. It would be great if the
budget airlines would fly into Pattaya’s U-tapao Airport directly from
Chiang Mai, but for now, that doesn’t seem to be under consideration.