Vol. VII No. 37 - Tuesday
September 9 - September 15, 2008

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by Saichon Paewsoongnern

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

A resort with a difference

A resort with a difference

Last week we visited the third in our series of small resorts outside Chiang Mai, the Field Village Resort, located on the Hang Dong Road about 10 minutes from Chiang Mai, and very easy to find. 200 meters past the Makro store, you’ll see a 7-Eleven, continue for another 20 meters, then take the next left turn. The resort is approximately 2 kilometres along this road.

Jong, Tiffany and the kids from Ban Mae Maeh Orphanage.
When we arrived, we were welcomed by the owner, Khun Jong, who showed us around her home, a lovely example of classic Lanna architecture. On the resort’s land are ten traditional teak houses on stilts for rent, all overlooking the rice fields and with a distant view of the mountains. There are three different types to choose from, cottage, deluxe cottage with king size bed and 2 story cottages which are ideal for a family of 4 or 5 persons.
The teak houses all have large balconies; the bedrooms have typical traditional Lanna furniture blended with modern colours and with paintings by a local artist adorning each wall. Each room is fully equipped with bi-lingual satellite TV, DVD player, air-con, mini bar, and kettle. A hairdryer, dressing gowns and slippers are also provided. Don’t worry about towels for the pool – those are provided too!
The resort facilities include a ‘salt water’ infinity swimming pool with poolside bar and Bar-B-Q, a bistro and internet café, wireless internet service, laundry service and dressmaking. Staff are available until 10 pm, with a manned emergency call service throughout the night. A babysitter service is thoughtfully provided, as is a sightseeing tour in English, led by Aor, who has expert local knowledge. The resort even has its own small fishing lake.
The restaurant is open from 8 am until 9 pm, however this is flexible. For example, if someone has an early flight, the staff are happy to provide breakfast at an earlier time. Breakfasts can be anything from Thai style to a full ‘English Breakfast’. Lunch and dinner options include Thai and Western food, with vegetarian and vegan options as well. Khun Jong even provides such delicacies as Branston Pickles, Peanut Butter or Marmite, should her guests crave reminders of home! We tried the Pad Thai with chicken, the resort’s own recipe at110 baht, with the huge portions representing great value for money. Nothing seems to be too much trouble for Khun Jong’s kitchen staff.
If the resort is full, which is often the case, Khun Jong will lay on a Bar-B-Q, or a Seafood or Steak Party by the pool. They have had a few very successful small wedding parties, as well, so you will understand why reservations are a must.
When you look around at the lush grounds of the Field Village Resort, you get the feeling that it has been open for many years – not so, it opened in April 2007, and has already been awarded the “Best Hidden Gems Travellers’ Choice 2008” title by Trip Advisor, the world’s largest travel website.
Apart from being the perfect hostess, Kuhn Jong supports the Ban Mae Maeh orphanage in Chang Dao district, which cares for 120 Burmese children from 8-12 years old. The major problem is food supplies; on her last visit, stocks of food were enough for just 7 days. The government provides 1 meal per child per day – rice and cabbage, a starvation ration for active kids. The headmaster, when asked what help he needed, just replied” Food”. Medicine, however, is another urgent requirement – calamine lotion, shampoo and antibiotic powder are essentials for the kids’ insect bites and skin rashes. To say that the accommodation is basic would be inaccurate – it is less than basic. Two sleeping huts, one for boys, one for girls, wooden platforms for the older kids – the smallest sleep underneath.
Khun Jong, who visits the orphanage every 2 months, doesn’t want donations of money – she wants rice, dried food, medical necessities, scissors to cut hair, tooth brushes, notebooks, and pencils. It costs 1000 baht for 45K of rice – enough to feed the kids for 1 day. She is happy to collect and deliver donations herself—if you can help, please call her on 053-279-371 or 081-706-3879.
Rates for the Field Village Resort are from 2,500 baht to 5,100 baht including breakfast and airport transfer service, if required. For further information, please visit their web site, www.thefieldvillage.com.

A view of the resort from the paddy fields.

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