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Skålleagues discuss volcanoes, the heat and pandanus martinis at monthly meeting

Something different in Chiang Mai


Skålleagues discuss volcanoes, the heat and pandanus martinis at monthly meeting

Marc Dumur, (center) President of Skål International Chiang Mai & North Thailand is joined by Skålleagues for cocktails at the Dusit D2 for the monthly dinner.

(Left to right) Scott Michael Smith of Assumption University, Department of Hospitality and Tourism and President of Young Skål Thailand, Anchalee Kalmapijit of Maetaman Elephant Camp, Sutthiruk Sitthisoonthorn, President of Spa Mantra, Nopawan Komyoung of Maetaman Elephant Camp, and Pakin Ployphicha, President of Thai Lanna Spa Association Office discuss the current tourist season in Chiang Mai.

By Shana Kongmun

At a meeting of tourism and travel professionals it is no surprise that talk among the attendees led to the current low season, seasonal fluctuations of tourists to Chiang Mai and the fact that Chiang Mai has a very small number of international direct flights. Skål held its monthly meeting on April 29 at the Dusit D2 Moxxie Restaurant. Well attended by tourism professionals, hotel managers, and media, the evening was considered a great success.

The first Skål club was established in Paris in 1932; a meeting of like minded travel managers after an educational tour of Scandinavia, hence the term Skål , a traditional toast among the Scandinavians. The idea of international goodwill and friendship grew and, in 1934, the “Association Internationale des Skål Clubs” was formed with Florimond Volckaert as the club’s first President, considered the Father of Skål.

Margaret Bhadungzong, Publisher of Welcome to Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai Magazine joins Arie J.M. De Keijzer, Director of Mokador Chiang Mai in opening the dinner with the traditional Skål toast.

Nowadays, Skål is found in 87 countries with more than 23,000 members in 500 clubs around the world. Active membership in Skål is limited to those holding managerial positions, or positions considered equivalent by Skål International, in the travel and tourism industry. There is also the Young Skål club for students, and young professionals in the industry. Marc Dumur is the Director for Skål Chiang Mai.

The evening began with the Skål toast, Sundheit for health, Karlek for friendship, Aruger for long life and Lycka for happiness, with Margaret Bhadungzong offering the toast in Thai as well.

Sally Ward of the 200 Club enjoys the buffet at the Moxxie Restaurant at the Dusit D2.

Andrew Bond of Virtual Travel guides discussed his online travel guides and the unique content they provide for British and European websites. He went on to talk about the time he cycled all over Thailand in training for a competition, even going so far as to take his bicycle to Koh Tao and brave the treacherous roads there. Albeit, slightly improved since then, Koh Tao is still well known for its steep hills so certainly no mean feat on his part.

Tony Malhotra recently relocated to Chiang Mai to take up the post as the Managing Director of the Chiang Mai Mail newspaper also attended the meeting. A member of the Skål Club of Pattaya and East Thailand, he has been involved in promoting tourism businesses in Pattaya for the 10 years since his graduation with a bachelor degree in Travel Industry Management. Tony plan to help promote the tourism industry in the North and Chiang Mai through various means, most importantly though the Chaing Mai Mail; linking local businesses to the world. Over the past few days Tony has been meeting with various Thai Tourism Associations and their members to study the nature of the Northern tourism industry. “Through Skål Club, we will grow our joint efforts to promote the tourism in the city together”, Tony said during a chat with the club Director, Marc Dumur.

(left to right) Phitsanu Thepthong, Editor of the Chiang Mai Mail discusses the current situation in Chiang Mai with Tawarn Wutthisri, Manager of the Bizbar Restaurant at the Montri Hotel and-Prapha Charoenphol, Public Relations of the Montri Hotel.

Surasri Suwannanon, General Manager of the Rati Lanna Riverside Spa Resort was glad to be back in Chiang Mai after a long 6 year absence. He talked about meeting Peter Malhotra when he first arrived and telling him that he was glad Chiang Mai had an English language newspaper as he felt it was of importance to the local community. He added that while Koh Chang was lovely, the art, culture and music of Chiang Mai made it a very livable place to be. Patrick Moukarzel of the Chedi agreed, stating that the excellent schools in Chiang Mai were an added bonus.

(Left to right) Noppharut Vadhannabhuti, Managing Director of Shewe Wana Boutique Resort & Spa Chiang Mai is joined by Margaret Bhadungzong, Publisher of Welcome to Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai Magazine and Ineke Martens, Office Manager of Rowaco Asia Travel.

Talk moved to the various places hotel General Managers find themselves living, from Koh Chang to Phuket, Muscat and Dubai. But all agreed that Chiang Mai certainly had its charms to make it a very agreeable place to live; especially now that the air seems to have cleared and the temperatures seem to be a degree or two lower. Patrick Moukarzel mentioned skyrocketing water bills as the gardens had to be watered all day due to the high heat. Somehow, all talk ends up on the weather at these events.

(From left to right) Gregg Goldin and Tara Chessman of Studio Naenna discuss the showing at Saengdee Gallery with Po Garder of the gallery.

Politics was obviously a focus of conversation, seeing how it has affected tourism, the volcano was also a big topic, and many of the managers on hand had stranded guests that had just managed to leave.

The evening at the Moxxie at D2 offered fine drinks; a pandanus martini made of organically grown pandanus, and good food. Gary Newitt of AA Insurance added that the food was delicious and the ribs of a very high quality. A Skål regular he is looking forward to next month’s meeting at the Montri.

Marc Dumur, center, Director of the Chiang Mai Skål, is joined by Phitsanu Thepthong, Editor of the Chiang Mai Mail. left and Tony Malhotra, Managing Director of the Chiang Mai Mail at the Skål dinner at the Dusit D2.

(Left to right) Phitsanu Thepthong, Editor of the Chiang Mai Mail joins Pim Kemasingki, Managing Editor and Director of City Life Magazine, Tony Malhotra, Managing Director of the Chiang Mai Mail and Shana Kongmun, Managing Editor of the Chiang Mai Mail in a chat during the Skål dinner at the Dusit D2.

(left to right) Vanita, Marketing Manager for Fashion King joins Nopparat (James) Kaewrat, Sales & Marketing Director of Playhouse Entertainment Complex Chiang Mai, -David Paul Shrubsole, Owner of the Playhouse Entertainment Complex Chiang Mai and Frank, the Managing Director Fashion King

Skålleagues of Chiang Mai & North Thailand
join President Marc Dumur for a group photo.


Something different in Chiang Mai

By Shana Kongmun

A recent invite to a special show at the Playhouse Entertainment Complex along with quite a few Chiang Mai movers and shakers was my first encounter with this rather highly touted show. I have to confess I have never seen a traditional “ladyboy cabaret” show, it seems that part of my Thailand experience and education is lacking. But, the Playhouse puts on, from what I have been told, something quite different from the standard fare.

The evening started off with a very nicely laid out buffet with some very well done curries and a nice Tom Kha soup (I admit to fussiness when it comes to Tom Kha, so easily done and yet so many times done poorly). The dinner was pleasant, in a very lovely garden setting with a beautiful full size waterfall.

We were gently guided into the theater, which, while spacious and with comfortable seats, could really use air conditioning in the hot season. The show started with the jester style MC guiding us through show tunes in elaborately done stage sets. While the performers did appear to be lip synching, it must be said that the sound system was superb, the songs chosen quite fun, and the dancing very enjoyable.

The show was interspersed with popular songs and Broadway show tunes, beautiful glittery costumes and some very limber moves.

From the elaborate wedding gown with the rather humorous and, perhaps true to life, skit that attended, to the well done “Singing in the Rain”, it was a well presented performance. The show was broken up with humorous moments that brought a chuckle to many of the attendees. The pizza delivery guy did get us all wondering how they managed to get the uniform. Perhaps The Pizza Company is in on the gag.

It certainly is a family friendly show and one that would be of interest to not only visitors but also locals looking for something different. Surprisingly, not that difficult to find, the Playhouse is located behind the Tops off Chang Puaek Road. Check their website for details on shows, location and times. http://playhouse-chiangmai.com/