After leaving our home away from home in Vietnam we flew from Da Nang to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. We had one night there staying at the Tune Hotel out at the airport as our flight to the north of Thailand departed at 6.55am the next morning. Both flghts on Air Asia were comfortable and uneventful so that was chalked up as a good result : )
We arrived into Chiang Mai at 8.40am on Saturday and were greeted by the driver from Mae Jo Golf Club & Resort – our home for the next week. We have been here before to play golf and the course is really nice and extremely picturesque with a lot of fruit trees.
On Saturday afternoon we went back into Chiang Mai city to have a look around and reaquaint ourselves with some old haunts. Steve had tweaked his back packing his suitcase so I suggested a massage – most people would think that was a marvellous idea but Steve is very loyal and is very remiss to have a massage with anyone except his beloved Kiri back in NZ! Anyway I convinced him it was a good idea so there we were at Miracle Spa. There were a few grunts and groans from Steve’s corner and a lot of sorry’s and giggling from his masseuse. The verdict afterwards “Did I enjoy it – probably not. Was it good for me – probably.” His back is still a bit tender but he has managed seven rounds of golf with the Caddy teeing the ball up for him and retrieving it from the hole at the end. I kept a close eye on him to make sure he didn’t take advantage : )
We had these two great Caddy’s for our first round on Sunday – Kat and Ya. They were great fun so we had them for all seven rounds. Kat is 26 and speaks very good English. She also plays golf in the Caddy team so has a good knowledge of the course and is very good at reading putts. Ya is 43 and has only been caddying for 9 months – she told me she used to sell stuff in the markets but decided she was getting too fat so needed a more physical job. She said she has lost some weight and is feeling much healthier so that is great. She actually speaks good English but is a little shy – after a week with us she certainly came out of her shell. She was little misguided though thinking that Steve was the Boss! I had to set her straight on that front.
We had lots of laughs with them. It is funny hearing Kat’s perspective on the older foreign men who either live or visit here. She told us that they sometimes wink at the Caddy’s but if it happens to her she just turns away. However, if the man was young and handsome it would be a different story. Steve has had a hard time convincing her that he is young and handsome so she should be winking at him. Oh dear!
I really admired Kat’s spirit and attitude to life. She is single, lives alone and is fiercely independent. She looks after herself very well and is always looking at ways to better herself. She studies languages in her spare time, namely English, Japanese and Korean so she can better communicate with her golfing clients. She would love to be a tour guide but the course and other requirements are a bit expensive at the moment. She makes golf club covers in the low season and sells them to the golf club – I was the lucky recipient of Caddy Kat – a gift that she was a million percent sure she wanted me to have. She takes her golf clubs on her motorbike to the driving range which is about 30 minutes from where she lives to practice. We’re hoping to meet up with her later in the week at the range so Steve can give her some tips.
As I mentioned above there are a large number of fruit trees on the golf course. At the moment the pomelo’s are in season. The Caddy’s aren’t allowed to take the fruit but if the guests would like some then that is fine. Kat has convinvced us that we need pomelo and mango everyday so we are collecting and then giving to her! They did cut open a pomelo the other day and it was delicious – a little sour but so juicy.
The hotel complex is very comfortable with a lovely big pool that we have had pretty much to ourselves for the last week. Although my weather app has been telling me it is 31 degrees it feels a lot cooler. It was about 35 degrees in Vietnam and the air was warm. It is the rainy season here so there is a lot more cloud cover so feels cooler. There has been a bit of rain at night but generally dry during our golf rounds. On Friday it was raining when we started but then cleared for a few holes before coming down quite heavily about the 11th. We then got stuck behind some social club players so cut through and missed out a couple of holes to avoid getting too soaked.
Ya bought me a sticky rice stick one day without knowing that I absolutely love them. I was so happy – I told her I would give her some money so she could buy me one each day but she insisted on buying them for me – they cost between 10 or 12 baht each or NZD0.50 cents. This is a very interesting and tasty Thai food dish. Sticky rice which is a very famous Thai preparation is mixed with sugar and coconut milk. This mixture is filled into bamboo sticks, the sticks are then baked for many hours. The name given to this Thai sweet dish is ‘Khao Lham’. To eat the sticky rice that is cooked in the bamboo, you will need to split open the bamboo vertically. Soaked black beans are sometimes added to the rice, you can then see the cooked beans in the rice when the bamboo is split.
Ranging over 500 rais (1,600 square metres), the 18-Hole par 72 course was thoroughly designed to blend in beautifully with its natural terrains and spectacular surroundings. The course was designed by a well-known architect, Mr. Seni Thirawat and established in 2004. The course layout, was designed based on maximum safety and risk-reward approach shots and provides challenging but fair play to both amateurs and professional golfers. Each hole has a unique design and requires a different game plan to shoot for a par.
Several elevated tee boxes, which are spread throughout the course, reserve panoramic views of the course and surroundings, and at the same time, provide more challenging plays. The course features rolling fairways and large challenging greens which are considered some of the most challenging greens in the northern part of the kingdom of Thailand – I will definitely vouch for that!
Along side the fairways, you come across many local fruit-bearing trees, such as Longan, Lychee, Pomello and Tangerine, which provide not only unique scenery but also a unique tasting experience.