International Sales Manager at Golfasian, Jim Mullet, on why he thinks Chiang Mai should be your next golf holiday destination
I first heard of Chiang Mai many years ago while working in Texas in Corporate Finance. A small local Thai Restaurant was one of my favorite lunch spots and I got to know the owner and his family, who kept telling me “You need to go to Chiang Mai, it’s the best place in Thailand!”. The following year I took their advice and it quickly became one of my favorite Go To spots. The mountain scenery, the laid-back atmosphere, the gentle and friendly locals, the outstanding value for money and the variety of ways to spend a fun day all combine to make it one of my favorite holiday destinations.
Just a one hour flight from Bangkok plus convenient direct flights from numerous International hubs including Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei and Seoul make Chiang Mai easy to get to, and once you’re there it’s so easy to get around. Most hotels are within 15 minutes of the airport and most golf courses are within 45 minutes of the hotels. And if you stay at a central hotel you’ll have lots of options for dining, entertainment and shopping within easy walking distance.
I became so fond of Chiang Mai that I moved there for 3 ½ years, and even though I am now back in Bangkok I still visit regularly throughout the year.
Loy Kratong which is normally in November (the dates change every year according to the Thai Lunar Calendar) is my favorite time to be there. All the locals come out and the atmosphere is very festive with the sky filled with floating lanterns and fireworks all evening. Many younger visitors (and some not so young) also are quite big on Songkran held in mid-April with all-out water fights soaking everyone from head to toe – though personally that’s probably my least favorite time!
For avid golfers there are two ‘Must Play’ courses: Alpine Chiang Mai which has played host to the Asian Tour’s Chiang Mai Classic and Chiangmai Highlands. The surrounding scenery at both is spectacular, but you’ll need to concentrate on your game as they are both also a strong challenge and an enjoyable one at that! In addition, there are at least 8 other good courses in the area to provide plenty of variety for all golfers.
Non-golfers will have a great time in Chiang Mai too with a large number of scenic and inspiring options for spending their time including half and full day tours covering ancient temples, majestic mountains and waterfalls, Thai cooking classes, elephant camps, market shopping and much more.
If you haven’t been to Chiang Mai yet I highly recommend it And if it’s been a few years since you were there you’ll be surprised at how much it’s grown!