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Mice Asia Net : October 2008
thailand easy. The final challenge was to create a presentation with an environmental message and the ‘cute kittens’ outshined our jungle themed song! With all the competing over, we enjoyed a celebratory cocktail and canapés with the spectacular view over Bangkok from the Millennium Hilton 360 Bar. DAY 3 It was rise and shine early on day three for a plane ride to our next destination, Chiang Mai. Located 700 kilometres from Bangkok, Chiang Mai offers a cooler tropical atmosphere to Bangkok with a rainforest backdrop. From the airport our first destination was the Wat Phra Sing Temple where the group took part in a merit making and holy thread ceremony. Our Diethelm guides explained how important it is to offer gifts to the monks at this temple as well as the significance of the holy thread ceremony. The white threads were blessed beforehand by a revered monk and the village elder chanted whilst tying the holy thread onto our wrists. This traditional Thai ceremony dates back centuries and is a respectful way of welcoming visitors. This was a very powerful and moving ceremony and it was very interesting to get an insight into the lives of the monks at this temple. Arriving at the Four Seasons the group had a healthy appetite and was ready to get stuck into the amazing feast that awaited us. The Four Seasons cooking school was set up with chefs demonstrating authentic Thai cooking. With full stomachs it was time to walk it off with a site inspection around the beautiful property, which features working rice paddies and authentic Thai architecture. Back on the bus we stopped off at a ‘Camp Howie’, a private residence which can be used for spectacular events. Owned by an American personality, who is quite elusive and only goes by the name of Howard, the property is regularly used for events. The luxurious home features a large pool and entertaining area, alfresco cooking options and authentic Thai décor with the backdrop of a misty rainforest covered mountain. We sipped champagne, had a guided tour and enjoyed some canapés care of the Four Seasons off-site catering team. For those of the group staying at the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi an inspection was the next thing on our schedule and was a chance to get a closer look at the luxury five-star resort, which is built over 60 acres. The building looks like it is ages old with its traditional Thai temple style architecture, however was built only a few years ago. The Mandarin has a range of event spaces including the Jum Thong Hall which is the property’s grand ballroom. This was the venue for the evening’s events. Completely themed using traditional Thai style, the entry to the grand ballroom was set up with ‘street stalls’ offering delicious canapés before we sat down for dinner inside. But before we retreated to the ballroom guests picked up personalised mementos from Thai artists who painted names onto intricately designed mini-paper umbrellas. After dinner we enjoyed traditional Thai theatre on the lawn which finished with a lantern lighting ceremony. And, as an extra special touch, this was the first time the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi had hosted a ‘Lanna’ themed show. Once we watched the illuminated lanterns float into the night sky the evening’s events were officially over and delegates had a chance to explore Chiang Mai’s popular markets. DAY 4 Our morning started with a treat – the first group to enjoy breakfast at the just-opened Le Meridien. Pre-breakfast the group took the tour of the brand new hotel, which is taking bookings from November 2008. Our buffet breakfast was a masterpiece of international cuisine: from cheese soufflés to wood fired pizzas and tropical fruits. Everyone was on a mission to taste everything – it all looked so good! With full tummies it was time to take a coach ride out of Chiang Mai to the Thai Elephant 44 miceAsia.net44 mice.net 44 miceAsia.net