19 of the party flew from Heathrow and gathered at Bangkok Airport . The Mosers joined later on that day at the Chiang Mai Hotel. The Harts joined us just in time as the Malaysian Airlines lost their luggage at Kuala Lumpur but amazingly it also arrived at our hotel in Chiang Mai later that evening.
The first night involved a pleasant and relaxed buffet at the Holiday Inn which was well situated for both the Airport and the golf courses. On the first day we enjoyed a Tour of the Buddhist Suthep Mountain Temple and were amazed by the ornate gold and gems adorning the Temple. Some of the party went to see the Flower Festival and Night Market during our stay in Chiang Mai. We had a fairly chaotic meal at our Guides Panyas Restaurant. When others visited later in the week they received more efficient treatment. At our first golf course Alpine George Clark suffered a dreadful accident when a Course Marshal drove his Buggy in to the back of him and broke his ankle. He was taken straight to Hospital and had treatment immediately. Both George and Liz were very stoical ( Liz perhaps slightly more so) with George now in a wheelchair, but still in a lot of pain we took it in turns to try and cheer him up! Liz continued to take part in the rest of the golf activity, the next day being a round at Chiang Mai Golf Club.
Perhaps our most successful day was the brilliant Elephant Safari which apart from wading through the River included various sporting activities and some amazing Painting by the Elephants using their Trunks to produce very carefully depicted pictures of the Rainforest. We also experienced a bone- shattering Ox Cart Ride and some delicate Bamboo Rafting with occasionally one of our Party standing up and steering.
Our last Round of Golf was at The Chiang Mai Highlands Golf Club which was a particularly pleasant course where we invested in some sun umbrellas and were greeted by immaculately attired Lady Caddies. Lady Caddies seemed the norm on all the courses yielding mixed results. Some of us seemed to be lucky to have a very pretty one but that did not necessarily signify any particular level of skill but generally they were very knowledgeable on distances and putting. So much so that some of the men thought it might be a good idea to bring one home to assist with their golf. The Ladies said that would be fine as long as they also did all the domestic duties as well!!!!
The transfer to Hua Hin south of Bangkok was smooth taking in en route an old Royal Palace with its funicular rail followed by far too many steps to the Palace afterwards! The Centara Grand Hotel was indeed superb backing on to the sea and protected by Three Thai Warships( as The Kings Summer Palace) was nearby. There were excellent Restaurants both at the Hotel and in adjoining streets and the surrounding area was commercially very vibrant. The Gardens of the Hotel enjoyed the most amazing Animal Topiary. Again the golf courses were first class at Banyan,Springfield,Black Mountain, and lastly Imperial. The driver took us the pretty way to this latter course which took quite a bit longer to reach ( than arranged) we think he got lost.
After quite a busy schedule we were able to relax at The Centara in the grounds and on the beach between the golf matches.
On a sombre note we had 3 Hospital visits with George, Pat Bennett and David Young. Interestingly everyone played every game of golf apart from George and we wish him a very speedy recovery and return to the golf course. Alan and Fay Parry and Pat Bennett enjoyed their first GSGB trip.
Our overall thanks must go to Robert and Ruth Downes for their hard work and dedicated effort throughout and to Brenda Ferriman of Distant Landings for a first class Itinerary.
Robin and Pat Hart