If you’re passing through Chiang Dao, a small town about 75 minutes north of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, I highly recommend that you visit Malee’s Nature lodge, one of the best and friendliest family owned hostels in Thailand, and the owner, Ms. Malee, is ‘a real sweetheart’. She’s very ‘Jai Dee’, a Thai expression for somebody who has a big heart and is very generous.
Just yesterday, I stopped by to pay my respects to Khun Malee and her family (and her two dogs Son and Jennie). As I was getting ready to head back to Chiang Mai, I happened to notice that Malee was growing a small money tree in her dining room. As Malee explained, the money tree is a way of raising funds for much needed improvements in the community kindergarten located near Chiang Dao Cave – plans call for the construction of a permanent roof over the playground and a special sleeping room for the young children.
The small tree is growing and prospering thanks to Malee’s attentive love and care, as well as to the contributions from many of her guests. Hanging from the branches of the small money tree are many 20 baht and 100 baht notes as well as a rather prominent 1000 baht note at the crown of the tree.
Construction of the roof and the sleeping room will begin in March 2009. If you’d like to help the money tree grow larger, you must make your contribution between now and this date. I believe it is a very worthy cause!
Malee was one of the founders and is one of the most avid supporters of this small kindergarten facility, which opened its doors some 10 years ago in response to the growing community in the village known as Ban Tham. Her precocious son Peter, who I have affectionately nicknamed Ling Lek (small monkey), is a recent graduate of the Ban Tham kindergarten.