End of an Era

Khun Jib & Khun Dow Saweepatts moved to Chiang Khong from Bangkok in 1998 in search of a quieter life. They leased a prime piece of land along the banks of the Mekong River in Chiang Rai province and crafted the area’s best guesthouse with their hands and great ideas. Bamboo Riverside Guesthouse was not only a great guesthouse, but a top spot for food. They made wonderful Thai food and after a woman from Mexico stayed with them, they started making some Mexican food. Dish-by-dish the menu grew to the point they decided to forgo serving Thai food and focus primarily on Mexican. The restaurant-end of their business flourished with travelers dropping-in for a taste of something different while traveling Thailand.
Smiling Albino co-founders Dan and Scott first went to Chiang Khong in November 1999 after only two months in the kingdom. We stayed at Bamboo on the recommendation of a friend and were not disappointed.
We soon became fast friends with Khun Jib, one of Thailand’s most colorful ‘characters’. Over the years we’ve been on road trips with him, gotten to know his wife Dow well, become friends with their two daughters Mim and Mod and spent countless hours on their balcony, overlooking the Mekong River, sipping Thai beer while chatting about countless topics and solving the world’s problems.
After eight years of taking our guests to Bamboo, relaxing with the owners on our own time and considering it a second home, it was with great sadness I made a visit in June 2008 to see it being dismantled. The Saweepatts lease was coming to an end and they were well-tired of running a guesthouse. They have a house under renovation, a successful bakery and are going to concentrate solely on food in fall 2008.
Khun Jib, Khun Dow, their daughter Mim and myself sat on the balcony and shared a bottle of whiskey together as decorations were no longer on the walls, the buildings were half-dismantled and stories of years gone by were told. While sad, I’m happy for Khun Jib and Khun Dow’s success and their decision to move on. I’ll cherish my memories of countless hours on their balcony and hope their new business has a great place to chillout and enjoy.
Farewell Bamboo Riverside Guesthouse!

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