With his right index finger, Sihabutr Xoomsai slides his Ray-Bans down to the end of his nose and his dark, sparkling eyes appear before a broad grin grows from the corners of his mouth. “This is perfection, pure perfection,” he exclaims. Arms linked behind his neck, his face captures rays of sunlight flickering down from a tall palm tree. A warm breeze blows leaves, rustles the awning over our heads, and casts threatening clouds over the deep-blue sky. Besides the small and remote restaurant in Northern Thailand sits a pack of Porsches and Xoomsai – or Tenn, as he’s known to his friends – looks contentedly over the sports cars. “It was a great idea to bring the Das Treffen to the streets,” he continues. “Well, a small part of it at least – six cars from well over 300!” He laughs, but quickly gets serious again. “Do you do this in Europe, get out and drive and drive? It’s not so well known in Thailand. The south is too hot and humid, but up here it’s perfect.”
Southeast Asia’s largest Porsche meeting has just come to an end. Down in Bangkok, a celebration of Porsche’s cult following took place for the third time – Das Treffen, as Tenn has christened it and pronounces with a wonderfully sluggish strike of the tongue, trying to achieve the precise harshness of the German pronunciation. Das Treffen was the brainchild of Tenn, and the editor-in-chief of GT Porsche Thailand seems to have hit the nail on the head with his idea. Porsche enthusiasts have been drawn to Bangkok from all directions, some from as far as Malaysia and Singapore. And now, at the request of the crew of the German magazine Curves, the party is being extended by a few hundred kilometres. This is, so to speak, the unofficial VIP lounge. Except we’ve headed out of Bangkok, north towards Nan on the border with Laos.
The small group comprises a Cayman and five different generations of 911, all owned by nice people focused on relaxed driving. Beforehand, we’d never have included Thailand on our top-10 list of the world’s best Curves spots, but within just a few kilometres from Nan, that all changed. Fantastic corners and breathtakingly good asphalt draw the group almost euphorically into the Doi Phu Kha National Park and from then on, it’s complete madness. Pure flow circulates the group like a highly infectious disease, and with each stop, the drivers wipe the signs of intensity from their faces, which shine like children’s. The joy is a distillate – the growling boxer engines, the moist and humid air of the green mountains filtering through side windows, the flashes of street signs with typical flourishes of the Thai Abugida script, cabins, shrines, temples, and street stalls.
Then there is the small restaurant in the hills. While we wait for soup, and fried or grilled vegetables, the view wanders into the distance, encompassing wooded hilltops and stretch into the horizon between rice fields and plantations. “This is the Tuscany of Thailand,” a European group member mumbles, referencing the hills, the vistas, the food, and the roads. And the comment was very much intended as a compliment. When the final finger is licked, and the last drops of coffee slurped from cups, the gang moves on to one of the finest roads on the planet. Continuing through the plain below Phayao lake and then into the mountains, the group is entwined, digested, and finally spat out by a monumental snake of curves, to which we were only too happy to sacrifice ourselves. Only many kilometres later were we freed in Chiang Mai, in front of the mountains that border Myanmar. The evening sun bathes everything in soft light, including the golden grace temples. We roll over a chessboard-patterned road through rice fields into the city. There’s a short straight, a 90-degree turn, a quick blast on the throttle, steering while the sun goes down in 90-degree heat. Here, in the north of Thailand and a day in December.
Thanxs to: Porsche Asia Pacific & Porsche Thailand. Yannik, Tenn and his Crew - David, A, Nay, Mike, Oou & A-GT, Instaphil & Keko
(c) Photos: Stefan Bogner - Making of: P. Hohenthanner - Text: Ben Winter