Taew Natapohn Gives Niseko the "Thumbs Up"
Experience Niseko caught up with Thai celebrity Taew Natapohn to dicuss all things Niseko.
Self-professed Niseko lover Taew Natapohn, a Thai celebrity, visited our snowy winter paradise not once, but twice last season! We tracked her down in April to find out how her (2nd) trip was going and to see if we could tempt her into coming back for summer! And It might just have worked...
Experience Niseko: Good evening! How’s the trip going?
Taew Natapohn: Very fun! We have been chilling and relaxing. [big smile]
Experience Niseko: This is your second time in Niseko. What have you done so far?
TN: A snowmobiling tour, rafting…everyone likes rafting very much! At first, we worried that it would be scary, that we would fall down. But actually it was very fun – everyone had a good time together! We went snowboarding too.
Experience Niseko: How was the spring snowboarding? How did you find the snow conditions?
TN: Well…we thought snow conditions would be very icy and not good for snowboarding, but it was quite good – much better than we thought. We wished we'd had more time to snowboard. Niseko has different levels of ski courses (slopes) – easy, medium and advanced – which are good for both beginner and advanced [riders] to have fun and at the same time challenge themselves. We went to the Family chairlift, a green run which was good for beginners. We had much more fun here in Niseko than in Hakuba, even though it was a green run.
Experience Niseko: Sounds like you had very good time snowboarding! Do you want to come back?
TN: Yes! We definitely we want to come back again. We went to Hakuba too, but we didn’t enjoy it as much. The slope that we went to here was not too steep or too flat, and the quality of snow is very good. Also, there aren't as many people here so we didn’t have to worry about whether we would hit someone. So for us, Niseko helped encourage us that we could do it!
Experience Niseko: You mentioned Hakuba... how was it? Do you think it is very different from here?
TN: Different! The snow in Niseko is fluffier, the location is good, and they have great ski schools here which have amazing instructors coming from around the world. Plus, a private ski slope and facilities that were very helpful for beginners. I would recommend people to come and start here; it's a place that you will be impressed with and you will have a great time.
Experience Niseko: So did you take any lessons? How was the experience?
TN: Yes, I did! Last time I came here around the beginning of March and had a lesson. It was pretty good – the instructors were great, friendly and they also showed me how to do a jump on a snowboard! Naturally, they were also very good at skiing and snowboarding.
Experience Niseko: We also heard you joined Thai "Snowater" fight at Ki Niseko in celebration of the Thai New Year. How did it feel to be representing Thailand?!
TN: Ashamed! [laughter] We wanted to stay [in the competition] longer actually but we couldn’t. We were very proud to be Thai representatives, to show our pride by losing in a minute!
Experience Niseko: Next year come back for revenge!
TN: [more laughter]
TN: Niseko is quite new to Thais, including me. I first saw my friend posting their photo on Instagram. But I had no idea where it was at all, we didn't even know Niseko. After coming here, I can say that I particularly like the springtime (April). You get good weather – not too hot and not too cold, beautiful nature, good food and a variety of activities to try. There are great conditions for snowboarding, rafting – which everyone loved, and snowmobiling tours.
Experience Niseko: And you've chosen to stay at one of Niseko's ski-in ski-out hotels for both visits?
TN: Yes, and this time we are staying in the penthouse! We are so happy and really falling in love with the place. It is unique and very different from the places we have stayed before; here is very convenient – close to the ski slopes and the ski school. The best thing about the ski-in ski-out hotels is the ski valet, which I think is wonderful. The view from the room is breathtaking. You can see the ski slopes on one side and Yotei-san on the other, which is unbelievable.
Experience Niseko: Did you try onsen? The onsen of beauty?!
TN: Yes, I did.
Experience Niseko: How was it? Do you feel you are even more beautiful than before?
TN: [laughter] What do you think?!
Experience Niseko: Very beautiful!
TN: We also really enjoyed dinner at the in-house restaurant – which was very yummy! We ordered the set course menu which was wonderful and had great combination of modern and Japanese styles.
Experience Niseko: So you clearly love Niseko! Will you be staying this summer as well?
TN: What do you have in summer?
Experience Niseko: The whole mountain changes to green and you can really enjoy nature. There's also an even bigger variety of activities, with rafting, biking, horse riding, hiking, hot air ballooning, outdoor BBQs, parties – all enjoyed outside. Another highlight is the flowers! We have shibazakura fields from the end of May and sunflower fields as well. We really recommend coming during the green season because you can relax, chill, and enjoy activities that you can’t do anywhere else.
TN: WOW! [Taew begins counting on her fingers to see how many months there are until summer] I do really want to come back again, and I am sure my family would enjoy it if the weather was very good!
Experience Niseko: Yes. The weather is really fantastic, it is not too cold and too hot in summer. We recommend coming to see the lavender flowers [in Hokkaido] and then a few nights in Niseko to relax and recharge!
TN: Sure, I will come! Each time I come here, I see things in Niseko differently. Last time I came here in March, everything was white and full of fluffy snow! This time, in spring, has been very different. We've enjoyed lots of activities like rafting and nature sightseeing. It was so relaxing and very private. It was our happy trip! I hope we'll see something wonderful in summer too.
Experience Niseko: Fasntastic! We'll see you soon then... And lastly, can you give me three words that you think best describe Niseko?
TN: Let me think… I would say “private”, “fun” and “relaxing”.