Back in March, Matty and I spent two weeks traveling around Thailand, with our first stop being Chiang Mai. It was an incredible city, full of vibrant colors and rich flavors, and we instantly fell in love.
When: March 2015
Where: Chiang Mai, Thailand
Stayed: 137 Pillars House
137 Pillars House was absolutely perfect, in location, design, service and amenities. Formerly the property of the East Borneo Company, the teak house for which the hotel is named has been around since the 1800s. It is located near the Old City, and right along the Mae Ping River in the Wat Gate area, and we found it easy to walk just about everywhere!
Upon arrival, we were greeted with sweet pea cocktails, and served the most delicious food. After eating the past three meals in an airplane, it was pure heaven.
We booked a Rajah Brook Suite, and I cannot recommend this room type enough. An outdoor shower, a private porch, a claw foot tub… it was perfect.
The hotel’s grounds and its restaurants have the same attention to detail, and we still salivate over the chef’s array of noodles and sausages he cooked up each morning. Yum!
The pool had a giant living wall behind it, and it was a blissful oasis in the middle of the hot city. We would spend miles walking each day, and then cool off with icy cocktails and mango sticky rice as soon as we got back. The best.
I also loved that our bedroom’s pillows matched my favorite romper.
Here are a few more must do’s if you visit Chiang Mai:
Have dinner on the Mae Ping river. We ate at The Gallery, and due to our first day jet lag, had the early bird special / the place all to ourselves.
Wander around the Old City and beyond, with no destination in mind. There is so much to see and do, and getting lost can be the most fun.
Coffee shops! Ristr8to had stunning latte art, and cheesy ice cream on freshly baked waffles. They also had bourbon and cold brew, which Matty loved. Ponganes was a favorite in the Old City, and I have them to thank for introducing me to Australian iced coffee. Delicious! Graph Cafe and Dolcetto were two more favorites, although there were so many more we did not have time to see, such as The Clay Studio, Akha Ama, Arttitude, Artisan and Cerebrum and Friends.
Wander over to the Nimmanhaemin district. It is candy for the eyeballs – and the tastebuds.
Get rubbed down at least once a day! The massages are so inexpensive compared to the US, and so amazing. I tried my first ever Thai massage, and it was terrifying, yet wonderful!
Eat all the Thai food your belly desires. We ate at some casual, inexpensive places, but we also got gussied up for a few fancier meals as well. Unfortunately, I do not remember all of the names, but I do recall loving both The House and Rachamankha.
Wander down a road called Rachadamnone. You will find Farmstory House, our most favorite lunch spot, and a bunch of other gems.
Drink a coconut a day. Or three!
Explore the city during magic hour.
Visit the flower market.
Visit the night market.
Please, do NOT ride the elephants, and do NOT pay to pet the baby tigers. Bad business, bad karma, bad everything. DO spend a day at the Elephant Nature Park! The stories these animals have are profoundly human, and getting to interact with such beautiful creatures in such an organic way is an incredible experience.