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May 28, 2008
Celia Sin-Tien Cheng

Chiang Mai is the lush mountainous northern region, popular among backpackers, resort-goers, and in recent years, artists and expatriates. During a short four days in Chiang Mai, I felt pampered and rejuvenated by the excellent accommodations, exquisite cuisine, soothing massages, and mesmerizing wats (temples).

Hotel A. Mandarin Oriental Dhera Dhevi

The Mandarin Oriental Dhera Dhevi hotel, was an excellent choice. This 60-acre resort was built on the grounds of rice paddy fields. The landscape is gorgeous and guests have the choice of a suite, villa or residence. I enjoyed the view of the rice paddies from the pool and borrowed a bike to tour the extensive grounds. But what stood out most was... full article

Hotel B. Rachamankha Hotel

After our delicious meal at the Rachamankha restaurant, I went to check out the hotel rooms. Rachamankha is a small boutique hotel, compared to the resorts like the Mandarin Oriental or Four Seasons, but it’s tastefully designed. Except for the narrow showers, it would be a nice place to stay, especially because of the excellent restaurant and bar... full article

The Terrace Bar and Cigar Lounge C. The Chedi

I enjoyed drinks at The Terrace Bar and Cigar Lounge at The Chedi, a boutique hotel in Chiang Mai. It is absolutely gorgeous in that minimalist way that I love! The architecture is so well conceived; every aspect of the hotel is on display. The only drawback is that it’s close to the night bazaar, a plus for many, but not for me.

Lunch D. Rachamankha Hotel

Lunch at the Rachamankha was also stellar. This is a stylish boutique hotel in town, where I enjoyed the freshest and spiciest shrimp dish served with plump pieces of tomato, scallions, kaffir lime leaves, and the best Jasmine rice I had on this trip (matched only by another boutique hotel in Bangkok, Arun Residence). It was so good with rice I dreamt of it days later.

Dinner E. Dalaabaa

I was intent on eating Northern Thai cuisine, as I wanted to fully understand how it was different from what I’d had before. One of my favorite meals was dinner at Dalaabaa. The guidebooks all made it out to be a trendy bar, but the food turned out to be homestyle and delicious! The spicy minced pork salad couldn’t have been more flavorful, and... full article

Eggplant Salad F. Huen Phen

My most inexpensive meal was at Huen Phen. A quirky restaurant run from a family home, the adjoining rooms are decorated with local crafts. Small dishes allowed for ordering a good variety, but the most memorable ones were an eggplant salad with hard-boiled egg, and the Huen Phen fried rice (fried rice with local sausages). The restaurant... full article

Dheva Spa G. Mandarin Oriental Dhera Dhevi

As the Mandarin Oriental Dhera Dhevi is not in the center of Chiang Mai, if you’d like to indulge in the wonders of Thai massage and spa treatments, the Dheva Spa is the perfect place to do so without having to leave the beautiful grounds of this expansive resort.

Spa H. Lanna Oasis Spa

The Thai know their hospitality and their massages, and at Lanna Oasis Spa, it’s the combination of both that will leave you happy and relaxed.

Spa I. AKA Spa

Beautiful, tranquil and exquisite. After a Thai massage at AKA Spa, I was even more relaxed than I already had been. Chiang Mai has so much to offer in terms of pampering oneself and the AKA Spa should be on that list.