Famed for its centuries-old relics, stunning wats and ancient city walls, Chiang Mai has managed to retain its old-world beauty of the Lanna Kingdom. Increasingly popular as a weekend getaway destination, Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city with quaint villages and a laidback vibe. However, time has not stood still and new exciting places are popping up, adorning the city with modern charm. Here are a few of our favourite picks.
Where to Stay
A 20-minute drive from the airport, North Hill City Resort is a boutique golf resort that is easily accessible. Set amidst idyllic greenery, the hotel offers serene views of Doi Suthep and a wide range of thoughtful amenities; this includes a fitness centre with state-of-the-art cardio equipment, an outdoor amphitheatre with a swimming pool and deck, and outfitted rooms. Contemporary-chic, each of the 42 spacious rooms are decorated with dark wood interior furnishings and a luxury touch of Thai elegance.
With the new 18-hole North Hill Golf Course next door, North Hill City Resort is a golf enthusiast’s dream hideaway. There are also plenty of popular attractions within easy reach from the resort; to name a few, Baan Tawai Handicraft Village, Royal Park Rajapruek and the ancient Buddhist temples Wat Ton Kwen and Wat Intrawart. Hence, North Hill is also great for those looking for a slice of tranquillity away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The resort runs a regular, complimentary shuttle bus service into downtown Chiang Mai.
North Hill City Resort, 333 Moo 13 Hang Dong Road, Banwan, Chiang Mai
What to See
Located in the historic crafts district of Sankampang, MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum is Thailand’s newest contemporary art museum. MAIIAM has been making a splash on the Thai art and architectural scene. Situated in a converted 3000-sqm warehouse and newly-built annex, the museum has a stunning, shimmering façade made of thousands of mirrored tiles. Founded by the Bunnag-Beurdeley family, it houses their family’s private collection of art. For instance, you can find important works by Montien Boonma, Kamin Lertchaiprasert, Chatchai Puipia, Pinaree Sanpitak and Rirkrit Tiravanija. The museum also acts as a platform for the young and emerging artists of the Kingdom.
MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, 122, Moo 7 Tonpao Amphoe San Kamphaeng, Chang Wat, Chiang Mai
What to drink
Care to try tom yum-flavoured tea? At Monsoon Tea, you can sample this unique tea, as well as 80 other blends. With the use of natural oils from fruits, this tea shop has carefully curated a selection of local teas that make a great gift to take home to family and friends. Monsoon Tea was founded by tea expert and Swedish native Kenneth Rimdahl, who discovered wild-growing tea in the region and turned it into a sustainable business. Monsoon’s tea varieties are now served at Marchesi 1824 by the Prada Group, across Milan and soon in Singapore and Dubai. You can also find their teas in Bangkok, at Issaya Siamese Club and Issaya La Patisserie within Central Embassy and EmQuartier.
Monsoon Tea, 238 Charoenrat Road, Wat Gate, Chiang Mai
Where to Eat
Situated on the banks of the Ping River, the Wat Ket neighbourhood is home to many boutique hotels, art galleries and eateries. Located directly opposite of the quaint Vieng Joom On Teahouse, Woo Café & Art Gallery is one of our favourite go-to spots in Chiang Mai. An interesting juxtaposition of old and new, Woo Café evokes memories of a bygone era. Part café, part restaurant, part gallery and part retailer, the inviting space is beautifully adorned with greenery and artworks. Drop by this new happening café and enjoy a cup of local coffee.
Woo Café & Art Gallery, 80 Charoenrat Road, Wat Gate, MuangChiangmai, Chiang Mai