We’re finally reaching that sweet time of year where the temperature drops and spending time outdoors doesn’t turn into a sweat fest. If you’re one for cool escapes, here’s where to stay in Chiang Rai for your winter holiday up north.
The first capital of the Thai Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Rai is the quieter sibling to Chiang Mai, and a favourite for international hotel chains to set up exotic properties that are hard to find elsewhere in Thailand. With a deep appreciation for history and nature, there’s plenty to admire in Chiang Rai, even if it doesn’t shout from the hipster rooftops like Chiang Mai. It’s quieter. It’s calmer. And it’s the perfect getaway especially for city dwellers towards the year-end.
From sleeping in a bubble amongst the elephants, to smaller boutique stays, here’s where to head for a cool mountain escape this season.
[Hero and Featured Image Credit: Anantara]
Glamping the right way: Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle
One of the most famous and most beloved properties in all of Thailand, the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle is the perfect getaway for those who want to connect deeply with nature without missing out on utter luxury. Designed by the world-renowned Bill Bensley, guests get to stay in beautiful tent-like rooms and dive into riverside pools, all the while embracing the resort’s cleverly-employed eco-friendly philosophy. True to its name, dining options here include all Thai, Laotian, Burmese, and Western cuisines, so you really get a sense of location, as you dine in one of the most historic and fabled locations in the region.
Sleep amongst the gentle giants: Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort
It’s likely you’ve spotted this resort on Instagram, as the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is one of the most unique stays in Asia. Located by the border with Myanmar and Laos, guests can enjoy beautiful views of the Golden Triangle mountains, a bamboo forest, and rice paddy fields. The highlight, however, is definitely the Jungle Bubble. Here, guests get to enjoy a dusk to dawn experience within a completely transparent “bubble room,” offering uninterrupted views of the elephants strolling by. As the sun rises and falls and the sky goes through a vast spectrum of colour, it is possibly one of the most magical and immersive natural experiences you can find in Thailand.
A fine balance of city and greenery: Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort
For those who want to enjoy the beauty of Chiang Rai but do not yet want to be fully immersed into the greenery, Le Meridien Chiang Rai offers a cosy balance between the two. Located on the banks of the Mae Kok River, the hotel is situated close to many of the city’s attractions, and offers international cuisine within its restaurants. The rooms are spacious (they start at 53sqm), each with a Lanna-style day bed on the balcony. This is perfect for a sundowner looking over the river, with a backdrop of 120-year-old rain trees.
A tranquil escape: The Legend Chiang Rai
Also located along the Mae Kok River, like its name suggests, The Legend Chiang Rai is a well-known hotel for visitors to the region. A little secluded from Chiang Rai Town, guests will be able to admire panoramic mountain views throughout this resort, and yet still reach the city centre within a few minutes by car. Between calming lotus ponds and warm wooden accents, The Legend Chiang Rai boasts only 78 rooms, and so offers a more intimate escape. Friendly and quiet, unwind in the massive infinity edge swimming pools overlooking the Kok River, and in the evenings, treat yourself to a glass of vino at La Casa & Wine Bar.
Local charm and design: MORA Boutique Hotel
We always love a good boutique hotel, and MORA definitely offers all the charms of this increasingly popular accommodation type. Fitted with wooden furniture and Northern Thai style decor elements throughout, MORA is a small yet friendly boutique hotel in Chiang Rai. We love that bicycles can be rented from the front desk, offering guests the perfect opportunity to dip in and dip out throughout the day between explorations of the city. Located 300 metres away from Walking Street, if you’re not looking to drive but rather explore on foot, it’s the ideal stay.
Intimate, casual greenery: TEVA Valley Resort
TEVA Valley Resort too is one of the smaller hotels on our list, but offers plenty of grandeur in vistas. Featuring a view of the Doi Nang Non and the Tham Luang Cave right from its entrance, guests will be accompanied with a green backdrop no matter where they head within this resort. Located in Mae Sai, it’s a great place to visit for that much-needed fresh air and stunning views, and with a Japanese design ethos to accompany, it’s just about as relaxing, simplistic, and peaceful as it gets.