Routes in his Majesty’s Footsteps – Northern Thailand
By feature reporter Jens Hoffmann.
For the past 70 years, their Majesties King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Queen Sirikit, and the members of the Royal family have dedicated themselves for the Thai people to have a better live.
Arrival at Chiang Mai.
30 degrees, complex mountain ranges and a mild climate characterise an area with a moist summit forest, nature pure and luxury combined, in harmony.
Thailand is a spectacular country, my amazing Chiang Mai offers tropical vegetation, breathtaking spiritual moments.
Always smooth as silk and Chiang Mai is a tailor made scenic and cultural–something that will be extremely apparent if you’re coming directly from Bangkok.
After a lovely wake up massage @RarinJinda Wellness Spa in the RarinJinda Resort.
rarinjinda.com we had a lovely dinner at Lhong Kao Lum, a special, traditional venue that serves authentic Northern Thai cuisine surrounded by Lanna wooden architecture in a shaded garden.
Wow! What a start.
Chiang Mai is a bustling city and a great place to really dive into the culture of (northern) Thailand, and it’s the perfect base for exploring Northern Thailand’s gorgeous natural landscapes.
A few things to enjoy in Chiang Mai; Lush green mountains, phenomenal weather, winding rivers, waterfalls, trekking, elephants (chang), Som tam strawberry, outdoor cafes, great regional coffee and tea and 200 buddhist temples galore.
However, a lot of the temples are within the Old City walls, as are some truly great restaurants and cafes. It was my favorite area to walk around and explore, and there are a ton of cheap guesthouses available, so it’s a really perfect location.
Anyone travelling to Chiang Mai should visit at least one of the over 200 temples, each one attracts with its own charm. We started the spiritual experience with a temple visit in the city center. The Wat Phra Singh is the religious and cultural center of the city.
The temple houses an important 1500-year-old- Buddha statue; the Phra Buddha Sohing which gives the temple its name.
Amazing, easy to be inspired and hundreds of photos of are surely on the digital travelers smartphones.
If you are not only interested in the buildings and their stories, but also want to learn more about people and the religious life, you should simply take more time for meditation, yoga and spiritual reflection.
Furthermore the monks are open and cheerful, the “talk with a monk” is almost as self-assertive as a smartphone Selfie.
The afternoon we spend in the “Celadon” a cultural gallery and local brand which reprsent the traditional way of Lanna working life. History: Lanna, or Lan Na, was a kingdom in northern Thailand from the 13th to 18th centuries.
Lanna people are an ethnic group native to the former kingdom. As part of the Royal Initiatives that Thai Tourism authority would like to take everyone we had a joyful “workshop” and painted our own Celadown ceramic elephant, painting was fun and and after that we prepared parts of our own meal, Khao Tom Mat, gently steamed in banana leaves and lemon grass tea.
Furthermore I prepared my first Som Tam wit strawberries insted of papaya.
A visit to the Baan Ngam Sang Duen near Chiang Mai belongs to the popular program for tourists.
Here you can find Lanna style crafts, enjoy Northern thai food and snacks, clothes and many treats from the region food every day.
The handicraft highway (San Kamphaeng Road) is a bit different then the usual thai day markets.
But everywhere where you can taste a fine Som Tam between fruit and vegetables, fresh fish, meat and many exotic drinks with or without coconut.
Just this makes the charm of traveling The Thais love to celebrate and there are evrywhere happenings, festivals and nice restaurants like the “Cuisine de Garden” where we had an amazing “Chef Tasting Menu”
They are planning to open a restaurant in Bangkok, become a small chain and offering high end Thai cooking.
This restaurant is quite small, but with large windows which give a nice, airy feel to the place, and there are a few tasteful Thai specilas like Tuna Tartare, Nitro Poah Fruit Raspery Foam to gave us an amzing dinner.
On my meal Salmon Gravlax with Dill Cream had excellent taste paired with Lumpfish Caviar.
Tiger Prawns in a lime beurre blanc and vinaigrette dressing were served, nicely cooked and the dressing was punchy, but the prawns were extreme yummy. The best dish was a duck breast, with a complex beet root sauce, followed by Chapter Four 7 layers chesse cake and berry macaron (a bit too sweet for me)
We had different wines like a white Chablis (probably to be helpful to take a second lokk at the wine card) but presentation was good and the cooking a distinct cut above the norm, which is usually in Thailand high.
Service was excellent, dishes arriving smoothly and no trouble getting attention.
Great experience, unique impressions we enjoyed it.
My luxury stay hotel tips for Chiang Mai:
A great location with very pleasant ambience. Le Méridien Chiang Mai.
Situated in the city the perfect place to explore the city. The Méridien is an urban sanctuary that sets standards with stylish design and select elegance, a nice spa with an outdoor pool and the attentive service offer the perfect balance after an eventful day in the northern region.
The hotel exudes an intriguing blend of Le Méridien’s European heritage and the local Lanna era-style to deliver a contemporary cultural experience backed by a natural outdoor canvas.
Most rooms overlook Doi Suthep Mountain while all rooms are outfitted with a signature Le Méridien Bed.
Two gourmet restaurants serve international and Italian cuisine, and the hotel’s two bars present lovely cocktails. A room with a view, it overlooked the downtown with the moutain in the distance. In the mornings there was a pretty full breakfast buffet including pastries, dim sum, fruit and more, as well as an ala carte menu.
Loved my stay.
Information and check-in:
With extra special thanks:
Litte note: Flying with THAI airways is a pleasure, flights are smooth and relaxing. They offer great service and a good choice of onboard entertainment.
The press trip was supported by KPNR (Frankfurt / Berlin) & TAT (Tourism Authoriry of Thailand) and the TOURISM AUTHORITY OF THAILAND.