Chiang Mai, Thailand's Northern City

Khan Tok Dinner and ethnic dancing

My husband needed to be in Bangkok to deliver an important paper. It was our second visit to Bangkok, and this time, I was determined to see Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. Fortunately, flood -waters receded and a typhoon was diverted (to China) and we were able to visit this beautiful city. A friend was our tour guide and we experienced a fairy tale city.

Hua Lin Corner of the Old City Wall

Beauty can be seen everywhere; the people, the landscape, the architecture, and the food. This is the land of the hill tribes and Lanna people. There is the remainder of the wall that protected the city from enemies at an earlier time and a moat. Within the walled area, buildings are protected and modern building, i.e. housing developments, shopping malls, new restaurants and so on are allowed only outside the walls. Places to see include: an elephant nursery where each elephant has its own trainer and they offer a wonderful show a snake farms, Botanic Gardens, Temples, exclusive hotels, dinner-theater, night markets and lots more. The night markets are amazing. They appear to rise from nowhere each evening and in the morning there is no evidence that they have filled blocks and blocks in every direction. Garbed in Hill people attire, individuals walk all over peddling toy frogs that make noise when a stick is rubbed over them. There is food and entertainment and rows of people receiving foot massages. Shopping is also wonderful ranging from individual galleries to huge, modern shopping malls.

Elephant camp with elephant painting a picture

We had a lunch at the Four Seasons Hotel where we viewed rice paddies, exclusive individual huts designed for maximum privacy and a quiet, tasteful dining room where we had a delicious lunch.

Temple across the street from the University

The temples are striking, even breathtaking with their gold coverings. The main temple is near the University. The most visited temple, however, is located in the mountains. Why, you may ask? Long ago a very special elephant was given the task of locating the site for a new Buddhist Temple that would hold one of Buddha's bones. With the prized bone, the elephant climbed up the mountain and stopped, selecting the site where the temple was later to be built. Our friend explained that woman over fifty often spend a month during the year in volunteer quarters on the grounds and prepare food for the monks. He has childhood memories of staying with his Grandmother when she cooked for the monks.

Wat Prathat at Doi Suthep

We were taken to Baan Saen Doi where we experienced the best massage we've ever had. What a treat! We also learned about this unique spa that was envisioned and executed by Wanphen Sakdatorn and Hagen Dirksen. She wanted a facility where her personal guests could be comfortable in luxury and seclusion and he had experience with tribal groups around the globe and especially the hill people around Chiang Mai. Her idea was to commission items for what became a spa including; lamps, pictures, furniture, fabrics, carpets and so on. Each room is like a gallery.

The best massage ever

Baan Saen Doi is located in the Baan Nai Fun 2 residential area, at the foot of the sacred Doi Sutep Mountain. It is 10 minutes south west of Chiang Mai International Airport and 20 minutes from the center of Chiang Mai city. Visitors will find a luxury residence and spa offering both short and long stay accommodation. Individually designed, spacious rooms include king-size or twin beds, beautifully decorated bathrooms, private balcony, pantry and minibar. Decor creatively combines northern Thai (Lanna) architecture, and art from the hill tribes and other parts of Southeast Asia.

Baan Saen Doi, the house of 100,000 mountains, patio, garden, bedroom, bathroom

There is access to Baan Saen Doi Spa, Saen Kham Terrace Restaurant, swimming pool, a fitness room, bicycles and tennis courts. In addition, visitors can arrange for the rental of luxury chauffer driven cars, laundry, special packaged sightseeing tours and medical service on call. We enjoyed a superb meal at Saen Kham's Lanna Terrace Restaurant, which is a very unusual and special dining venue, offering celadon plates and a quiet 'artist's corner'. Learn more at:

Saen Kham Terrace Restaurant

Baan Saen Doi has been so successful that a larger facility, will be opening in October just before the opening of the 'Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006 International Horticultural Exposition for His Majesty the King'. The proximity of the spa to the Royal Flora Exposition grounds is extremely desirable because the show promises, ' A spectacular showcase of tropical flora with 2,200 species and 2.5 million plants. It is the first international exposition for Thailand and Southeast Asia with 30 participating nations representing five continents; Asia, Europe, Africa, North and South America. It will run from November 1, 2006 until January 31, 2007, a total of 92 days.

The Hor Kham Royal Pavilion has been constructed in the exquisite Lanna
Architectural style. Highlights include 'International gardens', Thai tropical garden, competition of rare or lesser known plants, competition of indoor plants, cultural shows and activities and international cultural displays.

Hor Kham Royal Pavilion to be opened November 1,2006

When the exhibit leaves, it will leave a park behind continuing to make Baan Saen Doi an extremely desirable place to stay.

Black orchid at the Botanical Garden in Mae Rim

Information on the expo is available at.

Information on the spa is available at:  
E-mail: [email protected] 

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