We asked Nonpavidh Tosivutsilavut, Chef Concierge at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai, to gather the savviest sight-seeing suggestions he could find—not just his own, but also those of other local connoisseurs, including some he works with every day at the Hotel. Known as “the Rose of the North” for its lush landscapes and its rich culture, Chiang Mai, Thailand, will inspire you with its ancient walls and abundant temples, its lively art and gallery scene, and the surrounding countryside of rice paddies and forest-covered mountains.
Although Chiang Mai’s Night Bazaar is well-known, much better shopping can be found along Nimmanhaemin Road, where stunning contemporary textiles are on offer at Studio Kachama, along with other galleries, shops and coffee houses. On Charoenrat Road, shops such as Vila Cini offer sophisticated silks and furnishings based on traditional northern Thai designs. Last-minute shoppers can stop at the Central Airport Plaza, where vendors offer tasteful mementos whose proceeds benefit local hill tribes.
Even without leaving the resort, you can try rice planting, mountain biking, spa treatments and much more. Farther afield, there’s hiking to waterfalls, visits to organic farms and a favourite among guests: a visit to the Royal Botanical Garden. Laced with streams on the side of a mountain, the garden is a wonderland of rare orchids, palms and ferns. The Resort will pack a lunch for you to ensure a perfect picnic.
A Night on the Town
Chiang Mai has a booming restaurant scene, and one place not to miss is The House. Set in a beautifully restored old home, it’s an Indo-Chinese mix of antiques, silks, candlelight and a terrace lounge right out of Scheherazade. The cooking is a careful mix of international styles, including pan-fried duck, salmon tartare and lamb kebabs. There’s live music and a more casual tapas bar here too, along with a sophisticated clothing and home décor boutique called Ginger.
Festival of Lights
Every year in November, northern Thais celebrate Yi Peng, a Buddhist festival focused on merit-making and celebrated by the release of floating khom loy lanterns into the sky to carry wishes and dreams up towards the heavens. The best place to experience this beautiful celebration is Chiang Mai, where thousands of lanterns are released simultaneously, resulting in an unforgettable spectacle as they light up the entire night sky. Join the large celebrations in the city, or enjoy a small, intimate celebration at the Hotel, where guests are able to release their own khom loy on the edge of the lake.