|Steven Kalt, Shari Kalt and the Wanna Tours Team|
Our adventure in Thailand started in Chiang Mai. This northern Thai city was founded in the late 13th century. Today is has a bustling downtown with a few high rise hotels and shops. The city really comes alive each evening with the night market. Here, vendors open their stalls lining the main street, selling everything from T-shirts to local handicrafts. I had heard about spas which offer Thai massages for the equivalent of $6.00. I did try a reflexology foot massage and my experience was "you get what you pay for", but I think it really depends on the individual therapist you end up with.
We had a terrific time just walking around, shopping and people watching. In and around Chiang Mai, we found beautiful silk scarves, silver jewelry, and all types of handicrafts.
During the day, you can spend your time visiting famous temples in the area. You can also visit factories and see how they make paper umbrellas, ceramics and woodcarvings.
A very popular activity is riding an elephant. There are several different elephant camps which offer elephant interactions, and we really enjoyed our morning at the Elephant Life Experience (ELE). Here, you can have a private day or half day with the elephants and their trainers (called mahouts). We were able to participate in bathing the elephants, feeding them sugarcane, riding them and watching them paint a picture. It was fabulous! You can also enjoy a serene bamboo raft ride down the river and have a delicious lunch as part of your day there.
The Chiang Mai area has no dearth of luxury lodgings. We recommend:
The Four Seasons Chiang Mai
The Four Seasons resort is located about 30 minutes outside of town, in a spectacular hillside setting. It offers a variety of room and residences ranging from one to four-bedroom villas. The newer pool villas were my favorite: open floor plan, one bedroom with contemporary decor. All of these rooms have a beautiful private pool and garden. Great for celebrating a special occasion!
The Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi
This is a self-contained resort in Chiang Mai, spreading over 60 acres. It opened in 2004 and the architecture encompasses many styles of the historic Lanna kingdom of northern Thailand. The property is composed of suites and villas, set about the resort amidst tropical foilage and greenery. They have one of the best destination spas, offering a variety of Ayurvedic treatments and wellness programs. I loved my Colonial suite during my stay here. This entry level room was over 900 square feet, had a separate living area, and a huge bathroom! These rooms are beside the main pool, and they all have terraces or patios for easy access. The morning breakfast buffet did not disappoint. There were stations for Asian food, Western food, and juicers for making fresh fruit juice to order. It is a great way to start the day!
Book any of these preferred hotels with us and receive complimentary amenities such as upgrades and free breakfast!
Call the Travel Specialists at Bee Kalt Travel
Tel: 248-288-9600 or Toll-free 1-800-284-5258