Chiang Mai is South-East Asia’s creative capital. It’s the gateway to Thailand’s tropical and mountainous north – a must-see destination for travellers in search of real Thai culture.
The city was the second stop on our ten day tour of Thailand. We were staying at Dhara Dhevi; a beautiful luxury resort. After a 20 minute journey from Chiang Mai’s Old City, we found ourselves at the fortified gates of the hotel. It’s inspired by a traditional Thai village with city walls, temples and wooden walkways over watery rice paddies. It’s set on 60 acres of lush tropical grounds and every corner you turn evokes a real sense of old Thailand.
On the morning of our second day at Dhara Dhevi, we were given a cultural tour which taught us about the history of Chiang Mai and the hotel. The buildings reflect different cultural influences including Myanmar, Luanna and other Thai architecture styles.
The lobby, my favourite part of the hotel, is an ancient Burmese-inspired building with gold gilt spires and floral tiled steps. There were colourful details around every corner which made it the dream destination for an Instagram-addict like me. The tiled walls by the pool even matched my beautiful Red Cambridge Satchel bag perfectly.
The rooms are regal to match with antique furniture, Thai silks and wooden carvings. I loved the quiet of our upstairs suite. As well as a living room, marble bathroom and spacious bedroom, we had our own private terrace which overlooked the tiled pool below.
To help you travel around the 60-acre resort, there are golf carts which can pick you up on request and bikes to hire for exploring. If you feel like it you can even visit the resident water buffalo Lucky for a hello and a ride.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know that I can never resist a generous serving of pancakes. The complimentary breakfast buffet at Dhara Dhevi was delicious (and so varied that I strayed from my usual serving of pancakes).
There’s the choice of fresh fruit, pastries and traditional Thai cuisine like Kôw soy, Patongo and Rice Congee. At 9 o’clock the staff walk around with traditional Chiang Mai delicacies including my favourites, Mango Sticky Rice and Khao Tom Madt!
It wouldn’t be a holiday without unwinding at the pool and we did plenty of that during our stay! The infinity pool looks over one of the many rice paddies in the resort so it’s easy to spend hours getting distracted by the view and sipping ice coffees.
After a day of swimming and sunbathing I visited the spa for a Kathi Basti massage which is a traditional Thai treatment focusing on back tension (perfect for anyone who spends a lot of time at a desk like me).
One thing you will find wherever you go in Thailand is that the people are so friendly! The staff at Dhara Dhevi went out of their way to make our stay special (including taking photos of us so we had memories of our holiday together). Be sure to learn some useful phrases like “Kah Pun Kha” which means “thank you” as little gestures like these are really appreciated.
One thing to remember is that Thailand is very cheap for local street food, homemade crafts and services like massages and taxis. The hotel would have charged us a lot more for an airport transfer than we got from the local taxi rank so be savvy about the little extras like these after you’ve splashed out on a luxury stay.
If you’re visiting Thailand then Dhara Dhevi is a must-see to add to your destination wish list. Chiang Mai is Asia’s coolest creative city so you won’t regret travelling here to see the temple-studded Old City, tropical countryside and craft markets.
I had an unforgettable getaway at Dhara Dhevi – have you been to Chiang Mai before? Comment below to let me know what you loved about the city!