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Reviewed January 9, 2013

If you search for a small family run, out of the beaten path lodge in Chiang Mai area, this is great. Do not expect any kind of luxury or high standard acommodation. It is at about 40min drive from Chian Mai city, in the mountains. Panom and Petchara are great hosts that from moment zero will make you feel part of their friends or family. The cooking of Petchara is great and there are nice local treks or walks you can do around. Panom can give you all kind of insights in local culture and whereabouts, specially if you are interested in knowing more about Buddhism he can bring a great deal of new knowledge and insights o you (he was a monk himself for many years).
Besides that they are really helpful recommending things to do and places to go and arranging transportation.
Again, if you seek a lodge without pretensions but with all you need and a familiar environment this is a really nice place to go. If you expect to be in the middle of what is happening in Chiang Mai, then you might want to rethink.

Date of stay: December 2012
2  Thank Mpancorbo
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 25, 2012

When we first found Petchara and Penom's web site for their Chiang Mai Adventure Tour and Thai Language Center, we had our doubts about how they could possibly juggle so many services much less do them all well. Believe me, they not only do all services well, but with grace, humor, endless energy and extensive experience. Our primary goal was to find a quiet retreat where we could do the following: recharge ourselves in one place after many miles of extensive travelling; take Thai language classes; explore the Chiang Mai area and generally immerse ourselves in the northern Thai culture. Staying at the Ban Rai Eco Lodge more than fulfilled our needs. Penom and Petchara are both English major graduates with an amazing command of the language. Our daily Thai lessons were customized to our needs in preparation for our son's upcoming wedding to his Thai fiancee. Penom made sure that we not only learned some important phrases but also the cultural nuances that would prevent any farang-y faux pas on our part with the bride's family. He even prepared toasts for us to give at the wedding celebration. When not taking our lessons, we were able to relax and enjoy the beautiful grounds of the lodge, nestled in the foothills twenty minutes north of Chiang Mai. The evening sounds of frogs and crickets, the morning sounds of birds, the star-studded skies, the cool temps/low humidity with sunny skies all added up to the perfect natural tonic we needed after the unbearable heat and humidity of Bangkok, Saigon, Siem Reap, etc. When our wanderlust needed feeding, Penom and Pechara's tour service saw to our explorations of the Chiang Mai area. Besides the usual highlights of the area, Penom includes several exclusive sites for his guests, off the beaten path but on the right track with a strong emphasis on cultural enrichment. Having been a monk for ten years, he adds a more personal and in depth experience to the temple/wat visits. A highlight of our trip was making donations to the monks' one early morning in Chiang Mai. From purchase of food to final blessing from each monk after our offerings were made, we really felt like we were part of a very special experience in the Thai culture and religion. My husband and I stayed at the Ban Rai Eco Lodge for three weeks, truly feeling like we had made it our home. Penom and Petchara included us in as much or as little activity as we wanted, always respectful of schedules and our interests. You'll have a very long and frustrating search finding a place as special as this, and there's no better coffee anywhere else in Thailand!
We were sad to leave, but we hope our future can include a return visit to Petchara's perpetual smile and wonderful cooking and Penom's engaging humor and infectious energy.

Date of stay: December 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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4  Thank withmetta
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2012

We are staying at this wonderful garden of peace, beauty,and tranquility. It is secluded in the hills outside Chiang Mai. The bungalows are roomy, spotlessly clean, comfortable, with windows on three sides and decks in front and back so it is easy to fully enjoy the ambiance of the nature which surrounds us. The food is ample and tasty. Most is locally grown. The coffee is superb and the honey is fresh from the forest and harvested from wild hives near the owner's sister's farm near Chiange Rai. The owners run the Chiange Mai Adventure Tour company and personally provide specially arranged tours to both popular and unique destinations. Both owners speak fluent English and teach classes in Thai, so we are learning the language and culture of Thailand. The highlight of the day was a visit to the local forest temple - a beautiful and sacred spot..

Date of stay: December 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Marsha578
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 4, 2012

We last came here a couple of years ago (see previous review) and just had to come back. Unusually i've decided to write whilst still here because I forgot so much last time. It's approaching mid-day and the only sound is running water at the pond, dogs barking far off in the distance and an occasional cockerel crowing. It is so very peaceful. Free wi-fi is fast, easy to access and free to use (five star hotels could learn a lesson here).

We had the same cabin as last time, very peaceful. No airconditioning needed but a fan is available. A new table and chairs have arrived inside the room since we last stayed, but there is still plenty of space and the room is not cluttered. Everything is very clean and well thought through.

Breakfast this morning was fresh orange juice, eggs, toast and jam, banana, dragon fruit, avocado, pineapple, cereal and a really good coffee. It was all freshly prepared for us and served on the terrace overlooking the pond. Things here seem to work around you, there were no set times for breakfast it just arrives shortly after you do!

Our hosts are again just delightful and have been only too keen to spend time with us, explaining more about Thai culture, food, exploring Thai language (and the peculiarities of the English language). If you think you know Thailand you need to come here to learn more. I've been coming to this country for 25 years but have learnt much from the two stays here. If you want to know why you wouldn't share a meal of duck with a friend this is the place to find out.

Room tip: All rooms are beautiful.
Date of stay: October 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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3  Thank hubhopper
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 20, 2012 via mobile

My boyfriend and I just spent 3 weeks at the Lodge where we had such a beautiful stay. The place is really lovely, the bungalow was very spacious and comfortable and the owner was so sweet and helpful. If you love nature and simplicity, this is where u should stay, it is a quiet nature haven just 30mn scooter drive from the busy noisy city. Long story short, we felt like home during our stay and this is where we will stay again during our next trip to Chiang Mai. Highly highly recommended, and excellent value for money.

Date of stay: July 2012
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3  Thank Sofia E
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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