Our holiday was being planned a good 6 months ago. After much research we zeroed in on Chiang Mai. We reached there on 19th Oct 2011 and by this time much ground work was being done on this city by us. So if we had it all figured out, why am I penning down my experience??? That is because; I had a most beautiful vacation in Chiang Mai. Much more beautiful than what I had expected it to be. Chiang Mai literally means the BLESSED CITY.
So our induction to Chiang Mai began with an entry into Thailand in Bangkok. We transited through and took a flight straight to Chiang Mai. We had booked us at ‘The Chedi’, a luxurious Leading Hotels of the World. This by far was one of the best decisions taken by us. Promptly enough the limousine arrived at the quaint and petite Chiang Mai airport. The chauffer cruised towards ‘The Chedi’.
‘The Chedi’ arrived. We alighted onto their porch and walked into their lobby. I would like you to read this and imagine what I write next! Pampering is a mild word for an experience here. As we got the registration formalities done, a Thai lady attendant appeared noiselessly with a welcome drink made of lemon grass citing “swatdee krup” in her sing song voice and folded her dainty hands in a gesture of respect and reverence. I returned back the courtesies in the best possible way I could, but was unable to match her humility. Eventually, the General Manager of the resort stopped by to say ‘hello’ to us. Nice gesture! The lemon grass drink proved to be a lovely beverage for my excited nerves. After all our holiday was looking like it had begun on a positive note. Lovely vibes for now...Good times had begun.
Once in the room, I fished my camera out of my bag. I had to capture every moment, every detail, lest I missed out on anything! These were to be my memories once I finished my vacations. Oh no not yet, I cannot be possible talking about my holidays ending. Groan!!!
The rumbling in my stomach, reminded me of LUNCH!! We walked out to a rustic restaurant, called “Whole Earth”. We were quite surprised that the city was devoid of tourists and observed a few sprinkling of visitors like us here and there.
The meal at “Whole Earth” was delicious, traditional and very THAI. My eyes were now beginning to look tired and even if I tried to keep them open with toothpicks wedged between my lids, I would not have been able to. So we walked back to the resort to catch up on the priceless forty winks. It was drizzling all day through and the weather was playing hide and seek with the sun, who finally decided to call it a day. The smell of the earth, the lemon grass essences, and the aroma of the flora fauna was a heady mix. If at all I could call this ambience anything, it would be “romantic”. I must confess that I am a hopeless romantic fool, and, no I do not regret being one.
Soaking up in the bath tub, with a glass of merlot, provided the energy to eventually move out of the room, and, we headed to the infamous night bazaar. Streets were laced with hawkers selling trinkets, souvenirs, bags, jewelry and what may you have! Whiffs of aromas indicated a food court in the vicinity. We managed to gorge on locally made shrimp tempuras and soups. And, now for the interesting bit, every second lane was lined up with reclining chairs for massages. We opted for foot massage and head massage of half an hour each. Ying, the lady masseuse worked up her nimble hands into our stressed, knotted muscles. Excruciating sweet pain made way for deep relaxation. Ying was a young masseuse and a naughty one at that. She did not lose any opportunity to pass witty comments on us in her heavily Thai influenced English. I liked her.
The next day, we were up early morning and after finishing our workouts at a well equipped gymnasium at the resort, we proceeded to have our breakfast. Enjoyable experience again. The restaurant was interestingly blended with an old building that was the British Consulate. The alfresco area was our favorite. The cool morning breeze rejuvenated us every morning. We also had one dinner at the alfresco one of the evenings.
We visited the Doi Suthep temple on the hill, and yes, also climbed the 300 odd steps to get there. Tired?? No way. A few gasps were all it took. Nay, I am not lying. On our way back, we visited and paid our respects at the Phra Singh and Jed___ temples. How beautiful are these temples here. These are majestically ornate with some breathtaking mirror works and etching. Lord Buddha is revered here. I believe in him as well.
Later that evening we went to yet another night bazaar. This one had better spread of merchandise. It was a good feeling walking through crowds, locals, visitors thronging these streets. Massages ?? Yes!! Couldn’t miss out on these and we landed up again at the hands of the expert Thai lady masseuse, who yet again play doughed and kneaded our sore muscles. Bliss is the word that I can come up with at this point. Yes, Bliss it was!! We treated ourselves with Crème Bruille Mocchachino at the Starbucks! Sinful, but then some nuances are welcome once every while.
Dinner was at “Pum’s Kitchen” which was hop skip and jump from our hotel. The owner of ‘Pum’s Kitchen’ was Pum herself. A lovely being and a genuine soul, but a nonstop chatterbox nonetheless. We loved her attitude, and soon we were chattering away like old friends. Her dream was to visit India some day!! That was Pum!! And her kitchen crafted out some local fancies for us.
And so on, the days at “The Chedi” and Chiang Mai flew by. The city grew on us. We felt as if we belonged to this cute, snuggly, overtly humble and simple city. If you love peace, this city is for you. Oh, how can I not mention about the “Himalayan Stone” massage we took at “The Chedi Spa”. We booked a couple massage and walked into the spa for a massage. Hot Himalayan stones were used on our bodies. Let me now try to describe the experience. Fingers and hands of the masseuse goaded and teased the skin and body with burning hot stones from the Himalayas (of course they do not scald you). Aromatic oils flavored with elements of life (fire, earth, water, air) are worked into your skin, leaving your skin glowing, lighter and aromatic. I have no words to tell you how I felt once the therapy was done with. I felt like I had been touch by some kind of a magical spiritual hand. Out of the world experience this one.
My heart was heavy that morning when we had to leave for the airport. I couldn’t believe that we had spent only 4 days at Chiang Mai. It felt as if we dwelled there for ages. We had to be back here in this lifetime someday soon. I had a most beautiful holiday of my life. A special person made this possible.
As the flight took off from Chiang Mai, the city tugged at my heart. I did tell you that I was a hopeless romantic didn’t I? I said to myself “I will not bid a farewell to you Chiang Mai…So long!” I slept through the flight in the arms of my man, as if sedated by the Chiang Mai charm. Surely Chiang Mai was a reality and not a dream.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Edging the meandering Mae Ping River, Anantara Chiang Mai Resort is conveniently situated a mere five minute walk to the famous Night Bazaar and only 10 minutes from the quaint and traditional attractions of the old moated city. Explore authentic Thai areas, seemingly endless markets and the city's quirky art culture with its bohemian vibe as well as popular cosmopolitan hangouts and a growing wellness scene. Surrounding the valley in which Chiang Mai resides, verdant mountains are home to vast national parks of virgin rainforest, impressive waterfalls and rare flora and fauna. Discover countless Buddhist temples, timeless hill tribe communities, exotic animal sanctuaries and fascinating handicraft villages, as well as historic ruins that tell a tale of a time when Chiang Mai was the capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Chedi Chiang Mai Hotel Chiang Mai
- Chedi Chiang Mai