Excursions in Chiang Mai Province
1. Chiang Dao
Once Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed in May 2020, my girlfriend and I scooted north to Chiang Dao for two nights. The scoot from Chiang Mai to Chiang Dao (approximately 70km) took about two hours to our destination, the Azalea Village resort. Before checking in, we examined the Villa De View Cafe close to the Chiang Dao National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. This was a fabulous spot with views of Doi Chiang Dao, Thailand’s third highest mountain, and coffee plants.
Azalea Village Resort
From the location to the employees, there was a welcoming and peaceful ambience at Azalea Village. Further, the proximity of the mountains, particularly the imposing Doi Chiang Dao, contributed to a fantastic sunset. We enjoyed the facilities such as the swimming pool and massage spa, and again the settings of these were fantastic. Due to social distancing necessities, breakfast was brought to the decking of our cottage style room. The cottages were built in teak and had air conditioning, much needed in one of Thailand’s hottest months.
Places of Interest, Chiang Dao
On arrival to Azalea Village, the rain started falling quite heavily so we relaxed in the reception area. Once the rain ceased we accomplished general fitness and zumba workouts on the grassy area before having a swim. Further, our friends were staying at the resort and joined us in using the grass for yoga and meditation. Later, we had noodles at a vendor on the Chiang Dao highway and drinks with our friends back at the resort. At night we could see stars and interestingly the “Dao” in Chiang Dao means star, therefore “city of stars”.
On our second day we travelled to the Suan Bua agricultural project where we saw coffee and other crops growing. Afterwards we lunched and took Iced Coffees at the scenic Nakara Cafe of which the backdrop was Doi Chiang Dao. In addition there were further mountains that we could see on the horizon which added to the spectacle. In the evening we sampled Pad Thai in the resort restaurant, one of only two tables dining. The final morning we left Chiang Dao and stopped at Akha Ama Living Factory, our second visit here.
2. Mae Rim District
In the previous August, my girlfriend and I had a one night stay in Mae Rim, just north of Chiang Mai. The resort is on the north eastern section of the Samoeng Loop and encompassed by dense, green scenery. Therefore, Cooldowns is ideal for sites of interest like Mae Sa Waterfalls, Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens and Maesa Elephant Camp. We visited ‘Between Cafe’ prior to checking in where we witnessed Pomelos growing in the natural surrounds. Likewise the cafe was a lovely place for Iced coffee, photo opportunities and absorbing the fantastic views.
The majority of the rooms had stunning mountain views contributing to the serene feel of the resort. Certainly, we experienced the scale of the mountains from our room and much of the architecture was created from natural materials. Furthermore, the resort felt quite personalised due to there not being a vast amount of rooms. We took advantage of some of the amenities such as the outdoor swimming pool, the cafe-bar and the spa.
The interior of our room was chic yet minimalist and key features comprised a queen bed, a bath and a wet room. I particularly liked the open-plan layout and we were fortunate to acquire the room at a competitive price through Hotels.com. When booking, I recommend using Google Maps as you can locate properties and then compare rates from a list of sites.
Places of Interest, Mae Rim
Our first activity was a swim before I tried out the Thai massage for an hour while my girlfriend sunbathed. As we were starting early the next morning, we decided to have a quick meal of Mama noodles from the 7-Eleven. The experience was super relaxing in an idyllic location so I wouldn’t hesitate to book Cooldowns again.