ARRIVING at Four Seasons Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, you instantly feel at peace.
Set around a fully operational rice farm in Mae Rim Valley, 30 minutes north of the city, this lush property is a tranquil retreat where wellness and immersive cultural experiences are a focus.
I’m shown to my one-bedroom Upper Rice Terrace Pavilion room, which overlooks the terraced rice fields, Suthep mountain range and the resort’s Instagrammable infinity-style pool.
Rooms are spacious with a king-sized bed, bespoke artworks, Siamese artifacts and a separate bathroom with a deep tub and walk-in robe.
Timber doors lead out to a private outdoor living space, which boasts a swinging day bed - the perfect place for quiet reflection or an evening sundowner.
A highlight was a cooking lesson with the jovial Chef Tor in the ultra-chic Rim Thai Kitchen where we cooked, and later ate, several Thai dishes.
The food is a highlight of a stay at Four Seasons Chiang Mai and I enjoy indulging in flavoursome Northern Thai cuisine lunch at Khao.
For lunch, chef Rada Panphung created her ‘favourites menu’, a selection of Thai dishes including friend spicy ruby fish with three flavour sauce and Pad Thai Goong.
For traditional and tasty Thai street food, don’t miss the weekly Saturday Walking Street markets, which spans the entire length of Wui Lai Road from 5pm until 11pm.
Also swing by Woo, a café and lifestyle store, for Thai and western dishes, great coffee, a beautifully curated section of homewares and an art gallery upstairs.
The hip Nimmanhaemin neighbourhood is the place to go for some serious retail therapy.
Centered on its namesake road, you will find everything from markets to malls including Maya Lifestyle Shopping Center and One Nimman, which has a sleek, European feel and is full of emerging local brands, galleries and pop-up markets and trendy cafes like Graph.
Those looking for hole-in-the-wall bars will love Parallel Universe of Lunar 2 on the Hidden Moon.
This quirky rooftop space, located on level five of One Nimman building, boasts epic views of the city and serves Thai craft beers like My Beer Friend and a selection of international brews.
Also be sure to pull up a seat at the bar North Gate Jazz Co-op, close by the Walking Street markets, for a buzzing atmosphere and live tunes provided by a talented roster of local musos.