One of the main reasons I love going to Thailand is that no matter how many times I visit, I always experience something new. On my most recent trip, I paired Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand with Krabi on the Andaman Coast. Whilst the destinations were amazing, it was the experiences that brought this Thailand holiday to life.
I cannot recommend highly enough a stop in Chiang Mai when travelling around Thailand. It's a quick and easy 1-hour flight from Bangkok and the perfect contrast to the frenetic capital. Chiang Mai is a delightfully charming city along the bank of the Ping River.
It exudes creativity, with arts and crafts from local designers and artists, and an interesting market that is open nightly. There's also an abundance of fascinating temples to explore and Thai culture to discover.
I stayed at Raya Heritage, which is only about a 15-minute drive outside of the main city. The stunning design, delicious cuisine and wonderful hospitality here more than make up for not staying right in the city centre.
Raya Heritage is contemporary and fresh but still with personality. Its design takes influence from Northern Thailand and the surrounding countries, and the food is exceptional! Having enjoyed many a Pad Thai in my time, I can confidently say this was the most impressive one yet. And the sweet potato ice cream was a new and delightful experience!
Little touches such as delicious, filtered coffee rather than your normal coffee pod machines in the suites, and a locally crafted bag and hat for use during your stay were all things that made this stay so special.
One of the highlights of this destination was a visit to Studio Naenna. Founded in 1986 by Patricia Cheesman, an expert in Thai and Lao textiles, Studio Naenna now supports the female-only weaving group Weavers for the Environment . Here you can take part in indigo dye and traditional Karen weaving workshops run either by Patricia herself or her daughter. It was a real eye-opening and down-to-earth experience.
Then it was on to Krabi. I flew straight from Chiang Mai to Krabi, and then it was a quick trip by land and boat to Rayavadee.
Located on the Phranang Peninsula, on the border of the Krabi Marine National Park, Rayavadee is classically Thai in design and beautifully located in the lush jungle surrounded by a choice of three beaches. While day visitors and boats can access the island, Phranang Beach does not permit day boats, which makes it beautifully peaceful and private. It's a stunning spot for sunrise yoga and plays backdrop to The Grotto restaurant - a must-do dining experience during your stay.
Day trips to neighbouring islands such as Ta Lane or Hong are fantastic experiences offering a combination of adventure and relaxation. I combined it all, kayaking through the breathtaking scenery where limestone karsts emerge from the water, snorkelling in the shallow bays and simply relaxing on the beach.
There are so many luxury holiday experiences to delve into on your Thailand travels. Each one is sure to take your trip to the next level, so definitely have a look at what's on offer before your next trip!