The Intercontinental Chiang Mai: A Towering Treasure In A City Of Temples

Glodow Nead Communications

"Chiang Mai" means New City in Thai. The name's origin, however, dates to the late 13th century, when Chiang Mai replaced Chiang Rai as the nation's capital. The second largest city in Thailand, it is home to 1.2 million people. Situated 435 miles (an hour flight) north of Bangkok, it could not be more culturally or naturally different. Chiang Mai is a tranquil metropolis with a small town energy. There are 400 Buddhist temples here, some situated next door to one another. That, and the ancient wall which once served as the entrance to and fortification of the old city, lend Chiang Mai a traditional, spiritual vibe. Friendly coffee shops and gift stores lines its streets, and mountains loom as a picturesque backdrop. Above this serenity, rises the Intercontinental Chiang Mai The Mae Ping, a five star property where modernity and heritage seamlessly mesh. The Intercontinental is expertly staffed in every department- the best in big city service- amid the ancient charm of this Northern hub.

Relax to an afternoon tea or an exotic cocktail in the Kam Lobby Lounge. The passion fruit Crazy Hop and the Coconut Lime Fizz are among the alcohol free options. Gad Lanna Restaurant offers everything from a sizzling steak, to Northern Thai cuisine. Fried duck spring rolls are one appetizer, Canadian lobster over spicy Thai herb salad is one of the salad selections. Another is Som Tum, the green papaya salad so popular among Northern Thais and Isaan people. But Southern Thailand isn't overlooked- yellow curry is served here. Steak lovers may choose from Ribeye, Porterhouse, Tomahawk, Striploin and Flank. There's also a great skewer menu. The tastes of Thailand are well represented on Gad Lanna's mouth watering menu. For a finishing touch, sample the Khaow Niew Mamuang- a mango sticky rice.

There's also a restaurant which celebrated its grand opening in spring 2024-Hong's Chinese. Accented by the panoramic views of its Sky Bar, Hong's is the first upscale Chinese establishment in Chiang Mai. The menu features Sichuan delights, and seasonal Cantonese fare. Enjoy the 16th floor view as you savor mapo tofu lobster, crispy tiger prawns with wasabi, or wagyu beef short ribs in Sichuan style sauce. Even in Thailand, you cannot eat 24 hours a day. Unwind at The ii Spa. Book a luxury limo to a local attraction such as The Silver Temple. There are also a spacious fitness center, and swmming pools for adults, and for children.

Chiang Mai is a wonderful, safe city to explore on one's own, or with the benefit of a guide (have the concierge schedule the latter, if interested). Your suite affords a sweeping view of the city and Doi Suthep mountain. From your large screen tv, you may order meals and other amenities. Whether its temples, nature, or variety from the bustle of the Bangkok's, Phuket's and Pattaya's, that brings you to Chiang Mai, the Intercontinental is an ideal host for your foray into Northern Thailand old "New City"

Bijan Bayne

Bijan C. Bayne is an award-winning Thailand-based columnist & critic. Bayne's travel articles have appeared in AAA Horizons, Family Digest, Atlanta Goodlife, Ohio magazine, Arrington's Inn Traveler, and Hotel Executive, and his book reviews have been featured in Washington Post Book World, The Boston Herald, and The Crisis. He has served as a consultant for film, television and corporate clients s...(Read More)

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