While the beach resorts and islands in the south of Thailand might draw those seeking sun and dusk-to-dawn party scenes, the country’s northern landscapes of emerald hills and fertile rice fields attracts a more heart-centred crowd.
This rare atmosphere of peace provides ample moments for reflection at the award-winning Four Seasons Resort, Chiang Mai. The resort is located on an active rice field, complete with scarecrow figures and two resident water buffaloes – Khun Tong and Khun Tone. In the mornings, the resort’s yoga and pilates specialist Dheeraj Patwal conducts sunrise yoga classes facing a lake, just as the sun peeks over the horizon. His classes flow effortlessly. They go beyond the almost competition-like adaptations of yoga normally found in busy cities.
Other activities offered at the Four Seasons Resort, Chiang Mai is a well-considered mix of local options like rice planting and buffalo bathing to rigorous exercises like pilates reformer classes, TRX workouts and tennis sessions with a former world-ranked player.
The 98-room property is designed in the style of a traditional Mae-Rim village. It comprises 20 acres of land, an undulating mix of rice terraces and landscape gardens. An afternoon highlight: a procession of village farmers through the resort signalling the end of a day working the fields.
Accommodations have been recently refurbished lending a ubiquitously Lanna aesthetic to the interiors: artworks and carvings pay homage to the region’s long-respected artisanal traditions. Traditions abound food-wise too. At Rim Thai Kitchen, guests have opportunities over dinner to taste, prepare and cook some of the region’s most famous street food dishes. These include piquant som tum, khao soi – hearty chicken curry noodles in broth, wok-fried morning glory with chillies, as well as staple desserts like delicious mango sticky rice and crushed iced served with condiments and syrup. Also included with the meal is a selection of beverages including locally distilled gin and the country’s best-loved beers, Singha and Chang.