As the capital of the ancient Lanna kingdom, Chiang Mai overflows with cultural discoveries, from traditional Buddhist temples and handicraft collectives to a decidedly contemporary art and cafe scene. Surrounding the city, adventure awaits, whether trekking through the mountains to elephant sanctuaries and hilltribe villages or soaring over them in a hot-air balloon. Anantara Chiang Mai Resort offers boutique contemporary luxury on the banks of the Mae Ping River, just five minutes from the Night Bazaar and 15 minutes from the airport.
Eighty-four rooms and suites are located on the main grounds, with 26 serviced suites designed for long stays and families just across the road. The central 100-year-old heritage house, formerly the British consulate, plays host to elegant evenings of wining and dining. Leisure facilities include the award-winning Anantara Spa, a 34 m swimming pool by the river, and a fitness centre offering yoga, tai chi and muay Thai classes.
Nam Jai: Anantara Chiang Mai Resort Latest Luxury River Cruise
The Nam Jai, literally “water from the heart” in Thai, but more commonly understood as “with heart” or “kindness”, is an antique teak rice barge which has been restored by hand and outfitted with comfortable seating for eight. Cruises will set off from the resort’s newly built private pier, Long Muan, which means “fun sailing” in the local Lanna dialect.
There are two itineraries for you to choose from. The sunrise cruise departs at 9.00 am for the nearby Wat Ket Karam. One of Chiang Mai’s oldest communities, Wat Ket, it is a melting pot of cultures – Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh – with their different houses of worship built side by side. You will have the opportunity to make merit with the Buddhist monks, then cross the road to snack at what was once the city’s best kept secret, but now is in the Michelin guide – the simple roadside stall Lung Kajohn which serves up delicious bite-sized steamed rice dumplings, Khao Kriab Pak Moh. From there, it is a short stroll to the quaint pedestrian bridge of Khua Khaek for views of the river and Doi Suthep in the background.
The twilight voyage departs at 5.00 pm, sailing north past some of the city’s most iconic bridges, small temples and into lush green. This is a magical time of day, when the air stills and the sky begins to glow ochre then pink. You get to enjoy free-flow sparkling wine, canapes and a romance to savour.
“At Anantara, we believe in immersing guests in the real destination”, says Pitak Norathepkitti, General Manager of the resort. “A river cruise is a distinctly Thai experience, as well the perfect way to observe local life and rhythms unobtrusively. Our new offering will be one of the most luxurious in Chiang Mai, and we are immensely excited to share it with our guests and locals alike”.
The Nam Jai cruise is ready to welcome all guests, with prices beginning at THB 1,800++ per person for sunrise cruise and THB 2,800++ per person for twilight voyage. For more information or reservations, visit anantara.com/chiang-mai/restaurants/nam-jai-river-cruise, call +66 53 253 333 or email [email protected]