Exploring, shops, hotels, art museums, and some new, hip restaurants in Chiang Mai!
Have you ever wake up in a morning and suddenly have cravings for some food? It’s been some time since I visited Bangkok and since my friends mentioned (yes, here is the keyword: chicken rice) the other night while we were out for dinner, I kept thinking about the yummy chicken rice in Sukhumvit Soi 38 and what a tragedy it was now that street food stalls are banned in Bangkok due to hygiene and traffic issues (I have talked about its back to my post about Ayutthaya! A Memoir of Ayutthaya).
So I decided to take an abrupt turn here and write about something completely unrelated: Yummylicious – food in Chiang Mai; and not about street food, but some new hip places that could enrich your trip to northern Thailand apart from seeing the famous Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Night Market, or Doi Inthanon National Park.
So, the first night we arrived at Chiang Mai we settled down at a new boutique hotel at the edge of Chiang Mai old town called the Hotel I Lanna House, opened in December 2016 (I was told). For around US$50 a night I was pleasantly surprised as the room was gorgeous with a balcony overlooking… just outside of the hotel. Trust me though, a room with a balcony like that is just what I needed and then headed out immediately at a local dining place for some delicious pork soup and fish ball soup. The next morning, we had a nice and simple breakfast sitting outdoor by the side of the hotel’s tiny pool and got ready to explore the city! It’s always nice to start a travel day with a lovely breakfast like this:
I Lanna House: htts://www.facebook.com/ilannahouse/
Starting from MAYA Lifestyle Shopping Center, ending at the University, the Nimmanahaeminda Road is the street in the town where all the nice restaurants and cafes reside. The other night I was picked up by a local friend (who is in the filmmaking industry), and he took me with his motorcycle and grabbed a local Thai beer on the side of the road:
But apart from that, there are quite a lot of cafes and shops that a tourist would find interesting to explore. Playworks is one of my favorite stores with a lot of original bags and stationeries design, Fruiturday offers choices of fruit juice and Wawee Coffee is a nice coffee place for the locals.
The Barisotel by the Baristro
The Barisotel by the Baristro is one of a new addition to the area. The all-white interior adds a simplistic and modern vibe against natural sunlight! Being an Instagrammer himself, the owner of the café, Than, understands the importance of offering customers a lot of “Instagrammable” moments as they are enjoying a lazy afternoon with a glass of colorful drink and a piece of novelty cake. True, not only the props and tableware are tastefully chosen but also the food and drinks are creatively designed to feast both eyes and taste buds!
Meena Rice-Based Cuisine
It is exciting to know that there is a place with such a colorful presentation of rice in Chiang Mai! Meena Rice-Based Cuisine is around 30-minutes away from the Nimmanahaeminda Road. Yet it has been a hot spot since it opened about 2 years ago. The restaurant offered a lot of Thai dishes (and I love minced pork) that served with rice in five different colors (Riceberry rice in black, brown rice in brown, butterfly pea rice in blue, safflower rice in yellow, and Jasmine Rice in white). Diners could create, mix and match their own colorful plate of rice while sitting in a hut on top of a lake.
Meena Rice-Based Cuisine: https://www.facebook.com/meena.rice.based/
Kamphaengkaew by Chef Tutu
I always love going to contemporary art museums and it was exciting for me to know that there is a new contemporary art museum, Maiiam, opened in Chiang Mai. Opened in July 2016, the museum is a bit from the Chiang Mai old town but definitely worth visiting. The front of the museum is installed with shiny tiles that reflect the surrounding trees and sunlight; and though the museum is not big, it houses permanent collections of contemporary artists from Thai – including paintings, photographs, and sculptures of “The Timeless Present Moment” by Thai contemporary artist, Kamin Lertchaiprasert.
There aren’t any shops around the museum, and so we had to at the museum restaurant which is a highlight of the place. The café offers an interesting menu with a number of signature dishes. One of them is stockfish with watermelon. It is royal food since Kind Rama IV. You might think it is a little bit less “extravagant” to serve stockfish for a royal dish, it is an appetizer back in the days for people dipping watermelon cubes with stockfish, sugar, and fried garlic. Surprisingly, it tasted so refreshing!
MAIIAM is a new private museum of contemporary art in Thailand initiated by Jean Michel Beurdeley and his late wife Patrsi Bunnag, together with their son Eric Bunnag Booth. The family wishes to share their private collection, built together over the last thirty years, to everyone so that people could see and experience for themselves how art can enrich their lives. The museum was built memory of Eric Bunnang Booth’s great-great-aunt Chao Chom lam, a royal consort to King Rama V.
Bolsering Chiang Mai’s already vibrant art and cultural scene, MAIIAM aims to make the co-founders’ important collections of Thai and regional contemporary art, permanently accessible to the public. The museum mounts long-term and temporary exhibitions of visual art, design, and fashion, alongside performers, film screenings, special education programs, lectures, and workshops to engage a wide spectrum of audiences.