You’ll continue traveling east today, with four hours of flying from Paro to Chiang Mai
, in the north of Thailand. The city was long the capital of the independent Lanna Kingdom, which flourished from roughly the 13th to 18th centuries, when it was effectively incorporated into the Kingdom of Siam. While it is no longer the capital of an independent state, it remains one of the country’s cultural capitals, known for its handicraft traditions and unique regional cuisine.
Your base for your visit will be the Four Seasons Chiang Mai, set in a rice paddy, with rooms in pavilions inspired by traditional Thai architecture. During a class at the on-site cooking school, you can enjoy a savory introduction to the flavors and ingredients of northern Thai cuisine, followed by dining on the dishes you’ve prepared while enjoying views of the nearby mountains.
At every stop on a TCS World Travel itinerary, you’re always free to venture out on your own. If you’d rather join one of the curated small-group excursions, you could take a temples and market tour, which starts at the ancient Wat Chedi Luang and then continues on to Wat Phra Singh, where you can make an offering to monks asking for alms. Afterwards, a tuk-tuk tour of Chiang Mai ends at the bustling Warorot Market. If you want to learn more about the royal family of the Lanna Kingdom, the Dara Pirom Palace, now a museum, was the 19th-century home of one of the last princesses of the family, Dara Rasami.
Your itinerary does have some flexibility—you can choose instead to visit another Thai city, Chiang Rai
, for two nights, and then rejoin the group in Chiang Mai. Located farther north near the triangle where Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand meet, the area around Chiang Mai is remote rain forest. Here you’ll spend two nights in one of Asia’s most celebrated properties, the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle. The décor of the 15 luxurious tents was inspired by the 19th-century European explorers who visited and mapped the region. Choose from excursions visiting local villages, a Mekong River cruise, or learning about the care of elephants at a local sanctuary.