Been to Chiang Mai yet, mama? With everything from elephants, to its own cuisine, to world-class resorts, it’s a cultural must-see that’s also more kid-friendly than Bangkok.
Chiang Mai is the capital of Northern Thailand, and is a perfect, kid-friendly short trip from Singapore – only 3 hours’ plane ride and a quick drive from the airport to the bustling city centre. As you reach the Old City – still bound by walls dating back seven centuries! – you start to see why it’s known as the cultural and spiritual capital of Thailand.
There’s an overwhelmingly large number of hotels to choose from in Chiang Mai; we chose the Anantara Chiang Mai because of its fabulous location and family options: walking distance to a number of night markets, breezy riverside position, and a beautiful pool and spa.
We also loved the Kasara Suite option, with enough space – and beds – for a family of four. I am so sick of hotels telling me our 5-year-old can sleep in the bed with us! NO! Oh, and did I mention 24-hour babysitting options? Who says you can’t have luxury when you go away with the family?!
The 5-star Anantara (formerly The Chedi) is situated on the banks of the beautiful Ping River. It’s an oasis of class and tranquility and a perfect balance of old world meets new! The stunning colonial house in the centre of the resort – opened in 1921 as the British Consulate of Chiang Mai – has been restored to perfection.
The Service 1921 restaurant that’s housed in this building is totally spot on and recreates the colonial era in such a classic way, from menus presented in sealed envelopes as ‘TOP SECRET Missions’, to its spacious verandah seating.
The hotel has also just opened (as of October 2016) a fabulous new building across the road (but attached via walkway) housing 27 serviced apartments (with 1-, 2- and 3-bed options) — so spot on for families! It also has a rooftop pool and bar with amazing views of the city.
Anantara Serviced Suites provide a more affordable option than the suites in the hotel, but also allow you to have a separate kitchen, separate bedrooms and also home comforts like a washing machine, fridge, cots and assorted baby equipment. They’re great for families with young children or groups of friends; this option is a very flexible way of enjoying Anantara and its world class service in a more homey environment!
Kid Highlights: the swimming pool overlooking the beautiful Koi carp pool; make-your-own smoothies at breakfast; and the cute, free wooden tuktuks waiting on their beds when we arrived!
Parent Highlights: Cocktails by the pool; the lovely long balcony to sit in the evenings after the kids asleep; the amazing food at the The Service 1921 (highly recommend the Khao Soi and the Duck and Goats cheese and a ginger mint and lime dressing!); the perfect location for combining kids and shopping; oh, and let’s not forget the fab spa that offers over 10 different treatments!
There is so much to do in Chiang Mai – from elephants to shopping! If you only have a couple of days, like us, the Elephant Nature Park was a great day out and the kids loved it (book in advance online as they get super busy and only have limited numbers). We also loved having a family foot massage in the Night Market. Finally, be sure to pick up the Nancy Chandler Map of Chiang Mai before you go to help plan your time!
For longer stays you can also combine your stay with a trip to the amazing Anantara Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai for an unforgettable stay alongside some beautiful elephants!
All in all it was a great few days spent with the fam in Northern Thailand!