Thailand: Secret Retreats and Destination Spots

Image courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Chiang Mai


Thailand. I fell in love with this beautiful county and I want to go back soon. I started researching this trip just like all others – via the internet. I had received many responses back from other guides and one specific tour guide was the only one that responded each time with what I wanted to hear. I knew he was the right one after weeks of back and forth emails. I told him I wanted to ride elephants and not in a circle. I wanted to ride on the neck of an elephant and trek through the jungle. I wanted to tour the country from the eyes of a local guide. I found him and his name is Joy, and oh what a Joy he was. His web site is and he can be reached at 

This wonderful man took us to places that were off the beaten path; places you only see in coffee table books. He was kind, dependable and I trusted him to guide us through this enchanted country. 

Our first stop in Thailand was Chaing Mai at the Four Seasons Hotel. This resort will remain in my mind forever. We were having dinner and a man came up to us and asked, “Could I spray your legs?” Ah, sure. It was mosquito spray but a lovely homemade scent. Our room overlooked the rice paddies and to wake up and see this view was amazing. 

Joy would pick us up out front and took us the places I am sure tourists will never get to see. We went inside an umbrella making company. These umbrellas were made from paper and wood. The process was fascinating. He took us to a very small restaurant where we ordered everything on the menu so we could taste the different Thai flavors and our bill came out to just $7.00. 

We stayed three days at the Four Seasons Chiang Mai because I also wanted to stay at the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Chiang Mai. This place must be on your bucket list. This over-the-top resort was beyond perfect. When Joy took us over he too was amazed. We took a horse-drawn carriage to our home. Yes, our home – a two-story house that had a piano and full kitchen on the ground floor and a light up outdoor jacuzzi upstairs. Our room was huge and each night lovely gifts appeared on our beds. 

This resort includes 60 acres of natural landscapes that offer a self-contained world of beauty, incorporating serene paddy fields and exotic plantations. Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi is Chiang Mai’s only luxury hotel and resort where you can enjoy one of the world’s most beautiful spas and surround yourself with the rich heritage of the Lanna Kingdom. The resort map had eight folds to unfold to see this huge resort. To get to our two-story villa we had a choice of horse carriage, bikes or golf cart When we arrived to our villa it was like magic that someone was standing there to open our door to the courtyard. Each time we came “home”  the beautiful gestures of the Dhara Dhevi employees greeted us with a warm smile.  Our room was a two-story villa that had a kitchen and entertainment area on the first floor complete with a piano and on the second floor was our home for the next few days. I must say this will be the most beautiful room I have ever had the pleasure to sleep in. I can not say enough about the bed and the quality of bedding. The bathroom was so large that you felt that you were in a luxury spa. The soft towels that we enjoyed after our soak in a light up hot tub out on the outside deck. We enjoyed our down time at this truly amazing resort. After dinner we would check out a movie from the vast collection of movies offered and go back to our home. This is where we fell in love with the movie Mr.  Bean.  Each night when we returned to our home. They had placed a beautiful gift on the bed.  Both my kids had their first spa experience here. How will I ever top that in the states? The pool had gigantic flowers that were showers and classical music played under the water when we swim. The minute you appeared in the pool area a tray of personal amenities arrives. We left the hotel only one day and this was for elephant trekking in the jungle. OH MY! I also want you blog readers to know that there is a tailor at the resort and he was very good. 

Our wonderful guide Joy has remained a friend and I hope you get a chance to travel his county with him. He is a wonderful man and a fabulous guide! 

See a complete slide show of Mandarin Oriental

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