THAILAND – A Mother-Son Adventure

We took off on New Year’s Eve from Altanta on Delta/Korean Air’s new flagship Airbus 350 and were happy to toast the New Year from the new Delta One Suites which were quite comfortable.

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The food was tasty and the wine selection was decent –

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I enjoy long haul flights to Asia because there is actually enough time to have dinner, enjoy a movie and still get a full nights sleep. By the time I awake for breakfast, I see that we are nearly there!

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The hard part about this trip is the long connection from Seoul to Bangkok, where the plane is not as comfortable and we were just ready to arrive.

Luckily, we have arranged the VIP expediting through customs and immigration (well worth it!) and the driver of the Mandarin Oriental was waiting to whisk us in a lovely Mercedes to the the iconic Oriental Hotel.

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Christmas decorations are lovely throughout the city and stay up through the first week in January for the Russian Orthodox Christmas.

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Our first outstanding meal was at the coveted NAHM and every bite was a flavorful welcome to what was to come during the next ten days!

Staying at the Mandarin, allows you to have rest and relaxation right on the river –

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Where you can watch the hustle and bustle of the city or take the hotel boat across to the spa or to one of the ferry stations along the river –

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The city is full of fantastic design and art shops including the new Warehouse 30

 

We had a blast seeing the city from the seat of a bike –

Isn’t the resting pod In the local Mall a clever use of space?

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What a view from our room at the Mandarin Oriental –

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Next, we flew to one of my favorite places in Thailand, Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle where Thailand meets, Myanmar and Laos –

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We were greeted at the airport by our driver to take us to the Four Seasons Tented Camp dock –

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..where we boarded our long-tail boat for the final leg up the Mekong River to reach Four Seasons Tented Camp –

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Announcing our arrival –

….before making our climb up to the Tented Camp –

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I have visited twice before over the past 10 years, but I will say the camp is more gorgeous than ever! The service is personalized and more flawless than ever before!!

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While guests are encouraged to walk to their tents, along beautiful pathways and across sky high hanging bridges, the tent does offer rides via their vintage Land Rover….

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Each of the 15 tents has its own design and theme. On this stay, we were assigned to the Opium Tent

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I love the hand pounded copper tub in each tent and lovely outdoor shower –

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The Hike to the spa is wonderful. Dressed and ready to climb –

The open air, two room spa is one of my favorites in the world…

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One of the best places in the camp to cool off is the wine cellar, where complimentary wine and cheese is offered each afternoon –

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Good morning! Today, we dressed in our mahout outfits ready to see the elephants –

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The baby elephants come by for bananas at breakfast –

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A hearty Thai breakfast to prepare us for a day Mahouting with the elephants –

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Here we learn about the lives of the gentle giants who have been rescued from difficult pasts, being used in the logging trade or wandering the streets of Bangkok with their mahouts hoping to make a buck.  Four Seasons not only rescues the elephants but also the mahout and their entire family who have come to Chiang Rai to take care of and give their friends and work partners a much better life.

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Tough choice! Do I go right or left?

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Sundowners at the Burma Bar is a treat into itself. The wonderful flavors and produce of Thai cooking are employed to create some absolutely delicious libations. Here with my lemongrass martini –

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The master mixologist – always ready to surprise and delight your palate –

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Bar snacks –

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Trading post purchases support the local foundation and you can find some beautiful things here!

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Food is absolutely delicious at Four Seasons Tented Camp! Don’t be shy to let the chef know your spice tolerance!

Soft shell crab on papaya salad was one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten –

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Spicy Beef salad –

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One must NOT go to Northern Thailand without trying the popular Khao Soi (noodle curry) – this rendition at Four Seasons Golden Triangle is to die for!!

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I lazed by the pool in the afternoon, taking in the river views and of course catching up on work emails – best office in the world!

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What an incredible view of the three countries at the Golden Triangle –

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Today we will drive South from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai and stop to visit some of Thailand’s Hill Tribes along the way – while we saw several different tribes…

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…the most striking and vibrant community seemed to be, the Long Neck –

A quick stop to see the shining White Palace on the way to Chiang Mai –

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It was a long drive but the best way to get between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai is by car and driver.  It is wonderful to arrive to peaceful Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai – an oasis of a resort located outside the hustle and bustle of the city, on a working rice terrace.

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The lanai in our Upper Pavillion –

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We woke up at the crack of dawn and were taken by our guide to give Alms to the Monks who come out and collect their food for the day, provided by the community. They offer their favorite foods to the Buddhist monks as they believe this also goes to their loved ones in their next life.

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Chiang Mai has multiple gorgeous temples to explore –

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We really enjoyed a visit to the food market with our guide, Nok-Nok, where my son proved he may be the next Anthony Bourdain –

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Back at Four Seasons, I set my sights on a fantastic Poke bowl for my healthful lunch –

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For families or groups of friends, I cannot more highly recommend the incredible Residences at Four Seasons which are incredibly spacious and come with your own house mom –

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Our last stop on this trip was back to Bangkok where we stayed at the Siam, quite possibly one of the most impressive and lovely hotels I have ever stayed in!!!

What a beautiful welcome –

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The design throughout the hotel feels very much like a sumptuous private residence –

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A birds eye view of the spa waiting area –

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A game of pool anyone?

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What a gym!! You can’t afford to not work out!

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Or at least a round in the hotels’ boxing ring!

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“Put up your dukes, lets get down to it!”

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A beautiful welcome snack in our room –

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Arriving into our room – so well designed and comfortable!

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The grounds at the boutique Siam are stunning and dramatic –

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The urban sanctuary is set in a quiet neighborhood near the university and royal palace and directly on the Chao Phraya river.

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Drinks on the river at sundown….

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…and then taking the Siam’s luxury boat into restaurants in the city for dinner makes for a magical and convenient experience.

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An excellent last meal in Thailand at “Never-ending Summer” –

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Wonderful way to see Bangkok by night as we are taken back home for a final sleep at the incomparable Siam!!

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It is not often that you get your 19 year old all to yourself for 12 days!! Great way to introduce SE Asia to my son!! I can’t wait to plan your family’s trip to the region!! I know just how to do it!

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