Most people who come to Thailand visit Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Did you know that there are other interesting cities and regions in Northern Thailand that are often overlooked by tourists? We were recently invited to join an International group of Expat Ambassadors to discover Lamphun Chiang Mai and Pai attractions.
This 4-day Northern Thailand Tour was hosted by a group of Thai Government and Non- Government agencies to promote Northern Lanna Long-Stay.
Our journey takes us to places of natural beauty, where we discovered the friendly hospitality of Northern Thailand.
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Lamphun Chiang Mai and Pai Tour
Huay Sai Kao Home Stay
Hauy Sai Kao Home Stay is in Bann Tha Pa Pao village, 3 kilometres from the superhighway between Lamphun and Lampang.
We were warmly welcomed by traditionally dressed village women with jasmine garlands and a choice of medicinal teas.
I was looking forward to visiting the home stay and I wasn’t disappointed. We explored the adjoining fruit farm, fish pond (teaming with catfish) and viewed the dark teak rooms of a traditional Thai house.
Traditional Thai houses are built on raised stumps to catch a cool breeze. The covered veranda is a pleasant place to sit and the darkness of the wood cools the inside of the house. There are plenty of windows to catch cross breezes and shutters to black out the heat of the day. They reminded me of our beloved “Queenslander” style homes back in Australia.
We were greeted by the daughter of village chief Khwan. We learnt that the villagers make their living through agriculture.
In the past, the villagers supplied teak from the forests to the railways, this resulted in deforestation and landslides during the rainy season. Since then villagers have embarked on a restoration project which includes replanting trees and limiting the number of trees cut. It takes one generation for a teak tree to grow.
The Village has been won many awards for their conservation efforts, including the Green Global Trophy.
Staying at the Home Stay
The Hauy Sai Kao Home Stay is only one of the nine houses available for home stays throughout the village, they can be contacted through Hauy Sai Kao Home Stay Facebook page or reached by phone on 089 265 2714.
Vivo bene Village and MedResort
Our tour not only promoted tourist attractions but services for those considering a long stay and retirement in Thailand.
Driving up to Vivo bene Village is like driving up to an exclusive resort. We were surprised to learn that it is a wellness centre for people recovering from illness and aged care facility.
We were welcomed to Swiss owned Vivo bene Village by Resort Manager Krisada Khuiaphal, who gave us information on the Villages facilities.
We were taken on a tour of the Village by the Head of Nursing Division Jirapoon Yaempae. We loved the Rossli Restaurant and the adjoining alfresco area, a great place to sit with a glass of wine. The sparkling resort style pool has wheelchair access and there are cool pavilions that overlook the lake, with views that are peaceful and relaxing.
The rooms were large, lovingly decorated and homey with a shared kitchen. Resort style hotel accommodation is available for visiting relatives. The Health and Wellness Centre includes beauty salon, exercise and fitness centre, wellness centre and massage room.
Jiraporn Yaempae discussed care options and end of life plans, we came away with a sense that loved ones would be in good hands at this facility.
Everyone on our tour was impressed with Vivo bene Village, in fact it was so beautiful, some of us wanted to move in straight away.
Vivo bene Village is near the small town of Doi Saket, 18 kilometres from Chiang Mai.
Sai Nam Phung Orchid Farm
What else can I say but Beautiful! Orchids of every shape and colour can be found here, it is a spectacular sight to see. We stayed for lunch, a popular setting with curios from a bygone era. Men will love the antique car collection and women will love shopping for jewellery in the gift shops.
Sai Nam Phung Orchid Farm is located just outside of Chiang Mai at Mae Rim.
Chiang Mai to Pai
This was our second time to Pai so I was prepared. With 762 curves, I made sure I took my motion sickness medication. Driving from Chiang Mai to Pai is like being on a slow roller coaster ride that lasts for around 3 hours.
In saying that I think everyone should experience the drive at least once, driving through thick forest vegetation you will catch glimpses of mountain views as far as the eye can see. Just make sure to stop at Huai Nam Dang National Park along the way.
Flying from Chiang Mai to Pai is another option for those that suffer from motion sickness.
Huai Nam Dang National Park
We stopped at Huai Nam Dang National Park late in the afternoon. The view from Doi Kiew Lom View Point is breathtaking, a never-ending landscape of mountains and valleys. This is the perfect place for a break, it has a Swiss style chalet and rest rooms.
The town of Pai
Pai is a small town in Thailand’s Mae Hong Son Province, made famous as a former hippy hangout. The town has an alternative feel, a huge selection of restaurants, bars and adventure holiday packages.
We visited Pai and the surrounding countryside earlier in the year and it is one of our favourite places in Thailand. Click here to read more about Pai.
We arrived early evening and booked into our hotel. We ate a selection of delicious Thai dishes at the Baan Pai Restaurant before joining the excitement of the walking street night market.
Where to stay in Pai
Our Hotel in Pai was the Pai Do See Resort Hotel. Located just outside of town, Pai Do See Resort Hotel is a 10-minute walk to the town centre.
Individual Thai style bungalows are set amid tropical gardens, with pathways leading to the swimming pool and restaurant.
Each bungalow has a private veranda. The beds were comfortable and the rooms were large and air conditioned. The bathroom is rustic, with a hot powerful shower. There are stairs up to the room which may not be suitable for anyone with mobility issues.
Summary of Lumphun and Chiang Mai to Pai tour
What a day! A day full of contrasts and surprises, we have learnt so much and had so much fun during our Lamphun Chiang Mai and Pai trip. Next stop Mae Hong Son…
Have you visited these regions? If so we would love to hear about your experiences, feel free to leave a comment.