You probably already know that Chiang Mai, Thailand’s “Rose of the North,” is a very cheap place to live. Food can cost as little as $1.25 and rent can be as little as $156 per month. People live very cheaply. But in truth, the delicious bowl of noodles that’s filled with flavor and packed with a punch; they served it to you in a plastic bowl while you are sitting on a plastic seat on the sidewalk. Don’t get me wrong, I am quite happy to eat at places like this, mainly because I cannot find such exquisite flavors back home. But, there is another side to Chiang Mai. It isn’t all lively local markets, ‘back packer’ living and bargain beaded bracelets. The Thai middle class is growing and so is their demand for luxury. So here are my total faves for life’s little indulgences in Chiang Mai right now.
Indulgences in Chiang Mai #1: Luxury for Your Tastebuds
“Saruda Finest Pastery” is off the famous Nimmanheamin street provides an array of cakes and pastries that are nothing short of divine.
An average price is $7.80 for a serve larger than your fist. Most cakes look local fruit but provide a smooth, rich surprise.
Indulgences in Chiang Mai #2: Fine Dining without the Fancy Pants!
“Tea Leaf Lab” offers European food that is also cooked by someone who really knows what he is doing. There is a small menu on offer but it changes regularly.
Last time I went there I had Italian fennel sausage, spiced red pepper and chickpea stew, garlic rouillle and cheesy bread for less than $9.
My regular go to place is B Samcook Home 16 where Chef Boy is always creating innovative recipes inspired by both Thailand and America, where he learned about cooking.
His signature is often edible flowers that are grown in his own garden. Water features and an open kitchen area give a lovely atmosphere.
My latest meal was a delightful crab curry with green tea and spinach noodles was worth every cent of the $7.50 I paid. Luxury for the tastebuds!
Indulgences in Chiang Mai #3: Affordable Luxury Resorts Gym Memberships
One of my favorite places along the Ping River is the Ratilanna Riverside Resort. This is a luxury resort with a salt water infinity swimming pool right on the river. The actual building is charmingly Northern Thai with lots of old wood and bright pops of silk. A Gym membership at this remarkably charming place is only $675 a year! It’s a total bliss bomb! A warning, it is hard to avoid the cocktails as you are walking past views of the river and the bar!
Indulgences in Chiang Mai #4: Spa Sparkling
I have met many women who just come to Chiang Mai for the affordable Day Spas. There are many in proximity to the old city and certainly provide that perfect little ‘me time’ oasis. These places seem to warp time and allow you to delve into a pure, deep relaxation. One deal at Fah Lanna Spa includes a body scrub plus royal bath, tok Sen massage, aromatherapy oil massage, Thai massage and facial treatment is four hours of indulgence for just $78. Why wouldn’t you?
Share your Life’s little indulgences where you are with our expat community on TCI.
by: Rachel Devlin