Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chiang Mai's Secret Garden Bungalow Resort: A Gem

Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand and a well known tourist destination . Based on its great reviews in Trip Advisor, we chose a small family-owned bungalow resort named the Secret Garden. That was a good call, as it proved to be a veritable oasis of tranquility located at the edge of a village about 12 km north of the city.

The individual bungalows are roomy and comfortable and the landscaped grounds of this walled compound are incredible, with a new view everywhere you look. For us, it complemented and contrasted beautifully our other Thailand hostelries, which consisted of two large Hiltons and one large Conrad.

Our host and hostess couple, Peter and Pai, are the epitome of hospitality. Pai welcomes guests into the resort's large open kitchen to watch or assist with the preparation of dinner every night. Great Thai food comes out of the kitchen every evening at very reasonable prices, and we dined there two nights of our stay. What a setting it is.

Their buffet breakfasts, incidentally, include a variety of cured meats that Peter, in the best tradition of his Germanic roots, smokes himself in a fireplace that would otherwise be for decoration only in the Thai climate.

Peter and Pai were also most helpful in setting up the tours we took during our stay. Peter drove us back to the airport early one morning in the company of a family group that included two graduates of Ellyn's alma mater, Colorado College. Not only that, their son is currently a freshman there, while Tom's and Ellyn's Haley is a junior. Another entry for the small world department.

Before that early-morning drive back to the airport, we experienced two very different adventures, an elephant camp and a cooking school, so there'll be more to follow.

In the meantime, we thank Peter and Pai for their hospitality and for maintaining such a personalized and high-quality experience that leaves us with great memories of our stay with them. This YouTube video made by a previous guest captures the mood of the Secret Garden while providing a view both of Pai and of the elusive always-on-the-run Peter.

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