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thailand

thailand

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Destinations: 
Asia,
Bangkok,
Chiang Mai,
Thailand

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See + Do

Elephant Camps near Chiang Mai

For centuries, timber elephants played a crucial role in northern Thailand's economy. The Thai government banned commercial logging in 1989, but the skills of these huge yet graceful animals are still displayed at tourist-oriented elephant camps scattered around the province. Pang Mae Sa, about 15 miles northwest of town, is the closest—and most commercial—operation (66-53-297-060). At Chiang Dao Elephant Training Centre, 35 miles north of Chiang Mai on Highway 107, the mahouts and their charges demonstrate more traditional forest talents (66-53-298-553). You can also clamber atop a howdah, or elephant saddle, for a rumble through the jungle. Tour companies usually include hotel pick-up and round-trip transport in their packages.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
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Hotel

Old Bangkok Inn, Thailand

607 Pra Sumen Road, Pra Nakhon
Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Tel: 66 2 629 1787
Email: info@oldbangkokinn.com
Website: www.oldbangkokinn.com

A bit of Vermont in the shadow of the Grand Palace? Nantiya Tuliyanont, the friendly, globe-trotting owner of Bangkok's first true B&B, welcomes arriving guests with homemade sweets, and the eight rooms each have their own thoughtful details—a private garden with hand-sculpted tub in the Rose suite, intricate wrought-iron fixtures in the Rice room. But this is no throwback: There are flat-screen TVs, powerful showers with solar-heated water, and free Wi-Fi and computers in each room (something the inn's more luxurious competitors don't provide). But the key here is the personal touch: Breakfast—rice-flour hotcakes doused in sweet coconut—is made on an old-fashioned charcoal stove, and Jirayu "Joey" Tuliyanont will personally escort you on a nightlife tour of nearby hippie-chic Khao San Road. One of the few green hotels in Bangkok, the inn has sensors that shut down lights and appliances when guests leave their rooms, and all water is heated with solar energy. The owners share this sense of social responsibility with guests, offering them the opportunity on their bill to make contributions (matched by the hotel) to one of four charities focused on animals and children at risk.

$199 or less
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Hotel

Le Méridien Bangkok, Thailand

40/5 Surawong Road, Bangrak
Bangkok 10500, Thailand
Tel: 66 2 232 8888
Website: www.starwoodhotels.com/lemeridien/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=1946

$199 or less
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Hotel

Villa Water Orchid, Thailand

41/1 Moo 2
Chiang Mai 50130, Thailand
Tel: 66 85 033 2174
Email: info@waterorchid.com
Website: www.waterorchid.com

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
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Hotel

D2 Hotel Chiang Mai, Thailand

100 Chang Klan Road
Chiang Mai 50100, Thailand
Tel: 66 53 999 999
Email: d2crsvn@dusit.com
Website: d2hotels.com

D2, the precocious new brand of the Dusit hotel chain, is more Soho than Southeast Asia. The staff—make that "agents''—are younger than you, thinner than you, and even dance better than you, if the chorus line in the lobby (standard D2 procedure for the 2 p.m. personnel shift) is any indication. They're also better-looking, too, unless you happen to be Catherine Deneuve, one of the hotel's illustrious guests. Global urban minimalism is the prevailing taste, and the only hints of Asia in the 131 rooms are the raw silk pillows and "Siam Soul'' lounge music especially produced by David Coker of Futon, one of Thailand's top bands. If you want local color, however, just step outside the ten-story hotel: The Night Bazaar is right out front. When retail overload sets in, retreat to the kidney-shaped swimming pool or the on-site Devarana Spa for a ginger compress and back massage. Club Deluxe–level guests get the run of the seventh-floor lounge, which has private check-in, free Internet, and a complimentary happy hour. There's also a trendy fusion restaurant, Moxie.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
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Hotel

At Niman Conceptual Home, Thailand

37 Nimmanhaemin Road, Soi 9
Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
Tel: 66 53 224 949

After overseeing the sprawling, $75 million Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, architect Rachen "Taam'' Intawong went for up close and personal with this eight-room "conceptual home.'' Located one mile west of the old city, the hotel appeals to budget-minded bohemians of all stripes with decor that reflects Chiang Mai's cultural bond with India and the Himalayas. The lower floors are heavy on Indian, Nepalese, and Tibetan trappings, such as hand-carved teak door jambs and lintels, while sleeker, Lanna-style accessories like bud-shaped lamps enliven the top tier. No two rooms are identical, though all are larger than 1,000 square feet and have the requisite modern comforts: Wi-Fi, mini-bar, candles, and aromatherapy products. Downstairs, there's a small library, a swimming pool, and a restaurant, the whimsically named Le Muang de Cuisine Snob. One of the city's best shopping areas, Nimmanhaemin Road, is just a five-minute walk away; a free shuttle connects to the Night Bazaar.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.