Travel

Doi Suthep

Establishment neighborhood
Wat Umong Meditation Center
Mueang Chiang Mai District, Doi Suthep
Located in the foothills about forty-five minutes northwest of the city, Wat Umong is a Buddhist meditation center based on the ancient Vipassana practice—silent, self-observing mental training. Come here prepared for a deep dive into the practice, which will last a minimum of ten days. The goal of the practice is to hone the mind-body connection, clear the conscience, and assuage inner turmoil. (Much like a trip to Chiang Mai in general.) This isn't a luxury retreat, but you will be well taken care of. Guests are asked to wear only white (particularly comfortable cotton shirts and pants), bring only essential belongings (medication, toiletries, etc.), and refrain from using any smartphones or electronic devices. What you sacrifice for your stay—TV, small talk, a connection to the outer world—you'll gain in peace, perspective, and mindfulness.
The Oasis Spa
9/6 Soi 1, Wualai Rd., Doi Suthep
If you want serious relaxation, go for the Oasis Four Hands. Two massage therapists work together, intertwining their hands to cover a greater body mass, resulting in a more intense massage. It's unique and a little odd, but it feels incredible. If you want more restoration and rejuvenation, ask for a Tok Sen, a treatment native to northern Thailand. A clinician taps your energy meridian lines with a special wooden hammer to help circulate energy and release any blockages. Then they rub your muscles with balm and give you a really good stretch. You'll feel looser, lighter, energized. And if you had a stiff neck or clenched jaw, it will probably—miraculously—be gone when you leave.
Chiida Spa
163/2 Cholpratarn Rd., Doi Suthep
The name means "the inner power of the Lanna." This is a place for anyone who is very serious about massage. In fact, it's not overstating to say that this is one of the world's most renowned massage centers (it’s trained massage therapists around the world). The treatments are extensive, reviving, and invigorating—and will leave you in a state that feels pleasantly between sleep and consciousness. Maybe that's total bliss. The luxurious, ornate dark-teakwood architecture makes a visit here even more special.
Anchan Vegetarian Restaurant
Nimmanhaeminda Rd., Soi Hillside 2, Doi Suthep
When a vegetarian restaurant is this good, we are willing to give up burgers and salmon forever. This understated, quaint little spot is one of those places. The staff aces every dish. And, yes, it sounds clichéd, but you really won't miss the meat. Scratch that: You won't even notice it’s missing. The vegetable green curry is nutty, creamy, and deeply layered; the mango salad is bright, crunchy, and perfectly acidic; and the mixed-mushroom Thai omelet is so fluffy and custardy, it will make you forget to order anything else. At least, until you remember eyeing the banana coconut milk smoothie on the menu.
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