65. Mae Taeng, Thailand

Sibsan

Somewhere along the way in our Thailand trip-planning, I came across the above photo, and that was it. I quickly crossed out Pai on my draft itinerary and put “Dream Hotel” down for two days in its place, and that’s how we ended up in the mountains of Thailand’s Chiang Mai Province.

Overview:
Nikki and I have joked a lot of times during our travels about being on our honeymoon, but this time really took the cake. The Mae Taeng area is out in the country, and our resort was pretty isolated. It gave us a nice couple days to break up the traveling, especially since we were missing out on the beaches in the south of the country.

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(Also, as a side note, I read that it could be cooler up in the mountains, especially in November, so I was worried it wouldn’t quite be pool weather. That concern, it turned out, was ridiculous. It was scorching.)

How I got there:
We collected a couple business cards from taxi drivers while in Chiang Mai, and on our last night there, we called around to a couple of them to see what rate they would give us for the hour-ish drive to Mae Taeng. In the end, our hotel’s driver offered to match the lowest quote we received, and off we went.

Where I stayed:
“Dream Hotel” is Sib-San Resort & Spa, which turned out to be every bit as beautiful as the photo suggested. We had our own villa to ourselves–and most of the resort, for that matter. We didn’t encounter more than a handful of hotel guests over two days there, meaning the gorgeous pools were empty. It was basically the setting for a tropical dream, complete with magenta-colored dragon flies.

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What I did:
Pool.

Where I ate:
Right–so it wasn’t all perfect. The food at Sibsan was pretty terrible (the hot tub also regrettably didn’t really work, which is completely unrelated, but it was my only other complaint). I mainly ate French fries and plain Pad Thai noodles throughout my time in Thailand to begin with, but Nikki didn’t like it either, and she eats real food like a normal adult. And when we ventured outside the hotel in search of alternatives, all we found at the little roadside shops were potato chips and the like. In short, I’d go back, but armed with Luna Bars or something.

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Local traffic outside the hotel grounds

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What I missed:
We were apparently close to many of the Thai hill tribe villages, but we didn’t visit any of them. I’ve heard that some tours exploit villagers (particularly the Karen tribe, whose “long-necked” women draw tourists in an uncomfortable, “human zoo” kind of way).


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