Explore this year's hottest openings in the Northern capital.
Kad Nom Sen
This retro restaurant is filled with woven fabrics and other old-school markers. The menu is all about the Chiang Rai-style curry known as kanomjeen nam ngiew, made using recipes from the owner’s mother. What makes it stand out from Chiang Mai’s version of the dish is the thicker soup and the use of sun-dried fermented bean sheets. They also serve local treats like khao kan jin (steamed pork with rice cooked in blood) and mouth-watering desserts such as cold, purple sangkhaya (Thai custard), which gets its color from butterfly pea leaves.
Charoensuk Rd., Chang Puak, 061-265-0002. Open Thu-Tue 9am-6pm. www.fb.com/kadnomsen
Cuisine de Garden Rustic Grill and Wine Bar
This project from the former Iron Chef contender Leelawat “Chef Nan” Mankongtiphan spotlights meaty dishes grilled over sweetly scented longan tree charcoal. Expect choice cuts of Thaiwagyu Kampaengsaen beef, dry-aged for 30 days, available as striploin, rib-eye and T-bone. You can also grab Thai-style tapas like grilled corn with dried shrimp to go with Italian craft beers.
Star Avenue 5, Hang Dong, 081-774-1479. Open daily 11:30am-10pm. www.fb.com/RusticGrillandWineBar
Suan Paak Hug Khun
The name translates to “veggie garden loves you,” while the menu centers on traditional Thai and Lanna items, plus a section dedicated to Western dishes. Highlights include the salmon wrapped in wild betel leaf (miang kham pla salmon) and Hors D’oeuvres Chiang Mai (a platter of Chiang Mai delicacies). The grounds feature a massive garden where the restaurant sources all its vegetables, and a children’s play zone. Live folk music on weekends.
129 Moo 12, Sankhampaeng, 053-101-255. Open daily 11am-11pm. www.fb.com/suanpaakhugkhun58
Award-winning barista Arnon Thitiprasert’s second coffee shop showcases what Arnon’s learned from various coffee-making competitions. We recommend the experimental coffee-based alcoholic drinks such as the Ethiopian Monkey (hot mocha with creme de menthe).
Nimmanhemin Rd., between soi 3 and 5, 053-215-278. Open daily 7:08am-6:08pm. www.fb.com/ristr8to
Credit: Dewy photo
This seemingly unfinished barn-like venue hosts everything from experimental music to poetry nights, but when there is no exhibition you can still pop in for a drink on the ground floor.
88 Thapae Rd., 081-765-5246. Open daily 6pm-midnight (closed on Buddhist holidays)
Ping Silhouette Hotel des Artists
Located on the bank of the Ping River, this gorgeous modern-Chinoiserie-style hotel takes over what was once an old unfinished building. Inside is a courtyard with willow trees and a pond that looks like something straight out of ancient China. They also have a tea house and bistro cafe that serves Asian food like stir-fried noodles with red date, Taiwanese cheese bread and Northern Thai nam prik noom (green chili paste).
181 Chareonraj Rd, Wat Kate, 053-260-666. www.fb.com/hotel.ping.silhouette
This hotel takes inspiration from local craftwork, specifically indigo tie-dye. Its geometric cut-out facade hides a cozy resort-like interior of blond wood and white walls that’s complemented by a rooftop restaurant that lets you take in stunning views of Doi Suthep.
99/64, 99/105-107 Moo 1, Huay Kaew, 053-218-163, 053-218-164. www.fb.com/thecorehotelchiangmai
This two-story boutique hotel is inspired by the red wood buildings of Myanmar. All rooms include free soft drinks, while Executive rooms and above come with booze, too. Guests can take their all-day breakfast whenever they want, with coffee from Chiang Mai’s Doi Wawee.
141 Suandok Rd., 053-245-995. www.fb.com/the.chaya.resort
X2 Vibe Chiang Mai Decem Hotel
The X2 brand’s new opening combines the same designer-y sense of style as its sister properties—beds floating in the middle of rooms, industrial fixtures, glam bathrooms—only this time in a proper 76-room hotel built around a swimming pool courtyard. Bonus points for the hip Nimmanhaemin neighborhood.
10/18 Moo 2 Super Highway, Chiangmai-Lampang Rd., 053-214-828. goo.gl/ztjlFy
Art Mai Gallery Hotel
Each room comes adorned with work by prominent Thai artists—including Bangkok king of cool Jitsing Somboon (head designer at Greyhound fashion label) and revered impressionist oil painter Charoon Boonsuan. The 79 rooms are also each equipped with a painting canvas to let your imagination run wild.
21 Nimmanhaemin Soi 3, 053-894-888, www.artmaigalleryhotel.com
Jing Jai Market Chiang Mai
This open-air shopping arcade is packed with hip cafes, shops and restaurants, and also offers a range of healthy dishes. A regular farmer’s market sells freshly harvested fruit and veg from Chiang Mai’s local urban farmers.
45 Assadathorn Rd., Patan, 053-231-520. Open daily 9am-late. www.jingjaichiangmai.com
Pongyang Zipline & Jungle Coaster
This is home to probably the best ride of any of Thailand’s zipline parks. The Jungle Coaster is a two-seater adrenaline rush powered by gravity that snakes around the canopy on steel rails. Also check out the Quick Jump, a bungee-jump-like service where visitors fall to the ground from heights of 14 meters.
99/9 Moo 2 Pongyang, Maerim, 092-973-8868. Open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm; Sat-Sun 8:30am-5:30pm. pongyangadventure.com
Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum
The most ambitious modern art museum in Thailand sits in a converted 3,000-sq-meter warehouse, a 30-minute drive east from Chiang Mai center. Inside is a mix of rotating and permanent exhibitions from the personal collections of Jean Michel Beurdeley and his late wife Patsri Bunnag, together with their son Eric Bunnag Booth (Jim Thomson’s international marketing director). The focus is on emerging local artists and contemporary masters like the late Montien Boonma, Kamin Lertchaiprasert, Chatchai Puipia, Araya Rasdjarmrearnsook, Navin Rawanchaikul, Natee Utarit, Vasan Sitthiket, Pinaree Sanpitak and Rirkrit Tiravanija.
122 Moo 7, Tonpao, Sankampheang, 081-386-6899. Open Wed-Mon 10am-6pm. www.maiiam.com
Taking nature walks to dizzying new heights, the Canopy Walkway is a 20-something-meter-high and 400-meter-long bridge that stretches across the Mae Rim rainforest. Hikers are rewarded with stunning 360-degree views of the surrounding greenery and mountains.
Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden, 100 Moo 9, Mae Rim. www.qsbg.org
WHERE Hot Spots 2016 lists the best new openings around Thailand. Explore the hottest restaurants, bars and hotels in Bangkok, Hua Hin, Phuket, Koh Samui, Krabi and Chiang Mai. Download your copy here.