Baan Orapin Heritage B&B

Chiang Mai & North, Thailand Book from THB1800

A peaceful base for sightseeing, tucked into lush gardens on the banks of the Ping, amid the old-world charm of the Charoenrat/Wat Ket area
A characterful, well-kept guesthouse - actually a collection of bungalows around a restful, landscaped tropical garden - Baan Orapin takes its name from the 90-year-old teakwood family home at its centre. The owners still live here, without the benefit of air conditioning, but have striven to offer their guests comfort at a reasonable price. All the amenities are in place, floors are teak or hardwood, furniture is handcrafted, and if the surfaces aren’t always finished to the highest of standards, this is compensated doubly by the attentive service and care which manager Khun Opas takes to make you feel welcome. You can ask him anything, and he will provide the answer, map at the ready.

The location is another draw, a historic street along the sleepy Ping River that has been carefully restored not by edict, but by the affection of the residents. Lovely arts and craft shops abound, and you're within easy striking distance of the Night Bazaar, Wat Ket temple, riverside bars and cruises. The city centre is a short tuk-tuk ride away; the old building at the top of the road is probably the city’s most interesting student-y art showcase. And the hotel's peaceful garden will be welcome respite after a hill-tribe trek.

Highs

  • Good value; each room has an outdoor sitting area
  • Friendly, helpful knowledgeable owners who speak excellent English. There are few questions about the city they can't answer
  • Handy location: out of the worst tourist crush but within tuk-tuk reach of all the sights
  • A pleasant small pool to soothe tired limbs

Lows

    • Book early - it's often full!
    • Some of the finishings are a little worn
    • No restaurant or food service other than breakfast
    • Being near the bars means there can be a colourful cross-section of guests
    • The computer in the lounge is rather ancient and thus slow - but free as is the WiFi throughout the property

Best time to go

The cool season (November-February) is best for most purposes, with daytime temps in the high 20s, and bearably cool nights. But it's also the busiest. And if you want to go trekking, the 'swidden burning' in February and March means parched ground, low visibility and smoke-clouds - not ideal. The waters are also lowest at this time, so don't plan on any rafting or waterfall-bathing. Given a free choice, November and December are the best 2 months; and Chiang Mai is one of the best places to see the fabulous fireworks-and-float-fest of Loy Krathong, on the night of November's full moon.

The hot season (March-May) is for the hardy only, though temperatures soar into the mid 30s with high humidity to boot, and the rains can hit quite hard from mid-May, without getting much cooler. Chiang Mai and surrounding towns are great places to experience the water festival, Songkran (mid April). There's also a flower festival on the first weekend in Feb with a procession of floats shaped into animals, chedis and scenes from the Ramayana.

The rainy season (June to October) is an option - average rainfall is about 200mm per month, peaking in August-September, but it all comes down in half an hour a day and you can expect one or two dry days per week. It's usually in the mid to high 20s. There's a 'life-prolonging' Inthakin festival in Chiang Mai in early June, where young men are paraded around on others' shoulders before starting life as monks.

Great for...

Eco
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique B&B
  • 16
  • Breakfast (+ walk to restaurants)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

The rooms are dominated by dark wood varnished furniture, with pieces of local handwoven fabric, which Khun Opas can help guests source in the markets of Chiang Mai. They're a generous size, all with their own little outside seating area. Bathrooms are functional with shower cubicles. The simple minibar comes at the smallest markup in hotel history (4 baht more than the 7-11, as far as we could tell) and you get complimentary bottled water and an umbrella, should it rain.

The front wing has a more old-world feel to it, and is more tastefully put together, while the rear wing benefits from a tranquil garden setting.

Superior rooms have a little rattan seating area, and the Superior Single rooms have a patio. Junior Suites are bigger and more inviting for longer stays. The Deluxe Junior Suites and One-Bedroom Suites have an inviting teak four-poster bed and generous sitting area decorated with exclusive Sop Moei Arts items. Some also come with a bathtub.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Extra beds
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Mosquito net
  • Safe box
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

The excellent breakfast is provided in an open wooden house by the pool. Eggs and bacon are cooked to order, and there’s toast and jam plus fruit, just-brewed coffee and freshly squeezed juice.

Just opposite are the city’s 2 most famous riverside restaurants, The Riverside Bar and Restaurant ‘since 1983’ and its slightly slicker neighbour The Good View. Spend at least one evening here: turnover is quick, so a table with river view will become available. Draft beer and retro European favourites are one draw - the filet mignon comes with ribbed carrots - the eclectic mix of humanity another. Ageing bards murder one standard after another on the little stage. For afternoon snacks, check out the coffee shop near the riverside for its wonderful fruit smoothies and homemade chocolates and truffles; or visit Vieng Joom On the musk-pink tea house.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Cooking classes
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Just outside the door, Charoenrat Road bakes sleepily in the sun, exactly as wide as the doorsteps on either side. Old wooden shophouses are lovingly restored and sell good handicrafts, with the emphasis on wood
  • Wat Ket (or Wat Gate), the temple that gives the area its name, is worth a look and has a nice museum
  • A footbridge over the river leads to the sweltering nightmare of Chinatown, with steeply priced tat (wait till you get to Bangkok, where it’s half the money), a flower market and that interestingly stinky mess of pickles and dry goods which only Chinese people understand
  • The Night Bazaar still offers the best selection of handicrafts, trinkets and pirated goods produced within a 50-mile radius
  • A tuk-tuk ride away is the old town, with its temples, restaurants and fairy-lit bars; or drive up to famous Doi Suthep temple for views over the city
  • Thai massage and cookery courses - there's no better place in the country to learn these arts, with a plethora of classes and schools vying for your custom

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Art classes
  • Cooking classes
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Rafting
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional cultures
  • Trekking

Kids

The atmosphere may be less suitable for young children - there are no special facilities for kids and noisy children are not welcome - and better for couples as close to the riverside bars and attendant crowds by night. The pool is more appropriate for a relaxing reading or sunbathing time in the afternoon where guests can meet and share their experiences.

3-8 year olds sharing with parents in existing beds pay for breakfast only. Extra beds can be supplied for an extra cost.

Family friendly accommodation:

The Deluxe Junior Suite and One-bedroom Suite are the best options as they are the most spacious.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

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