Saturday, April 14, 2007

Baan Orapin - Chiengmai Bed and Breakfast

Riding the bus from the Lao border to Chieng Mai, back in Thai cell phone range, I called Grib to tell her we were on our way and in the conversation she recommended we stay at Baan Orapin. Their website calls it a 'boutique' bed and breakfast. "Boutique" is tacked on to all sorts of fancied up for Western tourist magnets in Thailand and Laos. In fact one could call Luang Prabang, the old capital of Laos, a boutique town with its world heritage site designation, but that's another post.

Baan Orapin is an old Thai family compound. A large house with other buildings in a walled in garden with large old trees in a beautiful flowering garden. Here's a ripe jackfruit - yes that's how they grow. It's a little bigger than a football. Yes, it looks something like a durian, but it's not.

On a tiny two laned, sidewalk-less street just east of the Menam (River) Bing, what was obviously once a quiet Soi (side street off a main street), Baan Orapin is an island of old Thailand, quiet, green, relaxed, just off the busy hustle and bustle of modern Chiengmai.

We missed the new swimming pool by a couple of weeks. That's our room just behind the black curtain next to the pool.

The Arizona educated owner, is trying to keep his family compound viable as a bed and breakfast, maintaining the old house, and building a few guest houses on the property. The rooms - you can see them in the link above - were beautiful Thai style with Western style bathrooms. This is not your run of the mill hotel where everything is like any cookie cutter hotel in the world. It's a chance to be back in a touch of the old Thailand that is quickly disappearing. And while it was one of the more expensive places we stayed on our trip at 1700 Baht per night, that still comes out to under $50 per night. He said he's trying to keep the prices reasonable, that the pool won't raise the prices. The local competition is too tight.

And in the early mornings, before breakfast in the old house, I got to look at the various birds also enjoying the garden. Here's a red whiskered bulbul, a fairly common Thai bird, particularly in Chiengmai. I left this picture fairly big so if you want to see the bulbul, click on the picture. He's near the top of the picture to the right slightly, left of the main branch, above the green leaves.

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