AThailand Retreat If you’ve done the Thai beach holiday and want something that’s a little bit more “green” and chilled, then head north to this boutique villa retreat on the lush outskirts of Chang Mai.

Consisting of two luxury villas, located far from the tourist crowds, Rice and Zen has received some excellent online reviews, especially for its private and exclusive feel; you can even hire both villas and have the whole place to yourself. Guests also love the views to the rice paddies and the mountains beyond, and the resort’s own botanical gardens, with lakes, waterfalls and artworks dotted around the grounds. Locally, you can explore the area by bicycle or motor scooter, or get the in-house driver to take you further afield; fun and interesting trips include to elephant sanctuaries, waterfalls and hot springs, plus the night market and nightlife of Chiang Mai. While a minimum of three nights is best for making the most of your time, quite a few repeat visitors increase the length of their subsequent stays so they get a chance to really relax and take in the sights. The Bamboo Villa caters perfectly for a family of two plus two – children love the mineral pool, the wooden sculptures, and the freedom to exploring the grounds; they’re also regularly found helping Chef Maya prepare breakfasts and dinners. The Teak Villa, with its privacy and stunning balcony views, is idea for a romantic break, and a favourite for honeymoons and anniversaries. Rice and Zen is available for bookings year-round. In March, mountain areas are burnt to propagate mushrooms, so it can be hazy. The cooler months from October to February are especially popular.

For more information (including frequently asked questions) and bookings, visit


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