Chiang Mai in northern Thailand is a chic antidote to the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, and a cultural alternative to the famed beaches of the south.

There are plenty of temples to explore, but this city is also a gateway to the jungle, for trips to a tiger breeding sanctuary or elephant rides.

The Chedi, set on the banks of the Mae Ping River, is one of the most serene places to rest before you explore.

The minimalist decor starts in the lobby and continues in the 84 massive rooms, which all have sleek floor-to-ceiling sliding doors and river-facing balconies or courtyards.

If the surroundings don't relax you, the spa certainly will. Try a bathing ritual in a terrazzo bath, with frangipani and orange blossom or a steam shower with lemongrass and ginger.

WOW FACTOR: Afternoon tea at the 90-year-old colonial house. The Great British Bake Off has nothing on the Chedi's delicate macarons and oolong green tea.

FLIGHT TIME: 14 hours.

GO: Book with Turquoise Holidays; call 01494 678 400 or visit for more details or email