Aug 02 2011
Suan Chari, or as it is sometimes spelt, Jarin, is a resort and restaurant located in Mae Suai district of Chiang Rai province. It’s located at a highly scenic spot on the banks of the Mae Lao river, set in extensive and well-tended gardens — and it’s probably our favourite stop-off/lunch place on the road between Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. Regular buses don’t stop there but it’s a popular break for tour groups plying this route and ideal if you’re travelling under your own steam. The resort is around 40 minutes outside of Chiang Rai and around 20 from the popular Wat Rong Khun.
The restaurant’s eating area is a wooden terrace overlooking the stream itself so you can check out the birds — and water snakes — while you’re tucking in. A selection of simple, classic and well-prepared Thai dishes are available and the surroundings are well worth the extra few baht they charge. Most one dish noodle and rice selections go for between 40 and 60 baht.
Their speciality however, is their justifiably renowned bakery, producing a wide and mouthwatering selection of pies, tarts, gateaux and cakes.
Their banana meringue pie, blueberry cheesecake or mocha gateau are certainly a potentially fatal temptation to anyone with a sweet tooth, who may book a room there immediately just to spend the next week of their north Thai trip sampling all the offerings. A selection of local coffees and teas is on offer to accompany your sweet gooey things so in fact forget about our lunch recommendation — come here anytime, whether for morning coffee or afternoon tea.
Now the restaurant itself is draped in orchids and exotic plants but to walk off your slice of pie you could waddle around the garden a bit and there’s a funky bamboo suspension bridge to take you across the river to the main garden area. It’s a great tropical garden full of orchids, helliconias, bromiads, ferns and so on. The gardens are actually worth a stroll around in their own right even if you don’t like cake.
T: (053) 717 272 / (052) 722 322
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