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Chai Lai Orchid Nature Bungalows

Great spot, great cause

Route 103, Mae Wang T: (086) 923 0867

Chai Lai Orchid Nature Bungalows

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Chai Lai Orchid Nature Bungalows is a low-key, picturesque little resort set in the Mae Wang Valley, squeezed between the Wang River on one side and forest on the other. Not only is it superbly situated and well run, it’s also in a good cause: Chai Lai works in collaboration with Daughters Rising, which provides employment, training and education for local hilltribe girls and refugees from Burma. These mainly Karen and Shan girls frequently have little or no education and generally no Thai paperwork, which puts them at high risk of being trafficked.

Wonderful setting!

Wonderful setting!

The resort is small, with a total of 12 rooms or chalets, which come in no less than six types. There are simple bamboo chalets with a shared bathroom; two large family rooms, two deluxe bungalows (pictured above), a honeymoon suite plus four more bungalows in either air-con or fan-cooled varieties. Deluxe bungalows are also air-con, with others all being fan-cooled.

As much as possible traditional materials and techniques are employed

` As much as possible, traditional materials and techniques are employed.

All rooms are simple and minimally decorated, but are clean and comfortable, come with private balconies and have been constructed using, as much as possible, traditional materials and techniques such as bamboo and the leaf roofs you can see above. Mod-cons are minimal, though all have hot showers. WiFi is only available in the restaurant area, so you’ll manage a pretty good get away from it all feeling.

Private balcony overlooking the river

Private balcony overlooking the river.

The restaurant is delightfully situated overlooking the Mae Wang and offers a range of local dishes with a few Western options, plus bar menu, cocktails and good local coffee. Prices aren’t cheap — it was 120 baht for stir-fried pork with basil, for instance — but they claim to only use prime ingredients, organic where possible, and the money made is going to a good cause! (A fair chunk of their income goes to funding local projects and education schemes.) An early morning coffee overlooking the river or a serene late afternoon beer when the crowds have gone home is definitely worth a few baht extra. Breakfast is included in the room rates.

The entrance to Chai Lai

The entrance to Chai Lai.

The staff are, as we mentioned, local hill-tribe and Shan. Service is enthusiastic and friendly rather than merely professional and there are Western volunteers around training and organising so plenty of English language information and help is available.

Riverside restaurant

Riverside restaurant.

They organise myriad activities in the area and work in tandem with the Putawan Elephant Camp across the river — the elephants walk to and fro in front of the cafe throughout the day and come to bathe in front of the resort late afternoon. But you don’t need to ride elephants to enjoy a stay here, as there are trekking, village visits, Karen homestays and of course rafting options are available too.

To find the hotel, head up Route 1013 for some 15 kilometres past Ban Kat. The Putawan Elephant Camp is on your left just after the main bunch of rafting restaurants and there you’ll find the bridge leading over the river to Chai Lai. Chai Lai will organise transport for you from Chiang Mai should you wish but it will set you back 700 baht for a transfer by pick-up truck from the airport or a downtown hotel, so you’d be better off organising it yourself, to be honest.

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Walk-in rates at Chai Lai Orchid Nature Bungalows

Type of room
Type of room, low and high season prices
Dbl fan share bathroom
500 baht
500 baht
Deluxe Suite
1,500 baht
1,500 baht
Honeymoon suite, fan-cooled.
Family room
1,750 baht
1,750 baht
Sleeps four. Fan, outside bathroom.
Bungalow fan private bathroom
1,750 baht
1,750 baht
Bungalow air-con private bathroom
2,000 baht
2,000 baht
Room: Dbl fan share bathroom, low season: 500 baht, high season 500 baht. Notes:
Room: Deluxe Suite, low season: 1,500 baht, high season 1,500 baht. Notes: Honeymoon suite, fan-cooled.
Room: Family room, low season: 1,750 baht, high season 1,750 baht. Notes: Sleeps four. Fan, outside bathroom.
Room: Bungalow fan private bathroom, low season: 1,750 baht, high season 1,750 baht. Notes:
Room: Bungalow air-con private bathroom, low season: 2,000 baht, high season 2,000 baht. Notes:

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Where is Chai Lai Orchid Nature Bungalows

Chai Lai Orchid Nature Bungalows
Route 103, Mae Wang
T: (086) 923 0867
Coordinates (for GPS): 98º41'53.21" E, 18º39'28.44" N
Room rates: Under 600B

Map for Chai Lai Orchid Nature Bungalows

Map for Chai Lai Orchid Nature Bungalows

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