Surround yourself by nature

Soak in the wilderness at Canary Natural Resort in Chiang Rai

Winter isn't coming. It has arrived and what better way to embrace it than setting off for the North. It is the time of year when most of us urban concrete jungle dwellers head for cooler temperatures, where we can climb hills and trek mountains without breaking out into too much of a sweat. To get a head-start on this, I chose Canary Natural Resort in Chiang Rai for a weekend getaway.

First impressions

Canary Natural Resort is built on 200 rai of forest land that leads into a national park. As soon as I turned into the gates, the vastness of the property is evident. Through the trees, I couldn't even see if there was any accommodation, much less a lobby. But this is just the kind of beauty and privacy I sought.

Originally a private family getaway, Canary Natural Resort was constructed when the owner decided it was time to share his personal hideaway with other relaxation seekers by building just five luxurious villas on the grounds. Each apart from the other for the utmost privacy.

The resort is nestled among beautiful trees and mountains, with a creek running through the property to soothe guests with its natural sounds.

Staying in

The huge lobby area, which also doubles up as the main and only restaurant and café, frequented by outsiders, is reminiscent of a log cabin, which I suspect it was back in the day. Typical of log cabins in Thailand's north, it comes with a stone fireplace and lots of seating space indoors to curl up with a drink and a book.

The outside terrace though is where I spent the day and makes a good bird-watching spot. Built on a hill, the terrace stands elevated with a beautiful view of the creek running through the property and the valley within the grounds, which also houses the organic vegetable garden.

Canary Natural Resort is also home to Aso Coffee Roasters, so you know your first cup of coffee of the day is going to be good. On its vast grounds, the resort also has a mini coffee plantation and holds coffee workshops. For those whose poison isn't coffee, there are wine appreciation classes, too!

The café and restaurant serves breakfast and lunch, but dinner needs a reservation. The restaurant also makes and sells their own organic mulberry and fruit jams. Even the bread is baked fresh by the owner's wife. Do order the Eggs Benedict, they are delicious!

Though if you're a big group and fancy a posh meal, the indoor living room is transformed into Wana.korn Forest Kitchen & Bar. A kitchen concept where special dinners are created for a minimum of five to six people, mostly in-house guests. These dinners are created by Tai Yai chef Daeng who serves northern Thai, Tai Yai and Akha fare using ingredients from the organic farm.

The best thing about Canary Natural Resort is its forest, which leads into a national park and makes for a good walk and a small hike. Forest bathing at its best! Discovering the flora is a delight, as well as taking in the organic vegetable garden and knowing where your lunch (or dinner) is coming from.

Yoga can be arranged in an open-air makeshift sala by the river. It is rather soothing to hear the birds and the flow of the water, which may actually improve your chi!

The only downside is that English isn't spoken by the staff and it may be difficult to communicate in any other language other than Thai. While it does require your own transport to get there, taxis can be ordered and the resort helps with transportation.

Going out

There is much to do around the area. Visit the nearby mountain range for Chiang Rai's famous coffee plantations. Stop by the various coffee shops on the way for tastings. Though if you're not into coffee, they do serve coffee blossom tea, which has no caffeine.

If you're the sporty kind, the Khun Korn Waterfall is 10 minutes away by car. Chiang Rai's famous White Temple and Singh Park are nearby, too.

Final thoughts

Canary Natural Resort is one of those places that operates like a homestay, with a tad bit of luxury. If you're looking to be one with nature, look no further.

CANARY NATURAL RESORT / 347 Moo 10 Baan Panglimkon, T. Mae Kon A. Muang, Mueang Chiang Rai, Chiang Rai 57000 / Call 08-1926-4747 / Visit canarynaturalresort.com.