Among the many the sightseeing tours you can do in Chiang Mai, a trip to Mae Kampong in Mae On district is recommended for those who are looking to escape to a less-touristy place. It’s about an hour’s drive away from the city of Chiang Mai and there are a couple of worthy stops along the way.
If you have a private car to ferry you around, you owe it to yourself to drop by Tharnthong Lodges, a nature resort with a great Thai restaurant that’s also blessed with a spectacular view of greenery.
I am not kidding when I say this is one of the naturally beautiful restaurant I have ever been to! Set in the middle of a long valley at over 2,300 feet above sea-level, the resort’s lovely landscaping is home to stunning rock-filled running stream mini waterfalls and lush forest.
Tharnthong Lodges’ peaceful and relaxing ambiance will have you feeling relaxed in no time as soon as you walk into the property.
You are most likely to encounter numerous resident animals such as parrot, cat, rabbits, chickens, monkeys and squirrels too.
Another great thing about the restaurant here is that the prices are very affordable. Since it’s located in a resort in the middle of nowhere, you’d expect the prices to be a lot steeper.
To our pleasant surprise, most of the dishes are reasonably priced between 80 to 220 baht with fishes (sea bass) being the most expensive at 320 baht. But perhaps more importantly, everything we had was awesome!
Tom Yum Kung @ 150 baht (~RM18) came with 8 super fresh prawns and generous mushrooms. It was sufficiently spicy without being punishingly hot and the balance of sweet and sour was just right. It’s quite simply the perfect tom yum for us in every way.
Sai ua, or Chiang Mai sausage is one of the typical foods in Northern Thailand that’s also popular in the rest of Thailand. You will find this being sold in almost every nook and cranny of the city.
But from the few that we have tasted while going around, this was definitely one of the better ones. Highly recommended if you are not keen on trying those sold on the streets.
Stir Fried Pork with Red Curry @ 120 baht (~RM14) – spicy and savory, what a wonderful dish to go with rice.
The Stir Fried Zieng Da with Egg @ 85 baht (~RM10) is prepared using a local plant with texture similar to of a fern. It’s one of the signature dishes here hence was suggested to us by one of the Mandarin-speaking staff.
As simple as it looks, it actually packed a lot of flavor all thanks to the brilliant seasoning. I am glad we ordered this instead of the usual Thai omelette.
The only reason we had the Fried Pangasius (catfish) Fillet was due to its price. At 150 baht, the portion size you get is unexpectedly large. And to be frank, it gave us a shock when it arrived on our table.
Be warned though, the fillets are deep fried with peppercorns so if you are not fond of these mouth-numbing little devils, my advice is to skip it completely. That said, the fillets were tender and moist in the center, while the accompanying dipping sauce was lip-smacking.
Overall, we were impressed with the food at Tharnthong Lodges and the dining experience exceeded our initial expectations by miles. The only downside I could find is that they do not serve traditional Thai desserts, as they only have a small selection of Western cakes by the counter. Drinks wise, their local coffee is worth a shot – just avoid the hot ones.
99/1-3 Moo 8, Huay Kaew Subdistrict, Mae On District,
Chiangmai 50130 Thailand
Tel. +6686-4205354, +6681-9613538