Chiang Mai's Wat Gate Quarter
History and hipsters coexist on the leafy, laid-back streets of Chiang Mai’s Wat Gate quarter.
A former home base of the 19th-century teak exporter East Borneo Company has been revived as 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai, a hotel whose 30 suites are decorated with four-poster beds, claw-foot tubs, and bright orchids. Book a room on the second floor for a well-shaded veranda. 2 Na Wat Gate Soi 1. $$$
The open-air Hinlay Curry House serves terrific (and super-affordable) Indian dishes such as aloo gobi, pumpkin curry, and flaky rotis. Save room for the house-made coconut ice cream—a perfect salve for the tropical climate. 8/1 Na Wat Gate; 66-53/324-621. $
Unpretentious Japanese fare is on the menu at Kitchen Hush, in a two-story wooden house. You’ll find street-stall classics including takoyaki (octopus balls) and such mainstays as katsu-don (rice topped with deep-fried pork) and shiratama (rice cakes filled with red-bean paste). 18/1 Kaew Nawarat Soi 2; 66-53/247-731. $$
Vila Cini stocks handwoven silk table runners, betel-nut boxes, and a selection of antiques from around the region. 30 Charoenraj.
Want a glimpse of Chiang Mai’s social scene? A lively crowd of well-to-do Bangkok weekenders and expats gathers at Deck 1 (pictured) for alfresco cocktails, live jazz, traditional Thai cuisine (try the giant prawns in tamarind sauce)—plus unbeatable views of the Ping River. 14 Charoenraj. $$