Rachamankha, Chiang Mai



20190106_102620This is our 5th stay at Rachamankha after discovering it. The property is roughly 3-4 acres and is one of the few hotels within the ancient walled city. Rachamankha was designed, constructed and is owned by a couple, one an architect and the other an interior designer. They also constructed their private two story home within the complex. The theme and design of the Rachamankha is “Lanna Thai” referring to neighboring Burma’s occupation of this area of Thailand for hundreds of years and the fusion of their design styles.


The hotel has only 28 rooms. Two long one story buildings run parallel along the left and right side of the center courtyard. You are seeing 1/2 of the courtyard in above photo. In the middle of the courtyard is the open air connecting sala (back of photo). The courtyard continues on other side of the sala.

20190106_220425   (Sitting on sofa inside the sala at night)

The owners have a vast collection of Lanna Thai antiques which fill the public spaces and the guest rooms. The rooms have multiple framed contemporary Thai limited edition prints on the walls.


20190107_170407               (Unlocking our door)




20190107_091850            (Breakfast in the Courtyard)









Back In Our Beloved Chiang Mai

This is our first Chiang Mai visit in the winter. All former visits have been in the summer. Now with relatively low humidity and temperature range of 85/65, the days and nights are pleasant. The downside to winter is full occupancy and getting pool chaise lounges. In the summer, we had the pool to ourselves. Over run with German speaking tourists. Go figure.

Paid respects to our favorite Buddhist temple Wat Prasingh which is one block from our hotel, Rachamankha. Not quite a hotel, only 25 rooms.


Wat Prasingh used to be white stucco but about 3-4 years ago it was covered in 22K gold leaf.


The architecture of this area of Thailand is called Lanna Thai. The Lanna Kingdom of neighboring Myanmar (Burma) over ran Northern Thailand in war. Burma occupied for over 200 years. The roof lines were a blend of Thai and Burmese architecture focusing on the wings and curls at ends of the  roof line headers and roof peaks. So Burmese.



20190106_123151Devotees burning incense at Wat Prasingh.


Every Sunday, Chiang Mai does the “Sunday Walking Street”. Rachedomnoen Road’s one mile length is transformed in an open air market place  with vendors lining the curbs and back to back vendors down the middle of the road. So, there are two footpaths with vendors on either side. Everything conceivable is hawked. A crazy but organized and quiet scene as only the Thais could do. We shopped for the ladies and girls in our lives.


The next two days are expected to be a  washout. Typhoon Pabuk, which hit Samui and Phuket, crossed the Andaman Sea and is now hitting the Andaman islands where we were 2 days ago with 85 knot winds. The storm is expected to curve east off its current west, northwest path and cross back over Myanmar and into Northern Thailand. Lucky us. The winds will by then be below tropical storm level. Stay tuned


Andaman & Nicobar Islands


Now back in Kolkata after 4 days in the Islands with no wi-fi at the Taj Resort. Got out just in time. The Thailand cyclone is supposed to hit the islands tomorrow. (cyclones also followed us in Japan last summer).

Andaman & Nicobar islands are a northern extension of Sumatra (Banda Ache). The southern island is 40 miles north of the epicenter of the  9.2 earthquake in 2004 which triggered the massive Asian tsunami. Needless to say, the Andamans were devastated, many thousands died. All is now back to normal.

The Andamans comprise over 300 islands the majority uninhabited. Only 3 islands are tourist oriented, (Port Blair, Neil, Havelock) with lodging. A few are still inhabited by the original aboriginal people called Sentinelese, who are the last uncontacted people on earth. The American evangelical missionary, Mr. Chau, was killed by bow and arrow on Sentinel Island three weeks ago. He was bringing Jesus to the natives but the natives sent him back to Jesus. Sentinel Island is only 31 miles from the Port Blair airport.

We stayed on Havelock Island, reached by a 1.5 hour catamaran ferry from the Port Blair jetty. The Taj Exotica Resort opened in February, 2018. Each room is a 1,580 sq. ft. free standing building. The resort is beach front on Radahanagar Beach, one of the world’s top 10 beaches and definitely what draws us. The salt water crocs avoid the beach (people) but the north and southern ends of the beach have those signs. The biggest draw here is the world class scuba diving and snorkeling. We did neither. Enjoy the following pics.






I would say 95% of all tourists are Indians. India has a huge growing middle class (think China).  The Taj was full of Indian families. There are 3 discount airlines (think Southwest) each with hundreds of new Airbus A320s and Boeing 737-800s. The flights are all full, on a few we were the only Anglos. The world is traveling.


To the east of the Andamans is the Andaman Sea which borders Myanmar, Malaysia and Thailand. To the west of the islands is the Bay of Bengal.




Tomorrow morning begins a long travel day. Flights #10,11,12. Kolkata-New Delhi-Bangkok-Chiang Mai. Worth it all for the Rachamankha, Celeste’s fav.