2018 Primetime Emmy
& James Beard Award Winner

The Rose of the North

Chiang Mai and the Festival of Lights 2024

November 13-20, 2024

Cool mornings, verdant mountains, and the annual Loi Krathong festival of lights make this the very best moment of the year in Thailand’s cultural capital. Our guide is Andy Ricker, longtime resident of Chiang Mai who popularized this region’s cuisine in the U.S. with his PokPok restaurants, and is ready to show you what makes this place amazing. Our guide is Fern Sripungwiwat, a multilingual artist, producer and global traveler with a deep passion for her home region.

Fern Sripungwiwat

Our Host

Artist, Producer, Global Traveler
Fern Sripungwiwat

Andy Ricker

Trip Guide

Chef, Writer, Traveler
Andy Ricker

R&K Trip Itinerary

This former capital—which King Rama V called the “prime diamond on the crown of Thailand”—is the mountain soul of this country. We’ll start there and then branch widely around the ancient Loi Krathong festival of lights, venturing to the Golden Triangle and back down to Chiang Rai, into the mountains and finally into one final Bangkok bacchanal. Restaurateur, writer, and raconteur Andy Ricker and his friends—including the best people to cook and drink with in the country—are our guides to the multi-faceted cuisine of this extraordinary place.

November 13-20, 2024

Day 1

Nov 13 Wed


  • Tamarind Village
  • 50 Rachadamnoen Rd Soi 1, Chiang Mai
  • +6623011861
  • Private transfer from CNX airport
  • Walk the grounds, relax in your en-suite plunge pool
  • Welcome drinks with Andy and Fern
  • Private dinner with Chef Black and Bia of Blackitch Artisanal Kitchen

Day 2

Nov 14 Thu

Rice Forever

  • Tamarind Village
  • 50 Rachadamnoen Rd Soi 1, Chiang Mai
  • +6623011861
  • Visit to local rice field to meet our main ingredient
  • Tasting and talking with the country’s best Lao Khao rice spirits maker
  • Khanom Jin rice noodle lunch at a local noodle producer
  • Spa afternoon, of course
  • Tour de force Isaan tasting menu by Eve Palasak and Ellar Hanief of Bangkok’s Zao Isaan, featuring an Isaan celebratory dinner at a restored shophouse in old Chiang Mai


Day 3

Nov 15 Fri

The Festival of Lights

  • Tamarind Village
  • 50 Rachadamnoen Rd Soi 1, Chiang Mai
  • +6623011861
  • Early morning market tour with breakfast of jok rice porridge, fresh hot soy milk, patanko crullers, Sup Leuat Muu peppery pork and offal soup with herbs 
  • Lunch at Khao Soi Islam, a Muslim lunch institution
  • Private cookout and Loi Krathong celebration with Andy Ricker and chef Dylan Eitharong featuring rice hay bonfire cooking
  • Float Krathong baskets with offerings and lanterns downriver in Andy’s village
  • Drink to sully our newly cleansed soul, sleep like babies.

Day 4

Nov 16 Sat

Akha Country, Akha Culture

  • Le Méridien Chiang Rai
  • 221, 2 Kwae Wai Rd, Rop Wiang Sub-district, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai
  • +6653603333
  • Breakfast at Chiang Mai hotel
  • Incredibly scenic helicopter journey from Chiang Mai into the Akha highlands, where we alight for a once-in-a-lifetime meal of Akha cuisine with the family of Lee Ayu, proprietor of Akha Ama Coffee and ambassador for the rich culture of his people
  • Road transfer to the impeccable Le Méridien on the banks of the River Kok in Chiang Rai
  • Private dinner at Locus Native Food Lab: Michelin-level northern Thai cuisine

Day 5

Nov 17 Sun

Into Chiang Rai

  • Le Méridien Chiang Rai
  • 221, 2 Kwae Wai Rd, Rop Wiang Sub-district, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai
  • +6653603333
  • Optional morning shopping in Chiang Rai
  • Travel into the hills to Doi Mae Salong for Yunnan culture, cuisine and Kuomintang history (think: tea, sausage, noodles, vistas)
  • Back to hotel for poolside relaxation
  • Big flavor northern Thai meal in Chiang Rai

Day 6

Nov 18 Mon

The Depths of the North

  • Bo Kleua View Resort
  • Bo Kluea Tai, Bo Kluea District, Nan 55220
  • +66 54 778 140
  • Travel by luxury bus to Phrae
  • Lunch at Khrua Jin Soht, the best Laap in Northern Thailand
  • Visit Indigo dying village
  • Bus to Ban Bo Kleua, Nan Province, check in to hotel
  • Dinner of Kai Thawt Makhwen
  • Enjoy mountain air with fireside nightcaps

Day 7

Nov 19 Tue

To Bangkok and Beyond

  • Chakribongse Villas
  • Maha Rat Rd, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok
  • Breakfast in the mountains
  • Walk to visit Bo Kleua salt producing village
  • Luxury bus to Nan Airport, fly to Bangkok
  • Check into Chakribongse Villas, our home on the Chao Phraya River
  • Riverside cocktails
  • Last night private dinner with legendary chef Prin Polsuk at Samrub Samrub
  • Hang into the night at Jua Izakaya

Day 8

Nov 20 Wed


  • Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK)
  • Wake slowly, gingerly
  • Breakfast at the villas
  • Private transfer to BKK for flight home (or elsewhere in Bangkok if your journey continues)


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