2018 Primetime Emmy
& James Beard Award Winner

The Rose of the North

Chiang Mai and the Festival of Lights

November 26-December 3, 2023

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 26-December 3, 2023

Day 1

Nov 26 Sun


  • Tamarind Village
  • 50 Rachadamnoen Rd Soi 1, Chiang Mai
  • +6623011861
  • Private transfer from CNX airport
  • Walk the grounds, rest, enjoy the property at your leisure
  • Welcome drinks with Andy and Fern
  • Private dinner with Chef Black and Bia of Blackitch Artisanal Kitchen

Day 2

Nov 27 Mon

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
  • Visit Akha Ama Living Factory for coffee roasting demo
  • Spa afternoon, of course, at Oasis Spa (or rest if that’s your think)
  • Tour de force Isaan tasting menu by Ellar Hanief of Bangkok’s Zao Isaan, featuring an Isaan celebratory dinner at a restored shophouse in old Chiang Mai


Day 3

Nov 28 Tue

The Festival of Lights

  • Tamarind Village
  • 50 Rachadamnoen Rd Soi 1, Chiang Mai
  • +6623011861
  • Early morning fresh market walk at Talaat Prathu Chiang Mai
  • Free time for shopping
  • Lunch at Huen Jai Yong, northern Thai cuisine of the Yong ethnic group
  • 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 29 Wed

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
  • Special menue at Locus Native Food Lab: natural wines, Michelin-level northern Thai cuisine

Day 5

Nov 30 Thu

Into Chiang Rai

  • Le Méridien Chiang Rai
  • 221, 2 Kwae Wai Rd, Rop Wiang Sub-district, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai
  • +6653603333
  • 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

Dec 1 Fri

The Depths of the North

  • Bo Kleua View Resort
  • Bo Kluea Tai, Bo Kluea District, Nan 55220
  • +66 54 778 140
  • Travel by private bus to Ban Bo Kleua
  • Picnic lunch in the mountains
  • Check into hotel
  • Dinner of Kai Thawt Makhwen
  • Enjoy mountain air with fireside nightcaps

Day 7

Dec 2 Sat

To Bangkok and Beyond

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

Day 8

Dec 3 Sun


  • 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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