The Rice Barn at the Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai
Smiling Albino is all about creating extraordinary experiences, big and small. Whether it’s a hometown newspaper with your morning coffee, a helicopter shuttle to your hotel or breakfast with an expert archaeologist before exploring Angkor, we know how to make Southeast Asia pop.
When it comes to food, extraordinary experiences are an essential part of the itineraries we create. Eating an exceptional meal is one of the great joys of life, and certainly one of the great joys in traveling in the gastro-hub of Asia. We’ve done plenty of, ahem, research to find the best chefs, the most awesome vistas, and the coolest surroundings to enjoy a meal. Here are a few of our favorites.
The Peninsula Hotel is one of Bangkok’s best, getting a big thumbs up from every guest. But not every guest is a Smiling Albino guest. For those wanting a very special setting for a very special dinner, we can arrange a table not only at the top of the hotel – but on the helipad on the roof of the building 38 floors into the sky. With a commanding view across the river and down into the bustling neighborhoods below, it will be an experience you’ll be talking about for a long time to come.
Taking things back down to ground level – below it even – how about a meal on a restored, private rice barge? These iconic vessels once plied the Chao Phraya River and its canals, bringing grain to communities all over the Kingdom, but fell into disuse with the rise of modern transportation. Lovingly restored, these teak ships are a thing of beauty, offering the perfect setting for a private dinner cruise – and even a great overnight experience.
Chiang Rai province is one of our favorite areas in Thailand because of its unspoiled nature, cool climate, and amazing wildlife. And wouldn’t you know it – there’s a way to combine all three with an incredible feast. At the Anantara Golden Triangle you can take your evening meal in a luxury treehouse surrounded by pristine jungle, joined by special guests – elephants from the Anantara’s elephant camp. These rescued former beasts of burden are now cared for by one of Thailand’s most ethical and knowledgeable elephant refuge centers.
Not into treehouses or peered at by elephants while dining? No problem – we can arrange a stay in the unbelievable Pa Sak Tong private villa. Have a candlelight dinner on a terrace overlooking water buffalo evening skinny-dipping in lotus ponds, rice fields fading off into the forests, and look up to see our other favorite reason to visit Chiang Rai – the amazing sky. You don’t see stars like that in Bangkok.
The superb Howie’s Home Stay takes privacy and luxury to a new level. Want to relax, sleep, and dine without being bothered by other travelers? It’s easy here – you’re the only guest! Owners Howie and Jerri are cut from the same cloth as Smiling Albino – there is no one-size-fits-all solution to being a host; it’s all about creating an experience unique to every guest. When you’re done wandering around the incredibly landscaped gardens, sit down at the giant dining table for a home-cooked Thai meal like no other. A dinner made just for you by a five-star chef, set amid flowers and candles overlooking a private lake… yeah, this is a fine addition to our list.
The Rice Barn at the Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai knows how to set a mood, and they do it wonderfully at this unique setup built specifically for two guests who want to make the most of their time. Enjoy an exquisite five-course meal illuminated by candlelight mixing with moonlight, overlooking the resort’s rice paddies and shimmering lake.
Dining with leafy trees towering overhead is one thing – it’s a whole other experience when you’re actually in the trees. Dinner at the Soneva Kiri Resort’s Treepod is just what it sounds like – a private bamboo dining room 40 feet above the ground, overlooking the azure Gulf of Thailand. And get this – waiters serve your table via zipline! And you thought it took skill to balance a tray on one hand while walking.
Stepping out of the jungle into a clearing at night could be a scary proposition – unless the clearing is lit by candlelight and furnished with a beautifully set table just for you, that is. The Sarojin Phuket sets the scene perfectly, with fine dining brought to your table just meters away from a picturesque waterfall tumbling into a crystal-clear pool. Anyone for an after dinner dip?
If you like to dine in the shadow of history, a private meal at the Amansara Khmer House is hard to beat. This classic wooden home has been turned into your private dining veranda overlooking a giant baray – a man-made irrigation pool that dates back to the 10th century. Best experienced in the morning before exploring Angkor. Enjoy a traditional Khmer breakfast carefully crafted from organic ingredients grown in the surrounding gardens.
These are just some of the unique and extraordinary dining experiences we have up our sleeves. Let Smiling Albino create that extra special memory for you on your next trip to Southeast Asia, enquire today.