Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai Pioneers Cultural Immersion at Chaan Baan

Travel News Thursday April 18, 2024 13:36 —PRESS RELEASE LOCAL

Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai Pioneers Cultural Immersion at Chaan Baan

Renowned for its deep-rooted heritage, Chiang Mai is touted as Thailand's "cultural capital," with a rich history of art, craft and tradition that has been handed down over generations. Wrapped in working rice paddies and overlooking lush tropical bounty, Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai reflects this legacy in every aspect of its offering, giving guests not just an experience of the countryside idyll, but also an alluring, sensory cultural immersion. "Having established a presence in Mae Rim for nearly three decades, the Resort has nurtured a strong and meaningful relationship with the people, embracing the essence of the Northern Thai way of life," reflects Sean Mosher, General Manager, Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai and Tented Camp Golden Triangle.

Embracing the Local Way of Life

The term "Chaan Baan" refers to the terrace outside a traditional Thai home, or an outdoor living space - often a courtyard that connects the different parts of the house. "Traditionally, it is a place where families gather to dine, celebrate and socialise," shares the Resort's Director of Rooms and Residences Ashok Nair. "At the Resort, we wanted to create a similar space where guests can come together as a family to enjoy the local culture." Chaan Baan also highlights the concept of sanuk - a wide-reaching idea that embodies the playfulness and sense of humour that is central to the culture. "It's the perfect venue for families to spend quality time with their children, learning the nuanced way of life in Thailand," he adds.

Creative Memories

At one end of this hub, the potter's wheel invites guests to spin magic with clay, while other guests choose to create beautiful works of art with natural dyes. Families can get together for the newly launched saa paper making experience. "Discover the intricate process of creating Saa paper from scratch," suggests Nair. "From stripping the wooden bark to handpicking flowers for decoration, every step is a mindful journey in creating your own work of art." The Resort invites guests to reconnect with their senses to create aromatic soy wax candles that can fill up their home with memories of a wonderful stay in Chiang Mai. "The traditional Thien Ram candles have been used since the reign of His Majesty King Rama V," shares Nair. "It was used exclusively in the royal chambers to ward off insects and create a relaxing environment conducive to sleep." While this candle-making experience offers a glimpse into the rich heritage, it also provides an opportunity for families to collaborate on discovering a natural medium like aroma that brings them together. "Aromatic candles can have therapeutic effects and creating this together with loved ones further strengthens bonds on the elemental level," indicates Nair.

Truly Thai Experience

With Chaan Baan as the centre of this cultural display, the Resort gives guests an opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with time-honoured traditions. "Discover the tools and techniques used in rice cultivation housed in a typical rural courtyard," adds Nair, who has been at the forefront of curating the diverse experiences on offer. "Learn to plant shoots first-hand from our experienced farmers, while enjoying a bonding experience with loved ones." Guests can also learn about the age-old tradition of creating ta-laew. Ta-laew means "falcon eyes" in Thai and is considered one of the most sacred artifacts in Lanna culture. It is believed to bring fortune, health, prosperity, and ward away spirits," explains Ashok. Ta-laews are often seen around paddies as the farmers believe it has the power to protect and bless the fields. "Lawa people (an ethnic group in Northern Thailand) usually stick or hang a Ta-laew at the door or in front of their house, while the Akha people (also an ethnic group in the same area) stick them to the entrance of their villages to separate the human and the spirit world," he adds.

Respected Traditions

The experience at the venue extends to a glimpse of traditional Thai cooking and enjoying local specialties such as grilled bananas and sweet potato. At the far end, Executive Chef Jaeyoung Lee and the team of farmers tend to the herb and vegetable garden that provides some of the garnishes at the restaurants and cooking school. "Walk through the carefully nurtured herb and vegetable garden to meet our friendly water buffaloes to help them with their ritualistic bath," smiles Nair. "Chaan Baan is an accumulation of lived experiences, filled with countless conversations and memories of the past, shared by people who are very much a part of the making."

Chaan Baan offers complimentary experiences based on a daily schedule and is open from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm.

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