‘Coming from a polluted and crowded Shanghai this was pure paradise. Beautiful nature, excellent hospitality, great food and loads of activities that kept our three boys fully occupied for the entire week. The boys loved the archery, climbing wall, pool, table tennis room and just running around in the gardens. We did boat trips, excursions and two fantastic hikes. After the first hike, the staff put together a special hike based on our abilities (an energetic three-year-old who walked almost 8 km that day) – fantastic service. We have a lot of experience in travelling with a family but I have to say that this trip, resort and service was extraordinary. Just an example is the basket with toys, books and sports equipment that was put together for our boys when we arrived’.

This review on Trip Advisor was worth quoting in its entirety for in many ways it sums up what the Maekok River Village Resort has to offer and why it is so special. So special in fact that last year, it was given an award for the ‘Best Luxury Family Resort’ in Northern Thailand. Many resorts describe themselves as being family friendly but too often this means that there is a children’s pool, a crèche and maybe a ‘clubhouse for kids’. This is great for younger families, but families with older children are often pushed to find somewhere which can provide something more appropriate.

The beauty of the Maekok resort is that it has an adjacent, very popular outdoor education centre and which invariably at weekends and during school holidays has no student groups in residence. This means that resort guests have access to the wide range of facilities, as well as to the team of instructors. Onsite, there is a climbing wall, an abseiling wall, high ropes course, confidence course, and an archery range. Informal facilities include snooker and pool, table tennis, beach volleyball, and a sport’s field. There is also a cooking school and for example, it is possible for mum and dad to have a Thai cooking lesson whilst at the same time, the kids can be entertained producing their own food by barbecuing and cooking dishes in green bamboo pots over an open fire.

Offsite activities include hikes of various lengths and difficulties, through or over the lovely surrounding hills. Longer expeditions with overnight camps are also a possibility for the more adventurous. The area lends itself to cycling and again, rides of different lengths and difficulty can be arranged. Being adjacent to the Maekok River means that kayaking is readily available and can be combined with biking or hiking to make for exciting whole day adventures. The beauty of the Maekok resort is that it has an adjacent, very popular outdoor education centre and which invariably at weekends and during school holidays has no student groups in residence. This means that resort guests have access to the wide range of facilities, as well as to the team of instructors. Onsite, there is a climbing wall, an abseiling wall, high ropes course, confidence course, and an archery range. Informal facilities include snooker and pool, table tennis, beach volleyball, and a sport’s field. There is also a cooking school and for example, it is possible for mum and dad to have a Thai cooking lesson whilst at the same time, the kids can be entertained producing their own food by barbecuing and cooking dishes in green bamboo pots over an open fire.

The other rare offering as far as usual resorts, is the chance to teach English in a local school, or assist in one the school improvement projects that the Maekok Resort is involved with. The resort has close links with most schools in the area and they are always most welcoming to visitors even if it just coming to try their hand at teaching English for an hour or two. But not to worry, advice and guidance is provided as well the opportunity to prepare lessons and resources … the owner-managers once a upon a time were teachers in international schools and will assist. In catering for international schools from all over the world, it is reassuring for guests to know that the demands that schools make with regard to risks and safety means that only high-quality equipment is used and only well qualified and experienced instructors are employed.

Mention should also be made of the restaurant which caters for all tastes, with a range of traditional Thai dishes plus some wonderful northern Thai and Shan specialities … and with a reasonable range of western dishes plus a good children’s menu. And finally, accommodation in the resort. A number of ‘family suites’ are available with two adjoining rooms (with a double bed in one and twin beds in the other). The price for these (depending on the season) works out at about 10% to 30% less than that for two rooms. In the low season (April to October) there is also an offer of ‘book two nights, get one night’s accommodation free’. And there are also whole packages available which could include free access to a number of onsite activities and discounted prices for offsite activities, dependant on length of stay. And judging by so many comments from guests, a long stay is a must!

The Maekok River Village Resort is located in the far north of Chiang Mai province near to the village of Thaton. However, it is nearer to Chiang Rai airport which is only an hour and quarter drive. Airport collections can be arranged.  www.maekok-river-village-resort.com

Source: https://expatlifeinthailand.com/travel-and-leisure/adventurous-family-holiday-northern-thailand/

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