Thailand is an exciting place to shop because of the good quality and diverse selection. We strolled four blocks, passing shops stockpiled with Asian souvenirs. The scent of lemongrass and ginger came from somewhere and smelled so good that it made John hungry. He wandered off to eat sausages while I entered Mandalay, an elegant, spacious boutique opposite a police station.
The boutique's fashionable embroidered-silk evening jackets were priced from $90 to $300. Instead, my gaze latched on racks of sarong fabric, in particular a swath of silk with greens merging into yellow ochre, with painted figures running after a hoop in a border along the hem.
Flushed with acquisitiveness, I forgot to ask how much it cost, and blithely charged all three purchases on my credit card.
In a state of euphoria, my three-country shopping spree was complete for the day.
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From LAX, Thai Airways offers connecting service (change of planes) to Chiang Rai. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $810.
To call the number below from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 66 (country code for Thailand) and the local number.
WHERE TO STAY:
Anantara Resort & Spa Golden Triangle, 229 Moo 1, T. Wiang, Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai; 53-78-4084 http://www.anantara.com . The resort, 40 miles north of Chiang Rai, opened in October. I stayed at the resort because I was curious about its Elephant Camp, where guests can feed and bathe its four elephants and learn mahout skills. The resort has 160 acres, with a lake, a river and an indigenous forest for such activities as mountain biking, nature walks and bird-watching. I paid the introductory rate of $199 for two nights; the same package now is available for $256, additional nights are $99. Doubles range from $128 to $190.
TO LEARN MORE:
Tourism Authority of Thailand, (323) 461-9814, http://www.tourismthailand.org .
— Patricia Woeber