There are hotels where the name really does just about say it all. Away Chiang Mai Thapae Resort - A Vegetarian Retreat leaves you in little doubt as to what to expect. The setting, obviously, is the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, specifically a quiet lane within the walls of the old town, near the Tha Pae Gate. And Away is one of a growing number of hotels and resorts that are catering to travelers who want more than just a handful of vegetarian menu options — in fact, in strict Thai Buddhist style, neither meat nor alcohol are served here.
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Away’s 39 rooms and suites are decorated in a contemporary colonial-influenced style, full of modern comforts, and each one has its own private balcony. Some open directly onto the hotel’s pool, and all feel comfortably insulated from the busy city streets. From here you’re well placed for a tour of the Sunday market, or you can stay in and take a Thai cooking class — no pressure, though, as those who prefer to have their cooking done for them will enjoy a wide range of Thai and Western dishes, made with all-vegetarian (and, as far as is possible, organic) ingredients.