“Art Of Nature: The Creative Retreat Of Edible Flowers”
Chiang Mai, North Thailand
Fresh from our second creative retreat in Chiang Mai, we captured the highlights of our amazing five-day itinerary in the resplendent mountains of Northern Thailand:
MAE RIM GETAWAY
An hour’s ride away from Chiang Mai, The Panviman Spa Resort is an oasis nestled high up in the hills dotted with tropical forests, Chrysanthemum flower gardens and orchards in Mae Rim countryside. During our stay, we woke up to fresh air and exquisite views of misty mountains and valleys from our private balconies, and explored the lush grounds of the resort to seek inspiration and quiet reflection for our creative sessions.
THE ROYAL GARDEN
It was a delight and privilege to collaborate with the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden, a must-visit for nature lovers. During our two guided tours there, we were wowed by the rich diversity of plants at the Fern Garden, Banana Avenue, and Glasshouse Complexes. The immaculate Ginger Garden offered plenty of inspiration in the beehive flowers, butterfly lilies, torch ginger, curcuma and banana blossoms that thrived during the rainy season. Our gracious hosts, Methee Wongnak (Phytogeographer) and Ratchuporn Suksathan, (Phytochemistry Laboratory Manager) staged a most elegant set-up of edible blooms for us to see and some to taste, including a spicy green fig curry and iced green oolong tea scented with butterfly lilies. Both authors contributed to the book “Edible Flowers In Northern Thailand”, a wonderful resource and gateway to the local botany and culture.
There was no lack of botanical muses for our daily art workshops that saw us drawing Chrysanthemums and studying dissected blooms at the resort, and painting our pick of edible flowers at the amazing sanctuary of Ironwood.
OF GIFTS & TOOLS
We surprised our guests with daily gifts to pamper and equip them on their creative journey. For the workshops, they were presented with mixed media kits of art tools from Faber-Castell and Moleskin journals. They also received Mamonde flower-powered beauty products, lovely assorted teas from Pin Tea, scented flowers in rice baskets, and essential oil bath salts, among others.
CULTURAL & CULINARY GEMS
Our guests relished the delicious Northern Thailand flavours in unique settings, including a traditional Khantoke dinner at the resort, livened by local musicians and a relaxing sunset dinner at Pansawan Restaurant by the rice paddy fields. Then there was the amazing lunch of contemporary Thai dishes prepared specially for us at Ironwood (thanks Yhing!). We also visited a vibrant local night market where hilltribe villagers sold foraged mushrooms, wild honeycombs and seasonal fruits, and capped our last evening in Mae Rim with a brilliant four-course dinner - featuring edible flowers of course - at Steak Of The Day. What a journey it has been!
Big Thanks to our Venue Partner & Kind Sponsors:
*QUEEN SIRIKIT BOTANIC GARDEN - Exclusive Venue Partner
QSBG was the first international botanical garden established in Thailand. Situated on the foothills of the mist-shrouded Doi Suthep-Pui mountains of Chiang Mai in Thailand, it offers a mix of natural beauty along with curated gardens and glasshouses showcasing a rich variety of flora for visitors to explore. Visit www.qsbg.org
*FABER-CASTELL SINGAPORE - Art Sponsor
Since 1761, Faber-Castell is the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality products for writing, colouring and creative design. Faber-Castell’s classic Art & Graphic products are of the highest quality for professional artists. Visit www.faber-castell.sg
*PIN TEA - Tea Sponsor
Pin Tea 品茶 was founded by a group of Singaporeans to celebrate local culture through tea. Their aim is to build a truly Singaporean tea company that makes traditional teas easily available to the modern, everyday drinker. Each flavour takes inspiration from various iconic neighbourhoods around Singapore. Visit www.pintea.sg
*MAMONDE SINGAPORE - Beauty Sponsor
With a rich brand heritage dating back to 1991, Mamonde has always gathered inspiration from the beauty of nature, in particular flowers. The Mamonde Garden in Osan, Korea, is a beautiful botanical garden dedicated to research and development, and is home to a team of top flower botanists who study the various benefits of flora and continuously develop and innovate Mamonde’s range of products. Visit www.mamonde.com