That runs from spicy street grub to canny gourmet cuisine on the food side - and bargain basic to the plushest of pillows when it comes to accommodation.
Midway through a two-week trip across this country of undiminishing fascination, the modern, often funky, accommodation in the heart of this ancient city not only offered respite from long distance travels, but also a place to recover from one of the more rigorous experiences this body has endured: a few holds barred Thai massage.
This was no ordinary Thai massage, however; it was delivered by a former female prison inmate, taught the art as part of her rehabilitation.
After what was at times little short of a pounding, the crack of the back arrived as the climax to an hour-long session.
At around 20AED the treatment was a bargain, made better for knowing we were in some way supporting a worthwhile project that has apparently put hundreds, if not thousands, of once incarcerated ladies back into work.
A slightly less impactful form of 'relaxation' lay a short walk away through narrow yet bustling streets in the pool at the dusitD2.
For starters, it boasts a restaurant that puts a sophisticated spin on some Thai food favourites, taking taste and aesthetics to a different level for a memorable culinary experience. Sure, you can eat well for less elsewhere, but we thoroughly recommend guests sample the still relatively inexpensive fair in Café SOI (meaning street) to see how Thai food can innovate in the hands of a smart kitchen.
Upstairs the earth tones and mix of vibrant and more muted colours of the décor continue into rooms where modern comforts are a great antidote to the often-sticky outdoor conditions of a Thai summer.
dusitD2 proved an idea central base for exploring this popular northern city, globally renowned for its abundant temples and generous nightlife.
A flotilla of tuk-tuks are on hand to take the footwork out of that for a modest price, not least should there be more than one in your group.
In an area graced by many stunning temples, arguably the most significant lies a few miles and a testing incline out of town, up a persistent steep hill beyond the city zoo.
Private tours, taxis or public bus will get you to the foot of the route leading up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, but be prepared for a heart-pumping ascent up many hundreds of steps.
Back in town, there are many other temples that rival much of that architecture and tranquility, some with less tourists, such as Wat Suan Dok.
If you’re touring temples, be sure to take in Wat Phra Singh, the famous Wat Chedi Luang, the central Wat Sri Suphan – a stand-out at night – and the slightly out of the way Wat Phra That Doi Kham, revered by locals for its huge seated Buddha. For contrast Wat Lok Molee is striking and Wat Chiang Man once served as the home of Chiang Mai founder King Mengrai.
Research, recommendations and a slightly higher price will get you to a sanctuary where these gentle giants are cared for and protected, rather than ridden and exploited.
Other trips, all seemingly involving a lengthy drive, take in bamboo rafting, hikes, village visits, waterfalls and more adrenalin-inducing pursuits.
In spite of some sleazy hotspots – invariably involving massage parlours that promise more than the naïve might expect – this is a fun-loving place with numerous lively bars, cheap but quality eats and copious opportunities to shop.
A short walk from the dusitD2, a substantial street market tenders just about every souvenir you can imagine, copied luxury brands and clothing that covers almost every trend.
Many tourists make a beeline for the Lady Boy Show, for over-priced drinks served by staff hustling for tips before a crass and poorly produced outpouring with the occasional redeeming dance routine.
Depending on your entertainment appetite, your money might be better spent at one of the nearby blues bars where the level of musicianship is admirably high.
One of the best experiences here, however, is arguably the Thai boxing.
Prices vary but fight nights are generally significantly cheaper in Chiang Mai than in Bangkok or Phuket, and the atmosphere is palpable.
It’s a compelling, sticky, noisy thrill of an evening that, unlike the massage, leaves the competitors nursing aches rather that us tourists.
FOR prices, availability and room choices at the dusitd2 Chiang Mai, click on www.dusit.com/dusitd2/chiangmai
TO source general information on Chiang Mai attractions and facilities, go to www.tourismthailand.org/About-Thailand/Destination/Chiang-Mai
THERE is a regular low-cost service from DXB with flydubai to Bangkok from where you can connect to Chiang Mai and other cities.
CHECK out the latest flight prices to Bangkok, plus connections, at www.skyscanner.ae