Posted by: Tommy | June 17, 2011

Mo Rooms, Mo Awesome

When we first arrived in Chiang Mai, we did what we normally do after traveling to a new country – we check into a hotel/hostel/guesthouse from the Lonely Planet guidebook, put our stuff down and then spend the rest of the day walking around, looking for a place that is better/cheaper than the one in the book.  As a rule, places that make the Lonely Planet jack up their prices because now a billion tourists want to stay there – they’ve “made it”.  We still go there for the first night, because you need something to tell the taxi driver at the airport/train station, we just don’t stay there long term.

And that’s why, on our first day in Chiang Mai, Thailand, we ended up walking into 40 random hotels/guesthouses and asking about their prices, their amenities (generally, we want free wifi and no other amenities – amenities = expensive) and to see a room.  It worked – we found a $12/night room right across from the Tha Pae gate with A/C and a private bathroom.  But before we found the tiny place behind a McDonalds, we walked into Mo Rooms.

Mo Rooms is the first “art hotel” I’ve ever been in.  We didn’t know what it was when we went in – it just happened to be next door to another place we were asking about.  So we asked about their pricing and the woman pulled out a brochure to show me the three different levels of pricing – small, medium and large.  The prices had me ready to leave – very reasonable for the States, insane for Asia – $50-$70 per night.  But then we saw the pictures of the rooms.  They only have 12 rooms, each of them designed by an artist to reflect a sign of the Chinese zodiac – Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Horse, Pig, Dog, Dragon, Snake and Rat.

We oohed and aahed over the pictures in the brochure for a minute or two before the receptionist volunteered to show us a couple of the rooms that were vacant.  It was very interesting, so we agreed to take a peak, knowing we’d never stay there.  She took us to her favorite first – Goat.  It was all white with a huge, ovular bed in the center of the room, looking out over the swimming pool.  The furniture was poured concrete, all connected to the floor.

Inside of Goat

From there, she showed us Rooster (all white, with crazy lines on the wall), Pig (concrete walls, trapezoidal bed) and then Dog (upraised, circular bed in the ceter of the room).  And finally, on the top floor, she showed us Monkey.  Monkey was easily the coolest room – all stone and black concrete inside with “trees” along the walls, in the bathroom and the bed in a basket.

Bed in a basket

We thanked the woman for letting us look around and told her we’d think about it.  Then we went to find a hotel we could actually stay at.  We did – right around the corner.  So we booked 4 nights there and for the next 4 days walked in front of Mo Rooms 3 or 4 times each day.  By the second day, Anna had decided that 1) it was the coolest hotel she’d ever seen, specifically the monkey room and 2) she wanted to stay there.  We talked about it and decided that if we had the fancy hotel room, it would be an activity unto itself and we could spend the whole day luxuriating in our basket, watching the big flatscreen TV and enjoying the enormous, 4-person tub/shower.

So we did.  We extended our stay in Chiang Mai for an extra day, booked the monkey room and showed up at noon, on the dot, to check in.  We’d bought street food and some extra bottled water – we wouldn’t have to leave the room at all.  We could just enjoy staying in a fancy place for the first time since the Alila in India.

Me, lounging in the basket bed

One of the things we liked about the Monkey Room is the attention to detail.  Everything in the room was specially made to fit with the jungle/cave theme.  Most obvious was the cool bed, but the fridge and the A/C vent were disguised as boulders.  The sink and other bathroom fixtures were made of wood.  Even the coat hangers were disguised as randomly stuck together twigs.  It really was our own jungle escape, and much more comfortable than the treehouse in Laos.

Welcome to the Monkey Room!

Fridge in the Monkey Room

Monkey coathanger

It turns out there was a DVD player and Mo Rooms has a sizeable DVD collection.  We watched The A-Team (Anna was in the shower when it came time to choose the first movie) in the afternoon, then selected Avatar for the evening.  We left for 10 minutes to get a few beers and a pizza (which we took back to the room to eat/drink during the movie).  Otherwise, we spent a full day in a hotel room.  This may not sound like much of a way to see Thailand, but after 8 months on the road, sometimes it’s really nice to just hang out for a day.  The next morning, we convinced the reception girl to take us around and let us photograph more of the rooms.

Ox room

Rooster Room

Tiger Bathroom



  1. Looks like fun.

  2. Love the monkey room. Btw bring me a monkey home please 🙂

  3. Wow!!! Mo rooms is the coolest!! Love it! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. I’m so glad you splurged…it makes up for the” bumps”…like that terrible bus trip to Cambodia! xoxoxo, stay safe, Kita

  5. Love the bed. Love that you just took a day off from your vacation. Makes me feel so happy as I am slaving away here just to pay the bills.

  6. […] Mo Rooms, Chiang Mai, Thailand – This one we paid for.  The bed’s in a basket.  The fridge is hidden in a rock.  The awesomeness is everywhere. […]

  7. now thats a home for a caveman 😛

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: