A flight from Vancouver, British Columbia to Bangkok, Thailand is roughly 16 hours, not including the commute to and from the airport, check-in process and potential flight delays. Add to that a solid day or two of jetlag on either side, and you’ve got an enormous travel commitment.
While the mangosteen fruit may not be quite as fresh in Vancouver as they are in Bangkok, it’s possible to experience an authentic taste of Thailand without doing big damage to your credit card, and with the added bonus of sleeping in your own bed.
Smile Thai Wellness 103 – 853 Richards Street Vancouver, British Columbia Phone: (604) 630-3808 The tradition of Thai massage dates back thousands of years and maintains roots as a natural and holistic approach to health and well-being. The practice combines a mix of acupressure and energy balancing techniques, which many attribute to the celebrated Ayurvedic doctor named Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha. Both a spiritual discipline and an assisted yoga practice, Thai massage provides a powerful mind and body experience.
Smile Thai Wellness serves as an urban oasis that offers a range of services including traditional Thai massage, registered massage therapy, energy healing, acupuncture, and classes in meditation and Thai yoga. The waiting area and massage rooms provide elegant interiors with uncluttered surroundings – the perfect arena to unwind and focus on your breath for a memorable massage experience. Signature packages, couples massage and gift certificates are all available through the website, as are beautiful Thai silk scarves and traditional fisherman pants.
Sawasdee Thai Restaurant 4250 Main Street Vancouver, British Columbia Phone: (604) 876-4030 For a casual lunch experience, head to this local family-owned Mount Pleasant venue for Thai food that has been nourishing locals since 1986. Lunch hours run from 11:30am – 2pm from Tuesday through Friday, and offerings include an array of seafood, curry, noodle, meat and vegetarian dishes, all for under $10, excluding tax and tip. The dishes are cooked fresh on a per order basis, and can be tailored to a palate that prefers mild, medium, hot or for the adventurous, very hot.
Dinner is also served with chef suggestions that include prawns on a bed of spinach topped with peanut sauce, sautéed snow peas with chicken in garlic and black pepper, and stir fried rice noodles with egg, broccoli, and chicken, with everything priced at an incredibly reasonable $15 or less.
Maenam 1938 West 4th Avenue Vancouver, British Columbia Phone: (604) 730-5579 Open seven days a week, this Kitsilano restaurant serves authentic Thai cuisine with an innovative approach. Chef Angus An studied at the highly lauded French Culinary Institute (FCI) in New York City after having completed a fine arts degree at UBC. Honing his skills in famous kitchens throughout Montreal and London, Chef An met his Thai-born wife and business partner Kate in the UK, and the pair moved to Vancouver to open their first restaurant.
Maenam is a celebration of both tradition and contemporary dining, with the owners traveling to Thailand on an annual basis to seek out inspiration for their evolving menu. Given all of this, Maenam presents an upscale Thai experience in sleek interiors. Delicate spice pairings intermingle on beautifully presented plates, and a sophisticated cocktail menu includes everything from locally made sake to juicy Australian red wines. The online store offers 4-course Thai dinners with sake pairings, a 1st edition cookbook, along with gift certificates.
South China Seas Trading Co. 125–1689 Johnston Street, Granville Island Vancouver, British Columbia Phone: (604) 681-5402 If you’re on the hunt for a list of ingredients to create your own Thai delicacies, this specialty food shop has been a Vancouver culinary destination since 1987.
Situated in the Granville Island Market, this shop carries exotic spices, dried chili peppers, curries, specialty cookware, a selection of cookbooks, and also supports a second location on Victoria Drive in East Vancouver. In addition to their role as purveyor of quality ingredients, South China Seas also offers cooking classes, events, beautifully packaged gift boxes and bags, as well as gift certificates through their online store.