Huay Tung Tao Lake is a largely overlooked (by tourists) recreational area located on a reservoir about a half hour north of central Chiang Mai. The placid lake is ringed with soft mountains and wide, partially shaded paths for biking and jogging. Swan boats bob at the water’s edge. But the best reason to go here—and what draws many locals—are the dozens of thatched-roof huts lining the waterfront. Each one is outfitted with bamboo mats and a low-slung table; up to six adults and several kids can squeeze around for a meal. The huts are serviced by more than a dozen lakeside eateries serving basic Thai fare at nominal prices: grilled whole fish, som tam, pork larb, oyster omelets, fiery curries. Roving vendors weave between huts selling ice cream and trinkets. Do like the Thais do and order a bucket of icy Singhas or a bottle of gut-rot whiskey with soda and ice and feast until you have to be ferried back to Old Town in a food coma. Park entry is 50 baht ($1.50 USD) for foreigners and 20 baht (60 cents) for Thais. Weekdays are best for a chill atmosphere. If you insist on doing a weekend, go early—like 10 a.m.—to stake out your spot.
Don Kaeo, Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai, Thailand; no phone.