The Royal Orchid Lounge at Chiang Mai International (CNX) is a surprisingly strong lounge for Thai Airways travelers in and out of northern Thailand. While the lounge is small, the size matches the airport's low traffic volume - so don't expect much company. Recently I spent two hours there and was impressed with the food and WiFi.
- Name: Royal Orchid Lounge
- Location: 2nd Floor, Domestic Departure Hall
- Hours: 6:00 - 21:00
- Capacity: 50 Seats
- Amenities: Food, Snacks, Self-Service Bar, TV, Internet, WiFi
The above isn't particularly impressive - no showers and nine hours of closing time is tough. But if you are traveling through the region - a region that includes many small airports - just having a seat and working WiFi can be huge.
The WiFi was extremely good at the lounge too, as I was able to stream a TV show without any issues. That may have been due to the small amount of people there, as shown below. That was as crowded as it got at 7:00pm on a Friday.
Food and drink had a much smaller selection as compared with other, larger lounges. That is to be expected. But having a selection of Thai beer and dim sum was a nice touch - I tried my best to resist, but the long, layover-bound flight to Seoul was too daunting to resist. Both hit the spot, and I could have realistically spent several hours there without getting too restless.
To access the lounge, passengers must have a business class ticket on Thai Airways for the same day of entry into the lounge. Alternatively, Star Alliance Gold members can access the lounge free of charge. I was told no guests were allowed in either scenario.
One last note: if you do make it to Chiang Mai, consider planning around the Yi Peng Festival where hundreds of travelers send floating lanterns into the night sky. Locals have their own lantern festival the weekend before Yi Peng, at a smaller (and cheaper) scale. We witnessed an even smaller version of this - watching the lanterns drift away is a memorable experience.