Escape to the highlands of Chiang Rai for 2 days and 1 night
Mae Fah Luang Garden, Mae Fah Luang District
Doi Chang Mub, Mae Sai District
Ban Pha Hi, Mae Sai District
Ban Pa Mi, Mae Sai District
Choui Fong Tea Estate, Mae Jan District
Wat Rong Sua Ten, Mueang District
Wat Phra Kaeo Chiang Rai, Mueang District
We first head out to the picturesque Mae Fah Luang Garden in Mae Sai district, some 50 kilometres from downtown Chiang Rai, which is part of the Doi Tung Development Project initiated by the late Princess Mother Somdet Phra Srinagarindra. This mountainous area was once arid because of years of deforestation by villagers seeking additional land to grow opium poppies.
Attractions on Doi Tung:
– Doi Tung Villa
– Hall of Inspiration
– Mae Fah Luang Garden
– Mae Fah Luang Arboretum at Doi Chang Mub
Our first stop is the glorious Mae Fah Luang Garden. Beautifully landscaped, the Garden is spread over 10 acres and features manicured lawns surrounded by temperate flowers and large, shady trees.
Orchid lovers will be mesmerised by the section devoted to the Lady’s Slipper, a rare orchid species cultivated in its tissue culture laboratory.
The Doi Tung Tree Top Walk is the latest addition to the Mae Fah Luang Garden. Visitors can enjoy a stroll among the treetops on this 295-metre long walkway 30 metres above the ground.
The stretch of road to Doi Tung and the other three nearby destinations on our first day is typical of mountainous terrain. We need a skillful driver to negotiate the hilly winding road and many sharp bends.
Mae Fah Luang Garden
Mae Fah Luang subdistrict, Mae Fah Luang district, Chiang Rai
Open daily from 06:30-18:00 Hrs.
Tel. 053 767 015-7
Our next stop is the Doi Chang Mub army outpost, some 9 kilometres from the Mae Fah Luang Garden. The military unit is under the jurisdiction of the 2nd Calvary Company of the 3rd Calvary Regiment in Pong Ngam subdistrict, Mae Sai district.
This army base sits on the border between Thailand and Myanmar and is manned by Thai patrols whose task includes giving guidance to and taking care of tourists visiting Doi Chang Mub.
If the sky is clear, visitors can make out villages in Myanmar dotted along the mountain range across the valley from the vantage point of Doi Chang Mub, which is also a great place to catch the sunset.
The army base provides a camping ground and toilet facilities, but visitors need to bring their own tents and necessary gear. No advanced booking is required.
Cooking utensils are also allowed, as there are no restaurants; only a small co-op shop for soldiers.
Doi Chang Mub army outpost
Pong Ngam subdistrict, Mae Sai District, Chiang Rai
Open daily from 06:00-18:00 Hrs.
Doi Pha Hi is some 2.5 kilometres way from Doi Chang Mub. Pha Hi villagers used to grow opium poppies and practiced slash and burn farming before the advent of the Doi Tung Development Project, which introduced coffee as an alternative cash crop in 1988.
The area is home to several hill tribe communities, mostly Akha, Red Muser and Black Muser, who today mainly earn a living cultivating coffee. The village is one of Thailand’s top producers of Arabica coffee beans.
The swing ground of the Akha hilltribe is a good viewpoint from which to gaze at the scenic valley below. It is the site of an annual festival that celebrates the harvest, during which villagers, especially the women, don colourful traditional costumes and beautiful accessories.
Coffee beans and tea leaves being dried on open ground is a common sight in the village.
The coffee of Doi Pha Hi is characterised by its slightly fruity taste. You can enjoy a pleasant break drinking a cup of good coffee while visiting the village at the Pha Hi Café, which is easy to spot thanks to its red parasols.
The Café also operates a homestay (089 431 7479) for overnight visitors.
Ban Pha Hi
Pong Ngam subdistrict, Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai
Doi Pha Mi is home to a picturesque village in the mountains some 8 kilometres from Doi Pha Hi.
The village was also an opium poppy-growing area and part of a drug trafficking route network before switching to coffee cultivation at the suggestion of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great during his visit.
There are many restaurants and cafes with spectacular views and affordable homestays.
For more details about accommodation, call the TAT Chiang Rai Office at 053 717 433.
Ban Pha Mi
Wiang Phang Kham subdistrict, Mae Sai District, Chiang Rai
A popular tea estate for more than 40 years, Choui Fong is among the major tea producers in Chiang Rai with a plantation covering more than 400 acres.
Its sprawling manicured tea bushes are a perfect backdrop for photos.
Customers of the Choui Fong Tea Café, an award-wining architecture, enjoy a panoramic view of the vast tea plantation while sipping their drinks.
Choui Fong Tea Estate
Mae Chan subdistrict, Mae Chan district, Chiang Rai
Tel. 053 771 563
Open daily from 08:00-17:30 Hrs.
Our next stop is Wat Rong Sua Ten in Chiang Rai town, some 39 kilometres from the Chuoi Fong tea plantation.
It is known by foreign tourists as the blue temple and bears a striking resemblance to the famous white temple, Wat Rong Khun also located in Chiang Rai.
ts major draw is the blue Wihan, which was created by a local artist, Sala Nok or Puttha Gabkaew, who is a disciple of the National Artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, the builder of the famous Wat Rong Khun. The construction work for the Wihan started in 2005 and took 11 years to complete.
The temple with its blue Wihan is visually influenced by the works of two of Chiang Rai’s most celebrated artists, Chalermchai Kositpipat and the late Thawan Duchanee.
The Wihan houses a white principal Buddha image of the Chiang Saen style in the posture of subduing Mara, enshrined with a Buddha relic donated by the previous Supreme Patriarch.
Standing behind the Wihan is a 20-metre bell-shaped blue Chedi whose gilded tier contains a Buddha relic also donated by the previous Supreme Patriarch.
Wat Rong Sua Ten
Rim Kok subdistrict, Mueang district, Chiang Rai
Open daily from 07:00-17:00 Hrs.
Wat Phra Kaeo, Chiang Rai is the main Buddhist temple of the province.
It is believed that the Emerald Buddha image, now enshrined at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha inside the Grand Palace in Bangkok, was first discovered at this temple.
The temple now houses its own version of the Emerald Buddha image called Phra Yok Chiang Rai (Chiang Rai Jade Buddha), enshrined in 1991.
According to local legend, a lightning bolt struck a Chedi, revealing a gilded Buddha image inside. The image was moved to a Wihan where the stucco exterior later cracked, eventually unveiling an emerald Buddha image concealed in the interior.
Prior to finding a home in Bangkok, the Emerald Buddha image was constantly moved, so that it could be worshipped in many towns; namely, Lampang, Chiang Mai and Vientiane (Lao PDR.).
This elegant Ubosot in the Chiang Saen style with a low base and a low-pitched roof was built in 1891.
The Ubosot is enshrined with Phra Chao Lan Thong, a sizable bronze Buddha image in the posture of subduing Mara, as its principal Buddha image.
Also, well worth a visit is the temple museum and its display of valuable Buddha images and various artefacts related to Buddhist traditions in the North.
Wat Phra Kaeo Chiang Rai
Wiang subdistrict, Mueang district, Chiang Rai
Tel. 053 711 385, 082 026 5667
Open daily from 07:00-18:00 Hrs.
Published on Facebook : TAT Contact Center Companions on November 4, 2020