This trip is my recalling memory as well as visiting new attractions trip. For me, some places such as Phu Chee Fah, Doi Phatang, Doi Mae Salong, Doi Angkhang, Wat Rong Khun (the White Temple), I've already traveled to many years ago, probably five years already, the environment of these attractions thus have now changed a lot. As for the new attractions I have explored this time, to many people, they might have visited, but it's my first timer, for instance, Mon Jam, Doi Chaang, Choui Fong Tea plantation, Rai Boon Rawd, Wat Tham Pa Archa Thong, Wat Pa Daraphirom. Some attractions are flooded with tourists, but I feel not too attracted whereas some destinations are visited by very few tourists but I feel that they are so beautiful. I think may be because of the tourist promotion and the current trends of each attractions make it this way. However, in this album, I would like to share all the morning winter atmosphere of the Northern Thailand that I have an opportunity to see, to feel, to touch, and to experience for those who have yet been here.
This is my 4 days and 4 nights trip. I reserve my overnight stay at 3 different famous tourist attractions (not including the night at Chiang Mai). The first night, I will be staying at Phu Chee Fah, second night at soil house, Mae Chan District, Chiang Rai Province and my last night will be at Doi Angkhang, Chiang Mai Province.
I set out my home at noon and arrive Chiang Mai around 7 p.m. Once our trip members are all here, we start to re-plan our trip again. Well, we did have some plan earlier, but for everyone's utmost satisfaction, we want to modify it as seen appropriate. And one of our members propose to go to Mon Jam because none of us have yet traveled there, and then we will continue to Doi Chang before heading to our stay at Phu Chee Fah. With no doubt, all of us agree to this modified plan.
We begin our journey the next morning at 7 a.m., leaving from Chiang Mai downtown towards Mon Jam. To get to Mon Jam is not difficult, you just have to go on highway no. 107 Chiang Mai-Fang route, going straight until you reach Mae Rim District about the 17 km. then turn left towards the main road of highway no. 1096 Mae Rim- Samoeng Route. This road starts to be curving, but not yet that bad. Along the way, you will also see many resorts and some strawberry farms from time to time. Eventually, you will reach the 15 km. and then you can turn right at Ban Pong Yek intersection. This route is relatively narrow and the road surface is good but quite steep and villagers' houses are on both sides so we must drive carefully. Another 5 more k.m. driving, we will be going pass Nong Hoi Royal Project, and approximately one more km. we will reach "Mon Jam". It is considered high season during my visit here because it is Thailand Father's Day on Thursday and Thailand Constitution Day on the following Tuesday. As such, many people are coming for visit and making parking is very difficult. From the parking lot, we have to walk about 100 m. along the slop and steep road which can be tiring. So if you don't want to get tired, you can also use the service of a motorbike taxi, it is 20 THB. Actually, along this 100 m. walk, villagers are selling stuff on both sides, so it is an enjoyable walk and we reach the top even before we realize it.
Well, once getting up here, I feel so so about it. Mon Jam is not as beautiful as I've seen from many famous websites. Probably, this is due to the area's limitation and strong promotion from the tourists ever since it starts to become a tourist attraction. They posted many beautiful photos so that many more people get attracted and coming here a lot. To me, I think it looks quite terrible now, the flower bed is not beautiful and some areas were stepped on and left no sign of beauty.
The restaurants are fully occupied, lucky that I didn't plan to have breakfast here, otherwise, my stomach will be crying all morning.
Mon Jam was officially introduced as tourist attraction in 2009. It is situated at the height of approximately 1,350 meters in the area of Hmong Nong Hoi village, Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai Province.
Now, let's turn to look at the flower beds. The wider view doesn't look good, so let's take a closer look at a more specific shot.
Various different colors of Poppy flowers
We also have hill tribe child offers us pair photography.
In addition to Poppy flower, we also have some other flowers available for our appreciation.
For Mon Jam, if you love fun and challenge activities, please do not miss to try out the moving car activity of the hill tribes here. Plus, along the way up to Mon Jam, there's also several other Mon (hills). If you have time, you can also take a short visit at those hills. For now, I would like to say good bye to Mon Jam with the cuteness and cheerfulness from the kids here.
And our next pinned destination is Doi Chaang. From Mon Jam, we are heading towards Wiang Pa Pao District. We will go through Mae Suai District a bit before reaching the left turn which will lead us to Doi Chaang. A clear sign of direction is available and the road is very good, although it is still curving along the hills.
Along the way, you will also go pass Mae Suai Dam. Looking from the car, you can have the overview of the dam, so astonishing! And from that intersection to Doi Chaang is about 30 km.
Doi Chaang is located at Wawi Sub-district, Mae Suai District, Chiang Rai Province. It is the highest hill in Wawi Mountain and the water source of Mae Korn river. Due to geography of Doi Chaang (elephant mountain) looks like the mother and a child elephants, both are facing towards the north so here comes the name of the mountain. At the elephant's head hill, the height is 1,800 m. Here, the weather is cold all year round. Today I come here in the late afternoon and I still can feel that chilliness.
Here comes the factory Doi Chaang coffee production. From the parking lot, to the right is the coffee production factory. Here they have the seeds separation building and the open area to shine coffee beans, both are looking very exciting! And on the left hand side is the coffee shop where many products of Doi Chaang will be available such as instant coffee, souvenir glasses, shirts, and drinking coffee and some bakery are also provided.
Products from Doi Chaang
After stopping, stretching, and recharging for a little bit, now we are heading for flower fields and winter seasonal fruits. Here, I would like to advice that saloon are not recommended for driving forward to the flower bed because the road is very challenging. On the way, you can continue appreciating the beautiful views.
With the height of more than 1,000 meters, Doi Chaang is suitable for growing Arabica. The coffee is in everywhere to be seen.
Here, we can enjoy the overview of Doi Chaang village. After having our head roller-coastering all the way, not so long we are now arriving flower fields. I think the flowers are not so varied, however, along the way I see many Phaya Sue Krong tree (Thailand Sakura). Unfortunately, the flowers are yet blossom.
We also have maple trees here but the leaves are yet changing color to red.
After I'm moving towards the viewpoint a little further, I have to stop the car to evaluate the road condition because it looks quite difficult and I also have time limited. Now it is almost 4 p.m. and still a long way before we reach Phu Chee Fah so then I decide to turn back with a small hope that one day I will return again in the right time when the Thailand Sakura are fully blossom. I'm sure that Phaya Sue Krong here will be as beautiful as other famous places like Doi Khun Mae Ya and Khun Chang Kian.
I arrive Phu Chee Fah around 7 p.m. and the sky is all dark. So I find some dinner close to the Tourist Information Service Center before going to the hotel. The atmosphere is quite lively, it looks like a temple fair as restaurants and shops are everywhere. The weather is relatively cold. While enjoying our dinner, we also ask for information about how to go up to Phu Chee Fah. We come to know that during this long holiday, we are not allowed to drive our personal cars up to the parking lot to walk up to the mountain, we must take public bus at this Tourist Information Service Center. The bus fee is 20 THB/ trip, so it's 40 THB for round trip. Some resorts hire the entire bus for their own customers and the charge is up to the resort. Tonight, I will be staying at Phu Fah Sawan 1 Resort which is 6 km. away from Tourist Information Service Center towards Doi Pha Mon.
It's already dark when I arrive, so here is the morning atmosphere.
The room I booked is a VIP room with 2 big beds for 4 people. The resort provides TV, drinking water, hot water machine (with gas). There is also balcony available for view appreciation. Here, the price is 3,000 THB including breakfast.
The next morning, I leave the resort around 05.00 am. and heading towards Tourist Information Service Center to get on the public bus (Song Thaew car). It is about 2 km. and we will reach the place where we need to walk up to the mountain.
Along the way, Hmong children come and sell flashlight widely, some singing national anthem while some playing music to ask for some tips from tourists. From the starting point to the peak of the hill is about 400 meters walking distance.
I didn't walk to reach the peak hill because there's some right path towards the other hill. I think this hill is the most suitable spot for taking Phu Chee Fah view. If we were walking up towards the peak of the hill, there will be no Phu Chee Fah in our photos. This hill is having a very limited space and tourists are almost fully occupied the place. But with my strongest determination, I successfully manage to find myself a good spot for taking the first light of the day.
The sky begins to light up. I look to the sky and have to give up as the sky is not as clear as I expected. No stars up there, I start to feel desperate to see the first light of the day.
But in the misfortune, there's still some luck. When the sky is about to light up (approximately at 06.30 am), the densely clouds start to move away and that is enough for the light to shine out.
The beauty of this moment is totally casting its spell on me. It is so speechless. while my eyes are attracted by those clouds that competitively painting different colors with one another, my hands cannot stop pressing the shutter at all time. I simply just cannot take my eyes off this indescribable beauty presenting in front of me now.
A short while after that, the sun appears to welcome the morning with golden light that shines over the area.
To see this breath-taking view, I completely forget all of my sleepiness and long hours of coldness. It is more than worthy for getting up this early and be able to appreciate this first light of the day. After that, I walk to find some additional breakfast in supplementing to resort breakfast at the Visitor Center. And after enjoying our delicious breakfast, it's time to go to Doi Pha Tang.
It takes about 30 k.m. from Phu Chee Fah to Doi Pha Tang. It is part of Doi Pha Mon with the height of 1,350 meters.
In the sky open day, we can see Laos and Mekong River from the viewpoint. If we were walking up a little bit further from the viewpoint, we will see the Buddha Image of Phra Phutthamangkhalanupab Lab Suk Santi. I would strongly recommend for anyone who is already here to pay respect here for fortune and good luck.
Looking back from this place, we will see the Chinese Pavilion which outstandingly sits among the mountains.
Another stop that must not be missed is the Pha Bong Pradu Siam Viewpoint. It features a large stone cliff and seemingly a door in the middle. If we were walking through this door, we will find Chong Pha Kad Scenic Viewpoint. But I didn't go that far.
If anyone still have some energy left, I recommend you to go further to Noen 102 Viewpoint. It is 300 meters walking distance from the starting point. Here, we can view 360 degree of the whole mountains and it is also a very astonishing sea fog viewing area in the morning.
I try to spend time here until noon so that I can try pork knuckle Mantou at Doi Pha Tang. In fact, my intention for this Phu Chee Fah program is also to review this pork knuckle Mantou restaurant.
This restaurant is the soil house restaurant. I used to come here several years ago and this time I am pushing forward whether the restaurant has been closed or not. Once I see the restaurant is there, my heart is pounding fast. This restaurant has a really nice atmosphere. If you have a chance to visit here, it would be nice if you can sit on the balcony as you can also enjoy the panorama mountain view. Eating and enjoying the view at the same time is just the greatest happiness.
The first menu is Black Chicken with Ginger. Too bad that this time the chicken is too small so not much meat to enjoy.
Followed by Yunnan Egg Roll. Inside the egg is wrapped with marinated pork with Yunnan spices. It is very yummy when dipping in the plum sauce and the pork carry with it some spices smell when we eat too.
Fried Sweet Beans, it is really sweet, crispy and yummy as the name suggested.
And now comes the highlight of the menu here, Pork Knuckle and Mantou. Both pork knuckle and Mantou are very soft. The pork is literally melted inside the mouth.
After the stomach is deliciously filled, now let's move onto our next destination.
After leaving Doi Pha Tang, I cannot decide about our next destination yet. All I know is I have booked the accommodation in Mae Chan District. Now I have two options for traveling route. First, I will go to Rai Boon Rawd and go back to shoot some evening light at Choui Fong Tea Plantation Mae Chan. The second option is to go Choui Fong Tea Plantation Doi Phayaprai and go to the accommodation place. The Choui Fong Tea Plantation has twp branches: one is called Choui Fong Tea Plantation Mae Chan and the other is Choui Fong Tea Plantation Doi Phayaprai which is on the similar route to Doi Mae Salong. Finally, I choose my second option but firstly I have to stop by and get some information from the Mae Chan Tea Plantation. The staff told me that it would be quite dark if I go to Doi Phayaprai now, so I decide not to go up there. Instead, I spend some time at Mae Chan Tea Plantation, finding some good spot for photography shooting, enjoying coffee time a little while.
The atmosphere of Choui Fong Tea Plantation Mae Chan, extremely vast and spacious!
After having enough break time, looking at the watch, it's just 4.00 pm, so I decide to go back to Chiang Rai city again to see Rai Boon Rawd. I am nervous all the way of whether I will get there on time or not. The last round of taking tourists for touring farm is at 5.00 pm. And due to many red traffic lights inside the city, I finally arrive at the farm around 5.30 pm. and I can only watch it from the outside.
When I come to see this view, I feel that I made the wrong decision to go to Choui Fong Tea Plantation first, instead of coming to Rai Boon Rawd because just outside the farm, it is so beautifully decorated. Once I arrive in front of the farm, the sun is already starting to set, the light is now quite limited. So I have to urgently find the good corner in order to capture this good atmosphere.
The front scene is cosmos flowers and the background is sunhemp flowers who are competing for their colors beautifully.
The Singh or the giant lion is elegantly and dominantly situated in the middle of the lawn.
After the sun is set, I quickly go to Wat Rong Khun (the White Temple). Probably I will be lucky to see the blue sky when the temple turns on the light. Wat Rong Khun is not so far from Rai Roon Rawd, it is approximately 7 k.m. distance.
Once getting to Wat Rong Khun, I'm a little bit disappointed that the temple doesn't turn on the light. However, I'm still lucky that the sky is not too dark, there's still some blue up on the sky and that the light from the street help illuminating the temple. After accomplishing the mission today, I go find my dinner in downtown Chiang Rai and then going to soil house resort for my overnight stay.
Tonight I will be staying at this soil house resort. This resort is very lovely and surrounded by rice fields. It is a perfect place for people who love serenity, peace, and quiet atmosphere.
Khun Mitre, the resort owner is extremely nice and friendly. He introduced my following day trip in details.
The room I booked is the large room. Inside is 2 bedrooms and 1 TV sitting room.
Once you open the door, you will find the TV room and refrigerator. Behind the curtain is the door that will lead you to sitting area that is near the pond.
Both bedrooms are on the parallel side to the TV room.
Inside the room, it looks plain but very lovely and equipped with air conditioning. But at this point, just open the window will get you just that chilliness :) . Both rooms have the same decoration.
Each bedroom is equipped with bathroom.
Inside the bathroom, there's also a hot water machine in gas system.
Here are other types of houses. There is absolutely no soil smell inside the house. Tonight I should go to take some rest now so that I can save up some energy for tomorrow adventure.
The new morning, I have a program to visit Wat Tham Pa Archa Thong which is considered an "Unseen Thailand" in which monks will be riding on horses to receive alms offering. On how to get there is very easy, it's only 4-5 k.m. from downtown Mae Chan, just follow the route towards Mae Sai and we will see the left junction towards Wat Tham Pa Archa Thong. From the left turn to the temple is about 7 k.m. and we will also pass some villages and rice fields.
The temples is located quite far from the villages, the farthest village is about 10 k.m. away which cause some inconvenience for alms offering. Monks here then have to rely on horses in assisting such activity. If any tourists want to also offer some alms food, you have to come wait at the Dharma area at around 08.30 a.m. which is the time the monks will return from alms offering from the villages.
My next destination, I will be going to Choui Fong Tea Plantation Mae Chan once again to enjoy morning atmosphere. In the early morning like this, we will also see the workers harvesting tea leaves.
As soon as I see many workers collecting tea leaves, I jump down from the car immediately.
When finish collecting tea leaves, they will be brought to store at tea production building.
This kid is the son of the tea leaves collecting worker, he comes to give support to his mom. When he first saw me secretly taking his photos, he was very shy. But after I showed him the photos, he was more than ready to act in front of the lens....
Initially, I intend to go enjoy the beauty of Choui Feng Doi Phayaprai Tea Plantation but due to I spent too much time at Wat Tham Pa Archa Thong and it's already 09.00 a.m. when I left the temple and I also stopped at Choui Feng Mae Chan Tea Plantation after that, so my time is even more limited. Consequently, I have to unwillingly cut the program of Doi Phayaprai out. But I am also determined that one day I will come back and feel the atmosphere here. And our next destination is Doi Mae Salong.
Doi Mae Salong is located at Mae Salong Nok Sub-district, Mae Fah Luang District. It is situated Santikiri Village which is orignally the immigrant communities from army 93 brigade from Myanmar to Thailand. Culture and way of living here is similar to Yunnan Chinese. Most of the villagers are doing tea plantation and planting winter seasonal vegetable and fruits. The weather on Doi Mae Salong is cold throughout the year.
The building for tea tasting and selling.
Samples of tea for showing and tasting.
Here, we must not forget to try the green tea
steamed bun (Salapao) which have both pork and sweet filling and it's 20 THB each.
Sit back and enjoy our steamed bun at this corner with this view, what a fantastic time!
The workers are trimming teas.
From this point and less than 200 meters you will reach the 101 Tea Plantation, the main office of this tea plantation. The 101 Tea Plantation is large, tourists can fully appreciate this amazing beauty as well as some tea tasting samples.
After finishing enjoying the 101 Tea Plantation, I'm then heading towards Phra Borom Mahathat Chedi Srinakarintara Sathit Maha Santikiri.
Phra Borom Mahathat Chedi Srinakarintara Sathit Maha Santikiri is located at the top of the mountain with the height of 1,500 meters. It is 4 k.m. away from Santikiri village, the road is nicely paved but very steep.
Due to this is the highest location of Doi Mae Salong, we can clearly view the whole Santikiri village from high angle beautifully.
This is a closer shot of the village. After having enough resting and enjoying the village view, I choose to go taste the local food here. It is the Yunnan style food and I choose to go to General Tuan restaurant.
This is a must not missed menu, Pork Knuckle and Mantou, although I prefer the taste at Doi Pha Tang.
Followed by mushroom baked in soy sauce, yummy yummy!
Deep Fried Duck, very delicious, we order 2 of them. Another menu is fried vegetable and I forget to take photo as I was concentrate too much on eating, haha. After finishing our meal, let's go take some walk and do some shopping around.
I can't help smiling after reading this, it's Karen language.
Good Bye, Mae Salong.
Our next destination is Doi Angkhang. From Doi Mae Salong, we go down via Mae Aye District. Along the way, we also go pass Thanathon Orchard. So we go in to relax a little bit and buy some oranges home. The orchard offers shuttle bus for touring the farm.
After that, let's go on our journey. Once we are in Thaton Sub-district, I see the glass pagoda of Wat Thaton on the mountain so I must take a brief visit.
Phra Chedi Kaew or the full name as Phra Borommathat Ratchamangkalajarn Samannachan. It is the place that enshrine the Buddha's relics.
Phra Chedi Kaew refers to the pagoda decorating with various colors of glass that shine its reflection. The top of the pagoda is made from stainless steel which is durable materials to the wind, the rain, and dust. It also features glass reflection function (stainless steel mirrors) by using 9 painting colors which includes purple, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, gold and silver.
On the ground floor of the pagoda is enshrined the Emerald Glass Buddha and accompanied by various Buddha images. And the stairs is resembled similar to the body of the serpent that coiled rolls up to the top.
The top floor is the floor of prayer. It is also enshrined the Phra Chedi Kaew that enshrine the Buddha's relics. The wall is beautifully decorated. From this floor, we can also walk out to enjoy the high angle view of Thaton village.
High angle view of Thaton village
After admiring the beauty of Phra Chedi Kaew, I'm now heading towards our main destination for tonight, that is Doi Ang Khang. Tonight I will be staying at Angkhang Ban Suan but I haven't had time to take any photos as I arrive quite late and still need to visit the Ang Khang Royal Agricultural Project and our first and only destination is the Garden 80.
Within the garden, it is decorated with various species of flowers, very incredibly beautiful. It is also planting the Japanese Sakura here.
Although the tree is still small, the dark flower is beautifully blossom.
Cabbage Ornamental is another type of species that Ang Khang Royal Agricultural Project choose to use it to decorate this colorful garden, very colorful indeed. For dinner, I will leave it to the restaurant within Ang Khang Royal Agricultural Project. While I was there, there's buffet food of 300 THB per person. The food is variety, including Thai food like Nam Prik Aong (Northern Thai Meat and Tomato Spicy Dip), Nam Prik Num (Northern Thai Green Chili Dip), fermented pork, preserved pork sausage, fried vegetables, pork barbecue and chickenbarbecue, as well as another newly tried menu like Yum Strawberry, the taste is basically similar to papaya salad but just substituted papaya with strawberry. For desserts, the best one is avocado in coconut milk, excellently delicious! The texture of avocado in combine with the sweet and warm coconut milk in a good smell just making this dish the best of the best deliciousness. After this wonderful dinner, I go back to rest in order to get fully prepared for the first light of the next morning visit.
When the next morning comes, I choose to go enjoy the astonishing sunrise view at Baan Kob Dong Village Scenic Viewpoint.Once I arrive here I thought that I'm at the market as many restaurants are already here, like coffee shop, noodle shop, or even the food for alms offering because that day is Buddhist Holy Day.
I don't think this viewpoint is the best angle for photographers to make their shooting because the angle is closed and blocked by wires. Unfortunately that yesterday I didn't get to search for the best angle for shooting sunrise so this morning I have no choice but to be here.
When the sun is risen, I go back to my hotel for packing stuff and fill up some energy before moving up to our next destination, the strawberry field at Ban Norlae village.
The strawberry field of Ban Norlae is 5 k.m. away from the Sunrise Viewpoint but since I've never been here so I go to as far as the border of Ban Norlae. Once I arrive at the border checkpoint, I asked the direction to the strawberry field from the military officers and they said that just walk a few minutes down and we will arrive. Although I'm very hesitate, but I think it's worth the try anyway.
The field is not as what I expected, it is the small field with the background of Myanmar military base.
She is watering the strawberry field in her hill tribe costume.
After I get to know the exact location of the strawberry field, I go there immediately. In fact, we can go straight from the Sunrise Viewpoint, and then we will see the left hand side intersection with the sign that reads "Noen Pa Ja Forest" and continue driving for about 1 km. we will reach our strawberry field.
This strawberry field is grown in steps. I must have come late because I missed the beautiful light and foggy atmosphere, what a pity of me...
Probably I come here not in the right season of strawberries because strawberries are relatively low and quite small.
In fact, I want to spend time a little longer but I must continue my journey, so I have to say farewell for now. I then travel on Fang-Chiang Dao-Mae Rim route. And once I'm at Mae Rim, I take this opportunity to also visit Wat Pa Daraphirom as I have yet been here and this place is said to be extremely beautiful.
From Chiang Dao District, we have to drive pass Mae Rim-Sa Moeng intersection but before we reach the Mae Rim police station (on the right hand side), we should turn right and then keep straight until we cross the irrigation canal and the entrance will be just near that irrigation canal.
In front of the temple, there are two Singh (large lion) welcoming us.
When we walk through the temple doors, to the left is the grand hall. This grand hall is a simulation from the gilded house of ancient Chiang Mai ruler. The carve, stucco and words are beautifully carved in Lanna style.
Inside the grand hall is the shrine of the Buddha and Buddha's relics which surrounded by 28 Buddha images. The fund of building this grand hall is as high as 15 million THB.
Next to the grand hall is the Phra Borommathat Chedi (Pagoda for Buddha's relics). It is the important place for this temple, inside it enshrined the simulation of Buddha's four footprint and the Buddha's relics given by the King.
To the left is the Mondop Phra Chula Manee Sri Borommathat (Ho Kaew). It is the square mondop with 4 roofs, the top of the mondop is the Janggo golden castle pagoda shape, it is 39 meters from the base. This piece of art work is the mix of Lanna and Kultai style, incredibly beautiful!
Now, let's take a look at inside, the door is beautifully painted. So beautiful!
Inside is the shrine of Phra Thandathat Chao.
Now I would like to end my Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai trip with this temple. This trip makes me so happy, while I got to experience many new attractions, I also could recall my good memory of many places that I used to visit several years ago. In turn, I also determine to find an opportunity to revisit again many places. And for now, see you in our next trip :)